7-30-17 Audio

AnnouncementsOrder of Worship

…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20


I hope this finds you having a good Friday afternoon. As I took a run through some back trails this morning, I had to do a little traversing through some overgrown shrubs, weeds, and wildflowers. It reminded me of the passages of Scripture we’ll be sharing on Sunday (Matthew 13:31-33,44-46).

One of the aspects of this parable relates to our contemplation of God’s ever-present love. The amazing plant that emerges from the tiny seed doesn’t happen instantaneously. The process takes time. It requires patience to see the results. I’m reminded of our daughters bringing home seeds in paper cups. They planted them in Sunday School, brought them home to grow and waited. They watched them throughout the week. When will something happen? When will the seeds grow?

We can see the signs of God’s “kingdom come” all around us every day. Maybe on a run or as we are tending to our flowers and plants. But we also experience God’s reign as coming–that is, not yet here. Sometimes the areas where we await the coming of God’s reign hold our attention more than places where we see clear evidence of God’s kingdom. What ever the circumstance in which we are waiting may cause us to become impatient and question. Where is this mighty tree that grows from the tiny seed? When will this situation find a resolution? When will I find peace?

We are often called to live faithfully as we wait for God’s reign to come–for God’s love and grace to be fully evident in circumstances where we desire them most. We can wait because we know God is true and all things are possible through God.

I look forward to being with you in worship as we journey together at 8 AM, 9 AM and 10:30 AM this Sunday!

Have a blessed weekend. Grace and Peace, John

PS Through the next few weeks–I hope we can bring a little of God’s kingdom on earth–to some children of our community by providing much-needed school supplies. See the “Operation Backpack” info in this week’s announcements (link above).


Posted on July 28, 2017

6-9-17 Audio

Order of Worship,Announcments


“God be with you till we meet again.”


When Jesus returned to that divine “place” he came from, he promised to leave the disciples with an Advocate—with a helper—so that they would not be alone as they continued to do the work Jesus had set before them.

When Paul left the church in Corinth, he reminded the congregation that he was not leaving them alone, but that the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit was with them as they strove to live into their call to be the Church.

It certainly feels apropos that my last Sunday with you would fall on the date in which these farewell addresses and blessings were designated to be read and preached. (You can check the lectionary if you don’t believe me…) To be honest, I wish, instead, it was a day with some convoluted text that required much exegetical study, or in which the context or literary structure or contemporary cultural relevance would carry us through some profound message. I wish I could use the preparation of this sermon to distract myself from the reality of my own separation from this, my own beloved community. But, as is always the case, the Word I am invited to share with you is a Word that convicts me, too; and as is often the case, won’t let me (us) evade the things I (we) wish I (we) didn’t have to see or feel.

Even if every ending signals a new beginning, it doesn’t change the reality that endings are hard. God knows this. God knows when our relationships end or change, we grieve. God knows that goodbyes are part of our human, mortal lives, but that, being made in God’s image, we experience heartache or disappointment as circumstances change.

Which is why God is unchanging, and sends us helpers and advocates and pastors and friends to bear God’s peace and joy and blessings to us, always.

I hope that you will come on Sunday and join me and our church family for worship at 10am. I hope I will get an opportunity to greet you, to thank you, to remember the joys and challenging work we have experienced together, to share in one last meal, and to offer my prayers of blessing for you.

Thank you for this blessing of serving as your pastor. I couldn’t be more grateful.

See you Sunday,



Posted on June 9, 2017

6-2-17 Audio

Order of Worship Announcements

“Every time I feel the Spirit moving in my heart I will pray. Yes, every time I feel the Spirit moving in my heart I will pray.” UMH #404

I still have key memories of the journey from high school to college. So much changed regarding what I would have to do on my own and attending a large university I was just one in the midst of the crowds moving from building to building. Then came my birthday, a day that my parents and friends in school helped me celebrate in special ways, but no one at North Carolina State University had any idea that this day was special. I remember walking around campus waiting for someone to utter some greeting, but it didn’t happen (this was the day before social media and IPhones – if you can believe that). I remember that night how good it was to hear my parents doing what had embarrassed me in the past and singing happy birthday. In the midst of a day that I felt alone, a great joy overcame me when I heard their voices.

I wonder in a small way if this is how the apostles felt on Pentecost. Alone and waiting for someone to call their name and then as we hear,   “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:1-2)

The day had come when everything would change, but no one knew what to expect. It didn’t begin with a gentle breeze but with a violent wind. What happened next would transform the lives of the apostles and send them places they could never have imagined.

Sometimes we forget this very special day in the life of the church. I hope for a moment today, and on Sunday you’ll join me reading through Acts 2:1-21 and imagining yourself in that room torn between isolation and devotion. What would it be like to be meeting in a room and suddenly feel the rush of the wind throughout the house? Would we accept this awesome revelation or demand logical answers to our incredulous questions? Would our response to the coming of the Holy Spirit have been doubtful or full of delight?

The great day of Pentecost, a day we sometimes forget ought to evoke both a sense of awe and great celebration. The message conveyed at Pentecost breaks down the barriers erected by doubt and from that moment that changed the world!

I look forward to celebrating Pentecost and Communion this Sunday at 8, 9 or 10:30!

Grace and Peace, John

PS.Don’t forget to bring some food for Share the Table Sunday as we celebrate the Birthday of the Church on Pentecost by giving a gift to those who are in great need.


Posted on June 2, 2017

5-26-17 Audio

Order of Worship,Announcements


Dear SDUMC Family,

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support following last week’s announcement. I am humbled, grateful, and excited that I have been appointed as the Associate Pastor at San Dieguito United Methodist Church beginning July 1st. It has been quite a journey to get to get to this point and I know I could not have done it without the love and encouragement of this congregation.

Throughout the ordination process, candidates are asked over and over (and over) again about their “call story”. A call story is an articulation of God’s invitation to ordained ministry. Candidates are asked to describe the path that has led them to respond “yes” to one of the most intense and thrilling questions of their lives in a mere three minutes. That’s right they ask pastors to do this in three minutes.

This Sunday I have the privilege of sharing part of my journey towards ordained ministry. I have felt God’s call on my life and in my heart for quite some time but it has been a process for me to respond. In any situation of newness there are elements of fear and doubt. We second guess ourselves. Maybe we even second guess God. I certainly did.

Over the course of my life I have been drawn to Peter. An overzealous disciple who, though he tries, cannot seem to get it right. He misses Jesus’s point time and time again. Yet, his desire to be near God and to please Jesus is moving; inspiring even.

This week we will be reading the story of Jesus walking on water and inviting Peter to join him. As we read through Matthew’s account, we can hear Jesus asking Peter, “You of little faith, why do you doubt?” At this point has Jesus not proved himself worthy of Peter’s trust? He had just fed five thousand people from only five loaves and two fish. He has stood up against the oppressive religious elite. He has calmed the storm. He has healed those who were blind, mute, and paralyzed. He even brought a young girl back from the dead. What more must Jesus do to demonstrate his power and love?

But Peter gets distracted by the waves. He takes his eyes off of Jesus and he begins to sink. Peter doesn’t trust…or does he? I think this story has more to offer us than just the shaming of Peter, the disciple who took his eyes off of Jesus.

I hope you will join us on Sunday at 8 AM (In the Chapel) or 9 AM and 10:30 AM (In the Sanctuary) as we look at what else God might be telling us through this story.

Peace and Love,


Posted on May 26, 2017

5-19-17 Audio

Order of WorshipAnnouncements

“No one person has an ordinary life. Each life is different and each has its memorable moments.” Rev. Charles Hoffman, Reflections of a Reluctant Cleric

One of the many gifts throughout the journey of ministry has been that of mentors: Whether to learn about the history of a church or community, understanding those things, “they don’t teach you in seminary,” assistance in traversing the United Methodist ordination journey and various other moments in which someone shines some light on the road ahead.

As I arrived at SDUMC, I met yet another mentor and friend, Rev. Charles Hoffman, who has been incredibly gracious with sharing his time in so many ways. I still remember him a few years ago reaching out his hand and saying, “…just call me Chuck and welcome to SDUMC!” In my work and travels around the Cal-Pac Conference, there are many clergy who have shared how he also helped them to hear God’s calling to ministry. I’m sure these sentiments are true for many of you as well. It will remain a great honor throughout my ministry to serve alongside our Senior Pastor Emeritus.

I hope you will join me this Sunday as we are blessed by the gift of hearing him share an inspiring message. He recently authored a book, Reflections of a Reluctant Cleric, which has been a page turner in my hands throughout the last week. Rev. Charles “Chuck” will be available after each hour of worship to sign a copy of his new book.

This Sunday our sanctuary will also be filled with beautiful music from our Children’s Choir, Bell Choir, and Chancel Choir (New Members and a Baptism at 10:30 too). As you can see I am very excited to be with you all for a great morning of worship this Sunday!

See you at 8, 9 or 10:30 this Sunday!

Grace and Peace,


PS. Don’t forget that there is another amazing gift provided to us by the Chancel Choir at 4 PM on Sunday. USD Choral Scholars, North Coast Singers Capella Ensemble, instrumentalists and again, our amazing SDUMC Choir will be performing, Requiem of French Romantic composed by Gabriel Fauré. This would be a great opportunity to invite a friend or go to our Facebook page and share the Evite.

Posted on May 19, 2017