Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Missing Bulletins 9/24 -11/05

I try to post bulletins from every week's gathering, but have been lagging lately. Here's the last 5 that I missed:

1. If I were to begin today's service with the announcement "The Kingdom of God is here!" How would you respond?
2. Are you excited about being the member of a kingdom that started with executions?
3. Is the Kingdom of God more present or less present than 2000 years ago? 100 years?

Does it bother you to think of, (and read), Mark as an Author instead of Mark as a compiler? What are the differences? Does it bother you to think of Mark as propaganda?

Do you think that Mark’s portrayal of discipleship has a didactic aspect to it? Are we supposed to learn something from the disciple’s portrayal in Mark? Is the central purpose of Mark to teach us about discipleship? What do you make of the differences in Mark’s portrayal of Peter vs. Matthew’s, Luke’s, and John’s? If Mark is in disagreement with Matthew, Luke, John or Peter,is Biblical inerrancy threatened?

What do you usually hear emphasized in this story?
What are the similarities of these two healings? What do you see repeated?
Why are some more comfortable with impurity than allusions to Israel?
If both women are representatives of Israel undergoing renewal, what do/can they teach us?
Why women?

1. If Mark is not teaching about discipleship, and if we read the verse in context, why did Mark include this episode in his story?
a. Is Jesus saying something to the Scribes?
2. Why is the widow poor?
3. Why are the widows and the orphans so important to God?
4. What relevance does the widow have for us today?

ALL HANDOUTS ARE PRINTABLE PDFs, meaning that they will actually be legible when you click on them, and you can even print them out without distortion. If you do not have adobe page reader, (you have no excuse not to, unless you use a mac), you can get it here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"If an outsider fights an angel, he may find himself fighting all angels."

I watched a documentary on the history channel the other day on the Hells Angels, and was struck by the strong sense of brotherhood that they demonstrate(d).
Early on in the Hells Angels' history a member of their motorcycle club was arrested. The man didn't personally have money to hire an attorney, nor did the club that he was a representative of. So, in order to cover legal fees, members of the Hells Angels gathered together sold some illegal substances, and then used the money to help their "brother" out.
I watched the documentary and was impressed with the promise that one member has to another to defend and to help one another. I began to feel embarrassed by the global church's inability to achieve the same level of devotion to one another. Members of the Church, should respond to one another with at least an equal amount of consideration towards one another that an "outlaw motorcycle club" has. But instead we neglect people's needs within our own church communities, we gossip about one another, turn a blind eye towards other's afflictions, and just generally operate autonomously, separating ourselves from one another's problems.

May our devotion to one another grow. May we be able to commend brother/sisterhood, and may our concern and action for one another be seen as a model for others.

Monday, November 06, 2006


I got an e-mail today announcing that my replacement computer had shipped. After sending my MacBookPro in for a new logic board, twice, a new power adapter, and two new batteries, my laptop still failed to charge or recognize that there was a new battery installed. There was also a bizarre hum that my computer emitted anytime the screen dimmed, (this began to occur after the logic boards were replaced to solve the high pitch ringing noise). Applecare offered to install a third logic board to solve this problem, but I declined, requesting instead a new or refurbished machine. Much to my surprise, I was offered the new updated MacBookPro, (I had already been complaining that my machine was now out of date), with the new intel core 2 duo processor, twice as much ram, and more memory. Hopefully this means that we will get to see more movie projects at Community soon. It's pretty amazing when having a lemon seems beneficial. Now if Wednesday would only hurry up and arrive...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Just as I am

I was thinking about how some of us are pretty good at recognizing that God accepts us just as we are. We apologize to God for falling short at times, and take his patience for granted as we work to become the disciples that he calls us to, (even though if at times we seem to take one step forward and two steps back). But we sometimes have a hard time extending this mindset to others around us.

Maybe we could amend the popular hymn Just As I Am, with a stanza entitled Just As You Are.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as You are, I accept you,
That God, the same does for you too,
And when though bidst me come to thee,
I hope with God, I'll come, I'll come.

Super cheesy, I know, but I think about the 100s of thousands of people who came forward to this hymn during altar calls all around America, and can't help but hope that if they had heard the plea to love others as Jesus loved us, accepting them as they are, that maybe our churches would look different.

Just a thought...and a redundant one at that.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New Blogsite

It's funny, I made this blog site as an appendage to our gatherings on Sunday mornings, but most of our traffic (we've had over 2000 hits) comes from outside of Ojai. I know that Michaela checks it regularly, as does Amber, but aside from the two of them, our regular comments either come from Ireland (hmmm I wonder who that could be), or from friends of mine from our congregation in Cerritos (Hi Angel).
Regardless, it is fun for me to do, and it is nice to be able to go back and see what all we've talked about over the past year and a half.
Today, we do have a new blogger amongst our community. Amber decided that she would like to start her own blog site so visit her here.
If anyone else from our Community wants to start a blog, (Michaela?) let me know so we can promote it.

Podcasting Paul

So, you really like CommuniTy but also like to hear Paul's Sunday sermons, and you're not sure what to do?
You could go to Saturday night service, OR you could subscribe to OVCC's podcasts. You can either fire up iTunes, be kept current and take your sermons with you on the go...or you can stream the services straight to your computer and out your crappy desktop speakers, unless you're David Gonzales, I bet he has some sick speakers hooked up in his "office."

Fun Flickr Feature

I just saw this on someone else's blog site and thought that I would try it out.

Last April, Darren and I woke up Sage at 5:30am to go watch the sunrise over the topatopas. Darren filmed it and we used the footage to make our own worship backgrounds.

Here's some of the stills that we took:

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I began reading Tolstoy today. I've heard his name mentioned so often, but have never read him. I'm not sure how I escaped War and Peace in high school, but it must have been replaced with Joyce's, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, in our AP curriculum.
In the opening to What I Believe, the prequel to The Kingdom of God is in You, Tolstoy describes his discovery in Christ:

I now no longer care for the things that I had prized, and I have begun to desire things concerning which I had formerly been indifferent. Like a man who, going out on business, on his way suddenly becomes convinced of the futility of that business and turns back; and all that stood to the right now stands to the left, and all that was to the left is now to the right; his wish to be as far from home as possible is changed to the desire of being as near home as possible so, I may say, the whole aim and purpose of my life has been changed; my desires are no more what they have been. For me, good and evil have changed places. This experience came through my apprehending the doctrine of Christ in an altogether different way, and seeing it in quite a new light.

I wonder how many people describe their discovery of Christ in this way. All too often I hear a "hole in your heart" message, where a preacher describes how Jesus will complete your life, make your "good" life even better, Kind of like Renée Zellweger did for Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. We seldom hear the message, "Come, follow Jesus. Forget everything that you know, get uncomfortable, get confused, stand on your head, loose yourself."

Lately, as I reimagine Christianity, I find myself like Tolstoy feeling like my left is my right. I struggle to recover from the whiplash pains caused by recognizing Jesus' mission and words, and running to catch up with Christ in my attempt to follow him.

May our aims, purposes and desires be shifted to resemble those of Jesus'.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


This year I left for Hume Lake the day after attending another conference, the Soliton Network conference. Soliton focused on hospitality, and we gathered and discussed how to show hospitality towards children, sinners, and the victims of war. It was a shock to go from one conference focusing on what we can do today for God, to hearing the hume speaker, Francis Chan, focus his week's message around eternity to come.

It wasn't that Francis said anything that was really wrong, ask me later about his illustration of the crucifixion, but some statements seemed to oppose statements that I had heard from Mike Devries, a hume speaker from two years ago, statements made by Rob Bell, and statements made by Shane Claiborne in person and in The Irresistible Revolution.

"As Christians we sometimes forget about eternity."
"Sometimes we don't think about anything beyond this life, and the Bible says that this lifecould be over in a second... ...and then comes eternity."
(Francis Chan)

"I need a God whose now. I need a God who teaches me how to live now."
(Rob Bell)

"Christianity often has offered little to the world, other than the hope that things will be better in heaven."
"... most Christian artists and preachers have remained strangely distant from human suffering, offering the world eternal assurance over prophetic imagination."
(Shane Claiborne)

I am aware that the two comments don't really contradict each other, and that each speaker has a different reason for emphasizing either eternity, or the here-and-now. Francis Chan is addressing those who live their lives as if there is no eternal consequence for their actions. Rob and Shane are instead responding to those, (Christians), who live as if they don't need to worry about how they live their lives because of eternity.

Tony Campolo is often quoted, asking people if they would still follow Christ, even if there was no heaven or hell.
I wonder what motivates you to live your life the way you do?

Does a future paradise encourage you to live more Christlike day to day, or more apathetic?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

If you want to get the most out of our upcoming summer series, these are two books that you would benefit from:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Helping out at Saturday's fundraiser

For all of those who expressed interest in helping out at Aaron's fundraiser:

Show up 30 minutes early (10:30am) and find Larry Skinner. He will put you to work.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Aaron Boydston

If you haven't done so yet, visit and plan on supporting this young Ojai pastor and his family by attending a fundraiser at Lake Casitas on July 22nd.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Live in Harmony

In the church people ought to find trust, commitment, the development of self-identity, and growth in one’s understanding of what it means to be a Christian in relationship with others.

How can we bless those who do us evil?
Why should we bless those who do us evil?

Right click here to download mp3 of the service.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hank's not very "Emergent"

Matt Kingsley introduced me to this great clip from King of Hill showing how much we can become "consumers of church", rather than servants of God.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


1. Is this passage offensive to women?
Is this passage offensive to the world?
2. Is “submitting” an offensive verb?
3. Are wedding vows offensive to women? To the world?
4. Is it possible for a husband to be considerate and respectful and still demand her to submit?
5. What is the effect of calling husbands and wives co-heirs?
Why do you think that this isn’t usually the stressed aspect of this verse?

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Imagine being a slave your whole life, and then being told that you were free and that Jesus was your new master. If you had bad relations with your master, you would be excited about your freedom and ready to run. Can you imagine feeling so freed by the Gospel that you would contemplate turning the social ladder on its head?

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Here's the video we watched in service during table talk. We explored what laws we break regularly, and how we justify them.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good Friday Labyrinth

If you went to this year's Good Friday labyrinth service, we want to hear from you. Share your experiences here by clicking on the "comment" link below.

This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Good Friday Labyrinth, 2006. Make your own badge here.

Share how you were impacted by the various stations, and by the experience as a whole. We're not looking for critiques, (to do so would miss the point of the exercises), but want to know how you met with God, and how He touched your hearts.

-Ryan and Paul

Sunday, April 09, 2006

You are being watched

ALL HANDOUTS ARE PRINTABLE PDFs, meaning that they will actually be legible when you click on them, and you can even print them out without distortion. If you do not have adobe page reader, (you have no excuse not to, unless you use a mac), you can get it here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Community of Living Stones

STARTING WITH THIS WEEK'S BULLETIN, ALL HANDOUTS WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE AS PDFs, meaning that they will actually be legible when you click on them, and you can even print them out without distortion. If you do not have adobe page reader, (you have no excuse not to, unless you use a mac), you can get it here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006