Connection Conversation - Tony
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 11 · 1 year ago

Connection Conversation - Tony

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How do you share Jesus? In my Connection Conversation with Tony Holloman we talk about what it means to share your faith in Jesus, what faith in Jesus means to Tony and his family, why the world needs Jesus, and some different methods or opportunities to share the good news.

Well, hey everyone, my nameis Kevin and I hope our time together helps connect you to God's next stepfor your life. Today my connection conversation is with Tony Holliman. Tony wasmy youth pastor growing up in Wilmington, Delaware, and my memory back thenisn't that great, but I seem to remember not being around very much foryouth group. That is, until my junior year of high school. Weshowed up after basketball practice just for the lessons and finally went to summer campafter my senior year of high school. I also remember sitting in a friendlyis telling Pastor Tony about my mormon girlfriend and how God was leading me togo to Utah on a mission. Strip he helped me do that and raisesix hundred dollars to get plane tickets and get up there. I've always appreciatedpastor Tony's heart for people and from ministry and while I always don't have thewords to describe what exactly he was instilling in me, I really do nowhave come to believe that church planting and all the concepts behind that idea arekind of baked into his heart and mine. So in our conversation today, wewill talk about what it means to share your faith in Jesus, whatit means to have faith in Jesus to Tony and his family, why theworld needs Jesus and some different methods are opportunities to share the good news.So I think you'll find our conversation very interesting. Thank you for engaging withus today. So here is my conversation with Tony. Thanks for come inand joining US online. Thanks for being a part of our third connection conversation. It's with my friend Tony, or pastor Tony Parliament, and it's funnyto think that you know, fifteen years ago as I was in your youthministry and we'd be sitting here today doing this. But yeah, appreciate youand Alicia, you know, she came into my life ten years ago ishand kind of been through all of that stuff. Thank you for all yourgood teaching over the years and being there for through some big, formidable timesin my life. So I appreciate that. So in our conversation today we're goingto talk about the theme of sharing our faith in Jesus, sharing Jesus. So we'll talk about like what that means to you, to your familyGod then we'll get into some practical things of how you did that as apastor and youth ministry and in your personal life. And now, as youwill finish with the idea like you don't have that official maybe role as apastor anymore with a church, but in many ways you still do all thatstuff. So we'll talk about what that means. So as an he's beenaround us as we got started at this division, nights and groups, differentthings. So we're so thankful for that. But you probably don't know him alltoo well. So and just going to give him an opportunity to sharehis testimony and a little bit of his story as we get started here.Okay, Kevin said, my name is Tony Holliman. My Wife gails withme. We Are we are living in Delaware. I grew up actually inNew Jersey. I grew up knowing about Christ. Actually went to church,but I went to I was raised in the Catholic Church, so I wentthrough the process of, you know, confirmation, communion, all that,all that and I would say I knew the Bible Stories. I knew storiesand I believe them, but it wasn't till I was thirteen years old thatfirst my dad got saved, which was really it was really an amazing journeyto watch gentleman witness for my dad, to my dad for about nine years. So again we talked about salvation and and you know, how long doyou go? You know, sometimes of frustration. Nine years. A familythat my dad worked for witness to him and our family and my dad cameto Christ and through that process there was a friendship there, even with ourfamilies. Till this day I have a friendship with their son. We playedball together in high school and we move on in life and we still havea we have a we have a good friendship. But it's amazing how Godthrough that time, as I watched my dad's life changed and watched this family, I started realizing that there's something I needed, even though I knew aboutGod. I went to this youth rally and they presented the Gospel message abouthow I needed to accept Chrisis my savior, and it's really the first time Iheard that. I heard I knew the story. You know, Icould walk you through, you know, the life of Christ all the waythrough up to the resurrection. But really, as far as taking that and makingit personal and recognize and you know, we say we know that Jesus diedfor our sins, and it's kind of like it's there. But thatwas the first time I was brought to...

...the point of he died for mysins and and and what have I done with him other than acknowledging him mentallyand intellectually? It was at that youth rally that I went forward and acceptedChrisis, my sea and I, you know, I went through that processof recognizing that I was a sinner. You know, and I knew.I knew this. I didn't know in necessary how bad I was or howgood I was, but I knew this. I knew if he is real andheaven and Earth is heaven, Earth Hell, it's real. I knewone thing. I didn't want to go to a place called Hell and Iknew I wasn't good enough on my own to go to heaven. You know, through that night they shared a message that made me think about no matterhow good I was, I still was I would miss the mark. Andif it wasn't for what? And that was when I realized that what Jesusdid on the Cross was so vital for me. And that night I wentforward and I accept a Christ as my savior and since then, I wishI could say life was always easy, and we all know it's not.But there were times again, as I got into God's word and I wasaround people that were challenging me with God's word to grow, to trust God, to to let my faith just grow. I started studying the Bible for thefirst time. My Dad we I switched in schools. I went toa Christian school, but even through that process I still struggle with people becauseagain it's the reality of do I live the Christian life or do I sayI live the Christian life? And for me that was part of the struggle. Even going from a a public school to a Christian school, there werepeople there doing the same things that I was trying to get away from,and not that I'm trying to get away from the world, but I knewthere are things that weren't right and it made me to go deeper in myBible to realize what is right, because even though they were brought up Christian, they wanted to do things that I was doing or was leaving, andso it forced me to go into God's word and it wasn't about a churchor denomination. It was about, okay, got your word. Says something abouthow I should live, and I began digging and searching and asking Godthose hard questions. God, how do you want my life to change?You know, and we know, that salvation is, you know, it'sa decision, but it's a it's a it's a change of mind that resultsin a change of direction, but it's not changing in somebody else's direction.It's coming to the point where I realize that, God, I have tosurrender to your direction and it's no longer me, it's you. It's meliving in your strength and yielding my will to yours. And that became thejourney that we went on through high school, in the college to where I amtoday, just wanting to be the person God wants me to be,not just involved in ministry, but realizing it's not what we do, it'swho we are. You know, it's not that I am a Christian toChrist made me and therefore this is why I live the way I do.You know, this is why I it's not because I go to church becauseI I need to show God my love, that's true, but I go tochurch to to grow. So my life is more conformed to his lifeby the study of his word, by the encouragement of brothers and sisters inChrist. That's why, that's why church matters, that's why fellowship matters.So so here we are today. That was one thousand nine hundred and seventyfive, many years ago, and I look back and I look at howGod has continually till this day, is changing me. Even now, asI sit here today. It's not. It's not like you arrived, it'sGod continue to conform me to your image and I still have a long wayto go. Okay, and I know that because that's what the Bible teachesme. And yet I know I'm perfect in Christ. I have a home, that I have security, I have strength, I have I have allthat I need. But in it, as I walk through this life,I see my weakness, as I still see my sinfulness, the capability thatwe all have to to not follow God's way. So we need to constantlybe surrendering to him as we move forward in life. So that's kind ofhow I got saved and we've got into the ministry. Our Passion was tosee young people. I didn't know it at the time I thought I wasgoing to be a school teacher and that's how I got in. And Godsays, well, you're going to prepare you to do this, but sinceyou're really not ready for this, this is how we're going to go.And after just two years as a teacher,...

...working with the Church and being aChristian School, I realize my passion was to work with Youth and tohelp young people really walk with God. And as I taught Bible in theChristian School, I realized I don't want to be teaching an academic mcjust Iwant to be teaching a lifestyle. So God moved us from Richmond, Virginiato New Jersey. We moved around a little bit from New Jersey and nowwe're in Delaware for the last what twenty, twenty four years, just saying okay, God, where how can we minister two people? Whether it's beingin a church full time, which right now we're not, but God hascontinues open doors for us to serve him and to proclaim his truth. Sothat's where we're at today. That's awesome, thanks for sure, but tell usa little bit about your family as as you think about your life andministry. And it's funny, as I was thinking of this question, isjust that idea of like pulled, pulled. Timothy, like you're my son inthe faith and in some ways as your pastor's like you kind of havea special relationship, but there's a lot of other more closely related that youhave to tell us what they're doing. Again, I think we understand thespiritual ramification to that that you know. We we have the opportunity to sharethe gospel with people and have them come to Christ. But again, aswe raise our own children. We have Gael and I have five children.Our oldest is thirty three, our youngest is twenty one and they're all inbetween there. We have three boys, three boys, two girls. Yeah, yeah, no, no, three boys, two girls. Our oldestis on the mission field in the Czech Republic in Youth Ministry. We haveour daughter in law and two grandchildren that that have been there for the lastseven to eight years raising support and then just being on the field reaching youngpeople with the Gospel. And that for us, for my wife and I, we met in college and it's funny as we met, we met withthe with the direction of just we were ministering two people and God brought ustogether and her passion and my passionate they matched up. Her desire was towork with young girls, to work with Youth and to Minister to kids.And as we got to know each other, that's how God brought us together andit's been great to see how God's taken our lives as as individuals andbrought us together with the same heart, the same purpose, in the samedrive, and our desires have been to teach our kids that again, notthat anybody has perfect kids. Your desires to teach them the truth of God'sword. But again, it's to live it out and our desire has beento live it out and work together as one and for I guess our commitmentand relationship has been I don't know it's for us it's been a blessing.Sometimes I feel it's it's different in the sense of I have a true helpmate, but but it's more of a compliment and a ministry that we do sideby side. So so we've always got each other's back and we we wemeet each other kind of where our weaknesses and strengths are and we've been ableto use that over the years in youth ministry to reach a lot of youngpeople for Christ and model that. You know, my our home has beena kind of our model and again, not perfect, but we took ourkids everywhere. Whenever we took the teens places, our kids were there.We believed together my wife as I were very strong in the fact that wedo this together. Till this day, we still do a lot of thingswhere we're ministering or finding ways to minister to even senior adults. Today,together, where she ministers to the women, I'll minister to the men or willhelp them in their homes. So we've been trying to just model thatout and as we've done that, we've been trying to teach our kids that. You know, again, the emphasis is not who we are to Christis, and I we've watched our our children go through the struggles of life, of owning their faith. You know, I wish you could say and again, so often it's easy to think, well, even even the Christian lifeis like, well, if we know the formulas, it'll always workout this way. And the reality is is the formulas or the the theplan is there, but they're still the...

...personal will. There's still the struggleof the flesh. There's still the person has to embrace Christ as their savioras well, just like we do as and as you raise your kids,but as you live it out and you teach them and try to teach youknow what it looks like to follow Christ. But you're always pointing them back tothe word. So we've got our children with the same desires to wantto minister to people, but in their own person. Just had a conversationwith my oldest even about, you know, what he does and what we do. It's the same, but it's different. You know, I neverwanted my kids to be exactly like me. You know, so often we wantour kids to be you do to some degree. You want to followyour beliefs and your principles, but they still their own person and they haveto come to the point where they trust God. And we're always talking toour children about you know, you're going to leave our house one day,but remember that what you're held to is not our word, it's the wordof God and we need to constantly be in trusting that to death. Andand we still are under the same guidelines as parents. It's not because nowwe're mom and dad. We kind of called the shots and we're UN control. No, we're direct by God to be good stewarts of all that wehave as we even as we grow older, you know, to give it backto him, to use it for his honor, for his glory,for the purpose of sharing the Gospel, the message of truth, with alife and with our words of who Jesus is, what he's done for usand what he can do for others, and he gives us a hope thatagain, the world doesn't have. So what kind of walking our children throughthat road at this time? Yeah, it's been, like I said,it's been cool to see like you have your son that lives and the CZech republic and others have, like you said, have their own kind ofunique way of living out this this faith and living up their relationship with God, and I think it provides some like tangible handles to say like hey,we can talk about sharing our faith, we can talk about what that meansfor us, and then it's like like our family is doing it, we'redoing our best to live out this way. And so as we shift here tokind of what that looks like or what that could look like like.Why? Why? Does your why do you do what you do? Whydoes your family do what they do? Why, you know, moved tothe Czech Republic. What's The the Asian like? You know what's the bigthe big purpose, and you've touched on a lot of it, but youknow why to do that? I think it comes back to the the missionor the I'd say what matters most is is living out the Gospel and thatthat might take us to another part of the world and might keep us herein America, but wherever we go, we're trying to even engage our childrenas young adults now, to to whatever they do. Their mission is tobe an ambassador for Jesus Christ, go into the workplace. So, whetherGod calls you to the mission field or into the whatever workplace it might be, you have a mission, you have a an obligation before God to tobe his ambassador, and that's to to bring the love of Christ to theworld that you live in. No matter how, whether it's the Christian communitywithin the church or whether it's in the workplace. We need to see itas one, not secular Christian. I mean it's all it's all there forGod's use and for his glory and we need to walk that way so aswe as we do live it out. Again, it's presenting a message withour lips and so often sometimes we're good at that. But again we forgetthat that is giving information, okay, and people will ascend to intellectual understanding, but when they watch you live, they can't wrap their mind around that. And I don't know about you, but there's times I read my Bibleand there's certain things that God says going to all the world and preach theGospel. If I stop and say, Oh, that's easy to do,but then I start trying to wrap my mind around that. That's tough teachingall men to and he gives us a directive of how to do that.But it, but, but we think it's okay. Well, we needto educate them. You, education will only take them so far if itdoesn't transfer into a lifestyle. There's got to be a heart change. Andtoday, if we're seeing anything in our world today, where everybody's crying forchange, but if it's not change that matters according to who God, whois the the author of creation, author...

...of life, author of of whowe are, and what matters, then how can we get any of itright if we don't submit to his authority. And when we put God in therightful place and we start submitting to his authority, then we know itmatters. And what matters to God is sometimes we think, well, wegot to reach the world, and yes, that's true, but before we canreach the world we have to allow the word of God to change mefrom the inside out. And so often we're trying to fix culture and issuesin our world and we're trying to do it from the outside in, bylegislating it or by laws and rules and regulations, instead of by personally,from the heart, reaching people. And that's where, you know, we'reseeing that. You know, and I would constantly say that I keep findingmyself where I fall should I have to ask the question, what can Inot what I can I do better? God, what needs to change inme to see things from your perspective, not my perspective or not the churchesperspective or or somebody's perspective, by God, from your perspective, because if wereally truly believe that's what matters, then to live out the Gospel isgoing to be again, it's not just going to be words, it's goingto be in our actions. But then want to do it in actions,but the Bible says, you know, how can they hear without a preacher? So the word of God has to be and their message. There's athere's a message that has to be presented. So the message has to be clearverbally, but the message also has to be has to be given inour life, and I think that's the wonderful thing, because you and Iknow that we can't live a perfect life. So I know for me the hardestthing to do sometimes is recognize when I'm wrong. It's not to sayI'm sorry, but to say will you forgive me? What better way forthe world to learn the truth for us not to be perfect, but torecognize where our flaws are, not to hide them, but to actually allowthem to be mean not that we we just go and do it, butwhen it happens, when our flesh fleshes out and we handle a situation wrong, we turn around and have the right response. You know, again thatI think will make a bigger impact on people then because most people are trying. How can you be perfect and we know we can't be. Well,we know Jesus is and he perfects us. Let you touch on a lot ofimportant things, just not less little thought. They're because there is thatdesire to do right, to make a change, that to do the rightthing in the world and be the right person and, you know, savethis and do that, and and and they they want to force all ofthat. But then people come to the realization that, like, like peoplearen't there and they not going to do it. You know, like likewe all want to do this, but then we realize, oh, like, we're not or we fall short of that standard or, you know,we try and figure it out all these different ways and I think the Gospel, the message that they're your relationship with God is is the dumb message thatallows change to happen. But it's not something that's forced upon somebody. It'sright. It's a result of God working in your life. Right, andthink about it that. I think about this way, and I'm learning asI get older, we with your own children as parents, those of youthat are parents that are here or watching her with us, you raise yourchildren and you can guide them and and to your children. You think aboutwhen you were a child, your parents were like a God. You know, there's these big people that tell you what to do and they can almostdo everything, and you believe that your parents could like do everything. Andthen you grow up and you realize they can't. They're not perfect. Andthen sometimes parents try to, you know, control everything. And when they're littleyou can control them right, you can put them in a playpain,you can control as they get older, you realize you can't control their will. And the Bible knows that. And What is God tells? He says, you know, tray up a child. He tells us how to train upa child. He tells us, you know, to to not tospare the Rod. But but he also says don't break the will. Youknow you you want to. You want to, you want to arch actuallyyou want to. You want to break in one sense, you want tobreak that will down of selfishness to to trusting and stuff. But ultimately therewill you can't control. And I guess, as you know, as we getolder we realize you can get only keeping them a box so long andthen they're going to run and they're going to do and they're going to goand and when they move out of your house. What can you do?I mean I know I, me and my wife, I spend more timepraying for my kids now more than ever, because I can talk to him.But but you know what, the greatest, the greatest aspect I haveto to to reach them is in prayer.

So now do I believe what Isay? I believe. I believe in prayer. How much do Ipray for my kids that God would change their hearts, that God would movetheir soul according to the word? Okay, and as we again, as weas we get older, we realize, but as parents we don't. Werealize that. Oh the I think the hardest part for parents is wesay that the hardest part is letting go. I think sometimes the reality of thatis not letting go, it's being in control, being in charge,realizing you don't have control anymore, you don't have the say, you don'thave well, but ultimately, isn't that what God teaches us through relationships?And I look at it from this capacity, because ultimately God, as we getolder, we pass away. What do we leave our kids? Ifthey don't know God, then what do they have? If they're just followingmy rules, my regulations, and who I am if they hold up tothe family standard, though it should be God's standard. Okay, because ourlives and it isn't. Isn't amazing how God allows us the relationships and thenthe relationships change and then we, as we get older, we pass onand they're left to stand on their own two feet. Who Do they have? And I am learning through the scripture that if you look at all thepeople in the Old Testament, they're all importing the next generation, not tothem but to the God we follow. And that's what we need to bedoing today as well. It's who do we follow? Follow me, becauseI'm following Christ, like ball said. So our children need to see thatand then we need to pray to that end, whether there are personal childrenor as we look to reach people that are lost, there are that don'tknow Christ, that are that are searching for answers, for that truth.What makes this family so dynamic? It's Jesus Christ. That's what matters.Yeah, and that does it makes a difference, an internal difference. Andyou just think about here we are starting a new church in Lancaster and you'rebeen in church world for a long time. Experience lots of different things and youknow have are aware of culture and the way that you know where peopleare and how the church is responding to different things. Can you just talkwith us a little bit of like where you see the church just on ageneral scale, like general how is it responding? How is it reaching culture, how you know what's effective what's not effective? And then, you know, as we think about our specific context, you know, how can we keepthe gospel the main thing and see lives really transformed? Well, Ithink again, the church we move into the the realm where where the churchesis directed to to come to unit, being unified, you know, toteach the word. But again, it's not if there's a fine line betweenan organization and organism, and the Bible pictures us as an organism, youknow, constantly growing and connecting. And yes, there's organizational structure, butwe got to be careful that we don't become like we operate like a business, even though there are some practices that we need to follow, because whenyou start following, and I hate to say this because but we're moving intothe realm where everything is policy and procedure and in this in that. Butagain, if that be like saying, well, all, if you useall these formulas, it works, if you use all the right sales pitches, it works. Well, we're not selling anything. We're proclaiming a messagethat changes lives and and even though we can use all the technology and allthe processes that we have today, which are good for us, we can'tfall into the trapping that that becomes what's going to give us the result.Just like saying if I can share the Gospel clearly with somebody, that everytime I do it they'll accept Christ. We know that's not true. We'releaving out the space of the holy spirits working and I really believe today we'vegone to manipulating God in ways within our church structures. And is it?You really have to begin asking us. Is it the Holy Spirit? Itthat's actually working in people's lives? Because my Bible says that when the HolySpirit changes a life, it's it's transformed. They have a new life, theywalk a different path. They are going in one direction knowing their headat the hell and all the things are doing is destructive, and now they'rewalking in another direction. They don't they don't accept Jesus and keep walking inthe same direction. And we're living in a world today that, if wesee the Church today, statistics are proving out that everything the world has doneis now in the church and it's all acceptable and it's all and we're saying, well, people are sinners, yes, but that doesn't mean you have tokeep that living that lifestyle. And...

...what I'm seeing today is is wethink we can educate people with the Holy Spirit, and that's supernatural and Ithink, you know, I think for me I'm seeing more and more ofthe importance of praying and asking God to move in hearts and lives to changethem. Our job is to proclaim a message, preach the truth of God'sWord and let the Holy Spirit to them and live it and love people andlet the Holy Spirit and, like I said, the greatest example was nineyears this guy did not let up on my dad. He loved us,but you know what? He told us we are sinners. He told uswe were going to hell, he told us we needed a savior. Hethought, you know I mean, but but you know what, he tookus, my dad on vacation. He loved my dad, he had usover his house. He never quit and he lived it. He modeled itwith his family. Okay, so for me growing up, that's what Isaw and I thought, you know what, the best thing I could do isnot just become a preacher or just go out and how do I raisemy family to believe that and live it? And I'm glad I had a dadthat that's wasn't perfect, but that's what he wanted us to grab ahold of and that's what I want my that's my desire. My kids wouldgrab ahold of not this is what dad does, this is who dad is, because this is who Jesus is, because Jesus really matters in his life. And that's what it should mean as a church grows. What matters isare we presenting and living out the Gospel in all the entities, not justwe've got the right building, we've got the right pieces, we got theright yeah, that's good. I think there's like two things as you weretalking, that stood out. Is just the like the strategy, the wekind of yeah, you put all the piece together, we do all thecommunication stuff, we want to do all that stuff right and stuff, butif you're trusting and relying in that alone, you know you're missing on the pointof it. All and secondly, just the idea of the perception ofpeople of your have our community, as we start to really reach out andconnect with people that we haven't met before, we're starting to build relationships, ormaybe there's friends in our life that are, you know, kind ofsee what we're doing, but you know we haven't and you know they haven'tcrossed that line of faith yet. A lot of times, I think thisweek I don't remember the specific example, but there's people that look at theChurch and say, you know, yeah, they're like, where's the difference inyour life? You know, like I could, I can live thesame way that you're living and do all the fun stuff that you say youdon't want to do. And so they look in and they see like thishypocritical kind of spirit. And yet I think that that shows one is theit's it's the lack of there's always a lack of sharing the gospel, becausea church will always not be perfect and and it will be hypocritical from theoutside. How do we respond our how clear is the message that we aren'tperfect, but we are loving and following one who is, and he isthe one that paid for my sins. You know, change my life andin God's view, because of Jesus, we are perfect and through his powernow we are doing our best and God is changing us to live a betterlife where hopefully we aren't stuck where we were years ago, but yet we'restill growing in our faith as well being transformed. Yeah, so that's whereI think the Gospel and talking about these things, these these kind of difficultthings, to deep things to wrap your brain around. Sometimes it's so powerfuland so true because it's not going to be, you know, as clearas well. Just live right and where the perfect you know, Churche,where the perfect family, where the perfect person? So like, come andfollow me, and it's also not. Well, we just do whatever wewant to do in Jesus is who he is, and and then it's allgood, so join us. You know, it's this beautiful combination of like bothof those things. Right, God is working through it all to reallychanges. So well, it comes back to, you know, again knowing, knowing the word of God. I think. You know, I'm findingthat there's there's three words that I think are tough words today. Okay,and from the human side for all of us, right, we don't likethe word surrender. Okay, we don't like we we don't like that wordbecause surrender means I'm defeated. But again, what matters is God's perspective. Iwas thirteen years old. I needed to surrender. I realized without surrenderingto him, I was headed on a path of destruction. So there isa Serb again, when we put it in what matters it's who we're goingto follow. We follow God's way or,...

I don't care, the world's way, man's way, Church's way, whatever it is over here they're goingto follow. But but ultimately I have to surrender to something. I'm surrenderingmy yielding, my right and again my rights and my will to come undersomebody. I prefer to have it come under the Lord Jesus Christ, andthat's tough at times because there's things I don't like that he says in hisword, that he says I have to do, like to share the Gospeland Love My enemies and to and the list goes on. I mean wetalked about, you know, the Ten Commandments. Well, the Bible holdsus to live more than just a ten commandments. You know, I've alwayssaid the teens when we work with them. You know, if I spend timenot talking about all the don'ts in the Bible, if I spend timedoing the dudes, I wouldn't have time to do the don'ts. Most peoplewant to harbor on the don'ts. You know, Christiania isn't fun because youcan't do, you can't do, you can't do. I don't have timefor some of that stuff anymore because, again, if your challenge to lookat what God calls us to be a part of is greater than anything hetakes away or that we think needs to be taken away, we allow Godto change that and you move forward. You look back and go I don'tmiss any of that. It wasn't a struggle to give it up, butwhen you're always focused on the don'ts, it becomes a struggle to give itup. It's like don't touch the wet paint. Right you see the sun, you know it's doing it over and check it out every now and then, but if I'm over here where there's no wet paint, I don't haveto worry about that, you know. And and so when we live outthat that aspect, I think it changes. It helps US keep the right mindframe that moves us in the right direction instead of, you know,the other way. And and even for the unsaved world, the people thatdon't know Christ, they just they have a hard time comprehending you're asking meto be perfect and you want me to give all this up. You can'thumanly give that all up on your own. But that's not the point. Areyou willing to trust that Christ has a better way to live? That'slike I said, you want to play on a winning team or losing team. You pick it. This team is going to lose half their games.This team going to win all their games. Now you choose. Why do youwant to play that team? You know I mean. And yet that'swhere we are today. You know, and most people say, well,I want to be on a winning team. Well then you got to come topractice. You gotta you know, even our everyday life situations teach us, you know, if you you got to go to work, if youwant to get paid, all these things are, you know, very practical. Well, God says here's the way to live and enjoy life. Icome to give you life and to give it more abundantly. Now, eitherbelieve that's what he means or you're going to believe or you're going to weedout certain things from the word and mix it with the world, and nowwe don't trust it. So we don't trust him, and it's just likethe coach. You don't want to trust, well then you're going to lose youryou're not going to have the victories. And that's why God gave us arule book. But it's not just a rule book, it's actually gameplan, the game plan to live life. So don't just look at the partof the book that's the rule book part. Look at the rest ofthe book that teaches how to do life and try doing it and try askingGod by his strength, because you and I could never measure up to it. We need to ask God, God, forgive me, God, give methe strength to live today the way you want me to live in theworld in which I live. We're so wanting to change the world, butthe only way the world's going to change is by US integrating our lives intotheirs and showing them something different, totally different. Yes, those talk aboutthat for a minute. Just drill down on like what the that? Whatdoes that look like? I know. How do we engage in that way. How do we, you know, show up in their world? Howdo we share, you know, this news, this good news? Whatare some ways that you've done that in the past, you know what differentyouth ministries and maybe ways that you're doing it now? Personally? Well,I guess one way that I thought and my wife was involved with some ofthat. She found ways to minister to women, again, outside the contextof the church. For me it was being in youth ministry. You know, it's so easy to get within and want everybody to come to the church, come into the church. That the God open the door. Through myexperience of Sports Growing UP ON COACHING, I've had the opportunity coach in publicschools. So you know, I have a youth group. Over the yearsI had a youth group with fifty sixty, fifty sixty young people, but Ihad a youth group outside that Youth Group there are ninety percent unsaved.I went to them every day, five days a week, and I beginengaging and I use sports, soccer specially for me, was my my vehicle. You know. Again, I'd see life as our jobs, sports theirvehicles to enter into people's world. They understand that world, but when youget into that world, how can you...

...relate the gospel to them, orhow can you relate moral truth to them or get them to think about lifematters that are bigger than that? And for me it's been a it's justbeen a blessing that God continues to open those door. So for me that'swhat I I see it as. That's my open door. I don't tryto miss opportunities. But again, you might not be able to get inthere and give somebody the Gospel right away, but you're going to live a lifethat's different. And I've had over the years out of a lot ofkids, even after, after they've been a high school, still deal withtoday, still not saved, but we'll get together for lunch. Kids thatwere high school that, you know, right at the end I school.I go out to lunch with them and share the message with them, becausenow I'm beyond that. They say, coach, let's get together. Okay, let's go out. I'll take you out to lunch and what are yougonna do with your life? What's life all about? And I begin walkingthem through and but they've watched my life, they've watched me, you know,again come to where they are and they've watched my hurts in life andmy struggles, my health issues and how I handle them, and you taughtyou begin dialoging that stuff with them. Actually, this past year is interesting. Share with my team that we've been going overseas and this past year thesoccer team I work with parents even I gotten great conversations with parents. Ihad my soccer team actually donate money for the kids so I could buy soccermaterial or I could buy stuff for them over there. So I'm using andI mean and parents are like, well, you do this, why do youdo this? Why are you going? Well, the reason why I gois because here's what I this one I'm all about. Why do yougive up time not working to coach soccer? Because this is really what I'm allabout. Them about life, I'm about and I have gotten great opportunitiesnow. It's taken a few years to get to that point, and sometimesthat's the hard part. We want to go in and share it, thewhole message all the way sometimes, and sometimes you have to. I thinksometimes we have to earn the right to speak into people's lives and not forceit. Okay, absolutely. What are some just look at our group andsay what are the practical ways that we could go out to today? That'snot the plan. But if we right right and go engage, you know, the people that we haven't met before, be at the park or at thetrail or you know, what do you do? To me some ofthe things that I would go back to and again. Some people are uncomfortablewith things and I'm glad they're US men. I tell people there's a method tothe madness. Working with teenagers, we did a lot of crazy things, but not out of bounds. Okay, because I know a lot of youthminishes. I go out of bounds with crazy, so please hear me. I'm not talking about doing things that that the unsafe world wouldn't like orare always goofy in that sense, but out of bounds. I'm saying is, you know, we would go, and I mean I still and Istruggle with it at times. I have tracks I like to go into,you know, restaurants and places that you go frequently. You'd say, well, what's it track going to do? Even if they don't read it,you know what they go? This person keeps coming back. You know,I watch their life. I mean you use. You're building relationships, whetheryou realize in your community there are people, are places I go to eat allthe time. People. Why do you go there? It's not alwaysthe greatest food. Sometimes it is, but but you know, what youbuild? You build relationships with the waitresses and the waiters and the people ourown and in the different people and you can start speaking into their life.Okay, so you leave a track and you you leave a few and sothey get ripped up, thrown out there. That's God's that's God's business. Oursis to be faithful. So I've tried to do like and that's whyI say where. You know, sometimes even today, that that's a rarityyou see from people today. You know, we've become so technological that you know, the paper track is like, what's that? You know, butthe reality is is, you know, leave tracks, say a word ofkindness, ask the waitress or waiter to you know, hate. Do yougot something? We're going to pray a can. Can I pray with youor I can pray for something, you know, just something simple. Youknow those things, but but we have to think about those things and sometimesbefore Hon us, we don't you know, I don't know that walk feeing thatI'm and I go got I missed an opportunity. I mean are wewilling to note? That's what I'm saying. Sometimes we have to be willing ourselvesto realize that, even in ministry is a pastor I know over theyears it's easy to stay within the confines of the Church people and there's alot of work to do there too. So I'm not saying you have tominis. We have to minister to each other, but in order to reachthe unsaved we have to make a concerted effort. But sometimes we have torecognize I missed an opportunity. I mean even with serving each other. Imean there are people that I know that we've talked about, me and mywife, and we said, you know, that person needs help. Well,you pray for me and you know what, missed an opportunity. Ishould have took that meal. I should have sent them a card. Thelittle things you know and then you just...

...that you grow them. You know, based on who you are, what type of person you are. NotEverybody's like me, not everybody's like you. My wife would say, thank Godnobody's like me. I Guy. She has a hard time dealing withme all the time. She liked to put me in a box. Okay, but you know, whatever vehicle you can find, whether it's a sportinga sport a ball, you know you can. You can go into apark and we've done that with teens. We'd go play basketball and and,you know, pick getting pickup games and before you know you start mixing withthe kids that are there and you start talking about Church and youth group andbefore you know what, you're saying, Hey, got to come to ouryouth group. There's ways to engage. It's just we have to we haveto do things sometimes a little differently if we're waiting them to always come tous. And again, I would say even the Church today, the mentalityhas been we want to sell the church so much, and I don't meanthat in a bad sense. Sometimes, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't, but we want the world to come to us and like us on theinside, and I don't find that in my Bible. I find that thechurch is yes, it's a place where they should be comfortable to come inbecause they know we love them. But, but, but we need to begoing out there and reaching them there and showing them that it's not.We'll love you as long as you're coming here, because I think sometimes withdone save world things, as long as you get me in your building you'lllove me, but if I'm out there you really don't love me, youdon't really care, you don't. So I want to be careful because Ithink we need to make it sensitive that people come in they don't feel likeyou're looking down at them when they come into our church. We have tobe warm and welcoming, but at the same time we can't be so warmand welcome that the unsaved world can actually sit in the church and go.Now I like this. I can come every week. Then you have toask what are you preaching? What are you really living you know, Iknow that rubs shoulders with a lot of people wrong, even in today's church, but there's a delicate line there and we need to be careful how webalance that. So again I think that's what come back to prayer and howwe as a body and you as a body want to want to flesh thatout, and that's a dialog that you as a Church family as we developedthis church. I'm excited to watch what God's going to do how God's goingto bring people together. But again, the mission is to bring a bodytogether that's going to be so unified, that's going to be a bright light, but not so just shines bright, but it also goes out in eachone of you, our lights going out into the workplace, touching lives ofother people. And they're saying, now, what makes you different? Well,come on, this is where we get our fire, this is wherewe get pumped up in the sense because this is where Jesus, this iswhere we meet with Jesus. You know, and and you got that catamist goingright. And so you found you had, as a kind of awrap it up, your official questions. But you've been a hazard. You'vebeen in the church. Sais right. You talked about how you you knowthere's a lot of work. You know, you get ten people in a room, you can spend the rest of your life, you know, counselingand praying for them and caring for them, and you know share Jesus and teaching. But yet you know you add more and more people into that andthen you realize the mission is to go beyond the walls of the room ofwherever you are. So you have that as a passtor, you've seen that. And then for not being it working at a church for so long,now you've seen the other side of it too. It's like maybe I haven'tbeen to church in a while, or or maybe I have, but likewhat does that mean? And you know how I talk with people about thisand you know, maybe I have a place one btem do maybe I know, maybe it's my house. Maybe you know, you're right, those relationshipsin the in the restaurant, all that stuff. So just as a finalquestion, official question this morning, is just, you know, not havingthat official pastor roll. Like you know, we all don't write. How doyou how do you still follow Jesus and feel like you're doing what he'scalling you to do? I think to some regard it's been interesting because nowthat for the last seven years that we haven't been within a church structure asfar as a paid staff, we've found that God has for me. Theburden inside hasn't gone away. So and I've learned that it's not about andI think we all need to come to you as a church member, asa pastor. It's not it's not a position, it's what's God called meto and that's where, again, we understand the gifts of the church too. I think that's where things kind of get sometimes skewed. You know,the job of the pastor we call it that, but again, scripture saysthat, you know, his role is...

...to train the saints to do thework of the ministry. But but again we can lose sight of that andsay, well, it's my job to educate you on how to go doit. No, no, Paul never did that. Paul took Timothy andhe educated him right, but he did it with lifestyle. He took himwhere he went. We seen the struggle that Paul had with Barnabass and andJohn Mark, because they went on missionary journeys. And you know, Paul, though, this one's not ready to go, and you know so wesaw even divide even within that. But the reality is is is it's takingit, appropriating it and then and then flushing it out. And as weflesh it out, you know, I'd still come back to you know,the goal is is, yes, to to plant a church, because that'ssaying God is doing something right here, right now. But it's not enoughto say it's here right now and look at the building we have. It'sthe building is this is where we meet. The building is the bodies in theroom. And now how do we send them out to make impact ona world that's that's lost, and sometimes we lose fact that we lose sightof the fact that we're living amongst the dying and we don't see it.Okay, I mean we walk by people every day that we walk by,we talked to, we get our coffee from, but do we see thatthere's a soul that they don't know Christ? And I think sometimes we lose thatin our inner actions. We we want to be careful that that wedon't become so evangelistic heavy. Okay, that's when we comes so heavy,that we you don't have the standard. But but when we reach them,what do we do with them? We got to teach them God's word,okay, and that's where you know again, discipleship, the church's role is todisciple. It's a it's a cycle. Right, you go out and youreach them, you bring them in, you'll love them, you nurture andyou grow them to teach them God's word. You worship, you praise, they develop, they find their gifts and that's what you've been talking aboutto do what to stay within the building, not to go outside and touch anybodyelse, to go back out and to do the same all over again. And you just keep and it keeps in the church. You just begrowing, not because we're looking to bring everybody into the building. We're growingbecause we're bringing in, we're sending out, and if they don't come back,as long as we're sending them out, okay, and they're doing the mission, the job, what matters? They could be going to the endsof the world. We just keep sending them out, but when, asGod brings them back, we we keep we keep encouraging, we keep nurturingand keep worshiping, we keep moving. You know, for all of thatgood stuff, there's so much in there. Is there anything else that maybe youdidn't get a chance to say, or something that was on your mindand were you wanted to clarify or clear up before we say you eyes thismorning? No, I just I would just say in close in closing thatthat that it's important that each one of us continually never stops looking within andasking asking the question. I know for me I'm at my age as Imove on in life the greatest challenge for me is God. I don't wantto lose the passion I had when I was eighteen. So whatever it takes. That's a that's a tough one. I mean the last seven years forme, whatever it takes so I don't lose that. Sometimes it shakes yourcomfort, it shakes your your identity, it shakes but again, if youridentity secure in Christ, then what matters? That his word goes forth and we'rehere again. We're here not to praise ourselves or, you know,build esteem like the world says. We're here to praise Christ. John,John, John The baptisaid best right. He must increase and I must decrease. We don't live in a world like that today, even in Christianity.Everybody wants to be on a platform, everybody wants to be known, everybodywants to be the and know I need to decrease, that his name beincreased as I move out in life and that that's my desire and I praythat you would even pray for me that way. We should be praying foreach other that way, because that's hard. If we're honest, that is hard. I got my right. I want this. I we all havethat in us, but God said we got to let that go. Jesushad it in it, but Jesus went to the cross. Never forget that. Not your will, father, but not mine, but yours be done. Should we have the same mentality? If that be the case, Idon't think we'd have all the issues we have today in our world, inthe church and outside of the church. So That's all, r well,wrap it up. Well, Hey,...

...thanks so much for engaging with ustoday in our connection conversation. I'm incredibly thankful for Tony and his family andwell, God has taken us on a slightly different paths over the years.We've been able to keep in touch and plan and connect us. Church nowprovides a great opportunity for ministry that I'm excited Tony and his family are excitedabout. Their prayers and support are super encouraging for me and I'm excited tohave them around. There's just something about Tony that infects you with joy andan understanding that there's just something different about this guy. His faith seems realand it has changed his life and I just need to learn more about that. We can all learn something from that, so let's continue to deeply care aboutone another and see how God uses others to connect us to God's nextstep for our life.

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