I thought I’d just put it out there and be honest.
It probably comes as no surprise to many of you because you’ve been suspecting this for a long time. I haven’t kept my agenda hidden. I haven’t tried to play it down. I haven’t even denied it to be so.
My agenda is this: I want to see the dominion of God come to be on earth as it is in heaven. Sometimes I want this more than others. Often I lose track of what my agenda is a wander about in some self-serving daze.
In the past I have been somewhat confused about my agenda and have tried to substitute the agendas of others for my own. Sometimes I’ve jumped from one agenda to another, strugging so tirelessly to get others to conform to my agenda-of-the-week, thinking it was the be-all-and-end-all of my “ministry.” (Oh, how many ways that word can be abused!) Other times I have held so tightly to my agenda that I failed to see that God’s kingdom comes in a variety of ways, through a multiplicity of spiritual exercises, and from sometimes unlikely advocates.
From my understanding of what this agenda is all about, it requires a lot of me, including the following:
- That I live in humility
- That I act selflessly
- That I do my best to be a bringer of peace
- That I depend on God for my daily needs in all areas
- That I follow the example and commands of Jesus the Christ to the best of my ability
- That I love people in the same way as Jesus loves them
- That I be an agent of change wherever it is needed
I know–these are all huge asks! There’s no way I can do or be all these things. I haven’t got what it takes to fulfill my own mission–BUT I DO because God has promised he will always be with me and be my strength, and tells me that I can have confidence in his faithfulness.
The one thing I do know is that one day God’s kingdom WILL come. It will not come in fancy oratory, quality worship, high-brow performances, or state-of-the-art technicolour. It will come quietly, perhaps unseen by most, in humility and mercy.
God’s reign will come. Until it does, I want to keep my agenda from being hidden, I want to set it in the front of my consciousness at all times. I want it to dictate how I live, love, journey, pray, talk, sing, play . . . After all, that’s why we have agendas, right?
So, what’s your agenda?
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Just enter any up-to-date Christian Church today and listen carefully. It won’t be long until you hear the word “vision” tossed about. Usually Proverbs 29:18–“Without a vision, the people perish”–is quoted in support.
- The verse most often used to support vision in a church is Proverbs 29:18… “Without a vision, the people perish.” But even an elementary study of that verse will reveal that the word translated “vision” is best translated “prophecy” or “revelation“. It isn’t talking about the modern preoccupation with creating and articulating a vision over a group of people to maintain health or secure life or success. It’s more related to the biblical theme, “We do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Without revelation, without the truth coming to us, we would die.
- There is no talk about vision for each local church in the New Testament. I suggest the earliest church’s concern is primarily a human one: the urgent necessity of fellowship, the gathering together of those with the same belief in a hostile environment. Then it is out of this that worship, prayer and apostolic teaching find expression. Not even evangelism is its primary concern. The New Testament assumes evangelism is the byproduct of the presence of the church in society. For instance, in Acts, the earliest Christians didn’t disperse in order to evangelize. Instead, the church dispersed after each increase in persecution, and people were added to the church as a result. Which of course brings to mind that this obsession with vision is a modern one. From the earliest church to the post-modern era, it wasn’t a concern. Now, it seems to me, vision is a modern technique for attracting, keeping and motivating people in the midst of heated competition. (Read more …)