Staying Connected with God: A 60-Day Challenge (Part 1) – John Burke

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Imagine life if you were 100% in tune with God all the time! But life gets in the way—squabbles with our loved ones, difficult circumstances, disappointments. And when we let those things get to us, we often feel disconnected from God. On this two-day Focus on the Family, John Burke reminds us that God is the source of life and of our contentment and joy. He gives us a clear picture of what it looks like to do life with God and how you can trust Him with your strongest and deepest desires! Just like branches connected to the Vine, with John’s 60-60 experiment (connecting with God every 60 minutes for 60 days), you can cling to God’s peace and love, allowing that to overflow to your relationships and everything you do!

 

 

what someone says as their last words is what? It’s point. That’s the sailing at point of Live them, right? Well, you know, Jesus did the same thing. He told us what matters most. And it’s one thing there’s only one thing you have to do is a Christian. Welcome to the focus on the family. Broad cares, helping families thrive. John, these could be tough questions, but do you know someone who’s 100% in tune with God? This is a tough question. I’d have to say I’ve known people who are really close to and they hear God a lot. I’ve never known any way that that’s 100%. Yeah, it’s kind of like who got a score? Yeah, but you know, first Thessalonians, 5 16, 3 18, tells us. Rejoice. Always pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances. I love that because I think we failed to do that so often that give thanks in all circumstances. For this is the will of God in Christ, Jesus for you. And what a great reminder. And it does get difficult. I got to admit that we get into squabbles maybe with their spouse or kids things to add us to wear. Did we really get an A plus in how we reflect God’s character? And maybe not always. But the good news is he makes a way for us to repent, to try again and do over those things that we don’t do so well the first time. Today we’re going to give you a clear picture of what it looks like to do life with God, to challenge yourself, actually too deep in that relationship with the Lord, so that more often than that, you’re responding exactly the way you should know. I like the way you put that, and John Burke is the right man to help us unpack this. He’s the pastor and founder of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas. He’s married to Kathy. They have an adult son and an adult daughter, and he is the author of a number of books, one that we’re gonna be talking about today is called Soul Revolution. How in perfect people become all God intended, and we have that here at the ministry cheque. The programme notes for details or give us a call 800 The letter A in the word family. John Welcome back to focus. Oh, thanks for having been so good to have you in from Austin in from Austin. I think Amy’s ice cream is pretty good. Right. Hey, listen, obviously your pastor, but there was a time, maybe even when you were pastor, which is probably the core of my question. But there was that time when you really struggled with God over trusting him. I think that’s every believers challenge. I mean, Lord, seriously, there was a time. Yeah, if then those kind of questions. If you’re so good, and why is this happening to me? And yeah, I love that refreshing idea that even pastors have that challenge sometimes, too, even though they know the word really well. So what was the barrel free and trusting? God. Well, there hasn’t been one. They I appreciate that. No, I really I really do think you know, God is trying to peel us like an onion down to the core of who we are and who he is. Why is that? What is his goal in that? Well, I think it gets to what he really wants, but I think part of the getting to that he didn’t force us. He leads us gently, sometimes not so gently. And so my first disappointment. You know, I was I was not necessary. I wasn’t one of believer. I was an engineer before I became a pastor, But my dad died of cancer. And I remember standing at at his gravesite and looking at, you know, these two dates separated by a dash. And I was just looking at them, and I was thinking about how life get some up in two dates in a dash. You know, when we’re born, when we die. And yet there’s this dash in between, Yeah, what’s what’s the dash for? What are we going to make of the dash? What’s it really about? And as I was standing there, just thinking about that, you know, my my dad had kind of defined success the way everybody defines success in our culture. You know, you make a lot of money, you have a great family, you know, take vacations. And yet, on his deathbed, he had said something to me, said John, I’d give it all back if I could just have my health and my family. Wow! And that marked me on day I stood there thinking about that, and it actually led me on a journey coming to faith in Jesus and at the same time asking the question, What is success? Let let me play back a bit. Because in the book, you also mentioned a new experience with your dad about building a train. I think when you’re a boy and that had a good analogy for you learned something out of that. I don’t know why he took so long to come to Christ, John. But, I mean, what was that analogy with the train set building it? Yeah, when I was, you know, I don’t know. Maybe 8, 10. My my dad got one of those H o train sets. Remember those, you know, electric trains. And but we decided to build a Colorado like landscape. Pike’s Peak. We did, And he does. So we paper machine, we sculpted it, laid out the track, it went through mountains and tunnels and there were, you know, towns and all this. And it was a maid took us, you know, I don’t know. Five months probably built it, and it was awesome. And when it was done, we high fived and, you know, we turned it on and it went around and it was it was just it was amazing. But after about a month of watching the train go around and around, I started, it started, loses interest. And what I realised looking back is that it wasn’t just the train moving and going around that was so wonderful about that. It was me and my dad doing it together. Uh, sure, it was us making it together, and And the the point for us is that there are a lot of dreams we have there. A lot of hopes are a lot of ambitions. They’re not bad fact. Many of them are good, but many of them are like a finger pointing somewhere. And I believe words pointing his relationship without the relationship, First with God and then with others, all those other things, they lose their meaning. They’re just a train going around and around. Yeah, just a dash between, you know, today you know it’s interesting because I think of people who tell the Storey of having that desire to make a lot of money and become a millionaire. By the time they’re 25 30 and then you talk to some people that have actually done it and they speak about how empty it. Woz. So that’s one of the things I talk about in Seoul revolution. We all have deep longings, their good. I think they’re from God, but sometimes we have shallow strategies. In other words, we don’t really understand how are these deepest longings going to be met? So let’s say, you know, maybe maybe your your dream is to have a family have kids. My kids look certain way things go this way or that way. That’s not bad. It’s a good thing. Sure, right. But what if you have all that? But you still struggle with feeling known feeling, experiencing joy, peace? Would you be okay? Or they’re deeper, long and still. But what do you have all those? But you still don’t have contentment, right? What? What if you still struggle with anxiety and worry all the time? And I know multi millionaires who still worry all the time, right? They told me so. Our deepest longings when we start to drill down there spiritually right there What God promises by his spirit love, joy, peace, Patience, kindness, Goodness Jonas Faithless self control. Those kinds of things and our deepest longings on Lee get met when we understand what God’s deepest longing is, too and gods want, God’s dream is for intimate relationship with you. Let me, yeah, let me get into that a little bit because in the book you talk about God’s longings. I don’t I don’t know that I’ve ever thought of that other than God loves us. And God built us for relationship with him. And But I didn’t carry it to the next conclusion. Which is why did he do that? Yeah, that’s your point. Well, and if you think about it, you know, if God desired, if his main desire was to get people to do right and quit doing wrong if he’s God, couldn’t he make us? Couldn’t force us to stop doing right, right? Right. He could. So why didn’t he? Because there must be something deeper he wants. He allows free will, even against his will. Why? Well, because you can’t have love without free will. You can’t exactly. I mean, let’s say let’s say you fall in love with some person, right, and you want them to love you back. You could shower them with gifts, right with good things, but they might love the gifts. But not so much. You still writes. You can’t actually buy role of You could try to force him. I guess you could put a gun to their head and say Merry me or love me or And they might out of fear parrot it. But we would all know that’s not love. Love must be free. That’s true for God as well. And so that explains a lot of why God allows the things he allows in this world and even uses our disappointments to show us what it is. Deep down, we really are longing for us. Well, now that it’s so good. You know, it’s interesting, though, because we, typically in the church, will lean toward living a life that’s more perfect. That is, you know, Senlis because it’s pretty obvious. And Scripture, that’s the goal. But the irony of ironies is the Lord is saying everything that you’ve just said that you know you’re going to learn more about me through those valleys that you go through sinful valleys, right well, and we don’t really We don’t understand that I think as well as we showed that guy. We’re not sure we tend to think of God is like a grandfather who shocked at our behaviour that would have never thought that you could do that. Yeah, but he knows everything. He knows how we behave. Is human being sinful human beings. Nothing is going to shock him. And the other incredibly frane. Truth is that the life God wants with us is so simple. It’s so simple, it really is. And we don’t have to work real hard. We don’t have to try real hard. You know when When my dad said that on his deathbed. Yeah, the reason it struck me is because what someone says as their last words is What? It’s point. That’s the sailing at point of life for them, right? Well, you know, Jesus did the same thing. He told us what matters most. And it’s one thing there’s only one thing you have to do is a Christian. Listen up. Yeah, but think about it When when Mary and Martha were preparing dinner for Jesus and the Disciples remember, you know, in Martha’s busy busy and she’s frustrated with Mary sitting there listening to Jesus. And Jesus says to her, Martha, you’re working so hard. You’re so stressed out. There’s only one thing necessary and Mary’s chosen it. Okay, so just pause like one on Lee. One thing is necessary. We better figure out what that one thing is and focus on that. And that is the same thing Jesus was saying is last night on Earth. So he knows he’s going to leave. He’s trying to get it across to them. John, Chapter 15, he says, Look, I am the vine. You were the branches, and I believe they’re actually going from the upper room down to the garden of Gethsemane E. I think they were going through the vineyard. He picks up a branch because let me just stick it in your head, guys, it’s this simple. Ah, Branch doesn’t have to work hard to produce fruit. All it has to do is stay connected to the trunk. The vine and fruit happens naturally. I’m the vine. You’re the branches. Stay connected to me and you will bear much fruit apart from me. You can do some good things. No, you could build big businesses. You can have great families you can do this and that, but nothing that he intended. Nothing that gets it the deepest long. It’s a part for me. You could do nothing, so this would be the one thing. That’s the whole point that I’m trying to get across. And so revolution that actually all we have to do is learn to stay connected moment by moment, to God’s spirit and the rest of the things. Take care of themselves, right? And John Burke is air guest today on Focus on the Family. He’s referenced the book, So Revolution, how in perfect people become All God Intended, will encourage you to get in touch with us for your copy. The details are in the show notes. Or give us a call. 800. The letter A in the word family. John. That’s the core of the book, this idea of the 60 60 experiment. So describe what that is. And let’s talk about it. Well, let me tell you how I came to it because just like anything else, many times it only comes to disappointment, like trying to get my shallows. My deep longing is met with the shallow strategy and God using that to show me How do I get what I really want with connection to him? So when we when we planted Gateway Church, nothing went as planned on there’s a disclaimer normally with the Lord, it doesn’t work out the way you think it should. Where? Yeah, and we all know that. But when it actually hits, our response is different, right? We had to move to six different locations during two years. Every time we we move, we lost, people were reaching. It is so first, I’m like, Lord, what am I doing wrong? And I got to the end of myself in disappointment and frustration and frustration with God. Yeah, because he’s not doing his will the way supposed to. And look what I’m trying to do for you what I’m doing for you. Look at all given for you. And in that he started whispering something into my mind over and over when I would start complaining for about a year. But it was the same thing every time. Am I enough? Mm? Am I enough? And at first I was mad. I was like, What? I left my engineering career to follow you in the ministry I left that ministry to complain. A church to help reach. But what do you mean, Am I enough? Have a nice ship and then I realised Oh, I guess not. Because the truth is, if God, you know, loving, God, loving my family, loving the people who are coming. And even with the difficulties that come is not enough. God has to do things my way or I get mad and angry and frustrated with him. And so what I realise in this and this is getting the core of this whole 60 60 experiment in. So revolution is Jesus prayer. What he taught us to pray is your kingdom calm? God, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven because God’s will mostly is not done on Earth because we spend most of our time trying to get my will be done. And that includes Christians and even pastors. And so I spent a whole year just practising waking up every morning, surrendering my will and trying to on Lee do God’s will during that day, as best I understood it right, and it was amazing. Well, that’s the challenge you put in the book. So let’s talk about 60. 60. What? What are you challenging your readers to do? Yeah, So it came from that year of this experiment I did personally and the joy I started to feel the piece. I started to feel a deeper love from for my Children. I mean, these things that I really wanted, it was amazing. And I’m mowing the yard one day and I had I’m talking to Lord about it. I’m just saying, I wish the people in my church could understand how great this life is with you. And I had the thought do an experiment for 60 days. You know, it takes time to change a habit, right? 60 days every 60 minutes. Secure your watch, beeper to go offs and alarm to go off or some something to remind you Abide in me, Remain in. My love is Jesus said in John 15. You know, and you will bear much fruit apart from me. You can do nothing, So just get him to try it for 60 days and see what happens. And we did that. Thousands of people have done this experiment and it’s life changing. That’s amazing. It’s life changing Yeah, but it’s what Jesus said over and over, Right? Paul Paul said it in Galatians. Chapter five 5 16 walked by the spirit, and you won’t carry out the desires of the flesh. You don’t. You don’t have to try to stop sending or try to break that habit or this habit of that addiction just walked by the spirit and you won’t do that. Instead, the fruit of the spirit love, joy, peace patients behind all that will start to grow. Yeah, Onley. One thing is necessary, Martha, Listen, it’s the one thing, so we have to learn to stay connected. So that’s the That’s the experiment. I mean, just think about it. When you wake up on the typical day, how much time do you spend making your plans and thinking about how to get them done versus Lord What are you doing? And what do you want me to do in each thought in each moment, in each decision, with with my co workers with my Children and do we realise how much God loves us and is always with us and actually wants to guide us? That’s what Jesus said in John 16. I’m going to send my spirit. He will always be with you. And he will lead you into truth. Lead you in the way of truth. You know, John, in that regard, some people that might read the scripture says, you know, pray unceasingly and you go. Seriously. How do you even do that? How do you know? You? You got to go to do your banking. You got it work. How do you pray? Unceasingly like you’re constantly in a state of prayer. It has that feel to it, like man it. It sounds impossible to do every hour, every 60 minutes cheque in with the Lord. I mean, I love it. I’m playing out. And no, I think I think that, but yeah, people really, John, I mean, really, And that’s what I like to say is that’s not what we’re doing. We’re not trying to beat the Muslims in instead of five times of prayer day. We’re going to do 12, right? That’s not it. That’s not it. It is learning to do life with this God who wants to do life with us, who truly loves us more than we can possibly imagine. And oftentimes we don’t understand who God is or what he wants to give, you know? Think about the woman at the well. Jesus, right? She was a very imperfect person, married five times, divorced five times and living with the guy, right? She was the talk of the town. That’s why she was there at noon in the heat of the day, rather than with the women in the cool of the day, right shoes by herself, by herself and Jesus Skinner’s his conversation with her values her and And then he says, If you knew who God is and the gift he wants to give you, you would ask me for living water. And that’s true of us, too. See, she had a desire for love, but she was trying to get that desire. Met with the shallow strategies of men filling this deep longing that only God could give, and so that what we need to realise, too. And God is so good. I mean, this is the thing is we’ve got to realise how much he loves us, that the Bible tells us God is love. There is no love apart from him, which means that all the love I’ve ever felt or given is just borrowed love. And he loves me. Mawr any loves you, mawr, whoever, whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, it doesn’t matter. He loves you mawr than you love your Children, your spouse more than you’ve experienced love from your grand parents, your parents. It’s all borrowed. Love s so good. And the point of that is unless we realise who got is and that because of what he’s done for us in Christ, he did that. So we will walk with He didn’t do that just to get us into heaven one day. And believe me, I wrote about him. And I know about that right. That’s not why he wants us to do life with him. So that’s the 60 60 experiment. Yeah. So what I say is it’s not stopping every 60 minutes to pray. It’s not that if you, if you do that’s good, is just totally missing it. What it actually is is it’s trying to reorient ourselves from a habit of ignoring God most of the day to realising that God is with us all through the day and loves us and actually wants to guide and help us. Yeah, in everything. It’s a no it’s so good to because I don’t even think it’s a matter mostly of not wanting to. It’s the distraction of life. Keeps us often from going deeper and settling down. It’s Martha. Yeah, we got so much to do. Don’t you know how much I got? Do the dishes where I got to do all this stuff I got right in the same will want you stop, right Mary in Come sit with me and hear my heart. And I think what what helps people is realising it’s not changing your life. It’s reorienting your life. So in other words, you don’t have to change necessarily anything you’re doing. But do it with the Lord thinking, you know, Think about it this way. You’re already going through life talking to yourself anyway. What am I gonna D’oh? Why did that person do that? Wouldn’t you know? You’ve got this constant conversation in your head between you and yourself, just like God. It already knows there’s nothing we can hide from him. So just let him in, Understand that he is kind and merciful. He’s not condemning. There’s no condemnation for us in Christ. Jesus That’s grace so that what Romans 81 so grace is so that we can fulfil the intent of the law. That’s what it says how by those who set their minds on the things of the spirit, not the things of the flesh. So it’s the 60 60 ideas. Where do we set our minds moment by moment throughout the day that 60 minutes in eruption interrupts our old habit of forgetting about God and not listening and not necessarily being willing. And it re orients us to be to be able to go. Lord, how did I do last 60 minutes listening and hearing and an abiding staying connected to you. And it’s amazing how you start to see God show up. Yeah, that’s really good. I’m telling you, guys, I have kept journals of this incredible journey of faith. As we walk in step with God’s spirit like this, life becomes an adventure. Our deepest longing started to bubble up from within, not from the things without, and we look back and we go. Wow, you led me on a course I could never have imagined. But it was better. And who doesn’t want that? I mean that that, ideally, is exactly the way we should live our lives. And it’s as believers, you know, leaning into God. This is a great place to stop, and I do want to come back next time and keep the discussion going. Dig a little deeper. And what a wonderful resource. So revolution, the 60 60 experiment and that you’ve heard kind of the tip of the iceberg. And I hope you’ll contact us to get a copy of John’s book, and man will make it easy for you. Just make a gift of any amount. We’ll send it as our way of saying thank you for getting involved and being part of the ministry to help others. If you can’t afford it, that’s okay. We’ll trust others will cover it. So just get in touch with us. If you’re saying, man, there’s a lot in here that I’m dealing with and you need to talk to somebody. We have Karen Christian counsellors who can help you digest some of what we have talked about today and hopefully steer you either in a relationship with Jesus for the first time or two deep in it. And if we could do that man. We have really hit our goal of helping you. Yeah, we’re a phone call away our numbers. 800. The letter A in the word family. 800 to 3 to 6459 or cheque. The programme notes for all the details. John, Let’s do that. Let’s continue next time and go a little deeper with this. Great content from Seoul Revolution. Can you do it? Oh, absolutely. Okay, let’s do it. Well, well. Hope you’ll join us next time as we continue the conversation with John Berg. For now, on behalf of Jim Daley and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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