Romans 3:31 But by shifting our focus from what we do to what God does, don’t we cancel out all our careful keeping of the rules and ways God commanded? Not at all. What happens, in fact, is that by putting that entire way of life in its proper place, we confirm it.
In the past two years I have learned a very valuable lesson about my life and leadership. I have learned the negative and positive value of focus. I have learned that we can train ourselves to focus on the negative or the positive. The big idea in the this lesson is what we focus on becomes our AUTO-FOCUS. It becomes the aspect that we instantly focus on and all of our energy and effort is spent there. If we choose to focus on the negative aspect of things and give our attention to what went wrong or what isn’t working every time we view ourselves, our organization or our vision the AUTO-FOCUS is stuck in negativity. Conversely, if we choose to focus on the positive aspects of things and give our attention to what went right and what is working every time we view ourselves, or organization or our vision the AUTO-FOCUS is set on the positive. Now this has nothing to do with fair and proper assessment or evaluation is has everything to do with the mindset in which we assess and evaluate. The principle is simple what and how we focus becomes our default or our AUTO-FOCUS. We must be ever so careful to pay attention to the instruction in the scripture listed above by focusing on what God is doing not what we are doing. When this becomes our AUTO-FOCUS we can’t help but to be positive. Church planting and church leadership is the hardest most beautiful yet brutal journey of have ever been on in my life. While on this journey and learning this valuable lesson I can confidently say I understand why statistics reveal that 75% of church plants fail. It really boils down to focus, better yet AUTO-FOCUS. As a church planter and pastor I must train myself to AUTO-FOCUS on what God is doing in and through me not what He is not doing. This weekend we celebrated 104 weekends in our 11,000 square foot miracle on Dr. MLK street. (Willis S. Johns Recreation center) Now here is a perfect example of learning to AUTO-FOCUS on God and the positive. I could whine and moan and complain about not having a building to call our own and how life would be easier if we didn’t have to set up and tear down every week. I could lament about not having a structure in the city that people could drive by and find us and how we could be growing and reaching even more people than we are if we only had a building of our own. OR I can praise and thank God for providing us with an 11,000 square foot facility right in the middle of our community. I can focus on God providing us with a facility that can seat 458 in the sanctuary (gym), has a fully equipped Teen Room and preschool, a spacious room with fully equipped video game systems and other game tables for our children and 300 parking spaces! Not to mention the manager is now a founding member of COAH. See how it works? It is AUTO-FOCUS. It is seeing what God has done not what He hasn’t. It is seeing God’s grace and thanking Him for His provision. As a church planter, pastor, leader and human being I must stay focused on the positive not just in the church but in my life. I must have my AUTO-FOCUS set on the positive. If I do not negative self-talk, naysayers, our enemy satan and life will consume our thoughts and cause us to AUTO-FOCUS negatively which leads to failure and crushed dreams. We never fail until we quit trying! Rather than look at a problem as one step further away from our goal why don’t we look at it as one step closer to our goal. In this past two years we have faced some pretty big challenges but God has always carried us through. There have been times I thought to myself, what am I going to do? But then I remember it is not what I’m going to do it is what God has already done. I have trained myself to AUTO-FOCUS on the positive and I rehearse the good deeds of God. I look back at how God has provided and I look to how He will provide again. I must tell you learning to AUTO-FOCUS is hard! I must also tell you that it is easy to switch the AUTO-FOCUS off and start trying to focus on your own. When we do this we usually get a blurry picture of the future or our current circumstance. We have had major shifts with key team leaders on our ministry teams and each time I have been tempted to switch off the AUTO-FOCUS. By God’s grace I have decided to leave the AUTO-FOCUS on God and His favor and He has never disappointed. Even as I write this we are in a huge transition and in need of a drummer, a bass player and a guitar player for the third and fourth Sunday worship teams. I just shift my AUTO-FOCUS back to April of 2010 when I had Jesus and a dream. I had no band, no building, no you name it and yet God has provided. We opened COAH with a full 13 member worship team. Two years later God has provided COAH with a host of skilled musicians and singers many whom have been with us from the very beginning and many whom God has called just at the right time. My encouragement to everyone today is check your AUTO-FOCUS to see who, where and what it is set on. Be sure to set is on God, His vision for your life and on the positive. I’m confident that if we all do this we will see and do things that we thought were only possible in dreams:) This isn’t just for church planters or pastors this is for everyone. Live the life God has planned for you. You can do it! Be encouraged!