Posted by: pastortomvabeach | May 3, 2017

Thought for the Week May 7, 2017

As we continue in discussing Christian Chapel’s core values let me remind you that core values are not our doctrine. They are more like the way we flesh out what we believe and allow the Lord to live His life through us. Core values are usually unique to each church. Assembly of God churches hold to all the same main points of faith as found in the Scriptures, yet no two churches are completely alike in the way God works through them to serve the communities in which they are located. He tailors each church to be able to reach a specific segment of the population. In that way, each church is special.

We’ve covered three of our values. We are: Christ-centered, people-focused, and relational. The next one may seem curious, but we believe it is part of who we are. We are authentic. This means that we are up front, honest, transparent people who wear no masks. We are like this because we live in light of God’s truth that sets us free.

One of the things that attracted people to Jesus was His authenticity. He never tried to be someone who He was not and represented Himself with integrity everywhere He went, even when His openness and transparency0 put Him in danger. How many times did the religious leaders attempt to kill Him because He came right out and said that He was the Son of God, which they believed was blasphemy?

In our changing culture, it is important that we represent ourselves as Christ’s followers. This doesn’t mean that we are holier than other people just that we have been given a new heart and made clean through His grace and kindness. While we don’t glory in our flaws, we neither try to hide them. People who are far from Christ are not attracted to those who appear perfect on the outside but to those who are normal people whom God loves.

If one thing provoked the Lord more than others it was pretense. His most angry remarks were reserved for the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who pretended to be what they were not. They were so busy trying to be perfect that they forgot to be honest.

Jesus accepted people who were honest about where they were in life just as they were but didn’t leave them there. He met them at their area of need and always said, “Now go and sin no more.” We are all on that kind of journey. We are being changed by His power, on the way to being perfect but none of us is quite there. People are attracted to others who are real. This is why we value being authentic, honest, open, and transparent.

Proverbs 20:7 says The righteous man walks in his integrity. Integrity means that we are the same in private as we are in public, we live what we speak, and we are authentic. This guides our way of life or “walk”. The second half of that verse shows the value of such authenticity, His children are blessed after him. Our children know us the best and when they see us being the same person at home as we are at church, it impacts their receptivity towards the faith. Authenticity speaks to our families.

Dr. Richard Dobbins says, “Authentic Christians are transparent. What you see is what you get with them. They have learned through hard experiences that the transparent life is more likely to bring them the joy and peace of the Kingdom, so they are honest about what is happening in their own lives and they are honest about issues they have with other people. Transparent people learn the wisdom of living according to John’s plea that we be transparent in our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with other people: If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:7-9. That is, we live in confession of our sins, we find forgiveness of our sins, and we walk in truth and light with God and with others.”

This kind of openness makes Christians attractive to those who are far from Christ just as they were attracted to Jesus when He was on earth. Being authentic doesn’t mean that you are not pursuing holiness, just that you are honest about where you are on the journey. Jesus is working on all of us and it’s refreshing to be connected with a group of people who are walking that journey together, helping each other along the way. Just a thought.

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