At Life Church International we have 7 Core Values. They’re what I like to call the “DNA” of the ministry. Today it’s my privilege to begin sharing these values with you. Before I get started though, there’s something you need to know – I believe in these values.
I believe that when embraced they have the ability to transform your life. The reason being is because each of the 7 are drawn directly from the Word of God. I think you’ll find that each one applies not only to ministry, but to every aspect of our lives. Today we’ll look at the first of seven.
LCI CORE VALUE #1: Jesus and His Presence.
At LCI we’re intentional about cultivating and protecting an environment where people can experience the life giving presence of God.
A. W. Tozer said, ““I want the presence of God Himself, or I don’t want anything at all to do with religion. You would never get me interested in the old maids’ social club with a little bit of Christianity thrown in to give it respectability. I want all that God has, or I don’t want any.”
Amen, A.W! But how do we do it? How do we cultivate and protect an environment where people can experience the life giving presence of God in our lives? Below I’ll answer that question in 3 very distinct parts; each part building on the other and each equally necessary. Let’s get started.
#1 – PRAYER
Prayer prepares us for His presence.
In Jeremiah 29:13 the Lord says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
If we want to have a divine encounter with God we have to create divine alignment in our heart and prayer creates that alignment. It places us in position to experience His presence. This means that you need to cultivate a personal prayer life. When you spend time in prayer during the week, you don’t come to church to catch the fire, you come to church bringing the fire. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says that we’re called to “…pray without ceasing” which means that prayer isn’t just an event; it’s a lifestyle.
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]Prayer isn’t just an event; it’s a lifestyle. [/shareable]
#2 – PRAISE
Praise attracts His presence.
While prayer prepares us for His presence, praise attracts it. Psalm 22:3 says it this way, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” In other words, God’s presence inhabits our praise. It creates an environment where the Lord’s presence is welcomed.
And praise doesn’t just establish the atmosphere of your church; it sets the atmosphere of your life. Think of it this way:
- Prayer sets the temperature.
- Praise sets the atmosphere.
From the beginning of the bible to the end, God is passionately attracted to the genuine praise of His people, so make praise a part of your daily time with God.
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]Praise doesn’t just set the atmosphere of your church; it sets the atmosphere of your life.[/shareable]
#3 – PROTECT
To protect our unity corporately, we must protect our hearts individually.
If we want to cultivate an environment where people experience the life giving presence of God, we have to protect the purity of our hearts. Listen to how Psalm 24 relates the purity of our hearts with our ability to experience the presence of God:
Psalm 24:3-4 (NASB)
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
People experience the presence of God in two ways, (1) corporately and (2) individually. If we want to experience His presence in either setting we must be vigilant about keeping our hearts pure.
Protecting the purity of your heart means:
- Refusing the spirit of offense and unforgiveness. When I embrace offense I don’t just lose peace, I start to miss out on His presence.
- Refusing to gossip in, to, or about the church. God calls gossip an abomination.
- Refusing a selfish and stingy spirit. Keeping a pure heart means you refuse to be self-centered and stingy with your life because selfishness only serves as a repellent to the presence of God. According to Proverbs 11:25, God is looking for generous hearts: “The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.”
If you want to cultivate and protect an environment where people experience the life giving presence of God you should:
- Pray – Prayer prepares us for His presence.
- Praise – Praise attracts His presence.
- Protect the purity of your heart – A pure heart sustains His presence.
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]In order for the church to protect it’s unity corporately, we must protect our hearts individually.[/shareable]
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