Thursday, October 27, 2016

Whiteboard: Change Your Direction

For folks who are planning on attending the Worship Service in the Sanctuary, you have a special treat: The Rev. Al Beasley will be leading the service and delivering a Mission themed sermon that will highlight the ways your stewardship dollars are transformed into life changing programs in our community and out in the wider world. You’ll get to hear about our many outreach partners, the work of the wider church, and you’ll even hear about the upcoming CROP Hunger Walk!

After the Worship Service in the Sanctuary our Outreach Team has a special On Campus Workship Project for you that will be set up in the Fellowship Hall. We’ll be packing up much needed school supplies for the Paiute Neighborhood Center.

For folks looking to be a part of "The Fifth with First" and our Workship Project with Operation Fix-It, we'll be gathering at the Ramada at Chaparral Park at 9AM for a brief prayer service before heading out to help a local neighbor in need.


Luke 19:1-10 Jesus and Zacchaeus

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycomore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 

When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ 

So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 

All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ 

Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ 

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’

Pictures Global Ministries Missionary Visit

On Tuesday evening we were honored to have Anil and Teresa Henry visit us on behalf of Global Ministries.

Anil and Teresa head up the Christian Hospital Mungeli in India, and their story is truly amazing. They have transformed an old missionary building (which was falling in on itself when they arrived) into a cutting edge regional medical center that now serves 30,000 patients a year. They have also developed an accredited Nursing School, have rebuilt a local church (and are working on a second), have redeveloped a local school, and are looking into beginning an orphanage.

The DWM Ladies hosted a Soup and Salad Dinner ahead of the presentation, and then Dr. Anil Henry led us through the remarkable story of transformation that has taken place in Mungeli. It was a wonderful evening, and hopefully the beginning of a new relationship with this powerful mission partner.

The Christian Hospital Mungeli and the work of the Doctors Anil and Teresa Henry are supported by Global Ministries, a joint missionary effort on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.

To learn more about the Christian Hospital Mungeli and to keep up with the day to day miracles that are happening there, visit their Facebook page at:

The DWM Ladies hosting the Soup and Salad Dinner

A full Fellowship Hall enjoying the dinner before Dr. Anil's
presentation on the Christian Hospital Mungeli.

Dr. Anil Henry in conversation over dinner.

Phyllis Hallman (friend of FCC Scottsdale, member of
Saguaro Christian Church, and a board member for
Global Ministries) introduces Dr. Anil Henry.

Dr. Anil Henry sharing about the Christian Hospital Mungeli.

Dr. Teresa Henry enjoying conversation
and deserts after the program. 

Dr. Henry and my son Henry mugging for the camera!

Pictures 2016 Ministry Fair

Thank you to all of our Ministry Teams at FCC Scottsdale and all of our faithful members who made our First Annual Ministry Fair such a wonderful success!

All of our different Ministry Teams were our in the Church Courtyard with posters and pictures and flyers and stories of the ways that they make ministry happen here at the church. It was a wonderful event where we learned a lot, shared in fellowship, and had an opportunity to volunteer for future projects.

Here are a few photos from the day:


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Whiteboard: Stewardship Kick Off

With a huge assist from our friends at the Center for Faith and Giving, I'm happy to present my Whiteboard rendition of this year's Stewardship Logo!

This Sunday we are kicking off our Stewardship Campaign!

We have adopted the theme “Go & Do the Same,” which comes from Luke 10:37. At the end of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (a story about putting your faith in action) Jesus instructs us, “Go and Do the Same.”

So all throughout our Stewardship Season we’ll be talking about the ways that we take our faith and put it into action. As we’ve done for the previous two years we have adopted a Narrative Budget. That means that we’ve taken the proposed budget that our Treasurer has put together and translated it into the three broad categories that define our work here at FCC Scottsdale: Worship, Mission and Ministry.

(As a brief reminder, we take those three defining words right out of our Mission Statement. Every Sunday at the beginning of worship I proudly proclaim “At First Christian Church Scottsdale we are a Christ-centered community inviting everyone to seek and celebrate God’s love through joyful worship, mission and ministry!” So, of course, when it comes to describing the work we do we’d use those words.)

Our Stewardship Season will last four weeks. This Sunday we’ll kick off the campaign and focus on Worship! On Sunday October 30 (which is also “The Fifth With First”) we’ll focus on Mission with a special sermon at the worship service in the sanctuary from Rev. Al Beasley. On November 6 I’ll preach about Ministry, and then we’ll wrap up the whole campaign on Dedication Sunday, November 13 where we will turn in and bless our Pledge Cards.

We’ll kick off the campaign this Sunday where I’ll be presenting the first look at our Narrative Budget (including everyone’s favorite: The Pie Chart!). Then next week you’ll be getting your own detailed copy of the Narrative Budget along with a Stewardship Letter as well as your 2017 Pledge Card.

Come and join us!


Luke 10:25-37 The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do the same.’

Luke 7:36-8:3 A Sinful Woman Forgiven

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.’Jesus spoke up and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Teacher,’ he replied, ‘speak.’ ‘A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ Then turning towards the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet.You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’

Some Women Accompany Jesus

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Whiteboard: First Responder

A church member stopped by my office when I was midway through with my Whiteboard drawing for the week. I had Jesus in place and the other stick figures fleeing away from him.

The church member joked, "Well, that could be any number of Bible stories, couldn't it!"

Yes. Yes it could be.

People walking away from Jesus' teachings. The Disciples abandoning Jesus in his time of need. The religious leaders of the time scurrying away from Jesus in order to plot and plan against him.

What we actually have this week is the story of Jesus cleansing the 10 lepers. (You'll notice that after the church members confusion I made sure to write in the scripture reference and short descriptive title!)

It is a rather remarkable story.

It is remarkable in part because of the healing power that Jesus displays. Here are 10 lepers who have been cast out of society because of the disease that has afflicted them, and with a simple sentence of instruction Jesus heals them. "Go and show yourselves to the priest."

It is, in fact, while they are going that they realize they have already been made well. Jesus has healed them in a flash as they were walking away...

...and that is exactly what nine of them kept doing: Walking. They just walked away. Healed and set free, restored to wholeness by the power of Jesus' words they take off back into the world that had cast them out. Nine of the ten just keep walking.

But the one. Ah, the one.

He turns back. He praises God. He falls prostrate at Jesus' feet and he just keep thanking him, over and over again. Which is remarkable, and is clearly the life of faith that we are called to.

I have to admit, though, that I find Jesus' response remarkable as well. He knows that he healed ten of them, he knows that only one came back, and evidently he has the power to make amazing things happen. You've gotta figure that he could take that blessing right back, couldn't he? After all, Jesus cursed the fig tree, so you have to figure that he could afflict (or re-afflict) those nine lepers that walked away without a word of thanks or a second thought. But he doesn't. This isn't a story about revenge. This isn't a story about a fickle Savior who will turn his back on us just as quickly as we turn our back on him. No, this is a story of grace. Amazing grace. Radical grace -- the kind that sets us free, and calls us to respond, but isn't conditioned upon our response.

That is remarkable.

The love of God is unconditional. It doesn't hinge on my response or me doing something. No, God's love is freely given. Which makes it even more powerful when we do respond. Because we are doing it out of our own sense of gratitude and appreciation. That is the part that we actually do have control over. You have no control over God's love -- it is there whether you want it or not; whether you recognize it or not. You have no control over how others are going to respond to it -- some will hear the good news and keep on walking, some will cover their ears. The only thing you can control is how you will respond. And I hope (I pray) that you'll respond with the same faith as the one leper who turned back, praised God, and was knocked over with thankfulness.


Luke 17:11-19 Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him.

Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 

When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 

Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’