Organizations are notorious for producing Vision / Mission statements, then ignoring them. Many hours and much effort is expended producing them. But once the project is complete, they are printed up, encased behind glass in a nice frame, hung on a wall, and forgotten.

We believe the Vision for CCO is a Spirit-inspired portrait of a better future; THE future He ordains us to move with purpose toward. Therefore, each year, we emphasize a specific part of our vision to intentionally pursue it. Over time, as we focus on the vision’s various components, we’ll move toward the reality that vision holds forth.

As we approach the end of each calendar year, I seek God for fresh direction on what He wants us to focus on in the upcoming year. Most years, the Spirit directs us to some new component of the vision. Occasionally, we’re called to stay attuned to what the previous year’s vision-focus was because there’s more to do in it.

As 2016 waned, I sought direction on the vision-focus for 2107 and got . . . nothing. It became clear I needed to get away for a couple days of solitude to seek God. It took a couple week’s work just to carve out the time to plan that. But as soon as I did, I realized God was steering me where to go. I didn’t actually need to get away; I needed to “will to” and set in motion the action to make it happen.

A recent conversation planted a seed in my heart about our emphasis for 2017. That seed took root and germinated in this vision-focus è Filled with the Spirit.

It’s grounded in that part of the Vision which says, “We will be well acquainted with the Holy Spirit and will see a mature expression of His work in and through us.” All of that is possible only when we are, as the New Testament says, “filled with the Spirit.”

One of the cherished Calvary Chapel distinctives is our Pre-millennial eschatology. We do not believe things are going to get better and better before Jesus returns as Post-millennialism does. We believe the Tribulation precedes Jesus Second Coming. The Bible describes the Tribulation as about as close to “hell on earth” as one can get. [It’s politically and economically presided over by a figure known as the antichrist who’s possessed by none other than satan.] Furthermore, we believe current events indicate we’re moving toward the End Times and that the Rapture of the Church could occur at any moment. The Tribulation will follow hard on the heels of the Rapture. But we’re already seeing storm clouds building.

In a word: Things are NOT going to get better; they’re going to get worse. Yet THIS is the time and place God has ordained for us to live, work, and serve Him. This is OUR TIME! He intends us to own it.

There are places on our planet right now torn to bits by war, poverty, disease, and a host of other distresses that reduce life to a daily struggle to survive. People there don’t concern themselves with whether to order one or two patties on their burger; they haven’t eaten in a week and are looking for water to take home to a loved one about to die of thirst. When you live hand to mouth, arguing over which brand of kicks to buy never occurs.

Though we live in the midst of incredible abundance and nearly infinite options, we ought to live as those who could be leaving at any moment – because we could, in the Rapture. We don’t have time to get caught up in the foolishness of pointless arguments and debates. We need to live with a sense of holy urgency, walking wisely and redeeming the time, for the days are evil and would snare us if they could; and as they will if we fail to exercise caution and care.

The ONLY way we can do this is if we’re filled with and walking in the Holy Spirit. So this is our vision-focus for 2017. It will be a regular theme in our teaching. It will from the core of our ministries this year.

Be filled with and walk in the Spirit.