Posts Tagged 'focus'

Out of the Ordinary: Squint or Shut?

Out of the Ordinary: Squint or Shut?

John 5:35-47

A worker in a lighting store tells this about her customers: one day, a customer is standing, looking at lights. She approaches and asks if he needs help. He ANGRILY replies, “No, you’re the 4th person to ask me that today! I just want to look at the light! Leave me alone!”

She walks away, and seeing another customer, asks the same question. HIS response: “Nah, I’m just looking right now, but you know, you’re the 3rd person to ask me that. What great customer service you have!”

When People React to God’s Light, Ask

Where’s The Spotlight? ~ John 5:35-38

  • 35 God’s light can shine from anyone, and even the world can see it
  • 36 BUT-what does God’s light shine ON? The ministry of Jesus
  • 37/38 and not everyone is willing to recognize His Ministry; they can see, but they won’t FOCUS

Why the Scorn? ~ John 5:39-42

  • 39/40 The Bible teaches that we need to SURRENDER to Jesus…
  • 41/42 …which only happens because of the Love of God placed IN US. If someone refuses to surrender to Christ, they can “say” they love God… but “it ain’t necessarily so”

When To Surrender? ~ John 5:43-47

God’s light IS shining: are we squinting? Are we shutting our eyes? Or are we sharing what we’ve seen?

2 Corinthians: Captivating Thoughts

2 Corinthians: Captivating Thoughts

Jer. 9:23-24; 2Cor. 10:1-5

I’m reading a book called Getting Things Done, about a time management method, by productivity consultant David Allen. It describes a strategy for gaining balance between work and life. (If you can’t tell, I haven’t finished the book yet) The first step is CAPTURE – collect what has your attention. How do we do this in our lives of faith?

How Can We Notice Our Focus?

Weigh the Worth of our Base Values ~ Jeremiah 9:23-24
OT Principle:

  • 23 wisdom, strength, riches -all attributes which can be SELFish
  • 24 we understand the LORD based on WHAT HE DOES & WHAT HE WANTS; (we study the Word ↔ we hear His heart {thru prayer-worship-fellowship-service})

Work For A World Based On Christ ~ 2Corinthians 10:1-5
NT Practice:

  • 1/2 when we live by God’s standard, we can be meek (reflect HIS character); when we live by world’s standard, we’re stuck in SELF, which needs to be wrangled (boldness/confrontation)
    3/4 NOT like the world; “strongholds” = mental constructs

Consider how we “map” our surroundings based on structures/landmarks; e.g., drive south on 17 (from ML towards Othello) until you get to Pheasant Run; turn left. Go a few miles until you see Tires West; go 3 blocks past that, turn right just after the car wash on the left; go 2 blocks, and the church is on the right corner. How much more difficult would those directions be without landmarks/structures?

  • 5 a stronghold is a refuge/security; if a thought takes root in us, it becomes a part of our mental landscape –> a stronghold; to take thoughts “captive”=(taken by the spear), we have to take down the “walls” of our mental constructs before we can root out the core thoughts

One of our trustees, Curtis, said he was going to take down the little raised garden of bricks in our back “yard” to examine the foundation. When he showed up with an excavator, I knew he was serious!

What strongholds need to be taken down in your life? What needs to be built up? What excavator will you use?

Epiphany: Unraveling the Riddle of Readiness

Epiphany: Unraveling the Riddle of Readiness Sermon Audio Here

1 Cor.3:1-9

The current snowy weather has certainly changed how we prepare to begin a journey. What might have been a quick trip to the supermarket is starting to resemble something from Scott of the Antarctic…

How Do We Get Ready for Wisdom?

Don’t Get Stuck in the World ~ 1 Cor.3:1-4

  • v1 follow up from 1 Cor 2:14-16, distinction between the person living according to the Spirit, or according to the world; Corinthians are living by the world’s standards
  • v2 the world can’t digest God’s wisdom as a whole; if we are caught up in that system, we can’t either
  • v3 indications one is caught in the flesh? They act like the world, with argumentative attitudes
  • v4 They even take spiritual leaders and reduce them to rallying slogans

Focus On Who’s Really At Work ~ 1 Cor.3:5-9

  • v5 simply, God does the spiritual work; we just help as God chooses
  • v6/7 we do different tasks, but God gives the growth
  • v8 God notices our specific help; we’ll be rewarded eventually (that’s another sermon)
  • v9 notice that the Corinthians are not counted among the workers (they’re too worldly); they are the recipients of God’s work, not the co-laborers

Deut 30:19-20a ~ This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

God chooses us for Salvation; We choose to live IN that Salvation, by responding to His Love, listening to His Word, and walking in His Way.

Beyond Coffee as “fellowship”

Image

Thoughts on 1 Peter 1:8-16

8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

I read an article today that *really* caught my attention about starting a coffee shop. Let me share the major points from that article with you, but with an eye to sharing the Gospel, not just a great cup of coffee. “Today, I wanted to… [share] three tips for anyone mulling over the idea of starting a coffee shop, preparing to open one, and maybe even those who already run one.

1. Carefully Navigate the Trends

“…chances are your eye will catch what’s new, cool, hip and trendy. Be wary.”

2. Be the Coffee Person

“There is, however, an opportunity for true quality coffee shops out there that deliver on the promise of what’s preached.”

3. Build a Culture of Taking Care of People

“But at the core it’s about everyone being there to take care of people. We need to start from a point of honoring the space that coffee occupies in people’s lives.”

  • Verses 8-9: “we are receiving the goal of our faith” – We dare not get caught up in the the latest Christian trends for the sake of the trends themselves. Let us remind one another that it is salvation that matters.

  • Verses 10-12: “searched intently and with the greatest care” – Just as the article pointed out the need to keep the main thing the main thing, how much more do we, who are living in the Kingdom?

  • Verses 13-16: “set your hope fully on the grace to be given you” – We care for others as we live holy lives, worshiping Jesus through our every day choices and interactions.


Pastor Ed Backell

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