We are a community of “believers.” We do not claim to be infallible, but our beliefs do define our community. What follows is not meant as the first or last word on each of these issues but is intended to show what our community holds as true.

Who is Jesus?

Jesus is God, or as Christians have historically said, “the second person of the Trinity.” As God, he existed before the creation of the universe, as the first chapter of the Gospel of John explains. Because he is God, he has the right and power to rule in creation and in individual lives.

He became a man, born as a baby in Judea during the reign of Herod the Great, a little more than two thousand years ago. This is traditionally referred to as the “incarnation,” and was part of God’s plan to repair the effects of rebellion in the created order.

Although God’s plan will eventually culminate in Jesus’ rule as king on earth and in heaven, Jesus’ incarnation was a matter of humbling himself, and his life was ended in Jerusalem when he was executed by crucifixion on the order of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.

Although he really died, and was then buried, he was resurrected and appeared to many people over a period of about fifty days before ascending into heaven. He will return at the end of time to complete God’s restoration of creation and to rule over all.

What is Grace?

God is holy, pure, and good. He is the creator of all that there is, and the rightful ruler of all that he made. When made, all creation was entirely good, but part of the goodness was that God gave angels and humans freedom.

Some angels and all humans have rebelled against God’s rule, and thus damage of the goodness of creation. Both the goodness and the damage are evident today in the natural world and in human society.

The rebellion was not just corporate, it is individual: each of us rebels against God. Our individual rebellion separates us from God. The Bible refers to this rebellion as “sin.”
In wisdom and in love, God determined to restore the goodness of creation without sacrificing the freedom of those he made, and to invite the rebellious back into relationship with him. To do this, he sent Jesus to become human and to become a sacrifice for the rebellion of each human. No one could ever pay for their own sins, but in his death, Jesus voluntarily paid for the sins of each person. There is no other way for us to be reconciled with God.

This free payment on our behalf is what the Bible calls “grace.” It is not given because of who we are or what we do or even because we have good intentions. It is offered to each person as a gift.

What is Our Mission?

As a community of people whose lives have been marked by God’s free grace, it is our mission to love God and to love others. We are a community of rescued souls, and we attempt (however imperfectly) to communicate God’s grace to others.

We believe we are to do this by displaying God’s love, by teaching God’s truth, and by obeying God’s direction.

We desire to display God’s love in our church community, our city and state and around the world. Love is seen in one-on-one acts of kindness, in charitable giving, and in the devotion of lives to others in our country and abroad.

We desire to teach God’s truth by reading his word and teaching it to others. We do this in the context of our Sunday services, but also in Bible studies throughout the week. We work with others to teach and preach in Jacksonville and internationally.

We desire to obey God’s direction by understanding what he requires of us and seeking to lead lives of obedience. That obedience is expressed in many ways, including in prayer for others both inside and outside the community of faith.

What About the Bible?

We believe that the Bible is a unique resource for the believer. It is God’s word, preserved so that everyone can have access to the truth about God, his love, and his plan for the world.
The Bible is clearly not a collection of theological or philosophical maxims. Instead it is a diverse collection of books written by many individuals over many hundreds of years, in several cultures, in three languages and in many circumstances. We believe that God preserved the books of the Bible for our edification and training and that it is our responsibility to study the words of the Bible in their linguistic, historical and cultural contexts.

We believe that the truth of the Bible is accessible to all believers, but that it is best studied in a community committed to understanding and obedience. This means that — for the most part — our teaching and preaching involves the verse-by-verse exposition of a passage of the Bible.

How Do We Worship?

Worship is the most important thing each of us will do with our lives. When we worship God, we treat him with the love, respect, reverence, and awe he deserves.

We call our 10:15a Sunday service our “worship service” because we worship God through our gathering, our singing, our praying, our giving and our listening. In each of these areas we focus — as a community — on God and his love and grace for all.

In our worship through song, we consciously draw on the musical history of the church. We sing the traditional hymns of the faith as well as the church music of the last fifty years and the worship music of today. We have a truly remarkable number of talented musicians and vocalists and take great joy in singing together.

In our worship through listening, we usually study a passage of either the Old or New Testament in order to understand it in its linguistic, historical and cultural context. Each week we strive to understand what the text means and how it should impact the way we live.

We would be pleased to have you worship with us this Sunday.