Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Leader's Insight

Leader's InsightTruth Professed, or Believed?
The difference is seen in the way we live.

Why are Christians so often so mean to each other?

I think it is because we do not care enough about truth.

I think its because we do not get clear about what we believe.

I think our thinking gets fuzzy, often enabled by the kind of subculture we have created, and fuzzy thinking goes largely unnoticed. I think we need some truth champions.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Archie Thompson’s Gospel/Jazz Musical Revue

San Diego Jazz musician Archie Thompson will head a cadre of local jazz musicians in an evening of celebration, joy, and worship!
This event is part of a new Saturday evening worship experience called Jazz Vespers. We are very excited about this new venture at FPC and have three introductory presentations set for 5:00 PM on April 16, May 14 and June 11.

Date: April 16, 2011
Time: 5:00 PM

About FPC Arts

A mission of the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego is the promotion of excellence in the arts. The location, history, habits, and values of the congregation point toward a calling to encourage the flourishing of the arts among our members and within our city - the performing arts, not least music, and other arts taught to children, promoted among the young, called forth from all; connecting to the professional musicians of the city and churches of the city; hosting a strong variety of events that invite all to appreciate the creative gifts of God given to humanity – all for the sake of humanity flourishing. The resources of the congregation – our location, 1500 seat sanctuary and more intimate chapel, the organ, the professional musicians on staff and within the membership – are to be directed to invite artists, and thus the arts, to excel within church and city.
First Presbyterian Church has a long tradition of leading the community in sacred music.
Besides classical instrumental and choral music, the church also offers worship in contemporary and jazz genres. The 1200-seat sanctuary has hosted a variety of musical artists and concerts.
The vocal programs are rich in breadth and depth. The Westminster choir has presented works by contemporary composers such as John Rutter and Joseph Martin, and many works by the giants in sacred music – Bach, Handel, etc. Through the past 50 years the choirs have been led by only 3 directors – Keith Whitlock, Myron Tweed, and Harold Lutz.
For decades, the Casavant Frares organ has been one of the finest instruments on the West Coast. In addition to supporting worship on Sunday mornings, the instrument is featured in concerts, supports powerful choral productions, and has been used for organ workshops and seminars.
The current organist is Jan Feher, who has been playing (in various churches) since she was nine years old. Previous organists at the church include: Tom Leonard, Bob Plimpton, Jet Turner, and Virginia Cox.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This Week in Leadership

This Week in Leadership DISCIPLESHIP
Afraid of the Gospel?

I'm delighted about the resurgence of the gospel in so many churches. We are regaining the idea that the gospel is not only for those outside the church but also for those inside the church, that it not only ignites the Christian life but is the fuel that keeps Christians going and growing every day.

But for all the talk of gospel-centeredness, there's still some fear fueled by common misunderstandings of the radical nature of grace. I still hear talk about two equal dangers that Christians must avoid: legalism and lawlessness.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Japan Relief Update - Jonathan Wilson, CRASH Japan

Psalm 23:4
”Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me."

Dear Praying Friends,

We have been here in Tokyo at the CRASH Japan Command Center for one full week now and what a week it has been! From the day we arrived, we have been put to work primarily being asked to take the lead in the volunteer relief team orientation and pre-deployment briefings and also debriefing the teams upon their return. Being thrust into a leadership role with new responsibilities being added daily, such as training, helping to develop a Volunteer Field Operation Manuel for Survivor Care and Team Care and developing the necessary follow-up procedures for the counseling of some who have been in the field has been a bit overwhelming, to say the least. But, we are thankful for a TEAM family who are currently on a three month home assignment opening up the use of their home to us, which has given us a quiet place to get away to for rest in the midst of all that is happening.

Two Personal Stories heard last week in Team Debriefings 

From two Pioneer Mission workers who flew in from China to help.... 

"Though the area we were in was not hit by the tsunami, there was considerable earthquake damage and due to the proximity to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant....tensions were high. However, upon our arrival in Hitachi City, we were amazed to see that the pastor and the church already had a network set up for the distribution of the aid and all we had to do was follow their lead in getting it to those who needed it most! We were tremendously encouraged in seeing the church and Japanese believers at work!"    

From one Volunteer Worker who was in a Tsunami devastated area of Sendai

"We spent the day shoveling mud out of the house of a 75 year old lady in Sendai and when we were taking a break at one point, I asked her if I could pray for her. She said yes and upon finishing the prayer, as I looked up, I saw tears streaming down her cheeks, as I believe God touched her heart. Later in the day and before leaving, I had a chance to pray with her again and am trusting God to draw this dear woman to himself through this tragedy." 

How next week is shaping up for us. With the enormity of the task before CRASH Japan and the number of volunteer teams the organization anticipates will soon begin pouring in, we will need to step up our efforts to see systems put in place for: 
1. The forming of Volunteer Teams prior to their coming to CRASH Japan.  
2. The training of staff for orienting, briefing and debriefing of Volunteer Teams.  
3. The follow-up of Volunteers after their return who might need continuing counseling and care.

How you can be praying.

1. As we will be meeting with Jonathan Wilson, the CRASH Japan director and a number of key people over the next few days in order to see the above accomplished. Please pray for wisdom and the Lord's leading so that we might get the necessary systems in place in order to effectively handle the growing number of Volunteer Teams.
2. As we will also be seeing an increase in all Japanese Volunteer Teams coming, all of the team preparation materials and procedures must also be developed in Japanese. Please pray for the necessary Japanese to help in the translation and staffing needs that will be growing.
3. Having been in the trenches here at CRASH Japan for a full week now, Eileen and I both feel that the Lord has prepared the both of us for a time "such as this". Please be in prayer for us however, that we may sensitive to the Lord's voice and leading in just how long that commitment will need to be.

God is Good! As part of the debriefing process with the teams coming back from the disaster area, we are purposing to ask the team members to tell us one or two of the bright spots or stories of hope that they have seen. The above mentioned are just two of the many we are beginning to hear and each is a reminder that God is good and his hand of mercy is at work through the relief efforts of CRASH Japan volunteers! Thus, please continue to pray for the on-going relief efforts and specifically that the seeds of the Gospel that are being sown in the Tohoku area now will result in a revival in not only that area but also throughout Japan!

In Christ and for His Glory, Jim Nielsen TEAM-Japan