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Summary: This sermon encourages Christians to stay focused on the goal that God has designed for our walk with Him.

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Scripture: 1 Peter 5:1 – 11

Title: “Losing Sight of The Goal”

Introduction: It was a fog-shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island. She intended to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long-distance swimming was not new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. The water was numbing cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire. She swam more than 15 hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog. So she quit. . . only one-mile from her goal. Later she said, "I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land I might have made it." It wasn’t the cold or fear or exhaustion that caused Florence Chadwick to fail. It was the fog.

 Many times we too fail, not because we’re afraid or because of the peer pressure or because of anything other than the fact that we lose sight of the goal.

 Maybe that’s why Paul said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).

 Two months after her failure, Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same channel and swam the distance, setting a new speed record, because she could see the land!

I. STARTING OUT.

a. Almost every Christian begins their experience on a POSITIVE note.

b. Every Christian should set GOALS as they begin their walk with the Lord.

c. Christians without goals are like Alice in “Alice in Wonderland”, when Alice comes to a junction in the road that leads in different directions, she asks the Chesihire Cat, “Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?”

 “That depends a good deal on where you want to go to,” said the Cat.

 “I don’t much care where”, replied Alice.

 “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

d. Have you ever noticed STARTING out on a trip is much more exciting that the return home? (Why?)

e. Have you ever noticed how much different a PRESIDENT looks at the end of his tenure in office? (How much more he has AGED in appearance?) (Why?)

f. The term, “Born Again” in simple terminology means, “Starting Out.”

 It’s EXCITING when we start out as a Christian, everything is new!

 We can’t wait to get to the next service at church.

 We want everyone to know about our “Newfound” FAITH.

 Our mind is full of PLANS of what we are going to do in this new experience.

 We are ready to TACKLE the world and all of its GIANTS.

II. WHEN THE FOG MOVES IN (Distractions)

a. Florence Chadwick was a WELL TRAINED and EXPERIENCED swimmer, but when the FOG moved in it caused her to LOSE her FOCUS.

b. Satan will use every TATIC at his disposal to SIDETRACK you from ENJOYING and COMPLETEING your Christian experience.

c. Satan won’t hit you in your STRONG areas, but he will seek out the WEAKEST LINK in your life and right there is where he will work on you.

d. Satan will do everything within his POWER to turn you against the church, the people in the church, the PASTOR, and anything else that will keep you GROWING in your walk with the Lord.

 Adam & Eve were SIDETRACKED by the LURE of the Tree with the FORBIDDEN FRUIT. (Gen. 3:6)

 Elijah was SIDETRACKED by BURNOUT. (1 Kings 19:4 “….sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life;…”

 Achan was Distracted by GREED. (Jos. 7:21) “I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”

e. There are FOUR powerful DEVICES of Distractions:

 FORTUNE – Get RICH!

 FAME – Become KNOWN!

 POWER – Gain CONTROL!

 PLEASURE – Be SATISFIED!

f. The DISTRACTION of “Cold War.”

 The DREAD of what might happen.

 Because of the PAST and the HURT Satan will keep you looking over your shoulder.

 The FEAR of getting HURT again.

 The “Cold War” distraction will keep you from FOCUSING on the JOY of the Christianlife.

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