Where Self-Help Ends and God’s Power Begins

Mentor Mama: Today we are going to be talking about how God’s power can help us when self-help falters. So, if you are all too familiar with bad habits, thinking that lifelong battles can’t be won, or believe that some destructive behavior that you have cannot be altered, then this episode is for you. Our guest today, Karl Clauson, author of the book, “The 7 Resolutions: Where Self-Help Ends and God’s Power Begins.” will be talking to us about how to throw off those old patterns, create new life systems and take hold of God’s promises. But first a word from our sponsor.

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Mentor Mama: Karl Clauson is the host of Karl and Crew Mornings on Moody Radio in Chicago. He’s also the lead pastor of 180 Chicago Church. A few reckless years after completing the 1,100-mile Iditarod in Alaska at age 18, God radically transformed Karl’s life. Now Karl is running the ultimate race as a speaker, ministry leader, husband, and father. His mission is, “to inspire a spiritual revolution in the church that reaches the world.” Karl and his bride have two adult children. Please welcome Karl.

Karl Clauson: Good to be here.

Mentor Mama: Karl, I’m so excited to have you on the show today because I’m a big fan of Moody Radio and your morning show is amazing. It’s a privilege to have you on, thank you so much.

Karl Clauson: It’s a joy and a privilege to be here with you.

Mentor Mama: Karl, I thought maybe we could start by you sharing a little bit about your story about relapsing into drug use shortly after becoming a follower of Jesus Christ and why this moment is so vital to understanding your book.

Karl Clauson: Yeah, for a lot of years, I did not share this portion of my story and I think it probably didn’t fit the common Christian narrative that was out there. We love to talk about this radical new birth experience, and I had that. But just backing up a bit, I was raised in the church. I walked down a lot of aisles in the Baptist church where I was raised. I had some spiritual experiences and encounters that were pretty powerful, but I had never surrendered fully to Jesus Christ and this is why when I look at Matthew 7, “many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord and he’s going to say, I never knew you.” Those were people that were spiritually active. They cast out demons in the name of Jesus. They spoke in the name of Jesus and they did mighty works, spiritual works, and yet they did not know him. So, I called that the illusion of transformation, and I had that, Ellen. I had the illusion of transformation. I thought I knew the real Jesus. So, it came up empty because I knew religion. I knew the worship songs. I memorized a lot of verses and won a lot of candy bars growing up as a kid memorizing verses. But I did not know the real Jesus. After completing The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, I had a horrible moment. I was on Front Street in Nome, Alaska. This is after 1100 miles, 21 days, eight hours, 12 minutes, and 32 seconds to get from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome, Alaska, and I was a hurting 18-year-old young man. I crossed that finish line and after about two hours, it was the middle of the night, I was sleep deprived, but I was amped up. Couldn’t go to sleep and I walked alone down Front Street in Nome, Alaska and it was painful because I thought, I have trained for two years of my life to run this race. I’ve completed it and now I’m this empty? How can I be this empty? And it put me out on a quest looking to fill that God shape void that Pascal talks about and I got into alcohol abuse and cocaine use and cocaine abuse, I even trafficked a little bit of cocaine that was busted by the feds at Anchorage International Airport. And I say all that, not to glamorize me missing the mark with sin, but to illustrate how far we will go when we’re trying to fill this void. I was a hurting kid and my dad actually prayed a powerful prayer over me in late 1983, so I was 23 years old and he had seen my life just spiraling out of control. And he said Karl, with tears pouring down his face. He said, “Karl, I’m not praying that you come back to church anymore. I’m praying, starting today, that either you surrender fully to Jesus Christ or that God would take you out of here because you’re killing yourself anyway.” And for 22 years, I’d seen the prayers of my folks answered so many times, it freaked me out. I drove defensively really well for about six months because I thought the next oncoming car or the semi was going to take me out, and on February 11th, 1984, I was driving down a road in Anchorage, Alaska, and God just asked me, he said, “Karl, are you done yet?” And I just broke in just a heap of tears. I just remember so well that day. And I said, “God, I’m so done. I give you my life.” And on that day, I was born again and it was a radical transformation. I was absolutely born again. It was a new me. The old had gone. The new had come. I had been crucified with Christ. It’s Karl, no longer I who lived, but Christ who lived in me in the life I then lived in that moment in the flesh, I lived by faith in the Son of God and it was real. And, I immediately got on a plane and headed for central California. I was mentored by my uncle. He was a golf pro at a country club, but he had been radically transformed by Jesus not too many years prior. So, my folks were smart. They pointed me to a relative who was on fire for the Lord, but within about three weeks, and this is the part I don’t often share, but I’m glad we’re going into it here. I found myself working at a construction site and I was invited out for some drinks and I had concluded in my mind, I’m going to go have a Coke with these guys. I’ll have a Coca-Cola and hang out and kind of witness to these guys. I made a grave error of having a wine cooler, and for me, that was like climbing to the top of a slippery slide, and I headed down the hill, and in a matter of about five to six hours, I’d gotten down to the point where I was intoxicated and then found myself at a home. The sun is setting and I have a pipe in my hand and I’m about to smoke my first hit of crystal methamphetamine. In all my spiraling down, running from the Lord, I hadn’t used anything that strong. I took one hit off that pipe and it was like all the demonic forces were now exposed and it was like God in his grace allowed me to look around that room. And I’m like, oh, it was like demons were exposed, and I somehow mustered the strength to run out of that home that day, run back to my aunt and uncle’s home. I knelt beside the bed when I got home, I’m panting because I’d been sprinting all the way home, and I knelt beside the bed and I said, “God, you saved me, now kill me, go ahead, kill me because I’m a lost cause, some battles can’t be won and I’m one of those battles.” And you know, the reason I delight in sharing that story now is that I had to learn then, and I know it today, that we’re all in recovery. It’s one reason why I love recovery ministry, but, at the same time, I don’t like recovery ministry because recovery ministry can almost create an, “us and them,” mentality where these people are over here struggling with all these substances. But I learned that day and all these years now after that, that we’re all in recovery and God is in the business of closing the gap between where we live and these things that we feel like we cannot win. And his promises, he wants to close that gap by the power of his grace and mercy. And that’s what I lived today. I lived to see people turned on to faith in Christ, but then pull out of the shadows, all those things that have held them back, the shame, the dysfunction, you know, those things that they inherited from family and friends, and walk in freedom. That’s my heart and that’s my passion.

Mentor Mama: Karl, thank you for your true authenticity and for sharing your story, and it’s a beautiful testimony of just how there’s nothing too big for God that he can’t turn around. Why do you think so many believers experience this gap that you talk about between God’s promises and what they just experience day to day?

Karl Clauson: You know, I think there are a lot of reasons for it. I think we have a brand of Christianity in America that wants to sanitize things a little bit too much. I think we look at the promises of God and the abundant life that he promises. The fact that Jesus said, “it’s to my glory that you bear much fruit,” as he obviously grabbed those grape leaves and pulled them up and would’ve pointed to his disciples and said, “I want your life to look like that, I want you to look like that!” And I think a lot of us have felt like, oh, I should be having an abundant life. I should have love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness, and for sure, self-control, but we find it elusive. So, we push certain areas of our life that seem unwinnable off into the shadows and we just fake it till we make it and we live too isolated and too alone with things that we are afraid to admit are kicking our spiritual tale and God wants to give us victory over those things. So, I think part of it is we live in a Western mindset of Christianity that actually, by virtue of the fact, that we live with a, “we should be, we ought to be,” we often live with secrets in our lives and those secrets, because they’re unaddressed, ultimately diminish our everyday life. And so, the abundant life feels so elusive to too many. And oh, I think I need to add this. I think because of the relative ease that we’ve had in Christendom here in America, this is a very unique experience throughout history. American or Western faith is pretty immune to real persecution. But because of that, we can’t allow the blessing of this absence of persecution for this season, to keep us from the abundant life. We need to deal honestly, with everything in the shadows, bring it into the light, and let God deal with it. So, my heart is for those that are reading this that feel like, oh, some battles can’t be won. I have made it a personal mission of mine, not just for myself and my bride and my adult kids and listeners on the radio, but for everyone I come in contact with to do everything in my power, with my story, to help them encounter the power of Christ, not just to save us, but to sanctify us and make us mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

Mentor Mama: Absolutely, and no one can refute your own story. That is something that’s so powerful and God can use tremendously. You said in your book that we should never measure God’s power to change us by looking at how we’re currently living. Can you explain why this is a wrong gauge and what we should be looking at instead?

Karl Clauson: I often look at the Scriptures and I’m called by God to look at his promises. So, if I’m lacking self-control or if I’m lacking genuine joy, that’s not happiness, because there are a lot of things that can purchase happiness for a moment, but joy is that resonant sense of God’s Spirit at work in my soul and giving me confidence in who I am in Christ. We’ve got to look at the promises of God, not our current circumstances and if we’re not taking hold of those promises, we’ve got to ask a question. Why in the world is this happening? Why is this happening? Why am I coming up short? Now, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to go through tough times. What we find in James, “consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” Then it goes on to say in verse six, “if you lack wisdom for going through these trials, let him ask of God, he’ll give it to you.” So yes, we’re going to have trials, but even for that church in the verse that I just quoted from that James was speaking to the dispersed church through persecution. They can find joy, even in the trials. That’s the promise of the Christian life.

Mentor Mama: That’s so encouraging and just a great reminder of discerning the difference between joy and being happy and the powerful sense of knowing that we have that eternal hope and promise. You talk a lot about broken systems that most of us live with. What are some examples of broken systems that you’ve seen or experienced?

Karl Clauson: Well, there are some big ones. This came for me out of the passage of Scripture. If I could read this out of Jeremiah 2, because of what God spoke through the prophet, Jeremiah, this almost gets me emotional thinking about this passage. It is so relevant for us. Jeremiah, 2: 12-13 says, “be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Now, what those were is big old chunks of rock that had been carved out. And so, the spring waters would come off, they’d fall into these cisterns and those cisterns were designed to hold water so that there were reservoirs of water to get them through the desert seasons. Well, as I was reading that, I thought, oh my goodness, we do this. And I call broken cisterns, broken systems. We’ve carved out a life for ourselves that can’t hold water and it’s broken in a lot of ways. We think we need to perform for God, it’s a broken system. I need to be good. I need to get to church. I need to do this. I should. I ought to. Those kinds of words indicate to me that we got a broken system and the broken system needs to be repaired and that one is what I call, “join God.” We’re not called to perform for God. We’re called to join God. That’s the primary broken system that we have in our life that can’t hold water. And so, there are lots of broken systems. We have time redemption issues. You know, that’s the last resolution that I have in this book, “The 7 Resolutions,” and when we have broken systems of the friends that we choose, because either friends are going to be elevator up friends, or they’re going to be elevator down friends. But if we’ve got the broken system of friends around us, close friends, that can’t help us hold water. We’ve got to get that repaired. So, there’s several of them that I’ve identified that are broken and we’ve got to get those repaired. Not least of which is thinking truth because what we think about in our mind, I like to say this, what we think about today will be lived out in our life tomorrow. So, my bride, I call her my bride, we’ve been married 35 years. But when my bride’s mentoring women, I overhear her all the time saying, you know, you’ve got to wallpaper your mind with truth. And when I kept hearing that, I’m like, man, that is so true because what we think about today, what our mind is filled with, we will live out. And so, the broken system is thinking wrongly about our relationship with God.

Mentor Mama: That’s so fascinating and I think for those reading that you’ll really want to pick up Karl’s book. It will help you dig deeper into that and perhaps identify some of these broken systems in your own life. Well, in your book, you teach seven resolutions that you can make with God that will help you overthrow old patterns and fully live in God’s power. Tell us about those.

Karl Clauson: Okay. As I just alluded to the first and foremost is joining God. The best illustration I have for this is when I learned how to water ski. Boy, I was excited. I was at a Bible camp and I’d seen people water skiing and one of the counselors says, you want to go give it a try? And I said I do. So, I went down there, got on my life jacket, jumped in the lake, and put the two skis in front of me. The boat came around—a beautiful boat. Boy, it was great. I remember that day so well and the guy on the boat was giving me good instructions. I had a few friends on the boat as well, and they were giving me a bit of a hassle, but we were having some fun and the counselor told me, put your arms out, extend your arms, hold on and put that rope right between your skis, bend your knee slightly, and when you feel comfortable, yell, hit it. So, I was ready to go and I yelled, hit it, and that ski boat took off and I mean, I was coming up out of the water and then I made the error. It’s Water Skiing 101, I took what was extended arms. And I thought, oh, in my foolishness, I thought I need to help this boat. I need to help get me up on top of the water. And so, I pulled that handle into myself, and the minute I pulled it in and I tried to effort myself to get up on top of the water. I came out of my skis. I went into the lake, it felt like I had a few lake trout go through each nostril. I mean, I got a nasal wash like you can’t imagine and sure enough, I’m lying there, the skis are now bobbing in the water, and I’m trying to put them back on and he comes back around with the boat and my buddies are yelling at me, laughing and carrying on, but he was the reasonable voice. And he said, “Karl, hold on, extend your arms and let the boat do the work,” and this is what we find in the principle of joining God that a lot of people miss. A lot of us think, well, Jesus saved me, now, I need to get about the work of bearing fruit. In fact, we look at that grape story that I’ve already alluded to. Jesus said, “I’m the vine, you’re the branch. Abide in me and you will bear much fruit.” “It’s to my Father’s glory,” Jesus said, “that you bear much fruit.” So, God wants us to bear fruit and we’ve got a dilemma because sometimes we’re walking through life and we’re going, boy, I’m not bearing fruit. I’ll do this right here. Let’s just say, I’m holding up a Bible right now, but we got bearing fruit on one side here and this is the side that we wanted. We want to bear fruit in our life, but we are a branch, according to Jesus. He says, “I’m the vine, you’re the branch, you’ll abide in me and you’ll bear much fruit,” but oftentimes many of us think that our job is to bear fruit and as I started to look at this passage when I was young in Christ, I’m like, oh my goodness, that’s not my job. My job, according to Jesus, is to abide in the Vine, so I’ve got a choice. Either I can have proximity to Jesus or I can focus on fruit production. And many of us today, our broken system is that we’re thinking, I’ve got to work for God. No, and yes. We work as we rely and depend on God, let him do the work. So, our primary role is to not produce fruit. Our primary role is proximity to Jesus. And so, the more time I spend in the Word and in prayer and praying in the Spirit, driving down the road and expressway here in Chicago, I find myself in proximity to Jesus. Then I look over one day and I go look at this, I’m bearing fruit. I’m not having to do this; this is Christ’s work in me! And so, joining God is job one. I mean, if we are going to really see our lives fruit bearing as Jesus intended, we’ve got to focus on proximity to Jesus, not fruit production. And here’s the reality, if we focus on producing fruit, we lose proximity to Jesus. We inadvertently do. But if we focus on proximity to Jesus, we will be surprised at the fruit that is born and if we are detached from the vine in our own striving and strength, we will find ourselves hopeless because we’re like, uh oh, where’s the love? Where’s the joy? And we’ll paste on fake fruit. And here’s the problem, every time we try to do things in our strength, be loving in our strength, have joy in our strength, have self-control. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. And I’m going to prove it to us from the book of Galatians here in a moment. Here’s the problem when we try to do it in our own strength, we’re pasting on fake fruit. And you know what? Here’s what I found. My mom used to have an arrangement when I was a little kid, an arrangement on the dining room table, and it was filled with fake fruit. Now that stuff at a distance looked like it could be the real deal, but the closer I got to it, the more I realize, uh-oh, those are plastic bananas and plastic apples, and plastic grapes. And those that get closest to us go, that’s not real fruit. They can sniff it out. They can tell it. So now you bumped my cup here, so I got to share it with you a little bit more. This is what Paul said to the Galatian church in Galatians, chapter 3, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” And that simply means, are you going to live with self-help? Are you going to live in your own strength? Or are you going to live by the power of the Holy Spirit? And therein lies the challenge. Are we going to try to do this by our own ingenuity, our own bootstrapping, our own self-will? Or are we going to do this by dependence on God? Even right now, God’s calling our hearts back to clinging to him. You know, the amazing thing is according to Titus 2, the grace of God is for saving us and to train us in righteousness. We’ve trusted the grace of God to save us and then we thought, I got to get up and make it happen, man, I got to go live this Christian life. And this is what we got to remember; we can’t live the Christian life. We can’t live the Christian life, but God can through us. That’s the game changer. So that’s resolution one.

Mentor Mama: Yeah, and if you can grasp what you’re talking about, there’s a certain sense of freedom that relieves you of any pressure that you’re putting on yourself or anxiety that you’re carrying to accomplish all these things to bear fruit.

Karl Clauson: Totally, and it’s so freeing when you realize, finally realize, I can’t live this Christian life. Yes, Jesus saved me and he wants to grow me. Oh, it’s powerful. I probably ought to just turn to it, but I got to tell you when we see in Titus Chapter 2, we find a passage of Scripture here that is so vital and I don’t know why I hadn’t seen this for many years. Let me just read this, this is so good. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” So, the grace of God is God’s ability to do in us what we can’t do in ourselves. It’s his power. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” But there’s a comma, not a period. Comma, “training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.” Boom! There it is. It’s his grace that saves us, and his grace that trains us. And we’re going back to where we began here, the Western Christian model of discipleship is inherently flawed in that we put too much pressure on ourselves to produce fruit when it’s God’s job to save us, and it’s God’s job to train us, and it’s God’s job to bear fruit in us. Our job is to abide in the vine. Mentor Mama: Yes. Oh, that’s beautiful. Did you want to elaborate on any of the other resolutions? We don’t need to go into all of them because obviously, we want our listeners to pick up the book and really take it in for themselves. Karl Clauson: I’ll hit one that the Spirit of God is hitting me with right now. Time redemption is one of those things that is tough to get our minds around as well. And oftentimes I think a lot of people that are committed to self-improvement of any kind know sooner or later, you’ve got to open up a day planner and you’ve got to get some things journaled. You’ve got to deal with time redemption. But Og Mandino, David Allen, or Stephen Covey, these are big famous, life-hacker guys. They didn’t invent time redemption. Time redemption isn’t something novel in this day and age. Moses in Psalm 90 said, “oh, God, teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” And it’s amazing that Moses wandered in the wilderness for 40 years in the one Psalm that he wrote, the one Psalm, Psalm 90, he said, “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” So, time redemption is as old as Moses. In fact, it’s older than that. Jethro came to Moses talking about time redemption, but it’s not just for the wise. A lot of people think, oh, wise people redeem time. I want to give hope to anyone that’s listening to this right now. Here’s the hope, the promise out of Psalm 90 isn’t that wise people redeem time. It’s that when you redeem time, you become wise. So, anybody can gain wisdom through repairing the broken system of frittered away time, time that just goes through our fingertips, and time redemption then help us become wise. But time redemption is as old as the Scriptures and even Paul repeats it, redeem time because the days are evil. Time redemption keeps our, I like to say, this keeps our tookie out of the squisher. It keeps us from making foolish decisions in life. So, time redemption is another system that’s often broken that God wants to repair so that that area of our life can hold water.

Mentor Mama: Absolutely. How does discipleship tie in with these resolutions that you’ve been talking about?

Karl Clauson: Oh, you are giving me softballs. This is great. I love this. This is dynamite! Discipleship, and again, I’m being general here in speaking this, but discipleship by and large, generally speaking, has become an informational transaction in the church today in America, it was never meant to be informational. It was meant to be transformation. So, the goal of discipleship is not to know a bunch of things, it’s to take and apply those things. You know, it’s a fascinating thing, the last message that Jesus gives in the Sermon on the Mount is epic. So, there are two different guys out there building homes, this is kind of the way I captured this story. They both have the same storms coming at them in life—big storms. They both have the same information coming at them, but there’s one difference. See, one has a house that is going to survive storms. So, winds come, they beat against that house and it stands tall. Does it shake, rattle, and roll? You betcha, those are the trials of life. But the other one, same storms, but his home falls to pieces and the question you got to ask yourself is, why does one stand and one fall? One difference maker. One person heard the words of Jesus and put them into action. The other one heard the words of Jesus and they were good information, but it never made it into their life to be worked out. So yeah, the big difference with discipleship and what I try to capture in what I wrote is that the restructuring of our life, taking broken systems that we have in our life, creating a life that not only holds water but holds the streams of living water. That life is a life that here’s a word of God and says, oh God, by the power of your Spirit, let me change in this area. God will do it and that’s real discipleship.

Mentor Mama: I love how you point out that the church today has been an informational transaction and it has to be transformational and I think I’m going to really remember and resonate with that because I guess even at all ages, you can be a mentor to someone and that’s really, I think, something that would be important to help mold and shape and be a role model for it, so to speak, so that people can see how to live it out.

Karl Clauson: No doubt.

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Mentor Mama: I want to ask you because a lot of these things, and you’ve touched on it a little bit, but spiritual disciplines, like prayer and Bible reading can become to people, very legalistic, and doing it out of duty or obligation. How do we break through that and lean more towards joining God, as you say?

Karl Clauson: Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and he will lift you up. I was reading Andrew Murray about four years ago, his book, “Humility,” and he made a statement in there that rocked my world. He says humility is the one virtue that gives birth to every other virtue. And I think what we sometimes do is approach the Word of God and prayer from a very self-sustaining point of view. And I know this is so unlike Karl, I’m a Type A, let’s go do it. Let’s go, come on, let’s go, let’s go. But when I’ve found, and I do this now, I open the Word of God and I say, “God, speak, God, speak, God, what are you saying to me here?” Oh, you’re saying, “Okay, I want you to help this guy that’s coming up to you.” And, I’m giving a real-life thing right now. As the spirit of God leads me, the guy came up to me on Sunday and he said to me, “I’m gay.” And I told him, I said, “no, you’re not gay. You’re a child of the living God, you might struggle with your sexual identity, but you’re not gay.” And he said, “you’re right, Pastor Karl, I’m not gay.” And I put my arms around this big boy and I said, “I want you to listen to me right now. I want you to begin to go to your Word and I want to talk with you as a friend, and I want you to know something that our God wants to meet with you and he wants to change the circuits of your mind.” And I told him, I said, “you have a father wound; you got a big dad wound in you and I know that your perception of who you are is based a lot about the wounds of your life, but God wants to irrigate your soul as you begin to read the Word of God and he wants to re-father you.” And he said, “can he Karl?” And I said, “he can!” But when we go to the Word, rather than going to get information, we go to meet with the God of the Scriptures and let these words irrigate our soul and our mind. So now we don’t just read, when you’re talking with someone, like when I was talking with this man, I don’t talk with him like, oh, let’s help him get this spec out of his eye. I look at him with mercy. Why? I look at him with empathy. Why? Because I look at him with humility because I know that God either has a log in my eye that needs to be removed or that he has removed that and allows me the grace to minister to this young man. And it’s a posture of humility that says, oh, but by the grace of God, there go, it’s a posture of humility that positions us for the power of God to indwell us. And so, I’d say the default posture for reading your Bible, for praying is one of, oh God, God, oh, let my soul make much of you at this moment. As I read your words, oh God, show me how to order my life. And he will. I believe that. So, humility’s paramount.

Mentor Mama: That’s excellent and something that we can do. It’s achievable. I often have to stop myself sometimes when I go to do my Bible reading or prayer time, or I’ll just read my Bible and I will have read it and then I stop myself and say, “God, I didn’t even say good morning to you, how are you?” You know, like this is the God of the Universe, it’s not just text on a page. So, joining him is key. Well, Karl, as we begin to wrap things up here, what’s your biggest takeaway that you want people to get from your book?

Karl Clauson: I want people to believe God for the big things. You know, I think even when I say some of you listening believe that some wars can’t be won. I want to dispel that myth in a big way. I think sometimes we say, okay, some of my wars can be won; they can. And I think that what’s on my heart is don’t give God the little things, give him the big stuff, the stuff that we think, oh, I keep getting beaten down in this area. I’m thinking of a woman right now who has subscribed to some of what I even have in this book and she, for years, struggled with her weight in a big way. She’s a neat woman in our church, just a great woman of God. And she said, “I did the big eight!” I said, “what’s the big eight?” She starts going through South Beach and Keto diet and all these different diets, you know, the low carb, low fat. Oh, going through them all she said, “I did all of them. I did Weight Watchers. I did all these things.” And she was so frustrated that she went in for bypass surgery or whatever they do when they tuck your tummy and all that stuff. And she went in and went through all the consultations and then went in for the final sleep study and she had to get her sleep monitored and she couldn’t do it. She had so much anxiety, she couldn’t fall asleep with wires attached to her. And the doctor said, “I’m sorry, you can’t complete a sleep study. I can’t do the surgery on you.” And she went home so discouraged, but she poured her heart out to God and one day she got in front of a refrigerator, fell to her knees, and said, “God, I can’t do this. I need you to rewire my full meter because my full meter is broken God.” And you know, she began to lean into the Lord through humble, utter dependence, and crying out for the big things that were in the shadows of her life. And, you know, she has lost 172 pounds by the power of the Holy Spirit and is sustaining that victory. Now, that’s a big one. She’d given God a lot of little small things that had been in the shadows, but she was forced to throw herself at the mercy of God and she lives to tell people about it to this day. So, I would say this, give God the biggest battles you’re facing. He is able, he is able.

Mentor Mama: Absolutely. And I know I’ve heard this quote before, pray something so big that you will know that only God can do that. That’s amazing. Well, Karl, how can people find out more information about you and the radio and everything?

Karl Clauson: We constructed a website platform that I’ve even got a free assessment there. I was talking to Gary Chapman once about The Five Love Languages quiz, and I thought, boy, we’ve got to do this. So, we constructed something called, the 7 Resolutions Assessment, and what I do through a series of 40 questions, a bunch of guys that know computer programming better than I, constructed an algorithm that, within about three to four minutes, you determine which of the 7 Resolutions you’re maybe struggling in. Whether it’s choosing friends, redeeming time, focusing effort, taking a risk, joining God, whatever that is, it determines this is where you’ve got some growth opportunity. This is where you’re winning a little bit more. And so, it helps you identify where to focus. And then, even if you’re reading the book and going along, or, maybe entering into some coaching that we do, you’ll have a good basis from which to work, and then you’ll find, oh, I’m improving. I’m beginning to take risk. I’m beginning to step out of the boat and trust God. And so, sevenresolutions.com is the website and it’s got everything right there, but I’d encourage people before they even buy a book, just take the 7 Resolutions Assessment. It’s a phenomenal little tool and people love to discover where they are at here in life.

Mentor Mama: Absolutely. That’s awesome. We will definitely put the links to that down in our show notes. Before we go, Karl, I just want to ask you some of our favorite Bible study tool questions. What’s your go-to Bible and what translation is it?

Karl Clauson: It’s the ESV. Wayne Grudem is a friend of mine. He’s a general editor. So, after it had come out, he sent me a leather-bound ESV Study Bible. But, even if Wayne wasn’t my friend, it’d be my go-to text. I love the ESV; its power.

Mentor Mama: It is, it’s great. Do you have any favorite journaling supplies or anything like that that you like to use to enhance your Bible study experience?

Karl Clauson: Well, I mean, this humbly, I don’t want to be self-serving, but I actually created a 7 Resolutions Day Planner because I believe tracking what God’s doing is so important so, I actually created a day planner and I use my own day planner. I’ve used Franklin Covey and every other day planner to journal things over the years, but it never fit with my spiritual disciplines, so, I created one. That’s the journal that I use. I use a 7 Resolutions Day Planner because it works well for me.

Mentor Mama: Fantastic, we’ll put a link to that as well. And lastly, what’s your favorite app or website for Bible study tools?

Karl Clauson: I encourage people with YouVersion just because there are great tools there. I had the founder on my radio show just recently. I got to tell you, it’s a phenomenal tool. There are great resources there. Blue Letter Bible is another place to go, but I would say YouVersion is a great default.

Mentor Mama: Excellent. It sure is. Well, Karl, thank you so much for being here today and answering these truly life-changing questions with every one of us who longs for God’s transforming power in our lives. I really appreciate you coming and for our listeners, we’d like to encourage you to go over to the 7 Resolutions website and take that assessment.

You can also find the link to Karl’s book here and while you’re here, please be sure to share your comments with us. And lastly, head over to the Coffee and Bible Time website for our prayer journals that will help guide and document your prayer life at coffeeandbibletime.com. Thank you so much for joining us today on our podcast. We love you all. Have a blessed day.

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