We All Need More Time in Our Life | Sermon Notes

margin_mainHere are the sermon notes for Week 2 of our sermon series titled: MARGIN.

Click here to listen to the podcast for this message.

Margin is the extra space in our life. The extra money at the end of the month. The extra time you have when you get to work in the morning. The extra emotion peace you have when you get into a discussion with your spouse. The extra space between you and your date and the moment you fall to temptation.

Our tendency is to take everything to the limit. Cram everything in. push limits morally, spend all our money. When this happens we squeeze out margin.

WHY don’t we live with limits? We are afraid because we don’t want to miss out on life and the result is that life gets out of control

The fact is that: We will all live in limits.  Will it be the ones that culture sets for you? Or God limits that have margins?

Today we are going to focus on our time and Schedule.

There are so many people in our community that would say:

  • “I don’t have time.” There is no way that I could have margin in my time. I don’t have time for margin.”
  • “I can’t slow down or stop enough to make margin happen”

I have good news for you. God can lead you to a place of margin.

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We all need Margin in our Life | Week 1

Here are sermon notes from Week One of our series called: Marginmargin_main

Click here to listen to the podcast.

One of favorite shows around the Steele home is Call of the Wildman – Ernie Brown Jr. “TURTLEMAN”

This show is wildly popular. He is a very likable guy, naïve, and humble. BUT the entertaining part is that he catches LIVE/Dangerous animals with his bare hands. Snapping turtles in NASTY ponds, rattlesnakes, possums, foxes, even skunks.

His show is fascinating because he has eliminated almost all safety barriers. There is no Margin for error. He has his bare hands.

No cages, no weapons, no devices. What is going to happen when there is absolutely no safety margin between Turtleman and the deadly animals? (diving down in murky water)

As you watch it, you think how did they come up with the idea of jumping into the pond and then how did they first person get picked to try it out?  Who thought about getting it on video tape?  I wouldn’t ever do it, but it is appealing to watch because there is no margin for error. People swimming with alligators and sharks.

And there is this guy thing that says you know if a guy is going to be eaten by a shark, and it going to happen any way I would kinda like to see that…

There is something entertaining about seeing them stretched to their emotional limit.  Extreme sports, motorcycles, Skateboarding 30’ above the ground.

As fun as all that is, back here in the real world, there is nothing entertaining about watching people in the real world get pushed to their limit

  • There is nothing fun about seeing your cousin’s marriage get pushed to the edge.
  • There is nothing fun about seeing a teen skating on the edge of morality
  • There is nothing fun about your scheduled stretched so tight that you have to remember if you spent any personal time with your kids that week.
  • There is nothing fun about a friend spending to the edge of their finances and then an unexpected injury or bill arises to drive them to bankruptcy.

Our culture says that we have to live there. There is a surge all around us. A pace of life that seems to swallow us up. A life of rapid fire, pedal to the metal.

The reality is that you DON’T have to live there! God has a plan for us where He asks us to back away from the edge.

OVER THE NEXT MONTH, WE ARE GOING TO HELP YOU FIND SOME MARGIN IN YOUR LIFE.  SOME BREATHING ROOM. A PACE OF LIFE. A PLACE OF FREEDOM.

Let’s talk quickly about 2 definitions of Margin.

Margins – amount available beyond what is actually needed.

  • We have Margins on a page
  • There is extra Margin on first class seats on a plane
  • Highways have Margin

Margin – Space between our current performance and our limits.

  • Running but not as fast as your could.
  • Showing up 15min before something begins
  • Getting to the end of the month and having money left over.
  • Getting in an argument and even when others get angry, you have enough emotional headroom that you don’t blow your top.

We want extra space. We strive for margin in our life,  YET how ironic is it that as soon as we find some in our relationships our finances, our time… we eat it. We live life without margin!  What happens when margins decrease?

  1. When margins decrease our stress goes up!

  • Traffic and running late for appt.
  • Financially – money is tight and when someone has an expense, stress goes up!
  • Girl in relationship – and you have boundaries, then the guy pushes your margin away. You get stressed.
  1. When margins decrease…Our focus narrows.

We become very self centered. We become aware of our personal needs. Mental Capacity shrinks.

  1. When margins decrease…Relationships suffer.

When you are living your life without healthy margins you are not engaged in relationships.

  • You are zoned out in conversations.
  • You can be listening to everything they are saying, you can be nodding at all the right sentences and then you realize you haven’t heard a thing they were saying.
  • How about worship music at church. You sing every word, throw in a halleluiah and an amen. And then realize that you haven’t thought of one word you have sung.

You are living without margins in your life.  Lack of margins destroy marriages.   Without margins you can’t listen as a parent.

Here is the key : Relationship happens in the margin of your life.

Our temptation is to get as much as we can crammed into our schedules.  We try to get as much as we can with our credit.  We try to get as much as we can with our girlfriend before we go to far.  We like to live in the danger zone.

BUT Why don’t we DO less? Why don’t we CREATE margins?

Why don’t we buy cheaper cars? Why don’t we get out of that relationship? Why don’t you just break up? Why don’t we just create margin?  We have FEAR. We are afraid that we are going to miss out on the good life.  I can’t turn down any invitation. I can’t let anyone down.

WE ARE AFRAID

We are afraid of falling behind. Everyone else has their kids in basketball and air hockey leagues, and ballet, and if I don’t HELP my kid keep up, then it will be my fault.  All the time we are helping our kids destroy the margins of their life.

WE are afraid that we will end up with a life that is not worth living. HOWEVER:

  • Most folks in here are making more money than you ever have and yet we are afraid of not having enough money.
  • We have more technology than we ever have had and yet we have less time. We are afraid of not being able to squeeze things in.
  • (church leaders!) We are afraid of not mattering. We are afraid of not accomplishing this great task that God has given us or that we have imposed on ourselves. To start a business or change the school system or raise the standard of our local government.

Reducing the margin in your personal life is NOT a success strategy.  That is a recipe for disaster.

 We live at limits that are self imposed and culturally imposed.

We think we are going to hit a finish line and then there is a release. But that never happens!  We are trying to catch up to people that don’t have margins either.

God says for us to “come back” come back from the edge. You might can sustain that pace but your wife can’t or your kids can’t!

 

Scripture reveals that

  1. We all have Limits!

Financially, I can only afford certain things, I can only do one thing at a time, be at one place at a time.

This is elementary, but it is so true. Emotionally, morally, physically (I can go on 4 hours sleep. Shut up. That is not something to brag about. Go sleep.)

God has a plan for how we should live, and it is within certain limits.

  1. We are Relational Beings.

We are created for relationships. God says we have limits. So he leads us to limits where relationships THRIVE.  He leads us there for relationship. Not to leave a mark. Not to matter. Not keeping up with the joneses. (they refinance anyway)  If your relationships are suffering, then you have chosen limits that are outside of God’s limits.

When God chose His nation (Jews). He mandated it. Thou shalt have MARGIN.

Exodus 20:8 Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

  • On Friday night, you hang it up. Even if you haven’t done everything you needed to do, you hang it up. You stop everything for 24hours.
  • God even gave margin to the land. You can plant here and not there. Now and not later.
  • He gave margins to them financially. You must live on 80%. 10% to temple, 10% to poor

 

God says I know what you can do, AND I am calling you back. I want you to live with margins!

The Jews told God to FORGET the margins! So, God took care of that situation. He allowed the Babylonians to conquer them for 70 years. The Jews were put into slavery and then all of the sudden the Jews said, “hmmm, maybe margins were a good way to live after all.”  God says: “I created time. I created economy. I created morality. I created you as a relational and emotional being.”

Jesus said the most important command was ”love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind AND love your neighbor as yourself”  This is how you prioritize your life. Loving God and loving others!  Make sure you give space for God and others and then the rest is up to you.  The Great Commission takes time! Yes, Jesus was subtly telling them that they need margins.

As you squeeze margin our of your life, you squeeze God out of your life.

Relationship happens in the Margin.

Many people in America USED to go to church. And they left, not because of theological reasons, but because THEY GOT BUSY. Their margins were destroyed and they no longer had time for the things of God.  Why do we drift from God? Our time, money, affection and morality margins are squeezed.  We squeeze out God because we are pushing everything out.

You will thrive, grow, and prosper when you live in margins.

What is crazy is that many of you are probably saying, ‘pastor’ I don’t have time for margins.  You are pastor so you have time to pray and read and fast and be with your family. whatevs!

It’s amazing how:

  • When you have a heart attack, all of the sudden you make margins!
  • When you marriage is on the rocks all of the sudden you take the time to make margins.
  • In Texas when we have an ice storm, we realize that no matter what plans you made, they don’t matter. You don’t drive. No matter what tests are scheduled, schools are canceled.
  • Many years ago, Christians said, “we can’t live on 90% and give 10% to God. And then the Govt said we’ll take 10% and everyone was forced to live on 90%. Then 15%, then 20%. WE HAD TO and we found a way. Or we go to jail.

THE POINT? You are going to live with limits. Either ones that you choose (mostly at the edge) or ones that God invites you to live with (with margins)

I’ll close with this:

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

God will wait for you to let him in. He will patiently wait. If you wait until bankruptcy, illness, divorce, He will come in a be with you.

Why don’t we choose, instead of being forced, to live within the Margin that God gives us

Here is my time.

Here is my morality.

Here is my money.

He will come in and lead you in a life of balance, health, and blessing.

 

Week 2

More Time

Week 3

More Financial Peace

Week 5

More Values

 

 

When Mama Prayed

Another great blog by my dad.  Check him out at: http://robasteele.wordpress.com/

When Mama prayed, she would sit down on the rug with her feet drawn up under her and lean over on her elbows, then drop her head into her hands. By the time her forehead touched her open palms, she would be in the Kingdom. I’ve been around a lot of folks who prayed, but she could reach beyond this present world and into the presence of Jesus faster than any of them. And let me tell you, if you were in the house when she talked to Jesus, you either tried to join her quickly or else found a way to get out of there quickly. For Mom, praying was not something you only did in a crisis, or as a ritual in church, instead it was the sustaining flow of life itself.

I once asked her if she learned to pray by watching her mother like we learned by watching her. She gave me a strange smile and said, “ When you were about 2 years old, I had a dream that my mother came to visit me, and I was praying when she walked in the house. In the dream she came up to me and slapped me to make me stop. I thought it was a strange dream. Then a few weeks later, I was in the living room praying in the Spirit, and she and Daddy came in the house. I didn’t hear them. My first awareness of them was mother calling my name so I slowed down and opened my eyes, and there she stood, just like the dream. She said, “ Barbara, you’re disgusting,” and then slapped me hard.”

This was developing into a most interesting conversation, and I urged her on “what did you do?” “Well, I just turned my face to the other side so she could give me another one, but nothing happened. I looked up at her, and she was white as a ghost and finally sat down on the couch. If I had not had the dream, I’m not sure what would have happened, but Jesus warned me and after that she never again said anything about the way I prayed.”

One time we were all riding in the back of Daddy’s pickup and had a bunch of cousins with us when our dog, Thirsty, somehow got under the rear tire. We ran over her. Thirsty was a very fruitful mother dog who usually gave us a dozen or so puppies each year and was ready to deliver. That old rear tire hit her square in the middle. Dad carried Thirsty into the kitchen and laid her down by the table. We were all standing around crying so Mom wiped her hands on her apron and gathered us all up. “Okay, lets all put our hands on Thirsty and ask Jesus to make her well.” No problem there, we all knew if Mama said Jesus would fix her that would happen. If I remember correctly, there were five of us at the time, and we prayed like she taught us. The next morning Thirsty gave us her usual big litter and not a blemish was found on any of them.

Then there was the time Daddy was working out of town and Mama loaded us all in the car for the weekly ladies’ prayer meeting in Burnet. On the way we stopped and picked up Sister Halbert who was all stooped and older than dirt, with one of those bonnet things on her head, but she was a prayer warrior from whom demons fled. I do not remember anything special about the prayer meeting, but on the way home the car died. Mama and Sister Halbert got out and lifted the hood, and all us kids followed to watch the action.

Of course, they knew nothing about mechanics and eventually closed the hood back down. Sister Halbert said, “Sister Barbara, let’s pray for it. I’m sure there were some double takes from the passing motorist who saw a little old granny, a young mother, and a bunch of kids standing around the car with our eyes closed, one hand in the air and the other on the car. After we prayed we all got back in and Mama turned the key, and it started right up. That really wasn’t a big deal, just the way we lived. However, when Daddy came back home three days later he heard the story and went out to check the car. I remember him sputtering a bit and finally admitting that the only thing wrong with the car was it was out of gas and would not start. I think even Mama was surprised that Jesus could make a car run for three days with no gas.

When I was about 12, we lived in an old farmhouse in Oklahoma and my brother, Randy, and I shared a bedroom up a very steep flight of stairs on the 2nd floor. One night after we went to bed, I woke up and noticed the light was on, but when I tried to get up, I discovered that I was frozen in place. I was on my side looking across the room at Randy, who was asleep, and no matter how I tried, not one muscle would respond. Shear stark terror engulfed my whole being, and then I heard Mom praying downstairs. As soon as I herd her praying, something even weirder happened.

Randy was dead centered in my line of sight. As Mom prayed, I saw a blue man superimposed over Randy, and he sat up and then stood up. He was staring directly at me, was aware of me, but never acknowledged me in any way. I noticed that he was bald headed and even stranger, I could sort of see through him. He turned and walked through the bedroom door. At that exact moment, my body returned to normal. I let out a scream and shot to the stairs, which I leaped down in two bounds, then crashed into the wall at the bottom. When I came back to my senses I was crying and trying to tell Dad what had happened, and all I could say was there is a man upstairs.

When Dad heard that, he went up the stirs in a couple of bounds, and we could hear doors crashing open and shut as he searched the rooms. When he stopped running around, he noticed that Randy was still lying on the bed, but something was not right; he was having some kind of a seizure. They immediately called the pastor and other folks who prayed, and a collective prayer meeting started up. I remember Mom on the floor in the living room praying for Randy and me at the same time. That night she vowed to God that if He would heal Randy she would give Him her iced tea. Mom loved iced tea, but from that day on she never drank it again to my knowledge. Randy never had another seizure either.

Mom’s praying sometimes made us uncomfortable, and we never wanted our friends to hear her. It was kind of a love/hate deal. If we needed God‘s help, mom‘s prayers were a wonderful source of comfort, but when we flirted with the dark side of things, beware; Mom would have a dream and start praying for us. It was crazy how something like a car wreck would happen to get our attention.

Mom doesn’t have to pray anymore, that torch has been passed to us. How we carry it will determine the course of the next generation.

…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16

Jesus is in a Small Group…Are you?

jesusinasmallgroup

Week One sermon notes for series: “Jesus is in a Small Group…Are you?”

Today, we have a gathering of people who are interested in Jesus. Some of you love him. You follow after him. Others are newer to this church or perhaps brand new (first timers). Regardless, the central theme of all the songs, scriptures, dancing, shouting, preaching, praying is JESUS.

We are looking to HIM for our salvation. We are wanting him to be an active part of our life.

I have a secret that I want to share with you. Many of you might not know.

I know where he meets with people.

I know how you can get to know him better.

I know where Jesus hangs out.

 

AND I WANT TO LET YOU IN ON THIS SECRET, and so I have titled this message series:

JESUS IS IN A SMALL GROUP. Are you?

 

Jesus taught 5000 people and then fed them (Mark 6).  He led 120 to the upper room (Acts 1).  He sent 70 out in the Gospels to teach (Luke 10).

However, the reason that we are sitting here today is not because of the 5000 or the 120.

The reason that the gospel message is alive and well and continuing to bring freedom to people 2000 years after Jesus walked on the earth is because he spent the majority of his time with 12 men and a few women.

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Is the World Going to Burn Up?

Back during Easter, I taught on “the Beginning”. We talked about the whole time line of world events from History and the Bible. Several things came up and I was unable to finish the series.

What is going to happen in the end? We want to know. We are curious.

Here is why:
Our perception of the end directly shapes the way we live now.

Eschatology is the part of our study of God that is concerned with the final events of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humanity.

For those of you who grew up in church, you probably have been taught some version of the end of the world. Heaven and Hell. Some churches talk about it a whole lot. The church I grew up in talked about it all the time!

We are going to spend the next few months on 1st Wednesdays talking about some key parts to Eschatology. Second Coming of Jesus, Marriage, Great Battle, Judgment/Justice, Harvest, Birth.

Tonight, we will start with a part that most might not think is important, but I believe it is one of the core concepts that Eschatology deals with.

Will the earth end or not? Will this place burn up until it no longer exists?  Your belief on that topic shapes how you live your life today.

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