Archive for August, 2013


“…He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”  Psalm 1:3


I love planting a garden. No matter how much space is allotted for my garden in the different homes we have lived in, I am bound and determined to make it work.


Over the years I have found that the strip of ground on the side of the house where the trash containers are stored has been the most fruitful. I don’t know what it is about the close proximity to garbage that makes an abundant harvest of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, corn, grapes, radishes, beans, snow peas, cilantro, parsley and basil. I am always pleasantly surprised by what I find out there.


This season my garden is in pots on my patio and it’s doing pretty well. As with my garbage gardens I enjoy going out several times a day and checking the progress of the seedlings, the height of the young plants, or to observe whether or not the young  green tomatoes have started to blush with color. I thrill at every sprig that breaks its way through the soil, and every tiny piece of fruit that begins to swell on the vine.


I love finding the vegetables that have come to harvest almost in secret. I move a leaf and… ‘Surprise!’ there’s this big beautiful zucchini or tomato ready to be picked for dinner. Beautiful!


I know God loves His garden even more then I love mine. His garden is planted with the people He calls His church. They are nurtured, hopefully by His Word, and watered by the Holy Spirit. He is constantly checking on the progress of his garden, lovingly caring for it and watching over it to make sure the weeds are pulled and the pests are done away with.  He is diligent in bringing His church, His garden to abundant fruitfulness… and he delights at every little ‘Surprise’ that makes its way into the sunshine of His face.


As I reflect on my own gardens over the years, I have to say I like the ones planted by the dumpsters the best. They were the most surprising to me… kind of like the First Baptist Church of Palos Verdes whose property runs alongside a city dump. I thank God every day for this little ‘Garden of Surprises.’



Pastor Joel



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