In this message, we learn what it means to intentionally invest in our relationships.
Alright. Well, good to see you. Welcome, everybody, to Valley Creek. I want to take a moment and say hi to all of your campuses. Whoever you are, wherever you’re watching online, let’s all welcome each other together. Glad to have you with us as we continue on in our healthy relationship series. And so it has been a great few weeks together. We’ve been digging in into healthy relationships with relationships with those closest to us in our life. Well, we want to encourage you towards us, there’s a special anointing to take steps in those — your close with, with your spouse, with your kids, with your close friends, there’s a special anointing, because if God has called us to it, he will help us do it in the season. We’ve been trying to memorize Ephesians 4:29 through 5:2, which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.” Parents, if you have little ones at home, somebody is always listening. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
“Get rid of all bitterness and rage, and anger, and brawling, and slander, and every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.” Continue to put those words to heart. I’m so glad I made it all the way through that. And so it’s hard to memorize. It is, but it’s worth putting into your heart day in and day out. If Jesus has spoken it, there is spirit, there is life in those words and he wants to bring that life to you. Okay. So has anybody ever thought back on how you’d spend a Friday night? I was doing that recently and I thought about Blockbuster video. Who remembers Blockbuster video, go on a Blockbuster? That was a heal your family favored on a Friday night. And what we would do is we’d always try to go and get the 99-cent movies, the ones that were on discount but those are the horrible ones.
It was only like all Chuck Norris and all like the “Star Trek” from the 1980s. So we would never get those. We’d pay a full price for the new releases every time. And as a little kid, my eyes were eye-leveled to all of the candies and I’d always hope that I had enough allowance money to purchase them, but they were really expensive also. And we would finish watching our VHS. And on the outside of the VHS, there was this phrase, “Be kind, rewind.” And that was a beating. That was the worst, to have to rewind the movie at the end. I wanted them to be kind to me and not make me rewind it. And yet we had to because DVDs weren’t a thing. And there was no online access. So Blockbuster video, they were the champs. They were the biggest. They had 9,000 locations, 60,000 employees across the country. And as the story goes in the year 2000, a guy named Reed Hastings came into Blockbuster’s corporate headquarters here in Dallas and he had a proposition. You see he just started a small DVD company that would send DVDs by mail.
And he wanted to go to Blockbuster and say, “Hey, here’s the deal guys, all you have to do is give me $50 million and I’ll sell you my company.” And they’re like, “Oh no, we’re not going to do that because we’re the biggest. We’re the best, we’re going to put you out of business.” Well, that was mistake. The name of his company is Netflix. Netflix is now worth $17 billion. For those of you that are doing the math, that’s 340 times what it would have cost the now defunct Blockbuster to be able to purchase them. And when we hear that, when we hear that missed investment opportunity or maybe if you hear about a lottery winner that spends all their money or maybe you hear about somebody who didn’t sign that lucrative contract, do you think, oh what a missed opportunity. And something hits the pit of your stomach, you kind of groan like, “Oh.” And we all do that. But I wonder if maybe we’re the ones that are missing it.
You see Jesus talked about intentionally investing very differently than we do. In fact, in Luke Chapter 15 — I’m sorry, Luke 16 Verse 11, he says, “If you’re untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you wit the true riches of heaven?” The true riches of heaven, there’s something that’s more valuable than wealth, than money, than collecting status, the true riches of heaven, and I believe that it’s people. I believe that Jesus intentionally invested into people because people are the true riches of heaven. He was the master at intentionally investing and He invites us to do the same thing. Why is that so important? Because intentionally investing into relationships is like intentionally investing for retirement. You want to do it before you need it. I know so many people in life who have never invested into relationships and then when that crisis happens, and when the job lost comes, and when the sickness occurs, they have no relational account to draw from because they haven’t invested anything into it.
And then I know other people who the exact opposite is true, that they’re surrounded with relationships. And so when things get tough, people surround them with love, they return it back to them. I can think of a mom, a single mom here at Valley Creek who unexpected became single when her marriage ended and so she has been really trying to get back up on her feet and make good decisions in her life and she — she recently bought a house. And that was a good investment because she would have to stay in apartment if she didn’t but the house wasn’t really up to have to snuff it, had a lot of work that had to be done to it. And so the Valley Creek family surrounded her. And so many people came out to invest into her home and to her life. It look like Ty Pennington, like move that bus like in three days, that place was cleaned and cleared and it was beautiful, and she was overwhelmed. But what she have forgotten to remember is that for years, she’s invested into the Valley Creek family with prayer, with love, with watching kids for other family members, with words of encouragement.
She invested and her investment was paying her back when she needed it most. Let’s be honest. If at the end of our life, the size of our bank account is larger than the death of our relationships, we will have failed. But if our relationships are intentionally cultured and nourished and we focused on them, we will be investing into the riches of heaven. So what I want to do is I want to take a look at the life of Jesus and see how he intentionally invested into his disciples. He was a master at it. So let’s look at Mark 3 Verse 13 through 14. Here’s what it says, “Jesus went up on the mountain side and called to him those He wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed 12, designating them apostles that they might be with Him and then He might send them out to preach.
So nothing that Jesus did was by mistake. It was always with purpose. And this was an intentional moment. Jesus had just healed a man with a shriveled hand and crowds were flocking after Him and they were coming around Him to see what it was all about. And so he went up on the mountain side. And what that means is He went up to pray and to be with the Father. And He called to them, the disciples that he wanted. So the first thing that we see is that Jesus intentionally invested prayer. We can intentionally invest prayer into our relationships because prayer aligns your heart to care about the things that the Father cares about. Here’s why that’s important. Because there’s somebody in your life that you’re having a difficult time caring for or being emotionally connected to a really loving, then you can start to pray and you align your heart with the Father’s heart, the one who cares for them the most and you’ll start to care for them. So prayer then is aligning your heart to care what the Father cares about.
That’s what Jesus would pray to the Father on behalf of people. So He’d say like, “Father, I pray that they would be one as you and I are one.” Or would say, “Father, I pray that you don’t take them out of the world but you keep them safe from the world.” He was aligning His heart with the Father’s heart for the people that He cared about, the true riches of heaven. “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do. Father, I know you always hear me, I’m saying this for their benefit.” You see, prayer is a currency of heaven. It’s a currency of heaven because you hand it over and then it’s turned it into something else. Like think about a dollar bill, a dollar bill, you can hand over to buy an ice cream cone and then after you do, it gets turned into something else and somebody else uses that to buy, you know, a soda then they maybe use that and somebody else takes it to the bank. It goes different places. It do — it does different things that you even realized it will do because it’s a currency. You’re trading it, you’re exchanging it and it becomes something else.
In the case of prayer, you’re exchanging it to an infinitely loving God who knows what to do with it, who cares deeply about the true riches of heaven and it has an exponential return in people’s lives. And you know that this is true because you’ve seen it happen before. Like let’s say you’re praying for somebody and the healing of their sickness, and so you pray that they would be healed. Now, they’re not a believer but they’re okay with receiving the prayer. So you pray for them, they receive it, but the healing occurs. Then their heart is touched and they start to believe that Jesus really is real. And so they go home with their new found relationship with Jesus and they pray for somebody inside their family and that person’s heart is touched. That’s the exponential return of prayer. It continues onwards. That’s why prayer is so powerful and has an exponential return. So it aligns our heart with the Father. It’s a currency of heaven with an exponential return.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, pray for each other that you may be headed, because the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and it’s effective.” So when I’m investing in prayer into people, I’m investing in the healing and the wholeness of someone. This word doesn’t just mean physical healing. It means the wholeness of their mind, body and soul. So when we pray for others, we’re investing into them mind, body, and soul. Husbands, when you pray for your wife, and maybe you’re praying that she’ll be able to fight off that depression or the wrong thinking about her beauty or her value, you can pray for that, but as you do, you’re praying for her mind, body and soul for her wholeness. Moms, when you pray for your children and you pray that they would be kept safe from the world or that they would make friends at school, you’re praying for that. But what’s actually happening is you’re praying for them mind, body, and soul for their complete healing and wholeness. When you pray for that coworker, the one that spends every Friday night just partying and then come on Monday morning to tell you all about it, and you’re thinking, “Man, there’s so much more for them.”
When you pray for them, you’re not just praying that they break free from alcohol, you’re praying for all of them, their wholeness, mind, body and soul, that they would come to understand who they are in Jesus. It’s complete and total healing. That’s what we’re praying. I can remember at my Uncle Don’s funeral, my Uncle Don was a great spiritual mentor in my life and he loved people, and then 80 plus years old when he passed away. He had like 500 people at his memorial service. It seems like his influence kept growing as he got older. And he was a prayer warrior. And he invested prayer into the true riches of heaven, people. And at that service, people were literally coming from all around the world. There’s four people that came in from Sweden and they were there and they were singing songs in Swedish and I didn’t understand any of it. I’m not even sure right now what they were talking about or singing, but they love to just worship the Lord as evident and they knew that my Uncle Don had prayed for them for so many years.
And there were people that would come down in front and they would get in the open mic time and they talked about how they knew that Don had prayed for the healing of their relationship, that Don had prayed for their wholeness that they breakaway from the addiction. One man who was in his 50s, he comes down sobbing, you could just see it. He understood the power of the prayer that was invested into his heart. My Uncle Don was a prayer warrior. He invested prayer. It was a great return on investment. And the thing was, he didn’t even necessarily get to see it during his life. But it was a return on investment that was paid and it will be paid throughout eternity. So back to how Jesus invested prayer into the true riches into people, he’s talking to Peter in Luke 22 Verse 32, and here’s what he says, “But I prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail and when you’ve turned back to strengthen your brothers.” You have to catch the irony in this. Jesus made so many bad investments in the world’s eyes.
He invested into Peter who went on to then deny Him three times just a little while later after that passage. He invested into Thomas who didn’t believe he was resurrected. He invested into Judas who was the one that sold him for 30 pieces of silver onto his death. Jesus invested into all of them. But here’s what I want you to catch. Many times a bad investment in the world’s eyes is a great investment kingdom wise. And Jesus knew that. He knew he was making a great investment because people where Jesus’s investment strategy. And people are not a safe bet. And they get sideways and they get selfish but Jesus didn’t stop. He didn’t stop praying. He didn’t stop praying for you, and for me, and we are the answer. The church is the answer to Jesus’s prayers. He made that investment. We are proof of that investment in the world’s eyes could be a great investment kingdom wise.
So for you with a spouse who’s sitting here right now in services alone, praying that your spouse will join you, to receive the love of Jesus, don’t stop praying. You’re making a good investment. For the mama whose heart is breaking because your kids are hanging out with all the wrong people and all the wrong places and all the wrong times, don’t stop praying. You’re making a good investment. For the person who’s been disappointed by your friend’s selfishness and thoughtlessness recently in the times that they’ve said just harsh words to hurt your heart, don’t stop praying. You’re making a good investment. Prayer is one of the most important intentional investments we can make. So here’s the question. Who of those closest to you will you commit to pray for, to align your heart with the fathers, with the currency of heaven, with a powerful and effective prayer, spend time praying for those closest to you.
Here’s the second thing that we see. Jesus intentionally invested time. Mark 3:14, “He appointed 12, designating them apostles, that they might be with him,” that they might be with him following and watching and talking and learning. In fact, most of the reason the Jesus would even teach the crowds most of the time, He would do that just so we’d have time with the disciples afterwards to process with Him what He has just taught. We see that in Mark 4, the “Parable of the Seeds”, and Mark 6, when he feeds the 5,000, and Mark 7, when he talks about the clean and unclean foods. Even after the resurrection, He comes back and explains the resurrection to His disciples just so He can spend time with them. How? How did Jesus do that because for three years, He was easily the busiest person on earth? How did He make time for people?
Well, here’s how. People were not interrupting His schedule. They were the reason for His schedule. The lie that we’ve believe is that the calendar is more important than people and completion of the task is more important than loving people during it. That’s simply not true. You can’t get that backwards. The calendar is a tool, like money is a tool and you use your tool to find true riches. You use it to invest into people. People are not the means to the end. They’re the reason for our journeys, because they were the reason for Jesus’s journey. However, to get there we must be able to view time through an abundance mind set, not a scarcity mind set. Abundance mind set, I got all the time in the world because I serve the unending God of eternity who controls time. And so I always have time to love those closest to me. I always have time to do the things that God has asked me to do.
Scarcity mind set. I’m way too busy. I got way too much stuff in the schedule. I got to travel this week, I got my kids stuff. I like — I’m sorry, I’m just too busy. That’s scarcity mind set. God controls time, not vice versa. That means that God’s desires supersedes times pressures. God’s desires for whatever He wants, it actually comes above. It supersedes the pressures that we feel in the calendar, that’s when He’s giving us time to love people. Literally, spiritually speaking, you have all the time in the world. You have all the time in the world to do what God has asked you to do. In Joshua 10, we’ve see a really cool story about that. It says in Joshua 10:12, “On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said, ‘Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place.”
He’d literally stop time. And I know what you’re thinking, like what — how is that going to happen now? Spiritually, in the spiritual realm, it can. He can bend and manipulate time for His purposes. That means He’s going to give you time in your life to love those closest to you. You can invest the time because you have so much of it, abundance. Abundance mind set. The other night when I was putting, Noemi, my youngest, down to bed, man, I have one those putting the littles to bed kind of moment. It’s like, “Alright, water check, got your snack check, your jammies are on backwards, check. We got your blankie in place, check. Okay, it’s time to go to bed because I — because daddy needs his daddy time.” We just get away from this whole thing. And we had this kind of back and forth exchange, which is pretty normal for parents of little ones. And then she’s like, “Daddy, can we read a book?” Oh. I’ve checked it off my list.
Honestly in most nights, no, it’s time to go to bed. And something just struck my heart and I was like, “Yeah, we can, we can read a book.” I put what I wanted to the side, I read the book to Noemi, it was a holy moment. I literally thought to myself, “If not this, then what? Like if not doing this, then what am I doing? You always have time to love those closest to you. So how do you do it practically? Well, Psalm 90 Verse 12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” So we ask God to teach us to show us how to use the calendar. And in doing so, we become more wise. So we get our calendars out, we get our outlook calendars out and we say, “Okay, God, is this your calendar? Jesus, is this what you want me to do and is this who you want me to spend the time with?”
Here’s an idea, what if you were planning out your week, and your grocery shopping, and all the place you had to go, and your travels, and your plans. What if you were planning out your schedule and then you just stopped and you said, “Jesus, is this your schedule? Is this who you want me to spend the time with, and is this you — what you want me to do?” And let Him speak to you and let Him reveal to you, which of my relationship should be watered most in this next season. I literally know couples who will start off the new year and instead of doing like financial, new year’s resolutions or like physical health, new year’s resolutions, they’ll do relational resolutions. And they’ll write down names of people that they should be focusing on in that season. And in doing so, it allows them to spend the right amount of time with the right people. And so they give it to Jesus, He reveals to them who it supposed to be and then that’s how they number their days.
And in doing so, they become wise. They start to understand what Jesus wants for them in that season. You have the time, you just have to number it like Jesus did. There’s a big difference in your life between having intention and being intentional. Having intention is just a nice thought. If I’m being intentional, I can bring heaven to earth. So don’t just have intention, be intentional, spend the time with those closest to you. Here’s the third thing we see. Jesus intentionally invested His dreams. Mark 3:14, “That He might send them out to preach.” So this was His goal for them. This is what He wanted. This was His purpose. He was Him sending them out preach, to bring the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. It was His dream to see them reach their potential. In John 14:12 He says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I’ve been doing.”
“He’ll do even greater things in this because I’m going to the Father.” And I can imagine the disciples hearing them be like what? Wait, we’re going to do greater things than you, yeah. Yeah, yeah, that’s my dream for you because I’ve been praying about you and I’ve been spending time with you and now I’m able to speak dreams into you. You’re going to do even greater things than I have been doing. He was so full of dreams for His disciples. Try this some time, try the word, “Here’s what I see in you.” I see in you, that’s a powerful phrase. You can speak those to those that your closest to. If I’m honest with you, I think a lot of us as parents, we have dreams for our kids and that’s about as far it goes. And we don’t have dreams for a lot of the others in our life that we’re close to. And here’s why I think that is, I think it’s because we don’t really spend time praying for them, aligning our heart with the Father and spend a time with them, actually getting to know them so we can sense with the dreams off for their life.
Jesus did both. He prayed for them, He spent that time and it gave Him dreams for His disciples. So spouses, take that time really talk and pray about what’s on your heart for one another like spend those moments, it’s worth the time processing. It’s worth the time asking the Father to speak to you about your spouse, to speak to you about your children, to speak to you about your closest friends at work and your closest friends in life. Let them speak to you and then let Him raise up dreams in your heart and then say, “I see in you.” Here’s what I think God has for you. Here’s what He wants for you. Can you imagine going to work and you’re talking to your coworker at the coffee bar and you’re like, “Hey, Sam, remember when we went to lunch last week and then I just kind of have been praying for you and I’ve been thinking about you. And here’s what I see in you.”
“I think God want you to move forward with that adoption. I think God want you to move forward with starting that ministry that you want to do. I think He wants you to move forward with that hubby that you have in your heart that you want to get back into. I think He’s going to do that. I think it’s His dream that He’s welling up in your heart. Wow, that would be powerful.” Sam would be like, “Whoa, yeah. I see in you.” Those are powerful words. Don’t be afraid the Lord is with you. We have this opportunity to invest our dreams into people and I believe it’s the dreams that the Father has for them being spoken through you to them because you’ve aligned your heart in prayer and you’ve spent the time with Him. Invest your dreams. Let me kind of talk through this because this is a — it was a fun revelation that I thought God gave to me really late in it, but I want to make sure I kind of bring it all together with this.
So it’s been said that the value of something is simply what someone is willing to pay for it. If that’s true, if the value of something is simply what someone is willing to pay for it, how valuable are you to Jesus, and therefore, how valuable are all of your relationships in your life to Jesus? If you had something of great value, if you had true riches and let’s say that there more like in material kind, like let’s say you had, you know, crown jewels or you had a 32-karat diamond or a million dollars, you had this in your possession, would you hide it under you mattress? No, of course not. You’d never take something of true value and hide it under your mattress. You’d place it somewhere where it was safe and secure and where its value could be fully realized, maybe a bank, maybe a museum, maybe an investment account.
You’d place it somewhere. It would be safe and secure and its value could be fully realized. Now, listen to Mark Chapter 3 again, “And Jesus went up on the mountain side and call to those whom He wanted and He designated them apostles. That is, He prayed for them and spoke their identity that they might be with Him, He invested His time in relationship, and He might send them out to preach. He spoke dreams into their purpose and all of that was so that He could place the true riches of God into the safest, most secure place where they would be valued beyond anything, the Father’s heart.” So when you’re investing your prayer and your time and your dreams into those that your closest to, you’re placing them right into the Father’s heart. So at Colossians 3, says this, “Your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” See if you can catch it. With Christ he brings you with Him in God into the safest, most secure place it could be where the true value will be revealed, that’s the Father’s heart. So when we’re intentionally investing into others, we are helping to lead them right into the love and the heart of the Father, wow. That’s what I want to do for those closest to me.
That’s what I want to do for those healthy relationships in my life that I want to see it even more healthy. Jesus did that for you, for me, for all of us. But for him, the risk was worth the reward. Yeah, you’re taking the chance when you make an investment. You don’t always know what’s going to be returned to you. But for Jesus, the risk was worth the reward. Healthy relationships require intentional investment. People are the true riches of heaven and they’re worth investing into. Those closest to you are worth your prayer, your time, and your dreams. Because when you give it, you’re helping to place them right into the love and the heart of the Father. Let’s pray.
So, Jesus, that is our prayer as we come into this fourth week of the healthy relationship series, we just say show us how to intentionally invest with those closest to us. Help us put prayer on the schedule and to make time for it and to be thoughtful and to go to the heart of the Father on behalf of people to align ourselves. Help us make time and believe that it’s abundant, that we have more of it, we’re not short of it. We have the time to love those closes to us. And awaken our dreams. Awaken our dreams for your church, for the people you love. And let us be bold enough to speak them, to speak them out, to speak to people like you did with the love and the compassion and the heart of the good Father spoken through you, Jesus. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear how you want us to intentionally invest with those closest to us.
I pray that Valley Creek is known as a church that’s just about loving the true riches of heaven, that we would understand our own value in Jesus with Christ in God, that we would understand our own value and we would begin to believe it and speak it and live it out when we interact with other people around us, that every place that we are as Valley Creek Church, that people would be blown away by the intentionality. We didn’t just have intention, we were being intentional, bringing heaven to earth in every interaction we had, that’s what I pray for our church. That’s who we want Jesus. We want to be intentional just like you were because it’s worth it, because people are worth it, and because being in the love and the heart of the Father is the very best place to be. Help us do that, Jesus. Help us pray, make the time and share the dreams. We love you, Lord, in your precious name. Amen.