Focal Point

Focal Point
Focal Point is more than a blog. It's purpose is to help us stay focused on Christ through Gods Word as we navigate through life and today's culture.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

True Spirituality

James 1:27 states "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world" and 2:15-16 says "If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?". These two verses makes it clear that true spirituality takes us away from ourselves and into the messy lives of other people.  True spirituality is not introverted, but extroverted.  It doesn't take us deeper into ourselves; it sends us further out.  It doesn't make us more introspective but more extrospective--looking outward.  In fact, real spiritual growth happens as we look up to Christ and what he did, out to our neighbors and what they need, not in to ourselves and how we're doing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sleepless in Smith River

Last night I went to bed with every intention of getting a good night sleep and then waking refreshed this morning. Well, when I looked over at the clock at 2:30 am and I was still wide awake I knew that was not going to happen. So while I laid there the Lord seemed to say to me, “if you are going to stay awake all night why don’t you get up, get your Bible and spend some time with me in prayer,” which is what I did. I rolled out of bed, got my Bible along with a book I had received at a pastors conference in Jacksonville, turned on a light and sat in the quietness of our living room and began to pray. I just began to give things to the Lord, areas of my life that I wanted Him to take control over. There are some who think that just because you are a Pastor you are on top of everything..(well we are not). I have had people over the years say to me, “well I am not you”, as if I am able to handle everything that is thrown at me in life simply because I am in the ministry. So I began to pray and asked the Lord to give me wisdom and strength in various areas of life and ministry.

After a good time alone with Him in that semi-dark and very quiet room last night, I picked up that book and began to read. Before long it was 4:30 am and after just being in His presence for awhile and letting Him quiet my heart, I went back to bed and went right to sleep and woke up this morning probably more refreshed than I would have if I had gone to sleep right at first. Because the refreshment I got was not from physical sleep, but from the encouragement I got from prayer and what the Lord gave me through my reading.

On one of the pages of the book I read was a statement by Paul Tripp – counselor, pastor, and author. This excerpt comes from his book ‘A shelter in the Time of Storm’:

“You are clearly not in control of the details or destiny of your life, yet as a rational, purposeful, emotional being, you cry for a deep and abiding sense of well-being. In your quest, what you are actually discovering is that you were hardwired to be connected to Another…In this way, every human being is on a quest for God; the problem is we don’t know that, and in our quest for stability, we attempt to stand on an endless catalog of God-replacements that end up sinking with us…

There is a Rock to be found. There is an inner rest to be experienced that’s deeper than conceptual understanding, human love, personal success, and accumulation of possessions. There is a rock that will give you rest even when all of the things have been taken away. That rock is Christ, and you were hardwired to find what you are seeking in him. In his grace, he won’t play hid-and-seek with you. In your weakness and weariness, cry out to him. He will find you, and he will be your rock.

He is the rock for which you are longing, he is the one who alone is able to give you the sense that all is well. And as you abandon your hope in the mirage rocks of this fallen world, and begin to hunger for the true rock, he will reach out, and place you on solid ground.”