From Survive to Thrive - Part 2 (Transcript)

Dr. Dobson: You're listening to Family Talk, the radio broadcasting division of the James Dobson Family Institute. I am that James Dobson and I'm so pleased that you've joined us today.

Sammy Rodriguez: When you're humble, you don't necessarily have to get your opinion across, because your opinion is not more important than God's word. How about this? When you're humble, get over yourself. I feel this. I have to get this off my chest. Well, guess what? Your feelings don't trump God's word.

Roger Marsh: That's Pastor Sammy Rodriguez, our guest for a second day on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Yesterday, our cohost, Dr. Tim Clinton, talked with Sammy about his new book entitled From Survive to Thrive. So glad you could join us today to hear the conclusion of their inspiring conversation.

Not only is Pastor Rodriguez the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership conference with 42,000 member churches in the US, but Time Magazine nominated him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. At President Donald Trump's inauguration in January of 2017, Sammy became the first Latino evangelical to participate in a presidential swearing in ceremony. Today, Pastor Rodriguez reveals the seven virtues that will empower you, through Christ, to not just survive life, but to thrive. Let's listen now.

Dr. Clinton: Sam, welcome back. Thank you for joining us.

Sammy Rodriguez: Thank you for having me again.

Dr. Clinton: Sam, as we get started today, I want to go back, but we're talking about battling our way through life. So many people live stuck, and I think there's a lot of want, a lot of desire for change. They want to get to a different place, but a lot of people don't know how, or they're just held down, almost held under. They're crying out saying, "God help me." Sam, again, what are you seeing in people? Change is hard, Sam.

Sammy Rodriguez: Change is difficult. Change is not easy, but we serve a God who never changes, who is the greatest facilitator of change. Isn't that powerful? The God that never changes is the quintessential facilitator, the prompter of change and transformation. In Christ, all things are possible. We are transformed. We're changed into new creations, 2 Corinthians 5:17. We're changed into a new man, a new woman. Even the apostle Paul says, on a daily basis, we are admonished to change, renew your mind. In other words, in the Greek that is change your mind daily. Make it afresh.

Every single day demands change, but it is that constant change on our behalf as we become more and more like Jesus, that will enable us to stop surviving in perpetuity and start thriving for the glory of God. For the sake of your children and your children's children, we change.

I always argue that the wineskin is equally as important as the wine. Now that's not me. That was Jesus. I mean, he gave that parable. It was beautiful. But I talk to my leadership team at church and I talk about, "Hey guys, the Lord is never going to pour out fresh wine in this church unless the wineskin is able to handle the new wine."

Again, the words of Jesus apply towards a church leadership setting, but that goes for Sam Rodriguez, that goes for Tim Clinton. It goes for Dr. James Dobson. It goes for all of us. God has something new for us. His mercies are new every morning. Every single day there is new mercy, there are new blessings. There are new things that God wants to do in you, with you and through you, but it requires you to make sure that your wineskin every single day lines up with the wine that you've been praying for. For whatever reason, if you can't change, why don't you permit the Lord to change you?

There are two things that we never lose the ability to do. Even when you lose the ability to do everything else, we don't lose the ability to cry out. As long as you can cry out to God, crying out is powerful. As long as you can cry out to God. The second thing is the ability to come in agreement, to come in agreement in His Word, with His Spirit, with fellow believers that are praying for you to stop surviving and start thriving.

Dr. Clinton: Sam, as I was listening to you, and I was thinking about the broadcast yesterday, my mind went to little league for a moment. If you can go with me for a second, look at that little guy in the box and you have all these people around, spectators, parents, everybody, their coaches, and this little guy steps in the box and he's struggling to get a hit. Next thing you hear from the crowd is, "Listen, move up on the plate. No, no, no. Get your weight back over your back foot. No, no, no. Open up your front foot. No, no, don't get your hands up. Hey, move your bat a little bit. Take that outside pitch to the right side. Don't try to pull it down." It's like, I'm getting blitzed with what I need to do to make adjustments.

Now go into the insanity of where we've been through the pandemic and everything and people are telling me what I need to do. We're talking today about moving from surviving to thriving. Sam, I want you, and we had a dynamic conversation yesterday and we're going to talk again about holy and healed as we get started on the journey here. But Sam, what makes this message unique? What is it that "anchors" me here for a moment and says, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. I hear you coach. I didn't see that. I hear you."

Sammy Rodriguez: Let me have your undivided attention. Don't die in the desert of procrastination. In yesterday's broadcast we referenced the fact using a biblical narrative as a metaphor that every single person is either right now in Egypt, spiritually, relationally, ministry-wise, career-wise. You're either in Egypt, which means you're making bricks without straw, you're enslaved, you're held captive, or you're in the desert. You're no longer enslaved, but you're not in the promised land. You're not malnourished, but you're eating manna every single day and water from the rock, and you're going around in circles. You can't deny it. Or you're in the promised land, the land of milk and honey. Where are you?

This is why this message is for you, because God didn't place you on this planet. Jesus didn't die and resurrect, send his precious spirit for you to live in Egypt or in the desert. He came to give you life abundantly. That's John 10:10, the latter part. That's the promised land, indeed.

Now of course, we know that vertically, the quintessential promised land is a relationship with Christ for eternity, eternal life through and with Christ Jesus. But horizontally, that means on this side of eternity, there's more for you, absolutely. That's why this message is so critical, Tim. Without a doubt, don't die in the desert of procrastination. Don't die in the desert of making excuses. Don't die in the desert of looking at your past. Don't die in the desert of groaning and moaning about what you just went through in the 2020 crazy year or in the past five years or in the past season in your marriage, your family, your career, your personal life struggle. Don't die in the desert, going around in circles. God has something great for you and your family.

Tim, the Israelites never built an altar in the desert. Are you aware of that? They built the altar when they got to the land of promise, when they crossed over Gilgal and they actually said, "Joshua, why are we building this altar?" For our children and our children and our children's children's children. When they ask, "How did we get here," there's a living memorial, a testimony that will remind them, of look what the Lord has done. Ladies and gentlemen, don't die in the desert. Don't die in Egypt. You and your family go into that land of promise, go into that land of milk and honey, don't just survive, thrive in Jesus' name.

Dr. Clinton: Sam, we started some building blocks yesterday. We built on the foundation of holiness. I mean, you've got to anchor yourself in what's right and to still call sin, sin. You've got to deal with issues in your life. You've got to pursue that in your heart.

The second thing we talked about was heal. We carry a lot of pain in our lives. We need to seek out that kind of healing because we affect and we infect those around us and it keeps us down. When you do those things, it begins to set you up for, and let's go there Sam, healthy. You talk about healthy. This is the third H that you've got to understand and hold onto.

Sammy Rodriguez: That's third John chapter one, verse two. It's the reality that the Apostle John talks about, filled with God's Holy Spirit, writing this narrative, that there is heaven's health prescription on this side of eternity, that it is the will of God for you to be healthy. Now the Greek word there, it's expanded. It's not just spiritual health and vitality. It's physical, mental, emotional. It encompasses the A to Z elements of your life. It is the will of God, without a doubt.

At the same time, we confront illnesses, sicknessesā€¦ absolutely. We live in a broken world. If you're confronting, doesn't mean you're insane. It does not. That's cuckoo for cocoa puff theology. We don't believe it because we live in a broken world indeed.

But my point is that it is the will of God. He talks about us living a healthy life. Tim, we're talking about healthy across the board and for us to be healthy, we have to be cognizant of the fact that what we take in will determine our health firewall, this COVID-19 pandemic that we're coming out of now. The vaccine is everywhere. Those that are taking the vaccine, those that are not, but the vaccine is widely disseminated now, and here we are.

A little story, Tim, for your audience, Family Talk, because I love Dr. Dobson, one of my heroes, and you're one of my closest buddies, and I love you. Here it is. I haven't shared this before on this kind of platform. I went through COVID and my family did, first week of July, 2020, and we get contact tracing. We know where we got it.

Sam Rodriguez was 97%-98% asymptomatic. I'm a runner and I basically had a chill and coffee tasted like mud and that was it. Actually I ran better, true story, during COVID than out of COVID. [crosstalk 00:10:22] better [inaudible 00:10:23], my lungs were better, my breathing was better, but I took a test after the fact.

Dr. Clinton: Interesting.

Sammy Rodriguez: I had antibodies, so I knew, I mean I doubted if I had it, if not for the antibody test. But here's my point. I take vitamins. I do. Some people are not in favor. I do. I take care of my health by the grace of God. The vitamin supplements, including vitamin D, zinc and all that that I've been taking for years served along with, of course, more importantly, just the covering of the grace of the Lord. I get that. But my vitamin regimen, my exercise regimen, served as a deterrent, a firewall against the COVID-19 virus, healthy. It's not what we do reactively, it's what we do preventatively.

What are you doing financially speaking to make sure your financial portfolio is healthy? What are you doing relationally in your marriage? Are you waiting for things to fall apart in your marriage in order for you to address them? Or are you taking preventative steps, relationally speaking, in your marriage, in your home, your children? Are you going to wait for those teen years that are precarious or are you creating a foundation with your little ones now that you are injecting them, inoculating them? You're incorporating relational, spiritual vaccination so when your children hit 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, they don't deviate from the word of the Lord? That's my point. Health is based on not what we do when things fall apart. It's a preventive lifestyle of health awareness in all aspects of our life.

Dr. Clinton: Now Sam, it takes work, though. The truth is it's easier, for example, to throw down a donut then to eat the fruit. I'm serious.

Sammy Rodriguez: I hear you.

Dr. Clinton: It's easier to be lazy to not get out of the bed and work. You know that? Like the ant as we're challenged, I mean, seriously, it's the easier path. How do I drag myself out? Because you are right, I want to be healthier. Think about the New Year's resolutions everybody made this year. They want to lower their cholesterol. They want to exercise. They want to read the Bible more. They want to get a more intimate relationship with God. But each one of those things, Sam, take work.

Sammy Rodriguez: Discipline my friend, discipline. Again, an archaic term, Tim, that people don't even want to talk about now because it's not part of the culture. Discipline, self-discipline. How about this? Here's a phrase, oh boy, we're going to get banned for this. Personal responsibility. What a nasty phrase in 2021.

People are opposed to the idea that you are personally responsible, so take personal responsibility for your health. Again, there's the spiritual dynamic that we can't ignore. God's divine intervention in our health, indeed when necessary and needed, we believe that in the healing virtue of Christ, but there are things that we can do preventatively my friend. Every single day, you can say you're obsessive here. Argue that I'm obsessive, be committed to a healthy lifestyle in all ar-, even mental health.

Dr. Clinton: I'm with you Sam.

Sammy Rodriguez: That mental health is so critical. I've learned even mental health, even if it takes two inhales and one prolonged exhale, do it. Make sure you think before you react. It's about our actions, our interactions, and our reactions. Be healthy. I promise you, if you do a health inventory, your physical, mental, emotional, financial, relational health, it will serve for you and for your family to not just survive, but to remove the lid and thrive.

Dr. Clinton: Sam, you've got a few other H's in here and we're battling time, but you talk about being happy, humble, hungry, and then we'll close out with honoring. But real quick, the happy, humble, hungry piece, Sam. [crosstalk 00:14:15] things.

Sammy Rodriguez: The happy part is John 15:11, but it's joy. The word in the Greek there is synonymous and the word that appears there is synonymous. It's happiness is synonymous with joy, but it's God ordained and God sustained joy. It means be joyful. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Joy that the Bible says cannot be explained, even in the most precarious of circumstances, in the most difficult circumstances. That's why we're an anomaly as Christians. You can have joy even in the midst of a storm, absolutely.

I talk about how to activate that joy through the Word of God and the spirit of God in your life. Holy healed, healthy, happy, humble, humility, Tim. Oh boy, humility, humility, humility is actually the marker that will catapult, that will sustain the promises of God in your life. Humility, make those that follow greater than yourself. That's John the Baptist talking about Jesus, greater things they will do in my name. John said, "He who follows me whose sandals I'm not worthy of tying, he will do greater things."

It's about making those that follow you greater than yourself. Humility is acknowledging, 1 Corinthians 15:10, "And by the grace of God, I am what I am." The words of the Apostle Paul. That's humility, where you know that everything you have is by the grace of God, so get over yourself. Really, it's God.

Dr. Clinton: It's the antithesis of everything though that is about contemporary life. It's all about me. You know that Sam. Wait a second, and people get lost in that and they get angry and they want to fight over it. It's like, "What are you taking away from me?" They don't understand servanthood anymore, Sam. But when you bring the humility, when you bring that attitude of service to other people, I'm telling you, it changes the room quickly.

Sammy Rodriguez: There's a way that humble people act and think, and even talk. When you're humble, you don't necessarily have to get your opinion across because your opinion is not more important than God's Word.

How about this? When you're humble, get over yourself. I feel this. I have to get this off my chest. Well, guess what? Your feelings don't trump God's word. When you're humble, you don't have to be the first person in the room speaking. You make room for others. You push others to do greater things, humility. When you're truly humble and you have the spirit of humility that comes through a relationship with Jesus, when you're infused and filled with God's precious Holy Spirit, that humility truly comes out.

Man, I'm telling you, there's no lid on where God will take you. Here's the question that the Lord has to be the conduit of his word. Can I trust you with what you're asking for? Will you stay humble? Will you stay humble if I give you this, if I provide this for you? That humility has to be transmitted to the next generation. Holy, healed, healthy, happy, humble, hungry, that's Matthew chapter five, verse six, hungry for righteousness.

Tim, we need people that are hungry to see an awakening that will lead to a revival, that will lead to cultural reformation, that will result in the greatest harvesting of souls in human history. We need people that hunger for righteousness, hunger for righteousness.

Dr. Clinton: We need people to want it, Sam. We need people to step into the moment. We need people that are fearless. That doesn't mean they don't have any fear, but they're not afraid to say, "You know what? This is a calling. This is a mantle issue. I've got to. I can't stop." It's like telling a dog not to bark. I mean, you've got to jump into these moments and God, raise up a generation to do these things.

Sammy Rodriguez: What do we do, Tim, when we're hungry? What do we do though, when we're hungry, besides the stomach growling? What happens? Everything changes, our mood, our attitude. You are an expert more than I. You understand the chemical shifts that take place in our brain when we're hungry, and the messages that are conveyed through our synapses when we're hungry.

We need hungry people. We need people that are hungry enough to defend the life, the sanctity of life, to come against the viciousness, the assault on the beauty of the sanctity of life, via the conduit of abortion. We need people that are hungry to stand up for biblical truth, to talk about truth regarding human sexuality, regarding gender identity, regarding the family structure. We need people that are hungry enough to push back on secular totalitarianism and the infringement on our God-given rights by government. We need people hungry enough to say something.

Dr. Clinton: We need men to rise up to step into this moment, too. Don't we Sam?

Sammy Rodriguez: Tim, we have seen this, I'm sorry for the strong term, the cultural, political castration of mankind, of masculinity. There has been an attempt to completely castrate, to remove all vestiges of viable, healthy masculinity from Western culture and society, without a doubt. The majority of men are just biting the bullet going, "Well." Well, guess what? We need real men to rise up. We need men committed to the word of God, to their families. We need men committed to truth and righteousness to stand up in Jesus' name and once again, occupy the space.

I'm not talking about going back to some sort of archaic mindset that was culturally driven, demoting, demeaning sort of condescending disparaging way of operating in a patriarchal world where women were second class. Not that. I'm talking about where we take our biblical role as high priest, as men of God, with spiritual authority in our homes, in our culture and in our society, and stop drinking the wimpy little Kool-Aid that we're drinking because of political realities and commercials that we're seeing across the board.

Dr. Clinton: That Nehemiah 4 piece becomes real. I mean, and to fight for your women and for your wives and for your children and more. We need men to step into these moments, to be strong in their homes, in their churches and in their communities like never before. God help us. Sam, close us out with this. Your last H is an honoring life.

Sammy Rodriguez: Honor, honor, honor, honor, honor. Ephesians chapter six, honor, honor. Honor those that came be for you. I honor Dr. James Dobson, a general in the Kingdom, in the body of Christ. [crosstalk 00:20:39] for families across the board, not just Christian families, but families across the board, second to none.

I honor Dr. Tim Clinton for your leadership in addressing mental health issues way ahead of the game, when few others in Christendom have the audacious faith to address these issues.

I honor men and women of God like Billy Graham. I honor my spiritual fathers and mothers who went before me. I honor my parents. They're still with us by the grace of God. I honor my parents. I honor my wife's mother who's still with us. Honor, honor, honor, honor, honor.

Sure, there are promises connected to the honor. They are embedded in scripture. It's actually the first commandment with a promise, but it goes way beyond the [21:20 INAUDIBLE]. There's beauty and honor in recognizing that we wouldn't be here if not for the pioneers that preceded us. Live a life of honor and you will not ever just survive in perpetuity when your family will do nothing less than thrive.

Dr. Clinton: Sam, I've heard many times this statement: where there's no honor there will be no honor.

Sammy Rodriguez: Absolutely.

Dr. Clinton: If we embrace that, it begins to change the dynamic of everyone and everything around us. Sam, let's close this way. Again, probably a lot of people listening. They're going through tough times. They've been waiting for a word from the Lord. They're crying out, maybe sometimes saying, "God, I can't take anymore. It's hard to do this thing. I mean, we're just holding on and I want to be set free. We need something else here." Sam, encourage us, give us hope. "Hope deferred," the scripture says, "makes the heart sick." A lot of people heart sick right now.

Sammy Rodriguez: Right now, for every single person listening in, God's purpose for your life clearly outlined in scripture is for you to have eternal life, John 3:16, for you to have abundant life, John 10:10, and new life, 2 Corinthians 5:17. Are you living that life? If not, not being the conduit of your own doings, but right now be the conduit of God's precious spirit through this broadcast, through this interaction, that lid is coming off you, that is holding you back from living that life that Christ died and resurrected for.

My prayer is right now in the name of Jesus, that all the lids on your joy, your love, your peace, on living a life of truth, every single lid impeding you from living a holy, healed, healthy, happy, humble, hungry, honoring life. Let every single lid be removed, not for a week or a season, but forevermore. You will live life without a lid from this moment on by faith through Christ, as you receive the word of God through the word of God and permit the spirit of God to continue the work that Christ already began in you, Philippians 1:6. That's for you and your family. Your children will not inherit your sins. Your children will inherit your blessings. Your children will be cognizant of your testimony and they will even overcome their giants. Looking back, if God did it for mom and dad, if He did it for grandma and grandpa, He'll do it for me [crosstalk 00:23:54]. He is able to do it again.

Dr. Clinton: Dr. Dobson and I join you Sam in praying for and with those who are listening, that God would set people free. More than that, that they would step boldly into this moment with the testimony of Christ and the people will rejoice at who he is in the midst of it all. Sam, we celebrate the gift of God in you. We appreciate your voice. There are very few people who have the energy that you have, my friend. Hey, make God raise you up for such a time as this to do good things. May the people rejoice at who He is again. Thank you for joining us.

Sammy Rodriguez: Thank you for having me, dear friend.

Roger Marsh: I love how Pastor Rodriguez summarizes God's purpose for your life as clearly outlined in scripture, for you to have eternal life, John 3:16, for you to have abundant life, John 10:10, and to have a new life, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

To learn more about Pastor Rodriguez and his new book, From Survive to Thrive, visit our broadcast page at If you missed any part of this broadcast, or if you want to hear part one of the conversation, you can hear all of that in their entirety at

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Thanks so much for listening to family talk. I'm Roger Marsh, join us again next time for another edition of the broadcast.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
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