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May 2, 2022 6:00 am
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Often times when we feel fear we are actually being threatened and we run away from our destiny. And so it's going to embrace that feeling of being scared and brace that feeling of houses can work out because that's the place of tension God wants us to live in Levi Lesko as our guest today on Focus on the Family, encouraging us to overcome the things that hold us back from living the life God wants for us this is going to be an inspiring conversation today your hostess focus Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly and on John Fuller, Joan. I was 15 and accepted Christ.
This very kind family used to take me to church because nobody in my family was going to church. They gave me a Bible and they wrote first John 10 tenant and I remember first of all try to find that there's a lot of references to John. John one John two and I was looking for but I found it. It is proven to be probably one of the most profound verses, but it says in John 1010 the Lord is saying the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly man when you look at what's happening in our world today.
It just becomes even more clear that verse and how OnPoint it truly is. It's a powerful truth that reminds us that the enemy of our soul, the devil, the enemy wants to rob us of life in Christ and those good things that he sends our way. The blessings of family the blessing of a good healthy marriage and all the things that come with it.
Levi Lesko has experienced many of those same questions about Lord. Where do hardships improve us. How does the loss of his daughter make him a better person.
These are profoundly deep perspectives and I'm looking forward to talking to him today about his view of life and what he's learned as a pastor I am as well. Levi Lesko is cofounder and lead pastor of fresh life church. It's a multisite ministry located in Montana and Wyoming, Oregon and Utah. He's married to Jenny they have five children and he's written a tremendous 40 day devotional called take back your life and we have copies of that here at the ministry.
Just give us a call 800 the letter in the word family or click the link in the episode notes Levi, welcome back to focus so appreciate it. Thank you so much guys meant as a pastor you see a lot of crippling fear and anxiety. I see it we hear from folks who are struggling in that area and it's okay if you're there. We want you to contact us because we do believe there's you know a a better way and we love introducing people first to the Lord as part of our mission here Focus on the Family but then the journey of really crawling out of that fear and anxiety. But this world today is delivering heaps of doses of fear for us you were fearful to have children. Even couples in the church are now say maybe we should have a child because things are so tough. How would you describe the loss of peace in people's lives today from a pastoral standpoint I think it's it, perfect storm. You know it's multiple systems come in any of course you got your cove and you have the normal trials of life, but then you also have the acceleration because of these relatively new things that have been introduced into our lives. 2007.
Big year. Facebook is open up to anybody with an email address you have twitter that really blows up and in the world and then you also have that introduction of the iPhone and so you know what we have found is these are basically anxiety producing devices, and things it does not help us to be constantly aware of what everyone in our world is doing and what every hardship that happening around the world brought to you by breaking news notification is disrupted sleep is disrupted peace with our life can. How can I be happy with what I have what I'm getting to see what everybody else is getting to purchase and have, and all the rest of that and then you have of course the divisive time that were living in. And it's all kind of coming full circle where everyone sort of sewing to the wind and now were reaping the whirlwind that is so true. You compare the battle against fear and anxiety with the building of the Panama Canal and yellow fever and what was happening with malaria connectors.you release to Outlook out. I don't see that I is a great illustration.
It's pretty profound when you read the building of the path between the seas's book but give McCall that I read, and he writes about how so many millions of mosquitoes were all over the place, but they didn't have any idea that that was what was causing people to get sick they thought in that day it was ants that were causing the malaria for people to get sick and so what they did is incredible day surrounded all the fruit trees where they would you have have trees that would surround them with pools of water, and even the hospital give the answer way to get away.
His aunt can't get over the water, they would put all four legs of the beds in the hospitals in dishes of water right and you know ants couldn't get to the people anymore, but people Died of malaria. Why because it's not an aunt that brings malaria is a mosquito and you don't mosquitoes love stagnant pools of water, so they were creating conditions for which this disease would flourish and it wasn't until they took the waterway put screens on everything that they shooed the mosquitoes away in the malaria pretty much stopped and so II try to use it in the book to say hey you can't solve a problem at the level it was created, you can't. You have to actually attack what's really the issue and not just deal with you. Note the ant so a lot of us are shooing the answer way, but there's mosquitoes flying around all of our lives and it's such a good analogy and even to see that and I love the way you connect history and those elements to Scripture what the Lord's doing in our lives. When you look at that. Besides fighting the wrong way, which is really what you say they're trying to fight the disease the wrong way were some other roadblocks to finding healing and spiritual growth. Yeah, I think you do for us. All the applications different. I think sometimes in the church we can be guilty of dealing with a physical problem with a spiritual solution, meaning someone's unhealthy there they know they don't sleep well.
They have bad diet and can exercise it on ever leave their home. Stop. Stop. Now right but they're asking for prayer for you know their health and as a pastor, it's bad for me to say yes this is pray for your health when it's like no you can actually quit drinking so much soft drinks and actually begin to take walks and get more sunshine and take vitamins and the food that you're eating and I think, vice versa. We can be multi-of trying to treat a spiritual problem with physical solutions and comes anymore.
Diet and exercise. Would like to actually need that man shall not live by bread alone's, but by every word that comes from God's mouth so I think for every one of us the mosquito and analogy plays out differently. It's good that Levi use the phrase turning off the dark and I I'd like that. In terms of bringing the light which we know as Christians is the Lord so described turning off the dark yet it's an interesting phrase, but it's actually scientifically accurate because that's what light does.
There's no such thing as darkness or just the absence of light. So anywhere were light introduced is introduced. Darkness has to vanquish. So whenever you turn the light on your turning darkness off and death to me a perfect picture of what Jesus came to do.
He's the light of the world and he where he came into this world, he came to overcome the darkness of death and of despair and really ultimately anxiety and all that all the things that end up creeping into our lives when we live in a different way from how God has told us to live there and this this next question is coming a little out of the blue.
Some people that may not know your story and I want you to give us that summary but the loss of your daughter when she was five years old. You and your wife Jenny but through that loss. Learning how to trust Christ how to come out stronger on the other side.
It feels almost oxymoronic that that would happen but it is the benefit of suffering we could say it that way.
Yet, it sounds almost uncomfortable to say but there are benefits from suffering and we tend to run from them in the Christian community rather than run to them. Use a phrase in our lexicon comes from Charlie Brown, probably more than anywhere else.
Good grief, good grief, but there is a goodness to grief. And I say that with all's respect. That is an honor to be trusted with pain, for as Charles Spurgeon said it God gives his most difficult assignments to his most trusted soldiers. If I'm a mall cop, I'm not given too much by way of hard training.
But if I'm a Navy seal they're gonna beat me down and two with an inch of quitting before I'm ready to be deployed and look at the Bible the people whose stories we memorize and we love that we lionize are the people who went through barbaric things hard. Thanks Joseph in a pit sitting on the ongoing to go.
You know Isaiah was cut into. We love the book of Isaiah. He was cut into my side and half John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born of a woman. Jesus said, and he had his head cut off.
So it seems as those who did the most and had the most revelation also suffered the most.
So it's a different way to look at for our story.
As you mentioned, our daughter Linda died in my arms when she was five years old in 2012.
But as I look back on that with hindsight healed done counseling of nature to do all the work I needed to do with it, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, but I can look back on that honestly say it was an honor to be trusted without suffering because in it.
God made me stronger God gave me more vision and he made me way more, you know, you become a spiritual heavyweight when you suffer and that's why Paul told or James told the Christians to rejoice at various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance and perseverance open on Monaco's that is really good at the enemy of our souls is your described amine. He attacks us with lies based on fear and shame, and condemnation.
How do we use God's power to regain that high ground when the book the reason the subtitle is the way it is, is because that takes place in the mind.
You have to learn to think right before you can live right and that's why Scripture from the beginning to the M places a great emphasis on the thoughts that we allow in our heads. Paul said, set your mind on things that are above so you have to like you mentioned take the high ground in the city of Corinth. There was a tower, and whoever historically controlled that tower controlled court. So Paul said we take down spiritual high places high strongholds and in your body the highest partier anatomy is your head and if the enemy can steer your mind. Have you list your the outcome of your life is so good it's so true. I love that line analogy that you've used in a couple of your books this idea that you run toward the roar describe it. For those that haven't heard that. What are you driving at you when when lines hunt often times lionesses who do the bulk of the work that much is different in the human they will they will creep ahead in and hide and then the male lion who's got that big roar.
You know, and everyone thinks that's the big Neosho Hill, Bello rock 5 miles away. I think you hear lines roar and the big gazelle thinks that that's the biggest threat, the roar, the sound of the scary roar, so it will run away from that sound towards the ambush to the two lionesses he did not know where in behind him, and so running away from the roar goes toward certain death, and so when I talk about is how often times when we feel fear we are actually being threatened and we run away from our destiny and so whistling to embrace that feeling of being scared. Embrace that feeling of houses can work out because that's that place of tension God wants us to live in how you see that play out in some numbers for your church. How are you observing people running away from something that is actually not healthy for them. It's what the enemy has not gotten yes I think it is that we have an aversion in our culture that we are allergic to hard things. The moment a relationship guitar the moment the situation gets difficult.
We can run away from that I leave the church I'll quit the job all walkway from the relationship and that feeling of fear that comes from staying in and committing to doing those hard things.
I think the enemy gets is running away from so much of the good stuff because we don't embrace hard things, but it's the willingness to do those hard things and shoulder them and that eventually it can develop in you the character that you yourself would want if you could understand what was happening just to resist the fight or flight thing exactly run the right direction. Maybe you got Levite, one of the things you encourage people to do is to get up and stand up and I love that action orientation.
I think we as men we get that we want to be part of the big story. How do we do it as a whole mother life pursuit, but the Christian life requires that idea of perseverance and you have a great story that I resonated with that illustrates that that involves a Leatherman tool. So let's hear what happened in that case and help someone save their life is incredible when you look into all of origin stories. I have just do but there was this couple that fell into a hole in a frozen lake, and they were drowning. They couldn't get out. Of the two slippery that I see either the closer wet. Larry and Christie's their names and they were about to drown.
But that at the last second man, Larry realized he had a Leatherman tool multitool in his holster, pulls it out, is able to use as an ice ax basically get him and Chrissy out to safety. He was about to say goodbye. He thought they were dead when it happened. And then if you peel back from that.
A little further, the origin story of the Leatherman is is Tim Leatherman has his idea of combining a knife, a Boy Scout knife with a pair of pliers is a great idea, but it took him five years to pull it off to get the patent to work it all out.
But when he finally did, couldn't get anybody to carry it. He received 500 knows every store, hardware store company in America and called all in. He was eight years in with no proof of concept till Cabela's instead will do an experimental order $5000 note will buy a couple units of, and see out works and the rest as they say, is history. Now there's been hundreds of millions of dollars of these Leatherman's that have been sold and so I think about when Larry Chrissy about to die. How had he given up in that garage. When he was building the first Leatherman. They might not have lived, but he is willing to fight and to stand up as you said and keep going and every time he got a rejection letter.
He did not let that stop him. That was, not only can I save his life, but also save people's lives.
He didn't even know John, we don't often say this, but our producer, Scott Welch said you know he reads along with the other producers your focus.
They read a lot of material and Scott said this is the best devotional that he's actually read so that says a lot and hopefully it says to you, the listener and the viewer. This is one to pick up.
I mean, again reading thousands of books are Focus on the Family and for Scott or producer to say that that's an endorsement you hastily stay.
I would shake Levi. Let's touch once again on this idea of attitude within the church because I don't know how to get across. You do it so well, but when you're looking at flipping the way we think about things, our thoughts from negative to more positive I would think again is a pastor. It's one of the battles that you see in trying to help people get to a healthier way of looking at the trials in their lives. So if we could role-play that little bit of fun, decent pastor, I need some help. I just I keep hitting my head up against the wall. I don't like waking up every day. I don't like my life and how do you approach a person like that to say listen, God has something different so let's try something different hundred percent I think one of the questions I would ask is how can you expect to live a positive life when you're allowing negative thoughts to dominate your mind.
And Paul said explicitly that we should let what is good, helpful, praiseworthy, noble, all pure, all those things be allowed in her mind, and anything that's not to reject and so you know as a child of the King as a son of God. My responsibility is to make sure that my mind is set on a course as a child of God.
So for example you know it's so easy. I hate this apartment this job is lousy my wife so ungrateful. My kids are so messy for your to see more of what you stare at and the reason you see more Hondas in the road when you're researching Hondas because that's what you been looking at. So, if you will find the good and find anything to be grateful for.
Not only will help you physically.
I mean, they say that both of the things that are in most antidepressants are unleashed in your body when you practice gratitude you hire, serotonin, higher dopamine just from being thankful. So if you can choose to live like it's Thanksgiving every day and have some pumpkin pie on 4 July and I like to find something to recognize in your you don't start speaking gratitude start practicing. The Bible says it's God's will that you are thankful in all things, not for all things, but in all things. In everything give thanks for assessing. Let me ask you that were specifically in a course, not many people are going to have that experience that you and Jenny had the loss of a daughter so moving it to something that more people might experience is just the right of life role-play for me how you can get out of that thought pattern where years.
Your job wishes take a job.
For example, or maybe something like a bad marriage were it's just not meeting your expectations that would fit Focus on the Family's role in trying to help those marriages do better. How do you speak to a couple where there just you know living in a negative route with each other rather than trying to do the spiritual thing.
This biblical thing of lifting each other up of affirming each other and practicing those things that actually get you to a Better Pl. in Christ I think is really important that we all view ourselves as either helping or hindering each other from becoming more of who God made us to be and how do you change yourself, you don't change yourself by nagging you don't change by criticizing. How did Jesus change as he came and died for us so we have to choose to be a servant in the way we become a servant to each other's we help unlock that in the day inside of a set image of God there, and so speaking life. I would ask that the person in the still marriage was last time you complemented your spouse was awesome. He caught them doing something right was last time you praised what you wanted to see repeated that one time they did make the bed that one time they did hang the towel at that one yet. Maybe they forgot to get what you asked him to get the grocery store but but what did they do that you can find the praise we all are very interesting were going to do more of what gets us a reward.
So if Jenny when she finds me doing things right. It makes become like I like how that fell. I want to do more of those that will sort to think psychologically, it helps us if you're always nagging for always you know belittling.
You're always you know correcting in front of other people use gator to develop an aversion to even being around each other and it's not manipulation.
I think some people may hear that and think that you try to manipulate an outcome. You just doing the behaviors that God says will give you peace.
It's going to be better for you and for them. Yeah, so regardless of what it reason you're doing it for it's going to get to where both of you want to be yeah let me ask you to the general culture of the grievance attitude and again culture seeps into the church in its natural mean we live in the moment that we live and the culture around us pulls like the rain of a horse right were hold in certain directions so you look at the grievance culture that everybody's got a bone to pick with somebody it seems in the culture today. How do we as Christians rise above that and not become kind of father for those arguments so we can demonstrate a better way better when Christ playing.
First of all we have to remember that the person we control the most is ourselves. You know, and so we have to be the change we want to see in the world and with ask those hard questions like, MI living at this outrageous standard and imposing on other people and then I think, secondly, it's knowing that we can speak the truth in love, and that we can have relationships with people that we don't agree with and not back down from our convictions, but at the same time still love people and Jesus people that didn't like Jesus liked being with Jesus, you know, I mean they didn't believe in a but they wanted to be around him. There was something about his spirit. Something about the kind Ryan and so I think it's having that it's not compromising what we believe but at the same time not being picky about who we love yeah I like really appreciate that that Levi Jesus is one the battle it's done. What do we need to remember about his promises. When were discouraged or afraid.
And you I I don't want to sound like I'm reprimanding somebody that doesn't have you know high spiritual attitude through their trauma. I don't want to discourage people that way. But I do want to encourage people to look up from that pit that they made in that well and see a rope see a way out and God will provide. It yeah I think it's balance because you guys have so well over the years, pointing people to counseling point people to speak to the doctor. There may be an issue chemically going on all that it is a place for all of them but at the end of the day, even if it's medicine and all these things and get you up to zero from subzero or maybe you are at today it's only Jesus that can give us this day before God that we need and the strength that we need and so I like to say you don't need to trust in willpower when you been given God's power and it's always a mistake to try and do in the flesh what God wants us to achieve in the spirit and that idea and this will be the last question.
I'll give you enough for the person that's really in despair, you know, maybe they've gone to church.
They dedicated their life to the Lord. 14 times I'm just pulling out scenarios that happen. Things didn't improve things didn't change so they slid away from the Lord, speak to that person, specifically in their tipping into now their ears are listening.
Why would it be different if I take the challenge. Take back your life that 40 day perspective. Why will this be different for me Levi. I would think first of all that you're not alone in the way you feel. There's plenty of people throughout history who have experienced such darkness of the soul, and I myself even in that list of hard seasons of challenging times in the night, but it might not be your situation that God wants to change it might be you. He wants to change in your same situation, and if you'll let him bring that light and illuminate the light in you and put that breath in you and that's really where I point people to throughout this is every day a section called breathe, think and live because in creation, God breathed his spirit into us and at Pentecost. The wind re-breathed in reanimated our lives. And so the goal is every day to breathe in and out and breathe in his spirit and new strength to face your maybe your sample that maybe the job won't change maybe your your dynamic at work want change, but maybe you'll change in the midst of it, and if you'll allow God to change you. You will see the same situation through new eyes. I so love the challenge. John, I mean if you're that person that has gotten up every day and you've use the same tools to try to fight the battle and you got the same poor result.
Why not try something different, try Levi's book take back your life. Give 40 days to see if what he's talking about, which is biblically based to hand over your attitude to the Lord may not change your circumstances as you said Levi little change who you are and I will guarantee that I now speak as an orphan child who had a lot of loss in my childhood if you can get that right man. It is refreshing and God will use you in a lot of different ways, and the best part of that is you will not grieve what you didn't have, you'll rejoice in what the future has in what God has in store for you rather than looking back and having regret and I think that's what you're driving at fixing your own attitude and the plight that year-end that's all you can do any less, I just I was encouraging the way you speak about your situation is, can change how you see it and when you practice gratitude when you meaning that they say if you'll even write down five things you're thankful for as few as one time a week it will change your perceived sense of happiness in life dramatically. And that's the unlocking that emotional intelligence and spiritual power and and slowly it's really the Panama Canal took a long time but now that I have to go around South America take 10 hours to do it six months before and I think God wants to connect the dots between his power and your circumstances. Well said Levi Lesko, thank you for being with this so appreciated and I would encourage you to get a copy of this great 40 day journey. Take back your life and you get it right here Focus on the Family if you can help us and the best way is the month to month and if you could become monthly sustainer to the ministry would like to send you copy the book as our way of saying thank you and if you can afford it, they'll be people I trust that will cover the cost of that so just get in touch with us let us know that you needed will get it to you.
Donate. As you can and request a copy of this book. Take back your life by Levi Lesko link is in the episode notes or call one 800 K in the word family and if you need to talk to somebody about your circumstances.
If you can't wait for the book give us a call will arrange a time for a free consultation with one of our counselors hearing Christian counselors there provided for by generous donors and other here for you and to do that when you call that number 800 K in the word family or will of the link in the show notes on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ messing up at school can be embarrassing but average boys use to it.
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