The Church Ought To Be Peculiar – Angelus Temple.

After hearing my stories about the LA Dream Center, people frequently say:

“That doesn’t sound like a normal church” or “how come I’ve never heard of this place?”

It isn’t a normal church and if you’d like further evidence of that, watch this 30 second video from Sunday’s service at Angelus Temple – the LA Dream Center’s church home. Mind you, this video was taken on a Sunday morning at 9am, not Friday night.

After what may have been the loudest, most fun worship service ever, Pastor Matthew spoke about Christians living in victory. That means even if your circumstances are terrible, you can live with joy because if you believe in Jesus Christ, everything he has, you have, ie: power, love, a strong mind, peace with God, a living hope, protection, confidence, and unfettered access to God.

“So walk in ridiculous faith,” Pastor Matthew said. “Don’t lose what God already gave you. Remind yourself of who you are in Christ.”

That’s how we live with joy in a messed up world.

Christian churches work hard to be relevant in order that the gospel might penetrate those who have abandoned traditional church. But Pastor Matthew doesn’t try to be relevant, he just is. After 18 years elbow-deep in the messy lives of the LA’s poor, homeless and addicted, victory in Christ is not theory. Pastor Matthew knows what he’s talking about, and when he speaks, people listen.

Dream Center service at Angelus Temple

So if you live in LA and want to check out the Angelus Temple, services are at 9 and 11 on Sundays and 7pm Thursday night at 1100 Glendale.

If you don’t live in LA, you can stream it on Sundays and Thursday nights. Remember that’s Pacific Time.

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Five Minutes of Joy with Mumford and Sons.

Isn’t it fun watching artists at the top of their game? Mumford and Sons does it with exuberance at Red Rocks in Denver, a venue that looks Mars, complete with thousands of happy, dancing Martians.

Mary Magdalene & Lloyd Dobler

A reporter once asked Mother Teresa why so many people find it difficult to accept the presence of Christ.

“It’s because you don’t know him,” she replied.

Mary Magdalene knew Jesus, and she was a demon-possessed prostitute when she met him. In first century Jewish culture, it was inconceivable that a celebrated Rabbi, like Jesus, would talk to any woman, much less one like her. Jesus didn’t just talk to Mary, and drive the demons from her, and restore her dignity, he loved her with a Lloyd Dobler standing under your window with a boom box kind of love – times a million. Not surprisingly, Mary followed him everywhere.

Mary was sobbing outside Jesus’ tomb on the third morning after he was tortured to death. There, Jesus appeared to her but she thought he was the gardener. He asked her why she was crying.

Sir if you carried Him away from here, tell me where you have put Him and I will take him away.

Jesus said to her, Mary!

Turning around she said to Him in Hebrew, Rabboni!

Can you hear the exclamation points? I didn’t add them, they’re in the text John 20:16. It’s hard to grasp the desolation Mary must have felt as the man she believed was not just her Messiah but The Messiah, was murdered. I can hear her astonishment and terror and joy in that one word, which means Beloved Teacher or Master.

Jesus told Mary not to cling to Him but to go tell the disciples he was ascending to his Father. Mary ran with the good news. Do you know what that makes Mary Magdalene, besides a formerly demon-possessed prostitute?

The world’s very first evangelist.

People love to argue about that of course, especially given what the Apostle Paul later said about women speaking in church, but we’ll talk about that later. Promise.

The point is Jesus treasures women – especially the marginalized, widowed, sick, poor, foreign, afflicted and wayward ones. He entreats us to appreciate how humiliating it is to stand under our windows with a boom box begging us to know Him and love Him back.