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We’re a resort village church, relaxed and warm. Dress up, dress down, come as you are. We are located at 975 C Avenue, Coronado, California. Resident or tourist, you’ll be among friends who desire to know Christ and make Christ known.

 

Sunday Worship Services:

   Traditional Style - 9:00am

   Blended Style - 10:30am

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    9&1030

    Monday
    Nov062017

    Beyond Belief

     

    My dear theologians,

     

    The hope of resurrection is woven into a thousand stories…Okay, probably more. One of the stories I like best is called The Shawshank Redemption. The hero, Andy Dufresne, initially underwhelms the narrator, Red: “I must admit I didn’t think much of Andy the first time I laid eyes on him…. Looked like a still breeze could blow him over.”

     

    Dufresne is unjustly arrested, tried, condemned, and beaten. But as we watch him through Red’s eyes, something like wonder begins to grow. In a brutal prison world he is kind. He is a man of hidden strengths who creates a library and helps his captors with their taxes. He is anxious for nothing: “Strolls like a man in a park without a care or a worry,” says Red.

     

    Andy is persecuted by the warden, a pharisaical hypocrite who hands him a Bible and tells him, “Salvation lies within” (in the end, it does, but I’m not telling you how: watch the movie).

     

    Andy, the Christ figure, and Red, the noble pagan, have a running argument about hope. Andy says that music is important in a prison – maybe more important in prison than anywhere else, because it reminds hearers that there is an unseen reality the powers of the prison cannot touch.

     

    Red asks what he’s talking about.

     

    Hope.

     

    Red says hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. Andy says hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies.

     

    Red finds out paradoxically that when he leaves prison (no I’m not telling you how: watch the movie), life without hope cannot sustain him. His options are suicide or return to prison, except for a promise he made to his friend Andy. He does what Andy had asked.  

     

    Red’s narration closes the movie:

     

    I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head….

    I hope I can make it to the border.

    I hope to see my friend and shake his hand.

    I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.

    I hope….

     

    To Andy, to Red, to my dear theologians: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Ro 15:13). He is risen! (He is risen, indeed!)

     

    In Your Debt,

     

    R                             A                         L                            P                     H     

    Monday
    Oct302017

    In Between

     

    My dear theologians,

     

    The Apostle John: “Have any plans for the weekend?”

     

    Simon Peter: “Not really. I’m just going to wait around for Sunday to see what happens.”

     

    We’ve read the accounts in all four of the Gospels (or at least we know where to find the accounts in each of the Gospels – near the end!). We know what happened on Friday. We know what happened on Sunday. But what about the day after this and the day before that? The day after a prayer gets prayed but no answer is on the way. The after a soul gets crushed way down but there’s no promise of ever getting up. It’s a strange day, I think, this in-between day. In between despair and joy. In between confusion and clarity. In between bad news and good news. In between darkness and light.

     

    The two days on either side of Saturday are heavily discussed. Some of the brightest minds in the world have devoted themselves primarily to those two days; they have been across the centuries maybe the two most studied days in history. The Bible is full of what happened the day before – the day Jesus was killed. And Sunday is the day of the most death-defying, grave-defeating, fear-destroying, hope-inspiring day in the history of mankind.

     

    But Saturday? Even in the Bible – outside of one detail about guards being posted to watch the tomb – we’re told nothing about Saturday. Saturday is the day with no name, the day when nothing happened.

     

    So, why in the wide, wide world of calendars and miracles is there a Saturday? It doesn’t seem to further the story line at all. I’m thinking that if Jesus was going to be crucified and then resurrected, God would just get on with it. It seems strange to me for God to spread two events over three days.

     

    In its own way, perhaps Saturday should mark the world as much as Friday and Sunday. Maybe it wasn’t a day on which “nothing happened.”

     

    Set your clocks back an hour this Saturday and look forward to exploring ‘that’ Saturday this Sunday.

     

    In Your Debt,

     

    R                              A                           L                          P                     H

    Tuesday
    Oct242017

    "I've been thinking..."

     

    My dear theologians,

     

    Of the biographies I’ve read, few devote, I’m thinking, more than ten percent of their pages to the subject’s death – including biographies of men like Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who died violent and [let’s face it] politically significant deaths. The Gospels, though, devote nearly a third of their length to the last week of Jesus’ life. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John saw death as the central mystery of Jesus.

     

    Only two of the Gospels mention the events of his birth, and all four offer only a few pages on his resurrection, but each writer gives a detailed account of the events leading to Jesus’ death. Nothing remotely like it had happened before. Angels had slipped in and out of the dimension in which we live (think Jacob’s ladder; Abraham’s visitors; Gideon hiding in a wine press), and a few humans had even waked from the dead (think Jairus’s daughter; that man whose name begins with ‘L’ - the one Lalo talked about in Big Church a couple of weeks ago). But when the son of God died on planet earth – how could it be that a Messiah should face defeat, a God get crucified? Hey, even nature itself couldn’t handle it: the ground shook, rocks cracked open, the sky went black.

     

    For not all that many years when compared to the length of the Ming Dynasty, during Holy Week I have read all the gospel accounts together, sometimes back-to-back-to-back-to-back, sometimes interwoven in a “harmony of the Gospels” format (think The Life of Christ in Stereo, by Johnston M. Cheney). Each time I feel overwhelmed by the sheer drama. The simple, unadorned ‘here are the facts’ rendering has a grinding power, and I can almost hear a bass drum beating dolefully in the background (think watching the funeral procession for President Kennedy). No miracles break in, no supernatural rescue attempts. It’s a woeful understatement, but we’re talking a tragedy very way beyond Sophocles or Shakespeare.

     

    The might of the world, the most sophisticated religious system of its time allied with the most powerful political empire, aligns itself against a solitary figure, the only perfect man who has ever lived (think “One Solitary Life” poem attached to the 24 September Recap email). Though he is mocked by the powers and abandoned by his friends, yet the Gospels give the strong, ironic sense that he himself is overseeing the whole long process. Jesus has resolutely set his face for Jerusalem, knowing the fate that awaits him. The cross has been his goal all along. Now, as death nears, he calls the shots.

     

    So, while you’re thinking, please think on answers to these questions: What was Jesus’ moment of greatest glory? Where does Jesus most show forth the glory of God’s justice? Where does he reveal most profoundly the glory of God? Bring your ‘thinking’ to class this Sunday. Thanks.

     

    In Your Debt,

     

    R                      A                           L                            P                        H

     

    Sunday
    Oct152017

    It Is A Small World…After All

     

    My dear theologians,

     

    Ever been on a ride called ”It’s a Small World”? Okay, stupid question. Try these two: Ever been on that ride with no one in the boat except your family? And, because there was no one in line, stayed in the boat for five consecutive, in a row, no stopping between, just keep going, back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back, mind-numbing floats through that “exhilarating” adventure? Okay, stupid idea. But we did it. October 31, 1991. As part of an early morning birthday celebration for our [then] five-year old son. Ever try to get that song out of your head….after even just one ride? (No, because you are now legally insane.)

     

    Where did the idea come from of the world gathered together – people of every gender, every nationality, every status – like family? Where before Jesus was there a movement that actively sought to include every single human being, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, status, income, gender, moral background, or education, to be loved and, using a word from last Sunday’s Prayer of Confession, transformed?

     

    Not only had there never been a community like this before, but there simply had never been the idea of a community like this before. It was Jesus’ idea. And it was happening.

     

    The little group of people who followed Jesus formed a kind of alternative community. They rearranged their way of life. They met together daily. They learned from the teachings of Jesus passed down to his disciples. They prayed, they served, they “ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Ac 2:46). They gave whatever possessions they had to help each other. As for outsiders? Well, people in general liked what they saw.

     

    The disciples came to understand that their task was to form a community that reflected the presence and power of the God that they learned about from Jesus. To extend the love of this community to everyone, and invite anyone who was interested to join them.

     

    A meaningful question (as opposed to stupid), and with apologies to Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter for taking extreme liberty in rewriting his line that I’ve used to close class many a time: Do you play your part in the community that meets at the corner of 10th and C? You really should, you know.

     

    Oh, what a ride as you do! As we do. Together! 

     

    In Your Debt,

     

    R                               A                              L                                 P                                 H

    Monday
    Oct092017

    What would Miracle Max say?

     

    My dear theologians,

     

    Every once in a while I would go with Steve Malkemus to his church. It was a big deal. Couple of reasons: He let me drive. He let me drive his deep red, Austin-Healey 3000; a very way cool sports car. The other was that his church was sort of a novelty to me. Just before the pastor would pray that long prayer that comes right before the offering, there were always (as in, always) people who would stand and thank God for answered prayer and the marvelous miracle he had performed for them sometime during the week. God found parking spots for mothers who drove their children to the doctor. Lost keys and pens and earrings mysteriously reappeared. Tumors shrank away the day before scheduled surgery. At my church, pastor prayed, the plates were passed, we sang a hymn and settled in for the sermon. The only miracle was Mr. Padgett not snoring when he fell asleep.

     

    In an atmosphere that felt humid with miracles, it would have been easy to envision Jesus as the Great Magician. I mean, hey, at my own church I had seen the flannel board story of him walking on the water. (How cool would that have been to pull off such a stunt in my school – especially because the pool was right in the center of the quad. Never happened, of course.)

     

    And sometimes parking places did not open up and earrings stayed lost. Sometimes church people lost jobs. Sometimes the tumor didn’t disappear and the person died. What happened to the miracles?

     

    Couple of things I’ve learned: Prayer does not work like the yellow ticket dispensing deal at the ferry landing: insert request, get answer. Miracles are just that, miracles, not “ordinaries” common to daily experience. As I have reflected on Jesus’ life in preparation for this series, I’ve noted that miracles play a less prominent role than I remembered. Superman he was not.

     

    So, why so few miracles? Why any at all? Why the particular miracles that are recorded and not others? Why didn’t I buy Steve's car when I had the opportunity? Let’s explore some answers together this Sunday.

     

    In Your Debt,

     

    R                              A                            L                                P                                H