"My first girlfriend left me for my best junior high guy friend. You know, that was puppy love, but the puppy sure thought it was love. It also was a pain in my gut. I'll never forget that day. A whole lot more painful than that was when my first wife, my college bride, left me from my best friend. She had fallen in love with him."

Family Discussions:

  1. How do trials build character when God is in charge?
  2. What has been the greatest time of brokenness for you?
  3. What are you going through now and how has God building character in you through that experience of pain?
  4. Describe how he gave you hope and how he gave you hope through the pain.

Transcription:

00:14          Today's Bible study is a painful for me to give, but it's a good one and we all need it. It's in Romans chapter five verses three through five and it says this, "And not only this, but we also exalt in our tribulations knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance brings about proven character and proven character hope. And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts, through the Holy spirit who was given to us." Pain and promise.
 
00:48          You know what? My first girlfriend left me for my best junior high guy friend. You know, that was puppy love, but the puppy sure thought it was love. It also was a pain in my gut. I'll never forget that day. A whole lot more painful than that was when my first wife, my college bride, left me from my best friend. She had fallen in love with him. And you know what? That was true love back then and it was a pain in my heart that lasted for months. I felt months. I felt like I was going to die. It almost killed me. You know what my first wife was and is a wonderful person. As was my friend. They became infatuated with. You know what? There's no doubt that initiating divorce is wrong. It's wrong. It's wrong. But I've never blamed her. And I've never been bitter. I'm sure if I would've been the man that she needed, that would've never happened. I just bet. But I just cried my eyes out for months.
 
01:46          But in that valley, I fell completely in love with God. From that valley, you know, I've given my, today's. I'll give him my tomorrows. Because somewhere in that valley, God accepted my broken heart. And not only did he heal it but somehow in his miraculous care, he brought Debbie Jo to me. She's the greatest woman alive. And she's the mom of my four kids. And I've been married to her for almost four decades. But she has given me love and more importantly, God has given me a passion. Down in that passion, I mean that Valley of pain, God's given me a passion for people who like me, find themselves at the bottom of the Canyon with no apparent way to get out. You know what, man? I have learned a lot in my brokenness before God and I'm sure that there's more ahead, but God is at his best when we are at our worst. He'll never be closer than the day you fall on your face.
 
02:56          You know what? Pain gives us a choice. When we run to God, we get better. When we run to ourselves, we get bitter. Pain is like a golf tee to me. It could cause you to be teed up or teed off. It either makes me mad and useless or it makes my ball go a whole lot further off the tee. You see, God has this spirit who is never more ready to fill our hearts than when we're not down. And the Holy Spirit's great skill is to give us bravery, to get us out of the Canyon and to give us more deep, solid character and to give us great hope. Pain is the greatest teacher of all.
 
03:37          And here's the questions for today. How do trials build character when God is in charge? And then secondly, what has been the greatest time of brokenness for you? Or maybe what are you going through now and how has God building character in you through that experience of pain? And then the last question. Describe how he gave you hope and how he gave you hope through the pain. You know what? This is not heaven down here. Pain happens here, but how can you prepare yourself for the, during trials that lay ahead. And here's the lifeline for today. Bitter or better. It's your choice when the cruel ball of failure is hit into your court.
 

"I will never forget the first time I felt the sting of rejection of my friends. I probably was in fourth grade. It seems like. We're over my next door neighbor's house watching television, probably a football game. That's what we did."

Family Questions:

  1. What kind of rejection are you going through?
  2. How do you see God using the trial that you're going through to make you a whole lot more like Jesus?

Transcription:

00:14 Have you ever been fired on the job or you ever been divorced. You didn't want it to happen or you ever been rejected by your friends at school. I believe today's going to be a big encouragement for you. We're in first Peter Chapter one verses six and seven, and it says this. This is going to encourage me today. I hope it encourages you, as well. It says "in this we, you greatly rejoice, even though now if necessary, you've been distressed by various trials so that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." I will never forget the first time I felt the sting of rejection of my friends. I probably was in fourth grade. It seems like. We're over my next door neighbor's house watching television, probably a football game. That's what we did.

01:12 And I remember going up to their house and knocking on the door and I saw them inside, but the door was locked. And I still remember that little bitty guy, me standing there and hearing them say, can't you see nobody's home. Crushed me. And then I remember going out for junior high football and I wasn't very good athlete. And I remember my best friend kind of making the varsity and me making the B team. Just absolutely crushed me. The coach had rejected me. And then I remember my first girlfriend, seventh grade. I started young and I remember going to school one day. I mean we were girlfriend and boyfriend. We hardly ever spoke to each other, you know, how it is in seventh grade. But anyway, and I remember hearing from her friend through my friend that she didn't like me anymore, that she liked my best friend.

02:20 But the sting of rejection is awful. And then probably even more catastrophic than that was when, you know, that the doctors told me I had leukemia and that I was supposed to die within the year. There was a 60% chance I was going to die within that year. Talk about rejection, talk about the sting of rejection. And then a few years after that, when the doctor told me I had prostate cancer and, uh, wow, uh, life's got a lot of bumps, doesn't it?

02:49 And there's trials, you know, it's bad or worse than rejection. And we go through those things. And when I think about this little gold ring that I wear, you know, my wedding ring, and I look at the gold that's on that ring. My wife got it. It's gotta be good. But that was a whole bunch of rock that was refined into that pure gold. That are 14 carat gold, uh, that makes this ring. Rejection makes gold. And of all the trials and rejection and persecution and everything that I've gone through, or maybe that you've gone through, I know that I've got a long ways to go. A long ways to go. So there's probably more ahead, but I can rejoice. And so can you as I look back at every one of those things that happened over the years, all of the refining and I see God's purpose in it.

03:41 Wouldn't trade for any of it. They were the most important things that ever happened in my life. Because you know what, through trials like that, we can honestly care for people going through trials just like ours. You know what? I had a lot of refining to do and I still have a lot more to do. And every one of those trials, God used to take away some of my flesh and I still have way too much around, but with every trial, some of the flesh is laid off on the side of the road. And here's my questions for you today. What kind of rejection are you going through? And maybe your trial is not rejection right now, but what kind of trials are you going through and get somebody to help you answer this question. How do you see God using the trial that you're going through to make you a whole lot more like Jesus?

"I came up to Missouri and I coached this high school football team and we were mediocre at best. I mean, we trained hard, we played hard, we had a lot of fun. But we did most everything a team was supposed to do except we couldn't win." 

Family Discussions:

  1. Can you recall a time when a coach or a teacher called you onto the field or onto the court and pointed out how valuable and gifted you were?
  2. How did it feel?
  3. How much greater is it to be useful to the master and pleasing to the true head coach?
  4. What is this passage when it says "flee youthful lust and cleanse yourself of these things"?
  5. What does this say to you now about the things that you need to do to become useful to the master?
  6. How will you implement that today?

Transcription:

00:14 Hey, today I want to tell you about my favorite football player and my favorite football play that I've ever seen in my life. And the funniest thing about it was it was about a kid who sat on the bench. We're looking at Second Timothy Chapter two verse 20 through 22. You've got to capture this one. This is so incredibly amazing. It says this, "now in a large house, there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and earthen ware. In some for honor and some for dishonor, but if anyone cleanses himself of these things," Paul's talking about the purity issues. "If he cleans himself with these things, he'll be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the master, prepared for good work." And then here's the verse. "Now flee from youthful lust and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart." 'Useful to the master' ain't that a great phrase to think about being useful to the master.

01:18 Well I coached the Texas Aggies, and then I came up to Missouri and I coached this high school football team and we were mediocre at best. I mean, we trained hard, we played hard, we had a lot of fun. But we did most everything a team was supposed to do except we couldn't win. Every Friday night we got killed. 36 to 6. 45 to 14. Man, it was awful. But we kept having fun. We had this one sophomore on our team named Robert and he didn't know sick them about the game of football. He was young, he was slow, he was inexperienced. But this guy had a huge heart for the game and man, he wanted to get on the field and play. Well, one Friday we were playing a rural high school nearby called Bolivar. And again, we were getting routed, but there was one play I'll never forget. As the Bolivar Running Back was streaking down the sidelines right in front of our bench with the ball in his hand.

02:13 You know, scampering wildly towards the goal line, 10 yards ahead of our fastest defender. Suddenly from out of nowhere, a flash of red shot past me, onto the field, completely leveling the kid with the ball. And as fast as the flash had entered the field, he tackled, smeared the guy. He left the field standing innocently by my side as teammates on the sideline. It all happened so fast. The referees didn't even see it. True Story. But the opposing coach saw it and he went crazy and he should've, he was lived it. But he ran out in the field and he started screaming and yelling at me and he got the penalty. But I'll tell you that Robert, man, he was so sick of standing on the sideline watching other guys play and get trampled by the enemy that he just decided to jump off the bench and smear the guy carrying the ball.

03:08 It's been over 25, 30 years ago and I'm still laughing about it. You know, everybody wants to play. Nobody in their right mind wants to sit on the bench. You know, God wants players too. You know what? God wants guys and girls who allow Christ to purify their hearts and to stay pure by living clean for Jesus. And those kids, those students, and those adults, those businessman, those women, you know, they play in the greatest, most competitive, most exciting game ever. And that's the game for eternity and the game for men and women's souls. Uh, you know, when a coach has you play for him, when those influential eyes look down the sidelines at you in that deep welcoming voice says, "hey son, I need you come play for me." You know, you run through a brick wall to play for the guy.

04:06 You know, you can learn a lot about God on a football field. You know, the best of all coaches, the best of all coaches, best of all coaches has invited you to be on his starting team. Man, You better hurry to get on that field. The game is almost over. And here's the questions. Can you recall a time when a coach or a teacher called you onto the field or onto the court and pointed out how valuable and gifted you were? Uh, relive that. How did it feel? And then how much greater is it to be useful to the master and pleasing to the true head coach? And then this is the big one. What is this passage when it says "flee youthful lust and cleanse yourself of these things"? What does this say to you now about the things that you need to do to become useful to the master? And how will you implement that today? And the lifeline for today is this: Love is wanting to be useful to the master.

"If anything on earth can surpass the value of the acts of kindness, the gift of forgiveness would certainly fill that difficult task."

Family Discussion:

  • When those you love the most look in their treasure drawer, how much of it will be filled by things that you put there?
  • What are some of those things that you've put in the treasure drawer of the people in your family?
  • What are some of the things that they've put in your drawer that means the most to you today?
  • How does forgiveness pave the way for kindness? And how does Christ's example of forgiveness make it easy for a true believer to be kind enough to forgive that?

Transcription:

00:14 It was the first birthday present I can remember from my youngest son, Cooper. I think he'd taken it all the leftover paper and ribbons and he stuffed them all in a little ball. He was probably four years old. They brought me breakfast in bed and then he said, "happy buff day dad." And I took this thing and I went, "wow, Cooper, what is it?" And he said, "it's a hand grenade!" I said, good grief. What does he want to do? Blow me up? But he's become a treasure to me. I want to talk about treasures of kindness today. We're going to look at Ephesians 4 verse 29 through 32. listen to this: "let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that will give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ Jesus has also forgiven you."

01:28 I've saved the cards through the years. I've got stacks of them actually, they're from my kids and they're from my grandkids. "Dad, I love you" ; "dad go ahead and have a happy father's day." One of them said "ask mom, and she said it was okay." This was Cooper back when he was little. He said, "I love you dad. You're the greats. (Whatever the greats is), other kids, love you, but not as much as me." And then my little notes from my grandkids: "I love you, Pops." Can't read that one, but it's really cute. Anyways, all kindness to someone you love is doing anything to that person or for that person that just puts a smile on their face and a song in their heart. If anything on earth can surpass the value of the acts of kindness, I'll tell you the gift of forgiveness would certainly fill that difficult task. Forgiveness is overlooking a fault, saying, "That's okay. I know you didn't mean it." I just saw a letter from my daughter. We'd been having a tough time but man, she wrote me a forgiveness letter and it's a treasure that I'll keep forever. You can shrug off your hurt feelings knowing that God is forgiving you for a whole lot more than what you're forgiving that person for. Forgiveness opens the treasure drawer to your family and kindness fills that treasure drawer. For me, and I'm sure every parent, and someday, every child will agree, these are the greatest treasures of our life. A hand grenade; I'll never forget it as long as I live.

03:09 Here's the questions: When those you love the most look in their treasure drawer, how much of it will be filled by things that you put there? And the second thing is this: What are some of those things that you've put in the treasure drawer of the people in your family? What are some of the things that they've put in your drawer that means the most to you today? And then most importantly: How does forgiveness pave the way for kindness? And how does Christ's example of forgiveness make it easy for a true believer to be kind enough to forgive that? Here's the lifeline for the family. It says "I can't remember your mistakes, but I can't forget your kindness."

"I want to share with you a letter of freedom that I got from a friend a while back and it says this, it says, "Dear Joe, thank you for the letter in the book that you sent me. It's great and it has helped me greatly with some problems that I've been facing lately."

Family Discussions:

  1. What was the secret of my high school friends success?
  2. Why did he fail the first time we stopped drinking?
  3. Why did he succeed the second time he tried to stop drinking it?
  4. How does this passage will set you free right now?

Transcription:

00:15 I am just so excited about this verse today. It's like my favorite. You know, there's so many of those favorites in this book of Romans, but this one's my favorite. Romans Chapter Eight, verses one through three. This verse has literally changed my life in more ways than I can tell you. It says this, "therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, weak as it was in the flesh, God did. In sending his son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh." I love my mail. I loved my letters that I get every day. And uh, I want to share with you a letter of freedom that I got from a friend a while back and it says this, it says, "Dear Joe, thank you for the letter in the book that you sent me.

01:16 Uh, it, it's great and it has helped me greatly with some problems that I've been facing lately. Can I feel myself changing every day since I decided to let God run my life? Yes. It is truly amazing. I get so excited about life now. It's just unbelievable. Before I accepted Jesus Christ into my life, I had a problem with drinking. At first I thought drinking was okay. Since I grew up around alcohol. Man, how terribly wrong I was. I tried to stop drinking after realizing I was putting myself in bodily harm. The first night of that month was one of the toughest struggles have ever had in my life. I felt that I needed to drink more than anything else in the world, but I didn't. The second night of that month I gave in. My strength was not strong enough to overcome a dependency on alcohol.

02:13 I felt like a failure that night. I knew I could not do it alone. Now as a true follower of Christ, I've tried to stop again and this time it was different. I asked Jesus to help me with my problem and to show me the way to a happy life. And that's exactly what he did when I've tried to stop drinking for the second time, it was one of the easiest things I've ever done. I actually felt no need whatsoever to have alcohol back in my system. It was amazing how much easier it was the second time, but we both know why it was so easy. It was because Jesus was finally in the driver's seat of my heart. I've never been so happy in my life and this happiness will be growing in me more and more every day. Yeah, I know there will be trials, but I also know that whatever comes my way with the Lord's help, I will be able to handle anything." Every night at our men's events, at men at the cross and every night at our college events and after dark and every night at our high school events, with pure excitement,

03:20 I see this letter written thousands of times, thousands of faces, all in different ways. Here's the questions. Uh, what was the secret of my high school friends success? And the second question is this, why did he fail the first time we stopped drinking? But then lastly, why did he succeed the second time he tried to stop drinking it? And how does this passage will set you free right now? The lifeline for today is this. When I try, I fail. But when I trust, he succeeds in me.

"I co-hosted a Saturday teen call-in radio show that provided me with endless opportunities that I cherished to reach across the nation in airwaves of radio and really hug America's hurting kids. Many of the calls that I got were encouraging. I remember a 17 year old in New York who got a thousand friends in her public high school to where pray for Jesus t-shirts."

Family Discussions:

  1. Why is it so hard to do the right thing on our own power?
  2. How does it defeat us?
  3. How does Christ pull out of the mud of sin?
  4. What is it about the spirit of Christ that gives us freedom?

Transcription:

00:13 Hey today I want to tell you about some of my favorite Saturday nights I've ever lived on Team talk radio with Focus on the Family. We're in Romans chapter seven verses 15 through 17. And it says this, "what I am doing, I do not understand for I'm not practicing that which I would like to do. But I'm doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the law confessing that the law is good. So now, no longer am I the one who's doing it, but sin, which indwells me. I can't stop sinning." Paul is saying here. Uh, so, uh, so years ago, I cohosted a Saturday teen call-in radio show that provided me with endless opportunities that I cherished to reach across the nation in airwaves of radio and really hug America's hurting kids.

01:10 Uh, many of the calls that I got were encouraging. I remember a 17 year old in New York who got a thousand friends in her public high school to where pray for Jesus t-shirts. I remember a 16 year old in Las Vegas, uh, who witnessed openly to his unsaved friends every day. I remember an 18 year old in Florida who told his girlfriend that all traces of sex are for marriage only. I remember 17 year old from Dallas who sit strong moral standards that excluded drinking and tobacco and drugs and petting and stuff like that. But you know what, in those years on the radio, some of the calls were really, really painful. Um, tough calls night after night. I'll never forget a 15 year old girl from California pleading for help, uh, drinking and drugs and sex proliferated, um, her weary, weary emotions. Uh, she would say, men, I want to stop, but I just can't. I just can't stop.

02:06 I feel like an addict. I encouraged her to save herself for true love. In her days that lay ahead with a diamond ring to seal the commitment with her husband. But I just can't, I just can't stop. I'm, I'm addicted. I can't quit. She would say. Boy, there's so many of us understand her desperate plea. You know, guilt in a sense of failure are the two greatest demotivators and creators of defeat ever dreamed up by Satan. That's why he allows them to speak to our inner spirit. Man. Of course, you've blown it in your past. Join the club. We all have. Man, that's why Jesus came to this earth in the first place. He knows you can't do it on your own. That's why every day is a brand new day to say, you know what, I might've failed yesterday, but today is the first day of the rest of my life.

02:59 Christ can give me the grace to never sin like that again. I remember one of thousands of guys who've come up to that cross in these men's events that I do. He'd hated his dad for 35 years because his dad has abused him. But there at the cross. He said, I forgive you dad. I forgive you dad. And so the stories go across this country. And here's the question for you today. Why is it so hard to do the right thing on our own power? But, uh, but, but how does, how does it defeat us? It with the big question is this, how does Christ pull out of the mud of sin? What is it about the spirit of Christ that gives us freedom? The lifeline for today is this, uh, you know, pointing out your failures only spells further failure, but pointing out someone's successes, especially in your family, spells success for them in their future.

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