Episode 240: Ben Connelly tells us to stop asking for forgiveness.

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Intro/Outro: Welcome to Leading Simple with Rusty George. Our goal is to make following Jesus and leading others a bit more simple. Here's your host, Rusty George.

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Today we get to have a really interesting conversation about a new friend who wrote a book and simply asked this question: should we keep asking God for forgiveness? Now, I know if you're like me, most of your prayer life growing up, it was every night on your knees by your bed asking God for forgiveness. And you would try to come up with the things that you did wrong during the day because you feared if you didn't confess those things before you passed away or before you went to sleep and if you didn't wake up, like the old adage says, you know if I die before I wake you, you might not see Jesus after that. And I know as I got older and I had more things to confess, took a little longer, or maybe I felt like I gotta wait a few days before I have earned the right to even ask for forgiveness.

Well, Ben Connelly has written a book that tells us, you know what? I think we should probably stop asking for forgiveness, and I'm gonna drill down as to why that is. Maybe this is a question you have, maybe a friend has, but we encourage you to share this with somebody else as well. So here is my conversation with Ben Connelly as he tries to make simple for us the whole idea of asking for forgiveness.

Ben Connelly, thank you for joining us on the podcast. For our listeners that don't know you, give us the the nutshell story of who you are, Ben bio in a nutshell.

Ben Connelly: Okay, well, gosh, that's a big, that's a big endeavor. But thank you for having me first of all. And yeah, I think the, the most defining few minute version is that I grew up in Texas, have been in Texas, my whole life. Frankly not have al- have not always wanted to stay in Texas, but God keeps keeping us here. And as a strangely stereotypical Texas story, I grew up in a very religious household and was even hired as a youth pastor at age 18, and I think I was 20 before I knew Jesus. Oh and so, Not, it's not the direction most, most advisors would suggest not the order of events, but but I think God used ministry to save me.

Rusty George: Now, why I, I love that description and I, I totally get it, and I know exactly what you mean. But tell our listeners exactly what you mean. What do you mean you didn't know Jesus?

Ben Connelly: Didn't know Jesus. Well, I knew all about Jesus. I think I could tell you a lot of facts. I could recite a lot of Bible stories. We were at church very often. You know, my, my parents were church leaders. I was a, a leader in various youth groups and I preached at our church's senior Sunday, my senior year of high school , and, you know, did, did all the right things, led a good kind of moral high school life. While I was a youth pastor, my first couple years of college, I lived a somewhat moral life while also doing things on campus that I've then went and preached to my kids not to do. So yeah, I've, I've, I've been freed of shame. There's still some regret of those couple years of hypocrisy, but then realized midway through my university years, man, if, if Jesus is real, he should matter to everything. He should change all of life and that really became a moment that, that a lot of life did change for me.

Rusty George: So your life gets radically transformed by Jesus. And then what does that do to your life? Tell us about your ministry.

Ben Connelly: Yeah. I mean it really set me on a ministry journey. I was already, you know, like I mentioned already in, in, in youth ministry but I'd ar- I'd just kind of done that, I mean in full frankness cause it paid better than retail. So I was the maybe only guy in history to get into ministry for the money (laughter) and that's only true cause I was 18 years old and it was better than working at the mall. But. But I bounced around from major to major in my first couple years of college and really couldn't find purpose or direction and very quickly wrapped up in kind of the, "If Jesus' real, he should matter to all of life" realization was, oh man, like what I loved doing most is talking to these student students at the time, high school and middle school students about Jesus.

And, and so it really was, you know, I finished a communications degree, moved to move- moved back to to Dallas for seminary and just kind of started very quickly down kind of the ministry path and ended up working at a, what was called a church plant. I had no idea what church planting And since then I've gotten to plant a few different churches. And then by God's grace I get to train church planters and train existing churches on some everyday ministry and everyday discipleship through an organization called The Equipping. So that's kind of where, what we get to do.

Rusty George: Wow. Well, church planting is a huge heart of ours here at our church and through our podcast we interview a lot of church planters, so I'd love to talk to you about that sometime. But today we're, we're gonna focus on your book, which I love the title of this Reading the Bible, Missing the Gospel. Is this your first book you've ever written?

Ben Connelly: No, this is the third book that I've gotten to write with great moody publishers. All three of 'em are with Moody, and then I've gotten to write a few kind of workbooks or supplements to a couple of friends' regular books. So it's the, the, the third book book that I've gotten to do.

Rusty George: Do you like writing?

Ben Connelly: I like writing sometimes. Yeah. I like writing at the start of writing projects. Oh. . And I, I love to, to see the finished product, but there's, there's days that, that it feels like writing just is, is a helpful balm and it just flows and that kind of stuff. And then there's a few days at a time where it's just like, man, I have this idea in my head and why can't it come out on paper?

Rusty George: Exactly. I heard Lucado say one time I- I don't like writing. I like having written. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I totally, I totally feel that statement because it's like you said, when you get the concept, you're like, oh, this could be cool. And then you get deep into it and you're like, man, this is laborious.

But there are those golden moments where it's just flowing and it feels like, boy, I could do this forever. So yeah. This this, this concept is great. So I want you to explain to our listeners a little bit as to what you're trying to say in this book and why you felt you needed to say it.

Ben Connelly: Yeah. So two questions there. What, what, what are we trying to say? The first is echoing what Jesus said to some religious leaders. And it's in John chapter five where he looks at them and says, "you searched the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. But it is the scriptures that bear witness to me, and yet you refuse to come to me, that you may have life. And maybe it's, maybe it's because of some of the kind of religious but not Christian background that I really resonate with that verse, those couple verses. But essentially what Jesus is saying to to, to folks whose entire jobs it was, was to study the Bible. Like these are the religious leaders of his days.

They were to study and interpret and hear and know God. And what he says is, even though you go to the scriptures, you don't actually know. You've made an idol out of the words, you made an idol out of the law, and yet the law isn't your salvation. The words of the scriptures themselves don't save you.

And even in saying that, like, ah, it feels almost heretical to say like, the Bible doesn't save you. We, we put so much value, rightly put, so much value on the Bible. But I think, I wonder if Jesus would look at us today and go, you, you look to the Bible to find life, but you're gonna end up empty, cause true life is only found in me.

Mm-hmm. . And so I think that that's, that's the heart of the message is going, I wonder how much we. Even very well-intentioned teachers and readers of the Bible and everyday Christians and pastors. How much do we go to the Bible and yet do we miss the actual source of life, even as we're valuing the actual words, which I believe are God's words, but, but they point to the true source of life.

Mm-hmm. . And so that's the message, and I think that's some of why I wrote is cause I, I feel like for myself and for many that I know, We're taught to preach the word, to go to the word to look at the Bible. But if, if we miss that the Bible's just a windshield pointing to a far greater view then in a sense we even miss the point of why God's given us his written words.

Rusty George: That's so well said. I, I come from the Midwest as well. I grew up in Kansas, went to school in Missouri. Okay. We pride ourselves in Bible knowledge and I'm from a non-denominational background, but we are, we've often been accused of feeling like our Trinity is the father of the Son and the Holy Bible.

Mm-hmm. where there's not a lot of spirited part of our beliefs, but we sure do memorize words. And I think you're right. I mean, I went to Bible college with a lot of people that knew the right answers, but were not like Jesus at all. It almost feels weird to say that, right? Like we're missing the point in reading the Bible.

Ben Connelly: Yeah, they, I mean, there's a pendulum swing we have to be really careful of. Right. And I, this is maybe my biggest. Prayer as I wrote the book, as, as you know, I pray for readers. I pray for my own discernment and nuancing sentences correctly. And then no matter how nuanced I feel like they are, of course editors tell me they need to be differently nuanced.

Cause that's how writing works , right? But by the end that was the biggest thing we were watching for is going, this is not a book that is anti-Bible by any means. It's rather, my hope is that, that it would draw people into maybe a right view or some, some renewed lenses that we've just lost because of tradition or lost because of kind of our common Christian practices that would return us to actually a higher view of the scriptures, but even a higher view of the Jesus at the scriptures at thispoint.

Rusty George: How did we get to this? You know? I mean, how did because it's so interesting that you quote that verse because obviously Jesus' audience... not his primary audience, but certainly the Pharisees, they had somehow drifted into this and they didn't even have what we refer to as the Bible. They had the scrolls from the Old Testament. Mm-hmm. . But H- how did we get to this point where we should know better? H- how suddenly do we become so religious about our Bible reading and make that our god?

Ben Connelly: Yeah. You say suddenly, and I'm, I'm curious. I think for a lot of us in our generation we've, we've inherited a lot of years of, of tradition and so I, I, right. I don't know, I wonder how suddenly it was. I even think of, you know, if, if Satan is a deceiver then could there be some spiritual level to which, you know, he's blinded our eyes over different years and that kind of stuff.

And, and if so, deceit is never overt. Right? It's never, Hey, you should, you should stop reading your Bible. Oh, okay. Sounds good. You know, , that's, that's not how that works. It's so much more subtle and right, and, and kind of drip, drip, drip over time. But I, but I think that one, one symptom, as it were is simply that we, we go to the Bible looking for something that makes it about me.

Hmm. We go to the Bible going, how can I know more about God? How can I feel better about myself? How can I feel holier? What are some rules that then I can try to follow? And, and, and, and it just goes against the core of the Christian message, which is, it's not about you. Like you can. No more. You can't know enough about God to make God love you more.

You can't feel any better about yourself to the point where X, Y, Z happens to where you're not gonna sin anymore. You can't, even if you do know the rules, at least for me as I think about this, , we can't follow the rules all the time. And so then we're left either pretending and putting on this good religious facade or just feeling guilt and shame of going, I can't do it.

I can't measure up. Mm-hmm. . And so I think that the bottom line is that when we go to the Bible hoping to find something for me, or we make the Bible all about me, how can it serve me? How can it make me smarter, me feel better? I I think we've just missed the whole point of God's message cause. The message of Christianity is you can't.

Yeah. But Jesus can't and Jesus did.

Rusty George: Yeah. It is interesting that somehow, I mean, that's the greatest message we have and that often gets missed. I just, I just had lunch with a church planner and he's telling me about having a conversation with a, a woman in his church, and she's just beginning to get the concept of grace.

Mm-hmm. . And about the moment she gets it, the light bulb goes off above her head and she. . Well, goodness. You should tell everybody about that.

Yeah. That's kind of what we're trying to do, you know, but we right. Yeah. , we we get mixed up in a lot of other things. You talk a little bit about the difference between a Christian way to read the Bible and an un-Christian way to read the Bible. Help us understand that a little. .

Ben Connelly: Yeah. And I think what we've just been talking about is largely the un-Christian way to read the Bible.

If, if we go to it saying, okay, I'm the main character and the Bible exists to serve me then we just have a, we have a wrong lens, we have a wrong starting point, and even the way we kind of dissect or go to scriptures, we're just looking for something to make me feel better. Let's, yeah, let's have a verse to.

to give us some catharsis for the day or some nugget we've never seen before. And, and again to, to avoid swinging the pendulum too far. Like the Bible is full of theology. There are commands and, and we know this. But there's even a way, and I, I, I write this in the book so I might get in trouble for saying this, but there's, there's a, there's a way to read, or for us who teach and preach the Bible, there's a way to preach the Bible in a way that it can be read or preached in a mosque or synagogue.

Hmm. that if Jesus is just a good example to follow, look, he was perfect. You should be more like him. And that's frankly like the way that a lot of Christians read or preach the Bible. Oh, I should be more like Jesus. Here's something that God told me to do. I should try to do that. Our Muslim and Jewish cousins see Jesus as a great prophet, an example to follow.

But what they miss is the fact that we can never be like, . And so again, religion would say, try, try, try, try, try and fail. Fail, fail, fail, fail. The core of the Christian message is Jesus was perfect. Yeah. But you can't be perfect. That's why we need the cross. Mm-hmm. , that's why we need the resurrection.

Mm-hmm. Is cause he wasn't just an example to follow, he was an example to follow, to be clear. But he wasn't just an example to follow. He's also. , the, the fulfillment of every promise and command and the redeemer of all brokenness. And the one who alone can do all the things that we're called to do and never can do.

And not only did he do them for us to follow, he did them on our behalf when we couldn't follow him. Mm-hmm. . And so I think the Christian way to read the Bible is to really go, okay, how. How is God the main character, not myself? What does this tell us about who God is? What God does? If we can accept that God is the main character of his own story then, then we get to go, okay, what part does do humans play in this?

And I think what we find is even the, the best humans are still imperfect. The best humans are still fallible, the best humans are still finite. And that's the best of humans. There's a lot of not best humans, laced throughout the scripture. . And so whether by example or contrast or just, you know, they get 50% there, but Jesus is a hundred percent there.

I think the question for seeing humans in the scriptures is, is how, how do we find ourselves not as the main characters, but in, in need of the main character. How do we need God to be God? How do we need Jesus? Not just to be the example, but also the fulfillment of everything?

Rusty George: Okay. So you're getting into what you refer to as the threefold remedy that will change everything. Specify that for us because man, as you're talking. I'm thinking about all the verses that we've all pulled outta context, whether it's I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That's up in every high school football locker room. Right. Whether it's Jeremiah 29:11 which we forget that the plans he has for us are often involving a lot of suffering over hundreds of years as the context for that one.

Ben Connelly: That's right.

Rusty George: And so many others down, down the list. Yep. W- you gave us these three steps walk us through that again because I think this is so crucial for us.

Ben Connelly: Yeah, and, and just to be clear, this isn't like a, you know, three steps or, and you'll never read the Bible wrong again. Money back guarantee. You know, it's, it's not, it's not that, it's not that simple, no silver bullets. But if they are, you know, the whole kind of motif we use in the whole book is different lenses.

And so the, the first lens is to see the Bible as God's story. That the, the very first words and the very last words about the scriptures and everything between Genesis one and Revelation are primarily telling the story of God. . They're not primarily telling the story of mankind, of me. They're, they're seeing over and over again, this is who God is.

This is his character, this is his goodness. This is the kind of work that God does and even some consistency of the work that God does. So, so that's kind of the first lens, is to see the Bible as God's story. And then, and only then do we rightly go, okay, where, where do humans fit within God's.

And again, what we find is we're not the main character, we're a best supporting cast. Hmm. But we're recipients of who God is and what God does. Mm-hmm. . And in our, again, in our best moments, we're subtle echoes or shadows of a much more glorious God in our worst of moments. There's a lot of contrast between who God is and what God does versus who we end up being and, and what we end up doing.

Hmm. And if that's true, David or Jezebel or whomever else that's in the scriptures, then, then I think we're invited to ask an honest question of like, okay, well who am I actually? Mm-hmm. . Like what? What character best defines me? Am I, am I the hero? Am I the one who comes in and saves Israel? No. I'm probably the one who scared and hiding behind a rock in need of a savior.

Mm-hmm. . So there's, there's a moment of honest introspection in the second question or second lens. If the first one is the Bible's about God, then the second lens is honestly, what role do humans play in God's story? Hmm. And then it draws us to this third lens, which is to say, how does every verse, every command, every story in the scriptures point to Jesus as, yes.

The example in the hero. , but more than just a hero. Cause like my eight year old son really wants to be like Spider-Man . But as it turns out, he'll never be able to be like Spider-Man. Cause only Spider-Man can be Spider-Man in a much more glorious and realistic way. Only Jesus can be Jesus. So how, how is Jesus not just the hero, but also the one who alone fulfills everything and does so on our behalf even when we can't?

He can't even when we didn't it. Hmm.

Rusty George: That's really. Three lenses. I love that. Okay, so you have some great teaser here on the book. That probably gets you into a little bit of trouble, but I'm just gonna read these and then I'm gonna let you talk about 'em. Sure. You say don't keep asking God for forgiveness.

Do judge one another and you're not going to heaven for all eternity. Wow. Tell us more, .

Ben Connelly: Sure. Okay. . So there's three different chapters for the record. So , okay, here we go. For the next hour and a half of me, of me talking through them all. Yeah, I think like in summary, and then I'll, I'll maybe I'll dive into the, the forgiveness one.

I think what we're, what I try to do in this book is draw out a lot of, okay, if, if those things are true, if what we just said is, Hey, we miss the lens a lot, we read the Bible in a way that makes it about us. And, and we miss God's original intent. then the core of what we miss is the everyday impact of the life, death, resurrection, and reign of Jesus.

Like what we can miss in, in our earnest readings of the Bible is we can miss the gospel. And so the, the idea of what is our relationship to asking God for forgiveness. once we're followers of Jesus, once we've been saved, like, that's been a, a wrestle for me for as long as I can remember. Probably 20 years.

And it started, I remember when it started. It was in one sermon while I was in late college, early seminary. And in the same sermon. , the, the, the pastor was very excitedly and exuberant saying, in Jesus's death, your sin is removed as far as the east is from the west, which is a, a biblical promise.

But then in the same sermon, he said, so every time you sin you have to ask God for forgiveness. Hmm. And it just struck me like, it feels like those two ideas contradict each other. And he, again, he was talking about folks who are already saved already. Followers of Jesus. Mm-hmm. . and it just felt like those two things were at loggerheads with each other.

And so over time, because I'm a huge nerd, I ended up giving some time to kind of study and go, okay, what's, what are we missing in this concept? And what I found was that before Jesus's death and there are many, many times when God's people. Are commanded to ask God for forgiveness every time that they sin.

And so this even goes back to Leviticus and offerings and, you know, various forms of what would be seen today. In some traditions as penance, you have to do this to kind of work your sin off or as, as an apology to God. And most clearly, there's gotta be a sacrifice offered to, to restore, re restore right relationship.

After Jesus's resurrection, there are zero commands in the New Testament to ask Gods for forgiveness for those of us who are Christians. Again, if there, if you're not a believer, yes, there is a moment where you repent of your sin and come to Jesus. If we sin against one another, yes, we still ask forgiveness of one another.

But, but for those who are in Christ, there are no commands to ask God for forgiveness. And that realization just just blew my mind cause what I see in Roman Catholic brothers and sisters is very much a working off their sin. For those of us in the more Protestant or evangelical world, even if we don't do kind of overt penance, how many times do we still feel like we have to earn our way back into God's good graces? Whether at least internally, if not externally. And then there's just so much conversation about ask God for forgiveness, ask God for forgiveness.

Rusty George: Right.

Ben Connelly: And when I, when I realized that we're not commanded to ask God for forgiveness for our continued sin, what it did is it made the cross and resurrection seem even greater in my mind.

And I think of the folks who kind of fearfully go to God and go, man, is this one too much for you? Did this one cross the line? There's no way that you could forgive this one again or this one because it's so big. And how much fear and trepidation that puts in folks and... and if we realize, no, no, no, even that has already been forgiven no matter how many times, no matter how big it was, it just makes Jesus' full and final sacrifice on the cross that much more glorious and that much more great, and it makes the gospel message just even more beautiful.

Rusty George: That was an amazing answer and something that I'm gonna really wrestle with cause you're right. I, I think that's exactly because I immediately, I got a 1 John 1:9 if we confess our sin, but that's before we come to Christ. But you're right now that we're in Christ.

Ben Connelly: Yeah.

Rusty George: And that does speak to the whole story of the gospel. Okay. So, yeah, I, I, I want to, I want to jump into the whole. Why, why should we judge one another and we don't get to go to heaven forever? So break those down for us.


Ben Connelly: Yeah. Well, and, and let me comment on John first, John one, nine for a sec. Cause I'm really glad you mentioned that. Cause a lot of folks would say, no, no, no.

We are called to confess our sins. Mm-hmm. To God even after we're after we're forgiven, after we're in Christ. And, and the answer is yes, we are called to confess, but that's different than asking God for forgiveness. To your point, I very much think for. in that context is written to folks who think they are Christ folks like me, frankly, folks who think they're Christians, they're religious, but are not followers of Jesus yet.

Oh. And so I think it is a call to, to the first repentance. But even if we are called to confess, confession is saying, oh God. Literally, God, I, I, I did do this again. I, I failed. , your holy standard, this kind of stuff. But there's a difference then between saying, will you please, please, please forgive me again for it versus what a lot of traditions actually carry out really beautifully after confession comes assurance, which is to say, I don't have to forgive you again.

Hmm. You already have been forgiven of even that. Right. So it, that, that distinction though, who is this actually written to is, is really, really important. Where do we find ourselves in our, in the stories Is part of what you're getting at by saying, yeah. That was written to folks who weren't believers.

That's so good. And I think in the same way, the, the, the, you know, maybe the most Used Bible verse over the course of 2020 and 2021 with all of our division was, well, you can't judge me if you're a Christian. Right? You know, we throw, we throw that, that line from Jesus's sermon on the Mount around.

Even if we don't believe in Jesus, frankly, it's a real easy go-to of, you know, thou shall not judge. And yet if we continue to read just a couple verses later, Jesus says, we'll take the, the plank out of your own eye. so that you can remove the speck from your brother's eye. And so what are he is saying is have integrity when you judge, you know, like realize that you're a sinner.

Hmm. And that you probably have some stuff in your own life as well, and, and, and realize that you've been redeemed and you've been cleansed by the blood of Jesus also. But then after we take that plank or log out of our own eye, . Part of the reason we do that is so we can go and serve our brother or sister, serve the, the, the person who does have a spec in their eye and try to come alongside them and serve them.

And so it's. It's, again, it's one of those coffee mug verses like you've mentioned, like it's easy to throw that around, but then if you read just a couple verses later, no, we're still called to call brothers and sisters to God's standard of holiness and to walk with them as they seek to attain it, as we would hope that they would do the same for us.

Mm-hmm. Paul in his letters to the Corinthians specifically commands followers of Jesus to judge one another. Mm-hmm. In. , the folks that he commands us not to judge, are those outside of the faith. and man, it feels like we've reversed those two commands in our culture today.

Rusty George: Oh, . Absolutely. Especially over the last couple years, as you mentioned.

Mm-hmm. man, we held people to things they haven't subscribed to exactly. Ever in their lifetime. And we're condemning them for their lack of morality about something they don't even believe in. Right. And yet internally, we just, you know, oh. Yep. Don't judge,

Ben Connelly: not allowed to touch anything. Yeah. So we, we don't judge the folks in the church.

We do judge the folks outside the church, capital C Church, and that's just right, the complete opposite. And, and, and again, the, the change there has to go back to Jesus's life, death, resurrection, and reign. That, that why is it that we can both judge others and receive quote unquote, judgment from others.

It. It's the realization that none of us can live the perfect holy life that Jesus lived. Mm-hmm. . That all of us are imperfect and all of us need others who are strong and rest you. I trust that you're strong in some areas of faith and life that I'm not, I would need you if we were in community together to come alongside me and take specs out of my eye.

Right. And if I'm strong in any areas you're not. Then part of the Christian community is I get to come alongside you and. , remove specs out of out of your eye. Mm-hmm. . . And so it's only the gospel that gives us the standard for judgment. Mm-hmm. , because otherwise, well, I'm just gonna judge you based on what I wanna see happen.

Wouldn't we all do that? Hmm. In Jesus's perfect life, we have the standard of holiness. And in his death and resurrection, we're freed to say, Hey, I actually need you to judge me. Mm. And you need me to, to pursue holiness with you too.

Rusty George: That's good. So give us the the part about not going to heaven for eternity.

What does that. .

Ben Connelly: Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and man, this is, this is what I hope gives us a hopeful view of all of eternity. And that's to say that Jesus is not about destroying, Jesus is about rebuilding. Mm-hmm. He doesn't destroy us for our sin as, as long as we are willing to, to come to him and seek the restoration that only he can offer.

He's restoring us and then he calls us to be his ministers of restoration. Ministers of reconciliation is how Paul puts it in Second Corinthians chapter five. And in some veins that means we're only trying to share the gospel and get people saved. . But if we look at Jesus' current reign and our role in it, which is to, to join Jesus in his prayer, father, your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

Then what we get to enact today is little glimpses of what Revelation actually talks about. , which is not man. Finally, one day we get to leave this hell hole and escape it and go to some, you know, cloud city in the sky, but rather God's gonna bring heaven to earth. And all of this will be reconciled and all of this will be made even better than it was in the Garden of Eden.

And so we get to take the, you know, maybe silly reading into it, but take the vacations we never got to take during this life. And then Venice won't be, you know, plummeting into the, into the sea then. Cause all of life will be perfect and , there'll be no pain and no crying. All these things are true. But, but most of all, we get to be.

With God on this earth, just like Adam and Eve were with God on this earth. Yeah. And we get to enjoy the relationship in the restored creation that he's been pursuing ever since. Sin entered the world and broken this, followed it.

Rusty George: Did you intentionally quote, empire Strikes Back and Cloud City? Maybe a little

Ben Connelly: bit.

Yeah. Yeah.

Rusty George: Okay. Okay. Because that's Matt Props and I, I have high respect for

Ben Connelly: that. . Thanks very much. There's a hidden Ted lasso quote in the book as well that I was frankly surprised that Moody led by. Oh.

Rusty George: So, oh, well they haven't seen it, that's why.

Okay. I, I love this book and I'm telling everybody that's listening to this podcast get a copy of it because it's so, so helpful. A a a couple of last things. The distinction between household of God instead of the House of the Lord help us kind of

Ben Connelly: parse through that. Sure. Yeah. And very simply, houses are structures that have no meaning or.

Worth. except for the memories that are created except for the people that fill the house. And Hmm. We hear the term household of God. And in our kind of English language vernacular, a lot of times it gets just talked about as the House of God. And so churches get talked about as the house of God. So mm-hmm.

come into the house of God and, and worship, and this is where the presence of God is. And for the record, there, there was a, an era of history that that was. , mm-hmm. , like God has always had a dwelling place with his people on. In in Eden, which we just talked about a moment ago in the Tabernacle. He says, my presence is going to primarily be in the Holy of Holies in the temple.

It's going to be the Holy of Holies. So there was a time in history when, when there was a physical primary household of God. But again, this is some of the change that Jesus' death and resurrection makes. is that he promised that he would send the spirit. And then again, to quote the Apostle Paul, he says, you now are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Hmm. And, and so where does God exist in the world today? It, God exists wherever his people are. There's a common quote that says, you may be the only Jesus that people ever see. Mm-hmm. . And there's something of that that's just echoing the, the current era reality of God's presence not being confined to one building with a steeple or otherwise. And, and especially not being confined to just one hour on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night or whatever. We are God's temple. And so we are God's household. We are those who fill the, the, eventually the eternal temple, the, the, the heavens on the earth that we just talked about a moment ago. But we are the household of God, which is distinctly different than a physical location or time.

Rusty George: Mm. Hey, Ben. Let me ask you one last question here. You mentioned. There's a different definition behind hashtag Blessed. What should that be?

Ben Connelly: Yeah, man. So blessed can mean anything and everything we want it to be today if, if I want something, I get it. I go, Hey, I'm blessed. And there is a moment just again, to avoid swinging the pendulum too far, like God loves pour out blessings on his children. So, but to truly be blessed as it's talked about in the Old Testament as it's talked about in the life of Jesus and modeled by. To be blessed is to receive something unique from God, but specifically to kind of.

Be able to turn around and bless others with it to, to bless God, to, to give him thanks and, and praise and to remember what Jesus' own Half-brother said that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord. And so we return the blessing to him or, and or to, to, to be used for the benefit of, of other people. That is what a truly blessed life.

Rusty George: That's awesome, Ben. The, the, the book is awesome. No, thank you. The, the work is well done. And it's been fun having you on the podcast. You're a really sharp thinker especially you know, surprisingly being from Texas. So you know, you're kind of breaking the stereotypes.

Ben Connelly: I'm kidding. Well, we gotta do something while we walk, you know, to the outhouses, since we don't have indoor plumbing, so we gotta Exactly, exactly. Think deeply about things. Yeah, exactly. Well,

Rusty George: I'm just impressed you finally got electricity. Good for you, . Exactly. Hey brother, all the best to you. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast and for sharing this great resource with us.

Ben Connelly: It's an honor. Thank you for having me, and I hope to talk again sometime. Thanks, Rusty.

Rusty George: Well, that was so helpful for all of us, I think. I wanna thank Ben for being a guest on the show and. Make sure you go and check out his book that's coming out and make sure you get a copy of that. Next week we're gonna be back with a special episode specifically for pastors and specifically for those who are pastors that are alone right now.

And what I mean by that is not lonely, but you are the only pastor on staff. Maybe that you're a church planner, maybe you've inherited a, an a, an old or an aging church and you feel like, boy, it's just you. Well, Gary McIntosh has written a great resource that makes solo pastoring simple, and so we're gonna talk to him and hear what he has to say.

I wanna invite you, if you would just leave us a review of the podcast. That really helps us get the word out. There's so many that are out there and we'd love to get this out so people can get the help they need and then share it with a friend. That is a huge compliment to us when you do that. So thanks so much for being a part of Leading Simple Today, and we will talk to you next week. As always, keep it simple.

Intro/Outro: Take a moment and subscribe to the podcast so you'll get it delivered every week. And subscribe to the Rusty George YouTube channel for more devotionals messages and fun videos. Thank you for listening to Leading Simple.

Rusty George: As we mentioned at the top of the podcast, our friends at BELAY are offering a free copy of their resource for costly financial mistakes for churches exclusively. To our podcast listeners today, BELAYs modern church staffing solutions have been helping busy church leaders delegate important financial details for over a decade.

Their fractional US based contractors provide accounting and. Virtual assistant services to level up your church through the power of delegation, just text Rusty. That's R-U-S-T-Y to 55-123 to claim this exclusive offer and get back to growing your church with BELAY. That's rusty, R-U-S-T-Y to 55-123.

Creators and Guests

Rusty George
Rusty George
follower of Jesus, husband of lorrie, father of lindsey and sidney, pastor of real life church
Episode 240: Ben Connelly tells us to stop asking for forgiveness.
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