Showing items filed under “Pastor Ralph”
main image

“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 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’s the main thing.


Posted by Ralph Sawyer with
main image

I have to admit that this election cycle was one unlike any other I’ve ever witnessed. This is the eleventh election that I have had the privilege to participate in as a registered voter and I’ve never been so taken back than I was this year by the two candidates who ran for the office of the Presidency. And that’s putting it in the nicest way I can.

Well, now it’s all over. We have a new President-elect, new governors, new senators, new office holders and the work of leading our country is just beginning for those who have been elected and those that serve with them as they lead. Our leaders have crucial, new responsibilities now thrust upon their shoulders as they seek to fulfill their obligation to the people. But you might be surprised to remember that the biggest burden really doesn’t rest upon them as much as it does the Christian, people like you and me. Our prayers make a huge difference. I heard that “Amen”.

As believers we have the responsibility/privilege, to pray for our leaders.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV)

Could it be that our nation is in the mess that it’s in because Christians have forgotten to pray for our leaders? I mean after all, the Word says, “First of all”. In every language I can think of, including the Greek, it means this is number one when thinking about living our lives and loving our country. But you say you don’t really like the leadership we have, you didn’t even vote for them. It really doesn’t matter now because they are our leaders and no matter what kind of leaders they are, if God’s people will pray, He will take care of us. That’s why I believe the greater burden rests upon the knees of God’s people as we humble ourselves and pray. Have we forgotten what the Lord has said?

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

Whether we voted for them or not, they deserve our prayers and they need our prayers and we dare not sin against God by failing to do so. We should pray for our leaders and all that surround them. We should pray to God and ask Him to:

  1. Save their souls and teach them to depend upon Him
  2. To teach them humility, for pride comes before the fall
  3. To fear and respect the Lord God, it is the beginning of wisdom
  4. Protect them and their families
  5. Give them strength and wisdom
  6. Give them patience and understanding
  7. Guide their decisions
  8. Lead their plans
  9. Develop their character
  10. Allow them to be a blessing to our nation

Additionally while in prayer regarding our nation you can ask the good Lord to have mercy on our nation. That’s a quick list of ten but I’m sure you will be able to add to or develop further your own list, but the greater burden is indeed upon followers of Christ to pray for our nation and our leaders. Make the Master proud.

“Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God's emissaries for keeping order. It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.”1 Peter 2:13-17 (MSG)

There are many decisions and actions that will be taken by others in our nation that are outside of our reach on a daily basis, but they are not outside the reach of our Lord and our prayers. Our prayer is the action that we can make while trusting and leaving the results to Him.

And while we pray for our leaders we might be like those who have gone before Daniel, who prayed for the forgiveness of his people.

“So listen, God, to this determined prayer of your servant. Have mercy on your ruined Sanctuary. Act out of who you are, not out of what we are. 18 " 'Turn your ears our way, God, and listen. Open your eyes and take a long look at our ruined city, this city named after you. We know that we don't deserve a hearing from you. Our appeal is to your compassion. This prayer is our last and only hope: 19 " 'Master, listen to us! Master, forgive us! Master, look at us and do something! Master, don't put us off! Your city and your people are named after you: You have a stake in us!'” Daniel 9:17-19 (MSG)

With a nation as divided as I can remember in my lifetime we can be a part of the solution...through our prayers. It’s not all we can do...but it is supposed to be number one. Do something that really can start is the time for must not be shoved to the back must be what we make first...because we want to, not because we have to. It’s all a part of engaging our culture while loving God and loving people. May God Bless America!


Posted by Ralph Sawyer with