For many of us, it is much more comfortable to give than to receive. It’s difficult for self-reliant people to allow themselves to be served. But they need to embrace the “service of being served” as Richard Foster calls it. That requires an act of submission. When others are generous, we feel a need to repay their acts of generosity. We have to learn to let others share their gifts with us. It allows others the blessing of being a blessing.
Yesterday we looked briefly at the mission of our church (FCC). Today I wanted to look briefly at our “Value” statements. These are things that we value as a church. Do we live them out perfectly? Obviously not. We have a long way to go. But this is what we want to see:
Heart for Christ Alone: We are united in our focus on the redeeming life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In essential beliefs, we have unity. In non-essential beliefs, we have liberty. In all our beliefs, we show love.
Mind transformed by the Word: Christ followers should manifest authenticity and yearn for continuous spiritual growth.
Arms of Love: We must be a welcoming and inviting community, helping people to make loving, enduring relationships.
Knees for Prayer: Prayer and worship is the essential foundation for all effective ministry.
Voice to Speak the Good News: Lost people matter to God and must matter to His church. Because of that, we must communicate God’s Love in culturally relevant ways.
Spirit of Servanthood and Stewardship: Every Christ follower is called to serve according to their gifts, open to being equipped for ministry.
Here’s our mission at FCC:
God calls FCC (Versailles) to make disciples by being a Christ-centered family, reaching out to all.
So our job is clear: make disciples. To do that we need a church culture that is always seeking to be a “Christ-centered family, reaching out to all.” We need both the inclusion of outsiders and the desire to go into all the world. That is the lens by which we ought to be making our decisions as a church.
“Should we do _____?” Only if it help us “make disciples by being a Christ-centered family, reaching out to all”?
4 signs of a strong faith…
- Faith in the Word of God. John 4:50, “The man believed the word that Jesus had spoken.” The Word of God is precious and we learn to revel in the truth itself apart from any benefit that we receive from it.
- Restfulness. Faith that is not impatient or in a hurry as if it relies on us. Instead, willing to let God take His time, confident that God’s timing is better than ours. We have the promise, which to the eye of faith is equal to the fulfillment of that promise. In this age of hurry, we need such a “rest” of faith.
- Readiness to receive confirmation. The person who believes God’s Word will hear, sooner or later, the echo of an answer. They will hear it in fulfillment of some kind. The temptation too often is to take honor from God when we have asked and received. We then give credit to secondary causes.
- Willingness to receive spiritual blessing. We are anxious for our home on earth to be happy, healthy, and whole but we will receive a home in heaven happier, healthier, and complete. God gives above all we can ask or think. Great faith prizes “spiritual blessing above temporal blessings.”
Halal is the primary Hebrew word for praise. It’s the word from which we derive the biblical word hallelujah. It’s an exuberant expression of celebration, a word that hints at boasting, raving, or celebrating. It carries with it the notion of acting in a way that is foolish. True halal contemplates laying aside your inhibitions and killing your self-consciousness.
It’s used almost always in the context of corporate worship. In Leviticus it is used to describe the way the people might celebrate a harvest festival. The Psalms are littered with this word. The God of the universe made us to praise Him with abandon, like fun-loving children. Sometimes I wonder if God looks down on us American Christians and sees our ultra-dignified and carefully orchestrated worship experiences and wishes we’d cut loose. That’s how Christians worship throughout the rest of the world.
The first time I saw it as a kid I thought it was strange. While are these people raising their hands while singing in worship? I was a Christ-follower but thought maybe this was strange. Many people still misunderstand it today.
I agree with the sentiments of the great theologian, Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, who are argues that a dislike of enthusiasm can be “one of the greatest hindrances to revival.”
Yadah is one of the seven words translated in the Old Testament as “praise,” and it’s found over 111 times in Scripture. It is defined as a word meaning “extend hands” or “to throw out the hand,” and it is used to describe the act of shooting an arrow (Jeremiah 50:14) or throwing a stone (Lamentations 3:53). In the context of worship, yadah describes those moments when the Hebrew people were so overcome by the glory of the Lord that their hands shot upward in response.
Since that first experience when I saw others raise their hands I was intrigued with trying it too. Sometimes I feel like doing it but let my worries about what other people think of me become more important than my heart-felt devotion to God. But more often than not I do it and don’t worry about the people around me because their not my audience. God is. It’s a way of demonstrating my surrender to Him in that moment and that like a child raises their hands for a parent to pick them up, so to am I asking for God’s provision of comfort and security.
When God created the universe, He didn’t just make it functional like a well-oiled machine. He filled it with beauty.
As we come face to face with the creative genius of our God we will discover his thumbprint on our own lives. Every time we draw a picture or write a story or mow designs into the outfield grass at a ballpark, we express the creative image of God within us.