Podcast: Write the story you want to live- #48Feb 05, 2018
In this episode of the podcast I want to tell you about something we just did with our kids, something that applies to me and to you…
There’s a great passage tucked in the end of Proverbs that’s often misquoted.
Solomon writes, “Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18).
A lot of well-intended leaders use this to endorse their grandiose plans- “God wants us to have big vision,” they say. “He says so right here, so we’re going to build a bigger building.”
That’s usually how it goes, anyway. This verse is used for church building programs more than just about any other use I can fathom…
And, though it’s true that we often dream and plan too small- particularly given the fact that our God is the Creator of the still-expanding universe (meaning, He is STILL creating), the word vision here doesn’t mean “big plans.”
The word vision here (in Hebrew- the language of the Old Testament) is more closely aligned to prophecy- to hearing the voice of God. That is, to hearing your Father nudge you towards the greatness He’s put inside of you.
Solomon is NOT saying that “we need big plans" (although planning can be amazing). He’s saying that, first, we need to hear the voice of God- a voice that hits the deepest part of us that sometimes defies words and explanation.
We see this idea throughout the Bible, that your Father actively speaks…
- “Surely, the Lord does nothing without revealing His secrets to His prophets…” (Amos 3:7)
- “Shall I hide from Abraham what I’m about to do…?” (Genesis 18:17)
Over and over, we see that God wants to be known. He wants to live in relationship with us.
By the way, Solomon says that the people without this vision “perish.” That is, they lose hope. They faint. They wilt inside. He acknowledges that you and I live by hearing the very heartbeat of God. If you’ve ever felt desperate or empty, Solomon would say that one of the things you need is more revelation as to the purpose and destiny for your life.
(An aside- remember when Jesus was tempted by Satan, He also said that man doesn’t live by bread but by the very words of God, as well- see Matthew 4:4.)
God reveals Himself to you because He loves you
One day Jesus had a “run in” with the religious elite. (I know, this happened more than “one day,” for sure! Seems like this happened weekly, right?) It was the Sabbath, and He’d just healed a lame man who was now carrying his mat- thereby breaking one of their rules.
The Pharisees questioned Jesus- as to WHY He was “working” on the Sabbath (by healing the guy), and thereby causing that man to work (by carrying his mat).
His answer: God is still working right now. Even this moment. So, since God is working, He works too….
He says, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17 NKJV).
Notice what He says next (John 5:19-20 NKJV):
19) “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20) For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these…
There’s a lot in those two sentences. So, let’s recap it here:
First, the Son doesn’t do anything on His own. He only does what He sees the Father doing (v19).
(I love, too, that this is written in the present tense… that God is actively DOING something right now.)
Second, the Father shows the Son everything He’s doing, so that the Son can join in that work and fulfill His destiny.
(This is another incredible theological aside- whenever we see Jesus doing something, He says that it’s because that’s what the Father was already doing. Many times we have the idea that “God” is judgmental and out to “get us” but that Jesus is good and kind. In this passage, we’re reminded that the reason Jesus endeared Himself to the woman at the well… the reason He defended the woman caught in adultery… the reason He met with tax collectors and “sinners” and even religious zealots who came to Him in the middle of the night… was… well… because that’s exactly what the Father was already doing. You can learn more about that in a previous podcast episode, btw- see https://www.overflowfaith.com/blog/03.)
Third, the Father does this BECAUSE HE LOVES the Son. That is, God reveals Himself for relationship. He doesn’t disclose what He is doing in order to taunt or distance Himself from us… No, He reveals Himself so that we can come in close and connect to Him.
Fourth, just like we’ll read in a moment in an instance with Habakuk, the Father does these “greater” thing so that we will be astounded and His goodness…
Too many people are astounded at
- God’s perceived lack of patience…
- Or God’s perceived anger.
- Or God’s perceived desire to judge and punish.
Let me pause right here. I know. I’m writing a bit about the goodness of God- and His grace. This, oddly enough, sets a lot of people “on edge.” It’s strange- you can teach condemnation and criticism and people seem fine. But, you begin teaching grace and unconditional love and religious people get nervous :-)
Throughout His ministry, Jesus paints the picture of a God who wants us to be overwhelmed by unbalanced grace and radical goodness. That’s different than the image we often present- or have been presented.
Hearing the Father’s voice
Jesus moved through life on earth by hearing the voice of God (by receiving Divine revelation), then by connecting with His purposes for Him. We even read that Jesus actually GREW in this area (see Luke 2:52).
More importantly for our purposes in this post, Jesus tells us that we can ALSO hear His voice- clearly (John 10:27).
It’s revealing that the context of this declaration that we CAN hear His voice is about Jesus telling us that He came as the antithesis of the Devil (who came to kill, steal, and destroy)- that we might have a life that overflows (John 10:10).
In other words, the things we hear from the Father- and the Son- are going to be full of life. Loaded with grace. Magnified by purpose.
Notice that killing is not on His agenda for you (pretty obvious, right?).
Nor is destroying- or being destroyed.
Nor is stealing- or being stolen from.
The good things are from HIm- and are for you. The other things, well… aren’t.
It’s easy to get the two confused, because a lot of people believe- and teach- that Father peddles things like sickness, chaos, and confusion… dispensing these things to His children in order to refine them.
The Bible, on the other hand, says that He desires for us to become confirmed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). And that Son came to reveal the goodness of the Father (John 14:9). In other words, our destiny involves those same great things.
Hear that AND believe it
Again, this sounds antithetical to a LOT of what’s taught…
It's no wonder, then, that Solomon said "as a man thinks, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). He knew that our thoughts permeate every part of our being… our thoughts radically affect lives. And that is what is broadcast to the world around us, coming out in the form of of the lives we live. He wanted to be certain that we hear the voice of God- that revelation we talked about in Proverbs 28:19- and that we continually think on what we’ve heard…
This is why Paul later wrote that we should be transformed (that is, changed for the better)… by the renewing of of the mind” (Romans 12:1-2). He knew that most often our external reality starts on the inside of us!
Now, this “truth focus" is not a one-time thing. We must continue aligning- and realigning- ourselves with it.
Jesus asked, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?" Then, He answered with a word picture- “It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in 3 measures of meal until it was all leavened” (Matthew 13:33f., Luke 13:21f.).
He used the analogy of yeast in dough, in other words. A bit of yeast in one part of the dough is kneaded through the batch and effects all of it- in the same way our thoughts work their way through our entire person.
Like leaven through the dough, we must allow truth to continue permeating our minds, constantly revealing who we are so that we can live the things we're destined to do.
Leads me to this…
One to the best ways to make sure you continually think about something is…
Go write it down and keep reading what you wrote
There’s a verse in Habakuk 2 where God explains to the prophet that He’s about to do something so amazing in their midst that they wouldn’t believe it unless they actually saw it. The “move” God was about to make on their behalf was literally “too good to be true” (which, incidentally, what the word Gospel also means- “too good to be true” news).
So, God tells Habakuk to write it down. Literally. Take out a pen and write the message He gives to him.
Here’s where it gets interesting, though…
Usually, when we receive messages like this (private declarations and direction from God) we write them down and hide them away in our journals. Or in the back of our calendars and day-timers. Maybe even in the “notes” section of our phone. In other words, we pen it in a private place where no one else can see it.
But God tells Habakuk to write this message in HUGE letters…
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it,” He tells him (see Habakuk 2:2 ESV).
- “Write it large enough so that anyone who walks by can see it- even people who won’t believe it.”
- Or- “Write it large enough so that someone can read it even if they’re running by and not paying attention…”
- And- “Write it down so that it’s overly obvious to everyone that this is the great plan I’ve declared for each of you!”
That makes a difference, doesn’t it? Really SEEING and SENSING and FEELING that your Heavenly Father is FOR you?
What we did- getting practical
So Cristy had an idea at the beginning of the year- “Let’s grab some magazines and pictures and poster board… and let’s let the kids make these vision boards. Let’s let them pray and see what God has destined for them to do this year…”
The idea was that if we could get them to HEAR it…
And then if we could get them to write it down (think about that… you really have to process something and own the idea in order to communicate it on paper, right?)…
And then if we could put it put there for everyone in the family to see…
Then we could celebrate it…
And we could hold each other ACCOUNTABLE for it…
OK. Let’s talk about that word, accountable. It’s kinda a dreaded word in church circles, isn’t it? Turns out, most people use accountability in the negative sense- “Accountability is holding each other responsible to NOT do the things that you’re NOT supposed to do,” we think.
Let’s spin it. Let’s go “grace” and “empowerment” with accountability…
What if it means this: “I believe in you so much and I know the destiny the Father has promised you is so incredible that I’m going to keep encouraging the best in you- and I’m going to continue reminding you of that precious message the Holy Spirit has reveled about you!”
Yeah. Mic drop.
We need MORE people in our lives like that- more people who dream + hear + hope + encourage the call of the Kingdom on us!
So the kids made their boards…
And they’re still making them… even a few weeks into the year.
And we’re still talking about calling forth the destiny…
What made the kids’ lists? They wrote down things like:
- Starting point guard on the basketball team
- Traveling to another country
- Writing a book
- Saving up to purchase a new Lego set (a big one!)
- Learning to read better
- Going on a “sneak out” with Dad
In other words, things that kids might really, really stretch to do…
Now, we’ve got our kids’ visions on poster paper. We’re about to scan them into the computer, put them in a “folder,” and set our Apple TV to pulling the pics for that folder as the screen saver in the living room. That way these vision boards cycle through the screen all day, every day, where everyone can see them.
Here's the kids in action >>>
Oh- they all got to present their vision to each other and discuss what they were wanting to see happen in their lives over the next 365 days. It was awesome to hear them voice it somewhat timidly and then hear their siblings celebrate and breathe life into those dreams!
The rewind- your next step
So that what a lot of info there. A lot of stringing Bible verses together and meandering through the some concepts. Here’s the “bullet point” takeaway:
- God reveals vision- revelation to you (Proverbs 28:19).
- Jesus says He does this to invite you to join what He’s already doing, and because He loves you (John 5:19-20).
- You can hear His voice- when He reveals the great things He’s destined for you, rest assured that it’s not the devil’s voice- it’s your Father’s (John 10:27).
- Hold onto those words and continually think on them- especially when the external circumstances don’t need to line up with what He’s revealed (Proverbs 23:7, Romans 12:1-2).
- Write it down- and keep reading it (Habakuk 2:2).
- Find people who will call forth that greatness in you- and continue to remind you of it!
For more study
Listen to The Happy God- episode 3 of the podcast- https://www.overflowfaith.com/blog/03
Watch the video series Revelation = Invitation (the video series that teaches you that “God doesn’t reveal Himself to be studied; He reveals Himself to be encountered and experienced”): https://www.overflowfaith.com/p/healing-series-revelation-invitation
Renewing Your Mind- notes + video from the online course. Go to https://www.overflowfaith.com/offers/HmKGXMzq for free access.
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