I can’t think of anything. What comes to your mind? I don’t know what to tell my students at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.
I can’t think of anything. What comes to your mind? I don’t know what to tell my students at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.
Once they almost drowned from tipping canoes trying to reach the medical clinic in the deep inland. Another time, Ebola broke out a scant couple hundred miles away from operations. Then, rockets were launched on the capital just a day before the team left on another trip.
Now, Lighthouse Medical Missions is traveling to Tanzania at a time of terrorist activities in airports – their medicines were being shipped out of Brussels and will now arrive two days late.
“We’re all ready to do our clinic and then bam! terrorism hits Brussels, and right away we know we’re in trouble because our medicines ship out of Brussels,” said Dal Basile, medicine coordinator for the team. “That’s two days without medications. So I’m scrambling around trying to see what I can send with the doctors.”
Dr. Bob Hamilton’s Santa Monica-based charity outreach to Africa has for 20 years braved some hair-raising misadventures to provide free attention and medicines to people who otherwise rarely – if ever – get a chance to see a doctor.
Twenty-six fly out today and are scheduled to arrive Sunday in Mwanza, the capital. Dr. Hamilton is a beloved pediatrician in Santa Monica. His video on how to calm a crying infant went viral four months ago because of the apparent ease of the little-known technique of folding the baby’s arms and rocking his bottom. The internet dubbed him “the Baby Whisperer.”
It seems their standard operating procedure is navigating chaos and brainstorming plan B’s based on developing risks. They’re real Indiana Jones, not in search of archaeological treasure, but the treasures of the human heart inside suffering human bodies.
“You can’t compare God-loving people to Indiana Jones. These are people who care about people they don’t even know,” Basile said. “These Americans are taking time off from work, their vacation time, to go and work. They work to pay for their time. They’re making a big sacrifice. They work their butts off. It’s hardcore.” Read the rest of the article.
By Jasmine Zhang, Lighthouse Christian Academy sophomore
The first time Brenda Liu and I, students from China, surfed and felt the crash of the waves, we thought we were going to die.
“I was so scared,” said Brenda Liu. “The big waves almost killed me. I saw how the big waves could whirl people away.”
I am from Yunnan, a highland in Southern China. I had only seen the sea in pictures and video before.
The sea exercised a wonderful attraction over me. I love the sea and swimming. I like surfing, even though I am not very good at it. So when I enrolled at Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica, I opted for surfing elective. Actually quite a few of us Chinese foreign exchange students took the class, which in the Fall semester had seven students.
Brenda agrees with me about surfing. “I thought: ‘I am young. I should try something new and different and keep learning,’” Brenda said. “I knew how to swim and snowboard, so I thought surfing would not be so difficult.”
It turns out it WAS difficult for us international students. But it is fun.
“At the beginning, I was so excited and felt that I was going to do something very marvelous,” Brenda said. “I was surprised by how the sea is really salty. I basically didn’t even stand on the board the first time.”
Even though at our first outing we didn’t surf too spectacularly, we did see a dolphin, something we had never seen before. “That was the most interesting thing,” Brenda said. Read the rest of the story 美国留学.
With back-to-back victories, the Lighthouse Christian Academy soccer team has found its feet to rewrite recent history of missing playoffs.
Without normal forward Will Clancy, the Saints subbed Abraham Morales into the striker position, and the new LCA student rewarded coach’s confidence with two goals, to bring the 4-2 victory over Westmark School in Encino yesterday.
“I never pictured myself making a goal, let alone two,” the sophomore said coyly. “But after I made the first one I was determined to make the second.”
Morales was deadly on the left, scoring his brace within the first 20 minutes.
Westmark scored next with some brilliant passing between two Lions stars. With the ball at the goal line on the left, one player found unmarked in the box his counterpart, who didn’t bungle the shot. It was 2-1.
In the second half, Turk Erhan Meric, a fleet-footed sophomore, ran up the right on a through ball from midfielder Colby Thomas to get behind the Lion’s defense and shoot powerfully home.
Again Westmark sent the ball to a player in the area, and he punctured the net. It was 3-2.
With the minutes ticking away, Lighthouse kept pressing to bury the match. Senior Shane Berry launched a throw-in into the area on the narrow field, and a Lions defender trying to clear the ball also controlled it with his hand.
On the resulting penalty, Senior Adrian Brizuela, a powerhouse in the Saints midfield, blasted the ball past the goalie to remove the match from reach of the Lions. It finished at 4-2.
Coach Jack Mefford, who is also Lighthouse’s principal, credited the Saints’ progress with the time players have worked together. With a number of new students coming from schools other than its feeder middle school (Lighthouse Church School), the teammates needed to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“They are working together. Especially this game, we just began to gel,” Mefford said. “They’re starting to know each other play with each other better. We’re growing in confidence.”
Tuesday’s victory came on the heels of a win Monday, improving LCA’s record to 4-1-3. The Saints are beginning to feel the excitement of possibly getting a playoff birth for the first time anyone can remember.
On Monday, Lighthouse beat 2-1 Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences from Santa Clarita for the second time. The Penmar Park game put on exhibition the Saint’s powerful defensive line, which has speed, technique and physicality.
Senior Tex Hagoski, at stopper, made crucial saves and passes despite playing with an injured foot. Since his preferred sport is football, he brings a fearlessness and muscle that will intimidate some forwards. Don’t underestimate his speed.
At sweeper, Abraham Kennedy has been a potent defender. Big and strong with a lifetime of soccer experience, Kennedy, a sophomore, doesn’t win balls by hand-crafting them. By mass production, he foils opponents’ attacks.
On Friday in the away game against Einstein, Kennedy led the charge to overturn a 0-2 deficit with a stunning rocket from 40 yards. After seeing the shocker, the Saints seemed moved to believe they could beat their opponents and rallied to finish 3-2.
There’s no surprise the sophomore Alex Cervantes, given his soccer pedigree, holds the left back position impeccably. What surprises is how well senior Shane Berry contains on the right. He’s not really a soccer player. His game is basketball. But his quickness and the similarities between basketball and soccer have helped him adapt.
LCA goals were produced by Brizuela and Meric, locked in a friendly competition to see who scores more by season’s end. They are tied at six goals each. Einstein got a late consolation when refs awarded a penalty kick for a foul in the box.
Also last week, the Saints came from behind to tie Newbury Park Adventist Academy.
With the newfound momentum, the Saints face Concordia in Sylmar Friday, their penultimate season game.
*Photo: Adrian Brizuela goes for goal against Westmark yesterday. Credit: Jamie Roman, who is a sophomore at the Lighthouse Christian Academy. Jamie wrote this article for the Santa Monica Patch here, and I edited it. I always re-post my students’ articles on my blog since I’m heavily involved in the final product.
An unexpected boon to Lighthouse Christian Academy soccer came from Turkey: Erhan Meric, a sophomore and magician whose feet perform tricks.
His life is just pure soccer, nonstop trying, for every Saints soccer match. The fleet-footed diminutive midfielder is making his mark. In four games, he has scored four goals. After four games, LCA is 1-2-1.
“I just picked up a soccer ball and played with my dad when I was young,” the wunderkind said. “From that point on, I’ve been practicing every day in order to get better and better.”
“The first school I went to,” Erhan remembered, “wasn’t that good. Sure life was easier and soccer was fun, but dorm life was terrible and after my two friends left the school, I went in search of finding a better one. That’s when I came across LCA.”
Erhan came to have a look at the Santa Monica Christian private school.
“What I saw was amazing,” the quiet Turk observed. “Almost everyone was good friends here, and people were so nice, I thought this could be the school for me.”
Erhan joined the LCA soccer team and so far is one of our best players on the field, as he was on the #1 soccer academy in Turkey, Galatasaray S.K., and was practicing for all his life. Unfortunately, his twin sister, also at Lighthouse, didn’t go for soccer.
His goal is to become a pro soccer player. He said, “ Yes, I would love to become a pro soccer player. Why? Because you can make big money, meet nice girls, and overall, just play soccer.”
In order to achieve his dream, he has to work hard and motivate himself to win.
“Soccer is very tiring and a little risky, but all you need is motivation. You know what I do for motivation? Every time I wake up on the weekends or whenever I have free time, I sit by the TV and flip through all the channels until I find a soccer match going on. I watch them kick the ball, make goals and I just get so inspired by them. I say ‘Yes, I will achieve that goal, and I will win another game! I will try to my best and even when I fall, I will always get back up again’ ”
So as Erhan keeps playing soccer and trying harder and harder to achieve his goal, he will remember a quote in Turkish that keeps him from failing “Ben futbol seviyorum ve benim rüya vazgeçmek ASLA!” Find out what that means at the end of: high school soccer.
Editor’s note: This article, written by my journalism student Anthony Gutierrez, was originally posted on the Lighthouse Christian Academy‘s website. It’s a small Santa Monica Christian high school. My son is graduating from there this June.
Jack Mefford, principal of Lighthouse Christian Academy, doesn’t only teach. He preaches, administrates, swims, plays water polo, coaches soccer, makes movies, raises four kids and…
Maybe it would be shorter to list the things he cannot do. Did I say he double-minored and played trumpet in UCLA marching band?
“Money doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “When I was a youth and didn’t know God and prayed to see if he was real, the first thing I asked Him was for love and the second was a purpose in life. He has given me both – my purpose is here serving the kids.”
Raised in a farm town called Dinuba near Fresno, California, Mefford learned from his air force dad to work hard, be disciplined, value family and to achieve. He didn’t learn about God until he reached early adulthood.
The early trappings of success didn’t satisfy. “I had everything the world had to offer, and I felt something missing. I was doing everything they told me to do. I was following the script, and it was not enough,” he said. “I felt there had to be something more, something eternal.”
He began attending a church and later got linked up with Pastor George Neos at UCLA. Neos was pioneering a church at UCLA on campus. Mefford received a flyer and decided to attend only because his car broke down.
He was quickly impressed with Pastor George Neos’s over-the-top earnestness and how Christianity affected his life.
The on-campus church migrated to Yale Street, Santa Monica, and Jack came along with his sweetheart, Nicolene. They married and when they graduated, they didn’t go where their careers would lead – they stayed where their God had led.
Instead of scooping up a lucrative job, Jack immediately began teaching in the Lighthouse Church School (which is LCA’s older brother, having kindergarten to middle school). He would also join his pastor on mission trips to Guatemala.
When Pastor George accepted a new assignment as the Hesperia pastor, Jack took over administration of the LCA.
Sadly, Mefford struggled with an inner sadness that he shared with not many; his wife couldn’t have children. His dream of having a large family was floundering from early marriage. Nicolene suffered four consecutive miscarriages until, after a lot of praying, God finally granted a miracle.
He has now been blessed with four kids. Mefford’s first daughter, Emma is six years old, his second, Jackson is four, Ethan is two and Weston is 11 months. He claims all children are miracles and is thankful to God everyday for his offspring.
Man of many abilities, Jack Mefford has done many wonderful things for Lighthouse.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published here. It was written by Petrina Gratton, my journalism student at the Lighthouse Christian Academy.
“I’m probably too soft,” admits Coach Zach Scribner. “And Justin is maybe a little too intense. We sometimes disagree on strategy and how to push the players to their potential, but I always stand behind him”
When it comes to coaching style, Justin Kayne and Scribner, who tag-team train LCA‘s 8-man team, could hardly be more of polar opposites. Though they are inseparable friends from high school, they are not Rosencrantz and Guildenstern on the sideline or on the practice field.
Scribner is an easy-going guy who likes golf. Kayne revels in the testosterone proofing of this American iteration of Roman gladiator sport.
When things go bad, Scribner is unflappable, while Kayne throws his clipboard down and growls about writing letters to league organizers for a bad call from refs.
Scribner perfected his coaching technique by playing Madden. Kayne credits his coach, former LCA Principal George Neos, a Dartmouth star, with smelting steel in his heart. Read the rest of the article here: Christian sports.
My friend, Dr. Bob, is now officially famous, with 15 million views of his video “The Hold” and appearances on Good Morning America and Dr. Oz. But I don’t think his heart will change. He’s a vibrant Christian.
As an SEO, I helped promote his video so that it caught the attention of some influencer, who reposted it and it caught the attention of massive online media. He’s being called the “Baby Whisperer” for his intuitive way to calm fussy tykes.
I don’t think I want to be famous myself. I’ve found a greater joy, the happiness of saving souls. I work at a Christian high school in Santa Monica. The smiling faces you in the photo are some of the people who have exited the misery of bullying at school and entered the joy of Jesus.
One soul is worth more than 15 million views.
The way Sam Forman tells it, he found his first love before he found his great love.
He married fellow LCA student Marielena Champney in March 2013, and then he discovered his passion for cooking.
“When I met Marielena, I realized I needed to find a career,” Sam said. “I prayed and asked God to give me direction, and looking back now, I can definitely say he did that.”
Sam is a line chef at the highly touted French restaurant Petit Trois, a hipster hole in the Melrose District of Los Angeles. Chef sensation Ludo Lefebvre’s eatery was named top seven best new restaurants nationwide by James Beard and top five internationally by Food & Wine.
“It doesn’t really feel like work,” said Sam, who only coursed his senior year at LCA. “It’s something I love doing. It’s a fun job.”
Of course, Sam loved the food in France, where he lived five years as a missionary’s kid in Marseilles. He delighted in downing crepes, baguettes, ratatouille and fresh mussels on the port of the Mediterranean Seaside city.
“France definitely had an impact on my appreciation for food,” he said. “Food is a big part of the culture in France. The French are very well known for their food.”
At that time, Sam loved basketball and was able to swing a homestay with the Petersons to study his senior year at Lighthouse Christian Academy and play b-ball. He graduated in 2007 and eventually fell in love with the Guatemalan LCA student Marielena, who graduated in 2011.
Then he coursed the $17,000 yearlong culinary course at Cordon Bleu in Hollywood. His first gig afterwards was Latin fusion food at Playa Restaurant in West Hollywood, which quickly changed into an upscale taquería called Petty Cash.
Sam hit it off well with the chef, who moved over to Republique in the La Brea neighborhood and brought him along.
Sam began working mornings at Japanese Knife Imports, where chefs go for high quality dicing knives. The boss there recommended him to Chef Lefebvre for Petit Trois. Today Sam works both the knife job from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the restaurant 4:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
“I’m young,” he said nonchalantly, when asked about the heavy work load. Read the rest of the article here.
Editor’s Note: Sam Forman is a Christian who goes to our church. His decision to marry required faith because he didn’t have a career yet. God helped him find a job he loved. We are proud at Lighthouse of the successes of our former students.
My son Rob keeps smashing his body to pieces in sports, and he keeps going back to the orthopedist to be put back together.
Keith Brookenthal (quite a name for a man who deals with broken bones, right?) is an sharp and optimistic doctor. He emanates confidence and allays fears with his smile.
You might as well and try to finish your season. See how much your leg can support you. The right ACL was partially torn Sept. 11. Since it was Rob’s senior year, he ought to go for the glory and not play it safe.
On Saturday, Rob finished tearing the ACL. But he made a touchdown, threw a touchdown pass and helped his team to their first win.
Come Monday morning, we’re back in Dr. Brookenthal’s office. The knee is swollen. He has pain. We are worried about further damage done. He tests the leg, smiles and orders another MRI. (Dr. Brookenthal successfully repaired Rob’s left ACL tear two years ago. Now, he’s doing the right ACL.)
Something about this doctor — whom I call Patch Man because he keeps patching up my son — reminds me of Jesus. We go out into the world and get smashed up. We come back to Jesus, and He heals us. He beams with a smile and inspires confidence.
When I put my son into Dr. Brookenthal’s hands, I know everything is going to be all right. When I put my soul into Dr. Jesus’ hands, I know everything is going to be all right.
Oh yeah – and there’s also the senior, Shane Berry.
Berry bolted off the Seniors Anonymous list Friday with his first touchdown against Westmark School in Encino.
Seniors are the bread and butter of varsity high school football. Two years ago, Lighthouse Christian Academy smashed into the playoffs because of five seniors. This year, three seniors have carried the team – and two of them are struggling with injuries. At game 7, the Saints are still winless.
Part of the reason why Shane Berry didn’t figure prominently with his fellow seniors was because he didn’t really want to play football in the first place and only reluctantly joined the team last year. The other part of the reason why he was anonymous on the field was because he missed a bunch of summer practices due to a job.
But on Friday, Shane used his big basketball hands to snatch a ball out of the air and scrambled wildly for a touchdown.
“It was great,” Shane said. “The rush when you get a touchdown is spectacular. I didn’t expect it, but when I caught it, ran right to the End Zone, I was like, ‘Oh my God! My first touchdown.’ It was a great experience.” Read more: Santa Monica football.
Get that guy some glue.
One of the bright spots in Lighthouse Christian Academy‘s 14-66 loss to Hillcrest Christian of Thousand Oaks was a freshman who just became old enough to play.
Caleb Zerihum made tackles. He foiled receivers. He ran down ball carriers. He scrambled after Tex Hagoski to provide some key blocking on a touchdown run. He grabbed an onside kick. He caught a pass.
And he dropped the ball – twice.
On the onside kick, Caleb nabbed it deftly. Coach had told him to smother the ball, but the freshman is famous for forgetting instructions. Or maybe he thought he would try his hand at being the charging bull Tex who sprints, slashes and bashes his way through defenders.
Caleb is bashful, but on Friday, he didn’t bash his way through the onslaught of Hillcrest tacklers. He got hit so hard he fumbled the ball.
Later in the game, he Caleb caught the ball, and in his eagerness to elude defenders he bobbled the ball. His moment of glory fizzled.
For the next game, will that be Elmer’s or superglue? Continuing reading Christian football.
One jittery kid forgot to put in his mouth guard. Another contracted a last-minute mysterious disease that incapacitated him. A bunch of kids missed tackles.
And that’s how the newbies got the heebie-jeebies at the Saints 2015 opener of 8-man football on Aug. 28 in a 20-34 loss to better-financed Crossroads Christian School of Corona.
“I’m always nervous before a game,” admitted LCA senior Tex Hagoski. “But then I either hit someone or get hit by someone and I remember that it’s not so bad.”
Hagoski gave and took plenty of hits. He ramrodded through the defensive line on punishing run after bruising run. Plenty of pain was dished out for everyone. A Crossroads player broke a leg. The Saints walked off the field battered but proud — they had given all.
“It hurt,” said Abraham Morales, a sophomore. “I was afraid when that kid messed his leg up. But I had to keep going because their team was going to come back stronger.”
It was Abraham’s first game, along with about half the squad. He’s been hard-working and faithful in practice. And on Friday night, he proved a critical element in the chemistry for Saints football.
Fellow sophomore Alex Cervantes felt much more at ease this, his second year. He came up with a touchdown-scoring reception on a long pass that surprised the Crossroads Cougars. They left him completely unguarded as they mistook the play for a run and all players swooped in for the kill. Read the rest of the story: education and sports.
Lighthouse Christian Academy’s annual basketball tournament ended Friday, and I’m mad. They called a foul on my son.
I was seated on the benches right in front of the defensive action. I had, by far, the clearest view of it, and I can assure you in no uncertain terms that it was not a foul.
It was a mugging.
Rob Ashcraft powered-up aggressive play to come close to winning the teacher-students 3-on-3 mixup coinciding with March Madness. In the end, the weeklong competition was won again by Pastor Zach Scribner, a former quarterback for UCLA football (ok, he was sixth string, but he WAS on the team). Not even muscle-bound Rob could out-muscle him at our Christian school in Santa Monica.
Rob, a junior who’s really more of a soccer player, shut down Shane Berry, arguably LCA’s best basketball player. Over-active defense limited his baskets.
“Shane didn’t want to defend,” Rob said, explaining how he beat him. Read the rest of the article.
You see, they need to give old guys like me a five point handicap. We lost 6-3 (one point per basket) playing against the former UCLA quarterback who passes himself off a laidback teacher at Lighthouse Christian Academy. I mean, that’s fair, right? A 47-year-old going up against this stud?
They call him Zach Scribner, but from now on I’m calling him Zach Attack. The game was like a twig trying to hold back a tsunami. Zach was quicker, stronger, sharper. He could score at will, block at will, rebound at will. The only reason the humiliation wasn’t worse is because Zach didn’t even try. Dude, I’m looking at the after-game pictures, and this young punk is smiling as if he’s on a stroll with his baby and wife in the park.
Meanwhile, I’m huffing and puffing chasing kids around. No fair.
I don’t think my teammate is very happy with me. Raymond LOVES basketball. A student from China, he’s come to sharpen his skills agains the L.A. boys. He couldn’t have had a worse teammate.
So I’m the oldest teacher at LCA, so I’m invoking my seniority and over-ruling my boss, the principal. And I’m announcing through this medium, that my team won and we advance to the next round of LCA’s teacher-student 3-on-3 mixup annual basketball tournament. I’m going to win by decree.
At Lighthouse Christian Academy’s opening of our annual student-teacher mixup 3-on-3 basketball tournament, I spent more time on the ground than on my feet.
Despite the inordinate clumsiness, we still won. One of my teammates, Raymond, a Chinese student who LOVES bball, did just about everything. He scored, defended, hustled, passed, pressured, ran. dribbled, shot.
This all fun in the Son. This is what having a small Christian school is all about: good friends, lots of fun, lots of learning.
I’ve been teaching at LCA since I got back from missionary work in Guatemala, where in addition to a church, I planted a church, during almost 16 years. While I was there, I learned soccer.
What am I doing playing basketball?
My height — at 6’3″ — should be an asset. My weight too. (Well, I guess my height isn’t going to help much since I pass most of the time on lying on the ground.)
Last year, I was on the winning team. But that was due mostly to Pastor Zach Scribner, who took me. Pastor Zach snuffed his competition in another game today. He looks like the team to beat.
I know, I know. I’m not supposed to ask for prayer to win basketball games. The next one is Wednesday for me. Basketball is game played by talented people.
As a scout for the U.S. Marines 4th Light Armored Battalion, Tyler Smith is no stranger to weapons. But now in Iraq on a dangerous mission near the Islamic State war, the Santa Monica resident is completely unarmed.
Tyler, who studied and worked in Santa Monica, is currently deployed in Iraq with Operation Soul Shepherd helping refugees. He and seven other men as part of an advance team are setting up a safehouse for women and girls who have been raped by ISIS jihadists.
“I couldn’t let myself sit at home doing nothing while people here were suffering so immensely,” said Tyler. “I CAN help, so there’s no reason not to. I’m just a man trying to do the right thing. I’m not a hero.”
Not everyone agrees with his self-effacing.
“Every one of these guys are heroes,” said Paul Neier, founder of Mississippi-based non-profit that fights human-trafficking. “They made made a choice to go into harm’s way. The craziest thing about this is they are in the belly of the beast. They have no weapons to defend themselves.”
Born into a family beset by drugs and gangs in Pacoima, California, his future prospects seemed dim. Junior Cervantes displayed athletic promise on the soccer field, but depression dragged him down. His uncles were shot in front of the house. There were family arrests, fighting, and chaos.
Junior decided to run away from home and drop out of his beloved soccer. He opted for hanging out with friends, robbing houses, smoking marijuana and tagging.
“I was a stealer. I was a liar. I was angry. I was depressed. I was lonely. I was an outcast,” Junior recalls.
His uncle, Edgar Cervantes, kept insisting that Junior move in with him in Santa Monica – about 25 miles away — and straighten up his life. In and out of jail for most of his life, Edgar had two “strikes” under California penal law and was scared of getting the third, so he turned to Jesus to clean up his life. He worked a restaurant job in Santa Monica and preached on the Third Street Promenade every week.
It was through Edgar’s influence that Junior prayed to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. But because of Junior’s background and some of the influences swirling around him, he faced a rocky road to maturity in Christ. Read the rest of the story.
He made millions. He played professional football. He was a TV football announcer. But every worldly “success” he achieved pale compared to the daily good of teaching students at the Lighthouse Christian Academy. Read more about Pastor Rob Scribner here.
When Pastor Zach asked me to be on his team, I refused. “You don’t want to lose,” I warned him. Apparently, Zach wanted me because I was a friend. I help him do the cleaning around the church. So we called our basketball team “Lighthouse Cleaning Crew” in the Lighthouse Christian Academy spirit week tournament 3-on-3. And we won!
Some lessons emerge:
1. Believe in yourself — and in a friend. I thought we were going to be knocked out in the first round, and we weren’t. By the championship, I was nervous. Probably sensing the pressure mounting on me, he told me, “Here’s our strategy: Relax and have fun.”
2. Play your strengths. More of a nerd than an athlete, I didn’t think I had much to offer. I’m not in shape. But I’m tall. If I defended in the key, I could jump and grab rebounds. If I came out of the key, I got tired and didn’t jump well.
3. Analyze and adapt. We shut down our competition by blunting his strength. Michael Moore was fast and produced some eye-blurring fakes. No other team had been able to frustrate his left lay-ups. But I realized that Michael, a leftie, only drove to the left. On the right, his effectiveness was much lower. In the game, we limited Michael to outside shots, some of which he made, but fewer than he would have, had he penetrated the key.
Too often the church misses the opportunity to play its strengths. One of the worst things that can happen to any church is to bad-mouth deficiencies. At the same time, we fail to see, promote and exploit the positives. LCA is a school of 50, so I know what I’m talking about.
Too often the church follows an antiquated model. We place ads in the yellow pages in the age of the internet. What worked for the man of God in the past may not work today. If Zach and I had played the same in the last game as the first, we would have lost. But we analyzed and adapted and beat “the stronger team.”
And this is how the nerd, who never really got picked for sports teams before, wound up a winner.
Move over, Tim Tebow. There’s a sophomore with sticky fingers and fancy footwork who’s also publicly acknowledging something greater than thousands of raucous fans.
Payton – known as “JP” by his Bruin teammates but as “Big Joe” when he was a student at Lighthouse K-8th grade – credits Christ as the big motivation of his life – even bigger than one day winning a Super Bowl.
“Lighthouse prepared me in every aspect – spiritually and physically,” Payton told LCA News last year. “Spiritually, they’ve given me the best path to stay on. I understand the world’s a crazy place, and I need God in my life.”
Payton’s mom, Kathy, who teaches at Lighthouse Christian Academy in the Independent Study Program, is not surprised her son has gone so far in football.
It was Kathy who scolded his Pop Warner coach at half time for not playing him in a Las Vegas tournament – Jordan was only eight playing with 10- to 12-year-olds. “You need to play Jordan,” she told the Pacific Palisades team coach. “He can catch the ball.”
Wisely, that coach heeded Kathy, and Jordan went in to catch a long bomb pass that ultimately led the Bruins (was the name prophetic?) to overturning the halftime losing scoreline.
Payton has always been big and strong – so big that he was out of his weight class in seventh grade and couldn’t play Pop Warner. Now 6’2” and 212 pounds, he’s fast and fierce on the field. On the Oct. 5 game against the University of Utah, the wide-receiver caught a pass and strong-armed his coverage to score a touchdown, his first this season. See touchdown here.
While he’s fearsome to foes, he’s humble and gentle to everyone else. Christianity marks his life more than the pigskin. In the pre-season, Payton wisely avoided an antagonistic war of words with another UCLA player competing for Jordan’s first string spot.
“God is #1 in his life,” said Kathy. “He knows that God has given him a gift. He really believes he’s going to go to the NFL. From that point, how ever God uses him to help others – physically, spiritually or financially – that’s just how Jordan is.”
Payton didn’t feature in Lighthouse football because he wanted to play 11-man, so he opted for Westlake Village-based Oaks Christian High. LCA only has 8-man football.
The biggest influence in his life was his older brother, Michael Payton, who played for Santa Monica College, then for Oregon State University and finally for West Virginia Tech – all after wreaking havoc on opponents as an LCA player, Kathy said.
LCA’s football program launched with Pastor Rob Scribner, an LA Rams player 1973-74, as coach. Later it flourished under the direction of former Principal George Neos, a three time Ivy League champion at Dartmouth University.
The Saints’ football program is experiencing an unexpected revival this year under coach Justin Kayne. They are currently 5-1 in CIF southern section.
While at Oaks, Jordan Payton went on mission trips to China and Haiti. In that Caribbean island, he and fellow students built a house after an earthquake decimated the island. “It was hard for him to see,” Kathy said.
There’s a compassionate side to Jordan side that opponents don’t see.
Since he “pulled a Tim Tebow,” does Payton admire that NFL quarterback who sparked controversy a few years ago by openly honoring God?
“He doesn’t watch Tim Tebow,” Kathy said. “He took a knee just because he was so thankful he got a touchdown after all the rigmarole he has had to go through fighting for a position. He has to work extra hard every single practice to show the coaches that he’s the one to play.”
To date, Payton has made 9 receptions and rushed 163 yards this season.
This article originally ran at http://www.thelighthousechristianacademy.com/jordan-payton-offers-power-as-wide-receiver-at-ucla/
RANCHO CUCAMONGA – For a few minutes in the fourth quarter, Saints Christian school football got the sensation it would engineer the greatest upset of CIF Southern Section 2013 when Senior Joel Lahood intercepted a pitch and scored, making it 22-28, one touchdown away from a tie on Friday.
It’s nothing new for Lighthouse Christian Academy, student population 46, to face teams that are both bigger in bodily size and in terms of team members. LCA has flouted the odds-against with grit and its rediscovered sense of greatness, winning four games in a row before Sept. 27.
But Upland Christian Academy, student population 230, was simply superior to any team yet seen. In the first minutes of the game, an Upland player broke through and sprinted for a touchdown. To watch him pull away from pursuers like a train produced a sinking feeling of helplessness. Never before had we faced someone faster than us.
Mustering character, the Saints squelched the sinking feeling and responded with a touchdown. Nate Peterson ran the ball with verve and swerve, timing his cuts and crashes perfectly to exploit any millimetric miscalculation of a foe’s counterbalance.
“This is going to be a game,” observed Michael Moore, whose transfer has delayed his start with our Christian school football.
But Upland was far better than they were last year, when the Saints’ bobbling gifted them a win. With players 20-30 pounds heftier than ours in every position, and with a humming discipline, Upland finished the half with 28 points.
LCA conjured a determination to play to win – not just limp through the rest of the game, praying for the final whistle to come. The Saints denied Upland any more points until Lahood put LCA within striking distance.
That is when a missed tackled allowed another touchdown sprint to assure Upland the victory. LCA suffered its first defeat of the season 22-34.
The opposing coach praised LCA’s Christian school football: “You guys are the toughest team we’ve faced all season.” At the end of the game, the two teams prayed in a circle in the center of the field, and the opposing coached singled out Peterson for particular praise. It was a loss, yes, but a loss we could take pride in.
LCA Head Coach Justin Kayne pumped up his players. We were simple outgunned. One loss doesn’t sink a season, he said. “We’re going to the playoffs!”
And so, the legacy of Christian determination manifested in toughness and fighting spirit on the field – a legacy founded by former Rams football player Pastor Rob Scribner, marches on in pursuit of excellence.
SIMI VALLEY – By the end of the game, the Saints had swept to their fourth win, with a dominant 46-0 showing, but the game was over after the first play.
That’s when Hillcrest Christian quarterback got pummeled by Lighthouse Senior Nate Peterson. Teammates said he catapulted the quarterback up five feet in the air and the poor guys hurtled back down to earth, like an aborted rocket launch, smashing his back on the turf. Maybe five feet’s an exaggeration. What’s sure is Peterson tackled low and used his weight smartly to topple the giant, who was rendered useless for the rest of the game.
Lighthouse Christian Academy is surprising pundits in 2013, undefeated so far. The reversal of fortunes from last year – in which LCA eked out only one win – is something like the difference between Friday night’s crucifixion and Sunday’s resurrection.
“Excellent, excellent, excellent,” crowed Coach Justin Kayne to his huddled, hoo-rahing Saints after they crushed their same-named Saints Hillcrest opponents in the Sept. 20 game.
Peterson the Pummeler also scored touchdowns. Rushing the ball for an estimated 200 yards, Peterson swerved and accelerated as if he had pulled a bullet bike out of his pocket, mounted it and blasted to unthinkable velocity that left opponents aghast, waving good-bye. He totaled three touch downs.
But if Peterson had an extraordinary game, Ricky Rand got the most extraordinary play. Rushing in on defense, Rand, in a nano second, realized he just as easily as sack him could steal the ball right out of his cocked, pass-throwing arm. Nicknamed “the Rand Corporation” because he gives the sensation there’s more than one of him on the field, Ricky ran unopposed for a touchdown. Watch 30-second video below:
But if “the Rand Corporation” astounded people with a play no one had ever seen before, it was Will Clancy, a measly 130-pound freshman, who arguably became the game’s hero. Will — whose older brother, Senior Nick Clancy, batted down two passes while rushing – only went on the field last game because key player Tex Hagoski injured his knee.
A newcomer to football, Will tried to mask his fear “I was scared for both Tex and myself,” he said. “Tex is my friend. I didn’t want him to have a broken leg. I was scared for myself. I didn’t want to have a broken leg.”
In his trial by fire last week, Will nabbed a fumble for a turnover against Rolling Hills. This week was his first full game. “I was excited,” he said. “I was still nervous. I was having trouble breathing because I have anxiety issues.”
Touchdowns were scored by Joseph “Raising Cain” Kayne (2), Peterson the Pummeler (3), “the Rand Corporation” (1).
With no more substitutes available, the 2013 squad lacks depth, so it will be difficult for them to equal storied Saints squads of years past that twice nearly won CIF championship. But given its lack of resources, it is certainly writing itself into high school football history and can rightfully join the Lighthouse legends of years gone by. Hillcrest went home crestfallen.
ROLLING HILLS, CA – Lighthouse suckerpunched Rolling Hills Preparatory 41-15 Friday in its third straight win since the 2013 season of CIF 8-man football began.
The undermanned Saints outgunned their numerous opponents on Sept. 13 and avenged two straight losses to their South Bay rivals from previous years. Sophomore Tex Hagoski opened scoring within minutes of the game start with a daring dash, wiggling free of would-be tackles. With each play, Santa Monica’s Lighthouse Christian Academy showed its intentions of rolling all over Rolling Hills.
Next, senior Joseph “Raising Cain” Kayne powered through to the big 6 points. Next came senior and toughguy quarterback Joel Lahood to sprint into the end zone. In the second half, sophomore Adrian Brizuela, a soccer star cajoled into playing football, intercepted a pass and demonstrated fancy footwork to cross the touchdown line.
Finally, senior Nate Peterson jack-knifed through an onslaught of hulking opponents to get his name on the scoreboard.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Rolling Hills had requested a game with the slumping Saints (slumping for the last two years) because RHP had lost a slew of seniors this year. They had hoped for at least one easy win (against us). Instead, our lopsided victory will be sure to pile up their misery.
But if Rolling Hills had fewer seniors, their entire squad outnumbered ours by almost three to one. In a now-common pattern of brutal injustice, our opponents field both a defensive and offensive squad, which gives their players a needed respite. Meanwhile, our dogged dudes must dig deep down inside to find the energy to equal their adversaries, moving both forward and backward.
When starlet Hagoski limped off the field with a knee injury, Lighthouse threw on its one and only substitute, freshman Will Clancy, who’s never played football before
When his older brother, senior Nick Clancy, took a particularly hard hit, Hagoski removed his ice pack and hobbled back onto to the field to fill the position for one play.
On the surface, it’s pure insanity. But it was a gutsy kind of testosterone display that men love to see on the gridiron. When you analyze the numbers, Lighthouse, with fledgling resources, should NOT be winning. But these kids believe in themselves enough to make every tackle, to make every wild run, to make every handoff.
In a sign of their growing confidence, Lighthouse is making pass completions and surprising opponents with unsuspected plays. That these young men believe in their own leadership and ability is clear. Will the Lighthouse fans, jaded by previous losing seasons, believe in them also?
Twice the lowly Lighthouse was runner-up in eight man football in California championship. With a student population of 50, that’s spectacular.
Those heady heights were owed to an extraordinary coach, George Neos, who served as principal of the high school for many years. Not only was Neos a Dartmouth football champion, he was well on his way to becoming a college coach. God interrupted his career launch and brought him to the Lighthouse Christian Academy of Santa Monica, California. Neos came to teach football and for a certain pair of brown eyes.
The hulking coach had a knack for seeing every milligram of potential in a player. He coached nuances to perfection so that kids produced stellar output. Neos never saw a kid as chubby, lazy, or out of shape. He saw what a kid could become, and he worked relentlessly towards that goal.
When God looks at you, he doesn’t see your flops and your flabbiness. He sees your future fabulousness. God sees a finished product. And He’s willing to work with all your failures and flailings to machine out the ideal Christian leader.
If you are a Christian leader, you can’t get stuck in the present. You’ve got to see ahead, what can become of the sheep God has brought under your care. Prayer is believing in the future and striving for it.
They played their hearts out — and at the final whistle Lighthouse Christian Academy had executed the most improbable upset in the league, defeating touch-perfect New Roads 3-2 in varsity soccer.
With girls, freshmen, and inexperienced players on the team, LCA Saints are
understandably bottom-dwelling fish. But somehow this season, they believed in themselves, winning four and tying one. Friday’s game was the crown jewel of the season. New Roads left the field in despair.
These kids who played with unaccustomed verve teach us a lesson in life.
No matter how many failures, no matter what the man-to-man analysis, you can prevail with spunk and belief.
When you go to prayer today, when you minister, expect the victory. Whatever your shortcomings, whatever your handicaps, remember God grants triumph. Faith is key. Last year, we lost every single game.
For the full story, read http://www.thelighthousechristianacademy.com/saints-embarrass-in-big-upset/
Saints soccer continues to rock and roll.
The Lighthouse Christian Academy entered the Christmas break with its third victory – a scrappy 1-0 win against Wildwood. A handy piece of footwork by Junior Luis Secaira confounded defenders and stunned the goalie, who watched woefully as the ball slotted on the near post.
After the vacation, the Saints have simply been outgunned by vastly superior teams. They lost to league leaders Lennox 0-8 and to New Roads 0-7. To the uninitiated, the defeats appear to spell out an uncommon nosedive.
In reality, the team keeps improving. It’s just hard to take on varsity teams with mostly senior and club players when you have half a team of girls and players from all grades. How are freshman girls going to beat senior boys?
On Monday, the Saints put a thump on the slump. Facing the impeccable Vistamar, the Saints scored in the last minute. Midfielder Elijah “Taz” Symonds chipped from the corner to Freshman Rob Ashcraft, who didn’t err with an unusual karate kick in front of goal.
It was the first time in the history of LCA soccer that the Saints scored against Vistamar, whose players are groomed for soccer from the cradle. With that goal, Lighthouse sent a message that it will not succumb to defeatism. It is no longer the whipping boy of the league.
Though much progress needs to be made, LCA can revel in solid – though incremental — improvement and press on to a glorious future.
“We won!” quipped Junior Tori Scribner, comprehending the significance of the goal, in spite of losing 1-8.
Remaining for the Saints are only four games, and Coach Mike Ashcraft thinks we stand a good chance to win against Rolling Hills in Palos Verdes on Wednesday.
Whatever your stage in life, celebrate the small victories. They lead to big ones!
We lost Tuesday 8-0. We lost today 8-0. We are facing tougher teams; ours is absorbing injuries. Kids have skipped practices, and the results are manifest on the field. When Lighthouse Christian Academy tied our first soccer game, when won our second 9-2, when we won a
couple more, it was exciting, easy to want to play and put in the effort.
Now it is hard. Kids might want to bail out. But now is exactly the moment of character, the foundation of excellence. If we allow ourselves to become “losers” in our minds, then we will. If not, we will win again this season, and we will win next year!
The reality of life is that everyone loses more than wins. What you do when you lose makes you win.
Faith does not drag down with discouragement. It remains buoyant, hopeful, expectant of good. It persists. It constantly looks for the victory just around the corner.
We have won and lost games at Lighthouse Christian Academy this season, but the most memorable was the game against P.H. In that game, we literally could score at will. It was so much fun, and most of the kids were going for hattricks (three goals in one game). As coach, I actually pulled my stars out of scoring position and even took them off the field to NOT humiliate our opponents any more. In the first 20 minutes, we racked up seven!
In life, when you pray with faith and urgency, you literally score at will. The successes hum. But when I pray tepid prayers, or when we neglect pray altogether, then we go through a losing streak. Step up your game today and pray! Have no mercy on the devil!
People are congratulating “my” 9-2 win last night. I just shrug. The truth is that “I” didn’t win with Lighthouse Christian Academy soccer.
The AD did.
The AD — Athletics Director, for those who don’t know the lingo — won the game. She scheduled it.
Pretty much all I did was shuffle our lineup so as to NOT score any more goals. In the first 20 minutes — one-fourth of the game — we had made 7 goals. So to lessen the humiliation for the other team, I pulled off good players and threw on beginners. I pulled attackers back into defense.
The lopsided victory was no coaching genius. It was guaranteed even before we started simply because we had superior players.
It felt like the gospel. God as AD schedules us trials that we are destined to win. We may celebrate on the field, but it was God who ordained everything to begin with.
To be sure, God schedules defeats for us too. To teach us humility, patience, effort, dependence on Him, etc.
You can have your cosmovision of universal randomness. I like being a Christian.
Then, he taught me a valuable lesson. He was talking about racism. Our school embraces people from all backgrounds. He was attacking inappropriate jokes.
He explained how African Americans “empower” themselves by using the N-word. Previously, I didn’t understand why the oppressed used the word of oppression. Nino explained that by employing the evil word in jest, they are stepping on it and affirming their triumph over it.
Everyone has something to teach, no matter how they comb their hair or what irksome habits they have. Every single human being on the planet has a valuable insight, if we will only take the time to listen.
Lighthouse Christian Academy lost every single soccer game last year. This year, it took us one minute to score our first goal, and we finished tied 2-2 against a team that won 8 last year. I’m ecstatic because I’m the coach now.
I have coached before, first on middle school team, then park league. Then I stepped back from coaching for six months. My kids were on other teams, and I observed the other coaches, who are better than I. One is a Scot with the highest level accreditation for coaching. I’ve eavesdropped and spied.
No use thinking I know it all. I can always pick up something new from others, even if it’s what NOT to do (like cuss).
I see that life coaching is in
vogue. I’ve always enjoyed having a FREE life coach: he’s called “my pastor.” As a generation has distanced itself from the church, people look down their noses upon the pastor and his unwanted advice. As a result, divorce has skyrocketed; kids are cutting themselves in unheard-of numbers as the home disintegrates.
I’m not saying I’m better than anyone; I just enjoy the benefits of being among the dwindling number of Americans who still go to church. A coach — a pastor — is there to bring out the best in you.
By Hanna Jones, LCA sophomore
SANTA MONICA – Actually, it was a moment of great personal pride when police officers handcuffed and arrested Steven Fernandez out of his University High School classroom. All his classmates would fear him even more. At 15 years of age, he was a full-fledged thug.
After getting out of juvenile hall on counts of armed robbery and vandalism, he had a hard time finding a school to enroll. His grandfather, a born-again Christian, was given responsibility for Steven by the court and enrolled him at Lighthouse Christian Academy, a ministry of the Lighthouse Church.
He hated it.
Bristling at just about any authority, Steven hated then-principal George Neos. Seething with street rage but lacking street smarts, he threatened the principal. A hulking 280-pound behemoth from Dartmouth University’s national winning football team, Neos just chuckled.
Once, Fernandez jumped on Neos’ back and grappled his neck in a chokehold. But Neos just whisked him off his back and slammed his body against the wall. (Such non-standard academic occurrences have not been seen since at LCA.)
Eventually, Neos’s tough love broke through. At the same time as being a principal, Neos was a pioneer pastor and invited Steven to his church. He even let the repentant street hoodlum stay overnight in his house. Steven became a Christian and began to turn his life around.
Out of high school, he married a Bible study leader and headed up the Lighthouse Church’s Thrift Store, an evangelism disguised as retail. He learned to smile.
Now, with two children – Faith and Stetson, he has taken the plunge into ministry. Ordained a pastor in June 2012, Steven is now assisting in the Guatemalan church pioneered for 16 years by Lighthouse son, Mike Ashcraft, who now teaches at LCA. Guatemalan Pastor Ludving Navarro needed some help since his wife is due for a hernia operation in coming weeks.
“The challenges just keep getting bigger,” Steven said. “But I never forget where I came from and how I very likely would have died, had not God intervened. Moving forward is easier when you remember where you came from.”
This article first appeared on LCA’s website: http://www.thelighthousechristianacademy.com
So Tex smashed Luis at high school practice today so hard that his nose bled out of both nostrils. I had to remind him to take out competitors, not teammates. Of course he did it unconsciously; without thinking the football player manifests.
A good soccer team is like the church. Everybody’s talents compliment and complete ministry in the church. No one’s is superior, nor inferior. We need people. Reaching out over the blogosphere is fabulous, but sometimes you need flesh and blood right nearby. I have prayed for other bloggers, but sometimes I need a church member to fix my washer. It is the combined effort that wins games.
It is the combination of so many different people that makes the church triumph over Satan. Surely, the church is guilty of so many crimes (judging others, drama, for example). I don’t like its ugly moments, but there’s nothing to take its place. Church is like marriage: detractors abound, but nothing better has every replaced it.