Our Christian mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. We can make a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God’s Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His disciple.
Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard, Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved. For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment. Psalm 66:8-12
The Psalmist explains the real life version of receiving fulfillment. “For You, O God, have tested us,” God tests the hearts and intents of His people. He allows trying circumstances to squeeze us: As if we are “in a net”; we carry affliction “on our backs”, often while submitting to others whose motives and intentions are wrong. God brings us through terribly trying situations to test and grow our faith in Him.
These trials are confusing and difficult. But we can we see God’s love and care through them because when we have come through the fires of this life, and walked through the tests and trials, the crown of eternal life awaits us. Fulfillment and abundance have to do with the victory in overcoming the most terrible trials. That satisfaction comes when we know that we are still with the Lord regardless of the circumstances. There is a place of rich fulfillment and abundance on the other side of the tests. All the riches of the world cannot be compared with the love, joy and peace we get from God. Read through Psalm 66 and really praise the Lord for the trials of life. Praise and worship brings the greatest fulfillment and abundance of them all.
Christ rejects violence as a realistic means to reconciliation. He does so for at least two reasons. First, Jesus plainly stated, “all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). The law of continuity is at work: fire produces more fire, hate produces more hate, violence fosters more violence. Second, violence does not address the real, underlying problems involved in any conflict. Violence is an attack against the person; it does not really deal with such underlying problems as fear, hate, and poverty. To assume that violence is the answer to personal, political or social problems would be a gross simplification. Violence eliminates understanding and, therefore, also reconciliation.
In May 1999, 51 Brethren in Christ men and women from across North America gathered to identify and restate the Core Values that most deeply resonate within our hearts and minds as a Church. At the end of three days of spirited and prayerful give-and-take, ten Core Values emerged.
In setting forth our Core Values, we declare our ties with true Christians of all times and every place. We confess with them the faith as embodied in the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. We recognize that these values are rooted in our history and doctrine. In broad strokes, they convey the essential beliefs of our denomination as stated in our Articles of Faith and Doctrine.
We present these ten Core Values to help you to better understand the values that touch our hearts, stir our emotions, and move us to action!
Experiencing God’s Love and Grace
We value the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
Believing the Bible
We value the Bible as God’s authoritative Word, study it together, and build our lives on its truth.
We value heartfelt worship that is God-honoring, Spirit-directed, and life-changing.
We value whole hearted obedience to Christ Jesus through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.
Belonging to the Community of Faith
We value integrity in relationships and mutual accountability in an atmosphere of grace, love, and acceptance.
Witnessing to the World
We value an active and loving witness for Christ to all people.
We value serving others at their point of need, following the example of our Lord Jesus.
We value all human life and promote forgiveness, understanding, reconciliation, and non-violent resolution of conflict.
We value uncluttered lives, which free us to love boldly, give generously, and serve joyfully.
Relying on God
We confess our dependence on God for everything, and seek to deepen our intimacy with Him by living prayerfully.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
(John 14.26 NRSV)
Over 70 years ago, Japan asked the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design a hotel for Tokyo that would be capable of surviving an earthquake. When Wright visited Japan to inspect the site where the Imperial Hotel was to be built, he was appalled to find that the soil there was only about eight feet deep. Beneath that was 60 feet of soft mud that slipped and shook like jelly. Every test hole he dug filled up immediately with water. Now a lesser individual probably would have given up right there. But not Wright.
Since the hotel was going to rest on fluid ground, Wright decided to build it like a ship. So instead of trying to keep the structure from moving during a quake, he incorporated features that would allow the hotel to ride out the shock without damage. Wright knew that the major cause of destruction after an earthquake was fire, because water lines would break and there would be no way to put out the fire. So he insisted on a large outdoor pool in the courtyard of his hotel, “just in case.”
On September 1, 1923, Tokyo had the greatest earthquake in its history. There were fires all over the city, and 140,000 people died. News reports were slow in getting to the U.S. One newspaper wanted to print the story that the Imperial Hotel had been destroyed, as rumor had it. But when a reporter phoned Frank Lloyd Wright about it, he said that they could print the story if they liked, but they would only have to retract it later. He knew the hotel would not collapse. Shortly afterward, Wright got a telegram from Japan. The Imperial Hotel was completely undamaged. And when the fires that raged all around the hotel threatened to spread, bucket brigades kept the structure wetted down with water from the hotel’s pool.
Frank Lloyd Wright knew about foundations. So does Jesus. He does not want his followers out in the world witnessing to something that they have not really experienced for themselves, so He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit as an internal witness. We do not have to simply depend on a story that we heard long ago. God is forever fresh in our hearts.