Gregory Dickow - How to Experience God's Best
He takes us from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant, from the blood of animals to the blood of Jesus. He takes us from the law to grace; living under the law to living under grace. He takes us from sin to righteousness, from sickness to healing, from curse to blessing, from adversity to prosperity, from defeat to victory, from unclean to clean, from empty to filled. Everything in God's kingdom gets better and better. And the kingdom of God is inside of you according to Luke 17, verse 21, when you're born again. Welcome to another episode of, "Think Like a Champion". This is our 51st podcast. Next week will be our first year in the books. And "Think Like a Champion" is just going to keep building a community of champions.
This podcast is committed to helping you win in every way and enjoy every day. So, let's get right into the content, "Champions Don't Settle, Part 3". We have been talking about how champions don't settle. And the two main reasons that we aren't receiving or experiencing all that God has for us, or the best that life can give us, is because we don't realize there's more, and we are willing to settle for less. We don't realize that God has more for us, or we're willing to settle for less. And when I talk about this, I don't want you to mistake this as greed, or selfishness, or self-centeredness. But champions don't settle for less than championships. Michael Jordan was not going to be happy with making it to the NBA Finals. He had to have championships. Tom Brady had to have championships.
You and I are created for championships. We are more than conquerors. And we've been, life has been defeating us. Life has been defeating a lot of Christians. Life has been robbing people of joy, robbing people of peace, robbing people of their health and their wellness, robbing people of the family experience they can actually have. Listen, God has so much more for us. There is a better world on the other side of our existence on this earth. But while we're here, Jesus said that we were supposed to have an abundant life; a life that is enjoyable. He said that His peace and His joy would be in us and be with us. And that we could have fullness of joy. That the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But He came to give life in abundance, to the full, till it overflows. I mean, who's ready for some overflow? We've been overtaken. We've been overrun. It's time for us to have some overflow, alright?
Now Jeremiah 29:11, God says I know the plans I have for you, plans for good to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope, and to give you a future. What a promise that God tells us; that these two gifts that He gives us here, the gift of hope, and the gift of a future. Do you know that hope is a gift? If you feel hopeless, ask God for the gift of hope. If you feel like your future is doomed, your future looks dark, your future looks bleak, ask God for the gift of a future, a great future, a prosperous future. Boy, if people could just stop getting caught up with that word though, prosperous. Like, I learned that word first when I was a kid watching Star Trek, when Spock would say live long and prosper. I mean like, this is a word that is good. This is a healthy word.
When your soul is prospering, it will have a ripple effect in every area of our lives. Our focus should be on the health and prosperity of our soul, our emotional well-being, our emotional health, our emotional balance, our emotional joy and peace. And when we really are prospering in our soul, when we are operating in emotional intelligence where we're truly mastering our self, mastering our health, mastering our body, mastering our mind, that's going to lead to prosperity in every area of your life. Especially where we need it the most, in our relationships and in our minds and emotions. So, let's go there. Let's not settle for less. Champions don't settle. Let's go for it all. Let's go for the best. Let's go for what God has for us.
Now in Luke, chapter five, I want to show you something. Because everything in our natural world, it goes from good to bad. But in God's economy, in God's world, in God's universe, in God's kingdom, things go from bad to good, and from good to great, and better all the way through. And in Luke chapter five, we see something really powerful about what Jesus tells Peter to do. In verse four, He was speaking. Obviously, He was in Peter's boat. He's preaching to the people. And in verse four, it says when He had stopped speaking; when He had stopped preaching, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch".
Now first of all, that Jesus is interested in Peter's job. Jesus is interested in Peter's business. Jesus wants Peter flourishing. Jesus wants Peter having a great catch of fish. Jesus is not trying to teach Peter a lesson by giving him no fish. Peter has already experienced the lesson of what it was like to have no fish. Because he said, "Master, we fished all night and caught nothing". Jesus is not a part of you catching nothing. He's a part of you catching something. Jesus doesn't want you to limit Him to just learn a lesson by not getting anything; learn a lesson by not catching anything. Jesus is actually telling Peter where to go to get a catch of fish. Like, this seems like it's cheating. Because the Creator of the fish is telling Peter where to fish for the fish that He created. But it's not cheating, it's a relationship with God.
And by having a relationship with God... When you let Him in your boat, like Peter let Jesus in his boat, when you let Jesus in your boat, He's going to show you where the fish are also. When you let Jesus in your boat. Whatever you let Him in, He's going to show you a better way. He's going to make that thing better. Let's just see what happens. It says so, Simon answered. Jesus said, "Launch out into the deep. Let down your nets for a catch". And Peter says, "Master, we've worked all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, at Your word, I will let down the net". Now, Jesus said, "Let down the nets, plural". Peter said, "You know what? All right, Lord, we haven't caught anything. But I'll humor You. I'll let down the net". Jesus said, "Let down the nets," plural. Peter said, "I'll let down the net," singular.
You getting something there? God is always thinking bigger than us. God is always wanting more than we want. God always wants to do more than we think. And when they had done this, verse six, it says they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. Duh, why do you think their net was breaking? Because Jesus always knows what He's doing. And He always prepares us for the abundance that He wants to give us. So, that's why He told them, "Let down your nets". Peter, thinking he's just going to humor the Lord, lets down his net. And guess what? The fish start filling the net, singular. And what happens to the net, singular? It starts breaking. What would happen with the nets? It wouldn't have broke. The nets wouldn't have broke. But the net did.
So, they signaled to their partner in the other boat. And they said, "Come help us". And they came and filled both the boats, so that they both began to sink. I mean, we're talking fish-breaking, net-breaking, fish-swimming, boat-sinking abundance of fish that God gave Peter because Peter let Jesus in his boat. What are we keeping Jesus out of in our lives? And why are you keeping Jesus out of your financial life? You keeping Jesus out of your family? You keeping Jesus out of those secret places in your heart of hearts, where the skeletons are? Let me tell you something. When you let Jesus in, even in the areas you haven't let anybody in, even in the secret places that nobody knows about, let Him in. And He's just going to give you something great. He's not going to slap you. He's not going to be mad at you. He's not going. He's not rebuking Peter. He's trying to bless Peter.
Now notice what happens after their boats begin to sink. They got so much fish, they don't know what to do with, so many fish, they don't know what to do with them. What's the next thing that happens? It says when Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' feet and he said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I'm a sinful man". Notice, Jesus didn't preach anything about sinfulness. Jesus didn't preach anything about repentance. Jesus didn't preach anything about humility. Jesus just told Peter to let down his nets. And when he let one net down, they had so many fish in two boats, they couldn't even keep them. They couldn't even keep them all. Their boats began to sink.
Can you just start to picture a God that's that good? Because that's how good He is. And because Jesus was so good to Peter, Peter didn't deserve it. He fished all night and caught nothing. Peter didn't earn it. He fished all night and caught nothing. Peter didn't work his way and, you know, do some magic, hocus pocus on Jesus. He didn't promise Jesus anything. He didn't make a lifelong commitment to Jesus. He just did one part of what Jesus said to do, and Jesus blew him away with goodness. And what's the first thing that Peter does? He falls on his knees before Jesus and recognizes he's been a sinful man. In other words, he truly repents. Like, Jesus didn't say, "You wicked sinner. You're going to hell if you don't turn. Turn or burn. Turn or burn. I got you, sucker. You better..."
That's how a lot of people think. That's what a lot of people think God does to get us to repent. And yet here what we really see, is it's God's goodness that leads Peter to repentance. It's God's blessing that leads Peter to repentance. It's God's kindness that leads Peter to repentance. It's not God's condemnation, God's judgment, God's anger, God's wrath. Jesus is peed off at Peter? No, He fills his boat with fish so that two boats begin to sink because it's such an abundance. What lessons can we learn here? Well, one of the lessons that I like to take away from this is, don't settle for the way it's always been. This is how we've always done it. We fish at night and then if we have a bad day, it's just a bad day. Maybe we're just having a bad week. Maybe we're having a bad month. Maybe we're having a bad year. Stop that kind of jibber jabber and launch into the deep. Stop that kind of settling and launch into the deep.
Man, one of the greatest things when you're watching a football game is when the quarterback throws it deep. That's where the risk, and that's where the reward is. The risk that could get intercepted, the risk that, you know, it could be incomplete. The risk that you could underthrow it, overthrow it, throw it into the opposition's hands. But there's also the reward. The reward that your guy is going to catch it. The reward that you're going to score. The reward that maybe there's a pass interference penalty call. And you go to the one-yard line and it's first and goal at the one. Maybe you're not a football fan, but you understand the point. Go deep. Jesus is telling Peter that you have settled for the way it's been. You're okay with not catching anything all night? Well, I'm not okay with that.
You might be okay with staying sick, but God's not okay with that. He wants you well. You might be okay with staying broke, but God's not okay with that. He wants you blessed. You might be okay with having a mediocre family, and you know, just surviving and just not killing each other. But God's not okay with that. He wants you to have a thriving, happy home. Man, you pastors that are watching and you leaders that are watching, you might be okay with the harvest that you have in your life, but God wants to give you more. Don't settle for the way it's always been. Boy, when people start using that jibber jabber... "Well, this is just the way it's always been. This is just the way we've always done it. This is just the way it is..."
This is what limits people. This is what people are settling for because they'd rather be safe than successful. They'd rather be safe than to take a risk. Hey listen, life is a risk every day. You get in your car and you're driving 60 or 70 miles an hour, five or ten feet away from somebody that's coming at you from the opposite direction. Life is a risk. And we're taking a risk every day. We might as well take calculated risks. We might as well take risks that have a reward, that have a really great reward. Launch into the deep, Peter. What do you got to do, swallow your pride? No problem. What do you got to do? Just work a little more than you did? Work in the morning rather than just at night? Do it.
Listen to Jesus and trust that you might think you know it all to being a fisherman, but Jesus created the fish, so He knows where they're going to bite, and He knows where they are, and He knows how to call them? And what do you think? Jesus is going to get to where the deep part of the water and He's going to let Peter drown? No. That He's going to get to the deep part of the water and the fish are going to stay away from Jesus? No, they love Jesus. Everybody loves Jesus. Everything that He created loves Him except us sometimes. Come on, help me now. Don't settle for the way it's been. Don't settle for this is how we've always done it. Don't settle for the shallow waters. And what else? Don't settle for a shallow walk with God. There's something about this launch into the deep. We got to stop settling for a shallow walk with God.
A shallow walk with God is a walk with God where you barely know Him. You're not really talking to Him. You'll only talk to Him when you think things are going good. And you think He'll be okay with you because you're doing okay now. God loves talking to you when you're doing bad. He loves talking to you when you're doing great. He loves talking to you in the morning, talking to you in the evening, talking to you in the middle of the night. He loves hearing from you any time, all the time. The Bible says that the throne of His grace is open 24 hours a day; that we can come boldly to the throne of His grace, and receive mercy, and find grace to help in our time of need.
Boy, we have to stop settling for a shallow walk with God where we barely know His promises. We barely know. We don't know why He has made us so many amazing promises. Go deeper in your relationship with Him, and discover the "why" behind everything He does is because He loves you. The "why" behind why He's pushing you out of your comfort zone is because He has something better for you. The "why" certain doors get closed is because there are better doors that He has to open for you. But we settle for a shallow relationship with God rather than asking big, thinking big, having a love relationship with God, actually believing that you matter that much to Him. Stop having a shallow relationship with God and settling for, "I'm just glad God is going to let me into heaven". I mean, I'm glad too. But He has so much more than that. He wants to know you. He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to have a fellowship with you.
You say, how? How can I know if He's even talking to me? He's always talking to us. It's just we don't always recognize His voice. We're not always listening. We're not checking to see, "Is that something that makes biblical sense"? That He would tell me that He loves me? That He would tell me that He's celebrating me today? That he would tell me? Can I really permit myself to listen to those kinds of thoughts? Yes, you can, because that's exactly how God looks at you. He celebrates you. He loves you. He's dancing over you. Not dancing on you, dancing about you; wanting to dance with you, not embarrass you, or make you something He steps on, but something He steps with, and something He gets you to step with. This is what the Bible says. You don't have to be a theologian to find this is God's character.
This is how... This is His personality. He's funny. He's witty. He's creative. He's jovial. He jokes around. He's smart. He's wise. He's compassionate. He's gracious. He's patient. He's kind. Think about the definitions of love in First Corinthians 13. Well, if God is love, and the Bible says love is patient, love is kind, love does not boast, love is, you know, believes the best about everybody, believes all things, endures all things, hopes all things... Well, you can replace the word love. Interchange the word God with love. Interchange the word Jesus with love because God is love. Therefore, God is patient and kind. Jesus is patient and kind. I think we overlook His patience sometimes.
To me, that's one of my favorite attributes about Him is that He's so patient with me. That He's still working on me. It took Him a week to make the earth and the stars, the sun and the moon, and Jupiter and Mars. But how very special I must be, because He's still working on me. He took a week to make everything else. He's been working on you for years. That must mean you matter to Him more than the stars. You matter to Him more than the moon. You matter to Him more than the sun. You matter to Him more than anything. Because you're made in His image. Everything else is made for Him. But you are made like Him. Hmm. We got to stop settling for small thinking. Thinking small, staying in the shallow waters might keep you safe, but it's going to keep you sad. Because you're made for more. Like I said last time, don't settle for things getting worse in your life. In Jesus, things always get better.
Look at how God does things. I want to repeat this. Because I said it, but sometimes we need to hear it over and over again. He takes us from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant, from the Blood of animals to the blood of Jesus. He takes us from the law to grace; living under the law to living under grace. He takes us from sin to righteousness, from sickness to healing, from curse to blessing, from adversity to prosperity, from defeat to victory, from unclean to clean, from empty to filled. Everything in God's kingdom gets better and better. And the kingdom of God is inside of you according to Luke 17, verse 21, when you're born again. The Kingdom of God is inside of you. So, expect things to get better, and better, and better.
And then may I encourage you with a couple more thoughts in this podcast is, don't settle for a distant relationship with God. Don't settle for a distant relationship with God. I want to show you a verse in Luke, chapter 19. Maybe you'll remember this. In Luke, chapter 19, Jesus is preaching. And when Jesus comes to the place where He was passing through in chapter 19, it says when Jesus came to that place, He looked up and saw Zacchaeus, who had run into a tree so he could see Jesus because he was short. And when Jesus saw him, He recognized him. And He said, "Zacchaeus, make haste," in Luke chapter 19, verse five and six. He said, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, because I must stay at your house".
So, he made haste, he came down, and he received Jesus joyfully. Do not settle for a distant relationship with God. You know, Zacchaeus might have been okay with just seeing Jesus from the tree. But Jesus wasn't okay with that. Jesus wanted Zacchaeus to come closer. Jesus wanted Zacchaeus to come down from the tree. Jesus wanted Zacchaeus to come close to him. And then Jesus wanted Zacchaeus to take Him to his house. And what I love about Jesus in verse six or verse five, when he says, "Hey, Zacchaeus, I must stay at your house". Must is a powerful word there.
You know, there are things maybe you have on a to-do list. Sometimes if you have a to-do list on your phone, or on a notepad, or on your computer. But you know as well as I do, there are some things on your to-do list that you want to do, some things on your to-do list that you're going to try to do, but some things on your to-do list that you absolutely must do. Those are the most important things. And, you know, Jesus doesn't say, "You know, you're on My list of something that I might do. You're on my list of something that I'm going to try to get around to". No, Jesus said, "You're on my must list. I must stay with you. I must come to your house". He's not settling for this shallow relationship or this distant relationship with God. Or Jesus isn't settling for that with Zacchaeus.
Notice, it was Jesus that recognized Zacchaeus in the tree. It was Zacchaeus. It was Jesus that called Zacchaeus' name. It was Jesus that recognized him. It was Jesus that talked to him. It was Jesus that asked him. It was Jesus that told him, "Come down and let's go to your house". It was Jesus that took all the initiative. Do you know that Jesus is calling you, Jesus is recognizing you, Jesus knows you, Jesus celebrates you, Jesus wants to come to your house as well? Don't settle for a distant relationship with God. Talk to Him right now. Just watch this. Let me just talk. Let me just walk you through how some of the times that I; some of the ways that I talk to Him.
Heavenly Father, I just want to thank You. Thank You for this day. Thank You for the life You give me. Thank You for the breath that you've given me; the air to breathe. Thank You for the kindness You've shown towards me. Thank You, Father, for being patient with me. Thank You, Father, for staying with me. Thanks for sending the Holy Spirit. Thanks for putting Him inside of me. Thanks for giving me all Your promises, Lord. You know, You made the promises Yourself. So, you know when I remind You of one of them. You already knew it because You wrote it. Father, I just want to thank You that you let me ask You for anything. And You let me come to your throne, into the throne room as your as your kid, not as a servant, but as a son. Thank You for that, Father. Now I'm asking You to touch every person watching this and listening to this podcast right now. Bring them into a deeper walk with You. Help them to see that You're inviting them to this closer walk. Help them to see that it was Your idea, that depth with You is Your idea, Lord. I pray for that. And I pray that we'd see that in Jesus' Name, Amen.
You see? Just talk to God like that. Just talk to Him with humility. Talk to Him with gratitude. Talk to Him with just knowing that He's listening. Talk to Him in a thankful disposition and your heart is going to be filled. I already feel better. I already feel better just by talking to God. And I know He's listening. And I'm going to do my best to listen as well to hear His voice. Listen, don't settle for a lukewarm encounter with God. Let go of your plan just to make it into heaven. We don't have to limp into heaven. We don't have to cry out to God on our way to heaven, "Praise God at least I made it".
Listen, some are going to enter into heaven barely because they got saved. But the Bible calls it in First Corinthians 3:15, saved though as by fire. In other words, that they just settled for salvation. But they didn't trust God with their body, with their finances, with their relationships. It says in First Corinthians 3:15, "if anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as by fire". He's saying we have an opportunity that our works will go into heaven with us. We don't get, saved by our works because clearly he's saying your works could get burned up. You could be spending your time and spending your life on things that don't matter. Those will get burned up when you go to heaven. Those works will not last. You'll still be saved because you're saved by the grace of God. But you'll be saved empty handed. I don't want to go into heaven empty handed. I want to go into heaven bringing rewards, bringing, you know, bringing my crowns to the Lord. The greatest crown I think that we can bring to Him is more souls; leading more people to heaven with us, right?
And He even says it in First Peter, chapter one. He says for, so, there will be an entrance supplied to you abundantly; an abundant entrance into, at the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, he describes in First Peter, chapter one an abundant entrance into heaven. Verses, if there's an abundant entrance into heaven, there's also an entrance into heaven that's not abundant. It's an entrance into heaven whereas he says in First Corinthians 3, saved though as by fire. You made it by the skin of your teeth because you were saved by grace. But you didn't bring any. You didn't bring anybody with you. Didn't bring any works that endure, that gold, silver, and precious stones. But you just built a life for yourself. You settled for life without making a difference, without making an impact, without going after more souls, without... Hey, I want to have more money, so I can give more money, so I can bless more people, so I can do more for God's kingdom. I don't want more so that I can just enrich myself. I have enough. I'm blessed. I'm doing well after, you know, working in my life for decades. But I want more to win more, to do more for God.
And along the way, we always, we do have to check our motives along the way. And my motives can get cloudy sometimes, just like anybody's. But when we realize that there is an eternity on the other side of this temporary life, we will then realize we don't want to settle for a life where we just built treasures up on earth, where moth and rust can destroy, where thieves can break in and steal, but that we've built up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Like Jesus said in Matthew, chapter six, where neither moth nor rust can destroy, and where thieves cannot break in and steal. This is how we have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God. That we take others with us. That we bring the lost to Jesus. Win the lost at any cost. That we build other people. That we build into others. That we disciple others. That we help others grow. That we build God's church. That we love His house. That we love His people. That we love one another.
Let go of settling for a lukewarm experience with God. Be hot or cold, right? Jesus said be hot or cold, not lukewarm. Well, I really want you to have big expectations today. Let go of a small god. Let go of a god of small expectations; a god of limitations. Grab ahold of the Ephesians 3:20 God. Who is the Ephesians 3:20 God? He's the one that says He is able to do exceeding abundantly above and beyond all that we can ask or think. One translation says above and beyond our wildest expectations, our highest hopes, our greatest dreams, our highest imaginations. Wow. Let's believe in that God. Let go of the god who didn't write Ephesians 3:20, and grab ahold of the one who did. And you're going to see your life get better, and better, and better. Let's expect more. Let's do more for His glory. Let's give more for His kingdom.