Reflections on Life Focus

Graduation ceremonyIt’s hard to believe that almost four weeks have passed since the conclusion of Life Focus XV. But I didn’t want it to pass without commenting on how it ended. The final graduation on August 28 displayed only a small part of what the students had just accomplished. Their body, soul, and spirit had been strengthened and their faith in God greatly deepened. Neither student nor leader would return to their normal walks of life without a change in their heart for the better. For me, God changed my outlook on discipleship. Let me explain with a picture and a verse.

Most of us leadersMcCormick’s Creek State Park is truly a beautiful place; far from civilization, close to creation; calm, unsophisticated, peaceful. It was the perfect place for us leaders to spend an afternoon together after Focus was over to cool down, relax, and reflect. Walk in the lightIt was in this setting that I noticed, and absolutely had to capture, this natural composition of ambient light. The steep walls of the canyon on either side of the secluded creek channeled the afternoon light onto the comely bow of a lonely tree. All the tree was doing was sitting in the light. God changed my outlook of discipleship by showing me that success comes only by staying in the light of Christ. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). There were many opportunities to disciple during the seven weeks. Sometimes I was successful; many times I wasn‘t. I found discipleship absolutely impossible when acting in my own strength and speaking from my own scope of knowledge and intellect. Success only came as I learned to “walk in the light”, drawing from God’s Word and from the promptings of the Holy Spirit to affectively act and speak. It thus became my motivation not to try to change my students, but to change myself so I can walk in the light of God more perfectly and have Him speak through me to the one I am discipling.

Relaxing on a rock overlooking the canyonOne of the larger falls in IndianaMcCormicks Creek SP offered a small cave we crawled thr
Yes, I will remember the rugged hiking, the caving, and the refreshing atmosphere of our leadership outing, but I will more readily remember the message behind the light shining on the lonely tree. My hope is that you also will learn to walk in the convicting light of Christ so that you can have success in discipleship as well.

Missioin complete 


  1. Daniel August 24, 2007 at 6:02 am #

    Mission accomplished indeed! That serene sunset is the perfect depiction of the light of Christ shining favorably upon the completion of an endeavor faithful to His Kingdom. Truly sublime.

  2. Joshua August 24, 2007 at 4:17 pm #

    Your picture sparks many encouraging analogies James. May we be faithful in the places God plants us. For in His timing, He will shine the light of His providence upon us, if we faint not.

  3. Robert August 25, 2007 at 9:40 pm #

    Very true, James! It can be very hard to be transparent because light exposes things in our lives that we would rather not admit is there. It’s critical though, because “light received brings more light, while light rejected brings darkness.”

  4. James August 27, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    The light of the world is Jesus! He is light in our hearts burning away the dross of sin and selfishness. Christians are also the light of the world; once our hearts are clean we can be a city of light upon a hill proclaiming the saving salvation of Christ to sinners. Praise God for the burning, convicting, transforming light of Christ!

  5. James September 11, 2007 at 2:07 pm #

    I forgot to mention something about the first photograph in the post. I was unable to take pictures during the graduation as I was participating in the ceremonies. Therefore, I must give special thanks to Peter Ort who was the photographer of the night. He is well on his way to becoming an editoral photographer! Thanks Peter for your picture.

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