In this episode:
What do you do when the monster inside starts to take over?
In this powerful episode Pastor Brad Hoefs shares his powerful story of how he was leading one the the fastest growing churches in America and the monster inside of him was unleashed. The monster had a name – bipolar disorder and ever since that diagnosis Pastor Brad has been on a mission to spread awareness and infuse hope with everything he does.
They call (mental illness) the 'no casserole illness' because, let's say you're hospitalized for mental health issues, nobody usually stops by. Nobody says anything. Click To TweetPastor Brad Hoefs
Welcome to the Lion within us, a podcast serving Christian men who are hungry to be the leaders they’re predestined to be. I’m your host, Chris Grainger. Let’s jump in all. God’s welcome to the Wednesday episode. And you know, the verse of the week, the week, the scripture we’ve been focusing on is Romans 8, 28.
So let’s just jump in to God’s work getting started. And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Great verse guys, if you missed a spiritual kickoff on Monday, go back, check that episode out. I really unpack that scripture and give you some insight, you know, to what it means, what it means to me.
And it may help you along the way. So let’s, let’s talk about the guests today. All right. We’re gonna be talking about some pretty heavy things and, and, and guys, I brought an expert. Okay. We’ve been blessed, blessed at the line within us with guests who have come in and, and shared their hearts, their wisdom, their insight to help us all.
And today we have pastor Brad Hayes and he’s been a pastor since 1985. Okay. So he’s been doing this for a while. Guys. He’s an international speaker and a mental health advocate who is passionate about coaching, inspiring and encouraging and empowering others with hope, no matter what their circumstances they may be facing.
He’s best known as a founder and executive director of fresh hope and international network, peer tope, Christian, mental health support groups. Guys, did you hear that Christian mental health support? We need this. We, this is, this is why I’m so passionate about connecting with pastor Brad. His life took a dramatic turn, a dramatic turn in the spring of 1990.
Due to a manic episode, which became public. It ended his role as a senior pastor at one nation’s fastest growing churches at that, at that time, the people at community of grace Lutheran church, surrounded his family, surrounded him and provided him a safe place for them to heal and to find hope as they found a way forward.
Philosophy. That’s been at core of the DNA of fresh hope for mental health since its conception. Pastor Brad is an author. He wrote an amazing book, fresh hope living well in spite of mental health diagnosis, upon seeing the need for more resources, for those loving someone with a mental health diagnosis, he and his wife, Donna co-authored a second book called holding to hope, staying sane while loving someone with a mental illness.
Pastor Brad host a fresh hope for mental ill mental health podcast. It’s a weekly resource for individuals who have mental health diagnosis. Guys, I’ve been a guest on that podcast, so I’m not sure on the release time, things like that, but check it out. Pastor Brad is serving every week. He is trying to help people grow.
He’s connecting Christians and look Christian men. We need support in this area. So guys without further ado, I hope you enjoyed this conversation with pastor Brad.
All right, pastor Brad, welcome to the line within us. How you doing today, sir? I’m great.
03:11 Brad Hoefs
How are you?
03:13 Chris Grainger
Uh, I’m blessed. It’s it’s just, it’s wonderful. You know, the line within us is. Uh, it’s been an opportunity to meet wonderful people like you, pastor Brad. So I’m so excited to learn from you and, you know, our listeners, they always like to know a little bit upfront about the story, the journey that the, that, that the, the guest has themselves.
So please, you know, share with us a little bit about your, your personal journey. Sure.
03:35 Brad Hoefs
Um, in 1995, I was pastoring the 13th fastest growing church in north America. And, um, little did I know that, um, I had something wrong with. And it was a mental health issue. I felt like I had a monster inside of me that was pushing with energy.
That constantly was driving me and I had to kind of manage the monster. In fact, I was worried that I was the monster. And, um, so long story short, I had a manic episode that landed me up in the news and ultimately ended up losing. Church or being asked for force to resign and, um, ended up discovering after a hospital stay that I had bipolar disorder.
Mm. And that was the monster. The monster had a name. And, uh, so it took me seven years and I ended up relapsing because of, uh, uh, a mess up in my medicine. But, um, through it all, then I. I finally got on the straight and narrow with understanding more about the diagnosis and the issues and started a ministry that I thought was gonna be one support group.
And it ended up being many support groups in different countries and things like that. So that’s a very condensed version. And, um, through all of it, my wife was the one who really saved my life because. If it hadn’t been for my wife and a group of people who started a new church that came around me and asked me to be their pastor and provided a safe place for me to get better.
If it hadn’t been for those people along with my wife, I don’t think I’d be alive today.
05:27 Chris Grainger
So let me get this straight. Then the 13th growing fastest growing church in the United States. So was it at that point, they turned their back on you.
05:39 Brad Hoefs
Well, in 1995, they really didn’t know all that much about, uh, mental health.
Okay. So they saw behavior from me that was too bizarre and they had no way of understanding that my brain chemistry was not functioning. Right. Etcetera, et cetera. And it, you know, I. No, they did not wanna hang in there. They felt it was going to, uh, slow the growth of the church down and et cetera. And so, you know, and I’ve since reconciled with all of those folks in that church.
And, um, I don’t, I’m not angry about it or anything, but there were things they did wrong, but there were things I did wrong and everybody was trying to do the best they could in a crisis. We all fell short today. I think because of the knowledge that I have at least about mental health issues, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t do this.
You know, I’d do a lot of things differently, but it is because of this group of people out of that church that came around me that said, this is not a sin issue. This is not a moral failure. This is not a. Character flaw, blah, blah, blah. This man has a mental illness. And, um, so I, I, because of those people, they had the knowledge, even at that point, a lot of ’em were medical.
07:15 Chris Grainger
I mean, do you think pastor brownie for, for the men listening out there now, you know, I’m sure there’s guys battling these mental you call ’em monsters. Is there disconnect? Between mental health and faith, the church, you know, are we bypassing that instead of actually leaning into it?
07:32 Brad Hoefs
Yeah, I think we’re bypassing it many times.
Um, the Christian Church does not have a, the Christian Church at large does not have a, uh, framework for mental health issues within the. Um, and so many of us who went to traditional seminaries, you know, and a mainline seminary, uh, I happened to be Lutheran and, um, we were taught don’t counsel. Don’t do anything, just send people to a doctor, get them to a psychiatrist or a therapist and, and just work it that way.
And granted, that is something that should be done. But it was otherwise hands off. And so I don’t think we’ve ever developed the, the understanding that our mind is what our brain does and the brain is just like every other part of the body. And is it malfunctions just like every other part of the body due to the fall of mankind into sin.
Right. And, uh, the battle. The spiritual battle is usually in the mind. I mean, that’s where it’s at. And, um, so if somebody’s brain is not working, right, they’re not gonna be able to be in their right mind and the battle is gonna be pretty messed up. And, um, so because of that, I think pastors have to, they, they have not really thought through the issue and we’ve come a long ways in understanding mental illnesses.
Um, and so. Yeah, there’s a disconnect. It is getting better, but it’s not as good as it will be. I’m sure. 20 years from now.
09:25 Chris Grainger
I mean, I guess right now the, the classic answer is, you know, I’ll pray for you, right? I mean, you, you, you hear on the back, I’ll
09:32 Brad Hoefs
pray. Yeah. They call it the no casserole, um, uh, illness, because yeah, let’s say you’re hospitalized for mental health issues.
Nobody usually stops by. Nobody says anything. Um, they, you know, you don’t, but if you had a broken leg or you had surgery, people would bring some Castros over and visit and all those kinds of things. I have a friend who, um, her story is quite interesting because she was at one point diagnosed with a.
Tumor that was benign, but, um, she had surgery and I guess they had cards and people and visits and everything. And a year later almost to date, same church, she was hospitalized for depression. Now, whether it was because of the surgery or what, I don’t know. Um, but she was hospitalized for depression and didn’t hear one thing from anyone.
So that tells you how different people, same church, how they deal with things very differently. Yeah. With its mental health issue.
10:48 Chris Grainger
I mean, what’s, what’s to hurdle then. Is there an obstacle that people are? Yeah,
10:52 Brad Hoefs
I would say we’ve made, uh, we think that the brain, the theology has always said actions and what we do and how we think are all spiritual issues.
and we, it certainly, for years did not know how the brain really did work, you know? And, um, so this thing that gets buried with us is no more spiritual than any other part of our body. And it misfires it. Misfunctions we understand much more about the chemical balances of brain. We don’t understand as much as we will in the future.
I mean that the, the truth is that, uh, there’s a long ways to go on the understanding of the brain. Um, but yeah, and, um, that battle for the, within the brain, the battle, or excuse me, the brain, uh, battle within the mind called sport, the brain do work right. And, you know, That’s the bottom line. Really?
12:03 Chris Grainger
So if you were to give a pastor or deacons or, or, you know, line within us, we just have Christian men, they’re just leaders.
They, they wanna be the leaders advice on, you know, maybe you running into mental health issues where, you know, somebody who’s having this, you know, what are you telling them? What, what encouragement or were you taking them into scriptures? What, you know, just, can you unpack that a little bit for us?
12:26 Brad Hoefs
Um, First of all, I would say, know this, that if you or someone you love has a mental health issue, it is not the end of the world. They are very treatable. Um, nobody needs to die from a mental health issue and yet suicide rates aren’t quite high. Right. And it, it, you know, especially for men, any of you guys that are listening, and if you are feeling you’re plotting your own demise, I encourage you get help call the suicide prevention hotline.
Uh, tell someone, because that’s all a lie from the pits of hell. Um, Romans 8, 28 says that we can go through anything and the Lord, God will use it for our good and, and he will turn it into something good for us. I’m living proof of that. You know, I was. I was, uh, at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom.
And, uh, if there was any reason, anybody that had reason to quit, I did and, um, and check out so to speak. So, um, the first thing I would say is God uses pain and he redeems pain. That’s part of the redemption plan on this side of heaven. And, um, that the pain we’re going through, um, is in fact something God can use for his good or for our good, but here’s the deal.
If you don’t deal with your pain, your pain will deal with you. So you gotta process the pain. You gotta, you gotta work through it. And, uh, that’s the second thing I would say, especially to us. Men. Don’t like to think that they could have a mental health issue. Somehow we equate a mental health issue to weakness.
You know, you can’t take control of your thinking. Let’s say you have anxiety and depression. Oh, that’s because you don’t trust the Lord enough or you’re not reading enough scripture or you’re not strong enough. Well, let me, let me ask you this. If you had stage four, um, Cancer somewhere in your body, could you strengthen or kind of bully your way through it and make it go away by being strong and spiritually strong?
the reality is you’d go to a doctor, right, right. And, and get treatment right along this prayers and being strong and, uh, strengthening your faith. Same thing with mental illnesses or mental health Jones. You gotta do the same thing. It’s just another part of your body. It’s it’s another function like everything
15:21 Chris Grainger
else, but guys, to your point, man, out there, I mean, we want to bootstrap it.
We wanna own it. We just wanna push through it, you know, maybe rub a little dirt on it and keep going, right?
15:32 Brad Hoefs
Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know about the rub, a little dirt on it. I think some of us even take a little manure and rub it on you know, we just, we make it worse. There is a lie. From the pits of hell that says we can do this alone, pull your boots, straps up and get moving, right?
Yes. There’s an aspect of faith and yes, there’s an aspect of getting through something that does require us to just keep going and to be strong willed through it. But we were never, ever men included, but all people. Men and women, but men were never meant to do life alone. We’re not supposed to do life alone.
And, um, it, you know, the sad thing is, is, uh, women are because of our culture, I suppose, but men, women are more easily, uh, relational than men. Not, not all women, but, and not all men are like what I’m about to describe, but we guys tend to meet for lunch and we don’t face each other saying, well, how are you doing Chris how’s life?
Tell me about how did that make you feel, you know? Yeah. Yeah. We don’t do that. We talk about the game, the weather, what Bible study we’re in, um, you know, just things that. Surface
17:06 Chris Grainger
17:06 Brad Hoefs
Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, we were not intended to do life that way that we were intended to go deep and we need each other. Um, you know, if, if you have a problem and you share it with me, it’s gonna lighten your load.
If, if you have a joy and you share it with me, it’s gonna multiply your joy. Right. So men have got to be. Well, how should I say it? We just need to be open with one another. Now that doesn’t mean you’re open with everybody because you gotta have safe people that you’re open with. Right? Exactly.
17:44 Chris Grainger
So pastor Brad, let’s take a quick break and let’s jump back in.
Cuz I got some questions I’d like to dig, dig a little bit further on this one on this topic. Cuz isolation is something I know our guys, you know, a lot of ’em struggle with and it’s something I think that you could probably give us some more insight on, so we’ll be right.
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You just really unpacked a lot around isolation. And I’m, I’m curious on what you’ve seen. I know you’re doing tremendous things at fresh hope since the pandemic, you know, so many men, you know, we we’ve, we’ve gone, worked from home. Uh, a lot of, a lot of us have, including me, I’m isolated it I’ve I struggle with this.
So I have to be very intentional about, you know, getting outside, getting some sunlight, taking those break. Actually calling people and having conversation, you know, and, and, and, and I really enjoy the, the virtual meetings where you can see the people. So it’s not just a phone call. We can see each other, but I know not every guys’s had those boundaries and understand those rules.
So has the pandemic, have you seen this amplify up as an issue for men in particular?
19:30 Brad Hoefs
Yes, absolutely. Yes. It’s, it’s really, really been hard on men. Uh, the. They know that the suicide attempts and things like that. It, it’s interesting. It’s teenage girls and it’s, uh, men that are more middle aged to upper, you know?
Okay. So many of us are old enough that we may not go to the gym as quickly as a guy in his twenties. Um, and so we don’t have those interactions. We’re not around other people. And, you know, so to speak, life is supposed to be somewhat normal right now, but it’s still, I still find myself thinking, ah, that’s a pretty big crowd, uh, you know, or that, that could be a super spreader event, you know?
So you stay home or, you know, that the point is that isolation, what isolation does. Is, if you’re not around other people, your brain starts to ruminate. And when you ruminate you, you, um, think the same things over and over and over. And it’s like a needle getting stuck in a groove on a, uh, on a record and it can’t get out of there.
And the electrical current, they know that. And what I love is Paul, the, the science is proving the Bible to be true. And, and Paul says, take cap of your thinking, think on these things, you know, right. Well, when you’re isolated, it’s very tough because, um, do not do that and you’re in your head, so to speak and, um, we are wired.
Even us, men are wired for relationship and, um, we need. More than just our wife or a significant other in our life. We need other men, people in general to have conversations with, to engage with, to cause our brains to, um, we lose our neuroplasticity when we isolate and neuroplasticity is the ability to think new things, learn new things, be open.
Um, and I’ll tell you what, I’m glad you explained
22:01 Chris Grainger
that. Cuz I had no idea what that was oh yeah.
22:05 Brad Hoefs
Well, um, I, I I’ll tell you what, um, during the pandemic I had to quit listening to talk radio. Okay. I just point blank and I had to stop listening to certain news channels. um, I’m conservative. I’m I’m not, I, I believe that all of the Bible is God’s word, you know, blah, blah, blah.
But, but I’m also a very grace filled merciful person, you know? So I, I see some of the errors that the Christian Church has done within our culture, so to speak, but I had to stop watching it. Because it was easy to have all that on in the background while I was working or I would just listen and watch or whatever.
And then what was happening was my brain was just churning, just get, you know, and it would make me agitated and irritated with the world. And, you know, there was no, there was not joy, but also. What good was it doing? I already knew what I was hearing. I already believe that, um, that, you know, my morals and my, you know, those things are set those boundaries.
So I had to, at first I really forced myself to, uh, do one of my hobbies more and that was to paint. OK. Um, I do artwork and. You know, paint acrylic and that kind of painting. And that helped me immensely because to turn off the fight, if you will, you know, we’re in a cultural battle and that’s, that’s very evident if you look at God’s word, if you have a biblical world view, you know?
Right. Yep. But I can’t battle. Alone. If I battle alone it, it’s gonna get my brain to ruminate and churn and my neuroplasticity is gonna go down the drain. And so, um, if there’s not something specifically I can do about something, I cannot dwell on it. It, you know what I’m saying? That’s part of winning the battle.
You know, you Don. You don’t just keep making the same point over and over and over in your head. It will chemically drain your brain. And that’s what Paul’s talking about. I mean, it aligns scripture science aligns with scripture. If the scientist is honest, you know, it
24:55 Chris Grainger
really does. And, and the scientists are always surprised when that happens.
And the Christians we’re just like, well, what did you expect?
25:02 Brad Hoefs
Yeah, exactly. Exa . Exactly. And so I have had to learn and to force myself to say, okay, it’s time to go back to the gym. So, so they’re saying it’s still a little bit of a risk go back. It didn’t, you know, and just start relating to people. I still find myself, I, I never ever stayed at home very much in, in the.
But I still find myself too easily just sitting out of my chair, playing a game on my phone or watching a TV show, you know, and not getting up and going out at least going outside, you know? Right. So, yeah, the pandemic has been hard on everybody, uh, including men, you,
25:54 Chris Grainger
you know, and pastor Brad, I’m so glad you went there.
About this topic in general. I, cuz I talk, I talk to guys a lot about the importance of a men’s group. Now I called lions D cause it’s the line within us. I think we all, every man needs a lion’s den their own personal group of accountability partners that are, you know, not, not the yes. Men, not, not the guys that are just going pat you on the back and say, I’m gonna pray for you.
I’m talking about when it goes down at two o’clock in the morning, who are you gonna call? And you know that they’re just gonna be like, I’m on the way. You know that that’s the guys that we need. And we need to, oh yeah. And we need to be intentional about that. And I I’d like to get your insight here. I wrote a, a article recently and I called it three ways to, to build a stronger men’s group.
And I, and I pointed to three areas that that guys probably weren’t expecting when they, when they read it was you need to find a Paul, find a Barnabas, find Timothy. If you find those three, you know, that’s, that’s a really good start to a strong men’s group. And then my challenge at the end, You also need to be each one of those to someone else, right?
I mean, cuz you, you have an opportunity to, to grow and learn. So I’d love to get your insight there on men’s groups and the, and the value that that brings. And you know, there’s just something about, you know, iron sharpens, iron as Proverbs tells us, we need to be intentional about this. Yeah.
27:09 Brad Hoefs
I’m gonna start addressing that kind of an odd way.
Okay. Okay. If you’ve, if you’re a man. and you have a daughter you think of other men and you think, oh my gosh. You know, as they say, you know, you have to worry about every guy out there when you yeah. I have three. Yeah. So what does that tell us about men? It tells us we understand each. It tells us that we all know what the struggles are.
Yeah. We all have pretty much the same core issues if you will. And, um, a woman struggles. Yes. And her struggles are different. And so that’s why men need each other, just like women need each other, but men need each other. We need to get into each other’s spaces. We need to be calling each other out. And like you said, not a bunch of yes stuff, but also we need gentle love from one another.
We, we also need that many of us did not get what we really truly need it from our dads. And so we need to be some of that for each other also, but, you know, for instance, There’s not a man that I’ve met, who hasn’t come across pornography and most men or many men. I’m not gonna say all men, but many men struggle with an addiction to pornography.
And, um, I tell the guys in jail that I work with when you get to be my age. Um, you’re more interested in a hot fudge sundae. right. I’m probably more likely to be caught in bed with a white wedding cake, eating it all to myself. Um, but the truth is that the sex drive in the mail is so predominant. I, I remember when puberty started and, and you think about sex almost.
It it’s just, you know, Now because of medication I take. And because of my age, it’s not like that anymore at, at the age of 64. Right. But, but it can be for men of my age or anybody, and that’s where we need to be able to talk. You know, we’ve made, uh, sexual issues to be the, don’t talk about it, Beth hush.
When people fall into something and they really get crushed by it and it becomes public. Everybody gets judgemental about it. You know, the truth is let’s just talk about it. It it’s a real deal. And, um, when you expose lies and secrets, you’re less sick. Our secrets do keep us sick and, um, it keeps the power for the.
In the issue, you know, whether it’s alcohol or, you know, it can be, let’s be honest. We can be addicted to success and think it’s just fine that we’re just working our tail off and making good money for the family. Right. And really not there for our wife or our children or our grandchildren, you know, mm-hmm, , mm-hmm.
30:57 Chris Grainger
I mean, you have to be so careful. I mean, the devil he’s gonna use, you know, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and pride of life. I mean, he’s gonna use those three. And as you mentioned, pornography, you know, that’s, again, I talked to a lot of men, this is an issue and it’s not something that, but I also feel like the church in many ways, we sweep it under the rug.
We don’t talk about it. It’s not something we ever want to bring up. And, and, and I’d like your, your take on that as well. Pastor Brad. Well,
31:21 Brad Hoefs
the, the crazy thing is, is, yeah, we don’t talk about it. And I think sometimes pastors don’t want to talk about it because it it’s uncomfortable. And if they talk about it, they’re gonna have to be honest about their own lives and that’s difficult.
Uh, and the bottom line is, is that when you sweep it under the rug, all you’re doing is sweeping it into your. Right. You know, you’re not sweeping it out. It’s not getting out. And, um, so why not open the windows, open the doors and have a candid conversation and let’s sweep it out. Right. You know? Um, and you know, I think if Mo, if men would realize that what they struggle with is not all that abnormal.
Right, right. It, it, it’s not, it’s quite normal. And, um, we would do well, you know, think about the fact that your dad and you probably never sat down and talked about, is it okay to masturbate or, you know, um, your thought life and taking control of your thinking? I, I remember professor the seminary who said, if you see a really good looking woman running down the street, you know, jogging.
Um, to notice her and to think she’s beautiful is not a sin that’s temptation, but when you go around the block to look again, right, now you’re starting to yield to, to the temptation. That’s right. When you get on the third or fourth one, and you’re following this woman or parking, so you hope she talks to you.
You’re falling into temptation right now. You’re. And, and so I think sometimes we, as men feel guilty even for having temptations come our way. Right. Well, that’s life, you know,
33:26 Chris Grainger
but also, I mean, as lions and we’re trying to, to, to, to, to, you know, unleashed the lion with Judah, with them and we need is end. We have that power.
We need to step up when we see something. So if we, if we have a men’s group, for instance, and I’ll just take you for a simple example, let’s say we’re out to lunch. You and I, and. This will never happen. So let’s just play this scenario out and let’s say it’s an attractive waitress. And you know, all of a sudden you’re making, you know, she walks away and you’re making comments or, you know, we’re buddies and you send me a text and all of a sudden it’s, it’s, it is a picture of a naked chick.
Right. And, and it’s, maybe it’s a group chat. I mean, as a, a lion. At that restaurant, I gotta call you out and I have to be, and I have to be confident in my ability to call you out and be comfortable with who I am as a man and what my convictions are. And if I’m on that, that text chain, I need to remove myself from it or, or address it directly.
But just sitting oddly by is not an answer because of Bible. I mean, we, we can go head to head with. Ephesians tells us how we battle that I, we had the armor, we had the sword, we have all that, but it, when it comes to sexual imorality, we’re supposed to flee
34:35 Brad Hoefs
you runs well, the thing is, is that the calling one another out.
Here’s where I think here’s a reason that many men, if not, all of us are scared to death of accountability. Okay. And being called out, what does that mean? Well, in my thinking being called out needs to be speaking the truth in love. It’s Ephesians. I think that’s five, two, um, that we are to speak the truth in love.
In other words, you don’t poke the other guy in the chest or take your two fingers and poke him in the eyes, you know? Right. And say, what the heck are you doing? You know, calling people out. So to me, uh, while that’s a popular term and I, I use it all the time calling one another out has to be done in love.
So let’s say I were together at lunch and that beautiful waitress. Waiting on us. And she seems to be smiling at you. She’s friendly. Right? And you, your, I can see that your eyes are following her as she walks away. And, um, instead of saying, Hey, Chris, stop, you know, um, I would probably do something like Chris.
She was a very pretty girl. Isn’t she? You know, cuz it’s probably. Older men, younger woman. I, you know, I’m just going there. Um, and to say to you, she’s pretty, isn’t she I’m, I’m having to really guard my heart right now. And I would speak about what was going on with me, and that would allow you to be accountable without becoming defensive.
36:31 Chris Grainger
You got me thinking on something. Let’s take a quick break and let’s jump in. Cuz I, I got something I want to ask you here, pastor Brad on along that same thread.
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E you just had a really good scenario where you walked out and you said, you know, take it. It should be more about you. So let’s, let’s talk about the fr of spirit and as men. Why should that our personal testimony, our personal walk, we need to guard that and, and, and treat that with, with such reverence.
And I’m not, I’m not sure if men understand the power that we have in every one of our decisions and how we act, and is that fruit being shown to others. So is that the, is that how you get started? Is that, is that where men need to really focus on?
38:25 Brad Hoefs
Well, I think. What we need to do is understand that, um, accountability is helping one another.
It’s not, it’s not keeping everybody on the street and narrow the truth is there. There’s a, there’s a, um, theological error that the modern day Christian Church makes it’s ma it’s not necessarily in mainline churches. The idea that our lives are a mess. And then at some point we receive the Lord or we, you know, pray the sinner’s prayer and now we’re forgiven and we are new creations and we’re blah, blah, blah.
And what happens? You’re you initially the walk with the Lord is fantastic, blah, blah, blah. But you’re gonna sin again, right? You’re gonna fall short. And the theology that somehow once were saved were, were less sinful. If you look at Paul’s life, the longer he lived, the more he said about his own state, where he gets towards the end of life and is saying, I am the worst of all sin.
And he’s not, that’s present tense. It isn’t past tense. I was right. And so when we deal with one another as men, we need to remember that we, we, we can’t, you know, you can’t build yourself up by poking somebody else in the chest saying, Hey, bud, get your eyes over here. Right. You know, you gotta say it that it’s true to the relationship.
I. Some men would not say it the same way, but to be tender hearted with each other because you know, Chris, I’m no better than you. You’re no better than me. We’re just two beggars for bread, trying to stay on the trail where the bread is
40:26 Chris Grainger
found. Right. Great point. And I’ll tell you before, before we wrap up here, I.
I want to go back to a topic. You talked, you, you touched on it. And it really impacted me in, in my spirit. So I feel like I need to bring this up. Cause there may be a man that’s listened to it. Cause you talked about, I think it was the number two highest suicide rate was the, you know, men in their, was it mid to late forties?
40:46 Brad Hoefs
fifties? Yeah. Yeah. It’s in there. Mm-hmm so I looked at that recently, so. No. Oh, I
40:53 Chris Grainger
understand. And I mean, I oftentimes I’ve this research I’ve done. I have done a little bit, cuz I think this is a topic for the line within us. We need to understand as men, as Christian men in particular, you know guys, the biggest thing I see is guys, don’t talk about it.
You know, men, men, when they commit suicide, they just do it. Right. It’s it’s not something that’s talked about. So maybe there’s a man listening right now. Pastor Brad he’s he’s he’s going through it. You know, he life’s just throwing him everything. How do you even have that conversation? What do you say?
What, what, what encouragement? Obviously we want them to call, you know, the, the hotlines and things like that, but maybe they’re part of a men’s group. Cause this actually I listened to a podcast and he had a, a it’s a Christian men’s podcast and he had a member of his men’s group commit suicide. And this group got together every Sunday.
I believe they, they, they, they, uh, practice juujitsu. And then that was kind of their time together and, and they, so they were there, they were doing physical side by side mindly stuff. Uh, but I guess it, it really caught them all by surprise because the guy who did, who committed suicide, there were no, there was no warning.
There was no letter. There was just, he just did it. So because
42:02 Brad Hoefs
42:04 Chris Grainger
42:07 Brad Hoefs
men, when they plan it, they most likely succeed. Doing it. Um, and I don’t know what the rates are, the comparative rates, but I’m sure it’s much more so that the attempt becomes successful when it’s a male as opposed to male. Um, and you, I, what I wanna say is if you are feeling suicidal, you’ve got to talk to somebody.
Um, I had a, I’m gonna be honest. I had a man. Um, that another pastor asked me to talk with here in town, where I live. And he asked for me to talk to him because this guy was a dad, but he was recital. And it was really at the end of the culmination of lockdown. And, uh, this guy is a social kind of guy. He’s a salesperson.
And he was having to do all the work at. And he was not doing well. And he was thinking about how he was going to commit suicide, how he was going to take his own life. And he planned to do it in traffic. You know, driving many car accidents are really not accidents. Right. Um, I have read that
43:33 Chris Grainger
43:35 Brad Hoefs
so I did something probably.
Pretty bizarre, but, um, I said, okay, what I want you to do is close your eyes. And I want you to go ahead and in your mind visually see that happening. And then I want you to visually, I walked him through what would happen after his death. And I said, now, I want you to think about the person who has to go tell your wife.
And your wife having to tell her children or your children. I want you to think about how they’re gonna feel.
You see, I think sometimes where the enemy gets us is we don’t. We just go up to the point of life ending and what’s left is so much pain and. Um, and in that process then, um, he started crying and I said, you, you just need to understand you want out of the pain, but getting out of the pain that way is, is not the way to get out of the pain.
It, it, the Lord has a better way and all this pain that you’re feeling, he’s gonna take it and make it work for your good, you know, Um, and encouraged him to, you know, get professional help and really work through that. But, so if somebody’s listening and they’re thinking about that, I can tell you what, please, please, please.
Don’t you know, don’t do it. Um, there is hope, no matter what hopelessness causes you to think, there’s not a way forward. But let’s be honest in Christ. There’s always a way forward, always. So we have hope that’s infused by the gospel and that’s a sure. And certain hope. Yes, you may feel awful and it’s okay to feel awful.
It’s okay to be emotionally distraught and just raw and, and you gotta feel the feelings and work through. But feelings don’t make something necessarily true. Right. So if you feel hopeless, it does not make the situation hopeless. It just means you are feeling that way. That’s right.
46:04 Chris Grainger
I absolutely love it.
Cuz, and I know at, at, you know, fresh hope, the things that you’re building there with with hope coaches, because sometimes we need those coaches and, and you know, focusing on that hope topic to, to get us through those dark moments.
46:19 Brad Hoefs
Yes. And, and I think men, because hope coaching is not where you do this.
And then you become a hope coach and people come to you, blah, blah, blah. Yes, you could do that. But hope coaching is just learning to help people when they’re in difficult spots in their life. Okay. And men would do well, especially men that are in accountability groups. If they took that training and I’ll tell you.
I I’m making this decision on the spot. I always tell my staff, you can do that when you’re the boss. I don’t have to go to a committee. I don’t have to go any place to say this. If your listeners want to become a hope coach or would like to see the training or take the training. It’s it’s about three hours.
I. Three hours, four hours at the most, you, you do it alone, you do it online, and then there’s, uh, an interactive thing you do at the end of it. Okay. Uh, but what it does is it would help you with a friend who’s going through a difficult time, okay. Is teach the very basic things of questions that need to be asked to help a person process their pain and pivot to a point of hope.
And it’s all based upon clinical research, evidence based research. And then on top of it, we put the faith element, right. Scripture. Right. So, uh, yeah, we, I, if, if they want to just email me, pastor Brad, fresh hope.us. Okay. And I’ll get them the code. They can do it for. Pastor Brad fresh hope us or even a men’s group can do it together.
Yeah, they could. They could do the study together.
48:14 Chris Grainger
Well, well, listeners out there, you know, we’ll sync all that up in the show notes. Definitely. You can, you can go right to this episode, show notes. We’ll have everything there. Connect with pastor Brad. I’m actually going through that pro program myself. You just sent that to me.
And I’m, I’m, I’m excited to go through that. So I may even do an episode and unpack it for the listeners of, of what I’ve learned through it and, and encourage that. And, and for the, the lion’s den members, you know, connect with the stare, cuz I think, you know, this is a great opportunity. So pastor Brett, this has been a powerful conversation and I can’t thank you enough.
Now I do have something I was hoping to do at the end. I do a quick lightning round and we call it feeding time. And for, for the line within us. And, and I got eight questions kind of, kind of, kind of lightning round type. If you will, you know, we don’t have to spend a lot of time on the answers, but I’d love to get your insight if you willing,
49:04 Brad Hoefs
I’ll try to not, I’ll try to not be a preacher.
And then if you log answers and then in offering at the end,
49:11 Chris Grainger
there you go. There you go. All right. So we we’ll jump right in here to the, to the lion then. So what’s your favorite thing about.
49:18 Brad Hoefs
Is mercy and grace.
49:21 Chris Grainger
What’s your least favorite thing about God
49:26 Brad Hoefs
that he knows everything.
49:30 Chris Grainger
that’s great. That’s great.
What are you currently struggling with?
49:35 Brad Hoefs
My weight? I’m eating my feelings. Yeah,
49:38 Chris Grainger
I think, uh, that, that is a common theme. What, what are you most afraid of? Um,
49:48 Brad Hoefs
Gosh, that’s a good question. Um, not getting everything done that he wants me to do. Okay. My, my laziness sets in and, and I kind of don’t get it all done.
50:02 Chris Grainger
What’d you spend too much time doing last year. Eating eating. All right. This
50:10 Brad Hoefs
year, I’m spending way too much time playing Royal match on my phone and I’ve got to stop it. I have accountability with the guys at jail because of it. All
50:20 Chris Grainger
right. What, what do you wish you would’ve had learned? Uh, sooner about God?
50:27 Brad Hoefs
How much he loved me. I mean, I knew it, right. I said. But I’ve actually now experienced and lived it.
50:35 Chris Grainger
I love it. What’s a, what’s two more questions. What’s a new habit you’re going to create, or that you’d like to create.
50:42 Brad Hoefs
I’d like to create the habit of, uh, I I’m thinking about buying a bicycle and riding a bicycle.
Okay. And I know that I need to do it. All right. Well,
50:55 Chris Grainger
good luck with that. Last question, pastor Brad. What’s one thing you hope people remember from this conversation today
51:04 Brad Hoefs
that no matter how difficult life may seem right now, there is a way forward and there is hope and it’s sure and certain I’m living proof.
51:18 Chris Grainger
Love it. You did. You did great. You survived the feeding time round, pastor Brad. Is there anything else on your chest, maybe to tell people just one more time, where to connect with you and your, and your, and, and the ministry to things you’re offering people just, and we’ll make sure we’ll sync it all up, but if you want to just say that right now, that’d be great.
51:35 Brad Hoefs
Yeah. Just go to fresh hope.us. You can join the fresh hope network for free. Um, but you could find us on Facebook, all the social media places. We have podcasts. We have blogs, we have videos. We have all kinds of. And if you’re interested in starting a mental health support group for men who have a mental health issue, we can help you do that.
So it’s pastor Brad fresh hope.us is my email. And I read my own email. So I maybe slow to respond. Right. I will respond. Um,
52:11 Chris Grainger
I, I, I will testify. He will respond. He’s I’ve got several emails, so we’re good to go there. Well, pastor Brad, this has been wonder. This is topics we need to talk about. I know they’re not comfortable for a lot of Christian men.
I pray for the guys that are still listening. Thank you, cuz I know if you’re still listening, this is meaning something to you. I highly encourage you to go to the show notes, check it all out. Everything is synced up there for you guys. We’ll get you all those resources, pastor Brad. It’s been a blessing.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming on the line within
52:39 Brad Hoefs
us. Thank you. Good to be here.
52:45 Chris Grainger
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I know that was a powerful conversation. I know we touched on a lot of things and some of you guys may not be comfortable with talking about, but you know what, in line within us, we got to those guys, even if you don’t have some of these issues impact you directly, you will come across someone in your path that that’s dealing with it.
And we need to know how as lions, how do we lean in, how do we help? How do we serve that next person? So guys, you just need to remember some of the things he talked about, you know, you know, God, God uses, and he does redeem the pain. We need to understand that, but ultimately do not do life alone. We’re not made to do life alone.
That is not God’s design. You know, we have to make sure that we turn off the fight. We lean in that we support each other there’s resources out there, guys. So if you’re dealing with mental issues and struggles, look, I get it. Totally. But don’t do it alone. Join the lion stand, email me, I’ll get you connected with pastor Brad or, or resources.
We’ll do anything we can to support you guys, you know, and what you’re dealing with, what you’re battling. Cause we know these issues are real. These issues are real. Whether it’s stress, anxiety, all the way up to, you know, clinically diagnosed type issues that pastor Brad was talking about, guys, you know, this is stuff that we UN need to understand as, and as, as lying in our churches.
We need to be able to, to step up when we see someone going through this, or when we hear about this, don’t shy away, lean in and help. So guys, I pray that this message helped you today. The question I want you to think about this week, what is the purpose of hope in our lives? Think about that. What is the purpose of hope?
Guys? Think we know the purpose. Pastor Brad illuminated so much force. So again, a lot of, lot of deep issues that we talked about, but I pray it served you well. And if it did, if you think that this would, this conversation would help someone else shared with them, this is not one. We want to keep in our back pockets, guys.
I get it. You don’t wanna send out the spiritual kickoffs. Fine. You don’t wanna send the fun Fridays cause the dead jokes suck. Okay. But conversations like this, you cannot sit on, shared out there with people. If you have, if you’re on social media, Share the link, encourage people to check it out, cuz you never know that one person may hear pastor Brad’s message and it may be the encouragement.
They need to see the hope in a dark moment. So guys, I encourage you to do that. Go through the line within.us, check us out there, connect with this. Be part of that community, the lions in go check out the Bible study. The resources, the blogs. I mentioned the blog on three ways to build a stronger men’s group.
Go check that out, guys. It’s out there to help serve you to help, to help you grow in your walk. So again, thank you so much. There’s so many podcasts. There’s so many things you can be doing with your time. The fact that you’re listening to the line within us warrants my heart, I take it very, the responsibility.
Very, very serious. That’s my goal. And the goal of the lie within is period to serve you well with content, that’s gonna help you grow to be the Christian leader that you’re predestined to be. It’s not about me. It’s always about Jesus. Hey guys, I pray. You have a great day. Come back on Friday. We’re gonna have a fun Friday.
We’re gonna wrap all this up. Remember to give a rating and review. That always helps us big time stuff that really helps supports the show. So again, get after it take care of yourself. And now go out and unleash the lion within.
Pastor Brad breaks down many areas regarding mental health and specifically how churches are (and more likely – are not) responding. He refers to mental health diagnosis as the “no casserole” disease and for all of our Baptist listeners we know you understand. When people go through trials many Christian circles run to the families with blessings such as food. However, when mental health strikes many do not know how to respond and often the response is silence.
Pastor Brads ultimate message is this, no matter how difficult life may seem right now, there is a way forward and there is hope and he is living proof of that.
If you are battling your own monsters or know someone that is we highly encourage you to connect with Pastor Brand and the wonderful team at Fresh Hope for support.
- Connect with Fresh Hope Here
- Listen to the Fresh Hope podcast Here
- Listen to Pastor Brad flip the table and interview Chris Here
- Book of the Week: Fresh Hope by Brad Heofs
- Book of the Week: Holding to Hope: Staying Sane While Loving Someone with a Mental Illness by Brad Hoefs
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