Values. The very word conjures up all sorts of thoughts and ideas, regardless of the person. The only thing that we may agree upon is that everyone has them, whether or not we agree or not on what they are or whether they are right or wrong. Everyone has a set of beliefs around which they set their life, be it an individual, a community, or organization, a company.
Here at Life, we take our four core values from Acts 2:42: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. This is descriptive of the early church; we desire to make it who we are as well. While simple, they are intricately interwoven when you look at each of them and how they are expressed, upwardly for the glory of God, inwardly for spiritual transformation and growth, and outwardly to a world that is watching, longing for something different.
It begins with gospel centrality. Life is only possible because of the good news that Jesus lived and died in our place and rose again so that we might experience life to the full! All that we do comes back to the gospel, for it reveals our idols, exposing our sin so that we can repent and believe it in all areas of our life. We long to be a people who is so fluent in the gospel, that every answer is a gospel one.
When we understand that life centers around the gospel, we begin to understand that the only way that that can happen is in the context of biblical community. We know that knowledge, that understanding, that obedience is experienced to the full in the context of biblical community, for this is how Jesus spent His time while as the incarnate God. As Jesus is in full unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, so are we to be in community with each other. In this way we demonstrate and practice our love for God and our love for one another through obedience to the gospel.
As we share life together, we grow to learn that as Jesus demonstrated the ultimate act of generosity in giving His life for us while we were His enemies, so are we to be a people of radical generosity. When we begin to practice all of the “one anothers” throughout the new testament, we realize that that generosity only begins there. It overflows to our neighbors, our families, our co-workers, our communities. We serve, we give, we share because Christ did that for us first.
The realization, then, that all we have comes from God, and that we cannot do any of these things apart from His Spirit, comes through the power of definitive prayer. Our understanding of the gospel, our loving one another, our being generous, all come as a result of asking the Holy Spirit to do for us what only He can. Prayer allows us to see God move, to experience His presence, to listen to His commands, to respond to His calling. It is, as the great D.L. Moody referred, “the engine” for the work of the Kingdom of God.
When we pray, we are driven back to His Word, to the gospel, for hope, for answers, for life. And it then it begins again, values driving us to a life in Christ that, through both demonstration and proclamation, says Jesus is worth completely re-orienting our lives around for His glory, for His purposes. And that? That is something we can all value.