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"Upper" Management

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Are you managing the kingdom for God and His glory, or for yourself and your gain?

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Open with video, “Shoppers”.

Let me start off this morning by asking you guys some pretty basic questions and then look at your answers to make a point. Is that OK?

First question: Suppose that my family and I are going to be going out of town for a week and we want someone to stay at our house and take care of our dog and just watch over the house and make sure that everything is safe and secure. And suppose that I ask one of you (anyone of you), to do it and you agree.
Then, upon returning to our house from the trip, we walk in and find that everything (and I mean everything in the house), is SPOTLESS! You scrubbed the floors, washed up all of the dirty laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, ran and emptied the dishwasher, (OF COURSE, TOOK EXCELLENT CARE OF THE DOG), mowed the yard, vacuumed every room, dusted the furniture!
All of this for the set amount of money that I offered you up front and not a penny more, would you accept! WHO DO YOU THINK I AM GOING TO WANT TO HOUSE-SIT FOR ME AND MY FAMILY IN THE FUTURE AND DON’T YOU KNOW THAT I AM GOING TO GRACIOUSLY GIVE MORE TO DO SO, FOR THE VALUE IN RETURN?!!!
Next question/scenario: Suppose that I own a taco stand in town and everyday, the people that I get to work for me can produce around 200 tacos during the lunch hour rush, with the available resources that are on hand.
Now, let’s say that I hire you on to make the tacos and all of a sudden, there are 250 tacos being made during the same time frame and from the same amount of supplied resources.
And this all comes about, because the other employees are wasteful and you are very diligent and frugal and you care about the work that you do!
Who do you think I am going to promote up to manage my stand and even open another one for me?!!
Third question: Let’s say that I ask you and and two other people to become shift managers over the same number of employees at a large “widget” factory in town.
The first shift manager’s one year review comes up and we find that throughout that year, there was no noted increase in production of widgets, but still the numbers were consistent from the previous year’s output and there were few lost days to people calling in, or “no-showing” for their shifts.
Next, the second shift-manager’s one year annual review takes place and we find that there was dramatic DECREASE in the number of widgets being produced, the employee complaint box was overflowing and the number of lost-days to call-ins and no shows, was atrocious!
Finally, it is time for your one year review. And in looking at your file, we see that the number of widgets produced under your watch, had dramatically INCREASED, (with no increase in staffing), there were NO lost-days, or missed days from sickness and employee morale was off the charts!
Of the three of you, we can only retain one of you as a shift manager and the other two will be demoted to production. Who do you think that the company is going to keep on and invest more time and managerial training into?
OK, one more easy one: Say you have $100,000 from an inheritance and you give half to one investment broker and half to another. In one year’s time, the first broker as increased that $50,000 to $80,000 and the other broker has only gained you some slight interest, totaling $56,000.
Which broker are you going to reinvest with?

Here is my point in giving you these examples. We all can very easily see the simple logic and natural decision making that should take place in each one of these cut and dry scenarios, correct?

I mean, most of us didn’t have to take a few minutes and deliberate on which decision made more sense, or what was the logical thing to do in that situation, correct?
And in each one of these situations that I just presented you with, what was the common theme, or what did you all notice that happened at the end of each situation?
Right, the end result was that the ending situation, was better than the beginning one!
In other words, the “chosen” person, or “favored” person from each scenario, left the person/company hiring them, or bringing them in, better off than the way it was before they were introduced to the situation, right!
Now, having said that, let take you back real quickly to last week’s message and reiterate something that I really felt impressed to mention to the church body.
For fun, make funny waving movements and a silly sound and say, “This is me taking you back to last week!”
Last week, I talked about the fact that God, is the God of processes. ‘
If you remember, I mentioned about the creation account and of how that God created each day through a process, and not just a “snap” of His fingers and everything, “poof”, just appeared, right?!
In that message, I stressed about some steps that are inherent to each and everyone of that have to come to salvation through our faith and profession of faith and belief in Jesus the Christ. And those steps all happen to complete the process of salvation.
Does anyone here remember the first step that takes place as soon as you come to Jesus for your salvation?
Right, JUSTIFICATION! (What is justification? - the step of your being made and found RIGHTEOUS in the eyes of almighty God. God no longer sees your sinful past, but instead, He only sees His Son, Jesus, when He looks at you! AMEN?!
, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
OK, then what is the next step in the PROCESS of our salvation?
Exactly, SANCTIFICATION! (Anyone, what is the step of sanctification? - Being SANCTIFIED, is simply the process by which we DAILY, become more and more transformed into the glorious image of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, by allowing Holy Spirit to have His way within our lives!)
, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
And what is the final step of the salvation process?
Yep, GLORIFICATION! (And what does the Bible mean when it says that the believer will be GLORIFIED? - GLORIFICATION, is then that FINAL and perfect work, that God does with us! The moment that God, Himself, glorifies you, when you leave this earthen vessel, the work of SANCTIFICATION becomes complete and we are perfect and thus forever in the likeness and the image of the Christ!
, “And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.”
Anyone, from last week’s message, what is the most powerful thing that was ever created on this earth?
HUMANS! And what did I say a human was last week?
A DIRT BAG that has been filled with a living spirit by God! (Hallelujah, turn to someone and say, “You are one good looking dirt bag!”
And why did I say that HUMANS are the most powerful thing on this earth?
Because God has given humans dominion over this earth and since God never breaks His own laws, God thus desires to move and operate through us, as Spirit Filled vessels of His Kingdom!
If you remember, I used a statement from John Wesley that said, “It seems without God, man cannot and without man, God will not!”
When you and I pray, and I mean truly pray and ask for God’s intervention, then you are bringing the power of heaven to earth and moving on your behalf!
Not the authority, as this has already been given, but rather, God moves through us and for us and all because we ask for Him to do so!
If you need a miracle in your life, or that of someone that you know, then what are you waiting for, start praying and believing and asking in the mighty name of Jesus and bring heaven to earth, because we have the authority to do so!
“Prayer is earthly license, for heavenly interference!”
And having gone back over the highlight of last weeks message, let me tie it in with what I am talking to you about this morning and why I asked you the questions that I did starting off a few minutes ago.

You and I, as true Christians, are to be like the examples, or the situational questions that I was asking about a few minutes ago. OK, I see some blank looks, so, let me explain.

In the questions that I asked you at the beginning , what was the common denominator between each situation, in other words, what did we see happening equally in each scenario?
ANSWER: In each situation, the end result was better for the person who entrusted the other with their property, or at least we all agree that this is the choice we would pick for each situation, right?
Well, you and I are to be like this in the kingdom of God! Whatever God has entrusted us with, we should be bettering it for the kingdom, so that the end result is better than what it was when we started with it!
It is true that we have been given dominion over this earth, but we are still, only STEWARDS of the kingdom of God; NOT the master of the house!
Turn with me in your Bibles to ,
Luke 16:1–13 NLT
1 Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’ 3 “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’ 5 “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ 6 The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’ 7 “ ‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’ 8 “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. 10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? 13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
Luke 16:1–18 NLT
Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’ “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’ “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’ “ ‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’ “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him. Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God. “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in. But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned. “For example, a man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
Luke 16:1–13 NLT
1 Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. 2 So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’ 3 “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. 4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’ 5 “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ 6 The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’ 7 “ ‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’ 8 “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. 10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? 13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.”
This is one those parables that Jesus taught that has confused and confounded many, because of the seeming praise that is given to the unjust steward.
Without getting too theological and going deep into the culture and history of that day and age, let me simplify and answer the parable this way.
Jesus is not lauding and praising the dishonest steward for cheating the owner. He is, however, praising the steward’s shrewdness (ingenuity and foresight).
In other words, Jesus is saying that, aside from the methods that were used to better his situation, he still used what belonged to others and secured a future for himself.
He leveraged the amenities of the debtors to benefit them, instead of the master and in doing so, he made them beholding to him so that down the road, they would repay and take care of him, when he needed help.
He may have cheated to get there. but he still prepared for his future with what was available.
Jesus’ point was that if someone of THIS WORLD understands securing/advancing their future (albeit temporal and fading), how much more should the children of light (Christians) be advancing and preparing for their ETERNAL futures!
Or consider ,
Luke 12:42–48 NLT
42 And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 43 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 44 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 45 But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 46 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful. 47 “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
The emphasis is still the same here, the steward has been entrusted with what belongs to the master and the master expects the steward to MANAGE what he has been entrusted with, or else they will have to stand accountable for it!

We are stewards/managers of the Kingdom of God! And as such, Jesus expects us to advance the kingdom, not sit back and just wait until He returns!

In relation to my lesson last week about the believer’s authority within the kingdom, we need to understand this: our authority and the expectancy that goes with it never stops as long as we are here on earth.
In other words, as long as we are here, we have the authority of the kingdom at all times, but with that authority comes the RESPONSIBILITY of using the authority to advance and grow and better the kingdom, not lay back and hide in the world until Jesus comes back!
A manager has delegated authority [exousia]. If a manager resigns, he has no more authority. A policeman with uniform has authority when he stands at the traffic junction.
If he removes his uniform and his badge, then he has no more authority. The President of the United States has authority and power as long as he remains in the office, AS AN ELECTED official (DEMOCRACY). However, when he leaves that position, he also leaves that authority and power. His authority and power is resident to the title. Now, take the position of the king, which is a MONARCHY, from birth, to the throne and to death, the king, under the monarchy, has all authority and power.
If you and I are heirs to the throne, through our position in Jesus, then we walk as sons and daughters of the monarchy and we are to walk in authority and power of the kingdom wherever we go! The authority and power are never ending as we are the royal family and we have been given the keys to the kingdom.
If you and I are heirs to the throne, through our position in Jesus, then we walk as sons and daughters of the monarchy and we are to walk in authority and power of the kingdom wherever we go! The Exousia and Dunamis are never ending as we are the royal family and we have been given the keys to the kingdom.
And yet, we are expected to use that power and authority to better the kingdom. When God calls us home, the kingdom where we managing, should be found in better shape than what it was before we entered into the kingdom!
The problem with too many people today, is that we are consumer Christians!
We have been raised and trained to be CONSUMERS of everything, as opposed to being MANAGERS of everything!
We ask God for financial blessings upon us and yet God is asking us, “What have you done with what I have already given you? You ask me for $1,000, but I gave you $100 and out of that you wouldn’t even give $10 back to advance my Kingdom! You will spend $250 on your new outfit, $150 on your hair and you will borrow $65,000 to drive the newest car and YET, you can only give $20 of all of MY MONEY back to the church and back to MY KINGDOM! You say that you want a nice, new, large home and yet the one that you do have is trashed and a mess and falling apart! You WANT more, yet you manage poorly what I have entrusted to you!”
Look at what tells us about asking and receiving from God. (READ James 4:1-3.)
It is important that we rewire, that we renew our minds and the way that we have been programmed by this world to think. We are programmed by everything around us to CONSUME and demand more. If you can’t afford it, no worries, you can just borrow and keep CONSUMING!
Total credit card debt has reached its highest point ever, surpassing $1 trillion in 2017, according to a separate report by the Federal Reserve. Americans are in a borrowing mood, and their total tab for consumer debt could reach a record $4 trillion within the coming year or two. At these levels, consumers are spending about 10 percent of their income paying these debts each month, versus giving 10% to the Lord in gratitude! Our role as stewards of God’s kingdom has been toppled by the stranglehold of debt. Many believers in this nation are unable to fulfill their role as stewards and managers of the kingdom, because of their obligations to paying back credit card debts and the interest that goes with it!
We have pledged and placed our tithes and offerings upon the altar of CONSUMERISM versus giving them back to God and using them to serve and grow His kingdom!
The story is told of two men talking about money. One asked the other, "Joe, what would you do if you had all the money in the world?" Joe thought for a moment and replied, "I'd apply it to my debts as far as it would go!"
Look here guys, The average credit card debt in the US is close to $7,000 per CONSUMER and households with the lowest net worth (zero or negative) hold an average of over $10,000 in credit card debt! In other words, it doesn’t matter if we are broke, we still want more THINGS and we will serve the world and increase our debt to get more things to CONSUME!
What does this show us? That we are feeding into a CONSUMER based mindset in the kingdom, vs a steward based mindset!
We are called to take whatever we have and use that to better the kingdom of God, not to increase the amount of stuff that we have here.
NONE OF THIS BELONGS TO US..............it is all GOD’S! We simply MANAGE it for Him!
If you own it and it is yours then show me how you plan on taking it with you into the eternal Kingdom!
For far too long, so-called “preachers” have taught this “NAME IT/ CLAIM IT” distorted form of the gospel, in which people are taught that if you want more of something, or something better than what you have, it’s your for the taking!
People have been taught that the riches of the kingdom were given for us to enjoy life here, because Jesus, Himself, said that He came to give us LIFE and life more abundantly!
Jesus did say, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” But what did He mean in saying this?
The are 3 primary Greek words that we find used for the word “LIFE” in the NT.
BIOS - life of the physical body.
PSUCHE - the psychological life, that is the mind and emotion and will (the soul).
ZOE - the uncreated, eternal life of God, the divine life uniquely possessed by God!
When Jesus said that He came to give LIFE and give abundantly, the word that He used was not BIOS, or PSUCHE, but rather, He said ZOE!
Jesus wasn’t saying that He came to give abundant (extraordinary) physical life, emotional and intellectually pleasing life and great bodies for us to admire and post pics of on Instagram and FaceBook! (OBVIOUSLY, just look at mine!)
Rather, He said that HE came to give us ZOE (the eternal spiritual life that belongs to God)! HE CAME TO GIVE US EXTRAORDINARY ETERNAL LIFE!

Jesus has given to us the keys to the kingdom (the authority) and God has given us the amenities that we have, (whatever amount that may be per person), solely for purpose of us taking them and using them for His GLORY and to grow His Kingdom!

Does this mean that God is opposed to us having nice things, or more things in this life?
NO, in fact, to the one that is faithful in what they do have, they will acquire more, so as to continue using them to BLESS others!
The question is not, “can we have more”, the question is, “why do you WANT more”?
In other words, are you wanting more for the CONSUMER based mentality in the kingdom, or do you want more so as to manage it and use it to advance and grow and better the kingdom?
Are you a good steward/manager of what God has given to you and you want more to use it to effectively grow the Kingdom of God?
You already have dominion over the earth, but what are you doing with that dominion and what God has already given to you?

The Bible clearly calls us to STEWARDSHIP of EVERYTHING that we have been given by God: TIME, TALENTS, MONEY and even the SPIRITUAL gifts that He gives to us.

says,
1 Peter 4:10 ESV
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
Even of the Gospel Message itself, which is the ONE thing that every Christian, male and female, slave and free, Jew and Gentile, each have been equally given of, is to be handled as by a STEWARD/ a MANAGER!
,
1 Corinthians 4:1–2 ESV
1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
Finally, Paul said this is ,
Romans 14:12 ESV
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
You and I will answer before the Lord as to how we managed what He gave us.
Just like the talents parable, He gives to us all things (in all ways), in proportion to our ability to MANAGE them and use them for HIS glory, not ours!
How will you stand before Him. Will you be able to say, “I took everything that you blessed me with Lord and managed it with wisdom to grow your kingdom and bring you glory”?
This is not one of those messages where I want you coming to me or to anyone else after the service, and saying, “Will you pray with me about my finances?”
I am asking you to go home and spend time with God in prayer and ask Holy Spirit to show you the true nature of your heart and what you can do with what you have to better serve Him and His Kingdom!
CONSUMER or MANAGER of the Kingdom of God..............which one are you and which one do you want to be?
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