It’s Christian culturally required that we assert, “this ministry belongs to God”. Who can argue with that? When you say, “This ministry belongs to God,” I don’t have to believe you but I can’t prove you wrong either. It’s like saying, “God told me to…”
How do we know if this really is God’s ministry?
Saying, “everything I have belongs to God,” probably means, “I am committed to honor God with everything I have.” But biblically, it’s not my stuff that’s been bought with a price; He owns me!
What we’re really after is, “God is the author of our ministry.” It was His idea, He is the iniator, the ultimate boss, and the one who carries the weight and the receives the praise of success.
Let me bust three myths that don’t fit our culture:
1. I will someday have a vision of my own.
I was taught that if I was faithful in another man’s vision, God would give me one of my own. I’ve since learned that I don’t want my own. (This idea is imposed from Luke 16:10-13 Jesus was teaching His disciples that faithfulness in little things will qualify you for true riches of the Kingdom.)
2. My vision will make me important.
In some ministry cultures, a vision is like an approval, a badge of significance, a right of passage into the real ministry. Many people of great potential have burned out because of the pressure to have their own vision.
3. My vision is the acceptable persuit of my own way.
Praise the man with a vision and disdain the man with an agenda, when in fact, they are the same thing.
Tenet #1 demands that if this ministry is God’s ministry, the only vision we have is God’s vision.
How do we do that?
That evening when Joshua came up out of the Jordan valley to survey Jerico for the first time, he was buzzing with antication – he would lead Israel into the promised land. All he had to do was defeat the enemy. It was a simple ‘us against them’ battle, except that Joshua would have God on his side. That’s how many people perceive the vision, ‘us against our enemies’ and God will help us win.
But that’s natural thinking, mammon. God had just promised Joshua, “No man will be able to stand before you,” so he stood face to face with the stranger with the sword drawn. Joshua pressed the question, “Who’s side are you on?”
Now in the ‘us against them’ dimension, we would think the man answered, “neither,” but what he actually said was, “No…” And Joshua dropped face down onto the ground. This was a shift to another dimension, not ‘us against them’, but ‘God is the author of this ministry’.
You can tell God is the author because we are on our faces in worship, faith, hope, love… Our ministry is a spiritual activity on a spiritual level.
Look at how Nehemiah caught his vision from God:
An old friend happened to drop in on Nehemiah one day during his regular work routine. Nehemiah asked, “How are all the Jews doing who are back living in Jerusalem?” “We are victimized and terrorized by the enemies around,” was the answer. “Jerusalem’s massive stone walls have been smashed to rubble and her majestic wooden gates have been burned to the ground.”
Nehemiah tells it like this:
So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven, “Please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night…” And I remembered God’s promise to Moses, “If you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you are cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring you to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.”
Nehemiah fell on his face, like Joshua did, like Moses did, like Abraham did, because what he heard had shifted him into a new dimension – where God is the author of our lives and ministries – the problem triggered a new passion which triggered a new prayer which brought God back to His promises.
* A leader with God’s vision will serve God’s passion, a leader with his own vision will do his own thing.
* A leader with God’s vision will attract, train and empower others, a leader with his own vision will lead from a flow chart.
* A leader with God’s vision will add to the apostolic company, a leader with his own vision will separate from the apostolic company when it benifits his vision.
To keep God’s vision alive we must refuse the temptation to conform to this world, to man’s vision.
God’s vision is imparted through the preaching of the Word.
Tenet #1 ‘God is the author of our vision’ is not lip service to an old culture, it is a lifestyle of faith and Spirit that we embrace and press into.
Tenet #1 shows in our attitude, words, actions, stress level, sacrifice, passion, prayer….
God’s vision grows through our reading, meditation and revelation of the Word.
Here’s where we get our vision:
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.(I Corinthians 15:57)
“I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. (Psalms 2:7-8)
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
= reach, teach, mobilize.
For the passionate version click here: https://vimeo.com/78140776
Meaty Word! Love it! I passed it on to several of our leaders.
In His Care, Ptr Rich Conte http://Www.victoryasia.org
a great start to a powerful series, thanks!