Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vision!! Destiny!! Purpose!!

These are words that excite me!! And yet these are words that are often missing from the Christian life. While it's right and proper that we are a people built on a historical event - the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - we also surely cannot forget that we have a destiny that we were saved and brought for. So why do we talk so little about it? Could it be because we are unsure about stepping into the unknown? We are blessed with so much in terms of church history - writings, libraries, books, volumes and events to learn from. But the unknown is simply that ... unknown! Yet God is the God of the future just as much as He is of the past.

So it was with great excitement that I got into one of Rob Rufus's recent sermons; "The Struggle For The Authentic - Part 2". It's amazing - outstanding - and so motivating! It occured to me one amazing way to conquer depression is to look to the future and get your mind of your present difficulties. Here's a few quotes;

"The Bible says that without vision the people throw off restraint. Without a vision people perish. Without a vision people do not position themselves for success - without a vision people position themselves for failure and for survival. But the power of a vision is that it has the power to pull you into the future with the purpose of victory on your mind. It can pull you through distraction - it can pull you through disappointment - it can pull you through opposition because it has the power of greatness in the words".

Many churches have "articles of faith" instead of vision statements. One of my favourite churches in the world - Lansdowne in South London (pastored by my friend Pete Day) - has an amazing vision statement that they worked so carefully on. I was extremely excited to see some recent photos they took on Facebook recently reflect that by having flags of the whole world hung across the auditorium. They are becoming a living expression of a church who's vision is the world! When did vision statements to cover the earth with the glory of the Lord become "articles of faith"? Or should we be having both? A foundation on which to build wonderful skyscraper churches who attract the attention of the nations.

Rob then went on to talk about Gideon and touched on something that I've noticed in my relationship with God. Has anyone else noticed that when times are hard God doesn't seem to say much or explain much. I put it down to some post-legalistic guilt that I should be worshipping God for the pain or something. But Rob presented a different perspective;

What was very confusing to Gideon was that in his distracting circumstances God refused to talk to him ABOUT his circumstances. What was troubling Gideon the most was the thing was the thing God refused to address or talk about. God does not want to talk to us about our distracting circumstances - he wants to talk to us about our destiny and our call to greatness. God is not talking to you about where you are now - God is talking to you about where He's going to take you into greatness.

Because if he talked to you about where you are now and fixed up your little problem then you would stay in the wine-vat satisfied with your personal needs being met. But if you get frustrated enough in your distracting circumstances and frustrated that God won't talk to you about your circumstances then the day will come when He will start talking to you about your destiny and the greatness that He is calling you to.

He's not talking about where you are now - He will talk to you about the greatness He wants to take you towards".

Awesome hey?! Let's start thinking about vision and destiny. Because if we all personally begin gaining a vision for where God wants us to be, then we will start affecting our cell groups, our churches, our towns and on and on. What a reason to get up in the morning - God is waiting for us with passion and fervour to see if we will accept His call to fulfill destiny! Keep your eyes peeled here too - I will get the sermon published as soon as possible.


joyfullydia said...

Oh man, I am glad you put this up! I listened to this message too, but for some reason it was just now reading this that something clicked for me...........ooh goodie, like a revelation moment. Anyway, thought I'd share. We do have wonderful destinies - God wants to fulfill them in us and I most certainly don't want to miss out and get stuck in my current wine vat!!

Dan Bowen said...

I love that - our current wine vats! But its so true to speak like that, because there are several challenges that face us. Firstly we've got to accept the fact that God is sending an angel to call us "mighty" and call us out of our wine vats! It really bothers me this "hero culture" thing where we cannot accept almost that John Piper or Don Carson or Terry Virgo are "just" men and that they were called just as we may be called.

But we've got to be ready and prepared to step out of our wine vats too haven't we. It's so safe in the wine vats. We can see the stars from there and persuade ourselves that we are having some level of heavenly communication with God, and we can see the walls, see where we are going and where we have come from (nowhere and nowhere).

Time to break out!

lydia joy said...

Yes - break out!! I feel like I am breaking out........I can't stand my stinking wine vat any more!!

Anonymous said...

It's ALL about the past. What HAPPENED. Not what will happen.

07000intune said...

Anonymous, God says I AM. And in the future God will still say I am.

Peter Day said...

What an awesome post. Great answer, Chris. I wonder whether anonymous realises that 1 Thessalonians says that the Lord shall (future) return from heaven with a shout and the trumpet of the archangel and that we shall be forever (future) with the Lord?

Or the Eph 2v10 says that God has prepared (future) works for us to do?

Sheila said...

For anyone struggling with depression, however faintly or sharply, mornings are the hardest! In years past, I've staked my life on the Scripture, out of Psalms 46, "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early..." the original Hebrew denoting, "when the morning appears"!

Looking back to that finished work of Christ anchors my soul...always and forever. What has been done by Christ changes my life. But being able to look forward into a *plan* God has for me, a good work that He has before ordained that I am to walk in...oh, Dan. That anchors my DAY. It changes my MOMENT.

What else is that "Morning Star", if not a great God who appears on our horizon, giving us an overwhelming sense of, "WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR ME, AND WITH ME, NEXT??"

I need God to paint a destiny for me, based both on His finished work, and His future plan.

As they do so often, your words have blessed this pastor's wife today.

Dan Bowen said...

That's very true Sheila - I've just started on anti-depressants and my technique for dealing with mornings is to sleep through them! That's why night shifts are the greatest!

Anonymous - if you believe that everything is about the past, then let me ask you one simple question. Do you, or do you not pray? Because if you believe everything is about the past then why on earth do you bother praying; "Thy Kingdom Come?".