New Hope Notes
Pastor Elwin Ahu
According to Paul in his letter to Timothy in the Holy Bible, we need to keep the good fight, we need to keep up our faith and finally, we need to finish the race. In our journey in this life, we need to keep our eyes on the finisher of our faith, our Lord Jesus Christ. Are you sometimes sidetracked by this life’s rat race? Do you have time for your spiritual exercises to condition your mind, heart and spirit to the disciplines of hearing God’s voice? Currently, we starting a new series called, “Prime Time.” In this series, we will concentrate on the practical principles on how we can move forward towards life’s eternal goals. No matter what circumstances we are in, we need to run this race with our greatest partner and coach…Jesus Christ.
We are starting a brand new series entitled “Prime Time.” The topics we are going to discuss in this series are principles, practicality, our assumptions and attitude adjustments. We are going to go through some attitude adjustments and changes in our assumptions of our situations affecting what God has planned for us. How many of you think that you are “at par” in life? How many of you want to be in the prime time of your life where God wants you to be? Yeah…there are many of you who want to be in that place…prime time. How do we get there? There are so many things to do. Whether you are in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or 60’s, each one of you want to be in “prime time.”
I love the way the apostle Paul encourages us or relates life's events like sports in the scriptures. As you can see in the Bible books he wrote, he is a sports fan. He mentions words liek "running the race," "finishing well," "fighting the good fight," and "boxing." The various events in his time revolve around sports. It was very important then and itis still important now. So many things inAmerica relate to sports. My son Jared just started Pop Warner Football. When he and his teammates all dressed up in their helmets and gear, all you see are these little round bubbles running around the field. So many parents have their young children join in multiple sports. How do they keep up with it? We only have one son involved in one sport and we have a challenge keeping up!
If the apostle Paul was alive today, he would love watching football. There are so many similarities in life with football. For example, as I understand the game, generally in the first half players run the most so they can score. Then, there is the half-time when the players go to their locker room and assess what has happened in the first half. They talk about adjustments they need to make so when they go back they do better. Isn’t that like life? We run the first half of our life like that. We listen to what we are told from our parents, school teachers, and friends. We play hard. We make the most money. We run to what the world dictates. However, no matter how old you are – whether you are in your 20’s, 30’s or 60’s – we all reach a point of so-called halftime when we need to assess our life for what plays didn’t work in the first half and what did. We need to do the assessment so we can do better in the second half. We can’t second guess our second life. We don’t need to go through the second half of lives that way with so much indecision and living life without purpose. So, how do we move forward towards prime time? I love the way the apostle Paul compared life like sports. He told us to run with perseverance, finish the course and not give up.
Let us read the capstone Bible verse that we will use throughout this entire series:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day." (2 Tim. 4:7-8)
During Paul’s times, the crown of righteousness was a real crown, not a million dollar check like today. During his time, the crown was all you got. But remember, you have to finish the race before you get the crown. What does it mean to “finish the good fight?” What kind of adjustments do we have to make? This series will challenge you to ask key questions such as: When all is said done, what do I want to be remembered for? Where am I going? What is life all about anyway? Take out the nice brochure which mentions the synopsis of our series. Today we are talking about “Taking Inventory.” Next week we will talk on life with “No Regrets.” There are three words that we don’t want to say in the end; they are, “would’ve,” could’ve.” and “should’ve.” Regardless of the consequences, we need to face life like Jesus Christ did with the intention of seeing God’s will accomplished in our lives. After the second series we continue with the third series entitled, “One Thing.” What is the one thing you want to do in life? We will have a great testimony that will blow your mind away. In this topic, we will discuss what the greatest obstacle is that gets in the way of running the race. Most of the time, we subject ourselves to the distraction of the world. How do we deal with that like Jesus did? Next, we will talk about the subject of “All In.” In the brochure, it mentions about running the race to the end with great discipline and commitment. The last message in this series is entitled “Last Leap.” How to we move from an idea to action?
To start this series, we need to take inventory of our life. Do you know what the new addiction is in Hawaii? It is not “ice” or “pakalolo.” It’s “stuff;” we are storage junkies! We are so addicted to keeping stuff. We have so many possessions that we don’t know who we are or where we’re going in life? I have a sobering thought for you…we are all getting older in life. We are not getting any younger. And the older you get, the faster the birthdays come!. Pastor Wayne is turning 58 this year and I am turning 39 (Ha ha!) Time flies indeed. We spend too much time in running our lives…doing church…just doing. Where are we going? Some people go through life without expecting things and just go through midlife without ever really assessing who they are or what they’re doing. They have extra marital affairs. They don’t cope well. They allow the world to dictate what they need to do. They start stock up on things like cars, a house and the stuff the world wants their prime time to be. They, in turn, don’t ask themselves about what God’s will is for their lives. In order to move to prime time, we have to recognize what God has blessed us with and how He has already designed us to be. In order to move to prime time, move towards that direction God wants for your life instead of the world’s direction. Where do you start?
1. Trust in the SOVEREIGNTY of God's unique timeline for you.
Each of us has a different timeline. God has a specific timeline for each of us. He designed us uniquely. We all have unique developmental phases. He will work in all aspects of our lives like our homes and workplace for His purpose. He will establish His foundations in our lives. Some situations are out of our control. Sometimes we get so frustrated but we must remember that our lives are in His hands.
"Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day." (Ps. 139:16 MSG)
God already knows what is going to happen in your life. He already has our lives laid out. He knows what we are going to do from one day to another; He has our lives in His hands. He created these developmental stages in our lives for a reason. In these developmental stages, God wants to hone down our character, check our heart, strengthen our trust in Him so we can do what He needs us to do for His Kingdom purpose. But sometimes, the lessons learned are when we go through pain. I hear some people ask why God just doesn’t take them out of their situation. I tell them that God is using the situation to teach them a lesson. And when you avoid the pain, you might be avoiding God’s best for you. He is trying to shape you. We need to go through the pain. The purpose for all of these things is so he can mold you and move you to prime time.
“‘Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?’ declares the LORD. ‘Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand.’” (Jer. 18:6)
Sometimes God has to crush you down in order to build you up again. He goes through this process because He wants to build you up for His purpose. There is a lesson to learn in this process. When you avoid it, you avoid the very best God has for you. The timeline I am talking about makes you look at yourself introspectively. Most of the time, we are so focused on the future. We tell God that we don’t want to look at the past. We just want to press forward and not look back. This process makes us look at what God has already done for us. You won’t see where you are going unless you know where you have been. Many times there are lessons to be learned in the past to prepare you for what happens in the future. I have a sample of my life timeline and what has happened in my life. I divided them into four stages. At the time, I didn’t know each stage contributed to where I am at today. For example, in the first phase, “Building the Base,” first category “Basic Ingredients,” my foundations of leadership began. I was involved in so many different activities in school like being a drum major at Kamehameha, an ROTC officer, and then leadership in college. In each phase, the lessons are made. Each of the stages and phases prepared me for my leadership today at New Hope.
(J. Robert Clinton, "The Making of a Leader," NavPress,1988)
Once you’ve accepted and acknowledged that God is in control and that He has a unique planand timeline for you…
2. Take an assessment of what God has CREATED in you.
"For you formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well." (Ps. 139:13-14)
In this verse, David uses the word “woven.” God wove us in our mother’s womb. He took time to create us, individually and uniquely according to His plans for us. He gave each and every one of us His full attention. God valued us. Do any of you crotchet? I do. I created a blanket for my son Brandon when he was a baby. It took me time to make it. It was huge and beautiful. Like God, I valued taking time to make this blanket for my son. Sometimes we don’t believe that we are valuable. We allow the world to dictate how to believe in ourselves. We allow the world to place labels on us like “you are a loser,” or “you can’t make it.” But those labels are of this world, not God so…
· Don't let LABELS define you.
God has placed His gifts inside of you. You don’t have to create them, they’re in you. You just need to identify them and use them…for His Kingdom’s purposes. In order to help you identify your gifts, take the spiritual gift test. If you’ve taken it before, go ahead and take it again. Sometimes when we take this test, the results are different than what we’ve taken it previously and that’s because God maybe still be fleshing out the things we need to learn. There’s a more comprehensive version of the test at our website: http://www.enewhope.org/spiritualgifts. You are a gift to God so use your gifts to glorify Him. Then lastly...
3. Your life is a GIFT; invest in it well.
We need to take inventory of our lives and gifts so we can be wise in what God has for our future.
"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Eph. 5:15-17)
Our focus for this new series is Prime Time – how to be all that God intended us to be in this next season of our lives. No matter how old, or young, you are, God has a plan for this time of your life and we can make the most of it by doing what God is blessing. In order to do that , we need to trust in the sovereignty of God’s timing for our life of cooperate with what He is doing. We need to take inventory of the gifts that He has blessed us with so we can better determine what direction He is leading us in and how we may best use our gifts for His purposes. And then we need to move forward in the path that He has laid our for us knowing that investing in His Kingdom in ways that He has gifted us will really yield the prime time of our life that God has for us.
1. What kinds of adjustments do you need to make in life in order to move toward the prime time that God has in store for you?
2. What lesson is God teaching you about running a good race which you can share with your group to encourage them?
3. What is apostle Paul referring to when he talks about the “crowns of righteousness” we’ll receive after running a good race of life?
4. Give an example of how the various passages from the Bible affect your outlook on taking inventory of your life.
5. What, if anything, is preventing you from being in the prime time of your God purposed life?
6. What is the difference between the world’s success and God’s success according to the Bible?
7. Create your own life inventory. If you would like, share it with the group.