What’s in this Episode?
Join Jonathan as he sits down with Pastor John Lindell to discuss the blessings of God, as discussed in Pastor Lindell’s new book, New Normal.
Read the Transcript
John Lindell 0:16
Hey, Jonathan, it’s great to be with you. And thanks for having me on your podcast.
Jonathan Hardy 0:20
Yeah, absolutely. Well, we’re really excited to share this with our listeners and our viewers. You wrote the book, New Normal. Tell us a little bit about how this book came about and why you wrote it.
John Lindell 0:31
You know, I mean, as a pastor, now, being a lead pastor, for 37 years, I’ve watched people and you want a, as a Pastor, you want to see people experience the blessing of God, and to live in it. And yet, in watching people, it’s become obvious to me through the years that what a lot of people do is they have sporadic seasons of blessing. They have times when they when they feel like God is moving in their life, but they don’t really live in the land of blessing. And when you read the Bible, it’s obvious that God wants to continually be at work in our life. He wants to continually do good things for his people. But what does it take to position ourselves that way? Because God’s blessings are not automatic.
John Lindell 1:11
And at the same time, they’re not random. It’s not a matter of, you know, he blesses some doesn’t bless others. God is looking for people where he can show himself powerful. And so this book really comes as a way of saying to, first of all, the people of James River, God wants to bless you and God wants to do things in your life you couldn’t begin to believe or imagine, but if you will seek Him, and you’ll walk close to him, he has a new normal for you. And so it’s been exciting as a pastor to preach it to the people and to watch what God is doing in their life.
Jonathan Hardy 1:45
Yeah. Well, and I really enjoyed reading it. You know, it just was very impactful, even for me personally. And many of our viewers and listeners are pastors, or they’re heavily involved in ministry. What would you say to them as it relates to this new normal? Because sometimes we know this to be true, and yet, we don’t necessarily live it out. Or we don’t live in that land of the blessing like we could.
John Lindell 2:12
Well, I think what’s unfortunate is we can get used to living with less than God’s best in any area of our life, we can get used to things the way they are, instead of the way they should be. And we learn to put up with those things. And I think that’s true for anybody. I mean, I have to say, in my own life, if you’re not constantly trying to push yourself forward… because the enemy’s gonna fight you. And there’s the business of pastoring. There’s all those things, but God has more for us. And if we’ll look to him for that and believe him for that, it’ll make a difference in our lives, first of all, personally, because, hey, I mean, honestly, if the church is doing great, but we’re not doing great personally, then what’s up with that? That is a standard that I don’t think anybody wants to find themselves living. And so it will bless them. And then that flows out of them into the people.
Jonathan Hardy 3:07
Yeah. Well, and I know that as, as someone who’s been around you for quite some time, I’ve seen you live that out where people, the church, and people won’t go, where you haven’t personally been as the lead pastor, the one shepherding the flock.
John Lindell 3:23
Well, I think that’s true. I think we do have to lead by example. And I think, Jonathan, to a great degree, we’re going to talk about what’s in our heart. So, what’s in our hearts, what we’re going to talk about, and what we talk about is what’s going to happen in the church. And in that sense, I think all of us understand the reality in which we live is by and large, framed by the words that we speak. And by the way, the things we talk about. And so, for me, it’s just been a journey of saying, I want the people, I want to live the blessed life. I want to see people live in that. And I just think God has more. You know, it’s been interesting, just because we’re talking to pastors. We’re seeing in the church, an increased sense of anticipation. And God rises to bless people, he looks for opportunity to show himself powerful, and when people are anticipating His goodness, God is always going to come through.
Jonathan Hardy 4:19
Yeah, yeah, that is so true. Now, New Normal obviously plays off of this whole concept of coming off of COVID-19. You know, how did how did your experience through COVID have influence in what you wrote about with New Normal?
John Lindell 4:36
Well you know, what’s interesting is I had pitched the book, had the publisher on track with New Normal before COVID ever showed up. So, we were going to do it early on. And so it was really interesting. When COVID hit, everybody’s using new normal, new normal, new normal, and the publisher is like, maybe we shouldn’t do it. And at that point, we had written so much of the book that I was like, I’d have to go back and do a rewrite on this thing. And so they’re like, we’ll stay with the title.
John Lindell 5:06
But it started in a January message, when just felt like God wanted to lead us as a church into a new normal. And talking about what that would be, well, then the pandemic hit, and the middle of all of us found ourselves living our new normal, but the thing I think it’s done is, is it’s given people hope. It’s given people encouragement, especially during the days of the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty, there was a lot of fear. And when we’re going to walk in a new normal, we’re going to have to be able to overcome those things.
John Lindell 5:44
In fact, the Book of Joshua starts with this challenge from the Lord to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” And so that’s a good word for people in the midst of a pandemic, or people who are out of it, trying to get back into whatever it is that they were doing and reassume their life in some sense.
John Lindell 6:04
And then I would say this, you know, Jonathan, something that that happened to me at the start of the pandemic was, we were interviewing people on our podcast, and one of the first guests was Louie Giglio. So, at the start of the pandemic, as a pastor, I’m a little bit like, Oh, brother, I can’t believe this pandemic is happening. You know, we’re in a capital campaign, you know, we’ve got all these plans, and you’re thinking, “I just wish this would have never happened.” And I can’t wait until it’s over, until we can get back to doing what we were doing. So, I’m talking to Louie and Louie says, “you know, I talked to pastors and they’re like, we just want to get back to normal. What kind of leader is that?” And he goes through and talks about, “I don’t want to get back to normal, I want God, and all the while I’m getting smaller and smaller in my seat.”
John Lindell 6:46
And you know, I’m just saying, oh, my goodness, everything he’s saying is what I’ve been thinking. But it challenged me, it’s like a kick in the seat of the pants to say, listen, don’t think about how you can get back to where you were, you don’t ever want to go back there. You want to go to where God is leading. And so really, out of all of that, I mean, the book, certainly, I was able to incorporate some of that as we went through the editing process and change some things up. But I know that’s been my heart. And the pandemic was a good thing for me. Nobody wants to go through that. But if you got to go through it, it’s a great thing to look back and say, you know what, God taught me things that I couldn’t have learned maybe any other way.
Jonathan Hardy 7:28
Yeah, yeah. No, that’s really good. You mentioned Joshua, what was it about the life of Joshua, or maybe it’s multiple things, that just stuck out to you? Because I know you incorporate that throughout the entire book. What about him was why you decided to write?
John Lindell 7:45
Well, I think there’s a couple of things. First of all, when you have God saying to him over and over again, six times if you add in Deuteronomy and the book of Joshua, you’ve got God’s saying, “Be strong and courageous,” which tells you what? He doesn’t feel strong, and he doesn’t feel courageous. And so a lot of times, I think, all of us and especially pastors can feel like we’re not up to the challenge that’s in front of us and that we can’t do it. We don’t have what it takes. And we all think, “if only I were like Jonathan Hardy,” or like, you know, whoever it is that you’re looking to. You say, “if only I had the gifts of that person here, then I could do it.” And you know, here’s Joshua, when you’ve sat under Moses for 40 years, that would be very inspiring on the one hand, and intimidating on the other.
John Lindell 8:32
And so, he is stepping into the season and I really felt like there are people watching right now that you’re stepping into a new season. You’ve seen somebody else who did it with such power, but you don’t feel you’re up to it. Be strong and courageous. That’s the word of the Lord to you.
John Lindell 8:46
So, that to me… I think everybody relates to that. But you know, what’s interesting in the book, that this time I saw it, probably in a way I never saw it before. And it’s unique I think, in Old Testament books, I don’t know of another book that does it this clearly. Whenever Joshua prays, God shows up. Whenever Joshua prays, he’s going to capture Jericho. When he prays, God’s going to reveal sin. When he prays, the sun’s going to stand still. Whenever he prays, powerful, miraculous encounters with God happen.
John Lindell 9:23
When he doesn’t pray. It’s a disaster. So, when he doesn’t pray with Ai, it doesn’t go well. When he doesn’t pray with the Gibeonites. It doesn’t go well. To me, there’s a real strong message to leaders. If you pray, and sometimes we think like the Gibeonites, we know what’s best, we know what to do. Or like with Ai, oh we’re strong enough, we can do this. We don’t need to sweat this one. Because this is a simple job, only to find out it wasn’t as simple as we thought, because there’s an enemy who’s fighting us all the time.
John Lindell 9:55
That’s why we have to pray, pray, pray, pray. And if we do, God’s going to meet us. God’s going to give us a plan like he gave Joshua with Jericho. God is going to reveal what’s in our heart, or other hearts, like he did with with Ai and Achan and all of that. God’s going to cause things that have never happened before. The sun standing still. Or if you want to say the earth standing still, we know that the earth is the one that moves. That’s never happened before. God delights in doing things that have never been done before. There’s nothing too difficult for him. And when we pray, and we pray in faith, Joshua prays in front of everybody, and Israel hears him.
John Lindell 10:38
So to me, that was such a stirring thing. This is a man that we don’t think of typically, as being a prophetic, you know, in the presence of God kind of leader, but when the man prays, and he’s in the presence of God, powerful things happen. And when he doesn’t, it’s not a good day. So, it challenges me just to remember, you know, there’s never a situation, a season, or a problem that I don’t need to be seeking God to get his counsel, his guidance and his help on.
Jonathan Hardy 11:10
Yeah, very good. Maybe just to wrap up, do you have any other final thoughts or takeaways maybe for you personally, or maybe that you’d want to say to pastors, as we close up our time together?
John Lindell 11:21
You know what? I think it’s very interesting that, at the beginning of the book as well, I think that’s almost a preamble that if we meditate on the word, if we don’t let that word depart from our mouth, day or night, and we’re living the word, we’re obeying it, then you will prosper and have great success. Now, I know a lot of people want to do a lot of things. I’m not saying everybody’s going to live in a million dollar mansion. But there is a blessing of the Lord, a prospering that is possible, that God wants to bring into people’s lives. He delights in blessing people. That’s not the prosperity gospel. That’s the gospel. That’s the good news, that God blesses us, and works in our life and desires to show Himself powerful. I pray for everybody watching this, that they’d understand how significant they are to God, how much God wants to help them, and that they’ll give God the opportunity by going to him with their problems, their needs, and with their devotion, saying, listen, I’m going to be full on for you to see what God will do in their life. It will blow their mind.
Jonathan Hardy 12:32
Man, let’s believe for it. That’d be awesome.
John Lindell 12:35
Jonathan Hardy 12:35
Well, hey, Pastor John Lindell, author of New Normal, thank you so much. Friends, you’ve got to pick up this book, I’ve read it, it’s phenomenal. I want to encourage you to do it. And I would encourage you not just to pick it up for yourself, especially if you’re a pastor, ministry leader, get it in your church’s bookstore, get several copies, buy some, and give them out to the people in your church, giving your staff, your church board, whoever it is, you’ve got to get people this book in people’s hands because we want everyone to be living in the land of blessing. You can go to Amazon to pick it up. Pastor also real quick, why don’t you tell them about the study guide that accompanies the book, can you do that real quick?
John Lindell 13:13
Thanks, Jonathan. Yeah, there’s a study guide that’s available. You could use it, a father could use it with his children, you could use it with your spouse, you could also do men’s studies, women’s studies. I mean, it’s practical and it’s easy to use. I’ve had so many people say it’s been very helpful in promoting discussion and helping people engage in the material.
Jonathan Hardy 13:35
Well pick it up! We’ll put links in the show notes. So that way, you can have easy links to Amazon. And we’d be encouraging you just to pick it up, read it and start living in the land of that blessing. Thanks so much, Pastor John. Thank you, friends, for listening today.
John Lindell 13:50
Thank you, Jonathan.
Jonathan Hardy 13:50
And we’ll look forward to seeing you guys next time. Take care.
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