A Shared Journey For Peace by Gavin Linderman

A Shared Journey For Peace by Gavin Linderman

The famous Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God” has a more literal translation, “Stop your fighting, and know that I am God”. The entire Psalm 46 is littered with what God does in our trouble. It is an ancient call for what is ours in God, peace. “God our refuge and strength… the ever-present help in trouble …God is with us… we will not fall… He makes wars cease….He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, the Lord Almighty is with us… He is our fortress”, all we are asked to do is “stop fighting”. But we just can’t, can we?

 

“Choose your battles”, is something I hear a lot of these days. In a world full of conflict and in a society that seems to always be brimming with tension, what choices do we have? By the looks of things, at minimum we are guarded, at best wounded left feeling backed in a corner.  We live in the world of the teeter-totter. Ready to react because we don’t know how to respond. In some forms we celebrate the battle, in others we look for it, and for some we simply live in avoidance of it. But who is winning? What is winning? Perhaps, the war of words is not the answer. Its interesting that the easement of disagreement and argument seem to come quite natural to us and yet, they are not our nature. They are learned, practiced and entertained. Even more interesting is that we struggle to do what comes most natural to us, that which is most fundamentally our asset, to listen. 

 

I am a father of two kids with one on the way and I am relearning this for myself. My children were born unable to speak but they knew how to listen and when they did speak they could only mourn. Both are good. And yet, with my kids, I am quick to yell and argue but in doing so I loose their ears. And even if I yell load enough and look at them authoritatively enough, I can get their attention but it comes at a cost. For what they learn is how to battle, not how to live. I may even get the outcome I desire but it does not come through their desire but my force.  This is a loss not a victory. But the truth is, as it is with God, us fathers desire that our children will come to a place where they listen and make good decisions on their own. That they will, what we will intuitively.  This is the beautiful union of John 5:19, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” While our will and the will of our opponents might be quite different my hope here is for us to see that fighting is by nature enemy occupied territory. It is not our intended nature, so what are we to do about it? Here are three things that might take you off guard. 

A few considerations for a shared journey for peace.

  1. Listening is Loving: Listening is the capacity to put aside our preoccupations in exchange for being present with the other. When we listen we build room to speak. In fact, I have found that when I hear a person out, they no longer want the last word but instead are now open to dialogue.  
  2. Mourning is Understanding: Mourning allows us to feel. In mourning we cripple our tendency for judgment by acquainting ourselves with sorrow. We learn to rely on greater truths and in doing so are able to lie down our trivia in exchange for profound understanding. Morning disarms us from our fear that causes us to fight in the first place. 
  3. Were In This Together: The best kind of love breaks down the “us verse them” mentality we live by. Love teaches us to see ourselves in those we don’t like to see. Some have suggested we dislike those most like us. Perhaps we really just dislike our selves. What if next time we find our self in dispute with someone we choose to look past the speck in the other person’s eye and instead pull the plank out of our own eye (Matthew 7:3)? In doing so, we might find the humility needed to listen and gain a friend. 

Personal Revelation by Gavin Linderman

Personal Revelation by Gavin Linderman

It is good and wise from time to time to take note of the revelations that God has helped you see and piece together. This is not an exhaustive list, nor does it reflect the totality of the greater truth, my experience with God, or His revelations. It is simply a survey of epiphany in short form. I will make my best attempt to place these in chronological order and only list some majors as there are many minors that are far more personal.  The beauty that I wish to note in advance of this, “List,” is how obvious these have become. That is, I believe, the beautiful nature of God-speak. Thankfully, The hearing ear and the seeing eye-- the LORD made them both.” (Proverbs 20:12)

1) “Seek and You Shall find,” does not mean when you find, stop seeking.

    Our appetite for endings should never outweigh further exploration. Our remedial culture and childhood games, God is certainly amongst and within, but also beyond the hide and seek.  “Permission to land,” so to speak, should only be granted on the 7th day or when its time to feast. Therefor, we become increasingly weary of the inflated life or any spirit of arrival. Such folk don’t need to wear shoes.  I would rather be lost and thirsty than in the illusion of foundness without need for living water. (Luke 11:9

 

2) “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands,”- really He does. 

    We sing it, but we do not believe it. At some point early on, I started singing this again.  It was given back to me amongst a glimpse of my own ornery spirit, unsettled by my lust for worry while the trees danced on in the storm. Concern and struggle always say they long for peace, but what they really love is more worry and less dancing. (John 14:27)

 

3) The Kingdom of God is already NOT yet

    Notice the NOT. For some time, I was always drawn to the mystery of the, “Yet,” and missed the, “NOT.” I loved to think about what would be one day, and never enjoyed what was, “Already.” The Kingdom of God is already. Say it out loud. The part that is, “Not yet,” does not have a place in the now, does it? Let us focus on the now, not the yet.  (Luke 17:20-21)

 

4) Truth is Truth

     Far too much of my focus and energy has been caught up in reserving the truth. An odd thing now, but it once was normative. I was concerned about, “Compromising the truth.” Is such a thing even possible? Certainly, there are half truths and lies, but truth has never spent a day compromised, or so Jesus tells me. Truth is truth no matter what, and no matter where you find it. (Philippians 4:8

 

5) My Bride is beautiful, not ugly. 

     You can tell if you are loved. Words are not the way we judge qualitative love. Instead, it is sensed in how we are cared for and how we place others appropriately in our attention and care. Jesus is masterful in his capacity to see the beauty in you, His bride. He does not find it ugly, and so we must see His bride as he sees it.  Catch your fire when it seeks to steel your capacity to see what Jesus sees as beautiful. Take care of your treasures and look for them in others too.  (1 John 3:18

 

The Election, Women, and Tangled by Kendall Linderman

The Election, Women, and Tangled by Kendall Linderman

There are three recurring themes in my life right now:

The election
Women in society
Disney's Tangled

Yes, Tangled. Any parent of a toddler girl can attest, fairytale Disney movies can consume all aspects of life. We sing the songs, listen to the songs in the car, buy the toys, watch the movie over, and over, and over again... 
Fortunately, the movie is quite delightful and I do not mind it, especially because it provides some empowering messages to my child. 

Last week, I listened to a podcast (as I frequently do when I workout at the gym) about Women. That seems like such a broad topic, how could they hone it down into an hour and a half single podcast? The hosts had a variety of friends and family join them and share their experiences of womanhood in America. Some specifically in the church, but even those stories reflected what transpires in the daily lives of Christian, other faiths, and non-religious females. One particular part that tore at my heart was when a guest eloquently spoke a poetic recount of her life in the female form, from birth to present- how she once ran naked and free in her body, loved, unashamed, perfect... and as she grew older, words of shame, angst, and male advantage took over her story. This is, unfortunately, a common narrative in (and dare I say) the majority of women in America. 
Not even three days after listening to the podcast, as I am still processing and mentally relishing in it, my Facebook feed and television were blowing up with leaked audio of Donald Trump. He was boasting his celebrity, and how that provides him a free pass to make advances on women without consent. He was speaking on the things that I literally had listened to days before: men taking advantage of women, belittling women, sexually abusing women... I was obviously disgusted by this, but not surprised at who it was coming from. He later, "Apologized," for his words, passing them as, "Locker room talk."

Now I feel like I must say before I go further: I am NOT for/against Donald Trump OR Hillary Clinton. 

While at the gym this morning, I walked into a conversation in, ironically, the locker room. Two female Trump supporters were having a conversation...
Gal 1: "Did you watch the debate Sunday night?"
Gal 2: "No, did you?"
Gal 1: "No. I cannot even stand to look at her. People are just going to be giving me a play by play on my Facebook feed anyway."
Gal 2: "Yes for sure."
Gal 1: "I really just hope something bad happens to Hillary, or something comes out so we can get rid of her."

Whoa. I stopped in my tracks, along with another gym goer, who made eye contact with me as we both mouthed, "Oh my gosh." We ended up having a side convo about natural supplements to absorb the shock about this women's desire to share her hate in a public place. I mean, good for her for having the balls to speak her mind, but dang. It really bit me. 
My mind was swirling with questions:
How, does a woman in suburban Arizona, have such hatred to a woman she has never met, will never meet, and has never done anything to her?  
What could Hillary Clinton have done to cause this woman to wish harm and ill will on her? 
How do these woman side with a political candidate when they do not educate themselves by watching the candidate speak? 

My mind wondered further.
Because I am in ministry, I sometimes find myself imagining what I would say to a stranger if I were in a discipling relationship with them. What would they do if they heard someone say those things about them, their friends, their children? How does God feel about you saying those things about His child? In this circus we call, "An election," the animosity and hatred has grown into a monster we cannot control. We have chosen a Republican candidate for President who is known for shaming women, insulting military families, mocking people with disabilities, and speaks in a manner similar to leaders that spawned communism and world wars. Why have we gone this route we must ask. 

So, back to Tangled. 
The main character, Rapunzel, is kidnapped as an infant because her hair has magical powers of healing and youth. At 18, she finds herself in a circumstance to leave her tower and see the, "Floating lights," that she has seen from her window her entire life. This is her dream. It is so innocent, and she is so naive since she has never left her tower due to the control of her kidnapper. She is taken to a bar where ruffians and thugs retire, and they try to take her guide for reward money. She bravely intervenes and exclaims, " Okay, I don't know where I am and I need him to take me to see the lanterns because I've been dreaming about them my entire life! FIND YOUR HUMANITY! Haven't any of you ever had a dream?" The thugs then break into song about how they all have these sincere, lovely dreams instead of being these smelly, menacing men that do terrible things. 

So, a long story to get to my point...
I feel like we are all of these ruffians... we've been dealt some cruddy cards and we're all going down these hateful, ugly paths. We're doing and saying horrible things because that is who we're siding with. We're there because we're scared and angry. We think that these feelings make us strong. But in all actuality we all have the same dream: peace, love, to see the floating lights. 

When I see women hurting because they've been molested or humiliated by men, and then we have a man running for president who DOES THESE THINGS... When I hear people yearning for bad things to happen to someone simply because they are in the opposite political party... When I am observing this rat race we can the American Election...I just want to hit America over the head and say, FIND YOUR HUMANITY!!!! 

Where is our humanity? Have we forgotten what that is?  Mirriam-Webster defines humanity as, "The quality or state of being kind to other people or to animals/all people." ALL PEOPLE. Not just whites. Not just men. Not just able minds/bodied people. Not just Christians. 

Every. Single. Person.

So what do we do? Honestly, I have no idea. This whole democracy seems to be spiraling into a pit of destruction and despair. The very America that we want to be making great, seems to be imploding. Are you in the same boat as the locker room gals? I'll be the first to admit that I've had negative thoughts about political candidates, said bad things about them, heck, I carved a McCain/Palin pumpkin in '08 (two actually)... 
All I can really think to say is to look at yourself, not others, and see how that is reflecting what you really believe. Do I think Gal 1 at the gym wants physical harm to come to Hillary Clinton? I sure hope not, and I think she would feel remorse or sadness if that actually materialized. How are you reacting to this election? When you see that news feed pop up on your Facebook or newscast, what is your first feeling? Check yourself. People are chattering about the last question of the debate from Karl Becker. It was the final note to an otherwise depressing hour and a half. America latched onto that morsel of positive energy. We need more! 

I pray that we can all get it together as a nation and unite. Whoever we elect, we have to change as a society. We cannot be exuding such violence, hatred, anger... America has never had things 100% right. We are constantly evolving, learning, changing...Let us learn this one sooner rather than later. No matter who becomes our Commander in Chief, we can trust that the Father has us. Let us find our humanity, not just in the election, but all around us. 


Kendall Linderman

Part 1: The Bohemian Soul by Gavin Linderman

Part 1: The Bohemian Soul by Gavin Linderman

Online dating is weird. It’s probably a lot of things, but it is at least weird. That much is self-evident, or so my wondering ears tell me so. I sense the discomfort of the single. The sense of not knowing meets a fading hope. It's surely not like that for all, but at least for the many honest. And yet the single life, when done well, is a beautiful thing. Even worthy of aspiration, 1 Corinthians 7:8. No doubt, not all will aspire such a beautiful fidelity exclusively to the Lord. However, it must be noted that those who have, have found it to be good. 

 Our scriptures, as so often are, don’t flush out the full breath and weight of every topic under the sun, but it does give us a wonderful place to begin. For Paul, his desire is like that of the Lord's, that you, single or not, would be first, free from anxiety (1 Corinthians 7:32a). Perhaps this should be a prerequisite for dating, marriage, and yes, divorce too. Unfortunately, we have thought wrong about the second part of this passage: “An unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord”. We have often taught that Paul is suggesting to the single that we should, “Have anxieties about the things of the Lord,” as if that’s a good thing. However, this is not what he says at all. He clearly states at the beginning of verse 32 that, “I want you to be free from anxiety.” He then says what is truly greater (again, single or not) that, “Undistracted devotion to the Lord,” in verse 35 should be our aim. I might add, our delight. Anxiety is many things, but, “Undistracted,” is not one of them. That is precisely his point; concern and worry distract you from the solitary soul. The paradox that snares us but not Paul is that we think the operation is to be either worried about pleasing a person for their affection, or else pleasing God for His affection. But for Paul AND Jesus, this is not an option. For them, and now for you, is to put aside the normalcy of anxiety, concern, or worry, and embrace the freedom of the undistracted bohemian soul that has fixed its eyes in solidarity to Jesus.

If I may press further, my amazement of the virtuous loner is to say that by your unconcern, your deponent is God and His rubbernecker is you. Your worship is complete, and the Soul of God raptures all that anxiety could not accomplish. You truly have all that you need and can now say, “I shall not want,” Psalms 23:1.  The allure of the endless swipes of illusion have lost their luster. They have become simply too cheap in comparison to the cross of singular fidelity. 

 

1 Corinthians 7:32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

Unity of the Body by Tracey Bentley

   The importance of unity of the body to Jesus is on my heart. The reason for this is because of the journey God has taken us on through our lives in the church. Over the years Ross has been gifted in worship leading and we have been involved in planting many churches. As a result of being in church leadership we have seen a lot of conflict within churches, and the harm this has caused in individual lives as a result as well as to the witness of the church. Please take a moment to look at these scriptures with me and see if you see what I see.

    I should start with our savior Jesus displaying evident zeal  for the temple in John 1:17 (quoted from Ps.69:9) and Acts 7:48-51. I am amazed as I meditate on Jesus final prayer in the garden. The passion that our Savior has as He prays for believers before he is betrayed shows us His heart for unityJesus prays to the Father for us to be one; that we would have complete unity, for this is how His glory is displayed. (John 17:21-24) Paul instructs the church to have no divisions and have perfect unity in mind and thought. (I Cor.1:10) There are many other scriptural instructions on unity such as Romans 14:19, and 15:5-7 because it is so important to God. It seems to be that to not have unity dishonors our Lord. An Old Testament example of grumbling is found in Numbers 21:4-9 where the people grew impatient and spoke against God and against Moses. Is it impatience that drives our complaints? As a result they were stricken by snakes…gross. God provided a way for their healing by rising up a stick with an image that ultimately was a representation of Christ. Thank God that He, Jesus is the remedy for our sin and when we look to the cross we find redemption and reconciliation (John 3:14-15).

   Of course it is impossible to not have disagreements in the church but we have instruction about how to handle this. In Galatians 2:11 Paul confronts Peter to his face because he is wrong about an issue. We are responsible to restore each other when we go astray: we should not simply say you are wrong so I am leaving. (Galatians 5:13-15, 6:1-6) We are guaranteed to have disagreements as we see in Romans 14 we do not live for ourselves but for Christ.... why do you look down on your brother (v 10). To do this is modern day church consumerism. It is saying I haven’t found what I want here so I will go somewhere else.

   “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? .....Brothers, do not slander one another...(James 4:1,10)

    The ideal scenario when we have a disagreement with our body is that we would come together with the part of the body that you have the disagreement with as well as the leadership with the vision of the church and prayerfully discuss the issues that you have. If you are still in disagreement then all who are involved would prayerfully be in agreement that you should find a body of believers with whom you can live in unity with, because unity and Jesus glory are the priority. If we truly want to represent Christ to the world then this is how we should live together.“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Cor 13:13

With love, Tracey

Ministry of Reconciliation

Marriage/Togetherness by Megan Milem

I just wrote an entire blog post about marriage… and then I deleted it. I am probably the last person who should ever talk about marriage but here I am, typing away. My story, our story, is probably a little more tumultuous than most. My husband and I have been together for 12 years, married for eight, in counseling for six of those eight. Together, we have been together… that word is what made me delete my entire blog. What does it mean to be together? We have known each other, dated, been engaged, and been married for a total of 12 years… we have been together for much less. Getting married to my sweetheart at the old age of 21, left me without any real ability to comprehend the gravity of what I was committing to for the rest of my life. “…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part” My tear filled voice squeaked out those well known words just before we signed on the dotted line and that was that! In the years that followed, we suffered serious loss, infertility, loneliness, depression, and betrayal just to name a few. My husband and I are fighters, we went into survival mode in the toughest ways… we retreated to our own sides of the fence and each took control of our own lives. Togetherness was not something we grabbed hold of. We also experienced so much joy! We bought not one, but TWO houses, we went on vacations, we adopted dogs, and we added a child to our family! Togetherness was more present in these times, but the fractured moments in our marriage were still creating large areas of emotional separation. I love the way Paul describes marriage in Ephesians 5. “Now as the church submits to Christ, wives are to submit to their husbands in everything” (Eph. 5:24). That word submit, used in this context, used to make me physically nauseous. Seeing first hand the long term, crippling effects of abuse, the idea of submitting to a man was something that physically disgusted me. Have you ever looked up the word submit? We did, in counseling, the very first word that comes up in the definition is, “accept.” As the church accepts Christ, wives are to accept their husbands in everything. Does this mean accept abuse if that is a reality in your marriage? Not at all, in my opinion, abuse is never EVER something to be accepted… that could be a whole separate blog post. Anyways, I began to look at how I accepted Christ. As the church, we accept Christ and His love into every area of our lives, we bring our fears, our praise, our petitions, and our dreams to Him in complete vulnerable communion. In marriage, I was living in emotional separation, guarded by hurt and fear. Accept your husbands in everything. That Scripture now looks nothing like anything authoritative to me, instead it reflects togetherness, vulnerability, and trust. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). I can’t remember a single time that Christ patronized, condemned, reminded people that He was in charge, or demanded respect (or anything really). Christ loved. He loved those that adored Him and washed His feet with their hair, He loved the people that beat Him and spat on Him. He forgave, He healed, He restored. This love has fostered togetherness for centuries. Togetherness, humility, vulnerability… marriage has been the hardest, most incredible journey I have ever been on and it took us six years of counseling to finally understand this: No matter how separated you feel from your spouse, no matter how broken your partnership has become, no matter what has been said or what has been done, RESTORATION IS POSSIBLE. Did you hear me? RESTORATION IS POSSIBLE! Not only is it possible, but it is BEAUTIFUL. What is restoration not? Restoration is not easy, it takes both people working harder than they ever thought possible; but restoration is worth every tear, every dollar of counseling, every sleepless night fighting FOR one another, it is worth it all. From someone who has experienced marital isolation in its darkest forms, please know that there is ALWAYS hope for togetherness.

Evangelical & Anabaptist Part 4 of 4


Our understanding of God comes from the Bible. We believe that Jesus calls
the people of the church to live in community (being), to serve God and
others (doing), and to communicate to the world that God reigns over
everything (telling). Our beliefs can be condensed into these three ideas.

MB¹s (Mennonite Brethren) seek to think and live biblically. We commit to
believing, studying, and obeying the Bible as our trustworthy and final
authority. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21). Our confession of faith
is a statement about what we believe the Bible has to say about living in
our world today. As a biblical people, we commit to resolving questions
about God and how we are to live by asking, ³What does the Bible say?² and
³How do we apply Scripture so that it guides how we live in today¹s world?²

We seek to allow the Bible itself to guide us in our understanding of God.
We believe we should always go to the Scriptures for answers to questions
about God, rather than to human systems such as systematic, Evangelical or
Anabaptist theologies. These may not accurately or adequately reflect a
biblical theology. We seek to avoid using any single verse in a way that
puts it above the rest of what the Bible says about a particular issue.
That is called proof-texting and can distort what the Bible means to say.

At the same time, we recognize the priority of Jesus¹ teaching. When we
read the Bible, we use Christ¹s teachings as the first ³lens² for reading
other scriptures. We want to know what Jesus said or taught about
something, believing that, as God in human form, we should look to Him first
for a correct understanding of Scripture. Our progression is to read the
Gospels through the lens of the Sermon on the Mount, the rest of the New
Testament through the lens of the Gospels, and the Old Testament through the
lens of the New Testament.

Our desire is to follow the pattern of the early church in answering
questions about their faith. As those early Christians discerned God¹s will
together at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, we gather to study God¹s Word
together and discern his will for us in our modern world. We don¹t
interpret the Bible in isolation. We do it within the community of faith.
The early church gathered together and evaluated the apostolic testimony of
Paul, Barnabas and Peter; so we gather together to discern the biblical text
and how its authority guides our lives. We try to interpret the Bible in
this way within a world-wide community of faith guided by the Holy Spirit.

Though our primary authority for faith and life is the Bible, we have also
been influenced by a number of different faithful Christ followers. When
our church formed in 1860, the first members expressed their agreement with
Menno Simons, a pastor and Christ follower of the 16th century. They were
also influenced by the Lutheran pietist movement with its emphasis on (1)
group Bible study, (2) warm Spirit-filled faith growing out of personal
conversion, (3) thoughtful spirituality nurtured by disciplined Bible study,
and (4) a desire and commitment to tell others about Jesus, his good news of
salvation and peace with God. MB¹s were also open to influences from the
larger evangelical church, especially Baptists who encouraged world missions
and helped the young MB church develop its congregational polity. This
openness to other evangelical churches continued in North America in the
twentieth century and still characterizes MB¹s today.

Even though we claim the Bible as our source of understanding about God, we
recognize that other Christians also claim that the Bible is the source of
their distinctive beliefs. Within our community¹s historical faith, we
guard against non-Biblical influences that might distort what we believe.
Two labels have been used to describe our community¹s understanding of
Scripture: Evangelical and Anabaptist. Both words have origins in
particular historical movements. Through the years these words have taken
on different meanings or associations depending on how our culture has
experienced them. Some find the labels positive and helpful. Others prefer
to avoid them. We use them to identify the biblical perspectives that we
affirm. Although their current meanings overlap to some degree, what
follows is a summary of what we have taken from each tradition ­ both
Evangelical and Anabaptist.

The word ³evangel² itself means gospel or good news. It relates to the Good
News of Jesus Christ. The following emphases of evangelical faith describe
some of the good news that we affirm. Individual Christians experience
spiritual birth through choosing to enter a trust-follow relationship with
Jesus Christ. (John 3:3; Acts 16:31; Matthew 16:24). This new status and
relationship with God is made possible through faith in Jesus¹
substitutionary death on the cross, and his victorious resurrection. (John
3:16-18; Romans 3:19-26; Ephesians 2:8-9). The authority for our
understanding of God is the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Maturity as a
Christ-follower is nurtured through relational and personal spiritual
disciplines (1 Timothy 4:8). The purpose of the church is to point people
to Jesus and to call others to join us in this new life he provides (Matthew
28:16-20; Acts 1:8). We believe that our purpose as God¹s church is to
engage our culture, transforming it as we pursue Christ¹s mission and
cooperate with other like-minded Christians.

We have also been influenced by the Anabaptist faith perspective. The word
³Anabaptist² was first used to describe 16th century reformers who insisted
on believers baptism rather than infant baptism (and emphasized the
separation of church and state). Like our forefathers in the faith, we
believe that God¹s people are made new in Jesus and are to grow as followers
and learners (disciples) of him (Mark 8:27-38; Matthew 5-7). Jesus
followers announce and publically celebrate their decision to join the
family of God by being baptized (Acts 8:34-38; Romans 10:9-10). We intend
to demonstrate faithfulness to God as we practice holy living and mutual
accountability (1 Peter 1:15-16; Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-2), worship
together in community (Hebrews 10:25), and join with God to accomplish his
mission (Matthew 18:15-20; Matthew 9:37-38; 1 Corinthians 9:22). Our
authority comes from Scripture and is interpreted within the community of
believers as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15). Our mission comes
from Jesus¹ Great Commandment and his Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
We are called to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:34-40), to make disciples
(Matthew 28:18-20), and to make peace through reconciliation with God,
ourselves, our enemies, and God¹s creation (2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Matthew
5:38-42). Our mission will almost always be counter-cultural because our
allegiance is to the Lord Jesus. The kingdom he proclaims puts us in
tension with the culture around us which often demands allegiance to other
people, governments and temporal values.

To sum up, we proclaim a biblical understanding of God that is both
³Evangelical² and ³Anabaptist.² We continually seek a biblical vision of
the work and mission of Jesus for individuals and for the world. Our
passionate commitment is to live as God¹s kingdom agents in the world,
anticipating the glorious day when God¹s kingdom is perfectly fulfilled.
Core Convictions
* We are a believer¹s church: to deal with our human sinfulness, we teach
conversion to new life through faith in Jesus Christ and practice baptism as
a public sign of personal commitment to Jesus as Savior and Lord.
* We are Bible-centered: we accept the Bible as the inspired and
authoritative word of God, seeking to obey its teaching, as illumined by the
Holy Spirit and interpreted in the Christian community.
* We emphasize discipleship: we seek to live as authentic followers of Jesus
in our daily lives, orienting our lives around Jesus¹ teaching and model.
* We value Christian fellowship: we believe the church is a biblical and
mutually loyal community that expresses itself in worship, fellowship,
accountability and witness.
* We are mission-minded: we share our faith by telling others about the
Good News of Jesus and serving others in our neighborhoods and around the
world, in obedience to Jesus¹ Great Commandment and to the Great Commission.
* We seek peace: we believe the Bible invites us to be at peace with God and
with others, even our enemies.
* We cultivate healthy relationships: we are committed to choices that
produce wholeness, healing, joy and peace in all relationships.

Adoption by Megan Milem

The entire adoption process, and now parenting our child, has shown me the most raw picture of God’s love. The struggles and the healing throughout our journey is just miraculous looking back on it all. We knew, early on that we could not get pregnant or have a successful pregnancy and that adoption was going to be part of our family’s story; what we did not know was how drastically the process alone would change our lives. 

The first lesson I learned was to completely trust in God in every celebration and in every bump along the way; that was the lesson I struggled with the most throughout our journey as well. After 10 months of paper work, meetings, and classes, we had completed our home study and all of our classroom hours. As we fundraised and saw God’s provision, you would think that trusting Him would come easy. But when you wake up every morning to an empty nursery, staring at your phone waiting for the call that will change your life, the call that says, “Your baby is on it’s way!” each second feels like a thousand years and you begin to doubt.

I became so focused on what was ahead, I remember reading book after book about baby’s sleep patterns, and making organic baby food, and how to raise a confident child, etc. I had completely lost touch with the current moment. I had lost touch with how I could give and receive love today, how I could serve today, encourage those around me today, etc. As advent approached, I remember dreaming this dream where God was walking with me and He said so clearly, “I am present in the wait. Even when your heart can’t be present, I am present for you in your wait.” It was so painful and calming to hear from Him. I knew my heart was already in the future with our child to be, but I just could not bring myself to be content in the current moment. I could not bring myself to be present in the wait. That was a lesson I heard, but I never was able to conquer. I tried so hard to be present, but I was already so overwhelmingly in love this little baby we had not met yet. We were matched with our child’s birth mother a week before Thanksgiving, 2013, and our son was born December 13th, 2013. It was the best day of our lives.

Recently, I have heard many people say, “Your son is so lucky to have you, he is so lucky to be your son.” While I understand the sentiment, I really hope our son does not feel lucky to have us as parents. I never want him to feel that he owes us something for adopting him into our family. If anything, we are the lucky ones. We loved him more than words can speak before he was even conceived. We waited for him with our hearts beating every single beat in anticipation for his arrival. We cried tears of joy even just getting a phone call that he might possibly be ours. We grew this wild unconditional love for this little baby boy before he was ever even born. We broke our bank account in preparation for him, we sacrificed everything to bring him home, but we are the lucky ones. 

It makes me think of our posture with Christ. Many times, we feel that we owe God so much for His sacrifice for us. How many of us spend our time going through the motions of church, or feeling guilty for not praying enough, serving enough, giving enough, etc. all because we feel that we owe God something since He was gracious enough to love us and sacrifice His life for us. I bet His posture is a lot like that of a adoptive parent, He gave up everything just to be with us, and He loved us with a love that we will never be able to fully comprehend before we were even conceived. To think that we owe Him anything probably breaks His heart as He whispers closely, “I just love you beyond measure, and want to be close to you. I want you to experience joy and love, and grace to the fullest extent. I want you to adventure with me and experience all the world I have gifted to you.” God, may we love you without boundaries, may we experience your love to the fullest and rest in your delight.

Anabaptism Part 3 of 4

1. A High View of the Bible.

While not worshipping the Bible itself, for that would be bibliolatry, Anabaptists accept “the Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God, and through the Holy Spirit…the infallible guide to lead men to faith in Christ and to guide them in the life of Christian discipleship. “Anabaptists insist that Christians must always be guided by the Word, which is to be collectively discerned, and by the Spirit.

2. Emphasis on the New Testament.

Since Christ is God’s supreme revelation, Anabaptists make a clear functional distinction between the equally inspired Old and New Testaments. We see an old and a new covenant. We read the Old from the perspective of the New and see the New as the fulfillment of the Old. Where the two differ, the New prevails, and thus Anabaptist ethics are derived primarily from the New Testament.

3. Emphasis on Jesus as central to all else.

Anabaptists derive their Christology directly from the Word and emphasize a deep commitment to take Jesus seriously in all of life. Such a view runs counter to notions that the commands of Jesus are too difficult for ordinary believers or that Jesus’ significance lies almost entirely in providing heavenly salvation. Rather, salvation of the soul is part of a larger transformation.

4. The necessity of a believers’ church.

Anabaptists believe that Christian conversion, while not necessarily sudden and traumatic, always involves a conscious decision. “Unless a person is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Believing that an infant can have no conscious, intelligent faith in Christ, Anabaptists baptize only those who have come to a personal, living faith. Voluntary baptism, together with a commitment to walk in the full newness of life and to strive for purity in the church, constitutes the basis of church membership.

5. The importance of discipleship.

Becoming a Christian involves not only belief in Christ but also discipleship. Faith is expressed in holy living. In Christ, salvation and ethics come together. Not only are we to be saved through Christ, but we are also to follow him daily in obedient living. Thus, for example, Anabaptists from the beginning renounced the oath. They determined to speak truth. “For them there could be no gradations of truth-telling.” Anabaptists continue to teach that salvation makes us followers of Jesus Christ and that he is the model for the way we are to live.

6. Insistence on a church without classes or divisions.

The church, the body of Christ, has only one head. While acknowledging functional diversity, Anabaptist believers set aside all racial, ethnic, class and sex distinctions because these are subsumed in the unity and equality of the body.

7. Belief in the church as a covenant community.

Corporate worship, mutual aid, fellowship and mutual accountability characterize this community. An individualistic or self centered Anabaptism is a contradiction in terms.

8. Separation from the world.

The community of the transformed belongs to the kingdom of God. It functions in the world but is radically separate from the world. The faithful pilgrim church sees the sinful world as an alien environment with thoroughly different ethics and goals. This principle includes separation of church and state. Therefore, Anabaptists reject all forms of civil religion, be it the traditional corpus Christianum or more recently developed forms of Christian nationalism.

9. The church as a visible counterculture.

As a united fellowship of believers every Anabaptist congregation models an alternate community. Such a covenant community functions as an authentic counterculture.

10. Belief that the gospel includes a commitment to the way of peace modelled by the Prince of Peace.

Here Anabaptists differ from many other Christians. Anabaptists believe that the peace position is not optional, not marginal, and not related mainly to the military. On the basis of Scripture, Anabaptists renounce violence in human relationships. We see peace and reconciliation – the way of love – as being at the heart of the Christian gospel. God gave his followers this ethic not as a point to ponder, but as a command to obey. It was costly for Jesus and it may also be costly for his followers. The way of peace is a way of life.

11. Commitment to servanthood.

Just as Christ came to be a servant to all, so Christians should also serve one another and others in the name of Christ. Thus, separation from a sinful world is balanced by a witness of practical assistance to a needy and hurting society.

12. Insistence on the church as a missionary church.

Anabaptists believe that Christ has commissioned the church to go into all the world and all of society and to make disciples of all people, baptizing them and teaching them to observe his commandments. The evangelistic imperative is given to all believers.These principles constitute the essence of Anabaptism. While each emphasis can be found elsewhere, the combination of all twelve constitutes the uniqueness of Anabaptism.

The Protestant Reformation had not gone far enough. The early Anabaptists, while diverse and far from perfect, committed themselves to nothing less than the restoration of the New Testament church. We, their heirs, have the privilege of reemphasizing these twelve principles, in word and deed, here and now.

Anabaptism Part 2 of 4

What make Anabaptists distinctive? What do Anabaptists believe? As heirs of
the Anabaptist tradition we need to understand this historical movement. We
need to hear its biblical essence‹the emphases that we seek to incorporate
into our Confession of Faith.
Anabaptism: Basic Beliefs

The first Anabaptists of the early 16th century played a distinctive role:
they were neither Catholic nor Protestant but a separate third force. That
reality, widely forgotten, is beginning to receive renewed attention in
modern theological circles.

Certainly, the Anabaptist founders owed much to Luther and the other
Protestant reformers. In particular, Luther’s emphasis on salvation‹through
personal faith, in Christ alone, by grace, as revealed in Scripture‹prepared
the way. But on many other crucial issues the Anabaptists differed as much
from Luther as Luther did from Roman Catholicism.

While giving Luther his due, we do well to remember some historical
realities. Luther, as well as Calvin and Zwingli, came to oppose harshly the
Anabaptists. In fact, of the 20,000 to 40,000 Anabaptists martyred in the
early decades, likely more were massacred by Protestants than by Catholics.

The differences between Anabaptists and the Reformers ran deep.
* Luther, Calvin and their associates wanted reformation of the medieval
church. The Anabaptists wanted restoration of the New Testament church.
* The reformers looked to the state to defend the establishment of an
official religion. The Anabaptists, on the other hand, sought no
government’s endorsement.
* The reformers asserted that all people in the realm should conform to the
official state religion. The Anabaptists, however, long before philosophers
promoted the idea, proclaimed religious and civil liberty for all.
* The reformers retained much of the Catholic church-state fusion of that
day. The Anabaptists, who saw themselves as strangers and pilgrims in this
world, rejected any fusion of faith and citizenship. The church of which
they testified and for which they died was based on Jesus Christ alone and
knew no state boundaries.
* The reformers specifically endorsed military slaughter by Christian
soldiers. The Anabaptists, on the other hand, expressed love for their
persecutors and prayed for them.
* The reformers fragmented and compartmentalized Christian living. Luther
wrote, “As a Christian, man has to suffer everything and not resist anybody.
As a member of the State, the same man has to fight with joy, as long as he
lives.” The Anabaptists rejected such ethical dualism.
As you can see, Anabaptists were not part of the great Protestant
Reformation but established a third option. They upheld distinct value.

Today, of course, many other groups have accepted much of what the
Anabaptists rediscovered, and the differences between Protestantism and
Anabaptism have decreased. But the total set of Anabaptist beliefs and
practices remains distinctive. Even though the privileged heirs of
Anabaptism have often not practiced and preached it consistently, Anabaptism
remains a unique blend of basic biblical principles.

***blog comes directly from www.usmb.org***

Approaching Doctrine - by Gavin Linderman

The question, “What do you believe?” is one to be navigated gently. We should not arrive at absolute conclusions swiftly or give a response to things we don’t yet know. After all, pretending is not a healthy practice of the With-Jesus-Life; we want to model the way Jesus lived. This involves not only identifying what we believe, but living out that reality as well. This is what praxis is about after all: believing and living in reality of truth embodied in real life. 

Before you is a confession of faith that is presented in a systematic way. It is a helpful reference to be examined for purposes of personal spiritual formation. The value here is not in systematic theology per se, as Jesus nor the Scriptures themselves ever presented truth in this manner. Rather, by pouring through the Scriptures in reference to the summary concise statements of the Confession of Faith, it is hoped that insight into the Word of God will be gained for it’s transforming effect upon our lives. 

Secondly, part of the great challenge of the question, “What do you believe?” in today’s society can often be asked with an agenda or even in manipulation; that kind of character we don’t find in Jesus either. Instead, we hope to ask this question to learn more about each other as we share in our With-Jesus-Life together; the intent is not to determine whether others are in or out of our set of beliefs. 

Lastly, as any good students, we hold our confession of faith loosely; we have not yet arrived as Disciples of Christ in conformity to His glory. We readily confess that though we know and love the Lord, we are still growing, have flaws, and are subject to get some things wrong along the way. It has served us well to not hold with absolute certainty the confessions of men, but instead, together and in wisdom, search for what the Spirit of God bears witness to. This Confession is not the Holy Bible…

Examine the Scriptures in prayer, context, and community. We hope that you discover the wonderful decrees of our Lord and take delight in them. 

Your decrees are my delight, and my counselors.” Psalms 119:24

The following shows the Confession of Faith of the US Mennonite Brethren Conference, Copyright 2014. It serves as a resource for Axiom Church. 

The leadership of Axiom has, as it’s heritage, an appreciative and beneficial association with the Mennonite Brethren family. Their statement of faith nicely summarizes aspects of life in Christ that have been helpful to this fellowship in it’s spiritual formation.

1.   God

We believe in the one true God, the source of all life, who reigns over all things as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and who lovingly cares for all creation.  God the Father planned the redemption of humanity and sent Jesus Christ the Son to be the Savior of the world. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God, bringing good news to the poor and triumphing over sin through His obedient life, death, and resurrection. God the Holy Spirit empowers believers with new life, indwells them, and unites them in one body.

Genesis 1; Exodus 15:2-3; Exodus 34:6-7; Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Psalm 8; Psalm 23; Psalm 139; Isaiah 55:8-9; Isaiah 66:12-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hosea 11:1-4; Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 5-7; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 4:18-19; John 1:1-18; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4; Romans 8:1-17; I Corinthians 12:4-7; I Corinthians 13; I Corinthians 15:3-8; II Corinthians 1:22; II Corinthians 5:16-21; II Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 1:15-2:22; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:15-20; I Timothy 6:15-16; II Timothy 2:11-13; Hebrews 12:7-11; I Peter 2:21-25; I John 2:2; Revelation 5:5-6, 9-10. 

2.   Revelation of God

We believe God has made Himself known to all people. Beginning with creation and culminating in Jesus Christ, God has revealed Himself in the Old and New Testaments. All Scripture is inspired by God, and is the authoritative guide for faith and practice. We interpret the Scripture in the church community as guided by the Holy Spirit.

Genesis 9:1-17; Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 6:2-8; Psalm 19:1-11; Psalm 119; Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 24:27, 44-47; John 1:16-18; John 16:13; Acts 8:34- 35; Romans 1:18-21; Hebrews 1:1-2; Colossians 1:15-23; II Timothy 3:14-17; II Peter 1:16-21. 

3.   Creation and Humanity

We believe God created the heavens and the earth, and they were good. Humans, God’s crowning act, were created in the image of God. Sin has alienated humanity from the Creator and creation, but God offers redemption and reconciliation through Jesus Christ.

Genesis 1-3; Psalm 8:6; Psalm 19:1-6; Psalm 24:1-2; Psalm 89:11; Psalm 95:5; Psalm 104; Proverbs 8:22-31; Isaiah 40:12-31; Isaiah 44:24; John 1:1- 4, 10; John 17:5; Romans 1:19-20; Romans 5:17, 21; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:18-25; I Corinthians 8:6; I Corinthians 15:20-27; II Corinthians 3:18; II Corinthians 4:6; II Corinthians 5:16-19; Galatians 3:28; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 1:4, 9-10; Ephesians 2:11-22; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 4:8-11; Revelation 21:1-5; Revelation 22:13. 

4.   Sin and Evil

We believe sin is individual and corporate opposition to God’s good purposes and leads to physical and spiritual death.

Genesis 3; Genesis 6:11-12; Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 36:1-4; Psalm 52:1-7; Psalm 58:1-5, 82; Isaiah 53:6; Ezekiel 16:49-50; Amos 2:4-8; Mark 7:20-23; John 8:34, 44; Romans 1:21-32; Romans 3:9-18, 23; Romans 5:12-14; Romans 18-19; Romans 6:23; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; Ephesians 6:12; I Peter 5:8-9; I John 1:8-10; Revelation 12:9. 

5.   Salvation

We believe God saves all people who put their faith in Jesus Christ. By His obedient life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection, Christ delivers people from the  tyranny of sin and death and redeems them for eternal life in the age to come. All creation eagerly awaits its liberation from bondage into the freedom of the glory of God’s children.

Exodus 6:1-8; Exodus 15:2; Exodus 20:2; Psalm 68:19-20; Isaiah 43:1; Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 10:45; John 1:12; John 3:1-21; John 13:34-35; John 16:8-11; Romans 3:24-26; Romans 5:8; Romans 12-21; Romans 8:18-25; Romans 10:9-10; I Corinthians 1:18; II Corinthians 5:14-21; Ephesians 1:5- 10; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 2:8-9; Colosians 1:13-14; Colosians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14-18; Hebrews 4:12; Hebrews 5:7-9; Hebrews 9:15-28; Hebrews 11:6; I John 4:7-11; Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 21:1-4. 

6.   Nature of the Church

We believe the church is the covenant community called by God through Jesus Christ to live a life of discipleship and witness as empowered by the Holy Spirit. The local church gathers regularly for worship, fellowship and accountability, and to discern, develop and exercise gifts for ministry.

Matthew 16:13-20; Matthew 18:15-20; John 13:1-20; John 17:1-26; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 37-47; Acts 11:1-18; Acts 15:1-35; Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 5:1-8; I Corinthians 12-14; II Corinthians 2:5-11; Galatians 3:26-28; Galatians 6:1-5; Ephesians 1:18-23; Ephesians 2:11-22; Ephesians 4:4-6; Ephesians 11-16; I Thessalonians 5:22-23; I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:7-9; I Peter 2:9-12; I Peter 5:1-4. 

7.   Mission of the Church

We believe the mission of the church is to make disciples of all nations by calling people to repent, to be baptized, and to love God and neighbor by sharing the good news and doing acts of love and compassion.

Matthew 5:13-16; Matthew 22:34-40; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 1:15; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-37; Luke 24:45-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8; Romans 1:16-18; II Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 3:10-11. 

8.  Christian Baptism

We believe baptism by water is a public sign that a person has repented of sin, received forgiveness, died with Christ and has been raised to new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is also a public declaration of a believer’s incorporation into the body of Christ as expressed in the local church.

Matthew 3:13-17; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:2-6; I Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:12-13; Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 4:4-6. 

9.   Lords Supper

We believe that in obedience to Christ, the church observes the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of His atoning death and to celebrate forgiveness, new life, and the fellowship and unity of all believers.

Matthew 26:26-30; Acts 2:41-42; I Corinthians 10:16-17; I Corinthians 11:23-32. 

10.  Discipleship

We believe Jesus calls people who have experienced the new birth to follow Him in a costly life of service to God. The power of the Holy Spirit transforms believers from the unrighteous pattern of the present age into a life of joyful obedience with God’s people.

Psalm 1; Psalm 119; Amos 5:24; Matthew 5-7; Matthew 18:15-20; Mark 8:34-38; John 8:31-32; John 13:34-35; John 15:14-15; Acts 2:41-47; Romans 1:24-32; Romans 8:1-30; Romans 12; I Corinthians 6:9-11; I Corinthians 11:1; I Corinthians 12:1-13; II Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 5:16- 26; Galatians 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:11-12, 15-16; Ephesians 5:1, 18; Philippians 2:6-8; Colossians 3:1-17; I Thessalonians 4:3-8; I Thessalonians 5:17; I Timothy 1:9-11; I Timothy 2:1-8; I Timothy 4:6-8; II Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 12:1-3; Hebrews 13:4-5; James 1:22-27; James 4:7; I Peter 2:20-25; I Peter 3:15; I Peter 5:8-9; I John 1:3; I John 6-9; I John 2:15-17. 

11. Marriage, Singleness and Family

We believe that singleness and marriage are honored by God and should be blessed by the church. God instituted marriage as a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman for the purpose of companionship, encouragement, sexual intimacy, and procreation. Children are a gift from God and should be nurtured by parents in the ways of God.

Genesis 1:26-31; Genesis 2:18-24; Genesis 5:1-2; Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 22:16-17; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 6:4; Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 31; Matthew 5:32; Matthew 10:34-39; Matthew 19:3-12; Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 3:31-35; Mark 7:9-13; Mark 10:6-11; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3; Romans 14:12; I Corinthians 7:8-40; II Corinthians 6:14-15; Ephesians 5:21-33; Ephesians 6:1-4; I Timothy 3:1-13; I Timothy 5:3-16; Hebrews 13:4; I Peter 3:1-7. 

12.   Society and State

We believe that God instituted the state to promote justice and to maintain law and order. Christians’ primary allegiance is to Christ’s kingdom.  Believers are called to witness against injustice, exercise social responsibility, and obey all laws that do not conflict with the Word of God.

Exodus 20:13, 16; Leviticus 19:11; Psalm 82:3-4; Jeremiah 29:7; Daniel 2:21; Daniel 3:17-18; Daniel 4:17; Matthew 5:13-16, 33-37; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 17:24-27; Matthew 22:17-21; John 15:19; John 17:14-18; Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; I Corinthians 5:9-13; II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:6-13; Philippians 1:27; Philippians 3:20; I Timothy 2:1-4; Titus 3:1-2; James 5:12; I Peter 2:13-17. 

13.   Love, Peacemaking and Reconciliation

We believe that God in Christ reconciles people to Himself and to one another, making peace through the cross. As peacemakers we alleviate suffering, reduce strife, promote justice, and work to end violence and war, that others may see a demonstration of Christ’s love. As in other Peace Churches many of us choose not to participate in the military, but rather in alternative forms of service.

Exodus 20:1-17; Jeremiah 29:7; Matthew 5:9, 17-26, 38-48; Romans 12:9-21; 13:8-10; II Corinthians 5:15-20; Ephesians 2:14-18; I Peter 2:19-23

14.  The Sanctity of Human Life

We believe that God is creator and giver of life, and highly values each person. Procedures designed to take human life are wrong. We oppose all attitudes which devalue human life, especially the defenseless lives of the unborn, disabled, poor, aging and dying.

Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 2:7; Exodus 20:13; Job 31:15; Psalm 139:13-16; Amos 1-2; Matthew 6:25-27; Matthew 25:31-46; John 10:11. 

15.  Stewardship

We believe the universe and everything in it belong to God the Creator and that we have been entrusted by God to manage its resources. All God’s gifts, including money, time, abilities and influence, are to be received with thanksgiving, used responsibly, and shared generously.

Genesis 1:28; Leviticus 25; Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Psalm 24:1; Psalm 115:16; Proverbs 14:31; Amos 6:4-7; Malachi 3:6-10; Matthew 6:19-34; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 6:38; Luke 12:13-21; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 4:32-37; I Corinthians 4:7; I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 6:7; Ephesians 4:28; I Timothy 6:6-10; I Timothy 17-19; James 2:1-7, 15-16; James 5:1-6; I John 3:16-18; Jude 11

16.  The Lords Day, Work and Rest

We believe God’s act of creation provides the model for work and rest. In work, we use our abilities to glorify God and serve others. In rest, we express thanks for God’s provision and trust in God’s sustaining grace. In worship, we gather to commemorate the resurrection through worship, instruction, fellowship, and service.

Genesis 1:26-2:3; Genesis 2:15; Genesis 3:14-19; Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 25:1-7; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Psalm 46:10; Psalm 95:6-11; Ecclesiastes 3:13; Mark 2:23-3:6; Luke 24:1-36; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:2; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 2:16-17; Colossians 3:22-4:1; II Thessalonians 3:6-10; Hebrews 4:1-10; Hebrews 10:23-25; Revelation 1:10. 

17.  Christianity and Other Faiths

We believe God’s atoning work in Jesus is the only means of reconciling people with God. God has not left any without a witness to the Creator’s goodness and power. Christians treat people of other faiths with respect, but urgently proclaim Christ as the only way of salvation.

Genesis 18:25; Psalm 19:2-4; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Isaiah 46:1-10; Isaiah 55:8-9; Ezekiel 33:1-20; Jonah 1-4; Matthew 8:5-13; Matthew 25:31-46; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 7:24-30; Luke 9:51-56; Luke 12:47-48; John 1:12; John 3:16, 36; John 4:8-42; John 12:12-26; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; Acts 4:12; Acts 10:1-8; Acts 34-36; Acts 14:16-17; Acts 17:22-31; Romans 1:18-24; Romans 2:1-16; Romans 10:9-21; Romans 11:33-35; I Corinthians 3:11; I Corinthians 12:3; I Timothy 2:4-5; II Peter 3:9; Revelation 20:15. 

18.  Christs Final Triumph

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will return triumphantly at the end of this age to destroy all evil powers, condemn all who have rejected Christ to eternal punishment, and unite believers with Christ to reign forever with God in glory

Matthew 24:29-31; Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 16:9; Luke 23:43; John 14:1-3; Acts 2:17; Romans 8:18-22; I Corinthians 3:13-15; I Corinthians 15:26; II Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 1:23; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Thessalonians 5:1-11; II Thessalonians 1:5-12; II Thessalonians 2:1- 12; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 9:26-28; I Peter 1:20; I Peter 4:7; I John 2:18; I John 3:2-3; Revelation 19:17-21; Revelation 20:7-15; Revelation 21-22. 

New Creation – by Gavin Linderman

The challenge with the resurrection of Jesus is not simply the resurrection itself, it is that something “new” entered into the world. Creation itself was being made new with Jesus’ body at its fulcrum. History had no comparison, science had no measure for it, and religion couldn’t fit it in. It was new, totally new! This event set into perpetual motion, new creation itself. Even our bodies, minds, spirit, soul, heart, wills, character, feelings, thoughts and strength are subject to the possibility of this newness as we take on what we were intended for, the new life.
In Jesus, we discover that we are now made for a new world in which life is eternal. In John 4:14, Jesus tells us, “whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever!…” This certainly isn’t logical in the empirical sense, but it is logical in the new and available Kingdom that we are invited to participate in here and now. How can this be? Jesus, of course, is talking about the fulfillment of life that only comes from Him. As we partake in His living water, we find our new self with God satisfied, regardless of old world and old body realities. The key is to “drink from the water”. We should not interpret this as past-tense, but present-tense, as we drink from the source of life “…the water Hegives will become in us a spring of water gushing up to eternal life”.
New Creation understands that life, as God created it to be, is different than life without God. To, “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19) is to abide in the Source of new creation itself. Like a tree planted in the garden of God’s perfection, our soul is allowed to live and have rest regardless of the weather and storm. It is able to give of it’s fruit, scent and wood to others. It is no longer missing it’s intended purposes. Life with out God is no-longer optional or sensible because we would be missing out what is “new” itself. To illustrate this simply, there is Creation & there is New Creation.
As followers of Jesus, we now participate in the making and advancing of the reality of God in our world here today. We are for this world being made new not against it. We are caretakers again, as God intended us to be in the beginning, giving us dominion over creation! We are His stewards in this New Life that we now have….thanks to Jesus alone.