Being in the North Georgia Mountains is special even in the rain. I was reminded of that last week when we spent time together there renewing our vision. Things look so different when we immerse ourselves in God's creation and try to catch a glimpse of God's vision for us. Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." I know. I hear you protesting already. You have a vision but it really does not include God or his church. Don't you realize that if your vision - for your world, your nation, your community, your family, yourself - is too small or too dim, then it will never be realized? You need faith to have a vision, and if you have faith only in yourself or in the things of the world, you are automatically limiting your vision of what might be. What is vision anyway? I don't know who said this, but I like this definition of vision: "Foresight with insight based on hindsight." Another good one is, "Seeing the invisible and making it visible." That's the faith element. See God's purpose for your life and make it real in your experience starting today.
We have so many competing visions in our world and in our churches because people work hard to bend God's vision for us into something we can be comfortable with and tolerate. God never called us to be comfortable or tolerant. He called us to be faithful. That might mean disagreeing with our politial and community leaders. It might mean taking a stand at church when there are scripturally based theological differences - even with clergy and other church leaders. You see, I don't think God gives faithful followers competing visions. If we are at odds, it is because we have different levels of understanding and clarity of vision. We must work together to find God's will in the messes we call our lives and bring God's vision for us into clearer focus. What IS is often so good, we dare not dream of what could be. And when we do not answer God's invitation to our future, it does not materialize.
Jesus took his future church leaders up to the Mount of Transfiguration and revealed his glory to them. (Matthew 17:1-13). In the North Georgia Mountains another group of church leaders got a glimpse of his glory. We are not alone. The fire of God's Spirit is alive and well among us, but if the best vision we can muster is based on our own desires, not much will be accomplished for the Kingdom. There is power in a God-inspired vision when we embrace it. Greater things are in store for this body of believers if we continue to develop leadership and ministries that will make a difference in the lives of battered, the broken, bruised, and bleeding people. When we are willing to pick up the souls the world has left to die in the ditches of our world, God will give us the ability to make his vision our reality.