Resources

Pastor's Blog

St Patrick's Day 2018 Posted 3.17.2017
On Friday, we pulled out something green to wear.  A little something.  Maybe we ate corned beef.  Or maybe we wore something orange.  It doesn’t matter, St. Patrick’s Day is about leprechauns and four leaf clove...

Change or Die Posted 2.17.2017
Change.  The verb means to make or become different.  The noun describes the act or instance of making or becoming different.  Change is rough.  Not changing is fatal.   I hope we never become so s...

March for Life Posted 1.27.2017
Chelsea Patterson wrote this Friday on The Gospel Coalition website.  Good food for thought.   Today is the 44th annual March for Life. It’s also my birthday. In a grand irony, the two coincide this year....

Progress in Bombo Posted 1.20.2017
There is always a little bit of a risk when you open and email, right? Sometimes it is not all that wonderful, but other times it is a blessing.  I got an email on Thursday that was in the “blessing” department.  It came f...

Sober Start Posted 1.06.2017
The new year is now fully upon us.  Not sure what it means (no, I know what it means – nothing) but I start the year with two Saturdays of funerals. It is for me a good reminder of the frailty of life and of the importance of making ...

Some Things Are Just More Important Posted 12.16.2016
Christmas will be here in a week.  It arrives faster every year – and leaves even quicker.  I want to soak in the season and enjoy each festive moment.  But I have come to appreciate Christmas for something more than it&rsq...

A Modern "Mortimer" Lesson, Or Two Posted 12.09.2016
In this, the “most wonderful time of the year” – life still happens.  Just because it’s Christmas we still struggle with our own insecurities.  Just because it’s Christmas we still struggle with….w...

Christmas Peace? Posted 12.02.2016
Christmas is a little different around our house in these days.  It used to be a bit more scripted.  Or should I say, it used to be more controlled.  The children loved our traditions – putting the star on top of the tree, ...

What Now? Posted 11.11.2016
There is certainly a bright side to the news this week.  The 2016 election cycle is over.  No more robo-calls.  There’s room in my mailbox for Christmas catalogs.  The bashing and slashing is over (for now).  The ...

Martin and Halloween Posted 10.28.2016
This is a great weekend for the church.  Daring Faith and the Harvest Festival and the Reformation intertwine in a dramatic – and hectic – way.  So let’s get some perspective on it all.  I came across this artic...

Home Once Again Posted 10.21.2016
No, the bags are not all unpacked.  Yes, I took more pictures than necessary.  Walking in The Land was again, amazing.  Well, it was awfully warm (who knew 90’s were normal for early October?).  We just drank lots of w...

Home! Posted 9.23.2016
Home.  I never tire of coming home. Ever. Three weeks away is a really long time (just ask Christie).  But they were weeks which impacted my life in ways I am still trying to figure out – and in ways that are very obvious. ...

The Lord is Dave's Shepherd Posted 8.26.2016
Six months to live?  Six month to live.   It is the diagnosis we all dread.  With every stray pain we wonder if that phrase is going to come from the lips of our doctor sometime soon.  We all have a str...

Farewell and God's Speed Posted 8.12.2016
This Sunday is bittersweet.  At least for many of us at Peninsula.  But especially for me.  This Sunday is the last Sunday for Bob and Daphne Easton to be with us in worship – and they may not even be able to make the trek ...

Praying For You, Jack! Posted 7.15.2016
It’s been nice having Jack McGregor around for the last year or so.  After the rigors of Stanford, I hope that this past year has refreshed you and provided you with the emotional resources you’ll need for the next phase of stu...

We Must Pray Posted 7.08.2016
To be honest, with all of the events swirling around our nation these days, I don’t feel much like writing a Back Page.  The trivialities of life fade into the background.  So what I will do this week is this.  As your past...

Summer Assignment Posted 7.01.2016
It’s been quite an eventful week for me.  Conferences are exhausting.  Attending seminars is hard on the body.  I’m not sure what’s in more pain, the body or the soul.  But it was a great week.  I&rsqu...

A Time to Write Posted 6.24.2016
I have vowed (personally) that I will attempt to make the church a safe place – safe from the political wrangling swirling around us daily.  Peninsula is about lifting Jesus as king and hope and Lord.  Politics divide. Jesus uni...

Father's Day 2016 Posted 6.16.2016
It is Father’s Day.  It has a totally different vibe than Mother’s Day.  Right?  It is much less emotional and though you have to be really nice to moms in May, not so much with dads in June. In some ways, we might ev...

Pomp & Circumstance No. 1 Posted 6.09.2016
The strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” have flooded The Hill this week.  Commencement exercises are significant events for parents and students. For us dads there is a tinge of nostalgia (and often some tears) and maybe some re...

Signage of the Times Posted 6.02.2016
I didn’t think I would ever write a Back Page about the signage outside of restrooms.  But such are the days in which we live.  There are no changes planned for our signage here at Peninsula, let’s just start there to reli...

The Ordinary Radical Posted 5.27.2016
As I read the paragraph.  I thought of you.  All of you.   And then it came up in our community group this week.  Somebody else thought of you too.   In this day balance in li...

Faithfulness Is In The House Posted 5.19.2016
Faithfulness.  This morning we get to share some time with a couple that is, probably above all else, faithful.  Many moons ago, as I began my tenure on staff here at Peninsula, I was greeted each morning with a cheery hello from Caro...

Miss Lady Invades My Space Posted 5.13.2016
We have a two-year-old in the house these days.  A toddler.  A bundle of energy. As a preschool director, my wife should recognize the behavior.  I forget those days with the kids, but for the past couple of weeks it is all comin...

A Contained Lesson Posted 4.22.2016
This whole process of acquiring and filling and packing a 40’ container to send to Bombo has been an adventure.  An exhausting adventure.  We learned how to create a Proforma Invoice.  Then we had to create an inventory by ...

Vacation Lessons Posted 4.15.2016
Vacation.  What does that mean?  A week of no hassles?  Sleeping in?  Reading? Dinner out?  Beautiful scenery?  Yes to it all, in my opinion.  But what do they all have in common?  A focus on me and my pl...

Heroes Abound Posted 4.01.2016
Whew, what a week.  I don’t know about you, but Passion weekend is exhausting.  Especially when it follows a week of packing boxes and equipment for that container we are sending to Uganda.  On Monday morning, a truckload o...

First World Problems Posted 3.25.2016
Sometimes we think that our problems are overwhelming.  Put into perspective, however, some of our problems are simply “First World” problems.  A First World problem is a relatively trivial or minor frustration that most t...

Off To Florida -- Really??? Posted 3.18.2016
This weekend we bid farewell to a faithful friend of Peninsula.  He followed his daughter over here when she became our worship director many moons ago.  When we hired Erin Theriault to lead worship, she brought with her a host of fol...

A Suffering Church Posted 3.11.2016
There have been a rash of prominent Christians who have passed away over the last few weeks.  And I only know of a few.  Charles Ryrie.  Jerry Bridges.  Gary Smalley.  The hope of heaven provides comfort in the midst of...

Doritos and the Super Bowl Posted 3.04.2016
I know that the Super Bowl is ancient history and the countdown to a new season is under way.  I will do better in my fantasy league…next year.  Same old story.   But there was something that got me s...

To Texas and Back Again Posted 2.26.2016
I spent four days in Dallas this week. It can be refreshing to get away – and amazing to get back home.  These days in Texas proved both to be true.  But this week, I learned some things about Texas.  Perhaps 35 years have ...

Thank you, Dr. Ryrie Posted 2.17.2016
It was a sad week for me.  I spent one day in silence in my office.  Twitter isn’t the most comforting vehicle for conveying heartbreaking news.  On Tuesday, the Church lost a stalwart of the faith.  And I lost a frien...

A Super Bowl Lesson Posted 2.04.2016
Is there a football game this weekend?  Rumor is there’s one on Sunday.   I have learned some things about life from sports, and this year from football.  Fantasy football.  I did join once again ...

Lessons from Violence? Posted 1.29.2016
It has been a couple of weeks now and I’m still not sure I have learned a whole lot from “the incident.”  If you missed church a couple weeks ago, let me fill you in on the details surrounding “the incident.”&...

Eyes on Eternity Posted 1.22.2016
On Sunday, I will refer to William Borden, his story is compelling.  Here is what I learned about the background of his life.  It is challenging.  Thought-provoking.  And I most just edited this from other sources to mak...

MLK is Our Day Posted 1.15.2016
Tomorrow we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  It is a federal holiday, and as of the year 2000, every state recognizes it.  Established in 1983, it is the newest addition to the annual holiday lineup. King is the only American be...

Water, Water...Everywhere Posted 1.08.2016
El Nino has arrived.  Just as predicted.  Weather prognostication in SoCal is more art than science, it seems sometimes.  Our church facility doesn’t do well with water either. Many years ago, the boiler room flooded &ndash...

Resolutions for the New Year Posted 12.30.2015
I had already finished a rushed (and somewhat boring) Back Page for this week.  Then I got Paul Tripp’s weekly blog.  So, I tossed my previous Back Page, and took his challenge and share it here.  In some (but not many) of ...

Farewell, Friend Posted 12.26.2015
The last Sunday of 2015 has finally arrived.  The issues wasn’t the slowness of its arrival, I knew it was coming (they always come quickly).  But this Sunday is a unique moment in our worship together.  As of Friday, Ken G...

Just Drop Your Blanket Posted 12.17.2015
This month “A Charlie Brown Christmas” aired on national prime time television for the 50th time. In a world where the latest greatest technology is outdated in a matter of months, and social media trends come and go in a matter of ...

Another of Bethlehem's Lessons Posted 12.10.2015
The news is not pretty these days.  It’s troubling.  Isis.  The selling of fetal body parts.  Mass killings. There is so much to depress and distract us this Christmas season.  I’ve turned off the news latel...

In The Fullness of Time Posted 12.03.2015
I am just about ready for Christmas.  Well, that could be stretching things a bit.  I haven’t done my shopping.  Haven’t wrapped a single gift.  So I guess I really haven’t done very much.  ...

Thanks for Giving Posted 11.27.2015
We have turned the corner toward Christmas.  I hope you had an amazing weekend of giving thanks to God for his blessings this week. Before we begin the decorating for Christmas in earnest (tomorrow), let me pause one more time to express s...

Thanks to God Posted 11.20.2015
With one of my favorite holidays of the year coming up, my memories of Thanksgivings past crowd into my mind.  As a kid there was one song we always (and I mean always) sung on this Sunday morning.  It is a little sing songy as far as...

No One Cried Posted 11.13.2015
I enjoy checking my Twitter account these days.  Sometimes it’s informative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes challenging.  Friday morning it was challenging.  And, it bailed me out of the writer’s block that had ove...

Grace Can Be in the Details Posted 11.05.2015
What a difference 20 feet can make.  Twenty feet.  That’s 6.1 meters, for those so inclined to actually know that metric system. Or 240 inches.  Or the height of a fully grown giraffe.  Or the size of a really large Gr...

A World-Changing Halloween Posted 10.29.2015
It has been 498 years since we experienced a “Halloween that changed the world.”  On that particular Halloween something happened which began to shift the balance of theological power in the world.  It was the day Martin L...

Wash Me Savior....Or I Die? Posted 10.22.2015
Do we really believe Augustus Toplady in “Rock of Ages”?  “Wash me Savior, or I die.”  Really?  But do slip back into works righteousness as I live for Jesus?  Probably.    ...

To Corinth and Back Posted 10.15.2015
Good morning!  Well, I’m back in the saddle.  And loving it.  Many have asked (ok, everybody asks) about our time away – we had a fabulous time in Greece, Turkey, and Venice.  We dreamed about it all year and the...

Getting Ready to Go! Posted 9.17.2015
As the sun rises on Wednesday, Christie and I will be jetting off to Italy, redeeming our long-anticipated gift of travel from everyone at Peninsula.  You overwhelmed us last fall with the presentation of a certificate for travel. You will...

Lessons from Pain Posted 9.11.2015
There are many stories that emerge after our annual medical mission in Uganda.  Some linger for a while but most never get told.  Let me tell one – which I might have shared already, but it is lingers in my mind. &nbs...

Making A Difference in the Name of Jesus Posted 9.04.2015
Home. After two amazing weeks in Uganda, it is so wonderful to come home. I miss the vivid greens of the Ugandan landscape. I miss the smiles and hugs and warm hospitality of the Ugandan people. I miss the watching the impact a couple of hundre...

Matters of the Heart Posted 8.28.2015
The 2015 Medical Mission is history. After eight clinics, what encourages me most is discovering something new with each journey to Bombo. This year was no different. I think what I am trying to learn, or should I say, what God is trying to tea...

Life Lessons in a New Land Posted 8.21.2015
Wait.  It’s a word we know, but don’t practice, very well.  Kampala has a way of teaching us some “waiting” lessons we’d rather not learn.  On Friday we had just a short “to do” list.&nbs...

A Little Dirt Speaks Volumes Posted 8.07.2015
If you follow the news much, you know by now what is the most significant article of the week.  No, not the debate.  It had nothing to do with current events.  I was sent a link (thanks, Bill) to an article highlighting an amazin...

Plymouth Brethren Still Impacting the World Posted 7.30.2015
This week I was sent a most interesting article about the current status of Christians in the Middle East.  It was written by Charles Krauthammer and it ought to make us think about our role in the world.  Here is my edited version....

Wear Out Your Knees Posted 7.24.2015
Summer can feel like a much-needed break from the routine.  Facebook is full of great trips folks are taking – and I enjoy traveling with them.  But, there is a lot stuff going on around here too.  We are in the middle of Q...

Responding To Evil Posted 7.17.2015
I wept a couple of times this week.† My kids would say thatís not unusual Ė but what do they know?† It was odd because I wept as I watched the news.† Really?† Iím sure you have seen the undercover video of a doctor eating lunch and discussing t...

One Day in the Heat Posted 7.09.2015
My mind wandered back.  Way back.  I used to take youth groups to Mexico regularly, back in the day.  So heading out to Thermal this week brought back some dear memories of ministry over a couple of decades ago.  It was exha...

A Unique Perspective on SCOTUS Posted 7.03.2015
We are still trying to understand what SCOTUS did last week, legalizing gay marriage.  I’ve been doing lots of reading on the subject, but one article, written by Christopher Yuan and Rosaria Butterfield (both actively involved in ga...

SCOTUS Has Spoken Posted 6.26.2015
With the ruling on Friday, the Supreme Court has ended the discussion about the legality gay marriage in America.  The moral dilemma remains for people of the Bible, but the legal challenge is over.  So how should we respond?  We...

Through Gates of Splendor Posted 6.18.2015
This week, Elisabeth Elliot died. I never met her, though through her writing I got a glimpse into her soul.  I do think I heard her speak once in a college chapel service.  But honestly, I don’t remember too much about the occa...

Count Your Blessings Posted 6.11.2015
Little blessings.  Do you ever overlook the little blessings of life?  I do. This week though, there were enough of them to get my attention.  When they pile up then God can knock me upside the head and help me realize His grace....

The Humility of Giraffes Posted 6.04.2015
On Wednesday night I spent a wonderful hour with wonderful students.  They had prepared a bunch 24  questions for The Pastor.  Of course, I was stumped right out of the gate.  After that question, I was fearful about what wa...

What's Memorial Day All About? Posted 5.21.2015
I’ve been in Israel once during their Memorial Day.  It is quite an amazing experience.  A siren is heard all over the country and lasts for one minute, during which Israelis stop everything (including driving, which stops all t...

Africa, Oh Africa Posted 5.15.2015
Africa. Oh, Africa.  I came across this piece this week.  I will not edit it, only share it.  It was written by one of my prof’s at Dallas Seminary, Bill Lawrence.  And it challenges my heart.  ...

Be A Mom! Posted 5.09.2015
As we come to Mother’s Day 2015, I have a bit of a fresh perspective on this “holiday.”  When I was in Papua New Guinea a couple of weeks ago, I got the honor to meet Laura Melendes’ “mom.”  Well, t...

Another Banner Event Posted 5.02.2015
I have been quite honest that the last couple of weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.  Lots of tears.  It continued on Sunday with one amazing service of worship together.  To celebrate the Waxe New Testament was such a s...

Learning From PNG Posted 4.24.2015
I guess I ought to be brutally honest this morning.  This was a tough week.  I’m glad I had the extra days to prepare for today, getting home three days earlier than expected.  The jet lag wasn’t that bad, sleep was g...

Fresh Out of the Bush Posted 4.17.2015
I am fresh back from the bush of Papua New Guinea (by the time you read this, I’ll be in Manila). It was an amazing couple of days.  Exhausting.  Exhilarating.  Heart-changing.  There are many scenes burned into my min...

Here and There Posted 4.09.2015
As I type, I’ll be sitting on the tarmac in 24 hours.  This journey has been long anticipated and it is the culmination of thirty years of missionary work in Papua New Guinea.  I travel this week as your representatives to witne...

The Difference One Morning Makes Posted 4.02.2015
There are two major holidays on our calendars:  Christmas and Easter.  One makes you groan.  Right?  And it’s not Easter.  There is not too much disruption in the normal routine of life at Easter. April is nothing...

An Uneasy Start to Passion Week Posted 3.27.2015
I don’t know about you, but as I enter this week of the year – one that for people of faith reminds us of the deep love of God and the depth of our rebellion – there is a sense of unease in the world.  As updates dribble ...

A Trip for My Lifetime Posted 3.13.2015
The tickets have been purchased.  In all, eight flights have been confirmed, not including the float plane to get me into the bush and the jungle cruise to bring me to my final destination.  Just before midnight on Thursday, April 9, ...

An Expiration Day on Prayer? Posted 3.06.2015
The month of in-home prayer gatherings has passed.  I was incredibly blessed and encouraged in those twenty-eight days.  I am hearing stories that you were as well.  I’d love to hear those stories so send me an email or som...

The Vortex of Distraction Posted 2.27.2015
Sometimes life distracts us, right?  Hopefully it is just for an hour or two.  But on a bad day, it could last all afternoon.  But then, every once in a while, the vortex of distraction strikes and I experience a full day –...

Blood on the Sand Posted 2.20.2015
The images from the Libyan coastline were haunting.  I looked as closely as I could at the faces of the men in orange jumpsuits, about to face death.  World Magazine did some research into those faces and I learned some things this we...

Celebrating Love? Posted 2.13.2015
“Fifty Shades of Grey” opened just in time for Valentine’s Day. I only know about it from a few reviews I have read. That has been enough for me to figure out that the movie will be filled with graphic sexual acts.  ...

A Little Surprising Posted 2.06.2015
It was a night for prayer.  Just prayer.  However God led.  We are hosting several of these “in home” prayer gatherings in February.  It sounded like a good idea when there were lots of open nights in the month.&...

A Super Lesson Posted 1.30.2015
Super Bowl Sunday has arrived.  The distinctly American “holiday” is here.  I must say I can’t wait for the snack table to be filled.  Fortunately (well, not so good for the waistline), Danny is home for the wee...

Little Jimmy's Question Posted 1.11.2015
I got this blog on Thursday morning.  Stan Keith did too and read it at our Elder meeting on Thursday.  I will massage it a bit, but let Chuck Olson’s words prick your heart this morning.   Jimmy could...

Our Creator God Posted 12.17.2014
It happens every couple of years.  Well, at least lately it has.  I am secluded in a medical room and the lights are turned off so the tech can read a monitor.  Danny is lying on a table and paper crinkling as he adjusts.  H...

Ebenezer's Path Posted 12.04.2014
Lord willing, this morning water is flowing from the midst of “Ebenezer.”  I’m going to talk about its significance on the last Sunday of the year.  But, perhaps, you might be interested in how that stone came to be....

A Uniquely Christian Thanksgiving Posted 11.20.2014
We have much for which to give thanks this week, in this our Golden Year.  The blessings of God, our Helper, have been beyond what we deserve.  So this week – and especially today – we give thanks. I came across a simple a...

Our Year of Jubilee Posted 11.14.2014
As we see the end of 2014 approaching, it is the end of our Golden Year.  Of course, being someone who can be a little slow to catch on – we should have called this our “Year of Jubilee.”  In the Old Testament, the y...

Thank You For Your Service Posted 11.07.2014
This Tuesday kids are out of school.  It is sort of a taste of the holidays to come – Thanksgiving and Christmas – and no school.  But besides being able to sleep in, what is Veteran’s Day all about?  Since the ...

Nailed It Posted 10.31.2014
On Friday night our culture was bent on having a good time.  The more gore the better.  The scarier the better.  The more evil the better.  But on that night something far more significant was itching to be celebrated. ...

Pressure - A Tool for Spiritual Growth? Posted 10.24.2014
Pressure.  I don’t really like it, but sometimes I do my best work under some pressure.  Sometimes. As I write I’m under some pressure.  And, no, I don’t like it very much.   You see, ...

Subpoenaed Sermons Posted 10.17.2014
I was disturbed this week to read of the actions of the mayor of Houston to subpoena the sermons of four or five pastors in her city.  I guess she wanted to know their role in stirring up sentiment against an issue dear to her – whet...

Twenty. And Still Standing. Posted 10.10.2014
This week it has been twenty years since the Welch family put down roots in the South Bay. Twenty years.  You may know the story from Peninsula’s side of things, but there is another side, the side I’ve been contemplating all w...

Thanks! Posted 10.03.2014
This week my mind is reliving every moment of last weekend.  Those were amazing moments.  I appreciated having both former senior pastors here – and Doug Stolhand.  Wayne Frase was overwhelmed with the weekend and delighted...

For Such A Time Posted 9.25.2014
This week Crestridge has been crowded.  Very crowded with cars, that is.  Thursday was Rosh Hashanah, so the synagogue across the street couldn’t contain all the cars that need a place to park.  And this weekend we have bac...

Ups and Downs Posted 9.19.2014
It has been a bit of a momentous week around this church family.  There have been some incredible high points, and some moments of stunning silence….and prayer.  Just another week to serve the King around here.  There&rsqu...

Learning African Lessons Posted 9.12.2014
I’ve been back from Africa for a little over a week now.  Normal sleep patterns are showing hints of returning.  The exhaustion of a week of medical clinic is being replaced with a sense of calm and perspective.  It is amaz...

Bombo Lessons for Life Posted 8.28.2014
What a week.  I learned much.  Struggled much.  And today?  Today I give thanks for much.  There was a moment on Thursday (actually two moments) that brought focus to this week for me.    ...

Life Lessons and the Hand of God Posted 8.21.2014
I’m getting a bad reputation on this trip to Uganda.  We are only a couple of days into it, but I am being accused of having “bad mojo.”  Not sure why.  Well….I only picked EVERY wrong line while at LAX, ...

Stop Complaining! Posted 8.08.2014
The summer is wrapping up.  I’ve seen on Facebook that some families are already back in school.  Really?  Here on the Hill, there are just a couple of weeks until the traffic returns and the mini-van reigns supreme on our ...

Be Still and.... Posted 7.25.2014
I have debated (internally) on my topic this morning, but I shall wade into something I’d rather not. IF this topic catches you totally by surprise, then count your blessings.  Last weekend a significant church in the South Bay (King...

Welcome Home, Buttreys! Posted 7.18.2014
This is a very significant Sunday morning.  Today I will celebrate a family of heroes.  They won’t like it very much, but that’s ok, people don’t always like what I do and say.  Hey, even I don’t like it s...

God in the Whirlwind Posted 7.11.2014
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind of a week around my home.  We were just getting readjusted after our trip to move Jeremy to Maryland (and spending the Fourth in ER) when it was Lindsey big exam day for her nursing licensing.  Tal...

Few From The Pew, Part Deux Posted 6.27.2014
I’ve never done a “series” on the Back Page, but there is always a first I suppose.  I shared two weeks ago from Thom Rainer’s blog when he listed what pastor’s wish their people knew.  But he also wrote ...

A View from the Pew (er...chairs) Part One Posted 6.20.2014
Two weeks ago I shared Thom Rainer’s thoughts about what pastor’s wish their people knew.  It was honest and I hope it was received with the spirit in which it was intended.  With love.  But before he wrote that piece...

What's Important This Weekend? Posted 6.13.2014
Happy Father’s Day!  This is a unique weekend for us Welches.  Not only is it Father’s Day, but on Saturday, my dad celebrated his 90th birthday.  The changes he has seen in his 90 years is breathtaking, so...

What A Pastor Wants to Say Posted 6.06.2014
There is some risk in what I put in print this morning.  I subscribe to a blog update from Thom Rainer, the Southern Baptist church trend guru.  Often he points out some area of weakness to which I am careful to heed.  A couple o...

Graduation Season Posted 5.30.2014
It’s graduation season.  For those in college, however, it’s been “the season” for a while already.  But this week our local high schools will graduate a fresh crop of young people.  I’m sure they ar...

Pomp, Circumstance, and Reflection Posted 5.21.2014
My weekend was filled with pomp and circumstance.  Literally.  It is graduation season and it hit my home like a truck.  There were events on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, as Lindsey graduated from Biola University.  But a...

A Lesson Learned at Night Posted 5.17.2014
Moments.  Life is full of them, but sometimes our desire to save them overpowers the moment itself.  On Monday afternoon we arrived in Petra, only to discover a treat was in store.  On Mondays they offer a “Petra By Night&r...

The Mundane Really Matters Most Posted 5.09.2014
My head is spinning.  My feet are aching.  My heart is full. It is after sunset on Friday evening, on Monday morning we head to Jordan.  My heart cannot absorb too much more.  I just got back to my hotel after a journey to t...

Truth vs. The Place Posted 5.08.2014
My head is spinning.  My feet are aching.  My heart is full. It is after sunset on Friday evening, on Monday morning we head to Jordan.  My heart cannot absorb too much more.  I just got back to my hotel after a journey to t...

Go With The Flow Posted 5.04.2014
I am enjoying a few moments of quiet before the day begins.  I probably should be using the time to sleep, but I opted for leaving the door to my 13th story room open all night so that I could hear the lapping of the Mediterrane...

Learning To Adjust Posted 5.02.2014
I am enjoying a few moments of quiet before the day begins.  I probably should be using the time to sleep, but I opted for leaving the door to my 13th story room open all night so that I could hear the lapping of the Mediterrane...

Packing For Life Posted 4.25.2014
T-minus three days.  It won’t be long now until our hardy group is all on its way to Tel Aviv, for two weeks of trekking through the land of Israel.  I probably don’t need to mention that I can’t wait.  This tri...

My Favorite Place in Jerusalem Posted 4.18.2014
In ten days I’ll board a plane and head to Tel Aviv.  There are fifteen of us heading off on a spiritual pilgrimage to discover the land of the Bible, and how the land impacts faith.  Every day will bring fresh insights into the...

Two weddings. Three days. Two coasts. Posted 4.11.2014
Two weddings. Three days.  Two coasts.  It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but rich and memorable beyond belief.   Last Saturday, the entire Welch clan gathered on the beach of Topsail Island, North Carolina, ...

A Birthday Decision Posted 3.28.2014
Our baby turns 21 on Wednesday.  I really can’t believe it.   I can believe I’m that old, I just can’t figure out where all those years went.  Twenty-one years ago we lived at least 45 minutes away from our...

Servants Depart Posted 3.20.2014
We have run into another Sunday of transition.  It seems like we’ve been having a lot of these lately, and to be honest, I do not really like them.  What do I mean?  I mean another family is moving away from SoCal.  An...

Water, Water Everywhere Posted 3.14.2014
Normal.  What I wouldn’t do for just one day of normal again.    Of course, if you read the Back Page last week, you’ll know I struggled for an idea since the week had just been too -- “nor...

Is Normal Good? Posted 3.07.2014
Friday morning writer’s block is not a good thing.  At least for me.  The Friday deadlines are regular and relentless and significant.  Sometimes the Back Page is written and sent to Christina early in the week.  Well,...

Good News Out Of Bombo Posted 2.28.2014
On Friday morning I got a bit of good news.  Well, yes, it was raining and that was fabulous – and I hope it keeps up long enough to end the drought.  Not all at once, mind you, but a couple of weeks of drought-busting rain and ...

The Stage of The Empty Nest Posted 2.21.2014
The house is much quieter these days.  Except for those occasional weekends.   The washing machine must think we are mad at it, for it use has at least been cut in half.  Except for those occasional weekends...

Shalom, My Friend Posted 2.14.2014
Something always happens when on my way out of town.  Well, that’s simply anecdotal, but sometimes it feels that way.  Last week we lost a long-time, faithful, cheerful friend of Peninsula.  I would suppose that most readin...

What Made it a SUPER Bowl Posted 2.07.2014
Football season is over.  Some say finally, other just count the days until a Fantasy Football draft reawakens our relationship with the pigskin.  The game was a bit dull, one you either loved or hated, depending on your team affiliat...

41 Years and Counting Posted 1.23.2014
This week marked the 41st anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision.  It is said that 56 million babies have been killed since that landmark ruling.  That is a lot of babies.  I saw some poll numbers this week indicating t...

Bleacher Outreach Posted 1.16.2014
What could God do through us if we would just think outside the box a little more often?  What if we spent some time listening to our community that we might hear its needs?  I came across a story this week that really stirred my hear...

A Head Scratching Week Posted 1.09.2014
I have scratched my head a few times this week.  First, I wondered if Canadians scoffed at those on the East Coast as they make such a huge deal about the “polar vortex” migrating south this week.  I mean, those back East ...

Christmas Mess Posted 1.03.2014
Do you know one of the highlights of my Christmas season?  Sitting in the first Christmas Eve service and being serenaded by two young children sitting behind me singing at the top of their lungs, “Silent Night, Holy Night.”&nb...

Phil At Christmas? Posted 12.20.2013
It’s so close we can see it.  Christmas.  At our house the cookie tins are brimming with sugary morsels ready to add some tonnage to my waistline.  I think all the gifts are purchased, although I can never really be sure.&n...

A Changed Life Posted 12.13.2013
NOTE:  This testimony was discovered by Dick Summerfelt’s sons as they sifted through Dick's belongings after he passed away.  They read it at his memorial service.  I share it here one more time. &n...

Christmas Choices Posted 12.06.2013
Every year we face the Christmas season.  And every year I’m a sucker for the lights and music and garland and fresh baked cookies.  What’s not to like?  As a kid I remember many Christmas Eve’s when I just coul...

L-Tryptophan Posted 11.29.2013
Did you survive the onslaught of L-Tryptophan this week?  That’s the chemical in turkey that is notorious for making you sleepy.  I did do a little research, however, and discovered that the turkey is probably not the culprit fo...

The Small Group Posted 11.20.2013
This week our Community Group finally finished the fall series on “Jesus Saves.”  Perhaps we are a bit on the slow side – but we did finish.  Life’s a marathon, not a sprint….right?  So on Wednesday...

Happy Birthday, My Friend Posted 11.15.2013
It is a heart-breaking week.  I was at Rose Hills on Tuesday for a graveside service of a dear friend from my childhood.  And then on Thursday I got the call that our dear friend, Dick Summerfelt, was now in the presence of Jesus.&nbs...

A Well-Deserved Rest Posted 11.09.2013
She turned 101 earlier this year, but this morning she is celebrating with the angels.  Not a bad run, I’d say.  But with her passing, there goes a generation.  Avis Beisner was a fixture at the small church in which I grew...

Where Were You Last Saturday? Posted 11.01.2013
It has now been eight days.  Eight days of recovery, but my legs are normal again.  Last Saturday, I entered my second 5K.  It was at my alma mater, Biola University, and was a fund raising event.  I “ran” with a...

Just Saying Posted 10.25.2013
Too often we assume that what happens on Sunday morning is the complete expression of our church family.  I do say it is the one aspect of our life together that the New Testament commands us not to neglect.  It is the one opportunity...

Lessons from the Sierras Posted 10.18.2013
I am back from our most recent fishing expedition in the Eastern Sierra.  The fishing was terrible, but I did learn some lessons while drowning our bait in the frigid waters above 8,000’.  Let me enlighten you on the week that w...

Intentional Church Posted 10.09.2013
I survived my fortieth high school reunion.  It was interesting.  Awkward at times, refreshing at others.  By the time I parked, I really wanted to turn around and come home.  I didn’t know who would be there and then ...

Forty....and Counting Posted 10.03.2013
On Saturday night I attended (Lord willing) my 40th high school reunion.  High school was a lifetime ago. I anticipate that a lot of things will not have changed much since 1973, besides the gray hair and extra weight.  The cool kids ...

A Church in Pain Posted 9.26.2013
Today  it is one year since Saeed Abedini was incarcerated because his faith was considered a national security risk to Iran.  Saeed is an American pastor in an Iranian prison.  This week, would you in any group in which you meet...

Another Sunday Lesson Posted 9.20.2013
I learned a lot this week.   I used to think the hardest thing to be without on a Sunday morning would be electricity.  We almost did that last Sunday, by the way.  No lyrics projected.  No air moving a...

Unsung Heroes Posted 9.12.2013
Unsung heroes.  They don’t make any headlines.  They don’t capture the attention of the mass media.  Hey, they don’t even get a standing ovation in church on Sunday morning.  But, there are a slew of unsung...

Walking on New Streets Posted 9.06.2013
It seems like just yesterday that we were walking the streets of Jerusalem and the hills of Galilee together.  Three weeks ago we sat together in her room, she with a big smile and calm disposition, and me with thoughts of what was next fo...

Back From Bombo Posted 8.30.2013
Back from Bombo.  That always has a great ring to it.  I am not pleasant to live with now, but the family adjusts.  I think I learned some things these past couple of weeks that may not have anything to do with the absolutely won...

A Need for Clean Posted 8.09.2013
I am the kind of person who can get used to clutter.  It could be caused by a hint of a lazy streak, because all of a sudden I get overwhelmed by an urge to clean and de-clutter.  I try to rest so it goes away, but sometimes it doesn&...

A Wonderful Little Romance Posted 8.02.2013
My dad rarely gets unannounced visitors.  He’s 89 and living in a lovely community of folks his age in Fullerton.  A few days ago he told me in our daily phone call that he’d had a visitor.  That was odd, I usually kn...

A Week of Homecomings Posted 7.25.2013
It has been a week of homecomings.  I so enjoyed watching (via Facebook) the grand reunion of Dan Bentley with his wife, Becca, and their three children.  Dan has served our country in Afghanistan for the past six months.  That&r...

Opening our Mouths for Godliness Posted 7.19.2013
Sometimes it’s tough to stand for truth.  Godliness can harm a reputation.  Here is one dad’s struggle to live godly as public education teaches sexuality to his child.  It was a meeting to preview the curriculum.&nbs...

What a Great Fourth! Posted 7.11.2013
Not sure how your Fourth was, but mine was great.  I spent the day enjoying the Eastern Sierras.  It was magnificent.  The boys and I tried to empty Lake Mamie of all its trout.  Tried is the operative word in that sentence....

Another View on Homosexuality Posted 6.28.2013
It has been a rough couple of weeks for those with biblical convictions.  The media has celebrated Alan Chambers’ announcement that Exodus International has closed. Exodus International was involved in trying to re-orient gay people ...

Grace All Around Posted 6.21.2013
This week has been a whirlwind around the church.  Almost literally.    We have served to the point of exhaustion at Vacation Bible School. Some blessings just wear you out!  We have wept with Tracy Hibsman, at the pass...

Ready to Die Posted 6.14.2013
The email hit my inbox and changed my day.  Maybe even my week.  Dr. Steve Strauss passed away early Tuesday morning.  The name probably means nothing to you, although death is something we can all understand as painful.  St...

Well Done! Posted 6.07.2013
This is a season for celebrations.  Beginning way back in May, we are now at the climax of the graduation season.  Sincere congratulations are in order for our hard-working and persevering students.  The church has hosted two gra...

Secretkeeper Posted 6.02.2013
I have been thinking about my mom this week.  She would have turned 90 today.  She passed away several years ago, and I’m sure she’s well settled in heaven by now.  Probably the most unique contribution to our family ...

Courage and Sacrifice Posted 5.24.2013
Memorial Day is more than just a day off from work—it’s a day to honor the soldiers who have died in battle defending their homeland. Let me share one story.  May it help us give thanks to God for our freedom and renew our cour...

Gosnell and America Posted 5.18.2013
As I often do on a Monday morning, I watched the news while folding clothes fresh from the dryer.  I had worked in the yard all morning and I was hot and was tired and sweaty.  Danny walked through the room, took one look at me, and k...

A Fresh Perspective on Mother's Day Posted 5.09.2013
Mother’s Day has been called the Great Day of Guilt and Discontent.  I came across this blog, and I thought it provided some biblical perspective (and honesty) to this day.  It was written by Elyse Fitzpatrick, an author I respe...

Cinco de Mayo Posted 5.03.2013
Some things we just do, right?  Habit.  Culture.  Who knows why we do them, really.  Today is a holiday of sorts.  Cinco de Mayo.  It is a day to celebrate our cultural ties with Mexico.  But do you really kno...

Partnership Posted 4.26.2013
This morning is all about partnership.   You may think it is about something else, but it is really about partnership.  It is a very special Sunday as we are blessed to enjoy face-to-face fellowship with Pastor Alex Ojera and his...

The Only Strong Tower Posted 4.19.2013
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe" (Proverbs 18:10). This week we have certainly been reminded of that truth.  A couple of times at least.  From the streets of Boston to the heart ...

Trouble Swirls Posted 4.12.2013
Trouble is swirling around these days.  The abandonment of a moral base for life is bearing fruit in abundance in our land.  Take a glimpse at the landscape this week.  This week!   Dr. Kermit Gosnell i...

The End of an Era Posted 4.05.2013
This has actually been a rather significant week in the ebb and flow of the Welch home.  On Tuesday, we took a major leap forward as a family.  Believe it or not (and I know to look at me it must be difficult to fathom….but it ...

Hope Changes Everything Posted 3.28.2013
This week I haven’t felt much like celebrating “Easter.”  Oh I’m so ready to celebrate resurrection, it’s the “Easter” part -- the frivolity of spring and all that stuff – that is missing in ...

Make Passion Week Personal Posted 3.22.2013
We gather this morning and remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on that Sunday which began Passion Week.  The disciples had no clue as to what was ahead.  It was just another Passover celebration.  As He rode over the hill ...

Well Done, Faithful Servant Posted 3.15.2013
Last Sunday after returning home from church, there was an email in my inbox, which I really didn’t want to open.  It was from Ethel Swenson’s niece, with news of Ethel’s passing.  Ethel was an important part of our ...

Another Slow Learner Posted 3.08.2013
Thursday was just wrapping up and I was taking some “veggie time” on the couch.  The dog wanted out, so I obliged.  We have an older golden retriever, a dog of seemingly “very little brain,” as AA Milne would s...

Some Things Never Change Posted 2.28.2013
This week my dad had lunch with one of his female friends.  She had just celebrated her birthday and her children were in town to celebrate.  He got to eat with his friend and her daughter, who asked my dad how old he thought his lunc...

An Era Is Ending Posted 2.22.2013
I woke up on Wednesday and checked emails as I normally do.  One stood out that morning; it was from Dallas Seminary.  I don’t usually look at those right away, but something caught my eye.  I opened the email, and very soo...

Can We Really Pacify God? Posted 2.15.2013
The world has been buzzing with headlines this week.  All over the world, events attracted our attention.  And in the middle of the week came Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of penance, voluntary fasting, and sel...

The Morning After Posted 1.31.2013
Today is game day.  Not just any game.  “The” game.  Super Bowl XLVII is set to be played in New Orleans for the tenth time this afternoon, but the first since the devastation of Katrina.  The Super Bowl has almo...

Oh That Day . . . Posted 1.25.2013
One morning this week I got into my car and pumped up the music from my iPhone and discovered some lyrics I don’t think I’d ever heard before.  They were from the Chris Rice version of a very famous hymn, one we’ve all su...

The Heart of the Abortion Debate Posted 1.18.2013
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case Roe v. Wade. The nine men determined that every state must give women unfettered access to abortion up until the birth of the child.   Aborti...

Find Us Faithful Posted 1.10.2013
The last month has been filled with thoughts of incarnation and new beginnings.  I’ve loved it.  But Christmas is now packed away and that’s nice too, right?  In the midst of the holidays we have experienced loss as w...

Well Done, My Friend! Posted 1.09.2013
This morning marks the end of an era.  And from someone like me who doesn’t like change, the end of an era is not all that positive of a moment. Change brings us to a place that is out of the realm of the ordinary.  That is unco...

Out of Heatache -- Joy Posted 12.21.2012
These last days have been surrounded by images of grief and that constant nagging feeling that something is so very wrong in this world. The tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School has opened a gaping wound in all our hearts. And then, for thos...

O Little Romantic Town... Posted 12.14.2012
  These days our minds drift back to Bethlehem.  We picture that rural scene with stars and shepherds and angels  We have romanticized Bethlehem – and I blame “the song,” of course.  It’s a...

Straw Wars Posted 12.07.2012
  It is that time of year once again. Time for a battle waged with guerilla warfare.  A battle of which we do not speak.  Until now, I guess. I call is “Straw Wars.”  Every year, a small display goes u...

Ready for a Conspiracy? Posted 11.23.2012
  There is nothing which now stands between Christmas and us.  No more holidays anyway.  It’s now the season to share, to love, and to give ourselves to something bigger than any of us.  It’s the seaso...

Feeding Seagulls & Thanksgiving Posted 11.16.2012
  Thursday we gather with family and friends to give thanks.  For believers, it is a marvelous day to pause and acknowledge the goodness of God in our lives.  It was gratitude that prompted an old man to visit an old b...

What is a Vet? Posted 11.09.2012
  I wish I were more creative.  More thoughtful.  On this Veteran’s Day, my creativity and thoughtfulness were in drought mode.  But I came across this article by Father Dennis O’Brien, USMC, which sha...

Highlights From a Banner Night Posted 11.01.2012
  It was another banner evening at Harvest Festival 2012.  It was a bit blustery and chilly – the booth workers had to don our “winter wear” to stay warm.  But it was a fabulous evening and I think ve...

One More Question to Ask Posted 10.25.2012
  Have you enjoyed the four debates during this political season?  I found them interesting and frustrating at the same time.  Getting a straight answer out of either candidate can be tough.  I understand why, but...

Vote, But Pray Posted 10.19.2012
  Here I am.  It is Friday morning and there is not a Back Page in sight.  There are no words on this blank page.  I hate that kind of pressure.  So if I just start typing, maybe something will come together....

Is There Really An Election Soon? Posted 10.12.2012
Did you know that we are in the final stretches of an election in our country?  Just in case you hadn’t yet heard, I thought you ought to know that it is coming.  Honestly, I was election-weary back in March!  Maybe Februar...

A Little Fishing Lesson Posted 10.05.2012
The skies were a rich blue.  The lakes were deserted. The weather was warm.  The fish were biting, most of the time.  One of my favorite activities on the planet is to spend time with the family drowning bait in the waters of the ...

Enemies of Prayer Posted 9.26.2012
Lord willing, I really am actually out fishing this weekend.  At least I’m not at Peninsula at any rate.  I hope you will take lots of strolling time to walk through the Ministry Fair on the patio this morning.  And I hope t...

The Wife of Jesus? Posted 9.21.2012
Did you catch the news blurb this week – I believe the headline read something like, “Harvard Scholar Says Jesus Had a Wife.”  Karen King, a Harvard Divinity School Professor, has studied a receipt-sized Coptic codex from ...

A Fantasy Distraction Posted 9.14.2012
I do not know about you, but I am weary of the political wrangling these days.  So what do I do?  Escape to some football!  And not even just college ball this year.  Last weekend, there was a flurry of activity and discussio...

Don't Believe the Lies! Posted 9.06.2012
With the onset of fall, there is always one thing to consider as we begin a new school year.  Will you join a Community Group?  Sometimes it is hard to hard to admit we need some help. It's hard to admit that there are things you do no...

Lesson from a Baboon Posted 8.31.2012
His knuckles firmly gripped the inside of our safari van.  There was no seat right next to the window, but I was in the seat closest to this wild beast.  It was a baboon, one of a group of maybe twenty.  They had some very young b...

Home Again! Posted 8.24.2012
 Last Sunday I explored the African savannah in a van with a pop-top.  It poured so hard in the wee hours on Sunday, that the hunt for animals couldn’t really go as planned, so we headed to the top of Murchison Falls in the morning...

Highlight of the Week Posted 8.17.2012
I had the highlight of the clinic week in one afternoon.  And it really didn’t have all that much to do with the cli...

A Day in Kampala Posted 8.10.2012
I have yet to figure out the theme of what God is doing this year in Uganda through our team.  Since we haven’t even made it out of Kampala yet, I think...

Being "The Place" Posted 8.02.2012
Last week I did a memorial service. It was a nice event, if it can be called nice.  It was a family I did not know that well, and I had never met the person who had died.  His son had been in our youth ministry probably 15 years ago.&n...

God At Work Posted 7.27.2012
Our team of students that we sent off to Seattle with our prayers two weeks ago is back. Tired and refreshed at the same time. In the anecdotal stories I have heard, it sounds like they had a significant week of ministry – in the...

One Very Good God Posted 7.19.2012
 Every once in a while I get overwhelmed with the goodness of God. Do you? This week a big transition unfolded in life. Every year for nineteen years our youngest has his appointment with his pediatric cardiologist. He was...

Mustard Seed Faith Posted 7.13.2012
Every once in a while it is nice to shake things up. Variety makes us pay attention. So, this morning, in the dog days of summer – perhaps we need a little Oswald Chambers on the Back Page. I have never featured Mr. Chambers &...

One Reason for Liberty Posted 7.06.2012
You may, or may not, be aware of the fact that Peninsula is the sole supporting organization for a missionary couple from the Philippines that serve in central Asia. Another of our missionary couples, who are with us today, introduced ...

A Little Wednesday Lesson Posted 6.28.2012
This past Wednesday night I drug my body out of the house to spend some time with the students of Praxis, our ministry for senior high students. Jeff was away a...

Thanks for Ten Faithful Years.....and Counting! Posted 6.07.2012
It seems like only yesterday, but it ‘s been a decade. We were looking for a youth pastor to round out our staff and develop our burgeoning ministry to youth. We did a nationwide search. Well, we sent out inquiries to seminari...

One Awfully Short Summer Posted 6.01.2012
What a short summer! I blinked and missed it, I think. We picked up Lindsey on a Wednesday afternoon, packing up the dorm room. She spent Thursday washing clothes and shopping for a summer wardrobe. Then it was time to pack up. By...

A Story of Honor Posted 5.25.2012
This came across my desk this week, I’ve edited it for space, but it is a powerful reminder this weekend of our debt to the troops.    As I came out of the supermarket that day, I saw an old man with the h...

I Had A Christian Mother Posted 5.10.2012
A month ago we spent an afternoon with great friends from my youth pastor days in the desert. It was a great day, filled with stories and very sweet memories. And one the pungent memories from those days was Randall Ball, the father of...

Is God Good When Life Is Bad? Posted 5.04.2012
 God is good even when life is bad. It has been an up and down week for me. It began in the “mostly bad” category and eventually worked it’s way back into the “mostly good” category. I mean, being ...

Really? Posted 4.25.2012
The culture around us is evil. It is bent on evil continually. Maybe we forget what we are up against sometimes – but this week, the evil we encounter smacked me in the face. I came across what I have come to regard as a vil...

What in the World? Trouble. Posted 4.19.2012
Sometimes we forget the cost of following Jesus, and I’m talking about the cost that many believers are paying across the planet for their faith. I came across a couple of stories this week that I’d like to share from the latest...

The Word from Hannah Nachef Posted 4.14.2012
I recently had an opportunity to serve burritos to the homeless of Los Angeles who live on the streets of Skid Row—if you can call it living.  According to the ...

Resurrection Proof? Posted 4.05.2012
There’s nothing like a trip to Israel. A couple of weeks ago I walked through walls built by Solomon. I saw the city built by the tribe of Dan when th...

From Galilee to Jerusalem Posted 3.30.2012
One week from today we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What a fabulous day that is on our calendar, an annual reminder of w...

Welcome Home? Posted 3.22.2012
I trudged back into my office this week. The last two weeks were pure heaven, walking around the paths of Israel is stimulating for the body – as well as for the soul. If I could have just put down a few of those éclairs o...

Memories for a Lifetime Posted 3.15.2012
As we (painfully) wrap up our time in Israel, there are many highlights to sift through. ...

A Lesson from A Mountain Posted 3.09.2012
Tonight I sit along the shore of Galilee with just about a full moon casting its glow across the sea. It’s just beautiful. We’ve had one full d...

Love that Infects Posted 3.01.2012
Another bit of our history and of our soul has slipped into the presence of Jesus. Last Sunday morning as we gathered for worship, Alva Pers...

A Somber Warning Posted 2.23.2012
I read the article online this week. My heart broke. I was reminded very clearly that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. And the battle we fight for our faith is not a casual affair. I...

A Warm Heart For a Cold Night Posted 2.17.2012
It was an unusually cold Wednesday night this week. Remember? We ate dinner a little early and then tried to rest after a long day. We actually ate our Valentines dinner 24-hours late. Christie was at El Camino College on Tue...

Rejoicing in Wholeness, Again Posted 2.09.2012
This week I remember a great friend of Peninsula. Mary Ellen Neu passed away last Sunday. Though George and Mary Ellen fled the South Bay ...

One Special Afternoon Posted 2.02.2012
2.2.12. 2:00 pm. What were you doing? I know exactly what I was doing. And I probably will never forget that moment. It ...

Lessons From a Fall Posted 1.27.2012
Sometimes a simple story can cut to the heart. I came across this story this week and it blew me away. I hope you will be able to take a few minutes this morning to pause long enough to remember how our trust in God is our only point o...

Laughter for the Soul Posted 1.19.2012
Humor in church can be a touchy subject. How much is too much and how much is not enough? In talking about that subject with Pastor Ken this week, we talked about Spurgeon, the great preacher of London.    ...

Number the Sands of our Days Posted 1.12.2012
Yes, indeed, it happened. I misspoke. Again. I can’t believe it actually – and have been trying to figure out what it means all week long. But I guess I’d better set the record straight, although I’d r...

Lessons from a Cave Posted 1.06.2012
As we begin a new year, I am amazed at the struggle that 2011 has brought. Everybody sure seems relieved that 2011 is in the history books. The news is full of tragedy and hints of doom and gloom continue to lurk around every corner –...

New Year, Fresh Start Posted 12.30.2011
Happy New Year! Wow, can you believe it is 2012? I can’t. Are you ready for the new year to begin? Ready to do your taxes? Ready to start all things new and fresh and clean? Too bad if you aren’t ready, because it is here. Sometimes ...

Mary Had A Little Lamb Posted 12.22.2011
The presents are all wrapped. The tree is standing straight and tall. And, it may not even burst into flames before New Year’s Day! The groceries have been bought and cookies baked. The Christmas cards have been deliver...

O Holy Night! Posted 12.15.2011
In 1847, Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure was the commissioner of wines in a small French town. Known more for his ...

The Stars of Christmas Posted 12.09.2011
The star is still sitting on the dining room table.   The house is decorated. The tree is up. The house is ready to celebrate Christmas once again. But that star is still sitting there. Lonely.&nb...

A Somber Day This Week Posted 12.01.2011
On Thursday, we observed World AIDS day.  I need to put that on my calendar, so I don’t forget it. First observed in 1988, World AIDS Day began as a way to increase awareness of the disease and support those affected by it, their...

Turning Points Posted 11.25.2011
This week had a few turning points, at least in my life. We turned the last corner to Christmas. Nothing stands in the way now. Thanksgiving is a celebration of biblical propor...

Lessons From the Flyleaf Posted 11.17.2011
 Nothing broke at home this week. What will I write about?   I didn’t do anything super idiotic t...

Pioneer Theology Posted 11.11.2011
Last week I ran across an illustration that I could just not work into the sermon, and still get us out in time for lunch! So I thought I would share it here. I found it in a sermon by Ray Stedman on Romans 12:1-2. He is talking a...

Timing is Just About Everything Posted 11.04.2011
Timing. Life can all be about the timing of events, right? The trip to Italy planned for 9/12/01. The Christmas show with an outdoor emphasis coinciding with the biggest December downpour in history of Palos Verdes (or at least it...

Thank you, Martin. Posted 10.31.2011
This morning we bid farewell to Martin and Emily Allen….and Judah and Asher as well. It has been an adventure getting to know them and love them over these past years. Their...

Deos Sepilnlg Mtater? Posted 10.20.2011
 Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch stduy at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can si...

One of THOSE Days Posted 10.13.2011
 When was the last time you had “one of those days”? I just had one. On Monday. I spent two hours getting to and from a doctor appoint I don’t have until tomorrow. But then, I did get a new TV installed in my father&rsqu...

NTHBGNNNGGDCRTDTHHVNSNDTHRTH Posted 10.07.2011
 This morning we begin what I have been praying will be the most significant journey in our lives together. Ever. Seriously, that is my prayer. If you doubt what these next forty days can do – rub shoulders with Pastor Ken this morni...

The Fire Sometimes Burns (you have to read Daniel 3) Posted 9.29.2011
In studying Daniel 3 I came across a story that I will not have time to share. So I will share it here. It is the story of martyrdom. For these dear saints, there was no miraculous deliverance on that day in 1934. But, I thin...

One Reason for 40 Days Posted 9.23.2011
Two weeks. It all begins in two short weeks. 40 Days in the Bible, that is. Let me just highlight a “why” this morning. One reason for this new spiritual life campaign is tha...

Farewell, My Friend Posted 9.15.2011
 I bid farewell to a friend this week. But only for a little while.   ...

Ten Years Posted 9.09.2011
 Ten years ago it was a Tuesday. We never forgot the moment we first heard of the terror attack on our nation. I flipped on the radio in my car as I was taking Jeremy to high school as a freshman at Peninsula. It was unbelievab...

Things that are Tough to Believe Posted 8.25.2011
Some things are difficult to believe, others are not. What’s tough to believe?   1. School is starting up here in PV this week. Unbelievable. What happened to summer and its heat? The season...

The Journey Home Posted 8.19.2011
The journey home can be filled with twists and turns and blessings and opportunities to grow (aka trouble). I’m talking about our journey home to heaven, of course. Oh, but it might has well have been the journey from Bombo to Los Angeles ...

Learning in Bombo Posted 8.10.2011
As I write, there are two more days of medical clinic ahead. But the lessons I am learning this year are very different and actually surprising. As I stop, I am hearing what God is doing in and through this medical mission. Yes, w...

Lessons from Masaka Posted 8.04.2011
What blessings a day can bring!! To represent Peninsula Community Church is a high honor indeed. And this week was one of the highest of that role in my life. It was my honor to sit on the floor of a Ugandan primary school to listen to the soun...

Farewell, John Stott Posted 7.28.2011
The announcement of his passing flashed across the annoying bar along the bottom of my screen this week. I don’t usually read that stuff – it gives me a headache. But the name of John Stott must have stood out – and I was sadde...

Stop. Look. Worship. Posted 7.21.2011
Look around. No, not literally (thought not a bad idea). As we gather in the middle of summer, lots of people are away relaxing – but we are getting ready to worship.&nbs...

A Fresh Reminder of The Cross Posted 7.15.2011
Victoria reigned as Queen of the British Empire from 1837 to 1901. In 1857 rebellion broke out in India against the British colonial government. Peace was finally established in 1877 when Great Britain agreed to allow a native monarch to rule a ...

Back In Seminary Posted 7.07.2011
Strange week. It’s been thirty years since I have been in a classroom setting. I’ve been to conferences, but when a grade is attached to my time, the dynamic is ver...

God Bless America! Posted 7.01.2011
She was “The Songbird of the South” — the on-air host of three popular programs in Radio’s Golden Age and one of the nation’s three most admired women. She would eventually sell more than $7 million in Defense and W...

Pomp, Circumstance, and a Kleenex Posted 6.10.2011
 I have been an emotional basket case for weeks. I knew this day was coming. My baby is now a high school graduate. I cannot believe that I am old enough (I know I don’t look it!) to have all my children in college (and o...

The Face is Familiar Posted 6.02.2011
This morning we will again remember the death of the Savior. As we gather around the Lord’s Table, there is something very special about that moment. We think of His agony.&nb...

A Memorial Day Tribute Posted 5.26.2011
 Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial launch of summer. Around here, that means we are off and running in just seven days to casual summer attire. Yes! It means that school is almost out and all the wonderful programs of s...

What Do I Do When the World Goes Crazy? Posted 5.20.2011
What in the world is going on? This week seems like its been a deluge of crazy statements and bizarre events have come together. Think about – all in one week…....

Our Students Rock! Posted 5.12.2011
All hail to the students! Not just to any students – our PCC students. They are a crop of kids we parents are always proud to identify as our own. They might not get...

Real Moms - A Definition! Posted 5.05.2011
Happy Mother’s Day! Did you all have a nice breakfast this morning? Looking forward to fighting the crowds for a nice lunch out? Well…you deserve it, you who chart the course for the next generation. But how do you...

Resurrection Changes Posted 4.28.2011
Reconciliation is tricky business. How often do you give up after only one try? Jesus said, “If a brother sins against you, go and show him his fault,
 just between the two of you” Matthew 18:15. That is much easier said than d...

Finally Home! Posted 4.21.2011
 Five days. The waiting will be over. The end is in sight. These parents have endured their first experience of having a child study abroad. It’s been a gr...

Walking Down To Look Up Posted 4.14.2011
 Hosanna!   On each visit to Jerusalem we walk down the Mt. of Olives along was is now called the “Palm Sunday Road.”...

The Most Beautiful Ugly Rendition of Happy Birthday Ever! Posted 4.08.2011
My baby is all growed up.  Unbelieveable.   On Tuesday, the...

An A380 Lesson Posted 4.01.2011
On Thursday I had a unique experience. It was a lesson in perspective. I was down at LAX to tour some Qantas airplanes with Tony Vula. When I entered their massive hangar, I saw a c...

Guest Fusion Posted 3.25.2011
I’m excited. I just got out of a meeting. The getting-out-of-a-meeting part is not that unusual, I attend my fair share of meetings! It is more unusual to be drive home from a meeting complete...

God and Japan Posted 3.17.2011
It has been a difficult experience watching the news this week. The images of the suffering and tragedy in Japan is almost impossible to see, and even harder to imagine. I know that I have never seen anything like it.   Watch...

A Night at Hesse Posted 3.10.2011
Hesse Park on a Tuesday night. I was ready to rumble! The Planning Commission is meeting for RPV. I walked in after the “opening ceremonies,” and it was time f...

Doing and Feeling Posted 3.04.2011
 It is a change that happens every year. Thanks to Congress, it’s not quite like clockwork, but it is regular. Once a year it is pure joy. Once a year it is a pain. It is our time for pain. I’m not ready.&...

Honor and Shame Posted 2.24.2011
In October 1864, word came to President Abraham Lincoln of a Mrs. Bixby, a Boston widow whose five sons had all been killed fighting in the Civil War. Lincoln later wrote his condolence:   ...

A Lesson from Billy Ray Posted 2.18.2011
This week, I saw a headline, which quoted Billy Ray Cyrus bemoaning the current state of his family. Just to keep us all on the same page, Billy Ray is father to Miley Cyrus, TV&rsq...

Happy Birthday, Woody!! Posted 2.11.2011
There are moments in life that should be remembered. Celebrated in fact. Of course, there are some that should be forgotten – but we’ll not go there this morning! I am a...

A Magic Mountain Ride Posted 2.04.2011
I enjoy roller coasters. At an amusement park. The ups and downs and twists and turns send the old blood rushing to parts of my body I didn’t know existed. It’...

God's Battle in Bali Posted 1.28.2011
The ways of God are rich and winding. To find someone willing to follow Him with joy no matter what is a cool breeze on hot and sticky day. I felt that breeze this week –...

A Boggled Mind Has Its Place Posted 1.21.2011
This morning we enter mind-boggling territory. One of my most enjoyable activities in life is to head up to Mammoth in the summer (never been there in the winter, so I can’t s...

Lesson from the Zoo Posted 1.14.2011
A couple of weeks ago – the day after Christmas to be exact – the family piled into the van and headed south to San Diego. Just a couple of days to get away. We had...

Week One - Check! Posted 1.07.2011
We are only a week into the new year, and the range of emotions this week have been almost overwhelming. I mean, think about it.  ...

Lessons from The Wise (men) Posted 12.29.2010
 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 (NLT)   One o...

The Real Bethlehem Posted 12.16.2010
Years ago, as the Disney enterprise began to expand beyond Walt Disney’s dreams, he famously quipped to his team, “Let’s never forget, it all started with a mouse.&rdqu...

A Moment in Pagik Posted 12.10.2010
It was a good day. It was a long day. All together we would spend ten hours in the car that day going back and forth to Gulu. The road to Gulu is a two-lane affair, with no cen...

Jeremiah and God's Will Posted 12.02.2010
You may be tired of thinking about the will of God. But there was one passage that I wanted to comment on, but didn’t. What is the impact of Jeremiah 29:...

The Best Thanksgiving. Ever. Posted 11.26.2010
It was the best Thanksgiving ever. Now, as I write I haven’t experienced Thanksgiving 2010, but I can just about guarantee that 2010 is not going to be my favorite Thanksgivin...

Shh....It's A Secret!! Posted 11.19.2010
Good news is hard to keep to yourself. I remember the year that the kids went with mom to do some Christmas shopping for dad. It was a top-secret mission.&n...

The Ups and Downs of Relationships Posted 11.12.2010
Some of the best moments of life are those where we get the chance to build relationships. That’s why a trip to Israel is so fun for me (among other reasons!). That&rsquo...

Faithful To The End Posted 11.05.2010
 This story by Paul Wilkinson came across my desk this week. I just had to pass it along. Stay faithful!   ...

Wiggling Waxe Fingers Posted 10.31.2010
In early October, our missionary, Greg Melendes, left the comforts of Colorado for the primitive digs of Papua New Guinea (PNG). He is beginning a final push to translate what remains of the New Testament into the local language. The pro...

Trusting Middle School Boys?!? Posted 10.22.2010
Have you ever done one of those “trust fall” exercises? You stand on something high and fall backward into the arms of your “friends.” Will they catch you? Can they catch you? Do you trust them? Are they...

The Beginning of the End. Sort of. Posted 10.15.2010
I drove home that night with a light heart and sense of relief surrounding me. OK, pure joy. Christie rode next to me, but with a very different reaction. She rode home with a ...

A Teachable Moment From Kashmir Posted 10.08.2010
Sometimes we need to lift our eyes off what we can see, and catch a glimpse of what God is doing where we can’t see. Let me share the story of Mukthar, an orthodox Muslim. He was out to destroy the Church in Kashmir, in northwest I...

A Distracting Week Posted 10.01.2010
To say this week was a bit chaotic around the church office is quite fitting. On Monday I was at Lowe’s (getting more work to do around the house!) when I got a call that some...

Listening to Those Who Went Posted 9.17.2010
Want to enrich your faith? Tonight’s  (September 19) night! Tonight we get to hear s...

A God of Surpises Posted 9.10.2010
The path life takes often confronts us with surprises. Some of those surprises are exhilarating, others But what makes life interesting is the element of surprise. You never kn...

Habits Posted 9.02.2010
Sometimes us preachers bash habits. Sometimes we encourage them. I guess we just can’t decide, right? This morning I may do a little of both. I hadn’t thought about habits much lately, but then I was confronted with a staircase that fo...

Medical Memories Flood the Mind Posted 8.27.2010
How do you put into words the experience of this week? Honestly, I don’t know. I probably have enough Back Pages for a couple of months, but the stories will soon fade fr...

Getting Comfortable in Kampala Posted 8.20.2010
Half the team is on its way. Half the team has been shopping in Kampala. Actually the days of preparation have been smoother this year than last. OK, than ever. A fe...

Off to Bombo! Posted 8.13.2010
Traveling to Uganda is always an adventure. New foods. Smog. Bananas and pineapples. Driving rain. Delicious thunder. Warm smiles. Beyond crowded roads...

A Lesson from Marysville Posted 8.05.2010
Sabbaticals can be tricky things. I, of course, enjoyed mine. But this week I heard of a very interesting impact on a church due to a sabbatical. I spent the first couple ...

Off to Sonora....Really??? Posted 7.29.2010
Last week I received a rather sad email. Of course, I knew figured it would come….eventually. Even though it carried some sad news, it was upbeat. Supportive. ...

Who Is Your Glenn? Posted 7.23.2010
This week Glenn Cohen slipped the bonds of life and entered glory. He is now absent from his body, but present with his Lord. Glenn’s last few months have been difficult physically, but he never wavered in his faith in Jesus...

Lakers Win - Even the Second Time! Posted 7.15.2010
It was the night after the amazing Los Angeles Lakers defeated that East Coast nemesis in the NBA finals. We were the champs. It had not been an easy fight. It had been ro...

One Israel Memory Posted 4.30.2010
Note from Pastor Jim - it is Friday and I am back from Israel/Jordan.  It was a fantastic trip!!  Really.  I wrote the following from Amman a couple of days ago.  Have a great weekend!    &nbs...

Listening to Jesus from Jerusalem! Posted 4.22.2010
My feet ache. My eyelids are heavy. My soul is full. Tomorrow it will be a week since we left home, but it feels like forever. Each day brings a rich experience where we understand to a new dimension the greatness of our God ...

Standing at the Crossroads Posted 4.15.2010
If all goes according to plan, as you worship, I will be relaxing on the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. After a long flight and a night on the Mediterranean coast, our group should have spent today at Ceasarea (a port built by Herod th...

Farewell, Brother Oliver Hunt Posted 4.09.2010
  It was rather fitting. As the sun rose last week announcing the arrival of yet another Resurrection Sunday, our dear ...

Hosanna! Posted 3.25.2010
Palm Sunday. One of my favorite days on the church calendar. In about a month I’ll be on that road which follows the route our Savior took that Sunday morning. Somewhere along that route He wept for the city He loved so deeply.&n...

Grumble. Grumble. Grumble. Posted 3.18.2010
Grumbling. I have honed it to an art form. Often, the things I grumble most about are things where I lack full disclosure. I don’t really know the whole story....

A Humble Wake-up Call Posted 3.11.2010
  This is one week I am glad to have in my rearview mirror. As I write I am seeing “normal&rdqu...

Forced and Painful Waiting - Good for the Soul Posted 3.04.2010
Waiting. We are not a people who enjoy long lines. Queues are not our thing. Waiting? Yuck. But life is full of waiting. Waiting. And more waiting....

Where's Monk When You Need Him? Posted 2.25.2010
There is high drama at Peninsula these days. There is a mystery brewi...

Fight On, Robert Lie! Posted 2.19.2010
  How is your ministry mindset these days? Perhaps we ought to look around at the opportunities we ha...

Back on the Mainland, Looking for the Spirit Posted 2.11.2010
This week the staff did something we had not done in years. We actually had a staff retreat. We trekked over to Avalon and enjoyed the Ellison’s hotel on the island. It was a wonderful couple of days as we shared together and talked toget...

Another Cheering Voice in the Stands..... Posted 2.04.2010
Her smile was sweet. Her voice even sweeter.   This weekend we bid farewell to Lydia Lunetta. She graced us in the twilight of her life. But she was surely a gift of God’s grace to us. She was quiet. Unassuming. In...

Sizzlin' Website Posted 1.29.2010
It’s taken hours of tedious labor. Months of it. It has sucked up hours in discussion. But as you visit our website, you see the sizzle and glitz. It looks effortless. You see the glory, not the pain. But it has finally launched and is ...

Story of God as Told by Yoxu Posted 1.21.2010
Greg Melendes left this week for six weeks in Papau New Guinea (PNG). Here is another story of a follower of Jesus in PNG. As you read it, remember to pray for Greg as he travels to continue ...

On His side Posted 1.17.2010
  Jesus was in the news again this month. A few weeks ago, Sunday Fox News commentator Brit Hum...

Get in the game Posted 1.10.2010
  Games mimic life.   ...

into the arms of Jesus Posted 1.03.2010
I hope you are ready for another year. What I can’t believe is that it has been ten years since we collectively held our breath to see if all things electronic would sur...

Ray Beachler Posted 6.21.2009
On Saturday we will gather to celebrate the life and faith of our very dear friend, Ray Beachler. I hope you’ll be able to come and lift your hearts in praise to Ray’s Savior and Lord. We had some warning that Ray was going to be wit...

Graduates Posted 6.07.2009
The week ahead will be filled with a panoply of emotions. A sense of freedom will be met will collide with a sense of loss. Nostalgia for days gone by will come face to face with a apprehension about the future. Moms will cry. Students will ch...

Marj Posted 5.31.2009
This week I lost another of my “moms” from childhood. Only a couple of you know her, so I won’t belabor the details. What I really want to do is encourage you to invest your life in someone else. I’ve lost another fan, f...