Living on Purpose
What are you serious about?
Paul encourages us in Ephesians 5:15-21 to take seriously how we live. He knew that the Gospel goes forward when two things work together: the message of the Gospel (the truth of who God is and what He came to do) and how we actually live out this message. Often, there’s a disconnect between what we say we believe and what we do – and this is where our values as a church come in. We want to be a community that follows the example of Jesus, who didn’t just say that He loved us but demonstrated it. So our values hold us accountable to what we believe.
Value 1: Make Things Better
God created us as co-creators with Him, stewards of the world He made. We believe that Jesus didn’t save us just so we’d stick together in a holy huddle; we are to have a redemptive, stewardship posture towards everything. Though the world tells us to consume, the people of God are not here to use anybody – we’re here to make things better. We do this by God’s grace, for the good of others and the glory of God. It’s important that we ask ourselves, “Are we actually making things better?” We want to be a community that isn’t critical or cynical, but who believes in each other to make a difference in the world.
Value 2: Everything In Prayer
Do we live as if God is at work or that we’re doing it all? The answer to this question lies in if we are praying or not. Are we expecting Him to be active, and praying for His power to do it? We do not want to be a community that ascribes power to God but doesn’t actually live this out! We need God to do what He’s called us to do – so we pray. Prayer bridges the gap between our power and God’s. He wants to step in and show His glory and power. So we will do everything in prayer. Let’s take risks and ask God to do what we cannot do on our own.
Value 3: Begin with Mercy
We want to be a community that speaks and acts as if we’re going to be judged by a God who has shown us mercy. In Christ, when we meet God on judgment day, He’s going to embrace us with love and kindness – even though we don’t deserve it. The church, then, ought to be more like a hospital than a social club. We want to lead with mercy, like our God who begins with the kindness that leads us to repentance. It’s easier to start with judgment; we need the grace of God to begin with mercy. We can’t say that we believe in God’s amazing grace but actually foster judgment. This means that it might get messy in our church – and may it be, that we might look like Jesus’ ministry.
Value 4: Never Stop Learning
This is the heart of discipleship, the desire to learn and grow. The church should be the last place for know-it-alls. We believe in a big God, who made the universe, who created love — a mature Christian is hungry to learn more, knowing that we can’t possibly know it all! If we’re learning, we’re going to grow. We want to be a community that is never complacent but hungry for the things of God. This sends a message to the world about how amazing our God is – let’s have wonder towards Him and desire to keep learning together.
Value 5: Amplify the Message
1 Thessalonians 2:3-5
We’ve been entrusted with the Gospel and we’ve got no other agenda or motivation than to share it. We’re not going to change the message but share it with others, as it is. We’re not going to make up something new, but amplify what God has already said. God’s asking us to make His message louder with our words, louder with our lives. This is such a privilege! As a community, we always want to be sharing God’s message. This can be a struggle at times, when we get fearful or wonder if people really want to hear this message. But the Gospel really is good news! So may we actively be sharing and inviting others into this amazing message. May we never grow cold in sharing our faith.
Value 6: Bring the Shalom
Shalom is peace; the kind of wholeness God brings when His kingdom comes. As people under the reign of Christ, we can bring about God’s peace wherever there is brokenness in the world. We are peacemakers! And we get to be like our Father, when we bring about shalom. This means that we will not retreat from the difficulties in society — Christians don’t run from hostility, we’re sent in to be the healing balm of God. How do we do this? First, we envision heaven. What’s not there? Racism, hatred, sexism, despair. So we fight to get rid of these things here on earth. And second, we don’t project our ideas of shalom on others, but deeply consider what shalom means to them. How amazing it would be to be an oasis of peace in our city.
Value 7: Always Be Generous
What is God like? He’s a giver. This means that we don’t ask “When should I be generous?” but “Should I be generous?” And the answer is always, “Yes.” It is not our calling to be skeptical, calculated or stingy. Whether we have much or little, we are always to give. It’s one thing to give because we want something in return, but it’s another to give with no expectations. We believe that living a joyful life has everything to do with being generous.
Value 8: Go For Bold
2 Timothy 1:7
We desire to have a culture of faith. To cultivate a cheerful courage, where we possess such a deep joy in the Lord that we can’t help to be bold. We want to be a place where you can take great risks, even fail – but discover God’s plan for your life, and His plan for us as a community. God doesn’t need our courage; He gifts us courage. He gifts us His strength and His Spirit. So we will not be a fearful culture. God is going to call us out to do great things, and when our enemy tries to make us afraid, we can stand knowing that he has no claim in our community because we have Christ. Nothing can stop the power of God, and we’re going to walk in His power, together.
We pray that when people encounter our church, they’ll think, “What you believe – it’s happening. What you say, I see it.” Where there’s a disconnect between what we believe and how we live, let’s allow God to change that. Let’s not just say what we believe, but show it. To our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, our city. For the glory of God.
This is the final blog post to accompany our vision and values series, “For the Glory.” If you want to listen to each full-length sermon, head to our podcast page. Read along with us each week as we explore God’s vision for Central Community Church. Follow along in the passages linked under each of our values