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Lessons on Life & Business

1 Kings 22:30 (6/10/21)

How to Make Dumb Decisions • June 10, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* How many of you have regretted a dumb decision? (EX: Wall) * The key to making a dumb decision is not having God’s perspective on a situation. * God’s power is found in God’s perspective. * If we could see as God sees we would be more inclined to do as God says. * PROBLEM - Our perspective changes when we take our focus off of God and put it on the thing we’re experiencing. * FOCUS magnifies & intensifies * Backstory - Jehoshaphat was the good king of Judah. Ahab was the wicked king of Israel. * God didn’t want them partnering (when you partner you take the spankings of the other person). * But Jehoshaphat lost his focus the more he prospered. * He started focusing on the “purpose” over the “Person,” therefore he began to think “strategically” and no longer “spiritually.” * So he agrees to go into battle with wicked King Ahab. * Vs 29-31 - he made a dumb decision. * With an altered perspective, he could no longer see the way God wanted him to see. * He jumped on the wrong path, allied with the wrong person, and lost all God’s power. * Vs 32-33 - but he did get God’s protection when he called out for help. * But he didn’t get the message. * 2 Chronicles 20:35-37 - “Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an alliance with Ahaziah king of Israel, whose ways were wicked. 36 He agreed with him to construct a fleet of trading ships. After these were built at Ezion Geber, 37 Eliezer … prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” The ships were wrecked and were not able to set sail to trade.” * When God prospers you, don’t lose your perspective by focusing on the thing in front of you. * So how do you keep your perspective? * Three things you should do daily when you’re alone with God (from Andy Stanley): * 1) Acknowledge God’s greatness. “You are ossum!” * 2) Declare your dependence. “I need you!” * 3) Surrender your will. “I’ll do what you say!”

2 Kings 4:9-17 (6/10/21)

Three Ways to Lead with Value • June 10, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* In business (or work) you don’t need to chase after money. * When you lead with tangible value monetary value will chase you down. * We see this in the story of Elisha and the widow, both of whom brought value to the other without being asked. * Let’s look at the story: * Vs 8 - The widow led with value (Elisha didn’t ask). * She used her wealth to help people (Mr. Dave White). * She lived by the motto, “What can I do to bless others?” * Vs 9-10 - She was always looking for a way to ADD value (to give more). * After she gave once, her motto changed to “What ELSE can I do?” * Vs 11 - How did this affect Elisha? * He said, “What can I do for her?” * Vs 12-13a - Elisha would now give her something of value. * Vs 13b - she was content with what she had. * Vs 14a - Elisha asked “What ELSE can I do?” * Vs 14b - God raised up an intercessor for her. * Vs 15-16 - she had given up hope to have a kid. * She didn’t even want to ask for it - that desire was dead in her. * So many women lose sight of this because they give and give and give. * Vs 17 - she received something of value when she led with something of value. * Ultimately, this son died. And the woman finally asked for something for herself. * And she got it! God, through Elisha, healed the boy. * So how do we lead with value? * 1) In your immediate surroundings, look for someone you can bless. * Ask, “What can I do?” Then ask, “What ELSE can I do?” * 2) In your business, look for problem pools, not profit pools. * An entrepreneur is someone who goes in between a person and a problem with a solution. * 3) In your work, give more in value than you take in pay.

1 Kings 9:8 (6/3/21)

Cheating on God • June 3, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* Competing affections rob you of the power and blessing that could be yours if you stayed true to God. * Backstory - Solomon had just dedicated the Temple. * God then gave him an ultimatum. * “If you stay true, I bless and protect you. If you don’t, I won’t.” * PROBLEM - The biggest threat to the blessings of God are the blessings of God. * They can lure your focus away from Him. * When this happens, God will no longer be your ally but your adversary. * Vs 8 - The result of cheating on God is that everything you worked so hard for will amount to nothing and people will blame it on God. (Ravi) * This came true - Solomon cheated on God. * Vs 9 - They’ll see the results of your cheating ways. * Cheating typically starts in the mind, then it moves to the heart. * It starts with thoughts, then moves to desire. * Affectionate thinking arouses emotion and moves you in the direction of your affection. * This is what happened to Solomon - he loved God and had a heart for him, but then he became king and now he’s got a big calling to fulfill. * The next thing you know he’s focusing on his purpose (expanding the kingdom) over the Person (God). * So what do we do? * Jesus shows us in Luke 10:19-20 - “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” * Don’t get caught up in the blessings of God, stay caught up in the beauty of God. * How do you do this? Three keys: * 1) Spend time alone focusing solely on how amazing God is. * It’s not about “your” thing. * 2) Don’t fall in love with your gift, anointing, or blessing. * When you pray about your thing, think about it as your “assignment.” * It’s no different than anyone else’s. Just do your job. * EX: Me at C21 seeing the server in the middle of David speaking (made me lose conscious thought of myself). * 3) Remember it’s not about you, it’s about others. * Remove yourself from the equation so the transaction can be between God and others.

1 Kings 17:2-3 (6/3/21)

When to Hide & When to Stand • June 3, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* There’s a time to hide and there’s a time to stand. * Elijah shows us this. * Vs 1 - He spoke truth boldly to the King. * Vs 2-3 - God hid him away. * Vs 4-6 - He stayed in this place more than a decade (11 years). * Then God told him to present himself to the King again. * The famine was so severe the king blamed Elijah and wanted to kill him. * Elijah made a public challenge - God vs Baal. * Elijah stood strong, and God won the day. * But then Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, heard what Elijah had done. * She was a Baal worshipper, and she had already killed many prophets of God. * So when Elijah heard that she was after him, he did the same thing God told him to do 11 years prior - he ran and hid! * 1 Kings 19:1-3 - He “ran for his life.” * But it was wrong for him to do, and ultimately, got him replaced by Elisha. * Notice the difference: * The first time he hid it was for his DEVELOPMENT. * God had to prepare him for the great work ahead. * Matthew Henry says, “For the present, in obedience to the divine command, he went and dwelt all alone in some obscure unfrequented place, where he was not discovered, probably among the reeds of the brook. If Providence calls us to solitude and retirement, it becomes us to acquiesce; when we cannot be useful we must be patient, and when we cannot work for God we must sit still quietly for him.” * The second time he hid it was for his DELIVERANCE. * He took matters into his own hand, operated out of fear and not faith, and ran! * He defaulted back to something that worked in the past. * As a result, he was replaced by Elisha. * EX: My son Jake - he’s ready to fight! But he needs to hide. * EX: Mega pastors on talk shows not willing to stand - they need to stand! * How do you know when to stand and when to hide? * If you need further development, hide. You know you’re developed by the love you feel in your heart toward people. * If your stand can bring deliverance, stand. If captives can be set free, stand strong!

1 Samuel 30:21-26 (5/27/21)

Three Types of Giving • May 27, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* The path to blessing is through giving. * The more you give the more you get. * God made you to be a conduit, not a cul-de-sac. * God gives to you so you can give to others (like an apple tree). * Proverbs 18:16 - “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” * Backstory - David’s dad sent him to Saul with gifts for the king. * He saw how this worked to put him in good graces with the king. * Now, David is fighting a battle w/his men (it was with the Philistines). * The Philistine leaders didn’t trust him and his men so they sent them home. * When he comes back the city it was burned and their families taken. * They take off in pursuit and defeat the Amalekites who took them. * As a result, he ended up with the spoils of war. * Three things he did: * 1) He handed down - He shared it with those who didn’t fight. (Vs 21-24) * Every position in the battle is valuable (those who guard the luggage). * His focus was not on those who didn’t fight but on the God who brought him victory in the fight. * This also shows how you should help those in need. * 2) He handed out - He gave a gift to the leaders of Judah. (Vs 26) * The best feeling is when your friends can be blessed by the blessings God has entrusted to you. * 3) He handed up - He gave to God. * David’s life was patterned after giving to God through tithes, offerings, and gifts. * When you give like David, look what happens - David became king of Judah and Israel. * 2 Samuel 2:4 - After Saul died, some time later …”the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.” * The greatest gift you can give is yourself.

1 Kings 8:22 (5/27/21)

The Key to a Great Leader • May 27, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” —John Maxwell. * Leadership is the ability to create an appetite in another person. * The question is, what types of appetites are you creating in those who follow you? * The greatest appetite is a hunger and thirst for the Lord. * Backstory - Solomon is taking the throne and completing the temple David had started. * Upon completion, he brought the ark of God’s presence into the Temple. * Once it was in the Temple, he stood in front of everyone and prayed. * Vs 22 & 54 - he was on his knees with his hands toward heaven. * This picture would be captured in the minds of every Jew. * The most powerful man on the planet, on his knees, hands spread out toward heaven, asking for God’s blessing and protection. * DANIEL did the same! * A good leader removes himself from the equation so the transaction can be between God and those he leads. * As a leader, your job is to find ways for those who follow you to have an interaction with God. * Ultimately, they will want to give Him the credit and not you. * This is what will change their life. * EX: George Mueller. * Four questions: * 1) Who are you leading?   * 2) What type of appetites are you creating in them? * 3) Who are you following?   * 4) What type of appetite do you have for Him?  (Fountain connected to Source)

1 Kings 2:46-3:1 (5/20/21)

Strategy Over Spirit • May 20, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* The Spirit that brought us success should never be replaced by a strategy to keep it going. * Check out this pattern: * Clarity bring Success. * Success bring Increased Options. * Increased Options can lead to Diffused Focus. * Diffused Focus sabotages the Clarity that brought you Success. * Backstory - Solomon had now become king. * He had to get rid of the rif-raf in David’s court before the kingdom was firmly established in his grip. * But once it was established, what would Solomon do? * Vs 2:46b-3:1 - He began to create alliances with other nations through marriage. * This was a very “strategic” move, one that other nations had done as well. * The Spirit of God on Solomon is what brought him success. * But when he was established in place his options increased (he didn’t have these options before he was king). * Although he had wisdom, he didn’t operate by the spirit - he let the strategic take over. * How? By focusing on the purpose over the Person. * His purpose as king was to rule and reign and increase the name of Israel in the world. * But God didn’t want them to do it the way the other nations did it. * He wanted Israel to do things differently, to be set apart, so that the other nations would take notice and desire to serve their God. * So what do we do? * Stay hyper focused on God and let Him handle the rest - focus on depth and let Him handle breadth. * When success comes our way, don’t forget what led you to that place. * EX: Keystone story to Franchise growth - no marketing, just faithfulness.

1 Samuel 16:1 (5/20/21)

From Disappointment to New Assignment • May 20, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* On the heels of disappointment often comes an even greater assignment. * If you sulk in the past you’ll miss your potential future. * Backstory - God told Samuel to anoint Saul as king. * Anointing showed God’s approval - it was a done deal when the oil was poured (sign of Holy Spirit). * But Saul sinned, and the plan changed. * Samuel grieved that he had been a part of making Saul king. * God “regretted” the decision (Genesis 6:6 He regretted making people). * Little did Samuel know what God had in store for the future, something that had been brewing since Jericho. (Rahab had Boaz married Ruth had Obed had Jesse had David from Judah) * Vs 15:34-35 - Samuel was down in the dumps. * It’s ok to mourn a past decision - during that time you can learn a lot! * Four rules of thumb when something doesn’t work out: * 1) Don’t rush past it - sit in it for a bit. * 2) Think about it. * 3) Pray about it. * 4) Write about it. * This will help you process it. * Vs 16:1 - God says, “Get over it!” * How would Samuel get over his past disappointment? * 1) Get a refill - He had to refill his horn with oil. * This is a symbol of being filled with the Holy Spirit (fill yourself back up and get moving!). * Go thru the four steps above. * 2) Start moving forward - take the next logical step. * 3) Make another decision - Samuel would need to grant his approval on another person. * * It’s risky to do this, because what if things don’t work out? * * Well, then you’ll have to go through the process again. * So what do you do? * Get refilled by the Holy Spirit and then start moving toward what you “think” you should do, but don’t pour the oil (give your approval) until God says so! * EX: Winston Salem.

1 Samuel 14:1-21 (5/13/21)

Four Keys to Courage • May 13, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* Bill Graham once said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” * We need this message today more than ever. * Backstory - the Philistines constantly tormented the Israelites. * Saul was a puppet king with no willingness to fight anymore - he just wanted to stay in power. * But his son, Jonathan, was of a different spirit. * He was a fighter, and this is why he and David got along so well. * Vs 1 - when God tells you to do something, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. * Vs 2 - the leader wasn’t willing to fight. * Vs 4-5 - there are cliffs on both sides of the fight. * Boldness apart from brokenness makes a bully. * Brokenness apart from boldness makes a bystander. * Boldness, on the foundation of brokenness, makes you a bridge that connects heaven to earth. * Jonathan was a bridge - let’s see kind of man he was. * Vs 6 - Four Keys to Courage: * a) He went on the offensive - “let’s go over to the outpost…” * b) He saw through a spiritual lens - “uncircumcised men…” * Everyone else saw them as too strong to fight. Jonathan and David saw them as too exposed to miss (they weren’t under God’s protection). * c) He had a “whatever the cost” attitude - “Perhaps” the Lord will act on our behalf…” * d) He looked at God’s strength, not his own - “Nothing can hinder the Lord…” * Vs 7 - he didn’t fight alone (you’re not meant to fight alone). * Vs 8 - they wanted to be “seen,” just like Daniel when he prayed with the windows open. * Vs 9-10 - it’s not wrong to ask God for confirmations along the way. * Vs 11-12 - the sign for certain victory was that the enemy wanted to fight! * Vs 13a - Jonathan was willing to go first. * Vs 13b-14 - they were victorious. * Look at the following responses: * Fom God: Vs 15 - God responded because Jonathon engaged the fight. * From the Leader & other fighters: Vs 20 - He joined the fight! * From the Deserters: Vs 21 - cowards re-joined the ranks! * From the Cowards: Vs 22 - they came out of hiding! * Vs 23 - the battle didn’t end, it just shifted. We need to focus on little victories. * The fight for culture is on and we are called to stand strong. * When we do it will be the bridge between heaven and earth.

1 Samuel 17 (5/13/21)

The Result of Facing Your Fear • May 13, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* There’s a Goliath in culture demanding silence from Christians. * But God is raising up modern day David’s for the fight. * Backstory - the Philistines ruled over the Israelites because of Saul’s weak and sinful leadership. * It was time for war, but Goliath posed a challenge. * Goliath’s armor is so descriptive because the writer wants you to “feel” the fear everyone else felt. * He was 10 feet tall, his armor weighed 125 pounds, and the tip of his spear was 15 lbs. * Often God brings a giant into your path to get you through a stronghold. * Vs 10-11 - Your level of fear often shows your distance from God. * The more fear the further you are away. * There’s a difference between being “terrified” and being “scared.” * Vs 12 - The Message says, “Enter David.” What do we know of David? * He was anointed king at this point. * He ran his father’s business. * He had a position in the king’s court (musician). * Vs 17-18 - your destiny on the path of your duty. * Do the job at hand and watch how God directs your steps. * Vs 19 - the perception was that the king was fighting. * Vs 20-22 - two observations: * He made sure his job was taken care of before he took another opportunity. * He dropped off his baggage before he went into battle. * Vs 23-26a - His ears perked up at the promise of a reward. * Monetary reward is often the carrot that gets you moving in the direction God wants you to go. * Once you’re on the path, money is no longer the motivator. * Vs 26b - he saw Goliath with spiritual eyes. * Goliath had no protection. * Vs 32 - he volunteered for the fight. * Five Truths about Facing Your Fear: * 1) Without fear, there is no opportunity for courage. * 2) You’ll never fight if you don’t let go of what’s in your hand. * 3) When you face your fear God takes over the fight. * 4) Your greatest blessing is only found on the other side of your greatest fear. * 5) Boldness precedes the miraculous.

1 Samuel 9:3-27 (5/6/21)

Faithful Servant • May 6, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* God rewards faithful servants and stewards. * A servant is someone who “performs duties for others.” * They aren’t concerned w/their thing, but your thing. * A steward “manages and looks after someone else’s property.” * They don’t take care of it but don’t own it. * The Bible is filled with faithful servants and stewards whose names we don’t know. * Saul’s family had one such man. * Saul was about to be anointed king - and his dad sent him on an errand. * Vs 3-6 - The servant didn’t want Saul to go back empty handed (faithful servant). * Saul was a good leader at this time and listened to his servant. * Vs 7-8 - The servant offered to pay with his own money (faithful steward). * Saul went looking for the prophet, Samuel. * Vs 18-20 - the problem w/the donkeys was solved, just as the servant said it would be. * Saul and the Servant’s lives were about to change. * Vs 22- they “both” were seated at Samuel’s table. * You want a seat at the table? Then serve others! * Vs 23-26 - the servant stayed in Samuel’s house as well. * Vs 27 - the servant’s job was now over, and Saul would be on a new path. * Who do you figure Saul called into his service when he became king?

1 Samuel 13:12 (5/6/21)

Harnessing Ambition • May 6, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* Ambition is a great follower, but a terrible leader. * Letting ambition in the driver’s seat will cause you to arrive at a place God did not intend for you to be. * Waiting on God gives you: * Purity - purifies your ambition so you want what God wants you to want. * Presence - like waiting to eat until the person you’ve invited shows up. * Power - “those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” * The result of not waiting - you forfeit what was supposed to be yours. * Backstory - the Philistines had the Israelites in a pinch, so they needed God’s help. * They waited for Samuel to show up and sacrifice the animals, but he didn’t show for a week. * Vs 7-13 - Saul took matters into his own hands. * The king jumped ahead of the priest. * He “felt compelled” - he put his thing ahead of God’s thing and therefore he had a false peace about doing something that was wrong. * Saul’s ambition to win field his decision to move forward when he should’ve held back. * His “feeling” should have been weighed by Scripture. * Vs 14 - Saul was replaced by a man who would be “after God’s heart.” * This is the first mention of that phrase, which shows that Saul was after his own heart and not God’s. * Going after someone’s heart is about pursuit, like a server at a restaurant. They want to win your affection. * From “Rescuing Ambition” - waiting cultivates patience and redefines our definition of productivity. * “For God, productivity is wrapped up in transformation - it’s about who we are becoming, not what we are accomplishing.” * What do we do? Two Keys: * 1) The “state” of waiting - your mindset where you let the priest lead the king. * Don’t take matters into your own hands. Don’t bust doors open. It’s a faith “walk,” not run. * 2) The “service” of waiting - your method where you actively serve while you wait. * Be busy about your task at hand. Don’t focus on the next big thing. Cultivate faithfulness.

Ruth 1:15 (4/29/21)

Faith's Fruit • April 29, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* A tree is known by its fruit. * The decisions you make today will affect your future, for positive or negative. * The problem is that fruit takes time to show up! * In the meantime, you need * Determination * Discipline * Diligence * We see this in the life of Ruth, and the opposite in the life of Orpah. * Backstory - An Israelite, Elimelech, moved to Moab during a time of famine in Israel. * Naomi was his wife - Ruth and Orpah his daughters-in-law. * He died. Then his boys died. It was time for Naomi to go back to Israel. * But she couldn’t go back with Moabite daughters-in-law, showing a mixed marriage. * Orpah agreed to stay, but Ruth didn’t. * Orpah went back to her former way of life, but Ruth broke from her past. * Vs 14-18 - Ruth clung to Naomi, having faith in her God! * God was pleased with her faith! * ** Let’s look at the fruit of Ruth’s decision. * Matthew 1:5 - Ruth was in the genealogy of Jesus. * She married Boaz, who’s mother was RAHAB! * She had Obed, who had Jesse, who had DAVID! * ** Let’s look at the fruit of Orpah’s decision (according to the Talmud and an ancient commentary called a Midrash). * To start, Ruth and Orpah were the daughters of King Eglon (the fat king of Moab that Ehud killed with a dagger). * They were the granddaughters of Balak (who hired Balaam to curse the Israelites). * Orpah and Ruth both had the same upbringing, but two very different reactions to their past. * When Orpah left Naomi, she became the antagonist of Ruth in the story. * All the rabbis spoke of her negatively, that she “turned her back on Naomi and Naomi’s God.” * As a result, she prostituted herself, ultimately bearing four famous sons. * Their names - Ishibibnob, Saph, Lahmi, and …GOLIATH! * When you see the most famous battle in the Bible (David and Goliath) you can now see it as the result of decisions made years prior that echoed into eternity! * So be faithful today - be determined, disciplined, and diligent - and you will have the same fruit to show as Ruth.

1 Samuel 1:15-16 (4/29/21)

How to Deal With Anxiety • April 29, 2021 • Benham Brothers

* Philippians 4:6-7 - “Be anxious for nothing…” * Anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” * Fear is often about a past or present threat. * Anxiety is about a future potential threat. * Oftentimes, that threat is the overwhelming feeling of powerlessness (lack of control). * Backstory - Hannah had anxiety over being barren and it was weighing her down. * She could think of nothing else but her lack of children. * She felt anxious. What would she do? * Vs 9-10 - she poured out her heart to God. * You have to pour out to God so He can pour into you. * He wants you to have peace, joy, love, etc. * But you have to let go of anything that would keep you from those things. * Vs 11 - she expressed her “devotion.” * It stirred God’s heart. * Vs 12-14 - Eli assumed something that wasn’t true of Hannah. * Often times people may misunderstand you when you are doing business with God. * Vs 15-18 - as a result of pouring out her soul, she was no longer anxious. * Although nothing had changed, everything was different! * She poured her burden into God’s bucket and He took it. * ** If you had a 50lb bucket of water and someone came along with an empty bucket and asked if they could help you, would you take it? * Vs 19-20 - she did her part. * Often times anxiety comes when you’re not doing something you know you should do. * Vs 25-28 - Result - she had the grace to handle the answer to her prayer. * She gave the son away and God rewarded her with a 500% return (1 Samuel 2:21).

Luke 19:8 (4/29/21)

Using Money Right • April 29, 2021 • Benham Brothers

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