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.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I thirst

Right now as I am writing it is pouring down rain outside.  It is not one of those days that is hot and dry and where you are craving for a glass of water.  Believe me, like many of you I have had those days when living in Redding where the temperature in the summertime can soar to 115 for several days in a row.  But today: that is definitely not the case.

At Smith River Baptist Church we are in the middle of a series that deals with the final words of Christ on the cross that can be heard at 

This Sunday we are looking at the passage where Jesus said “I thirst”.  It is the only statement in which our Lord referred to His body and His physical suffering.  Perhaps you have wondered why he would say that.  I mean after all He was Jesus, He was God and yet He thirst?  You mean He suffered and got thirsty just like we do?  Well, as a matter of fact He did and as a result He is able to sympathize with our needs.  You see, while Jesus was 100% divine, He was also 100% human. Because He walked upon this earth as a man, though He knew no sin, He did become very much acquainted with the difficulties of life here below. When He was a child, He probably skinned His knee a time or two. As a teenager, it is likely that He knew what it was like to not be part of the "in" crowd. Learning the carpenter’s trade in His father’s shop, He possibly had a splinter or two, and He also could very well have smashed His finger on occasion with a hammer. As a man, He knew what it was to grow tired, to be cold, to sweat, to be hungry, and, of course, He knew what it was like to be thirsty.

During an airline flight, concern over the heavy turbulence mounted until the soothing voice of the pilot came over the inter¬com: “No need to worry, folks,” he said cheerfully, “Just remember: these bumps are made of air!” We may wish the bumps we face in life were made of air, but they are not. Life is difficult; adversities are real. Physical trials sting and smart. Emotional trials leave us with unresolved baggage. Spiritual trials drain our souls.

Jesus felt the "bumps" as He lived here among men. Because this is so, we know that He understands where we are and what we are going through in our struggles in this life. 

“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all - all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.” - Hebrews 4:15-16 (The Message)

One of Denmark’s leading sculptors had a burning ambition to create the greatest statue of Jesus ever made. He began by shaping a clay model of a triumphant, regal figure. The head was thrown back and the arms were upraised in a gesture of great majesty. It was his conception of Christ the King: Strong, Dominant. "This will be my masterpiece," he said, on the day the model was completed. But, during the night a heavy fog rolled into the area and sea-spray seeped through a partially opened window of the artist’s ocean-side studio. The moisture affected the shape of the model so that when the artist returned to the studio in the morning, he was shocked to find a wounded figure. The droplets of moisture that had formed on the statue created the illusion of bleeding. The head had drooped. The facial expression had been transformed from one of strength to compassion. And the arms had dropped into an attitude of welcome. The artist stared at the figure, agonizing over the time wasted and the need to begin all over again. But something came over him to change his mood. He began to see that this image of Christ was the truer one. Then he wrote at the base of the newly-shaped figure: "Come unto Me!"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

God told me to do it part 2

So…..God told you to do that?  Really? Seriously? How do you know that?
For those of us who lived back in the 70s there was a CB phrase that truckers used.  Remember it?  It was this:  “Got your ears on?”  What did that mean?  It meant, are you listening? Are you tuned in to the same frequency, the same CB channel, are you listening to me?  Well actually Jesus said something of the same thing over 2,000 years ago when He said in Luke 8:8 “He who has ears to hear let him hear”.  He is talking about if you have the equipment needed to tune in, then tune in..listen.  And the truth of the matter is that we do have the equipment needed, God has given you the ability to hear from Him.
There are times when you are traveling on the freeway and about to enter a city that you might see a billboard with a message and a radio station call number on it.  The message on the billboard reads, “for updated traffic conditions tune in to _______ on your AM dial. But you don’t do it, you ignore the advice just like I often do.. I mean really, how many of us turn off the music and turn on the traffic report?  But then comes the time you wish you had because you come upon construction or unfortunately an accident that is causing hours of delay.  If you had just tuned in and heard the message you could have taken a different route and saved yourself all that time.  But no, the information line was ignored and we are stuck suffering the consequences of not tuning in and listening.
So this leads me to think of a very important reason to tune in, put my ears on, and hear from the Lord.  And it is this: ‘It protects me from mistakes’.  If you will listen, God will warn you in advance of the delays, and traps of life.  Proverbs 3:5 & 6 is very real when it says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding but in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.”  Proverbs is saying, “Listen for God’s voice in everything you do and everywhere go. He’s the one who will keep you on track.”  God is trying to say to us, “Watch out for this today”.  Because His warnings and directives will at some point during the day protect me and keep me from making a stupid mistake.  God will do that for you if you will listen to Him.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

God told me to do it....

Probably one of the most dangerous phrases in the English language is this phrase:  ‘God told me to do it’.  This could be one of the most misunderstood phrases, most misused, most abused phrases and it could be one of the manipulating phrases when somebody says that.  Because how do you argue with God when someone says, “God told me to do it”?
A lot of bad decisions have been blamed on God because people think that it was God who told them to do a certain thing.  I have to admit, even as a pastor when someone tells me “God told me to do this” I get a little skeptical at times.  Because I want to know, how do you know it was from God. 
Perhaps you have said that yourself at some point, or you have even heard someone said it only to scratch your head and think, “what?…no, I don’t think so.”  I heard it twice recently on television. Once on Restaurant Impossible when Chef Robert Irvine asked a restaurant owner where he came up with his terrible tasting spaghetti sauce?  The owner replied by saying, “it was divine, God told him how to make it.”  Hm….The second time was when one of the American Idol contestants, (who was only seen during the audition segments and never did sing the right note) was asked by the judges, “who suggested you tryout for this”? The contestant said,  “God told me to tryout”.  Well, how do we know when God is truly speaking to us?  How do we know when it is not our own self talking to us, satan talking to us or simply some bad spaghetti sauce we ate late one night?  Because knowing where this ‘voice’ is coming from is very important in making the proper decisions in our life.  We better make sure the voice we are hearing and the instructions we are receiving is in fact coming from God and His Word.  And there are some ways to know this….
Stay be continued