VISION 2024 – REACH UP TO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL
IT BEGINS WITH SEEING…
THE AWESOMENESS OF GOD!
Imagine, just imagine, that this year really was the year of Shanar for you – the year when you DO change – for the better.
Imagine that this year you walk with the Spirit – the Ruach – like you have never walked before.
Imagine that this year you really did make every day count – the Manah – how satisfying that would be!
Yes it will be hard – our walk will be the Aliyah – tough uphill climb.
But it will be worth it! This is our vision for 2024 – that each one of us actually reaches up to our full potential, seizing hold of everything that God has planned for us.
AND IT ALL BEGINS WITH SEEING THAT GOD IS…
Ask Oxford scientists this week what is awesome, and they will tell you that it is the latest pictures from the James Webb telescope showing remarkable images of galaxies being ripped apart by quasars – such power, such beauty, such “it’s beyond me how this can actually be”.
Ask my grandson to tell you what “awesome” is and he will say “Spiderman” – as he can shoot out spiders’ webs, swing across huge spaces at such heights and defeat bad men at will. Ask him what “awesome” means and he will just say “wow – it’s someone who is so cool, someone who can do such amazing things” – someone that he can look up to and say, “I want to be like him”.
Dictionary definitions just cannot do the word justice. The Cambridge Dictionary describing it as “extremely good” is sooooo tame! It means to me: it’s the best, it’s amazing, it’s more than I could ever imagine, it’s….”wow” and some more…
As we step into looking at the “Vision 24” – a call to become the best you can be, a call to reach your full potential in God – we need to ground ourselves in the One who is able to make us become the person we were always meant to be – the One who is sooooo very, very, awesome that we need never doubt His capability to do this…
PART 1: OUR GOD IS AWESOME!
The Bible tells me so. Psalm 47 verse 2 declares:
For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.
The word used here is variously translated awesome, awe-inspiring, terrible (as in, He inspires terror), to be feared (as in, He is so great that we must never even think about trying to mess-Him-around), wonderful.
But what does “awesome” actually mean?
Our God is awesome. He is All-powerful (omnipotent – Genesis 17: 1 – El Shaddai). He is All-knowing (omniscient – 1 John 3: 20). He is All-present (omnipresent – Jeremiah 23: 24).
He is Almighty. He is awesome!
Now we all know this in our intellect – in our brains. But this year let us decide that we are going to know this in our hearts – in our experience.
The Old Testament begins with some of the best-known words in the whole world:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1: 1)
Now, many of you know, but it needs here to be re-emphasised, that this is a very bad grammatical way to start the Book of books! Because this sentence is grammatically all wrong!
In the Hebrew it is given thus:
“B’resheet Bara Elohim”
And it literally should be translated in this way:
“In the beginning the GODS, HE created the heavens and the earth”.
Elohim is the PLURAL of “God”
You just CAN’T have a plural noun – “Gods” connected to a singular verb – “He created”. It makes no sense. It’s all wrong. Unless – of course – we’re getting something REALLY profound being told to us here…
In Hebrew, when you have a plural word that should be singular, it’s telling you that there’s something profound about the reality behind the word. I think that we are being told two things here.
The first – and this is very widely accepted – is that we are being told right at the very start of time and of the Bible, that God is “Trinity” – He is One and yet He is Three. We have God creating the universe, we have the Holy Spirit hovering over the “waters” (Genesis 1: 2) and we have Jesus, the agent of creation. The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus is this:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1: 1-3).
Father, Son and Holy Spirit – God. This is “heavy” to understand but it is true.
The second – is that God is awesome! He is so transcendent, so beyond, that there is no word in any language that can express how great He is. As Jonathan Cahn puts it (“The Book of Mysteries” day 22):
“The word “Elohim” is letting you know that whatever you think God “is”, He’s more than that. No matter how good you think He is, He’s better. No matter how beautiful, majestic, and
amazing, He’s more beautiful, He’s more majestic, and amazing. No matter how awesome you think He is, He’s more awesome. And no matter how beyond you think He is, He’s even beyond that…no matter how much you think you know of God, there’s always more to know, so much more…and so much more than so much more.”
When we look at the expanse of the universe that God created on that day, we are left awe-struck and realise there is no way on earth that we could possibly comprehend just how big and mighty and powerful He is. With the Psalmist we cry out:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Ps 19: 1).
We need to know how really awesome God is in order to put our trust in Him as we go through this year. With Him by our side what do we need to fear? Back in 1995 Frank Bruno won the world heavyweight boxing title and people used to joke that no-one would mess with them if they had Frank walking by their side. Well, God makes Frank Bruno look like a pussy cat! And the relationship with God that makes this even more awesome – He is also our Father in Heaven (says Jesus – and He should know!) that the Almighty Creator of the universe should actually want to be intimately involved with ME!!!
Because He is so awesome we can therefore do all things through Him who strengthens me (we will look at this later) – all that we were ever created for (not what we were NOT made for eg flying, and NOT what we were not purposed for – sprinting and brain surgeon) and we have security in Him – because He is almighty.
So, let us listen to Him, trust in Him, walk with Him this new year.
PART 2: SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US THIS YEAR?
Therefore, how are we going to respond to this? This is our vision for this year. How we fit into the relationship with the Awesome God who is also our Father God.
We are called to “step up to the mark” and to “run the race” of life (1 Cor 9: 24-27, Heb 12: 11-2).
We are called to go into all the world.
We are called to make disciples of all nations.
We are called make a difference out there in the world, and in here in the church.
We are called to bear spiritual fruit…and so we have a choice set out before us today…
We are called to be fruitful fig trees – during my quiet time this week I have been struck twice by pictures of the fig tree and I share one of them in this session (I will share the other one in a following message).
After Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the LORD. 2 One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket had very bad figs, so bad they could not be eaten.
3 Then the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“Figs,” I answered. “The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten.” (Jeremiah 24: 1-3)
We have a choice set before us here. Are we going to be like those left behind, following the new king, Zedekiah, trusting in first Babylon and then in Egypt, putting our hope in who we think is the strongest, the cleverest, the richest? When we put our trust in man then we will become like the basket of rotten figs – no good to anyone. Or will be like those sent to Babylon – out into the world – with a new opportunity to trust in God and a new mission (taken up by Daniel and his 3 friends) to serve God to the full where He has placed us? When we put our trust in the awesome God then we will be like the basket of good figs – fit for the purpose for which we have been called. Your choice…
When God created the universe, He created you and me. The Bible tells us:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29: 11).
This is not only for some dim-and-distant future in Heaven. His plans are for RIGHT NOW! So, we have the privilege of being able to live with Him RIGHT NOW, get to know Him RIGHT NOW, work alongside Him RIGHT NOW. Our living for Him is our bearing fruit. The choice we have to make is what kind of fruit are we going to bear. Is it going to be good fruit or bad fruit?