It’s Okay to Embrace the Busy, it’s Part of God’s Plan

“Work” Isn’t a Bad Word, and it Shouldn’t be Used That Way

Last week I wrote about the topic of being busy and it’s current prevalence in conversations. This frequency was confirmed in a recent Ray Edwards podcast, “5 Reasons Why You Need to Take More Time Off”. My intent is not to throw Ray under the bus, on the contrary, he starts off by saying, “Make hay while the sun shines.” Having grown up on a farm, I can totally identify with this.

Growing up on the farm explains a lot about my work philosophy.

I think the issue of being busy, working too much, or taking time off, comes down to a couple of things. First is a societal push to have life goals of long weekends, vacations and retirement. Second is the meaning of words and how we use them.

It seems the subject of working less is being pushed more and more. I’ve heard Michael Hyatt speak of taking long sabbaticals. The internet, books and social media are full of ideas for working less and less, some say the goal should be 4 hours per day.

I don’t know but this just seems crazy to me.

I think the key to this issue is in understanding ourselves and finding the balance in what we do. This will be different for everyone. Balance doesn’t mean resting the same amount of time that working. It means resting proportionately to working.

I base my work/rest balance on God’s 6-1 ratio. He worked six days and then rested one. He completed His work and then rested. His focus wasn’t on resting, it was on accomplishing His goals. When that was done then He rested. And He loved what He was doing.

We definitely need rest…the question is what is rest and how much is needed?

I remember when people would say they were bored, I never understood that. How can someone be bored when there is so much important work to do. I think boredom is rooted in not having found a purpose. That or they were just lazy.

God’s Word makes it very clear that we are instructed to work hard and put our best effort forward. The Bible, especially in the wisdom-filled book of Proverbs, speaks often of the cause and effect relationship of hard work and rewards as well as laziness and ruin. Bible Study Tools, Bible verses about laziness, Knowing Jesus, Open Bible.

Part of the problem is in the misuse of words.

Like the word “work” for example. People use this word as if it were a punishment. It’s as if they’ve been bad so now, they have to go to “work” rather than being able to play. The definition of work is activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

Sign me up…this sounds like something I would like to do.

Work becomes a problem when it causes us to become so focused on one thing that we lose sight of other things in life. (Take it from a recovering workaholic.) Work hard on all the different areas that make up a well-balanced life not just a job.

  • Build my relationship with God (Spiritual)
  • Build a family legacy (Family)
  • Help people build their dreams (Vocation)
  • Build wealth (Financial)
  • Build the best me (Personal Well-being)
  • Help others build a better them (Ministry)
  • Help build a better world (Social and Community)

The key is to find the work that you love and do it. This is where the real problem lies. Most people have settled for a mondain existence rather than finding their God given purpose.

Get clear on what God wants you to do and get BUSY, WORKING on that!

How Much are You Willing to Sacrifice for the Ones You Love?

God was Willing to Sacrifice His Only Son…That’s a Lot!

Most people are familiar with the Bible verse, John 3:16. It is the most popular verse out there. The reason for this is in its simplicity. This one verse summarizes the entire Gospel message in one simple statement.

This is the Gospel in a nutshell.  

  • Martin Luther called it “The Gospel in miniature”.
  • Biblical Commentator William Barclay wrote that it is “the very essence of the Gospel.
  • Comedian Jeff Foxworthy stated, “This is the promise that bears hope for the hopeless.
  • Gospel preacher, Robert Jackson, entitled it “The greatest sentence ever written.” 
  • Author Max Lucado described it as the “hope diamond of the Bible.”

John 3:16.

Jesus said to Nicodemus, the inquiring Rabbi, who came to Jesus by night:

For God

so loved the world

that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whoever believes in Him

should not perish

but have everlasting life.

John 3:16, “is a twenty-six word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with Life, and urging us to do the same,” wrote Max Lucado. “Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather two thousand years of storms and questions.

If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. If you know everything in the Bible, return here.

An unknown author penned this tribute to John 3:16

“God…………………………………………..….The greatest Lover

“so loved”………………………………………The greatest Degree

“the world”……………………………….….The greatest Company

“that He gave”………………………………………The greatest Act

“His only begotten Son”…………………………The greatest Gift

“that whosoever”………….………..……The greatest Invitation

“believeth”………….………………..…….The greatest Simplicity

“in Him”………………….…………………..…..The greatest Person

“should not perish”….……………….…….The greatest Promise

“but”………………………..………..………The greatest Difference

“have”….……………………………………..The greatest Certainty

“everlasting life”………………………..The greatest Possession

God’s willingness to give His Son to be killed on a cross by the very people that He came to save shows how much God loves us. This level of sacrifice is hard to emulate.

The Rev. George Bennard was “praying for a full understanding of the cross and its plan in Christianity.”, when he wrote the famous hymn, The Old Rugged Cross. He spent many hours in study, prayer and meditation, until he could say, “I saw the Christ of the cross as if I were seeing John 3:16 leave the printed page, take form and act out the meaning of redemption.

As humans we overcomplicate the simple. We think everything has to be difficult. We think the message in John 3:16 is too amazing to understand and too simple to accept. It’s not!

It’s everything we need to know and nothing we don’t.

God has done all of the hard work… we just need to believe, accept and share!

Being a Child of God Shows Us How to Live

It’s Up to Us to Do It

Living can be hard. We all experience times of difficulties and feelings of being alone or unwanted. Wouldn’t it be great if when we felt this way we could crawl up on our parent’s lap and just be hugged?

Not everyone can relate to this feeling. There are some whose parents were cruel and uncaring or maybe they never knew their parents. They may not have had the earthly experience of a parent’s lap.

In 1 John 3:1-10 we find out what it means to be, “children of God”. It’s pretty straight forward in this Scripture. It starts out with, The Father loved us so much…” Some of us were fortunate enough to know what that love feels like. If not…

Our Heavenly Father’s lap is always available.

When children of God grow up, they should become parent’s for God. We can be God’s loving lap for those who need it. We can be godly parents to our children and everyone around us. This is not an age thing, but a love thing. Being a parent is teaching through example.

We’ve all been given a purpose to share with others. That purpose is needed by others. Sharing our purpose is like being a parent.

Be a godly parent to others.

If you let Him, our Father in Heaven will show you how.

You Can Choose to Accept Love or Not

Just Know That Not Accepting, Makes It No Less Real

There are too many people out there who have not experienced real love. For whatever reason they find themselves in situations that may be called love but is not.

I’m fortunate to have been blessed with a loving biological as well as church family. God knows that I did nothing to deserve it. It’s part of a bigger plan that only He knows. My part in this is to share this love with others.

Love is the foundation for everything.

In Matthew 22:34-46 the religious leaders of the time had lost sight of that foundation. They had gotten caught up in the worldly perspective of the law. They overlooked the foundation the law was built on.

Not that the law isn’t important, because it is. It just isn’t the foundation. They were loving the law more than God. They were attempting to make God into their image of what they wanted Him to be. Be careful to not love the law more than God.

In Verses 37-40 Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your soul, all your heart and all your mind. …Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and writings of the prophets depend on these two commands.”

This sounds a lot like a foundation.

There was a young Christian man who wanted to share his faith with others. Not being super educated or sophisticated, he was surprised when he felt lead to share the message of Christ with a brilliant local attorney.

When he attempted to share his faith, the attorney laughed at him and had an argument for every point the young man made. The young man realized he was in over his head and felt ashamed for thinking he could do this. In his shame he gave up and as he left, he said,

“I just want you to know that I came here because I love you.”

Within a few hours of the young man going home and shutting himself in his room, the attorney showed up and knocked on the door. The young man’s wife tried to get the attorney to leave, but he was adamant about speaking with the young man.

When the young man came out to speak with the attorney he said, “I suppose you’ve thought of some more arguments to prove your point.” The attorney said, “No, I just want to know more about your faith.”

The young man said, “Every time I tried to tell you, you came up with an argument that I couldn’t answer.” The attorney replied, “Yes and you came up with an argument that I couldn’t answer.”

When you said that you loved me…I couldn’t argue with that.

God is love. He saved us out of His great love. You can accept or reject it, but it doesn’t change the truth of God’s love.

You can’t argue with God’s love!

Which will you choose? To accept it or not.

It’s Up to You to Figure Out What Your Purpose Is

Once You’ve Determined That…Live It to The Fullest

We have all been given a specific purpose. A unique thing that only we have. The hard part can be figuring that what it is.

I don’t know that we will ever figure it out fully, this side of heaven.

The important thing is to be vigilantly looking every day. To focus on uncovering the “thing” God has put us here for. The Architect of the world has given us a “Blueprint” for building the life He designed for us. It is up to us to study that print and build our lives accordingly.

In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus tells about a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son. The king sent his servants to tell those who had been invited that the feast was ready. The people who had been invited were too busy and went on about their lives.

So, the king invited other less admirable people, as per the world’s standards. When the king came to greet the guests, one was not dressed for the wedding. The king asked the man why. The man said nothing. The king had him thrown out.

This seems a little harsh. 

The custom of the day was that when people came to a wedding, they were given wedding clothes. So, it wasn’t like the man didn’t have everything he needed. He just chose not to use them. On top of that, he ignored the king.

This man wanted to enjoy all the benefits of the wedding feast with out putting on the clothes. Too many of us approach life in this same way. We’ve been invited to the feast and given everything we need to come and enjoy it. But we ignore the King and the wedding clothes that He’s given us.

We want the benefits without doing the work.

Take time to read and study Life’s Blueprint. Discuss the plans with the Architect. Determine what your purpose is and build the life God has designed for you.

No One Ever Said Life Would Be Fair

That Doesn’t Mean That We Have to Be Negative

The Scripture used in Pastor Lee’s message this week is one that I used to struggle with. In Matthew 20:1-16 Jesus tells His followers a story about a man who hired people to work in his vineyard. Several times throughout the day the landowner went back and hired more people. Even as the day was coming to an end, he hired more people. When it came time to pay the workers…everyone was paid the same.

The workers that worked all day, thought this unfair.

From a spiritual perspective the story makes sense. Regardless of when we accept Jesus’ offer to an enteral life, we will receive the same reward as those who started the journey much earlier. Just like in Jesus’ story…

All received what they had been promised.

The workers in the story are looking at this from a selfish, what’s in it for me, point of view. How much more content they would be if they focused on the good rather than seeing the negative.

They had an opportunity to earn money. They could now feed their family. The additional workers shared the work and eased their load. Every one of the workers was able to feed their families. This opportunity to work made for a better community in which to live.

We can choose what we focus on.

Actual photo of accident

In 1981 a car crashed through the wall of 4-year-old Nicole Allshouse’s bedroom while she slept, trapping her between the car and a closet. She spent her entire childhood in and out of hospitals. She will be the first to tell you that “Life is not fair”.

“I say all of this to remind you, life is not fair. It is hard. And sometimes, it downright stinks. The challenges we all face are massive. I remember spending holidays in a hospital bed and pulling out chunks of my hair because I had no idea at that age how to cope with the intense pain. I remember throwing up after every operation from the morphine and struggling to come out of the foggy daze associated with it.  I remember my elbows bleeding and scabbing over because I was forced to crawl on them when my legs would not move. I remember the first time I was old enough to realize the scope of my scars and how deformed my left knee appeared.”

However, Nicole choose to see the positive.

“What I do have, is experience in surviving. And I am here to tell you, life is not fair.  No one ever said it would be. You have got to stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Let me say that again, you MUST stop feeling sorry for yourself.  You are wasting too much energy. And too much time. Feeling sorry for yourself will not get that job back or fix your broken marriage. Feeling sorry for yourself will not cure your illness or take off that weight. Feeling sorry for yourself will not make haters go away and will not create disposable income. Feeling sorry for yourself will not make the pain any better. You have to fight through the pain.  And the key to fighting through the pain, is to have a laser like focus on the good things in your life.”

We need to be thankful for our blessings.

The alternative is to feel sorry for ourselves. Too often, people try to build themselves up by tearing others down. The Russian parable called Boris’s goat is a good example of this.

Two men, Boris and Ivan live almost identical lives. Both married. Both work. Both have two kids. The only difference is Boris has a goat and Ivan does not. One day Ivan is walking down the road when he comes across a lamp. He rubs the lamp and a genie pops out. The genie says, “I will grant you one wish. What is it you desire?” Ivan thinks for a moment and says, “I want Boris’s goat to die.”

Ivan choose to look at things negatively rather than positively. We can choose how we will see the world. The view we choose will affect that world.

Choose to see the world through God’s eyes.

How Can I Know What to Do?

Guessing Isn’t a Very Good Plan for Making Business Decisions…

Or any other kind of decision for that matter. Over the past several months I’ve heard or asked the question, “What should I do?” This question gets asked about all sorts of things both big and small.

Some decisions are more critical than others…Should I start this new business? Should I ask this person to marry me? These are more important questions than, “Where do you want to eat?” Knowing what to do in any given situation can be hard, but not as hard as we make it.

I think Satan likes to keep us guessing.

The uncertainty of what we should do keeps us from moving forward and accomplishing the things God wants for us. Sometimes it takes a smack in the head to get our attention and give us clarity. If God gives you a direction to go then stop questioning.

We think it would be great if we knew exactly what it was that we were supposed to do all the time. If this were the case, we would just be robots. We were made to have choices.

Knowing the destination doesn’t mean there’s only one path to get there.

“Clarity starts with a decision.” This is something Ray Edwards said in his 7 Steps to Getting Clarity podcast. His point was that we won’t ever have all of the answers in the beginning. If we do something we never will.

Here are three components to making the best decisions we can. –

We need to listen to God – I believe that God has given each of us a specific purpose. Something that only we can do in the way that we can do it. After God got my attention with the board, I knew what mine was. This doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes lose my focus and start asking questions.

This is when we need to go back to the Architect of our lives and review our life blueprint.

We need to know ourselves – We’ve been given an internal compass to direct us toward our purpose. Sometimes it gets misplaced or we forget to look at it. We’re moving along down life’s road and when we look up, we don’t know where we are or which direction to go.

Maybe we never knew that we had a compass or how to use it. This internal compass is who we are, what we like, what we dislike, what we’re good at, what we’re not so good at, etc. Every one of our compasses are different.

You just need to know your own compass and use it.

We need to take action – You may know what God wants you to do. You may know which direction your compass is pointing you. If you don’t do something, you’re doing nothing.

Making a decision and taking action can be scary. What if I make the wrong one?

As I think back over some of the big business/life questions I heard asked and the answers given, I ask myself…how would I know what is the right thing for that person to do? I don’t know what purpose God has given them, I don’t know what their specific gifts are, I don’t even have many details of their question.

I can encourage them, I can offer them opinion, but really a surface answer is the best I can do in this situation.

I know that when I’ve had suggestions or answers to my questions, they have been helpful (even though more times than not I already knew the answer.) Sometimes we just need some reassurance that we’re not crazy.

Ultimately the right answer is already there and comes from within.

Learn from the Past – Look to the Future – Live in the Present

Be Persistent in Pushing Toward the Goal

We all have specific gifts and talents that were given to us by God. These skills allow us to accomplish the results that God wants for us and from us. We can choose what we do with these God given abilities. We can use them for good or bad.

In Philippians 3:4-14, Paul refers to where he came from and looking forward to the goal that he has not yet reached. He learned from his mistakes and is focused on his future. It’s good to have a plan, but it does no good if you don’t do something today to move you in that direction.

No matter where you are it’s not where you were meant to be.

If we are still alive, we have control over our actions. In everything we have a choice. We can choose where we want to go and what we want to do. The important thing is to discuss these decisions with God first. Things go much better when we align our plans with His.

Matthew tells us not worry, but to seek what God wants for us and for His kingdom and all our needs will be met. Tomorrow has enough trouble of it’s own…be fully committed to the present.

Life is a journey full of obstacles, but God has given you what you need for them…it’s up to you to use them.

Faith is Not for the Weak of Heart

You Have to be Intentional and Use It

Once again, this past Sunday technology wasn’t playing nice. The internet at the church did not want to cooperate. Life is full of things not going as we plan.

This morning my truck decided to be unagreeable and was not accelerating properly. My mechanic is only a few miles away, so I turned around and went to see him. When I got there, I found that he was closed. With a little checking I found that his family was headed to a wedding in Wyoming and won’t be back until Monday.

I have things to do, places to go, people to see.

This changed everything. At this point I had some decisions to make and I made them. First was to give this situation to God and believe that He would take care of this. Then, I went back home, made the necessary changes to my schedule, got some other transportation and continued moving forward. Then, as I was driving to town, I looked at the fuel gauge and it was on E. It was another faith moment…God this is in Your hands. I made it to the gas station before running out.

No this isn’t what I had planned for today, but most days don’t turn out like we plan. Life is full of unseen situations. Like the woman in Matthew 15:21-28, she was dealing with a daughter who was suffering. She was faced with choices just like us. She could live with it or she could be brave and take it to Jesus. This was not an easy thing for her because she was a Canaanite not a Jew.  

Her courage and faith made the difference.

Her daughter was made well. We can choose to put our trust in tools, equipment, technology, other people, etc. These things will let us down. We need to trust in God and believe that He will do what He says.

Have a brave heart and put your faith in God!

My Hope Is in God…Not in the World

This Includes Technology 😊

The world around us is amazing. The things we can do with computers and smart phones today was the things of imagination fifty years ago. But these things are limited, like every other worldly thing.

If we put our faith in worldly things, we will be disappointed.

This past week’s church service had some “technical difficulties”. This left some gaps in the message, which I think speaks directly to the message. We so often put our faith in the things rather than God.

This doesn’t mean that we should let the difficulties of the world get us down. This pain we go through is like the pain of childbirth. The reward on the other side of the pain, makes the pain worth it. Romans 8:12-25

We can choose whether our focus will be on despair or hope.

There was a family that had a father and son both working in a coal mine. There was an explosion, the father was killed, and the son maimed. The family choose to focus on hope rather than despair. They were so serious about this that they changed their last name to Sperondeo, which means, “my hope is in God”. The son went on to do amazing things with his life.

Faith in God is more than blind hope. It is trusting in something bigger than yourself. It is the act of believing and trusting God. This kind of hope is like breath is to life. As long as we have hope, life is worth living. We are not alone. Hope in Christ is the secret ingredient to life

Put your hope in God…not in the world!