Worthy vision always outlasts those whose casts them. I want to share three things about generational vision today.
King David's personal vision and passion extended far beyond his own lifetime. Although he knew that Solomon would build the temple, he did some long term, long range planning and preparation for it's construction. "Solomon my son is young and inexperienced," he explained, "and the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparations for it." (1 Chr. 22:5)
David appointed stone cutters, gathered cedar logs, acquired mounds of iron for the nails, and even gave Solomon a charge to finish the job. This is the kind of thing that separates leaders from followers. As Christians, as parents, we have been given the task by God to spread his message, to make disciples, to effectively build his temple in the lives of others. How we live our life now will determine how that vision outlasts our life.
As a parent, and a son it is my responsibility to be better than my father and to make the preparations for my kids to be better than me. It is my responsibility to start the work by making the necessary preparations into their lives for them to succeed in carrying on the work of the gospel far beyond my life. This is a vision we have been given by God. Our focus must be generational, not focused on the here and now. This is a vision that also yields generational rewards.
Here is what it takes to have a generational vision....
1. The vision of the gospel in our lives must be beyond others...meaning that the vision of seeing lives impacted for Jesus must be looked at past our own future to the generation that follows. The question that has to be asked...especially if you are a parent is this...How are you building up that vision into the lives of your children? Are you raising your kids or are you discipling your kids? There is a HUGE difference!!! Any body can raise a child, few can disciple a child. As a parent are you leaving your God appointed responsibility to disciple your child to a stranger?
2. The vision of the gospel in our lives must be before others...meaning that we must see what is going to happen before others are ready for the gospel. We must be see and believe that our friends, and loved ones who are far from God will come to God. This is a vision that carries us forward during the dark times when we feel like we are seeing no fruit. We all face temporary rejection when trying to spread the gospel message of Jesus. The question is....is your vision for their lives being impacted greater than the feeling of rejection you face?
3. The vision of the gospel in our lives must be bigger than others....meaning that we must have a larger than normal vision of what can happen when we spread the gospel message. So often we don't spread the message of Jesus because if we are honest with ourselves....We don't really feel that different being a Christian than we did before we were one. We give our life to Jesus to avoid Hell...not for the difference it really makes in our lives. To have a vision that is bigger than others starts with recognizing the IMPACT the gospel of Jesus makes in your own life.
King David not only prepared the materials for construction of the temple and challenged his son to faithfully build the Lord's house, but he also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon complete the task. "Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your GOD," he told them. "Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD GOD" (Chr 22:19). Worthy vision always outlasts those who cast them.
I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine about pastors teaching, and he said, " so many pastors tell you why but never really teach you the how." I know I need to listen to God but how?
Today I want to share with you the HOW. How do you know that God is giving you a fresh vision for your life? In Acts we see a story of Peter and Cornelius and both had encounters. During Peters vision, he was told to kill an animal but he refused to because he was living under the pretext of old revelation. His words were, "not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." Under the old way of doing things Peter never should have even spoken with Cornelius. During that vision God set the stage to change Peter's life.
Here is three things about How To Tell if God is communicating something fresh into you.
1. Supernatural Revelation. God expands Peter Horizons during his vision when he tells Peter that what God has cleansed is neither unclean or common. God gave a fresh revelation to Peter. God will give you a fresh revelation that will help to see outside the box. He will give you a new education that will lead you to new conviction. Peter became convicted and convinced to speak as a Jewish man to another man from another country. His conviction allowed him to redefine what is possible, as he was no longer constricted to the rules of the old way. When you receive a fresh revelation about what is possible in your life that is from God.
2. Supernatural Invitation. God sends associates of Cornelius to invite Peter to enter a new scope of ministry to the Gentiles. God will invite you to a new area of ministry by bringing new people into your life. When you begin feeling drawn or connected to the new it may be your supernatural invitation.God is looking to give you a new exposure, with new people, to create a new compassion.
3. Supernatural Conformation. God confirmed this enlarged vision he gave to Peter with a receptive Cornelius and signs following his conversion. God will confirm a new vision in your life by the new experiences that lead you to a new commitment.
When God wants to draw new obedience from His servants, He almost always communicates fresh vision. This is exactly what Peter got.
Have you ever tried to do one of those children's puzzles which has objects hidden in a picture? There is a line-drawing of a scene in the woods on the puzzle box. Upon glancing at it, you see some trees, an old log lying on the ground, a stream running through the middle, and some plants growing along the water's edge. That is all.
But the instructions say, "Can you find hidden in this picture a duck, a house, a boy, a bucket, a zebra, and a boot?"
Looking more carefully, you see them jumping out at you. There is the boy in the plants by the stream, the duck is on the side of the old log, and -- wonder of wonders -- the zebra is upside down in the tree.1
You saw none of these things until you really began looking for them -- searching for them in unlikely places. They had been invisible to you, but before long you began to see the invisible.
Seeing the invisible is not something we are very good at. It is just not our nature to try. But it can be done .
We see this play out in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 11 is often called the "Hall of Faith" because it enshrines men and women of faith who triumphed in their own lifetimes. In verse 11:13 we read something that stands apart though..."These all died in faith, NOT having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. This particular verse teaches us the technique to see the invisible.
It's almost impossible to separate faith and vision, yet that is exactly what the majority of today's Christians do. So many Christians will literally die in faith, without ever once living out a vision. For some reason we have settled for just existing in this life. These leaders found in Hebrews died in faith, and although they didn't receive the tangible fulfillment of God's promises, they did see them from a distance. Their journey was all about vision, about seeing the invisible future. Leaders live by vision.
Here is four things I want to share with you about seeing the impossible.
1. Vision: To see the impossible you have to be see the promises yet to come. Your power for today will be because you have a vision for tomorrow. This applies to all areas of your life. You have to see the yet to be fulfilled....fulfilled.
2. Confidence: You must be assured of the promises of God. His promises are not directed at just person or a few special people who are in the "club," but they are meant for all. Is your confidence causing you to focus on making a legacy more than a living? When you focus is on the leaving a legacy, you open the door for God to focus on your living.
3. Hunger: You must be willing to embrace the promises of God. Did you know the bible is more of a book about receiving than it is giving. Jesus talks more about how to receive than he did to give. Why? Because we don't receive well. Have you ever had someone try to bless with you something? Your first reaction is to not receive it! Do you have ownership of what your future generations will enjoy. Are you taking ownership in a better family structure now? Are you taking ownership in a better marriage now? Are you taking ownership is being a better leader now? Are you taking ownership of your faith?
4. Resolve. Make up your mind. Resolve to have your dreams consume you not your memories. So many Christians are stuck in tombs of their past. They have resolved that their past is what is determines their future. They can't dream big dreams for God because someone told them in their past they weren't good enough. To see the impossible you have to be willing to let go of the unshakeable. Make your mind up. Allow your dreams to consume your heart and your not your memories.
Have you ever felt like you didn't know what God's vision was for your life? For many years I felt lost this way. I also believe the reason why so many christians never really move forward in their walk with God is because they don't understand how to discern what God's vision is for their life. They basically go fishing every sunday hoping that maybe...just maybe a message will speak so sharply to their core that they will catch the will of God for their life. I believe this in my core that God named our church Reaction Church specifically to speak to this very issue.
I have spent the last year pastoring a group of radical individuals who are catching God's vision for their life. I love the awakening that is birthed when a person has that "ah ha" moment regarding Gods vision and purpose for their life. With just a few days away from our one year mark I have spent a lot of time in prayer seeking God and really wanted to use this blog as a way of hopefully reaching and impacting a broader base than I could on just Sundays. Today I want to share with you six steps to help you finally catch the vision, will, purpose and plan God has for your life.
1. Look within you. What do you feel? A better way of asking this question is what is it that pains you the most when you look around at the world? For some it's the homeless, the hungry, the poor, the widowed...what is it that causes your heart the most pain? Your pain very well could be your assignment.
2. Look behind you. What have you learned? You know why what pains you the most pains you. You may not be willing to share the why behind the pain but I would be willing to bet that your pain is because what you have experienced in your life up to this point.
3. Look around you. What is happening to others? Have you ever bought a car that you never really seemed to notice before and then once you got it you saw it everywhere? God will always place you right in the middle of your assignment. It's just matter of you recognizing it. Sometimes to open your eyes you have to open your heart. To open your heart you may have to open your past.
4. Look ahead of you. What is the big picture? Can you see how if you were willing to be used you could make a difference? Most often when someone identifies what pains them the most, they begin to see it play out in others around them, but they never step out in faith because they can't see how they play into the picture. So often I hear statements like, "I could never." or "I don't have the right education" or "I don't know where to start" or "I don't have the time." Notice how all of these are lack statements. You may even already know what it is that causes your heart the most pain but can't see yourself being used in the bigger picture. Your lack mentality causes you to disqualify what God has already qualified in you.
5. Look above you. What does God expect of you? Do you really believe that you are living all there is to your faith right now? If Jesus were to stand beside you...would you be mistaken for his twin because you are walking in and living in all the fullness that God has for you? I serious doubt it!!!! Realize that God's expectation of your capacity will always exceed your expectation of your capacity. He numbered the hairs on your head. If he cared that much about your hair how much more do you think he cares your about purpose. You were born for the purpose of impacting.
6. Look beside you. What resources are available to you? I hear so often I can't because I don't have. I don't have the time, the talent, or the money. I would love to but.... Can I tell you that when I started Reaction Church we had NOTHING!!! We didn't have a core team. We didn't have any money at all. We didn't have anything other than a vision that my wife and I were willing to be obedient to. Sometimes your vision is the resource. We broke every "church planting " rule in the book. Almost every church we approached told us we would fail and that is why they would not help support us. For a year we held onto the vision and prayed that if it was God's will then it was God's bill. With a couple of friends and family we launched...a year later we are still alive and well. Still no church is supporting us. I tell you this not to impress you but to impress upon you that God has the resources because he is the source. What you do have is passion, desire, capacity, & time (you control you time)...There is no such thing as I don't have the time. The widowed woman used her passion, desire, capacity and time to fill the jars with oil until she ran out of jars. God has already given you the initial resources to get started living out the vision and purpose he has for your life.
My prayer is that you read this God begins to stir in your heart some tough questions that you have to answer. I also pray that as you catch God's vision for your life you make the decision to act on that vision. Never again allow yourself to disqualify what God has qualified.
The thing about vision is we all have one for our life. The difference between those who seem as if they have succeeded with their vision for their life and those who are struggling boils down to motivation. We have all seen infomercials trying to motivate you to having a better a life. These infomercials sell you a product with the allure of making all your dreams come true. As tempting these infomercials are...have you ever noticed the disclaimer?
These results are not typical and may vary. What!!!! So the wonderful life your product is promising...all the money I am going to make probably won't happen. The results I am watching are for the far and few between. This explains why so many people try get rich schemes and fail. The company selling the product knows that the results you after aren't really going to happen for you.
Which begs the question...how come. One word....V I S I O N. Most of us are walking in the dark blindfolded in life. We stumble between the obstacles of life because we lack a proper understanding about VISION.
The world tells us to be motivated by money, but if money were the motivation for life we would all be rich. I don't of a single person that enjoys having money problems. Do you? This is why they paint a picture for us to clearly see. They cast a vision of the possibility of a better life.
So there has to more to life, vision, goals, and dreams then money.
When it comes to fulfilling a vision for our life, we all need a personal encounter with God and a personal vision that matches who we are and not what possessions we want. God knew that Moses needed to be motivated if he were going to pull off the task given to him to lead the people out of Egypt. God revealed himself to Moses in a new way giving Moses his personal name, Yahweh (Ex. 6:2-3)
Here are 10 Things to learn when it comes to Vision.
1. Vision is PERSONAL to who you are. (You OWN it.)
2. Vision is PRACTICAL for when you live. (It meets a real need.)
3. Vision is POSSIBLE for what you have. (It matches your gifts in life.)
4. Vision is Parallel to who you are. (Your vision compliments your passion and personality.)
5. Vision is PORTABLE for where ever you go.
6. Vision is POWERFUL for how you live. (It stretches you to accomplish more than you could on your own.)
7. Vision is PROFITABLE for you. (It gets results done, not profits earned.)
8. Vision is PLEASURABLE for you. (It brings fulfillment and satisfaction not necessary a monetary gain. )
9. Vision is PURPOSEFUL for why you live. (It fulfills your God given mission.)
10. Vision is PROVIDENTIAL for where you are heading in life. (It provides a God sized destiny.)
Have you ever met that Christian....you know who I am talking about...the one that has all the answers and is rather pushy with faith. The one that is arrogant and acts like it regarding their belief. We have all met them. We don't like them, we secretly wonder if they know something we don't know... but basically we view them as the ones out there in the deep end. The media calls these Christians radical and fanatic and they are the ones that give the rest of us Christians a bad reputation.
So the question I have to ask is this....when does confidence become arrogance?
Here are three thougths to help clearify the line between confidence and arrogance.
1. The difference between confidence and arrogance is your ability to clearly see your own weaknesses and your humility.
King David once asked why God even gave any thought to him. He humbly realized that in the grandness of the galaxy, man accounts for only a very very very small part. Your ability to see yourself in the larger picture will help keep you humble.
2. The difference between confidence and arrogance is your ability to clearly see your God given position and privileges.
God has made you a little lower than himself. The Lord put men and women in charge of the whole earth and gave us the authority over creation. What he did not do was make a you a God! Arrogance is believing you are something special because of you, confidence is knowing you are something special because of him.
3. The difference between confidence and arrogance is your ability to give all the glory to God.
The confidence is in who God is and arrogance rests in who you are. There is no middle ground.
You Can Sieze Only What You Can See...
I think the most of us...if we are honest with ourselves...are wearing spiritual beer gogles. We aren't seeing our life clearly. The bible even tells that us that without vision the people cast off restraint, and I really believe that this is what is happening in America today. So many people go thru the processes of daily life...trying to look good on the outside to others while feeling empty on the inside. The feeling is there has got to be more to life than just this. And there is...
God has a vision for your life. That is why you are alive! What we have to do is discern what his vision is, because we can't sieze what he has called for us if we don't first see the call.
Here are a five thoughts to help you clearly see the vision that God has for your life.
1. You will have a clear mental image. When called you to your purpose in life you can see it on the inside of you. His purpose serves as a blue print. The question is what has God called you to....What's my purpose? Let me ask you this....what in life pains you? When you look around at the world, and if you had the power to change one thing what would it be? What is it in life that causes you the greatest pain? Is it the homeless, the hungry, the poor, the hungry, the fatherless, the orphened....What ever causes you the greatest pain in your life when you think about it...is what God has called you to.
2. A positive change. Gods calling on your life will always serve to improve present conditions. You are here to be the salt and light. You will be the catalyst for positive change in present circumstances. When you step into God's calling for you life, it won't take very long for positive changes to begin to happen to you and others.
3. A future focus. Gods calling on your life will give you insight and direction for the unseen future. You will know the steps you have to take, because you can literally see the future. Its like walking into an emptry room and seeing in your mind and heart how everything would look. When you describe the room to others, you don't describe empty you describe how it looks in your mind. Your description is future focus. Jesus was always future focused.
4. A gift from God. God's calling on your life is always divinely inspired, not humanly manipulated. You won't just wake up one morning and have an ah ha moment...You will have always known! The differnece is you waking up to what you already knew to be true.
5. A chosen people,place and time. Gods calling on your life will lead to you a chosen people, a chosen place and chosen time. God called Abraham to move to a different place without telling him where he was going, and he called to him be the father of a nation without giving him the details about that nation. Always remember Jesus' own words....A prophet is without honor in his own home. Where your at now may not be the place where God is calling you to...no matter how badly you want it to be.
I was at a church that if you would have asked me five years ago would I ever leave it...the answer would have been NO! I can tell you today that had I not left that church I would have never stepped into the full purpose God has called me to. I would have missed out on everything because I was comfortable where I was at. It was easy, fun and uplifting, and the people there were my friends. However the people there weren't the people God called me to. I was there for a season in my life, and you may be where your at right now...comfortable, maybe its easy, maybe its fun, maybe its uplifiting and you feel good on the outside while on the inside you know that some thing deeper is missing. That deeper feeling may be the Holy Spirit trying to tell you the season of fun is over with...it's time to get to work. As Paul said faith without works is dead!
6. Your purpose will never be COMFORTABLE! You will be stretched beyond limits you thought possible. God is not about making you feel better about yourself and using you in a way that you deem proper, fitting and comfortable. You will never move from Glory to Glory and Faith to Faith by living in yesterdays Glory and yesterdays Faith. What once took faith the first time quickly becomes easy and comfortable. Its easy to rest in old faith. Its a stretch to move from old to new. Abraham had to have a new level of faith to be willing to kill is son for God.
The difference separating a person who is pursing their purpose in life and someone who isn't...is perspective. Both individuals could have character and integrity, both can love others, both can obey God, both could be church goers...but the difference is the person who is pursing their purpose in life thinks differently from a person who isn't.
Job and his friends held profoundly different perspectives. Throughout the book, Job maintains an eternal perspective, while his friends maintained an external perspective. "For I know my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth," Job says (Job 19:25). He follows that verse by casting vision for the reality of life beyond the grave. Unlike his wife, who told him to curse God and die; unlike his friends, who told him none of this would have happened had he just lived a better life...Job saw beyond the superficial to the eternal.
The difference between someone who is pursing their purpose and someone who isn't is simply perspective. It has nothing to with "what your doing" it has everything to do with..."what you see your doing" As a Christ follow we all share the same purpose. We are given the same instructions by Jesus. Go into the world and make disciples and spread the message. Too often, we are waiting for "the right opportunity" to come along to share the message. We are waiting on all the external forces to line up perfectly before we can step into our purpose.
Have you ever noticed someone who keeps an eternal perspective....every chance, every meeting, every encounter, everything is an opportunity to spread the message.
Here are three things that might help you keep an Eternal perspective on your purpose:
1. You have to constantly RENEW YOUR PERSPECTIVE OF GOD. Job clung to the justice and character of God. The world wants to take you away from that, just like Job's friends and family.
2. You have to be willing to RELEASE THE PAST. You have to be willing to let go of what you lost, or possible never had. So many people are babies about their past. They have literally imprisoned themselves to something they had little to no control over. In doing so, they have locked themselves away from what they do have control over. The past is the past....get over and move on!
3. You have to always REMEMBER YOUR PURPOSE. When you realize that you exist only to glorify God and that he doesn't exist to glorify you...only then will you see everything in life is connected to your purpose.
Have you ever wondered why some people just seem to be like a machine when it comes to their focus? I know that I have. I have a very hard time focusing my attention. Maybe its my ADD or could it be something else all together? Lately I have been looking at subject of Focus and especially the Focus of the Apostle Paul.
He was a machine when it came to Focus. He faced persucation, but stayed focused. He was beaten and stayed focused. He faced nay-sayers and yet stayed focused. The scriptures say he was literally chased by an angry mob of Jews and had to hide and sneak around during the cover of darkness...yet he stayed focused.
I know if it was me, at some point...I don't know...maybe after being beaten and placed in jail, I would have lost my focus. But during all of the trails Paul faced it actually appears as if his focus gets stronger, not weaker!
As I began to study Paul, here are few things I noticed.
1. Pauls focus gave him an ABSOLUTE willingness to let go of things that didn't matter. Paul was constantly making a choice...Do I want, what I want, or do I want to be right. Paul stayed laser focused on wanting what he wanted. The crazy thing was he was also right at the same time! But he couldn't focus on being both at the same. If he stayed and fought to be right, I imagine he would have at some point lost his focus. Look at what Paul gave up for what he wanted...
His heritage: A Hebrew of Hebrews (Philippians 3:5)
His pure lineage: From the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5)
His former legalism: A Strict Pharisee (Philippians 3:5)
His past zeal: A persecutor of the church (Philippians 3:6)
His self-righteousness: A blameless life (Philippians 3:6)
Paul's focus was so laser pin-pointed that he threw away the things he not only once counted as gain, but counted everything as garabage for the sake of spreading the gospel of Christ. Paul was willing to and did loose it all to gain more intimacy with Jesus.
Leaders who have changed the world had this same kind of laser focus.
Abraham left his homeland, wealth, and friends to go where..he didn't even know at the time he left. Joseph had the focus to endure hardships and prison. Moses could have easily turned back to Egypt.Paul gave up everything. Jesus said to focus only one thing.
So what does it take to gain focus like this?
The key is priorities and concentration. If you know your priorities but lack the concentration to do what it takes, you will never get it done. On the flip side, if you have the concentration but no priorities, you may excellence...but without progress.
People base their decisions on a variety of things:
1. The Utimate: First things first. This all Jesus and the Apostle Paul focused on.
2. The Urgent: Loud things first.
3. The Unpleasent: Hard things first.
4. The Unfinished: Last things first.
5. The Unfulfilling: Dull things first.
What you are focusing on determines what you are capable of achieving.
What You See Is What You Get
One of the most important aspects of purpose is simply being able to see your purpose. You have to have a vision. Now the thing about vision is it's always bigger than your current position. For example....if your flipping burgers at McDonalds, you vision is to exceed that position. If your the CEO of the company your vision is larger than your position because your vision is focused on the company. So vision is always larger than your current position. The problem with vision is...it can sometimes be blurry. Notice when this happens how you feel lost. So it is critical to strive for clear vision.
One of the most common questions I am asked on a daily basis is...how do I know my vision is from God?
Here are 10 qualities of a divine vision. Because the only vision that should be driving your life is the vision of God.
1. A Divine Vision is not discovered or created, but is revealed.
2. A Divine Vision doesn't compete with others, but completes others. It will always selfish.
3. A Divine Vision is captivating, not optional. You literally can't stop thinking about it. It consumes you.
4. A Divine Vision is not focused on how much money you can make, but is focused on who you can help.
5. A Divine Vision's success depends not on others serving you but you serving others. Your status is not elevated in life, but instead others are because of your serving them.
6. A Divine Vision will stop you before it drives you to act.
7. A Divine Vision will never ask you to compromise your integrity.
8. A Divine Vision's fulfillment doesn't come from stepping on others and trying to stay one step ahead, but on simple obedience.
9. A Divine Vision will cause you to expand your capacity of what you thought was possible of God. It brings about a revelation to you that God is much much larger than you thought, and capable of more than you thought.
10. A Divine Vision's purpose is not to feed your ego, but to glorify God.