Gratia members had a wonderful and warm lunch fellowship at brother Issac’s house. He prepared a dish full of heart and served members and it was a delightful time of fellowship.
Gratia church is opening a new chapter at the University of San Francisco(USF) and Gratia ministers had a graceful time of evangelism on campus on March 5. The USF is founded by the Jesuits in 1855 and the campus is surrounded by the Catholic church and statues of the Jesuit missionaries. There is a big Catholic church in the middle of the campus and students come to pray even for a short time.
Pastor Julia, Nancy, and Eunice spent about an hour for evangelism and met 4 students who showed interest in the bible study. They found a suitable place for next week’s bible study and excited to see the students are nice and respond to their invitation with a gentle heart. Ministers felt that there are lots of prayers piled up on the campus and pray that the great mission rival came alive once again.
Gratia church will begin an Art outreach program as a community service to the public. They invite a prominent award winning artist and professor, Zimou Tan, will be offering a community art class starting March 14.
This program is a total of 5 sessions for each ongoing worshops and the topic will be included still life drawing, freehand portrait drawing, oil painting(basic black and white), and oil painting with 4 color palette, advanced level: Narrative composition with drawing or painting, and clothed figure drawing, each Saturday from 3-5 pm.
We pray that this would be a good way to open the church to get in touch with the community and a way to gather artistic talents to help grow the church.
Gratia church had graceful street evangelism after the Sunday service on Feb 16. Gratia church decided to hold monthly evangelism at the second Sunday of the month so that every members can take part of the evangelism. Today Pastor Julia and other members went to Stonestown shopping mall near the SFSU campus and handed out the church fliers introducing services and bible study. May God bless all the works that they are doing and bring people to know the name Jesus Christ.
Gratia church held first Sunday service of the year 2020 with gratitude. Pastor Tzeng preached the message with the title “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” from Matthew 11:28-30. The message comforted members who were weary and burdened in all expectations and demands from the world, and let them turn their attention to Jesus Christ who can give true peace in his love.
“Here Jesus said that come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. People like to hear the invitation of Jesus. But here we need to understand what Jesus is speaking about. Jesus spoke to men who are desperately trying to find God and trying to be good, and who were finding the tasks impossible and who were driven to weariness and to despair. His invitation is to those who are exhausted with the search for the truth.
“It is Jesus’ claim that the weary search for God ends in himself. The way to know God is not by mental search, but by giving attention to Jesus Christ, for in him we see what God is like. He says, “ come to me all you who are weighted down under your burdens.”
“I wish that all members received abundant grace through the service and fellowship and live the new year with grace and love of God.” said pastor Tzeng.
Gratia ministers had graceful mission trip to Nevada at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas(UNLV) on Jan 2, 2020 with prayer and evangelism. Ministered gathered at the UNLV campus in the morning and prayed before the evangelism. This mission trip aims to set up fellowship members in Las Vegas. The evangelism was very fruitful despite the winter break that only a few students seen on the campus. A bible study was scheduled right next morning out of many surprise.
“Out of my surprise, the students here are very nice and humble. Many students want to study the bible. There are countless casinos downtown but at the other corner of the city, people are waiting for the goodnews.” commented a minister.
We pray for the revival of the churches around the Las Vegas and more people can know Jesus Christ to receive salvation.
Gratia Church held graceful Christmas joint retreat with LA Pilgrim church. The theme of the retreat was “Thy Kingdom Come” and there was 4 bible studies and Christmas service on Dec 25. The Christmas retreat was full of grace and overflowing joy with altogether. It was a great and graceful day with the message, and also joyful day with all laughs and fun. May the Grace of God always remain in the hearts of members and receive Jesus Christ in their lives all the time.
Gratia church ministers had graceful evangelism on December 16, 2019. Pastor Julia and pastor Nancy held the campus evangelism diligently with the faith that God will work for everything. They put their trust in God that He will bring good souls whose hearts are in God and seek for His righteousness. Despite of the rain, the evangelism went very well that they met several good people who showed interests and even asked questions regarding bible and God. May the work of Holy Spirit continues to guide all the works so that many people can receive salvation.
Gratia church had graceful Sunday service on December 8, 2019 by meditating the message of God’s love from the scripture Luke 15:11-24 entitled “The Parable of the Prodigal Son. Pastor Tzeng delivered the message about the two groups of people, the sinners and the Pharisees both get lost in the true relationship with God. One was bad and one was good, but both were lost, both wanted Father’s things but not the Father. One tries control Father by living bad life to get what he wanted, other son controls Father by good life. Both used Father to get what they really loved, one did it by being bad, other good. Bad one was lost in his self-discovery, good one was lost in his goodness. Through the message, members were able to self examined how we have misconception on God. Below is the summary of the message.
“Jesus is preaching to 2 groups: sinners and Pharisees.In this parable, we have the younger brother and older brother – it’s clear that it’s these two groups. This is the amazing love of God for us that Jesus is so clear and vivid in this parable for younger brother. But who is the younger brother? It’s the tax collector and sinners and it’s also our story of being young. Younger brother wants to go out on his own to world and discover himself. He’s rejecting his family, tradition, legacy and wants to self-discover, self-realize himself in the world. Isn’t this classic youth? We want to go to the big city, figure out our passions, find ourselves, no parent. But problem? we want leave, discover myself in world, leave God, we want God dead. Anger, hate, frustration, hurt, aloneness, guilty, blame, this is confusion in spirit exactly in young people.”
“So younger brother self-discovers himself in world, but it’s no better in world, suffering meaningless job. He comes to the conclusion that self-discovery leads to nowhere and its true, it’s completely dead-end. What Jesus shows us in parable is who the Father God is and how young brother misunderstood Father. He thought he had to do something, but He didn’t, His perception of the Father was completely wrong. In OT, people view Father God in patriarchal sense – God is harsh, angry, condemns, judges your sin. But Jesus gave us Father unlike other fathers – completely abandoned, but generously willing to forgive. He showed us Father who loves unconditionally, caring, warm, emotionally sensitive, and embracing us. Jesus brought together the power and tenderness of God in the Father as one – no one seen this before.”
“Young people get lost in ourselves thinking God hates, judges us, but all along it was us misunderstand. In actuality, God is all mighty, powerful – but He’s also loves unconditionally and covers us, accepts us. Now the older brother, who won’t join the feast, Father comes out to him and pleads with him. But he complains – he’s always been good brother, did everything right, and doesn’t receive anything. Most people think older brother is jealous of Father’s grace, that may be true, but it’s also too simple. Older brother is too intelligent, measured, staying family, doing right thing to get emotionally jealous.Older brother says he has nothing on his list sin – no one without sin but he’s right in a sense. Pharisees would break the law and give sacrifice to make up. They felt bad about sinning, but that’s it. What is Pharisee, Older Brother? I’m good person, I’ve nothing left on my sin list – why don’t I get God’s love?”
“How does someone without sin get saved? It’s that you have to repent for something else besides sins. Non-believers look at Christianity as moralism. What is the difference a Christian and moralist? Both repent for what did wrong, but Christian repents for reasons you did right. Christians repent what do wrong, but also recognize reasons for why they do good and right things. Why are we good? Reason is not so pure – It’s self-justification and desire to control God and others by thinking that If I read Bible, pray, come to service, be nice everyone, do all right things – then God has to bless me.”
“He’s angry because how dare Father use our wealth? I obeyed, I should have some say how use wealth. In other words, I have some right, some control in my inheritance – It’s sneaky, intelligent, reasoned. It’s real reason why many of us moralist older brothers are angry and blind and don’t see this deep sin in us. Jesus is many things, but he’s not your savior .You are your own savior – form of trying control God.The older brother is angry thinking that God owes me, I deserve it, judgmental of younger. This is a moralist – We have to ask ourselves – am I a Christian or moralist? Because when you realize this deep sin in this, then you begin to repent of this false motivation in us.”
“If so then it changes everything – way you handle criticism, treat other people, how people treat you. Your relationship with others changes and relation with God – it’s because new birth. Father says that you’re always with me and all I have is yours and we’re all together in love. He’s saying it because actually, both sons had same problem – separation from Father. One was bad and one was good, but both were lost, both wanted Father’s things but not the Father. One tries control Father by living bad life to get what he wanted, other son controls Father by good life. Both used Father to get what they really loved – status, wealth – one did it by being bad, other good. Bad one was lost in his self-discovery, good one was lost in his goodness – tax collectors and Pharisee.”
“It’s also all of us, who try to measure up in different ways – we use self-discovery or moral conformity. Some say I’m going to discover myself; Other say I’m going to be good, work hard. But how can be we saved? We couldn’t do ourselves through self-discover or moralism. Father came to us. The Father goes to the younger brother and cover him, the Father goes outside feast to older brother. In actuality, wouldn’t it have been wonderful if the older brother went after the younger brother? Younger brother leaves, older brother should find him, embrace him, use what he has bring him back. This younger brother didn’t have an older brother, but we do – we have God’s son Jesus Christ who came to us. Jesus didn’t come from next town, he came from heaven to earth.For Jesus gave us a new paradigm for living, that is the KOG with both younger and older brother together. We can do this because God came to us first, loved us, covered all of it up, and allowed new lives.”
“KOG is not about myself, it’s not about judgment, misconceptions, anger, hurt, blame, or guiltiness. KOG is about welcoming all those who are lost to make a new way in this world in name of Jesus Christ. We’re closing down one year and coming to New Year, I hope we can get off into the New Year right. Wash off our old robes, receive new robes of Jesus Christ and live for new way forward beyond old ways.”
After the service, members had breaking bread in groups and delicious lunch. The lunch was served by deacon Mark and everybody enjoyed the time of warm fellowship in Jesus Christ during the lunch. We wish that all members grow in faith and continue to live out the life of God’s love.
Gratia church members commission Gonzalo and Joanne’s family upon departure to Australia after the Sunday service on October 20. All members prayed by landing their hands and blessed their new path. Gonzalo has been a member of Gratia Church for about 10 years and now he is going to serve the Lord in the new place with his family.
His heart is trembling, it is not because of the fear and worry but because it is new things for him to go to a different place and do something he never did before. He confessed that this is a blessing and good for his family to serve in the new place. He wants to serve any place that is needed in Australia and he wishes that his faith can grow mature and be faithful all the time. We pray that Gonzalo’s family can be a great strength for Australia and open a wider door for more people can be saved through them.