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Vision Then Commission

August 18, 2014

praying-in-churchMore and more of the churches in America are looking like this picture.  The faithful are falling to the wayside.  Pews are empty. Societies crumble while a powerless church watches on.  We claim to have the answers, we claim to have hope, we claim to walk in His love − and yet so many churches are mere shells.  Walls and a roof, but no heart.

It’s not done by intent.  No one starts a church with an end date, or more appropriately, an end-of-significance-date, in mind.  Somewhere God’s people lost sight of their mission.  It wasn’t a set day that they gave up, but rather the heart of the people became muddled with this world; choked out by the cares and snares that seem to bombard our every waking moment.

We lost our way.  That’s not to say we lost our salvation, but we forgot what it was like to have His hunger growing in us day after day.  And in our wanderings, we’re not the only ones that suffer.  Look around at our world and you can see the suffering everywhere.  Physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual health is at an all time low.  The only hope this world has is in Jesus and unfortunately, His people have become so wrapped up in themselves they don’t even notice the desperation around them.

Proverbs 29:18 − Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. (ESV)

I’m not preaching a social Jesus.  I’m not suggesting the church should go all out to end all poverty, hunger, and health issues − though we should care for those the Lord sends our way.  While I am concerned about filling the belly of a hungry child, I’m more concerned with the spiritual destiny of those around me.  If I give a job to a homeless man, but fail to share the gospel with him, what have I done?  “Here ya go, buddy.  This will take care of you for today. Good luck with the rest of eternity.”

I am living in the bible belt of America.  It literally seems there’s a church on every corner.  And yet even here hopelessness grows.  Fear creeps in and takes hold of people’s heart.  They have given up their dreams for a promising future because they’re struggling to get through today.  Who can worry about tomorrow when you have so much to be concerned about for today?  And then it becomes the way of life for them … they cast off restraint.  Why bother?

Isaiah 22:13But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep. You feast on meat and drink wine. You say, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (NLT)

So how do we change our world?  One step at a time.  One day at a time.  One life at a time.  We need vision.  We need a “thus saith the Lord” in our lives.  And why do we need these things?  Because our world needs these things!  There are desperate people looking for hope and we have the answer, but keep it to ourselves.  Oh, Lord, bring revival to our hearts!

Everyone who professes Jesus Christ as Lord has divinely assigned tasks in their lives.  Not works for salvation, but of demonstrating His effectual work in our lives.  Christians need to know what His plans are and be about His kingdom instead of our own.  We need to ask Him for direction in our lives because people around us are waiting for us to live what we say we believe.

Romans 10:15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (ESV)

I’m sure of my calling.  It burns in my heart to do it and yet the Lord has me in a holding pattern.  He’s preparing me, stirring the simmering pot, waiting for His timing before releasing me.  My heart is heavily burdened for an area that has less than 7% evangelical Christians.  This area was once a growing, thriving area of spirituality, but over time has become so cold and hardened to the things of God and yet this is where He’s telling me to go.

There are many distractions and obstacles, but I’m determined to follow God.  I don’t have all the answers.  But I know the Answer.  Until He releases my wife and I into this harvest field, all I can do is ‘praypare’.

Pastor Rick

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