Note: Jim Orange attended the Cleveland church for almost six years before deciding to join on September 21, 2014 following the 11th Annual General Assembly in Knoxville. Brother Orange has served as the devotional leader for several years in Cleveland, and has been a blessing to the church in many ways, both locally and internationally. Jim graduated from Tomlinson College in 1981 and from Lee University in 2007, and was a licensed minister in our former fellowship.
My vision of the church did not come from family, friends, or the different ministers that I have had in my life. It came by having a right relationship with Jesus Christ through His words and the Holy Ghost. Some Christians, who once stood for biblical values and doing the right thing, have left the Bible to follow popular opinions. But it is so important for people to have a vision that is based on the Bible. When I look at the world of religion today, I don’t see the majority of the people seeking truth and Godly salvation. Instead, they are looking for something to satisfy their fleshly desires and to ease their conscience. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:3-4: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. A vision that is based on the solid foundation of biblical truth will not be swayed by intellectual arguments or by political and social agendas.
Having a prophetic vision is looking into the future and being willing to work to fulfill that vision. The church must continually move toward the goal of pleasing God in order to fulfill its mission in the world. First of all, for the body of Christ to do the work that is ahead will take love and unity. Jesus told His disciples in John 13:34, A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. This love (agape) does not stop at the church doors, for it is a condition of the heart. We should have the same love one for another that Christ had for His disciples. How much did Jesus love the disciples and how much does He love us today? He was willing to give up heaven and come to earth in order to die for a lost world. The church must be like Christ in our love for others, not only sharing the good news of Christ, but manifesting and demonstrating His love through our actions.
Also, the church must be a praying church to win the lost. We should seek the Lord for the anointing and guidance of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost must be at work in the church helping us tell people about Jesus. We need Holy Ghost conviction so that lost people will see that they are sinners and need to be saved. We cannot win the lost with head knowledge alone; it takes the Holy Ghost to change hearts and minds. We are facing demonic powers and the antichrist spirit in greater ways than ever before. So we need the Holy Ghost in our preaching, worship services, and outreach.
Finally, my vision and the Word of God tell me that the final outcome for the church will be triumphant. But we are not yet there. As we pray and continue to work together, we should remember there will not only be times of joy but also of hardship. In John 15:19, Jesus said that the world will hate us for following Him: If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Although we see all the sin that people are doing in the world today, we should not be discouraged or lose our vision. Instead, we need to have compassion for the lost, and keep our focus on Christ, remembering that we too were once sinners.
Written by Jim Orange, Cleveland, TN
Originally published in Voice of Zion, April 2015.