What are your Tenets of the Faith?
God: We believe there is one God, who exists as three persons living in perfect community and harmony – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is the Creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:1) and sustains everything by His life. He is a compassionate Father and a just Judge who relentlessly pursues humankind with His radical love.
Jesus: We believe in Jesus Christ who "is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being" (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus Christ is fully human and fully God. He lived a perfect life in place of our imperfect lives as He proclaimed the Kingdom of God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He sacrificially offered Himself in death through crucifixion for the redemption and salvation of sinful humanity. He was buried and on the third day rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for His own. He will return to earth in victory, judging the living and the dead. He will make all things new and will establish His everlasting kingdom on earth.
Holy Spirit: We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ. He lives in our inner being and strengthens us with His power (Ephesians 3:16). He dwells in the hearts of those who believe through faith (Ephesians 3:17).
The Bible: We believe that Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and that it reveals God’s heart to us. It also "judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible is without error and is the final and complete written Word of God from which God stands as the final authority for our lives.
Humankind: We believe that human beings are created by God and in the image of God. The first humans alienated themselves from God as they willingly chose to betray their relationship with Him through direct disobedience. What began as a perfect and intimate relationship became imperfect and distant. Sin has affected every human being since that time. God chose to reconcile us to Himself through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18) with the intent of restoring this relationship and bringing full life once again.
Salvation: We believe that Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus said, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me' (John 14:6). Sinful humanity must express faith in who Jesus is and the grace He offers us. Scripture is clear: 'Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already' (John 3:18). The promises of full life and intimacy with God are for those who have 'by grace…been saved through faith' (Ephesians 2:8).
The Church: We believe that believers everywhere compose the church in the universal sense. The church, as expressed locally, is made up of imperfect people who allow Christ to be formed in them (Galatians 4:19) and who respond day by day in all their relationships to God's astonishing grace.
The Kingdom of God: We believe that the Kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven) was/is the central message of Jesus (Luke 4:43).
What do you believe about Jesus and the Gospel?
The centerpiece of Christian spirituality is this: Jesus is the only way to God. "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being" (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). We will not find God in His salvific totality if we do not express faith in who Jesus is and the grace He offers us. If we do not engage Jesus, we will find only snippets of God that make little sense and jeopardize our very life. The Scripture is clear: "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already" (John 3:18). The promises of full life and intimacy with God are for those who have "by grace…been saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:8). To those who still possess a "heart of stone" (Ezekiel 36:26), the spiritual concepts represented by The Jacob Institute serve only as inspirations.
What do you believe about the Bible?
"All Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16). The same way He breathed life into Adam, He breathes life into us. Scripture is God's way of getting close to us, revealing His heart, and breathing life into us.
A.W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God said, "Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. But exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers void of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter in Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts."
What do you believe about the Spiritual Practices?
The spiritual practices (or disciplines as they are sometimes called) are not tools in our hands to impress God, shape our morals, or earn God’s love and favor. They are tools in God’s hands to spiritually form Christ in us (Galatians 4:19) and develop intimacy with Him. The spiritual practices are conduits or vehicles that take us to the heart of God. In Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus instructs His disciples about how to practice their righteousness. He assumes, as His followers, that we are going to engage in practices that are fitting and appropriate and right for a disciple, specifically from Matthew 6 the prACTices of giving to the needy, prayer, and fasting.
There are other practices we consider to be essential to the spiritual life that are not a part of any list found in Scripture, but that does not make them any less valuable. First John 2:6 says, "Whoever says, 'I abide in him,' ought to walk just as he walked," obviously referring to Jesus. We must, then, go back to the Gospels to see how Jesus walked and lived His life. For example, one of the classic spiritual disciplines is entering into silence and solitude. Why? Because Jesus did it. It was part of His life rhythm. He liked crowds and was around them a lot, but He also needed time in a solitary place, a private place away from all the social connections. Mark 1:35 says, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 6:32 says, "So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place." Sometimes Jesus was by Himself; at other times He took His band of brothers with Him. The goal was to disconnect from social pressures and to enter deeper into union with God through prayer. Silence and solitude are not categorized specifically as spiritual practices, but they do fit into the category of how Jesus walked and lived on this earth. And if we claim to abide in Him, then we will walk as Jesus walked. Jesus said, however, that when you engage in these prACTices, specifically the ones In Matthew 6 of giving, prayer, and fasting, be careful. Why? Because even spiritual practices can be fueled by the wrong motive. Even practicing our righteousness can be driven by ego, pride, insecurity, and self-deception.
What is a Spiritual Retreat and why is it important?
"The disciples now rejoined Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, 'Come with me, by yourselves, to some lonely place where you can rest quietly'" (Mark 6:30-31).
Restoration involves rest. John Townroe said, "The purpose of retreat is to dispel illusion, to set aside distraction, and to penetrate the crust of superficiality in personal existence, which can deaden sensitivity to the reality of God. Properly understood, therefore, retreat is not an escape into unreality, but the very opposite. It is a time for facing the truth and for coming to grips with the real situation in the retreatant's life. [It is a time when] the individual can enter into the peace of God, and experience inner rest."