I desperately want to see you so that I can share some gift of the Spirit to strengthen you. Plus I know that when we come together something beautiful will happen as we are encouraged by each other’s faith.
— Romans 1:11-12 Voice
Something indeed beautiful happened this past Sunday as thousands from all around the Bay Area gathered for our “Magic of Believing” Holiday Celebration Services!
We had services in seven different locations around the Bay Area this year, and each one was magical. A few highlights of our time together were festive photo booths and family photos, hot cocoa stations, inspiring performances, and a faith-filled message on the Magic of Believing. Kids choirs spread Christmas cheer and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus brought joy to many people.
Four people were baptized on Sunday, and the transformation in their lives was clear and was undoubtedly magical. We also hosted our 16th annual Toy Drive, giving an estimated 2,000 toys and gift cards to ten different agencies that work with the most vulnerable in our communities!
To build your faith, check out some of the highlights of last weekend as well as another magical opportunity coming up this Christmas Eve with our live stream church service.
The Toy Drive spreads the magic of doing good
Jesus went everywhere doing good for people.
— Acts 10:38 ERV
This year’s Toy Drive, which was to give toys and gift cards to kids in foster care and underserved communities, was nothing short of incredible. From each of our Holiday Services throughout the Bay, we distributed a remarkable 1,425 toys and 487 gift cards to 10 different organizations, including the Oakland Police Department, San Francisco Unified School District, A Better Way, Pacific Clinics, and many more.
For the past 16 years, God has consistently moved through the Bay Area Christian Church’s Toy Drive to meet the needs of thousands of underserved families and youth. We have contributed over 22,000 toys and exceeded $50,000 in gift cards to support more than 20 organizations across the Bay Area since 2008.
The Toy Drive is not merely about giving gifts; it’s a demonstration of our commitment to providing hope and inspiration to families and children during a particularly tough time of the year. Beyond the tangible contributions, we’re passionate about making a spiritual impact on people’s lives through doing good. We want everyone who gets a gift to know that they matter, and we are grateful to be a church that is dedicated to making a lasting difference in the lives of those we serve!
Lives changed by the magic of forgiveness
God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.
— Romans 2:3-4 MSG
One of the most magical parts of our Holiday Celebration Service was seeing how God had moved in the lives of four people who got baptized on Sunday.
Twelve years ago, Joshua Headley’s parents, Lawrence and Marcia, attended one of our church services in Alameda. They were hoping to find a community full of love, especially for their daughter who has special needs. Not only did they find the community they were looking for, but they also found the unconditional love they wanted through a relationship with God that changed their lives. They got baptized at one of our annual BACC Holiday services. Grateful for God’s forgiveness, it was clear to Lawrence and Marcia that God had a great plan for their family.
But their son, Josh, couldn’t see God’s plan for his own life right away. It didn’t become clear to him until he moved to San Francisco this year to start his college journey.
Once at San Francisco State University (SFSU), Josh was welcomed by the campus ministry there not just as a new friend, but also as part of the campus family. The Christians in the SF campus ministry took time every week to hang out with Josh and share their lives. They hung out at the beach, played basketball, and went to the gym on campus. Josh’s faith and friendships deepened as he went to the SFSU “Let’s Talk Nights” and campus devotionals, and he decided to study the Bible soon after.
The Bible helped Josh understand how his past and his sins were affecting his ability to attach in relationships, which led to an overwhelming loneliness he had felt throughout his life. Josh soon realized that the answer to his loneliness and fear in relationships wasn’t social media or success in sports as he thought, but rather the forgiveness he was given by God through Jesus. This love from God gave Josh the courage to be vulnerable with God and friends, letting go of the unhealthy attachments to the world that were damaging his relationship with God and others.
Josh was baptized this past Sunday at the San Francisco Holiday Celebration Service. He shared at his baptism how grateful he was for God’s love and especially God’s forgiveness. He expressed how much he looks forward to living out the new purpose God has for him by helping others see that God’s love and forgiveness are the answer to the loneliness and emptiness of life.
When Veronica Garrido’s son, Sergio, became a Christian in January, he made radical changes to his life that inspired his mom. She went to church with him, and shortly thereafter attended the BACC Girl’s Night Out event in the spring. Veronica decided from this time to begin studying the Bible for herself.
Although she had gone to church most of her life, she never felt like she had a relationship with God. Veronica built friendships with other women through the monthly “Cafecita Latina” gatherings hosted by disciples in Santa Clara. Her relationships with these women encouraged her on her journey in building a relationship with God. She got faith from the Bible and strength from prayer to deal with difficult challenges of her past and present.
Veronica found the magic of forgiveness this past Sunday when she was baptized. Much like her son Sergio, her change is now inspiring her family and coworkers to pursue God as well.
Daniel Horton was raised in the church, but it wasn’t until this year that he began pursuing God on his own. He was inspired at this year’s Teen Camp and by his friend Kyle Kiyuna’s baptism to start studying the Bible. While studying the Bible, he realized how much selfishness and insecurity controlled how he lived. Reading the Bible helped him learn to not let his insecurities control him and to be able to focus on God more than people.
His life changed as he learned to be honest instead of hidden and to think of others instead of only himself. At his baptism last Sunday at the Common Ground Holiday Celebration Service, he expressed just how grateful he is for God’s unconditional love for him, and for forgiving him for all his sin. Daniel is excited to inspire other people to study the Bible and to want to grow in their own relationship with God.
Stefany Carrillo-Leon found inspiration in her brother Homero’s transformative change when he was baptized in 2017. However, when she started high school, Stefany faced personal hardships coupled with the global pandemic, leading her to initially lose interest in God and church. It wasn’t until her sophomore year that multiple random invitations to teen devotionals, coming from different people at different times, prompted Stefany to reconsider and give God a chance.
With the encouragement of her brother, parents, and friends, Stefany started to pursue a relationship with God. She realized that God was right there with her in her darkest moments, even when she tried to run from him and push him away.
Through prayer, Scriptures, and the support of spiritual friends, Stefany decided to let God open her heart in ways she never had before and to resolve relationships with family and friends. She was also baptized at the Holiday Celebration Service last Sunday at Common Ground in Sunnyvale. At her baptism, she expressed in both English and Spanish how grateful she is for God pursuing her, and how excited she is to help other people have the courage to turn to God and share their stories too.
Experience the “Spirit’s Magic” on Christmas Eve
“So the impossible is possible with God.”
— Luke 1:37 Voice
The holiday season has an enchanting ability to stir our hearts, infusing us with the desire to believe in magical possibilities. This Christmas Eve, we invite you to join us for a special live stream service about the extraordinary possibilities of God. Tune in from anywhere in the world for a powerful message, inspiring music, and magical stories that will awaken in you a desire to believe in the powerful possibilities of God.
Whether you find yourself celebrating the holidays at home or surrounded by loved ones, we hope you will be part of this experience with us.
To watch our Christmas Eve Sunday Livestream Service, visit bacc.cc/live at 11am PST on December 24th, or go directly to our BACC YouTube channel. Set up a watch party near you together with family and friends to experience an inspiring and magical start to your Christmas Eve Sunday!
Until next time.