Selasa, 22 Februari 2011

Christ Was Focused

Matthew 16:22-23 (NKJV)
Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

Christ Was Focused
During His entire ministry, Jesus was never sidetracked. Whether the distraction came from satan or one of Jesus’ closest friends, Christ would not turn His focus away from what He had to accomplish for the Father.

Think for a moment about Jesus’ refusal to be distracted. Here was a man who had unlimited power at His fingertips and He refused to give up even a little of that power in other pursuits. How much more so should we, who are very limited in our power, be focused on what God would have us accomplish?

It is key for us to understand that once we have identified our God-directed purpose, we can expect the enemy to zero in on us and attempt to distract us. These distractions can take many forms and in some cases they will seem very innocent. In fact, service itself can become a distraction!

How can that be? Some men find it very difficult to turn down opportunities to serve even when it interferes with the ministries they are called to be involved in. We should never assume that every opportunity to serve has to be pursued. Unlike Jesus, we are very finite and have real limitations on how much we can achieve. In order to be as effective as possible for Him, we must be focused sharply on what God would have us accomplish for Him.

If you reflect on people who have done great things for the kingdom, this sharp focus will stick out as a common quality. They followed Christ’s example and stayed focused on their mission despite all distractions, including opportunities that seemed to be Christ-centered.

Because to a man that is focused on his mission from God, it is unacceptable to allow distractions to creep in.

Request wisdom and discernment from God. Ask Him to help clear aside those things which distract you from pursuing His desires.

Ask Yourself
Are you easily sidetracked or discouraged? Do those who mean well sometimes pull you in other directions? Are there things in your life that take your focus off of God?

Take Action
Last week you created a list of items that you occupy your time with and prayed over this list asking God to guide where you should spend your time. Any item that you had listed as a “distraction” that you felt led to remove, take practical steps to eliminate it this week.

Selasa, 15 Februari 2011

Jesus: A Man On A Mission

Acts 1:7-8 (NKJV)
And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

If we are to be followers of Christ, then we must emulate His characteristics, actions and methods. While on earth, Jesus’ actions were coordinated, they were thought out and they carried with them a purpose, God’s purpose. There is no doubt that Jesus Christ was a man on a mission from God.

His mission is seen in every facet of His journey on earth. From being baptized by John at the beginning of His ministry to the final words spoken to His disciples in Acts 1:7-8, Jesus was clearly carrying out His life’s purpose and nothing distracted Him from accomplishing it.

Christ came for one purpose, to provide a means for man to achieve salvation and to spread that knowledge to the ends of the earth. Every action He took and word that He spoke supported this purpose.

Our own lives should be led in a similar single-minded manner, with everything pointing towards Him. Paul put it best in Colossians 3:17 when he wrote, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Ask God to instill a strong sense of purpose in your life. Pray that your heart softens towards things from Him and that your walk catches fire.

Ask Yourself
Do you live your life with a single-minded purpose? When observed by others in your daily life, do they see Christ?

Take Action
Pick one of the Gospels and read it completely this week. Make note of all of Christ’s actions and see how they related to His overall purpose. Then take a look at your own life. Make note of all these things that you do which support your walk with Christ and those that distract you. Pray over this list and ask God what He would have you do with those things that distract you.

Minggu, 13 Februari 2011

On A Mission From God

Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NKJV)
The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."

How many men have you known who have gone from “on fire” new believers to lukewarm Christians? I have known plenty and have been one myself. When I first came to Christ, I joined a church, became a regular attendee of a Bible fellowship and joined a weekly Bible study. I was a sponge, soaking up spiritual knowledge after years of searching for truth. After a short time, I involved myself in an evangelism ministry and was discipled by some mature Christian men in my Bible fellowship class.

Over that first year I grew tremendously in Christ and my enthusiasm grew in tandem. That growth and enthusiasm peaked by the second year of my walk and by the fourth year I was in spiritual decline. Was I backsliding? If I had not firmly established my Christian roots by this point, I could have been. In practice though, my friends came to know me as a “good” Christian man who served faithfully in and outside the church. The problem is that the excitement had been lost in my life as a follower of Christ. I was no longer on fire; simply in a slow, long decline; becoming one of the lukewarm Christians Christ abhors.

Doing neither powerful things for His name’s sake, nor horrible things that would cause shame, I did small things that only served to make me look good in the eyes of my family and friends but provided no deeper fulfillment. There was good intent, but I was simply going through the motions. Deep inside, I really wanted something more. I wanted joy in my service.

So what causes a man to weaken in his walk and slip into a state of spiritual mediocrity? It happens when his walk seems meaningless, utterly meaningless. Why do something if you don’t feel there is a purpose to it? We get to this state because our Christian walk does not seem to match up to any higher purpose, even when we are doing things ”for God.”

Ask God to reveal Himself to you in the coming weeks as we explore your unique purpose in life. Pray that He will prepare you and use you in His service.

Ask Yourself
Do you serve without excitement? Is there currently an area of service that “fires you up”? Do you believe that God desires to use you in a way that you have not yet pursued? If so, what is holding you back?

Take Action
Explore the opportunities that your church has for service. Talk to a pastor to find out about those needs that may not be advertised in the church bulletin.