If you read my previous post entitled, “Knowing to do but somehow stymied ” this post becomes a continuation of developing a Plan for your life as directed by the Lord. A thought strikes me as I write this of one gentleman unemployed for an extended time decided his best job potential might be what he himself creates. This may be so. Perhaps you have been lead to write a book, or teach or create the best Christian website ever, whatever it is do it! All potential lies in a Child of God just keep him in front.
Write the vision and make it plain upon tablets, that he/she may run that reads it. A wo/man perishes for lack of a vision. Though it tarry – wait for it, for it shall surely come – it has an appointed time. Hab: 2:1-3
The prophets of old had visions and dreamed dreams. They experienced apocalyptic nightmares and witnessed breathtaking scenes of beauty. Perhaps most fascinating, though, is how they reacted. Zechariah provides us with an example of both the revelation and the proper response.
“I looked up again, and I saw, and look!—four chariots coming out from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze.… And I answered and said to the angel that was talking to me, ‘What are these, my lord?’ And the angel answered and said to me, ‘These are the four winds of the heavens going out after presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth’ ” ().
Zechariah could not have understood what he was seeing, but he paid attention, and he asked questions. Although we may not experience visions as confounding as Zechariah’s, we certainly have the opportunity to be perplexed by God. Our response should be modeled after Zechariah’s: Ask questions and then act. Zechariah’s life was marked by asking and responding, and it made a difference for his generation. People came to God because Zechariah was willing to be God’s instrument.
How many people experience incredible revelations from God and then fail to respond? How many people come near enough to glimpse God’s plan but never pay close enough attention to receive it from Him? How much are we losing as individuals, and as people, because we don’t care enough to ask God for the answers?
A Vision should resonate within; forming a kind of excitement Peter must have felt when he first stepped out of the boat at Jesus beckon until that is his earthy reality set in. A vision will stretch your imagination current capabilities and image of itself. It will give shape and direction to the future. People need to establish a strategic plan of action for significant success. This plan should include a vision for your future, a mission that defines what you are doing, values that shape your actions, strategies that zero in on your key successes and goals through your Quad-Defined action plan. Let us say you believe you are to start a small business. In your case a vision statement might sound a little like “My purpose is to improve the quality of life to the Body of Christ by providing high quality Bible Study Aids that promote self-sufficiency, wellbeing and lead to efficient growth potentials”. A cloudy vision statement will not inspire people and without a strategic plan people will not know where you or your business is going and what it is trying to achieve. To energize helpers to work toward your company’s goals and objectives there should more than a sign on the wall or flowery language published in annual reports or to be placed in the reception area. Executives and managers must live them, (Godly Principles) be seen living them and constantly communicating them to employees and others.
A Mission Statement is to describe what your values are, what you do, and who you serve. A mission statement is not a slogan. Its principle is not to sound catchy, but to let people in and outside of your business to know what your purpose is and to guide decision- making. The first step is to collaborate with others to get necessary inputs from each to establish a consensus of identification for your new organization. Establish your values and identify your target audience. Determine the absolute core product or service of your organization and their unique attributes and list them. Now that inputs have been gathered the next step is to make a cohesive list of ideas presented in a written form. Weed out those ideas that do not describe your core entity and integrate like concepts into a succinct statement. You must be able to see beyond the time horizon and see a changed enterprise doing the things you envisioned. Create the image for “The Things to Come”. A mission statement may read something like: “The mission of the Christian Manifestation Company is to preserve the faith and spiritual progress of Saints that represent the diversity of Spiritual life on earth by providing the learning tools and encouragement they need to flourish”. Now that you have defined the new vision and mission statement the next step is begin the process of establishing the goals and objectives required to carry out your new “Quad-Defined Action Plan”.
“What is to Come” is the focus or the eye of creation when planning for your “new” organization’s future. A goal describes future expected outcomes and provides for programmatic direction. A goal statement agrees with the new vision of the organization and it sees the future but does not explain how to get there. Objectives on the other hand are clear, concise, measurable, and time sensitive. It is the action plan that explains how, when completed, that the organization is moving toward the goal. There are outcome objectives which address the ends to be obtained and there are process objectives which specify the means to achieve the outcome objective. We will call the process objectives “action steps”. Action steps follow each objective stated in the following order:
Goal Statement: Goals should be stated first and should be general.
- 2. Objective: Objectives should be written for each goal because they specify how the goal will be accomplished.
- 3. Action Steps: Action steps are the actual direct steps taken to accomplish the objective and an actual date for completion for each step is required and very important.
- Barriers: What are the possible circumstances or events that could block achievement of the laid out goals and objectives?
- Evaluation and Modification:
An example of the process:
- The goal: to define and redefine our organization to more fully meet our client’s needs.
- Objective #1: To have an 80% customer satisfaction rating on our services by 2016.
- Action step #1: To survey a significant number of our clients to determine current opinion of our organization and its services by January 1
Action step #2: To compile, analyze, and evaluate all data inputs and synthesize the information and ideas into a prioritized planning format by March 11, 2015.*
*Continue with as many action steps as may be necessary to complete the objective.
- Barriers: Listing potential barriers to objective completion is a vital exercise that forces a complete analysis of the objective being proposed. What are the potential problems that may arise causing achievement failure? Do we have adequate resources, or trained personnel in house to carry out the mission or will additional hires be necessary?
Useful Verbs in Writing Your Action Plan
|Identify||Cite examples of||Demonstrate||Appraise||Assemble||Assess|
|List||Demonstrate use of||Dramatize||Calculate||Collect||Choose|
|Give in own words||Schedule||Detect||Organize||Score|
While I assumed much by working around a business concept any number of activities can be planned in a similar manner. Maybe you have had a rustling in your spirit about something you feel God wants of you, something that stirs you and you do experience a moment of joy but you find after a time that excitement wanes and decide you couldn’t have done it anyway and you go on. Sometimes it will return again and once again down deep you feel a stirring but your present reality says this is not possible and though disappointed you agree. Let us again go back to Zechariah. (). Two months later, Zechariah receives a series of night visions that use various symbols and object lessons to exhort the people to rebuild the temple (). These visions are often accompanied by an interpreting angel (e.g., ; ; ), though his explanation can be as puzzling as the vision itself (e.g., ).
The first three visions portray complementary aspects of Jerusalem’s restoration:
- ()—Vision One: Four angels return from patrolling the earth to report back to the angel of Yahweh. They observe the peacefulness of the nations that drove Judah into exile, a troubling observation that leads to God’s promise to restore Jerusalem.
- ()—Vision Two: Builds upon the first by depicting four craftsmen who destroy four horns. Since these horns symbolize the nations that scattered Israel and Judah, the destruction of these horns represents God’s promise to repay the nations for what they have done.
- ()—Vision Three: Envisions a prosperous Jerusalem without walls since God’s glory will be its protection.
The fourth and fifth visions raise the issue of leadership among the exiles:
- ()—Vision Four: Records the accusation, vindication, and recommissioning of Joshua, the high priest and spiritual leader of the people. After removing the sin pointed out by Joshua’s “accuser” (either an angelic prosecutor or Satan himself), the angel of Yahweh exhorts Joshua to holiness and promises that Joshua’s successor will bring ultimate cleansing of the sins of the land. This successor will be a priest who is also a king since he is identified as the “Branch”, a title of the Davidic Messiah (; compare ; ; ).
- ()—Vision Five: Introduces Zerubbabel, the political leader of the Jews. A golden lampstand (symbolizing the people) is guarded by two olive trees (symbolizing Joshua and Zerubbabel). Zerubbabel will serve as God’s instrument to finish rebuilding the temple.
The sixth through eighth visions use moving objects to convey God’s messages:
- ()—Vision Six: Describes an enormous flying scroll upon which is written God’s judgment against those who steal or swear falsely.
- ()—Vision Seven: Depicts a grain basket with a woman inside. The woman personifies “Wickedness” (). The basket’s removal to Babylon signifies the removal of sin from Israel.
- ()—Vision Eight: Retraces the movements of the patrolling angels from the first vision (compare ). Unlike the first vision, the angels now report that God’s wrath against the pagan nations has been satisfied.
The ninth and final night vision () is the crowning of Joshua as a priestly king. Joshua is again identified as the “Branch” (compare ), but he is clearly distinct from the Messiah whom he foreshadows. Joshua’s crown is removed from his head and placed in the temple as a symbol of a coming Messianic age.
It would in my mind to look upon some of these impossible tasks and say Lord, Lord, this is too much for me. I think Scripture gives account many times of a person’s reticence when challenged by a “Word” from the Lord especially if he is asking us to carry out some function for him. Who me Lord? Nevertheless, you have just completed reading a plan for Zechariah unfolded by God through him. If there be moments of inspiration in you seemingly coming from nowhere could it be God is calling you to step forward to something? Think about it and then respond by taking the initial steps in obedience to Him. Pray about these things as prayer supersedes any plan you may design on your own. I will help anyone establish a plan of action who has the audacity to step out of the boat and requests it.