We analyzed the story presented in the Bible for our Bible conferences, and it profoundly affected how we view things.
Vision has been on our minds in recent months.
Mike’s emergency eye surgeries for glaucoma have certainly put physical vision in the limelight. And we’re glad to report that his vision is stable in the right eye and his actually improved in his left eye. This has been a wonderful answer to prayer.
As we start a new year another kind of vision has been on our minds. The vision of our ministry. Planning for another year of ministry is a good time to check on our ministry vision, and how it lines up with God’s vision.
The source for all missionary work and vision is God’s vision as presented in the Bible. A few years ago we analyzed the story presented in the Bible for our Bible conferences, and it has profoundly affected how we view things.
Reduced to its bare bones, the story of the Bible is this:
The main character, God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) always existed.
God created Man 1, the other major character, and installed him as governor of the earth.
God maintained a friendship with His creation, visiting and talking with Man, every day. Both God and Man are compound characters--God is a trinity and Man a duality--man and woman. All through this story, we must understand God as a character and Man as a character, if we want to understand what happens and not be distracted by the details.
There is another major character. God has an enemy, a rebellious creation named Satan. Satan is an angel, more powerful than Man, but his nature is corrupt and God has condemned him to eternal punishment for rebellion. This rebel entered into the earth in the form of a snake and enticed Man, Earth’s governor, into rebelling against God as well. Man’s nature became corrupted, and all of creation became corrupted with him.
The corrupted version of Man stayed true to his original function of governing the earth, but the corrupted Earth resists his efforts. As his original mission becomes more corrupted, Man 1 becomes obsessed with power and control. Even his relationship with God is corrupted, and Man’s best efforts are unacceptable to God, corrupted as they are by sin. Because death is introduced to limit Man 1’s corruption, his character becomes more splintered, as people are born and die and cover the earth.
God gives Man 1 several fixes that don’t fix his problem--a flood that wipes out most of the human race, the law given to the nation of Israel--these show Man 1 that his corruption has made it impossible for him to fix himself.
Finally, God gives Man a fix that works--God Himself takes the form of Man in Jesus Christ, but with an uncorrupted nature. Man 1, in his crazy power madness, kills Jesus Christ. This is according to God’s plan because Christ’s innocent death pays the penalty for the act of rebellion against God. Those individual men who accept this payment and surrender to God’s control become part of a new character, Man 2, and are no longer condemned.
Man 2 is the church, and is working against the clock, trying to incorporate as many individuals as possible into the church before time runs out and all humans are sent either to eternal glory with God or eternal punishment with Satan.
That’s the missionary vision: incorporating as many individuals as possible into the church before time runs out.
That’s God’s vision.