Summary: A message focusing on the Vision of growing the local church, moving on from the past and embracing the vision of obeying Christ and investing in his leadership for the future.
Lanier Christian Church
June 26, 2011
The Vision is Jesus
Ten years ago our water fountain (in the church hallway) sprung a leak and flooded the building, I came in to find my old office area
covered with an inch of water. Much of my filing system then and now consists of stacks and piles of books, notebooks, files, and papers scattered around the office floor. I had to do something that is uncomfortable for me at times….throw stuff away.
I threw away seven large trash bags of papers and material that was ruined. I needed to get rid of that baggage. It served no
good purpose other than to weigh me down.
Then a few days later, John and I were moving some of the book shelves in one of the classrooms back to their proper location, and the shelves broke loose and collapsed sending books and notebooks everywhere. I had saved material from the 70’s in that pile and John encouraged me to throw it out. I filled five bags of trash with that cleansing.
It is so easy to hold on to the past. It is so easy to think of how it used to be, rather than the way things can be. To look backward instead of forward.
The lesson I learned is very simple: God wants me to look ahead, not get bogged down with the victories or the hurts of the past. The challenge He has given all of us is so simple:
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." (Heb. 12:2) (NIV 1984)
“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” (Good News Translation)
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (The Message – Hebrews 12:1-3)
It is clear then from numerous Bible passages, including this one today, that God wants us to move forward – not backward. He even gives us a specific target – a specific focus: Fix your eyes on Jesus!
The vision is Jesus. The goal, the direction, the plan is Jesus. Our dreams, our hopes, our goals, our direction our purpose as individuals and as a church must be Jesus. Let’s look at some basic truths that will help us to make sure that Jesus is our vision.
1. HAVE A VISION
Helen Keller, who was born blind, was once asked: "What would be worse than being born blind?" She replied, "To have sight without vision."
I believe in vision. I believe that God blesses our lives with a vision of what can be and guides us in that direction. But He wants us to have a vision!
Lanier Christian Church began as a vision in the eyes of Lowell Moore in 1974. He and I were students at Atlanta Christian College. Lowell’s brother, who lived in Gainesville, challenged him to start a church in Gainesville…so he did. Along with Lowell’s family, two other families responded to an ad in the paper to start a Christian Church. Two years later, Lowell resigned to work full time at Delta, leaving eight members meeting in the home of James & Hazel Hamrick.
Lowell asked me in class one day if I was interested in preaching for this church that was just getting started. I jumped at the opportunity. Why? Vision.
Lowell was so excited about the potential of the church that he got me excited. His vision excited my own vision for what could be. The church had recently borrowed money and bought some land on Browns Bridge Road, there was no church building yet, and there was less than $100 in offerings each week.
Since the church didn’t have the money to pay for a full-time preacher, Faith and I volunteered to travel around the state and sing and try to raise support for this ministry endeavor. One of the members said: "If you can raise the money, we’ll hire you." Well, lo and behold, the missions support started coming in, and the church took a vote – (7-1) to hire us to come at a salary of $100 a week.