Episode 1. Now's the Time
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Getting some balance back in our lives is a challenge for a lot of people. Either we’re doing too much, or not enough and somehow, life’s out of kilter. What we need is some refreshment for our …
Getting some balance back in our lives is a challenge for a lot of people. Either we’re doing too much, or not enough and somehow, life’s out of kilter. What we need is some refreshment for our souls.
I don’t know about you but one of the things that many people struggle with is getting a sense of balance in their lives. Either life’s just so crazy and hectic that we seem to be burning the candle at both ends and eventually we burn out or for other people life’s really, really quiet, lonely perhaps.
All lifestyle magazines push this whole “life balance” thing, great cooking, meals with friends, exotic holidays, happy families. And then you go and look at that stuff and go, “hang on a minute, my life doesn’t look like that” and we feel even worse.
What we all need at some point, in fact daily I think, is a time of refreshing, you know to renew our strength, to lift us up, to breath some joy into our souls.
My wife Jacqui and I, we’re a bit like that, we’re working really hard at the moment and just the last few months have been really tough from a ministry and a work perspective. Now on the one hand it’s a real joy and a pleasure. We get to work together, we get to do something that touches peoples lives and it’s great. But when you’re working long and hard, day after day after day, it takes it’s toll doesn’t it?
In a sense ministry should be easy, well in a sense it is. So often I’m really tired. And in fact as I was preparing for today, to share this message with you, I was really tired. I was overseas last week in the USA so the time difference was knocking me around and yet God put a real holy ease, He was there. He blessed me and He just made it work for me.
But the flip side of that is running a ministry, it’s a tough gig. There’s fundraising and managing staff and producing content and I’m writing a book at the moment and reporting to the board. All of these things that people don’t see and yet they’re essential to doing what it is that I do.
You have the same, you have things in your life that people see and there’s a whole bunch of other things that they don’t see but that are grinding, that are hard work sometimes and so Jacqui and I said, “Look it’s really time for a break”.
Now every now and then, maybe two or three times a year, we grab a weekend away somewhere just to have a rest. But we thought, “no, we really need a break”. So just recently we booked a holiday in a place called, Lord Howe Island. If you haven’t heard of Lord Howe it’s a beautiful island about two hours flight from Sydney in Australia. It’s world heritage listed, only 250 visitors are allowed on the island at once.
There are no theme parks or theatres or tacky pinball parlours. It’s a world heritage listed spectacular island. Soaring mountains, (I think the mountains soars six thousand feet up out of the ocean bed), beautiful beaches, virgin forests, lagoons. It’s hard to think of a more, well idyllic setting and I have to tell you something, we are really looking forward to it.
There’s something about rest and beauty, a sense of anticipation, a change in scenery, getting away. We all yearn for that and there’s nothing wrong with that. You bring rest and real beauty together and you know, it just refreshes the soul. It brings us back to life. It does something that renews us inside.
And if we have a busy life, we actually need to plan those things. We need to decide to set aside the time, to invest the dollars and go and have a holiday and maybe if we have a quiet, lonely life, “I won’t go on my own, it’s not worth it”, what rubbish. Maybe if you’re in that camp you just need some motivation.
When I was coming back from America last week I flew via Tahiti. It was just the airfare I was able to get and I was sitting next to a woman between Los Angeles and Tahiti and she was going to Tahiti on her own. and she said, “Look, I’ve been working hard. I’ve been really busy and I’ve just decided to take a holiday and have a rest”. Good on her, I think that’s what we all need to do at some point.
This week on A Different Perspective we’re looking at this whole issue of refreshing. We all need times of refreshing so we’re going to look at it over the next few days, just from different angles, different perspectives.
It’s great to plan a holiday but what about refreshment right in the middle of life. I mean in the daily cut and thrust, in the grind, in the every day, here and now. If we spend all of our time looking forward to escaping, “I hate my job, I hate the grind…”
Here’s a thought, if God is God, if God put us here, shouldn’t day to day life be, I don’t know, something to enjoy? I don’t mean a 24×7 cocktail party, that’s not realistic, life’s not like that. It’s not all bubbly and fruity and wonderful every day. But as we live our life through our family, through our responsibilities, through our work, through our recreation, shouldn’t there be, I don’t know, a deep sense of joy and satisfaction?
I often get to Friday nights and Friday night is a time I really enjoy because I know I have the whole weekend ahead of me. And often I’m really tired on Friday nights. But Friday nights are time for me. Well it’s a joyous tired. It’s a happy tired. It’s a tired looking back on the week saying, “I had a great time even though it was hard work and there were some challenges.”
I think that’s right, I think God wants us to enjoy the lives that He’s given us but it does come down to balance. If we’re always giving out, you know we get up in the morning, we get the kids off to school, we engage with the family, we deal with issues and problems. We go to work, to school, to home, we’re giving out, we’re always delivering. Where’s the inflow?
So many people watch television every night and they wonder why they’re empty. So many people are running on empty.
The human eye is such an interesting organ. I know a little bit about the eye because I suffer from glaucoma which is a condition that is very treatable as long as it’s been diagnosed. And the whole issue of glaucoma is that there has to be a right inflow and outflow of fluids through the eye. The problem with glaucoma is often the outflow is blocked up so the pressure builds up in the eye and that causes ultimately, you to go blind as the optic nerve at the back of the eye is damaged.
But the problem with a lot of us is there is a lot of outflow, we’re delivering but there’s no inflow. There’s nothing that’s coming in that makes us healthy, that fills us up.
Let me introduce you to a man called, Luke. Luke is a Doctor; Luke was a physician in the first century. Luke wrote two fairly long books in the New Testament, the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. In fact Luke has written more of the New Testament than any other writer.
In the book of Acts which is the story after Jesus ascended to heaven, of over about twenty to twenty five years of all that the Apostles, Paul and Peter and John, all that they did and all that God did through them. That’s the story of the book of Acts. In the third chapter of Acts, in verse 20, the physician, the Doctor Luke writes this.
Times of refreshing come from the presence of God.
Maybe you already know that. Maybe in your head you know that but sometimes we can forget it in our hearts. And maybe for you it’s a totally unexpected concept but something that we all discover, if we’d only spend some time quietly in Gods presence.
For me it’s a half an hour, somewhere between a half and hour and sixty minutes in the morning that I spend with God, praying and reading and sitting and thinking and just listening to what God has to say into my life. It’s my daily “Lord Howe Island”; it’s my daily “holiday”.
It’s the beauty of God and its mental and spiritual rest. It’s food for my soul. It’s a time that I really, really look forward to. I believe that Luke was right, there are times of refreshing that come from the presence of God. Just spending time with Him, it’s not a chore. For me, spending time with God is like, well it’s like going on a holiday every morning.