Bob: To what extent is your past influencing your present? Or sabotaging your future? Tim Lundy says there is good news about your past.
Tim: Because of Christ, we’re not stuck in our old way of life. I don’t care what brokenness you’re in, I don’t care what you’ve come out of, I don’t care what habits you’ve gotten entrenched in, I don’t care what you brought to the table. Look at me, listen to me, you’re not stuck.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, August 21st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine.
The Bible tells us to forget about what lies behind. That is sometimes easier said than done, but as Tim Lundy explains today, it’s not only possible, it’s essential. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition.
Dennis: Have I ever told you about Bear Creek.
Bob: Bear Creek?
Dennis: I’d be interested to know how many Bear Creeks there are in Missouri.
Dennis: Every time we go down Highway 65, when I used to go to visit my mom—we’d take our kids—I’d say, “Have I ever told you kids about that time I was a teenager and I went to Bear Creek?” And they’d go, “Oh Dad! You’ve told us forever. Don’t,” “Oh!, I’ve never told you!”
Bob: And you’d repeat it over and over again.
Dennis: I’d tell the story of me heading off in our 1956 Chrysler, four-door tank, that my dad trusted me with when I was 18 or 19 years old. I started heading south on highway 65 out of Ozark, Missouri toward Branson. There was no four-lane highway to Branson.
Bob: Not much of a Branson.
Dennis: You couldn’t get there from here, okay?
Dennis: I decided that day to be a little adventurous, and I decided to head down what was then not a gravel road, but it was being carved out of the side of these mountains with these giant caterpillars and moving equipment.
Bob: Just a dirt road.
Dennis: It wasn’t even a dirt road. But I decided to weave my way through. I came to this creek and I thought, I can make it across.
Bob: Uh Oh!
Dennis: Bear Creek!
Bob: Uh Oh!
Dennis: It was at the bottom of a long hill. I got up steam, splashed my way into the creek and that Chrysler sunk right down to the bottom of the gravel. It wasn’t in deep, it wasn’t like it was, it’s just up to the hubcaps of the car. I was stuck.
Dennis: The guy that was with me and I, we crawled out of the car and meandered our way up a road that we had found to a farmer, who just happened to have a tractor!
Bob: Oh, there we go!
Dennis: I had been really stuck in Bear Creek, but I got out and we took that gravel road that was there. I have no idea how we got to Branson, or got home, but it made for a good story.
I know a lot of our listeners right now made some decisions maybe as a teenager, maybe as a young person, maybe as an older person and you feel stuck. You feel like you’re in up to your hubcaps and you’re not getting out. You’re wondering how in the world do I do life in the middle of the stream, getting stuck?
Bob: Life has moved on but you still are stuck back in the past with issues that have burdened you or that continue to haunt you. That’s really at the heart of a message we are going to hear today. This was actually a message that was shared a few months ago at the Blended & Blessed® Livestream Event that our friend Ron Deal hosted for blended families.
There were thousands of couples who took part in that event who wrote to us to say thank you for taking a day to help us to have a marriage that will honor God in the midst of our brokenness and some of our “stuckness,” you’re helping us navigate this.
Dennis: We hear from them all the time. They are grateful that FamilyLife and FamilyLifeToday have decided to go after this subject of blended families and not be afraid of it. But help people who find themselves in circumstances where some of them right now, well, it just may be less than ideal and they may feel stuck.
Bob: Grateful for our colleague Ron Deal, too, who gives leadership to that area and does a great job.
Dennis: I agree!
Bob: One of the speakers who spoke at the Blended & Blessed Livestream Event was a pastor named Tim Lundy who as he shared with the audience that day understands a little bit of what it is to have events from your past that keep you stuck in your old way of life.
Let’s listen to Part One of this message from Pastor Tim Lundy.
I’ve had the privilege over the last about 25 years to be in ministry—in different capacities, in serving. When you’re a pastor, a lot of times people think that you both live and grew up in a monastery—kind of this serene clean bubble, instead of real life. I grew up in a blended—and I would say—broken family. I now have the opportunity to lead a blended family of its own sort. I’ve seen both the good and the bad out of it.
My own family I was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. One of the last memories I have with my biological father was praying to receive Christ; I was six years old praying between my parents.
They struggled in their marriage, he struggled in his sexual identity, there was a lot of struggle there but they introduced me to Jesus. My father went and got in a truck—he was going to move us to California—was killed in a single car accident on the way out. I never saw him again. I remember him driving away.
The years of growing up without a dad, the next four years, I had two older brothers, and a younger sister. We didn’t have much. My mom remarried more out of necessity; he was a good Christian man, she was a good Christian woman. He had a daughter. We suddenly jumped into it together.
I tell you as far as godly people, my mom and my stepfather, they would get up every morning and pray about two hours every day. They took us to church, not just Sunday morning, Sunday night, as well. I went to a Christian school and I look at all that I’m thankful for that legacy.
But in the middle of all that, there’s a lot of brokenness as we struggled trying to figure out life, as they struggled trying to figure out a marriage where they really didn’t love each other. Where a commitment to Christ really was all that kept them together. As I watched them each struggle with depression and some bi-polar behavior. Until finally, I remember as a young man, who was newly married, sitting down with both of them and working with the lawyers as they walked through their divorce and the impact of that.
I’ve watched a legacy on my brothers and sisters. My oldest brother, Troy, I love to see how God has blessed his life. He’s raised two godly kids. But I’ve watched both my sisters go through several marriages and a lot of pain. Probably the person that it impacted the most as far as close to me was my brother, Todd. We were closest in age, he’s right above me. I would’ve said for years, “Oh, it didn’t impact Todd, Todd’s the most successful of all of us.”
Todd immediately went out, he got married, he had two girls, and ended in divorce but he had custody of the girls. And Todd was so successful, I mean everywhere he went, everything he touched in technology, in business, he made tons of money. Todd was so successful until suddenly we looked up and Todd had lost his job. We started talking to Todd and something wasn’t right. What had happened is alcoholism had started consuming him.
Then we had to intervene as a family because he couldn’t take care of his girls anymore. So, Lea and I looked up and we had four kids and she had a baby, there was one on the way, and we took in two teenage girls. Then it went from just temporary care to long-term care, as ultimately Todd drank himself to death at the age of 42. As I looked at it, I looked at the brokenness that we grew up in and then I looked at the brokenness of the next generation.
I want to tell you, you’ve been hearing messages of redemption this morning and ours is a family of redemption because those two teenage girls became daughters. I got to tell you today we couldn’t fathom life without them. Over a decade later, my kids love their sisters. Both girls were married off this last fall. We had two weddings in six weeks. One works in a discipleship ministry, one is a nurse. We love the joy and the redemption of that.
But there’s a part as I look at it, God, we grew up in a Christian home, I had parents praying every day, and I went to Christian church, we did all this. There’s almost
this disconnect, you almost get jaded. Does it really change anything? Maybe the greater question is; can I really change?
Can we experience in this new home something different than the last marriage, and the last home? The enemy wants you to believe a lie, that you’re stuck. You’re stuck where you are. You’re stuck with the cards you’ve dealt with. You’re stuck with the problems. You’re stuck with the dysfunction.
I want us to look at a passage today that I think is one of the most revolutionary passages in the New Testament. It really annunciates a principle that Paul teaches over and over again in every one of his books.
Here’s the principle first of all: Because of Christ, we’re not stuck in our old way of life. I don’t care what brokenness you’re in, I don’t care what you’ve come out of, I don’t care what habits you’ve gotten entrenched in, I don’t care what you brought to the table. Look at me and listen to me, you’re not stuck.
That is a lie of the enemy. Because of Christ. Look how he puts it in Ephesians 4. You can just follow along on the screen. Paul’s talking about this principle in Ephesians 4.
He says, “You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds.” He goes on in that passage, talking about they are darkened, they don’t understand. What he is describing is people that are stuck. He says they are stuck. What they do is futile. They can’t change the way they are. But then look at how he addresses us. Look at this principle, “But that’s not the way you learned Christ—assuming that you’ve heard about Him, and were taught in Him as the truth is in Jesus.”
You’ll see this over and over in Paul’s books where he’ll describe this doctrine and then when he comes into the practical part of it, he comes to this principle. Then he says because of what God has done, you’re not stuck! Because we have Christ, you’re not stuck.
I want to tell you, you’re here today, I’m preaching at the choir on this one, because you believe that investing in what God teaches actually makes a difference in a marriage and in a blended family. Let me tell you, there’s another part of this principle, though. Paul says that those who don’t have Christ are stuck. We got to be honest about that.
Some of you that are here in this room, and especially maybe some that are watching this, you do feel like it’s futile, you do feel like you keep trying to take steps forward, but you’ve never come to Christ in the way that Paul’s described.
In fact, some of you, you’re sitting right now next to a spouse and you’re trying to blend the marriage but you don’t have a blended belief system. You don’t both believe in Christ. I want to tell you, you’ll never experience what God designed without Christ. You’re stuck in the futility of the way you have been doing it and the way you continue to do it.
The good news of Christ is that Paul says it’s so simple, “Those who confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, shall be saved.”
I’ve got to believe around this planet, some of you that are watching right now, the reason that God brought you to this place today is to get you unstuck. That today would be the step, instead of just your spouse believing, or maybe the two of you together coming and believing that Jesus Christ is Lord. He wants to change your marriage and change your home.
Now some of you hear that and go, okay Tim, we believe that, we are Christians. We are like your parents were, but we still feel stuck. That’s where you have to continue on the passage because it’s not just the principle. Here’s what I love and I think there’s a hidden part in it. There’s a process that goes with it. Paul doesn’t stop there.
It says the principle is, you’re not stuck. Now, look at the process for getting unstuck. Read with me the rest of that passage. Here’s how you get unstuck.
“You put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt, through deceitful desires. Be renewed in the spirit of your minds and put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
So the principle is you’re not stuck and then he says there is a process that you are going to live out based on that based on that principle. Walk with me through the process. It’s real simple.
The first part of the process there’s a part of it you’ve got to put off. You’ve got to put off! Do you know what that means? You’ve got to stop doing. Stop doing this old way of life. Things you’re going to have to stop you’ve got to put off.
Second step of that, you’ve got to put on. Start living like who you are in Christ. You’ll see this over and over again in the New Testament. Put off, put on. Put to death, Live.
Puritans used to call it: the mortification, vivification. It’s a principle again and again and again. Let me give you just a few things about the process itself and then we’re going to put it into practice especially into homes and blended family and in your life.
The process. We’re not talking about a process to get saved. There’s nothing you have to put off or put on in order to come to Christ. This is because you know Jesus. He’s talking to people that have come to Christ in that.
The second thing about it is you need both parts. I find that churches and individuals, we have a propensity to lean one way or another. Have you ever experienced this where you get new information? It’s probably happening today.
You’re here today and you are taking notes and you’re going, ‘Oh! That’s so good’. Yes, we’re going to do that, we’re going to do that, we’re going to do that. And you go home with the notebook full of notes and you never put off the way you were doing it. You don’t stop the old, adding the new. It just creates more confusion with it.
It’s interesting to me. Ephesians 5 is the very next chapter and it’s the “Love” chapter of how husbands love their wives, how wives need to respect their husbands. We studied that passage but so many people jump into Ephesians 5 and try to apply it without Ephesians 4. Of what are you putting off and putting on that you do that? You can’t just keep adding to it.
Flip side of it, you can’t just make it a passage about ‘don’t do this’. I see churches, I see parenting,—I found myself falling in this—where it’s just put-off parenting. Here’s what it looks like. Don’t do this. You don’t do that. We don’t do this, and we don’t do that. You go to some churches, churches are experts at it. They’ll tell you, you don’t, you don’t, you don’t, you don’t. You’re getting everybody in the world to think about the things they’re not supposed to do.
Have you ever thought about that as you’re sending your kids out of the house? The things you tell them not to do? The things we emphasize at them.
It was interesting, I was convicted. One time I was—one of my kids, I was looking at him, and I was trying to correct them. I said, “Show me your face. Look at me! Look at me! Look me in the eye”. Have you ever said that when you really want to correct them?
Here’s what dawned on me, the only time I say that to them is when I’m correcting them. I’m just emphasizing what’s wrong.
But I made it a point from that day forward. From time to time, just going, “Hey, look me in the face, look me in the eyes. I love you. We need to see this, you need to know this.” The problem is if all of life is just what you don’t do. That’s all you’re thinking about.
I’ll give you a principle about it right now. I want everyone in the room; don’t think about pink elephants, all right? Just for the next, just for about 20 seconds, don’t think about pink elephants. Don’t, don’t think about pink elephants! Let me say it harder. Don’t think about pink elephants!!
Now, what did we just do? All around the world, we had people thinking about pink elephants! That’s all we succeeded in.
Sometimes it’s churches, sometimes it’s parents, sometimes even in our own walk when all we do is focus on the stuff I don’t want to do, the things I shouldn’t do. We get stuck, fixated on those very things.
Scripture doesn’t do that. Scripture says you don’t but where do you turn your attention to what you’re going to put on? Yes, there’s stuff you’ve got to stop. But what are you starting to replace it? This is real practical as it works out in a home. A lot of time, we talk about this in spiritual language. What does this look like?
I’ve got some friends that struggle with alcoholism. You know what putting off/putting on looks like for them? It looks like going to a recovery meeting. Some of them will go for the rest of their lives. Do you know why? Because that is their way of putting off the old life and putting it on.
I know couples that are struggling in their marriage. Do you know what putting off and putting on looks like? They go to a counselor. They go get help. They stop trying to grit it out and do it their way. They put on counsel, and help and wisdom. It’s putting off the pride that says I can do it on my own. It’s putting off the shame that says I’m damaged and I’ll never change. It’s putting off the legalism that says if you loved Jesus enough, you wouldn’t have these problems in your marriage, you wouldn’t have these problems in your life. See, you’ve got to put off all that. Then you put on what Christ is calling you to.
Last principle. I’d say about this whole process itself, is you can only do it for you. Here’s what’s so hard, the whole putting off/putting on. It becomes so crystal clear when I look at other people. I see immediately they need to stop and they need to start. And as soon as they would, it would fix everything in our household! It’s so easy with the other person. You’ll never be able to do this process for them. You can only do it for you. You’ll never be able to do this process for your kids. They have to choose to do that. Oh, that’s so hard, because I want to do it. If I could just get them to just stop that and start this, I’ll have them set.
Here’s the only person I can do this process with, me. And the sooner I embrace that, see I’m becoming more like the person Jesus has called me to be. Hopefully that calls them to that, hopefully as a couple you’re making a commitment to that. The quicker you embrace that the quicker you’ll actual start experiencing it.
Bob: We’ve been listening to Part One of a message from Pastor Tim Lundy about getting unstuck. Everybody can benefit from that message but it was particularly helpful for those who were a part of the Blended & Blessed Livestream Event that we hosted back in April. Couples who are in blended marriages and blended families, you’ve got to put off the past and you’ve got to put on Christ.
Dennis: You do. If you are looking for more training and a biblical perspective of circumstances, come back and join us at the live summit. It’s going to be in Nashville.
Bob: The Summit on Stepfamily Ministry, Oct. 26th and 27th. It’s at Fellowship Bible Church in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. The focus of the summit, this is for folks who want to help blended families, blended couples in your church or in your community. In fact, this year, the focus is on how to enrich stepfamily marriages in a local church.
Ron Deal will be speaking along with a great line-up of other speakers, workshops going on. I’m planning to be there. I hope you will plan to join us. Again, October 26th and 27th, the 2017 Summit on Stepfamily Ministry. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about the Summit. Or if you’d like to hear all of Tim Lundy’s message that we’ve heard just a portion today, that’s available on our website as well. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com.
We are committed here at FamilyLife to providing as many people as possible with practical, biblical help and hope for marriage, and family relationships. We want to take principles from the Bible and present them to as many folks as possible so that those couples and those families can thrive.
Our team was recently crunching some numbers and they said for us to reach a 1,000 people with this daily broadcast it cost us about eight and a quarter, which is a pretty good deal. But here during the month of August, we’ve got friend of the ministry come along and say I’ll be willing to make that an even better deal. If your listeners will help donate to support the ministry of FamilyLife, I will match those donations dollar for dollar up to a total of $800,000.
So now, all of a sudden when you make a donation of $8.25, you don’t just reach 1,000 people because of the matching gift it reaches 2,000 people. So we’re asking our listeners this month, if you’ve never given to FamilyLife, or maybe it’s been awhile, why don’t you be a part of this ministry, helping reach more people with God’s design for marriage and family?
You can do that easily when you make a donation online today at FamilyLifeToday.com or when you call, 1-800-FLTODAY to donate.
Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com. The toll-free number is 1-800-358-6329, that’s 1-800-“F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word TODAY. Or you can mail your donation to us. Our mailing address is FamilyLife Today, Box 7111 Little Rock, Arkansas. Our zip code is 72223.
Tomorrow we ‘re going to hear more from Tim Lundy about how we can break free from the past and how we can put on Christ in our in our marriages and in our families. Hope you can tune in to that.
Bob: I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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