Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guest Preacher This Sunday

"Quotes -- Better to Hope"
 Some rights reserved by Feed My Starving Children (FMSC)
This Sunday we'll have a very special guest filling the pulpit at First Christian Church Scottsdale.

I'm thrilled to have Lori Head come to FCC Scottsdale and bring us a word about Feed My Starving Children.

For folks who don't know, Feed My Starving Children is an innovative Christian outreach program seeking to overcome world hunger, and they have a facility right down the road from us in Tempe.

Feed My Starving Children's website explains how they use nutritional science, volunteer energy, and a Christian spirit for outreach to make a difference in the world through MannaPackRice.
From its beginnings, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) has worked to develop a food mixture that would be easy and safe to transport, simple to make with only boiling water, and culturally acceptable worldwide.
With the input of scientists from major food companies in the Twin Cities area—including Cargill and General Mills—FMSC developed MannaPackRice, a formula consisting of:
  1. Rice, the most widely accepted grain around the world.
  2. Extruded soy nuggets, providing maximum protein at lowest cost.
  3. Vitamins, minerals and a vegetarian flavoring to give growing children the critical nutritional elements they need.
  4. Dehydrated vegetables for flavor and nutrition.
Packaged in small pouches, this easy-to-prepare food blend has won rave reviews all over the world. While the formula was designed to save the lives of severely malnourished and starving children, the ingredients also improve the health, growth and physical well-being of children who are no longer in immediate danger of starvation. A team of food scientists continues to monitor the FMSC formula to ensure that it meets nutritional needs of the world’s hungry children.
 We've had several members of our church volunteer at the FMSC Facility in Tempe putting together packs of MannaPackRice. Our Youth Group has been there on more than one occasion, our Young Adult Group had their inaugural meeting by volunteering there this summer, and members of the Outreach Team here at Scottsdale have served there too.

But for folks who might not know about Feed My Starving Children -- or for folks who simply want to learn more -- here are a few helpful links to learn more about them.

  • Feed My Starving Children Website -- A terrific webpage with lots of information about their program, their facilities, and the volunteer opportunities they have.
  • FMSC Tempe Page -- A page on the Feed My Starving Children Website, this link will take you directly to the information (including an interactive map) about the Tempe facility where MannaPackRice is assembled.
  • FMSC Flickr Page -- A collection of photos, pictures, and promotional materials from Feed My Starving Children on their very own Flickr Page.
  • FMSC on Charity Navigator -- Charity Navigator offers a clear, easy rating system that allows folks to access relevant information in learning about charitable organizations. You can see Charity Navigator's 4-Star Rating (their highest rating) on Feed My Starving Children. 

More PIP Progress

The Property Improvement Program has continued throughout the summer here at First Christian Church Scottsdale.

The Fellowship Hall remodel has been completed and it looks great. The Bell Room has been repainted. New flooring has gone in to the Arizona Room. The Kitchen The Church Offices are in the process of being repainted and having all the counter tops refinished. The Patio has been extended in front of Fellowship Hall (and one of the last remaining big pieces will be the addition of a shade structure in front of the Fellowship Hall!). The interior of the Sanctuary has been repainted, with the addition of a new accent color.

Here are some photos of the work that we've seen done this summer (and some of the work that is still in progress!):

Don't forget we have an Indoor Workday scheduled for Saturday September 8 starting at 8AM in the Sanctuary where we'll cross a few more items off our PIP List as well. And then on Sunday September 30 we'll have the Renovation Celebration where we will celebrate a job well done and rededicate our buildings and grounds to the glory of God!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Newsbrief: Ten Years

We are sneaking up on 10 years.

Ten years. Double digits. A decade. Wow!

Susan and I are sneaking up on our 10-year wedding anniversary, which we will celebrate on September 1.

So this time next week we will be in San Francisco for a long weekend. I’ve never been to San Francisco so I’m excited to see the sights, eat some world class cuisine, and walk through the streets hand-in-hand with the love of my life. (For anybody wondering about Henry, his grandpa will be here in town with him so chances are pretty good you can find them at Chuck E. Cheese!)

It means that I’ll be out of the pulpit on Sunday September 2 (not this coming Sunday, but the one after that) and I’m thrilled that we will have Lori Head as our guest preacher. Lori works for Feed My Starving Children in Tempe – a Christian, global hunger relief agency that has a rather unique and pragmatic way of working to overcome hunger.

Our Youth Group, Young Adult Ministry, and members of the Outreach Committee have all volunteered at Feed My Starving Children in the past and I’m super excited that Lori will be here to tell the whole church more about the program and the very real ways that FMSC is putting faith in action.

I look forward to seeing you this coming Sunday at worship (we’ll be finishing off our August sermon series on “Living Out Our Faith”!) and I hope you’ll be here for worship on Sunday September 2 to hear Lori Head’s powerful testimony and be a part of an amazing worship service!

Yours in the Journey,
Rev. Brian

PIP Update: My Office!

The PIP Team has moved on to my office!

Here is an "in progress" shot of my office on Tuesday morning. Don't worry, it is in much better shape as of my writing this!

(When I emailed a colleague of mine on Tuesday saying that I had to give up my office for the day and would instead be doing ministry out in the world, he replied with three little words, "That will preach.")

Many thanks to the DWM Ladies -- Carol, Julie, and Cathy -- for doing such a great job painting the walls, cabinetry, and shelves. I love the new color!

Many thanks to the Thompsons -- Bob and Jeanne -- for resurfacing the counter tops. And especially for doing it in the summer heat...and even treating Henry and I to lunch in the middle of the project!

The Property Improvement Project continues to do amazing work all over the church campus, and we pray that each and every piece of it may go to the glory of God and to the furtherance of Christ's ministry in this place and out in the world!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Whiteboard Delux

The Property Improvement Project has come to my office! Which is why I haven't posted to the blog in a while. So let me make it up to you, dear reader, with a "Mega Whiteboard Blow-Out" post!

For the last several weeks we've been walking through the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Ephesians during our sermon series "Living Out Our Faith." During that time the Whiteboard has been evolving each week, with a new snippet of a picture being added to the board for that week's sermon.

This coming Sunday will be the fifth and final sermon in this series, which means the Whiteboard is complete and right now it looks like this...

It also means that this is a good time to recap!

Rooted and Grounded

We began our sermon series with the Apostle Paul's reminder that we are "being rooted and grounded in love." That the deepest truth we know in our life of faith is that God's love is unconditionally given to each and every one of us...even you, even me. You can find the audio from that first sermon on the church's website by clicking here.


The second word that scripture had for us sounds like a dichotomy at first -- There is unity in diversity. We tend to think of those two things as opposites. That you can have one, but not the other, but scripture tells us that we were all given different gifts "for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God." You can listen to Unity/Diversity by clicking here.


Just as children love to imitate their parents, and just as God is our heavenly father and we are God's beloved children then we are called to be imitators of God. It doesn't mean that we "play God" or "pretend to be God" so much as we strive to live out the things that we know from God. That as God has forgiven us, we forgive; and as God has loved us, then we love. Click here to hear the sermon.

Be Wise. Give Thanks.

Wisdom means paying attention that what is of the utmost importance. As a people of faith that means God and God's ways for us. What we find when we really start paying attention in that way is that, in fact, we have so much to be thankful for. Wisdom and thanksgiving go hand in hand. That point is illustrated with several different stories in last Sunday's sermon titled Be Wise. Give Thanks, and you can listen to it by clicking here.

Okay, and now that you are all caught up you are ready for this week's addition to the Whiteboard....

Ephesians 6:10-20 is the final charge that the Apostle Paul had for the Ephesians, the final charge that he has for us. We tend to get caught up in the language of putting on "the whole armor of God", but frankly I'm moved this week by Paul's repeated admonition to stand -- "Stand against the wily ways of the tempter", "Having done everything to stand firm", "Stand therefore and fasten the belt of truth around your waist."

Ultimately the question of this scripture passage -- the question of Ephesians and this entire sermon series -- is this: Where do we stand? On the side of God's loving claim upon our hearts and lives or on the side of something else?

Come worship with us this Sunday at First Christian Church as we live out our faith and stand on the side of the Lord!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Whiteboard: Imitators

For the whole month of August we are walking through Ephesians with a sermon series titled Living Out Our Faith.

As the sermon series builds, I keep adding extra pieces to the Whiteboard each week.

This week's addition is down there in the lower left hand corner. Yep, that is my Whiteboard sketch attempt at Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" which calls to mind this Sunday's particular worship theme from Ephesians 5 where the Apostle Paul calls us to be "imitators of God."

I'll see you this Sunday!

Rev. Brian


Ephesians 4:25-5:2 -- Rules for the New Life

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Three Things: Music Director Search Team

The Music Director Search Team met last night in the East Office. Here are the three things you need to know from that meeting:
  1. We have a great team working to find the next Music Director for FCC Scottsdale! That team includes Sandi DeFeo, Carrie Phillips, Al Beasley, Charlie Atkinson, Michelle Landreville, and myself.
  2. We are grounding our work in prayer! We start and end each meeting in prayer. I have asked each member of the Music Director Search Team to be actively praying for God's guidance during this process, and now I am asking you to do the same thing. Please keep our Music Director Search in your prayers. Pray for our Search Team (you can even pray for 'em by name; they are listed right there in #1!), pray for our current music ministries, and pray for that special someone that we know God already has in mind for us as the next Music Director at FCC Scottsdale!
  3. We are working hard to find the right person! Last night we talked about expectations, priorities, and how we are moving forward in the process. We are working on a job description, a job posting, how we get the word out, and how we will respond to all the applicants. You can look forward to hearing more updates along the way as the team keeps up the good work!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Whiteboard: Unity in Diversity

“There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.— Ephesians 4:5-6
The Whiteboard is going to be a work in progress this month.

You see, for the whole month of August we'll be following the lead of  the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians during Sunday morning worship, and we'll be using the theme Living Out Our Faith.

In The Letter to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul gives us practical advice on leading Christian lives as well as sharing with us the fullness of the good news of the Gospel.

In fact, we got a nice sneak preview of what it means to Live Out Our Faith on the last Sunday of July when Ephesians 3 reminded us that through Christ Jesus we are “rooted and grounded in God’s love.” You can see that theme drawn out in the upper left hand side of the Whiteboard.

In the coming weeks we’ll be celebrating the unity we have in Christ amid the diversity of gifts God gives us (Eph. 4:1-16), we will be implored to be imitators of God (Eph. 4:25-5:2), we will take up the true wisdom of God (Eph. 5:15-20) and finally we will get decked out in God’s finest in order to live lives of faith (Eph. 6:10-20). Which means, I'll be adding bits and pieces to the Whiteboard over the weeks to come that will signify the particulars of that week's scripture reading. 

This week's worship will be built around Ephesians 4:1-16 which is the reminder that we have a unity in Christ that is expressed through the diversity of blessings and abilities that God bestows upon us.

I’m really looking forward to these next several weeks in worship, to diving in deep with Ephesians, and focusing on Living Out Our Faith. I’ll see you in church!