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Vision and Life…

02.21.16 | by Ray Jones

    Vision and Life… 

    Go together! The scripture says where there is no vision the people perish. (Prov. 29:18) Dr. Thom Rainer, the president of our Southern Baptist Lifeway Christian Resources in his book “Autopsy of a Deceased Church” writes, “When I interviewed former members of deceased churches, they referred to their last years in sad and similar ways:”

    • “We were going through the motions.”
    • “Everything we did seemed to be like we were in a rut or routine.”
    • “We became more attached to our ways of doing church than we did asking the Lord what He wanted us to do.”
    • “We were playing a game called church. We had no idea what we were really supposed to be doing.”
    • “We stopped asking what we should be doing for fear that it would require too much effort or change.” 

    He goes on to state these churches were no longer functioning with purpose and that they had lost the burning passion to make a difference in the community. He says, “They were engaged in an activity called, ‘This is the way we’ve always done it.’ None of the members asked what they should be doing; they were too busy doing what they’ve always done.”  And one day, though years later, they were too far gone and died. They had gone from greatness to death and in some cases, they had done so in just a matter of a decade or less. They had lost God’s vision and purpose and subsequently lost their life.

    Leading Christian researcher George Barna writes, “Vision is never about maintaining the status quo. Vision is about stretching reality to extend beyond the existing state. Thus, vision is required even when the church is in good position; vision is not just for churches that are struggling with their present state.”

    Recently, while in prayer, I prayed, “Lord, don’t let me coast to the finish line… let me lead your people under your vision and according to your purpose for our church.” Too many believers are coasting, too many Christian leaders are content to just try and get across the finish line one day. Why? Because quite simply, it is easier to coast down a path that we are familiar with than it is to be carried forward by compelling vision of God, which always requires us to adjust, change and grow.

    Since I came to be your pastor, we’ve said verbally many time and printed in all our publications this line, “God is always trying to take us someplace new!” It’s true and always will be.  And that’s why I am going to share a message with you today entitled, “How God Uses Vision to Grow Us.” I thank God for our church health, but we must never lose God’s Vision and His future direction for us and our kids, grandkids and great grandkids, lest one day they have to perform and “autopsy” on us.

    Couples Retreat March 4-5 at Lake Eufaula… sign up today, Alison and I look forward to this wonderful time just like last year and hope that you’ll join us for this encouraging couples weekend.

    I love being your pastor! 

    For God’s Glory Alone,

    Bro. Ray