First Presbyterian Church

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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Script #5

Beloved,

Earlier today (9:36 a.m.), I sent script #4 to you which included an opportunity to provide prayer and financial support for an after-school program to meet the continuing challenges in Joplin, Missouri after the historic tornado of 5/27/11.

If you have already deleted it, let me know and I can send another copy to you.

I have had several appointments and crises since this morning and missed Cliff's update of 12:38 p.m.; however, you will find it by scrolling down from this script.

I have been asked why I continue to raise awareness, prayers, and $ for New Creation Church when...

The answer is simple.

Jesus.

Many years ago, Tony, my famous friend who actually sells lots of books that he's written, said, "Christianity is about giving; and, therefore, Christians give whenever they have the chance and ability!"

As I have said over and over and over again, we are not asking folks who are struggling to make ends meet to respond financially if they are not able as the Lord expects such folks to care for their immediate families first as their first call/responsibility...

But as I have also said over and over and over again, if you've got it and ain't givin' it...

Well, ask Him about it.

Blessings and Love!

Update from Cliff:

Hi Bob  -

Thanks for keeping us in your sights dear brother!

The FEMA trailer areas are fairly dangerous we're finding... multiple stabbings, meth lab busts, pedophiles galore... no play grounds, no grass, just gravel and wire fences... very soviet... very scary. Kids line up for our vans, but we can only take them on a first-come-first-serve basis. We've stopped all advertising... of which we've had to do very little and have started a waiting list... a long waiting list.

The opportunities to reach children and their families for Christ is VAST. Where do we need help?? A bus or buses (they don't have to be fancy!) and money for food... these kids eat a lot and we provide home cookin'! So far we're working like crazy to love on the sixty or so kids that we currently can accommodate... games, snacks, Bible lessons, crafts, worship, tutoring (we have a certified educator plus other assistants), dinner and a whole lot more.

We continue to build sheds for those who need to a place to secure their tools and equipment while rebuilding. We're also housing up to 180 at a time (thankfully it's more of an average of 40). On the distribution front we help about thirty - forty families a week. It's constant motion, but it's all good. God's doing amazing things!

Blessings -

Cliff

Script #4

Beloved,

Joplin Alert!!!

This script will be shared with friends who have partnered with Pastor Cliff Mansley and Joplin, Missouri's New Creation Church to provide prayer, presence, and support to folks continuing to suffer in the aftermath of one of America's worst tornadoes on 5/27/11.

Parenthetically, if you don't know what scripts are about, go to www.belvpresbyterian.org.

Anyway, back to Joplin literally!!!

Cliff called last night for prayer with an opportunity to continue to love Jesus by loving like Jesus.

Here's the opportunity: "We are starting an after-school program for 200+ children, among the hardest hit by the disaster and still living in great deprivation, that will include tutoring, sharing the Gospel of Jesus, games, snacks, and supper.  We need your prayers and financial support.  FEMA has tried; but, Bob, you know..."

As you pray His grace through the saints for the suffering of Joplin, ask Him if you're supposed to open that wallet and...

We will send one check from First (designate your gift for "New Creation After-School Ministry"); or if you'd like to send a gift directly:

        Pastor Cliff Mansley
        New Creation Church
        1831 South Connor Avenue
        Joplin, Missouri 64804
        417-396-6175

The rest of this script is particular to First's family.

It/He has started! 

Be a part of it as we look deeper into "Prayers That Really Work" this Sunday at 7:30 and 10:00 a.m.  Tune into www.bnnsradio.com at 10:00 a.m. if you're...
People keep calling and writing about what happened on Wednesday.  Go to www.belvpresbyterian.org and read #3.  I tell 'em, "I can't explain what must be experienced.  Come out and...").

Remember, while Sundays and Wednesdays and...are opportunities to join the revival, it doesn't really matter which one as long as your heart is fixed, focused, and filtered on/through Jesus!

One more quick, uh, word.

Wherever you go, complaining is at an all-time high in our world, country, county, community, and even Christendom (especially among the posers).  We must model Someone better!  And, remember, our deportment measures our kinship to Jesus (e.g., read Galatians 5; Titus 1:16).

BTW, don't be mad or angry at irregulars, irascibles, and irreconcilables.  Read Ephesians 6:10-12 for why, really who, and...

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Script #3

Beloved,

He promised; and it/He happened last night in the chapel.

The chapel was thick, packed, overflowing, dripping, and overwhelmed as a dozen thirsty/hungry souls for more of Jesus received Him as the promise happened: "God inhabits the praises/prayers of His people."

The peace that passes...

One wrote, "Pastor, the class last night was wonderful and I walked out in a much better place than I entered...I want more of it...Looking forward to Sunday..."

It's not really about studying or being guided by Chan's books; for they're just the, uh, excuse for going deeper and deeper and...

As I consider what happened last night and what will happen next Wednesday and next Sunday and..., I feel a deep sadness for people who don't...

Chan: "I get nervous when I think of how we've missed who we are supposed to be, and sad when I think about how we're missing out on all that God wants for the people He loved enough to die for."

I think of C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce which I can't find because I can't find anything during our renovation/expansion.

Anyway, Lewis talks of "the great divorce" between communion with Him and non-communion with Him as a choice; akin to choosing to get on the bus or not get on the bus.  The bus is here and we choose to get on or not get on.

Pretty simple.

The bus has stopped on the corner of Lincoln and Main.

Blessings and Love!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Script #2


Beloved,


This is the first of what will probably be many pastoral letters "subjected" as First's Family Undershepherd Script.

Recently, I sent a pastoral letter to you; and our Lord is compelling me to increase communications in our family via any method possible.

These are different from www.koppdisclosure.com and Kopp Disclosure on Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. viawww.bnnsradio.com.

First's Family Undershepherd Script(s) are particular to our family of faith (invitation) at First Presbyterian Church (name) while www.koppdisclosure.com and Kopp Disclosure via www.bnnsradio.com are evangelistic/discipling/inspirations/indigestions/whatever for our extended family in, through, and for Jesus.  Scripts are for us and shared as appropriate while the others are not focused or aimed at First's family unless, uh, you know, the shoe fits.

Normally (?), the scripts will be briefer than this one; focusing on news, views, comments, and, uh, whatever, related to our specific family at First.

Karen, Kathie, and Bill will decide if any of 'em are worthy for bulletins, newsletters, postings, or Bill's musings onwww.bnnsradio.com; and you are asked to forward as appropriate as well as copy for family and friends who are not familiar with cyberspace.

I will ask Karen, Kathie, and Bill to distribute, post, and broadcast this one asap to alert First's family.


Anyway, to the script!


Fleming Flott went home to Jesus last Thursday and his memorial service was held in our sanctuary yesterday.  If you were not able to attend, you can go to the archives of www.bnnsradio.com and listen to it.  If you do not know how to access the archives, call Karen or Bill at             815-544-6402      
We will broadcast memorial services from our sanctuary as requested; and we are exploring the possibility of broadcasting wedding services.

Now that the Kopps are down to one vehicle, the van died on Monday and Dan wrecked his car just one day before going to college, get to drive Leslie to her subs and Matthew to...

Well, you mom/dad taxi services know what I mean.

Well, this morning as I was driving Leslie to BHS, I saw Jeremy, our youth pastor, gathered with many high schoolers around the pole for the annual, uh, Prayer at the Pole; when younger Christians, uh, pray for our world, country, schools, and...

It reminded me of Acts 4.


I would urge your reading of it as you consider Jeremy and the youths' witness this morning.
Specifically, do people recognize you as His in public?


BTW, a lot was said about that at Fleming's service; so you may want to tune in to the archive!


Seriously, read Acts 4 sometime today.


Blessings and Love!


P.S. It begins tonight at 6:00 p.m. in the chapel

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Script #1

Friends,

The world is a mess, our country is in peril, denominations are shrinking, and even local congregations are not immune to the pathological transferences of fear exposed by anger.

Particularly, our family of faith is being blessed with massive expansion; and, unfortunately, this causes added stress for anyone who doesn't like to see anything happen for the first time.

Moreover, we have yielded our second service to a team of liturgists and worship leaders that are praying and laboring to follow His lead in wineskin-expanding fashion to reach the unreached for Jesus.

Hence, while we are on the verge of the greatest revival in the history of the corner of Lincoln and Main, we will have a trickle to stream of folks from the church for reasons other than Christocentric or Biblical.

There will be a rush in as word gets out of a family of faith really trying to follow Jesus; for people are hungry and thirsty for authenticity.

The faithful, in obedience to His will as revealed in such texts as John 17, Ephesians 4, James, Titus, and the like in such matters, will hang strong and tough and celebrate the revival to come.

We will praise Him for the forgiveness of those who have used this kairos moment to wedge, discourage, and divide without regard to Christocentric and Biblical fidelities.

He has forgiven them already.

Our saints will forgive them.

I have forgiven them.

That's the preface to addressing a rumor circulating among us.

There is a rumor of a poll being conducted to determine who likes traditional or contemporary worship.

Frankly, I do not understand the difference.

I just live and love to worship as led by anyone gifted to lead me.

Regardless, there is no poll because we do not run polls in a Christian church operating by Presbyterian polity.

We are not hierarchical.  While some would like a pastor or priest or bishop to dictate as long, of course, as it dictates to their prejudices, we are not hierarchical.  For example, I have no prerogative except for my witness. 

We are not congregational.  While some think we're Baptists or independents where everything that we do must wait for a congregational vote, that's just not true.  There is nothing in our constitution that encourages polls, hearsay, mobocracy, or the like.

I have nothing against hierarchical or congregational polities.  God works, as His Word reveals, through varieties of...

We're just, uh, Christians in the PCUSA.

We are Christians who operate by Presbyterian polity: confessional and constitutional democracy in which authority resides not in individuals but ordered groups (viz., session, deacons, presbytery, synod, and general assembly).

However, there is a much more important spiritual matter of serious discipleship with eternal consequences at stake here.

Go back to the first paragraph.

No, go back to the first paragraph before you continue reading.

O.K., these are tough times.

We are not immune.

People are afraid of so many things falling apart around them that they try to control what they think they can control.

Such times as these do not build character but rather expose it.

What a wonderful time for us to model Someone better.

Yes, I know people have left the church because of our expansion for many personal reasons.

Yes, I know people have left the church because they don't want to get up earlier for something a tad more, uh, "traditional" or, uh, whatever else...for many personal reasons.

Yes, I even know people who have left because of Henry, Bob, Dick, Bill, Mike, Melany, or, gulp, me...for many personal reasons.

Yes, I know people have been enabled to feel like they're entitled to dictate according to their desires rather than the prerequisites of reaching the next generation with the gospel.  I have often been stunned by the very, very, very few folks who feel just because they say it, everybody should goosestep to it.

Yes, I know people have left for many reasons other than Christocentric and Biblical fidelities.

And, yes, I know this should not be and is an exposure of ultimate consequences (take a peek at Titus).

We will not be blackmailed by attendance or money by those who have abandoned Christocentric and Biblical fidelities for...

I am prepared for many more personal sacrifices to be a faithful undershepherd on the corner of Lincoln and Main; and if not prepared, He will provide.

We will not keep people on our membership rolls who do not support Him and His through worship, support, and other fruit; for that is a hypocrisy that has no place in the church.

Pastorally, and check the first paragraph again, I am spending more and more and more time dealing with people with real problems, life and death issues, domestic struggles, suicidal temptations, substance abuse, grief, serious health challenges, and so on.  This has driven me to my knees for strength and clarity.  I am spending more and more and more time with Him; and He is increasing a firm calm that compels me to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Pray for me because He is calling me to greater fidelities than ever before; and it's really hard...

While I did/do not make many of the decisions that have caused people to leave, acknowledging some leave because I will not champion their agenda at the expense of the body of Christocentric/Biblical fidelities or I am not Pastor Dick or Bill or Mike, I submit to the ordering of those decisions through our polity and must insist as moderator and undershepherd that others do the same or express personal integrity in an acceptable fashion that builds rather than bites at the body.

While I am always prepared even eager to be corrected by the example of Jesus and Holy Scripture, I don't have any more time or energy for stuff unrelated to our confession and call; or as session recently decided in the addressing of anything before it, "What does this/that have to do with Jesus?"

Surely, I am always available to anyone for prayer and care.

I will never shut my ear or door or heart to anyone who needs what God offers through me.

While I may be wrong, I don't think I've ever denied anyone who has made a need known to me.

But I cannot by time/energy and will not by firm calm call enable anyone any longer who is hurting the wonderful saints on the corner of Lincoln and Main by behavior unbecoming belief in Jesus (again, see Titus).

The Lord is compelling me to write a letter to people who have left our church over the past three decades.  If they have found a family of faith since leaving, I will be encouraging them with blessings.  If they have not, I will urge them to find one or return home.  I will also note that divorcing one's self from the body of Christ is divorcing one's self from Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture. 

Likewise, again, if people are unhappy with our expansion or second worship service and refuse to go to the first one, I will no longer enable those infidelities to this part of the body but help identify other families in which there will be more personal comfort even as I provide firm calm counsel on what that means in terms of a person's real relationship with Jesus.

If I have offended anyone by the preceding, that has not been my intention.

My intention has been in the spirit of John 3:19-21.

I am fully aware that we are in tough times and the corner of Lincoln and Main is not immune.

I am also fully aware of who is behind divorce, wedging, slander, ridicule, and the like.

As I went to bat for the saints of St. James, go to bat for the faithful remnant in our denomination, go to bat for you when you need me, go to bat for anyone who really loves Jesus by loving like Jesus, I will not flinch in the face of anyone or anything in league, wittingly or unwittingly, with anyone/anything other than Jesus.

There isn't much more time to be faithful.

So recognizing my personal sin and need for constant confession and repentance, I urge you to join me, in the words of my first mentor, and keep the faith.

Blessings and Love!

P.S. The rumor is we knee-jerk to personal prejudices.  The truth is we are trying to walk with Jesus as He exemplified and explained in Holy Scripture.