During June, I plan to teach on the Essentials of the Christian Faith. John Wesley once said that Methodists agree to the essentials and avoid splitting hairs about the mundane or non-essentials. On May 30, I will begin with Who is God? Why do we call God by three names? (Father, Son and HOly Spirit). Then on June 6, the essential is How does Scripture Guide Our Faith? On June 13, the message is on The Way of Salvation and then on June 20, the message looks at The Essential Task of Witness and Work. Then we will conclude on June 27 with the topic of The Gift of Being the Church. For me, these are the essential topics for living a life of faith centered in Jesus Christ. What we believe and practice determines who we really are. Someone once asked me how I became the person I am. I responded that I became a fisherman because my dad and my grandfathers fished and they passed it on. I became a musician because I grew up on the organ bench next to my mom, the church organist. I became a Methodist because that was the denomination where I worshipped, studied and was called to serve. I became a follower of Jesus because the Word of God convicted me and I wanted to walk with this God who loved me unconditionally. I became a pastor because I believed that God was calling me to preach His good news and lead the church in ministry to all people. WHAT WE BELIEVE DETERMINES THE LIFE WE LIVE! If we believe in God's wrath and judgment, we live in a holy and respective fear that influences our choices. When we believe in the power of love, we want to share our love with the broken, the least and the wayward. When we believe that God loves us and calls us by name, then we live as people of hope and faith, convinced we were born for a divine purpose. Yes, what we believe is ESSENTIAL!