When God Gives A Vision
“I have a dream…”
On August 28th, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr delivered perhaps the most iconic words heard in any speech ever. Dreams are the lifeblood of hope and vision is the path towards that hope. The vision we know about is that God’s kingdom will come to this earth. We take one step closer this weekend to understanding what our part is in that vision. One step closer to the day we will be able to sing the words Martin finished that speech on. “Free at last, “Free at last, Great God almighty, we are free at last.”
Speaking Notes – Caveat
These notes are my speaking notes and are provided as an accompaniment to the recording. Please accept that they are not intended to be a published grammatically correct essay. I do hope and pray however they help you move towards Jesus.
Now on to the content…
For some time now I have been talking about listening to God for our V.I.P our Vision, our Identity and our Purpose as a community of people who are walking towards Jesus here in Bedhampton.
As a reminder our Identity is about – Who Are We? And we will look at that next week.
Our purpose is about – Why We Exist? – And we will look at that in two weeks.
But today we are looking at what our Vision might be or – Where Are Heading.
The vision we know about is that Jesus desires His Kingdom to come to this earth. That is the vision we know about. We know ultimately we are heading in that direction. What we are yet to discover is the vision God has given for us here in Bedhampton. How is He going to take us as apprentices to Jesus and how is He going to lead His people here in Bedhampton?
Those who complete great journeys, great achievements begin with a vision of where they are headed. Whether it is Martin Luther King Jr crying our ‘I have a dream’ Or Joseph literally dreaming of what the future might hold as he did in our Old Testament reading today.
God’s Vision Is Beyond Current Circumstances
And I would want to encourage us that all visions begin with a dream. A dream that seems impossibly big to those who set out to claim the vision God has for them.
Joseph’s dream in our Old Testament reading it is a dream beyond his current circumstances. A dream that he will rule and others will bow before him. Joseph was excited and believed, but not all those with a dream are as excited. Not all those given a vision do believe.
For example, God spoke to Moses. He said:
…I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.’ Exodus 3:10
God says this is the vison. Set my people free. And Moses reply is?
… ‘Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.’ Exodus 4:13
Excuse me God are you mad? We can never be free of the Egyptians. Moses says I am too weak, I am too broken. I can’t speak. Look at my current circumstances, a sheep farmer in the desert. I don’t know what to do, I could not lead you, people. But God sends him anyway, and the rest, as they say, is history. God gave a vision and the current circumstances didn’t count.
You could also imagine that the seventy-two that Jesus sent in our New Testament reading might also feel similar to Moses.
[Jesus] told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’ Luke 10:2
Jesus is giving His vision. It is that God’s kingdom would come. That from the seventy-two would grow a worldwide movement of people who would call themselves apprentices, disciples of Jesus. And Jesus is giving this vision to the seventy-two.
Let’s just pause for a moment. These are the seventy-two. They are almost certainly not the twelve disciples. They are the B team. They are the group a normal manager of people would turn to, only when the A team were not available.
I could imagine them turning to Jesus. ‘Why send us? It’s dangerous out them? There are Romans and lions, and robbers, heck remember your own story of the Good Samaritan Jesus? And we are only men and woman who work with our hands, we have no skills in this area. We are not even your close group of friends we are not in the clique. Send your disciples, send John and Matthew I am sure they could write a good story as well.’ But Jesus says:
‘Go!’… Luke 10:3
God sends them anyway, and the rest, as they say, is history. God gave a vision and their current circumstances didn’t count.
I wonder as we listen for God’s vision here in Bedhampton if we are held back by our history. Do we think, Oh we have tried that before and it didn’t work? Our we held back from hearing God’s big vision by our inadequacies?
I know you have dreams because I have been reading your vision letters. Letters you have written as you dream about what God might do. I have been reading dreams of reaching out to Bedhampton community. Words like.
‘It’s so exciting’
‘We are being carried along on a wave..’
‘The Church is packed’
‘The congregation have grown from strength to strength.’
I see your dreams and vision, l know you have them, but I sense a hesitation. A fear that this might all fall into a heap once more. That once more you might be disappointed. But I would remind you that, all great journeys, all great achievements in God’s Kingdom begin with God’s vision. And when God gives a vision the current circumstances don’t count.
God’s Vision Will Have Naysayers
Naysayers out there.
But let me also warn you as Jesus warned the seventy-two, even when God’s gives a vision there will be naysayers. Not everyone will be on board. There will be people out there who will say things like, ‘who do you think you are dreaming that God might build his kingdom here in Bedhampton? What makes your church so special?’
And of course, we are not particularly special. We are no more special than other churches, other communities who follow Jesus. But when God gives a vision the circumstances don’t count.
Jesus tells us how to handle naysayers. He said to the very ordinary seventy-two.
8 ‘When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal those there who are ill and tell them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 “Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God has come near.”
Jesus is saying when someone catches the vision welcome them into the kingdom of God. And if they don’t, simply move on to the next one.
There will be naysayers out there But when God gives a vision the circumstances don’t count.
Naysayers in here.
Dare I say sadly there will also be naysayers in here. People who have been so disappointed, hurt so much that they can not see beyond their current substances even if God can.
It happened to Joseph. His brothers could not see the vision. His Dad could not see the vision and indeed they became blockers to that vision. And we need to learn from that because frankly could have been a bit more diplomatic. We need to help those who don’t see a vision, those who struggle with change to understand that sometimes we need to go where God leads in faith. We must not let them block our view of God’s vision for Bedhampton.
And they may feel they were right sometimes because there will be bumps in the road as we walk to God’s vision. Moses was enslaved and thrown into prison. He must have wondered if God’s vision was true. I am sure the naysayers thought they were correct and not him.
I am sure that amongst the seventy-two that Jesus sent there were naysayers claiming they were correct when Jesus was hung upon the cross. But it was just a short time later that we read about the explosion of the church in Acts. We read in acts of how very quickly after Jesus was hung on the cross, that the church grew thousands at a time. And we see in Acts how God’s church very quickly grew in faith and love of one another.
The Big Idea
When God gives a vision the naysayers and the circumstances don’t count.
So that is the very simple message of encouragement I want to bring you. I want to encourage to continue praying and believing that God will bring us a vision here in Bedhampton. A picture of where He is leading us
As I prepared and prayed for today I had a mental picture in my mind. An image I believe was from God’s Holy Spirit. It was an image of us here in Bedhampton as the seventy-two being sent out to bring God’s Kingdom to Bedhampton.
We might feel inadequate. We might remember all the times we have tried and failed. We might wonder when the money is coming from, to do this. We might wonder when the people are coming from to do this. We might just plain be scared of the change that might come.
But I ask you to remember one thing as you pray about your part in God’s vision here in Bedhampton.
When God gives a vision the circumstances don’t count.
And the rest, as they say, is history!