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September 8, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP RESUMES THIS SUNDAY 

I am so excited that after six months of a “pause” in our in-person worship, we are now ready to our resume our Sunday morning worship this Sunday, September 13.  We will have two services as we move forward.  The first is at 9:00am and the second is at 11:00am.  Please prepare to meet Almighty God during this special time together.  Each service will be a celebration service as we praise God together and lift up the Lord Jesus Christ, giving Him all the honor and glory that only He deserves.  

We will have a team of volunteers sanitizing the worship center between services and are so appreciative for their servant heart.  For those who are sick, who are uncomfortable or immunosuppressed, we ask that you join us for Worship on our website (www.fbcscw.org).  Together, as the family of faith, we will be unified and One as the body of Christ.  Pray for God’s blessings on that day. 

 

FORTY DAYS OF PRAYER AND FASTING COMING TO A CLOSE

Thank each of you who committed to pray during the 40 days of Prayer and Fasting leading up to the resuming of our in-person worship services.  God accepts and hears the prayer of His people when they pray fervently and with the right spirit.  These prayers have risen to the Lord as a fragrant offering asking Him to divinely intervene to bring about healing, protection, fellowship, revival, and spiritual awakening.  We look forward to what He has planned in the days ahead.

 

AMERICA…WE NEED PRAYER

Many of us watch in disbelief all that has transpired in the last few months across our country.  We ask, “What can one person do?” Granted, much of what we are seeing has deep roots and must be addressed before God and each other.  The place to start for the believer is on our knees.  It is in prayer that we have the greatest power and, if we listen to God, the greatest wisdom and insight. The Psalmist said, “Some trust in chariots and some in horse, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” Psalm 20:7. 

 

Prayer is heightened, and power increased, when we join with other believers praying for His will to be accomplished.  This is especially true in praying for God’s divine intervention in our nation.  

There are two opportunities coming in which we can join with other believers to pray for our nation.  This Friday is September 11 and we all well remember the horrific events of that day in 2001.  Dr. David Johnson, Executive Director of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, has issued a call for a Statewide Online Prayer Meeting on Friday, September 11 at 9:11am. He says:

“We will follow the plan we have used during this Year of Prayer. We will pray for pastors, people, providence, and the perishing. We want to lift up churches, schools, educators, students, public officials, and leaders. And we will ask for God to providentially bring about a cure for the virus, unity, spiritual awakening, and greater gospel witness. What better thing could we do than cry out to God for these concerns during these days?

We hope you will join us for this pivotal time of prayer. You can click on this link to sign up bit.ly/PrayAZ911 or go to our website at www.azsbc.org and click on the 911 Call to Pray logo. We plan to conclude our prayer time by 10 a.m.”

I would add that if you can not join the Online Prayer time that you set from 9:11am until 10:00am and pray for each of the requests listed above in addition to your own requests.  If you can’t pray at that time, then select a time during the day that will work for you.  Together on that day we will have a unity of purpose and prayer. 

The second opportunity to prayer with believers across the country is on Saturday, September 26.  It is the Washington Prayer March 2020 with Franklin Graham.  Franklin Graham states:

“Our nation is in trouble – and we need God’s help…This is the most critical time for America that we have seen in our lifetime – and I know the power of prayer. I urge you to…gather with other Christians to pray for our county, our leaders, our hurting communities – and that God would turn our nation back to Him…Remember 2 Samuel 24:25 “…The LORD was moved by Prayer for the land….”

This is a call to prayer for repentance.  It is a time for Christians across the country to intercede for America and pray for a mighty move of God in these perilous times.  

I am asking those who are willing to come to the church at 9:00am to pray together for God’s blessings and for the church to be renewed. Since the March in Washington is outside, we will meet outside in the west parking lot at the entry way to the main lobby.  If you would like to bring a chair that would be fine.  We plan to finish our time of prayer at 9:45am.  Would you consider joining us?  

If you are unable to join us, would you consider praying sometime between 9am and noon at your home?  Joining with believers across the country will be a huge blessing and increase the power of prayer.  

If you have any questions please contact me at drkirbykennedy@fbcscw.org  For more information on the March on Washington go to www.PrayerMarch2020.com.

PSALMS OF HOPE IN CHALLENGING TIMES SERMON SERIES

I will begin a new sermon series on selected Psalms this Sunday, September 13. 

In this series we will walk with the Psalmist through the challenges that he faced, look at the causes, and where he looked for help in those most difficult times.  We will then take truth that the Psalmist has written and apply it to the challenges each of us face as we strive to live this life in obedience to Almighty God.  

Please ask for God’s insight and wisdom in these special times as we immerse ourselves in the Psalms.  Ask God to prepare you for this journey.  Ask God to show you individuals you could invite, to come in-person or viewing on our website (www.fbcscw.org), to learn and apply these eternal truths for their lives.

 

MISSION:DIGNITY – Assisting Retired Ministers and Spouses

Each year we take a special offering for Mission:Dignity. This offering goes to the Guidestone Financial Services Mission: Dignity Department.  This is one of our Southern Baptist Agencies and this department assists our retired ministers and spouses in their greatest time of need.

After decades of faithful ministry in small churches, retired SBC pastors, workers and their widows living on low incomes rely on Mission:Dignity for monthly grant assistance to pay for food, utilities, medicine, and other necessities. And the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic makes this assistance more critical than ever before.

Join us as we take this special offering during the month of September. 100% of your gifts will go to God’s faithful servants who now find themselves in financial need.  You can give through e-giving, on your offering envelopes or just drop off your gift.  If you have questions, please contact the church office.

Have a Blessed and productive week for God’s Kingdom.

Pastor Kirby

September 4, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

Dear Friends,

One of my favorite writers of devotions, and one of those who has convicted me most through his writings, is Oswald Chambers.  Rev. Chambers died at age 43 but his works have remained.  The most successful of his 30 books is My Utmost for His Highest published in 1924, seven years after his passing.  It has never been out of print and has been translated into 39 languages.  Rev. Chambers was known as a deeply spiritual man.  You will see why.  Please take time to read his devotional thought for us today.  

A Life of Pure and Holy Sacrifice – A Devotional Thought

By Oswald Chambers

He who believes in Me…out of his heart will flow…John 7:38

Jesus did not say, “He who believes in Me will realize all the blessings of the fullness of God,” but, in essence, “He who believes in Me will have everything he receives escape out of him.” Our Lord’s teaching was always anti-self-realization. His purpose is not the development of a person— His purpose is to make a person exactly like Himself, and the Son of God is characterized by self-expenditure. If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain but what He pours through us that really counts. God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us. Our spiritual life cannot be measured by success as the world measures it, but only by what God pours through us— and we cannot measure that at all.

When Mary of Bethany “broke the flask…of very costly oil…and poured it on [Jesus’] head,” it was an act for which no one else saw any special occasion; in fact, “…there were some who…said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil wasted?’ ” (Mark 14:3-4). But Jesus commended Mary for her extravagant act of devotion, and said, “…wherever this gospel is preached…what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:9). Our Lord is filled with overflowing joy whenever He sees any of us doing what Mary did— not being bound by a particular set of rules but being totally surrendered to Him. God poured out the life of His Son “that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). Are we prepared to pour out our lives for Him?

“He who believes in Me…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”— and hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed. Now is the time for us to break “the flask” of our lives, to stop seeking our own satisfaction, and to pour out our lives before Him. Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him?

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

There is no allowance in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods. Jesus Christ, by His Redemption, can make our actual life in keeping with our religious profession. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1465 R

We are not to preach the doing of good things; good deeds are not to be preached, they are to be performed. So Send I You, 1330 L

 

LORD’S SUPPER THIS SUNDAY

As you have allowed Oswald Chambers’ words speak to your heart, please take time to prepare yourself as we observe the Lord’s Supper at the conclusion of the Sunday worship service.  Please use whatever elements you have for the Lord’s Supper.  May God be glorified in this special time of reflection, celebration, and commitment.

 

SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP RESUMES ON SEPTEMBER 13

There is much excitement in the air about our resuming our Sunday morning worship next Sunday, September 13.  We will have two services as we move forward.  The first is at 9:00am and the second is at 11:00am.  Please prepare to meet Almighty God during this special time together.  Each service will be a celebration service.  We praise God, that after six months, we can come together and lift up the Lord Jesus Christ and give Him all the honor and glory that only He deserves.  

We will have a team of volunteers sanitizing the worship center between services and are so appreciative of their servant heart.  For those who are sick, who are uncomfortable, or immunosuppressed, we ask that you join us on our website and together as the family of faith we will be unified and One as the body of Christ.  Pray for God’s blessings on that day. 

 

THE CHURCH’S FACEBOOK PAGE IS GROWING QUICKLY – JOIN US

·Here are three ways you can find our Facebook page:

 

  • If you have Facebook, simply search for First Baptist Church, Sun City West in the top search bar within Facebook.  Click on the page with the church logo (cross and sunrise) and then click the “Like” button.  

 

  • Go to our website (www.fbcscw.org).  On the far-right side of the home page there is the blue F (which stands for Facebook).  Just click on that and it will take you straight to our Facebook page. Then just “Like” us.  

 

  • If you have Facebook you can click on this link,  https://www.facebook.com/fbcscw, and it will take you to the church’s Facebook page.  Then just “Like” us. 

 

Once you have “Liked” our page, any updates or new posts from the church will start to appear within your News Feed.  We can’t wait to connect with you online!

 

Have a great weekend…

Pastor Kirby

 

 

September 1, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

CHURCH FAMILY

It is hard for me to believe that it is September 1.  It has been a challenging year with COVID-19, political unrest, protest and violence, racial tensions, law enforcement defunding, devastating hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Now, before us, is one of the most important elections in our lifetime.  

The issue I have heard little of is a call to prayer for our nation by politicians, the media, and those protesting.  Of course, I haven’t.  Why?  That is not their job, nor is it of interest to most.  The call to prayer of repentance, revival, and spiritual awakening is the responsibility of the body of Christ.  Frankly, I have not heard much about that from the body of Christ across this nation which is disappointing. It is disappointing because at this juncture in our nation, with all that we have dealt with in 2020, united prayer is our only hope.  

I am thankful for our 100 prayer warriors in the Watchman Prayer Ministry that pray for revival and spiritual awakening every week during their time of prayer.  I am thankful for our church family who know the value of prayer in their devotion times and pray for our nation.  I am thankful for all who are participating in the Forty Days of Prayer for America, which will conclude on September 13.  It has been an amazing time as we have focused on the seven key areas of our nation and concentrated our prayer in those areas which include repentance, revival, and spiritual awakening. 

As we prepare for our nation’s election, it is of the highest priority that we pray for our nation, our repentance, and for God’s divine intervention.  Franklin Graham has called for Saturday, September 26 to be a Day of Prayer for Repentance for our nation.  He will lead thousands in a march in Washington, D.C. to pray for repentance.  While we may not be able to go to Washington, D.C. there are ways we can participate. We can set aside time that day to join with tens of thousands of other believers seeking God’s face.  We will have more information in the days ahead.  

THE BLESSED NATION - A DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

By Bessie Kennedy

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”  Psalms 33:12a

Our nation has been blessed beyond measure because of America’s founders, acting on faith, drafted a constitution based on biblical values to form a unique government of, by and for the people.  An 1892 Supreme Count decision stated, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon…the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind…this is a Christian nation.”

Abraham Lincoln voiced the truth of today’s passage when he spoke of the duty of nations and individuals to recognize “the sublime truth announced in Holy Scriptures…that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

Today our country is drifting on a tide of secular humanism that has destroyed many powerful nations of the past. What can we do about it? God would give us the same answer He once gave Israel: “If my people…humble themselves, and pray…seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear…forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” II Chron. 7:14

Lord, help me contribute to the possibility of a blessed nation by trying harder to live according to Your teachings. 

 

LORD’S SUPPER THIS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

Prepare yourself for this special time at the Lord’s table as we observe the Lord’s Supper at the conclusion of the Sunday, September 6 worship service.  May God be glorified in this special time of reflection, celebration, and commitment.

 

PSALMS OF HOPE FOR CHALLENGING TIMES SERMON SERIES

This new sermon series, beginning on September 13, will help walk us with the Psalmist through the challenges that he faced, look at the causes, and where he looked for help in those most difficult times.  We will then take truth that the Psalmist has written and apply it to the challenges each of us face as we strive to live this life in obedience to Almighty God. 

Sermon Series “Psalms of Hope in Challenging Times”

September 13, 2020

Title:  David’s Portrait of a Wise Man

Text: Ps. 1:1-3

 

September 20, 2020

Title: The Foolishness of Atheism

Text: Ps. 14

 

September 27, 2020

Title: Truth for Today

Text: Ps. 19

 

October 4, 2020

Title: Is the Lord Your Shepherd? 

Text: Ps. 23

 

October 11, 2020

Title: Life and Death

Text: Ps. 39

 

October 18, 2020

Title: Finding Forgiveness

Text: Ps. 51

 

October 25, 2020  

Open

 

November 1, 2020

Title: Standing up to Life

Text: Ps. 55

 

November 8, 2020

Title: The Heart of the Matter

Text: Ps. 66

 

November 15, 2020

Title: The Christian Example

Text: Ps. 69:6

 

PREPARING TO RESUME WORSHIP ON SEPTEMBER 13

Taking into consideration Philippians 2:1-4, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

For the safety and well-being of others, we ask that while you are on campus, you observe the following guidelines:

 

  • Stay six feet apart, except those who are married or live under the same roof.  

  • Sit on available pews where there is a white swatch. Families may sit together, as can everyone who live under the same roof.

  • Each person must wear a mask. Masks will be available.

  • Sanitize your hands at each worship service entrance. 

  • If you are sick, or cannot wear a mask for one-hour, then we ask that you stay home and watch the service on Sunday morning on our website (www.fbcscw.org).  

 

God has some “divine encounters” for you this week.  Watch for them.

 

Have a blessed week.

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

August 28, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

DAILY RENEWAL – THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

By Bessie Kennedy

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 2:16

The great musician George Frederick Handel went through devastating personal struggles. He lost his health and his money, and creditors threatened to imprison him. When almost ready to give up, his faith was renewed. That’s when he composed his greatest work, “The Hallelujah Chorus,” which is part of his great “Messiah.”

Paul experienced such a time of trial when he endured persecution and suffering as he dealt with conflict within the church at Corinth. Yet, because of his staunch faith, God renewed him spiritually day by day.

How do you react to life’s trials? Strike out with anger? Retreat in bitterness? Give up in despair?

Real faith trusts God to know what is best, for God sees the big picture of our lives. Also, real faith trusts God to walk with us through any situation. He is more than able and willing to make suffering work for our good (Romans 8:28).

Father, renew my faith even as You give me courage to walk with You one day at a time.

 

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED “WHAT WAS IN THE PSALMIST MIND AND LIFE WHEN HE WROTE…”

I will be addressing that question, and other details, when I begin a new sermon series on selected Psalms on Sunday, September 13 and concluding on November 15. 

In this series we will walk with the Psalmist through the challenges that he faced, look at the causes, and where he looked for help in those most difficult times.  We will then take truth that the Psalmist has written and apply it to the challenges each of us face as we strive to live this life in obedience to Almighty God. 

Please ask God’s leading in these special times as we will be immersed in the Psalms.  Ask God to prepare you for this journey.  Ask God to show individuals you could invite to come in-person, or viewing on our website (www.fbcscw.org), to learn and apply these eternal truths for their lives.

 

PREPARING TO RESUME WORSHIP ON SEPTEMBER 13

Taking into consideration Philippians 2:1-4, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

 

For the safety and well-being of others, we ask that while you are on campus, you observe the following guidelines:

 

  • Stay six feet apart, except those who are married or live under the same roof. 

  • Sit on available pews where there is a white swatch. Families may sit together, as can everyone who lives under the same roof.

  • Each person must wear a mask. Masks will be available.

  • Sanitize your hands at each Worship service entrance.

  • If you are sick, or cannot wear a mask for one-hour, then we ask that you stay home and watch the service on our website (www.fbcscw.org). 

 

 

 

SOLUTION CHURCH FAMILIES IN NEED

 

Pastor Francis, one of our mission partnerships, has shared the report and need from Solution Church.  They have eight families (14 people total) who have COVID-19.  Three of the adults are in Maricopa County Hospital.  These families are in need because they cannot work right now. If you are interested in helping financially with this need, you can send in your designated check to the church office.  Please write Solution Church in the memo line.  We will make sure that your gift is given to Pastor Francis.

 

 

VALUABLE INFORMATION ABOUT USING OUR TECHNOLOGY 

TO GET TO OUR WEBSITE

Type www.fbcscw.org in the browser of your choice (Google, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.)

 

INSTRUCTIONS TO WATCH SERMONS ON WEBSITE

From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

Go to the LEFT BAR in the MIDDLE OF THE PAGE and click on the word SERMONS

The current sermon video is right there.  Click play to start watching.

To watch older sermons, click on MORE VIDEO SERMONS and choose the one

 

OR from the TOP menu bar, click on RESOURCES, then SERMONS

          The current sermon video is right there.  Click play to start watching.

To watch older sermons, click on MORE VIDEO SERMONS and choose the one

 

INSTRUCTIONS TO LISTEN TO SERMONS ON WEBSITE

From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

· Go to the LEFT BAR in the MIDDLE OF THE PAGE and click on the word SERMONS

· Click on LISTEN ONLINE

· Choose the sermon you wish to listen to and click play

· OR from the TOP menu bar, click on RESOURCES, then SERMONS

· Click on LISTEN ONLINE

· Choose the sermon you wish to listen to and click play

 

INSTRUCTIONS TO THE ARTICLE/UPDATES ON THE WEBSITE

· From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

· Go to the RIGHT BAR in the MIDDLE OF THE PAGE and click on the word Blogs/Devotions and click.

 

IF YOU’RE HAVING TROUBLE SEEING/HEARING THE RECORDINGS:

If on PC or Ipad, click on “full screen” icon, usually lower right

If on phone, click icon and turn to landscape view.

 

Check the volume icon to be sure it’s on.  If there’s an X over the icon, click to remove.

 

FACEBOOK PAGE INFORMATION

· Here are three ways you can find our Facebook page:

 

· If you have Facebook, simply search for First Baptist Church, Sun City West in the top search bar within Facebook.  Click on the page with the church logo (cross and sunrise) and then click the “Like” button. 

 

· Go to our website (www.fbcscw.org).  On the far-right side of the home page there is the blue F (which stands for Facebook).  Just click on that and it will take you straight to our Facebook page. Then just “Like” us. 

 

· Or, if you have Facebook you can click on this link  https://www.facebook.com/fbcscw and it will take you to the church’s Facebook page.  Then just “Like” us.

 

Once you have “Liked” our page, any updates or new posts from the church will start to appear within your News Feed.  We can’t wait to connect with you online!

 

E-Giving - INSTRUCTIONS FOR ONLINE GIVING

From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

· Click on the blue “GIVE” tab in the top right corner

· Enter the “Amount” you wish to give

· Select the “Fund” you wish to give to (General, Annie Armstrong, Missions, etc.)

· Pick the “Date” you wish to give

· Enter your “E-Mail Address”

· Click “Continue”

· Enter “Bank Account” or “Credit/Debit Card” Info

· Click “Give”

 

I certainly hope the resources above will be helpful.

Have a blessed Lord’s day.

Pastor Kirby

August 25, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

FORTY DAYS…THE HALFWAY MARK

We are on Day 21 of our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting as we look forward to resuming.  Thank you for taking the time to spend time in prayer each day for our church as we resume, our community as we minister, our nation in this difficult time, and the world I their lost condition. Continue to prayer for Revival and Spiritual Awakening.

AS WE PREPARE TO RESUME OUR WORSHIP SERVICES…SMILE

The following article was sent to me by one of our members with high recommendations.  As I read it, I thought…yes, this is perfect.  We can smile and communicate, even in masks, as we gather back together.  Enjoy the read.

5 Ways to Maintain Your Smile in a Masked World

Psychologists offer tips that will help you keep socially and emotionally connected as well as coronavirus protected.

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi, posted in Positive Living, Aug 18, 2020

Among the many losses inherent in living through the coronavirus pandemic is the ability to communicate non-verbally through a simple smile. My husband and I, in taking summer photos with our 9-year-old son, still can’t help but hear “say ‘cheese!’” coming out of our mouths, even though our smiles will be covered up by our masks.

Maybe we continue to say it because it feels good to express happiness in a way we’re used to, are unambiguous about, and have fond memories of.

But this is a new normal, and we need to show pleasure, connect with others and experience positive emotions in a physical way—even when wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance from others.

1)  Smile with Your Eyes

You don’t need to change anything about your smiling habits to use this non-verbal cue—the outer corners of our eyes naturally crinkle and narrow when we smile, body language expert Janine Driver recently told the Today show. Anyone who has been around a baby knows they display this behavior even with pacifiers in their mouths, their pleasure unmistakable.

Another psychologist who studies facial expressions called a smile that involves the eyes “a true enjoyment smile.” Opening yourself up to feeling authentically positive will let your face tell the story, beyond the part that’s covered by your mask. If you can remove sunglasses while talking with someone outdoors, do that to communicate with your eyes.

2)  Trust Your Voice

Our voices change when we smile, becoming brighter as the shape of our mouths change with happiness. Pay attention to this when you’re at home and unmasked. Next time you are on a phone call or chatting at the dinner table, listen for changes that come into your voice when you smile. Once you’ve noticed that, you can trust that others will hear it too, even when you’re wearing a mask.

3)  Use Your Words

It’s helpful to get into the habit of being explicit about how you’re feeling, especially if you’re concerned that people can’t read your facial expression. Saying something like, “Oh, I love that!” or, “You’re making me laugh!” ensures that you are communicating your interest and pleasure in whatever is making you smile at the moment.

4)  Use Your Hands

Those of us who spend time in virtual gatherings and meetings know that a simple nod or thumbs-up is an easy, unmistakable way to signal agreement and acknowledgement in a conversation. The same is true of masked interactions. Use your hands to do the same gestures you’d do on a video conference, adding a gesture like soft clapping to show that you’re smiling with your whole body.

5)  Assume the Best in Others

Jeanne Tsai, a Stanford University psychologist, recently gave an interview in which she urged people to make positive assumptions about people who are wearing masks in public. “It might be safest to assume the best,” she said. “That under their masks, people are still friendly, trustworthy and deserving of help, particularly since they are trying to protect others as well as themselves from illnesses like COVID-19.”

I found this idea especially helpful. Starting from this positive premise, I now notice myself more able to relax and, under my own mask, genuinely smile.

PSALMS OF HOPE IN CHALLENGING TIMES SERMON SERIES

I will begin a new sermon series on selected Psalms beginning on Sunday, September 13 and concluding on November 15. 

In this series we will walk with the Psalmist through the challenges he faced, look at the causes, and where he looked for help in those most difficult times.  We will then take truth that the Psalmist has written and apply it to the challenges each of us face as we strive to live this life in obedience to Almighty God.

Please ask God’s leading in these special times as we will be immersed in the Psalms.  Ask God to prepare you for this journey.  Ask God to show individuals you could invite to come in-person or viewing on our website (www.fbcscw.org) to learn and apply these eternal truths for their lives.

 

11:00am THURSDAY WORSHIP PROTOCOLS

We will continue to use the following social distancing guidelines:

 

  • Stay six feet apart, except those who are married or live under the same roof. 

  • Sit on available pews where there is a white swatch. Families may sit together, as can everyone who lives under the same roof.

  • Each person must wear a mask. Masks will be available.

  • Sanitize your hands at each Worship service entrance.

  • If you are sick, or cannot wear a mask for one-hour, then we ask that you stay home and watch the service on Sunday morning on our website (www.fbcscw.org). 

 

WE’RE GETTING CLOSER…JUST FIVE MORE

We are looking for 10 people to be a part of a Sanitation Team who will be making sure the pews and worship center is sanitized between the 9:00am and 11:00am services.  With that number of people, we can thoroughly prepare the pews for the next worshippers coming to meet God. We have five committed.  Can we count on you?

This will begin on September 13 and you will not need to attend both services.  If you come to the 9:00am worship, then just stay for about 30 – 40 minutes afterwards to sanitize.  If you are coming to the 11:00am service, just be here at 10:15am to sanitize before your service begins. 

We are praying that each of us will prepare to have clean hearts when we come back.  We will also need clean pews.  We are hoping to have enough volunteers so that people will not have the responsibility every week.  If you are interested, or have experience cleaning, please call the church office at 623-584-5738 or e-mail at office@fbcscw.org

 

May God give you a blessed week.

Pastor Kirby

August 18, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

DON’T PUT UP A ROADBLOCK

“Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in this brother’s way.” Romans 14:13

While we were living in Florida, my wife, Debbie, worked as an Executive Assistant to the CEO of a medical company. The office was about an hour or so away from our home. That was not an issue as she had been commuting for her C-Level support positions since 1998.

But early one morning I was at a local café for a men’s breakfast.  My wife called to alert me that she had to take a detour in an area which she was unfamiliar. The obstacle she faced was a fire and smoke in the swamp, and her normal route was unsafe. The sun wasn’t up, the smoke made it eerie, and her GPS wasn’t functioning. She was asking for directions through the back roads so she wouldn’t get lost.

Obstacles are commonplace in life. Sometimes it’s more difficult to handle stumbling blocks when fellow believers, whether intentionally or unknowingly, put them in our way. Paul addresses those with strong faith, instructing them to be sensitive to those who have a less mature faith and not to flaunt their maturity.

Christians should not judge one another. God challenges us to learn how to get along because all of us will stand before God to give an account of our actions, motives, and thoughts. Our goal should be to help all believers grow into spiritual maturity, not to hinder their progress.

Father help me to be sensitive to my fellow believers’ needs.

 

NEW SERMON SERIES

We have a new sermon series beginning on September 13 which will take our church family into the festive seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The series is entitled: “Psalms of Hope in Challenging Times.” 

In this series we will walk with the Psalmist through the challenges that he faced, look at the causes, and where he looked for help in those most difficult times.  We will then take truth that the Psalmist has written and apply it to the challenges each of us face as we strive to live this life in obedience to Almighty God. 

Please ask God’s leading in these special times as we will be immersed in the Psalms.  Ask God to prepare you for this journey.  Ask God to show you individuals you could invite to come in-person, or viewing on our website (www.fbcscw.org), to learn and apply these eternal truths to their lives.

 

FORTY DAYS of SEEKING GOD THROUGH PRAYERS and INTERCESSION  

We are on Day 13 of 40 in our Forty Days of Prayer and Fasting as we prepare to resume our Sunday morning worship services on September 13 at 9:00am and 11:00am.  We are also praying for our church ministries, our congregation, our community, our nation, and for spiritual awakening and revival.

 

I hope your prayer guide or other resources you are using are great helps as you hear what God’s Word says, as you intercede, and as you listen to what God has to say to you. These days can be a powerful experience for you if you allow it to be.  My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will so fill us and inspire us that we will grow spiritually during this time.  I pray that He will so inspire us that we will reach out to people around us and invite them to come and be a part of our in-person worship.

If you haven’t begun your 40 days yet, do not worry.  You can start now.  Attached is the prayer guide.  Take it and start with Day One and begin today.  Come with a prepared and prayerful heart and God will bless you in amazing ways.

CLEAN HEARTS and CLEAN PEWS

We are looking for 10 people to be a part of a Sanitation Team.  This team will be making sure the pews and worship center are sanitized between the 9:00am and 11:00am services.  With that number of people, we can thoroughly prepare the pews for the next worshippers coming to meet God.

This will begin on Sunday, September 13 and you will not need to attend both services.  If you come to the 9:00am worship, then just stay for about 30 – 40 minutes afterwards to sanitize.  If you are coming to the 11:00am service, just be here at 10:15am to sanitize before your service begins. 

We are praying that each of us will prepare to have clean hearts when we come back.  We will also need clean pews.  We are hoping to have enough volunteers so that people will not have the responsibility every week.  If you are interested, or have experience cleaning, please call the church office at 623-584-5738 or email at office@fbcscw.org.

 

TRANSPORTATION

As we are working through the logistics of resuming our Sunday morning worship services a need has surfaced.  There are some of our people who are in retirement facilities who are not running their shuttles as this time.  There are some of our members who may not feel comfortable driving right now.  We do have a request for transportation when we begin on September 13 in Sun City West.  If you have a desire to provide transportation to our Sunday worship for the short-term, please contact our church office at 623-584-5738 or email at office@fbcscw.org.  Be a blessing to someone who desires to worship as a family.

 

HAVE YOU “LIKED” US YET?

Great news! The church Facebook page continues to evolve. We have had several of our folks, in the last couple of weeks, find and “like” our Facebook page.  How about you? Please take the time to be a part of this platform for reaching the people in our community and beyond.

 

Here are three ways you can find our Facebook page:

 

  • If you have Facebook, simply search for in the top search bar within Facebook.Click on the page with the church logo (cross and sunrise) and then click the “Like” button.

 

  • Go to our website (www.fbcscw.org).  On the far-right side of the home page there is the blue F (which stands for Facebook).  Just click on that and it will take you straight to our Facebook page. Then just “Like” us.  

 

  • Or, if you have Facebook you can click on this linkhttps://www.facebook.com/fbcscw and it will take you to the church’s Facebook page.  Then just “Like” us.

 

Once you have “Liked” our page, any updates or new posts from the church will start to appear within your News Feed.  We can’t wait to connect with you online!

 

Feel free to contact the church if you currently do not have a Facebook page and would like help signing up for one.  Reach us at 623-584-5738 or email at office@fbcscw.org.

 

COMING TO THURSDAY WORSHIP THIS WEEK AT 11:00am?

We will continue to use the following social distancing guidelines:

 

  • Stay six feet apart, except those who are married or live under the same roof. 

  • Sit on available pews where there is a white swatch. Families may sit together, as can everyone who live under the same roof.

  • Each person must wear a mask. Masks will be available.

  • Sanitize your hands at each worship service entrance.

  • If you are sick, or cannot wear a mask for one-hour, then we ask that you stay home and watch the service on Sunday morning on our website (www.fbcscw.org). 

 

 

May God Bless the Ministry of His People this week.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

August 14, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

Thursday’s Worship Experience

We had 49 people in attendance at our first public worship service on Thursday.  All aspects of the service went very well, from the excellent music provided by our ladies and instrumentalists, to the ushers, greeters, and technology teams. Make sure you tune in on our website (www.fbcscw.org) Sunday morning and enjoy this time of inspiration and teaching.

We would invite you to come to next Thursday’s service at 11:00am.  We will continue to use the following social distancing guidelines:

 

  • Stay six feet apart, except those who are married or live under the same roof. 

  • Sit on available pews where there is a white swatch. Families may sit together, as can everyone who live under the same roof.

  • Each person must wear a mask. Masks will be available.

  • Sanitize your hands at each worship service entrance.

  • If a person is sick, or cannot wear a mask for one-hour, then we ask that that person stay home and watch the service on Sunday Morning on our website (www.fbcscw.org). 

 

Dr. Hornecker has an excellent article below on Emotional Triangles. This is a must-read article for everyone. 

Beware of Emotional Triangles

April and June are sisters who are having a disagreement about how best to care for their aging mother.  April believes it is time for her to move to some type of total-care facility.  However, June wants to find some means for their mother to remain in her own home.  They have attempted to reach a consensus, but April fears that June and her proposal will prevail, as has been the case in the past.  Because of that, April has reached out to her mother’s sister, Harriet, to enlist her help to convince June that April’s position is the correct and best one.  While the stated concern is their mother’s care, April’s motives are mixed because of past family dynamics between herself, June, and her mother.

Does this sound familiar?  It is called an “emotional triangle.” These frequently occur in families, churches, and other organizations. They happen when two individuals in a relationship find themselves differing over some issue, they both view as important and in which they are emotionally invested.  But rather than staying engaged with each other to work through the issue and to be open about what is really motivating each person’s actions, out of some emotional need or anxiety, one person reaches out to a third party, or parties, to enlist that third person’s support.

There are many examples of emotional triangles:  criticizing the leader to others to influence them in their attitude, thoughts, or behavior toward that person; talking about someone who is not present to undermine how others view that individual; circulating a petition to challenge some leadership decision; using phone calls, emails, text messages, etc., to enlist others’ support to one’s position; etc.  In each case, there is an attempt to enlist others to one’s point of view to pressure the other individual to conform to what one wants. 

The problems emotional triangles create in relationships and organizations are clear.

  • Emotional triangles fail to address the real issue, which is something internal and emotional that neither person is willing to bring into the open and discuss.For instance, their mother’s care, while a real issue, may not be the primary issue between April and June.Rather, that issue may relate to the ways the daughters have related in the past, the sense that one is more favored than the other, or who seems to have the greatest influence with their mother.

  • Emotional triangles are manipulative.Rather than deal with the individual openly and honestly, one seeks to enlist others to one’s position, without the other person’s knowledge, to bring pressure on that person to conform to one’s desired outcome.

  • Emotional triangles generally create more strife and tension in the relationship because persons resent not being dealt with openly and honestly and because a third party has been unknowingly included.

  • Emotional triangles often involve maligning or questioning another’s character or motives.

  • Finally, emotional triangles are not biblical.The Scriptures are clear.If one has an issue with another person, go to that person and seek to work it out with them (Matt. 18:15-17; 5:23-24).Additionally, Acts 15 provides a model for resolving differences and arriving at a consensus between various groups in the church.The Lord does not condone relational activities that lack transparency, that contribute to strife and further conflict in relationships, nor that negatively reflect upon our Christian witness.

So, how do we avoid creating or becoming involved in these types of emotional triangles? 

  • First and foremost, if one is in a conflictual situation with another person, find a way to stay engaged with the person to resolve the matter.Be transparent about one’s motives and include the other person in seeking a resolution rather than excluding them and reaching out secretly to involve a third person.Second, if no resolution can be found, agree upon a third party who can serve as a facilitator or mediator to assist in finding a mutually agreeable solution.

  • If approached by another who may be seeking to draw one into an emotional triangle, indicate an unwillingness to listen to the other person’s complaints.Listening only encourages the other person, relieves them of some of their emotional anxiety, and changes nothing.Redirect them to the person with whom they have the disagreement.

  • If one does decide to listen, be certain the person is not talking to others as well.Begin by asking questions of the individual that may cause them to view the situation or the person from a different perspective.For instance: “Have you spoken to the other person about your concerns?”“What do you suppose is causing that person to take the position they are taking?”“Is there another way of understanding his/her behavior or position?”“If it were possible, how would you like for things to be between the two of you?”“What keeps you from approaching that person and telling him/her how you would like for things to be different?”However, in asking the questions, refuse to be drawn into the emotional triangle by taking sides.Also, encourage the individual to follow through on any actions that the answers to the questions might suggest.

  • Another possibility would be to offer to sponsor a meeting between the two individuals in which one would assist the persons in talking more openly and less emotionally with each other about the matter.This would require some skills to manage the tension in the relationship and not to be drawn into the conflict on one side or the other

My plea is:  beware of creating emotional triangles as well as being drawn into them.  They are not in keeping with the way in which the Lord desires for us to relate and to work with one another.  They short-circuit open and honest communication.  They contribute to unhealthy relationships.  And they harm our Christian witness.

Ron Hornecker,
Minister of Counseling

 

Will You “Like” FBCSCW’s Facebook Page?

 

Great news! The church has a Facebook page!  This is another way for you to connect with the church and with one another.  If you have Facebook simply search for First Baptist Church, Sun City West in the top search bar within Facebook.  Click on the page with the church logo (cross and sunrise) and then click the “Like” button on the page. 

 

Also, you can go to our website (www.fbcscw.org) and on the Home Page on the far right there is the blue F which stands for Facebook.  Just click on that and it will take you right to our Facebook page.  After you do that, any updates or new posts from the church will start to appear within your News Feed. Or, if you have Facebook you can click on this link  https://www.facebook.com/fbcscw and it will take you to the church’s Facebook page.  Then just “Like” us. We can’t wait to connect with you online!

 

Feel free to contact the church if you currently do not have a Facebook page and would like help signing up for one.  Reach us at 623-584-5738 or email at office@fbcscw.org.

 

Have a blessed weekend.  Looking forward to Sunday.

Pastor Kirby

August 11, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

Special Days

Today as I am writing this E-Blast, I am thinking about my wife. Debbie and I were married 35 years ago today (August 10) at the First Baptist Church, Waldorf, MD. We met a year earlier when she came as a summer missionary to the church I pastored in New Mexico. 

I have been blessed more than I deserve and married way above myself. I have moved her from one side of the country to the other and in-between. She has always been willing to go to follow God’s call. 

This time has passed so quickly. I would not have wanted to make this journey or experienced these adventures (and there HAVE been adventures) with anyone else!!  

I look forward to the future and many more adventures with the girl I love...the best wife, mother, friend, and partner I could have imagined!!!  Oh, and soon to be grandmother!!! 

Thank you for your cards, e-mails, text messages, and verbal congratulations.  Your thoughtfulness and kindness are deeply appreciated.  You know the importance of special days.  It is a time of reflection, celebration, and expression.  

First Baptist Church has a special day coming…it is on September 13 as we resume our worship services at 9am and 11am.  This special day is important.  It is a time of reflection, celebration, and expression. Our entire church family can be involved whether you are here in person, whether your health will not allow you to attend right away, or if you are just uncomfortable being at church.  The key is being involved together, regardless of location. So, be engaged in person through our website. Let’s be the family of faith together. Pray that God will bless, protect, and encourage our church family during this time of resuming.

Thursday Worship for Four Weeks Beginning on August 13

 

Beginning this Thursday, August 13 at 11:00am, we encourage those who would like to, to attend the taping of our worship service.  You will enjoy our time of worship, complete with music, prayer, reading of scripture, and the preaching of God’s Word.  Our Greeters and Ushers will be in attendance to help and encourage our attendees with social distancing and other needs that might arise.  This will be a good training time for these teams.

 

The Thursday services will only be available August 13, 20, 27 and September 3.  

The Thursday worship services are subject to these guidelines:

 

  • Stay six feet apart (except for those who are married or live under the same roof).  

  • Sit on available pews where there is a white swatch. Families may sit together, as can everyone who live under the same roof.

  • Each person must wear a mask. Masks will be available.

  • Sanitize your hands at each Worship Center entrance. 

  • If a person is sick, or cannot wear a mask for one-hour, then we ask that that person stay home and watch the service on Sunday morning on our website (www.fbcscw.org).  

 

Our goal in these services on Thursday is to worship God, keep our people safe, and produce a service which God will use to touch lives. You can help by following the established guidelines, preparing your heart for worship, and praying for God’s will to be accomplished. 

 

Zoom Training Offered Today at 4:30pm

We are excited to offer training Zoom Online Training again to our church membership.  This training is a combined Zoom Training which will incorporate both beginner and host elements. It is designed for those who have never used Zoom and those who need a refresher experience. 

Knowing how to use Zoom during this time is so important.  There are many things you can do with Zoom, in addition to being involved in Bible Study classes and meetings.  You can talk with and see your children and grandchildren.  

A friend of our family in Seattle is hosting a baby shower for our youngest daughter, Laura, on Zoom.  Laura and Derreck don’t know many people here since they moved last year, but because of Zoom they can enjoy a special time with people they have known through the years. So, think about getting into the training today at 4:30pm.  

We are so appreciative for Paul Dyksterhouse taking the time to lead this training event. There is no cost and there will be time for questions.  

If you are interested in this opportunity to learn about Zoom (whether you use your phone or a computer/I-Pad) it will be important for you to call the church office to sign-up before 4pm today.  We’ll then send you an invite for you to call in or join via computer/I-Pad.  The office number is: 623-584-5738.  

 

Calling on Those Looking to Serve – We Need Help

We are in desperate need of additional Ushers and Greeters as we resume our Sunday morning worship services on September 13, and for the smaller groups who are invited to join our Thursday worship video recording service beginning on August 13. 

For our congregation to safely resume our services with social distancing and masks, we need additional volunteers to help guide people to the Sanctuary. All that is needed is to have a smile, a great attitude, a desire to help keep people safe when they come to the House of God, and time.  

In addition, we are also in need of people to be part of our Sanitation Team.  The name is not glorious, but the task is vital. This team will take 30 minutes between Sunday morning services, beginning on September 13, to sanitize the pews. We have the materials and need seven volunteers each Sunday to prepare the Worship Center for the 11:00am service.  You do not need to be at both services. 

If you are interested in signing up for any of these ministry needs, or in getting more information, please call our church office at 623-584-5738.  We are counting on you.  

Check Out the Church’s Facebook Page – See What’s Going On

 

Great news! The church has a Facebook page!  There is now a new way to connect with the church and with one another.  If you have Facebook, simply search for First Baptist Church, Sun City West in the top search bar within Facebook.  Click on the page with the church logo (cross and sunrise), and then click the “Like” button on the page.  After you do that, any updates or new posts from the church will start to appear within your News Feed. Or, if you have Facebook you can click on this link, https://www.facebook.com/fbcscw, and it will take you to the church’s Facebook page.  Then just “Like” us. We can’t wait to connect with you online!

 

Feel free to contact the church if you do not have a Facebook page and would like help signing up for one.  Reach us at 623-584-5738 or by e-mail at office@fbcscw.org

 

 

Looking forward to worshiping together on Sunday.

 

Pastor Kirby

August 7, 2020

 

FBCSCW E-Blast


 

Don’t Go There

 

“But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” Proverbs 4:19

 

Before COVID-19, travel was big business. Americans logged an estimated two billion trips per year for business and leisure purposes. As you can imagine, the frequency of travel had created a need for information. Destinations marketed their attractions in hopes of securing visitors and bolstering income. People who visited those places also provide input – and not all of it was positive. In fact, a book has been written and Web sites established with the title “Don’t Go There.”

 

Each of us is on a lifelong trip as a child of God. We are travelers on earth, headed to our lifelong home in heaven. And as we travel on earth, there are some places we shouldn’t go. “Don’t go there” means don’t follow the path of the wicked.

 

The author of Proverbs provides his own blend of travel wisdom: “Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it” (v.15). You can’t get much plainer than that! You can, however, seek the path of the righteous. It is like “the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (v. 18). 

 

This sounds like great travel wisdom as we journey through this life, striving to be obedient to the Savior who sacrificed all for us.  

 

Father, I seek Your wisdom for my journey of life. Give me clear guidance about places to avoid.


 

Forty Days of Prayer – How’s the Journey?

 

How is your 40 Day Journey going after the first three days? I hope great. I am praying for you as you pray for America and the resuming of our Worship Services on September 13.  If you haven’t started yet, please give it a try. It will bless you. 

Each day you will be reading a brief focus for the day, reading a couple of short scriptures, praying on the focus for that day, praying for our church and community, praying for the healing for our nation on numerous fronts, praying for our upcoming national and state elections, and praying for true Revival and Spiritual Awakening in America. America needs our prayers and so does our church family.  

Let us join together, arm in arm, to intercede for God’s divine intervention.  If you did not receive the E-Blast with the 40 Days of Prayer Guide, please call the church office (623-584-5738).

Also, attached to this e-mail is our monthly Mid-Week Prayer Guide to use in your prayer time as well.

The Father says, “Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3


 

Check Out the Church’s Facebook Page – See What’s Going On

 

Great news! The church has a Facebook page!  There is now a new way to connect with the church and with one another.  If you have Facebook, simply search for First Baptist Church, Sun City West in the top search bar within Facebook.  Click on the page with the church logo (cross and sunrise) and then click the “Like” button on the page.  After you do that, any updates or new posts from the church will start to appear within your News Feed. Or, if you have Facebook you can click on this link https://www.facebook.com/fbcscw  and it will take you to the church’s Facebook page.  Then just “Like” us. We can’t wait to connect with you online!

 

Feel free to contact the church if you currently do not have a Facebook page and would like help signing up for one.  Reach us at 623-584-5738or email at office@fbcscw.org


 

Calling on Those Looking to Serve – We Need Help

We are in desperate need of additional Ushers and Greeters as we resume our Worship Services on Sunday, September 13; and for the smaller groups who are invited to join our Thursday Worship Video Recording Service beginning on August 13.

For our congregation to safely resume our services, with social distancing and masks, we need additional volunteers to help guide people to the Sanctuary. All that is needed is a smile, a great attitude, a desire to help keep people safe when they come to the House of God, and time.

In addition, we are also in need people to be a part of our Sanitation Team. The name is not glorious, but the task is vital. This team will take 30 minutes between Sunday Morning Services, beginning on September 13, to sanitize the pews. We have the materials and just need seven volunteers each Sunday to prepare the Worship Center for the 11:00am service. You do not need to be at both services.

If you are interested in signing up for any of these ministry needs, or finding out more information, please call our church office at 623-584-5738. We are counting on you.

Zoom Training Offered Again on Tuesday, August 11 at 4:30pm

We are excited to offer training Zoom Online Training again to our church membership.  This training is a combined Zoom Training which will incorporate both beginner and host elements. It is designed for those who have never used zoom and those who need a refresher experience. 

We are so appreciative for Paul Dyksterhouse taking the time to lead this additional training event.  The training will be on Tuesday, August 11 at 4:30pm. There is no cost and there will be time for questions.  

If you are interested in this opportunity to learn about Zoom (whether you use your phone or a computer/I-Pad) it will be important for you to call the church office to sign-up.  We’ll then send you an invite for you to call in or join via computer/I-Pad.  The office number is: 623-584-5738.  Take a risk, call, and sign up.

 

 

Thursday Worship for Four Weeks Beginning on August 13

 

Beginning on Thursday, August 13 at 11:00am, we encourage you to attend our Worship Service where we tape our Sunday Morning Worship.  You will enjoy our complete worship service.  Our Greeters and Ushers will be in attendance to help and encourage our attendees with social distancing and other needs that might arise.  This will be a good training time for these teams to prepare for resuming our Sunday Morning Worship on September 13.

 

The service has four segments: Welcome, Music Worship, Special Music, and the Message. There will be short delays between each segment to allow our technology team to review the sound clarity for the highest quality. So, expect a few starts and stops.

 

These services will run on August 13, 20, 27 and September 3.  After September 3 we will encourage our people to enjoy our resuming worship on Sunday, September 13 at either 9:00am or 11:00am.

 

In addition, the Thursday Worship Services are subject to the Social Distancing guidelines of six feet apart and the mandatory wearing of masks.  If a person is sick or cannot wear a mask for one-hour, then we ask that that person stay home and watch the service on Sunday Morning on our website (www.fbcscw.org).  

 

Our goals in these services on Thursday is to worship God, keep our people safe, and produce a service which God will use to touch lives. You can help by following the established guidelines, preparing your heart for worship, and praying for God’s will to be accomplished.  

 

Looking forward to worshipping together on Sunday.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

August 4, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

Forty Days of Prayer and Fasting Begins Tomorrow – August 5

We are beginning our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting (if health permits) tomorrow.  These 40 days will lead us to September 13, when we resume our Worship Services.  These days are so critical for intercession.  Yesterday you received the Forty Days of Prayer Guide as an attachment.  If you did not receive the attachment, or would like to have a physical copy, please call the church office (623-584-5738). Please enjoy using that guide each day, or a guide of your own choosing. 

The key is praying fervently and with a desperate heart.  My good friend, David Young, a pastor from the Seattle area, wrote a challenge several years ago which is timeless.  Please take time today, or when you begin your 40 Days of Prayer tomorrow, to read it, meditate on it, and follow the instructions.  Are you really desperate in your prayer time?

 

Are We Desperate?

Written by David Young

 

I was recently with several of men who went to a Korean brother to ask about how to stir our churches to pray for our city. We were impressed with the prayer emphasis in Korean churches. Large numbers gather for prayer at 6:00 a.m. or earlier, seven days a week.

This brother was silent for a moment, and then answered, “We do not pray unless we are desperate.”

From there he began to tell us about the roots of revival among Korean churches. This movement of God began with heart broken repentance. One of the elders of the church in Korea stood up at a meeting and publicly confessed that he had stolen money from a missionary. This confession produced a season of repentance in churches throughout the country. 

Over the years the Korean people faced hardships of poverty and oppression. The harsh Japanese occupation crushed the people. Then came the communist invasion and the Korean War.  Millions of people died. Several hundred thousand families were displaced and divided. People turned to God in those terrible days. Those years of desperate prayer are bearing fruit to this day.

Finally, our Korean American brother pointed out that God has begun to send signals to America concerning our need for prayer. Are we desperate enough to see the signs of God’s judgment and grace before it is too late? Can you list some reasons God is giving us to call us to serious prayer? ____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________


Zoom Training Offered Again on Tuesday, August 11 at 4:30pm

We are excited to offer training Zoom Online Training again to our church membership.  This training is a combined Zoom Training, which will incorporate both beginner and host elements. It is designed for those who have never used Zoom and those who need a refresher experience. 

We are so appreciative for Paul Dyksterhouse taking this additional time to lead our training event.  The training will be on Tuesday, August 11 at 4:30pm. There is no cost and there will be time for questions. 

 

If you are interested in this opportunity to learn about Zoom (whether you use your phone or a computer/I-Pad) it will be important for you to call the church office to sign-up.  We’ll then send you an invite for you to call in or join via computer/I-Pad.  The office number is: 623-584-5738.  Take a risk, call, and sign up.


 

Calling on Those Looking to Serve – We Need Help

We are in desperate need of additional Ushers and Greeters as we resume our Worship Services on Sunday, September 13; and for the smaller groups who are invited to join our Thursday Worship Video Recording Service beginning on August 13. 

For our congregation to safely resume our services, with social distancing and masks, we need additional volunteers to help guide people to the Sanctuary. All that is needed is a smile, a great attitude, a desire to help keep people safe when they come to the House of God, and time.  

In addition, we are also in need people to be a part of our Sanitation Team.  The name is not glorious, but the task is vital. This team will take 30 minutes between Sunday Morning Services, beginning on September 13, to sanitize the pews. We have the materials and just need seven volunteers each Sunday to prepare the Worship Center for the 11:00am service.  You do not need to be at both services. 

If you are interested in signing up for any of these ministry needs, or finding out more information, please call our church office at 623-584-5738.  We are counting on you.  

Are You on Facebook?

Are you on Facebook?  Have you thought about it?  I’ve been on Facebook since around 2009.  I do not post much. I made the commitment when I joined Facebook that I would not engage in political issues, be negative, be involved in debates, or use it as my gripping platform.  For me, I want to keep it light, share the love of Christ, and inspire and encourage people.  I wish everyone would make those commitments.

In addition, I keep in touch with people I have known through the years.  I have found friends from college, seminary, our churches, mission trips, and ministries in which I have participated.  It has been a wonderful way for me to keep in touch.

Our church is on Facebook.  In the coming weeks we will begin sharing a lot of encouragement, inspiration, and information through this social media platform that has the potential of reaching people around the world.  Stay tuned to how you can be a part of sharing our information at home and around the globe to make a true impact.

 

Have a Blessed week.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

July 31, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

Lord’s Supper This Sunday, August 2

Prepare yourself for this special time at the Lord’s table, as we observe the Lord’s Supper at the conclusion of the Sunday, Aug. 2 worship service.  May God be glorified in this special time of reflection, celebration, and commitment.

 

Forty Days of Prayer Before the September 13 Worship Service

Our in-person Worship Service resumes on Sunday, September 13. We are asking our members to come together, starting Wednesday, August 5, to pray and fast for 40 days. We want to ask God to bless, protect, and bring a smooth transition for the resuming of our worship services.  

I am encouraging each member and friend associated with First Baptist Church, Sun City West to commit to 40 days of prayer and fasting.  Praying every day and fasting (if your health would allow), asking for God to bring a smooth transition, to bring a renewed spirit to our fellowship, to bring healing from the virus, to bring healing from the political and racial tensions, and to bring a true revival and spiritual awakening in our community and state during these dark days.  We want His Spirit to reign in our lives, our church, and our community. Will you join me?

“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

 

Back by Demand - Zoom Training Offered Again on Tuesday, August 11 at 4:30pm

We are excited to offer training Zoom Online Training again to our church membership.  This training is a combined Zoom Training, which will incorporate both beginner and host elements. It is designed for those who have never used zoom and those who need a refresher experience. 

We are so appreciative for Paul Dyksterhouse taking this additional time to lead the training event.  The training will be on Tuesday, August 11 at 4:30pm. There is no cost and there will be time for questions.  

If you are interested in this opportunity to learn about Zoom (whether you use your phone or a computer/I-Pad) it will be important for you to call the church office to sign-up.  We’ll then send you an invite so you can call in or join via computer/I-Pad.  The office number is: 623-584-5738.  Take a risk, call, and sign up.

 

Something to Think About

One of my best friends who is a pastor sent me an article that he had sent to his congregation.  I thought it was very insightful.  Please take time to read through this article, as I believe it speaks to what we are going through right now.  Enjoy.

Brett McCracken is a senior editor at The Gospel Coalition.

Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You

For church leaders and elder boards everywhere, the last few months have presented a near-constant array of complex challenges related to shepherding a church during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest complex challenge is perhaps the trickiest yet: how to prudently resume in-person gatherings.

As if the logistical details weren’t challenging enough—how to maintain social distance and limit crowd size, whether or not to require masks, to sing or not to sing, what to do with children, and so on—the whole conversation is fraught with potential for division. If a congregation—and within it, a leadership team—is at all a microcosm of our larger society, it will likely contain a broad assortment of strongly held convictions. Some will be eager to meet in person and impatient to wait much longer to get back to normal. Others will insist it’s unwise to meet at all until there’s a vaccine. Plenty will fall somewhere in between. 

In such a precarious and polarizing environment, how can churches move forward in beautiful unity (Ps. 133) rather than ugly division? It won’t be easy. But by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit working to unify us in ways our flesh resists, the opportunity is there for us to be a countercultural model for the rest of the world. 

Countercultural Sacrifice

At a time when self-idolatry is being exposed in ugly ways, the church has an opportunity to model love that places the interests of others above the self. For example, someone might find it personally difficult—even maddening—to have to wear a mask during church and stay six feet away from everyone at all times. You might think these precautions are a needless overreaction. But here’s the thing: even if it turns out you’re right, can you not sacrifice your ideal for a season, out of love for others who believe the precautions are necessary? Even if you personally think it is silly, or even cowardly, for someone to stay home even after the church is open again on Sundays, can you not heed Paul’s wisdom in Romans 14: “Let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother”? Or 1 Corinthians 8:9: “Be careful, however, that your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” 

Even if you think these precautions are a needless overreaction, can you not sacrifice your ideal for a season, out of love for others who believe the precautions are necessary?

Likewise, those who think the lockdowns should continue should not pass judgment on those who question the wisdom of the government’s ongoing restrictions. Churches should strive to honor people on both sides of the spectrum. Yes, it will be costly for churches to keep offering online services for those who don’t feel comfortable attending physical gatherings. Yes, it will be a sacrifice for church members who are sick of masks, social distancing, and Zoom to continue to use these for the sake of others. But little is more Christian than a posture of sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). We should embrace it with gladness. 

Countercultural Humility

Have you noticed how remarkably confident so many of us are in our views right now? Unfounded certainty—on the part of laypeople, leaders, modelers, and “experts” alike—is a contagion at least as viral as COVID-19 itself. We could all use a bit more humility, and the church should lead the way.

As much as ever before, Christians should follow the advice of James to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (1:19). Listening well may slow down the process of deliberation and planning, but it is worth it. Whatever opinions church leaders themselves have on the matter of reopening, they should take time to humbly hear the voices of others—perhaps convening forums of various stakeholders within the church, as well as other church and government leaders in their area. Church members should likewise model Christlike humility (e.g., Phil. 2:3) in how they react to the plans outlined by leaders, even if they don’t agree with every aspect of it. No one of us should assume we’ve arrived at the definitive answer on how to do this well. Let’s model humility by acknowledging that everything is not obvious, and we are all just trying to do the best we can in this “build the plane in midair” moment. 

Countercultural Patience

Patience is one of the rarest virtues in today’s insta-everything world. And yet patience has rarely been more needed, as many of us are antsy to break free of “stay home” isolation and get back to normalcy as soon as possible. To be sure, it is good and right to be eager to gather again as churches. We should take Hebrews 10:25 seriously when it says we ought not neglect meeting together. We should feel the ache of what is lost when we only meet virtually, and every Christian should long for the day when “church on Zoom” gives way to “church in a room.” That day will come. But we should be careful to not rush it. We should be careful to not go faster than governments allow, or faster than those in our community can understand. We should be patient with a timeline that might be slower than we’d prefer; patient with a reopening process that will doubtless be clunky; patient with leaders feeling the pressure of this complex situation; and patient with one another as we figure out the new normal. Those who are not comfortable with physical gatherings should be patient with those who are, and vice versa. As hard as it will be to practice patience, remember that in the scheme of eternity this season—whether it’s months long or years—will be but a blip. 

As hard as it will be to practice patience, remember that in the scheme of eternity this season—whether it’s months long or years—will be but a blip.

Countercultural Nuance

We live in an un-nuanced age. The economic model of the media (built on clicks and views) works against nuance. Advertisers know nuance doesn’t sell. Politicians know it too. We shouldn’t be surprised by how rare it is for someone to hold humble, complicated, “both/and” views in today’s hyper-partisan, media-catechized world. But if churches are going to emerge from this crisis with unity and fellowship intact, we must embrace the countercultural path of nuance. It’s the path that avoids ALL CAPS hysteria of every extreme sort, recognizing that truth is rarely as simple and shrill as Twitter would have us think. It’s the path that prizes both courage and prudence and avoids both Pollyannaish and doomsday responses. It means we can be skeptical of some aspects of the lockdown without resorting to outrageous conspiracy theories, and we can honor governing authorities (Rom. 13) while engaging them in civil pushback when necessary. Countercultural nuance avoids thinking the worst of people and concedes that the other side of a debate is sometimes right, just as we are sometimes wrong. Nuance often results when humility and patience combine.

There are some things Christians should not be nuanced about, of course, and one of those is our rugged commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and all that Scripture commands. What Paul urges the Ephesian church, therefore, should be equally urgent for us today: “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1–3).

These are good words for us to consider and reflect on.

 

For Your Inspiration and Encouragement – Tonight 

Don’t miss an evening of music, hope, and inspiration! Museum of the Bible and TBN present “The Truth I’m Standing On,” featuring songs by Leanna Crawford, for KING & COUNTRY, Newsboys, Matt Maher, Danny Gokey, Mandisa, Zach Williams, CeCe Winans, and Christine D’Clario. Matthew West hosts the broadcast from Museum of the Bible. Part 1 airs this Friday, July 31, at 8, 9, 10, and 11 p.m. ET, and Part 2 airs Friday, August 7, at 8, 9, 10, and 11 p.m. on TBN (channel 21 on Cox). Or stream it on your laptop or phone at tbn.org. Matthew West has some amazing songs out now. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend. 

Pastor Kirby

July 28, 2020

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Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

“And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mark 15:34

Most of us have at some time perceived ourselves as being completely alone. I had one such experience when I entered a large city high school after having lived in a small town. I felt utterly forsaken in the huge building teeming with hundreds of students who all seemed to know each other but ignored me.

Another feeling of aloneness came to me as a young mother. World War II had begun, and I stood alone in the train depot trying desperately not to cry. I had just said goodbye to my husband, leaving for military duty overseas, and was almost overwhelmed by the prospect of having sole responsibility for our baby and a frightening fear that my husband might not return. 

In more recent years I’ve felt momentarily alone, but the earlier experiences had taught me I was never actually alone. God had provided help and comfort and loved ones and friends encourage me. 

Father, thank You for providing the support I need in the lonely times of my life.

Written by my late mom, Bessie L. Kennedy, “Hall of Fame Writer” for Open Windows, in 1987

 

Forty Days of Prayer Before the Sunday, September 13 Worship Service

August 5 is 40 days prior to our Sunday, September 13 in-person Worship Service. One of our members suggested that on August 5 we all join together to pray and fast for 40 days asking God to bless, protect, and bring a smooth transition for the resuming our worship services.  

This is a great idea.  So, today I am pleading and challenging each member, and friend, associated with First Baptist Church, Sun City West to commit to 40 days of prayer and fasting.  Praying every day and fasting, if your health would allow, asking for God to bring a smooth transition, to bring a renewed spirit to our fellowship, to bring healing from the virus, to bring healing from the political and racial tensions, and to bring a true revival and spiritual awakening in our community and state during these dark days.  We want His Spirit to reign in our lives, our church, and our community. Will you join me?

“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” II Chronicles 7:14

 

Lord’s Supper this Sunday, August 2

Prepare yourself for this special time at the Lord’s table, as we observe the Lord’s Supper at the conclusion of the Sunday, Aug. 2 worship service.  May God be glorified in this special time of reflection, celebration, and commitment.

 

Looking Ahead – A Few Details About Worship in September

Sunday, September 13 will be a special day in our church family, as we will gather back together for worship and celebration in person.  We have prayed toward this day together.  We have longed for the time when we could worship in-person.  The time has been set and we are preparing. I pray you will begin preparing for this special time of worship as well.  

We will be offering two times for services staring on September 13.  There will be a 9:00am service and an 11:00am service.  Because of social distancing, we only have 84 spaces available in the worship center for each service.  We are asking that each person/couple who will be attending to please call the church office in August to let us know what service your preference would be to attend. You will only need to call one time to share your desire. We will strive to accommodate all preferences. 

When you arrive at the church on Sunday morning, September 13 Greeters will be available to answer questions you might have.  Ushers will be in the worship center to make sure you get to the appropriate seat, and available to answer any questions you might have. They will be also be guiding you toward the appropriate exits when the service has concluded. 

There will be beautiful offering boxes at each door for your tithes and offerings.  In addition, there will be nine sanitation stations available to sanitize your hands, and masks will be available for those who do not have one. You will find that there will be no bulletins, but the service order will be easy to follow.  The announcements will be at the conclusion of each service and on our website. Each service is designed to last 50-60 minutes.

When you attend the services, each person will be required to wear masks while in the building, as well as remaining six feet apart. It will be hard, but please do not be tempted to hug or shake hands.  It is important that we stay true to the social distancing guidelines for the sake of the health of our neighbors and friends.

The service will be filled with music, inspirational videos, and encouraging messages.  Seeing the sanctuary with people celebrating the Name of Jesus will be a joyous occasion.  Please plan to attend and bring others with you. 

We do need help for these services on Sunday morning.  Between each service, we will need seven (7) people each week to be part of the Sanitation Team. This team will sanitize the worship center between the 9am and 11am worship services.  Would you volunteer to be one of those seven?  It is critical.  Call the church office or let Nancy Jakes know as soon as possible.

For those who desire to attend worship earlier than September, please feel free to attend our Thursday morning Worship/Taping service beginning on Thursday, August 13 at 11:00am.  It would be helpful if you could call our church office so that we know how many to expect at that special time.

We have members of our church who, because of health, will not be able to attend church for an extended time.  Please pray for them, and I encourage them to watch the worship service and Bible Study each Sunday morning on our website.  Below are instructions on how to get to our website and worship services each Sunday. 

Still Looking for the Sunday Morning Worship Service/Sermon/Bible Study?  

Please follow the instructions below and you will be able to get on our website and then on to the services.  If you have any difficulty, please call the church office at 623-584-5738 to receive help.  Don’t miss out.  These services are touching lives. 

 

TO GET TO OUR WEBSITE

Type www.fbcscw.org in the browser of your choice (Google, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.)

 

INSTRUCTIONS TO WATCH SERMONS/WORSHIP SERVICES ON WEBSITE

From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

Go to the LEFT BAR in the MIDDLE OF THE PAGE and click on the word SERMONS

The current sermon/worship service video is right there.  Click play to start watching.

To watch older sermons/worship services, click on MORE VIDEO SERMONS choose the one you wish to watch

OR from the TOP menu bar, click on RESOURCES, then SERMONS

The current sermon video is right there.  Click play to start watching.

To watch older sermons, click on MORE VIDEO SERMONS and choose the one 

INSTRUCTIONS TO LISTEN TO SERMONS/WORSHIP SERVICES ON WEBSITE

From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

Go to the LEFT BAR in the MIDDLE OF THE PAGE and click on the word SERMONS

Click on LISTEN ONLINE

Choose the sermon/worship service you wish to listen to and click play

OR from the TOP menu bar, click on RESOURCES, then SERMONS

Click on LISTEN ONLINE

Choose the sermon you wish to listen to and click play

Are You Missing the Community of Faith?  Sign-Up for a Zoom Small Group

Would you be interested in participating in a weekly small group with 8-10 members of the church meeting through Zoom? 

I know it is not in person, but you will be able to enjoy some fellowship time while seeing each other, sharing what’s been going on, enjoying prayer time and a short discussion from Sunday’s sermon and how to apply those truths to you lives. There will be a facilitator for the group, just to keep things on track and end on time. There is no cost.

If you are interested in such a group, or you have put together your own group, please call the church office at 623-584-5738 or email me at drkirbykennedy@fbcscw.org.

 

Have a Blessed Week.

 

Pastor Kirby

Friday, July 24, 2020

 

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Greetings, Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 

As you read earlier this week, the Leadership Team has set Sunday, September 13 as the date for us to resume our Sunday morning worship services.  We are so looking forward to that special time together.  In addition, beginning on Thursday, August 13,  we are inviting members to come and worship, in a smaller group setting, as our team videos the Sunday morning worship service.  It is a special time and will allow our teams to prepare for the celebration day on September 13.  Please let the church office know if you would like to come.

 

FBCSCW has been so generous during this time of pause.  We have met or exceeded our budget goal each month. Thank you for your faithfulness.  It looks like July might be a challenge.  With seven days remaining in the month, the gifts to the church are less than half of our monthly budget.  Because of your generosity throughout the year, we are not in any danger. One of my spiritual mentors used to always say, “Trust God and Tell the People.”  I just wanted you to know where we stood and ask you to make this a matter of prayer and to continue your faithful giving in the hot days of summer.

 

Can You Trust God in the Difficult Times of Life?

 

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Again, He said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

 

There are two things that Jesus said that are certain in these verses. In this world you will have trouble, and take heart, do not be afraid. He will give you peace.  

 

In times of crisis like we are experiencing right now, we can be assured that we are not the only ones who have ever been through these types of things.  We can also be assured that we do not have to be afraid. Our trust in the Lord and His protection is firmly established and promised.

 

I received the following question(s) on this subject recently, and I thought it might be good to share some of my thoughts, in this limited article, since this might be a question many have during these days.

 

In the case of a pandemic or any situation wrought with fear and calamity, what are we as Christians to do with Psalm 91 and Psalm 121:7-8?  If we say we love and trust Him, and His Word says He will protect us and keep us from harm, are we not to believe that? 

 

First, let’s take the time to look at Psalm 91 and Psalm 121 more in-depth. This will give us the foundation we need to answer the question(s).  

 

Psalm 91 

 

The writer of this Psalm is unknown.  It appears that there are three speakers.  The first in verses 1-2 who is the Psalmist; then what appears to be a Teacher teaching the Psalmist about the meaning of trust in the Lord (vv. 3-13); and last, maybe a Prophet, doing what Prophets do…speak for the Lord (vv. 14-16). 

 

Psalm 91 is the individual counterpart to the communal song of trust in Psalm 46. Dr Artur Weiser states, Psalm 91, together with Psalm 46, “is the most impressive testimony in the Psalter to the strength that springs from trust in God.” 

 

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High….” The term “shelter” has the idea of a secret place of privacy and protection.  Here the “Most High” (El Elyon) provides for His people protection from a full range of dangers in life. The Psalmist states, “I will say” in verse two, which is his personal testimony. He trusts and puts his confidence in the Lord, not in himself or in his own resources. Dr. Allen P. Ross stated it well, “A solid faith in the Lord is like dwelling in a completely secure place; however, it is better because it means living under divine protection.” 

 

How secure is the divine protection?  The Teacher says to the Psalmist, “He will save you…He will cover you…under His wings you will find refuge….”  The Lord intervenes when life gets perilous, the storms get dark, and the road is painful.  The imagery is amazing in verses 3-4. 

 

As you look at verse 5, hear the words “You will not fear….”  Usually, in both the Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT) you hear “do not be afraid,” but the Teacher says, “You will not fear….”  Fear is a natural human emotion and reflex to a real or perceived threat. The one who is protected by the Lord does not need to be afraid.  Listen, the Lord is aware of everything that could potentially harm His people. He is not surprised by anything…not even this pandemic.  The Teacher is saying that He protects His people from the unseen things in the dark and the threats they see in the broad daylight. If you trust in what you see and not the Lord, you will be defeated by fear. It does not have to be that way. Trust in the Lord and He will protect you from any threat. In verse 5 we see military threats, and in verse 6 we see what seems to be medical threats.  He will defeat them all if you trust Him.

 

In verse 7 the Teacher shares the imagery of a catastrophic scene. Using symbolism, the Teacher paints a picture unimaginable. Yet, with all of those dying, “it will not come near you.”  Why?  Because the Psalmist trusts in the Lord.

 

God’s justice will triumph in the end, according to verse 8. He will protect His people…those who trust in Him.  In verse 9, the Teacher indicates that those who say, “The Lord is my refuge” and “you make the Most High your dwelling” will experience no harm, no disaster will come near…” (verse 10).  

 

That is where each of us should be.  Trusting not in our own opinion, intellect, intestinal fortitude, or our personal resources, but in the “Most High.” 

 

In protecting His people, the Lord mobilizes His angels to guard them.  In verse 11, the curtains are pulled back for a moment to see the cosmic battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. The idea is that when you travel on the Lord’s path you will enjoy His protection.  You are not on your own.  

 

Here is one of the most important points in this journey. Verses 11 and 12 strongly suggest that the believer should never presume on God but must be faithful to trust and obey Him. The logical example is what Jesus did during His temptation (Matthew 4:5-7/Luke 4:9-12). He encountered Satan’s misuse/misquote of this verse as he invited Jesus to throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. Satan said, “God will not let any harm come to you.” 

 

“God’s people”, Dr. William VanGemeren says, “trust their heavenly Father, while they act responsibly. Hence they do not test the Lord to see to what extent He will deliver them from troubles.” 

 

In the last section of Psalm 91, you see a prophet speaking to the Psalmist.  The phrase in verse 14 “Because he loves me” literally means “he has his heart set.” The prophet is saying that the Lord will deliver the one devoted to Him, personally placing him high and out of danger. Verses 15-16 says “I will answer him.”  He will not abandon His people in their time of trouble and distress. But the Lord does not say when or how He will deliver the Psalmist, but that He will. Those who walk through this world will have to walk through trouble. They just will not have to walk through it alone.  He will rescue and restore. One thing to remember is that both the OT and NT indicate that godly people do suffer in life. The “Most High” will walk with them through those difficulties. 

 

This Psalm must not be read in isolation, but with a full view of all of scripture. The Father will always be with us, even during our darkest distresses and trials (Ps. 23:4), but He may use adversity in our lives to produce godly virtue (James 1: 2-4). This Psalm is not a guarantee against all adversity. 

 

The warning of Dr. James Luther Mays is to be taken to heart: “The Psalm itself poses a danger. Because its assurance of security is so comprehensive and confident, it is especially subject to the misuse that is a possibility for all religious claims, that of turning faith into superstition. In Judaism and Christianity, bits of the text have been worn in amulets that were believed to be a kind of magical protection for those who wore them.” 

 

Paul shared in 2 Tim 3:12 that all who live for God will suffer, and again in Phil. 3:10 that believers must know Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings.  There will be trouble and trials for believers here in this world.  Yet, Ps. 91:10 gives us the promise that though danger is around us, we are safe in His care.

 

Psalm 121:7-8 

 

Psalm 121 is a song of trust, similar to Psalm 23, 46 and 91, distinguished by their theme of confidence in Yahweh. 

 

In verses 5-8, the elder Teacher unpacks what it means that the Lord is the Psalmist’s protector.  Using broad strokes that need to be balanced with other biblical passages, such as the book of Job, he affirms that help from the Lord covers all of life. The focus of this Psalm is that though the Lord does not deny pain, He does guarantee protection to His people as He watches over them. 

 

According to verse 7, God’s protection of the Psalmist includes every area of life. This includes things that are harmful and could cause injury. The cautionary note for the words “all harm” is that the Psalmist nor any believer would presume upon God. This Psalm is shown to be for one who is eagerly seeking to follow God and does not act in some foolhardy way expecting God to intervene because of a self-inflicted wound.  

 

It also encompasses life, literally meaning the inner person.  The idea is that no matter if it is external foes or internal fears, the Psalmist can be confident that the Lord is watching over him (Ps. 23:4). 

 

The elder Teacher concludes this teaching song in verse 8 by saying from the time one goes out to work until the time one returns home, the Lord is continually providing His protective care. That protective care is certainly for the present time, but the Psalmist will experience it in the future as well.  No matter what might show itself in the days or years ahead, regardless of the difficulties and challenges, the Psalmist can face the future with great confidence in the Lord.

 

In summary, Dr. Daniel Estes states, “Psalm 121 affirms that those who are in relationship with the Lord are safe in His care. Their mountains may be great, but their Maker is greater. Their problems may be overwhelming, but His protection is ever available. Their hurts are inevitable, but His help is inexhaustible. As they lift their eyes and see the challenges before them, they need to remember and to be reminded by other believers that their help comes from the Lord, whose competence and compassion combine to provide the firm foundation for their faith.” 

 

Reflection

 

Can you trust God in difficult times?  The resounding answer from Psalm 91 and 121 is YES!!  These Psalms of trust give us the promise of God’s continual care and protection in the times of joy, and in the darkest times of life.  There is no reason to be afraid in the difficult times.  In fact, we are commanded to not be afraid. My theme verse in life is Joshua 1:9,

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,”

 

All through the scriptures, the Lord reminds us that this world will cause us trouble, pain, suffering, hurt, loss and the darkest of nights. He also tells us that no matter what comes, He will be there to strengthen, protect, and care for us.  That promise is for the here and the hereafter. 

 

From October 2014 to September 2015, I had 14 medical procedures.  Some were simple, others were not, as I was preparing for dialysis. There were times I had to fight through emotions, frustrations, and isolation. I was a pastor in my late prime and engaged in the community where I served.  God was doing some amazing things through our church and in the community. Sometimes you do not understand why God allows things to happen to us at certain times. But we must take the broad view of what is happening.  Life will have trials and is no respecter of what the best time in life would be to face difficulties.  Regardless of everything that was going “wrong” in my life, I did not fear. I had full confidence in God.  My prayer in those dark days was for the right kidney, the right timing, and God’s perfect will.  God, my protector, honored those prayers and was faithful as He promised.  I had to be patient.  I waited for two years for that kidney. Yet, He was faithful. 

 

These are difficult times during the pandemic.  People are fearful, isolated, lonely, discouraged, and depressed.  The Psalmist is telling each of us to not be afraid. If you are afraid, then you are not completely trusting God. God says He will protect you if you do not presume upon God.  

 

What would be presuming on God during this pandemic?  Going to places where there are lots of people and not keeping a safe distance. Not wearing a mask. Not washing your hands frequently. Psalm 91:11-12 and Matthew 4:5-7 are clear passages to negate the belief of, “Oh, I can do what I want because Ps. 91 says God will take care of me.” 

 

That statement carries a similar idea that Paul spoke against in Romans 6:1-2a, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means….”  Jesus said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Instead, walk with Him intimately and He will be with you always.  He is the God you can have complete confidence in.

 

God states, time after time, in scripture that He will protect you against every hurt and trial this life has to offer.  No matter the challenges in life, you should say with the Psalmist, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” Ps. 121:1-2.  

 

In these difficult times, trust God.  He will not leave you alone. He will not abandon you. He will fulfill His promises.  Face the days ahead with hope and excitement because of God’s power and strength in you. He will bless your faithfulness.

 

Have a blessed week.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

July 21, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

Praying for Our Leadership Team and Community

Our Leadership Team will be meeting this morning as you read this E-Blast.  There are serious decisions for us to make.  They are difficult decisions.  The lasting effects of COVID-19 in our region and community are real, and making the decision to open our services, even with social distancing, has its risks.  

At the same time, we have members who are so eager and yearn to get back together for worship and Bible Study with others. The question arises – “Are we fearful?” or “Are we going to trust in God to protect us?” That is a question I will address in my article in the Upbeat, which will be mailed out on Thursday, July 23.

I had communication with pastors of three of the larger churches in Sun City West late last week.  None of these churches has opened for worship and do not have plans to do so in the foreseeable future.  One shared that they have had three deaths from COVID-19 and currently have eight other members who have the virus at different stages.  Another pastor shared that they have eight members with COVID-19 with four hospitalized, three have been released, and one is fighting for his life. He said that a couple of people who did not have to go to the hospital have been weak for the last five to six weeks. We here at First Baptist have experienced our first two members with COVID-19.  One is out of the hospital, and his wife is in Del Webb on a ventilator. The number of cases in Arizona has been high, as well as in Maricopa County. Tuesday of last week, there were over 4,200 new cases of the virus on that day alone…and 92 deaths. There is a ray of hope from some healthcare experts that we might be moving past the peak.  Let’s pray that is correct.  

I report these real-life experiences to you not to cause fear. A believer should not live in fear. I John 4:18 says in part, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear….”  I just want you to know that the Leadership Team has difficult decisions to make.  Not one of them will make their decision because of fear, but rather out of the love they have for the members of this congregation.  They have a stewardship responsibility to protect this body of Christ as a shepherd has to protect his sheep. They are trusting God to give His godly wisdom for “such a time as this.”  Please pray for them today and pray for our community. We need healing and spiritual awakening.  

 

Dr. Hornecker always shares profound thoughts and help in his articles.  Here is the follow up from his article a few weeks ago.

 

Rethinking the Use of “Should” and “Ought” (Part Two)

Webster’s Dictionary defines several usages for the words “should” and “ought.”  However, as I tried to address in my previous article, one negative use of those words is in a judgmental, manipulative, critical, and controlling approach towards others. In a similar fashion, we can use those same terms in a detrimental, self-deprecating, and guilt-producing way towards ourselves.  

In 1982, Loretta was an inpatient in a pain management clinic due to a chronic pain condition.  While there, a staff member heard her make the statement, “I should have . . .,” to which the individual responded, “Thou shalt not ‘shouldest’ upon thyself.”  Obviously, it was a very memorable statement!  (We still use it today.)  Why was that admonition significant?  

Often, if not most of the time, when we say things like—“I should have known better,” or “I ought not to have done that,” or “I shouldn’t make those kind of mistakes,” etc.—we are demeaning, criticizing and belittling ourselves.  We are implying that what we did was “wrong” in some way. However, in nearly all these instances, what was said or done was not legally, morally, nor ethically wrong.  We just made a mistake which we regret and wish we had responded differently.  Additionally, when we use these types of statements, there likely is an internal, self-critical message accompanying them, whether conscious or not, that says, “I’m dumb,” “I’m stupid,” “I can’t ever do anything right,” “I’m defective,” or something similar.  So, my concern is that we do not continually use these words and types of statements to speak negatively of ourselves when the scripture indicates that is not God’s intention for us. 

Further, I believe the use of these terms reflects our struggle with and desire for perfection.  These phrases reflect our belief that we have fallen short of some expected common courtesy or some perceived standard we have set for ourselves, or that we believe others have set for us, that involves being without fault.  Yet, a part of being human, which is how God made us, is to acknowledge that we make mistakes, have limitations, and are not “perfect.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Please keep in mind, only our Heavenly Father is without fault.  And those passages in scripture that call upon us to be “perfect,” such as Matt. 5:48, “to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect,” are not calling for perfection in the way we generally think of that word.  Rather, the meaning of the Greek has to do with “completeness,” becoming all that one was meant to be.  It has to do with our fulfilling God’s purpose for us, not that we be without fault or free of mistakes.

The scriptures reveal that we are created in the image of God.  As such, we have value and worth.  They point out that God has redeemed and gifted us.  Repeatedly we are told to love others “as we love ourselves” (Matt. 19:19, 22:39, Mk.12:31, Lk. 10:27-28, Rom. 13:9, Gal. 5:14, and James 2:8).  Paul admonished the Christians in Rome (Rom. 12:3) to have a realistic assessment of themselves, not to think more highly of themselves than was appropriate, but also not to think lowlier of themselves than was warranted.  When we use those negative, self-judgmental, and condemning terms about ourselves, that is inconsistent with how God sees us and how he wants us to see ourselves.  He loves us.  He cherishes us.  He desires that we treat ourselves with the same kind of grace, value, and respect that He has for us.  

My appeal is for each of us to accept our humanness and to stop demeaning ourselves with “should” and “ought” statements when we do not measure up to the expectations we have for ourselves.  I am suggesting that we be gracious with ourselves in the same way that God is gracious with us.  Apologize or ask forgiveness if that is needed or appropriate.  And then, as we speak about our miscues, try phasing it:  “It would have been better if . . .”, or something similar.  See if that perspective and those words do not feel more accepting, less judgmental, and much lighter.  If we can learn to do that, I believe we will find that approach more helpful in enabling us to become what God created us to be and will be much more in keeping with His grace toward us.

Ron Hornecker, Minister of Counseling
623-628-3796 or 2rhornecker@cox.net 

TODAY:  Zoom Training for Host -  It’s NOT too Late to Sign-Up

Today at 4pm Paul Dyksterhouse, will be leading a training session for anyone who might like to host a Zoom meeting at some point, or just learn how to host online sessions with family and friends during this time of staying at home. The training for Hosts will be Today at 4:00pm.  There is no cost and there will be time for questions.  The agenda for each session are as follows:

The training for Hosts will cover the following topics:

 

Why do you want to lead a Zoom call?

 

- Using Free Zoom to set up a Zoom meeting - waiting rooms, passwords, etc.

- Sending a Zoom meeting invite

- Leading Meetings - purpose, preparation, practice, people, patience, persistence

- Using a PowerPoint or other documents in your presentation

- Managing attendees - audio, video

- Recording meetings for others to watch later

- Advanced features for future training

 

If you are interested in this opportunity to learn about how to host on Zoom (whether you use your phone or a computer/I-Pad) it will be important for you to call the church office to sign-up so we can send you an invite for you to call in or join via computer/I-Pad.  The office number is: 623-584-5738.

 

 

 

Small Groups = Community

Have you missed our community called First Baptist Church?  Debbie and I sure have.  Would you be interested in participating in a weekly small group with 8 to 10 members of the church meeting through Zoom? 

I know it is not in person, but you will be able to enjoy some fellowship time while seeing each other, sharing what’s been going on, enjoying prayer time, and a short discussion from Sunday’s sermon and how to apply those truths to you lives. There will be a facilitator for the group just to keep things on track and end on time. There is no cost.

If you are interested in such a group or you put together your own group, please call the church office at 623-584-5738 or email me at drkirbykennedy@fbcscw.org.

 

Have a great week…find someone to invest in and praise God as you minister to that person.

 

Blessings.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

July 17, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

Does FBCSCW’s Video and Website Make a Difference 

It wasn’t too long ago that our Technology Team was videotaping our worship services to put on our website with very few people viewing. That was back in January.  With the COVID-19 pandemic that changed almost overnight. On March 22, with no church services in person, we began seeing considerably more “hits” on our new and edgy website and more on “views” on our worship services.  We quickly realized that for what we were trying to do, bringing worship and Bible Study to our membership and beyond, that our equipment was outdated and did not produce the worship online that was needed. The research began to purchase the equipment needed. Once found, it was installed, and then the continual training began on using the much-needed equipment.

Kudos to our Technology Team who, with much help from Alex Dennis and Carlos Herrera, have taken our worship service presentation to a whole new level.  It is at a level now that allows all our members to share the worship service, sermon, Bible Study, and our entire website of resources to all their friends and family without hesitation.  I have had comments and messages from people in various parts of the country saying how much they appreciated our ministries.  Through this amazing ministry of FBCSCW, we are seeing lives touched and changed.  

For those who have asked the question, “Does our video and website really make a difference?” the answer is a resounding YES!  Please take time to read the next testimony. 

 

Thank You from My Heart!

By Pat Centner

 

I have recently realized how blessed we are to have our worship services and Bible studies posted online for viewing by people everywhere. I attend our worship recording sessions every week, and recently our Tech Team has worked hard, learning new equipment, and striving to provide an uplifting experience. It has not been easy. But they clearly desire to honor God with their efforts . . . and I say, THANK you from my heart!

I have good reason to say that. Here’s why. 

My stepson, Rob, lives in Flagstaff. When he and his brothers came to live with us, I took them to church, albeit sporadically. Rob never really made a life commitment to God. He finished school, joined the Marine Corps, and married.  But faith was not important.  

I‘ve been praying for Rob and his family a long time, and I’m thrilled to say that God is working! I have shared often about the need for a personal relationship with God, but Rob has never bought into that completely. Praise God, that is changing!

Because his two Millennials, Kirt and Alix, have doubted the validity of the Bible, I shared with all three of them Pastor Kirby’s sermon, “God’s Holy Word … an Inspired Book” from our website. I prayed hard for God to use it mightily.

Next day, Rob called and thanked me for sending the “awesome” sermon. He “heard things [he] had never known,” and was really touched! A week later, I learned that he went to the website and watched that Sunday’s sermon, plus others, and all the Bible Studies! He was impressed with how clearly Pastors Kirby and Scott explained things.

And then! Last week, I was shocked to see that Rob posted, on his own Facebook page, the Pastor’s July 5th sermon! THAT is amazing! He commented to readers, “Most of you know I never post anything related to religion or politics … But I post this sermon from Dr. Kennedy because it really opened my eyes on issues I never understood. You see, when you have been blessed … like me, then sometimes you are blinded …” 

 

FBCSCW Zoom Training Offered for Hosting

We are excited to offer training Zoom Online Training to our church membership next week. One of our members, Paul Dyksterhouse, will be leading a training session for anyone who might like to host a Zoom meeting at some point, or just learn how to host online sessions with family and friends during this time of staying at home. The training for Hosts will be on Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00pm.  There is no cost and there will be time for questions.  The agenda for this session is as follows:

 

Training for Hosts Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00pm

 

The training for Hosts will cover the following topics:

 

Why do you want to lead a Zoom call?

 

- Using Free Zoom to set up a Zoom meeting - waiting rooms, passwords, etc.

- Sending a Zoom meeting invite

- Leading Meetings - purpose, preparation, practice, people, patience, persistence

- Using a PowerPoint or other documents in your presentation

- Managing attendees - audio, video

- Recording meetings for others to watch later

- Advanced features for future training

 

If you are interested in this opportunity to learn about how to host on Zoom (whether you use your phone or a computer/I-Pad) it will be important for you to call the church office to sign-up so we can send you an invite for you to call in or join via computer/I-Pad.  The office number is: 623-584-5738.

 

 

PRAY7:14 Report

 

The Pray7:14 event on Tuesday evening was a powerful and spiritual time. There were 875 people across our state praying together.  There were also ministries across the country that were holding similar prayer times on Tuesday at 7:14pm.

 

The time spent in intercession for the Pandemic, political and racial issues, our education programs with teachers and kids, for the churches, and pastors/staff members, and revival and spiritual awakening, was both touching and intense. 

 

My sister was watching/participating from New Mexico.  She said, “It was great. I enjoyed it very much…it was great to have so many praying at the same time for what Bob and I have been praying for daily.”  I spoke with Dick and Gloria Schroeder this morning and they enjoyed the prayer time…especially the Hispanic pastors time of intercession. 

 

I hope that many of you were able to participate online.  I also hope those who couldn’t get online were able to just stop and pray for those same concerns. Pleading with God to hear our prayers and answer our prayers is such a privilege. It is also what our country needs right now…powerful, fervent and much intercession for revival and spiritual awakening.

 

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

 

The Watchman Prayer Ministry prayer warriors are doing that on a weekly, if not, daily basis.  There are still hours available during the week.  If you would like more information or would like to become a part of the next Great Awakening, then call the church office at 623-584-5738 or email me at drkirbykennedy@fbcscw.org.

 

Praying for Our Leadership Team and Community

Our Leadership Team will be meeting next week to discuss our next steps. There are serious decisions for us to make.  They are difficult decisions.  The lasting effects of COVID-19 in our region and community are real and making the decision to open our services, even with social distancing, has its risks.  

At the same time, we have members who are so eager and yearn to get back together for worship and Bible Study with others.  Please pray for our leaders to have wisdom and understanding, and that our church continues unity in the midst of difficult decisions. 

 

 

Have a great weekend of celebrating our Victorious Lord and caring for the needs of others.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

Stewards of God’s Grace – A Devotional Thought

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” I Peter 4:10

My youngest daughter, Laura, accepted Christ at an early age. God gifted her with the ability to tell people about Jesus. While still in kindergarten, Laura shared that two friends had accepted Christ. As they played in the sandbox that afternoon, she clearly explained that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose again so that they could be with Him forever rather than apart from Him.  Laura answered their questions, and when they indicated they wanted to accept Jesus, Laura led them in the sinner’s prayer. 

That passion to engage with people concerning her Christian faith has not diminished over the years.  While working in mid-management, at a large hotel in downtown Houston, she was able to get a number of the people she worked with to attend a Tuesday night Worship and Bible Study where they were able to hear the gospel message.  God used that time to touch several of those attending.

A good steward takes good care of someone else’s endeavor. God blesses each believer with gifts which are given to serve others – not themselves. Believers are to manage their gifts wisely as indicators of God’s grace toward them.

What are your gifts? Have you diligently sought to discover them? Today is a great day to say, “Here I am, Lord. Use the gifts You have given me to serve others in Your Name.”  

In this day of confusion and concern, God desires to use you and the gifts He has given you to encourage and help people. This is a wonderful time to be a compassionate and caring steward in the name of Jesus using your gifts.  This is also a time to be faithful in being a bold witness and praying fervently for the lost.  These are two gifts God has given each believer.

Father guide me as I use my gifts to encourage other. Amen

Not Vroom but ZOOM Training Beginning This Week

FBCSCW Zoom Training Offered for Beginners and for Hosting

We are excited to offer training Zoom Online Training to our church membership this month.  This training is for the novice, as well as those who have used it before. 

One of our members, Paul Dyksterhouse, will be leading the training on two different occasions.  Thursday, July 16 at 4:00pm will be the training session for Beginners.  Paul will then lead a training session for anyone who might like to host a Zoom meeting at some point, or just learn how to host online sessions with family and friends during this time of staying at home. The training for Hosts will be on Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00pm.  There is no cost and there will be time for questions.  The agenda for each session are as follows:

 

Training for Beginners Thursday, July 16 at 4:00pm

 

The training for Beginners will cover the following topics:

 

Why do you want to attend a Zoom call?

 

- Responding to a Zoom e-mail invite with your cell phone

- Responding to a Zoom e-mail invite with your computer, tablet, or smart phone

- Meeting Courtesy - managing audio and video

- Sharing a document

 

Training for Hosts Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00pm

 

The training for Hosts will cover the following topics:

 

Why do you want to lead a Zoom call?

 

- Using Free Zoom to set up a Zoom meeting - waiting rooms, passwords, etc.

- Sending a Zoom meeting invite

- Leading Meetings - purpose, preparation, practice, people, patience, persistence

- Using a PowerPoint or other documents in your presentation

- Managing attendees - audio, video

- Recording meetings for others to watch later

- Advanced features for future training

 

If you are interested in one or both of these opportunities to learn about Zoom (whether you use your phone or a computer/I-Pad) it will be important for you to call the church office to sign-up so we can send you an invite for you to call in or join via computer/I-Pad.  The office number is: 623-584-5738


TONIGHT - PRAY7:14 -- Will You Be A Part?

 

Tonight at 7:14pm there will be a Statewide Online Prayer Event.  I will be participating.  Would you be willing?  

 

I would love for you to join with me in this coordinated prayer effort.  Please take time tonight at 7:14pm to spend time praying for healing and protection from this deadly virus, praying for healing and reconciliation in our nation concerning racial and political division, and praying for a true revival and spiritual awakening. 

 

Small Fellowship Groups = Community

Have you missed our community called First Baptist Church?  Debbie and I sure have.  Would you be interested in participating in a weekly small group with 8-10 members of the church meeting through Zoom? 

I know it is not in person, but you will be able to enjoy some fellowship time while seeing each other, sharing what’s been going on, enjoying prayer time, and a short discussion from Sunday’s sermon and how to apply those truths to your lives. There will be a facilitator for the group just to keep things on track and end on time. There is no cost.

If you are interested in such a group or you want to put together your own group, please call the church office at 623-584-5738 or email me at drkirbykennedy@fbcscw.org.

Have a great week.

 

Pastor Kirby

July 10, 2020

 

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

The Spirit Intercedes in Prayer – A Devotional Thought

 

 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26.

 

When I was a young pastor in New Mexico, I was asked to serve on our Director of Missions Search Committee.  This was a valuable experience for me as God impressed something on me that has been a guiding principle through the years. 

 

Two candidates had risen to the top of the list for the Director of Missions position. After long discussions, the committee was equally divided. The members decided to spend the next week praying for God’s Spirit to reveal His will in this matter. We also decided not to contact each other until our meeting.

 

The committee came back together, and without discussion, each member privately wrote the name the Holy Spirit had revealed during that week. When the tally was added, a unanimous decision had been reached. That experience was a powerful reminder of the Holy Spirit’s power in intercession. It is a lesson I will never forget.

 

We often don’t know how to communicate our deepest desires to God. Our inadequacies may cause us to shy away from life-changing prayer.  God understands our weakness and therefore provides His Spirit to intercede with intense groans that words cannot express.

 

Do you feel inadequate to intercede? Let the Holy Spirit take your words and express them deep into the heart of God. His power will change your prayer life.

Father, in my weakness, help me trust the Holy Spirit as He effectively intercedes on my behalf today.

PRAY7:14 Will You Be A Part

 

On Tuesday night, July 14 at 7:14pm there will be a Statewide Online Prayer Event.  I will be participating.  Would you be willing?  Please hear the latest message from the Executive Director of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. David Johnson:

Greetings Arizona Southern Baptists,

As I write this, Arizona is in the midst of the biggest surge of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started months ago. Churches that had started meeting again have had to suspend face to face services for a second time. We have lost one of our long term and beloved pastors, Gary Marquez, who served for over 30 years at North Swan Baptist Church to the virus. We are hearing of more and more cases of the coronavirus in churches around the state. And churches have had to cancel camps, Vacation Bible School, and many other summer activities. In addition to all this, our nation is bitterly divided over political and racial issues. It is abundantly clear that we need prayer!

 

2 Chronicle 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We have planned a Statewide Online Prayer meeting next Tuesday, July 14, at 7:14 p.m. to do just that. We will have a time of worship with Adam Agee and be led in prayer by pastors and leaders from around our state.

 

I would love for many of our FBCSCW members to join me in this strategic prayer meeting.  You must register to get your link for the event.  You can register by going to www.azsbc.org and on the front page it has a big ad called Pray7:14.  You will see the link to register there.  Follow the instructions and you will be in.  May God bless this unified effort and bring about healing and true revival.  If you are unable to go online, I would ask that you consider taking time on Tuesday night at 7:14pm to spend time praying for healing and protection from this deadly virus, praying for healing and reconciliation in our nation concerning racial and political division, and praying for a true revival and spiritual awakening. 

Don’t Let Zoom Pass You By…

FBCSCW Zoom Training Offered for Beginners and for Hosting

We are excited to offer Zoom Online Training to our church membership this month.  This training is for the novice, as well as those who have used it before. 

One of our members, Paul Dyksterhouse, will be leading the training on two different occasions.  Thursday, July 16 at 4:00pm will be the training session for Beginners.  Paul will then lead a training session for anyone who might like to host a Zoom meeting at some point, or just learn how to host online sessions with family and friends during this time of staying at home. The training for Hosts will be on Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00pm.  There is no cost and there will be time for questions.  The agenda for each session are as follows:

 

Training for Beginners Thursday, July 16 at 4:00pm

 

The training for Beginners will cover the following topics:

 

Why do you want to attend a zoom call?

 

- Responding to a Zoom email invite with your cell phone

- Responding to a Zoom email invite with your computer, tablet, or smart phone

- Meeting Courtesy - managing audio and video

- Sharing a document

 

Training for Hosts Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00pm

 

The training for Hosts will cover the following topics:

 

Why do you want to lead a Zoom call?

 

- Using Free Zoom to set up a Zoom meeting - waiting rooms, passwords, etc.

- Sending a Zoom meeting invite

- Leading Meetings - purpose, preparation, practice, people, patience, persistence

- Using a PowerPoint or other documents in your presentation

- Managing attendees - audio, video

- Recording meetings for others to watch later

- Advanced features for future training

 

If you are interested in one or both of these opportunities to learn about Zoom (whether you use your phone or a computer/I-Pad) it will be important for you to call the church office to sign-up so we can send you an invite for you to call in or join via computer/I-Pad.  The office number is: 623-584-5738.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

July 7, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

A Devotional Thought: Jumping to Conclusions

 

While pastoring in the Seattle area I was wide-eyed when merchant marine, Vic Bungart, walked into the worship service for the first time.  Vic was a tall, rugged man who had a long ponytail.  He just didn’t look like the merchant marines that I had met before and he certainly didn’t look like any other Christian in our church.  I quickly put up my guard and decided that I needed to win this renegade to the Lord.  

 

While making a visit to Vic’s house, I came to understand “not to judge a book by its cover.”  In that conversation I came to realize that Vic was not only a believer but had a genuine heart with a desire to faithfully serve the Lord.  Vic had married a devote Christian lady whose husband had left her and her three children.  I began spending some quality time with Vic and came to appreciate how he became the father to those three children.  He and I would meet weekly for breakfast and discipleship when he was state side.  There were numerous projects that Vic helped me with over the years. He and I became good friends.  

 

If I had not spent quality time talking to Vic, I would have missed a huge blessing. Do not judge on appearance…get to know the heart of a person. 

 

I Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”

 

“Lord, please help me to follow Your word and look at the heart of a person and not my own biased and subjective opinions or first impressions.”

 

Statewide Baptist Online Prayer Event on July 14 at 7:14pm

We have said it repeatedly, these are unprecedented and challenging times in our world and right here in our lives in Sun City West. These times call for unprecedented measures.  The Arizona Southern Baptist Convention Executive Director, Dr. David Johnson, has called a Statewide Online Prayer Event on the evening of July 14. Listen to the heart of Dr. Johnson as you read his statement below:

"...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV

“As I write this, we have a pastor in ICU fighting the virus, a church that lost a young mother of three from COVID, a church staff quarantined, and numerous others affected in one way or another. Our worship services, ministries, and personal lives have all been disrupted to one degree or another. Pastors have been faced with gut-wrenching decisions over these last weeks and months. We need prayer! We need to pray for one another—our churches, our pastors, our people, and the lost. We need to pray for God to intervene to bring healing, hope, and revival!

Toward that end, we are planning a Statewide Online Prayer event on July 14 at 7:14 pm. It will be called the 7:14 Prayer Meeting. We will have pastors leading in prayer from around the state. We will spend time in worship, confession, repentance, and thanksgiving. We are asking that you let the people in your church know about this event and encourage them to be a part of it.” 

I support this prayer meeting 100% and will be online that evening to participate.  I would like for you to join me in this strategic prayer meeting.  You must register to get your link for the event.  You can register by going to www.azsbc.org and on the front page it has a big ad called Pray 7:14.  You will see the link to register there.  Follow the instructions and you will be in.  May God bless this unified effort and bring about healing and true revival.  

 

Watchman Prayer Ministry

The Watchman Prayer Ministry is made up of prayer warriors who commit to praying one specific hour each week for revival and spiritual awakening for our church, community, state, nation, and world.  There are still opportunities to be involved in this ministry.  Do you have an hour during the week that you could commit to praying for revival and spiritual awakening in this distraught and confused world?  There is no better time to be a part of a large movement to seek God’s face. Currently, we have 100 prayer warriors taking 117 of the 168 hours of the week.  If you would like to join this ministry, please contact the church office at 623-584-5738 Monday through Thursday from 8:00am to 4:00pm.  For more information please contact me at: drkirbykennedy@fbcscw.org

FBCSCW Zoom Training Offered for Beginners and for Hosting

We are excited to offer Zoom Online Training to our church membership this month.  Sometimes we do not participate in activities because we don’t understand them.  The digital world creates some of the greatest anxiety.  The classes we are offering on Zoom are meant for those who know little about electronics or the internet.  This is a good time to be a part of overcoming those anxieties, if you have them.  For some, it will be an opportunity to learn more about this valuable tool.

One of our members, Paul Dyksterhouse, will be leading the training on two different occasions.  Thursday, July 16 at 4:00pm will be the training session for Beginners.  Paul will then lead a training session for anyone who might like to host a zoom meeting at some point, or just learn how to host online sessions with family and friends during this time of staying at home. The training for Hosts will be on Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00pm.  There is no cost and there will be a time for questions.  The agenda for each session is as follows:

 

Training for Beginners Thursday, July 16 at 4:00pm

 

The training for Beginners will cover the following topics:

 

Why do you want to attend a Zoom call?

 

- Responding to a Zoom email invite with your cell phone

- Responding to a Zoom email invite with your computer, tablet, or smart phone

- Meeting Courtesy - managing audio and video

- Sharing a document

 

Training for Hosts Tuesday, July 21 at 4:00pm

 

The training for Hosts will cover the following topics:

 

Why do you want to lead a Zoom call?

 

- Using Free Zoom to set up a Zoom meeting - waiting rooms, passwords, etc.

- Sending a Zoom meeting invite

- Leading Meetings - purpose, preparation, practice, people, patience, persistence

- Using a PowerPoint or other documents in your presentation

- Managing attendees - audio, video

- Recording meetings for others to watch later

- Advanced features for future training

 

If you are interested in one, or both, of these opportunities to learn about Zoom (whether you use your phone or a computer/I-Pad) it will be important for you to call the church office to sign-up so we can send you an invite for you to call in or join via computer/I-Pad.  The office number is: 623-584-5738

 

 

FBCSCW Website

Have you spent time looking at all the different elements on our website designed to inform you and provide opportunities for growth and encouragement?  If you have only looked for our weekly worship service, Bible Study or weekly updates I would ask you to take some time and look under each main heading and all of the sub-headings and read some things that might surprise you.  Enjoy your website.  www.fbcscw.org

 

May the Lord bless and keep you this week as you seek to be about His work.

Pastor Kirby

July 3, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

Independence Day – Ideals Behind the Holiday and Deeper

For many, July Fourth is a day off from work, a day to get together with friends and family and some great food off the grill.  That is what we will be doing on Saturday with Laura and Derrick.  It will be a special day.  As we enjoy those special treats, I want to challenge you to think a little more deeply about Independence Day. 

There are some basic ideals upon which our nation was founded. These are the same ideals that we find in the inaugural sermon of Christ at the beginning of His ministry over 2000 years ago. We find that sermon in Luke 4:16-21.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[a]

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus spoke in the synagogue about the love of God, about justice and about freedom. He not only spoke about it, He did it as He walked this earth.  He loved all. The poor, the oppressed, the blind, the prisoner, as well as the Gentile and Jew – all were created in the image of God and all are loved unconditionally by Him.

In this sermon, Jesus tried to make sure the people understood that He came to minister to all people, not just a few. All were part of His kingdom and all deserved love and respect.

One of the ideas of our new nation was that all men were created equal. This revolutionary idea called for a respect for, and dignity to, each individual and their work

In America we have every race, every religion, or no religion. We have rich and poor, city boy and country girl, Northerner and Southerner, Easterner and Westerner.  All are bound together in this country, each with their own unique characteristic and each with their own unique culture. This is what has made our country great.

The Statue of Liberty has etched upon it the words of the poet Emma Lazaus:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, temptest-tost to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” 

This has been the dream of America, but as a nation we have not always lived up to that dream. As followers of Jesus, we ought to be demonstrating this love for all. We ought to be the ones who will reach out after all people and try to minister to them, help them and care for them. We are the ones called by Christ to give respect and dignity to all.

“With liberty and Justice for all,” was an idea of our forefathers. They wanted a society in which human potential would be given a chance to be fully developed.

To give each that opportunity, laws were established to give each person equal rights and opportunity.  Since all were “created in the image of God” God intended for there to be justice and liberty (freedom) for all.  Our founders had that same goal.  For this to be realized there had to be righteousness and fairness for everyone. 

In fact, Jesus created a higher standard than only justice. He said, in my paraphrase, “If someone wants you to go a mile, go two. If someone wants your shirt, give him your coat also. If one hits you on the cheek, turn the other cheek to him.”  He wasn’t calling Christians to just have justice but to go beyond to mercy.  He wanted all people to be treated fairly and to have the opportunity to be all they could be under God. 

This is what America stands for: justice and fairness to people, regardless of race, creed, or position. In this country each person should be treated fairly and should have equal opportunity to live up to their potential. But as a nation we have not lived up to that aspiration.  We must continue to try. 

As a Christian, we have not stood up for that justice and fairness for everyone like we should. We must do better.  We must take action to make sure in our sphere of influence that we stand firm and be vocal about these rights.

The test of a nation is what it does for the least of their people. Does America strive to improve their quality of life? Does America seek to protect and encourage them? The greatness of a nation is that it seeks justice for all people, especially “the least of these.”

People ask me all the time, “I’m just one person, what can I do?”  Listen, why would we leave what we value in our beliefs, morals and ethics to people who do not know Jesus?  We certainly can’t leave it up to politicians or activists today.  As Christians, we are to be the ones to try to bring it about. We are the ones “to preach good news to the poor…to proclaim release to the captives and…to set at liberty (freedom) those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). 

As followers of Christ, we ought to oppose injustice wherever we see it because it is wrong. We are to work to make this a better country for all people.  We are to follow the example of our Lord.  Take action. 

We are called the “land of the free.” The reason our forefathers these bold steps to independence was to be free from tyrants and from kings who would use people for their own ends. They provided us with a representative government that allows us to elect officials to whom we could express our opinions on any matter and hold their feet to the fire each time an election came around.

They also gave us a participatory government where we can be involved in shaping and determining our policies.  Last, they gave us a democratic government where each person’s vote and life are important.

Within this context we have responsible freedom. Responsible freedom is what we are seeking.  It allows people the freedom to do what they want to do, be what they want to be, as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others or become destructive. 

This is hard work to keep this type of freedom working effectively. Right now, we are seeing limits stretched farther than most of us remember. Freedom does not give anyone the right to do just what they want to do. Rather, freedom is thinking of other’s rights before your own. 

In His inaugural sermon Jesus preached “freedom and liberty.” He said, “release the captives…to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” They were to be free, not to do what they wanted, but to do what Christ wanted. They were to be free to be slaves to Christ. They were to use their freedom in responsible ways. Such freedom is not easily kept.  By the way, the “They” and “their” in this paragraph, includes you and me. 

As we enjoy this Fourth of July weekend, and celebrate with family and friends around the grill and table, reflect on these key elements for True Freedom to be enjoyed by all.

Our forefathers had a dream and it is a dream that Christ has given. It is a dream that He wants us to live daily:

  1. Where we have respect for the dignity and worth of each individual.

  2. Where we have a desire for justice and righteousness for all.

  3. Where we want people to have freedom to live life responsibly

This is a worthy dream.  It can become a reality if Christ Followers will change what we are doing and become active and vocal for these ideals to become a reality in our community, city, state, and nation. Too long we have stood by silently either out of indifference or because we thought it was spiritual to stand on the sideline.  Today, we must stand tall, be courteously vocal, be actively engaged and consistent as Christ followers if we will be able to continue the revolution our forefathers began. 

 

Reminder

The church office will be closed on Monday, July 6 in observance of the July 4th holiday since our office is normally closed Fridays.

 

Happy Fourth of July,

 

Pastor Kirby

June 30,2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

Celebration of a Life Well-Lived

Along with Rev. Dick Schroeder and Rev. Paul Kinnison, I had the opportunity to speak at Edith Cable’s graveside service on Monday morning.  I listened to Dick and Gloria Schroeder speak to Edith’s heart for others and sharing about Jesus no matter what. They had been ministering to Edith for years prior to her passing.

Gloria played four songs where Edith had taken existing music and created her own songs that honored the Name of Jesus. Each was touching, not only to the family, but each of us together.  I listed to Paul as he shared stories about Edith and her husband.  Such sweet memories and all focused around Jesus Christ.  

It took me back to the first months I was here at First Baptist Church. Edith was the last remaining Charter Member of First Baptist Church, Sun City West. Caroll Swinney, Kris Hawkins, Dorothy Champley, and I went to interview her with some questions about the church and how it got started. 

As I began to interview Edith, I realized that this was going to be a trip. She not only answered the questions but shared so many life experiences.  Did you know that some of her ancestors came over on the Mayflower?  I didn’t either until my interview with Edith. Edith wrote poetry, children’s books, and a history of some of the immigrants by years gone by.  There were more stories that we have preserved on video for our history.

At today’s memorial service, I sensed a powerful legacy for Edith Cable.  It was a celebration of a life well-lived. She was known for sharing Jesus wherever she went. People will be in heaven because Edith Cable was an evangelist. She told her story of how Jesus transformed her life.  She was excited to share that wherever she went.  Is that the kind of legacy that you will leave when your temporal life is over?  I pray it is for each of us. A celebration of a life well-lived. 

 

Devotional Thought

The Eternal Christ

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born I am!”

What an amazing sight the burning bush must have been to Moses. During the encounter, he requested the name of the God of the patriarchs in case the Israelites, who were in bondage in Egypt, asked who sent him. At that bush, Moses became God’s representative, speaking to the Israelites on His behalf. “I AM is the shortened form of God’s covenant name Yahweh – that is, “I AM WHO I AM.” 

When Jesus used the term “I AM” in speaking to the religious leaders, He was stating that He existed before Abraham. He was also applying God’s holy name to Himself. It was one of the most profound statements He ever made. In that statement, He proclaimed His deity. With authority, He stated that He was a member of the godly council of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

What do you believe about Jesus? Some people believe that Jesus was a good teacher but died a martyr. They don’t believe that He is eternal and the only way to eternal life. But we must not allow opinions to replace truth. Jesus is the great I AM…the Bread of life; the Light of the world; the Door; the good Shepherd; and the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Father strengthen me to be your representative daily.

 

Something to Think About

Dr. David Johnson stated in a recent Portraits magazine that “Arizona is home to the fastest-growing county and the fastest-growing city in America, with 220 people a day moving into Maricopa County. That means if we planted an average-size Southern Baptist Church (90 members in Arizona), we would have to plant two churches per day just to keep up with the growth.” 

That is something to think about.  Such growth yet not enough churches doing what they are doing now to reach them. Each church must do better at reaching people. In addition, we must step-up our efforts to start new church plants.  We are blessed to be partnering with Asante Church which will launch on September 13.  We are excited about the growth potential and want to continue to help all we can.

Of the 120,000 people who moved to Arizona last year, 90% of them do not know Christ. That means that we are going to have to know what we believe about Jesus. He is the great “I AM” and we must share Christ with everyone we meet.  It is an intentional effort.  We do what we plan to do. Let’s build those relationships. This seems to remind me of where we started.  

Edith Cable shared Jesus with people she met.  That sounds like a challenge to me.  Even amid COVID-19, we must step out and share Jesus NOW.  Are you with me?  Let’s Pray, Prepare and Go Share.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

June 26, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

When Is Grandparents Day?

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed hearing about church members grandchildren and the joy that they bring.  Debbie and I have dreamed about the day when the Lord would bless us with grandchildren that we could spoil and send home to mom and dad.

Debbie and I would like to announce that our youngest daughter Laura and her husband Derrick are expecting their first child due in November.  

There is this sense of excitement that we have never felt before.  We cannot wait to meet our first grandchild!  A few weeks ago, they surprised us by taking us to their ultrasound appointment.  That was their “Gender Reveal Party.”  It was one of the most special moments of my life; to see that baby girl move around and realize that is our granddaughter.  One other memory, that I will never forget, is the moment that the sonographer revealed that it was a girl. I looked at Derrick, at that exact moment, and there was the biggest smile on his face, tears in his eyes and his fist pumped up in the air.  That was one special moment.! He was the only one of all the family that said it was going to be a girl.  Special memories indeed. 

They will be moving into their apartment in the next couple of weeks, setting up their nest to welcome this child into the world. Debbie and I cannot wait to hold that bundle of joy.  Please pray with us that this baby girl, and Laura, will be safe during this challenging time in which we live. The new grandparents would be so appreciative! 

Enjoy the Sunday Worship time, Bible Study and Zoom Classes on Sunday.  It is the Lord’s day and together as the Family of Faith we will Worship.

Pastor Kirby

 

Take time to ready an excellent and timely article from Dr. Ron Hornecker below.

Rethinking the Use of “Should” and “Ought” (Part One)
 

Likely, most of us were raised in households where the words “should” and “ought” (“ought to”), or their negative counterparts, were used with some frequency.  Parents, teachers, or other authority figures in our lives, used those words to give instruction, to express expectations, to shape behavior, to convey values, and—at times—to attempt to control. Subsequently, the implication was that doing anything contrary to what was expressed by those individuals would somehow be viewed as incorrect, wrong, bad, or a disappointment.  Additionally, we probably carried that practice over into the parenting of our own children.  And how often do we still use that approach when communicating with others when we feel strongly about the methods, practices, or decisions we want them, or others, to pursue?

I believe the unsettling times in which we live may lend themselves to a more frequent use of “should” and “ought” and their negative counterparts.  We currently face many situations about which we have strong opinions regarding how we want others to behave or act.  Often, we express those desires using some form of “should” or “ought.”  From my perspective, the use of those terms to instruct another person or to seek to influence their behavior does not contribute to the sense of community, caring, and mutual support we need for one another and from one another to get through these challenges in a positive and constructive way.  How do statements like the following help?  “They should never have . . .,” or “You ought to . . . and do it soon,” or “The governor (or some other leader) should . . .,” or “Why did you do that?  You ought to know better.” You get the idea.  You can imagine the tone of voice and the force with which many of these statements might be made.

Why am I suggesting that we rethink the use of those terms?  Most of the time statements like the ones just mentioned are experienced as judgmental statements.  When we make them, we are criticizing the other person and their actions or behavior, directly or indirectly, believing that our approach or our way of handling the situation would have been better.  As a result, they do more to create barriers and harm the relationship than to create harmony and good will.

Secondly, the statement suggests an element of superiority or arrogance on the part of the speaker.  It implies that the speaker is smarter, more insightful, and/or better equipped to address the issue than the other person. “How could that person not recognize what I saw and understood?”  Further, that approach does not allow for differences in perception, values, and approaches.  Additionally, the one making the statement likely does not know all the factors, all the considerations, nor the entire rationale that forms the basis for the decision or the action being taken.

Thirdly, such statements tend to cut off an open and constructive dialogue.  They convey the message, “If you don’t do it my way, you are making a mistake.”  Consequently, the person who is the target of the statement is immediately put on the defensive.  It results in that person becoming guarded in what they say and what they reveal for fear of further ridicule, criticism, or the creation of tension in the relationship.  In most cases those words shut down further dialogue which might be both instructive and helpful.  Do you recall how you felt and responded when someone expressed some strong “should” or “ought” statement regarding an issue with which you were struggling?

Finally, I think that approach violates several scriptural principles and teachings.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke at some length about believers not judging others (see Matt. 7:1-5).  On that same occasion, he set forth “The Golden Rule” (Matt. 7:12), that we should treat others in the same way we want to be treated.  And in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he admonishes, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).

None of this is intended to squelch the expression or sharing of a different opinion, perspective, or preference.  However, there are more constructive and positive ways of doing that.  Here are some suggestions I believe are in keeping with the scripture’s teaching about how we are responsible for our own actions and decisions, not those of others, and how we are to relate to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Take ownership of your opinion, preference, bias, or recommendation.  Express it by using phrasing such as:  “I think it would be better if . . .,” or “My personal preference is . . .,” or  “It seems to me that . . .,” or “Another option might be . . .,” or “I like the fact that you are . . .,” etc.  Rather than trying to tell another person what decision or action you believe would be best, try to understand more precisely what that person is experiencing.  How are they perceiving the situation?  What is the struggle they are facing?  What concerns or barrier(s) are involved?  What other options might they need to consider?  Try applying the adage, “Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.”  Responses of this type convey a concern for the individual and their situation.  The focus is on the person rather than presenting a solution and attempting to be “the fixer.”  And if the person understands that they are more important than the solution, I anticipate that the response likely will result in further dialogue and a building of the relationship.  And who knows how that change in relationship may impact the decision or the choice being made about the issue under consideration?

So, the next time you hear yourself use those terms towards another person, notice it.  Reflect on what you said.  Then ask yourself how helpful you believe that statement was for the other person as well as for the relationship.  See if you can think of a different or a better way of responding that will help to build the relationship and express genuine caring.  And if you question if you are guilty of using these terms in this way, ask a friend if and how they have experienced that with you.

Next time, I want to address how using “should” and “ought” in reference to ourselves is not beneficial.

Ron Hornecker,
Minister of Counseling

Friday, June 19, 2020


FBCSCW E-Blast

A FATHER’S LEGACY 


My father would be 102 if he were still living. I am sure some of you are thinking, “What, he was 70 when Pastor Kirby was born?”  My dad was born in Cisco, Texas.  At age seven, dad’s mother died leaving five boys for their dad to take care of. Sometime after that his dad, knowing the boys needed a mother, married Mary and soon after they decided to homestead in Pie Town, New Mexico. They first moved to the Pie Town area in 1924. They made that trip three times over those early years from Cisco, TX.  First trip was in an actual wagon.  The next two trips were in a Model T. They were coming up in the world. 

Dad had many adventures growing up in a wide-open part of western New Mexico. There are so many stories to tell but suffice it to say that he grew up in a lot of ways during those years. It was difficult for dad without his birth mom and his dad working so many hours to try and feed his family of nine.

My dad’s blind grandmother had the greatest influence on my dad’s early life.  She knew her Bible well.  She would have my dad and his brothers sit and listen to her share Bible stories and what they meant every evening.  She prayed for those boys every day.  I understand they were a handful growing up.

Dad accepted Christ at age 14 in a combined one-room schoolhouse used as a church on Sundays.  They had an itinerant preacher come each Sunday.  One week a Baptist, then the next week a Methodist. The preacher that Sunday was Rev. Tingle.  These were the Depression days and things were hard to come by.  Dad remembered that Rev. Tingle had on one black shoe and one brown shoe.  He enjoyed his preaching and the Spirit led my dad to come forward and give his life to Christ. When God called my dad to salvation, He also called him to ministry.  It would be 13 years before my dad would finally say “Yes, Lord” to the call of ministry.  

My dad’s Aunt Lou lived just a few miles away at another small cabin. At age 15, he moved out of the family cabin and moved close to his Aunt Lou.  There are two versions of the story.  The official one is that they wanted the oldest boy to be close to Aunt Lou to make sure she was in good health and safe.  The other version, which I tend to agree with, is that dad, at age 15, did not get along with his stepmother and this was a good solution that satisfied everyone. The biggest take away for me is that at age 15 dad built his own cabin to live in. 

As soon as he was able, he joined the army and was assigned to Ft. Bliss in El Paso, TX. He was trained as a saddle maker and cook.  At that time, the army still had horses.  He used to talk about the 30-day maneuvers held in the heat of the summer where they would ride their horses accompanied by wagons of supplies and food.  It was dusty, hot, and miserable.  They endured this trip only by anticipating Balmorhea located on San Solomon Springs. The swimming pool is the world’s largest spring-fed pool which covers 1.75 acres. It stays between 72-76 degrees year-round. You can imagine the joy of the dirty, dusty, and exhausted soldiers diving into this cold spring.  

It was during this time he met his future wife (my mom) at church. They dated and after his time in the army, they got married. Afterwards they moved by up to Pie Town where they rented a cabin so mom could be close to family, and dad began a job with the New Mexico Department of Transportation. 

It was not long before the bombing of Peral Harbor.  Dad knew he would be called into service.  He decided instead of waiting that he would join the Navy. He served in the US Navy during WW II and spent three and a half years overseas. Dad served on board battleships as a cook and gunner and in submarine service. There was an event one night on board the ship that had a deep emotional impact on him for the rest of his life. War can do that to people. We see it all too often. All of dad’s brothers were in the war at the same time.  We are so thankful they all came home. 

After the war, dad went to work with two of his brothers who had started a Sawmill Business in Chama, New Mexico.  The business was growing and a bright future was before these brothers.  On one particular day, God decided to speak very loudly to my dad.  He and his cousin Bob Hendricks where using a two-man saw to cut down a huge tree.  While cutting, a large limb dislodged from the tree and fell right on my dad’s hard hat. Dad was driven to his knees. Dad’s first thought was “No, Lord, I am not going to preach.” Not long after that thought crossed my dad’s mind a second large limb fell and hit my dad on the exact same spot driving my dad to the ground. Kennedy men can be stubborn. The next thought that crossed my father’s mind was “No, Lord, I am not going to preach.”  The men loaded my injured dad into the front of a truck, and they began the journey to the closest hospital. These small forest roads in 1946 were something to behold, mostly one lane. It just so happened that a small tractor-trailer was coming around the corner at the same time as the truck my dad was in.  Dad’s truck narrowly escaped a major accident by launching off the road and into a river.  When the “dust settled” dad said “Okay, Lord, I will preach.”  

There is so much more to write about the experiences dad and mom had in their education and ministry.  I will need to wait to share at a later time.  But, suffice it to say that after dad graduated from college and seminary, the next almost 40 years was spent in the pastoral ministry.  In those years he saw more than a thousand baptized and more than a dozen men were called into the ministry. His ministry was to go to churches hurting, split and in trouble. He would bring about healing and growth in those churches, and then God would call him to yet another church to do the same.  His perseverance taught me much over those years.  I am deeply grateful. 

Dad was an amazing man who lived a unique life.  One that I am proud of and was able to enjoy after I was old enough.  He was an excellent pastor/preacher, loved his wife and his three children...he also believed in discipline and mercy and forgiveness.  Fortunately, all three of his children grew up to be successful and contributed to society in a good way. All three accepted Christ as their Savior, and to this day continue to be faithful to God and His work.

Dad and Mom laid a great foundation of faith, love, encouragement, a hard work ethic and exampled a Christ-like life. We were blessed for their investment in all ways, but especially spiritually.  Dad died on Christmas Eve, 1983 while still active in the pastoral ministry at Lindrith Baptist Church and as a regional missionary in northern New Mexico.  He left a great legacy for me. I am so thankful for godly parents. I pray that I have been able to be half the father to my kids as he was with me and my siblings. 

Happy Father’s Day Dad. Your legacy lives on through those you touched over the years…and you touched me most profoundly. 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL DADS!!!!

Pastor Kirby

June 26, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

When Is Grandparents Day?

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed hearing about church members grandchildren and the joy that they bring.  Debbie and I have dreamed about the day when the Lord would bless us with grandchildren that we could spoil and send home to mom and dad.

Debbie and I would like to announce that our youngest daughter Laura and her husband Derrick are expecting their first child due in November.  

There is this sense of excitement that we have never felt before.  We cannot wait to meet our first grandchild!  A few weeks ago, they surprised us by taking us to their ultrasound appointment.  That was their “Gender Reveal Party.”  It was one of the most special moments of my life; to see that baby girl move around and realize that is our granddaughter.  One other memory, that I will never forget, is the moment that the sonographer revealed that it was a girl. I looked at Derrick, at that exact moment, and there was the biggest smile on his face, tears in his eyes and his fist pumped up in the air.  That was one special moment.! He was the only one of all the family that said it was going to be a girl.  Special memories indeed. 

They will be moving into their apartment in the next couple of weeks, setting up their nest to welcome this child into the world. Debbie and I cannot wait to hold that bundle of joy.  Please pray with us that this baby girl, and Laura, will be safe during this challenging time in which we live. The new grandparents would be so appreciative! 

Enjoy the Sunday Worship time, Bible Study and Zoom Classes on Sunday.  It is the Lord’s day and together as the Family of Faith we will Worship.

Pastor Kirby

 

Take time to ready an excellent and timely article from Dr. Ron Hornecker below.

Rethinking the Use of “Should” and “Ought” (Part One)
 

Likely, most of us were raised in households where the words “should” and “ought” (“ought to”), or their negative counterparts, were used with some frequency.  Parents, teachers, or other authority figures in our lives, used those words to give instruction, to express expectations, to shape behavior, to convey values, and—at times—to attempt to control. Subsequently, the implication was that doing anything contrary to what was expressed by those individuals would somehow be viewed as incorrect, wrong, bad, or a disappointment.  Additionally, we probably carried that practice over into the parenting of our own children.  And how often do we still use that approach when communicating with others when we feel strongly about the methods, practices, or decisions we want them, or others, to pursue?

I believe the unsettling times in which we live may lend themselves to a more frequent use of “should” and “ought” and their negative counterparts.  We currently face many situations about which we have strong opinions regarding how we want others to behave or act.  Often, we express those desires using some form of “should” or “ought.”  From my perspective, the use of those terms to instruct another person or to seek to influence their behavior does not contribute to the sense of community, caring, and mutual support we need for one another and from one another to get through these challenges in a positive and constructive way.  How do statements like the following help?  “They should never have . . .,” or “You ought to . . . and do it soon,” or “The governor (or some other leader) should . . .,” or “Why did you do that?  You ought to know better.” You get the idea.  You can imagine the tone of voice and the force with which many of these statements might be made.

Why am I suggesting that we rethink the use of those terms?  Most of the time statements like the ones just mentioned are experienced as judgmental statements.  When we make them, we are criticizing the other person and their actions or behavior, directly or indirectly, believing that our approach or our way of handling the situation would have been better.  As a result, they do more to create barriers and harm the relationship than to create harmony and good will.

Secondly, the statement suggests an element of superiority or arrogance on the part of the speaker.  It implies that the speaker is smarter, more insightful, and/or better equipped to address the issue than the other person. “How could that person not recognize what I saw and understood?”  Further, that approach does not allow for differences in perception, values, and approaches.  Additionally, the one making the statement likely does not know all the factors, all the considerations, nor the entire rationale that forms the basis for the decision or the action being taken.

Thirdly, such statements tend to cut off an open and constructive dialogue.  They convey the message, “If you don’t do it my way, you are making a mistake.”  Consequently, the person who is the target of the statement is immediately put on the defensive.  It results in that person becoming guarded in what they say and what they reveal for fear of further ridicule, criticism, or the creation of tension in the relationship.  In most cases those words shut down further dialogue which might be both instructive and helpful.  Do you recall how you felt and responded when someone expressed some strong “should” or “ought” statement regarding an issue with which you were struggling?

Finally, I think that approach violates several scriptural principles and teachings.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke at some length about believers not judging others (see Matt. 7:1-5).  On that same occasion, he set forth “The Golden Rule” (Matt. 7:12), that we should treat others in the same way we want to be treated.  And in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he admonishes, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).

None of this is intended to squelch the expression or sharing of a different opinion, perspective, or preference.  However, there are more constructive and positive ways of doing that.  Here are some suggestions I believe are in keeping with the scripture’s teaching about how we are responsible for our own actions and decisions, not those of others, and how we are to relate to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Take ownership of your opinion, preference, bias, or recommendation.  Express it by using phrasing such as:  “I think it would be better if . . .,” or “My personal preference is . . .,” or  “It seems to me that . . .,” or “Another option might be . . .,” or “I like the fact that you are . . .,” etc.  Rather than trying to tell another person what decision or action you believe would be best, try to understand more precisely what that person is experiencing.  How are they perceiving the situation?  What is the struggle they are facing?  What concerns or barrier(s) are involved?  What other options might they need to consider?  Try applying the adage, “Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.”  Responses of this type convey a concern for the individual and their situation.  The focus is on the person rather than presenting a solution and attempting to be “the fixer.”  And if the person understands that they are more important than the solution, I anticipate that the response likely will result in further dialogue and a building of the relationship.  And who knows how that change in relationship may impact the decision or the choice being made about the issue under consideration?

So, the next time you hear yourself use those terms towards another person, notice it.  Reflect on what you said.  Then ask yourself how helpful you believe that statement was for the other person as well as for the relationship.  See if you can think of a different or a better way of responding that will help to build the relationship and express genuine caring.  And if you question if you are guilty of using these terms in this way, ask a friend if and how they have experienced that with you.

Next time, I want to address how using “should” and “ought” in reference to ourselves is not beneficial.

Ron Hornecker,
Minister of Counseling

Friday, June 19, 2020


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A FATHER’S LEGACY 


My father would be 102 if he were still living. I am sure some of you are thinking, “What, he was 70 when Pastor Kirby was born?”  My dad was born in Cisco, Texas.  At age seven, dad’s mother died leaving five boys for their dad to take care of. Sometime after that his dad, knowing the boys needed a mother, married Mary and soon after they decided to homestead in Pie Town, New Mexico. They first moved to the Pie Town area in 1924. They made that trip three times over those early years from Cisco, TX.  First trip was in an actual wagon.  The next two trips were in a Model T. They were coming up in the world. 

Dad had many adventures growing up in a wide-open part of western New Mexico. There are so many stories to tell but suffice it to say that he grew up in a lot of ways during those years. It was difficult for dad without his birth mom and his dad working so many hours to try and feed his family of nine.

My dad’s blind grandmother had the greatest influence on my dad’s early life.  She knew her Bible well.  She would have my dad and his brothers sit and listen to her share Bible stories and what they meant every evening.  She prayed for those boys every day.  I understand they were a handful growing up.

Dad accepted Christ at age 14 in a combined one-room schoolhouse used as a church on Sundays.  They had an itinerant preacher come each Sunday.  One week a Baptist, then the next week a Methodist. The preacher that Sunday was Rev. Tingle.  These were the Depression days and things were hard to come by.  Dad remembered that Rev. Tingle had on one black shoe and one brown shoe.  He enjoyed his preaching and the Spirit led my dad to come forward and give his life to Christ. When God called my dad to salvation, He also called him to ministry.  It would be 13 years before my dad would finally say “Yes, Lord” to the call of ministry.  

My dad’s Aunt Lou lived just a few miles away at another small cabin. At age 15, he moved out of the family cabin and moved close to his Aunt Lou.  There are two versions of the story.  The official one is that they wanted the oldest boy to be close to Aunt Lou to make sure she was in good health and safe.  The other version, which I tend to agree with, is that dad, at age 15, did not get along with his stepmother and this was a good solution that satisfied everyone. The biggest take away for me is that at age 15 dad built his own cabin to live in. 

As soon as he was able, he joined the army and was assigned to Ft. Bliss in El Paso, TX. He was trained as a saddle maker and cook.  At that time, the army still had horses.  He used to talk about the 30-day maneuvers held in the heat of the summer where they would ride their horses accompanied by wagons of supplies and food.  It was dusty, hot, and miserable.  They endured this trip only by anticipating Balmorhea located on San Solomon Springs. The swimming pool is the world’s largest spring-fed pool which covers 1.75 acres. It stays between 72-76 degrees year-round. You can imagine the joy of the dirty, dusty, and exhausted soldiers diving into this cold spring.  

It was during this time he met his future wife (my mom) at church. They dated and after his time in the army, they got married. Afterwards they moved by up to Pie Town where they rented a cabin so mom could be close to family, and dad began a job with the New Mexico Department of Transportation. 

It was not long before the bombing of Peral Harbor.  Dad knew he would be called into service.  He decided instead of waiting that he would join the Navy. He served in the US Navy during WW II and spent three and a half years overseas. Dad served on board battleships as a cook and gunner and in submarine service. There was an event one night on board the ship that had a deep emotional impact on him for the rest of his life. War can do that to people. We see it all too often. All of dad’s brothers were in the war at the same time.  We are so thankful they all came home. 

After the war, dad went to work with two of his brothers who had started a Sawmill Business in Chama, New Mexico.  The business was growing and a bright future was before these brothers.  On one particular day, God decided to speak very loudly to my dad.  He and his cousin Bob Hendricks where using a two-man saw to cut down a huge tree.  While cutting, a large limb dislodged from the tree and fell right on my dad’s hard hat. Dad was driven to his knees. Dad’s first thought was “No, Lord, I am not going to preach.” Not long after that thought crossed my dad’s mind a second large limb fell and hit my dad on the exact same spot driving my dad to the ground. Kennedy men can be stubborn. The next thought that crossed my father’s mind was “No, Lord, I am not going to preach.”  The men loaded my injured dad into the front of a truck, and they began the journey to the closest hospital. These small forest roads in 1946 were something to behold, mostly one lane. It just so happened that a small tractor-trailer was coming around the corner at the same time as the truck my dad was in.  Dad’s truck narrowly escaped a major accident by launching off the road and into a river.  When the “dust settled” dad said “Okay, Lord, I will preach.”  

There is so much more to write about the experiences dad and mom had in their education and ministry.  I will need to wait to share at a later time.  But, suffice it to say that after dad graduated from college and seminary, the next almost 40 years was spent in the pastoral ministry.  In those years he saw more than a thousand baptized and more than a dozen men were called into the ministry. His ministry was to go to churches hurting, split and in trouble. He would bring about healing and growth in those churches, and then God would call him to yet another church to do the same.  His perseverance taught me much over those years.  I am deeply grateful. 

Dad was an amazing man who lived a unique life.  One that I am proud of and was able to enjoy after I was old enough.  He was an excellent pastor/preacher, loved his wife and his three children...he also believed in discipline and mercy and forgiveness.  Fortunately, all three of his children grew up to be successful and contributed to society in a good way. All three accepted Christ as their Savior, and to this day continue to be faithful to God and His work.

Dad and Mom laid a great foundation of faith, love, encouragement, a hard work ethic and exampled a Christ-like life. We were blessed for their investment in all ways, but especially spiritually.  Dad died on Christmas Eve, 1983 while still active in the pastoral ministry at Lindrith Baptist Church and as a regional missionary in northern New Mexico.  He left a great legacy for me. I am so thankful for godly parents. I pray that I have been able to be half the father to my kids as he was with me and my siblings. 

Happy Father’s Day Dad. Your legacy lives on through those you touched over the years…and you touched me most profoundly. 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL DADS!!!!

Pastor Kirby

June 16, 2020


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“This is hard work”


For last three weeks I have been going through Physical Therapy, twice a week, for my back, right leg, and knee.  The first week and a half was a breeze.  They did evaluations and started me on a slow pace with exercises that seemed easy for me. I would be there maybe an hour.  They also gave me specific exercises for home as well.  Those were a little more challenging, because I just do not have much time even at home…or maybe I do not take the time at home.  I am striving to do better though. 


Then last week something changed.  My Physical Therapist was the same.  The other staff were the same.  The building was the same. The difference was my therapist was pushing me harder. There were more and more exercises, which created exhausted legs and knees, yet he would say, “Now let’s work on your balancing.”  I am thinking, “What?  I have no more strength in these legs, and now you want me to balance for 3 minutes, at 30 seconds at a time, on each leg?”  


To my surprise, I really was able to balance.  I was wobbly, but I did well.  This week I have felt more and more strength while balancing, even after adding more exercises. That was encouragement.  


Now my sessions are not an hour anymore, rather we are working close to an hour and a half on these strengthening regiments. When I finish, I am exhausted.  I feel like I must get another shower before I come to work.  I have five more weeks of this. Now I am saying, “this is work!!”  


Why are they taking this approach?  Many of you have been through Physical Therapy for one thing or another.  You know well what they are doing.  They have a strategy and a plan to get me to a point where I can once again live as normal of a life as possible. 


They start out slow as they are assessing me, my abilities and beginning the building up of my muscles.  These are the baby steps where we begin to learn our physical abilities again and strive to get back to where we were before. They will begin to add more and push me so that I can add to my strength.  If I am not pushed, I will never progress.


If Physical Therapy were easy, then it would be of no value and no reason to exist.  The Insurance Companies want to know if there is progress being made. If there is not progress, they will cease to pay. Progress is the key.
The Christian life is hard work. Some Christians start complaining when it gets tough.  “I am trying to follow Christ, but it is hard. It was supposed to be easy after accepting Him.” That is a different perspective than the Bible communicates.  


Jesus said in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I Have overcome the world.”  In this passage, Jesus says that peace comes from Him.  That means an inner peace. When the world brings trouble, we must rest in Him because He has overcome the world. What He is not saying is that He will take away the trouble. Rather, when the trouble comes, your peace will come in Him. 


2 Corinthians 11:23–30 Paul goes through a whole litany of troubles that he found himself in serving Jesus.  He said in part, “…I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I has pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea….”


I do not know of anyone else who went through so much to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  You would have thought that since Paul was so faithful to the Lord that he would see no trouble.  But, 2 Corinthians tells a quite different story.  


The faithful Christian who is being obedient can expect to have trouble. But it is okay.  God says He will be with us. When you get trouble because you are being faithful to God don’t complain, rather, see it a badge of honor.
There are also troubles in the course of life. Job 14:1 states “Mortals, born of women, is of few days and full of trouble.”  Job was a man who was faithful to God, yet the troubles of life came.  The observation is that as life continues trouble will make its way to our front door.


2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says “…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”


Frankly, after reading these passages and studying them I think I will not complain about the “hard work” at Physical Therapy.  I will rejoice that they have a plan and strategy to get me back as close to 100% as possible.  So, I will be faithful to go endure the pain, trouble, and my exercises at home.  These things will help me to continue to serve God through First Baptist Church.


How about you?  When you face trouble, whether it is because of your faithfulness as a believer or just because we will face trouble in a sin-sick world, what will your response be.  Will it be complaining, blaming God or others, or being negative?  Not one of those responses God embraces. He embraces an understanding that whatever we face in life, He is there for us. His grace is sufficient for us. His peace is ours if we would accept it in difficult times. God has a plan and strategy to help you grow and get stronger as a believer.  He desires true intimacy not just a knowledge of Him.  Intimacy grows deeper over time as we walk with God more and more. Let’s do this together. Let’s put the troubles behind us even if they are hard. Let’s commit to true growth in Christ becoming “more and more like Him.”  Are you willing?

FREE “ALL THINGS ZOOM” CLASS BY AARP!


Here is a great opportunity to learn about Zoom.  Pat Centner sent this great information below.  If you can please take this opportunity.


NOW is your chance to learn the basics of ZOOM through an online class sponsored by AARP and Senior Planet. The class is next Wednesday, June 17, at noon OUR time. It will last one hour and fifteen minutes. Learn the basics of logging in, how to use certain elements (start sound, video, mute, when to mute, etc.). Also learn how to set up and host your OWN meeting with family and friends! It is really fairly easy, especially to join one of our Bible Study classes. 


Just log on NOW to:

 

https://aarp.cvent.com/events/all-things-zoom/event-summary-847cc3dd8e934a369f2a01c08eeab03f.aspx and look for the class title. Classes fill VERY quickly, so if you are interested at all, please take advantage of this free opportunity NOW!  Don’t be shy … GO for it!!

Prayer for our Leadership Team

The Leadership Team will meet next week.  We ask that you continue to pray for our Leadership Team as they pray, study, and discuss when the right time for our church to begin having worship services again and how best to accomplish the task.

The most important issue for our Leadership Team is protecting our senior adult members and providing the healthiest environment possible.  The Leadership Team meets to share their advice and support and are made up of our Response Task Force, Deacons, and our Retired Ministers.  They appreciate your prayers. 

Blessings –

Pastor Kirby
 

 

 

 

 

 

June 9, 2020

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There Is A Season

Ecclesiastes 3:1 state: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….”

It is a well-known verse and passage, yet, being familiar does not diminish the truth.  That is the way God planned His creation.

You remember my mourning doves.  I want to catch you up with what has been going on.  Our two faithful doves continued their routine and one day we looked up and they had two babies in the nest.  They were the cutest little baby birds.  Mom and Dad continued to fulfill their responsibilities taking care of and feeding those babies.  They certainly began to grow.  We could see their heads and hear their songs…or calls for more food. I found that I had to clean our deck more and more often.

We could not wait to see “our” babies practice flying and returning, flying, and returning.  Then one day they were gone.  All of them.  Mom, Dad and the two baby doves were just gone.  If I can share honestly, I was hurt, disappointed, sad…all because I felt that they should have warned us.  We spent much time doing things to leave them alone, make sure the workers who came in the backyard did not disturb them.  Debbie even put a sign up with drawings and instructions on our back gate, so that anyone coming in the backyard would be warned.  With all that we did, and they just left!!! 

We finally got over the disappointment and went about doing our normal activities in the back porch and yard.  Then, one day, we looked in the nest and the mourning doves were back.  Not only were they back, but they already had two eggs in the nest.  At first, I had mixed emotions.  I was happy to see them, but there was a part of me that thought they were just using us.

That is when it hit me.  They did not ask for our help.  They would have preferred to be left alone.  We were the ones to insert ourselves in their lives uninvited. When they did not act or communicate the way that “we” thought they should have I was hurt, disappointed, sad. 

b

Have you ever done that? Have you ever inserted yourself into someone else’s life when you were not invited? Having done that, have you ever had expectations for that person that they were unaware of or agreed to? When those expectations were not met were you hurt by them, disappointed in them, and sad for yourself?

These are hard emotions to get over. Sometimes they create a divisive spirit or spiritual derailment. The whole problem started when we thought we should insert ourselves in someone’s life without their request. 

For many we come by this honestly.  As parents we are used to inserting ourselves in our kid’s lives…even when they are grown. We feel we have the right to do so, even if they are grown and have a family. If we have been involved in leadership or have experience in certain situations, we feel that we should be able to “share for the benefit” of the person whose life we are inserting ourselves into without them asking.

It might be good for us to reflect on why we would desire to insert ourselves into a situation when we were not asked.  If we are doing it out of a good and humble heart with the desire to help, then we do not come with expectations. We are just there to help if we can and if it is useful. If they do not take our advice or use our plan, we are fine with that. 

It could be that we are secretly a control person who wants to insert ourselves because we can “fix” things or we “know” what is best from or experience or opinion. We might not even realize it.  In this case, we come with expectations. If the person does not take our advice, then it bothers us.  We get offended. We take it personally. “Don’t they know who I am and what I’ve done in my life?” 

The fact is that the advice, or wisdom, we have to give might truly be sage wisdom and worth taking.  But it is up to the person to be open to it. The individual might not be at the same place we are in life or in a position to want or use that advice, especially if they did not ask for it.

In both instances above we could have felt that God was leading us to insert ourselves without being asked. Let me be clear – if we have felt God leading us to insert ourselves without being asked then we would trust God for the outcome.  We would continue to have a godly attitude no matter what the response was.  It is God’s work and He is in control.  A godly attitude would not be hurt, be disappointed, sad or take it personally. They would leave it in God’s hands and move on to God’s next assignment.

I have had several spiritual mentors over the years.  They have been men of wisdom, experience, and integrity.  Over the years different ones have offered me sage wisdom for which I had not asked.  Sometimes I would take their nuggets of gold and other times I followed what I sensed was best in that situation. 

As I reflected over the years and those words of advice from men I respected greatly, I realized a valuable truth: Not one of them ever kept nagging me about their advice.  Not one of them ever was hurt, disappointed or sad that I did not take their advice. They continued being my spiritual mentors through it all and loved me when I had success or failed. 

That is a powerful statement of allowing God to use us and letting Him take care of the details when we have delivered our wisdom and when we have inserted ourselves into someone’s life who did not ask for it.

By the way, after the mourning doves came back, I realized that we had two additional mourning dove nests.  Oh my.  It is fun to watch all them and their habits.  This time around, I have no expectations and we do not alter our lifestyles around any of the nests.  I do not insert myself in their happy and quiet lives. 

They like that and, frankly, I do too.  It is a whole lot less pressure.  Plus, I know that they know what they are doing.  They do not need my sage wisdom or my doctor’s degree to do what God created in them to do.  They are fine, and I can enjoy them so much more just sitting back and watching the beauty of God’s creation. It is a win-win situation for all of us.

I think that God had a lesson for me in bringing these mourning doves this year. I hope you have been able to gleam from them as well. In addition, I am trying to take these biblical admonitions to heart.

I Thessalonians 4:11 “…and make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands just as we told you….”

II Thessalonians 3:11 “We hear that some of you are living in idleness, you are not busy working – you are busy interfering in other people’s lives.”

I Peter 4:15 “If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble or prying into other people’s affairs.”

Have a blessed week and we will look forward to this Sunday’s time of worship and Bible Study.

Pastor Kirby

June 5, 2020

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Guest Speaker this Sunday

We have the privilege to have as our guest speaker this Sunday, Rev. Garry Taylor, pastor of Life Church, Palatka, Florida.  Pastor Garry and I have been friends since 2014.  God brought us together at a time when it was needed most for each of us. I had the privilege of mentoring Garry for three years, and Garry was an encouragement and constant friend during my time on dialysis and transplant recovery. 

He and his church took Debbie and me into their church family and ministered to us when things were the most difficult for me with the kidney failure, and Debbie with her breast cancer.  He and his church helped us in so many ways to encourage us, love us, give practical help during and after one of the devastating hurricanes, and with taking care of our property when I could not do it.  I had never seen a church with love-in-action as I did and experienced from that body of Christ.

Garry became pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Palatka in June of 2017. God had given him a vision of where the church should go to meet the needs of the underserved in the community. The Florida Baptist Convention had the same vision and partnered with Tabernacle to become a “Re-Plant” church.  Basically, the church and convention made the decision to work together and to take the 35 people from that traditional dying church and have a complete reset; making it a more contemporary church with the goal of reaching young families and those who had been marginalized in the community.  The church name was changed to reflect their mission: Life Church – Let’s Do Life Together.

This was the Florida Baptist Convention’s first church to try and help replant.  It has been an amazing success.  In the last three years, it has grown from 35 to running 300-400 on a weekend for worship.  It is a showpiece for the Florida Convention of what churches, who are dying and not reaching their communities, can become with the right leadership and partnership.  Garry describes his church in this way:

“Life Church is one church in multiple neighborhoods. We are a multi-generational, multi-cultural, and multi-campus church. Additionally, we started a Monday night service focused on recovery. In April 2020, we launched a second Life Church campus in a neighboring town. We have celebrated 21 baptisms in the first 6 months of 2020. In May, we opened a recovery center (Recovery Point) that will house up to 12 men and women. Our goal is to open a third Life Church campus in the south end of our county to reach an underserved population.”  

This amazing growth has not come without personal cost to Pastor Garry.  During this time, he has been the caregiver to his wife, Alice, who had a heart attack/stroke five years ago and was without oxygen for 23 minutes.  Miraculously, she survived but was never the same.  Garry took care of Alice and her needs in every way, while giving leadership to the amazing ministry growth of Life Church.  She was such a strong supporter of the church and her husband.  Alice died this past January from kidney failure.  Somehow, in the midst of grief, God has given Garry the strength to continue to give excellent leadership as Life Church has continued to become one of the leading churches in Palatka and making a difference one life at a time. 

Rev. Taylor, who has two master’s degrees, has just been accepted for the Executive Leadership Track in the Doctor of Ministry program at Gateway Seminary.  He continues to strive to improve on ways to meet the needs of people to make an eternal difference in the life of an individual, as well as the Kingdom of God.  I am so proud of my friend and I know you will enjoy the message from God he will present Sunday from Psalm 3.  Make sure and tune in.

Lord’s Supper this Sunday

After our worship service, and the message from Rev. Garry Taylor, I will lead our congregation in observing the Lord’s Supper.  This is the first time we have observed this Memorial Supper since Maundy Thursday.  It has been designed to be worshipful, inspiring, and encouraging. 

The Lord’s Supper should never be taken lightly or without serious and deep spiritual reflection.  It is a time of “remembering.”  Remembering what Christ has done for us…for you.  It is highly personal, yet, we do it as the body of Christ.  In this time, we observe it as the body of Christ scattered, yet we are one. 

Take time to read and reflect on I Corinthians 11:23-26 and Matthew 26:26-30.  Read what God’s Word says and then look again and read each phrase again.  Ponder what that phrase means in your life.  Prepare yourself for this special Communion service.  Focus this weekend on the word “Remember.”  May God bless this special time together.  As far as the elements, like before, use whatever you have available. Crackers, bread, etc. and water, juice, etc.  The actual elements are not as important as the genuine observance and “remembrance” and how it effects our lives.

State Missions Offering

The Arizona Southern Baptist State Missions Offering is being taken this month around the state.  This offering is designated to help churches who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus.  There are numbers of churches who are small and have little funding, so when a crisis like this hits and people are scattered their offerings are even smaller.  Some churches will not be able to pay their mortgages, utilities, or their pastors. 

We are blessed to not be in that position because of the faithfulness of God’s people here and the foresight of the congregation in the past to prepare for these types of events.  I have been a pastor in churches that had little or no reserve and it was month-to-month.  It is stressful and challenging to try and figure out what to do.  Churches are established for the purpose of spreading the gospel, equipping the saints, and ministering to people.  It would be a shame for some to close, or pastors and their families to go without. 

I would ask you to give to this special offering for the sake of churches and pastors in Arizona who will need the help in the weeks and months to come.  As you give, I want to thank you for your continued faithfulness in giving to the ministry of First Baptist Church, Sun City West, first.  Our ministry continues to be strong, even in this time of “pause.”  That is because of your continued generosity.  Thank you.

Final Thoughts

Debbie and I sure miss seeing each of you. We long for the day when we can say hi, share our experiences and enjoy worship again…. even if it is six feet away.  It will be a glorious day.  Until then, we ask you to stay safe, stay healthy and continue to reach out to our family of faith and the community.

Enjoy this Sunday beginning with the Zoom Bible Study Classes, Dr. Scott Williamson’s Bible Study on Titus on our website, and the worship service/sermon on the website as well. We have been blessed by our technology team who have worked so hard to continue to make our video services the best possible. We all also appreciate the help in these recent weeks of Carlos Herrera and Alex Dennis.  God does supply at our time of need.  Our website is: www.fbcscw.org

Blessings,

Pastor Kirby

May 15, 2020

 

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New Sunday Bible Study Class Online

 

Beginning on Sunday, May 24 you will be able to enjoy a new Sunday Bible Study Class from the comfort of your home on our website.  For those who are not involved in a Zoom Sunday Bible Study Class, we have a new offering for you on Sunday morning.  Dr. Scott Williamson will be teaching on the book of Titus.  Each class will be 30 to 40 minutes in length.  Dr. Williamson is a long-time pastor of Baptist Churches in California, Alaska, and Arizona.  In his retirement, he and Trudy have been involved in our church’s ministries. 

 

The study of Titus will help you understand the unbreakable link between faith and practice, belief, and behavior. This truth is the basis for Paul’s criticism of false teaching, his instruction in Christian living, and standards he sets for church leaders.

 

Join Dr. Williamson Sunday, May 24, and any Sunday you are available as he teaches the truth of scripture with a goal of practical application.  Each week the video will be available on our website (www.fbcscw.org) by 9:00am.  Enjoy the Bible Study, then stay on the website and click on the current worship service and sermon by Dr. Kennedy.  You can also watch the Bible Study or message online during the week. Enjoy the opportunity to learn more about being a follower of Jesus.

 

Zoom Bible Study Classes

 

If you like interactive Bible Study Classes, we have two available live on Sunday mornings.  Paul Dyksterhouse and Dr. Glenn Saul are teaching their classes online through an online platform called Zoom.  If you are interested in tuning in to one of these classes, please let me know (drkirbykennedy@fbcscw.org) and I will get them to send you an email with a link that will allow you to get to the Bible Study.  You’ll be able to see each attendee if you have a camera on your laptop, or you can just call into the class, hear the discussion, and interject as you feel led.  All of this from the comfort of your home.  Paul’s class is at 9:00am and Dr. Saul’s class is at 10:00am.  After each class you will have the ability to watch our worship service on our website each week. 

 

Prayer for our Leadership Team

 

We ask that you continue to pray for our Leadership Team as they pray, study, and discuss when the best time for our church to begin having worship services again. There are many details to work out and things to consider. Please pray that we will remember that we are in a unique situation in Sun City West. Most of those who live here are the most vulnerable.  Most of us are 65 or older and a good percentage have underlying heath conditions.  The most important issue for our Leadership Team is protecting our senior adult members and providing the healthiest environment possible.  The Leadership Team meets to share their advice and support and are made up of our Response Task Force, Deacons, and our Retired Ministers.  They appreciate your prayers.

 

Life’s Most Important Lesson

 

Mother’s Day was a special day in our house.  I know I spent time reflecting on my mom and her investment in my life.  I reflected on the impact she made in the lives of people she never met.  Bessie L. Kennedy went to be with the Lord at the age of 91.  She had been a widow for almost 30 years.  How did she fill that void that was left when her pastor husband passed unexpectedly? 

 

She ministered to others.  Whether it was teaching her senior adult ladies’ class, making visits, serving on church committees, or her writing.  Her writing took up most of her time.  She was honored to write the 100th Anniversary history of the First Baptist Church of Las Cruces. It was a published book and creatively celebrated the ministry of 10 decades of her historic church.  She also wrote for the Baptist Sunday School Board/Lifeway Christian Resources for over 30 years.  In that time, she wrote over 500 Open Windows devotions, 160 articles for various publications and numerous teaching procedures and Sunday School lessons.  In the later part of her life she was asked to write monthly devotions for her church’s Senior Adult Newsletter.  I came across a devotion she wrote for their newsletter recently. I wanted to share it with you. This fits our Senior Adult Church right now in all that we are going through.  Read through it and be inspired.  Ask God to help you apply whatever lessons He reveals.

 

 

LIFE’S MOST IMPORTANT LESSON

 

As my Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love. John 15:9

 

     The late Swiss theologian, Dr. Karl Barth, was once invited to speak to an academic audience in the U. S. In a session for questions following the speech, Dr. Barth was asked a question about the greatest thing he had ever learned. A hush must have fallen over the audience as the students anxiously waited to hear the great theologian’s reply. Imagine their surprise when Dr. Barth stated that the greatest thing he had ever learned was “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

 

     Dr. Radford Hutchison, a member of our church and former Director of Missions, shared this story with me along with an e-mail containing a similar event described on a televised broadcast out of Atlanta. An elderly senior pastor, being honored that day, was asked to tell the congregation about the greatest lesson he had learned in his 50-plus years of preaching. He spoke slowly as he answered: “The one thing that has made the most difference in my life and sustained me through my trials, the one thing that I could rely on when tears and heartbreak and pain and fear and sorrow paralyzed me… the only thing that would bring comfort was this verse: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so/ Little ones to Him belong; We are weak but He is strong.” 

 

      As older adults we can all relate to this senior version of “Jesus Loves Me.”

 

Jesus loves me. This I know, though my hair is white as snow

Though my sight is growing dim, Still He bids me trust in Him.

 

(CHORUS)

YES, JESUS LOVES ME…YES, JESUS LOVES ME, YES, JESUS

LOVES ME FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO.

 

Though my steps are, oh, so slow, with my hand in His I’ll go

On through life, come what may, He’ll be there to lead the way.

 

(CHORUS)

 

When the nights are dark and long, in my heart He puts a song,

Telling me in words so clear, have no fear, for I am here.

 

(CHORUS)

 

When my work on earth is done, and life’s victories have been won,

He will take me home above, Then I’ll understand His love.

 

(CHORUS)

 

I love Jesus, Does He know? Have I ever told Him so?

Jesus loves to hear me say, That I love Him, every day.

 

                                                                                        - Compiled by Bessie Kennedy

 

Have a great weekend.  Take time to sing to yourself “Jesus Loves Me this I Know, For the Bible tells me so.”

 

Blessings.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

May 12, 2020

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Caution Ahead

Last week I shared about the Mourning Doves who have built their nest on our security light in our back yard.  It has been fun to watch them take turns sitting on the nest.  I read that the female takes the nightshift, and the male the dayshift.  We normally would be outside in the pool exercising around 5:00pm, which seemed to be the time for the two doves to switch. 

The nest on our security light is attached to our house.  Just a few feet away from the nest is our pool.  The doves have been hesitant to just switch while we were in the pool.  The female sits on the fence an extended time, deciding what the risk is to her and her babies. We finally caught on to the pattern. When we saw her on the fence, we would go to the far side of the pool and just be silent.  Within a short time, she would fly to the bench which was closer and between us and the nest.  Once she felt it was safe, she would fly to the nest and the male would take off for his evening duties.  She took caution seriously.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

It seems to me that the female mourning dove at my house was illustrating what Jesus said.  Here was an innocent dove being shrewd and careful.  Jesus was communicating to His disciples that as they went out into the world, it was going to be tough. They were not going to be the hit of the party.  They were not going to be popular.  Rather, they were going to be where the vicious wolves have control.  Where one who is seeking whom he can devour is roaming.

He said, “I am sending you out….”  Jesus knew the danger and He was still sending them out.  The advice was simple…Watch out!  Be careful!!  Caution ahead!!!  He warns them, and then encourages them to face what comes head on.  As you face it head on, make sure you face it as gentle, innocent doves.  Doves who are patiently waiting (like our doves).  They are waiting on the fence, observing and watching.  They take smart steps like flying to the bench to observe and watch. Finally, they fly to the nest to do what they were meant to do. 

God has tasks for us to do and assignments to accomplish.  We are in the world by His desire and calling, and we must be patient.  We must watch out, be careful, and be cautious as we move to accomplish that which God has called us to do.  Accomplishing that call will allow us to achieve our God-given purpose and thus bring joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction to our lives and the lives of others.

Pastor Kirby

 

It is hard to have patience at times.  Dr. Hornecker has written a wonderful article on Patience which has some keen and practical helps.  Keep reading…

 

“Be Patient!”

“Are we there yet?”  How frequently do you recall hearing those words from your children or your grandchildren as you travelled?  And your response likely was something like:  “Be patient!”  Patience—it is, indeed, a quality to be desired.  It is listed in Gal. 5:22 as one of the “fruits of the Spirit.”  In its verb form in the Greek, it is the first descriptive term used in 1 Cor. 13:4 to characterize agape love.  That oft quoted author “Anonymous” said:  “Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”  That quotation is consistent with a biblical definition:  “Patience is the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.  It is the opposite of despondency and is associated with hope.”(1)  Patience truly is a virtue to be cultivated and sought.

Our current circumstances with COVID-19, and all its ramifications, calls for an abundance of patience, something that is far easier to talk about and advocate for than to practice.  But what makes “patience” such a struggle for many of us?  What causes us to become impatient when we confront challenges to our daily life such as we are currently experiencing?  As I reflected on those questions from a pastoral counselor perspective, it occurred to me that our lack of patience is really a symptom of something more basic.  Patience is not the main issue, although one’s actions because of impatience can become a problem. 

If you and I were to meet and you were to share with me your lack of patience about a particular matter, I would respond with something like:  “Tell me about that.  How is that a problem for you?”  And, likely, you would respond by telling me specifically what frustrates you.  In doing so, you would have identified the real issue which we then could seek to address.  Your impatience was an indication of something more specific.  If we are to increase our capacity for being more patient, one of the ways of doing that is to identify those things that contribute to our impatience.  That is the approach I want to take in this article.

One possible source of impatience is our expectations about what or how quickly we want something to occur.  This becomes a problem when those expectations are unrealistic, or they do not align with the current facts or reality. Those expectations may be based on limited or inadequate information or a false hope or perception.  With additional information, the possibility exists that we can adjust our expectations and in doing so become more patient.  Additionally, many carry within themselves a list of “should’s” and “ought’s,” of how things “should” be done or how they “ought” to be. These frequently are interpreted as reflecting “right” and “wrong,” which generally is not the case. Consequentially, when those “should’s” and “ought’s are not observed, we become frustrated and impatient.  Life would be less frustrating, and we likely would experience greater patience if, instead of using those terms, we said, “It would have been better if . . .”

A second possible source of impatience is a difference in values.  We see that currently being played out in the tension between those who want to resume normal activities and to move forward more quickly while others, such as the members of the medical community, are resistant and urge caution.  For the one group, protecting and maintaining life is their primary value.  For others, returning to “normalcy,” keeping their businesses afloat, or having an income again is their overriding value.  As long as these differences in values exist, one group will display their lack of patience by pressing their agenda, while the other group will continue to ask for further patience. Perhaps talking with one another in an attempt to understand, rather than to convince, would enable the two parties to find some common ground, which hopefully would contribute to greater patience on the part of each group.

Another potential source of impatience is having too narrow of a focus.  Some look at a situation and they view it only from their perspective.  Then, they immediately want to act based on that view.  They fail to consider the “bigger picture,” to consider other facts or factors that are not immediately obvious, or how others might potentially be affected by that action.  Additionally, they may have difficulty appreciating how others can see or approach the situation differently than they do.  For instance, Dr. Mike Osterholm, who is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says that this virus will be around until we either have a vaccine or 60-70% of the population has been infected so that we have “herd immunity.”  Without a vaccine, he estimates this could take 18-24 months.  Not everyone shares that perspective.  In fact, some will question the validity of that conclusion.  However, if one considers that additional information in one’s assessment, it will impact how patient we will be in dealing with the ramifications of that potential reality and what that means for us personally.

Sometimes our lack of patience grows out of a sense of lack of control.  Most of us want to be in charge of all aspects of our lives and the circumstances related to them.  We want to go to the store when we want to go to the store.  We may resist wearing a mask because we believe it is unnecessary and is uncomfortable.  We dislike having others strongly recommend to us as individuals, as a church, or as a community what we should do.  Consequently, we become impatient when we perceive that we no longer have the freedom to do these things we once did without restrictions.  Recognizing and deciding that we can learn from others, that some of these practices may, indeed, be beneficial and contribute to the well-being of others as well as ourselves will potentially impact our level of impatience.

One final possible source is selfishness or self-centeredness.  Often, we want what we want when we want it.  And we want it now!  We become impatient with delayed gratification, or with anything that stands in the way of our doing or getting what we want.  Sometimes this may also involve an ulterior motive or some hidden agenda, which the individual may be reluctant to acknowledge or make known.  Being honest with ourselves, and with others, about what the real motive is likely will reduce some of the frustration related to our lack of patience, and it may even provide a greater possibility of accomplishing at least some of what we desire.

There likely are many other sources that tend to rob us or our patience:  being bored, having too much together time as a couple so that one or the other has little or no “alone time,” experiencing “cabin fever,” etc.  Regardless of the source of our impatience, I think the scripture is clear that God’s will for his people is that we are to be patient and steadfast in difficult situations, living out our Christian faith day-by-day.  If you struggle with patience, seek to identify what the real issue is behind the impatience. Then, once you have done that, develop a plan to address the issue or enlist the help of another believer to help you find a way of to do that.  Doing so will, I believe, enable you to be more at peace and to be more patient with people and with your life circumstances.  I anticipate both you and the Lord will be pleased with that outcome.

Ron Hornecker, Minister of Counseling
623-628-3796 or 2rhornecker@cox.net

 

 

  1. W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr.  Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville:  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985), 377

May 8, 2020

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

 

We look forward to this special day each year.  It is a day we set aside to honor the ladies who gave us birth, nurtured us and that helped to shape our moral compass. Moms are special people.  Most of our congregation have lost their moms.  We also recognize that many of the ladies in the congregation are moms or have taken on kids/adults and poured into their lives like a mom would. 

 

The Bible, in Proverbs 31, has much to say about moms of noble character: “… She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls…she sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night…When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothes in scarlet…She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children arise and call her blessed…Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” 

 

One of the mothers that I think of when I read that passage was my mother-in-law, Millie Klein. I had the best mother-in-law that a guy could have imagined.  When I met her for the first time on December 28, 1984, she welcomed me with open arms.  She was one who never interfered in our marriage, yet, was always available to give advice and wisdom when asked.

 

Millie Klein grew up in Baltimore.  Her childhood years were not ideal, but she did not let that stop her from becoming an amazing woman with many gifts and talents.  She served in the Navy prior to her and Mr. Klein getting married. Mr. Klein was an Air Force navigator during the Vietnam war. Consequently, he was gone much of the time. So, Mrs. Klein raised their three girls mostly on her own.  She provided a loving atmosphere with activities, quality time together and humor. Her desire was to provide a home that had what she did not have growing up. 

 

With college on the horizon for the three girls, Mrs. Klein decided to go into the workforce.  She began by being a ministry assistant at the local Baptist Associational office.  Getting the experience under her belt, she secured a job at the Pentagon working for one of the ranking generals.  She continued successfully working for this general until Mr. Klein retired and they moved from the Washington DC area to Florida.  Immediately, she secured a job working for the highest ranking general in Florida.  She knew what she wanted, and she worked hard to achieve it.  It was her commitment, dedication and work ethic that allowed her to be successful.

 

I found Mrs. Klein to be genuine.  She had a great sense of humor which was needed in a military family with three girls. She had insight and wisdom that she could present, in various ways, in those important teachable moments. She was compassionate and discerning.  She loved the ladies in her Sunday School class that she taught. She and Mr. Klein would spend much time visiting and helping people in their church.

 

Mrs. Klein was thrifty. We discovered that when we went to Disney World together.  They would pack all the water and food we needed for the day, put it in a cooler and rent a locker at the park which made it affordable to our family. She never wasted time or missed an opportunity to teach our kids.  The times we were in eternal lines for the rides at Disney World, she would keep the kids entertained.  She taught our girls how to knit crosses to send to missionaries she knew to be used in ministry in their country.

 

She made me feel comfortable all the time.  I have always been a slow eater during meals.  When we were at their home, she would always eat at my pace so that I had company at the dinner table. Mrs. Klein’s humor permeated the entire household and was passed on to her youngest daughter, my wife.  If you were having a hard day, she knew just what to do or say to make it all better much of which was accomplished by her humor.  She loved her family, her grandkids, and yes, even her sons-in-law.  I could go on and on…Millie Klein was the best mother-in-law a guy could ever have.  I have been blessed more than I can express with this Proverbs 31 Mother and Mother-in-Law.

 

Who is that special person in your life who influenced, nurtured, and inspired you most?  Was it your mom?  Some other special person? If they are living, let them know. If they have passed, thank God for them and follow their example.

 

Health Update

 

Several have asked how my health and shingles were progressing.  First, thank you for the continual prayers during this time.  Those prayers have given me strength and encouragement, as I have tried to use this time healing to sense what God is teaching me through this hardship.  He has taught me several lessons, which I am already working on.

 

The shingles are now in their eighth week.  They continue to heal, for which I am grateful.  I have nerve pain settling in the inside of my right leg.  I pray it does not last long.  The weakness in the right leg continues to be an issue, which has caused several falls.  Those falls have created secondary issues with the knee and hip.  I have some tests in the works to find the extent of the issues.  It does make it more difficult to walk, but I still am able to get around. Please pray for the doctors to have wisdom and for healing to take place prior to our gathering together for worship.  God has encouraged me and held me through this journey. I am a blessed and grateful man.

 

Inspirational Quotes About Moms

 

“A mother is the one who is still there when everyone else has deserted you.” Author Unknown

 

“Who ran to help me when I fell, and would pretty story tell, or kiss the place to make it well? My Mother!” Author Unknown

 

“Words cannot express my gratitude to you Mom for all the love and support you have given me.” Kate Summers

 

“Nothing else will ever make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, as motherhood.” Ella Parsons

 

“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Prov. 17:6

 

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Prov. 31:28-31

 

Have a blessed weekend.

 

Pastor Kirby

May 5, 2020

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National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer is this Thursday, May 7.  The Spiritual Leaders of Sun City West had planned a community event, but because of the virus we had to eliminate those plans.  The day is set aside for individuals to spend time, sometime during the day, to pray for God to intervene in our lives, country, and world.

The theme this year is “Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth.”  The theme verse is Habakkuk 2:14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

We are encouraged to pray for America, effectively and fervently and specifically for the seven centers of influence: government, church, military, family, education, media and entertainment, and business.

In these times, we must pray for each of these seven areas and the healthcare workers who are putting their lives on the line every day.  Pray for those who have the virus.  Pray for complete healing and for the families of those who have died.

Since we cannot gather right now, I am asking our congregation, our Watchman Prayer Warriors, and our community to take time on Thursday to pray passionately for all the items mentioned above.

I have been asked if our church will be open for people to come and pray.  We will have our Prayer Room open for use from 9:00am to 3:00pm by reservation.  (We will have cleaning procedures in place after each hour of prayer.)  Each person who would like to reserve an hour in the Prayer Room, please call the church office to see which hours are available (623-584-5738).  If we have more requests than we have hours, we will gladly open a Bible Study room for those hours. When you arrive, please come through the office door and let our Ministry Assistant know you are there for your hour, and then let her know when you are leaving. We will have the National Day of Prayer Guides available in the room(s).  If you have questions, please just let me or the office know.

What’s Next…

It may seem like a long time that we have been under a “stay-at-home” request, but this time is passing.  It may seem like a long time until we have a public worship service again, but I promise the time will pass. We have plans in place to do our best to protect our congregation when we do start back, and it will be special. We have more detailed plans to phase in our other gatherings, ministries, and committees to keep the risk down and still get ministry accomplished.  So, as a church we have been preparing for the future, the new opportunities, and methods.  The days ahead are exciting, knowing that God is going to work through this pandemic to help us to touch our community for Christ more than ever before. How about you?  Have you been preparing for what is next?  Take time to read Dr. Hornecker’s article about What Next?  You will enjoy, learn, and be inspired. 

 

What Next?

Are you aware that the Chinese written word for “crisis” is composed of two characters signifying “danger” and “opportunity”? As I was verifying that fact, I found this additional statement: “The word ‘crisis’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘to separate, to sift,’ which means to pass judgment, to only keep what is worthwhile.  There is an opportunity in every crisis and the deeper the crisis, the better the opportunity can be” (emphasis added). Crisis and opportunity.  Most of us likely would not have linked those two ideas together.  But perhaps there is truth there.

For nearly eight weeks, we have been making changes in our lives to deal with the circumstances related to this crisis.  We have had to “sift” through our daily routines and practices.  We have had to decide what is “worthwhile” and where we want to focus our time and effort.  In this article, I thought it might be helpful to reflect on what has changed for us during this pandemic and what potential opportunities may exist or that we may have discovered during this time. 

Initially, I imagine most of us found the changes imposed to be rather frustrating, as well as limiting.  Few of us like change, especially when it is forced on us without our consent. While some of these changes appear to be temporary, others likely will be more permanent. Some we likely will experience as loss.  We are no longer free to jump into the car and drive to the grocery store for a gallon of milk without considering if the trip is necessary.  Restaurants only provide take-out, no in-person dining. The recreation centers remain closed.  Church worship services and activities are “paused” with the scheduled time of resuming uncertain.  Social distancing means not being able to get together to play card games, Mexican Train, etc., or to visit in one another’s homes, or to gather with the other members of our Bible study class as we have previously done.  We have had more time alone or with our spouse, more time that is unstructured, and more time to engage in projects we have been putting off.  However, after a few weeks of these disruptions, we have adjusted. We are finding a greater comfortableness with our new and developing routines.  Many of us are enjoying the slower pace of daily life.  We are less distracted with busyness and are choosing to engage in activities and pursuits that bring greater meaning and purpose to our lives.  We can give more time to personal reflection and to our own spiritual nurture.  We are finding new ways of ministering to others and, in some cases, sharing our faith.  Reaching out to others, to check on their well-being and just to connect or re-connect, has become a more intentional part of many of our days.  And some of us are doing a better job of self-care—doing more walking, relaxing on the patio, and giving more attention to a healthy diet. 

So, we have this “before” and “after” perspective on our lives.  We are no longer engaged in some past practices, but we may have found or rediscovered some that we are finding quite meaningful.  That, in turn, leads to the question, “What next?”  The question is being asked nationally, by our governor, by our local leaders, and by our church leaders.  We all will be impacted by the answers each entity gives.  However, regardless of what others may decide, you and I get to answer that question for ourselves. This is where new opportunities lie for us and, potentially, for our church.

For instance, what changes to your daily routine have you made that you are finding beneficial and that you want to retain for the future?  What effect has the slower daily pace, with fewer obligations, had on your stress level?  If it is lower, what are the implications of that for you as you think about the future?  How have you been able to nurture and give attention to your spiritual life during this time, and how do you want to continue or strengthen those practices in the days to come?  For us as a church, can all these changes result in our thinking about and discovering some new ways of “doing church,” new methods of reaching out, new ways of ministering to those in need? I could go on and on with these types of reflective questions, but I trust that you get the picture.

This crisis certainly has changed life as we have known it.  The “old normal” is likely gone and the “new normal” is not yet clearly in place—for us as a community, as a church, and individually.  As we face the future, the opportunity for further change and newness which can benefit our lives and the life of our church is present.  How open will we be to take advantage of those possibilities?  How do we want to answer the question “What next?” for ourselves as well as our congregation?

Ron Hornecker, Minister of Counseling
623-628-3796 or 2rhornecker@cox.net 

May 1, 2020

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Perseverance

This is a peaceful morning. As I look out my kitchen window, I hear the quail calling, the mourning doves singing and other birds which I cannot recognize.  We have two mourning doves who have built a nest on one of our security lights on our back porch.  I have been impressed by this mourning dove team. I understand that the male and female mate for life. Yes, Debbie has named them Dory and Doug. They have been on that nest day and night with maybe a brief fly away.  I understand that the female is on the nest all night and the male during the day. I cannot wait to see those young mourning doves learn how to fly.  Although, I am a little worried because their nest is by the pool and when they kick those two little ones out of the nest it very well might be a lesson on “sinking or swimming” instead of flying.  As I have been watching these mourning doves the last two weeks, the word that comes to mind is perseverance.  They will wait, however long it takes to work, to get their babies flying and on their own.

It is my oldest daughter’s Birthday.  She happens to be visiting us for a few days.  We almost lost Sarah back on Nov. 13 as she was going through IVF treatments.  Our church family was fervently praying that entire day and night for her and the doctors.  God preserved her life that night and we praise Him for His special gift. 

Sarah told me a few weeks ago that she believed that God saved her because she “knew her husband was not a Christian and she did not want him to go to hell.”  Sarah continued to witness to James. God used her, and my good friend Rev. Garry Taylor, to lead James to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday.  He was baptized on Easter.  All of you celebrated with us as well.

What strikes me about this life event is that it took time. My daughter, knowing that James was a good guy, but he was not a believer, continued to encourage him for almost five years to come to Jesus.  God’s timing is wonderful. But perseverance is hard.  It is hard to wait for something that you want so bad or something or someone you miss. 

Sarah and James are on another journey that is requiring perseverance. We have located a clinic here in the Phoenix area that is exceptional for IVF treatments.  As Sarah goes through these treatments in the months ahead please pray that they are successful, and that God will bless these two young people who have persevered through much as they have been on this journey now for four years. 

Like you, it continues to be on my mind about how we miss the fellowship and worship together as a church family.  We have never known anything like this in our lives. It has always been our choice whether we go to church or not.  Now, it is out of our control if we want to protect and keep our church family safe and healthy until the peak of the coronavirus has passed.  It is hard when we want to see each other, catch up on what is going on, give each other a hug, an elbow, a smile, some sort of normalcy.

Since the exact time when we can get back to worship is not set in stone, it can be frustrating and sad.  That is true for all of us. Not seeing family for an extended time is difficult.  But, through our lives we have all had to have an experience not seeing family and loved ones for longer than we would have liked. For us to have done that shows that we do have perseverance.  

That is what we will need to have during this pandemic. You have done a great job these last six weeks.  You have made the best of it by calling, e-mailing or texting your family, your friends and church family to stay-in-touch.  We can still do this.  God will continue to use us in a great way during this “pause”. We can finish this strong, healthy, and safe. We can embrace Perseverance as our “calling” during this unique time in history.  Take time to read and think about the scriptures below and let God speak to you in a very personal and insightful way.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” Rev. 3:10

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

“…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:11-12

Sunday

I am looking forward to Sunday as we continue the sermon series “Your World Is Not Falling Apart, It Is Falling Into Place”.  The sermon is entitled: “What Happens When Your World Falls Apart” from Job 40.  Be prepared to worship and be encouraged.

Pastor Kirby

April 29, 2020

E-Blast Special Edition

 

New Timeframe for Potential Worship Services

We “paused” all our gatherings and ministries on March 18 and set a potential date of returning to church as usual on Sunday, May 3.  The Response Task Force, Deacons, and Retired Ministers had hoped that the Coronavirus would have diminished to a point that it would be safe to hold services again.

This team met yesterday, April 28 for two hours, discussing what our next steps would be as a congregation. 

The unified consensus of the Leadership Team is that it is not in the best interest of our congregation to have worship services start in our facility at this time. Maintaining the health and protection of the congregation is the top priority during this pandemic. Therefore, our congregation will NOT meet at our facility on May 3.

It was decided by the Leadership Team that it is in the best interest of our congregation to continue our “pause” and set a potential timeframe of returning to churchwide worship in early to mid-June.  This timeframe is open to change, depending on what we find with the CDC guidelines and what is happening in our area. 

Below you will read the rationale and thought processes from the 17 people who are on the team that met Tuesday.  

Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to pray for our Leadership Team consisting of our Response Task Force, Deacons, and Retired Ministers.  We were blessed to have 17 of our Leadership Team members who were able to attend, and three others who sent their comments and thoughts for us to consider. We practiced social distancing as each person was at least 6 feet from the next person, and all wore masks, as well.  All had the opportunity to speak from a microphone to the topics we were discussing, and the microphone was sanitized after each speaker.

It was evident that you were praying for this team as there was such a sweet spirit and a concerned, compassionate heart for our congregation at this critical time in our lives.  On the one hand, we know that our congregation desires to get back together and have that sweet fellowship in-person, sharing with each other, and in Bible Study and worship of our Heavenly Father.  On the other hand, there is the deep concern that we are a high-risk community of faith, and we have the great responsibility to protect the congregation.

 

The Meeting

In the two-hour meeting on Tuesday, we discussed many topics and addressed many issues and questions. There was a spirit of unity, thoughtful discussion, and consensus on most issues, and on other issues a willingness to join the majority to make a consensus.

The Overarching Topics of Discussion Were Three-Fold

First, what criteria or entity should we be watching and following as to when the best time to have public worship services again? There were three options we reviewed and discussed. First is the CDC and National Coronavirus Task Force; second, Arizona and Governor Ducey; third, as an autonomous congregation, just do what we feel led to do that honors God.

There was excellent discussion on this topic. At the end of the discussion, there was a unanimous consensus that we follow the CDC/National Coronavirus Task Force guidelines.  Those guidelines follow a three-phase process for opening a state and the country.  Arizona is still growing in the numbers of cases and deaths.  The virus has now reached us.  In Sun City West last week, it was reported that we had 6-10 confirmed cases. That number jumped to 49 over this past weekend.  There could be several reasons for that jump.

The Leadership Team felt that the CDC focuses on the health aspect surrounding the virus.  Governors across the United States are concerned about the health, but to a larger degree, they are concerned about getting their communities going again and getting the economy up and running.

The team understood the need for both perspectives.  If Governor Ducey saw Arizona as all retirees, he would have a different plan in place.  He would work his hardest to take care of the health issues.

The Leadership Team felt what we need to do as a church is that we must, first and foremost, take the perspective of protecting and caring for the short and long-term health of our congregation. Therefore, it was decided that we would follow the CDC guidelines with the understanding that, as an autonomous congregation, we can be flexible if things change more quickly than we might have thought.

A second issue discussed was how to gradually integrate all the various ministries while using the CDC guidelines which include social distancing, washing hands a lot, wearing masks, etc. 

The team discussed our committees, councils and ministries, as to when and how they could safely be integrated back into the full church schedule. We addressed many details about each ministry, and how to make sure we can follow the CDC guidelines which is meant to keep us protected and safe.  At the end of the discussion, there was full consensus to gradually bring in each ministry group. When we have our first worship service, this more detailed plan will begin and move us down a path of celebration of ministries.

The third issue we addressed was when should we resume our meeting together for worship.  This decision was communicated at the beginning.  This was probably the one issue that did not require the group to reach a consensus.  The point for the Leadership Team was that they are charged with protection, nurturing, and caring for our congregation.  As a high-risk segment of society, we must realize how quickly health issues come on.  The team was unanimous on the timeframe of restarting our public worship service and how to make it as worshipful and safe as possible.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The ministerial staff will keep watch on all developments and continue to work as they have been, striving to communicate clearly to all leadership and congregation. The support staff will continue to serve faithfully while accomplishing their assignments. Many of those assignments are geared to communicate with the congregation to keep them informed.

The Leadership Team will continue to monitor things happening in the country, and in Arizona and with the CDC, to see if any adjustments need to be discussed. They will meet as needed to discuss any changes that have occurred that might give us a clue on the best time to start back in worship.

We are asking the church membership to continue to pray for this virus to be eliminated, to pray for our country and the world which is in pain, pray for your staff, and for your opportunity to find ways to not only grow and fellowship, but to touch your neighbor or friend with God’s compassionate care.  Keep calling, texting and e-mailing the members of your Bible study class, and your friends and other church members.  This encouragement is a blessing. This is a powerful season for God to bring about revival and spiritual awakening. “Lord, that is what we desire. Here am I, send me.”

 

Pastor Kirby for the Leadership Team

April 24, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

It is Friday!!!!  That means Sunday is coming!!  I hope you will take time to celebrate our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ today. He is our Hope.

Hope describes one of the key components of a Christian’s life in Christ. Paul summed up the present motivation and the future expectation of the Christian’s life when he said in I Tim. 4:10, “we have fixed our hope on the living God.” Do you see the key to our hope? It is not what we are feeling or experiencing in this season, rather our hope is in the Living God. Our trust is in Him.

Hope in the Old Testament is always positive. Eccl. 9:4 states, “Anyone who is among the living has hope – even a live dog is better off than a dead lion.” Hope is certain in the OT because God is the object of hope. Jeremiah stated in 17:13 that the Lord is the “Hope of Israel.”  

                              

He is also the hope of New Testament believers. Paul stated in I Tim. 1c “…and of Christ Jesus our hope.”  Paul said in Romans 8:24-25, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all! Who hopes for what they already have? But, if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” That hope is a trust in God that He will take care of us today and in the future…the future that we can not see but rest in the peace that God will take care of us.

In this time of crisis, we must embrace this hope in the living God. If you will let Him, He will cuddle you in His strong, warm, everlasting arms and never let you go.

Sermon Series on Hope

This Sunday I will be preaching the second in the series “YOUR WORLD ISN’T FALLING APART, IT IS FALLING INTO PLACE.”  It is staggering the number of seniors who feel all alone. Isolation, loneliness, and depression are realities in our world today and our high-risk senior adult population right here in Sun City West. In fact, there are 42.6 million seniors who experience loneliness every day. Do you know someone who suffers in this way? Do you?

This Sunday, I will be speaking on the topic of what happens when you are lonely and depressed. We will be looking at Psalm 22, which details a season in David’s life when he felt he was all alone. I think you will find the topic of great interest.

On Tuesday, in our FBCSCW E-Blast, Dr. Hornecker will address the issues related to depression and give some very practical suggestions on how to deal with these feelings and emotions during this particularly challenging time.

Praying for God to Touch Hearts and for those on the Front Lines

God is moving in hearts all over our country and world as people are seeking Him during this time of uncertainty. People are realizing they cannot control all things, so they are searching. Google searches for prayer, God, Jesus, Spiritual, and church have all spiked during this time of quarantine. Continue to pray for many to come into His Kingdom and Christians to be ready to share and encourage.

Thank you for praying for all the doctors, nurses, all healthcare workers, EMT, Fire, Police and so many others who are on the front lines striving to save lives and help in this pandemic. Pray for our President, government officials and private sector leaders who are discerning the best directions for our country. Continue to pray for those battling the COVID-19 virus and their families. Ask God to console the families of the more than 47,000 who have died from this virus.

I have a pastor friend who has a member from his previous church who is an RN working in NYC. She said, “It’s horrible what I am experiencing here. I have never seen anything like this. This is not just the flu. Even younger and healthy people with no pre-existing conditions are in ICU and dying.” 

These are the times to go on our knees in “power” to pray fervently that Satan will not win this battle., but that God will bring about victory over this virus and in the hearts and minds of many in our country and around the globe.

I enjoyed an interview that Dr. Alveda King, the 70-year-old niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., gave recently about the stress of isolation during this coronavirus lockdown. She said, “I find I’m not finding other reasons to keep me from praying. And as a result, I find an abiding joy, great faith, enduring and increasing love during this season. Do I see the bad things? Yes. And I pray with, and for those who have experienced loss. And yet there is hope and joy ahead. So, I’m encouraged – more encouraged – than I’ve ever been in a long time.”  What an amazing attitude. For all of us who are quarantined, these are good words of advice. Prayer…fervent prayer, is the key.

Praying for Our FBCSCW Leadership Team

Please pray fervently for our Leadership Team who have been praying earnestly and striving to discern God’s direction concerning our church’s return to a “new normal” of worshiping together again. There are many factors and they are listening, researching, and praying about the safety of our high-risk membership and our gathering back together. They will be meeting this next week to determine what our next steps will be and how we should move forward.

Thank You for Your Generosity During These Epic Days

For those who have recently joined our E-Blast, here are the three ways you can give to support our on-going ministry.

INSTRUCTIONS ON GIVING ON THE WEBSITE

THERE ARE THREE WAYS TO CONTINUE TO GIVE FINANCIALLY DURING THESE CHALLENGING TIMES: E-GIVING; MAIL AND DROP OFF. Instructions for each are given below.

E-Giving - INSTRUCTIONS FOR ONLINE GIVING

From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

  • Click on the blue “GIVE” tab in the top right corner

  • Enter the “Amount” you wish to give

  • Select the “Fund” you wish to give to (General, Annie Armstrong, Missions, etc.)

  • Pick the “Date” you wish to give

  • Enter you “E-Mail Address”

  • Click “Continue”

  • Enter “Bank Account” or “Credit/Debit Card” Info

  • Click “Give”

Mailing - CHURCH MAILING ADDRESS

First Baptist Church, Sun City West

17419 N Conquistador Drive

Sun City West, AZ  85375

Drop Off - CHURCH OFFICE HOURS

The church office will be open Monday-Thursday from 8am-4pm.

Ministry Needs

 

Meals of Joy is looking for individuals to deliver means to seniors in the area of Sun City, Sun City West and Surprise.  Because of the COVID-19, they have grown from 200 meals a week to 600 a week.  The need is great.  We have at least two individuals in our church who are delivering right now.  If you would like more information, or would like to volunteer, please contact Priscilla at Meals of Joy, 623-594-9588 or via email at info@scosic.org.

 

God Bless –

Pastor Kirby

April 21, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

Praise this Morning

“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1 NIV

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7

These are great verses to lift us up this morning and to celebrate the “perfect faithfulness” of our God. To know He protects us with His “strength and shield.” Make today that kind of day…a day to worship the God…Our God of creation.

Prayer Request

The Response Task Force, the Deacons and our Retired Ministers will be meeting in the next week to discuss FBCSCW’s next step as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, take lives, bring heartache, and create economic chaos.

These teams have been praying fervently, desiring God’s will and direction for these next steps. We will be discussing the data nationwide and here in Arizona, when it might be advisable to worship together at our facility again, seeking ways to bring us back together in all phases of our ministry and how to keep the “safe distancing” necessary to help our people stay healthy and comfortable.  We are a high-risk community of faith. My deepest desire and responsibility, as the shepherd, is to do my best to protect our family of faith. Please continue to pray fervently for this team, as they share their wisdom and discernment.

 

Turbulent Times

In these turbulent times have you been feeling anxiety or fear? If so, you would be with most people. The unknown certainly lends itself to these emotions and feelings.

Please take time to read Dr. Hornecker’s excellent article on Managing Anxiety below.

Blessings,

Pastor Kirby

 

Managing Anxiety in Turbulent Times

God’s purpose for us is that we live “abundant lives” (Jn 10:10), ones that are, among other things, free from a level of anxiety that is unhealthy and detrimental. However, having some level of anxiety in turbulent and uncertain times, like now, is understandable. Some of that anxiety likely is helping to keep us safe. Is that not why most of us are observing the recommendations for staying home, maintaining “social distancing,” engaging in more frequent and thorough hand washing, etc. At the same time, we are experiencing concern and anxiousness for family members in other places, wondering what the future holds, and what will constitute our “new normal.”

When I use the word “anxiety,” to what am I referring? One author defined it as: “a generalized state of apprehension, accompanied by restlessness and tension . . . a lack of inner peace and serenity.”[1]  That level of anxiety can range in intensity from slight to severe. Its effects on us are experienced emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Genetic factors also contribute to anxiety for some.

Because of the way God created us, there are multiple avenues available for seeking to manage our anxiety. A change in any one area will impact the other areas as well. Let us explore some of those possible ways.

Mental and Emotional:  Our thinking and the focus of our thoughts has much to do with the level of anxiety we experience. That, in turn, affects us emotionally. Remember: “We feel the way we feel because we think the way we think.” So, changing our thinking from that of catastrophizing or being obsessed about all the “What if’s” of the current crisis can make a difference in the level of anxiety we experience. As much as is possible, while being realistic, try to focus on all that is positive in your situation and how God has and is blessing you. Seek to avoid obsessing about all the uncertainty. Learn what Paul encouraged to be the focus of our thinking as recorded in Phil. 4:8.

The mental approach also includes differentiating between what we can and cannot change or influence. For instance:  make a list of your concerns, those matters that cause you anxiety or worry. As you reflect on the list, determine what matters you can influence or possibly change. Decide and then implement what actions you can take to address those concerns. Then, recognize that all the other matters on your list are beyond your ability to influence, control, or do anything about. You can pray about them, but otherwise, you need to release them to the Lord and no longer invest emotional energy in being anxious about them.

Physical:  Another avenue for dealing with anxiety is through our bodies. Physical exercise is a way of draining off some of the tension and stress anxiety produces. Engaging in deep breathing exercises, or other relaxation techniques, is a way of experiencing a deep sense of relaxation and a growing sense of peace. If you have not done this before, sit up straight in a comfortable chair with both feet on the floor and your hands resting in your lap. Take in a long, slow, deep breath that causes your abdomen to extend and then let it out. Slowly inhale through your nose and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Close your eyes and focus your mind on your breath—slowly breathing in and out, in and out. Continue doing this for three to five minutes. Notice how the muscles in your neck and shoulders begin to relax. Feel your arms getting heavy and your fingertips getting warm. Sense the stress leaving your body. For additional relaxation techniques, including guided-imagery and some audio-assist guides, check out:  www.helpguide.org/articles/relaxation-techniques-for-stress-relief.htm 

Spiritual:  There are several scripture passages that speak to the matter of worrying, being anxious, or being overly concerned. (Please read the passages cited. I do not have the space to quote them here.)  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus encourages his followers not to worry, to trust their Heavenly Father, and to take life one day at a time (Matt 6:25-34). In the parable of the sower, Jesus warns how “the worries of this life” choked out the seed that was sown (Matt 13:22, Mk, 4:19, Luke 8:14). Both Paul and Peter encourage their readers to place their trust in God and to give their anxieties over to him (Phil 4:6-7 and 1 Pet 5:7). Jesus gently confronts Martha about being “worried and upset about many things” (Luke 10:41). The theme running throughout these passages and throughout the scripture is that we have a Heavenly Father who cares for us, who will walk with us, and on whom we can rely. While we may know that truth cognitively, it is often difficult to practice it. However, we must remember that our Christian walk is one of faith and of trust, not one of sight.

An additional action we can take spiritually, which should go without saying, is to spend time reading the scriptures, meditating on them, allowing them to quiet our sense of unrest while giving our concerns and anxieties over to the Lord through prayer.

Chronic Anxiety:  For those who struggle with chronic anxiety or who experience repeated anxiety attacks, please consult with your primary care physician. There is medication available that can assist with both these conditions. Talking with a trusted counselor can also be of help.

Hopefully, some of these thoughts and suggestions, of which there are additional ones not included here, will help you better manage whatever anxiety you are experiencing. In doing that, may you find peace and calm in your circumstances. And again, if I can be of assistance, please feel free to contact me.

Ron Hornecker, Minister of Counseling


623-628-3796 or 2rhornecker@cox.net

____________________________

[1] Cecil Osborne, Release from Fear and Anxiety, 113).

April 17, 2020

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

NEW SERMON SERIES ON HOPE

What a challenging time we live in right now. What we need is hope. Hope is what gets us though the most difficult times in life. We need that glimmer that says, “It’s going to be okay,” “better days are ahead,” “someone is coming to our aid.”  There is a phase in the Casting Crown’s song “Just Be Held” that says, “Your World’s Not Falling Apart, It’s Falling Into Place” * That was the perfect title of this seven week series, which begins this Sunday, April 19 and concludes on Sunday, May 31. 

In times like these it seems like there is no rhyme and reason in our world. That could be because we are not seeing what God is seeing and what He can do for you and His Kingdom through you in this most trying time. The words of this song say much:

“When the world falls apart

And you fear for your heart

There’s a tower of peace

It’s still the cross

So, bring your sick and your poor

And your longing for more

To the place of belief

It’s still the cross.”  *

The cross is our symbol of HOPE. The cross is our “tower of peace.”  Jesus is our Hope and Salvation. He is the One who will cradle us in His arms even when it seems like we are in a freefall…if we will allow Him. This series of messages are meant to help each of us during this difficult time. No matter where each of us is in our emotions or feelings these messages provide biblical truth to guide us to trust in His cradling arms. Please take time to watch/listen and be encouraged by this Hope we have!!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Title: What Happens When You Face a Crisis?

Text: Phi. 1:12-20

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Title: What Happens When You Are Lonely and Depressed?

Text: Ps. 22

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Title: What Happens When Your Life Falls Apart?

Text: Job 40:9

Sunday, May 10, 2020 (Mother’s Day)

Title: The Woman of Wisdom

Text: Proverbs 31:10-31

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Title: Hope for Uncertain Times

Text: Habakkuk 3:17-19

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Title: When You Are Ready to Quit

Text: Jeremiah 9:2

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Title: How God Helps Us

Text: II Timothy 4: 16-17

 *A line taken from the song “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns

GOD CONTINUES TO WORK IN HEARTS

In times like these many realize that they really are not in control of their lives. People begin questioning life as they knew It before everything was disrupted. The Google search engine has shown that searches on topics like prayer, church, spiritual, God, etc. have soared in these recent weeks. This is a time when people are hungry to find out what is missing, why they feel so lost. It is a wonderful time to connect with people in whatever way we can to be available to meet their needs, be a listener and share spiritual matters as they are seeking answers. I don’t mean be “heavy-handed” but be available. Engage in listening, praying, and reaching out. God and His Spirit will do the rest.

My oldest daughter’s husband, James, accepted Christ on Palm Sunday in the study of my good friend’s church in Florida. Debbie and I cried when they Face-Timed us to tell us the great news. It is something we had been praying to happen for six years. He was baptized on Easter Sunday during Life Church’s streaming service, so we were able to view it. He is on fire right now. God is working in amazing ways during these days.

One of the attorneys Debbie worked for in Florida connected with her just before Palm Sunday. He is an analytical man…a deep thinker. Debbie had quietly shared her faith all the time she had been working with him  He told her that he had come to the place after all of his research and reading “A Case for Christ” and “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” that he realized that Christ was the way and has given his life to Christ.  There were shouts of Joy in our household. God is working even in this time of chaos.

He always has. The Bible is full of testimonials about how God works in crisis. Please take the time to see how God can work through your life as you strive to make a difference in someone else’s life in these challenging times.

CHURCHWIDE UPDATE ON SERVICES

The target date of when we might be able to return to gathering for services at our church building is Sunday, May 3. That is just a target date, which was the consensus of the Response Task Force, Deacons and Retired Ministers. This group was assembled as an advisory team which represents many of our church family.

This Team will be meeting again over the next two weeks to revisit what is the best and safest way for us to return together. This team is praying fervently, researching, and discussing what is best for the members of our church. We are a high-risk congregation.

Please pray for me, and this team, as we strive to discern what is the best plan, and how and when to implement that process when the time comes. Arizona has not even reached the peak of the virus’ deadly potential. The key for the leaders of this church is to do everything we can to keep our family of faith as safe as possible. Stay tuned for more information over the next two weeks.

THANK YOU

Debbie and I have been overwhelmed by the love and support from so many of you. We have received many cards, emails, text messages and phone calls, letting us know that you are praying for, and encouraging us, through my time dealing with shingles. It has been quite an adventure. I had shingles on my face back in 2007, but this time around has dwarfed that experience.

I have four doctors from Mayo that have been working with me on this ordeal. They have been great. Unfortunately, these shingles developed on the upper right leg and encompassed then entire upper right leg to just below the knee. The dermatologist at Mayo called it “extraordinary.” The pain has been intense and has shown itself in three different ways. Instead of the normal 2-4 weeks for the shingles to heal, they are looking at 6-8 weeks. The nerve pain can continue for weeks beyond that.

Because of my kidney transplant they are more limited in the pain medicine they can prescribe. That has certainly caused issues with sleeping and I have lost most of the strength in my right leg. They have indicated that more times than not, that loss of strength will return after the shingles are gone.

It is amazing that this has happened during our church’s time of “pause.”  This has allowed me to get most of my work done at home through the computer and cell phone. Even in physically challenging times, God has us covered. He takes care of us.

I ask that you pray for the pain to ease, pray for the shingles to be healed, and pray for the strength in my right leg to return. We love our church family and cannot wait to get back together with you. You are prayer warriors and we appreciate all your fervent prayers during this time.

Have a Blessed weekend…tune in to one of the Zoom Bible Studies on Sunday morning and get on our website to watch the sermon as we start this new series on Hope. If you need anything, please call our church office or email any of our staff. That information is on the website or just respond to this E-Blast.

Blessings,

Pastor Kirby

April 14, 2020

 

FBCSCW E-Blast

 

Holy Week

Holy Week was a very special time.  It was a change from what we normally do, but God spoke boldly.  I want to thank each of the pastors who wrote articles.  Dr. Bob Marti, Dr. Glenn Saul, Dr. Scott Williamson and Dr. Ron Hornecker.  Each presented their assignment for the last week of Jesus’ life in a powerful, insightful and scholarly message.  We have been blessed. 

I also appreciate each of those who participated in the Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday services.  Nancy Jakes invited several participants to be involved in the music which enhanced each service.  Thank you to Nancy Jakes, Ruth Wood, Lynn Bailey, Ruthie East and Keith Jones.

We would never have had a chance to enjoy these services if we didn’t have the great folks in the sound booth.  We appreciate Caroll Swinney, Mike Bronenberg and Jim Crump. In addition, thank you, Bill Freeman, who edits the audio and Alex Dennis who is our webmaster.

I want to personally say thank you to Dick & Gloria Schroeder.  They were some of the inspiration behind the format of Holy Week.  During one of their prayer times, God spoke to them about the possibility of having Holy Week in a different way -- the written word and to video the Lord’s Supper.  I was praying hard about how to make this week special and when they shared what God had said I prayed about it, and it was a great Holy Week.  I love it when God speaks when we are in fervent prayer with Him.

Growing?

This Easter was different from any that we have ever experienced.  But God was glorified.  It is interesting though…I read an article by a well-known pastor/author/communicator among pastors, Carey Nieuwhof.  In this time since churches have not been able to meet, 49% of all churches are growing right now. Before this started, that number was 8-15%.  It doesn’t matter the size of church. The reason for this is the digital…presenting sermons on the websites, Facebook, all social media.  It is one of the best outreach bargains out there. 

People are going to all these avenues of social media because it is available and there is no obligation to “test” it out before possibly going in person. The spike right now is for several reasons. First, there is a big spike in spiritual curiosity during this pandemic.  Second, people are seeing digital as real…probably for the first time.  Third, digital church has a much lower barrier to participation.  The digital church may very well be the next front door to the church.  This opportunity will not last long, so we should be praying about how we should engage now. 

You might think that doesn’t apply to our church.  To the contrary, I have been following the views and the analytics of our online services before and after we “paused” our services.  Before, we might have 12 views of the sermon, which equals about 18 people viewing.  Afterwards, it has been anywhere from 189 to 228 views, which means 284 people to 342 people viewing.  Yes, many of those are church members.  But, on Sundays we might have 200 in our worship service.  Online we have anywhere from 84 to 142 additional people viewing.  I believe that a healthy percentage of those are people in the region who are seeking hope and encouragement during these times.  Pray for wisdom in striving to look ahead to how we can best bring hope to our community and region.

Sermon Series on Hope

This Sunday, April 19, I will begin the sermon series “Your World Is Not Falling Apart, It’s Falling Into Place.”  It will continue through the end of May.  I will give more details in Friday’s FBCSCW E-Blast. 

Until then, please read the following article from Dr. Ron Hornecker.  It is just what we need today, and it is excellent.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

Grieving Our Losses

LOSSES!!! SO MANY, MANY LOSSES!  Financial losses.  Job losses.  Retirement fund losses.  Safety and security losses.  Loss of the freedom to move about.  Loss of the physical presence of loved ones and friends.  Loss of the ability to gather for corporate worship.  The list could go on and on.  But the greatest loss of all is the loss of life, hundreds and thousands of deaths from COVID-19.  Each of those numbers represents a face and a name, a person, as well as a family affected by the death of their loved one, who in some cases died without a family member present.  Such a heart-breaking tragedy!  So many impacted!  It is a time of great national sadness, a time to “weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15).  We cannot help but be affected mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as we reflect on the reality of these losses.

Connected to each of these losses is the element of grief.  As humans, whenever we experience a significant loss, there is grief associated with that.  Of course, the intensity of that grief is related to the significance of that loss.  Christian writer and grief specialist H. Norman Wright in his book Recovering from Losses in Life writes: “It is important to isolate each loss, see it for what it is, respond to it, and then deal with the other losses individually.  Otherwise our losses will compound” (12).  As we go through this crisis, I wonder what specific losses you may need to identify and acknowledge as being present for you?

A multitude of emotions may arise amid one’s grief.  It is not unusual to feel sadness, depression, anger, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, among other possible emotions.  Finding ways of expressing those either verbally or in writing is important so they are not internalized to cause further difficulty in future days.  Find someone who is a good listener to whom you can express those emotions and/or concerns.  Or, journal about what you are experiencing and then share that with someone whom you trust.

Yet, amid our losses and our grief, there is a word of hope.  The Apostle Paul was convinced that God was still at work during difficult and trying times.  He said:  “And we know (beyond a shadow of doubt, with absolute certainty, is the emphasis in the Greek) that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).  Wright affirms that truth when he writes:  “Yet, with each and every loss comes the potential for change, growth, new insights, understanding, and refinement.  But they are often in the future and we fail to see that far ahead when we are in the midst of our grief” (8).  I believe that in every grief experience, if there is to be recovery and healing, there must come a time when our focus moves from the past, and all we have lost, to the future and what positive things that future may hold.  We all will be changed in some way by what we are currently experiencing.  Perhaps we will have discovered that we have benefited from not being so busy and always on the go and that we do not want to go back to that lifestyle.  Maybe we have realized how much our friends mean to us; and when we can get out again, we want to spend more time investing in others.  Possibly we have come to a new understanding about what is ultimately important in life, and we have determined to have fewer distractions from our focus on that which is of lasting and eternal importance. 

As you grieve your losses, take time also to consider how you want to live your life now, as well as following this crisis, and begin to plan for that now.  If I can be of assistance in any way, feel free to contact me.

Ron Hornecker, Minister of Counseling
623-628-3796 or 2rhornecker@cox.net

 

 

 

April 3, 2020

Holy Week

Holy Week begins this Palm Sunday.  I hope that you will tune in to the sermon on our website Palm Sunday at 10:00am.  This is the last sermon on the “Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross.” Christ’s Cry of Victory is shown in his last two sayings – “It is Finished” and “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” The message is powerful.

Holy Week will be different than at any other time in our church’s history. With the Social-Distancing order we are under, we will not be able to meet daily for lunch, music and a message related to Christ’s last week on earth. This is very hard on so many of our people who love this week and the significance. 

A couple in our church texted me and shared an idea for Holy Week that would help us celebrate the week together, even though we are in our homes.  Their idea that came during their hour of prayer was a perfect solution to the prayers I have been praying about that week.

The Plan

The four retired pastors who were scheduled to speak during Holy Week have written their messages for us to use.  The plan is that our office will send out an E-Blast like this on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday with their messages.  We will send them each day by 11:00am with the hopes that all our people would read the Holy Week message at 11:30am with a sense of unity, and then pray as God leads us after reading the messages.  While we would not be present in the same room, we would be worshiping together in spirit. The schedule for Holy Week is below, as is the bios of our speakers.  God is going to bless this…their messages will touch your heart and challenge you in ways that only God can do.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday commemorates the Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the disciples.  The term “Maundy” means commandment. During the washing of feet, Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment.  In John 13:34-35 Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Jesus’ command is a challenge and encouragement each should reflect on.

We will celebrate Maundy Thursday through our video capability on Thursday evening at 6:00pm.  Just go to our website ( www.fbcscw.org ) and click on Sermons and it will pop up. The video service will include the reading of scripture surrounding the events of Thursday night, special music and then I will lead our congregation in observing the Lord’s Supper. 

“Pastor, how can that be done if we do not have the elements to use at home?” Good question. The reality is that the elements are symbolic.  The true meaning of the Lord’s Supper for each of us is not the elements we use, rather the motive and commitment of the heart.  So, find some crackers, bread, something that you can relate to symbolize Christ’s body.  As far as juice, find some juice, iced tea, water, whatever you can use that relates to the symbol of Christ’s blood.  Then, just follow my lead to observe the Lord’s Supper. This can be a very special and meaningful service if we allow it and if participate.

Holy Week Schedule

April 6-10, 2020

Theme: Christ’s Journey to the Cross

Monday, April 6 – Dr. Bob Marti

“The Triumphal Entry” Matthew 21:6-11

Tuesday – April 7 – Dr. Scott Williamson

“The Upper Room” Luke 22:14-23

Wednesday – April 8 – Dr. Glenn Saul

“The Garden of Gethsemane” Luke 22:39-46

Thursday – April 9 – Dr. Kirby Kennedy

The Lord’s Supper by Video 6:00pm at www.fbcscw.org

Friday – April 10 – Dr. Ron Hornecker

“The Hill Called Golgotha” Mark 15:21-39

 

Biographies of the Speakers

Dr. Bob Marti:  April 5 “The Triumphal Entry”

Dr. Bob Marti has pastored churches for over 50 years.  He attended Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth and received his doctorate from Midwestern in Kansas City.  Bob and his wife, Barbara, have five children, fourteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Dr. Scott Williamson:  April 6 “The Upper Room”

Dr. Scott Williamson is a graduate of Golden Gate Seminary and has served churches as pastor for 45 years in California, Alaska, and Arizona. He served as trustee for California Baptist University for 15 years and served the California Southern Baptist Convention staff for four years as director of the Leadership Development Division. He enjoys retirement by making sawdust in his garage.

Dr. Glenn Saul:  April 7 “The Garden of Gethsemane”

Dr. Glenn Saul is a retired Senior Pastor of FBCSCW.  He was Professor Emeritus at Wayland Baptist University and a professor at Gateway Baptist Seminary for 12 years.  He received a B.A. from Wayland Baptist University, a B.D. from Golden Gate Baptist Seminary and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He is married to Rosemary Saul; he has three children and five grandchildren. He and Rosemary have been members of FBCSCW since 2006.

Dr. Ron Hornecker:  April 9 “The Hill Called Golgotha”

Dr. Ron Hornecker is and has served as the Minister of Counseling at FBCSCW since 2007.  For 22 years, he served as a pastor of churches in Northwest Missouri, having graduated from Midwestern Baptist Seminary.  He served as the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, as well as the Field Education Program at Golden Gate Seminary for 21 years. He and his wife Loretta have two adult-married children and four grandchildren.

 

Final Thoughts

Take time to prepare for this special week.  Enjoy the beautiful fragrance that this week has in store. The important thing is to worship our Heavenly Father and His Precious Son.

On a different topic, thank you for all your prayers during this time I have been dealing with shingles.  I am progressing, for which I am thankful.  The pain, on the other hand, has diminished slightly but is still persistent.  Please keep praying that I may get rest at night.  Debbie and I love our congregation and miss you all.

 

Pastor Kirby

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

 

Dear Church Family,

 

The news from our President and his team over the weekend that extended our social distancing until April 30 is discouraging. It is also discouraging to look at the numbers in our country and around the world.  The US is nowhere near our peak and as of today we have over 160,000 cases, 16K of that since yesterday.  We are just under 3,000 deaths.  This is a serious time.  Dr. Hornecker has a new column below where he shares “Tips” of encouragement in times like these.  Enjoy his excellent article at the end.

Staying encouraged is vital, as is continued ministry. Keep looking for ways to serve the needs of people and keeping safe and healthy at the same time.  I received a text a short while ago from Meals of Joy.  There are so many of our seniors who are ordering meals because they do not what to get out.  Because of the influx of seniors, Meals of Joy is in desperate need of people who would volunteer to deliver those meals.  If that is something you would like to get more information about their number is 623-594-9588.

 

This will be a challenging month as we look forward to Sunday, May 3.  As you continue to give generously, I wanted to remind you to remember the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North America.  Our churchwide goal is $10,200.  We are short of our goal by a couple of thousand dollars. We will continue to accept offerings through April. 

Thank you for your continued prayers.  I believe I am getting better slowly.  Hopefully, I will be back to somewhat normal in the next few days.  I appreciated Dr. Bob Marti filling the pulpit for me this past week.  He did a wonderful job. This Sunday I will be combining the last two sayings of Jesus from the cross.  It should be a powerful time hearing the declaration of the Victor of the Universe.  Come ready and prepared as you watch/listen from home.

Holy Week – While we will not be meeting together for Holy Week Services (April 6-10), we will be celebrating in a different way.  Each of the retired pastors who were going to speak this year will be writing a homily/short message with the theme and text they were invited to speak on.  Instead of seeing them each day, our office will be E-Blasting the message around 11:00am and we are asking as many of you that can to read the message at 11:30am in unison of spirit.  There will be more information and the schedule in Friday’s FBCSCW E-Blast.

Pastor Kirby

Now to a very important message from Dr. Ron Hornecker:

Tips for Managing the Coronavirus Pandemic
(Second Article)

Well, how goes it after several days of largely staying at home?  This change in our ability to move about in our community, to meet with family and friends, and to recognize that we are limited in our activities and options can result in emotional and mental stress.  We may feel a sense of isolation, loneliness, and/or boredom.  We may experience a heightened sense of concern for ourselves, family members, and friends, as well as the future.  We may find ourselves being more irritable and short-tempered.  And we may perceive ourselves as victims of this crisis resulting in a sense of helplessness.  I would characterize all these as relatively normal and to-be-expected responses.  But, as with the previous article, what are some constructive things we can do that will help us to manage these emotional and mental-health challenges?

  • Structure Your Day.  Years ago, a mentor taught me:  “Structure binds anxiety.”  Rather than allowing your day to unfold without a sense of direction or purpose, develop a plan for your day and/or week.  Establish some routine(s) that will help you to use your time more effectively.  Consider using a “to do list” that might include some of the things I will suggest below.  The goal is that you would find a way of making each day productive and coming to the end of the day with a sense of satisfaction regarding what you accomplished.  This is a way of being a good steward of your time.

  • Be Physically Active.  Being physically active is one way of caring for ourselves.  When we walk briskly or engage in vigorous physical exercise, the brain releases chemicals called “endorphins.”  These are natural pain killers and contribute to a more positive mood and a general sense of well-being.  One suggestion I read was to choose five exercises you like, do each for one minute, and then repeat the process three to five times a day.  For those who are limited in what they can do physically, consider “chair exercises.”  Go to the Internet and Google:  “chair workouts for seniors.”  Scroll down a bit and you will find some short videos that will guide you.  You also will find several other sites with other videos or suggestions which you can check out. 

  • Get Outside.  Try to get outside some each day.  Enjoy the sunshine and the sweet smell of spring in the air.  Take note of the beautiful blooming plants and flowering cacti. Listen to the chirping of the birds.  Perhaps go for a short drive or use one of the many walking paths available to us.  Enjoy this part of God’s beautiful creation in which we have the privilege of living.  It will lift your spirits (unless your allergies are too bad).

  • Stay Busy.  Most of us have a list of projects we have been intending to get to:  that shoebox of photos to sort or put into albums; file drawers, closets, or a garage to be cleaned out; those “honey-do” jobs you have been putting off.   Well, now is the time.  What about that hobby your started years ago but has gone unattended for the past several years?  Also, consider writing an account of your life, particularly your childhood, to give to your children or grandchildren.  They will be appreciative.  Any or all of these are possibilities that can result in a sense of accomplishment, will make the day(s) go faster, and, potentially, bring you joy in doing them.

  • Reach Out to Others.  It really is important in these times of “social distancing” that we stay connected with others.  We need to do so not only for our own emotional well-being, but for that of others as well.  While we are limited in our ability to meet together as a congregation, we still are a part of this body, the church; and we need to do all we can to stay in touch, to care for, and to support one another.  Further, we also are a part of the larger community in which we live where there are individuals who need the tangible expressions of care and concern we can offer.  So, let me offer some suggestions.  Reconnect with friends or family you have not communicated with in some time.  Update your situation with current friends and family who will be concerned about you.  Check on neighbors or fellow church members, especially those who live alone and do not have family in the area.  We have multiple means of connecting or reconnecting: our phone, text messages, email, Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, or any other means you may have.  One writer said she had set a personal goal of talking by phone (not just texting) with one or two of her friends, elderly neighbors, or family members every day until this pandemic ends.  That could be a worthy goal for each of us.  Additionally, offer to get groceries or other necessities for those who are limited in their ability to get out.  And if you customarily go out to eat on a regular basis, order take-out as a way of supporting those businesses and those whom they employ.  We are all in this together.  We need one another.  Jesus called us to be “salt” and “light,” to make a difference where we are.  We can do that.  Read of Jesus’ teaching about these kinds of actions in Matthew 25:31-45.

A final word.  In the beginning of this article, I mentioned that because of our current circumstances, some may tend to feel “helpless.”  I want to point out that we are not “helpless.”  Being “helpless” conveys we have no choices nor options.  But we do.  We can choose how we are going to confront our current situation.  We can choose what our attitude is going to be.  We can determine what actions we are going to take to care for ourselves and to care for others.  We can decide how we are going to live out our Christian faith in a difficult time.  We can decide to what extent we are going to allow God to work in our lives and to what extent he may use us as his instruments of ministry.  “Helpless?” No.  “Helpful?” Hopefully, yes.

Ron Hornecker, Minister of Counseling
623-628-3796 or 2rhornecker@cox.net

 

March 27, 2020

 

Generosity

Each of you are awesome.  Thank you, First Baptist Church Family for your generosity during the month of March.  Even with missing two Sundays together your faithfulness allowed us to make budget for the month.  You are to be highly commended. 

 

If things continue as planned for our congregation not meeting until May 3rd then April could be our biggest challenge.  I have no doubt that we will rise to the occasion. I believe God will enlarge our gifts and faithfulness to meet the needs He has for us in the days ahead.  I want to remind you there are three ways you can give: e-giving on the website, mail your gifts or drop it by the church office during office hours.  The Upbeat Newsletter and the website have all the detailed information.  Call the church office if you need any help.

 

Thank You

Many of you have been praying for me during this bout with shingles.  Thank you so much.  Prayers mean the world and we are deeply appreciative.  I have enjoyed the text and email messages.  They are encouraging and touching.

 

This has taken me out of the office all week and according to my Mayo doctors (I have seen several this week) they are not sure when this will play out.  I had shingles in 2007, but this episode dwarfs that first experience.  My wife has been an amazing caregiver in these days.  Keep praying.

 

Due to my illness Dr. Bob Marti will be preaching for this Sunday’s video on the website.  You will be blessed by his message and how it will touch your life.  My intention is to combine the last two sayings on the cross for next week’s message.  Pray that all comes together.

 

Now…from our family to yours…enjoy this family event from years ago and hold to the lessons it presents.

 

Family Story with a Meaning

 

OPEN YOUR EYES!

 

Several years ago, our family went to the state fair in Washington.  This was going to be a year to remember for years to come. So, what did we do?  We rode the Extreme Scream.  We had looked at this towering giant every year we had gone to the fair.  Never in my wildest imagination would I have ever thought that our family would ride this tower.  There were two main reasons.  Number one, Debbie won’t ride rides that are too high, too fast or too scary. Second, I’m too cheap to spend the amount of money that they want per person.

 

There were two miracles that took place that day.  The first miracle was that Debbie came up with the idea that we should make a memory and that we should all ride the Extreme Scream as a family.  The second miracle happened when I agreed to spend the money.  My thinking was, “if she’s willing to go, I can’t pass up this opportunity.”  We headed over to the ride to buy our tickets.

 

Well, I got our tickets and, after the sticker shock, I led our adventuresome crew to get in line.  We were all excited about this family adventure…this memory that would be forever imprinted in our minds (my hope was that the imprint would be figurative not literal).  A slight change began to take place as we watched group after group go up and come down.  That change became more apparent as we moved closer to the front of the line and Debbie said, “I’m not sure I can do this!”  As any loving husband would say who had non-refundable tickets, I said, “Honey, it’s all going to be alright.  You know I wouldn’t put our family in imminent danger.  Besides, no one has fallen…yet.” 

 

Our time had come.  We settled into our seats.  I was on the right outside and Laura was beside me on the inside.  Debbie had firmly stated that she would not be on the outside so she was on the left inside and fearless Sarah was on the left outside.  The safety attachment came down over our heads and we were locked into position.  At least that was our hope and prayer.  We began to float knowing that at any moment they would launch us twenty stories into the air at the speed of three G’s.

 

All of the sudden Debbie said, “I can’t do this.”  I thought she was kidding.  Then she looked at the ride support staff, and she said it again this time more emphatic, “I mean it, I can’t do this.  You need to get me off.”  While the worker went to try to halt the ride, all I could do was think of the non-refundable ticket and in my mind yelling, “Push the button!”  At the same time I was encouraging to my wife saying, “Honey, it is going to be just fine.  Hang in there.” 

 

It was about that time that Debbie realized that they weren’t going to stop the launch, so she said, “Everybody, keep you heads back against the headrest!”  At that moment we were catapulted straight up!  It was the most incredible experience.  We shot up about 160 feet at three G’s in about three seconds and then down 100 feet in what seemed to be an instant.  Then we jetted up to the top, 240 feet above the ground with just the seat and that safety device between us and the asphalt.  What an experience!  It was quiet up there, well, except for those of us expressing how beautiful it was at the top of our lungs.  You could see for miles and miles the beauty of God’s creation.  All the time at the top we were anxiously waiting for the unknown, that is, when they would let us free fall the 240 feet straight down at one G!  It happened.  We fell.  On the way down I thought I was just floating on air…at a rapid speed.  It was a magnificent feeling. 

 

At the bottom, the ride supervisor was waiting to see if Debbie had survived.  She made some typical east coast humorous comments and said everything was fine.  She found the nearest pillar and embraced it saying that she would never leave the ground again.  She also had no feeling in her legs and her heart wasn’t beating!  She stabilized quickly, and I asked her what she thought of the view at the top.  She said, “View?  I never opened my eyes!”  

 

Well, I was proud that she went up.  It really has been a great family memory.  It will be one that we will be able to tell our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  But I can’t help but think that after all that work, she missed the most beautiful part at the top.  I considered that view the fruitful blessing of a courageous spirit.

 

While the COVID-19 Virus is opposite of what I saw that September morning there is a lesson to be learned. Don’t close your eyes. Even in mostly isolation, as many of our church family are, this is a time to keep your eyes open.  There are several reasons that will help you in these difficult days.

 

First is Psalm 121 where the Psalmist reminds us that no matter what God is our Hope and always watches over us.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

 

Second, is our Lord’s command in John 4:35b which reminds us that no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, there are always people who need our help.  Help to know about Christ and help because they have genuine needs. 

 

“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

 

During these stressful, and at times, lonely days remember that God has not forsaken you.  He is your hope every day.  He watches out for you every day. In addition, He still has work for you to do right where you are.  Reach out by phone and call some folks today who might be by themselves.  Stay in-touch with your classmates, your friends, neighbors to see if there is anything they need.  Sometimes it is just hearing a voice and that someone thought of them.  In fact, look in your directory and find a couple of people you do not know and give them a call.  That will make their day…and, a new friendship might just develop.  Use this time to worship and stay close to God and minister to the “fields ripe unto harvest.”

 

On Tuesday, Dr. Hornecker will share his second article on dealing with these times in the Email Blast.  Look forward to his wisdom and encouragement.

 

Pastor Kirby

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dear Church Family,

We made it through our first Sunday during this crisis with our virtual church.  There were some good things that happened.  I noticed that the sermon on Sunday was viewed 134 times, which means approximately 200 people viewed it.  That is good news!  I appreciated the numerous emails and texts that you sent with encouraging messages.  Thank you!

In addition, Jack Roberts’ Bible Study class decided to meet online for their study Sunday morning at 9:00am.  Using the interactive video technology Zoom, 20 people were able to join on their computers, I-Pads, and call-in via phones.  Paul Dyksterhouse convened the class and taught the lesson.  People were able to see each other, ask questions and read scripture.  It is one more way to connect.  If you are interested in being invited to that online class, please respond to this email blast to let us know and give us your email address.

 

These are challenging times for sure.  I have already had several adults share with me that they are bored staying home and concerned about what is ahead.  I have asked our Minister of Counseling, Dr. Ron Hornecker, to share information about what to do during these very difficult times. Here is the first of several articles he will be writing.

 

“Making Christ Known”

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

Tips for Managing During the Coronavirus Pandemic

“Coronavirus.”  “COVID-19.”  “Social distancing.”  “Shelter in place.”  “Closed.”  “Cancelled.”  WOW!  We are learning an entirely new vocabulary and dealing with a whole new reality.  None of us have experienced anything like this before.  And for many, if not most, heightened fear and anxiety are the result.  So how are we to cope and manage?  As we find ourselves largely “homebound,” at least temporarily, what can we do to avoid “cabin fever” and becoming overly anxious and depressed?  Let me offer some perspectives and some suggestions I hope you will find helpful.

First, anxiety and fear are healthy parts of our being human.  An element of anxiety keeps us from becoming complacent and can contribute to motivation, growth, and making preparation for future realities.  An element of fear can result in our taking measures to protect ourselves and in our making wise decisions.  Both are gifts from God.  The problem arises when we become overly anxious and when we allow fear to begin to govern our lives.  The current times can provide the occasion for that to occur.

A second perspective that can be helpful is to realize how much our thoughts influence our feelings.  A good counselor friend taught me, “We feel the way we feel because we think the way we think.”  Reflect on that.  In other words, the more negative information we let in, the more we focus our thinking on all the things that “could” happen, the greater the likelihood our anxiety will increase along with the possibility of depression.

 

So, what are some practical things we can do to get through this crisis and remain healthy and whole?  Hopefully, this partial list will stimulate your thinking about other possibilities that will be personally beneficial for you.  I hope to send additional suggestions in a week or so.

  • Give attention to the protocols.  The guidelines about hand washing, social distancing, etc., are given for valid, practical, and scientific reasons.  It is to your benefit and the benefit of others to observe those guidelines.

  • View this “down time” as a gift.  This is a place to begin.  For the next few weeks, you are going to be limited in activities that involve going places and interacting with others.  Consider how you might use this time in a way that would be beneficial for you and for those who are part of your household and family.   

  • Focus on your faith.  The Scriptures have much to say about dealing with anxious times.  The promise of God is to walk with us regardless of our circumstances.  Perhaps this is a time for you to do more by way of Bible reading and study, to pray for others and yourself, as well as a time to deepen your relationship with the Lord.  Check out these scripture passages:  Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 8:18-39; and Philippians 4:4-9, 10-13, 19.  See also:  Psalm 55:22; Isaiah 41:10; and 1 Peter 5:7.

  • Limit your exposure to negative news.  Cut back on the amount of time you invest in seeking or reading news (regardless of the source) about the virus, how it has spread, what the government is or is not doing, etc.  Learning the basics once every 24 hours will provide you with what you need to know.  Spending more time than that likely will only contribute to a sense of anxiety, frustration, and possibly depression.

  • Recognize your limits.  There is so much about the current situation that is beyond our ability to control.  You are responsible for yourself and those in your household.  Let that be your focus.  Pray for those in charge of this crisis (at the local and national level) that they will have wisdom in the decisions they must make.  Recognize what you and your household need to do and then invest your energy accordingly.  Try to release your other concerns about this crisis to the Lord.

  • Move your focus to others.  During a time like this, it is easy to become solely focused on ourselves.  However, there are others who are struggling equally as much, if not more, with the uncertainties we all are facing.  Find ways of reaching out to others you know by way of phone calls, text messages, email, or whatever other ways you might have of contacting them.  You will bless and minister to them by doing so; and, in the process, you will find yourself blessed as well.

A final reminder:  “This too shall pass.”  Back in the 80’s our family dealt with a challenging crisis.  As the result of a fall and a herniated disc, my wife had been confined to bed for several weeks, dealing with excruciating pain and living on pain medication.  Our daughter was in junior high, our son was in elementary school, and I was serving as pastor of a suburban church.  During that time, we adopted this saying, “this too shall pass.”  With the assistance of good medical people, consistent work on our part, and the support of our church family, we got through the crisis—and we grew because of it.  This crisis also will come to an end at some point.  Hopefully, as individuals and as a nation, we can and will grow through it.  In the meantime, be sensitive and caring to one another as we deal with the days ahead.

 

If you believe it would be helpful for us to have a conversation, do not hesitate to contact me either by phone or text (623-628-3796) or email (2rhornecker@cox.net).  I will respond to your text or email and we can always talk by phone.  Until next time. 

Ron Hornecker,
Minister of Counseling

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is our FBCSCW Update for March 20, 2020.

It is a sad and sorrowful time for our congregation to “pause” meeting together for the next 45 days.  This decision was not an easy one, but your church leadership feels it is the best way to protect our beloved congregation.  As your pastor, it grieves me more than I am able to convey.

While having never experienced persecution, I wonder, if in some small way, it is how the persecuted believers from the first century felt.  They had an external force trying to eliminate them because of their beliefs, and many could not meet as an assembly but rather in small house churches or in very small groups.  In other words, they went underground.  This has happened many times throughout history.   They key for them was their faith and commitment to God and the continued communication, albeit limited, between believers.

The culprit for our not meeting together is not a human external force wanting to eliminate us but rather an external virus that is spreading and has the ability to do grave harm to our senior adult family.  Like those who have gone before us the key will be our faith, commitment to God and the continued communication between our family of faith.  

My goal is to use all the avenues available to me to clearly communicate to you with updates, encouragement, sermons, devotions and ways to cope in this unprecedented time.

As we face the future together, let us remember these things:  1) the COVID-19 crisis did not catch God unaware.  He knows all.  2) God will see us through these times of testing because He is Lord of all creation.  It may not be quick, it may not be painless, but we will get through it.  

When you get a moment, read Psalm 139.  Also, keep reading and studying God’s word daily, continue to read Returning to Holiness by Dr. Frizzell, have your daily devotion/prayer time, view the sermons and devotions on our website and stand tall during your Watchman Prayer Hour.  If you are not a part of the Watchman Prayer Ministry there is no better time to start.  Call the church office for more details.

Debbie and I love each of you and are praying for all of you for God’s protection, encouragement and peace.

 

Pastor Kirby

 

 

BELOW IS A LIST OF WAYS THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS OUR COMMUNICATION

Sunday Morning Sermons

Each Sunday morning at 9am that Sunday’s Sermon will be on our website ready to view in your home. Instructions at the end of this document explain how to get on our website and to the Sunday sermon and sermon archive.  You can watch the video of the sermon or just listen to the audio.

Pastor’s Blog/Devotions

Late next week we should have the content for my Pastor’s Blog/Devotion as a link on our Website.  These devotions will be approximately one-minute videos taken from my Joshua 1:9 Ministries which will appear 3-4 times a week.  They will also be in a written format as well.  These are meant for encouragement and inspiration. 

Articles/Updates

We are planning on giving the congregation updates a couple of times a week, and more if needed.  In addition to the updates there will also be articles posted for encouragement and information.  Next week Dr. Hornecker will have an article dealing with encouragement during isolation.  We will also have additional articles on how to remain mentally, emotionally and physically healthy during this challenging time.

Upbeat

The Upbeat Newsletter will continue to be mailed on a normal schedule.

 

Churchwide Email Blasts

Our goal is to send out our Churchwide Email Blasts twice a week giving updates and articles of encouragement and inspiration.

 

Website Updates - www.fbcscw.org

Our website will have the most current updates and information. In addition, there will be articles, sermons, devotions, prayer request opportunities and contact information.

Letters and Phone Calls

As need dictates, we will communicate with the congregation through churchwide letters and Phone Calls.  We are asking the Bible Study classes to continue to call the members of their classes to make sure they are okay. Deacons will also be contacting individuals to make sure that needs are being met.

Office Contacts

The Church Office will be open Monday through Thursday from 8:00am to 4:00pm as long as it is deemed safe.  It is fine to drop by as long as you are not ill and we are asking that you keep safe social-distancing space which is 6 feet.  Below is the office number and the email addresses for contact purposes.

Office Phone – 623-584-5738

Office Email – office@fbcscw.org

Pastor Kirby – drkirbykennedy@fbcscw.org

Nancy – njakes@fbcscw.org

 

Finally, below are instructions on how to get to our Website to access current sermons, blog/devotions/articles/updates and Ministry Opportunities during this time.

Type www.fbcscw.org in the browser of your choice (Google, Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.)

 

INSTRUCTIONS TO WATCH SERMONS ON WEBSITE

  • From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

  • Go to the LEFT BAR in the MIDDLE OF THE PAGE and click on the word SERMONS

  • The current sermon video is right there.  Click play to start watching.

  • To watch older sermons, click on MORE VIDEO SERMONS and choose the one

OR

  • from the TOP menu bar, click on RESOURCES, then SERMONS

  • The current sermon video is right there.  Click play to start watching.

  • To watch older sermons, click on MORE VIDEO SERMONS and choose the one

 

INSTRUCTIONS TO LISTEN TO SERMONS ON WEBSITE

  • From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

  • Go to the LEFT BAR in the MIDDLE OF THE PAGE and click on the word SERMONS

  • Click on LISTEN ONLINE

  • Choose the sermon you wish to listen to and click play

OR

  • from the TOP menu bar, click on RESOURCES, then SERMONS

  • Click on LISTEN ONLINE

  • Choose the sermon you wish to listen to and click play

INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PASTOR BLOGS AND DEVOTIONS ON THE WEBSITE

From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

Go to the MIDDLE BAR in the MIDDLE OF THE PAGE and click on the word Blogs/Devotions and click.

INSTRUCTIONS TO THE ARTICLE/UPDATES ON THE WEBSITE

From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

Go to the RIGHT BAR in the MIDDLE OF THE PAGE and click on the word Blogs/Devotions and click.

 

INSTRUCTIONS ON GIVING ON THE WEBSITE

THERE ARE THREE WAYS TO CONTINUE TO GIVE FINANCIALLY DURING THESE CHALLENGING TIMES: E-GIVING; MAIL AND DROP OFF. Instructions for each are given below.

E-Giving - INSTRUCTIONS FOR ONLINE GIVING

 

From the home page of our website www.fbcscw.org

  • Click on the blue “GIVE” tab in the top right corner

  • Enter the “Amount” you wish to give

  • Select the “Fund” you wish to give to (General, Annie Armstrong, Missions, etc.)

  • Pick the “Date” you wish to give

  • Enter you “E-Mail Address”

  • Click “Continue”

  • Enter “Bank Account” or “Credit/Debit Card” Info

  • Click “Give”

Mailing - CHURCH MAILING ADDRESS

First Baptist Church, Sun City West

17419 N Conquistador Drive

Sun City West, AZ  85375

 

Drop Off - CHURCH OFFICE HOURS

The church office will be open Monday-Thursday from 8am-4pm.

MINISTRY OPPORTUNITITES

During this time of pause, there are some Ministry Opportunities available to you to help others:

Meals of Joy:  There is a greater need for meal delivery.  If you would like more information on volunteering for Meals of Joy, please contact them via phone 623-594-9588; via email info@scosic.org or through their website www.mealsofjoy.org.

Solutions Church:  They are no longer able to get the food vouchers for their residents.  To help them out during this time, the Mission Committee is requesting that we collect canned goods.  Please bring any canned goods you wish to donate to the church and leave them in the library during office hours (M-Th, 8am-4pm).  We will deliver them to Solutions Church.

 

Keep in Touch with Your Neighbor: There will be many in our community who will be filled with fear and anxiousness.  Some will have issues of illness, loneliness and discouragement.  Take the time to just stay in contact with a neighbor on each side of you to make sure they are doing well and encouraged.

Keep in touch Church Members: This will be a good time to stay in contact with members of the congregation who you know, are vulnerable or by themselves. Take this opportunity to call, text or email those you know to encourage them, check on their well-being and to pray with them. This will be critical in the weeks ahead.

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© 2020 by First Baptist Church - Sun City West

17419 N. Conquistador Drive, Sun City West | 623-584-5738 | office@fbcscw.org