What You Focus on Expands

Re:Verse passage –Matthew 22:35-39 (day four)

Underneath my computer in my office I keep a sticky note with a quote from Tim Elmore that says, “What you focus on expands.” There is a reason that the scripture reiterates the word “all” in this command. Our innermost desires and thoughts should be rooted in the Lord. In the moments that we pause at work or school and begin to daydream, what are we dreaming about? What we focus on expands. As our heart and mind begin to dream and think, the things that we dream and think about expand. Our knowledge of those things increases. Our plans become more comprehensive. Taking a pause to dream is not a bad thing. It is when these thoughts and dreams consume our everyday lives that it becomes a hinderance to our faith. Jimmy Needham wrote a song that states, “Anything I want with all my heart is an idol. Anything I can’t stop thinking about is an idol.” What you focus on expands. Is what you are focusing on keeping you from focusing on God with all your heart?

Rick Henderson
Associate Pastor, Youth


Re:Verse passage –Matthew 22:35-39 (day three)

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

“The Lord our God, the Lord is one”—and he exists as an eternal fellowship of three persons; he cannot exist otherwise and still be God. God created us in his image. To be human, then, is to bear in our being certain characteristics that we share with God. This commandment, both in its original iteration in Leviticus, and as quoted by Jesus here, in addition to the implicit ways in which it appears throughout scripture, indicates that life in fellowship with others is one of those characteristics marking the image of God in us. We cannot reject fellowship with others and still remain the fully human creatures God intended us to be. To fail to pay attention to your neighbor is not self-preservation, but the beginning of the extinction of the human race, yourself included.

Love God – Love Each Other

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 22:35-39 (day two) 

“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” vs. 40

First century Jews had rules for everything. Most of these came from their understanding of how best to keep the 10 commandments. When taken in totality the amount of rules for everyday living was overwhelming. They were certainly well-intentioned, but also clouded the true intent to bring our lives more in line with God.

The Pharisees were constantly trying to trip up Jesus in word or deed and knew that if they could get him to commit to exalting one rule above another, they could begin to make their case against him. Isn’t it incredible that Jesus is able to disarm this challenge and sum up the law at the same time? Love God, love each other. Let everything be measured by these two thoughts. Take time today to examine how you are living your day. Does it show your love for God? Are you treating others like children of God? Start there.

Monday Re:Verse Blog Post – 8/12/19

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 22:35-39 (day one)

Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Matthew 22:35-39 (The Greatest Commandment) in our Summer Sermon Series: “Meant for More. A Study of Commandments.”


Re:Verse passage –Exodus 20:17 (day seven)

As a remedy for coveting I think it would be prudent for us to practice thanksgiving, but not as we normally do.  Typically, we thank God for things that he has given us, sometimes even at the expense of others, or we thank God for things that in some way benefit us. Today let us do something different.

Take a few moments now to pray and thank God for what he has given someone else.  Pray this way:  Lord thank you for giving ______ to (name).


Re:Verse passage –Exodus 20:17 (day six)

“You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Paul, Philippians 4:4

Coveting never rejoices. It is a thief, a robber. It entangles; enslaved to its discontentment, it peers into the windows of others lives, where the grass is always greener. It replaces joy with envy, and rejoicing with bemoaning. It’s vocabulary consists almost entirely of phrases like “I must have…”, or “If only I….” 

Faith rejoices in hope. Rather than depleting, it restores. Rather than enslaving, it is freeing. Faith looks beyond itself, even through heartache and pain, fixing its gaze on the assurance of the promises of God. And it rejoices in the goodness of God, and especially in the good that comes to others. It’s vocabulary consists of phrases like “I am thankful for…” or “I trust God because…” 

Don’t be mistaken, faith doesn’t live in ease. No, it is scrappy; it doesn’t let up or give up, even when it feels like it is out of breath. For faith, breathing IS praying, where hope is found, and where there is hope there is rejoicing.

Trust and Lust

Re:Verse passage –Exodus 20:17 (day five)

“You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

The tenth commandment boils down to trust and lust.  Do I trust God that God has, can, and will meet my needs?  There is a past, present, and future perspective in being content. Once we can recognize and remember God’s faithfulness, kindness, and graciousness, it helps us in being presently content and less anxious about the future (a place where coveting is birthed) .  Perhaps a thankfulness inventory or a list of God’s blessings would be a good place to start today.

If our thoughts and desires lead us to look and crave the qualities or possessions of others instead of God Himself, we are gazing in the wrong direction, and have misplaced our affection for the wrong things. In my mind, this resembles lust- craving the wrong things from the wrong source. Our hearts and minds must be directed to the Lord in prayer, obedience, and worship to the one Who has an unlimited supply of grace, love, forgiveness, riches, and wisdom.  We should trust His promises in our contentment, and look only to Him to meet all our needs- physical, social, spiritual, and emotional.


Re:Verse passage –Exodus 20:17 (day four)

“You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

When is “enough”, enough? It is so easy for us to fall into the trap of seeing the things that are around us that we do not have and want them. We are constantly bombarded with lies that what we have is not enough. There is a better car to drive. There is a newer gadget. There is a more beautiful house down the street. There is a great school for your kids, just not in your area. None of these things in and of themselves is a sin to have.

The rub comes from our desires in wanting more. Do we trust that God gives us all that we need? In Deuteronomy 28, God promises that if we follow Him and trust Him, He will give to us abundantly. In Matthew 6, Jesus reminds us that God knows what we need and gives to us appropriately. It can be difficult to not want more at times. But God’s word reminds us that we have to trust that He gives us more than enough.

Jimmy Gunn
Associate Pastor, Preschool & Elementary


Re:Verse passage –Exodus 20:17 (day three)

“You shall not covet…anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Your neighbor is the one whose life draws near to yours in ways it doesn’t draw near to another’s. You each have the ability to encourage each other’s well-being and happiness. In fact, your neighbor is the best hope you have for being cared for in this life. And you are your neighbor’s best hope. Your taking issue with that particular ecology might be evidence for how much distance you’ve longed to put between your neighbor and yourself. The Bible sure spends an awful lot of time and energy pointing out how to structure life with neighbors for this to be the minor factor of life that many often take it to be. If your neighbor isn’t for you, who else have you got? The Bible would seem to say, “Very few.”

Need vs. Want

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:17 (day two) 

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

The line between want and need can sometimes be a very fine one indeed. Type A personalities are often defined by their drive to succeed and get ahead which often begins with wanting something they don’t currently have. So where do you draw that line? One distinction that can easily be seen in the commandment is that desiring something that belongs to someone else is a good place to begin denying yourself. David’s pursuit of Bathsheba was a clear violation of this command. He knew her to be the bride of Uriah. The sin of adultery began with a sin of coveting.

Wanting to get ahead. Working to better your position or to provide for your family. These desires and pursuits, with God’s blessing, are honorable. Weighing every pursuit with a clear understanding of where God has placed you, who he has called you to be, and peace that even if you don’t get it you can be content, this is the kind of discernment help honor this commandment.