It’s Not about you, christ’s glory IS tHE MISSION
Principle zero is the overarching principle that all others beautifully dangle from. The chief end of every human being (and every church community) is to reveal the glory of God, focused in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This life is about making much of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. We do this in word and deed with expectant desire that all people will come to know Jesus as the Redeemer and Lord of all. Jesus Christ is the radiance of God. He is the only worthy object of praise and worship. He is the only hope of salvation and creation’s renewal. When we learn to enjoy God and glorify Him in Christ Jesus, the more fully human we become.
Celebrate All consideration, BECAUSE It’s worship.
Authentic consideration of God at any stage of the journey is step of true worship. Removing yourself from the center of knowledge and authority is an act of humility, a requirement for worship. Even the simplest question: “Is there a God?” can be such an act when done sincerely. As such, we celebrate all consideration with confidence that it will eventually lead to more truth. More truth reinforces the value of consideration which eventually works itself toward ultimate fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ and His gospel of grace. When we fail to celebrate consideration at its earliest manifestations, we will regrettably reinforce the two destructive extremes of “willful agnosticism” or “repressive dogmatism.” We reject both as distortions of our design as image-bearers of God.
never stop considering.
Every journey begins with a single step, but the best discoveries are often found many miles from the start. The glories of God in Christ are far too grand to be found out in just a few years or even a lifetime. And so, the joyful process of consideration should never grow dull or find its completion. The Christian life should be marked by a continuous and enthusiastic consideration and reconsideration of the revelations of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Have great conversations.
Gospel consideration is best served in community. We should be known as people who consider well with others. Truth is stirred up in the troughs of great conversation. As an antidote to a lamentable conversational ethos in our city, the gospel compels us to start, sustain, and revisit bigger, better conversations about matters of real concern whenever possible. With compassionate listening and slaty speech, great conversations inside and outside the community of believers will lift God’s truth to the surface, providing a breath of fresh air to a suffocating city.
honesty breeds freedom.
True life is always found in the light of honesty, not the shadows of deception. Whether unconscious internal self-deception or external malicious deceitfulness, all lies lead to bondage. In all our dialogue and consideration we must be honest with ourselves, with each other, and with the world. This can only happen if we live honestly toward God and His revealed Word in the Bible. True freedom in Christ is available to all, but it only follows on the heels of honesty, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient that may be.
live like you are on borrowed time.
Why? Because you are! God does not promise tomorrow and so we should live each new day as the gift of mercy and grace that it is. God has loaned us time for some specific purpose that He alone knows. That is why we must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit at all times, in route to bold and creative living for God’s Kingdom purposes. As we fearlessly live out our numbered days we press into the promises of Jesus, that He is establishing our eternal home even now. Assured of the resurrection of all that is to come, we are released from the fear of missing out, joyfully trusting that we have everlasting life ahead of us.
take one step beyond comfortable.
The love and grace we have received in Jesus was manifest because God chose to step out of comfort into discomfort. Christ’s love should compel us to follow him into the discomforts that sin and brokenness create in the world around us—be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or relational. For each of us this line of comfort is unique, but we know when we have crossed it. As our heart rate increases we lean into the truth of the gospel to move us forward with compassion and kindness—we do not step back.
love works hard.
Our notion of love is fundamentally distorted. Love is more than a feeling, it is action. It is not real love if it does not move us to act. Love considers the other more important than the self. Love does not stop acting when circumstances become challenging. Without blood, sweat and tears there is no love. We do not work hard to be loved, we work hard because we were first loved by God in Christ.
engage each one.
Jesus said that God leaves the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one. All followers of Jesus should give attention to and assign this same value to each individual who crosses our path. It is the individual (not an idea) who suffers, who is cold, who is lonely, and who is worthy of our kindness. If each of us engages each one, the many will be seen, cared for, comforted, and invited into the love of the family of God.
cultivate dual citizenship.
Scripture tells us that we are citizens of both heaven and earth. The peculiar life of every Jesus-followers is informed by this command to engage both realms, learn both languages, and seek the welfare of the inhabitants of both. We neither withdraw from society nor allow ourselves to be absorbed by it. We live in gospel tension as resident aliens who live as salt and light within every city, culture, and nation of the world because we believe that God has planted us here for a purpose. All-the-while we never forget that our final hope and purpose rests in God’s kingdom — where Christ reigns as King and we live in the unfiltered presence of the triune God.
The responsibility of every Jesus-follower to make the consideration of Jesus available to anyone who so desires. We are not responsible for changing anyones heart or giving them faith—God does that. This makes the ministry of presence and invitation two non-negotiable aspects of the Christian life. How will they consider if they are not invited? How will they be invited if they have never knowingly encountered a Christian? Presence and invitation require the courage of vulnerability as you risk rejection, but places you in a position of grace, available to lovingly consider with others when doors divinely open.
take the gospel MORE seriously THAN yourself.
In a world constantly pressuring us to become our own brand and protect our own image, the gospel reminds us what is actually special about us—we are loved by God. By centering our self-image on the person and reputation of Jesus, we are free to take seriously that which should be taken seriously—the gospel of grace. It is not that you are unimportant, it is just that your importance is hidden now in Christ Jesus who is your all in all. Untangled from the chains and anxieties of self-branding and self-righteousness, we can finally rest from the competition.
lead with lament.
News flash: We live in a broken and fallen world. This includes every aspect of private and public life. Every institution and organization is laced with the effects of sin. Every part of physical creation is not as it was originally designed to be. Therefore, we should never be surprised by the confusion and controversy that bubbles up when human beings try to understand and make sense of life apart from the Scriptures. In any discussion of politics, economics, cultural ideologies, or popular morality, it is a best practice to lead with lament for the associated realities. Only after a proper lament for the manifestations of brokenness should we offer up our well-considered opinions on how to best move forward. By recognizing and reasoning from brokenness we do not overstate our finite ability to do what only God can do through Christ Jesus. No matter how sure we are of our positions, leading with lament acknowledges the unavoidable pains of this world and rightly locates our hope in the restorative work only Jesus can do. Modeling lament for others helps them see the error in trusting in the things/systems/politics of this world to save. Having said that, out of love for our neighbor, we must still consider and act toward the best available solutions concerning the full array of this world’s pressing problems.
LET’S PRAY NOW.
We pray like it matters because we worship a God who is both over all and in all, beyond time and space, and present in it. When we speak, God listens. When we cry out, God responds. Yahweh is Lord of the natural and the supernatural and Christ is the mediator of both. So we need not filter our requests to God, but instead, pray with unhindered hearts and lips, believing that God will always answer for His glory and our eternal best. If this is true, why wait for the “right” words or “perfect” timing. Why not pray right now and trust God will shape our hearts towards his perfect will through our conversation with Him.
pass it on.
We are not where we are by our own invention. We owe everything to God who has made himself known to us by means of someone else faithfully passing along the truth of God. Starting with the prophets, then the apostles, the centuries of faithful generations; from grandparents to parents, friends to co-workers, pastors to strangers, each of us owe a debt of gratitude to the many who passed along the truth of Jesus. But this debt goes beyond mere gratitude and moves us to action, to pass on what has been revealed to us concerning the truth, wisdom, and practices of Christ Jesus our Lord. Stop lying to yourself: silence is not noble, its selfish.