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“Evangelism is everybody’s business”

One of the most difficult challenges that we face as believers in this world is to keep the main thing...well...the main thing! And yet focus is one of the most important keys to accomplishing anything.

If you want to land an airplane, somewhere along the line your focus better be trained upon the runway. If you’re a baseball player and you want to hit for a good average, you must learn how to focus on the baseball. If you want to score a lot of points in basketball, you really need to be able to focus on the basketball goal. If you want to have a successful business, you really need to be able to focus on your vision and purpose. You have to know what the main thing is and then keep the main thing... the main thing. And the same thing is true for the church...the believer...people like you and me.

When that doesn’t happen goals are not realized. Take the Ivy League schools for example. They were all started by people of faith with the intention that people would be educated that the gospel might be shared and implemented in the world for the glory of God. That was the main thing...but when the main thing was lost, so was the dream, the purpose, the vision. Most people would be surprised to know how and why those schools were started. They are hardly a bastion of faith and practice, that’s for sure.

When Paul writes to the church at Philippi he draws a comparison between what the lost world focuses on as the main thing in contrast to the believer, the church.

For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:18-21 (ESV)

The unbeliever has their mind set on the things of this world...that is what they focus on. But for the believer our citizenship is in heaven, and Jesus is our Lord, not Caesar. The gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the main thing.

Indeed we are pilgrims. A vagabond has no home, a stranger is away from home, but a pilgrim is headed home. Verse three of Chapter four of the same book teaches us about what the main thing is.


Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Philippians 4:3 (ESV)

We just finished as a nation another election cycle. But for the believer our primary focus is on the spiritual not the political. The focus of the church is the Great Commission and the preaching of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The main thing is giving witness to the saving power of the gospel. There are many tentacles’ that seek to reach out and pull us away from the main thing. Most of them you could even consider to be “good” things in comparison to “bad” things. But even good things are not the best thing. The best thing is the main thing and the only thing that we should focus upon and that’s the spreading of the gospel, for it is the only hope for any man, woman, or child.

We are also citizens of this country, the United States of America. We seek to live as good citizens in this world. We vote our conscience and take advantage of the privilege we have to engage our culture and make a difference through our involvement in all avenues of life, including the political.

But as believers we are well aware that it is not an election that will change the heart and minds of people, but only as the elect share the gospel and give evidence of the power of the gospel to save our lives and change our hearts. Make no mistake, the gospel, Jesus Christ, the Savior , is what the world needs more than anything else in life. He alone, by His grace, can save and will save any who call upon His name. He has the power, He is able, and He is the main thing.


But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (ESV)

Satan and this world will try to keep you from being witnesses for Him and yet that is our main thing. It is our mandate. That’s what the power of the Holy Spirit is for...to help us focus on the main thing and get it done.

How about this year we let Congress focus on making the laws. Hollywood can focus on taking care of their garbage pit. The boys on Wall Street can focus on the economy. And we can keep focused on what we as citizens of heaven should be focused upon....the main thing. We can tell this world about Jesus! That He is mighty to save.

“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20 (ESV)

After all, when you stop and think about it, it’s soon going to be over with anyway. We are headed “home” and we want to take as many with us as we can. After all...it’s the main thing.

 

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with
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It's the most wonderful time of the year...except when it isn't. With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, stress and busyness abound for many of us. As we prepare to host family and friends for holiday gatherings, we are often pressed on every side with things to do and shopping lists and dreading the inevitable arguments at the dinner table between family members over politics and religion—or even some conflict dating back to 1982. Pinterest offers inspiration for the picture-perfect table setting and menu (or should I say it produces the opportunity for feeling like a holiday failure if you chose paper over fine china and your un-brined turkey is a bit on the dry side.) We can find ourselves feeling exactly the opposite of grateful and merry. We can even wonder if it's not time to toss tradition and make a break for somewhere warm and tropical!

In Luke 10:38-42, we read about a hostess who is dear to my heart. She was not just preparing a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. She had the honor of welcoming Jesus Himself, along with His disciples, into her home for a big dinner. I don't know about you, but I think that is a task that could intimidate even Martha Stewart! Our hostess (a Martha herself) wasn't a stranger to Jesus, but in fact a dear friend. As she hustled to do the many things necessary, she became frustrated that her sister Mary wasn't helping but was instead sitting with Jesus listening to what He taught. (Usually around here it's a sister who disappears when there are dishes to wash!) Martha was so comfortable with Jesus that she came to Him and said: "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me."

But, the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! there is only one thing that is worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."

I can't help but think that wasn't the answer Martha was expecting Jesus to give her. It might not be the answer you and I are expecting either—at first. Nevertheless, it IS the answer. If we consider it with an open heart, we can find our way out of the holiday hosting performance trap. When we focus more on Jesus and less on "all these details," we are concerning ourselves with the right thing and no earthly stressors can take away our joy!

Of course, the turkey still needs to be cooked and the table set. I don't believe Jesus was telling Martha to forget the meal entirely. There is joy in serving our friends and families as we give them a place to gather together for the celebrations that mean so much to us. It is a matter of perspective. When we are so busy with the details that we don't have time to sit with the Lord and talk with Him, listen to Him, and simply BE with Him, we are missing the main thing. When our relationship with Him takes first place, gratitude wells up in us. We just can't help it.

His Holy Spirit in us producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control will allow us to accomplish the shopping and the cleaning and the cooking with grace. We will be more able to be flexible and not over-react to the inevitable challenges that will come up that threaten our ability to enjoy the holidays. It doesn't matter if we are hosting a feast for 40 of our friends and family or opening a can of soup with no one else but Jesus this Thanksgiving or Christmas. The traditions are nice, but they aren't "the thing". It's all about Jesus. With Him, we have all we need. Won't you join me in striving to be more like Mary this holiday season, no matter your circumstances?

 

Posted by Denise Woodliff with

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