A Fresh Vision

 

(Proverbs 29:18)  Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained. But blessed is he, the one keeping the law.

 

Today I am going to open and close with the same question:

 

Do you know where you are and where you are going. There are a few different ways we can look at this question. We can look at it from a purly spiritual aspect and ask ourselves how far on that spiritual ladder are we. Some of us may only be on the first or second step, while others may find yourselves three quarters of the way up or maybe more. Some of us might just think that we are three quarters of the way up and only be on the first or second step.

 

Another way we can look at this question is in more of a practical way of in our life’s journey.  Do we know who we are and what we want out of life. Or some might ask, have I accomplished all I wanted to? Still others might wonder what’s next. The main thing that you can not do is think that it is all over. I am telling you the fat lady has not yet sung and you got a lot of life ahead of you.

 

The bad thing about this question is that we can look at it and then instead of looking ahead we look back and in that either get discouraged or we get entangled in the past. Some might be looking back and saying “I should of, could of, would of.” While others might be saying “Yep those were the days… it will never be that good again.”

 

Let’s not get caught up in where we have been but rather lets look at where we are. Some people might say that you can’t really determine where you are unless you look at where you have come from. But if you can stop for just one second and imagine that “Poof, you have just been placed her in this time and space and you are who you are and you have what you have.” No knowledge of how you got here or where you came from, just “Poof” here you are.

 

How would you discover who you were and where you were? You would look at your surroundings; where you are at. You would look at your self, what type of cloathes are you wearing, how old are you. You might check your pockets or your purse or what ever you had on you. What would you first be looking for? Some identification, maybe figure out if you had any money, find out where you live. Do you have a family, what do you do for a living?

 

Then what? What kind of a person are you? Are you intelligent, kind, and respectful, or are you base and angry and selfish? Now, stay with me with this. What if you could decide what type of person you wanted to be? Would you be smarter? Would you be better dressed? Would you have a better job? What kind of job would you have? How about your family?

 

How many of us after thinking about all of this realized that they liked themselves and their lives just the way they were?

 

So I now go back to our question; Where are you and where are you going?

 

On the spiritual side of this question I really want you to know where you going after you die. Where are you with your relationship with God? Do you know, I mean, really know that you are going to heaven? Or are there some things going on that make you wonder about that? What if that old, once saved, always saved thing aint 100 % right?

 

What do you really have to do to be “saved?” We know that the Bible says that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is LORD and believe with our heart that God raised Him from the dead we will be saved! That’s it then, right?  But what does it mean that Jesus is LORD? I mean we can’t just say it and not know what we are saying or even worse not really mean what we don’t even know what we are saying….

 

Let’s look at a passage of scripture that we should know real well and read it in context and see if we can get a little better idea of what it really means to be following God’s plan for our lives.

 

 (Jeremiah 29:11 LITV)  For I know the purposes which I am planning for you, says Jehovah; purposes of peace, and not for evil; to give you posterity and a hope.

 

(Jer 29:12)  Then you shall call on Me, and you shall go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

 

(Jer 29:13)  And you shall seek and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

 

If you suddenly found yourself “poof” all of a sudden here; you would start searching real hard to Find out as much as you could about who you were and where you belonged and what you were going to have to do to survive. Most of us have got that much somewhat down. So let’s take it a little deeper. No one knows the hour or the day when…. Your number is up, your ticket gets punched, the shoe drops, the bucket gets kicked, the axe falls…….

 

You only have today to look ahead at that. I remember reading something this past week about someone asking about what heaven was like. The person answered that they did not know. The other person was confused, then there was some scratching at the door and as the door was opened a dog ran in and jumped into his masters arms. The man told the other person that that dog had no idea what the room was like behind that door. The dog had never been in that room before but he ran right in because he new his master was there. We might not know what heaven is exactly like, but we know that our master is there and when that door gets opened to us we can run into his arms.

 

Ok… But what do we do until then?.... That my friend is what life is. It is what we do until we run into the arms of Jesus. That is why He gave us the church. That is why he gave us His word. That is why he gave us each other. As we look at where we are and where we are going, it is going to be real important that we have some general idea of why we are here in the first place.

 

Just in case you didn’t know. You are alive because you are loved. I mean you are really, really  loved. You are loved with an everlasting, never ending, unconditional, supernatural love. You might have forgotten it but this thing called life is a wonderful gift. I am here to tell you that LIFE IS GOOD! Go ahead, take a nice deep breath of life right now. No really breath in through your nose and hold it for just about a half a second then slowly let it out and feel that wonderful thing called life. Man, we can so easily forget what a great thing life can be.

 

We either get all caught up in the rat race of simply trying to make ends meet, or we have so many pressures on our time because we want to accomplish so much that we can forget to just stop for a second and enjoy it. Slow down for a minute and check it out. Life is good and you are loved. It is a beautiful thing.  

 

In asking you who you are and where you are going I do not want you to get all upset in taking on another task of now seeking some new thing to add to your already over hectic schedule. I Just want you to take a step back and look at the big picture for a second.

 

What I am going to do real quick is to go over the mission and vision of our local church. It has been put together so that you can adapt it to a mission and vision of any area of your life. It is all about knowing where you are and where you are going. 

 

The thing you will so often here me saying over and over again is that you are either going forward or you are going backwards. There is no treading water with life. There is no treading water with the LORD. There is no treading water with your health. It is all connected. So, those of you who live across the country or across the world from this local church can use this paradigm for your own spiritual and physical and emotional growth.

 

The first thing to know is who we are. This really is universal.

 

  1. You have been called, created, (or for those who refuse to believe, evolved) to worship God and to be, (check it out) “TO BE” his praise. That does  not mean to praise him, although we do. It means that you are his praise. Kind of like the way your children are the apple of your eye, or the way something that you really like is not just yours but is, like…. Well it’s you… do you know what I mean. You are the praise of God’s glory.
  2. You are here to work together with everyone around you, helping each other out and lifting each other up. You are here to enjoy the people around you. I know some people might rub you the wrong way sometimes but iron sharpens iron right. In the Christian world it is called “fellowship.”  So the fist two go right along with what Jesus said how we are to love the LORD with all our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves…. Cool hah?
  3. You are really hear to learn more about your creator. I know sometimes we super smart intellectual brainiacs think that we are the creators of the universe…. Then we wake up and look around our room and realize that this is not they way we exactly planned things to be. The fact is everything within the universe is dependent upon everything else in the universe so the only thing that could have created the universe and everything in it, is something outside it. The great part about that is that this creator God gave us his very word and in fact we can see him in all of creation. SO we are here to become more like Him. And that is called “discipleship.”
  4. Then theres the work of the whole thing. You have got to do the stuff. You have been created for God’s workmanship. You can do amazing things. In fact because you have been created in the very image of God you are a very creative person yourself. Admit it if you just sat around doing nothing you would be board to death in no time. That is not living. It is when we get up and get going that we know we are alive and have purpose. It is when we align our giftings with our doings that our ministry prospers.
  5. Lastly we are here to tell others about the truth of the greatness of life. You see, just the same way that you sometimes forget how great life is so do other people. And the same way you sometimes don’t feel you deserve to go to heaven, a lot of other people feel the same way. SO they have tried a lot of weird ways to get to heaven… Wow. It is so good when you finally discover the truth. That is when the truth really sets you free. So you are here to tell the world the truth of who Jesus is. He really is LORD of all! Amen? AMEN!

 

 

OK so now that we have got that out of the way, where are we and where are we going? Well, we are growing, that is for sure.  There is a Christian word that can be confusing because it has a couple of different applications. The word is Sanctification. It means to be set apart, or to be made special. That is where we get the word “saint” from. If you have really discovered the truth then you have been sanctified. And if you have been sanctified then you are being sanctified. How can you be, being sanctified if you have already been sanctified? Easy, it is both instant as well as progressive. That means you keep getting better and better, becoming more and more like Jesus.

 

In our past study on spiritual growth we say the seven stages taking us from conversion to convergence. Just to quickly remind you or for those who missed it, here are the seven stages of spiritual growth:

 

  1. conversion
  2. consecration
  3. conduct
  4. communion
  5. character
  6. core
  7. convergence

 

 

What does that tell us? Well, hopefully it will give you an idea of where you are in your life’s journey. You can start out right here at this very moment with conversion. If you have never accepted Jesus as your savior, then by asking him to forgive you of your sins and to come into your heart is the point of conversion. The next step is to consecrate yourself. Stop being conformed to the reast of the world’s low moral standards and be set apart. Too many people take that first step and that is as far as they go. Then you wonder why you don’t have a full spiritual life. Hello, step up to consecration. In other words “Go and sin no more!”  Yep, that will lead you to the third step which is your conduct. What you say and what you do. They have a lot in common with who you are and where you are going….. need I say any more? 

 

The next step which is communion needs a separate paragraph. Communion is the point of real change. It is the over the hump kind of experience. It is when you are no longer going through the motions but you become the thing. Take a breath here because it is good. I mean real good. Too often we think of the word communion as the bread and wine thing we do in Church. That is not the communion God had in mind. He wants you to really be one with him, heart and soul.

Once you reach there your character changes. I mean if you  are communing with the creator of the universe, it kind of makes you a different person. At least it should. If you are not a different person then maybe you have been communing with the wrong entity…..  That is why is is always good to check where you are and see where you are going.

 

 

Once you begin to develop the character of Christ your motives change. That is your core. You know haw we have been talking about how out of the abundance of your heart your mouth speaks, right? Well, when your heart of heart changes, then the words coming out of your heart change. And the only way to really change your words is to change your heart. So let me ask you again, where are you and where are you going?  Do you need a new heart? Do you desire to go forward? Have you been slipping backwards? It is ok! It is better to realize it now and let the Holy Spirit gently guide you back into the path of truth then to be lost in the darkness of deception.

 

The last stage is called convergence. That happens when you completely align your will up with the will of God. God’s will is perfect. His truth never changes. Convergence iw when we finally come around to the knowledge that we don’t know it all, and that He is it all. Now that is peace.

 

Have you ever just wanted to rest? Have you ever just wanted things to flow like they are suppose to. Sometimes I think that must be what the garden of Eden must have been like before we messed it up trying to do things our own way. The truth is life here on earth will never again be a garden of Eden but the more we do things God’s way rather then our own way the smoother things will become. Where the Spirit of the LORD is there is peace.

 

  

 So no matter where you are God is right there ready to take you by the hand and to gently lead to a closer walk with Him. Wont you reach out to him today. Just call upon His name and He will see you through what ever it is that you need to go through to get to that next step. Soon and very soon the door will be opened and we will be able to just into him arms, until then let’s do and be all that we have been called to. And never forget to breath.