8363 Center Drive, La Mesa
Pastor: Ed Noble
Born: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Formation: California State University, Long Beach; Biola College (University), La Mirada; Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada
Years Ordained: 24
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Ed Noble: Probably the better part of two working days are devoted to sermon preparation….We try to make our sermons and series connect with some point of need in people’s lives. So as we package the sermon, we try to have something to which even a person who doesn’t go to church would say, “I can see how that would be interesting” or “That’s something I’d like to hear more about.”
SDR: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
PN: It always gets back to this longing for God that is in all of us. Even for people who wouldn’t label it like that. My all-time favorite quote is St. Augustine in the Confessions, on the very first page: “Thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” It almost seems that every sermon I preach winds up being some riff on that idea.
SDR: What do you find the most mysterious about your faith?
PN: I think the most unfathomable part of my relationship with God is also the simplest. God really, truly, deeply loves me and you. That’s why we say it over and over again — that God loves us. There’s something about it that is a little too good to be true. I think the greatest act of faith is to truly believe that God does love me. This whole Christian story of Jesus, his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, is very much about the love of God for his people and the world.
SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PN: The prophet Jeremiah says that the people commit two errors. They forsake God, the fountain of eternal water, and they dig for themselves broken wells that can hold no water. If you boil it down, most of the stuff we wring our hands over are symptoms of that essential problem — we’re digging all these broken wells and we expect them to do stuff for us that they’re just not able to do.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PN: Our mission is to reach as many people as possible with the good news of Jesus and help connect with God. We’re all about seeing people that feel far from God connect with him.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PN: I think that scripture is very clear, especially in the Gospel of John. Jesus says over and over again, “He who trusts his life to me has eternal life.” For those who trust Jesus, there’s something — a life — that begins in them eternal in nature. It’s God’s life that comes into you. What Jesus holds out is life with him now and forever. That’s the most biblical way to answer it…. In 2 Corinthians, St. Paul says that those who reject Jesus will be away from the presence of the Lord. Heaven and Hell are a little more nuanced than a place in the clouds and a place of fire. Those are words that are used to describe that union with and separation from God.