From the Desk ofPastor Mike
Oikos: Our Next 3 Years
Happy New Year! I am so glad to be here with you and start what I know will be a year that God will use to further His Kingdom, and here’s the best part – we get to participate in that with Him! Can you believe it’s 2017 already? The start of a new year causes us to think ahead. We usually set some fairly ambitious but unattainable goals. Here at Valley, we’re kicking off this year with a goal that’s very reachable, and is, dare I say it, the most important goal of all. That goal centers around the concept of Oikos (oy-kohs).
Oikos is not a made-up word, but a biblical one from the New Testament. (Yes, and the brand name of Greek yogurt…Have Mercy!) The word “Oikos” will become part of our regular vocabulary. In the Oikos Vision, I hope to teach you a new way of looking at God and the people He’s placed in your life to influence for Him.
Oikos is a concept with several significant meanings. At its basic form, it means a house or home. It might be the place you live – or like the home of Zacchaeus when Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this oikos,” (Lk 19:9). It could be the house of God, like His Temple “My oikos will be called a house, oikos, of prayer.” (Matt. 21:13) Or, it could even be the house of faith – the entire Christian Church. “God’s household, (oikos)… which is the church of the living God,” (1 Tim. 3:15). It also means family – the nuclear one you live with: moms, dads, kids, grandparents, siblings.
BUT…the majority of time in the NT, oikos means your “relational world or extended household.” Jesus told the man He healed of many demons to “Go home to your own people (oikos) and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” His people! Earlier in Mark, Jesus ate at Matthew’s house along with many tax collectors and sinners. That was Matthew’s oikos – his relational world! The Philippian jailer, Lydia… Story after story screams the importance of your relational world. These are the people you relate to regularly, part of your big family that you have influence with on a regular basis.
But back to that goal:
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
This is our goal, and we are going to live out the theme of oikos within this framework, in 3 meaningful ways. Here’s how that will happen: This entire year, 2017, we will focus on the heart of oikos that’s found in meaningful worship. The focus isn’t on my outward relationships yet, but on my upward one – toward God. In 2018, we look at the next word in vs. 5 – the very soul of oikos – found in meaningful relationships within our families. It’s based on a few more verses in Deut. 6. About His commandments, in vs. 7-9, God next tells us to
“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Here we see the benefit of generational discipleship – leading our kids & family to Him! The home is THE vehicle for imparting faith to the next generation – moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, godparents, and friends, all influencing them. And we’ll even improve our own relationships as we do it! And even if you are single, you will definitely be impacted by this time in the Word. God wants to shape our oikos, even if it’s broken or damaged, into what He intends.
Finally, in 2019, we’ll get the last word in vs. 5 & explore the strength of oikos found in the meaningful roles God has us play as we interact with others around us. We’ll concentrate again on outreach, intent on reaching our oikos with good news. Our theme verse will be the other greatest command Jesus talked about in Mark 12 with a teacher of the law.
“‘The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.’
‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’”
I am thrilled to push you closer to Jesus as you push your oikos closer to Him! I am 100% confident that as an oikocentric church, God’s Kingdom will increase! And you and I will get the joy of watching Him work through us! I have never been more enthused about the next chapter in Valley’s life! I can’t wait to see how He is going to develop you this year as you worship Him and open your heart for Him to use you in reaching those he has placed closest to you!