What We Believe
God is love; existing in relationship: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together as ONE… forever. God creates; draws us to God; and is active in the world, all because God always loves the world and wants to be in relationship with creation. So, God is Creator (made everything), Savior (tears down every barrier between us and God), and Sustainer (provides everything to keep it all going).
We’re created in God’s image. That doesn’t mean God is just like us. It means we offer a glimpse into the ways of God. It may mean we’re created for relationship, just as God is relational. It may mean we know right and wrong, good and bad. Or it may also mean that in this world we are “co-creators” with God. But, people also rebel against God. We want things our own way. We think we’re smarter than God. And we don’t think we need God. Martin Luther said we’re “curved in on ourselves”. That’s what “sin” is. But God doesn’t let our sin and rebellion separate us from God. God forgives people even though we don’t deserve it.
Jesus is God; and Jesus is human. God loves the world so much God steps down, becoming one of us. Jesus perfectly reveals God’s love: the hungry are fed; the blind see; the sick are healed; sinners are forgiven; the poor receive Good News; outsiders become insiders; and all are welcomed at God’s dinner table. That’s the kingdom of God; and it begins with Jesus. People didn’t want the kingdom of God; they wanted “business as usual.” So, they killed Jesus. But God raised him up to new life. Death doesn’t win! Now He lives in us and we live in Him.
God has a mission in the world; to gather all people to God and love them. And God’s mission has a work crew; that’s the Church. The Church is a people called and gathered by God’s Holy Spirit. We are Baptized into this faith, fed at the Communion table, nurtured in the Word, and sent out to be the hands and feet of Christ, to witness in God’s name. As others have said, “The church is not the gathering of the saved; it is the gathering of the sent.”
God’s Holy Spirit goes everywhere. The Spirit creates faith; calls us to service; and stirs us to action. The Spirit is present in God’s Church (in sharing the Scriptures, teaching and preaching, Baptism, Communion, friendships, and more). And God’s Spirit is present and active beyond the Church: leading all people to acts of love and mercy. In everything, the Spirit is moving the world toward accomplishing God’s will and God’s ways.
God never waits for us to make the first move. God creates, gives every good gift to sustain life, feeds, heals, loves, nurtures, works faith in us, calls us, equips us with skills and purpose, surrounds us with family and friends, and builds community for us. And when we ignore God and rebel against God, God calls us back to God and forgives us. God does all of this for us before we’ve done anything to deserve it. We can’t barter, buy, or work out deals with God. We don’t earn the things God gives. God is abundantly, even outrageously generous, because God loves this whole creation. That is… GRACE.
The Bible is the collected (and agreed upon) stories of God and God’s people. God’s people, it turns out, don’t have a great track record. There are moments of great faith and many wrong turns. In all of it God is there, faithful to the relationship God established with creation and with God’s people. The Bible is written in many styles, by many writers, over a span of about 1000 years. God acts in the world; and God’s action inspired writers and story-tellers. Yet, the Bible is more than words on a page. It is a living, active word of God that accomplishes faith among the community of believers. And the Bible points us to Jesus. Martin Luther called it, “the manger that holds the Christ child”