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First Things First


First Things First

            2012 is now history and we look back and wonder how it could have flown by so quickly.  Every New Year presents us with new opportunities and new challenges.  A key to making sure that we take advantage of these opportunities and are as prepared as possible for the challenges is to have the right foundation.  The question is, “What do we really value?”  Two indicators of what we value are how we spend our money and how we spend our time.  Values are not confirmed by what we say but are authenticated by our actions. 

            Our values help us to filter what we will be involved in and how we will invest the resources God has given us.  Values are like guiding stars helping us navigate each day.  Core values are needed to ensure that our daily decisions are consistent with what we believe.  If they truly are our values they will be seen in our daily habits and behaviors.  It is not really a value if it is not practiced regularly in our lives.  Core values are not preferences but rather convictions that provide the foundation for formulating and setting the direction of the New Year.

            Oasis Church is where I am a member with Todd West as the Senior Pastor.  Our entire church just spent the last six weeks studying our Core values through our daily SOAP journals (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer).  Every church has a core and this is ours:

  • ·         Keep it Simple!  Matt. 6:33
  • ·         Take it past Sunday!  Luke 9:23
  • ·         Every Member in a Ministry!  Eph. 2:10
  • ·         Be Real!  Ps. 139:14
  • ·         Talk to People, Not about People!  Matt. 18:15
  • ·         Be Generous!  Luke 6:38

Core values are not your doctrinal statement or your biblical purpose statement.  However, they must be firmly founded upon the word of God and they protect the church from drifting away from its purpose.  These values enable you to remain focused on God’s mission for your church.

            How do you identify core values?  In The Multiplication Workshop Dave DeVries gives us five indicators.  Core values are……

  • ·         Consistent – they rarely change.
  • ·         Passionate – they generate emotion and energy.
  • ·         Biblical – they are rooted in Scripture.
  • ·         Distinctive – they reflect God’s unique assignment for you.
  • ·         Convictions – they influence what you do! (not what you say)


In Matt. 6:33 we are told by Jesus,But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Core values are placing first things first.  It is making sure that what is most important to God is first in our daily lives and actions. 

Core values are “first” priorities not because of when they took place but because of their importance to the heart of God.  Here are some things to consider as you enter 2013:

  • ·         First adoration, then activity!  Make sure in 2013 that it really is all about Jesus.  Sit at His feet and spend time alone with Him because He is more interested in who you are than in what you do!
  • ·         First others, than yourself!  Matt. 5:23-24, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
  • ·         First function, then form!  Do not major on minor things like programs, structures, or things the scriptures are silent on.  We need to remain focused on the spreading of the gospel, reaching the lost, and loving one another.
  • ·         First be the church, then go to church!  We must be what He wants us to be all the time.  1 John 2:6 says, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
  • ·         First make disciples, then work on other things.  This is what we have been commanded to focus upon and make our first priority.  Discipleship is not a program but building relationships.  “It costs no money to make a disciple only your life.” –Neil Cole