Vision Sunday 2018

On Sunday 7th January 2018, Richard Wightman, the senior leader of New Life Church, launched us into the new year with a Vision Sunday preach that examined the Lord's prayer from a different perspective. Here is a summary of the key points.

Introduction

Here at New Life Church our vision is to be 'A community that loves God and loves people'. We seek to do that by being both a gathered community and scattered servants. As a gathered community we form a safe refuge, a place to be reminded of the love and goodness of the Father, and a place to encourage one another. As scattered servants we aim to bring Heaven-flavoured transformation to every place we go, believing that we carry the presence of Jesus with us at all times.

At the start of this year I believe that God wants us to:

Jesus taught his disciples to do this in a neat little way summarised in Matt.6.9-13. You will find these verses explored in pairs below.

Character and Kingdom

The verses

The words

The Father’s …

Element that make them attractive

Matt. 6 9

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,

Character

Passionate spirituality (UP)

Matt. 6 10

your kingdom come,
your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven

Kingdom

Character

Everything starts with the character of God:

The starting point is understanding that God loves you, followed bydeveloping a relationship with Him. If we believe in him we have become adopted children of a loving heavenly father. It is that which gives us identity and security. The second step is understanding he wants relationship, that He wants to be “our father'. 

Your prayers provide an indication of where you are at. Do you find yourself praying for circumstantial things: Please sort this problem? Please give me that job, or car, or house? Or do you find yourself praying for character things? If we really believe that “Our soul finds rest in God', Ps 62.1, we won’t be asking for physical things Matt.6.7 and 25.

Kingdom

From that the kingdom of God advances. We advance as we align ourselves with his advance. We are in a spiritual battle. We fight not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities. Things exist in heaven in a certain way. May they exist that way on earth.

Provision and forgiveness

The verses

The words

The Father’s …

Elements that make them attractive

Matt. 6.11

Give us today our daily bread.

Provision

Radical community

(IN)

Matt. 6.12

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Forgiveness

Provision

We need food, shelter, jobs and we need community and family. We have permission to ask God for provision, for Him to provide us the things we need spiritually, emotionally and physically. As Psalm 23 says “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows”. God promises to provide our needs - not our wants and desires - but definitely our needs.

Forgiveness

Help us to forgive others as you have forgiven us. Sadly I still see people leave the church because they’ve taken offence at others. Often it is easier to leave than to face the issues, but it is important that we display grace and forbearance to one another. I pray that we will be a community that forgives one another.

Protection and deliverance

The verses

The words

The Father’s …

Elements that make them attractive

Matt. 6.13a

And lead us not into temptation,

Protection

Missional zeal (OUT)

Matt. 6.13b

but deliver us from the evil one.

Deliverance

Protection and deliverance

We live in a broken world and so we need protection. The Bible also tells us that the evil one is seeking to steal, kill and destroy. He wants us to give up and to be silent and inactive. It is therefore important that we stand strong and ask for God's supernatural protection over us.

Passionate spirituality (Up)

The first pair of phrases in this master prayer talk about our spirituality, our connection with God. If you feel you are lacking passionate spirituality, then this is where you should camp out. Ponder those first two verses and pray into them. Seek to understand more of character of God - who He is. If you get that God delights in you, it will cause your heart to swell. Also seek to understand the priority of His kingdom – the why.

Know that security leads to significance.

If you know who you are, you will be able to achieve significant things. When we realise that if we believe and trust in Jesus, we are part of the kingdom. This is important because we will be far more productive through having a stake in the cause. Who is more committed to the cause – the business owner or the hired hand? It is always the business owner. Let's own the kingdom.

Radical community (In)

The next pair of phrases address radical community. If you feel you lack something of radical community, then this is where you should focus. These are radical practices:

Provision is always in the context of community. I was so impressed earlier last year with someone new to our community who went to visit someone in even greater need. I was so encouraged. I thought: You have really got this provision thing. You understand that it happens in community: “I give, and I receive”.​​​​​​​

Boy is that one hard. We want to justify ourselves. We want to wallow in our anger and righteous pity. But families get over it. Those who choose to withdraw haven’t understood nature of church as family. That is why those who stay feel the pain of departures – we have understood family.

Matt.20.26-28 Saying sorry involves humbling ourselves, and it is the moment I most don’t want to. Whoever would become great among you must be your servant!”

The early church got this: All the believers were together and had everything in common

Growing in Missionary zeal (Out)

The final pair of phrases reflect our missionary zeal, our outward focus. It is not enough to focus on loving God and loving each other. We have to go out, and for that we need protection and deliverance, So, if missionary zeal is your area of weakness, focus on praying into this pair of phrases, and then take action.

We are going out into the full brokenness of the world. When we are inside our church community the evil one isn't bothered about us. But when we go out, that’s different, and he will attack us. We need protection from the temptations around us and deliverance from the ones we fall foul of. We need deliverance form the clutches of the evil one, who fights against us.

Where is God calling you out to? It is most likely your natural affinity group – family, work, interest groups. And its where you see God at work – the Spirit breaking out.

All three aspects need to go together:

Summary

There you have it:

Gathered community and scattered servants

Here are my tips to apply it

 

 

 

 

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