I Can Make a Difference part 3: Do You Have an Hour to Spare?

Okay everyone, one more time. Say it with me, “I can make a difference”.

Do you believe that? Do you truly believe that you can make a difference? What do you have to do in order to make a difference in this world that God has placed you in? Today I want to look at the thought, “Do you have an hour to spare?”

In Matthew we read a very familiar passage of scripture. It is one that we read all the time during Easter. It is the story where Jesus is praying at the garden of Gethsemane.

Let’s look at Matthew 26:36-46.

36. Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”

37. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.

38. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

39. He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

40. Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?

41. Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42. Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

43. And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.

44. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

45. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.

46. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

Look closer at verse 40. It says, “Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?’”

Do you notice how he singles Peter out? Why Peter? I believe it was because He was closer to Peter and He saw great potential in Peter as the leader of the bunch over anyone else.

And He asks Peter that question, “Could you not watch with Me one hour?”

I can see Him looking at Peter and maybe He has tears in His eyes, maybe there was just a look, but it was as He was telling Peter, “One hour, that’s all I’m asking you for is one hour.”

Maybe Jesus has come to you today and He is asking you, “Do you have an hour to spare?” The disciples couldn’t make it an hour at that moment. And knowing now what Jesus was about to go through I’m thinking surely you could give Him one hour. But the disciples didn’t know what He was about to go through. They didn’t know until it happened.

But we know. We have the Bible to tell us what Jesus went through. We have the Bible to tell us about the trial that He was falsely accused of. We have the Bible to tell us about the beating that He endured. We have the Bible to tell us about the nails that weren’t driven in His hands and feet. We have the Bible to tell us about His last words on the cross as He hung there and said it is finished. And we have the Bible to tell us about the resurrection. So surely after we know all that we know we can make the decision to spare an hour for Him.

After all, look at what He has done for us.

Here’s the challenge. I challenge you to commit one hour of worship, one hour of personal devotion, and one hour of service each week.

The hour of worship will be easy if you attend church each week, but if for some reason you miss church one week, just make it up at home by listening to worship music and find you a good preacher on TV or podcast. Most weeks the one of hour of service could be easy depending on what you do in the church to serve. But serving doesn’t have to just be in the church, it could be volunteering somewhere else. And the devotion time will be something that you may have to work on. Some of you no problem you are already doing this. But think about it this way, if you took Monday through Saturday and spent just 10 minutes a day on reading your Bible and praying you would accomplish one hour in a week.

Think about how much time we give to other things in our life. How many hours a week do you watch TV? How many hours a week do you play on the computer? How many hours a week do you spend on your relationships? How many hours do you spend doing housework? Sure, none of these things are bad things, but we spend time on them because we want to do them.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Could you not give me just one hour?” Just one. And I believe that He is asking that of you today. Do you have an hour to spare?

I want to close with an article written by a man named Monte Unger. It was written in a publication called NAVLOG in January of 1975. This is what it says.

How often have you talked with someone on the telephone who seemed to be in a hurry and wanted to get on with more important business? Or visited with someone on the street and received that same hurried feeling? You’ve undoubtedly experienced it…and didn’t enjoy it. And, perhaps, you have also been guilty of this. If you have, why not decide to tithe time, save up chunks, bits and pieces of it, and give them away to people who interrupt your pre-established plans?

It is a great principle of love that people don’t interrupt, not really. Perhaps there shouldn’t even be such a word as interrupt; for when people come into your existence, even for a brief time, that is a wonderful moment of experience for both of you. Relish it. Probe it. Invest some of the time you have tithed. We can’t afford to indulge in the luxury of “being too busy and important” for another person.

We have time for such inanimate things as pieces of mail, vast sprawling shopping centers, the television program which starts at 7:30. But what about relationships with people? Isn’t that a great deal of what life is all about–loving other people? Remember Jesus? How he raced about, hurrying from one city to another, collecting great crowds on the way to give them a few minutes of hurried heaven-data, then dashing on to the next place?

No, that is not the picture of Jesus the New Testament gives. He had time for people. In a crowd, a woman touched his robe. Lots of people were probably pushing against him, touching his robe, but he discerned the urgency in this particular touch. He stopped, taking valuable time for this “interruption.” His disciples were full of fire and computer-like- efficiency. They wanted to get on with the task of getting something done, even if they didn’t always know what that “something” was.

Once a bunch of small, grimy-fingered kids came along and wanted to climb on the Master’s lap. “Get those kids out of here,” thought the goal-oriented disciples.

“No, let them stay. Let’s enjoy them and let them enjoy us,” thought the true-goal-oriented Man from heaven who knew and expressed the great worth of the individual.

The next time a person “interrupts” you, think not of your work and your deadlines; rather, think of that person’s needs, of his covert compliment in desiring to spend a few moments with you. Your meeting may be a significant point in each of your lives, because it is an encounter with another person God has created. you may impart something crucial to his fulfillment–or he to yours.

Paul prayed: “May God, who gives patience, steadiness, and encouragement, help you to live in complete harmony with each other–each with the attitude of Christ toward the other” (Rom. 15:5, TLB). Are you caught up on your time-tithe?

Again my question to you today is do you have an hour to spare?

I Can Make a Difference Part 2: America’s Got Talent

Okay, here we go again, I want everyone to say it out loud, who cares what your neighbor thinks, say it out loud now! Everyone says “I Can Make a Difference.” Here we go!

“I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!”

Did anyone hear you? Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that you can make a difference? If we really believe that we can make a difference then what are you doing with your life to make a difference?

Today, I want to look at the thought “America’s Got Talent.”

What do you do? What gifts, talents, or hobbies do you have that you can use to serve others? Whatever they are, they can be used for the kingdom of God. Whatever talent you have we, the church, can use it for the kingdom.

Let’s look at Romans 12:1-2.

  1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
  2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

When I was a kid, I loved transformers. I thought they were the coolest things. I remember taking these toys that were cars, planes or trucks and turning them into a robot. I loved the cartoon. Every day after school I would come home and watch transformers. I would always root for the Autobots and I would love it when they beat the Decepticons.

Now I know that Paul is not talking about transformers here, but he is talking about being transformed. Paul is speaking to the church in Rome and he is telling them to be transformed into the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Paul is saying that we need to be transformed into what God wants us to be. We need to be transformed into His will for us.

Then Paul goes into what I believe is God’s good and perfect will for us. Let’s look at the rest of that chapter, Romans 12:3-21

  1. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
  2. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
  3. so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
  4. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
  5. or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
  6. he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
  7. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
  8. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
  9. not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
  10. rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
  11. distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
  12. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
  13. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
  14. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
  15. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
  16. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
  17. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
  18. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
  19. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Do you notice that right after Paul talks about doing the perfect will of God that he begins talking about the different gifts that each person has?

God’s desire is for us to use the gifts that we have that are to be used in His perfect will. All of us have gifts that God has given us and God wants us to use those gifts for the glory of God. He wants us to do everything for His glory. We are not to receive any of the glory, but it is for His glory.

Has any of you ever heard of the term glory-hog? A glory-hog is someone that has to get all the glory for himself. If you have ever been a part of sports in your lifetime you know most sports are team sports. There are only a handful of sports that are individual sports. I don’t like glory-hogs in sports. If a player scores a touchdown and he won’t give the rest of his team credit then that person is a glory-hog.

The work of the kingdom of God is a team sport. It takes all of us to do our part for the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 says, “12) For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13) For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14) For in fact the body is not one member but many.”

All of us have our gifts that God has given us and all of us has our part to play in the kingdom of God. The body or church cannot function properly without all of us. 1 Corinthians continues on saying that the eye can’t do without the hand and the hand can’t do without the foot. Just like the body needs all the parts to function properly so does the church body need all its parts.

So, today how can you make a difference? You can make a difference by doing your part in the body of Christ. What are the talents that God has given you? Maybe you don’t sing or play a guitar. Maybe your talent is hospitality or teaching. Maybe you are a passionate person with a love for people.

There are some things that you can do that other people can never do or will never be able to do. Maybe you don’t know what your special talent is. You need to begin finding that talent by praying and asking God to show you what your special gift or talent is. After you have prayed and asked God to reveal it to you, begin finding ways in the church that you can use your special talent and if you don’t know where you can use that talent, then you need to ask. And the last thing you need to do is fulfill the need in the church. Don’t leave it up to someone else to take your spot. I believe that if you don’t use your talent or gift then God will give it to someone that will.

This morning I want to close with this story.

Have any of you ever heard of Bertoldo de Giovanni. Bertoldo de Giovanni is a name even the most enthusiastic lover of art is unlikely to recognize. He was the pupil of Donatello, the greatest sculptor of his time, and he was the teacher of Michelangelo, the greatest sculptor of all time. Michelangelo was only 14 years old when he came to Bertoldo, but it was already obvious that he was enormously gifted. Bertoldo was wise enough to realize that gifted people are often tempted to coast rather than to grow, and therefore he kept trying to pressure his young prodigy to work seriously at his art.

One day he came into the studio to find Michelangelo toying with a piece of sculpture far beneath his abilities. Bertoldo grabbed a hammer, stomped across the room, and smashed the work into tiny pieces, shouting this unforgettable message, “Michelangelo, talent is cheap; dedication is costly!”

With that in mind, I say to you, “talent is cheap; dedication is costly.” Are you dedicated to the things that the father in Heaven has for you or are you more concerned about things that don’t really matter?

Veteran’s Day Prayer

Today I had the privilege of giving the invocation at the Veteran’s Day service at the National Cemetery in Fort Smith, AR. I want to share that prayer with you for Veteran’s Day.

Our Gracious Heavenly Father,

We come before you on this special day to honor all of the military personnel that have served this great country. Lord thank you for giving us men and women who were willing to sacrifice and serve so that we could enjoy the freedom and liberties that this great nation stands for. Lord, if we ever forget or take for granted this freedom then quickly bring to our remembrance the suffering that it took to maintain this freedom.

Lord, today we pray for the veteran that was wounded during combat. We pray for those that have lost limbs, became deaf or blind or any other lifelong reminders of the horror that war can bring. We pray for those that are suffering from the unseen wounds of the mind and any neurological disorders. We pray for the veterans that are in homeless shelters or living on the streets. We pray for their safety and comfort.

We pray for those on active duty and those who are in the Reserves. Keep them safe and secure. And give them strength and wisdom to do what they have been called to do.

Finally, we pray for the family of those that are serving, the wives, mothers and fathers. We ask that you watch over the marriages that have paid a high price. We pray for the children who will miss their mom or dad this holiday season. Fill them with your love and understanding and give them a way to communicate this Christmas with their parents.

Now, as we open up this service, let us show our appreciation. We ask all of this in your son’s name, the one who gave up His life on a cross so that we could experience eternal life

Amen

Thank you veterans for giving to this great country. God Bless our Veterans!