Thursday, May 30, 2013

OK Update

An Oklahoma update (via the Facebook feed of our friends at Week of Compassion) from Josh Baird of Disciples Volunteering.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Whiteboard: Music Appreciation Sunday

This Sunday will be the last Sunday before the Chancel Choir takes their well earned summer we are going to put them to work!

This Sunday will be Music Appreciation Sunday! It will be a special worship service dedicated to the blessings and gifts of music and featuring just about everyone who has contributed to our music ministries this year!

The Chancel Choir will be taking the lead in the service, but there will also be special music, featured soloists and some of our absolute favorite anthems and hymns from the year.

The service is built around Psalm 98 ("Sing to the Lord, all the Earth!") and that special way that music, particularly sacred music, speaks to our souls in a way that nothing else can. It is going to be a tremendous time in worship and I hope you can join us!


Psalm 96

O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvellous works among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
tremble before him, all the earth.

Say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!
The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
He will judge the peoples with equity.’
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord; for he is coming,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Responding to the Oklahoma Tornado

Many of you in church family know that my sister Tracey and her husband Kyle live in Oklahoma City. I was grateful to get a text message on Monday letting me know that Tracey, Kyle, their house, and their beloved dogs were all safe following the devastating tornado that swept through Oklahoma.

Yesterday I got the following email from my sister, and with her permission I am sharing it with you all now:
Thanks for the Oklahoma shout outs on your Church's Facebook page! What a crazy week, definitely devastating for the Oklahoma City metro community-- at the same to incredibly heartwarming that I live in such a strong community that is pulling together and helping each other. It's really weird to see Matt Lauer standing in the parking lot of what used to be the movie theater I went to.
As you know (through Mom or my constant Facebook posts) I was in California during the tornadoes. It was scary on Sunday, while I was visiting wineries and there wasn't a cloud in be sky, Kyle was taking cover in the basement of the country club because tornadoes were heading towards Edmond. We thought the coast was clear, and then Monday happened. 
I just landed in OKC-- it's about 9:45 at night. I had a window seat and got my bearings as we descended. I realized we were over Norman (the suburb south of Moore) and then there was a huge (I mean HUGE) black stripe without lights. That was the path-- from the air we could see some rescue lights, but it was mostly just empty.
I have felt completely helpless being out of town and not able to do anything to help my neighbors and community. Blair (one of my best friends up here) worded it best-- she let me know that we live in such a great community that there are too many people volunteering-- and not enough for them to do right now.
I'm not quite sure why I'm writing this email-- probably more for therapeutic reasons, and just to fill you in. But also if you decide to share this with your church members-- to remind them that prayers are still needed after Oklahoma is no longer featured on the news. 
Kyle and I are safe-- and we are planning how we are going to help this weekend. I'll try to give you a call at some point. 
This coming Sunday at First Christian Church Scottsdale we'll receive a Special Offering to help support Week of Compassion's recovery efforts in Oklahoma. Week of Compassion leads the disaster recovery efforts for our denomination the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). They are already working hard on the relief effort and will continue to do so for the long haul.

For folks who will be with us in worship this Sunday at First Christian Church Scottsdale you can give to this Special Offering to Support Tornado Recovery by marking your checks as "WoC - Tornado #1033". 

For folks who would like to give directly to Week of Compassion you can do so by clicking here

If you want to support the relief effort by purchasing a t-shirt through Cool People Care (note the artwork at the top of this post) you can do so by clicking here

Whiteboard: Graduation Recognition Sunday

Will you look at all those names! We have A BUNCH of graduates to recognize this Sunday in worship at First Christian Church Scottsdale!

Here is the list of graduates we will recognize: William Gorton received his PhD from ASU; Brandon Biltz received a BS in Recreation from NAU; Callie Jo Ernst received an undergraduate degree in Business Tourism from ASU; Nathan Landreville received an undergraduate degree in Architecture from ASU; Andrea Tidrow received an undergraduate degree in Accounting from ASU, Jessica Swetish received an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona. Our youth, who many graduate this evening, from high school are RJ Howard from Highland High School, Michael Koelin from Horizon High School and Daryl Marinkovich from Saguaro High School, Nicole Shaffer from Desert Mountain High School. Our youth who are graduating from Eighth Grade are: Brooke Landreville and Jordan Grantham.

Our worship service will build upon The Gospel of John's promise that the Holy Spirit will come in power and truth to guide us through an unknown future...which seems particularly appropriate for Graduation Recognition Sunday, right!?!


John 16:12-15

Jesus said "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."

3 Things from Administrative Council

Administrative Council had their regularly scheduled meeting this past Sunday right after church. Here are
"The Three Things" you need to know from that meeting.

  1. PIP Update -- Remember the loan we took out through Church Extension in order to complete our Property Improvement Projects? Well, I am thrilled to announce that WE PAID OFF THE LOAN! That means that we are debt free! We still have improvements we would like to make along with repairs and maintenance that continues to be needed, so if you have money left on your pledge I hope that you will continue to give generously towards it. Just because we have paid back the loan doesn't mean we are done with the project...but it is a major step!
  2. Budget Conversation -- The Administrative Council continues to monitor the 2013 General Budget closely. You will remember that at our December Annual Meeting we passed a budget that included a line item for "Additional Fundraisers" in order to balance the budget (remember that we lost the cellphone tower rental income that we had been receiving for the last several years). Members of church leadership are working hard on our budgeting issues. You'll be hearing more in the coming weeks about fundraisers and opportunities to financially support the mission and ministry of our church.
  3. Al Beasley, moving toward Commissioned Ministry -- Did you know that our very own Al Beasley has been intentionally working toward Commissioned Ministry? He has completed a rigorous 16-week long "Foundations in Ministry Course" through the Arizona Region, met with the AZ Region's Commission on Ministry, completed a professional assessment and an "independent exploration" where he met with AZ pastors and attended other Disciples congregations in Arizona. Al also helped lead our Elders Retreat back in February. Through this process Al has discerned a calling for Pastoral Visitation and this summer we will have the opportunity to affirm him as our Minister of Visitation at a congregational meeting -- in the same way that we have affirmed Judy Stall as our Minister of Outreach. I'm truly excited about this possibility and you'll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming weeks!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Whiteboard Redux: Pentecost

I'm out of the office this week attending the Clergy Peer Group through Hope Partnership. I'll be in Payson with the pastoral leaders of the five other Arizona Congregations who have opted into the Hope Partnership. It will be a time of prayer, reflection, discussion, fellowship, worship, and education.

Since I won't be back until late in the day on Thursday it also means that I won't be able to draw anything on the Whiteboard, so I'm bringing back an old favorite. 

This coming Sunday is Pentecost, so I'm rerunning the Pentecost drawing I put up on the Whiteboard last year along with our traditional Acts 2 reading that is assigned for the day!

Rev. Brian 


Acts 2:1-21 The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pentecost Offering

I just got off the phone with a staff member from Hope Partnership.

He was calling to remind me about the Pentecost Special Offering that our churches will receive on the next two Sundays and as we were talking he casually mentioned that we were one of the Top 200 supporters for the Pentecost Special Offering last year!

How about that!

In helping to resource our churches for the 2013 Pentecost Special Offering Hope Partnership has put together the following video.


The 2013 Pentecost Special Offering benefits the new church movement. We need your support. This offering is creating opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in places that don’t have a Disciples witness. When you give to the Pentecost Offering, one half of your gift stays in the Region where you live and one half goes to Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation to support the recruitment, assessment, training and coaching of new church pastors, spouses and core team members. We'll be receiving it in worship May 12 and May 19. Make sure to mark your contributions with the note "Pentecost Offering".

Whiteboard: Unity

I was studying our sermon scripture this week and I was amazed by my discovery.

This Sunday I will be preaching from John 17:20-26. It is variously known as Christ's Jesus' "Prayer for All Believers" and Jesus' "Prayer for Unity".

As I was studying the scripture passage I was amazed to discover that the word "UNITY" is hiding right there in the text. So I just had to write it out on The Whiteboard in a way that would bring it out.

So naturally, we'll be talking about Unity this Sunday. As part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) this is uniquely important to us. As a people of faith we have always avowed that "Unity is our Polar Star" and we have taken special significance from this prayer of Christ that we find in John 17:20-26.

And since it is Mother's Day, I can't help but share with you what my own mother always said about unity...but if you want to hear that story you'll have to join us for worship this Sunday!

See you there!


John 17:20-26

‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
‘Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Grillin' for Nehemiah

Wasn't Grillin' for Nehemiah fun!

This past Sunday the ladies of DWM hosted a hotdog and hamburger luncheon with a free will offering where all of the proceeds went to support the Nehemiah Project -- our churchwide to replenish the coffers here at FCC Scottsdale.

There was great food, fun fellowship, and terrific entertainment from our very talented church members!

Look at all those happy folks enjoying themselves!

There is Brad and his friend performing to close out the event!

The free-will offering for the luncheon raised $348. And then another $395 in gifts came in to support the Nehemiah Project! Thank you all for your generosity!

In the coming days and weeks be on the look out for information about the next Nehemiah Project Event, Dinner with the Stars!

Whiteboard: Renewal

Jesus heals a man who cries out to him.

This man has been ill for 38-years, and he is alone. No one is there with him and no one can help him.

Jesus approaches and asks if he wants to be made well. Jesus speaks with the man, hears his pain, and in commands him to get up, take his mat, and walk. And just like that the man is healed.

It sounds like another miraculous healing story -- amazing in its own right, but not altogether different from what we have already heard and seen Jesus do.

It is just another healing story, until we recognize that little detail about the context. Scripture tells us "Now that day was a sabbath" and suddenly everyone is up in arms. 

You can't work on the sabbath! But what if it is an act of mercy? Or charity? 

You simply can't do such things on the day of rest! But he has been hurting for so long? 

God said not to work on sabbath! God said that we are to act justly, do mercy, and walk humbly. And Jesus said, "God is still working, so I am working."

What is a faithful understanding of the Sabbath? What does it mean to us as Christians? How to we rest, renew, and do good work? 

This Sunday we will draw from John 5 as we gather in worship, seek God's holy word for us, and renew ourselves (mind, body, and spirit) by worshiping the Lord.