Summary: After weeks of study and planning, the leadership of our congregation is launching our Vision and Mission statements to the congregation. This boils down to: Being God-Led; Outreach-Centered; and Church Equipping. This lesson deals with the first aspect.
1. Pioneering Vision
About 350 years ago a group of immigrants landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness.
In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?
Here were people who had the vision to see hundreds of miles across an ocean and overcome great hardships to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision. With a clear vision of what we can become in Christ, no ocean of difficulty is too great. Without it, we rarely move beyond our current boundaries.
2. We typically understand the general aspects of vision and mission -- Matthew 28.18-20
3. From time to time we need to stop and think about the specifics -- the elders and staff have spent weeks working on what we perceive God wants to do through this congregation at this time.
4. This is the first of three lessons I will give on vision and mission; Mike Sparks will conduct two combined adult Sunday AM classes to give us further detail
I. Necessary Ingredients:
2 And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: "You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 3 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. 5 I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. 6 You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the LORD your God. 7 And when you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out against us to battle, but we defeated them. 8 We took their land and gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of the Manassites. 9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. Deuteronomy 29.2-9
A. Eyes to See the Vision -- Destination
When Walt Disney World in Orlando ,FL. opened in 1974, Mrs. Disney was sitting beside Walter Cronkite. Walt Disney has passed away a few years earlier. Walter Cronkite wanted to say just the right thing to Mrs. Disney, so he leaned over to her and said, "Wouldn't it be great if Walt were here to see this today." Mrs. Disney wisely replied, "If Walt had not first seen this you would not be seeing it today." Well said Mrs. Disney.
1. It is dangerous to lack vision -- Proverbs 29.18
2. "Vision" can be insight from God and it can be teaching
3. Israel got into trouble whenever there was a lack of teaching or a lack of heeding the teaching
4. Darkness at the time of Eli -- 1 Samuel 3.2-3
2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
5. God's remedy -- Samuel -- the "Seer" or Prophet
B. Hands and Feet for Mission -- Route
When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure the success of his military venture. He ordered his men to march to the edge of the Cliffs of Dover. To their amazement, they saw every ship in which they had crossed the channel engulfed in flames. Caesar had deliberately cut off any possibility of retreat. Now that his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do but to advance and conquer! And that is exactly what they did.
II. Aspect #1: God-Led
A. We may not always see clearly but we follow God's directions
1. Abram -- "I will show you" -- Genesis 12.1-2
2. Israel -- Pillar of cloud and fire
Automobile genius Henry Ford once came up with a revolutionary plan for a new kind of engine. We know it today as the V-8. Ford was eager to get his new idea into production. He had some of his men draw up plans and presented them to the engineers.