What We Believe
First of all, I hope that you will feel welcome here regardless of what your beliefs are. Relationship and trust come first.
You are welcome here.
Whether you believe or do not believe in Jesus or the Bible, I hope that we can be friends!!! Some of my favorite friendships are with people whose beliefs are vastly different from mine. If you and I were to have coffee, I would want to hear your story-- that is one of my favorite things to do! I would ask you about your life experiences because I care about you. We would find that we have more in common than different. I wish that I could sit down and simply get to know you. Maybe eventually we would have a friendly debate about certain things, but I hope that our conversation would be built on a foundation of mutual admiration, empathy, and respect.
The authors who knew Jesus documented dozens of his personal interactions with a diverse range of people. Though at times he preached and taught the crowds, his one-on-one interactions were characterized by healings, meeting needs, teaching, or sharing meals. People like Mary, Martha, Peter, and John began a relationship and built trust and friendship with Jesus without reading the New Testament or ascribing to certain theological prerequisites. Jesus entered into relationships with people long before they understood who He really was or believed He was the Son of God.
Let's keep it simple.
I propose that we, like the early followers and disciples of Jesus, just get to know Him together through stories and experiences. I don't think anyone needs to believe, understand, or accept the whole Bible as a starting point. I don't think we need to begin with deep theological agreements. The disciples didn't. They started with walking, talking, going fishing, caring for people, and having meals together. That is how you get to know someone. We can start with storytelling and honest prayers. Jesus, if you're real, would you reveal your true self to us? Would you show me what You're like through the Bible? Could I learn more about You through prayer and others who know You?
What we believe will happen naturally as we get to know Jesus and reflect on who He was, what He did, and what He taught.
I don't want you to miss out. I want us to look at who Jesus is through the eyes of the people who know Him in the Bible as eyewitnesses and friends, and through a community of believers who claim to know Him now by faith. I want to focus on the person of Jesus because I believe that to know Him is to love Him. Religion makes things so complicated. Jesus made it easy. Love. Trust. Relationship. His love doesn't depend on you returning it. He loved you first. Maybe it's time to wipe the slate clean and start over with Jesus. Give your relationship a fresh start. Maybe He is better than you thought! I have certainly found that to be true in my life.
The Bible offers many promises and encouraging truths that, when combined with a little faith and application, could change your life. I want to present some of these ideas to you so that you don't miss out. Jesus said to his disciples, "The work of God is this: to believe in the One He sent." In other words, many religions have many requirements for the things you must do to earn God's favor and eternal life. Jesus says you don't need to do anything to earn his favor. He said that a relationship with Him is the way to eternal life.
Jesus kept it simple.
Trust me. Know me and you will know my Father. Believe in me and you will be saved. Don't be afraid. I don't want anyone to perish. Don't worry about anything. Give thanks all the time. I died so that you could be free. If I am for you, who could be against you?
The words in italics are all Bible verses and themes. At times I choose not to provide the references-- you've got google if you need it. In some cases I change the pronouns based on the assumption that the Bible is the inspired Word of God ("Trust in God" to "Trust me."). Though I personally believe that the Bible is true and inspired by God, my primary goal for us is not to "study the Bible" in an academic sense, but to know Jesus. He is my friend, not my religion.
The more we trust Jesus and believe that He is good, the more open we are to His teachings. This is where it gets exciting.
What you choose to believe will not affect God's love for you, nor our friendship, but it can change your life.
I love you. Jesus loves you more.