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Dan's Musings

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

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Thursday, 20 October 2016 Category Dan's Musings
It's been a traveling week. After church Sunday, I zipped down to San Diego for my annual study leave time with my covenant group from seminary days- we just met for the 20th year! Then Wednesday I flew into Minneapolis to be with Anne as she presents an outdoor art installation project at Augsburg College, where she is teaching a class as an adjunct professor. From the beaches of San Diego to the gorgeous fall leaves of Minneapolis, it's been a week of paying attention. I know I use the phras...
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Thursday, 13 October 2016 Category Dan's Musings
Here is my normal Sunday morning routine: 5:00am- alarm clock goes off, shower and dress. 5:30am- leave the house with Anne, stop at Starbucks for my coffee and something to eat. 5:50am- arrive at church.  Anne and I pray in the car for the morning, my sermon, our community, the Lighthouse, classes and people. 6:00am- I head into the office.             Most Sundays, it happens exactly like that. So last Sunday, my alarm went off ...
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Thursday, 06 October 2016 Category Dan's Musings
It happened again this week. I visited a very sharp 97-year old friend, and had a delightful discussion. Somewhere in the midst of the conversation, she sighed and said “I’m not sure why the Lord still has me here. I can barely move around, and most of my friends and peers have passed away.” It’s a valid question. My friend has been a vibrant, active person her whole life, and now she feels like her physical world has so many limitations. She’s right about that. However, this is not the end of ...
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Wednesday, 28 September 2016 Category Dan's Musings
Okay, I admit it. I enjoy a happy ending. I read all the time, everything from theology to history to poetry to novels. I don’t restrict my literary consumption to things which end “sappily” ever after, but I do enjoy an occasional happy ending. Perhaps this is because there is so much darkness in our world that a happy ending provides a momentary escape. So when I read something like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, I know that even with immense pain and struggle, good eventually tri...
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Thursday, 22 September 2016 Category Dan's Musings
“Lord, give us a sign!” The Psalmist articulated it. People asked it of Jesus. “Give us a sign!” Usually the request is for God to do something spectacular. And if it happens, that seems to be the culmination of the request- I asked for it, God gave it to me, God answers prayers, ain’t it great?  This morning I was reminded that signs usually give us guidance. They’re not the final answer. Even a mileage sign on the highway proclaims a direction, not an arrival. We are headed the right dir...
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Thursday, 15 September 2016 Category Dan's Musings
On Wednesday morning, I dropped Anne at LAX about 7AM. Knowing that traffic coming back toward the city would be a bear, I checked my Google Maps phone app.  Yep. Every freeway in every direction was bright red, meaning traffic was at a standstill. It would take me forever to get back to the office.   I decided to put myself at the mercy of Google Maps. It seemed right that “Judy” (my name for the audible voice on the app) wanted to take me on surface streets and avoid freeways altog...
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Friday, 09 September 2016 Category Dan's Musings
One of the things which attracted Anne and me to Hollywood Presbyterian nearly six years ago was the church’s energy and ministry on the streets of Hollywood. As a pastor I end up working on all sorts of things each day, from meeting with people to worship and preaching. And of course, there is a lot of administrative work- leading a staff, budgets and calendars and facilities. Some days it is hard to break out of my office and away from the computer or phone. But I need to. On Thursday morning...
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Friday, 02 September 2016 Category Dan's Musings
My topic here is so mundane that perhaps I should spice it up. Make a headline or an advertisement out of it. How about this? HUGE NEW INNOVATIVE MINISTRY TOOL: ASK A QUESTION! No? Seem limited? How about CRITICAL NEW STEP FOR LIVING A HAPPIER LIFE: ASK QUESTIONS! See what I mean? Question-asking isn’t glamorous or new, it isn’t a tool and it’s not a quick fix for unhappiness.But it is an essential skill to practice if we want to have deep friendships, learn new things, hear God or reach out to ...
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Thursday, 25 August 2016 Category E-Press
 I sit in a soft chair in the corner of my office with the window wide open. It's 6:45am. If I sit at my desk, I will immediately be absorbed in my to-do list. So I sit in the corner and write and pray and watch the pink-orange of the early sun warm up the campus. My devotional is taken from Dallas Willard's book "Hearing God." I am suddenly aware of sounds I wouldn't usually notice. The comforting tcht-tcht-tcht of a sprinkler drifts up. Omar must be watering the church lawn. The traffic o...
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Thursday, 18 August 2016 Category Dan's Musings
Jesus said “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28)”      -On vacation, Anne and I drove across the empty desolation that is northern Nevada. It was worth it, because we ended up in the mountainous beauty of Western Montana to bike and hike.   -Monday I was on the 5 freeway approaching LA from the south. Since traffic in my northbound lane was at an absolute standstill, I was free to look around. As far as my eye could see, up and down the ...
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