Vision Night Recap #1
Do you know that line in Amazing Grace…
I won’t sing it…but it goes like this…
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
Here’s what I believe…
Some of you remember that hour.
You reflect back on it and it was electrifying. It was the greatest moment in your life. You felt the power and presence of God. You came alive. Your heart rejoiced and you had to tell others. You couldn’t help it.
And I also know that some of you don’t remember that hour.
You can’t remember a day you haven’t believed. You may not even really be sure when you met Jesus. But you look back and you know there have been times where you too have felt the power and presence of God. You have felt the assurance of your salvation. You have rejoiced that you belong to Jesus. That you have been made new. And you too have had times in your life where you’ve been bold in your witness.
But…over time something has faded. What was so precious has become passe’ and eventually it just became private. You’re not denying the faith, but you’re kind of keeping it to yourself.
Why? Why are we not rejoicing and celebrating this precious faith like the man we read about in Jesus’ parables:
 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (ESV)
 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,  who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (ESV)
There’s probably a million reasons. Maybe it’s just outright rebellion, disobedience, and sin. That’s possible. But it also might be more subtle.
Sometimes it’s just life and it’s a grind. You got busy. Your job got crazy. You had kids. You fixed up a house. You started grad school.
You flat out feel pulled in a thousand different directions. These people need you. And these other people need you. There’s expectations. And they never seem to get met. You’re running from thing to thing.
You remember the game Whack a Mole? Well, that’s your life…or at least that’s how it feels. You are stuck in this arcade game…and you wonder if you’re ever going to get out.
And in all this, somewhere along the way, you started feeling disconnected. Disconnected from God. Disconnected from others. You got lonely. You got cynical. A little jaded. And now you’re just feeling
Here’s what I also believe to be true…you really do want to grow as a follower of Jesus. You don’t want to feel stuck. You want to grow. You want to flourish.
I love and am challenged immensely by these words of the Apostle Paul…
 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (ESV)
There’s this picture of growth and maturity. And it involves toil. It’s not easy. But it’s something that honors the Lord.
And so as a church we desire to see you grow and mature. To get unstuck. To know the joy of your salvation.
In fact, as a church leadership team, we have worked hard over the past several months to succinctly capture what we believe it looks like to see people mature in Christ.
Let me share that with you now – it centers around four ideas or phrases.
The first is that you would KNOW GOD.
John 17:3 says this…
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Our desire is that you would truly know God. Not just in an intellectual sense, but in a deeply connected, relational sense. See when the Bible uses this idea of “know” it isn’t simply about knowing facts and details, but it implies intimacy, relationship. Your leadership longs for you to have that kind of knowledge of God.
The second is that you would FIND FREEDOM.
John 8:31-32 says this…
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Here’s what we know…as I wrote about above, so many of us feel stuck. We feel enslaved. Slaves to sin patterns, to expectations of others, to being liked, to being attractive, to being funny. The list can go on and on. It’s idolatry. And Jesus wants to free you from it. And so He invites us to move from striving to abiding. To abide in His word. His gospel. He says when you know that truth, then you will be set free. When you know that Jesus both had to die for you and that he was glad to die for you, something unlocks. You get set free.
But it’s not just that you would know God and find freedom as an individual. You were also created for community.
And so our third desire is that you would EXPERIENCE BELONGING.
Look at the language of Romans 12:4-5…
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
If you’re a follower of Jesus, it means you are part of His body. You belong. Now you may know that cognitively, but are you experiencing the reality of belonging? If we’re honest, we still feel like we’re in the middle school lunch room, wondering who we can sit with? Who will accept us? Well guess what? Those days are over. You are in Christ and you are part of His church, His body. You belong. Welcome.
Lastly, we believe you were created for a great purpose. God wants to use you. And so the final component is that you would SEEK RENEWAL.
Jeremiah 29:7 says it this way…
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
You have a role to play in seeking the welfare, the flourishing, the renewal of our cities and communities. The time, talent, and treasure you have been given are not for your benefit alone, but for the good of your neighbor.
And so as we thought, prayed, and discussed these 4 pursuits, it resulted in the formation of a new mission statement for us. Our new mission as a church is summarized as follows…
Pointing our community to Jesus that people would Know God, Find Freedom, Experience Belonging, and Seek Renewal.
Now this raises the question of HOW? How will that happen? What is the strategy to see these outcomes in your life and my life?