I Believe

I thought perhaps I should share a little bit about how I see the world, God, and life in general.  My theatre teacher in high school told me this is called a “credo”…which literally means “I believe.”  I’ve been trying for years to write my own, but I find that lots of other people are much more comprehensive and direct, and so I share with you YWAM’s credo.

YWAM Statement of Faith

Youth With A Mission (YWAM) is an international movement of Christians from many denominations dedicated to presenting Jesus personally to this generation, to mobilizing as many as possible to help in this task, and to the training and equipping of believers for their part in fulfilling the Great Commission.

As citizens of God’s kingdom, we are called to love, worship, and obey our Lord, to love and serve His Body, the Church, and to present the whole gospel for the whole person throughout the whole world.

We of Youth With A Mission believe:

that the Bible is God’s inspired and authoritative word, revealing that Jesus Christ is God’s son; that people are created in God’s image;

that He created us to have eternal life through Jesus Christ;

that although all people have sinned and come short of God’s glory, God has made salvation possible through the death on the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ;

that repentance, faith, love and obedience are fitting responses to God’s initiative of grace towards us;

that God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth;

and that the Holy Spirit’s power is demonstrated in and through us for the accomplishment of Christ’s last commandment, “…Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

On May 17, 2007, in a moment of epic profundity, I sat down and started writing. What came from my pen is in many ways my own Credo, my creed.  (And in many ways incomplete, since I missed important points, like the Bible is the word of God…thus I refer you to the YWAM creed writers who are more comprehensive and direct than me.)  As I reread my credo now, November 7, 2010, I find that it says more about me and where  I have wrestled with God and life than it says about God Himself and the world.

My Personal Credo

I believe in the Triune God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, existing before time and extending beyond the realms of imagination, perfect in love and unity.

I believe that  men and women were created and placed in community to reflect this divine love.

I believe that sin is relational–whenever we don’t give as we ought, love, honor, trust, respect, expect and remember as we ought–each other, and primarily God.

Conversely, redemption, restoration, and repentant are also relational.  Jesus died so that we could love one another truly.  Redemption happens first in this, our primary relationship, and then in the context of community.  I agree with C. S. Lewis when he tells us that “we have never met a mere mortal.”  Civilizations will rise and fall, institutions will return to the dust from which they came, but the human soul is eternal.  Each interaction helps a person to one end or another, Heaven or Hell.  Each individual heart is what matters, each story is unique, each gifting and glory irreplaceable to the  Kingdom of God.  Jesus is like the good shepherd who leaves 99 grazing in a field for the one who is lost, and likewise we are called to the individual.

I believe in looking people in the eye.

I believe that we are  living in a world at war, and within each human there is a struggle between the work of God and the Enemy: the World, the Flesh, and  the Devil.  I believe that each person is a reflection of Almighty God–no matter how shattered and that if we are not seeking that  image in one another, seeking the heart, then we are doing damage.

I believe the moment  of conversion is an exchange in the nature of the  heart, the fundamental posture of the  image bearer, rendering the core of a person good in nature, towards God.  I believe God works through the will and desires of the heart, changing them ever to match His own.  I believe in the decision making process it is good to know and acknowledge the desires of one’s own heart, but that the deciding factor is peace and Truth.

Always follow peace.

It is very important to me that people be allowed to make their own choices.  I am a strong believer in natural consequences.  Even children can learn autonomy if  they know what their choices are and what the  consequences will be.  Even if a person’s choices adversely affect me, I cannot  make the choice for them.  I can only be responsible for my own decisions and actions.

I believe art, friendship, and prayer are primarily about listening.  I believe we can have a conversational relationship with God, that He speaks to us through scripture, the Holy Spirit, and circumstances in conjunction and that He is constantly seeking to connect with us in both new and remembered ways.  I believe remembering is an essential part of the Christian life.  I believe our hearts and our stories are sealed in Heaven–part of the treasure  that moth, rust, and the Thief cannot access.

I believe we do not just  live in a fallen world, but a falling world, that entropy is constantly working to destroy the creative work of God and His image beareres, thus the re-creative and restorative is  an essential part of living.  I agree that “the chief aend of man is to honor God and enjoy Him for ever” and also that “the glory of God is man fully alive.”

I believe that true humor can only come from mutual respect and that some of the most serious and revered things in life are actually quite humorous while many of the subjects of comedy are not funny at all.

I believe that we know very little and  must therefore operate on a great deal of faith–that everything is faith, really–and that we must operate on a great deal of assumption in order to cope, but that the less we assume, the better.   Questions are a very important part of this, and are actually a sign of respect.

I believe in the sovereignty of God and the freewill of man, and I don’t see a problem with believing in both.  I believe God can ultimately be held responsible for everything because Jesus accepted the consequences of the sin of humanity on the cross.  I do not believe I can ultimately judge the motives of other’s hearts or their walk with God.  I can only choose what influences and consequences (fruit) I want in my life and those I do not.

I live for an audience of one.  I believe that I need to explain myself far less than most people expect, but I find very little makes me angry quicker than assumption.  Ultimately, I live for an audience of one.

I believe that life is full of grieving processes, that learning to live well one must learn how to let oneself grieve.  In the redemptive lifestyle, creation and recreation are an important part of grief.  I think it is safe to assume that  everyone we meet is in some part of accepting or resisting change and loss, and that a great deal of grace can be found in this commonality.  I believe that  most lives are filled with unheralded stressors and that  people vastly underestimate the stress of joyful things, that it is important to be aware of this in our daily lives.

I believe most people have their own time table–both within their days and lives–and that grieving the loss of this is one of the most important things we can learn to let go.

I believe that when a person or organization loses sight of the individual, they are lost.

I acknowledge that we cannot cater to every individual, but we must recognize the places where our lives meet and stories intersect and offer people the dignity of  understanding how we have affected them.  Only grace can account for the differences between what we would like to offer and what we cannot be.  I believe there is great power in the words, “I’m sorry,” and “I forgive.”

I believe forgiveness is acknowledging the wrong and releasing the debt.

I believe that every person’s life is a story, part of God’s Story.  I believe that freedom comes from owning your story and giving it to God, both to interpret and to write.

Please also read Foundational YWAM Values and Manila Covenant at YWAM.org to get an idea of what I am about.

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