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Summary: 5 of 10 of the series Supernatural Transformation. One of the incredible abilities Jesus had was to stay on target. His life never got off track - He kept His life on course. His ability to focus is a strong characteristic of His life and it can be a ch

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FOCUSING ON WHAT MATTERS

Ephesians 1:17-18; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10; Romans 12:3; 1 Peter 4:2

Read at beginning of service:

Ephesians 1:17-23 (NIV)

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

INTRODUCTION

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The United States Women’s Softball team won the gold medal in Atlanta’s 1996 Olympic games. They lost only one game but from that loss came a remarkable story about perseverance. In the fifth inning against Australia, Danielle Tyler hit a home run over the center-field fence. The American third baseman floated around the bases with a rush of adrenaline. When she was greeted by a swarm of well-wishing teammates at home plate she let the excitement distract her focus and she did not touch the base. When all of the yelling subsided, the Australian team quietly appealed to the umpire who dramatically called Tyler out.

Rather than scoring a run, Tyler’s blast over the fence netted her team an out. As it ended up, had the lady slugger stepped on home plate, her team would have won 1-0. Instead, after seven innings of regulation play the game was tied at 0-0. In extra innings, Australia emerged with a 2-1 win and the U.S. team took their only loss of the Olympics. (Autoillustrator.com, PERSEVERANCE)That disaster on the diamond teaches us the importance of focus and not just focusing on anything, but focusing on what matters. You see, Danielle Tyler had hit a home run and as she crossed the third base her focus shifted from finishing the home run to celebrating with her teammates. What mattered was that she stepped on the home base but she lost focus.

I’ve only golfed maybe four or five times in my life and I’ve got to admit that I’m not much of a golfer! There is one event that really stands out in my mind from all the times I’ve golfed. No, it’s not a hole in one – I get excited when I can get a bogey on a hole. It’s not a long drive down a fairway. No, the event that I remember most happened during my first golfing experience.

I don’t remember what hole it was but what I do remember is hitting the ball out of a sand-trap. Being a very observant person I had noticed that courteous golfers will rake the sand after hitting their ball so that it is ready for the next golfer (I guess it’s a fact of life – sooner or later every golfer hits their ball in the trap!). So I went and got the rake and ever so carefully and neatly raked over the hole I had dug trying to get the ball out. Then when I was done I dropped the rake picked up my putter and walked over to my ball on the green and started setting up my putt.

But then, my attention was diverted by some laughter! I looked around for the source of the distraction and noticed my wife’s brother-in-law was bursting with merriment. I wondered what was so funny and he pointed to the sand-trap I had so carefully raked over just a moment before. There, running from the rake I had dropped was a line of footprints right through the center of the freshly raked sand. After my careful effort I had walked right through what I had just raked!

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