Sermon October 6, 2013: The 3 stages of implementing a vision - build, affirm and enhance

Posted in Sermons
[Dr. Roberto Miranda (right) with Gregory Bishop]
  • Presenter: Dr. Roberto Miranda
  • Date: October 6, 2013
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

The Lord has placed in my spirit what I call 'horizontal sermons' and by horizontal I mean sermons that are not necessarily too mystical or too spiritual but really, they are of course founded in the Word of God but they also speak about aspects of the practical life of a believer. So we aren't focused on any particular character or text necessarily but just the Spirit of God overshadowing the entire theme that we are addressing.

It's interesting, if I remember right there's a Book in the Bible, the Book of Esther. In the whole Book of Esther the name of God is never explicitly named right?

The Book of Nehemiah is another example of somebody telling a story about a very earthly process of building a wall and dealing with building and politics even and God is just interwoven for the entire narrative, it's just God permeating normal, everyday life.

Yeah even though there aren't too many supernatural manifestations in the Book itself I mean obviously opening the Red Sea or greater miracles but the miracle is you know, God is penetrating in every aspect of that Book and so sometimes you know our teachings might not be necessarily saturated with illusions, verses or whatever but they are founded on the Word of God, they are necessary sometimes those kind of meditations.

And we as christians want to cultivate that combination of having the Spirit of God and a supernatural mentality, permeate our lives with the principles of God, infuse everything we do and then that helps us in an executive way kind of doing practical things day-out and day-in, you know God is with us in everything we are doing.

And so we began talking last week about: how to convert our dreams into concrete reality. In order to go from a dream or a project or a vision that God has put in our mind, a big dream and how then that translates into an executive kind of implementing them and executing in practical ways then it becomes a reality.

Some people spend their entire life dreaming and never quite executing the dreams that God has put in their mind and we see this in the Book of Proverbs 13 verse 4, it says: "The sluggard craves and gets nothing but the desire of the diligent is fully satisfied." In the same chapter Proverbs 13 in verse 23 it says: "A poormen's field may produce abundant fruit but injustice" or another way of translating that or "lack of judgment sweeps it away."

In this translation it's not evident what field means like in the original, it is saying that in the uncultivated field of the poor there is much bread I don't think that construes in the translation that you read. You know there is potential in the field but is not being cultivated. And we believe this happens to many people that have tremendous potential that God has put in them, natural ability and talent and all kinds of things that could produce abundant fruit in their lives but that is never cultivated, is never developed so it never becomes reality.

We believe that in every one of us God has put so much potential, so much we could do in some many different ways but very often that doesn't translate into practical expressions that give fruit where you can see what God has done so there is a disconnect between the dreams and the visions in our mind and the skills and habits necessary to make those visions a reality. There is very often a disconnect or inconsistency between what we confess on sunday morning that 'our God is great' and a big vision of God but then in the practical implementation of our lives we often live a vision of God that is really rather small, not like the influence of God in our lives.

And that's where we are gonna be honest, we need to realize that it's gonna take more than just faith and dreams and good intentions to live a successful life, there needs to be always that effect of taking that which is big and abstract and just bring it down to the practical details of life and making it happen.

For example: before the ties and offerings I say: we are all instruments in God's Hands to further the Kingdom and to make God's Kingdom come in this world we are instruments and we all say amen! that sounds great! it's easy to say: amen to the big picture, the big idea but then when it comes to the practicality of meaning when that means giving, it means being generous with our own resources and even money to give to the purposes of God but that is a little bit more difficult, going from the mind and the abstract faith down to the pocket or the wallet is quite harder.

We may see that people have big dreams about completing their education, maybe getting their GiD or getting an advanced degree of some sort but there is that disconnect. We may want that degree that improves our education but when it comes to the needed grit of going and knocking on the doors of the admission office and getting the materials and finding out what's involved and applying, maybe learning better english if that's necessary; kind of going through the very tedious and difficult process of actually making that dream a reality many just become discouraged and we give up halfway and so all our professions of faith don't translate into the power to do the unpleasant needy-gritty tedious things necessary to make it happen.

Pastor Roberto: Thank you my brother, I love that you know? he just takes it and runs with it and he's just better than I am that's wonderful. Thank you Greg, perfect, perfect; this guy has a capacity, give me your hand I love to translate with him.

So what we are saying is that the effective people, people who are successful and those who have that ability to translate their dreams into execution and doing those little things again and again repeatedly throughout their life. You know let me because you can go forever on and on with this. This morning you know I had my little vision because there are grand visions and there are small visions that are very specific, this morning my little vision was present the bilingual service here and to have Greg translate for me but this morning around 7:30 I sent you this text I'm using as a base because you know, it's important to fulfill that vision of a successful sermon which I hope it will be.

You know I had to do something specific: send Greg to prepare his mind and his heart for this process so I did the specific thing of sending him that and that is the way you know you have to think in life. I told Greg: Greg make sure you tell me when you receive the text, yes I received it and then so you see how larger visions are made up of small actions that are very concrete and that then enable us to here in a hopefully fluid sort of way, present something that is acceptable to you. It takes small things to get to greater things I hope I'm making sense here with this illustration.

And that is the challenge: big dreams translated into concrete, visible, palpable steps, actions steps. Now a good signal that you are doing this is is that it is often in fact, I say it is usually intimidating to take a big dream and actually start doing something to make it happen because you realize how big it is and there should be a little bit of jitters and nerves as you realize: wow I'm really gonna do this? and it's big, how am I going to do this? so that is a natural part of the process and want to be pushed through.

And that's what we need to expect. Expect it to be a moment of fear and of intimidation thinking: oh my gosh how am I gonna do this? as you begin to translate that dream into action expect it, realize it's there and know by God's power how to push through it without letting discouragement paralyze you at that point.

And it's always like this: things in three dimensions of flesh and blood are never as beautiful and spectacular as we imagined them to be, once it becomes real it becomes very tedious, ugly, imperfect and we have to be willing to live with that imperfection if we are ever gonna make it happen.

Yeah you have to factor that in you know? it's like the platonic ideals in Pleyades' philosophy where the idea is perfect, it has no defects but it's just an ideal you know? the forms of real life are quotidian, they are very humble and we have to learn to make that transition from one thing to the other and persist, continue into the realization of our visions.

Very practical example, many of you begin taking discipleship classes just a few weeks ago, maybe you went in and if you have never taken them with big dreams 'it's gonna be great I'm gonna learn about the Bible' you get in there and maybe the teacher is not all you expected, maybe there's some people in the class that maybe you know, whatever, maybe it's hard to get here on time and actually do the homework, now that's the point of decision where I'm gonna go through with what God put in my heart I'm not gonna give up because it wasn't all I expected it to be the ideals that I had.

If we are willing to pay the price it becomes like a stagging, like a setting through which God's power can be manifested, like a scaffolding it's setup there so that God has something practical to work with in my life and sometimes I get that setup and it's not everything I hoped it would be, it's not so perfect but it's in that imperfection that God's real power is made manifest among us.

And that's where perseverance comes in we gotta tie ourselves, bind ourselves to the callings and purposes that God has put in our hearts and say: I will not let go I will persevere until God completes the promise that He has put in my heart.

And we see this in people who achieve great things throughout the Scripture, they are people who are able to overcome their emotions and say: even though I may feel fear, I may feel discouragement or excited I will keep going by faith and know that I'm going to live by principles, by faith and not by sight, not by feelings or based on my experience and be able to push through those emotions and live by principles is what achieves great things, it's a common trend in people throughout the Scripture.

If we can stick to the vision, if we can hold on to that vision in spite of setbacks, in spite of difficulties and that's how that vision becomes translated into reality. And as we move forward things will snowball, you have little victories you move forward God brings resources, He brings people and things will pick up steam if we are faithful through slow beginnings, the small beginnings.

The vision for this building next to us here is not something we just started off when we started the project, that vision of the building with four levels, the room on top, the parking underneath is something that God put in our Pastor's heart since 1998 through just moving in here, that vision was already there.

So the vision was there and I spoke it. I shared it with people in my life, different leaders, the family it was there as a vision but I knew I could not do it alone I needed an architect, someone that knew how to design the building, it's in my heart, it's in my mind but he's gonna design it, he's gonna make it happen and I'm praying for that; I realized that God is going to bring the resources I need to make that vision become a reality.

As we get moving in this vision it'll start taking on a life of it's own and it will even start pushing us so I had the vision for the building and then around then God brings across my path Glenn Noles who is a christian architect; God gave him a vision for building Churches, I'm a Pastor who needs a Church built. Our visions co-inside, we share ideas, he gets excited, he starts coming on-board and starts helping me imagine what it's actually gonna look like and then together I realize: well I can't give up now I got him involved and I can't push the project alone.

And that's where we see that the big vision needs to be broken down into small steps that we are faithful with one piece at a time, it's a huge vision but there's small steps on that journey and if I'm faithful one at a time one thing will lead to another. So there's a structure, almost an organic process that unfolds as you follow a vision.

It starts with the idea, with the vision that God has put in your mind and inspired by the Holy Spirit in your heart. Then that vision becomes a project that has certain contorts and certain general structures, starts being something that you can visualize. So you go from the vision to a project and the next step is the design, you actually need to design the blueprints and actually put and commit it to writing, it's not just something with a name you are writing down, you are specifying the details, the plan of what this is gonna look like.

Now then from that design comes, we need to design the chronology of things; we need to break it down into smaller components, smaller elements of the big project and decide: what needs to come first? what is gonna be foundational? what is going to build on something else and once we have those components in place we start thinking of a timeline, what are we gonna do when? and then so that you've got your steps beginning to take shape.

Now once you've got the design and you've got the steps now you just need to do it, then there is the executing what God is giving you and doing it one step at a time and as things build there do come moments when you can enjoy and see it happened, it went from a vision to reality that I can touch and see. Or not, you will often find that these visions are so big and take on a life of their own that they keep going for a lifetime in different stages and different forms.

So we go from our vision to a project, through design to breaking it down into components, execution and then the reality. Ever heard the story about how to eat an elephant? one bite at a time and just looking at this massive animal in front of you how are you even begin to eat it? you gotta do one thing at a time. So that big vision needs to be broken down to it's component parts and then doing things one at a time is sometimes just starting with the simple things, the easy things to start out building momentum and the complicated, more challenging things will come along as well.

Saint Francis of Asis said: 'Begin doing what is necessary, then to what is possible and then the next thing you know you will find yourself doing what is impossible." Very often these motivational ideas can be, not have practical examples so I want to share some practical examples of this. He's gonna talk about me and he's talking about our discipleship materials that we have.

So for a long time Greg had the idea, I had the idea of developing to design these courses that would help people grow spiritually and not the spirit only but also in terms of character. Ok so the vision there it is. So that vision of having classes that could you provide the contact for spiritual growth then got broken down into sort of levels of what would be the different general topics that we want to teach with different stages in the process and becomes a project with a general outline.

So the general idea: we want people to have a foundation, we want them to grow in holiness, we want them to be radically committed and trained for ministry, that then translates into four particular courses and then within that you you break it down into sub topics which would be the individual lessons.

Then the component process of actually writing it out and if I can just add that the first versions were awful. I remember different people trying to teach my initial versions and it was a disaster some of you may still need to forgive me it was very messy, I had teachers getting very upset with me and how poorly written it was and how awkward it was and we have to improve it and go back, it was not a smooth process.

And one of the lessons was way too long and is still way too long but someone was actually going: this is too complicated this is too long who wrote this stuff? you know she was frustrated and it was awkward because I had written it right? so anyway so it was a clunky process, it was using trial and error.

But there are churches right now in Latin America, in Europe, in Africa, here in the United States who are using these materials that they downloaded through the internet and I cannot tell you how many ministries have been blessed by this kind of arduous, a cinderella-like process that finally led you know to the beautifully exulting that is these materials that we have here.

That's what comes in working together, the reason we are so out there is that there is a team of people who work with our internet who have a gift for getting it out there all over the world, in fact the german director we are working with right now from Germany and they have made it available in places I wouldn't have ever conceived so that's why we need working together. In the whole process of the trial and error were teachers who were waiting through this stuff which wasn't so good and waiting to improve it.

We have to talk about this: maybe you might not know but the person who is key in developing our internet ministry and still manages, lives in Germany right now he's german, beautiful man who exemplifies what we are talking about well he's willing to do the boring little things day in and day out, those little details that make it happen. He lives literally enslaved to his computer as he manages things constantly 365 days a year he is always in touch with what is going on with our internet ministry and no one would ever know it right? and he doesn't want anyone to know it, it's about the vision, it's about the Kingdom not about any particular person.

And what we are seeing here are certain character qualities, people who are willing to do the little things in unspectacular ways and eventually have extraordinary things be the result and so we see the character quality in that kind of internet work.

And here we come to our personal visions: I want to be that person, I want to incorporate some of those qualities into who I am so that the dreams and potentiality that God has put within me become a reality in practical ways.

And what are some of these qualities? let's get more specific. And so if you are taking notes jag them down again, that's another one of those little things that people of excellence cultivate. Determination, energy, capacity to actually push through and do something, persistence, discipline, systemic thinking and the ability to see how things interrelate and connect, teamwork. Knowing how to find those people that you are gonna need to execute the vision God is giving you, how to form relationships and have that type of interdependence to achieve great things. How to find allies, it's a beautiful word, allies it's really important in life.

Also cultivating an elitist mentality where you are willing to look and able to look behind the surface to what goes underneath the surface, in a building you see the big building but what about the wiring, what about the tubing, what about the plumbing? you are willing to analyze things and see how it goes behind something before it becomes visible.

It's what I would call structural outlook, it's the capacity to look at what things run in life, taking reality which is amorphous and fluid and stopping the flow for a moment so that you can see a photograph and analyze the component parts and that is so useful in any kind of situations: family relationships, emotional life, projects that we undertake. The capacity to think structurally is absolutely necessary for a successful life.

Proverbs 24 verse 3 summarizes this structural mentality that we are talking about in such a profound way, one day I would to take a whole day to just talk about this particular verse. In Proverbs 24 verse 3 it says: "By wisdom a house is built, through understanding it is established, through knowledge it's room are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."

The house being constructed here is the final product of the vision whatever that be: a career that God wants you to pursue, a Church that is being built, a healthy family that you want to see come to fruition it's the end product and then in the verse you see the different stages of building that vision, of helping that house be constructed and become reality.

You know the writer mentions three attributes or three faculties of knowledge that are necessary for the successful completion of every project: he speaks about wisdom, about prudence and about science or knowledge but it's truly science it's a word that I find in the Scripture many times; the linear, rational, sequential way of thinking that's very important. So three faculties: wisdom, prudence and science. So we see the three stages of building, the three different types of knowledge: wisdom, prudence and science but then we also see the three stages, there is building, there is constructing and then filling. That's why I think the spanish translation is so much better than the english one sometimes forgive me guys. In the hebrew original it speaks of building a house and then affirming and strengthening and consolidating the house ok? and they are feeling the house and diversifying with all kinds of little attributes.

And for each of these different faces of edification of a vision you need three faculties, they go together. So for the building stages you need a certain kind of systemic, just synthetic knowledge and then for the actual affirming, consolidating, establishing, strengthening of the foundations one you need that element that the Bible calls prudence and we can talk about what I think it means and then in order to diversify and enrich, extend the different reaches of the vision you need science, you need a very quotidian, persistent, daily humble way of looking at things until you feel it up. We can go on and on but you know.

It's not enough just: oh God is the Lord of creation, He's the Lord of America, He's the Lord of Boston hallelujah He has called us to have dominion and then we go home and we raised a lot of dust but the devil is as much powerful as before we started. It's not enough; you have to then get to the actual: how do you bless students, how do you bless marriages and families? how do you penetrate in the holes of power, intellect of influence in the nation you gotta take then take determined, quotidian, boring, daily action and intervention to make that declaration and that vision of God and of yourself a reality.

Just give me a couple more minutes to bring it home here. One of the attributes of a successful person: succeed in gravity, very important.

Now for many of us, maybe our own background, our formation in our family or our culture or whatever didn't instill some of these qualities that are needed and that's a reality for many of us. We are very often on a culture or familiar background that doesn't allow us to form some of these attributes; other cultures are able to give these things into education to the children but many of us don't come from that background so it's important to understand: how can I develop these traits?

We are aware how frustrating sometimes teachings like these can be because you are hearing a type of life that sometimes is: where do I start? how do I do this? it's almost like you are paralyzed and people say: just do it, just walk and your brain maybe can imagine that but you need some excercises to begin developing certain abilities and capacities.

How can you become a person that has that type of diligence and systemic thinking and also perseverance to help dreams become reality? so: how do we help ourselves become grounded and able to receive healthy ambition, healthy dreams and desires for the future? Part of simply adopting this is conceiving a personal life vision of the kind of person you want to become, that you want to grow in certain ways and become that, make that a life vision, a life dream that I want to grow in these ways, I want to become more like that.

It's taking this on almost like a battle saying: this is my giant, I want to become a person with greater self control, greater discipline, greater organization and that's my giant and I'm gonna conquer that giant.

Some of it is believing that this is possible, believing that the human mind is malleable; our minds can change they can be renewed as it says in Romans 12:2, they can be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, I can come to think in a different way believe that.

Romans 12:2 says: "Be transformed by the renewing of your minds." It all begins there in the mind, in the sensibility that is the platform, that is the screen upon which God can then cast His visions in your life and the screen has to be adequate to transmit the images that God projects.

So conceive that vision of a certain type of personality change to be that kind of person that implements the dreams God gives you, believe in that it's possible that you can grow, that you can change in this ways.

You need honesty to admit where you are at and where you are not at, not try to make yourself more than you really are. Honesty and humility they are complimentary so you need honesty, humility, lucidity these are some of the things that you need to ask yourself: I want to acquire these things and you need to cultivate. And then good readings you need to read good things.

You know start reading good things, edifying materials. Read good magazines, read newspapers, read good books that will enrich your sensibility. Stop wasting time in silly readings and consuming stuff that just complicates your mind and actually programs you for complication rather than complexity and so you know cultivate good readings, feed your mind with good nutrients. Good conversations that will edify you and bless you.

You know on friday night I was invited to an event here in Boston at the Taj Hotel a very elegant place. It was an event for leaders to get together and for people to create relations but there was a gentleman that I know there who is as far from that exulted environment as he could be and he really looked absolutely out of place there but I was so glad to see him there because he's a man of great possibility and great potential, personal great potential but hates to be involved in those kind of environments.

And for him to submit himself to that, the fumes of that environment just absorbing them I think already was doing something to his mind, it was an excercise, it was an objectless so his sensibility was being slightly adjusted by exposing himself to that environment and even though it was a very uncomfortable experience for him I'm sure and perhaps for others who saw this discomfort in him but it's this kind of uncomfortable moments that force us to develop another level. Stimulating environments.

Another element is continual intellectual excercise which is related to what I'm saying, continually excercising your mind and making a value for the rest of your life your brain is a muscle, for many things what it is is muscular so it develops through use. Excersice your mind.

So all these things you know: watch good movies, listen to great music, see good documentaries that will inform you and at the same time entertain you, cultivate powerful human relations that will edify you and stimulate you and challenge you, move in environments that will force you to develop in certain directions. All these things they will help you in very organic sort of ways to become the kind of person that you need to become. It will happen, it will happen you just do your part and the constitution that God has instilled within you will do it's part and you will become what God wants you to become but you have to put the effort in. You will become what you envision with the power of God and with adequate effort in your life.

There's a concept that is used a lot in leadership and in institution development schools that is called alingment. You need to aligne your life to your dreams and you need to take every aspect of your life, every moment of your life, every intervention, everything that you submit to in your life and let there be consistence between your dream and your practice, your daily practice and your daily living has to reflect your values. I know many people that have exulted values and they live puny lives and there is an inconsistency, you have to practice these values everyday and what you do and what you don't do has to be aligned with your vision.

This takes years and years, takes a whole lifetime but just do it one intervention at a time, one little bit at a time and it happens I assure you because God does not allow us to fail. That's the wish, the desire and the vision of God for our lives to produce people of power, people of creativity, people that reflect the greatness of their Creator will live according to His image.

God is the great executive, the great realizer of visions; He has taken thousands of years to realize His visions of His creation and He's still at it, working at it according to His principles aligned to His principles that's the beautiful thing, that's why it takes so long because He is consistent with His principles. He could do it in another way which takes shorter but He doesn't, stays aligned to His principles.

Just let's stand for a moment, let's receive the Word of God in our lives, let's redeem the Word of God and let it settle it in ourselves. Right now the Word of God is merely a very fragile little plant with small roots, very short roots being inserted into your sensibility but with the passing of time it will become something great, something powerful a great tree that will bear fruit and cast shadow to protect others and bless others as well.

So thank you Father we receive Your Word. Father impregnate us with Your vision we love You and we declare Your blessing in our lives and we receive Your Word, it's not the Word of men it's the Word of God. We give You Lord all the honor and all the glory in Jesus' Name we say: amen and amen, glory to God, amen.

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