In his book, Revitalize, Andy Davis describes the wonders associated with the human eye and how these wonders illustrate an important truth related to the Christian life. He writes, “The human eye is one of the most astounding things God ever created. It is enormously complex, consisting of more than 200 million working parts. It can process over 36,000 pieces of information per hour and see perhaps as many as 10 million different colors. In an average lifetime, our eyes will see 24 million different images. Research has found that approximately half of our brain is dedicated to processing the images our eyesight relays to it, and up to 80% of what we perceive about the surrounding world comes to us by our eyesight…..Just as the eye is the organ God created for physical vision, so faith is the organ God created for spiritual vision. Faith is the eyesight of the soul.”
Two important points we should not overlook here is that first, eyes do not create reality; they reveal it. Eyes do not create colors or trees or buildings or beautiful sunsets, they simply reveal those colors and scenes. In the same way, a church’s vision for the future is not something we create. Christians don’t create spiritual realities, they respond to the light Jesus has shown them about those realities. Having a strong vision for the future means clearly seeing what Jesus has put in front of us. Secondly, God has given every church the ability to see His preferred future. How? He shows us by faith. As Andy infers above, what the eyes are to the body so faith is to the soul. Without faith, we cannot see (or hear) the plans Jesus has for us. Everything we do as a church must revolve around faith in the unseen realities of God’s kingdom. And where does faith come from? Paul tells us that “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) This has specific implications for our partnership with Sojourn in West Haven. As we consider important decisions related to church planting in West Haven, here are (4) points to ponder as we pray:
1) The advancement of God’s kingdom on earth always requires faith. Study Paul’s words in Romans 4:13-25, where he underscores Abraham’s faith in God’s promise of a child when it looked impossible by human standards. No lasting work of God on earth can take place without eyes of faith to see what does not already exist. Pray that Jesus will increase our faith to see the impossible and invisible as it relates to our part in His plan for West Haven.
2) The advancement of God’s kingdom on earth always involves sacrifice. Meditate on 1 Thessalonians 2:9 where God’s Word reminds us that gospel advancement doesn’t happen without sacrifice. How could sacrifice not be foundational to church life when our salvation is the result of Christ’s death on a cross? Pray that Jesus will increase our faith to see the specific sacrifices He intends for church planting in West Haven and how those sacrifices don’t compare to the rewards of lives changed.
3) The advancement of God’s kingdom on earth always includes resistance. Soak in the words of Nehemiah where, in Nehemiah 4, we read of constant opposition to the God-ordained task of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. There will always be opposition to the work of God on earth, always. Pray that Jesus will increase our faith to see that His provision and power are always better and stronger than any opposition to His work in West Haven.
4) The advancement of God’s kingdom on earth always requires unity. Memorize Matthew 12:25, where Jesus highlighted the importance of unity when He taught that a house divided cannot stand. Or memorize John 13:35, where Jesus taught that our love for one another would pave the way for the gospel’s witness to a watching world. Divided churches are poor witnesses of the gospel and hinder gospel growth. Pray that Jesus will increase our faith to see the specific ways He intends for us to foster unity between MV and Sojourn, as well as within our own congregations.
In closing, we will always need faith to fulfill the Father’s plan for church planting and these are but a few of the many points of faith we could ponder in prayer. Hopefully, Holy Spirit will lead you to other points as you start with these. May Jesus give each of us the eyes of faith needed to see the work God has set before us in West Haven as well as Layton, Northern Utah and the nations!