When God first called me to the position of senior pastor at New Vision, my husband Ted and I had a vacation planned and spent a week camping in the unique canyons at The Cove Palisades in Central Oregon. During that vacation, God unfolded before me a plan that he had to breathe new life into New Vision. It was an ACTION plan, with the words that we were no longer to talk about being a church but actually be the church. This meant that we were to go out into the community with the love of Jesus to those who were marginalized, disenfranchised, and judged as unworthy, and give them our best. In my heart, I believe that if we ever were to veer from this specific mandate from God that we would no longer be the church he has designed us to be. That said, it does not mean that we don’t evolve and change over time. This past week, I have again had a chance to spend time in the wilderness at The Cove Palisades that I love so much! The natural beauty, the warmth of the noonday sun, the spectacular blue sky and soring canyon walls remind me of God’s creativity and power! I am inspired to commune more deeply with God at these times. As we become more and more like Christ and see how he is calling us to deeper works, both within our individual lives as well as a church body, we will see changes. Change is an ACTION word – we continue to be a church called to Action.
When Jesus called his first disciples, he found them sitting at the seashore fishing. He gave them an offer that they didn’t refuse, “Come follow me and become fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) One of the most significant additions to my life since the first of the year is a mentor/coach who has a saying that “he is always fishing.” This caused me pause when I first heard it because I realized that when New Vision was initially called to Action it was not a once-a-month activity where service is done and we get to feel good about ourselves, it was a call to a mindset and lifestyle change. We become the church of Jesus Christ, not just on ACTION days but every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year – well, you get the picture!
This reinforces that the Actions we have established at New Vision of serving once a month at a particular location are good, but not completely satisfactory. This is because our Christian life must never become compartmentalized; when we get up to follow Jesus we are all in! The ACTIONS once a month are a tremendously important value that defines who we are called to be as a church because those who are important to God are important to us. But, more significantly, these Action opportunities must be seen as a model by which each individual can and should incorporate a lifestyle of seeing needs and meeting needs through the love of Jesus. We must all always be fishing; because as followers of Jesus we are called to be “fishers of men [and women]!”