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Receive: The Way of Jesus for Men: Jeff Kemp

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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November 7, 2023 5:15 am

Receive: The Way of Jesus for Men: Jeff Kemp

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 7, 2023 5:15 am

Ever feel the burn of trying to prove yourself as a guy? Former NFL Seahawks quarterback Jeff Kemp shows what it means to receive your identity as God's son and drink in Jesus' perfect example of being a man.

Build a brotherhood and grab a copy of Jeff Kemp's Level Five Friendship Playbook:

..And listen in on Jeff's Podcast, Every Man Ministries

And grab his book, Receive: The Way of Jesus for Men —or receive it free with your donation.

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To be known and still liked feels way better than to be not known, to fake it, and to be impressive, but no one really knows you. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

You can find us at This is Family Life Today. So, are you excited about today? Yeah, because we're going to talk about the crisis going on in our country.

Yeah, we've got an expert in the studio. Jeff Kemp is back, and we're going to talk about the manhood crisis. That's been a crisis for a long time, but we're feeling it in a way, and this generation, I don't know if we've ever felt before.

We're going to be talking about his book, Receive, and the subtitle is The Way of Jesus for Men. So, Jeff, you tell us, what is the crisis? Because you've been talking about this, thinking about it, dreaming about it, and wanting to help men. Well, a crisis of men not doing well, either having no confidence or having confidence in the wrong things, is it damages. Not just them, and we have higher suicide rates and depression rates, obviously loneliness and isolation, but it damages the women they don't marry, that they should. The women they're married to, they're their wives, and the kids, they aren't getting a healthy dad that knows how to connect and love and persevere through challenges and invest in them. But beneath the crisis of manhood is the crisis of identity.

That touches women, teenage girls, teenage boys, little boys, little girls, old men, young men, women as well. But men in particular really struggle because they're told, you've got to prove yourself, you've got to earn your identity, you've got to be something. And Andre Agassi said, image is everything. And we've been practicing that since that famous athlete, you know, who had a blonde wig and actually was going bald and took a shower before a tennis match one time. And his wig got kind of wigged out, to use the phrase, it was starting to come off, and he was afraid during a match day. This is one of the best tennis players in the world. I read this in your book, I had never known this.

Yeah, he was worried about his hair piece coming off and his image not looking good, and he lost the tournament. Yeah, I get this, Jeff. I understand that whole thing. This has nothing to do with you, Dave. But if we're based on our lives and our image, our performance, our achievement, you know, who's following us, our last position, et cetera, what the crowd thinks of us, we're on very shaky ground.

You can't relate well to people when you're worried about what they think about you. Well, it's interesting, you know, we're sitting here talking to you, and of all the people in the world that have had an image that most men would just die to have, you played in the NFL, you know, you're one of 64 quarterbacks. I mean, starters and backups, but you're in that club. You went to an Ivy League school. I mean, you get everything a lot of men would say, if I had what Jeff Kemp had, I would be okay.

Image would be all right. The truth is, if you had what Jeff Kemp had, it wouldn't have been enough for you, like it wasn't for me. I didn't want to be a backup. I wanted to be a starter. I didn't want to start.

I wanted to win the Super Bowl. Secondly, you might be confident on the outside, but you'd still be insecure, as I was. And yesterday, we talked about the first part of your book is receiving. To receive as a son, that's your identity, as a son, not as an individual who's striving to earn the respect or the fame. Exactly. It's much easier to be a real, like authentic and natural and not faking it, and good, benevolent, positive, make a good difference, you know, benefit people. It's much easier to be a real and good man if you can receive it from the only one who's real and good, perfectly Jesus, than trying to perform for it or achieve it.

Because you're going to fall short, and then you're going to feel some shame and failure, and then you're going to start pretending or hiding, and you're always going to fall short. There's always going to be someone you can compare to that's better, like in football. But Jesus is the blueprint of manhood. Look for the core of masculinity and manhood in Jesus.

That'll work across all cultures. The problem is, even to try to be like him, that's a losing proposition. I'm never going to measure up to him. But if you look at the way he lived as a man, that gives everyone hope.

He basically did it by depending on his father and receiving from his father and not moving until his father said move. Not talking until his father said say this, and then giving the credit to the father, which kept him humble. No one's been more humble than the perfect man. Dave and I were not quite perfect, and we have a little problem with pride still, right?

It's silly, you know? The imperfect people are proud, but Jesus, the perfect one, was humble. So the way of Jesus of receiving, I looked through the Bible starting in 2020 when COVID hit, and I went home and had no speeches and nothing to do but to work on this book and ask God to re-father me. And I found 221 ways in the Gospels that Jesus acted as a man.

And they net out to this. He connected with his father to receive his father's guidance. Luke, Mark, Matthew, I love all these passages. I had to be in my father's house. That was when he was 12 years old. Early in the morning when it was dark, Jesus got up, got out of the house, went to a solitary place and prayed to his father. At daybreak, Jesus went out to an isolated place. He often withdrew to pray. Immediately after this, this is the feeding 5,000, he told the disciples to get into the boat and go out into the storm, and he went up into the mountain to be with his father. And he spent the night in prayer with his father. He took Peter, James, and John. That sounds like a couple deep level 5 close friends.

They had a higher level than even the 12. And he took them to the mountain where he was transfigured. He let them share that special experience of connecting with the father. So Jesus always connected to the father.

And then here's the wildest thing. It says this in John, multiple chapters. Jesus said, my father's always at work and so am I. I only do and I only say what my father tells me to say and do. The words I share, I've gotten them from my father. And then he says this, the son can do nothing apart from the father. Basically, the perfect most powerful man in history, who also was present at the creation of the world and had a hand in that, and raises from the dead. And he's so stinking strong that he chooses to bear the load of all sin for all time. Strongest, most perfect man ever says, I can do nothing apart from my father. What that really means is he chose to humble himself and be dependent upon his father.

And that made him the greatest man ever. Guys, what if we did that? What would our families look like?

Our city look like? It's crazy. Well, there's a part of me who thinks as a man, I'm sure women do the same thing. We resist it. Even as I hear you say that, I think, do we believe what Jesus knew was reality? I can do nothing apart from my father.

Jesus said in John 15, I am the vine, you are the branches. Apart from me, you can do nothing. I think as a pastor, I preach that. Do I believe it? There's part of me that's like, well, I can do some things.

I can't do big things. No, what Jesus is saying is you can do nothing apart from me. He lived that way. So I think there's part of the pride in a man that's like, yeah, I agree with that 95%. But 5% of me is I'm not that bad. It goes back to the two things we talked about last show that the two most important things shaping you are A, your view of God. Is it accurate or not? And B, your view of yourself.

Is it accurate or not? If your view of God isn't accurate, you're not so sure that depending totally on God in every situation is really going to turn out that well. I thought leading up to when I graduated from college, it's not going to be that fun if I give myself totally to God. So I'm going to hold on. I'll take the salvation piece.

Give me a little rabbit's foot. Good luck for going to Bible study before this game. But I'm kind of in charge of everything else. I would urge any man, God is a trillion times better than you think. The culture is rotten, crappy at defining God. Go straight to the source. Ask him what he's really like. Read the Bible. We talked about the prodigal son story. Read about his dad. That's what Jesus said the father's like. So if you really trust him that he's that benevolent and good, then you're a little bit more okay with this.

But your other point was, we like control. I want to take charge. I want to say, hey, I cleaned up my life. I straightened out that alcohol thing. I fixed that debt problem we had. I did the Dave Ramsey thing. I did it. I'm proud of that.

I mean, it's in us. I remember at our church, we would have multiple campuses and we'd have live teaching, but one of us would write the message. So I write this message.

I bump into some guy or lady next day on Monday, and she was at a different campus. And here's what she says. Man, it wasn't Jeff, but I'll use your name. Jeff preached yesterday the most amazing message.

I'm so impressed by him. Now, Jeff, what am I thinking? I wrote it. I mean, I'm sure he massaged it his way and that's what he should. Yeah, credit what credits do.

That's the way we were. I wrote it. And she's thinking he wrote it and he's amazing. And I wanted to go, hey, lady, I wrote this thing.

And it was so hard to be humble and go, yeah, Jeff is an amazing preacher and get in my car and go. You know what I mean? That's right in there. It's like, who cares who wrote it? It's the word of God.

All he did was preach it. But it's in there. And that also points to identity. Who am I? I'm not acting like a son. I'm acting like the older brother. You know, I'm mad at somebody else who's getting credit for something I did.

You want to keep score. There's a paradox. I think we know that Christian life, the Jesus way is upside down to the world.

We don't really live it that well, but it is. There's a pride humility paradox. Pride says I want to be in control. I want to earn it.

I want to perform it. I'd like the credit for it. Humility says I didn't invent myself. I'm going to submit to the God that made me.

I'm going to depend upon him and I'm going to make the interests of others ahead of myself. It's not making less of yourself. It's thinking of yourself less because you're thinking of others. Jesus is the definition of humility.

Philippians chapter two clarifies it real clearly. So here's how pride destroys, but humility wins. Two football stories. My last season of football, we're playing on Sunday Night Football against the Raiders. I'm on the Seahawks and we've won three games and lost two under my chance to start. And there's a lot of pressure because we had new two number one draft picks behind me. We were leading going into the fourth quarter and I thought, good, I had a pretty good game. We needed to win. This is really going to help.

You know, way to go. Meanwhile, the coaches were thinking similarly. Hey, we're ahead.

There's a good game. Let's go to some conservative offensive play calling and let's go to some prevent defense, which means prevent winning. It's a zone and the other quarterback Jay Schrader picked us apart that night, went into overtime and trying to protect things. I threw a pass that a friend of mine caught in overtime.

His name was Ronnie Lott. He was on the wrong team. And that interception cost us the game because they kicked the field goal the next play. And I was cut from the NFL as a starting quarterback the next day, humbled completely because I'd been operating out of.

I'm pretty good. I need to get this win. Protect the win.

Our pride. And we lost. Monday night, like five weeks later, I'm in Philadelphia playing for the Eagles. And I don't know the system.

It's not well defined. I haven't practiced much. I had a concussion my first week when I played with them, went to the hospital. And this is like two weeks later and we're going to Houston to play a Monday night football. And our quarterback, Jim McMahon, is very much gimped up and hurting.

And I'm flying down there, Dave, in the plane and on the bus and on the sidelines and pregame. And I'm thinking, this is the first time in my life I've never wanted to get in the game because no confidence. I didn't know the system. I hadn't gotten to practice.

I didn't really think the system made all that much sense. And I had no clue if I go in there, I can do the Tom Brady thing and make us win, which a quarterback probably had to have a little bit of that confidence. I had no confidence, but there was a cool thing. I'm 11 years into my walk with Christ. I've been cut now. I've been traded twice. I've been booed once or twice, cheered plenty of times. Had a lot of different lessons of discipleship that my identity is not as a quarterback.

It's in Christ. I had no fear. I really wasn't worried. If I play great, that'd be great. If I play medium, OK, if I play terrible, God still loves me. He's taken me through a bunch anyway. I have no clue how it's going to go. I have no confidence, but I don't have fear because I'm in God's hands.

Jim McMahon gets hurt. I come in. I didn't play heroically, but I played pretty well. And I hardly even really knew what I was doing like you should if you've been there all season. And then I got blitzed in the worst play of the game when the guy hit me in the jaw and I was falling back.

But everyone adjusted and sacrificed. Keith Jackson catches the only touchdown of the game. We come from behind.

We win. And the coach gives me the game ball in the locker room. Most of the guys didn't even know my name. I just showed up.

Who's Jeff? And I had the best feeling because I was complimented and praised and given glory. But I knew it didn't belong to me. I hadn't done this.

Thank you, Lord. I hope I would have had a pretty similar attitude if I'd played terrible and lost the game and they cut me. But that was a really cool thing. Humility wins. It unites. Pride divides and it destroys and it would destroy a man. If you isolate from other men, don't build friendships, don't open up and get honest about your life, walk as a lone ranger. Dude, that's pride. It's not just isolation and loneliness. That's pride.

That's not the way Jesus lived. Well, let's talk about that because men, I feel like they're lonely. I talked to so many men when I asked, like, who are your friends? They said my wife or I don't have any. Is that an epidemic?

Is that a crisis? The guys of older generations, you know, the World War Two and Vietnam era, the soldier guy, it's kind of buck up and be tough. I have my fraternity friends. I have my old football team friends, my military friends. But they didn't really open up about the deep things life. The younger guys, they had some of that maybe in college and stuff, high school, where they might have talked about life, but then they get married.

There's a lot of responsible husbands that are like, man, I'm changing diapers. I'm 50-50 with her. I'm doing all this stuff. I don't have time for friendship. She's my best friend. I say, no, she isn't. She's your lover. She's your partner. She's your wife.

You need a best friend that can help you be a better husband. So I want to give guys, especially Christian dudes, the encouragement you deserve and you need friends and they need you. But we got to define friendship, Ann. I have a friend who said, man, I got probably 100 friends. His wife said, you don't have any friends. He said, yes, I do. I know a ton of guys. She goes, do any of those guys know what's going on in your life?

And do you know what's going on in their life? He said, not really. She said, the definition of a friend is someone who you're in touch with regularly and knows what's going on in your life. And you can help him and he can help you. This guy took his wife's mirror shining in his face and he went and intentionally developed some friendships.

He's fabulous. Even, you know, taught me a lot of stuff. I'm learning and practicing on friendship. Pastor Mike up in Chicago, a friend is someone who is consistently connected to help bring out the best in you and to process your life both backwards, like this week was rough and I really blew it. I'm going to tell you about it. Be honest and live in the light.

And I'm thinking about doing this this next week in business or with my wife or with my son, processing life ahead. That's teamwork. I call it level five friendship, not just willingness to get honest and open and not have any secrets, be confidential and loyal and trustworthy. But you're in touch at least every week. You don't have to be live in the same room.

You can do it by phone or Zoom or something. But level five friendship is transparent, transformative, honest, open. It's confidential. And you might want to agree on it. Dave, I think if men say, do you want to be confidential with me? Because I do with you.

Let's be loyal. Once a man handshakes with another guy or nods his head, then you can go deep. Men will go super deep, but you've got to give them permission. Right. And you can't do it on Twitter and you can't do it in the church service or, you know, the corporate board meeting. But you can do it with one or two or three other level five friends. That's what I love to coach guys in it and give them a resource to help them.

Yeah, and you've got to model it, too. If you want to go deep, you've got to be vulnerable yourself. You've got to go first. Jeff, I just pulled this up. When was this?

May. Back in May, you were texting me. We're going back and forth. You're talking about different shows you listen to here on Family Life Today. By the way, thanks for you and Stacey being loyal listeners. Big time.

We love this industry and we like to give to it. And you go right to how you doing as a man, blah, blah, blah. And I talked to her schedule is pretty crazy, blah, blah. I don't know if you remember what you said. You did tell me. You said, I'll pray for that. You probably have this, but I'll throw it out there. In my weekly Zoom huddle with Pete and Greg, we process what's about to happen in our lives in front of each other and pray about it.

Here you go. Who is the one guy or two that know you and know what you went in or going through that you can process your schedule with and do opportunities in front of? You jumped right there. Well, I jumped to level four in an honest way. You appreciate it. You like that about me.

That didn't make me a jerk. But level five would be if you and I said, hey, what if we connect every weekday? Well, that was your next text because I said, oh, I got this guy, you know, blah, blah. And you said, yeah, that's level four, Dave. I'm talking level five.

If you want soul coaching, just let me know and we can set it up with you. I mean, you were challenging me right there to say this is what I and every time I think of Jeff Kemp, I think huddle, I think men, I think level five, which for a lot of guys, that's scary. We're afraid of level five, you know, because it's vulnerable and I have to share my struggle with whatever. And yet that's what transforms a man when you have another man or two that you can go there with and not just your wife.

You should go there with your wife, but it's got to be another guy as well, right? Totally. You know what?

This is scary because Satan is tricking us and scaring us out of what God wants to be known and still liked. Yeah. Feels way better than to be not known to fake it and to be impressive. But no one really knows you. Honestly, when you share your junk to the other guy, he's going to say, oh, dude, man, thank you. Because I got some junk to C.S. Lewis said true friendship is born at the moment where one guy says to another, what? I thought I was the only one. Yeah. Now, practically speaking, Dave, you and I will remind guys, if you want to have a level five friendship or a level four friendship, it's not just willy nilly anyone.

First, ask Abba Father who. Think about who might have a good influence on you and maybe who needs it, but also who you want to hang with and then ask him, hey, would you like to have the type of relationship where we know each other's secrets and we protect each other and we're confidential. We got each other's back.

We're not going to judge each other or fix each other. Once you say that to a guy, your friendship will go deep, depending on which one of you initiates and tells his story most honestly. Like, here's the childhood I had. You got some stuff as soon as you share your stuff, Dave, about your dad and some of your wild exploits.

And you're not pleased about it because it didn't lead to good things. The other is going to feel so comfortable and confident, safe to be honest about his porn problem or his anger problem or his drinking or whatever it is. This is available, guys.

One of my concerns was men don't really know how to define these levels of friendship of a four and five. I don't mean to brand them. Jesus invented this stuff. He said, Thomas, you got some doubts?

No problem. Put your hand right here in the hole in my side and my hand. Peter, three times you said I don't exist. After all you've been through, I probably don't feel good, does it, Peter?

You're still my dude. Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?

You sure do. You're going to go feed my sheep. You're going to tend my lambs. I'm going to build a church on you.

You are a stud. Peter, you rock. Do you think Peter deserved that? Earned that? No, Jesus gave it to him.

But he received it. That friendship was Jesus' style. I'd like guys to grab the little playbook for Level 5 Friendship that's a free 10-page, it's kind of a game plan. is where I give away that free playbook.

You can share it with a friend and say, hey, what if we take our friendship deeper? Every leader who has fallen morally, whether it's a Christian pastor or a business leader, pro athlete, a president, you name it, every Christian man who has fallen, and I have not talked to all of them. I know some of them.

I guarantee you they did not have a Level 5 man in their life, a friendship, who their secrets were being confessed to and received on a weekly basis. I guarantee it. And I'll say that if you're a man and you don't have a man or two in your life, you're headed for a fall. You're at risk.

You're not predicting it, but you are risking. You've got a secret. You've got to struggle. So do I.

So does Jeff. And if you don't have anybody in your life besides your wife that knows that, you're on a cliff and you're about to go over. I'm just saying the way to save your life is part of it is obviously received from Jesus. That's the foundation. But you need a man.

And it may be the first time you've ever told him, but you need to tell somebody and start this journey with other men. It'll save your life. It'll save your legacy. Totally. And you know, there's another side to it. You just kind of pay to the gravity of not having it. Like you're at risk. Yeah.

You're going to crash. The other side of it is it's flat out fun to have a real friend. It's fun. Men are made for this. We are team guys. We're brothers. I don't care if you're an artist, a musician, a technology guy. A gamer. A laborer, whatever.

You like friendship. And God wires it into us. And Jesus modeled it. Guess what?

No budget, no marketing plan. And Jesus changed the world with 12 friends who he turned into his friends and said, I call you friends. Now be friends and go out two by two.

It changed the world. I mean, we talk about discipleship, mentorship, small groups, Bible studies, accountability groups. You can join a group and unjoin a group. You can't unjoin a friend. And you can't have 10 of them at level five.

Right. Just a few. But you can help other guys know, hey, I'm already connected with a guy, but we love doing this. Do you have a friend you can do that with?

I think men should spread this to everyone else. Don't keep it to yourself. Isolation in the Christian life is always a recipe for failure, sadness, and destruction. Now, if you're in a position right now where you don't have really any good friends, this was me a couple of years ago. I just looked around and I was like, I don't really have any good close friends who I would call people I could walk with in life that would help me walk with Jesus.

And I would encourage them to walk with Jesus. And so I just prayed and I told my wife to pray for me as well. And God provided two very good friends in my life who I am able to walk alongside, encourage them to walk with Jesus, and they encourage me as well. So if you're in that position like I was a couple of years ago, pray right now and your prayers can shape your destiny. So ask God to provide some good friends for you.

I'm Shelby Abbott. You've been listening to David and Wilson with Jeff Kemp on Family Life Today. Jeff has written a book called Receive the Way of Jesus for Men.

Now, if you want to grow and develop and reach your potential as a man, which sounds great, it's going to be a team effort. And this book can help you in that process of trying to find some more good friends that will help you walk with God. And it's going to be our gift to you when you partner with us financially here at Family Life Today. You can go online to or give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329.

Again, that number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And feel free to drop us something in the mail if you'd like to. Our address is Family Life, 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. If you know anyone who needs to hear conversations like the one you heard today, would you share this podcast from wherever you get your podcasts? And while you're there, it could really help others learn about family life today if you would leave us a review.

We'd love that. And make sure to check out Jeff's Level 5 Friendship Playbook in the show notes today. It'll help you learn how to build a brotherhood of men who you can be honest with, reveal your struggles to, and bond in the way of Jesus. Again, you can find that in our show notes today. And tomorrow, Jeff Kemp is going to be back again with Davyn Ann Wilson to talk about exploring the essence of manhood, receiving power from Jesus, and watching our lives change. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Davyn Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-08 04:06:34 / 2023-11-08 04:18:23 / 12

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