Breakfast talk audience
Breakfast talk audience

A Coaching Session

Thanks, Richard. Hey, who’s the head coach here at this church? Where are you? Oh, how you doing? Listen, I noticed the basketball goals. Luther Strange, who’s a basketball player, came up and said he could be comfortable in a place like this, but he had one question. Now, do you have cheerleaders here if you show up? Working on it? (Laughter)

Well, listen, I appreciate, and I am a big fan of Richard Simmons. I’ve been listening to his tapes and I’ve, you know, I just, I summarize some of the best one-liners, kind of the Richard Simmons highlights that just really inspire me and keep me just, just motoring right down the road. Well, one of the things Richards always says that I love is, ‘a day without sunshine is like night’. That means a lot to me guys. Richard’s always saying, remember now, half the people you know are below average. The early bird gets the worm, but that second mouse, he’s the one that gets the cheese and the trap. Now, there’s biblical wisdom for you right there. You think nobody cares? Try missing a few payments. How many of you believe in psychokinesis? Great. Raise my hand. And then the last one, when everything’s going your way, you’re probably in the wrong lane. That has helped me innumerable times.

Well, I wanna mention, some of you have asked me about Tony Snow. Tony’s doing great. He’s very optimistic personally, the doctors aren’t that optimistic. He has cancer. They’ve told him it’s ultimately incurable, but Tony is really trusting Christ, and he’s, you know, at times like that, that’s when your faith has to really go to work for you. Not at times like that. That’s not when your faith should fall apart. I gave Tony a teaching the first round of cancer he had, and I said, Tony, I always remember this. You’re a baby in a basket. This is a teaching that somebody gave to me, and that when I start to fill up with fear and anxiety, it’s kind of my go-to move.

You know, they say in every sport, you gotta have at least one or two go-to moves when the game’s really on the line and you’re nervous and you’re under pressure and you have to execute under pressure. Our Redskins coaches are always saying, look, anybody can execute. We’re looking for people who can execute under pressure.

By the way, they have turned on us big time up in Washington. We’ve gone from the penthouse to the outhouse in just one season. I had a lady come up to me recently and said, you tell Joe Gibbs he needs to, the draft’s coming up, he needs to draft 120-pound fullback. I said, why would I tell Coach Gibbs that? She said, because that’s as big a hole as the offensive line can make. You need it. Don’t put your faith in football fans.

But Tony said, well, what does that mean, a baby in a basket? You know, Moses, when he was just a few months old, the most powerful man in the world had a hit order on his life and his family put him in a little frail reed basket, set him afloat in the crocodile-infested Nile River. I mean, his chances are going down the further this story goes along. And then they watched him, talk about a heartbreaking scene. And I think most of you know how this story goes along. The daughter of Pharaoh finds Moses, and then they hire Moses family back. So, they’re watching their own baby again, and now they’re getting a paycheck to do it. And I said, Tony Pharaoh had a plan for Moses to annihilate him, but God had another plan for Moses.

He was gonna be God’s deliverer. And that little baby was indestructible till God was through with him. And I said, you know, as long as God has a purpose for us to be here, your magnificent obsession should be not to sit here and have fun, not to sit here on earth and try to be the man. You need to find out why God put you here and be about that and fulfill your destiny. I said, Tony, until your destiny’s fulfilled, you’re a baby in a basket, you’re indestructible. He called me up after the first round from the hospital. He lost his mother at 39 from colon cancer and he said, you know what? I’m cancer free, and I wanted to call you. Now, every time we talk, the last thing he says to me, he says, all right, Leachman, I gotta go, baby in a basket. He hangs up.

I wanted to pass that news along to you about Tony so you could pray for Tony. Everybody loves Tony. Even Democrats love Tony. And so, you could pray for your brother. And I wanted to pass along that teaching to you so the next time you’re full of fear and anxiety, you just preach to yourself or remind yourself you’re a baby in a basket.

Now, what Richard has asked me to do today is actually do a teaching, not an inspirational kind locker room talk, but kind of coach ‘em up a kind of talk, which is what I do mostly with the men I teach up in Washington. I do wanna say this about, before I start the teaching, we’re gonna do the Beatitudes today. The Beatitudes are a core teaching of Jesus Christ. It was the first Christian retreat.

As a matter of fact, it was actually his recruiting talk to his potential disciples, believe it or not. The Jesus movies really have never gotten it right. Every time you see Jesus mentioning the Beatitudes in the Jesus movies, He’s talking to thousands of people. Really didn’t happen that way.

Now, I’ll unfold the action for you in just a second, but I wanna say this, one of my former high school coaches, Snoozy Jones, most of you know, played at Virginia Tech. Where we are in Washington is just up the road from Virginia Tech. We’ve had a lot of parents we’ve been dealing with and counseling last week. Our whole city, our whole area has just been heartbroken as I know the nation is. One of the things, of course, when you’re in a, when you do what I do and you’re in the place I’m in, people want to ask it, what do you see going on in the way of a bigger picture?

Now, if you want to take a biblical view, if you want to take Paul’s view of this, this is not just comprehensive, but it is at the core, I believe. You know what we say we believe is supernatural. It transcends logic. We say we believe in the Holy Spirit. We say we believe in the Resurrection. If you say the Apostle’s Creed in your church, if you’ve ever said it, that’s one of the core, a couple of the core lines in the Apostles Creed. Paul said this, in II Thessalonians chapter two, he said, Do you not remember that when I was still with you? I told you about these things. And now, you know, what is restraining, restraining that He may be revealed in his own time for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

You know what Paul is reminding these, this group of Christians, he says, now I taught you this. Now the wheels are coming off. Remember what I told you. Paul teaches here that the restraining influence of evil and wickedness in the world is the Holy Spirit. You can believe it or not, but I tell you, it’s an easy thesis to defend.  One of the men in a small leadership, I have one group where, where, where every guy in there is a leader who’s really on the point, is the head of the counterterrorist unit for all the FBI. And we were talking about this recently, and I said, you know, you guys really can’t cover the waterfront on all this stuff going on. You can’t cover every base. You can’t even come close. I think if it wasn’t for the restraining of evil by the Holy Spirit, I can’t believe the President, no matter who he is, could go from the White House to the Mayflower Hotel and back without being killed, graveyard dead. He said, you’re exactly right. We have to decide. Basically, it’s triage and we prioritize our resources and our manpower and our knowledge, and we try to, we try to hold this stuff off the best we can, but we really can’t. What does that have to do with you? What does it have to do with me? I’ll tell you. You know, the ante seems to be getting higher and higher and higher. I don’t know if you’re asleep at the switch, but it’s getting worse out there, not getting better. Now, I live in Washington. We wait daily for a disaster to happen, but I feel God’s called me there. I’ve done the intellectual exercise. I’ve had people call me from the South saying, Jerry, you’ve been up there long enough. Get your family out of there. But we’ve all agreed, we’re a baby in a basket.

That’s where we are. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Just like that soldier told me, where else would you rather be, sir? And so, I don’t worry about that, but I’ll tell you this, when somebody starts shooting up 30 something kids at Virginia Tech, feel good Christians are as worthless as dirt. Self-help Christians are as worthless as dirt in my opinion. You see, it’s getting to the point where you gotta vote. And I have voted. Serious Christians flawed, but serious Christians who live lives, they know their sinners. They know they’re saved by grace, but I tell you, they are committed to the Lord and the Holy Spirit goes with them. Now, I’m not even sure what the Holy Spirit is. Don’t worry about it. I don’t know what gravity is. I totally believe in it. I understand how it works. Is there anything in your life that grieves the Holy Spirit? Are you a double-minded Christian today? You want credit for walking with Christ, but you don’t really wanna walk with Him?

I’ve had a lot of guys I’ve coached that, that was their approach towards football. They wanted a jersey. They wanted to be on the team. They even wanted a little notoriety, but they didn’t wanna really be football players. They weren’t really football players ’cause they didn’t want to be, had nothing to do with ability, has all to do with heart. You know, the Bible says you can grieve the Holy Spirit. The Bible says you can quench the Holy Spirit and the bottom line, as I spoke to these people with the FBI that loved Jesus, I said, you know what? I was recently, I saw Chuck Colson in the White House at a reception because some of them, and I teach work down there, and they invited me down there, not ’cause I’m anybody, I’m their rabbi, I’m their teacher. And I saw Chuck there, and we started talking about this, and Chuck told me, he said, I know a man who had this gift of some kind of spiritual discernment. He said, it’s not my gift. I’m more of a thinker than a discerner of the spirits. But he told me years ago when he was in New York, he sensed a protective covering over New York City. This was pre 9-11. He said, I recently saw that man. He said he could not detect it. I don’t know how that works. I’m not into that. I couldn’t write a book on it, wouldn’t read a book on it, but I get the idea. If the Lord removes His Holy Spirit, as Paul said in II Thessalonians, when it’s taken out of the way, all hell breaks loose. You’ll see a shooting like that every day if the Lord says, you know, you, people think you know so much, you want to keep playing around with me, you wanna do it all by yourself, go ahead. I’ll be watching. Let me know how it works out.

What I’m saying to you today before we get to the lesson, this is the message. I’ll give you a lesson in a minute. You really should decide in your life. I don’t wanna be part of the problem. I wanna be part of the solution. I believe God will leave His Holy Spirit because if He takes it away from our people and our land, we’ll be living in hell. I know this is a strong message, but when you see all those kids laying there dead, it calls for strong men who are not double-minded. Now, don’t get blown away, but what I’m telling you say, I’m no priest. I’m no holy roller. No, Christ never expected us to be anything but flawed. He knows we’re flawed. I’m tremendously flawed. Every time I speak, I’m just hoping I don’t cuss, really, and dammit, I’m getting better at it. (Laughter)

I don’t pretend to be anything but a sinner, but Jesus Christ did say this. You can’t be double-minded. You know, that’s achievable to finally go ahead and vote and go, you know, I’m sold out. I ain’t, I ain’t much, but I’m for real. I just want to exhort everybody I speak to now, look, be part of the solution, not part of the question, be part of the answer. We don’t want God to remove His Holy Spirit. And if there’s anything in your life this morning, only you would know that grieves the Holy Spirit and quench it, get it out. That’s your call.

Now, when we come to the Beatitudes, we’re gonna work out of the book of Matthew. This’ll be more of a coaching session than a talk. I got up and prayed that each man would hear what he needed to hear this morning, for his life. In the day of Pentecost, everybody talks about these cloven tongues that were going on, but if you read about the day of Pentecost closely, it says, everyone heard in their own language, there was a supernatural gift of hearing in play on that day. Now in the early scriptures, I’m in Matthew four and five here, the end of chapter four, they didn’t have chapters at first. Hey, Josh, could you get me a cup of water, son? That’s my son Josh if y’all don’t know him, and my best friend in the world, and advisor. We’re gonna go be with Coach Gibbs’ race team this weekend at Talladega and take our shirts off and be rednecks for a day. Looking forward to it.

They didn’t have chapters and verses in the original scripture. They added that later, just so you could have a point of reference. Nobody called me to let me vote on this because had I voted, chapter five would’ve started right at the end of chapter four. So that’s where we’ll begin our lesson. Now, this is one of the core teachings of Jesus, and I’ll explain it to you as I go along. Most people are familiar with the Beatitudes, but they’ve really never understood how profound they are and how they fit together. Now, this chapter should start in my opinion, that chapter at the 23rd verse in Matthew four. And Jesus went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, healing all kinds of sickness, all kinds of disease among the people. Then his fame went throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments and those who were demon possessed, epileptics, paralytics and he healed them. Great multitudes followed him from Galilee, from the capital of Jerusalem, Judea and beyond the Jordan.

For the demographics of the day, Jesus Christ is literally a rock star at this point in his ministry. And He has been kicked out of the church. It’s like a holy Willie Nelson road show. They’re on the road. The people in the synagogues really aren’t interested in anything Jesus has to say. And there’s a multitude of people following Him, enormous crowds, and they have every problem imaginable if you read this list. Now, chapter five starts and it says, in seeing the multitudes, he went up to the mountain and when he was seated, his disciples came to him. Then he opened his mouth and taught them saying, and then the Beatitudes start.

Now let me outline this for you. You know, the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, which, our culture has become so biblically illiterate. I just read a survey in Washington where they asked the college students in rank and file about biblical knowledge. 80 something percent of the students checked, you know, multiple guess question that the Sermon on the Mount was a discourse Jesus Christ delivered from atop a horse. That’s not the Sermon on the Mount that I know. The first 16 verses and the Sermon on the Mountain, chapter five, that’s the teaching portion. The entire rest of the Sermon on the Mount is the application. We’re gonna do the teaching portion today.

Now did you notice, He went up into a top of a mountain? Here’s the scene. And being an old coach, I can’t help but start drawing stuff up. I know all the Redskins coaches go crazy when I start drawing stuff up. They go, it’s getting good now. Leachman’s drawing stuff up. But what happened so far in our lesson is Jesus Christ went to the top of a mountain and it says his disciples came to him. Scholars think it was the Twelve and some others we don’t know, but it was kind of a core group was up there. And the thesis that he gives them then, and it’s the same thesis for us today as this, he said, listen boys, this was actually a recruiting talk Jesus gave these guys, at this point; it was the first Christian retreat. He said, listen boys, you see all those people at the bottom of the mountain. They have every problem imaginable. They’re from everywhere. All kinds of folks with all kinds of problems. Now there’s heads up, number one, Christianity is really designed to be lived out in the middle of all kinds of people with all kinds of problems.

It’s not a holy huddle where you try to get away and have a perfect little life and feel good. It’s meant to be lived out in the middle of a war zone. And we are basically medics running around trying to help fallen comrades and brothers in arms, love on ’em, pray for ’em, and patch ’em up, under fire. And he says, you see all those people, they have every problem you could imagine. He says, now I’m gonna ask you fellas a question this morning. Do you wanna be part of the problem or part of the solution?

That’s the basic thing you vote on in life. Really, I’m a core issue kind of guy. I like finding the prime number, the simplest common denominator. And that’s basically what we vote on all through our life. Am I gonna be part of the problem or part of the solution? Now, there are eight beatitudes and I wanna just kind of diagram at first so you can see, the first four, and then we’ll do the lightning round through, the first four Beatitudes is what we call the walk up the mountain. It’s impossible to do these first four Beatitudes except in the secret and the quiet of your own mind and your own heart. The second, and this is what we call the walk up the mountain, to have an encounter with Jesus Christ. An attitude is everything. We all know it is. Your attitude really is who you are, not what you say you believe, but your heart attitude. That is who you are.

The second four Beatitudes is what we call the walk down the mountain back into the world or back into the crowd. It’s impossible to do the second four Beatitudes out of context in relation to and contact with other people. Now, sometimes I’ll meet somebody and talk to ’em about their faith and they go, well, yeah, my faith is just kind of private. Well, the first half is, the second half is completely public, or you’re not doing the second half, it’s 50-50 and you don’t cut straight to the public, or the social beatitudes until you have accomplished the first four. Now, even within the first four and the second four, they break down further and I wanna explain this to you first ’cause as we go through ’em, it’ll all come together for you.

They work in couplets. In other words, you cannot have Beatitude two, until you get one. You have to complete this first. By the way, this sequence is not optional. I mean, really, what do you think, Jesus was teaching the Beatitudes, and He wasn’t that prepared, and He says, hey guys, I’ll tell you, yeah, blessed are the merciful, that’d be a good one. How about that? Go down there and try that and report back. That’d be like a guy with an itchy finger having a shotgun just spinning around in a swivel chair and he just pulled it every now and then. The more I’ve taught these beatitudes so long, the more I get into ’em, it’s brilliant, this sequence, absolutely brilliant, this teaching of Jesus. This is like a DNA strand, except it’s a moral DNA strand. It’s one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen. The sequence of it, the preciseness of it.

Now let’s get started. Since we’ll coach ‘em up, I’ll ask you questions, and somebody just answer back. I don’t want this to be all that formal. What’s the first Beatitude? Blessed is the correct word. If your Bible says happy, that’s, that’s not the best one. You can be blessed and not be happy, believe it or not. I’ve done prison ministry and I’ve gone in cells to speak to prisoners. They weren’t real happy about their situation, but they were, they were blessed and they had joy, believe it or not. As we know, that does not depend on our circumstances.

What’s the first beatitude? Jesus says, blessed are what? Poor in spirit. Poor in spirit. Is that what you said? Yes, that’s right. Good. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Now, I’ve heard some sermons on this that in my opinion are not correct. They will refer to somebody that that has a bad self-image and that’s not true. This is not a depressed person. This is not a person with a bad self-image. The synonym for poor in spirit is humble. Blessed is the man who humbles himself.

Now there, I want you to notice there is no easy connection with Jesus in the Bible. It’s always a crisis. And this crisis will escalate as we walk up the mountain. It is a crisis when you meet Jesus, He tends to explode on people. I remember a line from “As Good as it Gets”, Jack Nicholson wanted to move in with Helen Hunt. I think she won the Academy Award for that movie, and she’d already been through a batch of men, and she didn’t want do that again. She wanted to get married and get it right. And Nicholson tells his best friend. He says, I don’t know what she wants from me. I think she’s trying to evict me from my own life. That’s exactly what Christ is proposing. He wants to evict us from our own lives. And the first step to coming to Christ, I know we’re trying to make this so easy for people and we blow by the basic first Beatitude. You have to humble yourself. If you don’t wanna humble yourself, you’re stuck at the bottom of the mountain. You’re just a face in the crowd. You may think you’re special, but you’re not. You’re part of the problem. You’re just like everybody else. Pride, C.S. Lewis said, is the worst sin there is. Pride is what made the devil the devil and not an angel anymore. I used to think pride was arrogance and people would be obtuse and obnoxious.

I was sitting in an exquisite hotel doing a one-on-one session with an unbelievably educated man. This man was one of the first ones to make a perfect 1600 on the PSAT test before they dumbed it down, scored perfect on that thing. I was sitting there trying to take it, telling the guy sitting next to me, would you move a little more to your left so I can see your paper? He made a 1600 on that thing. He was gentlemanly. He had such a civilizing influence on me. And as we moved along, I realized this is one of the most arrogant people I’ve ever been around. One of the most prideful persons I’ve ever been around. But he was soft spoken, eloquent, educated, and successful. But pride is a control issue. Pride is who’s in control, who’s gonna drive? Could you imagine getting behind an F-14 Tomcat with no lessons and somebody throwing you the key, say, well crank it up and fly it around. Well, I think life is immeasurably more complicated than that. You have to get to the point where you humble yourself and say, I can’t do it alone. I don’t want to do it alone. God, I want Your help. I need an anthem to sing. I need a flag to salute and I need a God to worship. And I’m at that point. Could happen to you younger could happen to you later, but it’s gotta happen to you now.

You can’t get the second notice if you don’t have that first touch of humility. What’s the second Beatitude, or beautiful attitude. Somebody? Blessed who mourn. Blessed who mourn. There again, I’ve heard sermons on that and, they’ve said, well, that’s somebody at a grave site and you will be comforted. That’s not really true. There are a lot of people who live their lives with such regret. They can be forgiven, but they don’t receive comfort. There will be no comfort for them. And that’s true. I will tell you this, I’m half Jewish. My father was Jewish, my mother was Catholic, and then I found Jesus. That was a trip. And, but if you’ve ever been to a Jewish burial service, some of you may be Jewish and since I’m half I’m qualified to speak on this, the thing that leaves me wanting, as wonderful as it is, the canters, they talk about Job, they talk about, but there’s no gospel. You know, I’ve been to many, I go to synagogue with some of my Jewish friends from time to time in Washington but it leaves me, you know, and I find myself sitting in the audience towards the end of that ceremony going, all right, come on, come on. Bring it, bring it. But there’s never any gospel. I remember walking out feeling, thank God I am a Christian.

We have hope for comfort. I’ve told you this before. My brother is gone. I had a half-brother. He was buried at Arlington Cemetery. My mother and father are gone, and I have received comfort at their funerals. Blessed is he who mourns. When you humble yourself, then you go to the next step, and you pray this prayer. God show me my sin as it really is. My mentor told me to pray that. And he says, now, Leachman, don’t pray unless you mean it. You probably won’t like what you see. I was so cocky. I said, oh, I’ll pray it. That’s for all the screw ups. I can’t be that bad. I’m everybody’s buddy. I’m the life of the party. And I prayed that prayer and I got crushed when God showed me myself as I really was. You mourn and lament your own sin. Now I’m forgiven. I’m under grace. I get it. I’m preaching grace. But I’ll tell you this, there are some, there are things you can be forgiven from, but you will regret the rest of your life. That’s why when the devil tells you, go ahead and do it, Jesus will forgive you. He’ll forgive you. But there’s still regret. I called my mother a bitch one time standing in front of our refrigerator when I was in high school. I loved my mother dearly. She was Christ to us. She was just a secretary. We lived paycheck to paycheck. And I resent calling her that. I mean, I regret calling her that to this day because she was beloved to me. But I was just ticked one day and let it fly.

You know, that grieves me. When I thought about things like that, I began to mourn over my own sin. Now, Jesus says that’s a good thing, but it is a crisis. It’s not easy to go through these attitudes, but this really is the way our life’s changed. Not by easy believe this and this will change you.

We go to the third attitude (Beatitude), which is? Anybody? Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the meek. Now, men don’t like this word because it rhymes with what? Weak. Do you think Jesus Christ was a weak person? I don’t, I think He was unbelievably powerful, and I think He was not to be trifled with. There again, one of the scenes, the Jesus movies don’t always get down, is that when He was, when the soldiers came to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said, who do you seek, they said, we’re looking for Jesus. He said, I am Jesus. You know what the scripture says happens to these guys? These are killing machines. These are Roman soldiers trained to defend 16 square feet in every direction around them. It says they fell back on the ground. The whole squadron just fell back on the ground when he just said, I am He. Now, that’s a bad rammer jammer right there in my opinion. Jesus Christ was no weakling.

Well, what is meekness? Jesus says, you have to have these attitudes before you can truly get up on top of the mountaintop with Him. Only then are you a candidate to come down and do any good in this world. Meekness is not weakness. Now don’t worry about the time because some of these I’ll rip through quickly. If I take time on one, it’s important. I always take a lot of time with men on weakness, on meekness. Meekness is simply this. It’s yielding your personal rights. The opposite of meekness in the biblical mind is anger. Now, if any of you men have struggled with anger, and I will tell you this, I don’t need to read a book on it. I don’t need to call Chuck Swindoll and ask his opinion on it. I’ve been ministering to men so long, I will tell you in my personal experience, the two top issues men struggle with is sexual purity and anger. And I’ll tell you this, in counseling men, a lot of them tell me, you know, sexual impurity’s getting a lot of the publicity now in the books and the teachings, and it should. But they’ll tell me this, anger’s what’s taken me out, anger’s what’s destroying my relationship?

Now, how do you achieve meekness if it’s the opposite of anger? And in my opinion, it’s the core way to defeat anger. You have to yield your personal rights. Now, Jesus Christ modeled this for us. He was equal with God it says in Philippians chapter two, but He yielded his right to be God became a man, which was humbling. Had he become the king of the world, that would’ve been humbling instead of the king of the universe. But He became a peasant. People spat on Hm, they cursed Him, they mocked Him, they beat Him up and they killed Him. And He allowed it because of His love for us. He yielded His personal rights. He was not an angry person.

Now, I will tell you, early in my marriage, I was serious about Christ, but I didn’t understand how meekness worked. I kept trying to be humble, but I called out Holly’s name one time.

Richard, when does it end so I can pace myself? We’re fine.

I called out Holly’s name and when we had a wall phone in the kitchen when I rounded the corner, she looked like she was nauseated a little bit. Now, I love my wife Holly with every ounce of my being. I know my love’s not perfect, but whatever it is, she has it. She’s my hero. But she looked a little ill. I said, are you all right hun? She said, I’m fine. She said, I just have to tell you something. I don’t want to get into a fight or anything. But she said, sometimes when you yell my name out across the house, it turns my stomach, turns my stomach because I never know who’s gonna come walking through that door. She said, you can just, in a heartbeat, just turn angry. She said, I think you’re an angry man.

I went back to this Beatitude. I began to grieve ’cause I thought my father was an angry man and I’m ending up the same way and I don’t know how to get out of this cycle and I went to my teacher and he gave me this teaching that I’m giving you. He said, you have to yield your personal rights and become meekness and become meek. Jesus Christ said He was meek and lowly; learn from Him. Here’s the last thing I’ll say on meekness, because this example helped me tremendously to understand the power in meekness. I was invited to the Kentucky Derby a couple of years ago. Holly and I went, and these people had a box. I mean, they were, they were Kentucky people. They had passes to the backside and we went back there and everything. We had an extra day and they said, is there anything you’d like to see while you’re in Kentucky?

I said, yes. I said, I want to go to the farm where Secretariat was sired and where he is buried. And I wanna see some descendants of the great racehorse Secretariat. They called him Big Red. He was an enormous animal. Many say maybe the best athlete of our day. Say, well, it’s a horse. Doesn’t matter. You know, when he won the Preakness, people wept as they saw that horse. I say because he was a horse it’s even more interesting that he moved people emotionally so much. He won that race. 16 and a half links running away from the field. That wasn’t just talent. That horse had a heart as big as a watermelon. Those are the kids I loved coaching, kids with heart. Those were the ones that inspired people. Those were the ones that ended up loving and helping people and loving God. You just follow their life. But I went to the grave of Secretariat and that man told me, he said that they don’t bury a whole horse. They burn the carcass, and they bury the heart. His heart weighed 28 and a half pounds. I said, well, that doesn’t surprise me.

Secretariat achieved meekness because he took the bit, took me a while for I was willing to take the bit. He took the bit and he let a little 110-pound jockey mount him up and ride him to glory and fame. Had that horse decided he was gonna be prideful and not achieve meekness in his life and take the bit, you would never have heard his name once. He’s a zero. I’ll just say this, and we’ll move on. You will never have the control of Jesus Christ in your life and over your life. You can go to church every time they open the door. Take a trip around the world with Jim Dobson if you want to, until you achieve meekness. This is a huge one for men and it’s not weakness. Think of Secretariat. You don’t, men don’t park their power at the door. They just yield it to their commander in chief.

The fourth attitude (Beatitude) and then you can reach the top of the mountain with Christ is what? This is an easy one. You get a little success, you put a W up on the board and what do you want? Another loss or another W? You want another W. You go, this stuff’s great. It works. I want more. You work with a coach who knows how to win. He teaches you how to win and you go win. He’s your guy, coach, whatever you say, I’m in, you’re hungry for this stuff. There again, just looking for guys that really wanna be on the field. They want the ball. They want to be out there. They’ll do anything. They love it.

Who hadn’t heard a summer camp talk from their coach that goes like, well, all you guys say you love it, but come August 14th, we’ll see who loves it. Everybody’s had that one, right? Hunger and thirst after righteousness, it’s automatic. Now, after you’ve done those four, you can only do those four in the private of your own heart and your own mind. This is your private piety, your private relationship with your Lord, your God, and your master. Then Jesus doesn’t say, well, let’s just stay up here and hold hands and feel good until the end comes. That’s the attitude of a draftee. Their only attitude is just to cover their butt till the war’s over. They don’t actually wanna help win anything. Jesus Christ says, well, now that you have these four attitudes, we’re connected and I’m gonna send you back down the hill, boys. Now notice the first one coming out of the chute. What is it? Blessed are the merciful.

Oh, my eyes don’t work at that distance, I’m guessing. So, you’ll have to guess with me. You know, that’s amazing. Blessed are the merciful. Any counselor will tell you that’s a rock-solid principle. It says, blessed are the merciful. And how does that one end? For they shall receive mercy. This is another thing I had to do was forgive my father. And Holly told me, she said, I don’t want you bringing all your baggage into our wedding. You have to forgive your father. And, you know, I was such a tough linebacker. I said, okay, I will. You go with me. And she did. And I faced my father, and I told him what I had against him and the bitterness I had against him, and I forgave him. You know, the first reason to forgive people really isn’t for their sake when you read the scriptures over and over again, there are two reasons before you even get to the other person. The first reason to forgive another person is ’cause Jesus Christ asked you to, as a personal favor. I remember I was talking with one of the guys I love who was so embittered at somebody in Washington and he said, I can’t forgive him.

And when he said what they did, I was thinking, well, I’ll agree with you on that. That guy’s a real SOB, you know, I mean, I’m not gonna deny that part, but you have to forgive him. And he said, why? I said, number one, do you have any affection or esteem for Jesus? He said, of course. I said, well, He’s asking you to as a personal favor to Him. Would you do it for Christ? He said, I would. The second reason is you have to forgive for yourself according to Jesus, right here. He said, blessed are the merciful for what will they obtain? Mercy. The opposite of mercy is bitterness. You don’t want to end up an old bitter fella. You ever been around bitter people? They’re repellent, they’re emotional vampires. You try to comfort ’em, cheer ’em up, encourage ’em. There’s nothing you can tell ’em that’ll do it. And they suck all your emotional energy out and they move on to the next person. You really don’t want to end up embittered. You’re really part of the problem then. Jesus Christ said, whatever measure you give will be the measure you get.

Please walk outta here, or by the end of the day, as you think about it, while you’re driving to work, if there’s anybody you haven’t forgiven, Jesus is asking you to do that as a personal favor to Him and do it so you can receive mercy. And also, they’ll benefit too.

The sixth attitude (Beatitude) is what? Pure in heart. Blessed are the pure and heart. Now there’s a nuclear ending to that; for they shall see God. Now you have no mathematical chance of being pure in heart unless you have been merciful. There are two divisions of pure in heart. The first one is moral purity. And that’s getting a lot of attention now, and it should. But the second is social purity. This is where we come up to some; this is where when you have a relationship with somebody, you say, I don’t want anything from you, but the privilege of being your friend and helping you be successful. Jesus Christ said, we’re to be servants and the definition of a servant is somebody who makes somebody else, somebody who gets excited about making somebody else successful. Social purity is where you don’t want anything they have.

Now, I’m gonna tell you this as we’re about to hit the bottom of the mountain ’cause the last two go very quickly is that I can tell you a secret. If you want to have a profound ministry in the people around you, and here it is, don’t want anything they have. Don’t want anything they have. You will be in line by yourself relationally with that person ’cause just about everybody else they know wants something. Now, sometimes you’re not trying to get their money, you just want their approval or the association but if you cannot want anything they have, you then become a candidate to have a powerful ministry in other people’s lives.

Well, the last two, what are the, what’s the seventh one? Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are the peacemakers. I do these together. And then blessed are the persecuted. You know, for righteousness sake, not your own sake, peacemakers, they shall be called sons of God. One of the ways men are not peacemakers is running their mouth. They talk about people, and they stir up strife, they stir up discord, and they destroy people’s reputations. I always tell men, the fastest way to be a peacemaker is just shut up and think about what you’re saying about people. The persecution part; they say, why would a peacemaker be persecuted? Well, where do they usually go? Where the trouble is.

Now, here’s the close. After the Beatitudes there are the Similitudes. Christ says this, and here’s the promise. This will be a lesson for another day. But He said, if you have these eight attitudes, this will be your impact on a secular world. There’s a connection here, and the lesson ends, You’re the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It’s good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot of men. You’re the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Jesus Christ said, if you have these attitudes, you will be a light for people. You’ll be salt, which is a preserving influence.

I want to just close by making this comment. One of the great Jewish thinkers, a fellow I’ve met with and like from Los Angeles, is a fellow named Dennis Prager. Dennis has never named Jesus as Messiah. I always hope that he will one day, but he’s said this about Christians. “If the Christians go down, the country goes down because these teachings of Jesus that we carry with us, truly as the salt and the preserving influence in business, and the corruption in government and all around, but serious Christians who carry these attitudes in the Holy Spirit are part of the solution.”

Our lesson ends today with that same question from Christ. Do you wanna be part of the problem or part of the solution?

The other day, I was by myself a couple of months ago and I had a computer, and you know, I was feeling like I wanted to take a peek at a woman. Now, my love life with my wife is great, and I don’t have a lot of secrets. I don’t have a secret life, but it’s what men call feeling horny, and it just comes on you from time to time and you don’t know when, nobody was around, and I was so tempted to click on something. I’ll tell you how powerful this question is, and I’d even had it worked out where it wouldn’t be that bad, what I’d click on, but it’d be the same stuff, you know. I asked myself, I had that thought, do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution? And I thought, you know, it’s like going in a voting machine. The minute I click, I just voted that Jerry Leachman wants to be part of the problem. And I just took my hand back and I said, you know, I don’t wanna be part of the problem. I wanna be part of the solution, and I didn’t vote to be part of the problem. Every attitude decision you make today, you’re voting; the problem or the solution.

Let me have a prayer for you as we send you out the tunnel. This is just the coaches meeting. You gotta run out on the tunnel. Get on the field, pick out something with a different colored jersey and knock it naked. Okay?

Lord, I pray for these men that they would hunger and thirst to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Every time we vote to have a wrong attitude, we’ve just decided we wanna be part of the problem. There’s nothing special about us. We’re just like everybody else out facing the crowd. I pray for a spirit of revival in the heart of these men. I pray that they would cease from anger and become meek like the great racehorse Secretariat. We don’t park our power at the door. We submit it to our commander in chief. We pray these things as we’ve had this lesson. Thank you for your brilliant teaching. In Christ’s name, amen. Lord be with you.


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