What’s Next for Oak Hills? (Part 2)
July 5, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Companies and organizations, including churches, are called to “Change or Die” as the world around them constantly changes. There is one area in the church, however, that ought never change. Her mission.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 1 provides, perhaps, the best summary of the mission of the church: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” This is rooted in such Scripture as 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Some use the Great Commandment of Matthew 22:37-39 and the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 to emphasize the mission of the church. In these passages we see the need to love God, love neighbor, and make disciples of all nations.
At Oak Hills we have used the phrase Longing to Know and Make Known the Astonishing Grace of God. Our heart, mind, will, and strength are all engaged as we long to know God and his astonishing grace. He is glorified by our longing and striving, and we enjoy him more and more as we know and appreciate his grace. Longing to make known his grace honors the Great Commission.
This is our mission, what we aim to do in everything. Know God. Love God. Glorify God. Proclaim God.
This year, while we study the letter to the Hebrews, we have been framing this mission as Treasuring Christ. To treasure something is to esteem it as valuable, praiseworthy, and irreplaceable. As we grow in knowing Christ and his sacrificial work on our behalf, our hearts value and delight in him more and more.
What’s next for Oak Hills? More of the same mission: Treasure Christ. We don’t need to look for some new, innovative emphasis for what we give ourselves to. We give ourselves to the glory of God and Christ. If we become bored or distracted with church and what we are doing at church, the problem is not the mission (if we are faithful to this mission) but with our hearts. Christ is inexhaustible. The glory of God is all-satisfying. In his presence “there is fullness of joy;” at his right hand “are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).
While our mission does not change, our hearts and attitudes constantly need to be checked and recalibrated for engaging in treasuring Christ. We do become distracted and even bored. How do we fight this?
- Acknowledge that your heart is prone to wander. We sing this line every time we sing Come Thou Fount. Do we believe it? It’s a reflection on Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” If we want to engage in treasuring Christ we must start by acknowledging, confessing, and repenting of the fact that our hearts are prone to not treasuring Christ. If our treasuring of Christ is weak, we must start with this heart-searching activity, not with critiquing the externals (worship music, preaching, church fellowship, etc.). We must fight on the heart level.
- Beseech the Lord for help. The psalmist does this when he prays, “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” (119:36). Paul prays this way on behalf of the Ephesian church when he prays, “may [God] give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened” (1:17-18). Jesus commends importunate prayers when he commands his disciples, “ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Lk. 11:9). The Lord is faithful to hear your prayers. He is the master caregiver for your heart.
- Come to worship expectantly. The Lord has ordained and blessed the ordinary means of grace in the weekly gathering of the church for worship. God speaks and ministers to us through the preaching of his word and the sacraments. He is gracious to us, knowing that we come weak and weary. Come to weekly worship expecting the Lord to minister to you and your heart. Expect to treasure Christ. Trust him to work in your life.
What’s next for Oak Hills? Let me encourage you to refocus and revive your longing to know and treasure Christ above all things.