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S2:E98: Deep Conversation w/Travis Michael Fleming (and Melissa Fleming as host): Living As Christians In A World That Isn't
29th April 2022 • Apollos Watered • Travis Michael Fleming
00:00:00 01:06:03

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This time we have a special guest host! Travis' wife, Melissa Lynn Fleming shakes things up a bit and puts Travis in the hot seat in a deep conversation. They discuss everything!

What does it mean to water your world in a world that is divided, confused, and overwhelmed? How do we water our faith when it seems that everyone and everything is fighting for our attention?

Melissa and Travis talk about how to live as Christians in a world that isn't. It's a fun and insightful conversation that cuts the trends out and focuses on the timeless truth of God's Word and how we can anchor ourselves in it in a world that seems to be tossed back and forth on the tumultuous waves of our ever-changing culture!

It's a great look into the heartbeat of Apollos Watered and how it can help you water your faith so that you can water your world!

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Transcripts

S2:E98: Deep Conversation w/Travis & Melissa Fleming

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[00:00:23] Melissa Fleming: and I'm Melissa Lynn Fleming. And

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[00:00:41] you.

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[00:00:43] Melissa Fleming: Yes, you.

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[00:00:46] Melissa Fleming: So really I'm your host not, we are your hosts. I'm going to be asking Travis some questions today. I'm going to start with the fast five. Are you ready?

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[00:01:01] Melissa Fleming: Now you know what it's like to be in the hot seat.

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[00:01:05] Melissa Fleming: All right. Here's the first one. What was your favorite book when you were a teenager? You have to think way back.

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[00:01:28] Yeah. Beginning of teenager,

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[00:01:40] Melissa Fleming: All right. Here's your next one? Okay. What car or vehicle did you learn to drive on?

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[00:02:21] Melissa Fleming: I've been in that track. I know what you're talking about. How old were you when you learned to drive on that?

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[00:02:34] Melissa Fleming: Yeah. Yeah. That's cool. All right. Here's your next one? What is the last thing that made you really laugh out loud?

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[00:02:53] mind. Ah, you would ask these, these are hard.

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[00:02:59] Travis Fleming: I do, but it's more fun when I'm get somebody else to do this stuff.

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[00:03:19] Melissa Fleming: I thought you would just talk about the last reel or something that made you laugh really loud.

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[00:03:33] Melissa Fleming: Okay. If it comes up, you have to answer. All right. Here's the next thing, the best tradition that you've started with our kids.

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[00:03:52] Melissa Fleming: Most families eat breakfast in the morning.

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[00:04:21] Melissa Fleming: So those of you that don't know, I'm not a morning person. So in our house, the tradition is dad is there for you in the morning. And mom is there for you at night.

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[00:04:34] Melissa Fleming: Breakfast starts at 10 then. I'm good.

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[00:04:40] Melissa Fleming: Whatever. All right. The last one is one that you ask a lot of guests on your show. If you were a restaurant, what would you be and why?

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[00:05:55] Melissa Fleming: Yes.

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[00:05:59] Melissa Fleming: and it's an amazing salad bar

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[00:06:08] Melissa Fleming: because they're holistic in nature. It's not just meat.

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[00:06:17] Melissa Fleming: All right. No, we traveled to Illinois a couple of weeks ago and we had an Apollos Watered Gathering. Um, we saw about 25 of our wonderful listeners and friends, and it was a really great time. We had a couple of hours talking about things, discussing the ministry, things that they are going through right now, different, different cultural topics. So I just want to hear from you, um, what insights did you get from that gathering?

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[00:07:12] Yeah. And, and I make the joke. At times we have so many choices that it becomes overwhelming. If I, if I were to go into, uh, a grocery store, I love to talk about this being in a grocery store and you tell me, Hey honey, can you pick up some cereal? And there's like 500 cereals. But if you say, you know, get one, two or three, like get, you know, honeycombs or honey nut Cheerios or rice Krispies.

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[00:07:57] So people don't know where to start. They don't know how to engage in conversations with people, because if you start with someone and they don't agree with the Bible or they, they value something much higher than the Bible, then how do you do that? And, and that requires some work. You have to know the word, you have to know how people think and why, the way that they, they think the way that they do.

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[00:09:03] Um, in a, in a different way, it's not just giving a Bible verse, right. You know, it's understanding the foundation of that belief and what it's rooted in and then showing how the Bible applies to that situation. So those are some of the things that we saw, uh, but we also saw and this is was really encouraging to see how people are learning from the podcast and growing, um, and they're able to water their worlds as they're encountering people from different worldviews and different belief systems and, and they're knowing how to answer. And I love that. That makes me really, really excited.

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[00:10:03] They are actually engaged and their emotions are there. They are grieving for people that are hurting. They are wanting to know how they can help and come alongside people. And so what are some kind of unifying. Maybe threads that the people we interacted with brought forth to you, that you really saw coming from their hearts.

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[00:11:22] It's our approach in our, how we present the truth, I think is, uh, is shifting and people are starting to grasp that and step into that. And really it's nothing really new. It's, it's ancient. That's what I love about it. The word of God has had it in there. And it's almost as if it's been kind of covered up with dust over time.

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[00:12:08] And so I think that's what we're seeing is people want to see it, they're grabbing onto it. They're feeling something that. That they feel disjointed. And, and I'm hearing that across the board, nobody knows what to do right now. And everybody's shouting at one another. And I think we should, I think there is, we do know what to do it.

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[00:12:50] And I think that's what we're trying to do and help meet people where they're at. So there's a lot of different pieces to that. And I think we're just starting to uncover so many of them, as people are starting to awaken to this idea of watering their, their world.

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[00:13:25] Travis Fleming: Well, like what I just said, hospitality, that's a big one.

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[00:13:34] Travis Fleming: We'll just do it. Okay. So, um, we had, uh, we had a good friend that we've met since we've moved to this area and, um, we invited him over for dinners because that's what you do. You know, that's where we're, what's what we have done in our ministries.

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[00:14:47] And I want to get to know, I want you to get to know me. I want to get to know you let's eat together. Let's just whether it's tea or it's a meal or something, but I'm amazed at how many people don't do this anymore, right? Yeah. But other cultures still do. And the word of God talks about it all the time.

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[00:15:29] Awesome. Um, and it sometimes awkward isn't awesome. But you get my point is that we got to get through that in order to really develop the relationships and the, the relational credit to be able to share effectively. Now, I'm not saying that I'm not trying to negate people that are doing evangelism on the streets. I'm not saying that. God can use whatever. The most powerful form in my mind is building a relationship. And that takes time. It takes trust and it takes true character. Um, and it takes a degree of authenticity and vulnerability, and that scares people because they don't feel like they're at a level to be able, but here's the deal we're never going to be at that level.

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[00:16:21] Melissa Fleming: Oh no, we never havedone "ommm"

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[00:17:14] Melissa Fleming: I was reading something from, uh, Henri Nouwen and I don't know...

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[00:17:20] Melissa Fleming: Yeah. I don't know the exact quote, but the gist of it was "hospitality is when someone is welcomed into your presence or your home and they feel like they can be completely themselves." Where you have disarmed any status or whatever. And they walk in and they get the gift of being completely themselves. And I loved the thought of that because I know we've talked about this. We want people to come into our home and not feel like they have to only sit a certain place or act a certain way.

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[00:18:03] Melissa Fleming: Oh, I just learned, I need to post those house rules, I think.

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[00:18:11] Melissa Fleming: Okay. We're gonna shift a little bit and we're going to actually talk about, um, deep conversations itself because sometimes I think we look at the people that are on deep conversations and the people who are being interviewed and the content is actually amazing. I'm not just saying that because I'm your wife. I love it. I listen to them too. But in general, why are we even bringing people to the podcast that many of our listeners have never encountered before?

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[00:19:43] Frankly, when do we have time to address that? And not only that, how do we sift through all of these different people that have these different voices? So I have this news app on my phone and on it, it'll get these different, uh, just news articles, but because I've clicked on Christian articles before I get all these other quote, unquote Christian articles coming up, and these are people I've never heard of. I don't know their background. I don't know anything about them. And they're writing saying some pretty crazy stuff. And I thought. If I'm a little overwhelmed because there's so many of them that come out who else is going to be overwhelmed, who doesn't have the theological education and the background and the experiences that I have.

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[00:21:07] It's the same happy meal, the same stuff everywhere else. And while the message of Jesus is the same. Yes, it's the expression of it. And what they're addressing in that culture that might differ slightly. And so the idols in that culture and that people and what they value and the gospel addresses all of those things equally.

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[00:22:41] Melissa Fleming: Well, one thing I really appreciate about Apollos Watered is that we want it to be biblically grounded. So when you talk about sifting through things and we're bombarded with information, even if it's labeled Christian, you have to sift through things. And a lot of times we're just stuck in what is continuously around us and we're not engaging with different perspectives.

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[00:23:36] Travis Fleming: Or your question to me? And I'm listening to you? I, I think what you're saying, if I get this right. Th the things that we're encountering, I call it the corrective where you can have a diet that you just favor me, like with me with Fogo de Chao, but you have to have a balanced diet. Right. And so while they might give you the meat, I also want to give you the other stuff that the Bible talks about, that other, I find it, that people don't talk about

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[00:24:18] Travis Fleming: Well, it's like, it's like my son, you know, my son likes the game and he started../

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[00:24:23] Travis Fleming: Sorry, sorry. Our son likes to game and you can go tell him that dinner's ready. And he does. He may not even know you're there.

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[00:24:33] Travis Fleming: He's so lost in his own world. And I think that's just a great picture of like every everyday people we get lost in our own little worlds and we don't see the things that are outside that we need. Um, let, let's talk about just, just to give you another idea in flavor of this, um, in, in working with Africans, uh, I worked with Africans, uh, at our church for a long time. And one of the things that I learned was just the ever-present nature of the spirit world in their mind.

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[00:25:04] Travis Fleming: And that was not true for our cultural, I mean, it was a kind of a nod, like a, you know, like, Hey, over there, that's great. Just stay over there. I really don't want to talk to you

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[00:25:15] Travis Fleming: Yeah, and we're also afraid of getting labeled as some of the crazy people who make a demon or everything's demonic, or, you know, at every roof of everything has names for the spirits and all that kind of thing. And that's not what I'm talking about, but I do think that if I don't address what they're dealing with in their world and how the scripture talks about it,

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[00:25:42] Travis Fleming: Yeah, we do. And so, so that's just one example where we want to kind of shine a light on that. Um, we also want to shine a light because

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[00:25:59] Travis Fleming: And, and the problem is, is that when we shy away, other false teachers grab a hold of it. And then they fill that void, that vacuum.

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[00:26:33] That's why we are excited to partner together. We are United in the belief that understanding the Bible changes everything. Because if you can't understand it, then you won't read it. We want you to know the God of the Bible to water your faith so that you will water your world. That's why we recommend getting an NLT. It's the Bible in the language we speak. It's not foreign or complicated, but up close and personal. To save some money, go to tyndale.com use the promo code NLTBibles. It will give you 15% off. There's an NLT for everyone, from kids to adults, devotional Bibles, study Bibles, and so much more. Get one today because understanding the Bible changes everything and the NLT is the Bible you can understand .

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[00:28:35] And I thought that was just interesting. Now, again, the Bible doesn't talk about that, but we see that. Again, that's kind of sound logic. That's an issue that people do talk about. And so we need to be able to give a definitive answer, which is interesting because that's what Mike Heiser, who came on the show and he does the Naked Bible Podcast. That's what he does. That's his shtick. He goes after those people because no one else will because they're afraid of being labeled as lunatics or crazy people or whatever, fill in the blank. Um, now listen to that episode. Yeah. Yeah. The, Mike Heiser, Mike Heiser, I mean, God, be with that guy. He's dealing with pancreatic cancer right now. And I don't know what his last health update is, but his stuff is, is good. Um, in that he really just hits what the text says because he recognizes, I think, as do we, that sometimes our denominational heritage shapes it, shapes our faith in dis can shape our faith in distorted ways.

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[00:29:35] Travis Fleming: To shy away from different doctrines. Like we build little forts around our kind of pet doctrines and we need to be able to say, okay, why was that Fort built around that pet doctrine? What were they responding to? And is that doctrine not as applicable, but its expression is that right um, today as it was then? Because sometimes that can be a blinder. That can be a blinder to us to see something in the scripture, that's there for a reason. And that's what Heiser does. Um, and that's what I really enjoy about it. And even Tremper Longman and the episode that I had with him, I mean, this is one of the foremost, you know, best old Testament scholars in the world.

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[00:30:25] Melissa Fleming: What does the Bible say?

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[00:30:36] Yes, because we want to see the Bible go into every single language group in the world. And we want to see new expressions of that because our language is always shifting. I mean, think about how much her language has shifted in the last two years, social distancing, vaxxed, you know, masking all these different terms, cancel culture have just been added to our cultural lexicon.

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[00:31:00] Travis Fleming: And language is always moving and that's why we need to constantly be translating, um,

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[00:31:33] Travis Fleming: Uh, orality cultures are huge and put a plug in here. We are having, uh, as a special guest coming on the show soon Streetlights, which, um, that's more of an urban, they put music behind it and they read the scripture and they put kind of a beat underneath it.

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[00:32:29] That's why Jesus told parables and he's the most awesome teacher ever.

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[00:32:39] Travis Fleming: You quoted me?

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[00:32:51] Travis Fleming: Yeah, that could go really off the rails quick. Um, so what I mean by that, and, and, and this is all within the frame, the framework of orthodoxy. Yeah. So let me, let me, let me say that because I don't want to say, you know, this is how you see God, and now this is how I see God. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. When we look at the scripture together, your cultural experience, your life, you see things that I might miss. That when I see, I hear you and you tell me the story, you're highlighting things that I may not highlight.

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[00:34:07] Melissa Fleming: So somebody of that stature and honor put aside the status of running, what that would mean and ran anyway,

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[00:34:24] And so that blows my mind. That helps me go, okay, well, what, what am I not doing? You know, when I approach God or when David danced before the Lord, and it says that his wife, Michal despised him in her heart because he humiliated himself, that's what she says in the sight of his servant girls. And it's like, well, God, God cares about your heart.

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[00:35:36] Melissa Fleming: What does that make you see more of God? How does that make you see him differently by being involved with a more jubilant, joyful, loud, even, um, celebration worship service?

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[00:36:17] Melissa Fleming: Is that a new word?

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[00:37:44] Melissa Fleming: Yeah.

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[00:38:10] Melissa Fleming: So would you say, give ourselves permission to experience those different aspects and not just stay where we are and what we know?

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[00:40:14] Melissa Fleming: I love that. Alright, we're going to shift a little bit and we're going to talk to, well, really all of us in this world, something that we've talked about is how in the world do we live as Christians in a world that is not Christian? And so I'm just wondering if you can give us a direction or some strategic ways or advice for us in this culture that we have right now, um, on how we can actually live like Christ.

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[00:40:55] Melissa Fleming: this world and the things that we're dealing with right now and the divisive nature of things, the argumentative nature of things that help, I gave you a little bit more than,

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[00:41:53] This is why your child is the way that your child is because of your sin, your issue. And I'm like this hasn't changed since Jesus's day. I think at the man born blind. Why is he born blind? Was it because of something he did or his parents and Jesus is like, "neither, its so that the glory of God might be displayed in this situation."

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[00:42:38] Even when the people around you don't value what you value. Oh yeah. And you have to, you have to, this is a long game. This is not the shouting of the rhetoric, This isn't "throwing the articles, this isn't giving, you know, Facebook hand grenades. This is where you post and leave. And there's my answer. And I go with your, you know, your, uh, you know, your, your big gun" instead, he needed to take time to live.

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[00:43:35] That's an old term theological term. It's time to recover that a bit where it's not instantaneous. This is, this is, this is the hard part about our culture when we're the, as Brett McCracken talked about this present perceptional ism, or I never can get the word, right. It's something with a presence where presentism.

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[00:44:28] Melissa Fleming: I know we're not.

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[00:44:47] Melissa Fleming: We can't do everything right. I mean, I think it's good that we don't. How else would we show our kids what it means to repair a relationship, even reconcile or forgive? I mean, we have to model that,

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[00:46:06] Melissa Fleming: Oh, that question took a lot of turns.

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[00:46:14] Melissa Fleming: Yeah. Well, one thing that I noticed from there when you were talking about people that are different than you loving people that have different values than you even, um, I want to take that a little step further, what happens or give us some insight on what happens when somebody walks into your life or walks into your church that is completely different from you. How do you love them? And I'm asking this because. Well, because I've watched you do this. I have over 20 years of experience watching you do this. And I think there's some things that you are, you automatically know now through experience that others could find value in. So when somebody is different than you and you see them come in to church, what do you do or think, what do you think? What's your process?

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[00:47:40] Melissa Fleming: Or status...

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[00:49:11] But the problem is, is the church we don't really do that very well. And I mean, it's, and that's across the board. Some churches are doing, I mean, awesome, better than others, but it's not about the show there. You know, I, I noticed certain there are certain churches. It is about the presentation, um, because they place a high value on that. And I understand why, but one of the things that gets lost, especially as the church gets larger, it's very hard to connect on that personal level because you don't know. If they're you, you don't want to say something dumb, like you walk up and you go, oh, "Hey, it's nice to see you today is your first time here?" "No, I've been going here for 10 years. "You're like, oh, oh, I I'm a horrible person. So I'm going to walk away right now."

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[00:49:54] Travis Fleming: Name tags help a lot. They help a lot.

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[00:50:30] Travis Fleming: I think not being afraid.

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[00:50:33] Travis Fleming: W you worked through the awkward, but I mean, you do in some way, and I don't want to put this to the side and say that it doesn't matter at all. Cause it does. Why when people say I don't see color, or I don't see this things. No, you do. You do, you can't, you can't remove that part of our humanity, but it's learning to value them no matter where they're putting their dignity value in.

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[00:50:59] Travis Fleming: And, and I think that's the hard part and learning when to affirm that, like it's good. And when did to challenge it, if it's an idol,

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[00:51:18] Travis Fleming: Yeah. Oh yeah. W when I, when I meet people, usually I do, I, I'm already trying to think through who, like, I want to know who they are. I want to know like where they're from, what do they value? How many... are they married? Are they single? What's their background? They did. They go to school? What did they study? What did they do as an occupation? Um, what are their hobbies? You know, not that I'm thinking through all that at one time, but I am trying to, but I'm trying to build a biography in my head, a file so that I know that how to approach them best and how to love them best. Because I like, if I see a, one of my Congolese friends that speaks Swahili, uh, I'm going to say, you know, "Jambo", I'm always gonna say "Jambo" and I'm going to try to find out about their family. And if they're dressed in a nice suit, I want to talk to them about their suit, you know, in a good way. Cause I, I want to win... I want to find the best in a person.

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[00:52:14] Melissa Fleming: And celebrate what they're valuing.

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[00:52:58] But again, that's the file that I'm building in my brain and I don't want. I don't want it. I don't want that to have a negative connotation. It's not one where I'm trying to put you in a place. No, I want you to become the person that God wants you to be. And I want to love you the way that God wants me to love you. And in order to do that, I need to know really who you are. And that's why I get, I, I, I really personally, when I hear people say, oh, "I love all you people in the room." And it's like, well, I get your, you get your emphasis. I get your desire. What you're trying to say we are. But the reality is is we don't.

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[00:53:57] Melissa Fleming: You thought that I was dangerous.

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[00:54:30] Melissa Fleming: The neighborly love and all with the foundation that we all have dignity.

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[00:54:36] Melissa Fleming: God loves us all.

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[00:54:49] Melissa Fleming: Okay. I'm going to shift from differences and I just want to hear some things that unify us. Talk about recognizing what unifies us when you are connecting with somebody, whether it's somebody brand new or somebody that you've known for awhile.

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[00:56:18] He has loved you. And we want to, you know, show love to you. And I want to know who you are, because I also want to benefit from your gifts because a person can't just get something from me.

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[00:56:31] Travis Fleming: You know, it's just like a marriage. Like you're not, I mean, I'm putting my wife on the spot, but we're like where you feel like sometimes you're serving everybody and sometimes I've heard you say sometimes I just want someone to serve me.

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[00:56:46] Travis Fleming: And, but I think there's some truth to that is that we want to be taken care of. And that we also want to give, you know, and we want both of those. And I think that, again, that's a part of our humanity and the word of God shows that we just need to draw that out. And I think that's the bridge we have to build is we have to show where their, their, their experience meets the reality of the word and how it applies.

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[00:57:31] Melissa Fleming: You actually gave me a great segue because that is actually what is going to start happening on Watering Wednesdays. Right? I'm going to be taking with Watering Wednesdays. Yes. But we're going to be taking the Bible and what the truths that are in there and applying them just the way that you talked about. That's awesome. Look forward to that. Well, I think it's been amazing to hear your heart and perspective on stuff that's going on with Apollos watered.

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[00:58:39] And so it's super encouraging, um, informational, not too long. Also we don't want to throw a bunch of stuff in your inbox. Um, I particularly don't want that. I hate opening my email and seeing too many things.

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[00:58:57] Melissa Fleming: That is not true.

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[00:58:59] Melissa Fleming: No, it's like 140.

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[00:59:03] Melissa Fleming: You can do that more. You can just be my email manager.

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[00:59:12] Melissa Fleming: sign up for the newsletter. And then Travis, what does everybody have to look forward to for the next three to six months?

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[01:00:09] Um, we're going to be hearing from George Yancey who wrote a book called a couple of books. One's called One Faith No Longer, which is actually a, he's a sociologist out of Baylor. And he wrote a book along with a co writer, Ashlee Quosigk. I think that's how you say Quosigk. And they, uh, basically are looking at progressive Christianity.

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[01:00:51] Melissa Fleming: Which is how big? It's the fifth...

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[01:01:53] Melissa Fleming: Oh wow.

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[01:02:19] And we're going to be talking through a lot of the different issues that people are dealing with and, um, offering them a classes online that if you register or you become one of our Apollos Watered Watering Team. And you do so now you'll actually get the material for free.

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[01:02:36] Travis Fleming: Um, later. So I'm going to put a plug on for a palace water to academy and oh, so many things that are going on right now. It's, it's, uh, it's exciting to see. It really is exciting to see how God is, is blessing it and touching lives, but you know, it wouldn't be possible without our team. Um, and, and that includes you, who are listening. We consider you part of our family, uh, and our team, because you are trying to water your world. You're trying to make a difference and push back against the world status quo. And in battle, what I like to call the three-headed dragon, you know, the world, the flesh and the devil, and that three-headed dragon can come against us pretty hard. And, um, we need to, to be able to show the truth and the truth of the word of God so that people can be saved and that, and the exclusivity of Jesus's atoning death on the cross and how his, his death paved the way. I mean, he paid for our sins past, present and future on the cross one time it was all was needed. And then he rose from the dead showing his victory over sin. And now by faith in him, we consider ourselves crucified with Christ and we can have life forgiveness, peace and purpose with him, no matter what our backgrounds are.

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[01:04:07] Melissa Fleming: Thanks for coming on the show.

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[01:04:14] Melissa Fleming: Yeah, it's good. Well, I hope you guys enjoyed hearing us talk. Let me ask Travis questions. Feel free to listen and share this episode. Maybe we'll do it again.

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[01:04:36] Melissa Fleming: Instagram, Facebook.

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[01:04:55] Anyway. Uh, we also want to let you know that we have content on our website and again, Instagram, Facebook, and all of that is shareable. So as Melissa likes to tell me, we want to leave, leave a trickle of truth and encouragement around the world and watch people grow. But if you do want to support us, go to apolloswatered.org, hit the "support us" button in the upper right-hand corner. And then that will take you to our site and it will help you, you know, show you how to give and what amount is appropriate for you. And we do want to give a shout out to our team.

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[01:05:32] Travis Fleming: You do it.

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[01:05:41] Travis Fleming: Water your faith.

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[01:05:44] Travis Fleming: This is Travis Michael Fleming and...

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[01:05:47] Travis Fleming: signing off from Apollos Watered,

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