“Your lives light up the world. For how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light.  So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 TPT
“I have never seen anything like this!”
“This is a church?! What church is this?”
“The diversity, the inclusion, the family–I have not experienced this kind of love!”
These were just a few of the comments from the over 4,500 people who passed through the gates of Shoreline Amphitheatre last Sunday. Combined with the over 1,100 people who watched our live stream, nearly 6,000 people were able to experience and see the light of God shining brightly through so many of you!
People from every walk of life, from every corner of the Bay Area and Northern California—some believing in Jesus, and others who did not—came together with one common cause: the need for love to shine brightly in a world blighted by hate. We are all inspired, motivated, and committed to being a light in this dark world. We couldn’t hide that light on Sunday; it was shining brightly in every aspect of the day!
The light: love makes darkness disappear
Dear brothers, I am not writing out a new rule for you to obey, for it is an old one you have always had, right from the start. You have heard it all before. Yet it is always new, and works for you just as it did for Christ; and as we obey this commandment, to love one another, the darkness in our lives disappears and the new light of life in Christ shines in.
1 John 2:7-8 TLB
Where else can you experience the love that makes the darkness in people’s lives disappear?
That light of love started shining from all of the volunteers who helped with parking, ushering, and children’s ministry.
Love was also shining with families sharing snow cones with kids (and many adults), young men and women competing on the basketball courts, and kids with special needs and those who are typical together enjoying train rides, bounce castles, and friendship together. Many people who came for the first time were speechless and expressed that their prayers had been answered. Tenea and Adesha captured this best when they sang “Believe For It”: there is power when people come together and see God’s love.
Yet this love was not limited to one event, as many found new friends and are getting together this week and next with their families for dinner or coffee to build what can become lifelong relationships.
The message: God and good
This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel-that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Acts 10:36,38 NLT
We should not be surprised at the crowd that came on Sunday because we have been following the love and pattern of Jesus’s life. He had a message that was focused on God, and he went around doing good. Our message on Sunday and every day is a simple one: God can change your life.
People in our church are committed to doing good and caring for those in our communities. Just as Greg B, Bobby G, and Carolyn R shared on Sunday about their involvement in E-Life, E-Hoops, and the Hope Technology School, we are committed to many projects that serve and love our communities. As our new generation of young leaders took the stage, it reminded us that it’s not just church leadership they are training for; it is to make a difference in the world in any capacity in which they serve.
The impact: changed lives
I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.
John 12:46 NLT
The day would not have been complete without seeing three people’s lives changed as they were baptized! God has moved in each of their lives in unique and inspiring ways.
First, Oliver, a student at Foothill Community College in Los Altos, had no idea when Nicolas M was first talking to him on Discord that he would meet Vince and Archie from his home country of Taiwan and that they did not just share a common language but so many common experiences. It was through those relationships that Oliver was able to learn about God and the Bible in ways he had never seen before. He made so many changes, and his relationships with his family transformed as he learned to love them more than ever before.
Bryan was the next one to be baptized. As accomplished as Bryan is (he has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California and is a music theory/guitar teacher), he has always felt unable to feel love and to love others from his heart. Through studying the Bible with his friends Duane and Greg, he started to learn how God’s love is the only love that can satisfy and change us. This has led to him connecting more with his wife and son than ever before.
Finally, a San Joaquin Delta College student, Kenny, was baptized with his parents Bill and Becca at his side. We could hear the cheer from the crowd as many of Kenny’s friends from Stockton came to be a part of this great day with him. As Kenny shared before his baptism, he is now convinced that God has him here for a purpose—to be a light and help others change as he has.
Shoreline 2023 marked not only a day when the love of God was able to shine and transform lives, but also a turning point for each of us to radiate God’s light through our love for others. The choice we must each make is to ensure that this doesn’t remain merely an event confined to a single day, but a shift for each of us to decide together that we can change the world!
The light of God’s love has the power to radiate through each of us to everyone, everywhere, every day–within our communities, campuses, and beyond, to bring about life-changing moments throughout the entire year.
‘Til next time,