* When God Dismisses Our Deadlines \\ **Eric Schall \\ October 1, 2006 \\ Genesis 12-21*
Genesis 21 Isaac is finally born to Abraham.
*The Value of Time apart* -Jesus took time apart frequently
time at Myrtle Beach
Things constantly pressuring us for their attention
Kids schedules, Work, our American sense of “work ethic”
“stop and smell the roses” always found that statement a bit annoying…
Perhaps when you try to pray you find your mind wandering and it is a constant frustration to you.
Our minds wander easily…
John Ortberg – “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives.”
I have titled today’s message “When God dismisses our Deadlines.”
In our culture our lives are continuing to speed up and continuing to spiral out of our control.
You ever notice that we are never “at” someplace, but always “on the way” to somewhere else?
How you doing?
Good, we hope to be moving soon”
What are you doing?
Going to be leaving for the store soon.
Some people stop and realize that life steaming ahead at full speed and you are not even sure if you like the direction you are pressing towards… But you can’t stop right?
There are responsibilities, bills to pay, mouths to feed.
Life is rolling on and it demands your attention.
If you have children you know exactly what I am talking about.
Everything is hurried, everything is rushed, and there just isn’t enough time in the day!
Time magazine noted that back in the 1960’s, expert testimony was given to a subcommittee of the Senate on time management.
The essence of it was that because of advances in technology, within twenty years or so people would have to radically cut back on how many hours a week they worked, or how many weeks a year they worked, or else they would have to start retiring sooner, The great challenge, they said, was what people would do with all their free time.
But the opposite is true.
We are constantly hurrying in everything.
We pick our restaurants many times based on how fast they can get us our food, not necessarily on whether or not it is actually good.
How many of us would go to a restaurant that promises to take a really long time from the time you order until the time you get your food?
Many of us suffer from “hurry sickness.”
Meyer Friedman of the Friedman Medical Institute, a noted cardiologist and researcher, defined hurry sickness as “above all a continuous struggle and unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events in less and less time, frequently in the face of opposition, real or imagined, form other persons.”
We look at someone who is hurrying and think “oh they must be running late.”
Oftentimes they like us are not truly running late, but are just suffering from hurry sickness.
In his book The Life You’ve Always Wanted John Ortberg says “Hurry is not just a disordered schedule, Hurry is a disordered heart.”
You ever find yourself chafing whenever you have to wait?
At a stoplight, if there are two lanes and each contains a car…we start calculating based on year, make, and model of each car, trying to guess which is going to pull away the fastest.
At a grocery store, we scan the check out lanes counting how many people are in each lane, taking into account how many “items” they have.
If someone has it real bad after picking their line they will keep track of their alternate choice to see if they really chose the best line.
If the person who would have been you is still standing in line while you leave, you walk outside with a sense of victory!
If the other person makes it out first you start kicking yourself!
“I should have noticed this person in front of me had clearance items!
They always need a price check!!”
Illustration: Saw a great movie recently…Click!
It is a wonderful parable on our times.
(not saying it is a Christian movie…) Guy trying to get ahead, wants to just skip over the parts of his life that are difficult or where he has to wait and grind through just like always.
Finds this remote and fast forwards.
While he is fast forwarding he is on “auto-play” where he is disengaged, distant and only gives brief answers.
You know living your life by schedules hurrying from one moment to the next is empty.
It takes no effort to be ruled by schedules, and it certainly isn’t fulfilling.
But those that stop and say “I refuse to be defined by this!” and make a concerted effort to not just add God to their schedules here and there, but actually submit their whole selves to God will find the peace they are lacking.
Today I want to talk about how this sense of hurry or hurry sickness can become an area of bondage in our lives and keep us from God’s best.
We are going to be looking at the story of Abraham this morning in Genesis chapters 15-21.
Never too late*
*/Genesis 12:1 (NIV) The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”/*
Genesis 15. Abram is told by God that he will have a son and that this son will be a seed through which God will bless the nations.
Abram is now 75 years old.
Ever feel like you are starting late.
Like everyone else is ahead of you?
Or perhaps you feel like you’ve made too many mistakes.
You wake up one day and feel like so much time has been wasted.
You realize that the things that truly have value in life and in the Kingdom of God have not been valued by you.
You know as long as there is breath, it is never too late to become a better father.
It is never too late offer up your life in service to the King.
It is never too late to take the brokenness of your life and hand it to the Savior.
*Dealing with the “not yet’s” of God*:
*/Genesis 16:1-2 (NIV) “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.
But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children.
Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.”/*
In */Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”/*
It is a wonderful promise, but I can’t tell you how many times I have disagreed with this verse in my heart!
If you have ever had a sick one that you are praying for and they are suffering, you know what I am talking about.
Or perhaps you are without a job and have been praying and asking God to come through for you, but it seems like you are blocked at every turn.
Why does God make us wait sometimes?
Perhaps you are in the same situation as Sarai and Abram here.
You have been hoping and praying for a child for years with no results.
How the waiting and the silence can tear at you!
You begin to question: “Maybe there’s something wrong with me?” “Maybe I wouldn’t make a good parent?”
“Why won’t God speak to me and tell me what to do!?”
In this passage we see their actions after 10 years of waiting. 10 years!
How they must have wrestled and gone back and forth between faith, and questioning, “Hurry up, God! My life is ticking away here!”
Abram’s faith wasn’t perfect, we see that in his actions while traveling and deceiving the rulers by calling Sarai his sister and not trusting God to handle it.
So there is certainly room for doubt in here.
Doubt and faith go hand in hand.
Faith is belief in spite of the doubts that gnaw at you.
If you have been a follower of Christ for any length of time you will have encountered many times where you were confronted with the choice: Do I trust God for this or will I rip the reins of my life out of His hands and take control?
The greater the promise, the greater the stakes, the stronger the temptation to take control.
Here in this passage we see Sarai and Abram abandoning the wait.
They probably used arguments like “After all God wants us to take some action.”
“Perhaps God is waiting for us to make the first move.”
“Everyone else does it.”
This practice was common in the ancient world.
If a woman was unable to have a child to produce an heir.
When God is telling us to wait, it is usually through silence.
It is something that He has already spoken to us, but then time begins to pass.
Too much time in our opinion and things keep happening around us while it feels like we are standing still; so we want God to speak to us again regarding our hope.