Pastor's Blog

December 23, 2017

One of the most treasured parts of our church community is its global flavor.   There are at least 15 different nationalities represented at St. John’s, an amazing variety of peoples that mirrors the boundary-crossing mission of Jesus himself.   Just three miles from Nazareth where Jesus drew up, there was a major crossroads through which people from all over the world passed.  There, Jesus experienced firsthand what was often called “Galilee of the Nations” (Isaiah 9:1).  It’s something to keep in mind when reading about Jesus’ ministry to individuals like the Samaritan woman who he befriended as a Jew despite the centuries of animosity between them (John 4).  Then there was Jesus’ commendation of a Roman soldier’s faith who boldly trusted his power to heal (Matt. 8), and his compassion for the daughter of a Canaanite woman (Matt. 15).  Jesus welcomed the curious and the critics and, being no respecter of persons, he spoke with kings and lepers and little children alike.  All to say t...

December 16, 2017

This has been a week of unexpected sadness at St. John’s. Monday morning I received a call from long time members of our church family, Frank and Bobbi Allen, informing me that their grandson, who has lived with them for many years, had died in his sleep. Jeremy McKinney Allen was well known to many of us, he was a member of our youth group under the leadership of Scott & Mel Bomar, he had many long-time friends at St. John’s, and several like me had just wished him a happy 30th birthday. Like you, I felt shock and deep sadness that someone so young was taken from us. We will be having a funeral service for Jeremy at Forest Home, Hollywood Hills on Thursday, December 21st at 2:30pm.

The death of a family member or close friend is something we are never prepared for, but especially during a joyous season like Christmas. Earlier this week we also heard news reports of the death of a young firefighter who was taken by the massive Thompson fire that continues to burn this weekend, and that...

December 9, 2017

An old friend called me this week asking what I thought about the current administration’s plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Before I answered I told him that my experience in the Holy Land brought me into touch with Jews and Palestinians alike, and that I found people of good will on both sides.  Sadly, it is the peacemakers - like Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin - who have often paid the highest price: both men were assassinated by extreme factions among their own people. The key to understanding the current conflict and the struggle over Jerusalem is that Jews and Arabs have both been pushed around for centuries, and at times treated cruelly and deceitfully. The Jews look back to the destruction and occupation of their lands by a series of empires...Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman...and in more recent times, the ghettos, the pogroms and the holocaust. The Arabs/Palestinians look back to their oppression under the Ottoman...

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11000 National Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90064

(310) 477-2513