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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, 16 March 2018 Category Dan's Musings
Sometimes when God speaks, I recognize his voice because the message gets repeated. And repeated. And repeated. It’s part of God’s pattern with me, no doubt because of my inability (or unwillingness) to hear things the first time. In the last couple of weeks the message coming through seems to be: trust. The topic has persistently surfaced in different settings. When Anne and I had a few days off, I heard it during a quiet time of prayer: Do you trust Me?  In two different conversations th...
Dan Baumgartner
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Friday, 09 March 2018 Category Dan's Musings
In the end, it was mostly a non-issue. When we heard last week that the Westboro Baptist folks would be bringing their abrasive and hate-filled picket signs to Hollywood, and to Hollywood Presbyterian specifically, we needed to do a number of things. Talk to our staff and elders. Do some research with other churches and pastors. Talk to an attorney. Pray- lots of prayer. Write a letter to inform the congregation. Communicate with the LAPD. Strategize. Pray- lots of prayer. We didn't really know...
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Thursday, 01 March 2018 Category Dan's Musings
The picture above shows me at the sanctuary I worshiped in last Sunday- a little unorthodox, I know. After returning from a very full week in Atlanta leading a conference, Anne and I headed to the desert for the weekend. Sunday morning found us hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, a place of stunning beauty. What an amazingly creative God we worship!             While Joshua Tree has many well-marked hiking trails, it is also possible to s...
Dan Baumgartner
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Friday, 23 February 2018 Category Dan's Musings
(Atlanta, Georgia)-   I’ve been here since Monday night at the National Gathering of The Fellowship Community, the theologically evangelical churches within our PCUSA denomination. Hollywood Presbyterian is a member of the group.  I’m serving on the Board, and had a great deal of involvement in pulling this gathering together.  Hollywood elders Shay Case, Mac Heald and Jack Hardgrave made the trip with me, and Dr. Michael Bruner led a terrific workshop. About 220 elders and p...
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Friday, 16 February 2018 Category Dan's Musings
“Hey there’s a smudge on your forehead, some dirt or something.” The grocery store clerk is trying to be helpful.  But I’m standing in a busy market with a line of customers growing behind me. I don’t know how to respond. How do I explain that it’s not a smudge, but the mark of Ash Wednesday ashes?             How do I explain that it’s a tradition Jesus’ people have practiced for century upon century?      &n...
Dan Baumgartner
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Friday, 09 February 2018 Category Dan's Musings
The Beat poet Allen Ginsberg once said “The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That's what poetry does.”  I like that. “Reclaiming an awareness of the world.”  Poems notice things, or cause us to notice. Poetry forces a reader to slow down to consider every word on the page.  There are few things as unsatisfying as rushing through the reading of a poem, because you miss everything. Poetry puts words to feelings, stirs the imaginat...
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Wednesday, 31 January 2018 Category Dan's Musings
At last Sunday’s Annual Meeting of the Congregation, Pastor Dan was slated to give a five minute “Word of Encouragement.”  What follows is a rough approximation of what he shared:                                                     &nb...
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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...
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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.                               ...
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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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