310 – A Passion to Share God’s Peace (Like Martin Luther King Jr.)

This Week on Soul Talks

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to be an encouraging and inspiring example for us all. He was, first and foremost, a disciple of Jesus Christ and a preacher of the Gospel. He was a truth-teller dealing with injustice, but did so with great love and gentleness. He embodied the Lord’s peace while truly living out and guiding others in the character of Jesus. 

Tune into this Soul Talks episode, where Bill is joined by Pastor and Sr. Spiritual Director, Sheridan McDaniel. Together they unpack several practical lessons we can learn about our own Christlikeness from Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. The insight and encouragement shared in this conversation will inspire you to shine the light of Christ so that others can pick from the fruit of your life.

Resources for this Episode

A Passion to Share God’s Peace Transcript

Bill Gaultiere & Sheridan McDaniel

 

Bill

Hello, Soul Talk friends. 

I have a special treat for you today with my friend Sheridan McDaniel. 

Sheridan is a pastor at A Place for Worship in Fullerton, California. 

And he is on our Soul Shepherding team as one of our advisors and Spiritual Directors. 

He also does coaching. 

Welcome to Soul Talks, Sheridan. 

Sheridan

Thank you very much, Bill. 

It is a blessing to be here with you in this beginning of a new year. 

What a way to start it.

Bill 

And those of you who are listening, you might be listening on MLK day, Martin Luther King day. 

We just wanna welcome all of you into this conversation. 

We’re gonna be talking about a passion for peace. 

This really is your mantra, Sheridan.

Sheridan 

Definitely.

Just the life of Martin Luther King—his journey, his relationship with God, and with men and women in the community—was one where peace just stuck out to me.

Bill

Yeah, he, more than just about anybody, really practiced, lived out, and taught others to join him in following Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

And all of his teachings about love, including love for your enemy, blessing those who mistreat you, praying for those who persecute you. 

And approaching issues of conflict and social justice with nonviolence. 

Even as a truth-teller who’s dealing with injustice, but doing it in love and gentleness.

If It Can’t Be Accomplished Through Peace, It Won’t Be Accomplished

Sheridan

Yeah. 

As I looked at his life, Martin Luther King realized that fighting, aggression, violence, and heavy confrontation was not the way to bring about equality in what he fought for.

If it could not be done through peace, in his eyes, he believed it would not be accomplished. 

Again, to me, that is just the character of Christ. 

The peace that he brought; the peace that passes understanding, you know. 

People may not understand the method. 

But was a method of peace that I believe really came from the character of Christ.

Bill

And that’s been a big theme for you, being a peacemaker.

Having experienced conflict at different times in your life and in your ministry as a pastor and in different churches over the years, you’re someone that brings peace. 

And you’ve gotten a lot of this inspiration from Martin Luther King. 

You were telling me that you listened to him many times, as a big part of your call to be a pastor.

Sheridan

Yes. I wanna say I was around 18 or 19 years old (I’m thinking that was, if I have the math right, 40 years ago). 

I felt an urge and a pull of the Lord to go into ministry. 

I would listen to cassette tapes of Martin Luther King every night for a week or two before I would go to sleep. 

I would just put a tape in and lay down.

I would listen. 

What jumped out to me was, of course, the passion that he talked with and that he lived with.

And that he would do his assignment, just full of passion. 

And then the peace which he did it with.  

I literally could see the peace of God in him, through the marches that he did. 

And I could hear it in his speeches and the messages that he delivered. 

Such a piece that stuck with me to this day: Approaching every assignment and anything that could be very controversial or hard, go in it with peace and communicate with peace. 

Allow the peace of the Lord to be able to not be upon me, but hopefully, be upon that conversation.

And upon who I’m communicating with. 

Even as the Bible says, “The soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).

There’s peace in that, you know, walking and living with peace.

Bill

That’s so good. 

There’s so much I love about what you’re saying. 

In particular, we talk a lot about this “Soul Shepherding way,” which of course is the way of Jesus. 

But it’s the way we work, the way that we relate to people, the way that we talk, the way that we minister— it’s so important. 

In one sense, it’s even more important than the truth that we speak. 

Because if our way, our demeanor, our manner, our approach, our attitude; if that doesn’t match up with the truth of our message, or the work that we’re trying to do, it undermines it completely. 

Sheridan

And even as you’re sharing, peace is attractive. 

Yeah.

It doesn’t mean that I have to deny who I am or that I have to deny what I’m fighting for. 

It’s as you state: it’s the character, the demeanor, the posture of what I’m sharing with that statement. 

Not what I say, but how I say it. 

And peace is attractive. It will allow others to join in that conversation with you.

Bill

Peace is one of the most important descriptors we could use for Jesus. 

The Prince of Peace.

Even as he brought truth, he brought boldness and action. 

He did it in a way that was peaceful and gentle. 

Even when he was bringing a hard message or confronting the Pharisees, his purpose was still peace.

Sheridan

Completely. 

It talks about, in Romans, how the Bible says, “We have peace with God.” (Romans 5:1)

And that’s the relationship.

It’s like before I met him, I was on the opposite team. 

And then when I came into relationship with him, the peace is now that we’re on the same team.

So I have peace with him. 

Then there’s the peace of God that lives on the inside of me, that really shows in struggles, storms, and battles. 

The peace of God is what keeps me from allowing the water to get in the boat and sink me. 

Having that peace of God, just knowing that God, “You got me” and “You got this,” doesn’t make it easier. 

It’s just the truth that we have to believe and trust from the word of God. Peace with him and the peace of God.

Bill

I think you might be a preacher. <Laughter>

Sheridan

Sometimes. <Laughter>

Bill

You said there were three S’s there. Struck, storms, and something else.

Sheridan

<Laughter> I don’t even remember.

Bill Gaultiere 

It just flowed outta you. It just came. 

But the point was the peace of God, in the trials, in the difficult times. 

That’s where we know that God’s peace is really living in us. 

If it comes out of us when we’re persecuted when we go through a hard time. 

Learning How To Suffer Well

Sheridan

Yes. It’s just knowing that he’s with me and that he’s in control. 

Another lesson from Martin Luther King’s life is learning how to suffer well. 

Because he suffered a lot. 

You know, in prison struggles, physical abuse, dogs biting, water hoses. 

He learned how to suffer well, and to me, that’s peace. 

Knowing that I’m gonna suffer, but it’s how I suffer. 

And if I have to learn how to suffer well, then I do that by not allowing myself to lose my mind and go crazy down that path. 

It’s learning how God, “You got me, you’re with me”. 

It’s not easy. 

It’s something that we have to come into. 

But the goal is to learn how to suffer well, not just suffer.

Bill

This is really the ultimate Christlikeness. 

When we, out of love for the Lord and out of love for our neighbor, are willing to suffer. 

Yeah. 

In meditating on 2nd Corinthians 4, at one point in there, Paul says “Death is working in us, but life is working in you!” 

Paul says, “It’s worth suffering when it brings the life of Jesus to you, my brothers and sisters.” 

That’s the pinnacle of spirituality when we really live out Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which I like to call his greatest teaching

Yes. When we live that out, it’s an ethic of “agape” love—unconditional, sacrificial love. 

Even to the point of suffering mistreatment. 

Not in a way that we’re falling into shame or trembling with fear or insecurity.

Because if that’s where we are in the suffering, that shows something is hurting and broken and needs healing.

Jesus would have something else to say to us besides “Turn the other cheek,” right? 

He would say, come close. Let me give you a hug or strengthen you. 

He would minister to us where we are. 

As we grow along with Jesus and we grow in our discipleship, we grow through what we call the CHRIST stages of faith in the Journey of the Soul.

The culminating stage is the “T” stage in that acronym CHRIST and its “Transforming union.” 

And the definition of that stage is what you’re talking about. 

It is the readiness to bless those that curse us, because we’ll do whatever it takes to draw somebody to Jesus. 

We actually are able to do it joyfully because we’re in that peace of God that you’re talking about.

Sheridan

Completely. And with Jesus, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. 

Just the whole learning aspect—Knowing that, at times, I live in the school of affliction, but it’s for the purpose of learning obedience. 

You know, how I’m gonna respond to what I’m going through when the goal is to be so at peace that others can pick from the fruit of my life. 

Bill 

Yeah. Let’s say that again. 

To be so at peace in God’s presence that others can pick from the fruit of your life. 

So you’re like a tree with the roots going deep and into the soil, even if you’re in the desert. 

But those roots are going towards the river, that river of living water nearby. 

You’re flourishing. 

Your leaves are staying green and you’ve got fruit. 

People can pick from that fruit, like the Fruit of the Spirit: 

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. 

Yes. That’s all Jesus stuff.

Be Jesus To Everyone

Sheridan 

Our goal as believers should be to be Jesus to everyone. 

As part of my prayer, you know, I prayed days ago “Help me to be you to everyone around me so that they can pick that fruit.” 

The character of Christ, again, comes through suffering and comes through affliction. 

The goal is not that I’m not gonna suffer. 

I mean, Peter tells us what we’re gonna go through. 

Basically, he’s saying that fiery darts are sent to try us. 

Which lets me know, I have a date with a dart.

Bill

<Laughter> You have a date with a dart.

Sheridan

I’ve got a date with a dart, but knowing that it’s my response to the dart. 

To me, that’s what the Bible, that’s what church is all about. 

Teaching me how to respond differently than how I used to. 

The difference in having Christ in my life is I don’t respond like I used to respond, now that I have Christ. 

And again, when I look at Martin Luther King’s life, it was his response to what he went through and my prayer was “God, teach me how to respond like that.”

Bill

That’s so good. 

So you’ve been to the Soul Shepherding Institute with Kristi and me. 

And we’ve been hanging out with you and you’ve had such an impactful experience. 

You’ve brought a bunch of your friends along. 

We’ve been, even though we both live in Orange County, California, we’ve been flying out to Atlanta to meet with some folks on the East Coast and in the South. 

One of the things that you’ve told me that you’ve really appreciated about your experience in the Soul Shepherding Institute and the certificate training you’re doing in Spiritual Direction is learning about empathy.

As you reflect on trials, maybe a recent trial or a recent struggle that you’ve been in, could you illustrate for us what you’re talking about with peace and the aspect of empathy?  

How you’re working through the difficulties of trials and able to be the kind of person who could bless someone who’s being difficult.
And do that for Jesus.

To be that kind of a person in a trial.

It takes, in addition to prayer and faith and Bible reading, it takes being in “love-one-another-relationships,” where you’re receiving empathy and you’re experiencing God’s strength that way as well.

Sheridan

Yeah. 

One instance that comes to my mind is in pastoring. 

Transitioning from one church to another, putting another pastor in place at a church, and then when I’ve transitioned out of that position and that other pastor ends up leaving and kind of splitting the church. 

My wife and I just went through a struggle with that. 

It was just a low moment for us. 

You know, my wife will tell me “You forgive too easy,” you know, or too quick. 

I employed empathy by putting myself in their situation as Paul said, “To the weak, I became weak, that I might gain” (1 Cor. 9:22).

It’s just all glory, all credit to God. 

There’s something in my heart that does not want any type of friction between me and another believer, especially because we’re in Christ. 

I just can’t see being in God and seeing someone, somewhere at another service and not being able to speak because of something. 

That’s just not Jesus, that’s not Christ.

The High Road Vs The Humility Road

Sheridan

I just took the time to put myself in their situation and realize that everyone is different. 

Everyone has different struggles.

They process things differently and by putting myself in “why they did what they did” and trying to work through that, I forgave him and he invited me to come to speak. 

I went to the new church they had. 

And to this day, our relationship is better. 

Some people call it “taking the high road” and I call it “taking the humility road.” 

In a crisis, it’s more of a humility step that “we do not understand,” than a “high road” thing. 

But it has to be humility.

And humility hurts when you’re betrayed, it’s painful. 

It’s funny, Bill, because all this reminds me of Braveheart. 

How he was betrayed by another leader who was supposed to work with William Wallace. 

Yet he forgave him in order to conquer peace. 

His statement, “There’s another way we could accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish. Having freedom without working with one another.” 

I just believe there’s no way we could accomplish what we want the Body of Christ to be, without working with one another. 

Be it Black and White, Black and Hispanic, Black and Asian. 

We have to work together. 

Otherwise, we’ll accomplish nothing.

Bill

That’s so good. 

And you do that in your ministry. 

You lead Soul Care groups for Soul Shepherding. 

You connect with pastors from different churches. 

From different ethnic groups. 

Tell us about that again.

Sheridan 

Soul Shepherding brought me down to ground zero. 

It broke me down.

It just flattened me like a pancake. 

From there, I was able to grow up more healthy, from my first experience with my retreat at Soul Shepherding. 

I think I shared with you, I wanted to come home from the retreat and see therapists and everything and just get myself together. 

I thought I was all well put together, but I needed that breakdown to be built up. 

In the process of being built up, now I’m able to meet others who are in Soul Shepherding and then pastors outside of Soul Shepherding and share my experience. 

Now we have a group that meets monthly. 

And we are walking through the book Journey of the Soul, which is my ticket into just being a healthy pastor, healthy husband, healthy son, and a healthy man.

We have another group that I’m bringing into Journey of the Soul

Because it’s just who I am now. 

I’m a Journey-of-the-Soul-man. 

So whoever I meet, I like to bring them into that journey. 

It’s such a healthy book with principles and truths and applications for soul care within myself. 

And I can share that with others and they’re able to receive it. 

I’m so excited because I’ve got someone else now who wants to start the retreats and go through the Spiritual Direction course. 

It’s just working.

Bill

It’s so fun to have you in the community.

Your stories that you were just touching on there with feeling broken down in the sense of your personality dynamics, and some of the ways that you were functioning.

You were realizing that you had some defense mechanisms, some gaps in self-awareness.

Some ways that you hadn’t learned how to pay attention to your inner needs and hurts and stress points. 

And you were sort of pushing through some stuff in life. 

You were saying to me, after that first Institute, “Bill, I need therapy.” 

And I think you thought of it that way because I’m a Psychologist and you were experiencing a therapy of the soul. 

So we talked about it. 

I said, “Well, you could do that, but I actually think you’d do really well to talk with one of our Soul Shepherding Spiritual Directors.” 

Yep. So I hooked you up and that’s been so life-giving for you.

Why Spiritual Direction Is Important

Sheridan

Completely. 

Thank you for Dave Rimoldi

Meeting Dave, communicating with him, was really the first time in 58 years of my life where I completely opened up everything. 

Every struggle, every victory, every hurt, every joy, I opened up to him. 

Because I just felt under that Spiritual Direction umbrella, the ability to trust. 

And what that did for me is like a rocket booster. 

It was just like I let down weights and I was just able to soar. 

I was just so free. 

I have never been as intimate and close to the Lord as now, in all my journey.

Bill

That’s such a great testimony and it’s been over a year now. 

In the last Soul Shepherd Institute retreat, you served as one of our Senior Spiritual Directors.

Now you’re connecting with others in the Soul Shepherding community.

You who are listening can connect with Sheridan or one of our other senior Spiritual Directors or coaches. 

You can have a conversation where you’re listened to with empathy.

And where you get great questions. 

And where someone’s praying for you and encouraging you, guiding you deeper in the Lord. 

Helping you with places where you feel hurt, confused, alone, or where there is stress. 

There are just some things that we need to talk through with somebody and pray through with somebody to be released. 

Sheridan

And somebody who will listen, which is a big part of Soul Shepherding.

It’s also a big part of Spiritual Direction. 

Spiritual Direction is learning to listen and allowing myself to not be a “fix-it man,” but allowing myself to listen and allow the Holy Spirit to come in and do the work. 

There’s nothing like having somebody who will listen to you. 

And you know they’re listening. 

There’s healing in that.

Wow, Kaboo’s life really blessed me. 

Samuel Kaboo Morris, born Kaboo in a family where he was taken by another tribe and they wanted to keep him for ransom. 

They wanted his dad to pay money and when his dad couldn’t pay, they wanted him to give his daughter. 

And Kaboo said, “No, you will not get my sister.”

He remained in that very hard situation until he heard the Lord say,  “Run.” 

Just from his life again, how he responded to what he had gone through when he was introduced to Christ. 

When he saw Paul’s life as a mirror for his life.

How he could come to Christ. 

He just wanted to hear God’s voice and talk to him. 

That was really a strength of his life, was his communicating with God on a daily basis.

Bill

So good. 

So you can get Sheridan’s reflections and my reflections in the Soul Shepherding blog emails coming up. 

We have a special devotional that groups together five of these devotionals from Martin Luther King, from Kaboo, from Jarena Lee, and others of the African American heroes that we all want to learn from. 

So that’s a free resource that we’re offering to you. 

You can sign up for that at SoulShepherding.org

And one more thing. 

One other way that we can connect.

We have a new ministry for you called the Soul Shepherding Network

This is a community for all of our Soul Shepherding friends, where we can hang out together. 

For instance, in webinars where we can see each other face to face. 

We’ve got Soul Care groups. 

We’ve got hundreds of resources for your soul and for your ministry as a coach, as a small group leader, as a shepherd, as a soul friend, as you need tools to hand to people. 

We’ve got one to two-page practical tools filled up in the Soul Shepherding Network. 

So we would love to have you join us in that. 

And it’s just simple. Go to soulshepherding.org/join-the-network

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