By The Church Mouse
June 01, 2017

It’s official folks – Summer is here! School’s out, the college kids have migrated back home, vacations are happening, and the LCPC summer events are starting! First up is the annual LCPC Dodger Night, Monday, June 5, at 7:10 PM, Dodgers vs. the Nationals. Be praying for our Dominican Republic team as they head to La Romana June 10 to work on the mission house, renovate four homes in the neighborhood, and offer healthcare to the surrounding barrios. We also have our SPARKS heading up to Forest Home and our Junior Highers going to Campus by the Sea on Catalina Island that same week.  Ashley is hosting a new event on Tuesday, June 20, called Bookies and Cookies. Kids are invited to bring a good book to read, and Ashley will provide a comfy setting and lots of cookies and beverages. Mark your calendars for the All-Church Picnic on Wednesday, June 21, at Dunsmore Park. Let’s congratulate Pat Chambers on her 20th year as the Director of CFC! Pat has been a blessing to hundreds of families in this community, to this church, and to her devoted staff. It’s clear to see why CFC is the best childcare establishment in town when you have a director like Pat! Ashley is working hard on the Passport to Peru VBS coming up July 10 – 14  If you’d like to volunteer for this energetic ministry, contact Ashley and she will find a place for you!  Ashley and Mary hosted their always popular SPARKS in the Dark night a few weeks ago. There’s nothing more fun than a giant hide and seek game on the church campus with all the lights off and ending with an ice cream party.  We had a terrific Kids Hope party with about 60 kids, families, mentors, and prayer partners celebrating another successful year of the Kids Hope USA program.  Gary Woodward and his Early Rodders friends treated us to a spectacular morning of classic cars and a delicious pancake breakfast! He had a great turnout and all proceeds benefited the LCPC Choir Concert fund.  Have you seen the fantastic video footage of our services streaming on Facebook Live? Todd Marks is working hard to bring our LCPC service straight to your computer screen so you won’t have to miss a single week!  You can go back and watch the videos at any time on the LCPC Facebook page.  See you next month! Be sure to check out my full report in this month’s messenger here on the website!

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By Craig Carlson
May 06, 2017

Acts 17:26-27 - “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”

We live in a world filled with racial issues, ethnic divides and a struggle to understand cultural and religious differences.  I find this passage a welcome reminder that this has all been planned by God and we need to remember and apply this teaching from Paul.

There are two incredibly significant statements contained in this reading.  The first statement, that “from one man he made all the nations” tells us that God’s world is for everyone.  The second statement, that “he marked out…the boundaries of their lands” supports the first statement and adds a twist that He intended for His people to live in different nations.

I believe the first statement speaks to physical differences, those of complexion or color for example, and signifies that while we may look different now, we started from the same blood.  Therefore, the treatment of anyone in God’s kingdom based on physical differences is not to be condoned by any means.   I find that most (though sadly not all) Christians agree relatively easily with the concept that the color of one’s skin makes no difference in the eyes of God.

The challenge and the revelation for me can be found in the second statement, which speaks to different nations and lands.  This likely refers to differences in customs or beliefs.  This is where society tends to get more uncomfortable.  But if God has laid out the world intentionally into different lands and boundaries, he has done this knowing that such geographical boundaries would lead to different ways of thinking that lead to different customs, beliefs and even religions.  

The reading goes on to say that all these people should seek Him and reach out to Him.  So if all people, regardless of complexion or color OR even beliefs or customs, are to seek Him, shouldn’t we also be accepting of them?  I believe this to indicate that all the people of the world are our brothers and sisters, regardless of our differences.  I find it revealing, and even inspiring, that God planned for such differences so specifically!  

I pray that I can be more accepting of those from other lands that may look, think or act differently from me.  I pray that as a society we can look past such differences and accept all the children of God equally.  Amen.
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By Jim Larson
May 05, 2017

But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out." Acts 16:37

 The apostle Paul, unjustly arrested and abused, strongly objected, demanded redress, and so received justice. 
 Most of us at some time in our lives have experienced what Paul did. Hopefully not to the degree that Paul suffered. A teacher's accusation of cheating, an unwarranted traffic stop are but two examples of injustices that may have happened to you. And like Paul, I am sure you protested loudly and demanded justice. 
 Be, let me ask you a question. What if you were witness to the unjust treatment of someone else? If so, did you speak up, protesting loudly and demanding justice? 

 Rural Steele County Minnesota, School District 28, maybe ten or twelve students, year 1945, Mildred Hankerson teacher, that sets the stage. Perhaps Mrs. Hankerson should not have been a teacher. She was quick to anger, lacked empathy, and was very impatient with "slow" learners. 

 La Von Ripka was a "slow" learner. Not that she was stupid, she just needed more time to make a concept clear. Mrs. Hankerson picked on La Van a lot, not in private, but out loud in front of all the kids.

 One day, after Mrs. Hankerson's tongue had reduced La Von to tears, one of the kids stood up and protested loudly. Interspersed with expletives, he demanded that Mrs. Hankerson back off, stop picking on La Von, treat people fairly, and so on. All this delivered in as loud a voice as a sixth grade boy could muster. 

 Retribution was swift. Abuse was piled on the blasphemer. I remember things; like Reform School, be expelled, and many other dire threats. I remember the villain's younger brother going home from school crying because Jim was going to reform school and he would have to do Jim's chores. 
 Well, reform school didn't happen, neither did the expelling. Mrs. Hankerson didn't change. She still picked on kids. But, she didn't come back the next year. 

 What do you think the Apostle Paul would think about this story? 
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By Dennis Fernandez
May 04, 2017

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10: 36, 37

These verses come from The Parable of the Good Samaritan. A man walking down the street in a very bad part of town was beaten, robbed and left to die. Could have happened right here in LA. Three different guys see this dying man in desperate need of aid. First, the Priest (like Andy or Lee) does not stop but crosses to the other side of the street and keeps on going. Next, the Levite (churchgoer like you and I) quickly walks by on the other side of the street ignoring the man’s necessity for help. Finally, the Samaritan (the guy you would least expect) not only helps him but takes him to an inn, cares for him, and pays for his whole stay and more.

Jesus then asks a no-brainer question: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The lawyer answers, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus then responds, “Go and do likewise.”

Jesus’ statement is very simple and to the point – Be a neighbor. Our calling from God is this – to love God and be a neighbor to others by meeting their needs. To love God means to show mercy to those in need. Neighbors should not be determined by race, religion, nationality, sexuality or gender; neighbors consist of anyone in need. Jesus would not want us to rule out certain people as neighbors.

Even though Jesus’ message seems so simple, we still struggle with being a good neighbor. We often, like the Priest or Levite, are too busy and hurried to stop and help. Sometime we fear being injured ourselves or getting sick from touching or assisting the needy. Or the neighbor is not like us so we avoid engaging with them. The bother, the situation or discomfort stops us from helping.

I often struggle with judging or challenging those begging or looking for handouts. Do they really need money; are they really homeless living on the streets? In front of Carl’s Jr in Montrose I was approached by a man who rode up on a bike. He said he was hungry and asked for money to buy some food. I don’t like to give cash so I asked him what he’d like at Carl’s, then proceeded in to purchase a burger and fries. Coming out to provide a needed meal and feel good inside for helping a neighbor, the man was nowhere to be found. This just compounded my distrust for beggars and the needy.

But then I’m reminded again by this parable, Jesus says “Go and be a neighbor” – no matter when, where, who or how.
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By The Church Mouse
May 01, 2017

We didn’t get too many April showers, but we still have plenty of May flowers thanks to all the rain we got earlier in the season! Our Easter services were glorious, as always. Everyone loved having our sweet children sing on Palm Sunday. Ashley and Talin Emmerson did a wonderful job leading them. Thank you to Jim Larson, Geoff Bryan, Austin Granier, Katie Rose Clem, Cadie Carlson, Juliana Ramos, and Devon Fernandez for volunteering as different biblical figures in Children’s Ministries “Journey to Easter” on Palm Sunday. The Maundy Thursday dinner was delicious and we are so appreciative of the Deacons’ hard work in preparing and serving the meal to us. The Cathedral Choir with guest musicians, including Karen and Katie Hayhurst and Joseph and Jamie Mendoes, did a beautiful job leading worship that night, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after Ashley’s touching message about loneliness and the kindness of special strangers. Our Easter services were full of joy, celebration and new faces, with uplifting music from our Praise Band, Cathedral Choir, 18 guest musicians including strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion, several guest singers and our Cathedral Bells. It was a jubilant culmination to a very holy week. Thank you to everyone who donated items and complete kits for the Refugee Welcome Kits that will be distributed through World Relief. Please be praying for all displaced families around the world. The Cruisers hosted a fun Civil War music event last month at their meeting. The Foothill Armory Brass Band, featuring Noel Collins and Alex Waggoner, played music from the era and wore uniforms of both the Union and Confederate Armies. Jim Yukl did a great job delivering the Gettysburg Address – there is no finer Abe Lincoln around! Ashley was thrilled to hand out inscribed Bibles to seven 2nd graders a couple weeks ago. Please pray for the Word to speak to them as they grow. Registration for summer camps (including VBS) is officially open now for Children’s and Youth Ministries!  Summer is just around the corner, and if you know anyone looking for a great summer day camp program, we’ve got just the place! CFC’s program is the most flexible one in town, and it’s the most fun too!  See you next month! Be sure to check out my full report in this month’s messenger here on the website!

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La Crescenta Presbyterian Church
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