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Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom Isn't Free

As a second generation military man, I know the sacrifice our service men, women, and their families make to secure the freedom we enjoy. The long hours, the stress and strain of military maneuvers, the constant moving around from duty station to duty station, and the deployments that last months or years at a time are just some of the examples of our military paying for our freedom.

When people thank us for our service, most veterans will reply with a simple and humble, "It's been my honor to serve." The bond between brothers and sisters in arms is forged with blood, sweat, and tears. One of the common mottos in the armed forces is "leave no man behind". It's not uncommon for soldiers to risk their own life to save the life of a comrade. The potential loss of their own life is worth the risk to save the life of their battle buddy. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

This July 4th, while we honor those who gave their service and those who gave their life for our freedom, let us not forget the One who gave it all for us - for our freedom from the chains of sin, shame, and guilt.

At Eastside, we honor Christ's sacrifice… His blood, sweat, and tears by continuing His work to seek and save those who are lost. Those still in chains by life's hurts, habits, and hang-ups by offering Care & Recovery groups at all of our campuses. We know one out of every three people in our community find themselves in a difficult season of life. These Care & Recovery groups are a safe and welcoming place where people can find help, discover hope, and experience healing.

A place where you can belong and be part of a community of overcomers.

A place where you can believe what God says about you, and not what the world says.

A place where you can become all that God has designed you to be.

A place where you can find and experience the true freedom that only comes from surrendering the care and control of your life to Jesus Christ. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36.

It wasn't that long ago that I found myself there - in a very dark place far from God. My 23-year marriage abruptly and unexpectedly ended and I had lost everything. In my darkest moment, I cried out to God. I asked Him to show Himself to me. And He did through my in-laws who invited me to come to Eastside.

I got connected to a Care & Recovery group on a Friday night, and have been coming here ever since. It didn't happen overnight, but I did heal over time. I began to surrender my all to Him. The more I allowed Him to work in me, the more He began to work through me.

If you had told me when I began my journey in 2010 that this is where God would lead me, I would've told you that you're crazy. God doesn't use people like me. What I've come to find out is that He indeed does. Our God uses the improbable to do the impossible.

If you or someone you know is in a difficult season, we invite you to check out the Care & Recovery groups at Eastside.

eastside.com/careandrecovery

Written By: Greg Arbues

An Unlikely Road to Fatherhood

An Unlikely Road to Fatherhood

Jazmin and I had been dating for about a year and a half when we knew that marriage was in our future. I didn't have kids, so I knew that her two daughters Ana(10) and Kalila(7), would be a HUGE responsibility.  It was time to express my love and intentions for Jazmin and her two beautiful girls. The four of us had spent so much time together, laughing, playing, crying, and praying… I just knew I couldn't go on without them. I felt that asking the girls for permission to marry their mommy was a must, and Jazmin agreed. I would do it that week after dinner at their apartment.

Dinner has always been fun for us, so when the day came for me to ask The Big Question, it was a real struggle for me to sit down to our meal and not look distracted. Even while we were talking, laughing and eating, the only conversation I could hear was in my head. “What if they say no? Am I ready for this? Does Jazmin really know what she's getting herself into?”

During dessert, I paused, took a deep breath, and asked Ana and Kalila if they would let me marry their mom. I don't remember ever hearing them actually say the word “yes”, but their screaming with excitement told me I was pretty much in. They were so happy, and my heart felt so full! In my own excitement, I added, "It's because I want us to be a family now!" At that moment, the wedding planning began! Ana and Kalila would be bridesmaids, throw the flowers, and on and on.

Ana, the oldest, continued in “wedding planner mode.” By now she'd moved on to the colors for the dresses. But I noticed that Kalila became quiet. She looked down at her plate and seemed very confused. I leaned in towards her and asked, "What's wrong, honey?” By then, the table quieted down, and we were all focused on her. I remember feeling sick. She was going to say that she changed her mind. That she didn't want me as a dad. I wasn't prepared for rejection. What happened next changed my life. She looked up at me and said softly, "But I thought we already were a family?”

At that moment, my life began to change... completely. I started to realize that words like love, family, and commitment, are cemented into the heart of another, only when it's so obvious by your actions that there can be no mistaking it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I pull this off every day with my family. I've had my share of cementing in the wrong attitude at the worst time possible. But here's where another privilege of being a father comes in. It's when Dad uses words like, "I was wrong... I'm sorry...I made a mistake..." And my personal favorite, "...Please forgive me." God will strategically use those opportunities to repair the damage I've done while trying to be the perfect Dad.

Eight years later, we're still laughing, playing, crying and praying. And at the center of it all...is Jesus.

Written By: Zeke Rodriguez

Just Let Go

Just Let Go

My name is Sharon Jensen. I was about to lose the lease to the preschool I had been running for 28 years. It was the only source of income for my family as my husband was facing health complications that left him unable to work. On the verge of a nervous breakdown, I found myself at the end of my rope. That was when I remembered a postcard that had been sent to me in the mail about Eastside that I disregarded. I found myself needing help and discovered that Eastside was there to give that to me.

I nervously attended Eastside for the first time and was warmly greeted by the parking attendant who directed me to the entrance. At the door, a woman with a bright smile approached me and asked if I was Sharon. I was taken aback because I did not remember introducing myself to the parking attendant or to the woman. Her name was Jo and she welcomed me to Eastside and made me comfortable. At the end of church service, she waited for me at Guest Central and there, I shared my story to her. Talking to her gave me peace and her kindness comforted my spirit. We prayed over the loss of the lease on the preschool and for my husband’s health and placed it into Gods hands. The once uncontrollable circumstances I was facing started falling into the right place soon after.

With less than 2 months before we were forced to close the preschool, I was able to meet with the property developer of the building I was leasing and found out he also attended Eastside. He graciously and quickly found another property for me to move my preschool and made the transition smooth.

I continued to care for my husband who was facing complications from his knee replacement. After several surgeries, the doctors could not determine the root cause of the complications. After much prayer, I was able to get a hold of a specialist who was able to take my husband’s case. He discovered an infection and performed surgery and within 6 months, my husband was able to recover.

Having the preschool to run and my husband to care for, I had been putting aside my own health. One day, my co-worker noticed I was walking differently and insisted I went to the doctors who ran an MRI test on my back and neck, only to discover I had a ruptured disk pinching my nerve and four vertebrae that had cut through the sheath that protected my spinal cord. If untreated I could have became paralyzed. I had surgery immediately and fully recovered within 3 months of the medical procedure.  

God was using people around me to reveal Himself to me and answer my prayers. I have learned through these miracles that God is with me. And, whether He is by my side or carrying me, I will put my trust in Him.

Through faith, Sharon obeyed God’s words and found that He fulfilled His promises. She discovered that she could not face this situation alone and found support at Eastside.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4: 6-7    

Are you currently experiencing a difficult situation that you need to apply these words to? Here at Eastside Christian Church, we are happy to help, visit us during one of our services or fill out a prayer request form at https://www.eastside.com/prayer/#worship

Holiday Season

Holiday Season

Making changes helped, but prayer is what got me through that dark period of my life.  I remember feeling at times I couldn’t survive the hurt.  I would get down on my knees and pray and cry out to God to get me through just one more day.  He did.

Show Me, God

Show Me, God

 “All these years of trying to understand religion! Reading, studying, questioning…… I didn’t need a religion, I needed a relationship.” 

Heart for the House - Joey's Story

Heart for the House - Joey's Story

God is doing some amazing things in and through this church. Watch this story about how a man named Joey found rescue and healing from Jesus in this home, a place we call Eastside. 

lost and found

lost and found

Confident and wise beyond her years, 20-year-old Desiree has a singular focus. Her heart is fixed on the 27 million people, many just little girls, in bondage by the evils of the international human sex trade.

PUTTING THE GUN DOWN

PUTTING THE GUN DOWN

There was a hole in the middle of the garage where his wife’s things used to be. He sat there with a gun in one hand and a bullet in the other. The only thing he could hear were the thoughts of failure and loss screaming in his mind.

FINDING HEALING IN DEPRESSION

FINDING HEALING IN DEPRESSION

I felt I was never good enough for anything. I felt I wasn’t going anywhere with my life, and I did feel pathetic. That was the reality that I was living in.

HOW GOD SAVED ME FROM ABUSE AND SUICIDE

HOW GOD SAVED ME FROM ABUSE AND SUICIDE

When I turned 18, I decided to step away from church. I wanted to explore a world of what I considered “fun”. Instead, I found myself filling up the areas of rejection and low self worth with sex, drugs and alcohol. I was in abusive relationships and became severely depressed.