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Tom Hocking

SenioR PastoR

Husband of Tami

Father of Zach, Abbey, Nate & Joseph

Papa of six

B.A. Biola University, M.Div Grace Theological Seminary, D.Min Fuller Theological Seminary

Lover of Jesus, people, and sunrises! 

Contact Pastor Tom

 
 
 
 
 

Robert Johnson

Associate PastoR

Husband of Stephanie.

Father of Kate, Luke and Chad.

Born in Downey, raised in Norwalk, live in Bellflower, CA.

Graduate of BIOLA University (BA in Christian Education).

Lover of my family, the Body of Christ (especially at BBC), and riding my bike.

Contact Pastor Robert

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Alfredo Vega

Associate PastoR-Spanish Ministries

Husband of Ana (Esposo de Ana)

Father of Adriana, Freddy, Daisy, Noemi & Analiset (Padre de Adriana, Freddy, Daisy, Noemi y Analiset)

Grandfather of 11 (Abuelo de 11)

Born and raised in Mexico (Nacido y criado en México)

Graduate of Seminario Biblico Fundemental (Graduado del seminario bíblico fundamental)

Lover of music, discipleship, soccer, time with grandkids (Amante de la música, el discipulado, el fútbol, ??el tiempo con los nietos)

Contact Pastor Alfredo

 
 
 
 

Jason Friese

Associate PastoR-Youth & College

Husband of Laura

Born in Long Beach, raised in Encinitas,
Lives in Bellflower

Graduate of Biola University BA Philosophy, M. Div. General/Pastoral Ministry

Lover of Jesus, books, hikes, and games

Contact Pastor Jason

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Elizabeth Shculthies-Vega

Office Administrator

Wife of Brett

Mother of Diego

Born in Mexico and raised in Paramount, CA

Church Office Manager 

Lover of music, movies and Starbucks

Contact Elizabeth

 
 
 

-Our Beliefs-

 Statement of Faith 

The members of the Charis Fellowship (FGBC), in harmony with our historic position, believing the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible to be our infallible rule of faith and practice, and feeling our responsibility to make known the divine message of the Bible, present the following articles as a statement of those basic truths taught in the Bible which are common to our Christian faith and practice:

The Bible

The Word of God, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, verbally inspired in all parts, and therefore wholly without error as originally given of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).

God

The One True God Existing eternally as three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

The Lord Jesus Christ

His preexistence and deity (John 1:1-13), incarnation by virgin birth (John 1:14); Matthew 1:18-23;, sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), substitutionary death (2 Corinthians 5:21), bodily resurrection (Luke 24:36-43), ascension into heaven and present ministry (Hebrews 4:14:16), and coming again (Acts 1:11).

The Holy Spirit

His personality (John 16:7-15); and deity (Acts 5:3-4); and His work in each believer: baptism and indwelling at the moment of regeneration (1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:9); and filling (Ephesians 5:18) to empower for Christian life and service (Ephesians 3:16; Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:22-23).

Man

His direct creation in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28), his subsequent fall into sin resulting in spiritual death (Genesis 3:1-24; Romans 5:12), and the necessity of the new birth for his salvation (John 3:3-5).

Salvation

A complete and eternal salvation by God’s grace alone, received as the gift of God through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his finished work (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

The Church

One true Church, the body and the bride of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:25-32), composed of all true believers of the present age (1 Corinthians 12:12-13); and the organization of its members in local churches for worship, for edification of believers, and for world-wide gospel witness, each local church being autonomous but cooperating in fellowship and work (Ephesians 4:11-16).

The Christian Life

A life of righteousness, good works and separation unto God from the evil ways of the world (Romans 12:1- 2), manifested by speaking the truth (James 5:12), maintaining the sanctity of the home (Ephesians 5:22-6:4) settling differences between Christians in accordance with the Word of God (1 Corinthians 6:1-8), not engaging in carnal strife but showing a Christ-like attitude toward all men (Romans 12:7-21), exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and maintaining a life of prayer (Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6), including the privilege, when sick, of calling for the elders of the church to pray and to anoint with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:13-18).

Ordinances

The Christian should observe the ordinances of our Lord Jesus Christ, which are (1) baptism of believers by triune immersion (Matthew 28:19) and (2) the threefold communion service, consisting of the washing of the saint’s feet (John 13:1-17), the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-22, 33-34); Jude 1:12), and the communion of the bread and the cup (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Satan

His existence and personality as the great adversary of God and his people (Revelation 12:1-10), his judgment (John 12:31), and final doom (Revelation).

Second Coming

The personal, visible and imminent return of Christ to remove His Church from the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:16- 17), before the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 3:10), and afterward to descend with the Church to establish His millennial kingdom upon the earth (Revelation 19:11-20:6).

Future Life

The conscious existence of the dead (Philippians 1:21-23; Luke 16:19-31), the resurrection of the body (John 5:28-29), the judgment and reward of believers (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10), the judgment and condemnation of unbelievers (Revelation 20:11-15), the eternal life of the saved (John 3:16), and the eternal punishment of the lost (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:15).

 

Baptism

Baptism is a testimony of our belief and a symbol of our relationship with Christ.

There’s nothing special about the water. There’s nothing magical about the act. You can go to Heaven without being baptized. Jesus asks us to do it as a testimony of what we believe … a symbol of our relationship with Him … a demonstration that we’ve left a former way of life to live a new life as children of God.

Baptism was Jesus’ Idea

At a special time, in a special place, Jesus made it clear that Christian baptism was to be part of the life of His Church. The time was just before returning to Heaven. The place was the Mount of Olives.

Jesus commanded His followers to share the Gospel and nurture those who believe, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

His followers were obedient. The day the Church was born Peter preached, people repented and 3,000 of them were baptized! (Acts 2:41)

Since then, it has happened over and over. The Word is preached, people believe and there is baptism. Grace Brethren believe that since the word “baptism” literally means “to dip” or “to immerse”, that is what we should do. We believe that only baptism by immersion communicates precisely what Jesus meant baptism to symbolize.

Baptism is a Testimony

Baptism is a public declaration concerning your attitude toward Christ.

Your baptism tells the world, or those who watch it, that you love Jesus Christ and trust Him as the Lord and Savior or your life.

It is saying, “Watch me, I am being obedient to Christ in this and I want to be in all else too.”

A person can be a “secret believer”, but public baptism in the church brings them out in the open for Christ where they should be.

If you have received Christ into your life by faith, trusting Him as Savior and Lord, declare it in an open and beautiful way in the waters of baptism (Acts 8:35-38).

We believe this testimony and symbolism is for all who are sure of their faith in Christ. It doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about Jesus or the Christian life, it simply means you are publicly declaring that you have personally received Jesus as Lord. In the Bible, baptism happened immediately after salvation (Acts 16:30-33).

Children are often baptized, but only after they know for sure Jesus is their Savior and that they are trusting Him for eternal life. There is no “special age” when they should be baptized, as long as they understand what it means.

Baptism is a Symbol

Many important things happen in the courts of Heaven and on the books of eternity when you receive Christ into your life. Water baptism symbolizes some of them in a physical way.

Baptism symbolizes death and life … yours!

When you receive Christ, you start over (2 Corinthians 5:17). You die to yourself and are born again in Him (John 3:33). You are crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20).

Being immersed in water represents a burial for your old life (Romans 6:3-4). Coming up out of the water represents resurrection (Romans 6:4). It reminds you and tells others that you’re starting a new life.

Baptism symbolizes a bath … a thorough cleansing.

When you became a Christian, God washed the sins from your life and gave you a pardon (Titus 3:5-6).

Peter explains that it is not the water that saves you or makes you clean (1 Peter 3:21). The water is the symbol of the clean conscience and heart God gives you when you take His grace.

Being clean feels good and baptism is Christ’s visual aid of the cleansing already accomplished in the life of a Christian.

Baptism symbolizes the Holy Spirit’s work of placing you in Christ.

The Holy Spirit came into your life when you came to Christ (Romans 8:9). The Bible teaches that it is the Spirit who baptizes us into the body of Christ (1Corinthians 12:13).

Baptism is a mysterious, beautiful action God sees and you understand only as you believe Him. This Spirit-life in you makes you a member of the body of Christ in the world and ties you together with Christ and all the other believers in Christ.

Just as the Holy Spirit baptizes you into the body of Christ, the pastor symbolizes that by immersing you into the body of water. Often, you are recognized as being in the body of local believers, as a member of the church (Acts 2:41).

Baptism always should follow believing in and receiving Christ. It’s simply a symbol of what has already happened … the unseen work of the Spirit bringing you into the body of Christ. That’s why we don’t baptize children who are too young to believe.

Baptism symbolizes the Trinity.

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all involved in the miracle of salvation in your life. The mystery of the Trinity doesn’t keep us from believing the miracle.

When Jesus sent His followers around the world with the Gospel, He told them to baptize people “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). This is the reason why we dip people into the water three times, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. It’s one baptism, but three times into the water. Baptism is thus a three-in-one act of gratitude for God’s triune involvement in our salvation.

Baptism is for You!

Baptism is a declaration of your faith in Christ and a meaningful symbol of what He has done for you. It is a special privilege for every believer. When baptized, you are doing what Jesus did (Matthew 3:13-17) and obeying what He commanded.

You are following the example of millions of believers throughout time who have been immersed as a symbol of their faith and love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

You are saying, without embarrassment, “I am with Him. I’ll tell the world”!

Baptism is for you a symbol of all that has already happened, a proclamation of your new life in Christ and a special source of joy as Christians join you in the celebration of your confession.

 Communion

Communion is a symbolic event Jesus left for us as a reminder of His love.

Symbols point beyond themselves to something deeper. So it is with communion … Jesus’ very special three-part symbol of love. The meaning is deeper than simple elements … washing feet, eating the meal and breaking the bread and drinking the cup.

It symbolizes Jesus saying, “I love you,” to the Church. It’s meant to cause us to worship … to love Him more in return. It reminds us of His daily cleansing in our lives, the celebration awaiting us in Heaven and the price He paid so we could have eternal life.

Washing Feet

This first part of communion reminds us of our need for daily cleansing from sin. It’s a time of introspection and self-examination.

Jesus wants us to remember that even though believers have been forgiven for all sin … past, present and future … we must claim His cleansing power and forgiveness on a daily basis.

Theologians call it “present, progressive sanctification.” Present: it’s happening now; progressive: it will continue throughout our lives on earth; sanctification: it is the process by which Christ sets us apart for the special treatment of being transformed into His likeness (Romans 8:29).

Washing feet as a symbol of this isn’t something thought of by the Church or the Apostles. Jesus asked us to do it. “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).

When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, He gave an example. It was an example to be followed in practice, not merely known (John 13:12-17).

There’s more to this symbol than at first appears.

It is more than a custom. Jesus said “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later, you will understand” (John 13:7). The custom they did understand, the new meaning they did not.

It is more than an example of humility.

When Peter said no to feet washing, Jesus gave a curious response: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me .. a person who has had a bath needs only to was his feet, his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you”. (John 13:8, 10).

Judas wasn’t!

There is a cleansing of feet and there is a bath. The disciples had the bath, but needed their feet washed. They were “saved”, but not clean from the contamination of daily sin.

It is more than an outward cleansing.

Scripture presents water and cleansing as word pictures of true cleansing by the Word (Ephesians 5:26). Feet washing is a symbol of love. It’s a statement a church makes together, as they have communion, that Jesus is the one who does the real cleansing on the inside. He does that constantly, as we claim His forgiveness. At a church communion service, we picture this in a meaningful, Christ-like way.

The Love Feast

The Love Feast is the second part of the communion service. It reminds us that Jesus will welcome us to His celebration in Heaven without sin, and that we are now, as a group of His believers, His loved ones … His future bride.

Theologians call it “glorification”, seeking and sharing the glory of Christ (1 John 3:2). This part is future. When it happens, God’s special plans for us will be brought to completion (Romans 8:29-30).

It’s appropriate that a meal, shared in Christian fellowship, be one of the symbols Jesus left behind. Scripture promises a special future occasion, the ultimate love feast, with Jesus Himself as host (Revelation 19:7-9).

We practice the love feast because Jesus included it in the “communion service” He had with His disciples (John 13) and because the early church continued to practice it (1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Jude 12). The meal is a fellowship time characterized by His love.

The Bread and The Cup

Sometimes called the Eucharist, the Greek word for “thanks”, the bread and the cup is about remembering the price Jesus paid to secure eternal life for us.

Because of His broken body and shed blood, God declares us righteous. Theologians call it “justification”.

The broken body; the shed blood and the grotesque death they represent, was endured by God’s perfect Son. Because of that, when people become Christians, a great exchange takes place. First, God considers our sins paid for by Jesus’ death and, second, God considers the righteousness of Jesus to be ours (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The bread and the cup also picture a unique way of relating to God. No more animal sacrifices. No more priests to intercede. Instead, we have direct communication with the Creator.

He asks us to keep observing this symbol of love until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:25-26). This is so we don’t forget.

The symbols of communion are solemn and holy, yet joyful and peaceful. They are so serious that the Bible warns us to examine our own lives and thoughts before we participate in communion. We need to make sure we are in fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 11:27-30).

Communion means fellowship, sharing and having something in common. For Christians, it’s a special time of worship where we remember Jesus’ great love. Anyone who shares our faith in Christ is welcome to attend.

 Church Membership

 

Membership is an official tie with other people in the name of Christ. It is an agreement of cooperation and responsibility, your voluntary covenant to minister.

Membership is also the basis of church and ministerial care for you from the rest of the church. This official tie works both ways! While the church seeks to love the whole world, it has a special responsibility for those who seek that care through membership.

Membership is a witness, a public word of your faith. In our church only openly committed believers in Christ may join. Membership in itself says you trust Him and it provides opportunities to express that faith to some of the people of the church.

Membership is a union with the others who have joined. It is your pledge to act like a body with them, through the Holy Spirit.

Like brothers and sisters in a home, members in a church are related. They have agreed to be united by common consent to some important Biblical beliefs and goals.

Membership is a voice. It qualifies you to help choose your church leaders, approve the money-ministry goals of the church and help make other decisions. Only those who want to seek the mind of Christ and obey Him carefully should seek to be part of that voice.

Membership is voluntary. It is not our main thing. Our main thing is the Lord and spiritual membership in Him.

But that invisible, though evident, union logically calls for a local time and space commitment to an assembly of believers. It makes sense to be counted that way.

The Bible does not have chapter and verse to say, “Thou shalt join the following local church…”, however, it does furnish numbers, indicating that someone was counting to see how many people were becoming Christians. There were rolls. People knew who was in the church and who was not.

The Universal Church

The church, all Christians together, is “His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:23.

But that worldwide church shows itself and functions as a specific body, a local church. Each local church should be working together in love, doing what God sees for His church. When the New Testament speaks of “churches”, it is talking about local assemblies. They are in God’s plan. Joining them is too.

In the early Jerusalem church, “None of the rest dared to associate (KJV: joined) with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number.” Acts 5:13-14

It appears there was an official “association”. People were “added” to it and subrtacted from it! 1 Corinthians 5:7

On the church’s birthday, “those who had received His word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls”. Acts 2:41

Receiving God’s Word was involved.

So was Baptism.

There were added to some thing – the church (there were 120 believers) Acts 1:15

They counted the number.

If you are not sure you are a Christian, talk with someone and see what the Bible says about assurance of Christ, forgiveness and eternal life.

If you are a Christian, check into this church and see how you can serve Christ and what their convictions are and where they are going.

If you see that the opportunities and beliefs are favorable and in line with God’s Word and His wishes for your ministry, think about official membership.