Many of us are familiar with these three little letters – TLC – and their meaning – “tender loving care.” We, at Celebrate, have taken these same letters and have attached to them an entirely different meaning and, thus, built our theology of ministry.
The ‘T’ stands for – TEACH the Word.
Jesus said, “And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (John 8:32 – NLT).
The writer of Hebrews tells us that “the Word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are” (Hebrews 4:12 – NLT). Peter insists that we should be like a newborn baby in our longing of it (1 Peter 2:2). John says that our obedience to it is our evidence that we love Him (John 14:5). David says the meditation of it is the key to real and lasting success (Psalm 1).
We can no longer continue to move God’s Church forward unless His authority is in the hearts and on the lips of His people. The Word teaches us who God is, tells us who we are not, and shows us how to live a life that is pleasing and acceptable to Him (Romans 12:2).
Yet, Biblical illiteracy is growing rampant in our world today. A recent study, quoted by Dr. Peter Gomes in his book, The Good Book, found that 38% of Americans polled were certain the Old Testament was written a few years after Jesus’ death, 10% believed that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife, and many even thought the epistles were the wives of the apostles. People simply do not know God’s Word. Jesus declared this in His response to a question posed to Him on marriage: “You don’t understand, because you don’t know what the Scriptures say” (Matthew 22:29 – NCV). We are committed at Celebrate to communicate the Truth in everything we do. As the old hymn, written by Philip P. Bliss, so eloquently expresses, “Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life. Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life.”
The ‘L’ stands for – LOVING people.
Jesus said, “This I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:17 – NASB95).
The Bible tells us that love is the first fruit of God’s Holy Spirit that resides within us (Galatians 5:22), that love defines the very heart of who God is (1 John 4:7), and, as Paul so beautifully states, that without it (love), we are simply a “noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1 – ASV).
For us at Celebrate, genuine love has two key and very vital ingredients. The first is that our love should be authentic. The Bible says that we are to “love from the center of who you are” and never to fake it (Romans 12:9 – The Message). Too often, strings get attached to our love, and it becomes more conditional than we dare admit. We want people to give away the very love that we have received from God – a holy and pure kind of love.
Secondly, we believe real, God love holds a person accountable. I’m not talking about an iron-fisted kind of love, or a judgmental, self-righteous kind of love, but a love that can say the difficult, yet stay the course, though at times it can be difficult to hear. The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6 – NASB95), and that “a friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17 – NIV).
When I think of such a love, I think of a parent who might see their child reaching up to touch a hot stove. They would not remain indifferent in such a moment, but instantly take action, even if the action might startle or scare the child. I believe that people are longing, and looking, for this kind of love – a love that gets involved even when it is painful.
Because of this belief, we, at Celebrate, invest a great deal of time in developing, teaching, and showing people how to live this out. It’s been said it’s better to be overly friendly than vaguely nice.
The ‘C’ stands for – helping people to CONNECT – with God, each other, and the community in which we live.
Paul wrote, “Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends” (Philippians 2:1 – The Message).
We, at Celebrate, believe everybody belongs in a family – especially in the family of God (the church). I believe God put it in every human heart. Paul wrote in the book of Romans, “We are all one body in Christ…and each of us needs all the others” (Romans 12:5). People need to know they matter. People want to know they belong somewhere and to someone. Should not the church be the one place where people can come and find that love and acceptance?
We, at Celebrate, do this in a variety of ways, but one of the most significant ways is in what we call a LIFE Group – a living room environment. Most take place in homes where 6 to 10 people come together weekly for a time of Bible Study and fellowship. Friendships are fostered and nurtured in these environments and, in time, they begin to discover the joy of deep and meaningful connection.
Now, can you imagine a place like that, where God’s Word is authority, where people are growing in their relationship with God and each other, and they matter and belong in the family of God?
Learn more about what we believe.