Sunday, October 14, 2018


Vision Series 2018
October 14, 2018

I have shared before how I had an inferiority complex. It bothered me for years, until I found out that I was just plain inferior!

ME: The truth is that for a good part of my life, I felt unworthy of God’s love. I wasn’t good enough for God to love me or use me. Then I discovered the passage we will look at this morning and it set me free of those feelings of not being good enough.

YOU: Many of you may be feeling the same way this morning. Why should God use me when I don’t measure up? And if your memory of all your failures may fade, the enemy is always there to remind you! As Dione Warwick used to sing, “There is always something there to remind me; always something there to remind me. How can I forget you; I know I’ll never be free; you’ll always be a part of me!”

GOD: Today I want to declare to you on the authority of God’s Word that you are good enough! God has declared that you are good enough. You don’t have to flounder in doubt and stumble in condemnation. You are good enough! Let’s see what God prepared and destined for us!

Zechariah was one of the prophets that encouraged Israel when they came back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the Temple. We looked at his partner, Haggai, the last two weeks. Zechariah has a series of 14 different visions, messages, and what he calls, burdens. Some are very cryptic, but most are easily understood. We will not examine every one of them, but only the ones that have spoken to me in the past and speak to us today.

Now let’s see what Zechariah has to say about us and our future.

Let me set the scene: imagine a courtroom. There are several personalities in the room. The Judge is God the Father. The accused defendant is Joshua, the high priest who is there for himself and for all of us, God’s people. The prosecutor, accuser, adversary, is Satan. The defense attorney, our Advocate, is the Lord Jesus Christ.

TEXT Zechariah 3:1–10 (NKJV) Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.

We are all priests before the Lord. Isaiah prophesied that we all would be priests.   Revelation declares that we are a “kingdom of priests”. Peter declares us a “royal priesthood and a holy priesthood”.
What do priests do? We take the needs of men to God and take the grace of God to men.

We are standing before the Lord. Whatever we do, it is for the Lord.

Satan, the accuser of the brethren, is opposing Joshua. How does Satan oppose us, and he will? By accusing us before God, just as he did with Job; questioning our loyalty and faithfulness. By bringing adversity into our life and then telling us it is because we are disobedient failures and this is our punishment from God!
2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”

Jesus comes to our defense. If any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous!

 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the Angel.

Joshua is not clean. He is clothed in filth. The word here means ‘human excrement’. It affects us and our families.

Malachi 2:1-3 (NKJV) And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,” Says the LORD of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it.”

Hebrews 12:15 (NKJV) looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Isaiah declares that all our human righteousness is ‘filthy rags’ before God. All we like sheep have gone away and turned everyone to his own way. Paul said ‘there is none righteous, no, not one!

Brothers and sisters, we do not stand before God on our own merit. We stand in the finished work of Christ and His giving us the gift of righteousness!

 4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So, they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.

Jesus declares that we are clean by His righteousness! Our filthy garments are removed from us and our families and we are clothed with new garments and a new turban! We are declared “Holiness to the Lord!”

Isn’t that what the father did for the prodigal son? Bring the best robe, a signet ring, and new shoes! Paul declares that ‘if any man is in Christ, old things are passed away and all things have become new!

There is a fancy phrase for this: imputed righteousness. Paul says it this way:

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Illustration: Malcolm Smith, the new lamb with a dead ewe and a new ewe with a dead lamb…

YOU: What is Your response? To live for Him! We love Him because He first loved us. We serve Him out of gratitude, not to make ourselves worthy or good enough!

 6 Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘If you will walk in My ways, and if you will keep My command, then you shall also judge My house, and likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk among these who stand here.

Numbers 18:7b (NKJV) I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service…

WE: How do we apply this truth?

1.     Come to Him, confessing your sin.
2.     Call on Him, confessing your need.
3.     Believe on Him, confessing His righteousness.

What does this mean for the future of the church?  A church filled with people free from condemnation is a powerful force for the Gospel. We are the very fragrance of Christ to a lost and dying world. People will see our peace and seek to know the reason. Later in Zechariah we read this prophecy:

Zechariah 8:20-23 (NKJV) Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Peoples shall yet come, Inhabitants of many cities; The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.” Yes, many peoples and strong nations Shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.’ “Thus, says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’ ”

Saturday, October 6, 2018


16th Anniversary Sunday
October 7, 2018

ME: How does this impact me?

When I drive students on school trips in our bus or a van, there are some ground rules: 1. No Corn-nuts; 2. No fingernail polish or remover; 3. No asking, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” They could ask, “Where are we going now?”

YOU: What does this affect you?

During the month of October, we take time to talk about where we are going. You will hear from all the members of our staff as we give you a pic of where we believe God is taking us. We may not be able to say how long it will take, but hopefully, we will all know when we get there!

Let me summarize some previous vision talks…

2013: It’s all about young leaders. We need to identify them, train them, empower them. The first step is to elevate them to leadership positions. We want to raise our current deacons to elders and bring in a whole new group of young, energetic leaders for their input and energy. We need to raise young ministry leaders and value their creativity and talent. We need to look at the church and the community through their eyes.

2014: I compared RF to the core values of the band programs I had over the years:

1.  Everyone is a starter.
2.  We are only as good as our weakest player.
3.  We live or die as a group.
4.  We set yearly goals.
5.  We had a division of responsibility and authority.

2015: We were challenged to launch out into dark places and look for needs to fill.

2016: We looked at three goals as we begin our third seven-year period: 1. Retire the mortgage; 2. Structure for longevity; 3. Transition to new leadership.

2017: Pastor Galen Woodward challenged and encouraged us to increase our capacity and fulfill the purpose God has called us to and to live out the dream we had 15 years ago.

2018: What is in the future? I want to take us to a prophetic word from the Lord that speaks directly to our destiny.

GOD: What does the Bible say?

We looked at chapter 1 of this book last week; now we want to look at chapter 2.

Haggai 2

1 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

YOU: How can you apply this?

First, verse 3, RF may not be everything you need it to be.

It is perfectly OK for you to feel that way; no church is perfect.  If you ever find a perfect church, don't join it because you will mess it up! Eugene Petersen says, "A church is a collection of sinners and they have a sinner for a pastor!"

All I ask is that if you are disappointed with something, come and tell us; and bring three suggestions as to how we can make it better, along with an offering to help pay for it!

Be like the guy who came in to see the pastor and said, "Pastor, the commode in the ladies bathroom is leaking again.  I hope you don't mind, but I have already contacted three plumbers, got three bids, scheduled the work for Monday, and I will pay for it on the spot. Since I got such a good deal, I'm gonna go ahead and replace all the commodes in both bathrooms in the main building."

Second, verse 4, help us fix it.

1.     Go to work.
2.     Don’t fear.
3.     God is with you.

Third, verse 7-8, our greatest days are ahead!

1.     His Glory, His manifest presence will be here.
2.     The Glory will be greater than it has ever been!

WE: What we can do together to help the Glory fall?

The Promised Blessing

 18 ‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid—consider it: 19 Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’”

1.     The seed is still in the barn.

a.     Get it out and plant it!
b.     We work and God works with us!
c.     If we plant, a harvest will come!

Haggai 2:19 (NLT) I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.

2.     Four types of seed

a.     Grapes
b.     Figs
c.     Pomegranates
d.     Olives

What do they represent? I don’t know. Ask God to reveal it to you. Sometimes I think we strain to find a spiritual meaning in something when the obvious answers are right in front of us. Allow me to make four obvious applications.

1.     What. All these fruits are symbols of abundance. But you will not have abundance when the seed in the barn! What is laying up in your barn that you could plant?

2.     Where. In the church? In the neighborhood? In the community?

3.     Who. Who could you be planting in?

4.     When. Now? In due season?

There is seed in this church that has not yet yielded fruit. It will! God will bless it; don’t give up hope and faith!

We could talk and argue all day about why this happened or didn’t happen or whose fault it is.  A great leader says it this way… Let’s stop looking back and asking “Why?” Let’s look forward and ask, “Why not?”

CLOSING Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV) Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills!