Hey, Shelby Abbott here. Before we get to the program today, I wanted to share with you one encouraging post that was made recently about family life today. One of our listeners said, This podcast is my new favorite. Every topic is so relevant. It's helpful, lighthearted, and yet goes deep. The topics they choose are exactly what I want to discuss. I can listen to every episode while going about my daily life and the resources they offer are so valuable. Thank you for this podcast. Wow, that's just so encouraging to read. Thanks so much for listening and allowing us to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. If you want to give to help this ministry continue to help marriages and families, you can go to familylifetoday.com. And thanks to some generous ministry partners, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar until we hit $2 million. That's for a one-time gift or if you become a monthly partner right now, your monthly gifts will be doubled for the next 12 months.
Again, you can head over to familylifetoday.com. Okay, now on with today's show. It's sad to say, but many of us have a life that has lost the zeal and the joy of our salvation. And now we find ourselves living by oughts and shoulds like I ought to be doing this. I should be bearing fruit. And here's the crazy maker. Jesus said, If you abide in me and my word abides in you, you will bear fruit.
Apart from me, you can do nothing. And it's to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourself to be my disciples. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.
And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. All right, I'm going to tell you, just fasten your seatbelts. You're in for a ride today. It's going to be fun. We've got Carl Clausen back in the studio, our good friend from Chicago, used to be at Family Life. We can remember speaker, pastor, radio disc jockey, and a good friend more than anything.
Welcome to Family Life Today, Carl. It is a thrill to be here, and that's not overstating it. It is a thrill to be here.
It's fun that you brought your bride. I'm going to brag on you guys a second. Too bad. Oh, no, you're not allowed to do this.
I'm ripping this off right now. Shut down their mics in the studio in there. All right, so here's the deal. You listen to the show. I want you to know something about Dave and Ann. I want you to know that they live what they preach, what they champion, what they cheer for.
They live it, and they're authentic, and they're courageous, and they're passionate for Jesus. And sometimes it's important for folks to know they're listening to the real deal in a world of make-believe, baby. Are you going to give the show back to us now? No. Okay, go ahead. I just had to do that. I'm sorry. Well, we appreciate that. Carl, you guys are some of our favorites, and that's what we said to you the last time.
Like, wow, you're still burning for Jesus. And you got June Ann in the studio with you. She's sitting over there in the couch.
I know. She's over there waving at me. I can't see her, so I'm guessing she's making little gestures. She's doing good.
She's grinning in ear to ear right now. How many years have you been here? Thirty-five years! And I still call her my bride. And two kids. Two kids, two adult kids. Yep, they're going to be 32, 34.
They are that. Yep, so here we are. Yeah, and you know, I got sort of inspired last night after we had dinner. And I went home, and you know, I feel like God gave me a song for Carl Clausen that I thought I might sing.
Oh, no! All right, we're going to rehearse this. I did a rod, rod, rod. I did a rod, I did a rod. Carl's the coolest guy that you gotta meet.
He's got a really great wife and his kids are neat. He used to live in the cold in Alaskan snow. He did, I did a rod once. And he wants everyone to know I did a rod, rod, rod. I did a rod, I almost died. But God got me home.
I want to make him known. I did a rod, I did a rod. You guys are outstanding! And the crowd goes crazy! We're going to have to redo that again. What were you doing? That was great!
It worked great at home. It just didn't seem to go the same way. That was great! And it was being recorded. But I mean, honestly, last time you were here, you talked about your book, The Seven Resolutions. And all throughout the book, are stories of you the only, the first ever 18-year-old to do that dinner rod? Well, I ran it at the youngest stage possible. There's been younger since me run that race. Really? But, oh yeah, I mean, we get months, but up until the year I ran, no 18-year-olds had completed it. So I was able to run it, compete it at the youngest stage possible, that of 18. And it was a journey, 1,100 miles across Alaska.
Wow. Well, talk about The Seven Resolutions. Yeah, why this book, Carl? Yeah, there's a lot of Christian in name only running around out there, and they don't want to be. They want to be the real deal. I think there's a lot of people that wonder, what's the gap between where I'm living today and the promises of God?
Why is that gap there? And there's so many reasons for it. I was reading the context of Jeremiah 2 yesterday. And in Jeremiah 2, boy, Jeremiah's laying it down. He says, you know, God has two things that He wants to say to you guys. He says, you've forsaken living water, and you've carved out cisterns that can't hold water. Broken cisterns.
Broken cisterns. And the way I interpret that for today is that we've cut off the supply and the flow of the Holy Spirit, those rivers of living water, and we've carved out a life for ourselves that can't hold water. And oftentimes it's due to the Christian world that we live in. I'm pretty convinced of this.
I've thought a lot about this. Our brothers and sisters in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, because of the intense persecution and pressure on them, they're forced to streams of living water and carving out real deals out of the rocks every day. But we've got this incredible blessing of this American dream, and the very blessing from God sometimes can be our very downfall. It's so interesting, Carl. I heard a woman from Iraq came to the United States with her husband, and they were persecuted believers for their faith over there.
So they couldn't wait to get to America. And she said in the interview, I've been here a while, and what I've realized is the church has fallen asleep here, and I'm starting to fall asleep, and I feel like I need to go back. Yeah.
How tragic is that? Yeah. Yeah, that's my heart. I want to close the gap between where we're living today and the promises that God has for us. And I just feel prompted by the Spirit to say this. This has to be the move of the Holy Spirit. You know, I was raised in a very solid biblical tradition.
And then when I was radically saved by Jesus in 1984, I went off to a great Bible college, really taught us good stuff. But for some reason, we neglected to talk about the power of the Holy Spirit. We really did.
We neglected it. And I have been on this incredible quest for the last decade, rediscovering the fact that He is here, and He wants to fill us up. And the apostle Paul, since we're in the swift water here, let's go for it.
I love what he says. This could be written today, and this was written to the church of Galatia, which is encouraging. So you realize the problem that we have oftentimes in our own spiritual life here, especially stateside in America. Right.
They had 2,000 years ago, because this is what he said. Oh, foolish Galatians. Boy, that'd be hard-hitting stuff to get in a letter, wouldn't it? Who has bewitched you?
It gets deeper, right? What demon got ahold of you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.
Let me ask you only this. Did you receive the Spirit, Holy Spirit, by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish, having begun by the power of the Holy Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? And that's us!
We're pasting fake fruit on ourselves rather than abiding in the vine and producing that lasting fruit. And so utter humility, bowing low before the Lord, tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit, come on, man. That is the life that God's called us to. I mean, Paul wrote in Colossians, the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead lives in me.
Boom! I mean, what does that mean? And your subtitle is where self-help ends and God's power begins, so that's what you're tapping into, right? Yeah, we hope to be. It's really wild, but we've neglected, in some ways, the power of the Holy Spirit. And then you've got to ask why, when Jesus himself said, as he was leaving, Gospel of John, it's to your advantage that I go. Yeah, don't you read that and think, wait, no it's not! Yeah! Like, I need you here beside me! Yeah, right!
And we would think that. But it's to your advantage that I go, because I will send you a helper, the Holy Spirit, and he will guide you into all truth. And so, really, everything that I've written about and all that I live for, whether it's preaching or radio or whatever, is to help people connect with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a way that ignites their faith again, because it doesn't need to grow cold. So you write seven resolutions. We've talked about, I don't know, three of them already. And I want to walk through them, and you're going to have to review the three we already hit in some brief way. We did join God, kill sin, and take risks.
Yeah. Let's start at the top, join God's critical. If we don't join God, everything else is nothing. Joining God is all about positioning ourself in a place of his grace and power. What do we find in Titus 2, 10, and 11? This grace, Paul says, it is the grace that saved you and the grace that is going to train you. We've trusted God's grace, his power, to do in us for salvation, but we often leave it on a back burner for sanctification, which is a big fancy word for growing up in Jesus. But the same posture that we come to Jesus is the same posture that we grow in our relationship with Jesus. I did this at a men's camp in Williams, Arizona one time. I was on my knees preaching, and I stayed there for about 10 minutes.
And I said, guys, I need you to hear me. This is where real men are born, right here. This is where we're born. But the fatal flaw we make is we think now, after we're born again, I've got to get up in my strength and make this thing happen. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I was knocked over at that same men's event that I was at in Williams. I pulled a couple of guys up on stage to illustrate John 15, which is another key, key principle of joining God. Abiding. Abiding.
We've got to abide. And I pulled a guy, a big old boy up on stage, and I said, all right, bro, you're going to be Jesus for a second. He's like, oh, no. I said, I'll get you out of this role here really quick. But you're a vine.
You're a big, naughty, gnarly vine. And I pull up another brother. I say, okay, you're going to be a branch.
That's your job. You be a branch. Now, what's the branch doing?
He puts his arm out on that vine. And then I began to, from John 15, just give these guys a vision for where to focus their life. See, we can focus either on abiding in Christ or producing fruit, but we can't do both.
It's sad to say, but many of us have a life that has lost the zeal and the joy of our salvation. And now we find ourselves living by oughts and shoulds. Like, I ought to be doing this. I should be bearing fruit. And here's the crazy maker. Jesus said, if you abide in me and my word abides in you, you will bear fruit.
Apart from me, you can do nothing. And it's to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourself to be my disciples. So I asked this guy, I said, put your hand on him right there. Okay, he's got his hand on him.
I said, now, here's the choice. We can focus on the abiding relationship with Christ or focus on producing fruit, but we can't do both. And every time we focus on, oh, I need to be loving. I need to be joyful.
I need to have self-control. We inadvertently lose connection with our Savior because we're living a man-centered gospel. And so that's my heart, is to help people understand the way you got saved is the way we grow. I mean, my son said it in a sermon once.
We easily focus on the fruit rather than the root. Totally. I've never forgotten it.
He probably got the rhyme thing from his dad, but here's the thing. It's the way to go. You know this, Carl. Like, I know it. In ministry, it's easy to focus on numbers, fruit, how many people are coming, how much money is being given, how many salvations, how many baptisms. Those are all good things.
They're fruit. And I'm telling you, I did it. I hate to admit this, but after so many years, I realized my heart's sort of drying up, even though numbers are increasing. It's almost like I learned how to do sermons and ministry and do a weekend service in such a powerful way without even the root, the vine.
You can do it. And it's horrible because it's not real fruit. We have to have our eyes on the root. We have to be on the vine, abiding the root, join God, whatever way you want to say it.
That is it. I love your on-your-knees analogy. Me too. That's the visual we have to have in our head at all times. Yeah, the thing I didn't complete with that thought is I said, guys, here's the thing. We come to Jesus here, but this is how we have to follow Jesus. I said, it's more than a metaphor, and I started to walk on my knees across the stage.
And I said, this is the way we grow. Well, we also talked about kill sin. Yeah.
Killing sin is a big boy. You know, a couple of guys that reviewed the book that I really respect. Robert Lewis is one. Dave Wilson is another. Oh, he's here.
Erwin Lutzer, former pastor of Moody Church. Most of these guys said this chapter killing sin is maybe the most important for today. Because oftentimes what we do with our sin is it goes into the shadows, and it just kind of sits there. And we rationalize it or explain it or minimize it or blame it. But God challenges us, bring it into the light, expose it, and then attack it. A lot of people, we don't know how to get serious with sin. But Jesus said, if your eye caused you to sin, gouge it out. If your arm caused you to sin, cut it off. Sounds kind of serious. Oh, it's serious.
And thankfully, he's using hyperbole or else we'd all be in trouble. Right. He gave us a vision for killing the things that are killing us. And that's what we've got to do. I think the most important aspect of killing sin for me is how you sustain it. And the promise out of Galatians 5 16, walk in the Spirit, Paul said, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Whew! That's a promise. So irrigate your soul with the power of the Spirit after you've cut these things out. It's a way to live.
And frankly, I've journeyed there, and it's awesome. Yeah, and I think a lot of times we don't want to kill sin. We just sort of want to maim it a little bit. But we don't want it to go completely away.
It's like we're just going to die. You play with temptation, it leads to devastation. You can't play with it.
You've got to kill it. And by the way, you know this, on YouVersion, on your Bible app, you can do a devo about kill sin, right? You can. Yes. So go to YouVersion and do it. Yeah, YouVersion, you can get it.
What would they look up, Carl? All you've got to do is punch. I did it. It's under Bible plans. Bible plans. Okay. And kill sin comes up. Punch in killing sin or kill sin, and it'll jump right up there. All right, real quick, take risks.
That's another resolution. You know, risk taken is an interesting thing. It's essential. Let me take you on to the Adiderod. Could I tell you a story from the Adiderod trail race? Oh, love to. You just sang a song about it here. You want to tell everybody, so let's go.
I love this. This one is maybe one of the most important stories from the Adiderod trail race for me. God had me run this race. It took me 21 days, 8 hours, 12 minutes, and 32 seconds, and he gave me a metaphor around every corner, every bend of the trail. I mean, it was just one adventure after another. But I got out onto the sea ice, onto the Norton Sound, and I went out onto the Norton Sound against the counsel of a village elder in Koiak. I was heading from Shaktoolik to Koiak, excuse me, so he's in Shaktoolik, and he tells me, he says, Carl, don't go. The wind's going to blow tonight.
It's going to be bad. Well, I'm 18 years old. I wanted to catch up to the teams in front of me. I didn't listen to the wise counsel, and I headed out. So I headed straight out onto the ocean.
I've got 45, 50 miles to get across the Norton Sound, and the wind begins to pick up to the point where it is howling. And now I've got a whiteout condition. I cannot see. If I extend my hand, I cannot see the tip of my mitten.
It's that obscured. And at one point, I put my foot down between my sled runners to see how fast am I going? What kind of headway am I making? And the sled was stopped. So I get down on my hands and knees, and I crawl holding onto the sled and then holding onto the lines, because if you crawl in a whiteout and you let go of a sled, you'll crawl to your death. Because unless you happen to find your way back to that sled, which is about nil, you'll crawl to your death. So I'm holding onto the sled.
I'm holding onto the dog lines, and I'm getting up to my team. And sure enough, they're all hunkered down because they can't move. I later found out we had gusts on the ice to 92 miles an hour. They had sent out two snow machines after me. It had ripped the cowling off of one of them. So they sent it back and said, he's on his own.
Hope he makes it. So I've got my dogs all strung out in a straight line. I've got about eight dogs left in my dog team.
None of the dogs had died. You just drop them because they get lacerated pads or injured in some way. But I have eight dogs left in my team. And I piled them all up in a big old dog pile, keep them all warm together. I crawl back to the sled. I got into two sleeping bags with all my gear on.
When you're in that kind of chill factory, you stay in your gear. So I slid into my two sleeping bags. I've got on fox mittens, beaver hat, all my Arctic gear, wolf ruff. And I feel the wind cutting through. And I've got all the gear that I have with me on. And I'm scared. I put up a windbreak.
I put a snowshoe in the ice, and then I put up some Gore-Tex plastic windbreak. And I huddled down behind that thing, and I began to pray. And I said, God, please get me out of this thing. You know, I was running so hard away from God. And here's what's amazing about God's mercy.
Even when He knows we are not ready to turn to Him, He'll still grant us His love at the craziest times. And I needed it. And I said, God, if you get me out of this thing, I'll come back to church, I promise.
And within a couple of hours, the storm lifted. And I was able to stand up, and I'm glad I'm six feet tall, because right at the five-foot mark, boom, my head poked through, and I could see the lights of Koyak off in the distance. I got my team strung out, gave them the command, hike!
My two leaders up there in the front, girls were named White Eyes. And they towed me to safety, and we made it in. By the way, I had my wool face mask. I'd been breathing in ice particles for so many hours that it had frozen completely to my face.
So when I got into the checkpoint, a veterinarian took a pair of scissors, cut up the back of the wool face mask, put me over a potbelly stove, and just peeled off the face mask, and it took one layer of skin completely off my face, which made it really tender to the cold. But you know what I learned out there on that day? I learned something amazing, and I've lived it to this day, and that is we've got to live in a place that's bigger than us. We've got to be taking risks. To this day, I feel like the greatest gift I can give myself or to share with a man that I'm working with or whatever it would be is put yourself in a position that it's bigger than you, where you can't do it, where you've got to call out to God, God, I need your help, because that's the best place to live.
What are you laughing about? Well, I mean, I want to live there. I don't ever want to play safe. There's times where you want to hold onto the boat, but I want to be a water walker.
I want to get out of the boat, the safety. I mean, I hear that story, and I'm like, yeah, take risks, and why don't we? I remember being at a conference and the speaker saying, are you doing anything right now that you could not do it apart from Jesus? And I remember thinking, no. But I did think, I want to do that.
I think we have that in us. Like, I want to do something that would be so risky that I cannot do it apart from the Spirit of God in me. That's what the disciples did. Someone's listening right now going, I have so much pain in my life right now.
How in the world can you invite me into more pain? Here's the crazy maker about this. It's like the more we get out over our skis and the more we get in over our head, the more dependent we are on Jesus and the greater potential there is to experience friendship with God and the adventure of a lifetime with Him.
That's just reality. Yeah, and I would say if you're listening today and you don't know God, you don't know Jesus, resolution number one is for you. I mean, often we think anybody listening out there, anybody listening to our program is a follower of Christ, and maybe you are and maybe you're just apathetic or lukewarm. I think resolution number one is for a man or a woman today to say, okay, I'm going to join God. I've walked away from God. You didn't need the I did arrive moment to draw you back, but today's your day. Get on your knees.
Carl, your image. Can you imagine a man in his kitchen right now and getting on his knees or a woman in her family room getting on her knees and say, God, I surrender. I want to join you. I want to take risks.
I want my life to count for something more than it's ever counted for. I surrender. I am going to abide in the vine. Would you produce fruit in my life?
He will meet you right where you are and literally change your life. So this is your moment of salvation right here. And Dave, I love the visual, too, that, Carl, that you painted of you're holding on to the vine. Like you don't take your hand off because it's so easy. We just get caught up in the everyday stuff and our problems and pain and our marriages and our kids are suffering. And it's in me that I'm going to like fix this. But that first priority of having my hand on Jesus, of being on my knees, walking that out.
Clinging. Those are great images that I want to live out every day. And as you know, you'll never kill sin without the power of God. You'll never take risk without the power of God. You've got to join God.
That's why it's resolution number one. You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Carl Clausen on Family Life today. Carl's going to tell us about a scary prayer his dad prayed that changed Carl forever.
That's in just a minute. But first, his book is called The Seven Resolutions, where self-help ends and God's power begins. These are seven resolutions that will teach you how to overthrow old patterns, create new life systems, and take hold of God's promises. We've got copies of Carl's book available at familylifetoday.com. You know, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most is what we care about here at Family Life.
And we know that it's not always easy for you to do that. We asked the president of Family Life, David Robbins, and his wife, Meg, to give us some of their perspective on the ups and sometimes downs of life as a family. We were wondering, do you ever feel like your attempts to create a healthy family have failed? Maybe you're an exhausted mom and you're overwhelmed, or a single dad and you're confused, or perhaps you're just disappointed as grandparents and can't figure out how to recover lost time.
Well, I'm here to tell you that God is not finished writing your story. And restoring your family relationships is entirely possible. In fact, that's what our conversations are about every day on this program. And right now, we're asking our loyal friends like you to step forward to leverage their year-end gift through our matching campaign. Every gift you give between now and the end of the month will be matched dollar for dollar and double its impact to more homes. Yeah, and when you give any amount at familylifetoday.com, we're going to send you four copies of Bob Lapine's book called The Four Emotions of Christmas. There's one for you to keep and three for you to be able to give away to friends or neighbors or even family members. In addition to that, you're going to get six greeting cards hand-selected by David and Meg Robbins. These make a great tool to share with the loved ones in your life.
Again, you can give at familylifetoday.com, or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329. That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Okay, here's Carl and how God met him in his car when he was at his lowest. I walked a lot of aisles as a kid growing up in church.
I walked down the center aisle. I prayed a lot of prayers. I was a good kid in a lot of ways. I memorized a ton of verses, guys. And you know, my story, I got into serious cocaine use and abuse, serious Crown Royal use and abuse. I was such a mess that I had chronic nosebleeds that I couldn't hide from even my junky friends. God broke me, and He showed me that it's not about me praying a prayer or walking down an aisle or memorizing verses. It's about total abandonment into the arms of a loving God who loved me so much that He gave His Son for me. Those are not words to me.
Those are real. And you know what Jesus said to me? It's so wild. I was driving down a road in Anchorage, Alaska, had a fresh nosebleed. Every crutch had been kicked out from under me. My praying dad told me six months prior to this, he said, I'm praying that you get fully surrendered to Jesus once and for all, or that God take you out of this world because you're killing yourself anyway. And guys, for 22 years at that point, I had seen my dad and mom's prayers answered regularly. So I thought, man, God's going to kill me. I'm out of here. But now every crutch was kicked out from under me, and God came into a broken young man's car who knew a lot of verses, gone to church. I knew all the songs. I did the deal. And He asked me this one question. Are you done yet?
That's almost the exact words. Are you done yet? And I broke into this bundle of sobbing tears. Mr. Young Iditarod, Alaska Man.
You know what? I couldn't fix it. I couldn't repair it. I couldn't restore it.
I couldn't rebuild it. And God, by His grace, showed me the only thing that was going to build my life was the rock of Jesus Christ. And on that day, He radically altered me. And I don't know where you're at. And this isn't about drugs to Jesus. It's about anything to Jesus. But I want to tell you right now, God wants to save your soul.
And you don't have to be in church to get her done. OK, let's be honest. Do you ever just feel totally alone sometimes? I do. Well, tomorrow on Family Life Today, David and Wilson are back with Carl Clausen to help us navigate building and rethinking our closest connections with others. That's tomorrow. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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