First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Message recap

Farmers can teach one a lot about life. Farmers never get too down about a "bad" year, because they know a "good" year will come. In the same manner, however, they will not get too high about a "good" year because they know a "bad" year can follow. 

Farmers can also tell one about the pecking order of chickens. Typically, the biggest, strongest, and most aggressive chicken will bully their way to the top of the flock by literally pecking others into submission. 

Unfortunately, we can all get caught up in a good moment, and forget to give thanks to the One who gives such blessings, or get so caught up in a bad moment, that we forget to call on the One who wants to be our ever present help in times of trouble. Additionally, several of us get caught up in our own "pecking"at one another in order to give ourselves an upper hand. As Christians, we must remember the greatest command, which is to love Christ by loving others LIKE Christ. Jesus did not get caught up in who was better than another. In fact, He mocked the Pharisees in their vestments and those who thought of themselves as "better than the rest." Jesus said, "as you do it to them, you do it to me."

Lord, help us remember that we are all a part of your family and to treat one another as such. Help us to remember to thank you in good times and seek you in our hard times. Thank you for your promises to remain faithful when we fail to be.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Message recaps

Our message this week was a reminder of the need to allow God to examine our hearts. In Psalm 51, King David reminded us of his humanity. See, we all fall short. David was no exception. However, God called him to great things because of his desire to allow God to examine his heart, show him the error in his ways, and surrender to God, so he could be helped from the pit of sin that we all inevitably get into,  at some point in time. NONE OF US are good. We just sin differently- not better or worse. We are made righteous through God- alone. Our sacrifice will never be enough. No amount of volunteer work, or monetary offering can make up for our sin. Our Lord desires one thing- our hearts. Once we give Him that, truly and completely, what we seek and what we see, is changed. This is how we "abide" in Him and not just visit from time to time. Seek, knock, find..... the door will be opened. Amen.

             Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Today's message reminds us of the Fortress we have in God. Problems, although abundant, are temporary. Gods love for us is everlasting.

"No pit is so deep that God is not deeper still"-
Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom

Have a blessed day and live your love out loud. ❤️❤️

Monday, August 7, 2017

Service Highlights August 6, 2017

As a remnant church, we desire to love Jesus by loving like Jesus. In our service on August 6th, we were reminded that Jesus' love is for ALL. We were reminded of the prayer and life of Francis of Assisi, and how his love for Jesus was sacrificial and limited to none.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace!

That where there is hatred, I may bring love.
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.
That where there is error, I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.
That where there is despair, I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows, I may bring light.
That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted.
To understand, than to be understood.
To love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. 
—Saint Francis of Assisi—

Help us, oh Lord to be welcoming, including and loving others, as you exclude no one from You. Amen.

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016

Mes amis,

Here's the schedule for Christmas on the corner of Lincoln and Main where weather doesn't factor because of increasing light, salt, and leaven:

December 24 (Christmas Eve)

Worship in the sanctuary at 4:00 p.m.
Worship in the chapel at 11:00 p.m.

December 25 (Christmas Day)

Worship in the chapel at 7:20 a.m.
Worship in the sanctuary at 9:50 a.m.

Whenever I've taught homiletics, I've always started classes with two quotes.

Barth: "It's not a matter of whether one wants to preach but whether one can."

Parenthetically, both quotes explain a lot if you know what I mean.

Macleod: "If it's worth preaching once, it's worth preaching twice; and if it's not worth preaching twice, it's not worth preaching once."

Moretheless, and it's for those in worship at the second service on 12/18 to know and for others to find out, there's a powerful blessing awaiting folks - invite, welcome, include, and love and forward this schedule - on Christmas Eve in the sanctuary at 4:00 p.m.  Hint.  Martin Luther said, "Music aligns the heart with God."
Yes, David was right: "God inhabits the praises...[aka worship]...of His people."  So I'd make 'em all!

Despite -2 degrees with a wind chill coming down at -15 degrees, worship was great on 12/18 and worship attendance, especially at the second service, was pretty impressive as well as Holy Spirited!  Listen to the prayers in the archived version of the service on for more on that.

During the 12/13 broadcast of KD on, Tony led an apocalyptic moment about refreshing the soul by refreshing the remembrances by refreshing the behavior of Christmases past.  In other words, if you're wondering why some folks just aren't into it/Him like before - God knows Jesus isn't what He used to be in so many churches today - go to the archives of, click on 12/13, and listen to Tony explode with joy and love and wonder and praise and...

Then invite, welcome, include, and love every Sunday...beginning this weekend!

Blessings and Love!

Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016


While I've experienced some really nasty weather in my time, especially when I was undershepherd of the Delaware Presbyterian Church at the Water Gap between New Jersey and Pennsylvania while in seminary back in the middle 70s, I've never cancelled a worship service in over 2300 appointments.

Of course, I've also led worship for a handful on many occasions!


Bad choice of words right now.

Anyway, "Where two or three are gathered in My name," He said, "there I am in the midst of them!"

That's my way of saying there will be worship at the appointed times this Sunday and every Sunday at 7:20 and 9:50 a.m. even if it's just the singing nun et moi.

And, remember, we will have worship on Christmas Day (Sunday) at the appointed times even though we will be having our traditional offerings on Christmas Eve (Saturday) at 4:00 and 11:00 p.m.

Of course, we are really hoping for a window of decent weather, like last week for our unparalleled children's program which our seasoned citizens extolled as the best ever, for our annual cantata during the second service.

However, if the weather is really nasty, I encourage folks to exercise common sense, especially if you have problems moving about so I don't spend the next month or two with you in the ortho units of our superb local hospitals, and tune in to worship via

Also, during this time of the year, our telephones are very, very, very busy with calls about our Compassion Closet, Christmas baskets, and many other exigencies.  So if you call and no one answers, that doesn't mean no one is here.  Just wait for the directory and leave a message for whomever is needed and she/he will get back to you before the parousia.

Stay warm!

Stay safe!

Use your common sense in traveling around when...

Blessings and Love!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20, 2016

Have you ever thought or said "No body loves me." I want to let you know that you are loved very much. God loves you so much that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die for you. Jesus died so that you can live eternally with Him. His heart aches every time you are hurting in any way. God promised to ALWAYS love you and be with you. God also promised you free will, so you need to make the choice to love Him too. God's love for you is unconditional, so nothing you do or say can make Him stop loving you. So no matter what life throws at you, take comfort in knowing God loves you. So next time you think or say "No body loves me" remember, Jesus died for you and God loves you unconditionally.

Danielle Larson