My Personal Story of How I Found this Place of Worship
I've (Sal) been attending Woodland Hills Church (WHC) for over 10 years now (Sun. Feb 11th of 2007) in a "part-time" basis. I come here as often as I can-God willingly-when I vist my parents' in St. Paul at least once a month. The way I found this church is an interesting story that I share with a chuckle when people ask me how I first attended this place of worship.
-Harding Senior High School
When I attended my first service here, it was a few months or so after giving my life to Christ (in Morris-personal story) in the Spring of 1996. I was actually visiting a h.s. buddy (Ric B.) of mine, who happened to live right across the street of where they were having services. This place was actually Harding Senior High School, where I attended school from 1991-1995. I asked my friend Ric why there are so many cars in our old h.s.'s parking lot in a Sunday morning? He told me there is a church that has been meeting there regularly for awhile. I decided to check out this service one Sunday morning after Ric told me this. When I first went in the school, I just felt a different feeling that was just so different! My last time I was in this building, I was attending school. Now, I'm here for a church service! It was very difficult to comprehend for a while. Then I slowly got comfortable with the setting because they were playing familiar praise & worship music that I haven't heard since "coming to the Lord" back in Morris (e.g. IVCF & Morris Community Church) early Spring of 1997. I actually felt that peace and happiness that I've been looking for in the cities during my first summer break in college after becoming a Christian.
-Arlington Hills High School
I can't remember exactly the date they started to meet in this new venue. I can just remember driving across the east side just to come here on some Sundays during my college years when I was in St. Paul. One summer, I actually wanted to get involved after volunteering in an outreach with some college friends in downtown Minneapolis (with Convoy of Hope). I participated in a meeting with Barry J. (outreach coordinator) and some eager volunteers willing to "serve" in the summer of 1998? They were going to have a similar event like the one I helped in with Convoy of Hope in Minneapolis. We were planning to have some rides for kids, music, etc.. -all in front of the high school. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to continue with the meetings for some reason that I can't remember.
I would meet Barry J. again in the Fall of 1998 with a UMM Int'l student friend of mine (Prince A.) from Ghana. WHC didn't have a church building they can call their own yet, so they would have their offices in a office duplex along hwy 35 E & Roselawn (north of downtown).
During the Winter of 1998/1999, I brought a car load of UMMers (Keia J. from Chicago, IL; Prince A. from Ghana, Africa; and Ryan F. from Chicago, IL) to attend a morning service. We had a mission to check out different churches in St. Paul. After attending the early morning service, we went to a predominately all-African American baptist church called Shiloh in the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul.
WHC just continued to keep growing in 1999 at this school building. I think there were just getting too many people for one service, so they started to plan for a "next move". There were talks about the "old Menard's" building in the corner of Lexington and White Bear Ave (just north of the city of St. Paul and Maplewood suburb border).
WCH finally got the official invitation to move sometime in the summer of 1999/2000. Before WHC moved to their new and present location, they organized an outreach in the neighborhood of their new location. I just remember doing a prayer walk one Saturday afternoon. WHC just moved back into the East Side area of St. Paul and many wanted to "reach out" to the community around them. They've been getting folks from outside of St. Paul-mostly from the suburbs-driving all the way here for their church services. That was the reason for this prayer walk. I went to meet the many "willing" prayer-warriors later that Saturday morning. We all went in different groups 2/3 or more. I volunteered to partner with the head pastor-Greg Boyd. It was actually a humbling experience because I finally personally met the pastor I've been listening "preach" all these years. Greg and I got to know one another as we walked west of the location (past White Bear Ave.). I remembered a "prayer" tip to this day that he shared with me during the prayer walk. He told me, "Sal, picture a flame of fire descending from the sky that God is pouring out in each home/house we are praying for individually that we pass. I try to do this till this day when I pray whereever I roam when I'm "spiritually" reminded.
After our prayer, many of the prayer "walkers/warriors" decided to meet at the newly opened "Sojourners" coffee shop several block south of the church site along White Bear Avenue. I would meet more of the WHC family. When I went home, I saw a copy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and found an article on the new up-coming WHC building. I told my dad that I just had a personal conversation with Greg Boyd, the pastor of this new up-coming WHC building.
The next day at church, Greg would ended up sharing about our prayer walk. He even mentioned my name and shared my story I told him on how God brought me to WHC. I would later find out other UMMers were present in the audience. Matt, a UMM student was present and shared how he thought I was the "Sal" Greg was talking about-cool!
-"Old" Menards Building Renovated
WHC finally moved in sometime in 2000? I remember the building was just half finished, but they were eager to start services. The other half was being re-constructed/re-modeled, which they had collections to fund the other half of the building. I don't remember exactly the date the other half finished, but it was cool and a long walk to the other finish half of the building.
I really can't remember all the people I've met in this "big" church fellowship congregation. But, I'll try to remember some. One was Joey W., who actually went on a mission-trip to the Philippines one year. I told him I was Filipino, which he was very much interested in learning about my culture. We ended up going out for coffee at his neighborhood by Grand Avenue. I kind of lost contact with him years later, which the last time I heard from him was that he was getting married.
-Bringing my own Family
I've been bringing my own family members for years now. My mom (Necita) is probably the most open to the services here. I remember the first time I saw my mom raise her hands during worship, I felt an awe! Growing-up Catholic, we never did this type of worship style. I thought it was awesome to see my mom just praise God like this! Anyways, I've brought my sister (Thelma) and dad (Cansiano/Ansie) so far. My brother is probably the only one that hasn't been to a service before. I keep inviting him, but I trust in God that He'll take care of my younger brother (Marcelo/Ceo) and it's in His timing. Till then, I'm just going to k eep inviting my family and friends. Please keep them in prayer.
I remember coming to a Heart of the City event one night on a weekend.
Erwin Raphel McManus of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, CA, whose parents have origins from El Salvador
*heard him speak the day prior at a missions conference called Ethnic Harvest in 2003
Tony Campolo, head of EAPE ministries-promoting education around the nation and world
This is an on-going story as I'm entering my 10th anniversery in 2007 attending Woodland Hills Church. There were some challenges (e.g. Greg Boyd's fight against throat cancer, which I can remember attending week night prayer meetings for him) along the way for WHC, but also some blessings (e.g. light to my old East-Side neighborhood, which businesses are sprucing up again and looking more lively since they moved back.
I've heard and met folks that used to attend UMM or is currently attending UMM are attending services here.
Just yesterday (Saturday, February 10th of 2007), I met a former UMMer-Aram E. I was encouraged to see him back in town-Morris' RFC. I've seen him at times since he left UMM, but I actually had a chance to talk to him and ask how God is doing in his life. He shared how he is very involved with the worship team by singing up to 3 services a weekend at WHC. I shared this meeting with a sister-in-the-Lord on the phone how the ministry to UMM college students need to keep going.
11/25/2007 â€“ Revolting Purity, Greg Boyd â€“ sermon length is 52:37 minutes
" God warns us to preserve sex for marriage, but why is it such a big deal? Our culture tells us that sex is recreational, but from Godâ€™s perspective whenever two people engage in sexual intercourse, they are sealing a sacred covenant that was meant to never be broken. God cares about our sex lives because he cares about the covenants we make with each other. As Kingdom people, weâ€™re called to revolt against the corruption of our culture and be examples of his beautiful design for sexuality.
*see more on sex...
on Sunday, August 26th of 2007:
Verses: Luke 9, Micah 4:3
Reference: God's Warrior's on CNN this past weekend
Do: "Take up the cross (e.g. electric chair today-current capital punishment of torture) daily" whenever you get persecuted in whatever form (e.g. racism)
The Bridge: Woodland Hills Church
"In late Spring of 2009, Woodland Hills Church (St. Paul, MN) started a social networking site for their "podrishoners" to connect with each other. It was supposed to run through the end of a sermon series called Animate, but had such a positive response from people who downloaded our sermons, that we kept it going. This video shows some of what else goes on around our church besides the weekly sermons."
Empire of the Baby-
From Empire of the Baby by Greg Boyd
" * December 19, 2010
Christmas is a time of nostalgia when family and friends get together. Cute and serene can be words to describe this time, but Christmas and the birth of Jesus was anything but serene. The birth of Jesus was an act of war against the Empire of this world."
*see GoodnewsEverybody.com Issues: Greed, Greedy, Elite, Power, Pride, Rich, Wealthy, etc...
*more linked to the site above!
"The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute ï¿½votersï¿½ guidesï¿½ that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldnï¿½t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?
After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called ï¿½The Cross and the Swordï¿½ in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a ï¿½Christian nationï¿½ and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
ï¿½When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,ï¿½ Mr. Boyd preached. ï¿½When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.ï¿½
Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not Godï¿½s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul ï¿½ packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals ï¿½ was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members...
....He is known among evangelicals for a bestselling book, ï¿½Letters From a Skeptic,ï¿½ based on correspondence with his father, a leftist union organizer and a lifelong agnostic ï¿½ an exchange that eventually persuaded his father to embrace Christianity....
In the end, those who left tended to be white, middle-class suburbanites, church staff members said. In their place, the church has added more members who live in the surrounding community ï¿½ African-Americans, Hispanics and Hmong immigrants from Laos.
Charlie Rose - Rick Warren / Gregory Boyd
"Segment 1: Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, discusses politics and Christianity and his book, "The Purpose Driven Life".
*see purposeful life
Segment 2: Gregory Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church discusses his book, "The Myth of a Christian Nation""
Gregory Boyd on "The Myth of a Christian Nation" Part 1/3
"Charlie Rose interviews Pastor Gregory Boyd on his book, "The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church."
Although Boyd is no liberal, he lost one-fifth of his congregation when he preached that the church should steer clear of mixing the gospel with a specific political stance.
Total running time for the 3 parts is 21 minutes.
Gregory Boyd on "The Myth of a Christian Nation" Part 2/3
Gregory Boyd on "The Myth of a Christian Nation" Part 3/3
-Dr. Greg Boyd 1/5
"Dr. Boyd is pastor of Highland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota USA"
*see Integral Trust
"The vision of the Integral Trust Fund is to create socially and environ-mentally “response able” projects for greater mutuality and harmony. We are a group of people who work together in the areas of integral economics, sustainable living and education for individual and community development. Focusing on underserved people and communities, our work is to provide various forms of support called integral capital shares. Currently, some of the projects in which we are involved are microcredit banking for the poor, knowledge sharing, natural agriculture and village infrastructure."
Empire of the Baby- From Empire of the Baby by Greg Boyd