Friday, September 23, 2011

Belonging

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matt. 7:22-23)

    Being precedes doing or, put another way, our doing flows out of our being.  We can do all kinds of good things, righteous things, powerful and even apparently holy things but if our hearts are not right or our relationship with God is not one in which we are known by Christ, that doing is evil.  That may seem rather harsh but that’s what Jesus says.

On the other hand, the one who is humble enough to come to God, admit her/his failures and request forgiveness is received with open arms as the Father received the prodigal and lavished his love, grace and welcome just because the son returned home (Luke 15:11ff).

It appears that the kingdom is too small for the prideful.  However, the King has wide open arms and plenty of room for the humble.   This open-armed welcome and belonging is the sort of hospitable expression we hope to express this fall and always.  

As new students explore the campus and experience campus life and as you veteran, returning students show up for another year, we are delighted to be able to connect people in relationships with one another and with the Father who loves us so much that He is seeking us out.  No one has to be perfect to be part of ROC.  Actually, we’re a haven for sinners being transformed by God’s love and grace and the power of His Holy Spirit.  

Our first value, “belonging—to God and each other,” expresses this goal of enfolding people in relationships with one another and with God.  We believe that it is through the ongoing interaction with one another in God’s presence in community and service that we are formed into the image of Christ.  This life on life experience is not unlike the discipleship that occurred with Jesus and His apostles (Mk 3:14).  He brought them together first to be with Him and then to send them out to preach.  The being with was necessary in order for them to do the preaching.  Their doing flowed out of their being!   

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