004. The Hour

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Hello my friends on this wonderful Sabbath day. --- 

---- A few weeks ago you allowed me the privilege of speaking here, and I was recalling how five years ago my son was invited to speak here. 

Now I don’t want offend anyone, but I did not come that day to attend church. For various reasons I had stopped going to churches but I had not stopped spending time with God. I came to church that day for one reason, and that was to listen to my son speak. 

The title of his message was, ‘Seek Ye First.’ It was about seeking Jesus and our wonderful heavenly Father above money and all the other distractions of life. 

He told us about a book that he’d read, called ‘Falling in Love with Jesus’. I thought, that is a wonderful title. I want to read that book. So I found it in a Christian bookshop and bought it. I’m going to mention it in my message today. ---- 

---- Friends, to set the stage, I’m going to pose the question …. 

PP1 Who, or what, is our G/god? 

---- There’s an old saying that, ---- 

PP2 “What we spend the larger percentage of our leisure time on is probably our G/god.” 

And whether that God is spelt with a capital ‘G’ or a little ‘g’ is up to us. 

---- Friends, today I’m going to start this message by making two very strong statements, - and then I’m going to do my very best to explain. 

Here’s point number one. 

PP1 (all add-ons) 

  • • We can get so busy reading all sorts of books about God’s Book. 
  • • We can get so busy watching the holy TV (the Christian TV channels). 
  • • We can get so busy studying about end-time events. 
  • • We can get so busy looking at what the Papacy is doing. 

  • • We can get so busy calculating where we’re at in the wind-up of earth’s history – are we at 11.30pm or are we at 11.55pm? 
  • • We can get so busy thinking about problems in the churches. 
  • • We can get so busy with our head in facebook etc that we’ve got precious little time left to put our head in The Book, the Bible. 
  • • We can get so busy reading the Bible that we become expert at quoting hundreds of verses and the exact chapters and verses off by heart. 
  • • But - if we fail to be really busy searching for a wonderful relationship with Jesus and our awesome heavenly Father, then we may have wasted our time. 

----- Friends, I believe that once we understand the signs about the end times and all of these things we’ve just mentioned, then we mustn’t keep spending our time on them. We must move on. 

I believe very, very strongly that Satan is perfectly happy for us to spend time on all of these things, but he’s not happy if we decide to put time into developing a real and genuine relationship with Jesus and our wonderful heavenly Father. ---- 

Well that’s point number one. --- 

Now, point number two. This is a short one! 

PP In churches, as pastors and lay people, we can get so busy doing God’s work, that we’ve got very little personal time left for the God of the work. 

---- Do you get that? ---- 

Now I’m going to do my very best to explain. 

I’ve titled the message today, --- 


---- Some years ago, Delphine and I heard about a man called Herb Larsen when we were helping to put together this little --- 

PP (photo of front cover) 

‘Good News for a Better Life’ 


---- Herb told people that ---- 

PP “To have a great relationship with Jesus, we need to spend at least an hour each day reading the Bible and praying.” 

--- With that thought in mind, we contacted Herb and got a few thoughts to put on the back cover and inside the front cover of this little book. ---- 

This is what we wrote inside the front cover. ---- 

PP “Does your search for happiness and relevance in life often end in a feeling of hopelessness? Is finding contentment with life as hard as trying to find the end of a rainbow? 

The words of this little book guarantee a reduction in stress and depression, and an increase in happiness and good attitude in the life of every person, whether you are an atheist, agnostic, a Christian or a searcher for meaning in life. 

Important note: To start experiencing ‘A Better Life’, you need to read the GOOD NEWS in this little book for one hour every day for 30 days minimum. Find a time that is most suitable for you and read every day. Before you start reading, it is good to pray to a higher being and ask for understanding.” 

PP “Millions of people believe that Jesus is the greatest teacher who has ever lived. 

Simply read and re-read the words of Jesus (printed in red) or the whole book. Turn the words into actions in your life and begin to enjoy ‘A Better Life’, full of relevance and power. 

After trying this for 30 days, keep going – life will only continue to get better. If things don’t get better, and there appear to be more thorns than roses in your life, then it’s almost certain you have not kept up your daily reading. 

Best wishes for ‘A Better Life’ - guaranteed!” 

---- Unfortunately, Delphine and I have never sold a single copy of this book, but we have given away, 25,000 of them. ---- 

--- Feel free to take a copy if you haven’t already got one. And once you’ve read it and would like to give one to a friend or two 

who you think will benefit from learning about Jesus and improving their life, then just let me know. ---- 

---- Herb wrote the book we spoke about earlier, called --- 

PP (photo of cover) 

‘Falling In Love With Jesus’ 

---- It’s about having a dynamic relationship with Jesus. One chapter is called --- 

PP1 ‘The Hour’ 

--- He talks about the importance of spending quality time with Jesus. 

PP2 What’s most important? An hour of TV at night or an hour in God’s Word in the morning? 

---- If we get up early, we have less stress, and we have a huge blessing by spending time with God. Others in the family and acquaintances will see the change in us and be encouraged to try it too. 

We tend to stay up too late at night, often watching TV, and so we get up late in the morning and rush, rush, rush – no good time for God. Then we yell at the kids to get up and hurry up. ---- But kids --- are good learners. ---- If our example is poor then that’s all they’ve got to follow. ---- 

Today we’re talking about --- 

PP How to have a wonderful, vibrant relationship with Jesus. 

---- What’s a down to earth example to use? What about dating and marriage? How much is enough time to spend together with the partner of your dreams? Do you decide on the minimum time you can spend together to just get by? Or do you try to get and crave for as much time as possible together? --- 

PP Since passion requires the input of both time and energy, it’s important for us to take a serious look at how our time is allotted in life in order to attempt to discover how much of our time will be labelled, ‘Time spent one-on-one with Jesus’. 

---- According to the Bible, and its interpretation of what it means to ‘seek’ Jesus, He is not to be offered our crumbs or leftovers of time after everything else in life is dealt with. --- 

--- There has been a lot of research conducted and data collected by both governments and private institutions on what is called a --- PP ‘Time Use Survey’ 

(how we use our time during each day) There are household activities, work related activities, education, religious activities, personal care activities like sleeping and eating and drinking. Then there’s the leisure and sports section which includes watching television, exercise and recreation as well as personal telephone calls, facebook, texting and emails. 

---- Remember earlier when we asked the question, “Who or what is our G/god?” 

Then we put up that old saying on the screen – “What we spend the larger percentage of our leisure time on, is probably our G/god.” 

--- Now it’s interesting, that watching television and personal phone calls, mail, emails, facebook and texting adds up to over four - hours - each - day. --- 

--- The net result for most people however, is that there’s no time left for something as abstract sounding as ‘spending serious time in the pursuit of a friendship with a God that no-one has seen!’ And the point is, that --- 

PP Amidst all the demands of the 24 hour time allotment called a day, where are you going to carve out a time slot for Jesus? And also the question is, how exactly does one put Jesus first? 

---- We’re going to use dating and courtship as a means of comparison. 

Imagine that you are in the midst of an intense courtship with the girl or boy of your dreams, and for all intents and purposes, you know that he or she is ‘the’ one. The relevant question should be: how do you get across to that person that they are truly number one in your life?, that is, they are the number one on the list of your priorities? 

Is it accomplished by giving them a quick two minute phone call (prayer) once a day to say “I love you,” and then on the weekend arrange to block out a couple of hours of time (church) for a date? ---- OR can you simply skip all the time that should be 

spent, and just throw a few gifts their way, flowers, chocolate, gift vouchers etc, (like a few dollars in the offering plate for God)? ---- 

Or how about skipping your time and the gifts and just letting your partner or Jesus know that although the two of you don’t see each other much, you do let everyone else know that you are in love with only them, and that should suffice in showing commitment? 

Friends you and I really don’t think so. --- 

PP If an ordinary human romantic relationship would not be possible with such little effort expended, then how could we possibly be so naive as to believe it might work in the development of a relationship with Jesus? (It can’t!) 

--- So ----- 

PP How much time spent is enough to create a dynamic relationship with Jesus, -- our Saviour,-- who gave His all in order to win our hearts? 

---- Many church goers who believe in a place called Hell, try to work out how little they can do for Jesus and still keep valid their ‘get out of Hell free card’. --- When we think about what it takes to secure and maintain a great relationship with Jesus, we find that it is an all or nothing pursuit on our part that leads to an all or nothing relationship. ---- Friends, you and I know that --- 

PP Lukewarm effort gives lukewarm results. 

---- Offering God our time is far more important than offering Him our money offerings and tithes and nice words. ---- 

---- It was only when I chose to carve out a one hour block for God each and every morning, that I was finally able to experience, in even a small way, a real connection with a Saviour I could not visually see nor physically touch. -- 

---- The question arises, why an hour a day? Where did that come from? First, let me be clear, this isn’t about good works, nor a formula that magically produces a relationship. A relationship doesn’t happen because God has some magical formula which, if we follow, we will somehow be rewarded with a miraculous connection with our Saviour. Rather, ---- 

PP It is only through engaging in daily, serious time together in a relationship, that passion can begin to develop. Just as would happen in the courtship we mentioned. 

---- The Bible says that as we read it, God will put His Spirit into our minds and will teach us all the things that we need to know. Therefore we need to spend a serious amount of time reading the Bible, God’s ‘Love Letters’ to us, and also in prayer, talking back to Him. It’s called ---- 

PP ‘Two-Way Conversation’ (and) It’s very important in any relationship. Both partners need to talk, and listen. 

---- And it’s the same with spending time in a relationship with Jesus, or our heavenly Father. So if we are to fall in love with Jesus friends, and be disciples of Jesus, then serious time in two-way conversation is needed to develop a wonderful relationship. ---- No time spent with the teacher, means no learning gained. It is essential, that if we ever want a meaningful relationship with Jesus, that we’ll need to spend good time reading His ‘Love Letter’ to us, the Bible. ---- 

PP Why an hour a day? Why not 15 minutes, or half an hour, or maybe even all day long in Bible study and prayer? 

-------- Well, for most people, 10 or 20 minutes a day does not let us settle into that zone where the world around us seems to vanish from view and we are left feeling connected to something of great power and significance. So if 10 or 20 minutes doesn’t give us the real connection with Jesus that we would like, then we’d better try something different. There’s an old saying, ---- 

PP “If we continue to do what we’ve always done, then we’ll continue to get the same results we’ve always got.” 

---- So if we want different results, we’ve got to make some changes. --- 

---- Various people down through the centuries have encouraged Christians to spend a ‘thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Jesus’ as a sure means of connecting with the Saviour. 

It was ---- 

PP Mother Teresa (who stated) “Spend one hour a day in adoration of the Lord and you’ll be alright.” ---- In essence, 

Mother Teresa sold all that she had in order to pursue that one pearl of great price as talked about in ---- 

PP Matthew 13:45,46 (where it states) 

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” 

---- Like Mother Teresa, we too want to have that pearl of great price – we want to know Jesus, and we too would be wise to choose at least an hour a day as we pursue a great relationship with Jesus and our awesome heavenly Father. ---- PP The greatest gift that we can return to God is that of the precious time He so willingly gave to us in the first place. 

---- To invest a portion of that time into developing a relationship with Jesus will pay the greatest dividend in the kingdom of heaven itself. ---- 

An old evangelist stated this, --- 

PP “If you spend more time watching television than you do on your knees or in the Bible, you can’t possibly make it to heaven.” 

---- Remember what we said at the beginning, “What we spend the larger part of our leisure time on, is probably our G/god.” 

In the light of what the Bible clearly teaches about making Jesus number one in our lives, I think that old evangelist was absolutely right. The Bible does not say, “Seek TV first!” No - it says in --- 

PP Matthew 6:33 

“Seek first the kingdom of God.” 

------ The evidence out there tells us that television generally inhabits the number one position on the priority list of the average person in modern society. We only need to look at the statistics on TV watching to see that it consumes a massive amount of our available time in life and therefore television is truly the number one, non-essential pursuit in life. It’s a little god that for most people replaces the big capital ‘G’ God. 

We tend to spend so much time watching TV, personal internet, facebook etc.. As I said before, regarding facebook, we 

spend so much time in facebook that we’ve got very little time to put our face in The Book! ---- 

---- Families go to a restaurant to enjoy a meal and spend quality time together and yet when you sit in a restaurant and look around, you often see most of the family members texting or on the phone instead of talking to one another. There is no relationship. 

I saw this quote in a restaurant. ---- 

PP ‘My internet was down today, so I had to spend time with my family. They seem like pretty good people.’ 

---- Surprising isn’t it. If we reduce our time on the internet and TV etc and reading time-wasting literature, we’ll find that as we spend more time with family and God and Jesus, that they are actually ‘pretty good people’. ---- 

---- It’s the same at home in the lounge. Often, the only relationship is with the box, and that does-not-make great families. ---- 

PP Possibly Satan’s greatest weapon against God and against the spirituality of us as humans, is that of stealing time away from our relationship-building with our family and with Jesus. 

---- It is a sobering thought to consider that according to the Bible there is no such thing as securing a relationship with Jesus until such time as we decide that He is actually worth being the number 1 priority in our life. ---- 

PP Luke 12:34 (pretty much sums it up) 

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

---- If one hour out of a 24 hour day is considered too much of an inconvenience to what is really important for us, then quite simply, why would we ever expect to have God answer when we call for help? After all, we are calling out to someone we don’t really know, and nor does He know us. 

--- Let’s go to the verse that talks about that in ---- 

PP Matthew 7:21-23 

(It’s Jesus speaking) 

“Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in 

heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ and then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” 

---- In light of this warning message, as well as many others in the Bible, there should be no surprises whatsoever when we, the TV watching, internet surfing, mobile phone texting generation are left to wonder, “Why is God so quiet these days?” ------ 

---- In the Garden of Gethsemane, after having spent time alone praying to His Father, Jesus comes back to the three disciples, only to find them asleep. The story is in --- 

PP Matthew 26:40 (where it states) “Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with me one hour?’” 

----- By the way Jesus makes this statement, it would appear that the one hour suggested would be a minimum time spent with our heavenly Father and Jesus. ---- 

PP Since prayer is us talking to God and the Bible is God talking to us, it becomes critical for our own salvation to remain as connected as we can throughout the entire day. 

------ Isn’t it about enjoying a courtship of quiet times together, of slowly, over much time spent, getting to know each other, of laughing and crying together, all the while growing deeper and deeper in love? ----- 

------ I want to tell you about this old watch of mine. Apart from the big numbers to make it easy for an old fella like me to read it, there’s something else I like about it. It beeps on the hour every hour. 

When I buy a watch, I want to know if it’s got big numbers and if it can be set to beep every hour. ---- 

PP1 The beep reminds me of two things. 

1. Another hour has gone by so keep working, don’t waste time, the day will soon be over. 


2. (and 2) It reminds me to stop every hour and say hello to God – something that we can very easily forget in the busyness of our work day. We need to involve Him in every hour of our day if we want to enjoy a great relationship with Him. 

---- What would impress your partner most? --- To go home at the end of the day and say, “I never stopped to think about you once today.” --- Or, “I thought about you all day today.” It’s not rocket science to know which of those relationships is the winner. 

---- The Bible itself uses the parallel of marriage to explain what a relationship with God will look like. Isaiah 62 verse 5 is just one example of such analogy where it states: --- 

PP Isaiah 62:5 

“As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” 

----- Any person with any discernment will understand and recognise that the discovery time during courtship is not only necessary to determine compatibility, but also very, very rewarding. 

In human terms, at a minimum, each party to a budding relationship needs to know that they are the number one desire of their dating partner in order for a relationship to steadily and securely grow into a period of formal engagement followed by the lifelong bond of an indestructible marriage. ----- 

The entire process of getting to know Jesus is not meant to be burdensome or labour intensive. --- 

--- Rather, it is about something beautiful and meaningful. ----Contrary to Satan’s misrepresentations, Jesus wants us to know, that He is not only approachable and desirous of a courtship and marriage with us, but also that the relationship building time is going to be a rewarding and joyous experience. ---- 

In Matthew 11, Jesus beautifully shows us the process of coming to Him as something extremely positive and not burdensome. ---- 

I’ll tell you a little story before we go to the verse. 

With that little example in mind, let’s go to --- 

PP Matthew 11:28-30 

(Jesus says) 

“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” 

----- Friends, there is toil and disappointment in this life. We - need - rest! 

----- Jesus next continues explaining what the process of courtship will be like. He tells us to put on ‘His’ yoke which can suggest only one thing: that we will be engaged in some form of pursuit or work. But in case someone may jump to a quick conclusion that they don’t like the thought of 

w-o-r-k as a means of relationship building, Jesus at the end of this passage clarifies what that work will actually be like by stating, “for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” He also adds, that part of that work, or pursuit process, will be to learn-from-Him. 

----- And Jesus tells us exactly what we will find as a result of our pursuit of Him. He tells us that we are going to find a gentle and loving partner, not one of arrogance and lofty stature. He simply states: “I am gentle and lowly in heart.” In other words, He is extremely approachable and He is humble, unassuming and very ready to accept and reward our pursuit of Him. ----- 

---- In conclusion friends, there are no shortcuts to developing a relationship with Jesus, just as there are no known shortcuts to securing a deep relationship with someone special of the opposite sex. We can very comfortably say that if we want a dynamic relationship with Jesus, and really fall in love with Him, then we are going to spend at least one hour a day in pursuit of Him. I can absolutely guarantee results for two rock-solid reasons. ---- 


1. God Himself delivers the bullet- proof promise of, 

“Seek and you will find.” 

It’s not ‘Seek and you might find.’ No, it’s ‘Seek and you will find’. 

--- Now number 2. 


2. Hundreds of people have proved that the ‘Hour of Power’ as some have called it, continues to change and transform lives. 

---- Simply put, if Jesus can’t occupy one twenty-fourth of our day every day, then quite frankly, we really don’t want Him in the first place. ---- We are only a fan of His, not a follower, not a disciple. ----- Although we may desire the benefits of an association with Him, if time for Him is too much of a sacrifice against the reward of a personal relationship, then we are simply walking down a dead-end street where Jesus does not live, nor will He ever be found. ---- 

---- Now, have I got it all perfectly together? -- Not-at-all! Not-at-all! ---- 

Often, I forget to say hello to God every hour. 

Also, sometimes when my alarm, or God, wakes me up early, I don’t always get out of bed straight away. 

But, if I didn’t at least plan, what would happen? 

There’s an old saying in business, which also relates to the business of life. 

The saying is, ---- 

PP “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” 

----- So, because I have made a deliberate plan to spend more time with my heavenly Father and Jesus each day, it mostly happens -- and I feel great as a result, and my day goes better. And those around me benefit too. 

PP (photo)‘Good News for a Better Life’ 

(hold up ‘Good News for a Better Life’) --- 

So in conclusion, here’s a good start! - the little book ‘Good News for a Better Life’. 

They’re on the table at the door! May God bless you richly as you step out and spend quality time with Him. 

Please stand while we pray. 

Dear Father, 

Sometimes we as church-goers realise that we are a bit lukewarm. In the busyness of life we sometimes stop long enough to think, “I fit into the lukewarm Laodicean category in Revelation chapter 3 verse 14 and so on.” 

Sometimes we think that one day, all of a sudden, we will change from being lukewarm, to being on fire for You. 

But Father, if we’ve been walking a path of lukewarmness for a long time, it’s pretty hard to change. There’s an old saying, “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.” 

Lord, I’m an ‘old dog’. And some others here today might own up to that too. 

There’s another old saying for us old dogs, and for all of us for that matter Lord, - “As we are today, so will we be tomorrow, only more so.” -- unless, unless we accept Your help, to change us. ---- 

You plead with us in Hebrews 4 verse 7, “Today, if you will hear My voice, don’t harden your hearts.” 

Father, if we’ve heard Your voice today, please give us soft pliable hearts – to replace our not-so-soft hearts. ---- Help us to remember every day, about the hour, listening to You more as we read Your love letters, and spend more time talking and listening to You, in prayer. And more time each day singing praise and worship songs to You Lord. And 

as a result, we will fall more and more in love with You and Jesus. 

We ask all this in the very precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Thank You,

Ray Archer

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