Mission – Vision – Values

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Sep 062012
 

Who are we? I suppose as Christians, you might answer that as “Servants of God,” or “Followers of Jesus,” or “Believers in the Savior,” or “God’s representatives in this world.” All of these are true. We see Him in charge and us under Him. He did a great work for us on the cross and by the empty tomb, and what an impact it has had on our lives! This is what the Bible tells us: “He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15, ESV). So, what does this mean for us in this world?

As part of our renewal process, we have been studying the Bible with regards to God’s mission for us. The Renewal Committee and Bible Class have been working hard at: naming our core values as Christ’s church here (what things are really important to us to be happening here); citing the mission He has given us to do; and stating our vision of what us doing our job looks like. This helps us in a couple of ways.

First, it helps us rally around our purpose. Instead of being a loose collection of believers independently doing their own things, we unify around what God wants us to be doing, each of us making our varied and unique contributions towards the goal.

Second, it gives us a standard by which we can make decisions concerning what we are and are not going to do. If a suggested event supports our mission, it gets the ok; if it serves a purpose other than our mission and outside our core values, as good as it may be, we have to turn it down since we have limited time and resources.

We have come up with statements and values that I, the Renewal Committee and Church Council can embrace. The rest of you now have the opportunity to consider and comment on these. This is important. This is a statement of our identity. This is who we are. Are we saying it the best way we can? Here are the statements:

Our core values are:

  • Growing – an on-going, active, developing relationship with God
  • Learning – education and mentoring to help people become better disciples of Jesus
  • Caring – providing for needs of those who are and are not members of the church
  • Sharing Jesus – informing those who do not know Jesus Who He is and what He has done for them.

Our mission is to share Jesus and together live for Him.

Our vision: powered by the Holy Spirit, we learn, grow, care and share Jesus.   See the core values here?

On Sunday, September 9 we will take the Adult Bible Class time to talk about these statements. Is this how we want to describe ourselves? Let your voice be heard.

At 1:00 that afternoon we have a Voters meeting. We intend to adopt our mission and vision statements and core values at that time.

Be a part of the discussion! Pray that God use this to help us better center ourselves around the job He has given us of making disciples of all nations! Let us serve the Lord together with joy!

 

Our Country, Our Presence

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Jun 292012
 

It’s that time of year again when celebrate the formation of this great country in which we live. There is much for us to be glad for: our representative form of government, balance of powers, religious freedoms and good standard of living. Compared to many other countries, we are so much better off.

Nevertheless, we look at our country and see much that breaks our hearts – and breaks God’s heart, too. We see the cheapening of human life through abortion and the growing use of euthanasia. We see fiscal irresponsibility – a national debt of almost $16 trillion? We see redefinition of the family from God’s wise design (Genesis 1:27-28 & 2:25) of father, mother and biological children to homosexual couples and children being family at its best. Sex is taken out of marriage and made a means of recreation in all sorts of human relationships, even among school children. We are increasingly being forced to accept homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle. The media are not helping the situation as they portray these lifestyles as normal in entertainment, newscasts and commentary, and negatively label those who disagree. I fear we are slowly being brainwashed. The breakdown of the family is detrimental to society; but more importantly, it puts people under God’s condemnation!

What is a Christian to do? First of all, we need to pray for our nation, that God might bring us back from furthering perversion of His ideals. Jeremiah by the Holy Spirit wrote to God’s people who were forced to live in a hostile nation: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Je 29:7, ESV). We should be praying for our nation that God might turn it back from how far it has fallen in such a short time.

Secondly, we can be a positive influence in the midst of this evil. Philippians 2:15 describes us as being “…children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (ESV). As the world gets darker, we will stand out more and more and can offer an increasingly appealing life in Jesus’ name. People will notice we are different and ask why; and we can explain why we hold different views, and we can share God’s way back from the rebellion that is occurring. Sharing Jesus as Savior is more important even than promoting right living!

In dealing with the sinner, take a lesson from Jesus in dealing with an adulterer. Most people in society will agree that adultery is not right; but Jesus did not yell at the woman for her sins; He was very gracious with her. He treated her with warmth, gentleness and respect, and yet was still firm in letting the facts go before her (John 8:3-11).

We celebrate our country; but it can be better than it is. Let’s work and pray for that!

Prayer – An Exercise of Relationship

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Mar 062012
 

I was struck by an illustration that appeared in Why Pray?, a book many of us are working through during Lent. The Author Dr. John DeVries describes our prayer relationship with God as being like a boy sitting in grandpa’s lap, helping to guide the tractor through the field. The boy imagines that he is doing all the work! In reality, grandpa is, but he involves his grandson in what he is doing. Wonderful and woeful sights are discussed and dealt with along the way.

What a description of our relationship with God in prayer! Sometimes we think we are almost the ones running the world, and somehow forget that it really is our Lord Who is doing that, but He chooses to involve us. We are free to rejoice with Him in His creation, commenting to Him as we experience. We can call down all the power of heaven on tough situations we encounter. Try keeping a running conversation going with God through your day. You were created to have fellowship with Him; it will bring Him into your experiences of the day; and it will lift some of the weight off your shoulders. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8, ESV). You won’t be disappointed! He gave up His Son to the cross to give you this privilege and eternal life!

Growing in Praying

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Feb 072012
 

“If you had a quarter,” quizzed the teacher, “and you asked your father for another dollar and fifty cents, how much money would you have?”  “One quarter.” answered little Johnny “You don’t know your arithmetic.” said the teacher shaking her head.  Little Johnny shook his head too; “You don’t know my father.” Little Johnny doesn’t have such good communications with his father. They are out of step with each other, and their wills conflict.

How are communications with your Father in heaven? Do you feel you and He are out of sync? At odds with each other? Be assured that He is not stingy or cranky, as we may assess the situation sometimes.

Ideally, communications between father and child are open and good. Father and child may not always agree, but love is expressed, the situation is talked about, and the father always watches out for the best interests of the child.

“Pray” literally means to ask for something; but we use that word to mean much more. Look through the Psalms. There are pleas for help (Psalm 3:6). There are also words of thanks and praise (Psalm 9). There are the meditations of the heart (Psalm 19:14); there is Hannah pouring out her soul to the Lord in her anguish of being childless (1 Samuel 1:15). Our heavenly Father wants us to interact with Him over everything (Philippians 4:6). What a precious privilege, conversing with Him, speaking all sorts of thoughts in prayer and listening to Him in His word! Let your prayer life be more than just a way of getting things from God. Let it be a development and deepening of your relationship with Him.

Lent is soon upon us! It is a time for paying some special attention to returning to the Lord from the many ways sin has pulled us away. I hope you will join with me in a renewed focus on prayer in our mid-week Lenten worship and daily devotional life using Why Pray? (see article in this newsletter). We have a heavenly Father longing for us to spend time with Him – and unlike the father above, He will be wise and lavish in bestowing His gifts on us