Peninsula Community Church
February 4, 2018
How is your Vision?
Habakkuk 2:1-3 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Well, I finally get the chance to preach this message today. I have attempted to do so for the few weeks but God had a different plan. Today, you will get a variation of the original message I had planned. For me, and for many of you, I know that January has been an interesting month with the sub zero weather, the snow, building issues, being away for Christmas, health issues, and so forth. For us the weather, building issues, trips and gall bladder surgery all effected us. But we are so glad to be back in the saddle and look forward to see what the rest of the year of the will bring. Here is what I know with all of this, this is going to be a great year. God is up to something exciting, and I am so glad to be a part of what He is doing.
I would not be truthful if I did not acknowledge my disappointment with some of the issues we have faced. But, while I have been disappointed in the weather and health issues, I have not given up. I have not faltered. I had my doubts at times, but never to the point of surrender. Admittedly, there were times where I felt a bit like Paul when he stated that we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).
One of the lessons I have learned is that disappointment does not have to end us but it can be God’s way of bringing us to the next phase of our life. God can turn our disappointments into opportunities to grow us in our understanding of Him, our purpose in His kingdom, and how much we really need to rely on Him for our sustenance and ongoing peace. It is taught me that I need more people around us that are willing to step up to the plate and help us. You see that has not been your issue but mine as it is some times easier to do things on my own that it is to get help. So I will be asking for more help from this point forward.
What I have determined is that our focus or our vision will determine the outcome of our life. With that in mind let me begin with a story, one of which I have personally experienced. Several years ago I went to the eye doctor and he found that I had some deficiencies in regard to my vision. To remedy this, he prescribed a new pair of glasses for me. When the glasses arrived at the office, I went to the doctor who fitted me and set me up with the glasses. That day when I left his office and put the glasses on, I experienced something amazing. Suddenly, everything was in focus and as I began driving with the new glasses, I found I could see in a way that I could not do so before. Trees were crisp and I could read signs before they passed me by. What changed? What changed was that my vision was now being focused through the lens of a new pair of glasses. Because of the glasses, I could now see clearly.
The two passages we have this morning are perhaps a couple of the most popular scriptures related to vision. In Habakkuk, we find that Habakkuk was not idle. In fact, he was quite busy as he was taking his post on the watch stand. The issue in this passage was not his activity as much as it was his vision and his focus. In his busyness he sought the Lord, and he received this word.
The lesson for us today is two-fold. Busy lives do not equate to success. We can be busy and miss what God is doing. To determine where we are to go and what we are to do does not mean that we jettison our responsibilities. The key is where are you focused and what lens you are using to focus your life on. Are you looking through the eyes of God to determine your vision.
It is noteworthy that this word came at a time when things were not going well for the Israelites. You see, God can give vision when things are going well but He can also give vision when they are not going so well. In fact, if you look at the first two verses of this book, we find that Habakkuk was troubled by what he saw in the land. He was frustrated and he questioned whether or not God was even involved in their lives. As we read, however, we begin to see Habakkuk’s heart change as he hears from God. Habakkuk moves from burden to blessing, from wonder and worry to worship, from restlessness to rest, and from focusing on the problem to focusing on God’s Person.
So the first critical note about vision is that vision must come from our interaction with God. When we spend time with Him, He will fill our heart with truth and He will direct our hearts and minds. If we do not spend time with God the chances are our vision will be motivated by our flesh, our feelings, and our friends. From his time with the Lord, Habakkuk received a word from God that would reposition him and place him in alignment with God’s purposes. This leads us to Habakkuk 2:1-2. From his interaction with God and from his honesty, the Lord gave him the following response.
First of all Habakkuk was to write the vision down. To write the vision down, is to know the vision and understand God’s purpose through it. Too often, we are wishy washy because we do not know what He wants us to do. The result is that we lack vision and thus we lack hope and we lack focus. For that reason our second passage today shows us that where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law (Proverbs 29:18). A right vision is based in the law of God which is the word of God. A right vision is connected to the knowledge that comes from knowing God. You see a vision is not some abstract set of action items but it is directly connected to a knowledge of God and His will. Too often we think up ideas then want God to bless them. We tend to begin with a presuppositional idea of what we think God wants and then we try to fit our thinking into the will of God, but Habakkuk’s vision came from His relationship with God and His word.
Zig ziglar has stated that a lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem for most of us. We all have twenty-four hour days. It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau stated that “to be everywhere is to be nowhere.” We need to know where we are headed. We need to know what we are called to do. I love this quote as well. Not all dreamers are winners, but all winners are dreamers. Your dream is the key to your future.
Secondly, the vision must be plain so it can be easily communicated. The problem for too many of us is that we tend to complicate the things of God to the point that we do not understand what He requires of us. The vision of God should be plain and easily communicated to others. What is your vision? What is God calling you to do today? Let me say this, God is not schizophrenic and yet to listen to some you would think so. Every time you speak with them they seem to be headed in a different direction.
As we grow in our vision we must be aware that a person who has the vision of God is not devoted to a cause or to any particular issue. He is devoted to God Himself. By being devoted to God we are more likely focused on what matters and less on the trivial pursuit of our own ideas or ideals. When we are devoted to God we will be less motivated to self-centeredness. We will be less argumentative and will be more willing to work with others to accomplish the will of God. You see each of us are a part of the fulfillment of the vision for our church, even though we do so from different gift sets and abilities.
The third part of the vision is that we must be patient and not be discouraged as it takes time for the vision to be accomplished. We can give up too soon or get distracted when we are impatient. This is especially true in our quick fix, instant world. You see there are times where God is working behind the scenes to bring about His will and His purposes. But too often we try to help God out and that usually does not work too well.
So let’s make this practical and bring it home here this morning. Our vision here at PCC is to grow people and reach people for Christ. The vision is simple: grow strong committed disciples of Christ and reach people (unchurched and unsaved) for Christ. The vision remains the same. It does not change frequently, but we must also establish some goals as to how we will accomplish the vision.
More specifically we want to:
- Continue to grow our teaching and discipleship opportunities. Personal spiritual and practical growth is paramount to the success of the church by way of men’s and women’s ministry, life groups, Sunday school, Sunday morning preaching and worship, and other opportunities that come our way.
- Have specific intercessory prayer opportunities.
- Look for ways to reach our community for Christ both the unsaved and the unchurched.
- Continue to grow our children’s ministry: life kids, nursery, youth.
- Provide opportunities for regular fellowship so that we grow relationally and dynamically.
So what is your vision? What has God called you to do? If you focus on God and get into His word, I am convinced that He will show up and will lead you to a bigger plan and purpose than you have dreamed of.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom