Tag Archives: Los Angeles
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As a college basketball player who evidently wouldn’t make it to the NBA, Daniel Nwosu Jr. took a minimum-wage job as a janitor at his college.
It’s a good thing because that’s where he learned to rap.
Today Daniel is known as Dax, a famous rapper who presents the gospel to sinners with a non-traditional voice. His searching – and sometimes profane — “Dear God” has 42.5 million views on YouTube.
“I believe in God,” says Dax on Genius channel on YouTube. “I’m not a Christian rapper, I’m not a mainstream rapper, I’m not a YouTube rapper, I’m not an underground rapper, I’m not a green or a blue rapper. I’m an artist. One day I’m going to rap about how I’m the best. The next day I might rap about my belief in God. The next day I might rap about how I love this girl.”
Born to Nigerian immigrants in Canada, Daniel Nwosu attended a Christian high school. By a miracle, the coach from Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, saw a video of his play and offered him a scholarship for his senior year.
But he had to attend chapel every day and church on Sunday. Also, he had to observe Sunrise’s strict behavior code, which meant no flirting. Dax literally didn’t even talk to a girl that entire year.
“He poured everything he had into basketball,” says Michael McCrudden on his YouTube channel “Before They Were Famous.” “He had 6:00 a.m. workouts. He would lift weights. And on top of this, he had his own crazy workout routine. From all this, the dude would literally fall asleep in class because he was exhausted.”
Aiming for the NBA, Daniel played at three different colleges to complete his four-year degree. In his senior year, he led his Division 2 conference in scoring.
Academics were not his major focus, but he had an active brain and was drawn by philosophy. He started majoring in psychology, switched to economics and finally got a degree in communications from Newman University in Wichita, Kansas.
It was math class that gave rise to his stage name Dax. He shortened Daniel and added x.
“In math, x is always a variable,” Dax explains. “So I made x a variable for n.”Read the rest: Dax Christian rapper
Suddenly, the volleyball court disappeared and the scene of a hot and dusty Wild West town emerged.
As a tumbleweed rolled lazily along in the scorching breeze and innocent bystanders scampered for cover, Allie Scribner, hands readied for her quickest draw, squinted sternly at her rival, Westmark’s Katherine Abraham.
When the ref blew the whistle, the gunslinger Allie fired, a blistering serve… straight at the person best able to return it, Katherine.
“I wanted to ace their best player,” Allie explained afterward. “I wanted to make them feel pain.”
It might seem that to liquidate the game efficiently, it was in Lighthouse Christian Academy’s interest to target easy victims with the deadly gunfire.
But when the spirit of posse justice possesses her, Allie turns into a merciless marksman.
“Number 1 had really good serves and overall played really well with the girls,” admitted Katherine, who herself was a powerful player and struck fear into the Santa Monica private school’s heart. Read the rest: Christian private school near Venice, CA – volleyball
When Michael Garafola dons his Rams jersey and Rams helmet on Sept. 10, he’ll feel a crush of pride to represent the L.A. team at its season opener in Phoenix. The lineman will be ready for some intense crashing of bodies and wheelchairs.
“The fact that we’re able to wear Rams jerseys and helmets is incredible,” Garafola told Patch. “To be able to put a Rams jersey on is incredible. I’m super excited.”
Garafola is part of the new NFL-sponsored, all-wheelchair football league. Yes, football for guys in wheelchairs.
“There’s something very alluring about football. It’s a contact-heavy sport,” says Rams manager Josh Lucas. “They get knocked over and rolled around. They get up, shake it off and get ready for the next play. When you see them bashing each other, you think they might be able to get hurt. But really they are at no more risk for getting hurt any more than fully able bodied players.”
Wheelchair football has existed in America since 1948 but play has been limited to starts and stops by various organizations until the new league gets underway in little more than a week. Organizers hope that with NFL backing, this league will be here to stay.
The Rams team is co-sponsored by the Westwood-based Angel City Sports. They need volunteers and take donations.
Garafola, 46, teaches adaptive sports at UCLA. It’s a natural job for him because he went more than a decade without sports, from an SUV accident in 1990 that left him with a spinal chord injury and depressed being deprived of athletics.
Then in 2003, he found out about organized adaptive basketball in Los Angeles. He loved basketball and immediately leapt at the opportunity to participate.
“I was blown away,” Garafola says. “I didn’t have any idea that this type of sport existed. These guys were playing and jawing… Read the rest: Wheelchair football in Los Angeles
Doubt plagued Sean McDowell, son of famous doubts-slayer Josh McDowell, when he stumbled across an atheist website that refuted his Dad’s book Evidence that Demands a Verdict point by point.
“Honestly growing up, I probably kind of thought someone wasn’t a Christian because they just hadn’t read Evidence Demands a Verdict or More Than a Carpenter,” says Sean on a 100 Huntley Street video.
The books have been decisive in establishing the faith of many people based on hard evidence to corroborate the Bible. But here was a well-reasoned attempt to erode confidence, Sean said.
“All of a sudden, I’m reading some really smart people — some doctors, some lawyers, philosophers, historians — going chapter by chapter, pushing back very thoughtfully on the arguments that my father had made,” Sean relates.
It shook him to his core.
So Sean, 19 and in college, sat down with his dad for coffee and came clean.
“I want to be honest with you,” he told Dad. “I’m not sure that I’m convinced Christianity is true.”
Sean wasn’t sure how did would react. Josh has famously written 150 books and given 27,000 lectures on college campuses to stir university kids to faith and show them what their atheist professors don’t want them to know.
Would his dad lose his temper, kick him out of the family and disown him?
Actually, Josh did none of that. Josh McDowell became a Christian master of apologetics when he as young man decided to study to disprove Christianity, which he thought was an annoying idea that needed to be dethroned in American. Read the rest: Sean McDowell doubted the Christianity of his father Josh McDowell
Following in the tradition of C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, and Josh McDowell, another great apologist has arrived, a 13-year-old.
Nahoa Life — his mom is Hawaiian — likes skateboarding, performing Christ hip hop and mastering big books of philosophy and science as it relates to God.
A product of Gen Z, Nahoa recently appeared on the Christian intellectual circuit’s radar when Biola Professor Sean McDowell received an email with questions about his doctoral dissertation.
Sean, the son of Josh McDowell, thought, Are you kidding me? This 12-year-old read my dissertation?
McDowell decided to host Nahoa on his podcast in February.
“I love apologetics,” the 8th-grader from Los Angeles told Sean. “I started doing apologetics about two years ago. I was just kind of bored and I read a book. It was super intriguing. For the first time I realized there’s actual evidence for Christianity.”
Apologetics, a lofty philosophy and usually a course in undergraduate Bible school, is the field of making Christianity palatable to skeptics.
Nahoa happens to be home-schooled, and when his mom saw… Read the rest: 13 year old apologist
Butch Hartman, the Christian animator who delighted us through our childhood with The Fairly OddParents, has launched an all-Christian cartoon and game website called Noog Network.
“My faith means everything to me and it means everything to my family,” Butch told Jewish News in Phoenix, AZ. “By having faith, I feel that I’m accountable to something else. And in my case, it’s to God. I have to live my life by certain principles because I know I’m going to have to answer for my actions one day.”
Before launching his own production company, Hartman — who calls himself Donald Duck of Nickelodeon because he was second to SpongeBob SquarePants, the Mickey Mouse of the cartoon network — also entertained children with his zany antics in Danny Phantom, T.U.F.F. Puppy and Bunsen Is a Beast.
Butch Hartman’s career launched in the second grade, when his teacher asked students to draw her. Little Butch whipped out her very likeness, and the teacher raved about the talent. From then on, all he wanted to do was draw.
He enrolled in California Institute of the Arts founded by Walt Disney in Valencia, and began working hard in the industry, working for Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network. He worked for Nickelodeon for 20 years. But his end game was to establish his own network.
In the hailed progression to fame, Butch also got saved at Pastor Fred Price’s church in Los Angeles in 1999.
“I went from not wanting to go to church, to being an usher at Crenshaw Christian Center. I was the only white usher at Crenshaw Christian Center,” he told Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships. “It was very easy.” Read the rest: Butch Hartman Christian
But what are you doing to help in needy areas?
I had been complaining on social media about the lawlessness of the rioters, and God was intersecting my self-righteousness with a contrary thought.
Ok, God, I thought, where can I get involved in at-risk neighborhoods in my city, Los Angeles? The door opened quickly to share a Bible study once a week at a half-way house just west of Downtown. I could leave my smug, self-affirming San Fernando Valley and get into the grit.
What started as a weekly study turned into friendships.
Then it went deeper. It became family.
Some church members and my business associates at World Financial Group, all pitching in with cooked items, threw the 16 guys at New Beginnings a full-on Thanksgiving Dinner.
Here are guys, many of whom have burned their bridges with their own family. So they aren’t invited to family gatherings. And the feel the absence acutely at family holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I should know. I cried too when I was a missionary all alone with my wife in Guatemala the first year and we didn’t have anybody to celebrate with. God sent us a well-to-do Guatemalan family that went out of their way to invite us to Christmas dinner with their family. Gratitude welled up in my heart.
So when I saw my guys at New Beginnings, with Thanksgiving approaching, I knew what I had to do. God has blessed me, and so it was my turn to bless.
Fortunately, I wasn’t alone. When I suggested the project to my financial advisor business partners in the Woodland Hills office, everyone was eager to contribute. As my wife cooked the turkey, Sierra Rego mashed the potatoes, Herb Quick bought pies, Jamie got cider and Marie Carole — who’s from France — whipped up some ratatouille.
I didn’t even know that ratatouille was a traditional Thanksgiving dish. LOL.
Of course, Kianna Shin, who’s our leader, outdid us all. She made potstickers, another Thanksgiving classic. Read the rest: where do I get involved to help the homeless for the holidays?
As Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah called out the names of blacks killed by police, she summoned the spirits of the dead by pouring out a drink offering on the hot pavement at a June march in Los Angeles.
“Our power comes not only from the people who are here but from the spirits that we cannot see,” said Abdullah, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “When we say their name, we invoke their presence.”
In the 1960s, the top leaders of the Civil Rights movement were Christians. Today, the leaders pushing progress in race relations are of a completely different stripe: They are Marxists, queer and practitioners of hoodoo.
As the evangelical church weighs its response to racism and police brutality, it must filter through how to support a movement whose values are diametrically opposed to the Bible’s. Normally, when you get into politics you have to overlook a certain amount of unsavory facts to support candidates who represent the majority of your opinions. But just how much can Christians, who are sympathetic to reforming institutional sin, avert their eyes from these glaring faults?
“We speak their names. You kind of invoke that spirit, and then their spirits actually become present with you,” said Abdullah, a professor at California State University LA, as quoted by Christian News. “We summon those spirits that are still with us. We summon those people whose bodies have been stolen, but whose souls are still here,” Abdullah said. “We call on Wakiesha Wilson. We call on George Jackson … Eric Garner …”
Abdullah and her close associate Patrisse Cullors preside over a nationally influential BLM chapter of 500 supporters.
“This is a movement led and envisioned and directed by Black women,” she said. “Many of us are queer, we’re moms, and we really started this work because we wanted to see our children survive. We’re laying the groundwork and foundation for a new world, not just for our descendants but for right now.”
“The movement for Black lives infuses a syncretic blend of African and indigenous cultures’ spiritual practices and beliefs, embracing ancestor worship; Ifa-based ritual such as chanting, dancing, and summoning deities; and healing practices such as acupuncture, reiki, therapeutic massage, and plant medicine in much of its work, including protest,” Cullors told the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.
Cullors identified herself as queer and Marxist.
BLM holds up the notable goals of social equality and justice amid a disturbing string of incidents of police excessive force. It started seven years ago when black man Trayvon Martin was killed when he tussled with George Zimmerman. It grew to 40 chapters nationwide in major cities through successive incidents of police use of force they felt was excessive: Mike Brown, Eric Garner and now Breonna Taylor.
But it was the tragic death of George Floyd, upon whose neck an officer knelt for nine minutes on his neck as he pleaded “I can’t breathe,” that galvanized national and international protests that were massive. Politicians, companies, professional sports leagues joined wholesale. Even churches got involved since the mission to bring righteousness to our nation can also be seen to include eradicating the sin of racism.
But have many people taken a close look at the foundational tenets under-girding the movement? Is it acceptable to lend our name and prestige to support the backing philosophies of Marxism (essentially atheist and opposed to the Christian church), LBGTQ and demonic religious practices?
“I wasn’t raised with honoring ancestors. As I got older and started to feel like I was missing something, ancestral worship became really important,” Cullors said on Religion News. “At its core, BLM is a spiritual movement.”
Surely, the church will yearn for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who invoked God’s help in peaceful protest and exhorted the nation to live up to its Christian foundational ideals.
“The different things that have become common, like ‘say her name,’ she says they are summoning the spirits of the dead to empower them to do this justice work,” said Abraham Hamilton III, general counsel to the American Family Association. “People are running around saying, ‘say her name,” but the founders of this organization say they’re summoning their spirits of the dead in the tradition of the Yoruba religion.
“I don’t want to misconstrue the Yoruba religion with the ethnicity or the language, but the religious component of it includes an over-arching pagan deity, then under that a mid level of pagan gods and goddesses called egun, and underneath them their are ancestors that they believe are gods,” says Hamilton, who himself is black. “The Lord warned the Israelites not to participate in these practices of these people. Among the things they were prohibited is summoning dead people.
“There are churches, large denominations that are demanding people support this organization and participate in these mantras and not really realizing what they are doing,” he adds. “As a Bible-believing Christian, I do not need a Marxist, anti-man, anti-Christ, ancestral worship purveyor to teach me how to love my neighbor.” Read the rest: Black Lives Matter and its demonic practices and beliefs.
Why would Christians number hugely among the anti-lockdown marchers when the Bible warns us to obey governing authorities?
First, the restrictions have hit churches hard. Pastors have been arrested for attempting to hold services, and parishioners have been issued tickets — even if they observe social distancing by having “drive in” services in which they stay in their cars in the church parking lot and listen to the sermon over the Internet.
Videos of officers handcuffing a pastor in Louisiana and handing out tickets in the parking lot have enraged Christians. It is reminiscent of the Soviet Union — or maybe even something worse: the Apocalyptic scenes of the End Times. Some point to the suggestion of Bill Gates that people worldwide will need a “digital certificate” to not lose their vaccination record, strikingly close to the 666 of the Beast.
While the End Times denouement is unavoidable, Christians react against and fight the trend towards One World government, personal tracking and restrictions on humans through microchips (a digital certificate is not a microchip).
A network of 3000 California churches representing 2.5 million congregants defied their governor and announced they would re-open May 31, according to Fox News.
“Our churches are part of the answer, not part of the problem,” said Danny Carroll, senior pastor at Water of Life Community Church. “We’re an essential part of this whole journey and we’ve been bypassed … kicked to the curb and deemed nonessential.”
The churches are not acting alone. After videos show police man-handling peaceful ralliers, beach-goers and park-goers embarrassed law enforcement, a number of sheriffs announced they would not carry out the governor’s orders to arrest people out of their homes.
“As a police officer for 10 years, I’m compelled to make this video. I’m speaking to my peers, fellow officers. I’ve seen officers nationwide enforcing tyrannical orders against the people. I’m hoping it’s the minority of officers, but I’m not sure anymore,” says G. Anderson posted by @standstrongart on Instagram.
“Every time I turn on the television, I’m seeing people arrested or cited for going to church or traveling on the road ways, for going surfing, opening their business, for doing nails out of their own house, using their own house as a place of business and having undercover agents go and arrest them and charge them with what? With a crime?”
The media has whipped America into a panic frenzy over COVID-19 and induced an economic shutdown that will leave millions dying of starvation around the world, says Dr. Michael Brown in piercing op-eds on the Christian Post.
“The way in which the media has pushed fear nonstop amounts to psychological warfare against the country,” David Williams, an Alabama doctor, told Brown.
As state quarantines of healthy people grind into the third month, many are questioning their effectiveness and wondering if secular officials are seizing dictatorial power, denying Constitutional freedoms and attempting to throw 2020’s election against the current president.
A recent survey of New York City found that 60% of new COVID patients had observed stay-at-home orders but got sick anyway. Sweden, which bucked the international trend and did not quarantine, isn’t any worse off with infections and deaths than other nations. Mortality rates generated by epidemiologists are coming up well short of the predicted disaster. As of this writing, hospitals are empty and nurses are being furloughed. Read the rest: Christian anti lockdown protesters.
“Today is tomorrow.”
The words didn’t make any sense to Chaplain Dan, but he could see from the face of the inmate at LA’s North County Correctional Facility that something was very wrong.
As it turns out, the shot-caller had told him he would “deal with him tomorrow.” The shot-caller, the Alpha male for 70 inmates in one dorm, didn’t like the fact that the Mexican Mafia was losing traction and the Gospel was gaining traction.
“Who is inviting y’all to the Christian meetings?” he demanded one day. He needed recruits. He needed sway. He needed foot soldiers to join the ranks of one of California’s most powerful crime syndicates. And Christianity was getting in the way of his purposes.
Later that night, the inmate approached the shot-caller.
“No disrespect to you, but I’m the one inviting all the guys to the Christian meetings,” he said.
“I’ll deal with you tomorrow,” the shot-caller warned.
He knew what that meant: either he or one of his minions would brutally attack him. Read the rest: Christianity in Jail.
Young Noah was succeeding wildly in the secular rap game while his life was going down the drain, but he turned things around after he nearly got shot to pieces.
“Duck,” God told him.
“I ducked down in the car and pushed my buddy’s head down into the steering wheel,” he says on a 2016 Testimony Stories video. “The next thing I knew there were shots fired and glass was just flying everywhere,” “It was at that moment I realized that I was about to die.”
He had been trying to help some girls escape a college party, and “a hundred football guys, drunk and high and out of their minds” chased him down because they wanted the girls, he says. He had pulled out a non-working gun to scare them off and keep from getting beat up. They had run off but returned before Noah and his buddy could escape in their car. They had at least one gun, and it worked.
William Noah Bohannon aka Young Noah was born in Neunan, Georgia, into a family so Christian that he wasn’t hardly aware of the world. He accepted Jesus at a young age and got baptized. He was being home-schooled, but when he attended secular high school he got involved in hip hop, alcohol, marijuana, gangs and robbery.
“It was weird to grow up in church and end up so far away from God,” he says. “Church and growing up in church can’t save your soul. It kind of shapes you, but eventually you have to make a decision whether or not you’re going to allow God to live in you and cause you to do good works. Church can’t save you. You need to accept Christ. You need to have a regeneration in your mind. You have to be born-again.”
Winning a rap contest, he was given the chance to record in Los Angeles. By the time he got there, however, God had already orchestrated events to the point that he was already questioning his great breakthrough.
“I found myself succeeding in this dark industry,” he says. “At the same time I began to wonder if God really approved of my lifestyle. I knew that if I was really going to be a Christian, I was going to have to let this music thing go. I told my manager, I told the record company, I told everybody that I couldn’t continue. Read the rest: Young Noah’s testimony
Forget about the big fancy expensive Chinese food restaurants in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. Locals get their authentic grub at Hop Li, an unpretentious eatery that would necessarily stand out as a hot spot.
I was introduced to Hop Li, when in the 90s I was dating the lady who is now my wife. It was the most frequent place we went to.
I’ve learned to ignore the worn-out red carpets that lead to the bathroom. They look like they were new in the 60s. I’ve learned to ignore the dust on the exit sign. People don’t
come to Hop Li for its immaculate interior. The decorating looks like it hasn’t updated
since the 70s.
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Nobody cares about that. They only care about taste. When it comes to authentic Cantonese food, there’s nothing better in Downtown LA (Chinatown is just northeast of DT).
Having married American-born Chinese, I learned you always start with soup. My in-laws used to honor me (many many years ago) by ordering shark’s fin soup, which cost $100 and tastes fibrous (nothing special for my American taste buds, or bitter melon soup (which they cherish but tasted to me like the name, bitter). But on my recent visit we were treated to the more American-friendly hot and sour soup.
Next, if the meal is special, you get Peking Duck. I like the dunk meat best, but the true Chinese way, apparently, is to eat mostly fried duck skin with plum sauce, onion sprigs and parsley.
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Then the entrees start coming out to be served on the white rice: honey garlic spare ribs, asparagus, baby Spinach, fish in black bean sauce, pepper chicken, spicy beef and bell peppers, noodles, sweet and sour chicken. There is more than we can finish, which is the Chinese way for a banquet.
There are a lot of exotic items for the truer Chinese taste buds, deep fried squid in light crunchy batter, crab and fried tofu in creamy curry sauce, whole steamed fish (my in-laws, to honor me years ago, offered me the fish eyeball, which is a delicacy, and which I dutifully ate. It was mushy like a pea, though harder.)
Chinese like fresh, fresh, fresh food, so you can get the fish live and placed into the pot. So Hop Li has tanks of living crabs for you to enjoy.
I always liked the orange pepper chicken but through the years of eating with my in-laws have learned to go along with whatever they order. Another favorite of mine was kung-pao chicken.
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You can come here for a quick lunch, simple dinner or a full-on banquet.
At some point, Hop Li, which started in Chinatown, expanded with two restaurants on the West Side of Los Angeles, aiming to capture the well-heeled crowd. Reportedly, even the best chef moved there. But here in Chinatown is where the legend began, so I’m not following the best chef.
Hop Li is part of Chinatown’s history. They even have a historic map that traces the beginnings of the section in Los Angeles. Some of the history is a stain because racial violence against Chinese is why the Chinese moved out of Downtown and quartered up near Dodger Stadium (which, of course, wasn’t there at the time).
Hot mustard sauce to add some zing to vegetables. Alternatively, oyster sauce makes the veggies delicious.
The Chinese apparently appreciate the baby vegetables, such as the spinach above. They say they are more tender. Not hailing from Chinese descent, I grew up learning that toughness was roughage, which was good for your digestion, so I don’t think I savor it quite like they do.
The menu is extensive.
Hop Li Seafood Restaurant
526 Alpine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Chio’s Peruvian Grill –
7755 Sepulveda Blvd.
To live in LA is to enjoy exotic food. Now that Mexican food has spread across the U.S., Angelinos are now in a quest for new tastes from the remotest parts of the globe. Apparently over a 1,000 Peruvians call Van Nuys their home, so you can find a cache of Andes-styled eateries. Among them, Chio’s stands out. The restaurant started on Sepulveda Blvd, the grubbery is opening restaurants elsewhere in the Valley.
I can see why they are expanding. I had the Lomo Saltado, which dares to put the French fries right in the savory beef slivers with liquidy sauce. There’s a healthy dollop of white rice too. I was impressed that the serving size was generous for the price — no leftover hunger. The inadequate parking reflects the humble immigrant beginnings of this gem. Let me assure you, it’s worth the trouble to get parking once you’re inside the cozy restaurant watching flames leap up in the kitchen grill. They have Peruvian beer, but being a teetotaler, I can’t opine on its craftsmanship.
After years and years of ripping off Home Depot and other retailers Mark* finally got busted for theft. He was convicted and sentenced to 45 days in jail. So he scheduled his accumulated vacation time for his jail sentence, says Prison Chaplain Dan, who worked with Mark.
Mark went to Bible studies in the Los Angeles County Jail and got radically saved.
When he was released, he had $200,000 worth of stolen power tools that he had extracted by hiding them inside toilets and other places. He paid for the toilet. No one ever looked inside when he went through the checkout.
He knew he had to surrender the stolen goods as part of his repentance. He tried offering them to the local church, which refused them and instructed him to give them back to Home Depot. But giving them back would constitute evidence against him that could lead another conviction.
Mark was sincere about serving Jesus. So he went to Home Depot, and on videotape, gave everything back. Home Depot employees were shocked and grateful.
Mercifully, they didn’t press charges!
When Mike tried to return merchandise to his boss at a retailer, Mike wouldn’t have any part of it. Read the rest: does prison ministry do any good?
In the summer of 2016 when Donald Trump was losing by double digit polling numbers a presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton, he called in pastor/evangelist Paula White for a personal Bible study and wound up accepting Jesus into his heart
Trump “holds his faith close to his chest and is not as open about it as some people,” Paul says.
Paula, who pastors megachurch The New Destiny Church Center in Apopka, Florida, has a knack for getting celebrities and famous people saved. She has ministered to pop icon Michael Jackson, talk show host Tyra Banks and baseball stars Darryl Strawberry and Gary Sheffield.
Paula Michelle Furr grew up in poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi, after her father committed suicide when she was 5. Her mom worked and struggled with alcoholism. Meanwhile care-givers took advantage of Paula through physical and sexual abuse.
When she was 9, her mom married a 2-star admiral of the U.S. Navy and family moved to Washington D.C., where they lived in better circumstances, but she struggled with emotional baggage from the past.
“There were the eating disorders: bulimia, anorexia, sleeping with different people, thinking this is how you find love,” she told CBN. “There was such a fear in me that men would never come back so do whatever you have to — hit me, beat me, call me a dog, do whatever, just don’t leave.”
In 1984, while living in Maryland, she converted to Christianity at the Damascus Church of God and received a heavenly vision instructing her to preach the gospel.
“The Lord gave me a vision that every time I opened my mouth and declared the Word of the Lord, there was a manifestation of His Spirit where people were either healed, delivered, or saved,” she says in Holy Mavericks. “When I shut my mouth, they fell off into utter darkness and God spoke to me and said ‘I called you to preach the gospel.'”
Accordingly, the young lady skipped college and began ministering in the inner-city of Washington D.C. in the late 1980s. After Los Angeles’ Rodney King riots, she moved to L.A. to minister to needy people, whose neighborhoods had been burned and decimated.
Paula started rising up in ministry and led large churches. She started Paula White Ministries, a global media ministry that has touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people. It included her television program Paula White Today, which apparently was how Trump became aware of her and asked for private Bible studies in 2002.
At the time time, Trump was an international businessman and probably hadn’t even entertained the idea of running for president as the tough-talking dark horse candidate.
“He genuinely listened to us,” Paula remembers. “He genuinely cared.”
Paula was then co-pastor with her husband Randy White the multicultural Without Walls Church in Tampa, which ministered up to 15,000 people at a time. She appealed to people of many ethnicities and her program was featured on Black Entertainment Television and either other networks.
“You know you’re on to something new and significant when the most popular woman preacher on the Black Entertainment Network is a white woman,” Ebony magazine said of her at the time. Read the rest of Paula White.
After his father succumbed to cancer, David Silva Jr. was “eaten up with guilt” because he hadn’t been there for his dad through the chemotherapy and hospitalizations.
So he tried to commit suicide. When his girlfriend left, he tied a noose around his neck, fastened it to the bar in a closet, took a bunch of pills and let himself fall.
But his girlfriend came back in suddenly and rescued him, marking the beginning of David’s turnaround from meth abuser to Christ follower, now 31-years-old. Nearly half his life had been consumed by addiction.
“I never thought it would be so easy for me to quit. It had to have been God. I didn’t have no withdrawals or anything,” says David, who hasn’t been sober for a year yet. “I felt I was on fire for Jesus.”
David first got into trouble because of the kids he was hanging with in Pacoima where he grew up. They took drugs, so he eventually tried them in the 10th grade. Very quickly he transitioned from marijuana to crystal meth.
“I’ve always been upity up. So I liked meth because the feeling you get is you’re alert. It’s a stimulant, but eventually you start losing control of your own mind,” David says. “Because of the lack of sleep you start hallucinating, hearing things and seeing things. When you open your mind up to that much evil, you’re actually seeing things that are actually there.”
David did construction work with his dad, but since the two of them argued constantly on the job site, he eventually left home. He “screwed up” some really good employments because of his drug use.
“Me and my dad had a big blowout,” he says. “We always bumped heads. We had a really bad relationship on the job site. We always wanted to be in control. We had ups and downs. We had a love-hate relationship with me.”
He was sleeping in his truck but eventually found favor with a drug dealer to sleep on his couch. Fixing a car for a friend of his dealer, he met the girl who would become his girlfriend. He fell asleep on the patio at a barbecue at her house and just stayed there.
He would do handyman jobs and install security systems and cameras and home entertainment units. Sometimes, he would be at police officer’s houses installing systems — and he would be high while he was doing it.
By many accounts, methamphetamines are second only to opioids in popularity on the mean streets of America. The drug triggers a jolting release of dopamine, the happy hormone. Users go for days without sleeping or eating as the drug becomes their single focus in life. David stuffed toilet paper in his cheeks for his driver’s license photo so he wouldn’t look so gaunt.
“You can do $300 of meth and it won’t hit you because your body is so exhausted. They call it the burn out,” David says. “No matter what amount of meth you do, it won’t hit you.”
Towards the end, David starting hanging out in underground casinos, “getting involved in some really heavy things, with some really gnarly gang members who were notorious” in the criminal world, he says. “I was involved in all kinds of illegal activities.”
Meanwhile his mom and dad were praying for him. Even when he was high, he would remember God and even talk to other users about God.
“God had purpose for me,” he says. “Smoking with 20 guys I was still talking about God and get into debates about good and evil. I would wonder how I could debate about God while I was high. God never leaves us.”
David’s parents hadn’t heard from him in nine months when his dad was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Mom was afraid to tell her son the complete diagnosis for fear it might make him spin out of control with the drugs, but she sent word that dad was in the hospital through some friends.
David came home and made peace with his father. Eventually he found out he was dying of cancer, and he began to spin out of control.
“I lost it. I started using drugs really really badly, even worse than before,” he says. “I became reckless. I didn’t care.”
When his dad was in the hospital for the last time with liquids oozing out of his mouth and nose, David was there to help.
“I love you,” he told his father, who stared back with eyes of fear, unable to speak himself.
“It was too late,” David says. “It ate me up so bad. I was afraid he didn’t hear me when I told him I love you. We didn’t really make that peace. The guilt was so much. I wasn’t there for my dad like I should’ve been. I was too busy getting high. I got in a really dark place, and I lost sense of everything.”
Two days after his father (a born-again) Christian died, David was overcome with guilt and grief and tried to commit suicide but was interrupted by his girlfriend.
With no sense of closure or peace, David threw himself into rabid drug use with a fury. This time, not even his girlfriend knew where he was, in a tent underneath an overpass bridge. He dropped from 188 to 140 pounds when an acquaintance brought him a message.
“Finally one of my friends came looking for me and said, ‘Dude, your mom is really worried about you she wants you to come home,” he recalls.
He agreed to go with mom to church where he met a fellow former user, Eric, who encouraged him in God. Especially important was that Eric told David his father was proud of him. That made him feel good, but also guilty because he wasn’t living a life to be proud of. So he decided to give it a try.
And then came the radical change in his life: a church camping trip.
It’s funny how the church has advanced to streamed sermons, devotional apps and seeker-friendly sermons, but the old methodology for Christian camping is still one of the most powerful discipleship tools.
David went to the Sequoia National Forest. He had always loved camping, and he made himself useful helping set up tents and doing most of the cooking. He led hikes into the mountains and helped chop wood for the campfires. He fellowshipped with Eric and grew strong in the camaraderie.
But it was the last night that broke his heart and solidified his decision to serve Jesus. At a campfire his younger brother Elijah publicly thanked God for giving him back his older brother.
“I’m sorry for being a screw up all those years,” David responded through tears.
When Moses came down Mount Sinai, his face glowed from the glory of God. Something similar happened to David.
“After the camping trip, I felt I was on fire for Jesus,” he says. “Just having my family back. Just knowing that I was doing something that my dad wanted for me. Just knowing that I was doing something that would make him feel proud of me.”
He kicked meth.
He didn’t suffer the usual physical symptoms of withdrawal. But at night, he saw demons. This was strange to him because he’d never hallucinated while taking meth. It was when he quit meth that he saw the fiendish beings mocking him at night.
“I couldn’t sleep. I’d be afraid to fall asleep because I was afraid I would see more demons. They were imps,” David says. “It was like an out of body experience, like I was watching myself sleeping, and these gnarly hairy creatures, imps with lots of teeth, were moving around harassing my brother as if they were saying, ‘If we can’t have you, we’re going to take your brother.’” Read the rest of the story about meth addict freed by Jesus.
Jordan Sheppard was the hero Wednesday as Lighthouse Christian Academy attempted to hold back the tsunami of Newbury Park Adventist Academy in co-ed soccer.
That’s because the inexperienced goalie parried countless shots.
“His hands must be hurting,” the referee quipped after the game.
Jordan, 17, appreciates the chance to play. Had it not been for Lighthouse opening its doors, Jordan says he’d be on the wrong path in life.
“Without Lighthouse, I think my life would be somewhere on the lines of being in jail or about to go to jail — or dead,” Jordan says bluntly. “One of those three.”
Lighthouse lost 1-6. Without Jordan’s class act in the box, it would have been worse.
But even when it loses, Lighthouse is winning — with what matters most.
It’s stories like Jordan’s that people LCA’s fabled history. As a Christian ministry, LCA prepares the college-bound, and at the same time it reaches at-risk youth. Understandably, not all succeed, but the stories of those who do are pure gold.
Coach Junior Cervantes was a similar story; from a Pacoima street tagger he turned into a college student, outstanding husband, son-in-law to Senior Pastor Rob Scribner of the Lighthouse Church in Santa Monica.
In terms of pure sports, Wednesday’s loss was an act of revenge. Newbury has been a league champion and a tough rival for Lighthouse. For the last three or four matchups, LCA has managed to get the upper hand.
The Gators were anxious to best the Saints. They fielded a top-notch team that moved the ball with precision and speed. They harried LCA all over the field. The Gators came ready to bite.
So unrelenting was their offense, the Saints were driven back to their half and only defended for most of the first half.
Coach Junior had to re-adjust at half time to offer some counter attack. Hosea Ashcraft pulled a foul outside of the box, fired the free kick around the wall bending it low on the far post for a consolation goal.
It was the Saints’ first loss of the season in four games in CIF Southern Section’s Omega League.
While the results were disheartening for the Saints, the game was nevertheless exhilarating. That’s because Newbury, playing at a high level, raised the level of the Saints players. The best way to get better is to play against better teams.
The supporting cast of non-soccer players got takeaways. They would have to work on ball control, improve on their passing, use their brain more in terms finding their position on the field. They need to use less touches and execute quicker.
As a newbie before the net, Jordan had to learn too. But the hulking 6-footer was up for the challenge and came off like a pro. How did he learn how to dive and perform the acrobats to frustrate Gator shot time after time?
“I just watched videos and I learned from different coaches. They all taught me what to do,” Jordan says. “I just go with the flow. People tell me what to do and I accept it and I learn from my mistakes.”
After learning to escape the unforgiving streets, learning goalie is easy. The senior credits a higher source for his own personal beating-of-the-odds.
“I didn’t do anything. It was all God. It was because of the friends He gave me,” Jordan says. “It was because of the stepping stones that He put in my life and the different achievements. If I wasn’t at Lighthouse I don’t think I would be a Christian and having so much fun playing.”
When he finally turned his back on the gold chains, the flashy rims and the swanky garb; when he finally turned his back on trafficking and pimping to make money to produce a rap album; when he chose Jesus, God came through for Bizzle in a big way.
With no resources other than the Bible in his hand and Jesus in his heart, Bizzle was given engineers, studio time and producers free of charge to whip out his first album — a Christian mixtape.
“You feel like you have to play by Satan’s rules in order to get where you want,” says Bizzle, whose real name is Mark Julian Felder. “All the stuff I felt that we had to go and cut corners and scheme to get money to pay for, the Lord brought these things without me having to spend a dime. He just sent them my way.”
Today, Bizzle, 35, has 12 Christian albums and mixtapes and his own recording label, which is called — what else? — God Over Money. His current Light Work EP cracked iTunes top 10. His material is both a compliment and counterpoint to Christian hip-hop legend Lecrae.
Bizzle was raised in Cudahy, a small neighborhood of Los Angeles, by his mother and grandmother, who dragged him to church. He never felt poor because Mom managed their Section 8 with wisdom. His dad lived in nearby Compton, a famous exporter of rap artists.
Bizzle had verses in his veins from early childhood. His idol was Tupac, and he became enamored with the vaunted thug life of pistols, revenge and crime. When he graduated from high school, he hawked mixtapes with worldly themes, bragging about gangster living he never did.
Then under the rap moniker “Lavyss,” he started to catch the eye of rap power brokers and opened shows for Lil Wayne, Juelz Santana and Lil Boosie, but he was sleeping at friends’ places or in his car. He borrowed finery and gold chains to look the part on stage. He got friends to drive him up in their ritzy “whips” when he arrived at concerts. He produced some mixtapes that showed promise.
But he wasn’t making money. So he decided he needed to turn to practicing what he preached (crime) to speed up the money-making. He began selling marijuana and pills. A prostitute who liked his music offered to help and started passing him earnings. That’s how he became a pimp.
“It’s like you go to the beach and you get out in the water and you don’t notice how far you’re getting way out there in the deep,” Bizzle says on his testimony video. “It wasn’t until I looked at Christ and saw how righteous He was that I realized how filthy I was.
“I never in a million years” would pimp, Bizzle says now. “Especially since I was raised by my mother and my grandmother, I always had respect for women. But since that was funding my dream at the moment, I gave it a pass. That was the furthest I got from God and it caused me to get the closest to God.”
Bizzle and a friend went to Las Vegas to hustle money with the prostitute. Bizzle had the habit of stowing her profits in his Bible. But he also read the Bible, and it intrigued him. One day his buddy came out of the shower and caught him reading his Bible.
“So what you gonna be a gospel rapper now?” his buddy mocked.
“You know what? I might,” Bizzle responded. “One day the Lord just had to put that conviction on my heart.”
After four years of rapping dirty lyrics and doing dirty deeds, Bizzle decided to switch to the Lord’s side in 2008. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and was born-again!
He had no funds but he was determined to serve the Lord instead of Satan. He took two years off, got married to his love in Houston and worked at Wal-Mart. Then he staged his return to rap, now for CHH.
It would be fair to say that Bizzle exploded onto the Christian hip hop scene with his 2010 song “You Got Some Explaining To Do” in which he called out Jay-Z and Beyoncé for their anti-Christian themes and lifestyles. Jay-Z and similar rappers were his childhood idols that led him down the wrong path. Now he was calling them to account.
Being brutally honest and criticizing a rival is regular fare for the hip hop genre, so not even Bizzle — still pretty much an unknown in rap world — could have imagined the controversy he generated. He had demanded Jay-Z explain what he was doing, but Bizzle found himself compelled to explain his diss.
It wasn’t necessarily a publicity stunt, but it worked well. Suddenly industry engineers came out of the woodwork and offered their services for free. Boi 1da (Matthew Jehu Samuels) — who produced Drake, Rihanna, Eminem, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar — called him and, saying he was a Christian, offered to produce him for free.
“When I decided to do rap for the Lord, I had no resources. I didn’t have any money for studio time. I didn’t have anybody to mix the records,” he says. Then “people started coming out of the blue.” Read the rest about Bizzle controversial Christian hip hop artist.
Tasked with converting The Three Little Pigs into a journalism article, LCA students show flair and fun.
Two pigs dead, another survived wolf attack
By Jose Hueso and Rachel Post —
Two pigs were eaten and a third successfully defended himself against a ravenous wolf who blew the houses down of the first two pigs yesterday in the woods.
Unable to blow down the third house which was made of bricks, the wolf entered with malicious intent by way of the chimney.
He was unaware that the chimney was booby-trapped. He fell into a pot of boiling water on the fire of the chimney and died. The third pig ate the boiled predator.
The wolf was able to knock down the first two pigs’ houses by blowing with all his might against them. One was made of hay and the other of sticks.
“I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down,” the wolf threatened.
But huffing and puffing and blowing didn’t work against the house of bricks.
Two pigs dead, wolf gets into hot water
By Joey Catalano, Ryan Zepeda and Zhang Xiao-Tong —
Two pigs were found eaten alive inside a killer wolf’s stomach yesterday in the woods.
Local residents say the wolf was spotted blowing down the two pigs’ houses.
“He was just saying, ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!’ to all those poor piggies,” said Julie Rabbit.
The houses were made of sticks and hay. But a third pig escaped unscathed when the wolf attempted unsuccessfully to flatten his brick house.
Foiled in his huffing and puffing, the wolf attempted to get the third pig by shimmying down the chimney. The quick-witted third pig put a pot of boiling water on the fire in the chimney, and the wolf only fell to his death in the hot water.
‘Another brick in the wall’ not a bad thing, pigs learn
By Kiera Sivrican and Wang Jingtong —
A big bad wolf assaulted three little pigs in a rage of hunger yesterday in the woods, blowing two of their three houses down.
The famished wolf left his woods for a meal, when he stumbled on the three pigs, who had just finished building their separate houses as seemed best to each: one of hay, one of sticks, one of bricks. Read the rest of the Los Angeles specialized high school writing program
St. John was losing basketball games, so coach Chris Mullin told his players about the time he was losing to alcoholism
To help his team snap an 11-game losing streak and stun #1-ranked Villanova, Coach Chris Mullin pulled a skeleton out his closet of personal failures and revealed his battle with alcoholism.
“Where do you think I was on this date 30 years ago,” he told his players, who were languishing in last place in the Big East Conference, lost in basketball oblivion.
The players, depressed in doldrums of dearth, responded mostly by looking blankly at him, the New York Times reported.
The answer? Thirty years prior, the millionaire NBA player was kicked off the Warriors squad and thrown into a bedraggled rehab with homeless winos, heroin addicts and crack heads in the middle of L.A.’s gangland. On his first night at the AA 12-step, after the speaker droned on about an alcoholic’s powerlessness to kick the habit, gangsters in a van drove past and strafed the church building with automatics. “Damn, I’m trying to get sober here, not get killed,” Mullin thought.
Four years later, Mullin was on the Dream Team that swept the Barcelona Olympics. Fellow teammate Magic Johnson said of him: “When God made basketball. He just carved Chris Mullin out and said, ‘This is a player.’”
But to pull himself out of the mire, he needed to endure the month-long program of 6-hour group therapy sessions with uninspiring cast of rehab mates. Then he had to drive back to the Golden State training court and fight, humbly but forcefully, for his place on the team — a feat that five other previous addiction-afflicted players had failed to do.
St. John is where Mullin started his trajectory; he took the New York university to the Final Four in 1985 as a star player. His signing as coach in 2015 was supposed to restore glory. Instead, in his third year, the Red Storm lost 14 games, his program in a malaise of ongoing roster turnover as developing prospects transferred and significant signings fizzled.
But then in February, sophomore point guard Shamorie Ponds and crew pulled off the improbable: they beat #4-ranked Duke. Then, the impossible: they defeated Villanova 79-75 on Feb. 7. Suddenly, the nation was asking about St. John.
The story of Mullin’s life — and the story of his team — is a story of redemption.
The Irish Catholic credits God: “Faith is everything,” he told Organic Catholics. “My Catholic upbringing I rely on daily. If you live a good life, good things will happen.”
Mullin was born in Brooklyn. With a passion for basketball, he took the subway all over New York City to find the most ferocious competition. Frequently, the palest player found it in the African American neighborhoods.
“For me, going up to a neighborhood if I had a bad game, I might not be allowed to come back,” Mullin said in the New York Daily News. “That was real pressure.”
With his hustle, ace shooting and unwillingness to be intimidated, the young Mullin gave them reason to learn his name.
During summers, Mullin attended local basketball camps at nearby St. John’s University. Hall of Fame Coach Lou Carnesecca spotted his talent and saw his raw hunger. A relationship began to form, and signing for the school was a natural choice for the Brooklyn native. He won the Big East Player of the Year three times.
A first round pick of the 1985 draft, Mullin carted across the country to the Warriors. He was lonely and called home excessively. By his third season, his alcoholism was taking a toll. He was overweight and missed practices. Coach Don Nelson gave him an ultimatum: shape up or his suspension would become expulsion.
Even as a child of the Light, Denzel Washington hasn’t shied away from playing children of darkness, and his latest collaboration with Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy is no exception – even as it carries a warning to avoid the enticements of evil.
“God put us together,” Washington told the Gospel Herald. “We prayed every day, we read the daily Word every day. Dan and I have been prayer partners in this whole collaboration. We were on the same page from day one. We know Who we work for, and we’re just trying to do our best work.”
Washington is a vocal Christian, whereas Gilroy maintains a low profile regarding his faith.
In the film Roman J. Israel, Esq., Washington plays a bumbling, autistic lawyer, who is a law genius but socially awkward. The crux of the plot centers on the moment when Israel loses his idealism and sells out to become rich. As cynicism takes over, his life spirals downward.
Just before he’s killed by a rival’s henchmen, he sees how his life, before giving up self-sacrificing heroics, impacted others positively. The movie is a parable to anyone who has quit pursuing noble goals, whether a disgraced pastor or 1960s activist.
The son of a Pentecostal preacher in New York, Washington once considered becoming a pastor, but he decided he could reach more people through his acting. That might seem an odd choice since his father didn’t let him watch movies as a kid, but Washington found that his gift for acting was given by God.
“I speak now and I’m doing what God told me to do from the beginning,” Washington said. “It was prophesied that I would travel the world and preach to millions of people. It was prophesied when I was 20. I thought it was through my work and it has been. I’m all about the message, to the degree that I know it, and I’m unashamed and unafraid to share it.”
Pastor A.R. Bernard, senior pastor of Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York, helped him understand his calling, Washington said. Pastor Bernard spoke to him from Daniel chapter 10: “God puts leaders in place for a reason and a season… There’s a reason, you may not like what’s going on but the Boss has a reason.”
The 62-year-old actor has won two Academy Awards and has a long list of credits dating back to the 1970s that include Cry Freedom and Malcom X. While filming a T.V. movie, Washington met Pauletta Pearson, whom he married in 1983. The couple reside in Los Angeles and have four children.
About his latest role, Washington said he was drawn to the moral and psychological complexities of Israel.
“He is Old Testament, he knows the law, but, not to say he doesn’t have faith, but he has faith in the law,” he said. “His conviction was through the law.”
If he doesn’t balk at depicting evil on the screen, Washington also doesn’t falter from being a spokesperson for clean-living and loving God. Read the rest of Denzel Washington Christian.
Once he was starving. Yesterday he was feasting.
Moses Bowen, adopted by missionaries when he was a starving newborn, dined on four sumptuous goals in the first half of Lighthouse Christian Academy’s soccer victory over Highland Hall Waldorf School.
When the tsunami of blue jerseys was over, LCA closed its sixth-straight win — an undefeated season so far — with a resounding 5-0.
Coach Jack Mefford actually took Moses off the field at half to release pressure on Highland Hall.
In soccer, scoring three is an extraordinary feat known as a hat trick. Four is unheard of.
And there’s one more troubling fact — troubling for the competitors in the league.
Moses is a freshman.
Yes, that means he’ll be making defenders’ knees tremble for three more years.
In the Bible, Moses opened the Red Sea. Yesterday, he opened the path among defenders.
His friends call him Mosie, a name rhyme with his twin brother Josie (Joshua).
When they were born, their mother died, and their father couldn’t take care of them — or any other relative.
They were starving on a diet of rice with no milk. Such is poverty in The Gambia of West Africa.
Ralph and Brenda Bowen, now on staff at Lighthouse schools, were missionaries at the time battling big spiders and crippling malaria while bringing the Good News to the huddling masses.
They were already into their third church plant, this time in Senegal. The Gambia was the former stomping grounds.
So when the Bowens heard the case of some unwanted boys who were going to die, their hearts rent and their legs running. They drove across international borders and adopted the twins. Brenda Bowen painstakingly nursed them to health.
Well, they’re healthy now.
While Josie was blunting opponents attacks on defense, Mosie was up front sharpening his knives. Read the rest of African student at West Los Angeles Christian school.
The singular sensation of watching Erhan Meric, who led Lighthouse Christian Academy to a 6-3 victory over Pilgrim Lutheran yesterday, is that one is witnessing the sublime soccer of a type of Messi.
He has Messi’s slight frame, his shyness and unselfishness. Erhan’s never boisterous, not given to braggadocio.
But when the ball falls to his feet, expect to hear an exquisite symphony.
Erhan, a senior at Lighthouse, is unobtrusive on the field. He lurks in open spaces and projects the image of the most unthreatening player.
But when he carried the ball up the right and single-handedly threaded his way through three defenders to slot on goal in the early minutes of the game, he put on notification the other team — indeed, the whole league — that he is not a man to be underestimated.
Erhan scored three and set up one. His header off a Beckham-perfect free kick brought the fourth goal in the second half in the Glendale Sports Complex.
And the good thing about this years Saints varsity team is that Erhan is not the only star. Actually a lot of technically skilled players combined yesterday to overwhelm Pilgrim Lutheran.
“We had good passing and good pressure,” said Coach Jack Mefford. “It was an exciting start to a promising season. We have a lot of new additions who know how to play soccer from the Bowens who grew up in Africa playing soccer to Shun (Fukushige) and Aki (Akihiro Oku) who played in Japan.”
Marcus Scribner, a sophomore, proved a bunker buster on offense, putting his football physique to good use against defenders. He scored two goals.
“Marcus’s two goals show how much he has matured because he struggled to finish last year,” Mefford said.
Aki, a junior, scored one, and Shun launched the goal-scoring free kick – a work of art – that connected with Meric’s head and past the hapless goalie. Read the rest: Saints soccer Santa Monica.
By Kayla Armstrong, LCA sophomore
Growing up I always seen kids with a mom and dad and always going out to eat and having a good time. Well believe it or not, I didn’t have that. My mom was my mother and father, and it was always just me and her.
My father was really never in the picture, wasn’t at my games, awards, or plays, etc. As a little girl, I had so many questions and wanted the feeling of what it was like to have a full-time father.
I saw my dad a few times but not often. I remember the times where I would wait for him to pick me up but he never came. My dad and I were never close and even when he did pick me up, I would just be in my room for the whole weekend just watching TV and my dad and I wouldn’t really talk. It would be small talk like, “Are you hungry?”
It was embarrassing and made me very sad because I felt unwanted and felt like my dad didn’t love me or didn’t want me. But as I got older I was thankful he wasn’t in my life because my mom and I had a close relationship.
As time went by, my mother got married. I was happy because I had a father in my life, and he didn’t single me out because I was his “stepdaughter.” He treated me as if I was his own. We had a close relationship, and I got attached to him as if he were my biological father.
I was happy because I had someone to come to my volleyball games, there for my school recitals and if I got rewards and someone who can be there for me as a father.
In the middle of the year, things twisted, and the home wasn’t a “happy” home. There were lots of arguments, and next thing I know he was out of the house. I rebelled against everyone, especially God because I felt like God didn’t want me to be happy.
I felt like if He really loved me or was “real,” He would let our home be a happy home. Go to this link to find the happy ending and I invite you to comment there.
In her first year of soccer, Jamie Roman didn’t play in a single game. She sat on the bench and smiled.
In her second year of soccer, coach threw on the easygoing junior against the league’s toughest team, Einstein Academy, on Feb. 3.
And she almost scored a goal.
Jamie is no Tomboy, but she joined varsity soccer at the Lighthouse Christian Academy just to get involved. LCA coaxes kids to participate in activities they would never do in regular school. With only 45 students, the Saints scour their enrollment list to fill rosters.
“At first I just joined for my friends,” Jamie said of her experience last year. “Then I saw how fun the conditioning was — that pain in the moment. I wanted to see if I could run.”
She looked perfectly content with exercising and playing at practice — and being side-lined during games.
“I wanted to play last year, but I was shy and lazy, so I missed the opportunity to play,” she said. “I had a lot of good laughs on the sidelines. But it was kind of embarrassing that I would go to all the games and wear a uniform and not play.”
The 2016-17 season was different. A few players were disqualified because of grades, whittling down eligible players for the starting squad.
Sometimes high school coaches put their least experienced players as forwards because it’s the position where they can do the least damage.
(The defensive line is critical because once the opponent gets past, it’s just the goalie that can save the day. You want to fight and maintain position in the middle of the field. So where does the newbie go? Up front.)
In her breakout game, Jamie got offsides a kajillion times. She had to learn how pass the last defender without the ball and how to sprint into the danger zone as soon as her teammate struck for a pass to her.
Nerves killed her.
“I was nervous,” she said. “I was so paranoid that I’d mess up. I was afraid they would yell at me if I messed up.” Read the rest at co-ed soccer.
For the second straight year, Lighthouse Christian Academy entered soccer playoffs — a decided break from a long past of never making post-season play.
But the Saints mechanics ran rough on Feb. 15 against delToledo High School, which dismissed LCA with a resounding 0-6 defeat.
For about a week, Lighthouse players were thinking their third-place standing in the league ruled them out of playoffs when they rather suddenly received the news they would get at least one more game to see far they advanced.
The Saints season peaked in a shock defeat of last year’s league champs 2-1. In that game, players were passing, fighting and concentrating. The victory against Newbury Park culminated a winning streak of three and gave the Saints the intoxicating sensation of invincibility that lasted only a couple days.
The next game Jan. 27 against Einstein Academy brought LCA back to reality with a humbling 0-6 thrashing. The prior passing went up in smoke with predictable results.
The Saints finished league play 5-3. Against the better teams, LCA — which has 1-and-a-half club players — can compete when they play like a team linking up with passes. Individual juking runs don’t work. But would players listen to coach and stick with selflessness?
If only players in our Santa Monica Christian school would apply the Bible to the soccer field: It is better to give than to receive.
In some games, passing became so scarce that when finally a through-ball was sent, the intended player wasn’t expecting it and invariably reacted slowly.
His shots went high and wide.
Junior Abraham Morales, who showed plenty of speed and skill, couldn’t put the ball into the net to save his life.
Then in the second half of the season, things suddenly came into focus for old blurry-shooter. He nailed a shot against Westmark from the left flank.
And on Tuesday, in the highest tension game of the 2017 season, when his team needed him most, Abraham proved in top form. He sunk two torpedoes to unnerve the reigning league champs, Newbury Park, in a game that ultimately Lighthouse Christian Academy lost 3-5.
“As a little kid I would just pass the ball around with my family members. I was a pretty short kid. I used to tell them, ‘One day I’ll make it big in soccer,’” Abraham said.
He’s big in our eyes, now one of the top scorers for the season and officially listed in the Lighthouse ledger of soccer history.
Because of soccer, Abraham transferred to Lighthouse. His middle school teammates jeered and bullied him for his flubs on the soccer field, a habitual provocation that drove him to yelling and even fist fights. The nastiness continued into his freshman year of high school in the public school system in South Central Los Angeles, where he lives.
“I told my mom, ‘Can I go to another school because I don’t feel right here?” Mrs. Morales found Lighthouse online.
Even though he was raised in a Christian home, Abraham thought he wouldn’t fit in at a Christian high school.
“I thought it was going to be super strict and all that,” he admitted. “I knew there was going to be some sort of dress code. I didn’t want to wear a uniform.” Read the rest of the story.
Well, that didn’t take long.
Supposedly the reconstruction of the Saints volleyball team would be an arduous haul through a string of disheartening losses. But the resurgent Saints won their first set against a league team Tuesday against Pacific Lutheran 15-11 on the sand of Manhattan Beach.
“What an exciting game!” said Coach Delores Hively. “They won the first set, we killed it on the second set and the third set was close, but they won. We need to focus a bit more on our serves now and I think we might have a chance at winning next game.”
Lighthouse players smashed their serves. They dove for balls. They screamed communication. Hively, who had timidly offered to be assistant coach, has whipped the mostly inexperienced group into a tangible team, with a credibility to re-enter league play next year. For now, Lighthouse Christian Academy is playing only scrimmages.
“We didn’t expect to win,” admitted Lyric Edwards, a freshman. “But everybody played their best game, and we won.”
Indeed, nobody was expecting a win. A prior article bemoaned the lack of club players for LCA’s league re-entry bid. It turns out, however, that there were not one but TWO club volleyball players lurking in the Lighthouse Christian high school — and one of them played Tuesday.
You could say the Saints stung the Stingrays from Torrance.
Morale soared as players dug deep to hit every ball. Read the rest of the article.
Why not enjoy teaching? Once a year, the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica holds Spirit Week, every day a new costume theme. Actually, I have all the creativity of a spore, so I usually opt out and wear my normal clothes.
I enjoy bringing motivated kids to the aha! moment. I teach English (literature, syntax and writing) and Spanish. I’m a believer in making things accessible, of focusing on the simplest understanding first and then taking complications that broaden understanding.
Literature is not just art. It is also psychology and helps students empathize with their fellow human, as well as learn not to make the mistakes of engaging protagonists.
Down with the grammarians! They have made it too difficult for too long! We need simple explanations for students. Students can learn syntax!
When it comes to writing, I believe thinking comes first, structure second. I challenge students to take controversial opinions and defend it with passion. You get a low grade with me in you’re Captain Obvious.
Well, then Spanish. I love to explain the why-the-heck of all idiosyncrasies of morphology and grammar. Languages are fascinating, funny and bizarre.
And we do all this in a Christian environment. What could be more fun?
This was the class that reduced teachers to tears.
But something happened in the intervening years to our current crop of freshmen. The former devil-may-care rascals stopped creating classroom chaos, stopped ditching homework assignments and stopped terrorizing teachers. They started speaking respectfully to adults, started improving their academics and started serving at church.
Never mind their latest defeat against Crossroads Christian of Corona 6-58 on Friday. As freshmen, they’re developing into a fearsome strike force of future Lighthouse football.
What brought about the transformation?
In a word: Zach Scribner.
Zach Scribner is not only football coach. He’s also youth pastor and the Lighthouse Church School janitor. By some means, Zach inspired the bad boys of current 9th grade to shape up. If they didn’t behave with their moms at home, he would punish them by NOT letting them clean the church and school at 6:00 a.m.
“Zach and Justin (Kayne, co-coach) have really turned me and Garrett (Lahood) and some of other players around,” Levi said. “He’s helped us realize it’s cool to be good. They lead by example. When we were younger, they were the cool guys that we looked up. Seeing them set a good example made us want to follow.”
So just forget that Lighthouse Christian Academy continues to hemorrhage on defense. (“We got find a way to make stops,” moaned Coach Justin Kayne. “We gotta find a way to stop the big play on 3rd and 4th down. Otherwise, it’s just a blowout.”)
This Los Angeles crew of Christian school players will get to winning. It just may not be this year.
In fact, they already won – when they got character squared away. Read more about the triumphs and losses of our football team.
This is my message. This is my life. Come join us, as imperfect as we are.
For 20 years, he’s patrolled the most dangerous, smelliest, grungiest disease-saturated section of Los Angeles, a one-square-mile on the edge of downtown called Skid Row where 2,000 sleep on the streets each night.
And Deon Joseph loves it because he gets to share Jesus. He’s never used his gun and has made more friends than arrests. He’s started mentoring and self-defense programs and even become a sort of spokesman to city officials about the need to address mental health issues.
“We need to be lights in dark places,” Joseph told Liberty University students. “If ever the world needed us to be a light, it’s right now.”
It’s only a 15-minute jaunt from the hipster-dominated financial district of downtown. But for some, the journey to Skid Row is a life of bad decisions that lead to the last way station before death.
“When I was 5 years old, I wanted to be a famous R&B singer,” Joseph said. “I did not realize my steps were ordered by God to be on Skid Row. I never thought I would be dealing with crack addicts, drug dealers, loan sharks, pimps and prostitutes.”
Joseph was born to Christian parents who, through the years, welcomed 41 foster kids into their household. His dad got saved when he mugged a preacher. He married his mom, dug ditches, collected cans, fed the homeless and started a construction business to give work to people like him, who had grown up in the Jim Crow South.
When Joseph finished his LAPD training phase, he volunteered for Central Division, not realizing it would lead him into the heart of darkness.
Skid Row is now being called the “homeless capital of America.” It’s the product of anti-police policies and NIMBYs (the acronym Not In My BackYard is for homeowners who wish to corral all the trouble-makers into one bad area of LA), Joseph said.
“I came from Venice where you have beautiful women, lattes and fine eateries,” Joseph remembered of his first day in Central. “And when I worked in Skid Row, it was as if I tripped and fell into Dante’s Inferno or Mad Max’s Thunderdome.
“There were rows and rows of people destroying themselves with crack and heroin, beer, having sex on the sidewalk, defecating on the sidewalk with a porta potty right next to them because the gangsters wouldn’t let them use the toilet,” he said. “The smell was a combination of blood, feet and fish. It grabbed you by the nose hairs and shook you.”
Despite the dehumanizing exploitation and the desensitizing constant crime, Joseph fell in love with the beat.
“Why am I in this place that could easily be compared to hades, and I’m comfortable?” he asked his mom. “My mom said, ‘Son, if ever you feel comfortable in chaos, it’s probably where God called you to be.’ On Skid Row I realized I was home.”
It was never easy though. On his first two months, he worked the front desk where he saw firsthand the mayhem.
“Every five minutes somebody was coming in with their arm broken backwards at 45 degrees, lacerated cheeks, swollen eyes,” he said. “One guy came in and his intestines were hanging out. And they didn’t want a police report because they were that scared of their attacker. All they wanted was an ambulance to whiz them away to the hospital.”
He formed friendships with mentally ill people – only to see them die tragically months later.
One such was “Hurricane Linda,” who knocked over desks at the station, ripped out phones and spat on officers. Joseph was nervous the day she came in like the Tazmanian Devil. Spotting him, she directed a laser gaze on him that made him even more nervous. Read the rest of the story.
He grew up wearing knickers sewn by his grandma, endured the rage of his Vietnam vet father, and learned to play golf smacking a wiffle ball around the house.
Bubba Watson, 37, arguably golf’s most colorful character, won the Los Angeles Riviera tournament Feb. 21, and he credited Jesus and the Bible with the win, his ninth PGA tour victory since 2010.
“I have a lot of fears in my life, which, as I’m reading the Bible, I’m not supposed to have — but I do,” Watson told the New York Times. “Me changing as a person has helped my golf, not my swing.”
It wasn’t too long ago that Watson would lose games in his brain. He struggled with insecurity, melted down after a bad shot, and looked for people to blame when things went wrong. He used curse words and rankled other players with some unfriendliness.
But with the help of his wife, his caddie, and fellow Christian golfers (who meet weekly at a PGA Bible study), Watson is overcoming the temperamental side of his personality.
“We’ve been working on it, a hard, slow process,” Watson said in Golf Digest. “Instead of swing thoughts and swing, it’s all about the mind for me. It’s staying patient, and having Teddy (the caddie) in my ear. Teddy’s been a blessing. It’s been a struggle over five years, but we’re working in the right direction.”
His twitter account is telling. Followed by 1.54 million, @bubbawatson describes him in this order: “Christian, husband, daddy, pro golfer.”
Watson told BillyGraham.org that he is “getting more in the Word and realizing that golf is just an avenue for Jesus to use me to reach as many people as I can.”
His walk with Christ started when he was 19. A neighbor invited him to church. It was his first time in a service. “I went to church with her a few times,” he told CNN. “I listened, thought about, gave myself to the Lord.”
During college, his church attendance tapered off, but in 2004 he got baptized with his new wife, Angie, and renewed his faith.
On his first date with Angie, a college and professional basketball player, she advised him that she couldn’t bear children – and Watson told her that was fine. To date, they have two adopted kids, Caleb and Dakota.
After his baptism, he drifted away from God. Then his caddie yelled at him for his stormy behavior on the links, and Watson realized he needed to take things more seriously.
“I’ve been reading my Bible and getting stronger in my faith,” he said.
Today, Watson is a very visible and vocal Christian. After the won the Master’s at Augusta for the first time in 2012, he said, “I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Famously, Watson never received any more golf instruction than from his dad when he was a tyke using a sawed-off club. That’s astonishing because the lefty hits the ball farther than pretty much anybody in the PGA (over 350 yards). And he can put spins on the ball that produce tree-rounding curves that will make you think he has Jedi powers.
To win the 2012 Master’s, Watson hit his ball out of some pine trees in a boomeranging hook that landed on the green only a few feet away from the pin of the second hole. It would seem that whacking that wiffle ball around the house taught him about spin. Read the rest of the story.
“We are Christians. We believe in forgiveness,” said Santiago, 31, now an immigration lawyer based in El Segundo. “We prayed for him (the shooter). We prayed God transform his life. I’m not the person to pass that kind of judgment on another human being.”
Santiago said her brother got involved in a race-based altercation at 20th St. and Delaware in Santa Monica in the early 2000s, and he was shot with a 22-caliber gun from close range. One bullet shattered his jaw and another pierced his heart and lung, she said.
He was rushed to St. John’s where he lay unconscious for nearly three weeks. When he woke up, he asked about his kids. After months of physical therapy, he returned to normal life.
Santiago’s extraordinary plea for clemency is part of the troubled past of a Santa Monica once beset by gang violence. Part of the reason she chose law is because she saw her own parents, as working class residents, struggle to get sound legal advice for her troubled brother. Read the rest of the article.
Editor’s Note: Cynthia Santiago was the flower girl in my wedding 25 years ago. My wife and I lost track of her when we spent 16 years in Guatemala as missionaries. When I found her on Facebook 24 years later, I’m surprised to see her all grown up and a lawyer! I praise God she, coming from a family without college students, had the wherewithal to study and achieve a dream. It seems to me that her choice to forgive is extreme and compelling. Her choice to help the neediest who need help only makes me admire her more.
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.
As with any love relationship, there is also heartbreak. When the kids give you grief because they just want to be lazy. When your efforts are criticized.
But as with any love relationship, there are also moments of elation. Mine particularly are when kids come into a relationship with Jesus. Those moments even exceed the famous light-bulb moment when they get something that was previously very difficult for them. Those moments also exceed to glowing satisfaction of seeing kids graduate, succeed in the university and triumph in life.
The school where I work is a small Christian school in Santa Monica called Lighthouse Christian Academy. I have promoted it through SEO, and 15 new students were added this year. Previously, they never got outsiders to come in. Knowing that I have been useful is a satisfaction.
I like making an impact. I don´t want to ¨ride¨ on the success of others. I want to be a key member contributing to the success.
Don´t choose a winning team and sit on the bench and pose with the championship picture. Choose a small team, a needy team, a losing team. And then work to make it a winning team.
Frankly, I don’t get the allure of Hollywood — and I don’t get the stars on the sidewalk. I host foreign students who learn English. They ALL want to see Hollywood. Little do they know that Hollywood is ghetto, with abundance of drugs and grimy streets.
But those foreign students, invariably, like to get a selfie with the star of their favorite performer.
Why anyone would want people to walk all over their name, I’ll never know. It seems like a dishonor, not an honor. But Hollywood is full of such contradictions that go totally unnoticed by people infatuated with this world.
This I know: the darker this world gets — and it IS growing darker — the brighter the light of Jesus. The more that sin becomes “acceptable,” the more people are going to suffer its ravages. They will need a Savior more and more desperately.
Hey, I’m tempted, and I sin, but the attraction of God is greater. I always come back. I keep following God. Because there’s nothing better, nothing like Him. His love is amazing. Freedom is incredible.
Make Jesus your star.
Andres Barahona hoped to engineer his second upset in Mar Vista Park soccer finals Saturday with his nervy energy and treacherous left foot, but ultimately his team, Aston Villa, fell to the superior firepower of Chelsea.
Andres,15, blazed twice down the left with feints and burst of speed to pass four and five defenders to slot home. But he was playing a game of keep-up in the “sweepers division,” age 13 to 15, against an onslaught of goals. Chelsea took the championship 6-3.
“We played pretty hard,” Andres said. “The penalties weren’t penalties. I wanted to win, but we couldn’t win.”
Last week, 3rd-placed Aston Villa upset 2nd-place Norwich to bid for a surprise championship Saturday. But Chelsea, a team full of forwards, was too lethal in front of the net.
The Blues’ deadshot aim was unusual for parks leagues, where all kinds of clumsiness and lack of definition prevail among the lot of mostly beginners.
Some 650 kids aged 5-15 played in Mar Vista’s 9 divisions in spring league, said Soccer Director Kiswani Dumas, better known as simply “Kiwi.” With the largest park soccer program on the Westside, Mar Vista has produced stars for European soccer, he said. One kid has a contract for a Turkish team, he added.
“Our soccer program is growing every season,” Kiwi said. “We hope to have 1,000 kids next season.”
Sign ups, boys and girls, start on July 1 for fall soccer, which initiates Sept. 12. For $130, kids get a uniform, a trophy, training and a lot of competitive fun.
Mar Vista Park’s turf field, installed eight years ago, has been the field of dreams, where kids can learn soccer and soar. They learn teamwork, discipline and hard work. They can experience the exhilaration of victory and the crush of defeat.
In Saturday’s final, Chelsea, the highest scoring team among the older kids’ division, started what they do best early when Flynn Roe, 13, turned a free kick in past the goalie after only a few minutes after the starting whistle. It was a smart goal, uncharacteristically classy for parks soccer.
But Aston Villa responded quickly. Andres, of Honduran descent and with the Latino flair for el futbol, tore down the left flank, ghosting past four defenders, to fire home and tie up a game that promised to be highly competitive and highly entertaining.
Then for Chelsea, Hosea Ashcraft, 13, fought off three defenders to shoot clinically past a hapless Aston Villa goalie.
Before the first half was over, referees cited a defender’s handball, and Daniel Garcia, 15, the league’s highest goal-scorer, blasted a blistering penalty kick for Chelsea, making it 3-1.
In the second half, it was Aston Villa who opened scoring. Again the always-dangerous Andres blazed down the left flank and slotted home.
Chelsea responded almost immediately. Midfielder Daniel, who was Andres’ equal in domination, whipped in a cross from the right that Samuel Mikhail, 15, turned smartly in. It was impossible for the keeper to bat away.
Down 4-2, Aston Villa refused to let this game slip out of hand. From the feet of Andres came a through-ball that Donovan Brizuela sprinted on to fire from the left for another score, keeping the game within reach at 4-3.
If only Chelsea could cancel out the constant threat of Andres, they could win. Seeing the need, Flynn offered himself to coach to track and defend against Andres. He promised coach that he wouldn’t be beat by the fleet-footed youth.
“Ok, go ahead,” Coach Mario Ortiz told him. Andres didn’t make any more key plays.
All season, Chelsea had been a scoring machine, and Saturday’s game proved no different. A through-ball left Samuel in a one-on-one face-off with the goalie. He fired low, a shot that shanked the goalie’s shins and glided into goal.
Another defensive handball in the area gave Chelsea its second penalty kick, which Daniel didn’t miss with a rocket fired from the spot. The game ended 6-3.
With about 15 goals this season, Daniel was named the most valuable player.
“He covers all the midfield,” Coach Ortiz said. “He can shoot. He can pass.”
After taking possession of the field, the boys — and girls — in blue retreated to the park picnic tables for their banquet. Coach Ortiz handed out medals and praised each player as they munched sub sandwiches, chips and cupcakes.
After clashing against the tiny titans of soccer, the kids fell to playing Clash of Clans on their phones, trading strategies.
As the sun fell, another soccer season receded into glorious memories.
Then, his brainchild, Lighthouse Christian Academy, started a football program. Since it was a small school, they played 8-man CIF league.
Of course, among the new jerseys was #33. And one of the best players picked that number. He would continue the tradition of legends. Twice, the lowly Lighthouse, with a fraction of the enrollment of its competitors, nearly snatched championship from the entire Southern Section.
All the while its aura of greatness grew. Opposing teams could have figured out who to double-guard on offense, who to avoid on defense. Who would blast past them with a 90 yard sprint into the End Zone? Who would tackle them so hard that they would see stars from the sidelines – for the rest of the game?
Yup. Number 33 was not to be messed with — ever.
Then, the mighty number — which spoke volumes of history — was handed out to 107-pounder Chinese student who had never played football before.
When Henry Sihao Yu, our not-too-formidable tight-end, donned the prophetic mantle, was he our best player? Read the rest of the article.
Our students are experiencing revival. After frolicking on slopes of Utah snow, they savored a sermon by Pastor Zach Scribner and then Five Guys burgers. Since there was a community board, they posted “Jesus loves you” notes.
And even them I’m stuck here in Santa Monica writing articles about the Islamic State and not enjoying the fun, I rejoice. While other religious schools have trouble with church kids bolting their faith, at our Christian high school in Santa Monica kids are embracing Christ wildly.
I pretty much got kicked off Reddit, a mecca for sarcastic atheists. Have you seen American Sniper? You could call Reddit “American Snippier.” In any case, post after post mocks Christian warnings against sin.
Once I read about a former Christian school kid forming a “support group” for those who were subjected to the horrors of being forbidden alcohol. I remarked on that message board that it was ironic that some ran from alcohol to Jesus and that others from Jesus to alcohol. I never heard from him. Nor do I know if she could appreciate the irony.
Excuse me for being so curmudgeonly on this post, but I’ve seen so many suffer and even die for flouting God’s ways. It is a joy to see kids embracing God’s ways. Some of them have been bullied in public schools. Some were lost in cutting. Now they are living happy serving Jesus. Why would you make fun of that?
They gelled when it counted most. Here was a team that during the league season would lose 8-0 and 7-0. The story of their turnaround is one of not growing frustrated, of learning from mistakes and of combining slow kids with fast kids, talented kids with not-so-talented kids into optimal formation.
Many middle schools have an A-team, a B-team and even a C-team. With less than 50 students, Lighthouse Church School in Santa Monica has only one team, combined with all sorts of players. To say all candidates make the cut is an understatement. Sometimes, the school begs kids to play.
With teams like that, the wrong thing to do is to let that one star do everything. Just give him the ball and get out of his way. Instead, the Saints focused on building a team around the stars.
A critical moment came when the Saints showed poor sportsmanship. In a pre-league scrimmage against Westside Neighborhood School, the Saints behaved very… um,unsaintly. After losing 4-1, some of the kids spat into their hands at the end-of-the-game high five, smearing it on their unwitting opponents’ hands.
Ugh! How despicable can you get?
While the opposing kids may not have realized they were the victims of an ugly prank, the opposing parents had seen it all.
Understandably incensed, the WNS coach spoke to Lighthouse coach. He couldn’t believe his ears (he had been herding stragglers to form part of the line when the offenders committed their crime).
LCS coach scrambled a quick investigation, which more or less confirmed the worse. A photographer produced incriminating photos. Kids broke down under interrogation and confessed.
It is sad to see top clubs and national teams defend their players – no matter how repugnant their behavior. Whether it is racial epithets uttered on the field or biting incidents, it’s shameful to see teams try to confuse the facts just so their players won’t be suspended.
LCS, a Christian ministry of the Lighthouse Church, decidedly reacted against self-defense. The athletics director and the coach immediately sent profuse apologies to the league organizers and offended school. They requested to NOT be excused; they asked for a sanction from the league.
Ultimately, league officials opted against punishment, acting on WNS’s gracious forgiveness. But Lighthouse benched for one game each of the offenders anyway. It was a matter of character – what Lighthouse most is trying to teach.
More important than winning league games was winning the souls of men. Since at least three players fessed up, three players sat out – and the team suffered on the field.
Overcome by the darkness, this young Grant High School student decided she would end her life at the end of the school day. But instead, she went to an on-campus Christian club and heard Brian Barcelona share with about 150 other students.
After a stirring message, “she came running up to the front. She was weeping. She asked Brian to pray for her. She was going to commit suicide that day, but instead she found God,” says Allan Giglio, a coordinator for One Voice, which is seeing extraordinary revival in Los Angeles and Orange County high schools.
About 2,500 students at 15 high schools hear the gospel each week through campus Christian clubs, which invite One Voice representatives to speak, Giglio says. Kids have been saved from drugs, violence, sexual sin, and hopelessness.
I have a winninger attitude. I’m the happier coach. I coach for free, and I’m seeing the fruits of my labor, most importantly kids drawn to Christ at a Westside Christian school.
So far we have lost every league game of Middle School soccer in CIF Pacific League Basin. Monday will see if we finally win one.
Despite the dismal outlook, I’m enjoying the positives:
- Our goalie, an adapted basketball player, won the opposing coach’s praise with “five first-rate saves.” “We thought we weren’t going to be able to score on you,” he said.
- We limited an A-team to four goals.
- My son scored a goal.
- My son juked four defenders to get to goal and almost scored an individual effort.
More important than game highlights are kid highlights:
- Kids are really enjoying soccer.
- One kid told me he used to not like soccer; now he really likes it.
- Beginners are scoring (at practice), and that’s a thrill for them.
- There’s such a good feeling of Christian good attitude and fun.
So I wouldn’t take the paid coaching position. The unpaid is better because the rewards outweigh financial compensation.
When my father-in-law was coming to after a 10-hour surgery, he heard words that transformed his life. He had always been a community servant, a fighter for the community. He was a good man. But these words re-directed his goodness.
“Only eternity matters.”
God spoke to Stan, and from then on, all of his efforts to help Chinatown of Los Angeles were undergirded by Christianity. When his lifelong dream became a reality of opening a police substation to fight the worrisome neighborhood crime, Stan helped church members to work there so they could give the gospel.
In August, a hollow shell of the former Chinatown big shot breathed his last and stepped into Eternity. The last decades of his life had focused on the fact that we are NOT going to be on this blue globe forever.
I can’t wait to see him again.
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.
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?