Summary: The most powerful force you and I control is our FOCUS, which has the power to determine if we see ourselves as oppressed and powerless…or if we see ourselves connected to the power of God.
The Power of Focus
Series: BREAKOUT – God on the Move through the Book of Acts
Brad Bailey – June 3, 2012
Do you know what the most powerful force you control is?
The most powerful force you and I control is our FOCUS. Our focus determines everything. It has the power to define what we see. It has the power to determine if we see ourselves as oppressed and powerless…or if we see ourselves connected to the power of God.
Today we are continuing our series entitled ‘Breakout’…. Letting God teach us how to be a part of His work in the world…..by engaging the initial breaking out in the Book of Acts.
Today we come to the 7th of ten events we are engaging in this series. And in our text today we see how they bore an internal strength that reflected a victor rather than victim mentality.
Just prior to the text being engaged in this study, the apostle Paul and his companions encounter a woman who is possessed. She follows them and eventually Paul engages her and delivers her from the evil spirit. She is free. But it becomes clear that she was being used by others to make money telling fortunes. 
Acts 16:19-25 (NIV)
19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Imagine what they initially faced. help one young girl that was possessed by an evil spirit and all the powers of evil come to crush them and cast them into prison. Think about who it was that came against them… those who would use a possessed young girkl to make money from… those so evil it is hard to imagine without stirring anger inside us. These lives dragged them before the Roman regime in all it’s ruthlessness. And as the crowd are drawn against them… they are ‘severely flogged’….and then placed in the inner most confinement… the darkest, coldest section of the prison…where the chains rusted on the prisoners… and most notably…where light was excluded. It’s that darkness that challenges our focus. We all know something of how darkness can confine us…and limit our perspective.
And the text takes us to that point at which it is ‘About midnight.’
Paul and Silas find themselves beaten, and bloodied, and broken…and it’s almost midnight. Midnight is the darkest part of the night. It is the deepest part of the night…the longest point before reaching the start of a new day.
Maybe you’ve faced some midnight hours in your life. Times when you felt powers beyond your control had imprisoned you…times when you felt chained down.
We can all be faced with midnight.
What would you do?
I might become so focused on myself that I couldn’t think of anything else.
I know I might become so overwhelmed by the powers at hand…that I might just give up…or withdraw.
I might become so focused on the unfairness….I’d become consumed with cynicism… anger… and begin complaining.
But Paul and Silas had a different focus…They’re not whining and crying.
Luke describes in verse 25… “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”
> They were praying and praising God.
Now it may not surprise us that they prayed at midnight. We might imagine some desperate …lamenting prayers…midnight hour prayers. But that’s not the nature of their posture. This is not simply a matter of desperation…this is a matter of focus. They were worshipping.
They had every reason to feel bound and powerless…. But they never saw the powers of this world as ultimately in charge. They focused on God. they focused on their ultimate freedom.
Those who sing in prison are those who cannot be imprisoned.
Their bodies may be in jail - but they weren’t.
Those who sing at midnight are those who are citizens of a land that has no night. 
1. We break out of the powers of this world when we…