Beliefs

What Presbyterians Believe…

Presbyterians are distinctive in two major ways: they adhere to a pattern of religious thought known as Reformed theology and a form of government that stresses the shared leadership of both ministers and members. We have a vision of ministry that is vibrant and inviting and reflects the love and justice of Jesus Christ.

Evangelism and Witness – We are called to invite all people to faith, repentance and the abundant life of God in Jesus Christ, to encourage congregations in joyfully sharing the gospel, and through the power of the Holy Spirit to grow in membership and discipleship.

Justice and Compassion – We are called to address wrongs in every aspect of life and the whole of creation, intentionally working with and on behalf of poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people as did Jesus Christ, even at risk to our corporate and personal lives.

Spirituality and Discipleship– We are called to deeper discipleship through Scripture, worship, prayer, study, stewardship and service and to rely on the Holy Spirit to mold our lives more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Leadership and Vocation – We are called to lead by Jesus Christ’s example, to identify spiritual gifts and to equip and support Christians of all ages for faithful and effective servant leadership. With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or death can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ!

To explore the web site of PCUSA, go to www.pcusa.org.

  • Practice and Poise

    When I started practicing with the varsity football team at Valencia High School in southern California way back in the spring of 1990 our coach wanted us to learn one very important lesson.  Poise.  Coach Mike Marrujo (pronounced Ma-roo-hoe) wanted us sixteen and seventeen year olds to have poise—at all times.  Not only on the football field, but with everything we did in life.  It was an interesting lesson for us.  His primary immediate goal may have been to play the game as it should be played and to win football games (which he did quite a lot of over 35 years), but Coach Marrujo was an educator, and while I never asked him, I am certain his primary long-term goal was to shape young human beings who would amount to something in life and contribute to society.

    Coach Marrujo also taught us a little bit about football.  We were 11-2 that year (my junior year), but the following year we were 14-0 and won the California state championship (Southern section, mind you, as such a large state is divided into sections).  I think poise had a lot to do with it.  On the field we never panicked.  Ever.  We knew what to do and we did it.  When that didn’t work we found another way.  When I think back on that group of young guys, I find it quite remarkable that we were able to learn that.  What did we know as sixteen and seventeen year olds?  A whole lot of nothing, one might think.  But we were learning.  And among the things we were learning was poise.

    I have been thankful for Coach Marrujo ever since, along with the countless other educators who taught me something in life.  He finished his 35-year career with a record of 306-131-1.  I think he taught around a thousand young guys a thing or two about poise along the way.

    I am quite certain that I have failed to have that poise a few times in life (alright, maybe more than a few), but the lesson has served me well for 30 years now.  It reminds me of another lesson taught to Scouts around the country: Be Prepared.  And another that a seminary mentor of mine Dr. David Johnson taught us ministers-to-be: expect the unexpected.

    Now I don’t recall Jesus of Nazareth saying anything about poise, but when I reflect on his life, poise is one attribute that he must have possessed.  He carried himself with poise before of the Pharisees, when the people refused to listen to him or when the were unable to understand, and even when he was before Pontius Pilate.  Perhaps one could make the argument that when Jesus overturned the tables in the Temple he lacked poise, but I understand why he did that and only admire his intentions.  But for many decades now, my faith in Jesus Christ and my belief that God loves me and cares for me only reinforce my own feeling of poise. 

    I’ve been thinking about poise even more in the midst of this worldwide coronavirus outbreak.  So many things have changed, so many things are different.  What will the world be like in a few months?  In a few years?  But through all of this, poise serves me well.  Poise serves all of us well.  With those things we miss doing, the stresses of change, financial hardship, or family life.  Poise, remaining calm and collected, expecting the unexpected—all of these things serve us well.  And in turn they help us serve others well.  By serving others through our actions, and honoring and respecting others as fellow children of God.  Let’s see how we might be able to to use our own poise to make our world a better place.

    May the grace and peace—and poise—of Jesus Christ be with you.
    —Pastor Derek

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