12 lessons from a fulfilled vision

Marko Joensuu         No comments

Around 25 years ago, the Holy Spirit showed me a vision, which was soon followed by the first time I clearly heard God’s voice. Now, much of what was revealed to me then has come to pass. Looking back at the way to the fulfilment, I can discern some important lessons.

But first, let's have a look at what the Holy Spirit revealed to me back then.

Jesus as the conqueror of the Middle East

When I was around twenty-two I went to a mission conference at my church in Tampere, Finland. It was 1992, I think.

This mission conference focused on reaching out to Muslims. I remember standing up and praying. When I did, I saw something that greatly astonished me. It was a single image, superimposed over everything else in my line of sight.

What I saw was Jesus, dressed in a white robe. He leaned onto a large sword that rested on the Stone of Kaaba, the Islamic shrine in Mecca.

To me, it seemed like an end point of a long battle. One day, Jesus would stand triumphant and victorious over every power in the Middle East.

The satellite broadcasting to the whole Middle East

Soon after seeing the vision of Jesus standing on the Stone of Kaaba I was reading a scholarly journal at the library of my university’s media department. I got up to take the journal back on the shelf when a clear internal voice spoke to me.

“In five years, there will be a satellite that will cover the whole of the Middle East.”

I sensed strongly that it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. I had no idea why. It was the year 1992, and after brief research—I was in the media department’s library, which helped a lot—I discovered that, indeed, no satellite covered the whole Middle East yet.

But it would take twelve years for the Holy Spirit to continue this particular conversation. By that time, the year 2004, I had nearly forgotten it. I had started to work for Kensington Temple, a large multicultural church in London, in 2000, and I was preoccupied with the media and publishing work of the church.

Then, once when I was in prayer, I saw a vision. It was a vision of a large field, ripe for harvesting. There were only a handful of men cutting the crop with sickles. I realised that it would take an eternity to bring the harvest in that way. Then, out of nowhere, four gigantic harvesting machines appeared. They began to bring the harvest in rapidly.

The vision faded. Then the Holy Spirit explained it. The field is the Middle East, and the four gigantic harvesting machines are satellite TV, the internet, small groups and large-scale evangelistic crusades. The Holy Spirit said clearly that no individual church or organisation could achieve this vision single-handedly, but that many of them would be needed. I prayed over the vision for about a month and felt that I should share the vision with Senior Minister Colin Dye, the leader of Kensington Temple.
Around a year later, I was given an opportunity to redesign my job. I prayed and put research into the Middle Eastern media on top of my list. I had a clear sense by then that our church should do something in the area of satellite TV. It would take a few years before we would get around to do that. It was only when the KingdomSat, an Arabic-language channel run by Michael Youssef was launched in 2009 that Colin felt released to go ahead with commissioning the editing of over 250 half-an-hour programs that were then subtitled in Arabic.

In 2009, our church started airing the programs on the KingdomSat which used the Hot Bird satellite platform that covers Europe and large parts of the Middle East. I was thankful but felt that this was only a partial answer. But God is not working for us; we are working for Him. He doesn’t always fill us in every detail of His plan but gives us the bits that we need to play our part.

The next year the KingdomSat also got on the Nilesat. It was the first Christian channel airing on this satellite partially owned and controlled by the Egyptian government. Nilesat was launched in 1997, around five years after the Holy Spirit had spoken to me about a satellite that would cover the whole Middle East, and it is the leading satellite in the region. We were airing our broadcasts on the Nilesat five days a week, four times a day. Now that is a miracle! This is a nation where the Coptic Christian minority is often persecuted, where churches are burned, and Islam is the official state religion.

Yet God could do better than that. In October 2010, the Nilesat suspended the licenses of twelve Islamic channels due to their extremist content. At the same time, the number of Christian channels in Arabic on the Nilesat went up from one to ten. An Egyptian satellite platform owned mostly by a Muslim government and Islamic banks got rid of twelve Muslim channels and replaced them with Christian ones!

Now that is a miracle.

But in many ways, I felt that we hadn’t quite finished the job at the time.

We hadn’t future-proofed the programming, and after a few years, all the programmes had been played at least once, and they were now being repeated. And these programmes had been originally recorded in analog and digitised only later, so the visual quality wasn’t the best possible.

We struggled with finding a new format and at some stage I was about to give up pushing for this vision.

It seemed that the burden of producing these programmes was far too high for us, and would necessitate some major investment.

At that time, I remember praying over this issue. I felt like giving up. There was too much organisational stagnation over the issue.

 Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me.

“These programmes are precious to me,” He said, simply. That was that.

After another year of trial and error, trying things such as digital sets, we finally resorted to turning the actual church building into a studio. Now we were able to deliver new programmes with only a minimal additional workflow.

The new programmes started airing in February 2017, and now we are able to produce them as a side product of the regular life of the church.

I am deeply thankful as I have now realised that what I saw and heard in 1992 has been one of the main reasons why God has put me to serve in one church faithfully for such a long time—to see this through. In honesty, most of the work has been done by other people, but I have been around at the right times to nudge the project a little forward.

So, what have I learned from all this?

1. God’s vision is bigger than ours

When I saw the vision, and after hearing the prophecy, my immediate thought was that God would want to send me to the Middle East as some sort of tentmaker. He was showing me the Middle East after all. And being a tentmaker was the only ministry model that seemed available at the time. So, I envisaged that the right route might be to begin to learn some Arabic (which I still haven’t learnt).
But what God was really showing to me was that, one day, you could reach the whole Middle East with a satellite broadcast.

I foolishly interpreted the vision and prophecy based on my circumstances at the time. But God was showing me something that would take many more years before it would be activated.

But He was working towards delivering something decades later. And He wasn’t expecting me to deliver it. He would deliver it. Hence His vision was a lot bigger than mine.

One of these channels recently reported that over 100,000 Muslims have demonstrably given their lives to Jesus as a result of watching their programmes. You can safely multiply this number, as there are more than one of these channels.

2. Your vision doesn’t exist in isolation

God never said that I would have to do anything on my own. Instead, He was showing me a vision and other people other visions—but all these visions would mean that one day we would all work together to fulfil His great vision. Most visions are meant to be connected with other visions and to coexist with other visions in collaboration. Unfortunately, we often teach about visions as some sort of top-down CEO-led management visions that exist in separation from everything else God is doing in the world.

3. You need to keep on hearing from the Lord–each step of the way

My first steps toward the fulfilment of the vision failed miserably. By the time it was time to step into the fulfilment I had already forgotten the vision because of many failures in trying to implement it. But then He began to remind me about the vision and to show the next steps.

Often, we make a mistake of thinking that once we have seen a vision we need to begin to take immediate steps toward its fulfilment. Instead, we need to keep on listening.

Moses already knew that the vision was to got to the Promised Land, but he says in Exodus 33:15,

 “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.”

Seeing a vision or hearing a prophecy doesn’t mean that we have received the full plan. Instead, they are an invitation to seek God even more, so that we can find out what the revelation really means and how it should be implemented.

When God-given visions fail, it is mainly because we rush to implement the vision—without asking Him how to do it first.

The vision might be the destination, but the daily communion with the Holy Spirit gives us the navigation that we need through the Wilderness that stands between where we are and the Promised Land.

4. We should focus on the bit of the vision God gives to us

We need to focus on the specific task that God has given us to do. God might show us a large vision, but then He will give us specific tasks. Often, other people have been called to deliver other parts of the vision. If we try to do what they have been called to do, we will fail.

5. Visions should never be all-consuming

Many visions are like Queen Esther’s life. She was promoted to be the Queen of Persia to save Israel. But in fact, she only used very little time for that. Most of her life was spent on other things.

Often, we present visions as something that should be all-consuming. The more we give to them and the quicker, the better they will prosper, we think.

But God is a gardener. He sows the seed, and then He leaves it to grow. He returns to it when the time is right. He has the patience and understanding of seasons.

We often kill the vision by being over-consumed by it. Rather than trusting in God regarding Him being able to tell us which steps to take at which time, we spent all our time chasing the vision—often at a great expense to our families and the people around us.

So, it is good to remember that no vision God has given to us cancels the Bible. No matter what He has asked us to do, it doesn’t give us an excuse not to love our spouse or kids, or to ignore the needs of other people around us.

6. Your vision serves others

The vision God showed me has never served me. Instead, it has served others. God-given visions will probably give you the biggest troubles in your life.

God-given visions are visions of how you will serve Him, His people and the people He wants to bring into His family.

7. The most direct-looking route is not always the best

I looked for the most obvious route to the fulfilment of the vision. But instead of sending me to the Middle East, God sent me to London. He had a far less obvious route in mind. Even Joseph made it to the court of the Pharaoh through a prison cell, so the route doesn't always seem obvious.

8. There will be delays and challenges

With God-given visions, things rarely happen the way we anticipate, and often the timing makes no sense to us. We face unexpected challenges. But that is because it is God’s vision and not our vision. And we are caught in a war between two armies—Satan and God’s.

The devil will always seek to delay and challenge anyone who is being called by a God-given vision.

9. God’s speed is the right one

But God will deliver the fulfilment at the right time—not too early and not too late, for maximum triumph for His Kingdom.

10. God’s vision is always a plan for salvation 

We dream about fame and riches; God dreams about Heaven filled with people. Our perspectives are very different. Everything He is doing on earth is somehow linked to His salvation plan.

11. All glory belongs to God

God-given visions can sometimes make us look smarter and more powerful than we are. After all, they are backed by the intelligence and resources of His Kingdom. But in the end, all glory belongs to God, as all we have done is to obey His command.

Jesus said to His disciples,

“So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” (Luke 17:10)

12. The work will often go on without us

There are still aspects of the 2nd vision that are unfulfilled. I believe that we will see them fulfilled in our lifetime. But much of what God has shown to us has little to do with our action. Abraham, for example, never saw the fulfilment of most of God's promises to him. He never saw the many nations that came out of him, for example. But God will remain faithful to His plan and promises—even when we won't be around.

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mpjoensuu/ or by visiting markojoensuu.com.

Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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