With One Accord: Expecting
At times, a statement will flash past our eyes that causes us to stop and think. Wayne Cordeiro, senior pastor of New Life International in Hawaii, offers this thought.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
There is a simple, yet profound truth that suggests that what we focus on is where we will invest our energy. Our focus on the past or an obsession with the present, can come at the expense of the future God has mapped for us.
As I look across my desk and fix my sights on the “Together With One Accord” poster, I’m drawn to the conclusion that it’s not by chance that the imperative “Expecting” sits prominently at the center of the page. Expectation is the foundation to any vision! It is with a spirit of expectation that we step out into the future. As the scriptures would confirm, “where there is no vision [no expectation] the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18).
My recent journey through God’s word drew me to invest considerable time and study on the personal encounters that Peter had with Christ. These one–on–one coaching sessions laid out the foundation not only for the direction of Peter’s life, but more importantly, for the emergence of the Church.
From the outset, Christ saw a potential in Simon Peter that needed to be unlocked. In the first recorded exchange, Peter is introduced to the Messiah at the invitation of his brother, Andrew. John reflects in very specific terms the earliest of these interviews when he states, “… Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter)” (John 1:42).
In the unfolding of the verse, two defining statements are made: “You are” and “You will be.” The first deals with the present reality, the latter with the future possibility. Yet, the passing of ten words would take two exhaustive and demanding years to be conferred (see Matthew 16:18) and another year to be fully confirmed (Luke 22:31,32; John 21:15–18).
Although the prophecy was offered, the possibility was yet to be realized. There was a journey that had to be taken. It would be a plethora of experiences marked by failure, discouragement, denial, and even disobedience that would precede the fulness of God’s plan for Peter. Each experience lessened the gulf from “You are,” to you will be.”
As I look to The Salvation Army across the Eastern Territory, there is a divine sense of confidence that wells up within me.
- I believe God’s hands are upon The Salvation Army.
- I believe that God still has a unique purpose for us as a missional movement.
- I believe God has called us, compelled us, and equipped us to be the agents of transformation in the communities in which we live.
We, as a Salvation Army, are on a journey. Through this season, God is challenging us to move out from where we stand today and to stretch forward to where He wants us to be. The prophetic cry of Christ echoes over the two millenniums and says “You are, but you shall be.”
If we are to live up to the call that God has placed before us, then there are a number of key dynamics we must accommodate.
Expecting is about: (Philippians 3:12b–-14)
- Having a vision. We should seek from God a holy discontent with the world in which we live and serve. We should believe for a better future than that which immediately surrounds us. We should be open to realign our vision with God’s heart for the world that encompasses us. We should hunger to see the future as God sees it.
- Claiming the promise. It is a believing faith that claims that God is active not only in the world, but within our lives. It is a believing faith that holds to the truth that God desires the very best for us. It is a believing faith that God will mark the path before us, lead us along that way, and provide all that we need for His preferred future to become our reality.
- Holding the course. Dogged perseverance should be the hallmark of the believer. Hebrews 12 charges us to get rid of everything that would hinder. Perseverance is about making choices. Perseverance is about making sacrifices. Perseverance is also about crossing the finish line! The drive to persevere is directly proportional to the strength of our vision and the measure of our sacrifice.
- Seeing what God can do. Take the time to reflect on, and to celebrate all that God has done and allow that to be the foundation upon which we leap into the future.
I have a plaque in my office that our team from a previous appointment gave us. It draws from Ephesians 3:20 three foundational tenets of our personal vision. They encourage me to take the journey:
God does do immeasurably more—He has done it in the past!
God can do immeasurably more—He is doing it, today!
God will do immeasurably more—He will do it for the future!
As I write, I am also praying:
- That God is prying open the eyes of faith for you.
- That He is giving you a glimpse of the future He has marked for you personally, for your corps/ ministry center, and for The Salvation Army.
- That He would awaken in you a burning sense of expectation for the future He has planned for you.
Colonel Phil Maxwell