This Week at First Baptist (12/7/16)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Thursday, December 8, 7:30 pm: Choir Practice in the Parlor. Everyone is invited to share in the fun and the music.
  • Sunday, December 11, Third Sunday of Advent
    10:00 AM: Worship and Gingerbread House Making Party for Children and Youth:
    “Song of Joy and Justice,”
    Psalm 146:5-10; Isaiah 35:1-10; Matthew 11:2-11; Luke 1:47-55; James 5:7-10, Rick Mixon preaching
    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation: “Saving Jesus Redux: Jesus’ Birth: Incarnation” Another session in our ongoing exploration of this challenging video series.
    4:00 PM: Caroling and Chili Supper for the Whole Family We will gather at the church and head out to carol for several members of the congregation, including those at the Terraces in Los Altos, whom we don’t see so often. Then we will return to the church for chili.
  • Tuesday, December 13, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at Marylea McLean’s apartment, 373 Pine Lane, #4204, Los Altos.
  • Wednesday, December 14, 10:30 AM: Meditation Group at Eileen Conover’s, 1075 Space Park Way #217, Mountain View.

Looking Ahead:

Note from Pastor Rick (12/7/2016)

Our Advent journey continues. With watchful and wondering attentiveness, we have wandered through the realms of hope and peace. Now this week, we approach joy. It may seem hard to hold on to joy in this season of shrinking days, cold, and rain. The political climate is difficult, challenging. We are met often with pain, suffering, and death. The whole world groans in its winter sleep. Where will we encounter joy in such an environment? Our wise companion on the journey says joy will not just happen to us while we’re sitting and waiting. “We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day,” Henri Nouwen writes. It sounds very much like real joy is one of those spiritual disciplines we need to cultivate in order to make the journey to God’s Beloved Community.

Describing the “holy way” by which the children of Israel will travel from exile in Babylon to their home in Jersualem, the writer of Isaiah says, “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God” (Isaiah 35:1-2.) Facing a long and arduous journey to an uncertain future, the prophet is still willing to proclaim that God will make a way and that his people can walk that way with God. That is reason enough to sing and rejoice.

Sunday is Gaudete or Joy Sunday on the Advent calendar. Come, share the joy of the day as we worship and study. Our texts for the day will be Isiah 35:1-10 and Matthew 11: 2-11. In Adult Spiritual Formation we will conlude our study of Jesus’ birth and the incarnation, using the Saving Jesus Redux video series. We have had some lively discussions in this series. You are welcome to join us.

In the afternoon, we will gather at the church at 4:00 PM to go caroling to several of our members we don’t see so often. Because those folk are somewhat spread out, it would be nice to have a couple of groups of carolers. You don’t have to be a trained singer to join in. You just have to love to sing Christmas carols and love your neighbor. After caroling, we will gather back at the church for chili supper. If you can help with set up or clean  up for the supper, please let one of the pastors know, so we can plan accordingly.

Plan to join in the joy of the day, beginning with worship at 10:00 AM and continuing through the education hour and caroling. Bring someone else along to share the day with you.

Together, let us strive…to know God’s love!

Pastor Rick   

This Week at First Baptist (12/2/15)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Thursday, December 3, 2015, 7:30 PM: Church Choir Rehearsal in the Parlor. We’d be delighted to have you join us as we prepare for this Christmas season.
  • Sunday, December 6, 2015, Second Sunday of Advent
    10:00 AM: Worship for the whole family and Communion
    Peace Blows In,” Luke 1:68-79, Rick Mixon preaching.
    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation:
    Saving Jesus Redux: The World into which Jesus Was Born, Rick Mixon leading
  • Sunday, December 6, 2015, 12:45 PM: Lunch Bunch at Celia’s Mexican Restaurant, 3740 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. Everyone welcome. Let Melanie Ramirez or Alan Plessinger know if you’re planning to attend
  • Tuesday, December 8, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at Marylea McLean’s apartment, 373 Pine Lane, #4204, Los Altos.
  • Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 1:00 PM: Senior Connections Prime Timers Concert features the Gunn High School Choir in a program of music for the season. Brown bag lunch first, followed by concert. at First Presbyterian Church, 1140 Cowper.
  • Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 2:30 PM: Meditation Group led by Charlotte Jackson at Thelma Parodi’s house, 543 South El Monte Avenue, Los Altos.


  • Thursday, December 10, 2015, 3:00 PM: Church Council in the Parlor.
  • Friday, December 11, 2015, 11:30 AM: Women’s Brunch Pot-luck brunch for women at the home of Nana Spiridon, 2047 Edgewood Drive, Palo Alto. Bring canned food to share with the hungry.
  • Sunday, December 13, 2015: 3rd Sunday of Advent
    10:30 AM: Worship and Sunday School: “Joy Bursts Forth” Philippians 4:4-7. Rick Mixon preaching
    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation: Saving JesusRedux: Jesus’ Birth – Incarnation4:00 PM: Christmas Caroling and Chili Supper. Singing songs of the season to friends and neighbors. Singers of every sort are welcome to join in. We are also looking for volunteers to help produce the Chili Supper.

Thanks to Dona; Fourth Sunday of Advent

Three candlesAnother full week in the life of FBCPA. On Friday, the final Senior Chat was held at Covenant Presbyterian Church, followed by a luncheon co-hosted by Covenant and us to say thank you to Dona Smith-Powers for eight plus years of leadership of this program. We shared our gratitude for all she has given.

On Saturday, in our sanctuary, we held a moving memorial service for Virginia Herbert. Until her death, just shy of her 96th birthday, Virginia was our oldest member. Virginia was a remarkable woman, school teacher, mother and social organizer. Her circle of friends and former students is large. There will be another celebration of her life later in the spring when more of these folks can gather to share their rich memories. We will surely miss her. Thanks to everyone who helped with the service and lovely reception afterwards.

Sunday we finished our brief spiritual journey into the theme, “Be Born in Us Today,” by considering the ancient practice of examen, in which we ask ourselves on a regular basis, “Where did I feel God’s presence in my life today?” and “When Did I experience God as being absent?” These are key questions for a growing spiritual consciousness. In the afternoon, a group of intrepid carolers went to the Terraces to sing for some of the folk there. Afterward we gathered back at the church for chili supper. Thanks to Eleanor, Melanie Ramirez and Thelma Tuttle for making the delicious meal happen.

This Sunday, the fourth in Advent, we conclude our celebration of singers and songs of the season. We will have an augmented choir with voices from the Choral Project plus several regular guest musicians. We will all sing our songs as well. The sermon title is “Angelic Airs and Earthy Echoes,” in which we look once more to the heavenly choir and the shepherds’ shock. You’ve heard the word before of this most surprising experience. The announcement comes to the poor and outcast, the lowest of the low – “It’s to you we bring the glad tidings. It’s for you the Messiah comes. Let there be peace and good will for all on this earth.”

After worship we will gather in the Fellowship Hall for our annual Christmas brunch. Everyone is asked to bring finger food to share. Why don’t you bring some guests as well? It will be a great day. See you Sunday at 10:00 AM

God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.

Pastor Rick

This Week at First Baptist (12/10)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Thursday, December 11, 7:30 pm: Choir Practice in the Parlor.
  • Friday, December 12, 10:00 am Senior Chat and Luncheon: “Our Youth at Risk” will present a panel discussion from folks in our Palo Alto community who are offering direct services to youth. Covenant Presbyterian Church, 670 East Meadow, Palo Alto.
    A special luncheon honoring Dona Smith Powers will follow. Details here.
  • Saturday, December 13, 1:00 PM: Memorial service for Virginia Herbert in the Sanctuary followed by a reception in the Parlor.
  • Sunday, December 14,10:00 AM: Worship for the whole family
    “Alive in the Adventure of Jesus: Keep Herod in Christmas,” Pastor RIck preaching.
    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation
    Be Born in Us Today – Enter In
  • Sunday, December 14, 4:00 pm: All-church Caroling and Chili Supper. Meet in the Parlor and we will spread out from there to bring Christmas cheer to some of our community who don’t get out so easily.
  • Tuesday, December 16, 10:30 AM: Bible Study
    at the Terraces of Los Altos at Janet Maxwell’s apartment.
    The address is 373 Pine Lane, #2106, Los Altos.  Let Pastor Rick know if you need transportation.
  • Wednesday, December 17, 8:30 AM: Men’s Breakfast at Palo Alto Breakfast House, 2706 Middlefield, Palo Alto. All the men from our Church family are welcome.


  • Thursday, December 18, 10:00 AM: Women’s Brunch at Nan Spiridon’s home. Please call for information.
  • Saturday, December 20, 10:00 AM: Set Up for Christmas Brunch. Please help us make the hall ready for the brunch on Sunday. The more the merrier!
  • Sunday, December 21, 11:30 am: Christmas Brunch for the whole congregation in the Fellowship Hall. Please bring finger food to share.
  • Wednesday, December 24, 5:30 pm: Christmas Eve Service. A family-friendly service in the sanctuary

Keep Herod in Christmas

Three candlesThis full Advent season continues. We will have an opportunity to celebrate the long life of Virginia Herbert on Saturday at 1:00 PM. Virginia was our oldest member, a woman of intelligence, grace and wisdom and a great teacher. Saturday evening at 7:00 PM, the iSing Silicon Valley Girlchoir will offer “Thankful,” a holiday concert at Mission Santa Clara on the Santa Clara University Campus.

On Sunday, our journey takes a strange turn as we are invited to “Keep Herod in Christmas.” This hardly seems like an appropriate focus for this time of year, especially on the Sunday when the watchword is traditionally “joy.” There is little joy associated with the murderous despot who ruled the region when and where Jesus was born. The ancient king is best (or is it worst?) remembered for slaughtering the baby boys of Bethlehem in hopes of eliminating the Messiah before he could even get started. Brian McLaren insists that it is important to remember that “We do not live in an ideal world. To be alive in the adventure of Jesus…is to refuse to bow to all the Herods and all their ruthless regimes – and to reserve our loyalty for a better king and a better kingdom.” We will continue to search out joy as we walk this road together.

Our Advent experiment in spiritual direction will conclude this Sunday with the focus “Be Born in Us Today – Enter In.” Each person is invited throughout this week to engage in the ancient discipline of “examen,” that is, asking at some point in each day, “Where did I experience God today?” “Where did I feel God absent?” Keep a record of your observations, if you’d like. Then, on Sunday, bring something – anything you find symbolic of your experience – to share with the group. It could be a story, a poem, a photograph, a found, created or treasured object or a simple reflection. Be as free and creative as you’d like. Where does God enter into your life   Where do you find a block? This is the rhythm of our spiritual life.

Sunday afternoon we will gather in the Parlor at 4:00 PM to form caroling groups, heading out to bring some seasonal joy to members and friends of the church who do not get out so easily or regularly. Then it’s back to the church for chili and cheer around the table. If you have friends and relations who love to sing songs of the season, bring them along. The more the merrier!

See you Sunday at 10:00 AM. Invite a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or stranger to share the morning with you – and come back at 4:00 PM to bring a little “Joy to the World.”

God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.   Pastor Rick