VISION...

VISION

In the Kingdom of God there are many opportunities for us to demonstrate our love for Him by serving God on some level.

I'm of the persuasion that no one is in the Kingdom of God by accident and therefore we are in the Kingdom by divine order and being such we are here for a specific plan and purpose.

It's the plan and purpose of God that most people have a problem with as they go through this walk.

Often the tug in your heart to advance God's Kingdom in some way is stifled because we wait for a specific moment or specific opportunity to present itself and then we can walk into our purpose.

The other piece of this equation is that sometimes we are so dogmatic [rigid and unbending] in our pursuit of doing what God wants that once we get there we forget what it took to arrive and then we want nothing to do with the very responsibilities it took to gain a certain position or title.

We consider ourselves as being above certain tasks or responsibilities and will not lower ourselves to do what could be viewed as menial tasks. Jesus said if we want to be great in the Kingdom of God that we must become a servant of all. We must learn how to be effective servant leaders if we're ever going to make an impact on other people.

Then there's one more aspect that bears mention whereas we eventually must get to the place where we are going to "Serve God in some fashion right where we are!

This is where the majority of Christians miss God's purpose as they fill their lives with everything that has no bearing on what has real value and they "squeeze God into what is most convenient for them.

It's ironic that most people have time to do what they want to do but they have a difficult time placing the things of God as their highest priority.

The reality is that this is all about "vision and without a vision both personally and corporately as a congregation we will not last.

We have lasted all these years because Pastor Brenda and I have a vision for the church and our personal lives and although they have not come to complete fruition, we continue to advance towards it and do so as if we are already living within it¦ this is referred to as faith.

As we began the ministry we started it knowing that the fulfillment of it is dependent upon God joining the right people with us. We know that what's in our heart is too big for us to do on our own.

The mistake that some people made when considering joining with us is they looked at where we were and didn't stay long enough to consider what was in our hearts.

They also neglected to understand that the part they were supposed to play was going to be birthed as they put their hand to the plow right where we were.

Instead they chose to leave without adding value to the ministry by helping where our greatest needs were.   

Just by reason of review, when Pastor Brenda and I started shepherding this flock the call on our lives was more than to preach. It was to fulfill God's mandate to us personally. If your vision is to perform a function, you will never step into purpose.

We've enjoyed the longevity we have because we knew that our call was more than doing something because it is written in the Bible. There was a personal Word from God we received before we even began the ministry. This Word became a revelation to us and has sustained us through the years.

The vision we have has three points to it but will take more than our lifetimes to see them fulfilled. Our hope is that we can instill enough of the Biblical principles and Godly values in the hearts of those that God sends to propel them into their own purpose and destiny while they build upon what we establish and leave them when God calls us home.

Although simple directives, these are but a "vague impression when it comes to the meaning of each one.

The vision statement for New Horizons is:

  • To spread the message of God's salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son;

  • To bring God glory by being living examples of Jesus and worshippers of the Father.

This three-fold vision begins with our mandate as Pastors to prepare God's people or as the KJV translates this "the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry

Ephesians 4:11 “ 13 says:

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

This is a very simple Scripture just as the vision we have is very simple, however the effort to make it a reality has a lifetime of work attached to it.

The three-fold vision we have begins with our mandate as Pastors to be certain that the people of God [Saints] that He joins with us here at New Horizons are equipped to do the work that we have in front of us.

This is an on-going effort on our part as pastors and yours as the Saints of God attached to New Horizons.

We have new people coming all the time. Some of them stay for short periods of time and others are in it for the long haul as God really intends.

We have spent time with those who have been here for an extended period of time and poured our hearts out each week. In turn, this should translate into a greater level of service by the people of God.

They should know what is expected and relieve us from some of the work that we have in front of us by doing what is required to reach the lost.

Reaching the lost is the second part of the vision statement we have as it says:

            To spread the message of God's salvation through Jesus Christ, His     Son;

Each of us has been given the same mandate and often what Christ told each of us to do is expected to be done by those who are pastors; while the majority of the people of God neglect the call on their own lives to find ways to share the Gospel outside the walls of the Temple.

However we are all given what is referred to as the Great Commission which is to "Go... Matthew 28

            18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been          given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 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, 20 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.

What must be realized is that "spreading the Gospel comes in various forms and the Lord has intends for His people or followers to do the work of the ministry.

Many Christians I have come to know find it difficult to accept the fact that sharing of the Gospel is a mandate that God gave to them.

It's not the pulpit that Jesus gave His followers; it is the streets, the marketplace, the schools; the parks, playgrounds and other components of society that make up what we refer to as the world.

God wants each of us to learn how to effectively share our faith and bring others into a relationship with Him, ultimately bringing them to New Horizons for nurturing and spiritual growth.

The third part of our vision statement deals with your "personal relationship with God and allowing the character of God to be consistently developed in you.

To bring God glory by being living examples of Jesus and worshippers of the Father.

Being a "living example of Jesus means that there must be character that resembles Christ and reflects God's glory. This is what God is developing in every one of us each day.

God is crucifying the flesh of His people with hope that they will not be so quick to retaliate when their faith is attacked or their Godly stance is challenged.

We say we're standing on the Word of God and the moment someone says or does something we do not like, we fly off the handle or we give him or her a piece of our mind.

We forget that it's God that fights out battles and we must be people that have His character not as a goal¦ but developed in us as a living reality!

What is often not realized is that character is developed as its been tried in the fire or tried by the circumstances of life. This is important as the tribulations, tests and trials you face are there to make you who God wants you to be and not necessarily who "You envision you to be

Romans 5 says:

            Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God      through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the        glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations,             knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance,           character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint,             because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the            Holy Spirit who was given to us.

In the kingdom of God there will never be a place where you arrive and no longer have to stretch yourself and go deeper with God.

This is also why when dealing with character you are told to add things to your life and we must be certain we are adding the right things.

First Peter 1

                5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith   virtue [good qualities, good features, good worth, good value]  to    virtue - knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control     perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness   brotherly            kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are         yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the        knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is our responsibility every day and to neglect to move your life where God wants it to be, or stopping your service to God at any point in your walk, you are not living at your greatest potential and neither are you moving your life completely where God wants it to be.

The second part of the third mandate in our vision where our desire is to bring God glory says we are to be "worshippers of the Father.

The Bible says, "God is seeking worshippers, who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. John 4:23, 24:

            But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will       worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to    worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must             worship in spirit and truth.

The Greek translation says:

            But there comes an hour and it is now, when the genuine           worshippers shall worship the Father in a spiritual sphere, and in the    sphere of truth.

Our desire is that our character would be such that when people see us, they see the Father.

For too long, people have heard about God and even heard some Bible verses quoted, however the lost link has been that "God has also instructed His people to be living examples and not just a clanging gong or resounding trumpet.

This is what must be addressed in the coming days as if we are going to make the impact that God wants, it will take more than knowing what the Bible says.

As we say so many times, we should use Words when necessary. It can be interpreted, "By the time we speak to someone their heart should be so ready to receive Christ that what we say produces the fruit in their lives that He wants

There are many references in the Scriptures that reveal the importance of our ministering to people at the simplest level. To neglect doing this will cause us to become religious in our mentality and fully perform what God requires as basic Christian service.

God has presented us with an awesome opportunity to fulfill his greatest desire. He wants the hungry fed and the naked clothed. This goes for even those we consider our enemies.

Romans 12:19 - 21

                19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath;          for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.    20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give   him a drink For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.             21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Matthew 25

            31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels             with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations       will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from             another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He             will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ˜Come, you blessed of My            Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of        the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and     you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was         naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in            prison and you came to Me.'

        37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ˜Lord, when did we     see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When    did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?    39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 And             the King will answer and say to them, ˜Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you    did it to Me.'

        41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ˜Depart from Me,   you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his          angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and     you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in,             naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'

        44 "Then they also will answer Him, saying, ˜Lord, when did we see      You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and       did not minister to You?' 45 Then He will answer them, saying,          ˜Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of            the             least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46 And these will go away          into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Vision for Life

The vision statement for New Horizons is:

  • < >

    To spread the message of God's salvation through Jesus Christ, His             Son;

  • To bring God glory by being living examples of Jesus and worshippers of the Father.

When vision is often spoken of, there is a tendency to associate it only with that which you see when you are in a sense "daydreaming.

However, whenever God speaks of vision, He's often referring to something that has the ability to alter your course in life.

A vision is an "image or concept in your imagination. Your imagination as I'm using it is your heart or spirit. This is the mode that God communicates through

For the child of God to realize vision, he or she must know where this vision originates and the importance of fulfilling that vision while breathing in the earth.

It's been said, "The only thing worse than someone who is blind is someone with no vision. This has a great truth contained within it; however, the Lord has freed us and given us a vision that not only allows our personal lives to have a greater meaning, but allow His Kingdom to advance through our mutual efforts.

Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no revelation [prophetic vision] the people cast off restraint

God has determined that His people be people with vision and people of vision. If we are not willing to seek God concerning is will for our lives, we are really disqualified from doing anything that could remotely be seen as being great.

Further, if we are not willing to align our lives with God in our daily affairs, how can we expect God to be the one that gives provision for the vision as well as the One that brings our vision to pass?     

In Scripture as I say so often, there are precepts and there are principles. The reason for this statement often is because when you see a specific directive given to a man or woman of God, there is also a principle that can be used and applied to our individual lives. Sometimes it's not the actual teaching that we must associate our lives with, but the meaning of what is being said or the principle which applies to us individually. This is what we will be looking at in a moment.

Your entire existence in the earth has been preparation to "do the work of the ministry. That's what we've been preparing you for as your pastors and many of your life experiences are also preparing you to be most effective in ministry and not buckle under the pressure and circumstance of life.

Doing God's work is what you have been longing for. Because many people do not associate the uncomfortable situation they may be in with God trying to bring you into alignment with His will, there is a void that we often find in our lives.

To fill the void, we go from one challenge to another; one problem to another; one form of existence to another; one man to another; one woman to another; one brand of beer to another; one job to another; one type of dope to another and the list goes on and on.

You are seeking something to fill a void that only doing works of service can fill.

Referencing the reason Christ gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers as gifts to you, the Message Bible translates Ephesians 4:12 as:

            ¦to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within    Christ's body, the church¦

Understanding this allows you to also see that what the pastors are sharing is not given to hype you up or make you feel good; but given to train you to be the best person you can be as you put into practice what is being shared and as you look for the opportunities to work within Christ's Body, the Church.

In Jeremiah chapter 1, you have a teaching or instruction that is given to the prophet as He receives his mandate from the Lord for direction in his own life.

These directions are specific and precise and give vision to the man of God that sustains him when things become challenging. Amplified Translation:

4 Then the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying,

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth.

7 But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.

10 See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

11 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree [the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter].

12 Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.

Like the prophet spoken of here, you also must realize that before you were born, God gave you instructions for your incarnation [or taking on of human flesh] into the earth.

This is the thing that satan was fighting since you were conceived in the womb.

  • Since he couldn't kill you, he tried to destroy you before you were born again.

  • Since he couldn't stop that, he tried to make you religious and therefore forfeit the purpose of God.

  • Since he couldn't stop you from discovering the purpose of God, he proceeds to try to get you try to bring to pass in the flesh what can only be birthed by the Spirit.

But God spared you and these instructions become more vivid as you develop a burning desire to accomplish something that is outside your ordinary area or gifting and ability.

The Lord gave the prophet a mandate that was outside his ordinary areas of education, upbringing and expertise. He knew that Jeremiah could be trusted with the plan God gave him before he was conceived even though Jeremiah didn't feel as if he was equipped to fulfill the mandate.

This allows you to see that God is not bound to the current level of experience, education, financial or economic status you currently have in life. He is calling his people outside of themselves to accomplish things for Him that they may never have thought of.

As He told the prophet, God is telling you as verse 5 declares, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you.

This goes back to "before you were born which obligates you to God. You must therefore make certain to fulfill everything He brought you into this earth to do.

Then in verse 6, you must realize that God will not accept any excuses from you. He knows what He has already ordained [intended or designed] for you and with His assignment also comes the ability to accomplish the task.

Verses 6 and 7 again say, "Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

It appears that God always gives us more than we think we can do or handle.

Some think that it's noble and humble to repeat the words as Jeremiah did, "Lord, I can't do this or that; who am I that you should give me such a mandate?

But God is saying in this hour, "I'm raising up people who are bold in the things of the Lord and will accomplish the purpose for which they were called.

The instructions you received from the Lord before He planted you in your mother's womb are not meant to be hard to determine.

The vision God has for you, begins with simple obedience to the things He has already revealed in His Word and to your heart. As you obey the things God already said in the Bible, there are other orders from God that you have opportunity to do and will expand God's Kingdom.

The dilemma comes when many Christians try to walk in the entire will of God through the written Word only. The deeper things of God are revealed by His Spirit and are revealed through prayer.

However¦

            If you don't know What God said in the Bible;

            If you don't know how God speaks by the Word and the Spirit;

            If you have never cultivated an ear to hear what the Spirit is       speaking...

¦Then you will be consistently frustrated and will often settle for a life that God didn't originally intend.

Therefore, it's to your benefit to grow in the things of God and then do whatever your right hand finds to do in the church. It's your getting involved in these "little things that opens your heart for the greater things that God has called you to. This is what we're desirous of getting into your life.

The second thing that you must also see is that when God sent you into the earth, placing you in your mother's womb, He had a precise time, purpose and geographical location for you to live.

What many do not realize is whether you had great parents or guardians, or had many challenges with them, God allowed you the privilege of being raised by those who took care of you.

If the experience was great, God expects you to emulate that upbringing and if it was less than favorable, He expects you to have compassion on others who may be going through a similar upbringing.

Acts chapter 17:

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. 18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say? Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods. They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean. 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship”and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ˜For in him we live and move and have our being.' r As some of your own poets have said, ˜We are his offspring.'

29 "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone”an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

Just as we saw in Jeremiah, there is a specific mandate given you from God that He has for you to accomplish. He could have chosen any other time in the history of the earth to bring you forth, but chose the time in which you currently live.

He also could have chosen any other person to do what He wants you to do, but wants you to bring Him glory through your obedience to Him

The original Greek text translates verse 26 as, "¦and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live The God you serve is a precise God and nothing happens by an accident. You weren't born by accident, nor have your life experiences been by accident.

Although this is true, there is a major objective that God has in mind and that is revealed in verse 27. "So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us.

The purpose of your being born when you did and where you are living is so that you can first come into a deeper relationship with the Lord, Jesus. Then allow your experience with God to touch the lives of others that are around you.

Fulfilling a life-long dream and having a vision in your heart of establishing a business, making a better life for your family, accumulating some things that your parents never had the opportunity of getting, or any other great feat in the earth is nothing without having a relationship with the Lord Jesus.

This does not mean that people will not benefit from what someone does or invents, but the Bible is clear when it says, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?