As we look towards Saturday 18th July HICC will reach a momentous point in its history; a new senior minister and his wife will be appointed. I had no idea when I started the church how long I would remain as its founding senior pastor. I thought that perhaps at normal retirement of 65 I might head back to Solihull from whence I came 15 years earlier; but that was not to be. Patricia’s continued health was miraculous and so we kept going year after year. She passed her allotted span [given by the medical consultants] by 28 years, and thus we were in partnership until nearly two years ago – my how time passes! However, all good things must eventually end, and her time was January 2014. Mine is not yet, but for the good of HICC I will move on to semi-retirement in three Saturdays time, although I’m too young to really retire!
In late 1986 I was standing in my rear garden which backed onto Northwick Park playing fields which in turn backed onto Northwick Park Hospital and I could look up at Harrow on the Hill and see the famous school buildings. As I strolled in those fields with my dog, I thought the Lord spoke to me about Harrow being a good place for a church, but I brushed it aside as I was superintendent of the Metropolitan Region, covering 55 churches around the M25 and Associate Pastor of Kensington Temple in Notting Hill. My time was heavily committed and there was a limit to what I could do. However, this thought persisted, and through a series of circumstances in God’s control I started a house group, which quickly became a church in embryo – HICC was born. The vision has remained. We have over 40 nations worshipping and working in harmony with a building worth three million pounds.
Perhaps I can now speak about vision, that which has kept propelling me over the decades, and which must be passed on. When Moses sent twelve leaders to spy out the land, most of them came back with a different vision than he expected. Those who were imbued with vision, and had caught the whole thrust of their leaders concept, brought a positive story of possibilities. They: understood the difficulties, measured the opposition, recognised the advantages, calculated the cost and recommended possession.
Moses could only transfer his vision to two men out of twelve which is eight percent. His vision came from a burning bush and a voice became a vision, the vision became the way of life. In the Old Testament [Numbers chapter 1] God plainly tells us that whereas most prophets receive a vision, He came and spoke to Moses face to face. Although his first call was from a wilderness bush, His confirmation was on a mountain before the face of God. Even so, he could only muster a small percentage to follow the vision and live the passion for the land. Vision does not come through consensus, but through revelation, not to a group, although they confirm it, but usually to individuals. Vision is not easy to transfer, and those who respond are the minority.
Unless a person feels the passion of revelation they will never bestir themselves for the cause. Surface skidding permeates many Christian churches, for there is either a lack of vision or, if there is a vision, it fails to excite because of ambiguity or low level mission. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: . .” [Proverbs 29:18] We all need a personal and particular vision that engenders commitment to a call.
Vision takes a humble servant through the heat of Africa and the ice of Russia. The hot lands of China and the cold lands of Tibet. What made Paul go through all the opposition, physical danger and deprivation? It was vision, he saw the divine light on the Damascus road, and was blinded to see God. Vision makes mincemeat of hardships and revels in jeopardy. It laughs at impossibilities and says “it is done”! It made David fight Goliath, and Daniel refuse to bend the knee to a statue, and thus break the heart of hungry lions – Hallelujah!!!