[SMALL GROUP] Proverbs – Week 2

GROUP MEETING

Open with prayer and praise, including children. Read a preselected verse/passage/parable, and ask each child a question:

 1) PEOPLE: name one person or group of people in the story

2) DETAILS: tell me what happened first, next, last

3) LESSON: what do you think this is meant to teach us? 

*dismiss children to play*

Have each person share something. 

Wisdom Books

Book of Ecclesiastes

Praise reports & prayer requests – maintain list on private group
*call children back in*

Praise song

Prayer

DAILY HOMEWORK

Start your morning reading or listening to the day’s chapter – and pick one verse that stands out to you. Write it down at the top of your journal page. Pray that God will renew your mind by His Word. Carry your journal with you each day and try to check it occasionally and think about the verse you chose. Jot down any related thoughts or circumstances that apply if you can.

Proverbs 8

Proverbs 9

Ecclesiastes 1

Ecclesiastes 2

Ecclesiastes 3

Ecclesiastes 4

Ecclesiastes 5

Will we feast, or be led to the slaughter? 

As we enter into Spring and Summer, many of us men who have blood still flowing through our veins will face the prospect of women wearing increasingly revealing clothes that might distract our eyes away from our intended purpose. And I’m sure the same can be said for women,  but as a man,  I can only speak from my own perspective.

I bring this up because Jesus Christ taught:

“But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28 NLT

What a fallen and adulterous world we live in. We live in a world that glorifies promiscuity and sexual immorality on television constantly – selling us the idea that this idea of “free love”, an idea that trading in a true, committed love for the sensuality of many lists “won’t kill you”. The enemy is still selling the same old enticing lies that he told to Eve, and so many are still biting into the forbidden fruit all over again. 

So what do we do to resist the temptation that lies all about in front of our eyes,  assaulting our ears, right at the ends of our finger tips, within grasp of our mouse clicks and distracted gaze?

Let’s see what some key verses in Proverbs 7 has for us this morning:

Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman. 

I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart. She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home. So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life. 

So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.

Proverbs 7:1‭-‬2‭, ‬5‭, ‬7‭-‬11‭, ‬21‭-‬27 NLT

If you are foolish enough to read all of this and say, “But I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, and I’ve been baptized,  and I go to church, so my sin doesn’t matter anymore. That’s all old testament stuff.” I’d like to remind you that the New Testament tells us multiple times that we must not let sin rule over us, and that someone still ruled by sin is proving they are a slave to their true master, no matter how they cry out, “Lord, Lord”. And it tells us multiple times that people living sexually immoral lives shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God.

So I encourage you to repent,  to set your eyes and your thoughts upon what is good  and perfect, and seek the holy life of walking In Christ as a born again Child of God. Do not settle for the trap of what you think might be acceptable and forgivable, because you know that it isn’t profitable for God’s Kingdom,  and because you know that it is sin. 

Does it seem burdensome for you to have to give up your sinful ways and serve the Lord? Then you should at least be honest with yourself about who it is you have chosen in your heart to serve. You should at least ask yourself whether or not you truly believe not only “ABOUT Jesus Christ crucified and risen” but if you believe the very teaching that His resurrection verified and validated as being the Word of God.

I encourage all of us to turn away from the wield today and turn to God, to His way, truth, and life, to accept the Word of God as our authority,  to submit to God, to decide to follow Him, to lay down our old lives of sin and to walk in a new way. We are not to be those giving empty lip service to God. We are not to be the hypocrites,  but the student followers of the suffering servant who proved Himself King of Kings. We are not to live powerless against sin and temptation, but to live our lives as a living testimony of victory over evil as we resist and it flees from us – as we shine light on sin and death, crying out from the watchtowers both, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (so that captives hear and know that it is time to awaken and be set free) — and,  “I bring Good News of Christ, dead,  buried,  and raised to life, victorious over death and sin as the first of many who will believe and receive life themselves!” (So that many might believe and be changed by the breath of new life).

Don’t just hear the cries and remain dead bones in the grave of your fallen life. Believe and live. Receive the breath of life. Stand and walk in a new way. See your chains have fallen away, the ground is shaken and the prison walls have crumbled. You are prisoner no more if you will come back to your Father’s house,  children of God.

Those who have ears to hear, listen to the celebration meal that has been laid before you. Amen.

Wisdom is measured in Obedience, not Knowledge

​My son, obey your father’s commands, 

and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 

Keep their words always in your heart. 

Tie them around your neck. 

When you walk, their counsel will lead you. 

When you sleep, they will protect you. 

When you wake up, they will advise you. 

For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; 

their corrective discipline is the way to life.

Proverbs 6:20‭-‬23 NLT

Someone can have a lot of knowledge and use none of it appropriately.  Isn’t it clear that is foolishness not wisdom? 

Isn’t it clear that an abundance of knowledge with no practical application, with no obedience, with no belief just leads to puffery, hypocrisy and pride?

So acquiring knowledge alone is not the way to wisdom. 

Acquiring a knowledge of Jesus and His teaching alone is not the way to life. It isn’t knowing ABOUT Jesus that buys you a ticket to your fire insurance for after you are dead. 

No, getting to know Him, believing Him, turning away from sin and worldliness,  following Him, obeying – this is the faith that saves. 
Have you surrendered your today, even this very moment to renew your walk close and personal with Christ? Will you walk wisely or foolishly? 
Choose today who it is you will truly serve, who it is you truly love, who it is you truly believe — and let your light shine bright, believer! 

Aligned or in Opposition

​There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: 

haughty eyes, 

a lying tongue, 

hands that kill the innocent, 

a heart that plots evil, 

feet that race to do wrong, 

a false witness who pours out lies, 

a person who sows discord in a family.

Proverbs 6:16‭-‬19 NLT

PRIDE, DECEIT, HATRED, MANIPULATION, WICKEDNESS, TRICKERY, CONFUSION

Sound the alarm,  “These come to steal, kill and destroy!” 

Resist these evils, little children in the faith! 

Do battle against any of these that are strongholds for the enemy in your life, growing young Christians! 

See these left behind you and overcome, you who are spiritual and mature in your faith! 

And do not open that door again or look back to their treachery and destruction! 

Share the Good News, “There is a different path the one way, truth, and life found in Christ.”

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. – 1 John 1:5‭-‬10 NLT


“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.  And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.  All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.  But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. ” – John 3:16‭-‬21 NLT

Freedom or Foolishness?

For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness. – Proverbs 5:21‭-‬23 NLT

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God,
for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:12‭-‬23 NLT

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
 Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message.  I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.  Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing.  No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.” Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me.  Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me!  For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.  So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!  Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?  Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.” – John 8:34‭-‬47 NLT
“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” – Genesis 4:6‭-‬7 NLT
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord ’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong. – Hebrews 12:5‭-‬13 NLT
The LORD sees clearly,  it cannot be hidden from Him, even though many will deceive themselves about who it is they really serve, ignoring their own faces in the mirror and justifying their own foolishness by measuring and comparing one another instead of looking upon their one example – the one way, truth and life. We are to fall humbly surrendered in obedience — not out of heavy obligation, but out of uplifting gratitude —  for the price already paid, for the victory already won.
Those evil men who are still held captive to sin, those still bound in the chains of their destination, those who will die for lack of self-control, those who are lost because of their own foolishness — they will not escape the promise of salvation, the hope of glory without pushing past our proclaiming Jesus Christ crucified, dead, buried, and risen to life. The worldly,  carnal, rebellious and prodigal will not escape without hearing the watchmen cry out, pleading for repentance and a return to God and to holiness through the free gift of grace received by faith. 
We are not to be weak against enemies that must flee when we resist evil,  against weapons that cannot harm us.  We are to be bold in standing firm against wickedness and the ways of the world that steal, kill,  and destroy. And we are to stand firm and bold upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ — who we follow, with cross firmly in hand, even as the world seeks to kill us and silence this uncomfortable, self examining, wholy surrender enducing, life changing, Good News. 
Good News of freedom for the captives, healing for the blind and the lame, forgiveness for the wretched sinner, and a new, born again, sanctified life of holiness that can be seen lived out in power, love, and self control in the lives of those who truly believe and have chosen a different master. Good News to those who cry out “Abba Father” that don’t just know about Christ, but who are known and called by God with a purpose and a path made straight that once was crooked. 
Strengthen yourself. Rise up. Walk. Even run. Even soar, Children of God! Go forth, and proclaim victory today and forever more!

Right, Just, and Fair

​Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. – Proverbs 2:9 NLT


How often do little children see something done to them and cry out,  “That isn’t fair!” But isn’t it usually the child that is being mistreated that cries out? The child doing whatever is wrong, unjust, or unfair usually doesn’t even realize because they are focused on themselves, their wants, their desires. 
Many adults, even ourselves can prove ourselves to be stunted in our own spiritual maturity by the very same attitudes. When a friend needs us to pay for them, we fall asleep instead – reminding us of the disciples in the garden with Jesus. Our the trials come and we find ourselves running away and hiding, and even denying Christ by our unfaithfulness. 
I’m glad that He faithful not only to forgive, but to come into our lives with a spirit of power, of love, and of self control so that we might not just know what is right,  just,  and fair towards others – but so that we might live it out. 
LORD, don’t let us just have head knowledge about your Word, which is the Way, the Truth, and the Life — but let us have heart understanding that leads us along, following the Word, with our crosses in hand, with our trials around us, but with our God before us. Amen.

Who may worship? Who may enter?

Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? – Psalms 15:1 NLT

I encourage you to read the whole of Psalm 15 for context, understanding & examination of these questions, then below,  I will offer some questions that are directly from scripture, but that have been left open ended since I do not know the state of your heart – whereas the author knew exactly who he was wiring to in his case. I encourage you to read, understand, and examine yourself honestly,  then ask yourself these questions. Finally, there are two passages at the end to pass you on into your day. May your journey today be fruitful.

[After reading Psalm 15 and examining yourself] Does that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature or that you are walking by the Spirit? Are you living like people of the world or is it Christ who lives in you? Do you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

1 Corinthians 3:3‭, ‬16 NLT [wording adjusted to include both flesh and spirit]

So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world?

Galatians 4:9 NLT

[Again, adjusted as open ended – allowing encouragement or reproof depending on heart of believer]

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

1 Corinthians 16:13‭-‬14 NLT

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT

We enter in to the throne room of grace by the Blood of the Lamb, by first recognizing our need, seeing that He loved us first, believing in Christ for Salvation, turning from our old ways to God’s will, and He walks us through this process of refining trials to bring about the sanctifying change in our lives that reveals His new creation in us. He is making all things new – even using these broken vessels to carry His Spirit, even using once dead branches to be grafted into the vine of life, so that His glory shines bright and undeniable – so that none might have excuse for not coming into the light themselves to receive Jesus Christ, the hope of glory.

If you… Behold, I will…

​If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. – Proverbs 1:23 ESV

Let’s dig in:

This proverb has 3 parts:

If you ______________,

Behold, I will _________________;

I will _________________.

This is conditional language,  with one part that is our responsibility,  and two parts that are God’s instructions to us about what He does in response. However, there is no “because” in this statement, there is no telling us that our fulfilling the “if” has earned us the “I will”. No, this discussion is not about outward works to receive worldly rewards,  but this is a discussion of things of the heart – of spiritual things. 

This old testament proverb in whole matches quite closely to Peter’s call at the end of his sermon at Pentecost:

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. – Acts 2:38 ESV

Let’s remember all of this as we dig in deeper. 
“If you turn at my reproof,” this bears witness and is in full agreement with James from the New Testament that we in fact bear a part in this newly revealed covenant between God and man:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. – James 1:22‭-‬25 ESV

And our verse in Proverbs continues:

“Behold, I will pour out my spirit to you”

And John also speaks of this, again in a conditional way regarding the Holy Spirit being given:

“If you love me, you will  keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,  even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. – John 14:15‭-‬17 ESV

So the first part told us what we should do,  and the second part tells us what we will behold that God does. In fact, the”behold” means “look and see” — so these things are not hidden or secret or cryptic,  but should be readily evident, “easy to see”.

Yes, when God’s Holy Spirit is present in the inner heart of a believer,  it should be quite evident in the oars life of the believer. The Holy Spirit is not timid and shy hissing in the shadows, but is a bright burning due that gives light to all around us. 

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

for our God is a consuming fire. – Hebrews 12:29 ESV

And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” – Zechariah 13:9 ESV

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:6‭-‬7 ESV

“I will make my words known to you.”

Yes,  He reveals not only His work through you that can be seen, but He pulls back the veil and reveals more of himself through the written Word of God even as He brings Christ manifest as new life in your flesh. In fact, the two are unified in purpose.

We should remember the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15. If we are good fertile soil, we turn from our wicked ways in response to his reproof — we don’t ignore it, we don’t just get excited for a moment, and we don’t just turn back to the vomit of the world — we persevere to the end. 

If you wonder how you might have the strength to persevere, He doesn’t call you to bear the burden of the journey in this verse. He bore the burden at the cross already. Your job is to turn to the way, the truth, the life. 

He simply says,  

“Truly turn to me, surrendering your whole life,  and just watch what I will do. I will pour out my Spirit onto you and you will be a new creation,  a Child of God.”

We choose. 

He demonstrates. 

Be sure of your choice today. 

Hear His correction and turn. 

Behold God at work in your life today. 

[SMALL GROUP] Proverbs – Week 1

GROUP MEETING

Open with prayer and praise, including children. Read a preselected verse/passage/parable, and ask each child a question:

 1) PEOPLE: name one person or group of people in the story

2) DETAILS: tell me what happened first, next, last

3) LESSON: what do you think this is meant to teach us? 

*dismiss children to play*

Book of Proverbs

Father to Son

Explain format and expectations.

1) Daily chapter to start our day – first fruits.

2) Write it down, carry it with us & remember it.

3) Make notes.

4) Each person will share something each week in group gathering. 

Praise reports & prayer requests – maintain list on private group online
*call children back in*

Praise song

Prayer

Dismissal

DAILY HOMEWORK

Start your morning reading or listening to the day’s chapter – and pick one verse that stands out to you. Write it down at the top of your journal page. Pray that God will renew your mind by His Word. Carry your journal with you each day and try to check it occasionally and think about the verse you chose. Jot down any related thoughts or circumstances that apply if you can. 

Proverbs 1

Proverbs 2

Proverbs 3

Proverbs 4

Proverbs 5

Proverbs 6

Proverbs 7

Time Budgetting

timebudget

What is more valuable – our time or our money?

Most of us would agree that time is more valuable than money, right?

But how many of us – even of those who actively budget our money – actually budget our time and evaluate on a regular basis where our time is being spent?

I’m not saying this to condemn you for not doing this in the past. No, what I’m encouraging you to consider is whether or not there might be some benefit in have a budget and a plan for where your focus and attention should be. Most of us know that an active set of guidelines to reign in our desires when it comes to our money is valuable. Doesn’t it seem like an occassional budget review, assessment, and planning for our time would also be helpful?

Now before we get started, I’m not advocating that you steal all of the joy at your life by placing yourself behind prison walls of a schedule that you must keep without wavering. No, what I’m suggesting is a guideline that helps you:

  1. Get the most out of your time
  2. Align your “spend” with your actual “values”
  3. Identify areas where you aren’t investing adequately
  4. Identify changes over time that may indicate a new direction you are headed in life

I’m going to show you my basic time budget for the last 3 years.

This was my “Time Budget” for much of 2015:

2015 Time Budget

This was my “Time Budget” for much of 2016:

2016 Time Budget

And this is my current “Time Budget” for 2017:

2017 Time Budget

And to give you an idea of how I use this budget to evaluate the effective use of my time, here is how I currently have my time budget totalled out based on this calendar:

2017 Time Budget Totals

For the actual totals at the bottom:

I consider that YELLOW (which is about my personal relationship with God) is the sum of the YELLOW items (praying, studying, etc on my own) plus the RED (ministering and outreach to others with the Word of God) plus the PURPLE (which is ministry that we do as a family). This is because if I am sharing, I should always be seeking to learn with and through others – not feel like I’m the one bringing what is holy to a bunch of dogs that have nothing to offer me – that would be foolish and prideful. I must remain teachable and in relationship with the LORD. For me, I would say that YELLOW is the most important, because if I am not “IN CHRIST”, if I am not “WALKING IN SPIRIT”, if I am not “ANNOINTED and OVERFLOWING” myself, what good am I going to be to anyone else? And if I say this is the most important thing, shouldn’t my time “spent” prove this out? So I examine myself to see if my life aligns with my claims or needs adjustment.

GOD gets 45.25 hours in my time budget

I consider BLUE as the next most important (investment in my family), because the Word of God tells me that if I forsake my family then I am worse than an unbeliever. For the total in blue, I consider dedicated family time (BLUE) along with time spent doing ministry together as a family (PURPLE).

My Family gets 43 hours in my time budget

My next target is RED, which is outreach to others with the Word of God, with the Good News of the Gospel. I say that this is extremely important to me, so I also want to examine myself to see if my “spent” time demonstrates my claims. The RED items are ministry that I do without my family, but the PURPLE items are family ministry which also count for the same purpose.

Outreach and Service gets 30.5 hours in my time budget

And for now, I have to work to provide the monetary resources necessary to accomplish all of these things, because I have never accepted payment or gift in return for preaching, teaching, or evangelism in the past because I didn’t want any hinderance or question to exist about why I do these things. Not because I care what man might think about me myself – but so that there is one less hinderance/excuse that a man might use to ignore the truth that I share. So as a necessary funding of the above three, I have a full time job that provides for me to spend time with God, that provides resources to sustain my family, and that provides the means for us to reach out, help and serve those in the community of faith and those in need.

An investment of 40 hours finanically supports the priorities in my time budget

You might ask, “What good does all of this do?”

Well, first off, it helps me identify any idle time that has been wasted. Idle time can just be idle and not profitable, or it can lead us into things that are dangerous like temptation, etc. With a time budget, I don’t allow myself room to get caught up in awkward situations. My wife doesn’t have to wonder what I’m up to – she knows my schedule, knows where I am, how to reach me, etc. She also recognizes the value and purpose of my time, so there aren’t a lot of squabbles about what I am or am not doing to contribute, etc. If there is a time need, we figure out a way to budget for it, and boom – no more arguments.

Secondly, it offers me accountability to see if what I’m saying is important to me really is important to me. For example, right now, I’ve been looking at my current time budget and realizing that I don’t have dedicated, one on one time blocked out for me and my wife. I have Saturday mornings carved out for my daughter, but nothing dedicated to my wife. Knowing that Biblically, my wife is supposed to be closer to me than my daughter or I risk spoiling and ruining my child and damaging the strength of my marriage and household – I can see that this is something that I need to talk with my wife and us work together to make sure there is an appropriate focus in that area. Just a little bit of adjustment now can prevent a lot of troubles down the road.

Another way it benefits me is to recognize what direction my life is moving by comparing previous time budgets to today’s. Where is life taking me? Does that give me any insight into my current season, etc.?

But probably the most important thing that it does for me is it acts as guardrails in my week to week, day to day, moment to moment life. If I find myself creeping outside the bounds of this plan, that is not necessarily bad. We aren’t to remain in the same place forever, because we are growing and changing, we are gaining new assignments, and being sent out to be used in various different ways in our lives. But if I’m drifting from the plan, I need to know why. If I’m continually not sticking to a certain part of the plan, is it because of fleshly desires and worldly enticements? Or is it a movement, a tug, a call from the Holy Spirit to move me in a different direction. It’s much easier to identify the complacency of getting distracted and neglecting time in prayer or the Word that is clearly a flesh issue – than it is to understand why doors have been closing in one area of outreach/ministry while a tug is coming from another area of need. But if I’m paying attention through a disciplined schedule, it can at least be a little easier to grasp and wrestle with.

I’m not heaping up a burden for you to have to carry as a prison sell keeping you from the joy of living life to its fullest. No, I’m asking you – have you examined your time spend? Are you actually living life to the fullest, or is some of your time being wasted in idleness or mismanaged on things that really aren’t “the most important to you”. I encourage you to go through the exercise of tracking your time and adding it up to see where it is actually being spent. It might just tell you something that you didn’t already know. Many of us are deceived about where our time is really going until we actually measure it and examine it closely.

And if you saw value in what you learned from that one time experience, ask yourself if an occassional review might just be worth the time invested, in order to get the benefit back in a life truly lived to the fullest.

May the LORD bless you in some way from this.

 

PS: If you feel like this type of thing is unmanageable on your own and could use some help, message me or call me.