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Our weekly newsletter filled with news, updates, and inspiring stories of how God is working in the Bay Area.

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He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

— Ecclesiastes 3:11 AMPC

The Bible tells us that each of us has a divine sense of purpose in our hearts, an internal fire that tells us we are here for a reason and were created to make our own unique impact on the world. It’s through discovering and living for this purpose that we find true satisfaction and happiness.
UCLA researchers and UNC scientists collaborated to find that happiness derived from a purpose in life has a healthier genetic effect than pleasure-seeking.

— ”Sense of Purpose Makes You Happy and Healthy”

We are happier and healthier when we are living our lives with purpose than when pursuing momentary happiness. This is why we are looking forward to some great opportunities to live out our purpose this holiday season:

  1. Holiday Celebration Services & Toy Drive on December 17th at each of our Bay Area service locations.
  2. Christmas Eve live stream service that we can watch with or send to family and friends anywhere in the world.
  3. New Year’s Eve Red Carpet Gala for singles and professionals on December 31, 2023.

Each of these special events gives us an opportunity to share God’s message of love and hope with our friends and family.

Today we want to share the story of one young woman who recently experienced the transformative power of discovering God’s purpose for her life.

The power of purpose

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

— Acts 16:9 NIV

God’s purpose for Paul was to help others in need. God has the same vision and purpose for our lives. There is no greater impact we can make than in the lives of our friends, neighbors, classmates, and families.

Yabi first started coming to church with her mom, whom Cathy Verela had invited to church, back in 2019. On Yabi’s first day visiting our service, Cathy introduced Yabi to the other college students.

The women in the campus ministry instantly became friends with her, inviting her to all their campus devotionals and spending time together throughout the week. Over the last few years, their friendship with Yabi grew and continued to get deeper.

Yabi expressed how the Scriptures from the devotionals and consistent friendships softened her heart towards God. She noticed that her friendship with the women in the campus ministry was different than her other friendships because God was at the center. Her curiosity to know God for herself grew, and she asked the women around her to teach her about God through Bible studies.

As she studied the Bible, Yabi expressed that she had always had a deep longing to find her true identity and be secure in herself. She was used to turning to things in the world like achievement and ambition but found that those never satisfied her. After reading and holding onto many verses of the Bible about how God sees her, she’s been able to find her true identity and security from God.

God changed Yabi’s heart little by little, day after day. She has gone from someone who let fear and insecurity stop her from taking opportunities to someone who is bold (despite her fears) and chooses to have the courage to do what God calls her to do. Her perseverance inspired the campus ministry as a whole. Yabi was baptized Friday, Dec 1st! We are so excited for her new relationship with God.

Having purpose together

For this reason, since the day we heard about it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking [specifically] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [with insight into His purposes], and in understanding [of spiritual things], [10] so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing in the knowledge of God.

— Colossians 1:9-11 AMP

The path to fulfilling God’s purpose is doing good for others.

With that in mind, we have the privilege of partnering with community service agencies throughout the Bay Area for our annual Toy Drive to bring joy to thousands of children who often go without receiving anything during the holiday season. Our goal is to make sure that no child is left behind and everyone can experience the magic of the holidays.

This upcoming Sunday, we invite you to join us in our mission by donating toys either online or in person at your local Sunday service location. Your contribution will go a long way in making a difference in the lives of these children and their families. Let’s come together and spread the spirit of giving and love this holiday season!

Visit any of our seven locations for our Holiday Celebration Services on Sunday, December 17th to donate a new toy or gift card.

Happy Holidays!

Written by

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.