This Week’s Message

October 14th, 2014

We had a wonderful celebration of Coming Out / Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists on Sunday! Thanks to Brent Westphal for his courageous witness and to theologian James Alison for helping us understand the story of Peter’s visit to the Roman Centurion Cornelius in Acts 10 – the moment when the early Jesus Movement truly became the Church Universal. One of Alison’s greatest insights is that the Church is always built on the Cornerstone of the rejected and victimized Christ so there’s really no question about “inclusion” of LGBTQ people in the true church. Only the self-exclusion of those for whom the Cornerstone has become a stumbling block in their resistance to the universality of God’s love – and church. Thank you, First Baptist, for standing as an open doorway and inviting everyone into the presence of the one true God who loves and welcomes us all equally!

Testimony of Brent Westphal

October 12th, 2014

Testimony of Brent Westphal

Sermon: It’s Never Too Late, It’s Never Too Soon

October 12th, 2014

Dorothy Whiston – It’s Never Too Late, It’s Never Too Soon

This Week’s Message

October 7th, 2014

On Sunday we heard God call us to be a “great nation” – a fully human species – which we do by taking on the same kind of other-oriented life that God lives for, in and through us. When Abraham and Sarah were called by God they knew a lot more about what they were leaving behind – family, friends, wealth and privilege – than about where they were going or what they would find there. Still, they trusted in God’s goodness more than they feared losing the security of life as usual. Their obedience to God was another step in God’s evolutionary “undoing” of the original sin (mistake) of our earliest ancestors. The mistake of claiming the right to judge good and evil and so who to include and exclude, reward and punish, which has plagued human civilization ever since. Are we ready to let go and let God direct our lives, which essentially means recognizing and responding to God’s presence in everyone and everything?

Sermon: Blessed to Be a Blessing

October 5th, 2014

Dorothy Whiston – Blessed to Be a Blessing

Lectionary Readings Sunday, October 5

October 1st, 2014

Genesis 12:1-9; Psalm 105:1-10; Galatians 3:6-9; Mark 11:15-19
What does is mean for God’s “chosen” or “called” people to be blessed in order to be a blessing to others rather than to be blessed just, or even primarily for themselves? How well does the church (those “called out” by God to spread the good news of Jesus) pass on God’s blessings today? How might we become a greater blessing to the world?

This Month’s Message

October 1st, 2014

Dear fellow travelers on The Road with Jesus,

I am very excited to let you know that we were recently told that FBC has been awarded an ABC-USA Home Missions Matthew 25 grant of $1500 to help with our new mission partnership with The Dream Center. The funds allocated are for providing snacks and meals for fathers and boys (primarily) involved in Dream Center programs. While we applied for $5000 for a variety of purposes, none of the more than 60 applicants received the entire amount they requested. Our Palmer Grant application to the ABC-USA Foundation for $15,000 to grow our Restorative Justice Ministry in partnership with the Dream Center is still pending.

I hope you will come hear Executive Director Fred Newell tell us about The Dream Center and possibilities for our involvement there at a Community Forum after worship on Sun., Oct. 26.

Speaking of money, well, let’s do just that! Not only because we’re heading into our annual season for financial pledging and budgeting, which is important for the functioning of the church. More important even than that is to look at how our attitudes and practices relating to material wealth reflect the poverty of spirit that God calls us to in Christ and in what ways our dealing with money and property may be fostering (or hindering) our spiritual growth, both personally and as a community. As Jesus cautioned, where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also. For me, this means a continual process of conversion!

How might God be calling us as FBC to invest in building up the Commonwealth of God here and now? Part of the transformation taking shape in the church today concerns finances and property, two cornerstones of the “institutional” church that is steadily evolving into something yet unknown. What does this all mean – for the universal church and for us as disciples? And for our church’s financial planning for 2015?

I hope everyone will join in a community conversation about “Church and Money” this Sunday, Oct. 5 after worship so we can explore where we are with all this as we make this road, too, by walking. We really hope to have all kinds of voices in this conversation – young and old, newcomers and old timers. Then please watch for your stewardship packet to come in the mail later in the month. See below for more details.

A fellow FBCer recently said she’s discovering a whole new vision of what her life-long Christian faith is really all about through our use of McLaren’s narrative lectionary and reflections in We Make the Road by Walking. That, my friends, is what a living faith is all about! We’re meant to make such discoveries repeatedly throughout our lives, sometimes in major ways, sometimes more subtly. If you’re not already actively engaged in the spiritual formation process outlined in this book, please see below for some opportunities to join in this exciting pilgrimage of faith. Or, of course, you can just read and explore on your own, or with a spouse or a friend. And I am always available to companion you on The Way in a spiritual conversation or two.

God’s blessings,

Pastor Dorothy

Sermon: In Over Our Heads

September 28th, 2014

Dorothy Whiston – In Over Our Heads

“We Make the Road by Walking” Lectionary Readings ~ Sunday, Sept. 28

September 23rd, 2014

Genesis 4:1-16, (6:5-8, 7:1-5, 8:1, 9:7-17); Psalm 51; James 4:1-8; Luke 17:20-21, 26-33
There’s a lot of violence in the Bible! The question is whose violence is it? How we read the Bible determines how we answer that question and ultimately who we claim as our God. Is the God you believe in violent? How about the beloved Abba God Jesus claims? What kind of God is worshiped most in this world, regardless of religion?

This Week’s Message

September 23rd, 2014

On Sunday we heard the parable of the landowner who gives all his workers a full day’s wage whether they started early in the morning or just an hour before quitting time. And we, like the laborers in the story, grumbled, “It’s not fair!” But fair and just to God is making sure all (people and creatures) have what they need to thrive, without them having to earn anything. What if being fully alive means receiving everything as a gift and then sharing what we have as generously as it’s been given to us, without judging another’s worth to receive? Or we can live as rivals with God and one another and so grasp for whatever we can get, justifying our covetousness by deeming others less worthy. This fundamental choice, says Jesus, is what determines our entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Shall we enter in, all together as one?


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