August 3, 2005

Dean and I have been sorting through the values that will shape what Pathways will look like. So I throw them out here for any feedback. If there is any language that is unclear or anything like that, please let us know.

Depth of life is developed through asking tough questions – through struggle. Those who quit the struggle either come to believe they now have all of the answers or quit caring about the answers all together. Life is not meant to be lived in either of these extremes. Life is a struggle. Following Jesus does not alleviate the struggle. It does not give us the answer to every question or enable us to conquer every life difficulty. But it does make the struggle worth facing as it ties it to something greater than ourselves. It is in the wrestling that we learn to trust and draw closer to God’s heart.

We have been created with purpose. That is why everyone seeks meaning and truth. It is built into us as humans. Satisfaction of that inner hunger will only be found when we explore why we were created. The Scriptures open up our eyes to the ultimate meaning of life as we understand the teachings of Jesus, who claimed to give “life to the full.” This full life is not only found in where we spend our eternity, but in how we live life everyday.

To redeem something is to buy back what you originally owned. God owns all truth and all beauty. Unfortunately, some of that truth and beauty has been marred and twisted by selfishness, pride, and hatred. Christ came not only to reclaim individual lives, but all of creation as well. Redemption can take place through something as simple as the beauty of art and creativity, as profound as the redirection of a life consumed by self, or as overwhelming as tackling issues of poverty, hunger, and sanitation in third world countries. We partner with Him to recover the sense of beauty, renewal and justice that He intended for this earth.

This is where the teachings of Jesus get unpopular. Love must go beyond self and beyond ease. True love requires sacrifice. God first demonstrated that love to us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. As an act of worship and response, we give our lives sacrificially to Him and those around us. To follow Jesus is to reflect His giving nature — taking more interest in the needs of others than our own.

We struggle, but not alone. We search for meaning, but others walk the path alongside us. We partner with God to redeem creation, but we do it in conjunction with others. We sacrifice of ourselves, but must have others to give ourselves to. The New Testament is filled with teachings on how we are to live with “one another”. We laugh together. We cry together. We celebrate together. We grieve together. We were not meant to journey alone.

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