Sermons

Summary: Being inward or outward focused determines how you see the world and how you will impact the world around you.

Inward vs. outward focus

Inward focused people must point out their accomplishments or talents.

Phil 2:3

3Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.

Inward focused people focus on the outward struggles of others.

Galatians 5:12

12I only wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.

Inward focused people enjoy proclaiming their “wisdom” and professing false humility.

James 3:14

14But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don’t brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie.

Inward focused people seem to stir up problems around them.

James 3:16

16For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.

Bottom Line: Inward focused people do things that push people away.

Outward focused people have a larger view of their world.

John 11:52

52It was a prediction that Jesus’ death would be not for Israel only, but for the gathering together of all the children of God scattered around the world.

Outward focused people realize that others must see their lives changed by Christ.

John 10:16

16I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice; and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

Bottom Line: Outward focused people do things that bring people together through love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7;13b

1If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

4Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

5Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always "me first,"

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

6Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

7Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Listen to these words of a taxicab driver: Because I drive the night shift, my cab often becomes a moving confessional. Passengers climb in, sit behind me in total anonymity, & tell me about their lives. I encounter people whose lives amaze me, ennoble me, make me laugh & sometimes weep. But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night.

Responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town, I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory in the industrial part of town.

When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, then drive away.

But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door & knocked.

"Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress & a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos & glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she asked. I took the bag & then turned to assist her. She took my arm & we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It’s nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated". "Oh, you’re such a good boy", she said.

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Henry Sideropoulos

commented on Sep 3, 2007

I did not find this sermon helpful. Thanks

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