Why Your Vision Has to Die - Exodus 2-3 - Jason Mills
Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque.
We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world. We do this with one another through worship, by the word, to the world.
God, we thank you for this chance to read the word. Let me pray that you would just give mercy and speed to those who are coming back from their long trip, to give them the energy they need to make it this last leg, to recoup and rest over the next couple of days. God, we thank you for your word.
Lord, we do not create truth. You create truth. We simply discover your truth. Help us to discover your truth tonight. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen. Amen.
Let me tell you about Bill Withers. Bill Withers was in the Navy. And when he got out of the Navy, he needed a job, but he had no real prospects, no skills, or talents, really to speak of. So he ended up getting a job in a factory, just real basic grunt work, but he knew he wanted something more for his life. He wanted something greater.
So he decides that he is going to become a musician. Right, everyone's dream to be in a rock band, I guess. Even though he's never written a song, never really sang, and he doesn't play any instruments. But he is dedicated to it, so he teaches himself three chords on a guitar. And he writes his first song, and you may not have heard of Bill Withers, but you've heard of his music. You know the song, "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone." Ain't no sunshine when she's gone, right? That's Bill Withers.
It goes to number six on the billboard charts, stays there for 16 weeks. He's like oh, well that's easy. I'll just do that again. Teaches himself how to play the piano. Learns a scale, learns a couple more chords, and he writes his new song, lean on me when you're not strong, right? "Lean On Me" goes to number one for 17 weeks. He's got this thing on lock. He's got runaway hits.
It's great when you dream a dream, and it just works. But we know it doesn't always go that way. It's good to have a goal to pursue a vision you have for your life, for the future, but sometimes, we'll hope and we'll dream, and we'll work and give it everything we've got, and it gets snatched from our grasp, the tip of our fingers, it turns to ash in our mouth, and it doesn't work out.
Let me tell you about Jodee Berry. Jodee Berry was a waitress at a big national restaurant chain, and they had a contest to see who would sell the most of a signature dish, and you'd be entered into a drawing, and the grand prize if you sold the most is a brand new Toyota. She said wow, this is going to change my life, this is going to be, I mean it's way better than the clunker I've got. This is really going to change my fortunes.
And so she pushed it hard, and she was selling those signature dishes left and right and center, and she sold more than anyone else in a restaurant, in the district, in the country. She wins the grand prize. She walks out to that day where they're giving out the prize, they take the blindfold off her face. And it's a brand new toy Yoda doll from Star Wars. I think we have a picture. Do we have a picture of that? No. OK.
She won ensuing lawsuits. Let's just say that. OK, so sometimes that's how it goes. We try our best, and it's just not what we thought it was going to be. It can be so crushing. The scripture talks about this, Proverbs 13, a hope deferred makes the heart sick. That's definitely what can happen.
In 2009, my wife and I and our kids, we came off the mission field, and felt like God was calling us to another kind of mission field, to plan a church for my people, for my people group, Southerners. Right, we're a distinct culture, language, cuisine. Right, we're our own people group, right? And I just really felt called, the Lord to step and called to be a pastor. And we had people who had been praying for us, who were supporting us, who had prophesy over us.
I called one guy said, hey, I think I need to do this. And then he proceeds to tell me all the reasons I was going to tell him why it's a good idea. Well, OK then. And so God just provided everything. He provided the place for us to meet, a job for us, a school for the kids, a house to live in, people who would actually want to go to church, and hear this guy.
And what's so wonderful about the South is that they love Jesus, and church is a good thing you should go to, and none of it sinks any lower than their head. Unfortunately, the biblical literacy is very, very low. And so we just found people who wanted to study the Bible, just to learn and to grow. And it was really great.
And so before we launched the church, we go to this conference, and I go this conference and one of the speakers is Ken Graves. And I don't know if anyone knows Ken Graves but he is a Calvary pastor in Bangor, Maine. So just imagine like a woodsman from the wilds of Maine. Right, that's him. Whatever you've imagined, that's it. That's almost it, because he's just a bear of a man, just like I mean his chest, and his arms are like my waist. He's just huge, and his voice is this deep baritone. He's basically a brick wall that loves Jesus.
And so I'm saying, Ken, I'm a brand new pastor, and we're starting this brand new church up in Spartanburg, and you know, what's the one thing that I need to know? And he says, and it sounds like the voice of God when he speaks. I'm not going to do it, but he says sometimes your vision has to die before God will accomplish it.
OK, thanks Ken. I don't know what to do with that. I can't argue with him. He'll break me. I'm like, cool, great, thanks. But that is the reality. I'll tell you the rest of the story in a second. But that is the reality sometimes, and sometimes our vision has to die, or another way we could have name this message is so no one told your lie told you that your life was going to be this way.
Sometimes life just doesn't work out. And there's many reasons that this happens. But we're going to look at three of them tonight, and we're going to look at the life of Moses to provide the guides. We're going to be in Exodus chapter two near the end of that chapter and a little bit into chapter three as well. And we're going to look at the life of Moses. We're not even looking at the exciting parts of his life. This is the stuff that you kind of skim through early in the morning before your first cup of coffee. You're having quiet time, can't make your eyes open up all the way, to get to the good parts.
This is the part we're going to look at tonight because I think it's one of the most important because it helps shape who Moses is going to be and what he's going to do and how God is going to use him. Three main points for this. I'm going to go ahead and give you a little peek at the cards here, why your vision has to die is number one, God has a better way. Number two, God has a better you. And number three, God has a better vision.
Exodus 2:11. "Now it came to pass in those days when Moses was grown that he went out to his brethren and looked at them and looked at their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian being a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way, and he looked that, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. And when he went out on the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to one of them, who did the wrong, why are you striking your companion. They said, who made you a prince and a judge over us?"
Pharaoh did. Never mind. "But do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian? So Moses feared and said surely this thing is known. And when Pharaoh heard the matter, he sought to kill Moses. Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well."
And now we're pretty familiar, I think, with the life of Moses, but let's make sure we're all on the same page. 400 years prior, the Jews had come to Egypt because of Joseph, who had become the prime minister of the greatest nation on the earth at that time of Egypt and secured a place for them to live. And they started as honored guests, and then over time, over the centuries, became tolerated, than feared, then enslaved, and then killed.
In fact, the pharaoh put out an edict saying that all the male boy babies had to be killed. And so Moses' mom took this reed, basket, this cask or ark, and fashioned it together, placed baby Moses inside and sent him down the Nile River to escape the wrath of the evil king. And his sister is looking on, making sure that he's OK, making sure that none of the crocodiles want to eat kosher that day, and he survives. Yeah, some of the jokes are just for me, guys. That's how I pay attention.
So he finally makes it to the other side of the river, and there lo and behold, is the daughter of Pharaoh himself, and she takes him up out of the water, adopts him, and even lets his biological family help with the raising of him. So it was a crazy story. And I think that Moses, as he grew up in the court of Pharaoh, he had a very clear vision of how he wanted his life to go.
I think he knew that he wanted to save the Jews, because he knew he was Jewish from the get go. In fact, his name comes from two backgrounds. She names him Moses because it sounds like the Egyptian word for son, but it also sounds like the Hebrew word for to draw out, like to draw out of the water. So it's a kind of a punny name that she gave him, so he is aware. And his mom weaned him, and so he got to grow up a little bit in the Jewish household. He knew who he was.
In fact, scripture says he refused to be called the son of pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer the affliction of the people of God. So he had this idea that, oh yeah, listen I am a Hebrew first. I happened to have grown up in the court of Pharaoh. And he has all these qualifications. He had opportunities that no one else would have had. He would have been exposed to all the right training.
Egypt was almost academically and scientific rigorous societies on earth at that time. And he probably studied it in geography and history and grammar, writing, literature, philosophy, music, all those things. There are even reports that he led Egyptian armies victoriously into battle against the Ethiopians.
Even Josephus says, Moses was the heir to the throne of Egypt. And so, Moses could have been the next pharaoh. Like this is going to be great, I'm going to be the first Jewish pharaoh, and I'm going to set all the things right. Maybe he sees himself as another kind of Joseph. He's like OK, I'm going to be that first guy in the kingdom, just like Joseph was the second in command over all the kingdom. I'm going to write some laws. Heck, maybe I'll give them citizenship. I'm going to save the Hebrews. I'm going to set all this right.
But the thing is is that God wasn't going to do it through political action. Moses thinks, most likely, that he's going to help the Jews through his own power and his own actions, and then when he starts to implement that plan and kills the Egyptian soldier, he realizes how wrong he really is. Now, it's kind of a good plan that he has. He wants to do something good. But he's right in wanting to prevent the beating of one of his fellow Jews, yet at the same time, it's premature, and he's trying to fulfill his own destiny.
Moses tries to make himself Israel's deliverer in a way that made sense to him and the way that he thought and the way that he made plans. And as Pastor Skip has said many times, he looked left, and he looked right, but he didn't look up, and didn't realize that God had something else that he wanted to happen. He had a vision that was much bigger than anything Moses could have conceived of on his own, and now his sin is exposed. They know about the murder. They know about the literal cover up.
And he watches his plan, his vision for the future die on the vine. So he plans all wrong. Moses thought he was going to be God's deliverer, but the wrong kind of deliver. He thought he could do it all on his own. And that was never going to work because that's not what God wanted, and that's not what the people of Israel, the Hebrews needed.
Now as his vision dies in that single moment, it's just gone, everything he's ever known, he has to flee into the desert, where he has nothing. Every hope, every dream has suddenly been cut off and destroyed.
We've all been there, haven't we? With Moses in that moment when our plan for the future dies, when it's ripped from our grasp, when the marriage we have isn't the marriage we had always hoped for, when we dream about the future of our child, and where they're going to work and where they're going to go to school is just not shaping up the way we thought, or about that dream job or that degree we're going to get, and it doesn't happen.
But sometimes a dream has to die, but that's not the end of the story, not for Moses and not for us. Jump a little bit with me to chapter three of Exodus looking at verse one. "Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God."
Now, in those few short verses, we've covered 80 years. So no wonder we fly over these a lot. So from his birth to when he kills the Egyptian, it's about 40 years, and when he kills the Egyptian to him hanging out in the back side of the desert with the flock, that we just read about is another 40 years. So we've jumped 80 years in the past, and some of the most important moments in Moses' life I think happens during just these few verses, because God has a better Moses in mind, and he has a better you and me in mind as well.
So he gets benched basically for 40 years, hanging out, taking care of sheep. I mean at this point in his life, he has been so just humble, just downcast. He went from being a prince of Egypt. Didn't you see my movie? Ben Affleck was in it. And he was great, to maybe it was somebody else, to being a shepherd. Where it's just like, OK, I guess I'm taking care of sheep now. It's not even his own sheep. It's somebody else's sheep.
He's taking care of his father-in-law's sheep. He has literally nothing. His biggest ambition in life at this time is to love his wife, raise his son, and make sure sheep don't die. The prince of Egypt to a shepherd in the middle of nowhere.
Moses, I'm sure he thought he was done. Asking himself those questions, like we all do, is this it? Is this all I'm going to amount to? What kind of grief or bitterness did Moses have to work through, and how long I wonder did it take him to work through it?
But God has been teaching and preparing Moses in all this because the reality is Moses isn't Moses yet. Right, so we think of Moses, and we think of him as going before Pharaoh, rods into snakes, let my people go, Charlton Heston on the Red Sea, law giver, backside of God, will go wherever you go, God. That Moses, right?
He's not that Moses yet. He's going to be. God's preparing him to be that Moses, but now he's just a shepherd boy, 80 years old, never done anything Moses. He went from this, well, let's call it what it is, pampered life, to a life of hardship, and being anonymous, really.
A couple of years ago, Apple launched what they called a landmark product. It was a handheld computer with a digital screen and interface with an internal battery, you can carry everywhere. It was going to revolutionize the world. What was it called? No, it was called the Newton because it came out in 1987, and it cost $700. And wasn't Verizon to subsidize it, to make it $200 with a two year plan, because Verizon didn't exist, because cell phones didn't exist, and the internet didn't exist.
It was an idea that was there before its time. Now fortunately, they came back around to the idea, and it worked much better the next time around. Only took them a few decades. But that's the way it is sometimes is that sometimes we're just not ready yet. We're not the us we need to be. I'm not the Jason I need to be to do what God's calling me to do. He's not the Moses that he needs to be because God still has to prepare him.
That preparation process is still ongoing. And while Moses is out there in the desert, he's learning three very, very key, well probably more than that, but three that I'll highlight, valuable lessons of leadership. Number one, he's learning patience. Moses is a pretty impetuous guy. He's a pretty reactionary guy. He sees Egyptian beating on the Hebrew, boom, dead. Going to take action, going to be decisive.
But you can't be that way when you take care of sheep, right? One of you has to be the adult, and the sheep isn't going to be it, because the sheep are like, oh what's that over there? Cliff, aah, and they're dead. So you have to be the grownup in the situation, all right, I'm going to take care of them.
And so taking care of sheep, being in an agricultural society for 40 years, it changes a man. Have you ever met a farmer? Not like a hobby farmer with like three chickens in their backyard, but a real Missouri farmer. Those guys, they just are. They just be. They've literally watched grass grow, and for an exciting time, they'll watch corn grow. They talk slow, they think deeply, nothing's going to get them moving too fast. Well I guess I better go put out that fire in the barn. They're patient. It's long work.
He's also learning humility. He is learning that it's not all about him. He was once the great and powerful prince of Egypt. God threw off his groove, and now he's just a shepherd. He's not about me. I'm nothing. It's an important thing he had to realize. He also learns what it's like to serve. It's hard work, being a shepherd. It's hard work basically giving the best years of his life for others.
He's learning that' it's about your ability to serve and not to be served. That's really hard for a lot of us, isn't it? We want to be something great, to be respected, but we don't want and oftentimes do the hard work to get there. You know, we look at someone like Mother Teresa, you're like aw man, just a wonderful woman, just gave so much. Everyone respects her regardless of age or faith or creed, or it doesn't really matter. It's awesome. Nobel Peace Prize winner, and she donated all the money to the poor. It was great.
But no one wants to be Mother Teresa when she's in the slums in some of the dirtiest places on earth, bandaging the wounds of lepers, and looking for that last toe that just fell off. No one wants to go through that process. But sometimes you got to do that. It's hard work learning those things to learning how to be patient, to have humility, to serve, and Moses had to go through that.
Sometimes you let your vision die because that's the only way you're going to learn those lessons. You know, sometimes you're like, what, that's not me. I could never do that or this. I mean I had dreams, I had a plan, I had a career, I'm talented. I can't just work in a cubicle. I'm meant for greatness. I can't just be a janitor, man. I can sing. I can't raise seven kids. That's crazy.
I know a woman. She and her husband have seven kids, ages three to 19. When she's finished raising them with her husband, she'll be parenting for 35 years. That's if you put the cut off at 18 for raising your kids. All the experienced parents are like no that's not when you stop. I admire her so much because she has learned it's not all about her. She's learned that humility, but that's how you do it.
You learn that patience, that service, humility, because here's the thing. God will use your disappointments to mold you if you don't waste your failures. God will use your disappointments to mold you if you don't waste your failures. There's so much to learn in our disappointments. No one enjoys the discipline at the time. If that block of marble could speak, it would wince and cry out in pain at every chisel hit from the chisel of the crafter, but in the end, you still have the Venus de Milo or Michelangelo's David at the end.
That chipping away, that molding, that building of character, it takes time. It's painful, but the character that's built in those times of disappointment, of tragedy, of loss, of trial, of depression, it's some of the strongest character you can ever have.
Moses wasn't ready. Like we said, Moses wasn't Moses yet. He wasn't ready. He needed to be prepared. It's not just Moses that's like that. We're like that. I mean, there's a lot of people in the pages of scripture that are like that. You think about Joseph. We spoke about him briefly before. Joseph is this guy who God said, gave him this vision, and literally a vision, you're going to rule over your brothers even though you're the youngest. You're going to rule over your mom and dad. And he's like I'm going to be better than you are.
Right, he just tells everybody. It's going to be great, it's going to be awesome. And they're like mm-hmm right. Sold to slavery, off to Egypt, took care of that problem, right? So is God really going to do that in his life? Oh, yeah. But he's going to go through some pretty rough stuff to get there.
And so as he's being sold into slavery, he's thinking well I guess that's it. I guess this is over. Oh wait, no, I've been sold into this great guy's household. He trusts me, he's respecting. Oh wait, no, I've been accused of rape. OK, going to prison, awesome. I guess this is it for me. I'm done. Oh no, I can interpret this dream for this guy. He's going to get me two more years in prison. He forgot about me.
And then he's elevated to the second in command of all of the nation of Egypt, and he sees his brothers again. Now he's learned his lessons. You notice that Joseph is uncharacteristically calm, quiet, not ready to jump off at the mouth like he was when he was younger. He kind of has this attitude of like well, the last time your baby brother was, you were able to sacrifice him to get yourselves out of trouble. You did it without hesitation. Let's see if you'll do the same, if we can recreate that scenario, shall we?
That's his attitude, and that's what he does. He's learned through that land of disappointment to be who he needed to be. He's learned those lessons. He's learned to be patient, to think first, talk second or third, and to really figure out the character of a person before he speaks to him.
We all, at some point in our lives, are going to find ourselves in that place. We're going to find ourselves in the place where we're having those thoughts, those questions, is this really it for me? Is this all I'm going to do? I thought I had so much more before me. I thought my life was going to be so much more different.
But I do want to encourage you, because I want you to know that God is going to grow you, he's going to shape you in this time. But I also know that when you're in the middle of it, it's hard to believe that. You might be thinking, I know he has lessons for me in this place that I'm in. But I'm just so brokenhearted.
But Jesus came close to the brokenhearted. Yeah, but I just feel so vulnerable, but he's a strong tower, a shield, a horn a strength. I just don't have the fire I used to have. It's just embers, but a smoldering wick, he will not snuff out. God is with you in all of these circumstances. No one in the pages of scripture went it alone. No one in this room goes it alone. Not a single believer goes it alone, even in the darkest shadow of any night. You are not alone. And God will use your disappointments to mold you if you don't waste these failures, because he is with you.
Let's look at verse two. "And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in the midst of the bush, and he looked and behold the bush was burning with fire. The bush was not consumed. Then Moses said," This is that farmer speak again. "I will now go inside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." Well, I guess I'll go look at that bush. All right, verse four. "So then the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, and God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said Moses, Moses, and he said, here I am."
So God had a better plan for him, not political, revolutionary. He had a better Moses in mind, one that was patient, humble, willing to serve. Now he's about to give Moses a better vision. He's like you know, remember the plan you had before. I've got something very similar to that. You are going to be the savior of Israel, but not like that, something bigger, something better.
And what God tells Moses at the burning bush is that basically hey Moses, your vision, your scope, it was just too small. It was very, very human. God didn't just want a change. He wanted something radical. He wanted a revolution. Not slaves, but soldiers, not captives, but conquerors, not a visiting tribe in a foreign land, but a brand new nation. That's what he wanted Moses to do. Moses couldn't even see it.
And God knows. Look what God tells him. We'll read these verses quickly, verse six. "Moreover, he said I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and of Jacob. And Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look upon God." Smart move. "And the Lord said, I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrow. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, into a place of the Canaanites, the Hittites," and so on. And verse 10. "Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt."
So God basically tells Moses that he's been waiting, he's been watching, he's been working. He says I've seen the oppression. I've heard the cry. I know their sorrows. And I'm going to rescue them from their slavery. I'm going to take them out of that old life into a brand new full reality of my blessing. And Moses, you're my guy.
And Moses if you know the story well, it like, yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm not. I tried this. Point of order, I'm sorry. I don't know if you remember, I tried this. It didn't go well. And God basically tells him, yeah, I know. I haven't tried yet. How about I take a crack at it? He says, listen, Moses, your way was all wrong. You weren't even who you needed to be yet. We've got something so much bigger and better planned.
I think about the apostle Paul. Paul, who started as Saul, and he has this idea, he's like, you know what. I know what God's plan for my life is. I'm going to study. I'm going to be smart. I'm going to adhere to the law. I'm going to be a Hebrew of Hebrews. Everyone is going to look up to me. They're going to have like little Saul Tarsus dolls that little kids can look up to. It's going to be great. I'm going be zealous for the Lord, and I'm going to make sure that no one will think poorly of the Lord God of Israel anywhere.
I'm going to defend the faith, and I'm going to be smart enough to do it. It's going to be great. And then he meets the Lord God of Israel on the path, and he says, who are you God? He says I'm Jesus, and I suspect that you already knew that. That's why you're kicking against the goats, Saul.
And then he goes through trials and tribulations and blindness, and he spends three years in the Arabian desert, thinking, well, I thought I had a plan. I guess not. I guess this is all there is for me. I guess I'm done. Til Barnabas comes and taps him on the shoulder, hey, I think God's got something else for you. Let's go find out what it is. Come on. And he realizes, oh, man I'm glad I studied.
I'm going to go to every city everywhere and tell people about Jesus, especially the places that have never even heard the name before. God oftentimes has to let to our plan fail, and then as we enter that land of just the kick to the guts, our heart being broken in half and our spine going to jelly of depression and disappointment of like well, now I don't know what to do. To restore that and make it better, bigger, grander than we ever thought or can hope or dream or even imagine.
So we started a church in South Carolina. And it was great. We were in this town of, not very big, but 11% of the population was in college. A ton of college students there, we were really reaching out to them and doing some really great ministry. I was working full time at Costco and also spending 25 to 30 hours a week on my weekend messages. I saw my wife for half an hour a week. It was great.
And you know, my kids are like who's that man in the house? And it was great. We;re seeing people be saved, people be baptized, go into ministry, go on mission trips, talking to their neighbors and colleagues and family, and people leaving just these terrible, terrible situations. It was great.
And then this big mega church moved a multi-site into our town that had the budget and the lights and the worship leaders, and kind of everyone wanted to go over there. Actually, that's not true. Three mega churches moved into our town with multi-sites, with the budget, the lights, and the sound. And we went from yay to yay. And we realized well, maybe this is it. Maybe we're done.
We prayed it through. We talked to her our board. We talked to other people we trusted and their wisdom. And the consensus we got was hey, you know, we started this church in faith. And we feel like God is telling us to close it. So we're going to finish it in faith as well. We're going to put this thing to bed. We're going to bury this church and get people plugged into other churches that we like in the area. And I guess, God called me to be a pastor just for this time, this moment, and then that's it.
And I was good with it until the day it was really real for me was when we sold our sound system at a yard sale. And I was like oh we're really not having service anymore. And I was like, OK. Right on. And there was this moment, this time of grieving, that sense of loss, and just feeling lost and not knowing what to do next.
And so I was still working at Costco, and they brought me up into leadership and trained me and gave me a team of guys, and we're serving in a local church, and we're sticking around because we're like well maybe God has something else for us here. And after six, nine months, we're like feel freedom to go on to do something else. I think we're done. We can go anywhere with my job. It's like you know what, let's go back to Albuquerque.
You know, my wife's family is a lot older. They're in kind of poor health. We'll go there. There's like three locations here. Eubank, Renaissance, and Coor's.
And we'll just go. We'll go to Calvary. We'll serve. They'll drink coffee. It'll be great. It's going to be awesome. Just a regular family. I'll get to see for a whole hour a week. This will be great. I'll double my time.
And I'm here two months, and I get a text. Hey, you're ordained, right? Yeah, why? No response for six hours. Don't do that to people. Like, OK. Finally, they're like hey, come talk to us about something, and I'm like ahuh. And they're like there's this job you should apply for, that we're looking at. And like, so we're praying. And we're like I thought I was done with full time ministry. I don't know.
We prayed it through, and we're like OK let's do it. The big mega-church with all the lights and the sound and the budget hires me to be in charge of multi sites. This is the definition of irony. Go look it up later. And what's so funny is that in that time where we closed our church, and we're talking about the pros and cons of what a multi site church looks like and how to do it well and some of the pitfalls of it and how this church, we kind of like how they do it actually, and this church there's some problems with that. If X, Y, or Z happens, it's going to be really struggling for them. And then I don't know why we talked about it so much. But now I do.
Because now for the very first time in ministry or in my entire life really, I walk into a situation, and I go, I know what to do there. I know a good answer for this, as opposed to praise Jesus, we're going to pray about it. And we're going to work hard. We're going to figure it out. I was like no, I know what to do. This is great.
But I had to go through that time of loss and to go through the time of just like, Ken was right. My vision has to die for God to do what he really wanted to do all along, which was prepare me for this thing. I don't know what the next thing is. I'm enjoying this thing right now. I've no plans to go anywhere else. This is great.
But I've got my eyes open a little bit more to realize, OK, I see how God works now. I see how he does this. And one of the things I realized, by the way, is I am super good not being the number one guy. I'm really happy. I could be three. I bet I could be the number three guy. Like I can be that guy who has the bronze medal for curling in the Olympics, where I'm like super stoked about it. And you're like, do you train for curling? I don't know. No, I'm super good there.
So you learn a lot of things you go through that process. So here's the three things. God has a better way. Oftentimes our plans are so small. They're so limited, and honestly, they're easily fulfilled by us. I've got the skills, the talents, the backing, the right people. I can accomplish this.
What if you had a plan that was impossible? What if you had a plan that only God could achieve? What would that look like? He has something better for you. Have you been there? Have you been there where, you just realized this is over, this is just not going to happen, I think I'm done, I don't think my life's going to go the way I thought it was?
God has a better you. Are you letting him carve you? Or are you enjoying the days of small things and enjoying the lessons that those small mundane things can teach? Are you just like that farmer we talked about, just being, just meditating, ruminating, contemplating, percolating, pontificating, just being and letting God work in you in that moment and soaking it all in to figure out why he has you there? Have you been there?
Have you lived the mundane life? I thought I was going to do this, but now I'm just raising kids. Or maybe I'm just caring for an elderly parent. Maybe you're living the life that if you put it on Instagram, it gets zero likes. It's just so ordinary, uninspiring. God, I guess I'm done. Oh well.
He's teaching you. He wants to turn that regret into diligence. God has a better vision, and it may blow you away. It may scare you, and I hope it does. If God gives you a new vision, he rescues the vision that died and says, this is what it actually is. And you're like, OK, I can do this. Breathing, OK. And you're like this scares me, God. He's like good. It should, because you can't do it. Oh good. I'm glad we're both on the same page here.
But we can. I think you can, God. I'm glad to be along for the ride. He's going to show you how much he can accomplish, how much bigger he wants that vision to be. God can take you there. He can show you the vision that he's had in his mind all along. Let's wrap up these three final questions.
Do you have a vision that needs to die? Do you have a plan that you created for your life that needs to die? Do you need to surrender it over to God? Is what you're dreaming for something that you can make happen or something that only God can do? What is God adding to your character?
Now the question is not does God need to add something to your character? Because you can go no I'm good, I'm pretty rad. What is God adding to your character? If you can answer that, that should shake you a little bit. God, what are you adding to my character? What do you need to add to my character? Do I need more patience? Do I need more diligence? Do I need humility? I thought I was the best at humility.
What is God adding to your character? Where is he molding you? He wants to change you. But you'll miss out if you're not willing to let the trial that you're in be the catalyst to change you. And what are you scared to pray for? This is something that only God can do. Sometimes I'm surprised about how much our prayers can change. I'm surprised that, you might be a parent with a grown child, and they're not living a life that's godly. They've strayed away. They've gone far afield, from their faith they used to have. What you want to pray is just give them that faith they had when they were back in high school. But what God is doing is he's saying, yeah I know that you did the church thing when you were in high school, and now you're in this different place and I'm changing you and doing all the things to prepare you to where you will actually be surrendered to me, so you'll have a white hot fervent faith that changes the world.
That's what I really wanted for this child. And then you go, oh it seems kind of silly to pray for the faith they had back in high school. I want this. God, I just want to marry just a good man. There's so many people who are looking for spouses, looking for relationships. I just want to marry a good man, and then they marry them, and they realize they are not good. They stick it out. They go, OK, this is who I prayed for. I'm not going to stop praying for them now.
And then you realize that God through your prayers, and your diligence, and your patience, and your ability to love them even when they are not lovable, they become surrendered to Christ and a whole different creation, a man who inspires, a man who disciples other men, and you're like God, I don't want a good man. I want a godly man. That was what you wanted me to pray for all along.
Pray for something that scares you, something that only God can do. God, I don't want my neighbor to be saved. I want my neighborhood to be saved, and there is no way I can reach them all. What do you say? Your vision may have to die, but that could be the best thing for you.
Let's pray. God, it shakes us. Some of us love to have every detail of our lives planned out. Other of us, we wing it, but God not knowing even just a general idea can scare us. And Lord, some of the things that we plan and we hope for are good things. We want to be in ministry. We want to have godly kids. We want to reach our neighborhood, but then we realize that you had something more.
We realize that the disappointments of it not going the way that we thought is just your way of chiseling us, of shaping us, of molding us, and instilling the character into our lives that you always wanted us to have. Lord, help us to see it. Help us to cling to you in all those things. And then God, when you show us the full scope of what you had in your heart all along, let our hearts rejoice with it God, knowing that even if we don't see the fulfillment of that vision, that we can be encouraged knowing it still will be fulfilled, because every word that you say comes true.
Lord, you don't change. You don't lie. You don't lack in power. You don't lack in wisdom, and you use all of those things in its perfect timing and your perfect will to glorify yourself. Lord, glorify yourself in us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
What binds us together is devotion to worshipping our Heavenly Father, dedication to studying his work, and determination to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit calvaryabq.org.