Using Your God-Given Gifts with Grace : Charles Martin

Using Your God-Given Gifts with Grace - Charles Martin - 99 - FrontStage BackStage with Jason Daye

In ministry, what is a healthy approach to embracing the unique gifts and voice that God has entrusted to us without overshadowing what God longs to do in us, through us, and even in spite of us? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Charles Martin. Charles is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. In fact, one of his novels was optioned and turned into a major motion picture. Charles is a devoted Christ follower and a fellow traveler on the pilgrimage of faith. Charles’s most recent book is based on a true story that we’re all familiar with, entitled It Is Finished. Together, Charles and Jason look at letting God fully use what is uniquely you while avoiding the temptation to elevate yourself beyond what God desires. What does that balance look like in our lives in ministry? Charles then takes us backstage and shares some honest insights about navigating disappointments, criticism, critique, and fear.

Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!

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Additional Resource Links – Visit Charles’ website to find out more about his books, blog, and other resources that can support you in your faith journey.

It Is Finished: A 40-Day Pilgrimage Back to the Cross – Across forty days of vivid storytelling, It Is Finished offers you a unique and vital roadmap to trace the power and necessity of the cross throughout the Bible, from the book of Genesis all the way to your present-day reality. Whether it is your first, tenth, or ten thousandth time looking up at the cross of Christ, you can trust New York Times bestselling author Charles Martin to wrap an arm around your shoulder, come alongside, and walk with you as a fellow pilgrim headed in the same direction and answering the same question: “What will I do with this man, Jesus?”

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Key Insights and Concepts

  • Exploring Israel chronologically through the lens of Jesus’ life and teachings offers a profound pilgrimage experience, anchoring every step in the journey to the significance of the cross.
  • Despite feeling unqualified, faith can lead to undertaking a task God calls us to, trusting in His guidance to communicate the message effectively.
  • The outcomes of our efforts are solely up to the Lord. We serve with faith because we can’t know what the outcomes will be.
  • We do not have to fear receiving truth from Jesus, even when it’s difficult, because it is always delivered in a package of grace.
  • Obedience is not always restful, it often asks a lot of us. However, walking with the Lord in obedience leads to a peace only He can provide.
  • Criticism and setbacks are inevitable for pastors and ministry leaders, but these challenges can be opportunities for growth, prompting reflection, prayer, and a deeper reliance on God’s strength.
  • Encountering criticism and disappointment should prompt us to seek guidance and perspective from a place of faith rather than succumbing to negativity.
  • Comparison to others in any area of life is not what God has called us to, but rather to trust His specific callings on our lives so that we can be effective for His Kingdom.
  • Acknowledging fear as a hindrance to faith, we can confront and overcome its grip through repentance, seeking reconciliation, and recommitting to a path guided by faith rather than fear.
  • Trust God with what He has called you to and how He will lead you through.

Questions for Reflection

  • In what ways can I incorporate a pilgrimage mindset into my ministry, guiding others toward a deeper understanding of Jesus’ journey to the cross?
  • Do I feel inadequate for the calling God has given me? How can I address these feelings in a healthy, gospel-centered way? How do I reconcile feelings of inadequacy with the call to share the message of Christ with others?
  • Do I find myself regularly comparing my ministry to others’ ministries? How does this make me feel? What might be driving my tendency to compare?
  • In what ways do I navigate the tension between comparing myself to others in ministry and staying focused on my unique calling?
  • How do I respond to criticism and setbacks in my ministry? Is this a healthy way to respond? If not, what changes do I need to make?
  • How can I view these challenges as opportunities for personal and professional growth rather than sources of discouragement or disillusionment?
  • What practices or strategies can I employ to maintain a posture of meekness and teachability, especially when receiving feedback from trusted individuals in my life?
  • What fears or doubts am I currently grappling with in my ministry leadership role? How can I surrender these to God, trusting in His provision, guidance, and faithfulness?
  • Do I sense I am more bound to fear than to faith? In what ways do I actively combat the spirit of fear in my personal life and ministry? How can I encourage others I am in relationship with or lead to do the same?
  • Take a moment to reflect on specific times when I’ve felt overwhelmed or inadequate in ministry. What was I feeling in these moments? How has God’s grace sustained me during these times? What opportunities for growth did I experience during these times?
  • How can I cultivate a spirit of prayer and dependence on God’s wisdom in decision-making, particularly in ministry-related matters?
  • What are some times in ministry where I remember truly stepping out in faith? How has God grown me in those circumstances to have more of an Abraham-like faith?
  • What steps can I take to continually seek renewal and refilling of the Holy Spirit in my life and ministry, acknowledging my own weaknesses and limitations?

Full-Text Transcript

In ministry, what is a healthy approach to embracing the unique gifts and voice that God has entrusted to us without overshadowing what God longs to do in us, through us, and even in spite of us?

Jason Daye
In this episode, I’m joined by Charles Martin. Charles is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. In fact, one of his novels was optioned and turned into a major motion picture. Charles is a devoted Christ follower and a fellow traveler on the pilgrimage of faith. Charles’s most recent book is based on a true story that we’re all familiar with, entitled It Is Finished. Together, Charles and I look at letting God fully use what is uniquely you while avoiding the temptation to elevate yourself beyond what God desires. What does that balance look like in our lives in ministry? Charles then takes us backstage and shares some honest insights about navigating disappointments, criticism, critique, and fear. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Jason Daye 
Hello, friends, and welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye. Every single week, I have the privilege of sitting down with a special guest. And we dive into a topic, and we have a conversation, All in an effort to help you and ministry leaders just like you really embrace healthy rhythms in your life and your ministry. We’re proud to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network, and not only do we create an episode every single week, but our team also creates a toolkit that complements the episode. You can find that at In that toolkit are a ton of resources, including a Ministry Leaders Growth Guide. You can go through this yourself and take your ministry leaders in your local church through it and really dig more deeply into the topic at hand. So be sure to check that out at And then, at Pastor Serve, our team loves walking alongside pastors and ministry leaders. So this is what we do day in and day out, and we are offering a complimentary coaching session. And if you’d like to learn more about that, you can go to and find out some more details about how you can get a free session with one of our ministry coaches. If you’re joining us on YouTube, please give us a thumbs up. Take a moment to drop your name and the name of your church or your ministry in the comments below. We love getting to know our audience, and our team will be praying for you and for your ministry. Whether you’re following us and joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please take a moment to subscribe and to follow so you don’t miss out on any of these great conversations. I’m excited about today’s conversation. At this time, I’d like to welcome Charles Martin to the show. Charles, Welcome, brother.

Charles Martin 
Hey, thanks for having me. I appreciate you making room.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I appreciate you making the time to hang out with us here on FrontStage BackStage. Now, Charles, in the work that you do, I feel that there are some parallels between what you do and what we, as pastors and ministry leaders, do. And I’m excited to get into some of those conversations and very grateful, Charles, that you’re willing to kind of be a little vulnerable with us and open up kind of the backstage of your life a bit. But for those who are joining us on the show today and are listening in or watching along, Charles, you are a New York Times bestselling author. You’re a novelist. You’re a fiction writer, primarily. But what’s cool is that you’re a best-selling author. A lot of people watching along or listening along might be familiar with one of your books because one of your books, The Mountain Between Us, wasn’t only a bestseller but then a studio, a little place called 20th Century Fox, decided to distribute a movie that was created based on your book. And it was a major motion picture with the stars are two of the greatest actors of our day, right? Kate Winslet, Oscar winner, and Idris Elba. So, pretty cool. Pretty awesome. Pretty fantastic. So, you’re primarily a fiction writer. You’ve seen some success, obviously, in that world. I mean, it’s got to be kind of cool to see what you put on paper come out on the big screen and to be embraced like that. But in your most recent book, you tackled a little bit of a different subject, right? You didn’t go fiction. You went to a true story. It’s a true story that all of us are familiar with. And that is the crucifixion of Jesus. So your latest book is entitled It Is Finished. And so, Charles, my first question before we get into some of the backstage stuff, which I’m excited about, but my first question for you is, as a novelist, what led you to tackle the timeless true story of the crucifixion of Jesus?

Charles Martin 
I’ve been to Israel several times, I’ve been six times. My church has been kind enough to invite me to go teach as one of the pastors. So I love it. I love the people. I love the country. I love the geography and the topography. The food, my goodness. And the Lord has just given me a place in my heart for them, for those people. And when I say those people, I’m not just talking about the Jews, although I love them dearly, and I pray for them a lot. I’ve got some good Palestinian friends. So I mean, I’m praying daily for the peace in that place. But as I’ve been there, we’ve been able to go to some phenomenal places. And whenever we take a tour through the land of Israel, we try to do it, it doesn’t make sense financially, but we try to follow the steps of Jesus chronologically because we’re doing it from the standpoint of having an eye toward the cross because of the empty tomb. Thank God for that. But you can’t get to the empty tomb without going into the shadow of the cross. So everything that we’re teaching and all of our everything is sort of with just a view toward the cross. The only way I know how to describe it is that it’s a pilgrimage. So we started to look around Nazareth, we go through all of the Galilee, we spend time in Capernaum, which is where about 86%, you can stand on the beach in Capernaum and hold your arms out and like 86% of the recorded miracles of Jesus occurred within arm’s length. So we do it with a mindset to the cross. And so by the time you get to Jerusalem, you’re ready for the story. You’re ready for the garden, the Mount of Olives, the arrest, Caiaphas’ house, the whole thing. And about on my third or fourth trip, we had gotten in late one night, and Mark Crosland, who’s a dear brother and our fearless leader, took us down to a place they had just excavated, which is the Herodian road that runs along the western side of the old temple mount. So when you think of the Wailing Wall, the Western Wall, this road is about 30 feet below that, and it literally runs the length of the Temple Mount. If you look at a map, it literally runs from the steps that lead up to Caiaphas’ house directly, like a straight shot, all the way to Pilot’s praetorium, or the soldier’s garrison, where Jesus is interrogated and flogged. So we get there late one night, we get tickets, we wind down through all the tunnels, we get down there, and it’s kind of dimly lit. Now they’ve excavated more, and it’s beautiful. But back then, it was just kind of like this dark tunnel. And I began putting the pieces together that Jesus is arrested, he spends the night in Caiaphas’ house, he’s punched in the face, they pluck out his beard, they put the cloak over his head, and they say prophesy, tell us who hit you. Then they force march him up to Pilot’s garrison. And the only way to do that is, in my opinion, and this is Charles’s opinion. But there are a lot of people who agree with me. They force march him up this road. And when we got down the tunnels, we got to that road, and you know that you’re on that road because Herod stamped his stones in a particular way. And the only thing below those stones is the rock of Mount Moriah. So you know you’re at the bottom. And we found, we know we’re at Pilot’s praetorium or the garrison because there’s a hole just outside the garrison that’s about 14 inches across in diameter. There’s a blood groove next to that hole, and then over about 12 feet away, there’s something that looks like a tic-tac-toe game with about 12 lines vertical and 12 lines perpendicular, and what history shows us is that in the hole, there would have been a post wedged into that hole, driven in and solid, they would have latched the prep prisoner to that post. And they would have whipped them with the Roman scourge. The blood would have run out into that blood groove and drained off the road. And about 12 feet away those scars in the stone are from a game that the soldiers play and we know it from Romean record, it’s called the King’s game. And it’s where they gamble for the belongings of the dude that’s strapped to the post. I’m standing there on that road that night, looking down at that hole. I’ve known the Lord, I’m 54, I’ve known the Lord a long time. Doesn’t mean I’ve always been obedient, okay? I mean, my process of sanctification is ongoing. But I’ve known him, and I know better. How’s that? I know the story, and I’ve read it a lot. And I know it here, and some of it has migrated down to here. But standing there looking at that hole in that stone, knowing that my king, who came on a rescue mission for a wretched sinner like me, allowed himself without calling down hundreds of millions of angels and allowed himself to take what was due to me and shed his blood. I hit my knees, something about it hit me in that moment and I literally hit my knees. And I put my palm on the rock on the stone because I just thought if his blood was shed here, I want to be as close to it as I can. So, the idea for this book bubbled up there. It took me a while to write it because I wasn’t sure that I could write it. I’m not a devotional guy. I’m not knocking them. I just don’t do them. I did Oswald Chambers as a kid. It’s an awesome one. Y’all should go read it. But if I’m gonna read something, I usually just read the word. But as I got into writing this thing, and to be honest, I was scared to try because who am I to lead you on a pilgrimage back to the cross? But as it turned out, I’m just a fellow pilgrim. And fellow pilgrims sometimes make pretty good guides. So I sat down to try and write this thing, and what bubbled up turned out to be, when we sort of put it in pieces, was this 40 Day pilgrimage back through the events and the stories in the life of Jesus, with an eye toward what does this say when you get to the cross, and you come back, and you look at this event. The woman with the issue of blood, the woman caught in adultery, the blind guy that Jesus heals, and the Pharisees want to know who healed you. All of those events, the paralytic, if you turn around and look at them from the cross, what does the cross then have to say to you about that event in your life? So with me every day it was a walk back. It was just like a Jesus saying, walk with me back to the cross. Now, we all know the great exchange occurred there. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He took what was not due to him. All of the wrath of God poured out wasn’t wasn’t due to him. It’s due to us. He took that in exchange and gave us the blessing of the Father. So I’m trying to just figure out how to let scripture interpret itself, to tell the story, to walk back to the cross and ask very simple questions like What does the shed blood of this man have to do with me 2000 years later? I know where he came from, and I know who he is. I know Hebrews says he’s the brightness of the Father’s glory, the exact representation of his nature. He upholds all things by the word of the power. I know who he is. I can tell you what the words say. But why did he choose to take off his crown and lay his diadem in the corner, and give his ring back to his dad, and take a swan dive out of heaven to come on a rescue mission for a bunch of folks like us? That’s the love that he revealed to me as I wrote. We see it in John 17, we hear him talk about it in John 17. But that’s what he did in me, to me, and through me as I wrote it.

Jason Daye 
That’s awesome, brother. And I’ve got to tell you, as I read through It Is Finished, as I was reading through it, the word that I use is heartfelt. So, to hear you tell the story as to what led you to write it makes perfect sense. I mean, there’s incredible integrity between that story and what God led you to produce. Because there is that very heartfelt sense of that intense relational journey and the idea of that love that was poured out to such a degree, and how it impacts, how it relates, and how it translates to us some 2000 years later. So appreciate the fact that even with maybe a little bit of trepidation, you were obedient to God putting this on your heart and saying, Man, you’ve got to get this on paper. And I think that’s awesome. It brings me to a thought. Oftentimes, we are faced in life and in ministry with a challenge that we may not feel comfortable taking on. Do you know what I mean? Like putting, again, Charles, like you’re saying, who am I to write a book about the crucifixion of Jesus? This is the crucifixion of Jesus. I mean, this is the paramount event in the history of humankind, right? And so, in ministry, you have that a lot. There’s that weightiness every week, honestly, when you get up to preach. It’s like, this is the gospel message. This is the message of salvation for the entire world. There’s a weightiness to it. And it’s kind of like, there is that kind of fear of one, I don’t want to mess it up. Or two, who am I to put it out there? How, Charles, did you kind of process through some of those feelings that we all probably have had in ministry settings in the past?

Charles Martin 
Well, with regards to this book, and in some ways with regards to my previous two nonfiction, which are, What If It’s True and They Turned the World Upside Down. I don’t come at it from the standpoint that I feel like I got this. I don’t feel like I got this. Truth is, I’m not good enough and I’m not qualified. And I’m not trying to sound or act passively humble or any kind of foolishness like that. I’m just, I know me. And I’m really not. But here’s the truth of my king. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t call me because I’m qualified. He calls me because he calls me. Period. So when I sit down, there’s a voice, there’s, you know, one on the shoulder and one on this shoulder question is who’s gonna listen to that day? One is usually fear and one’s usually faith. And I just have to, I don’t know that anybody will publish it. I don’t know that anybody will read it. I don’t know what the outcome will be. If I knew the outcome, then it wouldn’t be faith. Because if you know the outcome, you don’t need faith. Right? Right. I felt like the Lord put it on my heart. I do believe he’s given me some talent and gift in terms of being able to tell his story maybe differently than we have heard. There are a lot of other people who have spoken on the crucifixion and done better. Okay? But I don’t hear my voice sometimes when I read their stuff. And I sometimes feel like the Lord has allowed me to say things with regards to his life that are at least for this day and age. Fresh. New. Okay. I’m not claiming to take credit for that. I’m just saying that in this day and age, maybe it’s fresh and new, at least certainly for me. So I just sit down, and I’m like, Lord, I would love to tell this story. I need some help. If I know anything about you, anything at all, I know from the first couple words of Scripture that in the beginning you created and I know that you are a creator. You created me. I may not have what I need right at this moment. But I’m going to sit here with you and I’m going to press in. I’m asking Your Spirit to reveal things to me through Your Word that maybe I haven’t seen before. And if this honors you, and if it’s a sweet fragrance rising up to your throne, will you help me figure out how to get it on the page? Because I’m not the greatest writer in the world. I’ve said this a bunch, I’m a much better re-writer. And in truth, I sweat my books more than I write them. So I just sit there and put my fanny in the chair until I can kind of get it done. If I’ve done anything well in 24 years, and now almost 28 books, I have endured through the process of writing. And it’s the hardest thing I do. It’s not that easy. Books don’t write themselves. I show up every day to this thing. There’s a white page staring me in the face. So I just sit down and I’m like, Lord, I need help. I need you to create in me what I need for this month. So I write and then I leave the outcome up to him. And that doesn’t mean I get away with shoddy writing. It doesn’t mean I get away with shortcuts. It doesn’t mean any of that. He expects me to use everything he’s given me. But at the end of the day, I still feel a little bit like the Little Drummer Boy. I mean, I’m just trying to play my drum for the king. And I just want to do that. And I want to do something that points to him and honors him. Christy and I have three boys. And I was explaining to him about two or three months ago about this book because at the time they had not read it. And they were asking me like Dad, why did you write this one? And I said, Guys, I’ve written now I’m working on my 18th novel, I have 7 or 8, 6 or 7 nonfiction. I said, if I were to get hit by a truck tomorrow and you all could only have one of my books, you should keep this one. Because all of the rest point to this one. And this one points to the only one who matters. So it’s important to me. It matters. I have no control over what the response to it will be. I do know this and I’ll shut up after about 30 more seconds. But I know that as I wrote it The Lord did two things in me. He revealed to me my need for Him. If we don’t understand our need and the depth of our need, then we have no reason to understand why we need the cross or His shed Blood. And we can take it for granted sometimes. We think well I’m not as bad as that person, I’m pretty good, I kind of got some of my stuff together, and that’s a lie from the pit of hell. All of us are just wretched black-hearted sinners and we’re housed in the kingdom of darkness. And we need a rescuer to come transfer us out and deliver us to his kingdom. And the reason he does that is because we can’t do it. The only thing you and I bring to the cross is the sin that causes us to need it in the first place. And he revealed that to me. Folks credit me with saying good things, writing books, or being a certain way. They don’t know me. If they knew my thoughts, they wouldn’t say those nice things about me. So he revealed the truth of me to me. But here’s how he did it. While that is crushing, it’s not fun to look in the mirror and get the true diagnosis of yourself. John tells us that grace and truth are poured out on the lips of Jesus. So we know that if we’re getting truth from him, which we are, then it’s wrapped in this packaging of grace. And it’s not cheap grace. It’s the stuff that locks arms with you and says, Hey, I love you. Do you love me? Feed my sheep. It’s the total restoration of Peter. That’s not cheap grace. That’s the real kind. Ryan, he did that with me and said, Hey, I love you. Come on, follow me. walk. And so it was just a beautiful journey for the two of us. And I’m praying that really, I’m praying that it is for other folks. My editor, when she first read it said, Charles, I feel like sometimes there could be more of your voice in this book than what we are currently hearing. So as we went through editing, I felt more and more comfortable putting more of me in it. But I was really hesitant in the beginning. I wanted to decrease and wanted him to increase and I didn’t want you coming to a book to read a whole bunch of me. I learned how to be more comfortable, as a fellow Pilgrim, walking you through what I had walked through, and then just leaving you at the foot of the cross and saying, you do your business with him, I’ve done mine, or I am doing mine.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that. Charles, thank you for giving us kind of a peek into that, because a lot of what you shared, again, I feel like a lot of us who are ministry leaders, pastors, or preachers are wrestling with some of those same things. We don’t want our voice to overpower the voice of God, right? And so we want to be sure, we’re gonna think through that. But one of the things that you shared, and I think it’s beautiful, is the idea that we’re all on this pilgrimage together. And that God has gifted and placed people with different gifts in different positions. And we’re called to steward those gifts in a way that brings glory and honor to God. Not to bury those gifts, but to lean into them. But to do it in a way and this is what I heard you say, Charles, but do it in a way that really honors God in the midst of it. Where you’re not running ahead of God, where you’re sitting, and inviting the spirit to come in and to guide and to direct. And that’s the dependency piece of it. But one of the things that you mentioned, Charles, was the idea of your voice. And that, yeah, a lot of people have written on the crucifixion of Jesus over the last two millennia, right? But there’s something unique about Charles’s voice, as he shares that story and invites people into that story. And for all of us in ministry, as we’re preaching, or as we’re teaching, as we’re writing, or however we’re showing up in ministry, God sees the nuances and the diversity in those voices and knows that there are people in the world that, Charles, your voice is going to touch and reach in a different way than my voice ever could or ever would, right? And that’s the beauty. And whenever we can kind of rest in that, and, Charles, that sounds like that’s part of your process. I thank you for sharing that. Because when we can rest in that, trust God with it, and say, I’m going to be faithful and obedient to what you’ve called me to do. I’m going to, like you said, not just do shoddy work and say, it’s up to you, God, its results are all up to you. But we lean into it and say, Okay, God, you’ve created me in a unique way. You’ve gifted me in a unique way. I’m going to bring this to you as a way to honor you, and then allow you to work in me and through me and Lord, you use it. I think that’s a place that all of us in ministry, that’s a restful place, isn’t it? It’s a place where you get to just say, Okay, I am the beloved of God. He cares for me. He’s called me into something. And he’s with me in it, right? It’s the idea that God is with you in this he’s with you in the process, right?

Charles Martin 
I don’t know that it’s always restful. But I do know that it is obedient. So there can be there can be a peace amidst the wrestling that is different than restful. That’s my take on it. I would rather be walking with him and obedient to Him and pulling the rocks out of my shoes, than not.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, no, that’s good. That’s well said. Charles, this is a great conversation. I would like to touch on something that was kind of the backstage. If you’re open to it, talking about the idea of just disappointment. Just whenever we are involved or engaged in something where we’re putting something out in front of other people, right? And in ministry, that’s part of what we’re called to do, right? If you’re trying to get up on the weekend and preaching at the worship gathering. Or if you’re going to be, if you’re a songwriter, and you’re leading the music, or whatever it is. You’re serving, you’re putting things in front of others that you feel God has called you to share. Inevitably, there can be disappointment. I mean, as a pastor, I can think of so many times Monday rolls around, you’ve had a weekend of worship gatherings. And Monday rolls around, you’re like, man, what did I just do? Like, yeah, and there’s almost a self-pressure. I think that we that we place on ourselves that we have to hit it out of the park again, and again, and again. And the next thing always has to be awesome, right? And maybe even more often than the last thing. And as a writer, I’m sure, Charles, that you’ve experienced disappointment, where you’ve put a lot of time and energy into something. And it’s like, you’re sitting there like, oh, man, that didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped it would have turned out. And I think all of us in ministry have those senses and feelings. How have you processed through those kinds of discouragements, disappointments, or things when you put a lot of energy into something and it doesn’t turn out the way you’d hoped? What has God taught you in that process?

Charles Martin 
Well, as you’re speaking, a couple of things come to mind. Number one, let’s just tackle the little bit of the elephant in the room, which is the sin of comparison, of which I am completely and totally guilty. I’m guilty of it this week. I’m on book tour, trying to get this book out and talking to people. And I find myself wanting to compare this book to others. It’s a horrible trap. It’s the worst. And so I just have to when I really look in the mirror and see that ugly stuff hanging off my face, I just gotta walk back to the cross and lay it down and say, Lord, I’m sorry. You didn’t ask me to do this to compare me to somebody else. You call me to do it because you call me to do it. So I’m sorry. I’m not very effective to you if I’m walking in comparison. So please free me from that. I don’t want to do that. I want to love on your body. I want to encourage your bride. I want to encourage the people who were doing stuff like this, and I hope they knock it out of the park. And so anyway, that’s number one. Number two is I started this book tour back in Jacksonville a couple of days ago. And we had folks gathered and they showed up and I thought I had kind of prepped what I was going to say, and I said it and the night was over. And it just didn’t resonate. I mean maybe some folks thought it did. I knew that I didn’t. As a matter of fact, when I got in the car with Christy, we were driving home. She’s like, so how did that go? That didn’t go very well. She’s like, Yeah, we kind of need to work on that. So being able to have somebody who can speak truth to your heart and being able to listen to them. There’s that whole scripture about being meek and teachable. And I am not always meek and teachable, but I want to be, especially with my wife, guys in my Bible study, a lot of them were there that night that we started this book tour. And so they had great edits for me, and that’s awesome. And this is true for me as a writer, I’m now you know, 25 to 28 books, whatever. There’s always an editing. I’ve never yet handed in a book and they go thanks, great. So then you’re constantly in this tug-of-war and I know that they’re really good and they’re professionals and they have been put in my life for a reason. Doesn’t make them always right. But I would do well to listen. Sometimes the further I get down this road, that sometimes the more difficult it is to listen because the little arrogant thing in me pipes up, and then he begins speaking to me, who are they to start? You hear all that. So I’ve got to just lay that down before the Lord and say, Lord, these are at the end of the day, really your words. Which ones do you want on this page? Also know that there’s a scripture that says in the last days, the love of many will grow cold. We’re there, like it or not, we’re there. And I don’t want to be one of them. I do not want to be one of those cold, angry, God-hating people. I want when people bump into me, and they walk away, somehow, by the power and Spirit of God, I want them to walk away going, I just bumped into something different. May not know what that is. But I want it. Not me. But lastly, I’ll say this on disappointment. Look, if the Lord lifts you up a little on a little bit of a pedestal and puts you in any kind of public view. And I think probably it’s a valid question, did he put you there? Or did you put you there? And maybe only you can answer that. Because if you’re standing on a pedestal that you built, you need to get off of it. That’s not a good place to be. But if you’re standing on a pedestal, where he put you then learning to somehow grow comfortable in that place and admit, hey, I totally flubbed on that. That’s on me. Also, being able to handle criticism, and not all criticism is good. I mean, there’s a reason that critics are called critics. Sometimes people just like to be critical, especially in this day and age, where everybody has one of these things and they can just spout and spew stuff. I saw this when the movie The Mountain Between Us came out. Because if you’ve read my book, and you’ve seen the movie, they’re very different. And Kate Winslet and Idris Elba end up hooking up and having sex in the mountains. Not in my book, okay? And so this process that we were really excited about, and this movie that was made and people all of my readers, many of whom went to see it. They’re doing this from the theater reaming me a new orifice because they think I did it. I had nothing to do with it. And they don’t understand the Hollywood process. Several people tell me verbatim I’d sold out to Satan. Well, I haven’t sold out to Satan. He’s a defeated punk. I’m not in his kingdom anymore. So it was then learning how to respond, being a little bit of a semi-public figure you’ve got to learn that you’re not going to be able to respond to all your critics. There are too many of them. So I just got quiet with the Lord and I’ve had to do it several times since. And I’m like, What do you want me to say? I want to punch somebody in the teeth. That’s not going to do anything. Not good. So I got that out. I’m not vented. Okay, now, what do you want me to do? How do you want me to respond? So then praying through that, and Christy and I are praying through that. And also I haven’t read reviews of mine in years. And I don’t. Christy reads all my social media, she lets me know when I need to. So, unfortunately, all this stuff rolls downhill and lands at Christy, and every now and then I’ll catch her. She’s just got this tense face. And she’s like, I’m gonna do a spider monkey on this person. Bless her, But I don’t. I’m not an open door for critics. I have people that I have invited to come speak to me when I need correction. And I pray that I am meek and teachable. And I have a bunch of them, not just one or two. But every person who has access to a phone is not invited to come speak and spew criticism at me. That doesn’t mean that it’s invalid. It just means I don’t have enough channels to listen to all of it. The people who love me who have been invited in or tuned into the spirit in the first place, they’ll be able to help correct me. So I don’t know, somewhere in that soup of an answer is dealing with the sin of comparison, dealing with disappointment, being able to hear criticism and know whether or not hey, I need to listen to that or Nope, that can go in file 13.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s so incredibly helpful. And just as you’re sharing that from the perspective of a writer, so much of that from the perspective of a pastor or ministry leader just resonates because it’s saying truth. I mean, we all need to be meek. We need to be humble. We need to be open to correction. But we need to have those trusted individuals in those safe spaces that we know have our best interest personally in mind, but also the interests of the kingdom in mind as they’re speaking into our lives. And we can’t get bogged down with just any person who wants to throw a rock just because they don’t particularly like a certain thing. And half the time, as you said, they don’t even know the full story. And so they’re throwing rocks just because it’s easy. It’s simple. It can be anonymous. You can throw a rock from quite a distance these days with our phones and social media.

Charles Martin 
I’ll tell you this, it’s changed how I respond. My experience has changed how I respond to my leaders or the people that I listen to, or whatever. And rather than being so quick to do this, or pick up a stone, I’ve found myself praying for them much more, which is much better in the kingdom. I don’t have a monopoly on that. I’m not perfect at it. I don’t do it all the time. But I have found myself doing it a whole heck of a lot more.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s a great point. Because it goes both ways, right? It’s also just as easy for people to throw rocks at us. Hey, it’s easy for us to throw rocks at others, too. So what does that mean? How do we temper that? How do we take that to God before we take that to Twitter or X, or whatever you wanna call it, right? Awesome, brother. Charles, this has been an amazing conversation. I want to give you a time here just as we close down. This has been rich, brother. This has been fantastic, fantastic stuff. But as we close down, I want to give you just a moment to share some words of encouragement to pastors and ministry leaders. Charles, what would you share with them as some words of encouragement?

Charles Martin 
Let me just give you what the Lord has done in me because I don’t know, that question is almost above my paygrade. Let me just tell you what he’s done in me, okay? I’m 54. When I was about three, my grandparents lived in Texas, and they had a little bit of land. And I would go out there for Christmas. And I remember falling in love with land and dirt and farm. And I would try and plow frozen ground and I can remember strapping the plow to me and trying to make my way. My whole life I have wanted to farm. It’s just been this thing. And Christy and I and the boys have prayed about it for 20-something years, that the Lord would allow us to buy a little farm. And I think my motives are right and I want to share it with my family and we love to hunt. We’re massive bow hunters, you know. Christy loves gardening and the woods and the trees. And I mean, a place for us as a family to build memories and all the things. And then there’s the ministry side of it. Can we take couples up and love on them and just pray with them? And can it be a quiet place for us to just pour in and just pour into people? So I think my motives were good and are good. And so we ended up buying this little farm in central Georgia about two years ago. And I didn’t realize this at the time, but from the moment we drove through the gate after closing the first time, I was gripped with fear. I’m not normally a fearful person, I would not say that my knee-jerk is fear. But somehow, the enemy found a place of purchase in me and began yanking me around with fear and that fear manifested itself in anger because what I was fearful of was that I wouldn’t be able to do the things. And you hear the problem in my pronouns. The Lord gave us the farm. But I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to do the things that I need to do to control the circumstances that allow me to keep it, right? So I just kept bumping into these things that I couldn’t control. And one thing I’ve learned about farm life is everything takes twice as long as you think and it costs twice as much money as you think. And there’s twice as many problems as you think you’re gonna have. So I wasn’t prepared for any of that and certainly not financially and I blew up one day at my family. It was ugly. I just got angry and I blew up. Now, what I said was primarily true. The things I was saying were truthful. But how I was saying them and really why I was saying them were not. And it really dinged my family and that afternoon I was sitting in a deer stand holding my bow and the Lord’s just like really? Is this where we are? He showed me. He’s like you’re afraid. You’re afraid you’re not gonna be able to keep this place and so you’re angry and there’s no peace. There’s no peace. You want to bring people up here and there’s no peace. You’ve just shot that out the window. So I just went in and I confessed to my family. I gathered everybody around the fire pit and I said look, here’s the deal. Here’s what’s going on with your dad and with your husband. I’m afraid that I will not be able to keep this place and this place has become an idol and I’m sorry. I’m sorry to you, I confess to you, I repent and ask your forgiveness. It wasn’t pretty. And I’m asking the Lord’s forgiveness. So we just gathered around. And just one more time I uncurled my fingers and gave the farm back to the Lord. And I said, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for trying to do this, and I thought I was clear and free. And then about two or three weeks later, it snuck up on me again and bit me in the fanny and I blew up again. And I’m like, a wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death? I don’t do the things I want to do, I do things that I don’t want to do. So I gathered them around again. And I said, Okay, do you believe me now? And I confessed I have been listening to fear and not faith. And in the meantime, while all this is going on, this is about four or five months, while this is all happening. I’m now 54. So I get up at least once a night to go to the bathroom. So I walk into our bathroom and I’m standing there and Christy has put this little framed scripture on the back of the toilet. I see it every morning at 3 am in the moonlight. It says we walk by faith, not by sight. After about three months of staring there, I go, He’s actually talking to me. I thought I had accomplished this checkmark. I hadn’t. So I just got quiet with the Lord and with my family. I’m like, Lord, I’m sorry. I would rather not have a farm and have you than have a farm and not be walking with you. Well, just again, like I’m sorry, Lord, here’s my idol. We give it to you. And since then, we’ve had a great time and our farm has been much sweeter. I’m much more at peace. The circumstances haven’t changed But fear is a liar. So for all of the ministry folks listening out there, fear is a liar and he is a defeated punk. And he is a spirit that wants your faith. And he wants you to cower and acquiesce and compromise and he wants you to know the outcome before you step. He wants you to have it all figured out. Now, I’m not saying don’t walk in wisdom, there’s wisdom in the counsel of many. And when wisdom enters your heart, insight, and discretion will shield and preserve you from all evil. So you need wisdom. But sometimes there’s just faith things. And this book It Is Finished is a faith thing for me. I don’t know what the Lord will do with it but I’m not in charge of that. My job was to write it. And now try and tell folks about it. I do know that this fear thing caught me off guard. My heart hurts for how I let it get to me. But then at the same time, I say that there’s great grace from the Father because of what he’s shown me and how I’ve been able to show my boys Hey, this is what your dad’s dealing with. And I’m sorry. I thought I was beyond that. But I’m not. And I’m all the more qualified to pray with you now when you get afraid. So I think that in terms of the ages and the spirits that we are facing today, we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood. What we are looking at today is an onslaught and a tormenting spirit of fear that wants our faith. And I have felt it in my own life and ministry and I’ve been praying against it. But he hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. He’s given us a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. And so I’ve just begun praying, Lord, give me an Abraham-like faith, please. Help me follow you. I rebuke fear in the name of Jesus. I am blood-bought, blood-washed, and blood-redeemed. You can’t have me. You’re a defeated punk. Get out. No, I’m not listening to you. Now, Lord in the place that he just vacated, would you pour in your spirit? Would you fill me up today? I’m a colander I tend to leak your spirit. So I’m gonna need you every day to come back and fill me up. And I’m sorry, but it’s just me. I’m leaking and close the leaks. And so fill me up, again, afresh and anew. And my heart’s desire is to follow you and follow you in faith and obedience. So would you please help me do that? He has. For the most part, I listen.

Jason Daye 
Man, brother, that’s a good word. It’s a great word of encouragement. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for making the time to be with us, sincerely. Because the words you’ve shared, man, they resonate. They resonate with me, I know for sure. For those of you who are watching and listening along, be sure to check out to get the toolkit for this conversation that Charles and I have had. There you’ll find links to It Is Finished, his newest book, and again some questions for you to dig through with you and your team at your local church around the conversation that we’ve had. But, brother, it has been an absolute joy. It’s been a blessing to spend some time with you today. Yeah, God bless you.

Jason Daye
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at That’s And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.

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