A Pastor's Heartbeat


with Co-host John Cunningham Jr.

Hello and welcome to Joy City, I’m your host, Stuart Welch the Lead Pastor of Life Connection Church located in Modesto, CA and my co-host, my brother and dear friend John Cunningham Jr., who we lovingly call Brother JC.

Welcome to Joy City, a place where YOU can find your joy and happiness in the kingdom of God, Let me hip you to this; Jesus never uttered and opinion, He never guessed. He didn’t give us sound wisdom or keen observation. Not at all, Jesus’ words are the essence of truth and when we adhere and follow them intently, we become stronger, healthier, holier and joyful.

I am so excited to welcome our guest today, I know him as Brother Dre’, others know him as Bishop, while others call him Elder Swinney. He’s a dear friend, JC he gave me a few BUCKETS when I was coaching high school basketball, a faithful husband, I was fortunate to be at his wedding (probably 100 degrees in Sac that day), devoted father and an example of what a Church leader looks like and a motorcycle club President, recently returning from a ride to Arizona. Put your hands together and welcome my guy, Andre Swinney to Joy City. This motorcycle club Dre, what is this about? I know you been riding for awhile.

I know you can’t give us the entire story Dre, but man give us the highlights.

Man Dre, this last week has been so troubling as we witnessed this horrific shooting in Sacramento which left 6 dead and 12 injured. I mean at any given moment, someone we know is facing darkness and horror, illness, death, bereavement or a catastrophic loss.

In any ONE day, we may be called to kneel, watch and pray with someone close to us.

Sometimes human suffering is dramatic and horrifying-more often tho, it is ordinary and quiet. You like JC and myself have heard so many times that “it’s God’s will.” Yet, I know, the Divine in no way intends us to suffer BUT instead, is WITH US! And invites us deeper.

The apostle Paul in Philippians 2 says, “regard one another as more important than yourself…” I mean how does this show up?

We have the privilege of restoring others to victorious living.

I read through some sayings of Rabbi Harold Kushner again recently and he says, “Our responding to life’s unfairness with sympathy…may be the surest proof of all God’s reality.”

Unfortunately, BAD things happen to everyone and that has nothing to do with whether you’re a “good” person or a “bad” person-on the flip side, good things happen to everyone too.

The challenge for me is that some things start out looking great and end up terrible, while other things seem bad in the beginning but turn out to be a blessing…

I mean the pandemic showed us we are not in as much control of life as we would like to be?

So when God opens our eyes in Joy City we can clearly celebrate others for our differences, we can support one another in our efforts and we can cheer one another on in the spirit of unity and when One wins we all win.

No one can come face to face with what God is like and ever be the same. Welcome to Joy City. Seeing His true image, touches the depths of our soul and beholding His glory will renew our minds, transform us and give us strength to live this life for Him. Come on in, where the table is spread and the feast of the Lord is going on. I want to invite you to be a part, a resident of Joy City. A place where the Body becomes stronger and our love for others only increases.

I’ve enjoyed being your host and you can comment below, or email me at pastorstuart@lifeconnection4christ.org or call me at (209) 522-3583.