It is often easy to say that you are something that you are not. It is easy to believe that you are better than what you really are. I am in the middle of a series at our church, Investigating Cornerstone, where our intent is to look at and articulate exactly the type of church we think we are and where we would like to go. In this process, one of my prayers is that we would have a clear view of the real Cornerstone. Last week, I shared the first four Core Values of our church. Then yesterday, I shared the remaining five. These are the things that represent our church.
Core Value #5: Community
One of the major implications of being created in the image of God is that we long for relationships. When God created Adam, He placed him in the garden to name the animals. After a long progression of weird animals came before him, he probably realized there was no one that was like him. In fact, God said that it was not good for man to be alone. So God created woman. Yes, it was in the context of marriage that man now found companionship, but there is a higher principle. Now there was another human that he could interact with on a regular basis.
The interaction of people, being involved in each other's lives is seen all throughout the OT, but is magnified when the church is started in Acts 2. They met every day and had all things in common (2:42-47). Their hearts were unified in Jesus Christ and they longed to be with each other. Our desire is to have a church that longs to be with each other, to live in community with each other.
Core Value #6: Prayer
Prayer is so extremely important because when we pray we are showing our dependence upon the Lord. We are expressing a heart that acknowledges that unless God does something, we are hopeless. When we pray, we are saying that we cannot do this thing on our own. By the power of the Spirit, through the person of Jesus Christ, we approach our Father begging, pleading, petitioning, and requesting that He do something in our midst.
Core Value #7: Compassion
A real love for Jesus will move us to compassionately love any person in need. That is the point of the account of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). It forces us to wrestle with whether our Christianity is theoretical or actual. Is it only in our minds or does it make a difference in our heart? As I think about a church that is compassionate to those inside and outside their church, I often think of one question: If our church did not exist, would our community miss it? That's a tough question.
Core Value #8: Authenticity
We want to be real. We want to be a place where people can be real. We believe the Christian life is most effectively lived when people are genuine. Of course, the opposite of authentic is fake. Pretending. Putting on a show on the outside so that everyone is impressed with us. That is exactly what Jesus condemns the Pharisees for in Matthew 23. We hope our church is a place where it is okay to struggle. Not content to struggle, but okay to admit because we firmly believe that every person struggles. Everyone!
Core Value #9: Spiritual Gifts
We are committed to helping people identify, develop and use their God-given gifts for the edification of the church body. Every Christian has been given a spiritual gift. We want them to know how best they fit in the body of Christ and then get busy actively using that gift.
If you want to listen to the entire sermon, you can find it HERE. Next week, we will be talking about Church Membership. If you are local and want to find out more about it, please feel welcome to visit us at 10:15 am at Cardinal Middle School in Middlefield, Ohio. We look forward to seeing you and meeting you.