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A pimp stands between a prostitute and Jesus

Stephen Phelan and family
Stephen Phelan and family
Place

Bridge Church

4474 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

Membership: 250

Pastor: Stephen Phelan

Age: 40

Born: Montgomery, AL

Formation: University of Virginia & University of Virginia Law School, Charlottesville, VA; Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL.

Years Ordained: 10

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PP: I was en route to law school and Jesus revealed to me how I’m wired and put together. It was more as a pastor who is planting churches that are deeply concerned with the work of justice in the world than as a lawyer on a church-planting team. So, we went to seminary and started planting churches….

SDR: Do you see parallels between the legal profession and the sacred work you’re doing now?

PP: In law you have an authoritative text in the U.S. Constitution that you are applying to various factual situations in life. In theology, you just switch the text. The authoritative text of the Bible is likewise applied to situations in life.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PP: Our mission is to renew the binational city of San Diego–Tijuana spiritually, socially, and culturally through Jesus Christ. Our mission isn’t just about one great church but about a great city in and through Jesus Christ, and if we shoot for that, we believe many great churches will follow.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PP: At a gas station in City Heights across from Hoover High School. A prostitute, not knowing who I was, said, “Hi, I’m a prostitute. Are you interested?” I responded, “Hi, I’m a pastor.” She looked down immediately in shame and when she did, I said, “Yes, I am actually interested in you knowing one thing — that Jesus Christ loves you.” When I said that, she began weeping uncontrollably and said, “I used to know that when I was a little girl. But men have been so mean to me ever since that I forgot that.” She then said, “Today is my 35th birthday and you are the first man who has ever been kind to me.” As she left, I knew Mother Teresa was right when she said, “In the poor, we encounter Jesus in his most distressing disguise.” I bumped into her a couple more times and so did some other people in our church. We continue to share the same message with her, and up until this point, she is continuing to say that she wants to come to Jesus but she also said she’s scared about what her pimp will do to her if she leaves him. So, we’re just going to continue to pray for her. We are actively seeking to give her ways out through a ministry we’re connected with called Generate Hope who are ministers to women in these situations.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PP: Heaven or hell. I think Luke 16 is pretty clear on this and I believe C.S. Lewis gets it right in summarizing the Bible on this topic when he says there are only two kinds of people in the end — those who say to God , “Thy will be done,” and those who say in the end, “My will be done.” C.S. Lewis winds up saying that all who are in hell choose it and then he says that without that self-choice, there really could be no hell. He ends up quoting Jesus where he says, “Those who seek, find; and those who knock, the door is opened.”

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Stephen Phelan and family
Stephen Phelan and family
Place

Bridge Church

4474 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego

Membership: 250

Pastor: Stephen Phelan

Age: 40

Born: Montgomery, AL

Formation: University of Virginia & University of Virginia Law School, Charlottesville, VA; Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL.

Years Ordained: 10

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PP: I was en route to law school and Jesus revealed to me how I’m wired and put together. It was more as a pastor who is planting churches that are deeply concerned with the work of justice in the world than as a lawyer on a church-planting team. So, we went to seminary and started planting churches….

SDR: Do you see parallels between the legal profession and the sacred work you’re doing now?

PP: In law you have an authoritative text in the U.S. Constitution that you are applying to various factual situations in life. In theology, you just switch the text. The authoritative text of the Bible is likewise applied to situations in life.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PP: Our mission is to renew the binational city of San Diego–Tijuana spiritually, socially, and culturally through Jesus Christ. Our mission isn’t just about one great church but about a great city in and through Jesus Christ, and if we shoot for that, we believe many great churches will follow.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PP: At a gas station in City Heights across from Hoover High School. A prostitute, not knowing who I was, said, “Hi, I’m a prostitute. Are you interested?” I responded, “Hi, I’m a pastor.” She looked down immediately in shame and when she did, I said, “Yes, I am actually interested in you knowing one thing — that Jesus Christ loves you.” When I said that, she began weeping uncontrollably and said, “I used to know that when I was a little girl. But men have been so mean to me ever since that I forgot that.” She then said, “Today is my 35th birthday and you are the first man who has ever been kind to me.” As she left, I knew Mother Teresa was right when she said, “In the poor, we encounter Jesus in his most distressing disguise.” I bumped into her a couple more times and so did some other people in our church. We continue to share the same message with her, and up until this point, she is continuing to say that she wants to come to Jesus but she also said she’s scared about what her pimp will do to her if she leaves him. So, we’re just going to continue to pray for her. We are actively seeking to give her ways out through a ministry we’re connected with called Generate Hope who are ministers to women in these situations.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PP: Heaven or hell. I think Luke 16 is pretty clear on this and I believe C.S. Lewis gets it right in summarizing the Bible on this topic when he says there are only two kinds of people in the end — those who say to God , “Thy will be done,” and those who say in the end, “My will be done.” C.S. Lewis winds up saying that all who are in hell choose it and then he says that without that self-choice, there really could be no hell. He ends up quoting Jesus where he says, “Those who seek, find; and those who knock, the door is opened.”

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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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