Some people hear the word “vision” and tune out. It can sound mystical or “out there.” But vision is powerful and practical. Some of us need glasses to see well, and when put them on, it’s amazing! Vision is like a pair of glasses on the eyes of our heart. And if there’s one thing I hope our hearts will catch in this hour, it’s that…
The local church is a community
where we can live out our vision together.
THREE VISION AND PURPOSE QUESTIONS
1. Who gives us our vision and purpose in life?
Today, many are confused about this. If you don’t know your purpose, or you just make it up your self, nothing makes sense. Here’s what I’ve learned: Each one of us possesses two distinct lives.
OUR TWO LIVES…
The life we are living and the life we could be living.
For many, “the life we ARE living” is routine, empty. Work, bills and TV…there must be more! Yet the life that Jesus Christ offers us—that we “COULD BE living”—is more meaningful and exciting than we know.
Jesus Christ is the only One who can bring us into the lives we’re meant to live. He created us!
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
We can only find our true purpose and vision in life through Jesus. Anything less is misspent and empty.
“It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for… part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11 (MSG)
Today if you are not serving Jesus, you are missing your purpose. Decide today to trust Him and serve Him!
2. What holds us back from the life we COULD BE living?
Please don’t miss these four barriers to purpose:
When we’re bound by fear, we are kept from the life that COULD be ours. Remember the servant who was given a bag of money to invest for his boss? Fear held him back from what could have been:
“The man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man…So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground.” Matthew 25:24-25 (NIV)
Don’t be afraid to step fully into your purpose. Don’t hide the gift God gave you. He meant for you to use it!
We procrastinate about our diet, writing the book, cleaning the closet or reading God’s Word.
“Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” Eccles. 11:4 (NLT)
But imagine what life COULD be if we stopped waiting for a “perfect time.” Sometimes we procrastinate in our giving: “Someday I’ll tithe, give” but that day never comes. Giving is not convenient - it is conviction. Many are waiting for the perfect time to step into God’s purpose. Don’t put things off that bring harvest, blessing or purpose!
Sometimes life is so full of pain that we can’t imagine being a part of God’s purpose. In John 5, the man at the pool of Bethesda had been an invalid, immobilized for 38 years—couldn’t walk, couldn’t get to a better place. He was immobilized by his circumstances. Jesus challenged him: “Do you want to be whole?” At times we allow our pain to bind us to a victim mentality. Are we letting past issues and mistakes immobilize us? May Jesus set us free as He did this man - let’s rise up, believe for more and be whole!
This is what I really want to emphasize as we talk about our vision and why it matters.
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone…” Genesis 2:18 (NKJV)
Isolation is dangerous, unhealthy, even demonic. Sociologists are worried about disconnection in our culture. When we lose community, we lose vision and purpose. People thrive in community, and that brings us to #3…
3. How can we live out our specific vision and purpose?
The local church is the starting point
for the vision we live out together.
We all need a starting point for our vision. For us, that is the local church - about which Jesus stated…
“I will build my Community and the gates of She’ol will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18 (CJB)
The local church is not a building. It’s a living, supernatural community that Jesus is creating. As we study the NT, we find that this community, the local church, is our place to be taught, equipped and covered by spiritual leaders. It’s where we are connected, healed and set free. It’s where we discover how to make Jesus Lord and live like Him. It’s where we discover and use our spiritual gifts. The local church is where we are sent out from into the workplace and world to minister. But here’s an astounding thought about the local church:
“[Father], in the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.” John 17:18 (MSG)
Did you catch that? Jesus is giving us His mission to live out in the world. The mission and vision is from Him. We are filled with His vision. And He gives it to us. Does church really matter? More than we imagine!
Three Reasons We Can Live Out THE NEXT SEASON OF OUR VISION TOGETHER
I believe we CAN and WILL live out the ministry of Jesus Christ together for 3 reasons…
1. Our church has unlimited potential.
From our earliest beginnings, God has had his hand on us. You can read about our history in your Vision Sunday brochure. And now, with four solid campuses, a strong team of pastors and leaders, and with hundreds who give their time, talent and treasure in unity to see us fulfill God’s vision, we have more potential than ever.
The vision of GateWay City Church is clear and compelling:
We are Inspiring Transformed Lives
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
We believe that when a person receives Jesus, He completely cleanses, heals and transforms them—and everything we do as a church is about seeing changed lives over and over again, wherever we go!
And now, our potential is greater than ever as we enter the next season of our vision: We are now ONE church in multiple locations (a multisite church) aiming to establish a Christ’s mission in at least ten cities. This “multisite approach” is the best way for us to fulfill our vision and calling to reach the lost.
- Our heart and potential is laid out in BEYOND: A Vision for Ten Cities. I encourage you to get a copy by clicking here.
2. Our mission has room for each of us to get involved.
Sometimes a vision feels like there’s no way to get involved, but our vision includes every one of us. Each of us has a specific part to play - God has connected you to us.
Every one of us can be involved with the vision in three crucial ways:
- Our Prayers - The enemy is resisting us every inch of the way. Each of us needs to pray over our vision.
- Our Skills - Each of you has a prophetic purpose and gift that finds it expression in the local church and the vision of the house. When you us your gifting, skill and energy to advance the work here, we get stronger.
- Our Giving - Our tithes are for God’s house (Mal 3:10). Then, our gifts above the tithe take us beyond.
Why should we live out our mission together as a church? We have unlimited potential, we can all be a part, and…
3. Jesus is worthy of all we can give.
In 1732, John Leonard Dober, a simple potter, and David Nitschman, a carpenter, became the first Moravian missionaries. They bravely sold themselves into a lifetime of slavery under the burning sun on a sugar plantation in the West Indies. There was no hope of returning to their families. Why? There was a slave owner there so vile that he would not only buy and sell human beings but had sworn to prevent his 3,000 slaves from ever hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The two young missionaries were living out their calling to reach these lost souls in the only way possible.
As their ship prepared to depart, their family and local church members were weeping. Was this extreme sacrifice wise? Was it really necessary? As the ship pulled away with the tide and the gap widened, the young missionaries linked arms, raised their hands and shouted across the water, "May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.” This became the battle cry of Moravian missions, and it speaks to each of us today:
Jesus Christ is WORTHY—and whatever we do
to live out our love for Him is worth it!
This is our vision—it’s what CAN BE if we live it out together. Are your glasses on the eyes of your heart? Can you see the vision we share together as a community? Let us not allow fear, immobilization or isolation to stop us from connecting with this vision and this body. Let’s shake that off now!
And if you are struggling with a lack of vision and purpose in your life, join with us in this next season of our vision. We have amazing potential, we have a role for you, and Jesus is worthy.