Filtering by Tag: core values

CORE VALUE #2: WE ARE SHAPED BY THE WORD

In our preaching series We are shaped by the Word, we made a few important distinctions.  

The Spoken Word of God in the Beginning is an important place to start (Genesis 1-3).  Why?  Well, the earliest "memories" we have of the redeeming God that created the universe, called out a peculiar people to live as his representatives, and sent the Son for the purpose of atonement ("at-ONE-ment"--so we could be in ONe union with God) set everything in motion with WORDS.  God's words created.  They gave life. They gave "nothingness" substance and the substance meaning and purpose.  The beauty of these strong statements is that they can all be stated in present tense: God's Word creates, gives life, and gives purpose and meaning (John 10).  

IF WE ARE A PEOPLE SHAPED BY THE WORD, THEN WE MUST BE PEOPLE THAT TAKE SERIOUSLY (AND ARE SHAPED BY) THE POWER OF GOD'S VOICE IN HISTORY AND THE POWER OF GOD'S VOICE TO GIVE LIFE TODAY.  

The Living Word is also a "word" that is important to Christians.  John, in the first chapter of his Gospel says that The Word, was with God (and was God) in those first miraculous moments of creation and with flesh to "dwell among us".  Of course, the Living Word was our Lord Jesus.  But John says more in chapter one.  He tells us that the Word was light in a dark world, offered freedom through belief, and opened up a chance for us to be adopted into the Family of God (v12). 

Now that all sounds a little "in the clouds", so let's say it like this: The intentionality and love, power and grace that motivated and moved God to create and give life in the beginning was completely and perfectly embodied in one persons: Jesus Christ. So God's Living Word is Christ, offering life and light to this world. 

IF WE ARE A PEOPLE SHAPED BY THE WORD, THEN WE MUST BE PEOPLE SHAPED BY THE VERY LIFE, DEATH, AND MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST.  HE MUST DEFINE AND DIRECT WHO WE ARE!

Of course the Word also refers to the Written Word we know as scripture.  I love Psalm 119 because I think it richly and poetically captures the effects of the Written Word on someone who reads, wrestles, and meditates on it.  The Written Word 1) gives guidance in perilous times, 2) leads to fulfillment and meaning in life, and 3) ignites in us a passion for faithfulness.  

The Written Word, unfortunately, seems most often wielded for fighting, as though it was written to win arguments.  That misses the purpose. Along with the three points above, the Written Word is the story of God's creation and redemption.  As believers, we are invited to dive in, ask hard questions, wrestle with challenging mandates, meditate and pray over poetry and portraits, and continually be shaped into agents for that redemption--God's kingdom. 

By participating and being shaped by the Word (don't forget the other meanings of the Word) we become more Word-like--our lives become stories of grace and redemption, offering life, healing, and adoption into God's family to those around us. 

IF WE ARE A PEOPLE SHAPED BY THE WORD, OUR LIVES WILL BEGIN TO LOOK LIKE GOD'S LIFE-GIVING WORD.

Always in grace, 

PASTOR RYAN

CORE VALUE #1: WE ARE A PEOPLE OF PRAYE

We are a people of prayer!  That's one of those statements that just sounds right as it rolls off your tongue (or through your mind, if you don't read aloud like me).  Why is that?  What is so right about that statement--that proclamation? Yet the ironic thing is that it's seldom stated and even less often lived.  

The Apostle Paul talks about a moment that the direction of your life, the thought patterns of your mind, and even your eternal future change: 

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9) 

If there was ever a proponent of the Gospel that deeply believed that it was an all-in, hand-to-the-plow-without-looking-back (Luke 9:62) adventure, it was the Apostle Paul.  It's no wonder he says that we must confess with our mouth (for it to be verbal it must already be mental) and believe in our heart (to believe in your heart it must already be felt in your spirit).  Being saved means being in complete and utter surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ.  

I believe that "We are a people of prayer" is such a meaningful and rich statement because to genuinely be a person of prayer, one continually confesses with their mouth and believes in their heart.  In other words, Paul's "ingredients" for salvation may be a one-time event, but to be a people of prayer WE MUST CONTINUE THE SPIRIT OF CONFESSION DAILY.   

Imagine that!  To DAILY engage God in the manner that we did when we first repented (completely turned our life toward God). That's what a prayerful life looks like.  DAILY surrender.  DAILY devotion.  DAILY dialogue with our Creator.  

That'll challenge you. 

That'll change you. 

That'll shape you to be more like Christ.  

In our Core Values preaching series We are a People of Prayer this was one of the most important take-aways:  Prayer begins with a hunger for God and a hunger for change (Psalm 63).  I believe this is a major reason Jesus' prayer ends with a "conviction" to be changed rather than a "petition" for change: Not my will but yours. (Luke 22)  

To be a people of prayer, we are far more than simply a people that say prayers often (though we do that!); instead, we are a people that daily hunger for God and hunger for God to change us.  We pray because we know that prayer "feeds" that hunger and is a "vehicle" for that transformation. God answers those prayers, and many times those answers are in the form of changing us.  

Let's not forget, though, that we're also a people of prayer because our prayers are a powerful tool for changing others and the world around us (James 5 and elsewhere).  But even those prayers are only effective because of our righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) that is accomplished by God.  In other words, PRAYER WORKS BECAUSE GOD IS AT WORK. 

We pray because it works!  We change! Other's change! The world changes! And it's the natural response to a deep hunger for God and a life in complete surrender to the Kingdom…DAILY. 

WE ARE A PEOPLE OF PRAYER

Praying for change, 

PASTOR RYAN

 

Screen_Shot_2013_07_05_at_5.15.12_PM.png