Next Saturday, August 25th, our elders are meeting for a bi-annual retreat day. We do so every January and August, and they have become two of my absolute favorite days of the entire year, not only because we have a lot of fun together, but also because I learn so much from each one of the leaders on the team....Keep Reading
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Next Saturday, August 25th, our elders are meeting for a bi-annual retreat day. We do so every January and August, and they have become two of my absolute favorite days of the entire year, not only because we have a lot of fun together, but also because I learn so much from each one of the leaders on the team....
My family and I live on a quaint little street near El Dorado park. It’s common on weekends to drive by epic birthday parties and large family reunions sprawled out in the vast open space of the historic park. My children, 4 and 7, always feel left out of playing on the...
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter...
The truth is, every church needs young people. Their passion enriches the soil around them. The curiosity they bring to Scripture and the authenticity they bring to relationships keep your church’s teaching fresh and fellowship fruitful....
An amazing thing happened on the way to Jerusalem. The first half of our gospel accounts depict Jesus ministering in and around Galilee. He calls disciples, tells parables, and performs healings on behalf of fascinated crowds. But about halfway through the...
I am cast upon a horrible, desolate island, void of all hope of recovery. I am singled out and separated, as it were, from all the world, to be miserable. I am divided from mankind – a solitaire; one banished from human society… I have no soul to speak to or relieve me....
It’s been said that “words create worlds.” And it’s difficult to argue with that statement. Think, for instance, of the outset of the Scriptures, where God declares “Let there be light.” And, sure enough, there’s light! The next day God creates the sky. The next day...
Erwin Rommel was a genius, no doubt about it. The problem was that he put his efforts to use working for the Nazi regime. And yet, despite his evil intent, we can learn something from Rommel to be put to use for God’s mission in the world. And in our church....
The events that took place last weekend in Charlottesville have deeply troubled me to the core. But now, a week later, it is not only the events themselves, but the response - across our country - which reveals how deeply fallen and divided America is. I have sought...
After two weeks in Charlotte, North Carolina, at a second-year residency for my Doctorate in Ministry, it is good to be back! And no, I don't miss the humidity! I am grateful for how Josh and Paul kicked off our summer series, The Stories Jesus Told....
This week our church family suffered a very difficult loss as the 26-year old son of Julie Varley, Alex Bradley, was killed in a car crash. A couple of days later Julie pulled from the wreck a photocopy of the hymn “It is Well with My Soul,” which Alex had played on...
Have you ever clicked onto Ancestry.com or another genealogy site to learn more about your family’s history? My mother has done so, tracing Bronzan family roots on one side through Yugoslavia and on the other side through the family of Abraham Lincoln! ...
Southern California doesn't really have seasons, per se. And most of us probably like it that way. It's a bit colder in the winter months, but nothing worth bundling up for. Where I grew up in the Central Valley, seasons were more pronounced. August afternoons were...
A strange thing happens in Luke 9. We learn at the outset of the chapter that after Jesus called his disciples, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and...
It happens in movies all the time. Two characters are engaged in some surprising conversation or activity when a third character reacts incredulously. That third character can’t believe what they’re seeing or hearing. And in so doing, they model for us - the viewer...
A juxtaposition is defined as "two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect." I’m sure there are a few in this weekend’s movie release, Rogue One, which continues the Star Wars franchise. There’s certainly one in this week’s...
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go! And I suppose it's time. A few weeks ago, I lamented how quickly our society jumped from Halloween to Christmas, skipping right over Thanksgiving. I wrote: This year I noticed, more than...
Apparently teaching through the Book of Acts is a dangerous thing for a preacher to do. Now I know. This fall we've been engaging this book of early church history, as we live into our mission, "Inviting all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God's family."...
A strange thing happened this week. No, it doesn’t have to do with the Presidential Election. And no, it isn’t the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time since 1908. Though that was fun (for them!). It has to do with Halloween - or, better yet,...
"How's the running going, Curtis?" It was a simple question. And it deserved a simple answer. "Great!" I could've said, responding succinctly. Or, "Really well, actually, I'm running five days a week, three miles each day," if I wanted to give more details....
I'm 35 years old (believe it or not). I'm married, with two kids. We live near El Dorado Park in a little fixer upper (that, in five years, we haven't fixed up all that much!). I like reading philosophy and listening to indie rock and drinking strong coffee and rooting for...
I’ve told my friends, I don’t really go to retreats to get sleep - although some manage to. Mostly, it’s a much needed break from the usual routine, a time to gain a sense of renewal - renewing old friendships, finding new ones, and recharging our intimacy...
As we transition from summer into a busy fall, one particular passage has been on my mind. In chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, the Apostle to the Gentiles writes, I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation...
I like to have a plan. What I don’t like is when reality does not quite match up with my planned expectation! I am quickly getting used to this being a part of life that I cannot control. I have found myself in a situation where my “perfect” plan has been altered....
On Thursday night, my wife Cassie and I attended a concert at the Greek Theater. The band isn't her favorite musical act, but I had been looking forward to this show since I got tickets back in December. With work commitments and a busy family life, it had...
My brother and I called it “Big Church.” And it happened every Sunday. Really. Every Sunday! Starting in the 2nd grade! We went to Sunday School, then Big Church. Luckily, most Sundays we’d get a donut in between. But even after a donut - or maybe especially...Keep Reading
A couple of weeks ago lay leader Diana Klimek and I introduced a new ministry during our worship services. If you were absent that day, what follows is a brief overview of our recently launched Care Response Team (CRT)....Keep Reading
I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t like coffee. I like the smell but not the taste. On the rare occasion I visit a coffee shop I order tea or hot chocolate. My aversion to coffee does offer the benefit of saving money and freedom from caffeine addiction....Keep Reading
The truth is, every church needs young people. Their passion enriches the soil around them. The curiosity they bring to Scripture and the authenticity they bring to relationships keep your church’s teaching fresh and fellowship fruitful....Keep Reading
An amazing thing happened on the way to Jerusalem. The first half of our gospel accounts depict Jesus ministering in and around Galilee. He calls disciples, tells parables, and performs healings on behalf of fascinated crowds. But about halfway through the...Keep Reading
It’s officially known as Naval Support Facility Thurmont, but it’s usually just referred to as Camp David. Built from 1935-1938 in Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont, Maryland, Camp David has hosted dignitaries and politicians from all over the world....Keep Reading
It was one of those visuals that sticks with you, simple though it was. You know the kind: They imprint themselves deeply in your brain’s hippocampus and can’t be forgotten (no matter how hard you try!). In reality it was just two tables on a stage....Keep Reading
One of the movies I still enjoy is The Blues Brothers, staring the late John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. They play Jake and Elwood Blues, brothers who believe they have a divine appointment to reassemble their band, play a one-night-only benefit concert,...Keep Reading
On Sunday we conclude our series All In, in which we’re engaging our mission statement: Inviting all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God’s family. We’ve discussed “inviting all people” and “growing into a Christ-centered life.” On Sunday, we will think...Keep Reading
One of the greatest joys of serving as your pastor is hearing how God has revealed Himself in your lives. Just this Thursday, I met with a Covenant Partner of our congregation to whom God revealed himself in unmistakable ways – clarifying his calling...Keep Reading
This week our church family suffered a very difficult loss as the 26-year old son of Julie Varley, Alex Bradley, was killed in a car crash. A couple of days later Julie pulled from the wreck a photocopy of the hymn “It is Well with My Soul,” which Alex had played on...Keep Reading
At Tuesday evening’s Session and Staff Meeting, we reviewed a document written by ECO’s Synod Executive, Rev. Dr. Dana Allin, entitled Five Important Shifts for Our Future Development. The first shift is From ‘Clergy-Centered’ to an ‘Unleashed Laity.’...Keep Reading
Our new web-based church management software, MyGoodShepherd, is really great! Like anything new—especially involving technology—there is much to learn and some inevitable kinks to work out. But......Keep Reading
We’ve got a problem here at Good Shepherd…a big problem. We’re really good at Bible study. We’ve got years of life experience and skills that others don’t have. We party hard when others celebrate and are saddened when others grieve. We might just be...Keep Reading
Have you ever clicked onto Ancestry.com or another genealogy site to learn more about your family’s history? My mother has done so, tracing Bronzan family roots on one side through Yugoslavia and on the other side through the family of Abraham Lincoln! ...Keep Reading
Every four years, after a new president is elected, the chosen candidate gets to appoint their cabinet. This practice dates back to George Washington, America's first president, who elected five other people to serve alongside him and Vice President...Keep Reading
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go! And I suppose it's time. A few weeks ago, I lamented how quickly our society jumped from Halloween to Christmas, skipping right over Thanksgiving. I wrote: This year I noticed, more than...Keep Reading
A strange thing happened this week. No, it doesn’t have to do with the Presidential Election. And no, it isn’t the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time since 1908. Though that was fun (for them!). It has to do with Halloween - or, better yet,...Keep Reading
Last week in our ongoing series To the Ends of the Earth, we encountered tension between two ethnicities in the early Christian movement. Recall that the Greek widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food (check out the message...Keep Reading
Last Sunday in our series through Acts, we engaged chapter 3, verse 4: “Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’” As we discussed together, this was a strange thing for Luke to add. As a doctor and someone so interested in...Keep Reading
The outset of the Apostle Paul’s first century letters, sent to churches springing up at the ends of the earth, contain a common refrain: Thanksgiving. Is he merely being polite expressing this ongoing gratitude for his partners in ministry and mission?...Keep Reading
This weekend we continue our six week series I Am A Covenant Partner, exploring what it means to be a member of the local church. As we have done so, I have been deeply encouraged by conversations following sermons and with those of you who are...Keep Reading
For the next two weeks the world will turn its attention to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, site of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Fans around the world will tune in to cheer on their country. Despite concerns about the Zika virus and subpar housing conditions...Keep Reading
On Thursday night, my wife Cassie and I attended a concert at the Greek Theater. The band isn't her favorite musical act, but I had been looking forward to this show since I got tickets back in December. With work commitments and a busy family life, it had...Keep Reading
I'd heard about it. I'd read about it. I'd seen it on the news. And then I saw it in action. Kids on my street were playing Pokémon Go, a new video game that allows players to "travel between the real world and the virtual world" finding and catching "more than...Keep Reading
Last Sunday, June 26th, we encountered the mid-point of Esther. At long last, after countless coincidences and ironies, we saw the tables turn, not because of Mordecai’s bold faith, nor Esther’s victory in the king’s contest for a new queen. No, as you may recall...Keep Reading
“It takes all kinds” said a member of my small group, gently making fun of her husband’s rather direct style (which had just been on full display!). Certainly you’ve heard this phrase before. It’s origin is the Spanish novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes...Keep Reading
This Sunday we begin our new series Going Viral, opening the Scriptures in order to be equipped by God to share the good news of Jesus. As we have discussed before, evangelism strikes fear and anxiety in many of our hearts! And while we...Keep Reading
This week I had the opportunity to share lunch with a member of our church family. During our time together, he shared that he and his family spoke only Spanish in his childhood home. Once, in elementary school, a teacher asked him why he was delaying...Keep Reading
This past Tuesday through Thursday was the ECO National Gathering, held this year at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach. After previous years were spent travelling to Orlando, Florida and Dallas, Texas, it was great to be able to return to...Keep Reading
Last Saturday, during our Elder and Staff retreat, Pastor Paul received a text message that his son had scored a basket in his youth basketball game. We all joined him in celebration for his son's two points! I wasn't as successful in my youth sports...Keep Reading
In recent weeks, in this space, we have both reflected upon 2015 and looked ahead toward 2016. It’s an important exercise, not only looking ahead to the future, but processing where we’ve been. Just this week, I ran across a quote from John Dewey...Keep Reading
As we continue to celebrate God's greatest gift this Christmas season and look to the future He has for us in 2016, I am reminded of a familiar phrase you have no doubt heard before. It was boldly declared at the outset of a New Year, just months...Keep Reading
As we continue our Advent series The Greatest Gift, I am so grateful for your generous, sacrificial giving throughout 2015, continually responding to God's gift of Jesus. In the midst of denominational, pastoral, and staff transitions, your financial giving...Keep Reading
This Sunday in our worship gatherings we continue our Advent series The Greatest Gift, turning our attention to Mary's interaction with the angel Gabriel in Luke 1: In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in...Keep Reading
This week you should have received a letter, pledge card, and envelope you can use to commit to Good Shepherd for our upcoming calendar year. We will have an opportunity to present these pledges in either of our worship gatherings on Sunday, November...Keep Reading
Beginning two weeks ago, continuing last week, and concluding today, we have a chance to hear reports from the three elders who joined me in attending the Elder Leadership Institute training in Estes Park, Colorado on October 15th-18th. This week...Keep Reading
In keeping with Pastor Curtis’s message at our gatherings Sunday, October 25th, several of us worked in unison and, together, were actually “A PEST” that same day! At Good Shepherd, several of our members serve three or four times each year...Keep Reading
Beginning last week, continuing today and next week, we have a chance to hear reports from the three elders who joined me in attending the Elder Leadership Institute training in Estes Park, Colorado on October 15th-18th. This week...Keep Reading
Beginning today and continuing for the next two weeks, we will have a chance to hear reports from the three elders who joined me in attending the Elder Leadership Institute training last weekend in Estes Park, CO. This week, Roberta Ramont...Keep Reading
I type these words on my laptop while travelling somewhere around 500 miles per hour at 35,000 feet in the air. No, I haven’t learned any tricks from our old buddy Clark Kent… I’m currently aboard Southwest Airlines flight #2433, flying from John Wayne Airport...Keep Reading
I really love my job. Every week I am privileged to lead 2 teams of volunteers who give many hours a week, all because they love Jesus and love His kids. I have an awesome office environment, working alongside Elizabeth whose history at...Keep Reading
On Sunday, October 25th, our fall series Welcome Home will lead us to engage Ephesians 4.11-13, which reads: "Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that...Keep Reading
A few weeks ago I shared one of those e-mails that, as a pastor, I hate to receive. You may recall that it didn’t criticize my theological perspective in a Sunday morning sermon or a recent leadership decision, but rather, candidly revealed how...Keep Reading
If you were in worship last Sunday, September 13th for the kick-off to our fall series Welcome Home, you may recall a little “staff meeting” that took place right in the middle of the gathering. If you missed it, you can see it here (be sure to watch for a...Keep Reading
It was one of those e-mails that, as a pastor, I hate to receive. No, this particular message did not criticize the theological perspective of my latest sermon, question a recent leadership decision, or disparage my current hairstyle (though a few of those would have...Keep Reading
It was my privilege to again serve alongside our amazing High School students in Ensenada during Easter week. Each year as we prepare for our trip we never know exactly what project we'll be doing once we get there. Some may ask, well then how do you...Keep Reading
Sri Lankan priest D.T. Niles once noted that "Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." How true that is! In recent weeks, under the leadership of Elder Sue Nelson-Brown, we have pioneered a renewed emphasis in evangelism...Keep Reading
On Sunday, November 23rd at 10am in the Sanctuary is a Congregational Meeting to affirm God's call of Elders and Deacons to serve Good Shepherd, as well as approve updates to our congregational bylaws in accordance with our...Keep Reading
We have been made aware of a unique need within our church family. Many of you know David and Rebecca Lara who have made Good Shepherd their church home for several years. Rebecca has been battling cancer for some time now and we have...Keep Reading
Our world is not what it used to be. In recent years we have seen some astronomical shifts in worldviews and in adherence to the Christian faith in America. Consider the...Keep Reading
Why do you come to The Open Table Tuesdays at Good Shepherd? When we conceived of this ministry we determined that there were so many reasons why members of Good Shepherd...Keep Reading
Hello Good Shepherd Friend, In recent weeks we have begun a process of discerning the denominational affiliation that would best support the ministry of Good Shepherd...Keep Reading
When spring break roll around students around the country are excited about the opportunity to relax, hit the beach, and simply hang out. Who can blame them? High School is a...Keep Reading
Did you increase your pledge for the 2013 calendar year!? If so, thank you! If you give automatically through your PayPal account on our website, however, changing the amount...Keep Reading
Watch these short videos of each local ministry to learn how Good Shepherd serves the community and you can become involved...Keep Reading
Sunday, October 28th, is Pastorsâ€™ Appreciation Day. In celebration of this special occasion, we are planning a reception, to be held in the gym between services Sunday morning...Keep Reading
On Sunday, October 21st between the worship services you will have an opportunity to meet those partners, learn about the kinds of ministry they provide, and find out how...Keep Reading
Dear Friends, As Pastor Jim mentioned in worship this past weekend, Good Shepherd is now in the midst of starting a new class for perspective Stephen Ministers. We are...Keep Reading
Hi friends, A few month's back we let you know about an opportunity to support our Women's Ministry simply by shopping for your groceries at Ralph's! What a deal, right!?...Keep Reading
Hi friends, Yesterday we received this e-mail from a longtime member of our church family regarding our new online giving page, that we wanted to pass on! She writes: Thank you...Keep Reading
You are invited to our spring dance for those with special needs. D.J. Wayne Harrington plays great music to dance to, listen to and enjoy with a room full of friends! We'll have...Keep Reading
Hi friends, Did you know that you can buy groceries to benefit your church family? That's right! And just in time for Super Bowl Sunday! Simply print out this Community Contribution...Keep Reading
Hi friends, This Sunday we have the opportunity to offer love and care by participating in the "Be the Match" event on behalf of Kai Quinonez who is in need of a bone marrow transplant...Keep Reading
Hi friends, In case you haven't heard, this Sunday, November 13th, is "Heifer Sunday" at Good Shepherd, RAIN OR SHINE! It's our opportunity to provide life-giving livestock to...Keep Reading
Hi friends, I want to share an opportunity to serve our local community: Local Missions is hosting its Second Annual Canned Food Drive Drive-thru on Thursday...Keep Reading
Invisible Children exist to help stop the use of child soldiers in Africa, specifically in Uganda and the Congo. They will be here Sunday, October 9th showing their newest documentary Tony...Keep Reading
Good Shepherd is welcoming SHIP (Self Help Interfaith Program) again this year from July 2 through July 15 and servants are needed to host 4 to 6 men (and possibly women) while they...Keep Reading
Hi friends, Last night at our monthly session meeting, the elders and pastors began a new study based on the book They Like Jesus, But Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations....Keep Reading
Hi friends, I hope this finds you well! At the Congregational Meeting last night, all four motions were approved: We rescinded the 2008 building project and discontinue the â€œGeneration to...Keep Reading
Support MisiÃ³n Mexico 2011 at The Open Table Tuesday, April 5th. Proceeds from dinner will help our team build retaining walls for a women's halfway house operated by Pastor Maria of...Keep Reading
Hi friends, A bone marrow drive is being held for our very own eight year old Kai Quinonez on Saturday, March 26th at the corner of Pine and Florista in Los Alamitos from 11am to 3pm....Keep Reading
Hello, Church Family! Saturday, April 2nd, we will have a special spring cleaning day for our church facility. The event will give us all an opportunity to pitch in and really give our campus a...Keep Reading
Hi friends, This week's e-Bulletin noted that it's not too late to buy tickets and raffle tickets for an upcoming We Care fundraiser "From the Heart" next Saturday, March 12th at 6pm. Here's...Keep Reading
Hi friends, Here is the study guide for Mark 14.1-11. It's a significant passage in which Jesus makes it clear that he has come to Jerusalem... to die. I hope you will find the time to look...Keep Reading
Tonight at an Open Table steering committee meeting, team member Leny Ambruso shared a brief excerpt from Mother Theresa's book A Simple Path that was too good not to pass on!...Keep Reading
Hi friends, I recently received this update from Michelle Swaney, who, with her husband Matt, ministers to college students through Campus Crusade for Christ. If you have any questions on how to...Keep Reading
You are invited to GSPC's Canned Food Drive Drive-thru on Thursday, November 18th from 5-7pm. The event will benefit Food Finders goal to raise 100,000 pounds of food. Canned...Keep Reading
Last night was the kick off for The Open Table, a brand new opportunity to gather together and share good food with great friends. And I think it's safe to say, "IT'S A HIT!" The Open Table...Keep Reading
This Sunday, November 14th, Good Shepherd will host a fair benefiting Heifer Project International, a non-profit agency whose mission is to work with communities to end hunger and...Keep Reading
Hi friends, Kirk Brown, Elder for World Mission, recently alerted me to a wonderful opportunity to keep up with Rachel Falco: her personal blog at rachelfalco.theworldrace.org! As you may recall...Keep Reading
On this Sunday, October 24th there will be a special opportunity in the life of our church: the Local Mission Fair! You are invited to come and learn how your giving is impacting our community and...Keep Reading
This Friday, October 15th Good Shepherd is hosting a special opportunity to serve our community (and have a lot of fun at the same time!) at the bi-annual Fall Dance for those with special...Keep Reading