Pursued by a loving God

STATEMENT OF BELIEFS

These statements represent the essentials of what we believe as a church. They are an important part of how we help our community, impact lives, and grow through a relationship with Jesus.

ABOUT GOD

God is the Creator of all that exists, both seen and unseen. He exists eternally in three persons; the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit: these three are one. God passionately desires a relationship with us.

Genesis 1:1 | Matthew 28:19 | John 3:16-17

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

ABOUT JESUS CHRIST

God expressed Himself in human form through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified for the sins of all, was buried, rose again from the dead, ascended to heaven, and reigns eternally.

John 3:16 | 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 | I John 3:5 | Luke 24:5-7 | Acts 1:9-11

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is sent from God to make us aware of our need for Jesus Christ. He is a co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. He abides with everyone who accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord. A life yielded to the Holy Spirit is empowered to share the gospel and produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Holy Spirit provides Christians with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer spiritual gifts when they are saved. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily.

John 14:15-17 | Acts 1:8 | John 14:4-5 | Galatians 5:22-23

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

ABOUT THE BIBLE

The Bible is God’s Word, written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the ultimate source of truth and there is no error in it.

2 Timothy 3:16 | 2 Peter 1:20-21 | Psalms 18:30

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.30 As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.

ABOUT HEAVEN & HELL

We believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell and that all those who place their faith, hope, and trust in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord. Those who reject Jesus’ free gift of salvation will spend eternity separated from the Lord in Hell.

Matthew 5:3, 5:12, 5:20, 6:20, 7:13, 19:21, 25:34 | John 17:24 | II Corinthians 5:1 | Hebrews 11:16 | I Peter 1:4 | Revelation 20:12 | Philippians 2:10-11 | 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 | Matthew 25:44-46 | Revelation 21:8

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
21 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

ABOUT MANKIND

We believe that mankind was created in the image of God to have fellowship with Him but we became alienated in that relationship through sinful disobedience. As a result, we are incapable of regaining a right relationship with God through our own effort.

Genesis 1:26-27 | Genesis 2:6-24 | Psalm 8:3-6 | Isaiah 53:6 | Romans 3:23 | Colossians 1:21 | Isaiah 59:1-2

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.1 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

ABOUT ACCEPTANCE

We believe that every person is created in God’s image. We believe everyone is welcome to attend church and learn about God. We believe that salvation is available to every person as part of the great commission. We welcome anyone through our doors to experience the love of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 1:26 | Proverbs 8:17 | Matthew 28: 16-20 | Romans 14:1, 14:4, 14:12

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

We believe we are all sinners and there is no one sin greater than another. We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the church.

Romans 3:23 | James 2:10 | Romans 10:9-10 | Psalm 145:9 | Ephesians 4:31-32

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.9If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

ABOUT SALVATION

We can never earn salvation for our sins by self-improvement or good works. We believe that the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross, provides the only pathway for the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, salvation begins when we acknowledge our sinful nature and believe that the death and resurrection of Christmastimes the sufficient payment for our sins.

1 Peter 2:24, 3:18 | Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:9-10 | John 3:16, 5:24 | Ephesians 2:1-10 | Titus 3:3-8

24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

ABOUT TRANSFORMATION

Because of salvation,God doesn’t know us by our sin or past mistakes. He knows us by our true identity as His son or daughter. This means that once we are saved, we are a new creation in Christ and enter into a lifelong journey of being transformed. This is the process of “putting off” the old sinful nature and “putting on” our new self as a cleansed and forgiven child of God. It is the Holy Spirit who gives the believer the power to completely change.

Philippians 3:21 | Colossians 3:9-11 | Ephesians 4:22-24 | Romans 12:2, 8:11, 8:26

21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

ABOUT BAPTISM

We believe every believer should be baptized. It is an outward expression of an inward faith in Jesus Christ. Total immersion represents the death and resurrection of Christ,as well as the stripping off of our former sinful nature and declaring our new identity in Christ. It is also a step of obedience based on God’s commands and allows us to follow the example of Jesus, who submitted Himself to baptism.

Matthew 28:19 | Mark 1:9-10, 3:18 | Acts 2:38 | Ephesians 4:22-24

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

ABOUT CHILD DEDICATION

We believe that children are to be dedicated to the Lord by their parents as they promise to raise them to be Christ followers and to set a Godly example in their own lives. In addition, there is an important role that the church plays by promising to provide support and model Godly character. Therefore, we believe infants and young children are not to be baptized until they reach the age that they have a full understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

Proverbs 22:6 | Galatians 3:27 | Matthew 3:6 | Mark 1:4 | Luke 3:3 | Acts 2:38

6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

ABOUT COMMUNION

The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ; and an expectation of the joy of being with Him in His kingdom. The bread and the wine represent Christ’s body and blood that were broken and given for us as payment for our sin. All are worthy to take communion if they have examined their motives and believe in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34, 10:14-16 | Luke 22:17-20 | Acts 2:42

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
And when I come I will give further directions.
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

We believe that every Christian should live for Christ and not for themselves. By obedience to the Word of God and daily yielding to the Spirit of God, every believer should mature and be conformed to the image of Christ.

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

ABOUT MARRIAGE & SEXUALITY

We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture

Genesis 1: 27-28, 2:24 | Matthew 19:4-6

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage

I Corinthians 7: 2 | I Thessalonians 4: 3-4

2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,

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