Simpler. Deeper. Richer. Fuller. - Theme for Impact this coming year.

Simpler. Deeper. Richer. Fuller.

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

**Verse for this Year:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – I Peter 4:8

“Above all”:

What do you think of when you think of the words “Above All”?

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”:

What do you think of when you think about “loving 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.”:

What do you think of when you think of love covering 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.

**Theme for this Year:
Simpler. Deeper. Richer. Fuller.

These four words will drive what we say yes to.  We will simplify.  Pick one thing, maybe two...but stop trying to do 3,4, 5 or 6.  Stop it.  We will focus on a few things as a church that we want to do well and stop saying yes to every good idea.  We will also encourage people to do the same in their lives at home. We have to pick what God's called us to and to do it with our whole heart as unto the Lord.

We will go deeper.  Deeper in Life Groups.  Deeper in Accountability.  Deeper in Discipleship.  Deeper in Prayer and Worship.  Deeper into our community.  Deeper in our friendships with the world.  Deeper in our interaction and understanding of God's Word.  Deeper in our friendships.  Deeper in our families.  Deeper in our marriages.  Deeper in our gifts and abilities.  Deeper in the ways God has wired us...focusing on our sweet spots and deepening our use of God's gifts he's blessed us with.  Deeper.

We will be Richer.  Instead of being diluted down to a warm, watery and wimpy cup of coffee, we will be thick and rich with taste because the ingredients of our life are concentrated like concentrate.  We have simplified and deepened which causes our life to be tasty and delicious when others experience us.  We aren't bland and colorless.  We aren't stripped of joy and peace and life and love in our living.  No, these spiritual fruits are present in our moments, minutes, hours and days.  We are rich with meaning, not money.

We will be Fuller.  Instead of living empty because we're pouring ourselves into everything that haphazardly presents itself to us, we root ourselves in the "above all" priorities and principles.  1. Guard the Heart.  2. Seek the Kingdom.  3. Wear the Love.  And when we get opportunities or offers to give ourselves to something, we will choose the things that brings fullness to our lives instead of drain us of life.  We cannot keep living empty and expect the Life of Christ to be attractive through us.  It is a logical impossibility.  This doesn't mean that we won't do things at times that we don't like...but by and large we will be looking for things to fill our well so that when we pour ourselves out it comes from a deep reservoir of fullness.  The Psalmist says, "my cup runneth over".  That's what we want our lives to look like because we are living full lives.

All these things...simpler, deeper, richer, fuller...they all go together.  And instead of doing 3 more things this year, we're going to do the three things we did last year in simpler, deeper, richer and fuller ways.  No 3 new things this year...we are going to make the 3 things new.

Above each other deeply...cause love covers a multitude of sins.
- I Peter 4:8

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssss!


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