What is Pastor Aaron’s vision for Life Church? In a word: BIG. Really big! Catch a glimpse of it here!
When it comes to our stuff and our money, we wear some of the biggest masks. The mask of “more” is an issue not only for us as individuals and as a nation, but it’s an issue for all of humanity. It’s such a big issue that in the Bible, Jesus talked about money and “stuff” five times more than He talked about prayer!
Why did Jesus talk so much about money? Because there is a direct connection between our stuff and our spirituality.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs,” (1 Timothy 6:10). Money is neutral; it’s the attitude that’s wrong.
BEHIND THE MASK OF MORE: FOUR CONDITIONS RELATED TO MONEY/STUFF
1) Stressed – You constantly wonder how you will be able to maintain or get to a certain level. “The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep,” (Ecclesiastes 5:12).
2) Discontented – You have things but aren’t satisfied with them. “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless,” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
3) Disconnected – You’re trying to do this all alone when God really intended for you to involve Him. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment,” (1 Timothy 6:17).
4) Distracted – You are lead away by things. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God,” (Luke 12:20-12). It’s okay to have stuff. Just don’t let stuff have you.
Somewhere along the way we have forgotten that God has blessed us to be a blessing. He did not raise us up so that we could raise our standard of living; He raised us up so that we can raise our giving.
“Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it,” (Haggai 1:5-6). We need to rethink the principles by which we manage our money (or stuff) and discard the Mask of More.
FOUR PRINCIPLES FOR REMOVING THE MASK OF MORE
1) Realize that God owns it all. “David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, ‘Praise be to you, LORD, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all,” (1 Chronicles 29:10-11, emphasis added).
2) You are God’s manager. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11). If you haven’t been trustworthy with worldly wealth, how can God trust you with spiritual wealth?
3) God’s plan works. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it,” (Malachi 3:10)
4) Heaven, not earth, is the goal. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal,” (Matthew 6:19-20).
Does your life feel chaotic? Are you frantic and stressed? A recent study reported that sixty percent of Americans admit to living a life that’s out of control. Being “busy” has become a national status symbol.
But the Bible cautions against this kind of lifestyle. “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap,” (Luke 21:34).
You know you’re too busy, if you can’t finish the book you just purchased on stress.
When life gets chaotic, it’s easy to become scattered and not do anything well. It’s also easy to become reactive; suddenly what’s urgent takes the place of what’s important. You become frantic and stressed, which takes a toll both emotionally and physically.
Job put it this way, “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy,” (Job 9:25).
But God has a better plan.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” (Matthew 11:28-29).
God wants to help us make the most of our time. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom,” (Psalm 90:12).
DROP THE MASK OF CHAOS: 4 STEPS TO SANITY
1. *Identify your unique values. Ask yourself what you value as a family and what you want to accomplish. “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…,” (Jeremiah 6:16).
2. Identify your single most important objective. What’s the one thing you could do during the next six months that would advance your family forward? Also, remember: You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything. What will last? “A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth,” (Proverbs 17:24).
3. Check your progress regularly. Evaluate where things are going. “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind,” (Proverbs 21:5, MSG).
4. Focus on the eternal. At the end of life, nobody ever says, “I wish I could’ve spent another day at the office or one more night out with the boys.” Ask yourself: “What difference does what I’m doing make in light of eternity?”
The secret to living a life of intentionality and purpose is to focus on the eternal.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is,” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
* Steps one through three taken from “The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family” by Patrick Lencioni.
Check out this Q&A Session about the West Campus. Also, if you’re interested in getting updates about this campus, sign up at http://lifechurchwi.com/west_campus/.
What happens when you realize you might not see the completion of your dream in your lifetime, when your dream is deferred?
Last weekend we examined the life of Abraham to see what lessons we could mine from the way he handled paving the road for those ahead of him, while knowing he himself would not see the completion of that work. The book of Genesis filled us in on WHAT Abraham did, while the book of Hebrews told us HOW he did it.
6 Ways to Deal with a Dream Deferred
1. Have Faith in God – No matter what happened, Abraham maintained a strong belief that God would be faithful. You should, too. “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it” (Hebrews 11:1).
2. Going without Knowing – “It was by faith Abraham obeyed God’s call to go to another place God promised to give him. He left his own country, not knowing where he was to go” (Hebrews 11:8).
3. Accept the Unacceptable - “It was by faith that he lived like a foreigner in the country God promised to give him. He lived in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who had received that same promise from God” (Hebrews 11:9).
4). Focus on the Goal - Abraham was waiting for the city that has real foundations—the city planned and built by God (Hebrews 11:10).
5. Seeing in Part & Knowing in Part – “He was too old to have children, and Sarah could not have children. It was by faith that Abraham was made able to become a father, because he trusted God to do what he had promised. 12 This man was so old he was almost dead, but from him came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. Like the sand on the seashore, they could not be counted (Hebrews 11:11-12).
6. Remember: We are not Home Yet – “All these great people died in faith. They did not get the things that God promised his people, but they saw them coming far in the future and were glad. They said they were like visitors and strangers on earth.14 When people say such things, they show they are looking for a country that will be their own15 If they had been thinking about the country they had left, they could have gone back.16 But they were waiting for a better country—a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16).
If you dare to have a dream, your life will go through four seasons. One of those will be a season of waiting. Actually, it may feel more like a prison! If that’s where you are, don’t despair. Other people have been where you are. And rest assured there is another season on the horizon.
Four Seasons of a Dreamer’s Life
1. DREAMER - God gives you a dream.
In Genesis, the Bible gives us a wonderful example of someone who had a dream that was delayed. That person was Joseph (Genesis 37:5).
2. WORKER - In this season, the dream cost you something.
Sold into slavery by his own brothers, Joseph winds up in Egypt. However, God gives him favor in his master’s eyes, and Joseph is eventually put in charge of his entire household. (Genesis 37: 19-22, 26 – 28, and Genesis 39:1-4).
3. PRISONER – A situation where you have no control.
The innocent Joseph is imprisoned. He spends two years there, but remains faithful to God (Genesis 39:6-20). Can you relate?
4. RULER – The fulfillment of the dream.
After two years, he’s called upon to interpret a dream for Pharaoh. After Joseph reveals the true meaning of Pharaoh’s dream, Pharaoh puts him in charge of the palace and orders all his people to submit to Joseph (Genesis 41:1-40).
So what do you do when you when you’re on the cusp of your dream becoming a reality? When you’ve done everything you know to do? Stand firm on God and His promise.
1. What’s your role at Life Church?
2. Besides Life Church, what are you passionate about?
My Family, Food, Fun
3. Share some things on your “bucket list.”
4. Who’s influencing you right now?
5. What’s your favorite meal?
Fried Chicken, Mashed potatoes, Gravy, Biscuts, Lemon Ice Box pie, & sweet tea
6. What’s something we may not know about you?
My middle name comes from the movie “Gone with the Wind”