Finally, we’ve arrived back at the beginning!

By Pastor Tim White

It is remarkable to me that some of the most complex issues are resolved in simple powerful truths.  After exasperating study, mind boggling contemplation, exhausting debate and intensive research, sometimes it all comes together in a simple profound truth.  

We have been on a series entitled “Give Us Jesus.”  It started in the Easter Story and was joyfully brought together by Pastor Becca in describing the depth of the personal friendship we can have with Jesus Christ himself.  This week I am concluding that series with a message on “How you can have certainty that you have eternal life”.  I don’t know how many times in 33 years of ministry I have had friends from this community meet me for coffee and say they want to have faith when it comes to death.  These are wonderful people whom I have the utmost respect for in their high intelligence and accomplishments in life.  I know that they are beloved by their family.  Sometimes, it is a conversation that lasts for years – though not at the same coffee shop.  But it always ends – yes - always (God is batting a thousand here) with a smile on their face, love and courage in their eye and a statement of deep confidence that God has a better plan than death and they are part of it.  

So, I wanted to end the series on “Give Us Jesus” with Great Questions - Solid Answers on Eternal Life and how each of us can live forever with Jesus.  I have entitled this inspirational message Finally, We’ve Arrived at the Beginning.  I believe this is a message you will want to make sure you don’t miss. So, I will see you there.   The music will be so inspiring!

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White
 

Love Like Jesus

By Pastor Tim White

How would our world change if everyone learned a new reverence for life, even people who don’t believe in Jesus?  What would happen if we did just a little bit better at loving like Jesus.  Here is a surprise - I am happy when I hear the Dalai Lama say something that is loving and full of joy.  As a Christ-follower it doesn’t anger me at all.  I am full of joy when I have lunch with an atheist friend and I am reinvigorated by their down-to-earth lack of pretense and personal politeness.  And I would love it if North Korea, Iran and Syria could become more loving places.  It has to just break every human being’s heart when children are killed by poison gas during a war.  The Love that Jesus is talking about runs deeper than how we identify ourselves religiously; it reaches down to the core of our creation as human beings.  

I used to hear people say that love is a two-sided coin; love on one side and truth or justice on the other.  But I think they are both pretty much the same. You can’t love if you don’t stand up for truth and justice. And if you stand up for truth and justice without love you are just being manipulative. We have so much to learn about loving the Jesus way.

With that said, I owe my capacity to love to Jesus Christ.  I have a lot to learn from him and I will always love him for loving me first.  I want to live to be over 100 just to see how loving I will become after walking with Jesus through all those years.  I like the statement by Job: When he has tried me, I will come forth as gold.  I believe my heart is in the process of being made into gold. And I know that so many of my friends are also on that wonderful adventure.  

I like to hike with my dog every day.  And we are building up to hike the Pacific Coast Trail.  We never know what we are going to find.  A beaver for my dog to play with, ducks for my dog to swim with, a new friend for me to walk with - it is always a surprise.  The weather is a surprise.  The birds are glorious.  Well that is nothing compared to the surprises in store for those of us who enter the adventure of learning to love like Jesus.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White
 

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

By Pastor Tim White

This was, in my view, the greatest Easter we have ever experienced as a church family.  And we have had a lot of great Easter Experiences throughout the years.  But more new families filled out contact cards than ever before – even more than the year we had 6,000 at Easter services.  It was amazing to have such an international group of people.  So many filled out their contact card saying that they wanted to start coming to Washington Cathedral regularly and to get more involved in their faith.  All I can say is “Thank You God!” and “Thank You!” to all the workers and members that made this such a welcoming experience including the Actors, Set Designers, the Choir, the Greeters, the Breakfast Team, the Easter Egg Hunt Teams, the Worship Band, the Sound Techs and the Parking Lot Teams.  It was a challenge with three Worship Services going on at the same time on the same campus with the addition of invited friends and neighbors.  

We knew there were going to be a lot of people gone this weekend with the school breaks hitting on Easter but there were so many brand-new visitors that it filled up the sanctuary and made the service so dynamic.

I am so excited to continue our new series on “Give Us Jesus” especially now that there are so many who are learning about Jesus for the first time.  People forget that all of Scripture was revealed to point to Jesus and it stands on his claims and teachings.  I love to tell stories of Jesus.  This week I am going to share Part Two of the message entitled “We Want ‘The Real Thing’”.  Yes, I am borrowing this line from a soda pop ad from long ago.  But what people are looking for is the historical Jesus, the biblical Jesus, the Real Jesus…pray for me as I share my heart and my love for Jesus Christ.  

I wish you could have seen the faces of the children as I told them the Easter story. I was so captivated by their sincerity and their emotion that I kind of messed up on my part.  But thanks to the quick-thinking technical support of Justin Amoruso and of Raffael Guimaraes who played the role of Jesus it all worked out. I am so excited to tell you the rest of the
Story of Jesus and Easter and Eternal Life that starts right now.  Please join us this next week for a very inspirational worship.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White
 

Easter at Washington Cathedral

by Pastor Tim White

What if I could promise you an Easter experience this year that would be so inspirational - so powerful that it would kick your life in gear!  An Easter that would engage all your faith emotions just like you hoped. An Easter Service that would be a great encouragement. Easter is God’s triumph over death, and we need to celebrate it. 

I love Easter Sunday when people greet one another with the words - “He has risen” and then we get to respond —"He has risen indeed!” A service with cute kids singing “Christ the Lord Has Risen Today” joined by the choir, instruments and congregation all turning it into a tender moment of triumphant spine-tingling faith. All followed by a re-enactment of the first Easter with the “Give Us Barabbas” scene, where the kids will be yelling “Give Us Jesus!”  You can see in their faces and written all over their countenance the impact of this simple story. The crucifixion comes alive by video shot by our beautiful waterfall. This year my sermon is a simple telling of the Easter to the children. (This is something that I am always working on as a grandpa and a pastor.)  Our praise band will lead us in emotion-filled joyful praise.  If ever I have needed an inspirational Easter service, it is this year. With most of the schools on Spring break this year, it is going to be tough. But with your help, we see a miracle happen.  Washington Cathedral needs a miracle. And you need one too, so what a combination.  Please come and bring your friends to this 60-minute experience in the Randy and Rod Re-creation Center. It is a huge building, so we have our work cut out to fill it up.

Of course, there are other events taking place at Washington Cathedral Easter this year.  Pastor David is going to have a delicious Easter breakfast starting at 8:00 – 11:00 am and again after the 11:00 Service.  An Easter Egg Hunt in our swimming pool is open to all the community at 2:00 pm on Saturday, with Pastor Becca White having a short, visitor-friendly Gospel message.  On Easter Sunday, right after the 11:00 am service, we will have a massive Easer Egg Hunt on the hill. As well as thousands of candy-filled eggs, there will be bounce houses and a carnival.  Of course, the kids will hear a short, creative story of the Good News of Easter If it rains, we will move this all inside.   We are so blessed as a church to be able have a contingent plan at our campus. 

At 7:00 am on Sunday, our Youth Pastor Josh will be preaching at the Sunrise Service in the waterfall sanctuary. Communion will be served and the sanctuary is beautiful with the cross scene in the waterfall. Easter Breakfast begins right after this service.

Friday night Pastor Linda will be preaching at our Good Friday Service which is a great time for our church family to all come to gather.  We are going to have a meditative time to remember the Stations of the Cross followed by an all-church communion.  And the choir will be performing to make it a very sacred service.

So, please come Sunday at 11:00 am. We need 1200 people to fill up the Randy and Rod Recreation Center, so we need your help.   The Brazilian Congregation will be packing out the Spirit Falls Sanctuary at 11am and the Korean Congregation will be in the Olympic Room so don’t get confused and miss this dynamic experience of a life-time all in English at the Recreation Center.

And bring a friend.

 

 

Give Me Jesus

By Pastor Tim White

They were the first words said by a freshman quarterback at Alabama after he shocked the world. And the Philadelphia Eagles kept repeating them after their Super Bowl win. Don’t you just love when some young man or woman begins their interview with the words:  First and foremost, I want to thank Jesus Christ for all he has done for me. I hope we, as Christ followers always keep fresh that same humble innocence in our lives. And I am sure that it has a debilitating impact on our best intentions when we lose it.
I can’t tell you what it means to a grandpa to see faith in Jesus Christ growing in young grandchildren.  It means everything to me.  I know the standard is high for our generation to model authentic faith and that is a challenge I wrestle with every week of my life.  Since we have been on this series on The Prayers of Jesus, our church has been memorizing the Lord’s Prayer and saying it almost every Sunday for those who are just memorizing it.  We are following the new version that Pope Francis had pioneered because, as many Protestant Theologians and Preachers have pointed out, the traditional form was a bit misleading when it said, “lead us not into temptation.”  The Book of James makes it clear that God never tempts us.  Instead many Protestants and Catholics are praying the French translation “let us not fall into temptation.”  Just a minor change that most people probably understood anyway.  But for me it is a delight because every time my grand-daughter sees me she says, “I wanted to pray your favorite prayer GP.”  And then with the sweetest voice she prays the Lord’s Prayer and my heart just bursts with faith and joy. 

This week I will be sharing the beginning of a new series as we look at the powerful gospel that is the hope for the world … our only hope.  I have entitled it “Give Us Jesus.”   Many people are rejecting Christianity as a religion, but they really don’t know who Jesus is.  My sermon this week is about the events preceding Easter and I have entitled it First and Foremost.  I am so inspired with the beautiful stories of Jesus that I want to yell at the top of my lungs from a mountain top…”Give us Jesus!”  So, ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves to be inspired.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White
 

State of the Dream

By Pastor Tim White

I had a moment. It was a moment which stood out from all the other moments in my life. In this moment, all of life seemed fresh and new. God’s power was so apparent that all my fears and doubts were changed by the faith that God was pouring in my heart.  I was walking around the campus with my loyal dog Captain Gus.  It was a Saturday night after a beautiful Worship Service in front of the waterfall. Do you ever have moments where time stands still, and you can see life with a perspective that was hidden from you before?  Of course, we all have.  When you decide to get married, or a baby is born or your first day of high school.  We all have those moments - we just don’t have enough of them.

On this walk, after I had spent time singing hymns and looking into the stars, I could see the future of Washington Cathedral and the dream to Build a Great Caring Network.  I thought, let’s have a banquet - I need to share this with everyone who really cares about this dream. When I shared it with the pastoral staff, the banquet turned into Weekend Worship Services.  No renting a big ball room in a fancy hotel or bringing in a big-named music band like Jesus Culture or a big-named speaker like Bill Hybels.  No! we would serve a light meal at the Saturday night service and a big breakfast between the 9:30 am and 11:00 am worship services. So, Saturday night at 5:30 pm, Sunday at 9:30 am and Sunday at 11:00 am services I will pour out my heart.  Of course, our music team will make the music great and our staff will make the experience unforgettable with a slide show and testimonies about the impact of this great dream. I will then share what God had put on my heart.  I will address the exciting future for our church as we grow into God’s plan.

If you believe in the dream of Washington Cathedral, please be there this weekend.  You will be inspired and quite frankly, we need you. My sermon will conclude the series of Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer with the sermon, “My House shall be a House of Prayer.”   I expect it to be one of the best sermons that I will ever preach in my life.  We will see you there my friend.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

Prayer Motivates the Unmotivated

by Pastor Tim White

Last holiday season I was sitting around with my grown children and they were teasing me about the way I had raised them.  I took Elise surfing before she could swim.  I was so excited for her to learn and to share this experience with her.  Fortunately, we made it through a bunch of close calls without a horrible accident.  I taught them to climb mountains, drive cars in snow storms, catch fish, do homework, read defenses in football.  And a lot of other useless things that we all now laugh about.  But there was one thing that surprised me.  They all said they were so glad that I taught them to build a fire when it was almost impossible to start one.  My son said, “The first time I went hiking with friends I was shocked that no one else seems to know how to do that.”  I laughed, but they were all serious that building and starting a fire in difficult situations was the one useful lesson I had taught them.

Well, starting a fire in a rainstorm, or in a blizzard or without matches, takes a lot of patience.  Giving up is not an option.  It reminds me of learning how to pray.  It is a life-time pursuit.  This week I am preaching on how prayer motivates the unmotivated.  My text is the “High Priestly Prayer” of Christ in John Chapter 17. It is going to be a great message. I am enjoying it even now as I am studying for it and talking about it with my colleagues.

 “Prayer is a conversation within a relationship.” 

We are going to learn a lot this week about how to enrich our prayer lives and to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. If nothing in our series has begun a blazing fire in your prayer life yet … don’t give up.  We are going to keep studying God’s Word and lifting our inner spirit to the God of the Universe until that wildfire is roaring with light and heat.  This may be the most important thing that you learn under the teaching of Washington Cathedral.  I pray that this wildfire of authentic prayer multiplies throughout our church as we look at Jesus’ teaching on prayer in the Gospels.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

 

Prayer that Transforms Darkness

by Pastor Tim White

Nighttime at a hospital is rough when you are recuperating from a major illness or setback. The hospitals can get busy and you can feel so alone, and your fears can be magnified by every ache, pain or sorrow-filled thought. I guess that is why for three generations my grandfather, dad and I have spent the night at the hospitals with people who are really struggling. And there are some benefits. Almost every time I am a patient in the hospital the staff thinks I work there because they see me so often.  So much so, that at times we have had to be persistent in order to get our bill. 😀

I have heard time and again from young pastors that the days of pastors spending their time caring for people in the hospitals are over. As a matter of fact, many seem to boast that they don't do hospital visits at all. I was musing with one person in health care and they told me "I don't know of any other pastors nowadays that spend the night with dying people at the hospital." I said, "Well, to me it has always been a blessed adventure and I don't know any other way to authentically be a pastor." We even had one large church in our area call and ask us if they could refer all their hospital visits to us. It seems there's a new generation of churches arguing that it is just not worth their time.

All of this was going through my mind as I was recovering from knee replacement surgery, hoping to be better than ever. But I had some rough nights, reaching those low points that bring dark thoughts like: "Why had I spent the last 43 years ministering to people in hospitals when many of them never expressed their appreciation?" But God wouldn't leave me alone to have such a pity party.  He spoke to me in two-way prayer saying, "This ministry has been for ME and I've used you to bring comfort and hope to numerous people through the years.  Remember to thank me always, for this honor!"

There is a prayer that transforms darkness.  And this week I am going to teach on the amazing Biblical idea of the Mount of Transfiguration.  Most of the best commentaries written on this section of the synoptic gospels are by Popes before they even became Popes, so knowing their history is helpful.  This is just a fascinating area of Biblical inquiry - I think we are all going to learn something new that will impact our lives and the lives of those we touch in the community. 

I have been in the darkness watching Wheel of Fortune 😀 and sent out a prayer asking God to transform the darkness.  Please join us this week.  It's been a long winter. We all need a powerful, practical message from the scripture that transforms the darkness for us- please join me and bring a friend.

Diving into Prayer

by Josh Zappone

Here’s the thing, compared to some of you reading this post I am a prayer novice. There are several people at Washington Cathedral who I consider to be prayer warriors and giants, who I have so much to learn from. Though I have been praying for most of my life, I still struggle with it at times, and sometimes feel like I “suck” at prayer.

Rather than saying I “suck” at prayer, it would be more accurate to say I struggle with the discipline of prayer. I’ve never been the most disciplined or organized person, and I have often felt that may be hindering my prayer life. Still, I have this thirst inside me longing to reach those depths of prayer that I read about or see in other people at the church.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; 
my soul thirsts for you; 
my flesh faints for you, 
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 

Ps 63:1 (ESV)

I am willing to bet that there are many people out there that feel a frustration with their own prayer lives, who desire more intimacy with God, who try this and try that but still struggle.

I have some great news for you. Be discouraged no more. Take it from someone who has experienced this first hand.  Here is the first step to help you break through that prayer wall.

Stop comparing, start praying.

If you feel like your prayers are lacking, if you feel like you are failing to pray the way you should, or if you simply have fallen into a rut where your prayers are rote and not bringing you closer to God- stop comparing! There are so many great teachers on prayer and great practices that we can take up. SO MANY! You could read about prayer for years! 

I think we have the temptation to make a “mountain” out of the spiritual discipline of prayer. We see the greatness and the height of it and it is intimidating. Can I ever attain such a prayer life? It’s like seeing the massive but glorious undertaking of backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail… You could dream about it for years! You could buy the gear and read the blogs and then never set foot upon the trail. All this thinking about prayer can lead to a discouragement where you abandon the depths of prayer that transforms your life.

When it comes to prayer I cannot look first to the many others who have come before me. I am not going to be a Brother Lawrence or an A.W. Tozer. I am going to be Josh. Your prayers do not need to sound like the polished prayers of Paul or Jesus. I am going to look first to Jesus as it says so perfectly in Psalm 63, “earnestly I seek you”. That is the simplicity of prayer. It is Josh and Jesus. 

I would challenge you to think of prayer as a vast ocean and not a mountain. There are great depths to prayer and a vastness that allows you to simply seek Jesus without hesitation. It will be a lifetime of exploring and going deeper

My encouragement to you this week is to pray. Let nothing hold you back. Jesus is waiting for us to abide with him- to find ourselves in him. Let your journey of prayer take the path it will take, maintain that thirst you have for God, and humbly stop comparing your prayers to others. Give yourself freedom to pursue God and understand that you are diving into an ocean of unknowable depth and richness and you are not alone. 
 

Prayers That Refresh Best

By Pastor Tim White

The movie "The 15:17 to Paris" is the real-life drama of three Americans and one French citizen who saved over 500 people from a terrorist armed with an AK47 and a handgun.  Clint Eastwood directs it and it seems to come from a Christian perspective. It's the story of three young men who had been life-long friends and how two of them, who were serving in the military, had been preparing all their lives for such a moment as this.  In fact, at one point in their childhood these boys kept getting in trouble so were thought to be troubled kids. However, their single mom's answer back to the school principle was that "their God was bigger than any problem."  And he was, because those troubled boys all grew up to be outstanding young men.  As you may know from the News story -- They disarmed the terrorist and put him in a sleeper hold.  And then applied first aid to save another man's life who had been shot.  At one point the three young men tell the wounded passenger that he could die, and they asked him if he wanted them to pray for him.  It almost comical but the man and his wife say - "No Thanks".  When Jackie and I watched this on our Valentines date the whole theater laughed in response to that line.  

Sometimes we know we are in need but the last thing we want is someone's mistaken view of prayer.  This man was more afraid of an unknown prayer than the tragedy he was going through.  And I think the audience laughed because we could all relate to that in some small way.  As followers of Jesus we would, of course, say please pray for me.  But there is still that misguided prayer that we all are concerned about.  The prayer that stresses us out.

This week I will be returning to the pulpit after my knee surgery and I would appreciate your prayers for my continued healing. I am going to be sharing from the words of Jesus on prayer and meditation.  I call it the Prayers that Refresh Best.   There is a difference between stressing yourself out by praying all your fears instead of being in authentic conversation with a personal God in which you receive strength, thanksgiving, joy, and encouragement. God hears your prayers and has something to say to your inner soul in order to refresh you.  Please join me this weekend.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White