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Vision Revisited

Dear Friends,

By the time you read this you have almost certainly heard that change is afoot at Fishers United Methodist Church! Our Church Vision process has identified several significant changes we will begin to implement in September – including a new church Mission Statement: To Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the world. This new mission statement will guide us in making changes in the areas of Worship and Discipleship Pathways. Other phases of our Vision team process will come in the ensuing months as we seek to be effective in our mission to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World. If you want to know more, you can find information HERE.

Vision – it’s such a lofty word; but it has become almost trite in trendy conversation in the business world of the last 25 years. Does Vision really matter or is it just a buzz-word? Look at a page from history and you tell me…..

About 425 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they cut into the wilderness and established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?
- - Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great hardships to get there. But in a few short years they were not able to see even five miles out of town!

Does it happen today? – can it happen to us in our lives? – to us as Fishers United Methodist Church? If we don’t keep our eyes clearly focused on who Christ calls us to be, we risk focusing on what we have accomplished; where we have come through our own efforts as we have risked much for a vision we once embraced. And if we lose our focus we settle in and we stagnate; being satisfied with the comfort of the familiar and our personal preferences; and we fail to see there is still more of Christ’s Vision for us than we have understood. We have not finished the task and accomplished the Vision He has set before us as His Church.

Vision does matter! What we see is what we get. It takes strength and courage to take an honest look at ourselves. It’s natural to prefer what makes us feel good – including how we feel about what we are doing and enjoying as we “do” church. But neither the Church of Jesus Christ as a whole, nor Fishers United Methodist Church belongs to us. It is NOT about us! We are God’s Church – created for God’s purpose! To make decisions to satisfy our preferences takes our focus off of God and puts it on ourselves. To do that, robs the church of its purpose and God-given power.

We are standing at the edge of our “village” looking out into the unknown wilderness. God’s vision for us lies beyond what we can see – beyond the “5 mile road we have cut.” But he calls us to go further and he will guide us on our journey. We can’t see the destination [truth be told, it would likely scare us to much to go]. But if we can’t see our destination we can at least go trusting the One who charts our course and calls us to follow!

How’s your vision today? There are people all around us – all ages, attitudes, and lifestyles – who do not yet know the love and freedom that comes in receiving Christ. They are wandering in the “wilderness not even five miles out of town.” Do you see them? Do they matter? Are they still the reason we exist?

Proverbs 29:18 tells us “where there is no vision the people perish.” Friends, as I look deeper at this I believe this is true not only for those wandering “outside of town” but it is also true for the “townsfolk” ourselves. It’s our choice. With a clear vision of what we can become in Christ, no ocean of difficulty is too great; no trek into the wilderness too arduous. Without that clear vision we rarely move beyond our current boundaries. How’s your vision today? Join me in the journey toward God’s call!

For The Only Cause That Matters,

Kevin McKinney

Senior Pastor

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Lent

In the few minutes I have set aside to think of what I want to share, three people have called to ask to meet with me, my calendar has reminded me where I must be by my design today, and I am already late for another appointment.  Sound familiar to you?  Probably.  For most of us our lives seem to rush forward from one obligation, opportunity, or responsibility to the next.  With them, sunrise gives way to sunset and starts over again.  Life becomes a blur and we satisfy ourselves to take each thing as it comes, often deciding who we will be and what we will do in each moment as we are faced with it. We show up for our next appointment, perform the task we are called upon to perform, and go on.  Sometimes we go on with celebrations.  Sometimes we face the hardest challenges of our lives – family members who lay dying; loved ones facing battles of all kinds; the loneliness of grieving one who has always been there and now is gone in death – you know as little as I what the next moment may bring.  Very little in our lives seems constant.  Does anything last? 

But as I look at my calendar I am reminded that Easter is coming.  True, it means more things to do and places to be.  But it means something much different as well.  Amid a world of constant change and endless demands Easter calls us to remember that some things do remain.  Donald Harvey Tippet brings this into focus for us:

If Easter means anything to modern man, it means that eternal truth is eternal. You may nail it to the tree, wrap it up in grave clothes, and seal it in a tomb. But truth crushed to earth shall rise again. Truth does not perish. It cannot be destroyed. It may be distorted. It has been silenced temporarily. It has been compelled to carry its cross to Calvary's brow or to drink the cup of poisoned hemlock in a Grecian jail, but with an inevitable certainty after every Black Friday dawns truth's Easter morn.

As Easter approaches I invite you to step back from life’s rush for just a moment.  Whatever your days have brought you – whether it is the celebration of new life and the joy of single moments in time or the struggle of Black Friday where, in your pain, you question everything around you.  Remember, eternal truth is exactly that, eternal.  Life may attack it, and us as well, with all the force the events of our days can muster but the eternal truth of Easter cannot be destroyed.  It will rise again.  After every Black Friday dawns truth’s Easter sunrise.

Oh, and speaking of Easter morning, why not join your brothers and sisters in Christ in celebrating Eternal Truth with us at worship on Easter morning.  And invite someone who may not know the Eternal Truth to come with you.  Tell them you will take them to breakfast or buy their lunch.  You will be amazed at how easily they will say, Yes.  And we will all watch darkness give way to the dawning of Resurrection as we gather in different towns and places – some inside, others outside.  But together [even in different locations] we can witness to the world around us the certainty that remains - Because Jesus the Christ - Eternal Truth lives, so will we!  Amid a world of constant change this one Truth remains.  Thanks be to God.

For The Only Cause That Matters,
Kevin McKinney
Sr. Pastor
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