I’ve just returned from a wonderful day out exploring one of Scotland’s isolated valleys. The sun eventually shone, the path was easy and the peace settled upon us immediately. We encountered deer, mountain goats, hares, oyster catchers and numerous other members of the bird family. It really was idyllic. As we walked along several friends came to mind that I would like to introduce to this valley. I wanted to show them the things we were seeing, I wanted them to experience the peace and tranquillity that we felt. I wanted to talk through things with them, to share the excitement of the moment with them and to enjoy the time together. I love sharing experiences with other people, and this is what this blog is all about. When I discover something new in the Christian realm, a new idea or way of looking at something I want to share it with others.

The initial goal of today was to hopefully see some Golden Eagles. We failed. We didn’t see a single eagle, but we discovered so much instead. I hope you will find the same here. I don’t know what has brought you here, what you are looking for within this blog? You may well find it here, but I hope you will discover much more besides.

I’d like to invite you to journey onwards with me, to draw nearer to God and to enjoy the view along the way.

Please do get involved and post comments. I'm also happy to try and answer any appropriate questions you may have.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning? part two

In part one we talked a little about the need for vision in our churches and also the need for a strategy for implementing that vision. I guess I should have called part two “What gets you out of bed in the morning – this time it’s personal!!”

Do you have a personal Vision? What is God calling you to do on a personal level? Who does God want to be for you this year? What specific part of God’s character does He want to reveal to you to help you on your journey? How can you ensure that you walk with God is better this year than last year? How can you ensure that you continue to become more like Jesus and not less like Him? The Bible gives us a great foundation as to the sort of people God calls us to be; but who does God want us to be as an individual? What does God what to inspire us to be for Him?

Now I’ve bamboozled you with questions I’m afraid I’m not going to go on and answer them for you. I’m afraid there are times when we just have to seek out God’s will for our lives on our own. I can’t tell you what God is wanting from you, what sort of vision He wants to give you – I have a hard enough time discovering that for my own life!!

So, what the point in trying to develop a personal vision? Well, just as a vision drives a church so a personal vision drives a person. Most people enjoy an adventure and what better thing than to be given your own personal adventure from God! When you know God’s vision for your life as an individual what better drive do you need? God may be calling you to something that no other individual in the world, indeed in the history of the world, can do. Now if that doesn’t excite you, check your pulse now, you may well be dead!!!

Now I know it’s one thing to get excited about having a personal vision for your life, it’s quite a different thing discovering what it is. Unfortunately there is no simple formula for discovering it but here are a few pointers.

Let’s start with the obvious!! Tell God that you want to discover His personal vision for your life. Tell Him you’re available and willing and want to place yourself at the centre of His will for your life.

Bible Study
Let’s make sure we have that foundation of God’s will for the lives of His children. As you study ask God to show you His will for your life. Ask that He would illuminate (make stand out) certain passages or even words. When He does write them down, see if patterns start to emerge.

Take the passages and meditate upon them. Learn what the mean using commentaries and study guides. Ask God to show you what they mean and how He wants them to apply to your life.

Know Yourself What is your passion?
What has God given you a heart for? What are your skill? What are you trained to do? What do other people recognise in you? What are your faults and failings? Be honest and open, after all you’re the only one going to see this!! This part of the exercise is part of testing your vision. For example, if you believe God is giving you a vision to be a missionary in Africa working as a doctor and you’re 85 with no medical training a fear of foreign parts and bed bound the chances are you might need to think again about your vision. Unfortunately it’s not always as obvious as that you hopefully it might give you some idea.

Know your gifts?
There’s a famous saying that say that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. God gives us gifts in order to serve Him and those to whom He has called us. So what gifts has God given you? It might be worthwhile doing a gift survey like the one found here… http://churchgrowth.org/analysis/intro.php If you can find out what God has gifted you in it may become clearer as to the vision He has for you.

Write it down
By now you might be starting to have an idea about your own personal vision. Get something down on paper. It doesn’t have to be eloquent, no one needs to see it but you. It may include some Bible verses or just some words that have struck you as you have sought God. Pray about what you’ve written down and ask God to clarify and also to remove anything that He doesn’t want there. Try and get it down to a couple of sentences. Does it make sense? Does it excite you?

Test it!
With all things we receive from God it is good to test them. Is it in any way contrary to His Word? Does is sit well with you? Perhaps you could share it with a close Christian friend or your pastor. What do they think?
So hopefully now you have a personal vision, from God, just for you!! WOW! How exciting is that!! Now the hard part… in part one we said that there is no point in having a vision if you don’t know how to realise it in practical terms. So here we go again and it’s that word “strategy”! I know some of you will hate the word, it seems so practical, scheming almost but it is a word I believe we should embrace. Strategy is where the rubber hits the road – it’s where our vision becomes a reality, where the outworking of our personal vision takes place. So I’ll leave you with yet another set of questions to think about…

How is this vision going to become a reality?

Who would it be good to speak to in order to help me do that?

Do I need to involve others?

Do I need training or support?

What are the practical out-workings of this vision?

What can I start to do today to fulfil this vision?

What long term ideas do I need to think about in order not to let this vision slip?

Who would be great to support me in this vision?

How can I keep this vision alive?

Let me know how you get on – if you have any questions please do let me know.

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