DARING FAITH WEEK 2:
DARING TO GIVE GOD MY BEST
Chuck Allen // @achuckallen // firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to week 2 of Daring Faith. Let’s start today’s teaching with a question…How would your life change if you used more of your time, money & energy on what’s going to last forever?
God tells us over and over that this world is not going to last, that history is moving toward a climax and Jesus is returning a 2nd time to end the sorrows and pain of this world and take His family home to Heaven with Him!
That’s a mouthful – but here’s 2 – more intimate and invasive questions –
- Should that fact have any impact on how we live?
- What difference should that make in how we invest time/money/energy?
2 PETER 3:11-12 “Since everything on earth will be gone one day, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God, as you wait for the Day of God and do your best to make it come soon!”
The scriptures use the term CHOOSE the best – LOOK FOR THE BEST – THINK THE BEST – DO WHAT’S BEST & GIVE YOUR BEST OVER AND OVER AND OVER!
Ecclesiastes 9:10 “WHATEVER work you do, do your BEST.”
Colossians 3:22 “Don’t just do the minimum to get by. Do your BEST!”
2 Peter 1:5-8 “Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others, and love. If you keep growing in this way, it will show… that Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful”
2 Timothy 2:15 “ Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
Great Chuck…But how do I give my best for a God I cannot see?
2 Timothy 2:3-7 gives 3 examples.
An effective soldier – A competitive athlete – A productive farmer
2 Timothy 2:3-7 “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
No one serving as a soldier gets tied up in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. And the hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.”
THINK about these three illustrations, and the Lord will help you to understand how they apply to you.”
An effective soldier saves lives
A competitive athlete wins the prize
A productive farmer harvests a bigger crop
But what do these three definitions they teach us about living by faith
We can learn a lot from the military – Be all you can be!
Admiral Rickover – The father of our nuclear Navy – A Genius that was recruiting a young cadet to serve on a nuclear submarine – “The Admiral just let me talk for 2 hours – then after allowing me to speak one way for those 2 hours, he began to speak and I suddenly realized that after speaking for 2 hours, I knew nothing about what I’d been talking about.” And so the Admiral asked him – Have you always done your best? The young navy man said yes, but then he said, I haven’t always done my best and the Admiral looked at him and asked WHY NOT?
That was the 39th President – Jimmy Carter – President Carter says in his memoirs that one question change the trajectory of his life.
To be the best I can be, I must do 3 things every effective soldier does:
- I MUST DEFINE WHAT I’D DIE FOR You’re not ready to live … until you’ve defined what you’d die for! You don’t understand love until you know who’s worth dying for. We should know what’s worth dying for, and then give our life for that!
John 15:13 “The greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends.” Soldiers understand this. Some days are a matter of life or death.
I believe the world is dying to know what is worth dying for. Aren’t you grateful that God saw you as something worth sending His one and only son for? Aren’t you grateful that Jesus determined that you were worth being beaten, mocked, spat upon and dying for? To be the best I can be:
- I MUST SACRIFICE MY OWN COMFORT
You don’t become great doing what’s easy & comfortable! Jesus beckons us to live a daring faith that promise His ever present help…even when you are in times of trouble! But He never promised it would be easy. We lived in a broken messed up world that requires us to step out in faith and to live in strength and courage!
Think of all the comforts soldiers give up to serve others. Think of the hardships they choose to put up with fatigue, stress, sleeplessness, foreign lands, loneliness, and list goes on and on and on…
2 Timothy 2:3 “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” It’s a battle to do what’s right!. It often requires great sacrifice. Nothing great is ever done without sacrifice!
Ephesians 5:2 “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God..” Want to be more like Jesus? Then WHO are you offering YOUR life for? What are you sacrificing yourself for?
In the midst of our Americanized health, wealth and audacious affluence, we seem to have redefined sacrifice as slower download speed, more likes on instagram, facebook or twitter…A better car, a bigger home or a brand new boat!
The late great missionary and martyr, Jim Elliot…who gave his life to bring Jesus to the jungles of Ecuador said; “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose!”
In 2 Samuel, King David said, “I will not offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing” Many of us are simply not offering to the Lord what costs us something!
To be the best I can be:
- I MUST ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS
2 Timothy 2:3-4 “As Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become entangled in the affairs of this life, wasting time, for then you can’t please your commanding officer who enlisted you in his army,”
If I asked you – what can you NOT do without? What would you say? I can’t live a day without; Facebook, WiFi, Starbucks, Chic-Fil-A, Make-Up, Sports Talk Radio…The Bible has a lot to say about intentionally doing without things for a greater purpose: The Scriptures use phrases like.. let go… lay aside… cast off …get rid of. But I often think we are spiritual Hoarders!
What could you to – have more time for loving & serving God – be able to give more to God’s work? I’ll ask us again; How would my life change for the better if I gave more of my time, my money and my energy to what really matters most?
Paul then gives us the 2nd metaphor of the Christian life: An Athlete
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified..”
To be the best I can be for God, I must do 3 things winning athlete does:
- I MUST INTEND TO WIN!
It won’t happen accidentally… without effort… unless we make it a goal! A goal is a dream with tangible dates, accountability and priority!
Is there a difference between a competitive golfer & casual one? One plays to win! One is SERIOUS…How serious are you about living for Jesus? Or are you a casual Christian, playing church every few weeks?
1 Corinthians 9:24 “In a race everyone runs, but only one person wins the prize. So run your race to win!” Some of us here or online will never be the extraordinary person God made you to be. Why? You don’t want it deeply enough. Never intended to live a life that is God-centric, Jesus-filled and Spirit-empowered…we just wanted God to fix a tough patch in our daily lives! How badly do u want to win the prize?
You’re probably asking; What’s the prize, Chuck? 1 Timothy 6:12 “Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for THIS is the life that God called you to when you professed your faith before many witnesses.” To be the best I can be for God,
- I MUST DISCIPLINE MYSELF!
It won’t happen if we just do whatever we feel. When we live by moods and emotions, we wander without purpose and drift without a safe place to anchor We can’t make up our own rules. There are no shortcuts to maturity.
2 Timothy 2:5 “If anyone competes as an athlete, he cannot not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.”
1 Corinthians 9:25 & 27 “To win the contest you must deny yourself many things that would keep you from doing your best. An athlete goes into strict training just to win a ribbon or medal that won’t last, but we do it for an eternal reward that will last forever! So I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should…”
We all know the stories of what Olympic Athletes give up in order to be the best at their sport. You say, well Chuck I’m with you on the whole do my best thing, but deny myself? What are you willing to do without in order to be the best? Fame? Comfort? Money?
I read this a few days ago – “The pain of regret is always greater than the pain of discipline” What do you wish you’d been more disciplined about?
To be the best I can be for God…
- I MUST STAY FOCUSED ON THE REWARD!
I must remember the payoff… the result, the prize, the reward. I must see the end from the beginning! This is what enabled Jesus to endure the cross!
Hebrews 12:2 “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that joyful finish with God in heaven. —he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.
Can you imagine yourself in this picture of heaven? Let this motivate you to be disciplined 1 Corinthians 9:26 “I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step! I fight to win. I’m not just shadow-boxing or playing around.”
– Stay focused on the finish line
– Ignore the crowd in the stands (cheers/jeers)
– Don’t waste energy playing around!
And then the final metaphor – A Farmer 2 Corinthians 9:6-14 “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. Then God will generously provide all you need, and you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others… For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you! Yes, you will be enriched SO THAT you can give even more generously! … You will be glorifying God through your generous gifts, AND your generosity will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ!.
– Your life on earth is like planting a garden
– In heaven, you’re to reap the seed you sowed on earth.
– In heaven, you’re going to enjoy the fruit of what you planted here.
– 5 TIMES Jesus “STORE UP TREASURES IN HEAVEN”
The final lesson from the farmer is…TO REAP A GREAT HARVEST, I MUST: Plant generously IN FAITH That’s why we are asking you to use these weeks of February and March to give generously – Add $20 to whatever you now give to the Kingdom work through Sugar Hill Church – If you give zippidy doo-dah, give $20/week, if you give $500/week, give $520 a week. And if you come back to say God has not blessed me and God has not done what He promised, set a meeting up with me and we will give you back every dollar x 2!
Invite at least 2 people to join you here for worship and share the 5 minute a day / 5 days a week podcast through social media, message or email.
But I need to land this plane – so let’s end with 2 promises from Jesus Himself-
Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given back to you. You will be given much. It will be poured into your hands—more than you can hold. You will be given so much that it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.”
Mark 10:29-31 Jesus said, “I guarantee you this: Anyone who gives up anything for my sake and the Good News – whether a home or a family member or property – will get MORE THAN THAT BACK, multiplied a hundredfold, AND in the world to come they will be given life forever!”
The soldier saves lives The athlete wins the prize The farmer‘s harvest is more than he needs.
Today,I asked you to consider what things you could do without Because, in order to be the BEST you can be…There’s a lot of things in your life that you could do without, and your life would be better without the clutter! But there’s one thing you absolutely cannot do without: a daily, deep connection with Jesus! Can’t do what we talked about today simply by human effort! It’s takes God’s power in your life to sacrifice, to give, to win the prize, to reach the goal…