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Always check the rearview mirror.

Always check the rearview mirror.

MARCH 4, 2024

/ Programs / Key Life / Always check the rearview mirror.

Steve Brown:
Always check the rearview mirror. I’ll explain, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew, executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author and seminary professor who teaches that God’s amazing grace is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness to Christ.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, we’re studying the Book of Proverbs. I may have told you that my mentor, Fred Smith, one time spoke to the singles in the church that I was serving at the time. And he opened by saying this, I’ve got some pearls I want to share with you and I’m going to drop them on the floor. And if you like a particular pearl and it’s helpful to you, pick it up and use it, it’s yours. If you don’t, don’t even bother, but they’re going to be a bunch of them, so stay with me. And he went over about 20 different subjects during that time. That’s kind of what we’re doing in the Book of Proverbs because the Book of Proverbs is that kind of book. I went through the entire book and started listing on a legal pad of paper, the number of subjects that I found throughout the Book of Proverbs, and I filled up pages. And so, I’m sharing with you some of the subjects that are covered in the Book of Proverbs. And the only way to teach it is the way I’m doing it, subject wise, not verse wise. And hopefully by the time we finish this series I will have covered all of the subjects that were on that legal sized pad of paper that I used. Before we turn to another subject, it’s our practice on the Monday broadcast to pray, so let’s do that. Father, we come into your presence and we come here sometimes surprised that we’re here. They told us if we were good enough and we studied your word enough and prayed enough that you would find us acceptable. And we tried, and we couldn’t, and just as we were leaving, you said, Welcome, child, welcome. And we came running. And so, we’re here by invitation, your invitation, and we praise you for that invitation. Father, you know the name of every person who is listening to this broadcast right now. You know the sleepless nights, you know the secrets that can’t be shared, you know the failure and the success, the joy and the tears, you know it all. And we’re here because you have called us to trust you in everything, and even to thank you for everything. That’s hard, Father, sometimes. So, give us the grace to do that. And then on this broadcast, Father, we pray for the one who teaches, that you would forgive him his sins, because they are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. Oh, by the way, I hope you had a good week-end. And I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor’s sermon. Let me show you something by way of another subject. Running for the future without looking at the past is a dangerous practice. In other words, you’ve got to check your rear view mirror, if you’re going to be a safe driver in a crazy and mixed up world. All of the Proverbs that deal with wisdom, and there are many of them. The wisdom of mothers and fathers, is a reference to the heritage that is passed on through them to their children. And then there’s some specific statements about God in history. Proverbs 21:1

The king’s heart is in the Lord. Like the rivers of water, he turns it wherever he wishes.

And there’s this one particularly, Proverbs 22:38

Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.

In other words, the past is important. And I don’t remember who said it, but it’s true.

That those who are not aware of the past are doomed to repeat it.

There’s some truth in that. It’s very important that we honor and we remember, without being dumb about it. That we have a legacy that was given to us. I’ve served two or three churches in my career. One was a church that had gone through so much trouble and so much division, so much anxiety, that it was, I thought, you know, I can’t fail. I mean, anything I do is going to be better than what they had. I remember there was a man in that church who loved the church, and he hated the direction it had gone in, and the bad reputation it had gotten in the community. And he said, Pastor, would it be all right if I came into you pretty regularly and we prayed together for this church that I love so much? And we did. Every Monday, we would come into my study, kneel down and pray for the church. And not only that, he went with me as I visited people in the congregation. And we simply listened to the things that bothered them, the things that made them angry, the things in some cases that had caused them to leave the church. And, the church, by the way, just so you know, went through a mini-revival. The newspaper that had written critical articles about the church, wrote a very, very positive thing about what had happened. We had had no mission program in the church, and we decided to have a missionary conference. And nobody in the church, including me, had ever been to one, so we didn’t know what to do. But we did the best we could, and we raised some money for missions. Started sending it all over the world, then it doubled, and then it tripled. The Jesus Movement happened during that time, and those kids came to our church in droves. And they met the kids who were in college at Wellesley, and at MIT, and Harvard, who’d started coming to the church. And we saw a freshness and a goodness that was really good. But I remember thinking at the beginning, this is a great place to be. I can’t make it worse than it is. The legacy is a bad legacy. And all I’ve got to do is not drool and not say really stupid things. And we’re going to see revival in this church, and we did. And then the next church that I served was in Miami. And it had been served by a series of faithful pastors. I mean, these guys were something else. The church started in a bar by a man, his name was Dr. Iverson, who was one of the most successful pastoral evangelists in America. And many, many young men went into ministry because of his ministry. And he started the church that I served in a bar. And they talked about cleaning up the beer cans before they had worship on Sunday morning. And he was followed by a man who eventually took a position as an evangelist with the Billy Graham Association. And the next guy who followed him was Ben Hayden, who had an unbelievable radio and television ministry. And God had used him. He had been a former CIA agent and a newspaper editor. And he became my friend. He was the pastor at First Presbyterian in Chattanooga after he left the church I served. And the next guy was incredible. I mean, he served some of the largest churches in America faithfully, making a difference in so many lives and writing books. And then there was me. I thought, what in the world am I doing here? What, I can’t, I can’t live up to these guys. I can’t be as good and as gifted as they are. I can’t pull this thing off. In fact, I felt like I was in a race, and had been given the baton, and they said don’t mess it up, do it right, don’t mess it up, just be faithful and see what God does. And I realized how important the past is. We live in a time and we’ll talk a little bit more about it tomorrow, but we live in a time when a lot of academics and a lot of people are looking to the past, they’re destroying statues, they are changing the names of buildings because of the foibles, because of the failure and the sin of the people who were named or for whom the statue was created. That is a horrible mistake. It’s a horrible mistake because the Bible teaches that there won’t be anybody, anywhere, any time around with whom you can replace them because

The heart is deceitful above all things, it’s desperately corrupt, who can understand it.

And I didn’t say that, God said it. But with all of that being said, we have a legacy given to us by many people and it’s important that we check that before we move into the future. Good thought. And a good thought that I would have you think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
Thank you Steve, that was Steve Brown teaching us again from the Book of Proverbs. It’s a series we’re calling Street-Smart Christians. And we hope you will join us on this journey. Well, here’s a wild story. You’ve heard of runners getting disqualified for starting before the gun or leaving their lane. But there was an international meet in 2019 where an entire heat of 400 meter runners ended up getting disqualified. All five runners. Listen, what’s even wilder is that we as believers often think our sins disqualify us. Even though we’ve been forgiven. And if you need proof, revisit the story of Jacob. We recently spoke about Jacob with Max Lucado and it was such a warm and wonderful conversation. In fact, we’ll send it to you for free on CD. Just call us right now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD or to mail your request, go to to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for the free CD featuring Max Lucado. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you join us in that work through your financial support? You can charge a gift on your credit card, or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply text Key life to 28950. And as always, if you can’t give right now or maybe you just don’t feel called to, all good. But if you think about it, if you remember it, please do pray for us. Okay? We appreciate it. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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