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Staying Connected to God: A 60-Day Challenge (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 21, 2022 6:00 am

Staying Connected to God: A 60-Day Challenge (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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If you fall if you do wrong just like in the Lord's prayer. You know he's forgive us our sins as we forgive others.

He already has paid for that 2000 years ago, which means he already knows the ones you haven't even done any paid for those two so that we won't stay disconnected from the very source of love and life in the meaning of our deepest longings and leading us on this healing journey this adventure of life. There's nothing better. All you have to do is stay connected to him. The fruit happens naturally. That's Pastor John Burke and he is with us today on Focus on the Family.

Thanks for joining us your hostess focus Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, John.

These can be tough question. Do you know someone who's 100% into God. This is a tough question. I'd have to say I know people I've known people who are really close to in the here got a lot. I've never known any with.

That's 100%. It's kind like you get an electrical energy is a C yeah but hate first Thessalonians 516 through 18 tells us rejoice always, pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you and that what a great reminder and it does get difficult.

I got admit that we get in the squabbles, maybe with our spouse or kids things chew at us to work and we really get an A+ in how we reflect God's character maybe not always. But the good news is that he makes a way for us to repent, to try again and do over those things that we don't do so well the first time today were going to give you a clear picture of what it looks like to do life with God to challenge yourself actually to deepen that relationship with the Lord so that more often than not you're responding exactly the way you should collectively put that in.

John Burke is the right man to help us unpack this. He's the pastor and founder of Gateway church in Austin, Texas I he's married to Kathy. They have an adult son and an adult daughter and he's the author of a number of books, one that were to be talking about today is called soul revolution how imperfect people become all God intended. And we have that here at the ministry. Check the program notes for details or give us a call 800 the letter a in the word family John, welcome back to focus. Thanks Rob Gaddafi in from Austin and from Austin. I think Amy's ice cream is pretty good. There I met a couple down there right. Amy's just one of those great, I sure is great for when it's hot you want ice cream, it said it wasn't.

Obviously, your pastor, but there was a time, maybe even when you are pastor, which is probably the core. My question but there was a time when you really struggled with God over trusting him. I think that's every believers challenge for me, Lord. Seriously, there was time then those kind of questions that are so good then why is this happening to me and yeah I love that refreshing idea that even pastors have that challenge, sometimes to even though they know the word really well. So what was the battle for you and trust in God.

Well, there hasn't been one ship that no I really I really do think you know God is trying to peel us like an onion down to the core of who we are and who he is. Why is that what is his goal and that while I think it gets to what he really wants but I think part of getting to that he didn't force us he leads us gently, sometimes not so gently and so my first disappointment.

You know I was not necessary. I wasn't a believer I was an engineer before I became a pastor but my dad died of cancer and I remember standing at his graveside and looking at these two dates separated by a – and I was just looking at them and I was thinking about how life gets summed up in two dates in a – you know when were born when we die and and yet there's us – in between what's the – four or higher. We can make the – what's it really about and is a listing in there just thinking about that you know my dad had come to define success the way everybody defines success in our culture you know you make a lot of money, you have a great family you know to great great vacations and you know you're independent, financially well-off and all that. And yet, on his deathbed he had said something to me said John I'd give it all back.

If I could just have my health and my family and that marked me and I stood there thinking about that and it actually led me on a journey coming to faith in Jesus and that's really good. Let let me pull you back about because in the book. You also mentioned an experience with your dad about building a train. I think when you're a boy, and that had a good analogy for you learn something out of that.

I don't know why it took so long to come to Christ.

John what was that analogy with the train set holding it yeah when I was you know I don't know maybe 810. My dad got one of those HO train sets.

Remember those that you know electric trains and what we decided to build a Colorado like landscape pikes peak in a weed and sweet papier-mâché.

We sculpted, laid out the track. It went through mountains and tunnels and there were no towns in all this, and it was a made took us and I don't know five months probably about it and it was awesome and when it was done. We high-fived and you know we turned it on and it went around and it was it was just as amazing, but after about a month of watching the train go around and around. It started to lose its interest and what I realized. Looking back is that it wasn't just the train moving and going around that was so wonderful about that. It was me and my dad doing it together. Sure it was us making it together. The point for us is that there are a lot of dreams we have there a lot of hopes a lot of ambitions that are not bad. They're not necessarily bad that many of them are good, but many of them are like a finger-pointing somewhere, and I believe words, pointing his relationship without the relationship first with God and then with others.

All those other things they lose their meaning there just a train going around and around. Yeah. So that's one of things I talk about and soul revolution. We all have deep longings there. Good I think there from God, but sometimes we have shallow strategies.

In other words, we don't really understand how are these deepest longings going to be met. What you have all those, but you still don't have contentment right. So our deepest longings when we start to drill down your spiritual right there what God promises by his spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faith, and self-control. Those kinds of things and our deepest longings only get met when we understand what God's deepest longing is to and God's want God's dream is for intimate relationship with you but letting me yeah let me get into that little bit because in the book you talk about God's longings. I don't know that I've ever thought of that, other than God loves us and God built us for relationship with him and that I didn't carry it to the next conclusion which is why did he do that now that your point well and if you think about it you know if his main desire was to get people to do right and quit doing wrong if he's God.

Couldn't he make us force us to stop doing wrong on the ground like right he could so I know is or must be something deeper. He wants he allows free will, even against his will. Why, because you can't have love without free will. You can't acclimate what sake let's say you fall in love with some person right and you want them to love you back. You could shower them with gifts right with good things, but they might love the gifts, but not so much. You still writes you can't actually buy real love, you could try to force him. I guess you could put a gun to their head and say marry me or love me or and they might out of fear.

It but we would all know that's not love. Love must be free. That's true for God as well and so that explains a lot of why God allows the things he allows in this world and even uses our disappointments to show us what it is. Deep down we really are longing for as well that it is so good you know it. It's interesting though because we typically in the church will lean toward living a life that's more perfect.

That is enough sinless because it's pretty obvious in Scripture.

That's the goal. But the irony of ironies is the Lord is saying everything that you've just said that you know you can learn more about me through those valleys that you go through sinful valleys right well and we don't really we don't understand that.

I think as well as we should.

The got were not sure we tend to think of God is like a grandfather who shocked at our behavior that would have never thought that you do that yeah he knows everything. He knows how we behave as human being sinful human beings. Nothing is going to shock him and the other incredibly freeing truth is that the life God wants with us is so simple it's so simple it really is, and we don't have to work real hard.

We don't have to try real hard know when when my dad said that on his deathbed. The reason it struck me is because what someone says as their last words is what you point out the salient point of life you have them write what you know Jesus did the same thing he told us what matters most.

And it's one thing there's only one thing you have to do is a Christian, listen up, but think about it. When Mary and Martha were preparing dinner for Jesus and the disciples remember you know Mark is busy, busy, and she's frustrated with Mary sitting there listening to Jesus and Jesus says to her, Martha. You're working so hard you're so stressed out.

There's only one thing necessary and Mary's chosen Christmas just pause like one.

Only one thing is necessary with her figure out what that one thing and focus on that and that is the same thing Jesus was saying is last on earth so John chapters 13 through 17 is actually what I base soul revolution.

The book on because Jesus said to us what was most important. And it's the same one thing to the one thing he said to Mary and Martha was listening listening to the Lord is what's most important. But he said it in a different way as last night on earth, so he knows he's gonna leave he's trying to get it across to them. John chapter 15 he says what I am the vine, you are the branches and I believe they're actually going from the upper room down the garden of Gethsemane.

He I think he they're going through the vineyard. He picks up a branch because let me just stick it in your head guys. It's this simple. A branch doesn't have to work hard to produce fruit. All it has to do, stay connected to the trunk, the vine and fruit happens naturally.

I'm the vine you're the branches stay connected to me, and you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do some good things know you can build big businesses you can have great families.

You can do this and that but nothing that he intended. Nothing that gets at the deepest longings apart from me you can do nothing. So this would be the one thing that's the whole point that I'm trying to get across in soul revolution that actually all we have to do is learn to stay connected, moment by moment to God's spirit and the rest of the things take care of themselves. John, that's the core of the book this idea of the 6060 experiment so describe what that is and let's talk about it. Well let me tell you how I came to it, because just like anything else. Many times it only comes her disappointment trying to get my deep longings met with the shell strategy, and God using that to show me how I get what I really want with connection to him. So when we planted Gateway church. Nothing went as planned, there's a disclaimer normally with the Lord it doesn't work out the way you think it should. Where yeah and and we all know that. But when it actually hits our responses different right right yes we were supposed to launch in the general cinema movie theater. We had built this core group raise money. Were you know we sent out invitations and mailers and two weeks before general cinema. Los Angeles calls me and says you can't do church and are movie theaters bad for business. So I go back to the guy in Austin who signed the contract and you know what he one supposed to sign the contract. Apparently I'm talking to lawyer friends and try to figure out how to do work and have a much people show up in two weeks and no one can't meet and nothing worked, and finally in desperation. Finally, we call prayer meeting of our core group and and on my way out the door to this prayer meeting.

The phone rings. This is back when phones rang yeah I know you had to go back and get on my cell phone and it was a pastor friend in Cincinnati who had this prompting to get someone he had led to the Lord connected to our church was moving to Austin and I told him while in Oregon I have church and I told him why and he said there someone in my church. You might know someone in the movie industry will me talk to him.

I said sure.

I didn't think about it. We can only pray the next week.

I was like one desperate attempt.

I go back to the movie house in Austin and when I walked in, the guy goes what you guys have good connections on what you mean you haven't heard, he said the president of general cinema in New York called the Los Angeles office and said work it out with the church in Austin.

So you're good to go. That was a good friend. Well, it was God's prompting of my friend to call me and he knew someone who knew someone who knew the present. Now I thought everything was going to go great.

Six months later that because God worked it out, but then six months later we get kicked out and then we had to move to six different locations during two years. Every time we moved we lost people were rich man's soul frustum like Lord, what am I doing wrong and I got to the end of myself and disappointment and frustration and frustration with God is not doing his will.

The way supposed to and look what I'm trying to do given for you. And in that he started whispering something into my mind over and over when I would start complaining for about a year but it was the same thing every time am I enough am I enough at first I was mad as like I left my engineering career to follow you into ministry. I left that ministry to come plant a church to help reach but MI enough have on my ship and then I realized oh, I guess not because the truth is if God you know loving God, loving my family loving the people who are coming and even with the difficulties that come is not enough. God has to do things my way, or I get mad and angry and frustrated with him and so what I realizing this and this is getting the core of this whole 6060 experiment in soul revolution is Jesus prayer what he taught us to pray is your kingdom come, God, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven is God's will.

Mostly is not done on earth because we spend most of our time trying to get my will be done and that includes Christians and even pastors and so I spent a whole year just practicing waking up every morning surrendering my will and trying to only do God's will. During that day as best I understood it right and it was amazing.

When that's the challenge you put in the book.

So let's talk about 6060 what what are you challenging your readers to do so. It came from that year of this experiment I did personally and the joy I started to feel the peace I started to feel a deeper love for my children. I mean these things that I really wanted.

It was amazing and I'm mowing the yard one day and I have been talking Lord about it.

I'm just saying I wish the people in my church could understand how great this life is with you and I had the thought do an experiment for 60 days you. It takes time to change a habit right 60 days every 60 minutes secular your watch beeper to go offs and alarm to go off or something to remind you abide in me, remain in my love as Jesus said in John 15 you know and you will bear much fruit.

Apart from me you can do nothing. So just get him to try it for 60 days and see what happens and we did thousands of people have done this experiment and it's life-changing that's amazes life-changing yeah but it's what Jesus said over and over.

Right. Paul said it in Galatians chapter 5, 516, walk by the Spirit, and you won't carry out the desires of the flesh, you don't have to try to stop sending her try to break that habit or this habit about addiction just walk by the Spirit, and you won't do that instead. The fruit of the spirit.

Love Joy peace patients on all that will start to grow. Yeah, only one thing is necessary. Martha lists it's the one thing so we have to learn to stay connected so that's the experiment we created an app that's out on the app store called the soul revolution 6060 experiment you can use the app or just set your alarm every 60 minutes or put little sticky notes in the mirror or on your computer and here's the whole idea were all in the habit we just think about it when you wake up on the typical day. How much time you spend making your plans and thinking about how to get them done versus Lord, what are you doing and what you want me to do in each thought and each moment in each decision with with my coworkers with my children and we realize how much God loves us and is always with us and actually wants to guide us. That's what Jesus said in John 16. I miss in my spirit. He will always be with you and he will lead you into truth and a leader in the way of true inner John in that regard. Some people that might read the Scripture says you pray unceasingly and you seriously how to even do that and how do you know you got a good do your banking, you got work. How do you pray unceasingly like you're constantly in a state of prayer. It has that feel to it like man. It sounds impossible to do every hour every 60 minutes. Yeah, people really John, I mean really, and that's what I like to say is, that's not what were doing were not trying to beat the Muslims in stead of five times of prayer. They were going to do 12. That's not it.

That's not it is learning to do life with this God who wants to do life with us who truly loves us more than we can possibly imagine. And God is so good I mean is this is the thing is we got a realize how much he loves us. That one little experiment.

I've asked people to do sometimes is to realize that all love we experience is borrowed above. In this hit me one time when my children were little and you and your children are little they're so cute there so wonderful but they're cuter when they're sleeping and I and you know they're just they're just there in the little angelic face sleeping one night I was just watching my my daughter sleep and just praying over her and I just had this overwhelming sense of love for her you know just overwhelming, and in that moment I heard the whisper of God say I love you more and it shocked me, right what an audible thought came out of left field came out of left field. I know the feeling. But then I as I start to ponder it. You know the Bible tells us God is love, there is no love.

Apart from him, which means that all the love of ever felt or given is just borrowed love and he loves me more and he loves you more whoever whoever you are, whatever you've done doesn't matter.

He loves you more than you love your children, your spouse, more than you've experienced love from your grandparents, your parents is all borrowed love so good. And the point of that is unless we realize who God is and that because what is done for us in Christ. He did that so we will walk with you didn't do that just to get us into heaven. One day, Blaine. I wrote about heaven. I guy I know about that right. That's not why he wants us to do life with him it in this loving relationship.

That's what Jesus was trying to get across in John 15, as the father has love me, so have I loved you right no greater love than to lay down his life and abide he said in that love and you will abide in my love. When you obey me you obey my commands. When you do what I what I say when you listen listen and respond. So that's the 6060 experiment. So what I say is it's not stopping every 60 minutes to pray. It's not that if you do that good is just totally missing it what it actually is is it's trying to re-orient ourselves from a habit of ignoring God.

Most of the day to realizing that God is with us all through the day and loves us and actually wants to guide and help us yeah and I think what what helps people's realizing it's not changing your life.

It's re-orienting your life. So another words you don't have to change necessarily anything you're doing but do with the Lord. Think about it this way you're already going through life talking to yourself anyway. You know, why did that person do that all when you've got this constant conversation in your head between you and yourself. Just like God in Gary knows nothing to hide from them to just let them in. Understand that he is kind and merciful.

He's not condemning there's no condemnation for us in Christ Jesus. That's grace so that what it Romans 81.

So grace is so that we can fulfill the intent of the law. That's what it says how by those who set their minds on the things of the spirit, not the things of the flesh, so it's the 6060 ideas. Where do we set our minds moment by moment throughout the day.

That 60 minute interruption interrupts our old habit of forgetting about God and not listening and not necessarily being willing and it really orients us to be able to go.

Lord, how did I do last 60 minutes listening and hearing and abiding staying connected to you and you know how to buoy yourself for the times you did. Don't be harsh on yourself because you know you'll miss it more than you get it right but you're learning and who doesn't want that.

I mean that that ideally is exactly the way we should live our lives and that's as believers, no leaning in the God. This is a great place to stop and I do want to come back next time and keep the discussion going. Dig a little deeper and what a wonderful resource, so revolution the 6060 experiment and that you've heard kind of the tip of the iceberg and I hope you'll contact us to get a copy of John's book and memo make it easy for you just make a gift of any amount will send it as our way of saying thank you for getting involved in being part of the ministry to help others if you can afford it. That's okay will trust others will cover it. So I just get in touch with us if you're saying man there's a lot in here that I'm dealing with. And you need to talk to somebody we have caring Christian counselors who can help you digest some of what we have talked about today and hopefully steer you either in a relationship with Jesus for the first time or to deepen it, and if we can do that man we have really hit our goal of helping you.

You were a phone call away her numbers 800 K and the word family 800-232-6459 or check the program notes for all the details. John that, let's do that. Let's continue next time and and go deeper with this great content from so revolution can you do it all absolutely okay little hope you'll join us next time.

As we continue the conversation with John Burke for now on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today. I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ, not everything about Maria actually adored that read and learn. Reaching teen girls right where they're at with encouragement to dwell in their faith story magazine about what I find anything way worth.

I have really inspiring and uplifting help your team invite into her everyday experience with premium using learn more Focus on the Family.com/Brio radio


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