Faithlife
Faithlife

Our Values, Our Story

Who is Christ the Redeemer  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Because we are spoken by God we should tell stories

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction

What is this (Plastic ball) made out of? What is plastic made out of? Well its made out of natural gas and oil.
What is plastic made out of?
Well its made out of natural gas and oil.
What is that made out of
Well its made out of carbon and hydrogen
Okay what are they made out of?
Protons, neutrons, electrons
What are they made of?
Up corks and down corks, leptons
What are those made of?
Well nothing,
Well really words spoken into nothing and now its hear.
In the beginning God spoke and there was.
And as we read in
he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
All creation is God’s spoken reality. You are holding God’s spoken reality.
FCF: Sometimes we have a limited view of God in this world. That he just started it all up and maybe does something in the world every now and then, and even then, it is on only really big things. Or that he started up and now just wants us to be good or maybe just wants us to feel good, or maybe he created it sure, but now he just does not care that much.
But because God spoke reality into existence and his word keeps it all together we need to be asking what story is God telling? What story is he wringing in our life, individually, and as a church?
What I hope we see this morning is that
Prop: Because we are spoken by God we should tell stories
First, because we are spoken by God we should tell stories

As a Church

In the beginning God said let their be and there was. He said let us make man and so he created us male and female. And says
he upholds the universe by the word of his power
You, me are spoken by God. Christ the Redeemer is spoken by God. We exist because the word of his power holds us together.
When we ask the question, What story is God writing in his church Christ the Redeemer? We find the answer in our values. Our values were formed not in abstraction, but by asking the question of what is God doing in us. What desires has he put on our hearts, what has he made us like. Too often values are written with good intentions but then put away to collect dust. At Christ the Redeemer we want our values to be authentic, that is we want our values to fit with the story that God is telling in us. These values we see here this is the story that we believe God is telling through us at Christ the Redeemer. In God’s grand story of redemption each Christian community fits into his drama and so there are many subplots and each church should find the story that God is telling through them. This is the story that God has given Christ the Redeemer to tell.
I want to just highlight one right now. One value that we have at Christ the Redeemer is
Experiencing God's PRESENCE.
Receiving the Father's LOVE.
Receiving the Father's LOVE.
Living by the GRACE and GOODNESS of Jesus Christ
Depending on the Holy Spirit's WISDOM and POWER
Creating a Culture of PRAYER.
Embracing the courage to be VULNERABLE and to CARE for one another
Providing an environment of WELCOME and SAFETY for all people
Spreading the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ with WORDS and ACTION, not forgetting the poor and marginalized
Creating a culture of prayer. About every other Tuesday about eight people gather around an awkwardly large tear shaped conference table. The room is hot and time is short. 90 minutes at most. Its noon and people arrive, coming from some other thing in their busy lives. We each turn in our notebook to guide us in our common prayer. Every vestry meeting at Christ the Redeemer begins the same way: “O God, make speed to save us.” And we’re off. Over the next 20-30 minutes we pray, listen to God, give thanks to him. John reminds us that we are no just praying first then get to the work, but prayer is the work. After prayer we share stories of how we have seen God at work in our lives. That last 30 to 45 minutes we discuss finances, then property, what do we do about this? So we stop we pray, we listen. We then discuss this or that policy or organizational structure. We end, giving thanks to God and asking for his guidance.
This one small picture of a vestry meeting tells a story. A story that is different than the dominate story in our culture. By living into a culture of prayer we tell a story that says we don’t want to just give lip service to being dependent on God, we want to live and lead Christ the Redeemer actually being dependent on God. It is far to easy in our culture to lean on human ingenuity rather than being led by the Holy Spirit.
We want to create a culture of prayer as well as live into the story God is telling in these other values.
God is telling his story and so we should tell stories as a church as well as

As Individuals

Look with me at
Psalm 105:1–2 ESV
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!
Philemon 4–6 ESV
I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.
When Paul says “the sharing of your faith” he is emphasizing the the role that Christian fellowship has in encouragement.
For he goes on to say in
Philemon 7 ESV
For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.
The sharing of our faith brings a spiritual refreshment or renewal.
And one things that you may have noticed at Christ the Redeemer is that we share stories in our service. We are a story telling congregation.
Why do we do this? Well it is a way that we can share our faith with one another. It brings, as we saw, us spiritual refreshment and renewal. Much joy when we hear God answering a prayer and comfort from hearing about God’s love.
Many of you right now are ready for the sermon to end so you can hear some stories of how God has been at work.
Oh yeah sure I'm a Christian. I am not a bad person, I generally am pretty good. Sure I believe in God, if I get in a bind I might pray, but for the most part God does is not involved in my life, he probably has better things to do. And Oh yeah I prayed that one time in middle school to receive Jesus into my heart.
Oh that is dangerous. But unfortunately that is the religion that permeates our culture and that is not Christianity. At Christ the Redeemer we share stories because as Christians we believe that God is our Heavenly Father, active and present in our lives by his Holy Spirit.
And when we hear individual stories of people sharing their faith we hear stories of people
Experiencing God's PRESENCE.
Receiving the Father's LOVE.
Living by the GRACE and GOODNESS of Jesus Christ
Depending on the Holy Spirit's WISDOM and POWER
These stories refresh and renew us, and bring joy and comfort.
There is also another reason we have these stories. It is because we live in spiritually deadly culture. And we need to hear stories of living faith. It is far to easy to have intellectual knowledge without it affecting our lives.
We don’t want to relate to God the way our culture relates to dieting. We have more information today than we have ever had on healthy eating. We have dieting fads that come and go. But for all the information we have Americans are more obese than we have ever been. Intellectual knowledge is not enough, right information does not mean transformation.
At Christ the Redeemer we share stories because as Christians we believe, that is we want to live the reality that God is our Heavenly Father, and that Jesus is active and present in our lives by his Holy Spirit.
When we share stories we share about the Fathers love, the Grace of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Traditionally after the sermon that is when the congregation confesses their faith through the Apostles or Nicaean Creed. And we will do that sometimes, but our stories are another way of confessing our faith. Through our stories we confess that we are not a church to give lip service to true faith, but tell the story of a lived faith.
God has spoken us into existence and and he is telling his story in Christ the Redeemer as a church, and through us individually.
And his story takes place in
God

His Theater

Genesis 1:1 ESV
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
God
The stage is set, we have a theater for God’s story to unfold. His theater: all creation. Everybody to their places Act one ,scene one and action. Let there be light and their was light:
Act one s
: God Establishes his Kingdom: Creation
After creation the plot thickens, evil slithers.
: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall
Chaos ensues, what will happen.
: The King chooses a people: Redemption Begins
History twists and turns, with ups and downs, the kingdom hanging on by a thread
: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished
The plot thickens once again. The king has come, but born where animals were fed. The King came to serve and give his life for the life of his people.
: Spreading the News of the King: The Church
The victories King’s empowered people spread his rule throughout the world
: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed
The King comes once again to finish what he started in the beginning: all creation singing his praise.
This is the story that God is telling in his theater. And we get to a role to play in his story.
Where are we in the story? We are in . The Kingdom of God is spreading around the world renewing all things.
: God Establishes his Kingdom: Creation
: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall
: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall
: The King chooses a people: Redemption Begins
: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished
: Spreading the News of the King: The Church
: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed
This means that as we live out our values as a Church we participate with God in telling his story the redemption of all things.
What does this look like? Well it means telling others about the good news of King Jesus. It looks like every area of our life telling the story that Jesus is renewing everything.
This summer we went on a family vacation in the Blue Ridge mountains. And after spending a week swimming in a river and relaxing we came home. And we got in the van and started driving and realized soon that we had no gas. And so we plugged in the GPS the nearest gas station, we were in the back woods so not much was around, and 7 miles later we coasted into an old gas station. This was not a well lit up Quick trip, it had clearly been around for at least 50 years. After pumping gas I went inside and I am not exaggerating, the restroom, was the cleanest restroom I had ever been in, it was immaculate. It was not new, but well kept. I spoke with the mother and daughter who ran the story and thanked them for keeping it so clean. After Sara Frances went in and got in the car we spent the next few minutes marveling how clean that gas station was. Just to give you a picture Sara Frances said she would have changed our baby in that bathroom. We also noticed that they sold some Bibles and devotionals and everything about it was so well kept.
This family was spreading the rule of king Jesus in rural North Carolina. They were faithfully living out their calling to be a blessing in the place that God had called them to be.
Now you may say that is just a bathroom and a gas station, but I don’t have to describe to you the chaos that a gas station bathroom can be. Plus there are bathrooms in the kingdom of God, and God is in the business of renewing everything gas station bathrooms included.
This family at that gas station bathroom were telling the story that king Jesus had come and that his rule was extending to everything and all around the world.
God has spoken and is still speaking, and he is telling a story. At Christ the Redeemer we believe that he has given us a unique story to coauthor with him. Our values are an attempt to summarize the story he has given us to tell. We are being held together by the word of his power. We are stories, written by the greatest writer of all time, and he has invited into co authorship. What sort of story are you in?
We are being held together by the word of his power. What is he saying through you? Is it beautiful? Is it a comedy, tragedy?
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