We talk about time a lot. For instance,
I could come up with another hundred clichés but the point I want to make is that time is on our minds and our time is so significant that it ultimately defines us. I am not wanting to plunge us into despair regarding our past waste of time or regret over how much we didn’t do. I also want to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of comparing your time usage against others. This would more than likely bring a sense of arrogance or inferiority, which are both meaningless and destructive.
With that in mind I would simply ask, what have you learned about “time” over the years the Lord has given you so far and what do you want to do with the time the Lord has chosen to place before you to live out? Bringing our past failures into the future to shamefully relive doesn’t accomplish much. But learning as we go is absolutely necessary. Be aware so you can avoid habits or pitfalls that have caused problems – then move beyond them by God’s grace.
Understand how God made you and live with that in mind. Some people are recharged in one way and others recharge in a completely different set of circumstances. God wants us to use our time wisely in the way He created us to live and serve in His Kingdom. For instance, God gifted some of us to bless others by taking time away and crafting words that will be shared later. Others, He made to listen well in one-on-one settings to lift others up through deep caring. The common thread in diverse settings such as these is that we are to be led and used by our perfectly sovereign God.
Let me ask you a question: What do you want to do with your future?
What are the thoughts, images or dreams filling your mind as you consider that question? Are the things on your list worth doing and are they worth arranging your life around?
One final question: What do you think God wants to do with your future?
Does this list match your first list? I need to think about this for myself because I want to live in the significance and joy God has placed in the days I have left. If I am chasing things that are not in line with God’s plans I will miss out. I don’t want to miss out!
LORD, help me live the life you gave me. AMEN!!
In God’s Perfect Time,
I never buy puzzles from garage sales. The reason for this is very simple. When I was little my grandma would get us puzzles from garage sales and they would, without fail, be missing pieces. Grandma would discount my complaints of the missing pieces by saying, “You know what the piece would look like anyway.” I loved my grandma very much, but I hated those incomplete puzzles.
I also didn’t care much for the ramifications of a fishing trip with my son and brother where I assumed every aspect of the boat was all put together. I was wrong! It was just one cheap little part that wasn’t in its proper place – the drain plug. I didn’t realize my dad’s process was to remove the plug when the boat was back on the trailer and put it back in right before putting the boat back in the water. The good news is that we managed to beach the boat before it sank – barely! Everything turned out fine other than we didn’t catch many fish at all.
I bring you these two examples simply to point out how nice it is when things are complete, and all the pieces are in place. Don’t you love it when something fits together properly or works just as it should. Isn’t it a reason to rejoice when you go to fix something, and you find out all the necessary tools are in the toolbox? Doesn’t a smile come across your face when you realize you have all the ingredients you need for your Thanksgiving meal, so you don’t need to battle the crowds at Cub one more time?
It is a good thing to have all that is needed!
This is the way God designed His Church. Nothing is lacking for the Church to accomplish all that God has called it to do. Everything is in place for God’s perfect plan even though we aren’t quite able to see things with the clarity God does. All I need to do is look in the mirror to see how limited humanity is. I can also take a look around Oak Hill and see that it is made up of a bunch of imperfect people just like me. With that in mind how can God speak so highly of our “deficient” group?
In a nutshell, the answer is that He has chosen to get involved! When our God gets involved He always follows through and completes. God the Father sent His Son to set us free from the power of sin and death. Once that was accomplished, the Holy Spirit moved into the hearts and minds of followers of Jesus to guide us, encourage us and equip us to be God’s people in this place. We are called the Church or the Body of Christ or the Family of God.
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
I Corinthians 1:7
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but
in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
I Corinthians 12
All the pieces are in place for Oak Hill to be and do what God has planned.
You are one of those pieces and so am I!
I want to belong.
I want to have a place.
I want to be accepted and known and loved.
Can you relate? Of course, you can!
A very popular buzzword today connected to this hope is “authentic community.” There is a common human desire to be part of a group that is real and honest. We want to be included in a group that does not need to pretend to be something they are not. We desire to be able to trust the people that say they care for me. We want to be confident that there are not ulterior motives or passive aggressive interactions to cause us to doubt what is said or what appears to be the truth.
Even though there is virtually a universal hope for authentic community it is extremely rare to actually experience it. The reason for that is that everyone has a different definition and understanding of how it should look. Since that is the case, all these ideas compete and end up clashing with each other. Another way of phrasing the dilemma would be – “I love living life with others if I get to set all the rules and everyone else keeps them.”
The Authentic Community called the Church is really the only hope for this kind of gathering to exist in this world. The reason for this hope is that the Universal Church of Jesus Christ or the people that make up Oak Hill should adhere to a defined truth found in Scripture and worship an eternal ruler that is beyond any of momentary or personal preference whims. When we are at our best we serve and put each other first. We celebrate that we are members of God’s family and kingdom instead of chasing and positioning to create our own kingdom.
Our Biblical community is grounded in grace. We live with an understanding that we are given a place in the family of God because of His great love. We don’t need to wonder if we are measuring up or if we are keeping up with our dues. We are purely a part of this community because God is great, and He is good. In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians we see in the fourth chapter how we are to live in love and unity
imitating our God.
United with you,
My basketball team in Jr. High would start each game yelling in unison “TPQACS Tigers.” Each letter stood for a phrase that was intended to be of value to our team. I won’t go over each letter – but I still could. I will just give you the Q – “Quitters never win, and winners never quit.” Obviously, this was to remind us to give our all to the very end. Another way of saying this was – Don’t ever surrender!
I strongly believe that this is an important element of living life with perseverance and tenacity. This perspective develops mental toughness and character not only on the basketball court but in life. The Bible calls for us to not live our lives as “quitters”, so what does it mean when it tells us that we are called to completely surrender our lives?
The Total Surrender of Scripture is simply taking God at His Word. It is believing that God knows best and loves us perfectly even when life is filled with difficulties or sorrows. It is a faith that believes Jesus is the answer when we struggle to even articulate the question. This is the perspective that brings freedom to us when we are tempted to enter the prison of “self-worship.”
All through the pages of the Bible we see the confrontation between a loving, gracious, merciful God and a rebellious humanity. God’s patience in the face of our tendency toward creating lives that don’t include our Creator is mind-boggling. He is the one with all the power and truth, yet we chase after those things at the same time we run from their very source – GOD Himself.
This week I am preparing another funeral message where I will once again attempt to remind those in attendance that we don’t possess the answers on our own. Left on our own – we die! Now that can be depressing if we believe that this world and our few years on it is all that there is. But there is another way – Total Surrender. What I mean by that is to place our hope in God’s ways. It is trusting Jesus to forgive me, to give me what I need for today and what I will need on the day when I breathe my final breath. It is a confidence that Jesus died for me and since He did that my death has been conquered.
My death has become a doorway to my eternal home in the family of God.
The writer of Proverbs 3 described surrender with words that guide our hearts and minds as we live out each day the Lord gives us.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Pastor Nick Mundis