Weekly Podcast- Five To Focus

Take 5 minutes every week to focus on your faith and life. Think of it as a mini biblical counseling session. Each episode will explain a concept from Scripture to help you find freedom in Christ and dig your roots deeper into His purposes for you.

You Are A Preacher

For some reason, God chose to let us be part of his divine plan of redeeming sinners. Without the preaching of the Word of God, people won’t hear, and if they don’t hear, then they won’t believe and then they won’t call upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:14-15).

Now this isn’t just talking about the formal preaching setting in a church worship service. The word kerusso that is used in Romans 10:15 means to preach, herald, or proclaim. Anyone who has been saved by Christ has the responsibility to proclaim that Good News to others.

You are a herald in your home;
a herald in your workplace;
a herald to your family;
a herald in a classroom at church;
a herald when you are at the store;

All of us are preachers in the sense that we are to herald the Good News.

Romans 10:15 asks how someone will preach unless they’ve been sent. I want you to know that if you are saved by Jesus Christ, then God himself has sent you to proclaim the Good News. This is how it has always been:

  • It was the Lord who directed the feet and mouth of Moses and Old Testament prophets as they heralded God’s Word.
  • It was the Holy Spirit who came upon Old Testament followers of God to empower them for a mighty work.
  • It was Jesus himself who called the original 12 disciples and taught them.
  • It was Jesus who told us that He has all authority in heaven and earth and then sent them out to teach all the nations everything he taught them.
  • It was Jesus who promised that the Holy Spirit would empower the believers to forever be empowered for the work of evangelism.
  • It was the Holy Spirit who came down on that day of Pentecost and indwelled and empowered every believer.
  • It is the Holy Spirit who will give you the words to say (Acts 2:15).

So yes, God sends us to proclaim the Good News of salvation to a lost and dying world.

So why are we often so silent?

What needs to change in your life so that you are actively fulfilling Romans 10:15?

 

Photo by Anna Vander Stel on Unsplash

Five to Focus 26. The Gospel Saves and Sustains

The good news about Jesus is not just something you raise your hand in agreement with one time in your life and then move on to whatever else you want without giving it a second thought.

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Finish Well By Staying Focused

It has been amazing to hear the stories of Billy Graham’s impact on so many people in the last few weeks since his death. Billy Graham is a man who finished well.

I’ve been preaching through Judges some recently and we see a different story in Gideon. He didn’t end well. We can learn at least two ways to end well by looking at Gideon’s poor example. This post is the first way–stay focused. Stay focused on God’s ways for your life.

Two manifestations of Gideon not being focused on God’s plan:  

Pursuing his own desires

Gideon didn’t finish well because he became consumed by pursuing his own desires. In Judges 8:4, he leads his 300 men across the Jordan toward the east to pursue two kings from Midian. God won a large battle for the Israelites over the Midianites (recorded in chapter 7), and used Gideon as a leader in that work. In chapter 8, though, there is no mention of the Lord working–just Gideon.

First, he pushed past boundaries that seem unwise. He crossed back over the Jordan, which would go beyond the area of the Promised Land that God gave. His motivation is clear: retaliation. The kings killed his brothers, so he wanted to kill them (Judges 8:19). Nothing seemed unreasonable to Gideon in that pursuit.

Being harsh with God’s people

Gideon could be seen as a brutal aggressor in this passage, even to God’s people. Succoth was established by Jacob initially, and Penuel was the site where Jacob wrestled with God and God dislocated his hip (Gen. 33).

Gideon asks them to supply bread and both refuse. Gideon’s response to Succoth when he didn’t get his way: “So Gideon said, ‘Well then, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will flail your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.’” (Judges 8:7, ESV) Woah! If you have that response to people who don’t go along with your plan, there’s something wrong with your heart!

Gideon told Penuel that he would break down their tower, probably referring to the defensive tower of the city. In other words, I’ll make you vulnerable and defenseless. Sadly, these weren’t empty promises (Judges 8:13,17).

Gideon wasn’t focused on the Lord’s plan all the way to the end. The last records we have of his leadership over Israel is this debacle and what we’ll look at next week.

What is your motivation, and how do you love others?  Answering this will help you know if you are focused on the Lord’s plan for you.

 

Photo by Shane Drummond on Unsplash

Five To Focus 25. Epitaph for Epaphras

What will your epitaph say? Another way to think about that question is to think about what are the main priorities in your life for which you are striving and will be most remembered for?

 

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If you have a suggested topic for an episode of Five To Focus, simply fill out this form. If you would like to discuss this episode, you may comment on this post or interact with @rstro on Twitter.

God’s Commands Are Not Burdensome Because You Are A Conqueror

If the pressure of the world is mounting, remember that if you are in Christ, you are staring at a defeated foe. You are no longer under the control of the world’s ways. Don’t give up!

3For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden,  4because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. (1 John 5:3–4, CSB)

God’s commandments are not burdensome, contrary to what some might think. God’s commands not being burdensome is connected to the fact that those who have been born again have overcome the world. Do you see the first word of v.4— “because”?

Think about how the world impacts us. When the bible talks about the world in the figurative sense, it is talking about the ways associated with a sinful fallen world.

24The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient,  25instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24–26, CSB)

Do you realize that we are born into sin, and therefore, are slaves to the will of Satan?  We are in bondage to sin. If you think God’s commands are burdensome, then you don’t understand the futility of the world’s ways.

It’s burdensome to pursue greed; lust; anger; wealth in order to find satisfaction because they will never bring lasting, eternal fulfillment.

Yet, while being in bondage to sin and burdened by the world’s ways, some ironically look at the way of freedom that Christ offers as being burdensome!

Here’s what John says: His commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. The burden has been released by Christ! His ways free us from the world’s futile ways and lead us into the way of righteousness. We have overcome the world, so the way of freedom is not a burden!

In fact, our slavery has been flipped around in a sense:

17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over,  18 and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. 19 I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification. (Romans 6:17-19, CSB)

Photo by nour c on Unsplash

Five To Focus 24. Is It Wrong To Euthanize My Pet?

One of the joys of pastoral ministry is walking through different life situations with people and helping them look to Scripture for guidance. Here’s an example of one of those situations.

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If you have a suggested topic for an episode of Five To Focus, simply fill out this form. If you would like to discuss this episode, you may comment on this post or interact with @rstro on Twitter.

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