Four Principles for Life and Faith

(1) God is a God of Love

We begin each meeting, each worship, each announcement with the leader shouting: “God is Good!”, and the people respond: “All the time!” Then the leader says, “All the time!” and the people reply “God is Good!”.

God’s love has no conditions or time limits – no matter what, God’s love lasts forever.

Jesus teaches us in the Gospels that God’s perfect love extends to all people: not just “good” or “nice” people.

We get to know the reality of God’s love better by loving those around us. Not just our friends, not just people like us, not just people who like us–but strangers, people who are mean to us, people who won’t do us any favors–EVERYONE.

Jesus shows us what God is like by loving us to death (literally), even before we knew God or were on friendly terms with God. God makes the first move to befriend us. God is like someone who dies for you, who loves you like a best friend, even before you act like their friend.

  – Psalm 136; Isaiah 54:10; Matthew 5:43-48; John 3:16-17; Romans 5:1-11; Romans 8:31-39; 1 John 4:7-21

(2) All People are Sacred Creations, Worthy of Respect

GroupstarisTCM celebrates human diversity. We invite and encourage each person to offer their unique gifts, recognizing their abilities and disabilities. Social status, popularity, race, gender identity, dis/ability, nationality do not divide us. God does not play favorites.

In the story of the Bible, all people are part of the same family: no matter who their parents are, what language they speak, or what gods they worship.

God created all human beings in God’s own image.

All people are sacred (special, valuable) because God made us, because God loves us, and because we have the potential to look like God by being true to our truest self–the unique individuals God made each of us to be.

Jesus teaches us to treat strangers the same way we would treat him: with love, compassion, and respect.

Even when we disagree or have real differences with other people, we are called to talk about our differences respectfully, and never to make fun of other people or speak evil about them.

In fact, Jesus shows us what God is like by going out of his way to spend time with people who were unimportant and who were pushed to the margins of society.

  – Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-5; Matthew 25:34-40; Romans 12:16-18; 1 Peter 3:9-11, 15-17; James 2:1-5, 8-9; Mark 7:24-30

(3) Jesus Christ is “The Way”, our example for life and faith in this world

“Christian” means “a person who is like Christ”. The earliest Christians were known as “people of the Way”. Some of us prefer to be called “Christ-followers”.

We want to follow the example of Jesus, who shows us what the love of God is like by giving his life in service to others.

Each Spring Break, we go on mission trips to practice serving others and to experience following Jesus outside our comfort zones.

Jesus teaches his disciples (students, followers) to follow his example of service.

Following Jesus’ example means getting our hands dirty and doing things that make us uncomfortable, because our love for others is more important to us than our own comfort and security.

Following Jesus’ example means trusting (having faith) that God will provide what we need, so that we do not have to selfishly look out for ourselves–instead, we can share what God has given us (energy, time, money, skills) to help others.

Following Jesus’ example means forgiving one another and working to make peace with those we have hurt.

Following Jesus is not easy, and we do not claim to do it perfectly. But we believe this Way of life, love, and service is the “abundant life” with God that Jesus promised to give his followers.

  – Philippians 2:3-10; John 13:12-17, 34-35; John 14:3-7, 12-15; John 15:12-17; Luke 9:22-25; Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34; Matthew 6:14; Luke23:34; John 10:1-18, 27-30; John 21:15-19

(4) The Holy Spirit is the presence of the Risen Christ among us – a Guiding and Sustaining Force in our Lives

We sing: “Have you seen Jesus my Lord?” The next line is: “He’s here in plain view”.

Although we cannot literally see Jesus with our eyes, we look for and experience Jesus’ presence with us as the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promised his followers that he would not abandon them, but that he would come be with them and stay with them forever in the person of the Holy Spirit.

When we come together as a community in Jesus’ name, and when we practice the love of God that Jesus taught by example, we know his presence with us.

The Holy Spirit with us is a reminder of God’s promises, and a helper as we pray, speak, and act in ways that share the love of God with others.

The same Holy Spirit that came down on Jesus and that came down on his followers 2,000 years ago comes down on us today in our daily experience. The Spirit teaches us and reminds us who God is, and strengthens us to be who God created us to be, to live lives of love that bring joy to God and that help to show the world who God is.

  – Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 3:1-3; Hebrews 13:5-6; John 14:16-21, 26-29; John 16:7-16; Matthew18:20; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 1:13-14; Mark 1:9-13; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:16-21; Matthew 10:20