We seek as a Church to revisit the core vision and the values that we hold to, at least once a Year and so today we are looking again at what it is we have a vision for and what values we maintain.
Some Churches go as far as to recite their core vision and beliefs every Sunday in the form of a creed and have been doing so for nearly 1,800 years.
We are a Church that seeks to live out our beliefs every day and believe that this is not dependent on us reciting them from heart. But it is true that nearly every Roman Catholic could recite to you their core vision in the form of the Nicean Creed.
The Nicean Creed 325AD
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
As a congregation of believers I am sure that we could sign up to all that this creed declares.- We believe it as passionately as any Christian would.
But what else do we have as our vision, the things that we see either now or in the future.
You know that there is a small group of people in the Church who are short sighted. This group of which I am a part can only see things very close to them. Without assistance their whole world is a blur.
There is another group for whom things close to them are a blur. Things are only in focus further away.
In the word of God- we see that the issue of what we see and how we see is taken from the physical into the spiritual. God appears to be very interested in how we see things.
Hebrews 12 :1
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. 3When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Sue once gave me a birthday card that helped me to see this truth. The picture is apparently quite famous.
It shows a King returning in triumph from some great success and receiving all the praise for his achievement. He turns and sees sculpture showing Jesus crucified. The expression may not be clear here but in the picture he is shaken and convicted by how he has been raised up and how Jesus had done been laid low for Him. He needed to fix His eyes on Jesus.
1 Corinthians 13: 12
We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
What do we see now for us
We may not see it all and we can take huge encouragement that the bible speaks so clearly about all the great men of God only having glimpses – Paul says He knows in part and prophesies in part. We can take comfort from this. We get glimpses too.
We praise god for the glimpses- Our regular Rehearse the Word reminds us of the richness of those glimpses that fill our life in God together.
But what we do see guides and changes what we then DO!
Five years ago now maybe more, the leadership spent time putting together what we saw then as the vision of the Church.
Our vision is to play a full part in reaching out to those who do not yet know the Good News about Jesus, in this area. We seek to model the loving community which the Lordship of Jesus brings about and to play a positive role for good in society.
In 2004 I want to ask you to allow me to paraphrase this and to ask again what do we see- What is our Vision?
Making this vision a reality involves living in particular ways having clear priorities. Priorities that say Yes to this vision and No to any other stuff we want to do.
So what is it that we value as a result of what we see.?
I suspect that there are many things in your own life that you value that are important to you.
If the House burnt down what would you be running out with?
Lets have a few?
Time to think
Time with God
These are the things that you will be likely to devote yourselves to. The flip side to that is that if things are not on the list, you just won’t do them.
In my teaching at School, there are always initiatives and forms to fill in. Forms which are valuable to the people that produce them. They want me to fill them in, but somehow they always end up at the bottom of my pile of things to do.- The truth must be that I don’t value them. I am quite happy to believe I should value them, but I clearly don’t -otherwise they would be done.
There is one I have added something I value, something I want to commit my life to doing better and better.- WORSHIP. I know you all share this and I will ask the leadership to confirm this addition when we meet on 6 June.
LWCC Vision and Values
From this flow our Values:
(1) The Word of God
We believe in the regular teaching of God's Word (the Bible) as a vital means by which lives are changed. The church is a place where the authority of the Bible is the plumb line for our lives.
(2) The Holy Spirit
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit both to transform and to empower the life of the believer. This includes being continually filled with the Holy Spirit and growing in godly character.
We believe that a life of worship is central to us all. A life filled with prayer and that follows the example of Jesus -in Breaking Bread together, Praising God and offering worship from the heart.
We believe in a church that is loving, righteous, secure and involved in world mission; a church whose people are assured of the grace of God in their lives and understand the full benefits of being in Christ.
People are important to God and we therefore seek to reach out to people in friendship and love with the message of the gospel with which we have been entrusted. In order to do this, the church needs to be culturally relevant while still holding fast to the timeless principles of living which the Bible teaches.
(5) Small Groups
We believe that small groups play a vital part in the life of the church, as a means of evangelism, for developing friendships and as a vehicle to express the vision and direction of the church.
Belonging to the church is a decision which signals commitment. This involves
On-going devotion to Christ; discipleship and accountability; relating to one another (including marriage/family life) in a godly manner; playing a full part in the life of the church and a readiness to serve in our common purpose. Belonging to the church is not a matter of attendance only, but of commitment in heart.
We believe in giving of ourselves and all that the Lord has blessed us with, recognising that we are stewards of such provision. All this (including regular financial giving) enables the church to operate both within the local community and beyond.
We believe that the church should be led by men and women with leadership gifts. We provide training for this purpose and every encouragement to those with leadership ability. This includes releasing those called to wider ministry.
Just as with the way we organise our individual lives, we see the things we value like the books on our bookshelves tell us what we are like.
The activities of the Church too will tell us what we value. What we do our bookshelf, if you like, might be our diary of events- what does it tell you we value.
We so love to express our heart of love to Jesus. He is precious to us and all the valuables in our lives are so little in comparison to Him.
Tim Blake 30 May 2004