WHAT WE BELIEVE
At Project 242 Church, we understand faith can be complicated. While we don’t claim to have all the answers, here’s an overview of what we believe as Project 242 Church and as part of the greater Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). As you read these, please keep in mind that when we say, "Come as you are," we really mean it! That's why believing what we believe is not a prerequisite to belonging in our community and experiencing God’s love with us as we try figure out this faith thing — TOGETHER.
We believe in one God, who created all things. We believe He is perfect in every way with no beginning or end, revealed to us in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (known as the Trinity, or “three in one”). He is unchangeable and therefore is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We believe the nature and work of this God are correctly expressed in the three Creeds (i.e. statements of faith) of the church: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.
We believe that Jesus is a real, historical person, both completely God and completely man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a perfect life, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was crucified and died on a cross.
His death both paid the price of our sin and rescued us from death and the devil. Jesus descended into hell and on the third day, miraculously rose from the dead. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, sin, death, and the devil have been defeated.
Jesus then ascended into heaven, where He now sits enthroned as the King of Kings, reigning over all creation as the only mediator between God and people. One day Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead, ending all suffering, sickness, and death once-and-for-all!
The Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is active among us. He convicts us of our sin, moves us to seek forgiveness, and creates faith within us to call upon God and trust in His promises. He transforms our hearts, minds, and lives to desire God and God’s ways for us. His ongoing work guides us, comforts us, instructs us, and empowers us to Godly living.
We believe that people were created in the image of God for a loving relationship with God. However, human creatures have rebelled against God, actively or passively choosing to go their own independent way. We are therefore alienated from God and suffer the corruption of our nature because of our sin.
Sin is essentially all shortcomings or failures from God's perfect design. We believe that the world is broken and all of humanity has fallen into sin. We are by nature sinful and cannot fix the mess we live in on our own. Sin separates us from God and damages our relationships with others. Not only that, but all suffering, sickness, and death are the result of the sinful condition in which we live.
We believe that Jesus willingly took our sinfulness upon Himself and died the death we deserved. He died in our place taking our punishment on himself so that we might have our relationship with God restored. We are only saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, not by anything that we do (Ephesians 2:8-9). Even faith is not something that we can do on our own, but rather, the Holy Spirit produces saving faith in those who hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We believe that the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) are the inerrant Word of God, given to us by God. God is not removed from history, but He worked through (inspired) ordinary writers to compose this scripture. The Bible is not primarily a moral code, a science textbook, or a specific guide for daily living (for example, it will not tell you who to marry or what job you should take.)
The primary aim of the Word is to reveal God to us - His will, nature, and character, as well as His working in this creation on our behalf. While the Bible will not reveal every step or plan for our life, it does guide us to experience Him in every life stage and situation.
We believe that the church is the body of believers. The church is made of flesh and blood, and not concrete and steel. The church is made up of those who have been connected to Jesus Christ, and depend on his life, death, and resurrection as their only means to be reconnected to the one true living God. A community of believers holding to the faith passed down as expressed in the creeds (Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian), the church as a community is then called to go out into the world connecting those far from God through the reflection of their transformed lives. The church is a community of people who have been created in Christ to love the one true living God and to love their neighbor as themselves. A community of people extending the same love and forgiveness that God first extended to them.
The church does not exist to be a private, inward focused group of people, but as an extension of God’s mission to love and redeem the world around us. In other words, we are not a self-serving country club for the righteous but instead, a community of sacrificial servants bringing healing to those who are hurting (like a hospital but without the cost.)
The Sacraments (Gifts of Grace)
We believe God is abundantly gracious, forgiving us all our sin. While this grace only comes through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He gives us tangible means to experience and connect with His grace. We believe that God has given us Baptism, Communion, and Confession & Absolution (Forgiveness) as these tangible means to pass on his love and forgiveness as it was given to us through Jesus Christ.
We believe Baptism is no ordinary washing or public ceremony, but the means through which we are connected with Jesus and adopted as God’s children — children fully loved and forgiven by God, equipped to live new lives in faith (Romans 6:1-14, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Acts 2:37-39). Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s word (Matthew 28:19). Through Jesus, Baptism works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God promise (Mark 16:16). Baptism is a gift for all people of all ages.
Confession & Absolution (Forgiveness)
We believe that when we confess our sins, God, who is loving and faithful, will forgive our sins because of, and through, His Son Jesus and what He has done for us. We believe God has given His church the authority to forgive the sins of anyone on His behalf (John 20:23, James 5:15-16, 1 John 1:8-10).
Confession consists of two parts: First, we confess our sins. Second, we receive the absolution when we hear the words of forgiveness from another believer as if they were from God himself so that we may firmly believe that our sins are fully forgiven before God in heaven.
We believe that communion is a meal that was given to us by Jesus Christ himself before he was sent to the cross. We believe this is a meal that has been given to the family of Christ, all those who believe and trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection for their forgiveness and life.
We believe that communion is actually bread and wine and at the same time it is the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ, as his last words and testament assert. How they can be both at the same is a mystery that we can never fully comprehend, but we accept this fact on faith alone. What does communion do? It is a meal given to us for the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of faith, and the building up of the family of Christ until the day that he returns.
We trust in the words of Scripture, “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28). When he says "covenant" he is basically saying, "This is my last will and testament. Don't mess with it." So if we shouldn't mess with it by changing the meaning or adding to it, who should join in this meal?
We believe the words in 1 Cor. 11:27-30 that anyone who takes Communion in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement on themselves. As such, we believe only those who can answer yes to these questions should receive communion:
Are you baptized into the family of God?
Are you aware of your sinfulness and sorry for your sins?
Are your sins only forgiven through the death and resurrection of Jesus?
Do you believe Jesus will forgive you for your sin?
Do you perceive the body of Christ in this meal?
Do you intend, with God’s help, to change your sinful ways and live according to God’s ways?
Anyone who can answer yes to these six questions is welcome to take part. Anyone who does not believe this should not participate in this meal. If you have any questions about what this meal means, or if you should take it, please speak with Pastor Trey.