For the past few years, my wife and I have been in prayer for the church, asking God what He had for us when we looked to the New Year. At first, pastoring was a bit of trial and error, and we did what we knew to do: study the Word together, and to foster relationships with each other. But starting in 2021, we felt a call to start something specific, to create a vision.
We know that God created us to be in relationship. There is not a veil anymore between God and man. The only veil that exists is a false one created when we try to hide or to be in control. He is a holy God who wants to meet with us, and He can because of the sacrifice made on the cross.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22
We don’t deserve it, but because of the blood of Jesus, our admission into God’s presence has been paid. We can go straight ahead, to the hope we profess.
Why show up to church? Why get together? We need each other, to sharpen one another and encourage each other. We can approach God with confidence together. We need it all the more as we see the day approaching.
In 2021, the vision for the year was to ground the church in the word of God. We talked about reading the Bible and meditating on it every day. Tracey, the kids, and I practiced it as a family and went through the Bible Recap every day for a year.
God’s word is readily available. We take it for granted that we have even more than one Bible in our house! We need to allow God’s word to be written on our hearts and our minds so that when the Accuser comes and asks, “Did God really say that?” We can answer with confidence.
In 2022, we asked the church to keep staying in the word, but to add prayer to it. With a focus on prayer as a church during that year, we saw a big difference in the church. God transformed our prayers. We learned that prayer is having a conversation with our Creator, and He wants to talk with us. There is power in prayer.
We do this alone, but we also offer this corporately so that we can be in one accord for the needs of the body. You can join us a half-hour before service on Sunday, as well as before youth group on Wednesdays.
In 2023, our vision for the year is to make a disciple (one or more), in addition to staying in the word and praying daily. Our heart is for our church body to extend a hand to the lost and bring them alongside you in your path to Christ. It may be rejected, but when someone takes it and you start walking with someone through the veil they had created, there is much rejoicing in heaven. We are all called to do this. Jesus sends us to reach out to others and speak of our faith.
If you’re confused about your call, the answer is right in the Bible. You are sent.
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10: 14-15
We are not called to be a feel-good church, but are called to be sent every day. We’re to extend a hand to the lost in our lives and ask them if they’d like to follow us to the very presence of God. As a body, we share the word with others. Invite them to step through the veil they have created and draw near to Him.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
This blog post was taken from the sermon, A Vision for 2023. Please click to check out the full message.