Fill It Up

A survey asked thousands of people what kept them from knowing God better. The number one answer was “I’m too busy.” Ironically, the early disciple could not be stopped by prison, poverty, persecution or martyrdom. But we are stopped because we are “too busy.”

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I once read of a college professor who had an awesome demonstrate about time management.  He would have a large glass jar which he filled with large rocks. He would ask for a show of hands of those who thought the jar was full. The majority of the class raised their hands. The professor reached under his desk and produced a bag of small pebbles, which he poured in the jar. After shaking the jar, he added even more pebbles. “Is the jar now filled?” Fewer hands. Again he reached under the desk and had a bag of sand which he poured in the jar. “Is the jar NOW filled?” Only a couple of hands. From under the desk came a large bucket of water which he added to the jar. “Now the jar IS full.”

Then he asked what did they learned from this demonstration. One student eagerly replied, “No matter how busy you are, you can always find time to do something else.” The professor said, “I am sorry but that is wrong. This demonstration teaches us that if you do not put the larger stones [the most important things] in first, you will never have room for them later.” 

Imagine reaching the age of seventy, having received 25,000 days as a gift from God, having not given ONE entire day given back to Him because you were “too busy.”

Late Again?

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Please allow me to share with you something of a personal nature. It is something we all have experienced probably several times in our lives. We all have a horror story about being late — arriving at a wedding just as the bride and groom are running off in a shower of birdseed or picking up your panicked child at an otherwise empty field after baseball practice. You’re not alone. So before you’re late for your next very important date, consider these six tips for being right on time. {Tips are from }

Tip #1: Account for transition activities, like traffic and getting kids out of the house. These are the mundane tasks that stealthily (and consistently) throw off our estimates. Also, take travel time found on Google Map as suggested time.

Tip #2: Beware “I’ll just do everything else faster. We might be tempted to press the snooze alarm or squeeze in one last task, rationalizing we’ll just speed up the rest of our morning or our workday. But it never works; it just makes you frantic.

Tip #3: Rethink your semantics. Instead of thinking “We have be at the recital at 5:00,” think “The curtain goes up at 5:00.” There’s a big difference between being in your seat, program in hand and still cruising around looking for parking at the appointed hour.

Tip #4: Aim for 10 minutes early, if only to increase your margin of error. Punctuality is boiled down to a math problem.Give yourself a ten-minute window of arrival.

Tip #5: Get into the habit of thinking ahead. But most of us are late precisely because we forget to think ahead. We look up the appointment’s address at the last minute and realize it’s farther away than we thought. Or we forget that our reservations are at the height of rush hour.

Tip #6: Try it once and see. If you’re chronically late, pick one upcoming event for which you’ll be on time. Then do it up right: plan ahead, account for all transitions, leave early, and aim to be the first one there.

You’ll love moving from being put on the spot to getting there on the dot.

Don’t Assume

I have mentioned that I love the church several times in previous blogs. With all its faults and failures, I still love her. The church has changed in the last 20 years,   as it should. But there is one area that concerns me and that is the absence of spiritual depth. The Bible tells us about people who have the form of godliness but no power. 2 Timothy 3:5.

At the final judgement,  tthere will be people saying, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  But Jesus replied, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Notice the word “knew.”  This word is used of a husband knowing his in a physical relationship. 

Jesus did not deny their good works but because they didn’t have an intimate relationship with Him. They assumed their good deeds merited them entrance to heaven. There are many good, moral people serving in our churches that are relying on what they have done for Christ to get them to heaven. 

 

Can You Fix It?

Having served as a Pastor for over thirty years, I have observed people whose lives are “broken.” Sometimes they would come to me and ask me if I could fix “it.” It may be a broken marriage or a parent/child relationship. Sometimes people look at their situation and conclude “This is so broken it cannot be fixed, repaired or restored.” So they get a divorce, give up on that relationship, or worse turn their back on God and quit living for Him.

I can understand their reasoning. From a human standpoint, there seems no way this wrong can be made right. We think that OUR situation is SO BAD that even God cannot untangle the mess. But that is not so. I have been amazed how God can take the “broken” and bring healing, restoration and wholeness.  Consider:

  • He is the one who heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
  • “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

In Ezekiel 37, we read the story of the Valley of Dry Bones. These were not recently slain corpses but dry bones! God asks Ezekiel a very pointed question, “Son of man, can these bones live?”  Ezekiel answers,“Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”  That is a great answer for only God can “fix” some of life’s greatest challenges!  

Years ago we used to sing a chorus, God Can Do Anything But Fail.” True. Let God begin to work in your life. Turn it over to Him and see God work in your life!

My Stuff?

Recently my wife and I finally found time to go through my clothes closet and sorted out clothes I no longer wore. It was really enlightening. My wife, who has a much better memory than me, pointed out shirts that I have had for over 10 years! (Is that a record?) Needless to say, I have a lot more room in my closet.There are now more than 30,000 self-storage facilities in our country with a billion square feet to store their stuff. We now spend $12 billion a year to someone to store our stuff! I know it is hard to give our stuff away. Have you ever watched the TV program Hoarderslinda-livingroom-before

It is about people who accumulate so much stuff that it is ruining their health and relationship with their family.  There are even therapists that specialize in treaty people with this problem.

Jesus said, Stuff is not treasure. Stuff is temporary; treasure is eternal.

Stuff cannot belong to me. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;…The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty…remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth. 

Stuff cannot last. When you play Monopoly it doesn’t matter if you win. At the end of the game, everything goes back in the box.

“God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.” – Randy Alcorn

Who Cares?

Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. [Psalm 142:4]

Personally, I think this maybe one of saddest verses in Scripture. I guess to some degree we have all felt like that at some point in our lives. But let’s look at this verse from a different perspective. How much do WE care about others? If you are a Christ-follower, you know of someone that does not possess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This means that they have not experienced eternal life. The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life. 1 John 5:12

The church in America has lost its passion for the “lost.” I am not trying to put you on a guilt trip but rather to help us regain a compassion for people without Christ. Throughout the Gospels, we read the Jesus had compassion for people and we are to have the same attitude as Christ. “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:” 2 Phil.2:4-5

The Apostle Paul had this kind of burden for the nation of Israel. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race.” [Romans 9:2-3] 

My prayer for the church is that God would rekindle our love and compassion for the lost.

The Way Up is Down

ladder2In an earlier post, Keeping Score, we talked how people keep score. But in the game of life, we need to know how God is keeping ‘score.’ How do we know if we are growing spiritually in our lives? You may think this verse is over simplistic but here is the way God keeps score. “Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son...” [Romans 8:29] God’s ultimate will and goal for all Christ followers is that we become more like Jesus Christ, His Son.

People are obsessed with climbing the ladder of success. Jesus, who was already at the top of the organizational chart of the universe, gave up his rights to become a servant. Philippians 2:5-7The problem with spending your life climbing up the ladder is that you go right past Jesus, for he’s coming down

God’s Word often teaches truth that does not make sense to the world. I Cor. 1:27 God wants us to know that the way up is down. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 I am afraid we often look at people and classify them as failures, while God sees honor. The moment Jesus looked like a failure in the world’s scoring system was His moment of greatest triumph in the eyes of the Father. Therefore God raised him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name; Philippians 2:9

Remember, God’s way up is down.