Friday, August 21, 2020

This is grace. This is Jesus

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be saved? Like your soul being saved forever? If you have, I may have the answer you've been searching for. 


Scriptures in the Bible say that we are saved by grace, and that grace is the undeserved favor of God. It means He reached out to, and set up a way for, you to be saved.


You see, God's heart is for people but the bridge in which He reaches people is love and grace. He requires no first steps from the people He is wanting to save. Jesus simply wants a response. A response to a free gift; the most beautiful gift anyone could ever receive - salvation.


God is not out to get us. He is simply waiting for us to return home. To turn around from our sinful ways and turn to Him. 


There's a parable in the book of Luke that tells a story of two sons who had a rich father. One day, the youngest son asked for his inheritance and the father graciously obliged and gave it to him. The young son then went off to a foreign land and lived lavishly and spent all of his money on partying and prostitutes. After a while, he found himself in a rather awful spot, broke and broken. He found a job where he would feed pigs, but this job paid so poorly that he actually started eating the pig food because it was all he could find to eat.


Then a light bulb went off in his head and he thought he could go back home and beg his dad to be a servant. He figured he screwed up so badly that he wouldn’t even think about trying to be his son anymore. Scripture goes on to record that, as he went on home, the father saw him from far away and ran to him. He hugged him, kissed him and threw a party. The father was overjoyed with the return of his son, so much so, that he overlooked and forgave the wrong he had done. He celebrated the fact that his son returned instead of scolding his son for leaving.


This is grace. This is Jesus. 


And this is exactly how Jesus sees us. He is looking for the people He has died for. He is searching and when He sees them, even at a great distance, He runs to them. Not to put them down, but to lift them up. Not to condemn and scold them, but to restore and celebrate life with them. This is the love that emulates from the heart of God. This is the DNA that He puts into us when we get saved. We are called to reconcile the sinner to the savior. 



Cristian Alva

Youth Pastor

Friday, August 14, 2020

Whenever I Feel Off Center

There are times when I don’t feel like myself. When, despite what I know to be true, I find myself getting sucked into what the world says is true. The news, social media feeds, and people I encounter in the store – all begin to rattle my centeredness. Have you ever felt like that – especially lately?


Whenever that happens, I have a handful of Bible verses that I pull out of my back pocket to remind myself of who I am and Who is in charge. Philippians 4:8-10, James 1:2-5, 19-21 and Romans 8:20 are but a few of my companion verses. Along with Psalm 139.

Psalm 139 is long but beautiful. Today, I want to share King David’s words, rather than my own, to help you re-center. Read the following – slowly, visualizing how God knows you and feels about you. Read it again and again, if need be, to receive a more truthful perspective of life than what is currently surrounding us.


Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
and you know all the words I’m about to speak
before I even start a sentence!

You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
and in kindness you follow behind me
to spare me from the harm of my past.
With your hand of love upon my life,
you impart a blessing to me.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.
Where could I go from your Spirit?
Where could I run and hide from your face?
If I go up to heaven, you’re there!
If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!
If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there!
If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting!
Wherever I go, your hand will guide me;
your strength will empower me.
It’s impossible to disappear from you
or to ask the darkness to hide me,
for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night.
There is no such thing as darkness with you.
The night, to you, is as bright as the day;
there’s no difference between the two.
You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside
and my intricate outside,
and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking.
It simply amazes me to think about it!
How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
You even formed every bone in my body
when you created me in the secret place,
carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something.
You saw who you created me to be before I became me!
Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
the number of days you planned for me
were already recorded in your book.
Every single moment you are thinking of me!
How precious and wonderful to consider
that you cherish me constantly in your every thought!
O God, your desires toward me are more
than the grains of sand on every shore!
When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.

God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
Examine me through and through;
find out everything that may be hidden within me.
Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—
the path that brings me back to you. Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24


Sylvia Gaston

Pastor of Connection and Development




Friday, August 7, 2020

Good News In A Challenging Time

By all accounts the sky is falling. The economy is heading in the wrong direction. The virus is filling hospitals to capacity. The election season is as divisive and bitter as ever. Nobody knows what news source is trustworthy and which is totally false. Many people are frustrated, angry, isolated, and worried.

Some have lost their jobs. Others have watched the economy take its toll on their business. Some have found themselves unable to pay their mortgage or credit cards bills.  Still others have lost loved ones to the virus.  And even if none of these things describe your situation, you can't help but be impacted by the rampant fear that has a stranglehold on so many. 

At times like this, one of the few places we can turn to find comfort is in the pages of Scripture. Many times, we fail to recognize the great gifts the Bible holds within its pages. In it, Father God has given us a roadmap for life, a primer on relationships, and a handbook on dealing with downturns and disasters. 

So, before you give up, blow up or run away, let me encourage you with six promises from the King who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, knows no lack and wrote the end of the book.   

Promise #1 — to never leave... 

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'  Hebrews 13:5 NIV 

Promise #2 — to care for you... 

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?"  Matthew 6:28-30 NLT 

Promise #3 — to provide for you... 

"Don't worry and ask yourselves, 'Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?' Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well."  Matthew 6:31-33 CEV 

Promise #4 — to give you rest... 

"Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28 NCV 

Promise #5 — to free you from fear... 

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."  Psalm 46:1-3 NIV 

Promise #6 — to build your faith... 

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." 
James 1:2-4 NLT 

These are just a few of the many promises that God has for His children.  The pastors here in Kings County would love to encourage you with these and more.  This season is different, but God hasn’t changed. Perhaps you’re finding yourself praying for the first time in a long time. Go with it! He will meet you right where you are.

Andrew Cromwell
Lead Pastor
E-mail him at or call 559-582-1528.