Summary: I want us to think about three thoughts, which most people seek after or focus on in life: hope, help and happiness.

INTRO.- ILL.- A group of friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under an eight-point buck.

"Where’s Harry?" he was asked. "Harry had a stroke of some kind. He’s a couple of miles back up the trail."

"You left Harry laying there, and carried the deer back?" "Well," said the hunter, "I figured no one was going to steal Harry." WHAT’S YOUR FOCUS IN LIFE? Hunting? Or something else? There is nothing wrong with hunting as long as hunting doesn’t take a person away from the Lord.

ILL.- One attractive young businesswoman to another, over lunch: My life is all math. I am trying to add to my income, subtract from my weight, divide my time, and avoid multiplying.

What are you living for? What is your ultimate goal in life? Do you have any hope this will truly happen? Do you have any help to accomplish this goal in life? Will you experience any happiness in pursuing this goal?

ILL.- In 1969 to 1974 I was living in a small Iowa town, working part-time at a service station and also preaching at the Church of Christ. My primary work was preaching and calling, of course, but since the church didn’t pay much of a salary they allowed me to work part-time. But I got involved in something else. WHAT WAS THAT? Olympic style weightlifting. I lifted weights in gym class in high school and loved it so I started lifting again in that small town.

WHY? Because I enjoyed lifting weights. I liked the idea of getting stronger and lifting more weight over my head and because the town population was around 500 and there wasn’t anything to do! The nearest town of any size was 20 miles away or more, so what do you do in a town of 500 people? NOT MUCH. Watch TV in the winter time and scoop snow! And even though I made some gains in weightlifting and won Iowa state in 1972 I never progressed the way some other lifters did. I finally decided I was never going to be able to become a national caliber weightlifter and I also found out that I was going to become a father.

Having children will change your focus in a hurry!! And there are other things that change your focus quickly.

ILL.- A vivid example is my son-in-law’s mother who is 54 years old. For a long time she’d been losing weight and not feeling well. They did some testing and discovered that she had lung cancer. A few weeks ago they did surgery on her and removed half a lung. They also removed some lymph glands to test them. When the tests came back they discovered that she has cancer in many places throughout her body. She is somewhat eaten up with cancer. It’s so bad that the doctor said had he known she was this bad he wouldn’t have operated on her in the first place.

Brothers and sisters, when you get a diagnosis like that from a doctor it doesn’t take long for you to change your focus or goal in life! What would your focus be in that situation?

Personally, I don’t think I’d miss church for any reason. I don’t think I’d stop praying and reading the Word, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Someone said: We cannot decide whether or not we will live or die; we can only decide what we will die for.

PROP.- I want us to think about three thoughts, which most people seek after or focus on in life: hope, help and happiness.


ILL.- A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, "Eighteen to nothing--we’re behind." "Boy," said the spectator, "I’ll bet you’re discouraged." "Why should I be discouraged?" replied the little boy. "We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!"

Good attitude. That’s the attitude of hope in life. He had it and we all need it.

ILL.- Clare Boothe Luce (April 10, 1903, – October 9, 1987) was an American playwright, editor, journalist, ambassador, and U.S. Congress-woman, state of Connecticut.) wrote: There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.

Job 30:25-27 "Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me."

IS THIS YOU? Do you have days that make you feel like this? You hoped for good but it seemed like the bad came your way.

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Rodney Buchanan

commented on Oct 23, 2009

Thanks for a great job Steve. You always amaze me.

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