Summary: As we get ready to start a new year, we need to make sure we have our focus in the right place!
• SLIDE #1
• We are getting ready to begin a new year in just a few days. I do not know how your 2010 has been, but good bad or somewhere in between, 2011 is around the corner.
• I know from the perspective of FCC, 2010 was an awesome year.
• There were so many positive things that happened; I almost hate to see the year end.
• We continued to experience growth in all areas, spiritual, numeric, and financial. We paid off the building something like 11 years ahead of schedule also! It has been exciting to see what God has been doing through the ministry of FCC.
• I hope in 2011 that God brings even greater for us to experience and enjoy both as a church family and individually!
• What are you looking to happen in 2011 in your life? What do you hope to see happen with the FCC family?
• The success of FCC in connecting people with Christ can only happen if each one of us is successful in our walk with Jesus. As we thrive spiritually we will have a greater impact on those around us and the FCC family will continue to grow.
• I want to challenge each one of us today to keep ourselves focused in four areas in the coming New Year.
• As a church, we can do all the right things but if our attitudes are not right, we will not reach our full potential as a church. The same can be said about each of our personal lives also.
• The world around us gets crazy at times and as we try to function in the hustle and bustle of an at times crazy world, it can become easy to lose our focus.
• In the passage we are going to draw our encouragement from this morning in Acts 9:31, the church was in the midst of a growth spurt.
• We are going to be challenged to keep focused in four areas so that we can experience personal spiritual growth as well as continuing to see the FCC family grow.
• Before we read our passage, chapter 9 spends a lot of time talking about the conversions of Paul and his growing influence on the Kingdom of God.
• The persecution of the church had slowed since the assignation of Emperor Caligula on AD 41.
• In the middle of all that we find our passage this morning.
• SLIDE #2
• Acts 9:31(ESV) 31So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
• SLIDE #3
I. Keep your focus on peace.
• The first area of focus is on the issue of peace.
• Peace is not just the absence of war or conflict, it is instead something deeper.
• Peace involves the presence and positive blessings and spiritual blessings from God.
• In the context of the passage, the young church for the first time was starting to experience peace. The persecutions were slowing down for the first time since the death of Stephen with the death of Caligula in 41 AD.
• The persecutions would resume somewhat later as we find in Acts 12:1.
• The world is looking for peace. The church is the place that people should be able to find it. WE should as Christians focus on peace.
• WE need to keep focused on helping people to experience God’s presence and blessings in their life.
• The world is full of strife and dissension; we want the church to be a place where people can find peace. We want people to be able to find peace and rest in Christ.
• SLIDE #4
• John 14:27(ESV) 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
• When I worked for my company there were ALWAYS people going at one another over silly stuff, things that were not important at all. We never want that kind of atmosphere in our church or our lives.
• Our passage tells us that the churches enjoyed peace. The circumstances of the time was still not great, but the church understood that no matter what was happening outside, that God was in control and God was with them.
• Peace can exist only for people who are secure in Christ.
• SLIDE #5
• Romans 8:31(ESV) 31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be£ against us?
• When we are not confident in our position in Christ, we will struggle with inner peace when circumstances are not very good for us.