Behold I am making all things new. -Revelation 21.5
Truth. Love. Hope.
At New City we use three values that shape how we pursue life as the Church:
The Truth of Christ. At New City we want to talk about Jesus all the time. Whether in our preaching and teaching, among our community groups, in the music we sing and communion every week, we want to proclaim the truth of Jesus. But to proclaim Jesus means that we must proclaim the truth about ourselves too. Jesus coming to earth was the final statement against human self-sufficiency. Jesus came to Earth because we needed him. This is a church that needs Jesus! When we proclaim that truth we create a humble, sacrificial, welcoming, courageous church.
The Love of the Cross. This is a community that should love one another like Jesus loved us. That means we invest in smaller communities (we call them community groups) and train our leaders to help care for our families. It means that we take hospitality very seriously; our time, treasure, and talents are not for us but for each other and those who do not yet know Jesus. If we want to be Christians and have Christ at our center, we should expect to be split open for the same sorts of people for whom He suffered. Our posture toward the world is not conflict but invitation, not suspicion and judgment but grace.
The Hope of the Kingdom. The calling of the Church is not only to proclaim the truth and embody it, but to be front line of the new kingdom Jesus brings. There is a rich history of Christianity creating the language and the motivation for movements that seek the common good. Whether abolitionism or the civil rights movement, the creation of hospitals and schools in impoverished communities among many possible examples, there is an undeniable connection between the Kingdom of God and the hope of the world. We believe the church should be the place where healing and renewal spring out into surrounding communities. Our city should know we exist, even if they have no intention of ever entering a church. Hilliard should benefit because we are here.
“It is the Jesus who was who said, "Come unto me, all yea that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," and it is the Jesus who says it now--he unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid--and says it almost unbearably to every last one of us, the young as well as the old, the lucky as well as the unlucky, the victimizer as well as the victim, because there is not one of us who is not in some way heavy laden and in need of what it is that he brings. Perhaps it is by what he brings that we know best the Jesus who is. To the blinded he brings vision. To the deafened the sound of a voice unlike all other voices. To the deadened the breath of life. Rest.”
Who is Jesus? He is described many ways in the Scriptures but it is our hope that for you Jesus is savior. He is the one who saves us: from sins (Mt 1.21), from unbelief (Mk 9.24), from darkness (Jn 1.5), from eternal death. Jesus is the one who entered into the world like one of us - wearing human skin. Jesus is the one who entered into the world not like us - like light in darkness. He was sinless among sinners. He was God’s son while also being God himself, which means that he was the only one with the power to put our broken world right again (Col 1.19-20). He not only saves sinners but he heals an entire created world with them. He did so, the Bible says, by going to the Cross and dying one death for the death due us all. And the Bible says he did this joyfully (Heb 12.2) because of his love for us.
He saved all who place their faith in him by taking our sin upon himself and giving us his righteousness, his holiness, his goodness. He took our place (2 Cor 5.21).
So when we talk about Jesus we mean the God who became man so that we could be saved. And the God who became poor so that we could become rich (2 Cor 8.9). But most of all the God who invites us to come to him, despite everything and against all odds. It is this God that we love and serve in the new city he is creating.
I am faith. I am belief. Except for when I'm not. - Joe Pug
The defining human issue in which Christianity distinguishes itself from other religions is this: how can a person become right with God? While every other religion employs some version of human merit on the basis of moral purity, Christianity rises and falls on the idea of Grace: God makes us right with Him. Instead of us finding our way to God, He comes to us.
The story of Christianity is not a moral story, it is not about how pretty good people get their houses in order. There is no such thing as a moderate salvation story. Either a person needs saving or they don't. Christianity is a story of rescue. The people who need saving? All of us. When the Bible discusses how we need saving it uses the language of 'sin' to describe the way we are not who we were created to be. At the core of pain and suffering, abuse and neglect of all sorts, at the heart of evil wherever it is experienced, is sin. The Bible describes it as the twisting and distorting of the world into crookedness. Humanity experiences it daily in the tendency to do what we do not want to do and the frustration that we cannot do what we ought. Sin is present in our wounding of others and the way we have been wounded too. If we were left alone by God sin would continue to spiral downward into greater suffering until the end of our world. If left alone there would be no hope for the end of pain and evil. But God did not leave us alone.
The symbol at the core of Christianity is the Cross, and this Cross is where Jesus saved us. The Cross is where our inability to save ourselves and God's love for us unsavables met face to face. In the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and in his resurrection, sin was dealt a deadly blow. The story of Christianity is the story of God pushing back against the effects of sin in our world, including in our own hearts. It is the story of God, like a king, impressing his rule on a broken and suffering world. The Church announces the good news of that Kingdom and participates in its healing and restoring work.
When a person "believes" in Jesus they are placing their trust in Him. But that trust is always imperfect: one day we may excel at faith and the next day we may not. Maybe even hour by hour we feel both Christian and non-Christian. The cost the Christian pays is that we must own up to the fact that we cannot save ourselves and we cannot live right lives without dependence on Jesus to make Christians out of us. So the same way you come to Jesus is the same way you live as a Christian: by needing Him every day. This is what Christians call repentance. You could even say that the prayer of salvation is the posture of a Christian's heart from that day forward. There are no pedestals to stand on in Christianity. The Christian never graduates from a basic childlike dependance on Jesus.
The sign that we have trusted Jesus with our lives is not the elimination of all sin or pristine morality. It is what the Bible calls fruit: while sin remains in our lives we also begin to see new life: love for our neighbors and even our enemies, joy and peace, patience and kindness, self-control, compassion and mercy for others. Whatever greater morality a Christian realizes as they follow Jesus is expressed in greater humanity and service toward others. That greater morality is seen in sacrificial love and in the pursuit of justice for the poor and oppressed. And worship. The person who has been given grace by Jesus worships Jesus.
The most important thing you can do to grow in your life as a Christian is to join a local Bible-believing church and worship with other Christians. When the Word of God is proclaimed and the sacraments are given (communion and baptism) Christians are nourished in their faith and the grace that makes them right with God is the same grace that makes them grow.