Contact: Mira Mesa High School, 10510 Reagan Road, San Diego, 619-699-5950; harborpc.org
Membership: 57 (attendance 115)
Pastor: Bob Klein
Born: Baltimore, Maryland
Formation: Hope College-Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California
Years Ordained: 17
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing a sermon?
Pastor Bob Klein: It’s an average of about 8 to 12 hours. I do a variety of things in the course of the year, but ordinarily the sermons are expository. I’ll read a passage and explain it — I go with the “proclamation-explanation-application” model of things. First, here’s what it says. Then I explain what needs to be explained in order to take a 21st-century understanding of something that was 2000 years ago, or if we’re talking about the Old Testament, as far back as 3500 years ago. Then I answer the question “So what?” by showing how the passage applies practically in our lives.
SDR: What is your favorite subject to preach about?
PB: The idea of being a citizen of Heaven and a citizen here on Earth. Someone summed up Augustine’s City of God by saying that because we are citizens of the City of God, believers can be the best citizens of the cities of man. Because God has saved us and because of our security in him, we’re unleashed to serve people and our city and to glorify God by overcoming oppression, righting wrongs, feeding the poor and homeless.
SDR: Which of the Ten Commandments does your congregation have the hardest time keeping?
PB: The first one. Breaking all the other commandments are just variations of breaking the first one…. It was John Calvin who said the human heart is an idol factory. We turn all kinds of things into the thing we think will love us and bring us satisfaction.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PB: I tried doing different things as a businessman, but they didn’t work out. I don’t think God said these words to me, but in my reasoning it was as if God was sitting there with me, saying…“What do you think, given all the things you’ve done, and all the gifts I’ve given you, what do you think I’ve made you to do?” Then I said to him, “Well, Father, I don’t want to be a pastor.” From that point on I sensed God sitting there, smiling at me and nodding his head.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PB: Ultimately, when you die, one day God will look at you and say, “Okay, here at the gates, why should I let you into My Heaven?” The only answer that would be acceptable, according to the Bible, as I understand it, would be to say something like this: “Lord, You shouldn’t let me into Heaven on anything I did. I’m trusting entirely in the life Jesus lived on my behalf, as my substitute, and the death He died as my substitute. He’s my only hope.” So, other than that, God has prepared a place — a place that is extremely unpopular, especially in our 21st-century culture, which sees it as very narrow-minded and judgmental of God, a place called Hell…. Hell is basically separation from God — to be cut off from the fellowship, the blessedness, the grace of God; to be in Heaven is to be in full fellowship with God and His people.