The words "core values" in the world today denote mostly the paring down to a statement of why an organization, corporation, or person does what it is doing. Many times it is meant to drive the way the organization enacts upon its purposes. Most would deem values based behavior essential in an organization today. It is no different for a Christian person and organization. We must live and present ourselves by a Biblical standard; especially if we plan to bring transformation to lives and society as a whole.
This presentation of the values of Overflowing Grace is not exhaustive, but a putting forth a few basic Biblical standards to live by, and needed by our team to flow in ministry. Doing and going to the people God calls us to. The articulation of these values brings discussion and helps us in our decision making, and it helps others to understand the vision and why we make the decisions that we do.
The following eight values are not a total and sum of all Christian values, but are the ones chosen to be our core values at this present time to help us at Overflowing Grace present the Gospel and help all that we come in contact with.
Grace - God gives from Love that which we do not deserve or earn
Hope - A conviction that God is present and will see us to persevere
Faith -The means to real and intense relationships (especially to Jesus)
Love - The means to put on Christ and love the unlovable
Justice - A heart biased for the disadvantaged
Joy - A sense of completeness not sustained by circumstances
Service - The Spirit of God, meaning found in helping others
Peace - Innate sense of the presence of God
Grace begins at creation; God looked down through the ages at man and saw the need of forgiveness. Jesus himself gave up His throne and came to bring salvation. His very life and death show us God’s heart; giving us what we do not deserve. God’s grace is given freely to all who will receive. This is without regard to any person, culture, race, creed or circumstance.
Those who know the grace of God, who have been transformed by it, should be the most willing to see that power of grace work in the lives of others. We should be looking for ways for the Holy Ghost to use us to bring that grace into their lives. It doesn’t mean tolerance of sin, but the walking in the knowledge of forgiveness, and loving despite their sin.
Taken seriously a life of grace is unstoppable by any national, cultural, or religious boundaries. Grace will enhance the way we relate to people and the way we live in our culture. Grace is an undeserved gift to someone. So we will have a natural tendency of bias to those in need. We will see the need of every man and move to the place where God leads that the need be met; by the revelation of Jesus, through the cross, through healing, through deliverance. May the humility of Grace ever flow through His kingdom and His people.
Hope is the knowledge that God is present with us. He will not leave us nor forsake us. He has already gone into our future before us and will be ever present with us. Hope is more than positive thinking it is the encouragement not to overlook the positive things in life. Hope gives us the ability to look beyond our present problems and circumstance to see the future where God is the reality and our destination.
With the economy, poverty, SARS, AIDS, cancer, wars, terrorism and problems all about us it would be easy to live in fear and desperation. This is the mind set the enemy would have us in because it makes us so vulnerable to his attacks. He would have us live in fear and despair. To lead us to give up and not move forward or do anything, because we can’t make a difference. With hope, you know that God is with you. Your present situation is not your end.
Hope is having trust in God. Believing the Jesus is Lord of all. That Jesus is at work in the world today; That the Holy Ghost will lead and direct you. That he will work everything to your good, even if you can’t see the end at the present. That He is working on your behalf and you will like the outcome. Hope is not an attitude, it is knowledge of who God is.
Webster tells us that faith is unquestioning belief, complete trust or confidence. To complete that for the Christian it is belief in Jesus Christ. Hebrews tells us it is substance and evidence of things hoped for and not seen. It is an attitude of trust in the one in whom we have faith. Our faith is grounded and has its substance in the faithfulness of God. He is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. Faith is neither opposed to reason or reality, but is founded in the fact that God is unchanging and faithful to His very nature. Faith is an attitude of trust in someone you know.
May we Christians put on Christ and His nature. We will become faithful in our natures. We will do what we say we will do. We will go where we say we will go. We will have faithfulness as an attribute in every facet of our lives. We will show the world a different God than the one (or Ones) they believe in. Our faith in Jesus Christ will extend itself to relationship with others. The faith and commitment relationship we have in Jesus needs to mirror into our human relationships as well.
God is love. The meaning to life is to be found in God’s unconditional love known in Jesus Christ. Without this love nothing else makes sense. Its most fundamental characteristic is that it seeks the good of others, before self. Love is more than an emotion, it involves choosing the better, even for ones enemies.
God did not create the world so that He would have someone or something to love. Love already existed in the divine God head. Father, son and Spirit are all 100% love. They conspired to send Jesus. To come live in the flesh, to suffer the consequences of human sin (die on the cross), to overcome its power (death-separation from God). This was a powerful commitment of putting us before all else. This was not done from a feeling , but by a chosen course of action. Done for those of us who were enemies of God.
Micah 6:8 He has shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly. Biblical justice is not an abstract notion of fairness and equality. It is very real, practical, down to earth actions to ensure those who are weaker are protected. The poor have their basic needs met (leave the corners of the field). The stranger is invited in and shown hospitality. We are justified therefore are called upon to do justly. In our forgiveness we can find grace to help others. Even if they don’t deserve it. To stand for right even if it cost a little
God is just and will always do that which is right. As we all know many injustices do remain in our world. God is not indifferent, He sent Jesus, and now has left us here to do justly and to be his body on the face of the earth. It is time for us to do greater works Let us do justly.
Joy is the quality of taking pleasure in the fullness of God. It is not what happens that makes us happy for that will diminish, fade or dissipate. Joy is not a byproduct of circumstance. It is that inner assurance that God is on the throne and He is operating in the world today. Because of that everything will be set right. Joy is a part of the faith walk. It is a sense of fullness unattainable by natural methods. By the Holy Ghost we are given the fullness of Christ where there is neither lack nor want. We are content in the overflow of happiness that is not an emotion or feeling , but the knowledge of well-being, for we are in God’s hand, heart, prayers and thoughts.
If we move to the emotional side of this we can look at scripture. It says that joy comes in the morning. That joy is interpreted as creak or shout. A noise (shout) comes in the morning. We should greet each new day with a loud shout of expectation of what God is going to do in our lives and the lives of others today.
Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, stated that he came not to be served, but to serve. He paid the ultimate sacrifice on the cross to serve and purchase our souls. He gave us examples of washing the others feet on the way to the cross. To be the greatest in the kingdom is to be servant of all. The value of serving others in love was His intention for His body. To lay oneself and our ambitions aside for the good and comfort of others is Christ minded.
This is in stark contrast to the world system and thinking. Trying to get ahead and outdo all others. To rule and be served with your whole life centered on what you want or think is best for you.
There is no greater honor than to serve others and watch Jesus change their heart. I have seen enemies of the gospel turn to friends then to believers in Jesus by simple acts of kindness or thoughtfulness. Doing something as simple as installing a light bulb. Only God knows the heart and the whole story. The need to be thought of and cared for is in all of us.
The Shalom of God is more than the lack of conflict. It is a sense of fullness, completeness, wholeness and well-being. In other words you have the presence of the almighty all sufficient, ever loving God filling you, overflowing you and flowing out in rivers of living water. You are immersed in the Spirit of the living God and you know it. When you walk in the Spirit this way you bring peace with you into every situation and circumstance. Scriptures tell us if a house is worthy leave your peace. We are to affect the atmosphere and energy wherever we go. Then we can leave a different atmosphere than we found when we leave.
We many times settle for stability or a lack of violence for a period of time as a substitute for the true peace of God. We the church need to begin to carry the gospel of peace with us again. It is a peace the world cannot give. This peace is only found in Jesus Christ. We can not only carry personal inner peace; we can carry social and community peace. We should be speaking God’s peace into every venue we go to. Jesus has given us great peace and with that comes great responsibility.
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