New Hope Notes

Finally Focused

Pastor Jon Burgess
January 29, 2017 - W1705

Today, we will see what it means to have solid focused faith in what God wants done, because He is the authority and He is in charge. Unfocused faith does nothing for the witness of God.

The disciples had many questions about the return of Jesus and asked in Acts 1:6, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” They thought that Jesus would set up an earthly rule by conquering Rome.

Acts 1:7-11 says, “He (Jesus) said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.’” The disciples were so focused on the sky that they were unaware of the angels standing beside them!

Call To Action: The angels told the disciples that Jesus would return to the same place in the same way that they saw Him go. In the meantime, they were to return to Jerusalem and wait for the power of the Holy Spirit, then be His witnesses to the ends of the earth—in that order: “First know me; then show me.”

If the order is reversed and we try to show God before receiving His power, we will attempt to do God-sized things without God-sized power, and we would fail, resulting in shallow faith. When the storms in life are getting stronger, remember that fasting will help take us deeper into God.

Fasting will also remind us how strong the flesh is and that it doesn’t like those four words, “Thy will be done.” The flesh prefers “My will be done!” This reminds us that the flesh is still in charge! Therefore, we must first dig deeper in our relationship with Jesus or we will get distracted with little things that get on our nerves and we will end up with shallow faith.

God wants us to be focused on what matters and asked me three questions:

  1. If you truly believe that I was coming back soon, how would that change the way you spend your time?

  2. What would happen in this city if each one wins one for Jesus? (A revival would begin that would change this island for eternity—just by one reaching one, and it’s done!)

  3. What if you believed in your heart that every need in this world has already been provided for and that Jesus reigns over every disease by his bruises/wounds? How would that change the way you pray? Oftentimes, we don’t pray because we are intimidated by the size of the need such as cancer. But if we pray in the Name of Jesus (the name that reigns over the name of cancer), how would that change the boldness of your prayers? If you truly believed that God has already provided for all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus, wouldn’t you look for opportunities to pray for anybody and every situation you came across?

The answers to those questions will call us from deep to wide and from depth of faith to a depth of field.

Depth Of Faith is faith that endures the storms that life throws at us. If your faith is shallow, you will be distracted with things that don’t matter—so let your roots go deep. You cannot show Jesus to others until you first know Him. When you wait on Him, you will see amazing things.

Acts 2:4-13 says, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites (Iran); residents of Mesopotamia (Iraq), Judea and Cappadocia (Turkey), Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene (north African coast); visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’ Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine.’”

The importance of this miracle is to understand that all the foreign visitors in Jerusalem that day, heard the wonders of God spoken in their own native language by 120 Galileans!

The depth of a person’s relationship with the Lord is that they talk about the wonders of God. They draw attention away from themselves to God; they are amazed that they can stand in God’s presence. When you go deep in God before you go wide, you will catch people’s attention.

Focal Point: Amusement or Amazement. There were two interesting reactions: amazed and perplexed—amusement or amazement. Three thousand people were amazed and asked, “What must we do to be saved?” What kind of faith will you choose—amazed or amused? Growing deep roots will enable us to stand the test of time. Will we simply be amused or will we be amazed in the presence of God?

Depth of Field: for a Great Harvest. Depth of field is a photography term that means to focus. The line between sharp focus and blurry is called “the circle of confusion.” If you can see God in the depth of field, you can walk out of the circle of confusion. God desires to sharpen our focus so that we see as He sees, and pray as He calls us to.

Most of us are looking at the wrong things and God is trying to get our attention and says, “Look at the lost.” God wants us to sharpen our focus so that we see what he sees, move when he moves, pray as he prays, and love as he loves. That means have a depth of field.

Acts 3:1-10 says, “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. [Peter and John saw this man everyday but this day was different. They stepped out of the circle of confusion and saw the depth of field (focus) and everything changed. God’s plan for this man was to let this interruption be an interaction with Jesus.] When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. [Peter had the name of Jesus, the one that holds heaven and earth in his hands. He had been given authority and directive from God to start sharing what he had, not what he did not have. Peter did just that.] In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” They were filled with wonder and amazement—not amusement.

Focal Point: Indifference or Involvement.

Ask the Lord every morning when you wake up, “God, who can I pray for today?” “Who can I love on today?” “Who can I give to today?” Watch how your roots will begin to grow deep as you finally focus on what God is focused on.

Indifference says someone else will take care of it. Nothing will change.

Involvement is to literally be involved in a miracle by focusing on the depth of field, seeing as God sees and praying as He prays.

When we focus on the Depth of Field, we will see the harvest around us and God will be able to use us in the 21st century as He did in the 1st century.

We can’t get the Depth of Field until we have the Depth of Faith. God is asking, “What would happen if your heart broke the way Mine does for every person in this city?” It’s time to start walking with eyes wide open.

Study Questions:

  1. Why was it important that the disciples return to Jerusalem and wait for Holy Spirit before witnessing to the ends of the earth?

    2.  When the storms of life get stronger, what will help us grow deeper in Jesus?

 3.  The Depth of Faith will help you ____________ the storm.

 4.  Depth of field is a photography term. What does it mean in our lives?