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Showing posts from November, 2012

Radio Interview on KPRZ

This weekend is the Many Moods of Christmas at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church. I had the opportunity last Wednesday to be interviewed in the KPRZ studio by David Spoon of the David Spoon Experience to talk about Many Moods. He's a joyful, fun, energetic (he was drinking a Monster energy drink) and loves God. He gave me a chance to tell a little about our story as a church and my story as a pastor. It's in two parts on YouTube.

Many Moods of Christmas is a weekend of music that begins the Christmas season with the wonder and beauty and mystery of the season. Our chancel choir, children's choir, soloists and amazing orchestra present the message of Christmas with all their heart, mind, soul and strength. I'm looking forward to the community joining us in the sanctuary Saturday night, Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Monday evening. Tickets are online for $15 and $20.

Live interviews are crazy, especially with David. I wasn't quite sure what question he was…

A Week Later: Thankful Reflections on El Salvador

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Last night I taught the Alpha message, "How Does God Guide Us?" It's a great reminder that God uses "five c-s's" (commanding scripture, common sense, compelling spirit, counsel of saints and circumstantial signs), and that God is always drawing us into relationship with him as shepherd and sheep (he knows us, wants us to listen, and wants to lead us). He's as interested in what we become (followers) as he is what we do.

Which helped me process why I went to El Salvador ten days ago with twenty pastors* from San Diego, L.A., Santa Barbara and Hawaii, and staff from Compassion International just before Thanksgiving and right in the middle of our capital campaign to build a new children's ministry center, chapel and improved parking. 

We visited three projects which address child poverty from infants to college students. We had lunches in two homes of salvadoreanos whose lives are being changed because their children are being loved. 

We visited Hector…

Iglesia Bautista El Redentor Zacamil (Sunday)

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I've never felt more welcomed by strangers to worship and the table. 

IBERZ is a Compassion partner with child sponsorships, and several in our group were able to meet their children in person. The children learn entrepreneurial skills in craft making and financial management. 

The girls make crafts for parties, Christmas cards and decorated pens to sell. They presented to us their work, demonstrated their technique with confidence and poise. The signs on the wall said, "the student will learn basic skills of financial administration, a personal budget and a personal bank account" and "the student will learn to commit themselves to financial integrity and stewardship of all aspects of their personal finances and strive to be above reproach." We were welcomed into worship enthusiastically with handshakes, hugs and kisses, as well as popular worship songs led in English and Spanish.  

Pastor Pablo Figueroa preached from Luke 14:15 "happy are those who…

Santa Ana, El Salvador (Saturday)

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I took my seat next to mother Griselda and her two year-three month daughter Natali in the sanctuary of the 10,000 member Elim Church in Santa Ana, El Salvador. Together with our pastor group and dozens of women and their children we sang worship songs, then listened to the story of a former gang woman.

Eighteen months ago she came to Christ because her son was in the Compassion child survival program for infants and preschoolers. At first she couldn't participate in church because of her gang commitment, but through her son's involvement she learned to love him and grew spiritually. She urged the women it's never too late to seek the Lord.

Elim partners with Compassion to care for 1000 mothers and babies in 21 projects across El Salvador. The women learn crafts, hairstyling, and other skills as well as caring for their children. The women are given prenatal care and the children are monitored from birth to five years old in physical, spiritual, intellectual, and social de…

San Marcos, El Salvador (Friday)

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Today we visited a child development center supported by Compassion. Each project is a church because everything supports the ministry of a local church.

I was greeted by Karla with a sign with my name. She's 13 and has been sponsored for 8 years. Her friend Merlin and she danced with the group during the opening program.

The worship band was student led and sang in Spanish and English ("how great is our God"); there was a drama from 2 Samuel about Mephibosheth welcomed to the kings table and a reflection on the passage by a student.

We toured the different workshops which equip children with skills: computer, sewing backpacks which are sold to the other centers, mixing liquid soap, music, and English class where we played twister in English with the kids.

Lots of time to visit with the children and hear the story of Nelson, a gang member who eventually came to Christ because his daughter was being cared for by the church. I sat with him and two current gang members who a…

El Coco, El Salvador (Thursday)

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Yesterday 7 pastors and three Compassion International staff flew from Hawaii, Southern California and Colorado Springs to Houston and then on to San Salvador for a church leaders trip to discover how Compassion addresses children in poverty.

We had a great day visiting a project/church site with 213 children that was started 1 year 3 months ago. We were the first visitors to the site and we were all impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the pastor and staff.

The children greeted us with "Da me la mano" and a young girl escorted me into the assembly room and sat with me. The whole program was led by children leading other children and guest in singing.

Hugs are big. Few recieve affirmation or touch from parents. homes are mostly single moms. i met a mom who was so appreciative of the project where children get training in computer, basic subjects, and each has a file with their progress physically, emotionally/socially, intellectually and spiritually. 

We visited the …