Ministry

Ministry

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,…

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,…

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…

The Post-Quarantine Church

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24f I love that insurance commercial where a millennial couple is stuck on the side of the road with their car, and one of them says, “Most likely, it’s out of gas, but what if we just unplug…

March 2021 Pastor’s Page

“CONVERSATIONS WITH JESUS” [Jesus said] “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 At its last meeting, the Board of Elders (session) responded to three questions. 1) “What attracted you to FPCSA?” There were quite a few responses, from “we were looking for a Presbyterian Church” to “we came here quite by accident.”  One person mentioned they were looking for a…

February 2021 Pastor’s Page

“Honoring Black History” “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul.” Acts 13:1 There seems to be a “National Day” for everything nowadays.  Check these out: dogs (8/26), cats (10/29), tacos (10/4), licorice (4/12), friendship (7/30), mushrooms (10/15), slugs (10/29), peanut butter (1/24), brothers (5/24), sisters (8/1), siblings (4/10), martinis (6/19), roller coasters (8/16), etc. etc.…

In All Circumstances, Give Thanks

Dear FPCSA Family & Friends,As is the case with all things in 2020, the Thanksgiving holiday will be different this year.  Even with all that is going on, I had planned to spend time with friends on Thanksgiving Day, eating in the backyard, socially distanced and practicing safe protocols.  But with the recent uptick in cases and the plea from health officials nationwide, we have changed our plans to stay home this weekend and order nice turkey dinners from Mimi’s Cafe in Tustin (thanks…

Pastor’s Letter Nov 2020

“In All Circumstances” “Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16ff) The national news this morning reported that cases of mental health concerns had risen to an alarming rate.  People are feeling isolated, abandoned, alone, uncared for, forgotten, neglected, unloved.  These mental health concerns were across the spectrum of age, with a strong rise in the number of young people affected.  At…

Trunk or Treat!

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS! Jesus said, “Let the children come unto Me… Whoever welcomes such a one as this in My name, welcomes Me.”At the end of the weekly zoom gathering with our children, Ms. Sandra always asks if there are any prayer requests.  Every week, one of our children asks to pray that we have a good Halloween this year.  Certainly, COVID-19 has struck us all this year, but it has been especially hard on our children.    So FPCSA is…

New Sermon Series

Dear FPCSA Family & Friends,Tomorrow we begin a new sermon series titled, “Recapturing the Way.”  In recent years, the Church in the USA has lost credibility, enthusiasm, and a sense of purpose.  We’ve lost our way!  How do we recapture the Way?  Tune in tomorrow at 10A on our FPCSA Facebook page as we begin to explore how we can recapture the Way.  Hope to “see” tomorrow in church!Soli Deo Gloria!

New Director of Youth Ministry!

Dear FPCSA Family & Friends, We are so excited to share with you all that we are hiring an interim Director of Youth Ministry: Nancy Galeana.  Nancy is an excellent choice for interim because she is known to our FPCSA family.  She was a member of the Santa Ana Hispanic Ministry on S. Main St.  She worked here at FPCSA in the late 1990s.  She’s attended special events here throughout the years.  Her sister, Norma, served as a youth leader for…

New series & Hispanic Ministry Growth

Dear FPCSA Family & Friends,Tomorrow is the first Sunday of the month!  Plan to have bread and cup ready to celebrate the Lord’s Supper during worship.  And if you have a birthday and/or anniversary in September, please write that down in the comments.  We start a new sermon mini-subseries, still connected to the Beyond These Walls theme: The 4 Pillars of the Church.  I’m really looking forward to digging into this topic. Six months ago, our Personnel Committee was interviewing candidates for the Director…

Farewell

Dear FPCSA Family & Friends,Last Sunday, Xander Montes met with parents and students to annouce that he was stepping down as Director of Youth Integration. While we are sad to hear this news, we are so grateful to God for Xander’s time here at FPCSA.  He’s had an amazing impact on our young people, our staff, and our church family.  He and Vanessa will be missed, but we send them forth in the grace and love of God.  Xander’s last Sunday will…

COVID Survey

Dear FPCSA Family & Friends,How are you holding up?  If you’re anything like me, this stay-at-home thing is getting old!  But the thing is, the CDC recommends staying at home until there is a three-week decline in hospitalizations from COVID-19.  And unfortunately, hospitalizations continue to go up in Orange County.  A few weeks ago, I was complaining that we were almost up to 200 hospitalizations.  Today we are at 394 in the hospital, 147 in ICU.  Nearly 400 hospitalizations.  Hospitalizations in our…

New Sermon Series

Dear FPCSA Family & Friends,“Re-Open Churches!”  We hear the battle cry from many here in our state.  But when people say this to me, I say, “The Church never closed.”  Yeah sure, the buildings are closed.  But the Church is so much more than a building made of brick and mortar, wood and stone.  The true Church is the body of believers who both gather together to worship and fellowship as well as go forth to proclaim the good news of…