August 8, 2020

4 While he was with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:4-8

Written by Dave Kruse from the West Franklin Campus

Early on when I was part of the Resident Ministry, there was a conversation that happened on a regular basis: where were we going for our campus assignments? Sometimes it was a topic that quickly popped in and out of conversations, and other times it was a long conversation. Our campus assignment was something we were anticipating and looking forward to finding out. However, we wouldn’t be learning our assignment until week 15 of the residency. When we overly focused on our future assignment, the men and women leading the Resident Ministry reminded us of why we were there. In essence, they were refocusing us on the task at hand.

In Acts1:6, Jesus gathered His disciples together before He ascended into heaven. They must have sensed something big was about to happen, and they assumed it was what they had been anticipating: the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. However, this was not the purpose Jesus had for them at that time. Notice what Jesus did. They asked him the question, and Jesus lovingly refocused their attention where He knew it needed to be.

In verse 7, Jesus acknowledged the disciples’ focus. He knew the restoration of Israel was something the disciples longed for. Most likely, they were disappointed in Jesus’ answer, since they were told it was not for them to know God’s timing.

Then in verse 8, Jesus refocused them. “You. You have something important to do. You are to be My witnesses—not just here, but everywhere. You are going to be empowered, and you are going to take Me everywhere you go. You’re going to tell people about Me and all that I taught you. You’re going to be part of building the kingdom, but it’s not going to happen the way you think it is. So yes, I know you’re anxious for this to happen—but don’t miss what is before you now. You have a great purpose NOW that will help bring about the desired end goal.”

Isn’t that how it is in our life? We put our focus on something and give it our time and attention. We plan and hope to get to that goal soon. But sometimes, maybe even often, our hope, our goal, distracts us from the purpose God has for us now. We are called to be witnesses, to tell people about Jesus, to have conversations that point people toward a God who loves them and desires them to know Him. It’s a great purpose for all believers—we simply need to keep it as our focus.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Consider your goals. Do they include the purpose of engaging people for the sake of the gospel?
  2. Are you willing to refocus your attention and goals so they match the purpose Jesus has for His followers?

Family Activity

Make Goals

As a family, write goals about who you can share the gospel with this coming school year. Talk about where and how to tell them about Jesus. Write down specific names of the people you are going to tell. Make it a goal to share the gospel with these people before the end of the year. Explain they may not become a Christian immediately, but how to persevere in telling others about Jesus.

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