Summary: A sermon on vision for a new year. This was written almost 10 years ago. Some of the illustrations may need to be update.
The passage that I am using for a text is one that, when you hear it, will sound familiar to you. It is like Psalm 23, John 3 or 1 Corinthians 13 ... we wonder what more can be said about it. It is a passage that, if you are not familiar with Scripture, you will assume you read it in a magazine, or that you heard some great statesman use it in a speech. Today, I am impressed to share some thoughts on it.
Some time ago, there was a comic strip in Peanuts that showed Lucy in her psychiatrist booth. She is trying to analyze Charlie Brown. She says, "Charlie Brown, life is like a deck chair." "Like what?" "Charlie, have you ever been on a ship when the passengers try to open up one of those chairs so they can sit in the sun? Some of them place their chairs facing the rear so they can see where they have been. Some of them face their chairs forward so they can see where they are going." "On the cruise ship of life, Charlie Brown, which way is your deck chair facing?"
That’s a good question. Let me ask you: On the cruise ship of life, which way is your deck chair facing? To the back to see where you’ve been? Forward to see where you are going? I have discovered in life, in our churches, so many of us are always looking back.
We see things as they were. We spend a lot of time talking about "usta." Why can’t things be like they "usta" be? Things "usta" be better.
There are some who are always looking forward ... to the future ... optimistically ... with faith. There are some of us who can identify with Charlie Brown ... when he replied: "I’ve never been able to get on of them unfolded."
There are some who are frustrated with life because it seems that nothing works.
But, nevertheless, it is a question worth pondering: "On the cruise ship of life, which way is your deck chair facing?"
The position for a Christian must always be forward. For we are a people of faith, hope, vision and optimism. John F. Kennedy took a statement made
by George Bernard Shaw and made it famous. "You see things as they are and you ask, ’Why?’ But I dream of things that never were, and I ask, ’Why not?’"
If our hearts and our lives ... our all ... are committed to the great God of heaven ... the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ... the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ... who raised Jesus from the dead ... and "is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us ..." ... then there is no limitation to our horizon. We can look and dream of things that have never been and say, "By the grace of God ... why not!?"
We have to be people of vision. It is encouraged throughout Scripture. Listen: "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18). "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth..." (Joel 2:28-30a).
This same thought is reflected in Acts 2:17. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."
This tells us that people who are controlled by the Spirit of God are people with vision. It also says that young and old alike are capable of this. It is not just the young who are capable of dreaming new ideas and desiring to see them accomplished by Almighty God. Those who are in their twilight years are just as capable. But understand ... the determining factor is not age ...
it is the big IF...if they are controlled by the Spirit of God.
If they are not controlled by the Spirit of God what do they say?
"We never did it that way before." Or
"We’ve always done it this way." Or
"We don’t have the money." Or
"We usta do that but we can’t do it now."
Where there is no vision the people perish.
We Need a Vision of Our Golden Opportunities
We need a vision of our golden opportunities. What potential! What opportunities are about us. The passages I read a moment ago in Joel and Acts tell us these came from God. How great they are.