As pastor of Grace and Peace Community Church I get to witness one story after another of the grace of Jesus in South Philly. I want you to hear of his grace from three women who represent three demographics at Grace and Peace: those sent out with me on the initial ministry team; those who were spiritually dead but who’ve been converted to faith in the Lord Jesus; and those wounded by church but have now found grace and healing.
Sharon: I’m not here for myself, but to magnify the Lord Jesus and through that to bring others into his Kingdom. It wasn’t until Grace and Peace that I saw the doors of opportunity to live this out swing wide open. Our family was part of the founding group of church planters. We have seen the Lord Jesus reveal himself: in provision, in salvation, in protection, in love. I look at the beautiful diversity of people each Sunday morning. I wake up every day, feeling a great sense of purpose and freedom to be Christ’s ambassador in all my comings and goings. From time to time I find myself asking, “Why this privilege?” But I know the answer: grace. “But God, being rich in mercy… made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved …” That saving grace is not just a place with him in the new heavens and new earth, but to be part of his building his Kingdom right now! It is truly amazing grace! There is no other place I’d rather be, and I long for everyone to be there with me—in the grace of Jesus.
Candice: Growing up, I had no recollection of God and Jesus. As a young woman I didn’t feel a need to wake up on Sunday for church, but now I’m 32 with a teenage daughter. I’ve worked part time with UPS for 12 years, and am blessed with two college degrees. But my walk with Jesus began tragically. I became pregnant in 2011. I knew instantly my unborn child would be male, but seven months into the pregnancy my son, Messiah, died. I spent the entire week in the hospital depressed, lonely, and heartbroken. I wanted my own life to end, but I believe God baited me to find him through a scary dream. I won’t go into specifics, but Satan played a role in it. I shared my story with Pastor Jonathan, and he prayed for me. On June 2, 2013, by God’s grace I became a newborn in Jesus Christ’s heavenly Kingdom! I now have full reconciliation with the Father through my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My faith and appreciation goes to the Holy Trinity for the love and grace shown to me.
Isabel: I was lost and in pain when I first came to Grace and Peace. The only church home I knew closed, and I felt as if I was thrown out, alone, trying to figure out everything myself. I thought absolute truth was being tested and it left me utterly confused, hurt, and in despair. I felt I had nowhere to go even though there were churches everywhere. I was “homeless” and struggling badly to believe in the living hope of Jesus Christ; life felt miserable. It was truly God’s grace that brought me to Grace and Peace Community Church and started me on the journey of healing. He sheltered me and reignited my hope through the teaching and the living community of Grace and Peace. I experienced what the Psalmist said, “He restores my soul,” and I was deeply satisfied. The day I was received as a member of Grace and Peace Community Church was one of the most joyful days of my life. It is surreal that our mighty and holy God should find a home for me at Grace and Peace. How blessed I am! Praise be to God, whose love and grace have become ever more real, tangible, and alive through the body of Grace and Peace Community Church.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
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