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We have been going through a vision process over the last year at UA Church seeking to find what God wants us to be, to do to further His kingdom. I’m on the team self entitled “24/7” which is seeking what God would have us do with our facilities since we believe that our location on the largest university in the U.S. is pivotal to our mission. Below are my personal thoughts on what I see the vision for our church could be…

My vision for UA is that it would take the love that it lavishes on each other and share that with a hurting and needful world.

My vision for 24/7 is that our facility would be the hub for distributing this love to the downtown/university area.

If we could leverage the location near the university to share our love with the students and then teach them how to share that love with the communities within a 5 mile radius of UA, they will get “hands-on” discipleship and spiritual formation that they will then take to the “ends of the earth” when they leave Austin in four years. In this process, we too will learn what it is to truly love the communities that surround us by learning to serve them together with the students we disciple. In essence, the teacher becomes the student and in so doing we will learn to share the love of Christ as never before. We are called to love God with all our heart and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves. There is no greater manifestation of following this command than to learn about love for others as we serve others and sacrifice our selves for them. As a result we are drawn nearer to God and learn to love Him as He loves us.

How the 4 groups meld into one vision:

We must understand that God doesn’t want His people to stop moving, to settle in one place, to forget that this life is a journey, an adventure to be lived for Him within the context of love for people. Therefore, although we are located in an incredible place on this corner, we need to recognize that we must use this place to serve as a ‘hub’ which is constantly spinning so that the spokes for which it is the center are then able to go out and be the church where it is most needed. We come to this place to worship, to become part of a community of believers, so that we may then use ourselves, this place, and this time to become the love of God for those who are not in community with Him.

Another metaphor is that of a people who build a tent where God exists and God exists wherever that tent is located. We must take our tent and establish it where it is needed. This city has many needs, we should explore how to use our tent as a place that can be moved where it is most needed. This tent is more than figurative, it should be real, it should be permanent but able to change as the needs of the city change. The mission to love God and love others must never change, but the methods and the processes we use to achieve that mission must be agile, mobile, constantly adapting to meet the needs of God’s people.

I see these 4 visions combined into one on this corner under a tent that serves as a connecting point between the university, downtown, north, south, east & west austin. Students come to this tent to hear the gospel, to experience life in community, to serve others, for tailgate parties, to watch moves, enjoy concerts, hear lectures, study, drink coffee, etc. Families come to this tent to hear the gospel, to experience life in community, to serve others, for Big Time events, for marriage and family seminars to learn how to live for Him so that they may teach their children how to live for Him. Downtown residents come to this tent to hear the gospel, to experience life in community, to serve others, to listen to music, to watch movies, etc. The city comes to this tent because they are seeking God and have heard that His people are at work in this place, and so they come to witness this God they may not even think exists, but they come. We come to this tent to live the gospel, to become a community of Christ so that we may serve all those who come, and we come to share the story of God. We can then partner with those who come to this tent to go out into this world and share the love of God through service to those in need, to those seeking God.

15The Tabernacle was set up, and on that day the cloud covered it. F35 Then from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle appeared to be a pillar of fire. 16This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud changed to the appearance of fire. 17When the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel followed it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel camped. 18In this way, they traveled at the LORD’s command and stopped wherever he told them to. Then they remained where they were as long as the cloud stayed over the Tabernacle. 19If the cloud remained over the Tabernacle for a long time, the Israelites stayed for a long time, just as the LORD commanded. 20Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Tabernacle for only a few days, so the people would stay for only a few days. Then at the LORD’s command they would break camp. 21Sometimes the cloud stayed only overnight and moved on the next morning. But day or night, when the cloud lifted, the people broke camp and followed. 22Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. 23So they camped or traveled at the LORD’s command, and they did whatever the LORD told them through Moses. Number 9:15-23

The LORD’s Covenant Promise to David

1When the LORD had brought peace to the land and King David was settled in his palace, 2David summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look!” David said. “Here I am living in this beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out in a tent!”
3Nathan replied, “Go ahead and do what you have in mind, for the LORD is with you.”
4But that same night the LORD said to Nathan,
5”Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a temple to live in? 6I have never lived in a temple, from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until now. My home has always been a tent, moving from one place to another. 7And I have never once complained to Israel’s leaders, the shepherds of my people Israel. I have never asked them, “Why haven’t you built me a beautiful cedar temple?”’
8”Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I chose you to lead my people Israel when you were just a shepherd boy, tending your sheep out in the pasture. 9I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies. Now I will make your name famous throughout the earth! 10And I have provided a permanent homeland for my people Israel, a secure place where they will never be disturbed. It will be their own land where wicked nations won’t oppress them as they did in the past, 11from the time I appointed judges to rule my people. And I will keep you safe from all your enemies.
“‘And now the LORD declares that he will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings! 12For when you die, I will raise up one of your descendants, and I will make his kingdom strong. 13He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will use other nations to punish him. 15But my unfailing love will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed before you. 16Your dynasty and your kingdom will continue for all time before me, and your throne will be secure forever.’”
17So Nathan went back to David and told him everything the LORD had said.
David’s Prayer of Thanks
18Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19And now, Sovereign LORD, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving me a lasting dynasty! Do you deal with everyone this way, F21 O Sovereign LORD? 20What more can I say? You know what I am really like, Sovereign LORD. 21For the sake of your promise and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have shown them to me.
22”How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you—there is no other God. We have never even heard of another god like you! 23What other nation on earth is like Israel? What other nation, O God, have you redeemed from slavery to be your own people? You made a great name for yourself when you rescued your people from Egypt. You performed awesome miracles and drove out the nations and gods that stood in their way. 24You made Israel your people forever, and you, O LORD, became their God.
25”And now, O LORD God, do as you have promised concerning me and my family. Confirm it as a promise that will last forever. 26And may your name be honored forever so that all the world will say, ‘The LORD Almighty is God over Israel!’ And may the dynasty of your servant David be established in your presence.
27”O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, I have been bold enough to pray this prayer because you have revealed that you will build a house for me—an eternal dynasty! 28For you are God, O Sovereign LORD. Your words are truth, and you have promised these good things to me, your servant. 29And now, may it please you to bless me and my family so that our dynasty may continue forever before you. For when you grant a blessing to your servant, O Sovereign LORD, it is an eternal blessing!”
– 2 Samuel 7:1-27

from a commentary on 2 Samuel…

God regards not outward pomp in his service; his presence was as surely with his people when the ark was in a tent as when it was in a temple. David was uneasy that the ark was in curtains (a mean and movable habitation), but God never complained of it as any uneasiness to him. He did not dwell, but walk, and yet fainted not, nor was weary. Christ, like the ark, when here on earth walked in a tent or tabernacle, for he went about doing good, and dwelt not in any house of his own, till he ascended on high, to the mansions above, in his Father’s house, and there he sat down. The church, like the ark, in this world is ambulatory, dwells in a tent, because its present state is both pastoral and military; its continuing city is to come. David, in his psalms, often calls the tabernacle a temple (as Ps. 5:7; 27:4; 29:9; 65:4; 138:2), because it answered the intention of a temple, though it was made but of curtains. Wise and good men value not the show, while they have the substance. David perhaps had more true devotion, and sweeter communion with God, in a house of curtains, than any of his successors in the house of cedar.

Shalom__

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