Scripture Reference: (Galatians 1:15, KJV)
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
I am sorry it’s taken so long to resume our series taken from Oswald Chambers legendary devotional My Utmost for His Highest. It’s been a season of learning to write only when God says it’s time, and while I began this series believing we’d finish it on time…I guess I didn’t really anticipate that the on time would be on God’s time.
I am continuing to learn so much from my daughter and my experience at being a stay at home dad. There’s been much that God’s shown me, but it’s not stuff for me to share…just for me to learn…and as you know I’ll share it with you when God says it’s time.
Anyways, we have finished 10 messages in this 30 message series, and we’re starting our next 10 today. I think we’ll enjoy this message, and I am believing as always that God will enable me to write something that will impact lives.
As I believe God for ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts that are receptive and responsive…I’m asking you to that with me, and to believe that He will make my fingers as that of a ready writer…writing only of the oracles of God…and that He’ll anoint me now this moment to write from His heart to yours. In Jesus’ name…Amen.
Today’s Message: “Leave Room For God”:
I don’t find it any coincidence that this is my first message back from the short hiatus He had me take…because…well it was for the sole purpose of making sure I have room for Him to minister to me, teach me, and also to take time to just enjoy being home with my little girl.
I’m ready, God willing, to sit down and really endeavor to stay on track and finish this series. As you know through this series I’ve been taking part in two challenges that I’ve maintained. The first is a 21 day challenge where I set aside a minimum of 15 minutes a day to do nothing, but sit at Jesus’ feet. The other a 30 Day challenge that when I’m listening to music…I only listen to praise and worship music.
So, coming back to a message about leaving room for God…I guess I had to actually be able to do that before I began writing about it. I’m going to finish the 21 Day challenge first, but just because I’m finished that doesn’t mean I no longer need to sit at Jesus’ feet. What that challenge was about was re-establishing a habit of making sure that in the busyness of being a stay at home dad, writing these messages, doing what I can to be helpful around the house, and all that I have to remember to do just what this message is about…making sure I leave room for Jesus in every single day.
Doing the music challenge along with this is really helpful because it’s already got me in an attitude of worship where I’m already wanting to sit at Jesus’ feet. It’s important to spend time at the Lord’s feet, and the reason for that is the same one I’ve been giving throughout this series…because it’s there that we are able to serve God from the right place, right motive, and with a right heart.
So, let’s see what we can learn from Mr. Chambers about leaving room for God…
As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him—to give God “elbow room.”
When I think about making room for God I can’t help, but to think about the innkeeper in the Christmas story. Most people focus on how so many didn’t have room for Jesus at all, but this innkeeper although he didn’t have a room…he gave Jesus what he was able to give…and thus we have the story of our Savior being born in a manger.
I imagine that this manger is the equivalent to that “elbow room” to give God, but as I am doing this daily challenge it’s clear to me that God wants more than elbow room…He wants unlimited access to our hearts and lives. But, this is right…we need to learn to make room for Him.
I can speak to this a little bit with my own experiences, and the main thing that winds up taking the room we’re supposed to leave for God is the cares of the world. That’s why the people who fall into the category of the third soil wind up having the cares of the world choke out the Word of God…and drown out the voice of the Holy Ghost.
The cares of the world, if not watched carefully will get you off-balance, and before you know it they can take up all of your time, energy, and life. There’s a statement that my pastor makes all the time, and it’s relevant to this message because if the devil can’t make you made…he will see to it that he keeps you busy.
I submit to you that the reason that nearly 90% of all Christians (myself included) don’t spend either any or enough time reading their Bibles isn’t because they don’t want to…but because they don’t think they have time to. They have jobs, families, bills, pets, television shows to watch, and all kinds of other things to do. They aren’t bad people, they aren’t living like the world, but they’ve become Martha’s when they really need to stop and spend time at Jesus’ feet like Mary.
I found myself in exactly that place as a pastor and as a person who is trying to learn how to balance ministry, family, seeking employment, and taking my own time to be at Jesus’ feet. I thought that I had learned to do all that in the few months that I was still employed and my daughter was born. I thought I had learned to slow down like God spoke to me…that was the very first thing God spoke to me when my daughter was born. Slow down, enjoy life, and adjust your priorities.
When I lost my job I didn’t really notice it at first because it was right before Christmas. So, with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays I wasn’t really able to see just how full of the cares of the world I was and how little room for Jesus I had until the holidays were over…and even then I still didn’t really notice it. We had some really snowy weather here, and we were kinda stuck home for a while…and as I started this series it slowly began to dawn on me, but it didn’t really hit me until my wife went back to work, my step-son went back to school…and I think it was the second or third day that it was just my and Elisabeth…and it dawned on me just how little I’d really slowed down.
At first I was trying to do this series along with the Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young, and what I found out shortly before I began doing the 21 Day challenge of sitting at Jesus’ feet…the first time…is that I was so busy that I didn’t even last three days…but then I decided to try the 21 Day challenge again as I heard the Lord’s words “Don’t skimp on your time with Me.”, and I realized I had become more like Martha than Mary…and then I began to really get into this series to find that the reason sitting at Jesus’ feet is so important is because this is where we learn that in order to serve like Martha we first have to be like Mary and make room for Jesus in every single day of our lives.
That’s what God mean when He told me to slow down and re-adjust my priorities. It wasn’t that I was doing the wrong thing, but that I wasn’t taking the time to do the most important thing…make room for Him.
We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses.
You see, even in ministry we can become so busy that we forget that we need to make time to sit at the Lord’s feet. Not for everyone else’s benefit, but ours. It’s easy to get complacent, and think that because I’m writing these messages that I don’t need to make time to sit at the Lord’s feet for myself, but the truth is I do…and that’s why Jesus didn’t scold Martha for being busy or for wanting to serve Him…but because she forgot that making room and time for Him was more important than serving…and as I’ve mentioned many times throughout this series the reason that’s so important is because when we serve God without taking time to sit at His feet…it’s easy to think we’re doing so with the right heart, right motives, and right reasons…but when you take that time to sit at the Lord’s feet and then serve you find that what you though were the right reasons, motives, and heart weren’t really so.
The only way you know for sure that you’re serving out of love is to be sure to take the time to sit at the Lord’s feet. By doing the Christian music and sitting at the Lord’s feet challenges together I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s easy to trick ourselves into thinking we’re always serving God out of the right heart and motive.
We think that just because we’re not serving God out of the mentality of what’s in it for me…that qualifies as the right motives for us to be in ministry. However, Paul wrote about what the correct motive is…LOVE. When the motive for what we do (even ministry wise) is anything other than love…then we’re doing it for the wrong reason.
Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly, God meets our life—“when it pleased God.”
Since the beginning of the year, I had this plan that I was going to write a lot more than I did last year, and I wrote down a plan to make that happen. The problem was it was my plan, and I did that without really consulting God. I wanted to write this series, I wanted to write along with the Jesus Calling devotional for the Ministry Facebook Page, I wanted to write another for my Personal Facebook Account, I wanted to write a devotional for my LinkedIn Profile Page, and in addition to that I wanted to make sure to have Daily Verses for both Facebook pages, Twitter, and Google+ as well.
I didn’t see it at the time, but as I was writing that list I can see that list is quite ambitious. However, what I can also see is that I was not taking into account that I would be staying home to take care of a newborn baby, I was going to take over a lot of the cooking, helping out with other household things like laundry, and what I quickly found out is that taking care of my daughter is a full-time job…and that while there’s nothing wrong with the amount of writing I wanted to do…the honest truth looking at that list is that when I was writing it out…I didn’t see how unrealistic that was. I wasn’t really able to see it at the time, but as I look at that list now…I can see the subtle way the devil tried to get me so busy and he did it by making it look like a good thing because it was in the context of wanting to serve God…but what I’m realizing even now as I’m writing this message is that wanting to do all of that is exactly what’s meant by the devil trying to get us busy.
The other thing that I’m seeing and that the Lord is speaking to me about as I am writing this message is that is exactly what the difference between Martha and Mary was. Martha was consumed with doing and even though what she was doing was good because she was doing it out of a heart of love wanting to serve the Lord…it wasn’t the most important thing…simply spending time with Jesus was and still is the single most important thing for every one of us who are believers…and I would go out on a limb to say that it’s even more important for those of us in ministry.
Think about it. Pastors take on so much of the work within their church, and before you know it they burn out. Before you know it, instead of seeking the guidance of the Holy Ghost for their sermons they don’t have hardly any time to study the Bible because their doing so much…and even though what they’re doing is service to the church…they’re doing it without the most important thing…time in their prayer closets.
So, they take care of the bookkeeping, the church fundraisers, the evangelism team, the worship team, they do the counseling, they do weddings, funerals, hospital visits, nursing home visits, jail and prison visits, they also have families, and then they want more programs so the pastor has to get involved in all the programs, then there’s the services at least two maybe three times a week.
Can I tell you something…I’m getting exhausted just reading and writing that list. I can’t imagine being the pastor of a church, having all that to do, and on top of that having to find time to study for sermons…no wonder they have online sites dedicated to helping pastors preach on Sunday. They have full sermons available with jokes and illustrations. All you have to do is print them out…and you have a sermon with notes, jokes, and everything else you need…everything but the anointing that comes from sitting at the Master’s feet.
I know I’m touching a nerve, but that’s why we have so many pastors who are preaching from sermons they bought off the internet instead of sermons that they personally studied and got revelation from the Holy Ghost about.
Friends, I don’t write a message unless I know that when I sit down in front of this computer the anointing of the Holy Ghost is going to be there. That’s part of the reason why this series has taken me so long to get through the first half of the messages. I’ve had days where the only thing I felt the anointing to do is post the daily Bible verses. There have been days where I’ve had absolutely no anointing to write or post anything…and you know what I did…I didn’t write or post anything.
Because when you take the time to sit at the Master’s feet you begin to understand that in order to do anything in the ministry that’s where you have to start…at the Master’s feet. I don’t write without the anointing to do so because I can’t. I have tried to write just to write…and before I get a few words typed I know that there’s no point because there isn’t any power or anointing, and I just simply stop.
I don’t want to do this without the anointing on me to do it, and if there’s no real anointing to write a message…all I’m doing is typing words on a computer screen…but when the Holy Ghost is flowing…that’s when I write messages that impact lives, encourage hearts, and do the ministry I’m called to do with the right heart, right reason…and right motive.
I think this is a good place to close this message, and give Mr. Chambers the final word…
Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.
Lord, please breathe on us until our frame is knit to Your thoughts, Your Word, and Your Spirit. Lift us, Father God, until we see Your face and trust Your Almightiness without fear or insidious unbelief. Help us, Dear God, to keep our lives so in touch with You that Your anointing can flow through us. Teach us, Father, that needful thing that You taught Mary and Martha…that while there’s nothing wrong with serving You…the one needful thing is that we find ourselves at Your feet where we’re filled by Your Spirit and ministered to. We love You, Lord Jesus, and ask You to always be the center of everything we do, and make love the central reason for all that we do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen & Amen
I don’t know about you, but I want that constant state of expectancy, and I want to make sure that God has all the access and room in my life that He wants. After all, the more access and room He has in my life…the better I’m getting at writing these messages.
I truly am sorry that I’ve taken so long to get through this series, but how can I write about making room for God if I’m not making room for Him? I guess the reason I’ve been taking so many breaks is because God wanted to make sure I was practicing what I’m preaching.
I’m almost finished with both challenges now…but I’ve discovered that when I have worship music on it affects everything…even my daughter. When the peace of God is manifest…it makes everything that much nicer…and it also makes continuing on with what these challenges taught me the reason why removing almost all the secular music from my phone…and soon my CD collection worth while.
I’ve even learned that some times silence is better than having that other crap on in the background, and the most important reason other than my own spiritual health…is that it’s making a positive impact upon my little girl…and it’s important that she grows up knowing that in this house…we worship Jesus.
Thanks for your patience. Lord willing…we will be getting this series finished because I believe there’s some good stuff God’s going to want us to get into…and Resurrection Sunday is right around the corner. So, Lord willing, we’re not going to be taking anymore breaks, and we’ll be finishing this series on or around March 13 or so.
A Personal Note From Pastor Bryan:
Have you been blessed by this ministry? Would you like to help me out?
Here are some really practical ways you can help me out.
1) Engage – I don’t always have time to reply to everyone but I read every single comment and post on here. I reply to every message and email and every one blesses me! Please do get involved and let me get to know you in the little ways we can online.
2) Share – If you love the posts here, or maybe an article on the website… please share it on Facebook or Twitter… it really helps new people find this ministry and be blessed by the good news of the gospel…and tell people about us.
3) Pray – We really value your prayers. Pray for this message to find good soil – that God would continue to bring new faces to this ministry that are ready to accept His embrace.
Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. All of you who follow me are of great encouragement to me…and I’m grateful for all of you.
Please check out
http:www.christlikeministriesnwa.com to find out more about me & my ministry.
You can also follow me on Twitter @ChristMinistNWA and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ChristlikeMinistriesNWA.
God bless you and thank you for being a part of the Christlike Ministries NWA family. I truly love and am thankful for all of you.
Bryan J. Kizer
Pastor/Founder Christlike Ministries NWA