Over the next few months of Wednesdays, we’re going to explore what it take to pursue a God-given vision—what it looks like, how to help others see it, and what it takes to stay on the course God’s set before us.
And since you’re here reading this, I’m going to assume a couple things up front. One is that you’re already sensing God calling you to something bigger. Whether you’re the person in front or following someone else’s lead, God’s calling you (and others) into something brand new—or to tackle an existing ministry in a brand-new way.
But first, here’s the other assumption: You’re trusting God’s vision because God’s already done something big in your lives. So before we move into what God has for each of us next, let’s reflect on some of the things God’s already done in our lives:
• When has your understanding of who God is been radically changed? In other words, when did God reveal himself, his love, or his will to you in a brand-new way?
• Looking back now, how had God been preparing you even before that time?
The particular things that God has put on your heart—or at least the idea that it could really happen—may be brand-new, but hopefully through your story above you’ve seeing that God not only gives vision, but also gives the means to fulfill it. God is still deeply involved in our lives, and he wants us to be deeply involved in his life—and the lives of those around us.
Let’s look at a “case study” from the Bible, discover how others before us have handled walking out the vision God’s given them, and then examine how their examples might help us understand what God wants to do with the vision and mission he’s given each of us.
Open a new tab, read Acts 10:9-35, then think about this:
• How would you describe Peter at the beginning of this passage?
• How were the things Peter wanted for God similar to what God actually wanted? How were they different?
• How was Peter—and Peter’s mission—changed by this encounter?
Now, I’d like you to think of a more hands-on experience in your own life—something similar to what Peter experienced. In other words, think about a time when God simultaneously fulfilled your expectations and blew those expectations out of the water.
• What did God accomplish that wasn’t just what you wanted to accomplish, but what God wanted to accomplish?
• What limitations had you placed on the situation that God hadn’t?
• How did that experience change you? How did it affect others around you?
Let’s pull all this together now. There are no doubt some obvious answers to this next question, but let’s also push past the obvious as we consider it: Why do we hold back when we’re doing what we believe God wants us to do—since, after all, we believe it’s God’s idea?
Again, you’re still reading because you feel God is compelling you to take the next step in some way. Call it whatever you’re comfortable calling it—conviction, a vision, a burden, a calling—but God’s pushing you somehow, right now, to be someone more than who you’ve been so far. So let’s tackle this head-on—and again, we’ll break this down further in the weeks to come:
• As best as you can describe it right now, what’s God leading you to do, or be a part of, right now? What do you think your role is?
• Put your own expectations or ambitions to the side for a moment. What could God do with this vision? Whether you believe it yet or not, say it out loud.
Here’s a word of encouragement, courtesy of Robert Gelinas’ book Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith: “If Christ’s redemptive work was, in part, intended to restore the image of God in us and if creativity is central to God’s being, then creativity should become more and more a part of who we are.” And here’s another:
“Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:4-6, NIV).
Just as we only have a glimpse of the vision God has for each of us, likewise we can only guess at what He might want to accomplish through us. I pray God gives each of you a deeper understanding of how He wants to use you to make His presence more real to everyone He put in front of us.