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The Coffee Break

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What Matters Most

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Let me describe a scenario for you: It’s the first Saturday of college football season. The analysts and commentators are on over-drive! The atmosphere in college towns across America is electric! Athletes are pacing back and forth and jumping up and down in their locker rooms with nervous energy that can’t wait to be unleashed! Millions of dollars have been spent. Thousands of fans have made their way to their seats. Someone sings the National Anthem. The teams now have taken their places on the field. The referees are ready. As everyone leans in with eager anticipation one of the officials realizes that something is missing: There’s no football! All of the preparation. All of the hype. All of the fan-fare. All of the activity leading up to that Saturday was worthless because somebody forgot what mattered most.  They forgot the main thing. 

Today’s election is significant no doubt and will impact millions of lives foreign & domestic. But wouldn’t it be tragic to reach the end of this life after all the elections and after all the hype and after all the drama and realize that we’ve missed the thing that matters most?

It seems to me that there are many Christians more concerned with what’s happening in the White house than with what’s happening in God’s house. I wonder if we’re not more concerned with imposing our will on earth rather than following Christ’s example of praying “…Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” I wonder if we’ve forgotten the main thing. The thing that matters most.

Doctor Luke recorded a story told by Jesus about a man who spent his life chasing everything except for the most important thing. You can read the story in Luke 12:15-34.

After a solemn ending to the story in which the man who gained everything this life had to offer forfeited the most important thing: his own soul...Jesus turns to His disciples and tells them to...

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else…” —Luke 12:31a

But too often the Kingdom of God is second to “all else”. But what if there was a lost treasure that could be found that would:

—Bring you perfect love
—Fulfill every hole in your heart
—Satisfy you fully and completely
—Change your perspective
—Change the lives of those around you
—Be the most important thing in the world

That treasure is the Kingdom of God. It's what Jesus said is the most important thing.

 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. —Matthew 13:44

Why am I writing about God’s Kingdom today?

First, some people haven’t yet found this treasure. Like the man in Luke 12, some people think life merely consists of this material world. Am I concerned about the world my children grow up in? Yes, of course. But I’m MORE concerned with the world they spend eternity in. I want them to “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else!”

Don’t forget when you’re on Facebook tonight or standing in the poll lines this afternoon that the soul of the person in front of you is at stake. When you comment on the state of America or world affairs, do your comments lend toward someone’s discovery of the great treasure of the Kingdom of Heaven or do your actions and attitudes act as a mechanism to hide the thing that’s most important?

Some people haven’t yet found this treasure. No matter who’s elected tonight, will our America ever provide…

—perfect love?
—fulfillment in every way?
—full and complete satisfaction?
—an eternal perspective?
—inner transformation of individual lives?
—the most important thing in the world?

NO.

Focus on what matters most. Some people haven't yet discovered the True King and His Kingdom.

The second reason I’m writing this is because many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, whom I love deeply, have been distracted.

Tinnitus is a disease that causes constant ringing in the ears. Sometimes it becomes so loud that it’s difficult to hear anything else. Tinnitus overwhelms other noises (often helpful and protective ones like a car horn or the warning of a loving parent…to “STOP!”) Does that sound familiar? Because many Christians unwittingly idolize America, they’ve not only become distracted from what’s most important, they’re now just distracting.

No matter who you vote for or what National policies you firmly believe in, let me ask you something: Have your actions been primarily motivated by earthly wisdom or God’s wisdom? In other words if I looked at your social media page or listened to your most recent conversations would I be led toward or away from…

—perfect love?
—fulfillment in every way?
—full and complete satisfaction?
—an eternal perspective?
—inner transformation of my soul?
—the most important thing in the world?

Are you a figurative example of Tinnitus? Are you creating unnecessary noise that is actually distracting people from what matters most?

The third and final reason I’m writing this today is because even tonight as we watch the media coverage of the election, my prayer is that you will guide your family to focus on what matters most.

Here’s a simple list to get you started.

Focus on God’s presence. —Regardless of who’s in the whitehouse, it is vain to think that lasting change is possible without the presence of God. Talk about Psalm 127

“Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it.”

Focus on God’s plan. —What is God doing in the world? What does He want to accomplish? Check out the great commandment and the great commission.


The man answered, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’"
—Luke 10:27

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:19-20

Focus on God’s power. —Whenever things seem out of control. They’re not. They’re just out of our control. God is still large and in charge! He is on the throne both now and forever!

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high —Hebrews 1:3

Focus on God’s protection. —We are nation, no doubt. But what nation deserves our utmost allegiance? Remember, we are ultimately citizens in God’s Kingdom. What matters most, His Kingdom or yours? God will protect the citizens of His Kingdom. You can count on that!

Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
but we boast in the name of the LORD our God.
—Psalm 20:7

Focus on God’s provision. —If we’re ever going to see God’s kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven we certainly are going to need more than clever politicians and outspoken Christian activists!! We need an infusion of God’s provision of love, forgiveness, kindness, patience, gentleness, self-control, etc… (Galatians 5:22-23).

“SEEK THE KINGDOM OF GOD ABOVE ALL ELSE!”

Focus on what matters most.

Posted by Aaron Harding with

What's Your Intake?

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What goes into your body? Have you ever really thought about it? I have. And I gotta tell you. It’s tough stuff to think about. Truth is, most of don’t like to think about it all that much because it challenges our way of life. What we like. What we want. But the fact remains, much of what we put into our bodies isn’t good for us.

Yet we keep on doing it. Honestly, most of the time, especially after eating at a fast-food restaurant, I’m mad that I even succumbed once again to the flashy signs, cool play sets, and the dollar menu. I leave unsatisfied and usually have uncomfortable movements in my stomach for the next few hours!

But this post really isn’t about junk food or over-eating or any of that really. Or maybe it is. Maybe that’s something for you that God is like, “Hey, you’re not honoring the body I gave you. Stop putting junk in your body.” I don’t know. I’m certainly challenged by that and am making very slow progress in that area of my life.

What I do know is that this concept is true in every area of our lives. We consume what isn’t good for us.

  • We watch TV shows that are filled with trash and ungodly innuendoes.
  • We listen to music that has become more explicit than anyone would have listened to 20 years ago.
  • We look at images online and in advertisements that should be reserved for the bedroom.
  • Our conversation is often off-color.

And then to make matters worse. There’s little or nothing going in that’s offsetting all of that garbage.

  • We’re not listening to God-honoring, uplifting music.
  • We’re not filling our minds with the Word of God and the God of the Word.
  • We’re not reading books to challenge our thinking and expand our vocabulary beyond the 4-letter words.
  • We’re not engaged in conversations that build others up and foster community, rather much of our speech is filled with deception, flattery, gossip, complaining, belittling, meddling, and other forms of life-sucking negativity!

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

God did not call us to fit in. He called us to stand out. Am I saying that we should we never watch TV, listen to all kinds of music, and live our lives in a bubble… NO. That’s not what I’m saying at all. We have to live IN the world and be very present IN the world but God calls us to not to become like the world. He calls us to become something much different than that.

He calls us to become like Jesus.

Here’s one example: I love Country music and I regularly listen to Country music but it’s become increasingly difficult to just turn the radio on and listen to every country song. I have to be selective. I have to use discernment. Many country songs talk about love for God, country, and family. I love that stuff! A lot of songs paint a picture of backyard bbq’s and spending lazy Sunday afternoons just chillin’. I love that stuff, too! But there are other songs that glorify drunkenness and drugs and sleeping around and you know what? I just can’t support or condone those messages. And a steady diet of messages like that desensitize me to God’s TRUTH that is found in His word and through the Holy Spirit.

It’s absolutely true that you become whatever you allow to influence you the most.

Just one other example. For a while I had changed my diet and was eating healthier. I felt happier, less tired, I wasn’t as irritable and then it had happened. I saw a bag of microwaveable popcorn and I just had to have it. I ate the whole bag!! My lifestyle change had been interrupted and I went on a 3 week relapse into eating whatever I wanted. I gained 25 pounds! I’m not proud of it. I’m very frustrated that happened actually. I’m just saying that if you allow that thing that isn’t good for you to influence you it will redirect the course of your life.

It’s time we practice more self-control. More discipline. More godliness.

The same goes for TV and Movies and other genres of music. We just need to be more discerning with what we put into our lives. We need to be more careful with what we allow to influence our children and the culture in our homes.

Why? Because your life puts out what your heart takes in. I want to encourage you to take in JESUS. Take in His word! Take in His character!

  • Put out the name of Jesus!
  • Make the name of Jesus famous! 
  • Let your life ooze with the love of Jesus!

I promise you, you won’t miss a thing.

Check these passages of Scripture out.

Ephesians 5:11 (NLT)
“Take no part in the worthless deeds of darkness; instead expose them.”

1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)
“Jesus personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.”

Psalm 119:11 (NLT)
“I have put your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Just some thoughts from today’s coffee break!

Please, share your own!

Posted by Aaron Harding with

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