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Reflections from Annual Conference 2019

Jul 16th, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on Reflections from Annual Conference 2019

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Rom. 12:18

This text has been heavy on my heart as I process my time at annual conference. We are: a diverse group of people: from different cultures, possessing different life experiences and sometimes different biblical conclusions…that come together once a year and have intimate discussions around a table. What could go wrong?…

One person said we would agree more if we looked to our bibles like the early church. And yet, God’s people didn’t always agree in the Bible. Rom 14 tells us one example of the Church differing on eating food sacrificed to idols and on what days we should worship. Paul’s response? ‘Don’t pass judgement on disputable matters…each of us will give an account to God.” It’s clear the apostle had an opinion but he cared more about their unity than the right answer. Can Rom. 14 be abused so the church accepts anything and we lose our mission of living and proclaiming Jesus? Yes! But to me, it’s a reminder not to judge, despite our differences.

Speaking of differences…. let us not argue about them…let us live them out!

If evangelism is your focus… then go and evangelize!

If living out the teachings of Jesus of Jesus is your emphasis…then feed the poor, visit the imprisoned and give that voice to those on the margins of society!

If you think we are losing our passion for the Bible…then teach it and preach it to anyone who will listen!

At annual conference I was surrounded by friends, mentors and spiritual big brothers. I also met new brothers and sisters in Christ. I would not have met anyone if I stayed back in disapproval. Today’s climate in the world and unfortunately in the church is to live in fear. To make assumptions based not on facts or personal stories, but fear.

I choose not to exclude and judge or live in fear…but as much as I can, live at peace with everyone.


Fun and food at our monthly movie night.

Jun 26th, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on Fun and food at our monthly movie night.

Tomorrow morning at 10:45am we will be looking at the theme of love from John 13:34 and 1 John 4:7-12. All are welcome!

Jun 22nd, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on Tomorrow morning at 10:45am we will be looking at the theme of love from John 13:34 and 1 John 4:7-12. All are welcome!

Movie Night at Glendale Church of the Brethren. Friday June 21 at 6:30pm

Jun 20th, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on Movie Night at Glendale Church of the Brethren. Friday June 21 at 6:30pm

Philippians Sermon Series Part 2

May 23rd, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on Philippians Sermon Series Part 2

Philippians 2:1-11 gives us a picture of what it means to be Christ-like: “…having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:2b-5). With these words the church in Philippi not only learned about how they ought to live their lives, but they also learned more about Jesus (see Phil 2:6-11).

One beautiful message we learn about Jesus from Phil 2:1-11 is that Christ humbled himself by taking on human flesh (vs 7), and Christ humbled himself to death on a cross (vs 8). Sadly, the truly miraculous message of these two humilities which Christ took on sometimes lose their weight in our society. Jesus, God’s Son and God incarnate took on a human body. It is miraculous and mind boggling! Jesus, God’s Son and God incarnate died in one of the most humiliating and disgraceful ways—dying on a cross.

And, of course, the other miracle in this is that Jesus rose from the dead, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11).

I cannot comprehend the generosity and compassion of our Heavenly Father, but it seems to me that in Philippians 2:1-11 Paul is giving us the chance to join Jesus—both in his glory and in his suffering. In this world of choices and infinite options, I pray that each of us finds comfort in the love of Jesus, fellowship with the Spirit, and like-mindedness in our growth and discernment together.

Philippians Sermon Series Part 1

May 8th, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on Philippians Sermon Series Part 1

For the next three weeks Glendale Church of the Brethren will be working through the New Testament book of Philippians! Throughout this time I hope we learn about the early church, the life and ministry of Paul, and also the ways Glendale Church of the Brethren lives out this same vision in our neighborhood today!

This week our scripture is Philippians 1:1-11, this is Paul’s opening address to the congregation in Philippi and it covers the themes of thanksgiving and prayer. Here, Paul is thankful for the church at Philippi, thankful for their faithfulness

to God, and thankful for their partnering with him. And so Paul’s prayer is, “that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:10-11a).

In this opening we have, what Augustine says, is the central point of the entire Bible: love of God and love of neighbor. Paul’s love for God shines through this text as he joyfully bears the chains of persecution even while proclaiming Christ. And, his love for neighbor is evident through warm lines of scrolled fellowship and mutual devotion with the believers in Philippi.

Gratitude and love, thanksgiving and prayer; these are the themes which will ground our study of the early church, the ministry of Paul, and our own church’s ministry in our neighborhood! Stay tuned for how our journey through Philippians brings depth and new life to our congregational life! And, for those of you who cannot join us on Sunday, consider this question, how does gratitude and love shape you and your Christian journey in the world?


Weekly Practices: Bible Study

May 2nd, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on Weekly Practices: Bible Study

Glendale Church of the Brethren will be receiving the sermon from Pastor Robert Aguierre this Sunday! So, I am taking this opportunity to reflect on our weekly Bible study practice at church.

Throughout the winter Glendale Church of the Brethren has been gathering on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:00pm and Tuesday afternoons from 1:00-2:00pm. We have been looking at different gospel scriptures and then asking ourselves three questions; 1. What does this text teach us about God?, 2. What does this text teach us about humans, 3. What does this text teach us about obedience? It is surprising how difficult it can sometimes be to remain focused on the question at hand, particularly remaining vigilant about answer question number one first, “What does this text teach us about God?” It seems that we want to jump to what we learn as humans, or general truths that we can take away. But we have discovered, through grit and discipline that when we remain rooted in the rhythm of these questions we learn incredible things about God and about ourselves (in that order)!

This past week our groups reflected on Luke 13:10-17. And here’s what we learned:

  • Jesus has the power to heal and would not condemn the woman or her illness
  • Jesus touches people even if they are “unclean”
  • Jesus was a rule breaker/challenger especially when something could keep a person from knowing healing
  • Jesus recognizes the need for healing


  • People can treat miracles callously like the synagogue ruler who said to come back on days of the week other than the Sabbath for healing
  • When people think rules are being broken that could challenge their power, they will fight back
  • People were delighted with Jesus like the crowd at the end of the story
  • People praise God when they are healed like the woman in the story


  • Jesus was obedient to a different way of interpreting the law
  • Jesus was obedient to God while, while the synagogue ruler was obedient to other people’s interpretation of the law
  • The woman was obedient when she stepped forward

These observations may seem simple, but they unfolded through hours of thoughtful discussion. By placing ourselves closely alongside the text we can begin to imagine the scene, rather than jumping to what we assume the story means for us today. In fact, although we never directly answer the question, what does this story mean for us today? We frequently leave the space with the assurance that God sees us, God reaches out to us, and that we are deeply and unconditionally loved by God.

The Road to Emmaus

Apr 24th, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on The Road to Emmaus

Our scripture for Sunday, April 28 is Luke 24:13-35. This is the story of two of Jesus’s disciples as they walk with heavy hearts toward a village called Emmaus. Along the way a stranger begins to walk with them. The stranger is actually Jesus, but the disciples are kept from recognizing him. They share about the events of Jesus’s arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection; but rather than feeling comforted by the resurrection, they feel scared and disoriented. Jesus walks with them, allowing them to voice their sadness, but he also reveals how everything from Moses to the prophets actually point to him!

When the disciples and Jesus near Emmaus, Jesus continues to go on, but the disciples urge him to stay with them that night. As the three sit down to a meal, Jesus takes bread, gives thanks, and broke it with them. Then the disciples eyes are opened, and they recognize Jesus! With incredible joy they reflect, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?” (vs. 32)

N.T. Wright reflects of this text when he writes, “The road to Emmaus is just the beginning. Hearing Jesus’s voice in scripture, knowing him in the breaking of bread, is the way. Welcome to God’s new world” (Luke for Everyone, 298). In other words, perhaps we can only recognize Jesus when we learn to see him within the story of God, the First Testament accounts of Israel, throughout the poetry of the Bible, and in the Gospels in which we can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the stories of Jesus’s life and ministry.

We are each on our own road to Emmaus, wrestling with questions, and agonizing over our life of discipleship to Jesus. But Jesus walks beside us, whether we recognize him or not. Jesus, our key to scripture and our friend at the table.

Holy Week Readings and Reflections

Apr 18th, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on Holy Week Readings and Reflections

It is Holy Week, and rather than preview the sermon for Sunday (we will absolutely be celebrating the resurrected Christ!), I want to suggest some scripture for reading and reflection for this Maundy-Thursday, Good Friday, Saturday, and finally Easter Sunday!

Maundy-Thursday: John 13:1-38

Jesus is our Lord, but Jesus also came to serve us. One way Jesus’s service to us is modeled is when Jesus washes his disciple’s feet. This, incredibly humbling act, placed Jesus in the category of servant. How does it make you feel that God’s

only Son, Jesus, came to serve you? How does this knowledge inspire you to live your life?


Good Friday: John 19:1-42

This week as I reread the story of Jesus’s arrest, torture, and crucifixion, I was struck by how quickly the friends and disciples of Jesus abandon him. On top of this, I was struck by how much power Jesus had. As God’s son, Jesus could have stopped every event from unfolding the way it did. When you suffer, do you remember that Jesus also suffered?



During my seminary training at Fuller Seminary I visited the Jewish Temple and Center in Pasadena, CA. Twice, during the service I attended that day, congregants were asked to stand if they were bereaved. This practice captured my interest then, simply because I had never seen grief acknowledged communally in a worship service before. Now, the image of those few men and women standing comes to me as I think of Jesus’s friends and disciples on Saturday. I wonder if they went to synagogue or to the temple that day. I wonder if they stood to show their grief. When you mourn the loss of a friend or family member, how do you share your sadness with those around you?

Sunday: John 20:1-18

Hold your head high,
Christ has risen.
Rejoice and shout,
Christ has come calling us home.
Home to the heart of God,
Home to God’s living presence,
Home to God’s banquet feast.

Hold your head high,
Christ has risen.Death has been conquered,
Christ has come calling us home.
All that was broken has been made whole,
All that was dislocated has been set right,
All that was oppressed has been set free.

Hold your head high,
Christ has risen,
Bringing God’s healing,
Christ has come calling us home.
Redemption is complete,
God’s eternal world has begun,
Love reigns over all,Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Christ has risen calling us home.

–Christine Sine




Jesus comes…riding on a donkey!?!

Apr 10th, 2019 by Pastor Robert | Comments Off on Jesus comes…riding on a donkey!?!

Ronald Heifetz may have been talking about Jesus when he said, “Leadership is often a matter of failing people’s expectations at a rate they can stand.” Think about it, for the Jews of Jesus’s day, they had pretty clear expectations about who their messiah would be! A warrior who would bring political power back to Jews; a judge who would bring ethical, moral, and religious truth to an unfaithful world; but a peaceful servant-leader? Jesus’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey was certainly failing people’s expectations, but perhaps not at a rate they stand!

From Jesus’s birth to his baptism and ministry, his work was always about teaching, healing, and reconciliation to God. Forcing people to follow or coercing them to take a side wasn’t Jesus’s approach. Rather, when the disciples are called, he invites them, “Come follow me”; when he sees someone who is sick he asks, “Do you want to be healed?” Jesus sees people’s faith, and Jesus’s word casts out demons and heals the sick. What is gentler or more powerful that words spoken in truth? It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis’s book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In this allegory, four children prepare to meet Aslan, a lion who represents the Christ figure in the book:

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

The servant-leader, King Jesus, riding into the Holy City, Jerusalem on a donkey is a surprising sight. It fails people’s expectations and challenges us to seek God’s vision for the world. A vision that teaches us that peace triumphs over hate and violence. A vision that teaches us that love ought to guide our decisions. A vision that shows us that gentleness and humility have more power than all the armies and war toys of history.

I invite you to join the crowd’s ruckus, “Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” This is our surprising King! Our Messiah! Watch carefully, listen intently—become like this King, become like Jesus.