Prayers that Rock the World

by Tim White

This weekend I will be concluding the series on the Book of James with the message on James Chapter 5 Prayers that Rock the World.

There was a blog on You tube which showed a debate between Biologist and Oxford Professor: Richard Dawkins and the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the head of the Church of England. I like to read Richard Dawkins even though he believes that he is an atheist and has a lot of bitterness for those who believe in God. I have read Dawkins’ text book on Biology and it is quite good and of course I enjoyed learning his point of view from his book on the God Delusion and several other provocative books. To be fair I should point out that Dawkins recently suffered a stroke and by his own admission is not as fervent in belittling Christians since this event.

I did find it interesting that in a recent debate Dawkins begins by telling the Archbishop how it is his belief that in general Christians are just unintelligent people. He quotes a survey that the majority of Christians in England cannot even name the four gospels of the New Testament. After this tirade the Archbishop says, “that this is regrettable, but he believes that Christianity does have a lot of very intelligent people.” They are friends and have debated several times. So, the Archbishop asks Dawkins a question in response. He points out that Dawkins is an expert on Charles Darwin. The Archbishop goes on to return the question to his friend Dr. Dawkins by saying “could you tell me the complete title and subtitle of Darwin’s book on the Origin of the Species.” Dr. Dawkins says, “of course I could, I teach this in my college courses.” So, he begins … “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection…,” then he begins to stumble when trying to remember the subtitle which is “The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” Dawkins tries a couple of times and draws a blank turning red with embarrassment and he mutters, “God help me.” Which of course drew a big laugh because the atheist found himself praying in his debate about atheism.

I think almost everyone prays sometime, even if it is a slip and they find themselves saying “thank you God” and at the same time they are wondering if they believe in God. But there have been prayers that have rocked my life. One such prayer was when I prayed that God would forgive me of my sins and come into my life allowing me to be his follower the rest of my life. That prayer was life changing. When my Grandpa White used to pray, people in the congregation would say – “it is as if this old country pastor prayed heaven down to earth.” And many of you have witnessed or experienced prayers that been almost indescribable. Have you watched a father kneeling and praying with his kids as he tucks them into bed? Or have you seen a mother put her arms around one of her children and pray right from the heart that God would help this child? And many of us have watched Christians anoint someone with olive oil, laying hands on their shoulder, and being filled with Godly love as they ask for the Spirit of God to work in the life of this person who is in a desperate situation.

I think all of us have lots of questions about these prayers that ‘Rock the World’ and James Chapter 5 addresses that subject in such a way that we will all learn something and grow closer to the God who answers prayers. Please join me this weekend.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

Miracle Weekend

by Pastor Tim White

When you experience a miracle, the whole world seems new.  Last weekend, we experienced one when Leon Patillo, former lead singer for Santana, visited us and it was an amazing, grace-filled weekend!  It was all in God’s timing. Leon had called and said he and his wife Renee were going to be in town for a YWAM Banquet and would we like to have them as guests.  I said, “yes”.  I was recovering from my surgery and I knew it was time to unload the burden that had been on the hearts of the Board of Directors and Finance Committee (of the loving family we call Washington Cathedral).  So, we planned a Banquet for the Saturday night service just one month ahead of Easter.  And without much publicity the Sanctuary was full of people who are what I call Keepers of the Dream. We shared the story of how we had to sell our property so that the church could pay off its debtors from our huge recreation building project.  Willows Preparatory School bought the property and graciously agreed to lease it back to us for 35 years.  We had been able to use Spirit Falls 24/7 for free and use any of the other buildings on campus during weekends for a fair rental cost.  The challenge was that when they complete the new High School in July, we would begin to pay $13,300 a month to continue that lease.  After much investigation we realized that this was the best deal for our church that we could expect. 

You can see that this was a defining moment for the dream of trying to build a great caring network.  Our community missions and overseas missions are at an all-time high.  And while we may no longer be a mega church renting Meydenbauer Center for special services with 6,000 people in attendance, we are still a very powerful and dynamic moderate-sized church with the continued dream of being a meta church and uniting with churches of other cultures for worship, family, missions, healing, etc. 

Well, if you were there, you saw why it was one of the most inspiring weekends of my life!  One third of the $100/month pledges needed above our normal tithes and offerings were pledged.  This is a new high for us.  We hope to have all pledges completed by July 1st and I believe we will. It breathed a breath of new life into our church.  What seemed impossible has become an incredible launching pad of possibilities. We call this campaign Rockin’ the Dream because we are putting this beautiful dream into Rock.  We realize that sometimes “our greatest life is just on the other side of our greatest fears.”  And just like the children of Israel, we are marching around the Walls of Jericho believing that this wall will come tumbling down. 

This week I am preaching on James Chapter 4.  If you know the Book, you know it is a great chapter in the Bible and I am calling my message - How to Build or Rebuild a Winning Team.  Every great life is represented by a great team and you are the one catalyst, along with God’s divine ways, to put your team together.   

Join us this weekend: Saturday at 5:30pm, Sunday at 9:30am and 11:00am, as we take another stride ahead in taking our church deeper into God’s Word and purposes. To build a church full of disciple-makers that will challenge the shallow faith across our land which has given Christianity a reputation that is causing such a large drop-out of the next generation.  We need you there and you need to be there - so let’s meet. 

Your friend for the rest of my life, 

Pastor Tim White


Words of Power

by Pastor Tim White

Words do have power. The long history of our understanding of words goes back to the beginning of language. And recently, there was a warranted theological protest in the orthodox Christian community about respecting the power of words over the God who works behind them. It was nicknamed ‘blab it and grab it’ and many Christians stepped back from this position because it induced a false sense of guilt for those who had bad things happen to them. Some Christians going overboard in this area felt like if they were just faith-filled enough, that nothing bad would ever happen to them. When someone came down with an illness it was thought that their own sin had caused it. This was a simple way to look at the world and gave people a sense of control when life seemed uncontrollable; but the whole truth of scripture exposed this overemphasis by having the Book of Job right in the middle of it. Job did nothing to bring all the tragedy in his life. And this most ancient book in Scripture depicted characters as friends of Job who tried to get him to admit it was all his fault. Thus, we have the nickname used today ‘Friends of Job’.

Most “complicated” truths are indeed complicated. There are incongruities that need to be resolved by what seems like contradictions. Here is the contradiction pointed out by the Book of James - Chapter 3. “The tongue is like the rudder of a ship. Be careful of what you say.” You can hurt others by your words, and the most vulnerable target is the people you love most. They are vulnerable because they care about what you say. So, being in a bad mood, you might say something you really don’t mean and leave a lasting scar on someone who you care most for in the world. When you say horrible things about yourself you can hurt yourself. You might be the biggest thing dragging yourself down. And God, in love, tells us be careful about what we say.

In ancient history we know that people all around the globe knew that saying a person’s name was very powerful. Words are powerful but so are actions. And God works deeper than just the present words we speak. He is not confined to the present but can heal the past and pave the way for our future. However, words do have power. “I can” is powerful. “We can” is even more powerful. “I am sorry, with God’s help I want to change.” “I trust you” and on the other side, “I don’t trust you,” can really hurt. “We are through” can be devastating, “you are hopeless” can scar someone for life. Words do have power and God teaches the importance of the balance of the power of our words and the power of His love.

So, join me this weekend as I come back to the pulpit for the first time since my knee surgery. We will grow deeper in our authentic relationship with God as we see the power of words in light of God’s mighty love. It could change your life - can you afford to miss it?

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

P.S. If you can, please join us for a wonderful banquet Saturday night at 5:30 with Special Guest: Leon Patillo who was the former lead-singer for the group Santana. I will be sharing about the challenge and dreams awaiting Washington Cathedral this year. I know everyone teases me, but this really is the most important night in the history of our church. It has been quite a party - quite an exciting adventure! Please join us as we tackle the next challenge. Leon will be at all the regular Sunday worship services at 9:30am and 11:00am, and I’ll be teaching about the Power of Words.

Faith Into Action

by Linda Skinner

One of the great joys of my life is serving others. When I was growing up, my mom modeled serving others. She taught Sunday School, sung in the choir at church, cooked meals for people who were sick or going through a tough time. I never once heard her complain about the time she was needed to help others. When she was at Washington Cathedral, she was a greeter, TLC Leader, sang in the choir, helped with the youth, helped with Singles, baked and cooked. I remember when Pastor Tim had to ask me to not let mom know when something was needed because to her it was her privilege to donate or help out.

As a teenager, my youth leader was adamant that if God gave you a gift, it was your duty, privilege and joy to use that gift to help others. She made sure that each one of us found our niche for serving and in her words “if you are in your niche, it will be a joy.” I think I was about 13 years old when I did my first outreach to a nursing home. I remember to this day my visits with Eleanor. She was in her 80’s and when you are 13 that seems ancient. She hadn’t seen her daughter for 5 years and she felt very alone and abandoned. At the time, I couldn’t imagine why her daughter stayed away. But Eleanor had serious dementia and she didn’t remember me from time to time, when I visited. I’m thinking her daughter was finding it hard to accept her mother’s illness. (We have so much better understanding of dementia now, but this was in 1961.)

When I visited Eleanor, she would light up. I read to her. Sometimes, Bible verses, sometimes the books she had by her bed, sometimes from magazines (her favorites were Time, Life and Reader’s Digest). We’d laugh together and she’d ask me about my dreams. But each time I showed up, we’d kind of cover the same territory as the previous time because she didn’t remember me. My youth leader asked how it was going, and I told her I was feeling like I wasn’t doing much because we went over the same things every time. She wasn’t making any progress. That was the day that I learned that service is not about getting something done, it is about connecting with people and showing them the love of Jesus.

That lesson has helped me so much in my ministry life. Sometimes when I’m serving, I get caught up in accomplishing the task – getting the job done. Then God brings Eleanor into my memory and I remember that the task is only the means to an even greater end. “Serving is connecting with people and showing them the love of Jesus.” Serving is putting your faith in a loving, caring God into action.

This weekend Pastor Michael continues in our series Move It exploring with us James 2. Join us for his message “Faith – Dead or Alive!” Learn the joys of putting your faith into action.


Pastor Linda

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith
but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
James 2:14


by Pastor Linda Skinner

When I was about 8 years old, my mom had a heart attack and was in bed for about a month. It really scared me because she was my rock. Not only did she take care of me and love me, but she was always the picture of health and vitality. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t or wouldn’t do for me or anyone else. It frightened me to realize that she was not super-human but was vulnerable just like anyone else to illness and death.

The first day, my dad cooked breakfast and it was awful. He fried an egg, but it was so tough I couldn’t even cut it with a knife. You see, I was raised on a Chicken Ranch, so our eggs were always fresh. Dad turned the pan on the stove and walked out to the “egg house” and got an egg, came back inside, and broke it into the pan. It cooked in about 30 seconds and it was hard as shoe leather. (You can’t fast cook eggs, if you didn’t know that.) When I told him it was too tough, he said “just eat it, you’ll be fine.” I broke into tears. Mom called me into the bedroom and asked me what was wrong. I told her “that I was scared she was going to die, and we’d all starve to death.”

Of course, she got a good laugh at that one. But everything was a teaching time for my mom. So, she pulled out her Bible and read Matthew 6:25-27:

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stay away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Then she said something like – “Don’t be scared; your Heavenly Father will always be with you even if I’m not and he will make sure you don’t starve.” I don’t think I really understood what she was saying but I felt better. I don’t’ think it was her words as much as it was the strength of her faith. She had a faith that literally could move mountains and many times did. As a child, I don’t think I appreciated the strength of her faith, but it still impacted my life greatly.

When our faith becomes a central part of our life and literally “oozes” out of us, it has a profound impact on those around us.

This weekend Pastor David will be kicking off our new series, “Move It.” Using the Book of James, we will learn how genuine faith can only result in amazing works. Pastor David will lead us through the principles in James chapter 1.


Pastor Linda

Senseless Joy

By Pastor Josh Zappone

This weekend I have the pleasure of preaching in our Joy Series. The text I am speaking on is in Ecclesiastes. Why Ecclesiastes? May seem like an odd choice when speaking about joy!
I started preparing for this weekend of preaching with a lot of questions:

  • What is joy?

  • Where does it come from?

  • Why do I not feel it now?

  • Is joy an emotion or a mindset?

  • Can joy be stolen?

  • Can joy be given?

  • What is joy vs. hope?

  • Are Christians supposed to be happier than unbelievers?

Whenever there is a question that comes up (or a topic I dive into) I seem to encounter a flood of questions. Some questions that I have thought about before, some entirely new, and some that I have been avoiding. Maybe you are like this- you function on questions, looking for answers, and approach things like a puzzle to be solved.

Self-reflection is not my strongest skill, but this week I have been spending more time thinking about myself – thinking. . . . a lot of thoughts! One thing I realized in this process is that I tend to think that everything, ultimately, logically fits together and makes sense. Questions have answers. Even if those answers are not obtainable by me. Life makes sense - or at least I try to make life make sense and avoid things that I can’t make sense of.

Ecclesiastes is one of those books in the Bible that tells us, “Hey the world doesn’t make sense, and if you think about it, can really senselessly suck sometimes.”

It’s true. I admit defeat. The world/life/God cannot be rationally and logically figured out (probably).

While the teacher in Ecclesiastes gives us his seemingly pessimistic, everything-is-vanity worldview he also leaves us with a strange exhortation: eat, drink, and be joyful in your toil— for this is God’s gift to man. Joy! Joy in the midst of senselessness. Joy when everything fails you. Joy when there is no apparent reason for joy. JOY!

Joy is an emotion. Without emotion joy feels empty— it cannot be simplified and called a mindset. Joy is something we feel. It is not restricted to Christians- my atheist friend can have joy as well and we can even be joyful together! For many people though, joy is dependent on situations or circumstances.

There is something strange, mysterious, and elusive about joy in the Bible. The teacher in Ecclesiastes says everything is vanity/temporary/a vapor on the wind. Yet we are told to have joy... Have joy in the meaningless and the failing. Feel joy when life is senseless.

  • This is the elusiveness of joy that the Apostle Paul discovers in his suffering and loss
    (2 Corinthians 7, Colossians 1:24).

  • This is the joy Jesus tells his disciples about as he heads for death (John 16:22).

  • This is the joy James has in mind when he tells Jesus-followers to count all trials as joy
    (James 1:2).

  • This is the joy of all God’s people that Dr. Marty shared with us last week from Isaiah 35.

There is a joy that God gives through his Spirit that is not dependent on circumstances. When things are senseless or vanishing like a vapor on the wind, there is joy- a feeling of joy. Not just a grin and bear it, mental fortitude joy.

However, as the teacher of Ecclesiastes reminds us again, there is a time for everything, and joy would not be the wonderful, surprising, and senseless gift it is without moments of sorrow and mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). So, I am not going to pretend like I have joy figured out— a question I commonly ask is “Why do I not feel joy now?” Yet moments of joy still come. Joy comes in times of worship and prayer, in my relationships, and when I least expect it. Joy comes when the circumstances oppose it. Joy is a gift from God.

In Ecclesiastes, we are taught that joy can be found in the senseless, in the mundane, and in the toil of life. That’s why Ecclesiastes.

Join me this weekend at any of our three services, Saturday at 5:30 pm or Sunday at 9:30 or 11:00 am. If you can’t make it to church, join us on Facebook Live by going to the Washington Cathedral Facebook Page and attend the 11:00 am service remotely.

Joy Can Surprise Us

by Pastor Linda Skinner

What did you do this week?  I love all the stories of how people are coping with snow, ice, power outages, etc.  Seems that the people who are making the most of this week are the ones who look for ways to make the most of the situation rather than bemoaning the unfortunate circumstances they are facing.  Don’t get me wrong, I think we have all experienced a little bemoaning, especially if you lost power, slipped on ice, had trees fall on your house, or got stuck in a snow drift.  However, it’s heartwarming to hear the stories of neighbors and friends helping one another.  People enjoying the simpler things of life – making snow angels; neighborhood snowball fights; hot coco in front of the fire; a good book; family time; even community sidewalk shoveling.  So many stories of people finding joy in the midst of the storm.

 I’m reminded of the Psalmists words in Psalm 30:

 4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones:
And give thanks to his holy name.

5 For his anger is but for a moment;
His favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
But joy comes with the morning.

 This Sunday Dr. Marty Folsom will be sharing the message on Does It Spark Joy? -- exploring how often we are “Surprised by Joy.”  Please join us for a great weekend of worship and celebration.

 May the Joy of the Lord sustain you through whatever storm you are facing.

Pastor Linda

 (As I am writing this devotion on Thursday morning, the weather reports are looking promising for a rainy weekend, so we are planning on having all our services – Saturday night at 5:30, Pastor Michael will be sharing the message on “Surprised by Joy.”  Sunday at 9:30 and 11:00 am, Dr. Marty Folsom will be sharing.  In case you are still stuck inside this Sunday, our 11:00 Service will be broadcast on Facebook Live.  You can reach the broadcast by going to the Washington Cathedral Facebook Page.)


Authentic Joy

by Pastor Tim White

Does it spark joy? What a great question. One of my heroes is Earl Palmer. I just love his Biblical exposition and his love of C.S. Lewis. I used to look for opportunities to go to a conference to hear him speak when he was at Berkley. And when he was at University Presbyterian Church, we had the privilege of having him preach for me at our church.

Earl Palmer said, "Joy is the evidence of Christian maturity not only in the easy moments of life but in the tough times also.”

Last week we heard from Pastor Linda that “joy” is mentioned 545 times in the Bible. That is astounding! But equally astounding is that the Bible also addresses our sorrows and hurts in such an honest fashion. “Jesus wept” is such an important verse because it shows God wants to be honest with us. And how many Psalms discuss life as being in the pits. But as honest as the Bible allows us to be about our hurts, discouragements, and insecurities, it is equally astounding how it calls us to joy.

If I had two prayers for Washington Cathedral this year it would be first, that every member would see themselves as a disciple and a discipler bringing a new hunger for the Word of God and fellowship with the Spirit of God. And that we would all take seriously our “Life Mission.” Let me tell you what a big part your life mission plays. Part of your “Life Mission” is to help those you love to grow deeper in authentic faith. I see every person sitting in each of our services as the tip of the ice berg. You all influence or can influence so many people. You must start where they are at and plant seeds, knowing that some will sprout, and others won’t. But isn’t that the picture of life that Jesus gave us in the Parable of the Sower? When I die, I want each one of my children and grandchildren, neighbors, friends, enemies and people I hardly know to see a spark of joy in me that points them to a deeper faith in Jesus Christ. I cast a wide net. I include atheists, agnostics, charismatics and Bible Baptists, Catholics and Orthodox, those who are spiritual giants and spiritually shallow. I want to influence them all for Jesus Christ.

My second prayer is that our church will be more joyful, more celebratory. That every Small Group and Ministry will represent deep friendship and joy. I think that is the inside track to opening hardened or weary hearts to a fresh work by God. Won’t you join me as we study the revolutionary message of Philemon and what God’s message has to say about authentic joy?

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White

Pure Joy

by Pastor Linda Skinner

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” James 1:2

I often thought that James was a bit callous when I read this scripture. Does he really think we can find “Joy” in our troubles? As usual, I was forgetting two important principles. First and foremost, never take one verse of Scripture out of context and try to make sense of it. James finishes his thought in the rest of the verses:

…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4

Maybe James is not suggesting that we find joy in our trails, maybe he is suggesting we find joy in the growth we experience from our trials. When I’m working out, I have to say I really don’t find “joy” in the sweating and soreness. However, I do find “joy” when the doctor tells me my heart is healthy and my jeans still fit.

Second, maybe my definition of “joy” needs some tweaking. What is “joy” anyway? God’s Word has some very specific things to say to us on these topics. This week I have the joy of sharing with you what I’ve been learning about the topic of “joy” from God’s Word. I invite you to join me in this exploration as we kick off a month-long series “Does It Spark Joy?”

The Super Bowl will be much more enjoyable because you’ve spent time in worship this weekend.

Have a blessed day,

Pastor Linda


by Pastor Tim White

I love the painting by Tissot (1862) illustrating the dramatic story that Jesus told about the Father (representing God the Father) waiting in front of the farm house for his son to return. The son decides to come home and when his dad spots him, he runs and gives him a hug and places a ring on his finger and a cloak over his shoulders. Wow what a powerful picture!

Recently I read in a business journal how to win back customers you have lost. It takes a long time to win a new customer and that is how businesses have traditionally been built. And churches have been the first to proclaim that it is more trouble than it is worth to try reaching customers who have quit for some reason. Rick Warren, who was my friend when we both were first starting out, made a big point of this in his Early Purpose Driven Church Seminars. But times have changed. It is no longer a battle over what kind of music we are going to play or power-plays within the church. We are an established church and we love people. I can’t think of one negative thought that I have had about anyone who has ever attended our church. Maybe my memory is bad or maybe I’ve inherited my Grandpa White’s personality, but it’s true. I have good feelings for everyone who ever helped in this beautiful dream of Building a Great Caring Network. I can tell many stories of the heroes God has used to save the day for Washington Cathedral. So, I have been praying that some of those heroic families will return. Life is too short to not see each other. And lately more and more people have been stopping by to say “Hi” as we reaffirm our love and friendship. One person pulled me over and, with tears in his eyes, said, “my wife and I will never forget that this is the place that we found Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.” And I said, “I know you live a distance away but let’s get together more frequently.”

Yes, new families are coming. Most of them have young with children. But when old friends come back, that is truly a treasure. God is restoring this church and continuing to build a place that has an ongoing voice in this community. And it is going to happen before I go to be with the Lord - well I am already with the Lord, but you know what I mean.

Coming back from my illnesses at the young age of 63 - I believe in comebacks. They are not easy, but they are dramatic. And God has good things ahead for us. This week I am concluding our series on Growing in Trust of our God with the 4th reason to trust God. First, was “Because it is Biblical.” Second, was “That it is Practical.” Third, was “That it is Beautiful to Trust the Dream” by remembering that our imperfect dreams point to God who is behind them. And this week my title is “Smart Trust.” The title is taken from Stephen Covey’s book entitled Smart Trust and a second book entitled The Speed of Trust. In them he is showing how necessary healthy trust is in building a successful life. You don’t have to turn off your radar or your skepticism to be emboldened by healthy trust. Join us or rejoin us this weekend because we are in the inspiration business.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim