So let me ask you, you got a Paul in your life? Do you have a person in your life that is kind of a go-to person that helps you grow, that you know they’re a few miles down the road spiritually than you and you can talk to him and ask him and pray with him?
Do you have a Barnabus? Do you have a soul mate? Do you have someone that you can just do life together. You can pick up the phone and instantly you’re on the same page?
Then do you have a Timothy? Do you have someone that you are building into their life and praying by God’s grace that what Dave did in my life and what Prof did in my life they’ll be in yours.
I’ll give you three quick examples because it’s very rare to have ones that are in your life for a long period of time, right. We move. A lot of things happen. What I find is that Paul may be this person this year, another person two years from now, another person and different roles for different seasons of your life. You know what? Now and then you get a Paul that sticks around and a Barnabus that sticks around and a Timothy that sticks around that I think is both rare and precious.
I’ve shared – my dad, we’re real open about this. We’ve had great talks and been able to share openly as we’ve grown, but I went to a little country church and man, I needed a father figure. There was a guy on the elder board there named L.C. and he just took me under his wing. We worked out together and I shared struggles with him. My older boys were like third grade then. I’ve known him 22 years. I was 28 years old when I went out to that little church. For 22 years he’s counseled, rebuked, invested, painted bathrooms in the house with me and just done life.
When I was coming out here, I’m going through issues like you’re going through issues. I came out a day early so we could meet with one other guy I could unzip my heart and say hey, man, here’s the hot ones in me. We took some walks, we ate some meals, we got a couple work outs and then we just kind of data dumped, heart dumped. I need that. I’ve got to have a Paul in my life. I don’t think you ever outgrow it.
Then we were eating lunch and this is what Paul’s do ‘cause they have the freedom. He had this little card. I couldn’t read it. It was real small. We’d been eating and talking. We’re really close. He pulls out this little white card and he has this goofy – he does a lot of goofy stuff to tell you the truth, but he had this kind of goofy look. I could tell he’s reading off this card. ‘Have you viewed any sexually explicit material in the recent past?’ I’m thinking like what happened between the hamburgers to this.
You know what I knew? What I knew was he was dead serious. I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Have you in any way misused your finances or used them in a way that wouldn’t honor God in the past 30, 60, 90 days?’ He went through my thought life, my sex life, my integrity and then the last question after he went through this list, he smiled, he said, ‘Have you lied to me in your answers to any of the last five or six questions?’
Got a Paul? You know how much that protects you? So you’ve got to pursue great people; got to go after them. You also need a Barnabus. Had a fellow that we just linked hearts. First basketball trip out. Guy named Glen Miller. Glen was a man of devotion and heart and love.
He went off later to be a missionary in Sri Lanka. Later became a pastor and for 20 years Glen and I have stayed in touch and he’s just been a peer. He’s a little bit older than me. He’s like that little bit older big brother, but I was a little farther ahead early spiritually. So the first trip we went on we memorized the book of Philippians together.
The next trip we went on we memorized the book of James together. This guy’s got zeal that is over the top. He leaves me voice messages in this new language his learned. Hey, Ingram. How you doin’ buddy? Are you rejoicing in the Lord? Ay, ay, isn’t it sweet.’ He talks about God like he’s just in the room. He’s this winsome Barnabus.
What I know and what he knows is no matter where we’re in the world or the country we’re peers. He’s got a dream where he’s building orphanages now in Africa along with pasturing a church. Someone who’s just running kind of at the same place in the track with you that you can bounce stuff off of.
Third area is a Timothy, someone you get to invest in. There was a guy who was a football coach in that little town. A.C. had me and him meet together and we’d review and memorize these verses. See, you do life together. The thinking great thoughts and reading great books. I don’t know about you. I’m not disciplined to do that, but you find a couple guys or you find a couple gals and you say let’s do it on this morning at this time and we went to the feed store.
We’d eat a little breakfast and we’d all go over our verses and memorize a couple verses. Little by little by little by little you grow. Pretty soon he’s a football coach, defensive back. His name was Steve. Steve came on staff at that little church and it started to grow.
Then I went to California and he came and did the college group. Then he did the small groups. Then he did this and then he ran the staff. Then he hit 45 and I’ll never forget the day ‘cause we worked together for 18 years. I got way more credit. I could kind of dream it and he could make it happen.
He hit 45 and I hit it about a year or two before him. He said, ‘You know something? You know that agreement we had? We’re going to work together as long as we live until God brings us to a point where we think we can do more good for the kingdom apart.’
Since we’re both a couple old coaches he said, ‘Hey dude, I think the run has ended.’ I said, ‘I think you’re right.’ We were learning some things in leadership together. He said, ‘I’ve done every job in this church and there’s only one I really want to do and you’re not retiring are you?’ I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ He said, ‘Then I’ve got to do what you’re doing. I’ve got to be a senior pastor.’
It was just interesting to see. He moved across over to the valley. They were running about 400 people then. Here we are four years later and they’re running 1,300 or 1,400 people and starting a building program. Guess what he’s doing? Gathering all the pastors in the Bay area to preach and to pray and combining in the community. Funny; we did that in Santa Cruz. Guess what he’s doing? You know what he’s doing? He’s doing what I got to teach him and what I got to learn from Prof.
See, you pursue great people. Now sometimes those Timothy’s just turn into Barnabus’. I learned more from Steve than I’m sure he’s ever learned from me. Pursue great people. You know, you’ll never have time in your schedule to do it.
Busy-ness is the curse of our day and I struggle with it as much as you. You will have to come up with a specific plan, but you’ve got to look out the windshield and ask yourself who out there could be a Paul in my life right now? Who out there could be a Barnabus that I could share life. Who could be a Timothy? You know what? You only have to be a half a step ahead of someone to teach them what you know. You don’t have to have it all together.
Final thing I’d like to share here is get you started without getting you discouraged. So I want to give a warning to heed. The warning is this for Timothy’s looking for Paul’s. Often God will use a variety of people. Don’t believe there’s some person that will have it all together that’s going to be this person that is going to sustain and help you grow for the rest of your life.
It’ll be more like a revolving door of different people, different seasons to meet different needs as you grow. Now sometimes you get that special person that you stay in touch with them. I think it’s more rare than it is normal, but don’t get expectations where you’re asking someone or believing God’s going to bring someone to be in your life.
For as much as Prof has helped me, it’s not like we’re on the phone every week. We’re not on the phone every month. We’re not on the phone sometimes for seven, eight, nine months. He has a unique role and relationship that he speaks into my life at the right times and the right way. I have a window or a door open that whenever I want to I can call.
So when you’re looking for that Paul don’t get your expectations like they’re going to meet with you every week and it’s going to be this way or that way.
Secondly, a warning for Paul’s looking for Timothy’s. You can’t get where all you do is give. Some of you are in a season of your life where you’re giving to people, you’re giving to people, you’re giving to people, but there’s no one giving unto you. You can’t figure out why you’re losing the joy and you’re tired ‘cause you know what? You need some VEP people in your life – very encouraging people.
When you’re a Paul and people are looking to you and you’ve hit a time of maturity and you’re helping this guy over here in a Bible study with these women over here and then you’re teaching over here and you’re trying to raise this – you can give, give, give and Paul’s, what’ll happen is a lot of people really get burned out because no one’s giving to them.
You don’t give yourself permission to get renewed. You don’t give yourself permission to have fun. You don’t give yourself permission to let someone build into your life or have a few relationships – this is hard for some of you guys and some of you driven women – have some relationships where you don’t have to get anything done. You just get to hang out.
Tonight at supper I got to eat with a couple real buddies, guys that I go way back with. Part of it, they’ve so built in my life, but one of the great things about them, we just hang. We laugh. We play golf. We play tennis. We just cut up.
We share our hearts, but just having some people in your life that when I’m around them I don’t have to be anybody but Chip. I don’t have to be a pastor. I don’t have to perform. They just love me and they like to be with me and I like to be with them. If you’re a Paul you’ve got to have some of that in your life. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself hurting.
Let me give you now a word of perspective to consider. I think what happens is we get these categories. I’m going to suggest that every category of Paul’s and Barnabus’ and Timothy’s is God often will give role players in your life. I’ve put a few of them here. I’ll give you a couple highlights. They may be a Paul, but their role as a Paul is a father figure. That was A.C. for me. Huge, huge impact in my life.
But then some people God gives you a cheerleader. Someone who just cares and gets excited for you. I’ve got a guy here. He’s a fellow named Don Geiger. I was a young guy in this church. The little church was growing. It was becoming a medium sized church.
I had this dream in my heart and I couldn’t even say it out loud. I wanted to be the pastor of a large church. Doesn’t that sound arrogant? Doesn’t that sound terrible? Doesn’t that sound like you’re trying to make a big something of yourself? But I just had this desire. I just saw how they worked and I wanted that kind of impact.
I remember saying out loud to Don Geiger, ‘Don, I just feel so bad and so terrible because I’ve got this desire.’ He says, ‘Well why do you feel bad?’ ‘Well isn’t that ambitious and isn’t it wrong?’ He said, ‘Well why do you want to be the pastor? Is it so you can be a big someone?’ I said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘I just think that’s where I would really flourish.’ He said, ‘Chip, I get people calling all the time.’
He was a pastor of a large church. He said, ‘They’re really hard to find. It’s a unique gift mix and you have that gift mix. It’s God calling you to do that.’ He was my cheerleader. He just said, ‘Go for it, man.’
You know what? Within a year and a half Santa Cruz called, but I couldn’t have gone there if that cheerleader wasn’t in my life. Sometimes God will bring a prophet in your life. A guy named Bill Lawrence. We went through a little thing, Phil and I did at Dallas Seminary. My wife and I sat in a little room and he evaluated my preaching.
He looked me right in the eye and he said, ‘Chip, you’ve got areal gift in communicating.’ I’m thinking thank you. He said, ‘But I can’t figure out something.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘I can’t figure out whether you’re just downright lazy or you don’t believe in preaching.’ I mean, a real man would never do that in front of your wife. I said, ‘Excuse me?’
He said, ‘Yeah; I just can’t figure out. I can see how your mind works. Oh, you do a good job with the text. The last ten percent you’re just lazy. You’re shooting shotguns. You don’t shoot bullets. Tell you what. You need to put another five, six, seven hours in on that last part of the sermon. It needs to be clear. It needs to be concise. It needs to be focused.
You need to shoot a bullet, a Teflon bullet that bang, goes through and God uses and he’s given you the gift to do that. You’re shooting shotguns, little BBs. It doesn’t take you much time to prepare. You like to study, but you’re not doing the hard part at the end. Now is it because you’re just lazy or you don’t believe in the power of preaching?’ Man, I’ll tell you what. He rocked my world. I looked over to this sweet, lovely Teresa looking for compassion like tell me it’s not so, honey. She looked at me and goes, ‘He doesn’t believe in preaching. ‘He’s not lazy, but all he wants to do is these discipleship groups. He doesn’t believe in preaching.’
I’ll tell you what. I decided that I would. I wrote on a card my goal is to preach great messages for God. Does that sound arrogant? What do you think God wants “okay” ones? Bad ones? So-so ones? I decided whatever it would take for me to learn to preach great – then I listened to people preach. I went to people who preached. I listened to tapes. I read books. Then I did that last seven to ten hours to get it from a shotgun to a bullet.
Got any prophets in your life? People who aren’t worried about offending you? See, they’ll be Paul’s at times, Timothy’s at times, but they’re role players. How about a sponsor? You ever been in a situation where you needed someone to lift you up and move you to a place that you could never get there on your own?
I was in a little breakfast nook and a guy had come by the church and said, ‘Hey, we think you’d be really good on radio. We couldn’t use you on our station, but you really ought to consider it.’ I was eating breakfast with a guy named Dick.
We were doing video overflow with five services. I thought that’s the dumbest thing in the whole – radio. Who listens to radio? Isn’t that crazy? I can’t believe that ‘cause he was a mentor in my life and we’d play golf about every Thursday or every other Thursday and I’d bounce my sermon off him. I’d ask him all my leadership questions. He always was helping me grow personally and learn how to lead.
I’d ask him all kind of questions and just glean. I remember him sitting across. He said, ‘I’m going to call you tonight.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ Then towards the end he said, ‘I don’t need to call you.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ ‘You need to do the radio thing.’ I said, ‘What?’ ‘You need to do it.’ This is a sponsor. This isn’t like it’d be a good idea. Why don’t you pray about it. God has shown me. It’s ‘You need to do it.’
I said, ‘Well I don’t know anything about radio. I don’t know how much it cost.’ He said, ‘Doesn’t matter.’ I said, ‘What do you mean it doesn’t matter? We’ll have to do --’ He said, ‘Just do it.’ I said, ‘Well how?’ He said, ‘Well I’ll pay for the first year.’ I said, ‘Well how much will it cost?’ He says, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘But whatever it is I’ll just pay for it. God’s in this.’
God used him to launch Living on the Edge. I didn’t want to do it. See, God will bring people into your life that will sponsor you, but guess what? You’ve got to pursue and get around people. Find great people who pray. Find people with great marriages. Find great leaders. Find people that are raising good kids. Find people that are doing the kind of things that you want to become like and figure out a way to get next to them. Pursue great people and God will bring sponsors and cheerleaders and a counselor, a hero.
Joe Stohl – I wasn’t kidding. He was one of my heroes. I think you always want to have someone to say that is in your line of work ‘I want to be like him. I want to be like him.’ So I listen to Joe. When I have a big decision I call Joe. A hero.
I think God wants a counselor in our lives. Someone that you can open up your heart and share. There’s a guy named Dick Meyer. He was a counselor. You know those wounds and those things we talked about?
Sometimes you’ve got to pursue a great person, you’ve got to pay them because there’s stuff you don’t know how to figure out and you’ve got friends and they’re counselors. You just say hey, I don’t know how – my ball is lost in the weeds as Prof would say, but I don’t know how to get it untangled. They sit down with you and they share insight and life and truth.
Which of those in that list do you need in your life? Which specific role player are you? What do you need? Even as I’m speaking what kind of names or faces are coming to your mind that aren’t on your old Mt. Rushmore, but if you were going to build a new Mt. Rushmore who could go on there to say I think this person could have a positive impact on my life. I want to be more like him. I want to be more like her. Have you got it?
Then let me give you an action plan to go on. I gave you a perspective to consider, role players, and now an action plan to follow. Number one: pray earnestly. We just learned what earnestly meant, right? I don’t think these people were hanging on trees and I’ll guarantee their schedule is full. So you pray earnestly. Lord, show me.
Number two: take initiative. As soon as I got to Atlanta I thought who Lord? I’ve got to find some guys that are walking with God. I’ve got to find some guys that really love you. I’ve got to find someone that is farther down the road than me. So within about a month Andy Stanley and I were on the phone. Randy Pope, pastor right down the street, we got on the phone and got together a few times. He introduced me to an elder who lived down the street.
I just started looking for – I know I need a cheerleader, I need a confident, I need a sponsor, I need role players. I don’t know if they’re going to be my Paul. I’m still going to call on the phone and actually arrange my schedule, but I’ve got to find people who are going to be a Paul in my life.
Then I’ve got to find some Barnabus’. Then I’ve got to ask myself okay, it’s a new world, it’s a new day. Is there some people that you want me to invest my life in? But you take initiative.
And three: start in your relational network. We all want to go to Dallas and say well, Prof Hendricks will you meet with me? The answer’s no. The Paul, Timothy’s and Barnabus’ are probably already in your relational network. Start there.
Four is ask for help. This is amazing. I was just in Florida and had a chance to meet with some people who’d been very kind and generous to the ministry. There was a guy there that had been a mentor with a leader that I really respect. He’s a Christian leader who I think just in terms of leadership gift, maybe the finest that I know.
This guy, I found out as we played nine holes of golf, had mentored this guy and he talked to me about it. I just couldn’t resist. I thought I don’t know what role he’s going to play in my life, but you know what? If he mentored that guy, he’s pretty good. So I played golf. We had a dinner and then I taught a Bible study. You know what? You have not because you asked not.
I walked over to this guy and said, ‘Excuse me, John, can I get a word with you before I go? Got to catch a plane.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘John, you know what you did for that guy?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Would you help me?’ This organization is growing so rapidly, I’m over my head. He’s in a way, way bigger organization that’s way, way more complex.
‘Would you help me the way you helped him; if I called you would you give me time on the phone and if I asked you questions would you help me?’ He said, ‘I’d be glad to.’ I said, ‘Great. Well, I don’t have any contact information.’ This guy walks back to me and he goes, ‘Here’s my personal card and here’s my other card.’ And he said, ‘Just give me a call any time.’
See, the kind of people that want God to use their life, they’re looking for eager Timothy’s who want to grow and want to learn. Pursue great people.
Pray earnestly, take initiative, start with the relational network, and ask for help. Here’s the last one: persevere. They often say no ten times before they say yes once. I could tell you my Prof Hendricks story. You don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to tell it. It took me three years. Persevere, persevere, persevere. Or do it by proxy. A lot of people that have mentored me, I can’t get close to them, but they’ve got tapes, they’ve got books. I’ve listened to them. I find someone close to them. I ask them questions.
As the church was growing I went around to every major place in America where things were growing. I tried to get near the guy who did it and if I couldn’t I got next to the guy who was next to him. If I couldn’t – you know what? I’m going to get as close as I can or I’m going to read what they wrote or I’m going to listen to it because there’s a lot of different ways to keep growing.
Finally, make time in your schedule. You’ll never have it.
No one’s going to call you on the phone and say would you like to be mentored, would you like to really grow, would you like to put in some time and be very disciplined and very focused for the next five to seven years, that will totally transform your life and probably the life of your entire relational network and possibly could change the world in a radical way? No one is going to call you and say that.
But you know what you can do? You can pursue great people and you can look for your Paul and you can look for a soul mate Barnabus and then all the while you find someone that you have a little bit more than they have and you start giving it away and I’m telling you, you’ll become great in God’s eyes.