We believe that beliefs are better understood in conversation than as a list of bullet points on a web-site. We also realize, however, that web-sites are available to people who may never be able to meet members of our community. So we decided to tackle this through a rather long, but important story of what we believe and how we have come to believe it. We hope this tells the story in a way that makes sense to the reader. These are ancient concepts, but what you find below is an attempt to put them in modern terms while staying true to the historic Christian Faith. So take a deep breath and read on.
We believe the Bible tells us the story of God and the history of His pursuit of us. It is inspired poetry, song, story, history, letter-writing and even prophecy. It is fully true and is our final authority for living on all the matters it speaks to, but should be interpreted carefully and accurately. Most of the things we know about God and ourselves, we know from this authoritative book. We study this book continually because the moment we think we know it all, is the moment when our living faith has died.
The Bible tells us that there is only one God, but that there is also a three-ness to God. The way ancient and modern Christians have put words to our understanding of God is that we worship one God who exists eternally in three persons . . . Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The scriptures are clear that God created everything that is and ever will be. God has continually been in conversation with His people trying to draw them closer to Himself. The history of our faith (from the Ancient Hebrews all the way up to today) shows us that our relationship with God has been and continues to be a cycle of drawing near to God and then walking away from God. The people of Israel would be faithful for a time, then worship foreign gods, neglect the poor, and abuse the foreigner. This was their sin as individuals and as a people. Unfortunately, we fall into this same cycle of drawing close and walking away from God today.
We all know (and Romans 3:23 reminds us if we ever forget) that we are broken and flawed. We have chosen to be our own gods instead of letting God be God in our lives. This fundamental problem we have is called 'sin.' Sin means our lives are 'off the mark' and that we fall short of God's standard. That's the bad news.
The good news is that God had a specific plan to redeem His creation. The defining moment of that plan was the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here's basically what happened:
God knew we could never be pure or perfect enough to "earn" our way into an eternal relationship with Him, so He came down to find us instead. God left heaven and came to earth in the form of a little baby that we call Jesus. Jesus was "God in the flesh" or "God with us" and he came to show us how to die to ourselves and live for something larger (His work in the world) so that we could have abundant life that can start today and go on forever.
We can have that life by trusting Jesus' perfect life and death on the cross to pay for our sin. Like a small child who tries to pay the tab at a restaurant for his family with a few coins, we don't have enough purity or righteousness in our lives to pay our own debt to God. In God's mercy, He allows us to receive that payment by trusting in Christ's sacrifice for us. He transfers His funds into our account so to speak. That starts a new journey for us.
Even today, God is not done with us yet. We believe that God has not abandoned His creation and His chosen people. He has continued and still continues to work to reclaim His creation. The ongoing work of God in the world is done through God's Spirit which encourages, comforts, teaches and convicts us. In other words, God still works through the Holy Spirit today to connect and reconnect people to Him.
We see in the scriptures the affirmation that all of life is sacred. This means that every moment of our lives can be lived as an act of worship (Romans 12:1). It means that every part of our lives . . . our fears, hopes, addictions, struggles, joys . . . our work, our play, our friendships, our families . . . they are all either redeemed or in need of redemption. They are either under God's control or under our own. There is nothing that is outside the realm of God so God wants to redeem all of our lives - the physical, the spiritual, the emotional - all of it. And the best part is that our fullest life is found when we follow the way of Jesus and put our lives under His lordship.