Tuesday, August 25, 2015

CALLING ALL MEN...Post # 2 in the Series

God is speaking to the men who were supposed to be leading His people. Rather than leading the people, they had abdicated their roles as leaders and started living for themselves. It mirrors our society today. God asks, “Where is My honor?” Today I want us to see what God tells us He is looking for in our lives!

First, let's talk about the Place of God in your life! Here is the question all men must ask: "Who is really in control?”
                Men, one of the clear reasons you are so confused as to your God-ordained role in your home, in the church, in our community, and on your job is because you have either never understood or have completely forgotten your role before God. God has ordained that it is men who should take the role of leader in all of these areas. In no way does that demean anyone else. In no way does this mean that men and women are not equal. What I am telling you is that men and women are equal before God, but they have different roles to play, ways to serve, and ways to lead in the home, church, and community.

                What has happened is that we as men have ignored or never learned our role in hardly any of these areas of life. In other words, we are really confused as to the place of God in our lives. Until we figure out where we stand with God, we cannot understand or carry out our role in the other places of our lives.

                One of the principles of life we often overlook is the words of Jesus quoted in Acts 20:35 when it says, “…it is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When we understand the place God has in our lives, you and I can become conduits of God’s blessings into the life of our family members, our churches, our co-workers, and in our community. Rather than conduits of God’s blessings, we have become a cul-de-sac of God’s blessings. We want God to focus His blessings into our lives and not through our lives to others all around us. Again, this is a sign that we do not understand the place that God is to have in our everyday lives.

                Today let’s decide…what place does God have in my life? It is either 1 of 2 things:
* Some men have a Casual Relationship with the Lord
                In Malachi God several times refers to Himself as Yahweh…this is His majestic, authoritative name as the creator over all things. In English it is the capitalized LORD. God speaks not only of His person, but His position. God’s accusation against these men who were to be leading His people was this: You take your relationship with me casually and it is not a priority of your life.

                God told these people that they call Him their father, they claim to have a relationship with Him, but they were so casual in this relationship that it no longer possessed respect, honor, or fear of who God was in His person or His position. The people acted dumb and asked, “How are we casual in our relationship with you God?” God told them, “You are guilty of giving me only your leftovers! Others get your best, but I get leftovers.”

                Men at FBC, if ever there was something that could be said of us, it is this: We approach our relationship with God is such a casual manner that at best we only give Him our leftovers! They brought God blind & lame lambs for their sacrifices. It was not their best, it was their worst. That which was left over is all they gave God, but here is the thing: They wanted God to give His best to them. They wanted all of God’s blessings, but in return they offered very little to God.

Let me give you an illustration: Let’s say men that the President & the Queen of England decided that Tuesday night they were coming to have supper at your house. You call your wife and tell her the great news. You start talking about all the amazing meals you could have for them. The prime cut steaks, the jumbo gulf shrimp, all the fixings…and you wife says, “Oh don’t worry about all of that. I am looking in the fridge right now. We still have about 3 pieces of that Pizza Inn pizza left from Friday night…that’ll feed the queen. Oh, and I have they ½ piece of lasagna we brought home Sat night. I don’t have any tea, but I’ll stir up a little red Kool-aid the kids like. I got it covered.”

                We would be horrified men! We’d think our wives had gone crazy. Who would feed the President and the Queen leftovers? Yet we are so casual in our relationship with God that we think NOTHING of offering Him nothing but our leftovers. Let me show you what I mean:
                                1. We give God our Leftover Time
                We give God our attention only when we are through watching all our shows and games on TV…when the weather is too bad to fish…hunting season is over…there is not a football weekend in Fayetteville…when mama is satisfied that we visted…when we aren’t working that overtime to buy more stuff we do not need. Then, maybe God gets an hour once in a while on a Sunday. But don’t ask for more…not  Sunday night, Wednesday and certainly no ministry to others.
                                2. We give God our Leftover Service
                When we do decide to do a little something for the Lord or others, we just throw something together at the last minute…that SS lesson, that help with the students or kids, our attendance to SS, coaching an Upward team, or some kind of ministry somebody twisted our arm to do. Meanwhile, our friends, the golf course, our hunting club buddies get all kind of work out of us when it is time to get the food plots and shooting houses ready.
                                3. We give God our Leftover Money
                For a majority of men God through the church only gets pennies on the dollars we make only after we have purchased, financed, or secured all that we want for ourselves. Now we want God to help us get out of debt, provide nice things for our families, give us good paying jobs, get us that raise and promotion, and help us pay our bills.

Again, let me illustrate what I mean: Suppose you went to work this Friday, you put in 40-50 hours & at the end of the week the boss comes by with your check. You open it up and it is $10.00 bill. He says, “Look, I know you put in your time, worked hard, met deadlines, and helped the company this week, but here is the things…after we spent all the money we needed to create inventory, infrastructure, hire more people, entertain all our clients, buy up our season tickets, and purchase airfare for the CEO, that is all we had left for you. Enjoy the $10.”

                What place does God have in your life? Some mean have a casual relationship
* Some men have a Committed Relationship with the Lord
                Men…in our everyday lives we must fear God! To fear God simply means to take God seriously and allow Him to take control over all our lives, as opposed to taking God casually. How do we do this? Listen to the words of Jesus -Mt. 16:24-25: “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.”

                Jesus says we need to do 3 things to develop a committed relationship with Him:
                                1. You need to say “no” to yourself
The biggest giant most men face is not outside of them, but inside of them. To follow Jesus means to learn to say “no” to what you want in order to say “yes” to what He wants! This is a big deal for us because as men we do not like to tell ourselves “no.” Not telling ourselves “no” contributes to almost all the major problems and issues we face in our lives from our family, to our job, to our church, and to our relationship with the Lord.
                                2. You must take up your “cross”
To carry your cross does not mean “carrying a burden” or saying things like “my in laws are a cross I have to bear.” Jesus says to “pick up YOUR cross.” The cross you pick up and bear IS YOU! The Roman Government made a criminal carry his own cross (Jesus). Carrying your cross is an open submission to the authority of the one who has rule over you. This is yielding your life to God. It is following God’s will instead of your own will.
                                3. You must follow Jesus and only Jesus
We are not blessed by following the world’s way…the way of the expedient…the way of the politically correct. Remember Psalm 128:1, “Happy is the man who fears the Lord and walks in His ways.” Men...it is time for change to come into your lives…homes…churches…workplaces…& our community. 

Over the next few posts we will unpack what all this means but it will not happen until we determine what place the Lord is going to have in our lives!