Monday, September 01, 2014

First Chapel of the Semester

SAMSUNGThis past Friday the first regular chapel of the semester was celebrated. As usual, SAMSUNG            I had the privilege of being the speaker. The tradition is that we focus on the mission of the school to explain to the students why PIU is here and how they fit in. This was especially timely for me to speak on as I spent most of my summer meeting with our supporting churches in Oregon and California talking about the same thing. So the chart below of the “Flow of the Biblical Narrative should look pretty familiar to those who saw us this summer. First chapel is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s all new so all the students really seem to listen to what I have to say. Smile Here are a few pictures of the chapel and a summary of the message below.

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The PIU family was pumped up for the first chapel

Bible Message Chart

The basic message of my sermon was that if we want God to direct our lives in specific ways, we need to be moving in the general way he reveals in the Bible. In other words, we need to “make God’s mission our mission.” The mission of God and message of the Bible is about the kingdom of God, “GOD WILL BRING ABOUT HIS PERFECT WORLD OF LIFE, PEACE, BEAUTY, AND ORDER THROUGH HUMAN AGENCY.”

The story of creation at the beginning of the Bible is balanced by the story of re-creation at the end. God begins by creating a beautiful world of life, order and light and commands his image, the humans, to fill, rule and subdue it. Of course they fail. The story ends with the God-Man, Jesus, accomplishing everything Adam was supposed to do so that the garden extends over the whole world and God’s plan is accomplished.

The rest of the Bible is concerned with God’s plan to accomplish this. The story of Israel in the OT is about God’s mission, given to Abraham to “go and bless” the world. Abraham’s mission was to make God and his blessings accessible to all the world. Despite his failings, Abraham began the mission well, but as a whole, Israel failed in this mission.

The 2nd phase of the story is the entrance of Jesus. Jesus accomplished and fulfilled everything that Israel was supposed to do and inaugurated the church with everything it needed to accomplish the continuing mission in the next era. Jesus gave the church an ethic in the Sermon on the Mount and greatest commandment. He defeated sin and death in the cross and resurrection and rules from the right hand of God after the ascension from where he distributes the Spirit to his body on earth, the church. All scripture must be interpreted in reference to Jesus.

Finally, the church has the mission to “go and make disciples.” It is the same mission given to Abraham, but now empowered by Jesus’ victory and the indwelling Spirit. Thus, this becomes a mission of transformation. As we make the blessings of God accessible to the world (key blessing being God’s presence in our lives) the Spirit transforms us more and more into God’s image. Our mission is as Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”

PIU core values

The three core values of PIU flow from this biblical mission. Excellence from the creation story as God desires to produce order, beauty, light and fullness through his people. Accessibility, from the Abraham story as God distributes his blessing through his people to the world. Transformation comes from the church’s mandate to “make disciples.” This is God’s kingdom work and this is what we are about at PIU.

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