Showing posts from 2011

Christmas Celebration

Friday Amy and I rode our bikes to Del Mar, then walked on the beach. The sky was clear, the tide was out, and people were walking along as if it were the fourth of July. 

As we walked we saw our long shadows on the sand. As if were on stilts, our images were stretched in front of us.

It's a great picture of Christmas time: sometimes we are stretched too thin, not enough of us to go around. But our worship celebrations were awesome; worship band, children's choirs, candle readers, chancel choir, carol singing, and messages in song and word of Jesus' birth. I love this time of year. It's worth the effort to provide a time of celebration for the church family, their friends and family and our community. 

It's also a great picture of the New Year: thinking of how our lives reach into 2012, anticipating the birth of our grandchild, having two married sons, continuing to grow and experience ministry and life here in Solana Beach. 

This prayer from Northumbria ties together …

Waiting and Watching

Advent is a time of watching and waiting. Paying attention and being patient help us to see the beauty of a moment that otherwise would have been missed.

Yesterday Amy and I walked on the beach and saw a dark, stormy sky. As we walked the sky changed: just a hint of color below the clouds, a flicker of light on the horizon, then a fiery ball, and then a full blown firestorm of light. We stood there amazed along with others along the beach.

If Advent is a time of watching and waiting, what might we see if we stop and look? If we pay attention to what God was doing in the midst of our ordinary walking, celebrating, decorating, or worshipping during the season?
Below is a prayer that asks for God's blessing as we watch and wait for the coming of Jesus, the light of the world. 

God of the watching ones, give us your benediction.
God of the waiting ones, give us Your good word for our souls.
God of the watching ones,  the waiting ones, the slow and suffering ones, give us your benediction, Your …

Becoming Neighbors

This is a letter from a couple in our church who had a "life changing experience" during our ten week message series I preached through Luke 10:1-12 entitled Sent Together.

"Steve and I have been in a place of transition in our housing situation since 2005. It has been a long, drawn out painful period of time. After being homeowners for over 30 years, we found it necessary to rent for the past 3 years since coming to the San Diego area and have been anxiously awaiting the time when we could feel settled again and find and purchase a home again and stay put and to leave the feeling of things being "temporary" behind once and for all.  
We are currently living in a very small condo/apartment and thought originally that we would be here for only 4 months.  Four months turned into 18 months very quickly.  Apartment living has it's challenges and I must admit that we had not connected with anyone living around us and have done like everyone else here. We'd co…


May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

May the Peace of the Lord Christ go with you wherever he may send you. May he guide you through the wilderness and protect you through the storm. May he bring you home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you. May he bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors. Northumbria Community Morning Prayer

The LORD bless you
    and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you 
   and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
   and give you peace. Exodus 6:24-26

Receive the blessing of God the Father Almighty who created us in love, that we might be for the praise of his glory; the blessing of God the Son, who died for us and rose again that we might have life abundant and life eternal; and the blessing of God the Spirit who goes with us to encourage and equ…

Healing Presence

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
Henri J.M. Nouwen,The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

Community Serve Day

View more videos at: Community Serve Day was a great Sunday of worship... worship by offering ourselves in service (Romans 12:1). How do you measure the day? By numbers: somewhere between 1300 and 1400 preschoolers, children, students, adults served in 80 locations all over San Diego County. By the stories: there are so many to tell. Those whose imaginations created the site as a place where the love of God could be tangibly demonstrated; the site leaders who prayed for workers, even till the last minute and saw people come together in new ways; the participants who "bought in" to the idea that we'd have no worship services in the sanctuary, only opportunities to serve; the organizations, people, families who welcomed us into their world; the bypassers who saw green shirts and asked questions. 

I started out on our church campus hosting Steve Luke from KNSD. He worked with us two years ago on our first CSD. I love the opportunity to tell our story …

The Church as a Living Bridge

Each week in worship we bless our children.  First through sixth graders sit with parents or a trusted adult for the first 25 minutes of worship, then are dismissed with a pastoral blessing. We raise a hand or place a hand of blessing on "our" children as a way of physically extending ourselves to them. 

Last Sunday we baptized an infant. The couple professed their own faith in Jesus and committed themselves to raise their daughter in an environment where she might one day profess her own faith in Jesus. The congregation likewise committed ourselves to  come alongside the parents and the child. I've said before, "'Their' children become 'our' children."

We want to be a place where children see their parents and other adults worship God, serve the world, meet together and love each other. We want them to have an experience of the church in organized and organic ways. Our hope is that one generation would "commend the works of God to the next&q…

911 Prayer

Ten years ago on September 11th terrorist attacks killed almost 3000: ·246 people on the four planes that landed in Pennsylvania, The Pentagon, and the World Trade Center. ·2606 in New York City in the Twin Towers and on the ground 125 at the Pentagon, 55 of which were military personnel  and 411 emergency workers who responded to the scene, including 342 firefighters, 10 paramedics, 23 NYC police officers and 37 Port Authority officers. All American citizens except for 236 from more than 90 other countries.
These are the numbers of those who died on 9/11, but the impact of 9/11 goes on. 

·-Families who lost loved ones ·-Military who have been service and many who have died serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan ·-We have all been affected by increased security and the underlying threat of future attacks. ·-The world has changed in so many ways. 

We all have our stories and memories of 9/11. We remember where we were, and many of us lost loved ones or friends, or were impacted some way…


"I find Thee enthroned in my heart, my Lord Jesus. It is enough. I know that Thou art throned in heaven. My heart and heaven are one." Alistair Maclean (Day 8 Meditation from Celtic Daily Prayer)

Last Sunday the message text was Revelation 5. Billy Jack did a great job unpacking the first century historical context behind the imagery of John's revelation. The lamb who was slain (crucified) and standing (risen) is on the throne (not Emperor Domitian) and holds the scrolls (which determines the course of history, and the fate of all).

And the choirs sing to the lamb (not Domitian) a "new song"

   “You are worthy to take the scroll
   and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
   and with your blood you purchased for God
   members of every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
   and they will reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upo…

KidsGames: Building God's Kingdom in Solana Beach and Ghana

Today we washed cars and sold baked goods to raise over $7000 for Emmanuel's school in Ghana for disabled and abled kids. Ten percent of Ghana's population is disabled, and most are destined for begging on the streets. 

That's what Emmanuel's fate would have been, if not for his mother's words to him, "You will not beg, God has a purpose for you." Not only has Emmanuel not begged (his story is told in the DVD "Emmanuel's Gift") but he has become a challenged triathlete and has created a foundation to help kids in his home country. 

KidsGames is learning about his foundation and the school we are raising money for. Emmanuel's dream is to have disabled and abled kids in the same school so kids are "mainstreamed" from the beginning. 

700 preschoolers to sixth graders are participating in KidsGames at SBPC, which includes a "sport" (basketball to slot cars to scrapbooking), a compassion project (Emmanuel's school) and a …

God is present. God is at work. God is making all things new.

This weekend Amy and I are in Calaveras County, in the small town of Murphys, to celebrate Kendra and Keith's wedding. We are privileged to be a part of another chapter in Kendra's life.
We met Kendra in 1990--she was 15 years old and part of our church senior high fellowship. Amy led her small group. We saw her graduate from high school and college, be in love, marry and have children. We also saw her walk through a year of her husband's cancer and eventually his death. We flew back from sabbatical a year ago to be with Kendra and to lead his service.
We prayed for Kendra, along with hundred, maybe thousands, who knew her and wondered what life would be like with  10 year old twins and a 12 year old daughter. God has answered those prayers in so many ways. Not in a magical make-everything-all-right king of  way, but in the hard work of grief, conversations, tears and struggle. 
In the midst of this chapter of her journey she met Keith--a single dad who had never married. Bec…
We may ignore,
but we can nowhere evade,
the presence of God.
The world is crowded with Him.
He walks everywhere incognito.
And the incognito is not always
hard to penetrate.
The real labor is to attend.
In fact, to come awake.
Still more, to remain awake.

C. S. Lewis

Psalm 23

A shepherd calls I listen I recognize I follow
A shepherd leads I am protected I am supplied I have all I need
A shepherd lays down his life I am rescued I am included I am resting
This shepherd is my shepherd I am known I am saved I am blessed
He is lord He is good

Three Marathons: Part Two

Last post was a brief recap of the three marathons I ran in nine months (December 88 to September 89) and training while our boys were 12 to 24 months old.

The Los Angeles Marathon in April 1989 was a learning experience. I learned that you can beat your previous time if you (a) run the whole way instead of walk and (b) break through the inevitable wall and finish the race.

The marathon starts at the Coliseum and takes you through LA neighborhoods: China Town, Korea Town, Japan Town, Hollywood, and back to the Coliseum. There were so many people on Figueroa that it took me 10 minutes just to cross the start line. And with so many people it's easy to start out too slow and then set a pace that is way too fast.

But the thing that surprised me most was the wall that I hit at mile 21. I felt it coming and didn't want to finish. My hips were aching, my feet were dying, but I wanted to finish the race at the Coliseum. My brother Pat recorded the marathon from one of the local stat…

Three Marathons in Nine Months: A True Story

I was thinking back to 1988, a very significant year in my life. That summer Amy and I decided to train for the Honolulu Marathon with some people from our congregation in Glendale. This was not intended to be a competitive marathon, but a friendly marathon with about 20 who wanted to get off their sedentary rears and get in shape.
The Honolulu Marathon was started by two cardiologists who wanted to test their theory that post-op heart patients could train for a marathon within a year of surgery if they trained slowly and methodically. So we trained for about six months, following a  strict schedule that increased our endurance and joining each other on Saturday mornings for group runs. 
The challenge for us was we had year old twins. Amy would feed them and get them ready for bed so that when I got home from work we would run with the boys in the twin jogging stroller. Amazingly they fell asleep as we ran, we'd put them to bed and enjoy our post-run dinner. 
We made it to Honolulu …