What we Teach and Believe

GOD COMES TO US THOUGH HIS WORD

bible_candlesGod comes to Us! One of the beautiful things we teach and believe is the way in which the Holy Scriptures are read and interpreted.    Martin Luther actually compared the Bible to the Manger of Jesus. Think of it this way. The material to write the Bible was given to us by God, just like the material to build the manger. We begin to assemble the manger in much the same manner as we put together the Bible, both through the gifts of God and the power of the Spirit. With that said, God is perfect, we are not! Therefore we may find flaws and           mistakes in that manger, much in the same way we are going to find confusing and   seemingly contradictory statements within the Holy    Scriptures. But here’s the fascinating part!
In both cases, when one opens and peeks inside the Bible, just like the manger — one sees Jesus — one finds the Divine, or better yet, the Divine finds us!
We teach and believe that the Holy Scriptures are the Living Word of God, capable of changing lives and situations for the better. The Bible must always point us in the         direction of God’s Love for all people through Christ Jesus. Therefore, we teach that   God comes to us through the Word!

GOD COMES TO US THROUGH SACRAMENTS
breaking_breadGod comes to us through the Word found in the Holy Scriptures. God also comes to us through the Sacraments — Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. A Sacrament is Holy (holy — meaning set apart), a Holy Act instituted or started by Christ Jesus, in which God combines His Word of Promise to a visible element offering freely some wonderful gifts. The visible element in Baptism is water, and in Communion bread and wine. (Things we can see, smell, touch, and taste) Through these most simple gifts God promises comfort and strength through the power of the Spirit. God promises forgiveness of sin, and eternal life. Pretty nice promises given freely! So how does all this work?

First, did you know that Sacrament is a Latin word meaning “Mystery?” How does one explain a mystery? We can’t! We must simply trust or have faith that the promises of God are true, and as far as I know God has not lied to us yet. That is why at Trinity we partake of the bread and wine with communion and baptize All people, including infants. After all, it is God’s work not ours! However, one can make certain that they worship regularly in order to receive the gift of Holy Communion, and one can always use their Baptism by returning to it daily. When troubles overwhelm, when evil tempts, simply remember that you have been Baptized! You have been named as a Child of God!Christ_cup

When you shower, when you wash your hands, or do the dishes, remember it is a fact that you too have been washed by God, and then begin to trust that your Heavenly Father will guide and protect.

WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
Speaking of God’s work, another teaching that lies at the heart of our belief is “We are Saved by Grace through Faith.” Let me try and break this down. First of all, Saved from what? Saved from just about everything! Noah was saved from the flood. King David was saved from the giant Goliath. Jesus was saved from death! Therefore, when floods over take us, when seemingly impossible giants confront us, when death comes knocking at our door — Yes we are saved! Saved by what? God’s Grace!

Grace on the other hand is simply all the gifts given freely by God. Grace is the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. Grace is also the free gift of Christ Jesus given to teach us how to live, to give healing, strength and comfort, to forgive sin, and offer eternal life. This is how we are saved, by God’s free gift of Grace in Christ Jesus. Saved by Grace Through Faith!angel_praying

But what is faith? Faith is not simply an act of the mind believing a religious statement to be true. Faith is the response of your whole being when God graciously offers to accept you as a child. It sounds easy, but faith or trust in a God, may be one of the most difficult virtues we can possess. That is why at Trinity we encourage questions to any and all aspects of religion. We never assume that the church has all the answers. It doesn’t! Faith always seeks understanding! Therefore, as people of God’s Church we ask our questions together seeking answers from the One who creates Faith through Word and Sacrament, so that we may all be “Saved by Grace Through Faith!”

FOCUS UPON THE CROSS
FlowersAt Trinity Lutheran our focus is upon the Cross! The Cross is shorthand for the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. God is Almighty, All Powerful, All Encompassing. We as human beings cannot fathom the Supreme Being we call God. The closest we can come to understanding God is through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord. Through the Cross one can see the heart of our Creator. It is a heart of Love and Forgiveness. It is a heart of Compassion and Mercy. It is a desire for all of His children to follow in the footsteps of His only Son, Jesus the Christ.

PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS
congregationWe believe in the “Priesthood of All Believers.” This means we are all priests or ministers. Within the walls of Glory to God we are not only equal, we are all called to be servants to creation. No matter what our vocation — steel worker, teacher, salesperson, clerk, doctor or homemaker etc, — our purpose or meaning in life is to worship and serve God.

SIMULTANEOUS SAINT AND SINNER
angel_devilWe are “Simultaneously Saint and Sinner”. Put another way we are at the same time sinner and saint. Each of us has been created in the “Image of God”, meaning we have some of the qualities of God — the ability to create, to reason, and to love. But in the same breath or at the same time we are capable of destruction, foolish decisions, and hate. This is what makes us human beings and what makes life so interesting. We are to work toward making the Saint part come alive in us, and putting to death the Sinner in us — at the Same Time.

TEACHING THE FOUNDATIONS OF FAITH
Studies“Faith Seeks Understanding!” One of the strengths of Trinity is the commitment to teach all people the foundations of faith. The Apostle’s Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, The Ten Commandments, The Books of the Bible and the content of those books. As we grow in our faith we may learn how to use these life–giving, life–saving Words!