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Exploring the Heart of Restoration

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Archives for 172 – Restoring Vision

This past summer, our family got to visit Colorado National Monument.  At one of the visitor centers, a ranger talked about the different animals in the park and showed us a skull of a Bighorn Sheep.  He pointed out how the horns curved around the skull, but were broken off at the end.  The ranger described how the horns tend to curl around, passing directly into the rams line of sight. So, to keep safe from predators and not let horns get in the way of its vision, the Bighorn sheep will stick the tip of the horn in a crevice of a rock and break it off and then rub it on a sandstone rock to round off the rough edges. This practice is called brooming.

This surprised my wife and I because, honestly, that seems like very intelligent behavior for a sheep!

It made me think about the way horns serve as symbols of power, authority and leadership where we lived in Mozambique, Africa as well as in Scripture (for example, Psalm 18:2 and Jeremiah 48:25).

Maybe these sheep have something to teach us about the ways that horns/authority can obscure a leader’s vision.  They remind us that when we let authority go to our heads(!) we become more susceptible to predators.  Leaders need to be intentional about not letting their power and influence impede their vision.  That’s true for individual leaders and for institutions, as well.  We need to be deliberate about making sure that authority and tradition don’t grow so large that we actually do lose sight of what’s around us.  For bighorn sheep, without proper brooming, these horns could be dooming them to an early death, blinding them to dangers and threats.

To live out a 2020 vision effectively will require us, as leaders, to take stock of our own authority and influence to make sure it has not obscured our sight.  That doesn’t mean that we reject the use of power and influence, instead it means using authority and leadership properly.  One of my favorite resources on this topic is Andy Crouch’s book, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power.  May we have the courage to practice brooming, keeping leadership and authority in its proper place.

May we as fellow sheep, join the Chief Shepherd in leading the flock well, awake to the ways that power, influence and authority have the potential for good as well as the ways that they can impede our vision. 

There must be a lot of churches trying to determine if they met the 2020 vision goals they set however many years back.

Vision is difficult because it is hard to know how to find it and how to be sure you found the right one. How do we know God has directed us in the direction we choose vs other directions? How do we know God is calling us to some things and not other things?

Vision is hard.

Vision is also exclusionary.

Once you have your vision, other things get excluded and it is far easier to be “yes” people. You let fewer people down that way. But who ever said ministry was about letting down the fewest people?

We have to be people of vision. This is hard for us because we are people of the past – the ancient paths and ancient order of things. For those of us who are of a restoration persuasion, vision is backwards-informed forward thinking. That is a hard combination!

We need our vision restored!

We need this in our churches and we have needed this at Wineskins. I believe those two can and do go together…that there are things we need to be about here at Wineskins that can help our churches with their vision.

The vision for Wineskins has been a real wrestling match for me over the last few years. There are so many things I want it to be but you can’t do or have everything. You have to get focused.

We will have a variety of articles this month on various topics from various writers but my intention is to lay out a more specific and focused vision for Wineskins during the month of January.

This more focused vision has come through a season of asking God what He truly wants and doing my best to discern where I believe He might be pointing this ministry.

So stay tuned! I am excited about what is ahead and I believe you will be as well.

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