Author Archive

July 23: The Earth Is God’s, Not Ours to Wreck

Posted on : Jul 20th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday we begin our summer worship series “Be the Church.” About a year ago the UCC came up with nine affirmations of what it means to be the church in the 21st century. As I’ve shared with you before, there is huge difference between going to church and being the church. In the next nine weeks we are going to focus on one of each of the UCC’s affirmations about what it means to be the church – the hands, feet, head, heart and compassion of Christ in our current context of ministry.

This week we begin with the first affirmation, “Protect the environment.”

For those of us who grew up attending Church School, many of us learned “memory verses” of scripture in our Sunday School class. One of the verses I was taught was the first verse of Psalm 24. “The earth is the Lord’s (we didn’t use inclusive language in those days!) and the fullness thereof.”

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July 16, 2017: “United We Stand….”

Posted on : Jul 13th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Genesis tells us of two sons, born of the same parents and carried together in the same womb, but separated by what we might call in today’s time “instant gratification.”

The reading from Matthew always reminds me of how often I tried to get California poppy seeds to grow and replenish themselves in our home that we lived in as a family for 38 years. Apparently the soil was too clay like. Perhaps it suffocated the seeds so that they could not grow. However, whenever I am out and about, I notice poppies growing out of small cracks in pavements and sidewalks.

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July 9, 2017: Why such fear and hate?

Posted on : Jul 6th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday we have a very special opportunity. Vicki Tamoush will be our guest preacher. Vicki was awarded the Orange County Human Relations award for her education and compassion with interfaith communities as we struggle to understand and find ways to act justly, particularly right now in Syria.

Many of us feel so helpless and depressed when we hear the news of Syrian refugees both in other countries and here in the US. The conflict in Syria sounds complex to us and the factions seem to change faster than we can learn about them. Most of the time we feel tempted to just turn our heads and look away because it’s almost too horrible to think about.

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July 2, 2017: Be Careful!

Posted on : Jun 29th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday we conclude our three Sunday focus on “what it takes” to be an authentic Christian in the 21st Century. Our theme this week is “Be Careful.” Those words are often used to mean “watch out!” or “be cautious.” But that is not the original meaning of those words.

Here is an example of the spiritual meaning of “being careful.” I have no idea who the author is. Someone gave it to me years ago. Kudos to whoever wrote it!

A mouse looked through a crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife opening a package; what food might it contain?

The mouse was aghast to discover that it was a mouse trap!

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June 25, 2017: Be YOU!

Posted on : Jun 22nd, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

When I was a kid, we had to get dressed up to go to church. In those days we had in our wardrobe what were known as “Sunday clothes.” When we went to church – even as little kids – it was expected that we would wear our “Sunday best.” For boys that included dress slacks, a starched white shirt and tie and a suit jacket. During the summer we were able to shed the suit jacket.

I always thought this was a little crazy because one of the things all of us boys loved to do was to wean ourselves from our parent’s eye then crawl on the floor under the pews. I don’t know what it is about crawling under the pews, but kids of all ages love it. Even here on Sundays, you can often find our kids crawling on their stomachs under the pews. When you are younger, it is great fun. But, you also get dirty. And those white starched shirts we had to wear got dirty very quickly. Which means we all got told by our parents that crawling under the pews was inappropriate behavior in church!

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July 16, 2017: “Second Sunday” Bible Study

Posted on : Jun 15th, 2017 | By | Category: Special Events

Join us for our after-church Bible Study
each “second” Sunday of the month.
Next Class:
Sunday, July 16

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June 18, 2017: Be Strong!

Posted on : Jun 15th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

A few weeks ago, someone asked me what I thought it took to be a person of faith in today’s religious and political climate. I thought for a moment and said, “Be Strong. Be You. Be Careful.” A little later in that conversation I said, “I don’t think it’s much different today, than it was for the first Christians who followed Jesus.

The good folks who followed the Way (the Way of Jesus) found themselves between a rock and a hard place. The rock was a good portion of their ancestral Jewish community of faith that did not recognize Jesus as the long awaited “Messiah,” and the hard place was the Roman Empire, which was very skeptical of this itinerant preacher whom the masses called “King.”

The reality of our faith is that the beliefs, values and teachings of Jesus offended just about everyone in the mainstream establishment of both religion and the political order. Jesus was always speaking up for the poor, the marginalized, the powerless, those who were not valued by their community or culture, the sick, women, those who were differently-abled and those who restricted people’s access to God with rigid rules and too little grace.

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June 10, 2017: Special SATURDAY “Resistance” Service

Posted on : Jun 8th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This SATURDAY we have an exciting worship service. We will be worshipping on Saturday so everyone can participate in Sunday’s “Resistance March.” (There will be no service on Sunday. However, Sunday’s Resistance March will go right by the church as we march from LaBrea to Fairfax, so be sure to point out our church to those marching near you!)

The theme of our service will be “Spiritual Resistance.” I’ve chosen a passage from the writings of the Apostle Paul as our theme. That’s ironic, because it’s two of the Apostle Paul’s letters (Romans and I Corinthians) that are often quoted as the Biblical admonition against gays and lesbians.

Actually, I think Paul would love that we’re using his letter to the Ephesians as our Pride Service and Resistance to Evil theme.

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June 4, 2017: I don’t go to Church; I am the Church

Posted on : Jun 1st, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Several years ago, at a conference I attended, I saw the greatest slogan on a T-shirt. It read: “I don’t go to Church. I am the Church.”

Those words have stuck with me ever since.

This Sunday is the celebration of Pentecost. Penta, from which our word Pentagon is derived means five or in this case, fifty. It’s a celebration 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus. In and of itself the name doesn’t mean much. But in the history of the church, it’s a super high-powered day. It is the day in which we celebrate God’s giving the Holy Spirit to us.

The Holy Spirit is both the comforting presence of the Risen Christ and the power of God to change the world. In the book of Acts, the giving of the Holy Spirit is described as an experience in which people from every nation were gathered together and actually heard each other – understood each other – as children of one God, as one community of faith – even though they spoke different languages. Dear God, could we use that today!

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June 10, 2017: Special SATURDAY Worship Service

Posted on : May 25th, 2017 | By | Category: Special Events

Pride weekend is always special, but this year it’s even more special than usual! Instead of the traditional Pride Parade on Sunday morning in West Hollywood, there will be a RESIST MARCH in Hollywood on Sunday morning, June 11, 2017.

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