Summary: Seeking counsel and a continually sharpening focus to see God’s work in your life.

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Question: What are the primary objectives God has given you in this season of your life…. and what are you doing to fulfill them?

This morning I want to talk about sharpening the leading edge of our lives.

> I believe every one of us in this room has a unique calling… a unique part to play in God’s purposes… it may involve your role in formal ministry, informal ministry, your impact in the community or marketplace, as well as parenting.

· Council – agreed that our highest priority in this coming year is that of helping cultivate new levels of maturity at every level of our fellowship.

· This involves a need for focus…A concern I have is a tendency to perpetuate a life of unrealistic ideals that simply produces feelings of guilt and failure. Our desire is to cultivate a maturity in our lives and leadership that’s not about working harder but working smarter.

· Image of PLOW… and the ground is the potential ground we’ve been given to impact… and the plow is our means to succeed in making that impact.

· I believe each of us has a calling to sharpen the leading edge / plow of our lives.

Towards that end I want to hear God’s Word to us from the book of Hebrews… and draw some practical challenges.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)

· (Context…. Faith and perseverance… chapter 11 is a list of heroes of the faith.)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. [2] We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. [3] Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up.”

Climax is keeping our eyes on Jesus… which we’ll come to in receiving communion this morning… but I want to catch some other elements we find here.

Begins with an inspiring image of our lives… that of living our lives before a crowd of witnesses.’ A picture of stadium …surrounded by this testimony of lives that have gone before us.

An actor would act with double intensity if he knew that some famous dramatic master was sitting in the stalls watching him. An athlete would strive with double effort if he knew that a stadium of famous Olympic athletes was watching him. It is of the very essence of the Christian life that it is lived in the gaze of the heroes of the faith who lived, suffered and died in their day and generation. How can a man avoid the struggle for greatness with an audience like that looking down upon him? (Barclay)

“So let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.”

race = goal / direction / forward motion

William Barclay-

“In the Christian life we have a goal. The Christian is not an unconcerned stroller along the byways of life; he is a wayfarer on the high road. He is not a tourist, who returns each night to the place from which he starts; he is a pilgrim who is for ever on the way. … and it would be well if, at each day’s ending, we were to ask ourselves: "Am I any farther on?"

“set before us” – I believe each of us in this room have a race set before us…. and winning that race involves defining our focus, and then diminishing our hindrances, and developing our support.

1. Defining our focus

Our basic commitment is to discover and do the will of God. In this we find meaning for all our activities. This involves faithfulness to God in general… but also includes our individual purposes within what God is doing.

Each of the lives listed fulfilled a specific calling… This picture is one of lives that were given a part to play.

True of each one of us…

"For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Eph. 2:10

"For it is God who works in you, inspiring both the will and the deed for his own chosen purpose!" Phil. 2:13 (NEB)

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

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