Then He opens their minds so they can comprehend the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Jesus: This is what the Scriptures said: that the promised Anointed One should suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, that in His name a radical change of thought and life should be preached, and that in His name the forgiveness of sins should be preached, beginning in Jerusalem and extending to all nations.
– Luke 24:45-47 Voice
One of the things Margo and I love most about our church is that there are always lives being changed. When I became a Christian many years ago, it was not to join a conventional religious organization but to live for God’s dream to change as many lives as possible.
Luke 24 describes the message Jesus has given us to spread as one of “a radical change of thought and life.” Today, we wanted to share two stories that have inspired us over the last few weeks. Each of these stories is about God working through so many of you to build a life-changing church!
The message of hope and love changes lives
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel…
Colossians 1:3-5 NIV
When Tom Olsen heard the message of hope and love Colossians 1 talks about, it changed his life. He knew he wanted to share that hope with his friends. Tom started sharing his life and how it had changed with his housemate William, who then came to church and started studying the Bible.
As William studied the Bible, he heard a message of hope that he had never heard before. He and Tom started meeting together each night to listen to Deep Spirituality’s Mini Quiet Times, which are immersive podcasts that bring scriptures to life to help people connect with and understand God. The more he listened, the more William realized that God had been leading him throughout his whole life and various challenges to this moment so he could build a relationship with God.
As he learned why Jesus gave up his life and came back from the dead, William felt freed up to be himself. He opened up about sins and shame in his life so he could find forgiveness. This awakened in William a hope that God not only has a purpose for him, but also will use the challenges he has gone through in life to help others who may relate.
William was baptized right before Christmas at our Palo Alto church building! He is excited to use his role as the spokesperson for a softball league for adults with special needs to connect with and give hope to many others.
The message of the cross changes hearts
Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy.
Luke 6:36 ERV
When Joseph Alvarez was baptized as a teenager in 2018, the biggest thing on his mind was his desire to share his new start with his friends and family. Specifically, he wanted to reach Sergio, his cousin and best friend.
Just this last autumn, Sergio started studying the Bible to know God. As he studied, it was clear that one of his greatest challenges was his need to forgive. Bitterness had plagued Sergio’s life for over a decade. As Sergio learned about the cross and how much love and mercy God had given him, he found the strength to give mercy to those who had hurt him. The Bible softened his heart, and Sergio started to reconcile relationships with his family and friends so he could be closer to them.
When Sergio was baptized just this last Sunday at the Common Ground building in Sunnyvale, many family members and friends came to hear him share how grateful he was to have God change his life. Now other family members and friends have been inspired to study the Bible to understand the life-changing message of the cross, too.
We can’t wait to see how many more life-changing stories there will be in 2023 as God’s message reaches more and more people.
Till next week,
Scott and Margo Colvin
South Bay Lead Ministers