I own a small miniature painting of Walter Peak in New Zealand which was gifted to me by my parents back in 1994. However, I never fully appreciated the beauty of this scene until I visited this historic sheep station on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand last year. A landscape painting is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional reality. The painting can capture the colours, content, and form of the landscape; but it can never reproduce the full 360 degrees of experience living in that reality.
A vision for our life, our family, our work, and our ministry is similar. As a statement on a page, a logo on the wall or an image in our mind it has some power and impact. But it is only as we begin to walk, run, and live in the vision that its fully three-dimensional colour and depth starts to unfold. So, what is the vision God has given you for your life, your ministry, and your involvement in church life? Is your vision 2d or 3d? Are you simply looking at that vision or are you living in the vision?Habakkuk’s Vision
In a time of stress, failed harvest and oppression, God gave the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk a vision. Habakkuk sets an example of what to do in a time of crisis and difficulty when we need fresh vision. He set a watch and spent time seeking God for an answer to the trouble he was seeing. As he did God gave him a fresh revelation. God then tells Habakkuk to write down the vision, and he also says it is a vision for someone to run with. Here we see the importance of painting a preferred picture of the future, writing down the vision and making it plain. But we also see the importance of taking steps to run or live in that vision.“I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation [vision] and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—” (Habakkuk 2:2-4 NIV)“And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time. “Look at that man, bloated by self-importance—full of himself but soul-empty. But the person in right standing before God through loyal and steady believing is fully alive, really alive. (Habakkuk 2:2-4 The Message Bible)CityLife’ Fully Alive Vision
So, what is our CityLife Church vision for the next few years? As most of you are now aware, we call it our FULLY ALIVE vision. In one sentence it can be summarised as “We see CityLife Church as a spirit-filled movement where each person is becoming fully alive in Christ so that every city overflows with Kingdom Life.”
Over the coming three to four years, we will look at different dimensions of this vision. This year our particular focus is on the Spirit Life aspects. We are a Spirit-filled movement, and we want each person to encounter full life in Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Our Inspire conference had that emphasis with its theme of Revival. Our current teaching series also focuses on this area Spirit Life. Our prophetic gathering in August is part of this.
What’s more, to make our Spirit Life vision focus even more practical and tangible, we have identified three Spirit Life outcomes and activities we can all participate in. These are:1) Help someone take their next step to encounter Jesus
. A practical step towards this is completing the Evangelism Course "On Mission with God." This is an online course with a facilitator that you can complete in your own time. See the CityLife Church website for details.2) Develop and Practice our Spiritual Rhythms.
A practical step to help us with our spiritual rhythms is completing our spiritual health check, reflecting on the results, and preparing a development plan. You can do this personally, with a friend or as a Life Group. We will begin rolling this out through Life Groups soon.3) Identify and Develop our Spiritual Gifts.
A step towards identifying your spiritual gifts could be completing our LifeTracks Two course called “Church Life" or our new Advanced Tracks course on Spiritual Gifts. Both will be available in the fourth quarter, and both courses include a spiritual gifts inventory. As a follow-up from the courses, we are piloting a new approach to helping people find your SHAPE or the intersection between your Spiritual Gifts, your Heart passion, your Abilities, your Personality, and your Experience. More details coming soon.The Challenge
So, the big vision question for all of us is are we looking at the vision or living in the vision? Putting it some other ways: Are we listening to God’s story or living in God’s story? Are we inspecting the landscape of life or inhabiting the landscape? Are we sitting on the water’s edge, or are we diving in? Are we running with the vision (Habakkuk 2:4)?Discussion Questions
1. Read through Habakkuk 2:2-4 first in the NIV version (the first scripture in this discussion guide). What general principles does it teach us about vision?
2. Now read through Habakkuk 2:2-4 in the Message Bible (the second scripture). What else do you notice about God-given vision in this second reading?
3. Discuss CityLife’s Fully Alive vision sentence. What stands out to you?
4. Discuss our Spirit Life focus for this year. Again, what stands out to you?
5. How can you apply this vision to your life, your work, your family, your ministry?
6. What can your Life Group do this year to help each other encounter full life in Christ for the remainder of this year?
7. Pray for each other that we would continue to become fully alive in Christ in 2022.