Mature Class Study, teacher Josh Olmsted.
Intentionality means there’s more than a vision statement. We may generalize our vision to helping people go to heaven.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
We can compare and see parallels with spiritual things in secular things of the world. A company vision statement is not just a statement and how it’s accomplished, but the strategy, objectives, measurements, assessments, reviewing, and changing of the vision. It’s a living thing and not that you have a vision once and it’s done. God has a much larger and permanent vision in the scriptures to use for our spiritual vision. Ultimately God wants souls to be saved but if we just stop there, we’re not going to accomplish that vision without intentionality. That means we have to take intentional steps. Whether that’s steps from the personal side of our salvation, or as a group in dealing with church and souls at large. We have to be intentional because things aren’t going to happen just because we make a statement.
John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
A South Carolina senator recently said he was thankful for his mother and for a man he met at Chick-Fil-A. The man taught him Bible principles about money. The man had a life goal to positively affect 1 million people. He took steps to reach a million people. He directly impacted the senator by intentional things – interacting and showing an interest in him. He found out where he worked, met him there, and had conversations. He didn’t just have a good faith statement.
When Josh was first saved, he set a goal to read three chapters every day. Intentionally reading and praying every day was very helpful in learning the word of God and to enjoy the scriptures. The word talks about studying the word of God, rightly dividing the word, and about not being ashamed. To know the word of God, is not only by hearing but it’s also by studying. We have to take those steps to do it. God’s vision to come was not to condemn the world, but to save it. His actions to accomplish this at the beginning were by the prophecies about Christ and the virgin birth. Jesus started by making disciples. There was a demonstration of power, mercy, judgment, a sacrifice, a resurrection, and giving of the Holy Ghost. That was the plan for the vision. If these intentional actions didn’t happen, the vision wouldn’t be accomplished.
Going to church is very important in our day. It’s where our soul is fed, we encourage one another, and have fellowship – but that’s only one small part. Being intentional may be one thing we lack. If someone moves from a small congregation to a large one, there are more responsibilities in a small one. It’s almost forced intentionality to do things and people are spread thin due to the size of the congregation. It’s easy to just show up at church in a large congregation. You can come in and out without being seen – essentially get the word of God, feel encouraged, then go about your day. There has to be a greater focus in how we are partakers in God’s vision for servants as workers together. There are intentional things God wants us to be diligent to do. We have to pray and know what God wants us to do because otherwise the vision as a whole is not accomplished. Young people want to see Christ demonstrated in power, mercy, judgment, and sacrifice as being alive in the church and working together individually. Older saints have been through things and have stuck it out, but the younger generation is impacted too. We all need to take part doing whatever God has to do as workers together with Christ. Working together is more than coming to church services. Some things God asks us to do may not seem to help people get in church. We do things to help because souls are hurting. They have walls that won’t come down unless we show love by doing what God puts in our hearts. We have different gifts and our portion of God’s vision to do as he gives.
I Corinthians 12:6-12 And there are diversities of operations, but…the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given…the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith…to another the gifts of healing…To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh…the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members…
God has a lot of work for us to do but we have to be willing and be very intentional to seek those things. As an example, Josh has been working out since he was young. He had a vision of what he wanted personally but was never intentional enough to attain his goal. He would start, stop, start, and stop but was never serious about his goal to be accountable. Last year he became intentional and researched workouts, eating, how to set goals for body fat percentage, made a workout schedule, tracks his workout schedule and weight. Now everything is very intentional. He shares his vision with another who helps his accountability. We all have an accountability in serving God to hear the word of God. We don’t want to go through life saying we have a goal but no real directions. We’re not going to accomplish good things until we have a plan. A company that sets a vision has objectives and ways to measure the objectives. Objectives assess how you’re doing in your vision. In working out, you assume the goal will happen quicker if you put in a lot of work. It’s a very slow process though. In spiritual goals, God says to not be weary and you will reap if you don’t faint. It’s human nature to want to see things happen. If we put lots of effort in but aren’t seeing results, we need to think holistically as saints and as a body. We have to keep pressing, to not fall off or put too much burden on each another, keep on task, and keep praying for God to assess us – God is this what you want me to do? We need to be willing and prepared to go to another place – to hear and do what God directs. Times change the way society lives and the tools we need to use in reaching souls.
Blockbuster was company that provided video rentals for entertainment. They failed to keep up with the times by changing to the new way entertainment was being delivered on social media and by internet so they went out of business. We live in times when young people and children engage in different things. We have to intentionally seek God to be sure we relate to souls where they are. We have to ask God to help us see our vision and objectives the right way. God said to go reach out to people so that’s the goal. You have to set objectives to measure how you’re doing. Is a person close, do they have children, are you going to invite them over, text them, call them, follow up if you didn’t get hold of them? We need to know who we’re engaging with and where they came from. We have to be flexible to work with souls. Some things God says to do may not seem to be spiritual work. We may think “how is that going to bring someone to church or help them to seek God?” That’s when we intentionally submit to do the task and are willing to change our thinking. With intentionality, there’s a vision with objectives. People perish if we lose sight of the vision by not being intentional. Many churches have failed and are like the Dead Sea. The Jordan river runs into the Dead Sea but has no outlet so it’s a salty mess where nothing lives. We want to be living workers together with Christ – hearing God and being where he places us, even if it’s uncomfortable.
What is my role in God’s church and what does he have for me specifically to do? God sent Paul to the Jews and Peter to the Gentiles. Paul was under the law so he understood the law. Peter was an unlearned fisherman so could interact better with the Gentiles. They had specific roles. Do we know our role and have sought it seriously and intentionally? Are we doing things and checking with God to see if we’re accomplishing what he wants? The story of the talents tells of a king who gave his servants money according to their ability. They were supposed to do something to earn more. When the king returned the servant with one talent said he was afraid and hid his talent. The servant with one talent didn’t have much, but God required him to be intentional and invest the money. We know we have something to do that God gave us. When we’re sanctified, we’re to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). A vision without intentionality is just wishful thinking with no way to get there. Intentionality helps us see what God wants us to do. There’s a plan and schedule with the vision. We don’t want to be a church that perishes but that thrives because we’re all intentional together.
Matthew 25:14-27 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants… And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability… Then he that had received the five talents…traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two…gained other two. But he that had received one…digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After…the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents…brought other five talents…His lord said…Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents…said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents…His lord said…Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent…said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown…I was afraid, and…hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered… Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not…Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.