Well, guys, welcome in. We still got a few more folks coming in, but we’re gonna go ahead, jump in, get started.
I want to introduce real quick our guest today for our first Lunch and Learn, Joel Malm. For those who have never heard of Joel Malm let me just tell you he’s a fantastic guy. Just on a personal note I have personally benefited from Joel’s ministry. He’s an author, he’s a speaker, entrepreneur, personal development coach, all-round great guy. Joel, we could keep going. If I was gonna vote anybody who was most likely born with three kidneys you’re probably that guy. I mean, you’re just you’re pretty spectacular in my mind, but Joel he is very gifted. The Lord has blessed Joel with a teaching ability, with a speaking ability, and he understands disciple making. He understands leadership. And we are blessed to have him today, and we want to welcome him in.
Welcome all of you guys in. We certainly hope that this is beneficial for everybody. So, Joel, I’m gonna pray for us, and then we’re gonna jump in, and then Joel we’ll turn you lose.
Heavenly father, God, we certainly thank you for allowing us this privilege of being here today. And God we ask for an anointing on our time together. Would you please continue to fill Joel’s heart, and his mouth with your words and your purpose, and help us to receive these words. And please continue to help us to truly glorify you with all the things that you have been doing in our lives over the past several weeks and months. And so, Lord, be honored now, and it’s in your name Jesus, Amen. Joel, thanks for being here, buddy.
Hey, well, thanks so much for having me. I’m really grateful for all you guys out there, pastors, and ministry folks doing what you do. I know it’s been a time of a lot of change, kind of forced change. So I’m just so grateful. I just love how I’ll see so many pastors that it’s uncomfortable for them sometimes stepping out in this new world that we’ve got going here of going online, but I just love the body of Christ stepping up to the call, and that’s what we are called to do, so.
I want to talk today about making disciples in times of great fear and anger. It’s kind of interesting timing on all of this COVID thing because if you haven’t noticed there’s a lot of fear around it, and fear and anger are always connected. I’ll talk about that in a minute, but it’s just interesting because so pretty much my entire life I have struggled with major fear. I think the moment I’ve traced it back, I’ve been writing a book about this for about two years I kind of traced it back. I think the moment it started for me was when I was probably about 11 years old, and I read a book that was completely not age appropriate. It was a Christian book, but it was about the end of the world. And I remember just being gripped with just terrible, terrible fear. I would have nightmares, I couldn’t sleep, and ever since then fear has kind of been this constant companion for me. It’s been this struggle. I’ll go through seasons where it gets better, and I’ll beat it down with Bible passages, and truth, and walking in faith, but then there’s seasons where it comes, and it’s crazy.
Last fall was probably right in the middle of finishing up this book was probably the biggest struggle I’ve had with fear. I literally would wake up every morning with this sense of impending doom. And nothing was wrong. We didn’t even know COVID was a thing at that time, but I just woke up with this sense of impending doom, and I remember sometimes I just didn’t want to get out of bed. I would try and write, I would try and pray. I just felt completely overwhelmed and helpless. So what I’m gonna share today is not some theory. They say a man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with a theory. What I’m sharing with you today is from personal experience of learning how to really face your own fears. I’m convinced you never completely conquer fear, but, man, you can move forward with faith, and you can replace fear with faith.
We’ll talk about that in a minute, too, but so I want to share with you guys that this morning just kind of talk about this because I know this about everybody that’s watching, right? Every one of you if we were to get honest you’ve got some of your own fears. Maybe you’ve been watching your church budget, and you’re seeing, man, things are drying up. People just aren’t giving as much. I’ve been hearing varied stories. I work with a lot of pastors, and I’m hearing some stories they’re saying giving is up, and others are saying, man, giving is down. It’s a real struggle for us. So I know some of you are looking at that budget, and you’re wondering how are we gonna pull this off this year with the giving down? Some of you are looking at your numbers of church, and you’re saying, man, we were already struggling. This hit that we’re taking, people being afraid to come back. How are we ever gonna recover from this? It’s a real struggle, and then you got your own personal fears.
You got fears for yourself, your own financial situation. You got fears for your family. I mean, maybe fears for your health. The thing about fear is it’s a natural primary emotion. I mean, if you look in the Bible the first thing that Adam and Eve experienced when sin entered the world, when they ate the forbidden fruit was they got afraid. God comes looking for Adam, he says, I realized I was naked, and I became afraid. And so fear is this really it’s really a primal emotion. And one of the most important things I got to understand about fear as somebody whose dealt with fear myself a lot is you can’t rationalize yourself out of fear, okay?
So one of the challenges I think we have is I should just be able to talk myself out of this, and fear a lot of times is irrational. That’s just the reality of it it’s irrational. Sometimes it’s an enemy and attacked from the enemy Satan just coming down on you with fear, and sometimes it’s our own catastrophizing. We call that in psychology we call that catastrophizing in your mind where you take a small thing, and you turn into like the ultimate catastrophe in your mind all the bad things that could happen, but the reality is we at our core are very emotional beings. And I know a lot of people I’m this way, too. I’m like, well, no, I’m rational, I’m rational. I’m not driven by emotion, just the facts, man, but really neurology, psychology, and even the Bible has shown that at our core we are emotional beings. There’s these emotions that we have that God placed in us. It’s actually a part of our soul, and the Greek word the psyche incorporates our soul. That’s what Paul is talking about when he says that the word of God is quick and powerful able to divide between soul and spirit, divide asunder.
Watchman Nee talks a lot about that the body, soul, spirit, the idea that our soul, our emotions are a very real thing. And what we end up doing is we end up finding rationale, and facts to back up what our emotions have already convinced us of. And I know some listening are saying, no, no, I’m a rational being, but the reality is we are all emotional at our core, and we look for rationale to back it up. So here’s the challenge, though, because fear is irrational it’s a strong emotion. You can’t drive it out with rationale. The only thing you can use to drive out fear is something stronger. And that’s why I love 1 John 4:16, which is kind of my text for today is where he say he says so we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love, abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment because as he is, so also are we in this world. And this is the powerful clincher right here. He says there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives or casts out fear.
And I think the reality that we have to recognize first of all in this world of fear that we’re dealing with as we’re trying to disciple people, and trying to deal with our own emotions of fear is because fear is oftentimes irrational you’re not gonna talk yourself out of fear. It has to be driven out by something stronger, and there’s only one thing, really, that is stronger than fear and that is love, and that’s God’s perfect love. Now I realize that’s kind of ethereal, and you’re like, well, okay, that’s great, I believe that, right? But how do we work that out? How do we work that out? And I think the first thing we’ve got to understand as pastors and ministers as we’re trying to minister to people, and also you can only take people as far as you’ve gone yourself, so a lot of times we have to face our own fears. Fear that isn’t dealt with. I have a masters degree in counseling, and I counsel a lot of pastors and leaders, and a lot of times they don’t want to admit their fear because it seems like weakness. And the challenge with fear is is fear doesn’t always appear as fear. I’ve seen this over and over again with people I coach.
There’s four specific ways I’ve seen fear appear. It doesn’t always appear as anxiety, or over worry or concern. Sometimes it appears as anger. Anger and fear are directly connected. If you look at the biblical sequence of the story Adam and Eve are kicked out of the garden, and then their kids immediately anger shows up in the next chapter. Genesis 3 they’re kicked out, Genesis 4 anger shows up. Anger is always a response to not getting three basic things that we’re gonna talk about in a second. And we’re gonna talk about the core of where fear comes from so that you can help kind of minister to the people that you’re trying to disciple, and also work on yourself, right? It sometimes shows up as anger. If you’re feeling a lot of anger, and I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled with a lot of anger. Again, remember, I’ve been afraid my whole life, so I had anger. Anger and fear are always connected. Anger always comes from a fear that you have, and we’ll talk about what those three fears are in a second, but when you’re feeling angry, and I’ve been kind of on the verge of that recently.
Yesterday I was cooking, and I bumped my head on the hood vent, and I like I just lost it. I slammed the pan down and I’m like baaah. And I was like what is wrong with me? Is there something evil lurking inside of me? Like what’s going on here? And the reality is that anger can be a sign that you’re dealing with a lot of fear. So if you’ve been feeling a lot of anger, and we’ve actually seen the numbers for domestic violence has been just skyrocketing in our country right now for two reasons. People are stuck at home with their families, and have to deal with issues they haven’t dealt with because they can go to work and get away from them, but also because anger shows up when everybody’s afraid, and there’s a lot of uncertainty right now.
So we’ve got to recognize that anger for what it is. Anger is a sign that someone’s afraid, but anger is this response that promises us power, right? In reality and the psychology of it is it actually causes you to lose IQ points, right? And a lot of us can’t afford to lose many IQ points, right? So we want to be careful with anger, but, I mean, anger is not a sin. It’s just a sign that there’s some fear that we need to deal with, so anger can actually, I talk about in this book, “Love Slows Down” that I just wrote how anger can actually be a gift that God has given us to help recognize the areas of our life we haven’t surrendered to him, fears that we haven’t surrendered. So anger is a way it appears. Another way it appears is apathy. This is weird, you say, how can apathy be fear? Well, a lot of times what happens is you start to think what does it matter anyways? I try and try, we were just getting momentum. The church was just starting to grow. Things were just starting to get better, and then all of a sudden this hits, right? And a lot of times apathy, these thoughts of apathy, and we try and push them out of our minds, but it’s hard to fight sometimes the apathy of like, well, what does it matter? What’s the point? Every time I try and get ahead, every time I think something’s happening, every time I think God is blessing something we’re doing, it falls apart and that’s a very real issue we’ve got to deal with is the reality that apathy points to fear that maybe we fear God has abandoned us. Maybe fear of future disappointment.
Again, I talk about that in “Love Slows Down” which I’m gonna give you guys a free copy of at the end of this, so I won’t go into it, but. And then the other way that it appears is as indecision. I’ve worked with a lot of high-level executives who throughout their life they’ve just driven forward, and they end up saying I don’t know what I want to do next. And when we get to the root of it it’s usually fear. So if you’re struggling with a lot of indecision it’s fear. I was working with a guy very high ranking military official, and he was getting out of the military, and he’s like I don’t know what I want to do next. And I said you don’t know at all what you want to do? No, no, no, and I said, when I’ve worked with people in the past, and I’ve seen they can’t make a decision they’re kind of indecision they don’t know what they want to do it’s usually fear-based. And he’s like I’m not afraid, man. I’ve been shot at, I was in Iraq, and he’s telling me all these things, and I was like, I get it, I get it, but this is a different kind of fear, right? So we discussed for like 40 minutes, and he finally admitted that he wanted to go back to school. I said, oh, well, what’s the problem? He said, well, I might, what if I can’t, I haven’t been in school in a long time. Oh, so you’re afraid? No, I’m not afraid. Okay, well, what’s going on? Well, I might be the oldest guy in the class with a bunch of 20 year olds, and they won’t know who I used to be. I’m an important guy in the military. Bottom line it was fear he didn’t want to acknowledge.
A lot of times indecision if you’re having a hard time making decisions it’s okay to admit that you’re struggling with some fear. And when you face it ignoring fear it won’t go away, okay? Here’s the thing about fear. Fear has to be faced. Fear just ignoring it if you ignore it it will become pent-up anger, it will become indecision, it will become even worse issues like all sorts of things can result. It can turn into numbing behavior. I mean, and then ultimately you see a lot of times fear can drive sometime to suicide, right? There’s these primal emotions wrapped up in us, and we have to rather than trying to push them away we have to recognize that they’re a gift from God, but they’re also to be managed, and we have to manage the fear. We have to manage the anger.
So there’s three specific places that fear comes from, and this is the key with fear. You don’t just rationalize it away. Fear has to be faced, and the only way you face it is by acknowledging it. Saying, oh, let’s be honest I have some fears, and you present those to God. And then what you do is you just have to learn to do it afraid, which if you’ve been a pastor a while you’ve probably learned that. You just have to do it afraid because fear the way you conquer fear is by facing the thing you fear in small doses. It’s kind of like an inoculation. When we took my daughter to get her vaccine they started telling me, yeah, we’re putting live viruses of this and that, and polio, and I’m like that’s a scary thing like all these live viruses can be, but what happens is your body builds immunity to it. And I believe it works in the same way in the spiritual realm. We don’t just face fear by ignoring it like be fear. We face fear and we go forward taking small steps, which is those small steps of faith God asks us to happen. And then what happens is as you move forward, and you take the small step that God asked you to do he says, hey, look, you survived. And you’re like I did survive. And then he says, okay, now I need you to take another step, and you slowly take little step after little step.
So if you’re in your life looking at your church right now, and you’re saying I don’t know how we’re reboot this. I don’t know how we’re gonna comply with the states requests, regulations. I don’t know how we’re gonna make out financially. Here’s what I would encourage you to do. Just acknowledge your fears, admit them. Present them to God. He knows you, man, he already knows you’re afraid even if you’re not acknowledging it. Just admit them and say, Lord, here’s where we’re at. And I would encourage you to do walk your congregation through that, too. Just be real, get real honest with them maybe about your fears, your concerns. And then the thing about fear that’s really challenging is it thrives in darkness. The enemy loves to keep your fears in darkness, and so if you can keep them in darkness it just overwhelms you.
And so one of the things I work with a lot of the times and people is in my coaching program I had a guy whose at a very high-level government position, and he made a big mistake, and that mistake there’s lots of people lined up to take his job, and he was just worried he was gonna lose his job. So he got put on a three week leave while they were doing an investigation on the mistake he made, and he called me and he just said he was so afraid. And I said, okay, here’s what we got to do. You’ve got to bracket your fears because in Proverbs it says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And you kind go what does that mean fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?
I think what it means is this is that when you fear the Lord you really have nothing else to fear because you put all your fears in order. If you fear the Lord the fear of the Lord isn’t like a fear of his condemnation because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the spirit of life sets you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death there’s no condemnation. So the fear isn’t that we’re gonna be condemned. The fear is this it’s a healthy reverence for the fact that one day we’re gonna stand before God, and he’s gonna say, hey, what did you do with what I gave you? And you see that the story of the talents, the guy that buried the talent what was his excuse for burying the talent? I was afraid, I was afraid. I knew you were gonna hold me to council. I was afraid of what might happen. And that’s what actually gets him in trouble is the fear keeps him from moving forward. So what we do is we recognize that fear is always gonna be there, it’s gonna be there, okay? If you ignore it it’s still there. It’s just gonna show up in different ways.
So what you do is you say, okay, Lord, I recognize that you’ve called me to do something, and I feel maybe incapable of it in this new world we live in with this COVID thing I’m scared. I don’t know what to do, but, man, Lord, I trust that you’re gonna lead me forward here. And that’s the fear. That’s the healthy reverence for the fact that one of these days we’re gonna stand before God, and he’s gonna say, hey, what did you do with what I gave you? And we do not want him to say, oh, man, what could have been because he’s not gonna condemn us. He’s just gonna say what could have been? If we would have just taken the step forward the thing that I had for you is on the other side of your greatest fears. I love something Joseph Campbell says, he says, he said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” And a lot of times we know what we need to do, but, man, it’s a dark cave ahead, and, of course, faith. It requires those small steps of faith facing the thing we fear in small steps. You don’t need faith when it’s all bright and sunshine. You need faith in the dark. Faith only really operates when you can’t see the way forward. So you walk forward into that dark cave. You step forward you face the fear.
Now, here’s the three things I want to talk about that are the core of what are the primary fears that we have, and you see this from the story of Genesis. There’s three basic fears, and I like to call them last year I shared about this all over the country, and I saw that people didn’t like it when I called them basic needs. They liked it when I said your hopes and dreams, okay? So as pastors you know sometimes people get all hung up on words, so I’m just gonna call them your three basic hopes and dreams, but really they’re three things that God created you to need. And one of them is security. And you see that when God created Adam and Eve he gave them perfect security. He put them in the garden, there was no sin, nothing to harm them. The other thing we need is connection. I’m gonna give you a note sheet. You can write it down, but I’ll offer you a note sheet at the end of this where you can look at it get these three things. And it’s in the book as well. We need connection, we need relationship with others. We’re made to be plugged in with others, and when we don’t have that it can create a lot of fear.
I’ve been talking to a lot of pastors recently, and pastors a lot of times are in that connection corner that one of their core things that they really need is that connection, and this online thing is killing them, man, because they’re not getting that one on one connection with people. And so we need that, right? We need security, we need connection, which we have with God. That perfect connection with God so much so that he walked with us in the garden, and right? And the third thing we need is a sense of control, or empowerment and that’s basically the idea that you’ve got some freewill, which God gave us. We had that in the garden. Of course, we used it to mess everything up. So the fact is that as soon as we were separated from the perfect source of all of all of those things, from our security, connection, and control that God offered to us immediately fear entered, and then we see anger, and that’s been the sequence ever since. And one of the things that I think that’s really important for us to realize is pastors and ministers of the Gospel people wanting to make disciples is we’ve got to acknowledge people’s fears, and one of the best ways for you to acknowledge people’s fears is to acknowledge your own fear.
Get honest about it. You don’t have to be the tough guy all the time. It’s like I don’t have any fears. I trust, I got faith, right? There’s an element of that, right? Like fear and faith aren’t opposites. Fear is just faith in the wrong thing, which is actually really good news. If you are a fearful person, you have the potential to be a crazy faithful person. You just got to shift all that mental energy, all the emotional energy into trusting that God really is for us that he who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. Faith is trusting that God has a good plan even when we can’t see it. So if you’re a fearful person you can be a faithful person. It’s just shifting that mental energy. So we have to acknowledge that. We’ve got to acknowledge that with the security, connection, control element that we all have. And here’s the thing about it. We don’t drive it out by rationale, and this is the thing.
The word of God is absolute truth. It is the answer for our fear, but here’s the thing about it is you can share the truth with people all day long, but what we really need to encourage them to do is to walk out their faith because you really only get confidence to beat fear through personal experience of God’s faithfulness in your life. And that’s a big concept right there because a lot of times I think that’s what all of us really want. We want transformation in our people. Don’t be conformed to the power of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And one of the things we have to be really aware of as pastors right now is there’s a lot of fear blocking people’s ability. There’s a lot of fear in their ability to move forward, and so we can share the truth with them. You shouldn’t be afraid, God is love, blah, blah, blah, but really what we need to be encouraging them to do is to walk forward in the face of fear because that’s the only way that we’re gonna get personal experience of God’s faithfulness in our life.
And God never asks you to do something he hasn’t prepared you for. You don’t realize it at the time. You’re like this is scary what he’s asking me to do, but he’s always prepared you with little steps of faith. He knows what we’re made of. He knows our frame. He knows that we are dust as David says. He knows what we’re made of. And he never asks you to take a giant leap that he hasn’t prepared you for by showing his faithfulness in the past. And in this time right now the best thing I think we can do as pastors and ministers, I’m a teaching pastor of a church, too, so I’m having to focus on this all the time is just recognize the fact that a lot of people are afraid for their security right now. A lot of people are afraid for their connection. And a lot of people are afraid of their control. And there’s usually one that we’re very sensitive to. Mine is control, I’m very sensitive to control. I don’t want anybody to control me, right?
But we recognize those needs that people have, and then we also recognize that they’re never going to conquer the fear of not having those things, and the anger that they feel. The anger that they feel related to that is always related to a fear. So if you see angry posts online. If you see angry congregates saying, how dare you open the church too early. Are you trying to risk people’s lives? You’ve got to just remember, hey, there’s fear at the root of that. So don’t address the anger address the fear. And the only way we address the fear is really by encouraging people to have their own personal experience of faithfulness, but the only way they can do that of God’s faithfulness is by stepping out into the thing they fear the most. So that’s my encouragement for you guys is recognizing those three core things. And maybe in your life, too, as a pastor you’re saying, wow, that is my thing it’s the security thing.
I was talking about a pastor recently and he was very angry, so whenever we see anger, again, we always look for the fear. And he was talking about how angry he was at his congregation. He felt like they weren’t responding to him. And I said, well, what’s going on? And finally when we came to the root of it he said, I want to make some changes, but they fired the last guy that made some changes. And I don’t want to get fired because I don’t want to lose my security at this job. So instead what was happening was just pent-up anger, pent-up anger, and he was just getting angrier, and angrier at his staff, angry at his congregation. And the crazy thing was I’m guessing his congregation was getting a little frustrated with him, too.
And this is an interesting thing about I should have mentioned this earlier, but if you’re in the connection corner, if connection is your sensitive thing that’s your real big need you don’t like to call it anger. You prefer to call it frustration, which is fine. It’s the same thing it’s just pent-up fear, right? That you’re not gonna get something you need. It’s a pent-up threat to something you need, right? So what happens is the congregation was getting angrier, they were getting frustrated with him. And, finally, he admitted he’s like, I’m afraid of losing my job. And that was a reality for him, and the fear was keeping him from moving into what he wanted to do, and because he wasn’t facing the fear, anger was just growing. So that’s what I want to encourage you guys to do. If you’re feeling a lot of anger, a lot of frustration right now, listen, God gets it, he’s not mad at you. There’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ, but here’s the thing. The greatest fear that we could have we’ve got to bracket the fear. What’s the greater fear?
The greater reverence that we need to have is the fact that one day we’re gonna stand before God. He’s gonna judge our works and he’s gonna say, man, well done with what I did. Even though you were afraid you stepped out into what I called you to do, or the, oh, man, what could have been. What could have been, right? And, again, no condemnation, but I just would encourage you guys let’s be people of courage. Courage is contagious. And when you step out in courage some people are gonna call you insane. They’re gonna think you’re reckless. They’re gonna think you’re dangerous. This is the really hard place leaders are in right now is that you’re gonna get anger from either side. If you don’t step out you’re gonna get anger from people. If you do step out you’re gonna get anger because there’s fear everywhere, right? And different fears cause people to respond differently, but we’ve got to be courageous because courage is contagious, and when we’re courageous I just believe that God says, oh, man, there’s one I can trust, one that’s courageous enough to step out, listen to my voice.
Always listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. You notice when the apostles, very fearful even when Jesus was with them, but they received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and that was when they got out there and started preaching, and that was when the Gospel started forcefully advancing was when that Holy Spirit came and empowered them. And we’ve got that Holy Spirit available to us. He is the one who empowers us. He’s the one whose gonna give us guidance when to open to church, what decisions you need to make, what budget needs to be cut for different things because of financial issues. Maybe where you need to be giving more in certain areas. Trust his guidance as pastors he’s gonna guide you. Seek counsel, he’s gonna guide you, but don’t be afraid. The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek, and I just believe. And that’s my prayer for you guys is that God is gonna just that the kingdom of God is gonna advance like never before because of leaders like you who aren’t afraid. So don’t be afraid that’s my encouragement to you guys.
All right, wow, if I could I’d just say, hey, let’s just clap. I mean, I’m sure everybody would just be so overwhelmed. Man, Joel, thank you, bro. We so much appreciate it so much. I don’t know if you can see this, but that’s what I’ve been writing down, man. I took every single note you did it was awesome. I just appreciate. I can’t wait to go back and look at it. I even noticed in my own self that I’ve watched this stuff unfold in my kitchen. I’ve seen, oh, that’s why my 20-year-old like started screaming for no reason, you know? Like I remember my wife even yesterday said why is he so mad? Well, because he’s been in his room all day, and a 20-year-old is not supposed to do that. He’s supposed to be doing something.
I’m guessing his school year got cut short, too.
Oh, yeah, he just finished and all that kind of stuff. And so, yeah, this is just making some incredible sense. We’ve got some great questions. There’s some practical stuff here. Jason asked, fear can cause me to be paralyzed in sermon prep from week to week. I tend to spend more time than I should due to procrastination or fear. Any tips or thought processes that can help in the moment of sermon prep?
Yeah, that’s a great question. So real quick I’m gonna go into these answers, but there’s a lot more depth in this book I just wrote called “Love Slows Down.” And my publisher gave me permission to give it to you guys, which I was shocked. It’s not coming out ’til September, so as a digital version if you want to get that you can just text LOVESLOWS, L-0-V-E-S-L-O-W-S to this number here 44222, and you can get a free copy of that book. Just a little disclaimer. You’re also gonna get my weekly email. I send out a short weekly Monday email with encouragement for people, so if you get that you can unsubscribe at any time, but you’ll get that.
So sermon preps here’s what I think it would come back to in the sermon prep. You’ve got to acknowledge the fear, and you’ve got to name it, okay? So what is the fear that would be the question I would ask. The first fear is if you name it, is it the fear of the security? Is it the fear of the connection, or is it the fear of the control thing? Is it fear that you’re gonna say something that’s going to threaten your security? Is it fear that it’s gonna say something that’s gonna threaten your connection, or maybe disapproval from others in this time? Is it fear that it’s gonna threaten in some way your control? What’s the fear? Because you’ve got to name the fear because until you name it there’s something about when you know the truth it sets you free. You’ve got to get that truth, and then you can submit it to God and say, God, here’s the fear I’ve got, and then you move forward.
And that may take a little evaluation. You may need to talk it through with somebody. What is it that you’re afraid of as you’re preparing the sermon? Is it afraid of something you’re gonna say, or something wrong, you’re gonna upset somebody? It’s gonna threaten your job. It’s gonna threaten people not coming back to the church. Is it the fear of going online? I’ve talked to a lot of pastors they’re terrified of going online because they’re like I know my people. I’m okay with my people hearing my message, but, man, going online anybody can log on. Anybody can give their opinion.
Anybody can say anything. And you know there are some lunatics out there, right? It’s the crazy thing everybody’s got the equal voice on the internet so they can all say stuff, and you don’t know anything about that person. I’m gonna say this and I’m gonna say it, and it’s cold-blooded they may be the biggest loser out there, right? They may be somebody that doesn’t have any reason to speak with authority into what they’re saying. That’s how I’m defining loser, right? God loves everybody, but there are some people that they don’t have the authority to be speaking into that. That’s what it would always come back to is ask yourself what is it that you feel is being threatened? And then surrender that to God.
Hopefully, that’s helpful. And then I would encourage you this, man. Preach about that. A man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with a theory. When you preach about what you’ve been struggling with yourself you will connect with people on a level that it’s unbelievable what can happen when people it’s that confess your sins one to another that you may be healed James talks about. When you confess the struggles you’re having it’s just amazing the connection that it creates with people and they’re like, even my pastor has these struggles, wow, that’s crazy.
Yeah, it’s very practical I think, very practical. Let me ask this question. If a person is showing symptoms of fear, anger, indecision, whatever, but unable to pinpoint what is causing that how would you help them find that root cause? Like how would you help them get to that?
So here’s what I’ve learned in counseling. Here’s a little counseling tip. People will tell you everything you need to know about them if you will just ask a question and listen and leave space. And just follow-up. So one of the techniques we use in counseling, and really practical technique is if somebody says, well, dah, dah, dah, dah, I don’t know, I’m gonna go back to school. Back to school? And you just repeat the last thing they said with a question. Back to school? And then just leave it hanging there. If they’re not openly hostile to you they’ll respond. They’ll expand on it. And a lot of times we’ve just got to talk it out.
That’s the same thing for you pastors, too, which is why it’s so important, pastors. Listen, I know it’s lonely at the top, but it shouldn’t be lonely at the top. If it’s lonely at the top it’s because you’ve chosen to isolate yourself, and there’s great networks like what you guys have with the Passion Tree, and what the Alabama Baptists have. I know about what you guys do. If you feel lonely that’s on you, man. You’ve got to get with a group of people, and you’ve got to get with people that you’re willing to express those things with because if you’re isolating yourself the fear will be isolated with you, right? So if you’re trying to figure it out a lot of times you just got to talk it out that’s human nature. A lot of times we just have to talk it out, and you’re never gonna sit in a room and process it out. I like to sit and think, but my greatest revelations about what God is speaking to me usually comes when I’m talking to another brother, and saying I’ve been thinking about that. Oh, that’s what’s going on in me. That’s where my issue is. So get around other people, and just find something that you can just talk it out with, and if you’re trying to pull it out of somebody leave space.
That’s one thing I talk about in “Love Slows Down” is every chapter in “Love Slows Down” you do a specific thing, and one of the things I say is to be present. A lot of times being present just means tell me more about that. Turning that last thing they said into a question. You don’t even have to make it into like a fancy question. They’re like, well, I don’t know, I’m thinking about this or that, and blah, blah, blah, and my church attendance dropping. Attendance dropping? And just leave it for them. And as they talk it through, I mean, we’ve got the Holy Spirit to guide us. He will lead us in all truth, but a lot of times we’ve just got to get it out there into the open and admit what we’re actually dealing with. So I would encourage you let people talk it out, which is time-consuming I know, but let them talk it through, and most people will tell you pretty much everything you need to know if you listen. And then with the combination of that, and the Holy Spirit guiding you, I mean, it’s a very real thing the Holy Spirit giving you insight into those darker parts, deeper parts of you.
Yeah, that’s good. That really helps me a lot because I’ve gotten to a point. I’m gonna ask you a question in just a minute that deals with vision, but before I get there I want to ask you know our good buddy, Brandon Fomby. He asked you a good question here. It says, Joel, you mentioned three categories of placements of fear, and he can’t remember exactly the language. So maybe you can go back over that, but then how would you categorize Peter in his denial of Jesus?
So Peter is an interesting one. It’s funny because I was just reading the story this morning of him chopping off the guy’s ear, and Jesus is like, Peter, put away your sword. It was clear that Peter was not happy with how Jesus was unfolding the kingdom. I think Peter’s was a control thing. So the three things are security, connection, and control. And just based on Peter’s kind of like remember when he rebuked Jesus a couple times? He’s like, no, Jesus, don’t say that, don’t say that. Like I think Peter’s was a control thing. I see over and over again his was a control thing, and, for example, when he walked on the water. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, but all of a sudden he looked down and he realized, whoa, I’m completely out of control of this situation. Fear shows up and he starts sinking, right? It’s still pretty impressive that he got a few steps on water. I’ve never been able to pull that off, but you see it over and over again in the life of Peter. A lot of his issues were control. And today, I mean, with what I was reading today I realized that with Peter that he’s like if Jesus isn’t gonna take control of this situation I take control of this situation. He pulls out his sword, and goes back to the pattern of behavior he knows well. He starts lopping off ears. I think his was a control thing. My personal take, maybe you’ve got another one. It may be connection, too. We’ve all got elements of it, but usually one of them we’re really sensitive to.
Wow, that’s great. So if unbelief causes our fear what are practical ways to overcome unbelief in general?
I say the only way to is action which is faith. Faith is saying I believe so much that God is on my side working all things together for my good and his glory that I’m just gonna step out. That’s what I talk about that key point four here is only a revelation and personal experience of God’s love, and faithfulness can drive out fear. You’ve just got to do it afraid. You cannot rationalize in your mind, and do, well, if I set up this and protect myself here because if God puts something in front of you that you could pull off on your own you wouldn’t need him. And everything he puts in front of you that’s impossible is so that he gets the credit whenever you go, everybody at the end is like, wow, look what you did, you’re such a courageous person. You’re like, no, actually, I did it with fear and trembling. It’s the Lord that sustained me. He’s setting it up. I would say the only way to do it is with personal experience of his love and faithfulness as you walk forward, but it requires forward movement. You’ve just got to keep walking towards the thing you fear the most.
Wow, that’s great. I was thinking about it this morning I think I was talking to Larry on the way in this morning, and just that these pandemics that we’ve never experienced this in our life. I mean, we’ve had different viruses, diseases, whatever, but we’ve never experienced this worldwide pandemic like we are now, but in history these things last a while. And to me this is an incredibly pertinent message of us leading in and through fear, so maybe give us a little bit of how can we keep pressing on like if this isn’t over by the fall, if this isn’t over by you jokingly offended every Alabama and Auburn fan when you said what if football season doesn’t happen we went crazy, you know? Like how do we press on through this? I know it’s kind of funny to laugh about now, but seriously spikes and things, and things happen in the fall, the new year, whatever, how do we continue to practice facing our fear?
Well, this is first of all what I want to applaud. Somebody the other day was writing this thing on Facebook. They’re like if you’re gonna go online make sure you do it well. And I’m like you guys get over yourself. Like I applaud the pastors who have said I have no desire to go online with my service, but out of necessity of caring for my people I’m gonna pop out my iPhone and I’m gonna do a recording, and I’m not happy with the recording, but I’m just gonna do it, and trust that God is gonna work through it. I applaud you, man. Don’t listen to anybody that criticizes you, okay? Don’t listen to those critics saying you should up your game.
Listen, if you got the resources to up your game do it, but if all you’ve got is an iPhone, or if all you can do is prerecord it on an old VHS camera do it, okay? I think that’s one of the biggest things is. This is uncomfortable for a lot of pastors. The technology of it you’re like, man, I didn’t get into this ministry thing to, I want to preach the word not be like doing technical video editing, and recording, and stuff. And I know some of you if you’ve got a smaller church you’re the man that does all of that. I’ve been in that role you do it all, right? And you say I didn’t want to do this. Listen, I applaud you. That is a sign of courage right there. Stepping out into something that you’re not gonna do well when you start with. And that’s what I think is the biggest thing I think with people like if I start, and that’s our pride, it’s our pride like, but if I can’t do it well I don’t want to do it. Now that’s your pride, man.
Listen, anytime you start something new you’ve got to be willing to look foolish, for it to be tacky, sloppy, but if you’re honest about it and just say, hey, we’re just getting started you’re gonna be okay, right? People will be gracious with you. It’s when you try and fake it that I think people aren’t gracious. When you try and act like you’re something you’re not. So I would say be authentic to who you are. Be honest about where you’re at with it. Like say, hey, I’m struggling with the online thing, or I don’t know if I like the Zoom thing, but it is what it is and we got to deal with it, but just keep moving forward with what you know to do. And the other thing I’ll turn to this is listen, God’s mandate on your life has not changed. You’re still called to the ministry. And it’s gonna look different than what you want it, or what you’re familiar with, or maybe what you were trained for, but that’s okay, because God always shows up in different ways, man. When Jesus was on earth he surprised everybody. He condemned people you thought he’d been applauding. He applauded people you thought people should have been condemning. You’re like what in the word? Like it’s the kingdom upside down, so I would encourage you guys just keep moving forward because
God’s working in a new way, and the only way that you’re gonna be on the outside of that is if you refuse to adapt with it. And I think you’ve got to just adapt. And don’t be afraid of looking foolish. Don’t be afraid of doing it wrong. Don’t be afraid of the technical difficulties that might ensue. Just move forward with it. In terms of the financial element of things money may be coming and going, but if you’ll stay true to your mission I really believe that my God will supply all of your needs according to his riches and glory. Your father owns the cattle on 1,000 hills. He knows the situation you’re in. He is not gonna abandon you. He has not forgotten you, but, man, he will take all of this and work it for your joy, and his glory as John Piper says, but you’ve got to be willing to just keep moving forward, trying the things that make you uncomfortable. And honestly this is one of the biggest things I’ve seen.
A lot of pastors that are trying to do it all on their own this is a great chance for you to engage the younger generation. You say, man, I’ve been trying to get younger people. Here’s your chance, this is their world. Call up a 15-year-old and be like I need you to run my tech. They’ll figure it out, and what a great way to engage a whole new group of people that maybe you haven’t been able to figure out how to do it before because it’s uncomfortable for you. Listen, it’s always gonna be uncomfortable, and the world we’re going into is gonna be increasingly more uncomfortable, which, honestly, I’ll be real blunt. Comfort was our enemy. We were getting really comfortable, and when you get really comfortable you get ungrateful, and start complaining a lot. And I think God is like, hey, I’m gonna bless you guys right here with something. Did he cause it? No, right, but he said this is gonna be a blessing in the end for you, and I think that’s why this is a real blessing for us, too, if we’ll embrace it, and just keep moving forward with courage.
That’s good. One of the things that we deal with in the local church, and I’m sure it’s the same way in Texas, but there’s maybe unsure of what churches around us are doing, and so there’s this thing of, hey, they’re doing this, and they’re doing that. How should we deal with the fear of being compared to someone else’s ministry?
So our church was the first in our town to open. And we didn’t know so we opened. And all these pastors were like what are you doing? You opened so early. And we’re like, man, we just knew like I was talking to our senior pastor yesterday, and he was like I just knew in my heart. And here’s the thing, man. When you fear God you’ve got nothing else to fear. Your church may be called to wait until July because of a population you’ve got that’s more at risk. Some of you may need to be opening now. And this is where we have to depend on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and you’ve got to trust in that peace that surpasses all understanding. It’s like be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God. God, this is your church. What do you want me to do, how to be wise and responsible? And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds. Go with the peace. If you don’t have the peace, as long as you not really operating out of fear, which you may need to talk this out because some of you may be like, no you’re operating out of fear, and you don’t see it go with the peace. If you feel like it’s peace, you’ve got the peace to open, and it’s not out of fear of not having the finances you need, or not out of fear of I don’t want to do this video thing anymore, or whatever, it’s getting uncomfortable now go with the peace. Trust that peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds. And then here’s the thing. Keep your eyes on Jesus and ignore everybody else because you’ve got your advisers, right? I say ignore everybody else. Get a group of advisers you trust, but if other churches are condemning you saying you’re putting the name of the Gospel at risk by opening up too early. Listen, you need to hear from the Lord, and you got to do what you got to do. We said each man rises and falls before his own master. So don’t let other people judge you based on what you’ve heard God say as long as you’re not operating out of fear, which is where it takes humility because sometimes we got to figure out if it’s fear, or it’s pride, or what it is, but I would say the comparison game is really dangerous. It’s good to get people’s take on what’s going on around you, it’s wise to get that, but if you feel that it’s time for you to open by all means do that.
Yeah, that’s good. We have a group of pastors that’s been meeting together, texting each other like seriously what do we do in Zoom calls just the four or five of us, and it’s been good, but each one of us are doing something different. And we kind of decided on that that this is just what you said very pointed about our specific congregation, and have to lead in that. I want to go back and kind of unpack some words that we’ve used a lot here, anger, fear, and these things resonate, and you made a statement that anger wasn’t sin. And these things resonate with us as sinful, as not being on the mark. Even Keith brings up Revelation 21:8 where the fearful among those thrown in the lake of fire that’s where stuff. So how do we like understand that we can’t stay in that we have to move through that? So how do you navigate?
Well, I mean, listen. It would be nice if you could just say I never get afraid, but that doesn’t happen, right? So I don’t think the fear is that if you die with a little fear in your heart that’s what it is. I think it’s when we’ve been consciously living our life based on fear of what could happen rather than a fear of the idea that we’re gonna stand before God, and one day he’s gonna say what did you do with what I gave you? So anger the sequence is always this biblically. Total connection with God, separation from connection with God creates fear, leads to anger, and then anger leads to the dark side. That’s your “Star Wars” reference, I’m just kidding, but it does that’s the reality of it is you see the story of Cain and Abel. I mean, anger shows up. There’s a connection issue between God and Cain, right? And I go into that in depth in “Love Slows Down,” but you see that anger is always a response. And here’s the thing, this is really important. I want to really stress this because a lot of people say I don’t get angry. Well, then what makes you frustrated, okay? What makes you frustrated because frustration is just pent-up like when something’s threatening you it gets pent-up. And a lot of times we don’t experience it as anger. We experience it as resentment, particularly enneagram type nines because they usually go. Enneagram type nines will go, my dad’s one so I know. They really go with the flow, and then all of sudden they realize that they’ve been saying yes to all these things that they didn’t really want to say yes to, and they’re just frustrated, and it’s just resentment, right? So resentment can appear that way, too. And I talk about it in “Love Slows Down” how to deal with resentment through forgiveness, but anger you’ve just got to acknowledge, you got to recognize that whenever you feel frustration, or anger it’s a secondary emotion. There’s an emotion right before it, and that emotion is a fear of a threat to one of those things, security, connection, or control. And it always comes down to one of those three if you really dig deep because those are the things that God created us for, and he created us to find them in his love. So that’s I think the key is, and here’s the thing. I talk to a lot of pastors and they’re like, well, you know. They say anger is a sin. I’m like, no, it says in your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Don’t give the devil a foothold. Jesus got angry. We should get angry at injustice, but I mean, the honest reality for most of us is most of our anger doesn’t have anything to do with injustice like cosmic injustice. It’s a threat to something we value, right? So there is anger can drive you to good things, but here’s the thing. If anger is driving you, and it’s anger you haven’t dealt with by taking the log out of your own eye first it will be destructive anger. You drive out wickedness, evil through an anger that is driven by love, which is a whole other thing I go into in the book that I don’t have time to go into here, but it has to be compelled by love. Any anger that you have against injustice, otherwise you just become part of the problem.
Yeah, wow, yeah, and what you said there about fear is irrational. The only thing that can drive out fear is a stronger emotion. That’s a great reminder that love has the power to shatter that fear, so that’s cool. Thank you for that. Here’s a good question that I’m not real sure on this. You might know of it. A counselor friend of Mark Johnson, said, or he uses the three categories of hopeless, helpless, and worthless. You categorize how does that relate to security, connection, and control? Is it like that or is it different?
Just at first glance hopeless, helpless, and worthless. So hopeless would be maybe a lack of control or security. Worthless would definitely be a connection issue. Oh, helpless would probably be control. So maybe hopeless would be security. Helpless would be control because that’s honestly my thing is control. I’m an enneagram type eight, and our big thing is we do not want to be controlled. And whenever I feel helpless is when I find anger showing up because it’s a control thing for me, so. And then worthless would fit with that connection thing. Rejection is the big fear of those in that connection corner. Rejection is being rejected, so, yeah.
Way to go Mark, great question there, buddy. You might win the question award so far, Mark. Packing it together, so that’s good. I want to ask you one more question because just from me you said a sentence, and you kind of left at it, and you came back to it a couple of times, but, man, I tell you this is the one that I’m struggling with the most right now. And some people have asked me how is it with your people because they know I’m a connector. Well, I’ve connected great. I’ve been connecting years on Zoom calls, and this is just part of what I do, and everything like that it’s not a big deal, so connecting has not been my issue as much as a pastor, as a leader it’s been hard for me to look forward, and cast vision. You made a statement, and you said, fear also shows itself in indecision. And it was like you were in my journal yesterday when I was just writing down, man, I can’t make a doggone decision. I can’t come up with it. I can’t figure out what’s gonna happen. So give me some peace, Joel. Tell me how to deal with that, okay?
Well, can you give me some peace because I’m right there, too, bro. I’m like what are we gonna? I don’t see a way like I don’t know what’s ahead. Everything has been turned on its end. All the speaking gigs I had lined up for the fall are like. Nobody knows what’s going on, so, yeah. This is where I think you have to beat, so I’ve got a friend whose got a big rehab center out in Los Angeles and he says that basically you do day to day victories when you want to conquer your addiction. I was like I think that fits here. Like there come seasons in life where you just have to win the battle over fear today, and trust that God has a future lined out for you. He hasn’t forgotten you. And I know as visionary people we’re like we need to cast vision, cast vision. Andy Stanley said something the other day. In times of uncertainly, and where you can’t necessarily give vision clarity is the best thing you can give. So what you can do is give clarity about what you’re doing right now to face what’s in front of you. And I think that’s a really important thing for us right now is if you can’t get a vision for the future because there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in the future what can you do today because today has enough worry of its own. Somebody important said that one time. So today focus on today, and how do you conquer the fear today. And as you conquer the fear, as you conquer the issues in front of you today I think the future will, I mean, I know this for certain, right? He has a plan for you, right? The future will become more clear, and it’s hard right now because we’re in a season where it’s kind of nebulous, it’s kind of uncertain. And I wish I could make some plans for the future, but the reality is we’re in a season right now where we just have to trust his grace day by day because his grace is sufficient for the day, and he’ll give you what you need today, so. I know that’s a very kind of bland answer.But it really is we’re in a season right now. I have to do this every morning. I say, God, I’m just gonna face today because that’s all I know to do.
Well, you said win the day, and that’s what I circled right by. That’s a great reminder that take one step at a time, take one day at a time. Let’s do this and trust in the Lord, that’s good. Hey, listen, thank you so much for this Q and A section. I’m gonna bring up Mark Gainey, and let him take over from here.
Awesome, Joel, thank you so much, man, for spending time with us, and not only presenting the material, but answering the questions. And so it has been so helpful. I wrote in a text message between some of us on here I said, I think Joel has been reading my journal. So it’s been awesome, man, thank you so, so much.
Yeah, hey, well, listen. That book is available for you guys for free. It will be out in the fall, but anybody that gets on that sign up today. What I’ll do is I’ll send everybody a copy of these notes, too, so you can get the notes for today, too, if you didn’t have a pen handy to scribble it down. Thanks so much for having me on guys. I’m grateful for you guys and what you’re doing. And it’s awesome what you guys have been doing even in the middle of this, so keep up the good work.
Thank you, thank you, we have enjoyed it. Now, guys stay on, don’t leave it. We’re gonna say goodbye to Joel, but a free digital copy text LOVESLOWS to 44222. And we thank you and your publisher for that, Joel.
So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna transition for just a second. Before we do I want to mention a couple things, too. So this is brought to you by and sponsored by Disciple Making Ministries, and that’s made up of several ministries including Passion Tree, Robert Mullins has Passion Tree. He heads that up, and so that’s one of the ministries. And also Incite Ministries, and that’s Andy and I kind of head that up, so. We bring this to you. We’re gonna do it every month, and so next month that is gonna be June 25th. That’s also a Thursday at noon. We’re gonna have a guy named Alan Briggs, and you don’t want to miss this. Alan is also an author. He wrote “Guardrails” and “Staying is the New Going.” He’s also a coach, and he’s a speaker. Just a creative mind. And it’s gonna be a fantastic conversation. So next month, about a month from now it’s June 25th, also at noon, and you can go to the same places to register disciplemakingal.com and you can you see it right there, or you can go to disciplemakingal.com/lunchandlearn No spaces there, and there’s a link to register for that, so I hope you’ve enjoyed today enough to make sure that not only do you register for that next month, but you invite other people to be a part of this because I think it’s useful to do that, but here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna transition to a Q and A of a different sort. We’re gonna have some of our Alabama leaders, Disciple Making Ministries, kind of field your questions and answers based on what Joel just talked about. And the first thing that we’re gonna do is I’m gonna jump over to Andy, and ask Andy the first question. Andy, give us your take and your thoughts on what Joel talked about, and the rest of you go ahead, and start putting other questions that you want us to discuss in the Q and A session, or section of the meeting. So, go ahead, Andy. I want to hear what your thoughts and takes are.
I have thoroughly enjoyed today. I always enjoy being around Joel. And I’m like Mark and I think Robert mirrored that, echoed that, he’s been reading my mail kind of thing, so some things I’ve been experiencing. And it really kind of helped me put a finger on some things that’s been happening organizational. So I don’t know if you guys who are leading in the local church are like me, but you’ve had people on polar opposite ends of the spectrum in how we are dealing with this crisis, the things we’re doing, the measures we’re taking, our plans to reopen, or whatever. And those three terms that he used, security, connection and control are all directly related to what’s happening right now. Why are people being so angry with their responses of their church leaders, or with other church leaders? I mean, no wonder people are so angry right now because their security has been threatened. Our level of comfort, our normal schedule has been disrupted, our lives are just turned upside down. Our connections have been temporarily separated from gathering with people. And then control, I mean, we realize right now we have absolutely no control. We lack choices that we normally do, so all of those things really just helped me identity not only in my life, but organizationally in dealing with others what’s going on, so what I wanted to just bring up is that. Maybe you’re like me. Maybe this is just some red flags that have come up today, and it’s helped you identify a lot of what you’re going through as a leader, or as an organization. And the anger we’ve been seeing, experiencing in our lives, or with others it’s because security, connection, control have been threatened.
That’s a great point, that’s a great point. I think it’s so timely that we had Joel on at this moment. As God ordained only God could do that. And I think it’s valuable because Texas it’s not all that different than Alabama. And so the things that he’s facing in Texas are the same things for the most part we’re facing. I think one issue probably that we’re facing a little differently, I don’t about all of you, but there’s also a fear of kind of ridicule of not going back, right? So he mentioned the whole fear of don’t let people dog you because you’re going back and meeting now that’s true, but, also, there’s the fear of getting ridiculed, and criticized because you’re waiting until June 7th, or 14th, or July, or whatever, and I think that fear is just as real, too, but I think it was helpful for him to be able to mention that. So I’m gonna pull an audible. Robert Mullins, bring yourself back if you don’t mind, and share with us a little bit. There you are, share with us a little bit about what you’re thinking through after hearing Joel.
Honestly, stop whining, like, you know. We’re living in unprecedented times. I’m 50 years old, okay? So for 50 years I’ve had this life of luxury, okay? I’ve had this life of ease. I’ve lived this wonderful, beautiful American culture. I’ve never been threatened to have my head cut off, I mean, literally, maybe figuratively. I’ve never been threatened to silence myself for the name of the Gospel, or it would be my life. And yet I complain about this, that, and the other about all these things that we lose focus. We’re gonna sink in the water. We’re not gonna take a few steps out on the water because we’re gonna take our eyes of Jesus, and we put it on any of these things that are not what we’re supposed to keep our eyes on. And so for me the question of indecision, and winning the day is, boy, that one’s strong with me. I’ve shared a lot with my people, and with folks that I’ve been coaching, and discipling right now that the thing for me, the mainstay for me is day to day quiet time. It’s day to day in the morning getting up the first thing I do is to go grab that cup of coffee, and go sit in my chair with I have a stack of very strategic, devotional journal scripture. Actually, it’s devotional scripture journal everyday, and the biggest distraction, and I’m just being vulnerable and real here, the biggest distraction I have is this right here, okay? And as I put it up on the screen there was a text, okay? So, I mean, the point is we have to carve out that time to be with God. At the end of his speech for lack of better terms he said that we must be courageous, we must practice courage, we must live in the Holy Spirit. I used to study and wonder and try to make sense of the phrase to live in the spirit is to walk in the spirit is what Paul said. And I use the CSB to preach out of, and I’ve kind of been doing that for say a year now, and when we really started pushing that to the people in church, hey, I’m speaking out of the CSB we’re teaching. That’s gonna kind of be our universal language here is when I was studying this scripture there it says to live in the spirit and stay in step with the spirit. And so that was really an eye-opening thing for me. And when Joel said that today it just went don’t get in front of him, don’t get too far behind him, stay right in step with him, okay? And if I do that I’m getting chills right now saying that because that just verbalized I don’t have to worry about September. I don’t have to worry about January. I don’t even have to put it on a calendar anywhere. I can stay in step with the spirit, and I’m doing exactly what the Bible teaches. And so I think that’s where I’m resonated with this right now, but it is just really two pages of I can’t wait to get his book and start reading that. I’ll probably be finished with that in a few days because it’s just like a sponge when you start reading that stuff it’s so good.
No doubt, no doubt, that is good. All right, so a couple questions, actually, several questions have come in. Carl says this, it’s more of a comment than a question. He says he thinks he fears more and struggles with security when he’s in isolation. So the more time that he spends in community with others the more he realizes his fears are not unique to him. Amen to that, Carl, absolutely. I think what this whole thing is about, honestly. This is why we’re having Lunch and Learn. This is why Robert launched Passion Tree Ministries because when you’re in community you do realize, oh, this is not unique to me, oh. Okay, some other people have the same fears as I do I can talk about. Absolutely, so I think that’s a great point, and it’s a great lesson in all this that do whatever it takes to be in community even in the middle of quarantine. And I know things are loosening up at least for now. Whatever it takes if it means phone calls, or Zoom, or whatever, make sure you’re in community with other people. And I know Robert would echo that.
Yeah, so much to say that I would I don’t want to mention any names he might be on this call. I know he is, Eric Taylor said he was gonna drive down, and we were gonna social distance, but hang out in the near future that we just, you know. And y’all, look, this is critical to any network, or anything that we’re a part of we do have each other. And I’m gonna go ahead and say this word, Joel mentioned it, but I don’t know if you guys have been paying attention, but there is an unprecedented number of suicides in the pastoral world today. I sit there, and I mean this last one just has kind of shocked me more than anybody because I had thought that there was some dealing with some of the issues there, and was walking through some of that, and to know that came right back, and the struggle was real and so. We have got to be open, honest, vulnerable with each other, and we’ve got to really take care of each other. I prayed yesterday a prayer that is so sincere from my heart, and shared it for pastors right now because if we continue to pastor the way that we’ve been trained, equipped, and know, we’re gonna be in big trouble in the days ahead. We’re gonna have to be flexible. We’re gonna have to be willing to learn a new way, and the only way we’re gonna learn it is through conversations like this, and walking in the spirit, and walking like Carl said with one another. And, man, we’ve got to be together.
That’s good, good word. All right, let’s see, looking over the questions. Paul says that he heard a disciple making teacher recently teach on discipling people to overcome unbelief, and that struck him as something to consider. So helping disciple people and overcoming belief in areas of our lives. What part of helping people identify and overcoming that what part should that play in discipleship, and disciple making? I’ll let anybody from the panel, Robert, Andy, Larry, Daniel, one of you guys address that, or multiple.
Yeah, I think the first thing it’s a great question, Paul, and it’s probably a little beyond all of us without getting right down to it scenario to work through, but first of all unbelief is, of course, part of fear, so I go back to what Joel was talking about, and that you really got to identify what that fear is, and isolate that, and then begin to talk about it because unbelief is directed toward God. God is love, love cast out all fear, so there’s some brokenness there in that relationship that’s causing unbelief, and bringing about fear in your life. And so, now the other thing I have kind of a text loop among the panelists going on, which by the way I would encourage all of you in the future when you come on and watch this get two or three other folks, and just kind of be texting your thoughts, and bouncing it off of each other, and formulating your questions, and put them in and that kind of thing. It’s kind of fun for us ’cause somebody hears something a little bit different, but I do have a background in counseling, and much of what he was saying is true that if you get the person to talk it out, and you become a good listener most people really know what their problem is. They’re just afraid to say it out loud, and so echoing back what they said, putting it in the form of a question, tell me about it, where things that I used quite often in counseling. And I discovered that people do know what the fear really is, and why that causes some unbelief in their life because they’re harboring it in their life. And that once they hear it believe it or not they actually most often know what to do about it, or they may be stuck between two decisions, and you can help them evaluate what is it that they’re really willing to step out on. And so one of the comments I sent to the guys in our text loop is he kind of referenced Philippians 4, be anxious in nothing. The Apostle Paul goes on and says the same thing that Joel was telling us. You got to start stepping forward to your fear, and how do you do it? And he basically says think on these things. Step forward in your fear thinking about these things of how God has prevailed in the past, and ultimately his love will overcome your fear.
Amen, absolutely, that is truth. All right, a couple comments that I’m seeing, and so I’ll mention these comments, and then there’s another question that I’ll go to. So Eileen says isn’t it interesting that when you’re paralyzed by indecisiveness, and then make the decision to step forward there’s such a peace, sometimes just saying it out loud brings a realization that God has got it, and I just needed to say it, be still and listen to his next step. Amen, Amen. All right, let’s see. I’m gonna mention Brandon’s comment. He also put this in the chat, but he said the biggest catalyst moment that he’s gotten during this time is walk in the spirit and be present in what God is doing. Don’t think about what could happen, or couldn’t happen, won’t happen, what didn’t happen, or could happen in the future. Just be present in the present moment of what God is doing daily. The gift of not planning ahead has been a heaven-sent. Be present in the moment. And that’s difficult for a lot of us who are visionaries, but absolutely. So another question from Jason is the Bible warns us against the fear of man. So I’m gonna address this to Andy and Larry. Will you guys talk through the security, connection, and control paradigm as it relates to the fear of man. So Andy and Larry, let you address that.
Well, we don’t fear man, Roll Tide in Walker County. Well, honestly, I think that having been on church staff for so many years that I didn’t start off having a fear that was really deep-rooted, but over the years there were experiences that almost all of us have had things happen to us, or things said to us, or whatever circumstances sometimes can create fear in our hearts. And this also I think would relate there was another question earlier when Joel was still on how do you help kind of get to the root of people’s fear, or anger? And, of course, this starts with us before we can help someone else we need to deal with our own anger issues, and fear issues. And something that Joel mentions in his book “Fully You” is forgiveness issues. And really for a lot of people Matthew 18 where Jesus is speaking about the unmerciful servant there’s a sense of if we are not forgiving towards people someone may have done something towards you, someone may have done something against you that you have not forgiven them over, and so as a result Jesus said the parable of unmerciful servant ends with Jesus saying that that unmerciful servant was put into basically prison to be tortured. And Jesus said and that’s how God treats you when you don’t forgive. And that torture I’ve been through that. I have experienced that first-hand because of unforgiveness in my own heart in my own life. And, yeah, there was fear. I mean, I had immense fear and anger towards folks that was a direct result of some unforgiveness that I was harboring in my own life, but when I handed that unforgiveness over to the Lord, oh, man, guys it was incredible, it was sweet. It was the difference of literally stepping out of prison that the change was that immediate. And everybody is different. Andy, your experiences, too, are gonna be drastically different even though you and I are from the same county. We went to the same high school together, but the things that you experienced are gonna be drastically different, and so I’m sure you could certainly speak some truth into that, too.
Yeah, one of those differences is you were just commended on your hairstyle, and nobody said anything about my hair.
Yeah, Jason, I think that’s a fantastic point to bring up, and question to ask. If we are honest every single one of us deals specifically with this with the fear of man. I mean, I think back to big memories, and big moments in my life. I mean, standing in a sanctuary of a church waiting on those doors to open for my soon-to-be bride to walk down the aisle my fear is has she gotten cold feet? Is she gonna actually follow through with this? I mean, but we have so many fears in life, and those specific things that Joel mentioned, security, connection and control those are so tightly woven together, and, I mean, almost inseparable when it comes to our fear of man. He mentioned that perfect love casts out fear, and the problem of your fear we should have is this holy reverence for God. Well, when that’s not in place, obviously, everything else is gonna be out of whack, so, I mean, security he mentions you want yourself, or your family, or those close to you to be physically and emotionally safe and provided for. So think about that. You will fear somebody’s response, or actions, or whatever, if they can’t promise you that security, or that level of provision, or comfort, or whatever. The connection we have we don’t like to takes risk in relationship because we know we’re gonna get hurt, and one way of being secure is putting up an inward wall where we let people get just close enough to us, but not real close to us, or we put that outward wall up where it’s really, really hard to get to know us, but once you get to know us you know us kind of thing. And then in control, I mean, Joel mentioned that’s his issue is control and he and I have talked several times, and that’s my issue, too, we want to be in control. And I’ll go back to what was mentioned earlier about unbelief. I think it was Paul that mentioned this. And Martin Luther said the sin beneath all of our sins is that we believe the lie of the serpent, and we don’t trust the grace and love of Christ, and we try to take things into our own hands. In that statement right there you can unpack those three things, security, connection, and control as a fear of man. So when we don’t trust the grace and love of Christ in our relationships than we fear people instead of having that healthy reverence fear for God.
Very good, thank you Larry and Andy for addressing that. That was awesome. A couple of things I want to mention, a couple of comments in the chat. Danny had a great comment there just about the suicide rate, and how it’s on the rise, and we mentioned that, and it points back to what we talked about. And Eric Taylor said that’s why we want to make sure that no pastor has to do it alone, especially, at least in our state, in our network. And so you probably are aware of this, but we have pastor huddles, and not just lead pastor huddles, but just disciple making huddles throughout the state. Several of us are leading those, and so we want to make that opportunity available to you. So if you’re not in a huddle and you want to be in one I’m gonna ask that you email, and somebody type this in the chat for me if you would. Email Robert at email@example.com, okay? Robert@crossroads.family and if you’re interested in being in a huddle. And what a huddle is you meet every week via Zoom. We met via Zoom long before quarantine hit, and some huddles meet in person, but most are over Zoom, and you do life together. And you can find out more about that by emailing Robert, too. So we’re about to close in just a minute. Several things that I want to mention. Thank you for putting the email address there. I appreciate that, guys. Daniel mentions that enneagram was mentioned several times. If you don’t know your enneagram number there’s several things you can do that online. Just Google it. There’s lot of different enneagram tests online you can use. Some are good, some aren’t that good, but you really want to take one that’s not a 10 question, okay. You want to take one that’s at least 55 questions, and find your enneagram number. And it’s helpful to find out your number, but also the number of your staff, the number of your volunteers, kind of your lead team, so that you can know how to interact with, and work with them. I think it’s really good. So, any other thoughts, comments, or questions, and I’m gonna open this up to the rest of the panel, too. Anything else you guys want to address in the three minutes or so we have remaining. So that’s you, Andy, Robert, Larry, and Daniel.
Can I say something real quick as far as not just this, but for what we got coming down the road is if you benefited from this today let me encourage you to reach out to Daniel Edmonds. Daniel, if you want to put your email in the chat where they can reach out to you. Maybe you have specific questions about something we talked about today, or just some comments and feedback. We want some feedback to know how this is benefiting you, and helping you. And also let me encourage you when this does replay Doug will get this edited and put back out so that you can watch it again. Let me encourage you to share it. You might be like me. You probably thought of a dozen people that could benefit from listening and watching, and learning from this experience today. So let me encourage you when that comes out to share, and share the benefits with this with somebody so that you can encourage them to join us in next month’s Lunch and Learn in June because I promise you today was great. Our time with Alan Briggs in June will be just as helpful, and encouraging, and challenging. So thank you guys for joining us today.
That’s good. I just want to say echo in what Mark said about networking and staying with each other. And to go to Danny’s comment. Danny is right, we’ve got to intentionally reach out, and bring folks in. And sometimes it’s weird, it’s awkward that people in your own circumference they’re a close local group won’t participate with you. And it’s just a weird thing, but it may be that you need to contact somebody a couple of county’s away, or somebody you went to seminary with that’s up north or south, or whatever, and pull them in. We’re all about crossing borders these days. It could be your county, it could be even the state. And so we want to encourage those things. I do, I’m glad that they put my email up because I’ve already gotten in this call this morning one of you have already said that you want to be in a huddle that we talked about at the last one we did, the forum before. And so be on the lookout for that. We have some pastors that are being discipled right now. And we are gonna probably very soon tap some of them as huddle leaders and say it’s time to multiple. It’s time to replicate let’s do that. So we’re real excited about that. And do not hesitate to email, and if you need to talk all you got to do is put your phone number in that email, and I’ll give you a buzz. I mean, it’s just that simple. Love to connect with you that’s what I do, that’s who I am. So love you guys. Thanks for being a part of today it’s been fun being here.
Awesome, yes, thank you panelists. Thank you Daniel for helping lead out in this. Thank you Doug for everything you’re doing behind the scenes. Listen, the more I am on these things the more I realize what Doug does to make things run smoothly, so thank you. Thank you all for being here. And, look, I know if you were here for five minutes even when Joel was on that you definitely were challenged, and encouraged so I think this is timely. This is a godsend, and thank y’all for being on here. I’m gonna close in prayer and we’ll be done. Father, we love you, we praise you, we thank you for Joel, and just the gift you’ve given him to teach, and thank you for the thoughts that he has already put in our hearts and minds. And as we process this, Lord, I pray that you would give us your wisdom and discernment as we think through what are we afraid of, what is driving our fear, and how we can meet that fear and face it head on with faith and with love. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. All right, thank y’all, God bless you.