Sermon Title: “Developing the Next Chapter of Your Life” (Click Here to watch Sermon)

Pastor Richard J. Brown

Scripture reading: Proverbs 29:18

Vision. We are coming into a season of development and then deployment. In order to develop the next chapter of your life, you have to have an idea of what that chapter looks like. God’s Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. We ought to know what direction God is taking us in. We have to have a vision for our futures. To develop the next chapter of your life, you must develop a vision. God is concerned on what you are seeing and focusing on. Vision is about sight and focus. Vision is forward thinking. Forward planning. Let go of some stuff so that you can pay attention to what is next. You can’t do anything about what has been but you can navigate yourself so that you are successful in what is yet to come. What are you seeing?

Imagination is a powerful thing. The imagination God has placed in you and me is powerful. The image making power of the mind or the soul creating or reproducing an object or vision which may or may not have previously been perceived. Imagination is conscious. Recognized as artistry. People who have a creative imagination – know that it comes from God. It is the ability to paint pictures. To take the brush of your mind and draw and sculpt. Refers to a unique and unexpected problem solving ability. You imagine yourself free, in a better life or in a preferred situation. It is a unique ability to problem solve. We have an incredible imagination. Our eyes can take in 4 million bytes of information every second. The moment we take something in, our imagination processes it, forms a 3d colour picture and puts it in motion. We all think in pictures. We are visually oriented. In our imagination, we paint and create pictures of a vision of ourselves and our future. The artistic brush of our imagination will determine what we become. You will never develop higher than the image you have painted and created for yourself. You will never accomplish anything that you have not yet first imagined yourself accomplishing. Have to imagine it. Have to see it before you see it so that when you see it you see it. Create it in your imagination so that when the opportunity for it to come to pass in the natural world comes up you can grab that opportunity because you’ve seen it in your mind’s eyes.

Disney World – before 2020 and the pandemic, 42 million people went through the turnstiles. This was every year. Walt Disney died before it opened. Someone turned to Mrs. Walt Disney at the funeral and said isn’t it a shame that he didn’t live to see this? Her response is, “he did see it, and that’s why it is here”. Imagination. God has given us artistic ability to see a preferred future. Through His artistic ability, He created the entire universe. And then He turned around and created. He poured that ability into man. That’s what’s meant when the Bible says we are created in the image of God. God has imagined things about us, what we can do and become. We are created, existing according to the imagination of God. Imagination is a powerful thing. It has the ability to paint the picture of a preferred outcome. This is the creative artistic nature of God working inside of us. Open your imagination and be like Your Creator. Imagine yourself free for you will become free.

Imaginations and thoughts are first cousins. Imaginations and thoughts are intertwined and connected. Two words are often confused due to the apparent similarities of their meanings. Imagination is the creative ability. Thoughts are mental activity. Thoughts always precede action. Actions are not independent expressions. Actions are the fruit of your thought pattern. Effective thinking will prevent destructive living. God thinks. Jeremiah 29:11. Based on His thoughts, He was taking action.

In 2021 and beyond, developing the next chapter of your life, manage your thoughts so that you may manage your actions. In the judicial system the word premeditated is vital to any prosecution. There are different degrees of crime, especially murder charges. The crime committed by the defendant is premeditated. Most charges that are considered first degree suggest that the crime was not accidental but it was premeditated; intentional and calculated before being carried out. The actions of your life should always be carried out in the first degree. The actions of your life need to be premeditated. Pre-meditate on what you should do, who you should connect with and what you should say.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)

He premeditates on God’s ways and becomes like a tree that brings forth fruit in its season. His thoughts are premeditated before he takes actions. He ensures success because of what he is thinking. Be intentional about developing you. Doesn’t matter who shows up for you, you must show up for you. No matter how many haters try you, they can’t do anything against you. Premeditate. Become like the man like the tree planted by rivers of water. When you use that God-given imagination and creativity to think, whatever you’ll do will prosper. You will still have challenges but whatever you do will prosper you will see the end of your faith and the salvation of your soul and family. Act like you know who you are. When you find yourself in a situation where there seems to be no way out, use your imagination and paint a door. This is God’s ability working in you.

Your preferred future can’t depend on chance and happenstance. Natural movements must be preceded by mental steps. Before you make those decisions there has to be a mentality. You have to draw it out in your mind. Shut your mouth and open up your spirit and mind and begin to see the blueprint. Begin to take mental steps in your mind and in your thoughts. Let us make man in your image and likeness. He considered, if we make man in our image, if we do this we are giving him autonomy, rulership, authority, God has a conversation with God, “well what if man chooses against us” redemption had to be created that’s why the BIble says that Jesus is the lamb slain before the world began. How is this possible? God took mental steps, drew out a blueprint, nothing took Him by surprise. He premeditated His actions before the fall. Pre-meditate your thoughts in 2021. Where’s your mind? Where are your thoughts? What are you thinking? Spend more time thinking, don’t rush to act. If you can get the thoughts right, the actions will be right. If you can get the right mentality you’ll have the right methods. Natural steps must be preceded by mental steps. Don’t be in a hurry to build anything that you haven’t first considered the costs to build it. Think first. Because the enemy always attacks our thoughts and not our actions. He comes after your thoughts. If he can get your thoughts, then he can get your actions. Your thoughts determine what you build. That’s why the battleground is the mind. That’s why the Bible says:

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:4-6)

The major weapon God’s given us is not fleshly or natural, it is mighty through God. It has the ability to pull down what the enemy has established. It has the ability to erase false images that the enemy has brought to you. You have the power to control your thought life to ensure they aren’t wild. Your thoughts have to be in your vision. No vision means no restraints, you’ll do anything with anyone, anytime and in any place. When you have a vision, focused on the internal anointing placed inside of you, it will make sure every thought is lined up with Jesus Christ. We have the ability to destroy false images in our lives to pull them down. Since the beginning of humanity, the enemy has always attacked us with mental arguments. The enemy never attacked Eve physically but he harassed her mentally. It is a strategy. Whoever dominates the mind dominates life. Who has your mind? Who has your imagination? The cure for this is “Colossians 3:2” Set your mind and imagination on things above – spiritual – not on things on earth – natural. It is an instruction, a commandment, something you have to do. It doesn’t just happen. You have to set your mind, take it and place it on spiritual things and ensure God dominates your mind so He’ll keep you in perfect peace. Don’t allow your mind to become trapped on what you are presently experiencing, set it on where you are going. Don’t allow yourself to be trapped in what you are seeing and what you are experiencing. Set it on where you are going.

5 Critical Developments:

  1. Define God’s vision for your life

Vision: the ability to see in our mind, God’s destination for our lives, both present and future, partial and whole. It is a mental blueprint. The ability to see internally where God wants me to go. Ability to dream or imagine. Given to us in order to achieve our maximum potential. Don’t allow your imagination to wander or to be rogue or prodigal. Use it for the good and not the bad. Use the ability to be creative to create good things to see what God wants you to do and to maximize the potential God has placed within you. Vision is a God-given plan that He intends for it to become a man-made reality. God is the designer of your faith, you are the decider of your faith. God designs it, you walk it out. You’ve got to walk it out, write the vision so that those who read it can run with it. God makes the vision possible, but man makes the vision real. That’s why we don’t have time to waste on foolishness. Develop your mind and thoughts and adopt the action plan that God has for your life. God saves us by grace through faith. God doesn’t need faith because God has no problem and nothing to build – He’s in the future already. We live by faith. God is the author and the finisher of our faith. That’s why you have to buy-in, to agree with everything God says. Everything He has decreed about your life. Gravitate toward that.

2. Determine to see through your spiritual eyes

The eye is the lamp of the body

This verse is talking about image and focus through our spiritual eyes

Seven times in scripture God asks His people what do you see: Jeremiah 1:11, Jeremiah 1:30, Jeremiah 24:3, Amos 7:8, Amos 8:2 Zechariah 4:2, Zechariah 5:2. Seven times God asks the people what do you see? If all you focus on is what you can’t do and what they did to you then that image of mediocrity will keep you where you are. The eye is the lamp of the body so if your eye is clear and focused on the right things. If your eye is bad looking at bad things then the whole body will be full of darkness. If than what you are seeing is dark then how gross is it (Matthew 6:23). Have you met people that everything they see is darkness? God is asking what do you see? Stop looking in the natural. Start seeing in the spirit. It’s not because God doesn’t want to increase you. For those of us not living in overflow or increase, know that increase is attracted to the right mentality. If we develop the wrong image on the inside, we’ll miss it with our doom and gloom and ugly. Increase responds to someone of vision that has painted a picture of a preferred and glorious future. Increase comes alongside saying let me help you get there. Spiritual vision is controlled by your spirit. You have to conceive it. There has to be conception in your spirit before it can be birthed in the natural.  See it, conceive it, receive it and achieve it in the spirit before it can be birthed in the natural. Get in the spirit. You’ll see it is already done in the spirit. We move toward what we see in our minds. If you can’t see it then it is not likely to come to pass in your life. You won’t see it in a pandemic. We produce what we keep in front of us. We become what we focus on. You will produce the imagination you have conceived. Can’t give birth to something you have not yet conceived.

3. Decide not to be bound by restrictive attitudes. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins. Can’t have a larger life with restrictive attitudes. Can’t take new wine and pour it into old wineskins. Can’t have a larger life with a restrictive attitude. Two prisoners are in jail. One sees the bars, the other sees the stars. One sees restrictions the other sees possibilities beyond what is currently being faced. What are you seeing – bars or stars? Have to decide not to be bound by restrictive attitudes. Some people aren’t willing to see the possibilities beyond their circumstances. Why?

They can be nearsighted due to: sin, lack of faith in God’s power, lack of trust in the potential God has placed in us, lack of courage. Courage is moving ahead in spite of fear. Do it afraid!

4. Develop a clear picture of what God can do through you. There was a lady born blind and mute. Hellen Keller said having sight without vision is worse than being born naturally blind. You have to develop a clear picture of what God can do through you. When God told Abraham that he’d have a child, he was well-advanced in his years, it was an impossible situation physically. God tells Abraham to look at the stars not the bars, “as many stars as you can see, this will be the number of children”. Why did God tell him to go outside and look up? God wanted to place something in his imagination. Develop a clear picture of what God can do through you. Every night Abraham looked up he bought into it, as he saw the stars night after night, it was reinforced in his spirit what God said. Abraham saw his future through the eyes of God. it came to pass.

5. Deepen your vision with a high level of expectancy. Abraham and his nephew Lot, after Lot separated from him, God said to Abraham “lift up your eyes and look at the place where you are.” God told Abraham to lift his eyes and look from where you are. Stop looking at where you are. Look away from the place that you are to the place where I am taking you to. Don’t let your vision be limited by your present circumstance. Everything you see in the future – sight is for the future, everything you see I am giving you. David said in Psalm 33 – I would have fainted had I not believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. David said if I didn’t believe I’d see the goodness of the Lord while I’m alive, I would have given up a long time ago. Paul said when we die in the Lord we know we are with Him everything is good and yet we don’t need hope for when we die. We need hope for now. Deepen your vision  with a high level of expectancy. According to your faith, be it unto you. Have what your faith expects.