Summary: This sermon focuses on how God wants to get our attention in order for us to know Him and use us to reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ!

God! The Great Attention Getter!

I wonder what it would take to get your attention today? (Do something that really grabs attention)! Good now that I have your attention what will it take keep your attention. Maybe I’ll try juggling while preaching this message. That will definitely keep your attention.

There are many things in life that get our attention be it people, TV, Books, advertisement, food, food, and food. I want to propose today that there is someone else who wants to get our attention. God! The Great Attention Getter! Let’s Pray!

I want you to think for a moment What are some things we do in order to get someone’s attention? If your interested in someone you may walk by someone(yal know what I’m talking about). You make sure you walk a certain way as to run into them. Also may fix yourself up or start dressing differently(nicer) because you know you’re gonna see that person. Sometimes kids like to get attention by being in with the dress code or getting some name brand where other kids will notice and say “man that’s a tight shirt” Those shoes’ are the bomb. Often times kids try will try to get attention by doing something that is sometimes not positive. They may hit sometimes or start acting out in school by getting bad grades or getting into it with other children. I can remember as a kid giving out loads of candy in the 4th grade to my classmates, which made me the center of attention.

Getting our attention often takes something that is not with the norm or doing something different. If you look at a crowd of people they can all look the same until you see that person that stands at 6ft 9inches then that person all of a sudden stands out.

I am convinced that God wants to get our attention. Let’s look at the book of Acts and see how God got Paul’s attention. Acts 9 starting at verse 1. Meanwhile Saul(Paul) was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. Who was Paul. He was person of Jewish descent. Paul was a Benjamite and a native of Tarsus. He was also a free Roman citizen by his father’s descent. One source said that it was the intention of Paul;s parents to make him fit to be a Rabbi by profession. Paul was under the teaching of a strict Pharisee named Gamaliel. Paul was himself a Pharisee that was one of the three sects of Judaism in the time of Christ. This sect included all Hebrews who separated themselves from every kind of Levitical impurity, following the Mosaic Law of purity. Bottom line is that Paul was a religious man.

Paul at this point is still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. “When I see those Christians I am going to tear them apart! I am going to get those wierdos”! He even got letters verse 2 from the high priest to be given to the synagogues so that if found any who belonged to Christ they would be taken as prisoners to Jerusalem. In Acts chapter 7 Paul had given the approval of the stoning of Stephen(another follwer of Christ). Act Stoning part out!

Paul was doing his own thing going his own way all in the name of God. Paul was doing some dirt! Let’s not get to hard on Paul because we need to look at our lives before God got our attention. Ask you neighbor “What did your life look before God got your attention?” Or ask has he got your attention yet? Let me tell you before God got my attention I was walking my own way doing my own thing and thinking I was allright just like Paul. Just because I had a little Religion.

The good thing about verses 1-2 is that there is a verse 3. (Act Out 3-4) Verse 3-4 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Verse 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,” he replied.

I told you God wants to get our attention. Paul is walking through life doing his own thing and God gets his attention. Literally!

Sometimes God has to knock us off our feet so we can stop look up and see Jesus!(Repeat) At this point God has our full attention. It is often times when we are at our lowest point and being humbled where God seems to speak the loudest. It isn’t that God has changed, but it is that God has our full attention.

I want to ask where were you when God got your attention? Was it the time that job that you clinged to let you loose that he got your attention? Was it when the person you were so attached to and so in Love with broke your heart that God got your attention? Was it when you went through an illness that you didn’t know how you would make it, that God got your attention. Was it through the death of a loved one that God got your attention?

I can remember God getting my attention through my own failures and mistakes.

God not only gets our attention through things that we perceive as negative. God can get our attention at the height of what we would call success. But nevertheless God at times still uses the circumstances of life to get our attention. There are things that happen in life that are good & bad. God uses these things to get our attention. He sometimes has to knock us off our feet so we can stop look up and see Jesus.

God getting Saul’s attention meant he was now a new man. He had an encounter with Christ. He crossed over spiritually from death to life. He went from being religious to being right with God. We have a lot of people who are religious and not right with God. Amen!

This is why God wants to get our attention. First because He wants us to know Him. God gets our attention because he wants us to know him. God doesn’t want to get our attention just to get it, He wants to draw us to Himself. He wants us to know him!

In a prayer letter to his supporters Billy Graham told this Story: there was a mother in an African nation who came to Christ and grew in her commitment and devotion to the Lord. As so often happens, however, this alienated her from her husband, and over the years he grew to despise and hate her new devotion to Christ.

“His anger and bitterness reached their climax when he decided to kill his wife, their two children and himself, unable to live in such self inflicted misery. But he needed a motive. He decided He decided he would accuse her of stealing his precious keys-the keys were to the bank, the house, and the car. Early one afternoon he left his bank and headed for the Tavern. His route took him across a footbridge extended over the headwaters of the Nile River. He paused above the river and dropped the keys. He spent all afternoon drinking and carousing.

“Later that afternoon, his wife went to the fish market to buy the evening meal. She purchased a large Nile perch. As she was gutting the fish, to her astonishment, in it’s belly were her husband’s keys. How had they gotten there? What were the circumstances? She did not know; but she cleaned them up and hung them on the hook.

Sufficiently drunk, the young banker came home that night and pounded open the front door shouting, “Woman, where are my keys?” Already in bed, she got up, picked them off the hook in the bedroom, and handed them to her husband. When he saw the keys, by his own testimony he immediately became sober and was instantly converted. He fell on his knee’s sobbing, asked for forgiveness, and confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.”

God has all kinds of ways of getting our attention and it’s because he wants us to have a relationship with him. For each of us who has a relationship with God he used something different in each of our lives that would specifically get our attention. For Paul it was a direct encounter.

Now that God has Paul’s complete attention In verse 6 he tells Paul “now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” I bet Paul won’t protest at this point! The men traveling with Paul heard the sound, but didn’t see anyone. I think that this also highlights the fact that when God is dealing with you it is not always totally obvious to those around you. God gets each of our attention in a specific way as I said before.

In verse 9 it says for three days Paul was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. Not only was the immediate encounter with the Christ humbling for Paul, but also the results of that encounter which left him unable to see for three days. This was probably a humbling time also for Paul. He went from Mr. I’m going to do this and that to could you please show me to the bathroom? God humbles us to get our full attention as believers in Christ. If God wouldn’t have humbled him he would be own his way to persecuting and harming other Christians, instead he had become a Christian and was on his way with instruction he had received from the Lord.

Have you ever thought about where you would be if the Lord didn’t use humbling circumstances to not only get your attention, but to keep your attention? Are yal with me? You were going your own way making your own decisions; But God stuck a fork in your road. He let you experience some pain or a downfall to keep your attention. In my own life of growing as a believer and excelling as an athlete God allowed some humbling circumstances in my life and this took me to higher heights in Christ and furthered my own dependence on God.

What about Jonah. Jonah was running from the Lord when God told him to go preach to the wicked people of Ninevah. God had to take Jonah down to Tarshish, down into a ship, down into the sea, and down into the belly of a great fish. There was a humbling process that God used to get Jonah’s attention and when Jonah was at his lowest he was now ready to go in the direction in which God had called him. When Jonah listened to the Lord such a great revival broke out in Ninevah, that not only did God spare the city, many turned to God and even the animals went on a fast.

God gets our attention to humble us so we will be going in the direction God wants us to go in.

In verses 10-14 it reads, In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him go to house of Judas on (St. Clair) Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord, Ananias answered, I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

Ananias was basically making the statement that many put forth today. Lord I don’t even think even you can save that brother! This is like God saving the drug dealer who may have killed and hurt many people, and people are shocked when he comes to Christ. Or a person who lived a sexually immoral lifestyle or they may even have went to the point of prostituting themselves and the Lord changes them and those who knew them saying “are you sure that’s who came to Christ. Or maybe some person on the staff of the ACLU who went after every school, or government facility that displays something about God-has a life changing encounter with Christ and people will question at first.

When God gets your attention and changes your life people are always going to question at first, because before one meets Christ their life may have seeped in all kinds of sinful and evil behavior. This only highlights the greatness and ability of Jesus Christ to change any life.

Verse15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. What an awesome verse because when God gets your attention, you know what he wants to do? He wants to use you! (Tell your neighbor) He wants to use you!

God not only got Paul’s attention so Paul could know God, but God wanted to use Paul to make a difference for Jesus Christ.

Story: Jacob Koshy grew up in Singapore with one driving ambition: to be a success in life, to gain all the money and possessions he could. That led him into the world of drugs and gambling, and eventually he became the lord of an international smuggling network. In 1980, he was arrested and placed in a government drug rehabilitation prison in Singapore.

He was frustrated beyond endurance. All his goals, purposes, dreams, and ambitions were locked up with him in a tiny cell, and his heart was full of a cold emptiness. He was a smoker, and cigarettes weren’t allowed in the center. Instead, he smuggled in tobacco and rolled it in the pages of the Gideon Bible. One day he fell asleep while smoking. He awoke to find to find that the cigarette had burned out, and all that remained was a scrap of charred paper. He unrolled it and read what was written; “Saul, Saul Why do you persecute me?”

Jacob asked for another Bible and read the entire story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. He suddenly realized that if God could help someone like Saul, God could help him, too. There in his cell he knelt and prayed, asking Christ to come into his life and change him. He began crying and couldn’t stop. The tears of a wasted life washed away his pain, and God redeemed him. He started sharing his story with the other prisoners, and as soon as he was released he became involved in a Church. He met a Christian woman, married her, and is now a missionary in the Far East where he tells people far and wide, “Who would have believed that I could find the truth by smoking the word of God?”

And who’s life did God use to get this man’s attention? That’s right Paul! And God wants to use you to make a difference also. Everyone has a story. 1.What was my life like before God got my attention? 2.How did God get my attention? 3. Now that God has my attention was is my life like now? I challenge you to write these three questions out. (Repeat questions) and answer them and start to share your story. You will be amazed how God uses you to touch the lives of those around. There are people who can relate and connect to you because you have been through similar things.

Share how God used some failure you had, some circumstance, or another person to get your attention. It may mean the difference between someone knowing God or not.

Paul’s sight was ultimately restored he was filled with the Holy Spirit and was baptized as a sign that he had received Jesus Christ as Lord.

As a result of God getting Pauls’ attention he became the greatest missionary of all time and he was used to write most of the books of the New Testament. Many lives were changed and are still being changed as a result of Paul’s life changing encounter with God.

In Closing, What will be the result of God getting your attention? God wants to get our attention because first he wants us to know him. Secondly, he wants to humble us so will walk in the direction he wants us to go. Lastly he wants to get our attention because he wants to use us to make a difference.

In the midst of all the things that battle for our attention in this world there is none more powerful than God! The Great Attention Getter! Let’s Pray!