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A Shift in Time

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Renewing our minds means a shift in how we think about and use our time.

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Introduction: Good evening guys, welcome to our study tonight. Let’s do some introductions- tell us your name and something about yourself.
Tell us one of your favorite activities.
Tell us something you wish was different about how you use your time.
Those of you who are watching at home, we hope you have your Bible, pen, and notebook. We’re in Ecclesiastes 3:1-15.
Last week we started a new study series - It’s time to make a SHIFT. We looked at Romans 12:1-2, that in view of God’s mercies, we present our bodies (our whole selves) to God as a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service (rational worship). In doing so, we will not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the RENEWING OF OUR MIND so that we will prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. Renewing our mind is making a shift in our mental state of beliefs, feelings, values, and dispositions that lead to our actions. i.e. renewing the mind changes our understanding and way of thinking which in turn changes our attitudes and actions.
It’s time to make a shift in our minds that shows up in our lives and makes a difference in the world around us- our homes, in our work, in our neighborhoods and communities.
This study is based on 2 principles derived from Romans 11:33-36, and Romans 12:1-2.
Everything we have comes from God and is for Him.
Renewing our mind will transform how we think about and use what God has given us.
So when you think about some of the things God has given to us, what comes to mind?
For this study, we’re going to talk about 4 resources that come from God- time, talent, treasure, and testimony. This week is A Shift in Time, from Ecclesiastes 3:1-15. (read it in three parts)

vss. 1-8, A Shift in the way we SEE Time

vss. 9-11, A Shift in the way we USE Time

vss. 12-15, A Shift in the way we ENJOY Time

- What sticks out to you about these verses?
- What key words or phrases are there?
- Are there any cause and effect relationships?
- Do you see any comparisons or contrasts?
There is a great little booklet called Tyranny of the Urgent, by Charles Hummel. He talks about the way most of us approach our time, with jumbled priorities, where often what is urgent pushes out what is important. This is one extreme approach to time. Let’s call it the Natural Person.
Natural person- responds to inner compulsions and outward pressures of the moment
Natural Person:---------------------------------------------------:Spiritual Person
Spiritual person- has a plan that set priorities and prayerfully makes decisions in advance
1 Corinthians 2:14–16, But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
As believers, most of us live somewhere between these two poles. And it should be no surprise that our greatest example of the spiritual person is Jesus. We are Christ-followers after all.
Hummel picks up from the life of Jesus several things- His astonishing claim to have completed the work God gave Him to do (John 17:4) and the different occasions when there was an obvious opportunity in front of him to heal, but He would leave that place for another to go preach- because that is what He came to do (Mark 1:35-38). Hummel describes the time when Lazarus was sick and his sisters called for Jesus to come heal him, but Jesus didn’t go right away. Hummel- “The urgent need was to prevent the death of the beloved brother. But the important thing from God’s point of view was to raise Lazarus from the dead.” What was it that made the difference in Jesus’ plans and decisions?
Hummel attributes it to His consistent prayer life- solitude with the Father, patiently waiting on His instructions, and carrying out those plans. “Jesus had no divinely drawn blueprint or schedule; he discerned the Father’s will day by day in a life of prayer. Because of this He was able to resist the urgent demands of others and do what was really important for his mission” (Hummel).
I really like the way Donald Whitney (Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life)- “If we are going to be like Jesus, we must see the use of our time as a Spiritual Discipline. Having so perfectly ordered His moments and His days, at the end of His earthly life Jesus was able to pray… “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do (John 17:4).”

BIG IDEA: it’s time to make a shift in the way we think, view, use, and enjoy our time.

Vss. 1-8

When you look at these verses, what do they say to you about time?
Vs. 1, What does the word “season” mean?
Season- appointed time, hour; a particular or proper time for something to happen
This particular word appears only 4 times in the OT- here, twice in Esther (appointed times for festivals), Nehemiah 2:6, he set a time for his journey.
Vs. 1, What does the word “time” mean?
Time- point in time, occasion, a suitable moment for everything
Psalm 31:15, My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
Vs. 1, Purpose- joy, delight, wish, matter, business; 9 different translations w/ 5 senses, 3 of them: desire, delight, matter (concern). The sense of it in this context is MATTER/concern.
Looking at these 8 verses, what are the things that matter to us, that we are concerned with?

purpose—as there is a fixed “season” in God’s “purposes” (for example, He has fixed the “time” when man is “to be born,” and “to die,” Ec 3:2), so there is a lawful “time” for man to carry out his “purposes” and inclinations.

Psalm 139:16, Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
How do we need to view our time?

1. We need to see Time as a GIFT from God, vss. 1-8.

Vss. 9-11

When you look at these verses, what do they say to you about time?
What are some of the tasks that God has given to us?
In what way is everything “beautiful” (suitable) in its own time?

suitable in its time The Hebrew word used here, yapheh, is often translated “beautiful,” but it can also be understood as “appropriate” or “good.”

What do you think it means that God has put eternity in our hearts? Can we know everything God is doing?
How do God-given tasks take on more meaning for the believer & Christ-follower? How should we use our time?

2. We need to use Time as a something we GIVE to God, vss. 9-11

Vss. 12-15

When you look at these verses, what do they say to you about time?
What are the best things we can do with our time?
Why should we enjoy our time?
How can we best enjoy our time?

3. We need to enjoy Time as something to GLORIFY God with, vss. 12-15

When I was a senior in high school, our teachers wrote quotes about each one of us and attached it to our pictures in a hallway display. Attached to my picture was this quote-
“Procrastination is the thief of time.” - Edward Young
If we are not careful with our time right now, during this time of the pandemic, I fear that we will have wasted one of the most precious resources that God has given to us.

APPLICATION and RESPONSE (3 related passages- volunteers)

James 4:13–14, Do Not Boast About Tomorrow
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
How does James 4:13-14 help us see our time as it relates to being a gift from God?
Ephesians 5:15–16, Walk in Wisdom
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
What does Ephesians 5:15-16 direct us to do with our time, and how does that relate to something we give to God?
1 Corinthians 10:31, 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
How can 1 Corinthians 10:31 direct the enjoyment of our time? What, or Who, should it be for?
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