• Word Of Life Church

"No Fear" Part 5


—Sunday Sermon—


“Balanced Planning”

-God GIVES Guidance

“Everything should be done in a

 fitting and orderly way.”

-1 Corinthians 14:40

We talked the last several weeks about properly identifying your fears.

Are they healthy or unhealthy fears?

We focused on the importance of putting them in the “God’s hands”, living one “Day” and one “Step” at a time.

That doesn’t mean however, that we should not do any planning for the future because we should.

We should do “Balanced” Planning.

Planning always has to do with the future, whether immediate, short-term or long-term.

While we don’t want to “live” in the future, we do want to do a certain amount of “planning” for it.

Jesus said do not to “worry” about tomorrow, but he did not say don’t plan for it.

It’s OK to think about, and to plan for the future, but it’s not OK to worry about it or anything in it.

Remember that “Fear” is the word that describes an emotional reaction to something that “seems” dangerous, whether it actually is or not.

When we feel unsafe or unsure, we usually experience fear.

Fears can threaten to ruin our lives, but the good news is that we can do something about that.

We talked about identifying fears (and the importance of being accurate about just which things we actually fear.)

Example: The fear of public speaking is actually a fear of embarrassing yourself and looking bad. Its more an issue of insecurity than talking.

Most people can talk.

Most people can be with other people.

But to put those two together can be fearful for most people.

PLANNING & FEARS

A phobia is an intense fear reaction to a certain thing or a situation.

With a phobia, the fear is out of proportion to the potential danger except to the person with the phobia because of the intense thoughts and feelings that accompany it.

Phobias can cause us to worry about, and even dread the future.

Since planning is about the future, many fear planning because they have to think about the future.

This is where the issue of 

“Balance Planning”

comes in.

Rather than avoiding everything that makes us afraid of loss, we can “Plan” for even our worst potential losses or fears. 

[Remember that “fear” is always tied to the fear “losing” something.]

We do not have to let fear interfere with living and doing normal activities.

Don’t miss out on anything in the future because of fear. 

Rather than holding back, why not plan?

We talked last week about living and focusing on “One day at a time”, however that does not mean that we should not do any planning for the future because we should.

Many people say that they are by nature not planners. If we add that to those who don’t plan because of fear, they number if great.

Surveys show (whatever that meansJ) that over 85% of people at 4pm, do not know what they are having for dinner that same day.

Too many mistakes happen because of failure to plan or poor planning. 

It’s OK to think about the future and to plan for it. It’s just not OK to worry about it.

God’s plan for all of us is that we utilize his wisdom in all of our planning.

“Which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, [Future cost] whether he has enough to complete it?

[This is called “Planning”]

-Luke 14:28

PLANS & CHOICES

Plans can be thought of in terms of choices.

Much of our life is based on “Choices” - ours, other’s and God’s.

Choices are important.

“Our” choices are important and

“God’s” choices are important.

“Our” Choices can be called our “Free will”.

“God’s” choices can be called “God’s Sovereignty.”

Today we will look at OUR choices.

Next week we will look at GOD’S choices in planning.

I thank God that he allows us to make choices.

If he did not, then that would mean that everything in life is fixed, predetermined and predestined.

But, much of life involves our free will.

The question is, “Where do we get the intel to make the wisest choices?”

The answer is God.

As it relates to choices, 

there are Right & Wrong choices,

Dumb & Dumber choices,

Wise & Wiser choices,

and of course,

God’s choices (which are always the Wisest).

Look to God for guidance all that you can.

But don’t necessarily always expect “specific” answers to everything in life.

But God does promise to give “general or guiding” answers.

For example, if you want to know whether you should buy a blueberry pie or a pumpkin pie.

How do you know which one to purchase?

What is God’s will for you?

God typically will not give you a “specific” answer.

But, he will give you “guiding” answers, some general principles to examine when choosing which decision to make.

Some examples of “guiding” answers in this case to help guide your decision might be;

Who is the pie for? 

(do they like blueberry or pumpkin better)?

Is there a calorie difference

between the two that would make a difference in which pie you decide on?

How much does each cost?

(Does that make a difference)

What are the expiration dates on each?

(when do you plan to eat it)?

Does the place that you are buying the pie specialize in either of the pies?

And of course, there is always the “general or guiding” question, 

“Do I need to buy the pie at all?”

[Is it impulse? Is it selfish? Is it for any wrong motive(s)?]

Wow! Such questions for a simple choice set before us of which pie to buy! Blueberry or pumpkin?

Oh, if only all of life was filled with such simple questions. But, it isn’t.

That is why there are so many common questions about choices in life.

WHEN WE DON’T LIKE CHOICES

While people generally like the ability to make their own choices, there is also accountability and pressure that comes along with that freedom that most people do not like.

Sometimes we don’t like that responsibility.

Sometimes we delegate that responsibility just wanting to be told what to do.

After all, many times that is the easier thing.

How many times does someone say, 

“Just tell me what you want me to do.”

Many a guy at least thinks about this every time there is a holiday or celebration of a girlfriend of wife. 

I have personally tried to explain to some guys 

why their “significant other” was offended that they put no thought into a gift.

One of the guys told me years ago, that he asked his girlfriend if he “needed” to get anything for her for Valentine’s Day since she didn’t seem like “that kind of a girl.” 

When she went silent, he then followed up with this gem of a question,

“Then what do you want me to get you?”

Sometimes wanting to be told what to do can the easiest thing, but also the most selfish. 

We should want to make wise choices, efficient choices, effective choices, timely choices, and most importantly godly choices.

The question is what choices does God want us to make?

Apart from choices that are black and white, right and wrong, moral and immoral in the Bible, you won’t necessarily find “specific” answers.

You will find general principles that will guide you.

Choices which are made with a wrong motive should generally not be made.

“Guidance” (Hebrew) Means ropes. Sailors moved sails with ROPES. They used ROPES for navigation.

The question is; “How do we get God’s guidance in navigating our lives.

How do we get God’s ropes?

I heard it said that…

God “GIVES” guidance

And

God “DOES” guidance

(we will talk about next week)

The two are not the same.

The distinction, while not perfect, can be helpful in understanding how God works in our lives.

God “GIVES” guidance.

We participate in this aspect of God’s Guidance.

The amount of “Benefit” that we will receive will be based on the amount of

“Investment” that we make.

What we put in, we will get out.

It may be helpful to think in terms of 

“Paying a price”.

The more we pay/invest, the more we receive.

Another way of saying it is, 

“You get what you pay for.”

If we invest a lot, we will benefit a lot.

While it is true that we can’t earn the right to be guided by God, it is true that the more we (invest/pay/put into) seeking it, the more we will receive it.

WISDOM ABOUT PAYING FOR GUIDANCE

Missionary Elizabet Elliot wrote;

“The more we pay for advice, the more we are likely to listen to it.” Advice from a friend which is free, we may take or leave. Advice from a consultant, we have paid much for personally, we are more likely to accept, but it is still our choice, we can take it or leave it. But the guidance of God is different. First of all, we do not come to God asking for advice, but for God’s will and that is not optional. And God’s fee is the highest one of all. It costs everything. To ask for the guidance of God requires abandonment. We no longer say, ‘If I trust you, you will give me such and such. Instead we must say, ‘I trust you. Give me or withhold from me whatever you choose. As John Newton says what you will, when you will, how you will.’” 

-Elizabeth Elliot

GOD “SHOWS” US HOW TO MAKE CHOICES

Interesting… Most people have become aware of their faults (and have owned them) by having been SHOWN them rather than having been TOLD about them.

A good Teacher/Coach will “show” someone what is right and wrong, rather than just telling them.

It is really helpful to use video for this purpose.

It can be very valuable to SEE what we’re doing wrong in our techniques, positioning, speed, orientation, presentation, etc.

And Jesus is our perfect Teacher/Coach!

He is God’s illustration of how to make godly choices by always going to his Father.

Interestingly enough, most people have never truly learned the love of God by being TOLD about it.

Those who know it, have experience it by being SHOWN it through people and circumstances.

Most people have known the love of God by being shown. (experience).

Maybe you have a picture of what God is like from a fantastic experience of love from another.

Of course, the opposite can be true as well.

That is why people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

SHOWING is usually the most effective way.

Think of “Show & Tell” in school.

The Tell part is always there, but it is the Show part that has the most effect.

Sometimes we never forget the visual even though the facts slowly fade in time.

That is why Jesus wants us to simply BE the “Light of the world to others” so that they will see the love of the Father in heaven.

“You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, that they may SEE your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

-Matthew 5:14,16

That is why I always say;

“Be Jesus to others… He is always Jesus to you.”

The love, kindness, patience and grace that Jesus shows “to” you is exactly what he wants you to allow him to show “through” you to others. 

As He is always bringing “Light” and guidance to you, you can let that light, love and guidance come “to” you and “through” you to benefit others.

As it relates to God “Giving/Offering” guidance, Jesus is our perfect example.

What did he do?

He sought guidance from his Heavenly Father?

What investment did he make in discerning God’s will and seeking his guidance?

He totally committed himself to his Father.

One of the key verses on commitment is:

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” - Proverbs 16:5

Notice that it does NOT say,

“Commit [your plans] to the Lord and your plans will succeed.”

Being GUIDABLE

He doesn’t so much TELL you how to be guided as he does SHOW you how to become the type of person that is “guidable” and makes wise choices.

NO:    “O Lord, bless my plans.”

YES:  “O Lord, bless me to make the right plans.”

If we commit ourselves to the Lord, 

then we will become people that make smarter and smarter, godlier and godlier, plans that will succeed in the long-run.

“Commit” =  To roll over on to something putting our full weight on it.

When we commit to making the effort to unconditionally trust God, we will increasingly make wise decisions and plans.

When we make the effort to totally commit to the Lord, a natural result is that we will become more humble.

This will lead us to seek wisdom from others and to look at all of our options while making plans.

“Without COUNSEL plans fail, but with many advisers [This does NOT mean “The more the merrier” when planning. The principle of “Too many chiefs and not enough Indians” applies here as well. However, if we just try to plan alone without the assistance of others who can bring something of value to the table, then our plans will not be as wise, prudent, efficient, etc. as they could be.] they succeed.”

-Proverbs 15:22

God GIVES Gidance, we do not have to earn it.

We know that from James 1

“If any of you lacks wisdom, [This verse is talking about each one of us since we ALL lack perfect wisdom, but it especially applies in the area of PLANNING more to those who aren’t as blessed in the area of planning as others are.] let him ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him.

-James 1:5

God will never say to you,

“No, I won’t help you because you didn’t ask before now. Because you didn’t ask then, I won’t help you now. You wanted to do it without me, so do it without me. I’m not going to bail you out.”

He will never act that way towards you.

It is never too late to go to God for guidance.

He will;

“Give generously to all without finding fault, [Even the fault of not going to him in the first place, or not doing what you knew was the right thing to do] and it will be given ...”

While it is true that we can’t earn the right to be guided by God, it is true that the more we (invest/pay/put into) seeking it, the more we will receive it.

(Note: paying the price does NOT “earn” God’s guidance, but rather receives God’s guidance.)

BALANCED PLANNING FOR GOD’S GUIDANCE

1.     BE COACHABLE… BE GUIDABLE.

2.     STOP OVERPLANNIONG 

(Even If You’re a Perfectionist)

Elizabeth Grace Saunders wrote;

“Planning is good, but sometimes overplanning your day-to-day activities can make you a ‘neurotic, stressed-out person who feels like you would have been better off if you hadn’t planned anything in the first place.’

Planning stress can come when we don’t understand the role that spontaneity plays an important part in the process of implementing plans.

Change and adjustments are a part of the process of living.

Whenever something doesn’t go exactly according to plan, don’t stress.

Not adjusting causes additional stress.

Take a more relaxed approach.”

Our life is like that of a pilot.

Pilots have a flight plan based on where they want to end up.

Often, they need to adjust their flight path based on things that come up during the flight that get in the way of getting to their destination. 

The same is true of us.

Q:  What is “GETTING IN YOUR WAY” IN LIFE?

Too Little Planning?

Too Much planning?

Listening to the wrong voices in you planning?

Things “come up” in life that may be unexpected that should be dealt with. 

The next time something comes up that “messes up” your plans and you’re tempted to dismiss planning as irrelevant, remind yourself that your plan did help you set an initial course and equip you to get to your desired destination eventually, even if you had to modify your course along the way.

The famous quote “Best laid plans” is a shortened version of “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” from a poem by Robert Burns ("To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785)

GETTING AN “A+” IN PLANNING

Very few if any plans go exactly as planned. However, you can still get an “A” if we are confident that we made the right adjustments and ended up where we decided we wanted to arrive.

Note that very often, God helps us to get to a different place than we planned for.

This is where quotes come from like,

“When God shuts a door, he opens a window.”

There have been many of my plans that God has shut doors to, only to open windows of different opportunities that have taken me to better places.

Garth Brookes’ song, “Unanswered Prayers” is a song which highlights this point.

Knowing that adjustments will always need to be made, there is a happy-medium to planning.

Since there is no perfect plan, be careful not to get stuck in not ever getting started doing something just because you don’t have it all figured out or planned out yet.

It can be a waste of precious time that could be used accomplishing a goal when we obsess about the perfect plan before going forward.

Sometimes you just have to jump in.

Time management wisdom from the “experts” recommends setting limits on how much time we invest in planning.

For what it is worth, for most people, they say an hour is the maximum time that should be needed for weekly planning and 15 minutes for daily planning, since we’re not re-evaluating all of our priorities.

PLAN TO ALLOW JESUS TO “BE JESUS TO YOU.”

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” - Proverbs 16:5

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

-1 Peter 5:8

[Planning a Designated-Driver comes to mind here. Make sure that you always plan for God to be your designated-driver in every area of your life]

PLAN TO “BE JESUS TO OTHERS”

  This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

-1 John 2:5,6

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

-1 Corinthians 11:1

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus… made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant… humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—

        even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…”

-Philippians 2:5-9

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

-Galatians 2:20

[As a Christian, think of how you treat others as being perceived by them as to how Jesus is treating them]

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

-Luke6:46

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

-John 15:12

CERTAIN THINGS IN LIFE

They say that there are very few things that are certain in life.

Often “Death” and “Taxes” are mentioned.

Apart from the addition of all of the promises of God which are certain, (especially the promise of unconditional love, forgiveness and heaven), “Interruptions” need to be added to the list of certain things in life.

When we think about it, “Interruptions” happen far more than death or taxes. We will only die once. We will only be taxed once per year or each time we make a purchase. But “Interruptions” take place countless times each day.

We had better be flexible.

We had better have our mind set on today and not the future. If we don’t, then we will miss making appropriate adjustments in real time (in the moment).

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Part of planning and properly living in the present is to “Expect the unexpected”.

In building terms this is giving yourself a 10% or so, “Margin for error”.

This is the answer to the 11th-hour syndrome.

Get it done at least in the 10th hour or maybe even the day before its deadline.

WE CANNOT CONTROL ALL OF LIFE

Instead we need to embrace it and the reality of its uncertainties.

A BALANCED PERSPECTIVE ON PLANNING AND LIVING ONE DAY AT A TIME

Think of your plans and each day as a sketch on a canvas.

Many oil painters use the technique of sketching their scene before beginning, that is, planning before painting.

The sketch on canvas (the plan) is only temporary.

It is only a guide which should not be too detailed.

It is not to be strictly followed or else it will hinder and reduce the painter’s ability to adapt and be spontaneous at all.

We can relate that lesson to managing our lives as well. 

SETTING AND ADJUSTING YOUR SAILS

Like a sailor needs to first “Set the sails” and then sail, every sailor knows that the very nature of sailing is that sails will need continual adjustments during the trip.

The better those adjustments to the current winds and wave situation, the smoother the trip.

The better we adjust to the current conditions present in our daily life; the smother our life will be in comparison to how messy it could be if we did not make the appropriate adjustments.

Our safety and security don’t lie in our plans, 

but in Jesus.

Life is to be lived and enjoyed, not just “done.”

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for free will.

Thank you for not leaving us alone to make plans and adjust to them in our lives.

Help us top want what you want, plan what you would want us to plan and make the necessary adjustments. For that is truly an A+ life.

In Jesus’ name.

Amen! 

Pastor Dave

Word of Life Church

17525 W. Bell Rd.

Surprise, AZ 85374

Word Of Life
   Church & preSchool

623-544-3000

wolchurch@wordoflifeaz.org

17525 W Bell Road

Surprise, AZ 85374

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