First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008
815-544-6402

Friday, January 2, 2015

Friends,

David sang, "God inhabits the praises of His people."

In other words, we tap into His best blessings for us in worship.

I used to lament over all of the time spent in preparation for worship by our musicians, sound crew, staff, and others when too many people just "blow off" worship for...

Not any more.

Now I lament over what silly and ultimately reckless people miss from Him through His in worship for His glory, laud, and honor alone.

Every worship service includes something for everyone to get closer to Him and experience Him as He moves upon us by His Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus.

What a tragedy when people forfeit what He has for us.

What a tragedy to miss a kairos moment that will never be repeated again.

Sad.

Tragic.

Avoidable.

Yet as I look at the weather forecast for some Sundays - like 1/4/15 - I urge caution for those who aren't as nimble as before.  While we do our best to clear the walks and lots, it is prudent to consider...

Always remember that while worship is more about incarnational experiences with Him and His than anything else, our worship services are archived for repetition and referral via www.bnnsradio.com.

Getting back to our concern about navigating challenging weather, I am hoping folks will be cautious enough to avoid unnecessary stays in the hospital.

And speaking of hospitals, there may not be a polite way to say this; so I will be direct and trust you know our hearts are filled with love for our family of faith.

Hospital rounds are usually made very, very, very early most mornings to beat procedures/surgeries for personal and focused prayer and care.  So if you know someone who has been taken to the hospital at anytime, please be sure to call us sooner than later.  For example, even if it is late in the evening, call and, if necessary, just leave a message so we don't miss anyone in our early morning daily hospital rounds; for once we move into the schedule of the day and unscheduled crises that come every day, we may not get back to the hospitals until much later or even the next day. 

It also helps if you keep us updated on discharges, transfers, and graduations.

Every now and then, we have a one to two hour session on hints for hospital and nursing home visitations.  It's been about two or three years since our last session; and I will be coordinating with Becca, Julie, Karen, Lydia, Vicki, and others about our next gathering that I hope can be arranged for sometime in February.  Stay tuned to weekly worship bulletins, newsletters, www.bnnsradio.com, and www.belvpresbyterian.org for more on that.  We will open up this opportunity to our extended family of faith.

Thank you for helping us to pray and care for our family of faith.


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Family,

I pray your new year is filled with the increasing graces of increasing intimacy with Him through worship, Bible study, sacrament, Sunday School, youth group, musical opportunities, mission, fellowship, and...

This Sunday's second service will feature a powerful yet brief and extraordinarily encouraging clip between the message and sacrament and there will be a precious moment in both services not to mention...

The ordination and installation of officers is included in Sunday's second service.

All Midweek activities resume on January 7.  That's next Wednesday.

Again, I pray a happy 2015 for everyone; and it will be extraordinarily happy if holy (see first sentence-paragraph).

Blessings and Love!


P.S. The prayer line is open: 815-544-3535.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Family and Friends,

With so much going on in our world, country, churches, and all of the below that seems so out of control, it's good to know God is sovereign over all that was, is, will be, and...more!

My friend the OGD who also happens to be the most articulate "Reformed" theologian in my experience has written some powerfully encouraging words about the strong calm sanity generated by trusting in our sovereign God (see below).

Annnnnnnd the revival on the corner of L&M accelerates as our trust increases (see attached).

Speaking of trust, we have our annual meeting to elect officers after the second service on Sunday (11/30); and everyone who has been, continues to be, will be, or thinks she/he may be an officer is invited to attend our "New/Used Officer Training" in the bored aka board room immediately following the annual meeting.  This is a good time to refresh our understanding of the essentials of our faith (profession) and how we pray, plan, and proceed to enflesh 'em (polity).

Speaking of enfleshing essentials, Jesus said, "As you do it for/to them, you do it for/to Me."

Our shared Compassion Closet in concert with our sisters/brothers at St. James is distributing 50+ food boxes a month and our last Compassion Meal for the hungry (yesterday) hosted 48 friends and extended family members with 8 more meals being delivered.

It's hard to keep up with the expanding enfleshment of essentials on the corner of L&M; which is why I urge you to stay tuned via weekly bulletins, regular newsletters, www.bnnsradio.com, and www.belvpresbyterian.org.

Annnnnnnd it all begins, deepens, and blossoms as we increasingly trust our sovereign Father, saving Son Jesus, and sustaining Holy Spirit.


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Friends,

While it's important to stay tuned to the plethora of announcements and opportunities for ministry via weekly bulletins, regular newsletters, www.bnnsradio.com, and www.belvpresbyterian.org, here are two timely announcements/opportunities:

1. The annual Salvation Army "Community Thanksgiving Meal" for the hungry and homeless of Belvidere and Boone County will be on 11/25; and we have the privilege of providing five servers for the first shift commencing at 4:30 p.m.  We already have three volunteers.  If you are interested - first come, uh, first serve - please call Karen at 815-544-6402; and

2. Our new officers will be nominated and elected on 11/30 after the second service.  "New/Used Officer Training" will be held that same day after the congregational meeting in the bored aka board room.  Somebody'll provide coffee and snacks; but ya may wanna bring a brown bag.  This is kinda mandated for new officers; but also encouraged as a refresher for continuing officers and our Nominating Committee and as an introduction for anyone who would like a crash course in our profession and polity.  Simply, we concentrate on the essentials of our faith and how decisions are made to honor Him.

BTW, I'll never forget Tony being confronted, "I don't like the way that you pray."  He replied, "Listen, lady, I wasn't talking to you!"

Cool.

True.

My friend and often mentor the OGD has written some wonderful commentary on prayer (see below).


Blessings and Love!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Friends,

Permit me to amplify an opportunity for our family of faith on Wednesday.

While all of our Wednesday Midweek programs will proceed as scheduled this Wednesday, a prayer service organized by Diane Anderson "to pray and remember persecuted Christians" will be hosted by Immanuel Lutheran Church commencing at 7:00 p.m.

Though not significant and almost totally irrelevant, I have been asked to participate; meaning I will leave Deeper Discipleship early enough to get to ILC for the service.  Friends and family who attend DD can then decide if they will stay for the last few minutes of our weekly dive into, uh, deeper discipleship or drive over for the service. 

Noting our Mission Committee has been leading us in prayer at both Sunday worship services every Sunday for persecuted Christians around the world for the past few years, I accepted the invitation to participate in Wednesday's gathering in a John 17 kinda way to connect with ILC and others.

Any time we can be a part of tearing down idolatrous fences that separate us from what our Lord lived, died, rose, and reigns to accomplish among His children is a blessed opportunity.


Blessings and Love!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Family,

While tempted to comment on the political and prejudicial intrigue related to the current adult dysfunctions in School District 100 - and if I were inclined to try to explain that to folks, they wouldn't want to understand anyway - I ask us, humbly, to surrender the increasing adult dysfunctions in the district to the Lord so that those entrusted with the academic, athletic, and character-building prowess of children entrusted to them will remember their baptismal promises concomitant to Matthew 18:6.

If there is a strike this week with all adult leadership involved being culpable, the intrigue will be obvious and the fracturing of Belvidere catalyzed by you know what will accelerate.


Blessings and Love!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Friends,

Now that we've gone through the first full cycle of fall musical offerings, I praise the Lord with you for Becca, Bev, Karen, Mona, and Dan's leadership and everyone involved in our musical ministries that align our hearts with each other in/through/for Him.

Awesome in the highest sense of that word!

My sentiments have been echoed by so many in our family.

Indeed, candidly, all of us know not everybody appreciates every style of music; however, and praise the Lord with me for this miracle, I am hearing from folks who never thought they would like certain styles who are now praising the Lord for the diversity of our musical offerings!

Praise the Lord!

On another note, there is a sad rumor going around (click on www.koppdisclosure.com for more on that) that I believe comes from dark inspirations to distract us from the awesomely increasing peace, unity, and purity being experienced on the corner of L&M as we pray and labor to remain faithfully as a part of the remnant in the PCUSA.

On another note, while I know the rumor is meant for bad, the Lord has allowed it to be used for good in providing the privilege for me to repeat how much I love you and remain loyal to you as your undershepherd to the Good Shepherd.


Blessings and Love!