Posted by: pastordarren | August 25, 2008

Vision

In both the church and outside of the church, I have been hearing a lot of talk lately about vision for the future.  In the political realm, each candidate and party have their own vision for the future of the country, where they would give direction and leadership if they were elected as president.  Part of deciding who to vote for is to decide whose vision is closest to yours.  We have our own ideas of what needs to happen locally, nationally, and internationally and who would be the best leader to get us there. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for because I don’t know myself at this time.

Vision in the church goes along the same lines.  What is your vision for the church?  Where do you want to see it go?  What do you want to see the church do?  Here in lies the problem.  Too often, in the church, we look at things to get the vision for the church from what we want to see done.  In the Disciples churches, we can gather together 12 people and ask them what their vision for the church is and we will get 13 answers.  We all have our own opinions that come from our perspecitive and comfort zone.  This is normal.  But this is not what I believe the church needs to rely on for its vision.

What we need to do when seeking our vision is to rise above our wants to receive the vision of God for us as individuals and for the church.  I remember standing up on Mt. Hood in Oregon, looking out at the horizon and the view from about 6,000 feet above sea level.  The view of the Cascade mountain range, the valleys between the mountains, the forests and the deserts were complete different when you are raised up above your normal view.  What we need to do is to raise up in the Spirit to a point where our minds and lives are transformed by the Spirit of God.

Romans 12:1-2 speak of the necessity of transforming our minds and lives inorder to know of God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.  When we are able to set down “our stuff” and be transformed by God and into what God would have for us and live that way, we will know God and will know His will and vision for us.  When we are transformed and move beyond our old ways, sinful and the other things we hang on to, then the church and our culture will be transformed as well.

We then need to live in faith and step out in courage for what He is calling us to do and be.

Are you willing to be transformed and to begin to see the vision for the church that God is calling us to?  Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone to live that vision in he midst of our culture?  Are you willing to be the hands, feet, ears, voice, and heart of God in a hurting and fragmented world?

Let me know what vision means to you and where we should look to in the church (and even the country) for the vision for the future.

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Responses

  1. Vision is one of those funny things. In the aspect of church, there is seeing a vision, our vision, God’s vision and then of course God’s vision as filtered through our limited minds. As a church body we need to have people in a variety of positions that spend time prayerfully seeking what God’s vision is for our particular church. My belief is, that typically when a person begins to catch glimpses into what God’s vision is, there will be confirmations in a variey of forms offered. Other members of this body would also be getting glimpses into this vision. They may look similar or they may expand on each other. But when prayerfully sought, God will share his vision. As a church, once we get to this particular stage (processing God’s vision) we need to be careful not to put our own limitations on it. If God shares his vision for his church, then he will provide the means to fulfill it. That is where vision calls on faith. We must, as a body, embrace God’s vision. Then we must trust him to do his part. Does that mean we do nothing? No. We respond in obedience. We move when he says move. We embrace when he says embrace. We wait when he says wait. We grow when he says grow. This is where things can get painful. This means moving out of our comfort zones. It means giving over control to the unknown. It means change. It means new beginnings and sometimes sad endings. But if, as a church, we believe we are called into God’s vision. Then as a church we are also called into God’s blessings as we work to fulfill his vision and bring him glory. In the end we see the fruit. The fruit of our prayers, the fruit of our faith and the fruit of our obedience. And maybe, just maybe that was the purpose of the vision anyway. When we do our part to fulfill God’s vision we all walk away forever changed.

  2. Vision: More than putting aside our wants. If I am a joint-heir with Christ, then all that is His is already mine. So what ISN’T His? While story-telling this year at VBS, one of the stories was about David fulfilling his promise to his friend, Jonathan to take care of his family after Jonathan’s death. At the end of the story, I asked the kids whether anyone had ever been as generous to them as David had to the young man–he had given him all of his father’s land. One young lady spoke up and said “Yes”, and I knew in the Spirit what was coming next. I asked her who was it and what was given. She said that God had given us the Earth. Out of the mouths of babes, eh? But not just the Earth, all that is in it and out of it, and off of it. The entire cosmos is already ours. Once I come to this acceptance, I can “peace out” and listen to God’s direction. Outrageous? Perhaps. But in realizing that all I want is already mine, the next thought then becomes “God, what do you want me to do with it?”

  3. Sometimes vision is not about seeing what is in front of you, but about seeing what is inside of you. We all have gifts to offer this world, gifts given by God to be used for His purpose.
    Another “sense” different than vision given to us by God is the ability to listen. Often we need to close our eyes and simply listen to God for a direction.
    I believe one way to achieve any vision is for each individual to listen to God and determine what is in store for them. Then collectively, a group can take an inventory of gifts placed before them and can organize them for a common purpose. (Remember that not all tithing is monetary. We can present our other gifts to the church, often with greater value.)
    If each member of a congregation were to utilize their “spiritual gifts” as God wants them to do, and if those gifts could be focused in a particular direction, then God’s will and intent should suffice to achieve God’s intended outcome. And we can all take satisfaction in knowing our part in making God’s vision a reality.


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