Paul was not the only person who was passionate about Jesus and the ministry the Lord called him to. Paul’s passion was not without precedent. Hundreds of years before Saul became Paul we see a shepherd who becomes king. David became the second kind of Israel, described as a man after God’s own heart. Put another way, David was a young man who had grasped God’s vision for his life, a man whose service and worship exemplified the spirit and commitment of a person in deep relationship with God and who was devoted to carrying out the special tasks God had ordained for him.
A person who knows God’s vision for their life and thus their ministry will be a person of tremendous passion. God’s vision for your life is who He wants you to be and become. God’s vision for your ministry arises out of who you are to be and become and it is what you will do for Him because of who you are.
So, first you need to discover who you really are – who God created you to be. Then you need to let Him mould you and change you until you become the best you that you know how to be. And, at the same time, still stay open to further change and adjustment. Then you are ready, out of who you are, to begin to touch other lives with His love and power and do what He has designed you to do – your ministry!
Vision is a simple idea: God created you, He has called you to a specific ministry, and He wants to impart to you His idea of what that ministry is and how best to accomplish His perfect outcome through you. Of course, first you need to have a revelation of who you really are in Him (see yesterday’s ‘Just a Thought’). Read more
As I mentioned in the last ‘Just a Thought’– one of the issues we face when working with vision is that many disciples of the Lord Jesus have not taken the time to discover their personal vision for ministry and thus their place within the body of Christ.
I mentioned that most disciples have not taken the time and invested the effort to discover for themselves what they are called to accomplish for the Lord – their vision for their ministry. And, it does take time and effort to seek after God which is how you receive the revelation of God’s plans and His purpose for your life.
When we are discussing the vision of a local church there are several immediate issues that we run into and must not ignore.
- 1> Although they are good people and have been called to ministry, most senior leaders do not have an understanding of God’s vision for the ministry they are trying to lead – the church. As well, they do not have a grasp on or understanding of God’s vision for their own personal ministry as leader of the local church and their trans-local ministry. As a consequence, most churches and their senior leader have little to no impact and never achieve their potential in God.
- 2> Most believers know about the concept of vision but few disciples of the Lord have God’s vision in place for their life and ministry. Why? Because they have never taken the time to sort out what God’s vision for their life and ministry is.
Duke Ellington, the late jazz musician, composer and bandleader, was once asked to provide a definition of rhythm. “If you got it,” he replied, “you don’t need no definition. And if you don’t have it, ain’t no definition gonna help.” Vision is very similar. Once you have it, you know it; but when you don’t have it, you aren’t sure what it will be like.”
There are many definitions of “vision” and over the next few days I will be recording a number of them. Let’s start today with my favorite. Vision is “foresight with insight based on hindsight.” This definition underscores the important of looking to the future, emphasizes the significance of possessing a keen awareness of current circumstances and possibilities, and notes the value of learning from the past
When we are talking a vision for a local church it must be a revelation from the Lord to the leader. This vision is then confirmed by the leadership as the details of the vision are shared with them. Once there is agreement and confirmation then the vision is shared with the people.
Proverbs 29:18 states: “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people are discouraged” and so a stated vision is essential for God’s people in the local assembly to be encouraged and even enthusiastic about what God is asking them to be and become as well as do or accomplish in His Name.
Every church needs to know why God decided to birth this particular expression of the body of Christ in that place and at that time. Why did God want another church and what specifically is He calling it to be and thus to do.
This begins by first understanding and accepting the basic reason why all churches exist – to glorify Jesus and continue the ministry that Jesus has upon the Earth. Jesus is and must always be the center of the vision for the Church. After all, it is His Church and He is the Head of the Body of Christ, the Church . So, vision always begins and ends with Him.
It is vital to have a vision. The Bible states that without a vision God’s people perish (Proverbs 29:18). This verse was spoken prophetically in reference to an accurate vision of God. Without an accurate vision of God – His people will perish. So, recently I have presented some adjustments that needed to be made regarding who the real Bible Jesus is.*
This is important because the Bible states that Jesus came to reveal our Heavenly Father to us. And, the Bible states that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father.So, as we come to accurately know the Bible Jesus we come to know our heavenly Father.
When Jesus told His disciples to be like salt and light, He meant those as positive metaphors: salt causes others to thirst for God, while light illuminates truth and shines compassion into dark places of despair. But salt and light can have negative connotations too. Salt stings when rubbed into a wound; light causes people to avert their eyes when someone fails to dim a car’s high beams on a two-lane highway. In a similar way, inauthentic Christians can cause others to recoil from God. Read more