FOL 13th Anniversary Service: Today Today is Fountain of Lifeâ€™s 13th Anniversary Service. Please stay for a group photo and cake. God has been so faithful to us!
M3ND Abuse & Bullying Recognition Training: February 27 We are hosting a free abuse & bullying recognition/response training Thursday, February 27th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Register online using this link: http://bit.ly/m3ndFOL or visit the Info Table for a printed registration.
The Well Womenâ€™s Sabbath Day: Feb 29 The Womenâ€™s Day of Sabbath: â€œDeep calls to Deepâ€ will be held on Saturday, Feb 29th from 9:30am – 2:30 pm at Grace Brethren Church. Sign up at info table, or online atÂ http://bit.ly/Sabbath20. If you have any questions or would like to help, please contact Sylvia (email@example.com).
Youth Weekly Events High school youth meet on Wednesday evenings. Middle school youth meet on Friday evenings.
I teach 6 and 7 year olds. This means I like: young children, movement, sunshine, art, bugs, invented spelling, play, number logic, community health, zillions of questions, singing, reading aloud.
It also means that I am learning to fight: germs, copy machines, my own expectations, othersâ€™ expectations, bureaucracy, regret, perfectionism, sentences beginning with â€œthese kids canâ€™t,â€ unbelief.
Especially during my first years in the classroom, there was a part of me that struggled to believe that God could tolerate (love?!) me if I didnâ€™t earn it. I couldnâ€™t earn it unless I felt that I had a good teaching day. I wouldnâ€™t know if the day was good or not until I walked to the parking lot.
The school day itself would pass by in a blur, but as soon as I stepped into my car after work, Iâ€™d get an HD slow-mo IMAX 3D replay of my Top 10 Worst Educator Moments. Suddenly, the car was hot with my inadequacies and missteps and disappointments of the day. Whenever I told people I was a teacher, theyâ€™d tell me, â€œHow perfect!â€ but they didnâ€™t see me alone in the car, feeling grimy and empty and not-cut-out-for-this. I shouldâ€™ve learned to code.
As I merged onto the 110, Jesus would say something like, â€œLet me wash your feet. Let me fill you.â€
And Iâ€™d say something like, â€œBut Iâ€™m supposed to be good at this!â€
And Heâ€™d say something like, â€œThereâ€™s no â€˜supposed to.â€™ Come.â€
If I came, what would I find? What would He find?
â€œYou shall never wash my feet!â€ I would say, and choose a playlist, and tune out, and come home weary.
Slowly, my perfect Teacher taught me that being broken and empty before him is not only fine with him, but is exactly where I need to be to receive His power. He reminds me that His Kingdom is given freely to the poor, weak, hungry, thirsty, and meek.
These days, I am learning to sit less and less in the self-judgment seat and more and more in the shadow of the Cross, and know that I can dare to be a sinner before Christ crucified, and know that His Work, not mine, saves me, heals me, and makes me acceptable.
Thanks be to God for daily showing me the truth about who He is and who I am. I begin to see both the places He is healing and the gifts He is affirming. I begin to be both the learner and the teacher He has created me to be.
Meet the Pastor: February 2 If you are new to FOL and want to learn more about our church, please join us in the cafeteria after the service on February 2nd for a reception with Pastor John.
Tough Topics: February 8 Pastor John invites anyone interested to a monthly discussion, during which participants will use Scripture to help answer difficult questions. Our first tough topic discussion will be on LGBTQ+ issues. We will meet on Saturday, February 8th at the Training Center (2060 Santa Fe Ave, LB) from 4-6pm. For more information or to register, please email Sammie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
M3ND Abuse & Bullying Recognition Training: Feb 27 We are hosting a free abuse & bullying recognition/response training Thursday, February 27th from 6:30-8:00 pm. Register online using this link: http://bit.ly/m3nd2020 or visit the Info Table for a printed registration.
The Well Womenâ€™s Sabbath Day: Feb 29 The Womenâ€™s Day of Sabbath: â€œDeep calls to Deepâ€ will be held on Saturday, Feb 29th from 9:30am-2:30pm at Grace Brethren Church. Registration is $15 (scholarships available) and will include a boxed lunch. Sign up at info table, or online at http://bit.ly/Sabbath20. If you have any questions or would like to help, please contact Sylvia (email@example.com).
Remarks on Martin Luther King Jr. by Daniel Castillo January 19, 2020
I’m a recent graduate and alumnus of Fuller Theological
Seminary. It was there that I got to learn intimately about King’s work. I read
over a dozen books, including books that he wrote, a lot of the sermons, and a
lot of the letters he wrote. I listened to hours of interviews. I would say I’m
not an expert, but I know a little bit about him.
What I’ve learned through my studies was drastically
different than what I learned growing up. As a child, I was taught that King
was polite. He was civil. He was diplomatic. He was well-mannered; he was well-groomed.
And I’m not saying that those things aren’t true, because they are. But what I
didn’t know about himâ€”what they didn’t shareâ€”was that he was largely disliked. In
fact, the same year that he was killed, there was a poll taken and he had a
disapproval rating of 75%.
Think about that. How can this be? It’s really difficult to
fathom how someone like him will be disliked when you hear the â€œI Have a Dreamâ€
speech. But the thing is, if that’s the only thing you’re exposed to, then
you’re missing out on Kingâ€™s much larger legacy.
The â€œI Have a Dream speechâ€ was a pivotal moment in history. But if you heard other speeches, like â€œThe Other America,â€ or â€œBeyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,â€ â€œA Knock at Midnight,â€ you will realize that your perception of him has been greatly shaped to fit a certain sensibility. A number of times, he would say, â€œI’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.â€ For those who were familiar with that phrase knew that you express that when you are profoundly angry at what’s going on with the world. If Pastor Alex Gee were here, he would say that King was â€œjustifiably angryâ€ with what was going on around the world. If you read those speeches now you would think that they were written yesterday because the same material conditions that he was speaking out against exist today.
He wasn’t liked because he made people feel uncomfortable
with their status and with their own faith. He challenged people to put their
lives on the line, even if that meant your own. King called out America’s
appetite for violence and war. He once said, â€œWe live in a society where we
have guided missiles and misguided men.â€ He was angry at the rates of
homelessness. Last year, one thousand people died sleeping on the streets of
Los Angeles. One thousand people died! He would have been angry last week, watching
the black mothers who were arrested in Oakland for trying to give shelter to
their children in a vacant home. Where 75% of the homeless population in
Oakland are black people, and they comprise a 25% of the city’s population. I
want to think about that. And here’s the kicker: there are double the amount of
vacant homes than there are homeless people, so there’s more housing to go
around. He was angry at the inequities in education, housing, and employment.
Statistically black women are the most educated group in the U.S. They
constitute over 71% of all masterâ€™s degrees awarded each year, but they are the
lowest paid and lowest hired for most professions.
King spoke out against political corruption and police
brutality. Last week, there were dozens of police officers who are fired from
LAPD for falsifying documents, and inputting innocent people’s names into gang
databases. These people are black and brown people. And not only that, the auditors
found that 42 of those names belonged to infants. Forty-two infants are in the gang
database! Think about that.
King called out the privileges and the handouts that white
Americans have systematically received for centuries by the government agencies.
Before he died, he was actually promoting a wealth redistribution plan that
would guarantee a basic income package for impacted communities especially low-income
communities of color. King was especially critical and angry at the complacency
of Christians and churches for doing nothing, and waiting and being silent in
the midst of oppression. He said, â€œthe church has left many men and women
disappointed at midnight.â€ There are men who stand at the pulpit every Sunday
and never speak out against racial injustices. They are the arch supporters of
the status quo.â€
What Iâ€™ve learned from King is that these conditions are morally
unacceptable. And it is our duty as Christians to respond, to be justifiably
angry, to protest, to march, to hold people accountable, to break and eradicate
unjust laws, to love, to commit to put your life on the line to hold true to
Jesus words in Matthew 25: 35 -40. â€œWhen I when I was hungry, you gave me food.
I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was homeless, you invited
me in. When I was naked, you gave me clothes. When I was sick, you took care of
me. When I was in prison, you came to visit me. Truly I tell you, whatever you
do to the least of these you do for me.â€ King’s legacy is far more than a
celebration once a year. It’s an invitation, a reminder, to live a life of moral
I will conclude with the words of King, â€œLet us rededicate
our lives to the long and bitter but beautiful struggle to bring in the new
world. Let us speed up the day when â€˜justice will roll down like waters and righteousness
like a mighty stream.â€™ It is necessary for us to take a stand that is neither
safe nor popular, but we must do it because it is right.â€
This is the Dr. King that I celebrate. And as you celebrate tomorrow, I hope seriously consider this invitation to put your feet behind your prayers, â€œto be sick and tired of being sick and tired,â€ to be righteously angry. To no longer allow the crippling material conditions that marginalized communities of color, to proclaim the good news that we are children of the Most High, and we have the resolve and the authority to cast down the evils and bring forth the righteousness of the Lord. It is then that we will access the glory of the Lord. Amen.
“A Religion of Doing” Sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
Hope and Peace go hand in hand. Thatâ€™s what Advent is all about. And oh, how we need both as we wait on the Lord! Two other elements that fit right in here are Faith and Love. Jesus came into this world to bring us hope and peace, and that we might know his love through faith in him.
Luke announces the peace that Jesus brings by quoting the messenger, the angel of the Lord: â€œâ€˜For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lordâ€™â€¦And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, â€˜Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!â€™â€ (Luke 2:11-14)
But how can we have hope when things donâ€™t go the way we had thought they would? How can we have hope when we are disappointed in God, when we feel like he has let us down, or when things happen in life that we donâ€™t understand?
Jesus himself answers these questions by telling us that our ultimate hope does not come in this lifetime but in what is to come. â€œI have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.â€ (John 14:33)
He came that we might have peace. How can we have peace in the midst of the tribulation? The same way Jesus could sleep soundly in the back of the boat while the storm raged on. Because Jesus is still with us, God is with us. Thatâ€™s what we read in scripture and sing about, especially at Christmastime. Maybe thatâ€™s a problem. We tend to reflect upon the name, Emmanuel (which is a promise that means â€œGod is with usâ€), mainly at this time of year. Yes, the promise is there that God is with us in the Christ child, but we have to remember that God is always with us. Thatâ€™s why Jesus gave us his Holy Spirit. â€œVery God of very Godâ€ dwells within every person who puts their trust in him.
Thatâ€™s how we can face tribulation, thatâ€™s how we can endure the storm. This is how we can have hope when weâ€™re faced with illness, joblessness, injustice, oppression, broken relationships, hatred, loss, or even death. Peace gives us hope. Hope enables us to be at peace. God is ALWAYS with us and not just when he was here physically roaming the earth as a carpenterâ€™s son. The very name given to him was a sign to us that God IS (not was) with us!
Jesus tells his disciples (and us), â€œPeace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.â€ (John 14:27) He tells us this right after he promises the Holy Spirit to each and every believer.
This is how we know that he loves us and how we can know his love for us. â€œFor God so loved the worldâ€ â€”that is, God loved the world in such a wayâ€” â€œthat he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.â€ For Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it. (John 3:16-17)
We can experience the â€œPeace that surpasses all understandingâ€ (Philippians 4:7) in the midst of lifeâ€™s difficulties because of the hope we have in what is to come, eternal life, when we will no longer have to face any kind of tribulation. Faith and hope go hand in hand, as well. (See Hebrews 11:1.)
The peace that Jesus promised us so long ago is not a peace that is to come, it is for now, in the midst of the tribulation that he told us we will face in this world, in this life. But there will come a time when we will no longer need faith and hope because we will be right there with the LORD, face to face, gazing upon him in all his fullness. For now, though, we need faith, hope and peace because we can only see God as in a dimly lit mirror. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
For now, we have faith, hope (peace) and love because of the birth of Jesus into the human family and the work he accomplished on the cross for which he was born. That waiting is over. The waiting we endure now is for his return. The greatest of these three (faith, hope and love) is love. Why?
Because love lasts forever, it goes on into eternity. (1 Corinthians 13:8) In the eternal realm, we will no longer need faith and hope (or peace) because our faith and hope will have come to fruition. We will revel in the glory of the perfect and everlasting love of God!
Itâ€™s worth the wait.
Stephens Middle School, Auditorium
1830 W Columbia St.
Long Beach, CA 90810