• indoubt Podcast
  • ·
  • February 8, 2022

Ep. 283: One At A Time

With Kyle Idleman, , , and Ben Lowell

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Pastor and author Kyle Idleman joins us this week to discuss his newest book One At A Time. He challenges us as Christians to see those around us in the same way that Jesus would, with care and compassion. He also calls us to always be on the lookout for that one person with whom we can connect and show the love of Jesus to.

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*Below is an edited transcription of the audio conversation.

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Indoubt Podcast, where we explore the challenging topics that young adults often face. Each week, we talk with guests who help answer questions of faith, life and culture, connecting them to our daily experiences in God’s word. For more info on Indoubt, visit indoubt.ca or indoubt.com.

Ben Lowell:

Hi, this is Ben Lowell. And actually, I’m doing the podcast for Indoubt this week. Daniel’s not able to be with us, but that’s okay because I really enjoy this opportunity because we meet with some wonderful people who have some incredible insights into God and our walk with Christ.

Ben Lowell:

And today is no exception, because we have Pastor Kyle Idleman with us. Pastor Kyle is an author and a husband, a father of four. And if you’re unfamiliar, I got to tell you, you got to look him up. I think the best way to do that is probably through kyleidleman.com. And you can find all of the books that are there. And i must say Kyle, beyond the opportunity I had to receive one of your books and to read One At a Time and wasn’t familiar with some of your other books, but I tell you, they’re all worthwhile. I’ve really enjoyed them and appreciated them.

Kyle Idleman:

I appreciate you checking them out. Thank you.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. But anyways, you can check that out. Kyle is here today and I’m grateful for him to be here to discuss his newest book, One At a Time. Kyle, welcome. And maybe I could just ask you really quickly, if you just a brief intro of yourself and even maybe what brought you to write this book?

Kyle Idleman:

Yeah, I’d love to. So I am a pastor in Louisville, Kentucky, former church planter. I think we might have that in common, Ben. And I have been married for 26 years. I have four kids, two of them are married. So I only got one left at home. And I have been a pastor at the same church now for almost 20 years. But the book really came out of my desire to have impact and influence, but not always knowing how to go about that in a way that would reflect the life of Christ.

Kyle Idleman:

So I was a church planter, as I mentioned, and when I started a new church. It was easy enough to love people one at a time because there weren’t that many people, right? So I knew their names and their stories, and I understood their struggles and challenges, and it was a little more natural to walk with them in life. And then as I got older and had some other opportunities, I began to think of impact and influence in terms of how many and how much.

Kyle Idleman:

And it kind of became a dangerous path in ministry and in life to define whether or not I’m making a difference by how many people, in my case come to a church. For your listeners, it might be how many Instagram followers you have or how many views you get on TikTok. There’s all kinds of ways now that we would define influencer. But what I was really convicted with as I studied scripture, is that Jesus influenced.

Kyle Idleman:

He changed the world by loving people one at a time. And there’s just so many examples of this in the Gospels where He’s surrounded by crowds of people and in the midst of a very demanding schedule and busy day, He would take the time to love one person, to give his attention to one person.

Kyle Idleman:

And it’s amazing how much of the gospel account is dedicated to just telling those one at a time stories. And so I just thought about my life and what I would want my legacy to be, and how do I make a difference today? And I just found so much joy and freedom in saying, “I’m going to care and love people one at a time as I go throughout whatever God’s called me to do for that day.” So that life of Christ is really what challenged me to take a fresh look at influence and impact.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah, that’s great. You go back to being church planter, of course I planted a few churches and I ran into the same issues you did. The Lord liberated me from that at one point, recognizing that you know what, whatever I do, it’s not about me anyways. And it’s nothing that I can do that can thwart the plans of God as though I’m powerful enough to do that. And so I just turn to the idea that if I’m just obedient, then everything else will fall in.

Ben Lowell:

But one of my issues as a church planter, as a young pastor was that I was a bit of an introvert. And it became very difficult for me sometimes to connect with people. I found that not only personally, naturally difficult, but let alone to talk to somebody and be as invasive about talking to them about Jesus. Did you struggle with that? Was there a personal issue with connecting? How would you go about encouraging somebody in that way?

Kyle Idleman:

Yeah, I would spend time with people who I felt like had great people skills. The extroverts among us who are very sanguine and outgoing and love a good party. And I didn’t always know how to do that. I didn’t feel comfortable with that. I struggled sometimes when I was in crowds. Yeah, I’d feel a little anxiety around that and pick up my phone and pretend to be on a phone call even though there was nobody on the phone. That’s not healthy. That’s not in the how to make a difference manual.

Kyle Idleman:

And so I knew that I needed to do some things a little bit differently. And my approach at first was to read some books, study some people who have great people skills, what can I learn from them? But I just found that my personality was quite a bit different. It didn’t come as naturally for me. And so as I studied the life of Jesus, one of the phrases that I kept coming across was the phrase Jesus saw or He saw, I think it’s about 40 times in the Gospels, that Jesus had eyes for the one person.

Kyle Idleman:

And I found that even though I don’t necessarily do great with crowds and I can be uncomfortable sometimes around a lot of people that I don’t know that if I can really see one person, see where they’re at, have compassion on them, understand their story a little bit, ask questions about who they are and really care. If you don’t really care, then it’s pretty difficult. But if you genuinely care about that person, which a lot of that is accomplished through prayer ahead of time. If you genuinely care about that person, it’s amazing how many questions you have. And then the more you learn about them, the easier it becomes to connect with them.

Kyle Idleman:

And so just learning from Jesus to see people that way. And I pray a prayer almost every day of, “Jesus help me to see people the way you see people, give me your eyes for the one.” And I’ve just discovered that when we pray that prayer, He answers it and gives us a love and a care for people that we come across.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. One of the first stories of the Bible that you’ve mentioned in your book is the woman suffering from bleeding. And to be honest with you, that’s probably one of my top two or three stories in the Bible, because I think it portrays such a holistic perspective of ministry. What one person can give to another. Help us understand a little bit more, how does that fit into the One At a time as you see it with Jesus interacting with that woman?

Kyle Idleman:

Well, in context of that story, Jesus is surrounded by a crowd of people. In that language, crowd just means this large group of unidentified people. So a lot of people from a lot of different places who He didn’t necessarily know. And then of course you have Jairus who comes, who’s a powerful person, who needs the help of Jesus. And so Jesus is giving some attention to Jairus, but then there’s this woman who reaches out and touches the cloak of Jesus believing that she will be healed. And she’s spent 20 years seeing doctors trying to get help, it cost her all of her money. And she’s desperate.

Kyle Idleman:

She reaches out to Jesus, she’s healed. And then she tries to disappear into the crowd. And there’s this verse in Luke 8 there that was super impactful to me. And I think is a profound way to live your life. The woman says realizing that she could not go unnoticed, that Jesus was looking for her in such a way that she recognized He’s going to see me. He’s going to notice me. She realized she couldn’t go unnoticed. And I love that challenge to followers of Jesus to say, okay, who in your life needs to not go unnoticed?

Kyle Idleman:

Maybe they’re trying to disappear a little bit or maybe they’ve withdrawn because of some shame or rejection in the past. Whatever their story is, who needs to not go unnoticed. And when Jesus then sees her, He says to her, He refers to her as daughter. It’s just a really profound thing that there’s this very intimate term that Jesus uses to as a rabbi to refer to this woman as daughter. And it shows you how He saw her. In fact, I would say His term of endearment for her reflects how He’s able to care for her one at a time.

Kyle Idleman:

I have three daughters at home and I know that the way I see them is that if they have a need, if they’re in trouble, if they’re struggling, if they have a challenge, then that’s going to become what’s most important to me today, right? Because it’s my daughter. And to understand that the way Jesus sees her is the way I see my girl and the way that Jesus sees you, it’s a son or a daughter. And if I can see people that way, if I can understand it that way, it makes all the difference.

Kyle Idleman:

I have a daughter who is 20 and she’s in Brazil right now. And so she’s a ways from home, but I recently had this couple that our missionaries there who, my daughter works for a missions organization. But this couple who didn’t know me, and I don’t know them just saw that she was doing this work, but was very much by herself and needed some encouragement and some help along the way.

Kyle Idleman:

And they just invited her in. Started sharing life with them and taking good care of her. And as a dad, I saw what was happening from a distance. And I was so grateful because she’s my daughter, and here’s a couple who sees her and cares for her. And I just think of how God feels, how He must think of it when He sees us as His servants looking after to His sons and daughters in such a personal way, because that’s how He sees them.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. I think that’s part of your book as well, is that people just aren’t numbers. We have a responsibility to the people around us to actually get to know them, to care about them in order to represent Christ properly. Does that make any sense?

Kyle Idleman:

Absolutely. And I think, your listeners, I know that there’s this tendency to feel like the way you make a difference is by the numbers, right? You know you make a difference because you have this post that goes up and a lot of people comment and share it, something goes viral and you’re like, “Man, I’m doing something with my life. I’m making a difference. I’m having an influence.”

Kyle Idleman:

However, what we really see in the gospels is that it’s much more personal than that. That it requires a type of proximity with people, that it can’t be accomplished as nearly as effectively. I won’t say it can’t be accomplished at all, but nearly as effectively through social media, digital connection, as it can be in person. There’s something about being physically present with someone. And so Jesus was always living life this way, where He would be on his way somewhere, He’d find someone within His circle and then He was intentional with that person.

Kyle Idleman:

So one of the ways I would encourage and challenge your listeners is with this idea of who is in your circle today, who do you find yourself in physical proximity with? And what can you do to encourage them? What can you do to care for them? To show interest in them, to build a bridge to them? it’s super helpful if you stop and think about who has done this for you, I’ll give you an example.

Kyle Idleman:

When I was in the eighth grade, I had a Sunday school teacher who was an accountant. His name was Scott Fields, and he kept me after Sunday school class. And as an eighth grader, he said to me, “Hey, I see something in you. I think that you have some leadership gifts. I think God going to use you in some significant ways.”

Kyle Idleman:

And as a eighth grader, I doubt he even remembers doing that, right? I’m sure for him, that was not a big deal. He probably said it to all the kids, but that had a huge impact on my life because he took some time to say something. I was in his circle. I was in that proximity area and he was intentional with it. My guess is that most of the people listening to this, if you’ve had someone do that for you, it’s been their presence. They did some life with you and that gave them that opportunity.

Kyle Idleman:

And so when you’re doing it by the numbers, trying to find influence by the numbers, it might feel good to you personally, but the real impact and influence tends to be the people who step into your circle, that you’re able to show that kind of personal care for.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. It’s really liberating when you think about it, because I’m thinking about, and I’m sure you’ve traveled much in your ministry. And I remember going to a number of different places. Well, even in Vancouver here where we’re from here and walking downtown and feeling overwhelmed by the numbers or being down in the states and feeling overwhelmed by the numbers or in Toronto. Or we do some ministry in India and being in Hyderabad and just looking at the numbers and all of a sudden feeling this is in impossible. There’s nothing I can do to make an impact.

Ben Lowell:

But the liberating thing here is that Christ really did choose to focus on the individual. Very seldom did He focus on large groups of people, but He focused on the individual for most of His ministry. And so I think that’s got to be a liberating statement to us. Doesn’t it? That focusing on those individual relationships should really be a primary goal.

Kyle Idleman:

Yeah. You’ve been doing this probably a little longer than I have, but I know as a pastor, my confidence in what you’re saying has grown. So in other words, I underestimated the ripple effect that caring for one person at a time has. The fruit of that sometimes shows up over the years where you have an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to someone and then generation later, there’s still some fruit from that. And I think that takes some patience. It can be hard to wait for the harvest of that.

Kyle Idleman:

My grandparents in 1956 were far from God. They didn’t know Jesus, didn’t have any kind of a church home. My grandfather struggled with alcoholism, a really rough family. And there were some neighbors who walked across the street one day, knocked on their door and introduced themselves and invited them to their church and befriended them and shared Jesus with them. My dad would’ve been about 10 at the time.

Kyle Idleman:

And so here’s some neighbors, people that I’ve never known and never met, and they changed everything. God used them to really turn my grandparents’ life around. My grandparents got to know Jesus, and He began to redeem as only He can. And here I am now in 2021, however many years later that is, and almost everything good in my life really came from these people that I’ve never met walking across the street, knocking on the door of my grandparents’ house and expressing care and love for them.

Kyle Idleman:

And my point would be that you just don’t know, you don’t know how God will use you. I don’t have a chance, won’t have a chance, at least this side of heaven to thank them for the way that they saw and cared for my grandparents. But it changed the trajectory of their lives, which changed my life completely even though I was the long ways from even being born. So I guess my challenge would be to have faith that God’s going to use you to make a difference. You might not see it all at once, but that’s the way the harvest comes. God does something with it, and then fruit starts to grow.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. And I can think back on my own life about the individual things. It didn’t even have to be profound, those interactions, they just had to be personal.

Kyle Idleman:

I would argue that that is a profound need that a lot of the people we come in contact with have. They really want to be seen. And so I think even today, everyone listening to this is going to have that opportunity to help someone be noticed and to be seen, that requires you to be present in the moment, right? I’m not always great at that, my wife will sometimes say to me, “Hey, I feel like you’re here, but you’re not present.” In other words, I feel like you may be here physically, but your mind is somewhere else. You’re distracted with something else, you’re on your phone, scrolling, whatever it is.

Kyle Idleman:

And there’s just something really powerful about putting away the distractions, looking at someone, giving them your attention and letting them feel seen. There’s something very Jesus about that. There’s so many examples that come to my mind, but let me give you a few. That Jesus would see someone, the Bible says then, “He would have compassion on them.” But the disciples wouldn’t always see them the same way.

Kyle Idleman:

I think about the blind man on the side of the road, who they tell the blind to be quiet. That he’s bothering them with his begging and Jesus sees him. And there’s something really powerful about that or the children as they’re coming to Jesus. The disciples try to usher them away because it’s a busy time. But Jesus sees them and says, “Let the little children come to me.” And so I would just challenge those of you who are listening to this to think about and to pray about, okay, who just needs to be seen. You may not feel like there’s anything profound you can do. You’re not sure maybe even what to say, but just seeing someone being present with someone can be incredibly impactful.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah, I completely agree. Now, let me I ask you a question though, because I come from the era of church growth with all of its good and bad I guess, but also an era of where friendship evangelism was really important or was a key incentive get out there. But sometimes the challenge with that was friendship is all it became about. There was nothing more intentional about that. And so when being present, does there still need to be some acknowledgement of the fact that we’re present for a purpose?

Kyle Idleman:

Absolutely. Yeah. And so Jesus says in John 13:34, 35, “The new command I give you, love one another as I have loved you. By this the world will know that you’re my followers if you love one another.” So the way that we want to communicate to the world that we are His followers is by our love. There’s nothing more profoundly clear about your commitment to Christ than the way that you love people. There’s no question about that. It’s not your knowledge. It’s not how much information that you have. It’s not your rule following. It is the fact that you love people the way that Jesus loved people.

Kyle Idleman:

But part of the way that Jesus loved people was to meet a need in a moment, but then speak something of truth into their life. So there’s a gospel opportunity that will almost always follow a profound act of compassion, so that when you see and then you move with compassion, I believe that it may be a little uncomfortable at first, but there’ll be an opportunity to connect someone to Jesus or connect that act of compassion to Jesus.

Kyle Idleman:

Jesus talks about the fact that His followers of Him in the Sermon on the Mount, He says that we are the salt of the earth, that we’re the light of the world. That part of why we do what we do is because that’s how He’s loved us, but that’s what gives us the opportunity to point people to Him. And there are all kinds of ways to do that. I encourage people not to make it weird. I think that as you build relationship, and as you love people, if you pray about it, if you pray about it, you will have an opportunity to step into that.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I’m going to put you on the spot. Can you look back on a relationship that you’ve had where that happened organically, that that opportunity was there and Lord led you to progress with that?

Kyle Idleman:

I can tell you about something that happened yesterday.

Ben Lowell:

Oh great.

Kyle Idleman:

So you’re hearing this for the first time, nobody else has heard this. So yesterday we had some groceries delivered to our house and the person who delivered groceries, which is how most of us get groceries these days, pulled up in the driveway and I went out to meet her. She was driving a minivan and she had her groceries in there, opened up the door. I could see the kids. So seats there in the seat when she opened the door. And I noticed that she didn’t have a wedding ring on. So I thought, “Well, this is probably single mom that’s delivering groceries, making little extra money on the side to help make ends meet.” So I asked her, I just said, “Hey, is this your full-time job or tell me about how you got into this?”

Kyle Idleman:

And she started telling me what I had assumed. And so I had a chance just to talk to her, to learn a little bit about her. And then I thought, “I want to give a really generous tip.” So I went in, got $100 bill and brought it back out and said, “Hey, I definitely don’t do this very often. And I doubt I’ll do it again anytime soon, but I really would love to bless you with this today.” And for me, it’s a little easier because I told her I was a pastor at a church, so it kind of builds a natural bridge.

Kyle Idleman:

But then when I gave it to her and just said, “Hey, I really believe,” She said to me, “God bless you.” And I said, “Actually, I really think God’s wanting to bless you today, that’s why I did this. And I’m going to be praying for you. It’s really good to meet you.” So it’s an example of something I would’ve totally missed, I don’t know, eight, 10 years ago. But that I’m learning to have eyes to notice a need which Jesus just did so naturally in the gospels where He would see, He would have compassion, He would do something. And so I think as we grow in that, that God gives us eyes to recognize a need. Then we ask some questions so we can be personally interested and understand someone where they’re at. And then if we can meet that need, then it gives us oftentimes an opportunity to point them to Jesus.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah, that’s fantastic. It’s a great challenge for us. I think those opportunities are always there, but I think like you said, to have the eyes to recognize it and to be attentive to the opportunities that God is giving us constantly I think it’s easy to miss those things if our attention is always somewhere else.

Ben Lowell:

Listen, I want to move on to another part of the book because I think it was really interesting. You talked about the Sermon on the Mount and you in essence called it God’s dream for your life and this is completely new to me. I got to be honest with you. The idea that this is God’s dream for your life. And so what I want you to do is maybe help us understand, inspire people with that because I think that is incredible.

Kyle Idleman:

Yeah. Well, I think we have to be careful when we use phrases like God’s dream, right? Because oftentimes that is followed by what’s actually my dream. And so as you read through the Sermon on the Mount, there’s this contrast. You start to recognize, oh, this isn’t necessarily what I want for my life. It’s not necessarily my dream. And so there’s this tension where what God is calling me to is different than what I’m maybe wanting. And so I call it God’s dream for your life as a way to draw some tension there. To say, “Hey, God’s dream for your life is probably going to be different than your dream for your life, and here’s how.”

Kyle Idleman:

And yeah, in the Sermon on the Mount, He challenges those who are listening to understand that oftentimes His dream for your life is going to be counterintuitive. So specifically as it relates to one at a time, I think of where He is challenging His listeners on how to treat people. This is the section where He says if someone hits you on one side of the face, turn to him the other cheek as well. If someone sues you, give him your coat as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Kyle Idleman:

And as you know, so in that culture for a Jew, a Roman soldier, they were the occupation of that time could say to a Jewish person, “Hey, here’s my backpack. You got to carry it a mile.” And Jewish person would have to do that, but they couldn’t ask the Jewish person to carry that more than a mile. Just one mile is the most they could demand there.

Kyle Idleman:

And so when Jesus is saying, “Go a second mile.” He’s saying, “Hey, you willingly do something here that you’re not going to feel like doing, that nobody is going to want to do.” And that act or that gesture is going to make you stand out. Who does that? Who does that? Followers of Jesus do that, nobody else is going to do that. And so when we love people that way, it gives us an opportunity to be different, gives us an opportunity to stand out, to be distinctive by the way we love.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah, it’s fantastic. And I think it’s true, when you’re seeing those things and I like when you speak about the fact that it’s not necessarily what we would necessarily intend for ourself or want for ourselves. Do I want to walk a… Well, to be honest with you, I know a few people that that’s their life. They would want to walk the extra mile or another mile, another mile after that. That’s not my personal natural inclination.

Ben Lowell:

Sometimes in relationships, it’s sort of until I’m happy, until I’m satisfied, but God has something my much more intentional for you in that. And the opportunities are grand. When you think about opportunities to give more of yourself, there’s a lot of them. When people ask something of you and to say, “No, I’m not even going to do that. I’m going to do this much more.” So if you’re looking for opportunity to be in relationship with somebody, there’s all kinds of opportunities to do more than what’s required of you, I would think.

Kyle Idleman:

Yeah. There’s this strange thing that happens, this irony that takes place, that when you live that way, you actually find what you were selfishly wanting all along. What makes it hard to go the extra mile for one person at a time is that it we tend to be selfish and think of our own interests. And we think that’s what’s going to make us happiest. If I’m putting myself first, but the great irony is that in putting others first, we start to discover a deeper joy. We start to discover that satisfaction that was never really ours when we were focused on ourselves first.

Kyle Idleman:

What’s interesting is that this isn’t just true for followers of Jesus. It’s just true. There’s lots of secular studies that would reflect this, that altruistic living is actually much more fulfilling than materialistic living. And so we see this in Luke 9 where Jesus talks about, “Whoever gives up their life for me will find it.” That you actually find life when you follow the way of Jesus in taking up your cross, following Him, serving others, putting others ahead of yourself. And so it’s counterintuitive. You think, well, this is a going to work. This is just going to make me miserable. But instead there’s actually a very fulfilling joyful life to be found in that.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. That’s fantastic. I’m going to jump to another chapter in the book of which I was quite intrigued right from the very title. And you probably can even anticipate what I might be asking about, but it’s a chapter called don’t be a prig. And I just got to ask you to explain that because I think people know when they get the one at a time book, there’s going to be a chapter that’s called don’t be a prig, that might entice them to read.

Kyle Idleman:

Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know the etymology of the word prig, to be honest with you. It’s a quote from CS Lewis that is directed towards what I would call religious snobs. But people who are always considering themselves better than others, people who tend to be judgemental and look down on those who struggle with things that they don’t struggle with. So CS Lewis coins that, I don’t know, maybe that was the popular saying in his day. But I figured I could call people a prig as long as it’s coming from CS Lewis.

Ben Lowell:

There you go.

Kyle Idleman:

And nobody’s going to be too mad at me. But the challenge of that chapter is that there is sadly a, yeah, I don’t want to say often, but there is often a connection where the more religious someone becomes, the less effectively they love difficult high need people one at a time. That the more you are focused on your religious rituals and rule keeping, the more you find your identity in Christian behaviorism, the less likely you are to be gracious, the less likely you are to be merciful, to love people with that kind of compassion.

Kyle Idleman:

I think there are a lot of reasons for that, but Jesus had a really big problem with religious leaders who made life difficult for the people that He loved one at a time. The very people Jesus loved one at a time are often the very people that they would condemn one at a time. And the very people that they would judge one at a time and reject one at a time. And so Jesus spoke to them very clearly. I think of Matthew 23, the woe to you passage of scripture. Where Jesus says to the religious leaders, “Woe to you if you,” and if you read through those, so many of them dealt with how they treated others. And so that chapter’s really a challenge to people who have been in church maybe a long time, but have found it difficult to be compassionate to those who are different than them.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. We really focus in doubt on trying to have conversations with young adults. This is a conversation we need to have with those grandparents that are listening as well. Because I think if we’re not careful, we can just fall into being, I got to be honest, the word prig, I was a bit concerned about it. I didn’t know if I could say it on air or not, but now that you say CS Lewis said it, I’m feeling much more comfortable. But we can just fall into being a prig without even knowing it. What would you say are some of the signs of becoming a prig? Can I ask you that?

Kyle Idleman:

Yeah. Well, one sign of it is that you don’t think we’re talking about you right now. You think, “Oh, I know people like that. I’m never like that, but I know somebody who can be like that.” Well, that’s a sign. So it’s a self righteousness where you never think it’s about you as someone who needs to change. I think also a sign of this would be instead of being compassionate, you’re critical. The very people that we’ve been called to demonstrate compassion to are sometimes the easiest people to criticize. And you pay attention to who you’re critical of and ask yourself, “You know what, am I actually supposed to be compassionate towards this person?” I think that’s often the case. And this was what separated Jesus from the religious leaders of his day is the very people they criticized and condemned, He demonstrated compassion and care for.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. That’s fantastic. Let me throw a quote at you. It’s a quote from you actually from your own book. So you got to take-

Kyle Idleman:

Hope I agree with it.

Ben Lowell:

You take complete responsibility for it, but here it is and you just respond to it. You said, “If you want to live and love like Jesus, we need to understand that words have the power of life and death and start choosing them carefully.”

Kyle Idleman:

So that quote comes from my personal experiences. That the people who loved me one at a time well, oftentimes did that with words. They said the right thing to me at the right time when I really needed to hear it, and it had profound impact on my life. I think the other side of that’s true too. The times where I have really struggled, where I have felt rejected and hurt and have lost some sense of identity has come from hurtful words.

Kyle Idleman:

And so the challenge of it really is to help everyone understand that with their words today, they have an opportunity to demonstrate a one at a time life just by paying attention and speaking into someone’s life. Maybe they need some comfort, maybe they need some courage. Oftentimes, they just need somebody to check in with them.

Kyle Idleman:

But you can use your words to demonstrate that kind of love that Jesus has demonstrated towards us. So really that chapter is about doing a word inventory, like just paying attention to this. Am I intentional with my words? How today have I used my words to influence people, to love people one at a time? Who around me needs someone to speak into them because of maybe a challenge they’re experiencing?

Kyle Idleman:

I had a friend recently who didn’t lose his job, but he was demoted, is probably a good way to think of it. And he didn’t really want to say much to anybody about it. He was embarrassed by it. And my tendency was to not say anything to him about it either. I didn’t want to embarrass him, but I knew it was hard. And I knew he was struggling with it. And so I said, “You know what? I’m going to say something.”

Kyle Idleman:

And so I just spoke to him about it as directly as I could, but with lots of hope and compassion and care. And just told him, “Man, it’s got to be hard. I know what that’s like. I’m sure that’s frustrating. When heard that, I felt frustrated for you.” And I just watched, he’s listening to me. I just watched as the tears come to his eyes and we didn’t really talk much about it, but just having the opportunity to say something.

Kyle Idleman:

One of the things I talk about in the book is the power of an I see in you conversation. I don’t know who taught me this, but there’s something really profound when you say to someone I see in you and whatever you see in them. You call that out in someone, it has a lot of power. And I think that’s something all of us can do. We all have somebody in our lives where we can speak that kind of love into.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah. And those words of life can have such an impact on people. I’ve had the opportunity in the past to be with a group of people where we shared just words of life with each other, and it can be devastating for the person almost that’s listening because they put up so many curtains about who they think they are. And it’s so difficult to actually hear encouragement of what other people think you are.

Ben Lowell:

And it can be so uplifting. It can be life transforming because the world would say, “You are this, you are this.” And you buy into that. You buy into it. And then I can think about having conversations with my kids where they were feeling bullied or they were feeling down. They were feeling just like, yeah, just like they weren’t worthy of anything. And all of a sudden it doesn’t mean as much from mum or dad as much sometimes as it does from other people, which can be frustrating from mom and dad, by the way.

Kyle Idleman:

Yes, it can.

Ben Lowell:

But if someone comes alongside of them and says, “This was fantastic. You did such a good job with this. You’re so valuable. You’re this, you’re that, you’re the other thing.” All of a sudden, it’s almost you can see this physical reaction of feeling almost expelling all this untruth and ingesting all this goodness of what people are revealing to them as in essence being the image of God.

Kyle Idleman:

Yeah. Yeah. That’s really good. And it’s really true, and it’s easy to underestimate that for people. One of the ways I would challenge your listeners with that is a couple things. Number one is to pray. In your prayers, pay attention. Ask yourself how many times am I praying for other people? Who do you pray for by name? Who in your life do you take the time to pray for?

Kyle Idleman:

I found that when I’m praying for people by name, I oftentimes have a better sense of what to say to them in a certain moment. If I’m not praying for them, I don’t know that I would even think about it or presume to know what needs to be said. I’m just saying, if you’re praying for somebody specifically; a classmate, a coworker. If you’re praying for a roommate, if you’re praying for somebody difficult family member, you’ll be surprised as you pray for them, that you’ll know what to say to them to bring life.

Kyle Idleman:

The second thing I would encourage them to do to live this out is to practice it. I think it can feel a little unnatural at first, and maybe you don’t think you have much to say, that’s okay. You practice it. Send it as a text. Those are words of life too. One of the things I often do for people in my life is I’ll record a voice memo and I’ll text it to them. Like, “Hey, just want to tell you, I’m praying for you today. Let me know if I can do anything for you.”

Kyle Idleman:

And sometimes I’ll record a prayer and send it. And there’s something about… I don’t necessarily know when I’ll see them or have a chance to talk to them, but I still want my words to make a difference in their world. So just try it, take some steps, practice it, you get better at it as you do it.

Ben Lowell:

That’s fantastic. We’re going to wrap up it in just a minute. I do want to tell you that what when I was reading your book, there’s a couple things that made impression on me. One is it’s biblical, and I love that. Indoubt, we just are sold out on the word of God and that all of our living and behavior needs to be based upon the truth of God’s Word. And so thank you for that.

Ben Lowell:

But the other thing that stands out to me is it’s not a bunch of platitudes. What you’re providing for us is really some practical direction. It’s a matter of just not saying something, you should be doing this, but helping us get there, which I really appreciate. So just in the last couple of minutes, how would you encourage people to gain the confidence? Where does the confidence come from? How could we send people out?

Kyle Idleman:

So I would encourage you to do two things. Number one, I would encourage you to do a one at a time inventory on your life. Like who has done this for you and how have they impacted you. I think one of the things that will happen as you do that, as you’ll start to say, “Oh, I can actually do that for other people.” So look at how God has used other people to care for you, love you, encourage you one at a time. And as you do that kind of inventory, I think it’ll inspire you to do that for others. There’s something about doing for others what’s been done for us that gives us courage and confidence.

Kyle Idleman:

The second thing I would encourage you to do is to wake up 15 minutes early in the morning and ask God for your day to give you His eyes for the one. And why does that take 15 minutes? Well, think through your day. Take 15 minutes, go through your calendar, pray through your appointments. If you’ve got a class and you know you’re going to be sitting next to someone in class, think about who that person is.

Kyle Idleman:

If you’ve got a roommate that shares a room with you, think about who that person is and pray for that person. As you pray for the people that you’re going to be around that day, it’ll start to give you opportunities to live this out. So start your day a little bit differently. If 15 minutes is too much, go for five. Just start the day by putting on a different pair of lenses through which to see other people.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah, that’s fantastic. Thank you, Kyle so much. I think we’ve just really scratched the surface and I really want to encourage folks to not only get the book One At a Time, but you have a podcast called One At a Time as well. And so I would encourage people to go there and to go to kyleidleman.com to see the other books you have. And any last words, Kyle?

Kyle Idleman:

Hey, listen, no. I appreciate you having me on, really grateful. I just can’t help but think about if every person who was listening to this really just did that for one other person today, that would have a huge impact. So thanks for letting me share the message.

Ben Lowell:

Yeah, you’re very welcome. Anyways, God bless your church and all that you’re doing really appreciate you.

Kyle Idleman:

Thanks, Ben. Grateful for you. Thanks brother.

Speaker 1:

Thanks so much for listening. If you want to hear more, subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or visit us online at indoubt.ca or indoubt.com. We’re also on social media, so make sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Speaker 4:

Indoubt is a ministry that exists to engage young people with biblical truth and provide answers for many of today’s questions of life, faith and culture. Through audio programs, articles and blogs Indoubt reaches out to encourage, strengthen and disciple young adults. To check out all the resources of Indoubt, visit indoubt.ca in Canada or indoubt.com in the US. Or if you’re in a position or share a passion for the ministry of young people, you can support the ongoing mission of engaging a new generation with the truth of the Bible.

Speaker 4:

First, you can pray for this ministry. And second, and if you are able, please consider a financial gift by visiting indoubt.ca in Canada or indoubt.com in the US. Your gift of any amount is such a blessing and answer to prayer. Thanks.

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Ep_283-Four-Obstacles-to-Loving-People-Like-Jesus

Who's Our Guest?

Kyle Idleman

Kyle Idleman is the pastor of one of the largest churches in America and bestselling author of Not a Fan. His most recent book One At A Time encourages believers toward the Jesus-way of changing the world: by loving people one at a time.
Ep_283-Four-Obstacles-to-Loving-People-Like-Jesus

Who's Our Guest?

Kyle Idleman

Kyle Idleman is the pastor of one of the largest churches in America and bestselling author of Not a Fan. His most recent book One At A Time encourages believers toward the Jesus-way of changing the world: by loving people one at a time.