“In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
    Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your young will see visions.

Your elders will dream dreams.”
(Acts 2:17)

 

With these words, the message that would pave the way for the next generation of disciples began. By the time it ended, the body of Christ had grown by nearly three thousand people. Dreams and visions are important. They are at the core of our life together. Proverbs 29:18 pretty much sums it up when it teaches that, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”

Have you ever felt that your spiritual life has become stagnant? That instead of falling more in love with God and growing in fervor, zeal, holiness and spiritual power that you are simply going through the motions? I recall more than one point in my own walk with the Lord that I felt this way. I remember praying, “Lord, help me. I know I there must be more to following you than this. Lord, I want to want to love you more…” My prayer ended with the petition from a desperate father in Mark’s gospel who begged Jesus for a healing touch for his son. This man understood that it was faith that Jesus required of him and so he cried out, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

Upon reflection I can see that the problem I had was not so much a lack of faith as it was an incomplete faith. Mine was a faith that lacked a clear vision. I wanted to grow as a disciple. I wanted to love God more. I wanted to help others. But apart from this vague desire to move in the general direction of growth I had no plan. I had no real vision.

Usually these moments came after accomplishing a goal. I believed that God wanted me to go to seminary, so I did… but now what? Have you ever been there? Has your question ever been “Now what?”

Sage and I love road trips. Seriously, we do. Some of my fondest memories of her are during those long meandering conversations that take place as the open road stretches out ahead of you and time is measured in “distance until empty”. Two of my new favorite places to stop on our way out of town are Buc-ee’s in Temple and the Czech Stop in West. For me these places are quintessentially Texan. But as fun as these places are, they are just pit stops on the way to a greater destination. How funny would it be if we agreed to go on one of our epic road trips and just a little ways out of town we were to stop off for gas or a kolache and then stare blankly at each other as we got into the car wondering what comes next. That would be bad enough, but what if we didn’t know that our lack of a destination was our problem? In our journey on the road with Jesus we need to have clear goals in mind. Just like in a good road trip, in life we need a destination to drive to, and once we get there, we need to know where we are headed next.

Consider this, “What is your next pit stop?” What are you working toward? What is your Spirit inspired vision? What is your dream? Where are you headed? If you’ve been feeling spiritually adrift, I’m willing to bet it is because you don’t have an answer to this central question. And, if you don’t have an answer, ask God for guidance.

Civil rights pioneer and Boston University professor Howard Thurman was once asked by a student, “Dr. Thurman, what should I do with my life? I want to help shape the world, but I don’t know where to start.” Thurman replied, “Don’t ask, ‘What can I do to make a difference to the world?’. Instead, ask, ‘What sets me on fire?’, then do that. Because what the world really needs is more people on fire.”

What excites you? What sets you on fire? We each need to find our own answers to these questions, but they can and should be put to us as a church as well.

At our recent Deacon’s retreat, I was delighted by the contagious optimism and drive among our new deacons. I saw first-hand the miracle that occurs when a room full of people with vision begin to realize their own abilities, opportunities and God-given potential.

Similarly, I asked our Elders, “What are your dreams for Central Christian Church? What is your vision for its future?” The answers were well considered, deeply spiritual, and profoundly hopeful. It is my hope that God blesses us with the opportunity to achieve all of them. Some of these dreams had been given voice before, some had not.

My vision for Central, like the visions of our deacons and the dreams of our elders is a vision of explosive growth. First, I believe that we are going to dramatically increase the number of souls we reach with the powerful life-altering gospel of Jesus Christ. Second, I believe God is calling us to a depth of discipleship and belief that we have never-before achieved.

I am confident in our ability to succeed, not because of our own merits, but because we serve a powerful Christ whose promise to be with us always, even to the end of this present age, will never falter, flag, nor fail. God willing, we will succeed and I want you to share in that victory both personally and as a part of our congregation. Dream big!!! Share your dreams for your own journey with Christ and for our congregation with anyone who will listen. Together we will take our place among those who throughout history have, through the power of the Spirit, turned the world upside-down.