January 5, 2020
KEEPING THE VISION
In the movie October Sky, the lead actor playing Homer Hickham, is searching for a place to build and test rockets. They start small, blowing up his mother’s front yard fence, then end the movie building homemade rockets that go over 1000’ into the sky. When they find a place to build and launch their rockets all it is is an old slag dump from the coal mines that are everywhere in that part of West Virginia. Homer and his three friends first come across the dump and they all see nothing but a slag dump, except for Homer who sees the future, his future. The site is perfect, but only he can see it. He had Vision. Does Bostwick UMC have Vision?
When I first came to Bostwick UMC in 2001, the first Scripture I used was Jeremiah 29:11-14a: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. (NIV) (558)
When a pastor arrives at a new church many times he will be asked, “What is your vision for this church?” And usually the answer should properly be, “I don’t know, I haven’t been here long enough to know where you have been and where you should go.” Then he should ask the members, “What is your vision for this Church?” However, this time is a little different. This isn’t my first rodeo here.
I can still see that this church already has some Vision. I know that your story is still being told. This church has planned for changes that will happen and growth that will occur. And in many cases the visions of the leaders from decades ago are coming to pass.
When God planted this Methodist Church here over 100 years ago, He didn’t do it on a temporary basis. He put us here permanently. Now, what we need to do is to find out which chapter in that long story of Bostwick UMC we are in and do our part to help continue the story. Terry Teykl, a United Methodist Evangelist says we are living in the 29th Chapter of Acts. The Book of Acts in the Holy Bible is the history of the beginning of the Church, the Body of Christ, it only has 28 Chapters, we are living Chapter 29. More accurately, we are writing Chapter 29.
I have long believed that Christ Centered Worship is the most important thing in the life of this Church. Presence Based Worship is so important to the life and growth of any Church. When Jesus is kept at the center of everything, then the Church will continue to move in the right direction. I see Christ-Centered worship in our Sanctuary every Sunday morning. It begins with sweet music from Angela and Rick, and strong singing of hymns by the congregation.
I try very hard to keep that Sweet, Sweet Spirit in place as I preach the Word of God. Remembering that Faith comes from hearing the Word of God proclaimed rightly. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17 NIV) I try to stay very close to the Scriptures to make sure it is God’s Words, not mine, you are hearing. Because, to keep the Vision of what God has called us to we have to hear Him clearly.
We must listen for God and hear Him, individually and corporately. We each have a function in the Body of Christ to fulfill, and as we do, we join together with all of our Brothers and Sisters in the Church to walk out our life in the Body of Christ. Have you been listening for our vision?
Having a Vision includes having Faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us: Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) A Vision comes to pass when we let our Faith move us in the right direction. Sometimes Vision comes before Faith, sometimes Faith comes before the Vision, but they are both absolutely necessary.
So today as you come to the Altar for Holy Communion and a time of Prayer, focus your thoughts on what Christ has for you in the future of Bostwick UMC. Following the Vision of our Church depends on each one of us doing our part. BUMC 1/5/20