When in doubt if Steve’s stories are actual, no, they’re true.
JULY 14, 2020
Zach Van Dyke:
When in doubt, if Steve’s stories are actual. Know, they’re true. Let’s talk on Key Life.
You’re listening to Key Life. Our message is simple, because life is hard for everyone, grace is for all of us. Steve Brown invited Zach Van Dyke to teach this week. Zach’s the teaching pastor at Summit Church here in Orlando, Florida. If you’re tired of religion that just beats you down, pull up a chair and stay awhile.
Zach Van Dyke:
Thanks Matthew. And thank you all for joining me this week as Steve takes a break, uh, for the week. He will be back on Friday with Pete, for Q & A. If you have questions, of course, you can send them to Key Life and they’d be happy to answer those questions. I know people really look forward to that. I know I look forward to it. Um, but I also look forward to these weeks where Steve takes a break and I get to come in and talk with y’all. Um, and I thank you for still tuning in. And, um, yesterday I told you that we’re starting kind of a three parter called When In Doubt, where we’re going to be looking at the letter that John wrote to the early church. First John, to kind of wrestle with, look at how do we respond when we’re feeling doubts. And I don’t know about you, but everything that we’ve been through over the last several months with this global pandemic, uh, has really shifted a whole lot, in my thinking, in my world, I never struggled with anxiety prior to this, now I do. Um, the way I interact with people, the way we do church, everything is so new and different. And a lot of it I don’t like right. And a lot of it causes me to doubt some things. Uh, but one of the things that has really stood out to me is how much power is being exposed as, as not the actual core of the universe. I mean, everything that we do, all our systems and structures and government and businesses, everything is really built up to kind of put, put power at the center of the universe. But as all of that, stripping away, as things have been crumbling, what we see emerging is that relationships are what we all really long for. That that’s really what we were built for. We were built to have power. We were built to have relationship. Um, and so yesterday we spent some time talking about how, at the beginning of John’s letter to the church, he points his all the way back to the very beginning and to a person who existed at the very beginning, which is God. And then God, in himself as a relationship, he’s a triune, God. And again, I’m not going to talk about the Trinity because I don’t want to be heretical, but we do know that from the beginning, there was God, the father, God, the son and God, the Holy spirit and Jesus actually prays right before he goes to the cross, that, that the world would see his glory, the glory that he’s had before the foundation of the earth, because of the love that he experienced with God, the father and God, the Holy spirit and that, and that, that is kind of the core, that’s central to the universe. So we talked about how, if that’s true, it has profound implications that if love birthed you, you matter. But there’s more than just that. I want to tell you a Steve story. Now I love Steve stories, but I’m pretty sure that none of them have actually ever happened, but there is something so true in them. And, and this is this story. The first time I heard it, uh, just blew me away. And I, I, I think about it all the time and I’m going to tell it, and it’s, you know, if you’re a long time Key Life person, you’re going to know the story and you’re going to have heard it in a much better way from Steve. In fact, when I told him I wanted to tell this story, I had him tell it to me again. And I just thought, man, I should just, I should just make him record. We should just stop this and play an old recording of him telling the story, but alas, I’m going to tell it. Um, but it’s, it’s a, it’s a story that, uh, that I hope I will do a sufficient job of communicating, uh, is a story about, uh, two young people. They were both 18, uh, both were away from home for the first time ever at college, when they met. They fell in love pretty quickly, fell in love hard. Um, and they unexpectedly got pregnant, um, which sometimes happens. And so they got married, uh, not the wedding that she had always dreamed of, but they loved each other and they were going to make it work. And after, uh, after getting married, after having their first child, the, the second child came shortly after then the third child came and it all happened pretty pretty quick. And one day this young woman was standing at her sink. Three kids, married dishes piled up. The youngest two had just begun to walk, was pulling at her leg and screaming, She hadn’t showered in days, the house just felt like utter and total chaos. She sat at the sink. Didn’t want to move. She heard her husband come home, she heard the door unlocked. She heard him say, Hey, Hey babe, I’m here. She picked up that screaming two year old. She walked to her husband. She handed that two year old to her husband and walked out the door. She was gone. She didn’t say where she was going. Husband’s was just standing there, dishes in the sink, the two year old still crying. The other two kids didn’t even know where they were. They’re running around somewhere in the house. And he thought, well, surely she’ll surely she’ll be back. Right? But she didn’t come home that night. And, uh, and he tries calling her. She doesn’t answer her phone. He starts to get real worried. The next day she does call. He answers the phone and he says, babe, where are you? Like you can’t, you can’t just leave. You can’t just walk out and not tell me where you’re going. She hangs up. She calls back the next day. He tries a different approach, babe I don’t, I don’t know what’s going on, but I, I love you. The kids love you. We miss you. Are you okay? She says, I’m okay. He says, will you come home? She hangs up. And this goes on for a week. There’s phone calls. These kinds of honey. I love you. The kids love you. We miss you. Will you come home? Hang up. But after a week of this, the husband just can’t take it anymore. He says, all right, I’m gonna, I’m gonna find her. I’m gonna, I’m gonna hire a private investigator. I’m gonna find out where she is. Uh, which costs a lot of money. They don’t make a lot of money. He has to work really hard to support the family. And, but he does it. He finds out where she is. She’s in Ames, Iowa. He’s never even been to Ames, Iowa. He finds out, you know where the nearest airport is. He, he flies in, has in-laws come and watch the kids. He rents a car and he drives to the location that his wife has been staying. It’s a, it’s an old motel. When he pulls up to the motel, he just begins to weep because he looks at the place. And it’s one of those. It’s not a nice hotel. And he looks at it. He thinks my gosh, my wife has been, been choosing to live here instead of to come home? As he pulls into the parking lot, he’s been practicing his speech. What he’s going to say to her, the whole plane flight, the whole drive to the motel. She’s staying on the second floor in room 205. He walks up the stairs to the second floor. Uh, he comes to the door. He takes a deep breath. He’s prepared to say what he needs to say. He knocks on the door and his wife opens the door. And before he can say anything, she, she begins to weep and throws her arms around him and begins to kiss him. He says to her, will you come home? She says, yes. So they go home. She’s reunited with their three kids. They get back into the routine of things. It takes the husband about two weeks to actually work up the nerve, to ask the question, why she decided to come home. But one night they’re laying in bed together and he gets up the nerve and he leans over. And he says, you know, honey, every day, you know, we would talk on the phone and I would tell you that I loved you. And that the kids loved you. And that we missed you. And that we really wanted you home. Why did you decide to come home? And she looked at him and she said, before, they were just words, then you came. In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God. He was with God in the beginning. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus isn’t just words, He came. Which means we have a God who understands this. We have a God who knows what it’s like to be human, who knows pain and sorrow, rejection, who knows sickness and even death. Hebrews 4:15 tells us
[For] we do not have a [high] priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.
You see Jesus, God in flesh, God in human form, God incarnate came and lived the life that you and I were designed to live. Why? So that he could die the death that we deserve, in our place. But he didn’t stay dead. John is writing the early church and he’s saying, we have a God who is relational. We have a God who loves us so much that even when we ran from relationship, even when we got as far away from relationship, as we could, even when we chose to live in squalor in a dirty old motel, he came after us. He came after us by becoming one of us. And not only that, dying for us. And not only that, defeating death for us. Going back to the beginning of John’s letter, he says that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched. This we proclaim concerning the word of life. The life appeared. We have seen it and testify to it. And we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the father and has appeared to us wherever you find yourself today. If you find yourself running, if you feel like you’ve been running away from God, because you thought he was angry, because you thought he was a God who leads with power, he’s not. In Jesus we see that he’s a God who comes after us, no matter what, that he’s a God who will do whatever it takes. Will spend whatever it takes, to win this back. He came, he really came. I don’t know what you’ve heard about God, but that God is a God that we can trust, no matter our circumstances. That is a God who is all about grace.
And that was Pastor Zach Van Dyke, continuing to teach us about doubt and what to do with it. Well, doubt sometimes comes from questions, like have you ever had trouble believing that the Bible is true? Have you ever wondered if God is really there or question why you don’t feel a certain way? Well, those are big questions, but they’re also honest questions, that deserve Biblical answers. If that’s what you’re looking for, there’s a mini-book we would love to send to you for free. It’s called Faith and Doubt: When Belief Is Hard. Get your copy while supplies last, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also request the mini-book by emailing Steve@keylife.org. If you’re mailing us, send your request to
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