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is Open to All


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

This Week's Sermon




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    "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



    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


    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


    Guess What Happened at Dinner?


    My dear theologians,


    Pastor John invited us to invite him to lunch or dinner…or just anywhere away from at least three young members of his adoring (and adorable) fan club. He promised to accept. The Gospels mention eight occasions when Jesus accepted an invitation to dinner. During one of the dinners, Jesus deliberately picked arguments four times running. Jesus could be a very irritating person to be around.


    I know, I know, I know. Compassion is a quality Jesus might be most famous for. When a leper asked for healing, Jesus was “filled with compassion.” When a widow cried out to him, “his heart went out to her, and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” Tax collectors and prodigals and Samaritans all received his compassion. And now, as that dignity gap is being forcefully addressed, a compassion makeover is coming to the world.


    I think there is a general perception that Jesus was one of those extremely tender feelers who just couldn’t stand pain. Not…a…real…good…perception; not at all. Once, while on a church staff in NorCal, sometime after I left my office and returned the next morning, a book found its way to my desk. And trust me, it hadn’t been on any of the book shelves or in any of the stacks of books littering the floor; the price sticker was still on the dust jacket. My marvelous find? Highly Sensitive People by Elaine Aron. It’s a book about folks who startle easily, who are easily affected by others’ mood or pain, who care deeply about others’ opinions. Clearly, there is nothing wrong with being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP); nothing wrong with showing compassion. And clearly someone in the congregation wanted me know that! Why? What’s it to you! I’m such the HSP!


    Yes, we see in Jesus compassion, but other parts of Jesus’s story do not make him look like an HSP. In a story told in all four Gospels, he saw people exploiting the poor in the temple; he took a whip and drove them away, scattering their money and overturning tables and saying, “How dare you.”  Most HSPs do not throw furniture.


    Jesus said to another group: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Uh, that’s not typical HSP language. Jesus was as militant as he was compassionate.


    This Sunday we explore a day when he exhibited both qualities together. 


    Who is this guy?


    In Your Debt,


    R                              A                             L                               P                                H


    Oh, and please extend that invite to Pastor John……..for Kimberlee’s sake!


    Take Note(s)

    My dear theologians,


    I grew up in an Apostles’ Creed-reciting church:


    I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

    Jesus’ life in a paragraph. Well, some of his life. At a young reciting age, it didn’t occur to me that anything was missing; like, maybe what was going on during the interval between his being born and suffering under Pontius Pilate. You know – most of the stuff that happened before he tooketh his seat. So, how did he spend his time here?


    Memories from my perfect attendance Sunday School years actually detract from my efforts to picture Jesus’ everyday life; all I knew was lifeless flannel-board scenes. There he is teaching. That’s him holding a lamb. Now he’s talking with a Samaritan woman and, look, another conversation with a man named Nicosomething. The closest thing to action came when the disciples in their miniature sailboats appeared to be bobbing up and down across a blue flannel-board sea. I am ever so thankful that I learned a lot of facts about Jesus in Sunday School, but as a person he remained remote and, looking back, rather two-dimensional.


    Now, it’s me who is a sometimes Sunday School teacher and, during-the-week, a teacher who helps middle school and high school teachers refine their own craft of teaching. I insist they teach their students how to ask meaningful questions; it’s where research begins, it’s where learning begins. So, as I return to the Gospels to prepare for our classes, I try to place myself in the role of a researcher. I stand on the margins, listening and taking notes, intent to capture something of Jesus in my report, while at the same time aware he’s having an effect on me personally. What do I see? What impresses me? Disturbs me? How can I explain him to anyone who would ask?


    Meaningful questions? I thinketh so. Let’s explore some meaningful answers together this Sunday…during Sunday School!


    In Your Debt,


    R                               A                        L                        P                        H