What does it mean to live in and love Los Angeles?
Last June, my wife, teenage kids, and I spent the a few days in LA/Orange County. We drove down early Friday, walked along Swarthmore Avenue in Pacific Palisades (before the big Caruso Project took out the entire block), spent some time in Westwood and at UCLA, saw the La Brea Tar Pits, Urban Light and Levitated Mass, and drove down to Orange County. Saturday, we spent a full day at Disneyland and the Disney California Adventure.
We lived in Los Angeles for a five years - when my kids were much younger. Now, our time there is just as visitors, seeing friends or cherry picking a few fun things to see and do.
But if you're more than "just visiting" - what does it mean to live in and love a city like Los Angeles?
Sunday morning, on our way back home, we decided to visit Pacific Crossroads Church, meeting at Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica.
I visited Pacific Crossroads Church in 2009, back when they were meeting at University High School. Great experience.
Currently, Pacific Crossroads Church meets Sundays in two different locations:
9am and 11am in Santa Monica at Santa Monica High School.
5:00pm St. John's Episcopal Cathedral (near USC, just south of downtown to Los Angeles).
Above: Sunday evening service meeting at St. John's. Pacific Crossroads has also launched two new churches in the San Gabriel Valley and Long Beach.
Every local congregation has a beginning. Pacific Crossroads was a church plant of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City. In a similar fashion, Pacific Crossroads Church is committed to historic Christian doctrines - and to embracing what it means to live in a major urban city.
Driving up from Orange County on Sunday morning: the clown ballerina greeting us at the border of Venice Beach and Santa Monica. This is at the corner of Rose and Ocean in Venice.
Parking for the church is located at the city garage at 4th and Olympic in Santa Monica.
We parked the white family mini van. We just reached 200,000 miles.
We weren't exactly sure where to go ...
... we just followed everyone else.
Lots of signs and friendly greeters helped.
A bit of a walk, but really worth it.
The church uses the Santa Monica High School's black top, setting up numerous pop up tents, with info on opportunities to serve in the city and connect in small groups during the week.
Similar to other churches renting space in public schools, a crew of volunteers set up and tear down everything every single week.
The church service is in Barnum Hall - the school auditorium.
A small book table outside the entrance. I like the saw horses.
Underneath a tile mural of the school's mascot, the Viking is a passage from the New Testament:
"From him [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." Ephesians 4:16
The church meets in the school auditorium, with contemporary - but not overwhelming - worship and music.
Senior Pastor Rankin Wilbourne is gifted speaker, with a rare gift of the brilliant intellect, and challenging biblical teaching. Outstanding sermon.
I mentioned that Pacific Crossroads is committed to both loving God and loving the City of Los Angeles.
Several years ago, Rankin went through a unique Sunday morning sermon series called "How to Live In and Love Los Angeles." Obviously, I loved that title - and the series as well.
Here's a link to one of the messages from that series called "What Does It Mean to Love the City of LA?" Even if you don't consider yourself particularly religious, it's worth listening to.
The Sunday we visited, Pastor Wilbourne was just about to leave on sabbatical. He and the other pastors took time to commission the lay leadership of the church. While Rankin is back, regardless of who is speaking, the sermons are relevant, engaging, and challenging.
The church, including the lay leadership, really reflects the mult-ethnic nature of Los Angeles.
Heading out, another look at the small book table near the entrance.
Similar to when I visited many years ago, I highly recommend Pacific Crossroads, whether you're a Christian or just curious what it means to follow Jesus Christ.
The church offers numerous for personal growth and support --- as well as living out the gospel in the surrounding community through acts of mercy and justice, coming alongside the under served and needy, and living in and loving Los Angeles.
Here's a link to the Pacific Crossroads website.
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