Full vs. Busy
How to Live a Full & Fruitful Life Without Being Too Busy
Full vs. Busy
Read the Outline:
“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted in the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”
– Psalm 46:10 NIV
He is God, we are not! It’s about Him being exalted, not us.
Do you “need to be needed?”
Do you like being the “hero?”…
If your answer is “yes” to either, you will tend to be too busy!
Receive Your Sonship (Daughterhood)
“So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”
– Galatians 4:7 NIV
In Christ, you are not a slave or a “hired hand” but rather you are a son!
Do you feel the need to prove yourself—to someone else? To God? To yourself?
Sons don’t need to prove anything! They are already accepted (Ephesians 1:6) in THE SON! If you are still trying to prove yourself, you will tend to take on too much and become too busy!
Align Your Values
“God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”
– I Corinthians 1:9 NIV
Value relationships most (over accomplishments and possessions) starting with your relationship with Jesus Christ! Relationship with Jesus is your first “calling!”
What do you value in your life? Take a full sheet of paper and make of list of everything that you can think of that you value.
Next, can you find a scripture from God’s Word that supports each person, place, or thing that you have listed?
Re-evaluate your values—there are only so many hours in a day, so you won’t be able to do “everything.” Align your values with what God values most! If you don’t, you will try to do more than you have strength and capacity to do and you will tend to be too busy!
Set Priorities with Purpose
“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him…they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
– Luke 4:42-43 NIV
Jesus was given ALL AUTHORITY (Matthew 28:18) but only did what His Father authorized Him to do!
How about you? Do you just keep saying “yes” to any and all that is asked of you until you have nothing more to give? Or, do you inquire of the Lord and seek His mind and His will?
Also, keep in mind that your core values will tend not to change. Priorities, however, can certainly change due to the needs of your family and seasons of life and ministry.
Be prayerful, purposeful, and proactive in the setting of your priorities. If you don’t, it will seem at times like the needs, responsibilities, invitations, and opportunities of your life are trying to overtake you, and you will tend to be too busy!
Above All Else: Take Care of Your Heart!
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
– Proverbs 4:23 NIV
Have you ever been wronged, hurt, or offended? Have you suffered a loss? – Yes, of course we all have.
The key is: How have we been affected and how have we responded?
If we have unforgiveness and unresolved issues in our hearts, they will continue to have an adverse affect on our hearts and, most importantly, hinder our relationship with Jesus and our ability to hear from Him and discern His will.
With our hearts affected in such an adverse way, we are more likely to be driven instead of led, and we will more easily be motivated out of pride, anger, rejection, fear, and guilt instead of being able to truly discern God’s will.
When you take care of your heart—submitting to the sovereignty of God, giving thanks in and for all things, and forgiving one another—you are more and more free to experience the fullness of His Life, hear His voice, and do His bidding!
How to Live a Full & Fruitful Life - Without Being Too Busy
John 5:19 is our launching pad today: I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He can only do what He sees His Father doing. Because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.
Where are we going with this message? We’re going with, the outcome (and I know it’s a process) is that you come into such a depth and intimacy of relationship with the Lord that your life is characterized by: You know who you are, you know why you’re here, you’re in touch with the Father’s heart, and you do what He bids you to do. Is that realistic? Is that possible? Stay tuned. Let’s dig deeper.
There are some things that the Lord has shown me– (Not that I’m the example. Don’t want you looking to me, want you looking to Him.) –but anything that I’m going to share today, I’ve been applying to my own life and sharing with others. It seems I’ve met so many people that are looking for answers in this regard. Life is so busy. That’s a common theme I hear, “My life is so busy! I feel like I am on a treadmill, a gerbil run, a merry go round, fill in the blank, use your analogy, but it’s like it’s out of control! I feel overwhelmed!” Well, we all have different gifts, we all have different capacities. We have temperaments, personalities that vary. It’s got to be more than that. What is it? What are the spiritual secrets with this? I don’t think it’s all about being more disciplined, though that won’t hurt us, but you know there’s ditches on both sides of the road as you go through life. You can get into excess on either side and go in the ditch. I’ll unpack that a little bit more. But the things that I’m going to be sharing today have not only made a difference in my life, but I’ve seen them make a difference in the lives of others.
Keep in mind, the longer you live, we are relational beings. We were made for relationship. If you are relational, even if you are task-oriented, if you are relational, the longer you live the more people you’re going to know. The more people you’re going to visit in the hospital. The more graduation open houses you’re going to go to in the month of May. The more weddings you’re going to go to year-round. The more funerals you’re going to go to. The more celebrations you’re going to attend. The more meetings, the more opportunities, the more people that are going to be in need or crisis. Even if you don’t think your stewardship of ministry is ministering into hearts, we are surrounded by a world in hard crisis. There’s a crisis of unforgiveness, there’s a crisis of wounds. So many people with wounds. So many people that have been trying to handle it and carry it and manage it for years. Know this: the day is going to come when they can’t handle it any more, that they’re going to be calling. They’re going to be calling you saying that something has happened to their son or daughter. They’re going to be calling you and saying that something has happened in their marriage. They’re going to be calling you and saying that something has come up in the way of a health issue. They’re going to be calling you. They’re going to be reaching out to you.
The needs of a human heart are universal. You know, it’s interesting. There’s definitely strongholds in China, a stronghold of performance, of excellence. You know, “no matter what, it doesn’t seem to be good enough,” well, that’s not unique to China. I have ministered to many people over the years with that same testimony. No matter what they did growing up, it was never good enough. Now they’re married and they can’t seem to please their wife or husband, no matter what they do. Or in their workplace, no matter what it never seems to be good enough. That isn’t just unique to China, that’s universal. Also, saving face or putting on a good face or a front, that’s not unique to China. Also, meaningful touch. You know, at an early age, they tend to withdraw their touch and affection in China, from their daughters in particular. That’s not unique. Meaningful touch, and healthy touch, and wholesome touch. As the family has broken down, as people have become more individualistic, not only in this society but worldwide, there’s going to be more and more of a heart crisis. Are we ready? Are we willing to participate ourselves? I believe that the things that I share today will be more than just answers and questions about a busy life, but I pray that it will speak to your hearts in profound ways beyond that. Here are the themes that I would like to address; that are going to be a part of the solution of how to live a full and fruitful life without being too busy. Now, don’t think of that as having a lot of margin. That’s not the goal. Having more free time, that’s not the goal. I pray that I am going to expose some things, some standards, that you put on yourself that you don’t have grace for. It’s just going to make an already full life fuller, or seem fuller to you. Because you’ll have the grace to do what God wants you to do.
It won’t help us to compare. It won’t help us to compare, because we have different capacities. We have different gifts. We have different assignments. More isn’t necessarily better, and less isn’t necessarily better. What does the Father have for you? I pray that’s what we can tap into.
Well, here’s where it starts. Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God. for I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth. Simply stated, He is God; we are not.
Are you playing God, though? Do you have to be the hero? Do you need to be needed? If you need to be needed, why? It’s a trap. It’s a trap. If you need to be needed, it’s going to help set you up to say yes to things God doesn’t want you to say yes to. You know, especially in this room, there are going to be people that, we’re going to have opportunity. This is a quality group, I think. You’re going to have a lot of opportunity. If you don’t already have, you’re going to have more. There are going to be more opportunities than you could ever possibly say yes do. So, it can’t be “First come, first served. Whoever asks me first, I say yes and then I run out of yesses and I’m dying if I keep saying yes.” Are you free to say no? If you need to be needed, it will be hard for you to say no.
Ron and Karen remember this, back in the mid-’80s when I was teaching the first counselor training classes back at Trinity Church, my first priority was to address this issue in the context of training counselors. Because when you’re helping others with needs of the heart, if you need to be needed, the potential ditch–even if you don’t intend it–the potential ditch is to use people to fill the need for significance in you. To use their need to feed you.
And then, later on, I think it was in the early ‘90s that Rick Joiner wrote a book called The Harvest, which was kind of a prophetic word, a word of prophecy, and in the early pages of that book, what really struck me was to do what I just described, to build your little kingdom, if you will–amplify what I’ve just said, you’ve planted a church, you’ve started a ministry, you’ve got a ministry and you’re building your little kingdom for you, for your significance. I’m not saying you intend it. But this is what Rick said: It’s like raping the body of Christ. Whoa, those are strong words. But that’s the nature of abuse, using people.
Are you using anybody to feed a need in you? I pray you have the fear of the Lord. May God convict you. No shame, no blame. I pray the Holy Spirit will do His work. But, I pray that God will free you from needing to be needed for your own appetite for significance to be filled, rather than your appetite for significance being filled in being a son or a daughter, which is the next point.
Galatians 4:4-7: But when the time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman under the law to redeem those under the law that we might receive the full rights of sons. Becasue you are sons, God sent the spirit of His son into our hearts. The spirit who calls out Abba, Father, so you are no longer a slave, but a son. And since you are a son, God has made you an heir.
Okay, here is the next question, are you ready to stand? When you think of how you relate to God (I’m not talking about head knowledge; I’m talking about what you’re believing in your heart) do you see yourself more:
a.) as a son or a daughter in your relationship with God
b.) as an orphan
c.) as a hired hand
Receive your sonship! Are you living like a son or are you living like a hired hand? Hired hands try to prove themselves. Do you have anything to prove? Are you trying to prove something to someone in your past or present, other than God? Are you trying ot prove something to yourself? Is your worth settled? Is your significance settled? Is your valued settled, or is the verdict still out on your worth and value? If it’s still out, you are going to be too busy. You’re not going to be free to say yes to His invitations. Oh, yes, the barnacles of religiosity. The barnacles of “I should, I ought to, I’m supposed to,” will be trying to hang on to you. The family rules, the church rules that you’ve been involved in. The shoulds, the ought-to’s, the guilt trips, the pressure. “The need is so great! Somebody’s gotta do it!” Are you free to get the mind of the Lord as a son, not a hired hand or an orphan., Orphans don’t hear from God. Orphans don’t feel wanted. Orphans don’t feel needed. Orphans live at least in the land of ambivalence: “Well, I know it’s right, but I don’t feel that I amount to much or am worth much.” God wants us free to live as a son or a daughter, knowing that we already give our Dad pleasure. We know we’re not perfect, we know we never will be. He’s the only One that is. But we know He’s pleased; we sense His pleasure because of who we are, not because of what we’ve done or haven’t done. What we haven’t done or have done matters. It matters. It matters. And certainly sin matters; it’s going to affect our relationship with God. But who we are as submitted, committed sons and daughters; submitted to the King and willing to let Him do anything He wants to do, that matters. That gives Him such pleasure.
Psalm 40:8: I delight to do Your will, O God. David said it. Did David always do it? He had a heart to please. Do you have a heart to please? Jesus in His humanity always did the will of the Father. –Which brings us to the second part of “receive your sonship,” which also includes, “keep in mind your stewardship or your assignment as a son or a daughter.”
I think of this past year, at the end of 2007 we left the staff at Trinity. We launched Fresh Start for All Nations, though we’ve been doing this kind of ministry for years, organizationally speaking, 501c3, nonprofit. There’s a few things involved in starting a new ministry. And then partnering with Link and Jen and the starting of this church. So, like, before they moved here (though they were coming once a month on the average, which was wonderful) it was like having two fulltime responsibilities. But, I can say that I had grace for it. I slept well at night, by the way. [Laughter] But, it was not a burden. Why? I’m a son. I had an assignment. I accepted the assignment as from the Lord. I accepted you, if I can say it that way, because I know we have a relationship with a lot of you and there’s a sense in which this is not only a church plant but it’s also an inheritance, if you will. It’s both. The inheritance has to do with the truth. The truth that matters. Integrity matters. The gifts of the Holy Spirit matter. Being salt in the city matters. Going to the nations matters. Things that we share in the way of values and priorities and things like that that we’ve shared for years. It’s not like putting a name on it, “Okay, it’s a Trinity label, it’s an All Nations label,” I really believe it’s from God’s heart! And I think it’s for anyone who will say yes to it. Whether it’s Waypoint church or any other church. I don’t think it’s our little elite group here, because I don’t think God wants us to think of having an elite group. I don’t think that’s in His mind at all, but it’s from His heart. It’s before the foundations of the world. It’s something He was inviting His people into and it’s like it’s His invitation. Will we accept the invitation? I did. So, it was not a burden at all, for all practical purposes being the lead pastor in 2008 before Link and Jen got here. Was not a burden at all because I received the assignment and I received you as we have an inheritance.
It’s like we have a responsibility in a sense. It’s like, are we going to get it right, or are we going to squander it? Because I really believe we have an invitation and I’ve got the fear of the Lord on it. It’s from Him. It’s not our thing, it’s His thing. Fresh Start is not my thing, it’s His thing. All Nations Church is not our thing–Link and mine and whoever else is on the leadership team like Dan, who was up here earlier, and Dave and Gary Perkins and Dave Klazna and whoever else, I’m sure I’m forgetting someone. I’m not trying to minimize that, but it’s not my main point. Those of us that are a part of the leadership team, if you will, it’s a sacred trust. It’s not our thing. It’s not a man thing, it’s a God/man thing. I rise to that. I rise to that. That has life. That has a sense of assignment. We’ve got an inheritance that has to do with truth and the application thereof and we have an inheritance in the sense of a people. But we don’t just stay there, we grow from there. And we’ve got so much to give. We’ve got so much to give. To whom much has been given, much is required. That’s not a burden to you. So, you may think, “How did you do it?” Hey, God. God’s invitations come pre-blessed and have everything you need to live them out. Was not a burden at all; is not a burden at all. Because I’m a son. I’ve got nothing to prove. I’m a son.
It reminds me of a message, actually it’s an article I’ve written and maybe a message I’m giving some day that if I was going to entitle it, I would entitle it, “You Have the Authority, But Are You Authorized?” It reminds me of Luke 4:40 and verses following: When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness. And laying hands on each one of them, he healed them. And then it goes on to say, at daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place and the people were looking for Him and when they came to where He was, they tried to keep Him from leaving them. And then He went on to say, I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to other towns also because that is why I was sent.
Jesus always said yes to the Father. Which, really, horizontally meant “no.” So, the disciples came, “We’ve been healing people, we’ve been casting out demons, there’s more people in need! They’re looking for You! Let’s go, let’s keep going! The work isn’t done!” Stop and go on to the next town. Are you free? Are you free to live that way? “But we need you. Somebody’s gotta do it. If you don’t teach that Bible study, who will? If you don’t lead that ministry, who’s going to? If you don’t meet with that person, who’s going to meet with them? What kind of a Christian are you? Don’t you care?” All the pressure is great, isn’t it? The opportunities are large. But do we have the freedom to live as a son or a daughter who says yes to his Father, even if others may not understand? Others might be offended. It’s not like we want them to be offended. You have a choice. I have a choice. So many times, we feel like, “My life is out of control! I feel like I don’t have a choice.” You have a choice! You have a choice. You are empowered to choose. You may not like the options. You may not like to live how other people inspire your choice. They may not like your choice. But you have a choice. You’re not trapped. You always have a choice.
But if you need to be needed, that won’t help you. If you’re an orphan, and living like one, that won’t help you hear from God. You’ll tend to live in the land of shame and false guilt and that will be heavy. You won’t have grace for that. Part of what I want to expose through this message today are the things that we put on ourself that God is not putting them on us. If we’re putting them on ourselves and He isn’t, you won’t have grace for those things. Life is already going to be full. There’s already going to be great demands. There’s already going to be opportunities, but then you will have grace for those, especially when He’s inviting you into. That’s how I approach it now. Whether it’s a person in need, seeking help for their heart, or whether it’s an opportunity to go to Africa, which we’ve said yes to in August, to Sierra Leon, to Botswana and Burundi, Whether it’s a yes to leaders in another land, or whether it’s yes to somebody in this room who has a need or somebody in your family has a need. You know what I do? I say, “Lord, is this Your invitation? Are you inviting me? I don’t need to be needed. I care. I care, I love people more and more, more than ever. Great passion. I have a stewardship, Lord, You’ve given me so much; I want to give it away. Are you inviting me, Lord?” Is your relationship such that you’re able to hear God, His invitation? That’s what He wants in terms of where we’re going, the direction we’re going.
Values. Value relationship most, starting with your relationship with Jesus. I Corinthians 1:9 puts the emphasis where I believe it belongs, where it says that: God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, is faithful. There’s the first calling. That’s the capital “C” Calling in our life. Your calling, if you’re a pastor, that’s not your Calling. If you’re a mother or a father, or fill in the bank in terms of a role. Our roles– the roles that we play are not our Callings. Our Calling is always our Calling to the Son. And if we don’t make that first, then we won’t be able to see clearly any call within the Call. So, when my Call is to Him, my relationship to Him, nothing is more important to me than my relationship with Him. And part of the proof of the fruit of my ministry as I go along is, I’ll be 59 next month, but when I’m 69 or 79, the most important question you should ask me is, “Steve, how’s your relationship with Jesus? Do you love Jesus more than ever?” And if I can’t say that I’m loving Jesus more as I go along, I’m missing it. I love what Robert Clinton says in the book The Making of a Leader. He talks about convergence; when your gift, your calling, the opportunities and the tests that you’ve passed, the moral authority that you have, all converge together and your testimony would be, “This is what I’m here for!” –For His glory, of course, and the benefit of others. There’s very few people that reach convergence, because they don’t pass the test. They have unforgiveness. Their hearts are in the ditch. They have orphan thinking. They’ve had failures because their hearts got away from them.
After that, Robert Clinton talks about “the afterglow.” The afterglow years. I think of Jay Christie Wilson–some of you remember him from when he came to Trinity for our global outreach conferences, and all that he did in Afghanistan and all that he would have to do is stand up. He was full of his story and stories. Pastor Elmer Murdoch is the same. Here he is 82 and he’s in the afterglow years. Most people never hit convergence. For sure, most people never live the afterglow. You see, it’s all about relationship. If you keep cultivating a heart that’s forgiven and forgiving and giving thanks in and all things and you’re keeping short accounts and your heart is full–not getting away from you, not too busy, not dead, not tired, not all about you, not always on your mind, but always on His mind–you will be cultivating a life that will allow you to converge with what God has for you. Don’t compare with me! Don’t compare with anybody else in the room! That is deadly. It’s stewardship out of sonship and daughterhood. What is your stewardship? We have a stewardship, a unique, tailor-made stewardship that God is giving us, that He’s investing in us. For me, it is investing in hearts. For you, it could be something else. And it doesn’t matter how many countries that I go to, or Fresh Start goes to, as much as what is in my heart. Is my heart pleasing to the Lord?
Clean hands, pure heart, hearing God, doing His bidding. Last year, for example, 2008, I knew because of what I’ve already mentioned in terms of ANC starting up and Fresh Start starting up in a new way, it wasn’t the year to go out of town very much on Fresh Start trips. That relates to value (what I value) relationship. It also related to priorities for that year. And now this year, things are opening up and we’ve gone to China, we’re going to Africa, we went to Tijuana earlier, but it isn’t a matter of, “Wow, look at this, it’s so glamorous, it’s so wonderful, you know, you’re a world traveler,” that’s not the point. The issue is, am I doing what my Father is doing? It’s His mission, not mine. It’s His invitation, not mine. I’m not inviting myself. I’d never have to go out of town again. I really mean that. Some of you maybe have a hard time believing that, but I’d never have to leave the city again. I have nothing to prove. I love God, I love people, I want to obey and there’s plenty of opportunity right in this room, right in this city. We’d never have to go anywhere. But, it’s not an issue of that. It’s an issue of stewardship. It’s an issue of assignment and that coming out of sonship and it’s an issue of what is the Father doing and what is He inviting me into? He doesn’t have to use me but I naturally want to be used for His glory, but it’s not like I have to, to feel more significant. Because I’m already significant, because I’m a son. What do you value?
I want to encourage you before the day is over (if at all possible; I know it’s going to be a beautiful, top 10 day) but, it would be wonderful if the day is over if you could write down and make a list of everything that you value in life. By the way, you’re living what you value. All else is talk. Now, maybe you’re not living what you value this week, because there may have been some things that came up that were out of your control and it’s like, this really wasn’t a typical week, this isn’t a representative week. But, I’d say a month or more, what you live, how you spend your time, what’s important to you, gotta be a pretty good picture of what you value. So, write down what you value and then as you look at those things that you value, try to find a Biblical reference for each of those things. If you can’t, get rid of it. In other words, make sure that what you value, He values. And if He doesn’t, reevaluate your values. Because you will live your values. Any goal that you set, attach it to a value or it will run out of gas, I guarantee you.
Mindy and I pray on a regular basis. We try to every day, especially when we’re in town. I’m not trying to put that on you. I’m not trying to make that a legalistic thing. But we value that because we value oneness in our relationship and God has shown us that as we pray together every day and share our hearts and debrief that has an effect not only on our hearts but in our spirits and in our relationship. It’s not giving to get, it’s a value. And if I’m out of town and I’m able to call, I do. If I’m out of the country, I text or email. If we’re apart, we communicate somehow, some way. It’s a value. I’m not trying to put it on you. I’m not trying to say if you don’t do it the way we do, you’re missing it. That is what’s so beautiful about this. You can get the mind of the Lord on the values that connect with you in your season of life, too! Because we are in the empty nest season, so that obviously affects our priorities. Because Justin and Josh are married and live in a different city, Joy’s still around, not living with us. In one sense, we don’t have the ballgames, we don’t have the activities that we used to that would have been a part of the values and priorities of those years. Which in that sense frees us to participate in some other things. And yet, values are core. Relationship, so we love being able to go to Washington DC or Houston once a year if we can, and they come here once a year that’s great. We value getting together and we value getting together with Joy and cultivating a relationship with her. Making time. Values.
Values are more core and unchanging. Priorities may vary with seasons of life. So, that’s one reason why it’s best for me not to be too specific about what Mindy and I do because we’re in a particular season that you may not be in, so that priority may not fit you. If you tried to live up to it, you wouldn’t have grace to. So, that’s why I’m asking you, make a list of what you value and go vertical. See what God thinks. Crystalize those. Refine those. Pray into those. Share those with your significant other.
Priorities, in light of what I’ve said, tying this all together, it’s like our priorities connect with “Be still and know that I am God,” He is, we aren’t. Are we living like sons or daughters? Not hired hands or orphans? Are we clear on our values? Are we clear on our priorities? Because, if you aren’t clear, the external opportunities of life will be coming at you all the time and you’ll be in the responding mode. You’ll be respond, respond, respond, respond, and you feel like, “I don’t have a choice. There’s just so much going on. I don’t know what to do. I’m just kind of, first-come, first-served, kind of fending it off trying to survive!” That’s what I hear a lot, “I’m just trying to survive.” What I’m talking about is a proactive life. Making time for what matters most to God. Taking time, making time, making provision. We’ve got to be clear. So, there’s kind of an eb and a flow in this, too. If you think, “Well, if I don’t have an hour in the morning in prayer, an hour in the Word, my day is wasted. If I don’t work out every day, if I don’t work out three times per week, I blew it. I get discouraged.” Don’t be so rigid about it! If you’ve got that as your direction, if you’ve got that as your value, you will make priority to capture the opportunity, because we live in a relational world. What if somebody comes up when you’re on your way to the gym and has a heart problem and has a crisis and you say, “Oh, no! I have it worked out all week and you just interrupted my plan!” See, that’s not how God wants us to live.
We are so famous as people to be so–we worship discipline, we worship–take this message and you can worship it! You could make it the goal! It’s not the goal! It’s kind of like, some spiritual markers of perspective. “Be still and know that I am God.” What does that look like for you? It may not look like that for me. You might feel the best connection with God when you’re working out. Somebody else is thinking, “I can’t have any noise. I can’t have any music. I’ve got to have a quiet place, or I can’t connect with God.” That’s you! Don’t decide what it takes to connect with God, let it be unique for you. But if you think that doesn’t count, those are the barnacles I’m talking about–the religious barnacles I’m talking about. “If you don’t have an hour in the morning, see that’s what really counts. This other stuff really doesn’t count anyway, it’s kind of a bonus. But, you’d better get this in, or you really haven’t hit pay dirt.” Can you see the setup? Link says he feels God’s pleasure when he runs. I enjoy golfing, no matter what, you know, even if I don’t shoot par. –Which I usually don’t. But it’s refreshing. But it’s not about us, but I’m talking about connecting with God. What does that look like for you? When was the last time you were still?
I like to be with people. You know, some people may say, “You know, I get more out of God’s Word when I get to talk about it with others. So, you know, we talk about it, we exchange ideas, you know, just picking up the Bible and reading it myself, I just don’t get anything out of it.” Well, do what fits you! Don’t set a standard that, “It only counts if you and God get together, just you and Him reading the Word, and if you do it with somebody else it doesn’t count.” Why do that to yourself? If you tend to get more out of God’s word, and you tend to feel closer to God and get connected with God when you do it with somebody else, then that’s you. Celebrate that. Don’t decide there’s only one way to connect with God. I pray that God will do a fresh work in that regard.
Be still and know that I am God. Receive your sonship. Value what He values. Make sure you’ve got a verse for everything you value. –At least, I encourage that. I think that fits. I mean, do we value what He values? What are our core values? Because we will tend to live what we value.
And then be willing to have your priorities flex and flow because of the seasons of life. You know, the Warnocks do a lot of traveling in the summertime with Christy and I think that’s great. They’re in that season. Just think of the opportunities they’re getting with people they come into contact with! They may not be here on a Sunday morning, but they’re with somebody else because life is about people. Life is about relationship. So, they’re being salt and light wherever they are. And Christy obviously has gifting and ability that is a stewardship that they are cultivating. So, stewardship, sonship, relationship. Celebrating. Be willing to flex, be willing to flow. You know, one thing, when our boys were growing up, you know, there’s all kinds of opportunity. After they tested everything they liked, sportswise (because they were sports guys), finally I said, “You know, this is full. Choose one. Choose one that you are going to be focusing in on.” That’s what we were led to do; I’m not going to try to put that on you. Maybe in your case, they’ve got an exceptional stewardship in more than one. You know, you realize, it’s a stewardship from the Lord, you know, and I want to cultivate that and I want to–you know, because that could lead to scholarships in college and other things, it’s stewardship. As long as your heart is vertical and you see life as sonship and stewardship, it gives a lot of clarity to what we would easily call “busyness.” Is it really an issue of “busy”? Or, is it an issue of “full and fruitful”?
Life is going to be full. You aren’t going to avoid that, by the way. I talk to a lot of people that are “retired” and their life is so full, they’re thinking, “I don’t know how I ever had time to work in my regular job with all the stuff I’ve got going on!” Life’s full. It’s just a matter of connecting with our Father and doing what He’s doing and responding to His invitations.
Here is the last point. Heart. Your heart. Take care of your heart. This allows us to go full circle, really. If you don’t take care of your heart and you have unforgiveness, you have resentment, you have things that you’re carrying that you’ve never resolved, it’s going to affect your ability to hear and see and do the will of God. So, it’s like, when you take care of your heart, you allow this to keep going full circle. It’s like clean hands, pure heart allows me to be still and live as a son, a favored son (that’s the only kind God has–favored and forgiven) sons and daughters, I’m free to hear His voice. I’m free to say no. They might be disappointed. They might be upset with me. I can’t control that. My goal can’t be agreement: “I must agree here.” I’m not trying to be independent. I don’t think I’m so important, I just want to obey. Am I free to say yes, Lord, yes, to your will and to your ways. Yes, Lord, yes, I will trust you and obey. When Your Spirit says to me, when Your Spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I’ll agree! And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes.