In 2019 my word is FOCUS.
Last year my word was STEADFAST and it helped keep me on course by reminding me to simply remain steadfast at teaching the Word and praying and being present as our church fellowship progressed through out 2018. The word STEADFAST was always there to nudge me when external circumstances were drawing me off course.
Steadfastness will always be an important characteristic of ministry, based on 1 Corinthians 15:58 and 1 Thessalonians 1:3, but this year I am choosing the word FOCUS as my word for 2019.
If you look up the word FOCUS in a dictionary you’ll find these general definitions: “a center of activity, attraction, or attention”, “a point of concentration”, “directed attention”, “a state of condition permitting clear perception or understanding”.
This year I want to personally focus more on the Lord and less on the devil’s distractions. Last Sunday I shared how I felt like last year I gave too much focus to political events and worse case scenarios when I probably should have used that time to focus more on the Lord in prayer and worship.
In 2019 I want to take to heart the principle of focusing on the Lord as taught in the book of Hebrews. There are two verses that speak to this and they are Hebrews 12:2 where the writer says “looking unto Jesus” and Hebrews 3:1 where he says “consider Jesus”. The thought in these verses is an intentional fixing of our thoughts and affection upon Jesus. It means to actively focus on Jesus.
The intentional act of focusing on Jesus is what Paul meant when he said be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” in Romans 12:2. It is the 2 Corinthians 3:18 principle of becoming changed by beholding Him.
Choosing the word FOCUS for myself will likely overflow into the life of our fellowship and that means that the word can be beneficial to the mission of CrossHope Chapel in 2019, too.
Our mission statement is something that I have not really talked much about in the past, but 2019 will be a good time for us to talk more about it by focusing more on it. Our mission statement is:
To Love God and to Make His Love Known.
We had to have a mission statement to become an official church and legal entity, so it is part of our By-Laws. It tells the world what the purpose of our fellowship is all about. I’m sure if we were to start over and have a group discussion about what our mission statement should be we would likely come up with some variations. However, the more I have thought about our statement the more I have come to appreciate it as being very succinct and yet entailing a lot.
If you think of it, one can not love God without knowing God. One can not know God without knowing the written and living Word of God. To love God, speaks of having a relationship, not just a formal religion. To make His love known is to share that relationship with others.
In 2019, I intend to focus more on our mission to love God and to make His love known. I intend to keep close to my mind, heart, and soul the words of Jesus from the account of the Pharisees question of which is the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-39, “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (ESV).
Ultimately, our purpose in being alive is to give glory to God. Giving glory to God is to live by His commands not ours. You say, But I can’t I am mere sinful flesh. Yes, you are, which is why God gives us grace and living by grace is giving glory to God. John 1:17 reminds us “the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Giving glory to God is to reflect all that we can back to him. It means giving recognition to God for all good things. It means giving praise and thanksgiving to God. It means glorifying God even in our inner most thoughts, attitude, and being – turning that toward Him, which is really the concept of what it means to fear God.
Solomon wrestled with the meaning of life in the book of Ecclesiastes and he concludes “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Jesus said to his disciples, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In Revelation 12:17 we see the saints whom Satan seeks to destroy and they are identified as those “which keep the commandments of God.”
In 2019, if you don’t have a word of your own, please join me with the word FOCUS. Together, we can love God and make His love known.