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Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

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Visioning for the Future
Matthew 28:18-20; Proverbs 29:18

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
Where there is no vision, the people perish: But happy is he who keeps the law.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Intro:
Do you know what your purpose statement is?  In other words do you know why you exist?  What makes you get out of bed in the morning?  And don’t tell me that you get out of bed because you have to go to work.  Because I will ask then why do you go to work?  Because you have to; I know, but is there any purpose for going to work other than getting a pay check?  I believe that everyone ought to have a purpose for being.  Therefore what is your purpose for being?  I am certain with some fancy thinking you can come up with a clever purpose.

Here is my purpose statement – To Be Dedicated to Sharing Christ Love, to Cultivate and Nurture Spiritual Growth in Myself and Others, and to Worship God.

  I often come in to the sanctuary and just sit where you sit or sit on the front steps of the chancel area and visualize / daydream what God is wanting for Faith UMC – what is God have in store for me. I have to admit I like to dream – when I was a kid they would say quit daydreaming now there are books and books that have been written about what I was doing but they call it visioning.  I have been asked a number of times what do you do?  I normally try to be a little humorous like – I work for an hour on Sundays – what do you think I do?  But if you want me to be really honest; I am a visionary – that is a fancy word for God’s daydreamers. This morning I would like to share with you 3 biblical visions that God has placed on my heart.  

Let me define the word vision before we look at the 3 focuses: 

-  In this passage faith becomes a visionary word.
-  In fact the all the heroes mentioned in Hebrews 11 were men of vision.
-  They dreamed God’s dream. 

Focus 1: The first God given focus directed to me is that I am responsible for your spiritual maturity. I am required by God to nurture and encourage you to reach your God given potential and to mature in your faith that you might know Christ better tomorrow than you did today.  In other words I am called to equip and train you in the Lord’s service.

Ephesians 4:11-13 (The Message)
He (Christ) handed out gifts of apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

Focus 2: We need to reach Richwood and the surrounding area with the gospel message.  Christ commanded us to go and make disciples.  The vision that the Lord has laid on my heart is that we will each share our faith with one person in the next year.
(That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will accept Christ into their lives but we have planted the seed of grace in a person life.  You may be saying to yourself):

 

Strategic Focus 3: We all need to be servants.  We need to give a greater percentage of our lives, our knowledge, our resources to those in our area.  It is called serving.

  1.  Often I hear people say I don’t know what I can do to help.  Maybe you ought to find someone else to do something.  
    1. I would like to start a club called the Barnabas (son of Encouragement) Club - there are only two membership rules:

Rule 1:       The only words coming from our mouths are words of Encouragement – our purpose is to build one another up.

Rule 2:    No complaining, griping, or bad mouthing another person.  It is not about saying nothing it is about encouraging one another.  See Rule 1.

    1. The church by definition is the greatest gathering of potential servants in the world, but she is also the most notorious vehicle for disappointing, discouraging and destroying would be servants and ministers.  So look back at the Barnabas Club
  1.  What is it that we have to offer?   Small things done with great love will change the world around us.  We are in the transformer business – we are to be catalyst in assisting others have life changing transformation. 
  1. To be that catalyst we need to demonstrate that we care in the name and power of Jesus Christ.   Let me give you a couple simple examples:  
    1. Free Bike Fixing Clinic in the spring for the neighborhood children.  Define what repairs you will be able to do.
    1. We are already doing a wonderful ministry with Christ’s Kitchen.
    1. Instead of selling water at the Cherry River Festival how about giving free bottle of water with the message from the living Water of Christ.
    1. People come into our area to serve – how about if we develop a team that can do small jobs around the community.  

Conclusion:
                We need to dream God’s dreams and God’s dreams are always worthwhile.  Maybe you have heard the story of the man who went out fishing all day in his boat and never caught a fish.  Meanwhile in a nearby boat there was a husband and wife team fishing who kept catching these big fish and kept throwing them back.  It was driving this other guy nuts.  Why were they throwing the big one back?  Finally he couldn’t take it any longer, he yelled over, “how come you are throwing the big ones back?  The wife reached under her seat and pulled out a small fry pan.  Then answered, “Cause they won’t fit in our fry pan!”  (Dale Galloway)
All of us have fry pans.  We have thrown out a dream or a vision because we thought it was too big.  It just wouldn’t fit in our fry pan.  Instead of throwing out God’s dream let us just enlarge the fry pan.
Let us never limit God’s dreams for His church. 
We just need to get a bigger fry pan.  That is what we are looking at here at Westmont UMC.  We need to enlarge our fry pan, believe in God’s purposes for His Westmont UMC.  So let us get going - we got some outreaching to do.  

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Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.