What brings us together? What do we have in common? Why do we give time and energy to belong to church?
1. Because we value Jesus Christ above anything in this world.
We believe in Jesus, that he is truly God’s unique Son, who alone can redeem us and others. We believe he rose from the dead.
And this changes everything. Everything! Jesus does not take a small place in a true believer’s life. He will be Lord. He will be first love.
Jesus unites with us and lives in us, and he moves our soul in the direction it should go. He moves us toward other Christians.
He gives us true unity. He gives a oneness that no other group can have. We care about other Christians and Christ’s church because we care supremely about Jesus Christ.
The purpose of our church is to follow Jesus Christ together. We long to be with God’s people because we long to be with Jesus and follow him.
2. Because we value the kingdom of Christ.
Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). The kingdom of God is the rule of God.
The kingdom of Christ is Christ’s exerting his rule in a person’s life in any way, whether in bringing about repentance and conversion, or healing, or deliverance from Satan’s work and rule, or bringing about obedience to God’s will, or producing the character traits called the fruits of the Spirit.
Jesus commands us to seek his kingdom. We seek his rule in our lives and other’s. His rule is what we need more than anything.
For when Jesus rules, there is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Light dawns, and darkness flees. Love and faith come, and wickedness goes.
This is what our church is all about: Jesus and his kingdom! This is what is most important, not the passing things of this world that try to take first place in our hearts, a place that only Jesus and his kingdom deserves.
3. Because we believe the gospel.
We would not value Christ apart from the gospel.
He would be just another religious figure, another god, another teacher—if we believed he was not God’s Son, not the only Savior, not the way and the truth and the life, not the light of the world, not the bread of life and living water, not the atoning sacrifice for our sins, not coming again.
Why care about Jesus if his body rotted in the tomb and his dust is still buried somewhere today? Why care about Jesus if his real father was Joseph? Why care about Jesus if he died for no purpose at all? If his blood on the cross was nothing more than one life dripping away.
No, if you did not believe the gospel, you would have “more important” things to spend your time on:earning money, building your network, getting needed sleep, hanging out with friends and family, relaxing.
If you don’t believe, there is always something more important. Believing the gospel made Jesus priceless to you.
By sincerely believing that message you are saved.
What brings us together is we believe the gospel. We want to be saved.
Because we really believe that message, we know this gospel is not something to keep to ourselves. It is the only hope of the world, of every breathing soul.
Together we can advance this message in ways we cannot alone. The church is a gospel multiplier.
So together we are for Christ, for his kingdom—and for his gospel.
We are for Christ. What brings us together is Christ.
4. Because we are for Christ, and he is for his church.
Jesus is for you and every other Christian, but he is not only for individuals; he is for his church. He said, “I will build my church.”
Jesus is for the collected people of God, for the assemblies of his people. Jesus likes his people together. He said, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).
When we love the church, we are actually loving Jesus. When Saul persecuted the church, Jesus appeared to him in a vision and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) What we do to the church, we do to Jesus.
I love and serve the church because it is the visible manifestation of Jesus on earth. The church really is the body of Jesus, and he its head. I love Jesus, so I love the church. Although the church is not perfect as Jesus is, nevertheless she is the closest thing to Jesus on earth.
According to Scripture, the church is the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, God’s building, God’s temple, the pillar and buttress of the truth, God’s field, God’s vineyard, God’s family, God’s household, God’s covenant people, spiritual Israel, the saints.
In Christ’s church we love and are loved through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Christ’s church we truly belong in a way that transcends understanding. In Christ’s church we are in union with Christ and in a true union with other believers. This is a union greater than blood family. We are one.
O church, tremble when we assemble.
We are a mix of singles and families, ages and ethnicities, students and career people.
Perhaps the best way to get a sense of who we are is by reading about who we long to be. See The Qualities of Our Dream Church. We believe that God is going to answer our prayers and fulfill these longings. If you resonate with these desires, we hope you’ll join us in bringing this powerful church into full expression. It could well be one of the most important things you do with your life.
Lake Shore Church was birthed in 1986, and for most of the church’s history, we have met in hotels in the downtown area. Our pastor Brian Larson began serving the church in 1995.