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The Advent of the Messiah

“And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God,the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6b) Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.  We can speak of the advent of a president, the advent of the internet or any number of events.  In the Christian tradition, we celebrate the coming, or second coming, of Jesus Christ during the Advent season, which begins four Sundays before Christmas.  This year, the first Sunday of Advent…

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant.

“The master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant…’” Matthew 25:21a When I first arrived at FPCSA, I often said, “The church gave me several gifts.”  I was speaking, of course, of the staff that was in place at that time; in particular, I was referring to Marcia Griffin, Marion Heatherington, Mary Lee, Paul McNeff, and Dick Williams.  Each of these individuals brought particular gifts and talents to their work, but mostly they brought hearts filled with love,…

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!!!

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’”  Psalm 122:1 Michael Buffer has made a name for himself by calling out the phrase, “Let’s get ready to rumbl-l-l-le!!!”  And as we come into July, I feel like Michael could do his signature phrase as a call to worship.  Can you imagine Sunday worship starting with, “Let’s get ready to rumbl-l-l-le!!!”?  Ha ha hahhh!  Probably not.  But sometimes I wonder if we…

Celebrating Women in the Church

[The woman of noble character] who can find?  She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue… Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. from Proverbs 31 I remember a few years…

Abundantly

“[Jesus answered] ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b) Jesus warns, “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy.”  But then He continues, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)  As we’ve been going through our sermon series – American Idols: Reclaiming Our Intimacy with God – we’ve discussed various forms of idolatry in our lives.  Some are obvious, others are more subtle.  At the core, idols…

In God’s Time

“Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently before Him.” (Psalm 37:7a) On one of my trips to Moloka’i, Hawaii, with the Laguna Presbyterian Church youth group mission trip, I met a couple of students who told me they were brothers.  They looked nothing alike.  I asked which was older.  The taller boy said, “I am… by 5 months.”  I saw what was going on; I wasn’t born yesterday.  I was the guest speaker on this trip, and these boys…

American Idols

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21) The final verse of the Apostle John’s epistle has always fascinated me: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”  After a letter discussing God’s love and forgiveness, God’s light and truth, and our assurance of faith, the Apostle John ends his letter with this short phrase: “keep yourselves from idols.  It just seems so off-the-wall, like it’s out of left field, and such a weird way to end a letter.  No blessing.…

We’re Seeking to be Intergenerational, Too!

“One generation shall commend Your works to the next, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4 Our Mission Statement says: Celebrating that which unifies us and that which makes us unique, we are intentionally building an intercultural, intergenerational community of faith in Jesus Christ that cares for, and serves, one another and our city. We are seeking to be intentionally intercultural and intergenerational.  Remember, there is a big difference between the prefix “multi-” and the prefix “inter-”.  In multi-ethnic/multigenerational…

Connection | The Underground

As I approach the one month anniversary of coming on as interim youth director here at FPCSA and being able to talk with parents, students and church staff it’s exciting to see the vision starting to take shape. Connection. That’s the one word vision. We connect with Jesus. Through participation in Sunday service in English or Spanish, through devotionals and in collaboration with family the Underground is helping students find way to connect with Jesus. Students and their families are…

Del Prado

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) For those who have been at the church for a while, you’ve probably heard some whisperings about “Del Prado.”  It might sound a bit like El Dorado, the mythical city of gold in the mountains of South American, or the ever-elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So what even is…

The Friendliness Factor

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:8f ESV) It seems there’s a lot of anger in the world nowadays.  The FAA reports that there have been more than 4,000 complaints from airlines of aggressive behavior onboard flights in 2021.  People on freeways seem to be driving faster, more recklessly, and reports of road rage are up.  I’ve witnessed several examples of road rage…

Knowing God / Knowing Ourselves

“Bless the LORD, O my soul.  O LORD my God, You are very great.  You are clothed with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment.” Psalm 104:1f Many years ago, I did a sermon series on the attributes of God.  I keyed off A. W. Tozer’s book, “The Knowledge of the Holy.”  Some of God’s attributes come quickly to our minds: sovereign, almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and infinite; others come a little slower: self-existent, self-sufficient, immutable,…

A Blank Slate

[After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples returned to Jerusalem]“These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer…”  Acts 1:14a  In his book, The Post-Quarantine Church, Thom S. Rainer writes, “What did they (the early church) do when they didn’t know what to do? They prayed. The Bible indicates that the prayers of the early church were powerful because the people were of one mind: ‘They all met together and were constantly united in prayer.’ They didn’t know what else…