Note from the Pastor

Orlando Juarez, Senior Pastor

Welcome to the Bridge…

You’re not here by accident. Maybe you have no experience with church or “religion”, but something is telling you to give it a try. Maybe you were recently “saved” and are looking for a place to call your church home. Or maybe you have experience in church, but it hasnʼt brought the fulfillment you expected or were told it was supposed to bring. From any one of these perspectives, youʼre probably asking yourself, “Why should I try this church?” or “What makes this place different than all the rest?”. Keep reading…

First, we operate under the principle that we are accepted and loved… and it’s not because we are Christians. In John 8, Jesus is confronted with a sinful woman. This woman is adulterous and is about to be stoned to death by the religious leaders of the day. They come to Jesus and say that the law demands her life for her sin, but then they ask what Jesus’ judgment is on her. The woman is not even protesting on behalf of her own life. Don’t we judge ourselves like this woman is doing here, thinking that we are guilty of whatever it is that weʼve done, whatever our past says we are, and we canʼt protest? We feel worthless, even as Christians sometimes… like this woman does, and weʼre ready to receive the consequences and accept them as justice… as what we deserve.

But look at what happens next. Jesus challenges those same religious leaders by telling them, “Whoever of you is blameless, let him cast the first stone”, and one by one the woman’s accusers disappear. Then when Jesus is alone with the woman He tells her, “I do not judge you by your sin. You are accepted by Me as you are… right now… in your sin. Now go and live differently, but not because I demand it, but because this experience has changed your perspective, your understanding and your life.” Jesus shows the religious leaders or “religion” that love and mercy reign supreme, and He tells this woman that she is accepted now in her sin, not after she overcomes it. Itʼs never about what we do. Itʼs always about what Godʼs love and Jesus’ sacrifice have done.

Second, we believe Christianity based on trying to please God through our works has got to stop. This is a strategy of the enemy that keeps us striving for something that we already are as believers… children of God in Christ Jesus, accepted and loved. For the unbeliever, the price of separation from God has been satisfied through Jesus’ sacrifice. Confessing Jesus as Lord is the beginning of that understanding. Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. The Bible says we were the joy that was set before him. (Hebrews 12:2) It’s because of His love for us shown through the cross and resurrection, we can stand before God, the Father, blameless. Colossians 1:22 says, “As a result, He has brought you into the very presence of God, you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him, without a single fault.”

Let the power of being loved and accepted by God remove your guilt and empower you to rest in what God says about you and how He sees you. God says youʼre accepted right now. So start living in that freedom and let the revelation of His love transform your life. Hope to see you at The Bridge!