We believe the spiritual journey begins with a fresh encounter with God where He provides a glimpse of His glory and grace. God’s glory confronts us with our sin and initially causes us to retreat from Him. However, God intervenes with His mercy and His grace. Seeing God’s incredible heart of love reaching out to us in spite of our unworthiness awakes within us our deepest desire for intimacy with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The focus of worship must therefore be unveiling the Glory of God. Worship, praise and the teaching of God’s word must revolve around God, not around man. God is not “useful” for us. He is Holy and must be adored, honored and sought after. The goal of every service at New Hope is to allow God to be God and to escort His people into His presence to know Him and be known by Him.
Experience True Community
We believe that God is a relational, three in one God who invites us to join His community. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have lived together through all eternity in a perfect community. Man was created in the image of God. Therefore, man is also a relational being who longs for true community. True community, however, requires transparency in an environment of grace. It is only where you know you are loved and accepted unconditionally that you can be totally honest with who you really are. Our belief is that God designed the Church to be the safest place on earth where everyone, regardless of sin, their shame or their position in life, experiences true love and acceptance. Together, as fellow pilgrims, we journey through life, trusting the Spirit to constantly draw us into greater intimacy with God and with one another.
We believe that transformation requires community. The deceitfulness of our fallen hearts has blinded each of us from seeing ourselves clearly. In order to open the secret places of our hearts to the light of God, we need other believers who are guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak into our hearts words of life, truth, insight and hope. Therefore, the goal of our community is the formation of safe, intimate relationships that constantly point one another to deeper dependence on God as the only answer for the real issues of life.
Embrace The Spiritual Journey
We believe that Jesus came to establish a “New Covenant” between God and man. We believe that God supernaturally gives everyone who surrenders his or her life to Jesus Christ a new heart through the person of the Holy Spirit. (See Ezekiel 36:24-27, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Acts 2:38-39). We believe that the Spiritual Journey is the process of releasing this new heart. True change does not take place by fixing our externals, but by releasing the new heart from within. This release requires us to face honestly the death grip our old nature has on making this life work through our own strength. The journey begins with the descent of seeing our rebellion and sin against a Holy God. The journey of ascent begins as we experience God’s incredible mercy and grace in the depths of our brokenness. We begin to soar when we see that even at our lowest points God embraces us as His dearly loved children because He sees us through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. The redemptive work of the Son grants us the privilege of adoption and allows us to enter the presence of the Father who receives us with great joy.
We believe the spiritual journey is a continual process of descending and ascending. Each time we encounter God we see our sin more clearly and must choose between denial and brokenness. When we choose denial, we retreat into the darkness and isolation of religion. When we choose brokenness, the Spirit escorts us into the light of Christ and into fellowship with one another. This journey leads to healing, transformation and, most importantly, greater intimacy with God and others.
The Journey is the same for each one of us. I encounter Jesus Christ. I catch a glimpse of His holiness and it forces me to see my sin, my shame and I pull away. Then I experience His embrace, he loves me, he accepts me right where I am, so I join him in the dance.
He sweeps me off my feet and I realize for the moment that it isn’t up to me. I can rest in His grace. I can trust in His cleansing. And oh, it is so good. . . . But then it’s gone.
No, He doesn’t leave me. He doesn’t stop dancing, but I become distracted by the things of our world: my relationships, my career, my superficial desires and the pain of my life and I attempt to move by my energy and my strength rather than by His Spirit. The next thing I know, I have crashed again. Only this time, the depth of my fall seems even greater than the first. After all, how could I have danced with God, how could I have accepted His love and grace and still crashed? “O, what a wretched man I am, who will save me?”
Then, once again, I hear his music playing softly in the background. Once again I stop trying to fix myself and allow Him to embrace me with His love. Suddenly, I am dancing again. Only this time, I dance higher and faster and more gracefully than ever.
I become intoxicated by his love. Nothing else compares. But then, once again, I lose focus. This time I become so absorbed in watching my own dance that I step outside myself and look in awe at the beauty of my movements, forgetting who is in the lead. Immediately I begin to stumble so I work harder and yet stumble more.
Frantically I attempt to regain my beauty, but the harder I try, the more I fail. The harder I try the uglier it gets. Finally, my failure is obvious, not merely to myself, but to everyone and the pain overwhelms me. How could I have failed so miserably? All I had to do was follow His lead. All I had to do was to flow with His movement and His Spirit.
Then, while I’m on the floor kicking myself, I stop my blubbering just long enough to hear the music still playing softly. When I look up, to my utter amazement, I see His hand reaching for me, inviting me to dance again.
“But, Jesus, I failed so miserably. I’m afraid I’ll fail again.”
He answers: “My blood covers your failure, so why do you fear failure?”
Then, He holds out his hand and we resume the dance.
Such is the Spiritual Journey. Can you relate? Can you hope this is really true? Do you long for such acceptance and grace.
Then Join us in the dance. Join us in the journey!