What If? – Vision (click to watch the video)
We finished up our “What If?” series this past Sunday, and what an incredible time together as God shared the power of living out a vision.
The question that was posed Sunday was this: “Have you ever believed a lie, lived a lie or sold a lie?”
Too often we accept the lies of this world, which ultimately become something that we live out and eventually can turn into something that we sell to those around us. This is common in nearly every area of our lives and is something that we have to intentionally wrestle against.
One of the lies that we, as individuals and as a church, have come to believe is the lie that tells you and me, “You can’t make a difference.” What’s crazy is that the more we hear this crap, the more we believe it and the more we live it out. We actually become so accustomed to believing this lie that we begin to sell it to others and justify why we can’t make a difference, making excuses like “If people only knew my past” or “I don’t have the skill set to make an impact” or “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have the money” or “I don’t have the experience” and on and on and on. It’s awful, these lies that we listen to, believe, accept, live out and recreate to others. It’s just awful, and it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Let’s take it to Scripture for a minute.
There are many significant figures throughout the Bible, that nearly goes without saying, and no where do I find a more significant man when it comes to living out a vision than that of Ananias. In the book of Acts, Luke shares a testimony about a vision that Jesus gives to this man, Ananias, as well as his response and the power of obedience in living out a vision.
10 Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord!” he replied.
11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”
13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”
15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.
(Acts 9:10-19 | NLT)
Here’s what I think is so significant about Ananias obedience in living out the vision that Christ gave him and a question that we need to consider. Because of Ananias’ choice to actively pursue the vision that God gave him in spite of the circumstances of this world, his obedience literally changed the trajectory of the Christian faith…literally! Now, the question. If Ananias had not been obedient to the call of God in his life by way of the vision that Christ gave him, would our faith be nothing more than antiquates; a faith that is talked about as a novelty?
So if God could use someone like Ananias: a man without a PHD or a MBA, a man without a ton of experience or all of the skills necessary to make a difference; if God could use his simple act of obedience in living out the vision that God gave him, what can God do through you? What can God do through us, the church?
Let me take out all of the guess work for you and just tell you…God can do more than you or I could ever imagine in our obedience and in living out the vision that Christ gives us.
You don’t believe that. Check out what Jesus tells his disciples: a group of misfit teenage guys who are trying to figure out this whole life and ministry thing by the minute:
Jesus: 12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12 | NLT)
Let me give an example for you to chew on. Jesus, after he kicked death in the teeth and conquered the grave, went and showed himself to his disciples and followers; 120 in all (Acts 1), and commands them to go and take their ministry to Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. 120 men and women; guys and girls without the power of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Instagram, Snapchat, you get the point), and to share their lives and faith with a world in need. There were no cars. There were no trains. There were no planes. They didn’t even have the latest in foot fashion (Nike, Adidas, Reebok, TOMS, etc.). What they had was a vision from Jesus to change the way people view God.
Here’s the thing, within a few hundred years, better than half of the Roman nation were Christians because of the disciples commitment to living out their vision. Did you get that? Men and women gave up everything in pursuit of the vision that Jesus gave them and literally walked thousands of miles into hundreds if not thousands of communities to share their lives and faith with others. And it changed a nation; the most powerful nation on earth in that era.
If God did all of that with a group of 120 people who were simply willing to live out their vision, what could/would God do through you, through me, through Illumination Church today if we were committed to the call and cause of Christ today, tomorrow and into the future?
What if you lived out your vision?
What if we, as a church, lived out our vision?
Obedience is our success and I believe that God is calling us to share and to live out our vision in our community: Shakopee, Savage, Prior Lake, Burnsville, Jordan, Bloomington and beyond.
Buckle up! It’s gonna be quite a ride!!
– Pastor Andrew