“What do you believe?” is a kind of a tricky question in our culture. Not because we can’t list off a bunch of ideas we think are true, but because they tend to stay that way – only a bunch of ideas. The tendency is to forget that these ideas, if we genuinely think they are true, will change the way we do life.
So, instead of answering the question with a lot of religious words, we’ll answer by describing the core truths that we are learning to trust our lives with – our real, everyday lives. These thoughts are based on the Bible and especially the message of Jesus Christ.
Let’s break that down:
- God (The Father) not only created the whole universe but also continues to keep it going.
- His goal is to find and adopt people who will form a community that reflects His heart (in this life and the next).
- God’s love for all of us is powerful, appropriate and all encompassing. In recognition of his attitude toward us, we are asked, in response, to pursue a life-long journey of love toward him with our whole being.
- God came to this earth as the human being known as Jesus Christ. He came to…
- …Repair the relationship with God that we tend to mess up with our human tendency toward pride, selfishness and lack of faith.
- …Teach and model the kind of life that God has designed for all of us from the very beginning.
- …Deal with the shame and consequences of all humanity’s wrong choices by taking them on himself when he allowed himself to be executed on a cross. He does this to allow guilt-free, intimate access to God.
- … Demonstrate, with his resurrection, both the new life that God offers to all of us and the freedom we can have from the fear of death and all the destructive patterns we may have experienced.
- The Spirit of God (or Holy Spirit) continues to reach out to all of us – not only directly, but often through our feelings, experiences, and “coincidence” – and especially to those who are searching. The Spirit helps us by…
- …Showing us where we are walking away from God’s plan for our lives.
- …Encouraging us to embrace a relationship with Jesus
- …Teaching us what’s true and how to use that truth in our own journey
- …Guiding our prayers
- …Strengthening, comforting, and inspiring us in our daily experiences.
The follower of Jesus is on a life-long journey that is meant to fully change and restore them to the lives God had designed for them from the beginning. These changes include:
- Exchanging a “God we’ve heard of” for a “God we’re friends with”.
- Exchanging slavery to dangerous habits and past mistakes for freedom, forgiveness and healing.
- Exchanging isolating individualism for true friendship and community with fellow followers
- Exchanging harmful lifestyle choices for choices that nurture us, others and the earth.
- Exchanging hate and exclusion of some for love and justice for all.
- Exchanging empty materialism for generously sharing with all who have need.
- Exchanging purposeless existence for becoming an agent of God’s kingdom on this earth.
- When he returns, he will re-establish God’s complete control over the Earth.
- After he returns, he will hold accountable all people, both those living and those who have died, for their hearts, thoughts and actions.
- Those who have rejected a relationship with God and Jesus Christ will be separated from God’s love, peace and presence forever.
- Those who have embraced a relationship with God and Jesus Christ will enjoy God’s love, peace and company forever.