Sunday, September 30, 2012

Whiteboard: World Communion Sunday

This Sunday is World Communion Sunday! World Communion Sunday is one of my very favorite worship services of the year. It is the day when we celebrate the Unity of Christ that dwells at the very heart of our Christian Faith and lift up the Communion Table as the central place for our worship. Why, World Communion Sunday sounds like a service developed just for us Disciples doesn’t it?!? It resounds with those theological themes that are so close to our hearts – unity, diversity, the celebration of Communion at an open table.
The funny thing is, World Communion Sunday was actually started many, many moons ago…by the Presbyterians! But that’s alright because it speaks to our ecumenical nature too!
We’ll be celebrating World Communion Sunday this week at First Christian Church Scottsdale in word and song, in prayer and at the table. I’ll hope you’ll join us!

Mark 14:22-25
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’

Renovation Celebration Recognitions

Thank you to everyone who made Renovation Celebration such a success this past Sunday! Below you will find the complete audio of the "Renovation Celebration Recognitions" as well as a photo of the Award of Thanksgiving given to our Moderator and PIP Chairman Bob Bruns.

As the leader of our PIP Team, and in recognition of his work above and beyond the call of duty our Moderator Bob Bruns was given this lovely Award of Thanksgiving.

It is an antique planer and the plaque on it is incribed with the following words:

Thank you to everyone who helped make our Property Improvement Project so successful!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Whiteboard: Renovation Celebration

It is Renovation Celebration this Sunday!

After months of planning, a successful capital campaign, and a summer filled with construction projects here on the church campus this Sunday we are going to celebrate all of the good work that has been done for the Property Improvement Project!

And friends, this place looks great!

So we are going to celebrate as only a church can: With a worship service to bless and rededicate our church buildings and grounds AND with a great big luncheon in the newly renovated Fellowship Hall!

We have sent out special invitations to all of the work crews and construction teams that helped out with the Property Improvement Project. We'll recognize the PIP Team, The Decorating Divas, and the Scores of Volunteers from our church that helped the project to come in ahead of schedule and under budget! We'll lift up the handful of smaller projects that we still have left. And above all we'll celebrate the God of Grace and Glory who makes all these things possible and is leading us now into the next great steps in our ministry here at FCC Scottsdale.

As such we'll be using II Corinthians 5:1-10 as our guiding scripture for the day. In it the Apostle Paul reminds us that "We walk by faith, and not by sight." On this day of celebration, appreciation and dedication we will turn once more to the God who leads us by faith, the God who calls us by name and invites to walk with him on a grand and glorious journey, the God that we know and love through the mission and ministry of Jesus. Come join us this Sunday, friends for Renovation Celebration!


2 Corinthians 5:1-10
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

Three Things: Administrative Council

Administrative Council had their regularly scheduled meeting this past Sunday immediately after worship. Here are "The Three Things" from that meeting:

  1. We are busily preparing for Regional Assembly! FCC Scottsdale will be hosting the Regional Assembly for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Arizona. That means on November 9 and 10 we'll be playing host to Disciples from all over the great state of Arizona. Cathy Lloyd and Beth Porter are our local arrangements hosts and they'll be looking for teams of volunteers to help out. We also hope you will plan on taking advantage of the great worship services, resource groups, guest speakers, and family-reunion-style fellowship that comes with a Regional Assembly!

  2. Renovation Celebration is this Sunday! With our Property Improvement Project wrapping up we'll have a Renovation Celebration this Sunday. It will include a special worship service with a chance to recognize and thank everyone who has been a part of the Property Improvement Project. We will also bless and rededicate our church grounds, then we'll have a great big luncheon over in the renovated Fellowship Hall where you can meet some of the work crews and construction teams that have helped out with the project! Please join us! And please remember to personally thank our PIP Team Members who have led us through this process -- Bob Bruns, Sandi DeFeo, Dave Groves, Rev. Don Jones, Mark Powell, Carol Tidrow, and Charlie Atkinson!

  3. Something else special is coming. Administrative Council got a sneak preview of a stained glass installation that is coming to our sanctuary. Administrative Council approved a gift from an anonymous donor in our church of three 6' by 2' stained glass panels that will hang down from the beam just in front of the baptistery  Friends, it is going to be beautiful and it will transform that look of our sanctuary. A commissioned stained glass artist is constructing the pieces now and we hope to have them installed soon!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Newsbrief: Renovation Celebration

Big things are coming on September 30th!

Ten days from now we’ll have our Renovation Celebration on Sunday morning September 30.

It will be our chance to celebrate all of the hard work that has gone into the Property Improvement Program over these last several months. And boy, does this place look great! (By the way, the shade structure in front of the Fellowship Hall was completed on Tuesday and it looks amazing!)

We’ve invited all of our contractors and work crews to join us Sunday September 30 for worship and a meal so that we can thank them and celebrate a job well done. We’ll also have a time of recognizing our lay leaders, volunteers, and church groups that have helped out along the way…particularly the PIP Team that has been meeting (dare I say, “religiously”!) every Monday for months and months to keep the project moving ahead. It will be a high-energy, spirit-filled, joyous celebration of what we have done, what we are doing, and what we will do in service to God here at FCC Scottsdale!

With so many guests at church that morning we’re asking folks to please wear your nametags that day. It is a wonderful way of showing hospitality to our guests and helping them to feel welcome. Folks from the Membership Committee will be there to help you find your name tag.

With such a special worship service we’re also moving some items around in the Order of Service as well. You can expect to see a tweaked Worship Bulletin that will include Gathering Music before the service, a redesigned opening sequence to start our service, and some other small changes along the way.

Renovation Celebration on September 30 is going to be fantastic! You can RSVP (to help us get a good count for the meal) by filling out the insert in this Sunday’s Bulletin or by dropping us a line here in the church office!

Yours in the Journey,
Rev. Brian

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Whiteboard: The Great Reversal

This Sunday Christ turns our world upside down.

Forget everything you think you know. Forget everything the world tells you about what it means to be great and what it takes to be number one.

Because this Sunday in our reading from the Gospel of Mark Jesus turns it all on its head.

"Whoever want to be first of all must be last of all and servant of all."

Some folks have heard me talk about my process with The Whiteboard. I'm really not much of an artist, but I've found that I'm pretty good at copying. So before I draw anything on the Whiteboard each week I take some time to do a simple Google Image search and see what resonates. It was surprisingly difficult to find images of the "first must be last" or even any of the other biblical corollaries we can think of ("the first shall be last" or "the last shall be first" or anything like that). Which kind of seems to prove Jesus' point, doesn't it?!

Eventually I found this photo and thought it was perfect. It takes our conventional notion of being first and (quite literally) turns it on its head. Which is exactly what we'll do in worship this coming Sunday with Christ's command to be servants of all.

See you on Sunday!


Mark 9:30-37 --  Who Is the Greatest? 

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. 
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Disciples News Service: Circle of Protection

The Circle of Protection formed about a year ago to ensure the most vulnerable were protected from budget cuts. The Circle met with President Barak Obama and the top staff for Speaker John Boehner. When the Budget Control Act passed, key programs were indeed protected from cuts.

Presidential campaigns have been focusing on middle class Americans, but there has not been much discussion around protecting poor and vulnerable people. (The current poverty level is $22,800 for a family of four.) The Circle along with Sojourners ,Bread for the World and others requested that the Obama and Romney campaigns submit video statements about how their administrations will reduce poverty. Both have responded positively and submitted video statements.

The Circle participants do not comment on the content of the videos to respect the ground rules and parameters that were agreed to between the Circle of Protection and the campaigns.

The videos are available at:

(Reprinted from Disciples News Service, September 19, 2012)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Newsbrief: Three Things from the Music Director Search Team

The Music Director Search Team met last night.

They are doing tremendous work and I asked them how we might best communicate some of their progress to the congregation. And without missing a beat Michelle said, “Sounds like we need 3 Things!”

{For folks who don’t know I routinely ask our committees to come up “The 3 Things” from that meeting that they want to communicate with the church.}

So without further ado, The 3 Things from the Music Director Search Team:
  1. We have created a Job Description that accurately and honestly lays out the expectations and qualifications for the position. We’ve also tweaked the name of the position in order to make it more precisely fit the job. We’re calling it the Director of Music Ministries. Doesn’t that sound exactly like what we are looking for!

  2. We have created and distributed a Job Posting. This is different than the full, detailed Job Description. The Job Posting is the ad we are using to draw responses from potential candidates. It says a little something about our church and worship style, it lays out some of the general duties of the position, and lets folks know how to apply for the job. We’ve shared that Job Posting in all kinds of places. The Job Posting has gone up on College and University Bulletin Boards, it has been listed with professional associations in the area, and we have placed it electronically on relevant job finder websites.

  3. We have established our plans and procedures for moving forward. Our online job posting went live at the end of last week and we’ve already received a dozen applicants. We are expecting many more in the coming weeks and our team is ready to begin reviewing resumes, making reference checks, holding interviews, and doing the good work that will help us to find the right person to serve as our Director of Music Ministries. 

I am absolutely thrilled with the Search Team that we have in place and with the progress that we are making. One request we have for you: We need your prayers.

I hope that you will pray for the Search Team by name (Sandi, Charlie, Al, Carrie,  Michelle, and Brian Frederick-Gray) and that you will pray for God’s guidance in this process and that you will pray for the Director of Music Ministries who will come and serve this church. We might not know precisely who that person is yet, but we have faith that God does and that our work will help bring that person here to FCC Scottsdale!

Yours in the Journey,
Rev. Brian

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whiteboard: Q&A

It is the question we strive to answer each and every Sunday in worship.

It is the question we build our faith in answering.

It is the question that lies right at the very heart of the Gospels.

"Who do you say that I am?"

Jesus asked the question of his disciples and Peter gave the good response, "You are the Christ!"

Jesus asks that question to us still. "Who do you say that I am?" Not just in worship. Not just in our most faithful moments, but in everything that we are and everything that we do. Can we live out our faith in such a way that we are constantly and continually answering that question? Can we be a living testimony that proclaims, "Jesus is the Christ!"

We see from the very next lines of scripture that it isn't an easy. Right after Peter gives that faithful response, Jesus begins to teach them about everything that will happen. He teaches them about how he will suffer, how he will be killed, and even how he will rise again. Suddenly Peter (perhaps emboldened by his previous right answer?) pulls Jesus aside to try and talk him out of it! At which point Jesus has some harsh words for Peter ("Get behind me Satan!") and some challenging words for us too. If we are to follow Christ, to really truly live into the fullness of that proclamation "You are the Christ!" then we have to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him.

It would seem that talk is cheap, and that this life of discipleship won't be easy.

Then again, the promises of faith are never that it is going to be easy. Rather, the promises of faith are that it is going to be meaningful. And this one, this Jesus the Christ fills our life with meaning and purpose!

So let us answer the question  not only with our words and proclamations, but with our lives and witnesses as well!


Mark 8:27-34
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Newsbrief: Kick Off Sunday 2012!

It is Kick Off Sunday!

Things are jumping back into high gear here at FCC Scottsdale and we are going to celebrate it all on Kick Off Sunday.

After a nice summer hiatus we have so many things that are getting started again at the church…and some new things that we are adding to the mix as well!

So this Sunday we’ll have the full compliment of our Sunday School Classes. In addition to ourAdult Bible Study (led by Rev. Lloyd Howard) in the Arizona Room we’re also introducing a new class called “Superheroes of Faith” taught by Michelle Landerville in the Library. Our youth Sunday School classes will also be starting back up with Cari Shonk teaching the Elementary School Class in the Kid’s Club Room and Jeane Thompson teaching the Grades 6-12 Class in the Alpha/Omega Room.

We’ll also have our Women’s Circle Groups staring back up this month with Lydia Circle leading the way by having their first meeting this Sunday after worship. Then on Tuesday Dorcas Circle (9:30AM in the Arizona Room) and Adelphi (7PM at Jane Rosenfeld’s house) will meet and on Thursday Ruth Circle (Noon in the Arizona Room) will wrap up a busy week for DWM!

If you want to get a jump start on Kick Off Sunday then know that we’ll have folks all over the church campus on Saturday morning too! We’ll have a special Indoor Workday starting at 8AM as we refinish some of the woodwork in the Sanctuary and the Prayer Shawl Ministry will be meeting Saturday morning too.

And don’t forget, after moving to an alternative schedule during the summer months Worship and Wonder is back in full swing each week. This Sunday Daryl Marinkovich will be telling the story “Jesus and the Paralytic”.

So come join us this Sunday as we celebrate all that God is doing here at First Christian Church Scottsdale! We’ll sing, we’ll pray, we’ll study, and we’ll rejoice as we kick off the start to a brand new Fall Program Year. See you Sunday!

Yours in the Journey,
Rev. Brian

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Whiteboard: Kick Off Sunday 2012

We will officially Kick Off our Fall Program Year here at this church Sunday!

What better way to celebrate the beginning of a new Program Year than by diving deep into the very first words of the Gospel of John. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God..."

As we begin another new Program Year (and celebrate all of our ministries and programs that will be coming back in full swing after a summer hiatus) we will look once more to the promises of John 1 as we seek to discern all that God has in store for us in the coming year.

It is going to be a great time to worship together! I hope you can join us for Kick Off Sunday!

Yours in the Journey, Rev. Brian


John 1:1-14 -- The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Prayer for All God's Children

This past Sunday Sandi DeFeo shared her Prayer for All God's Children. With her permission I'm sharing it here on the blog.

O Gracious God, creator of us all;
We pray for the children
Who sneak Popsicles before supper
Who can never find their shoes
Who make ugly faces when Dad video’s the family
Who leave the toothpaste lid off

And we pray for the children
Who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire
Who can’t run down the street in a pair of new sneakers
Who are born in places where we wouldn’t be caught dead
Who have never gone to the circus

We pray for the children
Who bring us sticky kisses and handfuls of dandelions
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money
Who spend their allowance before Tuesday
And shove dirty clothes under the bed

And we pray for the children
Who have no safe blanket to drag behind them
Who watch their parents watch them die
Who can’t find any bread to steal
Whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser
Whose monsters are real.

We pray for the children
Who call out our name in the night for a glass of water
Who never rinse out the bathtub
Who get visits from the tooth fairy
Who squirm in church and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for the children
Who want to be carried and for those that must be
Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep
Who don’t get a second chance
Whose nightmares come in the daytime.

We pray for the children
Who will carry on our legacy
Who will walk in our footsteps
Who will walk beside us and cause us to be proud

And we pray for the children
Who have cigarette burns and bruises
Who want to speak our name but can’t
Who will never walk, who carry the tag of handicapped with them
Whose eyes we look into and see the face of Jesus

We pray for your children Lord. 
Who are all created equal and created in Your image.
Who are created unique and special all by Your hands.
May we humble ourselves and always nurture the children.

And all the people said………………Amen.