Vision. Almost every conference, every class, every meeting I have ever been at talks about a vision. Since grade school someone asks you what are your goals? What do you want to do? What do you want to achieve? Every year at this time you see people make New Years resolutions. We make resolutions and then we spend the rest of the year kicking ourselves for not completing them. But what if we made our goals for the next year differently.
What if instead of saying I want to go to the gym three times a week all year, we said I want to double my time at the gym? This year I went twice that means next year I only have to go four times! What if we set goals that are attainable yet challenging?
If we are going to have a vision- we have to have something that we believe is worth having that vision for. Take you Bibles and turn with me to Hebrews 11.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.
Without revelation people run wild, but one who follows divine instruction will be happy.
I know the King James says “Where there is no vision the people perish, but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” But consider this “Without revelation, people run wild, but one who follows divine instruction will be happy.” (CSB)
This is why I like the CSB better for this verse. They say the same things, to different times. King James translators were translating for folks in the 17th century. To them a vision was a revelation. Visions and revelations are just that – revelations from God. In a sense dreams of where he wants us to be. God speaks to us in revelations. He opens our eyes or reveals things we can handle. I believe that revelation is always progressive in nature. Without his revelation to us we just kinda do whatever. There is no purpose in what we are trying to do. As a child we played games. Have you ever thought that all of those games had a goal? We play tag, why? Because we do not want to be it. We do not want to be caught. The games have a goal, because without one we run wild. What happens when humans just run wild? We get in trouble.
Look at the rest of this verse- one who follows divine instruction will be happy.
Vision is about knowing where you are going. Helen Keller was once asked what could be worse than being born blind. Her response was having your eyesight with no vision. You could see, but there is no outlook for the future.
What I want to talk to you about this morning is building a bridge. We know the past, we are experiencing the present, but we need to build a bridge into the future. What is it going to take to build a bridge to our future? As with anything you want to build, there has to be a foundation.
Before we do anything, before we set forward with any task we need to start with preparation. I believe there are some things we need to establish in order to have a vision of what God wants for us to. We know what our job is as a church. It is pretty clear. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. Baptizing them and teaching them all Jesus commanded us. That all is pretty simple. Right? Not so much.
Last year I started walking. I wanted to be healthier. But I soon discovered if I walk without a plan, I am just wandering. The same thing is true about a vision. Why do we need one? If we decide to just go out and make disciples, what are we going to do with them? If we are following what Jesus told us we need to baptize them. Where? Where do we get the water? What do we do with the water when we are done? What do we teach them? Where? Where do we start? You see where I am going? If we are going to be a church we need a plan.
There are some things we need to look at if we want to succeed. Why are we doing this? What is the point? What is the goal? How will we get there? How will we know when we are there?
At the beginning. Who are we? We are a group of believers that want to tell other people about Jesus. We want them to know that without Jesus there is no hope. Simply put, there are two roads, one to heaven – eternity with God, and one to hell – eternity without God. A simple choice. We love people and demonstrate that love by telling them about Jesus. It is who we are. We do this with the hope we find in Jesus Christ. One day we will be with him and we want to share that hoep. We do it because of the love God has shown us.
It is all about the outcome. God loves us and we love him. We serve him knowing that there is a goal. Heaven . Lets go back to Hebrews and look at what it took for Moses to do that same thing. It was all about the reward. In
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
Paul writes “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
It is all about the outcome. The reward what is this all about. There needs to be a reward in sight. Every year we have a goal. Last year the Goal of Eastmont for the NW Impact, or Sylvia Wilson offering was 10% of the NWBC goal. Why? Evangelism is important. They missed their goal, but not by much. That goal that prize that vision has to be something of value.
When you called me we adopted the tagline –loving God and loving people, in Leavenworth and around the world. Honestly, we do really well at around the world part. Cooperative program gifts, Annie Armstrong, Lottie Moon we give better than many. We have plaques all over this church for giving.
But what about locally? That is our vision this year. Our goal this year. To make a impact on our community. So how are we going to do that? We are going to prepare ourselves. There are three things we need to do. Pray, study, and participate.
Preparation has to be total commitment to prayer. James writes to us if any of us lacks wisdom- let us ask God. We do not pray together as a church. I am not saying we do not pray, I am sure all of you spend some time in prayer. But as for corporate prayer, well it is non-existent. This is why January 2nd we begin with a weekly prayer meeting. These are not going to be like prayer meeting of the past. We are going to have a short time of singing, a lesson on prayer and most of our time will be spent in prayer together. Without prayer- going to God together we are wasting our time.
We need to study. How can you tell someone about Jesus if you do not know what you believe and why? Right now we have three in Sunday School and Camp teaches. I want to triple that. By the end of the year I want an average on nine. In order to figure that out we have to keep records. Paul wrote Timothy to teach these things you have heard from me to others who are able to teach others. He also writes imitate me as I imitate Christ.
We need to participate. I am not dumb enough to think everyone will be here for everything. And I am not one who believes if you are not here every time the door opens you are not committed. But I do believe that your actions speak louder than any words you might say. You see my job as pastor is not to be the only one out and about talking to people about out church. My job is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
So we pray together, we study together and we participate together- to do what? And how. Well I want to call this our triplet year. Last year we had two baptisms. This year I want to try and see six. But not just six baptisms. Six people introduced to Jesus. Last year we had three in Sunday School- lets get nine in there this year. If everyone was here on one Sunday we have about 12 in worship every week. Since we are not all here at once we will call it nine. Lets shoot for 27 this next year. We had one big outreach thing last year. The summer party. This year lets do three things. One is to use these cards. Each week I ant you to invite three people to church. It is easy.
Two our Summer team with Texas. Much more outreach this summer. Redo the inside of our building. New paint and a couple other projects we will talk about at our business meeting.
Third lets be more evangelical at Crhistmas Lighting. Not just to the tourists.
I know this is a lot to do, a lot to consider. If we make our goals that is awesome. If we exceed them that is amazing. If we miss the mark, God is till on the trone and we continue to try.