E46: Q&A with the hosts of Living the Gospel
PODCAST: In our final episode of the first season of our “Living the Gospel” podcast, Milenko, Eunice, Kathy, and Julia all meet up to answer some of your questions.
Our final episode of the first season of our “Living the Gospel” podcast is a question and answer time. Milenko, Eunice, Kathy, and Julia all meet up to answer some questions submitted by our listeners. Amongst other things we talk about faith, the accuser, how we prepare for each episode, and some of our favorite moments from the last 9 months of putting out this podcast.
Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 46: Question and answer with the hosts of Living the Gospel
This is ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we explore different aspects of the gospel according to the Bible, and how we can put this into practice in daily life.
Kathy: Hey everybody, welcome to episode 46 of “Living the Gospel.” This is going to be our final episode for our first season. But don’t worry, we will be back with a second season. Just going to take a little break to shake things up a bit, figure out how we want to move forward, and come back, hopefully better than ever. And today, because this is our last episode, we are here with all four of your podcast hosts. So, I’m Kathy.
Julia: I’m Julia.
Eunice: I’m Eunice.
Milenko: And I’m Milenko.
Kathy: So let’s take a little look back over the last … 9 months, I think it’s been, right?
Eunice: Oh wow.
Kathy: So, I don’t know, I thought we could each talk about what our favorite moment, or favorite episode, or just kind of, what did we like best about the podcast this year. Julia, let’s start with you.
Julia: I get to start? Alright! I actually really liked the episode with Helen Simons about the song “Just today.” That song’s been really good for me and I think, good for a lot of our friends that we know. And just hearing about her story and how she wrote it and what it’s meant to her was really interesting for me.
Milenko: And I think a lot of our listeners also liked that one. That was actually our most popular episode.
Kathy: Yeah, I think it was. By far.
Eunice: By far.
Kathy: K, Eunice. What was one of your favorite moments from the last nine months?
Eunice: Well, it was probably in episode 24, or 25, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” when Julia said to the whole world that her favorite apostle is Peter. And I’ve had several friends coming to me naming this specific tidbit and I thought it was awesome too! Well, why not?
Julia: I like how you say, “to the whole world,” as if our viewership is that huge. According to your faith, Eunice, according to your faith.
Eunice: Well, well, well, we just had this Instagram live and we did meet people from all over the world.
Milenko: That’s true.
Julia: That is true. Very true.
Eunice: That was actually also my favorite episode, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” because I think when that episode came out it was really when I was kind of working through that exact situation, and it just really hit home for me. And I listened to it again actually today, on the way here, and it’s just interesting. I think that in these nine months, I think that I’ll say that probably all of us, we’ve grown through it too, and learned a lot from it.
Kathy: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Milenko, what was your favorite moment?
Milenko: Well, it was based on my favorite quote. I didn’t actually pick that topic, it was picked for me, but I was very happy to talk about it. It was episode 16, “We’re living here to be formed for eternity.” And we’ve actually come back to that quote many times throughout various episodes, because I really think that’s sort of the key point, why we’re here, what we’re doing. I really enjoyed that one.
Kathy: Yeah. I was going to say, “You think that’s Milenko’s favorite quote? Has he mentioned it before?”
Julia: “That’s what it’s really all about!”
Eunice: I wonder, I wonder. It’s still up on his office …
Julia: What was yours, Kathy? Did you say?
Kathy: Oh, umm. Actually, I was thinking that one of my favorite moments was just … At first, like for all of us, this is our first time ever doing something like this, right? So, at first it was a little bit like, hard to get into the swing of it and like, figure out how we’re kind of going to do it, and I felt a little bit awkward at first, you know. To be perfectly honest. You know, am I doing this right …
Eunice: You’re not the only one.
Kathy: Like, am I actually helping people? But then, I just remember it was when we sat down, Julia and I, and we recorded the episode about Esther in the Bible. And as we were recording it, I was kind of like, OK! Like, I’m getting this, I kind of felt a little bit … I was comfortable, I felt like we really had something to share and help others with, and just …
Milenko: Yeah. And I think just generally also, every single topic along the way, it’s been interesting. You’ve had to do research, really thought about it, and it’s really enriched me also to talk about these things, and you know, have a conversation, do some reading about it. It’s been a real help for myself; I’ve loved doing it. I think it’s great.
Kathy: I feel the same way. OK, so a few weeks ago we asked on Instagram, we asked our followers to send in any questions you have and we’ll pick a handful to answer on today’s episode. So, we got a lot of good questions in, and then each of us kind of went through the list and picked just a couple questions to answer, because unfortunately, we do not have time to answer them all. But we each took a look through that list and selected a few to discuss. So, let’s start with a question that you picked, Milenko.
Milenko: Yeah, the question was: “Sometimes I feel like I’m not on the right track with my life. Even when I don’t really know that I’m consciously sinning or doing wrong things. How do I know I’m on the right track with my life?” That was a good question. I thought a bit about this one. It’s really got to do with the decision I make. Like, I decide that I am going to be a disciple, I’m going to follow Jesus. And then I have to fight for that position, I really have to work for it. It’s not something that just, OK, I’m a disciple and from then, la-dee-da, and I’m on my way to heaven. I really have to do something about it. And Paul exhorts us to work on our salvation, and this is something I really consciously have to do. And then, when I’m doing that, I notice that my feelings aren’t always along. Sometimes I don’t feel anything at all. Sometimes I feel bad. Sometimes I feel good. That can really vary, depending on my circumstances. And Satan who is the accuser, he likes to get in there and try to get me to think, you know, that maybe I’m doing something wrong. Then I really have to think about that decision I’ve made. And the decision I’ve made, I’m serving God, that’s who I am. And that’s who I’m going to be for the rest of my life. I’ve made up my mind about that, and that’s who I am. And then, when I do that; then I know that I’m on the right track. God doesn’t look at me, “Oh that guy’s being tempted, he’s not worthy for the kingdom of heaven.” He’s looking at, how am I going to take this? And if I fall, then God looks and says, “But this is the one that wants to serve Me. That’s who he is.” “That’s the one … She has made that decision. She is now one of my children.” And He looks at us with an eternal perspective. And I think that’s really important, that we see it like that, that when I’ve made that decision, and then I’m consciously working with it, no matter how I feel, I am on the right track. There’s no doubt about it.
Kathy: Yeah. When we’re being obedient to do what we know is right, right? Like, God puts that in our heart, what …
Milenko: That’s exactly right.
Kathy: So, moving on to the next question, Eunice, this one you picked to answer.
Eunice: Mmhmm. It’s, “How can we learn to do things in happiness?” So I thought a little bit about where the girl – or boy – is coming from, asking this question. And I thought, maybe it’s to do with the fact that, you know, sometimes when you know that you have to do God’s will, it just doesn’t feel good, and you, to be honest, don’t really want to. And I thought, maybe that was the reason why she’s asking this. And I mean, of course you know, as a disciple you choose, you wake up and you have the mindset to serve God, but things come and it’s not always exactly what you want. And I thought about it, and I’ve definitely experienced that. And it also says that he who suffers in the flesh ceases from sin. And that word “suffer” is not something you would associate with nice happy feelings. So that’s what I thought about. And I thought about this verse in Philippians 2:12 that says: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” One of my very good friends told me – he read this verse in a totally different light – he said, “It is God who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” And I was thinking, so it’s not ourselves that are supposed to find happiness in doing God’s will, but it’s God who works in me, to will – that means He works in me that I want to give up my own will. And I can pray that I get the desire to want to give up my own will you know, when it feels like, it’s just like, not fair, or you know, I feel like I’m not treated the way I feel like I deserve. And it says God works in us to will and to do, that means He gives me the strength, the ability, the power to carry it out. And so …
Milenko: And the will.
Eunice: And the will, yeah. To be able to suffer in the flesh, or to be able to hold out in temptation. And I think like, often we think about, OK, so we do God’s will and then we … I think the happiness comes after. The happiness might not be right in that moment when you have to give up your own will. But it definitely comes after, that rest, that peace from knowing you did the right thing.
Kathy: I also have found for myself that when I pray and I take a battle to be thankful for everything in my life, that actually leads me also to that rest and joy, in doing what I know to be right.
Julia: OK, so, one of the questions that I picked was, somebody asked: “What does it really mean to humble myself? Do I have to think bad of myself?” And I mean, I picked this question because this is something that has been a life’s work for me, and I think is and will be for many of us. But in fact, it’s the opposite! To think badly about myself, what I’ve come to understand, is to exalt myself above God and to tell Him, essentially, that my idea of how He should have formed me, is better than His. To think that, you know, to look at the way God made me, and to think, “Oh, well this isn’t right. And I don’t like this about myself.” No, these are things about me that God picked, so humility is actually to have small thoughts about myself, not bad ones. Like, to see people around me as great. To see God as the greatest, so that when He speaks to me, I do His will right away without answering back. That’s what it is to be humble. It has nothing to do with speaking down to myself and treating myself like I’m worthless. It’s not about that at all.
Kathy: And that, to choose His will instead of my own is actually humility, right? And then we got a very related question to that one, which is, “Can you give some good examples in true humility in life’s small situations?” So, does anyone have any good examples for that?
Milenko: Well, maybe a bit unusual one that you wouldn’t think of straight away, but, for example, discouragement, that is the opposite of humility. That is actually pride. Based on what Julia just said, that humility is small thoughts about myself and great thoughts about God. So discouragement is really a disappointment in that things aren’t going the way that I want it to go. Or the way I wish I was, or whatever. And it’s because I’ve trusted in myself and trusted in my own abilities, and then, OK, it hasn’t gone that way. And I’m thinking, “Well, I’ve fallen many times, so I’m going to fall again.” That kind of thing. And that just shows that I haven’t got low enough thoughts about myself. The low thoughts about myself are that, “Sure, there is nothing good in my flesh, I can’t expect anything good, but I’ve got great thoughts about God, so God is going to do something in this lowly person!” That’s humility. That I bow myself to God, say, “OK, I’ve been hopeless, sure. But now You’re going to do something in my life.” So based on that, I’m going to go ahead full of faith, full of courage, and I’m not going to give up. That’s humility. Maybe not the way you think about humility generally, but that’s really humility, is that we believe in God.
Kathy: Eunice, you had a couple of ideas too, of like, some more practical situations where we can be humble, right?
Eunice: Yeah, and it’s also along the same lines of what Milenko said. First and foremost, it’s how you think about yourself. You think soberly, but you also realize that no good thing dwells in your flesh. So then I am willing to admit the truth about myself when God reveals it to me. Not try to answer back and make it sound nicer than it is. And then He can really do a work in me. And some practical examples, this is also something I would say is one of my life’s work, it’s written in Philippians about esteeming others higher than yourself. And that’s also … a lot was talked about in that comparison episode about that. And admitting my mistakes and saying sorry, it can be very hard, I know for myself.
Kathy: I don’t think you’re alone there.
Eunice: And giving honor where honor is due. That’s also … You have to humble yourself to do that.
Kathy: K, so here’s a question that’s just going to change up the tone a bit. Someone asked, “Do you have an exact manuscript of your podcast, or do you also go live sometimes?”
Eunice: So basically, Kathy and Julia just turn on the mic and start talking, right?
Kathy: Wing it.
Julia: We actually did that one time.
Eunice: That’s right, you have to tell which episode it is.
Julia: I don’t remember what the topic was.
Kathy: No, I do remember.
Kathy: Ok, so, we had planned for one topic and then we started talking and we were just like …
Kathy: It didn’t feel right.
Kathy: It just was not coming across right and it felt like …
Julia: I think we even got all the way through it, and then kind of sat there and like …
Kathy: And then we listened to it and we were like, we can’t.
Kathy: This just doesn’t work. And then Julia had just had something on her heart, so then we kind of just started talking about it. And we were like, this is what we’re going to do. So that was the one …
Julia: It was the one based on the article on ActiveChristianity.org called “The single determining factor in your happiness.” So that was the one time that we truly winged it, if you want to put it that way. But typically, we have – and I think you guys do it the same, right – we just have, kind of the bare bones talking points that we really want to make sure we don’t miss.
Eunice: To stay on track.
Julia: And then we kind of flesh it out “live” from there.
Kathy: And we go back and forth. Like, we take our notes and we go back and forth a bit, and you know, we could bring this out a bit more here, and then by the time we sit down to record, we have a pretty good idea of what we want to go over. But we’re not reading it as a script, that’s for sure.
Milenko: Maybe we did a little bit in the beginning, and you can actually hear that. I’ll admit that, it sounds a bit stiff. But we quickly moved away from that, and it actually works a lot better. And I think we quite often move fairly far away from the original script, but that’s because that’s how it works, and it works out really well. Because it’s things that come up and are important to talk about. Things that we are enthusiastic about.
Eunice: Daily life.
Milenko: Daily life. You think of things there and then. And I mean, I think that works out a lot better. And I’m a lot happier doing it that way.
Kathy: So in answer to the question, we’re not reading a script.
OK, the next question is another one, Milenko, that you picked. How can I overcome plaguing thoughts that I know are from the accuser?
Milenko: That’s a good question, and I think everyone, more or less, has this experience. And just to say straight out what we mean with “the accuser,” this is Satan the accuser. That’s what he’s called in the Bible, several places, the accuser of our brethren, he’s called in Revelation. But what we have to be aware of is that it’s written in Revelation that he’s been cast out of heaven by the angels and by the blood of the Lamb and so on. So, Satan is not there talking to God. God doesn’t listen to Him at all. And neither should we. There’s no reason why we should be listening to him. And he does try. He’s doing his best. But I have to consciously resist him; I really have to work against that. Take those thoughts and say, this is not from God. Because God has a future and a hope for me. If I’m living for Him, that’s His thoughts for me, future and hope. No matter how things are going, if I want to do that, if that’s my attitude of mind, that’s how it’s going to go. That’s my future. And anything from Satan comes with the opposite. That it’s not going to go well with you, you’re hopeless, just give up, that kind of thing. Those kind of thoughts I can just turn away. We have a really good episode on this, where we had Harald Kronstad, he was a guest in the studio. And this is something that he’s been working with a long time. He’s worked with young people talking about this. And it’s episode 38: Victory over Satan the accuser.
Kathy: You could almost say that’s like a little “cheat sheet.” If there’s a future and a hope in the thoughts, then they’re from God, and if there’s discouragement in the thoughts, then they’re from the accuser. So that makes a pretty clear differentiation.
Milenko: Right. It really does.
Kathy: OK. Next question. Someone said they would like to know how to talk about God to others when they’re not interested, but clearly missing something. So, I think we all kind of meet people like that, right? Where we’d like to give a testimony, and we’d like to show them the way …
Eunice: Help them.
Kathy: Yeah, we want to help them. We know the way that leads to life and joy, right, so then you see that they’re struggling, maybe, with life, and they could really benefit from knowing this, as obviously all people could, but you don’t really see the opening to kind of, give that testimony or to … And you don’t want to just preach at people, right? But I feel like we’ve heard a lot recently at church about speaking with your life and not your words. So, if you live the life yourself actually, then what’s going to come out of your life is goodness and the fruits of the Spirit, right? And that’s what people are going to meet when they meet you. And they’re going to see this life in you. And it is an appealing life. So, when they see that they’re going to see that, OK. There’s something different about this person, right. And that may draw them to you, and then when you kind of get a good relationship with someone and a good connection with someone, then maybe you’ll find that opening to speak about the gospel a little bit. And to find the right way into their hearts without just coming with this kind of strong, “Boy, do I have the answer for you,” you know. And like, coming with a preaching spirit. Instead it’s your life that speaks. And then you’ll find this opportunity maybe to open up … for them to open up to you, and then for you to give your testimony in that way too. To kind of say, this is why I’m so happy, this is why my life is so good. Because I know this secret. I know the way to a life with Christ and a life that is eternal.
Milenko: When we’ve got a life that we can show, then people become curious. How come that person’s always happy? Why is that person at rest and how can they have so much to give, you know?
Eunice: The way you react to situations where normally people would be angry or impatient. They see that something’s different.
Milenko: Or maybe where you were angry before, and then they see a change.
Eunice: Yeah, that’s right.
Milenko: You know, that kind of thing, that can really get people interested. And then there’s an opportunity to talk about it.
Kathy: Eunice, the next question was one you picked.
Eunice: Yes. So the question is, “What does it mean to take your cross every day upon you?” And I think it can sound really heavy and difficult when you think about having to lug this cross with you every day for the rest of your life. But I think it’s actually in the small situations every day. In the choices you make. Maybe the person that is asking this question is already doing this. But it’s, you know, every day you wake up with the decision that that you’re going to stick to this all day. When the thoughts come up in my mind that I know aren’t pleasing to God, and when I’m tempted, then I’m going to say no, I’m going to deny those thoughts. And I have this mindset from the beginning of the day, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” God’s will. And simple as that. And then we stick to that decision, that’s taking up your cross every day upon you. And we have a really good animation video on YouTube about what does it mean to take up your cross, so I really recommend watching it, if you haven’t already.
Kathy: We can put a link in the episode description today so that it’s easy for you guys to find.
Julia: And the thing is, if you’re not bearing your cross every day, then what you are bearing is all that stuff that you should be putting on the cross, so it’s heavier.
Eunice: That’s true!
Milenko: Good point.
Kathy: It’s actually a really good trade-off!
Julia: OK, so I picked a question, “We sometimes hear the phrase to have a ‘living faith.’ What does that mean?” So, to me, a living faith means an active faith. A faith that becomes alive because I put it into action. So I believe that God’s word will transform me into something new, and so then I’m quick to go to action so that I can be transformed. I know that when God has promised that He’s going to transform me, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to sit there and He’s going to, in the twinkling of an eye, transform me in that way, right? So I’m quick in the situations to pray to God, in faith, for power to overcome. I believe in His promises, so I hold Him to them. I go to work in the situations and I pray to Him for that power that He’s promised to supply me with so that I can get victory. So to me, that’s what it means for a faith to be living, really, that it’s active.
Milenko: And isn’t it James that writes that faith without works is dead? So faith with works is alive. That’s a living faith, that you actually do something. And I think that was our very first episode also, about living faith. Using the example of Joshua and Caleb, taking the promised land. And even though they saw the same as all the other spies, you know, they saw the big walled cities, they saw these giants, they saw all the difficulties. But they also believed in God. And because of that, they went and did it. And that’s when God actually gave them the results. And that’s a living faith. The point with faith is that you do things, or you believe in things, that you can’t see yet. It’s not there yet. But you believe in a living God, and that’s why you go ahead in obedience, right? Obedience to the faith. And that gives results. And that’s what living faith is.
Kathy: I remember when I was younger, it was actually one of the biggest things for me, to kind of tell myself this over and over, that faith is action, it’s not feelings. So faith is doing it, even when you don’t feel like it, because … Still for myself now, it still can be a battle, but especially when I was younger I remember, you keep waiting for these feelings of faith to come upon you. Like, when am I going to feel like doing it, and you actually just have to go and act, like Julia said. You have to just be obedient when you see what you need to do. And that’s living faith, regardless of what you’re feeling, right?
Julia: OK, so Milenko, you also chose another question here, and the question was, “If I have made a decision to sin, but I get interrupted, have I still fallen in sin?”
Milenko: I thought that was an interesting question. But conscious sin is more than an action. It’s got to do with my attitude of mind. It’s got to do with a decision. And if you read in Matthew 5, Jesus talks about that very clearly, where He says that, “It says this in the old covenant, but I say to you …” And then He goes on to talk about the inner life. And where He really makes it clear that the thought life is just as important as physical actions. And sin becomes sin when I consciously give in to a temptation. So if I’ve thought of doing something, thought of saying something, and I’ve agreed with that, then I’ve already started to … that sin has already started in my life. Even if someone comes and interrupts me so I never get to say what I thought of saying. I still have had that decision in me where I’ve agreed with the sin. So, it is actually sin, and we have to see that. It’s the desire that conceives and gives birth to sin, as James writes. But, I want to turn this around a bit, that it’s not … We shouldn’t be asking ourselves so often, is this sin or not sin? The thing is that we should say, “Am I pleasing God in everything that I do?” And sure, we can fall; you can have these situations that come up, and maybe something prevents you from physically saying or doing something, but then I have to get this zeal in me that was in Jesus. And it’s prophesied about Jesus in Isaiah 63 where you read about how He trampled upon the nations in His fury. And the nations, that’s that sin, the lusts to commit sin. His clothes were drenched with the blood of those enemies. He was so furious. And a disciple of Jesus should have that same fury in them. When I see something like this … And maybe this is a real wakeup call. I wanted to say something, and someone interrupted me, so I never got to say it, and no one ever knows. But then that can be a wakeup call for me. That I get reminded, wow, I was on my way to actually saying something and I got stopped. And then I get this anger in me, that this should not be happening.
Julia: K, so Eunice, you picked another question too. What was the last question that you picked?
Eunice: It’s, “How do you believe when it is not in your nature to believe in God and His promises?” And I think we talked quite a bit about faith before. And I think that’s a very common question, and thank goodness God is not reliant on how we are by nature to do a work in us. He created us; He knows how we are. And like we said before, faith is a choice, it’s action, and by doing what’s written in the Bible, you’re believing. Because if you didn’t believe it, you won’t even start doing it. And I thought about Noah and the ark. And he had never seen a flood, I don’t know if he had ever been in a boat, but it wouldn’t have been easy to believe that a flood would be coming, but if he didn’t believe he wouldn’t have built the ark. But he built it anyway. And that’s proof that he believed. So, you know, we read what’s in the Bible, and even though it’s not in our nature to believe, if we do what the Bible says, we are believing. Simple as that.
Milenko: And God really loves that attitude of mind. That for Him is such a precious way of thinking. “OK, I don’t see it, I don’t feel it, it’s not in my nature even to think that way, but I’m going to do it anyway!” Then really, that is really precious for God. And He will reward you, you can be sure of that.
Kathy: You know what, to be honest, just a little story. When I was younger … I keep telling these stories about when I was younger …
Julia: She really struggled, you guys. No, I’m just kidding.
Kathy: No, but I remember that I actually struggled with this exact same thing. Like, I felt like I had all these questions and doubts about everything, so I actually went to a youth mentor, and I talked to him and I said, what do I do? Like, I don’t know how to get rid of this. I just, I feel like I don’t believe. I just feel like I don’t believe. And then I thought that he was going to come with all this advice and pray for me, you know, and everything. And then he actually just said to me, “Are you obedient? Do you do what’s written in the Bible? Do you do what you know is right?” And I said, “Well, yeah, I do all that.” And then he said, “Then you believe! This conversation is over.” And I was so shocked by that, that that was all he kind of said to me about it, and at first I was like… OK, I kind of went back and sat back in my seat, and I was like … But then it just, it makes so much sense. Like, it’s just exactly what you were talking about. Like, if I’m obedient, that actually is believing.
Milenko: Yeah. It’s a choice I’ve made. To do it.
Kathy: Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a choice. So it’s every time, to make that choice that, yes, I’m going to do this. I don’t care what my feelings are telling me. I don’t care if I have all these questions or whatever in my mind. I’m going to do it anyway. And then you actually get to see the results of that obedience, right? You kind of see that this leads to a life. There’s something that comes from this. And then that’s when those doubts actually start to really go away, is when you see that just living this life actually works. It leads to something. You get transformation in your life.
Milenko: And then you get these experiences of faith. It’s no longer just something that I do because I choose to, but then I get to experience the results of it. And that’s really comforting, when you come to that as well.
Kathy: OK, so those were all the questions that we have time to answer today, actually. It would be nice if we could do them all, but that’s … really, we’re running out of time here, so.
Eunice: Thanks for listening this far.
Kathy: Yeah! Thanks for joining us this season and …
Julia: Hopefully next season we’ll have some themes that we’ll go through, and we’re going to start with one about the armor of God. So that should be something to really look forward to.
Milenko: Yeah, I’m looking forward to that, definitely.
Eunice: And during the break, you can always go back to listen to some of the older episodes, listen to the ones that you loved, maybe there are a few episodes that you missed along the way, and just, have fun!
Kathy: So you don’t have to miss us too much while we’re gone.
Milenko: We’ll be back in a few weeks.
Kathy: Yes, we will.
Julia: That’s right.
Eunice: Have an awesome summer!
Julia: Alright. Good-bye everyone!
Milenko: Bye everyone. Have a good summer!