I need people, but not just any people.
MAY 3, 2023
I need people, but not just any people. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
If you’re sick of guilt and manipulation, and if you’re looking for an honest and thoughtful presentation of Biblical truth, you’ve come to the right place. This is Key Life with the founder of Key Life Network, Steve Brown. Keep listening for teaching that will make you free.
Thank you Matthew. If you’re just joining us, we’re looking at a book I wrote that came out recently, Laughter and Lament. And we’re looking at some of the themes in that book. I do that every time I, well, the first thing that happens when I come out with a new book is the angels start laughing, that old guy’s doing it again. And the second thing that happens is I come on this broadcast and I spend some time talking about all the stuff I’ve been working on for the previous months. And I’ve been working on this book for a long time and I don’t want to waste all the research. So, I’m going to share some of it with you. And we’re looking at a chapter that I wrote called The Curse of Loneliness. And I talked about how during the pandemic, at first I thought this was really cool. I could go to church in my pajamas. And if I fell asleep during the pastor’s sermon, nobody would see. I didn’t have to go to meetings. I didn’t have to spend time with people I don’t like. I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do. In fact, I couldn’t do anything. And I thought, this is really cool. And then, I realized I was really lonely. Now, my wife is my best friend and so that helped, but that wasn’t enough. I found that I was really lonely, that I needed people, but not just any people. When I talk about our need for one another, it isn’t just any other or any relationship, listen to me. It’s a relationship with those who know Christ and the people he loves. I have a friend who says that he’s decided to only spend time with people who will cry at his funeral. And while I was, as I wrote that sentence, a friend e-mailed me with an attached memo saying.
A wrong relationship will make you feel more lonely than you were when you were single.
There’s some truth to that. And if you are in one of those relationships or marriages, you know that. Some people drain us and others bless us. Some people speak truth to us and others lie to us. Some people tell us, cry in their presence and others don’t. Some people laugh at our jokes and others wince. Some people aren’t the kinds of friends we can share our laughter and our lament with, much less our confession. Number of years ago, I suffered from a kidney stone. Now, if you’ve been there, you know how painful that is. The doctor gave me my pain bills, and by the way, I didn’t know what it was. I thought I was dying. I called my wife and said, you’ve got to take me to the hospital, I think, and you’ve got to hurry before I die. Nobody ever told me about a kidney stone and how it felt and it was awful. And as she helped me out of the front door of the Key Life building, my staff was standing in the lobby thinking, well, there goes our job cause the old man’s going to die today. And then I got to the hospital and the nurse came in and said, it hurts, doesn’t it? And I said, yeah. She said, it’s a kidney stone. I said, what’s that? She says, that’s a rock inside you that can’t pass. And that’s where the pain’s coming from and people don’t die from kidney stones. And she, and she was right. She didn’t understand the relief on my face. It was like, I’m not going to heaven today, maybe tomorrow, but not today. But anyway, I had that kidney stone and it was awful. They gave me pills, pain pills, and it went away and I loved it. And I went to a urologist who was going to try to fix the kidney stone. And he looked like Doogie Howser. He looked like a kid. And I said to him, son, have you ever done any of these before? By the way, don’t ever ask that of any doctor ahead of surgery. He was irritated, and it seemed to me took way too much delight in telling me what he planned to do during the procedure. I said, oh, no, you’re not. I can live on these pain pills you gave me quite comfortably for the rest of my life. I’ll spare you the details, but I did go through the surgical procedure and it took almost a month to get back to normal. During that time, I was amazed by the number of people who told me that day two had kidney stones. One man said that he was the president of the Fellowship of the Stone. And it did become a sort of fellowship of people who had been there and done that. There are people who will say, I’m sorry if you’re going through the pain of a kidney stone, but if they’ve never experienced that particular pain, they have no idea what it’s like. Actually one feels that underneath their words about being, sorry, they’re really thinking, just grow up and deal with it. Now, I don’t want to lament about kidney stones with someone who has never felt the pain of a kidney stone. And in fact, I don’t want to lament any of the darkness of life with those who have never experienced that darkness. I’ve often said the seminary students who are getting angry and self-righteous about sin in the church, about particular Christians who have sinned that they haven’t lived long enough or sinned big enough to even have an opinion. Well, that’s true, but the church is a place where people have sinned big enough and lived long enough to know the destruction and the pain and the dark. And God has put us together for a reason. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. And tomorrow we’ll continue our exploration of the Biblical themes that inspired Steve’s latest book, Laughter and Lament. Make sure you join us for that. Well, recently on our talk radio show Steve Brown Etc. we spoke with an author who has quickly become one of our favorite guests, Michael Reeves. He’s written numerous books, but his book called Delighting in the Trinity is possibly one of his best, and we spoke with him about it. Take a listen to part of that conversation, then I’ll be back to tell you about a special free offer.
Michael, we do teach here at Key Life that God is love and he’s not mad at his people. And you can delight in him, and we laugh a lot, but very rarely is that connected with the idea or the doctrine or the truth of the Trinity. You say that’s front and center. That’s the reason or one of the significant reasons we can talk about God’s love.
Michael Reeves: Absolutely. The truth is God is love because God is Trinity. And I think the reason people don’t see that is they think, look, there’s the God I know and love and Trinity, that’s the thing for those pasty faced and socially disastrous theologians in the ivy covered seminaries. I mean, you know how it is in a discipleship group, when a young Christian asks, can you just talk about the Trinity with me? You’ll get a couple of normal responses, one will be someone will give a holy roll of the eyes and say, ah, the Trinity, oh the mystery. We’re not meant to understand such things. And so, the poor young Christian is left the, oh, what’s this got to do with me then? Or you are told, you know, I’ve got a really helpful illustration here. God’s like a leaf with three bits sticking out of it, or my favorite God’s like H2O, but actually my real favorite God is like an egg, he’s a shell, a white, and a yoke, three things and yet they’re one thing. And you think, yeah, I’m really going to worship a God because he’s like an egg. What I wanted to show people is, look, Christians don’t believe in the Trinity because they sense his similarity to streaky bacon, three-headed giants, H2O. Christians believe in Trinity because of Jesus Christ. John said he wrote his gospel, John 20:31.
So that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
In other words, when you go through Jesus, the God you get to know, he’s the Son, he’s revealing to you a Father. And that puts us onto the really big question, what sort of God do we see in Jesus? A totally different sort of God to the God we imagine every day. Before anything else in eternity, before he created anything, this God is, well let me put it this way, cliffhanger. People sometimes ask, what was God doing before he created the world? And the pompous theologians answer is, he was creating hell for those cheeky enough to ask such questions. But Jesus tells us in John 17:24, he says.
Father, you loved me before the foundation of the world.
That’s the sort of God we’re talking about, eternally, a Father characterized by his nature is to love his Son, and therefore you have a God who is love. If you have a single person God, just sitting on his throne all by himself, that’s not a God who is eternally loving, and that’s the sort of problem you have in a religion like Islam, where you might want to talk about Allah as loving, but eternally he hasn’t been loving. It’s not part of his nature, and so it is for every single person God, you could only say God is love of this one, a Father eternally loving his Son as he pours out his Spirit on him.
Delighting in the trinity, what a word to use, right? But listen, when you hear that entire conversation, you’ll discover it makes total sense. Can we send you that episode on CD, for free? If so, 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 keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses for the U.S. and Canada. Just ask for the free CD featuring Michael Reeves. Finally, would you prayerfully consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving is easy, you can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or join the growing number of folks who give safely and securely by text. Just text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t even matter. Just text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.