Practices to Build a Resilient Faith (continued)

Understanding The Importance Of Meaningful Relationships.

Tim Lundy
Oct 3, 2021    46m
How do we build resilient faith in the next generation of believers? This message of hope examines the importance of meaningful relationships in the spiritual growth of our young people. These relationships provide a sense of security and belonging that allows them to recognize their need for a community of believers. 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: [00:00:00] Well, Venture, as we dive into week three of this series on how to build a resilient faith, I read an article by a law professor, also an expert in technology, a gentleman named Tim We, and he said that there is a hidden force that is shaping all of our lives that we all underestimate. Listen to his words, as he wrote, he said, "The underestimated force that drives our daily lives is convenience. We want everything in our life to be convenient, to be efficient, to be easy. He calls convenience the most powerful force shaping our individual lives and our economies." And the more I thought about it, I think he's absolutely right. I mean, you look at the words of Evan Williams, one of the co-founders of Twitter, and he made this statement. He said, "Convenience decides everything. It's literally making our decisions for us." That we would make a decision for something that's convenient really over something we might actually prefer. Now, Wu goes on to describe the hidden danger of this, he said, "With its promise, convenience, it promises this smooth, effortless, efficiency, but it threatens to erase the sort of struggles and challenges that help give meaning to life. Created to free us, it can become a constraint on what we are willing to do, and thus in subtle ways, it can enslave us. When we let convenient sight decide everything, we surrender too much." And I thought about that phrase when he said, "It slowly enslaves us." Because in those convenient choices often we'll forgo the important things, and especially the hard things in life, because we've gotten so used to the convenient things in life.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:57] Now I bring this up because we're talking about a topic, we're going to have to go against the flow, we're going to have to do things that are not convenient, especially if we're going to build a resilient faith. And if we want to train the next generation, we train young people, or maybe you're a young person watching this message. The kind of choices that you're going to have to make to have a resilient faith in life, often will go against the flow of that momentary convenience that's so easy to make.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:26] This whole series, we've been looking at this book, and it's based on the work of David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock, and again, I'd encourage you, great resource, "Faith For Exiles." And this weekend, on Sunday evening, October 3rd, we're going to have an event on the Venture campus. And if you want to be a part of that, we'll have dinner and time together, but then David Kinnaman is going to join us via webinar. And so he'll be walking through a lot of these principles, we'll be able to do Q&A. Maybe you're watching this on Sunday, and you feel like it's too late, you could still join us by webinar. I'd really encourage you, because it's not often that you get an expert on a resource like this, especially with his role with the Barna Research Institute. He can really tell us what's happening today, and especially what's happening with the next generation.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:14] And as we've looked at it and we've described it, we want to build a generation that has resilient faith. And as they describe in the book, there's kind of five practices that build that kind of faith. And so the practices are people that experience Jesus in a real way in their life, they know how to develop cultural discernment, and we looked at those two practices last week, meaningful relationships, and we'll talk about that this week, and then over the next couple of weeks and beyond, vocational discipleship, and countercultural mission.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:48] This week, I really want us to look at this one because I think this is a game-changer in a lot of ways. And it seems fairly obvious that if you're going to have kind of a resilient faith, you'd have relationships around that. But I think, and I'll go back to the opening illustration, the whole problem of convenience is that we so often make quick, convenient choices that I think rob us from developing the kind of relationships that will lead to a resilient faith. What do I mean when I say that? Well, if you look at this, this practice number three that we want to have, we want to develop meaningful, intergenerational relationships with other believers. This is critical no matter what your age, no matter what your season in life, but especially is worth thinking about if we have young people in the church, your teenagers that are growing up. How did they have meaningful, not just passing in the hall relationships? Meaningful, intergenerational, so it's not just that you're always hanging out with your own peer group, that you're always segmented throughout the church. The church is one of the last, maybe the last, group or organization on the planet that literally operates intergenerationally, that no matter what your age, we're connected together in the Body of Christ. How do we develop that? How do we develop these kinds of relationships in a way, and one of the key things that they point out, Kinnaman and Matlock point out, the kind of relationships that it's people that you would want to be like, people that you would aspire to have their kind of life, and so you're going to need to know their kind of life.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:24] Now, as we've been looking at it, you know, those four categories everybody from prodigals, those 18 to 29-year-olds who've walked away from their faith, all the way up to resilient disciples. We've been looking at each week some of the data around this, and so if you look at these groups, the four groups. The prodigals, those who at this point would say I'm not a Christian, Nomads, those who are not connected to church anymore, not practicing their faith, habitual, they may come to church, but they don't have those driven belief systems like we looked at last week, and then the resilient.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:55] Look at what they say about relationships and the importance of it. And so how many of them would strongly agree with these statements? The church is a place where I feel I belong. Look at the gap of that, prodigals would go five percent of them, only five percent would say that. All the way up to the resilient disciple, nine out of ten of them go, yes, I belong there. And you feel that sense of relationship that they have. Let me just walk through these. There's someone in my life who encourages me spiritually. A prodigal only 23 percent of them would say that's true. Again, look at the strength of it on a resilient disciple. There's someone building into my life spiritually. I'm connected to a community of Christians. Now, again, notice these categories, only seven percent here, all the way up, and you start to see the gaps and the difference that these relationships make. When growing up, I had close adult friends from my church, this is a key one. So these 18 and 29-year-olds they are saying, man, when I grew up in church, I had close relationships with adults who built into my life. Prodigals, look, only twenty-one percent of them would say that was true in my life, growing up in the church. Up to resilient disciples, then three out of four of them go, yeah, that was a key part of my church experience in life.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:13] I admire the faith of my parents, so I saw my parents live in this out, and so there was that part of the relational connection as well. And again, you don't want to blame parents for a prodigal's choice, but as a parent, I'm always looking at it and going how do I learn in this? And how am I living that out in a way that my kids would look at it and go, yeah, I admire the faith of my parents. I feel emotionally close to someone at my church, and again, this is so important, look at this five percent, six percent. Lower categories I may have attended there, but I didn't feel close to anyone, all the way up to this, and I'd want to see this number even grow.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:53] I know that we're walking through a lot of stats, and every week there is a lot that I'm laying on you, and again, this is why I'd encourage you with the book, it has that much more. But what I want us to get is the picture that these practices make a difference, they have an impact. And as a church, we've got to be real about the fact, we're a large church, man, we interact in different ways. Some of you, you're interacting digitally, and I'm glad that you are, and I'm glad we have this online experience, but it'll never take the place of the kind of relationships that you need to have, the kind of relationships that we need to be building and thinking about.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:33] Especially when we think about the challenges of our culture in this day. And if you look in your notes there, I just put some of the relational challenges that we feel today. What's the first one that I would say? The digital domination of our age? Literally, and it's hard for us to realize how quickly this technology, digital technology, I liken it to a tidal wave that just came through. When you look at the level of penetration of the technology itself, how quickly we adapted to it, how quickly we adopted it, it really is amazing. I mean, when you think about the fact just 10 years ago, most teenagers didn't have a smartphone, and now 95 percent of them have one. When you look at how many people were on social media, if you start in the year 2000 to the year 2021, I mean, it's unbelievable how quickly and it's so penetrated, it's so saturated, everything that we do that we don't really even think about anymore. But like a tidal wave, and that's why I say it came so fast, especially those of us as leaders, as parents, it kind of flooded us. We could barely hold on, much less hold on the next generation, and know how to lead them well in it and so we're seeing the impact of it. When you look at it and go, a teenager today spends 3000 hours a year on a device of some form or another, man, that's a tidal wave that's had an impact, and we're feeling it, and it's impacted our relationships.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:08] Because hand in hand with it, at the same time that came in, the other numbers that have risen are numbers of isolation and loneliness. That we see the growing sense of isolation, the growing sense of loneliness. I mean, the studies with it, when twenty percent of Americans say they rarely feel close to another person. That's one out of five people in our country go, I rarely ever feel close to someone, but that's pretty growing in isolation. When seventy-eight percent of Americans when they are lonely, do you know what their go-to way of coping is? A device, because you put the digital domination with the loneliness. And so I don't feel good right now, I feel lonely, I feel down, and our quick go-to is, let me pull out my phone. Let me watch something, let me stream something again. I'm not bashing all the technology, I'm just wanting us to go, we've just got to realize the world that we live in and the wave that came over us.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:02] When you look at the impact and the power of connection. I was looking at all these scientific studies, and done all over the world, in different contexts. They did a group of three thousand women with breast cancer, they found invariably the ones who had relational connections survived much higher rate, and it was all based on relationship. In France, they did a study of seventeen thousand utility workers, and so all same segment with it, almost invariably they could go and say the ones who have the greatest success of being alive 10 years from now will be based on the number of relationships they had. More than anything else, it was relationships. They did a study on 50-year-old men, which I can relate to, invariably, the ones who have the least heart issues were the ones who had the greatest relationship. I mean, the science goes over and over and over and over, and the science is telling us relationships matter. But it's one of the few categories, we are as a people doing the opposite of the science. We are losing these relationships that much more and more, and we're paying for.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:08] I saw an article, it was in the New York Times Weekend edition, Japan has actually appointed a Minister of Loneliness. Literally, a person that their job is how do we combat loneliness in our country? And here's what prompted them to action, they saw more suicides in October of 2020 than they saw COVID deaths that whole year. And then went, something is going on, something's wrong. And we know that the pandemic has contributed to it, but you look at it and you go this loneliness that creeps across it.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:45] There's a company that's created a loneliness robot to be your friend, literally, so when you are lonely, the robot is designed just to hold your hand. There are other people that are actually selling their service, that it's kind of a rent a friend. And you may laugh at it, people hire them. You know what they do, they just sit with them and they let them tell them problems and talk to them. And I look at it and go, have we reached the point where we've got to rent a friend, where we have robot friends. And the reality is, as much as we'd go, oh, man, that's an issue out there, man, if you study in the church, maybe in our church, maybe you, especially in the Bay Area, these are real issues.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:33] And then you add to that, individualization, individualization. So, now the world, with the digital world and am isolated in it, and even when I go to sit down, if you turn on Hulu, turn on Netflix, what's the first question to ask you? Who's watching? So now we can individualize the entertainment to match your algorithm. And we've reached a point that even kind of watching TV is no longer a group exercise, it's based on each individual and if you don't like that programming well, you have your own device. You can go watch on your own device, and we'll just separate and watch our own device as we individualize all that's coming at us.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:14] The problem is we're doing the same thing with our spirituality, Barna did a research study with navigators about how people approach a discipleship. And the growing trend in discipleship, it's an oxymoron, is solo discipleship, I just kind of want to do it on my own. In that study, Barna noted, forty-one percent of people said, I believe my spirituality should be totally private. Thirty-seven percent said I just want to be discipled alone; I just want to be kind of in control of my own program because it's individualized. Now again, the problem is, it just doesn't work that way, it was never designed that way.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:57] And then you had the last level, and this is especially for the next generation, a level of mistrust and cynicism. A growing mistrust and cynicism, especially about church, and the institution, and the leadership. We've seen it, there's growing mistrust a lot of times about politics and leaders with it because character actually matters. And we're reaping the fruit of some of the things that we as leaders, and I just say this as a church leader, some of the ways that we should have led better, things maybe we got caught up in. And you look at it, I mean, you don't have to look very far over the last few years, some of the even major churches and leaders and ministries that we looked up to, and it's kind of like the curtain got pulled behind the scenes.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:44] And you've got a church too movement, and abuses of power, sexual abuse, and people have been hurt by it. And young people look at that and they go, is this real, man, it's hard to trust. I think we've not done well, and I'll just church wide, I'm not casting stones at any one church, I think all of us have to own this in a way. We got caught up in kind of a celebrity culture, and we love that part of it and got caught up in it. I remember several years ago, there was a kind of church consulting group. They had called me and they said, man, we could really help your church, we think we could help you grow and reach people, it's always reach people for Christ. I'm like, great, talk to me. I mean what should we do? What are your services? And I'll never forget the guy said, he goes, well, we've been looking at it, and here's what you need to realize is the senior pastor, you are the brand. I was like what? He goes, you're the brand, you've got to embrace you're the brand. And so, man, we've got to take you and your thoughts, and your social media, and who you are, and brand you. And I remember saying to the guy, I was like, I thought Jesus was the brand. And he goes, oh no, no, we want to share Jesus, but we're going to brand you. And I said to him, I said, I hate to break you, I am a terrible brand, I'm just like, terrible. And I laugh because he said to me, he goes, oh yeah, we've been looking, you are, you're terrible, but we can fix you. I remember saying I don't want to get fixed, I mean, you know, the dog got fixed and I didn't like that, so I think I'm going to just be fine like I am with it. And I remember hanging up and I thought, this is not going to be good if this is where we're going.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:33] And the reality is it's not been good, I've seen enough of it, I've seen enough of celebrity cultures, I've seen different places and you get kind of behind the scenes with it. And I don't think it's helped us as a church, and it has eroded a certain level of trust, I think, with young people. And I think we have to own it, I think we have to own in ways, and this is beyond culture or anything else, own in ways all of us get set in our ways and we like to do things our way in the way we individualized have done it. And so generationally, it's healthy at times to just stop and go, man, how could we do this better and openly in it?

Tim Lundy: [00:18:15] See, I think all these things have caught up with this in different ways, and as much as I'd love to always blame stuff out there, I may not be able to control what's happening out there, but I think we can address what's happening in here. And the great news is, we still have the truth of God's word, we have the Holy Spirit within us, we have Jesus Christ as our savior, we have the good news of the Gospel. If anyone should be able to build meaningful relationships, it's the people who have a relationship with the Triune God. He literally is in an eternal relationship, and we were made in his image. And we've healed our relationship with him, and he's given us the ability to have a relationship with each other. This should be a home court advantage for us. but it's not going to be convenient, in fact, it's going to be hard.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:11] So how do we address it? Let me just hit some of the ways we face these challenges. Here's the first one, we've got to be honest about our failures in these areas as parents, and as pastors, and as leaders, we've got to be honest about our failures in it. There's a place of just stepping forward and going, yeah, we didn't do this well. And I would say with this tidal wave of technology, the reality is and I say this to the next generation, but I say to other parents too, the wave came so fast we could barely stay afloat in it. We haven't handled our own issues with devices very well and knowing how to carve it out in our world, much less knowing how to lead kids real well in it. And that's OK, I mean, it happened, and we can either feel so guilty about it we don't address it at all, or we just look at it in a real way and go, OK, it's here, this is the world I live in. I have all this here. How am I going to frame it in a way that I can start leading the next generation better in it? How can we do church in a way that kids are involved with it, that young people know it's their church, that we build these kinds of relationships? How do we address some of the stuff, I mean, even some of the ways we do things, you know, the whole sage on the stage, you know, the smart guy on the stage who has all the answers? That doesn't really work with the next generation as much anymore, they want to see that you're real and not just talking at them but talking with them. How do we create that, not just within the church, but also in our homes?

Tim Lundy: [00:20:44] And as I say, all this, I know this whole series, I've talked to different parents, and I feel it at times, we can feel guilty about these things. You can look at it and go, man, I wish I'd done this better. Do you know what I found? I have found that kids are so forgiving if you'll just be honest and humble, if you'll do those two. Now, there may be some places we've got to rebuild trust, but believe it or not, your kids actually want you to succeed as a parent. And if you need to rebuild that trust, you need to recognize God has placed this reservoir of trust in the heart of every kid that is just waiting to be tapped so that they can give it to their parents. And so for all of us, I just encourage us, there's the grace that Christ gives, but there's also the grace we experience. Don't let your guilt about what you should have done, keep you from stepping into talking about it, to addressing it now, and it shouldn't keep us as a church from stepping into that and learning from it.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:52] The second thing I would say with this. We must answer the questions of the heart as much as the questions of the head. Now, we've talked the last few weeks about cultural discernment, and that was that second practice, and so we've got to address those questions of the head, we've got to address what's going on in the world and how the wisdom of the world speaks to that. We've got to address real questions that they have of, how do you live in this culture today? How do you trust the Bible? How do you live in a world that is changing so much? And we're going to address some of those key questions in this series? But if all we do is address the questions of the head, and we never deal with the issues of the heart, you're not going to see any change in any generation.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:37] What do I mean when I say the questions of the heart? One, am I loved? I mean, this is the question of everyone's heart. And whether we want to admit it or not, all of us struggle with this. I mean, does anybody really love me? Could you love me? And then you put in, who cares about me? I mean, when a young person, especially when you come into a church, when they come into a church and they look around, would they be able to answer the question, who cares that I'm here? Who cares about my life? Who cares about my issues? And then the third key one, who are my friends? Who will be with me in life? Who will do life through thick and thin?

Tim Lundy: [00:23:18] And again, this is why it's so important, man, I always want us to answer those questions of the head because I think it's so important, but I think those are a lot easier. See, this comes to answers, this comes to actions. You show people that they are loved, you show people that you care, you show people that you show up with that kind of friendship. And the reality, and again, this is where church should have home court advantage, this should be so fundamental to who we are. Do you remember Jesus's words? What did he say? He says, "A new command I give you..." Notice the word there, he doesn't say a new suggestion I give you, he doesn't say, man, this would really be great if my people kind of did this every so often, he literally goes, no, this is a commandment, and it comes right off the command, you love God with all your heart. So core command, you're supposed to have a relationship with God, you are always supposed to have this vertical relationship. And Jesus comes right after it, and he goes, hey do you know what's just as important? The horizontal, this relationship with God is always going to show up here, and so, "I give you the commandment, love one another." And then he qualifies it, "As I have loved you." So lest you just think it's an emotion as Jesus loved, he always loved with action, he loved with sacrifice, he loved by laying down his life. He says, "As I have loved you..." And then I notice he puts it here, "You must love one another." Again, notice he's taking all optionality out of it, he goes, This is just so fundamental to who the church is, this is so fundamental to what you do, guys, you have to do this, you have to love each other.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:04] And then it's fundamental to your witness, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” And so the whole world is watching, but I would add to this, by this, the next generation is going to know you are my disciples, by this, the young people in your home, and in your life, and in your church, they're going to look at it and decide, man, is this really somebody that follows Jesus? And do you know what they're going to decide based on? How do we love each other? And I would just say, how are we doing?

Tim Lundy: [00:25:39] Because, you know, when Paul describes it, do you know what this kind of love looks like? "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility value others above yourselves." When somebody asked him, does anybody care about me, man, the church steps forward and goes, absolutely, I care, because I'm going to count you more important than me. "Let each of you not only look out for his own interest, but also for the interest of others." I mean, you live it out in a real way.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:09] You know, it's been awesome for me as a parent, and I've got a household of kids, I got seven kids, and my son, Kent, who's a senior, and he's gone through our student ministry here, the Venture student ministry. And one of the things I love in our student ministry is, they put them in small groups, they have adults in those groups who build into their lives. And Kent's leader, for the last few years, has been a guy named Scott G. Scott's a great guy who teaches school, he's got a newborn baby, he's here on Tuesday night and so that they come for Tuesday night, and they have worship, and Charles usually teaches, and then they break in a small group. That investment alone, that Scott would be there every week. man, that would make me thrilled as a parent. Well, let me just tell you, over the last few years, as I've watched, how many times Scott follows up. How many times Kent's car, he has an old Jeep Cherokee, and it wasn't running well. And we determined, man, we've got to find a new car. Scott said, oh, I'll help you, I'm great with cars. He helped him fix up the jeep in order to get it sold. He bought an old Subaru cause Scott knew how to fix a Subaru; I don't know anything about Subaru's. They get this Subaru, Scott's there to help make sure negotiate the right price because he knew all about the car. The other day, Kent's air conditioner was out, Kent comes in and he just says, hey, here's the parts we need to order. And I'm like, OK, I've never changed a compressor out, I've done some things with cars. He goes, oh no, Scott, and I got it. And so, two weeks ago, he leaves about six o'clock at night, comes back four hours later, they'd put a compressor on and put the belts on. And lest you think it's just me, I mean, I was talking to another mom that has her son in the group and she said the same thing. She said, man, Scott always shows up. Now, the guys in that group, when they walk in this church and they ask themselves, does anybody here love me? Does anybody here care? You know, whose name is inserted there? Scott G, and guys, he's got a busy life, he's got a newborn child. But he's not just doing what's inconvenient, he decided to invest what's important. I'll just ask you, I ask myself, I mean, who would put your name in? Who would answer those questions of who cares, who loves me, who's my friend, with your name? So that's what it looks like to live this out. It's not just some glowing sentiment, we come to church, and we all act and treat nice, it's actually costly sacrifice and it makes a difference with it.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:48] The third thing with it, we've got to model the value of godly relationships and especially friendships in our life. We can't call our kids to something that we're not living, you can't give what you don't live. And so I think a big part of this, as much as we can go, man kids are on devices, and kids don't have any time, and kids are doing things. But, what are we doing in our lives? What are you doing in your relationship? You know, one of the core ways we do this as a church, we call everybody to be in a life group. And the reason we do that is you need to do life together; you need these kinds of relationships. We call each other to love each other despite the differences, and if anything, the last two years have shown us, we got a lot of differences in the church. We have differences of opinions, we disagree about things, but disagreement is not the reason that we should ever divide, and we should never stop loving.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:42] In fact, I love how Peter puts it looks how he puts it in 4:9, he says, "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly." I love that he says keep, because he knows it gets hard, so you've got to keep doing it. And you actually have to be earnest, you've got to put your shoulder into it. And then I love this next line, look what he says, "Since love covers a multitude of sins." Do you realize what he's saying there? Peter goes ahead and makes the assumption there's going to be a multitude of reasons that you're not going to love them. There's going to be a multitude, because he knows churches are filled with real people, and real people have real problems, and real people are going to get on each other's nerves, and real people disagree about things. And so you look at it, he even goes, Man, they're going to do sinful actions at times that maybe hurt, but you keep loving because love covers those sins, it covers the problems, even the multitude of them. He says, "Show hospitality." Open up your home to each other, especially to strangers, maybe people who you don't know. "And do it without grumbling." I love that he throws this in, he goes, y'all quit complaining so much. Just start living this stuff, and quit complaining with that. See, we've got to live this, and you need to live this.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:56] And maybe at a core place you need to stop and look and go, man, who are the relationships? And let me just say this, who are the friendships? I'll just say in my journey as following Christ, I would not be a resilient disciple except for the friendships who have called me up when I needed them, the friendships who showed up when I needed them. And I think one of the things that's eroding, not just the next generation, every generation, is we're losing those kinds of friendships because often we don't have the time. I love how Proverbs put it, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Man, we need these kinds of friends.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:35] Now to have this, let me get real practical on the next one, get off your devices, get off your devices. And unless you think this is a mistake here with this gap, really get off your, and in the blank here, I'd say, get off your blank devices and you can put whatever expletive you want. I would have put one in here, but that's the only thing you would remember from the sermon. And so, but I mean that that strongly, get off your blank devices. Man, these things are killing us, more than we like to admit. And here's what I would say in it, it's funny to me because anytime I talk about like relationships and we talk about doing maybe even in this message, you're listening, you're going, oh man, I wish I could do that, I just don't have time. Here's what I would challenge you, pull up your smartphone, go to your settings, look at your battery, and look, how much time you spent on each different app. Now, I know some of these are real important, I do email on it and that, I'm amazed, though when I look at the time that I go, yeah, I really didn't need to waste that, I really didn't need to spend that. I think we're never going to get the time for the things that are important if we always waste it on something that's really, really convenient but usually not very important.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:55] I'd encourage you on this, if you want to apply this, you would do well to just do a digital audit. Do a digital audit, just audit yourself over the course of a week and go how much time am I spending on what? And again, just add it up, then create a digital budget, create a digital budget. And all that means is we all have the same amount of hours in a week, if you create a financial budget, you know what you do in it, you have this amount of money, where am I going to spend it? And unless I can make more money, I better figure out how to do it with this amount of money. The same thing with your hours, you're not going to be able to create more hours, so how are you spending them?

Tim Lundy: [00:33:34] And then I think for all of us, how do we create some digital discernment? I read an article that was fascinating about the Amish, and I know when I say that you go, Tim, we're not going to become the Amish, they don't embrace any technology. And I'm not asking to be the Amish, but it was fascinating as I read the article, anti-technology, they're not anti-technology per se, but they have a process before they'll ever adopt any, and so you have to bring it to the community. And so one Amish man came to the community, and he said, hey, I think we ought to buy automated bailers, man, you can get a bailer and we could be much more efficient with our crops. They brought it to the community, and they said, yeah, what is that going to do, though, when everybody starts working alone in a culture where we're used to working together? And yeah, we'd be able to bail more, but we think it's going to hurt relationships too much. Another guy came and he said, I'd like to have propane go to each of the rooms in our house because everybody else likes to read, and then they could be up at night reading. And again, the community decided, you know what, though, all that time now is going to be separated, when you used to spend it together, even if you're reading in the same room, it was united together. Now again, you may hear that, I don't live that way, so I'm not saying embrace their decisions, but, you know, we would do well to embrace their process. Anytime a new technology comes instead of just assuming, man, I ought to have that, we got to have that, we're going to have it in our home. If we stop and go, what will that do to the community of our household? What does that do to the community here? And we start practicing some discernment in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:16] I'll give you a number five, we've got to intentionally create intergenerational connection within the church, and that's part of what we're doing. That's part if you come on a Sunday morning now, that's why we have middle school and high school in there because we believe we need to be worshipping together. We need to be studying the same stuff together. We need to have that same experience, but it's got to go beyond just man, we're in one room. That's why we do Tuesday night the way we do, that's why everybody that's in middle school and high school, they're in small groups so that they can have an adult, and other adults, who are building into their life and speaking into their life, so we can have those relationships.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:52] That's what we need on Sunday morning, from the earliest babies all the way up, that there are people there loving them and disciplining them and involved in it. And I would encourage you, maybe if you're watching this digitally, maybe you haven't come back to campus yet. And so if you're at home and you're watching this great, we're glad to have the technology, but I would encourage you. How are you creating community there? Maybe you're watching this as a family, are you talking about it after, are you using that experience? Maybe you don't feel safe yet with COVID, I get that.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:25] But in every way, we're looking, man, how do we invest? One of the things that we're really working on is how do we open up second service so that we can have people working in our children's ministry there? That's deep on my heart, and we need more adults in it. We need some of the people and some of you, any time I talk about like children's ministry, you've written yourself off, you go, you know, I'm not really a Sunday school teacher type of person. You're probably the perfect person for it, especially, I'll just say this for boys, man, they need more men.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:59] I remember in my life, I grew up in a pretty conservative church, and I remember I walked into a fourth-grade classroom, and I looked around, I couldn't find the teacher. I see this 20 something-year-old guy, but in my world, you didn't teach Sunday school unless you were in your 60s and female, that's all I'd experienced, and you had to be an expert in flannel gram. And there's this 20 something-year-old guy who goes, hey, come on in, my name's Billy, and Billy tells us all about his life. I remember going home, my mom was so shocked because I was like, man, we got this teacher, his name's Billy, but we call him snuff man. She's like, Snuff man? And I was like, oh, have you ever heard of this stuff called snuff? It's tobacco, and it's and you put it in your lip and you suck on it. And my mom's eyes are getting wide, and even as I think about it now, I don't know how snuff man made it through the ranks with it. Except for this, he loved Jesus. That's what he sold, he sold it as his product, that was his job. But he loved Jesus and he loved us. And I'm telling you for the first time, I'm going to church and this guy's talking about hunting, and he's talking about fishing, and then he took us to his country club so we could swim at the pool and had a cabin. I mean, suddenly there was a guy in my life that I went, man, this guy loves Jesus, and I think he loves me, it makes a difference.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:18] I remember my son, Drew, my oldest son, he had hit that age where church really wasn't his vibe. He was in elementary school, and it was like, uh, because it was feeling more like school, Sunday School was feeling a lot like school, school. And I'll never forget suddenly, Drew, like going to church one year, and he loved his class, and I was like, what's going on there, oh, Mr. Kenny, Mr. Kenny's awesome. And I knew him as Kenny Gibb, I knew him, he was an investment banker and financial counselor with people. What I didn't know, he was also an MMA trainer, he trained guys in MMA. And so he was taking Sunday morning, yeah, they were doing the lesson, but he was also like, man, teaching them stuff they loved hearing. Like one day I said, what did you learn in church today? And Drew goes, hey, when you got an opponent on the ropes, you throw your punches in bunches, you do not let up. And I was like, OK, I like it. You know, Lea's like, I'm not sure I like that lesson. I'm like, this is exactly, here's my point, some of you have written yourself off and you're just what a young person needs. They need your life, and here's what they need to see with it, a real person who loves Jesus and loves them, and it makes a difference. So we've got to invest in that way. But to do that, I'm just going to tell you right now, it won't be convenient. If you're going to come serve on Sunday morning, you'd have to go to two services. I know that's horrible, how could we spend a Sunday on two services? And yet I look at it, yeah, it's not convenient, oh, but it's so important.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:56] I'll give the final principle with this, invest your life into meaningful relationships. This is the key principle of the whole thing, is how are you investing now? How are you giving your life away? How are you living out? This is what makes Paul such a rock star. Look at this, Paul is always, every book, he's always saying this, "Be imitators of me, brothers and sisters, and watch carefully those who are living this way, just as you have us as an example." I love that Paul, even when he's planning churches, even when he's on missionary journeys, whatever he's doing, he always has somebody right next to him, he says, hey, you just imitate me, follow me, I'll invest in you. He was always investing down into someone else, instead of just doing his job, man, he pulled somebody along with him.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:39] And I encourage every one of us, whether it's at church, where you come and you invest in a life, whether it's at your office, where instead of making all of the work about you and you always being in the limelight, you start looking at the younger people around you and go, man, how do I invest in them? How do I set them up to win? Maybe you're an older person, that you've hit that point of retirement, and you're wondering what to do with yourself. It is the best season of life to invest in a young adult, invest in somebody who's trying to figure out their life. And yet so many people squander it, they go, oh, what do I have to give? Just give yourself, give your life.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:39] Years ago I knew a guy named Bill, and Bill had hit that point, he had retired, and he didn't know what he was going to do. He was phenomenally wealthy in it, he went to the pastor, and he said, man, what should I do in this season? And he said, you ought to mentor guys. And he goes mentor, man, I blew it in so many ways, I totally gave myself to career for too long, I messed up my first marriage, I had to heal relationships with my adult kids. The pastor looked at him and said, yeah, why don't you share that? Why don't you share the principles of your life now, because you're one of the best students of the Bible, you're so consistent in your quiet time, you know how to read the Bible and it means something to you. You know, business in a way that a lot of guys don't. You know, life in a lot of ways. So Bill started mentoring people, and over the next decade of his life, he battled cancer while he mentored men. I'll never forget being at this funeral, and at his funeral those years later, in the middle of the eulogy, the pastor said, hey, if you are mentored by Bill, would you stand up? You wouldn't believe how many people stood up. And then the next question is, if you have been mentored by one of the people standing, would you stand up? And then the hundreds that stood up. See the legacy of a guy, who instead of just living his life of what would have been convenient, he did what was important.

Tim Lundy: [00:42:57] Guys, one day every single one of us, we're going to stand in front of Jesus, and all of us will give an account. We don't talk about it a lot, you realize on that day there are two sets of books, there's the Book of Life and the Book of Deeds. The Book of Life determines your eternal destination, if your name is in the Book of Life because you have a relationship in Christ, man, you go to eternal reward with him. If your name's not there, you go to eternal punishment. But there's also the Book of Deeds, and the Book of Deeds determines your level of reward or your level of punishment. And again, we don't talk about this a lot, and some of you're like, wait, what? I thought, you kind of prayed a prayer and we all get to heaven, and it's kind of, you know, spiritual communism, everybody gets a mansion, we're all happy with that. No, actually, what you do in this life, how you steward your life, how you invest, it makes a difference there. And I want to encourage you, as you think about the things that matter most in life, here's what I can promise you, as much as anything else, Jesus will look at you, and go, who did you invest in? Who are the people that you gave your life away to? And to do it, it will not be convenient, it will never come at a convenient time, but it's one of the most important things that you can do. We got to do it as a church, we need to do it as parents. But I say this across every age, from the youngest person hearing this to the oldest person hearing this, invest your life in these kinds of relationships because it makes all the difference.

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