Vision

After reading through the book of Deuteronomy, I was struck with how Moses casted vision. I have read through this amazing book many times, and I really love it. But, this time God focused my attention on the leadership of Moses especially in this area of vision. Here’s what stuck me:

1. The Importance of Remembering

Vision is anchored in the past. Moses seems to tell the same stories over and over again to the Israelites. Stories of God deliverance in Egypt, sustaining them in the desert, their own disobedience and yet God’s continued blessing. Now, these are powerful stories, but Moses does not just give this speech once, he gives it multiple times. As I thought about it, our foundation for going forward in life is found in what God has already done for us. God has brought us out of slavery to sin, He has sustained our lives and blessed us beyond our wildest expectations. This allows us to go forward in confidence.

2. The Call to Remain in God’s Word

Moses is hard-core about the Law of God. He doesn’t hold back as he calls the people to know God’s Word, to teach God’s Word to their children, and to treat God’s Word with the utmost respect. Moses announces blessings for those who keep the Word and major curses for those who do not (I mean major curses, like may you and your family suffer the wrath of God, kind of curses). Moses is preparing them for when he is gone and they are in the Land. Every vision God gives will be rooted in His Word. God will never call us to something outside of His Word. Our call is to be planted (Psalm 1) in His Word and to Remain in Christ (John 15). As we do, God will bless as we follow Him.

3. The Excitement of Going Forward

Moses does an incredible job of painting an awesome picture of the PromiseLand. Moses describes the land so well, he compels the people to go. These people are living in a desert and to hear Moses describe the land makes their mouths salivate. As a leader, we must always keep the vision of God before our people. Whether you are leading your family, a church or any organization. People must never grow complacent and settle for where they are, but they must know that God has even greater things in store. The best is yet to come! Vision helps people become all God intends.

Last week, I meet with a group of leaders from WinShape Camps (Chick-fil-a does an amazing job with raising up future leaders!). They wanted to talk about vision and to hear the story of God’s work here at Rolling Hills. We had a great time together! Afterwards, I reflected on our time and noticed how it followed this exact pattern = we reflected on what God has done, we focused on our call to simply stay obedient to Him, and we encouraged each other with the great things ahead! As you lead today, apply these principles of vision and watch what God will do!

Living by Faith

Over the last several weeks, we have been in an amazing series about faith. As I prepared each week for this series, I was constantly challenged by this call to live, as the Bible says, “by faith and not by sight.” You see, I believe that the goal of almost everyone in our culture today is to move our lives to a place of comfort. A place where we don’t have to need God. We long to have stability in our jobs, to have insurance policies, to build up retirement accounts, to have church be safe and to surround ourselves with people who are like us. While not all these things are bad, I just wonder where this leaves God? Do we really ever need Him? Have created an insulated environment in our lives that if He doesn’t come through, then it really doesn’t matter because we will be fine. In fact, the thought of God showing up at all scares us because it means that we must move out of our comfortable bubble. Yet, God calls us to a life of faith.
Faith means total dependence on God and the giving up of control. The Bible says, “And without faith it it impossible to please God…” Hebrews 11:6. While we yearn for comfortable lives, God desires for us to live on the edge. To live with a resolute trust in God. God longs for us to embrace being men and women of faith. This means to trust, to follow, to be bold and to see God do what only God can do! This is where life gets exciting! This is where Christ comes alive in us and where we see miracles unfold. So many people settle for so little of God. Yet, God longs for us to live life as it was meant to be lived. God wants us to come alive! As St. Ireneus said, “The Glory of God is man fully alive.” This only comes as we live lives of faith in Christ Jesus!

In what areas of our life can we move away from the comfortable to a greater dependence on God? Where can we move out of our complacency and into a life of faith? Let’s not settle for becoming “creatures of comfort” while God longs to make us disciples. “Come follow Me,” Jesus said – never saying where He was going – just “Come and follow.” Following Christ requires faith. Don’t settle for the comfortable when God longs for us to have so much more! Each day, take a step of faith. Pray, trust, obey and watch God call you to a deeper, more invigorating journey with HIm. What steps of faith is God calling you to take? Is it in the area of missions, service, giving, sharing, or even in personal devotion? Let’s grow in our faith and let’s go deeper together!

South Africa Mission Trip Update

I recently returned from an amazing mission experience with our South Africa Mission Team. For over six years, Rolling Hills has been investing in South Africa. Our ministry has centered in this special place called Red Hill. Red Hill ranges from 800 to 1,200 people all living in conditions that you will see below. This is definitely a place of poverty, but there is something powerful happening just below the surface…

When we arrived in Red Hill we divided into three teams – Garden, Construction and Preschool training. The Garden team took on the task of developing a large garden to provide food for the community. Phillis and her husband, William (pictured below) live in the home by the garden. Phillis already feeds 27 people in need in Red Hill, and her dream has been to have a garden to feed 100+. There was a look of grateful joy and sheer amazement as she watched her dream come true. Our construction team spent the day building out the roof on the Living Hope club facility. They are doing a great job working with people in the community to see this come together. In addition, our preschool team spent time training leaders of the two preschools in Red Hill.

One of my favorite parts of the mission trip thus far is seeing what God is doing through our very own missionary, Lesli Crawford! She is truly the “Mother Theresa” of Red Hill. Whenever she drives into the community, the kids immediately flock to her. Here is Lesli pictured with Phillis and Lumpka (one of the Life Skills Educators we, as a church, help sponsor in Red Hill). Lesli is a true gift from God, and she is making a huge difference for the Kingdom! I am so thankful for her heart and her ministry!

After this work, came the kids! Kid’s Club today was absolutely incredible! About 94 kids ages 3 to 10 came bounding to the building ready to sing, dance, and hear about Jesus! It was so fun! The kids immediately jumped into our arms only to find love and acceptance. They sang songs about Jesus, listened to our Bible Story, carefully worked on their craft, prayed with sincerity and waited patiently for us to give them a meal – which might be their only one of the day. God was there! As we all sang “How Great is our God,” tears filled my eyes. To look around and see the difference God is making through His church in Middle Tennessee in the lives of precious children half-way around the world. I truly thought, “Only God!” Only God can do something like this!

I am so thankful for all who invest in this incredible ministry. Thank you for your prayers, your time, your giving and your constant investment. God is using us in a mighty way for His glory! Your obedience is making a huge difference! I am so thankful for Brent, Jason, Lesli, Ethan, Mark, Zach, Emily, Sam and Nathan who have come year after year to serve in this place. I am thankful for Sara, Steve, Tama, Conner and Claudia who are here now investing in God’s work. And, I am thankful for each of you! It takes all of us working, praying, giving and serving together to make this kind of impact.

As Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” We are planting seeds here in Red Hill – not just seeds in garden that will feed over 100+ people, but seeds of the Gospel that will impact generations! Many of these seeds we are already seeing sprout up in Christ. God is alive and moving Red Hill! And, I believe, the best is yet to come!