While growing up on the farm, cultivating crops required intense focus. I had to concentrate and give full attention to the task of cultivating. I disciplined myself to look forward! The cardinal rule with cultivating was “Always look forward! Never look back!” Looking back was always disastrous for cultivating crops. Just as sure as I would look back, I would plow up some of the crop or some of the garden which did not set well with Dad or Mom! Cultivating crops reminds me of the teaching of Jesus! Jesus said, “No one, after putting his hand to the plan and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). It is impossible for a follower of Jesus to work in His Kingdom and still be holding on to his/her past life whether the past includes worldly friends, sin, or negative habits. The same principle is true for a church. It is impossible for a church to go forward and be effective while trying to live in the past. For example, implementing traditions are well and good as long as those traditions continue to fulfill purpose and meaning. If traditions are perpetuated just because that is ‘what we have always done,’ then the church becomes inward focused, ineffective, stale, and stagnant. Who wants to be a part of a church with those characteristics? No one! On a regular basis, every program/ ministry of the church should be examined to see if that program/ministry is fulfilling the purpose the Lord has given to the church. Our next sermon series is entitled, “Forward with Focus.” We will examine the goals that speak to the purpose that our Lord has given to the church! One of the purposes that He gives to the church is evangelism. The goal for Tates Creek in this purpose is thirty baptisms! Once a person becomes a Christian, there are three goals a Christian should pursue. Those goals may be stated as: one hour in worship, one hour in study, and one hour in service each week. Christians should involve themselves in one hour of worship every week. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” Christians should also involve themselves in one hour of study whether that is one hour in Sunday school or one hour in small group. The third goal Christians should involve themselves in is one hour in serving each week, whether that is service in the church or outside the church. Remaining committed to these three goals strongly assist us going “Forward with Focus!” Press On!
~ Tommy Simpson Senior Minister, email@example.com