For several years I led an organization that asked two questions: “What is God’s vision for your life?” and “How can we help you fulfill God’s vision?” Some churches are beginning to ask these questions regarding those who attend. They are, I believe, the right questions. Unlike the institutional and program oriented question, “How can you help our church?” these questions help people discover the transforming dynamic of God that changes their lives and the world. Most people have an innate sense that God has a vision and purpose for their life. At the same time, most people have difficulty finding God’s vision and living it.
Next week I will lead a Peer Learning Group for pastors in Wisconsin. One of the pastors in the group is a young man I met twenty years ago when he was 23. When he graduated from Bethel Seminary in St Paul, he sensed God’s vision to start a church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Today that church averages more than 2,000 in attendance.
When I visited that church a few years ago, I met a woman who was obviously very involved and comfortable at the church. I asked if she was a staff member. She laughed and said, “No, I am a volunteer.” I later learned that two years before she had been addicted to drugs and battling depression. When we follow God’s vision for us, we enable others to find God’s vision for their lives.
Ten years ago I answered my cell phone and listened as a young woman with a speech impediment introduced herself. “I’m Heather. I have cerebral palsy. God has called me to India. How can you help me?” That brief conversation started a long friendship. I drove to Waco to visit Heather and found her confined to a wheel chair with limited use of one arm. In spite of her disabilities, she radiated the presence of Christ. She said God whispered in her ear, “India.” Since that time, she has been to Bangalore three times to help people who have similar handicaps to her own. Later, she wrote a popular children’s book entitled “My Friends and I.” Heather recently became a volunteer at “FaithAbility” in San Antonio, a non-profit that seeks to “make known the gifts of people with developmental disabilities, revealed through mutually transforming relationships.”
God has a vision for every life. It is just a matter of finding God’s vision and living it out. Here are some clues I have discovered that help people get started on that journey: 1. Trust Jesus Christ and welcome Him into your life, 2. Study the Bible, 3. Pray, not just for yourself but for others, and 4. Listen to other believers who seek to encourage you. Get involved in a healthy church and a small group of authentic followers of Jesus Christ.
When Paul neared the end of his life, he said, “I have not been disobedient to the vision.” (Acts 26:19). He followed the principles in the previous paragraph. When he got stumped, he looked for God’s vision for the next step on his journey. (Acts 16:6-10).