Well, howdy everybody. I am a Texan after all, and maybe you'll allow me to say that. Welcome to Family Talk. I'm your host, James Dobson. You know, I've spoken with many Christians over the years, especially moms who feel as though they're giving their best in every area of life, but that it still isn't good enough if that describes your situation right now, you've tuned into the right place. On today's edition of Family Talk, I want you to hear a presentation by a most inspiring woman on a familiar theme from John chapter 6.
It was relating to the occasion where Jesus was feeding the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. Dr. Lori Salierno-Maldonado is the founder, president and CEO of Celebrate Life International. That's a ministry designated to motivate inspired teens and young adults in their faith. She's a graduate from Seattle Pacific University and she earned her master's degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and earned her doctorate in ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary. Dr. Salierno-Maldonado is married to Jose Maldonado and they make their home in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, I know you're going to be inspired by this presentation as our speaker talks about serving God with what you have on today's edition of Family Talk.
Lori Salierno-Maldonado: The word of God says that where there is no vision, people will perish. Vision is the ability to focus on God's plan for the world, to grow in his heart, to grow in his mind, but it's also anticipating his power working through us to accomplish that plan. Vision is extremely powerful. In fact, it has been said every great person and every great work has come under the influence of a vision. And through this passage of Scripture, we see that when God calls us to a vision, He will invite us to be part of something bigger than ourselves. He'll invite us to be part of something that requires the very best from ourselves and he will invite us to be part of something that will outlive ourselves. But vision is extremely powerful.
And when we come to the vision that God has for us, many times we want to know is it safe? Does it make sense? But when God calls you to his vision, He calls you to something that transcends safety. He calls you to something that transcends common sense. It is all about Jesus Christ. He will call us to be part of something bigger than ourselves, that if supernaturally He does not intervene, we will not make it. "So when he saw the crowd coming toward them, he said to Phillip, 'Phillip, where are we going to buy bread for these people to eat?'" He asks him this question because he wants Philip to see something. He wants the little boy to see something. He wants his disciples to see something. He wants the crowd to see something. He wants them to see who he is because as we come to understand who Christ is, then we can begin to understand the vision that he has for our life.
And Phillip could not see it. He said, "Lord, if eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite." He was inviting him to be a part of something much bigger than himself. What is interesting is that God is constantly initiating an invitation to you and to me to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves. The issue for us is have we trained our souls to perceive his voice because he is initiating that call and when he invites us to catch a vision that will include something bigger than ourselves, he's going to ask us to live, to move, to breathe, and to exist in the God space. Now, let me tell you what the God space is. It's where the need is greater than the resources. It's where the opportunity is greater than your ability. But in this Gods space, complete an immediate obedience is required because it is not about you. And it's not about me, but it's about Jesus Christ.
He's inviting us to His current and His current is so much larger than anything we can do, but He requires complete and immediate obedience. But He wants us as people of vision to live within the God space. Moses was in the God space when he had the Red Sea and the people of Israel behind him. David was in the God space when Goliath was before him. Elijah was in the God space. When he was before the 450 prophets of Baal and brought fire down, he was in the God space. It's the place where we move and we exist in the current of the power, the Holy Spirit. And without God, we cannot and without us he will not. It's an incredible invitation to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Now, I was invited to speak at an inner city school in a public assembly in their public school. When I got there, the superintendent brought me aside and he said, "Word has gotten out into the community that you are one of those, what do you guys call yourself? You church people? What do you guys call yourselves?" I said, "Blood washed, born again believers in Jesus Christ." He goes, "Yeah, yeah." He said, "Word got out that you're one of those and a God, everyone in the community a little nervous. And they asked me if I would pull you from the schedule, but I'm a man of my word. I'm a man of my word. And I said to them, I will still have her speak."
He said, "Now you have to understand we have not had an assembly in this inner city school for 17 years because the last time we had one there was a riot and it was absolutely horrible. But I believe now we can try to reinstate that." He said, "However, in order to bring comfort to the community," we were in the gymnasium. He said, "Do you see the row of policemen in the back?" And I said, "Yes." He said, "Let me tell you why they're here just in case you get so led to cross the line between church and state, they will come up, pull you off stage mid-sentence. Is there any part of that that you do not understand?"
I said, "Well, who are the people in front of the policeman?" He said, "Those are the educators." And they're like this. I said, "Why are they so upset?" He said, "They do not like you." I said, "They don't know me. How do they know they don't like me?" He said, "Just don't do anything that would embarrass me or my administration."
In came a thousand kids on one side of the gymnasium, a thousand kids on the other side with a balcony filled. I sat down. The youth pastor who was part of that process leaned over and he said, "I would never do what you're about ready to do." And I said, "Lord, why am I here?" He said, "Lori, do you remember in your prayer time when you said, Lord, if there's anything that other Christians are too afraid to do, I'll do it?" I said, "Yes." He goes, "This is one of them." The administrator got up to introduce me. He could not even get the attention of his student body, which is not a good sign. I got up and took the mic. Before I could say my first word. A girl on the third balcony to my right stood up and she said, "Lady, take this." And she gave me the finger. And as I'm looking at her, a guy from the balcony yelled out, "Hey lady, what are you doing after the assembly? Because my two friends and I, we want to do ya."
And in that moment, the Holy Spirit of the living God said to me, "Lori Salierno, you're struggling. It's not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world. You have my person, you have my power, you have my presence. You have the word of God. You have the body of Christ. You may not be able to speak my name, but you can speak forth my truth. And I want you to know that if you'll speak forth my universal absolute objective truth, my word will not come back void, but it will pierce the darkness. Speak forth my truth."
So I started telling those students, I told them that they were created to live by universal objective truth, telling them how to live by wise choices. And I got to the part of my presentation when I was talking about the only way that you can have safe sex is within a monogamous relationship and marriage. And that you were created to be virgins, not Virginians, virgins until you get married. Well, when I used the word virgin, you would think I had just poured striptnine over them. They hate that word. So I went virgin, virgin, virgin. Eight guys to my left stood up and they started rocking back and forth. And as they're rocking, they're inching their way toward me. And so I looked at the administrator of the school, the superintendent, to see what kind of assistance will I be getting when these men get to my body? And this is what he did.
So I said, "Lord, if you do not give me an idea immediately, I will be seeing you in Heaven very, very soon." And as soon as I prayed that the Lord brought an idea to my mind and I said, "I want the whole school to look at these eight guys." And the whole school went ... I said, "When I said the word virgins, they stood up because they're the virgins of the school and they're proud of it." I said, "Men, I want to tell you we need more men in this country step and say we're virgins and continue to be virgins until we get married. Way to go, you leaders of this nation in the future." Those eight guys go ...
When the assembly was over, the superintendent came to me, he goes, he said, "How did you do that?" I said, "Well, let me cross the line between church and state. And I'll tell you one of those big old guys came over and he walked over me, said, "Yo mama, we ain't no virgins." I said, "I know." He said, "But you got talking about truth and how we're supposed to live by objective, universal truth. And my friend leaned over and he said, 'Let's shut the yappy chick up.'" He said, "You know, no one else in this school will do anything about it because they're afraid of us. So we stood up, it's our gang. And we started rocking back and forth, inching our way towards you so we could intimidate you to shut up. Then you have the whole school looking at us like we're the virgins of the school." He said, "We sat down my friend leaned and he goes, 'Now I hate her.' This guy said, 'You might hate her, but she's got you to back up, sit down and shut up.'" He said, "Lady, do you really think I could be a leader of integrity in this country?"
I said, "Yes. And not only that, but you can know the one who loves you more than anyone on this earth. He's the one who created you, Jesus Christ." He said, "How you know He loves me?" I said, "Because He sent me here to tell you that." I went in the back of that gymnasium in a little tiny bathroom, bathroom knelt down by this toilet. And I said to the Lord, "Dear Jesus, I will never do that again if you don't want me to." Now when I prayed that prayer, the Lord said, "Not only am I going to have you do it again, but I'm going to raise you up as point leader of a momentum in this country that's going to take biblical absolute universal objective truth into the public educational system of the United States. And we are going to cultivate the hearts of young people and bring a generation out of darkness into light. And I am asking you, are you available?"
Lord, the educational system is so big and so confused and so political. "Are you available? I'm asking you, Lori, to be part of something bigger than yourself, something that you cannot do without my supernatural interventions. Are you available?" I said, yes, Lord, I don't know how He's going to do it. I didn't know how He was going to do it there, but it wasn't about the how, it was about the what. I simply had to be available to the what. I want to tell you something. The same is true of you. We may not know how He's going to do it completely, but bottom line, are we available to be a part of something bigger than ourselves? And then Jesus shows us this little boy and Mark chapter six, the same reporting of this story, Jesus says in Mark 6, "Go see what is available." He was inviting them to be part of something bigger themselves, but He required the best from someone.
Go see what is available. So His disciples, they go and they find this little boy, isn't it so incredible. It's a little boy and the disciples go to him and say, yeah, son. When he got there, I have a lunch. What's in it? I don't know. My mom made it. Could you check it out? Sure. Five barley loaves and two small fish. Now we know by that lunch, that description has just described a boy that is in poverty because the barley loaves were the bread of the poor. And the two small fish were probably much like sardine to keep them eatable in that condition while they were not refrigerated because they didn't have refrigeration. So the disciples said to the boy, "Son, Jesus Christ would like your lunch." Is he hungry? Well no, these people are. Now he has an option. He can say, "What does that have to do with my lunch?"
And the disciples going to say, "Well, that's a good question. We're not sure, but we believe that he wants to feed these people with your lunch." And the boy can decide to deny it or join it. He can say, "Listen, if I can't help it, if you guys don't bring your lunch anyway, if I give you my lunch, how am I going to eat? Besides my lunch will not feed this multitude." He could deny the call. He could deny the initiation of the vision. He could deny the invitation of Jesus Christ. He could have denied the miracle and not been a part of the vision that God had for him. And I want to tell you something, we can too. God will come to you and invite you. He'll come to me and invite me. And we can either say yes or we can say no.
But if we've got ourselves so focused on the lunch, we'll never say yes to the Savior. But this little boy said, "You bet. I got to see this." So he brought this meager little lunch to the Lord Jesus Christ. Once again, God won't do it without us and we can't do it without him. The little boy didn't have much, but he had the materials of a miracle. Moses didn't have much, but he had the materials of a miracle. David didn't have much, but he had the materials of a miracle. Elijah didn't have much, but he had the materials of a miracle. You don't have much. I don't have much, but we have the materials of a miracle. We have our little lunch, and when we surrender our lunch in the hands of the Almighty God in the person of Jesus Christ, it immediately becomes His unlimited possibilities. We don't have much, but we must give Him everything that we've got because God requires that we give Him the best of everything that we are.
On a flight from LA back to Atlanta, Georgia, I'm getting my doctorate right now, writing the dissertation. I had so many miles that they bumped me up to first class with those points and I just asked the Lord when I got on the airplane, I said, Lord, "I love you to death. You know I do. I love sharing the gospel with everyone I meet. But could it be that this trip with three and a half hours of uninterrupted flying that I might be able to do my homework and progress toward my dissertation? I would just prefer not to share you with anyone today if that's just okay, just this one time." Well, I sensed that He said, okay, I don't know.
So I was next to the aisle. And this lady was next to the window and we got up in the air and she looked at me and she said, "Hi ma'am, how are you?" And I just went and I kept writing and reading. She said, "Do you fly Delta much?" Doing my work and she said, the food came and I chose not to eat. And she said, "You don't like the food here on Delta?" And I'm like, I'm thinking "Lady, consider yourself extremely fortunate because when I engage I don't let go." And so as I'm reading, a couple hours go by and she had consistently been asking me questions. I did not say one word, but just gave her that polite little, could you just buzz off? And after about two hours, she said, "Are you a teacher? I mean, is that what you do for a living?"
I looked at her and I said, "No. I am the CEO of a non-profit organization called Celebrate Life International. We are dedicated to student development by building character based on practical leadership skills and strong moral values. We provide personnel and programs and materials that help young people develop lives of integrity, stand strong in healthy habits, create positive relationships and multiply their influence among their peers. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but we have in the next few years about 73 million teens between the ages of 12 to 21 and most of those guys are in 51,000 high schools, and we're going to take the objective absolute universal truth that comes from God's word and we're going to take it into that system, the educational system, of the United States of America bring a generation out of darkness and delight to cultivate their hearts to hear the gospel. That's what I do for a living."
She said, "Well, you just met your best friend." I said, "Why? Who are you?" She said, "My name is Dr. Barbara Border. I work for the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC." I said, "I got to go to the bathroom." I got in that little bathroom and I said, "Lord, can you believe I have been ignoring her?" "Do I have your lunch, Lori?" I said, "Lord, can you believe that she's a doctor in education?" "Do I have your lunch?" I said, "Can you believe I have been sitting next to a woman who works for the US Department of Education?" Lori, do I have your lunch?
And in that little bathroom, 33,000 feet in the air, I said, "Lord, don't you think a football player would be a better point leader? What about a beauty queen was a title and a crown. Jesus, I am so ordinary, this little lunch is nothing." He said, do I have it? I do my work best in weaknesses of humanity. 33,000 feet in that air. I lifted up my hand and I said, "Lord, metaphorically speaking, this is my lunch. Yes, I'm available. I'm willing and I'm obedient." He said, "I need the best of everything that you are. Now get back out there." I went back out there, I sat down next to her. She said, "So you're going to transform public education in the United States of America with objective truth, teaching it in the context of care and relationship. Is that correct?"
She said, "You did say that, didn't you?" I said, "Yeah, it just sounds more scary when you say it than when I say it." She said, "Exactly what do you need to do this?" "Well," I said, "I need key contacts with people that are decision makers. I need a tremendous amount of resources and I need a lot of prayer." She said, "Would you be willing to come to Washington, DC and speak to the entire educational system, Department of Education and share with the same persuasion, power and boldness, the fact that you feel you have a solution for our system? Would you be willing to do that?" Yeah.
She said this, "I've been in this system for 30 years, and you're right, it's dark. And we don't have the answer. Maybe just maybe you have the solution to our problem." I said, "I don't have the solution, but I know the one who does." And since that contact, I've been to Washington, DC twice. Our program is in public schools. It's in alternative schools for at-risk students, and this fall, the juvenile justice system has opened their doors for our program. God will call us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Call us to be a part of something that requires the best of ourselves, but it will also call us to outlive ourselves because we're still talking about the little boy today.
Have you caught the vision of what God wants to do in your life? Because I want you to know when you take your little lunch and you surrender it to him, you will catch a vision of Jesus Christ like you've never done before, and surrendering it to Him becomes His unlimited possibilities to be able to feed a multitude in the power of Jesus Christ because it is all about Him. Jesus Christ was Adam's redeemer. He was Eden's tree of life. He was Abel's vindication. He was Noah's ark, Abraham's sacrifice, Isaac's hope. Let's surrender to Him. He was Judah's Shiloh, Gideon's captain, Moses's rock, Joshua's courage, Deborah's zeal, Samson's strength, Elijah's fire, Samuel's Ebenezer. Praise Him. Praise Him, praise Him.
Jesus Christ was Isaiah's prince of peace. Jeremiah's balm in Gilead. Isaiah's love, Micah's mercy. Amos' justice. David's music, Solomon's wisdom, Zachariah's birch and Malachi's messenger, and Colossians says, "He is the image of the living God, the first born over all creation. For by him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Whether thrones or powers, rulers or authorities, all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things. And in him all things hold together. He is head of the body of the church. He is the beginning of the first born from among the dead, so that in him everything he might have, the supremacy."
And then Revelation says, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. You are worthy to take the scroll into open its seals because you were slain and with your blood, you purchased men from God, from every tribe and language and people and nation. Worthy is the lamb who is sling to receive power and wealth and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and praise. Now to Him who sits on the throne and to the lamb be praise, honor, glory and power forever and ever."
Dr. James Dobson: Well, that electrifying declaration comes from Lori Salierno-Maldonado. I am Dr. James Dobson and on today's edition of Family Talk, we've been listening to a stirring presentation given on the topic of serving God with what you have, and I'm pretty sure you'll be hearing that question. Do I have your lunch in your quiet times and devotional times for many years to come.
In this gospel story about Jesus feeding the 5,000, we often overlooked the fact that it was a young boy who voluntarily gave the disciples his lunch, and he gave it as an offering to the Lord. What confidence that young man demonstrated in that moment. Teaching that trait to children is just as much an art form as it is a science. I write about that in my book, Building Confidence in Your Child. You can learn more about that by ordering a copy of my book or any of my books when you visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org. We're also on Facebook and you can find us when you go on facebook.com/drjamesdobsonsfamilytalk. Thank you for listening today. Be sure to join me again tomorrow for another edition of Family Talk.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.