God began by making one man, and from him he made all the different people who live everywhere in the world. He decided exactly when and where they would live. God wanted people to look for him, and perhaps in searching all around for him, they would find him. But he is not far from any of us.

Acts 17:26-27 ERV

We are all here for a reason. Though we may not always see it, God orchestrates the times and places in our lives to help us find him. For today’s edition of “The Good Stuff,” we wanted to share the inspiring story of Dennis Hinson and his adoptive father, Ken.

Dennis and his wife Melissa were baptized about 30 years ago. When Dennis first shared about his life as a Christian with his dad, Ken was not interested. However, throughout the years, Dennis and Melissa’s faith and dedication to serve made an impact on their family.

After many years, Ken recently chose to study the Bible to get to know God better. Now 87 years old, he started to become aware of his need for God, and studied the Bible with several brothers in the Contra Costa South sector of our church. They started off on Zoom during the pandemic, and then continued his studies in person.

Ken was impacted by the Scriptures and inspired by his friends in the Bible studies who vulnerably and powerfully shared about their own lives. As their friendships grew closer, Ken shared his life as well. With a softer heart, Ken prayed about how much he needed forgiveness.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:16 NIV

Like Paul says in the book of Romans, God is the one who has the power to change and save us, no matter how far we feel or how many years have gone by. All we need to do is have faith. 

Ken saw his need for forgiveness and change, and believed Jesus died on the cross so he could be forgiven. He felt empowered to be like the Christians in the book of Acts, who radically changed their hearts and lives. After apologizing to God and his family for how he had hurt them, he was baptized this week and experienced that forgiveness he was looking for.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42,46-47 NIV

Just as the Christians in Acts inspired the people around them with their changed hearts, Ken impacted the people in his life. So many people came to see his baptism: both of Ken’s sons, their families, Dennis and Melissa Hinson’s three adult children, Melissa’s coworkers, and even Ken’s nurse! It’s incredible to see how God moves in our lives to bring us closer to him, even if we can’t see it at first. 

As we get ready for our annual service at Shoreline Amphitheater next week, Ken’s story reminds us that we are all here for a reason. God decided exactly where and when we would live so that we and others around us would be able to find him. We are looking forward to hearing all the amazing ways God will move in our lives and in the lives of our family and friends in the weeks to come!

 

Til next week,

Sam and Tenea Manuel

Sam Manuel

Sam Manuel

Sam is a former outside linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. Since retiring from the NFL, Sam has worked in the ministry serving communities in the Bay Area.

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