Here’s some good news: You are part of something greater than yourself!  

And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ…Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!  Eph 3:8,10 The Message

As followers of Jesus we are sharing this life together – the greatest blessing (and sometimes the greatest challenge). One of our greatest joys is seeing people connect with Jesus and with each other. We get to see it every day, which is amazing. And one of our greatest struggles is seeing people drift away from Jesus and from community.

Every person at SHV is highly valued, and that means you!

What happens when you start to feel unnoticed or devalued? Just this past week a friend recounted his grief over friends who had “checked out” because they felt unnoticed. He had tried to reach out, talk through, and understand. But to no avail.

What can we do to live in a place of feeling valued? How can we avoid getting ripped off in relationships, moving from one community to another?

Here are 3 primary avenues Jesus gives us a sense of value (with the antithesis in italics).
BaptismWe experience value in relationship with Jesus, learning to continually draw our life from Him. Just like Beth who recently returned to Jesus, was baptized and now lives with a sense of peace and connection she never had before. Antithesis: whenever we put other people in the place of Jesus it will end in disappointment.

CommunityWe experience value in relationship with others. Just like Doug who shared he felt out of place, until he started looking to connect for the benefit of others. He studied how to ask better questions to know people’s stories, and ended up being a great friend (and counselor). Antithesis: whenever we approach relationships for what we can get, we end up using people to make us feel better about ourselves.

PrayingWe experience value by being on mission with Jesus, looking for where He is working and jumping in. Just like Dave who grew disillusioned with chasing the dollar as he saw spiritual and physical poverty all around. He started networking business leaders to fight injustice, following the example of Jesus. Antithesis: whenever we look first to be served we end up as consumers, missing out on the joy of serving.

None of this happens automatically. We experience value through engaging in the practices of Jesus, again and again, until they become habits. Practices of drawing life from Jesus, serving others and engaging in the mission of Jesus.

And just about the time we think we’ve got it down, another wake up call…We realize how dependent we are, and how desperately we need Jesus. And that’s a good place to be.

You are a part of something greater than yourself, and that is good news!