We Believe the Story:

 

 Act 1:

God: Good and great.

             God is the Creator of everything seen and unseen. God created a perfect world, a place where humans could live, work, and relate with God without any obstacles. God sustains the world in love, and has been working since the beginning to restore the world to its original state. God desires the best for all of creation, and will one day pass judgment on anyone who would cause the world harm. 

| Genesis 1-2 | John 3:16-17 | Romans 1:19-20 | Romans 8:18-25 |

 

Act 2 and 3:

People: Beautiful but blinded.

Humans are made in the image of God, and are made very good. We are made to worship, and all of us worship something. Yet, in our free will we choose to worship many other things. We have done this since the beginning, and our desires continue to lead us away from God today. God loves each of us and, short of overriding our freewill, will rescue us from eternal separation at all costs.

| Genesis 1:27 | Genesis 3 | Romans 1:21-25 | James 4:1-10 |

 

Satan: The father of lies.

Jesus recognized Satan, the Father of lies and enemy of God. Though we stray far from God on our own accord, Satan also tempts us in this way and desires to kill us, steal away from the joy and freedom in God, and destroy our lives. One day Satan will be defeated once and for all.  

| Luke 4:1-13 | John 8:44-46 | John 10:10 | Revelation 20:10 | Romans 16:19-20 |

 

Act 4:

Jesus: Leader and forgiver.

In the fullness of time, Jesus, God’s Son, became a human and stepped into history to live among us. He points us back to God. He is the way, the truth, and the life who leads us back to God. As a human, he lived a life without fault or sin and his story in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John model for us a way to live our lives in a way that gives God glory. He died an outcast’s death on the cross as he took on the worst humans could throw at him. Three days later he rose again which freed us from our sin, claimed victory over death, and began the process of reconciling the world back to God. As one who understands what it means to be fully human, Jesus advocates on our behalf at the right hand of God’s throne.  

| John 1:14 | John 14:6, 17:1-4 | Romans 6 | Galatians 4:4 | Ephesians 1:20 Colossians 1:15-20 | 2 Timothy 1:10 |

 

Holy Spirit: God within.

Jesus promised that when he left, the Holy Spirit would fill the church. The Spirit empowers believers to communicate across language, prays on our behalf, fills us with power, equips us with spiritual gifts, and shapes us into the character of God.

| John 16:5-10 | Acts 2:4 | Rom. 8: 11, 26-27 | 1 Corinthians 12:1-13:13 | Ephesians 1:19-20 | Galatians 5:22-23 | 

 

Trinity: Three in one, connected and complete.

God exists as one god in three persons. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all feel, act, and move in Scripture. They stand together as the ultimate expression of love in intimate and selfless community that resists all hierarchy. All three exist in different ways to serve the same purpose of demonstrating perfect love and inviting us to experience the best, fullest, and freest life possible, beyond anything we could imagine on our own. 

| Deuteronomy 6:4 | Matthew 28:19 | James 2:19 |

 

Act 5:

The Church: The new community.

Jesus built the Church through a small band of followers and one man’s confession. The first church group met together to worship, to pray, to share the Lord’s Supper, and to learn the teachings of Jesus. They went out together to meet the needs of others, to display God’s power, to live life Christ’s way together, and to spread the message of Jesus to the world. The church is still alive today, and moving to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. 

| Matthew 16:16-19 | Matthew 28:18-20 | Mark 3:14-19 | Luke 8:1-3 | Acts 1:7-8, 13-15, 2:42-47 |

 

The Bible: Alive and on-target.

The Bible is God’s story that reveals Jesus, our ultimate hope. It is our authority for the Church, it expands our wisdom and insight, and leads us to saving faith in Christ. The Bible is not one book but a collection of 66 books, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament, that all point to Jesus. 

| Luke 24:27, 44 | John 5:39, 14:26, 16:13-15 | 1 Cor 2:13 | 2 Timothy 3:15-16; | 2 Peter 1:20-21 | Acts 1:16 |

 

Baptism: Dying to live.

In the New Testament, those who decide to follow Jesus begin their journey through baptism in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. As we surrender under the water, we die to ourselves. As we emerge again, we are raised in our new lives in Christ. 

| Matthew 28:18-20 | Romans 6:3-4 | 2 Corinthians 5:17 |

 

Salvation: Invited in.

Salvation is both an individual response to God and to a community of faith where individuals recognize their need for God, admit their sinfulness, trust with word and life that God’s way is the best way and that Jesus is Lord, and respond to God’s call through Christian baptism and public confession. Upon baptism, God’s Spirit dwells within them.

| John 3:16 | Acts 2:37-41 | Romans 10:5-17 | Philippians 2:1-11 |

 

Communion: Dining with God.

Communion is the meal where Christians look back remembering the sacrifice of Jesus in his death on the cross and his resurrection, look around recognizing this is the connecting meal of all believers, and look forward to the day when Jesus will return again to celebrate the wedding feast of the Lamb. Communion is also a time for all people, believers or not, to look inward on their current relationship with God to consider next steps.

|Matthew 26:26-29 | Mark 14:22-25 | Luke 22:14-30 | Luke 24:13-35 | Acts 2:42-47 | 1 Cor. 11:17-36 |

 

Spiritual Growth: Pressing on.

When we are baptized, we begin our new life as spiritual infants in Christ. Yet, God loves us too much to let us stay that way. Therefore, God desires that all of us grow into spiritually mature followers of Jesus. Also see “What is a Disciple?” above.

| John 3:3-8 | Ephesians 4:14-16 | Hebrews 5:11-6:3 |

 

Eternity: Somewhere forever.

Death is not the end for a human being. From the beginning, we were made to live eternally. While the Bible contains many images for heaven and for hell, those who place their trust in Jesus as their Leader and Forgiver have the assurance of living forever in the new heaven and new earth.

| Job 1:6-12 | Isaiah 14:15 | Matthew 10:28, 25:30 | 1 Corinthians 15:12-58 | Revelation 21:1-7, 20:14 |