Tag Archives: community

Come sit with me: fellowship

fellowship

Photo: David Tomek

The bench beckons, moss-grown with lack of use. We weary ourselves with ambition. We are missing out on each other. Can we sit and talk? My faith will be strengthened, maybe your too. Coffee was meant to be shared. Sadly at the coffee shop, the majority are alone, on their phones.

Actually, fellowship is an important but neglected pillar to the Christian faith. We think it’s optional, that we can do without easy enough. Not so in the early church.

The relevancy of church: a real smile beats an emoticon

Instant friendship because we share Christ. On outreach in San Diego.

Instant friendship — because we have Christ in common. On outreach in San Diego.

The handshake communicates affirmation, human warmth. A real smile always beats an emoticon. You can’t turn off the preachers just because his message is not exactly to your liking.

My fellow teacher, Kathy Payton, holds her granddaughter in service.

My colleague, Teacher Kathy Payton, holds her granddaughter in service.

In spite of futurists’ predictions, the e-church will never overtake the real church. As much as I enjoy “fellowship” on the blogosphere, I still crave that which only the local church can provide. I have yet to drink a coffee with a fellow blogger*

I’ve attended church for 33 years and haven’t found anything as vital and relevant as the living, breathing body of believers, despite its drawbacks and imperfections. The lifeblood of the church is its people — sometimes annoying, sometimes comforting, always interesting. The church is suffering no demise, even though outsiders forecast doom (but as

Everet liked the laser sound I can make. As we walked door to door inviting people to service, we became friends.

Everet liked the laser sound I can make. As we walked door to door inviting people to service, we cracked jokes and became friends.

“outsiders,” they simply don’t “get it” that the church is founded on Eternal Truth, not the shifting sands of popular opinion).

Here in Los Angeles, restaurants boast they serve “real food,” not processed, chemical-injected, nutritionless, unhealthy products. Yeah, get “real church.”

*If you’re ever in Santa Monica, let’s down a veinte at Starbucks!

Less than two and a half men

Pastor Ralph played Scrooge in the Lighthouse Church's recent play

Pastor Ralph played Scrooge in the Lighthouse Church’s recent play

Prayer brings a sparkle of beauty to ugly surroundings -- photo thanks to Ben Rogers Blog

Prayer brings a sparkle of beauty to ugly surroundings — photo thanks to Ben Rogers Blog

Today there are more than 100 churches in West Africa from our mission. Twenty-five years ago, there were only two.

Two men sparked raging revival from Sierra Leone when it was the second-poorest nation in the world. Pastor Alvin Smith planted a church in Freetown. Pastor Ralph Bowen planted a church in Kabala.

Photo thanks to Barnstorming

Photo thanks to Barnstorming

Now their progeny are pastoring in nations scattered across Western Africa — one is even pastoring in France! What fired such unimaginable revival? Prayer did.

Part of the reason why they had such success was because they yosemite6basically had no other resource outside of prayer.

I remember my own foray into missions. We lacked finances. So what could I do? I could pray — that is all. And so pray I did. And God bonfired revival for us!

Photo thanks to Candy Concourse

Photo thanks to Candy Concourse

Nobody wants scarcity. But scarcity was a blessing. As a matter of fact, prayer brought in great resources!

Now, I live in the States. Inundated by resources, I struggle to break the lackadaisical attitude that chokeholds my mind.

wpid-picsart_mercifulwords-wordpress-com_-742Are you languishing in lack? Rejoice and pray! Is abundance suffocating you? Cry out to God that the blessing may never replace the Blesser.

Prayer drove all great revivals in the past. Prayer will drive them today.

Beyond the Mayan Long Calendar and Carmaggedon

At Stonehenge, an end of the world party, yesterday

At Stonehenge, an end of the world party, yesterday

Even though I used to live in their mecca, the Mayan catastrophe yesterday failed to materialize. Now, would Roland Emmerich* please give everybody back their ticket money? We weren’t warned. We were swindled.

images-4When crews widened the 405 FWY  they shut it down for a full weekend in July 2011 and predicted traffic snarls all the way to Paris. Telling everyone to stay home, they said it would be “Carmaggedon.”

Ancient_Mayan_Ruins_Chichen_Itza_MexicoI had an outreach to drive to, and the freeways were entirely empty. The next day the newspapers stated that Angelinos, by NOT using their cars for the first time in their lives, had made the “ultimate sacrifice.”

apocalypse-30I took exception to that. The “ultimate sacrifice” no one I know would be willing to make: to die for a friend maybe, but to die lovingly, givingly, for an enemy, who would? The Christ of Christmas did.

IUltimateSacrifice16x20f you stockpiled food, water, gas and bullets for the much-vaunted Mayan cataclysm, give it to the poor (not the bullets). Because the real end of the world is coming, but it’s not Carmaggedon. It’s Armaggedon. What you’ll need most stockpiled is Jesus in your heart.

* Emmerich directed 2012, a special effects phenom that grossed $770 million. It was based on speculations of a Mayan Long Calendar-predicted apocalypse.

Climbing without ropes

Like Spiderman, climbing sensation John Bachar moved quickly up the overhanging rock wall, sometimes sustaining his entire body weight with just a couple of fingers. And he did it without ropes.

When I caught up with Bachar in 1988 for interview on the dangerous sport called free-soloing, he philosophized about the freedom from cumbersome protective gear. He waxed about feeling at one with nature. It was a rush, other-worldly, like a drug.

An amateur rock climber myself, I made no plans to try it. Too many times, I had “popped off the rock” — insider lingo for losing your grip — and been saved by the combination of harness, rope, anchor and belay.

After years of feeding off the intoxicating sensation of brushing with death, Bachar fell fatally in July of 2009. Many other proponents of this extreme sport have similarly died. It would appear foolhardy to shun safety while scaling 100- and 1000-foot rock walls only for bragging rights.

Not only do I use ropes, I also go to church. I see in this body of believers a safeguard. The day I come crashing down, I have brothers and sisters to bear me up. I’m always “on belay.” (I personally am incredibly prone to crashing down.)

Others prefer to unencumber themselves of the church, to go it alone in life. It may feel restrictive, but that same restrictiveness is a safety.

I DO have a good attitude.

Pretty much everyone has been annoying me about my attitude. First let me say, there is nothing wrong with my attitude. Second, to prove to you all how appreciative I am, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I grated a whole block of cheese. So anyone can plainly see that I am “grate – full.”