Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Struggling with Target Fixation

When police officers come to an accident scene they’re looking for a number of ways the accident could have happened.  They want to find a cause for the accident.  They look to see if it was mechanical failure.  Was somebody speeding or driving unsafely?

But there’s another thing that they look for as the cause of the accident and that’s target fixation.  Target Fixation is when you’re looking at an object and subconsciously steer in that direction.  You drive toward the thing you’re focused on.

This video is a perfect illustration of Target Fixation.  There are a number of scooters making a turn.  The scooter in front of the scooter that’s filming loses control and crashes.  Notice how the filming scooter doesn’t even try to make the corner but steers directly into the crashing scooter.  That’s target fixation.

We’re all heading in one direction or another and once you realize that you’re going in a certain direction, you can begin to understand that there’s a force that’s guiding you in the direction you’re heading.  What is it that’s setting your direction?  What’s guiding the direction you’re heading in life?  Is it education?  Is it your parents wishes?  Is it the events and circumstances of life?  Or is it God?  Is God the guiding force of your life or are you just adding God to the direction you’re already taking?

What I mean by that is , id God guiding your steps?  Is he the principle focus of your life?  Or is God just another thing that you’ve added to what you already do?  Where you set your eyes is where you’ll end up?  Are you purposefully being guided in a direction or are you just a victim of target fixation?

Today I want to post a message on finding the direction for your life, the guiding force that will lead you into the promises of God.

Matthew 6:29-33 (NKJV)
6:29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.


How many of us have goals in life?  All of us have certain things we want out of life, isn’t that right?  Success marriage, children, all of us have goals.  These are things that we all want; that we’re striving for.  How are you going to get all those things? What is it that guides the direction you’re taking? 

There are those who go through a kind of target fixation.  They see where they want to be and do whatever it takes to get there.  They use people.  They lie, cheat, and steal.  Ambition can be a good thing when it motivates you to do what you do in excellence and integrity, but it’s a two-edged sword because it can also motivate you to do things that aren’t right.  What are you counting on to take you in the direction that you want to go?

Is it education that’s guiding you?  Do you believe that education is the force that can take you to the place you want to be in life?  “If I went to a better University I could go farther.”  “If I get a higher degree, I can get a better job.”  “If I continuously take classes, I will make more money.”  So you wrap your whole life into getting an education.  Your whole life is invested in education.

Is it your job that’s taking you there?  “If I work harder and more hours than anyone else, I’ll get the promotions and bonuses.”  “If I put my job before everything else in my life then I’ll be indispensable to my boss.”   “If I uproot my family and move, chasing a salary, and I’ll make more and more everywhere I go.”

Is it the events and circumstances in life that are determining where you end up?  “I’m so overwhelmed by the circumstances in life, that I don’t know what to do to go beyond this point.”  Because I’m always reacting to the events in my life I’m just barely keeping my head above water, there’s no way I can move forward.”

So the question here is this:  Can you trust God enough to allow Him to be the guiding force in your life?  That’s basically what our text is saying to us.  If you seek FIRST the kingdom of God, then all these other things will be added to you.  I see most people, not just in the church, but most people seeking the prizes and using their wits and education and jobs to be the thing that provide for them.  The scripture says to seek God’s kingdom and he will get you to that place you want to go. 

If you’re pursuing or following God then all those other things will come to you.  Allow your pursuit of God to shape the direction you take in life.  I’m ot saying an education isn’t important, or that you shouldn’t work hard, only that those things should’net be the thing that gives your life direction.  Let God be the guiding force in the direction of your life.

Following God

If God is the thing that’s guiding your life then what you’re doing Is following God’s lead – following God.  Let’s look at an example in the Bible:

Genesis 12:1-4 (NKJV)
12:1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." 4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

Here’s Abraham (Abram), God has called him out of his country to a place that God will show him.  God tells him, “I have a plan for you, that will include, even your descendants.  I will make you a great nation, I’ll give a great land for an inheritance.  Those who bless you, I will bless, those who curse you, I’ll deal with.”  All Abraham had to do was follow God.  He had to say, “I can stay here and make it on my own or I can follow God and see what He has planned for me.”  It’s no different than what you and I have to do. 

There’s a calling on your life – God is calling you.  “Seek first the Kingdom of God,” that’s a calling.  Abraham trusted God so he laid aside what he was already doing and followed God to that place.  Abraham wasn’t sitting around waiting for God to call.  He was just as occupied with his life as you are with yours, but when God called he followed Him.  He dropped what he was already doing and followed God.  God’s call became the focus of his life.

It’s interesting because Abraham wasn’t raised serving God.  He grew up in a pagan nation.  He didn’t know the God of the Bible, but when God called he allowed that promise of God to be the guiding force of the direction of his life. 

He received all the blessings of life:  Success, children, home all of it, and his descendants received the inheritance and became a great nation, too.  All of that happened because Abraham pursued God.  He sought first the Kingdom of God.

There was a point when Abraham didn’t follow God.  He went out on his own.  He stopped following after God.  I don’t mean that he started worshipping idols, but he was no longer following God’s direction.

Genesis 12:10-15 (NKJV)
12:10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, "Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. 12 Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, 'This is his wife'; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you." 14 So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh's house.

There was a famine; life became difficult.  So Abraham left the place God had taken him and he went to Egypt.  He wasn’t following God; he was allowing the circumstances and events of life to guide his direction. 

This is important for us to see.  How many of us are allowing God to lead?  How many of us are allowing God to guide us and direct us?  Whe nwe get saved we don’t all focus our lives on God’s calling.  We don’t all pursue God like Abraham did.  Often we become Christians and God becomes something we add to the things we already do.  That’s when God becomes a PART of our direction.

We’re already pursuing education.  We continue to get more and more.  We’re already pursuing our jobs.  We’ve made our families second to the job.  Now, we’re going to fit God in to the schedule of things that we’re already doing.  It’s not seeking the Kingdom of God that’s the focus of your life; you’re already fixated on a target.  Our text tells us though, that it’s the wrong target.  The target should be the Kingdom of God.

When Abraham followed God, God took him in the direction that led to all those other things.  When he wasn’t following God he almost lost those same things.  What is the primary guiding force to the direction of your life?  is it God or is it a target fixation?  If you’re focused on the will of God, He will take you where he wants you to go AND He’ll add blessings to yor life.  If you’re focused on the target, you may end up hitting the target but crashing and losing something more important.  I have no doubt that Abraham could have become materially wealthy down in Egypt, but at what cost:  His wife and the promises of God?  He would have hit the target but crashed and lost it all. 

Seeking the Kingdom of God

God is calling you.  he’s calling you out of your old ways and your old life.  he’s calling you into His purposes.  He’s calling you to a place that He will show you.  He’s calling you into a new direction for your life.  He’s promising that if you will seek first the Kingdom of God that you will receive blessings as well. 

Hebrews 11:8 (NKJV)
11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Abraham followed God even though he had no idea where God was taking him.  He had God as the guiding force for the direction of his life.  God has a plan for your life.  He has a direction for your life AND God wants to bless you.  Look again at the promise to Abraham:

Genesis 12:1-4 (NKJV)
12:1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." 4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

Follow ME.  I will make you a great nation.  I will bless you and make your name great.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.  Why are we afraid that following God will cost us, and there won’t be any blessing?  We follow our bosses and it costs us, doesn’t it?  Work can take a toll on your health and your family and your boss never promises you anything beyond your salary – But you’re willing to follow him.

God says follow me and you’ll be blessed, can we trust that?  Is God more trustworthy than your boss?  If I believe the Bible and the stories of God’s provision, and blessing, and faithfulness, then I believe God for the promise.  If I can believe God then I need to live like I believe God.

So what does it mean to seek first the Kingdom of God?  It means to put God first, to go in the direction that leads to the Kingdom of God.

Don’t come to church to curry favor with God.  Don’t come because you think you have to.  Don’t come for favors; come to worship God.  Come thinking that God is going to speak to you.  Come thinking that God is trying to communicate His plan for your life and you don’t want to miss it.  If yo think that way I guarantee that you’ll hear from God.  If you’re open to His call, then he’ll call you to His promise.  If you’re not open to His call then you’ll never hear from Him. 

There’s one last thing I want to talk about:  The joy of your salvation.  Some people seem discouraged, even bummed out.  That’s no way for a Christian to feel.  Christianity should be about joy – We GET to go to Heaven.  Our God loves us.  In the traditional Taiwanese religion, do the gods love you?  I don’t think so.  Our God has a plan for our lives, but I think people come to church and they think this is it.  Every Sunday we take a couple of hours out and listen to a sermon.  We don’t come and pray that God will speak to us.  We don’t take it in and apply it to our lives.  We don’t let God touch us with His word.  We sit for a couple of hours and then go home unmoved.

We don’t get involved in what the church is doing, that’s where the fun and camaraderie come from.  We’re preparing to do a drama.  The things the church does are an opportunity for you to have some expression; to actually SERVE God and bring His word to life.  Wghat’s more fun to PLAY baseball or WATCH baseball?  It’s more fun to serve God than to listen to sermons about serving God.  Living out God’s plan for your life will chase away the discouragement.  It’ll make serving God fun! 

This is what SEEKING FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD is really all about.  It’s about making God your focus and direction and He will make sure your needs are met.  If your going to fixate on a target, make the Kingdom of God the target.

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