Holy Discontent, Holy Determination, Divine Destination
I am so excited about this topic. I mean, I have been “geeked” up about this ever since we began planning months ago. How many of you realize that “God’s not finished with us yet as a church? Seriously, until Jesus comes back again, the church is to be doing all that God has called us to do in expanding His kingdom for the sake of the gospel.
Maybe you have heard this saying before, “Everybody ends up somewhere in life, few end up somewhere on purpose.” I’d like to addend this statement by saying, “even fewer end up living and fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives.” I believe that is why Proverbs 19:21 says "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand".
A God-given vision helps us to intentionally live in the purposes of God. I want our lives individually and corporately as a church to be fulfilling the purpose of the Lord so that what we do will last and give honor to Jesus throughout eternity. I am asking God to give you a glimpse of your future in Christ & our future together as His Church.
So here is how we can go about fulfilling God’s purposes as a church. I believe that remembering the faithfulness of God in the past gives us faith to support the vision God has given us for the future. This is a repetitive theme of the Bible, “remember what God did here, and if He did it before, he can certainly do it again.” Moses, remember God helped you through the Red Sea; he certainly can provide you food to eat in the desert. David, remember God helped you kill that lion and bear; he can certainly help you kill this mocking giant. This is a Biblical theme. “Remember what I did for your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will do it for you.” Even when we take communion the theme is "remember". Remember what Jesus did on the cross, “if I was beaten and broken for you, shed my blood for you, then I am able to do everything as it concerns your life, and I am coming back again for you one day.”
So we remember the faithfulness of God in the past and it gives us faith to support the vision God has given us for the future. If you have been here at In Focus Church for any amount of time in 2015 there is plenty to look back on. Consider our annual Reach offering. We set a goal of $45k over a period of 8 weeks. Instead we topped $45k in three weeks, and after not even mentioning it at all, our final total for our Reach offering was $80k. This will be worth remembering as we take on the pursuing the vision God has given us for 2016 and beyond because we believe God isn’t finished with us, He has even more.
Another area that saw tremendous fruitfulness was the ladies ministry! With the launch of The Collective we saw over 1000 ladies attend these evenings of worship, teaching and fellowship, but we believe God has more. On top of all of this we saw an increase in our weekly attendance, which indicates God is bringing people into His church and we need to be prepared for more. We saw an increase in our giving which is a real indicator of our hearts, and we need to be prepared to trust God for more. And we saw 69 people baptized in September and the reason we do all that we are doing, and expand is because we believe there are more to be saved. God is not finished with us yet, my friends. It has only begun. In some ways, He has even more.
God-given vision is the ability to see what God says will come to pass. When we have a God-given vision we have hope when things get tough. And seeing a vision through to completion will bring about moments where it seems like it will never happen and the thoughts arise like “you might as well quit.” Well, God-given vision sustains you because you have seen what is coming. You believed what Jesus said. You heard what the Father said would happen so you keep on going.
“I am meeting you on the other side of the sea.” “I am meeting you on the victorious battlefield.” “I am meeting you, (in Nehemiah’s case), in the rebuilt city.” In the case of our Savior, “I am meeting you on the other side of the empty grave.” “I am meeting you in the heavenly city, where you realize that all that you have gone through to fulfill my purpose for your life leads you to the hope of Glory and an eternity with me.” I want to be like Acts 13:36 where it says, "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers…"
The only way we serve the purpose of God in our generation is to have a vision for what God wants for our lives. Now some are very similar and not hard to figure out, because ultimately the vision God has for us all is to look more and more like Jesus. But there are some unique visions that he will give you and us together as a church that we must do.
I’ll give you an example from one of my all time favorite stories in the Bible and it is about Nehemiah rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. I’ll go ahead and give you what I see in his life, that I also see in everyone who has a God-given vision and purpose. If we are going to do all that God has for us to do we are going to have to have a Holy Discontent that leads to a Holy Determination that will lead to a Divine Destination.
Nehemiah was cup-bearer for a Godless king and had no earthly power to do what he felt like God had given him a vision to do. But, because he served a God who takes ordinary servants and does extraordinary things, something began to happen. What did God give him a vision for? Well, it was to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. People were hurting, lost, without a home, broken with no future, sound familiar…? and Nehemiah’s heart was broken. Verse 4 chapter 1 says this, "When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven."
This is where the Holy Discontent comes in. For Nehemiah, he cried out to God, what can I do? In essence he was heartbroken, because whatever breaks the heart of God should break our hearts. Here is the heart behind holy discontent “This is not how it should be.”
For him it was, “God’s people should be home, in the safety of Jerusalem this should not be!” For us, we are surrounded by broken people without a home in Christ. That marriage should be restored, that family should be whole, that orphan should have parents, that addict should be free, that life should be saved. Our holy discontent has got to be, “This is not how it should be so Lord what can we do?” We’ve had a holy discontent which gave us a vision to reach the lost in our community. To do so with an unashamed declaration of the good news of the gospel. To create a place where anyone from anywhere could come and be accepted in Christ. To change the narrative and fight for and work for a spiritual family that was multi-ethnic and multi-generational that tells an onlooking world God’s love trumps all dividing lines. A place where a sinner saved by grace is a common but supernatural occurrence, again and again. God’s not finished with us yet, In Focus, He’s got more. Give us a Holy Discontent.
That Holy discontent defines our God-given vision and if we will take our holy discontent to God in prayer like Nehemiah did he will give us a holy determination.
A holy determination crystalizes our vision to the point we say, I can’t not do this! Now, if you don’t have a holy determination you might as well never embark on going after your God-given vision because you’ll quit. Unless our holy discontent leads to a holy determination nothing will change. The devil doesn’t care how many walls you start to rebuild in life as long as you don’t finish any of them. Right? A lot of people start, very few seem to finish. But God is about finishing the work. Isn’t that what Jesus said? "It is finished!" Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." But it won’t be easy. There will be opposition; you will encounter resistance. Nehemiah did. His enemies taunted him and tried to lie to him and distract him from his God-given vision, but he had a holy determination.
Here’s what he said in Nehemiah 6:3-4 " And I sent messengers to them, saying, 'I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?' And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner".
You are going to have to answer the lies and the opposition the same way, church. The enemy is not going to lie to you once and give up. We are going to have to believe God’s vision for our lives more than the enemies, or anyone else’s for that matter. We can’t cave to the doubters and the skeptics – we must move forward.
I have a holy discontent and a holy determination and I am carrying on a great work and cannot come down. When obstacles, distractions and fears try to weaken our resolve, “I am carrying on a great work and cannot come down!”
When the enemy tries to prevent us from being the rebuilders and restorers we are called to be, “I am carrying on a great work and cannot come down!”
When we hear “we can’t” God says “you will." When we hear "that’s impossible", God says "oh no, it’s possible cause all things are possible with me." When we hear “that’s dead and gone,” we listen to God and God says “I am the resurrection and the life and I bring dead things back to life all the time.” In essence, when the lies and the distractions come you can say, “I’m sorry I can’t hear you because my Father’s voice and vision for my life is drowning out your lies. What He says and sees about me, His vision for my life is far superior to the destruction your offering so I can’t come down, I’ve got walls to rebuild so that cities can be restored and people can be saved!”
That Holy Discontent leads to a holy determination which takes us to a divine destination. Now, the ultimate divine destination is Jesus and being with Him forever. It is a journey and a lifelong process but in the meantime there are things that God will call us to do together as His church and by faith we will accomplish them by His power.
The divine destination is doing and being exactly what God has called us to do and made us to be. It’s the sense that God made me for such a time as this for such a purpose as this. The divine destination is the ultimate “other side” vision coming to pass. God’s vision is to meet us on the other side. What do I mean? While the Israelites were standing on one side of the Red Sea God’s vision was to deliver his people so he said, trust me, I’ll meet you on the other side of the sea. Joshua, trust me, I’ll meet you on the other side of this wall I’m about to bring down. David trust me, I’ll meet you on the other side of this battle after you kill that giant. Nehemiah, trust me, I’ll meet you on the other side of the rebuilt wall. Disciples, trust me, I’ll meet you on the other side of the empty tomb. Even today to you and I it is “trust me, I’ll meet you in heaven where I have a home prepared for you.” (John 14:1-6) Whatever it is that is bringing us holy discontent, we must have a holy determination to get to the divine destination, which is the other side, the completed victorious side. God’s vision for our lives is this, “I’ll meet you at our divine destination.”
Here’s what I believe for In Focus Church, God is calling us to something bigger than ourselves, I believe He’s calling us to more. Saying, "I’m not finished with you yet, In Focus. I’ll meet you on the other side." There’s a holy discontent in me that there are more lives to be saved, more addictions to be broken, more marriages to be restored, more prodigals to come home, more campuses to be won for Jesus, more nations to reach with the Gospel, more light to shine into every darkness we encounter.
And I know what the opposition might say, “But your just a middle class church in the middle of a small town, proliferating an outdated message to a culture that doesn’t care.” Yeah, but the opposition said “Nehemiah, you’re just a cupbearer,” but God said he was rebuilder of walls. "David, your just a little shepherd boy", but God says you’re a warrior and a king. "Moses, you’re just a stammering angry orphan", but God says you’re the spokesperson for God himself and a deliverer of a nation. So, In Focus, who does God say that we are and what has he given us to do? Because that’s the vision for our lives we want to follow.
I believe God is telling us it is time to make room for more. We can’t not do it. Lives are being changed through this church and the gospel of Jesus Christ, but we have got to enlarge our spaces to make room for more. God is not done with us. So I hope you will burn with a holy discontent that leads to a holy determination, which will lead to a divine destination because God always finishes what he starts.
1 Corinthians 15:58 - Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
God will complete His vision for your life. He’s already on the other side. But He is also with you where you currently are, and He will be with on every step towards your divine destination.