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Working With the vision - Jeremiah 29.4-14

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Working With the Vision

Jeremiah 29:4-14

October 12, 2008

There is a music group called “The Bare Naked Ladies”.  A few years back they wrote a song called, “If I had a Million Dollars.”  It is a rather humorous song detailing what this group would buy for example:

If I had a million dollars: We wouldn't have to eat Kraft Dinners
But we would eat Kraft Dinner / Of course we would, we’d just eat more
And buy really expensive ketchups with it / That’s right, all the fanciest ke... dijon ketchups!

Anyway, there was a story in the Reader’s Digest about a teacher who was teaching English as a second language that asked this same question.

The first assignment I give to my classes in Basic English is a composition on “What I Would Do If I Had a Million Dollars.” My students are a delightful potpourri of Americans of all ages and colors, including immigrants from five continents, and young foreign students.

The latest class was pin-drop quiet for 30 minutes, while the students struggled to express their dreams in English. Then a ponderously built senora stalked up to my desk and flung down two pages of crossed-out and written-over figures.

“Not enough, teacher!” she proclaimed in disgust. “I gotta have another hundred thousand!”

—Reader’s Digest [1]

Contrary to the American Dream of selfish ambition, pride, and worshipping the Almighty dollar is II Chronicles 7:14:

We’ve talked about humbling ourselves before God and praying

We’ve talked about seeking God’s face to catch a glimpse of Him.

We’ve talked about progressing toward the end result, which is an aspect of turning from our wicked ways.  As we progress toward becoming like Christ, we become more holy.  But there is one thing we have to discuss this morning that helps us in that journey.

Where there is no vision the people perish

Where does vision begin?

Unfortunately, in the previous examples, one might think the vision begins with money.  In fact there’s another line in that song that talks about buying a house and furniture and a car, etc.  And the final point is that if I had a million dollars, I’d be rich.  If I just had enough money, if I just had enough fame, if I just had enough time, if I just had enough…then I could do…

 

The problem with this mentality is that it starts us out at the wrong starting point.

Vision first begins with God.

Last week: to do good works which he has prepared in advance for us to do.

In the toolbox, God has placed a task list.  God has placed me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things.  I’m so far behind, I’m never going to die.

Begin reading vs. 4-9 - Discuss the fact that God is instructing them in the foreign land to accept it as from Him.

For I know the plans I have for you…Jer. 29:11

God was telling them this while they were in Babylon.

God knew the ultimate plan that He had for them, and what they were experiencing in captivity was not it.

The promises of God.  Don’t forget, God’s got plans for us.  Those plans are a part of what’s in the tool box.

Then it is up to us to discover it.

Read Jeremiah 29:12-14:

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you…I will be found by you.

Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  Jer. 33:3

The glory of God to conceal a matter…the glory of kings to search it out.  Prov 25:2

Why would God conceal and want us to search for it?

Maybe to see how serious we are about getting to know Him and His plans for us.

How does having the right vision help us?

Keeps us on the right path

 

"I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word." Ps 119:101 (NIV).

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." Ps 1:1 (NIV).

 

Keeps us all heading in the same direction

" All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." Ac 4:32 (NIV).

"then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." Php 2:2 (NIV).

Keeps us from getting distracted

God has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done.

Eccl. 3:11

Since people cannot fathom it, so they ignore it.  Pretend it doesn’t exist.  And as a result, they live their lives as if it doesn’t exist so they don’t have to think about it.

Keeps the goal in front of us.  Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus – Hebrews 12:1-3

Vision helps us keep our minds from being clouded with anything that may get us to live life like there is no eternity after this life.

There’s a great song by Steven Curtis Chapman that talks about this called “More to This Life”

Today I watched in silence as people passed me by, and I strained to see if there was something hidden in their eyes; But they all looked at me as if to say, “Life just goes on.”
The old familiar story told in different ways, make the most of your own journey from the cradle to the grave; dream your dreams tomorrow because today life must go on.

But there’s more to this life than living and dying, more than just trying to make it through the day; more to this life, more than these eyes alone can see, and there’s more than this life alone can be.

Tonight he lies in silence staring into space, and looks for ways to make tomorrow better than today, but in the morning light it looks the same; life just goes on.
He takes care of his family, he takes care of his work, and every Sunday morning he takes his place at the church; and somehow he still feels a need to search, but life just goes on.

So where do we start to find every part of what makes this life complete;
If we turn our eyes to Jesus we’ll find life’s true beginning is there at the cross where He died.  He died to bring us . . .

We forget that there is more to this life, but we often get so caught up in this life, we forget and go astray.

“A few hours before entering the “Homeland,” Dwight L. Moody caught a glimpse of the glory awaiting him. Awakening from a sleep, he said, “Earth recedes, Heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet! There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go.” His son who was standing by his bedside said, “No, no, father, you are dreaming.”

““No,” said Mr. Moody, “I am not dreaming: I have been within the gates: I have seen the children’s faces.” A short time elapsed and then, following what seemed to the family to be the death struggle he spoke again: “This is my triumph; this my coronation day! It is glorious!””  —G. W. Ridout[2]

If we could just have this heavenly vision before us everyday of our lives, how different might we live our lives?

What kind of vision is God giving us?  What is calling us to do now, while we are still living this life?

He’s already given it to us.  But like the verses earlier said, we need to seek it out.  We need to call upon God.  We forget that God has revealed to us His will and the purpose for our existence on this earth.  God gave us a toolbox at salvation, but He has the schematics and blueprints all ready for us in His possession.  We have to come to Him to discover them.  Ironically, most of them have been given to us in the Bible.  You’ve heard me say this before, but a common acronym for the Bible is “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.”

Eph. 4:11-16

Five areas of leadership

Equipping the people to do works of service

Teaching sound doctrine

Speaking the truth in love

A Working Vision

To glorify God by spreading His Word to current and future members of all ages, teaching them to be disciples of Jesus, while encouraging a warm and caring fellowship of believers, by serving one another in love.

 

A certain painter is reputed to have always painted with two canvases before him—one above the other. On the upper one, which was always white, the artist imagined he saw the painting. It was his vision of what was to be. On the lower canvas he reproduced for others the picture which he already saw in his mind’s eye. [3]

 

Just like that painter, God has two canvasses.  The top one is what He plans on you and this church looking like.  The bottom one is where you and we are now.  We’ve already examined Acts 2:42-47; and now briefly, Ephesians 4:11-16.  As we touch on these two Scriptures next week, we’ll see God’s top canvass once again, and I pray that the bottom canvas begins to look like that top one.  Catch the vision of what God is doing here in our midst and don’t forget that with God and His vision, all things are possible, but without Him we can do nothing.

 

Questions to Ponder:

1)    Have you been praying for Heritage Church and its vision for the future?  If not, please begin.  We need all your prayers.

2)    Read through Ephesians 4:11-16 once a day over the next week.  Jot down some thoughts that come to you and share them with Pastor Jon.

3)    Read through and pray over the working vision.  Ask God how you might be able to fit into the working vision.


Working With the Vision

Jeremiah 29:4-14

October 12, 2008

Where there is no vision the people perish – Proverbs 29:18

 

Where does vision begin?

Vision first begins with God.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11 (NIV).

Then it is up to us to discover it.

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, Jer 29:12-14 (NIV).

"‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’" Je 33:3 (NIV).

"It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings." Pr 25:2 (NIV).

How does having the right vision help us?

Keeps us on the right path

"I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word." Ps 119:101 (NIV).

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." Ps 1:1 (NIV).

Keeps us all heading in the same direction

" All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." Ac 4:32 (NIV).

"then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." Php 2:2 (NIV).

Keeps us from getting distracted

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ec 3:11 (NIV).

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb 12:1-2 (NIV).

"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" Ga 5:7 (NIV).

What kind of vision is God giving us? - Ephesians 4:11-16

Five areas of leadership

Equipping the people to do works of service

Teaching sound doctrine

Speaking the Truth in love

 

A Working Vision

To glorify God by spreading His Word to all people of all ages, teaching them to be disciples of Jesus, while encouraging a caring fellowship of believers, by serving one another in love.

Questions to Ponder:

4)     Have you been praying for Heritage Church and its vision for the future?  If not, please begin.  We need all your prayers.

5)     Read through Ephesians 4:11-16 once a day over the next week.  Jot down some thoughts that come to you and share them with Pastor Jon.

6)     Read through and pray over the working vision.  Ask God how you might be able to fit into the working vision.


Working With the Vision

Jeremiah 29:4-14

October 12, 2008

Where there is no __________ the people perish – Proverbs 29:18

 

Where does vision begin?

Vision first begins with _______.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11 (NIV).

Then it is up to _____ to discover it.

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, Jer 29:12-14 (NIV).

"‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’" Je 33:3 (NIV).

"It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings." Pr 25:2 (NIV).

How does having the right vision help us?

Keeps us on the ________  _______

"I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word." Ps 119:101 (NIV).

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." Ps 1:1 (NIV).

Keeps us all heading in the ________  ____________

" All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." Ac 4:32 (NIV).

"then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." Php 2:2 (NIV).

Keeps us from getting ______________

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ec 3:11 (NIV).

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb 12:1-2 (NIV).

"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" Ga 5:7 (NIV).

What kind of vision is God giving us? - Ephesians 4:11-16

Five areas of _______________

_____________ the people to do __________ of service

Teaching sound _____________

Speaking the _________ in love

 

A Working Vision

To glorify God by spreading His Word to all people of all ages, teaching them to be disciples of Jesus, while encouraging a caring fellowship of believers, by serving one another in love.

 

 

Questions to Ponder:

1)     Have you been praying for Heritage Church and its vision for the future?  If not, please begin.  We need all your prayers.

2)     Read through Ephesians 4:11-16 once a day over the next week.  Jot down some thoughts that come to you and share them with Pastor Jon.

3)     Read through and pray over the working vision.  Ask God how you might be able to fit into the working vision.


----

[1]Tan, Paul Lee: Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers. Garland TX : Bible Communications, 1996, c1979

[2]Tan, Paul Lee: Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers. Garland TX : Bible Communications, 1996, c1979

[3]Tan, Paul Lee: Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations : A Treasury of Illustrations, Anecdotes, Facts and Quotations for Pastors, Teachers and Christian Workers. Garland TX : Bible Communications, 1996, c1979

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