Hello Baysiders! Hope is well in your souls! Sweaters are worn, beanies are out and girls are posting their pumpkin spice lattes on their Instagram. As the seasons transition, let’s enjoy each day as they come.
I want to share with you our church motto. Yes. That’s right. Bayside has a church motto. It’s displayed on our welcome packages and on the info table sign in the foyer. Many Churches have one or they call them a mission or vision statement. Bayside’s is a mix of both telling others who we are and where we want to be. I implemented the motto when I first came to Bayside as the new Senior Pastor. Bayside’s motto is, “Falling in grace to talk and walk like Jesus.” The scripture inspiration, support, and verse that encompasses the ethos for the motto is 1 John 2:6, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” I will break the meaning of the motto in this blog entry.
The word falling has implications for the kind of people we are in our faith. It has a twofold meaning. First, falling refers to our fallen state as humans who sin and make mistakes. We all have this brokenness as humanity and Christians are no different. The good news is we as Christians say we are aware of our sin, confess our sin, repent from our sin and find wholeness and forgiveness from God. The other meaning to falling is poetic to our relational status with God. Like new lovers who fall in love with each other, displaying uncontrollable passion and their hearts enlarged from their romantic relationship, we also as the church are falling passionately for God and are madly in love with him. We are constantly discovering new lovely ways of God. Thats what faith is, it’s a crush on God knowing he is crushing on us. Our faith is a divine romance.
The next word in the motto that is grace. Grace is God’s love experienced. Grace is the power, presence, tool, feeling, allowance, and intellect to all that God does. We want to be people with those same features. Saint Paul says it was by grace we have been saved, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8). Grace is the reason we have all that we have that is good in life. We acknowledge our undeserving position yet grace grants us blessings we didn’t earn. Without grace we are merely moralist, people who do good for the sake of reward and to feel good about ourselves. Without grace, there is no forgiveness. Without grace, there is no helping the poor, unprivileged, or those who are inferior to us because grace doesn’t exist in the economy of meritocracy. Grace is what makes the church standout from the world and is the currency in the kingdom of heaven.
Thirdly, the trajectory of falling for God and into His grace is our personal responsibility to live like Jesus lived. God bestows on us the grace needed but it is up to us to receive and use grace. God doesn’t spoon feed us strong faith. We have to put in the work to be intentional on learning theology, disciplined in a regular healthy devotional practice, applying scripture to our lifestyles, regularly be part of the church community, and strategic on how to create and foster the character of Jesus. This means our goal at Bayside is to orient our lives that prioritizes and centers on the works and words of Jesus. All that Jesus said we want to hear and understand to follow his words. All that Jesus did we want to see and know to properly implement and do also. We need both the works and words of Jesus in our lives. If we only know what Jesus said, memorizing Bible verses but don’t have the actions to back them up, we become hypocrites and our words are void of any meaning. If we only do the works of Jesus while avoiding the words of Jesus, our actions will confuse people on who we are and we fall back into dead religion. Words reveal our motives to our actions and actions give authenticity to our words.
Lastly, the word we have left is a name. The name of Jesus. The name above all other names (Phil 2:9-11). The name that is so holy you feel inadequate to call yet so lovely, saying it eases all nerves and puts our hearts at rest. Jesus is the purpose for why we do everything. The logic we understand the way the world works. The guide as our road map at life. He is the wisdom we use to make decisions when its hard and not black or white. His character is the standard we strive to be like. We define our lives by how Jesus defined his life. The success Jesus had is the success we want to pursue and accomplish. Jesus is the ground for all our hopes, the perfect human for what we long and pray to grow into of the obedience and intimacy with God the Father. He is our finally authority for truth, beauty, and goodness. This is the motto of Bayside. Baysiders are saints bumbling around in grace to be talking and walking like Jesus. It’s a tall task to attempt to follow this motto but what joy it is to fall in grace knowing we will land in the arms of Jesus when we do.
Grace and peace ?:^)