Dr. Jon Chasteen is president of The King’s University in Southlake, Texas. He also serves as the lead pastor of Victory Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Chasteen recently released the book “Half the Battle: Healing Your Hidden Hurts.” He and his wife, Michele, have two children.
Talk about “Half the Battle,” and why did you decide to write it?
In 2014, Victory Church got news that its founding pastor had a moral failure. This undoubtedly caused much hurt within the church.
“I was a campus pastor at the time and walked through some of that pain and hurt personally, but also pastoring people through that,” Chasteen said. “I was in higher education before ever becoming a pastor.”
Victory Church had offered Chasteen a campus pastor position twice, but he turned them down before accepting the role in 2011. He ended up becoming the church’s senior pastor three years later.
It was in that season that God gave Chasteen new insight into Joshua 5:9, which says, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.”
“When you think about that statement, those people experiencing that were never slaves; they were the children of slaves,” Chasteen added. “They had never felt the sting of the whip on their back. It had been 40 years since their parents had been in Egypt, but they felt the scars of their parents. It was this generational shame that they carried.”
Chasteen said what is in front of us is only half the battle, meaning we need to look into our pasts to figure out how we arrived at the present circumstances we find ourselves in.
“I began to notice as I pastored people with addiction, relational or marriage issues, if I would see past the issue, there was always something deep down in there,” he said. “Trying to get your marriage healed is only half the battle. Trying to overcome the drug or alcohol addiction is only half the battle. There’s a much greater battle we’re dealing with on the inside, and God wants to heal those painful situations from our past.”
Similar to the Israelites back then, Chasteen said we tend to focus on the Jericho wall in front of us rather than the sin within us.
“All the Israelites had to do was march around the wall a couple of times and shout. They never had to lift one sword. God fought for them,” Chasteen said. “I think a lot of times we spend our lives banging our head against the wall over and over and trying to fight. We’re fighting with our spouse, fighting with our boss, fighting with ourselves, trying to take a stand. Imagine if we all face one another with pure hearts with no bitterness, rejection or resentment, how much less fighting there would actually be.”
What does pain cause people to do?
Pain works its way up to the surface in a variety of forms, such as anger, unforgiveness and rejection.
Chasteen cross-references Gilgal in Joshua 5:9, which means a circular stone, with the New Testament story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John 11.
“Mary and Martha felt rejected by Jesus when He didn’t do what they expected him to do,” Chasteen said. “Mary and Martha took their pain, stuck it in a dark place and put a stone in front of it. All of us have a stench that stinks. Instead of dealing with it, we shove it in a dark place in our heart and shove a stone in front of it. Jesus asks, ‘Where have you put him?’ Jesus asks us the same question, ‘Where have you put your pain?’”
Chasteen said Martha’s response in verse 21, “‘If you would have been here, my brother would not have died,’” is how we react today.
“I love the rawness of that, and there are a lot of people who could say that to Jesus,” Chasteen added. “‘Jesus, if you would have been here, I wouldn’t have gotten molested. If you would have been here, I wouldn’t have gotten a divorce.’ Jesus said that if you’ll roll the stone aside, I’ll do something. Jesus always involves us in our own healing. Jesus didn’t need them to roll the stone aside; He could have done that Himself, but He involved them in the process of their own healing.”