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Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 16

Crisis is an Opportunity For Spiritual Growth (Part 2/2)

To feed the 5,000, the disciples had to rely on Jesus because they didn’t have the resources. Jesus walked out on the water to comfort the disciples with his presence. The disciples thought they were going to die a terrible death. If you choose to think your situation, the church and others are hopeless, it results in ego desperation, or hopelessness. You see what’s wrong, you think you have exhausted your resources and you see no way that it’s going to get fixed. If you allow the crisis to take you into the life of Christ and dependence on him, it will not destroy you. 

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 16
Watching Now
Crisis is an Opportunity For Spiritual Growth (Part 2/2)

Crisis is an Opportunity For Spiritual Growth (Part 2)

I. Epiphany

II. Mark 6

A. Feeding the 5,000

B. Disciples in the boat

C. Example of a pressure cooker

D. Jesus shows up, says, "it is I," and tells them to not be afraid

E. Significance of the loaves and fishes

F. 2 Corinthians 3

IV. At the Crucifying Epiphany, We Experience Fear

A. Difficult circumstances often causes unresolved issues to come to the surface

B. We are not hard-wired for hopelessness

C. Formative abandonment to the mystery of God

D. Personal example

E. We need to trust God

F. Sometimes repentance is necessary

G. Active waiting

H. Letting go of inordinate desires


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Transcript
  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • This lesson covers the involvement of Christians in societal issues, using historical examples and emphasizing the balance of Christ's work for and in believers, while critiquing modern church practices and advocating for active ministry participation by all members.
  • This lesson teaches the importance of balancing Christian service with receptivity to God's word, using the story of Martha and Mary to illustrate the need for prioritizing spiritual union with Christ over mere activity, emphasizing the consequences of a divided heart and the necessity of both justification and sanctification.
  • Learn to identify red flags in your ministry, distinguish between serving God and personal ambition, and address anxiety, self-pity, and control issues by trusting God and adopting humility.
  • Understand the theological concept that your essence is divinely created and precedes your existence, contrasting this with Sartre's existentialism, and learn the importance of receiving God's guidance over defining your life by accomplishments.
  • Learn to critically evaluate your motives, distinguish between self-serving and God-serving actions, understand the role of community in avoiding self-deception, recognize the significance of Christ's atonement, handle red flags, and balance people's expectations with God's calling.
  • The lesson teaches you to balance spiritual renewal and active ministry by self-reflecting on weekly activities, ensuring you receive God's grace and effectively respond to His directives, thus preventing burnout and sustaining a healthy ministry.
  • Learn to live like a reservoir, receiving spiritual replenishment before giving, through prioritizing key practices like prayer and scripture, and avoiding depletion by maintaining a constant spiritual reservoir and making essential practices an integral part of daily life.
  • This lesson teaches you to live by integrating core Christian principles daily, maintaining foundational practices like loving God, building relationships, serving vocally, and caring for your body, while emphasizing the importance of following Jesus closely and avoiding the pitfalls of church leadership.
  • Learn about the eight deadly sins, their historical and spiritual context, and the importance of overcoming them through spiritual disciplines, while illustrating the consequences of these sins through biblical examples, especially emphasizing the dangers of anger and depreciation of God's goodness.
  • Learn about dealing with inordinate sadness and grief in ministry, understanding the importance of acknowledging suffering, supporting others compassionately, handling difficult relationships with integrity, and addressing unresolved anger constructively.
  • You learn the importance of gratitude, the dangers of sadness and acedia, the need for internal well-being through a relationship with God, and the power of infused hope in overcoming ministry challenges.
  • Gain insights into the dangers of vainglory and pride, the importance of humility, prayer, and community support, and the significance of recognizing God's sovereignty in overcoming self-centeredness and narcissism.
  • Integrating sermon teachings into your heart is crucial, all sins are deadly, and you should submit worries to God, rejoice, and take every thought captive for Christ, using early church wisdom to overcome temptations like gluttony for spiritual growth.
  • This lesson teaches you how to identify and combat the eight deadly sins using virtues like temperance, chaste love, poverty of spirit, meekness, appreciation, infused faith, hope, love, and humility, relying on divine grace to transform these vices into a deeper spiritual life.
  • Understand that crises, whether personal or ministry-related, are opportunities for spiritual growth by seeking God's refuge, understanding forced detachment crises, maintaining healthy life rhythms, and recognizing divine purification amidst challenges.
  • This lesson teaches how crises reveal the light of Christ, illustrating the transformative power of faith through biblical examples and personal experiences, emphasizing reliance on God's resources and presence, and portraying ministry as a pressure cooker demanding quick maturity and resilience.
  • Explore Christian anthropology, understanding God's image in us, and the dimensions of human life, roles, and spiritual longings, emphasizing the balance between physical, functional, and spiritual aspects guided by the Holy Spirit.
  • This lesson continues the study of Christian anthropology through Adrian Von Comm's field theory, emphasizing Christ at the center of interconnected aspects of human existence—interior, relational, here and now, and global life—encouraging balance, cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and harmonious Christian living.
  • Learn that as a leader, worship is central to your role, involving a holistic response to God's love and guidance, emphasizing discipleship, biblical understanding, and aligning with God's purpose through praise and adoration, preventing apathy and enriching your leadership journey.
  • Understand that true worship according to the New Testament is about honoring and serving God alone, avoiding idolatry, and leading a life of genuine service and love toward Him, while recognizing and addressing the major obstacles to authentic worship within contemporary church practices.
  • Understand the importance of genuine worship leadership, personal worship alignment, the significance of historical church traditions, the dangers of overloaded worship services, and the mission to uphold true worship against global falsehoods.
  • Learn about the core aspects of worship in Revelation 4, emphasizing humility, submission, and the connection between future and present worship, encouraging heartfelt adoration and genuine worship practices in church leadership.
  • Learn how a leader's spiritual life impacts their ministry, the necessity of comprehensive discipleship, the integration of gospel content into daily life, and the importance of articulating and practicing core theological doctrines.
  • Explore the dynamic nature of spiritual life and leadership, emphasizing shifts from traditional to transformative ministry, clergy-centered to congregation-empowered roles, and solo to team leadership, advocating mature discipleship and active laity engagement.
  • Learn the importance of integrating sermons into discipleship, focusing on high commitment, contextualization, personal mentoring, and a family-like atmosphere, while emphasizing biblical and theological grounding for a solid foundation.
  • Biblical and theological grounding, genuine discipleship, and the formation of life-giving dispositions are crucial for spiritual growth and active participation in God's mission, leading to personal joy, communal fulfillment, and a global impact.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of a Leader
sf502-16
Crisis is an Opportunity For Spiritual Growth (Part 2/2)
Lesson Transcript

 

[00:00:00] Welcome back now. I hope you've been chewing on this business of a forced detachment crisis and how the Lord uses these crisis crises in our lives. Once again, if you were wondering about is this word epiphany actually in the New Testament, borrowing from this famous Greek guy that I know this text here inter linear for the rest of us, if if you'll look at the let me find it 79th verse in the Gospel of Luke, chapter one, verse 79. You'll see, you'll see this word, it's sin. It's a verb here to shine, but it's the epiphany. So it's that's where we get the word epiphany. It reveals the light of Christ. It shines forth the light of Christ. So to shine on those living in darkness and in the fear of death, that's what Christ came for. To guide our feet into the path of peace. Irena That's my word. So we want to. I want to to continue on now with this whole business of crucifying Epiphany. What does it look like? I mean, sometimes you need to see living illustrations of what a crucifying epiphany is. You you saw that in in the Psalms. You saw it with David's messianic Psalm in Psalm 16. But I also want you to go now into the gospel of Mark, go to the sixth chapter of Mark. And I want to summarize a little bit of it and then jump into some of the specifics. So from verse verses 30 through 44, you see a major miracle unfolding for the apostles. They they have they've they've fed helped be a part of the miracle of feeding the 5000. Jesus, of course, is the miracle worker. He's the one who multiplied the loaves in the and the bread.

 

[00:02:54] This is in that time where that many were coming and going and they didn't even have the leisure to eat, which happens sometimes for all of us in ministry. But but anyway, they're pressing, the disciples are are being pressed. We're in a deserted place. The word says the hours. The late Jesus sent them away so they can go buy something to eat. Then Jesus turns to them in verse 37 says, The most unusual thing. He says this You give them something to eat. Now. Now we're talking about being in the school of ministry. They think they have zero resources. They think they are in a totally impossible situation. They think that there's nothing in the world they can do about it. And they think that the best movement here, the the proper course of action is to send them all away. Go home, people, go buy something to eat. And then Jesus gives them this stretching, really impossible word. You give them something to eat, then they ask one another one of these rhetorical questions where it's basically translated. Kids say, Are you kidding? There's no way we don't have the resources to do this. And of course, the whole miracle at that point revolves around, well, whose resources are we actually calling on here? That's the big deal. And the miracle takes place. And, you know, kind of maybe what we'll see out of this is that they probably got all puffed up with a little bit of vainglory here. So who looked at us, pulled off the impossible, impress the hometown crowd. Now the inverse. 45. Man, Jesus has got to it's got to have time with the Father. He sends them out in the boat to go to the other side of the shore, to go over to the side.

 

[00:05:14] I hope at some point in your life, you get the privilege of being out on that sea. My wife and I have been out on it and I've taken classes. I've taken whole classes out on that sea and taught from a boat out there. It's an amazing it's actually not a c c, it's a freshwater lake, but it's a beautiful, beautiful setting. The Sea of Galilee. So Jesus goes up on the mountain to pray. No doubt when they started out, they. The winds were fine, The sea was calm. Probably if this was somewhere around where the Sermon on the Mount took place, maybe they really didn't have that far to go. A couple of miles. But you got to understand the geography of that of that place. The old man of the snows. Mount Hermon is little over 40 miles north of them. And that thing is so massive, it's not one peak like Mount Hood or Mount Rainier. Rainier. It's it's a multiple series of peaks just under 10,000 feet. But that's put the seashore nearly there. So this is a pretty significant mountain. It creates its own weather. I've had Israeli gunboat captains tell me when they were running an armed Israeli gunboat in the sixties out on that sea, protecting the fishermen from being shelled from the Golan Heights, which the Golan Heights are on the eastern side of that. See, the sea runs north and south, basically in the shape of a harp running north and south. I've had gunboat captains tell me that they've been out on that sea in a modern vessel of war, and they thought they were going to die because they got in such massive swells, 20 foot swells out on the sea like that, 15 to 20 foot can.

 

[00:07:13] That's unimaginable. And so these disciples now are out in a shallow draft boat. If you ever want to look at something like what they were in or you got this Google the Jesus boat and you'll see a broad, not much broader than a little bit broader maybe than both of my hands stretched out 14, 15 feet long, something like that. They've actually dug up a replica of it. You can you can see I mean, not a replica. They the archeologists have recovered a boat from that that time era. You can see it now. Anyway, they're out there. The waves came up. So was the word say the boat was out on the sea. Jesus is up on the side of the shore alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the doors against an adverse wind. Now, listen, this is a word for all of us in times of crises. This should have been an easy row. They should have been able to you know, they were these were professors. Some of them were professional fishermen. It should have been no big deal whatsoever to go over a couple of miles or so. They they got it. They got it down. But if it's 3:00 in the morning, this is a very serious deal. It's maybe the wind had blown them actually out a ways. They're trying to get back to shore. They're doing anything they can to get back to shore. It's a truly dangerous situation. I can even imagine. Possibly this is sheer imagination, not from the word itself, but I can imagine a couple of them in there with buckets. Bailing is quick and as hard as they can and the word says. That one, love. You know, when he saw them out there, he came toward them early in the morning walking on the sea.

 

[00:09:27] Now it's a storm. It's a bad situation. And what we need to hear is, is the literal words of Jesus right in the midst of a terrible, terrible scene. The footsteps of love are firm and says he intended to pass by them or pass them by. Now, that doesn't mean that he meant to walk by them in some enigmatic display of glory. Hey, look, guys, you know, he wasn't trying to impress anybody. That's kind of how I took it at first. But when you when you when you really look into it, Nixon cheated a little bit. It's just saying presence, presence. I'm with you. I'm with you in this storm. Not not showing off steps of love or firm. I'm with you in this storm. Now you're going to read one of the single most embarrassing words in the entire New Testament. Now, look, we all like to pick on the disciples and how they didn't get it right. Well, I think we need to honor we need to honor them. And certainly we love them and what a privilege they had. And all they're doing is displaying what you and I have been through. You know, this human nature business. Verse 49. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost. Oh, you just want to throw the word down? A ghost? Give me a break. There were legends in that day and time. There were these myths of sea sprites or sea spirits. In other words, demonic forces that would come out in the midst of these terrible storms that would come barreling down from Mount Hermon, from the north, creating those ten, 15 foot swells, sometimes greater that would that killed the fisherman and they all feared them.

 

[00:11:42] These guys had grown up hearing stories about the sprites, the sea sprites, the demons of destruction that would come up from the deep during the storm. So what? What's happening here? You know, their own early childhood formation or deformations coming back into play there. Their deepest fears are are boiled to the surface, roiled, literally roiling the. Their deepest fears are emerging. What's their deepest fear here? I'm going to die a terrible death. The end is upon me. I'm done for. I am done. Now I need to give. I need to give you all a pastoral word to those of you who are in ministry and a compassionate word for anyone trying to follow Christ who is in a in a crisis moment. But particularly for those of you who are leading the flock. You know, when I was growing up, my grandmother cooked with a terrible, monstrous machine called a pressure cooker. Now, I've seen pressure cookers in other parts of the world, so I'm fairly sure that the whatever society you're in and listening to, you're going to know what a pressure cooker is. But just in case you don't know what I'm talking about or you have another term for it, pressure cooker is a big pot that you would fill with water and then put whatever you want to cook really quick in it. It's got a heavy lid. You literally screw the lid down and then it's got a pressure valve on it that lets out steam. Well, my mother, my grandmother would cook with that thing because she would do what was called putting up vegetables for the winter. She would put up all sorts of green beans, different types of things, and she had to cook them in this pressure or she would cook them in the pressure cooker first.

 

[00:14:12] Well, when you're cooking in it, it makes a lot of steam. It it rattles. It shakes. It moans. I mean, to a little kid, it's a horrible it's a scary thing. But it enabled her to cook things really quickly any time she was cooking it out. Boy, I would back away. I wouldn't I wasn't about to go in her kitchen because I thought the thing would blow up. Never blew up. Now, here's the word for you leaders who are listening to this ministry. Is in large measure a pressure cooker in that if you especially if you enter into ministry as a young person and many of you listening to this will be young. Now, why is it a pressure cooker? Well, for most people, you're you are allowed to grow and learn by making mistakes. A young man found himself appointed as president of a bank and he was truly fearful about taking the song. The huge responsibility. He went to the retiring director, the present president who was stepping down. He said, Man, you've got to help me. How in the world am I going to do it? And the retiring president looked, looked at him, said, I have one word for you. And the young man was eager to hear the word the president said, make mistakes. And the young man shook his head. He said, What? And the retiring president said, Make mistakes. That's how you're going to grow. That's how you're going to learn. Make mistakes. Don't be afraid. Make mistakes. Now, look. So most people are given a setting where they they don't they can make mistakes and mature in a normal way. I mean, so in today's sociology, sociological understanding of when this full blown adulthood take place, there are any number of sociologists who will tell you that this kind of independent, full blown adulthood really does not start emerging until early to mid thirties, sometimes later.

 

[00:16:55] And now that's North American sociologists that would not apply in all but all spheres of the globe now. But the point being, maturity, both physical, mental, our discerning maturity, our decision making. All of that takes time to unfold. And, you know, hopefully you're in a setting where people are gracious and allow you those kinds of mistakes. Ministry is a little bit different from that. Ministry is the thing where you really got to grow up quick. And mistakes are costly. I remember just pride in my cell phone being able to remember everybody's name. And in one of the congregations, an early congregation that I served, in fact, and we knew their names. I knew the dogs names, I knew the cat's name. Some of them had horses, you know, I just knew who they were. Well, one of my members had a visitor with her. And so I boldly, like a young fool, stood up and said, Margaret, would you please introduce your mother to us? There was a long pause, and I was so stupid at that point that I, you know, I didn't even say what's wrong with her. She said, Pastor Steve, this is my sister. And you know, at that point you say, Oh, Jesus, where's the hole? Oh, there's just yeah, come quickly, Lord. So you don't make that twice. You know, you don't make that kind of mistake twice. You name it, I've done it. It's stuff like that. Too numerous to get into here. So ministry, the screws are tightened around you and your IT forces you to mature faster. I think in some sectors, not in all sectors, but all. All in all, I think it's a it's a harder road to go in. And those of you who have any kind of a romantic, idealistic view about being a minister of the gospel, you know, let me assure you God will beat that out of you really quick.

 

[00:19:35] Just don't worry. I don't want to run anybody off, but I want to do romanticize something. And particularly if you have a need to be needed by others and affirmed by other. It's going to be a tough road. Real fast. And if particularly if you cannot go through the crisis of critique. He he intended to pass them by, but when they saw him walking, they thought it was a ghost and cried out for they all saw him and they were terrified. That word is shaken up. I mean, it's like taking a bottle of water. They didn't have they had glass in it. But anyway, it's just like taking taking a container of water. I mean, you're just totally disoriented, crying out. The crisis is going to completely c totally destroy everything in your life. For they all saw him and were terrified. Now, the voice of love, does that chide them? He did in other places, but here he has compassion on them. But immediately he spoke to them and he said, Take heart. It is I mean, this is this is the orphanage ofany this is a showing of God. Think about what's God's name. I am that I am. This is God showing up. Then the command. Don't be afraid. Do not be afraid. Then it gets into the boat with them and the winds ceased and they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the lows, but their hearts were hardened. What? Why is that thrown in there? Ooh, So you got it back up now. They lapsed into vainglory. They thought this whole thing of the lows was something that would elevate them, make them mighty people of prominence, these common people. They thought this was elevating them into a place of prominence in the eyes of those they were called to serve.

 

[00:22:15] Not so. Not so. They did not understand. The nature of miracle is not to promote me. The nature of miracle is to show the character of God. This is a God who provides, even when it seems impossible. So Jesus is continuing to disciple those he's loved, those he loved, and he's disciples in us. And one of the ways that he disciples us is through these times of crisis in which we think that the end has come and we are screaming out. This will take the meaning of our lives away. And the Lord Jesus comes and he says, Man, I am that I am, I'm with you, I'm with you. Do not be afraid. Over and over and over you, you'll hear these words. Oh, strong language in that day and time. Strong. It's a word eliciting response. Do not. It's an imperative word. Do not be afraid. Now. Are we flying apart here? Well, some things may be in the in the process of being crucified, because only through a collapse. Only through a meltdown can can we get to the point of letting go, of letting go of the fear we have that keeping that makes us hold on to things we shouldn't be hold holding on to. I mean, God wants to display his glory to us. He wants to show us his nature. And he's using all things, you know, God never was a good crisis. He just doesn't do it. Not if we will allow him to speak into our lives. Now, these things can go one of two ways. Basically, I'm assured you can probably go more than one or two ways in the midst of a crisis. What is it that we're called to do if we're moving? If we're moving from whatever has fallen upon us and we're moving through whatever crucifying the epiphany is meant to be, you know, it's where God's trying to do something for us.

 

[00:25:18] And then we're going to we're going to end up over here in a in a different place. I mean, if you really want to get this from through to movement, go with me quickly. Turn, turn with me to to Corinthians to second Corinthians three and you'll get the movement, second Corinthians three. But when one sticks, but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the spirit, and we're the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. And all of us with unveiled faces see the glory, You know, that's to the presence. This is this is old testaments like heaviness. This is the weight of God. This is this is God's nature being revealed to us, the glory of the Lord as the reflected in the mirror. So what's happening? There's an action happening. So all of us are being transformed. Those following Christ are being transformed into the same image. Keep in mind, I am not being transformed into my definition of the good life. No, the same image. If you follow a poorly thought out, it's the image of Christ. In other words, his character, His nature. His love, his fidelity, my character, my nature, my love, my fidelity, sheer gift. He don't earn it. I'm telling you, sanctification is a gift. We do talk a lot about process and there is growth in the Lord. But you don't process your way into this. Its gift is given to you. It's gift. So all of us with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord or being transformed in the same image. What from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. So we're moving. We're being moved. We're being transformed here from one degree of glory to another.

 

[00:27:53] Now, right at this crucified epiphany, when I'm at that Psalm 16 moment, when it appears that life is going to tear me apart and there's all sorts of dynamics causing fear, you remember, fear is always tied into a very specific thing. This storm is going to sink the boat of my life or it's going to bring up all sorts of anxiety where I just really hadn't resolved whether life is good or God is good. I don't know that I can trust either life or I. I don't know that I can trust others or I don't know that all life is going to be meaningful. So all of this stuff's been drug out and probably both fear and anxiety are being drug out of us. What's called for at this point? What's called for. Now, think about it just for a minute. What's called for? God didn't do everything for us. There are a lot of faith decisions along the way. A whole lot of faith decisions. Am I going to trust? Am I not going to trust? Now, when I make the decision here that God does not have my best interests in mind, that people basically think that the church is corrupt. It's not. You know, how can anything good come out of all of this mess that nobody cares? There's no righteous in the land. You know, when I when I make the decision that it's just a hopeless mess, what happens? This thing is going to take a very, very rapid devolve. It's going to go downhill into ego desperation. I should actually use more biblical language here other than ego, that's not a biblical term, but it's just a racist and put hopelessness. Remember what we've already covered. It is hope less devoid of goodness.

 

[00:30:57] That's the decision I'm making here that I'm saying the quote in my saying this and this is an incredibly selfish move, self-centered move. Why is it self-centered? Because you're looking all around you and all you see is what's wrong. And because you think you have exhausted all of your own resources. In other words, there's no way that this situation can be fixed and I don't have any more resources. So. So there's profoundly, profoundly tragic self curvature here in the worst since it's self curvature that actually is spinning the self down. So there's self-deception. It's the spoiled child in me saying life stinks. And I'm sick of it or this situation stinks and I just don't want anything else to do with it. So ego desperation starts coming and then it's hopelessness sets in anger. Anger sets in. Then of course it's for some it's very, very quick step then to end your own life. Why not? It's all meaningless anyway, and there's nothing left to move forward for. And that can come across as a hard and cruel thing. And certainly in your own ministry, when someone's dealing with suicide, you need to you need to take both the firmness of the Lord as well as the compassion of Lord. But now I'm not dealing in this teaching with someone contemplating. I'm dealing with people who are in ministry now and I'm talking about you are souls. No, this is not the way. This is the way that Satan wants to take us so that we can be destroyed, totally ineffective, taken off the game, off the playing field of the kingdom. Let me suggest also that we are not hard wired. When the Lord created us. We're not hardwired to take this kind of move.

 

[00:33:36] Well, then that begs the next question What in the world are we hardwired for? How did he create us? What? What? What is it that that he wants us to do? The crucifying epiphany actually calls all of us. To a leap of faith. Now, this isn't a leap into nothingness. This isn't a leap that does not have an object pole. There is an object pole here. So let's keep let's let's keep unfolding this. What's the action required here? Being called forth. What's what's what's the word here? It's called formative The Post D Formative. Formative abandonment. To the mystery. Now I'm using mystery in a Pauline sense, so. Paul Yes, that is a word Paul used a mystery on, and it just means that which was hidden, that which was revealed, I mean that which was hidden is now revealed to us in Christ formative abandonment, to the mystery of God. John Wesley had to do this. He goes to America to be a missionary. He basically writes. So I go to save the heathen who's going to save me, comes back and really leave left America under incredibly negative circumstances. Was true billed by grand jury. Had to sneak out of the nation to go back to his home in England, finds himself in a very, very difficult day and time in his own life. And God gets a hold of him. God literally gets a hold of him, uses some Moravian to be an instrument, to speak into his life where he can abandon his life. I mean, think about all of the figures in church history that that have gone through major crucifying epiphanies. And what do they do? You know, they he this call, I am going to surrender. I'm going to I'm going to lay my life down.

 

[00:36:41] I'm going to move forward in a way that even though I cannot see how in the world this thing's going to work out, I want to move forward, trusting God that something someway, somehow he's going to do something. He's going to work. He's going to work it. Now, there's some there's there's some things that'll happen when I take this. And let me suggest. Let me suggest that I believe it from a from an anthropological viewpoint, when the Lord created us. I really believe he didn't create us with the natural tendency to just dive, take this nose, dive down into deep, dark depression, excessive agony. You know, no, I believe he created us to trust him. To. To. To. To. Even though the leap comes from the fact that I can't really see. In fact, it all seems impossible. But in the very leap, I'm saying there are resources that I can't see that I don't even understand. And I am trusting that there's something greater than myself at work in this situation. Sometimes illustrations help, and illustrations can also get in the way. But it's almost like you've got to experience something like this. 38 years ago on this day, my wife and I had a had a child born to us. And so we're we're celebrating with that child this day. And now let me back up and tell you what had happened earlier. We had one child in 1977 and really felt like we, the Lord, wanted us to have more children. You know, we loved children and we wanted to have children. And yet it seemed to be increasingly difficult to have another child. And there was some heartache in all of that. And my wife experienced several miscarriages. And that's that's a hard thing.

 

[00:39:16] And then, as was my custom in that day, I got away from the local church, drove to a wilderness area in the southwestern part of the state of Colorado. Now, this was a day when ordinary people didn't I mean, there were no cell phones in that day in time. There were portable phones that some people had, but I most certainly didn't have one. I was way, way back in a wilderness area and miles and miles in a wilderness area. And I woke up at one night, one night. And I knew that. I knew that. I knew that I had to go back home. I had no idea I was with my wife's uncle and a couple of friends. I said, Guys, I'm leaving. And I packed out by myself early that next morning. Drove a long ways to find a phone, a payphone, got on the phone and called call home and got a hold of my mother in law and heard this story. My wife was hospitalized and in fact, my wife had been through a fairly serious surgery. She'd gone into a regular physician with great pain, stomach pains, and on Friday afternoon, physician said, You're fine. Go home by Saturday, midnight. She's in an emergency surgery in Amarillo, Texas, bleeding out from what's called a tubal pregnancy. So she had been pregnant. And as the baby grew, then the two ruptured and my wife was in deep, deep trouble. And so I called on Sunday morning, let us say that I broke the speed limit coming home that day because it's a long drive home. Well, of course, after that, we were you know, we were heartbroken because in that emergency surgery of kind of the parts of the original equipment, you know, for having children got removed.

 

[00:42:01] And we went back home. And one of our dear, dear saints that we love, we loved her then and I love her now. She's in heaven now and I love her. But said a really cruel thing. She said, Steve, I just think God didn't want you and Diane to have any more children. Now, that's not what you say. When your wife nearly died and you're in a grief process over losing a child. So there was some sadness in that. Six weeks later, we go back to the doctor, you know, And I mean, at that point, honestly, I don't know how my wife felt, but at that point I thought, well, that's it. We've we've had all the kids. We're going to have it. It's over. We go back. I'm in the waiting room. A Christian OB is is with her. I hear the dude start yelling, dude, start yelling. Said, Nurse, nurse, bring me the chart. I can't believe this. Bring me the chart. Well, there was a baby where it should be. And he said, I can't believe this. I can't believe this. Never have I not done what's called a D in C when I did a tubal ligation when I did that kind of surgery. Standard operating procedure is to do a DNC. Well, that would have taken out any other, you know, baby that was there never once. Well, the long and the short of it was Dianne was pregnant with twins. Nobody knew that. So even as I'm looking at my own wife sitting out here with us right now, for which I'm so grateful. Yeah. Pregnant with twins. And so 38 years ago, we have that little baby came and she's still going strong. And she has blessed us today.

 

[00:44:12] We've got two, two grandchildren. And, you know, we thank the Lord. Look, not in my wildest dreams. I mean that. How does that how did things like that happen? You know, wasn't even on my it wasn't even on my in my thinking part at all. See, that's that's that whole thing, you know, categories. The disciples didn't even have categories. You know, they were just stunned. Sit there in dead silence on the sea. God has acted. Now. That's what this that's what this business is all about here. God asks when I step away, when I when I allow him to do whatever he's going to do without me trying to control the abandonment, what does the abandonment do? First of all, it says, okay, Lord, I let go. Other words you've heard, it can be a trite saying it's really not try to let go and let gone. In other words, I can't I can't control this. I can't handle I can't work this out on my own. I am trusting you. So it's a it's a literal act of trust. It's also saying where and if. Now, not always. Is repentance going to be involved in this? But if repentance is involved, it's it's. That's going to come as will I repent for any legitimate way that I have sinned, fully contributed toward this. Now, keep in mind, like say so there's innocent suffering. There's truly innocent suffering where we're called to to to trust in this when I have not contributed to it. And in a number of times in pastoral ministry, you know, people love to spread shame around. You know, it's one of Satan's tools. So I don't repent where I have not committed sin. I don't I don't have to do I don't have to be caught up in that.

 

[00:46:40] I am literally willing here to actively I'm talking actively. Wait. I do not believe in pacifism in a spiritual sense where I sit back and do nothing. In fact, as the church history has said, that that's not a solid thing at all. I am actively looking for how Jesus and expecting Jesus to unfold this, even if I can't see it or don't see it. I am at the same time embracing. I'm going to embrace my need for the body of Christ. This drives me toward people, toward Christians, toward what I need and who I need in Christ. It's this is this is a way of of allowing myself to be loved by Christ with real, actual people. Real, actual, real, actual arms. I am literally here. I am not only embracing the Trinity, but I'm allowing the Trinity to embrace me now where there is repentance involved. If it means cutting out these these things of an ordinance attachments. Those things I was holding on to tightly. I don't let go or I'll let go of whatever if I'm holding on, if I've had a financial collapse that I bought myself, if I've been holding on to too tightly, I'll let go or I'll let you determine the this financial route. If I need to let go of and allow to be crucified sinful activity on my part, sinful actions. Then I let it go. I mean, I asked for Christ to crucify that which is darn near destroyed me. I don't do it out of that. I do it for his glory because I know he's calling me to a higher one. But you see what I'm saying? If repentance, not always repentance, is going to be involved. These are ways of of actively moving forward into this in order to then be open to receive what ever it is that the Lord has for me on the other side of this crisis.

 

[00:49:53] I'm also in this active waiting that that also involves a very certain sense of patience with which is based on confidence. There's there's patience in this base. So I'm patient, which is based on confidence in God. He's going to act. Now let's bring this teaching to a close by going back where we started, by going to to a song 16, the great messianic song, and and seeing how that song progresses and what it has to say for us today. After crying out to the Lord for the Lord to hold him together. And after affirming that the saints in the land or the noble in his delight in the Saints. And then in verse four, after also affirming that those who choose another gods simply multiply their sorrows. Then what is this? The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup. You hold my lot or the world is all right, Lord, you provide everything I need. And this is what I choose. I choose to accept what you give me. What? How you providentially care for my life. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. I grew up in a land with barbed wire fences to hold candle in, and I spent many, many, many a day riding along those barbed wire fences or either driving in a four wheel drive pickup or riding on a horse. It's this is an old man looking back on the fence. And he sees the fence here and he sees the fence over there and he's saying, wow, everywhere you have led me, Lord, it's good. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, man. You've got. You've got everything needful for me. You hold, my Lord. In other words, all that I am.

 

[00:52:39] All that I have. All that I. All that I will be. Those things are all in your hands. It's. It's a it's been a pleasant a good, good time. I bless the Lord. Here's that idea of worship. Who gives me counseling in the night? Also, my heart instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me. Look, what's the wandering eye? You'll see the wandering eye in some 36 one. There is no fear of God in his eyes. What's the wandering eye? It's the evil eye, always out, scanning the horizon, trying to find something that will. It will bring meaning into life. It's a divided heart. Always trying to. To grab something, to fill the void. No, I keep the Lord always before me is reference is set. Because he is my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad and my soul rejoices. My body also risks secure for you. Do not give me up to the shades. The landed death. What happened was Christ. After 3:00 on Friday afternoon, on the day that he was died. On the day he died, What did Peter say happened? Where did he go? I mean, at least his body was dead. But where did where did his spirit go? We're talking about classic, classic understanding here of Christian theology. Man, he preached, he goes, preaches to the spirits in bondage, in death, in the land of the shades. Goes to hell. It goes to say dominion. And at that point in Satan's dominion where Satan thought he had him, that's the greatest upset in all of world history. Right there. The great shock right there. Death did not have him. And what is what did the gospel say? And the dead start arising.

 

[00:55:02] And the dead appear even to the apostles in Jerusalem. No. He preached to the spirits in prison. He broke the chain. He broke the wall. No, you do not give me up to the shades or let my life be destroyed. Get that hope. Do you see why this is a messianic psalm? Do you see why this is a psalm that's perfect for the crucified? An epiphany that we're to go through? You see, death was not the final word. What? What's more convincing? More impossible than a dead person. Well. This is why we are Easter people. And then he rose. Bodily. Bodily. Bodily. From the dead. So how does it end? You show me here. We went to one of the most embarrassing parts of Scripture. But now we're going to one of the great highlight parts of Scripture. You show me the path not of death, not of destruction. The crisis. You show me the path of life because it was one for us in the life suffering, death, burial and resurrection in ascension of Christ, our Lord. You show me the path of life in your presence. There is one fulness of joy. In your right hand are pleasures forever more. Prince. This is where this leads us. May it be so in your heart And may your heart be firm in the confidence that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ grants to all of His children. This crisis will not destroy you. It will take you into the Psalms, into the life of Christ. Any man. A man.