Bishop Rob Wright For People Album
For People

About the episode

Lots of things give us a quick and cheap energy hit have adverse side effects. Growing closer to a loving God that welcomes all brings no adverse side effects! Instead of an energy supplement, taking up a spiritual practice revives not only our own self but also how we serve a loving God in our world.

In this episode, Melissa and Bishop Wright have a conversation about the psalmist’s words in Psalm 23:3 “God revives my soul…” They discuss the busy and fast-paced world we all face and what can happen when we rely on God instead of other things for revitalization. Listen in for the full conversation.

Before listening, read For Faith.


Bishop Wright: 0:00
Lots of things which want to give us a quick and perhaps even a cheap energy hit have adverse side effects. With God and I’m talking about a loving, no litmus test God who welcomes all there are no adverse side effects in my life for that. It calls me into my better self. It calls me alongside of people, never over, people right, and it calls me to be able to say some gracious no’s in service to some better yeses.

Melissa: 0:40
Welcome to For People with Bishop Rob Wright. I’m Melissa Rao and this is a conversation inspired by Four Faith, a weekly devotion sent out every Friday. You can find a link to this week’s devotion and a link to subscribe in the episode’s description. Good morning, bishop.

Bishop Wright: 0:55
Good morning.

Melissa: 0:57
You named this week’s devotion Revives, based off of Psalm 23, verse 3, which is God revives my soul. You want to just share a little bit about what’s impacting you by this verse.

Bishop Wright: 1:13
You know I love Psalm 23. And it makes me really happy over the years to have taught my children Psalm 23, as it was taught to me. And I mean Psalm 23,. It’s just that psalm, that little piece of poetry, that song S-O-N-G that says so much.

Bishop Wright: 1:39
And it’s one of those things that the words don’t change as we live and grow older, but we change. Words don’t change as we live and grow older, but we change. And so we see different things in the psalm as we sort of grow and develop and find ourselves in different seasons of life. And so I’m just aware that we talk about the valley of the shadow of death. And surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. You know all of those things leads me beside still waters. But you know, as I read it now, what pops for me, what jumps out at me is God restore. If you’re a King James Version kind of person where you know that’s how I started off God restore my soul, God revives my soul. So it’s just as I read along what pops for me. And revives has everything to do with energy.

Melissa: 2:40
The trustworthiness of God, the experience of God, life with God should create energy in us. You know it makes me wonder about how our energy stores are depleted, though. In the first place, and in a culture of go, go, go more and more and more, you name the fact that many people are relying on energy drinks Right $114 billion industry.

Bishop Wright: 3:04
Can you believe it? By 2030, that’s the projection. That’s wild Almost $115 billion sort of market. That’s crazy. So we’re depleted. We’re depleted, right, and people are monetizing the depletion, and I’m not coming for that industry. I’m just simply saying we have an energy store in front of us as well, with no side effects, no adverse side effects.

Melissa: 3:34
I guess. I’m curious, though, about how do we flip the script, how do we build that the word margin keeps coming to mind? How are we building margins so that we have time to invest in a relationship with God?

Bishop Wright: 3:49
Well, you know, I think that what we have to acknowledge is that society is being developed in such a way that those things we need to thrive as human beings are being pushed to the margin. And so I mean there are psychologists and really smart people, you know, sort of monetizing and leveraging, you know our impulses and perhaps even our lack of impulse control, et cetera, and all for the dollar right To maximize sales. And there’s the dopamine shots we get every time the phone dings, and I don’t remember the number, but someone had done some research about how many times the average person opens up their phone looking for that hit. And we fill slow moment, uh, with reaching for our phones or looking at our phones. And, and I understand the gift and the you know the tool that the internet and technology is. I certainly do. I’m certainly not, uh, you know, wanted to mean the advantages of modern life, but we have to all also acknowledge it’s a mixed bag. And so you know, where is the quiet time to, as my mother used to say, to hear myself think, to, let alone hear other people think or share, hear what other people have shared, or, for that matter, what is nature crying out to me today. In what words is nature crying out? Or how is God speaking? And so the psalmist wants to invite us into a really generative space, and that is the meditation of God. And who has God been and what is God’s character sketch? Uh, and how do I see that all around me? And so what I say creates energy is, uh, worship.

Bishop Wright: 6:11
Uh, you know, when I was a, when I was a senior pastor, a rector of a congregation, uh, you know, we had a very simple metric, and that is, people should feel better when they leave than they did when they walked in, and we would think about music and liturgy and all that we did in those terms. The study of scripture created energy. We noticed over the years I was there for 10 years as a senior pastor and rector we noticed that over 10 years, the people who had been faithful in Bible study over that decade found the energy to lead certain ministries in the church and it was energizing for them. They had to say some no’s to some things to be involved. Then we noticed that Bible study creates energy Prayer, our own quiet devotions, not so much all the words, but just the time with God, whether you’re a morning person or a noon person or an evening person.

Bishop Wright: 7:09
That creates energy. Reflection doesn’t only create a quiet life, but it does create some energy for particular things and certainly fellowship. We are energized to be with other people who are also on a faith journey specifically. And of course, then there’s service if I can forget about myself for a little while and put my finger on some of the needs of the world and make time for that.

Bishop Wright: 7:35
Uh, we know that the cumulative effect of of that and all of these practices is that it will create energy, and when it creates energy, there’s a restoration that happens in us, and then there’s a restoration that happens, you know, in those communities and in the world. And so, yeah, we say that God, you know, is an amazing genius, right, that God has found out how to invite us back to our best self, and when we go that way, we take God’s sort of pathway into that. Then we can say, oh, yes, god, your word is true and perfect and you in fact revive my soul.

Bishop Wright: 8:15
The joke I say at the end of this little meditation is that there are no adverse side effects, and what we know is that lots of things which want to give us a quick and perhaps even a cheap energy hit have adverse side effects. You know lots of sugars and what that does to our bodies and and chemicals that we are only beginning to sort of really scrutinize, you know. But with God and I’m talking about a loving, no litmus test, god who welcomes all there are no adverse side effects in my life for that. It calls me into my better self. It calls me alongside of people, never over people, right, and it calls me to be able to say some gracious no’s in service to some better yeses.

Melissa: 9:02
Wow, okay, we’re going to be right back after a short break, knows, in service to some better yeses Wow, okay, we’re going to be right back after a short break.

Melissa: 9:29
Welcome back, bishop. Before the break you were saying some pretty deeply profound things and my mind started wandering to addiction. And when you said you know there are no adverse side effects to connecting with God, the fact is is that there are adverse side effects for literally everything else. Yeah, everything else. Everything else has major side effects. The dopamine hit that comes with all of those things social media, whether it’s sugar, whether it’s controlled substances, whatever it is Sure it’s like if only God had a dopamine hit.

Bishop Wright: 10:07
Well, but I think that’s what the psalmist is saying, right.

Melissa: 10:11
How do we tap it? How do we tap?

Bishop Wright: 10:13
that? Well, that’s the thing, right. How do we tap it? How do we tap that? Well, you know, that’s the thing about it. I mean, you know how we tap. It is through things that are, are are terribly unsexy, yes, right, which is, you know, as I, as I prescribe. I mean, you know the, the energy drink people and and and the people who, who sort of, develop these, these products. They want us to develop a routine with their product, don’t they Right? Yeah, right, they want us to have one in the morning and perhaps have one after lunch when the energy falls.

Bishop Wright: 10:42
Well, scripture recommends the very same thing a routine. Here’s the routine. You know, find the time in the morning to just acknowledge that you know God is good and that you know, without any help from us, the heart beats and the eyes blink and the synapses fire and we have a portion of health. I mean, that’s the dopamine hit. I mean, I think that’s what gratitude leads us to. That’s a dopamine hit. And it begins to shape how we are when we practice the routine. It begins to shape how we are when we practice the routine. It begins to shape us when I begin to serve other people, then I de-center myself, right, I begin to block my overthinking because I’m thinking about other people. Right, my overthinking, rather, let me do that again when I de-center myself and I substitute that, you know, centering myself, when I substitute that for thinking about others, right? What I find out is is that this sort of terribly negative loop that some of us find ourselves in gets broken, and then we find out that that’s a dopamine hit, because now it’s about service, right? It’s not that I don’t have issues, it’s not that I don’t need to think about myself from time to time. It’s not about, you know, that I have no self-worth. It’s quite the opposite, right? So, so, so.

Bishop Wright: 12:07
Scripture is littered with dopamine hits. I mean, when you think about a God who creates all the planetary bodies and all the universes that this God also cares for at all times. God’s praise shall continually be in my mouth is a dopamine hit? I will bless the Lord, right, because look what the Lord has done for me.

Bishop Wright: 12:40
I love that song that says God has done great things. God has done great things. God has done great things. God has been so good to me. And now, what if we just turned off the radio in the car on the morning commute and just got in a habit, just practiced this for 30 days and say, let me go real slow this morning and think about the ways in which I have energy for my body, I have intellect for my mind, I can put my hands to good use. With service, I have an opportunity to make somebody else’s day with a kind word, an encouraging word, a pat on the back. I mean it goes on and on. And not to sound sort of crazy here, but I mean these are the kinds of basic practices which change the mind and which change the outlook.

Melissa: 13:29
Yeah, it’s the simple habits. That’s what you talked about. So to me it’s a choice, right? We can form good habits or we can form bad habits, and if we’re not making time for the good stuff, well then, the only thing that we have left to do is the not so good stuff, right.

Bishop Wright: 13:48
Well, we can do that, and it just has a corrosive effect on us. Right, we can do all of that and it has a corrosive effect on us. What if we read the newspaper and all the tragic headlines from the viewpoint of not only just being informed and not only sort of being up to snuff on all the bad news of the world? But what if we read, you know, the New York Times every morning, or at least the headlines, as an opportunity to offer intercessory prayer for people in trouble and crisis of any kind? As an opportunity to offer intercessory prayer for people in trouble and crisis of any kind? So there’s a jujitsu that we need to be doing. I think that can create some joy in us, right, and that is that I’m just not going to sort of fill my life up with all of the tragedy of the world, but I’m going to use some agency here. I’m going to take God’s invitation to be an intercessor. Some of us have that gift. I’m going to be mindful of the world and all of her needs, and what’s amazing about that is that somehow the quality of our life begins to change and be positively impacted. I remember we sent a group to Latin America, a country in Latin America, country in Latin America, to build a school and to build a well, and I remember one of our very fancy members. I mean this lady was sharp every Sunday. She was sharp as a tack, she had the hat, the matching outfit, I mean she was just beautifully put together every Sunday.

Bishop Wright: 15:07
And when she came back after that experience, without guilt, without shame, she just a priority shift happened. And she came, came back after that experience, without guilt, without shame, she, just a priority shift happened. And she came to me and confided. She said you know, I got to sell some stuff. You know, I was put in contact with some people and it wasn’t about feeling bad about what she had, she had worked really hard to have what she had.

Bishop Wright: 15:27
But somehow she recognized two things Wow, I have been tremendously blessed, tremendously blessed, yeah. And two, there are so many people standing in need of a blessing Right. And so her viewpoint got supplemented with the needs of the world. And what was interesting was is that it wasn’t a woe is me, or I feel bad or you know, sort of absolved me of my sinful practices. It wasn’t any of that in the conversation she was energized about. You know, I want to do something for others and that was just it’s exciting to see that and she just went to help out, you know, and got and got, really, I think, converted to some degree through the service. That’s what I mean by restored my soul. If I take, you know, the Lord’s direction, it’s amazing the positivity that happens in me.

Melissa: 16:26
Well, I’m also struck by the fact that we need to be able to make room for God to do God’s work, and we can’t just I mean we could, we could just say God revives my soul, I’m going to go, go, go, go, go go, and then just say God revives my soul and expect God to revive my soul without laying other things down. So you just had a story where a woman made a very conscious decision recognize that she has abundance and, in order to make room for more, that she needs to let go of a lot of the stuff. And so that’s hard for many people. Of course it is.

Bishop Wright: 16:58
Of course it is, of course it is. But nobody on their deathbed said boy, I wish I had another pair of shoes. Nobody on their deathbed said did you see Gucci’s new spring line? Nobody ever said that. Nobody ever said that. Nobody ever said that what people do is it gets real, real, real visceral. Boy, I want to be with the people I love. Boy, I wish I would have apologized. Boy, I wish I would have said I’m sorry. Boy, I wish I would have hugged more, kissed more, served, know, and and so yeah.

Bishop Wright: 17:29
So I think a lot of us have the luxury of sort of you know, floating a long life, you know, you know at 30,000 feet, so to speak, and you know, in some ways, I mean, this is, this is a hard thing to say, but it is nevertheless true In some ways.

Bishop Wright: 17:45
When hardship comes to visit, visit us, there’s always even an opportunity in hardship because it can recalibrate right. And so when the 23rd Psalm says God restores my soul, it’s not just all happy clappy or an intellectual assent to an idea, or just I’m going to sit up on my bed one day and make a decision to make room for God. It is that I found the companionship of God, even in the midst of hardship, and hardship has created an opportunity. Look, the Muslims have it right in this regard. When the beggar begs from the faithful Muslim, the faithful Muslim blesses the beggar because the beggar reminds him or her of how blessed they are to be in a position to give right. And so you know, here’s this wonderful economy of God where, in lots and lots and lots of ways, god is continually reaching out to us to revive us, to restore us, to bring us home, and sometimes we need to be brought home from our own vain imagination.

Melissa: 18:48
Yeah, I think it’s Michael Hyatt that says if it’s not scheduled, it doesn’t get done. I don’t know if he says that exactly that way, but I know it’s something to that effect and I kind of find that that’s true, because I’m crying out for time apart, set apart, to do those good habits stuff, and so I’ve just taken my paper and my pen and paper and I’ve scheduled it into my day to make it a habit. Bishop.

Bishop Wright: 19:16
I don’t know if it yeah.

Bishop Wright: 19:22
Well, you know, what I think makes the psalmist cry out, that God restores my soul, is because the psalmist understands why he or she is made. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, right. So what am I made for? Am I made to be a gerbil on a wheel and to do 72 or so years and then maybe have a couple of years of enjoyment and then cash in the chips and that’s it? I mean, because that’s sort of the modern at-base understanding of things. But I’m made for more. And so what a wonderful God who has made me for more, right. And so this God has not made me to win at collecting all the toys in life. This God has not made me to be some sort of caricature of success. This God has not made me to sort of be just to be numb my whole life, just swallowing lots of different things, you know, to have a what appears to others to look like a manicured life. This God has not made me to lie down in green pastures, right, leave me beside still waters. So I think what God always does, which revives us, is to help us to understand what our actual dignity is right, and that’s an invitation into appreciating ourselves, right as God appreciates us ourselves, right as God appreciates us. Again, not hopped up on achievements and possessions, but my dignity. What I have, and I think what follows that, is that when I start to get a sense of the dignity that God has placed in all of us, and I start to appreciate that dignity in myself has placed in all of us, and I start to appreciate that dignity in myself, it’s easier for me to begin to appreciate it in you. Right so God never cooks a meal for any one person, right so? It’s all a beautiful, audacious banquet and buffet.

Bishop Wright: 21:24
So I’m revived in lots of ways. And so, you know, one of the things that how I’m revived is is that so my hope is revived. Right, my hope is revived. And even the way we hurt each other and even the way we break things for ego’s sake and all these terrible loops that we’re trapped in, you know, because God is, there is hope, and if there is hope, I can be revived, my situation can be revived. Now, revived may look different than I imagine it, but things can be revived. And that is essentially our hope that somehow God is a reviving God. Somehow God recycles, somehow God transforms energy he can take. You know, this is what we say in the cross. Isn’t it that what they meant for as an instrument of punishment, shame and death? Somehow God revives that, literally that’s what we’re talking about in Easter literally right, and makes it a symbol of life.

Bishop Wright: 22:22
And so you know, this is why I love the 23rd Psalm, that you know. It’s an inexhaustible resource. I think you keep looking at it. Keep looking at it, you keep locating yourself. And then what we want for everybody at the end of these kinds of conversations is for people to say, hey, I’m located in that particular piece of scripture. It locates me right, I have GPS. When I look at the 23rd Psalm, I see myself, I see perhaps my marriage, I see perhaps my life with Psalm. I see myself, I see perhaps my marriage, I see perhaps my life with money, I see my life with an overcrowded schedule and I find a pathway there. Right Now we have to execute, of course, right, but God is clear, god is right there, outstretched hands saying come home, come home to me, come home to yourself.

Melissa: 23:11
And thanks be to God for that. Listeners, we’re grateful to you for listening to For People. You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook at Bishop Rob Wright. Please subscribe, leave a review and we’ll be back with you next week.