We are creators. We reshape the world around us.
We made our first building out of an army barracks from Chico Airport in 1950. One of us climbed the roof with a handsaw, started sawing at the peak, and didn’t stop until he cut the building in half. We hauled both halves to the corner of 5 th Avenue and Arbutus, where we met to worship.
We are part of a bigger story of change and growth, an international movement of Bible-teaching churches called the Charis Fellowship. Charis is the New Testament Greek word for grace. Our first churches in America were founded by immigrants in the 1720s. Today, 90% of our churches are outside of the U.S.
Now we’ve repurposed our fellowship for a new season. With Pastor Matt Raley, many believers from around the region came together to build a church life focused on the essentials: Jesus Christ, the Bible, and community. Simple.
We are amazed at what God has done. We have more than tripled in attendance. Diverse people are worshiping the same Lord together. Our name describes our experience: living hope.
We are creators because Jesus has reshaped us.
1. God spoke to human beings in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments (Hebrews 1:1-2). He moved the authors to choose every word in their original writings (2 Peter 1:16-21) in order to reveal his plan for the world completely and without error (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Because the Bible comes from God, it is the authority over all human knowledge and behavior (John 12:47-50; Hebrews 4:12-13). We are called to believe what it teaches, obey what it commands, and trust what it promises.
2. God created everything (Genesis 1:1) and all life depends upon him (John 1:1-3). He is holy (Isaiah 6:3). God is not limited by space, time, or imperfection, and his knowledge is infinite (Psalm 139:1-12). He is the eternal, loving unity of three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (John 15:26). With all power and wisdom, God moves everything toward his goal (Isaiah 40): to live with human beings and to make everything new (Revelation 21:1-4). There is only one God (Exodus 20:3). We owe him our service (Romans 1:18-23).
3. God created Adam and Eve in his image so that human beings would live in relationship with him (Genesis 1:26-27). When Adam sinned by breaking God’s command, every human being’s relationship with God was broken and we all came under the power of Satan and the sentence of death (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12-14; Ephesians 2:1-3). We are sinners by nature. We can only be saved from sin by Jesus Christ (John 8:34-36).
4. Jesus Christ is God incarnate—one person with two natures (John 1:1-5, 14-18). He is fully God and became fully man, completing all God’s promises to Israel (Romans 1:1-7). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit when his mother Mary was a virgin (Luke 2:7-21). Though Jesus Christ never sinned (Isaiah 53:7-9), he was crucified as a criminal under Pontius Pilate (John 19:17-42). But the Father raised Jesus from the dead bodily (John 20:19-31). Jesus then ascended to heaven (Luke 24:50-53) and sat on heaven’s throne where he mediates for us (Hebrews 1:1-4; 2.17-18).
5. Jesus Christ took our place when he died on the cross (Romans 5:6-21). His blood is the perfect, complete payment for our sins (Mark 10:45), and his bodily resurrection gives us eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:49-57). His death and resurrection are the only way for human beings to be saved from sin (Acts 4:8-12). Therefore, God calls everyone to turn and believe this good news during their earthly lives (Acts 17:30-31).
6. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14). He does this by showing human beings that they are sinners (John 16:8) and by giving new life in Christ’s death and resurrection to those who believe (John 3:1-21). The Holy Spirit also unites believers with Christ (Ephesians 2:19-22) and adopts them as heirs in God’s family (Romans 8:15-17). He lives in them (Romans 8:9), enlightening their minds (1 Corinthians 2:12-13), guiding their steps (John 16:13), equipping their work (1 Corinthians 12), and empowering their whole being with Christ’s strength (Romans 8:1-8).
7. God created the church to inherit Jesus Christ’s eternal kingdom (1 Peter 1:1-9). Through grace alone, God makes sinners righteous by faith alone in Christ alone (Romans 3:21-26). Christ is the head of the church (Colossians 1:15-20), and the Holy Spirit unites believers from every ethnicity as Christ’s body on earth (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). His church can be found in local gatherings of believers throughout the world (Colossians 1:3-8), devoting themselves to the Bible (Acts 17:10-12) and practicing the two ordinances Christ gave: baptism and communion (Matthew 26:26-29; 28:18-20).
8. God saved us in order to make us holy (1 Peter 1:13-21). He calls us to display the Holy Spirit’s transforming work (Galatians 5:16-24), to love one another (Romans 12), to care for the poor and oppressed (Matthew 23:23-24), and to spread the good news of Christ’s saving work throughout the world (Matthew 28:18-20). With these calls, God sets us in spiritual conflict with mainstream culture, a struggle that he equips us to endure through the Bible, prayer, and the power of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-20).
9. Jesus Christ will return to raise the dead and to establish his reign on earth (Revelation 20:1-6). Only God knows when he will return (Mark 13:32-37). At Christ’s coming, believers will receive immortal bodies and will live eternally in fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 15:50-57), while unbelievers will receive judgment and will be punished eternally in hell (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10). This day motivates us to serve and proclaim Christ right now (1 John 3:1-3), even as we long to live in the new world God creates in him (Romans 8:18-25).
All glory belongs to God in Christ. Amen.