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Lessons from My Mom (Jonathan Evans)

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
November 7, 2021 7:00 am

Lessons from My Mom (Jonathan Evans)

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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November 7, 2021 7:00 am

Over the last months, a lot has changed in the way we live our day-to-day lives. Jonathan Evans will remind us that the most important things of all haven’t changed. Don’t miss this look at why our goal is much bigger than surviving the crisis were in.

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Even though it's hard, even though there's oppositions, even though it seems like things may not be working out, you have one goal. And Jonathan Evans says that goal is much bigger than surviving the crisis we're in.

God has an expectation and that is that you always remember through thick and through thin that you are here to serve the purposes of God. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Over the last two years, a lot has changed in the way we live our day-to-day lives. But today Jonathan Evans reminds us that the most important things of all haven't changed.

Jonathan is the managing director of the Urban Alternative, a former NFL fullback, a Dallas Seminary grad, and the son of Dr. Tony and Lois Evans. Let's join him as he addresses attendees at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in 2020, just a short time after the loss of his mother. I'm just thinking about last year. Last year was interesting because last year was very high and very low all at the same time for our family. Many of you know the story that we're here this year without my mom. That last year was the year that my dad was inducted into the NRB Hall of Fame. That we were thinking throughout the week, all the family was there, me and my brother and my two sisters, Crystal and Priscilla. My brother Anthony, and we were there and we were excited to come to NRB, which we hadn't been to in a while since we were kids. We were excited about the opportunity to be at NRB, and this time Tony Evans was going into the NRB Hall of Fame. This time we were excited.

We came and I came through and they gave me my badge so I felt solidified. Because this time we're here and we get to support my dad as he goes up on the stage and he gets inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame. We are excited about this moment for him, for the family, for the life of the ministry as NRB has been there to help build Tony Evans' ministry and the urban alternative.

And come alongside Dr. Tony and Lois Evans as they come and do what God has called them to do for this generation. I mean, we couldn't be more excited and enthusiastic when we came into the doors and we saw all of our friends that had come to support. But throughout the week it was very interesting because as me and Priscilla specifically would look at my dad, we would say, Dad, are you excited or are you ready to go? Are you excited about this award that you're about to get? It's a lifetime achievement award. We're happy for you.

And he said, I'm doing okay. Dad, what's going on? You're about to be inducted into the NRB Hall of Fame. This is one of the top of the mountain tops.

This is not going through the valley. You've got a grimace on your face. What's really going on? Are you okay? He said, I'll be alright. The next day came around as we're getting closer to Friday for him to go into the Hall of Fame and be enshrined and immortalized with the national religious broadcasters. We're excited for him and we say, Dad, are you excited about today? It's Thursday.

Tomorrow's your day. He said, we'll get there when we get there. I said, Dad, what's wrong?

Are you okay? He said, we'll talk a little bit later. Me and Priscilla looked at each other. We didn't quite understand why he was so somber when we were at this level, when he had made it to this level. Him and my mom getting ready to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

How could you be so somber? Friday rolled around and I knocked on his door and Priscilla was standing there in her pajamas. And Crystal came and Anthony came and we ran through the hall like kids and knocked on the door and he came to the door and he just opened it to let us in and walked back to the bed and laid back down. And we said, Dad, it's Friday. Today you're going to be inducted into the NRB Hall of Fame. He said, I'm doing alright.

We'll talk about it later. We went to the banquet where he was going to be inducted and the entire time when he's supposed to be on a mountaintop, he was obviously evidently to us as his kids was just stuck in the valley. And I rubbed his shoulder and I said, Dad, are you going to be okay? He said, I love you, John John.

He just totally avoided the question. I said, I love you too, Dad. Then they called his name and they gave him the honor and he went up and gave what Tony Evans would always do, a powerful message. And he took pictures, halfway smiling, just trying to get through it. And me and Priscilla and Crystal and Anthony kept checking on him because he just wasn't quite right. Then we went to the green room and we checked on him again and said, Dad, come on now. Tell us what's going on.

We're at the National Religious Broadcasters. You're always excited. You're always enthusiastic. You just got inducted into the Hall of Fame.

You have a grimace on your face. Please let us know what's going on. He said, meet me in my room in ten minutes and I'll tell you what's going on. And boy, you talk about kids' hearts beginning to beat fast and all of the geese on my arms took flight. So we got changed and we went to his room and we knocked on the door and he opened the door and he told us to come on in. And he sat on his stool and we all sat on the couch that was in his room that night just a year ago this time. He said, kids, I know this was supposed to be an exciting time and it is and I'm honored that the National Religious Broadcasters Association would seek to honor the work that has been done through the Urban Alternative and everything that has happened with me and your mom. But tonight we face the hardest time in our family's history. As he said that, a chill went up my spine and I looked at him intently trying to discern what he was about to say. And then he said, we're facing the hardest time.

I said, why, dad? He said, because your mom has just been diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer that the doctors just have no answer. She's in stage four. It has come all the way across her abdomen.

There is nothing that we are able to do. I've talked to the best doctors. I've went high and I've went low.

I've went everywhere in between. And there's absolutely nothing that they can do about it. So if I've been somber all week it's because we're facing the hardest time we've ever faced in our family. About a minute of silence as we sat there in shock, trying to digest being here just a year ago this time. What we were facing as a family in that moment that it seemed like was taking away all of the achievements, everything that had happened up until that point, that moment was terrifying and devastating. And after that minute went by, we heard wailing going on across the room. As I looked back at my father, he got up and he could no longer contain it as he was crying on the other side of the room.

Priscilla and Anthony stood up, ran over there and tried to comfort him and rubbed on him. And I sat there stoic, just trying to gauge all of the information and process what I heard. My brother-in-law was in there, he turned his back and started crying. At the height of when it seemed like we should have been celebrating, we were crying and in devastation. Because we had just heard the hardest news that we had ever heard in our family's life.

We didn't know how to take it, we were all beaten, bruised just a year ago this time. And as all of the crying was going on in different sectors of the room, I remembered, oh yeah, my mom is sitting here, let me see how she's doing and she sat there comfortable and stoic. And I tapped Priscilla on the shoulder and my brother and my dad and I said, mom, are you okay? And she said, all of you come here and sit down. We all came and we sat down around the couch where my dad had given us the information. My mom took the time to just stare, just for a moment to let us process the news that we just heard, the devastation that we just are trying to process at that moment. And then she said, all of you come here and sit down. I have something to say.

We sat down and then finally she began to speak. She said, you do know what this is, don't you? It's called spiritual warfare. You do know that we've had five to six deaths in the last two years in our family that the enemy has been attacking, that something has been coming up against our family. We must be doing something right because the enemy is taking notice. God is allowing these things to happen. He's allowing these things to be shaken up. And when we face spiritual warfare or when we face things that come against our family, the Evans family will not tuck our tails and run.

We prepare to attack. I understand that you're sad. I understand that this is a hard time. I understand that you had a different expectation. I understand that this wasn't what you were expecting to hear. I understand that this hurts.

But you need to understand what this is so that you understand the posture that you need to have moving forward. We will not tuck our tails and run. You will get ready to attack. If you're called to preach, you will preach. If you're called to write, you will write. If you're called to proclaim, you will proclaim. If you're called to lead a Bible study, you will lead it. Now I have every expectation that you will love me and care for me and pray for me and be there for me.

I have every expectation that you will do that as my family, but God has an expectation, and that is that you always remember through thick and through thin that you are here to serve the purposes of God. I said, Mom, how can you be talking about ministry at a time like this? And she said, because that's why you're here, son. That's why you're here. It's the reason why you exist.

What do you mean, how can I be talking about ministry at a time like this, son? That's why you're here and everything from pain and anguish, everything from things that seem counterintuitive, everything from things that you didn't expect or opposition that comes up against you is all a distraction from the reason why you are here. So you will stand up and hold your head up and be strong and you will continue the work of the ministry.

I'm just wanting to tell you what my mom told me. Because everybody in this room is facing something or going through something where you need to hear a word that says that you are here no matter what you're going through, no matter what you face in your family, in your ministry, whether you have one million people on your program or whether you have one, you're here to serve the purposes of God. Do not turn to the left or to the right like God told Joshua.

You're here to serve the purposes of God. We are too close. The promised land is right there.

My mom was letting us know the reason why this is happening is because God is allowing us to be shaken because of how he wants to move forward. You cannot quit now. Cross the Jordan. The promised land is right there. We'll have more from Jonathan Evans in just a moment about the importance of focusing on tomorrow no matter what we're going through today.

Stay with us. God has an amazing plan for your child's life, and there's no greater joy than helping them discover it. Dr. Tony Evans' Kids Guide series can help instilling kingdom principles in your child by teaching them how to build others up with their words, understand God's attributes through his names, and engage in spiritual warfare against the enemy. Written for kids ages 8 through 12, these easy-to-read books are filled with biblical truth aimed at guiding young readers into a deeper love for God and confidence in his faithfulness. And because you can read them as a family, these guides are sure to encourage everyone in your home. Bless your child by helping them discover God's amazing plan for them so they can unlock their potential for a lifetime of following Jesus. You can learn more about the complete line of kids' books at tonyevans.org. And that's also where you can find a powerful new book from Dr. Evans and his four adult children Crystal Evans Hurst, Priscilla Shire, Anthony Evans, and Jonathan Evans. It's called Divine Disruption, and it's an open and honest narrative that can help you navigate your way through life's unexpected challenges, pain, and losses. In spite of life's inevitable heartache and hurt, God offers grace and the chance for a deeper faith through your most trying times. We'd like to send you a copy of Divine Disruption as our thank-you gift when you make a contribution to help us keep this ministry outreach going. And as an added tool to help assist you through difficult times, we'll also include all seven full-length audio messages on CD or digital download from our current Living with Law series. Both of these resources are yours with our thanks when you make a donation online at tonyevans.org. Or call our resource center, day or night, at 1-800-800-3222, where our helpful team members are available to assist with your resource request.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Jonathan will return with more of today's message right after this. I'm in the portion of the church where they believed Paul Gotha was originally located, where the greatest event by the greatest person ever took place. Dr. Tony Evans travels to Israel to experience firsthand the places Jesus walked, preached, and ministered while on earth.

You're invited to relive his inspirational journey in an upcoming big-screen Fathom event. We're at the Church of the Nativity here in Bethlehem. I'm seated here in Nazareth. I'm here in Bethany, coming into the Garden of Gethsemane. I'm sitting on the southern steps that we meet up to the temple. More than just a captivating travelogue, Dr. Evans discusses the biblical and historical significance of each stop along the way and what it means for us today. As I sit on these steps, I'm reminded of another name of our Savior.

He is the sacrificial lamb that satisfies the wrath of God against you and me. November 15th, 16th, and 17th. Join Dr. Evans for a captivating journey with Jesus.

Visit tonyevans.org for theaters, showtimes, and to learn more. Some people in this room simply need to be encouraged, because it was just a year ago this season where I got a word from my mother, and even though last year was her last NRB physically, she's giving another address today. As I spoke at her funeral, which many of you may have seen as it was put out on Facebook and other outlets, I was reminded about my playing career. I played in the NFL for five years. You don't know me because I wasn't that good, but who cares?

I was there. And every player that plays on Sunday, they play on Sunday thinking about Monday. Every college football player that plays on Saturday, they play on Saturday thinking about Sunday. Every high school football player, if you were to go to ask them, what are you thinking about during the game on Friday, they would tell you, I'm thinking about Saturday.

Why? Every time a player is playing the game, they're thinking about the next day, because the next day is where you have to watch the film and be accountable of your previous performance. So I remember when I was playing, I would make a good block, and I would say, ooh, that's going to look good tomorrow. Or I'd miss something, or I wasn't doing something right, and I'd say, ah, I know I have to watch that. My mom was letting us know that day, you better stay focused, because one day there is going to come a day, like when you were playing football, Jonathan, where you had to go and your coach would pull down the screen and he would turn on the overhead projector and pick up the red pointer, and all he would wonder is, were you out there bearing the image of the uniform that I gave you based on the playbook that I wrote for you to execute, or were you out there doing your own thing, serving your own purpose?

Don't answer that, because we're about to watch it right now. 2 Corinthians 5, 10, Paul says the exact same thing. For we all will go before the judgment seat of Christ. We cannot lose focus no matter what we face, because we're supposed to play today thinking about tomorrow. Whether it's for millions or for one, the focus is on Christ. That one day he's going to pull down his cosmic screen, turn on his Holy Ghost overhead projector, and pick up his blood of Jesus red pointer. He's going to sit us all down and his only concern is not going to be about all of those things that worry us on a daily basis. It's not going to be about the opposition. It's going to be, did you serve the purposes of God?

Don't answer that, because we're just going to watch it right now. And sometimes in ministry we can get to a place where we're serving the ministry instead of the God who's over it. We're so concerned about the numbers and the feedback and how many listeners and these people over here and what dog and pony show can I do to make sure we get the support that I need. And if God gave you the ministry, certainly he'll support it.

Serve his purposes. Growing up, I had a dog named Solomon. It was a toy poodle, not by my selection.

I have two older sisters. If it was me, I would have gotten something a little tougher. But that toy poodle at 11 years old, I thought that he was a little bit flicked in my mind because when I would come home from school, this dog would be running around in circles chasing his own tail. And I'd be thinking to myself, does this dog not know that his mouth is on his face and his tail is on his rear end? He wasn't created to catch his own tail.

He's running around in circles doing a lot of movement, but he has no progress. At 12 years old, I came home to some growling that was going on in the back room and all I heard was... well maybe we, my sisters pulled a fast one and got another toy poodle. I went to the back room only to find out that the dog had caught his tail.

But after thirty seconds, and me standing there watching him in shock, the dog had to let go because he was too uncomfortable to stay in that position even though he had a moment of satisfaction. Because that's not what he was created for. We have to be careful in the Christian world because sometimes we can get so involved in what we're doing that we're not actually progressing, we're just running around in circles. We're running around in circles trying to satisfy an intent that we were not created for and just having Jesus sign off on it. I mean how can we have all of these radio programs and all these broadcasts and all these churches with all these preachers with all these youth programs and all of these conferences and all of these special people and still have all this mess.

There's got to be a dead monkey on the line somewhere. It's that God's people are losing focus. My mom told me to tell you, go back to being focused. It's the gospel of Jesus Christ. Serve the purposes of God. Be an impact to your generation.

Paul said in Philippians 3, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it, but I leave what's behind and I reach for what's ahead, pressing on to the standard which I have already attained. We must press on. I know there is opposition in the last two years. My dad's brother passed away two years ago. Just opposition in our family. Six months later, he lost his niece, my cousin Winter at 38 years old. Her heart just stopped. She fell down in her home with four girls and a husband who now live in Nashville. A few months later, he lost his sister. A few months later, he lost his sister's husband. A few months after that, my little cousin Michael who is 28 years old lost his wife at 30. Found out that she had a tumor suddenly and then that the moment that she found out, the next day she passed away. A few months after that, two daddy, my granddad, my dad's dad was falling ill and at 90 years old, he passed away this past November and a month later, Lois Evans. It is painful sometimes.

It's hard sometimes. That's why the Bible says in Galatians 6, do not grow weary of doing good because even though it's hard, even though there's oppositions, even though you may not be noticed in the great hall, even though it seems like things may not be working out, you have one goal, serve the purposes of God. Jonathan Evans will come back in a moment with a final comment to wrap up today's lesson. But first, if the message you've been hearing today has struck a chord in you and you'd like to learn more about how to deal with the heartache of life's losses, be sure to take advantage of that special offer I mentioned earlier. All seven messages from the current Living with Loss audio collection, as well as the Evans family's brand new book, Divine Disruption, holding onto faith when life breaks your heart. We'll send both of these resources to you as our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching coming your way. This special package will only be bundled together for a limited time, so I encourage you to make the arrangements right away. Just visit tonyevans.org to complete your request, or call our resource center any time of the day or night at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Stay with us. There are so many ways that God has demonstrated His faithfulness to me and to this ministry over these 40 years. You know, there were times when we just weren't sure we were going to make it. We got down to our last paycheck.

After that, there was no money to pay anyone. And I remember us having a special prayer time and asking God to intervene. And then, out of nowhere, a donor's heart was touched, and they wrote us a note and said, God placed it on my heart to send you this gift, and it was able to sustain us until we were able to rebuild. So I am not a doubter about the greatness of God nor His faithfulness, and I'm certainly grateful for all the friends He's given us who have been faithful, too. And I'm very grateful that for 40 years we've seen His kind hand of favor on this ministry. Well next time, Dr. Evans will bring the first lesson in a series of messages on the power of the names used for Jesus in the Bible.

Right now, though, Jonathan is back to conclude our message for today. December 30th was the last time that I spent time with my mom. And about a week before that, she was living between heaven and earth. And I knew it. She said, did you see my mom?

She was just sitting right here. Did you see my mom? Do you see those colors?

They're unbelievable. I said, no, mom, we don't see them. We don't see your mom, but I know you do. And one thing that got us, she said, the award! The award! They're about to give me my award!

Enjoy that, mom, because you serve the purposes of God. Through the thick, the thin, no attention, a lot of attention, millions are won. You didn't lose focus, so you enjoy your award. My mom would want me to tell you, there's an award. Don't lose focus. Serve the purposes of God. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-26 08:52:06 / 2023-07-26 09:03:18 / 11

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