december 1, 2021

When a child arrives at home after a day of school, there is a question a parent will often ask.  “What did you do at school today?” or “What did you learn today?”  Many times the child will respond, “Not much.” or “Nothing.” or “I don’t know.”  Those are all attempts to avoid talking about the day at school. Usually this is because the child wants to do something else.  

Sometimes adults do the something very similar.  For instance, an adult may get asked a question such as, “What are you going to do this weekend?”  The reply may be, “Not much.” or “I don’t know.”


I turned a year older on Saturday, November 20.  Some people at school who knew my birthday was approaching asked if I was doing anything special to celebrate.  I did not respond by saying, “Not much.” or “I don’t know.”  I told them that I would be doing “church stuff” a good part of the day.  They know that a Saturday usually involves finishing getting ready for Sunday morning.  However, I had an opportunity to briefly elaborate about “church stuff” on that particular Saturday.   First, I mentioned that November 20 was our monthly Saturday to be a food distribution site for Foothills Food Bank.  After that was a meeting to plan the outdoor lights for our Drive-thru Nativity in December.


I find myself mentioning what Coolwater is doing whenever a good opportunity presents itself.   Why?  I am blessed to be working with people who are doing significant tasks to reach out to others with their faith.  I want people to know that about our church.   

When you say “I am doing “church stuff,” it may give you an opportunity to elaborate a little.  You sure don’t have to say a lot.  You could say something as simple as, “I am helping with our Drive-thru Nativity this weekend.” or “I am helping people get food this weekend because my church is a food distribution site for needy families.”   You are simply spreading word that we are a church actively engaging in ways to tell the story, and share Christ with others.  In other words, we are doing “church stuff.”


This Saturday is another “church stuff” day.  On Saturday morning we are putting up lights around our church grounds for the Drive-thru Nativity.  For this event, Coolwater will be ablaze with beautiful lights.  All who can lend a hand to string lights are invited.  It is quite a task, but with more help the workload becomes easier.  This whole Drive-thru Nativity is an investment of time and effort so we can tell the story of the birth of Christ.  We are sharing our story.  We are sharing it with beautiful lights, signs, words, music, and fanfare.  People will be able to drive by and know that something sure is happening at that church!


Pastor Rick

november 17, 2021

Thanksgiving is a time for remembering our blessings.  It is a time, as the name implies, for giving thanks.  Giving thanks to God is a rich part of our religious heritage and is one of the central themes of the scriptures.  If we think about our blessings and offer thanks, it begins to stir with in us a joyful sense of gratitude.  If we did that daily we just might discover a brighter world opening up around us, and an inner strength to carry us through the darker moments we face. Giving thanks can stir a chord deep within our souls and lift our spirits to soar upward toward the light of God’s hope, joy and peace.

 

This Sunday will be a special Thanksgiving Sunday.  We will celebrate quite a few of the ways we have been making a difference to people in different parts of the Phoenix area.  We will be blessed to welcome the one and only David Simmons to be our guest musician as part of our special celebration.

 

As I look back over this last year I have much for which to be thankful.

I am especially thankful for serving alongside the people of Coolwater.  

I am thankful for the rich heritage of Coolwater that we celebrated in the 10th Anniversary of this location in May.

I am thankful for the variety of ways Coolwater has reached out to people in need through our Outreach projects this year. 

I am thankful that we have partnered with Foothills Food Bank to be a food distribution site the third Saturday of every month.

I am thankful that Coolwater is making a difference in this world.

I am thankful that together we will gather on Sunday for this special Thanksgiving worship service.

I am thankful that you can now see Coolwater as you drive along Dynamite Road!

I am thankful that I do not have to eat eggplant if I don’t want to. (I am seeing if you are paying attention.)

I am thankful to be able to teach young children and help them grow.

I am thankful to work with children of God of all ages, plant some seeds along the way, and grow, myself included.

I am thankful for the life and ministry we share together in Christ.

I am thankful for the possibilities ahead of us and this wonderful opportunity to build the future God that leads us to fulfill.

   

Blessings,

Pastor Rick

 

  

november 10, 2021

Recently we have had some significant birthdays on Sundays at Coolwater.  Last month, Ross Niermann celebrated his 80th birthday.  Carol Williams had a birthday on a Sunday.  Last Sunday Karen Blue had a birthday and turned…39! Carol Williams, in her own special way, added to the joyful day when she announced Karen’s birthday.  That’s what friends are for!

We have had festive fun with many birthdays at Coolwater over the years.  We have a birthday coming up in December that we are planning to make into a really big production.  You can probably guess that I am referring to the celebration of the birth of Christ.  We will gather on Friday night, December 24 for a very special Christmas Eve service. 


However, we are going to do something BIG the weekend before to celebrate the birth of Christ.  On Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19, Coolwater will present a Drive-thru Nativity.  We have developed a timeline that identifies tasks and dates the tasks need to be achieved.  Last Sunday after worship, a bunch of Coolwater people met to discuss the developing plans.  Every two weeks we will be holding such a meeting after worship.  These meetings are one way we are keeping Living Nativity project moving forward.  We talked through all the task areas, answered some questions, resolved some issues, and thought of more questions to ponder. 

  

The Drive-thru Living Nativity is a whole church project.  That really is a fitting way to look at this event.  The birth of Christ is a whole church project because the church would not exist without that holy birth.  What might you do to help tell our story?

 

   

Blessings,

Pastor Rick


 

november 3, 2021


 

Recently, including last Sunday, I have been the recipient of gestures of appreciation.  I am grateful for the cards, notes, and gifts I have been given.  Thank you for these kind and treasured remembrances.  Thank you for the support I have felt from so many.  I am very thankful for this opportunity to serve with the people of Coolwater.  It is a tremendous privilege to be the pastor of Coolwater at this time. 


As we enter these festive days of the holiday season, I am excited about our future together.  One reason is because of the Drive-thru Nativity we are putting together.  This is a great opportunity for us.  The Drive-thru Nativity is a chance to share the story of the birth of Christ and tell what Christmas is really all about.  It is an opportunity to connect with more people.  It is another opportunity for us to do something meaningful for the community and in the life of the community.  


I am also very thankful to serve a church that looks for ways to reach out into the community.  We believe that being Christians and being a church is not all about us.  We have a mission – opening our doors to all to share the life, love and hope of Christ.  That is what it says in the mission statement of Coolwater.


On Sunday, October 24, the sermon title was “Four Letter Words in the Church.”  A four letter word is an expression often meaning a word is “cuss word” or a “bad word to say in public.”  Did you notice that our mission statement contains 3 four letter words?  Those four letter words are Life, Love, and Hope.  They are four letter words of the best kind, and they are part of our mission as we serve Christ together.  I am grateful to be a part of a congregation that wants to make a difference in the world. 


Blessings,

Pastor Rick

October 27, 2021

After worship last Sunday people gathered to talk about the Drive-thru Living Nativity event Coolwater will have on December 18 and December 19.  This group walked around our parking lot to see the spots for the scenes and talk about ideas.  We shared ideas as we visualized the four scenes that will be portrayed during the Living Nativity.  A task list and a timeline for when each task needs to be done has been established.  There are tasks that need to be addressed soon.  There are other tasks that will need attention later.


Last Sunday I shared some ideas about evangelism.  Sharing the good news of God’s love poured out for the world in Christ is the heart of evangelism.  Evangelism is really a part of everything we do as the church.


We want people to know that there is a church with a giving heart and a message on the corner of 56th and Dynamite.  We want people to know about our mission to share the life, love, and hope of Christ.  We want to share this story in a very memorable, eye-catching, and joyful way.  This holiday season presents a grand opportunity to share the good news.  This Drive-thru Nativity is a unique opportunity for us to share the story of the birth of Jesus.  We will be telling the story of the beginning of this good news to the world.  In a sense, this Drive-thru Nativity is a church-wide evangelism event.


Can you help share the good news this holiday season?  There are sign-up sheets at church for a wide variety of tasks.  Here are a few: Helping paint.  Helping construct a background set.  Stringing lights.  Making treat bags to hand out to people who attend.  Please consider how you can be an “evangelist” this upcoming holiday season. 

 

Pastor Rick

Sr. Interim Pastor


 

october 20, 2021

 

When the October Fall Festival was called off, Coolwater began to look to a new possibility to put on an event that would be meaningful and attract people to our church campus.  It didn’t take long to envision a December event.


On Saturday December 18th and Sunday December 19th, Coolwater will be hosting a Living Nativity event to share the story of the birth of Jesus.  We want to attract folks familiar with Coolwater and people new to Coolwater to drop by witness this telling of the beginning of the story of Christ. 


Sonya Tinault, Lynn Allen, and I walked around our parking lot after worship last Sunday.  We visualed the locations of the four scenes that will be portrayed during the Living Nativity.  My excitement for this event grew as we talked through ideas and considered potential spots.  The four scenes are 1) the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, 2) the appearance of the angels to the shepherds, 3) the travels of the wisemen, 4) the Nativity scene.


There are wonderful plans in the works to make this an amazing event.  We talked about ways to make this event meaningful, memorable, and eye-catching. 

Our church will make a big push on multiple forms of social media.  We will put ads in the paper.  We will create a sign that you CANNOT miss seeing if you travel along Dynamite Road.  We will be sending a special invitation to all the organizations that have worked with us in our outreach projects.  And Coolwater will need you to tell people you know about this special event. 


The Living Nativity needs to be a church wide effort.  You are invited to find out more information about the Living Nativity after church this Sunday, October 24.  Everyone is welcome to gather after worship to talk about plans and tasks that need to be achieved to make this event successful.  We will circle up chairs and share in conversation.  Some preliminary plans and tasks have been developed to help this conversation be productive.  This Living Nativity is an event to get excited about!  

 

Blessings,

Pastor Rick