Reviewing the CORE
Don’t Lose Sight of the CORE
“There is an old story about a lighthouse keeper who worked on a rocky stretch of coastline. Once a month he would receive a new supply of oil to keep the light burning so that ships could safely sail near the rocky coast. One night, though, a woman from a nearby village came and begged him for some oil to keep her family warm. Another time a father asked for some to use in his lamp. Another man needed to lubricate a wheel. Since all the requests seemed legitimate, the lighthouse keeper tried to please everyone and grant the requests of all.
Toward the end of the month, he noticed his supply of oil was dangerously low. Soon it was gone, and one night on the light on the lighthouse went out. As a result, that evening several ships were wrecked and countless lives were lost. When the authorities investigated, the man was very apologetic. He told them he was just trying to be helpful with the oil. Their reply to his excuses, however, was simple and to the point: “You were given oil for one purpose, and one purpose only – to keep that light burning!”
A church faces a similar commission. There is no end to the demands placed on a church’s time and resources. As a result, the foundational purposes of a church must remain supreme.”
- (illustration from: James Emory White, Rethinking the Church (Baker Books, 1997), 27-28.)
There are many programs and ministries in the life of the church, and most of them are very good. However, a quick tour through the our area and the counties surrounding us will reveal that there are many churches that are nearly vacant if not totally closed. At a time when the need in our world for the light of Christ is so great and countless souls are searching for something solid to believe in and find hope we discover that many of the once bright shining lighthouses have closed.
This is why I believe that we need to consider and stay committed to the CORE Values of the church. There will be different methodologies and teachings, but these four elements of the CORE are nonnegotiable.
C – Christ – It’s all about Him!
1 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways.
2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by [His] Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe.
3 He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
4 So He became higher in rank than the angels, just as the name He inherited is superior to theirs.
Jesus Christ has to be at the center of all that we do as His followers and as the church. We do what we do for Him and because of Him. We should constantly be striving to have “the mind of Christ.” To think, love, and act as Jesus would in our daily lives. It’s not easy, but it’s what we are expected to do. When we don’t think like Christ…act like Christ…love like Christ…we leave the world confused and vainly searching for life and hope without any idea where to find it. When the people of the church are living like Jesus it will stir things in people, cause them to wonder and question things about themselves and others, and ultimately enable them to find their way to the source of hope found in a relationship with Christ.
O – Outreach – It’s all about Them!
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Our purpose for being the church is to fulfill the Great Commission given to us by our Lord upon His departure. Go…make disciples…share His story. When the church is focused on making disciples and sharing His story we see the impact it can have in live, homes, communities, populations. When the church is silent and stagnant we see the destruction that can come instead. Today there are more vacant churches around in large part because the church as a whole has lost sight of the need to focus on outreach as corporate bodies and individual members. We need to remember that we are here for the people who are not yet here.
R – Relationships – It’s all about Us!
34 “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus commanded us to love each other like He has loved us. He declared that this is the way that people around us will know that our faith is genuine, when it is authenticated by the love of Christ expressed by and toward one another. There are no short-cuts to this, we either have true AGAPE love or we don’t—it can’t be faked. Most of the people around us have seen plenty of Christ-followers and churches acting in ways that are not steeped in love. When they see genuine love it will rock their world. Love that is characterized by; grace and mercy; compassion and passion; generosity and action; sacrifice and selflessness. They can deny our claims and statements as much as they want to, but it’s impossible to deny a life characterized by this type of love.
Last Sunday I shared this bold prediction that bears repeating:
If a church –and by that I refer to every individual believer—will strive to live a life of love—CHRIST LOVE—in their lives and in the church then the make-up of the congregation of that church will include many of the same types of people that flocked to Jesus during His ministry on earth. The hurting, the sinful, the filthy masses of mankind will begin to make their way to the church because these people…and all people…are hungering and thirsting for real love. When they find that they will flock to it and they will eagerly tell other people who are searching like them where to find it.
- It won’t be about compromising values on things that are sin.
- It won’t be about making it comfortable by watering down the message of Scripture
- It won’t be about changing the way or why we are doing things
- IT WILL BE ABOUT PEOPLE LONGING FOR LOVE DISCOVERING REAL LOVE
We Conclude this Sunday with:
E – Equipping – It’s all about Me!
Don’t miss it this Sunday as we discuss the importance of availing yourself of opportunities to grow and mature as a follower of Christ and the critical nature of discipleship if the church is to be all she is intended to be and we are really going to have an IMPACT in the world around us.
Living Waters Community Church, Springfield, Vermont