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God's Not Mad at You
God helps those who help themselves. No, he doesn’t.

God helps those who help themselves. No, he doesn’t.

JUNE 15, 2021

/ Programs / Key Life / God helps those who help themselves. No, he doesn’t.

Steve Brown:
God helps those who help themselves. No, he doesn’t. And I’ll talk about it on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
That was author and seminary professor Steve Brown. And this is Key Life. We’re all about radical grace, because of what Jesus has done. God’s not mad at you. Keep listening and that message will set you free to live a life of joy and surprising faithfulness.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. We’re studying the book of Acts and we’re looking at the first few verses of the first chapter of Acts, which are quite surprising. Now later, in fact, very shortly. And we’re going to talk about that later. Jesus commissions, his disciples. He said you go and hustle, but the first thing he tells them to do is to go back to Jerusalem, sit down and be quiet and wait. And we’re looking at that and seeing how important that is. And so, let’s see if we can find the reason that Jesus said that, first Jesus knew that if the ministry of the disciples was not spirit controlled, then it would be a powerless ministry and it would fail because it would be of the flesh, that’s John 3:6, but it’s also Acts 1, because he said, wait for the promised Holy Spirit. And if the Holy Spirit doesn’t come, don’t do anything. God was doing fine before you came along. He’s going to do fine long after you’re gone. And you’re probably not even going to leave a hole, me neither. So, this is all about God. It’s all about what he wants and how he would guide us. And if you’re busy doing things, then it’s not God it’s you and who gets the credit if it’s successful and it can be successful in terms of money and in terms of people and in terms of the organization and how it grows. And maybe if you’re a church, you can become a mega church, if you work at it and you go to enough conferences that tell you how to do it. I can’t tell you the number of consultants I’ve told to leave my church. We don’t need a meeting with consultants. We need a meeting with Jesus and we need to be quiet and we need to wait. And we need to be still to see where the Spirit is leading. And so Jesus said, don’t do anything. Just wait until the Spirit comes. You know what I fear sometimes, that the Spirit, Jesus himself could leave most churches and nobody would even notice. I mean, the machinery is so well oiled, and listen, I’m not throwing rocks. The love the church, I’m a part of the church and I’m involved in the church, but sometimes I think, you know, this thing would work without Jesus. This thing would work as long as we work. This thing would work and people would come as long as the music was good. And the preacher talked well. That’s kind of scary, isn’t it? I, one time said when I was a pastor and I got visited by a committee during a week. I said, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s stop everything and see if Jesus is still here. And people looked at me like I lost my mind. I said, no, no, no, we can stop the youth ministry. We can stop the Sunday school. We can stop the women’s organizations. I’m not saying forever, but let’s just, we can stop the men’s organizations and all the ministries that we have, let’s just stop it and see if Jesus is still involved in this. Now, I made it, it was kind of, you know, it was, it was, I was making a point. A homiletical point, and I teach homeletics, so I know how to do this, but you gotta be careful, because people will start taking you serious. And if they take you serious, you can be in trouble. And I had a group of three people coming by my office saying, you can’t do that. And I said, I wasn’t planning on doing that. I was trying to make a point, dumby. If you had listened, you’d get the point and not be upset, at the metaphor that I used when I made the point. But you know, it wasn’t a bad idea, was it? I mean, I’ll bet we would have gotten some national press on that. I’ll bet we would’ve gotten to some praise on that. People would say, wow, what a cool thing to do. We never did it, but we did have a magazine, at a church that I want served. We had become one of the fastest growing churches in Florida. In a magazine of a major ministry, wanted to do an article on us. And I said, I said, no, you’re not. And they said, but we want to know how you did it so we can help other churches. And so I said, alright, come on. And we’ll talk to you. And I called the staff and I said, you don’t lie to them. Okay? You tell them where the problems are and the humps are and what difficulties we’ve had and what we’ve gone through, just don’t lie to them. And they didn’t, they didn’t know what to do with the article. I used to say, you know, we lived in a beautiful place on an Island, had the prettiest beaches you’ve ever seen. I used to say we were going to advertise in all the Christian magazines for a pastor’s conference and we were going to call it, How We Did It. And we would have a notebook printed with how we did it, so they could keep notes and we would line up six or seven particular conference meetings at the church. And then when we get all the pastors in the congregates, sitting in the church, I would stand before them, and say, we lied to you. We don’t know. We don’t have a foggiest idea how we did it, it just sort of happened. And so, we got nothing to teach you, but we knew that because you’re a pastor you needed to get some rest. And so, burn that book. We’re not going to use it. Get your bathing suit, go out on the beach and be still for just a while. Now, I never did that, but it was a thought and it was a good thought. Why is that? Because of Acts 1, because if the Spirit’s not in it and the Spirit’s not doing it, it’s going to be a mess. And if the Spirit is in it, God’s going to do astounding and amazing and miraculous, miraculous things. And you wait. Depending on how big, what God has called you to do is, and it’s big for all of us. Later on, and we’re going to talk a little bit about later when we get that, when Jesus tells the disciples later in this chapter in Acts, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. And Peter went, wow, I got to hurry. And Jesus said, no, no, no, no. Be still, wait, because you can’t do this. You don’t have the gifts. You don’t have the money. You don’t have the power to pull this off. This is too big for you. You, they say pick a cause that is bigger than you. Well, this is the mother of all causes that are bigger than human beings. I mean, this is not a little thing that Jesus was telling these group of uneducated ragamuffins and sinners. I mean, this was it. You got to see it. It’s impossible. And Jesus said, be still, wait for the power of the Holy Spirit and you will be amazed at what I’m going to do. That’s true today also. And then secondly, Jesus also knew how dumb they, and we are, in terms of strategy. He had a plan that would be completed, because it was his plan and it was Spirit led. Not, because it was our plan. When the Holy Spirit has come up on you and then you begin to see that the Holy Spirit began, we’re going to see this throughout the book of Acts. How the Holy Spirit leads here and there and somewhere else. Takes somebody out of a town, puts them in another town and begins to build on the amazing, the most amazing movement the world has ever seen. But he knew that we had a plan and he had a plan and our plan wouldn’t work. And so he said, you gotta be still, you got to wait for what I show you, not what seems to be proper and right. I one time started a ministry when I was in a church in Boston and I called it A Ministry to a Thousand. I somehow got all of the listings from the power and light company of the new people that moved into our city. I recruited volunteers to write letters to all of them. I trained volunteers to go out and visit their homes. To hang literature on our church, on the front doors of their church. And I got the people so excited. I mean, we’re going to change the world. And then, one morning I realized this is not of God. I’m not supposed to do this. And I had to announce to the church, hey, I’ve got something to say, quit it. I was wrong. I was listening to me and not to God. We all have a proclivity to do that. And that’s why you have to be still, wait for the real man with a plan. You think about that. Amen.

Matthew Porter:
And of course that was Steve Brown blowing up yet another Bibley sounding phrase that is not in fact in the Bible. God helps those who help themselves. But as we learned today in Acts, our help comes to us from God’s Holy Spirit, and it sure helps if we’ll stop and wait and listen to him. More good stuff tomorrow, hope you’ll join us then. Well, we recently spoke with author Dan Kimble on Steve Brown Etc. Dan told us that some young people are actually being led away from Christianity by the Bible itself. More specifically, they’re being led away by Scripture, intentionally taken out of context. Our conversation was based around Dan’s book, which is called How Not to Read the Bible. Do you want to hear that whole show? Yeah, thought so, that’s why we went ahead and put the whole thing on a CD that we can drop in the mail to you today. We just need to know where to send it. So call us now at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to

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