Summary: We must get our eyes off the obstacles in life and onto God.
January 29, 2006
Today I want to help you begin to catch a vision for what could be instead of being trapped by what is here at Countryside. God has placed within my heart a big dream and big goals to accomplish a big purpose in this life. As the Lead Pastor here, my role is to help you catch a vision for what could be and to focus our efforts as a church on eternal goals and dreams rather than temporary benchmarks.
Today, I want to help you begin to dream. I want you to explore possibilities and think of life and ministry in following Jesus in new and radical ways.
“Vision is seeing what is invisible to everyone else.” Jonathan Swift
I. The Obstacle to Vision
There are many things that can destroy a vision. Lack of resources, lack of planning, and lack of effort can all sidetrack and hijack our vision. It is so easy to become focused on simply doing what has always been done because it is familiar and easy. It is easy to get focused on the problems in our path instead of exploring ways around the obstacle.
Today we are going to look at a couple of stories in scripture that parallel each other in scope and in truth. One is an Old Testament story that may be familiar but that is not very common in our discussions. The other is a passage form the apostle Paul helping us to understand that a vision for what could be is better than a focus on what is.
“Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, "I will set up my camp in such and such a place." The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: "Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there." So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, "Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?" "None of us, my lord the king," said one of his officers, "but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom." "Go, find out where he is," the king ordered, "so I can send men and capture him." The report came back: "He is in Dothan." Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. "Don’t be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:8-16 (NIV)
The king of Aram had taken up attacking in small bands and harassing the people of Israel. They would attack at a certain location and would periodically raid the nation.
God gave Elisha a gift of knowing where the band would attack so that the nation could be ready. So the King of Aram sets out to capture Elisha to make his life easier. So the king surrounds the area where Elisha is camped in order to capture him.
Elsiha’s servant sees the men and is filled with fear. They have horses and chariots and there are more of them than there are of us. This is not a good situation.
Paul writes in the New Testament that all too often in life we are pressed down and hindered by struggles. He is speaking of the wasting away of our physical bodies and the restoration and life of our eternal souls.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NIV)
The Common Problem:
We live and move by what we can physically see.
Why was the servant of Elisha so concerned? Why are the people of Corinth so harassed by their physical struggles?
They are seeing with earthly eyes.
As followers of Christ and as leaders of a revolution of sol change in our community, we must begin to see in light of eternity.
We must begin to have a vision beyond ourselves.
The obstacle to vision is that we focus on obstacles.
We tend to get into a mentality that we can’t do that or we shouldn’t do this. The most dangerous being, “we have never done it that way.” As a church we have to get into the mindset that if we want to reach or culture for Christ we better get our eyes off the physical obstacles and onto an eternal vision.