New Church of Phoenix Periodical

Issue # 28
January-February, 2016
In This Issue

Calendar - Highlighted Events

Jan. 11th - 16th : Pastor Garry out of town 
         f or Church  Growth Brainstorming 

Sun. Jan. 31st: Swedenborg's Birthday celebrations
          following worship, together with a brief 2016 planning meeting

Sun. Feb. 21st: Honoring Caregivers worship service

Sun. Feb. 28th: Rev. Dan Goodenough guest preaching
Feb. 29 - Mar. 5: Pastor Garry in California for Western Clergy Meetings    

"Lo, I am with you always"

These were among the Lord's final words as we find them in the Gospel of Matthew.   The story in Matthew doesn't cover the events in Jerusalem after His resurrection. Instead, it steps straight to a sometime after that on a mountain in Galilee where the Lord had prearranged a meeting with His disciples.  There they were again given their commission.  They were to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you."
Now was a time of action, a time to get things done.  There was good news that needed to be shared.  This Man Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.  He had come to earth, born of a virgin.  He had been put to death but on the third day had risen again.  This was the gospel that needed to be heard.  It needed to be believed.  People were to be baptized and brought into this new faith.  For the disciples, the Lord was setting them to work.  They were not to be afraid of what laid ahead.  The Lord promised them, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  In other words, the Lord would always be with them. 
The book 'Doctrine of Life' tells us that for every one of us, "The Lord is constantly present and active."  The effect on us of His presence is directly related to how much we freely choose to let Him in.  The more we allow Him to be a part of our life the more we will experience His presence.  This is particularly true if we are actively working at being as useful as we possibly can.  Usefulness is a sign that we love others.  And, it is through loving others that we show that we love the Lord. 
The disciples were to go out and practice love to the Lord and to other people.  They were to share the good news.  The more they did this, the more they would feel His presence.  He assured them that He would never leave them.  He gives us the same assurance.  It is up to us to go out and love others through a life of usefulness to the full extent that we can.
 Annual "Honoring Caregivers Family Worship Service - Sunday, Feb. 21
We are pleased to announce this year's annual special "Honoring Caregivers" worship service given in appreciation of those who give so much of themselves for the sake of others.  This service will be held at the normal worship time of 10:30 am on Sunday, February 21. 
Note that this worship is being designed for the whole family and therefore there will be no Sunday School for the children. 
Please think about the people you know who are caregivers.  We would love both you and them to join us for this special occasion.
Refreshments will be provided following the service.  

Western Clergy Meetings 

Ministers from the western portions of the United States, including our Pastor, Garry Walsh, will join together for their annual meeting from Monday, February 29 to Friday, March 4 near San Diego, California.  These meetings will allow the western ministers to discuss common opportunities and challenges that face the church in this part of the country, as well as providing them with the chance to share their studies on doctrine and its practical applications.  This year's meetings are being sponsored by the General Church since there are no central meetings in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania this summer.

Pastor's Christmas "Thank You"

My wife Laurel and I would like to express our very sincere gratitude for all that you as a congregation have done for us during our time here.  We are especially grateful for the gifts we received from you all at Christmas.
Love and Thanks,

  Gift from the Asplundh Foundation

In November, 2015, the members of the New Church of Phoenix Board of Trustees made a formal request to the Asplundh Foundation.  The request was for a grant that would allow us to complete as many items as possible from the following list: 
  • Adding a 14ft. fiberglass steeple
  • Exterior painting of wooden surfaces
  • Painting the playground fence
  • Interior carpeting
  • Storage cabinets
  • "Reading Room" type area with comfortable chairs and bookshelf
  • Leveling the parking lot  / resurface with asphalt covered stone
In December we received a positive reply to this request in the form of a check for $20,000.  While it is expected that we will invest this money in the projects listed above, the Foundation did not attach any strings in regards to how exactly we would use these funds. 
The Board of Trustees in now tasked with using these funds as effectively as possible.
A huge Thank You goes out to the Asplundh Foundation for their generous gift and their ongoing support.
Because this grant will not cover all of the items that are on our list, addition donations are very warmly welcomed.

Forgiveness, Mercy, and Justice
What do you do when forgiveness is called for?

Some scenarios:
     *      Someone recklessly cuts in front of you on the highway, 
            almost forcing you off the road.
     *      Your friend still has not paid back the fifty dollars he 
            "borrowed" a year ago.
     *      Your family has been criticizing your life-style.
     *      You find out that your spouse has been unfaithful.
What do you do in situations like these? Can you forgive them? Should you forgive? Or should you "Give them what's coming to them"?
We all know that the Bible teaches us to forgive others. But sometimes it seems like it is impossible to forgive, because the wrong that has been done is so great. Sometimes it seems like it just wouldn't be fair to be merciful.
When there seems to be a conflict between mercy and justice, it may be that we do not clearly understand the nature of genuine forgiveness and mercy. The Bible teaches us to show mercy in a way that lets us be both fair and genuinely useful to all involved.
One reason we sometimes get confused about mercy, is that we tend to replace mercy with artificial substitutes. Essentially, mercy is a Divine quality. "To You, O Lord, belongs mercy." (Psalm 62: 12) Divine Mercy has nothing in common with the petty revenge and "get-even" kind of "fairness" that tends to occupy our thoughts. And it has little in common with the superficial pardon or even condoning of evil that is sometimes passed off as mercy. The Lord's thoughts are far more merciful than ours. It is in speaking of His mercy that the Lord says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are My ways your ways." (Isaiah 55: 7-9)
One of the things that distinguishes true mercy from its substitutes is its constancy. Peter came to the Lord asking, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." (Matthew 18: 21, 22) A truly forgiving person will not show mercy one moment and malice the next, because the two cannot mix together. For example, to forgive your friends but not your enemies is not true mercy, because it would be done for the sake of some favor you might get in return. "Love your enemies.... For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?" (Matthew 5: 44-46) We can only be truly merciful by completely rejecting any desire for malice or revenge.
This perfectly reflects the way the Lord shows mercy to us. We tend to think that the Lord is changing His mind when He forgives us, as if He decided not to punish us after all. Of course He does not really change His mind at all. He knows and foresees all things. He does not desire to hurt one day and heal the next. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1: 17) He is always a loving and gentle Father. "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him." (Psalm 103: 17) "`For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has mercy on you." (Isaiah 54: 10) Thus forgiveness is not the Lord changing His mind about us. Rather, it is the Lord changing our minds about Him.
Another quality that marks genuine mercy is that it involves helping the person who has wronged us. Sometimes we think that a person should earn our forgiveness. We refuse to give up our bitter feelings unless the other person makes an effort to earn our good will. This gives us an excuse to feel sorry for ourselves and to neglect helping the other person do better. However, the time to help a person is when he needs it. Mercy and forgiveness involve helping a person who has done wrong do better, not waiting until he does better and then helping him. That's why the Lord said, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5: 44, 45)
Another way we sometimes avoid helping those who have hurt us is by misapplying the phrase "forgive and forget." It is good to forget your own malice. Is is something else to forget that the other person may need our strength or discipline. We might think that forgiving implies forgetting that evil was ever committed. However, the Bible does not tell us simply to forget about the evil in other people. Rather, we are to actively help others face their faults and overcome them. "If your brother sins against you, rebuke him: and if he repents, forgive him." (Luke 17: 3) "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, your have gained your brother." (Matthew 18: 15) "Brethren, if a person is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness." (Galatians 6: 1)
Helping others over their faults is not inconsistent with mercy. It is part of mercy. In fact that is exactly how the Lord forgives us. He is always willing to help us do better. "I will cleanse you from all your filthiness.... I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you." (Ezekiel 36: 25, 26) Notice how the Lord showed mercy to the woman taken in adultery: He said, "Go and sin no more." (John 8: 10, 11) He didn't forget her sin - He encouraged her to overcome it. In fact, we would never be able to overcome our faults without the Lord's power. If we had to earn His mercy we would be lost. The Lord says, "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes." (Isaiah 1: 16)a And yet this is something that is accomplished only by His mercy and forgiveness, because He is the one who can put away our sin and remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 65: 3; Psalm 103: 12)
The Lord asks for us simply to do for others what He does for us. "Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." (Luke 6: 36) Our forgiveness should be constant and unconditional because He forgives us that way. Yet in our mercy we may confront others with their evil in order to help them become better people, just as the Lord in His mercy confronts us with our evil so that we may overcome it and accept the love and mercy He offers.
Forgiveness of sins
The Lord immediately forgives us of everything thing that we ever do that is wrong because He is love and mercy itself. The premise is that we have to stop doing a questionable behavior in order for the forgiveness to mean anything, because until we stop the Lord's love and mercy can not enter in and find a place with us. It is never that the Lord is not willing to forgive us, but that we are unwilling to change our behavior and let His forgiveness have effect in our life.
by Rev. John Odhner
Author of  A Light Burden
- This article was taken from


January and February
Birthdays and Anniversaries


Liberty Van Hine - Jan. 9
Garry Walsh - Jan. 19
Tami Rockwell - Jan. 24
Victor Odhner - Jan. 24
Amanda Odhner - Jan. 25
Amanda Van Hine - Jan. 26
Caleb Openshaw - Jan. 26
Gillian Burns - Jan. 28
Evie Openshaw - Jan. 28 
Dale Fiedler - Jan. 28
Wyatt Van Hine - Jan. 29
Aviva Sanchez - Feb. 4
Wes Burns - Feb. 10
Chris and Tryn Clark - Jan. 3
Fred and Barbara Fiedler - Feb. 23
If you or someone you know is not on this list but should be, please contact Garry at (480)991-0048 or
Vision & Purpose

"The Lord's Divine Providence has as its end a heaven from the human race."

(Divine Providence 27)