This series is all about vision – our vision of how things will look in 2020 and beyond and I want to open up by talking about the A B and C of vision, and how to go about realising a vision – that is, how to make your vision for something a reality.
Last series we were looking at names of God and aspects of God’s character found in the 23rd Psalm. That Psalm – the Lord is my shepherd” was written by King David. David wrote it as a way to express his faith in God and as with lots of the psalms he wrote it was a way for David to honour God.
King David was a great man of God and he has been honoured too for that. Famously, one man in particular – Michelangelo - honoured David by creating a very large statue of him – over 5 metres tall – out of a block of solid marble. If you ever get to see the real thing in Florence, Italy, you’ll notice the incredible detail that Michelangelo brought out of the marble. The beauty, the proportions…. Art experts say that the right hand is deliberately slightly large, to depict strength and that David has been called the strong hand of God.
When asked how he had created this incredible statue, Michelangelo said he hadn’t created it but that it had always been there, waiting for him to just take away the excess marble.
Can you think of a time when you could picture something really exciting? What did you do? Did it set about making it come true? Did you ever break it down into steps of A to B to C? This is a really powerful tool – once you have envisioned something, you can break down a long term vision (or goal) into a series of small, achievable steps – and the set about taking those steps. I call this the process of “Think – Plan – Do – Review” but it starts with that think (or dream, or envision) stage.
Once you have that clear, compelling picture (vision) of what success looks like, you can begin the hard work of going from A to B to C.
What would you like to achieve? What’s your vision? And what are the A, B, and C of the process? What would need to be true to get you from A to B and on to C?
You can do incredible things! You have to have a vision for it. you have to be excited enough to pursue it – to plan for it (A-B-C) and you have to be excited enough and gritty enough to do what needs doing to go from A to B and on to C, overcoming the hurdles and finding the help you need along the way. So…. What incredible thing might you do?
God gives dreams and visons to people of all ages and we have a vision of EBC as a church that includes people of all ages – a church that values them and involves them and loves them. That’s why we have a seniors ministry with a dedicated team leader and a host of volunteers. That’s why we’ve spent a long time looking for just the right person to lead our children, youth and families work. We know that God not only loves people of all ages but that he can use them to speak for Him, and He can give amazing dreams and visions to them.
In the New Testament there’s an account of the birth of the church. The apostles had been meeting together when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began speaking in many languages so that everyone around them could understand them. Many people were amazed but some suggested they were just drunk and babbling (ever do that…?)
But the Peter rebukes the doubters and says they’re not drunk at all – but that the Spirit of God was upon them. You can read about this here
An outpouring over everyone… young and old. What would you love to see happening at EBC? What might you do about it? Have you spent time with God asking him? We want His vision… not just any vision. We want to know what God wants to happen in our lives individually and as church. We need to know what he wants so we can work towards it for him.
We have an overarching purpose and mission as a church, which we’ll expand upon next time. That all sprang from God-given vision – and we long for more! But we want it to come from everyone’s experience of God, not just a few. We want everyone to go from A to C with God.
BUT… We don’t just go from “Eh?” (Where are we? Where are going?) straight to “See!” (vision realised). First we must “Be” (be people of God. Tuned-in disciples, who love God and love people)
And when God speaks to us we must respond.
Someone quite recently asked me about my vision and what I’d like to imagine my legacy would be.
Is it a big swanky building… filled with lots of people? Nothing wrong with that but if you think about it, a millionaire could waltz in and give us a building like that any day and without our changing as people one bit. There are plenty of nice church building with lots of notional Christians inside. That’s not what I want.
However big the building and however many people are in it, I’d like us to be known as followers of Jesus. Known as his followers by our love for one another and love for God. Children, young people, grownups… I’d like people to say –
“Those people really love each other. They really love other people. And they don’t just recite prayers or sing, they get out and do what they say God tells them to do – they obey his commands - they get their hands dirty. They put their muscle and their money where their mouth is.
They help the needy locally and around the world… They’re good news for the poor, they bind up the broken-hearted and they set free the prisoners of addiction and abuse.
They say… they say it’s because they love God and because they want to be more like this Jesus guy. And you know what? I believe them.”
And if we’re like that – if we grow together to become more like Jesus, who loves his father – and people – so much, well who knows what dreams and visions he might give us? And what he might provide.
That’s my vision for us and I believe it’s from God. But to get to SEE …. we first have to BE.