Tag Archives: time

Fortune Cookie Devotion Series: Plans of Failure

As the fortune cookie says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I certainly am not trying to get you to live a life without spontaneity; however, there is a big difference between not planning a day trip to the local shopping outlet and not planning as you purchase your first home. The Bible speaks often of making plans and counting the cost of our choices. 

One of my favorite moments of preparation in the Bible is when Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem. He did not simply jump into the task of rebuilding a wall after he arrived. He took the time to walk around the entire area. He spent days looking everything over. It was important for him to be prepared for the next step. For us, it is the same. We often are led to do things in faith, where we cannot plan much if anything, and we certainly cannot control the situation. At the same time, there are moments when it is important for us to use good discernment, to way options, to count the cost, to get all our ducks in a row. This is part of giving God our best. 

This doesn’t mean you have to plan every second. This doesn’t mean you must be a time-driven crazy person who does not allow for God ordained interruptions. Just don’t let yourself be so slack in life that you live a lazy life. Plans mean having a budget. Plans mean counting the cost to decide if it is worth the investment of your time, talent, and treasure. Plans mean scheduling time throughout your day to dive into the Scriptures, to pray, to meet with God. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

“So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding.” – Nehemiah 2:11-12 [NLT]

Every Waking Hour

Did you ever hear the phrase, “There’s not enough time in the day” or even find yourself making the declaration? Even though we are gifted 24 hours a day, we never seem to find enough time. With the invention of new technology to help accomplish things with ease, it would seem as if we would have extra time to spend with God, yet the pleasures of the world usually take the driver’s seat.

The Psalmist speaks of different periods within the day, each focused on drawing near to God. Every evening, there is time to explain what needs are on the heart. Every morning, the Psalmist draws near to God. Every waking hour is considered worship time.

Most of us struggle with connecting with God on a daily basis. To consider God first each morning is foreign to most. To think of God every night, and to draw near to Him in prayer is also not a typical part of the daily routine in life. Do we just acknowledge these problems and admit we struggle with drawing near to our Creator, and then call it a night? No. If we believe and if we love God, we evaluate our schedule, we discern our priorities, and we make changes. These changes do not happen overnight. Baby steps. Aim to meet with God in the morning; aim to meet with God at night. Begin to meet with Him while at work, while at the gym, while at the grocery story. As you keep pressing into Him and experience His glory, you will begin to worship Him more. As you continue to water this seed, you will rejoice as it grows. As you spend time with Him, the more you will carve out for Him. May you one day spend every waking hour worshiping Him!

“Every evening I will explain my need to him. Every morning I will move my soul toward him. Every waking hour I will worship only him, and he will hear and respond to my cry.” – Psalm 55:17 [TPT]

Handle With Care: Empty Pockets

Week 5 – Empty Pockets

[Matthew 6:19-21]

CARING FOR TREASURES

  • Treasures in heaven can’t be destroyed
  • Treasures in heaven can’t be stolen
  • Treasures will point to your heart

 

Time

  • God is in control of time (Psalm 74:16-17)
  • Make the best use of time (Ephesians 5:16)
  • Teach us to number our days that we may gain heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12)

 

Talent

  • Each of us have been entrusted/given gifts/possessions dependent upon our ability (Matthew 25:14-30)
  • Use your gifts to serve others & glorify God (1 Peter 4:10-11)

 

Treasure

  • Your soul is more important than the treasure of this world (Matthew 16:26)
  • Your life does not consist of an abundance of possessions (Luke 12:13-21)
  • Give and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38)

 

Breakout Sessions

Read Matthew 25:14-30, The Parable of the Bags of Gold (The Parable of the Talents)

1) Why do the men each get different amounts of gold/talents? What does this mean for us?

2) When we look at this parable, what do we see that is required of us as stewards?

3) What is the immediate response of the three men when they received their talents from their Master? What does this mean?

4) Why is the third servant described as a “wicked, lazy servant”?

 

Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.

 

Leadership 101 – 2-Part Series

Week 1 – Leadership 101

Sermon Outline:

ALONE WITH GOD

John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. [ESV]

TOGETHER WITH OTHERS

Luke 22:25-26 – Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. [NLT]

Philippians 2:3-4 – Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. [ESV]

SELAH

Psalm 90:12 – Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. [NIV]

 

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, and Matthew 14:23. What do these passages say about the rhythm of prayer? How does time with God help you to better lead those you are called to lead? How can you be more intentional with your time with God?

2) Read Philippians 2:3-4. What does it mean to count someone more significant than yourself? Why is this an important quality for a leader? How can you be intentional to look out for the interests of others?

3) Personal Reflection: Rest is important. Do you have a Sabbath day, a day when you don’t work but you rest with God? If not, consider why you have not made this a priority.

Week 2 – Leadership 101

Sermon Outline:

Ephesians 4:14-16 – Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. [NIV]

Stay HUMBLE

John 3:30 – He must increase, but I must decrease. [ESV]

Colossians 3:17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [NASB]

Act in LOVE

1 Corinthians 16:14 – Do everything in love [NIV] (1 Corinthians 13)

Protect your MORAL AUTHORITY

1 John 3:18 – Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. [NASB]

SERVE Others

Matthew 20:26-28 – It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [NASB]

Breakout Session Questions:

1) Read Matthew 23:1-26. In verse 3, what does Jesus say to the people? What would the behavior of the Pharisees and scribes do the people they were leading? In verse 4, we read of the heavy loads that are put on the shoulders of people—loads the leaders would not be willing to carry. What can we glean from this as a leader? Verse 13 is harsh. What does it say? What does that mean? Verses 23-24 speak of the giving of the scribes and Pharisees. How does this poorly reflect a leader? Verses 25-26 speak of the clean outside and the dirty inside. What does this mean for a leader?

Much Demands

Responsibilities are important. Each of us have a different list of responsibilities. Some lists are more demanding. Some lists contain items that have an eternal impact. In Luke 12, we read that those who are given much will be demanded much—those who have been trusted with much will be asked for much in return. Talk about responsibility. This is something we can see in action when you look at every area of life. The older child typically has more responsibilities in the home. Those in management have more responsibilities than the team they manage. Those in an advanced placement class in school have more responsibilities than other students.

Consider everything you have available – your time, your talents, your treasures. Consider the opportunity you have (job position, connections, etc.). Consider the background you have – the experience. Consider all of these things. Now, read the verse again. You have been given this much. Are you meeting the demand? You have been trusted with this much. What has been your response? I’ve had people ask why I pour myself so much into Kingdom work. Peter said this: “For we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20 HCSB). I cannot stop speaking about Jesus. He has called me to speak. He has put His Word in my mouth. After I finish preaching, if I don’t feel like I poured out my all, I am pretty hard on myself. Why did I hold back? What kept me from pouring out everything? Why didn’t I let Him take the message further? These are the things that go through my head.

This verse from Luke is a great reminder to me. I have been given much. If I don’t pour myself out for Jesus, I am giving Him mere leftovers. I have been entrusted with so much; this is not something I take lightly. Friends, today look at what you have been given, what you have been entrusted—are you pouring yourself out? Are you using all you can for His work, for His kingdom? Are you complaining because of the great work before you? Do you have your responsibilities out of whack because of other things you think should have priority? Have you accepted the mission—your great work through Christ—because you want nothing more than to serve your Lord? Or are you on your own mission using the tools Jesus has given you to build up your own kingdom here on earth?

 

“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48 [NIV]

More Than a Story: Faithfulness

[The Loaned Money: Matthew 25:14-30]

  • Also known as the Parable of the Talents
  • A talent is a monetary unit worth about 20 years’ worth of wages.
  • Talent is useless if it is not used.
  • No one is without talent.
  • Talents given according to ability – 5, 2, 1

Responsibility – Faithful over little, set you over much – Action is required

Time – Talent – Treasure

 

  • We are to be RESPONSIBLE and CREATIVE
  • We are all different but His expectations are always appropriate.
  • Talents (Resources from God) + Action for God + Time (Gift from God)

                                                                                   = Profit for Kingdom

The third servant – the evil, lazy servant…

  • Hid the talent because he was concerned with safety more than service
  • To avoid not doing anything wrong, he ended up not doing anything right.

To be faithful, one must be:

  • Focused on Jesus – All about Jesus, growing His Kingdom (Colossians 3:17)
  • Founded in Jesus – Abide in Him (John 15)
  • Fearless for Jesus – Hope in Jesus = Boldness/Courage (2 Corinthians 3:12)

Bible Study Questions:

1) What was the Master’s commendations for the two successful servants?

2) What did the Master do for the successful servants?

3) The unfaithful servant was described as three words. How was he described?

4) What happened to the unfaithful servant when the Master returned?

5) How do we bury the talents God has given us?

6) How can we discover our talents? How can we use them for God’s glory?

7) How can we encourage others with their talents?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than a Story: Richness

More Than a Story is a 12 week study of the parables of Jesus. This is the first week: RICHNESS.

Message Outline:

More Than a Story: Richness

[The Rich Fool: Luke 12:13-21]

BE ON GUARD AGAINST COVETOUSNESS

Covetousness – desire to have more than you have

LIFE DOES NOT CONSIST OF ABUNDANCE OF POSSESSIONS

Possessions are useless when life is gone

Cannot truly live when fixated on possessions

  • Focused on protecting what you have
  • Focused on getting more – never enough
  • Focus is idolatry – God doesn’t have 1st place in life

Rich man called a fool. Jesus says, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God(v. 21 ESV).             He’s not called fool for being productive or profitable.

Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [NIV]

Notice that the rich fool is not just called a fool; he’s a fool who loses his soul.

Our possessions: Time – Treasure – Talents

These can be hazardous or helpful. You decide.

Hazardous = It becomes your life <<OR>> Helpful = 1 Timothy 6:17-19

“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. [MSG]

True Life — Eternal Life                                           Life is knowing God

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV).

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8 NLT).

Bible Study Questions:

Discussion Questions

1) The brother who approached Jesus at the beginning of the passage was covetous. The “rich fool” in the parable told by Jesus was also covetous. Jesus said to “be on your guard against all covetousness” (v. 15).

What are some instances when we are covetous?

How can we be on guard against this covetousness?

2) When reading verses 17-19, what words stick out to you?

3) What was the focus of both the brother and the “rich fool”?

4) Can one be “rich” in possessions (“treasure” – money) and still be rich toward God? If so, how?

5) How can we be rich toward God?

6) John 17:3 says that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ. What does that mean? What is the difference between knowing of God, knowing about God, or truly knowing God? How does that look in our lives?

Download Message Outline

Download Bible Study Questions

Download Bible Study Leader Guide

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Keeping the Father Waiting

We often keep our Father waiting. We don’t spend time with Him. We go through our entire day and don’t even speak to Him or even think of Him. Sometimes we walk away. And as the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, our Father waits. He’s always reaching out, always wanting us to just speak to Him—to have a relationship with Him.

Make Time

In Psalm 90:12, Moses said, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (ESV). He understood time was our most valuable possession. As such, we must always be reviewing how we spend our time because that’s our priority in life. Is God your top priority—your number one priority?

Matthew 13:45-46 speaks of the pearl of great value. This pearl was found and because of the great value, the merchant sold ALL that he had just so he could buy it. But what do we do? Sometimes we do not consider our pearl of great value – Jesus, our prized possession. Instead we choose lesser pearls in life (possessions, power, pleasures).

Make Room

You need to make room for God’s presence. In 2 Kings 4:8 we read about Elisha going to Shunem. A wealthy woman there fed Elisha when he passed through. She spoke with her husband about building a room for him—she wanted that man of God to come whenever he passed through and stay at her place. Do you have a place where you go to read your Bible or pray? A special place to push away the noise of the world and fix your eyes on Him? In Matthew 6:6, before Jesus tells the disciples how to pray, he tells them to “go into your room and shut the door” (ESV). Why? To shut out the worldly noise.

Routine – Not Routine

Routines are great. They help you to get a better night’s sleep. They help you to have less stress in life. But the issue is that sometimes routines are like traditions. The Bible doesn’t speak about too many traditions we are to keep. Most of the traditions we have are man-made traditions. I love traditions but sometimes we find our hearts not ii them because it’s simply routine. Like this man I met once. He sang the words, “Jesus loves me, the silo.” Yes, that’s not how the song goes, but he didn’t know that. He heard it wrong and continued to sing it wrong for over a decade. He didn’t know the truth—his life was built around tradition. Only when he was an adult did he learn what those words truly were and what the song truly meant.

In Luke 18, we read of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Pharisee was all about tradition. He was going to the Temple to pray. He was fasting twice a week. He was tithing from all that he got. Yes, he was going through the motions, but his heart was proud. He didn’t have his heart fixed on God. The Tax Collector, he stood before God as a humble man, emotionally beating his chest. He recognized his need for God. He truly was baring his heart before God. That’s what God wants. He wants honest, raw, truth. He wants you to open up and pour out your heart. And He wants your ears to listen when He responds.

God’s Somebody

Have you ever been called a “nobody”? In this world we spend many hours trying to show people that we are somebody, that we are important, that we mean something. There are books written about how to turn your life around and go from a nobody to a somebody. There are lectures and programs built around this idea of turning your life around from being nothing to being something.

God sees things differently. Yes, we all are nobodies traveling the earth, but we each have a purpose. We each are valuable. No one is more valuable than another. We are all important. We can all be somebodies. We simply need to find our way back to God and follow our purpose, God’s awesome plan. Trust me, it is an awesome plan, a plan we cannot even fathom.

Now being a somebody does not mean you will be a millionaire or a celebrity or even find great earthly success. But it is so much better. You are a child of the King. You will have eternity to enjoy. You are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are restored. These things make you a Somebody. Without Christ, we are all forever and always nobodies, no matter how hard you work and how much time and effort is put into changing your status. In Christ alone we are Somebody.

 

“But down the road the population of Israel is going to explode past counting, like sand on the ocean beaches. In the very place where they were once named Nobody, they will be named God’s Somebody. Everybody in Judah and everybody in Israel will be assembled as one people. They’ll choose a single leader. There’ll be no stopping them—a great day in Jezreel!” – Hosea 1:10-11 [MSG]

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Look After

If you are the older sibling, you might have heard the phrase “look after” your brother or sister. If you are in a management position, your job is to “look after” whatever you are managing, and this usually includes a group of people. When you have children, you “look after” them.

Looking after someone requires time and attention. Looking after someone at its best requires love and dedication. Looking after someone or something requires caring. Looking after someone requires being intentional and present.

The author of Hebrews wrote, “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.” He went on to mention bitterness that leads to trouble and corruption. We spend a lot of time looking after ourselves, looking after our families, looking after our co-workers—let us not forget to look after our brothers and sisters.

“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” – Hebrews 12:15 [NLT]

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