In February of 2014, I was probably going through the hardest time of my life. I had recently started going to Lakeside and my marriage was on the wrong path; it was going straight down the drain. My wife and I were trying to work things out ourselves in our own way. We got to the point where we were taking turns spending nights at each of our parents’ homes, so we did not have to be under the same roof. We drove to church separately and attended service angry. Then, we discovered that we were going to have our first child. Instead of this good news making things better, our marriage got worse.
The enemy loves to twist things and confuse us when we are weak. It probably did not help that at that time I did not believe in God either. I thought I knew all about religion, as I was raised Catholic. I did not know it then but what I needed was Jesus. I am so thankful that God lead us to Lakeside where I could hear exactly what I needed to hear. Not religion, but a place where I could hear about God’s unmerited love and mercy, which was exactly what my wife and I needed.
Lakeside is the place where I felt welcome even when I did not believe. It’s a place where it’s okay to not be perfect. What I needed was a relationship with the Creator Himself and Lakeside helped me to realize that. It is awesome how God has turned our marriage around. Thank you, Lakeside, for being the light we desperately needed and being there for us when we needed it most.
Before finding the Lakeside Church I was living in darkness. I was not a people person and I didn’t like anyone in my personal space. Holding a conversation was not something I enjoyed doing. I attended several churches but never had the desire to serve or attend anything except Sunday services.
My first Lakeside experience was overwhelming. Everyone was loving and happy that my daughter and I were there. Out of nowhere, this gentleman came up to me and gave me a hug and asked our names. He asked if it was our first visit and gave us a warm welcome. My initial thought was; run, this is not for you. But my daughter, Jazmine, was too excited because there was a children’s church just for her.
When I went into the sanctuary and was observing the worship service and the people, I looked up at the stage and to my surprise, the gentleman that greeted us earlier introduced himself as Pastor Jason. I was shocked and amazed that the pastor would care enough to take the time to personally greet us. That’s something that I’ve never experienced before.
The message that he delivered that Sunday spoke directly to me and I realized that darkness was not where God wanted me to be. That was two years ago. Now I not only attend Sunday service, but I also serve, attend a small group, and I too am now a HUGGER. Thank you, Pastor Jason and Lakeside, for helping me out of the darkness, and helping Jazmine and I to learn to let our light shine.
I started attending Lakeside in November 2014, my senior year of high school. I first went to the student ministry, then began to attend Sunday services to learn more about who Jesus was. During this time, I was an atheist involved in ridiculous behaviors that were damaging to myself.
After a few months of attending Lakeside, I realized that I needed a Savior and that Jesus is Lord. On February 1st, 2015, I gave my life to Christ and from there sought to know Him more and more. I began to serve in various ministries at Lakeside and became more connected to the church. I now knew what it meant to have a church family.
As I began to get more connected, studied the Bible, and sought wisdom, I gained a better understanding of what it meant to follow Christ. I don’t get everything right all the time, but I realize that I am to live for Him and to shine the light He has given me. I’m learning what it means to live in freedom.
Fast forward three years from the day I was saved and here I am; a new life that’s been dramatically changed. I know that I am a new creation because of Christ Jesus and am grateful for the church family God has put into my life. I’m ready to continue to give God my best at Lakeside in the years to come!