A couple of years ago I developed a conference called Mission Possible: Re-Presenting Jesus in a Broken World . The final chapters of Ephesians follow that same theme. Paul gives instruction as how to walk out our destiny in troubling times.
Those of us who live in the Western world- particularly the USA & Canada can identify with the Ephesians.
Moral standards had been eroded. False religion & occult practices abounded. Religious freedom was challenged. Political correctness was the standard of behavior. Economic collapse was on the horizon. Life in a big city was challenging & distracting. Commuting took hours instead of just walking across a field into the house for supper.
Wait a minute Linda ! Are you talking about Ephesus or my city ?
Actually, I’m talking about both. Apart from our time saving devices which add 10 hours to our workweek (30 are added if we have a smartphone) the situation in Ephesus circa AD 65 was not much different than the situation in Vancouver or New Orleans or in my city, Calgary in 2015.
I suspect that the demographics & struggles of the church body at Ephesus were similar to those in my church in Calgary.
They were Thirty Somethings; men & women age 30 to early 40’s
- busy raising kids & establishing careers
- facing economic & relational challenges
- struggling to make ends meet
- many moved to the big city from smaller centers
- few had extended family nearby
- aging parents added to the mix
- they struggled to balance family-home-job-church
Spiritually most were new believers. They were faced with questions such as :
- How do I live the Christian life in a rapidly changing, frightening world ?
- How do I go deeper with God?
- How is faith real in the 9-5 of life?
- I’m desperate for more of God. What do I have to do to make this happen?
Paul makes this statement:
Make the Most of Every Opportunity To Do Good in These Evil Days
An honest Thirty Something would probably say :
I Don’t Want More Opportunities
Give Me Less!
Please, Please, Please
Take Something Off My Plate .
I Can’t Take It Anymore.
Maybe you feel the same way.
Are you asking the following kind of questions;
- How do I find out what the Lord wants me to do?
- What are the right priorities?
- How do I balance all the demands on my life?
- How do I find time to listen to God?
- Which opportunity do I choose?
Pastor Ken Blue said this:
At The End of The Day It Is All About
My Relationship with God,
My Relationship With My Family
My Relationship With a Few Good Friends
In the post F for First Love we found that the Ephesians had lost their moorings. Their real relationship with Jesus didn’t seem so real any more. They were no longer Fiercely Intentional about their love for God & their love for others.
When faced with new options, new opportunities we need to ask God this question:
How does this choice – this opportunity effect
- My relationship with You
- My relationship with my family,
- My relationship with the others close to me?
Paul modeled Fierce Intentionality in his relationship with the Ephesians
- Intentional time
- Intentional prayer
- An intentional goodbye
- An intentional letter
Listening For Opportunities
Jesus was never overwhelmed by demands on his time .
Jesus was never ruled by the tyranny of the urgent.
Jesus spent time with the Father morning by morning . He listened for the opportunities the Father wanted him to take that day.
I have a question for each of us but especially for you Thirty Somethings.
How do I find time to find God’s Opportunities in the crush of daily life?
I understand that extended time or any time at all with God in the morning is virtually impossible.
There is an option. It is found in chewing on one verse as we go through our day.
Proverbs 3 : 5-6 is likely very familiar to you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Do not depend on your own understanding .
Seek his will in all you do and He will direct your path.
Step 1: Memorize this verse
Step 2: Repeat it slowly over & over. Think about it line by line or even word by word.
Step 3: Tell Him about the day ahead.Tell him about the options/opportunities that lay before you. Tell him about any confusion or anxiety you have.
Step 4: Listen for His response.
Step 5: As soon as you have time record any thoughts/impressions .