Sea of Galilee and the Voice of God

14 10 2011

It was the spring of 2007 and I had just finished leading a devotional time on the Mount of Beatitudes in northern Israel. As I looked out over the Sea of Galilee, the flashing light of the rising sun across the waves of the sea caught my eyes and pulled at my heart. The Lord spoke to me that morning with the word “72.” The Holy Spirit grabbed my heart and enveloped me with His love. The infusion of His grace, kindness, and power overwhelmed my mind. I was flooded with the memories of His miraculous leading in my life. I reflected that morning on the blessings, the friendships, the mountains of goodness that were mine as a result of knowing Jesus.

God spoke: “72” and it was one of those moments where you instantaneously know what the number meant (which was even greater verification that it was God, because I’m definitely not that smart). I understood that the Lord was speaking to me about the next 20 years, and my age at that time of 72. The Lord led me to reexamine my life in light of eternity. Over the next few days, Jesus continued to speak to me of His plan, purpose, and power for the next two decades.

Upon returning to Colorado I shared with the MSC staff that God was leading us to seek Him for His strategic plan for the next 20 years. And thus began a four-year journey of prayer times, retreats, fasts, consultations and planning.

The Emergence of Mission2030

As we sought God diligently He spoke to us clearly in the years that followed. He gave us a deepening heart for the city of Colorado Springs; He spoke to us of our need to better disciple our children and young people; He guided us to revamp and refresh our praise and worship, to teach from the Gospel of Luke and Acts; He led us to make changes in our organizational structure, thus Daniel becoming a Lead Pastor with me. God sovereignly brought church planters our way to befriend, coach and send out. Word & Spirit Network was birthed. The vision for Dunamis Conference was initiated by God. The vision of training leaders led to the embryonic development of Convergence Seminary.

Someone has said that without goals, no vision is ever realized. God has given us clear goals for the next 20 years. Our prayer is that God through His power, will empower us to plant 100 campuses, 1000 churches and raise up 10,000 leaders.

We know that this vision is impossible. It is a God-sized vision given to a group of man-sized people who must have Holy Spirit empowered wisdom. We can’t do what God has called us to do unless He shows up, energizes and leads us step by step.

Cloud and Fire

I must admit that I am often baffled by God’s reasoning. When Jesus called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt He didn’t say that Moses would suddenly become a great speaker. As a matter of fact, he seems to have agreed with Moses that he was a lousy communicator (Exodus 3-4). God didn’t choose a seasoned leader in Moses either; Moses had been sequestered to the desert for 40 years! God didn’t choose a very obedient people to rescue. If the adage is true that “you can take the man out of his poverty but you can’t take the poverty out of a man,” the Israelites surely proved it. They were a complaining, argumentative, easily discouraged people, yet God called them out to be a people for His own choosing and purposes. God often doesn’t make sense of our natural inclinations.

Yet God did promise that He would “lead them by day in a pillar of cloud…and by night in a pillar of fire.” (Exodus 13:21) That was basically what he said and not much more or less than that. Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s not very helpful when you consider thousands of miles of desert, no home, no fighting experience, no food or water, and Pharaoh’s army chasing you toward a watery wall called the Red Sea! Moses must have shouted to God more than once, “Are you crazy? Am I crazy?”

And it was at the edge of disaster that Jesus showed up in power. “Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it… And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord…” (Exodus 14:16~18) Moses did what God said and deliverance came. The story of the Exodus is the story of a community of people on a pilgrimage wherein God led them clearly step by step. He used a cloud by day and fire by night. He led them and supplied all their needs. There was always enough food and water. Moses came to the end of his life proclaiming the faithfulness of God,

For the Lord’s portion is his people,

Jacob his allotted inheritance.

In a desert land he found him,

in a barren and howling waste.

He shielded him and cared for him;

he guarded him as the apple of his eye,

like an eagle that stirs up its nest

and hovers over its young,

that spreads its wings to catch them

and carries them on its pinions.

The Lord alone led him;

no foreign god was with him.

He made him ride on the heights of the land

and fed him with the fruit of the fields.

He nourished him with honey from the rock,

and with oil from the flinty crag”

Deuteronomy 32:9-13

In the same way, God is going to lead Mountain Springs Church. What God guides, He provides. Where God leads, He always meets needs. This is indeed an exciting time for us. This is a time of leaving what we’ve known to press out into the unknown.

We will most certainly have to be led with a cloud by day and a fire by night. We will need Jesus to lead us and empower us as move forward. The need for His wisdom has never been greater. But He will nourish us with His Word, replenish us with His Spirit and empower us with His presence.

Let us join in with the immortal words of John F. Kennedy as he spoke of Teddy Roosevelt,

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.”


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One response

14 10 2011
Chuck Stecker

Pastor Steve, I love it. I suggest that we make no plans that are so small that they are achievable under our own strength and would embarrass God. The vision God has given you is a God size vision. You cannot possible do this. I hope you know that. But He can do it through you.
Praying for you my friend.
In Christ
Chuck Stecker

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