January 9, 2014

Thoughts from Mark Vision

In my spirit, I keep seeing a hospital.

I see people entering the emergency room in desperate need of immediate, life-saving attention.

I see others in a second wing, where long-term care is provided to cure disease and heal injury.

Finally, I see a third wing dedicated to empowerment, introducing people to a new way of life—that, if lived, means they will never need the emergency room or long-term care again.

The hospital is the Church. The hospital is Jesus.

Jesus saves. He rescues people from sin, death and the grave.
We enter the church—Christ—broken and bleeding. In His love, He stops the bleeding, binds up our wounds and stabilizes us, most often working through His precious saints. That much is good.

Unfortunately, many simply return home after being treated and stabilized. In our broken spiritual condition, we assume that all we need to get well is the emergency room.

So without being fully cured, we go right back to the very life that caused the damage, the pain, the disease and injury. Soon, we find ourselves back in the emergency room in worse condition and doubting our redemption.

Yet if we are wise, we will recognize and embrace the need for deeper care to root out the seed of disease and brokenness in our lives. We will allow the church family, under the anointing of the Great Physician, to minister love, compassion, correction, and encouragement. It is here that we truly get well. We will further realize that our healing is fostered through our ability to love others. The best patients recognize their healing as seed for the same in others.

In my vision, the emergency room I see is full to overflowing. Hurting people are strewn across the waiting area in various stages of ailment and injury. Staff is running ragged, desperately needing more resources and relief.

Next to the emergency room, the long-term wing of the hospital is steadily busy with a healthier balance of patients, staff and resources. People are getting the deep healing they need to be well.

Yet it is the third hospital wing dedicated to empowerment that grips my attention.

This area is comprised of state-of-the-art classrooms, a practice arena, and a huge send-off area with high-tech transport vehicles standing by. Tragically, this part of the hospital is nearly empty of both staff and patients.  In my despair, I asked the Lord why this third wing is so wonderfully outfitted, yet so few
are there. His words came to me like waves….

“I am easily seen as Savior. When people are in desperate need, they turn to me. People need delivered. Once free of their immediate afflictions, however, they think that is all they need. Yet, I am more.

“There is growing awareness of Me as Healer. Once saved, people embrace my power to heal their disease, their hurts and their afflictions. Yet, I am more.

“Who I really am—Who I want to be—is Health. If people are willing, I will be Who I am in them as they are in me. I love them so much that I am willing to be a lifeboat, a way station, a respite, a retreat. But my best for them–what my Father sent Me to be–is a new Way, Truth and Life. If I can be Me in them—if they unlearn old and re-learn new—they will never need the emergency room or long-term care ever again.”

Yes, the church has done a masterful job of saving and delivering man. We are maturing in our ministry of healing and counsel to the broken and lost. And yet, fullness of life–abundant life–comes from living in Jesus.

You see, salvation, deliverance and healing alone do not change a person; they merely keep him or her alive. Just look at what the delivered Israelites did days into their freedom from Egypt. Without the transformation of the life of Jesus, the stage is set for a repeat of patterned behavior and lifestyle–a cycle that the church has accepted for too long.

There is a finished work of Jesus; most of us have yet to walk in it. It is where Jesus is life, is freedom, is love. All the things we used to seek from Him, we now have by allowing Him to become them in us.

When the third wing of the hospital becomes the most active, it will make space in the emergency room for those truly in need. Jesus in us and us in the world woos man to the restorative process. It may begin in the emergency room, but it does not end there. The culmination of the process is in the third wing with people stabilized, cured, equipped and sent.

And that, my friends, is true restoration. True revival.

This is my vision for 2014.

In love,

Mark