Welcome Class

 

I. Why We Exist

There are three scriptures that help define our purpose.

Mark 12:28-31 The Great Commandment

Matthew 28:18-20 The Great Commission

Acts 2:42-47 The Great Church

A. The Great Commandment

Mark 12: 28-31

     One of the scribes went to Jesus during the argument with the Sadducees. He saw how well Jesus answered them, so he asked, “Which commandment is the most important of them all?” Jesus answered, “the most important is, ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. So love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

The Great Commandment sets love apart as the key to all we do. We are to love God with all we have. When we love Him properly, He will produce health in us in five different ways; emotional, spiritual, mental, physical, and relational.

B. The Great Commission

Matthew 28:18-20

     When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you.”

This is God’s mandate for Christian people to tell others about God’s love, help them come to 

a relationship with Him, lead them to express their faith through baptism, and train them in how to live. 

C. The Great Church

Acts 2: 42-47

     The disciples were devoted to the teachings of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. A feeling of fear came over everyone as many amazing things and miraculous signs happened through the apostles. All the believers kept meeting together, and they shared everything with each other. From time to time, they sold their property and other possessions and distributed the money to anyone who needed it.
The believers had a single purpose and went to the temple every day. They were joyful and humble as they ate at each other’s homes and shared their food. At the same time, they praised God and had the good will of all the people. Every day the Lord saved people, and they were added to the group.

We believe the local church is God’s design to help individuals learn to become a part of God’s family. We are to become united in spirit and purpose under God’s guidance in order to help the world around us know and become more like Christ. 

Fresh Start’s guiding principles and statements come from the above  scriptures.

Purpose defined:

The reason for which something is done, made, used, etc.; And intended or desired result.

Our purpose is to connect with people at their point of need and bring them to wholeness in Christ.

Mission defined:

The special task or purpose for which a person is apparently destined in life; calling.

Our mission is to connect with God, connect with others and connect others with God. By doing so our desire is to help people be:

  • Saved from what they were
  • Healed from their past
  • Accepted for who they are
  • Prepared for service
  • Equipped for their present
  • Discipled for their future

II. The History of Fresh Start Community Church

 Fresh Start Community Church began its existence as a small home study group in 1970. It was known then as the First Church of God of Moore. In 1971 the church had grown and moved from their rented facility to Century Drive in Moore where they built a small sanctuary and five classrooms.

     Pastor David Thornburg and wife Ruth served the church as pastor from 1973-1977. Pastor Jim Coffee was called to be pastor from 1977-1979. Then in 1980 the church called Pastor Maurice (Mo) Stiles and wife Irma to pastor. During their time, the church was able to expand by building a Family Life Center. The church experienced numerical growth and spiritual stability during that time.

     Pastor Randy Montgomery and wife Shannon were called to be pastor in 1993. They served until 1998. 

In May of 1999, the church purchased twenty acres adjacent to their already seven acres for the purpose of building a new sanctuary and beginning an outreach ministry to the City of Moore and surrounding areas.

In July of 1999, the congregation called Robert Mohr to be their Senior Pastor. 

The church was able to build a new building on the newly acquired property. The new facility, with a sanctuary seating 500, was completed and the first service was held on Sunday, July 1, 2001. The name Fresh Start Community Church was adopted in May of 2002. The West Campus, consisting of our Family Life Center and Youth Center, was remodeled during the summer of 2003.

In June of 2008, the church called Dave Dooley to be the next pastor. He and his wife Anna and children Garrett and Madison moved here from Lake Charles, LA. The church has been blessed with a great staff of pastors and is poised to minister to the community of Moore for years to come. 

III. Introducing the Church

A. Who we are nationally

When Fresh Start Community Church began, the original members prayed and chose to affiliate themselves with the Church of God Movement in Anderson, Indiana. The name Church of God is used to identify a particular movement within Protestant Christianity. Since the time of its earliest spokesman, Daniel S. Warner, in the 1880’s, the preachers, teachers, and other writers have given emphasis to the message of unity and holiness. Deeply influenced by Wesleyan theology and pietism, the Church of God has emphasized conversion, holiness, and attention to the Bible. Warner saw a need for unity among Christian people in various denominations. Therefore, Church of God leaders determined early that membership would not be based upon joining the church, but rather upon an individual’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The message of unity is that all God’s people are one (John 17) and are called to recognize that unity, to relate to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, and to coordinate their efforts in world missions. The intended unity among Christians is not based on the achievement of full agreement on all theological questions. Rather, it is based on a common membership in the church through the grace of God and is anchored by a common commitment to the centrality of Christ and the authority of the Word of God. 

Anderson, Indiana, is the home of the Church of God publishing house, Warner Press, Inc; Anderson University, and several agencies that carry on the work of missions, Christian education, and evangelism throughout the world. Other Church of God colleges include Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, and Warner University in Lake Wells, Florida.

What is the Church of God movement today?

      “At present, the largest concentrations of U.S. churches are in the Midwest, along the Pacific Coast, and in western Pennsylvania. Average weekend attendance in the congregations of the United States and Canada totals approximately 233,000. There are approximately 2,200 congregations in the United States and Canada. Worldwide, the movement has work in ninety countries and territories representing approximately 7,600 churches and more than 884,000 believers.” (2014 Church of God Yearbook)

B. The Assembly of the Church of God in Oklahoma

 The Church of God has approximately 51 congregations in the State of Oklahoma. There are two state minister meetings a year in which the business of the church, licensing, and ordination are conducted. 

C. Who we are locally

One of our desires as a church is to give each person an opportunity to become involved in the life of the church. The church is a family made up of many individuals that possess different strengths and abilities. We want each person to find and develop the abilities that God has placed within him or her. There are some ways to get involved immediately while other ministries may require time and training in order to participate. 

Why not just be an independent church?

We are an independent church. Every COG church is completely independent. There is no denominational control or hierarchies, as there are in many other denominations. Each church is self-governed and determines its own affairs. 

For example:

Every COG church chooses its own pastor.

Every COG church owns its own buildings and assets.

Every COG church determines its own programs.

What are the advantages of affiliating with the Church of God movement? 

1. It allows us to identify with other Christians around the world who are known for their commitment to the Bible. Unlike other groups, the COG has no man-made “creed”. The Bible is our only authority.

2. It allows our church to participate in one of the largest missionary organizations in the world. Through the years, the COG World Service has helped establish over 1,000 new congregations and discipled over 100,000 new believers around the world. 

What is the process of membership?

The membership of the local congregation of Fresh Start Community Church of Moore, Oklahoma, who have the right to vote in its business meetings, must meet the following conditions:

      1. They must be eighteen (18) years of age or older.

      2. They must have worshipped regularly with Fresh Start Community Church, Moore, Oklahoma, for not less than six (6) months immediately preceding any meeting at which they exercise the right to vote.

      3. They must be in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith and have lived in harmony with the doctrines and practices of the Fresh Start Community Church, Moore, Oklahoma, during the entire six (6) month time immediately preceding any meeting at which they exercise the right to vote.

       4. After meeting all the above requirements, they must be registered with the Secretary of the Leadership Council.

IV. Basic Beliefs of Salvation

A. Our Problem

Man has a natural desire to be the boss and to ignore God’s principles for living. 

“Look out for #1. Do your own thing.”

“If it feels good, do it- regardless of what God says about it.”

“It’s my life and I’ll do what I want!”

The Bible calls this attitude sin.

Sin has often been defined as disobedient actions. However, H. Orton Wiley’s definition gives deeper meaning to the nature of sin:

Sin, then, is self-separation from God in the sense of decentralization, the place which should be occupied by God being assumed by the self.

In other words, rather than being a list of disobedient actions, sin is any part of our heart we hold for ourselves that takes the place of where God should be. 

Sin breaks our close relationship with God.  It causes us to fear God and try to live our lives outside of His will.

The trouble is that your sins have cut you off from God.  Isaiah 59:2 (LB)

All have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious ideal.  Romans 3:23

Myths of removing sin

Even when we know that our deepest need is God, we often try wrong ways of getting to know Him:

“My mother was a Christian so…”

“It doesn’t matter what you believe, just make sure you’re a good person.”

“I’ll give up all my bad habits before I die.”

“I’ll work really hard and earn it.”

“I’ll be religious and go to church.”

Effects of sin

Sin pollutes our hearts and shows itself through our actions.

Sin will take you further than you want to go; keep you longer than you want to stay; and cost you more than you want to pay. –Al Denson

Summery of sin

  • Keeps us separated from God

The trouble is that yours sins have cut you off from God. Isaiah 59:2

All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious ideal. Romans 3:23

  • Holds us as a slave (cycles of sin)

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16

  • Will not allow us to be the true creation God made

B. God’s Solution

Jesus said, “I AM THE WAY, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except THROUGH ME!” John 14:6

God, Himself, came to earth as a human being to bring us back to Himself. If any other way would have worked, Jesus Christ would not have had to come. “The Way” is a Person.

Because of Adam’s disobedient act, we are all born into sin. 

The wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Because of Jesus Christ’s righteous sacrifice, we all have the opportunity to be born into life.

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.  Romans 5:19

…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Romans 5:8

God has already done His part to restore our relationship to Him. He took the initiative. Now he waits for each of us to individually accept what He has done for us.

 

God is on one side and all the people are on the other side, and Christ Jesus is between them to bring them together, by giving His life for all mankind. 1 Tim. 2:5

C. God’s proposal

1. Admit that God has not been first place in your life and ask Him to forgive your sins.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from every wrong. 1 John 1:9

2. Believe that Jesus died to pay for your sins and He rose again on Easter, and is alive today.

If you confess that Jesus is your Lord, and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans  10:9

3. Accept God’s free gift of salvation. Don’t try to earn it. 

For it is by grace you are saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Our relationship to God is not restored by anything we do, but on the basis of what Jesus has already done for us.

4. Invite Jesus Christ to come into your life and be the director (Lord) of your life.

To all who receive Him, He gives the right to become children of God. All we need to do is to trust Him to save us. All those who believe this are reborn!—not a physical rebirth…but from the will of God! John 1:12-13

Jesus says, “Listen, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” Revelation 3:20

You can take these steps by praying a simple prayer of commitment to God:

“Dear Jesus, thank you for making me and loving me, even when I’ve ignored you and gone my own way. I realize I need you in my life and I’m sorry for my sins. I ask you to forgive me. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Please help me to understand it more. As much as I know how, I want to follow you from now on. Please come into my life and make me a new person inside. I accept your gift of salvation. Please help me to grow now as a Christian. “

Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13

D. The change of salvation

Though every Christian has accepted Christ, understanding what takes place at salvation is a pre-requisite to living out God’s will fully in our lives. 

Before we accept Christ, our spirit is depraved, empty and separated from God. 

When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit invades our spirit and we then begin communion with God. 

When our depravity meets God’s divinity, there is a beautiful collision. – David Crowder

When we become a Christian, the Bible says we are justified.

A simple way to define justification is “God forgives me just as if I had never done it.” 

We have been set FREE from sin’s bondage and are raised to walk in a newness of life.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1

Christ not only offers eternal life in heaven, but He gives us freedom to live with Him on earth.

E. Our response

After the sinner accepts Christ and is freed from his sin, the Christian is now able to honor Christ his Savior by learning God’s plan and purposes and adjusting his life accordingly. 

I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

The word holy simply defined means “to be set apart”.

There is nothing more holy than God for nothing compares to Him. As Christians, we are to become like Christ and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we become set apart from the world.

Another definition of holiness is becoming what God wants and doing what God says.

Example of holy lifestyle:

Colossians 3 

V. Ordinances

Definition:

An ordinance is an outward symbol of what has 

been experienced inwardly. 

A.Baptism

1. Why should I be baptized?

a. To follow the example set by Jesus. 

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the river. Mark 1:9

b. Because Christ commands it. 

Jesus said, “Go then, to all people everywhere and make them my disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit, and then teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matt. 28:19-20

c. It demonstrates that I really am a believer.

…many of the people who heard Him believed and were baptized. Acts 18:8

We know that we have come to know Him, if we obey His commands. I John 2:3

2. What is the meaning of baptism?

a. It illustrates Christ’s death and resurrection. 

Christ died for our sins.. He was buried…and He rose again. 1 Cor. 15:3-4

For when you are baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ. Col. 2:12

b. It illustrates my new life as a Christian. 

When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. The old life has passed away and a new life has begun! 2 Cor. 5:17

By our baptism then, we were buried with Him and shared His death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead… so also we may live a new life! Romans 6:4

Baptism doesn’t make you a believer—it shows that you already believe. Baptism does not “save” you, only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is like a wedding ring—it’s the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart. 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8-9

3. Why by baptized by immersion?

a. Because Jesus was baptized that way.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Matt. 3:16

b. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion.

(Example)   …then both Philip and the man went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water… Acts 8:38-39

c. The word “baptize” means to “dip under water”. 

The Greek word baptizo means, “to immerse or dip under water”. 

We baptize with the back entering the water then raise forward upon immersion. This represents being buried with Christ and then being raised up into new life. Baptism is a testimony that shows others we have decided to live for Christ.

It best symbolizes a burial and resurrection!

The founders of denominations agree:

Martin LutherI would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the word imports and the mystery signifies.

John Calvinthe word ‘baptize’ signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.

John WesleyBuried with Him, alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.

4. Who should be baptized?

Every person who has believed in Christ.

Those who believed and accepted His message were baptized Acts 2:41

Simon himself believed and was baptized Acts 8:13

But when they believed Philip as he preached the Good News… and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women, Acts 8:12

5. When should I be baptized?

As soon as you believe.

 

Those who believed…were baptized…that day! Acts 2:41

Then Philip began with the scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water, and the man said, “Look, here is water! Why shouldn’t I be baptized right now?’” Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The man answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So they went down into the water and Philip baptized him. Acts 8:35-38

There is no reason to delay. As soon as you have decided to receive Christ into your life, you can and should be baptized. If you wait until you are “perfect”, you’ll never feel “good enough”.

6. Can my family be baptized together?

Yes. If each family member understands fully the meaning of baptism, and each one has personally placed his/her trust in Christ for salvation, we encourage families to be baptized at the same time. It is a wonderful expression of commitment. 

B. Communion

1. What is the Lord’s Supper? (I Corinthians 11:23-26)

a. It is a reminder.

…and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; eat it in remembrance of me.” ( vs. 24)

b. It is a symbol.

In the same way, he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; drink it to remember me.” (vs. 25)

c. It is a statement of faith.

For whenever you eat the bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes back. (vs. 26)

2. Who should take the Lord’s Supper?

Only those who are already believers. (Mark 14:22-26)

For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment upon himself. 2 Cor. 11:29

3. How should I prepare for the Lord’s Supper?

    1. Confessing my sins –  1 John 1:9
    2. Self-examination – I John 1:9
    3. Recommitment – Roms. 12:1
    4. Restoring relationships – Matt. 5:23-24 

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A person ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 1 Cor. 11:27-28

4. When and how often should we observe the Lord’s Supper?

We typically observe communion one Sunday each month. If we offer it in a morning service, we try to explain it well; understanding that nonbelievers will be in the service. We want to respect each person in attendance, but also the Bible’s words about only believers are to practice the ordinance.  

C. Child Dedication

The dedication of parents and their children is an exciting time for families. We practice baby dedication by following the example set before us in 1 Samuel 1: 21-28. This is a time when parents bring their child in front of the church and the Pastor and leaders pray for God’s guidance in their lives. This is a true commitment on behalf of the parents in their determination to give their children every opportunity to develop a personal relationship with Christ when they become mature enough to do so. It is also a time the church commits to doing their part in helping the parents and child to grow in community in the body of Christ. 

D. Anointing with Oil

Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14

Sometimes people feel the need to be prayed for a specific reason or intercede (stand in) for someone they wish a prayer be given to. This could be for a sickness, a stressful upcoming event, or any other specific need. At such times, the elders of the church anoint this person and lay hands on one another while offering the prayer. 

E. The Public Altar

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever losses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole worked, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. Matthew 8:34-38

In Old Testament times the altar was used for burnt sacrifices the people of Israel offered to God for many different reasons. Because Jesus has become our Most High Priest and paid the ultimate sacrifice we no longer use the altar in the same manner of the Old Testament. The altar was a place where sin debts were paid and peace offerings were made. In this way we continue to use the altar to make commitments to Christ, pray for one another, and to reconnect any distance with God due to our disobedience or any other circumstance.

F. Foot-washing

In John Chapter 13, before Jesus was betrayed, he took a towel, put it around his waist, and washed the feet of his disciples. He did this as an act of servanthood showing to his disciples that the greatest thing a Christian can do is serve others. Once a year, usually between Palm Sunday and Easter, we meet and practice this act of servanthood with each other. This ordinance is a humbling experience that strengthens community within the church. The practice of foot-washing teaches us the importance of serving people. If Christ can humble Himself to meet a need in someone’s life, then we can do the same. 

VI. Basic Beliefs

Fresh Start Community Church believes:

  1. In one God eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4, Matt. 28:19, 2 Cor. 13:14).
  2. In the Scripture of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired of God, inerrant in the original writings and of supreme and final authority in matters of life and faith (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
  3. That God the Son became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, who was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and is God and man (Luke 1:35, John 1:1, 2, 14).
  4. That man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Therefore, man is totally depraved and unable to remedy his fallen condition (Gen. 1:26, 27, Rom. 5:12, 19, Eph. 2:1-3, 12).
  5. That Jesus died for our sins as a sacrifice and that all who believe in Him are justified by grace through faith, apart from works of any kind (Rom. 3:22-25,28, Eph. 1:7, 2:8-9, 1 Peter 1:3-5, 2:24).
  6. In the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His ascension into Heaven, and in His present life there for us as High Priest, Intercessor, and Advocate (1 Cor. 15:1-8, Acts 1:9-11, Rom. 8:34, Heb. 4:14, 1 John 2:1).