WHY WE EXIST
...TO LOVE GOD
An expert in the Jewish Law asked Jesus what commandment - out of 600+ such laws - was 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.’ (Mark 12:29-30)
Jesus summed up the Christian faith in just a few words, "It's all about God." Here at Bear Creek, we want God to get all the attention. He is the one who created the world; He is the one who gives us life; He is the one who sent Jesus to save us from ourselves; He is the one who allowed his son to die for our sins so that we might have another chance at life. We want to love Him back by worshipping with our hearts and becoming like Him in our character.
...TO LOVE PEOPLE
Jesus went on to tell the religious scholar, "The second (most important commandment) is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31). Jesus did something very revolutionary here: He equated loving God with loving people. The Apostle John writes, “The command we have from Christ is blunt: loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both” (1 John 4:21 Message).
So much of religion these days is about me, me, me. But Jesus says that if we are going to follow Him, it's going to have to be about loving people, people, people. At Bear Creek, we don't want to be known for having the most beautful building, the best programs, or the most creative worship experiences. We want to be known in our community for the quality of our character and quantity of our love for others.
...TO CHANGE THE WORLD
The Bible says that “Jesus went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He was sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, to recover the sight of the blind, to release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him, and He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke 4:14-21).
Jesus makes it clear that He did not come into the world to start a religious order, full of rituals and motions. He came to start a revolution of love. Throughout His ministry, he eased the pain and suffering that people expienced because of the fallen world. He then died on the cross so that sin and death, life's ultimate destroyer, would be conquered once and for all. Jesus came to change the world!
Jesus used an illustration to make this point with His followers. He told them that at the end of life, God will judge people's hearts based on how they served the less fortunate in life: ". . . Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me . . . I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!" (Matthew 25:34-37, 40)
Bear Creek was started for this very reason. It's so easy for a church to become a social club, with ministry focused on those members inside their walls. Our philosophy of ministry is a little different. We believe that it is our responsibility to equip our members to change the world - the one that is outside of the church walls. Instead of complaining about all the problems in the world, we want to try and help solve some of those problems. Instead of expecting someone else, like the government or another organization, to help those in need, we want to be the ones who try and meet those needs. We are not satisfied with sitting back and watching "as the world turns." We want to get involved and change the world in the name of Jesus Christ! Will you join us?