Site Overlay

July/August 2014 Newsletter

July/August 2014 Newsletter

Lithops Theology

One day when I visited our late church friend, Diana Ming Chan, she showed me her collection of lithops. I have never seen any plants like these before! Lithops, commonly called “flowering stones” or “living stones,” are mimicry plants because their shape, size and color causes them to resemble small stones in their natural surroundings. The plants blend in among the stones as a means of protection from grazing animals that might eat them during a period of drought. In the wild, lithops inhabit vast dry regions of southern Africa.

            Since Diana introduced lithops to me, I am now obsessed with them!  I have successfully cared for at least three generations of lithops without killing them from overwatering—the number one cause for their taproots to rot and turn to mush! In the spring, it’s okay to water to increase their growth but during the summer months, lithops become dormant requiring little or no water. But come fall, the plants begin growing and between the fissure, a white or yellow flower will unfold!

            Lithops can teach us something about the importance of being dormant and resting during the summer months so that come fall, we may also produce white or yellow flowers. The poet of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted” (3:1-2). What will your summer look like this year?

            For students, summer continues to be a time of “no books and teacher’s dirty looks!” For workers, summer may be a time to rest and go on a staycation (vacation close to home). We become “dormant” from our regular activities. Our regular Sunday school teachers conclude their classes and we attend Summer Series special classes that broaden our worldviews. Summers are times to attend a conference to learn something new or a family reunion to renew relationships strained over time and distance. For many of us, summers continue to be a wonderful time to take a break to restore our energy for what is to come.

            Like lithops producing beautiful white or yellow flowers in the fall, we stand more ready to produce flowers when we are “dormant” in the summer. The fall will be calling us to produce flowers of new Sunday school classes, flowers of serving God through your willingness to be on boards and committees, flowers of making pledges to next year’s church budget, flowers of bearing witness of our faith in Jesus Christ.

            I like the fact that lithops are commonly called, “living stones.” We read in 1 Peter 2:4-5, “Come to him (Christ), a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” I pray that we can be “living stones” dormant right now but producing beautiful flowers of service and ministries this coming fall!

See my lithops.                                                                                  Pastor Don

English Summer Series

On 6 Sundays, all adults are invited to attend this year’s Sunday Summer Series events, 10:00-11:10 in the Multi-purpose room at the YMCA. Here’s an opportunity to explore what God is doing around the world through our efforts as well as our partnership with others. Make plans to attend all 6!

Read Related Sermon  November 2010 Newsletter

            July 6—Highlights of Italy

            Travelers who visited some of the greatest art treasures in Italy will share how viewing Da Vinci’s The Last Supper to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel biblical scenes deepened their faith.

            July 13—Giving that Lasts

            Rev. Rick Barlow of the American Baptist Foundation will share about the importance of gifts planning and how you can plan to leave a lasting legacy to your family and church.  

            July 20—A New Land, A New Hope

            Refugees from Myanmar have been making the US and the American Baptist churches their new home as the result of political unrest in that country. See a new video on how over 60,000 are revitalizing our ABC churches.

            July 27—Bacone College

            Bacone in Muskogee, Oklahoma provides a college education for American Baptist students with a special emphasis for Native-Americans. See how we can participate in this life-changing program.

            August 3—TBA

            August 10—Mission in Macau

            ABC Missionaries Ivy and Emerson Wu will share about their exciting first year in Macau working with youth. Our church is sponsoring them as our special missionaries for the next 3-years.

Discover FCBC Luncheon

The 11:20 Deacons invite all persons who have been attending FCBC regularly and would like to know more about church membership and baptism to a home-cooked lunch on Sunday, August 3rd, 12:45 in the Fellowship Hall. Please let Diana Lee, Butch Chan, Sharon Fong or Robert Mah know of your attendance. We look forward to getting to know you better!

Promotion Sunday

New this year is a Joint Promotion Day on Sunday, August 17th, 11:15-12:00 at the YMCA gym. Following 10:00 Cantonese Worship in the church sanctuary and Joint English Worship in the YMCA gym, the entire congregation will join together for Promotion Day. Children will receive certificates and Bibles. We’ll hear announcements of new adult classes for the fall. Plan to join the festivities of growing and learning about Jesus Christ at FCBC!

All-Church Outdoor Worship and Picnic

Our annual Outdoor Worship under the gazebo at Ortega Park in Sunnyvale followed by the church picnic of barbecue lunch is on Sunday, August 24th beginning at 10:30 AM. Picnic tickets remain the same at: Adults/Youth–$5; Seniors 65+ & Children 5-12–$3; and Children under 5—Free. We are planning to bring back the Dessert Contest and have organized games and activities for the whole family. Buy your picnic tickets on Sundays or call the church office.  See you on August 24th!

2014 Family Camp

The ever-popular Family Camp over the Labor Day Weekend at Happy Valley, Santa Cruz is on Saturday, August 30th—Monday, September 1st. Family Camp offers program tracks for parents/adults and children plus crafts, games, swimming, hiking, fellowship and conversations, and great food (cinnamon buns!). Mark your calendars to attend as one of your last summer fun events before the fall begins! Check with the church office to obtain a brochure and registration form to sign up. Family Camp is directed by Eva and Arlen Ung.

Read Related Sermon  March 1999 Newsletter


Summer offers extended time for people to attend conferences. As ABC President, I’ll be attending two very special conferences in July. The Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering will be in Izmir, Turkey, July 7-12 when Baptist leaders from around the world will gather to discuss issues facing ministry today. The BWA is composed of 210 Baptist groups representing over 47 million Baptists in more than 200 countries. As one of the ABC delegates, I have signed up to participate in the “Social & Environmental Justice” and “Ministry” commissions as well as attending the General Council sessions. When we visited Myanmar/Burma last December, I met a number of leaders from other countries and will look forward to renewing our friendships in Izmir.

This year American Baptists are celebrating 200 years of foreign missions. In 1814, American Baptists organized to support missionaries like Adoniram & Ann Judson in Burma. Over the past 200 years, thousands of missionaries have been trained, commissioned and served faithfully and sometimes sacrificially. To commemorate this significant anniversary, ABC International Ministries will have most of their overseas workers return home for the 2014 World Missions Conference at Green Lake, Wisconsin. On July 21-24, I’ll bring greetings as well as to celebrate with hundreds who will be at this special conference.

I invite your prayers as I serve our ABC family as its president with a willing and faithful heart. Pray for me and our church family as we serve our Lord both near in San Francisco Chinatown as well as in faraway places where God’s Good News of Jesus Christ is made known!

Family News

The Rev. Veronica H. Lanier at 95 returned to the Lord on May 28th in Boston. “Ronny” as known by many became a friend and “aunt” to countless people. She was a guest speaker at one of our Youth Camps, served with the Chinese-Americans in Locke, CA as a home missionary, and received the honorary Doctor of Divinity from American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley.

Our sympathy to Chi Chiu Yee and Andrew Yue for the home going of their father on  ______.


4          Holiday

6          10—



            Reception Ministry

12        Xplorers


13        10—V


            11—Rev. Rock Barlow

            Deacons, 1:00

16        Church Staff, 10:00

18-20  Chinese Summer Retreat, Santa Cruz

20        10—V



            CE, 1:30

25        Youth Camp Staff Retreat

26        Semanons

27-8/2 Youth Camp

27        10—D




2          Men’s Fellowship

3          10—V



            Discover FCBC Luncheon, 12:45

6          Church Staff, 10:00

9          Sojourners

10        10—V


            11—Ivy & Emerson Wu

            Deacons, 1:00

16        Semanons

17        10:00 Joint English


            11:15  Promotion Day, YMCA

            CE, 1:30

20        Church Staff, 10:00

23        Finance Committee

24        All-Church Outdoor Worship & Picnic, 10:30

30-9/1 Family Camp, Santa Cruz    

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.