SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2010-06-13: "Focusing On the Future"

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Faith requires focus.  Someone said that great people make time; good people find time; mediocre people waste time.  Who are you?  Time is not money; it should be the currency of our very lives.  It is one gift we can all give regardless of our finances or talents.

Focus is important.  It’s dangerous to drive without it or compete in a sport like rock climbing.  It is the one thing I taught when I coached kids saying, “Keep your eye on the ball all the way into your hands”.  It is a life-force that is vital for our significance.  And you know what? 

Distraction is your #1 enemy’s greatest tool to get you off Father’s path.  It can start in your devotion times and expand from there. Distraction kills passion and your enemy knows that.  How many great things have not happened in your life because you were wooed off course and lost focus. 

The bible teaches that we are to ignore things that would distract us from our God-given destiny.  Focus occurs when our mind is set and centered, even fixed (Heb 12) on Jesus and His next step for our lives.  Jesus encouraged His followers to focus on the Kingdom and even seek “it” first (Mt 6:33).  It is true.  We become what we focus upon.  Jesus wants all of you not part of you.

So how do we focus?  We identify, with the help of the Holy Spirit, what our destiny is and then head toward it.  Focus provides engagement.  A great example is when a man is pursuing a woman romantically.  I can remember (yes really) when Carol and I were dating that I was focused everyday to call and/or see her.  And I didn’t need post-it notes (of course they weren’t invented yet).  You may need a strategic life change.  Think about what you were placed on earth to do for the Kingdom.  You are not an accident and He DOES have a plan.  What needs to be your next step of faith?  Focus can even determine our level of power and influence.  If we are not focused upon the inner voice of God, we may miss His next directive.  Wonder how many I’ve missed?

Our passion and focus allows us to pursue something worthwhile for an extended period of time.  So many Christians give up too early. It’s time to grow up in the Lord.  Get your vision from The Vision Caster and then create a plan.  A vision without a plan is wishful thinking at best, Graham Cooke says.  Don’t be handicapped by distraction and lack of vision.  Let’s really make a difference during the short time we have down here. 

<It’s not essential that we understand everything rather that we trust God in everything>




June 13, 2010
Pastor Phil Roland – Sheepfold Ministries

Learning from Two Sisters: Mary and Martha
Luke 10:38-42
“Distractions in our everyday lives keep us from focusing on our future. A person who ignores distractions and marches toward her/his goal is known as a ‘driven person.” When it comes to religion, if we are focused, we are known as “fanatics.” I’d rather be a fanatic for Christ than an unfocused fool any day.”           Pastor Phil

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14

1. When life gets busy, do I lose my awareness of Christ in my life?
2. Do I get easily distracted when I try to focus on something important?
3. Am I seen by myself and/or others as a “worrier?”
4. Do I often feel sorry for myself?
5. Do I often feel that life forces me to do more than my share of the work?
6. Do I occasionally have a quick fuse when dealing with others?
7. Is it easier to see the faults of others than yourself?
8. Do you question at times whether God can love you?
If you are like me, and you find that you answered yes to 4 or more of these questions, than you will probably find that you are more like Martha. If you answered yes to fewer than 4 of these questions, you will most likely relate more to Mary.

What was Martha’s problem? Was her desire to serve Jesus the problem? No…
    “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”
          A. Distractions in Driving kills people – 40% of all car accidents!
                    1. Rubber-Necking
                    2. Cell Phone Texting / talking
                    3. GPS Programming
                    4. Road Rage
                    5. Sleep Deprivation
                    6. Grooming / Eating / Drinking
                    7. Drunk Driving /  “DUI”
          B. DISTRACTION – “That which diverts attention, Perplexity,                                   Confusion, Disturbance, Dissension”
1. Seed sown among thorns – Matt. 13:22
                         “"Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears                                      the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of
                                 riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”
2. Condition of Christianity in America: “Deadly Distraction”
Focusing on the Future, cont., p. 2     

          C. Distractions that can lead to Spiritual Sickness
                    1. BUSY EQUALS IMPORTANT – (God will not ask you on                                        judgment day, “How busy were you?”)
                    2. SOMEONE WINS THE RAT RACE -  (God is not as interested                               in “what you do” as “who you are.”
3. HURRYING WILL BUY US MORE TIME -  (We just fill the                                       extra time with more work.)
                    4. “DOWN TIME” IS WASTED TIME -  (God instituted the                                         Sabbath for rest.)

                    5. NOT RELEASING ANGER FAST ENOUGH – Ephesians 4:26
                       “Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your                                            wrath,”
          D. Martha could sit at Jesus’ feet, but couldn’t spare the time

    "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many

  1. Martha felt sorry for herself

          1. Elijah in the wilderness
          2. Jonah after Ninevah repented
B. Situational Depression can be changed
          1. Upset about life’s sometimes temporary situations
          2. She painted herself into a corner by her own choices
          C. She felt Mary was being unfair leaving the whole work load to her

     ”She (Martha) came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has
        left me to do the work by myself?”
          A. Martha didn’t agree with what was happening
                    1. Remember, Middle Eastern women have rigid roles
                    2. Women do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping
          B. Only the men were allowed to do religious duties
                    1. Only men were allowed to read and write
                    2. Men were the religious head of households
          C. Mary had stepped out of her role, her “place”

      ”Tell her to help me!"
          A. Martha’s petition of Jesus was to tell Him what to do
                    1. Selfish request: Centered of easing her burden
                    2. We deeply resent having to do the neglected work of others
          B. Being overwhelmed with life’s occasional situations
                    1. Overbooked day: Too many things to do, not enough time
                    2. Can’t say “No” to certain requests by others
          C. Martha needed to allow Jesus to tell her what to do
                    1. Needed to “sit and listen”
                    2. More likely to “go and do”
Focusing on the Future, cont., p. 3     

      'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with
         all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'"
          A. Mary sat at Jesus feet and listened – Luke 10:39
                “Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.”
                    1. Sit and Listen – ”Love the LORD your God”
                    2. Go and Do -  ”Love your neighbor”
          B. How to avoid a lot of ministry and personal failures
                    1. Prepare and Prevent
                    2. Avoids Repair and Repent
          C. J. Vernon McGee Quote

               “Are you at that corner of life where you do not know which way
                 to turn? Then, for goodness sake, sit down. Sit at Jesus’ feet.
                 Look in His word and see what He has to say. It will help you
                 with your housework. It will make you a better dishwasher. It will
                 help you sweep the floors cleaner. You will dig a better ditch,
                 mow a better lawn, and study your lesson better. Your work at
                 the office will be easier, and you will be able to drive your car
                 better. Just take time to sit at the feet of Jesus.”
                    1. Psalm 37:7 says,
“be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait                                  patiently for Him to act.”
Psalm 47:10 says, “be still and know that I am God.”
          D. In the Presence of the Lord you forget everything else

          E. Paul Newman Illustration
               In 1990, a woman entered a Haagen-Dazs store in Kansas City for
               an ice cream cone. While she was ordering, another customer
               entered the store. She placed her order, turned and found herself
               staring face to face with Paul Newman. He was in town filming a
               movie. His blue eyes made her knees buckle. She finished paying
               and quickly walked out of the store with her heart still pounding.
               Gaining her composure she suddenly realized that she didn’t have
               her cone. She turned to go back in. At the door she met Paul
               Newman who was coming out. He said to her,
              “Are you looking for your ice cream cone?”
               Unable to utter a word she nodded yes.
              “You put it in your purse with your change.”
1. Has the presence of God made you forget what was going                             on around you?

                    2. Forget the cares of this life?
                    3. Forget the dreams of Lottery Riches?
          F. I urge you: Look at Jesus
                    1.Sit at His Feet
                    2. Listen
                    3. Spend Time with Him



1. Maybe you have never committed your life to the Lord. You can never focus your time correctly without the Lord’s help. You can’t sit at his feet unless you have committed your life to Him.
2. Maybe you have committed your life to the Lord, but you realize that you still haven’t focused your time correctly.


Hebrews 12:1-2
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
1 Corinthians 7:35
“And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.



Luke 10:38-42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
39  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.
40  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
41  "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,
42  but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."