Introduction to The Woodlands First
The Woodlands First seeks to be a faith family who lives at the intersection of God’s grace and truth. In so many places, it is all grace and no truth, or it is all truth and no grace. In Jesus Christ, it isn’t a choice of either grace or truth, but grace and truth living together. That is what we are striving to achieve in our church.
We hold to the absolute truth of Jesus and His word found in the Bible and at the same time, recognize none of us ever completely measure up. We are not a perfect place because we are people like you. We are, however, a growing place where you won’t be judged, but will be invited to join us on the journey, as we together seek to honor Jesus Christ and know him better.
What We Believe
God The Father
We believe in one God, who is the creator, redeemer, and ruler of all things. We believe in the Triune God: God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe that God is the maker of all things visible and invisible.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1, NIV)
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:6-7)
We believe in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, who is of the same essence with the Father, and is revealed through the inspiration of God in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible as the supreme authority for our beliefs and practices. We believe that Christ was crucified for us, was buried, and on the third day rose again. We believe that He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18 NIV)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV
1. Christ As Supreme Authority:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20 NIV)
2. Christ As The Example For Our Beliefs and Practices:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)
Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (I John 2:6 NIV)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)
The Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is God, working through Christians to actively make us more Christ-like. The Holy Spirit descended on Christ at baptism. Through the Holy Spirit we are no longer left alone in this world. Instead, the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to give us life and direction until Jesus returns.
As Jesus says in the book of John, “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:15-21 NIV)
We believe Scripture is the true center of Christian union and the standard by which religious opinions should be tried. Scripture gives Christians the guideline for the way in which our lives should be lived. The way to interpret the Bible is through Jesus Christ.
We believe what the Bible says about itself:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV)
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19 NIV)
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. (Isaiah 40:8 NIV)
We believe that man and woman were created both in God’s own image and are the crowning work of His creation– equally gifted and called to serve. While humankind was created innocent, due to rebellion against God, sin came into the world. It is only through the grace of God that humankind can be brought back into fellowship with God and others in order to fulfill the creative purpose of our being.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:26-27 NIV)
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:16-25 NIV)
We believe that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church, and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel for sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NIV)
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-9 NIV)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33 NIV)
The Christian Life
In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4 NIV)
We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers- and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Timothy 1:8-11 NIV)
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Galatians 5:14 NIV)
We believe that the redemption of mankind is a gift offered to all who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Jesus offers this gift through His own blood that was shed on the cross in order to provide salvation and redemption for the believer.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20 NIV)
Sanctification happens as a result of salvation. It is the experience by which the believer is set apart for God’s purposes and is the progress towards Christ-likeness. This is possible through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within the Christian. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2: 19-21 NIV).
We believe in the local church and that believers are meant to exist in community with one another. Fellowship with God requires fellowship with others. To love is to take on one’s neighbor’s concerns and make them one’s own. The church should be an embodiment of people following Christ, who are given the ability to lead with their differing gifts, in order to spur one another towards Christ, while serving those around them to the glory of God. The Church is God’s primary way of doing His work on Earth and therefore God will continue to use the Church until He returns. The Church is the body of Christ and is the hope of the world.
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:41-47 NIV)
We believe Baptism is an act of obedience which symbolizes the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior. It is a testimony to one’s faith and is a way to become a member of the church.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17 NIV)
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:41-42 NIV)
The Lord's Supper (Communion)
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is also a symbolic act of obedience where members of the church take bread and the fruit of the vine in remembrance of the death, resurrection, and second coming of Jesus Christ.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29 NIV)
We believe that God is the source of all blessings, both temporal and spiritual; therefore, all we have comes from Him. As Christians, the way we serve Christ is through our gifts, time, and material possessions.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)