Reality’s Core Values #2 ~ We’re directed by God’s Word and empowered by God’s Spirit
Long ago, a missionary friend gave our church a prophetic word.
He said something like this:
Reality is like a ship. It has large sails that symbolize the Holy Spirit pushing it forward. But underneath the vessel is a large rudder—that’s the Word of God. The Spirit empowers her, but the Word directs her.
Over time, this became part of our DNA as a church.
We find our direction from God’s Word, and our power from the presence of God’s Spirit.
First of all, we believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, authoritative, sufficient, and inerrant Word of God (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 2 Peter 1:21). Therefore, God’s Word determines our roadmap as a church. But we also believe in the present ministry and work of the Holy Spirit. After all, it is the Holy Spirit who inspired the authors of Scripture, illuminates our hearts to understand it, and gives us the power to live by it. So you could say that the Bible gives us our game plan, as God’s active presence empowers us to carry it out.
We are most effective as a church when these two truths are held in harmony.
On the other hand, when one of these truths is emphasized over the other, we get into a lot of trouble. For example, when emphasizing Scripture at the expense of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we will grow stagnant and lifeless. But if we start to emphasize the Holy Spirit at the expense of the Word of God, our church will become a free-for-all, driven more by our passions, whims, and opinions than the heart of God.
What we see in the Bible itself, are numerous stories of people being empowered by the Spirit and directed by God’s Word. This is where we want to live too.
What does this look like?
You can get a taste of this in the liturgy of our worship gatherings. Most of our time is spent in two things: the preaching of the Word, and musical worship. Why? Because God often speaks to us in the preaching of God’s Word, and he is present with us (in a special way) during musical worship. Another way we see this is in day-to-day activities in the life of the Christian. When looking for guidance on a decision, the first place we should look for an answer is in the Bible. When we find that answer, it is the power and presence of God’s Spirit that enables us to obey the Word. Then there are other times where the Bible does not specifically address a situation. In those moments, we must learn to hear the still small voice of God (1 Kings 19:12). Either way, there is a relationship between his Word and his empowering presence.
These are only two examples. Our hope is that this relationship between God’s Word and His presence continues to pervade everything we do, whether big or small.
What does this mean for us as a church?
- It means that we believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God. We believe it is authoritative and sufficient for living. Therefore, we take our cues from it.
- It means that our mission together is ultimately persuaded by the Scriptures, not by culture demands, politics, passing trends, or personal preferences.
- It means that we believe God’s Word is more than a dry document—it is alive with activity, power, and the presence of the very One who inspired its words.
- It means that we believe we were made to be in the presence of God, so we value His presence in our midst over anything else.
- It means we believe a moment in the presence of God can answer a lifetime of doubts.
- It means that we need supernatural power to do anything God wants us to do—and we believe he is calling us to things that require supernatural power.
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