“A God-Oriented Vision”
What is our vision? What do we see? What is our future? What does that look like? Can you picture something in your mind’s eye? Does your vision just center around you? Does it center around you and your family? Your career? Your goal for retirement?
What is a God-oriented vision? Who and what does that include?
Does that vision end when you hit 65, or is it a vision that will sustain you all your days?
To have a God-oriented vision is to include many more than just yourself – or just your kids and their future. A God-oriented vision is beyond you. Vision does not start with us. It comes from God. Abraham, have I got a vision for you!
At our pastor’s retreat last fall we asked: What is our vision? We were not trying to do one of those exercises on how to create a vision statement. We were not trying to come up with a unified statement to present to the church and say this is it. We were wanting to get a glimpse of what holds us in place and what moves us forward when we speak of a vision.
We were wanting to stir up the pot – like a pot of soup;
what’s in there; let’s taste this; let’s let it simmer on the burner;
let’s see how all the spices blend, and then let’s eat it.
– Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
– For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.
– And Jesus said, ‘Follow me.’
– Abraham, count the stars…so shall your descendants be.
Here are just a few tastings from that time together:
– I like our church (emphatic); what we do; what we value.
– Being a spirit-filled church.
– Having worship as the main event.
– Valuing the Word of God.
– Knowing relationship and community is key to our Christian lives.
– Following the Spirit for our direction.
– Having grace be the orienting piece in our teaching, in our living, in our message of the Gospel.
– Being a City on a Hill – whatever we are, we are a witness, our property on Chapel Hill is to be a witness to a city on a hill
– Living with a mindset to Acts 2:42 – that is: being family, being one, doing life together, applying the Gospel to life, outdoing one another in love.
– Bearing the Imago Dei – the image of God – in our diversity.
It is not just that every person bears the image of God, but
the church as a reflection of the image of God.
We went on and spoke of: a place of recovery, a healing center,
an expectation that the kingdom of God can be real, a launching pad, a sacred space, a value for the presence of God, a quality of life together, a place of prophetic praying.
Last year we celebrated our 40th anniversary as a church.
40 yrs. ago I wasn’t in vocational ministry, wasn’t a leader here.
I was a young 20-something yrs. old member of the church. I and many others were captivated by a great affection for Jesus. Not just for Jesus – but also for His people – for His church. I gave up my identity only being in my natural family – so I could be identified with the church – with the people of God. I let go of my career advancements so I could be in the church. And many from those days did likewise saying: “I will make the church my life and will make my career secondary.”
God has a vision for your life and that vision includes life as part of his church. It is not just what God wants to do on the inside of you
– personally, it is also what God wants to do through us as a people.
Vision is always about change. God has to grow us into our vision.
Andy Stanley said: ‘From what I read in Scriptures, I would guess the time required for God to grow you into his vision will be somewhere between 4 mos. and 40 yrs. And if you feel you are on a 40 yr. track, here’s one other bit of information you might want to chew on. There seems to be a correlation between preparation time and the magnitude of the task to which we are called. Leading God’s people out of 400 yrs. of slavery required more than a 4 yr. degree. It required 40 yrs. of preparation. But then again, we are still talking about it today.’
At the end of last year, I shared some phrases that I believed
Were meant to shape us for the future. Do you remember these?
-Where there is no way He makes a way.
-God calls those things that do not exist as though they did.
-No one is beyond hope.
God always has the 1st word: What is God saying? Every one of us needs to be stretched by God to live at our best: To see God shaping our heart, our thinking, our character; To see that trials that come our way are God’s means to shape a cross-centered vision that goes beyond what this life calls success; To see that the only life worth living is a life of radical faith & radical generosity, under a radically massive vision given by God to us. God is questioning us: What do we see?
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