Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ember Church Core Values: Gospel

One of the things we did, as a launch team, was sit down and discuss what we value as a community. We came up with a list of seven, and at the very top of the list we wrote "Gospel". The Gospel of Jesus Christ is our definitive core value. This is what we wrote:


The Gospel is the definitive message of Christian faith. We define it according to 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” The Gospel is the story of what God has done in history to redeem humans from their sin; it is a world re-creating event that continues to live on in the community of Jesus' friends. We strive to center ourselves around the Gospel, letting it define and drive all that we do as a church.
We are Gospel-people, and we are driven to see the Gospel happen in our church. This is a great idea, but really hard to do in practice. The evil, unredeemed desires of our hearts so often compel us to choose selfishness over self-giving love, self-worship over the worship of Christ, and self-exaltation over the divine humility and power so clearly on display in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. But the Gospel teaches us to set aside our own self-interest, as Jesus did when he became one of us, and then died for all of us.

The Gospel is the force by which God's kingdom is breaking into this world, and it happens internally, interpersonally, and communally. The Gospel happens in our hearts when our wicked and selfish desires are transformed and we begin to truly, deeply want the same things God wants. The Gospel happens interpersonally when we choose, often against our natural wills, to show grace to one another. The Gospel happens communally when a church determines that it will, as one person, walk in the light of a love that lays down its life and, through that, spreads the rule and reign of Jesus the King to hearts and homes where it has not been before.

We believe that the Gospel is the most powerful message of hope in the world. There is nothing quite like it:
that the Son of God became a man,
that he died for the sins of every person on earth,
that he rose again from the dead,
that he is currently putting all of his enemies under his feet,
and that he is coming back one day to judge the world and reign forever.
Christians are, by definition, crucifixion-and-resurrection people. We are gathered together, from all nations and tribes, by the crucified Christ who is the risen Lord. We eagerly await his triumphant return. And we live, today, in the strength of the only force on earth that has the power to turn our evil hearts good, to make our broken relationships whole, and to change our dark world into light.

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