December 31, 2000
Volume 10, Number 53

Reaching Forward

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Solomon said, "The end of a thing is better than its beginning" (Eccl. 7:8). Is that the way we feel about life itself? If so, in what sense do we believe the end of our lives is to be better than the beginning?
Much of the quality of life is determined by the metaphors we choose to represent life's experiences to ourselves. As a basic metaphor for life, many people choose between the following: Life is a problem: it is a burden to be laid down. Do we look at life as a burden, an unpleasant business that has to be gotten through? Do we anticipate the end of life as merely the end of the struggle, the time when finally we will be finished with the difficulty of life in this world?

Life is an opportunity: it is a growth process leading to a goal. Do we think in terms of a growing season during which we work toward a harvest? Do we think of life as a good thing that moves us ever closer to something even better? Which of these two perspectives we choose has a big impact on the quality of our lives.

The Bible speaks about the importance of our attitude toward the end of life. One especially important passage is Phil. 3:13,14. This passage teaches several things.

A Christian's Life is Moving Toward Something Well Worth Reaching For.

Several NT passages use the word telos = goal, end, outcome, culmination, the purpose toward which something moves.

"But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life" (Rom. 6:22).
"But Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end" (Heb. 3:6).
"For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end" (Heb. 3:14).
"Receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet. 1:9).
"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers" (1 Pet. 4:7).
"And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations" (Rev. 2:26).
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last" (Rev. 22:13).

See also Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 2:10.

By nature, we strive to grow, to make progress, to work toward goals. We need to have significant goals in the daily living of life as Christians. At times our goals are inadequate. Often our goals are not big enough - we underestimate what is possible and have too little vision. At other times our goals are too general and vague - we do not break down our goals into specific, doable actions. Most often perhaps, we are merely dreamers who do not keep commitments to ourselves in regard to our goals. We have no discipline, no integrity. We do not work to reach our goals.

Time spent improving the quality of our goals is time well spent. It is very important that we grow in our understanding of the glory of our ultimate goal as God's people. Heaven is our most important goal, and it is very real: "the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14). Nothing else matters if we lose heaven (Mt. 16:26). We have no adequate idea how wonderful are the glories God has for us (1 Cor. 2:9; 1 Jn. 3:2).

A major part of Christian growth is growth in comprehending our goal (Eph. 1:18). The goal of heaven - eternal life with God - needs to be real to us. We need to "reach forward to those things we are ahead" (Phil. 3:13) - because they really are ahead!

We Need To Direct Our Focus Resourcefully Toward the Goal of Life.

Paul speaks of "forgetting" certain things and "reaching forward" to others. This means it is possible for us to choose our focus. We can forget those things which are behind. Bad things. (Cf. 1 Cor. 15:9-10). Even good things. (Cf. Gal. 6:9). Life requires a certain amount of mental self-discipline to keep our focus from hindering us. It is easy to get "bogged down" in life. There is an "inertia" that must be overcome. It can be done. The imperishable crown is won only by the properly disciplined (1 Cor. 9:24-27). We need to determine that we will keep our thinking directed toward our goal.

We Need to Reach Forward, to Press Toward the Goal.

While our thinking must be oriented toward the future, our doing must be done today! We must connect our goal to our daily actions. "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Gal. 6:9). Paul speaks of "reaching forward" and "pressing toward" the goal. These terms imply the exertion of effort. "Reaching forward to those things which are ahead" = "straining every nerve for that which lies in front" (TCNT). Daily, we must be growing and working toward heaven (2 Tim. 4:7,8. Cf. Heb. 6:1).

What is your vision? What is your life all about? What is it that you are reaching for today? This week? This year? What are you reaching for in connection with the day of your death? Every day that the Lord gives us is a fresh opportunity, a clean slate, a chance to start over and make significant progress!

What is the one thing that, if you did it consistently, would make the greatest difference in your relationship with God?

Why not do it? Beginning today. Whatever frustrations we may meet today will only strengthen us if we are reaching forward (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17).

Sunday Bible Study
“Attitudes Need in Congregational Work”
(Colossians 1:9-10).

You do not believe what you do not live.

A Special Welcome to our Visitors

Please fill out a blue visitor card so that we might have a record of your visit. If needed, there is a nursery available at the rear of the auditorium. Bible classes for all ages are available Sundays at 10:00 am and Wednesdays at 6:30 PM. We hope that you will join us for these studies. Please come and worship with us again soon.

Remember in Prayers:

Stephanie Bennett - Leo & Dorothy Lednik - Mary Kaupila

Cathy Jenson - Naomi Morton - Virginia Law

Richard Treece - Leslie Johnson - Lillian Comiskey

Bill & Jeanne Sherman - Betty Dougan - Viola Morinier

Web-Site ... Moving soon to... www.venicechurchofchrist.com

News:

 

Fellowship Meal : Next Sunday, January 6, at noon.

Sunday Adult Bible Class: "Attitudes Needed in Congregational Work" (10:00 am) This Sunday: Our Attitude Toward Ourselves and Others.

Wednesday Adult Bible Class: "Jeremiah", chapters 35-36. (6:30 PM)

Thank You : We would like to thank the entire congregation for their love, support and encouragement. It continues to be a blessing to work with you. May God bless each of you richly in the year 2001. The Wheelers
Ladies Day: February 3, 2000. Guest speaker will be Rhonda Thompson from Montgomery, Alabama.

Sunday’s Lessons:

Renewing Ourselves in the New Year (Lamentations 5:21)

Song Service (6:00 pm)

Service Opportunities

Time of Services

Announcements:

Wayne Vowell

Sunday

Ushers:

Walt Thompson

Bible Study:

10:00 am

Morning Services

Worship:

11:00 am

Bible Reading:

Kerry Keathley

Evening Worship:

6:00 pm

Songs:

Dick Navarre

Monday

Sermon:

Ted Wheeler

Ladies Bible Class:

11:00 am.

Closing Prayer:

David Coffman

Wednesday

Evening Services

Bible Study:

6:30 pm

Opening Prayer:

Charlie White

Songs:

Dick Navarre

Our Record - Last Week

Sermon:

Song Service

Closing Prayer:

Jim Dougan

Attendance:
98

Communion

Contribution:
$ 1653.65
Carl Rigney
Weekly Budget:
$ 1500.00
Mike Weber
Don Douglas
Weekly Average (yr):
TBA

Dale Schwartz

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