Join us today for Part 1 of the Interview with Brian Steele, author of The Kingdom Field Guide...
This is Part 1 of the interview I had with pastor, speaker, and author Brian Steele.
In today’s interview with Brian Steele, I ask Brian about the parable of the Kingdom and what it means for us. I also ask Brian to share with you the importance of finding our connection with the Kingdom. Brian also shares with you both the public and private ways of interacting with the Kingdom.
Join in on the Chat below.
Episode 796 Invest in Yourself - Interview with Brian Steele â€“ Part 1
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: [00:00:00] Thanks for joining us on episode 796 of the inspired stewardship podcast.
[00:00:06] Brian Steele: [00:00:06] I'm Brian Steele, author of the kingdom field guide, and I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world. How by using your time, your talent and your treasure to live out your calling.
[00:00:23] Discovering how to seek first God's kingdom is key. And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the inspired stewardship podcast with my friend, Scott Mader.
[00:00:43] Yeah. And I think the reason why that's powerful Scott, is that it's connecting your body to your heart, to your soul, to your spirit. It's unifying them. So in a sense, when God's kingdom comes, when the rule of Jesus comes in her life, [00:01:00] Jesus he unifies. And he harmonizes any integrate.
[00:01:06] Scott Maderer: [00:01:06] Welcome and thank you for joining us on the inspired stewardship podcast.
[00:01:11] 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. We'll learn to invest in yourself, invest in others and develop your influence so that you. Can impact the work.
[00:01:38] Hey, today's interview with Brian Steele. I asked Brian about the parable of the kingdom and what it means for us. I also asked Brian to share with you the importance of finding our own connection with the kingdom and Brian shares with you, both the public and private ways of interacting with the kingdom.
[00:01:57] And what those mean to you? One [00:02:00] reason I like to bring you great interviews. Like the one you're going to hear today is because of the power. In learning from others. Another great way to learn from others is through reading books. But if you're like most people today, you find it hard to find the time to sit down and read.
[00:02:17] And that's why today's podcast is brought to you by audible. Go to inspired stewardship.com/audible to sign up and you can get a 30 day free trial. There's over 180,000 titles to choose from. And instead of reading, you can listen to your way to learn from some of the greatest minds out there. That's inspired stewardship.com/audible to get your free trial and listen to great books the same way you're listening to this podcast.
[00:02:48] Brian C steel is a pastor speaker and Arthur. His work is focused on discipleship, leadership development, and small groups. After spending eight years studying Jesus's parable of the hidden [00:03:00] treasure. He loves helping people to find God's kingdom right beneath their feet. His teaching venues have ranged from thousands of people in mega church sermons to conferences, retreats, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.
[00:03:12] He is also a professional geologists. And is in well partial recovery from a birdwatching addiction. He delights in exploring the Alpine wilderness of the Pacific crest trail with his wife, Katie and his dog banner.
[00:03:30] Welcome to the show, Brian,
[00:03:33] Brian Steele: [00:03:33] thank you, Scott. Looking forward to this conversation.
[00:03:37]Scott Maderer: [00:03:37] We just talked about in the intro, you've written this book, the kingdom field guide. And first off I love the title. I love the idea. I'm also a science geek. Not geology. I don't do rocks. That's always been my joke.
[00:03:48] I don't do rocks. I do everything else. I do physics. I do chemistry. I do all those biology. You holding that. No rock. The, and I used to have a friend that made fun of [00:04:00] me for that, because she would tell me the difference between a rock and a mineral, and I never did get it straight. But you use this parable of the hidden treasure as a foundation to this field guide this experience book, and talk about how the, how many Christians miss.
[00:04:16] The kingdom. So what'd you, would you share the parable and tell me a little bit about why you use this one as the foundation?
[00:04:24] Brian Steele: [00:04:24] Sure. Scott the math, Matthew 1344, Jesus says. The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field that a man finds and then covers up. And then in his joy goes and sells everything he has and buys that field.
[00:04:42] And Scott, I bumped into this. Parable about eight years ago, not knowing anything at all about God's kingdom and I'd been a Christian for decades and actually was a pastor and still didn't know anything about God's kingdom. This parable [00:05:00] just Florida. For me, I felt like I got hit by a Mack truck because Jesus was saying that his kingdom is worth more than everything we have.
[00:05:12] And it, it prompted two questions for me, Scott, the first is what is the kingdom? And why is it worth everything that we have? And that's led to eight years in that single parable of exploring what's God's kingdom. Why is it worth everything? And the kingdom field guide came out of. Of that exploration and that work.
[00:05:37] And this is actually just the F the first of a series of probably eight or nine books just about that single parable, because there is so much that Jesus packs into those few simple words that it really is worth a lifetime of study in application.
[00:05:56] Scott Maderer: [00:05:56] So talking about that a little bit, and what is the [00:06:00] kingdom, one of the phrases that you use a couple of different times in the book it's sort of.
[00:06:05]At least I noticed it resonated with me. Is that the kingdom isn't just real. It's really real. So what does that mean? Why do you use that phrasing and why is that important as we work through this?
[00:06:21] Brian Steele: [00:06:21] Yeah. Great question, Scott, let me just start with, a personal story about the difference between real and really real.
[00:06:28] So in 2016 my wife got a brain tumor. And up until that point, I knew that tumors were real right. I didn't disbelieve that people had brain tumors, but they had no bearing in my life. There was just something that was out there. And then when we got the diagnosis, all of a sudden brain tumors became really real.
[00:06:54] It affected every single thing in our lives. Almost every conversation it affected our [00:07:00] finances, our relationships, our whole world was in a sense dominated by that really real brain tumor that we found in was now growing and disco and inside my wife's head. And God's kingdom, if it's just real, if we just think, Oh, sure.
[00:07:20] It's some thing out there. It's not enough. It's not enough. The things that we only consider real are things that just recede into the background and have no bearing on our life. So the parable of the hidden treasure only makes sense when we get to the. To the place where we discover that God's kingdom, isn't just real, but it is really real.
[00:07:46] It has bearing on every single action that we do every dime in our bank account every minute in our day, every breath that we take, every relationship that we have. Every [00:08:00] email that we send every text it's that the
[00:08:04] Scott Maderer: [00:08:04] medium that we're on
[00:08:06] Brian Steele: [00:08:06] zoom eating the parable only makes sense. When we get to the place where God's kingdom is really real.
[00:08:13] We discover that the rule and reign of Jesus as King has Has detailed bearing on all parts of our lives.
[00:08:24] Scott Maderer: [00:08:24] So you're part of this to me, at least is connected to, I think, as Christians. It's easy to label yourself a Christian to live air quotes around that as a Christian, but, and, believe in God, believe in the Bible, believe in the gospel, believe in these things are real, but what you're really talking about is taking all of those things and actually making them part of our, not just our Sunday life, but our Monday through Saturday life, every moment of our life.
[00:08:58] Brian Steele: [00:08:58] Oh, that's exactly [00:09:00] right Scott. And there's been long periods of my life, where I was just living as a Christian Sunday morning, between nine and 10:00 AM. And and then not so much Monday, Tuesday, by the time it's getting around a Thursday, Friday, I'm definitely not living as a Christian Saturday. I'm repenting so that I can be a Christian again for another hour on Sunday morning, morning.
[00:09:24] Yep. Yeah. And and you're right. So what happens? I think at least what was the change for me came from when my faith was just something that occupied a few square inches inside my head. Like I agree with a set of statements about Jesus. I believe that he is God. I believe that he died for me. I agree with this statement that there's forgiveness.
[00:09:50] I agree with the statement that he Rose from the dead that my faith was primarily just a set of propositions or statements that I. [00:10:00] That I supported, but when faith becomes real, it has to become embodied in our lives. Like it's not just enough for it to occupy a few square inches in our head, but it needs to actually become embodied in our life.
[00:10:16] And that's why Jesus calls us his body. That we are the body of Christ on earth, meaning his will and his rule and his reign as King gets enacted and lived out and worked out through our actions in this world in space and time.
[00:10:39] Scott Maderer: [00:10:39] It is part of that. You talk a lot about exploring these ideas, not just in worship on Sunday morning, not just in your private time and it's not, don't explore it then, but not just yeah.
[00:10:53]So can you expand on that a little bit? How does that fit into us finding that the is really real. Yeah
[00:11:00] [00:10:59] Brian Steele: [00:10:59] I think what makes the kingdom field guide different than any other book that I've seen on God's kingdom is that it is. It's not a book. It is a set of guided immersive experiences that gets you out of the worship center, off your couch, out of the living room, into the world, so that you can be immersed into these experiences and connect.
[00:11:24] God's really real kingdom to the world that you move and breathe and live in. And I think it's really the only way that we can truly learn. About God's kingdom and that's how Jesus taught. And the irony is that all of Jesus' teaching were these immersive experiences. He, especially with his disciples, he spent three and a half years with them give or take.
[00:11:51] And when he was teaching about the kingdom, he was connecting his rule and reign to these concrete things in their world that they [00:12:00] knew. They spent a lot of time on mountains in marketplaces on the sea of Galilee in the wilderness. Yeah. Fishing agriculture. He's saying the kingdom is like a net or the kingdom is like leaven or the kingdom is like a seed.
[00:12:18] It's all these things that they knew intimately in their lives. And the brilliance of it was that Jesus was connecting his kingdom. To their world, to the world that they already knew. And that's what the kingdom field guide does. Is it. It gives immersive experiences so that God's kingdom becomes really real in your life by actually engaging all of your senses activating and using your body actually it's it really is get your butt off the couch.
[00:12:54] If you want to see God's kingdom, come in your life, you have to embody. [00:13:00] The rule of Jesus and connect it to your real world. And I think that's what sets this apart from from any other kingdom book that I've read
[00:13:09] Scott Maderer: [00:13:09] well. And so to give folks a little bit of frame of reference the book is set up.
[00:13:14] It includes field trips is how you describe them. These, actual. Stated you're supposed to go do this, or you're supposed to go see the S or, go through your neighborhood and look for these sorts of things and you get prompts and questions and, so you give some guidance. It's not just go wander around your neighborhood.
[00:13:35] So now it's a guided journey. It's a field trip. Yeah. And I think for most of us, the last time we went on a field trip was probably elementary school, maybe high school.
[00:13:46]Brian Steele: [00:13:46] And there's something to that. I think that the, actually that's a great point, Scott when, cause we know instinctually that kids need to learn immersively, right?
[00:13:56] And so we do a lot with our children in order to get them out into the [00:14:00] world. So-called bit somehow when we translate that to our own life of faith. We've forgotten that very basic fundamental way of learning. And so then the result is that God's kingdom has just disappeared. It's vanished. And that's part of Jesus' parables, especially in Matthew 13, when he says the kingdom is like a seed or Pearl or Levon or a net, it's these things that can vanish that we don't even know are there unless we're looking for it.
[00:14:34] And unless we're paying attention. And so the book has it has actually three different types of trips. So one is the field trip, which is like a larger sort of time commitment where you're going to take a half a day or a full day and go have this experience. I also have these things called side trips, which is take five minutes.
[00:14:56] Out of your day and you go do this, [00:15:00] which is to work a rhythm seeking God's kingdom into the cracks of your busy schedule. So it's something that you can do while you're standing in the Costco line and somebody's, bumping into your heels deal with their cart. And then there's also Bible but also Bible trips that.
[00:15:21] You can explore that the narrative of scripture looking through a kingdom lens and if the Bible is anything, it's a grand kingdom narrative.
[00:15:32] Scott Maderer: [00:15:32] Yeah. My favorite site activity, just because it's one that I've been practicing as a spiritual discipline. When people look at me, when I say this, with their head kind of cocked to one side, like the doggy, the look is breathing.
[00:15:47] And people are like, how can breathing be a spiritual discipline? And I'm like, it's absolutely a spiritual
[00:15:52] Brian Steele: [00:15:52] discipline, right? Yeah. Yeah. What's your experience with that? Scott? I'm just curious. For me
[00:15:58] Scott Maderer: [00:15:58] I, I will say that [00:16:00] I had as a young man, what I would describe as anger management problems. Let's just put it that way.
[00:16:06]I was a very angry young man and for me, learning to breathe as a prayerful activity learning to actually say a breath prayer under my breath. Which for me, the breath prayer is your will not mine. That's all I say. Yeah, it allows me to not feel it. It's not even sublimate anger and being upset.
[00:16:32] It's I don't feel it. If I can remember to do that activity. Now, if I forget, then I can go back into those old bad habits very quickly. So for me, I literally do a daily morning breathing activity, and then it's something that I try to do throughout the day. Again, if I'm in the Costco line and someone's bumping in behind me, that's when I need to remember to, because it'll call me again and I feel back in touch with God.
[00:16:58] Brian Steele: [00:16:58] Yeah. And I think the reason why that's [00:17:00] powerful Scott, is that it's connecting your body to your heart, to your soul, to your spirit. It's unifying them. So in a sense, when God's kingdom comes, when the rule of Jesus comes in our life, Jesus he unifies. And he harmonizes any integrates all of those different parts of us into his kingdom.
[00:17:25] So what we do with our body, even you're right, it's a way that we even breathe the way we use our breath. Jesus has a legal claim as the King of King over your very breath in the way that we use that matters.
[00:17:45] Scott Maderer: [00:17:45] So as well as these trips and these activities that you lay out and, the longer trips, the shorter, and then the Bible trips as well. Another framework that you lay out at the beginning of the book is how we can go through these different [00:18:00] stages in our life as we recognize the kingdom.
[00:18:03] And I would, yeah. I think I can recognize myself in every single one of these stages at various times even today. So you talk about being blind, aware. Pondering value prioritizing, and then the owning selling kind of stage. Can you touch on each of these stages a little bit and how we can recognize where we are in this journey either today or at this stage in our life or.
[00:18:28] Even at this moment.
[00:18:30] Brian Steele: [00:18:30] Yeah. I'd love to, and I want to do that again, going back to the parable of the hidden treasure. And so let's step into that parable. And imagine that this guy has been walking back and forth across this field, hundreds of times, maybe it's on his way to his job. And and that the treasure is hidden.
[00:18:52] Not because it's covered or buried, it's hidden because he's not looking for it. And so [00:19:00] it's blunt. So we all begin blind and it might be that right now God's kingdom is hidden because we're just going through our day. We're not paying attention to it. It's there. In fact, it's right in front of us.
[00:19:14] But because it's not at the top of our mind, it's invisible and it's blind. And that's a tragic condition. And if we continue to go through our lives, not seeing God's kingdom, because we're not looking for it, we're going to miss so much in our faith and that kind of blindness. I believe is one of the main reasons why something like 80% of high schoolers go to college and end up losing their faith.
[00:19:46] Or it's why church becomes just this Dole set of routines of, I got to go to church and I got to do good stuff. I'm supposed to read my Bible and so's to pray. I got to give my money and then I'm supposed to tell other people to do it, do the same and [00:20:00] call it, sharing the gospel. I believe that duty and rut comes out of this blindness condition, but then one day in this parable, he stints what I call his.
[00:20:13] Stubs, his toe is walking along stubs. His toe looks down and all of a sudden he becomes aware. And this is the second stage in that journey. You'd comes aware that the kingdom is actually there. And is engaging your eyes. And for some people listening to this podcast right now, Scott, you might discover that God's kingdom is actually a thing.
[00:20:37] And that step is so important is so crucial that it's not just some metaphor. It's not a symbol. It's not something really far away, but it's. Actual real kingdom and becoming aware then leads into that next step that we'll call pondering. So picture the guy, he stubbed his toe [00:21:00] in the hidden treasure, and then he goes down, he opens up this treasure box and now starts pondering what's inside of it.
[00:21:09] Right. And so for me, when I was, when I first read the parable, that hidden treasure, I actually had years of pondering. What is the kingdom? Why is it worth everything? And I think those two questions are a great starting point for pondering and that we have to engage our mind. We have to be curious. We have to have a desire to start exploring, and I would even say the pondering has to come, not just from thinking and reading, but the actual immersive experiences.
[00:21:44] Of going places and looking at the world through a different lens is part of pondering and part of trying to see things in a different way. And eventually if we're in the parable [00:22:00] again, the guy. The next stage of this journey is valuing. And eventually the guy understands that what he's found is worth far more than anything he could ever dream of.
[00:22:13] And the crazy part of this is in the parable. I picture this moment, he looks up and he sees a for sale sign on this field. And it's this moment of like, wow, it's not only that I've found something valuable, but it's actually available to me. Right now. And that will happen. If people begin to seek God's kingdom, start pondering it.
[00:22:38] There's going to come a moment when people understand the full value that God's kingdom is worth more than all we have or all we could have or any aspiration that's on earth and it's open and available to us right here right now. [00:23:00] In the in the parable then Scott, he it says in his joy, he went and he sold all that he has.
[00:23:08] And that word joy is a clue to the actual value of what he's found, because if it was close, if it was like, yeah, it might end up breaking even on this deal, he's not going to go have the mother of all garage sales. Right. And but it's in his joy that he goes and sells everything. Cause he knows that once he has the mother of all garage sales and acquires the field, it is it's going to be worth it.
[00:23:36] So that next step is prioritize. He had to go from, and the progression here, if you can see it, picture it in your mind. First aware is engaging your eyes and pondering is engaging. Your mind valuing is engaging your heart. When you prioritize, think of it as engaging your hands. Now you're embodying [00:24:00] what your value is.
[00:24:00] You have to actually go and do something, has to physically and materially change in your life. And if God's kingdom only stays in the value stage, if you only just think it's worth a lot, but never actually do anything with it. So picture the guy finds a treasure, but doesn't go and sell everything.
[00:24:25] That's a real danger that we face. Scott. And that's one of the stages that's actually between valuing and prioritizing. It's called the trap of inaction. And we do this multiple times a week. Like you hear something like, wow, that could really change my life. And then what do you do about it? Nothing.
[00:24:43] Nothing like how many conferences have you been to? I'm telling you I've been to. So many conferences where I get all of these amazing life-changing things. I see it and I've pondered it. And I even see the value in it. But when I go home, no priority in my life [00:25:00] changes. Right. And I lose that treasure.
[00:25:04] And we have in God's kingdom is just that the trap of inaction is a danger that we could lose. And I'm not talking about salvation or anything like this. I'm saying the fullness and the treasure that God has for us in this life. We could let slip through our fingers if it doesn't become a priority. So that's why Jesus says Matthew six 33 seek first the kingdom of God and his right, his righteousness.
[00:25:34] He's saying it has to be your highest order of business. Nothing more important. That God's kingdom, his rule and reign in your life has to become embodied. And if it doesn't, if it's say priority number three or four or 20 or 30, then we're going to lose something of tremendous value. So we have to find ways of getting past that trap [00:26:00] of an action we prioritize.
[00:26:02] And then so he goes and sells everything he has. He buys the field and then here's something that's unspoken in. The parable that I think is the end of the story is what does he do after he buys the field? And you acquires the treasurer. Scott, I believe he puts up a for sale sign. I believe then he becomes the agent that makes that treasure available for the next person, which means when we own the kingdom, we're actually become partners with God and making it available to other people so that they can become aware and ponder and value and prioritize and then own it.
[00:26:47]Scott Maderer: [00:26:47] And I think it's important for folks to hear in this too, as they listen and think about. Where they are on the journey. And I alluded to it at the beginning. I would say that I've have gone through different stages of this, not just through my [00:27:00] life, but through a day you go through the next hour, through, through the, now my last cup of coffee.
[00:27:06] Yeah, exactly. So it isn't Oh, you suddenly become aware and now you're at that stage and you can't go back to being blind. You can. Move through these moment to moment, day by day, hour by hour. I hope that, and as I've gotten more mature as a Christian, I spend more time, at the prioritizing value, owning, selling end and less at the blind end.
[00:27:29] But yeah, but if I'm honest, there's moments in the day when Nope, I'm blind to it right now.
[00:27:36] Brian Steele: [00:27:36] That's exactly right. And it's because we actually have two kingdoms inside of us. So if we are followers of Jesus, and if we have given our lives to Christ, then. Then we have the kingdom of God as an activity, an active rule, Jesus is actually ruling your life, but we also still have [00:28:00] remnants of the kingdom of darkness inside of us.
[00:28:03] And so there is a war for kingdoms inside of us and it is, and it goes back and forth and honestly, you're right. It's like what time is it? And there's certain times in my day when I'm more vulnerable. And where, and even conditions people in the recovery world have heard about halt, meaning hungry, angry, lonely, tired are the times when you're most vulnerable and the kingdom of darkness has the greatest opportunity to gain ground.
[00:28:33] And so for that's the value of actually embodying your faith. Is, if you can, even your example of breath, I think is brilliant. Scott, if you can enlist your breathing to support your life of faith, then your body will be doing something unconsciously that you're not even knowing that you're doing that every single breath you take will be [00:29:00] an activity of worship that your breath itself gets harnessed.
[00:29:06] For the rule of Jesus in your life and think of it as territory. So because you've made that a habit in practice, you can say that Jesus, as King has claimed rulership over your breath.
[00:29:23] I think it's beautiful. And he wants to do that with every aspect of your lives. So there's a time where, you know as just speaking, really, honestly, as guys, we struggle with lust and there's been times in my life where it's yeah, The, the rule and reign of King Jesus needs to take effect over my eyes.
[00:29:46] He needs to claim the territory of my eyes. So I need to use how I need to guard my eyes so that my eyeballs, literally my eyeballs are used for the [00:30:00] kingdom of light, as opposed to the kingdom of darkness. So that means I have to guard how I use my eyes and the area of lust. And so Jesus wants to move through every part of your, your mind and your soul and your spirit and your body and claim those areas for his rule and reign for his kingdom.
[00:30:21] So that really in the end, when God's kingdom comes, your life looks beautiful and is flourishing and is thrilling and is enjoyable. And as delightful, that's what it looks like when his kingdom comes.
[00:30:39] Scott Maderer: [00:30:39] You can find out more about the book firstname.lastname@example.org and you can connect with Brian on LinkedIn, under Brian C steel that's S T E L E. Of course I'll have links to all of this over in the show notes as well. Brian, anything else you'd like to share with the listener [00:31:00] today?
[00:31:01] Brian Steele: [00:31:01] Yeah, I would just say it is the it's the adventure of a lifetime.
[00:31:06] That when you stub your toe on the hidden treasure, it's worth taking a long time to ponder and to understand the value of what you've found. And in this life, there is a life of flourishing as you seek God's kingdom first. And, and I just strongly recommend in, in. Getting the kingdom field guide and actually doing the field trips because the temptation is just to read it like a book and set it on your shelf.
[00:31:36] But, but my hope is that the field guide gets shoved in your backpack and it gets muddy and dirty that you, with your friends or your family or small group, you go have these immersive. Experiences together. Cause that's the best way. And maybe even the only way of learning about God's kingdom and having it come fully in your life.
[00:31:56] So that's my strong encouragement to people. Scott,
[00:32:00] [00:32:00] Scott Maderer: [00:32:00] awesome. Thanks so much for being on the show today.
[00:32:03] Brian Steele: [00:32:03] I have loved it. Thank you.
[00:32:10] Scott Maderer: [00:32:10] 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. If you enjoy this episode. Please, please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes rate.
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