Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Making Time.
Don’t you wish sometimes we could really make time? I could get so much more done…at least that’s what I tell myself because it sounds lofty. Truth of the matter is, if I actually could make time, I would probably produce it into perpetuity so that I could perfect the art of procrastination. We use the phrase ‘make time’ so often it’s surprising we don’t really believe we can…but then that’s not really what we mean is it. What we mean is that we will take time. When we tell someone we will make time for them, what we are really saying is we will take some of the time we have, and dedicate it to them.
As a pastor and a counselor I get to ask people on the regular to tell me about their personal relationship with Christ and what that looks like to them. I don’t ask to be judgmental. I simply understand that more Jesus improves any situation and I want to see how I can help them access more Jesus in their own lives. One of the answers I often hear is some variation of; “I know I need to make more time to read my bible. Or, I might hear them say they need to make more time for prayer. They might even say they simply need to make more time for the Lord in their lives.
What if that is all upside down? What if we need to be walking so closely with the Lord that we have to interrupt that, to ‘make time’ for the rest of our lives? What if we stopped trying to find time, make time or take time to fit God into our lives and we started trying to fit the daily requirements of our lives into our relationship with God? Scriptures like 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 start to make sense and illustrate that kind of a walk with God to be a possibility. It says: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Paul isn’t suggesting that you and I spend the duration of the day and night on our knees beside our beds 24-7. He is saying that a successful life recognizes the necessity to allow our spirits to be in communication with the Holy Spirit living inside us at all times. Every opportunity that presents itself during any given day should be undertaken only after prayerful consideration as to how God wants us to proceed. We need to be continually in prayer if our every move is to to be calculated and our every word measured so we can best illustrate the immense love of God for those we interact with. Do you know when I have to back track and ask someone to forgive me for not handling a situation correctly that involved them? When I acted from Ken’s direction and not from Christ’s, which by the way I could have had if I had only consulted Him.
So which of our relationships with others should we be making sure God shines through us in? All of them! Colossians 3:18-24 says: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Wow, Paul didn’t really leave anyone out. Every relationship we have, marriage, as children, (notice there is no caveat for being over 21) as parents, as employers and employees, basically everyone, is to be treated as if that person were Christ Himself!
An interesting thing to ponder for certain, how would we treat Jesus if He were our houseguest? Would we run out of the house before we spent any time visiting with Him in the morning? Would we go through our entire day too busy to consider that He was right there with us? Would we go home, rush to get dinner on the table, quickly glance up to thank Him for bringing the groceries and then dive into our meal without another word His way? Would we spend the rest of the evening without another thought to the truth that He was right there sitting on the couch wishing like crazy we would engage in conversation? How would we treat our spouse, our family, our boss, our employees, anyone we encountered if we literally took Him with us everywhere we went for a day, a week, a month? Would we introduce Him to people or just ignore that He was standing there?
My toes hurt really bad just considering these things, so don’t be upset with me if yours are a little bruised too. As with all of my ‘Thoughts on a Thursday’ podcasts, I am sharing those things the Lord has been speaking to me about. The things I need to be more diligent with. They are simply my thoughts, if they help you too, great! If not, please encourage me when you see me to get better at my walk with the Lord. I think we all have room to improve at having a life so filled with Him that we have to ‘make time’ for the rest of the world.
1 Corinthians 10:31 sums it up, Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. So now, with priorities straight, fitting what the world wants from you into your walk with your sweet, sweet Savior and Lord…Go be Awesome!
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Happy Meals.
This past week pastor Rick spoke about Jesus feeding the five thousand. He made some interesting points from this scripture not the least of which was that we ought to be less ready to send our problems away. There is great truth in that. When we send our problems away because we would rather not deal with them, we eliminate the possibility of being witness to how God will solve them. We literally are making a concerted effort to subdue the mighty hand of God, though we would probably never say it that way. The truth is the truth though, when we desire to have no problems, we desire to see no miracles.
Let’s look again briefly at the account picking it up as Jesus wrapped up the afternoon of healing and teaching. Mark 6:35-44 reads as follows:When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.”But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass.So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties.And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all.So they all ate and were filled.And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.
One of the other things that I love about this scripture is that after the disciples asked Jesus to send the problem away (to send the people into nearby towns to buy food), Jesus’ response was designed to teach them. In verse 37, we read that Jesus said to them, “You give them something to eat.” Due to their answer to Him, which was a question about how they should pay for the amount of food it would take, I don’t think the disciples got his meaning at the time. Jesus was trying to teach His disciples that it was always the right time to love people by meeting their needs. I think He was also using an incredible teachable moment to help them see that ministry should never cease because supplies seem short. Lesson #1 for the disciples that day: It is always the right time to love those around you by meeting their needs.
Jesus response to the question of funding was telling as well. In the very next verse it is recorded for us that Jesus ignored the question of money (the obvious source of solution to the problem) and simply told the disciples to see what they had on hand. Jesus knew there was a need for bread, so he didn’t waste time talking about money, that wasn’t the need. He asked, “How many loaves of bread do we have? Go and see.” Upon the completion of their search, though I am not sure it was a very exhaustive one…my wife and my mother say men don’t know how to look for anything…they found one young boy’s lunch. Five rolls and two fish. They returned to Jesus to let him know all they had was one lousy happy meal.
I have to wonder, were they sarcastic when they told Jesus what they had found? Did they give it to him with some quick glances between them, just “knowing” sending the people away when they had first suggested it would have been the prudent thing to do. I don’t know. What I am fairly sure of is that they were not handing that happy meal over with a faith filled expectation of what was about to take place. I believe that because Jesus then modeled faith in God by telling everyone to sit down and get ready to eat…while He was still holding only 5 rolls and 2 fish. Lesson # 2 for the disciples that day: acting in faith is the only way to see miracles take place.
What happened next? Jesus got happy about a happy meal. It says that when He had thanked God for the provision, He broke the bread and divided the fish and a group of 5-12 thousand people ate until they were full. Lesson # 3 for the disciples that day: thank God for His supply even while it is not yet evident. God loves seeing faith placed in Him. It illustrates that the faithful person understands that everything comes from God. It shows that there is a recognition of not only God’s immeasurable power, but also of His immense love for the powerless.
It would have been miraculous if there had been enough food for half of the people and Jesus doubled it. Even more so if He had tripled or quadrupled the amount He began with. But He began with one little boy’s lunch…one lousy happy meal, and He fed thousands of people until they could eat no more! With God there is no starting place too small. You don’t lack enough to be unusable in God’s hands. You can never have too little for God to use. It is interesting, this scripture doesn’t say the disciples stole that kid’s lunch. It doesn’t say they bought it from him. The inference then is that the kid gave them his happy meal. Lesson # 4 – God doesn’t need us to have much to use us, His ability makes up any difference that may be lacking, He only needs us to be willing to let Him use what we have.
Finally, I find it amazing that there were 12 basketfuls left over. Mom always used this scripture to point out that Jesus believed in leftovers when I was being ungrateful for them as a kid. I think there is even greater truth here though…sorry mom…I still don’t care that much for leftovers. I have heard it said that there were 12 basketfuls left over so that each unbelieving disciple had to carry a bushel of their newly learned lesson. Maybe. Pastor said what a blessing it might have been if it was all presented to the boy the happy meal originally came from…that sure would have made for many more happy meals at his house in the next few days after that. We don’t know if that’s what happened either…the Bible doesn’t tell us. What we do know is there was another lesson for the disciples that day. Lesson # 5 God’s ability to meet our needs, far supersedes our needs. God is infinitely able to meet all of our needs, and the needs of others.
Are you one of Jesus’ disciples? Then these lessons are also for you: It is always the right time to love someone by meeting their needs. Acting in faith is the only way to see miracles take place. Thank God for His supply to meet the need even while it is still not evident. God can use anything; our job is to make it all available to Him. Finally, God’s ability to meet the need absolutely supersedes any need. God is powerful enough to do it and loves enough to want to. We simply have to stop sending the needs away to have opportunity to see it happen.
So now, moving in faith, willing to be used to lovingly meet needs…go be awesome!
Hi, this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…When integrity speaks people listen.
From the mid 1970’s and into the 1980’s there was a well-known advertisement campaign for the Wall Street brokerage firm, Hutton. Most of the commercials were set in busy places such as bars, restaurants, or concert halls. An actor playing the founder of the company, Edward Francis Hutton would lean over to say something to someone nearby. As he began to speak the entire room, noisy a second before would go quiet and everyone would lean toward him to try to hear what he was saying. The narrator of the commercial would then say the line that became famous…”When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen”. The idea of course was that the Hutton firm was so successful that everyone wanted to know what E.F. Hutton thought.
Do you know who everyone is always interested in hearing from? A person of unwavering integrity. Pastor Rick was speaking about just such a person this past week. In Mark 6:14-20 we read: 14 Now King Herod heard of Him, [Jesus] for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” 15 Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.” 16 But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” 17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
King Herod was not a godly man, but the Bible tells us that he liked to listen to John the Baptist. He didn’t like listening to him because John would only tell Herod things he wanted to hear, in fact the scripture says quite the opposite was true. John was incredibly candid with Herod. Herod had married his brother’s wife, and John couldn’t have been more clear that this was an ungodly thing to do, he didn’t hold back the truth at all. He called sin what it is…sin, and if we know anything about John, he most certainly implored Herod to repent and get right with God. This passage points out, as did pastor this weekend, that though Herod apparently wasn’t willing do what was right in terms of his marriage, He did like to listen to what John had to say and as a direct result of some of those conversations, Herod made quite a few adjustments in his life. The bible says And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
In Mathew 11:11 it is recorded that Jesus said of John: “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist…”. John wasn’t perfect, he was a fallen human being just like you and I, but he did have unwavering integrity. What I mean by that is that when John was confronted with evil he called it what it was and made the remedy (repentance and godliness) known to the offender. His entire ministry surrounded repentance, and he couldn’t have had a ministry of repentance if that ministry hadn’t included calling out unrighteousness when he saw it. John didn’t decide who he would call on the carpet for their sin based on the repercussions to him. He once told off a group of Pharisees for their hypocrisy. We know from the account above that is recorded for us in both Matthew and Mark that John did not waver from telling King Herod of his sin. Sin was sin to John and he was going to point it out and the way to repentance and a renewed relationship with God regardless of the personal cost to himself. John took the charge found in Ezekiel 3:18 & 19 very seriously: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
So what am I saying? Should we beat people over the head with their sin? No, and I don’t think that’s what John the Baptist did either. The sheer number of people he was able to influence and the influential people like Herod who John almost got through to, indicates that though He was direct he must have also been seen as sincere and caring. People must have been able to see that his concern was for their very souls. That coupled with the fact that he was unwavering in his message, regardless of the personal price, caused people to want to hear what he had to say.
So if you want to be one of those people that others want to hear from, you don’t have to be a Wall Street tycoon like E.F. Hutton, you simply need to have integrity. You need only be consistent in your message. We can’t be good Christians on Sunday and then look and sound no different than anyone else on Monday if we want people to listen to what we have to say. Consistency and integrity and love are the keys. I know messages like this are not popular, few are willing to put themselves out there like John the Baptist did. But it is the only right thing to do. If you saw someone getting ready to do something you had knowledge would get them killed would you not out of a sense of concern for their very lives, try to warn them of the danger they were in? Would you remain silent in fear that if you spoke up they might tell you to mind your own business and not to judge them? Of course you wouldn’t. James 5:19,20 says: Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
So now, walking and speaking with integrity and love…go be awesome!