The heart is used this time of year to think about love and Valentine’s day and romance. The Bible has much to say about the heart, not the pump in our chest that moves blood, but the center of who we really are. God of course knows our biology, but He uses this as a metaphor to describe the true person we are inside. Why do we do what we do? Where does our decision making come from, our personality, our desires?
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, ESV)
God has faithfully led us and provided for us over the last 20 years. We have seen people come and go, born and died, prospered and struggled; yet through it all He has been the same. What will He do in us and through us ahead? Only He knows, but of this we can be sure: His strength will be perfect, His paths will be straight; and He will always be with us.
Vision for what we will become also includes obeying the 2 great commands as identified by Jesus. We are told to love God with all we are and love our neighbor to the degree we love ourselves. From these 2 commands, all other expectations that God has for us come forth. We should strive every morning to live this way and use these commands as questions in the evening to determine how we did: did I love God with all of my being and did I love my neighbor as myself?
Vision for our church requires good and faithful stewardship of the resources we have been given. That begins with personal or individual stewardship of all the things God has given to us. What you call “yours” is really God’s as it all comes from Him and He will require of us an accounting of what we have done with His things. What will He say to you about His gifts to you?
As we develop our vision for what God is calling our church to be, character is a huge part of that vision. If we are going to be believed as carriers of the gospel growing and reaching our world, we must be people with true character. Sadly, there have been way too many characters bearing the name of Jesus and not enough living the life of Jesus. We want the message we carry to be believed because our character matches the nature of our God and the importance of the truth we deliver.
What is the vision God has given us for ministry? How are do our core values help us to know what God wants from us to be/do? We are going to unpack those core values into a vision of what ministry should look like. This will culminate in us developing a strategy to implement what that vision looks like. This vision is something we are striving for, not something we are yet. It is always ahead, yet close enough to see it begin to shape and form what we are doing today and tomorrow.
We remember the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in song, word and by partaking of the communion elements together.
Peace on Earth, Good will to Men” wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his Christmas poem O Little town of Bethlehem. He wrote this during the American Civil War after learning his own son had been killed in action and he longed to know that peace when all around “the hate was strong and mocked the song”. We look around today and wonder when peace will finally find a foothold, perhaps even in your own homes you want peace for Christmas, the good news it is here!
The last core value is focused on how we interact with God’s word in our teaching ministries. While our first core value, Passion to know and obey God’s word, is individual focused, the last core value is how we interact as a whole to God’s word. Do we hop around and cherry pick verses to support our ideas thus making ourselves as the primary focus or do we allow God’s Word to direct our beliefs?
We believe that God wants us to live together, study His word together, worship together, invest in His kingdom together but not be an exclusive group that is unwelcoming to new friends. God is building His church, He adds to and takes away from His church as He sees fit. We want to make sure we do not repel those God calls to worship here,
Worship and its many styles have been a source of contention from the beginning of the church through today. Churches split over conflicts dealing with worship. We too often get angry with others who disagree with us about worship. Some hate singing, some love singing. Our 5th core value is worship that is real and participatory…
The resources and talents that we have we often use with little to no thought that everything we have is a gift from God and we are going to give an accounting of all of it to Him one day. We hold on to our time, talents and money as if it is really ours but in truth it is all His. Our 4th core value reminds us that we want to invest in His Kingdom and not ours…
We value being authentic with each other, in the world we live in and ultimately because we will all stand before God. We believe Authenticity is seen in how we handle God’s Word, how we treat each other and if what we say is reliable and true. We want to be authentic because God Himself is authentic, genuine and true. He calls us to put on His own character and places us in a world that is starkly the opposite.
The 2nd value we hold to here is the relationships formed by having a passion to know and obey God’s word. God brings us together, we live life together, we come together to praise Him, learn about Him, serve Him and this creates the community we call Prairie Baptist Fellowship. Are you contributing to this community or simply taking from it? We come together to be a mutual aid society in a world that seems to care less for us…
We are going to look at our core values as a church. Core values are what define and direct the mission of the church. All of us have core values, we use them to make decisions on moment by moment basis. We use our core values to determine what we spend money on and prioritize our time and talents. As we look at our church’s core values, what are your personal core values?
Paul’s final words are certainly specific for the church at Corinth, but also filled with ideas that are practically important for us as well. The challenge comes for us to know what is meant to be directly applied and what requires us to uncover the underlying principle. There is plenty here for all of us to consider: If I am a saint, am I acting like it?
Nothing makes church members more uncomfortable than a pastor talking about money; but there is nothing more uncomfortable for a pastor than speaking on money. One of the issues Paul was straightening out with Corinth was this collection he was gathering for the poor and needy in Jerusalem. More about giving will be included in the 2nd letter to Corinth but he lays down some practical principles in this 1st letter.
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