Grand Rapids First Pastor Jonathan Espinoza Delivers Powerful Message During CU Community Chapel’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration
“Nadie Como Tú” and “Jesucristo Basta” rang out as the Cornerstone University community of students, faculty and staff experienced a beautiful time of worship through shared hearts, spirits and voices lifted to honor Christ together in Spanish. The university’s first Community Chapel of the academic year welcomed Pastor Jonathan Espinoza, associate pastor of Hispanic ministries at Grand Rapids First, as he delivered the first Community Chapel ministry of the Word in Spanish at Cornerstone, translated by President Gerson Moreno-Riaño.
“We have set aside time this month during Community Chapel to celebrate and honor our brothers and sisters in Spanish-speaking countries throughout the world,” said President Moreno-Riaño. “There is a significant Hispanic and Latino community in Grand Rapids, and together we celebrate them and our shared Christ-centered Biblical friendship through worship and God’s Word.”
Having served the Hispanic community for 16 years through Grand Rapids First, Pastor Espinoza is known for his heart for Jesus, his love for serving the church and his ministry impact in his native Chile. His theme, “The Look of Jesus,” was a direct tie to the university’s academic theme this year, Christ Our Greatest Friend. He explored the friendship between Peter and Jesus in Luke 22:61 as it evolved from betrayal to kingdom building.
“Today, we are looking at a cultural crisis. A crisis of ideologies,” said Espinoza. “Today, friendship is reflected in social media in the number of ‘likes’ and comments. What is true friendship?” Relationships can be transitory, self-serving and even toxic, reflecting the clash of cultures seen today in the world, he explained.
“The Word of God tells us that friendship is essential in Proverbs 17:17: ‘A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity,’ and John 15:13 says, ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’”
God wants to use our relationships for His Kingdom. Pastor Espinoza pointed to the relationship between Peter and Jesus. Peter betrayed his master, his mentor, and his friend by denying Him despite all Jesus had poured into his life. Yet Christ forgave him, and Peter became the cornerstone of the church.
Only through Godly relationships can we be empowered to experience true friendship grounded in God’s purposes. What is that purpose? What should students consider as they prepare for their vocations and ministries and lives?
“Jesus wants to teach us how to love each other,” passionately encouraged Pastor Espinoza. “Lives will be changed, reached, restored for Jesus Christ. John 13:35 says ‘By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Join Cornerstone’s special chapel on Oct. 11 at 10 a.m. in Christ Chapel, featuring alumnus the Rev. Dr. Julián Guzmán (M.A. ’12, M.A. ’15), lead pastor at Iglesia Vena Plena and CU board of trustee member. We will continue to worship, pray, and share the Word together during Hispanic Heritage Month and expand our exploration of Christ-centered friendship.