E022 - How To Change The World Without Killing Yourself - Transcript

The Gospel Of Everything Podcast

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Listen to the episode here:  https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/how-to-change-the-world-without-killing-yourself/

Welcome to the Gospel of Everything podcast, where we consider everything in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am your host, Jon Davis. On this show, we do not obsess over the end of the world, but rather we are looking to see the glory of God show up in every area of our lives. We are not waiting to go down in glorious defeat. We are expecting to win.

Good day to you and welcome to the Gospel of Everything podcast. I am Jon Davis, your host and talker-in-chief. I look forward to sharing some things to you today that hopefully will change and empower your life. The Gospel of Everything podcast is where you and me together consider all of life in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here in this place, I am looking to inspire, connect with, and mobilize you, my fellow victorious kingdom ambassador.

What is that?

What is a victorious kingdom ambassador?

It is someone who is not looking obsessively for the end of the world, but rather is looking to bring God's kingdom into the world right now, more and more, both now and in eternity. It is someone who is not looking to change the world by humanistic man-made ideas, but rather by embracing God's revelation and everything that flows from that.

It is someone who is not looking to be saved by another political government scheme, but rather looking to be saved by Jesus and then expecting to live out Jesus in every area of life.

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All right, well, here we go today. I want to talk to you about changing the world. I know that one of the things that has always been interesting to me is that there are some people that they seem wired and desire to make big impact, to change the world or to achieve great things. It seems that legitimately some other people don't necessarily have that kind of drive and ambition.

Well, those of you who desire to transform the world, those of you who desire to impact the world for God, I'm talking to you today.

And anyone else that is listening, I hope that you're blessed as well, but I'm really looking for that young man, that young woman that God has put some sort of vision in your heart, whether that be for ministry, whether that be for some creative work, whether that be for business, whatever it is, I'm talking to you today.

I want to give you some juicy good food that will feed your soul and move you and prepare you for the battle that is ahead for your life. So I want to talk a little bit about a young guy named John Davis.

Yes, that's me. Who once upon a time, long ago, was desperate for revival and reformation. God got a hold of his life and he was desperate for revival and reformation. For whatever reason, he seemed to reject normal life and wanted to pursue God instead. He was a big fan of Charles Finney and the kind of revival that can be done.

Charles Finney had a great emphasis on using means, that basically there's something we can do to cause God's revival. And once upon a time, this young man got in his two-tone tan Chevrolet Cavalier, 1985 Chevy, and drove out to Oregon. And there in Oregon, he began to work with Youth with a Mission and he worked desperately for revival. So let's switch a little more to the first person here.

I was a very serious young guy. I was silly too and had lots of fun, but I was very serious about revival. I was deadly serious.

In fact, I can remember speaking in churches when God opened doors for that to happen as a young man. And afterwards, sometimes an older person would come up to me and just kind of say, you've got something really special. You really, you know, I'm really blessed by you. And they just, I don't know. They seemed to be patting me on the head and saying, how adorable young man.

And I was like, don't you understand?

I'm completely serious. And I worked in Youth with a Mission and I was looking for and longing to work with fellow dreamers. I was a dreamer. I was a dreamer about world missions. I was a dreamer about revival in America. And for whatever reason, I was not satisfied with a normal life.

In fact, to be honest with you, I think I kind of despised what would it be called a normal life.

You know, I get a job, get married, have kids, grow old. That kind of, you know, just, I don't know, I despised it or I didn't want it. But as I worked for revival, really trying to do it, I read all of Charles Finney's revivals of religion. And I said, I'm going to go do this. I'm going to bring a revival in America.

I highly emphasized prayer and worship and inner revival and the kind of dynamics of revival that can happen in a room, happen in four walls. And I had a high emphasis, probably because I was in a missions organization on going to missions. It was also a big part of my story and my calling. And here I am, a little bit older now. I still believe in those things.

But I made a big mistake. I made a big mistake. I started to study the whole Bible. I started to read through the whole Bible. And while reading through the whole Bible, I was looking at the world and noticing how the world really is and how it really works and how a lot of the things in the Bible apply to that.

And that some of the things in the world, some of the things in the world are not, they may be contaminated by the fallen nature of man, but they are not in and of themselves fallen. But they are actually part of design. Some of the ways that the world really works that I was despising as a young man are actually the way God designed the world to work.

I believe I spent much of my young life missing some key ingredients towards achieving what I was trying to achieve.

And I suppose that's kind of normal, right?

You go out with zeal as a young person and you learn. You learn and then later on you realize what you were lacking and hopefully you become better. I hope to be like Caleb and Joshua and still ready to do my part in taking the promised land all the way up to my dying day. But I remember an encounter I had with my dad before I went to Youth with a Mission.

So this would have been, I think it was 93. I think it wasn't when I went out to do my school. I think it was when I went to go on and do another school and go on staff. And I was trying to, my dad was not a believer at that time, or at least he wasn't living out any sort of Christian faith.

And I was trying to practice, honor your father and mother. And I was taught that you should do that whether they're Christian or not. So I was out trying to honor my father and I asked him, I told him what my plans were to go and pursue missions with Youth with a Mission. And I asked him for his input and his advice and his blessing.

And he basically told me, whatever makes you happy. I'm for whatever makes you happy.

And at the time I thought that was great because when I got out to the mission field and working in missions, I met a lot of people whose families did not approve of what they were doing, who thought, how are you ever going to make a living?

How are you ever going to take care of yourself?

And I always thought, wow, yeah, but my dad was awesome. He told me to do whatever made me happy. And I always thought that was a good thing. And it wasn't until years later when I was sorting through the mess of my life and I was actually sitting down, getting some counsel from a wise man. And I told him about what my dad had said and how that was a good thing.

And he said, are you sure that was a good thing?

And he asked me some questions and said some things to me that really made me think. And I've been evaluating that ever since. And I have no criticism for my dad. He was living out what he knew to the best of his ability. And when he eventually gave his life to Christ, there was a lot of redemption that happened and a lot of good things that happened.

But with hindsight, and I don't really say this so much with regret, but with I want to learn. I want to pass on to you, the next generation of world changers, some wisdom. So you who have zeal and you who have desire to impact the world through ministry, through business, you're one of those people that you want to be a high impact person. You really want to do something with your life.

I would say from what I've learned since then that my dad missed a great opportunity there.

He missed an opportunity to ask me, what is your long-term financial plan?

What is your long-term plan for your health, for your whole life?

What are you doing to prepare to be a husband, to be married?

What are you doing to prepare to take on your responsibility as the firstborn to care for your mother and by implication, your father in old age?

Now I'm imagining, one of the ways I learn is by imagining what should be. So I don't say that with regret or any condemnation towards my father. And I've often contemplated, well, what if he would have said something to me like this, what I have listened, young John who despised normal life. One of our slogans in Youth with a Mission was ruined for the ordinary.

And there's a good side to that, but I think there's another side that maybe isn't so good.

So would I have listened if he had taken that opportunity?

I don't know. But with hindsight, that was a missed opportunity for me as a young man to be discipled and equipped and prepared for the long run. So I want to give to you some things that will disciple and equip you for the long run. So let's talk about it.

You are a high achiever or someone who seeks to excel in life or someone who has a calling to do something great in ministry or whatever it is, what does it really take to change the world?

So I just want to talk about some things. These are some things I wish someone had been able to persuade me and prepare me for when I was younger. To be prepared financially to be effective long term in ministry. Things like saving up for a rainy day, things like doing a good job of building relationships and networks that would be able to finance the ministry.

Because if you're going to be in ministry full time, you either have to be part time in ministry and also have some sort of other means of income or you have to find a way to get income from people that believe in what you're doing. This is actually the way God has appointed to be done.

But I wish I would have been given some information, better information of how to prepare financially and also for old age and health and buying a house someday. And here's a big one, to be prepared for marriage. I did receive some good things in my various forms of training and upbringing, both from my family and from teaching in youth group and church about marriage.

But I wish I would have been discipled more aggressively and directly in practical preparation for marriage, including financial preparation. I wish I would have had better teaching, training, example, help in preparing my health, taking care of my body. I did some things, but I actually showed up in missions the healthiest that I'd ever been. Because I was never athletic.

I had a little bit of a tendency to be an intellectual couch potato who liked to read and think more than run and jump. But at the time I went into missions back in 1994, I was the healthiest I'd ever been. I could walk all day. I was very strong. I'd been working out in the gym for years. I was in good shape.

And I would say during my time serving the Lord, my health declined steadily from 1994 till about 2000. I was becoming a pretty overweight, unhealthy, unphysically active individual. I don't blame anybody but myself. But I'm thinking, man, I really wish I had done a better job preparing for my health.

I wish I had understood more about preparing relationships and networks and serving people all the time, always, always, always building up your relational network at a time when you have no agenda behind it. If you've ever read the legendary book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, you will learn about how you need to bless, encourage, help, and serve others in order to prosper yourself.

Now, for me, I find that I can't really do that if I have an agenda. So those times when you have no need are the times where you really need to be building relationships and networks, meeting people, encountering people, serving others, blessing others. I wish I had been more prepared and understood the value.

Luckily, I understood it some, so I did build a lot of relationships. I laid down my life to serve my staff and my students big time and sewed into a lot of relationships. My wife told me before we got married that one of the things she saw about me was that I stayed friends with people for a long time. So it wasn't a total loss.

I'm just now wishing I'd understood it even more. So it's not the kind of thing, it doesn't really work, at least for me, to build relationships for the purpose of being paid back or benefiting somehow. But do know that ultimately you will be paid back, in many cases through other human beings, but at the very least you will be paid back by God himself.

One of the things I've learned as I've gotten older is the incredible importance and value of relationship, not living in isolation, knowing others, serving others, working with others, listening to and helping the vision of others, not just yourself. One thing I did some of, but I just, I don't know, could have done more of, is developing a strong inner life. And by this I mean a habit of worship and obedience.

I was once talking to one of my newer friends about what do you wish you had in your life or what do you wish, what do you think you need in your life?

And I thought to myself, habits, different habits. And by habits, I don't just mean external habits, like brushing your teeth or something.

I mean, in fact, I think I mostly meant internal habits, thinking cycles and processes, a building up of your inner man and what cycles in your head, what thoughts are in your head, a strong inner life with Jesus and a strong inner life of worship, a habit of worship and a habit of obedience. I did build these to some degree.

But one of the things I would just like to observe for those of us who are, for whatever reason we desire to have a big impact in the world, I took this on as a burden. I took this on as something I think I really in some ways tried to do it in my own strength. I tried to learn how to do it in my own strength.

I am realizing that while I do, I don't ever want to forget it. I don't want to lose the vision of having a big impact on the world. But as I'm growing in the Lord, I'm realizing that actually changing the world is not my burden. My burden is to follow and obey Jesus daily. So don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that it's not important to have a big perspective.

I believe it's important to have a huge perspective to see everything from a point of view of God can do big things in the world. To look for cultural transformation, revival, reformation or if your thing, if what God is putting you is excellence and entrepreneurship or whatever it is, art, music, whatever big dream you have, I want you to keep that dream. I want you to pursue that dream.

So I'm not saying don't pursue big things, but it's more like realizing that as you keep the goal in mind, as you keep the vision God has given you for your life in mind, pursue the simple things, childlike obedience, daily obedience. Because when I try and think I have to bring revival and change the world, this can be a heavy burden.

But what did Jesus say?

Jesus said in Matthew 11 verses 28 through 30, come to me all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. There's a lot packed in there. There's a lot of application there.

But one of the things that I believe is there for those of us who have big callings is you'll have to learn, we have to learn how to take on the light burden of Jesus, which is it works, it just works practically kind of like this. I see the goal. I see the big thing God wants to do in and through my life.

But all I can do today is have childlike faith in Him and obey Him on the things that are right in front of me. So I needed to learn how to lay down my burden.

I learned, God, I learned I can't do revival on my own strength.

I mean, it sounds almost silly to say that. I think I knew that at the beginning too, but it was more of an intellectual knowledge then. Now I have much more of a deeper understanding. I cannot help but think of Moses here. Moses was raised as a high, he was a high achiever. He was a big dreamer. He was someone who there were high expectations of his life.

He grew up in the household of Pharaoh. I was just reading about how one theory is that he was a great military leader and other things. Before he went out and saw the Egyptian beating the Hebrew slave and decided on his own strength that it was time to liberate his people.

So Moses decided it was time to liberate his people and he killed the Egyptian and got himself in a heap of trouble that ended up with him fleeing Pharaoh to the land of Midian and becoming a shepherd for 40 years. 40 years of just being a simple married man shepherd. And by the time God came to him and said, okay, that was your time. Now it's my time.

Moses was like, I can't even talk. I can't even speak. I can't do what you're asking me to do, Lord. This is a great model of what I'm saying. But I really noticed the emphasis throughout the Old Testament, especially in the five books of Moses, the emphasis on God giving exact instructions for him to follow. Exact instructions. Do everything exactly as God said to do it.

So for Moses, he had to cast aside his burden. I'm going to be the world changer. And it took 40 years for God to kind of beat it out of him, beat that out of him and have him become the meekest man on all the earth and realize, I just have to obey. So he was right. Moses was right that God had a huge plan for his life.

One of the biggest plans ever for any human being ever. But he had to learn how to take on the burden of Jesus, which is easy. Simple obedience. Do exactly as God is telling you. Don't strive in your own strength. So I was going through a list, being prepared financially, prepared for marriage, prepared in your health, prepared in relationships and network, a strong inner life.

And I was talking about habits of that. I cannot tell you how much I can see now the benefit of work ethic, success and productivity habits. Not just ideas, but habits, the kind of things you probably either did or did not receive from your parents.

But if you're a young person or a zealous person looking to pursue God, not only do you want to pursue great big visions from the Lord, but develop the little things like your work habits, your productivity habits, your time management, those little things. If you really want to change the world, it's going to come down to some excelling and some pretty normal things.

This is where I think I have completely changed is I despised what I thought was a normal life. But now as someone that's in his 50s, I realize that there are some things that are the core of every life, including the great lives that really change the world. If you want to change the world, you have to be able to be a good husband or a good wife.

You have to be able to raise children. You have to be, if you're in the regular world, you're either going to start a business or you're going to be an outstanding employee. You have to pursue excellence. You have to be valuable to others. You have to develop skills and all kinds of habits.

You have to become a person with a pleasant attitude and demeanor that will make people want to be around you and want to work with you. If you happen to be called to vocational ministry, we're all called to ministry, but then there are some people that are called to be like preachers and teachers as their primary way of making a living. You still need to be prepared for all of these things.

Marriage, family, money, excellence, be valuable, be valuable to others, be valuable to your employer, be valuable to your ministry leader, your pastor, whoever. Get good at things, learn skills, never stop learning, never stop investing in yourself and building good habits and never stop having a pleasant attitude and demeanor.

I went through a season where I was so much learning about boundaries that I think I lost a winsome attitude and demeanor and I think it cost me some things in my life. But even a ministry, for those of you who have a call to vocational ministry, is in a sense a business. It has some things in common with business.

Maybe it lacks the profit, the financial profit motive, but you know what?

It still takes money. I want you to notice a couple of ways of God's provision. The Israelites had the time in the desert where provision came from manna falling from the sky and quail flying out of the sky and slamming into rocks. Miraculous provision. Moses striking to rocks and water flowing out and miraculous provision of water. This is a very real part of ministry or life.

But I feel like as Christians we have elevated this kind of a thing, I don't know, too high?

We've elevated it to be bigger than it is?

Because that's not the only way God provides. As soon as the children of Israel entered the promised land, the season of manna and quail and water coming out of rocks was over and now it was time to till the ground, manage the house, be a steward of God's creation and receive an abundance from the fruit of the ground. Your life will be this way.

There will be seasons where there's miraculous provision and God does amazing things and maybe you step out in faith. If you're a start of business, you have to step out in faith and take financial risk. If you're called to missions, you have to step out in faith and take the financial risk. We don't know how God's going to do the future.

But having said all that, it still takes money and you're going to have to learn practical things about how money works even if you're in ministry. And one of the things I would say is even if you're in ministry, you have a duty to honor your parents, including caring for them in their old age.

Do you remember the part where Jesus is confronting the teachers of the law and the wicked teachings that they had in Mark chapter 7 verses 11 through 13?

But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, whatever support you might have had from me is Corbin, that is an offering to God, then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.

So apparently the Pharisees and others, whoever it was that was exactly doing this, was basically saying my duty to you, mom and dad, to take care of you in your old age, I gave it to the Lord. I think this is a mistake you could make if you're called to ministry.

I think if you're called to ministry, especially if you're a firstborn and it's kind of going to fall on you to be the chief one responsible to care for your parents in their old age, that's got to be covered somehow. That's got to be thought through. That's got to be prayed through. Honor your father and your mother is one of the 10 commandments.

I don't believe it's primarily talking about talking in a respectful tone of voice, although it would include that. I think it is including and maybe even primarily about take care of them when they're old. So your parents are take care of the children when they're young and then you come to a productive age where you're the provider. And then when you're old, your children are supposed to take care of you.

This is the reality. This is how reality works. So there's a duty to honor your parents. Don't do what the Pharisees did and say, because I'm living for God, I don't have to do that. All of this, what I'm trying to say here is you can be a dreamer with big dreams for your life, for your ministry, for your business, for your job, your career, and you can still be practical.

And in reality, it isn't really about striving in your own strength to achieve everything that God has called you to. It's more about positioning yourself to be used by God. So it's about being prepared with childlike obedience, strong in all the areas of your life, your finances, your marriage, your health, your relationships, having a mindset of victory, seeing the big vision and the big picture and being available.

If you're strong in all those things, you'll be available when God says, step out and do this big thing.

So to summarize what I'm saying to you today and what I'm hoping that you will get out of this, dear young person, young men, young women, and those of you who like me are young at heart, I want you to have a big dream for great achievements and great vision for your life in this world.

But I want you to be positioned and prepared for it because you won't be able to do it in your own strength. It's about being ready to move when God says move and having all of the pieces in place, your character, your integrity, your habits, your romance, your marriage, your family, your money, your health, a huge network of relationships, and a habit of childlike obedience.

I mean, the Bible even talks about Jesus growing in favor with God and man. Jesus even grew in favor with the people around him. So hopefully this is making sense. I hope that all of this that I've been sharing makes you think and gives you hope and increases your big dreams while helping you practically see some of the road of what it's going to take to get there.

I do so much appreciate you taking the time to listen to this episode today. If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to subscribe to this podcast in your favorite app. You've got to do it. Or you can even go to my website, gospelofeverything.com and subscribe to get updated by email so that you don't miss even one small bit of delicious goodness.

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Thank you, friend, for taking your valuable time to listen to the Gospel of Everything podcast today. I hope you have been blessed and encouraged and have more hope for the future. Make sure right now to take a moment to subscribe in your favorite app. If you don't ever want to miss a thing, please visit gospelofeverything.com and subscribe to be notified by email as well.

See you again next week for the next episode of the Gospel of Everything podcast. Be blessed.

Listen to the episode here:  https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/how-to-change-the-world-without-killing-yourself/