Archive for November, 2013


November 26, 2013 Leave a comment

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1: 14

When I was a single father with not much income to speak of, innovation and improvisation became the “Go to” tools in the Tool Box of my life… especially at Christmas time.

The expenses of Christmas can add up. Besides the buying of gifts, there’s the tree, ornaments, lights, food, and wrapping paper. With all of this, innovation becomes a single father’s best friend… It also helps if you have some helpers. My help came in the form of my three young daughters.

One year during the holidays I somehow got a hold of several large rolls of brown paper about two feet wide. These would become the foundation for my Christmas wrapping paper. The next weekend my girls were scheduled to be with me. When we arrived at my apartment, I told the girls to take off their shoes and socks before I opened the door. With lots of giggles and excitement they promptly did as I instructed.

When I opened the door to my apartment they saw the brown paper stretched out on the floor leading to the bathroom and a tub filled part way with water. Right by the door as we entered were bowls filled with red, green, and blue paint. I asked the girls to dip their feet into the paint and walk on the brown paper to the bath room and into the tub. They made several trips… and in the end we had very festive, custom made paper in which to wrap our Christmas treasures in.

Of course not all the paint stayed on the paper… but isn’t that what security deposits are for? It also took a while to get all the paint out of the tub. It was totally worth it though to experience my daughters’ joy as they walked up and down the paper in red, green, and blue feet, and seeing their unique colorful, little footprints in three different sizes emblazoned on the plain brown paper… Priceless.

One can say Christmas has always been about footprints. It’s when God came to us wearing the tiny foot prints of a baby in a manger… And when Jesus walked on the plain drab surface of this world, the Glory of God shone in every step He took, and life on this earth would never be the same again because of those footprints…  Priceless.


Pastor Joel

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November 5, 2013 Leave a comment

 “This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’… Jeremiah 33:2-3

When I was a young youth pastor in Pasadena, a member of our church came into my office and gave me a marvelous gift.  He started off by telling me that he was a man who loved to read, and that he loved books, he also told me that he didn’t think young people read enough books… and he looked straight at me without smiling with an expression that suggested to me that maybe he thought I was one of those illiterate youth.

And then he said “I want you to go to the bookstore at Fuller Seminary and pick out as many books as you would personally like and I want to pay for them.”  I was speechless.  No one ever gave me a gift like that.  He continued without humor as I remained silent with my mouth open, “And I don’t want you to even think about keeping it under a certain amount.  I want you to have every book you want to read.  I will cover the entire cost no matter what it is.”  Then to emphasize his point even more, his eyes narrowed almost in anger and pointed his finger and said “Do not short change yourself.  Get every book you want.” I thanked him for the gift and did exactly as I was instructed to do.

As I think about it now it was a marvelous and wondrous thing he did for me.  It was something I could never do for myself.  Because he went out of town shortly after and I moved away to take another position, I never saw him again, but his gift at the time was beyond my imagination.

I didn’t know it at the time but God was showing me a glimpse of Himself in the generosity of this man I barely knew.  I only knew he was an older member of the church… But he blessed me anyway beyond what I knew.  Jeremiah reminds us of who our God is and what He wants to do… He wants us to call on him, and He wants to show us things we have no comprehension of… in other words He wants to reach us beyond the limits of our imagination.

The generous man who gave me the books did not want me to attach a budget to his blessing.  God will not be budgeted by those who call upon Him, neither does calling on Him mean we budget our time with him, because in prayer we have unlimited access to the glorious presence of God.  We must not short change ourselves when it comes to God.  Just as the Apostle Paul reminds us…

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us… Ephesians 3:20

We must call upon Him… and wait for marvelous and wondrous things that do not yet know.


Pastor Joel


Categories: Uncategorized