First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Script #75


I had a funny experience.

Someone called 815-544-3535 and thought it was a personal/direct line to, uh, me.

Uh, it hasn't been used that way for almost 5 of the 7+ years that I've been around.


Speaking of the content of what's on 815-544-3535, don't miss this Sunday at First:

    8:00 - 10:00 - Open House
    10:00 - Worship/Dedication
    11:00 - Celebration Dinner
    1:00 - 2:30 - Open House

Lisa, our Director of Music and Arts, has coordinated a superb/Godly blend of music representing the diversity of gifts entrusted to us (see Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12).

Really, if you miss it...(815-544-3535).

Personally, along with so many others, I am looking forward to hearing reflections from Pat, Carl, and Dale.

Few will/can appreciate the cost of leadership spent/sacrificed/suffered by Pat, Carl, and Dale. We really, really, really need to come to express our thanks and praise to God for them.

Pat has been an exacting and positive steward of our whole budget during this time.

Carl has been a watchful manager of everything that has gone on and saved tons of $.

Dale has been an extraordinary visionary of what our family of faith can be and should be if we are going to be truly inviting, welcoming, and inclusively loving.

Yet, really, it hasn't been easy.

I know.

So this is a great time to celebrate and praise Him and thank our Project Team for their efforts.

For example, are you aware of how much time our Project Team Chairman Dale redirected from his personal life, vocation, family time, and...over the past two years?  Probably not.  I know; and that's why I'm really looking forward to hearing how the vision enabled him to overcome the...

Now listen to 815-544-3535 so you don't...

And invite, welcome, and include folks on Sunday!

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Script #74


These are exciting times on the corner of Lincoln and Main!

The next two Sundays are especially exciting with the recognition of our Confirmation Class on May 27 and celebration/dedication of our expansion/renovation on June 3.  Go to for more exciting details!

Also, while Midweek is recessing for the summer, Deeper Discipleship continues on Wednesdays from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.


Bells at 6, Chancel Choir at 7, and Deeper Discipleship as noted; and don't miss movie night on Thursday!

Again, click on for more exciting news about the powerful movement of His Holy Spirit right now!

Don't miss it!


Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Script #73


Dr. James I. McCord (RIP), renowned President of Princeton Theological Seminary and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, was criticized for always asking for money: "All I ever hear from you is give, give, give!"

He replied, 'I have never heard of a better definition of Christianity than give, give, give.  We give in gratitude for what He gave in Jesus!"


I have no hesitancies about asking for money to honor Jesus, help His children, and advance the Kingdom. 

Yet knowing these are terribly tough times for many families suffering foreclosures, unemployment, under-employed, and other severe financial stresses, it's important to make a few notations.

First, everyone in our family of faith at First knows particular families in our church who have lost their homes, may lose their homes, are having problems making ends meet, and are treading the turbulent financial waters of these days.  We do not expect the aforementioned to divert funds from the primary needs of their homes to support the life and ministry of the church. 

Second, as we move to the conclusion of our nearly 1.5 million $ expansion/renovation and dedication service on June 3, we project 100K will not be covered by the generosity of previous generations and the previous sacrificial gifts of current members.  We are praying to avoid debt as our Lord inspires those who have been extraordinarily financially blessed to make up this difference.

I have a friend who likes to say, "The Lord loves a cheerful giver; but accepts checks from grouches...I wonder how the people who are too rich to tithe as the least they can do for Him feel about the inevitability of explaining that to Him sooner or later and definitely in the end."

Again, I have no hesitancies about asking for $ from those who have it by the grace of God as a test of how they will manage it for Him.

Whether it's the expansion/renovation, Stronghold Benefit, First Response Team, or the continuing costs of life and ministry on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois, it's a privilege to encourage folks to give, give, give, and give some more so they are not cheated of the pleasures of increasing obedience.

Give, give, give!

You will be glad you did!

You will be blessed beyond your greatest dreams!

The Kingdom's advancement will be stronger because of you!

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Script #72


I thank Him every day for the privilege of being an undershepherd to Him as your pastor.

While I try to communicate this to you, I know I don't do it that well; but I love you immeasurably and my excitement about the future rekindles daily.

These may be tough times in our world and country and churches may not be immune to the transferred pathologies but He is up to something supernatural on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois and I praise Him and thank Him to be along for the ride. 

Yes, we are, increasingly, a beacon for Jesus and safe haven for all of His children.

Some quickies:

1. Please scroll down to the information about our Stronghold Benefit.  With unexpected bills related to our expansion/renovation concomitant to the financial stresses in our family of faith as increasing family members struggle with unemployment, under-employment, and holding on to their homes, I realize our participation in this benefit is precarious.  We will not meet the original goal.  However, if $1500 more comes in before May 28, Billy Flott and I will represent First.  If not, we will withdraw because of the aforementioned realities.  So if you've been waiting to see...

2. Free copies of Fifteen Secrets...[Theses]...for Life and Ministry are available throughout the church.  We are continuing Deeper Discipleship throughout the summer - Wednesdays in the "Gathering Room" from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.  I am hoping some folks will step up to make coffee/donuts/even-healthy-goodies-but-especially-brownies-or-Mona's-blueberry-pie as part of the journey.  We will use the book to explore expanding wineskins within the context of Christian transformation, evolution, growth, and the like.  Specifically, we look at what I wrote as secrets/theses to survive/thrive in a hostile world and how I've, uh, been transformed, evolved, grown, and so on since writing the book.  Of course, it's not about me!  It's about using one member of the family's chronicled experience to help all of us examine, re-examine, and make room for His new and improved...  We will talk, wrestle in a Christian kinda way, pray, and go deeper in our relationship with Him and each other.  Please take extra copies and invite others to join us!  We will meet, not being Pharisaical about this, on May 23, June 6, 13, 20, 27, July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 15. 

See you in worship this Sunday at 7:30 really 7:20 or 10:00 a.m. for Mother's Day with special music from our children, Praise Team, and a message related to...

Blessings and Love!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Script #71


I returned home on Friday after three days visiting my dad who almost died twice in the last month or so; and as I thank you for your encouragement, affections, and prayers, he has rallied quite well and we even played nine together!

Certainly, I look forward to a close encounter of the divine kind - Hint!  Hint! - with you in worship on Sunday (tomorrow) at 7:30 aka 7:20 or 10:00 a.m.

Two quickies:

1. Please re-read the following about the Stronghold Benefit and our participation (scroll down to your invitation).

2. Deeper Discipleship will continue throughout the summer even after Midweek recesses; and the subject will be the evolution in a Christian kinda way of Fifteen Secrets as noted in the 4/27/12 edition of ("No More Secrets").  Free copies are available from the church office or on the literature table in the entrance to the sanctuary aka narthex.  I am hoping to meet in our new "Gathering Room" with coffee/donuts as donated from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning on 5/23.  Again, go to and click on "No More Secrets" in the right column archives for April 2012 to find out what's goin' deeper in the summer at First.

Blessings and Love!