Kevin and I found ourselves peering over the edge of a precipice high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It was not where we expected to be and it was certainly not where we wanted to be!
We had set out earlier that day to scale one of the “Fourteeners”— peaks in the Rocky Mountains which exceed 14,000 feet in elevation. When we found ourselves on the brink of the cliff, we had already summited the 14,070-foot Humboldt Peak and were now on our descent. However, on the way down, we crossed some snow fields. And, as we soon discovered, it is hard to keep on the trail when traversing a snow field. Finding ourselves on the lip of that drop-off confirmed the fact that we were definitely off course.
First and foremost, we needed to not panic. We needed to, calmly, get our bearings. Fortunately for me, I was with Kevin! Although he had never climbed Humboldt Peak before, he stayed calm and, somehow, was able to regain our bearings and get us back on the trail. It was a glad reunion when we were back with our families that evening!
The beginning of a new year is a good time to “get our bearings” spiritually speaking. The Apostle Peter helps us with that in the first chapter of his second letter, 2 Peter. One of Peter’s purposes in that letter is to remind. He reminds us of some very important truths which will help us to stay on track. He reminds us of God’s saving work through Jesus, of the certainty of Christ’s return, of the majesty of Jesus, of the divine origin of Scripture, and of priorities for the believer in daily living. And that’s just in the first chapter!
We will begin a short sermon series from 2 Peter 1 beginning the Sunday after Christmas and continuing on into January. As you may have guessed, the series is entitled “Getting Our Bearings”!
The beginning of 2019 is also a good time to “get our bearings” relative to our new vision, Journey Vision. We launched Journey Vision on September 9, which means we are about 4 months into it.
One of the biggest “bearings” we want to get is revisiting the “why” question. Why Journey Vision? Why did we undertake this new initiative in our life as a church? I want to answer that on two levels. First, we have taken this step because we want to do what God has called us to do more effectively and more intentionally. We want to do better in our pursuit of the mission the Lord has given us. He has commissioned us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19)—“forming followers of Jesus who impact their world,” as we phrase it. This is our God-given mission and it has not changed. It was our mission before Journey Vision and it is the mission of Journey Vision. We believe Journey Vision will spur us on to greater obedience to the call of God.
The word “Journey” helps us think of our mission in this way: we are on a journey with Jesus and we want to invite others to come along. This particular wording is rooted especially in Mark 1:17 – “Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’” This is what we are about—following Jesus and inviting others to follow Him.
Second, we have taken this step because, I believe, God directed us to. Along the way over the past couple of years as Journey Vision was taking shape, God gave clear indications of His leading. One of the most compelling evidences of God’s hand was the consistent and unanimous support of the elders. It was consistent over time even though the composition of the elder board changed. And it was unanimous—each elder was convinced this is what God wanted us to do.
Another “bearing” is remembering the four aspects of Journey Vision. First is Worship Journey. Our times of Sunday worship together are an intentional journey through the gospel in the form of eight steps: the call to worship, the invocation, confessing our sin, the proclamation of the gospel, responding to the gospel, hearing God’s Word, responding to God’s Word, and being sent out with the blessing of God.
Second is Outreach Journey. We want to journey into our community with the saving message of Jesus Christ. Thousands of people around us are lost. They need to hear the good news that God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die for their sins so that they might be forgiven and receive God’s gift of eternal life. We want to do better at getting that message out.
Third is Caring Journey. As we journey with Jesus together, we want to care for one another. And, praise God, we do have a caring church! We just want to intentionally strengthen that aspect of our church life, especially through our Life Groups.
Fourth is Equipping Journey. On our journey with Jesus we want to help one another take the next step. To that end we want to provide opportunities to equip the church family in various aspects. One current effort is equipping for evangelism—helping us learn how to share God’s good news with those around us.
I would love to hear how Journey Vision has impacted you! Perhaps you have felt particularly cared for by your Life Group, or maybe our new approach in worship has deepened your relationship with the Lord, or perhaps our church’s name change has opened opportunities for you to speak with others about Jesus, or maybe the evangelism equipping has spurred you on to talk with a co-worker about Jesus. Whatever your experience, please email me your story: [email protected]. Thanks!
The beginning of a new year is a great time to “get our bearings”!