Pastor's Blog

April 22, 2017

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain introduces us to “Miss Watson,” a Christian spinster who thinks Huck Finn is spending too much time going on adventures, wearing ragged clothes, slouching in his chair, and having entirely too much fun.  So she tells him all about the bad place, and why he should try for the good place.

“She went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn't think much of it.”

Some of us have difficulty “wanting the good place.”  We’re quite happy living right here, and thinking about heaven seems more like an escape from reality and not a very good place to be. Yet what if looking forward to heaven is more than escapism or wishful thinking, but what we were born to do?

Much of the descriptive language about heaven in the Bible is figurative because it speaks of an experience beyond words.  When we read about streets paved with gold, we s...

April 14, 2017

This week we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death, and the gift of eternal life in Christ.  Most of us have trouble wanting heaven, because we haven’t been trained to recognize the desire for heaven that is present in each one of us.  I’m talking about our unfulfilled longings and desires.  Do you remember the sweet smell of summer on the last day of school? The joy of graduation day, or waking up on Christmas morning?  A walk through a towering redwood forest, or standing before a dramatic ocean sunset?  The exhilaration of crossing the finish line in a hard fought race, the tears down your cheeks as you saw your bride walk down the aisle?  The satisfaction of a job well done, or the memories of a faraway country?

These are the moments we say to ourselves, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”   And yet the perfect happiness these sweet moments offered us were fleeting and temporary. They flew away…and as much as we wanted to go with them, we could not.  C. S. Lewis...

April 8, 2017

Have you ever considered the fact that Jesus not only cared for others in their suffering, as when he grieved with Mary and Martha at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11), but that he was comforted in his own suffering?  I’m thinking of the woman who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet, wiping them with her hair.  Jesus says that this act of love was done in view of his imminent suffering (John 12: 2-8).  Then again, Jesus specifically invited his friends to be with him as he fervently prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest.  Why? Because he desired their prayers and presence.  After his crucifixion, we are told that Mary and John and other women came to the cross to be with Jesus as he suffered (John 19:25).  This was their privilege to be with him, and his comfort.  Paul says that God “consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction” (2 Corinthians 1: 4).  The gospels are filled with invitations to serve and show compassion toward...

April 1, 2017

Last weekend, my family joined an energetic St. John’s team led by Kendelle Milton down to Tijuana for a house-building mission with Amor Ministries.  It was an inspiring three days from beginning to end; and I want to encourage you to attend worship on April 9th, Passion Sunday when we will be sharing slides and testimonies from the experience.  

The last time I was in Baja, I was leading a group of young adults from Glendale Presbyterian Church, including my future fiancé!  So I was looking forward to this weekend, and can testify that it re-grounded me in the healing role of the church, and the core message of the gospel – the abundance of God’s grace and love, offered to us in Jesus.  I will never forget the family’s warm greetings and the pozole – a delicious hominy and chicken soup that Maricela, the mother had prepared for us.  They were living in a house much smaller than an average bedroom; and where they slept I have no idea.  I’m happy to say, however, that with St....

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