Tune in for the season finale of this year. We will be taking a short break from the podcast, but we hope to see you all back in February of 2023! Until then, know that I love you, that God loves you, and may we all each and every day set our minds above!
Hey everybody, and welcome back to the Set Your Mind Above Podcast! I’m your host BJ Sipe – I’m a Christian, a preacher, a husband, and a father. In this podcast we take everyday, ordinary events and explore how they can teach us extraordinary, eternal truths. I’m so glad that you joined me for this episode. Now, let’s open up our minds, our hearts, and our Bible’s together.
We have reached the end of the year already. It’s crazy to look back and see how much has changed in our lives over the past year, the highlight of course being the birth of our third child, Finley Grace. Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of sharing everyday, ordinary events from my life with you – and the many different spiritual lessons that they have continued to teach me. I hope and pray that the work I have been doing has been beneficial to you. I think that sometimes inevitably you wonder what kind of fruit, if any, is being born from your work. But even if that answer was none, I know that there is fruit being born in my life from doing this work. Continuing to challenge myself to set my mind above has helped me to shape the way that I view everything through a heavenly lens. We’ll spent some more time talking about that in just a few minutes. But before then, I wanted to be sure to pass along some news about the podcast fist. Not only have we reached the end of the year, but we have reached the end of this second season. In view of the Holidays coming up and a lot of personal travel over the next several months, we are going to be taking a break from the podcast. The plan is to resume our weekly episodes beginning in February of 2023. Season 3 should have some exciting new things to come, including not only some more guest episodes, but perhaps even some regular interviews with some very special guests. More on that to come, so be sure to stay tuned. I want to thank you all for tuning in over the past year and a half and growing together with me. If you would have told me that by the end of this year, we would have over 16,000 downloads from 45 counties and over 1000 cities, I wouldn’t believe it. I am so grateful for the interest so many have had, not for any personal gain of my own, but that God has given me a platform to speak the gospel & the teachings of Christ into the minds and hearts of thousands I would not have had the ability to have reached otherwise. And so, I have one more opportunity to do so this year here in this season finale. So without any further delay let’s jump into today’s episode.
It was Tuesday evening; the sun was just starting to set and I was outside pushing the kids on the swings. We were all bundled up in our big jackets and enjoying some outside time as long as we could possibly stand the cold. After about 20 minutes my shoulders started to get tired from pushing the kids back and forth, so I sat down in the wicker chair to just watch them as they played. It wasn’t long after I sat down that my wife opened the door to the backyard. I hadn’t even looked at her face yet when I knew something was wrong by her tone. “Honey, can you come inside please,” she said, with tears streaming down her face. My smile quickly faded away as I told the kids to stay outside and play while I went in to talk to mommy. I hustled in and closed the door behind me as I anxiously asked, “What’s wrong honey? What’s going on?” Before I continue this story, I want to say that names of this story are going to be completely changed, because not everyone that knew him and was close to him is even aware of this information yet. So, we will just call him, “our friend.” Kylie sat down, looked at me with tear filled eyes, and said, “BJ…our friend just died.” As soon as his name came out of her mouth, I felt my legs go out from under me. I immediately fell back onto the couch, in complete shock, and completely speechless. I had no words that I could share, as I was in utter disbelief. Apparently, while we were outside, Kylie had been inside texting different folks that we had hoped to send Christmas cards to in order to get their address. Well, our friend was on this list. After sending him a text, her phone rang and she answered the phone expecting to hear is deep, calming voice. Instead, she was greeted by our friends wife. “I saw your text and knew that I needed to call,” she said, “I’m so sorry to have to say that my husband just passed away two weeks ago.” She proceeded to tell Kylie that his cancer had come back with a sudden vengeance, and that he died peacefully surrounded by his family on Thanksgiving Day. As Kylie shared all of this with me, tears started streaming down my face. I hurt for his wife, and I hurt even more thinking of all the people she was having to tell the news of her husband’s passing to. You see, our friend was not just very special to us, but very special to so many people. He was there for us through some of the hardest parts of our lives. He offered wise counsel, thoughtful correction, and reassuring perspectives to both my wife and I in our marriage. I remember the times that he would hold one of our children as an infant asleep on his chest as he sat with us and listened to us. This man I am speaking of was one of the best men I have ever known. He was kind, gentle, wise, selfless, and compassionate. Even as he was dying, and even during his first bouts with cancer, he would spend his time even while suffering calling others, including us, and checking on them. If there was anyone, ever, that modeled what it means to be a servant of others – it was our friend. Kylie I sat there, embraced, and all we could say was, “I can’t believe he’s gone. We had just talked a few months ago and everything was okay.” By this point, the children had gotten cold and wanted to come inside. As soon as they came in through the back door, they also knew something was very wrong. Ava, our very empathetic and thoughtful 4-year-old, was the first on the scene. “What’s wrong mommy & daddy? Are you sick?” she asked. Kylie picked Dane up in a hug, and I invited Ava to come sit on my lap. “No honey,” I said, “Mommy and Daddy are just very sad. You see, we just found out that our very dear friend who we love very much just died.” Ava’s face sunk, she leaned in and hugged my neck and said, “I’m so sorry Daddy, I’m so sorry your friend died.” I started to cry even harder as my little girl comforted me with her warm embrace. As I cried, Ava leaned back and started to wipe the tears away from my face…and that’s when she said the following powerful words. “Daddy, you don’t need to cry. Your friend is going to come back to life one day, and you’ll see him again in heaven. Isn’t that right, Daddy?” Kylie and I immediately made eye contact with each other, and though the tears flowed down our cheeks, the truths that were spoken from the mouth of my little girl brought the first smiles back to our faces. “That’s right, sweetheart,” I said, “Mommy & Daddy will see him again in heaven one day.” That’s what it’s all about right there, folks…thank God for the faith of a child to speak hope, truth, & peace into our hearts.
This podcast is called, “Set Your Mind Above” – and that name is not without careful thought and significant purpose. They are words that are borrowed from the apostle Paul, who wrote them to the church at Colossae. In his letter to them, he would write in the third chapter in verses one through four, “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” What did Paul mean by these things? How are we to live in such a way as he has described, to “seek the things above where Christ is” and to “set our minds on things above”? While in this podcast we have spent the last year and a half taking every day, ordinary events to teach us extraordinary, eternal truths – there is a simpler way to summarize what Paul is teaching us to do in this text. Here is what we have been called to do: to live in such a way that our every word, action, and thought are impacted by our eternal hope of heaven. Every part our lives is viewed through a heavenly lens. It is when we do this that it will change every single area of our life.
It changes the way that we view suffering. While a mind that is set on the flesh will avoid suffering at all costs, a mind that is set on the things that are above will endure it. When we view suffering through a heavenly lens, we adopt the attitude of Paul when he wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
It changes the way that we parent our children. While a mind that is set on the flesh will discipline out of anger or pride, and raise one’s children how they see fit, a mind that is set on the things that are above does not. When we view parenting through a heavenly lens, we remember that we are merely stewards of our children, and that they have been given to me by God to carry out his will to equip them & help them to get to heaven. For we read in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
It changes the way that we view our work. While a mind that is set on the flesh will grumble about their boss, co-workers, and their job as a whole, a mind that is set on the things above does not. When we view work through a heavenly lens, we are reminded who we are serving ultimately through the things that we do. As we read, “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)
It changes the way that we view marriage. While a mind that is set on the flesh approaches marriage through selfishness and pride, forsaking one’s vows, the mind that is set on the things above does not. When we view marriage through a heavenly lens, we understand that marriage is a metaphor to teach us to practice the same selflessness & humility as Christ has done for his bride, the church. For we read, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:31-32)
It changes the way that we view death. While a mind that is set on the flesh sees death is the end of all things, a mind that is set on the things above does not. When we view death through a heavenly lens, we are reminded that death is just as natural as birth, and that in view of our hope of a heavenly home, something that those in Christ should actually long for. That while we grieve the passing of those we love in Christ, that their passing is into glory, where we will one day be with them again in the presence of Jesus. My daughter reminded me of that this week. As we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For we say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
My friends, the point is simple: living with heaven in mind will change every single area of our lives. It will give us the courage to do the hardest things, the strength to endure the most trying things, the peace to calm the most distressing thoughts, and the joy to brighten the most discouraging days. A mind set above knows that this world is not our home, that we are merely foreigners here on this earth, and that we should live as such. Our home, and our eternal destiny, lies in heaven with Jesus. There is a preacher I greatly respected who would end nearly all of his sermons with the same admonition to something of this effect, “If you miss heaven, you’ve missed all there is.” Is it possible that so many of us are already missing heaven right now? That through the way we think, the lens we see the events and occasions of this life through is not a heavenly one? If I’m not living with heaven in mind, then I’m already missing the point, and I’m missing all that there is. I have spent that last year and half reminding us to each and every day set our minds above. That reminder has not just been for you, it’s been for me. It’s the reason that I choose to continue to focus on the little things that happen day in and day out that point my mind back to where it belongs: home. It’s where I long to be, and it’s where I’m going by the grace of God when my short life on this earth is over. What about you? Are you going home? I sure hope and pray that you are. There is an old proverb that goes something like this, “Live your life in such a way that when you are born you will cry and others will rejoice, but that when you die that others will cry and yet you will rejoice.” Such a life as described in this proverb is a life that is lived with heaven in mind. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to go home.
Thank you for tuning in for this week’s episode and thank you all for tuning in throughout the past year. I would invite you back for a brand-new season starting in February of 2023. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook for occasional announcements and special video sessions. If you have benefited from this podcast, please if you’re able to be sure to share it with someone else that you think could benefit from it as well. Until next year, know that I love you, that God loves you, and may we all each & every day set our minds above.