Welcome to week 4 of Reality 2.0. So far I have shared the new VISION and the MISSION of Reality Church.
Here’s the short version as illustrated by this graphic.
Our FOUNDATION is God’s Word. We are grounded in God’s Word.
Our VISION is to see lives changed by the transforming, restoring power of Jesus Christ.
Our MISSION PART 1 is doing life together in authentic community.
Our MISSION PART 2 is loving others together in community involvement.
Today and next week I will be sharing with you our CORE VALUES.
VISION is the WHAT – what are we trying to accomplish?
MISSION is the HOW – how will we do it?
CORE VALUES are HOW WE BEHAVE while we’re doing it. They define our personality. There are three of them, and the purpose of the core values are to define three ways of thinking that should be applied to everything we do.
If this is confusing, perhaps it will make sense as I share what they are and how they are used.
In the ROAD GRAPHIC, they are represented by the other ROAD SIGNS – kind of like speed signs or caution signs. The vision is the destination. The road itself is the mission – the path we take to get there. The road signs tell us how fast or slow to go, and what to watch out for.
As I said there are three of them, and I will be sharing two with you today and the third next week. I could have done three weeks on these, but the timing with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day only allowed for a five week series. Preacher problems.
So, without further delay – let’s reveal the first one. Can I get a drumroll please…
The first of the three Core Values – they all carry equal weight, but since we live in linear time I have to reveal them in some kind of order…similar to how we have to list the three persons of the trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in some kind of order even though they are all equal, but I digress…
The first Core Value is…
ADD SOME AWESOME (cue awesome song)
This is the fun one. This is a personal core value that I’ve had for a long time. In fact, I even have an “AWESOME PHILOSOPHY” that this comes from. It goes like this:
There IS such a thing as not enough awesome.
But there is NOT such a thing as TOO MUCH AWESOME!
Which means that no matter how much awesome we add to something, it can never have too much awesome.
The idea comes from the fact that each one of us really does have some awesome to give. You are made by the most amazing God – in His image – and He gives you special talents and gifts that He expects you to use.
Notice IT IS NOT “BE AWESOME” – you don’t have to be the best at something to participate. But maybe you can make it a little better.
Listen to what Jesus says about you and me:
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
In other words – BE SALTY – salt makes things taste better.
Let your LIGHT SHINE – that implies you have a light inside of you, placed there by God – and he means for it to shine out – not be hidden under fears that your not good enough.
GLOW STICKS ILLUSTRATION
Add Some Awesome is your PERMISSION TO SHINE! To exercise your gifts. To have your voice heard. To add the kind of awesome that only you can give, whether big or small.
How this works:
Basically, as you go about your life – or as you go about your time at church, whether serving on a team or just sitting in the seat – we should all constantly have the thought in our heads –
“How can I make this a little better?”
“What kind of awesome can I add to this situation?”
Let me give you an example from Scripture:
3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gatecalled Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
What did Peter do here. He saw a situation where he could do something to help, and he acted upon it. He wasn’t able to give the guy what he was asking for, but he was able to give him something God had gifted him to give.
Most of us will not have the healing gift like Jesus and the apostles, but you may have the gift of ENCOURAGEMENT – encourage somebody!
You may have the gift of MERCY – help someone in need!
You may have the gift of TEACHING – Teach!!
I recognized I had the gift of administration some years ago, and I acted upon it and it changed my entire life and brought me to where I am right now talking with you and who knows – maybe God will use me to help change your life – but only if I act upon the gifts and calling he has given me.
Not everyone is called to be a preacher or a teacher. You may be called to work with kids,
or cook for people,
or decorate things,
or make music,
or write books,
or simply notice that the parking lot is dirty and take it upon yourself to clean it up.
Imagine if everyone of us had an obsession with adding awesome and we went around finding ways we could make things better? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? –
Well, that’s exactly what a core value is all about. It’s a core value for all of us – for this church. It’s how we do business. It’s the attitude with which we carry out our mission and vision.
There are many ways that Jesus added awesome. I’m not sure which was bigger – creating the universe and us – or saving us. Both are pretty impressive and I’m thankful for. But as he walked the earth, that’s pretty much what he did constantly. All the healing, the teaching, the serving. Everything about him reeked of awesome.
But I’ve chosen one short story of his that I want to use for all three core values – because the way they work is that you apply all three of them to all situations simultaneously.
IT’S LIKE A THREE LEGGED STOOL.
Take out any of the legs and it will fall over – but if you use all three legs you can sit firmly on it. Likewise, once we have all three core values out – they work equally together, and should be applied to everything we do.
So, let’s take a look at this story about Jesus and see how it is that he applied the core value of ADD SOME AWESOME.
10 Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, 11 and a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten herself up completely. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her to him and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” 13 Then he placed his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14 But the president of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, “There are six days on which work should be done! So come and be healed on those days, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from its stall, and lead it to water? 16 Then shouldn’tthis woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be released from this imprisonment on the Sabbath day?” 17 When he said this all his adversaries were humiliated, but the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful thing she was doing.
Did you spot it?
What did Jesus do? Why the obvious thing is that he healed the woman.
But did you notice that she didn’t ask him to?
Jesus saw her need and took it upon himself to do something about it. HE SAW A SERIOUS SHORTAGE OF AWESOME in that woman’s life and decided to add enough to make her at least able to stand up straight.
That’s what adding awesome is.
It’s looking for and recognizing shortages in awesome and doing what you can about it.
So, that’s the first core value. ADD SOME AWESOME
The next core value is a really good balance to the first.
Because even though there’s not such a thing as too much awesome – it is possible for us to take it too far or go about it the wrong way.
So, the second of the three equal core values is…
KEEP IT REAL
Seems like a no brainer, considering the name of our church.
With this one I always think of the difference between a show room in a house that is for sale and a real lived-in living room. The show room may look nice, but you know it’s fake and won’t stay that way. A real living room CAN look nice, but you can feel comfortable putting your feet up and relaxing.
Keep it real is all about
It’s a value that says we are all REAL PEOPLE with REAL PROBLEMS, and none of us are any better than anyone else – so let’s DROP THE PRETENSES and stop pretending to be something we are not.
It’s about HONESTY MIXED WITH HUMILITY.
It’s about TRUTH – but more importantly BIBLICAL TRUTH.
IT’S BASED ON LOVE – AGAPE LOVE – READ 1 COR 13.
It’s a many faceted core value that KEEPS US GROUNDED.
It keeps anyone from thinking too much of himself,
because when we have a mindset of Adding Awesome – as great as that is –
it can easily slip into SELF GLORIFICATION if taken too far. It can become more about “How can I LOOK awesome” and less about “How can I ADD awesome.”
But at the same time, Keep It Real means YOU DON’T HAVE PERMISSION TO DO NOTHING.
The truth, what is real, is that YOU ARE MADE BY GOD FOR A PURPOSE, and that purpose is to do something good with the gifts he’s given you so don’t sit back and do nothing and claim a false humility of not wanting others to think that YOU think you’re better than them.
Paul says it best:
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
After this is when he talks more about the body of Christ and spiritual gifts.
It’s about not thinking TOO HIGHLY …. OR….. TOO LOWLY – but having SOBER JUDGMENT about yourself.
The Greek word there is SOPHRONEO which means “having a sober outlook that reflects true balance.”
So, Keeping it Real means knowing who you are in Christ and acting in accordance with that.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
So, Keep it Real – hold to the truth. Act upon your God-given convictions. Don’t hide your gifts behind false humility that is really pride and fear – but act upon your gifts by adding some awesome – but do so for the Glory of God – not the glory of me.
Keep it Real is about balance. And the only way to be able to do this is to stay grounded in God’s word. That is where truth lies. The truth about this world and how it works and the truth about you and your worth. Listen to what God says and you won’t have any trouble keeping it real.
Are you noticing how these core values, while different are not independent of each other. They interact. The third will do the same.
Let’s look again at the story of Jesus and see how KEEP IT REAL was also applied.
10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, 11 and a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten herself up completely. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her to him and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” 13 Then he placed his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14 But the president of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, “There are six days on which work should be done! So come and be healed on those days, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from its stall, and lead it to water? 16 Then shouldn’t this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be released from this imprisonment on the Sabbath day?” 17 When he said this all his adversaries were humiliated, but the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful thing she was doing.
We already saw how he added awesome.
How did he keep it real? First, he didn’t shy away from using his power to do good. Jesus obviously had the healing gift, so he didn’t shirk from that responsibility. But he clearly didn’t do it to make the people who were watching him like him – since he knew they wouldn’t. He did it because it was the right thing to do.
And when confronted about it – he simply pointed out the obvious truth.
Now, I have to insert a caution here.
In our MODERN SOCIETY, the phrase “Keep It Real” is used in many contexts, but as I was googling I found that it is often used in a “STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF” way – and often AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS. It’s this idea of “I’m going to be who I’m going to be and you can just deal with it – I’m just keeping it real.” That is not what we are talking about, and that is not what Jesus did here. That kind of attitude is neither real nor awesome, but selfish and unloving toward others – it’s ungodly.
Keep it Real in our context, in Reality Church, is not about staying true to MYSELF – but staying true to the TRUTH – God’s TRUTH – with humility and love – NOT for making ME feel good about MYSELF.
Let’s see how someone who wasn’t God in the flesh did this. Taking another look at the story of Peter healing the lame man that we looked at earlier in this talk – here’s what happened next:
11 While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.
Now at this point it could be argued that Peter was attempting a little jab at them for self vindication – basically saying “See I told you I was right!!” Maybe he was, but he redeems himself here…
17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
How did he keep it Real? He gave Jesus the credit – then instead of wallowing in a sense of self-righteousness – he invited the very people who had killed Jesus to have the same forgiveness that he had. That must have been tough, but he fought through what could have been a very self-serving thing and made it a God honoring thing.
That’s what Keeping it Real means – it means remembering what is really real – Jesus, and his Word. It’s that sometimes precarious balancing act between doing things for me and doing them for God.
Let us do what we do for Him who has done so much for us. Because that is what is real.
So, as you can see, the Keep It Real core value is necessary but is very deep and can be complex if we try to skirt around it. Funny thing about God’s ways – they are never complex. They are always simple, just sometimes hard.
So, core values 1 & 2 = Add some Awesome and Keep it Real
Look for ways to make things better, but do it for the right reason.
16 Let your light shine before others (Add Some Awesome), that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven – not you (Keep It Real).
You will hear these repeated often. I hope that within a few months all of you have these and the third one, that I will talk about next week more than memorized but internalized. I believe if we can all embrace our vision, our mission, and our core values we can truly become a unit – a body – a family. And when we become that, there’s no telling what God can do with us.