Receive Your Identity with Jeff Kemp | Podcast Episode 012
About This Episode -
Men don't earn their identity, they receive their identity. IMPACT Players Executive Director Warren Mainard talks to former NFL quarterback and Huddle Leader of Men, Jeff Kemp. Jeff shares profound truths about the way that men embrace their identity and how it changes everything in their lives and relationships. This is part one of a three part series with Jeff Kemp.
Jeff is the author of Facing the Blitz: Three Strategies for Turning Trials Into Triumphs and Receive: The Way of Jesus for Men (releasing November 1st). He is the leader of Jeff Kemp Team and helps churches and organizations build a team ready to fulfill their God-given potential.
To find out more about IMPACT Players, visit www.impactplayers.org.
Show Notes -
Warren Mainard: Hey guys. Welcome back to the IMPACT Players Podcast. This is the Linking Shields podcast and today we are so excited to have former NFL quarterback, a man who knows how to huddle men and now that is what he does all the time. Jeff Kemp, thank you for being a part of this podcast and thank you even more so for doing what you're doing to invest in men, to live out and model what it means to be an IMPACT Player: a great husband, great father, great leader...hey, great grandfather and a great friend to men. So Jeff, thank you so much for being a part of this.
Jeff Kemp: Hey, I'm not yet a great grandfather, but I do think I'm a great grandpa.
Warren Mainard: There you go.
Jeff Kemp: And as far as great husband, great he rest of it: dude, I'm 40 years married. I'm still learning stuff. We've had a ton of friction complimented by a super strong commitment, and we've gotten a ton of help. And I don't think I qualify as great. I'm a... I'm learning. I need to be, you know, better in every one of those areas. But I do love investing in men and in fatherhood, and in leaders who can humble themselves so they can maximize impact.
Warren Mainard: Well, Jeff, you've done a lot over your life and career. In sports as a quarterback at Dartmouth, undrafted free agent coming into the NFL. Your ability to lead and to get things done on the field allowed you to rally men around you. And you've taken those skills and you're continuing to rally men wherever you go, you speak all across the country. You're the author of "Facing the Blitz" and a brand new book coming out called "Receive." And we're so excited to have you coming to speak on October 12th for the kickoff of our IMPACT Players breakfast season in Bellevue at SAMBICA. So we'll talk about that a little bit more later in the show. But guys, if you are interested in learning more about that event or finding out more about IMPACT Players, our vision is to inspire men to be great husbands, fathers, and leaders by equipping them to thrive in the relationships that matter most. And you can learn more about that on our brand new digital online platform. Find it www.impactplayers.org. Get connected with men, don't do this alone. And on that subject, let's talk a little bit about what's going on in the world today as it relates to men. Everywhere I go, Jeff, I'm talking to men who feel like there is a crisis of manhood. They feel like masculinity is under attack. They don't know which way's left, which way's right, which way's up, which way's down. And men's heads are spinning right now. So tell us a little bit about your unique perspective on how men really find strength in their identity and where that identity comes from.
Jeff Kemp: Yeah. Well, you just want... you started with the diagnosis and then you went right to the bullseye of the treatment, which is identity. But I think the crisis of manhood, the crisis of absent dads, the deficit of fatherhood, which is as consequential as the trillions of dollars deficit in the government. The confusion among young men of what is a man. There's about, you know, 80 versions of it online these days. There were only about four versions of it for a 50 or 60 year old years ago. Now the jock, the smart kid, the nerd, the musician, and you want to be cool in at least one or two of those categories. Today, there's like 80 and you're not sure what they are and the fashion changes. And is it your hair? Is it this? is it that? We don't even know what a man or a woman or identity is today. Everything's up for grabs. At the root of it all, it's producing insecurity. I'm not sure. Do I have value? Do I have worth? Who am I? And the crisis of manhood and of masculinity, the crisis with men: old dudes with a higher suicide rate than ever before. Young dudes with all sorts of challenges. Afraid to get married, not getting married. Even those who haven't, you know, that are married, are addicted to porn. They're not having sex with their wife. This is a new phenomenon.
Warren Mainard: Yeah.
Jeff Kemp: So much of this junk goes back to this: we're trying to perform and earn our identity. It's a never ending game and it's a confusing one. Here's the answer: a man's identity is received, not earned. Received. It's not achieved. And it's received from the one who made you. And guess what, you may think you're junk. You may think you're messed up, but the God that made you doesn't make any junk. He created you and he values you like crazy. And when you figure out that he gave his only son Jesus to rescue and get you back in touch with him as your good, perfect dad, you receive your adoption as his beloved son. Called Jesus. If I know God loves me like crazy and calls me a son, I don't have to beat myself up for the way I messed up yesterday or the things I still struggle with. If I get booed by, you know, 80,000 in some stadium or cut or traded, which happened to happen to me a few times, yeah. I don't lose my identity. I don't lose my security. It hurts. My feelings are, you know, I have an ego, I have some male vanity. But no, I'm not defined by my circumstances, by the audience, by my followers, by my salary, et cetera. I'm defined by God. So I tell dudes this: find out who God really is, his identity. So go on a search for it. You'll find out that you're, you have a... even though you didn't have a maybe a present or good earthly dad, you and I and every man has a perfect heavenly Father. We're just not tapping into him and receiving his adoption and his identity. And then secondly, study what he says about you and what he's done. And that he smiles upon you because of everything that he did to forgive you through Jesus. Now, that implies that you finally got humble enough to say, "Yeah, God, I can't fix it all myself. I want Jesus as my answer and I want you to be my dad." That's a great way to live. I'll tell you what, the perfect man who was stronger than me and more courageous than me, he never messed up. He treated women phenomenally. He dignified women beyond what the culture had ever seen before. Called the religious, judgmental, legalistic, churchy dudes to account and said, quit judging and go get the log in your eye. And he saved a woman from being stoned. Jesus, greatest man ever, lived in total dependence as a son upon his father. That's the way we can live, receive your identity, listen to the Father, he'll start guiding you. What to say to your wife, what to not say to her, what to say to your kid, what to not say. Should I date this girl? Shouldn't I? What should I do when I'm dating this girl? You may think God doesn't have very fun plans for you, I promise you...
Warren Mainard: Yeah.
Jeff Kemp: ...he invented fun. He invented love. He invented joy. He invented creativity. He invented sex. He invented economic activity and entrepreneurship. Heaven's gonna be perfect. God just doesn't want you to trip up and take things outta order: shortcuts, counterfeit. And the enemy does. So I guess the main thing, I think, is answering this identity crisis with receive your identity as a beloved son of God, and then start listening to him to call the shots.
Warren Mainard: Yeah. And you know, I mean, that is such a unique and fresh message in the world today, especially when it comes to men, because we are just wired to work. Men are wired to push, to drive, to be filled with ambition. The idea of being dependent doesn't feel very manly. The idea of receiving, like you know, I hate being given something. I much rather prefer giving something to someone else because there's a sense of, oh if you give me something, then somehow I'm less than you.
Jeff Kemp: Right. Lower status, my vulnerability. Listen, we didn't mind receiving from Santa Claus. We didn't mind receiving at Christmas. God is so perfect. You already know that he's above you.
Warren Mainard: Right.
Jeff Kemp: Don't mind receiving from him, okay? And I wanna show a picture to those of the guys that are actually watching right now.
Warren Mainard: Okay.
Jeff Kemp: Imagine. And you wonder, how do I rate myself zero to 10 at knowing who I am as his son? Zero to 10: am I loved and secure? Zero to 10: do I feel God has a pleasure in me? Takes delight in me? You know, you want your dad for you and say, "Way to go, son, I'm proud of you. You look great." Zero to 10: how well are you doing with knowing your purpose and place in the world? Well, if you receive your adoption, you are his son. And you can be a 10 in identity, a 10 in love, a 10 in delight and pleasure, a 10 at knowing your purpose. And yes, men are meant to conquer, to achieve, to perform, but not to perform for their identity.
Warren Mainard: Right.
Jeff Kemp: To perform from their identity.
Warren Mainard: Yeah.
Jeff Kemp: And not by yourself, which always leaves you empty, but to glorify God. Like give him the credit, you know. Make things better in this world. So yeah, you could still be a man, but flip this upside down. Receive before you then go invest in others. And I'm a quarterback. I don't want to wait for the quarterback to throw me the ball, but I've learned it's better to receive from God 'cause he's perfect. I wasn't a perfect quarterback, you know. He's always going to deliver to you if you make yourself interested, focused, and receptive to him.
Warren Mainard: When did you really begin to kind of grab a hold of this idea that it's more about receiving your identity than it is trying to create or build or even discover your identity?
Jeff Kemp: Well, my dad died of cancer in 2009. And, I'd already kind of grieved his sickness before he died. And I just jumped in full bore and invested in our relationship with him. I flew from Seattle out to DC four times in four months, and I was hanging with him the last weekend before he died. And I said, "Dad, tomorrow night before I leave, will you pray a blessing on me?" The Jewish fathers used to pray a blessing on the Jewish sons. They do it to this day. And a father's blessing means the world. And my dad had already kind of been treating me great and done good things in my life. You're a Kemp. Be a leader. You're a Kemp. Be a leader. I believe in you. You know, your day's gonna come. I'm proud of you. Dad, I didn't even get in the game. Oh, you look great today. I didn't even get in the game. Oh, warm up. You're throwing great. That's the kind of dad I had. All right.
Warren Mainard: Yeah.
Jeff Kemp: But I knew I wanted his blessing and he put his arm on me and said, "Dear God," this is with like 60 pounds down, no hair, about to die. He said, "Help Jeff remember his talent. Help him remember the force for good he is in this world. And help him in both to remember the only thing that matters is thy will be done." That was like the Gettysburg Address of blessings. My dad.
Warren Mainard: Yeah.
Jeff Kemp: My identity, which was my strengths and talents given to me from God, not my performance. Character and the traits that God had put in me. Secondly, he affirmed my mission, my purpose. I'm supposed to make a difference in the world. He was confident in me. And finally he took all the pressure off me and said, "It's not up to you. The only thing that matters is thy will be done." Well, that has clued me in that a father's blessing means a lot. But over the years, I realized my dad wasn't anywhere close to perfect as enouragine as he was. I wanted to be re-fathered, and I asked God to re-father me. And I got some great help in this book, "Father God Daring to Draw Near" by Dave Patty and other books and also conversations with Ed McGlasson of Blessing of the Father Ministry. And I realized I wanted God to re-father me. And as I did, I started reading the Bible as a son, not as a Christian. And I started reading what he said about identity, and this message has come to me over the last several years. And I think it goes right to the root of men's insecurity. We act aloof. We talk about, you know, what we've accomplished, the size of our company. You know, my vacation home, the cars I'm driving. You know what a bunch of BS. Glory days, Bruce Springsteen talks about.
Warren Mainard: Right. Yeah.
Jeff Kemp: The only thing that matters is relationship. And you've been given an eternal relationship with God who sacrifice his son for you. If you don't receive that, you're missing out on your identity. You're missing out on eternity. You're missing out on the power to live as a good husband and apologize.
Warren Mainard: Right. Right.
Jeff Kemp: To treat your daughter phenomenally so she looks for a good husband, not a slacker. That all comes from receiving as a son of the father. Identity drives everything.
Warren Mainard: So the cure to insecurity is really understanding your identity and you receive your identity as a son from the father who is in heaven.
Jeff Kemp: Right on. Your perfect Father.
Warren Mainard: That's the essence of this idea: receive.