A Deeper Dive
What We Believe
Why do you need a spiritual family?
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the one who falls and has no one to help him up!”
“They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the breaking of bread and prayer.”
“Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you…”
1 Timothy 4:14
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…”
Water & Holy Spirit
Does baptism save me?
No, you are saved by faith in the finished work of the cross. However, since Jesus commanded us (Matt. 28:19) to be baptized we should do everything in our power to be obedient. Martin Luther, the great reformationist, said this: “It is not the lack of baptism that condemns one to hell, but rather the refusal and hatred of baptism.”
What if I’m not ready to get baptized?
That depends on how you define “ready.” If you define “ready” as being perfect and having overcome sin, then you’ll never be ready! If you’ve begun a relationship with Jesus Christ, then you’re ready! Jesus commanded us to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). It was a commandment and not a suggestion. Also, Peter commanded it (Acts 2:38, 10:48). Throughout the book of Acts (which shows us how the first century church functioned), we see that believers were baptized immediately after salvation. There was no waiting around! If you are mature enough to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you are mature enough to be baptized!
What about infant baptism?
Infant baptism is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. It is a doctrine that was introduced hundreds of years after the first century church. Since the prerequisites for baptism are 1) believing (Mark 16:16) and 2) repentance (Acts 2:38), then obviously that disqualifies a baby since a baby cannot repent or believe. However, mature children as young as 5 years old that are making the decision for themselves may be baptized.
Is baptism done by immersion or sprinkling?
The very word “baptize” means “to immerse,” or “to submerge.” (It comes from an ancient Greek recipe for pickling pickles. We love that because that means that you’re going to go in a cucumber and come out a dill! A transformation will take place! Therefore, sprinkling is unscriptural. Jesus was immersed in the river Jordan (Matt. 3:16) and the Ethiopian Eunuch was immersed by Philip (Acts 8:38-39).
What happens when I get baptized?
Baptism IDENTIFIES us with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5). The benefits of the cross and the resurrection become more real to you! There is powerful deliverance that takes place during baptism. After you get baptized, EXPECT a closer walk with the Lord. EXPECT greater freedom from sin, bondage and other things that have plagued you. The reality of Romans chapter six will become clearer to you.
If you would like to sign up to be baptized at CityLight or have further questions, please call our office at 212.254.5123 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience that is completely different and separate from salvation and water baptism. It is an empowering experience (Acts 1:8) that is available to all believers. It will transform your life by bringing you closer into relationship with the Holy Spirit, empower you to share your faith and to live a victorious Christian life! That is why Jesus commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled with power from above (Luke 24:24).
Who is the baptism in the Holy Spirit for?
It is for every person who has repented of their sins and received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It is for all born again Christians wanting and willing to receive it (Matt. 3:11). “Your heavenly father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask of Him” (Luke 11:13). The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for now and has always been available for any believer bold enough to trust God and obey Him. When the crowd asked the apostles for advice on what they should do, they were told to “repent”, “be baptized” and “receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Jesus said in His sermon on the mount “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled” (Matt . 5:6).
Have you received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
When the apostle Paul met the twelve believers in Ephesus (Acts 19:2) he asked them a question: “Have you received the Holy Spirit?” Their answer was “No.” Even though they were genuine and sincere believers, with a relationship with Christ, on their way to heaven, they still had not experienced this precious gift. Today, there are still many wonderful Christians who have a relationship with God and have experienced the recreating power of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, yet still lack this precious experience. Paul prayed together with them and “the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied”. The same thing happened to the 120 people waiting on God’s promise of His Holy Spirit in Jerusalem on the day we now call Pentecost. They also spoke with tongues (Acts 2:1-4). Jesus Himself said that believers would “speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17).
How can I receive the Holy Spirit?
God wants you to be filled with the Holy Spirit even more than you do! That is why the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not difficult. You must simply come to God in faith and ask to be filled. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Start to praise God with your voice, tongue and lips. He will not force you to speak in tongues… you must cooperate with Him and do the speaking yourself. Step out in faith. Begin to say something in a language that only God could understand speaking mysteries to God (1 Cor. 14:2). Maybe you will only be bold enough to speak a few syllables but as you boldly repeat them God will bless you with more. Like a child, your new language of prayer to God will grow. Don’t be afraid. This language is not for the benefit of other people; it is between you and God. You will probably not even understand what you are saying, but be assured that God says that as you use this prayer language you will be built up and become stronger in faith (Jude 20). Your private worship of God will be blessed. You do not pray in tongues with your mind but with your spirit (1 Cor. 14:14-15) to God who is a spirit (John 4:24).
If you would like one of our pastors to pray with you for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, or if you have any further question, please call our office at 212.254.5123 or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Tithes & Offerings
Why Should I Tithe?
Tithing reflects a grateful heart that wants to give back to God a portion of what He has given us; in reality, what is already His. Tithing is our opportunity to show God that He is first in our lives. James 1:17 says that “every good and perfect gift is from above…,” so we have an opportunity to tangibly show God He is the “owner” of our finances by giving back to Him the first of what He gives us.
1. IT REFLECTS OUR HEARTS…
What is the most important thing to you? Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We can see the reality of that in the world today and the exaltation of the financially successful, and more personally you can see that by looking at your own checkbook.
2. IT’S BIBLICAL
Long before tithing was a practice of the Israelite people, Cain and Abel, the second generation of the human race, brought an offering to the Lord. The Lord blessed Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain’s. Abel brought the “firstborn of his flock,” while Cain brought “some of the fruits of the soil” as an offering. God wants to be first. The following scriptures show how tithing is biblical.
Genesis 14:18-20, Genesis 28:22, Leviticus 27:30, & Deuteronomy 26:1-2
3. IT’S A BENEFIT
God’s kingdom is built on multiplication, not division. God uses the tithe as an investment where everyone involved gets a return on the investment. Obviously, the church and the kingdom are blessed, and yet God’s nature is to also bless the giver. This principle is highlighted in the passage below.
2 Chronicles 31:4-10
Statement of Financial Accountability
Thank you for donating to CityLight Church.
At CityLight, we do not take your giving for granted. God commands us to tithe and give to the local church. He also exhorts the local church to use donated funds wisely, prudently, and for the purposes He chooses. Accordingly, we go to great lengths to make sound financial decisions.
Funds designated as “Tithes” and “Offerings” will be used for general church expenses. Such items include living expenses for our pastors and staff, operational expenses to run the church, and other administrative expenses. We endeavor to keep our overhead low every way we possibly can (we currently only have 4 full-time staff members) so we can sow into our city as much as possible. “Tithes” and “Offerings” may also be used for CityLight Local Compassion, our local outreach arm, and for donations to other partner organizations in New York City.
All funds designated for “Missions” will be deposited into a separate account created specifically for CityLight Global Compassion. We will never use “Missions” donations for operating expenses. If you’d like your donation to go to a specific ministry, please let us know and we will designate it accordingly.
We pray that God blesses you in your finances. God wants you blessed, so that you can be a blessing to others. Thank you for your radical generosity. It does not go unnoticed, and it will not go to waste.
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” – Mal 3:10
Start Giving Today
You may choose to give online through our secure online giving site. It’s safe, simple and secure: just click the Donate button below to begin the process.
Giving by mail:
Simply send your check or money order (cash is not recommended) to CityLight Church P.O. Box 1024, New York, NY 10276
All contributions are 100% tax deductible. If you have any questions about giving to CityLight Church, please call our office at 212.254.5124 or e-mail Pastor Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How To Read The Bible
THE BIBLE IS ITS OWN BEST TEACHER!
It’s not arranged like an encyclopedia. You can’t go to chapter 1 and read all about God, then go to chapter 2, to read all about Jesus, etc. The verses and chapter breaks are placed in scriptures by man, so read by paragraph. These too are man-made, but they conform better to the original language.
BEFORE YOU START…
Before you start, forget everything you’ve ever heard about Jesus, God, and the Bible. Don’t be influenced by what you “want” the text to say. Pray first before opening God’s Word. Ask for guidance to be able to accept what is written and apply it to your life. God’s Holy Spirit will illuminate truth for you as you read.
Begin in the New Testament. If the passage you’re starting with doesn’t make sense, reread it. If it’s still unclear, write it down and come back to it later. Take one Scripture at a time and ask God to help you understand what it means for you today. As you do, your hunger for the Word will grow more and more!
HERE’S A SIMPLE READING PLAN
- 1. Read “Mark.” A chronological account of the life of Jesus.
- 2. Read “Matthew.” The life of Jesus with a little more detail.
- 3. Read “John.” The last two weeks before the Crucifixion are highlighted in John’s description of the life of Jesus.
- 4. Read “Luke” then “Acts.” Both books were written by Apostle Paul’s traveling companion Luke. Acts is a continuation of Luke which describes the early church.
- 5. Read “Galatians.” An explanation of the difference between life under the Old Covenant and the New Covenant (Old Testament vs. New Testament).
- 6. Read the rest of the New Testament, starting at Romans and going to Revelation.
- 7. Start through the Old Testament. Do your best to see Jesus Christ revealed in every passage. Every word, sentence and paragraph in the Bible points to God’s Only Son.
Your voyage through God’s Word will be the best journey you ever take!
You will laugh and you will cry. It has everything that makes a very good book, and lots more. The Bible will teach you the most important things for this life and the one to come. God’s Word will give you life!