More than anything else, our vision and culture in The Crowded House has been shaped by reading the Bible story as one story. The word of God is central to the story and therefore central to our vision for community and mission:
Creation: The bible begins with a word. In the beginning, when the earth was formless and empty, God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light (Genesis 1:1-3). Through his word he brought order out of chaos and light out of darkness (John 1:1-3). God rules through his word, and He made humanity to live under his good rule.
Fall: When humanity rebelled against God, that rejection of God’s rule begins with a rejection of God’s word (Genesis 3:1, 4). It wasn’t that the fruit of the tree was poisonous in some way. Instead we chose to decide for ourselves what is good and evil, rather than trusting God’s word. God rules as his word is trusted and obeyed. God is rejected when his word is not trusted and not obeyed.
Promise: God begins to restore his good rule when he makes a promise to Abraham that his descendants will be God’s people living in God’s place under God’s rule (Genesis 12:1-3). But what is a promise? It’s a word. And that word of promise, shapes Abraham’s life from then on. Throughout the history of Israel it becomes the basis on which God acts – God acts to keep his promise.
Jesus: Finally God sends his own Son, Jesus. Jesus proclaims the word of God. But more than that, he is himself the living Word of God (John 1:1-3). Jesus was the Word by which God created the world. And he is the Word by which God continues to rules and by which God continues to bring life. Central to Jesus’ ministry was the proclamation of the word (Luke 4:18-19). But his word were not mere words, He spoke words of authority that brought life, healed the sick and drove out evil.(Luke 4:36)
Church: And now Jesus sends us out to proclaim his word, the gospel. The Gospel is a message that brings life and freedom and wholeness and hope. God again is ruling through his word. Through the gospel, life comes to those who submit to Christ’s rule and, through the gospel, judgment is declared against those who reject his rule. So the kingdom grows as people hear and accept the word of God (Mark 4:14, 20).
What does that look like in practice? To be shaped by the word means we need a willingness to be discipled, to have the word shape our lives and correct our lives. At the same time we also need a willingness to disciple. We want people who are willing to challenge, who look for opportunities to speak God’s word into the lives of other people. We do this as we gather formally on a sunday, but also throughout the week as we read our bibles and share the words of Jesus with each other.