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Summary: Our own needs, wants and desires often gets in the way of what God calls us to do.

Just a reminder, as we look at the renovation of God’s house, we must also look at the renovation or the revitalization of our hearts. A greatly improved structure in which we meet will be of no use if our hearts are not in tuned with One Who calls us. Today’s message is “Getting Sidetracked” We are so easily sidetracked. Our attention wanders and we lose focus on what it was we are doing. In our Christian life, it is much the same way. We get use to seeing things the way they are and we losing interest in making things better. Too often, our attention is taken away by worldly pursues such as television, our music, and heaven forbid, even church work. Things will distract us and we take our eyes off of Jesus and the things He desires of us.

It was no different 2,500 years ago in the days of Haggai. The people had returned from the exile in Babylon. The foundation to the new temple had been laid, but the work had stopped for some 16 years.

Haggai 1:2–11

A life without a mission is a life without meaning. Friedrich "Fritz" Kreisler (Feb 2, 1875 – Jan 29, 1962) was an Austrian-born violinist and composer. One of the most noted violin masters of his day, and regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time, he was known for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing. To achieve this success he described his life mission: "Narrow is the road that leads to the life of a violinist. Hour after hour, day after day and week after week, for years, I lived with my violin. There were so many things that I wanted to do that I had to leave undone; there were so many places I wanted to go that I had to miss if I was to master the violin. The road that I traveled was a narrow road and the way was hard."

Kreisler had a mission in life, to be the best concert violinist he could be. That meant he had to eliminate everything from his life that took him away from that goal. As Christians we are called on a mission as well and it's much more important than being a world class musician.

We can't be sidetracked by any other endeavors. Because a life without a mission is a life without meaning. We’ll be looking at the book of Haggai. It tells the story of a group of people who had a clear mission but who were sidetracked from it. [1]

Haggai 1:2 (NKJV) Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.” ’ ”

God is speaking to Haggai. Haggai was probably an old man and he had seen the temple before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it some 65 years before. They had many excuses: They were being threaten by enemies. The Samaritans threaten them, and the Persians persuaded them, even though Cyrus the King had given them the go ahead to rebuild the temple. They had to watch out for their families. After all, God wanted them to be happy didn’t He, and how could they be happy unless . . . ? (you fill in the blank)

In an interesting choice of words, God says: “This people says” Not “My people says.” His people were not doing what He had called them to do. So the Lord was not so quick to claim them as His own. Jesus commented on this:

Luke 6:46 (NKJV) “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?

If we are God’s people, then we ought to be about the things God has called us to do. Haggai then brought the word from God to the people:

Haggai 1:3–4 (NKJV) Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?”

The people had been sidetracked into doing things to please themselves and not doing the things of God. In that day and time, in the Old Testament, the Temple was the very symbol of the people’s relationship to YAHWEH God. The temple was where they went to meet with God. But there was no urgency or felt need to meet with God.

Paneled houses? Making their houses elegant, using costly materials. While the temple was still in ruins. The question here is one of priorities. God is asking them directly, "What is more important here? My House or Yours?"

But apparently that was not important to the people. They were expressing spiritual apathy, and now God is rebuking them for their selfish indifference.

Haggai 1:5 (NKJV) Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!

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