Dear Friends,

Congratulations to all our graduates!  There are certain special milestones in a person’s life and graduating from high school or college is one of the most noteworthy.  This graduation season is particularly significant to us as our oldest grandchild, Haley, is graduating from high school and is headed off to Liberty University.  We are so incredibly proud of the woman of God she is.  I’m convinced that her focus on the Lord will bring Him great honor.

My Dad dropped out in the middle of his senior year at Manual High School on December 8, 1941 (the day after Pearl Harbor).  He wanted to enlist in the Army and win the war.  Many years later he finished his education graduating from high school in 1970—one year before I did.

Maybe following his footsteps, I dropped out of college after my freshman year at Indiana University to enter the Life Insurance business.  Although I had much Bible training through my years as pastor, I am actually graduating from Crossroads Bible College this July so that I can work on my Masters of Theology in Messianic Jewish Studies.

The point is: it is not possible to finish any major accomplishment without focus and commitment.  Persistent pursuit of your education is why you have reached this important milestone.

AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE POWER OF FORCUS:  Focus might be illustrated by the story of the young soldier who was in boot camp.  He had left his girlfriend back on in Indianapolis and was missing her terribly.  He kept receiving long love letters from her saying how much she loved him and what she would do if she saw him.  Finally this young man couldn’t take it any longer.  One evening he came busting out of the barracks with his boots shined and his fatigues pressed.  He was sprinting straight toward the front gate.  The sentry saw him coming and commanded, “Stop!”  Without missing a stride this young man yelled back, “My mama’s in heaven.  My papa’s in hell.  My girl’s in Indy!  I’m seeing one of them tonight!”

In order to succeed in life, we must be focused on our goal.  Although you may have many goals, a follower of Jesus should have one ultimate goal:  TO LOVE AND SERVE THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND SOUL!  This is the Greatest Commandment and should be the ultimate objective of each Christian’s life.


Live a Life of Focused Faith

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV84) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Live a Life of Focused Optimism

Romans 8:31b–32 (NLT) If God is for us, who can ever be against us?  Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

Live a Life of Focused Integrity

Proverbs 20:7 (NLT) The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

Live a Life of Focused Generosity

Isaiah 32:8 (NLT) But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.

Live a Life of Focused Humility

Philippians 2:3 (NIV84) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

A Story of Humility:  When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize, one reporter asked her if this would go to her head.  She replied, “When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, do you think the donkey thought the applause was for him?”


Hebrews 12:1–2a (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.


Keith Tyner is my brother-in-law and is one of the wisest and most godly men I know.  He often signs his letters, emails and texts with “KYEOJ!”  This is an acrostic that means “KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS!”

This is my prayer for my granddaughter, Haley, and for every graduate that they will always keep their eyes on Jesus!

Onward focused on Jesus,

Pastor Gary