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Dan's Musings

Latest thoughts from First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood Pastor, Dan Baumgartner

Dan Baumgartner
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Friday, 12 January 2018 Category Dan's Musings
I removed my 2017 desktop calendar and dropped it in the recycling bin, put the new one in place and stepped back to look:  January 2018.  I love a new year, and turning a significant page like this always fills me with hope and possibility.  I also have a fresh direction for my quiet times this year. Most mornings I get in the office early, and sit in the windowed corner (winter) or out on the patio (spring/summer/fall) to journal, pray and read something.  For 2018 devotio...
Dan Baumgartner
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Thursday, 21 December 2017 Category Dan's Musings
          Most Decembers for the last 15 years or so, I write a short Christmas story. Sometimes I read them at the Children and Families Christmas Eve service, but not always.  Below is the 2015 story, just for fun. I hope it helps you prepare for the celebration of God’s miracle at Christmas.                               ...
Dan Baumgartner
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Friday, 15 December 2017 Category Dan's Musings
Robert was in his late fifties when I knew him in Seattle. We became friends through our church’s urban ministry outreach. I never heard his whole story, but enough to know it had chapters of depression, anger and family difficulties. Most of the time Robert was disheveled and unshaven. His baseball caps changed frequently, all equally dirty. He had no front teeth. Robert loved Jesus, but was frequently unsure of his salvation…which actually puts him in good company with many of the saints. Robe...
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Thursday, 07 December 2017 Category Dan's Musings
I'm on vacation this week, and writing you on Wednesday from 40,000 feet on a plane to New York to spend a few days with all three kids. Our family adventure for this trip is to run a 15k race in Central Park together. We love NYC in December...no complaints here if it snows a little! After Sunday's amazing choir concert at FPCH, Anne and I scurried home, threw things in the car and drove up to Palm Springs. Monday morning we drove to Joshua Tree National Park. It was cold and blowy, but sunny ...
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Friday, 01 December 2017 Category Dan's Musings
I’ve been a leader at some level most of my life- athletics, school, business, ministry. I’ve sometimes learned by failure, and disappointed myself and others. Leadership is tough. I’ve read books and attended classes on the topic. I study it. Everything I know tells me that we are facing a serious leadership crisis in our culture right now.  Are we asking for too much? I’m looking for some leaders with integrity. Everywhere I turn, leadership seems to be crumbling-  in the chur...
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Wednesday, 22 November 2017 Category Dan's Musings
By the time you read this, it will be post-Thanksgiving, and hopefully you all enjoyed rich times of friendship, food, worship or prayer. It strikes me that this year we have the added bonus of getting a short “season” of thanksgiving rather than merely one day. I love that. A day of celebration is wonderful, but for all the buildup it goes by very quickly and we move on to the next thing. Seasons, on the other hand, tend to help us build lasting patterns. The way this year’s calendar falls...
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Thursday, 09 November 2017 Category Dan's Musings
I’ve now been the Senior Pastor at Hollywood Presbyterian for seven years. Seven years. That’s a very biblical number. Jacob served Laban for seven years to get Rachel as a wife, but then was tricked into serving seven more and ended up with two wives! Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream about seven good years and seven years of famine. Israel was instructed to let the land rest (sabbath) every seven years. There was to be a special time every seventh year, when debts were canceled and slaves giv...
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Friday, 03 November 2017 Category Dan's Musings
My dad died last weekend. We've known it was coming for the last year. And thanks to so many of you for your prayers and notes, they have been a great encouragement. His death, and our hurried trip to Seattle to be with my mom and siblings, left me with time to muse- in airports, on airplanes and on morning runs. The word that keeps coming up is...tension.I don’t mean anxiety producing, heart attack inducing nervous tension, but rather the holding together of things that seem paradoxical or even...
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Friday, 27 October 2017 Category Dan's Musings
October 2017, San Diego, California. Outside of the downtown First Presbyterian Church, much like in Hollywood, the noise of a nearby freeway never wavers and the presence of homeless friends on the nearby streets is noticeable. Inside the church, two dozen Presbyterian pastors sit in a large circle. I am one of them. There are both men and women, the youngest around 30 years old and the most senior 70-something. They represent large, medium and small churches around the country- downtown urban ...
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Friday, 20 October 2017 Category Dan's Musings
Most of you know that Hollywood Presbyterian is a member of The Fellowship Community. This is the group of evangelical pastors, elders and churches who remain in the PCUSA denomination. I have served on the Board of TFC for the last two years. The original version of the article below was sent around the country a couple weeks ago. The first part may sound familiar to you, but not the rest. One of my reads this year was a novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo. It’s based on a true story from the terri...
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