Fort Worth Presbyterian Church’s vision is: Nurturing a joy for loving God and loving people by proclaiming, believing, and living out the gospel of Jesus Christ.
John Piper has written, “Love is the overflow of joy in God that gladly meets the needs of others.” Our vision captures the heart of this statement that we think is at the heart of our life as believers.
Our vision applies in the broadest way to our church’s corporate life in this world and as well applies on the most basic level (for example, in the relationship between a husband and wife). So, “Am I finding and showing joy in my love for my husband or wife?” is a searching, challenging question, and yet the prospect of being nurtured by God in this liberated and liberating love is full of hope.
While love is difficult and requires discipline and sacrifice, it is strengthened and made beautiful and sustainable by our joy in God’s salvation in Christ. “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10); our strength for love.
“God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Joy in our love for others is what gives them true encouragement and comfort. Resentful, begrudging “love” is hardly love, is it? Who wants that?
There is joy in our love, and love in turns brings us into greater joy. In a context in which Jesus is talking about love, He says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). It is a magnificent circle: joy – love – joy!
And that’s where the gospel comes in (second part of our vision). “Gospel” means good news. It is the good news of God’s unexpected love that Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8) while we were yet sinners and enemies. Therefore, the gospel concerns “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). There are unlimited beauties of God in this good news! The gospel explores the majestic goodness and greatness of God in all He has done, is doing, and will do for us helpless sinners.
Stay overjoyed in Him! Cultivate awe! As Jude writes, “keep yourselves in the love of God” (21); and as Paul writes, “The love of Christ controls us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
As we are nurtured on that sweet good news of God’s love in Christ, more and more we are enabled to love others in freedom, joy, and sacrifice. He sets us free from ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:15) so that we can be a light and oasis in this dark and barren world, proclaiming and living out this great gospel of Christ.