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Be An Encourager
No tricks, illustrations, or planning here: just Be An Encourager! The best way to make even day worth while, and to grow as a person, is to uplift the people God puts in your life! We have to get over our own issues, and certainly pop the me-bubble, in order to fulfill our purpose of brightening other peoples' day. But when we do... life gets instantly better! To learn about a precious woman named Sarah who brightened my day during her worst day, tune in today. And we'll leave you with 4 practical tips for encouragement from good old Barnabas in the book of Acts!
So today we're going to talk about what I would say is the number one thing you can do to really begin seeing a difference. It's the best tip that I've got to give you. It came from a book that I was reading about two years ago and I still use it today and I'm excited to share with you. Now, before we get to it, you might be thinking, well, if it's the number one tip, why is it in episode two? Well, if you go back and listen to the first one, you'll know why. You see it doesn't really matter what kind of strategies you have if you're not ready to change. This idea of just get better has to come before we learn how to get better. And so here's a little recap of what we talked about last time. Christians grow. It's who we are.
We grow in the grace of God and the knowledge of Jesus. We're always seeking to increase and abound in our love for one another and our service to the king. In fact, our entire program is called excel still more and it's based upon the words that Paul taught to the Christians in Thessalonica, who by the way, we're doing pretty great, but he said, don't rest on that. You use that as momentum to reach forward to what comes next. That's exactly the way the apostle Paul lived his life. Always striving for the goal of running faster and reaching further, and that's what we're here to talk about and do. I even asked you to make a few lists last time. You can go back and take a look at that list of things that you want to do better, but in the end we just have to get better.
If you're interested in that and you're committed to that, then I think we may have an idea today that could really be a benefit to you. So a couple of years ago I came upon this youtube video by a guy named Hal Elrod. He writes a book, I've got the book, it's great. It's called Miracle Morning. But what I found was there was about an hour and twenty minute video taken of him giving his miracle morning presentation at a business on Youtube. You might look that up or buy the book. It's also really good and he actually has a pretty great Achieve Your Goals podcast, but here's the idea. He gets up really early in the morning before he has to do anything else before he has to run and react and be productive. He gets up before all of that and he sets aside time to get ready for the day to make the most of the day.
Now he gets up super early in the morning. I don't do that, but I have employed that concept of getting up before I have to be somewhere and using that time to prepare to make most of the day. Now this is where we can begin to initiate some ideas from scripture. Jesus talks about in Matthew chapter six that each day has enough trouble of its own. Sounds to me like in that whole chapter about don't worry and make good choices and prioritize your life, He's not asking you to think about the next 10 years, he's asking you to think about today. And this is how Hal Elrod approaches it: let's get the most out of today by starting it right. And so what we've called this episode is One Great Hour. You need one great hour. If you plan on having one great day and then you sort of rinse and repeat as you move along, things will really add up.
Now the reason I'm not referencing the morning is it may not be in the morning for you. You may not be able to get up earlier than everybody else for whatever reason. Some people go drop their kids off for school and then they come home and they experienced the power of this hour. Some people have odd work schedules and maybe the first hour of their morning is three in the afternoon. What I'm here to tell you is you need this to make the day worthwhile and the earlier you can do it, the better. Let's do a little bit of math on this. 24 hours in a day. Let's say you're sleeping eight of those hours. Some of you are thinking, I wish I could sleep eight hours, but let's just say for the sake of mathematics that you're sleeping for eight hours. That means that every day of your life you have 16 waking conscious opportunity hours in which to live and do great things.
Now, as I sit here and say that out loud, I think, man, 16 hours, that's a lot of time. I could really do some things that make a difference, but have you noticed that it's easy to get to the end of a day or a week or a month or even a year and look back and think, man, I had a lot of waking moments and I have almost nothing to show for that. Well, that's what we have to fix. We have to find a way to make the most of our time and make the most of the day. You, I'm sure, are familiar with Ephesians chapter five where it talks about how the days are evil and what that means is they pass really, really quickly and you can't get that time back. And it's hard to start building if you don't start, and then you feel sort of overwhelmed late in your life and so you probably remember the rest of what he Ephesians five had to say.
It said, you need to make the most of your time. We'll talk in a minute about what we're supposed to do with our time. Ephesians five gives you several tremendous things to do with your time, but first of all, we have to decide I'm going to take control of this day and I'm going to make it into more than it would have been if I had entered it unprepared. So let me tell you a little bit about how this works for me. I was not a morning person at all. I'm not going to tell you what time that I was getting up, but you would not be impressed with that. But I've worked on incrementally getting up a little bit earlier every day. I started at the beginning of the year and I set the alarm for five minutes earlier. My target for me: 7:00 AM. I want to have my feet on the floor at 7:00 AM. I really don't have to do anything until about 8:30. That's when the kids get up.
And then all that sort of commences and then I head off to work sometime between 9 and 10 and so it took a couple of weeks, but I got it back to 7:00 AM and that hour from seven to eight is the most important hour of my entire day. So I want to tell you a little bit about what goes on in that hour. If you go listen to alot of guys, you're going to get a lot of great ideas, but they're not really attached to the maturing of Christian faith. So what I did was tried to interpret the data Hal was giving and apply it to how to become a better Christian. So let me start with this. Before I tell you what I do, let me just ask you, if you had 60 minutes in your day with nothing else to do, nothing to think about, no one to react to, nothing to produce, you just had those times, those minutes for yourself as a child of God, how would you use that time?
Now, as you think about that, you probably think about something like prayer. Wouldn't it be great to have more time to pray to God? The Bible is filled with instruction on prayer from first Thessalonians to pray without ceasing to Philippians chapter four be anxious for nothing but go to God with all of those concerns, with thankfulness, and it talks about this great peace. And look, if you're living a day and you're not feeling any of that peace that is beyond comprehension, then you're probably not setting a time aside for prayer. We need to set time aside to think about God. I'll tell you how I know that: because Jesus did that. Jesus was perfect and amazing and every day everything he did was valuable and yet you have passages in Luke's gospel where early in the morning before he did anything else, Jesus went to the mountain off on his own and he prayed.
You have other instances where it was right in the middle of a day. He had a lot going on. He was healing people and teaching people and he would hit the pause button on that and go away, have some secluded times and just interact with God. So I think prayer would probably be one of them for you. So think about that because I'll tell you about how to use the hour in a minute. I know most of you wish or hope that you can cultivate more Bible reading and Bible study. You would like to have some nice quiet time to read the word of God and you'd probably like to write down some of those things. We'll have future episodes on that, on writing things down and journaling. But just sort of studying. I mean that's what studying is. It's examining scripture and noting things that you're learning. That is so hard to do in the middle of a busy schedule when life is happening to you and you're just reacting to it.
I mean, what are the chances you can even find a spot to sit down and study the Bible and write down things that you're thinking about? And here's the thing about those two things. Those are the two big ones we know in second Timothy and other places. We need to be Bible students and really learn to understand our positions of faith. We know they're important. Probably it won't be hard for me to convince you that those would be best in the morning. The idea of starting your day with prayer, starting your day, discussing with God the things that matter most, laying your day out before the Lord, that's super advantageous. The idea of reading scripture before you interact with anybody else. I'm going to interact with God first and then I'll begin interacting with my spouse and my kids and coworkers, et cetera. I mean that just sounds like good business.
So those are some things we'd like to have in the beginning and writing those things down and maybe a little bit of what we sometimes call meditation where you just think through things. And then one big advantage for me is taking at least 10-15 minutes and just plan the day. What am I going to do today? What's important today? I have little things I write in my journal like eating the frog. We'll talk about that in a couple of weeks probably, and I lay all that out before. So back to it. Here's how mine works. I get up at seven, get dressed, go start the coffee, get that coffee going. We use a little aero press. So we kind of have a little thing going with that. And I sit down in my favorite chair and the Bible's already right there and I just sit there for 10 minutes and think about God and I consider things about what he's done for me.
And I begin to pray to him about the differences that he's made and just take nice quiet, solitary time and talk to the Lord and share things. Actually this morning I did it a little differently and it was a beautiful morning and the sun was just coming up so I just stood in the window and looked outside and I could see the trees and the beams of sunlight coming through and I just talked to God. I think sometimes we formalize prayer so heavily like there are these things that you have to say and this certain form. Just communicate. And so then I sat down and I wanted to hear from Him, so I read one chapter in the New Testament, read through that chapter, and slowly thought about what it meant. We're in Galatians right now in the New Testament Bible read we're doing here at the Lindale church. Read through and once I felt like I had a really good concept of what was happening there. I opened up my little notebook and I wrote Galatians three and I just started writing down things that I was seeing in the text.
Now we're doing a pretty cool project here at the Lindale church where we're asking you to read it and pull out things about Jesus, about his character, about what he's done, about things that mattered to him. And we want you to start with "Jesus is". So I did that this morning for several minutes. I wrote down from Galatians, actually I think we're in chapter four today. I wrote down things, "Jesus is" things that Jesus cares about. It was so great and really you kind of ended up doing a little bit of praying after that as well. And so here I am, it's you know, 7:30 and I've had great communication with God. I've really poured out the things that mattered to me, to him, and I've listened to the things that mattered to him in the Bible.
Right about this time, Sommer, my wife, she's usually sitting over at the couch beside me and she's got her coffee and she's completed her read. And now for the next 15 minutes we just talk, you know, we see what's going on, we ask how things are. We sort of lay out the schedule for the day. And so then I start writing that down. You know, the wife will tell you things and you forget them and that never goes well. Well, I'm getting around that by listening to her tell me what she needs today and when, and I'm writing it down. And so going through this process of praying, reading, writing, and planning, that's one hour and by 8:00 AM I have the direction I need for the next 15 hours. I know what I'm going to be doing. Maybe I've listed out my daily highlight or the one thing we'll talk about all of that in a few weeks.
I've heard from God, I've spoken to God, I've spent quality time with my bride. I'm ready for the day and I'm just here to tell you it makes all the difference in the world. Now again, you might be thinking, I can't do all of that in the morning. Okay, I get it. But as soon as you can make this time, you should. Now here's the thing, you might be thinking, I'll never have time for that. Well, what I'm here to tell you is if you don't make one hour of time to get these things in focus, then you're going to waste 16 hours of time. When you look at it that way, it's just really worth doing. One more thing I'll say about this before we close. If you're thinking, I'd love to get up early in the morning, but I just stay up too late at night. Let me tell you what I did.
I decided I needed seven and a half hours of sleep. I couldn't live on a minute less so every time I backed up five minutes in the morning, I backed up time at night and by the time I got to 7:00 AM you can do the math. We were going to bed maybe around 11 something like that, trying to get in bed by 11 let me tell you what happened. I cut one hour of television at night and I replaced it with one hour of prayer, Bible Reading, Bible Study, daily planning and quality time with my wife in the morning! At this point, it just feels foolish the way I was doing it before. So hey, listen, I hope you give this a try in whatever capacity that you can take control of your life by taking control of your day, by having one great hour, that kickstarts progress and really will show you how far you're able to go by laying it all out in front of you. Have a great day and thanks for tuning in and just set aside that hour and make the most of the beautiful, wonderful time that God has given you.
Kris Emerson, a loving husband, father of four, and gospel preacher, takes a few minutes to go over some important life changing and spirituals insights.
- How to encourage people you come in contact with
- Why is being an encourager so important to personal growth
- How to consider others ahead of yourself
- How to be more like Barnabas, renamed for how encouraging he was!
- How to practically implement a plan to encourage people today