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June 14, 2024


 

The core values of any group or organization are the ideals that ultimately undergird and drive that group’s vision to accomplish their stated mission or goals. Every organization, group, and family have core values (whether or not they are stated).

 

My family enjoys doing all sorts of things together. We love hiking, vacationing to different spots, and we love watching movies together. We love eating out and trying new foods, we love silly conversations with one another as much as we love having deeper ones. We enjoy talking about and worshipping Jesus. You might say that our family’s core values (unstated as they are) include quality time, adventure, and faith. These values drive who we are and who we want to become.


 

White Oak Christian Church has core values that hold up our vision and mission. These values manifest themselves in behaviors which we believe will help us to be the church that honors Jesus and accomplishes his mission to bring people into full life in him (John 10:10).

 

One of those core values is Authenticity.

 

Together, we show up. We believe that authenticity is a core value that sets us apart. We don't pretend to have it all together because we know we don't. Instead, we genuinely pursue Jesus, just like the man in Luke 19 who was curious to know him even though he didn't have his life all put together.


Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.


All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”


Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

 

It seems that nearly everything around us these days feels altered or fake. Like the truth is lurking deep in the shadows of what we can see. News reels, ads, politics, polished social media posts, images that have been edited, relationships that are fragile and shallow. We even find church leaders and church experiences that seem to put on a good show but whose character has many cracks just under the surface. It’s hard to know what is real, who is real, and who or what we can trust.

 

I believe that our good Father in Heaven is as real as it gets! I believe he is trustworthy and that he’s always with us. He loves us perfectly with grace and truth. This doesn’t mean that following Jesus will always be a walk in the park. There will be many seasons of great joy along with difficult challenges as we trust him to break us, mend us, and mold us to be more like him.

 

This is why I appreciate each of our staff members and elders who have spent the past 18 months sharing our SHAKEN testimonies with one another in our monthly meetings. We’re each taking turns being vulnerable to and authentic with one another sharing the places where we have struggled, the places where we are being stretched, and the steps of faith we want to take as it relates to our generosity. I can see authenticity leading the way at WOCC and I am humbled and honored to lead here.

 

At WOCC, we want to be a people who approach Jesus just as we are and trust that he loves us too much to leave us there! When we show up, we engage with Jesus and others accepting each other for who we are, while helping each other become who God is forming us to be. We each are far from perfect. Also, each of us have a role in practicing and living out this core value of authenticity. Maybe you need to share your faith story with another person. Maybe you need to step up to lead and serve in some area by example being honest about your faults and determined about your discipleship. Maybe you need to begin with bearing your heart to God. He loves you authentically and completely.

 

 

Journeying with you,

Nathan

 



Nathan Hinkle

Lead Pastor

White Oak Christian Church





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