The Covenant Eyes Podcast

Grace, Accountability, and Holiness: A Riveting Conversation with Pastor Matt Chandler

November 29, 2023 Covenant Eyes Season 2 Episode 63
The Covenant Eyes Podcast
Grace, Accountability, and Holiness: A Riveting Conversation with Pastor Matt Chandler
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

When unexpected trials test your personal integrity, where do you turn? Join us for a profound discussion with Pastor Matt Chandler about life’s unforeseen challenges and the significance of maintaining personal guardrails. 

Expect to gain unique insights as we delve into the hidden contours of the devil's schemes. Matt shares his experiences on the importance of transparency, accountability, and the grace to withstand accusations and criticism. This conversation isn’t about painting a rosy picture. Instead, it is about embracing the thorns and navigating through life's thorny paths with the armor of grace and truth.

Shining a spotlight on leadership, we journey through Matt's riveting experiences and the challenges that come with the position. A conversation marked with wisdom, Matt emphasizes the necessity of surrounding oneself with godly people and keeping egos in check. The episode concludes on an inspiring note, underlining the power of accountability and holiness, and demonstrating how obedience to God’s commands can lead to human flourishing and joy. This conversation is a riveting expedition that promises to leave you with an altered perspective, a deeper understanding of life's trials, and a renewed appreciation for accountability and holiness.

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Speaker 1:

Hey everybody. It's Karen with the Covenant Eyes podcast. We are back in our studios in Owasso, michigan. We are loving life. Yeah, we're having a good time, you know?

Speaker 2:

Owasso is a funny place.

Speaker 1:

It's super small and there's not a lot to do, but we are finding new friends, like our guest today, Pastor Matt Chandler Brandon. I can't believe it. I'm a big fan.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'm a big fan too, even as a Catholic. Yeah, I've loved his videos for years and the way he just speaks with the holy boldness, and I think that's a message that's really important for our church today. So, pastor Matt, thanks so much for being on with us. We're very excited to have a conversation with you today.

Speaker 2:

Oh man, I'm glad to be on. Like I said just a second ago, it's a weird. I mean you're calling us old friends or new friends, but I'm like gosh, I've been with Covenant Eyes Probably my whole adult life, both on my devices and my son's devices and my family's devices. So for me I'm just like, oh man, I've been in partnership with this ministry for a long time, so it's fun to finally meet face to face. Thank you for putting a barrier between me and vile compulsions. Yeah, absolutely, maybe the best way to put it.

Speaker 1:

Well, thanks for being on a journey with us. We love partnering with pastors and Christians all over the country who really just want to have guardrails in their life to protect their marriage protect themselves. We're sinful creatures and we tend to need those guardrails to stand on track.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for sure.

Speaker 1:

Well, let's dive into our conversation today. You know, pastor Matt, tell us a little bit about yourself for those who might not know, a little bit about what you do, where you're at and how you got there.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I pastor the Village Church. It's in the suburbs of Dallas. I've been the lead pastor here for a little over 20 years now, and then I am currently. I was the president of Acts 29 for a little over a decade, but now I think my title is executive chairman Chairman and I'm the chair of the board of Acts 29. And so passionate about planting churches all over the world, serious about helping a group of people here at the Village kind of be faithful in what I just like to call the long journey home, where we lean into the Lord together, do deep work and trust that he's transforming us over time.

Speaker 3:

That's beautiful. Pastor Matt, I'd like to really get candid for a moment. We're aware of the situations that you went through recently, and a lot of what we deal with in our work at Covenant Eyes involves a lot of vulnerability and transparency and building integrity. So I'd love to just hear, from your perspective, a little bit about the trials you went through and how the Lord led you and your family through that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, there's no doubt last year was a significantly trying time really, not just for me but for my entire family and, more than that, for the church that I pastor. And so we have kind of decided really over the course of the last 20 years and I could point to other examples where I maybe felt short of a standard and tried to own that rather than hide that or shrink back from it. But this past fall there had been an accusation from a woman in our church against me that I had an inappropriate relationship with a friend of hers. I didn't think it was inappropriate. My wife knew about it, her husband knew about it. There wasn't anything sexual being exchanged or even on the level of an emotional affair. It was just kind of silly, stupid banter from gifts to just chatter. But again, it never felt inappropriate to me. It wasn't. I didn't have a different relationship with her than maybe she had with other people and so, because of the accusation, the second I finished that conversation this woman came and said hey, I know you're DMing with a friend of mine. I think that's inappropriate. I said well, I'm not sure it is inappropriate. My wife knows about it, her husband knows about it, there's nothing in the shadows really going on here. I still immediately went from that conversation to Jason Swords and Josh Patterson that's our chairman of the elder board and the other lead pastor of the village and I said you need to know that this person just came up and said this to me and so I'm looping you in on that. I don't let me know what you want me to do. I don't have any secrets here. And then I went home and I told Laura about that conversation and then, really from there I thought it was over. I just kind of veiled myself to the elder board and the woman that made the accusation though she increased in intensity in her accusations, regardless of the fact that the woman and her husband that I had been DMing with repeatedly said this is ridiculous, there's nothing there. Her husband's, like I'm aware of this, there's nothing going on that I find inappropriate. My wife's, like this is not inappropriate. And yet the accusations from this woman were increasing and using all of the I'll just call it trigger words of the modern moment. And so this was grooming, this was. I mean, you fill in the blanks on those. This is taking advantage of, this is, and so my elders, because of the way that we have decided to operate as a group of men given charge of one another, and this congregation wanted to bring in just a third party. We know that even the accusation publicly looks like you're guilty, like a guy like me, is just automatic. There's no space in the modern imagination for someone in the church that might not have it right. There's just that pastors like me are in this for money and fame and there's a power dynamic at play and these guys aren't for our good, they're for their own good. So our elders came to me and said hey, listen, this will be intrusive. We'd love to hire a third party. Hear the questions that we're gonna ask the third party to figure out. Are you game for that? And I said absolutely, gave them my computer, gave them my phone, gave them my iPad and let them do their work Now, as the lawyers and tech people did their work. The accusations of this woman were clearly not true, but I was in violation of some documented, codified agreements between me and the village church as a lead pastor and elder. There were certain aspects of our dialogue that were inappropriate not sexual, not emotional. There were jokes about alcohol based on a conversation I'd had with her husband when I first met him at the CrossFit gym. There were things like that that just were not appropriate for me to be having, maybe with anyone, but especially not a member of the congregation, and so it would have been a very easy thing for the elders to simply just say none of the accusations made against him were true. A third party verified that. But there were things found that did, in a very real way, show that I had fallen below the standard that God had called me to as an elder and as a lead pastor. And so as we talked about what to do about that, I just tried to avail myself to that group of men, mainly because those men are really serious about Jesus, they're very serious about the word of God and they're very serious about loving me well, and our definition of love is not to protect me from everything and to sweep things under the table, but to run the playbook as we determined to play in peacetime, which is no one's above the law of God. And so they came and said we just think it's not a huge deal, but it's so you're not disqualified from ministry by any stretch of the imagination, but we do think it's serious enough that we wanna give you a leave of absence because we're confused at how you didn't see this, at how you didn't recognize that in your frequency and in your familiarity that this has moved past what's appropriate. It was really disturbing to them and, if I'm honest me that I didn't pick up on that. I'm a man that is pretty serious about making sure the enemy doesn't get a foothold or a door in a wiggle room in and I just didn't see it, and so I was deeply disturbed that I didn't see it. So they recommended a leave of absence. I said if that's what you brothers want, then I'm in on that. And we decided to go public with that because I can't just disappear. For there wasn't like a we're gonna give you a month off to figure this out. There was a genuine concern for my own soul, the health of my family, and so it was gonna be. And like there was no finish line on it. There was like let's get into this. We want you to be here for the next 20 years, if that's what the Lord has. So let's take this moment seriously. And I think if they weren't men of God and they didn't love me and they didn't love the truth, and that we hadn't, in peacetime, said this is the kind of place we're gonna be, I probably would have fought and I would have put I mean, we'd have just gone to war over the heart of the village and over what would be said publicly or privately, or I might have just resigned and walked down the street, planted a new church. But these are good godly men who have a long track record of being good godly men. And so I trusted them in this process and just availed myself to what turned out to be quite a bit of slander when all said done, because I think publicly people are like this doesn't add up, there's gotta be something more than this. But we were saying let's just tell the whole truth so they don't have to guess, and that I think that part of the plan kind of backfired on us.

Speaker 1:

Well, you know, pastor Matt, I mean I'm just taken back by your, your forthrightness here, your honesty, and I think I think it's something we can all learn from, because at any time in our journey, and especially with technology technology gives us this illusion sometimes that it's you know, safe to you know say things that maybe we shouldn't, and I know I've been guilty myself as a Christian, probably making jokes or saying things maybe I shouldn't have. And you know, I don't think any of us are beyond that. So I just am so grateful that you have owned like hey, maybe it wasn't exactly the right thing or it wasn't a good Christian thing to do, but you know, I'm just so honored that you have taken that step and that approach, because so many people run from that or they get defensive, and it just shows your spiritual maturity. So thank you for sharing that story. I appreciate that.

Speaker 2:

Well, man, I appreciate that. I think if my story is helpful, then let's, let's use it. And so this is the first time I've really kind of talked much about that stuff publicly and so glad to be doing it with you. I know the fight that you guys are in to help men and women walk in integrity and uprightness and so, man, if this, if my story helps with that, then praise God, let's, let's tell it, yeah.

Speaker 3:

And I think it speaks really to like just the overarching idea of accountability right, and I really was intrigued by what you said when you talked about just kind of having that blind spot. And I've seen this in my own journey of maybe I'm not looking at pornography, but I'm I'm doing something on my phone or on my computer that could lead me down a road that I don't want to go down. Right, we have these blind spots and so being able to have people around us to to showcase that accountability relationship is a lot of what we talk about at Covenant Eyes, but I see that really playing out in your experience as well, pastor Matt.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we've been. You know, one of the phrases that we use all the time at TBC is to be 99%. Known is actually to be unknown, and so if there's like a 1% that's just yours, then the truth is you're not really known, and this is this can be real devastating it. Like you, it's really hard to receive love or grace or have a deep relationship with anyone, including the Lord. If you've got this 1% that's just yours, because you'll you'll justify not being loved by your spouse or by a deep community by going if they only knew this 1%, if they only knew this 1%, then they wouldn't love me like that. And so the importance of complete vulnerability and accountability I think it's paramount even to our the the capacity to experience life deeply. I think one of the learnings I had in this that I'm still I'm still kind of going okay. What's the takeaway Was that I had all of those boundaries built and it still. It still got passed Like it wasn't secret, and that my assistant can see what I'm doing in Instagram. My wife knows that I'm having this conversation, her husband knows that I'm having this conversation and it was a. I think that was the thing that was so disorienting to me is I I wish it would have felt emotional to me or would have felt sexual to me, because that would have sound every alarm that I had. But because it wasn't triggering any of those alarms and because I believe that men and women can be friends, and it it kind of. It kind of snuck past and and it snuck past in a way again that wasn't destructive per se to to our families or to, but, but it was. It has kind of left me going. How do you, how do you be on guard for that? And and so, yeah, I all my accountability was in place before this. Like I said, it's not I have coming at eyes. I let people see what I do on my Instagram. It wasn't triggering those accountability spaces, and so I think the kind of brass tack takeaway for me has been it will. Probably the way that the enemy will seek to destroy and devour me probably isn't going to come through the door that I'm staring at, which should make me more diligent about guarding my life in doctrine. Which should make me more anxious about kind of long-term plans, because the devil's not in any hurry to destroy me in slander than AJ Jesus, super patient in how he goes about doing that, and so one of my big takeaways was to be more mindful, maybe than most, because of the position that God's put me in, of where there might be weaknesses in how I've built protections around me, and then to be really quick to loop in my wife and my community.

Speaker 1:

Pastor Matt, I think you know the thing that is kind of interesting about this whole situation is that so many people are so quick to jump to conclusions nowadays, with 24-hour social media and all this other stuff, and I think as Christians, that removes our ability to afford people grace until we know the truth, until we know more. And how does that play out? As Christians, we need to be a little more discerning and offer grace and let the truth prevail and not jump to conclusions. Right, and how does that play out for us? How do we make that work in real life?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, I think it doesn't work right now. I think the predominant narrative is that particularly mega church pastors are in it for money and fame, and to some extent that might very well be true, but that's kind of that's the narrative. And so if you find yourself in that position and there's any kind of accusation against you, even if there is accountability and transparency, the predominant narrative is still going to be in this season There'll be a tipping point. I'm not sure where it is, but what would be great, which might be impossible right now, is to give the benefit of the doubt and to extend and I know there's a thousand examples of where maybe people have tried that and were made to look like fools. But if I understand how the scriptures would talk to us about how we relate to one another, that benefit of the doubt is the component that there would be grace with accountability. So it's not grace without accountability, it's grace in accountability and that there would be the benefit of the doubt, which means not all pastors or liars and manipulators at about power and abusing their power. In fact, the majority of the guys I know are just doing the best they can to fulfill their calling to love the people of God and to be faithful to the scriptures, and where they have received some semblance of fame or some resourcing from that, they are as blown away by it as anyone else. I'm not saying there aren't wolves and dogs. The Bible's clear that there are wolves and there are dogs out there. But to be really fast to label people as wolves and dogs, that's a bit disconcerting. I have not. You know, what I've learned about even myself is there's this and this is the only way I can stay sane in 2023 is there's this group of people out there and they love me, man. I mean, they're just like Matt Chandler's, my guy, and if there was a video of me clubbing a baby seal to death, they would be the first to go yeah, but you didn't see what happened before that. What did that baby seal do to Pastor Matt? And there's just hardly anything I could do that would affect them in regards to their love and worship of me. And then there's this other group, and it's a smaller group, and they just think I'm the problem, for whatever reason. In their own journey, in their own story, I represent something that is hurtful to them or is tearing down the purity of the gospel to them. Or and then there's this middle group that I think is probably indifferent to me, but if I'm a scoundrel it really helps their magazine, blog, paper or website. Now, the reality is none of those people know me. None of them. The people that love me, they don't know me. The people that hate me, they don't know me. The people that'll come up with a catchy, slanderous title of something about me, they don't know me. But there is a group of men and women that do know me. They know me deeply, they know me completely. I don't have any secrets from them. I mean, they see my tax returns. But to live with courage in this environment, I have to say there's a group of men and women. They're not a good old boys club. They're not just protecting my giftedness. They're serious about loving me and loving my family and walking me faithfully home. They know me and what they say about me will hold weight and the rest of this group doesn't get to influence or press or determine how I think about me or what I think about my calling or, and that's on both ends of the spectrum. It's the people that love me to a point that they can't see where I've failed or fallen short. And it certainly isn't true about those who will nitpick and critique every little thing through a lens that they have. That, I think, is born of legitimate hurt, and somehow I've participated in that either knowingly or unknowingly.

Speaker 1:

I love that he is talking about that intimate accountability relationship that we talk about at Covenant Eyes, like when you've got to surround yourself with your people that love you, care about you and want to see you through to the end. I am really loving what you're saying here, Pastor Matt.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I really think part of it too is right out of the evil ones playbook too, casting seeds of doubt.

Speaker 2:

We can go all the way back to the.

Speaker 3:

Garden of Eden and see those seeds of doubt that were cast in Adam and Eve's mind. And so what the I'm not saying, like all media, is evil or anything like that, but what I am saying is that anytime Satan gets the opportunity to cast a seed of doubt whether it's through media or another means, and any chance he can take to take down a prominent leader, especially somebody who is helping lead others in their holiness journey, he's gonna take that opportunity. So I really think that, as you were mentioning the accountability, karen, pastor, Matt, I love that you have those men you were talking about, the godly men in your life who were willing to show love in a different way and say hey, listen, there's gonna be some consequences here and we're gonna have to have some tough conversations, but that's really like, when we think about it, that's really accountability at its finest.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I mean I just absolutely agree and feel safe in it, because the enemy, if he doesn't come from the end you're talking about, will come from the other end and then just tell me how great I am and tell me what I'm entitled to and how dare they challenge me, how? And that there've been a lot of guys die on those rocks, and so really there are two ways that this can play out, and I think by and large, it's the discouragement, the consistent beat down, the slander, the. But in that space, I mean that I just think we should never be surprised by that. Like Jesus is repeatedly going hey, you're gonna get some of this, because so did the people before you and before them. Like, if they persecuted the prophets, they persecuted me, they're gonna slander you and at least you have a biblical category for that. It's a lot of times especially a guy in my seat that's got a large church and has been made influential by the Lord A more dangerous thing and I think we've got a lot of examples of this over the last decade of guys that just think they're beyond it, and how dare other people they, like you, don't understand what it's like to be me and the burden that I carry and the mantle that I have, and how dare you challenge that or question that? Or and so really the enemy would work us over on either side, and both are destructive to the church and to the person. And so for the local church pastor that's always getting chipped at so that he has lost the courage to say what's true that is, it's the same coin, just a different side. From the guy who's got a ton of influence and big church and has probably a larger salary because he's not pastoring 300 people, he's pastoring 3000 people, he might start to believe that he's the one doing these things and forget that actually he's probably just as confused as anybody else and how the Lord's using him in that season of his life. And so I think both are important. Which is why I don't want to give a lot of weight to my critics or my fans, but want to really put myself in this position with this group of men and women in leadership at the village. I want to put down roots. I mean, I've been at the village for over 20 years. I don't like when I got to the, there wasn't no Matt Chandler. When I got to the village, there wasn't author. None of that was there. Yeah, I was 28 and been traveling around doing youth camps so, and the longevity of some of these men and women at the top of the org is 18 years, 20 years, 15 years, so that they have grown with me in this journey. I've been on and haven't been overly impressed. So there is no kind of pastor Matt author, mega church guy at the village church. I'm in the lobby on Sunday morning. I'm known by my staff. I am held accountable by my elders. I am happily a man under authority, and so it's super important that I not listen to either side of those, but try to faithfully walk with people who can see me up close and I do mean up close. I literally there's a subset of elders that see my tax returns. I don't want any secrets. I don't want anyone to ever be able to walk up to me and go guess what I learned about you. Okay, what I mean? I don't know what you would say to me that not only do I not know about, but that I haven't tried, by the grace of God, to loop others in on, which makes again which was what was so disorienting about last fall is that all of that that's been built. I didn't see this kind of slip in.

Speaker 1:

Wow, that's amazing. It's just. It's an incredible story that I think I think so many of us can learn from. I think that we all just need to appreciate that accountability, not despise it, because it can be hard. It can be really hard when someone says, hey, we got to talk about this, or this is you're not on the right track or maybe you shouldn't have done that. Nobody likes to be corrected, but I love how you keep your ego in check, because I can't imagine the pressures that you're on. We've actually had a few conversations this week in podcasts with other pastors and leaders that talk about following the likes, or how many people enjoyed my sermon on YouTube, and they can get really consuming to want to be liked by others, and so I just love that you have those checks and balances in your life.

Speaker 2:

Pastor Matt, yeah, well, they're not always I wouldn't be too romantic about it. It's not always fun to have those things. No, I mean, even last fall it was we had agreed in peacetime on how we were gonna operate in wartime and but it wasn't me just with kind of fluttering eyes going, whatever you guys want there was a real wrestle with the Lord, real honest dialogue, or what we would call robust dialogue in back rooms about how to do this and the why behind it, and so I think it's important to note that it real legitimate. Accountability is necessary and needed, but it's not always fun and it will. There will be a day, if it works right, where you know that it's good and right that it's there and hate that it's there. Man, I would have loved for them to sweep this under the rug because it wasn't. It just wasn't much. And again our thought was let's just share all of it, and that way, if there's anybody who wants to dig around and find something, they're gonna be disappointed, and I think we underestimated how people might see that and go. That feels heavy handed. There has to be more there than there was, and so, as that happened, it started to feel real unfair to me and that the punishment didn't fit the crime. And man, I, labor day of last year man that was a, lauren and me and the family were out at a little river place that we go to to retreat. And man, I was really wrestling with the Lord and with my future and with the elders, and so I believe everything I'm saying, but I also don't wanna make it look like, oh so it's not gonna suck sometimes Because, yeah, because nobody wants their weaknesses on display. Everybody wants their strengths to be their lead foot, and this was an instance where it was my weakness that it was the lead foot and I needed to. I knew it was good and right to submit to the authority God put over me. I knew I was deeply cared for. But as things rolled out, it started to feel more and more unfair, that what was being said about me and how this was being painted was so far from what it was. Then I had to really wrestle and the Lord brought about an astonishing amount of healing and repair from any kind of like root of bitterness that might've sprung up in that season and that group of men just moved towards me through all of that and let me thrash and let me say stuff that's crazy and let me wrestle well, which again goes back to their character and their godliness and their love for me.

Speaker 3:

And one of the things I want our listeners to understand too, karyn, is you don't have to be a pastor of a large church, or a pastor at all, but how many husbands and fathers and mothers and wives do we have listening who are under the same level of temptation? It might be in a different way, but let's just even bring it back to the pornography level, like if Satan can bring down Pastor Matt, the head of the family, right? So, the marriage is probably gonna be in shambles and that's gonna need repairing the children. Hopefully it doesn't end in a divorce or something like that, but there could be a separation involved for a time. So it just gets to be really, really messy. So just a word too maybe our mothers and fathers and our husbands and wives out there about the accountability portion and just being able to guard our hearts in the sacred covenants that we have made.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I think it's helpful to just remember that we have a legitimate enemy who hates us, and maybe even to remember that he's really, really, really good at what he does and how he does it, and that you and I are encouraged throughout the scriptures to be aware of those schemes, to be aware of how our own iniquities and bents tend to play out. Like everybody I know, they have certain compulsions that they go to when they're stressed and when life feels out of control. They have certain places they go, whether that's a drink or two, or maybe that third drink, it's pornography, it's a flirty chat with someone who's not, it could be all sorts of different things, and in each of those instances, those compulsions are the thing that the enemy would use to ultimately destroy us. And in each case, again, it doesn't happen quickly. That's the thing that I would just kind of like press in this moment, even if I think about my own story. I don't know how that was going to end. Maybe that did end getting more emotional and then moving some other place. I'd like to believe that I had enough guardrails in place that that wasn't going to happen, but I had already made some jokes and said some things that in my right mind, I look at them now and be like such an idiot. And so I think, understanding our compulsions, understanding where we go when we're stressed, and then being aware that that's probably the door that the enemy is going to come through, and therefore accountability and barriers to that compulsion are needed and necessary lest we not only be destroyed but the collateral damage. So here's the thing about being mom and dad Mom and dad carries with it collateral damage. So when the enemy works us over, puts that trap and springs it on us, even if there's not a divorce or a separation, kids will feel in the air the stress of mom and dad being out of sorts, or distance from dad, or distance from mom, or outburst from dad or outburst from mom that are born of shame as we give into secret compulsion. And so, yeah, this is not true of pastors, this is true of all Christians everywhere. And I think, if you will be serious, I just finished preaching through Malachi and one of the things that I wanted to repeatedly say in Malachi because it's just there so frequently is a love for Jesus will keep moving you back to the Lord, it'll move you towards his grace and mercy, but it's the fear of the Lord that keeps you from being stupid. It's the fear of the Lord that keeps you from sinning. It's an awareness that God sees everything and that, even as his people, you and I will stand in front of him and give an account. And the fear of the Lord is one of those things that keeps us from giving into those compulsions. We don't have that third drink because Christ is king. We don't visit that porn site to get release because God's with us and he sees, and we're temples of the Holy Spirit and there's a fear of the Lord component there. That's a real kind of dread that the creator of the universe sees these things and he's willing to meet us with grace. And so accountability is fear of the Lord in action. A friend of mine who does recovery ministry at the village People always say the secret to addiction is connection. But the secret to addiction is connection. So if you have a sinful compulsion that's in the dark, then the best possible way to exercise a fear of the Lord is to bring others into that struggle. Bring other men in, bring other women. This is what I do when I'm stressed. These are the compulsions of my heart. I want to take these things seriously. Here are the boundaries I'm setting up against them. I want to be able to loop you in, not when I've done them, but when I'm tempted to do them. When I'm looking at my calendar, I'm going, I'm feeling overwhelmed. This week I've got these 30 things going on and all I want to do is relieve that with this vice, this compulsion. So I want to be able to feel that, coming in at the very first inkling of that, make a couple of calls, send out a group text and go. Brothers, sisters, pray for me, ask me direct questions. I haven't done anything, but I can feel in my heart a desire for comfort and release and control, and I need to take that to the Lord and not take that to this vice that's just going to leave me feeling shameful and dirty and not relieve what I hope it does relieve. And so that's how I'm trying to encourage people at the village to live and operate. That's how I'm trying to actually do this myself to get ahead of it. And so my guys know, I know people in my church will watch this Like, if Lauren's out of town, I'm not a. One of the things I can say with all integrity is not a shred of pornography on any device of mine, not a bikini model on Instagram, not like nothing on my and if my wife. So that's not where I tend to go in. That's not my compulsion. I've got them. That's not. That's not where I tend to go. And if my wife's going out of town, I call my crew, my inner circle, and go brothers Lauren's out of town the next four days. I feel fine. I just want you to know I am here by myself. Ask any question you want of me and I will. If I'm scrolling through Netflix and something pops up and I'm going to call you the second, I even feel an inkling of wanting to watch that or just check that out for a second or so. So that's me trying to get ahead in an area that's not even really my compulsion, all the more in areas of my compulsions. So I would just encourage you to take serious sin in your life. Take serious. You have an enemy and he's really good, smarter than you, smarter than me, and be diligent about accountability and about guardrails that keep you walking in a fear of the Lord and into holiness.

Speaker 1:

Wow, that's radical accountability and that's what we love to hear. Oh my gosh, that is incredible.

Speaker 3:

Yeah so. I could keep talking to you for hours, pastor Matt, but I think we'll we'll wrap up here. That's the one message that you would want to leave for our listeners. Maybe it's about what you've been through, something about accountability. What's that key takeaway that you want people to have today?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, if I have like an umbrella takeaway, it's that every bit of accountability, seriousness about putting sin to death and striving for holiness is worth it. Every thou shalt and thou shalt not in the scripture is about our joy and the glory of God. And so when God is setting these rules this is why the King David says the boundaries have fallen for me in pleasant places he's saying that living according to covenant and not according to our compulsions actually brings about human flourishing that's beyond our current imaginations. And so if you would fight for your own flourishing, you would fight to rehumanize yourself by doing things the way that God has called us to do it, and every sacrifice, every fight, every grasping and pursuit of holiness you could add to your life will be worth it in time. God is not interested in taking from you. He is longing to give to you, and where he's asking you to lay things down, think of it as surgery to remove something cancerous that could ultimately kill you.

Speaker 3:

That's a great way to wrap up, isn't it? Karen?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Oh my gosh, how inspirational.

Speaker 3:

So, pastor Matt, thank you so much for being on with us today, for sharing your story, for being a good friend to covenantize all these years. I mean, it's very clear after our conversation that we are fighting a very similar battle trying to help people to get to heaven, to get beyond their compulsions, whatever it is they're struggling with. So thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

Amen, thank you guys and be blessed. It's had a good time with you guys today.

Speaker 1:

Thank you All right to all of our listeners out there, thanks for tuning in for this episode of the Covenant Eyes Podcast. Be sure to leave us a review, share with your friends and share on social. That's a new place to be sharing. Oh, yeah, okay.

Speaker 2:

All right.

Speaker 1:

Well, thanks and take care. God bless.

Pastor Matt Chandler Discusses Recent Trials
Importance of Transparency and Grace
Leadership Challenges
The Power of Accountability and Holiness