Today @ The Gathering we continued in our present series with a talk entitled, “Let’s Be The Change We Seek.”
The hope of the world is the message of the gospel. The only movement charged with the teaching and spreading of that gospel is the church of Jesus Christ. And even though the gospel is the change we seek in the world, it’s not just information; it’s transformation.
We talked about the one thing God wants from us that’s always denied Him. And that is the fact that we would be unified; that we would be together. God wants us to show the world that we’re changed by the fact that we love each other. It doesn’t mean that we’re always lovable. It simply means that the obligation to protect the unity of the church is always at the forefront.
We also talked about the importance of core values; those foundational truths that you go to, particularly in times of stress. We listed the four core values of The Gathering as:
1. Truth and the freedom it promotes. We quoted from John 8:32 when Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The gospel is not some subset or theological doctrine that was handed to us by the authority of tradition. But it’s the real truth of God. And as truth-seekers, this is where we’re able to engage all those who are seeking truth as well.
2. We value people and the potential they possess. Jesus said, “There is more joy in heaven over one sinner whose life is rescued, than over 99 people who need no rescue.” Here is the real truth. People come in one variety: messed up. People are messy, broken, bruised, angry, hurt, mad, rejected, afraid, and isolated. But these are the very people who have the potential of being redeemed, restored, and renewed into good, godly men and women that can change the world.
3. We value hope and the future it promises. The Scriptures promise us that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Hope in Jesus Christ is not only that we, individually can be redeemed, but that the world is being redeemed, and that God has a future in which real people will have a real life and a new heaven and a new earth; where there will be no more pain, no more cancer, no more sorrow, no more suffering, no more war; only peace in the absolute direct presence of our Creator.
4. We value joy and the strength it provides. The Scriptures remind us, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Oftentimes because the church deals with real life and the pain that comes with it, we get way too serious. And we lose our joy. Who wants to be around joyless people whose worship is nothing more than a weekly obligation?
So here’s the foundation on which we seek to be a great church people love going to. We value truth, people, hope, and joy. These are the things that will keep us on course; the motivation to give God the one thing He wants. Our unity is what will keep us moving forward, loving each other, caring for each other even though at times we’re messy and it’s difficult.