VISION 2.0April 18, 2021 / Jeremiah 33:3
“VISION 2029 2.0”
-At the end of 2016, I began to sense the Lord speaking to me about the future of ROL.
-It is vitally important that I leave ROL better than I found it, and that the future of ROL is secure because good spiritual decisions have been made, a good vision has been embraced, and good planning has been put in place.
-This message has been in my prayer gut….for over 4 years.
-2 1/2 years as a private prayer piece, 2 years as a vision piece.
-It was in November 2019 that I shared the first message about vision. It was called Vision 2029. I understand that in the natural things change, but I also understand that what is birthed in the spiritual does not change.
-It sort of hangs on the tree like fruit. Not a low-hanging fruit.
-It is there for the picking.
-I am going to share the passion of that message with you, and the timeline that has unfolded since that time, and through COVID.
*Some would say that it is risky to preach messages like this.
-That’s a risk, I am willing to take.
-There is a lot I don’t know. However, God does.
Text: Jeremiah 33:3
June -2019 – Pastor attended revival. “Go get some dirt…” Pray over it. Pastor Randy Cowart from Auburn, AL.
August- 2019-Sabbatical…..Dreamed twice in 1 night.
September 24, 2019 – FAMILY (Kenny & Joni Clemmons – dream).
Pastor, are we going to always be at our location? We are limited in scope, parking. We need to have a vision for our church’s future. I agree.
-He shared with me about a dream that he had about our church’s future.
November 24, 2019– Preached Vision 2029. There was a tremendous response from the congregation. 98.5% of the church responded.
December 2019-Kenny Clemmons and I went and parked in the McDonald’s parking lot, and we got a shovel, and some gallon Ziplock bags, and dug some dirt.
-KENNY: “What are we going to tell people who want to know “what we are doing?”
–We will tell them we are with the S.H.A. (Spiritual Housing Authority).
-What happens if the owner shows up-I said, he can dig too.
-I gave the staff and Board members each a bag of dirt.
ILLUS.: Bag of dirt.
-Most of them still have them. I think some spread the bag on their garden for fertilizer.
-December 2019-My mom and Dad came and visited me. My dad said, “What are those bags of dirt for?” I am saving them for a special occasion. WHAT? It is dirt.
-I realize that I am sharing information that has been stirring in my spirit, and heart for a long time. I will attempt with the Lord’s help to unpack it in an understandable way.
God is always challenging us to change.
Turn to me, incline your hear, if you hearken, if you take heed….there is a multitude of scriptures inviting us to MAKE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES.
There are great and mighty things we don’t know until we seek God.
ILLUS.: There are some that remember 2000. 2020 will never be forgotten. It was a challenging year. Changes took place. Struggles were experienced. God was faithful.
God never does anything in a community except that HE anoints people to do the work. NOTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT PEOPLE. You and I as believers are the dreams of God. He loves people, and He loves His church.
There is never a testimony without a test.
Spiritual success and great moves of God come with-Prayer, Hard work, and God’s mighty hand of deliverance.
Faith can move a mountain, but when we doubt – then it takes a mountain of people to move something small.
We learn some great truths about how God accomplishes His will through people.
I want to use this message to challenge us both individually and corporately as a church.
I. GOD’S BOX IS BIG. (Numbers 13:1-2)
God never challenges us to do what He will not enable us to do!
The Israelites had come a long way. The hard part was over. They were battle-tested and proven as warriors. Would they believe?
John Hagee Said: “Attempt something so big, that unless God is in it; it is doomed to failure.”
- God ALWAYS challenges us to “see” what God can do. (vv.1-2).
*Several decades ago, this property at 220 Beaver Rd. was spied out, it was a great challenge. Moving from Glen Springs, Crosstown. People picked cotton to finance the church building. It burned down twice. Yet here we are today.
God had brought 2 million Israelis out of the slavery in Egypt to the edge of the land He had promised to give them.
The land God promised to Abraham would now belong to his descendants forever. A change was about to happen.
- God said that Moses was to “Send men to spy out the land.”
V.2 -Did you get a significant insight? Did you catch the most important word? It’s right in the middle of the verse. [God was “giving” to His people this land. He simply wanted them to see it first.]
The names of the 12 are listed in vv.4-16. Among them were two notable men, “Caleb” and “Hoshea” or “Joshua” whose name means “Savior.”
- In 16, the phrase “spy out” means “secretly search.” They were on a top-secret reconnaissance mission! (vs.18-20a). In the Spirit, we are looking with God’s eye to see the next step.
- 25 tells us that they traveled on their data-gathering mission for “forty days.” They traveled in each region, climbing the mountains, working their way through the valleys. It was described it as a land that “flows with milk and honey,” a land of amazing abundance (v.27).
- As proof of their report, 23 says they “cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes, they carried it between two of them on a pole.”
[They also took what must have been amazing “pomegranates and figs.”
- Old Testament and New Testament Boxes.
- God will never challenge us to do something small.
In the Old Testament, the presence of God was kept in a box. It is called the Ark of The Covenant. The Israelites believed that the box made with man’s hands brought them victory.
-They had God in a box. They had a box with a lid.
The OT is a book about a God who is in the box.
Jeremiah the prophet prophesied that there would come a day, when they would no longer wish for the good old days, of God in a box, but there would come a day when they would approach God personally.
IN THE NT- The Box changed, The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
God came down, Jesus put skin on, and God got out of the box.
That means you can’t confine God to church. God is out of the box.
With man it is impossible, With God it is possible!
ILLUS.: You can take God anywhere. (Home, Marriage, bar, crack house)
Q- Vs .2 – They were to “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan which I am…giving you. Everything we have or will have is because God gave it to us. Was God going to let them fight? Was God going to make you conquer on your own?
NO! God told them to spy out the land that He was “GIVING
to the children of Israel.”
- All they had to do was believe that God would take them from Egypt (which already happened) into the promised land that God was showing what He was about to do. It wasn’t a dream or a vision. It was hands-on.
- You could touch the grapes.
God often shows us what He is going to do in order to put a desire in our hearts.
- God’s challenge was a test of their faith.
He not only wanted them to have a desire for the land. God wanted them to turn to Him in faith in order to conquer these hills of doubt.
God challenges us as individual believers.
We like to put God in a box because we think God is like us.
God will not go in this box.
God is not a republican, democrat, God is not from Tennessee.
God loves the man in Ethiopia, just as much as the man in Siberia, and Drummonds, TN.
We want God to be like us. God is not LIFE-ENHANCEMENT. You don’t come to God, and add Him to your life. He is the Life! He is the way, the truth, and the Life!
You don’t add God to your addictions -you don’t add God to your dysfunction.
You don’t add God to your prejudice or your bigotry.
You let God take you to a NEW PLACE-LET HIM BE LORD.
ILLUS.: “Everything changes, nothing stays the same.” So true.
Seasons bring change. Weather brings change. Nothing stays the same. People change houses. People change their furniture. People change cars. People change styles of clothes.
-People even change the color of their hair. There are some of you, I have no idea what your real hair color is.
However, when it comes to church and church culture we have developed a cultural mindset that says, “Things shouldn’t change.” Many have quoted the scripture-“I am the Lord your God, and I change not.” God never changes, but how He ministers to humanity always change.
There was an OT Box, but now there is a NEW TESTAMENT FREEDOM. The veil in the temple was ripped. Things changed. On the day of Pentecost, the H.S. fell. 3,000 was saved. Big change!! When Paul the Apostle preached to the Jewish Galatians and said: “In Christ Jesus, there is neither male nor female.” You talk about change.
I can promise you that the local well had a lot of gossips that day.
II. WHO IS BOXED IN? (13:26-33)
- Together, the spies gave a report on the condition of the land. (vv.26-27).
- All 12 spies “came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel” they said: “The land truly flows with milk and honey.”(v.27)
ILLUS: Imagine the anticipation of the people. In just a little while they would leave the dusty desert and enter into their homeland. No doubt they talked of the homes they would build, the fields they would farm, the businesses they would start. They would have no Egyptian masters. Imagine the “oos” and “ahs” as the spies “showed them the fruit of the land.” As they saw the giant cluster of grapes, they could literally see themselves living in such land forever.
They all hushed when the spies said, “It truly flows with milk and honey and this is its fruit.”
(The milk and the honey was the will of God)
- The people no doubt roared their approval. Perhaps there was a thunderous ovation, whistles, and shouts of triumph. Their vision was complete. “What are we waiting for… let’s move in.”
- The ten spies had a small box. (vv.28-29; 32-33)
- In v. 28 is the word “Nevertheless.” It could just as easily be translated, “...” “It truly flows with milk and honey… but…” “It’s a great place to live, but…” It would have been a great ministry but….God is in it, but. God is doing a great thing, but.
- The “but” was “the people who dwell in the land are strong.”
[“It’s a great place to live, but we could never conquer it. We’re too weak and they are too strong.”]
- The 10 spies had a case of “box shock.”
It didn’t look like what they wanted. Their fear clouded the vision of God and Moses. They fought against the Egyptians, but now they wanted a nice Home and Garden Type Church.
Many today live in a Box when it comes to faith. I believe the enemy would love to put the church in a box.
-The enemy loves to put believers in a box, and shut the lid, and say: “That’s as far as you’re going to go. That’s as successful as you are going to be.” That’s as good as life is going to get.
THE ENEMY LOVES TO BOX US IN
If you stay in a box long enough, it becomes a new destiny.
ILLUS.: We live in a world of boxes. Mailboxes, post-office boxes, drop-boxes; Golf -T-Box. Baseball -Batter’s Box; Hockey -penalty box. Boxing has boxers. Stadiums have box seats; they have press boxes. In Basketball, there is a term where you “box” your opponent out. So they can’t get the rebound. The bigger the box, the better chance you can box them out.
Railroad cars have box cars.
There are Electrical boxes. In deer-hunting there is a Box-stand.
On valentine’s day, men give their girls a box of candy. Men have toolboxes.
Restaurants have to-go boxes.
Politicians are worried about the ballot box.
ILLUS.: When I was a teenager, we had boom-boxes. We carried them on our shoulders, and we thought we were bad walking down the hall.
Box: “A container that is used to hem in a small space or a compartment.”
The enemy likes to box God in, and box you in.
The enemy loves to put you, the church in small spaces until the dream ends up dead. We allow our faith to have a lid on it.
- Churches stop growing because we have a lid on the growth box.
They get confined and maintained by boxes of tradition, boxes of religion, boxes of “we have always done it this way.”
God is bigger than my box, and He is bigger than your box of religious tradition. He’s bigger than my beliefs.
ILLUS.: People say things like: The Church is big enough.
We have a nice church. That’s a box. It doesn’t need to grow. It’s big enough. That’s a box. I want all my family in the church. Anyone else? Acts 2:17-18
The Box shows God how much room he has.
Some have a box when it comes to the Holy Spirit-It doesn’t fit into your box.
Some of you don’t praise and worship God because it doesn’t fit into your religious box. Some of you have decided this is what Momma and daddy had, and this is about all of God I want.
God wants to touch your box, and He wants to put some new things in there.
- The two spies had a big box. (v.30).
30 speaks specifically of “Caleb.” We’ll learn that Joshua was on his side too. Caleb “quieted the people.” That suggests that the people were loud. They were “talking a lot.” They were murmuring. They were afraid.
- Caleb remembered God’s vision, that the Lord was on their side!
He said, “Let us go up at once and take possession [Possess the Land!] for we are well able to overcome it!” (I remind you that this was God’s vision)
- He tried to remind them of what God had done in the past.
I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, so I am going to keep on running.
**I am encouraged today by the people at ROL. It is a wonderful church, so I am going to keep on running.
**I am required to set an example, to those around me, so I am going to keep on running.
**I am encouraged by the word of God to keep on running. Paul says, “I press towards the high calling, that is in Christ Jesus my Lord.”
ILLUS.: Over 12 years ago, God gave “A place of Healing” as our focus for ministry. That has largely been fulfilled through the ministries in place.
Although initially, it seemed to be Physical Healing. God certainly has brought emotional, mental, marriage, and spiritual healing.
DREAM PIECE #1-River of Life will be known as a church of Freedom.
The stones by the River in West TN are destined to be known as a place of freedom. These stones shall live again says the Lord.
- I feel the mandate of God’s will, so I will keep on running. There isn’t any place for me to quit, so I’m going to keep on running.
- I’m not going to be distracted; I’m not going to be discouraged so I’m going to keep on running.
- I’ve got to win for my children. I’m not going to give up with a strain. I know satan rages. But I’m going to keep running.
- I know the storm rages, I know the battle is hard, I know the fire is hot, I know the waters get higher. But I’m going to keep on running. I’m not going to quit.
- I’m going to run because I see VISION 2029.
What we believe about God determines what we see and
ultimately what we experience.
ILLUS.: When I go to hospitals, some people tell me: Just pray the surgery is OK. Don’t pray all that HS stuff. Should I pray for you to stay in a week? 2 Weeks?
- We have a choice to make today.
Will you believe? I’m going to ask you to believe God with me.
THE DREAM: August 2019
- Pastors prayer about things for long times before they share things.
- It may seem like a surprise, but it isn’t.
- I went to bed one night praying about the River of Life. Specifically about a great Acts 2 move of God, and His will concerning the future.
- I had the same dream twice in one night. I woke up crying and praising God about 3 am in the morning.
- I am going to do my best to deliver to share this comprehensively with you.
- In my dream, I was standing on 51 Hwy with Jesus.
- He opened His arm and pointed to River of Life Church.
- It was beautiful. It was a busy place of ministry. Cars in the parking lot, people walking in the building.
- Jesus said: “Let’s go.” We walked into the Parking Lot, and I saw the sign: “River of Life.” Three big crosses above the entrance.
- Parents were taking their children in on the side, where the children’s Ministries were located. On the Northside was a youth entrance, where teens were gathering.
- The Lord said let’s go in. All I can tell you is, we flew in the front doors like Ezekiel in the Old Testament.
- We stood in the foyer. I marveled at what I saw, trying to take it all in.
- It was a large foyer with multiple entrances and multiple stations for information.
- I saw the front doors of the sanctuary were opened.
- The Lord looked at me, and all of a sudden, we were standing at the altars and over-whelming sense of the presence of God.
- The altar of prayer is more important than any place in the church.
- I was weeping in my dream like I was when I woke up.
- I was trying to understand. The Lord said: “This is my will.” “This is my will.”
DREAM PIECE #2-“I desire to send a move of my Spirit” to River of Life to impact this community.
- Stay humble, seek Me, make My house a place of prayer, praise, worship and freedom.
- The Lord said, “I have chosen this place to pour out my Spirit.”
- I was looking at the building, and the Lord said: “I want you to build this.”
- The last thing I remember was being in God’s presence crying. I woke up weeping.
- I had that dream twice.
- ROL must become a praying Church. (We are a prayerful church, but not a praying church).
- The Lord is the promised land – Not a ministry, not a building.
- God wants us to become a sign and wonder’s church.
- God has destined RIVER OF LIFE to be a REGIONAL CHURCH rather than a local church. We really already are: With all the ministries connected to River of Life.
- What will outlive me and you is our children and grandchildren.
This was a big deal, and I wanted to be very sure.
- June 2020-Church just opened up.
-Someone shared with me on a Sunday morning:
The church started on the vacant land on 51 Hwy. Did you know that? I said, “What?” Which side? There is only 1 side with the land.
-Between Margaritas and McDonald’s.
–No one ever told me that. I need to verify that.
-I went and visited with Mama Cole, she was not an original founding member, but she was there at the founding of River of Life church.
-I was at her house on June 17
-I took Aubrey Berryman with me.
-She shared with me about the revival on that property on 51 Hwy, and how she was subsequently filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues on that property.
–“Right out there in the grass beyond that Mexican place.”
-Are you sure?” “I was there!” “Yes ma’am.”
2 Things Moma Cole shared with me:
1.I know our church’s name used to be Munford Assembly of God, but I believe that River of Life represents who we are best.
(Amazing that a shut-in is even thinking about that)
[Those who do not know or did not get to know Moma Cole, she passed away September 9, 2020. 102 years old]
-Our property has served us well, but the future of our church will need a bigger location.
2. I am concerned about our young people, teenagers, kids-again amazing that a shut-in even thinks about that)
She then laid hands on me, and prayed that God would provide, she absolutely prayed with faith. She prayed for Aubrey Berryman, and he started weeping in front of her.
-I am personally attracted to wisdom, an experience that still operates in faith-The next day, I sent a man named Peter Parker a personal letter. He is the owner of the property. I waited for a response.
This was a huge confirmation for me.
June 2020 – prayer gut for 3 years.
- Peter Parker-July 30– Met with him at Margarita’s.
-Drove over the property. Got to know each other.
-We talked together about the land.
-Since July 30, I have just prayed and waited on God. Waiting is good if you depend on God. Waiting is bad if you are doubtful or scared.
ILLUS.: In Belize, we cast vision for a church building 15 years ago. Before I came.
-Nostalgia can drag you down with a misguided love of the past.
-In the book of Ezra, a group of people complained during the rebuilding of the temple. They lamented how it was nothing compared to Solomon’s temple. At the time they complained, the foundation was just finished. That’s it. Basically, they complained from the beginning of the project!
Show me a church that loves the past more than the future, and I will show you a church that is disobedient. Here’s why: God does not save anyone in the past, but He will save people in the future. Nostalgia is not always bad. Fond memories can prompt people to act today. Nostalgia becomes a major problem when people long for the past more than they anticipate God’s work in the future. Nostalgia produces paralysis.
-Overly nostalgic churches become apathetic to kingdom work.
BALANCE-Love the present with an eye on the goal post.
Fantasy can drag you down with a misguided love of the future. We have to be careful not to love the church of the future more than the church of the present. If you don’t love your church where it is today, then it will harder to love it tomorrow.
There is nothing wrong with an occasional daydream of what could be, but you cannot live in an unrealistic fantasy of the future. The hook of fantasy is enticing because the bait is often vision.
An unattainable vision is just as problematic as misguided nostalgia.
- March 23– I met Peter Parker again. We walked over to the property between McDonald’s and Margaritas. There is 30+ acres there.
-Bro. Land -He worked for me for 30 years.
-You’re Assembly of God, right?
-If You are Assembly, then you are a good guy. Bro. Land was one of the finest men that I have ever met.
-Peter is 74 I think, let’s walk out there. He is tall, taking 5’ steps, I couldn’t even keep up with the guy. We walked and talked for about an hour.
-Dwayne Cole knows him very much.
-Prayed at Margarita’s parking lot.
-I prayed for his business and I prayed for ROL.
–He said, “Can I come and see your present church. Sure?
He came back to ROL and viewed our sanctuary.
–“Pastor you need a sanctuary 3x’s this size on 51 Hwy.”
-He said, “I really love the Assembly of God.” I’ll be moving here to Munford, and I really need to attend your church, what do you think about that?
“Sounds awesome.” Services start at 9 am this Sunday.
JT FORBESS: March 25-I’ve been thinking about that property. JT raised his hand, with tears in his eyes, “I think it would be such a great location for a church and our church.”
March 25 – CHURCH BOD
- The Israelites wrongly interpreted that their God was in a box.
DREAM PIECE #3 -River of Life will eventually re-locate to another piece of property.
-I don’t know how it is all going to work out.
-ROL don’t think about the details, think about our God!
-All I know is…I believe God. My God is not a box God.
God told me to plan for 2029.
-He stood me at the altar, and said…” I’m going to send a move of my Spirit, Seek me. Stay humble.
-In a moment, I am going to ask you to come and stand with me.
Abraham made it so I can make it. Moses made it, so I can make it. The first-century church made it through so I’m going to make it through. ROL Munford we will make it…..if we trust God.
The Lord is not in a box, he is on my side.
-What challenges has God brought you through? If you made it once, you can make it again! Depend on Him again!
-If you have seen God move in your life before, then you would have to lie to yourself not to trust Him.
-What challenges has God brought this church through?
Hasn’t He always been here to meet our needs?
-Since COVID BEGAN GOD HAS HELPED US SAVE $250,000.00.
-We are a debt-free church, and we are paying for all the projects we are initiating and saving money at the same time.
-We believe by the end of July, we should have $350,000.00 in savings.
-Peter Parker (AKA Spider-Man) has offered the church an option for enough land to relocate our facilities and enlarge our building, parking and make it multi-purpose.
-Between now and this summer, we are praying about raising another $250,000 to give us $600,000.00 for a down payment on the land.
This summer we will officially meet as a church body to go over this business together.
1. Pray-without prayer, nothing is accomplished.
2. Speak vision with me. Why? Joshua and Caleb weren’t enough.
-I believe that God wants us back on the same property where the church started in 1929. It’s not just a great location, but it is a PERFECT LOCATION.
3. Ask you to invest in the vision as God makes you able. I want you to sense God in the vision. It would probably dangerous of me to say this but if you don’t feel and sense that God is in this…then you probably shouldn’t give any money. If God is in this…….
-My wife and I are praying together about how many $$KKK?
I CALL RIVER OF LIFE TO MAKE THIS PLACE A HOUSE OF VICTORY!!!