Chase Your Dreams

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 78

TRANSCRIPT

Chasing Your dreams

Have your dreams died or if they are still alive have, they shrunk to a more manageable size? Are you living your life as if every word in the Bible is 100% true or have you adjusted the Word of God to fit your lifestyle? In today’s podcast I am going to challenge all of us, me included, to take a hard look at our walk with Christ as we begin this new year.

I’m Lee Whitman from Restoring the Foundations and today’s podcast might come across as pretty raw because I am sharing some truths that I am personally still processing. I like to read when on vacation and this December I have been challenged by three books that I highly recommend. What If It’s True? By Charles Martin published by Thomas Nelson, Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson published by Multnomah, and Your People Shall Be My People by Don Finto Published by Chosen Books. I’m sure the good people at Amazon can deliver them right to your door.

If you can tell anything by the attendance numbers at movies, we love movies where the hero shows great courage. I believe that is why the movies made from the Marvel comic books have continued to be so popular. We love to cheer for the hero and the hero always displays great courage to defeat the forces of evil. I could watch Braveheart over and over again because of the great courage of William Wallace played by Mel Gibson. After watching that movie, I want to paint my face blue and white and yell Freedom.

I want to recommend a wonderful book on the courage it takes to pursue your dreams by Mark Batterson called Chase the Lion. In Chase the Lion Batterson uses the story of Benaiah in 2 Samuel 23:20, “On a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. And he killed an Egyptian, an impressive man. Now the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah went down to him with a club and snatched the spear from the Egyptians hand and killed him with his own spear.”  This man Benaiah was either crazy or courageous. Courage is defined as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear, bravery. It was crazy to chase a lion into a pit on a snowy day and kill it. Or was it courage. It was crazy for Behaiah to confront an impressive Egyptian with only a club and take the man’s spear and kill him with it. Or was it courage.

I think living by faith takes courage. Faith to me is courage on steroids. It was either crazy or courageous for the founders of Restoring the Foundations to leave the comfort of Chester’s job in the aerospace industry (Yes, Chester literally was a rocket scientist) and for Betsy to leave a successful career in the mental health profession to start this brand-new unknown ministry. They started RTF at a time when the Christian world was not very open to the idea of inner healing and deliverance like we are today. They were some of the very first people to introduce the idea that even Christians needed deliverance from demonic influences in their life. It took courage for them to travel the world and eat a bunch of overcooked chicken dinners to present this unknown ministry called RTF everywhere they went. Today RTF has ministers in 20 nations around the globe and has touched the lives of people from 120 nations. That is amazing. All because of the courage of Chester and Betsy Kylstra.

It takes courage for each of us to live the Christian life boldly in today’s world. I see things on the news that are troubling to me and to be honest I will complain and pontificate to Cindi about what needs to change. Being the smart woman that she is, she has started asking me what I am going to do with my complaint. So, Cindi says to me when I get into one of my rants, “What are you going to do about that?” Well for one thing I am going to write to my congressmen and express my displeasure with certain government policies. That is a minor form of courage, yet it is the kind of action that is necessary in order to see the changes we believe are needed. It is too easy for us to sit back and complain and hope someone else does something instead of using our voice to move our country in the right direction. For example, if we don’t tell our congress people to stand with Israel it is probable that the volume of the many loud voices opposed to Israel could sway their opinion. Courage comes in many forms, but it is desperately needed to live the Christian life in today’s world.  

I am also extremely challenged by Charles Martin’s book What If It’s True. I’ll let Charles Martin speak for himself and you might understand better why I am so challenged. “What if every single word of this story (the Bible) is true and I can trust it? What if Jesus really is who He says He is? What if the King of the universe is speaking directly to me through the words of this book (the Bible)? What if what He says is more true than my circumstances, more true than what my eyes see and my ears hear?” As I read Martin’s book I was reminded of the scripture in Matthew 5:13,  “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how [d]can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people.” It has made me question how much of what I am believing has been conformed to what I was taught and is not necessarily based on God’s Word. How much of my theology is based on my own bias that twists what the Bible says to fit my comfort zone. In other words, how much of what I believe is cultural Christianity over a biblical Christianity. I know for those of us living in the United States of America we look at the Bible through our American viewpoint and our understanding of the Bible has been conformed to an American Theology. Don Finto in his book Your People Shall be My People says that this bent toward what we are culturally comfortable with causes us to overlook some passages and to interpret others through the grid we have been taught. And in the process of living a comfortable Christianity I believe many have lost their saltiness and are not making an impact on the world.

This cultural Christianity has twisted the truth about the Jewish people and resulted in what is called replacement theology. Replacement theology says that those who are New Testament believers in Jesus, the Church, has replaced Israel and the Jews in God’s eyes. Let me quote from Wikipedia of all places:

Supersessionism, also called replacement theology or fulfillment theology,[1] is a Christian theological doctrine which describes the theological conviction that the Christian Church has superseded the nation of Israel assuming their role as God’s covenanted people,[2] thus asserting that the New Covenant through Jesus Christ has superseded or replaced the Mosaic covenant exclusive to Jews. Replacement theology also holds that the universal Christian Church has replaced ancient Israel as God’s true Israel and that Christians (including gentiles) have replaced the biological bloodline of ancient Israelites as the people of God.

Replacement Theology is one place where the truth of God’s word has been filtered through man made theologies and is causing great harm to the body of Christ. God’s people have always been the Jewish people. We, the gentile believers are the ones who have been grafted into the family of our Jewish brothers. We did not replace our Jewish brothers. We are grafted into their linage. Why is this important? John 17:11 says, Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are one.” Replacement theology has taken the Jews right out of this verse and made it all about the New Testament church becoming one. Jesus is saying that His children, all of His children, Jew and Gentile become one to show the world the love that we have for each other. By teaching that the gentile believers supersede or replace the Mosaic Covenant has caused great harm to the Kingdom of God coming to earth. We are not one as Jesus prayed. As part of replacement theology, we have told those Jewish believers in Jesus that they have become Christians and need to adopt our Christian way of doing things. I believe this is totally wrong. It is totally appropriate for Jewish believers to still celebrate the Jewish Feasts and Festivals as well as believe in Jesus as the Messiah. It might do the New Testament church some good to also celebrate the Jewish feasts. I think we are missing out on some of our heritage by ignoring these festivals.

In November Cindi and I met Donna Jolley (an RTF HHN minister who lives in Israel) in Washington DC and took part in the largest Pro-Israel rally in history. 290,000 mostly Jews and a few of us gentiles gathered on the mall in Washington DC to show our support for the nation of Israel. During the day we had five or six orthodox Jews come up to us and thank us for being part of this rally. One guy even walked up and said, “you are Christians, aren’t you? Why are you here?” After we explained that we are standing with Israel he said, “Thank you so much for being here.” A little bit of the Kingdom of God came to earth that day.

God is looking for those He can co-labor with to bring His Kingdom to earth. Did we share the gospel with the orthodox Jews that day in Washington DC? Not in our words but with our actions.

It is time for the rising of the unknowns in 2024. We too often look at what we can’t do instead of looking at what we can do. As you read through the bible, there are so many unknown people, people whose names are never mentioned, who have affected history in a powerful way. For example, we all know the story of the good Samaritan. What was his name? We don’t know, but his love and mercy for this wounded man lying along the road has been spoken of from generation after generation. God is looking for the unknowns to rise in this generation and begin to believe that every word of His scriptures is 100% true and do what it says. I think being known by God is more important than being known by the world. Let’s stop letting what we see as our inadequacy outshine the power of God and His calling in our lives.

I have heard some powerful prophetic words about what God is going to do in this year 2024. I also know that it is very easy to hear powerful prophetic words and to write them off as someone’s wishful thinking, or to hear them and sit back and wait in inactivity for God to fulfill the word almost in a posture of Ok, God we’ll see. What if God is wanting you to be a part of fulfilling His movement during 2024. What if God wants you to be a Joshua and Caleb who believed God over what they saw with their own eyes and went contrary to what the majority of the people around them were saying. That is going to take courage on your part, isn’t it. That’s ok, because God gives courage to those who ask.   

I hope God is able to make sense of this podcast in your life because I feel like I have struggled to share my heart with you. I have experienced 67 New Years in my life and for many of those I have made New Years Resolutions that have lasted from a few days to several months. This year I am not making a resolution but I am making the choice to live my life with courage. I am going to do the very best I can to believe and live by every word that is in God’s Word, and I am asking God to help me see any places where I am living a cultural Christianity rather than having an intimate relationship with Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Mark Batterson has what he calls The Lion Chasers Manifesto. I am going to close this podcast with this:

“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Run to the roar. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-given passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divined intervention. Stop pointing out our problems. Start becoming part of the solution. Stop repeating the past. Start creating the future. Face your fears. Fight for your dreams. Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands. Don’t let what is wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. Dare to fail. Dare to be different. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the Lion!”

Prayer

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.