Pastor's Blog

March 24, 2018

Over the past 40 days, many of us have gathered either in the sanctuary or in our own homes to worship and to pray for our city.  One of the things I have appreciated most about our Prayer Guide, “Seek God for the City,” is that it heightened my awareness of the varieties of peoples and circumstances that we encounter in a city like Los Angeles.  We prayed for sick people, and for those with disabilities; for intact families and for broken families; we prayed for the news media and for those who work in the entertainment industry; for marriages and for single people; we prayed for health care workers and for gang members, for prison inmates, and for the homeless; we prayed for children and and we prayed for the elderly; we prayed for government leaders, and for university students, for the military and for people in law enforcement; we prayed for the un-employed and for agricultural workers, for refugees, international visitors, and native peoples.  The multifaceted varieties of people...

March 17, 2018

There are times when it seems life is out of control, when it seems the universe is out of control.  Perhaps a close friend or family member dies, or we become ill.  Another terrible shooting is reported on the news. We lose a job, or can’t seem to find a job.  We run into financial trouble.  We have one of those weeks when nothing seems to go as we planned.  At times like that, life can seem unpredictable and arbitrary…and that’s why the doctrine of God’s providence is so important to our faith. 

The word “providence” comes from the Latin, providentia, to foresee or to attend to, and refers to God’s governance of nature and history, his divine will, foresight, protection, intervention, or predetermination.  Providence implies first that there is a God; and second that God sees the end from the beginning, that God is actively moving not just your life, but all of creation, toward a goal and an ultimate purpose.    

In our ultra-democratic age this idea of God’s providence, that God is in...

March 3, 2018

This week I spent some very rich time with some very old friends. Friends I have known since I was a student at UC San Diego.  Friends I have broken bread with for 37 years. Friends I continue to pray and study with, share my life with, and who have encouraged me in my years as a pastor.  These are friends who have shared joy and grief together. One has a Down's Syndrome child while her other son took his life five years ago.  Another had a father who died of substance abuse.  Another has a new granddaughter with a profound disability.  He recently stepped away from his pastoral ministry to focus on being part of what he calls “Team Nora”. He's giving his daughter and son-in-law everything he can as they persevere through this tremendous trial.  

For our study group this year we read the 1541 edition of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, one of the early editions of this major work in Reformed theology. He wrote the first 700 page edition when he was...

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