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Vision Sunday (Part 1): Laying a Foundation

An Introduction the Season Ahead

On Sunday, August 27, 2023, I shared a long-format, significant message with our church family. Kara (my wife) and I, our team, we’ve all felt a shift, and Sunday gave us fresh language for it. The content I shared marks a significant transition in our church's of those Sundays I’ll never forget.

I realize not everyone had a chance to be present for it. In addition, I am fully aware that the quantity of content presented was plentiful. WIth this in mind, I've decided to release a series of four blogs over the course of the four days to help you capture the heart of the season. Feel free to re-watch each of the movements at the top of each post, read my actual manuscript below, or watch the sermon in its completion. I hope you are encouraged and invigorated for the season ahead!

- Pastor Sean
Today is VISION SUNDAY! What is Vision Sunday? It’s a chance for us as a church to have a conversation that’s a bit different than a normal Sunday. Imagine we're taking a step back, soaring up to that big 30,000-foot view, and getting a glimpse of the incredible journey God has mapped out for us as a family.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 6 years this September since my wife and I, along with some friends (old and new) planted this church.
We started back in 2017, holding our earliest gatherings here in Downtown for about 6 months. Then, we grand-opened the church and met at View Ridge Elementary school from 2018-2020. Of course, the pandemic hit, but during that early part of 2020 we were given this building and opened it up later that year. For the last 3 years, we have been operating out of this place and are so grateful to be here. We’ve done a lot of pivoting, innovating, and enduring, but God has sustained us and caused us not only to survive, but in many ways, to thrive!

So what are we doing today? Well like every week, we’re going to start by opening the Bible and seeing what God has for us. Today, I want to walk us through a passage of scripture that has recently captured my attention, then we'll zoom out and explore some big themes that will light a fire of courage and purpose in our hearts as a church family.

Afterwards, I want to spend a significant portion of our time sharing with you ways I believe God is inviting us to live these things out, plus, get ready for a bunch of exciting updates that are sure get you pumped for what lies ahead!
Please stand as we read God’s word together.

2 Peter 1:3-11 CSB
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, 7 godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God — AMEN!

The words we just read come from the 2nd letter of the Apostle Peter, written to various New Testament churches around Asia Minor in the first century. The letter isn’t addressed to any one church in particular, but would have likely been circulated among many of them for their mutual benefit.

In my mind, his words ring powerful for a variety of reasons.

To kick things off, consider the life of The Apostle Peter. While his writings are bursting with unwavering and bold directives for the church, his journey as a disciple, as portrayed in the Gospels, was quite a roller coaster. From questioning Jesus' capabilities to taking drastic measures against Jesus' adversaries, and even denying any association with Jesus, it's evident that Peter's earlier years were far from a picture of a quintessential disciple.

Here’s the tragedy of it though: While he was clearly unrefined and reactive in some immature ways, we often overlook the fact that he didn’t stay this way forever….

IN FACT, following the resurrection, Jesus reaffirms Peter's affection for him, reiterates his mission to nourish the followers of God, and ultimately guides him back onto the path of a purposeful and productive ministry.

So much so that he pens words like the ones we just read, which are written to fuel the faith of brothers and sisters in Christ AND build up the church at large.

A few timeless truths I want to point out from the passage we read. First off, just as Peter said to those first century Christians:

1. We have been supplied with everything we need to live for Jesus. 

Peter tells us in vs. 3 that the divine power of Christ himself gives us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him.

Even on your worst days, scripture promises that you have the ability - not in your own strength, but in Christ’s - to be faithful as a follower of Jesus! 

Because of this,

2.  We are called to stand strong in the face of a corrupt world.  

Peter tells us in vs. 4 that we should escape the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. 

Disciples aren’t just supposed to survive the brokenness of this age, we’re called to THRIVE - to stand strong and to be a light in the darkness. 

If God is for us, and has given us what we need, then who can be against us, right?

And so the way we grow in strength, according to Peter in vs. 5, is that…

3. We must supplement our faith with Godly virtues to stand firm and bear good fruit. 

I have spent several weeks mulling over this passage personally, and every time I read it, my eyes are immediately drawn to that word “supplement.” That word in the greek simply means to supply needs / to support and make available what’s needed to help.

Many of us take vitamin supplements to ensure our bodies are getting the proper nutrients they need to thrive. We do this because we assume there are deficiencies within us that, if we address and nourish, will be reduced and our overall health will go up. 

In the same way, our relationship with Christ is one that we are supposed to nourish and grow in, that our lives are structured to cultivate spiritual health so we can thrive and bear fruit along the way. 

I appreciate the words of New Testament Commentator, Peter Davids. He writes:
You are here today because you want to grow in your faith! I believe that.

What's important to grasp is that growth isn't a coincidence. Similar to how a vegetable garden demands fertile soil, specific plants need a trellis for upward growth, and of course, abundant watering and care from the gardener, our souls also won't naturally mature spiritually or yield fruit without deliberate focus on aspects like spiritual disciplines, repentance, and the refining influence of the body of Christ.

In other words, we will not grow unless we are supplying our faith what it needs to grow!

Now Peter goes on to describe a variety of virtues we can supplement our faith with…goodness, knowledge, self-control, and so on. I won’t unpack them all right now, but they would be worth meditating on sometime in your personal study.

But listen, the outcome is imperative in this message:

2 Peter 3:8; 10b // 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…10b…because if you do these things you will never stumble.

As you supply your faith, you will grow stronger, your faith will be USEFUL and you’ll bear fruit, and you will not stumble like you did in less mature season. 

Similarly, as the church grows in spiritual maturity, it will inevitably grow stronger. As it grows stronger, it will grow in generosity inside and outside the community, it will deal with less sin and the consequences of sin, it will multiply itself out and be blessing to other churches, it will advance the gospel here, near, and far.

Friends, if there is anything I would hope for this church, this is it. To be a community that is faithful to the Gospel + makes an impact inside/outside these walls.

That as we takes steps towards and with Jesus, that we would BE the church he’s called us to be, and that we’d reach our city for Christ for many years to come.

I will tell you this - after 6 years of leading this church (and several years prior helping at other churches), it is ONLY the people who are truly walking with Jesus who are being the church. And it’s ONLY churches that are serious about the gospel advancing that are reaching their cities.

So how do we do that?

I want to pivot and speak practically to you. It was fascinating to me to reflect back on previous years we’ve done a “Vision Sunday” only 2 in the past actually. At this gatherings, I mainly recapped our core values and gave some pretty simple next steps.

This week is different. Friends, God has done SO much as of late, and so not only am I excited to recap some highlights, but there are some very exciting updates I’m going to share with you that I hope you will be encouraged by...
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