By Pastor Greg Byman
Senior Pastor of St. Joe Community Church
What will you do with your next 52 weeks? New Year's resolutions are just around the corner, and Pastor Greg Byman offers some biblical principles on how and why to treasure the time God gives us. Some of us will actually get another 52 weeks in 2018. Some of us will not. All of us are charged to regard our time on earth as precious, and we discover how precious life is when we consider the giver of that time--God.
Today's message is the second in a series entitled, "Your Next 52" and was preached on December 31, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
And in the same way God has called all of us as His children as as and as those of us who have put our faith in Him as our Savior and Lord we say we have a walk it needs to be worthy or just like the way in which we've been called respectful name we've been given forgiveness of our sense. And the least we can do is pay him back and to honor him we can't ever pay him back but to honor him. By giving him our best day in and day out. In fees and chapter four verse one and then go on down verse four verse seven Chapter four verse seventeen where it says Therefore I say this and testify in the Lord you should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk and if you tell of the of their thoughts they are darkened in their understanding excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them because of the hardness of their hearts they became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more and more and more we're talking about people that don't know the Lord to jet the word gentile there is distinguishing between believers and nonbelievers and he just used the euphemism or a our vernacular word for basically people who do not believe in Jesus Christ people who are not followers of God and they continue on a path that is that is not a path of wisdom in what the Lord has given us an understanding of what it means to live for him. And so we have this this contrast he says walk in a manner worthy of your calling not like those who are not called and are part of the family of God. Now other words when people say I'll go to church and more because all those people in there are a bunch of hypocrites and you all know this phrase that we're hypocrites in recovery but I hope they see the recovery more than the hypocrite that they actually see that we're moving and changing and becoming the someone that is a follower of Christ looks different at work. They don't blow up at their boss whenever they don't agree with them or he or she is unfair or cruel in some way. That you don't lose your temper or that in some way that you actually go back and say hey you overpaid me. You gave me too much change when I checked out your door is going to be short and I don't want that to happen to you and it's not right for me to take it. Or think it was Bill you had a pop pop underneath and they wouldn't even let you bring it back I mean what's that all about. He walked out sawed in pay for this well I don't have to do with people that are honest. They still know what to do about that we need to look different and act differently not like those who don't even claim the name of Jesus Christ. And infusions five two just before in that first that passage were already in Chapter five years to therefore be entertainers of God to do we have children and verse two and walk in love as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us as sacrificial in fragrant offering to God walk in love. This is this is a relationship walk with other people around us if you're living such a godly life and nobody can stand to be around you you may not be living the godly life God's intends for you to live that's probably full of pride. Walk in love. Even Paul said look you can believe everything you want but if you don't have love you're like a sounding gong that nobody wants to hear cymbals is. But I'm right. You can be totally right and be lonely and and useful to God if you're not walking in love. This walk that we're paying attention to is based on how we look to God and are calling. It's based on what we ought not to be doing is based on relationships this verse also goes on to say we need to walk wisely pay careful attention then to how you walk not as unwise people but as wise there are people. When we are called to live a life of wisdom. Pastor Dave shared that passage with us this morning in Proverbs and Proverbs Chapter one two and three it just sets the stage for the rest of that book in the Old Testament a collection of Proverbs of sayings that are helpful and are generally truthful statements don't take it to the fullest degree because there are general states there are principles not rules. And as you know principles are applied throughout circumstances they're not sometimes every individual circumstance you have to kind of look at the circumstance but Proverbs is a general way of living that as a general rule you do the right thing right things happen do the wrong thing wrong things happen. Sometimes we know we do the right thing and wrong things happen anyway but generally Proverbs is a great book to in fact if you're looking at starting a book to read this year that's a great book to read because we walk wisely in the light of Christ we see it said here for attention then to how you walk that word then in five verse fifteen is going backwards to the verses before it and in verse thirteen it says everything exposed by the light is made clear for what makes everything clear is light therefore it is said there get up sleeper and rise up from the dead and the Messiah will shine on you Jesus is shining on your life he's giving you the idea of what's right and what's wrong it's the wisdom that's from God not just personal wisdom not just wisdom from this world it's a wisdom that's Route group it rooted and grounded in the fact that I am following Christ and I understand and believe in Christ and it is through knowing hand that he gives us a wealth of wisdom and understanding of how to live our lives and not in not the empty arguments of people who are trying to debate and just then deny and defied the living God chapter five or six or it says don't let people deceive you with empty arguments from because of these things God's wrath is coming to the disobedient and. Verse eleven it's not the fruitless works of darkness not going after the things that we know that have been harmful to ourselves and the people around us and as on unhelpful to our walk. Going back to two thousand and seventeen what are the ways in things in which you did that you know that if people are to talk about you you hope they don't mention that. And you can rest assured that I've been able to find something good to say about every single person but I've been at their funerals so don't worry OK find something good about you but help me out. Help us out. Think about those things that you said in two thousand and seventeen you walked in darkness you walked in a way that was on pleasing and on holy and on right and not right and you did not you wouldn't really want people to know about that and God says I got a better plan for you for two thousand and eighteen I want to help you live better and do better seek my wisdom. And set of the world's wisdom seek the wisdom that I give you not is that you just going to come up with on your own so many times. So many times. We get into a pickle. We get into a bad situation not because we don't know what to do but we didn't seek the advice and the wisdom before we got there I'm talking about being proactive in two thousand and eighteen I'm talking about getting ahead of the game you don't show up for a championship match until you've actually done the work way before then in practice day in day out you just have what does December thirty first two thousand and eighteen look like for me and just when you think about well remove all the stuff you don't want to say about you from two thousand and seventeen and then start building a story of your life in Christ that is different looking and start looking at what that story's going to be like and then start building the chapters for the story day in day out walk wisely. And finally in this passage we see here use your time wisely. Use your time wisely. If you do not fill your time with what does please God you will definitely fill your time with what does not please God. It will get filled in for you. It's going to happen if you live if you have breath in your body and your heart keeps pumping. For three hundred sixty five more days you're going to be it two thousand and nineteen and whatever happens happens. I'm suggesting we become proactive in what happens. And it's like the guy that keeps saying I I I keep want to go get. More education or I keep wanting to go get a job so what have you applied anywhere no that doesn't help all I want to go do this or that I want to go fight wife well have you ever looked around to know where I find I want to find a good woman or I want to find a good man. But you look at all the looking for love in all the wrong places yeah some of us are old enough to remember that song. Yeah it's interesting how country songs are so theological But anyway. I was clean but sometimes but the illogical Anyway we got to use our time wisely that's what we have. I mean even when you go into a financial advisor time is your friend or if you haven't invested well and you towards the time is not your friend I mean if the time is a leverage tool that we all have Lord willing we've got a little bit of time we got today make the most of today make the most of tomorrow make the most start building a bank account of good decisions wise decisions over time there is one suggestion I this word pay careful attention or understand the times is is basically redeem or take back and be careful that you used your time now more wisely than you did in the previous time that you had because that time is gone what you have now is what you have you don't have tomorrow but we do have today. And maybe again if God were to give you fifty two more weeks you have something more than what you had in the past fifty two times how many old years old you are and it's amazing what can happen even in an instant when we make a determination that we're going to do the right thing pastor regular was here and I think he no he said that at a dinner time he didn't say it to you and he preached for us he said you know one decision. Can Change Your Life one decision. When you resolve that you're going to do something everything else is going to fall into place. He was hunting. And they were looking for bear he was a he was up somewhere hunting bear. And they saw he saw all the grizzly bear that he could've taken out are black bears a black bear and. They said you saw that bear Denise's Yeah let me take a shot I well I I just did says Were you here to hunt bear or to look at there are some here to hunt bear he says Well today you are here to hunt bear you are here just to look at bears. And there were very few people in this crowd of hunters that we have in this group today up on this mountain that actually saw any bears you want a lucky few that saw bear but you weren't prepared because you had no decision you did not decide that today you were going out to hunt bear your going out to hunt a bigger bear than what you thought you saw Yeah that's probably what it was he says you need to resolve that whatever bear you find that's the bear you're going to get. And the story is he made a decision that night. I may never see a bear again but if I see a bear I'm will get it and he did and he did. But he had to make a decision in this mind before he went out to hunt that bear that he was actually going to yeah kill the bear sorry some of your like. Whatever it's like deer deer hunting we won't go there were some of you guys. You have to make a decision before you get out of the car and get in the deer stand that you're going to do something about it and what decision you make today when you leave this room. Will be the footsteps and will lead you into the footsteps of little decisions that will result in the final decision of how you're choosing to live your life I want to add before you go to the next slide is that. Is verse seventeen and verse seventeen simply says so don't be foolish but understand what the Lord's will is Jonathan Edwards on his twentieth birthday John is that which was a famous preacher that was part of one of the greatest awakenings that America has ever experienced and way before any of our time and he said this on his twentieth birthday and indeed I would imagine that this quote is something that perpetuated him into a life of greatness for God and for our country and for the churches that had him in their service as a leader he said in his life resolved never to lose one moment of time but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can I may read that again resolved never to lose one moment of time but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can I wrote it on my. White board up in my office to have for a little while both stare at look at what the fees in Chapter five fifteen through seventeen underneath it is a quote As the passage. That we as we look at the time we need to look at what that is and as we look at it we need to understand what God's will is and and I've got doesn't you know I it's not that God's in His Word says you're going to marry Sally Jane and you're going to live in this house and you're going to have that kind of a job it's the general principles of God's Word as we apply our lives to the biggest to the big story of what God wants to do in our lives all the other things fall into place you take your next right step and your next step is to understand what God's will is generally for your life to understand what the wisdom is to live my life the right way build the right kind of relationships be the person you want to be around so that other people want to be around that kind of person so that you're around the right kind of people that's a general concept but it's true. Don't be someone no one can stand to be around you say man around around he's a jerk well maybe you're not a jerk and get a witness no don't know. I'm sayin be who God wants you to be and let him work out those other minor details so as we apply chapter five I want to give some practical things then we're going to home practical things. And I want to talk about how to start each week how to start S.T.A.R.T. And if you have a bulletin you have a pen hopefully you got all that when you came in if you don't say hey can I borrow your PIN and I'll get back to you so you can write it down too but I want you to look at it at the word start and we're going to have just a practical way of dealing with fifty two weeks in the year each week let's start right each day let's start right first of all the word the letter asked starts for scripture scripture what this god say I should do. If we're looking for wisdom let's look to the wisdom of the Word of God that has stood the test of time that governments have banished that other great institutions have said it is no longer valid or apropos and it's still the bestselling book it still continues to endure it is the most reviled book by many standards and yet it seems to still be the most popular book by all standards let's look at scripture what does God say If God be God why would he trick us he's got something positive to say in our lives he has something he wants us to know. Study what is true and right to make sure that you can make good and right decisions. I've learned what other counterfeits are I've studied the arguments I have studied I'm currently studying a couple of faith religious movements that are going on in our world today and I'm trying to get a handle on how to have conversations with and to encourage my own faith in my own understanding of God's word because I want to say God if you're true then you need to show me because I because it does pastors or does Pastor ever have a doubt I'm saying if you have never doubt in your whole life I don't know if you're even alive because everybody has had doubts at times about their faith I have. But every time I go back to the Word of God and every time I compare it historically logically. And as I compare it to anything else with out there I can't find anything else that compares and is enduring or has been as life changing as God's word has in my life and in the lives of people that I've seen. So what is God's Word say and here's another little acronym before we go to the rest of start and I'm going to use the soap plan Bible study soap clean up your life so I don't know somebody came up with this he's a pastor when Cordero in Hawaii pastor and in a church in Hawaii and he gave us this at a conference I was at years ago and I pulled this up I thought this would be helpful to use soap stands for scripture observation application and prayer so you take your Bible and you open up let's say that you cited for the next six days I'm going to study the Bible you can take a fusions chapter one tomorrow Chapter two The next day you have six chapters in a feature all the way through Saturday you've got six chapters you've read an entire book on the Bible you've never read an entire book in the Bible that be a nice little project for you to take one chapter read the chapter read through it Scripture then observe what's it saying Is there anything in here I don't understand well don't worry about that right now but is there something that does stick out to you will pay attention to that. So like when I'm done I'm preachin a lot of things I'm saying some of it on whatever but then I say one thing and. Grab ahold of that one thing go home with it. God's going to speak to you I believe he will he does observe what it says and then say how does that apply to my life right now what can I do about it if I What is something I can do about what I've just learned in God's word what I've observed. And then pray and say God help me to know how to play that out make that happen in my life today. So real simple get up in the morning do it at night during a lunch time somewhere during the day open your Bible it might be three verses a verse observe it get some application pray about it simple. You can go to six chapters you can start in the Book of Proverbs tomorrow and you can get thirty one days and thirty one chapters one month of reading proverbs just read it all the way through and when you get to the end of January you go wow I just read an entire book of the Bible and you go or maybe you want to dig into something out so you can go to look the book of Matthew Mark Luke or or John in the New Testament just go somewhere start somewhere and just walk through it right read through it. In order and see what God says it's really simple you can go get a fancy book in the bookstore you can go get a Bible and your book you can get all those things you can go to Amazon you can download it onto your candle you can do all kinds of things like that but if you just get a good old fashioned Bible. Open it up. It's not a scary book it's real simple if you've already opened it up to do is go back to chapter one you get six days and you get an entire book and I'm not saying you know for you have to have check marks check boxes there they do have things online you can download a checkbox and you can say I checked it off I did it I did it I did it it did it and then you look at all the things I did and it's not to be prideful it's about some of you you know satisfied when you've checked off all the things you have do in your list maybe that's good for you maybe on your on your Bible you can even You're allowed do this just give you you're allowed to do this take a pencil or pen that den bleed through to the other side because these are thin pages usually and just put a little star I read that chapter. Maybe put a date by it I read that chapter on this day tiny letters and then when you get older you get these glasses and can read it what it said and that way you kind of have a marker of where you've been let's go back to that story at the end of your life you know what's really fun for me. As when I get a Bible from somebody who passed away. And there are markings in that Bible that I can go back to and say you know George. He underlined this passage. And that really meant something to him. And I just can't imagine you can just imagine the can a man this guy used to be must have been if he would have thought that passage was important. And usually when that's written down or that's marked up or something's in there then their families say yeah and he did this this and this and it sort of brings out a story because they've looked at he was a believer in the story so so scripture talents. God's given you talents. He's given you things that that you can do he's given you abilities now now now we're going to talk later and this month we're going to start a series around talk about our spiritual gifts and abilities that God's given a spirit sleigh but what am I able to do is the question start somewhere well what can I do by Were says it's better to be the door keeper in the house of the Lower than anything I mean that's as is an enjoyable as anything else and I'm going to open doors for people. Just open doors for people welcome you know today here take take the first shopping cart I'll get the next one just what are you going to do that's going to be a different step of life than what you've been doing the past fifty two weeks what are able to do what are you good at what do you seem to have a knack for what people seem to keep asking you to do that you're good at and there's some things you want to do that you're not so good at but what do you already good at and don't worry about what you can't do well be excited about what you can do well and improve on that what comes naturally to you. Do it. And then availability. Where has God placed me where are you in life where are you who is around you what's what's going on around you what doors are open for you to do it why I want to go be the C.E.O. of that company over there really you're not even employed what you mean. No I don't think so I think you need to start here and work yourself up you're open this door is open I don't want that job Yeah well it's the one you've got Thank God for it a few people in line waiting for jobs. Be thankful. Be available if you take care of what's available to you right now. Scripture. What's God say. Talents. What's got to enable me to be like and do what my good at available. That's out there that's already open for me to be involved in. Without pushing through doors what doors are already open. Don't be kicking down doors that you don't know what's on the other side you think you've got to get there you think you've got to have this you've got to have this I got to have this I got to have this no you don't sometimes God's best gift is the one he doesn't give you because it will ruin your. Resources where is he placed me and what's God give me to work with what's the material I got my hand I got five dollars Craig what are going to do those five dollars We're going to do with them blow that McDonalds. How are we going to spend the five dollars I guess spend the five hundred dollars what do you have in your hand. What do you already have in your possession that God has given you to be responsible for God wants you to be responsible for what you already have before he gives you what you don't have asked the rich man one time how much money would it take for you to be satisfied he said just a little more just a little more. Every time you add a zero that's more responsibility to your life financially every time you add an extra car that's more responsibility in your life every time you add an extra this or that that's more responsibility more things to take care of. What do you already have that God's given you and your resources and finally together who has God placed in my life to walk with in this journey of walking wisely understanding the Lord's will redeeming the time. For the days are evil. Who do you see this book and if this if Asians was not written just to you or to me it was written to a church it was reserved written to a group of people. This is the plural conversation walk everybody everybody in the room here everybody walk just pay careful attention then to how you walk all of you not as unwise people but as wise people not as a wise person people plural making the most of the time all of us make most of the time because the days are evil so don't be foolish everybody but understand everybody what the Lord's will is everybody everybody we're all in this together. Don't be a lone ranger in two thousand and eighteen stick into the Body of Christ stick into a small group stick into some people you trust stickin to some people in your life that can actually speak truth and encouragement into you. And actually help you up when you're down and you can help them up when they're down we got to be together in this ALWAYS WILL CHAMBERS. At his death his wife put together many of his sayings many of his words into a devotional form and it's a devotional that's been as popular as any other devotional has been my utmost for his highest. And I want to read December thirty first the one that was written for this day many years ago but is just appropriate today as it was when he was alive. God require thought that which is passed as a. Fifty two twelve says the God of Israel will be your reward at the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays our present enjoyment of God is of God's grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday's sins and blunders but God is the God of our yesterdays and he allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present security for tomorrow for the Lord will go before you this is a gracious revelation that God will garrisoned when and where we have failed to he will watch less things trip us up again like in into like failure as they as surely would do if he were not our reward or God's hand reaches back to the past and makes a clearing house for our conscience. As we go forth into the coming year let it not be in the haste of impetuous and remembering delight nor with the flight of impulse of thoughtlessness but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us our yesterdays present irreparable things to us it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never be returned but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future let the past sleep but let it sleep in the in the love of Christ leave the past in his hands and step out into the future with him on the where you've been these past fifty two weeks literally I think if you know where you've been no just kidding. I don't know where you've been the last fifty two weeks god us. Some of you have walked in some places that you don't care to walk back to again some of you have said words that you wished you never said some of you had feelings towards people you had issues. You stepped into some things because you didn't prepare for your past fifty two. But God has graced you with the ability to look into the next fifty two. And my question this morning as we leave today is what are you going to do with the next fifty two How are you going to walk wisely. Were you going to start this morning. What one thing are you going to do differently that's going to put a trajectory of your life into far different than it ended in two thousand and seventeen there was a movie called Armageddon. I think it had Bruce Willis in it. And these astronauts were tasked with going up and detonating a nuclear bomb into this asteroid that was going to destroy the earth. Their goal was to hit it and their first their goal was to hit it in such a way that it would move it away from the trajectory of destroying Earth in Nasa's terms they actually have all these little rockets around their satellites. And just a little and they move it just a little bit differently. And they move it a little bit differently. And the ject area of where that rocket or that satellite goes is changed until they decide to push it in a different direction. That's a whole lot more science than I understand. But I do know this. As way together resolve that we're going to do a little something different and we did last year I believe we will arrive at a different location than we arrived on December thirty first two thousand and seventeen. And my prayer is that when you get to two thousand and eighteen you'll enjoy it more than you do today and if you've enjoyed today that you'll find even more joy than you've ever thought was possible. In three hundred sixty five days Lord willing.
B: Bible book