This is our theme as a church heading into this next fiscal year (June 2012-2013). For me, it couldn't be more timely.
I penned a vision for the year back in March and have changed it no less than 6 times. It has gone from the extremes of gang rushing the gates of hell with water pistols to sitting alone in the woods and meditating as a congregation for a year straight with no talking or human interaction. Some days I would want to take 4 more mountains and other days I would feel drawn to downsize my life so that my belongings could fit in a box and my family in a camper. Some verses that I've encountered to drive my vision have unabashedly asked me to pour out my life as a drink offering and offer my head with John the Baptist for the greater good of the kingdom. Other verses have caused me to question whether my leadership in church is nothing more than superficial activity. If the early church made church about circumcision, I fear we could make it a circus. I'm not sure if circumcision is much different than a circus when you really evaluate what drives a person to perform either of them. Both are an outward show rather than an inner reality.
A couple weeks ago, I locked into a verse than wooed me. I read over it again and again drawn to its simple beauty and singular priority. I need that right now. I think everyone does.
We studied this verse together as a staff this last week and developed a theme out of it that will drive our body in the coming year. After 6 revisions of the vision, I finally feel I've gotten the heart of God for our body and I'm at peace with it.
Here is our theme verse which leads to our theme...
Spiritual Focus of for 2012/2012
Proverbs 4:23 - Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Matthew 6:33 - Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Colossians 3:14 - Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Notice the stuff that is supposed to be "above all". The Heart, the Kingdom, and Love. And notice what we're supposed to do with each:
1. Guard the Heart
2. Seek the Kingdom
3. Wear the Love
Man, this is what I want my life, our church, and this world to be about in the year to come! Worse than bad I want this.
“Love each other deeply”:
1 Peter 1:22 - You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
Isaiah 66:10-12 - “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.”
Is this what your life is about...depth. Do you feel like your interactions with people are like two ships passing in the night? Don't you find yourself lonely and longing for friendship of the deepest sort. Friends of a certain ilk that are kindred and intimate, instead of event-based and transactional? Yeah, that's what I want to make more time for in my schedule and more room for in my heart. This is what I want our church to focus on in a world that wants them to love everything and thus, love nothing. Remember what Proverbs said, "A man of many friends come to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother." When we dilute ourselves by trying to do everything and please everyone, we end up ruined and empty. Loving deeply...and drinking deeply of the overflowing abundance...yes, yes, yes!
“Love covers over a multitude of sins.”:
Proverbs 10:12 - Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrong.
Proverbs 17:9 - He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
I want to become a person that covers and dignifies and forgives and offers mercy. I want to blanket people with love. If we are clothing ourselves with love, we will cover others with the selfsame love wherewith we've been clothed. How could we let Christ clothe us with love and not offer than same extravagance? Impossible. Our church must be rich in love, abounding in love, crazy about love. We must be a love culture that covers people's hurts and pains. He covered my sin with his love, we must cover others' with ours.