Attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God” – William Carey, one of the pioneers of modern missions.
You may be tired of hearing me wax nostalgic, but I often think back to the day when we held our first service and Northstar Church was off and running. What an amazing day that was as 33 people showed up to begin a journey together. That day brought such a wild range of emotions for me. Everything from being really nervous to snapping back like a rubber band after it was over. When I look back at the incredible journey it took to get to where we are today, I can’t imagine what the journey ahead of us is going to involve in 2013.
Of course, Northstar is not a unique story. God has been on a mission for all of human history, redeeming lost and broken people back to Himself. Two thousand years ago, Jesus came to earth and launched the first church, full of ordinary people like you and me, on the grand mission of changing the world. And in spite of its problems and challenges, the church is changing the world,
Over the last year I have asked the congregation to imagine and embrace a sharpened vision for our church. This vision calls us to reach beyond our “brick and mortar” buildings and to carry the Gospel more deeply into the community around us and to the world. It is not hard to imagine the possibilities.
In 2013, we will continue putting feet and legs under this vision so that we can “walk our talk” and turn imagined possibilities into solid mission action. We believe it is time to move from an imagined outcome to a tangible response.
When I started thinking ahead to 2013, I asked myself two questions. First, what are we called to do; and, second, if we had no limitations at this juncture of Northstar, what would we do? Since Jesus said, “I will build my church,” we can trust that He is working among us and is interested in using Northstar to expand His kingdom in the world numerically, geographically and spiritually in 2013. So it makes sense that we should seek to determine His particular call for us.
So that begs the question as we move into 2013, what do we need to do to better advance our vision for 2013. Not just about the future of Northstar Church, but about the future God has planned for those that love Him.
On George Burns 90th birthday, he booked the grand ballroom at Caesar’s Palace for his 100th. When he was asked why he said, “In my experience I have found that what ever you prepare for usually shows up.” God’s word says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God has a future planned for all of us and in that, it is up to us to achieve it. In order for that to happen we have to see the future. I’m talking about daring to envision the future God has planned for us by listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The great thing is, as Christians, we have access to God’s future plans.1 Corinthians 2:9-10 says, “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 — these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
It is up to us to look to the Spirit and see God’s future plans for us. Foresight is a powerful tool when it comes to getting us to where we want to go. Walt Disney filmed the vision and explanation for EPCOT center 15 years before they opened it’s doors. At the dedication, his nephew said, “It would’ve been great for Uncle Walt to have seen this day.” Lillian Disney, Walt’s widow, then took to the podium and said these words, “Uncle Walt saw this 30 years ago. If he hadn’t, this day wouldn’t have come.”
Let me give you something to think about as you consider your role in the church for 2013.
Near the end of his life, Francis of Assisi reportedly urged his growing band of followers, “Come, let us begin to be Christians.” I am sure those followers were taken back since the people that the comment was directed at had already committed themselves to walking in the ways of Jesus. And yet, Francis was reminding his followers that we never reach a point at which we have fully arrived in the journey of faith. Instead we tend to stumble and then realign our walk with God.
As we enter into 2013 seeking God’s wisdom and vision for our church, I think it is wise to remember those words: Come, let us begin to be Christians. This new year provides us the opportunity to evaluate if we are fans or followers of Jesus.
In 2013, we need to have the courage to see ourselves and our church doing some amazing things. Imagine yourself in 2013 getting busy for God. Think what could happen if we are the Christians God created us to be. Our success in 2013 begins with each of us seeing our roles in the year ahead.
God has a future for you, and for Northstar. And as we begin the new year, my prayer is that you begin to see it by asking God to show it to you.