LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

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Location: Phila Metro, Pennsylvania, United States

Tentmaking Evangelist (Architect). An Evangelist with the Anchor Bay Evangelistic Association (non-denominational). Co-Founder of Kingdom Gospel Ministries, a ministry now in its 31st year with a mission to reconcile people of different racial, ethnic, and economic situations, and the producer of two weekly radio programs - a Sunday morning verse-by-verse Bible Study on Radio Delaware Valley and a weekly radio drama on the Wilkins Radio network. He also has archived many, many programs on the Internet. John is also a PA/NJ Architect with his own practice in its 38th year working on a wide variety of projects. Acutely interested in politics since a teenager with many articles published over the last 50 years and served as a guest on a Talk Radio show discussing race relations and on It's Your Call TV show with Lynn Doyle dealing with the subject of interethnic marriage.

Monday, November 28, 2011

OUR LOVE LIST

TIM SHARPE shared on this topic in a brief meditation at the first Sunday of Advent at Living Word Community, and since his time was limited, and I appreciated so much of what he said about priorities and what our true loves in life really are, I wanted to build on what he said. So much talk occurs today about loving the Lord. However, do we really love the Lord above all else? How would we know?

If you ever went to a financial counselor, one of the things they would tell you to do is the track your "walking around money". All of us spend money on newspapers, sandwiches, coffee, soda, and small impulse purchases. Almost all of us grossly underestimate the amount we spend. It makes all the difference between financial success and failure. If you spend $10 per week, that is $520 per year, but if you spend $20 per day, which is shockingly easy to do, that is $7,300. A substantial figure. The counselors suggest you write EVERY purchase down, no matter how small. That is the only way you will know. Perceptions can stray rather far from reality.


If you were asked how much time you spend with your wife in a week, would you be anywhere close? At a marriage seminar, we found that some couples have fewer than two minutes of real communication on meaningful issues a day. Sure, there are discussions about who is picking up Rex from soccer, what we need from the store, and things like that. But in terms of heart-to-heart communication? Perhaps that is why so many wives do not warm up in the bedroom because they want meaningful communication in other venues as well.
I believe the same applies to the Lord as well. When pressed, I find that a lot of Christians have a pretty slim record of communication with the Lord. Sure, in many cases there are prayers before eating, prayers before travel or the kids leaving for school, and prayer at church, but how much heart-to-heart communication is there with the Lord? Precious little I am afraid. Perhaps we should take a page out of the finance counselor's book. If we were to track our time for one week, what would we find? Let's look at a typical example for a guy who makes time for his wife and kids each week, who DOES go to Church and a Mid-Week Meeting each week and who DOES open his Bible every day to read a few verses and pray briefly for his family and his needs: 

Work including lunch hour - 45 hours 
Commute to work, assuming 20 minutes a day or so - 4 hours. 

Dressing and showering - perhaps 30 minutes a day - 4 hours 

Eating, perhaps an hour a day including eating out - 7 hours 

Sleeping including naps - will assume 7 hours per day - 49 hours 

Miscellaneous taxi service for the kids to school, ballet, soccer - 4 hours 

Junior's sports contest Saturday morning - 2 hours 

Shopping - 3 hours 

That comes to a total of 118 hours out of 168 hours in a week. That leaves us 50.  Let's keep going… 

Favorite TV Programs excluding sports - 2 hours per day three days per week - 6 hours. 

Saturday College Football - 3 hours 

Playing with the kids - 2 hours 

Church and Sunday School - 3 hours 

Mid-week Prayer Meeting - 3 hours 

Volunteer time at Church with teenagers - 3 hours 

Sunday NFL - assume two of the three games - 6 hours 

Monday Night Football - three hours before falling asleep - 3 hours. 
Sports Center throughout the week - 2 hours
Reading the paper and magazines - 2 hours 

Washing and cleaning the car - 1/2 hour 

Home Maintenance - 2 hours. 

Family discussions - 1 hour 

Date Night with Wife - 3 hours
Cuddling and Sex with spouse - 3 hours 

Personal Prayer and Bible Study - 7 minutes a day - 49 minutes hour.
That leaves us fewer than 7 hours. About an hour a day. Many people have far more time they cannot account for. Time we can't even figure what we did is over eight times that of all our alone time with the Lord. Could you imagine what the church would be like if that hour were spent with the Lord even leaving everything else alone? And yet some people don't even take those few minutes each and every day! Even if you were phenomenal with your time management, and spent those seven hours a week in the word, you can see that the evidence is strong that it is STILL not your top priority. Likewise, you can see that those who are heavily involved in many church activities, social clubs, and the like may have fewer hours for TV, but still not enough time for God. In fact, a lot of church meetings can actually work AGAINST you having a vibrant relationship with Christ. I am not writing this to make you a person who pursues no other activities that bring you joy, but simply to understand that if we want to know how much we love the Lord, we need to be aware of how we use our time and to not shortchange the Lord. The simple fact of the matter is that we spend time with people and activities that we love.
Beyond that, priorities must be looked at. Who comes first? If it is 30 seconds to go in the game, and Tebow is down 6 points and has the ball, but the Lord asks you to turn it off and intercede for the Saints, will you do it? Or will you tell the Lord to wait thirty seconds, which in reality is usually several minutes with all the time outs? Now I believe the Lord is a Tebow fan because Tebow is a fan of God, and I don’t think he will ask you this constantly. However, sometimes the Lord really DOES want to know where our FIRST LOYALTIES lie. I remember driving down the Schuylkill Expressway listing to a favorite program on the radio and the Lord simply telling me to turn it off because he wanted to talk with me. I did it on that occasion, but I must confess I have lingered or totally disobeyed other times.
What if we have a few spare moments during the day – is our first thought to look for a new app for our I-phone or I-pad or to commune with our heavenly Father.  I am sure we all fall short in areas like this.  However, once we recognize where our love is, we can adjust our lives so that the Lord always comes first.
We need to list what we value - a LOVE LIST as Tim Sharpe liked to call it - and align our priorities so that whatever we do, in word or deed, we do all to the glory of God.