Summary: First message in a series on spiritual vision

(material taken from Andy Stanley, John Maxwell, and Jeffrey Richards)




OPEN: A. In the late morning of Dec. 17, 1903 – 10:35 A.M. to be precise – Orville Wright executed the

first powered and sustained flight from level ground. He was in the air for a whole 12 seconds and

flew 120 feet along the dunes situated in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

It was an historic event that represents the beginning of aviation. But it was actually the end of

a long hard journey for Orville and Wilbur Wright. The journey started with the dream to fly.

Most children abandon their fantasies as they grow older but the brothers grabbed onto the potential

of their dream. They believed they could fly. They believed they should fly.

In the September 1908 issue of Century magazine, Wilbur described the birth of their vision:

Our personal interest in it [aviation] dates from our childhood days. Late in the autumn of

1878, our father came into the house one evening with some object partly concealed in his

hands, and before we could see what it was, he tossed it into the air.

Instead of falling to the floor, as we expected, it flew across the room till it struck the ceiling,

where it fluttered awhile, and finally sank to the floor. It was a little toy, known to scientists as

a “helicoptere,” but which we, with sublime disregard for science, at once dubbed a “bat”.

It was a light frame of cork and bamboo, covered with paper, which formed two screws,

driven in opposite directions by rubber bands under torsion. A toy so delicate lasted only a short

time in the hands of small boys, but its memory was abiding.

It was this childhood experience that sparked Orville and Wilbur’s insatiable desire to fly. All

they lacked was the means. It was then that they began to tear down every obstacle that stood

between them and their dream.

They began building their own helicopters. While doing so, they stumbled upon the principles

of physics that would lead them to their firs successful manned flight. What that means is – they

began to build their vision. They did what needed to b e done to ensure what they believed could

be, would be.

B. This morning we start a new series

1. It’s probably not the best time to start a new series

a. I’ll be on vacation next Sunday

b. David Bean from Camp Illiana will be here to talk about the camp and its ministry during

Sunday School and will then preach for the morning worship service

2. But it’s the only way I can fit in all of the material I wanted to cover under the “Discover” theme

for this year

--the preaching schedule is full through to the New Year

3. The new series is: “Discover Vision:: Seeing What God Wants You to See”

a. As we walk in this world, sometimes we are spiritually blind

--Our eyes are focused on earthly things while God is pointing us to spiritual things

b. Helen Keller: “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no


C. The first message in the series is: “Eyes Wide Open”

--Prov. 29:18 – “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who

keeps the law.”

1. Other translations

a. KJV – “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”

b. NASB – “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…”

c. AMP – “Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish…”

2. What is the meaning of the verse?

a. Vision does not come from man but from God

b. “Vision” can be translated as “revelation; foresight; discernment; insight”

--But the vision comes not from our own minds but from the mind of God

c. When the people of God operate without God’s vision for things, they lose perspective and


--They operate from the way they see things as opposed to how God sees things

3. Basically, this verse is saying that it comes down to cause and effect

a. The vision a person has is the cause, and the effect is the way he then conducts his life.

b. Where there is a true vision, or revelation of God, it motivates those who have reverence for it

to conduct their lives in a way that produces good fruit.

c. If the vision that guides is not from God, the people are motivated to “run wild” or “cast off


--That is, they will not discipline themselves to take proper responsibility, and the result is

that they perish spiritually

d. George Barna: “Vision for ministry is a reflection of what God wants to accomplish through

you to build His kingdom.”

4. As a church, we’ve got to fix our eyes on what God wants us to see

--We need to devote ourselves to His vision for this congregation

5. I invite you to take an introductory look at the subject of vision and how it affects our mission

and ministry in this community


-- Lynn Anderson tells about people arriving on the northeast coast of America 350 years ago. The first

year they established a site for their town and built it. 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 of

public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?

Anderson comments: “Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand 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


A. Vision is Awareness

--It’s the ability to see beyond ourselves

1. A 5th grade S.S. class was asked to go home and count the stars in the sky as part of their next S.S.

lesson. They came back with various numbers. Some said 100, some said 1000, and some said a


Finally the teacher asked a little boy who had said nothing about his counting homework, “How many

stars did you count?”

He replied, “3”. The teacher asked how did you only see 3? He said, “I guess we just have a small


--Flip Wilson as Geraldine: “What you see is what you get!”

2. How many of you remember the story from the Old Testament about the 12 spies?

a. God told Moses to send one man from each tribe into the land of Canaan – the land which God had

promised to Abraham and his descendents

b. The twelve went in and “spied out” the land

c. They returned to say that it was a land that produced abundant crops and was a wonderful place to


d. However, 10 of the 12 reported that the people who lived there were huge

1). That they felt like grasshoppers and looked like grasshoppers to the people who lived there

2). Their advice was not to enter and claim their land

e. Two of men, Joshua and Caleb disagreed

--Caleb gives the reply for Joshua and himself in Num. 13:30 – “"We should go up and take

possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

f. The 10 who were opposed spread their negativity throughout the children of Israel

--They came to Moses griping and complaining about the task ahead

g. Num. 14:6-9 – “Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had

explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed

through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that

land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the

LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their

protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

B. Vision is Attitude

--It’s the faith to believe

1. The 10 who said, “We can’t” really meant “We won’t”

2. Joshua and Caleb said “We can but not on our own. God promised us this land and we’ll do whatever

it takes to win the land. As long as God is with us, nothing is impossible!”

3. Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat,

because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh

of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants.

The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and

gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and

life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.

4. Faith is the food that visions live on.

--Without faith, our vision will wither on the vine


A. Andy Stanley has written a book called Visioneering

1. The term “visioneering” comes from combining the words “engineering” and “vision”

2. “Visioneering” is the course one follows to make dreams a reality.

--It’s the process whereby ideas and convictions take on substance.

B. Visioneering takes on a formula: Visioneering = Inspiration + Conviction + Action + Determination +


--Let’s look at each one of the components of this formula individually

1. Inspiration

a. What fires you up?

--What gets your motor running?

b. Are you tickled and tantalized by the things of this world?

c. Or are you ignited by the things of God?

**Visioneering = Inspiration + _________

2. Conviction

a. The words “convict” and “convince” are from the same root word

b. Do you really believe what you say you believe?

c. Are God’s commands and precepts your guide in life?

d. Then conviction leads you into the next component of the formula

**Visioneering = Inspiration + Conviction + __________

3. Action

a. The Word of God tells us that faith without action is dead faith

--What you really believe determines how you really behave

b. The courage of vision impels us to act on the vision

1). The courage of vision is to say “Lord if that is you, let me come to you walking on the water.”

2). The courage of vision is to say “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

3). The courage of vision is to say “If God be for us, who can be against us.”

4). The courage of vision is to say “The trials of this life are not worthy to be compared with the

glory of the next life.”

**Visioneering = Inspiration + Conviction + Action + __________

4. Determination

a. Lk. 9:57-62 – “As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you

wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of

Man has no place to lay his head.’ He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But the man replied,

Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but

you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let

me go back and say good-by to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow

and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’”

b. How determined are you to follow Jesus no matter where He leads?

c. Can we say, like the apostle Paul at the end of his life in 2 Tim. 4:7 – “I have fought the good fight,

I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Visioneering = Inspiration + Conviction + Action + Determination + __________

5. Completion

1. Once we start, we have to finish

a. Mt. 10:22 – “He who stands firm to the end will be saved…”

b. Gal. 6:9 – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a

harvest if we do not give up.”

Visionnering = Inspiration + Conviction + Action + Determination + Completion

C. We can say then along with John Maxwell: Vision is the ability to see what others can’t; faith to believe

what others will not; courage to do what others say can’t be done.”


-- Four things vision brings into our existence:

A. Provides Passion

1. Vision evokes emotion.

--No such thing as an emotionless vision.

2. When we allow our thoughts to wander outside the walls of reality, our feelings quickly follow

3. A clear focused vision actually allows us to experience ahead of time the emotions associated with

our anticipated future.

--These passionate feelings provide a sneak preview of things to come

4. Vision is not necessarily a vision (singular).

--It’s usually a combination of God-given dreams, desires, and destinations

a. Vision gives significance to the otherwise meaningless details of our lives..

b. If you take the minutia of every day, drop it into the cauldron of a God-ordained vision, stir them

around, suddenly there is purpose!

c. It’s the difference between filling bags with dirt and building a dike in order to save a town.

1) There’s nothing glamorous or fulfilling about filling bags with dirt.

2). But saving a town in another thing altogether.

--Building a dike gives meaning to the chore of filling bags with dirt.

3). Too many times the routines of life begin to feel like shoveling dirt.

--But take those same routines, those same responsibilities, and view them through the lens of

vision and everything looks different.

4). Vision brings everything into focus

--Vision provides passion

B. Produces Motivation

1. Vision determines what you do

a. The mundane begins to matter

b. Details, chores, and the routines of life become a worthwhile means to the end.

2. Let’s go back to our analogy of building a dike to save a town

a. Dike builders are a motivated bunch

--Saving a town is enough to keep you working through the night

b. Just filling bags with dirt for the sake of bag-filling will leave you looking for something else to

do and for somewhere else to go

c. Vision-driven people are motivated people

3. Vision is the big part of why you accomplish something

--A lack of vision is why you may never finish

a. Why do you tackle tough jobs?

b. Why do you submit to tiring tasks?

c. Why is it that you suffer through drudgery and pain?

d. What gets you through to the end?

e. Why do you hang in through everything?

f. You do it because the reward at the end will be more than worth it

--that’s the power of vision

**Vision provides passion. It produces motivation…..

C. Presents Direction

1. The most practical advantage of vision is that it sets a direction for our lives

--it serves as a road map.

a. Vision enhances our perception of what will occur or be produced if a certain course is followed.

b. Therefore, it increases our discernment and sharpens our judgment about which way we should


2. Vision simplifies decision making.

a. Anything that moves us toward the realization of our vision gets a green light

b. Everything else is approached with caution

3. Vision prioritizes your values

--A clear vision has the power to bring what’s most important to the surface of your schedule and


1. People without clear vision are easily distracted.

2. Without vision, there is no compass to discern your direction

**Vision provides passion. It produces motivation. It presents direction…

D. Promotes Purpose

1. Vision translates into purpose

a. A vision gives you a reason to get up in the morning

b. A vision makes you an important link between current reality and the future.

2. Vision is the dynamic that gives your life purpose.

--Purpose carries with it the momentum to move you through the barriers that would otherwise slow

you down and trip you up

**Vision provides passion. It produces motivation. It present direction. And it promotes purpose

CLOSE: A. A vision for Martinsville FCC

I see a vision for Martinsville First Christian Church. As the church we’re called and

empowered for several tasks. The two most important tasks are reaching out to the lost and

reaching in to the Body of Christ itself. The vision I see is focused on reaching out to the lost.

How do we arrive at the goal of reaching out to the lost? I see us doing it through the children

of this community and its outlying areas. I’m talking about the elementary school kids.

Kids’ Club was a good start last year. I believe God wants that ministry to grow. Children are

important to Him. Jesus said in Mt. Growing Kids’ Club by one grade and one day will make

a great impact in the children who attend. We’ll have a better chance of reaching more kids by

starting at the beginning of the school year.

I also see a Sunday evening program called Kids’ Praise. While the adults are meeting for

evening worship, the young people will meet for a worship designed along their level. The songs,

the message, the activities all geared to their age levels.

Through these children, we can reach their parents. But even if we don’t, we’re building a

legacy. We’re investing our time and effort into future members of the body of Christ and future

adult citizens of our community, state, and nation.

What will it take? It take you embracing the vision and committing to its success. That means

we’ll need volunteers to work with the children. Maybe you’re saying, “I can’t work with young

children. They get on my nerves. I just don’t have the energy to put up with their childish


Here’s the bottom line: if you don’t, who will? I know we have a good number of older folks

but God hasn’t given you your retirement papers from the kingdom as of yet. If you’re still

breathing, you’re still a worker for God’s kingdom. We’re going to work toward getting some

help through EIU for Kids’ Club. But we still need folks to serve. It’s going to take about 3-4

years of hard work but I believe it’s our calling to this community.

It’s also going to take money. We’re not going to get their parents right away so we’re going

to need a mode of transportation to get the kids here on Sunday nights. We’re going to need

snacks and programming materials. Through Kids’ Club and Sunday night, we build our Sunday

School and our Vacation Bible School. It all takes money to finance these programs. Nothing is

too difficult or too expensive to fulfill God’s vision for our congregation.

How long will it take? I don’t know. The growth is not up to you or me. It’s up to God. But

if we’ll be faithful on our end, He’ll be faithful on His end.

B. Poem:

I need a truer vision, Lord. A vision filled with Thee

To see the needy world again With eyes willing to see.

A world where people are hurting and hungry every day,

A world that’s ready and waiting To hear what You would say.

I need a wider vision, Lord, A vision filled with Thee.

To see that lonely woman Down the street from me.

The teenager who’s all mixed up, The child who’s been abused,

The day-to-day cares in my neighborhood. Lord, I want to be used.

Give me a new vision, Lord. A vision filled with Thee,

To see the world and my neighborhood As Your eyes would see.

Help me use my gifts, dear Lord, In ways that glorify You,

To act with loving kindness Toward those with a different view.

A truer, wider, new vision, Lord. That’s what I need

To carry out Your commands In word and thought and deed.

C. How do we accomplish the vision?

--Four simple steps:

1. Dare to seek – Pray for God to give you a new vision

2. Dare to dream – Open your heart to God

3. Dare to believe – Have faith that God can and will do great things through you

4. Dare to act – Be courageous enough to stand