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1997: Mission and Vision

Have you heard about Helen Keller’s response when asked what could possibly be worse than being born blind? "Having sight but no vision," the great lady quickly replied.

The Bible says Solomon was the wisest man to ever live. In Proverbs 29:18 he writes, "Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained," or as the King James translates it, "the people perish."

People who have no restraint are insecure, without direction, unpredictable, desperate, and disloyal. They are often referred to as "a loose cannon on the deck." Think about that word picture. The sea is rough, the captain is barking battle orders and ordnance commands, the pirates are firing volley upon volley through the rigging of your vessel, and in the tumult there is a loose cannon rolling about on the pitching deck. Not only do you have to watch your toes, but deck hands are taken from the battle to arrest the renegade gunnery, and there’s one less piece of artillery to use against the pirates whose strategy is to board your ship and stretch a plank beneath your feet. A cannon is effective so long as it is held in place by its restraints. People are no different and the point is clear: "Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained."

Vision creates restraint, gives guidance, maximizes potential, and establishes parameters. Equating the discipline of vision with throwing cold water on the fire of a free spirit is a mistake. On the contrary. It fuels the ingenuity of the human spirit and establishes a launch pad for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Once the dreams of the spirit and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit begin to filter through us the product is security, confidence, and productivity. Vision. If we were to re-phrase Solomon and put a positive slant on his quote, it would read, "In the presence of a clear vision the people are fulfilled and live as the people God intended them to be."

As I mentioned a few lines back, Solomon’s words could also be translated to read, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Vision requires discipline, planning, goals, objectives, a mission, and hard work. The enemy would suggest that this is bondage, the opposite of freedom, the squelching of all that is possible for us, robbery of the options before us. After all, how can restraint be anything other than limitation?

What a profound lie! No vision gives no perspective. Lack of vision gives no definition to life. Absence of vision does not provide for accomplishment or satisfaction. Have you realized that there is a profound lack of fulfillment in a narrow and ill-defined world. While it seems just the opposite, a lack of vision creates a small world, not a broad one. In fact, in the absence of vision the only thing left is introspection and selfishness. The presence of a powerful and compelling vision creates a vibrant, challenging, spectrum of possibility. The fundamental truth of this is that a lack of vision results in despondent, self-centered burn-out while vision engenders dynamic challenge and limitless opportunity. Where there is no vision the people wither on the vine, dry up like a weed in the summer sun, perish for a lack of stimulation in their spirit and soul. On the other hand, with the advent of vision people thrive and flourish regardless of their circumstances. With vision, we find meaning. Without it, we introspectively flounder.

The new year is traditionally filled with resolutions, goals, and fresh determination to change in 1997 the things that embroiled and confounded us in 1996. It is a time to start over with a celebration, a kiss, and a toast, a time to watch a few ball games, spend time with the family, and sit down to ham, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. And finally, after the TV is turned off and the kids have been tucked into bed, you will sit down in your pajamas and stare into the dying embers of the Yule log and think about what tomorrow holds. Your soul is yearning for a vision and wondering if the resolutions you made will make a difference.

May I give you something to think about when this moment arrives? Would you add a passionate commitment to people in your 1997 vision?

At Lifetime Guarantee the bottom line of our vision for 1997 is a more effective ministry to people than ever before. Space won’t permit me to detail all of the wonderful things that we are doing to accomplish this goal, but our mission is to share with Believers the magnitude of what God accomplished in Christ at the cross in practical, applicable, understandable, life-transforming ways. Christ lives in us so that He can live His life through us. That’s power. Every Christian in the world needs to understand that Christ living in them is more than a guaranteed seat in heaven instead of a one way trip to hell. While heaven is a wonderful place, thinking about it won’t help anybody live life more effectively. Christ living in and through us is the Father’s priority and plan.

But not only does Christ live in us. We live in Him. The devil would love for us to pass this off as a theological nuance of interest only to those who live in ivory towers. But quite the contrary. Here is a vision worth locking onto with heart and soul. "In Him we live and move and have our being," Dr. Luke writes in Acts, "In Him there is meaning, hope, and passion for life." That’s purpose.

Power. Purpose. Meaning. Passion. Vision. That’s the package every living soul on the face of the planet is looking for. And it is found in Christ: a) Christ lives in us in order to live His life through us and, b) we live in Christ in order to comprehend all that the Father has in mind for us to be.

Are you ready for a bold statement? If you do not understand these two aspects of the Father’s plan, you will not ever, no way, under any circumstance live as God plans for you to live. Period! The scriptures are non negotiable on this point. You need to understand this message as do your spouse, kids, the people you sit next to on Sunday, your fishing buddy, and your walking partner.

As long as I’m making a bold statement, let me make a blunt one to go along with it: There are lots of fine ministries and worthy causes, but those ventures must be grounded in these two central truths in order to serve people effectively. Lifetime Guarantee exists to share these two central truths of scripture and apply them to the various stages the drama of life plays on.

Will you make us part of your vision for 1997? Will you include people in your new year by locking arms with us to effectively make a difference? Include this ministry in your monthly giving, name LGI as one of the beneficiaries in your estate, pray for us, pray for yourself and ask the Father how to use the materials we have produced to impact your sphere of influence. Join something that is larger than yourself and your realm. Expand your vision to include the people LGI is reaching. Enlarge your vision to make a difference in people’s lives.

Close your eyes for a moment and visualize faces—lots of faces—all shapes, sorts, and colors; more faces than you’ve ever seen in one place before. This is the mission. They are the vision. Even though, with your eyes closed, you are blind to the outside world, before the eyes of your heart and soul is a vision that is essential and attainable. We see those same faces and are committed to being people of vision working in a focused ministry of vision. Will you join us?

Preston Gillham

About the Author

As a co-founder, Preston Gillham led Lifetime for 30 years. Preston is a writer, speaker, and leadership guide. He has authored numerous articles and several books including No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. He blogs on “Life and Leadership”. More about Preston, his writings, speaking, and his consulting practice can be located at PrestonGillham.com.