Why Vision?

So here we are in 2015!  Many of us are making resolutions and commitments that in some way, this year will be different; this year will be better!  This is awesome, because that is also God’s will for us.  He has plans to give us a hope and a future, to prosper us and not to harm us.  His desire is that change would take place in our lives this year; change for the better!
Next week, we’ll join together for our annual business meeting.  As part of this meeting, I’ll be sharing the vision that God has given us as a church for 2015.  This morning, however, I felt the Lord leading me to share a bit about why vision is so important.  Why is it that every time we walk out of this building, we are reminded of our vision to Gather, Grow, and Go?  Why is it that every year, we fast, pray, and seek out a new vision from God for our church for that year?  Why vision?
As we read throughout scripture, we find that God chose two primary means of communicating with us.  They are: speaking to us and revealing visions to us.  Most usually, the two come hand in hand.  God created us and therefore knows how we think and the best way to reveal something to us in order for us to understand it.
Some of us can sit down in a classroom and have someone explain to us with words and books how to do something and we can then walk out the room and get it done.  Most of us, however, learn best when someone shows us how to do something.
Some things can be easily described to someone with words, but some things you just have to see to understand.  God knows this, being our creator, and therefore has made speaking to us and showing visions to us His most common means of communicating with us.  In this way, we’ll hear, see, and understand what God is revealing to us so that we can run with it and see it fulfilled.
Whatever your resolutions might be in the upcoming year, one thing is for sure.  If you can’t visualize and see how your resolution can become a reality, you’ll never reach your goal.  If you can’t see where you are now, how to practically make changes in goal setting, and also what your destination will look like, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll ever reach that destination.
This being our reality, God often reveals His plans and purposes to us through vision, then explained through interpretation.  He shows us the destination, then explains how we’ll reach it.  He shows us the revelation, then explains it.  Even with all of this being understood, still, why vision?
Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Proverbs 29:18 (NIV)
Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

Danny Silk recently wrote this bit of wisdom regarding vision: “A person without vision is a person without a future and a person without a future will always return to the past.”
Without vision, we will default to the easiest path that most pleases us.  Without God’s vision, we will do what seems best to us.  Without a unified vision, a group of 100 people will go 100 different ways.  Without vision, hope is easily stolen.
With vision, we will face challenges and opposition with determination and perseverance because we can see our destination beyond them.  With vision, we will follow God’s path and not veer off to the right or left on a path more desirable to us.  With a unified vision, a group of 100 people will all serve in their own unique giftings and strengths to achieve that one goal heading one way.  With vision, hope is always fresh and strong!
That is why we place such a high priority on seeking out and fulfilling God’s vision for us each year!
Why is the vision always in your face while you are here in the church?  Well, we find that answer in the book of Habakkuk.  Habakkuk was a prophet who was struggling with God.  He prayed and cried out to God, but didn’t feel that God was responding.  He was growing impatient and infuriated by the injustice that he saw happening around him.  He saw evil reigning and God wasn’t seemingly doing anything about it.  God replied to him in the most interesting way.
Habakkuk 1:5-7
5 “Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians,
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
7 They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor.
God goes on to describe just how ruthless and vile the Babylonians are and then ends His response to Habakkuk there.  God tells Habakkuk, “I’m going to do something that you won’t believe, I’m raising up your enemies and they’re going to be a nasty people!”
Even though God explained to Habakkuk that He was not only aware of what was happening, but that He was enabling it to happen, Habakkuk complains even more to God asking why He tolerates such evil and wicked people.  He basically argues that what God is allowing to happen is completely against His character.  God replied to his complaining,
Habakkuk 2:2-3
Then the Lord replied:
“Write down the vision (revelation)
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
3 For the vision (revelation) awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.
Then, God goes on to explain that their day is coming.  Although evil may reign for a season, that time will come to an end and they will reap what they have sown in all of their wickedness.  He reminds him that:
Habakkuk 2:14, 20
14 the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
20 The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.
Why is it that God told Habakkuk to write down the vision, the revelation, of God?
It is God’s vision that enables us to persevere when times get tough.  It’s God’s vision that keeps our feet from slipping down the slippery slope of sin.  It’s God’s vision that keeps us waiting in full expectation knowing that God’s word is certain and sure!  God’s vision gives us hope and renews a steadfast spirit within us!
As a result of God’s reminder to Habakkuk, Habakkuk writes an acoustic song in the form of a prayer found in Habakkuk 3.  Part of that song declares:
Habakkuk 3:17-19
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
Vision helps us to see beyond our current circumstances, in faith, to what is coming beyond them.  Vision helps us not only to endure the difficult seasons, but to be joyful in them.  Vision changes our complaints to the Lord into rejoicing in the Lord!
The reason why we keep the vision always before us as we enter this building, and as we leave it, is so that we are reminded to run with it!  Just as God replied to Habakkuk,
Habakkuk 2:2
Write down the vision (revelation)
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
The vision that God gives us as a church each year isn’t just for the pastor, it isn’t just for the elders, it isn’t just for our ministry leaders, it is for each and every one of us to take it and run with it!  The vision that God gives us, He will be faithful to provide for and equip each of us for it.
Not only does God desire to give us a vision for the church, but God also desires to give each one of us vision and direction for our own lives.  God’s desire is not that we would live as in the days of Eli’s leadership.  As it is written regarding those days:
1 Samuel 3:1
In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.
God’s desire is that during these end days, God’s declaration would come to pass in which He said:
Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17
In the last days, God says, 
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

As we put God’s kingdom first and seek after Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength:
God WILL pour out His Spirit on all people.
Our sons and daughters WILL prophesy,
our young men WILL see visions,
our old men WILL dream dreams!
So make sure that you come next week with eager anticipation as God’s vision for New Hope is revealed for all of us to grab hold of and run with.  However, also be sure to press in and see God’s vision for your own life.
Get your notebook, tablet, or phone ready and ask God to reveal His vision for you this year.  As you press in to hear His voice and see His vision, I’m certain that you’ll be blown away as God reveals to you:
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (Isaiah 64:4)
However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.