If you were sit down with someone and tell them about your life for ten minutes, there is no way that person would walk away fully understanding you! In a similar way, there is no way that we can fully or adequately explain what or why we believe on a single page. What you read below is just a brief summary. Join us on a Monday night or at a small group bible study as we consider these things in more depth!
We believe . . .
We believe that the world around us and our own lives point to the existence of a good, relational, intelligent God. Here’s what we mean . . .
A good God. Most humans want to be able to say that evils in the world (sex trafficking, for instance) are NOT good, that they really are NOT the way things are supposed to be. All of us appeal to some real standard of goodness woven into the fabric of the world.
A relational God. We know innately that family, friendships and relationships are central to purpose and fulfillment in our lives. Could it be that we come from a relational source?
An intelligent God. While the physical world is chaotic and seemingly broken at times, every day we rely on a tremendous amount of order, design, and even beauty within the laws of the universe.
We believe that these realities of a moral, relational, and ordered world are rooted in a good, relational, intelligent God. But we don’t just rely on powerful hints such as these, because we believe . . .
God has not left us to try to piece together his nature on our own. Being a relational God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- God has chosen to reveal himself to people primarily through other people.
The Christian scriptures were written by over 40 authors over a period of more than a thousand years. Yet they tell ONE story. We believe that the human authors of the Old and New Testaments were inspired by God to tell the true story about the world, and that God continues to speak through these Scriptures. They have the same life-giving power and relevance today that they always have.
Ultimately, God speaks through His Son, Jesus. In Jesus, we believe God came down because He loves us! He came to more fully reveal to us the goodness, love, power, etc. of God and to restore our relationship with God. The Christian Scriptures are centered on him, that we might know God through him.
Every good gift is from God - our bodies, minds, athletic abilities, other talents, friendships, relationships, families, favorite places, food, drink ... every good thing. God made us, and all that was made, in love, so He cares about every part of our lives.
The first chapter of the Bible shows that every human being is made in the likeness of a glorious God, and therefore has undeniable worth and dignity. But we know from current events and from our own lives that something has gone horribly wrong. We often feel distant from God, we carry shame and guilt, relationships are broken, people-groups and countries are at war, and many feel apathy toward the world, while others are obsessed with things in the world. Where did we go wrong?
God gave us gifts that we might enjoy them, but especially that we might know and enjoy the Giver! (Isn't this how it should be with any gift?) Christians believe that things go wrong when we worship the gifts, whether it's the gift of power or our bodies or athletic abilities or another gift, instead of worshipping the Giver and loving others through the gifts. We turn our backs on God and try to run away with his gifts, playing "god" of our own lives and exchanging the true glory and love of God for replicas of his glory that cannot ultimately satisfy. And when we're not satisfied in God, we try to find that satisfaction in all kinds of ways that harm ourselves and others, and that push us further from God. The end of this road is separation from the Giver of life -- in other words, physical and spiritual death.
But God came down. Jesus came into our broken world to take the worst of it on himself -- exile, abandonment, religious pride and divisiveness, political oppression, police brutality, bodily harm and disfigurement, etc. Ultimately, He willingly endured death on a cross of execution, in order to take the inevitable consequences and just judgment that we brought on ourselves by running away from God. He sacrificed himself in love, as our substitute, to bring us forgiveness and to reconcile us to God. We receive this forgiveness by trusting in what He has done for us.
God never forgives and then leaves us to continue in ways that lead to death. God forgives us in order to transform us, to re-create us in his likeness. Forgiveness comes through the sacrifice of Jesus' death on a cross. Transformation comes through the power and grace of Jesus' resurrection and victory over death. The same God who created life is willing and able to re-create life. When we are united to Jesus by trusting in him, we are united in his death to evil and in his resurrection to life.
Through this union with Jesus, the distance between believers and God is closed because our shame and guilt are forgiven. We grow in our relationship with God and experience of his love. God's forgiveness and love begin to spill over into our human relationships, even into the most bitter prejudices. Our purpose in the world -- the purpose of reflecting God's likeness through the good use of all his gifts and of pointing others to Him -- is restored, overcoming apathy and obsession at the same time.
This work of transformation is a lifelong process that often feels like "three steps forward, two steps back." But in the end, we believe that . . .
Jesus' resurrection from the grave assures us that God will win. God will conquer evil and all that stands against his good purposes, making all things new. The Christian vision of heaven is not one of floating off to play harps on clouds, but rather one of God's people and the world being re-created and restored to our glorious purpose for eternity. All things -- work, relationships, sport, food, music, etc. -- will be fulfilling as they are received from God and offered up to the glory of God.