Pastor Jared was born in Alton, IL and raised in Phoenix, AZ. He received Jesus as his Lord and Savior at age seven. From a young age Jared dreamed of being a shepherd and taking care of sheep. After losing his dad to a massive heart attack at age ten, the Lord used the tragedy and many trials to call him to be a missionary. After finishing his degree from Moody Bible Institute, he married Tanya. The Lord called them to be missionaries in Nicaragua, where they spent fifteen years planting churches and making disciples. In 2016, the Lord called their family back to the States to start Petra Bible Church in Bozeman. In 2018, Jared finished his M. Div. from Western Seminary and the bilingual church plant began in Bozeman. Jared and Tanya have four kids: Josiah (19), Isaiah (17), Gaby (15), and Jeremiah (13). Jared’s favorite hobbies include camping with his family, hiking, date nights with Tanya, and playing sports with his kids.
Pastor Nick was born and raised in Saint Charles, IL. He received Jesus as his Lord and Savior at age eight. Nick was fascinated with the life of a missionary, even participating in multiple missionary trips during his years in high school. During one of those trips at age 17, he felt a call to be a missionary. Over the next ten years, God used various circumstances in Nick’s life to show him that life apart from that calling would not be satisfying. He travelled with a church from Denver in July 2012 on a short term missions trip to Nicaragua where he met Meileen and the Cox Family. That trip captured his heart in a very convicting and special way, leading Nick to take a full-time position as an English Literature teacher at the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, while also allowing him to grow in serving the Managua Petra Church as a deacon and elder-in-training over the next five years. In 2017, Meileen and Nick were asked to return to Bozeman, MT to help plant the church with Pastor Jared, Tanya, and another missionary, Amber Lundskog. Meileen and Nick now have three children: Emilia (5), Caleb (4), and Thomas (3). Nick’s joys in life include dating his wife, playing with his kids, hiking, hunting, gardening, woodworking, and raising a backyard chicken flock.
History of Petra Churches
While attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, the Lord made it clear to Jared that he was to go live amongst the Nicaraguan people and preach Christ. In 2000, after graduating from Moody, Jared and Tanya were married. After completing a year in language school in Costa Rica, they went on to serve the Lord in Nicaragua. God used many trials in their first year to teach them more about depending on Christ, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.
At first, the Cox’s started a youth center to teach and train youth who had a desire to learn and serve the Lord but there was not biblical church to send them to. After a year, Jared was burdened to plant a biblically sound church where the young people could be discipled and trained according to God’s Word, and sent out to serve the Lord.
They began the first church plant in Managua in 2005. The Lord has done a mighty and powerful work over the years! By God’s grace, many have been saved, discipled, trained and sent out to start new churches. The main church in Managua now has over 300 members. Churches have also been planted in Balgue and Merida on the Island of Ometepe, along with in Chinandega and Matagalpa. The churches are based in prayer, the Word, worship, and serving the Lord.
After fifteen years in Nicaragua, the Lord brought John 3:30 to Jared heart, “He must increase. I must decrease.” After much prayer, the Cox family left the churches in the hands of the Nicaraguan pastors and leaders. They returned to the United States in 2016 and now reside in Bozeman, Montana where the newest Petra church plant is located. Recently, Petra has become partnered with churches in Colombia as well.
God continues to build His Kingdom as the work carries on!
Jared Cox Senior Pastor
Nick Creal Associate Pastor / Petra Missionary
Tanya Cox Worship Coordinator
Meileen Creal Petra Kids Coordinator
Amber Lundskog Petra Missionary / Ministry Coordinator
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” –A.W. Tozer
IS DOCTRINE IMPORTANT?
Doctrine is extremely important, eternally important. We are accountable to God for what we believe, think, practice, and apply of the truth that He has revealed to us through His Word. All of Scripture testifies to the fact that God desires us to know Him, trust Him, and have a right relationship with Him. This cannot happen without believing right doctrine.
All Scripture in its original manuscripts is inspired by God and is useful and sufficient for every area of life and practice in order to live as God has commanded leading unto salvation from sin and eternal punishment. We don’t need any additional Word than God’s Word as Genesis to Revelation is God’s complete revelation to mankind. We have the canon of Scripture by God’s Spirit working through the unique personalities and calling of 40 different authors over a period of 1400 years who wrote down the very words of God in 66 books. This is what we believe to be the canon of Scripture as God has divinely decreed. The Word of God is the exact representation of the character of God and it will complete the entire purposes of God’s sovereign and perfect will as He has decreed before the foundations of the earth. (2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet. 1:3-4, 20-21, Isa 55:11).
There is only one God, and He exists eternally in three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, co-eternal in being and nature God is self- sufficient and perfectly complete as God eternal, containing all of His divine attributes in perfect unity such as His love, holiness, goodness, mercy, grace, immutability, sovereignty, wrath, omnipotence, self-sufficient, omnipresent, wisdom, justice, eternality, transcendence, and self-existence. There is only one God, not three Gods nor three manifestations of God but three distinct persons being God Himself. (Deut. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Isa. 40:28; Heb. 1:8-12; 9:14, Gen 1:26, Deut. 6:4)
Jesus Christ is both God and man. He is the only mediator between God and mankind. Jesus Christ is not a created being but rather took on human flesh and soul through the incarnation by the power of the Holy Spirit. Totus Christus (Christ as a whole person) means that both natures work in perfect harmony but Jesus the Christ is one person. Jesus is the same essence, character, of the Father, John 10:30. Jesus is the perfect high priest being both God and man who makes daily intercession for God’s elect. His redemptive life and work on the cross was complete because both natures, the hypostatic union, fully accomplished the will of the Father through
Jesus Christ becoming the perfect sacrifice for mankind thereby having a believer’s sin imputed to Him and His righteousness to the believer. (double imputation) There is no other name in heaven or on earth by which a person can be saved because there is only one begotten Son of God who is the perfect sacrificial lamb and also the perfect mediator between God and sinful man. (Heb. 4:15, Matt. 26:38, John 3:16, 10:30, Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 2:5; Eph. 1:7; Acts 4:12,)
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is God. He is a personal being with all the attributes of God. He is the third person of the Holy Trinity. He is not a ghost but the third person of the Godhead. He is the One who regenerates sinners, guides them in all truth, teaches them, convicts, comforts, illuminates, and reminds them of what has been revealed in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit is essential for the salvation of every believer and is the one who convicts, brings repentance, gives new birth, regenerates, and eternally seals the believer with the guarantee of God’s salvation. (Acts 5:3-4; Titus 3:5b; John 14:16-17, 16:5-15, Eph. 1:13)
Salvation is a gift that God offers to man by His grace (unmerited favor) through placing his faith in Christ Jesus alone and in His righteousness. The penalty of sin is death, Rom. 6:23, and it cost Jesus’s His very life and blood in order to provide man the offer of free salvation. Jesus paid the price for man’s sin and its penalty, so that man could receive salvation from God as a free gift. Man has no righteousness on his own but was born into sin, incapable of gaining any merit before God, and therefore must repent of his sin, confess with his mouth, and believe in his heart that Christ finished the work of salvation on the Cross of Calvary. It is impossible for a true believer to lose his/her salvation. Salvation is eternal, not circumstantial, and dependes on God not on man. If a man/woman walks away from Christ and is not disciplined by God to the point of repentance, then he/she was never born again in the first place. (Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:9. Isa. 64:5-6, Acts 2:38, John 10:29, 19:30, Heb. 6:9, 10-12)
Man was created in the image and likeness of God. He sinned and was separated from the glory of God, spiritually dead, without relationship, in enmity, and without peace with his maker. Man is totally depraved and born as a child of the devil. Man’s heart will live in open or hidden rebellion against God until God’s Spirit begins to convict and regenerate his heart to the point of confession, repentance, and believe in Christ alone for salvation. (Gen. 1:26-27; Gen. 3:1-24, Rom. 3:23, 10-20, 5:12, 6:23a; I John 3:10, Isa. 57:20-21)
The church is the body of Christ. It is the assembly of true believers, the remanent, who have been born again by believing in the sacrifice of Christ alone and who walk by His Spirit. The church of Christ is comprised of believers who are still sinners, awaiting for their full adoption as sons and daughter of the King when Christ returns. Christ’s Church will reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom after a period of tribulation upon the earth. The calling of the church is to remain faithful to the King as it awaits for His return. It is not for the church to debate how or when the “Day of the Lord,” will happen as God alone knows. The church is called to suffer persecutions and to be faithful through every and all tribulations until the end has come. This means the church is to watch for the King’s return, prepare their hearts now, be faithful stewards continually, and preach the gospel boldly until God’s final judgment of the righteous and the wicked is given upon heaven and earth. (Eph. 1:22-23, 5:25-27; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; Acts 2:41, John 16:33, Matt. 24:30-31, 42-51, Matt 24:36, Mark 13, I Thess. 5:1-11).
Baptism is an ordinance of God for the church. It’s done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit as a public declaration of faith and commitment to Christ. The person who is baptized is one who has recognized his sin, repented, and has been converted from an old man
to a new creature once he believes in Christ. There is no evidence of infant baptism recorded Scripture.
The Bible does not give any connection between circumcision of the Old Testament and infant baptism in the New but it does teach that the New Covenant brings circumcision of the heart which can only happen in a child or an adult who has heard the gospel, Rom. 10:17, and responded with faith and repentance, Acts 2:38. An infant cannot have believing faith, therefore the practice of infant baptism is not valued nor practiced. It is not recommend that infant baptism be used for baby dedication as it can misconstrue believer’s baptism as taught by Scripture. (Matt. 28:19; Acts 8:26-39; 16:31-34, Ezekiel 36:26).
-The Lord’s Supper
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper in obedience to God, remembering the death and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins. In it we examine our hearts for any sin to be confessed and forsaken before taking the elements. We also express grief for our sins, gratitude, and praise as we meditate on the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ on our behalf. (1 Cor. 11:23-26, 15:1-19).
THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
God is sovereign in His provision of spiritual gifts to the church. It is a privilege and responsibility of every believer to use his/her gifts for the service of others in order to build up the local church. Spiritual gifts are used for the edification of the body of Christ and not for any selfish gain or personal glory. Discernment is necessary for the use and governance of these gifts because Satan parades as an angel of light and has purposed to counterfeit the acts of God in the spirit of the Antichrist. We are given the list of gifts in I Cor. 12:4-11, 28, Rom. 12:6-8, and I Peter 4:10-11. As Romans came a year after I Corinthians the gift of tongues was excluded from the gift list and I Peter came 7-8 years later, which clarifies the use the now main use of “prophecy” in the church which is, the clear declaration of God’s Word from a closed cannon.
We believe that “tongues,” that which follows or does not follow any linguistical pattern, or “heavenly languages,” and revelatory “prophecy” are no longer in use for today because the whole Canon of Scripture is complete. These specific spiritual gifts are no longer viable nor are they necessary for the edification of the church. Regarding revelatory prophecy; “The Word is sufficient for all things pertaining to life and godliness,” 2 Peter 1:3. There is no longer any such need for a “prophetic” word, from the Lord because God’s Word is clear and precise revelation for all that is needed to fulfill the will of God concerned this life and for eternity.
Note: God does give spiritual discernment to His church through His Spirit and His Word to bring edification and needed direction to the church but this has nothing to do with revelatory prophecy in any way. (Phil. 1:9, Heb. 5:14, Rom. 8:14, and Gal. 5:18)
The purpose of tongues in the Old and New Testament: The reverse of the curse of the Tower of Babylon, Gen. 11:9, was completed in Acts 2 because of the power of the Gospel, Romans 1:16-17. The purpose of tongues was to bring necessary unity between believing Jews and Gentiles. This was completed by the work of the Apostles, at times by the laying on of hands and others moments, by simply preaching the Gospel to them. (Acts 8:17, Acts 11:1-18, and Acts 19:1-10) The book of Acts is the only moment in history that explained the transition period between the Old and New Testament. It therefore will never again be repeated in history we are forever in the New Covenant by the Work of Christ. The transition from the Old to the New Covenant was concluded, and the work of the Apostles complete as described in the book of Acts. (Eph. 2:20, Rev. 21:14)
We do believe that miraculous healings happen today at any point and time according to God’s sovereign will. This providentially happens through the prayers of God’s people as clearly stated in James 5:14-16. There is no evidence of a special divine power of a single person or persons having a self proclaimed gift of healing. In the book of Acts, the purpose of an Apostle having the divine gift of healing was to authenticate the Apostle’s message and therefore this specific gift is no longer given to the church today as the last Apostle of Christ was the Apostle John and no other person alive post Apostolic time period has the qualifications of being an apostle of Christ because they would have had to physically see the resurrected Christ and no one has met those qualifications except the Apostles themselves as dictated by the Word. (1 Cor. 12:4-7, 11, 13; Eph. 4:7-8; Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Pet. 4:10-11, 2 Cor. 11:14, 2 John 1:7, 1 Tim. 4:1)
THE FINAL RESURRECTION AND JUDGEMENT
We believe in the bodily resurrection and final judgment of God for the just and unjust. The elect of God are destined for eternal bliss in the new heavens and new earth reigning with Christ forever with glorified bodies. The wicked, unbelievers, are destined for conscious, bodily punishment, which will be torment in the lake of fire for eternity. (Acts 24:15; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Matt. 25:46, Rev. 20:15)
SATAN AND HIS DEMONS
Satan and his demons are real spiritual beings who rebelled against God and His work. They were defeated by Christ Jesus on the cross of Calvary and have an eternal future in the lake of fire but continually make war against God and His saints upon the earth. The child of God is to daily put on the armour of God and fight against the lies and temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. (Eph. 6:12, I John 2:15-17, Gen. 5:3,4, I Peter5:8) Out of all of the Christian’s enemies the most dangerous enemy is not Satan nor His demons but it is the believer’s flesh which wages war against the Spirit. (Gal. 5:17) At the final judgment Satan and demons will be cast into the lack of fire for all of eternity and will never again attack God’s glory nor malign God’s children. (Isa. 14:12-14; Col. 2:15; Matt. 25:41, 2 Cor. 10:5, Eph. 6:10-24, Rev. 20:10)
Four Pillars of Petra Bible Church
Proclaiming the authority of God’s Word without apology. 2 Timothy 4:2
Believing firmly in the power of prayer. Ephesians 6:18
Lifting up the name of Jesus in worship. John 4:24
Sharing the Good News of Jesus with boldness. Ephesians 6:19-20
Values of Petra Bible Church
Psalm 86:11-12, 1 Timothy 1:17, Romans 16:27
Psalm 119:97-99, John 14:15, James 1:22-25, 1 John 2:3-6
Mark 10:45, 1 Peter 4:10, Philippians 2:6-11
Joy in Christ
1 Peter 1:8, Philippians 4:4-5
The Supremacy of Christ
John 1:1-3, Philippians 2:5-11, Hebrews 1:3-6
People become more mature disciples at our church by growing in their understanding and practice of: belief, obedience, abiding, serving, and worshipping Christ in their daily lives.
This process of growth happens through being a part of Sunday services, small groups, evangelism, and most of all, prayer.