The Firs Camps & Retreats
- The Firs serves the local church and community by drawing groups and individuals to a camp and retreat setting. The Firs exists for people to encounter Jesus and experience the love of God – this is our core mission.
- From its beginning, The Firs has focused on developing and maintaining a ministry to God’s glory. The Firs’ emphasis has been to help people believe. This is done through instruction, creative activities and significant relationships.
- The Firs’ three facilities serve to support these efforts and provide a place for organizations and other ministries of similar purpose to offer programs of their own.
What We Believe
The Firs Doctrinal Statement
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, divinely inspired, infallible, entirely trustworthy and the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; 1 Cor. 2:13)
We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14)
We believe in the deity of Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death, in His bodily resurrection and His ascension to the right hand of the Father. We believe in His personal, visible return to earth in righteousness and glory to consummate His salvation and His judgment. (Jn. 1:1-2; Rom. 3:21-26; 1 Thess. 4:13-18)
We believe that, because of the fall of humanity with the resulting sinful state and subsequent separation from God, there is the necessity of new birth, in salvation by faith in Jesus Christ alone. (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-10; John 1:12)
We believe that God has called Christians to a life of sanctification through the Holy Spirit and to a life fully committed to the will of God in Christ. (1 Pet. 1:14-16; Titus 2:11-14)
We believe in the Christian church as the one universal body of Christ. Christ is the head of His church and calls God’s redeemed people to be set apart for His purposes in the world. (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-30; I Peter 1:9-10)
We believe in the institution of marriage defined in Scripture as the covenantal union between one man and one woman. We believe that the Christian standard is faithfulness within that marriage covenant and abstinence outside of it. (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5-6; Eph. 5:31-33)
We believe that every person is created in the image of God, that human sexuality reflects that image in terms of intimate love, communication and fellowship. We believe that God created humankind as two distinct sexes, male and female. (Gen. 1:27; Matt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-8)
A Story Explained
A Brief Account of the Faith we Hold
It all starts with God and the realization that He does, in fact, exist and that He is infinite, accessible, all-powerful, holy, and the Creator of all things. Now, while these things are essential to His nature, the most significant thing about Him is that He loves us and desires to be in relationship with us.
If a God exists who is all-powerful, loves us and truly wants to be in relationship with us, then it stands to reason that He is able and willing to let us know who He is and that this revelation won’t be confusing or elusive. In other words, God doesn’t leave us alone to define Him as we want – as convenient as that may be. He communicates in a way that doesn’t answer all of our questions, but does reveal what we need to know.
We believe that He does this primarily through the Scriptures (aka the Bible), which are essentially a collection of historical narratives; written by multiple authors, unified, preserved and inspired by God Himself. By reading the collection, we see the ‘whole’ of who God is and what He is about, as He determined that we should know. We also find in these Scriptures a lot of information about ourselves – ‘humans’, if you will. We discover that while we are objects of His love, we are also beings created with the ability to choose. Apparently, in God’s perfect plan, He felt it was and is better for us to choose Him than to be forced to follow Him. Sounds like a good idea.
However, ‘choice’ means we can choose contrary to God’s plan and that shows up early on in the narrative. Adam and Eve had the opportunity to obey their Creator or do what they wanted. (They chose poorly.) Since that time, our choices have reflected our desire to do our own thing in our own way, as well. This departure from God’s plan was and is, essentially, a rejection of God Himself. This rejection has a name and it is called sin. When sin happens, we move from relationship with God to separation from God (not a good thing). Another way to put it is that we move from all that is ‘life’, as God intended, to a state of ‘death’, with no human means to change the situation.
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there because this is where Jesus enters the scene. Jesus is the historical and supernatural appearance of God on earth. Though existing eternally as the Son of God, Jesus took on human form, for a time, so that He could relate to us humans in every way and become the solution for the relationship that was broken. It’s hard to grasp, but in God’s perfect plan the only way for the separation to be ‘fixed’ was by someone receiving the consequence of our sin and the curse of human death. And the only one able to effectively make that sacrifice was the one perfect human – Jesus. And so it happened. Jesus willingly died on our behalf and the penalty was satisfied. He rose from the dead and re-introduced life. The separation is now gone, the gap is closed, and we are able to recapture the relationship with God that He intended from the start.
Now, the proverbial ball is in our court. The offer of reconciliation is on the table with no strings attached and once again, God blesses us with a choice – take it or leave it. And while the choice doesn’t seem hard, here is where we tend to mess it up. We figure our response to this incredible plan of God and amazing offer of relationship is to try and earn the right to receive it. So, we put on our best behavior, try and follow all the right rules, and hope it will be enough to please God. All the while, God just wants us to believe. He wants our faith in Him, not in our abilities. He wants us as we are, with all our blemishes, not as we hope we will be someday. He’s handing us a gift and He wants us to take it. It’s called grace and it’s offered because he loves us.
Though Jesus is no longer humanly in our midst, he has left us with His Spirit. It’s this Spirit that resides within us, prompts us towards the things of God, leads us in the right path, and is the very essence of God with whom we can now have relationship. He promises to never leave us until the day comes when Jesus returns for us in all His glory.
This is a love story intended for us to personally enter, in faith. It is a story rooted in the past, but engaged in the present. It is the story about Jesus and about us choosing to respond to His claim that He is, in fact, the way, the truth and the life.