The following five words encapsulate the very life-blood of who we are, how we live, and the work that we are striving to accomplish in the world. Distinct from a "statement of faith" or a "doctrinal creed," we do not simply believe in our core values, they shape our very lives. They are, for us, the essence of what it means to be a follower (a disciple) of Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20).
Love God, Love People
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)
We believe that love of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and love of neighbor (Leviticus 19:18) summarize all that is meant to be a follower of Jesus, and what it means to be fully human. We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:7-21), modeling for us what true, sacrificial love is. We strive to express the fullness of God's love to our communities (John 13:34-35), our neighbors (Romans 13:8-10), and even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).
Being Spark means you will be loved, be challenged to love, and be transformed by the love of Jesus.
Reputation of God
But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” (Exodus 32:11-13)
The central character in the story of our faith journey is God. Like Moses, we care deeply about what others think about God, and the repute that God has in our culture and community. We desire to elevate that reputation in our hearts and our relationships so that the world will know of God's love, grace, and redemption from the beginning all the way to the very end (Deuteronomy 7:7-9; Psalm 145; Micah 7:18-20; John 17:20-23). And as we heal and restore our image of God, we heal and restore the image we have of ourselves.
We believe God's name and reputation really are great. We believe the world needs to hear of this greatness (Acts 20:24).
Being Spark means healing our image of God, discovering a God of great repute, and carrying that reputation to the world (Acts 1:8).
Reconciliation of All
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
Our existence consists of three main relationships: our connection with God, our community with one another, and our care of the Creation (Genesis 1-2). Therefore, in our attitudes and behaviors, we want to heal broken spirits (Psalm 51), mend broken relationships (Colossians 3:1-17), create harmony with those with whom we have differences and distinctions, and reconnect the soul to the Creator. We embrace and work towards racial, and cultural reconciliation (Galatians 3:28), and we advance religious and ideological education between faith communities (Acts 10:28; 17:17-21).
God is drawing all people to himself, and we are in partnership with that reconciliation in and through our very lives (Acts 26:29).
Being Spark means becoming both restored and a restorer, healed and a healer, mended and a mender, comforted and a comforter, all in being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ the ultimate reconciler.
Rescue Of The World
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:18-21)
The good news found in the Bible is God's rescue of the world from the sins of poverty, injustice, disease, despair, and oppression. We believe that all are called to bring that rescue plan to reality, to leverage our blessings for the salvation of others. God freed, released, redeemed, and took the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 6:6), and God is doing the same in and through us today by providing food for the hungry (Deuteronomy 8; Proverbs 14:31), justice for the victim (Isaiah 30:18), healing for the sick (Psalm 103:2-4), and a future for the lost (Micah 6:8; Matthew 25:31-46). This is the salvation of God (Isaiah 40), the gospel of Jesus (Matthew 4:23), the religion of Christianity (James 1:27), and the heartbeat of the human spirit (Ephesians 2:10).
We believe that rescue can and does happen. We believe there is no greater human identity than to participate in this rescue.
Being Spark means being rescued from your "Egypt," and partnering with God in working towards rescuing others from their "Egypts."
Resurrection Of The Dead
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
The historical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth transforms everything: our perceptions, our hopes, even our understanding of reality. Ultimately, it means that new life can and does emerge from the grave (Luke 24:5-6). Everything is found in the resurrection: the love of God, God's reputation, the reconciliation of all peoples, and the rescue of the world. It means that the final and ultimate enemy of God—death and destruction—has been defeated, and can be overcome (1 Corinthians 15). This new life invitation is extended to all, to be experienced now and in the world to come.
We believe new and renewed life is possible through the resurrection of Jesus. We believe there is no condition or person that is exempt from this possibility.
Being Spark means participating in the fullness of that possibility, and embracing the living hope that new life in Christ brings.