What We Believe
Jesus came to redeem all people.
Growing in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Developing loving relationships with people from all
walks of life. Reaching out to build lasting relationships in the Lawrence Community.
There is a Place for You!
Our faith is based on the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as explained in the Bible. As Jesus taught, we strive to love all people.
As United Methodists, our faith comes from four key pillars: Scripture, the longheld traditions of the universal church, the experiences each of us as individuals bring to the collective congregation, and reason — the idea that God gave us a brain to think for ourselves and think through what we learn.
Central UMC welcomes all people, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, family configuration, religious background, economic status or disabilities.
We believe Jesus died for all people, calls us to love all people, directs us to make disciples of all people.
And we believe all means all!
God Loves You
We believe in one eternal God who created all things — and continues to create to this day. We believe God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and always present.
As with most Christian denominations, as United Methodists we believe God exists in three entities: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Sound confusing? Think of ice. It’s water, whehter it’s a liquid, frozen or a heated to a gas. Yet it’s the same substance.
We believe God has always existed and always will exist. And we believe God, though we give God the title of Father, is not tied to any gender. God is simply too big and powerful.
We believe God loves all people, regardless of age, race, color, sexual orientation, gender preference, socio-economic status, or how many times you’ve been inside a church building.
And God loves you so much that our Creator provided the Son, a piece of God’s own self, to come to earth and die as a sacrifice on our behalf, atoning for the sin of all humankind.
Jesus Died in Your Place
Jesus taught us to love all people in this life on earth, so together we can transform the world. And he taught that belief in him provides the gift of eternal life in the Heavenly Kingdom.
We believe Jesus is both fully God who was present at creation and fully human who entered the earth in the form of a baby via a miraculous birth to the virgin Mary, a wondrous event we call Christmas.
Jesus taught about love for neighbor, which is all of humanity. By paying attention to what Jesus did and said while on Earth, we know we are called to show mercy to all who need it, to fight for justice to end systemic barriers to equity for all people, and to show love regardless of a person’s appearance, behavior or circumstances.
Jesus lived a sinless life but was convicted in a sham trial. He died on the cross to absolve all of humanity of its sins.
Jesus, the Son in the triune God, serves as judge of all. But he didn’t come to earth to condemn us but rather to save us from our sins.
All who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior receive the gift of eternal life.
Jesus will personally return at some point in judgement of humanity. Nobody knows when that will be, but we are called to be prepared for when that day comes.
Holy Spirit is Always Present
The Spirit of God completes the Trinity. The Holy Spirit (sometimes called the Holy Ghost) is known as our “Advocate,” a presence that is always with us to sustain us and provide us with a sense of peace.
We believe the Holy Spirit helps give the power to overcome temptation, defeat sin and usher in righteousness in a believer’s life.
The Holy Spirit provides all people with spiritual gifts meant to help them grow in their holiness and to help make disciples of others to further the work of the kingdom here on earth by showing mercy and by seeking justice on behalf of those who cannot do so on their own.
The Bible is the primary source for doctrine and practice. Scripture reveals God’s love for us all, God’s desire for a relationship with all people. Scripture is meant to teach us and prepare us for service to God and the world.
The Bible is split into two “testaments,” or covenants. The Old Testament tells the story of creation and the realities of human nature, as told through the stories and poetry associated with God’s chosen people, the Jews who descended from a man named Abraham.
The New Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ, who came to earth to teach humankind how to love others and to die on the cross as a sacrifice on our behalf. The quick way of explaining the Bible is that sin enters the world very early in our story, in the book of Genesis. The remainder of the holy texts is the story of God working to reconcile all of humanity back to God for the salvation of humanity.
Prayer is an important spiritual discipline for Christians. Some people think that all prayers must be well though-out, be long collections of thoughts, and hold deep theological thoughts. In truth, prayer is a simple way to talk to God.
Consider God to be a close, personal friend, and consider prayer to be a way to share what is on your heart and mind.
Prayer can be out loud or can be thoughts said to yourself.
Need some ideas? Consider these:
PRAY as an Acronym
You also can think of PRAY as an acronym:
- P — Praise — Start by lifting God up in praise. Thank God for the presence of God in your life, for the blessings in your life, and for the creation in which we are able to live. Think of this as a time to give thanks.
- R — Repent — We are all sinners, and we all need God’s forgiveness. At some point during your prayer, confess your sins to God and ask for forgiveness. Remember to ask God to help you avoid such a sin in the future. We won’t always be able to avoid sin, but we should come to prayer with an intention of doing better.
- A — Ask — Many people think prayer is a time to ask God for what you want. That’s true! But that is only a small part of prayer. We are taught in the Bible to “ask and you shall receive.” So ask God for what you sincerely hope will happen, but don’t stop with yourself, your family and friends. For example, why not pray for wisdom, strength and courage for leaders in your community, state and nation.
- Y — Yield — While we are invited to ask for what we want, it’s equally important to yield to God. Follow the example of Jesus. As he went to the cross, he prayed that he not have to die but that God’s will be done in his life. Take time in prayer to ask God to make God’s will come to fruition in your life. It’s an act of faith that God will do what is best for you.
Jesus Taught Us How to Pray
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. Here are two versions.
The first is from the Common English Bible, a more contemporary wording of the scripture:
Our Father who is in heaven,
uphold the holiness of your name.
Bring in your kingdom
so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.
Give us the bread we need for today.
Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.
And don’t lead us into temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
A more common version is from the King James Version, which is the version most often recited as part of a worship service:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Earth and Heaven
Christians are called to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We do so by focusing on two important aspects of faith: Mercy and justice in the present world, and the belief in eternal life in the presence of God the Father.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, taught two kinds of holiness work.
The first is personal holiness. This is a person striving to improve their relationship with God by studying scripture, praying, and attending worship. This process is what we call “discipleship,” and it entails people working to be better, more knowledgeable followers of Christ.
The second is social holiness. This is a person serving others in a variety of ways, usually through acts of mercy or by providing assistance in some way. Another way is by seeking justice on behalf of people who have been marginalized in society, who are hidden in the shadows of our community or simply don’t have as big of voice in our world today.