Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Live Oak Values 1 - Jesus Changes Everything

Today I am going to start a series about what Live Oak Church believes to be important and places great value on in our lives. All of Live Oak's values can be found with a short explanation on our website:

We believe "Jesus changes everything". When God became a human man named Jesus who would sacrifice himself to save every one of us, a life changing event took place for us all.

How many of you would die for someone? I know that I would give my life for my son or my husband but if you put me in a position to save a serial killer or even just someone I didn't like very much, my answer would most likely change.

Most of us operate based on a system of credits and debits. We have to earn each other's trust. We have to earn our position in society. We have to earn our position at our workplace. Even within our own families we jockey for position based on what we have or have not done. Most families, whether you want to admit it or not, have the "good child" and the "troubled or difficult child". When we are so used to having to earn our way through life it is hard to understand that Jesus simply offers us grace and forgiveness for free.

Jesus doesn't care what we have done, who we have hurt, or what we are ashamed of - at least not in a way that ranks us or compares us to others. To Jesus, we are all His children and we have all so totally screwed up there is no way back unless He makes that way for us. Jesus gave us that way back by dying for us on the cross. When Jesus died the agonizing death of the crucifixion, He took all of our shortcomings, mistakes, failings, sins - whatever you want to call them - upon himself so that in the eyes of God, we are perfect. We do not have to do anything to earn God's love and mercy, we simply have to believe.

When we can stand in the position of understanding that we are truly forgiven and made new, we can be transformed. We can drop all the baggage from our past that weighs us down and keeps us from making better choices in our future. We can love others without needing them to love us back because God gives us more love than we can comprehend. When we believe that Jesus truly cares for us and took all of our sins upon Himself that we might have eternal life, everything changes.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16