“You can transform your world by changing your thinking, and you change your thinking by having a vision”, said advisory pastor Phil Pringle at a recent service.
Over the weekend of June 7 and 8, members of City Harvest Church were tremendously blessed by their advisory pastor Phil Pringle who challenged them to lift up their eyes and look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of their faith.
Pringle is the founder and president of C3 Global Network of churches, a thriving movement of more than 200 churches worldwide and the senior pastor of C3 Church in Oxford Falls in Sydney, Australia.
Pringle opened his message with Proverbs 29:18, which says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. People do not perish because of circumstances; they perish when there is no vision, he emphasized.
He added that the Bible says all men are born spiritually blind. The moment a Christian receives Christ as Lord and Savior, Jesus will open up his spiritual eyes and give him a vision for his life.
Pringle expounded on what having a vision means. “A vision is seeing what God sees; it is seeing something bigger and better than our current circumstance, no matter how bleak it appears,” he said. “Once He opens our eyes, it is up to us what we want to look at.”
Pringle said there are eight things a Christian can do to improve his vision.
1. LIFT UP YOUR EYES
Pringle referred to John 4:35, where Jesus taught his disciples to lift up their eyes to look beyond the prejudice in their eyes.
“When Jesus asks us to lift up our eyes, it means we are looking down—we are looking from the wrong perspective.”
This story begins with Jesus showing up at a town in Samaria and speaking to a Samaritan woman. Pringle explained that Jesus’ actions appeared unusual in the sight of His disciples because firstly, Jews do not talk to Samaritans; secondly, men do not speak to women in public; and lastly, rabbis should never be seen conversing with a woman, even less a woman of ill-repute who had slept with many men.
Jesus, however, looked past all the prejudices and man-made barriers. That’s why He told His disciples to lift up their eyes, so that they can see past their own prejudgments to accept people for who they are.
Pringle went on to point out that, the woman did not feel condemned or guilty after Jesus confronted her of her sin. On the contrary, she went to spread the news to the men about a Messiah, and as a result, a massive revival broke forth in Samaria. He concluded that when Jesus comes into a person’s life and brings illumination to certain “dark areas”, they will feel joy bubbling up inside of them because they are released from their sin.
People everywhere are ready for God, said Pringle, but as long as the church walks around with judgment and prejudice, it will not be able to harvest from the field.
“We need to lift our eyes to see people from another angle.”
1 Corinthians 10:2 says, “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” Pringle said. “Jesus came only to bless, not to judge.”
2. SEE POSITIVE
Pringle shared the famous story from Matthew 14:29-32 where Peter walked on water.
“Why do you think Peter sank?” asked Pringle.
Peter sank because he took his eyes off Jesus and started to look at the waves and saw how terrifying the storm was, the preacher suggested. He added that as soon as fear replaces faith, people start to sink.
Pringle quoted Hebrews 12:2 as he encouraged the members to always see the positive and to lift up their eyes and look at Jesus.
3. SEE A NEW PERSPECTIVE
Pringle explained that when Paul was writing to the Corinth church in 1 Corinthians 16:9, Paul said “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (emphasis: Pringle’s).
Pringle pointed out that Paul used the word “and” instead of “but”; indicating that Paul was saying, many adversaries will arise when an opportunity comes. Pringle encouraged the church to adopt Paul’s thinking and see adversaries from a different perspective. He went on to say that opportunity usually looks like work.
He challenged the congregation to see the positive in every negative situation.
“Sometimes our vision is greater than the resources we have,” said Pringle. Yet Philippines 4:19 says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Pringle shared from Mark 6:35-44 where Jesus fed the five thousand. It states in verse 41, “(Jesus) looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves.” Pringle emphasised that Jesus did not look at the loaves and fishes. Instead, Jesus looked up to God; He looked at the source of unlimited provision.
5. SEE BIGGER
Pringle preached from Genesis 13:14-16 that God told Abraham to lift up his eyes and see the land that God was about to give to him and his descendants. Pringle preached that what a person see in their vision is what they will create in reality. He went on to say that this is powerful spiritual principle that many Christians have forgotten: the power of visualisation.
6. SEE ABUNDANCE
Pringle said, “Look now toward heaven” which he quoted from Genesis 15:5. He went on to explain that there is no ceiling in heaven and thus, there is unlimited possibility when the focus is on God and not on the problem.
7. SEE TRANSFORMATION
Pringle challenged the congregation to see radical transformation in their circumstances even if it seemed impossible. He recounted the story from Genesis 31:12, where Laban’s entire flock was solid and speckled but God gave Jacob a vision of a flock that is speckled and grey-spotted. Jacob then decided to trust in the Lord and to lift up his eyes. Miraculously, the entire flocked transformed into spotted and speckled sheep.
Pringle said that this transformation was impossible physically, but if one can envision transformation in his minds, all things are possible. Pringle encouraged the congregation to start seeing transformations in their families, schools, and even in their nations.
Pringle read from Psalms 3:1-3 and said that “God is the shield and the One who lifts our head”. He empathized that there will be certain days where people will feel dejected due to shame or embarrassment. However, God will come along side to “push their chin up”.
Pringle ended his sermon with Romans 8:30-34, and reminded the Church that Jesus is always on its side. Jesus has taken away all the shame and embarrassment when He died on the cross. “Lift up your head, lift up your eyes and see the salvation of the Lord,” shouted Pringle as the crowd broke out in thunderous applause.
Phyllis Teo, 21, a student, said “It’s amazing how Pastor Phil showed me an entirely new perspective of what it means to lift up our eyes and to trust in the Lord. My mind has been renewed as there is hope in Christ.”
Jonathan Khoo, 29, a psychiatrist, said, “It is such a timely reminder that our vision affects our life. My entire paradigm has been remodelled to put on the mind of Christ and to see things from God’s perspective.”