The 2nd primary speaker mentioned in yesterdays' post was Mark Van Valin, from Spring Arbor, Michigan. Whereas Barna talked to us mainly as ministers and churches, VanValin spoke to us as children of God; and offered new insight in our conversations on "Holiness".
He began by offering 3 main "traditions" of salvation:
- Proposition - we believe the right things
- Behavioral - we do the right things
- Relational - we know the right person.
Obviously, his desire for us was the third understanding. That we might come to know an intimate experience of Jesus Christ. From John 17:3 "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." We see the trinity relating to each other in places like Jesus' baptism, exhibiting Love and Joy and Family.
Many of us have been asked the question "If God is complete, in need of nothing, why did he make us?" Mark reminded us it was out of His fullness, not loneliness, that God created. A fullness that He desires to share with us.
Van Valin compared our approach to our lives in regard to holiness like an island with overgrown plant life. That holiness is not simply "weed-wacking" around our island, taking care of the small manifestations of outward sin. Sin generally comes from some sort of "self" focus:
- Self-promotion - "what about me?" mentality
- Self-protection - "always being safe", "not me!" mentality, disguised as humility
- Self-indulgence - "please me" mentality, easier to spot this one, seeking pleasure/avoiding pain, addictions
- Self-sufficiency - shies away from mystery, "let me" mentality, not willing to be broken/vulnerable
These fear-based "larger issues", destroy relationships and our ability to relate well...to God, or others. All of this pointing to the real enemy often not being satan, but ultimately myself. Van Valin offered reminders to yield ourselves to Christ for each of these areas, in order:
These 4 things not only deepen, enrich, and help build relationships...they also REQUIRE community. Church is much more than an hour on the weekend that you can choose whether or not you're interested in attending this week. It's a community experiencing life-transformation together, and transforming their world as those lives are lived out together in mission and God's presence.
May we invite those around us to participate in the intimacy of genuine life together in the same way we've been invited to participate in what the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are actively doing...
Church For The Unwelcomed
3 days ago