Staying Connected with God: A 60-Day Challenge (Part 2) – 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!

 

 

our deepest longings are really trying to answer a few questions. Am I lovable? Where am I loved and do I have worth? Do I have value No purpose and really, we’re trying to get those questions answered. Welcome to the focus on the family. Broad cares, helping families thrive. John, I’m so excited to have John Burke back with us. He’s been here a number of times, but last time we talked about how we can trust God with our hopes and our dreams. And really, our deepest longings are found in Jesus, and when we can understand that it changes our life. Man John gave us some ideas on reorienting our minds and connecting with God so that we can be in tune with the things he desires for us, the good gift giver. If I could say it that way today, we’re going to dive a little deeper into that content. Based on his book Soul Revolution in John Burke is the pastor and founder of Gateway Church in Austin, Texas. He and his wife, Kathy, has an adult son and an adult daughter, and his book So Revolution, How in perfect People became All God intended is indeed the foundation for our conversation. Call us to get your copy. 800. The letter A in the word family or cheque. The programme notes for further details. John, welcome back. How great to be back. It’s good to see and let’s pick up from last time you talked about the 60 60 experiments. So for those that didn’t hear it, give us a quick briefing on with 60 60 Experiment’s all about. Yeah. So the context like we talked about last time is that we all have deep longings. We have hopes we have dreams. They’re not bad. But often times we settled for too little. You know, it’s as a C. S, Lewis said. You know, many times it’s not that are we desire too much. We settle for too little, and God actually wants to give us the deepest longings of our hearts the love and the joy and the peace and patients kind. All these things that things from out there can’t can’t give us, but it only comes from intimate relationship with God, and in fact, that’s what were created for. Yeah, we weren’t created to do life apart from the very source of life and love and goodness. He created us for that. So the Christian walk really is simple. It’s incredibly simple. And Jesus said, this is last night on Earth and John 15 5 he said, Look, I’m the vine like I’m the trunk of the tree. You know the vine, you’re the branches, Stay connected to me and you will bear much fruit apart from me. You could do nothing. So the 60 60 experiment is trying to help us re orient from the habit we all naturally fall into, which is that we go throughout our days, forgetting that God is with us and he loves us. And he promised his holy spirit to be with us, to guide us into all truth, to to guide us into the purpose he has us here for and and the result is the dreams and longings of our heart on Personally, I could say I’m amazed. Yeah, and I would never choose any other path. Now that doesn’t mean it’s not challenging. Sometimes along the way, that mean there’s not disappointments. In fact, many times he uses the disappointments to rip away. The things were using US props. Apart from God. Yeah, he’s not trying to harm us. He’s actually trying to help us, right On s Oh, that’s so the 60 60 years, every 60 minutes for 60 days. You know, it takes time to set a new habit. Sure. So 60 days is a good time period to change a habit. So for 60 days, you set a beeper to go off your alarm on your smartphone, or we have an app that that does it. That’ll do in your phone and bring up verse reminding you of how to stay connected or what God wants in this relationship. Or maybe you just put sticky notes in your car and on your computer. Just a za reminder. And what you’re trying to do is change your habit from going through the hours of the day, the moments of the day, forgetting about God who’s there with you, or distracted or distracted or not listening right and responding. John, let me ask you, This is a pastor. I’m sure you have counselled many, many people that fit this description, but I want to really speak to that person that this is true of, and that is the person that’s trying to satisfy longings that are artificial. It might be success. Money, houses, cars, relationship. You know, the beautiful wife, whatever and how when they reach it, how it doesn’t meet the need and speak to that individual. And even in the church, you know, someone who has made a commitment to Christ. It’s sometimes hard to shake those habits of what you’re actually going after and how to get better oriented around exactly what you’re saying. Opening your heart so the Lord can help made the deeper longings of your life. I mean, some people might not even know what those longings are. That’s how distracted they could be. Yeah. And I think the other part is we don’t stay connected to the Lord because we fear that if I do, he’s going to fill in the black. Huh? So this is my old fear, right? I was an engineer. I had ah, dream and a goal to start my getting an MBA, start my own company be rich and successful because that was what I was trained. Is success? Sure. Okay. Well, then my dad did that, but it killed him. Huh? He died. He died from cancer. but that he also struggled with alcohol isn’t over. We’ll struggle with stress. He had ulcers, and on his deathbed he said to me, John, I’d give it all back if I could just have my health and my family. He knew the Lord, but he didn’t. I know how to walk with the Lord. Abide in him. He didn’t know how to abide how to stay connected. I mean, I didn’t realise this, and this is thing. Our deepest longings are really trying to answer a few questions. Am I lovable or am I loved? And do I have worth? Do I have value purpose? And really, we’re trying to get those questions answered the shallow strategies. Often, times are like we’re trained or we come up with an idea that if I’m successful, if I have husband who looks like this or does this or is this status, or if I have a wife who, you know looks like this, what does your kids or you know you can fill it in with 1000 things? Sure, but those in up suddenly becoming idols, In other words, they become the singular, most important thing, and they distract us just like you were saying from the one thing that Jesus said is necessary, right? And that is a relationship with the Lord walking moment by moment with the Lord. And so I think the thing I would say is, don’t worry about changing all your dreams. They’re bad or your hopes are bad. They’re not necessarily right at all. Focus on walking day by day for 60 days and just see if you don’t end up going. Oh, my gosh. This way of doing life with God is so much better. You had a storey in the book about going skiing with your college buddies, and you encountered what sounded like, you know, ski bunnies. What happened in this storey and what was the outcome? Yeah. So what state were you in? Colorado? Colorado? A crested butte. A specific excellent great ski spot. Yeah. Great ski spot. And so we didn’t know. But these girls were like, leading us into the trap, all right? And they were like, Okay, you can ski. Let’s go scheme. So they take us up to the back side and it’s this big bowl, probably two ft of power, three ft of powder, crazy 70 degree. I mean, it was it looked like a straight down drop. So they said to me, You can’t fear. You just have to You have to go like you’re falling down the mountain plunge and then use the speed to control your speed. So I start. But I’m terrified. So I leaned back. Well, that’s the worst thing. And I, you know, I snowball for 200 yards. She comes back and she’s like, No, if you give in to fear you’re not going to Bill, that you’re not going to do this, You have to, like, throw yourself down the mountain and then you’ll be able to control your speed. It seem counterintuitive, right? I’d be right with you. But I did it. Yeah, I did. At that time I leaned down, I leaned down the mountain and I didn’t fight the speed and I started to then turn, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had was a thrill. This 60 60 experiment doing life moment by moment with Jesus is the same. So here’s what I challenge people to do for 60 days. You have to go all out in complete willingness to do is will. So what you’re doing is over 60 days. You are trying to trust him with everything. No matter what he says, you’re going to do it, and then you just going to see how it turns out. Yeah, So you have to overcome your fear and you have to lean in and you have to go all out. But I’m telling you, after watching thousands of people do this experiment for 60 days, nobody ever says who goes all out. Oh, I wish I hadn’t done that. Nobody. It’s always Well, that’s a guarantee. Oh, my gosh. Yeah. God, Israel. He loves me and cares about me. I couldn’t believe the things I experience, the way God showed up, the way he led me. The joy, the peace and the way he takes care of the little things. Yeah, When I just focus on the one thing Jesus said is most important. Abide in me. You will bear much fruit apart for me. Nothing. Let me ask you also in the book you mentioned encounter you had with a friend, Jerry and you and Jerry had the had to do some reconciliation. What was going on there actually I was working on a message and I was on a deadline. And I have this thought going to my head. I wonder where Jerry is. Jerry was not a Christian. He and his girlfriend had started coming to our church and I hadn’t seen him in a while. And I don’t know why I had that thought. And I thought, Why did I think that, Lord? And then I was like, I’m busy and I got s so I go back to riding my message, and I have the thought again. And it was kind of like email, Jerry. It was like, I don’t even know if I had Jerry’s email. And I don’t have time to email. Just go back to working and get it Usually takes three times for me. I don’t know what I kind of like a relationship. Somebody asking you to do something. Well, that’s what the impression And, hey, you can’t do that. And many times, my first thought is Was that just my dumb pot? Right? And you got it. And you’ve got to learn to go. Lord, is that you? It’s kind of like the same. You know, Lord, here I am. So it comes back a second time comes always saying I keep ignoring. Comes back a third time, huh? So I emailed, Jerry. Hey, Jerry. Haven’t seen you in while. Hope you’re OK. Just had just was thinking about Just stopped and prayed for you. Let me know if I can do anything for you. Shut it off. Well, the next day, his girlfriend, who Jerry lived with, got that as she had just taken him home from the hospital, having tried to commit suicide the day I wrote that e mail The day of the Lord was not today. The Lord nudged me. Yeah. Amazing. She saw it as an act of God. They came in and he unloaded all the guilt and burden. He didn’t know the forgiveness of the Lord. Right? So I share the gospel with him. He came to Christ. The Lord turned his life around. It was amazing because of one little prompting thought. Yeah, think of that. And that’s how. And that’s the adventure we get to go on with, Lord. Well, we’re inviting you to go on a journey with God and to be used by him as John was just describing the book that we’re talking about today and focus on the Family is written by John Burkett’s called Soul Revolution. How am perfect People become All God intended and we’re making that available to you. Just give us a call. 800. The letter A in the word family or cheque. The programme notes for all the details, John, that could be one of the big barriers is moving toward people with the right attitude. You’re in the 60 60 experiment. You’re asking the Lord every 60 minutes. Okay, Lord, checking in. Or do I need to go and boom. That thought hits you. Contact so and so. Okay, I’m not sure if that’s the Lord, but in faith, I’m going to make that happen. And, you know, these could be relationships that have historic conflict in them or something so kind of bundling those thoughts together. The concept of moving toward people for some could be really intimidating. Well, then it could be passed conflict or could be present conflict or just fair. Yeah, it’s it’s not being formal. It’s just realising the Lord’s Prayer is really a model. Our father, who art in heaven Holy is your name. In other words, you’re are greater than I can possibly imagine better than I could possibly imagine. I’m going to trust you. That’s the sentiment. And then the second you know, your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Okay, that’s a prayer that Jesus taught us to pray that because God’s will is not done mostly on Earth. This this is what we’re trying to do in the 60 60 experiment is change it from the way we typically will things to be done and allow God’s will to actually work in us. Now here’s the thing. Love requires willingness and free will, and so God doesn’t force himself on us. Many times he waits for our willingness. And so the responding in obedience, the radical response in those moments throughout the day, it does require humbling ourselves and trust. I think about my own personal experience. When our kids were little, we were in the middle as a church of doing the 60 60 experiments on my watch was going off, you know, be being every every 60 minutes to remind me to stay connected each each moment of the day. we go down to the beach and the kids were little. We stay up late swimming. We get up the next morning and I had this plan in my head of how the day was going to go. We had to get back. It was Sunday. It’s 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, 12 o’clock. You know, we’re all grumpy because we didn’t sleep well. We’re in the cramped little hotel. The dog and dogs bark kept us up all night. We’re all getting on each other’s nerves. But I was doing a really good job of being patient. Let me tell, you know, my wife disagree in my but she was wrong, eh? So you get you get the picture right? But I really felt like I had, like we were all get on each other’s nerves. The kids were crying and upset, and I was trying to be so patient like, But now it’s noon. It’s two hours past plan, right? Time to go, I e. My will be done, you know, And we all you know, we all live there. So anyway, my wife finally confronted me. She says, You’re being so impatient. What was like What don’t you realise how patient I have been for two powers We have not noticed. Yes, and it just you know. So then we started getting in. We were all and and and right as we’re in the middle of it, what do you think happened? The stinking beeper goes off on my watch. The 66. 66. And I’m not kidding in my mind. I said, Sorry, Lord can’t connect right now. I’m busy at this time. I certainly don’t want accountability. I do not want. And that is exactly what happens. Right? And what I realise is in that moment it was like my wound, my pride, my way. It was blocking my spirit from even wanting to consider what the Lord wanted. His will be done right, and I literally had to. And it was only because this verse from Scripture kept coming to my mind again. I think it was the Lord’s prompting. God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble, humble yourselves therefore, under God’s mighty hand, and he will lift you up. Yeah, I kept hearing that I was like, Ah should never memorise that Scripture. They always come back to bite us. But I went for a walk and I just calm down and and And I was able to say, And sometimes this is what you have to say, Lord, I can’t do it for them, but I’ll do it for you. That’s good. That’s obedience. That’s abide in my love. And how do How do you abide in my love? You know how much God loves us a depth that we can’t We can’t fathom how high, how lo how wide, how deep. But we only have one thing to offer him in love our will in any one moment. So I said, Okay, I’ll do it is an act of love for you And I went back and I apologised. Even though it went wrong, they were wrong. I could see it. Wendy still got to go through. Forgive. No, But that is the reality. Yeah, so that your kingdom come, your will be done and what we’re doing in these moments throughout the day in the 60 sixties were changing our habit of just letting our pride and our will be done. And we’re actually following his and were seen. It’s better. It was better. We went out and had a great day. The rest of the day did have resolution. They apologised to once I lead. But leadership often requires humbling yourself, right? Yeah, I think in that 60 60 experiment, one of things is just getting to know the voice of the Lord. And it doesn’t need to be a shameful thing or an embarrassing thing. If you haven’t practised this, it takes the whole time to say, OK, is that just me thinking that, or is that really the Holy Spirit nudging me? In fact, you had a storey in the book about Kathy. You guys, I think we’re in Russia. Oh, yeah, And something at a nice restaurant occurred. So while we were living in, we were living in post Communist Russia. So it was right after the fall of the Soviet Union, we moved to Leningrad. We left ST Petersburg, same city. We were there when it when it changed, changed names. But during that time, it was hyper inflation. Just horrible economic crash. So anyway, we were at Christmas break out in Switzerland for a conference. So we’re having this. We go to this really nice restaurants steakhouse in Switzerland and we’ve been eating. You know, abortion, potatoes and cucumbers. You couldn’t get much right. And so we’re having this incredible meal, you know, and just loving My wife couldn’t eat. She’s a huge mercy gift, right? That’s not my problem. You married opposites. She helps me. She helps me with the Lord’s heart for people. And and so she couldn’t eat. Like, why aren’t Why aren’t you eating? Because I just can’t eat this beautiful male knowing some of our Russian friends of the parents and married student housing can’t even get milk for their kids. We’ve got to do something to help them. And so we stopped and we prayed around the meal. And we just said, Lord, if this prompting that Kathy’s feeling, we’re all feeling we were all like God, are we supposed to do something then? Then tell us. Show us. And we spent the rest of the night brainstorming Well, maybe we could find trucks in Finland and we could truck food. And from Finland, we can raise money from churches and United States. We start to develop this plan. Well, we get back that next week to our flat. We lived in a Russian flat apartment and there was a phone message waiting for us and we call. And it was, Ah, an organisation that had a C 1 10 military transport plane flying in the whole cargo load of food, enough to feed 2000 families for three months. Is there any way we could possibly help them distribute the food? It’s crazy, crazy, crazy. And so we ended up being able to not only, you know, meet the needs physically, but we were able to share Christ with with all of them and tell him about the God who cares about their needs, physical and spiritual. It was amazing. But again, this is the adventure God wants to lead us on. And sometimes it’s It’s amazing like that, like he wants to do something through us. But we have to be willing to just seek his will and then willing to act. Sometimes it’s real simple. Yeah, and I like that through both days, you’ve talked about that, keeping things simple, that the gospel is simple. It’s not easy. No, but it’s hardest is the hardest thing really simple. That’s why the 60 60 experiment is for 60 days. We’re trying to re orient our habit right of not doing this. One thing Jesus said is necessary. Yeah, getting distracted by everything else. Everything else. And I think that’s where I want to end with this last question, that person, maybe they don’t even feel worthy. That’s so much the guilt that the enemy lays on our heart that, you know, we we could possibly be notice by God because we’re so unworthy. Think of the things that you’ve done in the way that you’ve acted in the thoughts that you’ve had, right. I’m trying to hit all the cheque or still have or still have struggle with. But the Lord’s good with all that. He just wants that relationship, and those things will take care of themselves when you stay grafted into the vine, that appointment and so speak to that person that continually has that loop playing in their head, and they don’t know that they could get out of the rut. That’s a lie from the enemy of your soul, trying to keep you in the trap. He’s got you in, which is if, and I, you know, I’ve struggled with my own sin patterns and even addictions in my past. A zay was coming to faith in Christ. And I remember that. I remember what would happen is I would I would want to do well and I would try. And then I would fail and then I would hear in my head. Man, you’re disgusting Goddess. So she’s so displeasing you. He didn’t want to hear from you until you can clean up your act. Right? So you know what I do? I’d stay away from God, the Onley one who, as I abide, can produce the fruit in my life. So you see, the the irony is when we try to do it without God, we stay stuck, right? And that is the evil ones intent. He lies to you about that. So if you’re feeling that memorise what I memorised Romans 81. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Jesus, right? It’s pretty straightforward. No condemnation. So if if you fall, if you do wrong, you know, just like in the Lord’s Prayer. You know, he’s forgive us our sins as we forgive others. He already has paid for it. Jesus already saw and paid for that son. 2000 years ago, which means he already knows the ones you haven’t even done yet. And he paid for those two. And why did he do that? Not so we’ll keep doing it so that we won’t stay disconnected from the very source of love and life and the meaning of our deepest longings. And the leading us on this healing journey, this adventure of life, there is nothing better. And all you have to do is stay focused on one thing. Stay connected to him. The fruit happens naturally, and that is so good. And John, what a place to end. That’s the challenge, I’d say. Take it. Do the 60 60 experiment. Get a copy of the book. So revolution get it right here from focus because all the dollars go right back into ministry. So that’s helpful than that paying shareholders. And why not take the challenge if you want that deeper relationship with the Lord? Or maybe you don’t have that relationship with the Lord Collis. Talk to a Christian counsellor who would focus on the family. They will walk you through that and help you better understand what it means to be committed to Christ and John. This has been so good, I hope literally were pride talking 234 million people the last couple of days. I hope a lot of them will take the challenge, especially if they haven’t lived in that abiding that you’ve talked about Well And I would say if you’ve never gone all out for 60 days trying it, I can just guarantee at the end of the 60 days ago, this is the best thing I’ve ever done, right? And I’d love to hear those storeys. You know, when those things happen, then shoot us. And now let us know how God is speaking to your heart in that 60 day trial and beyond. Well, this is a grand invitation to a great journey, and we invite you to get in touch with us. Our numbers 800 the letter A in the word family, 800 to 3 to 6459 or cheque. The programme notes for all the details about how to get in touch with us and get a copy of this book or even talk to one of those counsellors on behalf of Jim Daley and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for focus on the family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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