We Believe   

Introduction:

What is a belief? The dictionary defines it as: 1: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing; 2: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence. But what does it mean to believe? Some common idioms include: “I will believe it when I see it with my own eyes.” Or  “I can’t believe it!” Or “I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was four.” It doesn’t happen easily, but when people start believing amazing things happen. Former Bear coach Mike Ditka said that “ before you can win, you gotta believe. And once we started believing in each other, suddenly the chemistry hit and ‘boom’ good things started to happen.” Likewise, when Christians believe, and when the belief motivates them to take action,  good things will happen and God will be glorified. 

Something To Talk About:

Acts 15:19 tells us “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” It is our goal at Northstar to make our church welcoming and create environments that people want to return to, and that help people take the next step in their faith journey, loving God more. It doesn’t matter if you have been in church all of your life and this is your first time. Northstar exists to love God, love people and serve the world. To do that we believe the following:   

  1. We believe found people find people: Why? We believe when you discover something that changes your life, you should naturally want to share it with others. Lost people matter to God; therefore, they should matter to us. Sometimes it is simply the courage to step out of our comfort zones and tell our neighbor or friend about what Jesus has done in your life because we prove that we love God by loving our neighbors. Jesus is pursuing people and we should be too. Psalm 23:6 (NLT) tells us, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”
  2. We believe saved people serve people: We believe that serving is vital to the life of a believer. We also believe it is vital to the life of a church. We are followers of Jesus, and as followers we seek to be like Him. Jesus in every way served. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The best way to make a difference in our church and discover our spiritual gifts is to serve those around us. God has designed each of us to play a role in the body of Christ. Our spiritual gifts have the greatest impact as we serve. Every one of us has a role to play and every one of us is a 10 at something. If you are ready to serve, take your next step by talking to your campus pastor.
  3. We believe growing people change: Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14) Paul saw himself a work in progress and so are we. Paul sought to grow as we do. We want more, and we feel short of where we want to be. It is well to pause and ask ourselves “how am I growing in Jesus?” What do I need to do to become more like the person Jesus wants me to become.  A good starting place for spiritual growth is the Growth Track classes.
  4. We believe you can’t do life alone: We weren’t created to be independent, autonomous, or self-sufficient. We were designed to be in community. Not only were we created to be in community but we also need community. We need relationships that are beyond the casual. We need the resources that God has made available to us. In truth we need to trust, rely on, and depend upon other believers. God gave us each other to walk alongside, encourage, and spur one another in the faith. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” If you have never participated in a small group, I encourage you to see the difference doing life with others makes in your spiritual life.
  5. We believe you can’t out give God: While God invites our gifts and offerings, He will always give us far more than we could possibly give Him. In one of the clearest examples of this principle in Scripture, Jesus tells us, “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38). The Psalmist asked,“What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?” (Ps. 116:12). The answer is, we can’t. No one can, because nobody can out give God.

Questions:

  1. Read Acts 17:26-27: According to this passage, why do we live where we live? Why has God placed us in our neighborhood?
  2. I Peter 4:10-11 tells us that each of us should use whatever gift we have received “to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Why is it important not only to know what the Bible says about serving, but also to become personally involved?
  3. It is never too late to start growing. What progress would you like to see in your spiritual growth one year from now? What action steps can you begin to take to start moving toward that goal?
  4. Why do Christians need one another? What is the goal of the Christian community?
  5. Do you believe you can’t out give God? Why or why not?

Take One Thing Home with You

A few more thoughts on found people find people.

Jesus said, “I have come to seek and save that which is lost.” In doing just that, Jesus was in a constant pursuit of forgotten, oppressed, hurting, and even the proud. Remember Zacchaeus in the tree and the woman caught in adultery? What about His story of the prodigal son? There are many other stories of concern for the marginalized, poor and the sick?

As we grow in our walk with Christ and knowledge of His Word, we’ll begin to see that this “seeking and saving that which is lost” stuff is our job, too. And it is not always to the people we like. I encourage you to invite someone to church. Or invite them to small group. Don’t assume they are not interested or they have been invited before. But just don’t invite, be  open and available. You’ll never really know the impact that just one invitation, encouragement, prayer or act of kindness can have.

And don’t forget the enemy. Everyone has encounters with people who live or value lifestyles that violate our own values or lifestyle. But loving the enemy was at the top of the list for Jesus. He found the good in those who society considered to be evil. This is probably the most unobserved and misunderstood exhortations given by Jesus. As followers of Jesus, we are to love people, including our enemies. This could be a neighbor who is a drunk, a boss who is condescending or even someone who you find completely irritating. Pull down the walls, invite them and leave it in God’s hands.