Friday, February 17, 2012

time to reflect ... find margin


Let’s recap some of the things we’ve talked about the last couple of weeks.  The theme of my preaching and much of my writing this month has been MARGIN.  Margin is the amount available beyond what is necessary.  That means margin can be found in our time with and connection to God, the way we use or have money, our schedules, relationships, stress and struggles, and in many different places.  This week we have talked about love (since it has been Valentine’s day).

I reflect on a few of the things that mean much to me.  Each of these are points of margin and are direct evidence of where God is working in and around my life.  Please don’t take what I am sharing today as a mark of pride, but I desire to live with passion.  Hear and mark this: margin will increase the passion we have in our lives.

Those who fear the LORD are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Early this week I took my daughters to a movie and then to dinner.  We sat at the table and talked about some difficult subjects.  My desire is that my girls will live in a way that glorifies God and gives them the best and fullest life possible, yet I realize the stance I take as a dad can point these two precious girls in the right or the wrong direction.  My job is not only to shelter them and keep them safe.  My job is to guide them into greatness.  Tough.  But Julie and I are ready to take this challenge for all three of our kids.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her

The week went on to Valentine’s Day, and the night before I spent several hours preparing for some blessings for Julie.  There were 65+ hand written notes placed strategically around our house.  Best Valentine’s Day ever, and I spent less than normal.  The outcome was greater than I expected too.  Julie is my precious wife, and we’ve been together for 19 years (she blessed me as well in several ways).

As I talk about my children and my wife, the thought that comes to my mind that I must continue to build margin into these relationships.  Without margin with my children, we will end up constantly fighting, stressed and at odds.  I would rather have a godly and powerful influence on my kids than to hurt them.  That means I need margin.  I have to build margin into the relationship with my wife.  The last couple of weeks brought more margin as we are taking extra minutes just for us.  My family is a big piece of the passion in my life

Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.

The last part I want to share with you has to do with a ministry God put in my heart about 8 years ago, but it has only been in the last 5 years that God has been using this.  It is called back2school where we help students get ready for school as well as to pour hope in Jesus into their lives.  Last night I met with some people from our community who are willing to help us take this ministry to a new level.  The last few years we’ve helped about 1,000 students each year, but these friends and partners are going to help us more than double our numbers and our reach.  This is my passion.  To serve others with no strings attached wins us the right to share Jesus.

Margin allows our passion to grow.  I pray that God will allow my passion in ministry to grow in ways that few people, not even me, can see at this point.  That includes a homeless shelter and discipleship program.  I pray that God will allow my passion and commitment to my family to grow so we can find margin that keeps our relationships close and strong.

Take some time to reflect and find margin in your life!

1 comment:

Andie Steele-Smith said...

Greetings brother. You know I read this yesterday and it was good. However when I came in this evening from Street Life (street ministry) I read it again and I realise dhow good it is to have a sage reminder that our first ministry is in our own homes - better yet in our own marriages - even before we minister to our children, let alone our church groups / communities etc.

And that takes......margin.

Margin is something that is easy to give away and yet so, so hard to regain once its lost.

I'm going to reflect on this over the coming busy week - to make sure that I don't give away the margin with Rachel and the children - that is almost impossible to regain.

Thanks for sharing this post. Its a great one. WIll be praying that your continued series on margin tomorrow is unleashed and then lived out powerfully.

Blessings, Andie

happy birthday, Julie

Proverbs 18:22   NLT The man who finds a   wife   finds a treasure, and he receives   favor   from the   Lord . Yes, I have foun...