Ministry

Ministry

Healing Waters

Pastor’s Page November 2022 “Healing Waters” “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34 When I was a boy, I remember celebrating the “First Thanksgiving” at my elementary schools.  We would dress up in costumes and put on plays celebrating the hospitality of the indigenous people who welcomed the European immigrants.  I remember hoping to get to play the part of an “Indian” because in my boyish mind, I thought they were…

Pin reflections 2022

Igniting a Movement Since its inception, the Church has struggled with issues of race and inclusion, asking questions: Who’s in and who’s out?  Who has the power and who does not?  Who makes the decisions and who does not?  The 1960s raised many questions about race and reconciliation, civil rights and institutional segregation and discrimination.  These civil problems were magnified in a Church that was commissioned by Jesus to proclaim the gospel to all nations (ethnicities). I believe most pastors…

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…

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…

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…

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…