First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008

Friday, January 27, 2012

Script #45



1. If you're a guy, don't forget tomorrow morning's breakfast at 7:30 a.m.;

2. With great offerings like "Confessing Moments" and "The Morning Show" and so much more, has become one of First's most brilliant beacons for Jesus!  Did you know over 65 folks (latest report to me) are now listening live to our 10:00 a.m. Sunday worship service?  Extra mile offerings are always needed to keep the show growing and glowing; and

3. With a compelling known to me on occasion but not regularly, my soul was poured out in the most recent edition of  It flowed - words with music along with the irony of the main musician - from...  Apart from exposing my deepest..., I'm not sure what it means.  Yet, strangely, I feel...  You'll have to click on to...  I have never felt so exhausted yet strangely...

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Script #44

It's Wednesday!!!

So many opportunities to learn more about Jesus in relation with members of His family at First!

If you're not already plugged into something, don't miss tonight's start of Forgotten God in the chapel at 6.

If you're ready to...


P.S. This is what Deeper Discipleship is all about.  Whoa!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Script #43


If you haven't guessed, we will be emphasizing Sunday School and Midweek growth opportunities for all ages in 2012!

Jesus said, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (see John 17:1-5).

A.W. Tozer wrote in The Pursuit of God, "We have been snared in the coils of spurious logic which insists that if we found Him we need no more seek Him...That lack of it[Him] has brought us to our present low estate.  Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.'


I have been asked if I'm serious about at least one parent, grandparent, or guardian attending a "parents" class for confirmands scheduled concurrently with this year's Confirmation Class to commence with a brief 15-minute orientation on February 26 at 2:45 p.m. in the chapel.


Confirmation Class is one of the most serious moments in any person's life; and, for parents, it is directly related to baptismal promises of, uh, promising to "bring up your child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

Again, concurrently, the classes will begin on March 4 (8:30-9:30 a.m.) and conclude with confirmation on May 27.

On a personal note, sales of my most recent book are promising; and I pray every day for massive sales for royalties to bless Him/His.  Don't get me wrong.  I doubt I will be able to underwrite the next chapter of our expansion; but I'm praying...  Anyway, sadly, while my publisher is very generous with me about author's copies, I still pay enough for 'em that I can't give 'em away; and, right now, I'm several hundred behind in folks who have picked up but not yet paid up.  No problem.  If the Lord wants me to absorb that, praise Him for the privilege!  But it does mean that folks are waiting and hinting for free copies like my last book may be, uh, waiting a long time.  Yet, I promise that if the national sales go off the charts, I will provide freebies to everyone who wants one in our family. 

On another personal note, please be sure to go to and for information about interviews and the like related to the book; as well as literary rationale for the genre which some don't get.  A lot has been written about that; and I'm really not going to spend much more time on that. 

While I believe our Lord provoked the book for reasons beyond my own comprehension - as is becoming very clear to me by reviews and people taking a longer look at Jesus because of it - I really don't like to talk about it except when in appropriate settings.


If you want to go deeper - and everyone baptized in the Spirit does - worship regularly and get involved in Sunday School and Midweek opportunities.

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Script #42


Don Greenhow closed our Deeper Discipleship session on Wednesday with this prayer:

    "God, we now have studied Francis Chan's
    book Crazy Love to a new depth; and I, for
    one, have learned more this time around.

    I also do not have the fear of dying now; but
    still would rather stay around for awhile.

    I still have a feeling that there is purpose for
    my being here; but maybe I have already done
    that.  I don't know.

    We here in this chapel are blessed to learn
    more of Your love for us and want to thank
    You for this never-ending love.

    We pray for Your help and understanding of
    the way we live our lives.

    We pray this in Jesus' name. 



Some notes:

1. Deeper Discipleship begins a study of Chan's Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit next Wednesday in the chapel at 6:00 p.m.;

2. Don't forget the parents' meeting on Sunday in the chapel after the second service;

3. Don't forget YMCA "Fun Night" this Saturday (5:30 - 8:30 p.m.).

4. Men!  Our next breakfast is on 1/28 at 7:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall.  Psst!  There's gotta be a better name for that too!  The, uh, place.

5. When you hear me say "the video will be shown this Sunday," you will not want to miss it; and if you really care about your children, grandchildren, family, friends, and neighbors, you will want to invite/compel/pester/pull/drag 'em to worship with you.  Seriously!  It will be shown at both services when I say "the video will be shown this Sunday."  Seriously!  This will be a definite, definite, definite - thrice definite - really, really, really - thrice really - don't miss if you want to...

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Script #41


Our new CE dudette has asked me to forward this to you:

    "There will be a brief meeting for parents
    to meet LGFK...[a relative of mine] the
    chapel after the 10:00 a.m. service this Sunday.

    The purpose of the meeting is to meet, greet,
    and share visions for our youth."


BTW, check out my dad's "comment" in the most recent edition of

The apple doesn't fall far from...

Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Script #40


Don't forget all of the opportunities on Wednesday!

And don't miss one of the most powerful videos on what really matters in life to be shown in the chapel at 6:00 p.m.  It convicted me as tears streamed down my face in joy!

And don't forget Family Night at the YMCA this Saturday from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Script #39


Session met on Sunday (1/15) to receive the unanimous recommendation of the search/transition team for youth and discipling. 

The following is a summary of their recommendation approved unanimously by session:

The Minister for Youth/Discipling search team has been hard at work meeting and researching the best course of action for Our Family of Faith at First Presbyterian regarding the replacement for Jeremy Van Genderen. 

The search team began meeting on Sunday mornings to discuss how to go about finding a new Youth Minister.  Meetings were also held on Thursday evenings in order to develop a job description that would be used for the Interim Youth Minister as well as the permanent replacement.

David Bell, Chairman of the committee, expressed at one of the Thursday night meetings how his research stated that we shouldn’t forget to look at qualified people within our own congregation.  The down time between replacements is shorter, disruption to the church and youth activities is minimized and often there can be a cost savings because expenses for relocation, housing, etc. are not needed.

Those at that particular Thursday night meeting then began thinking about who within our church family had the qualifications necessary to fulfill the position.  Leslie Kopp’s name was suggested. 

After discussions with both Pastor Bob and Leslie it was decided to have a few weeks of prayer to consider this option.  The rest of the search team was then told at the next Sunday meeting what had transpired and was asked for their thoughts on the matter.  Everyone was enthusiastic and were on board with Leslie being offered the Director of Christian Education position.

The team continued to meet to insure that every member of the committee had ample opportunity to voice their opinions, disagreements and/or concerns.  It was decided that at the January 9, 2012 session meeting the committee chairman would formally submit Leslie Kopp’s name as a candidate for the Director of Christian Education.

It is important to note that Pastor Bob nor Leslie Kopp did not instigate or suggest this to the search team at any time.  Only when approached did they then begin to pray and discuss the matter.

Leslie earned a master degree in education and has held several positions in youth ministry since 1984. Her easy and natural rapport with children and youth make her the ideal person for the job. 

The session and search team formally interviewed and subsequently offered Leslie the Director of Christian Education position at a special session meeting held on Sunday, January 15, 2012.

These are exciting times in our church!  God continues to bless Our Family of Faith and the addition of Leslie to the Director of Christian Education position will allow us to spread those blessings to the youth of Belvidere.  Some of the upcoming items you will begin to hear about are interns to assist in youth activities.  These interns will be hand-picked and trained by Leslie.  Confirmation classes will be held for our youth with Pastor Bob beginning in March.  Leslie will hold classes for the parents of the students in confirmation.

As always, we continue to honor, applaud, and affirm the work Jeremy has done to build our youth program and look forward to building upon the strong foundation he has left us with.

Thank you.

Certainly, while affirming Jeremy's call to Cedar Rapids, Iowa and continuing our appreciation of his life and ministry with us along with our affection for him, Jeanette, Bree, Kara, and Ben, we did not anticipate his call; and we had no inclination to disrupt our relationship.  Indeed, with staff stability exceeding over seven years, we were, as some say, caught off guard and stunned.

Though we would have preferred Jeremy and his family stay with us for a few more decades, the search for someone to succeed him started; and the results are now announced.

Because Leslie has been a homemaker for over two decades, sacrificing vocation and income to be a stay-at-home mom with the boys, I have not considered her as a candidate for positions like this one; and, as noted, with our thanks to the Lord for Jeremy's ministry with us and no indication of any changes in his call with us, Leslie had dropped off my radar for consideration until brought to my attention by the team.

Confessionally, at first, I was hesitant; not because I had any doubts about Leslie's affection for the Lord and First along with His wherewithal to get the job done but because I was a tad selfish in thinking some may think I was trying to pull something.  I just didn't want to deal with that kinda stuff; but pressed by a few folks on the search/transition team, I realized my reluctance was selfish, sinful, and not in His best designs for our family of faith at First.

With that said, I believe, from my experience of over 35 years, that we would be hard-pressed to find a more called, gifted, educated, caring, competent, and qualified person for this ministry.

I've been asked how I will relate to her as head of staff and, uh, you know...

I'm not sure.

Never been there or done that before.

We'll see.

Yet I know our Lord expects me to expand my wineskin as I call people to heed His call to the same.

Blessings and Love!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Script #38


Some Saturday quickies:

1. Worship at both services tomorrow will include at least one very big blessing;

2. People have asked when/why the prayer line (815-544-3535) meditations are changed.  Well, uh, it's all about inspirations/indigestions (You pick!).  It was changed yesterday after a long run of the previous, uh, one; and

3. Wow!  Tebowmania is off the charts.  For more on that, go to!  Also, check out today's posting on which includes some interesting feedback from a pastor in South Carolina and one in Pennsylvania.  Also, scroll down to a very interesting/challenging/convicting/calming/infuriating recollection of Tony Campolo's visit to Kansas City about 25 years ago; noting some things never change.

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Script #37


Some quickies before my Salvation Army Board meeting:

1. Some people have asked if the Confirmation Class is open to adults.  Well, uh, it's really a time for the confirmands; however, if there is enough interest and our CE committee/team approves, I will teach a "refresher" over the summer.  So if you're interested, contact somebody on CE or tell Karen;

2. Because people have asked and we don't operate in darkness (see John 3:19-21), our search/transition team to call a youth/discipling person will be making a recommendation to the session shortly.  A firm job description and flexible remuneration package have been approved unanimously;

3. Yeah, the book is selling, a buzz has started in the market, watch for guests concomitant to it, and most people get it.  Stay tuned to for more on it and click on out of Florida for a recent interview with the author;

4. Speaking of, it is now averaging over 65 listeners to our 10:00 a.m. Sunday worship service.  Don't forget to send in "extra mile" gifts to support it.  If you would like to know more about how you can support the station, please ask Karen to send an information letter to you; and

5. The second round of Francis Chan's Crazy Love concludes next Wednesday in Deeper Discipleship (6:00 p.m. in the chapel).  We will begin our look at his Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit on January 25 and then every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in the chapel.  If you have ever wondered about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, this is for you.  Remember, Jesus said it is to our "advantage" that He proceeded/rose to the Father so His Holy Spirit could remain with us.  Don't miss this opportunity!

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Script #36


The orientation for this year's Confirmation Class will be on February 26 at 2:45 p.m. in the chapel.

For the particulars, please see below.

The information will also appear in the February edition of our newsletter.

Blessings and Love!


An opportunity for younger family members at First to “confirm” baptismal promises begins on February 26 at 2:45 p.m. in the chapel with a brief orientation for parents and confirmands.

All confirmation classes will be on Sundays in the meeting room (#3 of CE Wing) from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

A class for the parents of confirmands will be held at the same time (location TBA).


March 4:  Getting to Know Each Other
                 What Membership/Discipleship is All About

March 11: Pillars of Faith: The Sovereignty of God

March 18: Pillars of Faith: The Centrality of Jesus

March 25: Pillars of Faith: The Power & Presence of the Holy Spirit

April 1:      Pillars of Faith: The Bible

April 8:      Pillars of Faith: The Priesthood of All Believers

April 15:    Priorities of Faith: Worship, Service, and Evangelism

April 22:    The Lord’s Prayer

April 29:    The Apostles’ Creed

May 6:        Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion

May 13:      What It Means to be a Christian in that Part of the Kingdom
                   Called the Presbyterian Church (USA)

May 20:      Developing Intimacy with Jesus (1:00 – 3:00 p.m.)

May 27:      Participation in Both Worship Services (7:30 & 10:00 a.m.)
                   Confirmation During Second Service
                   Reception in Fellowship Hall

Enrollment in the class is determined by parents and children in consultation with me.  Normally, confirmands are in seventh – twelfth grade; however, that decision is confirmed by the discernment to approach the rights and responsibilities of membership/discipleship as explained during orientation on February 26.

Please call Karen at (815) 544-6402 or e-mail her at to express your interest in this year’s class.

Blessings and Love! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Script #35


Important News!!!

All "Midweek" activities, studies, choirs, et. al. resume tonight!

While our friends to be ordained/installed as officers on Sunday (1/8) at 10:00 a.m. are, uh, "expected" in the chapel on Sunday (1/8) at 8:30 a.m. to complete their orientation, the session is open to anyone who wants to review the ordination/installation promises of elders/deacons, hear a quick summary of basic beliefs for Christians, and explore the governing principle of Christians in that part of the Kingdom called "Presbyterian" churches.

Getting back to the last clause of the previous sentence/paragraph, "Presbyterian" polity is neither hierarchical (authority vested in pastors/priests/others) nor congregational (authority vested in the last popular vote of the congregation on everything) but connectional (Come out and find out what that means!).  Frankly, a lotta folks really don't understand how our polity works and how decisions are made in our "kinda" church.  So if you know somebody who doesn't understand our decision-making process, invite 'em to the chapel on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.

Speaking of educational/discipling opportunities, it's not too early to think about our return to a more traditional format for Confirmation Class.  The class will be taught by the undershepherd on Sundays from 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. beginning not too long from now with "confirmation" of baptismal vows on Pentecost (5/27/12).  Watch for the commencement of CC in early March!

Blessings and Love!