TIMEOUT: STOP, REFOCUS, AND GET BACK IN THE GAME OF LIFE – 1

TIME OUT: STOP, REFOCUS, AND GET BACK IN THE GAME OF LIFE – 1 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

timeoutThis morning we begin a two-part series through Romans 13 titled, “TIMEOUT: STOP, REFOCUS, AND GET BACK IN THE GAME OF LIFE.” When a team starts doing poorly, the coach calls a timeout to talk to his players – to remind them of the game plan, to warn them of the time remaining, to correct their mistakes, and to encourage them to get back in the game. So also in life we need a timeout.

Romans 13:11-14  11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Overall Background: The passage before us if one of the most inspiring passages in the Bible. Paul is like a coach talking to his team. He is going over the game plan, he is reminding them of the time remaining, he is correcting their mistakes, and he is inspiring them to get back in the game.

Application: This morning all of us need this timeout. We get so caught up in life. We get so frustrated with our circumstances. We get so disillusioned with our situations. We get so wrapped in bad habits and bad decision that we start losing. Let me remind you – If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are still in the game. The message for you is to listen to your coach – the Holy Spirit. If you do not know Jesus as your Savior, you are lost. No matter what game you win, you will still lose in the end and this is the message for you.

4 things Paul tells them in this timeout:

I. “YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO.”

Verse 11 begins with 3 words – “And do this”

Do what? Do what I’ve been teaching you since Romans 12:1. It is filled with applications on how to live the Christian life. For example:

–       Romans 12:2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Meaning: Change the way you think about God, life, self, and others.

–       Romans 12:5 “so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Meaning: We’re connected. Learn to get along with others in church.

–       Romans 12:9 “do not avenge yourselves…for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Meaning: Don’t waste your time holding a grudge. Let God handle it.

–       Jump over to Romans 13:9-10You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor.” Meaning: Love those whom God has placed in our life.

When Paul says, “And do this,” he is referring to all this and more. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t deliberate. Don’t hesitate. Obey it. Repeatedly the Bible tells us to obey.

–       1 Samuel 15:22 “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.”

–       Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?

–       James 1:22   But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

–       1 John 2:3   Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

For e.g. Once I was talking to a coach about a player and he said – “He is a great player but he doesn’t listen.”

Many of us think that we need a new secret to help our Christian life. We know enough to keep us going for a long time. Like the Hymn – “Trust and Obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. Are you obedient?

II. “WATCH THE CLOCK.”

11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep;

Background: There are 2 things that Paul is telling them – First, watch the clock; and second, you are already in the fourth quarter. You have overslept!

Christians can and do fall asleep. I’m not talking about sleeping in church, which some do. They think I can’t see them. Let me ask you  – “Can you see me?” Then I can see you!

I’m talking about spiritually sleeping. Let me give you a quick checklist to determine if you are asleep:

–       Do you know what’s happening around you? In your family, marriage, church, and community.

–       Does it bother you that what is wrong is normal and what is right is abnormal?

–       Does it bother you that your loved ones and friends do not know where they will go when they die?

–       Does it bother you that the church has lost its focus?

If you know Jesus as your Savior, your eyes are opened to the truth, you know the people are lost, you know that you have the hope of eternal life with you, without knowing Jesus people are lost. How can you be asleep?!! Moreover, how can you oversleep?!! That’s even worse! We are running late.

for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

Background: Salvation here is not individual salvation but our ultimate deliverance from sin when Jesus comes for us. Now some people think that the early church believed that Jesus would come in their generation. That’s not exactly true. They believed that Jesus could come any moment. There’s a difference there. There is not a single prophecy that has to be fulfilled for Jesus to come again. He came the first time. There are 129 prophecies regarding the first coming in the OT. There are 329 prophecies regarding the second coming of Jesus Christ in the OT and NT. Now if the first one took place with fewer prophecies, then how much more will the second one come to pass, if it is 3 times more. We are 2000 years closer to His coming.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand.

Application: Isn’t it true that many of us know the right thing to do but we push it off to another day? We say – “Tomorrow, I’ll get started at that” but tomorrow never comes. “One of these days, I’ll get around to working on my marriage, going to church, reading the Bible, praying, serving God, and giving my life to God.” But that day never comes.

You need to be revived.

III. “LET’S MAKE SOME CHANGES.” 

12…Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness,

Background: Paul tells them – Guys, you have to change some things. Remember, the definition of insanity: do the same things over and over and expect different results. The reason you are in a mess if because of wrong choices.

If you are a Christian, what does the Bible say about you?

Romans 6:17-18  17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.  18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

I Corinthians 6:19-20  19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Hence, cast off the works of darkness. That’s not you!

Application: You may have to make some changes in what movies you watch, what romance novels you read, what games you play, what people you call your friends. Put away all your past regrets, present lures, and future fears. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Ask godly people to support you.

IV. “GIVE IT ALL YOU’VE GOT.”

“and let us put on the armor of light.”

Background: The imagery is one of changing clothes. Put away your pajamas and put on your armor. You are in a battle. There is a battle for your marriage, for your children, for your lost loved ones, for your church, for your community. But you cannot fight this battle with earthly weapons.

Ephesians 6:12-13  12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Last week I had a phone call from someone I’ve know for a long time and this person said to me – “I feel like my time is up. I had so many dreams and goals but I think life has passed me by.” I could hear a sense of defeat and discouragement in this person’s voice. My answer was – “Absolutely not! You are breathing aren’t you? Then, you are still in the game. You need to take a timeout, reassess your situation, seek God’s help, and get back in the game.” Instead of despairing over lost time, God wants us to live the remainder of our life with urgency and purpose.

Application: Are you doing all you can to live for God? Are you doing all you can to win people to Jesus Christ?

Let me add something here – If you’ve never received Jesus as your Savior, you are not asleep. You are dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” You don’t need to be awakened. You need to be resuscitated.

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME WISELY

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME WISELY – Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

Managing Your Time WiselyTurn in your Bibles to Ecclesiastes 3 for our message titled, “HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME WISELY.” As we head back to work, school, and daily responsibilities, we hear sayings like—“time flies,” “time marches on,” “watch your time,” and my favorite – “I don’t have enough time.” These clichés are not very accurate. Time is not money. What you do with your time may or may not generate money. Time does not fly or march on. We are flying by and marching on in life. We cannot watch time. If anything, time is watching us. And, by the way – we all have the same amount of time! The CEO of a Fortune 500 company has the same time as the homeless man on the streets. The point is—we have a very poor understanding of how to manage time wisely. Thankfully, the answer is found in the Bible. This timeless book has many principles on how to manage time wisely. It is a simple message on the surface and yet it is a deeper message.

Eccl. 3:1-11 1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: 2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; 3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace. 9 What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?  10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.  11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

Overall Background: The Book of Ecclesiastes does not name its author. But several times the author refers to himself as the Son of David and the King of Jerusalem and talks about the problems of administration. Based on that we know that King Solomon wrote this book. Solomon, as you know, was the wisest man who ever lived. The main theme of this book is the question: “Is life worth living?” “Is it going anywhere?” “Are we in a hamster wheel, running but going nowhere?” Twenty nine times he uses the phrase “under the sun.” Meaning: He is asking these questions from a purely earthly perspective. In chapter three we notice that from a purely earthly perspective, it’s just a time for this and a time for that. But when you look at life from a spiritual/heavenly perspective, listen to what he says in verse 11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

This morning, if you are having trouble with time management, it could be because you are looking at time from a purely earthly perspective. You need to look at time from a spiritual perspective—from a biblical perspective. Lately, I’ve had many questions and comments about time from people of all ages, men and women. So, we will look at six principles for managing our time wisely.

I. RECOGNIZE THAT TIME IS LIMITED AND IT DOESN’T BELONG TO US.

Listen to what Moses prayed in Psalm 90:9-12  9 “For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh. (Sigh…Where has time gone?) 10 The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away…12 So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Time is not only limited but also it doesn’t belong to us. James 4:14 “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

For e.g. If you don’t believe that, just talk to the parents of the little baby that was killed when a bus hit a light pole that fell on a little baby in a stroller.

Time is a gift from God to each of us. Many of us are wasting precious time on frivolous things. When we waste time, remember—we are on God’s clock. Add up the amount of time we spend watching TV or on social media. If you spend 2 hours a day on TV and an hour on social media (Not counting the time you are saying hello to friends and family), that’s 3 hours a day—21 hours a week (I’m being very conservative). Which means you spend almost one whole day on things that do not matter. From 8 am to the next day 5 pm, you have frittered away.

God wants us to “redeem the time.” (Col. 4:5) In other words, to “win back the time” or to “make the most of it.”

II. MAKE A LIST EVERYDAY AND TACKLE THE MOST DIFFICULT TASK FIRST.

Right after God created Adam and Eve, He gave them a list—Genesis 1:28-29 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

Jesus believed in keeping a list. After He called His disciples, He gave them a list of things to do as they went from place to place: “preach…heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons…freely give…” (Matt. 10)

Zig Ziglar would often challenge—make a list as if you were leaving on a vacation tomorrow and start with the most difficult task first.

When we don’t have a definite plan, we do what we want to do and not what we need to do.

By the way, many people never start on the important things because they are too afraid of making mistakes. The key is excellence and not perfection.

III. PICTURE WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE IN ONE-YEAR, FIVE-YEARS, TEN-YEARS, AND SO ON.

The tragedy in America is “life without any God-given goals, purpose, and vision.” Many people are like tumbleweeds, bouncing along the dusty streets of life. Other people are driven by what Charles Hummel of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and president of Barrington College in Rhode Island called, “The Tyranny of the Urgent.”

On the night before Jesus was crucified, Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17:4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” While on the cross He made 7 cries. The sixth cry was “It is finished!” (John 19:30) There were thousands more blind who needed sight and deaf who needed to hear and hungry who needed to be fed; but the critical task of giving His life for our sins was done.

Young person – What is it that God wants you to do? Where does God want you to be in the next year or five years or ten years?

Couple – What is God’s vision for your marriage in the next year, five-years, ten-years and so on? Nicole and I often discuss what we want to look like in the next few years.

Christian – What is God’s vision for your Christian life? Where do you want to be in your Christian walk?

Clearview – In 2008 we began from the ground up and God gave us a vision for one-year, five-years, and ten-years. Believe it or not, one by one each of those things have come to pass! God is honoring His vision for us. If we can’t see it, we won’t reach it. We have to be reasonable, as Ted Engstrom’s wisely remarked: “We terribly overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in five.” Some things take time but they are coming.

IV. DON’T BE SO “TIME BOUND” THAT YOU FORGET TO SMELL THE ROSES ALONG THE WAY.

God does not want us to be so goal oriented that we loose sight of the roses along the way. What are the roses of life? The roses of life are not things but people and relationships. They include our spouse, children, family, friends, and people in general. Those children will not be little forever; our spouse will not be by our side forever.

What did God do? Right in Genesis God set the standard. Genesis 2:2-3  2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

God gave us one day to not be “time bound”—a day to rest our body, restore our relationships, and refocus on Him. He wants to enjoy the abundant life. It doesn’t have to be Sunday. For me it cannot be Sunday. It is my busiest day. We are starting a Saturday evening service to help people have the Day of Rest and Worship.

V. GIVE GOD THE BEST OF YOUR TIME AND HE WILL HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME.

What is the best time of the day? There is no substitute to starting your day with Bible reading, a good devotional book, and prayer. Even Jesus, the second person of the Godhead, in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35) Unless you are working all night, you should begin your day with prayer. What’s the use of looking for help when you have already in the valley of the shadow of death!

It is often quoted that Martin Luther would say that  “he had so much work to do for God that he could never get it done unless he prayed three hours a day!”

A day that begins on our knees will always end in victory.

VI. MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT IS ALWAYS THE RIGHT TIME TO RECEIVE CHRIST.

I Cor. 6:2 says, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Today is the day to receive Christ as your Savior. Not only will your sins be forgiven but you will be amazed how this decision will change your perspective on time!

God promises that He will even “restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” (Joel 2:25)

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