preacherman

Monday, August 18, 2008

Let's Focus On The Goal

I believe many preachers today preach a health and wealth gospel (sin, Christ and the cross are rarely or never mentioned). I try to encourage the members at my congregation every time we meet by reminding them of the redemption and freedom that we have through the grace of Christ. Yet, the gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to follow in face of difficulty.

Faithful Christians experience loss, health problems, financial problems, family problems and ethical and moral problems. I want to encourage you if you are facing difficulty or when you face difficulty to keep focused on Jesus Christ who endured suffering that we can't even begin to fathom.

I think of this passage found in Philippians 3:12-21 translated by Eugene H. Peterson, "I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wonderously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus. I'm off and running and I'm not turning back. So lets keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision- you'll see it yet! Now that we are on the right track, let's stay on it.
Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times: sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is the easy street. They hate Christ's cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods' and belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetities. But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him."

So how do we stay focused in spite of difficulty? What is the goal for us as Christians? Why is the health and wealth gospel so popular today? What is the easy street and what is it like? Why do some "Christians" try to take the easy street? What is the path that Christ calls us to? Have we been keeping track of each other, if not, how can we do so? As Christians, can we have this common purpose despite doctrinal differences? What is the prize if we persevere?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

29 Comments:

Blogger jel said...

Morning PM,and family!

have a great day!

9:48 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

You too Jel!

9:50 AM  
Blogger NaNcY said...

my husband and older daughter were watching the olympic coverage last night on tele-vision.

this post reminds me of the track events that the athletes were running. they would play out the race in their minds before they ran, very focused on nothing else but the race at hand. of course they ran that race over and over again to the finish and could probably see it in their sleep. they ate for the race, slept for the race and lived for that race. four years of doing almost nothing else, but running that race, over and over again in preparation for the final race. their goal was to win a gold medal for themselves. where our goal is different, it is not a gold medal that another person puts around our neck. our coach is not a man or woman. but, it reminded me of the track.

we do have to stay on the track that God lays out for us, our goal is to continually follow Jesus, and our coach is the Holy Spirit.

we eat, sleep and live this life in training.

the track is not round, and we have not gone there before.

we reach our goal upon death.

and our coach never leaves us. we are not alone in this. our coach helps us to keep our focus on Jesus.

pray for all the saints in the Lord. pray for the lost.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

The reason that it is difficult to stay focused when life becomes so difficult is because we are trained from youth to focus on temporal things. The health and wealth gospel leverages this temporal focus speaking of our right to be rich and healed.

When we focus on those things not seen our focus is on eternal things.. our hope is on the one who walks with us through the dark valleys.

10:57 AM  
Blogger cwinwc said...

Now here is a profound thought, I think the "health and wealth" message is popular because folks like "health and wealth." Folks like that kind of change in their lives or at least "positive" ones.

But being changed and transformed into the image of Christ is threatening for some people. The very thought of changing my behaviors and my beliefs can alienate "friends."

As to can we keep track of each other despite some doctrinal differences - I think that was exactly what Paul was talking about in Romans 14. The eating or not eating of meat sacrifice to idols as well as observing or not observing some pagan holidays were as hot doctrinal topics as some of the ones we get silly over such as instrumental music and the like.

11:26 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Nancy,
Wonderful thoughts.
Thank you so much for sharing your opinions with us all.

1:26 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Kansas Bob,
You are so right.
Yes, from youth on we focus on the here and now. We put our trust in "I" and what we can achieve. Thanks brother for sharing your thoughts. It means alot!

1:27 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

cwinwc,
Thank you so much for taking the time to share this wisdom with us. I totally agree with what you are saying, "becoming like Christ can be threatening to many aspects of peoples lives. Like you mention even effecting changing behavior and friends." Many today want to take the easy street. The road with least change and commitment.
Again, thank you so much for sharing your opinions with us.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that one day we will put our differences aside and just as Christians focus on Jesus Christ. Striving to have Him in common. Uniting each of us.
Is this just just a dream or can it be reality?

1:41 PM  
Blogger thoughts of a person on a journey said...

I was divorced 14 years ago and the church I was attending at the time couldn't cope with me being divorced. Why? because things like that don't happen in our church!! My ex left for three days the first time and the vicar phoned me up to tell me I was no longer to be on the PCC, co leader of the worship group or the student hospitality co-ordinator and I must not have anything to do with the young people's music group either. If he came back the situation would be resolved. He came back for 9 months and for all those 9 months it was never resolved!

the only way I survived was by focusing on God, my two daughters, me degree and my calling!

it took a priest from the Roman Catholic church for me to be able to forgive the vicar and my ex!!

I believe God has called and keeps on calling me to follow no matter what, and so that is what I want to do even when it is frustrating or hard.

thanks for your encouraging words on my blog today preacherman

5:14 PM  
Blogger Hebrews 13:2 said...

Preacherman...
First let me say, "Thank you" for your comment of encouragement that you left on my "Blog" (Angels Among Us).

I think our biggest earthly enemy is our schedules...And, the fact that most of us are very sloppy at prioritizing what's truly important to us here on earth...I get a dark hollow feeling if things are not right in my world...So, I always find myself scurrying about keeping things in order...I crave those few moments when I can lay my head down on my pillow at night and feel God's presence...My days are usually a blur of comings and goings...Hopefully, I have left a few footprints in the sand that are worth following.

Being a Vietnam veteran, I know that I'm closer to the end that I am to the beginning...I've read the book "Ten Prayers That God Always Says Yes Too" by Anthony DeStafano several times now and I have memorized the 10 key phrases from his book and incorporated them into my daily prayers...I still seem to be searching for the destiny that God has planned for me...When will I know if I ever reach it?.

I reach out for God so much...And, I truly believe in the Holy Trinity and know that He loves me and forgives me for my sins...What's really tough for me is "self-forgiveness"...I'm very hard on myself...I think that most people are...They feel very disappointed in themselves at times...Almost worthless...I guess that's where you just have to put your total faith in Jesus, our Lord and Savior, and let him carry the ball for you...Like they always say, it's not how many times you fall; it's how may time you get up...Jesus, what a Gift from God!

5:16 PM  
Blogger Great Googly Moogly! said...

Very nice post Preacherman. I'm fairly jaded and cynical, so when I posted on the WOF movement I was not nearly as gracious as I could've (should've?) been. You certainly have a pastors heart when you communicate.

But in my post, I somewhat echoed cwinwc's thought that this message is popular because these things are what many people are looking for. I kind of went for the jugular in my post (maybe to the extreme--but I tend to get very upset when I see the gospel being peddled and sold), but it certainly is true. I think ministers of "heath and wealth" cater to the desires of so many who simply want "health and wealth". And if I can get that through the "gospel" (whatever that is!), then lay it on me--I believe!!

Oops...there I go again...rearing my cynical head! I don't believe that this problem will ever go away as long as the "health and wealth" gospel is legitimized as THE GOSPEL. The true Gospel can't be peddled for a "seed" of $29 a month or a promise of unending health (age will catch up with us all and death is "unhealable"--regardless of undocumented claims to the contrary).

The true Gospel (and ALL its benefits--life out of death!) is given freely to any who will believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and who will (gladly) "suffer" with Him (Act. 16:31, Rom 8). The people who want the "world" and all that if offers (health, wealth and success) don't understand (or really want) the true Gospel of our Lord and Savior. The Gospel doesn't promise the material blessings of this world or health and worldly success: it does promise LIFE which is our restored relationship with God as our Father through the Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Sorry Preacherman...I didn't come here to vent. But your post pricked a nerve--obviously :-) I'll try to work on my graciousness even as I firmly stand against what I consider an "anti-gospel".

If you feel the need to remove this comment, I understand. I'm not trying to offend anyone, but I do have strong opinions on the matter--can you tell? :-)

5:52 PM  
Blogger thekingpin68 said...

Faithful Christians experience loss, health problems, financial problems, family problems and ethical and moral problems. I want to encourage you if you are facing difficulty or when you face difficulty to keep focused on Jesus Christ who endured suffering that we can't even begin to fathom.

This is a creation that leads persons to death. Suffering occurs along the way.

The health and wealth gospel places too much emphasis on God's potential blessings for his people.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

The health and wealth gospel that is preached in some churches is a load of crap. Why do you think Job is in the Bible? Duh... Not only Job but James, Hebrews 11-12, 1 Peter, and many others where people of the way were facing trials.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

The Bible describes many goals for disiciples of Christ, but one overarching goal would be to honor our Savior in the way we think, talk, write, and live.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Preacherman,
I think we focus to much on our problems when we face them. We have the woest me mentality. I do at least. Thank you for challenging us to look above our situations in life to Christ.

David

6:04 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

IMO the strength to endure difficulty and not look for "easy street" is a matter of faith. The stronger your belief, the more endurance you have. By faith I mean faith in God, in his revealed Word, in the judgment to come, and in the promise of eternal life. It really all comes down to how strongly you believe those things, IMO. If you have that strong faith, you can say with Paul that these are "light and momentary" afflictions.

May God increase our faith!

10:13 PM  
Blogger Scott Packett said...

Great post Preacherman.

1. Health and Wealth: People like this because it is a message about them. It is comfortable, and not threatening. People do not like conviction because it is uncomfortable. Therefore, pastors choose to teach this, because it will not offend their people, and it caters to what people want, instead of what people need. People are in desperate need of spiritual growth, but they fail to see this because they are being taught that we are all good and God wants the best for us all. They hear nothing of sin and redemption. You can't have redemption, unless there is something to be redeemed. People need to hear both sides of the coin if they are to truly become true disciples of Christ.

2. As a Southern Baptist (I hate titles) I deeply desire for all denominations to work together for the same cause. To look beyond our small differences and see our great similarities. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. We (if redeemed) are all granted grace that we did not deserve. We all strive to see lost and hopeless people find the hope we have found in Christ. I describe myself as Presbyterian by heart, Pentecostal by spirit, and Ordained Baptist.

Preacherman, I have started blogging again, so please go check it out. I desire your input on what I am rambling about.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Liz Moore said...

Thanks so much for this reminder! God is apparently speaking to me, because I've been getting lots of reminders today! Blessings!

10:43 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Liz,
I am glad that God used this...He still amazes me how he sends messages to us today.

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