Pastor's Blog

May 26, 2016

The climate on the Westside is nothing to complain about.  We have remarkably temperate weather here in coastal Southern California – a climate cooled by the Pacific Ocean to the west and kept warm and dry by that vast desert to the east.   And though we don’t have a real winter here at sea level, we know that even snow is just a few hours away in our mile-high mountains.  So even here in temperate California, I am inspired by the changing seasons and find the rhythms of nature comforting.  And speaking of seasons, we have now entered that period of increasing daylight when the northern hemisphere turns its face toward the sun more directly.  Winter, such as it is, has passed.  Spring too is almost gone, school is almost out, and summer is on its way.


The book of Ecclesiastes says that “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  This Sunday we’re celebrating the beginning of a new season.  We’re calling...

May 18, 2016

Wikipedia defines Fellowship Hall as “a large room in a church building where certain activities take place, such as, dinners, breakfasts, meetings, workshops, etc.”  Did you know that our own Fellowship Hall was the original sanctuary long before the “new” sanctuary, completed in 1962, was even a dream?  So much living has happened in that building.  Imagine a time lapse camera placed up in the corner some 65 years ago that never stopped snapping pictures.  The resulting film would tell of unnumbered wedding vows, memorial receptions, youth group meetings and senior celebrations, Sunday classes and International Fellowship dinners, community gatherings and food packing events, Red Cross blood drives, VBS day camps and Christmas fairs, the prayers of a thousand elders and deacons, and ten thousand nursery school naps!  That camera would also tell of the inevitable wear and tear; the holes made by an over-zealous game of dodge ball, that leaky roof, and those clogged kitchen drains....

May 11, 2016

What our leaders were sharing at the February Leadership Retreat was a little surprising, even shocking in a way, but let me back up a little.  If you haven’t heard, St. John’s current goal is “to be a place where our discipling relationships inside the church help us to disciple people outside the church.”  For the past two years we’ve been encouraging each other to build relationships with folks outside the church, learn how to articulate our personal story of Christian faith, and share the gospel in a meaningful way.  That’s a tall order in a culture that encourages us to keep quiet about our faith.  Yet, many in our congregation reported that they were starting to form authentic friendships outside the church, and even had opportunities to share their faith in the super-natural course of conversation.  That’s something to celebrate!
But when our leaders gathered at Serra Retreat in Malibu we also heard something that could potentially derail this goal or energ...

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