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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, 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...
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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.                               ...
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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