Practices for Building a Resilient Faith

What Are The Characteristics Of A Resilient Disciple Of Jesus Christ?

Tim Lundy
Sep 26, 2021    45m
By learning the characteristics of a resilient disciple of Jesus Christ, we can then learn ways to raise our children to have these characteristics. This message examines two out of five areas of focus, developing a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus; and developing cultural discernment; we will learn three more in the next few messages. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:40] Well, Venture, as we dive into week two of Building a Resilient Faith, let me just ask you as you think about your life, would you define yourself as a resilient person? Would you say that you have a level of resiliency? You know, one of the things that is often discussed is when you're under stress, it can break you down, and if you're under stress for too long, the physically damaging effects of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:06] It's interesting, a couple of years ago, though, a gentleman by the name of James Alcock wrote a book entitled Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling. And in it, he's kind of making the case of the importance of belief in different sectors. I've not read the book, but it was fascinating to me as I read about one of the studies in it, and it dealt with this issue of stress and often our misconceptions about it. Listen, as he writes with it, he said, "It may make intuitive sense that stress is harmful for health, but research now shows that it may not be stress that poses a risk to one's health, but the belief that stress is bad for you. For example, one study estimated that over an eight-year period, one hundred and eighty-two thousand Americans suffered early deaths, not because of the stress they were under, but because of the belief that the stress that they were under was harmful to their health." He goes on and he says, "There are no, or very minimal, negative effects when a major or minor stressful circumstance is viewed as a challenge." That's the key difference, it's how are you viewing it? Are you viewing this stress that I'm under, is it a challenge that I'm under, or as, I've already assumed that it's going to be detrimental no matter what? He said, "A study was conducted of executives who were experiencing high levels of work-related stress. It found that those who interpreted the stress as a challenge, rather than as a threat, experienced few negative consequences." And here's the key, they were resilient. "In metallurgy, resilience refers to a material's ability to bend but not break under physical stress, resilient people are people who bend but do not break when under psychological stress." And again, it's that looking at it, instead of always assuming the stress is going to be detrimental, resilient people have this way of looking at it and going, no, it's a challenge that I face, that actually can make me better.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:13] And as people of faith, I mean, as Christians, we should be the first to embrace that. I mean, James tells that, he says, "Consider it all joy when you're facing various trials because it builds up our faith." And as we're in this series, and the reason I bring it up is, we need to be resilient people because we're under cultural stress like never before. Guys, we're in this series, we're walking through, especially, the next generation, what is happening in our culture? What's happening in belief systems?

Tim Lundy: [00:03:48] And I've referred to it, I would encourage you again, I would just say everyone should purchase a copy, especially if you're a parent, of this book, Faith for Exiles, it's written by Dave Kinnaman and Mark Matlock. And Dave leads the Barna Research Group, a great researcher, and the stats that are in it, they're always coming out with new research. But this book, in particular, caught my attention, and honestly, I didn't buy it first as a pastor, like, oh, this is this thing I need, I bought it as a parent. I've got seven kids, and I've got kids from middle school all the way into adulthood, I've got three grandchildren. We're living in those early teenage years, late teenage years, early adulthood years, so when I look at a book like this and a resource from an expert like Dave, I pay attention to it. And as I read through it, I realized he really has something to say. I'd just go ahead and let you know, maybe especially those of you in our online audience, we're going to have Dave participate in an event that we're having on October 3rd. And so Dave Kinnaman is coming, Head of Barna Research, and he's speaking specifically on this topic. He's going to go deeper on the things that we're talking about, give us the latest research with it. And so, if you're a parent, if you're somebody living in this generation, I would just say anyone, that'll be on October 3rd, be on our campus, five o'clock will have dinner and then at six o'clock, the live event will start there. Now, Dave will be joining us via webinar, and so some of you maybe that you're watching this from afar and you'd like to be a part, you can sign up and be a part of it as the webinar. For those of us in the area, I really would encourage you because we're going to engage not only with Dave, but also with some of the people on our staff, of how do we live this out?

Tim Lundy: [00:05:35] And so as we look at this, this opportunity of how do you develop a resilient faith, especially as they describe it, in a world under stress, in a world where they say it's like we're in exile? And last week, as we walked through it, I'd just go back to the categories as they look at eighteen to twenty-nine-year-olds who grew up Christian. So these are the ones who grew up in the church, these are our kids. So when I see this category, I think of Venture, and I think of a student, of a young person who grew up in Venture over this time period, and I don't know that these match us exactly, but I think we would do well to go, OK, what can we learn from it?

Tim Lundy: [00:06:14] And so nationwide, this is what's happening to church kids, twenty-two percent of them are prodigals, they're ex-Christian, they've walked away from faith. Thirty percent are nomads, they've not left all their faith, but they're unchurched, left organized religion for the most part. Thirty-eight percent would say they're habitual, that means they go to church at least once a month, but a lot of their beliefs have gotten really fuzzy, we'll see that even today. And then this last category is this 10 percent of what they define as resilient disciples, those ones that have developed that resiliency, not just emotional resiliency, like we talked about, but how do you have some spiritual resiliency?

Tim Lundy: [00:06:54] And when they describe it, because, you know, you go through that, you go, well, how do they define that? He tells us in the book, so if this 10 percent that are resilient disciples, here's how they would define it, they attend and engage with their church, so they're attending church, but the key thing is they engage beyond just the worship service, they're engaged in the other ministries of the church as well. The second thing that would define them, they trust firmly in the authority of the Bible. This group would go, we trust Scripture, we've placed our lives under it. The third thing about them is they're committed to Jesus personally and affirm the Gospel. So there's a personal relationship with Jesus, and they would affirm the Gospel that Christ died, that he rose again. And so the Gospel in its entirety, they would go, yes, that is the way of salvation. And then the fourth thing that marks them, is they express a desire to transform the broader society as an outcome of their faith, they want to make a difference in the world, they want to see other people come to Christ, they want to help people in the name of Christ and make a difference here.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:56] And so this category, 10 percent of that group would agree with all of these things. And one of the things I like about this book, is their focus is not just on all the things that have gone wrong, there's a lot of cultural analysis. We did some last week, of different things people are facing. What I like about it is they doubled down and said, OK, if this group believes this, what is true about this group, what does it take to produce these kinds of disciples? See, instead of just focusing on everything that went wrong, they said, what went right here and how do we do more of that? And I found that particularly helpful as a parent and as a pastor just looking at it, I don't want just a book to tell me what went wrong, I want to know how do we fuel what is right?

Tim Lundy: [00:08:43] You know, years ago, Bob Buford, was a very wealthy man, he had done well in business, and he wanted to use his resources for the kingdom, and in it, he created a leadership network and he had different groups. There is one group, that the church I was a part of we were in, it's called Burning Bush. And here's how Bob described it, he said, I don't want to go out someplace where there's no fire lit. He goes, a lot of people, they're trying to light a fire where there's nothing going on, he said, I want to find where God's already lit the fire and then add fuel to it. And so he's always looking for churches and leaders where he said, man, I see movement, I see momentum happening, now, how do we come alongside and see that?

Tim Lundy: [00:09:21] And I think the same thing with this study and what we want to do here, we want to look at it and go, OK, what is the good that's happening in homes? What's the good that produces these kinds of disciples? And how do we, as a church, how do we come alongside with what God's already doing? And you need to know, this is in the forefront of what we're thinking about, what we're praying about, as a leadership team. I mean, we've said, we've staked the territory, missionally we believe God's called us to reach the next generation. And so it's on the forefront of our hiring, of our programming, of what we're thinking about building on this campus. How do we come alongside with what God's doing, and fuel this that much more?

Tim Lundy: [00:10:01] And so as we look at it today, this book lays out five practices, and we're going to look at a couple of those practices. What are the five things that they've noticed are true about these resilient disciples, the practices in their life? And if you look at it here, here's all five of them. One, they experience Jesus. Two, they have a cultural discernment of what's going on. They're involved in some really meaningful relationships, and we'll describe what they mean in that. There's vocational discipleship, what they're going to do with their life, their career, that's part of their thinking and discipleship. And then the last part is countercultural mission.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:36] So this week, I want to look at the first two. Next week, we'll look at the next two. And then, we're going to spend a few weeks on that countercultural mission because we believe that is so important of how are we making that kind of difference in the world?

Tim Lundy: [00:10:47] So let's look at this first practice. Practice number one, when he talks about experiencing Jesus, here's what he means experience a relationship with Jesus that is marked by authenticity, intimacy, and challenge. They experience a relationship with Jesus that it's marked by these things. And so as you look at this, and I think this is why it's so important, they have this kind of relationship because it shows something as actually happened in their life. It's not just this, oh, I had a time period where I raised my hand, or I just went for it. They actually would describe their life of, no, I experienced Jesus both in salvation, but also ongoing in my life.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:31] And so as you look at this, it's the difference in the categories, especially, because of the groups that we laid out. I mean, obviously, the Prodigals, they would not identify as Christians. It's more than just being a Christian, or calling yourself a Christian, because these three groups, one hundred percent of them identify as Christians, I mean, even the nomads, and the churchgoers. Here's the difference, though, if you dig into the belief system a little bit.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:57] So I dropped off the prodigals because they're going to be zero and all these. But if you break up the other three of the nomads, and the habitual, and the resilient. Look at this on different beliefs. I believe in a relationship with Jesus is the only way to find fulfillment in life. Now, these are all people that would say, we strongly believe in this. Almost nine out of ten resilient disciples would say, yeah, absolutely, I strongly agree with that. Look how much it drops off in the others. The statement with it, my relationship with Jesus brings me deep joy and satisfaction. Again, nine out of ten over here, very low in the other categories. The third one you see, following Jesus shapes my whole life, body, mind, heart, and soul, nine out of ten, almost all the way down to the lower categories. And I'm pointing this out to show, man, when we talk about experiencing Jesus, these guys aren't just talking about, oh yeah, I love Jesus, no, this is a core part of their thinking. The fourth one, my relationship with Jesus impacts the way I live every day, again, look how high on this resilient disciple category. And so as we look at it and we go, OK, how do I live out that way, and even more if I'm a parent, or a disciple, or a leader, how am I producing a young person that when they go into adulthood, man, they would line up over here with that?

Tim Lundy: [00:13:19] When we go back to that, when they experience Jesus, one, it's got to be an authentic experience, because it's impossible without encountering and embracing the Gospel. And this is where I want to be really clear, because a lot of people will talk about experiencing Jesus, Jesus is very popular in the world. I mean, he's very popular in every one of those categories, and even people that wouldn't identify as Christians would go, Yeah, I admire Jesus, oh, I'd love to experience Jesus. We're talking about something far different; we're talking about encountering and actually embracing the Gospel of Christ.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:50] And you say, Tim, what do you mean with Gospel? Well, Paul describes it in this way in Romans 1, he says, "I'm not ashamed of the gospel." And he's talking about his life, he says I never shrink back, I never am scared to tell people about it. And in fact, if you read through the book of Romans, that's what he's doing in the whole book. It's kind of his magnum opus to describe this word, what is this gospel? Why? Because "It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." And so the sense that the gospel so that people can experience it, it's what actually brings the kind of life change that a lot of people want to experience.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:29] Now, what do we mean when we say the gospel? Are we just talking about that Jesus died on the cross and rose again? That's part of the gospel, and if you read through the Bible, all throughout the Bible, there's kind of four big points of it, there's creation, there's fall, there's redemption, and restoration. And so, creation means everything that exists came from God. And so in my personal life, when I experience the gospel, part of is recognizing I was created by God, I was made in his image. There's good in me, the good things in me, because I was created in the image of the creator of this universe. And so those longings I have in my heart, or maybe the longings you have in your heart for something more, for something greater, that's because all of us were created in the image of God.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:13] But then the second part, that fall, it also impacts all of us. And that talks about the fact that both in history, but also in my personal life, man, I'm a sinner. And so all the good in me, all those noble and good parts, all of them have been tainted by that sin. There's actually, I can't help but divide it out, I wish I could say, oh, there's good Tim over here, and sinful Tim, all of it gets corrupted by it, and the worst part about that sin is it separates me from God.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:43] So then the third part of the gospel is redemption. For God so loved the world, he didn't want to separate from him, he sent his only son. And whosoever believes in him, whosoever believes that Jesus did die and rise again, that is a key part of the gospel, will not perish and have eternal life.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:03] And then you add to that, there's restoration, he's making all things new, and he's making me new.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:12] See, a fundamental part of resilient disciples is they've embraced this about their life. They've embraced this gospel, all those parts of it, and recognize what God's doing in them. Recognize that it's not just a confirmation, I'm changing because I get the right boundaries around me, it's actually this inside-out transformation. That's why Paul, when he writes Christians, he says, "Do not be conformed to the world." That word means molded, don't let the world mold you, "But be transformed." Now again, I think this is a key point because I think a lot of us, whether we realize it or not, we've kind of rewritten this verse. And we would say, yeah, don't be conformed to the world, the world's bad, we're taught that a lot in church. And a lot of those groups that grew up in church that have walked away from it, they heard this part, don't be conformed to the world. But without realizing it, we then change it, do not conform to the world, but be conformed to the rules of this church, be conformed to religion, be conformed. I think sometimes without even realizing it, we traded one conformity for a different form of conformity. And so they grew up being told, this is what good Christians do, and we do this, and we don't do that, and so we're going to shape you from the outside in with religion. And you just need to hear me, because maybe you felt that. Maybe you felt growing up in a church, maybe you grew up in a setting where it was all rule-based, it was all, man, you got to make sure you're doing the right thing, and this is how you be a good Christian, a good person.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:50] The gospel is so different, it's saying don't let the world shape you, that part is true. But the only way you're going to actually change, is God's got to transform you from the inside out. And so, yeah, don't be conformed, but be transformed. And so for authentic faith, that authentic encounter with Jesus, always starts with that and it lives in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:19] The second thing he puts with that is intimacy, there's actually ongoing actual relationship with Jesus, and this marks their life. If you read this about these resilient disciples, they actually have a real relationship with Jesus. So when they read the Bible, they believe that this is God's word, he's talking to me. They pray, prayer marks their life. They're involved in worship, it's important. They're involved in a community of faith, they're growing together. I mean, it's one of the things just Kinnaman points out with it is, these are just practices that are part of their life, not because they have to because they're being conformed in to be in a good Christian, but because Jesus is real in their life, they're being transformed, and so they want to participate in these things. There's an intimacy of relationship that comes out of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:03] The third part of it as well, and I think this is maybe one that we've missed out on is challenge. Challenge. The call of Christ to radically follow him, the call for Christ to radically follow him. I mean, if you remember Jesus with his first disciples, remember when he came? When he came to them, he didn't do a big sales job. He didn't walk up to him and go, man, I want to prove to you what life is going to be so much better and walk through all these things. Literally, he walked up to him, and in some ways it kind of blows my mind, He looked at him and they were at their jobs, and they're at their homes, and they're at different places, and some of them were studying, and some of them were businessmen, some of them worked for the government, and he looked at them and he says, hey, follow me. Leave your job, leave your setting, some of them, leave your family, leave life as you've known it, leave your comfort, and just follow me. You talk about radical call. And they go, follow you where? Just wherever I go. Follow you for how long? Well, let's start for the next three years. And he didn't make it easy on him, sometimes he'd look at them and go, hey, do you want to leave too? Everybody else is leaving, do you want to leave? And they kind of look at him and go, we don't know where else we'd go. You're the only one that speaks like this, you're the only one who has truth like this. I mean, they get to the end of three years, and the whole program they thought he was doing, he wasn't even doing. I mean, the whole thing they thought they had committed themselves to, he turned that upside down.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:33] But there's this radical call that he made, and he goes, it's not going to be easy, and I'm not going to sell you on it. This will be the hardest thing you do, not just these three years, the rest of your life, most of them died as martyrs with it. But this radical encounter, also was a radical call, and I think too often with, especially our kids and next-generation, man, they're not excited about Christianity because we bored them with it, we wanted to make it so safe. Look at the line, Kinnaman says, this stood out to me, he said, "We expect too little. The church is one of the least demanding environments for young people, in terms of what they are asked to do mentally and emotionally and what is expected of them when it comes to serving and giving. We're just so happy to have them there."

Tim Lundy: [00:21:24] Man, we've just convinced ourselves, man, if we can just have a church, oh, that's great, that's enough. And we're losing that radical call that Jesus looks at his disciples, and he says, follow me. And you need to hear that, when we talk about being a resilient disciple, the reason you have to be resilient, it's not easy, it is challenging. Jesus is going to ask you to leave things, Jesus going to ask you to be unpopular at times, especially as we think about culture around it, but we're called to follow him in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:56] See, now that's why that intimacy is so important. And hear me, it's so important that we develop that kind of intimate love relationship, that's why we've had an authentic life change on the inside. Because we never want to just go follow him because we're trying to conform and keep the rules, we never want to follow him just because we have to, the more you get to know him and you love him, the more you're willing to make those changes. I love the way Wayne Cordeiro describes it, he talks about when he dated his wife, Anna. And Wayne's a pastor in Hawaii, I think he's retired now, but whenever he speaks with it. But he talked about, man, he was head over heels for Anna, and he was looking forward to the first date. And he said one of the things he loved about her is she was very much into sports and activity, he loved that. He said, man, I'm into sports too, he said, but there are two things I can't stand, just never made sense to me. One is bowling, he said, I don't know why you take this cannonball, drop it on some maple, and hit some pins and then they just spit it back at you and you've got to keep doing it again and again, he said it never made sense to me. He said the other one's roller skating. He said especially then, it was four wheels, and the wheels didn't turn, and went around in a circle. On the first date with Anna, he goes to the door and he's so excited, and she smiles, and he said, hey, what do you want to do? He said he looked over, and she picked up her own bowling ball in her own bowling bag, that's how much she was into it. She said I thought we'd go bowling, do you like bowling? He smiled and said, I love bowling, he said, we went bowling. He said date number two, knocked on the door, he said, hey, what do you want to do? She picked up her roller skates, she said, hey, you want to go skating? And he smiled and said, yeah, I've been waiting for someone to ask me to go skating, I would love to go skating. Now, why was he willing to change like that? Because he loved her. And that relationship, when she was asking them to do things that were uncomfortable in his life, that relationship fueled it in a way that he's willing to branch out and change like that.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:06] See, guys, that's why it's so important, more than just teaching rules, more than just trying to conform to religion, we actually have an encounter with Christ through the gospel. We actually have daily intimacy with him because he is going to challenge us to change, to follow him, to do hard things. And the more you love him, the more you know him, you want to do that because you trust him, and you want to do life with him. The first key practice of what we see in these resilient disciples needs to be key practice in our life as well.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:46] Look at the second one, the second practice, development of cultural discernment through the cultivation of biblical wisdom. How do we develop cultural discernment? And I talked about this last week, the whole point when I was talking about how do we deconstruct what's happening in the world, how do we deconstruct the foolishness of our times, how do we deconstruct the different things in it, so that we can construct biblical wisdom in our life, and to know how to operate and live? And it's as challenging as ever before, in fact, I would say with this, we've got to recognize the complexity and challenges of our age. And I say that for those of us, maybe Gen X, and Boomers, and above, we've got to recognize the complexity and challenges.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:33] And again, any time I teach on this, and you talk about challenging the next generation, it's easy for my generation of people my age and above, we kind of look at it and go, yeah, but every young person has been through this. Every young person rebelled against what was before, and they rebelled against the rules of life. That's true but let me remind you what Keller pointed out and what we walked through last week, it's no longer rebelling against the rules of life, we all had the same set of rules, for the most part. There are brand new rules, it's brand-new landscape. I mean, the new rules of life, and again, this was from Keller, he just said, and I think it's dead-on, Kinnaman agrees with it as well. Here are the rules of life, you have to be true to yourself. In the end, you have to do what makes you happy. No one has the right to tell anyone else what is right or wrong for him or her. You're free to live in any way you want, as long as you're not harming anyone else. This is the new rules, this is what's put out there. And so it's not just, oh, man, they're acting out a little bit, they're facing a landscape that we didn't face going up.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:43] I'd put it this way, it's like if I was trying to tell somebody, maybe an area I grew up in, I go, oh man, there was a field, if you want to get across this field, here's the map. You want to take this trail, and you want to go across the field. What if, though, since I lived there, since I knew that area, there'd been an earthquake? And now it's not just a field, there's a chasm, there's a canyon there. And so my map and my memory of, oh man, it's real simple, you just do this, you go across there. The whole landscape has been altered, and so what I thought was being helpful and what I thought was simple, may not actually help in the landscape of this new world. And I just think we would do well to realize this is the earthquake that's happened, this has created a cultural chasm. And so as we're trying to lead and we're trying to guide, we've got to learn this so that we can lead them well in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:42] You take the new rules of life, and then add on that we talked about the fact how much of their life for a young person, 3000 hours a year is in some form of screen media. Whether it's on their phone, whether it's TV, whether it's a computer, whether it's online, just some form of screen media, 3000 hours of it. And look how this is changing life, and this is from Kinnaman, the impact of screen media, it's framing and filtering reality because they're hearing all the time, so those rules of life are being told to them all the time as reality. It's overloading our choices, we have more choices than ever before, more entertainment choices, and it's constantly there, with that, it fills our time, it distracts our mind. The inability to think deeply, the inability to be alone, to be still, without that constant impact from it. It's weaponizing humor, snark is the humor of the day, and so humor is always to attack with it. It's making people more image-conscious, and we've seen the anxiety impacts, especially in young girls, and adults even now, they're so image-conscious of what everyone else is doing compared to me. It's giving people a sense of interacting and participating, we have a sense that I'm really interacting with people, but I never actually interacted with real people, I interacted with their social media. You put all that together, and it is a difficult age for young people. And we would just do well to recognize the impact.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:14] You know, it stood out to me, I read a quote, and Dave mentions in it, it's a quote from Jaron Lanier. Lanier, he's the inventor of, one of the inventors of virtual reality technology. He works for Microsoft, so he's not anti-tech, he's not saying don't bury yourself in the world. But he's written a book, listen to the title of his book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. And one of them, this is the quote that stood out to me, he says, "Social media is continuous behavior modification on a mass basis." Let that sink in. Basically, what he just said, social media is a conforming tool on a mass basis. That's how to conform, behavior modification, how to conform people on a mass basis. "With everybody under surveillance by their devices, receiving calculated stimulus to modify them." And this is the line that really stood out, he would say, "It's a bad religion, it's a nerdy, empty, sterile, ugly, useless religion, that's based on false ideas." Now those are strong words, and maybe you go, man, he overstated. Again, this is a guy immersed in technology, so he's not a Luddite. He's not just like going, OK, we go get off the grid with it. But he's recognizing the impact, maybe in a way that we don't.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:38] And I say that because I'm raising kids and I can't take them out of this world, this is the world they're in, so I better learn to engage it and help them process that. To do that, we've got to intentionally engage in deconstructing the thinking of the current age. How intentional are you and I being? How are we helping them deconstruct what they're hearing? Because they're going to hear it, they're going to hear it in the stories, they're going to hear it in the messages, it's coming constantly.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:07] And by the way, we're not the first generation to face this. I mean, go all the way back to biblical time, there's always been a need to deconstruct. That's why that passage Paul talks about in Second Corinthians 10, he says, "Though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power." So there's a spiritual aspect of this, and there's a spiritual enemy in it. But he said he's given us the divine power, and I love this line, "To destroy the strongholds." Strongholds were walled cities, there are those who claim that they were area of strength for the whole area with it. And so Paul says, we've got the ability to go destroy the strongholds of our day, where the is claimed ground in it. How do we do that? "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ." So we take the truth that God's given, and we've got to learn, how do I deconstruct and show that's not true? That's a lofty opinion raised against God.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:17] So if you just take some of the strongholds of today? Let me throw out a line with it. Sex is for personal fulfillment, acceptable between consensual adults. Again, Paul would go, oh, yeah, that's a lofty opinion that goes against the knowledge of how God designed sex. And so how do we destroy that, how do we engage our kids in a way that we go, hey, let me tell you why that doesn't work, instead of just telling him why that's wrong? See, we tell them all time, oh, that's wrong, that's wrong. But are we willing to go, hey, can I tell you why that way doesn't work compared to God's way?

Tim Lundy: [00:32:50] Take a stronghold like follow your heart, if something feels true, it's true for you. Again, instead of just going, oh, that's wrong, we step back and go, hey, can I dismantle that stronghold? Can I show you how God's truth speaks to that and how God described your heart? And what I've seen in it, and that truth, how it's been lived out.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:09] Take a stronghold like, man, work is filled with dreadful and incompetent people. I mean, you look at most things about work, most shows about work, stories about it, I mean, it's just like, work is dreadful, and people are incompetent, and bosses in that. And you step back, and you go wait as second, here's how God describes work, man, here's the thrill of that. But the stronghold that we're told is, man, the only part of life is when you escape, you've got to live for the weekend, you got to live for a vacation, you got to live... And scripture goes wait a second, no, work is one of the most fulfilling things you do. And yes, you need the weekend, but it's a time of rest, it's a recharging.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:48] See, again, and I'm just throwing out a few of these, I think as parents, as leaders, were quick to tell them things that are wrong. We need to, as Paul's describing here, how do we dismantle these strongholds? Because God's given us the power? How do we deconstruct it so that we can construct wisdom? I love how N.T. Wright describes it, he said, you know, a friend of his grew up in an atheist household and he became a Christian and went home to tell his mom. And as soon as he said, he said, I've become a Christian, she said, you've been brainwashed. And his response was, he said, man, if you had seen what was in my brain, you'd realize it needed washing. Here's what Wright wrote, though, and I think this shows us how it really is a shift of thinking. He said, "Of course he hadn't been brainwashed. In fact, again and again, and this was certainly the case with my friend, when people bring their lives, their outer lives and their inner lives, into the light of Jesus the Messiah, things begin to become clear. If anything, it's our surrounding culture that brainwashes us, persuading us in a thousand subtle ways that the present world is the only one there is. This is seldom argued with, rather, a mood is created in which it seems so much easier to go with the flow, that's what happens in brainwashing. What the gospel does is to administer a sharp jolt, to shine a bright light, to kick start the brain and the moral sensibility into working properly for the first time." And so I love the way he puts it, we're actually being brainwashed by the constant messaging. And he says, man, the gospel helps us think about it in that way, but we've got to be willing to engage to do that.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:38] A couple more things. One, you've got to learn how to anchor your life and the truth of the Bible and how to walk in wisdom. So it's not just deconstructing the error, it's, OK, now, how do I anchor my life and God's truth? And how does the Bible speak to my life? One of the things Kinnaman pointed out, is these young, resilient disciples, they wanted to know, how does the Bible speak to my sex life? How does the Bible speak to my work life? How does the Bible speak to relationships with it? How does the Bible speak to technology, and how do we engage it in that way? How does it Bible speak to my aspirations and my goals? And so some of these issues we'll hit in this series, but I would just say for all of us as parents, it's not just how do I teach what happened thousands of years ago? How do I show you the truth of what happened in that time, the truth that was revealed in it, still unfolds today and impacts life today?

Tim Lundy: [00:36:30] The final point I'd just leave you with. And that's what Paul says, "Not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed in that truth." How do you do that? "By the renewal of your mind, that by testing it so that you can know that will." To do that, here's the final point with it. Parents engaging their children in regular normal conversation about faith is absolutely crucial to the development of resilient faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:56] This one isn't from Kinnaman as much, although, he'll speak to it next week when we talk about those relationships. But Christian Smith, and I told you about this book, Handing Down the Faith. Smith is, I think, the most preeminent sociologist in our country, especially on this issue of faith of the next generation, he teaches at Notre Dame. And he's got several chapters that speak to this issue, one of his chapters that he just puts in it, he just entitles it, Why Are Parents the Crucial Players? Now again, he says, man, a parent can do everything right and a child can still choose to walk away from faith. So I'm not here giving you a magic formula, or certainly, if you're a parent who invested and you've got a child who's a prodigal, I'm not condemning you in that. But the wake-up call in the book, and he is so strong about, he said parents have bought into the lie of this age that there's a generation gap, especially with teenagers. He said this whole thing of teenage rebellion, and teenagers don't want to be like their parents. He exposes it, he said that was a big thing back in the 60s and 70s, and it didn't prove to be true. It's kind of one of those cultural lies that continues, and so parents believe it, well, my teenagers, they just don't want this. He says if anything, there is study after study, the most influential voice in their life is still their parents. You have the most time in their life, you have the most influence in their life. He says, but you've got to teach them maybe a faith that was inherent to you is not as natural to them because it's not being reinforced to them out there. He describes it, it's like a second language. Maybe it was the first language to you, but it's like a second language to them. He would say the first language of our age is liberal individualism and mass consumer capitalism, that's what kids are taught to speak and think in life.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:44] But if you wanted them to learn your language, how would you do it? Let's say you are a household that you're Korean, and you grew up speaking Korean as your native language. But you've lived in the states, you had your kids on the state, and so English is their first language. If as a Korean parent, you decided, you know what, I want my kids to know Korean too. And so you decide, man, I'm going to send them to language school, they are going to learn Korean, and they go regularly to language school once, twice, three times a week. But if they came back to your household, and you never spoke Korean, the reality is, and this proves true in language study, they'll pick up a few words and phrases enough to kind of be fluent in it, but it'll never be a language for them. See, if you want them to have that language the same way you did, you then choose at home, man, we're going to talk about it, we're going to speak in Korean, so it becomes a part of your life too.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:43] Smith makes the point, as Christian parents, if we want our kids to have the same heart language of faith, it's not enough to just send them off to church and hope they pick up something and they get enough of the lingo. He says, one of the most contributing factors, crucial factors, is how do you talk about it at home? And guys, we're not talking about your sitting down and having these glowing Bible studies and you have to be some expert, he literally is talking about in your normal conversation. How do you describe it? How do you describe how your faith impacts your life? One of the most jarring lines in it, he said, you know, even in religious households, the only consistent conversation they have about faith is the parent calls out and says, are you ready for church? And otherwise, there's no other conversation. Sometimes post-church, they'll ask, how do you like it? And it's kind of, I liked it, but it was boring in that. And he said it's telling how quickly we want to move it back to normal life conversations and get it back to other things.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:48] He makes a convincing case, and I would believe this to be true. Guys, if we could do anything else, it's how are you talking about what Jesus does in your life, how faith impacts your life, how it impacts your money, how it impacts the decisions you make, so that your kids are engaged in that in a way, so it's a normal part of life because it's a normal part of your life.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:11] You know, I think God was on to something when he described it this way in Deuteronomy, he says, Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." This is the number one command, and then look how he describes it, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children." And how do you teach it to your children, do you get them together and you have to have a class and all that? Actually, look how he describes teaching it. Well, "You'll talk to them when you sit in your house, and then when you walk by the way." For us, that'd be when you're in the car, you talk about it. And when you lie down, so when it's bedtime, you talk about it. When you get up in the morning, you talk about it. I mean, all Christian Smith is proving is what God commanded. Because when we live out this truth, it actually produces the kind of disciples we want to see.

Tim Lundy: [00:42:09] For all of us, let me look at these two practices, one, we want to experience a relationship with Jesus that's marked by authenticity, intimacy, and challenge, and we want to develop a cultural discernment so that we can cultivate biblical wisdom. I'd encourage everybody as we're finishing this out, two things you ought to do. One, no matter your age, whether you have kids or anyone, we really ought to ask, are these practices true of my life? Man, am I living this? And then for those of us in positions as parents, as authorities, as leaders, man, am I living it, and am I giving it? Is this what I'm investing down in those that God has placed in my sphere and in my life? You can never give what you don't live.

Tim Lundy: [00:42:59] And so, I'd encourage all of us, if we want to have the kind of resiliency that we're talking about, man, let's put these first two in practice, and then we'll look at the next two next week.

Tim Lundy: [00:43:10] Why don't you pray with me? Father, we thank you, we thank you that your truth has transcended all time, the Gospel is still as true today, the truth of the Bible is still as true today, Lord, we pray that we'd be the kind of people that we would have that kind of cultural discernment. We would be people who are passionately following Jesus. And so I just pray that wherever we're feeling conviction today, that we bring that to you and have you transform us. We don't want to just be conformed to rules, or what we're supposed to be, we want to be transformed by Jesus. And Lord. I pray that I not only live this, teach me how to give this. Man, I want my kids to have this, I want our church to have this, I want the next generation to have this. And so for all of us that have that privilege and responsibility, show us how to give this away so that we train resilient disciples as well. We pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032