My idea was born in the early 90’s, to create a Foundation that would help inner-city girls have scholarships to college. The idea grew and I found many people to donate to the Fund. The Fund was managed by a larger charity that was serving these kids. Each year I was able to double the donations. I truly felt God was pushing me to achieve that goal each year because, each year, sometimes even on December 31st, a donation would come in that was the last piece to that goal. I truly felt the presence of God in this endeavor. Hundreds of scholarships were awarded to hard working and challenged young women. The obstacles that these young girls faced to achieve their dream of higher education were sometimes horrific and seemingly insurmountable. But they reached for the stars and grabbed on. Each year when the scholarships were handed out, the recipients spoke about the obstacles they had faced to their achievement and it felt like I was meeting real-life heroines. It was a joy and a passion of mine for almost three decades.


2-20-21 JIM VARGA

Psalm 92:1 A Song of Praise.  

   How good it is to give thanks to you Lord and sing in your Honor ……(92:4) because of what you have done I sing for Joy

One of the most moving parts of worship for me prior to Covid was singing along with all of our BPC community in the sanctuary at 8 am.  I so miss not gathering but thanks to our amazing worship team I get to sing along at home and that has to be enough for now. I am so grateful  and quenched .  I can not wait till we raise the roof off the sanctuary with our voices lifted up to the heavens.

“I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the LORD..”

                       from Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen ( and by the way Glen has educated me that there really is a “secret chord”)


1 Thessalonians 5:19  Do not quench the Spirit – NIV

This year, BPC’s theme for lent is “Quenched.” As I sat down to gather my thoughts about this word and what it means in my life, I wanted to make sure that I really understood it’s meaning.  When I looked it up, I found 2 common definitions; · 1.  satisfy (one’s thirst) by drinking.  2. extinguish (a fire). I also found that both definitions of the word are used in the Bible.  On the one hand, we want to be “quenched” by God’s Spirit, on the other, we are told not to quench the Spirit.  When I think of quenched, I am reminded of a warm fall day when I was at the beach with my family.  It was an unusually hot day for September at the end of a very wet, rainy spring and a hot, dry summer.  Suddenly, we noticed an airplane head over the coast, disappear out of sight then circle back around to head east towards the Santa Monica mountains.  This circle pattern continued for hours with the fire plane picking up water from the ocean and dropping it over the flames of a nearby fire.  I could only imagine the cool water literally quenching the hot flames and extinguishing the fire.


2-18-21 STEVE RUTH

Lenten Devotional Story     from Steve Ruth

“Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalms 46:10

While this verse in the Bible is well known and interpreted in various ways, it is one of my favorites for a couple of reasons.

First, my mother had this verse on a refrigerator magnet and often glowed in sharing how the meaning of the phrase changed each time a word was dropped. She also found it comforting and as a form of meditation exercise.

Secondly, early in my career I traveled on occasion to visit clients in Seattle.  Whenever possible I would visit my sister Linda, her husband Mike, and their kids who lived in Bothell, a suburb of the city. On one occasion we decided to take an adventure trip to a mystery destination known only by Mike.  We loaded up their emerald green VW Bug and headed out on the freeway with three adults, their two little girls, and a picnic basket filled with lunch and goodies.  Singing with the kids was a favorite way to pass the time with “Puff the Magic Dragon” as a favorite song.  Time seemed to fly and soon we were pulling off the freeway to our destination, a sunny spot with a quiet mountain stream nestled in a wooded area. 



“ But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” – John 14:26

As a 55-year old, Ivy-League educated, white Presbyterian male from the North-East, no one would blame you for assuming I “locate” firmly amongst the ranks of the church of Jesus Christ’s “frozen chosen”. When we at BPC tout ourselves as church where one need not leave “EITHER their brain OR their heart at the door”, we are clearly emphasizing the latter as a Presbyterian novelty, assuming the former is a cultural given!  My work in Africa has brought me into close contact with exorcisms, tongues, running laps for God (look it up!) and words of wisdom. I’ve studied the universal, cross-cultural occurrence of “glossolalia” (and other charismatic phenomena) enough to be, at least a little bit skeptical when people claim their charismatic gifts to be their own, personal, direct channel to God (especially if it is God’s will for MY life!)