Beliefs and Practices
I John 5:7
We believe that there is one and only one, living and true God: the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and Earth who exists as a Trinity: God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
And we believe John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The Bible is the unique and authoritative Word of God for all humanity.
The Church is a community of believers in the divinity of Jesus Christ, who gather to hear the Word of God and then separate to DO the Word of God by loving others, helping others, and inviting others to the joys they know in worshiping God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. (In other words by building Disciples.)
We believe that Christ's church is a congregation of baptized believers associated together by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel. We believe that the true mission of the church is found in the Great Commission; first, to make individual disciples; second, to build up the church; third, to teach and instruct as He has commanded until all know the saving love of Almighty God.
The mission of First Presbyterian Church is to warmly welcome all and invite all into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ. To that end we actively engage in local, state, national and global missions including mission trips and hands on helping of people within our community and around the world. Some of those endeavors have included; the local Soup Kitchen, providing meals for youngsters in local schools that otherwise would go without, supporting our Presbytery's Camping program, especially including Camp Story in Story, WY., making boxes of food for Thanksgiving and Easter for families who would otherwise go without, supporting Pilots for Christ, helping to bring safe drinking water to Malawi, Africa, the Gideons, GARF, and the Boys and Girls Club, to name a few. We are also supporting a Home Schoolers group in our church facility.
Jesus explained in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Because Jesus took the punishment for our sins on the cross, we can know we are on our way to Heaven by accepting him as our savior.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Many people believe that they are on their way to Heaven because they are a good person or because they came from a Christian family.
The Bible clearly states in Ephesians 2:8-9,
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."No man is perfect and we are all in need of a Savior.
"Do it all for the glory of God"
Principles that direct what we do and how we do things, include:
- Preaching/teaching the Word of God changes lives
- Lost people matter to God so they matter to us
- We are called to become more like Jesus
- Life change happens best in community groups
- God works when we pray
- We will present truth in an understandable way
- Excellence honors God and inspires people
- Development of healthy families
- People are saved to serve
Jesus never asked His disciples to remember His birth. But He did instruct them to remember His death and resurrection. He gave the church two visible symbols (called "sacraments") as reminders of His death. These two sacraments are Baptism and The Lord's Supper, also known as Communion. Baptism should be practiced by every Christian once they have received Christ as Lord and Savior. Hence, in the Bible, it is depicted as the first act of faith. It is an act of obedience to submit to baptism, it is not a means of achieving grace or salvation. Baptism welcomes us into the household of God. Scripture explains that the symbolic significance of baptism is threefold. First, it is a symbol of our redemption (Romans 6:4). Everyone who is baptized is bearing witness to the fact "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3-4). Secondly, baptism is a symbol of the resurrection (Romans 6:5). The resurrection was the fulfillment of all that was promised by Christ to His disciples. As baptized believers, we share in the hope of the final resurrection when we will be taken home to reside with Christ. Finally, baptism is a symbol of regeneration: the fact that we are a new creation in Christ (Romans 6:6 & Galatians 2:20). We have been cleansed of our sin, and as we submit ourselves to the workings of the Holy Spirit, our whole character and demeanor will change to reflect the glory of Christ.
Communion: The Lord's Supper
The second ordinance of the church is the Lord's supper and it is a symbol of the believer's ultimate communion with Christ. The Lord's supper was instituted by Christ with His disciples on the evening of His betrayal. It is depicted in Matthew 26:26-29 and described again by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 11:23-30. The Supper is a symbol representing the atonement for sin, specifically containing bread to represent the body of Christ and the fruit of the vine to represent his blood. These elements are presented in thankful memorial of Christ's sacrifice and are taken by those in good fellowship with Him and one another.
Leviticus 27:30 tells us "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord." God commands Christians to give back to Him a tithe, or tenth, of what He has graciously given to us.
Prayer is a Christian's way of communicating with our Savior. This is how we build our spiritual relationships both with God, and our brothers and sisters in Christ. James 5:16 says "Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." II Timothy 2:15 Through prayer, we can talk with God; through the Bible, God speaks to us. We cannot have a growing, personal relationship with God unless we know His Word. We cannot obey his commandments unless we know what He has commanded.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1
Every believer has the God-given responsibility to participate in some sort of ministry. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 continues on to explain the concept of different spiritual gifts given to different believers. We are to utilize the gifts God has given us to honor and serve Him.
Psalm 95:6-7, John 4:23-24
Worship is honor and adoration directed toward God. We worship God individually with our obedience and devotion, but we need to praise God by assembling regularly with His people to celebrate His goodness and greatness. Through worship, God is glorified, the believer is purified, the church is edified, and the unsaved are evangelized.
Christ has commissioned every believer to go forth and share the gospel. We need to fulfill the Great Commission by establishing relationships with the unchurched in order to bring them into a vital relationship with Christ and His Church. A believer that is growing and submitting to the Holy Spirit will want to share the truth of eternity with others.
Hebrews 10:24-25, Acts 2:42-47
As Christians, we are part of God's own family and just like any family member, we need to be involved. We must develop genuine relationships with other believers in order to encourage one another to live more effective Christian lives.