Where you focus your eyes and heart (Raymond Baker)

Worship on the Lord’s Day – Easter 3
10:00 am       14 April 2024
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Minister: The Rev Brad Childs     Service led by: Raymond Baker
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Linda F-B
Elder: Rom Rhoad

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P: and also with you.

Lighting of the Christ candle
Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship

Call to Worship
L: We gather with joy, for Easter brings us new life.
P: The Risen Christ is with us wherever we go.
L: Love breaks all bonds and unites us in hope.
P: Christ has defeated death. Let us rejoice and be glad!
L: Come and worship with hearts full of praise.
P: O God, receive our grateful Hallelujahs!

Opening praise: Come, now is the time to worship

Prayers of approach and confession

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

In Jesus’ Powerful name we pray. Amen.

Response: I waited, I waited on you, Lord

Assurance of God’s love

Scripture teaches that there is a time for every matter under heaven.

A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

In confessing our sins to God, we have offered God our tears of regret.

Now is the time to rejoice in God’s mercy:

In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

In Jesus Christ, we can make a new start. Thanks be to God.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Response: Open our eyes, Lord


Have ever not been able to walk. Have you ever been in a position where you needed someone to carry you?

Why did you need someone to carry you?

Can anybody else think of a time when you needed someone to carry you? Because you just couldn’t walk?

I’m thinking of maybe when you were a little baby. And your mom or dad or grandma grandpa carried you around?

How about maybe when you’re a little bit older and you fall asleep on the couch and they have to carry you to bed?

Well, in our scripture reading today and in Sunday school, we are going to talk about a story about a man that wasn’t able to walk.

And back in the time of Jesus, they didn’t have wheelchairs and they didn’t have programs to help people that had health problems.

So really this man had to rely on his friends or his neighbors to carry him places. So they had put him outside the temple because also because he couldn’t walk. He couldn’t walk from since he was born. So he would sit outside the temple and he would beg for money.

One day, a couple of Jesus’ disciples were walking to the temple to pray, like good Jewish people did, and they saw this man there.

How would you feel if you had to spend all your days just sitting outside of a temple begging for money?

It’s kind of sad, right? So this man just kind of sat there waiting for somebody to notice him.

Then Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John, saw this man and they decided to go up to him and talk with him.

He didn’t really look up and they said to him, “Sir, look at me.”

Then the blind man  got all excited. He thought that they were going to give him money because that’s what he did, right?

He begged for money and then he could buy himself food or whatever he needed. And so he looked up at them.

And he held out his hand waiting for them to give him some money. And Peter said to him, I don’t have any money. I don’t have any silver or any gold of you. But what I do have I will give you.

What do you think he gave him? What did Jesus’ disciples have? Can you think of anything?

All he had was Jesus’ Holy Spirit inside of him.

This is a few weeks now since Jesus had been resurrected. So their friend is now gone and now it’s up to the disciples to go out and help people.

Peter said, “Give me your hand, I will give you what I have.”

So the blind man held out his hand.

Let’s reenact this.

Hold out his hand, Claire. You got have to get because, you’re late going somewhere. But you can’t.

A s Peter said to the blind man, in the name of Jesus Christ, get up and walk. There you go.

And that’s what happened with the blind man.

So how do you think the man felt? Pretty happy.

He told everybody about it.

So what do you think the people that saw this did?

They were they amazed? Like if you saw some guy that you’ve seen at the temple all the time and he couldn’t walk and he couldn’t walk and all of a sudden now he’s walking and dancing That would be pretty amazing.

So did Peter say, “Oh yeah, that was all me. I’m so good”?

No. What did he do?

So he didn’t take credit for it. He said, “I told you to walk in the name of Jesus.”

I had the power of God inside of me and that’s why you’re walking.

And that’s what he told all the people.

“It’s because of the power of God, because I focused fyself on God and if you focus yourself on God then you can do that too.”

Now that happened 2,000 years ago so nothing like that happens anymore, right? You don’t think so?

So do you think that if you focused on God and you did things in God’s name that you could do some amazing things?

Maybe. But I want to talk specifically about some of the programs at Dayspring.

About 15 years ago the Sunday School at Dayspring decided that they would sponsor a child with World Vision.

And this, we now have a fourth child, Joshua Gustavo.

I have to say about our last child, Jose, that we supported that family enough that they managed to get on their feet and they didn’t need support anymore.

And that kind of reminds me of our story where this man needed some help and he got help and now he was off on his own and he could do his own thing. So now we’re going to try it again we’re going to have a new sponsored child – Joshua

The Sunday school is a little sparse, so we’re going to ask for help from the congregation.

We’ve not talked about our sponsor children for a while, so I just want to remind people that we have this program going, we’re going to have these cans out with the offering plates if you want to give some offering, if you have change in your pocket or $5 bills, that’s good too. They fit in the slot as well.

It costs $49/month and we help support a child and their family.

And then we can have stories like we did with Jose where they eventually didn’t need our help anymore and they managed to get on their own 2 feet.

Now when we do service to others, it’s like we’re showing them Jesus, right? So there’s lots of things we can do.

We do lots of programs at the church where we’re showing them Jesus and we’re showing them how God’s kingdom could be and how we want them to be part of that.


Dear God, thank you for loving us. Be with each of us as we go out into the world and do great things. In the name of Jesus Christ.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: In the presence of you people

Today’s Message

Scripture reading: Ac\ts 3:1-16

Response: Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the Living God

Message: Where you focus your minds and hearts

What is your Focus?

In Waikiki, Hawaii there is a beggar who lives in the streets named Lynda. People know she is there, but rarely look at her as they pass by. Maybe they are trying to avoid making eye contact with her, because they do not want to engage in or listen to her outrageous and confusing stories.

One day my wife, Jacquie and I got lost while visiting my father in Hawaii. We had gone to Walmart in Honolulu and became confused about how to get back to the condo in Waikiki where my dad lives. Thankfully, we noticed Lynda on the street and she began to engage us in a conversation. During our discussion, we told her that we were lost and needed to get back to The Pavilion on Kalakaua Avenue. She proceeded to give us very clear directions and when we arrived safely back home, my dad, who had passed by Lynda many times, was waiting for us. He was stunned to find out it was Lynda who directed us back to the Pavillion.

Unfortunately, it is true today that people get used to seeing the same unhoused individuals living on the streets as if they are part of the background, when they are there every day.

I can imagine it was no different in the story that we find in Acts where Peter and John were on their way to the temple for prayer. A man who was lame since birth was set at the same temple gate every day to ask those going in for money. The lame man saw Peter and John and asked them for money. When Peter and John heard the lame man’s request, they fastened their eyes upon him. This was probably different from what most people walking into the temple did. Peter then asked the beggar to look straight at them. The beggar gave heed to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter told the crippled man that they did not have silver or gold, but what they had was Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In Jesus’ name, Peter instructed the lame man to get up and walk. Peter helped the man up and the lame man was instantly healed. The beggar began walking and jumping and praising God!

All the people around looked and saw the same beggar who had been laying in the same spot at the temple gates for years was walking and jumping around. Peter said to the crowd, “Why do you stare at us?” It was as if the crowd thought by Peter and John’s power or godliness they healed the man. Peter then corrected the crowd saying it was faith in Jesus that made this man able to walk.

I find it interesting that Luke, the author of the book of Acts, repeatedly used the Greek word, Atenizō for some of the words in this passage that are associated with the act of  looking. This word is very similar to the Latin word attentio, which means “to attend, give heed to” and it is where we get our present word, “attention”. I believe it is not by accident that Luke emphasised “looking”.

Where do we put our attention?

Way back in the eleventh century, the theologian Thomas Aquanis went to visit Pope Innocent II at the Vatican in Rome. Aquinas seemed stunned at the opulent beauty and gold trimmings in the buildings. Innocent II bragged, “No more can we say silver and gold we have none!”

Thomas Aquanis quickly answered with, “Yes, and now you can not say get up and walk.” Aquanis was being very cheeky to the Pope, hinting that their focus was not on Jesus and therefore they had lost their connection with God. We can all listen to this story and think poorly about Pope Innocent II, but I think that we all should think personally about the focus of our eyes and heart.

Where do we put our attention?

The idea of where we focus our attention and heart is beautifully illustrated by Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler in Matthew 10. We read that this ruler came to Jesus and asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus knew the young man’s focus and asked him to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor and then follow Jesus. The rich young ruler was dismayed at this answer. He owned a lot of property and could not change his focus and turn his eyes to Jesus, who was literally standing right in front of him.

Where do we put our attention?

This narrative in the Bible reminds me of an old story about catching a monkey. I don’t know if it is true, but it goes like this. First, take two clear jars with narrow necks, just large enough for a monkey’s hand to fit in. Next, place a piece of fruit in each jar and then put the jars near the monkey. Instinctively, the monkey will put his hands in the jars and try to grasp the fruit. Soon the monkey will realise that he cannot take his hands out of the jars with the fruit in his fists. Supposedly, one can approach and grab the monkey, yet the monkey will not take its hands and focus off the fruit, leaving it with jars on his hands. I am not sure this would work, because the monkey could just pelt you with the jar. The point is, that the monkey is too focused on the fruit in the jar to look at what is happening as you grab him. Just as the rich young ruler did not want to lose his possessions, the monkey did not want to lose his fruit.

Where do we put our attention?

The author of Hebrews summarises my first point well in chapter 12:1-3 when he says that we should throw off everything that hinders us and continue to fix our eyes on Jesus.

The second point of my sermon is: Jesus is the healer.  As revealed in Peter’s retort to the crowd in Acts 3:16, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.”  By faith in Jesus the man was miraculously healed.

There is no formula for miraculous healing. The focus should be on having a relationship with Jesus.

To prove there is no formula for being healed, let’s remember the different ways Jesus healed people. For instance, in John 9:1-7 the blind man was healed when Jesus spit into some dirt and rubbed it on the blind man’s eyes. Another time in Luke 8:43-48, Jesus healed a bleeding woman when she touched His robe.

When we think of healing we mostly think of healings of lame people being able to walk like in today’s passage. I want us to think about all kinds of healing. Romans 3:23 states that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. As Christians when we are sanctified, we are healed from our sinful nature as we are made new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul states, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” As we have just celebrated Easter, we understand that Jesus died for our sins and if we accept his sacrifice and follow Jesus as our Lord, we become new creatures and our old selves pass away. This is a form of healing. We are healed from our sinful nature.

1 Peter 18-19 states, “…it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed …but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

I love this. It is not with silver and gold that we are redeemed, but if we believe in and focus on Christ’s sacrifice, we are saved. It is a ‘spiritual’ healing. Similar to what Paul said in Acts 3, “silver and gold, he and John did not have, but what they did have was faith in the name of Jesus”. This faith is what healed the lame man. Faith in what Jesus did on the cross for us gives us salvation.

I also want us to understand that we are subject to God’s will. This is my third point.

There is an old joke: if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans that you want Him to do. I remember when I was first saved in the 1990’s, I went to many churches looking to find a home church. It was interesting to me that several churches were praying for a missionary named Scott Hugg. The congregations were asking God to heal him from cancer. Because so many churches and people were praying for Scott, I thought he would definitely be healed and even possibly walk on water. In my mind, I did not consider another outcome. Sadly, however, a few months later, I heard that Scott had died. Needless to say, I was devastated and disappointed that seemingly, God did not listen to our prayers. In retrospect, I now believe that God did listen to our prayers. Focusing on God’s will, actually enthrones God in our lives. Jesus exemplified this in Luke 22:42 as He prayed on the Mount of Olives before being betrayed and arrested. Jesus prayed to the Father, “ if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Jesus was saying that He understood that all was in God’s will and put the focus on the Father’s will. If we pray and place all things in God’s hands we know that God will be there no matter what happens.

When we suffer, we also know that God is with us and we should focus on Him. This is stated in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. In Psalm 46:1-3 we find that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  If we are sick or need healing, God is always with us and is our strength.

Where do we put our attention during tough times?

In conclusion,  in Acts 3 Peter and John tell a paralysed man to get up and walk by the name and power of Jesus Christ. Peter made sure that the people around understood that it was focusing on Christ that healed the man, not their power.  We too, must focus on Christ to change our lives, not on our possessions, like silver and gold.

Next, Jesus is the healer. Whether becoming a new creation in Christ as a result of believing in, accepting and focusing on Christ as saviour, or being healed from things like alcoholism or sickness through praying to God– we are healed by Him, who is ever present in our lives. It is only through Christ that our lives can be changed.

Finally, surrendering everything to God’s will helps us persevere and put our present situations and circumstances into God’s hands. We may not be physically healed here on earth, but God promises to always be with us even in our suffering.

If we focus our attention on Christ as Lord, there is a spiritual healing, which makes us new creations in Him.

In our daily lives, we can encourage others to focus their attention on Christ. When we do this, we can be the light of Christ to a world of suffering people like the lame man that Peter and John found sitting at the temple gate.

What is your focus? Is it Christ?

Song: Come, my way, my truth, my life (565)

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and for others and ourselves

Lord, we come before you today to say thank you. Thank you for all you have given us–for all the blessings that we can and cannot see. With a grateful heart we thank you Lord for saving us from darkness and delivering us from evil. We accept what you did on the cross as you took our sin and shame. You can take away our sickness and can heal our pain. We thank you for all you have done and are about to do in our lives. Thank you Lord

Song: We are one in the Spirit (471)

Sending out with God’s blessing

Go in faith in the power of Christ.  Help us to keep our eyes and heart on You as our Lord, redeemer and healer. In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit Amen

Response: God to enfold  you

Music postlude


Numbers in brackets after a song/hymn indicate that it is from the 1997 Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Those and other songs are being used in accordance with the specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

Raymond Baker retains the copyright (© 2024) on all original material in this service. As far as he is aware, all of the material that has not been attributed to others is his own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.


Posted in Recent Sermons.