Author Archive

November 19: Give Thanks in All Circumstances

Posted on : Nov 16th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Every so often the Holy Spirit taps me on the shoulder and says, “Whoa! Look at that!” So it is with this wonderful admonition from the Apostle Paul to the young Christians in Thessalonica. For those who don’t know, Thessalonica is somewhere between Barstow and Las Vegas. Only joking. Today, Thessalonica is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of Macedonia. It was a very populated and wealthy city. In the 2nd century A.D. the historian Lucian mentions it as the greatest city of Macedonia. It was important, not only as a harbor with a large import and export trade, but also as the principal station on the great Via Egnatia, the highway from the Adriatic to the Aegean Seas.

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November 12, 2017: You Are TOO Generous!

Posted on : Nov 9th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

I love the scripture reading for this Sunday, Exodus 36:2-7, with its focus on the generosity of the people of Israel during the building of the Tabernacle. While there are many places in the Bible that refer to the requirement to tithe, i.e. giving 10 % of what you have to God, our lesson for Sunday emphasizes the fact that the people gave willingly and gladly so much so that Moses had to send word for the people to stop giving! Wouldn’t it be amazing if that’s the message churches had to send out to their members: “We’ve got more than we need. Stop giving!” Unfortunately, that’s not something we usually hear. Too often it’s more about how there is a shortfall in the budget or an emergency that requires more money. Our scripture lesson and the chapter before it, Exodus 35, states over and over that the people gave willingly according to how they were led and according to the gifts they were given. So it wasn’t just money they were offering – they were giving the things they had made: craftsmanship, beautiful woven cloth, carpentry work, their intelligence, design ideas, leadership abilities, and more. Their talents inspired them to such an extent that they wanted to give. For them, it was about so much more than just money. It is a very rewarding experience to have a talent for something and to be able to share it with others. Nothing motivates like being invited to express yourself with something you’re really good at. That’s exactly what happened with the Israelites as they built the Tabernacle. They were excited about sharing their gifts.

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November 5, 2017: Who has influenced your life?

Posted on : Nov 2nd, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday is our annual celebration of All Saints Sunday. In our lives, we are blessed by those who influence us – and influence us for the better!

Richard Floyd, one of our God Is Still Speaking writers, shares his thoughts about such blessings:

Our Blessed Guides
Richard L. Floyd

“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” – 3 John 11

Our culture prizes originality. No one wants to be considered an imitation! But in a number of places in the Bible we are admonished to model ourselves after someone or something, either a person or an ideal.

It makes sense if you think about it. None of us is born fully formed; we are constantly being shaped by the world around us.

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October 29, 2017: Jesus on Fake Religion!

Posted on : Oct 26th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

It is hard to believe that this Sunday we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. For many of us today that probably doesn’t mean a whole lot. But to those in Western Europe in the early 1500’s, it was the beginning of a movement that shook the Christian Church at its core.

Today, in the Protestant tradition we just take who we are for granted. But the adjective “Protestant” came from the root word “protesters.” Our ancestors were protesters who wanted significant reform in the Christian Church. So great were the divisions between the protesters and the established church hierarchy of the Roman Church that almost everyone in that first generation of Reformers was put to death. They were labeled heretics, witches, subversives, liars, agitators, and worse. Reformers were decapitated, drowned, burned at the stake, and shot dead.

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October 22, 2017: Me, too!

Posted on : Oct 19th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

The church must be a safe place for victims of sexual and gender-based violence to share their stories and seek support. It is our responsibility to help end domestic violence. Even if we do not know their faces, victims and batterers alike sit in our pews and worship within our walls. Whether we want to be or not, the Church is at the front lines of this issue.

Learn more about how you can be a support and an advocate for the people in your congregation and community.

Women are 5X more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a gun. Act now to close loopholes that allow stalkers and abusers to access firearms.

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October 15, 2017: Shifts Happen: Every 500 years or so…

Posted on : Oct 12th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

… a major shift happens in the Christian Church.

Shifts happen: in our lives, in our faith, in our world, in religion.

Last week we looked at the historical progression of the church from the Dark Ages through the Middle Ages. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Christian Church became the “Holy Roman Empire.” “Holy” is an adjective that the church applied to itself. It was anything but Holy. However, it was an Empire.

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October 8, 2017: The Church as Empire

Posted on : Oct 5th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Hang on, because this week as we look at part 2 of Christian History, we make a sharp turn away from the community of faith that Jesus embodied. Jesus’ community where all were equal, where all were equally valued and included, where there was no institutionalized hierarchy, where everyone’s spiritual gifts were valued and used – this community that Jesus embodied changed radically.

Around 321 AD Constantine, the Emperor of Rome, decided it would be better to have the Christians with him than against him. Tradition holds that Constantine converted to Christianity and made Christianity the “official” religion of the Roman Empire. Clearly, he did incorporate Christianity into the Roman Empire, and after a miraculous victory in battle, he added the Christian cross as a symbol of the Roman Empire on his diadem (“crown/royal headdress”). However, scholars now debate whether he was actually a believer or just using the Christian faith to advance his political purpose. Does that sound familiar????

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October 1, 2017: Today’s Christianity is not what Jesus intended.

Posted on : Sep 28th, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday we begin a once-in-500-years worship celebration! This year, October 31 has special meaning for Christians, especially we Christians of the Protestant Tradition. In addition to the celebration of Halloween it is also the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

What was the Protestant Reformation? In 1517, a movement began within the Christian tradition of the western world to reform the Church. At that time in history, the Church in the western world was the Roman Catholic Church. It derived that name because Rome was center of power and authority for Christianity in Western Europe. The designation of “Reformers” comes from a group of Catholic priests and academics who wanted to reform many of the Catholic Church’s practices and theology. They protested what they saw as unbiblical practices and religious abuse of power and control mostly by the church’s hierarchy. The protestors never intended to split the Christian Church into various Christian “denominations.”

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November 12, 2017: Second Sunday Bible Study

Posted on : Sep 28th, 2017 | By | Category: Special Events

Join us for our after-church Bible Study
each second Sunday of the month.
Next Class:
Sunday, November 12

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September 24, 2017: Worship in the Park

Posted on : Sep 21st, 2017 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday, September 24 we will celebrate with our annual Worship in the Park. This year we’ll be back at Griffith Park, at the Crystal Springs Picnic Area. All are welcome!

There is NO worship service
at our Church this Sunday!

Worship in the Park combines a great worship service with 6 neighboring congregations of the United Church of Christ and a super-size “church picnic” in the beautiful setting of the Crystal Springs Picnic Area of Griffith Park.

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