Join us today for Part 2 of the Interview with Brian Steele, author of The Kingdom Field Guide...
This is Part 2 of the interview I had with pastor, speaker, and author Brian Steele.
In today’s Interview with Brian Steele I ask Brian to share with you why, as Christians, we often get disillusioned with the church and what we can do about it. I also ask Brian to share the problem with seeing the Bible as a list of rules to follow. Brian then shares with you the definition of stewardship he sees and why it matters to him.
Join in on the Chat below.
Episode 801 Invest in Others - Interview with Brian Steele â€“ Part 2
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: [00:00:00] Thanks for joining us on episode 801 of the inspired stewardship podcast. I'm
[00:00:07] Brian Steele: [00:00:07] 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.
[00:00:40] And I think unfortunately, long time we have reduced, we've actually stripped the kingdom out of the gospel with the kingdom and the gospel has become something like, Oh, I'm supposed to believe in Jesus. I agree with a set of statements about him. Like he died for me and my sins are [00:01:00] forgiven and then I'm going to go to heaven because I'm forgiven.
[00:01:03] And then we call that the gospel. Which those things are
[00:01:08] Scott Maderer: [00:01:08] true. Welcome. 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.
[00:01:26] We'll learn to invest in yourself. Invest in others and develop your influence so that you can impact the work.
[00:01:40] Interview with Brian Steele. I asked Brian to share with you why as a Christian, we often get disillusioned with the church and what we can actually do about it. I also asked Brian to share the problem with seeing the Bible is a list of rules that we must follow. And Brian then shares with you the definition of stewardship.
[00:01:59] He [00:02:00] sees and why it actually matters to him. One 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.
[00:02:20] 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 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.
[00:02:51] Brian C steel is a pastor speaker and Arthur. His work has focused on discipleship, leadership development, and small groups. [00:03:00] After spending eight years studying in Jesus's parable of the hidden 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.
[00:03:15] He is also a professional geologist. 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.
[00:03:34] Brian Steele: [00:03:34] Welcome
[00:03:34] Scott Maderer: [00:03:34] to the show, Brian,
[00:03:36] Brian Steele: [00:03:36] thank you, Scott. Looking forward to this conversation.
[00:03:43] Scott Maderer: [00:03:43] So I think one experience that a lot of Christians have, and this definitely includes me is a time or a period where they leave the church often because they see what they perceive as hypocrisy. They have other bad [00:04:00] experiences with, the bumper sticker. Lord saved me from your people.
[00:04:03]That kind of thing you talk about. In the book, how this idea of love Christ, but hate the church is I've heard that as an expression or a Mo a moment that people go through. Can you talk a little bit about if we are believers and we are in the church and we see the church doing things, what does that call for us to do?
[00:04:27] Brian Steele: [00:04:27] Yeah, maybe let me just clarify a little bit. I reject the idea that we can love Christ and hate the church. But that is some, but that are people's experiences. And I have just personally my own story. I have some very deep church wounds that have taken still after 30 years are not yet fully healed.
[00:04:52] And I was involved in a very abusive church. It was spiritually abusive, did a lot of damage would be [00:05:00] considered a cult in any kind of normal definition of that term. So those church wounds are real and even, but even for people who aren't in, in Colts, even just normal quote unquote healthy churches, there's always going to be, there's always going to be church wounds.
[00:05:20] And it's they're unavoidable. And and I just want to, I want to say that when we see, when we receive church wounds, that is part of us becoming like Christ and that if we think of the love that Jesus has. When he talks about loving your enemies, when he talks about loving people who persecute you or hate you, that's what he did when he came to this world.
[00:05:49] And that all of us at some point are aligned against his rule and reign. Like sin, isn't just moral. Oops. But sin is [00:06:00] actually a mutiny against the throne of Jesus himself. And so at different points in our lives, all of us have been enemies of Christ to one degree or another. So that means that when we encounter wounds from others, there's a type of grace and there's a type of There's a type of mercy that we need to extend because we have received grace and mercy.
[00:06:26] Now I don't, we can't conclude from that, that we're just supposed to be a carpets that we allow people to walk over us or where we allow a bad behavior to go on without saying ouch. But we have to start from a place of of love and compassion. And I think the best analogy that I heard was the book fearfully and wonderfully made, and it is doctor, Oh my God.
[00:06:57] Oh my goodness. Phillip brand. [00:07:00] And he said that like our body has the skeletal structure. So he. He calls that truth. So truth is hard and truth is unwavering. And yet our body is covered in skin and that we're not exoskeletons like lobsters, but the truth is covered in love. And so when we are relating to people in the church, when there is wounding the clear pattern and model of Jesus, as we are to approach people with truth in.
[00:07:36] Love, and there is and we have no other option, but to remain in the body of Christ, because the alternative there's too much to lose and there'll be too much damage that happens if we just decide we're gonna throw the church away and we're going to just be done with it.
[00:07:57]There, there is no perfect church. There [00:08:00] was never a perfect church. Even the new Testament church would have been a place that we would have been very shocked by, there's stories of people that are Keeling over dead because they've stolen an obscure mounted money. And yeah, there was a messy place.
[00:08:15] And would just say extend grace and mercy speak the truth in love. And stick with it. The body of Christ is the body of Christ. And if there are church wounds, God will even use those wounds as blessing. And eventually they'll be healed and we just have to stick with the church. It is the hope of the world.
[00:08:40] Scott Maderer: [00:08:40] Yeah. And I would to be clear. Yeah. I it is clear in the book that it's not, that expression is right but I do think it's one that a lot of folks have had that moment of and again, like you share some of your own story and some of your own wounds, I have the same history where I was told some.
[00:08:56] No, not per se, but I was told some things that drove me [00:09:00] away from the church. And so I was basically like , I'm not going to do this anymore. But I did return, to but I think it is that realization that, there are no perfect churches. There are no perfect people, me included by the way.
[00:09:13]Quite frankly, if I found a perfect church, they wouldn't let me in.
[00:09:17] Brian Steele: [00:09:17] You'd ruin it, spoiled it.
[00:09:20] Scott Maderer: [00:09:20] Yeah. It would be the one that would ruin it. What I really, what I realized. That I was , nevermind, wait a minute. Why am I holding them to a standard? That's not really real.
[00:09:30] Brian Steele: [00:09:30] Yeah. I love the honesty of scripture is not whitewashed in the least. It's they don't paper over the authors didn't paper over. Yeah. The faults of what we would call the quote unquote heroes of the faith is very honest with the deep failings of everybody in, in, but I think that's the point.
[00:09:52] I think it's beautiful. The point is the reign of Jesus in his kingdom is through [00:10:00] people who are fallen. And who are even enemies that I came to him. No, not even perfect, but even are struggling with kingdom of darkness, to the last breath. And at the end of the age, I think it's going to be very clear.
[00:10:18] Who deserves all of the glory when that kingdom has fully come because not a single one of us is going to be able to say, to claim that throne and that crown for our own, it's going to be obvious that Jesus alone deserves all of the glory for how he built his church, how he restored all of creation, how his kingdom fully came.
[00:10:43]And yet he desires to partner with us. He, we are important to his rule and reign Scott that's the irony of it is that we are a play a prominent role in his rule in that he does extend his kingdom [00:11:00] through people. I think it's the primary way he does it. I think we can say that we are well, which is like any of the kingdom, right?
[00:11:09] So say take the kingdom of great Britain. The queen doesn't go out and do all of the stuff. She has ambassadors and she has people in high position and she has vice Regents and there's Dukes and baronesses and the people do the work of the Monarch. And the Monarch interests the people with authority and with resources and stewardship, and that's how any kingdom comes.
[00:11:38] It's not by the King getting out and doing the work. It's always the people carrying out the will of the Monarch and God's kingdom is no different.
[00:11:47]Scott Maderer: [00:11:47] And I think one of the reasons that a lot of folks get embittered with the church feeling is this kind of response to reading the Bible, reading about the kingdom message, hearing [00:12:00] you, you mentioned it earlier, this list of here's the rules.
[00:12:03] I have to do these things. Now, here you come do them too. The must do's why is this a trap that we can fall into so easily? And what may be again, what can we share or what do we do as a response to seeing or feeling that call that trap?
[00:12:22] Brian Steele: [00:12:22] Yeah, I think it is, I think that has to do Scott with the story in our head, the narrative, the personal narrative that drives our life.
[00:12:33] So if. If the story in my head is not a kingdom story, then the only thing left in the Christian faith is a list of to-dos. If I don't believe that I'm that God's kingdom is real then what am I supposed to do? I got to read my Bible. Why? Because the Bible says I got to pray. I have to. I have to give my money.
[00:12:59] Okay. So [00:13:00] fine. I'm going to be generous. And that when we separate and divorce the activity of the kingdom from the narrative of the kingdom, then. Then the faith gets boiled down to this boring set of duties and rules and it's tragic. And there's all kinds of damage that, that we do in our lives because the story in our head, isn't aligned with the story, the most real story in the world, which is the kingdom narrative.
[00:13:35] That is the. Most real thing there is in this world. And so we call it crazy. When the story in our head isn't aligned with reality and Christians are living a kind of craziness when their lives aren't driven by a kingdom narrative because God's kingdom is really real.
[00:13:58]Scott Maderer: [00:13:58] I think again I'll [00:14:00] call out a a piece of this, I think sometimes.
[00:14:06] Or at least for me, what, when I first started down the journey of, trying to figure out what it meant to be a Christian as an adult. So I'm not talking about as a child, but as an adult I knew it was important and I knew I should do things. And I knew there were rules that I should follow or not follow, but it was It was easier to just treat it as another item on a, to do list than it was to embody it.
[00:14:35] Yes. And out of that ease was the temptation to , if I can treat it like this way, then it's easy. But as I began to embody it, not only was it more difficult to do it created more difficulty in my life, it's my life didn't get easier, cause we're not promised that it's going to be easy or it's going to be, perfect or it's good.
[00:14:57] And I think that's a conflict. Where as [00:15:00] long as I just treat it as a checklist, it was easy. Now I also didn't see positive effects that I've seen, I didn't know those existed yet.
[00:15:07] Brian Steele: [00:15:07] Yeah. The image that I like to use Scott is from Lord of the rings where. The story begins in the Shire and the hobbits are just they have this life of comfort and ease and they have delicious food and abundance, and they have their little hole in the ground and smoke in their pipe and kick your feet up.
[00:15:29]And life is good. We'll say life is easy. The goodness and the fullness of the life that was intended for them. And especially Frodo, he had to leave the Shire and he had to walk into the world that was unknown and was even dangerous. And he didn't know how it was going to end. And I believe God's kingdom it's it really is.
[00:15:57] That's the adventure that we're being [00:16:00] called to when Jesus says, follow me, take up your cross. When he says that we are that we are going to rule and reign with him, then that means leaving the Shire. And it means that the selling everything in the parable that we talked about earlier, the parable, the hidden treasure, just restate it.
[00:16:25] Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field that a man finds and covers up. And then in his joy goes and sells everything he has and buys the field. That's selling everything you have. It was an act of joy, but it was also, if we have to imagine that his friends and family must have thought he was crazy.
[00:16:49] Oh, yeah. What the
[00:16:51] Scott Maderer: [00:16:51] heck are you even risky? Because what if he couldn't get it?
[00:16:55] Brian Steele: [00:16:55] That's exactly. Yeah. Right. And we have to believe that God's kingdom is [00:17:00] really real before we're willing to leave the comforts of our own private little kingdom that we've set up. And it absolutely involves risk. And there really is a sense of danger.
[00:17:13] Now in our country, I would say in North America we don't face persecution for our faith as we can be. We can be Christians and nobody's going to kill us, but there are many places in the world where people have left the Shire. And they are facing real danger on a daily basis so that they can live in God's really real kingdom.
[00:17:41] Now we face a different danger. I think the danger of the Shire, if we leave the Shire, there's definitely danger out there. There's monsters and all this other stuff. The danger of the Shire is that we're going to miss a life of truly flourishing, right? We're going to miss a [00:18:00] life of deep meaning and purpose.
[00:18:02] We're going to miss the life of ruling and reigning with Jesus. So we'll eat great snacks and we'll be comfortable, but there is going to be a loss. And we're not going to be able to live up to our purpose. So really we have to leave the Shire. That's the thrill of waking up daily and saying, Lord, your kingdom, come, your will be done in my life as it is in heaven.
[00:18:32] And let's go do this day and see what that adventure actually means today.
[00:18:38]Scott Maderer: [00:18:38] And it's yeah, it's I think in. And North America, as you said, sometimes it's the temptation of good, which means we're giving up the great, because we don't even believe that the great really exist. We stay happy with the good,
[00:18:53] Brian Steele: [00:18:53] yeah.
[00:18:53]And the trap of an action for many of us. Is a very comfortable place. Like we've [00:19:00] actually set up some pillows and cushions. When we got our mini fridge that we've set up in the trap of an action. We got our Netflix, we got our phones and we can spend our whole lives being very comfortable in that trap of an action.
[00:19:15] And we will miss what the delight and the intimacy that the Lord desires for us in relationship with him.
[00:19:25]Scott Maderer: [00:19:25] Yep. We'll be numb well, and comfortably numb.
[00:19:30] Brian Steele: [00:19:30] There's an old pink Floyd song
[00:19:34] Scott Maderer: [00:19:34] lyrics on the song, but yeah, there you go. That's right. I wasn't actually going to the lyrics to the song, but yes, it is the
[00:19:41] Brian Steele: [00:19:41] way it
[00:19:41] Scott Maderer: [00:19:41] works.
[00:19:42] Yeah. It's slightly different reference, but yeah, it works. Yeah. So w we talked about it a little bit, just a few minutes ago you talked about stewardship as one of those key concepts that fits into finding the kingdom and experiences reality. And of course, inspired [00:20:00] stewardship. Stewardship is a big topic to me.
[00:20:03] So I'd like to ask you two things. One is what is stewardship to you? How would you define it? And then what can that tell us about the kingdom and its reality?
[00:20:13] Brian Steele: [00:20:13] Yeah , I'll start with the biblical claim that God owns everything in heaven on earth, that it all, it already all belongs to him.
[00:20:25] And so that means everything that I have. Actually in reality, belongs to Jesus as King. So my car, my home, my clothes, my phone, my computer, everything, every diamond, the bank account, but it's been entrusted to me as a stewardship. So I believe stewardship is something, a real resource or real authority that's given to somebody.
[00:21:00] [00:21:00] And with the expectation of it being used on behalf of the one who owns it. So in God's kingdom It's very clear from biblical texts that God owns everything that all of the world is his, that he has the cattle on a thousand Hills, but he doesn't trust us. Yeah. And the Hills themselves, not just the cattle, but also the Hills, but he doesn't trust it to us.
[00:21:28] And so we have an opportunity to use that in the name of the King to extend his goodness outward to others. So let's just take your home. For example, even if let's say your quote unquote, own your home that is bought and paid for you actually don't own your home. It still belongs to Jesus, the King.
[00:21:54] And how are you going to use that? In the name of the King to advance his [00:22:00] kingdom? It just means you're going to be hospitable. You're going to be friendly to people. You're going to welcome people into your home. You're going to you're going to be a foster family. You're going to bring a kid into your home.
[00:22:12] You're going to you're going to feed people. And allow them a space where they are safe and where they're heard and where they are loved. You're going to love your neighbor. You're going to have barbecues with your neighbor in your home. And so that's good stewardship. It means that the thing that you have you use on behalf of Jesus for his kingdom to bring blessing and goodness to other people.
[00:22:46] Scott Maderer: [00:22:46] So Brian, what are the other. Areas that you talk about in the field guide is how the story of the gospel and our personal story can be woven together. So how [00:23:00] walk me through that? Because I think one of the dangerous, sometimes in, in reading scripture is trying to look for quote, just the scripture that applies to us.
[00:23:08] So to speak, reading ourselves into the story in a bad way to, yeah. How can we actually use our personal narrative, our own story to reflect on our place in the place of others in the kingdom without getting into that selective reading for lack of a better word. Yeah.
[00:23:25] Brian Steele: [00:23:25] It's a great question, Scott.
[00:23:27] I think we have to begin with what is the gospel. And I think unfortunately for a long time we have reduced, we've actually stripped the kingdom out of the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel has become something like, Oh, I'm supposed to believe And Jesus. I agree with a set of statements about him.
[00:23:47] Like he died for me and my sins are forgiven and then I'm going to go to heaven because I'm forgiven. And then I call that the gospel which those things are true. That. [00:24:00] Jesus did die for our sins, but there's something more to the gospel. And if we read the scripture through the lens of a kingdom narrative, we see that the good news is that there is a King who is establishing his kingdom.
[00:24:20] And will eventually take over the entire world and the kingdom of darkness will be completely done away with, and that King is enlisting us to be a part of the project. All of us, he is enlisting to be a part of his project for the restoration of all things, to establish his kingdom. On earth as it is in heaven.
[00:24:47] That is the good news. There is a King who came and his name is Jesus. And what's even better is he is ruling right [00:25:00] now with all authority in heaven on earth. And he wants to entrust us with that authority for his kingdom to come. That's like thrilling. That makes what we do here and now matter and have purpose because in that stripped down version of the gospel, if it's just a bit like people have seen many people have seen that image, it's like a gospel comic.
[00:25:27] What does that poor little guy, and he's peering over the edge of this cliff and there's the flames of hell below. And, but fortunately there's a cross that bridges that gap. And now we can go to heaven.
[00:25:38] Scott Maderer: [00:25:38] The girder that we can cross girder.
[00:25:40] Brian Steele: [00:25:40] Yeah. Jesus is a bridge girder. There's definitely elements of truth in that comment.
[00:25:47] The cross of Jesus does span a gap but. If that's only what the gospel is, what are we supposed to do for the rest of our lives? Just twiddle our thumbs and whistle. There's a new thing almost to not only
[00:25:59] Scott Maderer: [00:25:59] do [00:26:00] nothing, but it almost doesn't matter what we do because the day is already over. That's
[00:26:04] Brian Steele: [00:26:04] exactly right.
[00:26:06] Yeah. I'm just waiting to go to that other side where the gospel of the kingdom, I. I like to think of it as in just the reverse. It's the key. It's not us. It's waiting to go to heaven, but the King has come down from heaven to earth and he's bringing crowns in his hand. And he's restoring to us, our royalty and he's placing crowns on our head, which means he's asking us to rule and reign on his behalf.
[00:26:36] And for getting really practical, the gospel then translates into every detail of our lives. So let's take financial stewardship because I know that's really important for you, Scott and for your listeners. And if we are royalty, Then the money that's entrusted to us, God is asking us to steward in a way that's [00:27:00] wise in a way that's generous in a way that's going to bring a return and it's going to give a yield and in a way, that's going to bring blessing to other people.
[00:27:13] So the gospel of the kingdom. Starts getting very practical in your life. It's not just some little track that you like put on somebody's windshield, with these four spiritual laws, it's actually a way of living and the name of the King that brings the goodness and the love of the King to people all around you.
[00:27:36] And it's a story of his kingdom coming.
[00:27:43] Scott Maderer: [00:27:43] 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 [00:28:00] well. Brian, anything else you'd like to share with the listener today?
[00:28:04] Brian Steele: [00:28:04] Yeah, I would just say it is the, it's the adventure of a lifetime that when you stub your toe on the hidden treasure, it's worth taking.
[00:28:15] 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 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 a shelf.
[00:28:38]But my hope is that the field guide gets shoved in your backpack and gets muddy and dirty that you, with your friends or your family or small group, you go have these immersive events. 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.
[00:28:58] So that's my [00:29:00] strong encouragement to people. Scott.
[00:29:02] Scott Maderer: [00:29:02] Awesome. Thanks so much for being on the show today.
[00:29:05] Brian Steele: [00:29:05] I have loved it. Thank you.
[00:29:13] Scott Maderer: [00:29:13] 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 do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes rate.
[00:29:40] 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 favor until next time, invest your time, your talent and your [00:30:00] treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.
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Unfortunately we've striped the kingdom from the Gospel of the Kingdom. - Brian Steele
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