In this episode:
Stop fixing and start leaning on Him!
Too many guys think that we need to get certain areas of our lives “straightened out” and THEN we can work on our Faith. That’s completely backwards thinking because left on our own we tend to make things even worse. When we surrender our lives to Jesus unexpected things can occur.
Jesus doesn't give up on us. Jesus continues to meet us where we're at now. Remember that God wants to use you. Click To Tweet Eric Rivera
Welcome to the Lion Within Us, a podcast serving Christian men who are hungry to be the leaders God intends you to be. I’m your host, Chris Granger. Let’s jump in. Alright guys, it’s your meet episode of The Weed. I’m excited to have you here. Let’s get going. You know, how can we get going this week the same way we do every week?
Guys, come on. You should be on use to this by now and we’re gonna go start with scripture and we’re gonna be in the book of Isaiah chapter 41 verse 10. So it’s 41 verse 10 if you wanna follow along. So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed. For I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Guys. That is one of those verses that, that one of those, it is written that we need to have in our hearts. Cause he’s, Satan’s gonna come. The attacks are gonna come, trials of life are going to come. You need some, it is written and right here, Isaiah 41 10 is one.
Guys, you need to lean into truly, truly understand it. So go back and check out the spiritual, uh, kickoff that we had. That sk o I think really will serve you well as you move forward, guys. So go check that one out, see what it does for you. See if it helps you grow in your walk of Christ. All right, now, so for today, what we’re gonna be talking about, well, we’re gonna be talking about, uh, unexpected Jesus.
Cuz sometimes, you know, we, Jesus just meets us when we least expect it, right? So to have this conversation, I brought in Eric, um, Eric Riviera, and he’s the lead pastor at a, a church called the Brook. Okay? So this is a multi-ethnic church in Chicago. He planted this thing back in 2013, so this is actually his 10 year anniversary.
We talked about that a little bit, but the 10 year anniversary he has. He’s passionate about mobilizing the church to be actually on mission. Okay. So that not just be, you know, a, a, a building, but like they wanna be on mission, particularly in that urban context. So, Eric’s a smart guy. He has a PhD in theology from, from Trinity College that he’s, he’s the author of this wonderful book, guys.
And. He’s married to, to a wonderful lady named Erica. They have three children. He talks about that, the, the way that they play ball together. And, and it’s just a pretty cool, just gets that inside. Uh, look at Eric and his family. In addition to serving Arthur Brook, uh, they, him and his wife are on a national speaker team for Family Life’s Weekend to remember mayor’s getaways, and there are contributors also to the Art of Parenting video series.
So he’s a, to say he’s a busy guy is an understatement. He’s on fire. He’s doing all this stuff for Laura. I really just enjoyed this conversation with Eric. I picked up several things that it really stood out to me as I walked through with him. And a lot of it, which has to do with the shame and the pride and the doubt that we have has been, I know it’s something that, that, that, for me, that doubt really can take over from time to time.
And it was just a, a, a reassuring conversation to hear it from Eric who’s, who’s leading all these people. In Chicago. Just that doubt. That’s all from the pits of hell, guys. I mean, it is not from the spirit and how Jesus meets us in those moments. It’s so critical to remember. So guys, I really encourage you to, to take your time with this one.
Uh, listen to what some of the truths that Eric, that speak, that he speaks about, listen to some of the areas that he really unpacks around. Uh, doubt, forgiveness, what that should look like, uh, in our lives. Then, as well as how can we walk through some crisises, cuz you’re going to walk through ’em, you’re going to go through these trials and when the trials come, guys, you need to be prepared.
So he, there was so much to unpack here, so hopefully you enjoyed his conversation with Eric Rivera. It was an honor to to, to be able to, to sit down with him. So I’m not gonna hold it back any longer. Guys, enjoy this conversation with Eric.
So Eric, welcome to the Lion within Us. How you doing today, my
03:54 Eric Rivera
friend? Chris, I’m doing good. Thank you for this opportunity. I’m actually pretty excited to talk with you here.
03:59 Chris Grainger
I’m excited as well. So, where, just kind of give our listeners, where are you, where are you located at?
04:04 Eric Rivera
So I’m right here in beautiful Chicago, Illinois, uh, in the city, the northwest side of the city proper.
So that’s where home is and it’s been for my whole life. Oh, so you’re born and raised Chicago. That’s right. Chicago went through and through and love being here. Okay. So,
04:19 Chris Grainger
yeah, so I, I guess if we get to a lightning round, I started asking about sports teams. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be able to guess which those teams are.
04:26 Eric Rivera
yeah, yeah, definitely. I’ll wear that on my sleeve Proudly. . That is awesome.
04:32 Chris Grainger
So, uh, so are you, uh, before we go, are you a cubby or are you a White Sox? . ,
04:37 Eric Rivera
that’s the, that’s the question. Right. I’m, I’m a, I’m a pretty diehard White Sox fan. I grew up a Cubs fan. I grew up a Cubs fan and White Sox, and then I met Cub fans and they drove me crazy.
So I became a single White Sox fan at that point.
04:52 Chris Grainger
I hear you, man. I hear you. Well, that’s great. Well, I know you’re, you’re lead pastor at the Brook, so why don’t you give us a little, a little bit what’s going on is at Brook, how long have you been doing that and and how’s that church going?
05:01 Eric Rivera
Man, I, I love our church family.
We, we planted this church in 2013, so we’re with the Evangelical Free Church. Um, you know, in God’s providence we were given a, a, a building to start this church plant with, and the community not far from where I grew up. And so God sent a team of five of us to, to get the groundwork d done in this community.
People, uh, just really caught the vision. Um, community was thirsting for, for a gospel witness. Um, there’s, uh, some 50,000 people or so who live within a one mile radius of our church building. Wow. And so, um, not many churches in the area, so we just saw the, the, the need for a healthy gospel bible believing church.
And man God has been doing a beautiful work these almost 10 years, it’ll be 10 years in October. So it’s called the Brook. Uh, we named it the Brook because we saw the community as one that was thirsting. It was longing, you know, uh, people were just, just eager and just needing this hope of Jesus. And so we want to introduce them to the water of life then after Jesus.
So yeah, we named the Church of Brook and been at, at that work of discipleship, uh, meeting people, building relationships in our community. Since then, it’s been a blast. It’s been a beautiful time,
06:11 Chris Grainger
man. That is incredible. That is so good. So you’re coming up on 10, that’s a big anniversary. 10 years. That’s, that’s, I’m sure that’s pretty intimidating for you.
06:19 Eric Rivera
is, it is. We’re gonna party, we’re gonna celebrate. We, uh, we love to party and celebrate. So we’ll do that really good in October. . That
06:28 Chris Grainger
is incredible. So, so definitely looking forward to, to learning more. We’ll make sure that we put the link to the brook and our show notes for listeners and want to check it out for sure.
Cuz I’m sure you guys have us a lot of great messages that go out, that are uplifting, that are encouraging, and that are built around truth, man. So, uh, before we dig into to your book, and I wanna talk about that, I wanna do something a little fun for us to get started. So what’s a fun fact about you that no one would ever guess
06:55 Eric Rivera
So, a, a really wild, uh, fun fact is something that I was able to do as a freshman in high school. So I grew up as a runner. I love, uh, just love running distance running in particular. But at my freshman year, um, it was 1996 in high school and the Olympic games was in Atlanta. And, uh, wherever the Olympic games are, they do this torch relay, which starts in Athens and they send it to the country that’s hosting.
And long story short, the, the torch was coming through Chicago land area, actually in Indiana, a neighborhood called, or a city called Crown Point. And through a, a series of events, my family nominated me and I always selected to run with the Olympic torch their, uh, freshman year of high school. And I got the torch in my office right there.
I was able to buy it. So I got the Olympic torch right here in my, in my office from the 96 games. That, that was a pretty cool experience. That is pretty cool.
07:47 Chris Grainger
So how long were you at, were you able to run with it? What was your di what was your distance? Yeah,
07:51 Eric Rivera
it was only a half mile, but that was a, that was a fun half mile for sure.
I bet, I bet.
07:56 Chris Grainger
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So I definitely have no Olympic, uh, stories have hit the lion yet, so that’s a first for sure.
08:04 Eric Rivera
08:05 Chris Grainger
Very good. Now you still an active runner now?
08:07 Eric Rivera
I do, man. It’s actually been a real gift to me from God. I, I grew up playing baseball, like that was my, my heart and passion still is.
I love baseball, but gave it up in high school and, and, uh, just God led me that way, I think through different things. But, uh, I, I, I ran in middle school then into high school, but it turns out that that really is something I’ve needed as a pastor. . Yeah, as a way of, of just staying healthy, um, relieving stress, having a long time with God, uh, listening to music that I love.
And, uh, running’s been a big part of my life as an adult to just be a space where I can reconnect with God and, and, Just recalibrate as as a man. And so, yeah, I’m thankful for it. I’m glad that I get to run often still.
08:49 Chris Grainger
Well, I’m with you the same. I’m the same way. I actually had, I did a run this morning, so I don’t do long, long distance, you know, four or five miles at a time is usually what I run.
I was able to get a five mile run in, um, to actually a four mile run in this morning, just cuz I know gonna be excited talking to you. It just helps get my mind in a good place to be able to serve the guests and the listeners and things like that. So, man, I’m with you there. It’s something about just getting outside.
I think that’s the biggest thing for me. Just getting outside, just being in nature and just, you know, pounding those, those miles and just sometimes along my thoughts or sometimes it’s a podcast, but it’s usually just, it’s, it’s always out, just connecting with God. Yeah, absolutely. I love it. For sure, for sure.
Well look, I love what you, what your book here, so we’re gonna unpack this, but I also, I just love the title, you know, unexpected Jesus, how the Resurrection of Christ Finds us, meets us, heals us, man. So how did you come up with the title before we dig into the
09:40 Eric Rivera
book? Yeah, so truthfully, uh, my publisher helped me a lot with that.
I, um, I had a, a kind of a different title in mind initially. Um, it was more of a kind of, Jesus meets us in our mass or, uh, some, something along these lines. And, and as we were talking, they, they said, Hey, you know, what do you think about unexpected Jesus? Cause we’re trying to just capitalize on this idea that there’s times we just, Jesus seems to come outta nowhere to meet us in what we’re going through.
Right? And when they, when they, uh, suggested this title, I, I loved it immediately. I thought, man, this really does represent what I was really trying to get at. So, I, I’m glad for the suggestion. And it was, it was cool to see. It’s cool to see it in print. Oh yeah,
10:17 Chris Grainger
no doubt. No doubt about it. And I’ll tell you what, it’s, it’s, it was a fun reading and I love how you just start about talking how Jesus meets us in our mess and the things that are going on in our lives.
So, so many times I hear guys talk, Eric, and I’m sure you do too, like ask guy to get some things straight before I even think about coming to Christ, right? I, before I come to church and there’s so much I’ve done wrong and I just need to get this straight, and then I’ll, you know, I hear that all the time, and then I’ll, and then I’ll, right?
So just I completely backwards thinking when you address it right out of the, out of the gate. So, man, why don’t so many guys get that wrong and think that they need to do something themselves first before they come to him?
10:55 Eric Rivera
Man, you know, it could be a host of things. I think sometimes, uh, we, we carry shame as men and we feel like we don’t deserve God’s kindness.
So we’ve gotta somehow feel like we’ve earned it so that the shame is not so big. Um, sometimes it’s, um, it’s pride. We, we wanna feel like I did this, I, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps. I, I put in the work so that at the, at the, the back end of it, I could say I got here. And, and sometimes it’s, whether it’s shame, pride, or something in between, but like you said, it, it’s, it’s the wrong mindset cuz it, it’s not gonna get us anywhere.
It just doesn’t work that way. No.
11:33 Chris Grainger
And and you’re so right man. I mean like the, the, the pride of life so many times is what holds so many guys back. And it’s, it’s the one that I feel like, you know, Satan so many times, he’s got the lut of the flesh and lucit of eyes and the pride of life, but that pride of life man can hold back so many guys.
Mm-hmm. , they’re so prideful. And that idea of just, you know, denying themselves, they can’t get past that. And, and ultimately though, man, we’re all messed up. Every one of us, we, we, we have these messes and I just love how you talk about, you know, how he meets us there.
12:04 Eric Rivera
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We, we’ve got those messes.
I think there might be even another, another reason why we try to get ourselves out, cuz we think we’re the only ones going through it. Oh, you know, we think, we think other guys are good and like, man, this, this guy over here who seems to be doing well. Clearly he doesn’t deal with the mess I’ve got. I better go and work hard to get myself out of it before anyone else finds out or before, you know, I, I, I start feeling worse about it and this is that terrible cycle.
But you’re right, we’ve all got our messes. They look different and we have different stories, but we’ve all got ’em. Right.
12:37 Chris Grainger
Absolutely man. So, I mean, I, I just, I, I really thought that was just a wonderful way to kind of get us going there and start talking about those messes. Cuz the guys, if you’re out there and you’re thinking that, you know, I’m too far gone, there’s no good in me, look that’s straight from Satan.
You gotta just rebuke that and just lean into it because. Our world. It, I, it’s definitely dark. It can feel hopeless. I mean, with this, the, the evil one is definitely out there attacking. He’s gonna attack you guys. But there is hope and you, you start talking about Jesus being a light right. Delight for our heart and, and the way he comforts us.
So share a little bit there cuz there was some really encouraging things there, particularly around that when you were talking about the weeping and the story with your wife. If you don’t mind just unpack that a little bit. Cause that to me, that was very impactful. Yeah. And I think that’s worth sharing with our listeners.
13:24 Eric Rivera
Yeah. You know that it’s the chapter on Mary Magdalene where I, I talk about this. Um, uh, what, what really strikes me is that Mary Magdalene is the one given that great privilege and honor of being the first witness to the resurrected Jesus. And, um, and so for her, she, she has no glimmer of hope. As she gets, as she gets to the tomb, she completely arrives, expecting to find a corpse.
Yeah. She, she arrives expecting to find a body that needs herbs and spices. And so when she gets to that tomb sees it’s empty. She is thrown for a loop. She doesn’t know what’s going on. And, and you know, Jesus is the gardener. She thinks him to be behind her, and she knows he is there. And she’s like, where did you put the body?
I mean, her grief flooding her mind. And um, and it’s not until Jesus speaks her name that she realizes, oh wait, , this is him. Yeah. Um, and so, but when I think of Mary there at that tomb, um, I’m, I try to really understand where is that profound grief coming from? Of course, like, is the horror of seeing someone you care about die?
Like, like she saw that, but it wasn’t just that she saw someone she cared about die, but it’s also what she believed of him before he died. Mm-hmm. . And she put all her chips in Chris, like she, she was fully sold out to follow him. She believed in him. He had rescued her from her demonic oppression we’re told like she was all in.
And so, um, that, that helps us understand the depth of her grief. Yeah. And with what I find really fascinating is, like, as men, like we understand deep grief. We’ve all gone through it. And, and if you haven’t gone through it yet, like you’re gonna go through it, it’s coming. Uh, and so, so Mary’s story to me is really personal because I’ve gone through grief in different ways, um, and seen the way Jesus met her and her grief gives me hope that he will do the same for me in my grief.
Um, yeah, we, we’ve gone through challenges in our marriage and, and one that I write about is, uh, um, an autoimmune disease that my wife was diagnosed with, that that just really. Really threw us for a loop. We, we just didn’t see it coming. And it was a time in, in just trying to discover that, that, um, what was going on with her physically, that, um, it, it gripped me.
It, it, it consumed me because there was, there’s, I couldn’t help her. Um, I couldn’t fix this, right? I couldn’t, I didn’t have answers. All I had were prayers. And, um, and so it, it was a very trying season, but, but I saw God meet us in the uncertainty, in the pain, in the sadness, in the fear. And, um, and, and that’s why, you know, as I, as I wrote that chapter, I didn’t just write it, um, um, you know, philosophically speaking, I didn’t, I didn’t write it in hypotheticals.
I wrote this thing as I, I know what that’s like to some degree, and I’ve seen God meet me in that place as well. Um, and so that, that’s why that, that chapter was really meaningful to me and, and meant a lot to, to me where I was at and what I’ve experienced.
16:34 Chris Grainger
Yeah. That’s such an impactful story to talk about Eric cuz I mean I think so many of our guys listening, they they, like you said, I always talk about it in trials in three areas.
You’re either in one, coming outta one or you’re getting ready to go into one . It’s those, one of those three. And if you’ve never been in a trial, like you need to wake up cuz or getting ready cuz you’ve probably getting ready to go to the biggest one you’ve ever faced in your life. So for me, when I see that so far as you know, you know when we’re weeping, Jesus comforts us man, there, there is so much there.
And I’m so glad you went to the story of Mary Magdalene cuz I think that’s just a beautiful tie in. Yeah. But also I just appreciate your transparency with your, the story of your wife cuz I think that’s what resonates with a lot of listeners and readers as well is, is when the authors, you know, peeled back the layers.
Cuz you could have just talked about Mary, right? I mean you could and legit like had a really good chapter. But for me, what made a chapter hit home and actually resonate was the personal tie. You know, to to, to your story.
17:32 Eric Rivera
Yeah. I, I’m thankful for my wife, for just her courage in, uh, in telling this story.
I mean, we, we speak at marriage events, we speak in different places, and she’s, she’s willing to open up because I think she knows, first of all, she’s seen God meet her and that she knows that, um, that people are, are grasping for hope. And we’ve got a testimony to share. And so my wife is a, is a, a rock in her faith.
I mean, she is strong and she was strong going into the trial. She’s strong in and strong coming out. Not to say there weren’t dark days and times of despair, but, um, but knowing that, that people go through this, that we all go through this. Yeah. We, we wanted to put this out there so that there is no confusion.
Like, like we don’t have the, these struggles. We, we’ve got ’em. And, and they come in, they come in droves and they come hard sometimes and we’ve gone through.
18:17 Chris Grainger
Right, right. Man, I absolutely love that, Eric. So, look, we’ll take, we’ll take a quick break guys. We’ll be right back and we’ll keep digging into this conversation with Eric.
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So, man, thank you so much for, for just unpacking that cuz you he definitely, he, he meets, he meets us in our mess. He, he comforts us while we go through those different trials of life. And then you keep talking about in, in your book that he is the light for our hearts. And I just thought that was beautiful.
Cause even our, our, uh, children’s pastor just past weekend, I thought it was pretty cool. He did, he does a little video every week for our, for our congregation cuz he’s down there teaching the kids. But he’s, you know, he does that for the, for the online audience. And he, his, his, uh, visual was a flashlight.
And the flashlight, you know, he was in the church and he’s like, you know, it, it, it is supposed to be a bright light, but it was like the light’s wrong. And he’s like, his point was like, cut. He, he, he, he cut the lights off, then he cut the cam, the flashlight on and then people could see, oh, why? It’s a really bright flashlight.
And his point was, look, when we’re in the church building, we’re surrounded by believe. You know, it’s easy for your light to just kind of blend in, you know? Cause we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re with our believers. We’re, we’re getting built up, we’re growing. But when we go out into this dark world, that’s where the light needs to shine.
And usually that’s where Jesus meets us at in those dark moments. So for me, that was just a beautiful illustration, the way he did it. But man, you tied it together perfectly, right? When you talk about the hopelessness that so many people feel. So just will hope for you to unpack that a little bit for us and talk about what does that light mean to you?
21:19 Eric Rivera
Yeah. Um, as we’ve been saying, like people are, we all go through these dark times and we need the hope of Jesus to shine light in that. Uh, so often we, we just feel like there’s no way out of what we’re going through, right? We, we feel like we’re in a rut that we just can’t get out of. And we even have a hard time envisioning freedom whatsoever.
Um, so we get isolated. We’re, we’re dark, we’re in the darkened space of, of, of loneliness, of isolation, of despair, um, and. The very fact that Jesus breaks through into the darkness. I mean, he, he says, I am the light of the world. Um, and then he says that we are the light of the world. And so he wants to shine light into our darkness so that we can then be a light into others.
And, and that’s, that’s what he does in each of these resurrection appearances. He, he meets the people in their mess, in their darkness, and then he sends them right back out. Like, okay, I met you here. Um, you’re not alone. I can bring you through this. I’ve got you. But now go tell someone. Go testify. Go live it out.
And so, yeah, so darkness doesn’t prevail. It doesn’t prevail when we turn to Christ. Uh, no matter how dark things are and how dark things get, it just doesn’t prevail because Jesus is that light that shines in darkness. Um, and he’s a reason. Amen
22:40 Chris Grainger
to that, bro. Amen to that, that that is, that is, that’s what we’re talking about.
That’s, you guys need to just remember to just go back and replay that last minute and a half that Eric just dropped on you. So that was really good. So maybe to talk to the guy that’s listening out there, Eric, and he’s having, he’s, he’s in a season of doubt and he’s always doubting himself and, and he’s either doubting others, but primarily the guys that I talk to, we we’re the worst critics of ourselves, right?
We, we tell ourselves, I’m not good enough. I’m not strong enough, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have enough money. I can’t figure all this stuff out, whatever that lie is, you know, that, that, that we constantly, I feel like we’re really good at critiquing ourselves to, and, and the worst ways, you know, how can Jesus, and where does Jesus rather, where does he help that guy?
You know, what, what, what would you, what would you say to that?
23:29 Eric Rivera
Uh, such a great question, Chris. That’s such a great question because it’s very personal. It’s very real for all of us. Um, you know, there, there are a couple of, of, of people in this book that I talk about that I, I think this, um, scenario speaks to.
I mean, the first of whom is Thomas. Uh, he, he has that, that that reputation of, of being known as doubting Thomas and . How would you
23:51 Chris Grainger
like to have that real quick? Really, before we go first, like, like that’s what you’re known as is doubting Thomas. That’s terrible,
23:57 Eric Rivera
right? , right. Well, and the thing that gets me so much is it’s, it’s so unfair to Thomas, right?
Because with a lot of us, when we have doubt there’s a reason for it, there’s something behind it, and sometimes the doubt stems from disappointment. It, it stems from a, um, a failure. And now because we’ve experienced these things, we’re kind of like, I don’t, I don’t know if I can believe and I don’t even know if I want to believe because if I believe again, I can get let down again.
Chris. I can get hurt again. You’re exposing yourself. Yeah. And so I think Thomas is known to be doubting Thomas, but first, you know, I, like I said in my book, and I like to tell others like, he should be on his right or die Thomas. Like he, he’s a guy who’s ready to lay down his life for Jesus. And that story of, of, of, uh, lazarus’s death, uh, Jesus and, and his disciples, they leave the Bethany area because they’re trying to kill Jesus, and he’s gone.
And then the disciple, he gets a message saying, Hey, Lazarus is dead. And so Jesus tells his disciples, all right, we gotta go back to Bethany. And, and the disciples are like, they just try to kill you there. And Jesus says, I gotta go to Lazarus. But then Thomas says, all right, we’re gonna go with you. We be ready to die with you.
Now, that’s a friend. Yes, that’s it. But we don’t, we don’t remember Thomas for that statement. Yeah, we remember Thomas for the statement later that says, unless I put my hands in his hands, touch his side. I’ll never believe. . Right? And so when we think about our doubt as men, we look at Thomas and we realize he is, he’s struggling with believing because he believed before.
Mm-hmm. and his belief got dashed when he saw his savior crucified, Uhhuh . And he’s really wrestling here. And so to the guy who’s doubting, um, perhaps part of our breakthrough is understanding why, why am I doubting, uh, where is my unbelief coming from? Uh, you know, maybe I, I’ve, I’ve prayed some big prayers and believed them with all my heart, and God didn’t answer the way I thought he was gonna do it.
Uh, you know, maybe I went out on the limb and took a risk and didn’t feel like God met me there. And so to, to that guy, I would say, um, let the Lord Jesus meet you there in that place of doubt. May, maybe you can’t even utter a prayer. You’re struggling so bad, but, but if you just say, Jesus helped me. Just help me.
And, and I, I believe he will. I believe he will. Because, um, what Jesus does with Thomas is he, he does show up, but it says he shows up a week after, um, right. He showed up to the other disciples, which tells me that, that Jesus is at work in these times of doubt. He, he’s at work in these moments where we were really struggling in our faith.
He’s doing something there, and he will meet us at the right time as we cry out to him. And so, man, brother, like to you listening, Jesus wants to, to meet you in this place. He does. Um, because prolonging, keeping him at arm’s length, it’s, it’s just not gonna result in a place of thriving and help you need Jesus and he’s there to meet you in that place.
27:16 Chris Grainger
Mm-hmm. . Amen, brother to that. I mean, so, so, so true there. And I think so many times. With guys in particular. It, it, it can be hard because, you know, we, we have a, we have a church fee full of doubting Thomas’s and they want to, they wanna see something, right? They want to, but this goes back to the faith and, and being able to, to, to have your faith in what, what is unseen.
And man, I just see guys in particular struggle with this area, Eric, and I’m so glad that you, you know, dedicated a whole chapter, a whole area of section of your book because doubt man. Um, for me personally, this is one that I’ve struggled with of just personal doubt. Like you, you, particularly, if you ever try to do any work, um, for, for, for the kingdom, like Satan is going to throw all sorts of doubts your way, guys.
So if you try to start like a little small bible study group or discipleship group, or maybe you’re trying to find Timothy that you wanna mentor, get ready cuz the attacks are gonna come. He’s going, he’s going to do everything he can to deter you from doing that. The last thing Satan wants is, is men, you know, leaning in and helping other men grow closer to Christ.
And can you speak to that directly, because I know that’s, that’s impact huge for our group, for our community. A
28:24 Eric Rivera
hundred percent. Yeah. So when we think of doubt, we think of Thomas. But, but there, there’s more here at play. Um, you know, I think of the story, the disciples who go out fishing after the resurrection and it says they, they fish all night and catch nothing.
Nothing. Right? Nothing at all. Right? . And so Jesus is, is on the seashore and he says, children, what did you catch? And I’m like, you know, the answer’s messing with them, man, I love’s a cold question when, when you come back empty handed. But, but I feel like what Jesus is trying to do is, you know, in, in John Jesus says, apart from me, you can do nothing.
And it’s like they’re out on that, on that boat in the sea of Galilee trying to fish essentially by their own strength. And they’re just trying to go through this motion, and it’s not bearing any fruit. And I, I do believe that the thrust of that passage is Jesus saying, Hey, apart from me, you can do nothing.
And so, so to the guy who’s maybe doubting, maybe just feeling the adversity when he is trying to be faithful, um, you know, remember Jesus’s words, apart from me, you can do nothing. And this is where the Holy Spirit comes in, because when Jesus ascends into glory at the day of Pentecost and Acts two, he sends the Holy Spirit down.
And the, the, the believers, uh, all of them, without exception for the first time ever, are filled and indwelled with the power of the holy. And so when we, when we are men striving to be faithful, like you said, trying to, trying to disciple a another man, trying to love our wives, well try trying to be a faithful father.
Uh, trying to be a single man who’s walking and holiness with the direction you’re going. You’re going to face attack, you’re going to face spiritual adversity either from your flesh, from within, from the world, from without, or from Satan. Um, and in that moment, remember apart from Jesus, you could do nothing.
But with Jesus, you’ve got the spirit and you could do all things. You know, first John four, greater is he that is in us than he who’s in the world. And so when the doubt comes in, when the sense of I’m not inadequate, I’m the wrong man for the job, God, you must have it confused. Remember that the spirit of God is in you and God’s like, nah, I’m, I’m, I’m calling you.
You’re the right person. You’re the one I wanted to work through, but you gotta lean on me because apart from me, you can do nothing. But with me, you can do all things. Yes,
31:02 Chris Grainger
man. Good gracious, Eric. That that right there buddy. So much truth in that. So guys, I, I pray that if you’re, again, struggling without trying to figure out how to take those next steps forward, go back, listen to, to, to Eric’s advice cuz this is, this is real.
I mean, he’s giving you some absolute truth, grounded and biblical truth as well that you guys can apply right now to your daily walk. So, hey, wanna take a quick break? We’ll be right back
guys. I hear all the time how we are isolated. We’re along, we don’t feel like we have anybody we can talk to. And I’m here to tell you we took action in line within us. We started a community and that thing is, We have events happening all the time, and more importantly, we have guys connecting with each other every day.
And I’m talking about we’re building meaningful relationships, serving each other, accountability, growth, and I know that’s what you’re looking for and it’s done. Guys. We’re all within the community itself. Every week we have lion lunches, we have bible studies, we have, uh, ask me Anything Events. We guys, this is, we have things, resources that we have built to serve you, to help you be the leader God intends you to be.
We’re offering right now a 30 day free trial. Jump in, check it out for a month. Come to some events, see what it’s like. See if it serves you well. You have nothing to lose at this point. Check it out. I guarantee you guys, once you get in, you’re gonna find the resources that you need to help you keep growing.
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So, Eric, man, one thing I wanted to talk about, talk with a lot of guys within our community at, at the line within us and, and something that just keeps coming up. I hear quite often, particularly when I get, you know, smaller groups of guys together and we’re talking, it’s about their past and the things that they’ve screwed up on or the mistakes that they’ve made.
And just, it leads them not, not so much doubt as much as it leads them defeated, you know, they just feel like they’re just defeated. And I’d love for your insight here because Christ, his forgiveness is, is, is something that, that we need. Constant re reminders about, so when, when you counsel, or I’m sure you have small groups, discipleship groups, and you hear these, these types of ideas of, of, of guys bringing up the things that they’ve screwed up in the past and messed up.
And man, I can’t believe I did that moments. Mm-hmm. , where do you go? How do you comfort them? What, what, what advice do you give them to help them get past that, to see the ultimate hope that’s ahead of them?
34:01 Eric Rivera
Wow. Yeah. I mean, shame is potent, isn’t it? I mean, it it is, it is a powerful thing. Yes. It has the ability to isolate us.
It has the ability for us to make determinations that God’s not gonna use us and can’t do it. Um, you know, I think about this often and, and so many people in scriptures actually have stories that, that can elicit shame. I mean, I was just preaching about Moses this past Sunday here. Here’s a guy with blood on his hands.
Um, and, and, and God’s going to use him to deliver. A million plus people. Right? Uh, and when we look in the New Testament, Peter’s a similar guy with a similar story. Uh, imagine, just imagine Chris, like when the person that you have followed for three and a half years, you’ve confessed to be the messiah, the savior of the world.
You’ve seen him do countless miracles. You, you’ve seen and heard and experienced things that, I mean, we would just yearn to be in Peter’s shoes, to be that Peter who, when Jesus is arrested and in his moment of greatest need that, that Peter could perceive to, to be able to say, I don’t even know this guy.
Yeah. Not one time, not two times, but three times. Yeah. Uh, scripture tells us that after Peter denies Jesus, he looks across the courtyard and sees Jesus. and they see and lock eyes for that moment. Uhhuh . Um, I just, the, the amount of shame and and sense of failure that came over Peter, it says he ran out and wept bitterly.
Yeah. Um, I can’t, I can’t imagine a better word than to weep bitterly. And so if anybody felt like they were the uttermost failure, uh, I mean, Peter’s that guy who can make this great profession and make this great denial with the same mouth. Uh, and so we’re told even, even after Jesus raised us from the dead, and Peter knows Jesus is alive, we get a sense that Peter’s still walking Yes.
Believing in the resurrection, but not believing in God’s work for him and his life. Mm-hmm. And, and that’s where Jesus picks up this conversation with, with Peter on the seashore. Yeah. And, and he asks him that, that question that I just, I, I just can’t imagine how deep it had to hurt. Yeah. Peter, do you love me?
And Peter’s thinking like, man, when I said I didn’t know you, I, I, I, I know my actions didn’t show it. Right? Jesus, you do know though that I love you. And then G’s like, all right, feed my sheep. I got another question for you, Peter. Yep. Do you love me? Right. So, so after a while you’re kinda like, Jesus, this is kind of mean.
It seems like you’re just, you, you got this knife. You’re just digging it a little deeper. And, but like, that’s what, that’s what God has to do sometimes in our shame, Chris, is that he has to help us see how deeply rooted this thing is. And I mean, we might wanna move on, but we’re not really dealing with the real heart problem.
Right? And so many men, we, we carry our failures from decades ago. We, we carry our failures with us, and we even have secrets that we, that, that nobody knows. And we are like, I’m taking this to the grave. Yeah. But what is doing thus to us, it has us handcuffed. It has us isolated. And I think even worse, it has us not believing that we can be used by God.
And so when, when Jesus has this conversation with Peter, it’s not like Jesus is trying to learn something. Peter, you know, I don’t know. Do you really love me? I’m trying to figure this out. Like, he’s not doing that, but he’s forcing Peter to confess with his own mouth, right? Oh, Lord. And I basically, I’ve screwed up.
I failed you so bad, but, um, but you know that I, I do love you. And, and what Jesus tells Peter, Chris, he says, all right at the end of that sequence, he says, follow me. Yeah, follow. I’m not done with you even when you are done with you. Right. Following me, Peter. And so to, to that man that I talk with and I’m counseling the men, walking with them in our church family week in and week out.
And there are guys who kinda like, man, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve gotten into to, to pornography. I’ve, I’ve failed my, I I’ve yelled at my children. Uh, I’ve walked out, uh, on my wife at different times. I’ve, um, I’ve made some really sketchy financial decisions and the list goes on. Yep. Um, God can’t use me. No, that’s not true.
Yeah. You know, that’s not true. God’s not done with you even when you aren’t done with you. And so that, that man, brother, like if you were listening to this, you need to know that God is not done with you. We, we go through scripture, man, after man with, with. Just parts of their story that we would just say like, God must be done with that guy.
Nope, it’s not. But, but we’ve gotta repent. We’ve gotta believe, we’ve gotta come back and be honest and say, Lord, this is who I am. This is what I’ve done. And experience his forgiveness. That’s what Peter did. And man Acts two, we see him preaching, leading thousands to Christ like God wasn’t done with him.
He’s not done with us. Amen,
39:47 Chris Grainger
brother. I mean, I think it’s important for you guys to go back and, and unpack a little bit on the, the apostles and just the, the, the disciples rather than just understand these were just regular guys. So if you mean you, it’s not like he went and pick the elite of elite. Like a lot of these guys are just commercial fishermen and they were out there doing their thing, but they chose to follow them.
And I thought it was interesting, completely off topic, but I was listening to a, a. It’s yesterday running, I believe. And, and the guy was talking about, you know, that when, when, um, James and John, when they dropped and left and their, their father’s e and followed him, that was like a really big moment for the dad too.
I mean, Mo most of the time I always thought about that was like, you know what, these guys, you know, they gave up everything but the da this was like a a, I’m almost honor because they were following a rabbi, A rabbi wanted them to follow him. And I just thought that was pretty cool. I mean, so guys, you have an opportunity to follow him right now.
Uh, I just think that’s beautiful. And another thing that I want, wanted to share with you, Eric, cuz he, as you were just talking to that the spirit was speaking to him, he was like, make sure that Jesus is Lord and he’s not just somebody that we’re just trying to, to learn from. Cuz I, that, I picked that up the other day, I was reading and it was listening to a sermon and, and going back and just, and just, you know, going back through the scriptures and when he’s in the upper room, he’s like, one of you wouldn’t deny me.
And, and all the disciples ask the question, is it I Lord. And then he gets to Judas and it says, is it I rabbi? And like that hit me like a ton of Brits. Like, yo bro, like he, he is Lord, he’s not just a good teacher to learn from and try to do a better job. Like we as guys, we need to understand there’s a difference between him being, teaching us how to lead our families, how to lead our wives and things like that.
How to make good financial decisions, like you said, versus actually being lured over all of that. There’s a significant difference there. There
41:34 Eric Rivera
is. I appreciate you saying that. I mean, at the heart of discipleship is surrender. It’s not just, it’s not just entering in a classroom, but it’s surrender. Jesus says, if, if anyone be my disciple, he must deny himself.
Take up his cross daily and follow me. Uh, and really that that is the common thread in each of the resurrection appearances. Jesus is not calling people to just follow his moral example. He’s saying, surrender to my lordship, let me reign over the throne of your heart. And, and I, I’ve got no competitors here.
I I want all of you. Um, and that, that’s actually a pathway to freedom too, because now we, we are pretty, we’re pretty bad lords of our own life. Um, I’m, I’m, I’m a pretty bad king here. This, of this own heart of my own. I, I need a, I need a better Lord, a better kingdom than what I can offer. Right? And Jesus offers that.
Um, and it’s gonna come with sacrifice, and it’ll come with, with learning to die to self. Oh man, what, what comes the other side of the fruit of being a follower of Christ, of experiencing his forgiveness, of knowing his peace. That transcends understanding. There. There’s nothing like it ultimately to be a child of God.
And, and that’s a gift offered to us through faith. And yeah. So I, I really appreciate you pressing in on Christ’s lordship because, uh, that, that’s what he’s calling us to, is discipleship that understands him as the leader of our lives, right.
43:01 Chris Grainger
And I think that’s where so many guys get hung up, man. I mean, you took the whole point of surrender.
No guy wants to surrender. I mean, go back to like when we played, you know, army and GI Joe’s growing up, man. Um, I think we’re close to the same age. Like you never surrendered, no matter how bad it was. Like you’re gone a flight to the end. And what we gotta realize is, is guys, when it comes to, to our lives, at the end of the day, you know, this, I got this mentality.
It’s just going to, it’s gonna crush you. It’s going to crush you to guys to try to bootstrap everything on their own and, and, and yield all this. That’s why stress is killing so many guys. That’s why stress, heart attacks, all that stuff is, is real legitimate physical, you know, alien things that happen to our bodies because we, we try to do all this on our own without releasing it and without understanding, you know, what if I just do this, God’s.
If I just surrender to him, there’s so much better. And actually it’s liberating. That’s why I try to tell guys like, it, it, it’s a, it’s, it’s very freeing, but it does take a huge amount of humility to just understand it. You know what he is lord. And that mean that, that has got to mean something.
44:08 Eric Rivera
It does. That’s so great, man. I love what you’re pressing there because Yeah. The idea that we can do this is, no, you can’t No, no you can’t. I got this. No, you don’t. I can fix it. No, you can’t. That’s right. I need, I need Jesus. Um, and, and what’s amazing is in all this, there’s an invitation. It’s not just that we need Jesus, but Jesus invites us, right?
He’s like, not only do you need me, but I’m offering myself to you. Right? I mean, he’s the one who told Peter, let’s go for a. He’s the one who says, Mary calls her name. He’s the one who appears the Thomas. He’s the one yelling at the seashore. How’s that fishing going? Um, he’s the one that who stops Saul on the road of Damascus.
Right? Why are you like, he’s the one that comes and invades our space in unexpected ways with an invitation. He, he’s just so kind to us.
44:56 Chris Grainger
He is man. He, he’s so kind. I mean, so I mean, I think we just gotta lean into that more guys and understand, look for those opportunities and he’s chasing us. And if the quicker we can figure out that it’s not us, you, there’s, there’s a bigger purpose there.
I think there’s just, there’s a ton of freedom in that, that I really, guys will, will just set you on a path like, like no other. I just got surrendering. I really encourage you to think through that. So look, we’re gonna take our last break. We’re gonna come back, we’ll unpack a couple more questions, Eric, and then get, get into our lightning ground.
So we’ll be right back. Guys,
let me ask you a real personal question. Who are your five closest friends? Aren’t they pulling you closer to God or further away? I know some of many guys that said, man, I ain’t got five friends. You know? Okay, I get it, man. It’s hard. It’s hard to make those true connections. So what we did at the line with is we started a community.
That community is where brotherhood happens. It’s where guys come together. So guys, if you, if you’re struggling right now, if you feel a little bit isolated or alone, you need to hop in the community. You’re gonna find brothers there that are gonna come alongside you, that want to help you. Wherever you’re at, wherever you’re at.
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So Eric, man, we have covered a lot of book ground in your book. Definitely want to, uh, recommend this to guys, you know, here, here’s your spoil alert guys. This is gonna be our book of the week on Friday. So definitely go ahead and get ahead of that, get you a copy. But as you think through this book, you kind of wrapped up towards the end as you’re talking about the topic of crisis when Jesus coming and Jesus speaking in those cri, those, those crisis.
And you know, we all went through that crisis in, in March of 2020, right? I mean, every one of us went through it. I’m not sure how your church responded. I’d love to hear that. How, how that worked with you guys. So, you know, speak to us when you say Jesus kind of comes to those, in those moments where you hear him the loudest.
So what, what would you say say there?
48:00 Eric Rivera
That’s so good. Yeah. Because a lot of us are thinking, you know, yeah. Jesus showed up in my living room and said, touch my hands. Yeah. Believe it. That’s, that’s right. You know, where, where’s that encounter? Uh, you know, he may not come as physically tangible. But he does not come too much less tangible than that.
Uh, he, he arrives in our lives in a variety of ways. He comes through his word, uh, he comes through, through the spirit of God in prayer and he, he, he, uh, he encounters us through community, you know, in 2020, our neighborhood, you know, got hit hard with Covid and I’m in the city of Chicago. We’re, we’re, we’re very compact.
People are living in such close proximity and yeah, there’s a lot of death in our community, a lot of, um, not, not, not necessarily in our church, but in our neighborhood. And what happened because the service industries were shut down and schools were closed. I mean, people were struggling, not just, I mean, they’re struggling with their mental health, with their finances.
Uh, they felt so, so alone. And what we, as a. You know, we realized like, God, God has positioned us here in this neighborhood to to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to be the unexpected Jesus to people. And so we started brainstorming and praying like, Lord, please open doors for us to love our neighbors well.
And it’s like, like the spirit has met us by, by giving our people creative ideas, courage, um, giving us connections in our community. So it’s like one thing after another. In some ways, Chris, like, I feel like we were able to do more ministry during this time of, of, of, uh, social distancing than we ever had before.
Because what it looked like was partnering with community organizations. We began to, to deliver groceries to people who we knew. Uh, they, they, they lost their jobs. They, they’re, they weren’t, they didn’t have food to pay for groceries. And we got connected with local organizations where we got, uh, grocery donations.
People in our church, uh, chipped in. They, they, they bought groceries. And so we were delivering literally to people’s doorsteps groceries and just said, Jesus sees you, God, here’s your prayers, and just please know, this is him showing you love. Um, we have, uh, a former quarterback of the Chicago Bears donated some, like $25,000 to an organization here in the city who turned around and matched that dollar for dollar and donated to us, uh, I think all over $10,000 to help supply, uh, Christmas gifts for families and to serve families with gift cards.
And so now we’re like, we have all this money. We’re, we’re getting grocery gift cards and, and Bibles and, and, and Christmas gifts. And so it just, it reminded us. That, that Jesus still meets people when they don’t expect it, but oftentimes he chooses to do so through us as his vessel. Yeah. And so, um, I, I firmly believe that the people in our neighborhood felt loved by God through the church, through the community.
Um, and so it, it was really cool to, to, to understand, um, that the unexpected and resurrected Jesus finds us, meets us and heals us, and sometimes uses us to do that for other people. And we, we just have so many testimonies that came from that. Um, and, and that’s an opportunity for us to really go on out and, and be that for Christ, uh, for the people around us.
51:40 Chris Grainger
Right. You know, if you just have that willing, that willingness, it’s amazing what the spirit will do, particularly if you back it up with obedience. I mean, that’s a couple of words that most guys, they, they like to shy away from man. They don’t want willing and obedient. I don’t know about all that, Chris, but I’m just telling you guys, man, there is so much freedom.
Freedom if you’re just willing to just to listen to the spirit, then if you obey that, there’s so much fruit that’s there, and it’s just so much to that, that you can do for the kingdom. And you, no matter how small you may think of the piece that, uh, what you’re doing matters. But I promise you it does.
And I’ve talked to guys all the time. I’m sure you do too, Eric. They, they’ll, they’ll try and they’ll go try to do some mission work or, or some type of, of, uh, uh, evangelism and they just feel like they just, it’s not working. I’m like, I didn’t, I didn’t, I, I can’t get this guy to come. I’m like, bro, maybe it’s not you that’s going to do it.
Right. You just gotta plant the. And the spirit does the work. You just have to be obedient in that. And you may not yield that or harvest. Right. Somebody else may harvest that, but at the end of the day, you do the work. Yeah. And you just be obedient and you can’t worry about, you know what it is, cuz it, because then it gets to the mind, me, me, me mindset.
And that’s, that’s wrong. Right. It’s just gotta be, I’m doing this for a Lord,
52:52 Eric Rivera
man. Yeah. One of the most sobering things as a preacher is to know that I can’t change a life. Right. . Right. I, I do not have the power to turn a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. No. It’s, it’s not in my power, but it’s also one of the most freeing realities so that I know, like, that’s not on me.
My job is to be faithful. Right. God’s job is resurrect dead people. Right. If he doesn’t. And so, you know, I’m faithful over years of work that’s in God’s hand. I’m just, I’m just trying to honor him and let him do the fruit. And, and we may see it, we may not see it, but if we’re being faithful, we know we’re honoring him.
53:29 Chris Grainger
That’s it. The holy spirit’s doing the, doing the heavy lifting. We just have to be faithful, be obedient. And Eric, it sounds like you’re doing that, man. So tell you what, let’s jump into our lightning round. We wanna have a little bit of fun with you here before we wrap up today, if you got some time.
Yeah. Oh yeah. Love that. Alright, so we’ll, we’ll jump in here. It’s all quick fire stuff. We call it feeding time at the line within Dennis, so you’re kind of in the lions den here. But don’t worry, uh, we haven’t lost, uh, yeah. A, a participant yet, so you should be good to go. .
53:56 Eric Rivera
I’m glad for that. That’s
53:57 Chris Grainger
good to hear.
There you go. There you go. So what’s, uh, let’s just start with something fun, man. What, what’s a favorite hobby that you have? I know you’re a runner, but do you have any other hobbies you’d like to share?
54:06 Eric Rivera
It’s baseball. I love baseball. I love coaching it. I coach my sons. Um, I love just being on the ball field, playing catch hitting balls, hitting grounders.
I, I just love playing baseball. It’s, it’s a, it’s a hobby of mine that I hope I can do for a long time. That’s very, now how old are your sons? So, uh, my middle, my, I have three kids. Uh, my daughter Kazak, she’s 15. Uh, my son, uh, next son is Lucas. He’s 13 and my youngest is a son and he’s 10. That’s Levi. Okay.
Both my boys play baseball. Okay.
54:37 Chris Grainger
My youngest, my youngest is, is, uh, almost three months, but his middle name is Levi, so, alright. So, yeah, we, and he’s even got a little baseball bag and so we’re ready for, you know, the, we carry his bottles and stuff in. So I’m ready cuz I have three daughters and then finally got this son here.
So I’m ready to trade in those softballs for baseballs. Now. I love a softball field, but I’m looking forward to that baseball too, man. So looking forward to that. That’s cool. Very cool. Very cool. So, another fun question before we get to a little bit harder one. So let’s say you can only have one meal every day and it’s gotta be the same meal.
What, what are you eating day in, day out? What? What are you picking there?
55:15 Eric Rivera
Oh man. That’s a tough one. I mean, my, my go-to food is Thai food. Okay. There’s a family, we love it. There’s a panang curry. But man, if I eat that every day, I don’t know what that would do to my intestines. Cause it’s spicy, it’s spicy that, that would hurt.
But I think I’m just go out and live and trust God to provide my, my, my intestine lining that I need. So I, I’d go with Panang curry. The steak would be a runner up though. Okay.
55:39 Chris Grainger
Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Alright. So now a little bit more serious question. What’s your favorite thing about God? Hmm.
55:48 Eric Rivera
Man, I, I would have to say his faithfulness.
Um, his faithfulness because, uh, may just doesn’t fail us. He just does not fail us. Yeah. And you know, the trials we’ve gone through, whether it be my wife’s health journey, uh, whether it be different times of finances and loss, God has been faithful. He’s steady. And my wife, her, her favorite phrase, uh, is God’s, uh, unchanging character, his immutability.
That’ll change us not. And so I, I’d say I, I had to, I had to agree with that.
56:18 Chris Grainger
Absolutely. Now, let’s flip that 180. What’s your least favorite thing about Satan? Hmm.
56:25 Eric Rivera
His relentlessness. Uh mm. You know, he feels like he takes a lot of cheap shots. Goes after the, the week. Yeah. You know, the image of the, of the will to beast.
You know, the baby want to get separated from the, the pack. Um, when I see people who are vulnerable and under spiritual attack, it, it, it angers me. And I, I’ve seen plenty of that. Yeah.
56:46 Chris Grainger
I’m totally get you totally get that. When you think back over the last year, what is something you spent too much time doing?
56:56 Eric Rivera
Ah, probably following Sports . Okay. Too much. I, I, I’d say there’s times where. Where, um, a way I’ll veg out is just whether it be following, watching, listening to sports radio, especially sports radio in a commute. Um, there’s nothing wrong with it inherently. Uh, but that time could be, could be used in prayer probably a lot more.
Yeah. And, um, that’s an area that like the Lord’s really been revealing to me.
57:24 Chris Grainger
Okay, fair enough. So what’s a new habit that you wanna form moving forward? Or maybe it’s something that you’ve recently formed?
57:32 Eric Rivera
Yeah, for me, I think it’d be solitude. Um, oh, be around quietness more. Um, I, I’m gonna season my life where there’s just not a lot of margin and that’s not, not necessarily, it’s not a good sustainable thing.
Right. But I’m, I’m realizing where, where, where there’s opportunity for quietness. I need to do it. I just find myself sometimes either listening to a podcast or listening to a radio, or listening to music or, uh, on a car drive. Just lemme just call someone right quick and having my speaker phone and those are all okay things, but, um, I need to learn to just.
Just be quiet and, um, and I think I’ve, I find myself a lot less, uh, anxious if I take more time and just solitude. Yeah.
58:14 Chris Grainger
Be still right. Yeah. Yeah. That’s it. Good stuff there. That’s something I’ve been working on myself and just usually I play a podcast or something while, while I’m having lunch, but I’ve been challenging myself.
I still don’t do it every day, but more days than not I do where I just, I don’t have anything on. And just during that lunchtime, it’s just me on the porch and just, you know, just enjoying that time, uh, with the Lord and just, not necessarily that I’m praying the whole time, but just, just being still and just enjoying that.
Yeah. Listen, just listen. That’s right. That’s right. And my neighborhood, there’s always a dog barking or something, so There you go. Cause there’ll always be something to hear. ,
58:50 Eric Rivera
and not so relaxing in my porch. You know, I hear sirens so .
58:54 Chris Grainger
There you go. There you go. So, last question for you, Eric, in, in our lightning round.
So what’s one thing that you hope the listeners out there remember from our conversation today?
59:04 Eric Rivera
Yeah, I, I would say that, um, that Jesus doesn’t give up on us. Um, you know, there’s a lot, there’s a lot of stories I tell in, in, in unexpected Jesus, but I, I feel that the one that’s sometimes hardest for us to believe is that, is that, that Jesus continues to meet us where we’re at now, we just decide sometimes that he’s done with us, he’s through, but he’s just not.
And, and I just, I would love to see more men know and remember that, that God wants to use them. He wants to use you. You could be 75 years old and maybe you’ve been faithful in the Lord for 30 years and you’re like, this is my time to put my feet up. No, it’s not. Um, the Lord wants to still use. Right.
Maybe. Yeah, just whatever, whatever scenario you find yourself in, maybe you’re finding yourself young. Like, I’m just too young. I got, I got a lot more seasoning. Yeah, you do. You gotta be in the oven a little bit longer to bake. It doesn’t mean you can’t be faithful while in the oven. He, he’s going, you know, he’ll meet you there as well.
And so, uh, the more men just embracing that kind of call, that would excite me. I, I think that would be a powerful thing in the kingdom of God.
1:00:15 Chris Grainger
No doubt, no doubt. Well man, Eric, this has been phenomenal. Now, where do you want guys to go to, to connect with the book, to get a copy to connect with you, your church Man, I just wanna give you a open opportunity right here.
You probably in wherever direction you’d like for them to go.
1:00:30 Eric Rivera
Yeah. Thank you for that. Yeah, I’m on social media. Um, I have a love-hate relationship with it, but you could find me at Dr. Eric Rivera and that’s d r Eric River. That’s my handle on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Uh, I preach, uh, and my sermons are best, you know, you can find ’em on Spotify at the Brook, uh, the Brook Chicago, just search on Spotify or Apple Music or YouTube.
Uh, we, we live stream our services there on YouTube, all the Brook Chicago, and then the book, you could pick it up on Amazon or lex press.com. That’s my publisher. Um, it’s unexpected Jesus. And, uh, you can find it there wherever you buy books or it’s, uh, digital as well. So if you, you know, you like reading on your iPad or whatever, you can find it there.
But, uh, those are ways you can connect with me. Okay. Very
1:01:15 Chris Grainger
good. Oh, definitely will make sure that all that stuff is synced up in the show notes for you listeners out there. What, which, uh, social platform are you most active on? Or are you pretty active on all of them?
1:01:25 Eric Rivera
Probably Instagram. I’m, I’m most there.
Uh, that’s, that seems to be my.
1:01:30 Chris Grainger
Okay. Okay. Fair enough, fair enough. We’ll make sure that Instagram, um, connection is there in the, in the show notes for you listeners. So Eric, anything else you’d like to share with us on the line within us today?
1:01:41 Eric Rivera
You know, I just, I, I I love the work you’re doing, Chris, and I love the fact that there are men hearing these messages.
Um, God has a calling on us as men. He wants to use us, and the more we can just embrace that, um, man, the gates of hell will not prevail against the, the advancement of the kingdom. And the Lord wants to do it, and I believe he’s gonna do it. So thank you for your faithfulness.
1:02:04 Chris Grainger
Amen. Brother, thank you so much, is an honor to, to talk with you, Eric, and it’s just, it’s a conversation that matters that makes an impact and I’m so excited to, for the guys out here to hear this one.
So man, I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you again for taking your time today.
1:02:17 Eric Rivera
It’s been a privilege, Chris. I appreciate it.
1:02:22 Chris Grainger
How many of you guys can recite all the lines of sweet home Alabama without breathing hard? But when it comes to recalling God’s word, you get stuck to help you out. We identify 10 scriptures You need to fight like a lion and a plan to help you get them cemented in your heart. So grab this free resource and I’m gonna come alongside of you in a series of personal and engaging messages.
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Boom. Guys, did I tell you or did I tell you? That was a wonderful, wonderful conversation with Eric. I learned a ton. I hope you did too. This is gonna be one you’re gonna have to go back and listen to again. You’re probably gonna need to take some notes cuz there are several areas that he unpacked. I really like where he talked about shame and pride because that, that pride and that shame can really have such impact on us as a, with our confidence, with our assurance, with how we move forward.
And then just what And, and understanding the source of doubt. We all have doubt. I know that Satan is attacking you with doubt. He’s gonna come at you with that. Do you know what? You can combat doubt with truth. The only way you’re gonna get truth, actual meaningful truth is you gotta be plugged in, Lord gosh, you gotta be plugged into the Lord Jesus.
So I pray that this one served you well. I pray that you, I want you to think about this week, okay? Moving forward, where do you find your source of strength? Okay. But if you’re trying to find this stuffed guys in a gym or in some type of, of, of, of nutrition, or maybe you try to find your social strength in, in women, right?
Or relationships or money, maybe there’s a, that, that number in your, in your bank account and that makes you feel good and you feel strong when you see that number, guys, those are all lies cuz all that stuff can go away. There’s one suit, there’s one true source of strength. You need to realize that now.
His name is King Jesus. And Lord, guys, you have to make him Lord, over your lives. So I pray, go back, check this one out. Write, take some notes, get some of these truths really anchored into your life, and then lean. So guys, I, I, I encourage you to share this with others. You know, send that text message right in there.
Go click the little button, says, share this episode and send that text message out. Give us a rating, write a review. All those little things matter guys. Go to the line within us. The best way to really move forward to start taking this to the next level is to join our community. So the line within us, join our community.
You have a 30 day free trial. You can jump in, check out our Bible study, check out our resources, check out our blogs, all the stuff we have inside the community, guys that’s there to serve you in your walk, to be that leader that I know that you wanna be. But also know Satan does not want you to. So every day you d you delay, he’s winning.
Satan is winning. He doesn’t want you to get in cuz the last thing he wants is for you to be an effective, strong Christian leader. Guys, I’m not saying that, that this is the end all be all, but I am telling you this, the man who get in, who engage, grow as leaders. Period, hands down, hop in, talk to some of these men directly.
Give you a 30 day for your trial to check it out. So again, align with N Us. Now, if you like the spiritual kickoffs every week, and we know you guys do, how about a spiritual kickoff? Every day we do a spiritual kickoff. Every day I go Monday through Friday, read scripture and it’s a spiritual kickoff to get your day going.
That’s live inside the community every morning. And we even repost that. So if you guys can’t, if you don’t, if you miss that, guess what? It’s in the community. You can check it. You can watch that at your leisure throughout the day. So guys, we’re here to serve you, to help you grow. Be that leader God intends you to be.
But you can’t do it from the outside. You gotta get in and be part of the community that’s growing, that’s that’s constantly pushing each other. You’ll find that accountability that you’re looking for. And I’m gonna go ahead and tell you, leave fake you outside. Bring real you inside the community and that.
It’s the man we wanna serve. So come back on Friday. I have some really good tips. I think you’re gonna really enjoy. It’s gonna help you grow in your walk. Definitely gonna tie back to this book too. Now I got a couple dead jokes that I think are going get you, get you up and going. It’s gonna be a fun way to, to get your Friday going.
So prayer luck guys. We’ll see you back here on Friday. Get after it. Have some fun. Don’t forget, hey, Jesus is unexpected. He’s gonna meet you. You just gotta be willing. So get out there. Unleash the lion within.
Eric Rivera is the senior pastor at the Brook Church and he shares insights that led him to writing Unexpected Jesus. He does a phenomenal job of connecting key areas of God’s Word in such a way that we can all learn from it and grow.
He hits head on one of the key tools that holds many men back – DOUBT. He shares how Satan is effectively using this tool and what we can do as Christian men to get our heads in the right place to combat that with Truth.
The reality is that when we choose to follow Christ He gets to choose when and how He shows up. The key is to stay plugged in, talk to Him, listen for His voice and most importantly obey.
Are you ready for how Jesus may unexpectedly show up today? We hope this helps you see the impact you can make on the Kingdom as you unleash the Lion Within.
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