Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Whiteboard: The Fifth With First

This Sunday is The Fifth With First!

A quick refresher: The Fifth With First is our church-wide shorthand for “The Fifth Sunday with First Christian Church” and on those months with an extra Sunday (it happens four times a year) we use that additional Sunday to put our faith into action in our local community. We do it by having two services. We have a Worship Service in the Sanctuary that is followed by a Mission Project opportunity in our Fellowship Hall and we have a Workship Service (see what we did there!) where I lead a team of volunteers from the church in a brief prayer service at Chaparral Park before we head out to do direct service with one of our ministry partners.

On November 29 we have special things lined up for both services!

For the Workship Team: We’ll meet at Chaparral Park at 9AM for our prayer service and then we’ll head out to partner once again with our friends from Operation Fix-It. We've been working with Operation Fix-It for three years now. This Sunday we'll be helping one of our local Scottsdale neighbors get their house back up to code by doing needed yard work.

For the Worship Folks: We have a special worship service planned in the Sanctuary. We'll be doing a "Jesse Tree" Service. Based on the Biblical promise that "a shoot shall come form the stump of Jesse" (Jesse is the father of the great King David) and our faith that Jesus is the one who brings God's promises to fruition, the Jesse Tree Service is an opportunity for us to hear and reflect on several different stories from our biblical tradition. Oh, and we get to decorate a tree too! After the Worship Service the Outreach Team will have a "Christmas Bag Assembly Line" ready for you in the Fellowship Hall where you'll have the opportunity to put together gift bags to benefit the children and young people from Vista Del Camino.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Whiteboard: We Give Thanks

On Thanksgiving Sunday we will gather to...well, to give thanks obviously!

As we prepare our hearts for Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday, come worship with us at FCC Scottsdale as we take the time to give thanks to the Lord for the rich blessings we have received.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."

So this Sunday we'll gather in the strengthening bonds of community to give thanks to God. Come and join us!


John 18:33-37 The Eternal Kingdom

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 

Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 

Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 

Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 

Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ 

Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’

Three Things from Administrative Council

Administrative Council had their last regularly scheduled meeting of 2015 this past Sunday immediately following the Worship Service. Here are the "Three Things" you should know from that meeting!

1) Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee presented a full slate of leaders ready and willing to serve our congregation in 2016. The Administrative Council unanimously approved the slate that will now go to the Annual Congregational Meeting (scheduled for Sunday December 6) for final approval. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Nominating Committee for their prayerful, tireless work on behalf our congregation. Thank you to Judy Kares for chairing the committee and to Ron Prast, Donna Blakely, and Jean Decker  for serving on the Nominating Committee this year. Thank you as well to all of the church members who have accepted the invitation to serve in 2016.

2) Stewardship Season's Blessings
Administrative Council was appreciative of the hard work of the Finance Team and our Pastor in putting together an excellent Stewardship Season. This was our second year of working with the Narrative Budget framework and it was such a joy to spend four weeks talking about the Worship, Mission & Ministry of our congregation alongside of our Dreams.

3) Outreach Ministry Recognitions in our Community
Rev. Judy lifted up a long list of Outreach accomplishments for our church in the month of October. That list included:
  • The Pumpkin Patch, our major fundraiser, was a great success thanks to all the 350+ volunteers.Nearly $5000 was raised for the community!
  • The Healthy Packs distribution has increased to include all seven Title One elementary schools in Scottsdale!
  • We partnered with Scottsdale Congregation UCC as they hosted homeless families on behalf of Family Promise. We helped by preparing and serving dinner on two nights as well as by leading activities after dinner. 
  • We gave 35 pairs of glasses to the Lions Club.
  • Monthly we donate to Vista Del Camino food bank and to Family Promise.
  • We were invited to join city, faith communities, businesses & non-profit leaders from all around Scottsdale for the Mayor’s “Our City” Task Force to help with the needs and concerns of Scottsdale citizens. It is an important gathering of leaders from all around our city, and our church was specifically invited to be there!
  • Rev. Judy was asked to deliver the prayer at a recent Paiute Community Center Fundraiser.
  • At a recent the Interfaith Breakfast Meeting Rev. Judy was one of three featured presenters that morning, where I had the chance to talk about Healthy Packs.
  • Several of our members screened families for Adopt a Family.
  • More than 20 Church members participated in the East Valley Crop Walk.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Whiteboard: Dedication Sunday

This Sunday we complete our four-week Stewardship Season with Dedication Sunday. We'll be receiving and dedicating our Pledge Cards for the coming year all while celebrating the abundance of God's love and the possibilities that the future holds for us.

Once again we've built our Narrative Budget on the tri-fold purposes of our church from our Mission Statement: Worship, Mission & Ministry. For the last several weeks I've been writing those words out on The Whiteboard and sneaking a heart (or hearts!) into each picture. Well, this week I couldn't help but rearrange the equation. Instead of tucking a heart (or hearts!) into each word, I tucked the words inside of a heart. The truth is that Worship, Mission & Ministry stand at the heart of who we are and what we do at First Christian Church Scottsdale. It is every time we gather in the sanctuary on Sunday morning, every time we celebrate The Fifth With First, every Sunday School class and Small Group Meeting, every work project and outreach partner we support. Worship, Mission & Ministry defines us as a people, and is only made possible through your generous support of our church. 

If you want to learn a little bit more about FCC Scottsdale and how your stewardship dollars are put to use then check out these clips from our YouTube Channel.

If you want to know a little bit more about our focus for dedication Sunday then read Psalm 126 below.

Psalm 126 A Harvest of Joy

When the Lord restores us,
we are like those who dream.
Our mouths are filled with laughter,
and our tongues with shouts of joy;
then we said to the nations,
‘The Lord has done great things for us.’
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with a harvest of joy.

When the Lord restores us,
we are like those who dream.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

During the third Sunday of our Stewardship Campaign we'll talk all about Ministry.

Here is how we describe Ministry at FCC Scottsdale:

Ministry is walking hand in hand with a brother or sister in Christ.

Ministry is sharing your faith.

Ministry is following God’s call on your life.

Ministry is journeying together in service to God.

For the purposes of our Narrative Budget, Ministry describes the ways that we extend the love of Christ by taking care of one another right here in the church.

We see this in every hospital visit by an Elder, every Prayer Shawl that is lovingly knitted, every Pastoral Call, and every Prayer Chain email. This is every warm smile at the Visitor’s Center, every Fellowship Luncheon, every Youth Group Lock-In, every Summer Adventures In Learning Session, every New Member welcomed, every Lenten Study Session and every Sunday School Class.

Ministry is you and me working together to share God's love!


Psalm 89 God’s Covenant with David

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, for ever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established for ever;
your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

You said, ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to my servant David:
“I will establish your descendants for ever,
and build your throne for all generations.” ’

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome above all that are around him?
O Lord God of hosts,
who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.