Episode 238 (Ken Helser Part:1)
Podcast Intro [00:00:01] Being a great father takes a massive amount of courage. Instead of being an amazing leader and a decent dad, I want to be an amazing dad and a decent leader. The oldest dad in the world gave you this assignment, which means you must be ready for it. As a dad, I get on my knees and I fight for my kids. Let us be those dads who stop the generational pass down of trauma. I want encounters with God where he teaches me what to do with my kids. I know I’m going to be an awesome dad because I’m going to give it my all.
Jeff Zaugg [00:00:39] Welcome back to dadAWESOME today, episode 238 is the first half of my conversation with Ken Helser. I am so thankful for this conversation and so excited for you guys to listen. First, though, I want to remind you the best way to share your feedback. We’re gathering feedback this month on dadAWESOME. Here we are four and a half years into the ministry and we’re always saying, how do we make this resource more valuable to you and other dads? The best way is to send us a text message, so simply text 651-370-8618. Text the word “dad” to that number, so text “dad” to 651-370-8618. And then after that, you’ll get a response back and you can send in your feedback, your ideas. Hey man, this is this is a theme I’d love for you to cover, this is a question I’d love for you to ask, this is a person I’d love for you to interview, suggestions on how to make dadAWESOME more valuable. We would love, love to hear your thoughts. So Ken Helser is a treasure of a conversation. This conversation, he invited him and his wife, Linda, invited my family up to spend a couple days in Sofia, North Carolina, a beautiful property called The Place for the Heart. This decades and decades earlier, I think like 40 years earlier, God gave them a vision for this land and slowly it’s all unfolded and now his son, Jonathan David Helser and his wife Melissa, they lead the ministry Cageless Birds. You guys know this song, No Longer Slaves. I’m no longer slaves, I’m a child of God. That song is it’ll be linked in the show notes, but the ministry, the impact of Cageless Birds, I mean, goes way beyond what Ken and Linda had ever dreamed of. God gave them big vision as parents and we’re going to talk about that in this conversation. I’m so thankful you guys are tuning in, this is a treasure hunt of a conversation. There are gold nuggets in so many different areas, so let’s lean in today. This is the first half of my conversation with Ken Helser. It could be helpful just to give us a snapshot to start with of the current season of Dad life. So talk about your four kids, the grandkids, just give us a little, little snapshot of what’s the current season look like today of being a dad.
Ken Helser [00:03:03] They’re all grown. I mean, our daughters are same age you are, and I’m not going to give away your age. But the most beautiful thing that has happened in Linda and I’s life is we always prayed that our children could go past us. And everything I’ve done in life to dream and to develop a dream and make it a reality. Many people can dream. Oswald Chambers, one of my favorite, I’ve been reading My Upmost for His Highest for 53 years come July. He said God takes us to mountaintop to give us a vision, but nothing is ever made reality on a mountaintop, there’s rock up there, nothing grows. It always takes us in the valley for the dream and the vision to become reality. So my daughter, our oldest daughter, had a dream for nine years of some kind of eatery and she called it The Table from the scripture that says and on the road to a Emmaus, they bid Him to stay and when He broke the bread at the table their eyes were open. And she prayed to have an eatery, coffeehouse, bakery where people from that, simple atmosphere, somehow their eyes would be open. So then our daughter, Jodie, tremendous business minded person and has taken business to ends I can’t even dream of. Jonathan, the musician, I’ve always been a writer and a songwriter and a recording artist and etc., his music has gone way past mine. And then my daughter, Sarah, you looking over at the wall, I gave her watercolors when she was 5, and Bill Gates actually has one of her originals in his home, which I’m only saying that. And so one time I was talking about my children and I thought, oh, my gosh, I’m sorry, Lord, I shouldn’t be talking about them, you know, I mean it’s not pride, I’m just so grateful. And the Lord said, It’s okay, I brag about my Son all the time, and the Father brags on Jesus. Yes. And when our children have followed the Lord and done what they were created to find what they were made for, which is the big thing that, that we do here at A Place for the Heart is to try to help people realize if you, Ephesians 1:3, you know He called before the creation of the world, He saw us and called us to become holy and blameless. If God called you to that, then He also called you with a destiny. And it’s tragic that most young people today, many, many people today work a jobs that cannot stand and they’ve never been able to do that one thing they were created for. So that’s in the snapshot. That’s Daddy all over the place for you.
Jeff Zaugg [00:05:46] And you’ve got 12 grandkids.
Ken Helser [00:05:48] 12 grandchildren and from the age of 3 up to 30.
Jeff Zaugg [00:05:52] And then you had a couple of bonus grandkids because three of your grandkids are married. I believe.
Ken Helser [00:05:56] That’s correct.
Jeff Zaugg [00:05:56] So.
Ken Helser [00:05:57] And I got to marry them. Hallelujah.
Jeff Zaugg [00:06:00] Yes. Well, I was asking Linda questions about just even the pod that you have here on the property and have you baptized people in the pod, she’s telling me stories about just like these, there’s marker moments when it comes to our kids and grandkids. And I mean to marry and do the pre-marital counseling for your grandsons, I mean, I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine for I’d love for you to go a little deeper to the vision of the mountaintop, but where it takes root and flourishes and where it’s in the valley and maybe there’s a couple of stories, maybe start with one that that is an example of like you had the vision, but man, it took a lot more time to come about and man, it took a lot of pain to see that vision start to come to fruition because I think a lot of us dads listening, we have some vision, we have some hopes, we have like we believe for certain things, but like we feel in the valley right now, we’re not seen the vision taking place. And so give us hope with maybe a testimony story of yours of what happened.
Ken Helser [00:06:56] For exampIe, is that when I was a rock and roll, crazy rock and roller, I did stuff on stage that anyway, that was the old man. And so when I met the Lord and came to Him and gave my life, that’s too long story again now. But two weeks after that the Lord said, I’m going to give you a piece of land. So I’m ready for this piece of land, went out looking for it. 16 years later, we got from 1970 to 1986. So many times when God gives you the vision, it’s gonna happen, it’s in the future, it will take place, but He doesn’t tell you when, because it’s not so much that I had a vision. God has to shape me into the place of the vision. It’s what He has to do in me. Because one of the greatest things is for God to be able to give you something without what He gives you, having you. To have music in my life and, and I gave up my whole career, tour where the Allman Brothers recorded in New York, getting ready to move down to Capricorn Records and Macon with the Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, all that craziness, and I’m right on the brink of it, and I go into the preacher’s office and ask him if I could hear God. And the preacher says, one and a half hours of stories have been shot down twice in an aircraft carrier in World War II. Unbelievable. And when he got through, I said, Can I hear God like that? He said no. And I said, Why? And he says, because your God is music. I said, I don’t worship music. He said, anything you look to for your identity, rules your life. And my whole identity was being up on the stage and wowing the crowds and, and so anyway it’s how long it takes for that vision to become reality is the work he has to do in me so that I could have this place, which is so unbelievable. You saw it today, it’s beautiful, without the place having me.
Jeff Zaugg [00:09:05] Yeah. It is called A Place for the Heart.
Ken Helser [00:09:08] A Place for the Heart. And it came from a man who was dying, who had a healing ministry, who prayed for, psoriasis was 90% of my body, and the only thing I have left is that little speck here on both elbows.
Jeff Zaugg [00:09:22] You were healed.
Ken Helser [00:09:23] So, here he is dying and nobody knows why. And I went to say goodbye to him, and he was almost in a coma at home. He looks up at me and he says, You can’t say goodbye to me. Because death cannot separate us. I said, what are you talking about, he said, I’ve been reading Hebrews there’s only one Mount Zion. He said, when you worship God, you come to Mt. Zion, don’t you? I said yeah, he said, I will be in Mount Zion. And he said, when you worship God you’ll rub shoulders with Him but don’t go looking for a man and you’ll see Jesus through faith, but I’ll be looking at him face to face. He said, death cannot separate the life we’ve had together here on Earth, and there will always be, even in Heaven or new on Earth, there’ll always be a place in my heart for you, because we rubbed life together. The life didn’t end because I go to heaven. And he said his last words, there’ll always be a place in my heart for you. I cried all the way home and in my tears, there’s a place in my heart just for you, it’s a special kind of place, and God made it just for you, so come take up that place in my heart and my heart will become your heart, too. And that song, I sang it all over the world, everybody on the street, I don’t care, I’ll just sing the song. So it was obvious that we were going to call this A Place for the Heart. And ours really is a heart ministry. So the 18 Inch Journey, because you asked me about it. So here it is, in a nutshell, if you tell me, Jim, Matthew says it’s more blessed to give than receive. I hear that. I believe it because it’s in the Bible, I know the Bible is true, but it comes in as information. Yeah. And it remains as information unless I act on it and if I act on it, which we have done and led by faith the past 52 and a half years, everything you saw down the hill was built by faith. It moves from information to revelation. And so someone said, well, that’s not in the Bible. I said, oh, yes, it is just the last thing Jesus said, the Sermon on the Mount. He said, The man who builds his house on the rock is the one who hears my word and applies it. So, so really, when you want to talk about that is, there’s nothing more important in all the world that the children really see the gospel in me, and Jonathan David, such a story about him with the Lord told us we would have him. And we were two weeks away from cancer from uterus, my wife had cancer of the uterus. We were two weeks from a hysterectomy. Here comes a prophet that I didn’t even know you’re going to have this son named Jonathan David, he’s going to play the harp, has the voice of an angel, he’s basically going to go all over the world, which last year raised her hallelujah did go number one. But anyway, so I had this baby and it happened the Lord healed my wife of cancer, I had this little baby. And I said, Wow, my first two children, I was lost. I wasn’t a Christian. So, God, I get to have this new opportunity to raise this little boy as a daddy and Jesus, I didn’t I didn’t know you them. So, Lord, what do you what do must what can I do for Jonathan to be, to love you and make you a Lord of his life? The Lord said, All you have to do is love your wife. Hmm. I said, what? He says if you love your wife in his presence, he will always trust you and believe you. But if he ever sees you abusing his mother, he will never trust anything you ever say to him. The most important thing you could do is love his mother in his presence, always. And you know, what it not only worked, when he was six or seven years old, we could play ring toss when he was three, he had to beat me. There’s something a little boy that has to beat his daddy. And I could not figure out, we’d go out and play one on one basketball. I am six feet and I don’t think he’s three feet yet, and he gets mad because he can’t make a layup over my head. I didn’t understand this competitive nature. We’re riding to school one morning and it’s quiet, and when a six year old boy is quiet, you know something, I felt him to see if he had a fever. I said, you okay,son? He said, Yeah, I’m just thinking about something daddy. I’ve never seen him think about anything, just give me a ball let me play, man. I said, okay, so what are you thinking about? He said, You know, Daddy, I’ve been thinking about Mommy. Mommy is different than you. Yeah. And she smells different then and her skin is so smooth and I just love to cuddle with Mommy, and I’ve been thinking about a daddy, I bet I get to cuddle with mommy more than you do. I dropped him off at school and I say, Sir Jeff, you don’t know this about me, but when I came into the kingdom, I came in with this idea that in everything that happens, God can speak to me. In everything God has a voice. The reason we don’t hear, we never ask. Yeah. And I said, Lord, what was that about? He said, Well, you know, this competitive nature, you have the woman he’s in love with. And if the family is what it should be, he will not settle for a wife any less than his mother. Yeah, he’s getting all of the images of what he wants one day in a woman and it will be someone of all the good virtue and wonderful things he sees in his mother. And I said, That’s right, I got his woman right now. So that’s why he’s so darn competitive with me.
Jeff Zaugg [00:15:43] I love that story. And, and just even remembering that that’s for my four daughters, like that is what I, how I am walking, how I am hearing God’s voice, how I am like interacting with my wife, Michelle, like, like they’re watching. They’re always watching. We have dreams as dads and we have goals that we’re trying to accomplish and we’re trying to lean into whether it’s ministry, work, professionally. I believe there’s a point where we start thinking beyond what we’re going to accomplish and start thinking how can we help create even a foundation for our kids to go accomplish their dreams? A pivot point that I just sense and I’ve seen so much even today in the tour that you took me on that like that’s happened for you. There’s a pass off of other people leading their dreams and going beyond you.
Ken Helser [00:16:38] And I don’t know what at age that happens because when you’re young and you’re trying to pay the bills and you’re trying to make a living, it’s not just bills, you just trying to find a way to make it all work. And you got this family, you feel this incredible burden. But there comes a point where all of a sudden you realize you don’t want them, you don’t want to just leave a legacy, you just everything that you’ve learned about the Lord, you want them to have it and go past that. And, and you really care about what you’re going to leave with them, that really matters more than anything. Yeah. And, and for the generational thing. One of the things I learned early in ministry, I had a man that mentored me who had ghostwritten 98 books, three bestsellers when he died. And he always told me, he said, the key to communication is identification. And I just didn’t catch it. And then one day it clicked. No one, the greatest communicator in all the world, is Jesus Christ. But his communication was slow on the money because he spoke the language of the people. When he spoke to women, he talked about yeast and bread. When he spoke to farmers, it was different soil conditions and what kind of crop. And fisherman, pearl of great price in the nets. And so he spoke the language of the people. And I think one of the key things and communicated with my children, is being able to speak to their world and bring them into my world. And, you know, I hadn’t thought about this before, but I did make pizza for supper and we did roll out the red carpet for you. But every one of my children have the gift of hospitality, every one of them. Where do they get it from? It was nothing for me to pick up two hitchhikers and call in and say, Darling, can you make make your meal go a little bit further? So they grew up with people around our table all the time. And so the way we lived our life became the natural thing. And they built their dreams, subconsciously, of doing the same thing because it was life to them. So that, that has really meant a lot that every one of the children really do have hospitality, I guess, because my wife has a gift of hospitality.
Jeff Zaugg [00:19:10] Yeah. They soaked it in and now they’re living it for others and in their own spheres.
Ken Helser [00:19:14] Yeah.
Jeff Zaugg [00:19:14] Yeah. The the gift of friendships is I’m just so thankful for the friends God has given me. And I don’t think right now it’s just not very often about my girls being some of, you know, my, my friends. I think of myself, I’m in the, I’m in dad mode right now, not as much friend mode. But what I saw today in the interaction with you and your kids and their spouses is, is really like I was like, that’s a snapshot of what I want, is this like if you want to be together and there’s deep friendship there. Would you explain a little more of what I think it was Linda was sharing, your wife, more than you it just around like looking forward to and raising kids that you could become best friends with.
Ken Helser [00:19:58] Yeah, well, that was the story I told you when Jonathan came home from YWAM. And I said, Well, Jonathan, what are you thinking about doing now? He said, Well Daddy, I want to do what you do. Now that one, I cried because they saw the parts when I came home tired and the phone rings and now dang, I got a, man, I just don’t want to talk with somebody about Jesus right now, but I do it anyway, so it’s looks a little hypocrite. They saw all the bad stuff, but above all of that Jonathan said, Daddy, I want to do what you do, and that tore me up. Because he saw beyond my messes and he wanted to do what I do. And I said, Well, I’m sort of scared for you to work with me. He said, Why? And I said, Because I don’t want to be your daddy anymore. I want to be your friend. Because I’m afraid in that moment I’m going to act the way I used to act when you were my child and you’re not my child anymore. I want us to become friends. And, Jonathan and I had an experience, that one day, I was up here where you are now and down the hill where the barn is, down there, it’s 200 yards or more. And the Lord spoke to me. And the Lord spoke to Jonathan and we hadn’t even seen each other that morning. And it was so powerful, that I took off running down the hill, I wrote it down. Well, at the same time, the Lord spoke to him and he wrote it down and he’s running up to see me. And we ran into each other and I said, Jonathan, the Lord just gave me a word. He said, Daddy, the Lord just gave me a word too. And this is what the word was, and because we had both written, it was the same word. The enemy’s greatest strategy against you will always be miscommunication. And then a friendship, that thing of where you think you misunderstand, but you press on in to make sure you heard it right. And no verse in all the world epitomizes friendship like, if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship. To walk in the light with somebody is to bear your bosom soul, your heart, your mess. And, it’s okay, and to accept each other. And when you have that kind of fellowship of walking in the light, bearing your heart with one another, there’s a thing that happens that’s incredibl, supernatural. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from, if we walk in the light He is in the light, we have fellowship, and the process of fellowship is the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us. And when two people in the presence of the Lord haven’t shared their, the worst about themselves in the light and the blood of Jesus cleanses you, then you have a friendship that’s beyond anything the world could ever produce. It’s better than playing golf or going fishing and going hunting and going camping, we do those things, yeah, but the greatest thing of all is walking in the light. And Jonathan, I have done that. Jonathan has caught me and ministered truth to me that killed me. He said, Daddy, I remember when that happened, I got all, I got so upset of something somebody did at the farm, because of the way they handled the blackberries and I was real proud of the blackberries. He said, Daddy, do you want the fruit of blackberries or do you want the fruit of making disciples down there? And I got recorrection from my son, and I’ve had, I think in the last ten years, I’ve got more correction from Jonathan than I’ve given a correction to him. And when your children correct you, and you know, what’s God, you don’t like it at first, but it’s really heavenly, right?
Jeff Zaugg [00:24:08] Right. Oh, man. I’ve already experienced those moments with my eight year old and my five year old. I’m like, Yep. That’s actually…
Ken Helser [00:24:16] The Lord said this to me one time.
Jeff Zaugg [00:24:18] Yeah.
Ken Helser [00:24:18] He said, I didn’t give you children for you to teach them as much as I gave you children for them to teach you.
Jeff Zaugg [00:24:30] Thank you so much for joining us for this first half of my conversation with Ken Helser. Guys, next week’s conversation we’re going to go after the topic of journaling, topic of hearing God’s voice, topic of and we’re going to ask Ken his wisdom, his insights that he would share with his grandkids as they become dads and his, you know, granddaughters, you know, their husbands someday as they become dads. So this is, this is, again, a treasure of a conversation. Definitely tune back next week for 239, the second half of this conversation. Today’s show notes, though, are at dadAWESOME.org/238. And I want to remind you guys that text number to text us feedback and also to get on our dadAWESOME daily, the nudge, the encouragement, the prayers that we’re going to be texting out, you just need to text the number 651-370-8618. Text the word “dad” to the number 651-370-8618. Guys, thanks for joining. Thanks for leaning in and being like, man, I want to learn and grow. I want to be dadAWESOME for my kids, it’s a big deal. Let’s go have an amazing week with our kids.