“Love one another as I have loved you.” That is, perhaps, the highest bar ever set— by a man who loved His people generously; who broke down social and economic barriers to show love to the unloved; who willingly died to save the very people who wrongly convicted, tortured, and killed Him. It is with that same spirit of love—a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things—that we establish this statement of faith. We hold these beliefs to be central to our relationships both in and out of the home.
We believe in one God who exists in three persons as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and in all places at all times. God is beyond time and is limitless. He is Creator, He is both just and merciful, He is unchanging, and all aspects of His character are in harmony. He does all things for the good of His kingdom and His will. His love and His ways are beyond our comprehension and nothing can separate us from that love.
God the Father reigns in Heaven and, because of the work of Jesus, we are able to enter his throne room of grace with confidence that we may find strength to help in time of need. God the Father wants to be in relationship with each one of us. Our heart’s desire is to know Him and to be known by Him, so that our hearts might become aligned to His will and that we might in turn worship Him and reflect his glory.
Jesus is wholly God and man, and is the rescue plan God devised knowing sin would come to our world even before He put people in it. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and lived a perfect, sinless life so that he could rescue us from the penalty of death and eternal separation from God--something we all rightly deserve. Jesus is the only being to live a perfect life, die a faultless death, and raise himself from death back into life. If we accept the gift of his great sacrifice of love for us, we live in freedom through him. Jesus is our eternal brother and understands our weaknesses. Jesus is more than just a teacher, counselor or prophet—he is the Son of God.
The Holy Spirit is given as a present to each believer at the time of their conversion to live in us and, in doing so, guide, comfort, convict, and instruct us into relationship with God. The Holy Spirit helps us become more like Jesus and express His nature of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. He gives us spiritual gifts to empower us to fulfill our God-given destiny, which is to meet the needs of Christians as our spiritual family and to love the world in a way that will help the world love and obey God.
The Bible is made up of 66 books which were written over the course of thousands of years by dozens of authors. Amazingly, all those accounts and perspectives align to tell a singular narrative: God loves His creation (us!) and desires to be restored to relationship with us so passionately that He is willing to rescue us from the mess we have made of our world so that we can live as He intended—in peace and harmony with Him and all creation. The Bible is the authoritative, inspired, and only written Word of God. It is trustworthy and reliable for telling us what to believe and how to live. We study the Bible in order to be shaped by it. God promises that if we seek Him we will find Him when we search for Him with all our hearts.
Jesus made it clear during his ministry that there is only one way to know God and spend eternity with him, and that is by accepting His gift. What is that gift? From the time of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, every person has been born with a sinful nature and has disobeyed God according to that brokenness. God wants everyone to be saved from this damaged nature –a nature which is a curse, because it eventually destroys anything good to serve its own selfishness. But someone must pay the penalty for that selfish disobedience. To let such a slap-in-the-face go unpunished would, actually, not be fair. It would be telling Cain it was okay to kill Abel—and every evil ever since. No, someone had to pay for all the wrong in the world. There was only one way—a perfect one had to come, someone with no reason to be punished who would willingly take our punishment for us. That was Jesus. He shouldered our evil, our fears, our weakness, and our rebellious disobedience. It cost him death and three days of separation from God the Father. But, in that act of love, he proved that death has no power over the love of God and brought himself back to life.
So, what is the gift? Accepting God’s gift of salvation simply means thanking Jesus for forgiving all your disobedience before God (even sins you have not yet committed) so that you can have relationship with God, and asking God to live in you through His Holy Spirit so that you can love and obey Him. No amount of goodness we could ever pile up would overcome our need to be forgiven. God doesn’t want our good deeds—he wants our hearts, our friendship, and our humility. Some of the greatest words uttered on the subject were in the Gospels by a dad desperate to see his son healed: Jesus, I believe; help my unbelief.
At the end of everything, Jesus will reign beyond time. Those who have accepted the gift of Jesus and his goodness in this life will enjoy the fullness of goodness in His presence forever—which is another way of saying Heaven. Those who have rejected his goodness in their lifetime will be separated from all things good for the rest of eternity—in other words, Hell. Is there a time limit on this offer for eternity? Sort of, and then again, No. The Bible is clear on two points. First, the Bible explains that the evil in our hearts can cause our hearts to become hardened to this gift of God, and cause us to turn away from Him; as a result, there is an urgency to accepting the gift of Jesus today while our hearts are open to His gift. Secondly, if a convicted thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus can hear Jesus promise him “Today, you will be with me in paradise” there is hope for us all, and it is never too late.