New Believers at UPC
If you are visiting this page you have either decided to follow Jesus or are on your way! This is a great step to new life in Christ!
Saying yes to following Jesus is an essential part of beginning your new life in Christ. This declaration, with an active belief in his saving power, are the marks of a Christ-follower. If you've made the decision to trust in Jesus, you’ll want to let someone know so they can connect you with a community that can support you on your new and exciting journey. This could be a trusted friend or the person who invited you to church. You may also reach out to a pastor at UPC so they can meet you and provide resources for your new-found faith. Our church community can help you find ways to participate in life together, provide support, and grow your faith with fellow believers.
Click this ZOOM Link to be connected to a Spiritual Advisor
Sundays 8:30am – 11:30am PDT/GMT-7
If you would prefer to call a Spiritual Advisor from your phone, please use one of the following numbers:
Please feel free to contact Aaron Williams, Pastor of Discipleship or Chris Nichols, Executive Director of Ministry at any time and either one would love to get to know you, pray with or for you, and help welcome you to the new life we have in Christ. Or, click the button below to submit your information and we'll reach out to you:
To help you get started in this new walk of faith, here is a brief overview of the Christian story, Jesus Christ, and his work on the cross.
The Story of Christianity
(adapted from The Big Story, by James Choung)
The Christian story is simple even as its history is complex.
We believe God created the world as a good beautiful place, all under his leadership and the source of its life. (Gen 1:31).
God designed the world to take care of us and we were designed to flourish in it even as we took care of it. As a part of creation, God made human beings in his image and gave them to one another, to love and serve each other. We also were created to be in close relationship and fellowship with God, with no barriers to our interactions with him. (Gen 1:26-28).
Unlike the other elements of creation, God created humanity with the ability to make choices, moral choices about how we would live and what we would believe.
At a critical moment in human history, human beings turned away from following God. We rejected God’s leadership, took charge of our own decisions. We broke our relationship with God and went our own way.
As a result, we were left to ourselves and, walking away for the source of life entered a world where death reigned. (Isaiah 52:6; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:23). The impact of that choice was immense. Separating from God corrupted humanity and meant that death became a reality for all. We see the evidence of that corruption all around us.
Turning away from God open the floodgate for evil to pour into our world and damage all of God’s creation.• We use the world and the people in it destructively, for our own benefit. We see it in sex trafficking, injustice, oppression, wars, genocide, etc.
•We use one another, putting ourselves first, not willing to give ourselves in genuine service to one another. We see it in how we objectify others, seek our own advantage, allow people to starve, in conflicts, abuse, broken relationships, etc. (Galatians 5:19-20)
• We damage ourselves and our relationship to God, refusing his leadership and distanced from him. (Rom 1:21-22)
• None of us is exempt. We all participate in the problem, all suffering from the same fate. (Romans 3:23). And none of our best efforts can resolve the problem.
• The Bible teaches that God will not tolerate such evil and that there will be a day when he will judge the human race and set everything right (Acts 17:31).
• He identified with us, becoming one of us, living among us in a damaged world, not insulated from the pain of the world but fully engaged and identified with it without becoming damaged himself or contributing to the damage. (Philippians 2:6-7; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
• He owned the judgement we deserve for the corruption of the world and the corruption in our hearts (Philippians 2:8; Romans 3:25-26)
• He overcame death, triumphing over evil, raised from the dead, unleashing the power to restore us and our world.
But even as God will judge the world, he also loves his creation and could not leave it to self-destruct. He produced a solution to what for us was an unsolvable problem. He came to us as Jesus, God’s only son, given as a sacrifice to bear the burden for the world’s sin.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. John 3:16
James Choung describes what Jesus did for us in this way:
Jesus did three things:
Jesus brings us healing, peace, and life itself. (John 14:27; John 10:10; I John 5:11-13)
When we decide to accept his invitation to believe (John 5:24) and to follow him (Mark 2:14), we become his disciples, now committed to following him as Lord of our lives (Mark 8:34-38).
As we follow him, he brings healing to the damage in the world between:
Us and God: Jesus restores our relationship to God. He gives us the gift of new life, freely given to us out of his love for us (Ephesians 2:1-9). By following Jesus, we walk back into a living relationship with God (Romans 5:10-11)
One another: Jesus has the power to restore our relationships to one another. As we follow, we learn to serve, love and forgive one another (Philippians 2:3-4; I John 4:10-11).
Us and the world: Jesus invites us to follow him into this world top expose corruption, bring justice, and love joyfully. (Micah 6:8; Luke 4:18-19; Ephesians 2:10).
We follow him by:
Identifying with Jesus’ work by believing his death and resurrection broke the cycle of corruption in us and the world. (John 3:17-18; Galatians 2:20-21; Romans 10:9).
Owning our individual responsibility for the damage in the world, acknowledging our sin and receiving his forgiveness (I John 1:9; Acts 10:43).
Overcoming personal brokenness and brokenness in the world through the power given us by Jesus through the giving of his Spirit (Acts 1:8). He invites into community with him and with his other followers so we might live lives of faith and hope (Matthew 5:14-16).