Pastor Ray Bentley founded Maranatha Chapel in August 1984 teaching a mid-week Bible study in a recreation center with 30 people. Now, Maranatha serves 7,000 people weekly, and Ray Bentley is considered a prophecy expert, published author, and hosts his own daily radio show.
Known for his ability to combine Scripture and historical context, Pastor Ray Bentley creates a truly rich and accurate picture of God’s Word. He believes the Bible is alive and meant to be experienced by the believer both in church and everyday life through the Holy Spirit. That belief stands true in his teaching as he guides listeners on a Scripture-filled journey, and, ultimately, helps them step into the story of God’s Word.
His teaching can be heard daily on Maranatha’s Radio Show which airs across the United States and worldwide. Pastor Ray has published five books, including his latest publication, “On the Mountain of Lord”, which sends the message of God’s hope through a moving tale set in the Holy Land of Israel.
He and his wife Vicki have been married for 40 years and together they have been blessed to serve in ministry with their two grown children along with their spouses, Daniel and Jill Bentley and Shawn and Annie Stone. Ray and Vicki also have six grandchildren they adore.
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is fully God and fully man, born of the virgin Mary. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins; He bodily rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, where at the right hand of God, the Father, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.
Our supreme desire is to know Christ and to be conformed into His image by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not a denominational church, nor are we opposed to denominations. However, we do not agree with the overemphasis of the doctrinal differences which have led to division in the body of Christ.
WE BELIEVE that the true basis for Christian fellowship is God’s (Agape) love, which is greater than the differences we possess and without which we cannot claim to be Christians.
WE BELIEVE the Bible, God’s holy Word, is our foundation and standard for living; it is authoritative as the rule of faith.
WE BELIEVE worship is spiritual, and we seek to be flexible and yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit to direct our worship.
WE BELIEVE worship of God should be intelligent. Therefore, our services are designed with great emphasis on Bible teaching and the exhortation to search and verify the Scriptures for truth. (Acts 17:11)
WE BELIEVE worship of God is fruitful. Therefore, we look for His love in our lives and the fruit of His Spirit (Acts 17:11) as evidence that we have truly been worshipping Him.
VISION: LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE
The Great Commandment:
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31
MISSION: MAKE DISCIPLES
The Great Commission:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” Matthew 28:19-20. Disciples are people who experience the Great Commandment, loving God with all their beings, in a passionate, intimate relationship, and who extend that love to others. Disciples are people who live the Great Commission, teaching and leading others into such a relationship with the Lord, that they too experience the Great Commandment. From the Great Commandment, comes the Great Commission. The result of the Great Commission is the Great Commandment.
What Does It Mean To Be Born Again?
There is another, spiritual, invisible world, all around us, inhabited by spiritual be-ings, like angels, and ruled by a loving, caring and benevolent God, creator of the universe. There is only one way to enter this world as well.
“That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” Jesus said. You must be spiritually born into it. You must be born again, by the Spirit of God. The Spirit is like the wind, Jesus explained. We cannot physically see the Spirit of God. But just as we can “see” the wind blowing in tree tops and feel its breeze upon our faces, we can feel and see the effects of God’s Spirit in our lives. After Jesus and Nicodemus met, Jesus soon got to the very heart of what all this means: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that who- ever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). That’s what it means to be born again. By the Holy Spirit of God, we have the op- portunity to pass from death to life. We are no longer bound by this world and its constraints. We will not perish. Our sin, our pain, our misery, the heartaches and failures that torment and taunt us are now subject to a new order, a new way of thinking and living—a new, eternal life in the Kingdom of God!
A New Start…A First Step
Do you ever wake up in the morning and resolve — once again — to fix what- ever’s wrong in your life? Sometimes it feels like—if we could just get a new house…or job…or wife…or husband…then all our problems would go away. We promise to lose weight, eat better, work harder, work less, etc., etc. Do you ever wish you could just start over? We get that chance the moment we are born again. From the minute we are physi- cally born, God’s spirit is with us. That’s why we are so very aware of Him. Most people have a religious understanding and even an historical acceptance of His existence. But believing in Him and knowing Him is a different matter. The good news is that when we ask Jesus into our lives, He begins to transform us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new,” says 2 Corinthians 5:17. He gives us a chance to start over, to be renewed by His Spirit, to literally be born again. And the process doesn’t stop there. He continues to change us and bless us until we reach our final destination in heaven. “But we all…are being transformed…from glory to glory, by the spirit of the Lord”(2 Corinthians 3:18). “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Should I Get Baptized
Baptism is an outward sign of what has happened to you on the inside. Think of it like a wedding ceremony. People get married publicly to declare their love and commitment to one another before God and family and friends. Baptism is like that—a public commitment to Jesus. Like a wedding, it can also be a time of joy and fellowship as other believers encourage you in your faith. Baptism also symbolizes the death of our old life, the burial of our sins in a watery grave, and the beginning of a new life in Jesus. The Bible says we are “buried with Him in baptism, and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12).
Growing Up In Christ
Being born again is literally like starting over as a spiritual infant. In the joy and ex- citement of knowing Jesus, sometimes we are in a hurry to “grow up.” But the se- cret to spiritual maturity is that it takes time! It’s a learning process. There are no shortcuts to spiritual growth, no magic pill. Having an emotional experience does not automatically make any of us spiritual giants. This is good news! God knows that a new believer is like a precious infant who needs to be nurtured and taught. He is patient even if we aren’t. Believers are called “disciples” because we are learning new disciplines—or hab- its—in our lives. The more we apply these disciplines to our lives, the more we grow and can be used by God. Have you ever noticed that it is easier to form good habits than it is to get rid of bad habits? The best way to get rid of bad habits is to replace them with good ones! So part of our goal in this little book is to help you form new, godly disci- plines that will enrich your life and draw you closer to the Lord. Take some time to study each section and apply it personally to your life as we examine the habits of a disciple of Christ.