Summary: At the outset of a new year it is helpful to be reminded of who we are as God’s church and what we are to be about doing. This introduction to the book of Ephesians provides just such a reminder!
What Will We Be in 2003?
Ps. 90:12; intro to Ephesians
Focus: At the beginning of a new year, we must be reminded of our purpose as a church to
not become distracted- much of what Paul does to encourage the church in Ephesians.
Function: To encourage the Washington St. church as Paul does the Ephesians by
reminding us who we are and what we are to be doing.
Opener: I hope everyone had a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year! We had a great time with our family over the holidays. Christmas is especially fun when its your kid’s first Christmas! This year the whole family gathered around David (as we propped him up on some pillows) to see what he would do with the presents. He loved the ribbons & bows & boxes, but really didn’t do much with the presents. At 5 months old, he’s getting really good at sitting up UNLESS he gets distracted! Then, its over he goes! With a big brother around, there’s always something to distract you!
Distractions are all around us all the time, aren’t they?
• How many of you have blown that 2 yard put because we became
• Sometimes distractions can be just a little annoying . . . a child
whining at you while you’re trying to talk to someone on the phone.
• Sometimes distractions can cause you to lose a round of golf; or the
• But sometimes distractions can be downright dangerous! Last
summer Congress took up legislation to discourage the use of cell
phones while driving. I don’t know if more laws are the answer, but I
know of one research report out of Great Britain has shown that
drivers are four times more likely to be distracted while driving if they
are talking on their mobile phones.
I bring up “Distractions” today because of where we are as a church family.
• It has been a wonderful 2002 for Washington St! If you were here on
Wed. Walter mentioned just a few of the many blessings that God has
given us over the past year.
• God is truly at work and doing amazing things!
• I said as I began preaching here just last December, that I believed
God had big plans for the future for this church family and I believe
that we’re beginning to see some of those plans come about. . . . and
that’s what worries me!
• I am concerned that we might allow various “distractions” to take our
eyes off of our focus . . Seeking, Serving and Sharing Jesus Christ!
There are positive distractions . . .
• As we move into 2003, there are many questions still ahead of us.
“How much is this new building going to cost?”; “What will be
expected of me?”; “How will we use this facility?”
• The danger with ANY building program can be that it has the potential
to consume all of our energies and focus as a church – and I’m so
glad that the Elders are committed to NOT let that happen here!
• We NEED this building; It IS a PRIORITY! We’re excited about it and
are just thrilled at the progress that the Finance Committee is making
– it will be a great tool for this church’s mission, BUT we’re committed
that it NOT become the ONLY goal or focus.
• So, as we talk more and more about the building in the coming
months- let us remember not to let this consume our every thought
and hinder us from the work of ministry!
There are Negative Distractions . . .
• I know, because I’ve seen it happen, that when a church is on fire for
the Lord and about the business of the kingdom, SATAN doesn’t like
it! And you can bet that he’ll begin attacking!
• I expect Satan to attack this church in the coming months; as he
always does when God’s people are about God’s business!
• But we can’t allow this to take our eyes off of what it is we are to be
about as God’s church!
So, as we begin 2003, I want us to ask 5 very important questions to help us
maintain our focus . . .
I. Will we be anchored in God’s Word?
A. When I began my ministry here last December I began
preaching through the book of John, because I not only
wanted to anchor my ministry in the life & teachings of Jesus
from the very beginning– I also wanted to anchor it firmly and
deeply in God’s Word!
1. Folks, I’m not smart enough to stand before you
each week and give you spiritual direction or
ANYTHING ELSE for that matter that might be