This series we’re in called “It’s time” is designed to get us moving. Because the truth is, most of us know what we should be doing, we’re just not doing it.
So, throughout this series I’ve been doing my best to give you polite little nudges to get moving down the path God has for you. As a pastor, I want nothing more than to see you thriving in life.
But the only way you are going to get to your best life is if you change direction. Some of you are stuck because you keep doing what you’ve been doing instead of following the Word of God. Check out this quote:
If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting. -Stephen Covey
Have you ever noticed how it just takes a little bit of winter weather to get the lovely people of Oklahoma stuck in the grass median in the middle of the highway? I mean, this happened to people just the other day.
That’s where some of y’all have been hanging out. Stuck in the mud in the median. You watching some people headed towards their best life and others headed towards their worst. But you’re just sitting there watching.
Well, I am showing up through this series with a winch, hooking it to your front bumper, and pulling you out of that mess. It’s time. It’s time to start moving forward into the life God had for you.
Let’s take another look at the theme verse for this series:
Matthew 3:2 NLT – Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
The word repent simply means to change direction. Slam on the brakes, turn that car around and then burn some rubber. My hope is that this series inspires you to change direction and start moving towards the life God has for you.
Notice this verse also says “the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” You thought it was far away, but once you change direction, it’s right there in front of you.
Maybe you’ve been headed in the wrong direction for years so you feel like you have some making up to do before you can reach God. Well, that’s not how it works.
Even though you’ve been moving away from God, as soon as you turn around, He’s right there. I know, it doesn’t make sense. But that’s how it works. God is near. Someone needed to hear that. You’re going to make it!
I’ve titled today’s message, “God Time”. Because it’s time for more of God in our lives. What do I mean by that?
Well, all of us here today have decided to give an hour of our time to God by coming to church. But I have a question for you this morning:
Have you allowed God into every area of your life?
We all start our walk with God by giving him bits and pieces of our lives. We give Him Sunday morning. Then we may start reading the verse of the day every day. Then we start praying throughout the week.
But then there’s those areas of our lives that we like to keep hidden from God. I just don’t want to give that up because I like it too much. Or, maybe you feel like you can’t give it up because it’s got a hold on you.
The truth is, God cannot do His best work in our lives until we give Him access to every area of our lives. I’m not saying you have to live perfectly. What I am saying is you have to be honest with God about everything.
How can He help you out if you hide from Him? How can He do a supernatural work of deliverance in your life if you are not willing to bring those things before Him in the first place?
Check out how C. S. Lewis explains this:
“Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” -C. S. Lewis
Wow. I don’t know about you, but I’ve sure wasted a lot of time spinning my wheels trying to find fulfillment in something other than God. And it never worked! Yet, I’d just keep trying.
Some of you have allowed just enough God into your life to make sure you don’t burn when this life is over. You give Him the part of your life that keeps you from hell, but you ain’t giving Him the rest of it.
My hope is that today is going to convince you to give God everything. Because when you take the limits off of what God is allowed to do in your life, you’re going to experience so much freedom. You’re going to be wondering why you’ve been so stubborn all this time.
Alright, let’s take a look at this in scripture:
Romans 13:11-14 MSG – But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.
Ooh buddy. I’ve been here. We’re talking about those weeks where you were so busy that you show up to church next Sunday and realize you haven’t even so much as thought about God since last Sunday.
Well, here is God’s friendly nudge to us all:
Romans 13:11-14 MSG – The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing!
Today, I serve as your wake up alarm. Beep, beep, beep, beep. Wake up! God is at work and it’s time to get moving.
Romans 13:11-14 MSG – God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed.
When you received the gift of salvation, that was just the beginning. Yeah, you’re going to Heaven now, but God also wants to do an amazing work in your life while you’re still here on Earth.
Romans 13:11-14 MSG – We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight.
Uh, oh. Some of y’all worried I’m going to hang out here for a minute. But, it won’t do any good for me to sit here and point out the stuff in your life that shouldn’t be there. Instead, let me give you the solution:
Romans 13:11-14 MSG – Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
Ooo! I’m putting on my joy this morning. I’m putting on patience and kindness. I’m walking in faith today knowing that no matter what happens, God is going to work it out. He’s going to take anything bad that happens and turn it for good.
I told you guys at the beginning of this year that the Holy Spirit gave me one word to describe what we are going to experience as a church in 2020:
He’s going to take the pieces of our lives and bring them together in the most beautiful way. We are going to experience wholeness in our emotions, in our relationships, in our marriages, in our businesses.
And we’re going to experience wholeness as a church. God is going to take each one of our individual gifts and bring them together into wholeness and blow our minds with what He accomplishes through us, together, as a church.
This is something the Holy Spirit spoke to me before the year started, and I was so excited last week to find the scripture that confirms it. Let me tell you, anytime the Holy Spirit speaks to you, there’s gotta be scripture to back it up.
Take a look:
Ephesians 4:16 NLT – He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
This gets me excited! As each member of our church does their own special work, we’re going to help each other grow. The result of this is a church that’s healthy, growing and full of love.
That’s us this year and from this point forward. The word of the year is wholeness. But, for this to happen in your life, you have to open every area of your life to God and invite Him to bring wholeness.
We’re talking about those things in your life that maybe you don’t even want God to restore. Well, beep, beep. Change direction. God wants to do a work of wholeness in EVERY area of your life.
Now, I’ve told y’all this before, but when I was in my early 20s I was a really opinionated little punk. I thought my job in life was to tell everybody how to fix everything whether they were asking for it or not.
Some of y’all know some people who are like that. Hm. Or maybe you’re the one that is like that. Well, I am not going to try to convince you that you shouldn’t be opinionated because you wouldn’t listen anyways.
But I had a wake up call a few years back, thanks to my dad. Now I live by the philosophy that you should only offer your opinion when people ask for it.
And you know what, I rarely get to share my opinion now. Turns out, people rarely ask for your opinion. Go figure.
But this week, I got to thinking, “What would my message look like if I removed that filter and let the church know exactly what I was thinking?” Of course, I would never want to bring that message to you because you might not come back.
So today I am just going to show you what that would look like. You can’t get mad because I am not actually doing it. I am just going to show you what that would look like in case you were wondering.
I’m really just trying to give you a good laugh before we get serious, but I honestly never hold back in my messages from what God is putting on my heart. Because I know that as long as I am delivering each message from the standpoint of love, God is going to work in your life every time.
Now that your guard is down, let me give you four areas of your life to give to God. Some of these might hurt a little, but I am bringing it to you because I love you and I know it will help you.
It’s time to eliminate hurry.
When you ask someone how they are doing, have you noticed that most people say, “Doing good. Just busy.” We live in a culture that values busyness.
You know how I know? Because we get frustrated with people who aren’t in a hurry. We’re always looking for the shortest line. We get mad when someone actually goes the speed limit. We value productivity over people.
I’m reading a book right now called “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” and there’s a passage in the book that slapped me in the face and then slapped the other side. So, I thought you’d enjoy it too:
“Today, you’re far more likely to run into the enemy in the form of an alert on your phone while you’re reading your Bible or a multiday Netflix binge or a full-on dopamine addiction to Instagram or a Saturday morning at the office or another soccer game on a Sunday or commitment after commitment after commitment in a life of speed.” -John Mark Comer
We might have to end the message right now because we’re all too wounded to carry on. When I read that, I was like, “Wow. That’s real.” And then he shares this quote in the very next sentence:
“Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.” -Carl Jung
Oh, this is serious. How did I miss this? I always thought hurry was a good thing. The more you hurry, the more you can get done in less time. And the more people praise you because you accomplished a lot.
But, if our lives are supposed to look like Jesus, hurry doesn’t fit. I don’t remember one time that Jesus was in a hurry.
Remember the story of Lazarus? Jesus was informed that his friend Lazarus was about to die. You’d think He’d just rush off and go heal His friend, but He didn’t. Jesus stayed where He was for two more days. And by the time He got to Lazarus, he had been dead for four days.
Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but can you imagine how upset his family must have been? The only one that could heal him just acted like it was no big deal and didn’t even rush to come save the day.
Let me give you one more quote from the book:
Hurry and love are incompatible.
When you are in a hurry, do you stop and help people? I don’t know about you, but my worst moments as a husband, dad and even a pastor are when I’m in a hurry.
What do you think that the first description of love in the Bible is, “Love is patient.” Because love takes time. And if we want to live the life that God has for us, we have to eliminate hurry.
Let me break it down in a practical way. This means you are going to have to take control of your schedule. No more extra hours at the office. Put a limit on how many sports and activities your kids can be a part of. Put boundaries around your Sunday so it can be dedicated to God and rest.
You can’t be gentle with this stuff. If you want to eliminate hurry, you’re going to have to be ruthless. Trim down your schedule to only the things matter as if your life depends on it. Because it does.
People aren’t going to like it. Your kids coaches are going to get on to you. But this isn’t their life, it’s yours. You get to decide what you do with your time and it’s critical that you only do with it what God has called you to do.
Ecclesiastes 4:6 NLT – Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.
How do you know if you need to eliminate hurry? How much quietness is in your life? How much peace is in your life? Are you chasing after something other than God?
Jeremiah 6:16 NLT – This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Notice it doesn’t say “run in it”. Some of you have believed that living a life for God is some kind of race. That if you don’t move fast enough, you’re not going to accomplish what God has for you to accomplish.
But running is not God’s pace. Walking is God’s pace. Look throughout the Bible. You are going to find it a lot where God says to “walk with me.” He’s not interested in hurry. Actually, God wants hurry out of your life.
Let me be bold and say that God is not going to ask you to eliminate church from your life. He’s not going to eliminate your small group from your life. You know how I know? Because those things have an eternal impact.
The things that need to be eliminated are the things that don’t really matter. So I encourage you to sit down and not prioritize your schedule, but schedule your priorities. And if the other things don’t fit, eliminate them.
Here’s the next one:
It’s time to filter what I allow to enter my mind and body.
If you and I sat down and you asked how to live your best life, I’d probably start by asking you a few questions: What music are you listening to? What movies are you watching? What are you clicking on?
I’d ask you how much alcohol you drink and if you are self-medicating with any type of drug, whether prescription or not. Maybe it was prescribed at one time and now it’s not any more, but you’re still taking it.
I wouldn’t get on to you for any of this stuff. That wouldn’t do any good. But I would let you know you’re not alone. You’re not the only Christian struggling with pornography, or opioid addiction, or too much alcohol.
I’d also tell you it’s time. It’s time to let God start healing those areas of your life instead of trying to hide them from God. God is not scared of these things. I’m not even scared of them.
I also know that we are all in different places in our walk with God. And just because someone is getting healed from pornography while another is getting healed from drinking too much coffee, not one is worse than the other.
I’m on my path with God. You are on your’s. There’s no need to compare your journey with mine or anyone else’s. Don’t feel bad because someone seems further along than you. Simply own your journey.
We just talked about eliminating hurry and walking with God. But there is a place where the Bible tells us to run:
2 Timothy 2:22 NLT – Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace.
When you read about running in the Bible, it is almost always connected with running from sin. So if you are going to run, run away from the things that don’t have to do with God.
I’m talking about the obvious things and I’m even talking about the not-so-obvious things, like most of that junk on Netflix.
I challenge you to strip everything out of your life that is non-God for one week. For one week, turn off the TV, only listen to worship music, set your video games aside, and watch what happens.
If you’ve done this before, you know what happens. Your life gets better. It seems like the sun is shining brighter. You get a greater sense of purpose. I dare you, try it. You think I’m crazy, but I know it works. Otherwise, come back next week and tell me it didn’t.
Here’s the struggle that might be going on in your mind:
1 Corinthians 10:23 NLT – You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.
Listen to me. God doesn’t love you any less if you decide not to filter things you allow into your body and mind. He doesn’t love you any more if you do decide to put a filter in place.
But one thing’s for sure: even though you are allowed to do anything, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. And if you want God’s best for your life, you’re going to have to install a filter to keep the non-beneficial things out.
If I could promise you that you could have significantly more joy in your life if you stopped watching non-godly TV shows, would you do it? Yeah, you probably would. And I promise you. Your life will be better.
We could hang out here for awhile, but let’s move on to the next one:
It’s time to organize my finances around Give » Save » Live.
A lot of our financial struggles come from the fact that we have them out of order. Put them in order and see what happens.
Let me clear the air. I don’t bring this up because our church is struggling financially. We’re not struggling. Last year, we operated this church on 72% of our income. We don’t have any debt. We gave over $40,000 to outreach and missions last year. We’re in good shape!
I’m telling you this because I want you to win financially. I want you to get to a place where finances are no longer a struggle. But you’ll never get there if you don’t follow God’s principles for money.
God’s way is give first, then save, then live. In that order. Any other order and it is not going to work.
I’ve heard people say that they are waiting to give until they have surplus. You know, that sounds right and it makes mathematical sense. But it doesn’t work. You know why?
Because when you have that mindset, as soon as you make more money, you’ll increase your expenses and still won’t have a surplus. It’s like you on a rat wheel and never make any progress.
But as soon as you reorder your finances and give first, supernatural things are going to start happening in your finances. It sounds crazy, I get it. But it works. And it works because God put it in place.
Proverbs 3:9-10 MSG – Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over.
There it is, clear as day. Give God not the leftovers, but the first and the best, and the result? Overflow. We’re talking so much provision you have to get with God to figure out what to do with it all.
You guys know I am passionate about this. And the reason I’m passionate is because I’ve been following this Biblical principle of giving the first 10% of my income the last 15 years and it’s always worked.
I envision a church where no one is struggling financially because we all stepped out in faith and believed this scripture. And as a result, we’ll experience an overflow that enables us to do incredible things for the Kingdom of God.
How much more peace would be in your life if money was no longer a struggle but simply a tool to make a difference in the lives of others? Well, that’s where we are headed together as a church, so jump on board.
Here’s the last one:
It’s time to live my life intentionally.
Most people think that life happens to them. Because of this, a majority of people just sit around and try to weather the storms of life. But, let me challenge you to rethink this.
“Your circumstances do not determine where you are; your disciplines determine where you are.” -Chris Hodges
We are not products of our circumstances. We are products of our disciplines. In other words, you have more control over your life than you thought you did.
Sure, circumstances are going to happen. The storms of life are going to overtake you. But how you respond to those storms is a result of the disciplines that you have already set in place.
Are you intentional about spending time in God’s Word? Because if you are, when the storms of life hit, you will respond with faith instead of defeat.
Are you intentional about spending time with God’s people? Because if you are, when the storms of life hit, you’ll have someone to talk to who will point you in the right direction instead of making it worse.
Proverbs 20:4 NIV – Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.
Farmers know that when they plow the ground, even though they don’t see anything growing yet, their discipline will produce growth in the future. They plow not for immediate results, but so they are ready for what’s to come.
Some of us don’t have spiritual discipline. The only time we think to pray or read God’s Word is when life turns into a mess. And then we get upset when we don’t see immediate results.
Just like the scripture says, you find yourself hungry, in need of a harvest. But you look around and can’t find anything because you were too lazy to put in the work before the crisis hit.
That’s why every day I pray. Every day, I spend time in God’s Word. Every day, I do my best to love those around me. Every day, I look for opportunities to be generous.
And can I be honest? I don’t always feel like my prayers were effective. I don’t always get a new revelation when I read the Bible. Sometimes, I walk away from my time with God feeling like I didn’t make any progress.
But you know what? I’m still going to get up and plow tomorrow. Because I know that every preparation and every seed planted is going to produce a harvest. It may be years later, but having discipline will never let me down.
Don’t get overwhelmed by this. You don’t have to do these things all day. You just need to do them every day. Take one minute to acknowledge God in prayer. Take one minute to read the verse of the day. Every day at work, look for one opportunity to encourage someone else.
Be intentional about how you live your life. Because these disciplines aren’t a burden, they are a catapult into the life you want to live.
We can really sum up everything we talked about today in one verse:
Psalm 90:12 TLB – Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.
None of the things we talked about today can happen unless we have three things in place. And these apply to all of us.
1. I must know my purpose.
If there is no purpose for your life, why would you even try to do these things? You have to know your why or you won’t know your way.
I say this almost every week and I am going to keep saying it: You have a purpose. You are not here by chance or by mistake. God put you right here, right now for a purpose.
Psalms 139:16 NLT – You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
God has an assignment for you that only you can do. You may have a hard time believing this or even accepting it, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Step out in faith and believe that God created you because He wants you.
He laid out eternity and put each of us in the right place at the right time. Kade needs to be here. David needs to be here. Lisa needs to be here. Every single one of our lives was designed by God and we’re here on purpose.
Here’s the second thing you’ll need:
2. I must have a plan.
Like, you need to go home and rewrite your schedule today. You need to go home and cancel Netflix today. I’m not picking on that one, I’m just giving you examples of what it looks like to have a plan.
Proverbs 17:24 GNT – An intelligent person aims at wise action, but a fool starts off in many directions.
This is such beautiful advice. There is so much power in focusing on the right thing. We all have one thing in our lives that, if it changed, would make the biggest difference.
Maybe it’s your schedule. Maybe it’s ridding yourself of the addiction. Whatever it is, you know it would change your life. So let’s do what this scripture says. Don’t try to change everything. Pick that one thing and focus on wise action.
And when you do this, there’s something else you’re going to need:
3. I must have accountability.
If you try to do this alone, you’ll fail. I’m sorry, that’s not very good news. But you need someone else cheering you on if you really want this.
You’ll go to the gym more if someone is going with you. You’ll drink less alcohol if someone knew how often you got drunk. Seriously, we need to be honest with each other. You don’t have to tell everyone, but you should tell someone.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT – Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
For some of you in the room today, this is your next step. You need to tell someone about the pornography addiction, or the overeating at night, or the struggle you have managing your time.
You need to tell someone, not only to get the weight off your chest, but so that you can have someone in your corner cheering you on as you find freedom.
If you don’t know who to tell, that’s what small groups are all about. Small groups are where you find these relationships where you can be honest and live life together and help each other find freedom.
The next semester of small groups kicks off in two weeks and I will tell you more about that here in a bit.
But, maybe today has been a little uncomfortable for you. And you’re tempted to walk out and do your best to forget what you heard today because it all seems too hard.
It is going to be tough, but so worth it. If you take wise action on what you’ve heard today, it’s going to produce a harvest of joy and peace in your life. You won’t have to hide anymore. You won’t have to carry around guilt any more.
For most of you, this is going to be a step of faith. You’re having a hard time understanding how getting your secret out in the open is going to help you. You can’t yet see how trimming your schedule is going to be beneficial.
I love how Martin Luther King Jr. explains it:
Faith is taking a step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. -Martin Luther King Jr.
I want to take a moment for us all to quiet our minds and listen. I believe the Holy Spirit has one step for us all to focus on that will make the biggest difference. So, let’s ask for it to be revealed.
Maybe you’re here today and you realized that you’ve been living your life without God and you’re ready to make a change.
Today you want to put a stake in the ground and say, “Today’s the day I start living my life for God. Today is the day I give my life to Him.”
When you pray the following prayer, the power of Jesus is going to make you new. You don’t have to worry about everything you’ve done wrong because it’s all about to disappear.
Because of Jesus, God will bring you into His family and give you new life. And you’ll get to spend eternity with Him.
Pray this out loud:
Jesus, I want you to lead my life. Forgive me for trying to live life without you. I want you to come in and make me new. I thank you for adopting me as your own. Help me to find and walk out your plan for my life.
Congratulations on making the best decision in your life! Giving your life to Jesus is a personal decision. But there is a time to take it public. The way you do that is through water baptism.
Learn more about water baptism on our Next Steps page.