That little video bumper introduces a new four-part sermon series called The 5% Life. And as we jump into that, I wanna tell you about an interesting thing that I read this week. It’s called The American Time You Survey. It’s published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. I always go there when I need some interesting reading, don’t you? I didn’t know there was anything worthwhile. From the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the survey analyzes how the average American spends their time. And some of it was really fascinating. I looked up the, the figures for those that are 64 to 75 years old. I gave you the benefit of the doubt. Here’s how the average American 64. 65 to 74 spends a typical day, 30 minutes a day, participating in sports, exercise, and recreation. About 50 minutes, socializing and communicating. 49 minutes a day, reading 46 minutes a day, relaxing or thinking, and about 44 minutes a day playing games and computer use for leisure. So far so good. But then listen to this. The average American Age, 65 to 74, spends four and a half hours a day watching television, four and a half hours a day watching television. If you get above 75, it’s almost five hours a day. Now, if I don’t miss my guess, and my math is I, I have to use a calculator. But four and a half hours a day times 365 days a year equals over two months of your life sitting in front of the television, two months, 68 days in front of a television. Now, why do I tell you that? Because I think it sets up the context for what we want to do in this 5% sermon series. We want you to change the way you spend your time and the way you invest your life.
And it’s called 5% Life. We’re asking you today to commit 1% of your day, 1% of your week, 1% of your month, and 2% of your year in activities that will change your life, deepen your walk with Christ, and serve God’s people. So listen, as I tell you, 1% of your day is about 15 minutes. We want you to spend that in God time, devotional time. 1% of your week is gather time, about an hour and a half for worship. So hang around even if I don’t preach for an hour and a half, although I can help you out with that if you’d like. 1% of your month is about seven and a half hours. We want that in group time. So we’ve got, uh, we’ve got God time, gather time, group time, a small group in your home here at church, a life group, whatever it is, and 2% of your year in go time. Going out doing something, investing in the lives of others. You can spread it out over the year. You can spend a week, you can go to Africa a year, I think a year from this fall. There’ll be another trip to South Africa. You’ve got God time. Gather time, group time, and go time. Add them up. And you get 5% of your life, 5% of your life. If you do it, it will change 100% of your life. You’ll discover a deeper life, a new warmth and intimacy with Christ. You’ll discover surprisingly, especially some of you spouses, that there’s love, joy, peace, patience, the fruit of the spirit coming out of your life in ways that you never thought were hap happen before, and you’ll live with the daily kind of reassurance that God loves you.
And you know, you’ve got the Blessed assurance that you’re gonna live with him in heaven forever. So here’s what I would ask you to do. 30 days. 30 days to create a good healthy habit. Do it for 30 days and we’re gonna give you tips on how you can do that. It’s still January, not too late for a New Year’s resolution. 30 days, the 5% life. And today we’re gonna begin this series by digging a little bit deeper into the 1% God time, the 1% of your day, that part of your day that’s specifically set aside for communing with you and God. And I wanna do that by telling you about Psalm 63. And lately in my devotional life, I’ve just been so drawn into the Psalms. Do you know that that’s the prayer book of the Old Testament people? You can find all kinds of prayer there, and I would encourage you to just open it and dig deeply. Psalm 63 was written by King David when he’s in the wilderness, and if you’ve ever seen it, you, we live on the desert, but this is desolate, desolate, Judean wilderness. And David is there because he’s fleeing for his life, either from paranoid King Saul or his own murderous son, his own murderous son, Absalom. Who is seeking to depose him from being king and to kill him. And here in the, in the middle of the desert, David cries out to God. Now he already knows God. The Bible tells us that David is someone who is after God’s own heart. A man after God’s heart. What a, what an affirmation of your life. A man after God’s heart, and there he is in the desert and he still nevertheless cries out to God. He says, God, you are my God, but earnestly I seek you. My flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. God, you are my God. And yet earnestly, I seek you. I want more of you. I thirst my very flesh thirsts for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. David knows God, but he says, I want more of you God, because when David has discovered the steadfast love of the Lord, he says later in the Psalm, your steadfast love is better than life. Sweeter than life itself. David has learned that if he experiences God, he doesn’t need anything else. If he is God’s love, God’s honor. God’s favor, God’s wisdom, God’s favor. He doesn’t need anybody or anything else. This is a man who’s got the world by the tail. But he’s discovered the sweetness of God’s love. David has learned to go beyond the primitive prayers that we so easily pray of. Give me, give me, help me, give me please. David has learned to get beyond those prayers and delight in just God himself. He has a deep relationship with God and he wants him just for who God is, and in seeing God’s power and glory and majesty and magnificence, he’s awestruck. And so he says, God, my God, I seek you. I earnestly seek you. I thirst for you. You know, I would venture to say that some of you don’t know that kind of appetite for God. You don’t understand that appetite for God, and part of the reason is you’ve ruined your appetite for God. Timothy Keller tells us that there are all kinds of ways that we have God substitutes we don’t want, and hunger and desperate need and thirst for God because we’ve ruined our appetite, and we’re gonna talk about that a little bit more.
But he says, Keller says that sin ruins your appetite. Sin. Three primary ones, sex, money, and power. Now, some of us think we’re beyond that, but I would dare push that a little bit. Each of those are God substitutes, adoration, substitute. They’re experience substitutes. They give you a temporary high, but they ruin your appetite. You’re doing things that are giving you sort of a high, even when you’re watching four and a half hours of TV a day filled with, dare I say, the soft porn, sexual innuendo, even during prime time. And you know what I’m talking about. And men, I would say to you, in your imagination, you are ruining your appetite for God, even in four and a half hours of tv. Some of us have a infatuation with power, even our own sense of rightness in, in among the culture, our power over others, over the world. And some have an obsession about money. Whether you’ve got too much or too little, or you’re watching the market constantly worrying. But if you would obey God, if you would clear up your conscience, you would find yourself hungering after God, following hard after God saying, God, I need you earnestly. I seek you. I need you. Dare I say to each of us that we’re getting closer to the end of our lives. When will we learn this lessen my friends? When will we learn to jettison all of the ballasts that we carry around with us so much and learn to seek God in God’s self? Instead of going to all these substitutes, God wants to give us a desperate hunger for himself. I wanna begin by reading this Psalm 63 verses one to eight. Oh God, you are my God. David says, earnestly, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you. My flesh faints for you is in a dry and weary land where there’s no water. And so I have looked upon you in the sanctuary beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life. My lips will praise you, so I will bless you as long as I live and in your name. I will lift up my hands, my soul. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food. And my mouth will praise you with joyful lips when I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night. For you have been my help. And in the shadow of your wings, I will sing For joy, my soul clings to you. Your right hand upholds me. This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God, will join me in prayer. God, I am convinced that you have a message for every last one of us in this room. So I pray that you help us to lay aside the, the armor that we carry sometimes when we’re confronted with your spirit, our self-satisfaction and our smugness, with thinking that everything’s hunky dory in our lives.
When you wanna dig deeper, Down to the depths of our soul, our heart, our mind. And you wanna tell us again that you love us. We have all of you. God will help us to give more of ourselves to you, will open our hearts and minds our ears. And will you infuse this time that we share together that we might know that we are in the presence of a holy God who is speaking a living word to everyone gathered here. And to that end, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be ex pleasing to you, oh God, our rock and our redeemer. Amen. Dear friends, in Christ, grace to you, in peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. You know, the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter five could well have written the thesis for my sermon today. He wrote this in a paraphrase. Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit in without even thinking. Instead, fix your eyes and attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. See, here’s what I want you to do. God helping you take your every day ordinary life. You’re sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life and place it before God is an offering. Place your ordinary life before God is an offering your whole life. But doing that demands something that we are loath to give. Do you know what it requires? We spell it this way, t i m e To give your life to God requires time, time devoted to God. Not just a fast food fly by of one hour a week thinking that you can get by on that one meal and let it sustain you for the next six days. It doesn’t work that way. And unfortunately our culture has conditioned us to look for instant gratification with everything. We think. If I want it, I can have it instantly. So we have microwaves and instant pudding and and instant popcorn. We are conditioned with 32nd commercials, 30 page arids. We think we can get everything instantly.
And it’s a lie. It’s a lie. Walking with living, with communing, with God. Cannot be done in 30 seconds. Eugene Reap. Peterson writes that there’s little enthusiasm in our day for the patient acquisition of virtue. Little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what previous generations called Holiness. Peterson writes that everyone’s in a hurry. Everyone wants shortcuts. He says that members of his congregation want me to help them fill out the form that will get them instant credit in heaven. They’re impatient for results. They’ve adopted the lifestyle of a tourist. They only want the high spots, but he goes on to say that the Christian life cannot possibly mature under such conditions and in such ways. But that very attitude, wanting instant answers to prayer, instant maturity has produced. My friends in this day and age, a generation of midget Christians who know nothing of the depth of the wonder and love of God. I winced to read Hebrews five, where the writer says, I have a lot more to say about all of this, but it’s hard to get it across to you because you’ve learned to have bad habit of not listening. By this time, you ought to be teachers yourselves. Yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics about God again, starting from square one, baby’s milk when you should be on solid food long ago. What’s gone wrong? Dallas Willard in a book called The Great Omission gives us an illustration. He says, suppose you’ve got a neighbor who’s, who seems to have trouble with his car all the time. You might well assume that he’s got a a lemon, and you might be right, but if you discover that he was supplementing his gas with a quart of water every now and then, you wouldn’t blame the car or the manufacturer, would you? And you’d certainly encourage him to put only the appropriate kind of fuel in the tank, and perhaps after some restorative work, the car would run fine. Willard writes that we’ve gotta approach our walk with Christ in the very same way. Our Christian life isn’t meant to run on just anything we give it. You can try and satiate your hunger for God with some cotton candy or with some mounds bars or something. But it’s not meant to run on that. And if our Christian life doesn’t work at all, or works only in fits and starts and only when we’re desperate and in a bind do we call out to God, it’s because we do not give ourselves to us to it in a way that allows our lives to be taken over by it.
Can I pause for a minute and talk to you men that are in the room? For way too long, we have yielded the leadership of the spiritual aspect of our life together to our wives. They’re the ones who brought you and the children to church. They’re the ones that lead the way to the Bible and devotions. They are the ones that read the devotional before you eat lunch, before you have dinner, and it’s time men. To be men of God. We can share that leadership with our wives. We can find a richness in our faith together that is not available any other way no matter how long you’ve been married. I tell you that the communion that you can share with your spouse when you pray together. Is some of the deepest, richest communion that you will ever know. There’s an added beauty to your love because it’s, it’s rich with the love and mercy of God as you’re brought to your knees together. The writer of two Peter reminds us that if we seek God, he will certainly find us and then we ever more deeply find him. That’s the blessed existence of the disciple of Jesus, who continuously grows in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Willard picks up this thought by reminding us that Jesus has called us to be disciples, not just fans. You know, it’s easy to be a fan, easy to be a fan of Jesus. Well done. Well done, Jesus. It’s a totally different thing to be a disciple, not convert. God calls us to make disciples, not church members. So start with 5%, 1% of your day, 15 minutes every day, seven days a week.
Two simple suggestions to begin with. Make it the very same time and the very same place every day. Otherwise it won’t happen for a year. And there you’re off and running and you’re garner just like that. Right. Don’t do it. Don’t turn on the news. You’ll have bad news long before you have good news. And two things I’ve learned, make it easy. Don’t make it arduous. Something that you have to check off on your to-do list and make it enjoyable. Start with the sense of anticipation, thinking, I wonder what God’s gonna tell me today because you know, he’s written a love letter. And it’s got your name on it, EV, I’m baptized. It’s my birthright. I belong to God. Or maybe as you begin, you just wanna stand for a moment. You’ll feel stupid to begin with. And I’ve got a mirror in the den where I have him. And I certainly feel stupid, but no more than most days. But sometimes I’ll just raise my hand and say, help yourself, God. Help yourself because I’m yours. Maybe you wanna begin by just saying, my God, my all, my God, my all. Be sure that you quiet your heart, that you breathe quietly for a while, in and out. In the last few years, I’ve learned to love this time. I look forward to it. I, I set the alarm, but oftentimes I wake up before the alarm. I make a fresh cup of coffee. I head to the den. I close the door. I find my spot on the far end of the couch, the far corner of the couch, and Joanne’s most often sleeping. I wake her a little later. I turn on the reading light. I put a lap robe across me, and almost every day I try and just sit in silence and savor the. The quiet that is so rare, the Bible tells us to be still and know that he’s God. Recently I’ve started to use a smartphone app called Lectio three six five. Every morning I get a 10 minute devotional for the morning and 10 minute for the evening. It’s full of scripture and prayers. And as it begins, it always says, as I enter prayer now, I pause to be still, to breathe slowly, to recenter my scattered senses upon the presence of God.
What an invitation. Your daily, 1% of God time will be unique to you, but it’s gotta include at least two things, and that’s Bible and prayer. We need the Bible. We need that objective reality speaking into our lives, not just well, I’ve always thought I always heard, well, I was confirmed, pastor Bible and prayer, reading the Bible part should be fairly easy, but I would suggest not trying to read it cover to cover, you’ll get lost in it. And it’s not intended to be read that way. I don’t think it’s 66 different books each with a different person and many with different authors. But find a digestible way to talk, to hear a, a small portion of it. Maybe you begin with a psalm a day. You can pick up the app called a Daily Audio Bible, and you get a little old new little bit of New of Old Testament gospel Psalm proverb. It’s glorious. In 365 days, you’ll have heard and read along with, if you want the entire scripture, you can pick up a one year Bible. You can make it into your personal journal. Always have a pen there and write down a date and something that God said to you. Make it live. Make it live in your life. Make the second part of your God. Time should include prayer, and some of us struggle to make sense out of prayer other than now I lay me down to sleep or come Lord Jesus, or our Father who aren’t in heaven. But God wants us to come with our whole heart, our whole life and put it in prayer. Pete Grieg in a book, how to Pray, A Simple Guide for normal people that presumes a lot if you wanna read it, that you have to be normal. He says, our English word prayer derives from the Latin word Rios. Isn’t that something we pray because life is precarious, isn’t it? It, it’s precarious and it’s fragile and it’s fleeting. But we pray because life is also marvelous. We pray because life is dangerous and bewildering and overwhelming, and we are at a loss for many things, but not for the heart’s. Cry of help, not for the heart’s cry of, thank you, and please, and wow. Wow. A few weeks ago, I shared Pete Grieg’s three simple things about prayer. He says, keep it simple, keep it real, keep it going. Keep it simple. Keep it real honest. Keep it going. Then he offers two heartwarming illustrations that grow out of his, uh, life as a dad to two small children, how to pray and when to pray. He writes that as a boy, his little son, Danny, would often grip those big wax crayons and grab any scrap of paper he could and he’d draw all over his page and he’d draw these wonderful things and want him to look at them. And he writes that as a boy, his son, daddy Danny, would write words on any scrap of paper. Daddy. He said one day handing me his latest masterpiece. Look what I write. Wow. I said, As if he’d knocked off the first page of Macbeth. Well done, Danny. That’s so clever. You’re writing so beautifully. Wrong way up. Silly. You replied. Oh, right. I spun the paper and studied again, Daniel. I said eventually. You have written a great big, long letter here, haven’t you? He looked so pleased, so pleased that he uttered two words that stopped my heart. Read it. I stared at that crumple piece of paper, searching for a clue. Should I break it to him? That is scribbles while beautiful in their own way, didn’t actually mean anything. Would he feel deceived, discouraged? Could I distract him? Should I change the subject? Read it. Daddy. He said again, looking up at the, from the paper, I stared in wild despair at a little face in front of me, and suddenly I knew exactly what to do. His scribbles remained incomprehensible, but his face was an open book. I knew it’s every wrinkle, contour and nuance. It’s fleeting mood. He told me more eloquently than poetry and prose what kind of day he’d had. How he was feeling, what he’d eaten for dinner, what weird little obsessions were buzzing around in his own little head, like fireflies. And so I returned to my son’s artistry. I cleared my throat and began to read aloud, and he listened intently, clearly impressed by his own brilliance, chucking in the right places. Well done Daddy. Well done. He said, emphasizing each word with an emphatic nod of his head. That was, he nodded. Very good reading to get the point. God doesn’t care how scribbled our writing, how mumbled our words in prayer. Because with infinite affection, God looks at our heart. He knows our story. He knows the scars we carry around every day. He knows the feeling that we have. The weird little obsessions flying around in our heart.
God’s ear hears the heart’s voice said Saint Augustine. And Father Jean Nicholas Growl writes that it is the heart that prays and it is the voice of the heart to which God listens, and it is the heart that God answers. What a wonderful assurance. It’s to your heart and mind that God listens anytime of the day or night, whether we’re out in the bright sunshine, walking, whether we’re on our knees in the middle of the night in desperation, or whether we’re fuming behind the stuck in traffic. God listens. Greek offers another illustration. He says, when his children were really little, he’d often have to take leave of them. He lives in the United Kingdom and he’d have to fly overseas for a couple of weeks at a time. And he said one time his youngest, Danny was just particularly upset that his daddy was gonna be gone again. And so he made a big deal of writing his cell phone number on a Post-it note and putting it up where he couldn’t, uh, miss it. And he said, Danny, you can call anytime and I will answer the phone. He said, in hindsight, that was rather foolish. He said, not only are Intercontinental calls quite expensive, but Danny has no sense of time or play. For two weeks. He said he took calls at night to discuss the adventures of Danny’s toys. He dashed out of important meetings to receive detailed updates on his potty training. Danny enjoyed direct access to me at any time of the day or night in a way that no one else does because he’s my son. He knew I would take his calls ’cause I’d promised, and our father in heaven has made the same promise, hasn’t he? He’s more eager to hear than we are to listen, than we are to pray. He’s made us that promise through his son Jesus Christ, that we can come boldly under the very throne of God 1%. Of your day, my friends in God, time, Bible and prayer. That’s what we’re asking, that the Holy Spirit will give you a hunger, a hunger, and a thirst in your heart and soul that can only be satiated by God. David expressed that that longing several times in the Psalms. He said in Psalm 42, my soul thirsts for God, for the living God. He said, as a dear pants for the water, sow my soul pants for you. Oh God. In Psalm 1 43, I stretch out my hands to you, my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Do you remember Jesus’ words from the cross? The last things he said while on earth as he hung there, as he hung there on the cross, as his heavenly Father had turned his back on his now sin drench. Son, one of the words he spoke was I thirst a simple word of his humanness. I thirst Jesus thirsted for God so that we can be satisfied. Our search slated. Jesus Thirsted for God, so that the Temple veil would be torn in two, and we can just run into the presence of God. God, Jesus thirsted Jesus thirsted for God so that the tomb could be empty and we know that we too shall live because he lives as the resurrection and the life and Jesus thirsted so that he could say with his life. If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink For whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said out of his heart will flow, rivers of living water. Dear friends, may the Holy Spirit give us such a burning thirst and desire for God that we can’t help but give God 1, 2, 5, 10% of our day and a minimum of 5% of our life. May God make it so we join me in prayer. God, we can’t do this on our own. We cannot do it on our own. We fail miserably, but your spirit in us can breathe a new life into our walk with you. And that’s what we ask, that our lives will be changed from the inside out and we pray it together in Jesus’ name, and all God’s people said. Amen.