Note from Pastor Rick (4/6/2017)

The end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week is fast approaching. Sunday we will join together to celebrate both Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and all the challenging events of the week that followed, culminating in Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial. This is the ancient flow of drama and travail that leads to the joy of Easter. If we take the time to focus, to meditate on this tale of Christ’s passion, perhaps Easter will dawn all the more glorious. In worship, we will continue our practice of dividing the service between Palms and Passion. Both are important as we look toward Easter. Please plan to arrive on time or a little early this week. Not only would it be good discipline for many of us, but will also give you the opportunity to join in the blessing and procession of palms, which will begin on the outside steps of the sanctuary at 10:00 AM

Stay after worship for Adult Spiritual Formation in which we will delve more deeply into Matthew’s version of this great drama that moves from Palm Sunday to Easter. J. S. Bach found enough material in these texts to compose a magnificent 3 hour choral work. Presumably, we will find enough here to fill an hour. Maybe we will even listen to a bit of Bach’s masterpiece.

See you Sunday at 10 AM for Worship for the Whole Family and Adult Spiritual Formation. This would be a great day to bring someone along with you to share joys and challenges of the ancient, familiar story.

Our theme for this year is “All Are Welcome in this Place.” Let’s make certain that it is so.

Pastor Rick   

Note from Pastor Rick (3/24/2017)

My apologies for a late midweek this week. I have a friend visiting from China and have been showing him some of the sights. Fortunately, we have had a couple of lovely days for exploring.

This week takes us further into John’s gospel as we consider what I like to call “The Trial of One Born Blind.” It is another of those long, complicated stories that the writer of John tells to give us insight into both Jesus’ ministry and his teaching. The miracles mean something and it is the meaning that seems much more important to Jesus than the acts themselves. Even after 2000 years, are we any more likely than the first disciples not only to see Jesus’ signs but also to grasp their significance for his project of building up God’s Beloved Community? Though a poor, blind beggar, John’s witness comes off with more understanding and cleverness than the religious experts who interrogate him. Would that we might have such a clear view of Jesus and what he was about.

In Adult Spiritual Formation, I am delighted that our guest will be Lisa Olson, the Development Director for the “10 Books a Home” program. If you remember, this year ’special offering for January, sponsored by our kids, was for this organization. We are eager to have Lisa share more with us about the program’s structure and goals as well as its volunteer opportunities. Everyone is invited to come hear more about, “10 Books a Home.”

So, see you Sunday at 10 AM for Worship, Sunday School, and Adult Spiritual Formation. Invite someone to share the time with you.

Our theme for this year is “All Are Welcome in this Place.” Let’s make certain that it is so.
Pastor Rick

Note from Pastor Rick (3/15/2017)

As we  move further into this Lenten season, along with Jesus, we encounter the Samaritan Woman at the Well. Hers is one of the richly developed stories in John’s gospel through which the writer lays out his view of Jesus’ ministry. Especially important in this meeting is the significant breaking down of barriers. In the most improbable of encounters, we find Jesus talking not only to a woman but to a Samaritan. Boundaries of gender and race, of politics and culture are crossed as he shares with her deep insights into eternal life (John’s image for God’s Beloved Community.) The disciples are astonished but the people of Sychar come quickly to see him as the “Savior of the World.”

In Adult Spiritual Formation last Sunday, we will continue our exploration of some of the most challenging of Jesus’ Parables. This week we will focus on “The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-31), “The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant,” Matthew 18:23-35, and “The Parable of the Talents,” Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27. This study has led to some fascinating discovery and very spirited conversation. Everyone is invited to share this exploration. You won’t find it difficult to “plug in.”

So, see you Sunday at 10 AM for Worship, Sunday School, and Adult Spiritual Formation. Invite someone to share the time with you.

Our theme for this year is “All Are Welcome in this Place.” Let’s make certain that it is so.

Pastor Rick   

Note from Pastor Rick (3/8/2017)

On this International Women’s Day, we celebrate all the incredible hands and hearts that hold up half the sky and we pray that we will hear women’s wisdom, letting it shape our lives. Thanks also to Pastor Gregory for his leadership in worship last Sunday and for his stimulating sermon on “Temptation and Resistance.”

As we continue our Lenten journey, we will focus on several key texts, familiar stories from the gospel of John. This Sunday’s text includes one of the best known verses in the Bible – John 3:16. What is it that Jesus is trying to get across to Nicodemus, who secretly seeks him out under the cover of darkness? “What has come into being in [the Word] was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:4-6). “Open your eyes, Nicodemus. No skulking around. Can’t you see, you teacher of Israel, that God loves the world? In such love, creation is continually renewed. You, too, must be born again, Nicodemus, renewed every day, as we move toward the fulfillment of God’s Beloved Community.”

In Adult Spiritual Formation last Sunday, we had a good look at the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 10:1-16). There was spirited discussion and we decided to spend the next few weeks looking specifically at some of the more challenging parables Jesus told. This week we will focus on two – “The Parable of the Wicked Tenants” (Mark 12:1-12) and “The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-31). Everyone is invited to share this exploration with us.

So, see you Sunday at 10 AM for Worship, Sunday School, and Adult Spiritual Formation. Invite someone to share the time with you.

Our theme for this year is “All Are Welcome in this Place.” Let’s make certain that it is so.

Pastor Rick   

Note from Pastor Rick (3/1/2017)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. Tonight some of us will gather at Covenant Presbyterian Church for a simple supper and service that includes the imposition of ashes. Commemorating Ash Wednesday was not a part of the Baptist tradition in which I was raised. It was considered a “Catholic” practice and therefore not a good thing. I have grown some since those days, as I trust we all grow over time. There’s nothing I know of that’s fundamentally un-Baptist about a service of penitence that includes a significant symbol of personal repentance as we begin a time of preparation for Easter. I am grateful for this time to reflect on the significance of Easter and all that leads up to it, both in my own life and in that of our congregation. What does it mean for us to be a repentant people when called for so that we can honestly claim to be Easter people all the time?

Sunday, Pastor Gregory will be leading us in Worship for the Whole Family, which will include Communion. The texts for the day are ones that treat the subject of temptation. What are the things that draw us away from intimate relationship with God and a willingness to walk God’s way? Even Jesus had to wrestle with very real temptations to take an easier path than the one God opened to him. What can we learn from his experience and our own reflection that will help us along the way?

In Adult Spiritual Formation, we will continue our exploration of the Parables. This week we will begin to look at some specific Parables, especially the more challenging ones, to see what they might have meant to Jesus and his audience and what the might mean to u us.

So, see you Sunday at 10 AM for Worship, Communion, and Adult Spiritual Formation. Invite someone to share the time with you.

Our theme for this year is “All Are Welcome in this Place.” Let’s make certain that it is so.
Pastor Rick

This Week at First Baptist (3/9/16)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Thursday, March 10, 7:30 PM: Church Choir in the Parlor. Join us in joyful song in the new year.
  • Sunday, March 13: Fifth Sunday of Lent
    10:30 AM: Worship for the whole family
    Blessing of Darkness and Defeat,” Genesis 15: 1-18, Rick Mixon preaching.
    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation: Saving Jesus Redux: Who Was Jesus? We will continue our discussion of this video series.
  • Tuesday, March 15, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at Marylea McLean’s apartment, 373 Pine Lane, #4204, Los Altos.
  • Wednesday, March 16, 8:30 AM: Men’s Breakfast at Palo Alto Breakfast House, 2706 Middlefield, Palo Alto. All the men from our Church family are welcome.
  • Wednesday, March 16, 10:30 AM: Meditation Group at Thelma Parodi’s house. All are welcome.
  • Wednesday, March 16, 12:00 Noon: Baptists Lunching Together, featuring Allison Tanner and Louann Roberts reporting on the “Space for Grace” conference last November in Los Angeles. Grand Lake Gardens, 401 Santa Clara Avenue, Oakland. $10.00 for lunch. RSVP to Joan Thatcher, (510) 350-7008, by February 15.

LOOKING AHEAD:

  • Thursday, March 17, 12:00 noon: Senior Connections Book Group Our book is Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James R. Doty MD. Growing up in the high desert of California, Jim Doty was poor, with an alcoholic father and a mother chronically depressed and paralyzed by a stroke. Today he is the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University. Brown Bag Lunch (beverage will be provided).
  • Sunday, March 20: Palm/Passion Sunday
    10:00 AM: Worship for the Whole Family:

    “Twilight Zone,” Luke 19:28-40, Rick Mixon preaching.

    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation:
    Saving Jesus Redux: Who Was Jesus? We will continue our discussion of this video series.

This Sunday

On our journey through the darkness of the Lenten season we come this Sunday to the remarkables conversion of the Apostle Paul on the Damascus Road. In his miraculous encounter with the living Christ, he is struck temporarily blind. He must learn to walk in his own uniqueness darkness until he can complete his own transformation into a new creature in Christ. But the good news is that he does not have to walk this road alone. Reluctant as he may be initially to make a witness to the fire-breathing Saul of Tarsus, Ananias follows God’s lead into the darkness of this unfamiliar and frightening relationship. As their roads converge, Paul, with the aid of Ananias, begins to craft a new perspective on the faith that will change the world.

I am delighted that Greg Griffey has agreed to preach this Sunday. Greg, a hospice chaplain with Sutter Health, has been attending our church since the first of the year. Greg is a native of the hills of western Virginia and a graduate of Wake Forest Divinity School. I look forward to his contribution to our Lenten discipline of learning to walk in the dark. Sunday is also an all family service with communion.

We had a very good discussion last Sunday in Adult Spiritual Formation, so we decided to continue exploring our Lenten study book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Tayor. You are welcome to join us.

Join us Sunday at 10:00 AM for worship, study and the sharing of community. Bring someone along share in the experiences of the day.

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

Pastor Rick