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What Are We Called To Be?

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
  -- Proverbs 29:18

Our Vision

We believe that we are called to be a joyful, contagious, Christ-centered community devoted to loving and serving God and our neighbor.

Who we are determines what we do.  Our character as a "joyful, contagious, Christ-centered community" expresses itself in the action of "loving and serving God and our neighbors."

Our Character

Joyful

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again -- Rejoice!
  -- Philippians 4:4

Our joy comes from a confident assurance of God's sovereignty, love and work in our lives, regardless of our circumstances.  Real joy is found in living out our calling to be followers of Jesus.  We are filled with the fruits of the Spirit:  love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Contagious

We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.
  -- Acts 4:20

As God transforms our lives through the Holy Spirit, we begin to appreciate the treasure of the Good News.  Our gratitude overflows in such a way that we cannot help but share it with those who have not yet experienced it.  Throughout the Bible, God expresses his desire for us to lead a rich and vibrant life, to experience life in its fullness.  When people see this abundant life in us, we believe they will be drawn into our midst.

Christ-Centered

Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible... He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  He is the head of the body, the church...
  -- Colossians 1:15-18

Jesus Christ is fully divine and fully human.  He shows us who God is and who humans were created to be.  We seek to follow God day by day by imitating the person of Jesus Christ by doing what he did while he was on earth.  We rely on God's Spirit to transform us into the likeness of Christ.

Community

I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one,  Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
  -- John 17:20-21

Community is a compound word meaning with one.  Therefore, we are one with God and other people.  Thus, community is unity made visible.  Our community of people learning to follow Jesus is rooted in the historic Christian faith and guided by the Bible.  In a world that is increasingly fragmented and impersonal, we connect with others in rich, meaningful, caring relationships.  We are not afraid to be vulnerable, human and honest with each other.  Living in community gives us the opportunity to exercise our faith and express our love.

Our Action

Devoted

I appeal to you...by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
 - Romans 12:1

Loving

'...Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
 - Luke 10:27

Jesus simplifies and clarifies what it means to be disciples in his Great Commandment to love and serve God and neighbor.  Following Jesus in this is simple but not easy.

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 (John 3:16).  For God so loved the world thatÖ. Godís love for us led to action.  Just as Godís love led to sacrificial, compassionate action, love leads us to action as we participate in Godís mission of redeeming, restoring and transforming the world.

We seek to love as God loves:  unconditionally, sacrificially and extravagantly.  Jesus commands us, his followers, to ďLove one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another.Ē  Indeed, when we love each other unconditionally, sacrificially and extravagantly, all people will know that we are Jesusí disciples and believe.

It is only through being rooted and established in this kind of love together that we come to know the extravagant dimensions of Godís love that is unknowable outside of Christ-centered community.

Love God First

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
 - Deuteronomy 6:4-6

In loving God, we think constantly about His commandments, teach His commandments and try to live each and every moment of every day according to His word.  We cannot truly love others until we are in a loving relationship with God.

Serving

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
 - Matthew 20:28

Jesus, the King who came to die for his people, sets a clear vision for us to go out to help the world.  Jesus shows us we are to serve humbly and sacrificially.  We use the gifts we have received to serve others in faithfully administering Godís grace in this broken world.

Our Neighbors

'...For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'  Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?  And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?  And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'  And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
 - Matthew 25: 35-40

Jesus makes it clear that our neighbors include everyone.  Jesus identifies himself with those who are needy, oppressed, hurting, overlooked and forsaken.  How we treat them is a reflection of our relationship with Jesus.  Whenever we see someone with a need and meet it, Jesus takes it personally.  On the flip side, when we fail to do this, Jesus takes it personally and judges us harshly.