“The first few years of my sanctification process was chocked full of doubts and fears in regards to my salvation.”

Hey guys, my name is Jared Stephen, and I am the husband to my beautiful wife Abigail and father to our precious baby Isaiah Noah. I first heard the gospel in the sixth grade at a middle school church camp that I was not happy to be attending. Being a shy middle child who was raised in a secular home, Christ was someone that was unfamiliar and distant from me. So, being told I had to attend a camp for youth at a church that I knew nothing of was a nightmare. Little did I know that this youth camp would be a life changing experience for me. For it was through this experience that God opened my eyes to the mercies of Christ that had been so foreign to me.

The first few years of my sanctification process was chocked full of doubts and fears in regards to my salvation. The greatest promise that was shown to me was that of the Perseverance of the Saints, a theological truth that we see in Philippians 1:6 which states, “He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it to the end". The key insight here is that the endurance of my faith does not rest on my shoulders but on God and His Son’s work on the cross. Yet, I still was burdened with legalisms that clouded my eyes from finding rest in Christ. About four years later, I was baptized and decided that I wanted to study theology in college. I am currently a student at Gateway Seminary.

The most eye-opening factor that has changed since the life- transforming mercies of God captured my heart is my ability to see my faults and rely on the power and work of Christ. Although I am still prideful, selfish, and have ignored His Spirit at times, God has continued to prove to me that He is the one that holds me fast. This is a reminder that I cherish and give glory to God for daily.

I am inspired by the servant-hearted leadership and shepherding of our Elders at Christ Church. I am encouraged by the Spirit's work within the members around me. I am grateful for my brother and sister Jacob and Kelsey Garriga for their patience and guidance this past year. I am blessed with having a community that seeks to delight in Christ’s compassion and live all of life in light of the gospel!