Worship Service - 10:30am
Education Hour - 9:15am

Blog

A New Logo

For any organization, business, or church, a logo is a simple, visual way to tell a story.  It’s a story of who you are and who you are becoming.  For nearly 20 years we have had a logo that has served us well.  However, FCC has changed during that time.  The world we are reaching out to has changed as well.  After seven months of conversations, research, and many trips back to the drawing board, we have a new logo design that we are very excited about.  Created by an artist within our FCC family, this new logo tells our story in the following ways:

 

The leaf shape is hand drawn and is intended to capture FCC’s casualness and warmth. The different colors also represent “all kinds of people” who make up and are welcomed into our church family.

The cross is made visible when the family of believers gathers around it.

The font was chosen as another nod to the casual warmth and genuine welcome of walking into FCC. It’s almost like someone has hand-written a friendly greeting!

The tagline, “Grow,” comes from our vision of growing to become like Jesus and being a place where all kinds of people can experience this growth.

Quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.

He Reigns

One of the most beloved and beautiful statements of comfort and peace is the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism.  The question is, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”  The answer is that I belong, body and soul… to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.  Far be it from me to be critical of this wonderful formulation of faith.  But I think that this question and answer makes an assumption that we need to acknowledge.  It assumes correctly that Jesus is the best person to belong to.

He is.  Here’s why.  Jesus reigns.  Jesus is Lord over all things.  He is Lord of all places.  Jesus reigns in the darkest night.  He reigns in the midst of pain and in the midst of joy.  Therefore (and the catechism goes on to say this) Jesus is capable of making all things work together for my salvation.  It isn’t just that we belong to Jesus.  We belong to the Lord of the universe.  He reigns.  And that it why it is so awesome to belong to Him.

The Light of Love and the Darkness of Fear

This coming Sunday we will begin our service by lighting the fourth candle of Advent – the candle of love.  Love is the most written about, sung about, talked about thing in the world.  The word itself could refer to hundreds of different realities, feelings, or actions.  Even the Bible talks about love from several different perspectives.  One biblical angle that has struck me recently is from 1 John 4: 18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

I think what John is saying is that when we live in God’s love, there is really nothing to be afraid of.  If you are fired from your job, you don’t have to be afraid of losing your job anymore.  If you’ve died to yourself and Christ lives in you, you don’t have to be afraid of dying anymore. When you’ve got all the love you need in Christ, you don’t have to fear losing it in your relationships with others.  It’s hard for us to understand how perfectly and completely Jesus loves us.  The more we understand it, the less afraid we become.

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

You know the Andy Williams song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  It’s about Christmastime.  There is something special about this season.  Even I, though given to bouts of “grinchy-ness”, feel the excitement of celebration and cheer.  We enjoy the time with family and friends.  We cherish a few days off to eat and rest and give and receive gifts.  For those of us who belong to Jesus, Christmas has an even deeper reason for joy.  We celebrate the birth of a savior.

At the same time, I think we should recognize that for many this is not the “hap-happiest season of all.”  At the holidays many are confronted with loneliness, dysfunction, grief, and pain.  It brings hurtful family dynamics to the forefront.  Losses are magnified at Christmas.  If you struggle at Christmastime, I want to direct you to a much greater promise than presents and family and shopping.  It’s the promise of a returning Savior who will wipe every tear from your eye and make all things new.  And for those who are blessed to be able to enjoy this season, say a prayer for those who struggle.  When you pray before a family meal, remember those who will not be gathering with family for various painful reasons.

Untainted

For many people, Christmas is the best time of the year.  The whole season is full of good tidings and cheer.  We seem to rise above the doldrums and embrace our better selves and the better parts of those around us.  It’s a time of hope, if only because we choose to believe that people are still good and, for a day or two, can channel their generous side.  But it’s not that way for everyone.  For some, Christmas is a miserable time.  Whether it’s because of loss or strained relationships or an aversion to crowds and chaos, some people dread December.  For them, Christmas is far from the best time of year.  It is the worst.

I’d like to suggest that both parties have got it wrong.  Both the “Whos down in Who-ville” and the “Grinches” are wrong for the same reason: they see Christmas from their own perspective.  They evaluate it based on how it affects themselves.  It’s the idea that Christmas is what we make of it.  Sort of like a baked potato.  The potato is just a platform for butter and cheese and sour cream.  The potato itself is rather tasteless and unremarkable. While we may think that Christmas is what we make of it, we are very wrong.  Christmas is not simply a platform we decorate with generosity and gifts, family and food.  Christmas is the defining event in history. It requires neither presents nor carols, neither relatives nor eggnog to be remarkable.  We don’t decorate the birth of Christ. It decorates us.  We don’t make it good. It makes us good.  Christmas is unenhanced by our revelry and untainted by our humbugs.  So don’t let yourself try to make the best of Christmas this year.  Let it make the best of you.

A Time of Advent Reflection

When the angels announced Christ’s birth, they began with these words: “Peace on earth.”  It’s ironic that peace is perhaps the hardest thing for us to find during the Christmas season.  It is filled with more activity than any other time of the year.  Traffic – even in the tri-cities – is worse than any other time of year, save Coast Guard week.  If we’re not crazy busy, we feel like we’re not doing justice to the season.  Where does a person find a quiet place to simply be present to the wonder of God becoming human?  Where is a quiet place to prepare our hearts to receive our King?

This week we are providing two opportunities for you to do just that.  The “UP Team,” a group of people who are charged with the task of helping our church family grow closer to God, has notched out two times for you to come to church for quiet reflection.  This Wednesday from 10:00AM – 2:00PM and Thursday from 6:30PM – 8:30PM the church will be available, or you may wish to wander or take a drive anywhere that will give you a quiet place for meditation and solitude.  Materials will be available to guide your prayers and reflections. You may find it helpful to bring a Bible, a journal, some music or even a blanket and pillow.  I suspect Advent would be different for all of us if we can enter it from a place of quiet restfulness. We hope you’ll stop by for some or all of this time and find the peace God gives as we welcome the Son he gave.

Christ the King Sunday

This coming Sunday has come to be known as “Christ the King Sunday” in liturgical churches.  It is the last Sunday before the Advent season.  Unlike many parts of the church year, Christ the King Sunday is relatively new.  It was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI.  It was his response to two things that were happening in the world.  First, life was growing more secular.  More people were beginning to doubt the deity of Christ.  This day was instituted to help restore people’s faith in Christ as the Son of God.  Second, dictatorships were on the rise in Europe.  Several years later World War II would begin.  Christ the King Sunday was a bold statement that Jesus was the true ruler of the world.

As we move toward this Sunday, Pope Pius XI’s observation remains valid.  Secularism has continued to rise.  There are tyrants in different parts of the world.  Even our own politicians make grand claims.  But Jesus stands above the fray, fully God and fully King of the world.  With all the uncertainty in the world today, the reality that Christ is the King is something worth celebrating.

Veterans Day

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 Armistice Day.  It was one year to the day that fighting ended in World War I and an armistice was established.  Today we call this day Veterans Day.  World War I was considered “the war to end all wars.”  It was the first time in history that so many nations joined together or opposed each other in a great war.  

Unfortunately, there have been a number of other wars since that first Armistice Day.  The enemies of peace are not just other nations.  Just as often they are clandestine organizations.  Yet then, just as now, we are deeply grateful for the men and women who have stood ready to defend our country.  Until the day Jesus returns, there will be violence and military conflicts.  We look forward to the day when a military force won’t be necessary.  Until that day, we are grateful for those who have served.

Family Value: Alignment

No family is perfectly consistent.  The classic example is the family that fights like cats and dogs in the car on the way to church, but suddenly transforms into the perfect family upon exiting the car in the church parking lot.  If respect is a value, it may not get practiced in every area of a family’s life.  What’s more, athletic opportunities may compete with academics or church activities.  Values are never 100% integrated in a family’s life.

At FCC we understand perfection isn’t likely.  A vision and values that permeate everything we do is a very tall mountain to climb.  But we are committed to climbing it.  Specifically, we want all of our ministries to reflect the UP, IN, and OUT of our vision.  That’s why we’ve created an IN Team, and UP Team, and are in the process of developing an OUT Team.  We want all of our programs to align with our vision: VBS, children’s ministries, student ministries, and other events.  We also hope that this pattern gets reflected in the lives of our church family too.  Your life and mine beginning to reflect and align with our vision of becoming like Jesus.  Like an automobile, when the body of Christ is in alignment with who we are supposed to be, there is less wear and tear, the ride is smoother, and we reach our destination more efficiently.