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Vision for Today and Tomorrow

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Vision for Today and Tomorrow; NV 6/27/04 AM (2 Kings 6:8-23)

OS: A Pick a number, any number. Did you pick a number larger than a million? If you didn't, why didn't you?

In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin incorporated Google while still graduate students at Stanford University. According to Fortune Small Business magazine, Internet users perform over 150 million searches a day on the Google search engine. The Google search engine can access over 2 billion pages in 74 different languages. One study recently showed that Google users used the search engine 13 million hours in one month. Compare that with Yahoo, which came in second with 5.4 million hours.

How did they get so big? I don't have the expertise to answer that question, but I can tell you that it began with their initial vision. The word googol is a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes. While most people are likely to pick a number like 14 or 98, Brin and Page decided to pick a googol—1 with 100 zeroes. B 1 googol = 1.0 × 10100

Jim Reese, chief operations engineer of Google, says this about the company's founders: "It takes a lot of confidence and courage to go ahead and do that [be huge]. It's rare to find people who think on such a grand scale and are able to create a great product at the same time."

I.       C Everything that has ever been great has begun with a great vision of a greater tomorrow.

A.     This church began with a vision of something better. A vision of a greater tomorrow with greater service and glory to God.

B.     We continue today with a vision of a greater tomorrow even yet.

                       1.       Greater facility, Ministry, growth spiritually and numerically, Worship, education for our children

                       2.       etc.

C.     Any effort worth accomplishing comes with its difficulties and challenges and these sometimes blur our vision and get us off track.

II.    One of the many messages of vision from the Old Testament. (2 Kings 6:8-23)

A.     Our text is an account of the life of Elisha, one of the great prophets of God.

                       1.       Elisha had learned from Elijah, and has now taken up the responsibility of turning a nation away from other religions, such as Baal worship, to God.

                       2.       In this account there is humor, danger, victory, and an interesting item on vision.

                       3.       Not necessarily vision as we think of the future, but spiritual vision that is necessary to stay focused for a better tomorrow.

B.     Go to the text – 2 Kings 6:8-23 (D – E Partial text on slides)

III.  F Notice the servant of Elisha.

A.     He could see the danger, but not the deliverance!

                       1.       When Jesus was asked by His disciples why He taught the crowds in parables, He answered,: “This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ’You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” (Matt.13:13,14)

                       2.       Helen Keller: “I have walked with people whose eyes are full of light but who see nothing. They see nothing in the woods or sky, nothing in sports, nothing on the street. Their soul’s voyage through this enchanted world is a barren waste.”

B.     The truest vision is the vision of faith.

                       1.       The world says, “Seeing is believing”; the Gospel says, “Believing is seeing.” 

                       2.       G 2 Corinthians 5 7 We live by faith, not by sight.

C.     Can you identify with the servant? Let me explain.

                       1.       We live in a culture today that is ripe for producing vision problems.

                       2.       We get so consumed with life, pulled in so many different directions, too many irons in the fire; To many places to go, to many people to see, to many things to do – we begin to stumble because we can’t see clearly.

                       3.       We become blind, and that is so easy to let happen in our day and time.

                       4.       We must allow ourselves to lift up our eyes to the heavens and see with the eyes of God. Without such focus we will loose sight of our vision for the future and a better tomorrow. H Colossians 32 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

                       5.       Without such focus we begin to see problems, danger, reasons why it just won’t work, and we begin to think small. We become afraid to step out on faith because our faith lost in sight.

TS] Look at what Elisha wanted his servant to see. It didn’t matter whether or not the servant saw, but Elisha wanted him to learn something valuable about sight.

Elisha wanted his servant to see (and this is what we need to see)

I.       I God’s Providence (God is the one in control)

A.     Elisha wanted his servant to see that they were not alone.

                       1.       There is more going on out there than meets the physical eye.

B.     We are notorious (churches are notorious) for getting lost in the trees of this world, and being blinded from the vision of the forest of God.

C.     The church belongs to God. It is His Mission, His Vision, His Church. We are in the hands of God.

                       1.       :Matthew 16 (Vision) Build My Church – Vision = “assembly of people who would victoriously, through Him, overcome the gates of hell rescuing the souls of men and women who had fallen into the clutches of Satan and his kingdom.

                       2.       :Matthew 28 (Mission) Go into all the world – It’s His mission.

                       3.       God is working in this church to accomplish His vision and mission! Philippians 2:13, “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”

D.     J Carry that to the individual level as well.

                       1.       You and your family belong to God.

                       2.       His vision for you as a parent, child, spouse, grandparent is found within His Word.

                       3.       Take a step back from life from time to time and refocus your efforts allowing God to work in your life according to His good purpose.

TS] Elisha wanted his servant to see that all was in the hands of God – they were not alone. God had a plan. He also wanted him to see…

II.    :God’s Protection (If God is for us, who can be against us?)

A.     The servant’s first response – “what shall we do?” (FEAR)

                       1.       When you’re in the middle of the forest the trees look so big and daunting.

                       2.       When you’re in the middle of life, on the fast track, you can’t get it all done. – make mountains out of mole hills.

B.     Have you ever questioned God’s protection? Sure you have.

                       1.       Reason – blinded by the trees.

                       2.       We often look at life from the world’s standpoint and God’s protection is not always visible that way.

                       3.       We tend to see life as the here and now, but we have an eternal soul, and that’s what God takes into consideration.

C.     There are some good texts about God’s protection for His people.

                       1.       Our text – there are more with us than with them. K (2 Chronicles 32 6 He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words:  7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.  8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.)

                       2.       L Psalm 27 1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. 

TS] Whenever you doubt the Lord’s protection remember it’s a vision problem. Take some time to back away from life and consider the forest and see with the eyes of God. Elisha also wanted his servant to see…

III.  M God’s Promises (I will never leave you, nor forsake you)

A.     The promises of God incorporate all that has been said thus far.

B.     God’s promises are fact not possibilities!

                       1.       Though skeptical of his teenage son's newfound determination to build bulging muscles, one father followed his teenager to the store's weight-lifting department, where they admired a set of weights."Please, Dad," pleaded the teen, "I promise I'll use 'em every day.""I don't know, Michael. It's really a commitment on your part," the father said. “Please, Dad?””They’re not cheap either,” the father said.”I’ll use ‘em, Dad, I promise. You’ll see.” Finally won over, the father paid for the equipment and headed for the door. After a few steps, he heard his son behind him say, “What! You mean I have to carry them to the car?”

C.     You loose sight when you only see the world because it is just so empty –

                       1.       In 1985, just after leaving 20/20, Geraldo Rivera was at the top of his game as a journalistic investigator. In a matter of moments in 1985, however, Geraldo went from being a respected journalist, to being a laughingstock. Geraldo Rivera claimed that he had found Al Capone's secret vault and would unearth the contents on national television. By his own admission, Geraldo himself had no idea what was in the vault. After more than an hour of hype, digging, and ad libbing, the moment finally came. As excavator's moved back and the lights poured in, Geraldo wondered out loud whether the opened vault would reveal a cache of stolen money, bones, or secret documents. When the vault was opened, however, it was empty. The world is that way. Lots of hype that encourages us to invest our time, resources, and energy. When the dust and dirt is finally cleared away, though, the world's promises are as empty as Al Capone's vault.

IV.  N Vision for today and tomorrow with the eyes of God is an absolute must for our lives and our work as God’s church.

A.     Without such vision

                       1.       Comes frustration, discouragement, and a loss of enthusiasm.

                       2.       Life becomes cluttered and our families, jobs, children and church feel the loss.

                       3.       We neglect the important for the urgent

                       4.       We search and we dig only to find an empty vault.

B.     When we see with the eyes of God…

                       1.       Life has meaning, purpose, and significance.

                       2.       We do not neglect the important for the urgent.

                       3.       We spend our time and energy where it really counts in our families and the work of God.

C.     The real issue is that we fulfill God’s purpose for our lives – : “…And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

D.     When you look at life … what do you see?

                       1.       What have you found? – (An empty Vault – seeing with the wrong eyes – vision adjustment)

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