First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008

Monday, October 31, 2011

Script #18


John Eldredge wrote in Wild at Heart, "Do you know why there's been such an assault?  The enemy fears you.  You are dangerous big-time."

Wow, did I get a major dose of that today.

For the past few weeks, the Holy Spirit has been sweeping us up into greater peace, unity, and purity.  Increasing intimacy with Jesus in our family of faith is increasing that PUP.  People are joyful, loving on each other, and getting over past distractions and divisions.

That's what He does when people are intimate with Him; building each other up into the true Body of Christ.

Praise the Lord!

Then came yesterday's message on Psalm 32.

While I didn't think too much of it because I always pour out my heart in every message as I try to honor Him and, in honoring Him, enable holy communion with Him, there has been more e-mail and telephone and personal encouragement about how our Lord used that message to help people forgive, receive forgiveness, and get closer to God.

Then it happened.

Like two of my friends who came back from our mountaintop experience with Eugene Peterson in Montana, I was attacked.

The specifics are irrelevant.

The reality must be repeated.

As we move closer to our Lord and closer to each other and really pray and labor to be a beacon for Jesus and safe haven for all, we will be attacked, sometimes even viciously, because we are becoming a threat to the enemy's plans to deceive, detour, disrupt, divide, degrade, denigrate, devastate, and destroy.

Fortunately, I've spent a lot of time preparing for such attacks; especially with Bill Westlund and VMTC in our appropriation of God's armor as explained in Ephesians 6 (pick up copies of "When Attacked" in our narthex).

As Francis Frangipane often says, "How do we defeat the enemy?  Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips; it is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts."

We are becoming an increasing threat to the enemy on the corner of Lincoln and Main.

It will attack; but the victory is ours: "Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:7-8).

Some quickies:

1. I don't like to talk about messages after they're delivered; but, apparently, yesterday's was a healing balm to so many in feeling God's love and enabling people to love.  If you missed it, go to and listen to the archived edition.

2. Speaking of, you've gotta listen to Bill's "Confessing Moments" which are timeless.  Go to for the calendar and archives of missed moments.

3. "Good Report" cards are due.

4. The last two editions of are about what's needed to restore our country, churches, and families and a model for leadership in today's church.  I may be wrong; but I think they're worth a moment or two.

It's all about Jesus at First Presbyterian Church.

That's what it says on our signs; and that's what is so clearly evident from what's in our hearts.

Blessings and Love!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Script #17


I believe there are four ingredients to restoring our country, community, and church: trust, humility, guts, and Jesus; noting trust, humility, and guts increase via increasing intimacy with Jesus.

You can read more about that by clicking on

Also, check out the next edtion of which will focus on a leadership model that I have embraced for, uh, almost 4 decades; and which was confirmed while in Montana (click it on Monday or Tuesday).

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Script #16


Some may recall the process of discerning God's will for our lives in last Sunday's message: (1) We don't have to ask God to reveal what He's already revealed in Jesus and the Bible about His will for our lives; and (2) Specifically, we couple His revealed Word with our feelings, facts, friends, and faith to know His, uh, specific will for our lives.

Clearly, last night during Midweek, His Holy Spirit provided a refreshing wind of joy and unity through the whole place in all corners through all programs and activities.  It was overwhelming and confirmed by so many according to the process recalled in the previous paragraph.

It was a "turning from" to a "turning to" in our life together; if you know what I mean.

I wept this morning about those who missed it by their absence or...

Two more quickies:

1. Twelve people have dug deeper in their discipleship and are prepared to help you understand "A Good Report Card" (go to right now for more on that).  If you need help, ask Bob, Vicki, Bonnie, Ginny, Tim, Norby, Don, Phyllis, Pat, Loretta, LuAnn, or Dennis.

2. Every Sunday is Easter.  Resurrecting.  Especially now that the Holy Spirit is answering specific prayers for increased intimacy and intentional ministry.  Invite.  Welcome.  Include.  Love.  What a privilege to be a partner with Him in His desire as revealed to Timothy through Paul: "He wants everybody to be saved!"

Carpe Diem.

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Script #15


Seven is a big number in the Bible.

Check it out.

The end of 2011 and 2012 will be very big, as in glorious, on the corner of Lincoln and Main.

I pray/hope/want you to be a part of it/Him.

Go to and become a part of it.

Sign up in the wave of originals!

Read the previous script below.

Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Script #14


Go to for the big news/opportunity and a tool for measuring deeper discipleship on the corner of Lincoln and Main.

See the original signatures on the glass door on Main.

And watch for an opportunity to enable Jeremy's forthcoming sabbatical (coming within the next two/three weeks; but requiring your preparatory prayers right now).

Blessings and Love!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Script #13


We talk a lot about modeling Someone better in our family of faith at First Presbyterian Church.

The next KD (later today or sometime tomorrow) will take that talk from blah, blah, blah to a very practical measurement that will be used for congregational/personal accountability, guidance for our Nominating Committee, assistance in identifying saints called to serve, staff evaluations, helping to focus prayers, and so on.


This is gonna be really, really, really big and public and will complete the pruning process as well as help First model Someone better for each other and others.

Some quickies:

1. Wednesdays are being transformed from "Pastor's Bible Study" to "Deeper Discipleship" which will be explained this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in the chapel.

2. The really, really, really big, uh, ___ will be introduced to the family on Wednesday; but, don't forget, you can get a big peek in the next KD.

3. The Peterson reviews (see below) are important for members, officers, and staff.

Time is growing short to be faithful.

Blessings and Love!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Script #12


If you missed last Wednesday's review of Chuck, Jeff, and Ken's trip to Montana to sit under the wisdom of God through Eugene Peterson, you've got three more chances!

First, you can go to for the archived edition!

Second, you can listen live on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. as Kathie, Bill, and Tony query one who went.  Just click on at 11:30 a.m.

Third, you can go to the archive of Tuesday's program!

This is important.

If you are a member, officer, or staff member, it is really, really, really important.

One more thing.

A revelatory resurrection occurred in moi a few days ago about a very Biblically practical way to model Someone better in our family of faith.

Watch for it in the the next script and KD. 

It will be especially convicting.

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Script #11


Eugene Peterson likes to say, "The sooner we get the message, the better off we'll be, for the message is good, incredibly good: God is here, and He's on our side...God is here right now, and on our side, actively seeking to help us in the way we most need help."

Of course, as C.S. Lewis wrote, we gotta get on the bus!

It's our choice.

God offers.

We respond in one of two ways with differing consequences - saved or...

We receive and experience supernatural blessings concomitant to increasing intimacy with Him through worship, prayer, and, as Eugene likes to say, "chewing" on His Word.

Or we reject His invitation and remain, uh, well, uh, you know...

Read Matthew 23:37-39.

Undershepherds like yours truly can feel His pain - never fully because He loves us so much more than anyone else - for it is so grievous when people miss His showing up in so many opportunities in worship and study bless!!!

Why continue to be so stressed and miserable and...when He's right here when two or bless!!!

Some quickies:

1. Last night's review of our mountaintop trip to Montana with Eugene Peterson was broadcast live over; and if you missed it/Him, well, uh, seriously, I must wipe away my tears to continue...

2. But He is the Lord of second and third and...chances!  Just go to and click on the archive for last night's broadcast blessed!!!

3. Unfortunately, only 34 minutes of the hour were recorded because of a technical difficulty (defective microphone); but getting back to second and third and...chances, we will review the notes again next Tuesday (live) on at 11:30 a.m. and extend the show several minutes if necessary.  But go to the site now if you missed last night!  I don't want you to miss it/him/Him.

Speaking of second and third and...chances, don't put off opportunities to be blessed if you know what I mean.

Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Script #10


Some quickies:

1. Don't forget the special review of our visit to Eugene H. Peterson of The Message in Montana this Wednesday from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. in the chapel.  This is a definite "don't miss" opportunity to hear what a universally acknowledged sage of Christendom has to say about being a faithful leader and church in today's culture;

2. If you can't be there, uh, here on Wednesday, tune in to tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. for a live broadcast of the review;

3. I was overwhelmed to tears when I came home and saw/experienced the undershepherd's renovated study!  While I did not ask for it or help design it even though I was asked and certainly do not feel worthy of it, it is better than I could have ever imagined and extraordinarily conducive to study and care.  A big thank you to Jan, Carl, Dale, Pat, and all of the workers; and

4. Getting back to, today's edition of KD was blessed to bless!  Kathie, Bill, Tony, and the host turned to God for answers on how to be/remain joyful in a world trying to, uh, destroy wholeness, happiness, joy, and security.  If you know someone trying to remain joyful and it's getting tough, direct 'em to the archives of today's show.  Just dial, click on Kopp Disclosure, and then click on the archive for today's show.  Seriously, He showed up big time!

Blessings and Love!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Script #9


I am writing after dinner with Jan and Eugene Peterson, Chuck, Jeff, and Ken in Big Fork, Montana; concluding a week of deep conversation and increasing conversion.

As my love for our family of faith and His extended family grows daily/exponentially, I am thankful for this opportunity to deepen my understanding of undershepherding as I look forward to the most exciting movement of His Holy Spirit in our lives on the corner of Lincoln and Main.

Please do not miss His grace for you this Sunday in worship.  He has told me that this Sunday will quicken the quickening.  I do not want you to miss it/Him.

BTW, Eugene Peterson is the author of The Message; and I will divert from Wednesday's continuing study of Chan's books to review this past week's revelations courtesy of our Lord through Gene in consultation with Jan, Chuck, Jeff, and Ken.  That's next Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in the chapel.

We have many choices in our lives; and every choice has consequences.

Choose to make worship the first priority in your life: "Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all His goodness" (Psalm 34, The Message).

Blessings and Love!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Script #8


What happened in worship today is exactly why we urge everyone to invite, welcome, and include (viz., love).

You can go to and click on the archive for today's service.

You'll soar but you won't be able to sit back!

The latest edition of KD on sabbaticals and other stuff won't be on site until later today or early tomorrow; so go to if you weren't here today.

Attendance was great and even greater because F/S/HS were moving among us!

Every part of the service was blessed to bless!

Don't miss one!

Even if you were a part of the moment, you can still go to the archive and...

A very, very, very special guest will be in the pulpit next Sunday!

It's a definite don't miss!

I will be in Montana with three true because they're enduring covenant brothers to spend a few days with somebody really famous; and I will talk/write more about that, I think, when I return.

If anyone is in the hospital or needs a chat or prayer over the cellular, connect me via Karen (815-544-6402) or e-mail moi via, uh, this address.

Really, share today's service with someone; and yourself if you weren't...

Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Script #7


I don't like change.

With roots in the Teutonic forests of Germany, I can be as rigidly religious/traditional as, uh, anyone.

But He who said I cannot drink/receive/experience His fresh, explosive, expansive, glorious wine/graces unless I become a flexible wineskin willing to stretch to make room for more of Him also said, "Behold, I make all things new...even you!"

One of my two best friends in seminary, both named Paul with one now in heaven and the other avec moi about to catch up, just preached in Burlingame California, "A friend went to his 40th high school reunion...Asked what he thought of it, he almost seemed despondent: 'It was one of the saddest experiences of my life...It wasn't what happened but what didn't happen.  It has been 40 years, and they haven't changed...It seems some people choose not to change...I never, never want that to be said of me.  Life is too precious, too sacred, too important.  If you ever see me go stagnant like that, I hope you give me a quick, swift kick where...I hope you'll love me enough to challenge me to keep growing.'"

Kopper takes me for about a mile walk every morning sometime between 4:00 - 5:30 a.m.  Then I do 50 push-ups and 150 sit-ups.

I hate it.

But I feel so much better after doing it.

When we stretch to make room for God's best intentions for us, we may not want to do it; but we always feel much better after doing it.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Script #6


We're having a staff lunch to celebrate two birthdays.

Anyone who has children understands why I bought the same thing for both of 'em.

As I was about to package/wrap 'em, I noticed the advisory: "Batteries not included!"


It reminds me of two of yesterday's conversations after "doing" church.

One said, "It's happening in our church.  I can feel it.  I'm getting so close to God and feeling closer and closer to people in the church; and I just want to love Him and serve Him and..."

Another asked, "What's happened to our church?  I don't feel a sense of fellowship with..."

How can two people in the same church have such different experiences?


It reminds me of something very similar said by Samuel and Jesus: "It's a matter of the heart."

When I teach preaching, I teach a valuable insight taught to me: "There are three parties to every sermon: God, communicator, and hearer."

If the communicator has a heart for God, she/he delivers a message that is true to Him.

If the hearer has a heart for God, she/he hears a message that is true to Him through His.

It's same with church.

Batteries not included.

You've got to...

Blessings and Love!