Join us today for the Interview with Paul Granger, podcaster from "Where did You See God?"...

This is the interview I had with speaker, podcast host, and author Paul Granger.  

In today’s podcast episode I interview Paul Granger.  I ask Paul why he has a podcast and book focused on Where you see God.  I also ask Paul how we can cultivate a practice of seeking God in simple ways.  Paul also shares with you why we shouldn’t view our faith as either spiritual or worldly, but both. 

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1364: Interview with Paul Granger from the Podcast "Where Did You See God?"

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1364 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:08] Paul Granger: I'm Paul Granger. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence, and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to lean into our faith in God is key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this.

[00:00:28] The Inspired Stewardship podcast with my friend Scott Maderer,

[00:00:40] and there could be all this pressure, but the truth is, you look at the lives of the disciples and actually so many of the people we would call heroes of the Faith, they had moments of like seeming like super Christians or super believers, but they had also many moments where they struggled, many moments where they missed the mark.

[00:00:59] Scott Maderer: Welcome [00:01:00] and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.

[00:01:34] In today's podcast episode, I interview Paul Granger. I ask Paul why he has a podcast and book focused on where you see God. I also ask Paul about how we can cultivate a practice of seeking God in simple ways. And Paul also shares with you why we shouldn't view our faith as either spiritual or worldly, but both.

[00:01:55] I've got a new book coming out. called Inspired Living, assembling the [00:02:00] puzzle of your call by mastering your time, your talent, and your treasures. You can find out more about it and sign up for getting more information over at InspiredStewardship. com Inspired Living. That's InspiredStewardship. com Inspired Living.

[00:02:19] Through serving in various forms of ministry for over two decades, Paul has realized the predominant theme has been cultivating authentic, accessible space to process God in life. He has spent the last two decades serving with various ministries, and now serves full time alongside YWAM and other entities in loving his neighbors in authentic ways.

[00:02:41] He's a content creator, whether it's his podcast, Where Did You See God?, his writings, or in videos. Love spending time with his wife and kids, and they see their home, which God gave them in a rather crazy way, as an important piece of how they love their neighbors as a lifestyle. Paul enjoys sharing what [00:03:00] it means to take crazy steps of faith, how to persevere through hardship, and how to hold firm to the belief that God is God and God is good, no matter the circumstances.

[00:03:10] Welcome to the show, Paul!

[00:03:12] Paul Granger: It's great to be here. I'm excited to have a conversation.

[00:03:15] Scott Maderer: Absolutely. I'm looking forward to it today. I mentioned a lot in the intro, but I always try to talk about intros as the Instagram version of our life, right? It's always just the highlights.

[00:03:27] It's never the real story. Can you talk a little bit about your journey and why do you do a podcast called? Where do you see God? Where did that come from? What is it

[00:03:39] Paul Granger: about? Yeah. I grew up always just knowing who God was, at least on some level, grew up going to church from a baby, grew up going to church all my life.

[00:03:53] But it wasn't until middle and high school that I actually began to press into what does this actually mean for me? What does it [00:04:00] mean for me to be a Christian? What does it mean to me to have a relationship with God? And that was one of the pivotal moments that shaped what the rest of my life would look like, because.

[00:04:11] We're told all the ways that life is supposed to look and how we're supposed to function, but I had this clear sense that I had an opportunity to live my life for God. I didn't know what that would mean yet, but I knew that opportunity was there. And my invitation was to step towards that.

[00:04:27] And so I began stepping right. I went to a Christian university and thought I might be a pastor. And then I felt like God was inviting me instead to step into full time ministry. And all along the way, there became moment after moment that honed my understanding of who God was. My understanding of who I was and what that meant for the next step forward.

[00:04:47] But one of the most important moments was I found myself in 2006, serving with this ministry called Urban Promise Wilmington. And again, at this point, I've gone to a Christian university, gone to church all [00:05:00] my life, done a lot of checkmark Christian things. But then I found myself in this meeting with the executive director, and he looked at us and he said, Alright, I'm going to ask a question, we're all going to go around and everybody's going to share.

[00:05:13] Where did you see God today? And again, here I am the guy who had checked all the boxes on the be a good Christian thing. And I could not think of an answer, could not think of a single answer. And so I tried to come up with something and he didn't fall for it. He presses a little deeper, but I remember leaving that feeling convicted.

[00:05:33] How can I say that I am living for God, seeking God, serving God, but not be able to recognize him in my day? That should be a softball question. And I didn't know what to do with it. And so it pushed to me this understanding that I was willing to be retroactive in terms of looking for God, but what could it look like to be proactive?

[00:05:55] What could it look like to go into the day expecting God to work, move, or speak, [00:06:00] and to be attentive to it? And I would like to say I did that perfectly from then on I did, but that

[00:06:08] Scott Maderer: realization again, you decided you should tell the truth, right?

[00:06:12] Paul Granger: And so what that did is it shaped how then I could go into any season of my life and grow in that ability to look for God.

[00:06:21] So fast forward all the way, it's 2018. I. had been in the midst of three years of a really difficult, in ways toxic, ministry environment. And then one year where God had kept me in that space, taught me how to be content in all situations, free in that space, not ruled by fear. And that final year, ended with me being my job being taken from me without any real explanation given.

[00:06:54] But God met me in that space and gave me this tremendous peace that he was about to do abundantly [00:07:00] more than I could ask or imagine. And so in this space I felt like God was inviting me to embrace unemployment. I felt like he was inviting me to not operate out of fear. But I also felt like he was inviting me to public transparency.

[00:07:14] Now, this was particularly difficult, one, because I'm not one who necessarily wants to put all my business out there. Two, if you do anything with Enneagram, I'm an Enneagram 9, so I don't want to cause conflict, which then leads to three, this ministry that I was in that had wounded me was filled with people who were also sitting next to me in church, who are also living in the same community, who are also longtime friends.

[00:07:41] So it was very difficult to know how do I process this thing with people who are connected with the people wounding me, who may not believe my story because they're closer to the other person, right? And so when God said, I want to invite you to public transparency. I didn't know what that would look like and wouldn't have chosen it, but I was confident in [00:08:00] God's invitation enough that I stepped in and it's when I stepped in that I felt like I was saying to do a podcast, which.

[00:08:06] I also didn't want to do. I didn't listen to podcasts. I didn't have time to do one because I had young kids like what in the world, God, what is this? But the sense was so clear that I was like, all right, I guess I'll step into this. And the deeper sense was not to make a podcast, but more to make an authentic accessible space to process God, to process life.

[00:08:26] And as soon as I was willing to step into that, it became very clear that the core theme was going to go back to that moment in 2006. Yeah. this idea of how do we look for God? Where did you see God? How can we be more attentive to God in the midst of not just everyday life, but in the midst of hardship, in the midst of struggle, in the midst of loss.

[00:08:46] And so that was almost five years ago. And I've had the privilege of being a part of so many amazing stories, so many amazing conversations, so many amazing, just deep processing moments where the goal wasn't to [00:09:00] find the answer, but was instead to learn together more what it meant to look for God in the midst.

[00:09:05] Scott Maderer: So it a couple of things that you mentioned I want to dive into and unpack a little bit more. One, one was you mentioned you felt like you were being called as a pastor and then you said, no, I realized I was being called a full-time ministry. So first off, for clarity for folks, 'cause a lot of folks heard that and went, wait, isn't that the same name?

[00:09:29] Isn't that the same? Same thing. Yeah. Yeah. What what did you discern that was different in that

[00:09:33] Paul Granger: call? Yeah. When I was in high school, I had very few I had a limited understanding of what ministry could look like. In fact, it was boiled down to two things. Either one, you're a pastor of a church, right?

[00:09:49] So you're in front of the pulpit, you're running the church, you're doing all the sermons, or you're a missionary overseas. And everything else was like this sort of kind of ministry thing. But, and that wasn't [00:10:00] something I ever like overtly thought about, but that was what was inside of me. And so when I went to that university, my thought was, I guess I'll be a pastor church because I don't feel like I'm supposed to go overseas.

[00:10:11] What I came to learn is that our understanding of what a pastor is very limited. Pastoring can take a lot of different forms. In fact, what's funny is I have, I've still don't run a church. It's very rare that I'll preach in front of a church, but there's a number of people that actually call me Pastor Paul.

[00:10:33] And I used to push back on it. I'm not a pastor. I'm just I'm just serving and this, that, and the other. And, They will push back even harder and say, you're pastoring like you are doing the work of pastoring. And I know for me, the sense that God was giving me was that my invitation.

[00:10:53] was to do what I actually mentioned for the podcast was to create authentic accessible spaces, but that [00:11:00] would take a number of different forms. It would take the form of a podcast. It would take the form of things that I've written, but it would also take the form of sitting on the porch and having a conversation with a neighbor or having a long game discipleship interaction with a young adult or any number of other things, because Pastoring, for me if you go to the APAS gifts that are in scripture, the apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, teacher, we tend to think of pastors in terms of that teaching gift, right?

[00:11:30] Because that's what we think of. They're giving a sermon. Yeah they've given the sermon points that helped me to know something I didn't know before, and now I've got that information. It's a conveyance of information, and God does beautiful things through that. It's one of the gifts. But pastoring can actually happen in all of those five gifts, and for me, I align most with the shepherding gift, which is that long game journey.

[00:11:52] The shepherd isn't the one saying to the sheep, All right. You need to go to this field and do this that the other the shepherd is the one actually walking with the sheep [00:12:00] actually pulling them away from danger actually leading them to water and that longer game thing is can be very hard can be very long.

[00:12:09] But it is also necessary because sometimes people don't need information. They don't need answers what they need in that moment is to be seen and heard, or sometimes just to be cared for. And so all of these different gifts. God pastors through people through them to meet them in the different spaces that they're in.

[00:12:28] Scott Maderer: And so you felt, you began to discern that your call was wasn't to necessarily quote lead a church, right? So would you accept the title of pastor now when people call you that?

[00:12:42] Paul Granger: I don't fight it. When I hear it, like it's typically from people who understand what they mean when they say it now, sometimes there are people that hear it and they assume Paul must be leading a church, but.

[00:12:56] The people that typically say it are the ones that are [00:13:00] sitting with me in community Bible study or are sitting on the porch. I'm sitting on the porch with them or we're walking down the street that we're having real interactions. And so when they say it, they're saying it from that point of pastoring rather than some title that goes before my name.

[00:13:16] Scott Maderer: So the other part I wanted to unpack and lean into a little bit is that question of where did you see God today? And I'm actually part of an accountability group. And Where have you seen Christ today? And one of the other questions we ask is, where have you denied Christ today? Ooh.

[00:13:33] Yeah. Where have you seen and chose to LA Lala can't hear you. In some way, shape or form. And I think both of those are they're two different sides of the same coin sometimes. When you hear that question and when you put that question out for people how.

[00:13:52] How do you how do you want that question received, if that makes

[00:13:58] Paul Granger: sense yeah, [00:14:00] I want that question to be received with that, with the office, with the authenticity and with the accessibility. And here's what I mean by that. A question like that can actually induce stress or shame or doubt or fear or any number of things because if we are trying to live a life of seeking God.

[00:14:23] But we're not actually looking for him. Suddenly we could be like what kind of a Christian am I, or if we're trying to look for him and we don't see anything what kind of a God is he? And there could be all this pressure, but the truth is you look at the lives of the disciples and actually so many of the people we would call heroes of the faith.

[00:14:43] They had moments of seeming like super Christians or super believers, but they had also many moments where they struggled, many moments where they missed the mark. And so when I asked somebody, where did you see God today? I want it to be something that is authentic. This is not about pressuring you, not [00:15:00] about shaming you, not about it, it's really I really believe God exists.

[00:15:04] And so I want us to grow in processing this, but accessible as well. Like, how can this be something that even if you haven't thought about God in years, this could be an easy step into point. Or if you've been going to church all your life, it could also feel accessible to you. So honestly, what I want people to know is that God loves us and that he is present and active.

[00:15:30] And so no matter who we are, what we bring to the table, the opportunity to experience him is there for all of us.

[00:15:40] Scott Maderer: When you think about God showing up I think you said it earlier that a lot of times it's easy to do it reactively. In other words, look backwards and go, Oh, that must've been God. Oh, that must've been God.

[00:15:52] How do you think your faith has helped you cultivate that ability to see it more proactively?

[00:15:59] Paul Granger: [00:16:00] Yeah I think one of the big things is even addressing our binary thinking around the spiritual and the physical, and we tend to separate those things. And so the spiritual is, yeah, I go to church, I pray.

[00:16:16] But then I also, I go to work and I eat food and these are separate things. And maybe we'll mesh them a little bit. Like I'll pray before my meal or I'll pray for a meeting, but we're still functionally treating them like they're separate and that's not how God functions. And that's not how Jesus functions.

[00:16:34] The way I used to describe it when I used to run internships is. That mindset is like we have this table and we've got the spiritual, boom, put the spiritual on the table. Oh, and we also have our job, boom, put that on the table. And also we have our relationships and we're putting these things on the table, but then the older we get or the busier life gets, the more things are on this table.

[00:16:54] And naturally we prioritize things. And sometimes we don't prioritize the spiritual. So it's starting to get [00:17:00] nudged off the table and work. Oh, but I got to make an income. So work gets right front and center. And eventually, oh no, spiritual is about to fall off the table, but that's not actually what's.

[00:17:09] happening. The reality is the spiritual is the table. Everything else is on top of that. Work, relationships, all of that is in this context of this very real spiritual reality. And the more we understand that, the more we can see what we would qualify as secular things. as things that God can show up in, right?

[00:17:30] So yeah, my job might be that I'm doing something that seems not spiritual any kind of way, but there's that passage that says, in everything you do it unto the Lord. So cleaning toilets or carrying out garbage or filling in a spreadsheet, like all of that can actually be within this spiritual reality.

[00:17:47] And so that's the first shift, right? That God actually can be in things that we wouldn't expect him to be in. But the second shift is learning to release the reality that God is God and we aren't [00:18:00] because typically we project out what God should do and that's where we look for him, right? Wait, if he would only

[00:18:07] Scott Maderer: do what we wanted him to do, it'd be a lot easier.

[00:18:10] Paul Granger: And God, can't you see that if you did it this way, everybody would get saved? Yeah, it would work perfectly. All of this bad stuff would stop, right? It's come on, God get yourself together, right? That's what we do. The

[00:18:19] Scott Maderer: subtext of that is it would at least work perfectly for me. If we're really honest,

[00:18:25] Paul Granger: that's. Yep. And this is our big struggle because when we do have that mindset. then we are only looking in one place. It's I feel like there's plenty of optical illusions that work because it knows that your eyes or brain are focused on this one element and you don't notice anything.

[00:18:42] Pretty much how every magic

[00:18:44] Scott Maderer: trick on the planet. Exactly. Yeah. Misdirection. Honestly, magic.

[00:18:47] Paul Granger: Yeah. And so that is the thing we will start to believe that God is not. present active or speaking, but it's only because of that misdirection that we are focused on the wrong thing. And [00:19:00] there's passages about I've learned the secret to being content in every situation.

[00:19:06] If it's every in all situations, that means even in the worst case scenario, I could be content. Human nature does not say that human nature says I need the best case scenario, or at least a good scenario in order for me to be content. And I cannot be content. if everything is going wrong, right?

[00:19:25] But when we shift that mindset, suddenly we can see God in the worst of situations or Even more practically God, I have all these bills to pay and I just lost my job and I, I have to have an income because that's how life works. So God, you need to get me another job. And then you're unemployed for months and then you struggle to find God in the midst.

[00:19:46] It's not because God wasn't present. It's because you were telling him that the only way that things would be fine is if you had a job and you totally missed the fact. that your bills were still getting paid, or provision was still being provided. Because the [00:20:00] reality is, we don't need money, we need God.

[00:20:03] Throughout human history, God has met needs without the transference of cash. But as long as we believe our mindsets of how life works, then we're going to want God to align with that. Meanwhile, God's your ways are not my ways, so stop trying to peg me into that because I'm actually trying to do abundantly more than anything you could ask or imagine.

[00:20:25] Scott Maderer: Your neighbors keep showing up with food and you keep missing the fact that you're still eating. Yeah. And yet, wait a minute. That, that could be a God thing maybe, right? Yeah, I think that that idea. So I talk a lot on the podcast about living in the both and rather than the either or that that I think a lot of times as human beings especially in the Western culture, but this is pretty much a human [00:21:00] thing.

[00:21:00] we tend to like to put things in boxes and categories. So it's either this or it's that, or it's that where I think a lot of times if you lean into the theology of the Bible and what God seems to be trying to tell us is why are you putting things in boxes? Why are you doing it?

[00:21:18] It's both of those things. Those are both true. It's the weak are strong. Yeah. Even though to us, that's a contradiction that kind of moment just, and just a reminder that the passage about contentment is being written from prison. Probably at a point when it wasn't at the, it wasn't at the peak of history,

[00:21:42] Paul Granger: right?

[00:21:42] Scott Maderer: How do you think we can begin, let's get more quote practical. I hate that word, but, or more tippy When somebody's hearing this and it's going, wait a minute this is hard. I've got a lot of stuff [00:22:00] going on let's face it. They could be sitting there in that unemployment situation right now going, no, I am praying to God for a job.

[00:22:08] That's what I feel like I need. How do we begin to cultivate that practice of seeking God and seeing God in those simple

[00:22:17] Paul Granger: moments? Yeah. Yeah. I think one thing is we need to find a way to get prescriptive without getting prescriptive. So like on a level, it's helpful to have some tips and tricks, but I think what we want is to be told exactly what to do.

[00:22:33] And typically the things that we're looking for might actually miss the mark. We'll feel this pressure about how it is we're supposed to pray or how it is we're supposed to read the Bible or how it is we're supposed to do dot. And if we're not matching that, then. I can't experience God.

[00:22:52] Sometimes we're in situations in life where we just have very little capacity, whether it's time or energy or desire. And the [00:23:00] way that we used to seek God in the past may not actually be able to work. Or there are people in the world right now that are working pretty much seven days a week, 12 hours a day, just to get food on the table for their kids.

[00:23:11] They legitimately don't have the capacity that someone else might have to sit in the quiet for 30 minutes and you sit with God. And I think we need to release some of the prescriptive assumptions we have about what we are or aren't supposed to do. The, what we're invited to do in scripture is seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, right?

[00:23:33] And then all these things will follow. The job, the income, all this kind of stuff, all the things that we would normally be seeking. The invitation is to say what could it look like to first seek God? And, If we ask that question of ourselves in our current capacity, we could actually find the prescriptive piece in my current situation where I have a limited time and young, loud kids and this, that, and the other.[00:24:00]

[00:24:00] What could it look like to seek God? If I've got kids running around, maybe it isn't quiet time, but it could be a focused time of like, all right, I'm going to just read this verse and then marinate in it in my mind, right? It's not about what you should do practically as much as it is. How is what you are doing seeking God first, right?

[00:24:21] And then I think the other practical piece, which isn't really practical, it's internal, but it's still a step we have to take is constantly. coming back to the table of what are the things that I'm holding on to that I might need to release, right? And so you and I have already touched on this a little bit, but a big part of that is expectations around what God should do or how he should do it or the timing in which he should do it.

[00:24:46] And the hard part in all this is that it looks different in different situations, right? So Here's what's really funny. I said earlier that we don't need money. We need God. That's actually a line I've been thinking about a lot [00:25:00] because I'm currently working on a book that is about how we don't trust God as provider, even though we might say it on Sunday, it doesn't show up in the rest of our lives.

[00:25:09] And why is that? And what can we do about that? And what's really funny about all this is you and I've already touched on the idea that the spiritual and practical, we can separate those things. But those things also still exist. So Jesus knew that he did not need money. He needed his father. He could have led his whole ministry without ever needing a single coin, because we already know he can make water turn into wine.

[00:25:36] He can make a meal for 5, 000 plus people come from one kid's meal. Like he could do these things. He does not actually need money. And yet. We hear twice in scripture that he had a money bag. We hear that there were actually people financially contributing. He had financial supporters for his ministry. So why in the world does he have a money bag and why in the world is the financial [00:26:00] supporters if he doesn't actually need money?

[00:26:01] Part of it is because he was making the choice to function in this construct. And you noted it earlier and there's another verse that captures it well about being in and not of the world. Jesus basically. pointing out this fact that we are physically in this space functioning with physical people, but we are not ruled by the same set of rules.

[00:26:24] We're not of this world. And so even though everyone around you might think that you need money to survive, you know that you need God. So you can use money without knowing that you actually need it. And so when I say all this, I say this as someone who, as I noted, Almost five years ago, lost his job, and then God invited me into a season of unemployment.

[00:26:47] That season of unemployment lasted over six months. And, in the midst of that, the invitation to not operate out of financial fear was so strong that I had a piece [00:27:00] about not needing to find a job. Now, other people didn't have that piece. Other people were telling me, Paul, you need to get a job as soon as possible.

[00:27:07] Because, I had mortgages to pay. I had bills to pay. I had a wife. I had two kids and my wife was pregnant with our third child. So we would have a birth coming up. Like I have to get a job. It would be reckless and irresponsible for me not to, except God said, don't operate out of financial fear. And what was so beautiful to see is that my wife and I ran the numbers.

[00:27:36] Like we knew when our money would run out. We knew. Exactly when it would run out, if not sooner, not only did it not run out at that point. Our bank account didn't even seem to have gone down. And not only did the bank account not seem to have gone down, but we had unexpected expenses. Like I ended up in the hospital for a week.

[00:27:57] My cat needed dental surgery. [00:28:00] Not only did my wife have a baby, but it all happened around Christmas time. So there's gifts. And I felt like I was saying, don't even scale it on your life. Don't not that we were living luxuriously, but it was like, God was saying, you don't have to go and just eat ramen noodles every day.

[00:28:14] Continue to function with the faith that you don't have to operate out of financial fear. And at the end of that time, I had the opportunity to either, there's a few job opportunities, all of which paid. And then this one other opportunity with youth with a mission, where not a single person on staff with youth with a mission gets a paycheck.

[00:28:35] Everybody is technically

[00:28:41] a paycheck. And that's what I stepped into. So I haven't gotten a traditional paycheck in almost five years. And yet my family has not only been fine, but in a lot of ways, God has provided abundantly more than we could ask or imagine. And so human logic would have said that the trajectory that I've [00:29:00] been on the last five years should never have worked.

[00:29:02] Spiritual reality says. With God, all things are possible. So if God wants to do something, if God wants to invite you into a space that looks foolish, he can actually do more than we could ask or imagine.

[00:29:17] Scott Maderer: So one of the things that I think I'll speak for myself. I won't put this on anybody else. I say this jokingly, but I actually mean it deadly serious so when I go to God, I'm.

[00:29:31] very good at giving things to God saying God take this from me. This is I'm going to give this up. I'm not going to worry about it anymore. I'm not going to start. I'm actually really good at that part. What I'm not good at is leaving it with God. Yeah. Yeah. And that I give it and I really do pray and I really do sincerely try to give it over.

[00:29:52] And yet a lot of times I pick that worry back up again, or I pick that fear back up again. Yeah. Oftentimes at two in the morning. Yeah. That [00:30:00] seems to be when it comes back in visits. What do you say to that person? That's in that, that, in that liminal space where they're struggling with not picking it back up again.

[00:30:09] Paul Granger: Yeah. I think sometimes the problem is that. The thing that we're giving up isn't actually the thing that we need to give up. And this is what I mean by that. Sometimes we will give something to God, but that thing itself wasn't the issue. It was maybe more our need to control things. And so we'll give up this specific small way that we're trying to control things.

[00:30:33] Here you go, God. It doesn't have to be this way, but we're still holding onto our need for control or our need for comfort or our need for security. And that's a much harder thing to give up. Like God, I'm willing to give up my security, my comfort. I'm willing to give up my, how I have shaped my identity.

[00:30:52] Those are the things that hit hard today. I was with a group of young men and we are pressing into the passage of young man who [00:31:00] based on that the specific passage we use, there's no indication that he was trying to trick Jesus or he like we could assume that he was to the best of his ability, trying to seek God.

[00:31:12] And he's He can sense that there's something that I'm lacking. And so he goes to Jesus and he's what am I getting wrong? And Jesus like how do you understand getting into eternal life? Keep the commandments. And so I'm doing all these things. So what am I still missing?

[00:31:29] And then Jesus looks at him and says, go sell all you have, give it to the poor. Then you'll have treasures in heaven. Then come follow me. And it says the young man walked away, sad, not angry. It's sad because if we assume positive intent, he may have authentically wanted to seek and follow Jesus, but this one piece was hitting him and you look at it and a lot of times it's interpreted as greed, right?

[00:31:56] He was a greedy guy and he just didn't want to get rid of his money. Maybe, [00:32:00] but it doesn't say that. It could be that he was very generous. Maybe he had attained his wealth in a moral way and maybe he was given 50, 60, 70 percent of it away. What happens to his identity? If he's no longer the generous man, what happens to his identity?

[00:32:15] If he becomes the type of person that he has been serving and he, now he feels less than what happens if, right? There are all these things that actually were more of what he was going to have to give away than just his functional money, because the truth is he could get money back. Jesus was actually asking for more than just.

[00:32:36] cash in that moment. And I think that the young man realized that. And so I think for us, like, when we are trying to give something to God, I think we had to be willing to humbly ask Instead of what we think we should give to God, is there something you are asking me to release and be humble and willing enough to listen for that [00:33:00] and respond?

[00:33:01] Because sometimes it is part of our safety mechanisms to assume, right? And we see it all the time. I see it with my kids. They'll do the bare minimum sometimes to try to. Get away with the thing. And I'm like, no, that's not actually what I need you to do. We do that with God, but fortunately God is patient and loving with us.

[00:33:20] He knows this about us. He's a good father. So he knows when his kids are trying to find the loopholes, whether they realize it or not, and he continues to walk with us. He continues to encourage us. He continues to love us. One thing that's always

[00:33:33] Scott Maderer: struck me about the passage of the rich young man or rich young ruler or whichever version you want to hear right?

[00:33:39] Yeah, it says he walks away sad, but it also doesn't explicitly say that he didn't do what Jesus told him to do

[00:33:47] Paul Granger: Exactly. Yes. It

[00:33:49] Scott Maderer: also doesn't say he did it leaves that yeah ambiguous I've always wondered wait, did he follow through? You know again just cuz he's sad in the [00:34:00] moment Doesn't mean he followed through or didn't follow through.

[00:34:04] It's ambiguous. It's not clear. At least not to me. So what what do you think? Do you think he

[00:34:10] Paul Granger: followed through? I I love that we don't know, right? Because what that does, because of the vagueness in that passage, it can meet a lot of us where we are. But I was. We were processing that same reality that we are not told that he didn't do it.

[00:34:28] And as the young man and I are talking, we came up to the passage about Abraham and Isaac. And one of the young men was really wrestling with it because God gave Abraham what seems like a cruel and impossible. This son that I gave you that I know that you love deeply go and sacrifice him. And many of us around the room are like, I don't know if I could have done that.

[00:34:52] Like we would have been like the rich young man and walk away sad because we loved that child. [00:35:00] But Abraham was able to do it. And one of the things that I was able to share with them is it's easy for us to take that passage just in and of itself and look at Abraham as an unattainable model, right? Abraham was able to make this hard choice.

[00:35:15] But I never could. You know who else couldn't do that? Abraham, initially, because that wasn't the first time God had given him an invitation. When God gave him a promise that he would have a child, early on, the time, it was just taken too long, and so they took matters into their own hands. And they created Israel, right?

[00:35:35] And so it's I, he was able to experience the ramifications of him not fully trusting God, him doing things in his own way, him pursuing what he thought needed to happen. He was able to experience the ramifications of that so that when God gave this invitation about Isaac, he remembered how he could respond and he recognized the opportunity to respond differently [00:36:00] out of obedience.

[00:36:01] He also had developed such a deep faith in who God was that in Hebrews 11 it says that basically Abraham was so confident in God that he knew that God could find a way, provide another sacrifice or raise Isaac from the dead. Like he didn't know what God would do, but he knew God could. This rich young man in this moment did not know Jesus deeply enough to know what Jesus could do.

[00:36:27] Because the truth is Jesus could have pulled a similar thing with him as God pulled with Isaac. As soon as the rich young man said, you know what? I want to follow you, Jesus. So this is hard, but I'm giving away all my money. And Jesus could have said, all right, stop. You don't have to give away your money.

[00:36:43] He could have done that. He could have. And yeah I love that we don't know because we could see ourselves in the midst and then ask the questions that we need to ask for where we are. And

[00:36:56] Scott Maderer: so I've got a few questions that I like to ask everybody that I [00:37:00] interview, but before I ask those, is there anything about this journey that you're on the podcast that you put out or the work that you do that.

[00:37:08] You'd like to share with the listener.

[00:37:11] Paul Granger: Yeah. So again, the thing that God has placed in me, the thing that God drives me to create are these authentic, accessible spaces and what. What I want people to understand, when they hear stories about Abraham and Isaac, or this rich young man, or even like you and I were saying, these moments where it's hard for us to actually give things up for God, to God, or to trust Him, we could see ourselves as being in such a low place that we don't know how we can ever get to where we think we're supposed to be.

[00:37:39] Where we're supposed to be... is seeking God. And which means you can seek God whether you feel close to him or far, right? Seeking God isn't determined by the distance from the thing, it's determined by your orientation. And what I hope people experience in everything that we're talking about, and [00:38:00] even in the podcast and all that kind of stuff, is the reality that whoever you are, and wherever you are, and whatever you're experiencing, today is an opportunity.

[00:38:09] To practice what it means to see God and when, not if you misstep to, to get up, dust your knees off and to do it again, to say, what does it look like to seek God where I am now? So my brand

[00:38:24] Scott Maderer: is inspired stewardship, and I run things through that lens of stewardship. That's one of those words that I've discovered over the years means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

[00:38:36] So when you hear the word stewardship, what does that word mean to you and what is the impact of that word had on your life?

[00:38:43] Paul Granger: Yeah. So when I've heard stewardship, there's always been this implication that it's for something beyond me, right? So it's not just investment or it's not just saving. It's this idea that I have something and there [00:39:00] is a way that I can operate wisely with That has value beyond my comfort or my sustainability.

[00:39:07] And so when you bring a spiritual element into this, I think I've been pressed to consider, where did I even get what I have? My, my church does a giving liturgy that talks about how we're able to be generous because what we have is already God's, right? That's different. If what you have is yours and you earned it, it can be hard to give it away because this is mine.

[00:39:32] Or it took me a lot to get this. If you realize that everything you have is because of God and that God has access to the storehouses it becomes a little easier and a little easier to give of that because you know that it's not yours anyways, and that God can replace what he wants to replace.

[00:39:49] And scripture calls us to love God and love others. And for me, that's where stewardship really comes into play in my life is how [00:40:00] is the way that I'm operating with the resources I have, whether it's time, talent or treasure. How is that? How am I utilizing that as a way to love God and love others?

[00:40:11] How am I showing God love by how I'm understanding and engaging with this stuff? And how am I showing love to others in a way that shows that they are more valuable than my stuff? If it costs me everything, but somebody is authentically loved, am I willing for that kind of a thing? And we talk about stewardship a lot.

[00:40:29] I hear it most often with money, but it goes way beyond that. It goes way beyond that and goes deep to the core of not just who we are, but why we function the way we function. And the good news is it something that we not just can continue to grow in, but will like throughout our lives, we're going to be learning more deeply what it means to be good stewards of what God's given us.

[00:40:51] Scott Maderer: Yeah, that my, my joke is that the I'm trying to reclaim the word stewardship from its current meaning, which is we're starting a building campaign [00:41:00] and we would like you to pledge which seems to be what it means almost often in Christian church today. And it's no that's not what that word means.

[00:41:10] But, so this is my favorite question and I truly love to ask this of each and every guest, Paul if let's say I invented this magic machine and I could pluck you from where you are today and transport you into the future, 150, maybe 250 years, and through the power of this machine, you were able to look back and see your entire life.

[00:41:34] See all of the connections, all of the ripples, all of the impacts you've left behind. What impact do you hope you've left behind in the

[00:41:41] Paul Granger: world? Yeah. One of the, I say hard, it fortunately wasn't hard, but one of the challenging elements of the past five years is on multiple occasions. I feel like God has given me this very clear sense of what he's inviting me to.

[00:41:57] And it's that. The impact may [00:42:00] not be visible to me. So like functionally you and I do podcasts. The metrics of a good podcast are how many listeners and how much advertising support are you getting? There are real metrics that. Drive, whether a podcast is successful downloads. Have

[00:42:16] Scott Maderer: you gotten the first 30

[00:42:17] Paul Granger: days?

[00:42:19] And what you and I know is that there are moments where we, since God has worked, that is so valuable that it's valuable. Even if nobody ever hears that episode or nobody ever acknowledges, we know there's something deeper going on. One of my favorite passages is where the apostle Paul is dealing with people who are arguing about who they follow.

[00:42:40] And he's who's Paul and who's Paulos? I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow, which means that there is work that the Apostle Paul did that he did not see the fruit of. Or more, Not only did he not see the fruit of it, but Apollos got credit for it. Oh man, look at Apollos grew well, but Paul planted the seed.

[00:42:59] Like [00:43:00] he knew his role was not to say, no. I, it was, this is me. This is my plant. Cause it wasn't even Apollos plant. God is the one that made it grow. And so what I would love to see is not that my name would be attached to any of the things. Not that a hundred years from now, they're still talking about the where did you see God podcast or any of the books that I've written or any of these kinds of things.

[00:43:23] I don't care if my name disappears. But I would be so encouraged if I knew that steps of obedience that I'm taking now were not just my good ideas, or were not just a futile attempt, but actually were seeds. That God was the one that gave me the seed, he put it in my hand, and all I did was drop it in the dirt, right?

[00:43:43] But that, that I had the privilege of being used by God in something way beyond me. To see fruit that I know God did it, But that he loved me so much to invite me into it would be an amazing thing. So what's coming [00:44:00] next for you? What's on the roadmap as you close out this year and go into next year.

[00:44:04] Scott Maderer: And I realized for people that live like you do, that's a tough question, but there you go.

[00:44:12] Paul Granger: No single year, the last five years has been the same. No single month has been the same. I'm perpetually in this place where I don't know what's ahead, but I know God is ahead. And so I'm always trying to take.

[00:44:23] But it's also nice to know practically what that will look like. I do know the podcast isn't done. I haven't released an episode since April and I feel like that was God strategically Opening up something else that I'll share in a moment. But I believe it's gonna come back and I believe it's gonna come back soon because for me, I want to continue to create that type of authentic, accessible space.

[00:44:43] There's so much value when somebody feels free to be themselves and just share and process. And so I wanna continue to do that, but part of the reason for the hiatus is I have always enjoyed writing. And I feel like that's a space that God has invited [00:45:00] me to create spaces as well. And this has been like a blitz of writing.

[00:45:05] I learned how easy it is to self publish on Amazon. So I just keep on writing stuff and putting it up there. But the next thing is what I mentioned earlier. I'll drop the title here. Hopefully it doesn't change. But I think it is, we

[00:45:22] Scott Maderer: refer to that. We refer to that as the current title, ,

[00:45:26] Paul Granger: the current title.

[00:45:27] So the title is God Won't Provide subtitle, the Lie. We Don't Believe We Are Believing, and like I mentioned before, like on Sunday we will say God is provider and we'll sing all about it. But then in our everyday lives, we don't live as though that's true. And so this book has taken. longer to write than usual.

[00:45:51] But even today, some things happen that is very clear. Okay. I feel like this is God giving this content. That's my hope is that it's God giving the content, not me. And I'm just being a steward [00:46:00] of it. So hopefully that will be coming out soon, but outside that my job is ambassador of Christ.

[00:46:07] So on any given day, I want to continue to make myself available to live into that role, whether it's on a global scale through a podcast or on a micro scale on a porch because at the end of the day, it's not about me or what I do or what I create. It's about am I being faithful to letting God be God and be good.

[00:46:28] You can

[00:46:28] Scott Maderer: find out more about Paul Granger over on his site, wheredidyouseegod. com. And of course I'll have a link to that over in the show notes as well. Paul, anything else you'd like to share today?

[00:46:41] Paul Granger: Yeah, I just want to encourage whoever is listening, whoever you are, Whatever your story, whatever your situation, whatever your doubts, whatever your concerns, whatever your fears, God deeply loves you, even if it doesn't feel like he does, [00:47:00] he is present, even if you feel alone and he is inviting you.

[00:47:05] And all you need to do is be willing enough to take a simple toenudge towards him, just a toenudge, like start there because if you do a thousand toenudges, you're going to get a long way, but there's so much that can keep us from seeking or trusting God. But the thing that can keep us looking towards them is that simple step of obedience, no matter how small it is.

[00:47:26] So I want to encourage you what could it look like to take that tiny little toe nudge today? And then after you do it, ask yourself, where did you see God?

[00:47:44] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen. but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. [00:48:00] If you enjoyed this episode please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.

[00:48:08] com slash iTunes rate, all one word. iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest your time, your talent, and your treasures, develop your influence, and impact the world.

In today's episode, I ask Paul about:

  • Why he has a podcast and book focused on Where you see God...  
  • How we can cultivate a practice of seeking God in simple ways...
  • Why we shouldn’t view our faith as either spiritual or worldly, but both...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

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But the truth is you look at the lives of the disciples and so many of the people we would call hero’s of the faith they had moments where they seemed like super Christians but they also had moments when they struggled.  – Paul Granger

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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