This year, I was honored to speak at the Annual Meeting of the Neuse Baptist Association. It was truly a privilege to share from God’s Word. This is a glimpse of the message from this year. I am including it as a reminder to myself to love my LORD with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.
This message is about VISION. We know people who have a vision…it is something good leaders should have. When I think of vision, there are a few people who come to my mind…
I think of Isaiah – he had a vision of what God wanted him to do and he was willing to stand up and be counted – HERE AM I, SEND ME!
I think of Ezekial who had many visions given to him by God because God had a message for him to proclaim
Thinking about people since the Bible was written, I think of Lottie Moon who had the vision of reaching the people in a foreign land for Jesus.
I think of Martin Luther King Jr. who proclaimed “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character… I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” (Martin Luther King Jr, “I have a dream speech”)
Vision is seeing beyond current circumstances to what could be…These people had amazing vision. They didn’t see what was before them, that is just observation. They saw what could be even though it did not exist then!
I think that Jesus shares a vision as well… Let me share a just a few verses that speak about the vision I want you to hear:
He gave the disciples a vision of the helper when He said: In John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you.”
Followed up with the role of the Helper in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
He changed thinking about following in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
For me personally, He gives a powerful vision of what is to come and a command for us all in Matthew 25:31-46 – READ IT!
But, the church has a difficult time fulfilling this vision and mission because something seems to be missing. The church cannot ever completely be obedient to the missions in which it was called until we learn to LOVE!
You may think that you love, you may even be sure that you love…but I would dare say most of us aren’t even close to loving like we are asked to…
When I refer to love, I am thinking about Matthew 22:37-39, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Do you really love the LORD with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?? ALL of it?? ost of us cannot say that. Not if we are honest with ourselves. We can’t love God that much because God asks us to love others…We don’t even love each other, much less the world. ou may think I have lost my mind b/c we all love each other, right?
We love each other until the Pastor asks us to work with Sister…Or be on a committee with Brother…
We have trouble loving each other and we are all serving the same God! Then we wonder why we struggle to love those not in church!
1 John 4:11 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Not loving others is an indication we haven’t learned to love the Lord with all! f we want to reach others, we will reach them with the love of Jesus Christ…It is easy to love those who love you…not so easy to love the “unlovables” – but God calls us to a love that would turn the world upside down.
We aren’t turning the world upside down because we aren’t loving Him first and then sharing that with the world!!!
John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Many of us have lost vision for the church…we have lost vision of what God has called us to do and we have forgotten that God can do so much more than we can fathom.
We have lost that vision maybe because we have forgotten about love…Maybe we have gotten sold on the US versus THEM concept…forgetting that we are all sinners and that Christ died for all the world!
Without the cleansing power of Jesus Christ, we are nothing more than dirty rotten sinners. With the power of the Lord and the love of Jesus Christ, we are called to do so much more…we are called to LOVE. If you have lost vision of what Christians do and what the church is all about, I challenge you to return to the Word and check out the love that we are given and thus, called to share.
I challenge you to go beyond the walls of your church with the love of Jesus Christ…and then we will be renewed to feed and clothe and visit and provide…
We can’t ever effectively do any of those things without a foundation of LOVE… What are YOU going to do? Will you look to the LORD and learn to love HIM with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Only then can we begin to turn this world UPSIDE down for Jesus Christ!!!