A Servant King (11/20/2016)

A sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Texts: Jeremiah 23:1-8; Luke 23:32-43; Colossians 1:9-20

This is one of those hybrid Sundays, one in which several not obviously related foci converge and challenge the worship planner to come up with something that at appears coherent. I told Jan that I had all the hymns carefully chosen for “Reign of Christ” Sunday, the celebratory culmination of the liturgical year, when I remembered that this was also Stewardship or Gratitude Sunday as well as the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It is important in the traditions of our congregation to recognize all these events. So back to the drawing board to ensure that the Reign of Christ, stewardship, and Thanksgiving were all acknowledged in today’s service. If you’re missing “Come Ye Thankful People, Come,” I suggest attending tonight’s Interfaith Thanksgiving Service in which it will be the opening hymn.

Continue reading A Servant King (11/20/2016)

GENEROUS GIVING

From Laura Garcia, Stewardship Chairperson

Stewardship Sunday (November 23) is fast approaching. We must all think seriously about how we can fearlessly be witnesses as a generous and faithful steward through service to others. God was generous when he created us and gave us Jesus as an example for us to follow.

Most people are happy to give generously when presented with a worthy project or persons with real need. Many times we do not give due to fear, for example, our recent economic circumstances or fear of being ridiculed by others. We must all seriously think about how we can improve our witness as generous and faithful stewards of the Lord.

As we worship this week, remember the parable that Jesus told about the sowing of seeds. We can substitute our resources of time, talent and treasure as the seeds. Many times they may fall on deaf ears, other times they will be accepted by productive persons who will use them and benefit from them. Thus they produce fruit and a good harvest for the kingdom of God. Knowing this, can you be a generous and faithful steward for the kingdom of the Lord? We as a congregation need to be giving persons of our time, talents and treasures to be considered faithful stewards of God.

Gratitude and Stewardship

Three candlesThis weekend our focus is on gratitude with our annual Gratitude dinner on Friday night and culminating with Stewardship Sunday. Not only in the broader culture, but especially in the life of the church this is the time of year to consider generosity and giving.   Friday’s night’s potluck will center on expressions of gratitude. Sunday you are asked to bring your completed pledge forms for ongoing support of the church through next year’s budget. The many good things we do and are as a congregation are dependent on the generosity of your support – in time, talent and treasure. Personally, I am always grateful for the good stewardship of our congregation.

In addition, this is the month in which we take a special offering for Ecumenical Hunger Program, the agency which we helped found to serve the needy in East Palo Alto and vicinity. What a treat it was to have Nevida Butler, founding director, in worship Sunday to share some of the ongoing needs and emerging vision of EHP. And how appropriate that she would be sitting next to Mary Granholm, volunteer extraordinaire!    We also remembered Ellen Chang and June Lee who gave countless hours of volunteer service to EHP. Thanks also to Thelma and Ron Tuttle who keep the connection going by picking up our donations on a regular basis and delivering them to the EHP campus.

Remember we will be collecting food stuff for the EHP holiday food distribution this weekend. In addition to nonperishable food items, please bring turkeys, hams, chickens or roasts to grace another family’s Thanksgiving table. These can be brought Friday night, Sunday morning or any time in between. And if you have family, friends, colleagues or neighbors looking to share during this holiday season, invite them to contribute as well. Let’s fill the barrels, baskets and boxes to overflowing!

Sunday’s worship focus will be on the “Hope of the world, thou Christ of great compassion…” (to quote from the great hymn of Georgia Harkness, which we sang last Sunday.) Along with everything else, Sunday is “Christ the King Sunday,” the last Sunday in the liturgical calendar in which we celebrate Christ in the fullness of his glory. The following week it starts all over with Advent and the promise of the Incarnation. After worship we will all – young and old – join to decorate the church for the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany season.   There will be something for everyone, including refreshments to keep us going.

See you Sunday at 10:00 AM for a rich, full day.

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

Pastor Rick  

MORE LIGHT…MORE LOVE…MORE LIFE

This Week at First Baptist

CalendarTHIS WEEK AT FIRST BAPTIST

  •  CHURCH CHOIR Thursday, November 21 at 7:30 PM in the Parlor.
    All are welcome to join in song (and fun).
  • WOMENʹS BRUNCH will be Thursday, November 21 (not 28) at 10 AM at Hobee’s Restaurant, 4224 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. All women of our church community are invited. Please join us.
  • GRATITUDE POTLUCK, Friday November 22 at 6:00 PM for folk of all ages in the Fellowship Hall. Join us for an intergenerational potluck dinner and celebration of all for which we have to be grateful. Bring a dish to share. You may also bring turkeys and canned food for Ecumenical Hunger Program that evening. Invite a friend, family member, colleague, neighbor or stranger to join us in this time of celebration!
  • “FOUND FAITHFUL, IN LITTLE, WITH MUCH, WITH ALL” – STEWARDSHIP SUNDAY, November 24, 10:00 AM. We will bring our 2013 pledges as well as our food offerings for EHP as part of a service of thanksgiving.  10:00 a.m. Worship: Made Strong & Sunday School for Children and Youth.  11:30 a.m. Adult Spiritual Formation:  Contemplation of the book, Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber, led by Pastor Tripp. Rev. Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran pastor in Denver, CO. Her memoir is capturing the attention of many. It is a New York Times bestselling spiritual memoir. Some suggest hers is a voice for our present time. Copies are available.  (Note: the book contains adult language.)
  • BIBLE STUDY, Tuesday, November 26, 10:30 AM 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.
  • INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING SERVICE, Tuesday, November 26, 7:30 PM in our sanctuary. This year’s theme is “Pathways to a Grateful Heart: Inspiring Each Other to Expressions of Gratitude.”  If you can help with the reception afterward, please let Pastor Rick know.  We could use help with set up, clean up and refreshments to share.

Pledge Sunday

Harvest tableWe remember with love and gratitude our sister, Patrice Heath, who died on Monday.  Hers was a long and difficult struggle through which she passed with love and grace.  We are thankful that she was part of our community.  We also say thanks to all those who cared for her in these last days.  Please keep Richard in your thoughts and prayers as he grieves her death.  Services are pending; we will let you know as we know when and where.

Thanks to Doug Davidson for leading an excellent Adult Spiritual Formation class last Sunday as we considered Jesus and the “Revolution of Love.”  This Sunday we will finish our consideration of Pastrix, the memoir of the spiritual journey of Nadia Bolz-Weber.  Pastor Tripp will lead the session.

Sunday promises to be a full day.  It is not only “Reign of Christ Sunday,” celebrating the end of the liturgical year, it is also pledge Sunday and the day we dedicate the food offering we’ve collected throughout the month for Ecumenical Hunger Program.  As we were told Sunday, EHP will have an extra burden this year providing for the hungry and homeless in East Palo Alto.  Please give with as much generosity as you can to help our sisters and brothers in need.  Staples as well as any and all the ingredients for a Thanksgiving feast would be most welcome.

“Found Faithful – in Little, with Much, with All” is our stewardship theme this year.  We have been reminded that gifts large and small matter.  While recognizing that each of us lives with limits, it is also important to remember how blessed we are.  Support of our congregational budget is crucial to our continuing to minister to one another and to the wider world.  Please pledge as generously as you are able.  There are exciting days ahead for FBCPA.

“Made Strong” is our theme for Sunday.  In the beautiful passage from Colossians that is Sunday’s text, the writer offers these words of hope and promise – “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.”  Is this not a word of good news for us as we look to God’s future?  Bring someone with you to share the joy of this day.

May God’s new thing flourish within us and among us.

Pastor Rick

Pastor Rick: November 21

We had a lovely time last Friday at our annual Gratitude Dinner.  Not only was the food delicious but we had a delightful time creating a collage of good things in the life of our congregation this year.  If you haven’t had a chance to see our collective “masterpiece,” it is on display in the church entryway.  Thanks to Pastor Tripp for organizing the program and to everyone who helped with the meal.

 Sunday was Stewardship Sunday, and again it was delightful to gather as a community to share further our gratitude to God for all we’ve been given.  It was very moving to hear people share things for which they were grateful un the life of our church this year.  Thanks to everyone who brought your pledge forms on Sunday.  If you have not returned yours, I urge you to do so as soon as possible.  This information is invaluable in budgeting and planning for the coming year.  It is also an opportunity to express tangibly the “abundant joy and overflowing generosity” that the gospel draws forth from each of us.

This Sunday is Christ the King or Reign of Christ Sunday.  It marks the end of the church’s liturgical calendar.  The next Sunday we begin a new liturgical year with Advent.  This year Advent does not arrive on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which gives a little more space to consider “Christ the King.”  What kind of king reigns as the “King of Love”?  What does it mean to give ourselves in allegiance to a reign of “truth”?  Sunday will be an intergenerational service as we celebrate the kingly Jesus as the whole community.

We also have a little more time to “Hang the Greens” this year.  I encourage everyone to stay after worship to help decorate the church for Advent and Christmas.  If you have visions in blue, white and gold (our Advent colors,) bring them along to share.  There is opportunity here for folk of all ages.  Once we are done decorating, we’ll gather around the tables for a simple lunch of soup, bread, fruit and cookies.

See you Sunday morning at 10:00 AM in the sanctuary for worship, sharing and learning, followed decorating and dining.  Invite a family member, friend, colleague or neighbor (or three!) to join the celebration.  Strangers are welcome, too!

May God bless us and keep us on the way,

Pastor Rick

Pastor Rick: November 14

First Baptist Church of Palo AltoSunday is our annual Stewardship Sunday.  I trust that we all have been thoughtfully and prayerfully considering what we can give to the church next in year – in terms of time, talent and treasure.  A pledge of income is especially valuable as it allows the Finance Committee and Council to plan more accurately for the year ahead.  Thanks to Laura Garcia who has once again chaired our stewardship campaign and to the Finance Committee, chaired by Jane Chin, that has worked on our 2013 budget.  Sunday will be a celebration as we bring our pledges, our gifts and our offerings for Ecumenical Hunger Program to the table in one joyous processional.  The items of food and clothing needed by EHP are listed below.  Please be generous and give from the heart.

Friday night is our gratitude potluck for the whole family.  Pastor Tripp and I have planned some fun and creative ways for us all to say “thank you” for the many ways we are blessed.  I encourage you to join us around the tables in the Fellowship Hall as an act of building up our community.

Next Sunday, November 25, we will honor “Christ, the King” in worship and then remain afterwards to “Hang the Greens.”  This is an opportunity for all of us to gather again in community to make our building beautiful for the Advent/Christmas season.  There will be things to do for folk of all ages and at the end we will share a simple soup lunch.  If anyone would be willing to make a pot of soup to serve 10 or so, that would be much appreciated.  Just let me know.

As a follow up to our worship study with Jennifer Davidson, we are inviting anyone and everyone who would like to contribute to worship planning for Sunday, December 9 to stay for the Spiritual Formation time after worship on Sunday.   We will work the text from Luke 1:68-79 (“Zechariah’s Song”) that we worked with Jennifer.  This is your chance to shape worship in ways that reflect your own spiritual experience as you contribute to the life of the community.

See you Sunday morning at 10:00 AM in the sanctuary for worship, sharing and learning.  Bring a family member, friend, colleague or neighbor (or three!) to join us.  Strangers are welcome, too!

May God bless us and keep us on the way,

Pastor Rick