Posted: December 20, 2012 in Daily Life, Daily Living, family systems, leadership, Marriage, Parenting, planning, vision, winning

TargetHow can you or I end up somewhere on purpose?
Often we wonder what God wants us to do? As we end one year and begin a new one I want to present some principles about vision and how to discern and follow what God may be leading you to do:

All God-given visions have several things in common:

God-given visions begin in the heart of God.
God begins to burden our hearts with what is burdening His. Your burden will differ in intensity and calling than the burdens He may give to others. God helps you see the way things “could be if only…” Visions are born in the heart of the person who is consumed with what is and what could be. Vision forms in the hearts of those dissatisfied with the status quo. More than that, though, God-given visions are formed in those whose hearts are living for another world, the real world yet to come.

 God-given visions are built around a significant need in the lives of others.

You begin to sense the presence of a significant need in an age group or other group of people. As you sense the presence of this need you begin to investigate it and your concern grows. God has given you a mix of talents, gifts and desires that cause certain issues or situations to cling to you. As you look at how God has wired you there may be a common denominator, a common thread throughout your life. This is your magnet that gives you the burdens you possess.

God-given visions change the heart of the ministry leader.
As you begin to listen to God, you begin to feel the pain of the people God is calling you to become involved with. The more you ask caring questions the more you open their hearts and feel their pain. Compassion grows within you. You instinctively bond to their need. Others may not even understand your increasing concern and intensity. That is because God is giving you the vision. It is your heart He is changing first.

 God-given visions produce ownership in the ministry leader.

Your burden is increased as you spend time praying and thinking about this need and the possibilities. You then begin to intuitively believe that you can be the one God uses to meet the need. As this grows within you, you allow yourself to be accountable to God to do so. And now you begin to consider and take steps toward meeting the need. Does your vision statement reflect accurately the vision statement of the church? Tailor it to fit your ministry and then do it.

God-given visions always involve unlocking God’s power.
Relationship precedes power. You must choose to be connected with God. This begins with a life changing connection with Jesus Christ by allowing Him to be your only means of salvation. Once connected you must choose to draw close to God as your number one priority in life. As you draw close to God you will experience His manifest presence in your life. Whenever anyone draws close to our holy God there is an awareness of personal sin. Therefore we must allow God to change us from the inside out. We learn who we are in Christ and choose to live out of that new creation. To unlock God’s power you must be absolutely convinced that God is the answer to what He is trying to do. You do not have the power for the vision. Only God has the power for the vision.

God-given visions always involve a God-given cleansing.
Cleansing precedes power. The deeper the cleansing you experience the more evident His power becomes. God cleanses our conduct. Changing what we do is the first and most basic level of cleansing. Next God changes our character. This means He changes who you are. Conduct is surface stuff, but character probes below the surface. God then cleanses our core motives, why we do what we do. Our motives are simple. They either promote self or they promote God. Sometimes they are a mixture between the two. James talks of Bitter envy and selfish ambition and gives the symptoms that give our hearts away. Simply put, do you have to have your way? Or are you peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere? God will cleanse you of past sins and also past hurts. Both clog our spiritual arteries and diminish the power of God in our lives. Past sins need to be brought into the light and purified by the blood of Christ. Secret sins result in open disappointment and defeat, no matter how successful you are. Past hurts keep us prisoner of lies we have learned or taught ourselves. Knowing and believing the counter truths frees us up to become the new creations God intends.

God-given visions are validated by God.
Your enduring passion is a validator. IT just won’t go away. Going public with an impossible dream when you do not yet know how to do it is validator of your confidence in and your calling from God. You continue to pray over time. Your mind begins to develop the key elements of an overall plan. A major validator is that the authority you are under gives you permission to do what you want to do. Your motives are pure or have been purified over time. Your heart has an unshakeable peace.

God-given visions include tests for the visionary/ministry leader.
God tests us to strengthen us. These occur throughout the accomplishment of the vision. It warrants a closer look. The first test you will face is the test of resources. By resources we mean time, money or supplies and people. We have only one donor: God. He wants us to find the resources He has prepared for the vision through prayer, pre-committing to the vision, asking people for the resources and resting in God to finish it. Nowhere in the Bible will you find the instruction to tell no one but God. Moses, David, Nehemiah and Paul all asked for resources to complete the vision God had given them.

We also must pass the test of re-prioritization. What are the essentials only you can do? Then comes the test of rumor. People will run your vision down or criticize it (and you). Rumor spreaders are weak people, but they do cause problems and despair. Focus on pleasing God not people. Somewhere in the middle of it all you will hit the test of re-evaluation. This is where you say, “if I knew how hard this was going to be I’d have never gotten involved.” This is not a time to quit. This is not a time to reduce your energy or time in order to let it fizzle. This is the time you must recommit to the God of the vision and to the vision He has given you. The test of recruitment is a very significant test that you must choose to own and pass. Many leaders fail right here and blame others for their failure, when in reality they failed to recruit well. First you must tell them the need being met by recreating in them the emotion you have in your heart. Tell them what is expected of them. Recruiting well involves telling people in a very specific and tangible way what you are asking them to do. Good recruiting is hard work. It is best done one on one. An open or general invitation is relatively worthless. It goes over the heads of the listeners and lack of response disappoints the one sharing (whose fault is that?).
Give them a one-sentence job description of what you want them to do. You must include telling them of the works of God…God-moments around this vision. People want to be part of what God is doing. Share your current experience with God’s power. You cannot serve or recruit out of a vacuum. Where is God really working in you doing the things only God can do? Call for a verbal commit to join you. Don’t leave them in a fog. Ask for what you want. Last but not least, get them started and follow up. We all need to feel valued and we all need others to come along side at various times.

There are two more tests that are essential to our growth and the success of the vision. The test of rejection is a hard one. People now attack you as well as the vision. This is the most painful test you will face. You are being rejected for doing the right thing. You will choose to go in one of two directions. Choose the wrong direction you will allow the wounds and the pain to fester resulting in anger, resentment, bitterness and hardness of heart. Your unwillingness to forgive or love will turn to blaming the one who has hurt you. You will die as a leader inside walls of your own creation. Choose the right direction and learn the suffering of Christ. This requires tremendous humility as you rely on God to lift you up rather than defending yourself. You begin to do good to those who have hurt you…returning kindness and mercy where there has been rejection. These people become more and more like our Lord. Lastly comes the test of resolution. You are tired. Some have quit. Others failed to fulfill their promises. You must come before God and say, “You have called me to this and I don’t care if I am the only one left standing, by Your grace I will finish the work you have given me to do.”

Lets continue to live for the world to come so we can impact the world we are in.
Lets continue to seek to do what only God can do.

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