Dave Dawson: Hey, welcome to the deeper dive podcast. This is our second one. This is going to be exciting. Join this well I'm Dave Dawson and we'll just kind of go around the horn. We've um, here's our team today.
Adam Phillips: Adam Phillips campus, pastor in West Pasco.
Jason Greene: And Jason Green, a senior pastor of Bethel church. And we have a special guest with us as well today.
Joe Svoboda: Yeah, my name's Joe Svoboda , I'm the group life director here at Bethel church in Richland.
And I'm glad to be with you. Yeah. Thank you,.
Dave Dawson: Joe., just in, from, I should say, just in, but in, from China. How long, by the way, how long were you in China?
Joe Svoboda: Uh, nine and a half years.
Dave Dawson: Okay. Yeah. Real quick. How have you been doing since you've been back.
Joe Svoboda: Good. Uh, the Lord's always using different environments to teach us new things and...
Dave Dawson: Including this thing today.
Joe Svoboda: He's teaching me new things.
Dave Dawson: No, that's awesome. That's really good. Well, what we do in the deeper dive podcast is we zero in on the, the message of the week, but not as a rehash. But it's to go deeper into some concept or some, um, some part of the, uh, maybe some difficult parts of the scripture. And so today I'm, I'll go ahead and just read the scripture.
Cause it's real short it's on, this. Colossians 2:6-7. It says this, "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus, the Lord. So walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith just as you were taught. Abounding in Thanksgiving." It's just a great, a great scripture. So the, you know, the message this week really centers on our relationship with God himself as Christians.
Obviously as children who, who know God. Um, Jason, you want to remind us last week, you shared with us the three primary relationships that Jesus had and kind of gave us, uh, a true north for the future. You want to, to remind us of that.
Jason Greene: Yeah. Yeah. It really is. We're going to be focusing on these three relationships for quite some time.
And I guess just getting back to the basics of what we talked about last the last week, you know, we need to remember that Christianity, first of all, it is not a religion. It is a relationship with Jesus that results in radical life change. And as we've been studying Jesus, we're going to continue to do that.
So we study his life and in the New Testament, we find that his life was all about. Relationships. And in particular, these three relationships, uh, his life revolved around his relationship with his father, his relationship with the disciples, and then his relationship with people who didn't know God at all.
And so a verse from last week, we talked about First John 2:6, which says this: "The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked." And so what that means for us is if we're going to walk with Jesus, if we're going to be faithful followers of Jesus, we need to walk in the way that he walked.
And how did he walk? He walked, he walked out these three relationships every single day. And so at Bethel, we want to strive to grow in these three relationships, our relationship with God, our relationship with the church and our relationship with the world. And we just believe that as we develop and deepen these three relationships in life rhythms, we're going to grow as followers of Jesus. And we're going to bring others along as well.
Dave Dawson: Okay. That's great. Hey, so whether we're, you know, we're extroverts or introverts, relationships really is the name of the game. So, but the fact is, you know what? Relationships are just difficult. They're, they're hard, including our relationship with God.
They're hard to, hard to build. They're hard to maintain. So. Why is that? Why are, why are relationships so difficult to build and maintain?
Joe Svoboda: I'll jump in on that, man. Um, I think a lot about relationships has to do with proximity. And what I mean by that is, when you go to work, you know, you have a work relationship, it doesn't require a lot from you. You've got a limited amount of time. Uh, the level of intimacy is also limited. Uh, so, so you just have, you have something that's sort of blocked off and you can kind of not have to put too much into it. But when that proximity gets closer, the cost goes up. And so the more intimacy you have, the, the more demands there are on that. So sort of that time, the transparency, uh, in what you're putting into that relationship has to go up to maintain its health and, and build it both. And what does, what I think this gets back to is what is God after. What level of intimacy is God after.
Dave Dawson: Yeah.
Joe Svoboda: He's after it all.
Dave Dawson: Right. Even with people, you know, we have to ask, we ask ourselves, why am I willing to invest in this person? Right. Yeah. Am I willing to reveal of myself even in our marriages, right? Yeah. What about you, Adam?
Adam Phillips: Yeah, maybe building on that just a little bit, you know, God wants all of us, our relationships with other people requires us to give ourselves, but like part of our sin nature is that we're curved in on ourselves. And so most days, I think we're looking out for number one, for ourself and looking out for the things we need. And it's difficult to turn outward and to give ourselves and to invest relationally the way we need to. And so, as we think about relationship, even with God, um, it's so easy to sort of get trapped I think in fulfilling the things that we want for ourselves and to get distracted from what we need to do for that relationship.
Dave Dawson: Okay. So there, there are some really powerful things that are working actually against in relationships, right. It's kind of difficult. Um, Jason, what does it, what does it actually mean to have a relationship with God?
Jason Greene: Man. That's a great question. That, I mean, that is the question, right? I mean, if we can answer that question, what does it mean to have a relationship with God?
Um, I think a lot of people are asking that question honestly. Um, So here, I'll get a little Jesus-y on you here. I'm going to answer your question with a question which I think is a good place to begin. I mean, so I guess the question is, um, getting back to, we want to walk in the way that Jesus walked. So what did it look like for Jesus to have a relationship with the father?
Right. So if we think about that, and we unpacked this a little bit last week and this week as well. Um, well, first of all, It was possible for Jesus to have a relationship with a father. Why? Well, because he is the, he is, he is the son, he's the second person in the Trinity, right? So he has this, this eternal, self-sufficient relationship just because he is a part of the trinity, which has God.
So it is possible this relationship has existed for all time, always will. It's actually possible to have, and therefore as Jesus, the God man come to earth, he is, he is fueled up by this relationship with the father. And so, um, what did this relationship look like? Well, we know it looked like, uh, exactly what Joe and Adam were talking about.
It was not turning it on self. It was turning outward to others. It was being fueled by the proximity. to the father .It was time away. It was that investment with him. I mean, I've, I've been struck as we're reading through the gospels at the proximity that he has to the father. It seems like at all times in every way, Jesus didn't move unless the father said move. He didn't speak unless the father was saying, here are the words. It was, he was so guided and directed by that. So if Jesus is our model then, okay, so come back to your question, Dave, how do we have a relationship with God? Well, first of all, it is not possible for us to have a relationship with God apart from Jesus. Right? And what if you look at Second Corinthians, I think it's 5:18. It says that we, because of Christ, we can be reconciled to God. What does reconciliation means? It mean, it means that we had a relationship with God and that relationship with God was severed, because of sin...
Dave Dawson: brought back into proximity, kind of Joe was talking about
Jason Greene: Exactly. I mean, it was, they had proximity right? Back to Joe's word and that proximity, it was actually, I mean, there was a, there was a severing of that relationship and that proximity, God said go. Like, like, like I am actually going to create distance in this proximity, in our relationship. Really interesting. But because of Jesus, we can actually ask and answer that question. What does it mean to have a relationship with God? Well, first of all, know that it's possible because of Jesus. He has reconciled us. And so that relationship is possible. But second, I think it looks a lot like the way Jesus interacted with the father. It is, it is intimacy. It is proximity. It is being fueled. It is communicating with the Father.
In fact, we are brought into that relationship. Right? The very relationship he had with the father, we are brought into that. The whole thing about I am in you and you were at me and yeah, that's just wonderful.
Adam Phillips: Two words came to my mind. As you were talking, you just said, Jesus is the model. Like we watch him, we observe him and we imitate him. But like, he's also the mode. Like he's the way that we actually engage with the father. So, that's in my mind sort of helps me think about. But the two essential pieces of that relationship.
Dave Dawson: Okay. So once we actually have a relationship, right, we have through Jesus, we have come into relationship with God, right. Then been brought into that whole Jesus, father relationship. The fact is there are, there are things that we can do to, to... I guess you can say poison that to, um, take it off, um, off the, off the path. So what are, what might be some of the typical ways that like we as Christians, we, as people, we actually poison our relationship with God.
Jason Greene: Well, I'll jump in. So I mentioned a couple of them. I don't know if it's, I don't know if it's poison. I think it's certainly distraction. If I could say that, um, one of them is, is it's it's this whole, uh, it's this activity based relationship, right? It's saying, I think there, I think there's a lie out there that we, we say that, um, spiritual maturity actually, uh, is dependent upon spiritual activity. I just don't think that that's true. Spiritual activity is, is good. And that should come with spiritual maturity, but they are not one in the same. And so I think one of the things is, is we just get busy doing things for God. And completely missed the boat in our understanding that it is not about doing things for him.
It is about being with him like, like take prayer, for instance, right. Is prayer about acknowledging, like our list of the things that we need to God, or is it actually about being with a person?
Dave Dawson: Okay. So it kind of the whole B versus do things, you know,
Joe Svoboda: I'm jumping there too, because I think this is interesting. You see this in marriage counseling as well. You've got the wife and the husband and their marriage isn't doing well. And the counselor is sitting there and the wife says, she's like, "He's just not, he's just not in the relationship." And he says, "What are you talking about? You, you asked me to, to take more time with the family. So I set this time and we go to the park and we do this and that. And then you said you wanted more of this. So I did that. And I'm like what else do you want me to do?"
Meanwhile, you know, the wife is kind of curling in on herself and thinking, man, he doesn't know because that's, that's how you checklist a relationship and still not be in the relationship. She knew he was doing those things, but he wasn't in it. And I think that's kind of with God too, you can checklist where you think like I'm in the relationship, but the fact of the matter is you're not, you're not in God knows that,
Dave Dawson: You know, I, I have found even, even for myself, that if you asked me, Hey, how are you doing with the Lord and stuff?
I immediately go to the checklist of whether or not I've done, my, I've had my quiet time. Have I read my Bible, have I prayed? Right? It's like that, that kind of goes back to what you were talking about, Jason, you know, that's an act. And I think sometimes I equate my relationship with God with whether or not I've done that activity.
Right. And that's, that's not, yeah. Yeah. That's not necessarily a measure of the, of the, of the relationship. It certainly helps us in that relationship, right? I mean, we all know, right? We're, we're a church that we, Hey, we preach read the word and that, but that is to enable us to have a relationship with God. It teach, it guides us in the way to have a relationship with him. Right.
Jason Greene: Yeah, so that's so good because honestly, if, if Christianity was a checklist, I mean, I don't know, in some ways, as I'm thinking about this, as you guys are saying it in some ways I would prefer that, right. Because if I have a checklist, I know that I'm okay.
If I can, if I can get through my 10 things that are required of me in a day, I can lay my head down on a pillow at night and say, man, I'm good. Right? But that's not faith. Right? That's health. I mean, who, who of us, you know, on this podcast who wants to be married to a checklist, you know, in that relationship?
I mean, I do you wake up in the day and say, all right, I need to. Uh, point number one is I need to tell my wife that I love her. You know, I...
Dave Dawson: Kiss her.
Jason Greene: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you're just going through the checklist, you know, you do things for her and she says, why do you do this? And you say, well, you know, it's on my checklist. W w I mean, it sounds strikingly similar to the law, right? Some of the things that the law does in our lives. And I think...
Joe Svoboda: That gets back to we, we love predictability. And that's that relationships are not that. There's too many variables floating around. And I think God purposely leaves it at that because you can't compromise the relationship if you're really in the relationship.
But we love to try to find the formulas don't we? Predict God; A plus B equals C and then if I can figure that out, I don't have to interact with him. I can just plug in the variables and then God's like, no, that's not.
Jason Greene: Well, even when we look at these verses in front of us, you know, we received Jesus as Lord. And then Paul says, so walking him, like continue to grow in that relationship, but you do that by being rooted. Like you're not going anywhere. It's like you start with relationship and then you move on to something else, but it's deeper. Dig into Jesus every single day, relationally with him. And one way I heard it said one time is that if the gospel isn't just the ABCs of the Christian life, if you know the first part, and then you sort of get into the busy work, but it's not A to Z, right? It's, it's, what's bringing us into relationship with Christ every single day. And then out of that, and as an overflow comes doing things for God.
Dave Dawson: So I think we all resonate with the whole checklist thing maybe as part of being an American or I don't know, just our busy culture. So how do we keep our relationship with God from becoming a checklist?
Jason Greene: You know, I. There are certainly things that we do. You know, I was thinking about, even as we were talking about the 1% challenge, right.
My thought was all right, we, we put this out here. Are we telling people here's your new checklist? Right. 1% challenge, 15 minutes a day in the word and in prayer, um, you know, 90 minutes a week in, in worship and. No. And, and I think it, I think it has to do with heart posture. Like there's a difference between a checklist and a rhythm, like back to the whole marriage thing.
Right. I want to love my wife. I don't want to love her in a checklist type of way. My heart posture towards her is I want to love her. I want to honor her. I want to, I want to come alongside her and do everything that, you know, Ephesians 5 tells me that it are, you know, my responsibilities as a, as a husband.
Um, that's my heart posture to do that. And so there's this overflow, but the overflow is not just random. Like there are rhythms in our marriage. There is rhythms that I try to attempt to do as a father. Uh, with my kids, like, I don't pray with my kids in their beds every night or read a story to them because it's a checklist.
It's because I love them. I want to invest in them. I want to build them up in Christ. And so I, yeah, it's hard, right? Because you could easily look at. Like I said, even the 1% challenge and say, yeah, thanks Bethel for another checklist. It's it's not that what we're trying to do is build in healthy rhythms in people's lives because we know that, you know, the best way to build a relationship is, is through time. It really is.
Dave Dawson: I'll go back to what I said earlier about just my own reading, the Bible and stuff. So I do, I do the one year Bible. That's that's what I do. I'm about. Probably six weeks behind. Right. So I'm six weeks behind everybody else. So don't laugh. Some of you guys might be further back there, but, um, sometimes I look at that and I have a little bit of a war in my mind, right. I'm like, Oh my gosh, you know, I'm six weeks behind, you know, whatever, rather than looking at, at it that as the, that how many days have I read?
And it's just led me into a good time with the Lord. Right. Emphasizing the positive. Here. Here's what I here's what I have done. And this has enabled me to walk with the Lord anyway, instead of just like, Oh my gosh, I'm always looking at what I haven't done. How I haven't, uh, what I haven't achieved. I have not met my goals. I haven't met my own standards. Right. Some of those someones things can, they can just kill us.
Joe Svoboda: So I was gonna I'll piggyback off of that as well. I think, I think it's no different. So if you've got a, a relationship that's struggling, right? A lot of times the counselor will still give, give them a little challenges.
Now they're not, it's not to move them into the checklist, but these are the markers of a healthy relationship. So the encouragement goes out. You guys need to spend time together, more, you need to talk more, you need to do, and they have some activities and things, but the idea is you're looking for the heart result.
So I'm doing this, but I'm, I'm what I'm hoping to get out of that is sort of some new life that, that the heart begins to come back. The love begins to take over again, and then that becomes sort of a natural routine, a natural expression. Sometimes you got to get back to those. I think those are, those are, those are fine, but if you'd start checklisting to say I'm doing these things, thus, my relationship is good. That's not right. It has to be. Can I point to the heart result? Based on your, your, uh, doing and practicing of these particular things.
Dave Dawson: Well, in this, um, the description we looked at here this week and Colossians, this is a very Christ centered verse, right? Where did we rooted in him? Built up in him, established in him or to give thanks for him.
So, um, the other thing that's kind of embedded in this verse about Christ himself, is it. He is Lord Jesus is Lord. So how, how does walking with Jesus as Lord help us to maybe not poison our relationship with him or not turn this thing into a checklist? Because Jesus is, Lord was a, it was a big part of this message to the Colossians to help them counteract some of the, you know, the heresies that they were kind of starting to fall into.
Jason Greene: Yeah, again, I think it comes back to heart posture, right? So if you hear Lord, like, um, we, we, as a, as a teaching team, we were talking about this this week, you know, to follow Christ, who is the Messiah? Like he is the promised deliver, man. I can do that to follow Jesus, the friend of sinners. That makes sense to me, but to come to him as Lord like that, even that term Lord, it is so far removed from our language.
I mean, we don't, we don't have Kings and Lords that we kind of bend our knee to. Um, and, and so to say, yes, Jesus, with my heart, man, you deliver me, you save me. But then when you come to him as Lord, essentially what we need to say is command me. And that is, that is. I mean, that's completely different, right?
That takes, that that's a different posture, but. Are you, are you saying command me in the sense that I'm reluctant to do it because I don't trust you? I don't have a relationship with you? As opposed to coming to that Lord. That is first of all, Christ, who is Jesus. And then I willingly not reluctantly come to him and bend my knee and say command me because I know you.
You know me, you've rescued me. You've saved me. You've befriended me. You've brought me into your family. Command me.
Dave Dawson: Right? You remember back in a few, Jason, Jesus said, look, take my yoke upon you. He says, you know, my, my yoke is easy. My, my commands are light. This is good for you. This is a relationship of love.
My commandments are not meant to dominate you. They're meant to bring, to make your life flourish.
Jason Greene: Hmm.
Dave Dawson: You know your life flourishes by recognizing me as Lord.
Adam Phillips: Yeah. I was going to say, you know, Lord signifies like master King, but also like Lord has precedent in the scriptures and is connected to the divine name. You know, that God reveals to Israel all the way back in Exodus. And so as we're coming to the King, the Lord and saying, command me, we, as we remember his character, like God says, my name is Lord, which means gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. So as we come to him, like he. He's a God of grace and a God who is pursuing us and a God who's patient. So if we can keep marinating in that, you know, I think that can keep us from. Making checklists and poisoning.
Dave Dawson: Okay. Well then...
Joe Svoboda: That actually spurred a thought of me as well. You see, in Matthew, in the, in the sermon, on the Mount, he, he says to them, he says, um, you know, if you're not, man, what can man do to you?
Right. If you're Him that has the power to pass both body and soul into hell. Yeah, you say you fear him. And you're like, Oh man. So there's very much like you want to know who has the power and the position. And there's something about that in the Christian walk. You need to recognize that and embrace that.
But two verses later, he says the very hairs on your head are numbered. Therefore fear, not in your life. Well, which is it to fear or not to fear? And yet what I think he's pointing out there yeah is like fear his position, fear his power. But not his person, like who his heart is like the character, Adam, what you were just saying. Know that his, his thoughts towards you are good. Like, he loves you like crazy. He wants life for you, joy for you, all these things. And so when you trust his heart, you'll submit to his power more readily.
Adam Phillips: It's like amazing grace. Right? One of the lines is like, your grace taught me to fear and that same grace, my fears relieved, relieved my fears.
Dave Dawson: Well, Joe, you're kind of on a roll once you, uh, yeah. He's getting fired up here. So
Joe Svoboda: I don't know if I'll be asked back, so I get it in right now.
Dave Dawson: So yeah. Yeah. The whole thing today has been zeroing in, on a relationship with God and, and those things that take us off that naturally. How would you, how would you wrap up today? I'm just summarized what we've said.
Joe Svoboda: Man. I'll tell you what what's fascinating for me is kind of the more I thought about kind of the universe we live in, everything's predicated on relationship. Physics, biology, the whole, everything Adam's molecules, everything is predicated on a relationship which should come to no surprise, right?
Because I mean, God is a triune. God, he's a God of relationship. And so it shouldn't surprise the size of the very center of this thing is that it is a desire for proximity and relationship.
Jesus is his command and, and, and or his prayer in John 17. That we'd be one. That's what he's after. He's after that one is. And so today, as I'm hearing from you guys, I'm like, yes, he's the model, but he's the mode. They're spiritual maturity. It does not equal spiritual activity. It's not just the doing it's the being, it's all. It's this whole thing. Can we center ourselves around a relationship and then recognize that that relationship is only possible because of what Jesus has done.
And then, and then ask ourselves, what are the healthy markers of relationship? And I'm experiencing those. So if I'm doing like the 1% challenge. I'm doing that. But at the back of that is men, is this affecting my heart? Is this affecting my life? What am I hearing from him? How is he guiding me? Where is he encouraging me?
If you don't have those relational questions, you're going to fall into, we do a Pharisical mindset. And that's the very thing. Yeah. Yeah.
I mean, Jesus spoke out against anything. It was that, and that became a target of a lot that's hypocrisy. So it's gotta be a heart issue. That's kind of what I'm taking away from this.
Um, I also, I loved what Jason said. You know, there's a place where it's like Christ the promise deliver, Jesus. He's the friend of sinners. And so that there's that man, there's that soft side, but then there's the Lord. And so when you come to this moment, give him that place, just like in Colossians 2:6-7 Christ Jesus, the Lord, those three things and say to him, I'm yours fully surrendered. Command me.
Adam Phillips: Yeah. Anything else that you guys?
Yeah, that's good. Right. Well, Jason, uh, can you, you can kind of continue to wrap up. We, you want to tell us a little more about the reading plan?
Jason Greene: Yeah. So we have a checklist for you and I'm just kidding , not a checklist, but what we are trying to do is we are trying to create healthy rhythms for every single one of us.
And one of the best investments that you can possibly make studies tell us time. And again, that the greatest rhythm that you can enter into in your life that will affect every other area of your life is daily Bible engagement. It, it just is. And I hope that, you know, I don't see it as a checklist again.
I think it comes back to heart posture. Uh, but we, we want to enter into this 1% challenge together and. You know, I heard from some people as we introduced it this last week, they said 1%, man, how weak is that? You know? But then you, then you roll out those different 1% of your week and your month and your year.
And my guess is, is, um, brought some conviction, right? Some I heard from way more people that said, man, uh, I, I'm not given 1% in these different areas. And so, yeah, just to, just to recap again, if you haven't jumped, jumped in our re our R E reading plan, we're reading through the gospels. Um, and if you haven't picked up on a theme that we're really trying to drill down into is in order to be a follower of Jesus.
We have to know Jesus. We have to know who he is, what he did, where he went, who he interacted with. And here's what I want to challenge you to do, jump into our plan, whatever day you're listening to this podcast. It's on our website at Bethel dot C H. We'd love to have you join us. As we read through the gospels, and here is the primary point of why we're reading through the gospels.
We want to read through their gospels and we want to see things that are in Jesus that we do not see in ourselves. And then we want to adjust because we want to be made and formed into the image and likeness of Jesus. And I guarantee you whatever day you're on, you've been reading through the gospels and you are seeing things in Jesus that you do not see in yourself.
What are you doing about that? Let's adjust and let's do. Yeah. And let's bear the image of Christ. Well,
Dave Dawson: Alright. Hey, those are some great, great thoughts to wrap this up. Okay. Well, thank you guys, Joe. Thank you for being with us, man. Appreciate it. By the way. We're just so glad you're here. How long have you been back on staff again?
Joe Svoboda: You said at the beginning, but about two years.
Dave Dawson: Okay. Yeah. Good. Well, once again. Thanks man. Thanks guys. Yeah. Yeah.