Yesterday we started our new series, “Life. Money. Hope” at C3! Matt preached an encouraging and powerful word on how to live for God in challenging times. If you missed this weekend’s message, make sure you watch it here or listen to it here. Matt reminded us that while we are living in tough times right now, we aren’t the first generation to face challenges. He reminded us that…
Tough Times Are A Part of Life
John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”(NIV)
Tough Times Won’t Last Forever
2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”(NLT)
God Will Use Tough Times For Our Good!
1 Peter 1:7, “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Matthew 6: 24-34, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
There is a lot of great wisdom that we can pull from Matthew 6…
SERVE ONE MASTER God wants us to be single focused. We cannot serve both God and money or God and possessions. Whoever or whatever we are serving will be what we turn to for protection and guidance. Who or what are you serving? When we serve God and worship Him as our Master and Lord then we have the covering of His protection and guidance. Matt used the example of an umbrella to represent God’s protection. When we are under His protection, trouble will still come, but we will be protected by our Heavenly Father’s covering.
Advice: Don’t look to something that is TEMPORARY to be your provider and protector! It doesn’t work!
Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
The natural result when we serve something other than God is to worry! The lie from the enemy is if we worry things will get better. The truth is that by worrying, not only do things not get better. They actually get worse!
Matthew: 6:27, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
Can worrying add any time to your life? NO but it can take time off your life! Worrying and stress can take years off your life! So do you want to live longer and healthier? Don’t Worry!
Matthew: 6:32, “These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
What dominates your thoughts?
Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Advice: Begin THANKING God for all He has done!
“instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done”
Matt shared the story of the hymn Count Your Blessings, which was written by Johnson Oatman, a 26 year old Methodist minister in 1897 in Wales. The songs says…
“Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
Count your blessings, Name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, See what God hath done.”
When a revival broke out in Wales in the early 1900’s Count Your Blessings was sung at every service. Over 100,000 people became believers at this revival. This revival spread to Scotland and England with over 1 million salvations. Missionaries carried it to the U.S. and it was instrumental in revival or Pentecostalism in California and the U.S. When we begin to give God thanks there is power! It changes our whole perspective.
PUT ORDER IN YOUR LIFE. God is a God of order and not chaos.
1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”(NIV)
- Order reduces stress in our life,
- Order reflects our priorities
- Order impacts the rest!
To demonstrate how to prioritize, our lives, Matt used the example of a large jar. Small pebbles represented the ‘fluff’ that we add to our lives and big rocks represented the most important aspects of our lives. When he filled the jar with little rocks (Twitter, Facebook, shopping, hobbies) first and then added the big rocks (God, family, ministry, church) there was not enough room for the most important elements. The jar was maxed out! But, when the jar was filled with big rocks first and then the small rocks, everything fits and there was room left in the top of the jar – margin.
We need to determine our Big Rocks and make sure we prioritize those things first…
Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Advice: Make sure that God is first in your life!
Revelation 2:2-5, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”(NKJV)
In these verses, God says you’ve done a lot of good things BUT you have left your First Love. Have you left your first love? Are you doing a lot of really good things, but not putting God first? We need to constantly re-evaluate and make sure that God is first place.
HAVE MARGIN IN YOUR LIFE– Don’t go into debt up to your eye balls. Don’t max out the time in your day and leave no room for God or the most imporant people. Leave room and finances for God opportunities in your life.
Advice: Do a few things well. Don’t try to accomplish too many things at one time.