HOW TO HAVE POWERFUL PRAYERS Did you know that there was a disciple named…
12. Nothing Wasted
24. How to Cure Worry
29. Know Your Enemy
The Mandalorian is a Star Wars Disney series. It may sound odd, but the main character is a bounty hunter that kills people for silver that he later melts into his armor. Every episode, the Mandalorian is faced with a crisis where he has to decide if he wants to turn the person in or help them get out of a difficult situation. Will he choose to carry out the mission or will he help rescue this little baby Yoda? Each time, no matter how complex or how wild the ride is, he has this moment where he’s like, “You know what? This is the way.” No matter how complicated the situation is, he’s already made the decision in advance because of the principles he lives by.
Note: The early church was known as “The Way.” In the beginning of Acts, the first Christians were called “The Way” because they followed the way of Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot of stuff going on in my life. If I’m not careful, all that stuff will begin to dictate my thoughts and life. People in 2000 years ago faced a lot of the same pressures that we have today. Jesus shares his Sermon on the Mount where he addresses people’s concerns about worry.
Matthew 6:27-34 (NIV)
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble on its own.
God understands that there is a lot going on in your life. He wants you to live a big full life that has influence to change the world. He doesn’t want you to live a small life. He wants you to live an influential life. And yet, the more that comes your way, the more you try to balance everything. Jesus did not live a balanced life and isn’t asking you to live a balanced life either. What you are actually seeking is peace.
Trying to balance life is similar to juggling several tennis balls. Each ball might represent a different area in your life such as family, work, social life, school, paying bills, etc. The more that you are trying to juggle and keep balanced, the harder it is to keep everything moving. The problem is that not everything has the same weight in our lives. Your spouse is not the same weight as your work. Your social life isn’t the same weight as your kids. Not everything costs the same and don’t require the same sacrifice.
Jesus doesn’t tell you, when you are worried to find balance. Instead he tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God. When prioritizing the things that are most important to God, then at the end of the day you can feel good about what you were able to accomplish. Life is not about balance; it’s about stewardship. God wants you to be free of the anxiety and have the peace that comes with seeking God first.
3 Ways to Seek the Kingdom of God
1. Prioritize time with God
Do you prioritize time with God? The fact that you are reading this blog shows that you are desiring to know Him more. You are already seeking Him. Dedicating a day to attend service in person or online also shows prioritizing time with God. Attending services is just one hour a week, but in order to prioritize God throughout the week, you can spend time in the presence of God by reading the scriptures. Every morning, I wake up and roll out of bed and land on my knees. I say a prayer first thing, “God, this is your day. This day belongs to You. Lord, you know all I have going on. My mom has been in the hospital. You know, I have things to do for work that I don’t want to do. I’ve got things going on at church. I’ve got a lot of big decisions to make. I’ve got these three little squirts that run around my house and need some attention. This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. This is your day.” When you say a prayer like that, watch what happens to your soul and ego. Now everything is about God and stewarding what He has given you.
Occasionally, the reason why we’re restless at the end of the day is because we didn’t come to God first. During those times I have to remember if I prayed that day or did the demands of the day dictate my decisions and choices. If you want to hear from God every day, spend a little bit of time in the scriptures. The scriptures is the word of God, the Bible. That way, it’s not just you praying to him, but you’re listening to what he’s already said.
Even Jesus spent time with God the Father every day. When the crowds were pressing in on him and the cares of others were weighing on him, he went away for some solitude. Do you know the difference between isolation and solitude? Isolation is when you’re pulling away from relationships. Solitude is when you’re seeking a relationship. It’s when you’re pressing in to spend time with God. All of us need some solitude time where we are pressing in to our relationship with God. Jesus modeled this for us to show us that in the quiet times of surrender, that is where we will find peace and space for God to speak to us.
In the story of the Mandalorian, he was raised in some sort of cult, where he’s not supposed to take his mask off. They have all these different things and principles they need to live by. Whenever push comes to shove, he’s just like, I’ve already decided, this is the way. He always chooses what has already been decided according to his priorities.
So here’s a few things you need to decide:
- Have you decided how you’re going to prioritize time with God?
- Next, how are you going to make that happen?
- What is the next important relationship in your life?
- How are you going to prioritize that relationship?
What I am about to say is not going to be of popular opinion. After my relationship with God, my next priority will be my wife Maria. I need to prioritize my relationship with her even before my kids. One way I demonstrate Maria’s priority in my life is by looking for her when I get home and giving her a kiss first before showing attention to my kids. Maria is going to be the most important person to me until the day I die. In fact, I’m going to stand before God and the first thing he’s probably going to ask me is how my relationship with His son, Jesus went. Following that conversation, He’s going to ask me how I stewarded my relationship with Maria that He entrusted me with as her husband. Next, He’ll probably asked me about my kids, then about how I stewarded the Church He gave me. My priorities are to spend time with God every day, then spend time with my wife Maria. Years ago, she said that she would like weekly date nights to show that she is a priority in my life. This is a decision that we made and now Friday nights are no longer family night, but instead date night. If there is an event I am invited to that is on a Friday night, I won’t go to it because I the decision is already made. Having clear priorities uncomplicate my life because now the things that are most important to me are taken care of. There is peace that comes with living like a good steward of what God’s given me.
2. Prioritize serving people
I’ll tell you what, I don’t need anybody to teach me how to be selfish and serve myself. I don’t need to remind myself to eat, go to sleep or to take care of myself. But when we’re seeking the Kingdom of God, we’re actually beginning to prioritize putting other people before ourself. If you do not make serving others a priority, it’s not going to happen.
John 15:13 (NIV)
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Jesus tells us the way you show God how much you love Him, is by loving and serving other people. The Bible tells us a story of the Good Samaritan who not only showed a stranger love by paying for his medical expenses, but it cost him is energy, time and resources. His whole life was rearranged for the needs of somebody else. First figure out how to prioritize time with God, then prioritize how you’re going to serve people.
On Sundays, we have a parking team that is out welcoming everyone that pulls into our lot. We know that there are some people that get to church but then are too nervous to get out. One of our parking attendants is out waving at people, smiling and letting them know they have a spot just perfect for their family. Then once inside, we have a donut team that is making fresh donuts and helping families that didn’t have enough time to feed their kids before a hectic morning getting to church. Then we got coffee for people with bad hangovers. There are 200-300 volunteers every Sunday just working together to make sure that people feel welcome on their way in to service. Every one of those volunteers that showed up said, “Today is not just about me having church for myself, it’s about serving the people.”
Prioritizing how you serve people is showing God how you serve Him. You want to get to the end of the week and be able to tell God how you were able to serve Him by serving people that He loves. Maybe you didn’t take care of everything else that you needed to take care of, but that’s okay. Because you did serve God. At least you can feel good about that. Next, learn how God made you to serve Him. You have spiritual gifts that God has put in you that are not only for your use but for His purpose.
Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God is working on you and gifting you to serve others. Do you know your gifts? There are spiritual gift tests where you answer questions that help you figure out your gifts. When you understand what your gifts are and how you are wired to serve Him, you will make an even bigger impact.
3. Prioritize making a difference with your life
The most important decision I ever made, was the day I decided to become a leader. People always talk about if leaders are born or leaders are made. I’m gonna tell you leaders are called. Has God called you to be a leader? God has called of us to make disciples and share the gospel with others. He’s called you to be a big brother or big sister in faith. Some people sit back and wait for somebody to tap them on the shoulder and say, “Will you help?” Instead of waiting for someone to approach you, take the initiative to find a place to serve. We want you to grow and make a difference in your life.
If you want to be able to stand before God and hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Start by prioritizing time with God in His Word. Prioritize serving people. Prioritize making a difference with your life by becoming a big brother or big sister in our church. The way you enter the Kingdom of God is through the Family of God. It is the Way.