Don’t Lose Your Marbles!

(Click here for the podcast recording.)

Welcome to FaithBuilders Podcasts at buildyourfaith.net.   

How is your new year going so far?  Can you believe it is 2007 already!  I can’t!

Not long ago I received an e-mail which gave the account of a man who found a way to remind himself to take advantage of the time he had.  He calculated that if he lived an average lifespan, at about 58 years of age, he had about 1000 weeks left to live.  So he went out and bought 1000 marbles and put them in a glass jar.  Every Saturday morning he took out one marble and threw it away.  Then he set out to use his week in a productive, meaningful way, spending time with family, serving others in love, accomplishing “missions” of ministry for God.

Did you know that the average lifespan for Americans is about 78 years?  Most of us think that is a long time away still, especially if you are in your teens or 20’s.  However, an average 15 year old only has 3276 weeks left to live.  An average 20 year old only has 3016 weeks left in an average life span.  If you are about 30, you have about 2500 weeks.  I am 43, so I figure I have only about 1800 weeks left, if I live to be 78.  If you are about 50, you have about 1500 weeks left.  If you are about 60, you may have a little over 900 remaining.  So what are we going to do with those weeks?

I don’t know about you, but I want my life to count for something greater than myself.  I want my life to contribute to something that lasts longer than my earthly life.  I don’t want to “lose my marbles!”

Join me in considering, as we begin 2007, “How will I spend my life this year, this week, this day?”

Just don’t lose your marbles!

“Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
  (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

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Helping Hands

Welcome to Faith Builders. This is Pastor Bill Crane. (Here is the link to the podcast file.)

Before moving to Jacksonville, I lived in a community near Charleston, South Carolina. It seems that many of the Pastors in the area had been overwhelmed by a large number of folks coming to them to ask for food. The area ministerial association began to pray about how to help. As a result a food pantry was started to assist people in crisis situations. The churches all collected donations of food which were given to the food pantry. Volunteers from the churches manned the food pantry. A schedule was established for food distribution. Contact was made with food banks in the greater Charleston area. They began to receive donations of food from grocery chains, restaurants, and area charities. The community rallied behind the organization and offered their help also. Then when anyone approached a church with a need for food, they were referred to the food pantry, which was named, “Helping Hands.”

This reminds me of something Jesus did. In the Bible, in the Gospel of John, chapter 6, Jesus is confronted with what appears to be an overwhelming need. There was a crowd of people who had followed Him, who were hungry, but had no food. Just the men in the crowd numbered 5000, so if their wives and children were present, the total number could have easily been over 15,000!

Well, Jesus simply asked Philip, one of his disciples, to feed the crowd. Philip was overwhelmed! He remarked that it would take more than eight months’ wages just to buy an appetizer for everyone! Andrew checked to see if he could find any food, but all he found was the lunch bag of a small boy. There was no way, humanly speaking, to feed the crowd with that pitifully small meal.

But Jesus wasn’t intimidated. He gave thanks for the meal and began passing out the pieces He broke off. God performed a miracle and provided enough food for the whole crowd, so much in fact that there were leftovers…twelve baskets full of leftovers!

Do you see overwhelming needs around you? I certainly do! Aren’t you glad that Jesus isn’t intimidated by them? I certainly am! Let’s decide today to offer Christ the little we have so that He can bless it, give it away, and minister to thousands!

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast! For more information about our church, visit us online at jaxnaz.org. Thank you for visiting BuildYourFaith.net! Have a great day and let God use what you have to bless others!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 34

This is the devotional for Friday, June 2, 2006 which is the 34th day of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 34 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 34 – Thinking Like a Servant

Service starts in your mind!

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV)

Real servants serve God with a mindset of five attitudes:

1 – Servants think more about others than about themselves.

2 – Servants think like stewards, not owners.

3 – Servants think about their work, not what others are doing.

4 – Servants base their identity in Christ.

5 – And servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

Henri Nouwen said, “In order to be of service to others, we have to die to them; that is, we have to give up measuring our meaning and value with the yardstick of others … thus we become free to be compassionate.”

When you base your worth and identity on your relationship to Christ, you are freed from the expectations of others, and that allows you to really serve them best.

Imagine what could happen if just 10 percent of all Christians in the world got serious about their role as real servants. Imagine all the good that could be done. Are you willing to be one of those people?

The memory verse for this week is 1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today by thinking like a servant!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 6

This is the devotional for Friday, May 5, 2006 which is Day 6 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read daily one of the 40 chapter of the book along with us. We are scheduled to read Chapter 6 in the book today. Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional.

DAY 6 – LIFE IS A TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT

Life on earth is a temporary assignment!

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away.” Psalm 39:4 (NLT)

To make the best use of your life, you must never forget two truths:

– First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief.

– Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached.

In order to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life—longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.

In God’s eyes, the greatest heroes of faith are not those who achieve prosperity, success, and power in this life, but those who treat this life as a temporary assignment and serve faithfully, expecting their promised reward in eternity.

When life gets tough, when you’re overwhelmed with doubt, or when you wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. At death you won’t leave home—you’ll go home.

Our memory verse for this week is Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

40 Days of Purpose – Day 5

This is the devotional for Thursday, May 4, 2006 which is Day 5 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read daily one of the 40 chapter of the book along with us. We are scheduled to read Chapter 5 in the book today. Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional.

DAY 5 – SEEING LIFE FROM GOD’S VIEW

The way you see your life shapes your life!

The way you view life is your life metaphor. It’s your description of how life works and what you expect from it; it influences your life more than you realize and determines your expectations, values, relationships, goals, and priorities. But to fulfill the purposes God has for you, you will have to base your view, your life metaphor, on the biblical metaphors of life. These are: Life is a test, and life is a trust.

Life is a test – God continually tests people’s character, faith, obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty. Character is both developed and revealed, and all of life is a test. When you understand that life is a test, you realize that every day is important. God wants you to pass the tests of life, so he never allows the tests to be greater than the grace he gives you to handle them.

Life is a trust – We are to be stewards of whatever God gives us. All we enjoy is to be treated as a trust that God has placed in our hands. If you treat everything as a trust, God promises three rewards in eternity: affirmation, promotion, and celebration. So we must handle the trust as accountable servants of God.

“Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones.” Luke 16:10a (NLT)

Let’s review our memory verse for this week, Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10