One of the most intense people I know is Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling Coach Tom Brands. His intensity often looks and feels over the top...too much. Recently he was asked what it meant to him to achieve his 200th win as a coach. His response was, "It means absolutely nothing to me."
Now for those who don't know the coach, that response would seem cold, arrogant and void of humanity. After all, recognizing and celebrating progress and success is about celebrating the athletes he recruited, the training they endured and the victories they achieved together. What about the people?
For those who do know Coach Tom Brands that response was not a surprise. Many would know that this coach relentlessly casts his vision to anyone and everyone who he believes is distracted.
It makes a lot of sense to me. The details and milestones of our lives make the most sense in the context of the vision. Otherwise the daily routines, the choices we make, the causes we commit to can seem random and without larger meaning. Our past finds it's best context of our vision for the future.
As people of God we have thousands of years of biblical history with a loving and faithful God - a history filled with victories and defeats, a history filled with visions and distractions, a history filled with people. God tells us in Scripture to "remember" his faithfulness often. Remembering creates the divine context in which God reveals his vision for the future - a powerful vision that our world needs, that all would be set free from sin and death through a relationship only found in Jesus Christ.
It's a vision so grand that only God could bring it about. It's a vision that we desperately need to give meaning to all the decisions we will make today and tomorrow.
I'm certainly no Hawkeye Wrestling fan, but I am a fan of intensity when it comes to casting and committing to the vision and mission... especially when it comes to reaching out to the world around us and sharing the everlasting love of Jesus Christ.
We have come a long way in the seven years as a Hope campus. There are many things to be celebrated. What I see stirring up in you moving forward is an intense desire to be a community that is driven by the Holy Spirit, a community passionate about growing deep and wide, and a community whose heart is aligned with the heartbeat of God.
Look for the good in people today and look for the need. It will land you in a rich and intense context of the love of God.