We believe that God inspired the words of Scripture by his Spirit to speak to people of all generations, including us today. God calls us to immerse ourselves in his authoritative word both individually and communally to faithfully interpret and live out the story of his work in the world as we are led by the Spirit of God.
The story of Scripture begins with a loving God living in perfect community, three persons in one unity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Love wants to be shared and so God created the universe and humans within it to enter into community with each other and with him. Humanity was given a mission, called to serve as God’s image bearers on Earth and to care for his good creation as his representatives.
God’s dream was that humanity would love and serve him freely, finding joy and purpose in the task that they had been given and living in peace and unity with him and each other.
However, the first humans chose to reject this mission and rebelled against God, fracturing the image that he placed within them and causing broken relationships with God, with others, with self, and with creation. Through this rebellion, evil and death entered God’s good creation, warping and twisting it. Humanity, along with the rest of creation, was now caught in tension between God’s good image and the corruption of sin and death.
Nevertheless, God’s dream for his creation remained unchanged and immediately he began to act to restore the broken world. God chose a family to receive his blessings. In return, they were called to be the means through which all of creation would likewise be blessed. This family began with a man named Abraham and his wife Sarah, a childless couple to whom God promised both land and children. In time, Abraham’s family would grow into a great people who would become known as the Israelites. However, they became enslaved in Egypt where they lived in captivity for 400 years, working to build, not the dream of God, but the dream of Pharaoh.
Finally, God’s people cried out to him to be rescued and God responded by sending Moses to bring his people out of Egypt in a monumental event called the Exodus. God brought the Israelites to the land promised to Abraham, where they were called to settle and build a nation that would live out the dream of God, worshipping him truly and showing justice and mercy to all, especially the poor and the oppressed. In doing so, they were to put God’s dream on display for all nations to see.
As long as Israel continued to worship the one true God, they prospered. When they began worshipping idols, they floundered. Eventually, they began to disregard justice and mercy, rejected God’s prophets, and treated others the way they had been treated in Egypt. When God could not bear their rebellion any longer he sent them into exile in Babylon where they would once again be captives as they had been in Egypt.
Even then God did not abandon his dream. He remembered his people in exile and brought them back to the land. Things were not the same, however. They still lived in subservience to foreign nations, without a righteous king to lead them, exiled in their own land.
But God had something special planned, something no one could have anticipated. God himself would become human and live among his people, breathing new life into his dream. Jesus, God in the flesh, came proclaiming good news for the poor and freedom for the captive, pointing the way to the kingdom of God. To affirm his gospel, he healed the sick and raised the dead, speaking out strongly against the powers of his day that kept people in exile. He gathered a rag tag group of followers around him and taught them the dream of God. Eventually, he was arrested by the religious authorities and executed on a Roman cross. To all, his crucifixion appeared to be the final triumph of evil and death over God’s dream.
But God was not finished. Three days later Jesus was raised from the dead, conquering sin and death, and proving to all that they had no power over him. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared many times to both skeptics and believers, passing along his final instructions before joining his Father in heaven where he now waits for his return to judge the living and the dead and bring his kingdom to this earth in all its fullness.
One day heaven and earth will become one and God’s dream to dwell among his people in peace and unity will be realized. On that day swords will be fashioned into farming tools, the wolf will lie down with the lamb, God will wipe away all tears, and death will be no more. Until that time comes, God invites all people to join in the dream by responding to Jesus in faith and living out lives of love and service to God and neighbor.
Through faith in Jesus we find forgiveness of sin and peace with God who is now reconciling us to each other, ourselves, and creation. God calls this group of people his church, the global and local expression of the dream of God, living out the way of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit in a broken and hurting world.
God’s dream is still unfolding. As we look around, we see evidence that it has not yet fully come to pass. Sin and death still have a grip on God’s good creation. But God has begun a new work through his people who dare to dream of heaven on earth, a dream that will culminate in creation being reborn, no longer subject to sin and death, but fully and finally free. We pray for this. We long for this. And we have given our lives to living out that future reality right here, right now.