Midweek Message – 19 July 2017
One of the things that I enjoy about living in California is the beautiful weather. It seems to be guaranteed every day during this dry season. I have not seen a single raindrop for a whole month since I arrived here on June 19th! In Illinois, I used to check the weather every morning before leaving my home, but I stopped doing so after a couple of weeks of waking up to a day of bright sunshine. There have been some very warm days with the temperature rising up to/above 90°F. But, even so, without humidity, it did not feel too bad. And I also have noticed that it cooled down quickly once the sun went down. And, so far, no mosquitoes at night! Now, I understand why everyone’s first comment was about the weather instead of my new church or annual conference when they heard about my new appointment in California. Without exception, everyone would say, “Oh, you will enjoy the good weather out there.”
Not only is the weather beautiful here,but also the surrounding nature – both green and yellow mountains, flowers and fruit trees and shrubs, and many birds. It feels like I am on an extended vacation!
Driving to the church every day, I see them and praise God, singing,
“This is my Father’s world.”
Everything is new and amazingly beautiful to me, so I often blurt out one single word, “Wow!”
Truly, everyday is a blessing. I am grateful for this opportunity to live and serve in the blessed land of California and pray that I will continue to be amazed by its beauty.
– Pastor Ouk-Yean
Read more Mid-Week Messages
MESSAGES WORTH PONDERING
July 2nd, 2017
“Leh we sing an tel am Kushe” (Let Us Praise His Name) – African Fellowship Choir
Text: Mark 4:35-41
Sermon: “A Shovel of Stars”
— Rev. Richard Corson Listen to Sermon Read Sermon
Celebration of Appointment of Rev. Ouk-Yean Kim Jueng
June 18th, 2017
“I’ll Walk With God” – Chancel Choir
Text: Deuteronomy 30:11-20 (“Choose Life”)
Sermon: “Peering Over the Edge”
— Rev. Kathi McShane Read Sermon Listen to Sermon
“Jesus at the Well” – African Ministry Choir
Ritual of Farewell, Benediction, & Postlude – Chancel Choir w Shine Kwon, accompanist
text: Exodus 19:1-6
For more Sermons, click here.
Read the latest blog post, “Changing Our Involvement in Ongoing Wars” from Pastor Larry LaPierre – “the Circuit Writer”
STATEMENTS OF FAITH
Precious Pearl ~ On November 5, 2016, Pastor Kathi McShane spoke words of comfort at the Memorial Service for Jim Gilliland… Click to read…
“Why I Am United Methodist: Because Of Love”
– a blog post by Ben Gosden
BOOKS WE’VE BEEN EXPLORING
Join the Tuesday and Thursday Men’s Groups who are reading:
Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most
by Marcus J. Borg
On the occasion of his seventieth birthday, the renowned scholar Marcus J. Borg shares how he formed his bedrock religious beliefs, contending that Christians in America are at their best when they focus on hope and transformation and so shows how we can return to what really matters most. The result is a manifesto for all progressive Christians who seek the best path for following Jesus today.
With each chapter embodying a distinct conviction, Borg writes provocatively and compellingly on the beliefs that can deeply ground us and guide us, such as: God is real and a mystery; salvation is more about this life than an afterlife; the Bible can be true without being literally true; Jesus’s death on the cross matters—but not because he paid for our sins; God is passionate about justice and the poor; and to love God is to love like God.
In the Shelter, by Padraig O’Tuama
There’s an old Irish proverb: “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live”. In this book much-loved poet, storyteller, theologian, and speaker Pádraig Ó Tuama applies ideas of shelter and welcome to journeys of life, using poetry, story, biblical reflection and prose to open up gentle ways of living well in a troubled world.
The fourth gospel tells of Jesus arriving in the room where the disciples are gathered, full of fear, on Easter Sunday. He does not chide or admonish; instead he says ‘Peace be with you’, which, in the Aramaic of his day, was simply a greeting. ‘Hello,’ he said, welcoming people locked in a room of fear to a place of deep encounter; encounter with themselves, with their fear, with each other and with the incarnate one in their midst.
Interweaving everyday stories with analysis, gospel reflections with mindfulness and Celtic spirituality with poetry, this book explores the practice of welcoming as a spiritual discipline. In particular, Pádraig tells careful stories of welcoming parts of life that are often unwelcome.
When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi
New York Times Bestseller • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question, What makes a life worth living?
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
The Active Life: Wisdom of Work, Creativity and Caring by Parker J. Palmer
Vital, down-to-earth wisdom for active people who serve others or work for social change. Drawing from the teachings of Chuang Tzu, Martin Buber, Jesus, and Julia Esquivel, Palmer presents a detailed framework for a spiritual life in the active world–for the uncelibate, unsolitary, and unsilent lives that most of us lead.
Other reading during Lent and beyond
Change Your Questions, Change Your Life
by Marilee Adams
In this new expanded edition of her classic international bestseller, Marilee Adams shows how the kinds of questions we ask shape our thinking and can be the root cause of many personal and organizational problems. She uses a highly instructive and entertaining story to show how to quickly recognize any undermining questions that pop into your mind—or out of your mouth—and reframe them to achieve amazingly positive and practical results. The third edition includes a new introduction and epilogue and two powerful new tools that show how Question Thinking can dramatically improve coaching and leadership.
What Did Jesus Ask?
As a teacher, Jesus Christ put many of his lessons in the form of questions. The gospels recorded some 100 others. Some are rhetorical, needing no answer, but most were real questions posed to real people. Many of Jesus’ questions are familiar to readers today, yet the context and the potential interpretations of such phrases will offer enlightenment to many.
Organized by Biblical verse, in “What Did Jesus Ask?”, more than 70 of today’s most prominent spiritual writers, religious leaders and artists offer modern meditations on the questions Jesus asks in the Bible. Their contemplations provide telling context, with both contemporary and traditional interpretations to lead readers on an exploration of their own faith and to shape their own meaningful answers.