Pastor's Blog

September 28, 2018

My oldest daughter has an acronym that’s popular with her generation – FOMO.  Fear of Missing Out.  She is loving her college experience, and she doesn’t want to miss a single opportunity to go on an adventure or experience something new, aside from going to class!  I think there’s an equal and opposite kind of fear that’s also understandable in our day, and that’s FOJU.  Fear of Joining Up.  Fear of becoming a member.  When we hear the word “member” we think of something that may limit our options, not open them up.  We think of a Costco card, or a gym membership, or a timeshare contract we can’t get out of.  But “membership” in its original usage was never about belonging to a club, or signing an unbreakable contract.  Many are surprised to discover that the word “member” comes from the New Testament where we read: “Now you are the Bodyof Christ, and individually membersof it” (1 Cor. 12:27).  In other words, becoming a “member” refers to one’s part in a living organism, the spiritua...

September 16, 2018

As Hurricane Florence begins to pound the east coast today with 100+ mph winds, I am writing in the comfort of my office, 3000 miles away, with nothing but the sound of traffic whizzing by my window.  Should I care?  We Californians have yet to feel the destructive power of a hurricane, so it can be hard to relate to it.  When the World Trade Center was attacked 17 years ago, I was horrified like everyone else at the images on my TV screen…but it was not until I traveled to the site of the devastation on a Youth  Mission Trip and saw the massive memorial site that I was able to grasp the scope of the destruction and suffering.  Sure, it is “only human” to think of ourselves and those closest to us, but it is a sign of our true humanity when we can concern ourselves with those whose lives do not directly impact our own… whether it be a homeless encampment under the Venice/Sepulveda bridge, a family that fled their home in North Carolina this week, or a person of a different race or back...

September 8, 2018

A group of visiting scholars from China was sitting around a table with me tonight, sharing their thoughts about friendship.  We had just finished a meal together, and the topic of conversation was “Friends and how to make them.”  We talked about the definition of friendship, and what makes a good friend.  Some of us had friends that went all the way back to childhood.  Others had made deep friendships that began in college.  Still others had met a lifelong friend and partner with whom they planned to share the rest of their lives.  As we talked about friendship, we also recognized and agreed that friends share common values and common dreams.  

As we finished our discussion, we had the opportunity to read Jesus’ words in John 15: 12-16 :

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  I do not call...

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