On the one hand we are leaving a place, Highlands Church, that must feel a little shaken, and wounded, by the recent announcemnent that I have just stepped down as their senior pastor. There must be the need for some healing, at Highlands, to be sure. Yet, at the same time, Highlands is a place that is reaching for new and exciting ministry avenues. There is a vision there about the future.
Here on the other side of the Rockies, we are entering a place, First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs, that must still be feeling a little shaken and wounded by the news that Jim Singleton is leaving. Jim is their much beloved and extremely hard working lead pastor who is stepping down to become a full time professor at Gordon Theological Seminary.. And yet, as with Highlands, there is at First Pres. Colorado Springs a profound sense of excitement about where the church is going, what it is about to do, where God is leading it. There is vision. And so, in both cases, I have relearned the age old and important life and leadership lesson, that....
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit by the bedside of a dying friend. This person has been a Christ follower for many, many years, and has contributed an incredible amount to church and the kingdom. There was a sadness in the room as loved ones cried, and friends held each other's hands, and nurses wafted back and forth through the room, plugging and unplugging machines.. My dying friend was in pain. Not knowing what exactly to say in this situation (even pastors get tounge tied sometimes), I asked my friend, "What do you think heaven will be like?" My friend looked at me, unable to speak, but with an immediate glint of hope in his eye. It was as if the very vision of heaven, in the midst of the tubes and wires and anesthetic, helped him to rise above the pain of the current moment. I learned again that...
Just this past week, I prayed with a woman who has a debilitating chronic illness. This woman used to be vital, and strong, and very effective in her work setting. She asked me to pray that she might get her "old job" back again, by some miracle of God. But then she said, "no that will never happen, I will never be THAT well again." After a moment or two more of conversation with my friend, I said, "Why don't we pray for the future and not the past. Why don't we pray that God will do something new in your life, in the midst of this illness. Why don't we pray that the future will be just as rewarding as your "old job", but even better in it's own way. We prayed, and once again, a burden seemed to be released, and I witnessed that...
What areas of your life need healing? How might God breathe the essence of vision through that area of brokenness to bring life? The Bible says that, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." The corollary to this must be that where there is a strong vision, healing and abundant life overflow.
All for now,