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Jesus comes at a particular time, in a particular place, and in the midst of a particular people to announce God’s Kingdom breakthrough. We will look at the significance of this as we seek to strengthen our knowledge and faith.

Tuesday Nights for 10 weeks-

6:30-8 pm
Beginning Sept. 10th

Cost: Free, including food!
– Cheese or Cheese & Pepperoni pizza
– Soft Drinks
– Dessert

Each session will be self-contained. Bring a Bible and notebook. Pastor Dana is leading these sessions, and they are open to everyone. Of course, they will be especially helpful if you are going on the Holy Land Trip in April 2020.

 

“If you love me you will do what I want you to do. You will do what makes me happy”.
Try raising your children this way…
Yet, this is the meaning of love for the vast majority of people today.
God has another way of looking at love…
“I will love you, and I will serve you by doing what is good for you, what is good according to the teachings of Jesus, whether you want it or not.”

Last week I met with Veronica Mendoza and her children Desma and Vincent in preparation for the kid’s baptism on Sunday. I talked about how God is present with us always and how the more we pay attention, the more we notice his presence. I shared my experience with asking God to show me where he was when I was at the LA Zoo (I have shared this story before here).

Last Sunday in my sermon, I also spoke of how God is with us in all arenas, including at work. Well, this week I am so encouraged as Veronica took these teachings immediately to heart.

Veronica works in construction and sent me this text message and photo.

“Good morning, Pastor. I thought you might appreciate this. I was praying on my way to work this morning and asked God to show me something and I got to work and found this.”

Jesus at work

Yep, God is everywhere, including right there on the job…Praise God for showing up at work!

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We will have prayer and blessing of all teachers@ worship this Sunday, 10 a.m. Starting the new school year knowing God is with you and your friends in Christ are supporting you and praying for you is a powerful testimony of community.

If you are a teacher/administrator/school staff, come and be blessed. If you know of any teachers, invite them, as well!

Last Sunday, we blessed preschool-graduate school students as they prepare for the new school year.

Here is the blessing:

Friends,

Jesus is the most brilliant person who ever walked the earth. He is the creator of everything that exists. Know that he walks with you into your classrooms, and he guides your learning as you open yourself to him and ask him in.

We your parents, grandparents and other adults love you and seek your good, praying for you and supporting you at this time in your journey of faith and life,

Preschool and Elementary students, we pray for you and ask for the blessing of Jesus-

Lay hands of blessings

We ask you, Lord Jesus, as our children begin a new school year, to bless them. Fill them with excitement as they think about all the adventures you have in store for them. Keep them safe and guide their learning. Help them to be examples of your love for their teachers and classmates. Help them always remember they belong to you.

And Lord Jesus, you choose teenagers and young adults to learn from you what you learned from the Father. You sent them out to bring God’s hope and blessing into their daily life with others who didn’t know your love, yet. Now our young people do the same. In our high schools, universities and beyond, most of the people they meet will not know of the hope they have in you. May our students of Jesus be a model of joy and confidence, especially for those you have specifically chosen them to individually reach with your good news and adventure of an amazing life with God.   

Amen.

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As we begin a new school year we take this time to bless our young people as they continue their learning in the schools they attend. We will take time in worship to bless and pray for students and their families.
Come join us and invite any friends who are students this year!

 

In a public discourse marked by lying and toxic shaming, it is refreshing to know God gives us the responsibility to bring sacred words into our relationships. We consider two key ways God uses us in this capacity:
1. God gives us sacred words to help others become more of whom God created them to be.
2. God gives us sacred words to give courage (“en-courage”) others.

When God is behind words, they bring healing and not hurt.

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Do Mass Murderers Have Anything Else in Common Other Than Murder?

With the recent mass murders in our nation, there are reactions that include this one expressed in a LA Times headline, “Two Massacres and No Answers”. As an absolute statement this headline is accurate. Each mass murderer is a unique human being who has choices as to how they to live their lives. We don’t know why people specifically choose to act as they do. We don’t have definitive answers. But we do know there are insights into these murderers, even some commonalities

The most obvious way a murderer will give us insight into what they did is by letting them tell us. They may leave a suicide note/ confession/ manifesto/social media evidence/ etc. This is certainly an insight toward “answers”.

Other than what the murderer’s say themselves, there are also key insights toward “answers” from a spiritual ands psychological dimension. From Sandy Hook to Columbine to the most recent cases, there are commonalities.

Spiritually, these murderers chose to not want God in their lives. None of them were committed followers of the ways of Jesus. Obviously, “love your neighbor” and “love your enemy” are not part of their experience.

Nihilism is the worldview of many of these murderers. Rejecting there is any meaning to life. Rejecting any religious or moral principles, except one. In many of these mass murders, the perpetrator has become a god unto themselves.  Most often these murderers exhibit the “unholy” trinity of behaviors Jesus and the Bible most often speak against. These three responses to life provide the recipe for pure evil: Arrogance, deceit, and resentment.

Arrogance- You are the god of your own universe.

Deceit- You tell yourself lies, deceiving yourself into thinking that you are the only one who is right. You live this deceit with those around you.

Resentment- Your conscious anger toward the world, perhaps your subconscious anger toward yourself, where all of this anger builds up into pure resentment and eventually contempt. Contempt is where you don’t consider other people as worthy of existence.

Psychologically, once again the unhealthy trinity of arrogance (“narcissism”) deception, and resentment. The best psychological insight I have received on this topic is from clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson. In his book, Twelve Rules for Life: An Antidote For Chaos Peterson speaks about the “why?” when it comes to the despicable behavior of mass murderers in his Rule #6, “Set you house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”

Rather than summarizing his insights, you can listen for yourself. I am including this recording of Peterson reading this chapter. Also, there is this interview clip, where Peterson gives a brief review.