Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quick Plug: Disciples New Service

Do you subscribe to the Disciples News Service weekly email newsletter?

If you do then you saw that our church's Holy Week Cantata was listed prominently under the "Ministry in Action" section of this week's newsletter!

If you don't subscribe to it, then you can fix that by clicking here.

The Disciples News Service is a great way to keep up with the exciting things that are happening with the Disciples...including our own Holy Week Cantata!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Whiteboard: Palm/Passion Sunday

This coming Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.

At First Christian Church Scottsdale we will mark the beginning of Holy Week with a Palm/Passion Sunday.

We will begin the service with the story of Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem from Mark 11:1-11. There will be a palm procession, loud shouts of "Hosanna" and a victorious chorus from the Chancel Choir.

From there excerpts from the Passion Narrative have been woven into our regular order of worship. Throughout the service we will hear once more and all over again about Christ's betrayal by Judas, his restless night of the soul in Gethsemane, his sham of a trial, and his death on the cross...all with the promise that the story does not end here.

The story does not end with Christ's death or with the darknes of the tomb. Oh no. As a people of faith we know that death does not get the final word. We know that the joy of new life and the power Christ's resurrection is waiting just around the corner on Easter Sunday. But we also know that in order to get to Easter's joy we need to first follow Christ all the way to the cross. So on Palm/Passion Sunday we do just that.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Newsbrief: Coming Dates

With March rapidly coming to end I want to make sure a few very important April dates are on your calendar.

April 1 Palm/Passion Sunday 10:15AM 
We will celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and also hear the story of Christ’s passion woven throughout our worship service.

April 5 Maundy Thursday 7PM
Our Maundy Thursday Worship Service will include the world premier of “The Triumph of Sacrifice” a Holy Week Cantata written and directed by our very own Doug Durant. It will be a tremendous worship service and I look forward to seeing you all there!

April 6 Good Friday 10AM – 2PM
For Good Friday we will have the Sanctuary open and available for prayer and meditation. There will be prayer guides and resources available and Sandi DeFeo will be playing piano to help set a prayerful mood.

April 8 Easter Sunday
We will have an Easter Breakfast starting at 8:30AM, an Easter Egg Hunt for the kiddos, and a joyful celebration of Christ’s resurrection at our Sunday worship service!

April 13 My Birthday
Sorry. I just couldn’t resist sneaking that one in there!

April 15 Special Congregational Meeting
You will be hearing more about this one in the coming days and weeks, but please plan on staying after worship on Sunday April 15th to learn more about the Property Improvement Plan – what we are going to do, how we are going to pay for it, and what you can do to be a part of it all!

Yours in the journey, Rev. Brian

Whiteboard: Jeremiah 31:31-34

This coming Sunday we will continue our Lenten journey through the great covenantal promises of God. In Jeremiah 31:31-34 we receive the promise from God of a covenant that we will not be able to break or turn away from. Rather, this promise will forever mark us as God's people, and the Lord will be our God.

Scripture gives us a strange turn of phrase this Sunday, and we are going to spend time in worship mulling it over.

"I will write the law on their hearts..."

What does it mean to have the law written on our hearts? What it would look like to be so marked by God's will and God's ways? What would it feel like to God's righteousness and God's love coursing through our veins with each and every beat of our hearts? 

Come and join us this Sunday at First Christian Church Scottsdale to celebrate the promises of God!


Jeremiah 31:31-34 -- A New Covenant
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Missionary Anne Nichols

This past Thursday we were honored to have Anne Nichols (Disciples of Christ Missionary to Zambia) with us for dinner and a presentation at the church.

It was a real treat to hear Anne talk about her two years of service in Zambia on behalf of Global Ministries. Here are some photos from the event!

Here is Anne Nichols with Al -- Elder at FCC Scottsdale,
Co-Chair of the AZ Region's Global Ministries Team,
and Organizer of Anne's two-week trip in Arizona.

 We had about 30 people in attendance for the dinner and presentation.

Seth -- co-Chair of the Outreach Team here at the church -- made a delicious
dinner for everyone that featured this Moroccan Stew. 

 Anne brought several boards filled with pictures of her work in Zambia.

 After her presentation we had a Q&A time where Anne answered questions
about food and culture (including trying caterpillars for dinner),
the local politics in Zambia (that had peaceful elections while she was there),
her experience teaching social work there (and doing so without text books),
and what the Sunday morning worship service looked like
(at least two hours long, sometimes more like six hours!)

 Anne with Cathy -- co-Chair of our Fellowship Committee
who extended home hospitality to Anne during her time
with us at Scottsdale.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Newsbrief: Prayer Class

Something new starts up this Sunday at 9AM in the Church Library.

It is going to be really fun and exciting and I hope that you will join me there.

This coming Sunday (March 18) I’ll be starting up a brand new, 8-week Adult Sunday School Class. It is a Prayer Class, but one that is structured a little bit differently from a regular Sunday School Class.

You see, over the eight weeks of the class we’ll be “trying on” eight different prayer styles. The technical term for it is “Spiritual Disciplines” and our Christian faith is chock full of wonderfully vivid ways of connecting with God through prayer. So we’ll spend time learning about things like Lectio Divina and The Daily Office and Walking Thankfulness…but we won’t just be learning about them in an academic sense. Instead we’ll take time out each Sunday morning to actually practice the prayer style together. At the end of each class you’ll be given a one-page description of the prayer style along with an invitation to practice it throughout the week.

So I hope to see you this Sunday morning at 9AM in the Church Library. We’ll be starting off with one of my favorite prayer styles (come on Sunday morning to find out what that is!) and I would love to have you join us in the Prayer Class!

Yours in the journey, Rev. Brian

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Whiteboard: John 3:16

It is perhaps the most recognized line of scripture in the entire world. It appears at sporting events and emblazoned on t-shirts and ballcaps. Tim Tebow nearly broke the internet by scrawling it on his eye black before a big Bowl Game back in his College Football Days.

John 3:16.

For the Lord so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son...

And this Sunday it is our lectionary scripture. More than just the one single line though. This Sunday we will build our worship service around the promise of God's love that we find spelled in John 3:14-21. 

Come and join us this Sunday at First Christian Church Scottsdale as we celebrate the transforming power of God's love. Come and worship and know that you are so loved.

John 3:14-21

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Whiteboard: Disneyland

I'm in California this week for a week's vacation with my family.

This coming Sunday our very own Sandi DeFeo will be filling the pulpit for me and you'll find her sermon text at the bottom of this post.

But instead of drawing the Ten Commandments on the Whiteboard, I couldn't miss the opportunity to draw a little something about my vacation...and the theme park we'll be visiting for the very first time.

I'll be back in the office starting Tuesday March 13. I'll see you then!


Exodus 20:1-17 -- The Ten Commandments

Then God spoke all these words:
 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.
 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
 Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
 You shall not murder.
 You shall not commit adultery.
 You shall not steal.
 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Newsbrief: Disneyland

For the first time in my life I get to utter the line reserved for Superbowl MVP’s…

“I’m going to Disneyland!”

Okay, fine. They say, “Disneyworld!” but I’m not traveling that far.

Next week is Henry’s first Spring Break (yep, Kindergarteners get ‘em too) and we celebrating by taking a week’s vacation to Southern California. We’ll see some old friends, enjoy some time on the beach, and take Henry to Disneyland for the first time.

In fact, it will be my first time to Disneyland too. And my wife’s. We really can’t wait!

I’ll see you in church this Sunday, and then my family and I will head out early in the morning on Monday March 5. We’ll get back into town late in the afternoon on Sunday March 11 (our very own Sandi DeFeo will be filling the pulpit for me that day). I’ll be back in the church office on Tuesday March 13…and I may or may not have Mickey Mouse Ears on!

Yours in the journey, Rev. Brian