A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

In Luke 9:62, Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Jesus is saying that half-hearted commitments do not count. To give a full commitment to God, we must intentionally look ahead.

Worldly goals and ambitions have a way of disappointing us. If we have a life goal that is our ultimate focus, what happens when we meet that goal? After the initial exhilaration of accomplishment, we feel dejected that we no longer have anything to chase after. There is no room left for ambition because we have fulfilled our desire.

But godly goals do not disappoint because the work of the Kingdom is never done. When we commit to fully serving Christ, we soon realize that our goals on this earth are enduring. Our service, prayer, and witnessing are never complete. There is always more to do for the glory of God, a deeper relationship to be had with God, and infinite wonders to be proclaimed about God to a world that desperately needs Him (see Psalm 40:5; Job 9:10). We have a mission that lasts for our entire lives—to glorify God and make Him known. We have the race set before us, and God wants us to stay focused on finishing well for our good and for the good He has planned for us to do in His name.

What is in your past that is holding you back from pressing forward? What is distracting you from running the race with all of your energy? “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7) As you consider your goals in this new year, do not get bogged down in your past failures or successes. Instead, pray for a God-given desire to work toward the future.

Prayer: Father, as I look forward in this new year, I pray that I would have godly goals that will keep me focused on the future, not on my past. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:11).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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