Monthly Archives: December 2007

you know it’s LA when…

You are driving down Hollywood Blvd in December & you see this….

2007-12-27-hollywood-palms.jpg

Actually, I am posting this for the sake of a few friends in Minneapolis, among them being Dan & Heather. My family and I huddled around my laptop today & looked at many of the pictures that they have posted on their blog. We realized afresh – how we do not miss that weather!

The family also went to see the movie National Treasure yesterday. We have discovered a kind of hole-in-the-wall theater, however –not in the nicest part of town…

2007-12-27-highland-movie.jpg

2007-12-27-highland-mov.jpg

And the movie was not the greatest movie we have seen, but the theater has first-run movies for only $3 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays! That is crazy cheap for LA, considering that one place in the middle of Hollywood – is $14 now for movies.

And the best part — we got to walk a couple of blocks from our parking place in 60 degree & sunny weather.

2007-12-27-highland-mov-3.jpg


In Hoc Anno Domini

Vermont Royster’s annual Christmas message.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST
This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont Royster and has been published annually (in the WSJ) since.

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression–for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter’s star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.


Christmas thoughts

2007-12-25-merry_christmas.jpg

I pray that the truths of Advent will bring joy, hope, and peace to your heart this year. On this Christmas Eve, let me offer just a few of them for your consideration.

Because of Christmas, if you have lost a loved one in Christ this year, be assured that you will one day be together again:

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32).

Because of Christmas, if you have blown it and failed and fallen and feel assaulted and accused by the adversary, be assured that your sins are forgiven and separated from you as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103):

“You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Because of Christmas, if you desire to know the heart of the God who created the majesty of the universe, be assured that when you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father:

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

Because of Christmas, if you long for justice and peace and ultimately things set right, be assured that all of that and more is on the drawing board of the One who can and will make it happen:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

(Thanks Jesus for a. . . ) Merry Christmas

(from Andy McQuitty)


voice of the day

“The great Christian revolutions come not by the discovery of something that was not known before. They happen when somebody takes radically something that was always there.” –H.Richard Niebuhr


We Who Believe in Democracy

2007-12-11-zimbabwesvg.png

I dont know why, but for the last couple of years I have been tracking the political, economic and spiritual situation in Zimbabwe very closely. I love foreign policy, and Caleb and I talk about foreign policy a lot – but I am not sure if that is the only reason.

I think it has more to do with how my heart goes out to the sufferings of the people of Zimbabwe, and what has happened to that country since the idiot dictator Mugabe has taken over. It has gone from one of the strongest economies in Africa, to one of the weakest.

There was a very interesting article on the country and about opposition leaders who might lead after Mugabe is finally overthrown, or mercifully — finally dies off: Is there hope for a new Zimbabwe after Mugabe? This man is staking his life on it.
I would say ‘pray for Zimbabwe’, but not sure how many would. (not sure how often I even pray for the country). Maybe this post is to simply raise our awareness of the suffering that goes on in all parts of the world, and to pray that our lives and our churches would bring hope to each corner of our worlds — wherever that might be. That is my prayer for the Larson household, and for Kairos.


Only in Los Angeles

2007-12-10-la-times.gifFrom the LA Times:

“Only in Los Angeles would the news of the murder of a 14 year old girl be relegated to rarely read and seen Homicide Report. In most cities across America this would make Head-Line news, but in the gang capital, bearly a whisper is heard. How has this type of situation come to exist, where a young girls life has no value in the eyes of her fellow human beings?”

This is so sad — my heart goes out to her family. The middle school she went to, was one of the options for school when we moved out here.

Pray for this city, but also – pray for Kairos. We are praying and planning for some things after the 1st of the year so that we can do more in the neighborhoods in this area, and bring Hope to this city. Pray that God would give us wisdom on how to proceed with it.


thoughts on Titus

So, I have been reading through Titus here lately, and at the very beginning of the book — there is an interesting thought (in the Message bible). I have never quite thought of it this way before…

“I, Paul, am God’s slave and Christ’s agent for promoting the faith among God’s chosen people, getting out the accurate word on God and how to respond rightly to it. My aim is to raise hopes by pointing the way to life without end. This is the life God promised long ago—and he doesn’t break promises! And then when the time was ripe, he went public with his truth. I’ve been entrusted to proclaim this Message by order of our Savior, God himself. Dear Titus, legitimate son in the faith: Receive everything God our Father and Jesus our Savior give you!”

It caused me to think of a friend of Caleb’s from school, whose father is an agent for writers here in Hollywood. It also, caused me to think of myself, and what my family and I are doing out here in Hollywood – in a little different way. We are agents — representing if you will, Jesus – to others in this community.

Now, I know that agent can also mean (from Websters) — an active cause, or a natural force or object producing, or used for obtaining specific results — but I especially like the definition: “a person or business authorized to act on another’s behalf”.

…just a simple thought from a simple guy here in Hollywood.