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First Lutheran Church Vista

Ramon Zarate
Ramon Zarate
Place

First Lutheran Church

1410 Foothill Drive, Vista

Membership: 500

Pastor: Ramon Zarate (senior pastor: Steven Awbrey)

Age: 37

Born: Manzanillo, Mexico

Formation: MiraCosta College, Oceanside; Pacifica Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Ramon Zarate: As a Lutheran, I like the theme of being saved by grace. It was important at one point in my life — and now, of course, but when it made sense for the first time, it opened my eyes to be able to see God’s love. I refer to the core Bible scripture that we refer to when we talk about grace, Ephesians 2:8 [“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”] Even for Martin Luther, when he discovered that passage, it was eye-opening for him as well. In his understanding he added one more word —faith “alone.” There’s nothing else that gives salvation to us other than the grace and love of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PZ: There is a time in your faith when you start figuring it out that God is calling you to do something special; in my case, to be a pastor and serve as Jesus’ disciple. At some point in my life there was a revelation and I came to say, “Oh! This is what God wants me to do!” When I was in college, my major was in business administration, which in my understanding had nothing to do with religion, church, or God. But somehow all that training and preparation I did as a business administrator helped me to do a better job in what I’m doing now. So I went from that to becoming a pastor. At one point in my life I felt in my heart that God was calling me to serve him. When I listen to the voice and let the Holy Spirit guide me, God opened every door that needed to be opened for me to become a pastor.

SDR: Where do we go when we die?

PZ: We go to heaven. According to the Bible, Jesus went to prepare a place for everyone. As far as I understand, there is a place for everyone out there. The gift from God is that we’re saved through our faith in Jesus and go into the presence of God. The Bible says that we go to heaven when we believe in Jesus as our God, and that those who believe will be in paradise. As far as who goes to heaven and who goes to what you call hell — that’s up to God to decide. Do all people go to heaven? Yes! Simply, because we are God’s children. According to the Bible, if you believe in Jesus Christ, you go to heaven. But it is a question that is tough. As Lutherans, we don’t preach so much on the theme of hell and who goes there. We preach the love of God and of each other. God sent his son Jesus so no one will perish. Once Jesus comes into our lives and changes our hearts, hell, the devil, and things like that don’t really concern us. If God is with us, no one can be against us.

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Ramon Zarate
Ramon Zarate
Place

First Lutheran Church

1410 Foothill Drive, Vista

Membership: 500

Pastor: Ramon Zarate (senior pastor: Steven Awbrey)

Age: 37

Born: Manzanillo, Mexico

Formation: MiraCosta College, Oceanside; Pacifica Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Ramon Zarate: As a Lutheran, I like the theme of being saved by grace. It was important at one point in my life — and now, of course, but when it made sense for the first time, it opened my eyes to be able to see God’s love. I refer to the core Bible scripture that we refer to when we talk about grace, Ephesians 2:8 [“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”] Even for Martin Luther, when he discovered that passage, it was eye-opening for him as well. In his understanding he added one more word —faith “alone.” There’s nothing else that gives salvation to us other than the grace and love of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PZ: There is a time in your faith when you start figuring it out that God is calling you to do something special; in my case, to be a pastor and serve as Jesus’ disciple. At some point in my life there was a revelation and I came to say, “Oh! This is what God wants me to do!” When I was in college, my major was in business administration, which in my understanding had nothing to do with religion, church, or God. But somehow all that training and preparation I did as a business administrator helped me to do a better job in what I’m doing now. So I went from that to becoming a pastor. At one point in my life I felt in my heart that God was calling me to serve him. When I listen to the voice and let the Holy Spirit guide me, God opened every door that needed to be opened for me to become a pastor.

SDR: Where do we go when we die?

PZ: We go to heaven. According to the Bible, Jesus went to prepare a place for everyone. As far as I understand, there is a place for everyone out there. The gift from God is that we’re saved through our faith in Jesus and go into the presence of God. The Bible says that we go to heaven when we believe in Jesus as our God, and that those who believe will be in paradise. As far as who goes to heaven and who goes to what you call hell — that’s up to God to decide. Do all people go to heaven? Yes! Simply, because we are God’s children. According to the Bible, if you believe in Jesus Christ, you go to heaven. But it is a question that is tough. As Lutherans, we don’t preach so much on the theme of hell and who goes there. We preach the love of God and of each other. God sent his son Jesus so no one will perish. Once Jesus comes into our lives and changes our hearts, hell, the devil, and things like that don’t really concern us. If God is with us, no one can be against us.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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