Don’t focus on results, okay?
NOVEMBER 23, 2021
Hey, don’t focus on results, okay? Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was author and seminary professor, Steve Brown. And this is Key Life. We’re all about radical grace because of what Jesus has done God’s not mad at you. Keep listening and that message will set you free to live a life of joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the eighth chapter of the book of Acts. And we’re looking at some principles of a committed life, things you should expect if you’re going to follow Jesus. And Jesus said, expect these things in the Gospel of John and I’ve told you about them, so you won’t be surprised. In this world you’re gonna have all kinds of troubles, but cheer up, I’ve overcome the world. And in Acts you see an illustration of that in this eighth chapter of Acts. Things are not very pretty. Results are not coming very quickly. Things are very hard. And you begin to see that some of the things they told you about being a Christian, aren’t true. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes you laugh. Sometimes you cry. Sometimes you’re the pigeon. Sometimes you’re the statue. Sometimes you’re the windshield. And sometimes you’re the bug. So expect it. And we’ve looked at two or three principles. We’ve seen that God has a plan and you fit into that plan. And you find in the book of Acts that God was using everybody to do his work, even bad stuff. Secondly, we’ve seen that you don’t have to understand God’s plan, you just have to do what you’re supposed to do in the place where you’re planted. I mean, Stephen was the first chairman of the first board of deacons of the church and he did that. That’s not a very rewarding job. It means and the word deacon means serve. So he was serving others and dishing out meals to the widows and caring for people. Not very exciting. And then he ended up dead and all he was doing was what God told him to do. And then there’s another principle we’ve already seen that we are called to find joy in Christ and not in circumstances. And then there’s a fourth principle and that’s a new one that we’re going to look at today. And it’s this, when you decide to be a part of God’s plan results are not your concern, but you can rest assured that there will be results. When you read the first three verses of the eighth chapter of Acts, it’s not a very nice, they buried Stephen, they’re lamenting and the church is being persecuted. It’s not exactly the way you build a mega church. It’s not exactly the way you see awakening and revival. It’s not the way you generally think of the Christian church being the kingdom of God, standing in the gap and changing the world. They’re scared, they’re lonely, they’re persecuted and one of their leaders has just been killed, not very good results. And you, if you had been a part of that church, you would have said, God, what are you doing? Now, we’re going to see the rest of that story. That’s what the rest of the book of Acts is about. God is preparing to do something that will blow everybody away and change the world. But notice that it grew out of the darkness and the pain that was going on in Jerusalem at this time. And, be glad that the leaders there didn’t have a denominational headquarters where they had to send a statistical report because it would not have been very good. Campus Crusade for Christ, now called CRU has a great definition of witnessing. Witnessing is sharing Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God. Did I tell you about the time, this has been years ago when I was speaking for a convention of young people in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, they would ski and then at night I would teach and preach. And they asked me to do an evangelistic thing and I’d prepared something else, which I thought was really good. But at the last minute I changed it. And I spent that time presenting a plan of salvation cause they told me there were a lot of kids there who weren’t Christians. And not only that, and this is unusual for a Presbyterian, I had an invitation at the end of the sermon on salvation. I said, I don’t want anybody to bow their head and close their eyes. I want you to stand if you want to know Jesus. And if you’ll stand, there’s some people that will surround you and tell you some things that you need to know. And I fully expected, we were going to see thousands saved and hundreds healed. You know, how many were saved? Zippo, not one, not one person even stood or made an effort. And I remember thinking, oh my, this is the worst experience of my life. And even when I left the auditorium to get in a cab to go back to the airport, I snuck out the back, so nobody would see me, I was so ashamed. And every time I thought of that particular incident experience, I would wince and blush. And some 15 or 20 years later, and this is true, a young man came up to me and said, Mr. Brown, I’ve got something to say to you. And I said, good, I’ll listen. And he said, I was at a conference where you spoke a lot of years ago and it changed my life. And I am now a pastor because of you and I had a tape of your sermon that day. And I’ve shared it with all my friends and we’ve seen so many of them come to Christ. And I said, where was the conference? He said, Gatlinburg, Tennessee. And I said, you’re kidding? And he said, no, I’m not. So, so I said, you know, Lord, you could have told me this a little bit earlier. You know, I’ve had to blush and be ashamed all these years, and now you tell me it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. And if you focus on that and I do, I confess. If you focus on results, it will drive you nuts. I tell seminary students, some of you are going to serve gigantic churches. You’re going to write books and people are going to know your name and some of you are going to be plotters in little churches and little places. And the interesting thing is that the ones who are the plotters are probably more gifted than the ones who serve the mega churches, but that’s not your responsibility. Your responsibility is not results. That’s for God to decide. He’s working his well. He’s doing his thing. He’s preparing his people and he will use you in doing that. And so, as you look at the first three verses of the eighth chapter of Acts, not a lot of results, but the rest of the story is incredible. That’s true in your life. You get tired of changing diapers and washing dishes. You get tired of sitting in front of that computer. You get tired of serving without thanks at the church dinner. You get tired of getting up and doing what you have to do every day. Women must weep and men must work and the sooner it’s over the sooner to sleep. You ever think that’s meaningless? It’s not. Do what God told you to do, and don’t worry so much about results. That’s what it means to follow Christ. Sometimes you don’t see the rest of the story. Sometimes you’re scared. Sometimes you think this is crazy. I shouldn’t even be a part of this. I’m not good enough. Dump all of that. And, remember what I taught you and what I learned from the first three verses of the eighth chapter of the book of Acts. Now we’re going to move to another, I’d like to spend a little bit more time on that frankly. But we’ve got to move on or we’re going to be here forever. Let me kind of introduce you to what we’re going to be talking about for the next week or two. We’re going to be looking at the supernatural nature of the Christian faith. And we’re going to look at Acts 8 verse 4 through 25. If you want to read that text before we start studying that particular text tomorrow. Sometimes we forget don’t we, that what we’re about is supernatural. What we’re about has something to do with the world that this world never sees or understands or even believes exists. This is supernatural and supernatural stuff happens all the time. And a supernatural God makes Christians follow and see supernatural works that he does. And if you forget that, you’ll be depressed. If you’re forget that, you’ll miss something that’s really, really important about the Christian faith. God called you to a supernatural faith. You think about that. Amen.
Don’t focus on results. That is a powerful and even freeing idea. Thank you Steve. We’ll have more insights from the dynamic book of Acts tomorrow. Hope to see you again, then. Well as we approach the holidays, particularly Christmas, we all have a certain set of expectations. And can we be honest? A lot of times those expectations aren’t met. Very often, we get on the other side of Christmas and look back and think, did I miss it? We’ve all been there. That’s why we’d love to send you a free booklet called Christmas Meditations. It’s a newly reprinted collection of Steve’s writings on the real meaning of Christmas. The incarnation of God in Christ. The booklet also includes Scripture and devotional questions to help you focus and reflect on the impact of Christ’s coming. Get it now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794
If you’re in Canada, send your request to
Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8
Just ask for your copy of the booklet called Christmas Meditations. And finally, if you value what we do here at Key Life, would you prayerfully consider giving to support that work? Giving is easy, you just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or describe your phone and text Key Life to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And as always, we already listener supported production of Key Life Network.