Pastor's Blog

August 3, 2018

Our campus has been spiritually recharged this week as we welcomed and ministered to about 120 children during our annual Vacation Bible School.  The theme was “Shipwrecked” and Lisa and I had the chance to do a skit during each day’s opening ceremonies.  My character, “Jim Noland” explains to Lisa that a skydiving trip that went terribly wrong landed him on this deserted island. But now that he realizes that he’s not actually alone he’s euphoric.  Each day Lisa teaches him about Jesus’ rescuing power in the midst of life’s difficulties.  One day, there’s a loud bang and the sound of Jim yelling “Help!” as he stumbles on stage wrapped up in a fishing net, and looking ridiculous.  

“Jim, what on earth happened?” Lisa asks.  “Well, it’s that nosy, annoying, frustrating, crazy monkey! He keeps sneaking into my hut and stealing my food and taking my stuff!  So, I thought I’d build a trap and catch him with this fishing net.”  As he looks at himse...

September 16, 2017

Dallas Willard once observed that we all depend on relationships, what he termed “circles of sufficiency” for life: parent/child, extended family, community, world.  Genesis 2:18 tells us something we instinctively know is true: “It is not good that the man should be alone.”  God has created us to be in life-giving relationship – what we might call “circles of sufficiency” where we feel safe and cared for.    

Of course, the idea of a “circle of sufficiency” – a network of relationships where we always feel safe and cared for is extremely fragile.  We want our circles to be self-sufficient, but we know they are not.  When we reassure a child with the words, “Everything is going to be OK” we know we don’t have the power to make everything OK.  In fact, we ourselves depend on others to make things OK for us.  A child depends upon his mother and father to be OK.  A family depends on the larger family.  The larger family depends on even larger circles to make their own c...

September 2, 2017

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of suffering that is caused when natural disasters like Harvey overtake a major city.   As Hurricane Harvey passed over Houston, more than 40 are now reported dead and between 30,000 and 40,000 homes destroyed.  When I read about a 3-year-old girl found alive in a rain-swollen canal, clinging to the body of her drowned mother, my heart broke.  Even so, I never cease to wonder at the way such events bring out the best in human nature.  Here are seven examples….

#7 According to KABC, Dr. Stephen Kimmel guided his canoe through waist-high water for at least a mile to get to a Clear Lake-area hospital to perform surgery on a 16-year-old with a life-threatening condition.  "I thought if I can do it I certainly should" he said.

#6 A TV reporter helped rescue a truck driver from rising floods in the nick of time.  When Brandi Smith of KHOU news first spotted the stranded driver from a highway overpass, she voiced her concer...

August 19, 2017

This week many students are returning to local classrooms and college lecture halls.  I’ve got one heading back to Venice High School this week for her senior year, and she’s as excited as you can be after a relaxing vacation…minus the ridiculous amount of summer homework these kids get now.  My eldest is even more ready to get back to college.  She loves her new friends, and her teachers.  I have to say, even though I’ve put in plenty of years in school myself, there are times when I miss the life of a student. 

I've been thinking again this week of my own need for “remedial education.”  No I’m not going back for another degree. I couldn’t afford it!  But I do plan to spend significant time studying some books I did not read in college or graduate school.  Each February, a few longtime friends and I gather at Fuller Seminary to discuss and apply some good theology that we missed back in the day.  There is a lot to choose from, and that’s to be expected.  There will...

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11000 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

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