OUR VISION: Moving Forward With Given Opportunities

CHANGING THE MAINTENANCE MODE MENTALITY:

Yep, “maintenance mode”.  I’m referring to changing from a maintenance mentality to a growth mentality!  I talking about having a VISION–about having HOPE in your spiritual life.  And Biblically, where is there a better place to begin but in the BOOK OF RUTH of the Old Testament.

BACKGROUND:

We find Naomi and Ruth (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law) in a bleak situation, especially for Naomi.

—  Chapter One of Ruth —

Naomi has left her own country, lost her husband, lost her two sons, and one of her daughter-in-laws left too; at Naomi’s recommendation.

—  Chapter Two —

Naomi and Ruth return to Naomi’s country.  Ruth goes out into the fields to glean enough grain (‘leftovers’ for the poor on the outside edges of the fields) to keep them alive.  And, they discover they have a relative to ease their struggle in surviving.

NAOMI’S VISION?

Naomi sees this as God’s hand involved in their lives.  In fact, the Message Bible puts it this way:

“God hasn’t walked out on us after all!

He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!

— Ruth 2:20 —

— In Chapter Three —

The Barley Fields Provision
The Barley Field’s Opportunity

In Chapter 3 of Ruth, we find a chapter of FULL BLOWN HOPE; hope that helps them plan!  It’s HOPE that helps Naomi come up with a strategy and in the Amplified Bible, Naomi says,

Ruth 3:1-3:

“THEN NAOMI her mother-in-law said to Ruth,  My daughter, shall I not seek rest or a home for you, that you may prosper?  And now is not Boaz, with whose maidens you were, our relative?  See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.  Wash and anoint yourself therefore, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.”

Then Naomi continues the process and says,

“Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day”  (Ruth 3:8 NKJV).

THE SITUATION WAS BLEAK!

Naomi’s husband dies, both her sons are dead, one daughter-in-law had left the family circle.  A terrible situation was at hand.

NAOMI could have given up ALL HOPE…had a pity party.  She could have just thought to herself– All I’m going to do is trying to survive under the circumstances.

Some people do that– all they are living for is SURVIVAL.  They go into a survival mode and get into a maintenance mode.  Have you been there?  I certainly have.

I’ve heard of stories of people who die right after they retire; my grandfather was the perfect example.  Within five years after he retired from the Railroad in San Bernardino, California (40+ years), granddad just gave up!  He had been LIVING for the job.

People who die after their spouse dies because they had been living for their partner; when they lost the very thing they were living for, they also lost HOPE and lost their VISION.

Individuals do that–they lose hope–but some churches do that too.  The Bible talks about this–look at Proverbs 29:18:

“Where there is no VISION, the people perish”

VISION LOST–

When VISION is lost, individually or in churches, people start thinking with a maintenance mentality rather than a growth mentality.  They think SURVIVAL is enough–when in reality…it is not!

In preparing for this BLOG-POST, I ran across this statement in my studies and I want to unwrap it for you to ponder:

Most churches don’t die for lack of money–they die for lack of vision!  “Where there is no vision, the people perish”

What is seen
What is seen

WHAT VISION GIVES AND DOES:

Jonathan Swift once said:  “VISION is the art of seeing what is invisible to others”.  Looking at the picture above, people will give different answers to what they see:  “I see a bunch a stars. That’s all I see.”  Or, “I see a face”; “I see an angel!”.

What VISION does is to help us dream; gives us HOPE in our doing, our moving forward in God’s given opportunities.

And HOPE helps us seek endeavors with energy and excitement.

VISION helps us make plans; HOPE helps is in coming up with strategies.

“Can this be Naomi’s circumstance?”

Naomi had reached a point in her life  where she had given up hope; lost her vision and was ready to lie down and die!

“Don’t call me Naomi [pleasant],”  she told them.  “Call me Mara [bitter],

because the Almighty has made my life bitter.

I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.

Why call me Naomi?

The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.

~ Ruth 1:20-21 ~

All Naomi wanted out of life was to survive!  She had gone into maintenance mode.

BUT THEN…she caught a vision–hope returned!

She saw a person who could step in and take care of her family.  So, she came up with a strategy–a plan that could change the rest of her life–and it worked!

Alexander Graham Bell, who had the VISION to discover the telephone; a better way to communicate with people who are not physically in front of us, once said:

“When one door closes another door opens but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

JESUS Too, Has Given Us A Strategy for Church Growth–

Now I’m not talking about another church program of “church growth in the community”.  As the cliché states: Been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt!  

And over 40 years of being a Christian, I’ve attended so many “church growth” seminars, I could almost conduct one in my own church involving community outreach–NOT!

In my studying over the years; in the Book of Acts in the Bible–the First Church–I noticed the numbers increased daily…by the thousands!  And in my detective investigation into God’s Word, I found that there was a VISION:  Spiritual Quality first, then Physical Quantity afterwords!  Did you catch that?  Don’t miss the vision!

OPPORTUNITIES:

“And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread [including the Lord’s Supper–Communion].  They partook of their food with gladness and simplicity and generous hearts,    Constantly praising God and being in favor and good will with ALL people; and the Lord kept adding (to their number) daily those who were being saved (from spiritual death)”  (Acts 2:46-47 AMP).

JESUS doesn’t want His people to “just maintain”–He wants them in a growth mentality.  Where is that STRATEGY found in Scripture?  Well, I found it in the last chapter of the book of Matthew–Chapter 28:

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying,  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”  (Matthew 28:18-20 NASB).

Simply stated, JESUS’ STRATEGY IS…

#1  BRING THEM IN,

#2  BUILD THEM UP,

#3  TRAIN THEM UP,

#4  SEND THEM OUT.

That’s JESUS’ VISION STATEMENT and it should be the same for us:

We plan to bring people in to this church assembly…

We plan to build them up…

We plan to train them up…

We plan to send them out.

All you pastors and church leaders who are reading this blog of mine, might be asking right now,  How is this going to happen, we’ve tried this approach before?  Maybe I can help get you back on the right track; get you out of the maintenance mode.

“THE CLASSROOM STRATEGY”:

CLASS 101–  DEVELOPING Strong Church Members.

CLASS 201–  EQUIPPING  The Saints–skills needed for being a strong Christian.

CLASS 301–  TRAINING Church Attenders.

*I used the word “attenders” instead of “church members” because I want to follow the apostle Paul’s teaching in Colossians 3:11, 16 —[*See my past Blog-Posts: “Membership Has Its Privileges!” – PART ONE, TWO and THREE].

CLASS 401–  COMMISSIONING Seasonal Believers to reach the community for Christ’s sake!

THIS IS THE STRATEGY OF “HOPE”:

This is a strategy of church growth; spiritually and numerically.  No more maintenance mentality for me.  How about you?

I want our church (the greater Church), to be all that God has planned for it to be; not an organization for those to gather at during the week.  But, a living, breathing, Holy Spirit filled organism.  Do you see the difference between the two words?

I want to be all God intends for me to be.  How about you?  Do you want to grow in the Lord?  Do you want to develop into a mature Christian?

Then join with me and make the pledge as we serve Christ together!

Let me hear form you!

Naomi's and Our Instructions!
Naomi’s and Our Instructions!

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