Thursday, August 5, 2010

The power of a vision...

This year is another big year in the Green household as we travelled with our youngest daughter and middle child Beth down to tour Liberty University in June and are making plans for her to head off to college this fall. We’re also seeing our oldest son Ralph headed to High School this year as a freshman. Cheryl and I have always had, as most parents do, dreams and hopes for our children in how they will turn out. We’ve been intentional in our parenting to raise them to love Jesus with all they have and to serve Him all of their days. While this is still an active process and we’re at a very different stage at this point in our lives, where we are today in our relationships with all of our children began as a dream, a vision if you will, that burned in our hearts from before they were born. That vision for what we wanted them to become has meant we’ve had to make some tough choices along the way that were not popular with them at the time but the vision helped shape what we said yes or no to. If we felt like what they wanted to do would help them in line with our vision, we said yes. If we felt like it would prevent them from becoming what we envisioned, we said no and stuck to our guns no matter how much whining or belly aching followed. Cheryl and I have parented with the end goal in mind, the vision of what we desire them to be. (This is not to suggest that as parents we always made or make the correct choice!)

As we walked around the vast campus at Liberty University, I could not but help to reflect back 28 years ago when I was a freshman student on that very campus. I remembered going to Thomas Road Baptist Church and hearing Jerry Falwell casting his vision for a world class university that would someday have more than 50,000 students enrolled. I remembered singing the little jingle they had developed “I want that mountain” referring to the mountain in Lynchburg that has become “Liberty Mountain.”  I walked through a huge building that used to be an electronics manufacturing plant which now houses the new Thomas Road Baptist Church  and also the student center. Driving by the huge football stadium now on campus, I had a flashback to being at an LU football game at the old Lynchburg City stadium 28 years ago and to my delight as a freshman student, there was Dr. Falwell standing on top of a concrete dugout in front of a few thousand fans urging them to get fired up to root Liberty on to victory. As I saw the myriad of changes there that have taken place in 28 years, one thing kept coming to my mind, this is all the result of the power of a vision that burned in Dr. Falwell’s soul and caused him to wake up every day and go to work to see that vision fulfilled. By the way, Liberty University now has close to 60,000 students enrolled worldwide including their online students!

You may be sitting there reading this and thinking ”so what Pastor Ralph, what does that have to do with me or Calvary?” Quite frankly, everything. Part of Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” This is true for your life and family personally, and for our church corporately. We must live personally and corporately with the end goal in mind, the vision of what God wants us to be and what we want to be. The people who find joy and contentment in life are those who desire that their hopes and dreams align with God’s dreams for them. People who resist God’s plans for them find themselves to be miserable.  Last night, I met once again with our vision team members. God is drawing us together and He’s speaking to each of us about what the future of Calvary Baptist Church. We are having a great time together just dreaming and asking God what He wants to do here at Calvary, what He wants to do in Harford County, this region and the world. We’re working through our personal devotions and study of God’s Word, exercises, selected books, even some sermon CD’s to help us clarify a fresh vision for Calvary, how we can help people encounter God and experience life change. How can we fulfill our mission statement your staff has identified “Teach my people very well, so they will love me very much and serve me very effectively.” That’s making disciples, that’s fulfilling the Great Commission in the context of Calvary Bel Air Maryland.  When I begin dreaming what God wants to do in us and through us to reach this community, our region and the world; I see much of what God has in mind for us and it fans my flame. It’s exciting and it’s scary but it’s all good because God is the author of it! You’ll be hearing more as we pray and develop a fresh vision we believe God has for us.

I’m thrilled to tell you under Dr. Carter’s leadership, a number of folks from Calvary worked on a “Strategic Action Plan” several years ago. In looking through those notes and that plan, they dreamed with God and much of what they envisioned has been implemented and is already in place. That vision and plan has gotten us to where we are today. Pray for us as a staff, pray for us as a vision team and pray for us as a church family, that we’ll have the courage to embrace God’s vision for Calvary. Maybe 28 years from now, someone will be strolling through Bel Air Maryland and they’ll see the reality of the power of a vision, that transferred from God to my little corner of the world and to yours…

Ralph Green

Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church

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