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H: 1/5/20: “2020 Vision”

Good morning and welcome to our first services of the New Year! If you’re back from one of our Christmas services we want to welcome you back and if you’re joining us for the first time we’re so glad that you’re here. Of course it’s great to see all of our Church Ohana here today and if you’re tuning in online we want to wish you a Happy New Year, or as we say here in Hawaii, “Hauʻoli makahiki hou”! I’m so excited that you’re here because today we are kicking off a new series that I believe is going to change the way you approach this year. For the next 7 weeks we are going to be talking about the power of vision.

When you think about some of the most influential people in history, there is one thing that all of them share. They each possessed a clear mental image of the future. This image — or vision, filled them with passion, motivation, direction, and purpose. Their vision was so compelling that they were able to influence masses of people and change history itself for better or for worse.

For one visionary, it was a world where people would not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character. For another it was a world where people could realize their dreams and create a better world through powerful technology that was easy to use. One man envisioned world peace when one power, the racially best one, attained complete uncontested supremacy. It’s important to have the right vision.

But every author, filmmaker, and storyteller knows the importance of a compelling vision as well. Think about it. Every good story starts with a hero who wants something — they have a vision of what could or should be. Then the driving question becomes: Will the hero get what they want? Will Rocky Balboa rise above his humble beginnings to become a true champion? Will Rey discover where she comes from and find her place in the galaxy? Will Frodo destroy the one ring to bring peace to Middle Earth? Will Ted Mosby’s kids ever learn how he met their mother? Most filmmakers know that if their hero’s vision isn’t established in the first 9 minutes of the movie, audiences will lose interest (Which is what happened to me when my wife took me to see Little Women this past week). I thought it was a superhero movie. Halfway through the movie I turned to Jalee and said, “When do they get their super-power to turn little?”

But whether you’re a leader, a teacher, a parent, or student, every one of us has a mental picture (or vision) of what we want our life to be. Even children have a vision of what they’d like to be when they grow up. One day a father asked his son what he wanted to be when he grew up. His son responded, “I like be one astronaut like Neil Armstrong, but instead of going to the moon I’m going to the sun!” The dad replied, 

“Son, you so lolo sometimes. Everybody knows you can’t go to the sun, it’s too hot, if you go to the sun you goin make!” The son replied, “Dad, you the lolo one! You think I don’t know that? I’m going to wait till it’s night time!” Kid’s have a vision for their lives!

But the reality is that, while all of us eventually end up somewhere in life, very few end up there on purpose. It is a rare person who has a clear vision for their life and takes the necessary steps to get there. But having a clear vision will dramatically increase the chances of you reaching the end of your life with a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. It is a vision-less person who reaches the end of their life and wonders if there was meaning and purpose to it all.

So what exactly is a vision? How do I know if I have a vision? How do I know if my vision is the right one? First of all, many people make the mistake of confusing their personal dreams with a vision. Would you write in the first blank,

1. A DREAM IS WHAT COULD BE, BUT A VISION IS WHAT SHOULD BE.

In his book Visioneering, Pastor and Author Andy Stanley defines vision as, “A clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.”

Many people daydream or imagine what life could be. Even as we think about 2020, many of us have probably caught ourselves dreaming of what could happen in this New Year. But a true vision goes beyond simply dreaming of what could be and taps into our deepest values and convictions of what should be.

Throughout our series we will be following the life of an extraordinary Jewish leader who lived in the 5th Century BC named Nehemiah. One of the things that sets the story of Nehemiah apart from other Biblical stories is that, while it is a miraculous story, the miracle isn’t always obvious. Throughout the story God is clearly at work behind the scenes and in the hearts of the people but it’s the people themselves who needed to rise up, take action, and partner with God in order for the vision to be fulfilled. How many of us know, sometimes God will split the Red Sea, sometimes God will cause the walls to come tumbling down, and other times God will simply give you the strength to continue another day despite your circumstances and despite the naysayers — all are miraculous but sometimes it isn’t the miracle God does outside of you but inside that changes you the most.

Next week you will hear about the desperate situation that Nehemiah and the people of God found themselves in. Could God have changed their circumstances with the snap of His finger? Sure. But He chose instead to work through the people. In time they caught His heart of what could are and what should be and rose up with one spirit so that God’s will would be realized on earth as it is in heaven.

All of us have one shot at life. One shot at being a parent, a spouse, a child, and so forth. This world will offer you endless opportunities for your one shot at life — you could be this or you could be that. Most people spend their one shot at life pursuing what could be but never take the time to ask what should be.

“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death,” 

(Proverbs 16:25 NLT).

As Pastors we often spend time with people in their final moments on earth. Not one person in their final moments ever questions if they logged enough hours at work or owned enough cars or homes. Without fail, they search for meaning and purpose. So a true vision is not simply what could be but what should be. But how do we know what should be? How do we know if a vision is worth pursuing?

2. MAKE GOD’S VISION YOUR FOCUS IN 2020.

Do you believe that when God created you He had a vision in mind?

16 You saw who you created me to be before I became me! Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book,” (Psalm 139:16 TPT).

10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

The Bible says that your existence is the product of God’s vision. Before you were born, God had a vision for your life. He had clear image of what your life could and should be as well as what you could or should do. Every part of who you are — your abilities, your passions, your personality, and your experiences are a unique part of God’s plan to fulfill His vision for your life. One of the greatest tragedies in human existence is to go through life and miss out on God’s vision for you.

This world will offer you endless visions for your life but God has a specific, tailor-made vision just for you. The most exciting people to be around are not the ones who are trying to be a carbon copy of someone else or duplicate someone else’s vision — we have enough of those; the most exciting people to be around are the people who have discovered God’s unique vision for their life and are passionately chasing after His plan! 

Anything else you pursue will always leave you empty. You will never be able to extract enough purpose or fulfillment out of personal accomplishments. Those things will never be enough to satisfy your soul. There is a space in our soul that longs for what is eternal and spiritual and only what is eternal and spiritual can satisfy it. You see, God’s vision for you will give your life impact beyond a lifetime because a God-vision always has an eternal element to it. When you step into God’s vision, you become part of something that has been set in motion long before you were born and will continue long after you die.

Apart from Jesus we’re left to create our own dreams and develop our own future. Can we be honest? Many of us have tried our best to do it that way. I gave life my absolute best effort for years and years but it only got worse. Some of you are here because you had a plan. You had a vision for your life and where did it get you? You’re here because you want to know if there’s a better way. The good news is, there is. There’s God’s way. He’s had a plan for your life from before day 1. Are you ready to discover what it is?

So a vision is a picture, not only of what could be, but what should be in your life. And the greatest way to determine what should be is to discover God’s vision for your life. This is what our series, 20/20 vision is all about — helping you discover God’s vision this year and every year after. I want to close by talking about what a God-vision will produce in your life.

3. GOD’S 20/20 VISION WILL GIVE YOUR LIFE A PASSION, A PATHWAY, AND A PURPOSE.

Having a clear, focused vision will fill your life with passion. Show me someone who lacks passion and motivation and I will show you someone who lacks vision. They may have ideas or even dreams but not vision. Having a clear vision and a plan of action allows you to experience (ahead of time) the joys associated with your anticipated future. A God-vision provides you a sneak preview of things to come. One of the reasons I think many people (especially young people) lack passion or motivation is because they don’t have a compelling vision for the future.

We often compare ourselves to others on social media which makes us discouraged about our own lives and future. These feelings are compounded when we go through the same routines day after day and the minutia of life begins to feel mundane. Deep down inside we wonder what it’s all for.

In his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald S. Whitney tells the story of a six-year-old boy named Kevin who was sitting in guitar lessons one afternoon. Outside were other boys laughing, and running, playing a baseball, and having fun. For Kevin the guitar lessons were drudgery. Then, suddenly, an angel appeared and transported Kevin to Carnegie Hall where a guitar virtuoso was giving a concert. Kevin marveled at how the musician was able to play the guitar with such fluidity and grace. He was completely enthralled by the concert. Then, the angel told him, “Kevin, that musician is you years from now.”Kevin could hardly believe it. Next thing you know he was sitting back in his guitar lesson. The other boys were still outside playing ball but now something had changed. Kevin now had a vision and this vision gave him passion.

President John F. Kennedy told a story about when he visited NASA and saw a janitor mopping up the floor. JFK asked him what his job was at NASA and the gentleman replied, “I’m helping send a man to the moon.”

That’s the difference between having a job and having a vision. Let’s face it, much of what we do in life doesn’t appear to matter much when taken out of the larger context of a vision. But you take those same routines and responsibilities and drop it into the cauldron of a God-vision and suddenly there’s a passion to your life. Vision brings the world into focus and enables you to see your life in 20/20.

This is the heart of every single one of our amazing volunteers who make Church happen week after week. Some weeks we have a full team but other weeks we have just a handful of faithful individuals. 

Early in the morning, while it’s still dark, Katelyn and Ben Howe (who are in elementary school) come to Church with their parents long before service to arrange the benches you sit on. There are faithful families who set up and take down the cafeteria, who clean the bathrooms, and who serve in countless other ways. To the untrained eye it may look like a job — it may look like sweeping or taking out the trash but to us, we’re building God’s house. When even one person responds to God in this place we know that it was all worth it. So let’s get passionate about God’s 20/20 vision this year.

The second thing God’s 20/20 vision gives us is a pathway. A clear vision gives us a destination and serves as a road map for our lives. A clear vision simplifies decision making — anything that moves us toward our vision gets a green light. Everything else is approached with caution. Vision will prioritize your values. A clear vision has the power to bring what is most important to the surface of your schedule and lifestyle. People without a clear vision are easily distracted.

One of the things we want to do this year is equip you to catch God’s vision for your last 5%. Last 5%? Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, often talks about the importance of our last 5%.See, 80% of what you do, anybody can do. Things like watching TV, walking the dog, taking out the trash, these are things anybody can do — 80%. Now 15% of what you do, anybody with some training can do. This includes a specific skillset like your job, an instrument you might play, or sport. 15% of what you do someone with training can do. This leaves your last 5%. The last 5% of your life only you can do. No one else can be a parent to your child. No one else can be a husband to your wife — that’s your 5%. No one else can grow spiritually for you. No one else can rest for you. And no one else can walk in your unique God-vision but you. This is your last 5%. The people who are the most fulfilled in life are the ones who live for their last 5%. Everything else is secondary. Anyone else can do those things but God has a vision for your marriage that only you can fulfill. God has a vision for your children that He is entrusting to you. God has a vision for your life and no one else can fulfill it but you. When you catch God’s 20/20 vision for your last 5% it will give you a focus and direction for your life.

Finally, a God-vision will give your a life a purpose. A God-vision gives you a reason to wake up in the morning because you know that unless you show up — what could be and what should be, won’t be. Knowing God’s 20/20 vision for your life, for your marriage, for your kids, for your calling, makes you a critical link between your current reality and God’s intended future.

22-23“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!” (Matthew 6:22-23 MSG)

The Bible makes it clear that there is a direct link between the way that we see and who we are inside. This year we want to live for the things that we should, make God’s vision our focus and experience His light in our lives in 2020.

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