6515 Ambrosia Lane, Carlsbad
Weekly Attendance: 1200
Pastor: Jason Graves
Born: Van Nuys
Formation: Life Pacific College
Ordained: 10 years
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermons?
Pastor Graves: That can vary greatly, depending on how well I know the Bible passage I’m teaching on. I would say anywhere from 8 to 20 hours. But I’m constantly thinking about it all week. Often I will download a podcast, put on the headphones, and go for a bike ride for a couple hours and listen to what two or three other pastors or theologians have to say about a topic.
SDR: What is your main worry as a member of the clergy?
PG: I don’t worry about a lot of things, I’m not really a worrier, but what weighs on my heart is the fact that we’re in Carlsbad, so our neighborhoods are filled with a lot of incredible homes but there’s a lot of pain and hopelessness in the families and the brokenness inside those homes.
SDR: What do you see as the source of that hurt?
PG: Our selfishness and sinful nature. We’re all imperfect, and I think the world and the society we live in does a lot to undermine the ability of men to be good husbands and women to be good wives and us to be good parents. There are a lot of consequences to the things we do and the choices we make. Many people don’t realize it ahead of time and it ends up damaging their marriage or trust with their spouse. It’s rare that a week goes by that I don’t have a couple in my office…absolutely desperate for help because there’s constant fighting or someone’s had an adulterous affair.
SDR: What is the most prevalent sin you observe or hear about from your congregants?
PG: We all sin all the time, but I would say probably the most devastating is sexual sin — and that has a lot of categories, including adultery and pornography. But that’s one that I see affects people differently, and the Bible speaks about sexual sin being different from other sins because it affects at our core and identity who we are as people. A lot of people underestimate the importance of sex. They say Hollywood makes too big a deal out of sex; in general, I don’t think we make a big enough deal out of it….
SDR: What inspired you to become a minister?
PG: I was raised in church. I had put my faith in Christ when I was four years old and I’ve always had the sense that that’s what God wanted me to do with my life.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PG: I believe you immediately go into the presence of God and where you spend eternity will be based on your belief in Jesus Christ….The Bible teaches both a literal heaven and a literal hell. Where people wind up has to do with whether they put their faith in Jesus. We believe salvation is based on faith not on good works. So where the Bible gives clarity, we teach it; where it’s silent or vague, I don’t try to fill in the blanks. But I don’t believe the Bible is vague about heaven and hell.