New Hope Notes
Pastor Jon Burgess
[Video - Pastor Jon]
We’re on the island of Kauai (Hawaii) to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Matt and Alison Higa at New Hope Christian Church.
I’m sitting at Lydgate Park. This spot is very special to me because fifteen years ago, I was interim pastor of New Hope Kauai. This is where I had spent much time with the Lord, also I came here with members of our church to do our devotions and journaling, and had water baptisms. I love coming here! It's as if God is reminding me of some things that really matter.
That's exactly what Jesus is doing with Mary and Martha in the Book of Luke:
Luke 10:38-40 (NIV) says, "As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don't You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’"
Martha was busy cooking and preparing for company while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to what He said. Martha was doing good things, but she missed the God thing! Sometimes if I'm not careful, I've gone days, sometimes even a week, without sitting at the feet of Jesus. As I was journaling this passage with my boys, I shared the idea of the 5% of things that only I can do, and I need to prioritize that. Let me explain…
No one can add another hour or day to a week; that makes time the most expensive thing we have—Time is money! Most of our days are filled with 80% of things that anybody can do, such as, running errands, attending meetings, etc. Then 15% of what we do anybody can do with some training. That leaves 5% of things that only we can do; therefore, we must prioritize that time! Jesus was trying to get this through to Martha…
1. Prioritize Your Five Percent.
Luke 10:41-42 (NIV) says, “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one, Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.’”
I love how Jesus repeats her name twice. He’s not scolding her but is speaking to her as a friend. “Martha, Martha, you’re worried and upset about many things" is a picture of a restless person in the middle of a crowd, being pushed from every side, and feeling there's just no way that she can make room for God—she’s inundated with so many things!
The 5% of things that only you can do (cannot be delegated) is your relationship with Jesus Christ and that cannot be taken from you! Through that relationship, Jesus will strengthen every other area of life—wake, work, and worship. Jesus is saying, “The most important thing is to spend time with me. Come here. I have some things on my heart that I want to share with you.”
It's not easy, but it's really simple. When we put God first in our schedule, He helps us do every other thing, and we end up with the only thing that matters—time spent with Jesus Christ our Foundation!
2. Prioritize Your Care For Every Person.
There's something very special about this island to me, specifically, this park. Let me introduce you to Elijah's Tree. We were here celebrating Elijah’s (oldest son) 2-year birthday and we invited everybody from the church—wonderful people of God who showed us love in amazing ways! They said, "Pastor Jon, we have a gift for you—a (sapling) tree and we are dedicating it to Elijah.” Some of our aunties and uncles worked with the parks department and they got permission to plant this tree in the park.
Over the years, they would tell me how they took care of the tree—they watered and put rocks around the bottom of the tree because the winds are very strong off the shore. It’s been 15 years and today I’m sitting under the shade of my son’s tree!
The tree illustrates that we should take care of the ones that God brings into our lives (not just the ones who are like us, agree with us, or look like us) but that we would invite people around our table and prioritize building relationships with the ones that others have ignored. Here’s insight about Jesus in…
Mark 14:3-6 (NIV): “While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly. ‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.’”
Jesus was invited to dinner in the home of a leper (the ones everyone avoided). In sacrificial worship, Mary breaks a jar of very expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus' head and feet—she was so thankful for the forgiveness He had extended to her. I love how Jesus defended Mary when some were criticizing her. He said, "Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me."
Those who are forgiven much love much. It’s important that we are prioritizing people as the men and women did at New Hope Kauai to Elijah’s Tree, letting the roots grow deep, loving them right where they are, and not giving up on them! Jesus loved Judas even though He knew that Judas would ultimately betray Him.
The image of Jesus around the table caring about everyone is a challenge to us to care for people as He did. Nothing causes someone to grow to maturity better than love. Think about how Jesus loved and defended us even when we were in sin. I believe God is calling us to do that for others, growing something strong and lasting, and we’ll sit under the shade of it in years to come.
3. Prioritize Your DailyPatterns. Our daily patterns will reveal our passion. Ask yourself, “Is my daily pattern pushing me towards the feet of Jesus, or is it pushing people away from Jesus?” “Is this causing me to be busy with the 80% that fills up life, or is this causing me to focus on the 5%, no matter how busy life gets.”
Mary broke old patterns of tradition to come into a new place of modeling what true worship looks like. Jesus defends Mary’s controversial actions because a woman was not allowed around the table unless she were serving and pouring out very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head and washing His feet with her hair was just irresponsible! Jesus defends Mary in…
Mark 14:8-11 (NIV) says,8 “‘She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’ 10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”
Judas knew Jesus’ daily pattern of going to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and to seek His Father’s will, and he took advantage of that pattern and used it to have Jesus arrested and killed.
If Judas was spending his life looking for an opportune moment to take Jesus, I want to spend my life looking for an opportunity to surrender my life to Jesus. If Judas was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus, I want to be looking for opportunity to worship Jesus.
I had an amazing conversation with Mailani (phonetic) and the Pule (phonetic) ohana. God cleaned and freed Mailani from alcoholism and she was recently water baptized. She loves that God is healing the relationship with her husband and sons and relates this story:
“Normally, we would sit around the TV with our trays, eating and watching TV. One day I told my husband, ‘We really need to sit and look each other in the face and have some time connecting around the table.’”
“We were pretty tight financially but I found a farm table for $300. I knew we didn’t have that, but I just felt it was our table. I got money from the bank. It was raining when we picked up the table and the man said, ‘You know what, because you had to help us lift this table, I’m going to take $50 off.’ To me, it was a major confirmation that this table was for us!”
"It’s wonderful how a dining table is mending relationships with people in our house: doing devotions together and eating around the table. Sometimes the boys would come with major attitude. But I say, ‘No, we’re going to eat together anyway. Whether you got a good or bad attitude, we’re going to spend some time together.’”
Mailani’s determination made a new pattern and broke the old one. The message at her home now is based on relationship and forgiveness, and that has kept her home in unity!
Here’s a practical way to make sure that our patterns are accomplishing a worship lifestyle:
Devotions: When I do not spend time in God’s word, I end up distant from Him. The discipline of devotions keeps me connected to His heart.
Exercise: There are times when discipline will not be a delight; but exercise clears my head and I make better choices. The benefits of exercise are good and allow for longevity of my call; so I continue to pour my life out and worship the Lord.
Planning and Prayer: The two go hand in hand. We plan and then we submit that plan to the Lord, and He directs our steps.
Reading and Recreation: Break the word down to re-creation. If we aren’t taking at least one day a week with our family to just play, we will end up tired, weary, and worn and we will not be able to accomplish our 5%. By not spending time with our family, we become annoyed at them!
Let’s be like Mary and say, “I don’t care what anyone else thinks. If my intimacy with God makes people uncomfortable, I just want Jesus to know I’m so thankful that I’m alive, for another day, for food on my plate, for the roof over my head, for clothes to wear, that the chorus of my life would no longer be bitterness, complaining, and comparing in sorrow. Instead, God, I’m so thankful, I’m giving you my life!”