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La Jolla Lutheran Church

Place

La Jolla Lutheran Church

7111 La Jolla Boulevard, San Diego




Membership: 70 individuals

Pastor: Mark Dahle

Age: 54

Born: Seattle, Wash.

Formation: Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Ill.; Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash.

Years ordained: 15

San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?

Pastor Mark Dahle: Typically about three months out, I start looking at the topics and planning for what the content will be.

SDR: Can you think of a time when you gave a homily that completely flopped?

PD: One of the things about flops is that I know I can’t tell whether it was a flop or not by how I feel about it or by the apparent reactions of people. I preached a sermon here at La Jolla Lutheran where one of the members had his arms crossed the whole time and he was sunk down in the pew with a scowl on his face, and I was so discouraged that I just about quit several times in the message, just looking at this guy. Afterwards, he said that was the best sermon he had ever heard.

SDR: Are there things you’ve learned to stay away from in your sermons?

PD: I don’t avoid any topics, except that our church is filled with people of every political party — and that’s by design — so I don’t preach on political parties. But I do preach about what the Bible says about every issue.

SDR: What is your main worry as a member of the clergy?

PD: We are praying for the nations right now, and we recently focused on praying for Mexico and locally one of biggest things going on is the drug violence and Mexico’s fate as a nation as the drug cartels aim at judges and politicians and people trying to help that society.

SDR: What is the most prevalent sin you observe or hear about from your congregation?

PD: A lot of times people have something that they’re designed to do but they don’t have the courage or faith to do it, so they work on lesser things. One of the things this does to people is it causes them to feel empty because they’re missing out on their true purpose and that results in a need for various addictions to fill the void. Not living up to our potential is probably the biggest thing I’ve observed.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PD: Jesus taught that there is life after death and that not everyone has the same experience after death; that some people are quite happy in life after death and others are in pain because of choices they have made during their lifetime. So much of the focus of our messages here is on helping people to make choices that they will be happy about, not just today but over the course of their lives and at the end of their days. Jesus taught that some people’s experience in the afterlife will be happiness — and Jesus talks about feasting as a common illustration of a place of great joy. He was speaking to a culture which didn’t have enough food and in our culture maybe that illustration makes less sense. But feasting for many people is one image of how great life after death can be.

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Place

La Jolla Lutheran Church

7111 La Jolla Boulevard, San Diego




Membership: 70 individuals

Pastor: Mark Dahle

Age: 54

Born: Seattle, Wash.

Formation: Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Ill.; Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash.

Years ordained: 15

San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?

Pastor Mark Dahle: Typically about three months out, I start looking at the topics and planning for what the content will be.

SDR: Can you think of a time when you gave a homily that completely flopped?

PD: One of the things about flops is that I know I can’t tell whether it was a flop or not by how I feel about it or by the apparent reactions of people. I preached a sermon here at La Jolla Lutheran where one of the members had his arms crossed the whole time and he was sunk down in the pew with a scowl on his face, and I was so discouraged that I just about quit several times in the message, just looking at this guy. Afterwards, he said that was the best sermon he had ever heard.

SDR: Are there things you’ve learned to stay away from in your sermons?

PD: I don’t avoid any topics, except that our church is filled with people of every political party — and that’s by design — so I don’t preach on political parties. But I do preach about what the Bible says about every issue.

SDR: What is your main worry as a member of the clergy?

PD: We are praying for the nations right now, and we recently focused on praying for Mexico and locally one of biggest things going on is the drug violence and Mexico’s fate as a nation as the drug cartels aim at judges and politicians and people trying to help that society.

SDR: What is the most prevalent sin you observe or hear about from your congregation?

PD: A lot of times people have something that they’re designed to do but they don’t have the courage or faith to do it, so they work on lesser things. One of the things this does to people is it causes them to feel empty because they’re missing out on their true purpose and that results in a need for various addictions to fill the void. Not living up to our potential is probably the biggest thing I’ve observed.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PD: Jesus taught that there is life after death and that not everyone has the same experience after death; that some people are quite happy in life after death and others are in pain because of choices they have made during their lifetime. So much of the focus of our messages here is on helping people to make choices that they will be happy about, not just today but over the course of their lives and at the end of their days. Jesus taught that some people’s experience in the afterlife will be happiness — and Jesus talks about feasting as a common illustration of a place of great joy. He was speaking to a culture which didn’t have enough food and in our culture maybe that illustration makes less sense. But feasting for many people is one image of how great life after death can be.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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