Lessons on Life & Business
Genesis 12:1-7 (1/21/21)
The Entrepreneur's Journey • January 21, 2021 • Benham Brothers
* An entrepreneur starts with a dream, not knowing how it will end up. * This was Abe’s story. * Vs 1-3 - it all starts with a dream. * God didn’t give him much information. * So what made Abe act without having all the information? * Faith in God that He’s in charge of the destination. * That faith manifested itself in action - obedience in moving toward the goal. * One commentator said of Abe’s journey - ““ …Abe’s story is he process of journeying to a destination unspecified. The effect of deferring essential information is—strangely—to make [Abraham’s] destination more precious. He will travel without the support of prior knowledge, in a sense without solid ground under his feet. The land that God will show him will first live in his imagination.” * Vs 4 - he brought Lot (partial obedience). * This cost him later on. * Vs 5-6 - Abe obeyed, clinging in faith to God. * Vs 7a - God “shows it to you” in your imagination. Then, if you’re faithful like Abe, He “gives it to you.” * Vs 7b - He responded in worship. * You know your motive is pure by how you respond when the thing comes to pass (or doesn’t come to pass). * All of this makes a great story - a “God” story that becomes a testimony in your life. * The best movies are stories that show a person’s journey. * Two elements of a great story: * 1) An external goal. * 2) Internal transformation. * The journey toward the external goal leads, whether you achieved it or not, must lead to internal transformation. * For Abraham, “the place I will show you” was not just about a specific destination, but an internal transformation. * Genesis 17:1-5 - 13 years passed since the covenant had been given - in that time it was nothing but silence. * In Abe’s waiting, he got a new name. * He was made into the person who could handle the place where God wanted him to be. * The reward for waiting - God “gives” us what He wanted to “show” us. * Vs 8 - God originally told Abe “Go to the land I’ll SHOW you…” * Now He says “I’m going to GIVE it to you…”
Genesis 10:8-12 (1/21/21)
Ambition in the Wrong Seat • January 21, 2021 • Benham Brothers
* Ambition is a great follower, but a terrible leader. * When ambition stays in the passenger’s seat, it’s the best co-pilot you could ever have. * But the minute you let it jump into the driver’s seat you’ll certainly head the wrong direction - right toward disaster. * Enter NIMROD! He was the mastermind behind the Tower of Babel (wanted to build a name for himself). * It turned into Babylon, that became representative of the world system of Satan (political, cultural, economic). * Vs 8 - He started out as a great man of his day - a mighty warrior who accomplished great feats. * Vs 9 - He was a warrior turned “hunter.” * The Septuagint says he was a mighty hunter “against” the Lord. * He didn’t just hunt animals, but of men - lording his power over them to build his own kingdom. * His aspiring mind was never at rest - he was resolved to build something bigger and better and to use people to do it. * The spirit of competition was on him - he wanted to build a tower, not so he could live in it, but so that he could rule over others by it - even God. * Vs 10 - He started Babylon - he wanted one world order! * Applications - Nationally and Personally. * Nationally - the spirit of Nimrod is now in control of the US. * Matthew Henry - “He was a mighty hunter, that is, he was a violent invader of his neighbors’ rights and properties, and a persecutor of innocent men, carrying all before him, and endeavoring to make all his own by force and violence.” * Personally - Matthew Henry said that Nimrod represented the “spirit of ambition.” * God will have to confuse their plans (He will do it!). * 1) It is boundless (always wants more). * 2) It is restless (never content). * 3) It is expensive (the spirit of building is the common effect of a spirit of pride”). * 4) It is rebellious. * Nimrod’s ambition opened the door for others to move way from God (in Babylon). * Do NOT let your ambition spin out of control! Keep it at bay - you don’t want to build a tower God has to destroy.
Genesis 6:11-14 (1/13/21)
The Result of Obedience • January 13, 2021 • Benham Brothers
* Moses wrote the book of Genesis to prepare the Israelites for life outside Egypt inside the Promised Land. * They would experience some dark times, but their history proved God would be faithful. * Here in this story, a flood was coming, but Noah and his family were spared. Why? * Because he was 1) Righteous, 2) Blameless, and 3) Faithful. * Righteous is being in “right relationship” with God (make Him Lord). * Blameless is innocent of evil, forgiven. * Faithful is loyal and steadfast, no competing affections. * Matthew Henry - "Those that keep themselves pure in times of common iniquity God will keep safe in times of common calamity; those that partake not with others in their sins shall not partake with them in their plagues.” * Vs 11-13 - The earth was corrupt, and then violent. * Corruption is the process whereby something changes from good to bad, from its original purpose to a debased purpose. * * Like cutting an apple in half - it begins to corrupt. If you ate a corrupt (rotten) apple you’ll get sick. Eat a healthy apple and you get health. * In our lives, the removal of God is like the removing of the skin of an apple - it’s the protective covering against corruption. * Violence is the use of force to fulfill a selfish desire. * * A bully uses violence to gain control over people so they can get what they want. * When God is removed (corruption) violence always fills the void. * Vs 14 - God was going to save Noah from it. * Vs 17-18 - the first mention of covenant (but God didn’t explain it to him until he got off the ark, 120 years later!) * Noah’s whole family was saved because of his righteousness and obedience. * There’s nothing said up to this point about his family’s righteousness. * God blessed them because of Noah! * Vs 22 - Noah obeyed without explanation. * 120 years later he built the ark, and God told him to go into it, along with all the animals.
Genesis 2:5-7 (1/13/21)
The Power to Cultivate • January 13, 2021 • Benham Brothers
* God blessed man with the ability to procreate and cultivate. * Both of these involve seed, which is the potential for life. * He blessed man so he could participate in bringing about life - both human life and plant life. * Just as there are boundaries in procreation (in marriage) there are boundaries for cultivation. * Vs 5-7 - We come from what we were intended to cultivate. * God puts us in the environment we were meant to influence. * Cultivate = “to improve or develop by careful attention.” * We don't have to try to cultivate someone else's ground. * We don't need to try to influence someone else's environment. * He wants stay put right where we are and be His hands and feet to cultivate the very place He put us and people He put us around! * Acts 17:26 - “From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.” * God determined your boundaries before you were made. * This is why social media is so dangerous - it takes you out of your ground and engulfs you in someone else’s. (Bloom where you’re planted) * So what do we do? * We WORK “our” ground! * 1) Vs 8 - We plant, just as God planted. He’s a worker. * He took the seed (potential for life) and brought about life! * 2) Vs 15-17 - We stay on “our” ground. * We stay inside the boundaries created for us. * Stay in your lane - you don’t have the grace to handle someone else’s lane! * EX: I am not a ra-ra business coach - I am a Biblical thinker! * My entire upbringing points to that. * WARNING - if you don’t give God your best you won’t be able to cultivate that in which you are intended to cultivate. * Genesis 4:12 - Cain’s curse. * He didn’t attach WORSHIP to his WORK.
Living Among Lions (1/7/21)
How to thrive like Daniel in today's Babylon • January 7, 2021 • Benham Brothers
* Daniel and his three bodies were the chocolate chips in the cookie dough of culture. * They mixed in, they didn’t blend in. * They kept their distinct form even when put in an oven. * How? * 1) They had conviction that transformed their hearts. * 2) They made commitments that transformed their lifestyle. * 3) They had courage that transformed their world. * Five ways to thrive in today’s Babylon: * 1) Make up your mind. * 2) Let it be known. * 3) Be a blessing (seek the welfare). * 4) Don’t be bought (keep your gifts). * 5) Don’t change who you are (keep your windows open).
Genesis 1:5 (1/7/21)
Our Role as Light • January 7, 2021 • Benham Brothers
* Night is always darkest just before the dawn. * Right from the outside of creation, before sin entered the world, “there was evening, and there was morning.” * Vs 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 - it’s a pattern after all six days of creation. * In the first four days God created it, named it, approved of it. * In days 5 & 6 He created it, blessed it (the ability to reproduce), approved it. * Animals could take part in the creation process, but they couldn’t name each other. * Man could take part in the creation process, but they could name everything. * This signified authority. * Here’s the key - on each day darkness covered what God had just created. * Satan was the source of the darkness. * He wanted to hide God’s creativity. * EX: I buy my wife a nice gift for our anniversary and then turn the lights off so she can’t see it. * But God lit up what Satan covered up! * This sets the context for the battle that ensues in the entire Bible. * Satan hides it…God exposes it. * On this foundation, God tells us to “be the light of the world!” * We are darkness overcomes by nature. * We were meant to be this way from the beginning.
Revelation 22:9 (12/30/20)
The Power of Worship • December 30, 2020 • Benham Brothers
* Worship is reverence and adoration for a deity. * We are called to worship God alone. * When you worship God it fills you with the power of God (Jericho). * Worship equips you for warfare. * Satan wants to keep you from worshipping God. * So he tempts you to worship other things. * Problem - You become like the god you worship. * Skip Moen - “Every man takes on to some degree the character and nature of the God he worships; The characteristic of all false gods is that they destroy their worshippers.” * Here’s the deal - we can easily gravitate toward worshipping the things that draw us close to God rather than God Himself. * Revelation 19:10 - Revelation 19:10 - the angel gave John a vision of Babylon being defeated and it caused John to fall down and worship the angel. * John’s visions were meant to draw him close to God and encourage him to fight the good fight. * The angel was simply God’s tool to make that happen. * John didn’t need to worship the tool, but God alone. * ** The “testimony of Jesus” is obedience to His commands and faithfulness to His teaching. * ** The angel, who was a spirit and gave a prophecy, reminded John that those who hold to the teachings of Jesus are of the same spirit! * Revelation 22:8-9 - it happened again! John got a glimpse of what heaven would look like and he fell down and worshiped the angel. * This shows how easily we can drift into worshipping the things of God over God Himself. * Don’t worship your church, worship God. * When we worship God we’re filled with the power of God.
Genesis 1:26 (12/30/20)
Why Man? • December 30, 2020 • Benham Brothers
* God had a plan when He created the first man. * Before Adam existed, an angelic war broke out in Heaven. * Lucifer wanted to be God, so he was thrown to earth along with a third of the angels (Ezekiel 29:12-17) * Lucifer turned into Satan and the angels into demons. * Then God created man. * Genesis 1:26 - Adam was given dominion over the earth. * Psalms 8:5 - God created man “a little lower than the angels.” * Why? * Tony Evans - ““....God created man to demonstrate what He could do with less when that less is committed to Him, verses what happens to more when that more is in rebellion against Him...God gave mankind the ability to rule to demonstrate to the devil that He could do more through a lesser creature in manifesting His glory than the once-shining star (Satan).” * EX: Basketball coach with scrubs beat a team with all-stars - it points to the brilliance of the coach! * This is why God didn’t destroy Satan - He wants to destroy him through someone less than him. * Plan A was Adam #1 - he was the “fly route.” * Plan B was Adam #2 - he was the “waggle.” * When Adam #1 messed up, Satan got his kingdom (at least, for a short while). * This is why God sent Adam #2, and is why Satan went so hard after Jesus - he knew Christ had given up His Godness while on earth and He fully became a man. * It was Satan’s golden opportunity to keep his kingdom. * But Christ kicked his butt! * EX: Basketball coach tells his all-start to play with his opposite hand. * God made us to smack Satan’s butt to prove that God can do more with less when that less is fully committed to Him!
Psalms 145:9-10 (12/23/20)
The Result of Doing Good Work • December 23, 2020 • Benham Brothers
* Doing good work has a two-fold reward. * God made us to work. * It existed before sin entered the world. * When we work “as unto the Lord” God receives it as worship. * Notice the two-fold reward for doing good work: * 1) We feel the proper emotion toward our work. * Vs 9 - “The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made…” * Based on God’s character (He’s good) He has the proper emotion (compassion) toward what He has made (people) * Ex: mowing lawns - felt good to see it afterward. * Ex: watching Trae play hoops - feels good to watch. * Your heart follows your treasure. * 2) Our work will bring us praise. * Vs 10 - “All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you…” * When you do good work it will bring glory to who you are. * As a believer our responsibility is to deflect that to God.
Revelation 14:9-10 (12/23/20)
Whose Mark Do You Have? • December 23, 2020 • Benham Brothers
* As believers, we don’t have to worry about getting “a mark” that disqualifies us from eternal life. * Backstory: * Satan sets up a counterfeit kingdom - it’s the opposite of God’s, but similar in form. * Father, Son, Holy Spirit is copied as Satan, Antichrist, False Prophet. * The Son testifies about God, the Spirit testifies about the Son. * Antichrist testifies about Satan, the Prophet testifies about Antichrist. * In Revelation, the Dragon represents Satan; the Beast represents the Antichrist; the second beast represents the False Prophet. * The City of God is contrasted with Babylon, and the Pure Bride (the church) is contrasted with the Harlot. * Babylon is the world system of the beast - it includes the political, cultural, and economic systems of the world that try to control peoples’ minds (every age has a Babylon). * The Harlot is the religious system of Babylon - it’s what props up the Babylon’s evil agenda. * On this foundation, we learn of “the mark of the beast.” * Vs 14:9-10 - this isn’t about accepting new technology - the Jews knew this. * Deuteronomy 6:4-9 gives the foundation for the Israelite religion: * “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” * A Jew knew this physical act was a reminder that God’s Word should control your thoughts (forehead) and your actions (hands). * In Revelation, Christians in the 1st Century would have known what this meant - they knew it was about ALLEGIANCE and OBEDIENCE! * They could decide between Christ or AntiChrist. * ** As believers, you already have the mark of Christ. * Scrolls in ancient times were marked with a seal and bore the image or mark of the one who sent it. * Paul refers to this in 2 Corinthians 1:22: * “Christ has “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” * And in Ephesians 1:13-14: * “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.” * God marks His people and Satan marks his. * The warning of Revelation is warning Christians not to be seduced by the world’s morals, values, or political and economic philosophies. * Revelation 17:1-5 - the religious system (harlot) had the mark of the beast. * The mark of the beast is pleading your ALLEGIANCE and OBEDIENCE to Satan rather than God. * You already have a mark - the question is, which do you have?
Revelation 6:9-11 (12/17/20)
Justice & Forgiveness • December 17, 2020 • Benham Brothers
* True forgiveness does not discount the justice of God. * We are called to forgive “as God forgives.” * How is that? When people repent. * If they don’t repent, we give the situation to God and let Him deal with it. * We don’t hold “unforgiveness” in our heart. * ** So Jesus (the Lamb) is opening the seals… * Vs 9-10 - these people were in heaven, yet they asked for God’s justice. * This shows how a desire for God’s justice is a good thing. * Justice for these people would have looked like one of two things: * 1) They repented and were granted forgiveness. * 2) They refused to repent and were punished by God. * Either way, these people let God handle the situation. * Vs 11 - God told them to “rest” longer (wait). * Trusting God to bring justice in His time as He sees fit is how we can rest in the spirit of forgiveness.
Revelation 8:3 (12/17/20)
How Our Prayer Affects God • December 17, 2020 • Benham Brothers
* There is no power in your life apart from prayer. * We often think about how prayer benefits us. * But it’s also a benefit to God. * What type of benefit? * It’s a pleasing aroma to Him. * Vs 1-3 - our prayers are like “incense” to Him. * When we pray it smells good to God. * Every year at Christmas the smell of vanilla candles brings me back to my childhood days. * A candle is a form of incense where the burning process unlocks its power. * It is hardened oil that’s fragrance is unlocked when you melt it through fire. * Of all the senses, the sense of SMELL is the most powerful one to trigger memories. * The part of the brain that processes smell interacts with the part of the brain that stores emotional memories. * When we pray it reminds Him of what He feels for us (His emotional memories). * But it’s hard to pray - that’s why it involves burning (like incense). * The more we pray “according to His will” the more fragrant our aroma is to Him! * When our prayer aligns with His purpose we become a fragrant aroma.