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Archive for Vision


Look to This Day

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“Look to this day,
For it is life,
The very best of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth,
The splendor of action,
The glory of power–

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.”

Kalidasa, Fourth century A.D.

Categories : Vision
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Excellent post on vision by Will Mancini. Find it HERE.

Categories : Vision
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Ten Steps Ahead by Erik Calonius

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What happens when you take hard research from neuroscience and couple it with experiential data gathered through interviews conducted with visionaries such as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson? The product of that work is Ten Steps Ahead, by Erik Calonius. Calonius set out to discover what sets apart today’s business visionaries from the rest of us and has published his findings in this interesting and helpful book. In the introductory pages, Calonius writes, “the brain is a visionary device with the primary function to create pictures in our minds that can be used for blueprints for things that do not yet exist.” So far, so good. But what really makes a visionary tick? How does it work? Is the power of vision a gift for a select few who are duly endowed? Or are there some basic elements that can be developed by anyone with a brain?

The writer observes that visionaries have the ability to find something that the rest of us have been missing. They don’t need to see what doesn’t exist to change the world, they just need to see what’s already here but unseen by others. For visionaries, seeing is everything! Ideas, like images, float around in our minds. The thing that distinguishes the visionary, however, is their ability to hold those images in their minds for extended periods of time, changing and altering them as they view them.

So how does that work? As a general rule, visionaries can’t tell you. They know what happens in their minds, but can’t explain the process in a manner that can be replicated. To them it’s just the way it is. Calonius, however, has investigated the phenomena and suggests several elements that make visionaries tick, such as how they “see” and how intuition guides their inner decision making about their ideas. Beyond the ability to see and to think intuitively, additionally, is the passion, courage, and conviction that takes emerging ideas and pushes them into reality. “Courage,” he writes, “is what separates dreamers from visionaries…the contented do not make discoveries.”

Ten Steps Ahead is well researched and well written. With a good balance of data and narrative, Calonius has provided an admirable attempt at answering important questions about vision and creativity that will challenge the reader to think about their thinking.

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Re-Dreaming the Dream 3

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In his grace, God visited Jacob and restated the dream that He had bestowed upon him decades before. I have to believe that Jacob must have been somewhat overwhelmed with the risk and the challenge that added weight to this revelation. Jacob had a tough life. He grew up in a home filled with sibling rivalry. After he married, his wives didn’t get along and his sons were often rebellious. It was hardly “Little Tent on the Prairie!” But through all of those difficult dynamics God’s purpose and plan remained static.

Like Jacob, we can let life beat the dream right out of us.

Difficulties and adversity will come. Life will happen. But adversity is not the enemy. The enemy is the temptation to simply give up on God’s plan and purpose, or worse still, settle for second best. I want to encourage you today to not quit on what God has already declared over your life. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. You can’t turn back the clock and re-do what has already been done, but you can return to your God given dream and move forward to live in the fulness of his purposes for your life. Don’t be defeated by the desert, and don’t be defined by the desert. Value the voice of God in the dryness and let him lead you to the place where you can fulfill that dream.

Categories : Dreams, Genesis, Joseph, Vision
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Re-Dreaming the Dream 2

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Overwhelmed by the famine, Jacob must have been torn as he stood at the crossroads. Should he stay where he was? Or should he uproot his entire family and relocate to Egypt? At this precise moment, God came to him in a vision. One might expect God to give Jacob a new dream, but He didn’t. He simply reminded Jacob of the same dream He had given him before.

In Genesis 46:3-4, God gave Jacob four specific words about his life. The first word was a word of perspective: “I am God.” There’s nothing like the self disclosure of God to put perspective on our adversity! When God weighs in everything else is put into proper perspective. Jacob’s life had become so overwhelmed by so many things he needed perspective to re-order and re-orient his life.

The second word was a word of power: “Do not be afraid.” Gripped by fear, Jacob needed a bit of security. He needed the reminder that God was on his throne and in control. He needed to recall that his life was not spinning our of control at the cruel hand of fate. He needed to have the clear security that God was fully aware of the challenges he was facing and that His power was great enough to overcome any fear he might have.

Next came a word of promise: “I will fulfill…” God reminded Jacob that He still intended to make him a great nation. God’s plans and purposes for Jacob had not changed one bit. God was at work to bring it all into fruition.

The final word was a word of presence: “I will go with you.” Jacob would not be sent to Egypt. Rather, God promised that He would accompany him to Egypt. God’s presence in his life would have provided comfort and stability at the cross roads and would go with him as he followed God’s direction.

If you’re in a “famine,” or standing at a cross roads, remember God has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! God desires to come to you and help you gain perspective. His words of power, promise, and presence will help you navigate the turbulence you may be feeling right now and enable you to re-dream the dream. Chances are that you don’t need a new dream. You just need to walk in the dream God has already given to you. Tomorrow I’ll finish this week’s series and post some thoughts about living the dream.

Categories : Dreams, Genesis, Joseph, Vision
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Re-Dreaming the Dream

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Jacob has found himself in the middle of a famine. Two years without rain will do that. The land was dry, barren, and parched. But Jacob is not just in a literal famine, he’s in a spiritual one as well. It had been nearly 30 years since he’d heard the voice of God. Like the land itself, Jacob is dry, barren, and spiritually parched.

Jacob’s famine was not without a great deal of uncertainty. Would there be enough food to sustain his family? Would Simeon be released from prison? Would Benjamin return safely? Would Judah stick up for him should trouble arise? All of those questions and more must have flooded his anxious mind.

Finally the day came. The sons returned, and to Jacob’s relief all 11 of his sons returned safe and sound. But nothing could have prepared him for the news they reported: Joseph was alive! Not only was he alive, he was in charge of the land of Egypt. Not only was he in charge, he had revealed that the famine would last five more years. Not only would the famine last five more years, but Joseph wanted them all to move to Egypt to live.

Jacob was immediately faced with a difficult question. On one hand is the famine, and on the other, the best news he’d received in 25 years. The question? Can I trust God?

At that moment, God spoke. For the first time in nearly three decades, Jacob heard the voice of God. It was clear and unmistakable. What words did God say in the famine? What words would God say to you in your famine today?

Tomorrow I’ll post the content of God’s words to Jacob from Genesis 46:1-7.

Categories : Dreams, Genesis, Joseph, Vision
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For the past week people who follow religious news have been buzzing about the announcement issued out of Garden Grove, California, that the Crystal Cathedral was preparing to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect itself from vendors who were filing liens against the ministry founded in 1955 by Robert Schuller. Reports indicate that the church is presently carrying a debt service that ranges toward $55 million dollars. While many secular journalists have pointed to the family conflict betwixt the senior Schuller and his son as one of the sources of the church’s demise, others in Christian circles have pointed to Schuller’s generous and gracious theology as the primary factor that has weathered the ministry.

I think it’s absolutely heartbreaking anytime a church that flies under the flag of Jesus Christ experiences public shame. Whether it’s sexual misconduct by church leadership or the misappropriation of funds or even the assumption of too much debt, it impacts all of us who serve Christ in the context of a local church. While Christians may be able to clearly distinguish the differences and create adequate distance, the bottom line is that non-church seculars in many ways lump us all together as the “churched.”

Now to my point. As I read several responses and appraisals of the particular story of the Crystal Cathedral, I did not see one that addressed the fact that attractional church is on the demise. By attractional, I mean the approach to church growth that believes that the church’s primary function in the world is to get people to come to it. The church growth movement of the last century gave plenty of appreciation to leaders like Robert Schuller for his innovative methods of attracting people and building attendance. For Schuller, these methods included things like erecting a fabulous house of worship, providing incredible music, presenting celebrities to share personal testimonies, and over the top holiday celebrations. For nearly 50 years these methods attracted people to the church in droves.

I would like to suggest, in deference to those who think otherwise, that a worship band would not have changed anything. Contemporary methods of attraction are still methods of attraction.
This is why I am convinced that the missional church movement is needed today more than ever. Missional Church is not new. In fact it’s a return to the scriptural principles of sending that we see in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The world does not exist for the sake of the church. On the contrary, the church exists for the sake of the world. In my theology, the most important work the church does in the world today happens off campus in places that are desperate for the presence of Christ. The primary role of the church seeks to serve members by preparing them for their God-given, personal mission. Evangelism happens in the community by members who are equipped, not at the conclusion of the sermon at the altar call.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a part of a church that is nothing more than a “glass cathedral,” existing for no other purpose than to get people to routinely attend. Yet the majority of our churches in America today are stuck in that worn approach that we commonly call the Church Growth Movement. They may not have majestic music or aesthetic sanctuaries and the mortgages that come with, but week in and week out they open their doors and wait for the community to come in. These churches offer the same buffet of programs that worked in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, but wonder why the impact is less significant. They may not file for bankruptcy, but decline they will. Sooner than they think.

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Vision and Leadership

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Here’s an excellent quote on Vision and Leadership:

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Categories : Leadership, Vision
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Simon Sinek on Communication

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Great clip shared with me by Brent Clark.

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