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Is it Time for a Mentor? Rechab Gray & Demetrius Hicks

with Demetrius Hicks, Rechab Gray | April 26, 2024
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If you could talk to your older self, what would you ask? Well, what if you could...kinda? Do you really need a mentor or does googling advice do the trick? Rechab Gray & Demetrius Hicks discuss how having a mentor can be super impactful in your faith journey. Plus, they talk about NFL teams, players, and why Black History Month matters.

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  • About the Guest

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  • Shelby Abbott

    Shelby Abbott is an author, campus minister, and conference speaker on staff with the ministry of Cru. His passion for university students has led him to speak at college campuses all over the United States. Abbott is the author of Jacked and I Am a Tool (To Help with Your Dating Life), Pressure Points: A Guide to Navigating Student Stress and DoubtLess: Because Faith is Hard. He and his wife, Rachael, have two daughters and live in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

Do you really need a mentor? Rechab Gray & Demetrius Hicks talk about mentors, NFL, players, and Black History Month.

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Is it Time for a Mentor? Rechab Gray & Demetrius Hicks

With Demetrius Hicks, Rechab Gray
April 26, 2024
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Season 2, Episode 86: Is it Time for a Mentor?

Guests: Rechab Gray and Demetrius Hicks
Air Date: April 26, 2024

Rechab: There is an evil one who wants to set us up to do the exact opposite of what Jesus calls us to. And so that's not to say all of social media is evil. It is to say, don't just assume it's good, run through the nooks and crannies of your heart, ask the Spirit of God, show me why am I posting? What am I seeking in this moment? And God is so about that life of like making sure that our motivations, not just our actions, but our motivations before Him are pure. And if we desire that, He actually will give us that.

Shelby: Somewhat anxious, always authentic. This is Real Life Loading...

Well, I'm Shelby Abbott and I'm here with Rechab Gray and Demetrius Hicks, pastors at New Creation Fellowship Church in Orlando, Florida, which is where we're at right now. Rechab and I have been friends for a few years now, and we met through our mutual friend, Paul David Tripp. Meech [Spelling?] and I met about a year ago? Was that somewhere around there?

Demetrius: Yes.

Shelby: I just appreciate that both of these men as men of God, ministers of the gospel, their important perspective on Scripture, and being focused in a complicated world right now, because we do live in a complicated world. I want to start with Rechab, we've talked about basketball already on Real Life Loading. We've kind of explored not the depths of it, but we've gotten into it quite a bit. I want to know your NFL opinions now. Do you have a team you consistently back? Okay, what team is that?

Rechab: So, it's two teams. I know that sounds bad.

Shelby: Two? Alright, yes, it does sound bad.

Rechab: I know, I know, but it's the Saints and the Eagles. Saints, because my family was always known as Saints fans. They're all from Louisiana. Then the Eagles, because that's pretty much home for me.

Shelby: Yes, yes, yes. Yes, I get that. My dad's a Saints fan. He was born in Louisiana.
He grew up there, too.
Rechab: What part?

Shelby: Natchitoches? Okay, yes, no. Yes, like, I think that's, that's, yes.

Rechab: I think you just made up a city. It's cool. [Laughter]

Shelby: Well, I remember I said it one time, and my dad was like, that's not where I was born. And I was like, really? I thought it was there. But it was close to Mississippi.
Like, his parents lived right on the line. They would go over to Mississippi, across the bridge all the time. But he always rooted for the Saints even when Hurricane Katrina happened and all that kind of stuff. I had this huge heart for the Saints at that time. And I understand the Eagles, Meech [Spelling?] . Do you, do you follow someone too?

Demetrius: I do. I have the Baltimore Ravens, because I lived in Baltimore for a couple of years. Okay. But I also love all the Florida teams, because I live in Florida. You'll notice a thing because I live in.

Shelby: Miami or Jacksonville?

Demetrius: I'll say Miami.

Shelby: Miami?

Demetrius: Yes.

Shelby: They had a better season this year than, than average.

All right. When it comes to quarterbacks, we talked about the GOAT in basketball before, who do you think is, who did you say was the GOAT basketball?

Demetrius: Okay. Just wanted to make sure I'm on the right podcast. All right, there we go. We're good now. [Laughter]

Shelby: You remember? You're like, I'm just going to have to get up and leave.

Demetrius: I was a little bit like, all right, guys.

Shelby: So, who's the GOAT for you quarterback wise?

Rechab: Yes, this is going to sound horrible, so first off, I do think it's not Tom Brady.

Shelby: You don't think it's Tom Brady?

Rechab: I don't think it's Tom Brady even though objectively it probably is. But my favorite quarterback of all time is actually Dan Marino. A lot of people don't know Dan Marino.

Demetirus: That is OG, yes, yes.

Rechab: I know, I know a lot of people don't know Dan Marino. But I'm like, he never played with anybody. No disrespect, but that's where he’s at. Had he had one receiver, I think he would have killed everything, like every record ever.

Demetrius: See, I'm more sentimental with quarterbacks. For me, it's John Elway. I love the Broncos.

Rechab: Yes, yes, yes.

Demetrius: And they had a couple of really good years. They did.

Rechab: That's a good one. That's a good one.

Demetrius: Because even in basketball, I'll name people that aren't the most out there. Like, I love Duncan. To me, the Spurs are probably one of the best basketball teams ever. Literally because they moved as a unit. It wasn't just one flashy player. And I'm always like--

Rechab: --Preached up.

Demetrius: --I already know that. I was trying to calm myself down. But like they were known more as a unit than like the individual stars and I liked that always.

Shelby: For me, I always thought that Joe Montana was the best quarterback until Tom Brady just kept doing what he was doing over and over again. It kind of made me mad. I was like, can you please stop, please.

Demetrius: Why do we get mad at greatness like that?

Shelby: I don't know. I think—

Demetrius: --Because I actually don't want to root for him and I think that's a problem.

Shelby: I think it has something to do with me and my sin.

Demetrius: It's me. It's me

Shelby: I probably. It's not anything more than that. I need to deal with that. We should celebrate that.
Rechab: For sure, for sure.

Shelby: And I don't - Tom Brady's made a lot of bad choices in his life, but that has nothing to do with football.

Demetrius: So has Michael Jordan.

Shelby: Exactly. Yes, yes, yes. [Laughter]

Rechab: I just used a crazy illustration on a Tom Brady event I spoke at. If you're using illustrations for the dude, you have to give him his kudos, man. Yes, we give him his kudos. He's that dude.

Shelby: I've talked about him too. After he won the third Super Bowl with the Patriots, he did that interview where he was like, “Is this it? Is this all there is? There has to be something more than this.” And every pastor out there was like, “Ooh, definitely going to utilize this.” [Laughter]

Rechab, one of our first conversations, you and I were in a hotel elevator lobby. Do you remember that?

Rechab: Yes, absolutely.

Shelby: [We were] on the eighth floor or something like that in Center City, Philadelphia. One of the things I remember talking about with you as we hung out there and talked for, gosh it was over an hour, was our mutual friendship with Paul Tripp, and how we both talked about Proverbs 13:20, which is “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise … but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Why do you think it's so important for people to be around older and wiser people than they are? Why is that important for you specifically?

Rechab: Yes. I'd say a few things. Number one, there is a tendency towards what C.S. Lewis would call chronological snobbery. Because something's new, we think it's automatically better. We think we're the smartest generation; we're the most advanced generation. When we look at the past, we often look at the past with this sort of arrogance. That they just didn't know what they were talking about. They didn't understand what they were thinking, and usually that's out of ignorance, though.

That arrogance is an arrogance birthed out of ignorance. That you actually haven't sat down with someone of the older generation to be able to ask the question of why do you think this way, to be proven otherwise that now, actually they knew exactly what they were talking about, and they have a lot to give.

I think one is because of the arrogance of our generation. We just need to kill that as a believer. Obviously, the goal is humility. Just sitting with the older seasoned saint like that, it just helps you with your pride. But I would also say very clearly that their experience, if it is redeemed experience and I put that conditional very, very strongly.

Shelby: Yes, important.

Rechab: If it is a redeemed experience that they've walked through this life with Jesus, or they've been redeemed out of a life that wasn't with Jesus. If it is a redeemed experience, there is so much to gain from both their wins and their losses in life. And I really have experienced that in profound ways with brothers like Paul and others around the nation.

Shelby: Yes, that's a really good word.

I think the reason I asked it because it's so many young people don't have the opportunity to get together with someone who's older, who's walked the path ahead of them, and they've done it well, it's redeemed, like you said. Or, they're not taking the time to intentionally seek that out. Or, I have found there are a lot of young people who want to seek that out and they don't find it in anyone. They're waiting for maybe an older person to ask them, “Hey, can I meet with you?” It's usually never going to work like that. You have to be intentional like the young person to ask someone else.

Has there been someone in your life Meech, that you've been, “Wow this person has really impacted me, because they've walked the road ahead and walk with Jesus in the process?”

Demetrius: No absolutely. And I want to even press the hand down on what you just said, that doesn't just happen. You have to be intentional on both ends humility, because there's a few people I've gotten to meet older. And I just assumed because I was younger, that they were going to be all young Demetrius, let me take him under my wings. That's just not the case. I had to humble myself and say, “Hey, I see something in your life that I desire and be intentional about that.” And most times, I'm the one being intentional about the conversations and initiating things. So, I've been blessed.

There's a guy, he lives in Japan now, military guy, Mark Danner. He was like a big brother to me in a season of my life, where I was not being shepherded well. He was that ray of stability. He is a great husband and father. And of course, serving our country is extremely honorable. Then there's a pastor in Georgia, Pastor Randy Rainwater at Grace a New Hope. He's been such just sage for me. His longevity in the Lord Jesus and his energy and passion still to this day, that's inspiring, because I'm a young person that desires to finish well, like it's not just these exciting high moments.

There are things that I probably have gotten to experience in ministry that he hasn't on like just the time we live in and the way we can reach different people. But I always look to those people, and I get a chance to secondhand eat off Paul Tripp’s life by, you know, and he needs to understand that I’m secondhand. [Laughter]

I remember a car ride that he had a conversation with this man. Then he told me about the conversation, and I'm weeping for six hours as I'm driving to a trip. And literally my whole life was flashing before my eyes. I'm like, I'm a sinner in need of a Savior. So, thank you Pastor Bob. You know, and so yes, I totally, I totally.

Shelby: Yes, that's, that's beautiful. When Paul Tripp came into my life, I was in a season that was pretty dark for me. I was not doing well; I was addicted to opioids because I was - I'm a chronic pain patient. It was a really difficult season of my life. I was angry, I was really just angry about a lot of different things.

I was emceeing a conference that Paul was speaking at. We were hitting it off kind of behind the stage. Then I interviewed him on stage, and that was fun. Then after the conference was over the last time that he spoke, he came up to me and he was like, “Hey, where do you live again?”

And I was like, Downingtown. He lives in Center City, Philadelphia, and I'm like 40 minutes outside the city. He goes, “We should get together.” I was like, “Okay.” [Laughter]

A week and a half later we were getting together, and I told my wife, I remember when he said that. I went back to my hotel room where my wife was, and I was like, “Hey Paul Tripp asked to get together with me.”

She goes, “Mm hmm.”

I was like, “What?”

She goes, “I was praying for that.”

Demetruis and Rechab: Whoa!

Shelby: And I was like, “Really? Were you going to tell me?”

And she was like, “No.” And then just in case he didn't, she was like, you just need someone in your life to speak into where you're at right now. That was both an insult and a compliment at the same time. But I took it, and it changed my life.

Rechab: Yo, that's a big deal though. Every connection I've ever experienced that has been that significant, I actually asked the Lord for. I really did. One that stands out even recently is a ninety-four year old brother in California. He was actually a dude who traveled with the guy who I look up to is one of the greatest unknown preachers, honestly in American history, a dude by the name of Tom Skinner. A lot of people just don't know him.

And since it's February right now as we’re recording, so I've got Black History on the line too, but Tom Skinner is, you could look him up on YouTube. I mean, Urbana Seventy, preaching right at the cusp of like moving from the civil rights movement to the revolution. There's just so much in this brother.

I've always wanted to know what he [Tom Skinner] passed, but God made a way where I connected with Bill Pinnell who was his traveling partner for decades. He's ninety-four right now. I'm thirty-five right now. This is a sixty year gap. The wisdom I get from that brother and the mutual encouragement I get from that brother. And also, I'm just a dude who should be known. It's almost like we get really excited about the really like, lights, camera, action folks. But the faithful dudes, who are just faithful, just grinding [it out], just faithful. we don't know much about them. Literally, one of just the greatest blessings in my life and it came just the way your wife did, through prayer. I got asked the Lord and he has been faithful to answer that time and time again.

Shelby: That's really cool. Yes, and I think we underestimate that a lot. We think, “Oh, prayers.” We actually don't believe that prayer sometimes doesn't do anything. So, we just wait the way we would say that. And we, because that's the right answer.
But like a lot of times, we just don't believe that prayer actually does anything at all.

We think, yes. God really convicted me of that lately. Like, “Hey, you have not because you ask not. So why aren't you asking Me?” And why aren't you like being intentional about leaning into your relationship with Me and asking Me?

And I'll say no or yes, based on what I think is best for you. But I was really convicted about the fact that I'm not asking enough of God. He's a big God. Why am I asking Him for huge things? I'll ask for, like, little things.

Some people are wired different ways. They ask for the big things all the time. They don't ask for little things. I ask for the little stuff, and I'm like, the big stuff, it's not really going to happen, so why ask in the first place? Has it been an issue at all for you guys?

Demetrius: I was about to burst in, because I'm actually walking with a young man through Matthew. We just got finished with ask, seek, and knock. As I was just going into the text showing him this, of course that's a text that's been used in very dangerous ways. But what the Lord was really showing us in that is persistence. I began to think about when I'm around my friends with kids, every couple minutes the kid is asking for something. [Laughter]

Shelby and Rechab: It’s true.

Demetrius: I remember that as I was looking at that text, I was like - they heard, “No.” Then 20 minutes later, another request.

The Lord was just showing me like I more so want you to have that kind of relationship. Because sometimes we can get in the position of worrying about the answer in the response, when it's more about being persistent to our loving Father and asking. I've had some very traumatic “noes” in my life. Three of the biggest losses in my life, I prayed, and God had another direction for that.

So, I'm with you. I understand. He convicted me on that when I was going through that. I was like, I really rarely ask for anything now. I had to like to sit before that because that says something about where my heart was.

Shelby: Yes, it said something about me.

Demetrius: Yes, and I literally was, “Oh Lord, forgive me. You are my Father, and I can ask You the little things, the big things, the complicated things.” I heard a guy, I think it was John Mark Comer say, “When you pray, pray real.” So, if you're struggling, pray struggling. The Psalms invite us, you know, where there's some days we're like, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all within me.” And then there's sometimes, “How long?” Just be honest about it. So yes, I've been there.

Rechab: For sure. So good.

Shelby: There's celebration Psalm days and there's Psalm 88 days where like everything is bad all the time.

Demetrius: Absolutely.

Shelby: Rechab, you mentioned when we're recording this, we're in Black History Month right now. You and I have had a long conversation about that. But Demetrius, I want to ask you, What does Black History Month mean to you?

Demetrius: First, I'm going to be candid. I hate that it's relocated to a month, because black history is my history. I live it every day. But I do appreciate that we get a chance to like to celebrate those before me who paved ways that I get to live in the fruit of, even what Pastor Rechab was talking about some of the preachers and people who, because a lot of my serving over the last decade was in predominantly different ethnic spaces. I feel like that wouldn't have been possible had there not been people going before me in those spaces. I'm glad that we get a chance to give homage to.

For me, black history is even in my own family. You know, my grandmother told me stories of being hosed down and being a part, these are the no-name people, being a part of like the protest and people are literally being defiant for what they believed in.

Then for us, the gospel inherently is for all people. They were doing gospel work when they were saying, “No, we must be seen as people who are made in the image of God.” So, I have people in my life that I can point to personally that had those stories. So, it's important for me to even learn.

I had recently went to the Black Music Museum in Nashville. I was invited to a trip and just to even look at that legacy. How we have been in country music and rock and roll, and the legacy of gospel artists. For me, as a musician, I'm extremely eclectic. And I'm like, that didn't start with me. I had examples of jazz musicians and folk musicians of all races and colors, and I just think it's important on my end.

Shelby: That's good. Thanks for answering that way. I mean, you mentioned the no-name people, and then you mentioned a pastor who's not in front of the lights, camera, action.

Why do you think, in part of culture right now that we're in - and in particular the Christian culture that celebrates so many people who are behind a microphone, like we are right now, or in front of a camera, or have a platform, we have a tendency to value their names? And the no-name people we’re like, I don't know who they are, so I'm not going to listen to them. What is the value of not being known in Christian circles today? What do you think that value is?

Rechab: Yes. I had this conversation. Ironically, the Lord is just so amazing, man. I was talking with a pastor, and he was putting me on to A.D. King, which was Martin's brother, and he shared with me just how much like he was the Bible King. He was the Christological King. So, he knew the text. He knew the gospel. And whenever it felt like it was just to see, he would be like, Martin let's get back to Jesus though. So, but no one praises Him. He said, even during the time of his life, people didn't even know Martin had a brother, even though he was standing with them the whole time. This isn't just historic. Yes, this is during the time, and yet he was faithful, faithful, faithful.

As we were having this conversation by A.D., one thought I had is just when you see a brother whose willingness to play his role in the background. What we have to understand is inherently within the Godhead, we have a person who does the same thing and it's the Spirit of God.

Shelby & Demetrius: Yes. Mm-Hmm. Yes.

Rechab: The Spirit of God is the One who authored the Scriptures. The Spirit of the God who's the One who converts the heart of a believer. The Spirit of God is the One who changes us and transforms us. But you get to the Book of Revelation and there are two persons of the Trinity who get a song, God, the Father and God the Son, but the Holy Spirit doesn't get a song. You would think if I'm writing this, I'm going to get my song – sung to me, [Laughter] but there's no bitterness. There's no, I have my rights, which were so big on the West, especially in America. There's no, well that's not fair. There's nothing but joy that God the Son and God the Father are being celebrated.

When you really think about the life of the Trinity, that sounds crazy, but when you think about the way in which they live, their rhythms, God the Son comes on the scene and says, I don't do nothing except what I see my Father doing.

God, the Father is like, “Listen to Him.” God the Son is like, “Yo, you can blaspheme Me all day, but do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God.” There's this constant deflection of honor, whereas we go seeking it, They go giving it. And man, to see the Spirit of God Who could rightfully demand, sing praises to Me, honor Me for who I am. It's the Spirit of God who's always glad to say, “Talk about that Man, Jesus. Lift up Jesus. Exalt Jesus. Praise Jesus. Honor Jesus.” When you do that, I am satisfied. Man, if we had that kind of heart posture, man we would have a radically and dramatically different church. I believe that because we have the Spirit of God, we actually can, because He resides in us to be able to give us that very heart as well.

Shelby: Yes, it’s possible. Yes, that posture you’re talking about is so foreign to everything that we're living right now in our culture. And what if, what if we were constantly pointing in a different direction, giving of ourselves, you know, like I've discovered that the times that I'm more genuinely joyful is when I'm being intentional about either highlighting someone else or serving, like my wife for example, or my kids, when nobody knows about it. It's just between me and the Lord.

Those are the times when I could be doing kind of the same things that I was doing before, but I just have the posture of I'm doing this to serve my wife. If I'm picking up after my kids and complaining about it, then it's like that's but I can be picking up after my kids and doing it to serve my wife and my kids - all of a sudden, I'm doing the same thing but I'm doing it with a different heart. And that's where I go from being bitter and miserable to joyful and kind of excited that it's a surprise, you know.

Demetrius: You're doing it in godly secrecy. In Matthew, where it talks about our giving, and it talks about fasting and praying, He was like, I actually want you to do it in secret.

Yes, and that's like a holy secrecy, because you got one or two rewards. It’s either the praise of man. I used to do this with the dishes, “Like I sure wish people would help me with the dishes.” And then you get the, “Oh, thank you Demetrius.” The Lord is like, great. That's your reward.

Shelby: Yes, yes, yes, that’s great.

Demetrius: Or you can do it in secret service to the Lord. Then He rewards. And it's His rewards that outweigh, surpass anything that a person's human praise, which changes like the wind, could ever offer me. So yes, I've been there, bro. It's like, I try to find ways and even amongst our staff at the church, it's probably the most complicated thing we talk about with our church plant, “How are you guys like leading together?”

Then there's no, the man kind of thing. Literally, we just said that we wanted to outdo one another and showing honor. And the interesting safety that I feel as a person on the team who could, again because we all have our things that we could be like, Well, I don't do this well, and I'm not this well, and I'm not that. But the fact that I feel so one with my brothers, that their wins or my wins, their losses or my losses. I just think that is so beautiful and much needed in Christendom in general.

Shelby: Yes, I totally agree. As C.S. Lewis said, we're far too easily pleased, but we were like, if we're going to get the praise of men, we're easily pleased with that.

But why don't we bypass that in order to get the actual praise from God? Why wouldn't we want to hold out for the praise of God? Because we're so easily pleased with the approval and praise of men, which gives you that little jolt. That little like, Oh yes, I finally get recognized.

There have been times, especially in my youth, where I was like, I can't not let people know about what I'm doing right now. I have to, if people don't know it's worthless. I'm like, that's a reflection about how evil my heart is. [Laughter]

Demetrius: My favorite part about that though is the Lord knows His children. Because I do have that bubbling in my heart that most of my roles are the unseen ones. You know, most of the time—

Shelby: -- Do you intentionally seek that out then? Is that what you mean?

Demetrius: No. [Laughter]

Shelby: No?

Demetrius: It just happens to be my gift set is always the administration person of the church. Or like, you're leading the prayer charge, and we already know prayer is the least attended gathering of the saints. And so, it's like nobody sees that because nobody's there.

Then every week when you're hosting those things and doing those little things that nobody thinks about, you do feel those internal conversations inside, and the Lord gets a chance to shepherd you. You have to go back to that anything I do in deed and in service, I do it as unto the Lord for the glory of the Father exclusively as my audience.

Then you'll have the random part of my life where it is on a stage, and you're leading a room of a couple thousand and it's like, “Oh, you can sing really well.” But I found because I've died to myself in the secrecy things, that I don't even want that. Because I do know how. Then if you go through suffering and the same people who said Hosanna in one moment now say. “Crucify Him.” It makes you not really put your stock in the praise or the rejection of man.

Shelby: Yes.

Demetrius: I wrote a song about it. I was like we were not designed to be famous.

Shelby: Yes, that's true.

Demetrius: God is the only one that can be praised continually and not change.

Rechab: We really do have to be careful in this day and age because of social media with that. That's a huge encouragement for even anybody listening who really is caught up in it.

Shelby: Yes.

Rechab: You have to ask yourself the hard questions. Why am I posting? And sit in the silence of God. We don't even ask God certain things, because we don't want to hear the answer. But just to sit in the silence of that, because if Jesus says, “Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” then not only should you not look up for applause from other people, don't even applaud yourself.

There is an evil one who wants to set us up to do the exact opposite of what Jesus calls us to. It's not to say all of social media is evil. It's not to say it's bad. It is to say, don't just assume it's good. Run through the nooks and crannies of your heart. Ask the Spirit of God, “Show me why am I posting? What is the purpose of this? What am I doing at this particular post? What am I seeking in this moment?”

You'll be surprised. God loves to talk to that heart ,and say, “Yes, not today because today, yes, today, your heart is far from Me.” You know what you're seeking and then you'll have some time with Jesus. Then it's like, you're posting out of an overflow. And God is so about that life of making sure that our motivations, not just our actions, but our motivations before Him are pure. If we desire that, He actually will give us that.

Shelby: Let me tell you a story. [Laughter] Let me tell you a story of failure. My personal failure. So, I was a seminar speaker at this conference, and I was going to this conference. I was very excited to be there, because the main speakers were people who I really respected, big time, big name speakers.

I knew that I was going to be able to meet one of the main speakers, this guy named Russell Moore, who's kind of famous in the political world and I really respect him. I got a chance to meet him and talk with him for a while. I gave him something like this gift and then someone took a picture of us. Then I ended up being so excited about it, I posted it on Instagram.

When I posted on Instagram after I met Russell. 20 minutes later, I get a text message from Paul David Tripp. He goes, “So we're posting pictures of famous people that we're with. Because even though we don't know them, like this what we're doing now? I was like so convicted. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” And he goes, I just don't see how this communicates Jesus must become greater. I must become less.

Demetrius: Wow

Shelby: I was like totally convicted because he was right. He was right. My heart was like, I want to be seen with someone. I want other people to see me with someone. Now, if my heart would have been okay, it would have been fine. I would have been my heart's fine, and I would have responded. But my heart was not fine. So, I took the post down. I texted Paul back, and we ended up having a conversation later on. I was just like, “Hey man, you were right. Thanks for calling me out on that, because I needed to be told you're doing this for the wrong reasons.” Paul knew me well enough to know that I was doing it for the wrong reasons.

Now, if we all take a picture today and I post it, this is us and we're friends.

Demetrius: Also, you don't gain anything from us. Like nothing from us. [Laughter] Like literally nothing. I lose followers. That really would be friendship.

Shelby: I've posted plenty of pictures with Paul, because he’s, my friend. But when you start doing that, what's going on in your heart? It doesn't matter actually the action, as long as your heart behind it is right, and that's what you're getting at.

Demetrius and Rechab: Yes, absolutely.

Shelby: It's like. What are we putting out there for other people to see? Because you said, “We're not meant to be worshiped. We're not meant to be famous.” And if we constantly are seeking that, we need to ask the question “why” behind it?

Demetrius: Because it's deep.

Shelby: It's deep, yes.

Demetrius: Because I remember like even little, what he was talking about earlier, little social media posts, sometimes when you don't feel celebrated or honored, or you're just lacking intimacy with the Lord, which is ninety-nine percent of the thing when you're not abiding. It's just like, well, and this is the tricky part, it'll be something good. It won't even seem inherently evil. So let me put, “Jesus reigns” on a status, and then like the endorphins of the hundreds of likes. Like, okay, I just did something impactful when your heart literally had no kind of real burning that “Jesus reigns.” It was just like; I know that this kind of status can get this.

The Lord has taken me through so much inner work, like since maybe 2015 with some of the emotional, healthy, spirituality stuff, therapy, suffering, grief and loss. I'm learning to be very aware of my internal signals, because they are always speaking. You can feel when something is not quite off. Now I find myself on the other end of like, You're going to have to tell me overwhelmingly to do this, because I'm going to default, because I know my heart is always seeking validation. I need to be more careful on this end.

Rechab: So, you brought up Matthew's gospel. This is one thought I had is just like, Jesus is so clear that the hypocrisy He's against is primarily not, and Jonathan Pennington brings this out like a great deal in his book on a certain amount, it's not this disconnect between what you do and what you say. He's coming at our tendency to have a disconnect between what we do and why we do it.

Shelby and Demetrius: Yes, yes.

Rechab: If you are not careful, you will do all the right things for all the wrong reasons, and God doesn't count it. That was his issue with the Pharisees primarily. Yes, they did some stuff and said some of the other stuff, but primarily why are they doing it though? If we don't take the time to let the Spirit of God through the Word of God, answer the question, Why are you doing what you're doing? We will continue to even try to do the right thing.

I remember thinking, “Oh yes, I'm mature, because I'm not doing the things that I used to do.” Then it was like, man, it feels like my sanctification just got started when I realized, “Oh snap. The action stuff. That's what Hebrews are called the elementary stuff.”

Shelby: Yes, that’s like grades K through Five.

Rechab: Now, we really dealing with you Rechab, because it's not just about the actions, about the motivation behind the action. And that's where God really presses and matures us. And so prayerfully, prayerfully, prayerfully—

Demetrius: --That’s where you need Him most, because you can change your motivation.

Rechab: Absolutely. Because you can't change your motivation. Yes, there's a lot of things that could change your behavior, but only the Spirit of God could change it.

Shelby: That's really good. And I heard you preach on this, and it really impacted me in a number of ways. It's this concept that I keep finding over and over and over again in Scripture, Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, New Testament. And I've been writing it down whenever I see it in Scripture is the theme of no empty religion.

If you're coming to God, even with sacrifices with the wrong reason. God calls that an abomination.

Demetrius: He hates it.

Shelby: I'm like, wow, where are the areas in my life where I am guilty of empty religion?

Because the truth is, you can fake it so well, that you can have two people sitting on the front row of your church. Morally their lives can look identical. But if their hearts are in different places, they can be on two entirely different solar systems – because of their heart. One might be doing it because they're trying to earn the favor of God, or the favor of people. And one's doing it because they have already earned the favor of God in their life is a reflection of that.

It's so difficult to tell because we as human beings could look at them and go, “No, they're both doing well,” but one's heart might be very dark and one's heart might be very, very clean.

Demetrius: Yes.

Shelby: That's the scary thing, because you got to get the work of God in there to change. Like you said, “That's where we, we show up and go, God, I need You. I need You.”

Demetrius: That's why we must, must, must preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that message of our beaten yet resurrected Savior we'll meet both of those people where they are and will convict their hearts in two totally different ways, but at the same time. I've seen that with my own eyes, man, in my own life, where there was a bunch of good things. I'm always reminded of Amos, the context of that book was like to them, they were doing well.

Shelby: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Demetrius: Amos comes with like, “Stop the noise of your song because your heart is far from Me.”

Shelby: Yes. Yes.

Demetrius: Here are the things that God actually desires. And it was those things that you weren't even thinking of. That's why we must - like we've been really at the church. Man, Genesis has been like ripping us to shreds. Like it's, it's crazy, and we've been literally looking at the real meditations of our heart.

Lord, the things that I asked the Lord a week ago, Ooh, it was so, so, so convicting. I said, “Lord, where's the place in my heart that I do not give you access to put your finger on.” And that was in Genesis 22, where it was like, take your son whom you love though, just so you can know which one it was I'm talking about.

I literally was in my time of prayer. I just felt the Lord was telling me like - your reputation.

Shelby: Wow.

Demetrius: My reputation? He could have said anything. I wish He would have said pride or like insecurities, because that's churchy. I can get my way out of that. Like, Oh Lord. Well, You won't despise the contrary Spirit in a broken heart - but it was like your reputation.

I had to sit with that, because that began to like web itself in so many different things. Even the things He's putting me that were Godly desires. You're slothful on some of the visions and dreams, because you're scared of rejection. Or it won't be as grand as you think it would be, because you're more concerned with the grandeur than obedience. It's little things that that the Lord will begin to show you. He answers those things way quicker than what kind of job. Well, where should I live?

Shelby: Yes.

Demetrius: Where should I move?

Shelby: Yes, yes.

Demetrius: But anything dealing with the basement part of your heart, He will talk really quick, which is why we try to talk more in prayer. Because to be honest, my heart didn't want to hear from You. My heart would say, “Don't leave me, but don't lead me.

Shelby: Yes, that’s good.

Demetrius: Because we all know that we don't want His presence to leave. But we don't want Him to lead, and that's like Demetrius's heart. I have to sit with that.

Shelby: Yes. I'm reminded a little bit of the book of Proverbs in many ways, because Proverbs has a tendency to speak to us, and we go, “Oh, these are the things that I need to do now.” You know, a kind answer turns away wrath. Okay, I'll be kind. But what happens when you are kind and someone's still kind of a jerk to you? [Laughter]

It doesn't, yes, that works except when it doesn't, you know? Then you scratch your head, and you go, “Well, what is this all saying to me?” And Proverbs is not as necessarily concerned with our actions. It's concerned with molding us into the type of person who would be wise, who would be faithful, who would be intentionally fearing the Lord. Then as a result of who we are, the natural outflowing of that will be what we see written and prescribed in the Proverbs.

We get it twisted. We think, “Oh, if we do these things, if we run the play, then life will be a certain way, and I'll become a certain person.” It's not like that. God wants to deal with you and your heart first. Then as a result, the reflection of that will be someone who is a kind person and even though those answers will be wrathful in response to you, you're also just aligning yourself with the ultimate Person who did that, you know, because it's really all about Jesus. Jesus is the one who lives out the book of Proverbs perfectly.

This is, none of this was what I planned on talking about today.

Well, since we didn't get into what I wanted to talk about with them, Rechab and Demetrius are going to come back on the next episode, and you'll hear why the Book of Philippians can be an encouragement to you as a person in your 20s, no matter how young or old you are in the Christian faith.

If you liked this episode of Real Life Loading… or thought it was helpful, I'd love for you to share today's podcast with a friend. Wherever you get your podcasts, it could really advance what we're doing with Real Life Loading, if you’d go ahead and rate and review us.

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I want to thank everyone on the Real Life Loading… team. You guys are awesome, and you make it happen, and I really appreciate you.

I'm Shelby Abbott, and I'll see you back next time on Real Life Loading...

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