Am I Missing The Mission?


Where there is no revelation [or prophetic vision], the people cast off restraint… —Proverbs 29:18


A vision is given to drive me beyond myself. Pushing and compelling, a vision holds a proverbial “carrot’ just out of my reach. The vision is meant to force me to know God and know myself and keep the priorities right: God first. It’s impossible to have a  real vision from God until I have a real vision of God Himself. Until I see Him clearly, every other “vision” is about self.

My efforts and exercise of faith cannot be found in my own strength but only in Christ. Placing my faith, hope, trust and love in Christ alone will keep the vision right in front of me and continue to compel me to the greater things God has for me and wants to do through me. When God gives a vision of Himself, I will see myself clearly as Isaiah (Isaiah 6) did and proclaim “Woe is me! I am undone”! It is then that I will hear God’s voice and know what it is He wants me to do. It may not even be a direct command per se but simply overhearing God’s heart and desires as I have seen Him.

Knowing Is Not Enough!

Even knowing the vision is not enough. I can know Who God is and what God wants (through His word), but until I understand that the vision God gives is not meant to just be a mission for me to accomplish but meant to also accomplish something within me, I will fail. Jonah is a great example of this as He was God’s selected prophet to go to Ninevah. Yet Jonah chose to try to escape the mission God was trying to work in his own heart by thinking that God would just send someone else or perhaps just save the people because He was a God who was “slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness” anyway.

I can clearly see from Jonah’s example that God is not content to give me a vision for someone else. The vision is meant for me; to work in me. The vision is to help me see that I have my own sin to grapple with whether it is in forms of racism, elitism, or just being a “complainer” all of which Jonah seems to suffer, or some other innate spiritual malady. Moral alignment is not all God is looking for. God is looking for people to love Him and obey Him out of love not a sense of duty.

Beyond Me.

God doesn’t put things within my reach…They are just beyond me. This is not taunting by God but compelling me to continue to seek His face, His wisdom, His goals and not my own. When the vision itself becomes the goal, I can become perfectionistic and fail to remember that God is the One I need to chase after. God is the One perfecting me and the vision. He is not concerned so much about the vision, as though it rested solely upon me. He wants me to KNOW Him. He is most concerned that I have the right vision of Him, knowing that He alone is the One I am reaching for. When God alone is my goal, I will practice discipline and restraint because of Who He says I CAN be and become all He MADE me to be. The right vision will give me the right mission and if that vision is anything other than God, I am missing the mission.


Devotionals For Leaders: Intercession or Interference?

Devotionals for leaders (1)

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18

How selfish are my prayers? How selfish are my prayers for others? Prayer is not meant to be a means for me to just get what I want. In fact, it is meant to be a means to get what God wants for me and for others.  Real intercession for another doesn’t demand anything of God as though we know what people need best. Real intercession for others is found in letting go and letting God do as He will in their lives. The temptation for leaders is to pray for God to do certain things that benefit the leader more than the person for whom we intercede. Leaders can intercede for another asking that the person be blessed or healed or whatever, simply so that leader can be free of dealing with the person’s hardship. This is not intercession but interference. God has intentions and plans for people and sometimes those plans involve difficulty and hardship. The leader is not meant to question God but to help the person find God in the midst of the hardship. This is intercession.

Prayers may not always be answered or understood. God doesn’t have to answer us in the ways we pray or desire. It is not the leader’s place to understand or know it all but to submit to the leadership of God. God loves people more than we do and we must trust His ways, His plans and His purposes are higher than ours. When we move or pray, we must do so out of obedience and submission to God’s plan and not out of our own sympathies or inclinations. Trying to fix things for people or to fix people is not intercession but interference.

God doesn’t seek our approval before He does something. As leaders and servants we must stay acutely aware of God’s Spirit working and acting around us. Being sensitive to His leading and prodding is essential for the leader. The leader must work with God in people’s lives and not quench or circumvent what God is doing. Compassionate and sympathetic leaders may want to intervene and assist when what God wants is intercession. Yes, leaders should be sensitive and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. There are times to open our hands and serve our fellowman and then there are times to fold our hands in sincere intercessory prayer. At the timing of God, intercession may lead to the intervention as was the case for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and His prayer from the cross to forgive those who crucified Him. Otherwise, it is essential that the leader not interfere with God’s working in other’s lives but genuinely intercede on their behalf.

What it seems to come down to is that the leader must be willing to take their hands off of every aspect of life and fold them in prayer for God’s will to be done. This takes form in accepting whatever role the leader plays on the team, in service or in another’s life. It means that God has the right to move people in or out as He sees fit because we trust His care and love of others is greater than our love or concern. Leading through intercession is a great task that requires much faith for the leader since the leader must accept God’s plan more than his own agenda. The leader is only fit for leadership when there is no interference in other’s lives to accomplish a task but a sincere desire for God to be glorified in other’s lives regardless of what it takes.

Final thought: Don’t pray for what you want; pray that what you want will be what God wants. Stay in prayer for people but stay out of the way of God in people’s lives. Let God be God.

Devotionals For Leaders: god of feelings. God Of Faith.

god of feelings pic

We walk by faith, not by sight. —2 Corinthians 5:7

There is no other way for a Christian to live than by faith. Yet time after time, we try to live in another way. Whether it’s by sight, or by feelings, or by the counsel of others, we seek to circumvent faith. God will not have it! Faith is required for all those who are called by His name. Hebrews 11:6 makes this abundantly clear:

 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.

What have you been seeking after lately? Maybe you have been praying for a new sense of direction? Or seeking a new mountaintop experience? Or maybe you have just come to a place where the desire for the work is just not satisfying any longer? Regardless of where you are, God is still there even though you may not sense Him. God calls for us to use a different kind of sense…and uncommon sense called faith. God delights when His children continue to trust Him, knowing His heart, faithfulness and trustworthiness to do all He said he would do, even when they grow tired and weary. Faith is not always easy and this is what God is driving home to you. However, according to the Hebrews 11: 6 verse, faith is always rewarded.

Faith cannot be rooted in feelings for if it were so, your faith would be different each and every day! Faith must be rooted in something that is immutable, unchanging, which alone is God. God is reliable, unlike our feelings and we have to learn to trust even though we do not feel like it. We have to see God come through time and again regardless of how our feelings are. This “absence” of God is merely an absence of feeling God. For many of us, our feelings are our god.

We want to feel good about decisions and life and we wait for those feelings to come. Yet God wants us to know He is good and to trust Him that even though we may not feel good, He is good. This is the essence of faith: God is here, always, unchanging, reliable, and able to do all He said and all He has called you to do. The sooner you can have faith in that, the sooner your feelings will begin to change.  Feelings try to keep you where you are or take you to a place where you once were. Faith always calls you forward; it never allows you to remain where you are.

Leaders must learn to walk by faith. They must be visionaries, not only casting vision but casting themselves into the vision. Faith is throwing oneself overboard like Peter but only at His command. Faith is not stupidity but serious obedience. God is not going to expect you to have faith in Him for something immoral, harmful or ignoble but He will call you to faith to right all of those wrongs. God’s call to faith is for matters and issues of mercy, justice and love and leaders must learn to crawl before walking. Taking simple steps toward issues of conscious and heart demonstrate our faith in God and His power to work through us to bring the world back to Him. Much faith is required.

Sometimes God wants us to stay right where we are doing what we are doing. Yet our feelings want to take us to a place that is more thrilling or exciting. God doesn’t reward us based on the thrill of our adventure but on our “faith”-fulness. The hard decision may be to not move at all until God calls us. Once again like Peter in the boat we need to say: “Lord, if it’s You, command me to come to You…” (Matthew 14:28). Otherwise, don’t seek after new and better feelings…seek the Lord!

Final thought: feelings are not god but trusting in God will bring the right feelings. Faith is best demonstrated when I don’t feel like it but act in obedience to God’s call.

Devotionals For Leaders: Certainly Uncertainty


Where did we ever get the idea that following Jesus was safe? Definitely not from reading the scripture! Person after person in the Bible not only had their faith tested but many of them lost their lives because of that very faith. No, following Jesus is not safe and that’s for certain.

Nor is following Jesus predictable. We can try to figure out God’s next move but to our own chagrin. We try to guesstimate based on our previous experiences and God does something new and completely different. God will not be boxed in, nor will He be predictable. Our God is really edgy and on the wild side to be honest. You can be certain about that.

When it comes down to it, if you want a safe predictable life, then Jesus is not the God you want to choose. With Jesus, the one thing you can be certain of is uncertainty. God will not disclose to you everything He knows but that which you need to know at the right time. He may not even disclose anything for that matter. His point? That you would know Him and trust Him, not what else you know.

People want a common sense kind of life, one that makes sense to them and others. But God doesn’t promise a life that makes sense…just ask Job! What God does promise us is a life that makes us trust, love, forgive, believe, hope, and give Him glory. Oswald Chambers said:

The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy.

As leaders it’s important to realize that you don’t know it all and to be ok with that. Leading doesn’t mean you have to know how it all plays out. It means that you are the first one to step out into the glorious uncertainty. God doesn’t call us to safety first or common sense living. He calls us to the life of uncertainty where we are completely certain of Him.

John the Baptist even had to grapple with this, being locked in jail for preaching against the king’s immorality. From prison, John sends his disciples to Jesus wondering if He was the One or if they should look for another. Jesus sent them back telling that He was the One that scriptures said would come. But what Jesus didn’t say was that He was the One who would deliver John from prison. Jesus didn’t do what others may have thought He would have/should have done. Jesus and John were cousins, sharing in the same line of work. Joh even baptized Jesus for goodness sake! Yet in that certain uncertainty, John knew from the beginning of his ministry that following Jesus would be dangerous. He knew that it could eventually cost him his life. And it did.

Jesus doesn’t promise you an easy path. He doesn’t promise to be a God you can box in or act in the ways you want Him too. He DOES promise to never leave you. He DOES promise to always take the bad or ugly or difficult or hard and transform it into something beautiful. He’s asking you to trust Him with the certain uncertainty because He’s not once ever failed and He’s certainly not gonna start now.

Final thought: following Jesus is certainly not always easy but it’s certainly an adventure you will not ever regret. If you want a safe, easy, predictable life, choose another god. If you want an abundant life, follow on.

Devotionals For Leaders: Choose Fruit

choose fruit

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain… John 15:16

Jesus is the One who does the picking. God’s plan and agenda will win out. Our goal is to simply live God’s plan where we are. Far too often we think that somewhere else is better. That somewhere in another field of ministry, in another church or with another group of people, the work will be more rewarding, fulfilling or at least more tolerable. But how did you get to where you are? Was it by your own choosing? If so, then you got what you wanted. If not, then you got what God wanted for you; regardless of the way it feels or seems. The verse above says that Jesus has chosen us for certain things and tasks, that He has a certain kind of fruit our lives are to produce. Therefore He knows what climate will best suit that fruit. He will plant you where you will best produce fruit that will remain. It’s not about what you would choose to do for God but about Him choosing where you will have the best opportunity to know Him and show Him.

Oswald Chambers said:

We have no right to decide where we should be placed, or to have preconceived ideas as to what God is preparing us to do. God engineers everything; and wherever He places us, our one supreme goal should be to pour out our lives in wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work. 

The task is not the important thing here. Jesus isn’t concerned so much with where we are or what we are doing as long as it’s what He’s called to do at that time. It’s not that He needs us to do anything for Him, anyway. The plan is for us to be obedient unto death, just like He was…even death to self. Self is one of our greatest enemies. Choosing jobs or making plans must be done but not without seeking the One who created us. He who knows us best should be consulted in any decisions concerning our future. There may be something Jesus would choose for us that we would never choose for ourselves. Then on the other hand, there may be things that we would choose to partake in that He never would choose for us. Obedience does not question why, what or where but simply awaits the “when”.

Final thought: don’t get caught up in where you are but instead be focused on the fruit God wants to produce in you and through you wherever He may take you.

Quiet Time: Thoughts And Reflections

Quiet Time


When I realize who I am and who God is, all of my own purposes and ideas of what my life is about dissolve. It’s important for me to remember that I don’t exist for myself. God created me and He has a plan that is unique for my life. Prayer and Bible study help me to conform to the plan that God has. But this plan will be realized in the most creative and faith-requiring ways. God will not call me to simply live a life that I can live apart from Him. On the contrary, God has a purpose and plan that exceeds my ability to accomplish without Him. The just live by faith and for the Christ-follower, God’s plan will require much faith.

When God gave His son for the world, most people missed it. It didn’t make sense. No one expected Jesus to come as a newborn baby much less to “die” rejected and alone for the sins of humanity. This was not the blueprint anyone would have drawn up for saving the world. Yet God’s plans and ideas of what He would do through His son not only accomplished for us what we could never have any other way; it proved that God is committed to His plan and idea for each person.

Knowing and doing God’s will is all life is really about. But the life lived according to God’s plans and ideas will not always make sense. Regardless of how overwhelming it may seem at times, it’s a plan that He intends to see fulfilled and each of us will be the better for it.

For more on this read:

My Utmost For His Highest

Finding God’s “Perfect Will”?

NEW PRODUCTWhat does it mean to you when people ask about God’s Will for their lives? This is something I have questioned myself…often. Even as a guy who’s been in the ministry for years, served in many capacities, and been around the world on multiple mission projects, I can still wonder if I am in God’s perfect will, doing the things I should be doing. How about you?

I’m glad to be in such good company! The fact is that many of us, especially those who sincerely want to please God and serve Him can find ourselves in gridlock, stopped dead in our tracks because we are wrestling with this whole concept of knowing and doing God’s “perfect will” for our lives.

Having approached the mid-life point of life and been faced with multiple decision opportunities over the course of my life, I want to share some of the things I have to remind myself about concerning God’s plan for my life….and for yours.

Finding God’s Will Is Not About Discovering Life’s Details.

Demanding details reveals my distrust in God’s power and love. God is not obligated to show me anything about my future. My prayer life can sometimes sound like I am playing 20 Questions or treating God like a magic genie begging for some wishes to come true. Instead, what I really believe God wants is for me to trust Him NOW and as I walk INTO the future. Asking God for His plan for my life becomes more about me having details than really knowing what He wants. God has outlined much of what He wants in scripture already. So when I come and want His plans for MY LIFE…that’s details.

A “Perfect Will For My Life” Prayer May Be Egocentric.

No one wants to fail, right? I want every decision to be right and I want to succeed in all I do. There’s nothing wrong with that except that pride may be in the way. I have to remember that God didn’t reveal everything to His people in the past, nor His prophets, disciples or even His Son. Asking God to give me insight on everything in my life, next steps, and decisions about the future is important wise. But it’s also essentially important to remember that God’s “perfect will” for my life is ultimately going to result in me becoming more and more like Him, which means less and less about me.

Finding God’s Will Should Not Substitute Knowing God.

Wanting my life to count and matter is one thing but sometimes I can become so caught up in myself mattering that I can completely forget what really matters; and that’s God! God may wait in answering, allow uncertainty, or even do something completely unexplained expecting me to trust in Him and His character. God’s Will is for me to know Him. God’s Will is for me to glorify Him regardless of what I know or don’t know. And God may even not tell me everything because when I feel like I “know-it-all” I have no need for Him. And no one likes a “know-it-all”, right? There’s only room for one of those and God’s His name.

God’s Will Is More About Who I Become Than What I Do.

Sure there are things God wants me to accomplish that I may not know yet. But many things God wants are already explained in scripture i.e. go and make disciples, love my enemies, forgive others. I should focus more on becoming the person God wants rather than trying to figure out where God wants me. Because if I am the person God wants me to be, I will bring change regardless of where I am.

Knowing and Doing God’s Will Is A Matter Of Risk And Obedience.

Because God does make some of His Will known to me, I have to be willing to follow through with what I don’t know and risk everything else on God’s ability and promises. It is often not an issue of not knowing what God wants me to do as it is a matter of me being to risk my everything on what He has said. It may very well be that God won’t reveal or give any further direction until I obey that last direction He gave me.

What to do about finding God’s “perfect will”? I’ll handle that in another blog post soon. Until then, comment on what you think about this blog. Let’s discuss what goes on in your heart and mind on finding God’s perfect will.

George ProfileGeorge Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the Creative/Mission Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA