God’s imprint on each life.
Michelangelo once said that he never carved anything out of marble but that the final sculpture was buried under the surface waiting to be free. That’s how we see each person. Each person has been made in the image of God but that is usually buried beneath tons of....well, we'll call it stone.
How’d that happen? There was damage at the core and it’s driven us into more damage. We’ve been under assault for years. There were things that came against us, lies we believed and wounds and scars that mounted up. We took on coping behaviors in self-defense and defiance and before you know it we were buried so deep that His image was barely visible. None of us is what we could be.
And yet…greatness lies just beneath. The design and glory of God, stamped into our hearts, is still there waiting and wanting to be restored and released and it will take the hand of God to restore it.
You’re not a carbon copy of anyone so we don't know how exactly that glory will be apparent. You are exceptional and you reflect a unique aspect of the glory of God. Our heart for you is to see that unique glory restored and free. All of us are in process. All of us need restoration. We go after all the wholeness that God makes available.
God spoke. He's still speaking
We are thoroughly intrigued and engaged by the Word of God as presented in what are called the Old and New Testaments. Far from being ‘dead letters,’ the Word is alive, lively and rather dangerous. We can't say we fully understand all that God has presented but we’re working on it and He keeps showing us more that we missed.
Because we believe what He’s given us in this Word, we also have to attend to the ways that He speaks now. He’s not like some absent Father who abandoned us with a user’s manual, never to be heard from again. He’s given us His Word so that we can check and confirm what we’re hearing now. He’s consistent and persistent and His voice today will always align with His Word. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth and remind us of all things he has said. We watch that happen every day. It's amazing.
Wholeness is found only in Him
(So this ties back into our first point about the image of God set in each person. )
Jesus is definitely a wild One but He’s the only One who can restore all people and all things into wholeness. He came to demonstrate what God the Father is like and He made the way to be restored to His Father by giving up His own life for ours. The offer is presented to all: Choose life. We receive who He is, walk with him and become someone who lives in the joy and freedom He demonstrated and provides.
Some core elements as to who we are and how we move
God is in a good mood
(We heard someone at Bethel said this and we liked it so much, we stole it. Okay – I guess we just copied it.)
God knows the craziness of all of this life and our part in it and He is not surprised by anything or worried or anxious about it all. He has a way through for all who will follow Jesus. We can move with confidence about the future because we’re with Him and He’s with us.
This doesn't mean that everything is going just fine. Together we've all made a mess of things and He's not disconnected. But He's confident of how it will all turn out and He's engaged in the process to see that all things are restored again. We choose to agree with His plan, His way, His agenda and vision for all of life.
The Holy Spirit is not silent nor absent.
Jesus told his disciples that it was better that He went away because then the Advocate would come to teach them, lead them and to give them the power to live as He lived. That Advocate, the Holy Spirit is still here and He still loves to saturate all those who want all that He is and has to give. By Him we can do things we could never do by ourselves – not only to live life but to walk in the gifting and the authority that Jesus had.
Grace and Truth in all things.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus is described as full of ‘Grace and Truth.’ Grace can sound rather religious and undefined but it simply means ‘favor that we haven't earned.’ We're committed to be people who move in Grace and Truth. What's that mean?
It means that we never, ever back down from starting with Grace – the unearned favor that God gives through Jesus. BUT we also never, ever back down from looking at the Truth, the whole Truth.
We see that many times there is a default to one side or the other. It’s all sweetness and light or it’s all despair, darkness and condemnation.
Jesus brings both ends of this 'wire’ at the same time. It's like electricity: There's a ‘hot’ lead and a ‘ground’ that have to be connected so a light can be generated. Grace is the 'hot' lead and Truth is the 'ground.'
Some only hold a form of Grace and won’t confront the Truth. Some are pretty willing to be deal with Truth but have lost the real connection with Grace. We need both ends.