What We Believe
We are passionate about following Jesus and we understand that this involves using our head as well as our heart. Paul, an author of many of the books in the Bible, keeps us centered with this reminder. "...We know that all of us have knowledge, but knowledge can be risky. Knowledge promotes overconfidence and worse arrogance, but charity of the heart (love, that is) looks to build up others" (1 Corinthians 8:1, The Voice). That being said, there are beliefs that are central to the story of Jesus and to our faith.
God - We believe in God the Father. He is the God who created out of chaos in the beginning and He is still creating out of chaos right now. The story of Scripture teaches us that God is driven by His willingness to love.
Jesus - We believe in Jesus, the Son of God. He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). He is God in flesh: God who became man, God who became vulnerable, God who can be seen, touched, and experienced. His obedience to the Father led him to the cross and a sacrificial death that has dealt a catastophic blow to sin and slavery. The cross is at the core of our story but is incomplete without the empty tomb. We believe that on the third day Jesus was resurrected from death and that he is only the first. Jesus' bodily resurrection is our hope that death is not final for those who have faith in Him. He is alive and so are those of us who have faith and so we will ever be.
The Holy Spirit - We believe in the Holy Spirit - our counselor, our comforter, and the one who intercedes on our behalf. He provides followers of Jesus power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in what is God honoring.
Sin - Every human is born as one who bears the image of God. There is something holy and sacred about being human. However, the story of Scripture teaches us that when we make decisions to step outside the boundaries that God has set to protect the sanctity of life, we disconnect ourselves from God's purposes. Jesus came to both rescue and restore. He came to rescue us from the brokenness and seperation from God's created intentions. And, he longs to restore each of us so that we can experience the vision God had for us in creation.
The Bible - is the story of God's restoration. The Holy Spirit worked through many different voices, generations, and types of writings to weave God's story together. The Bible is so much more than a book to be studied and memorized; it is a story to be imitated and lived out. God intends for Scripture to help motivate people to join in God's continued acts of restoration throughout the world.
Salvation - is a free gift from God. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness can we be saved from sin. God isn't only interested in us being saved from something; He's just as interested in us being saved into something. We have been saved from the powers of Hell and we have been saved into a life in which we get to passionately follow Jesus in the here and now.
Covenant (Baptism & Communion) - God forms covenants with humans because He is relational. Baptism teaches that we are saved by grace through faith. We believe in baptism by immersion which represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:1-5) and symbolizes the burial of the old self and the resurrection of a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Baptism is the event where we join the adventure of living as a disciple of Jesus in our everyday life. Every Sunday we celebrate this adventure and the sacrifice that was necessary for us to participate in it. We call this celebration Communion or the Lord's Supper. Others call it the Eucharist which is a Greek word that means "thanksgiving." The purpose of Communion is to: 1) remind us of the covenant we have with God through our faith in the sacrificial death and life changing resurrection of Jesus, 2) live a transformed life because of the power of Jesus that now resides in us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, and 3) to remain connected to other believers in Jesus.
Discipleship and Spiritual Formation - The Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20, gives the command to make disciples of all nations. With Jesus there is no Plan B. The word disciple is found frequently in the New Testament (269 times). By contrast the word Christian is found only 3 times. To be a disciple is to be a follower; an imitator. To honor and obey Jesus' words, we are eager to raise the bar for ourselves when we personally define what it means to be a follower. We are not called to be his admirers. We believe we are called to be passionate imitators of Jesus. The charge given to church leaders in the Bible is to present mature followers to Jesus (Colossians 1:28-29). So we move forward with a passion to see Jesus formed in other people (Galatians 4:19).
Reconciliation - We believe the story of Jesus is one that unites people from all economic situations and cultures. We believe that evidence of God's work among us includes a diversity of people and perspectives all united in the one faith in Jesus as the resurrected Savior. We realize that this requires a deep level of respect and humility (Romans 14:1-4). We rebuke the spirit of division as we seek to shine the light of Jesus through a message of unity in diversity (Romans 16:17-18).
Compassion and Justice - We believe in the Biblical principles of restorative justice (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). We believe that the brokenness experienced in our world will not be repaired at the ballot box, boycott, labor negotiations, Congressional edicts, or Supreme Court rulings. Deep lasting solutions focus on restitution, restoration, healing, and the future. Real compassion and justice are found only in the advancement of the reign of God and His kingdom. We believe the poor, abused, neglected, and disenfranchised are on God's agenda. We want to be bold disciples of Jesus and follow His lead into the dark crevices of life where only the faith of resurrection brings light.