And when you put love as a filter, you look for people's good points, not their bad points. So your language is never, well, he's a good fellow, but so you can tell how you really feel.
No, love looks for people and it brags on people and it affirms people. Well, would you say that you're a loving person, not just with your family, but with acquaintances and maybe even strangers? You'll hear why that is so important today on Focus on the Family. And your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly. I'm John Fuller. John, today's guest is Pastor Phil Waldrop, and he is going to inspire us to be more loving in our day-to-day interactions with others. And here's why that's so important. We're ambassadors for Jesus Christ to a hurting world.
So how are you doing in that role is the right question to ask. Are you representing Christ well at work, at home, when you're running errands? And I got to confess, I'm not always there. How about when someone cuts you off on the freeway? That's getting a little close.
Move on, please. Well, that's my weak spot. I've said it, driving, sometimes I'm so I need to hear this message from Pastor Phil, just like all of you. And Phil Waldrop is an author, an evangelist, and he really has a heart for senior adults, as you'll hear in his first story. Yeah, and his delivery reminds me of some of our classic guests here on Focus on the Family, like Mike Adkins. And so I do hope you're able to sit back and allow Pastor Phil to draw you in.
I can guarantee you're never going to forget his final story. Here's Phil Waldrop speaking at Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia, on Focus on the Family. My grandmother had a wonderful mime. One night she went to bed, and sometime during the night, she slipped into the arms of Jesus. She lived alone. She cared for herself.
She taught Sunday school until she was 90 years of age. But my grandmother, as she got older, she developed this habit of saying things, and you knew what she meant, but it was not what she said. Now, do you know some old people like that? I mean, they'll say something.
You know what they meant, but it wasn't what they said. Now, I literally have a whole file of these because I started writing them down with my grandmother, but let me just give you a few so you get the spirit of my grandmother. I remember her pastor of the church. She attended a little small church.
She attended. Their pastor had gone through some sickness, and the church was really struggling. Why should such a godly man have to struggle as he's struggling? So her pastor called me, and he said, Phil, would you come to our church? We want to take a Sunday night, and I want you to speak to our people about suffering and how God uses suffering in your life. And so I went to my grandmother's church, and I spoke on suffering and how God uses suffering in our life. And I remember when we concluded the service, my 92-3-year-old grandmother at that time walked up to me, took me by the hand, and very sincerely said to me, Son, I want you to know I did not know what suffering was until I heard you preach tonight. I know what she meant, but it wasn't what she said. I'll give you one more, and please, please understand the context in which I share this. I am in no way making light of something that's very serious, and I even share it with the permission of the family.
They encouraged me to use it. You'll catch the spirit of it, I think, and I'm no way making light of something that's very serious, but my grandmother had a friend whose husband had developed some dementia, even the onset of Alzheimer's, and that's a very, very serious disease, and I'm not making light of that at all. But as he advanced, and he pretty well reached the point where his memory was fading, but his wife discovered he had always loved to go to church and he loved preaching. So every day after he got up and he ate some breakfast, she would send him in his recliner, and he had a CD player, and she literally would put preachers on, and he would listen to preaching all day long, and he loved it. And my grandmother called me one day, and she said, oh son, grace wanted me to tell you that you have become her husband's favorite preacher since he lost his mind. You get the spirit of my grandmother. But my grandmother also developed another habit. She developed a habit of saying things or commenting on things, and you had no idea what she was talking about.
And I remember one day I was sitting in Atlanta airport about to get on a plane. My phone rang, and it was my grandmother, and it was very unusual. Normally I called her, and so I answered the phone, and I said, hello big mother.
That's what all of her grandkids called her. I said, hello big mother. And without any words of introduction, without any words of saying, son, where are you? How are you?
Where are you preaching? Without any words of introduction, my grandmother said to me, she said, son, what's wrong with Obadiah? And I immediately thought, somebody in our family named Obadiah is sick, and my grandmother's calling to see what's wrong with him.
So you know, in that moment, I just ran through everybody in our family trying to find somebody named Obadiah, Obie Obadiah. And I couldn't think of anybody, and I thought, well, now I don't know all of my relatives, and grandmother's gonna be embarrassed. So I thought, I will deflect her question by asking her a question. I said, well, big mother, is he sick? She said, no, he's dead.
I said, well, that's probably what's wrong with him, if you don't think about it. She said, son, he's been dead for years. I said, big mother, we need to start this conversation over.
You called to ask me what's wrong with Obadiah, now you tell me he's been dead for years. And it was then my grandmother explained her question. You see, my grandmother had a Bible that she got during World War II when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. I don't know what that had to do with it, but if you ever called attention to her Bible, my grandmother would say, I got this during World War II when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. And my grandmother had developed a habit of whenever she heard somebody preach, she would write in the margin of her Bible, their name and the date that they preached. And she would draw a little line over to the text that they used.
Now that's what my grandmother had done. Well, that morning, my grandmother had got up and read her devotion and the suggested scripture was from the Old Testament book of Obadiah. And when my grandmother finished reading it, she looked down at her Bible that she'd had since World War II when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. And she realized there was no markings in the margin of her Bible.
And it occurred to her that since World War II, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president, she had not heard one sermon from the book of Obadiah. And she began to wonder why. So she thought, I'll call my preacher grandson and ask him, son, what's wrong with Obadiah? So I later went to see my grandmother and I said, may I borrow your Bible? She said, you a preacher and don't have one?
I said, no, I have one. I just want to borrow your Bible. And I looked in my grandmother's Bible and I found there were books of the Bible, like Obadiah and Nahum, where my grandmother had never heard one sermon. And there were sections of books of the Bible, like books like Leviticus and Job, where my grandmother had never heard a sermon. And there were chapters of the Bible where my grandmother had never heard heard a sermon. And I marked those and decided as a preacher, I would revisit those chapters and verses and books to see if we as preachers have missed something. And to my amazement, one of the places where my grandmother had never heard a sermon was Romans chapter 16. And so I went back and I read Romans 16 and I realized probably the reason is because in Romans 16, all Paul does is send greetings to friends, say hello to this person, say howdy to that person.
That's all he does. But in the midst of all of those greetings, I discovered the principle that changes everything. Now for the basis of our sermon, we won't read all of Romans 16, but let me show you a few verses. Look at verse three. Paul said, greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus.
Now notice verse six. Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us. Salute Andronicus and Juna, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Amplius, my beloved in the Lord. Then verse 12, he said, salute Tryphina and Tryphosa. I just love those names, probably twin sisters, who labor in the Lord. And then verse 13, he said, salute Rufus chosen in the Lord and his mother and mine. I want to ask you a question. Do you believe the early Christians loved the Apostle Paul?
Sure you do. You can't read the New Testament without knowing how much they loved the Apostle Paul. In fact, when you read in Acts, when Paul is making his final missionary journey and he goes to Ephesus, the Bible says, and in Ephesus, the elders went with him down to the river, or as he was about to depart. And when he was going to get onto the ship, as he was about to depart, they prayed together. And Paul told them they would never see his face again. And they fell on his neck and wept. Now you don't weep when somebody's leaving unless you love that person. There is no doubt about it, the early Christians loved the Apostle Paul.
But do you know why? I believe the early church loved the Apostle Paul because Paul loved them. See, here is a simple principle, but it is a principle that changes everything. People love people that love people. Would you say that out loud with me? People love people that love people.
Now that's a simple formula, but yet it's true whether it's in business or church or in any other aspects of life. Now, if I ask you this morning, do you love people? Everybody here would say yes. I mean, we would all stand and say, I love people. I doubt if anybody would stand and say, I'd like to testify. I hate everybody.
You probably wouldn't do that. You're sitting in church, you would say, I love people. If I ask you, does your church love people? You would say, yes, our church loves people.
So probably the issue is not, do we want to love people or do we love people, but do we know how to make people feel loved? Paul had the ability to make people feel loved. And in Romans 16, he demonstrates three simple things that you can do to make any person feel loved.
Here's the first one. Paul understood that love appreciates people. It appreciates people for who they are, not for what they can do for you. You see, it's easy to love people who can do something for you.
And everybody knows that. The real test is, do you appreciate people who can do nothing for you? I have a friend who says quite often, the greatness of a person is how they treat people who can do nothing for them or nothing to them. And he's right.
How you treat people who could do nothing for you or to you indicates whether you really love people. I have a dear friend whose name is Maury Scobee. Now that name may not ring a bell with you, but let me tell you what Maury Scobee spent his life doing. Maury spent the majority of his life being an assistant and an aid to Dr. Billy Graham, the great preacher who died just some time ago. And he was the man who made sure when Billy Graham traveled, that his clothes were packed and he had the books he needed.
Everything he needed, everywhere he traveled around the world, it was Maury who made sure he had everything he needed. And one day Maury and I were eating lunch and I said, Maury, you know Billy Graham as well as any person who ever lived. And I know you're going to tell me he's a great man and a godly man, but I said, would you tell me this? Is there anything about Billy Graham that just kind of steps out and that you know, you know, is such a unique characteristic?
And he said, Phil, I can tell you what it is. The man appreciates everybody. He said, when we traveled, he said, you couldn't get Billy Graham to a seat on an airplane because he's having to thank the pilots and the flight attendants for flying. When you got to a hotel, he had to thank the front desk and he had to thank all the maids who were cleaning the room. He had to tell them all thank you. He said, even if they didn't know who he was, that didn't matter to him.
He just wanted them to know he appreciated them and he thanked them. Do you think one of the reasons why Billy Graham and his ministry, and if you're not familiar, you should look him up, why he became such an advisor to presidents and world leaders, often consulting with people who wouldn't even talk to another American, invited to preach even in communist countries, was because they saw something in this man they did not see in others. They saw someone who truly loved people for who they were, not for what they could do for him or what they could do to him.
Let me tell you a secret. If you as a church will love people that nobody wants, God will give you the people everybody wants. Because even the rich and the poor want to be in a place where people love people for who they are. Love appreciates people. But let me tell you a second thing Paul said. Paul also said that love always acknowledges people. Do you remember a few years ago when Walmart started? If you read Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, you will read that he discovered in the early days he could not compete on price because the company, the business wasn't that large, and he discovered that he could beat his competition if he would just put somebody at the front door to greet people.
And the Walmart greeter, according to Sam Walton, was one of the reasons for the success of Walmart. Do you know in church life when people come onto our campus, they ought to be feeling so welcomed because we acknowledge their presence. And hey, by the way, the Bible tells us the two ways we're to acknowledge people.
Now, Paul does it here. And in 3 John, the very last verse we're told to do it, when John said, greet the brethren by name. We're to call each other by name. Now, all of us would say today, Jesus is the sweetest name we know.
But do you know the second sweetest name you know is your name? And when someone calls your name, it makes you feel valued. I've talked to many people who have run for political office, especially at a federal level.
And if they go for training, do you know one of the things they train every politician to do? They say, every time you meet somebody, call their name at least three times. Oh, Cameron, good to meet you. Good to see you, Cameron. God bless you, Cameron.
Good to be with you, Cameron. Call their name at least three times and research shows the odds that they will support you in your campaign went up exponentially. Why shouldn't it be when people come to church, we ought to learn and call them by name.
But when you see people and you call them by their name, they feel valued. Now, wait, I said there's two ways we're to greet people. The other one is in verse 16 in Romans 16. You can read it for yourself. It says, greet each other with a holy kiss. No, it's in the Bible. I didn't make that up. It's right there. Are you going to tell us, Phil, when people come, we ought to run up and kiss them?
Won't that drive people away? Well, that's the way the Romans greeted each other. Let me tell you the American equivalent. It is shaking somebody's hand or hugging their neck. When you see somebody, hey, joke, good to see you and you hug their neck. How does that person feel? They feel loved.
So love not only appreciates people and acknowledges people, but love also affirms people. Did you see what Paul did? Paul just didn't say, greet Priscilla, Aquila, Juna, Andronikos and make a list. No, he took a moment to say, say hello, if you will, to Juna and Andronikos for me, say hello to them for me. And you know, they risked their life for me one time. Now, by the way, Priscilla and Aquila already knew that.
And say hello to Junas and Andronikos. He said, they were Christians before I was. And the disciples sat around and talk about them. You see what Paul's doing? Paul's bragging on them. Let me tell you something I can tell you about love.
When you love somebody, you brag on them. I didn't discover that. Debbie and I, we have three grandchildren, our two oldest, two oldest girls, they're now seven.
One is she likes to do ballet and dancing and the other one likes to play soccer. You know what I discovered? I discovered that my grandchild was the best soccer player and the best ballet dancer in town.
And I would tell people, and here's what I'd say. I was lying, but I said it. I'd say, I'm not saying this is because it's my granddaughter, but she's the best one on the team. No, I was saying it because she's my granddaughter. You know why? Because love put a filter over my eyes that I could only see her victories and not her mistakes.
I told my granddaughter, I could only see how she performed perfectly, not when she fell down. And when you put love as a filter, you look for people's good points, not their bad points. So your language is never, well, he's a good fellow, but so you can tell how you really feel.
No, love looks for people and it brags on people and it affirms people. And if you really want to make people feel love, you brag on them when they're not around. And you say things and word gets back to them.
Mark Twain said, and he was right. People can live on a good compliment for six months. And when you say things about people and you're sincere and you mean it, and they find out and they feel so affirmed, you know how they feel?
They feel loved. Let me give you a story this morning, a true story. A little boy who discovered this principle, a five-year-old who discovered this principle. His dad is a pastor and is a very dear friend. And his pastor told me when his son was about four or five years of age, for reasons known only to God, he became fascinated with the garbage truck. He said, literally, he said, every time the garbage man would come, he would be on their front porch and he'd just wave at him. Somebody told him the garbage man was Mr. Bill. And so he'd get up early and eat his cereal and he'd stand on the porch and he'd just wave and say, hey, Mr. Bill, hey, Mr. Bill. And the garbage man wave and go on his route.
He said six days in a week, couldn't get him up. But the day the garbage man came, he was up early because he had to see the garbage man. He said, Christmas came that year and the family was making out a list of all the presents they needed to buy. And the five-year-old said, we need to get the garbage man a present. He said, we need to get the garbage man a present.
Son, we don't normally get the garbage man a present. He said, I think we need. And seeing as a teachable moment, they said, well, I'll tell you what, why don't you and your mom bake some cookies and we'll give them to Mr. Bill for him and his family for Christmas.
Well, that sounded like a great idea. So that Tuesday night before the garbage man came on Wednesday morning, they baked the cookies and Wednesday morning, the little boy was up early and his dad said, don't go down there till you see him. When you see him coming, you tell me and I'll go with you. In a few minutes, he said, he coming, daddy, he coming, he coming. Get the cookies.
They got the cookies. They walked down and the garbage man got out of the truck and said, is something wrong? He said, oh no. Said, you probably noticed my son. He's rather fascinated when the garbage rush.
Oh yeah, he's always there waving at me. He said, well, our family wanted to get you and your family something for Christmas and wanting to give you these cookies. And the little boy gave them to the garbage stand and said, Merry Christmas, Mr. Bill. And then my pastor friend said, I don't know where this come from. He said, thank you for getting our garbage. It sure would stink around here if you didn't. Garbage man put them in the truck.
And when he turned around, a tear was shrinking down his cheek. He said, you know, I've been driving this old truck for a long time and I don't think anybody's ever given me money cause I, a present or something cause I'm a garbage man, but thank you. Well, what do you do, sir?
What's your line of work? Well, I'm pastor of a church down the road and said, do you and your family go to church? Well, I'm sorry to say that we don't go to church. He said, but we've been thinking about coming to church and a little five-year-old said, Hey, why don't you come to our church Sunday? My little preschool choir is going to sing before the service. You can listen to us sing and I'll sit with you during church.
He said, we might do that. My pastor friend said, he looked up and coming through the back door was that garbage man and his wife. And they were there that Sunday.
Just as he promised a little five-year-old set with them. And when church was over with my pastor friend said, Phil, you should have seen my son. He's carrying Mr. Bill around all over the church and he's telling people, this is Mr. Bill, best garbage man in town, right there. Best garbage man in town.
Never spills our garbage, best garbage man in town. He said, I have to tell you who came back the next Sunday to church or the next Sunday or the next Sunday. And it was in January when he called my pastor friend and said, can you come to our house?
My wife and I want to talk to you. And they went to his house and they said, you know, we've never given our life to Christ. And my pastor friend led the garbage man and his wife to faith in Christ.
You know the reason why the garbage man, you know why the garbage man and his wife are Christians today? It's because a five-year-old got it. A five-year-old understood the principle that changes everything. People love people that love people. Would you say that with me one more time? People love people that love people. Well, what a great illustration of the importance of sharing God's love with others around us from pastor Phil Waldrop on today's episode of Focus on the Family.
This was so good. And I just love the picture of that little boy and his fascination with Mr. Bill driving that garbage truck. And from that child's pure motivation to show love by giving Mr. Bill a Christmas present. A whole family came to know the Lord. And I think that's wonderful.
It really, really is. And that is such a great example of the Christian walk in the New Testament. Jesus told us to be salt and light. Salt was an extremely precious commodity in the first century.
And it was used as a preservative for foods to stop decay and enhance the flavor. So the role of a Christian as salt is to stop the influence of corrupting forces in our culture and to enhance the joys God has given us. The light analogy is a bit more obvious. In biblical times you had to light an oil lamp if you needed to see in the dark.
And you would put that lamp where it could give off as much light as possible. So Jesus wants our faith to be something that can be seen and that draws others toward God. So with that context in order for us to be salt and light in the world we must interact with the world around us rather than hide from it in holy huddles. We are to take the good news out into our communities. That's the mission given to us by the Lord.
And that's yeah that's pretty clear throughout the whole New Testament. Well here's a way to get started. I'd encourage you to get a CD of this message from Pastor Phil and listen to it together as a family. Then talk about who you could reach out to. Is it a lonely neighbor, a teacher, a coach? Who do you know who needs a relationship with Jesus Christ?
Think of them as your family's Mr. Bill and find ways to reach out to that person in love. And then please get in touch with us. We'd love to hear how you've used this message to spread the gospel. Share your story on our Facebook page or just give us a call. And you know in the past year Focus on the Family has helped over 300,000 people dedicate or rededicate their lives to Jesus Christ. Let us know if you need any additional resources for your new friend like our coming home booklet which explains how to become a Christian. And if you can help us financially that would go a long way toward these efforts to reach the world with the message of the gospel. And if you can make a donation of any amount we'll send you the CD of this message from Pastor Phil Waldrop as our way of saying thank you. And you can reach us when you call 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 or follow the link in the episode notes to donate to the work of Focus on the Family and to request your CD. When you're online look for details about our Live It Challenge which provides fun projects to help you and your family live out your faith in practical everyday ways. Have a great weekend and be sure to be back with us on Monday to learn about avoiding hot buttons in your marriage along with some encouragement for your relationship.
Our marriages in the church as a result of our knowledge and our relationship with Christ should be materially better different than those that are not walking with Christ. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team thanks for joining us today for this Focus on the Family podcast. Please take a moment and leave a rating for us and tell a friend about this episode as well. Spread the word and share the content of these podcasts and we'll say thanks in advance. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.
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