First Presbyterian Church

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Script #122


Beloved,

While "devoting" as part of preparing for 12/31's brief intimacy commencing at 11:50 p.m., I listened to the archived version of 12/30's second worship service in the sanctuary.

It confirms what I said to elders a few months ago - that we have elders who are called to bring messages to the family when our Lord has other plans for me and we do not need to bring in hired fire.  Indeed, as the revival deepens, broadens, and expands on the corner of Lincoln and Main, more and more and more gifts will be unleashed akin to the glorious message on 12/30.  If you have not heard it, please do not deprive yourself and go to www.bnnsradio.com and click on the archived version.  If you need help in finding it, call 815-544-6402 between 7am-noon.

I am praising the Lord for Elder Ev's obedience to the Word and courage to communicate His heart to...

I have been asked why I no longer announce when I will not be cooperating on the Sunday message.  If you know someone who has asked this question, that person really needs to listen to the message on 12/30.

Also, you may want to catch the archived version of what happened at our "unfenced" table on 12/24 via www.bnnsradio.com

Religion has ended on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere.

The relationship(s) has/have begun.

Praise the Lord!

I pray your/my/their/our 2013 is filled with an intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that exceeds anything heretofore experienced breeding refreshment, strong calm sanity (OC), and supernaturally enabled obedience to honor Him in holy, holy, holy gratitude.

Blessings and Love!

Scratching the Surface

of

Bible Reading

(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Devotional Bible Reading)

The Bible is our manual. 

It tells us about God’s love for us and how we can love Him back.

While it’s sometimes/often hard to obey His Word in Jesus as attested in the Bible, it’s more truthful than cliché to admit, “God said it!  We believe it!  That settles it!”  We don’t dare say, “We know that’s what God says in Jesus and the Bible, but we think…” 

Fortunately, we know Jesus forgives how we don’t measure up to the manual as long as we trust Him as our Lord and Savior.

Simply, the Bible is a personal love letter from God to us.

Whenever we read it, we get closer to Him and experience more of His love for us as we are increasingly compelled to love Him back.

A little exercise with 1 Peter 5:6-11, which can be applied to almost any part of the Bible, illustrates our personal relationship with Him.  Read the following sentences aloud and say your name when a ___ appears:

            If ___ will humble her/himself under the mighty hand of God, in His good
            time, He will lift ___ up.  Let Him have all ___’s worries and cares, for He is
always thinking about ___ and watching everything that concerns ___.

Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world
are going through these sufferings too.

After ___ has suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through
Christ, will give ___ His eternal glory.  He personally will come and pick ___
up, and set ___ firmly in place, and make ___ stronger than ever.

To Him be all power over all things, forever and ever.  Amen!

Devotional Bible reading, discovering God’s love for us and how we can love Him back, includes approaching every word reverently, redemptively, realistically, and regularly.


Reverently – Because we believe the Bible is inspired or God-breathed, we approach it with attention not contention.  Our privilege/responsibility is to read it and enflesh its clear truths into our lives.

Redemptively – Because we believe God wants us to know about His love for us and how we can love Him back, we know immersing ourselves into more intimacy with Him through devotional Bible reading will supernaturally restore more love, joy, peace, patience,


kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness/humility, and self-control into our lives.

Realistically – English is a notoriously imprecise language; hence, there is not one translation/paraphrase of the Bible that is pure and perfect in every way.  That’s why taking the time to read the Bible in different translations/paraphrases will yield more clarity and certainty about the content. 

Regularly – Giving the first and last words of the day to God in devotional Bible reading is a good start!  Be sure to include parts of the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament in your daily plan; and while daily plans vary, remember this cardinal rule for devotional Bible reading: read the book more and more and more than books about the book!

I would never suggest my daily plan is better than anybody else’s; however, I am reminded of Moody’s retort to someone who didn’t like the way he did it: “I prefer how I do it to how you don’t do it.”  While I tend to stay with the NET, NIV, NKJV, NLT, RSV, Message, and Voice, I start every day by reading parts of the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament, read one book from either sometime during the day, and ask the Holy Spirit to direct my final reading of the day. 

Yes, I look at the originals on occasion and often become preoccupied with one book over others for seasons; yet regardless of the reverent, redemptive, realistic, and regular plan, Eugene Peterson’s conclusion has convinced me by experience/expression: “As we read, and the longer we read, we are in conversation with God.”

Please note this is a brief and incomplete guide to devotional Bible reading!

Devotional Bible reading is different from reading the Bible to prepare a Bible study lesson for Sunday School, homily/sermon/message, write a paper, or some other kinda academic, ecclesiastical, or professional pursuit. 

Devotional Bible reading is more about increasing our personal relationship with God than preparing to help someone else through exposition of a text(s); meaning we allow Him to direct us as we encounter Him in the Bible more than decide how we want to communicate Him to others.

Devotional Bible reading recognizes the necessity of getting closer to God in a personal way as a prerequisite to communicating in a corporate way.

Finally, my home pastor Harold F. Mante suggested this general rule for getting closer to God that can be applied to devotional Bible reading: “Be slow!  Be steady!  Be solid!”

Intimacy with our Lord increases as we increase intimacy

with Him through worship, prayer, Bible study, fasting,
sacrament, silence, stewardship, and regular
fellowship with His family of faith
uncommonly called the Church.

Are you still looking for a different way to do church?
Are you tired of the SOSO RELIGION?
Are you put off by posers in pews, politics, and pulpits?
Are you searching for something/Someone real, honest, timely, and true to…?
Try our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main!
(Belvidere, Illinois)

Sundays at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.

And so much…

Monday, December 24, 2012

Script #121


Beloved,

This is the last script of 2012!

People keep asking what's happening on the corner of Lincoln and Main as...!

Well, it's gotta be experienced to be, uh, experienced!

"Best ever" Cantata, "Best ever" Children's Program, reinforcements, rivers not trickles, healings, miracles, peace, unity, and so much...

It's all happening because we're increasingly letting go and letting Him!

I urge you to see the only two things hanging on the walls in the study that I occupy temporarily as representative of what's happening on the corner of Lincoln and Main!

And here's a symbolic serendipity of what's happening many times almost every day through saints like you on the corner of Lincoln and Main now that we've let go and let Him:

Verbatim (12/21/12)

W/M: "I've got a terrible problem with...I
    didn't come to see you before
    because...But then I went to a service
    last week because I heard about what's
    been happening and...

RRK: "I'm glad you were in worship.  David
    said, 'God inhabits the praises of His
    people.'  What he meant was God works
    supernaturally in folks who just worship
    Him.  All kinds of problems just disappear
    when we worship Him.  I can't explain
    it/Him.  It/He just happens when..."

W/M: "O.K., but I spent lots of time talking
    to Pastor ___ before...I didn't want to...So
    I...But then I came to worship last week..."

RRK: "Excellent!  I believe our Lord wants
    us to agree to meet regularly until you're
    completely freed from...But I gotta tell
    you that I'm not a BSer.  I've gotta tell
    you straight: 'Silver and gold, I do not
    have.  But what I have, I give you, in
    the name of Jesus, walk!'  That means
    you can be the kind of woman/man
    you want to be as long as you are
    serious about Him, worship Him
    regularly, get into the Word, and, more
    than less, start doing what He tells you
    to do."

W/M: "I've been looking for someone who
    won't BS me...That's why I stopped
    coming here and stopped going to...I
    didn't like some of the..."

RRK: "The posers are gone, friend...The
    people who gather here now are
    serious about getting closer to Him and
    loving Him by loving like Him.  They're
    tired of the BS too...'religions' about
    Jesus...They/we really want authentic
    relationships with Him and His..."

[...We talked a lot about the preceding...]

RRK: "O.K., so we will get together
    regularly.  You will worship regularly.
    You will get into His Word."

W/M: "Deal!"

RRK: "Remember, my goal is that you
    do not become dependent upon me
    or anybody else but only on Him.  And
    as soon as you're healed - and that
    will be sooner than later if you keep
    the deal - we will stop meeting so
    I can refer people to you who need
    you to help them overcome this
    same problem..."

[...We talked a lot about the preceding;
    and then as she/he was walking out,
    the symbolic serendipity occurred...]

W/M: "Do you have any guides for me on
    how to read the Bible?"

RRK: "Wow!  Just before you came in,
    the Lord told me to write something
    about scratching the surface of
    Bible reading.  He has been compelling
    me to do lots of that kinda stuff lately;
    and I just started one on Bible reading
    just before you came in...I'll have it
    for you when..."

[...It's attached to this script...]

W/M: "I felt led to come here.  You felt
    led to...strange."

RRK: "Nah, it's just what's been happening
    almost every day on the corner of Lincoln
    and Main now that we've..."

Praise the Lord!

I pray your/our relationship with Him in
2013 expands beyond anything you/we
have ever experienced/expressed!

Blessings and Love!

Scratching the Surface

of

Bible Reading

(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Devotional Bible Reading)

The Bible is our manual. 

It tells us about God’s love for us and how we can love Him back.

While it’s sometimes/often hard to obey His Word in Jesus as attested in the Bible, it’s more truthful than cliché to admit, “God said it!  We believe it!  That settles it!”  We don’t dare say, “We know that’s what God says in Jesus and the Bible, but we think…” 

Fortunately, we know Jesus forgives how we don’t measure up to the manual as long as we trust Him as our Lord and Savior.

Simply, the Bible is a personal love letter from God to us.

Whenever we read it, we get closer to Him and experience more of His love for us as we are increasingly compelled to love Him back.

A little exercise with 1 Peter 5:6-11, which can be applied to almost any part of the Bible, illustrates our personal relationship with Him.  Read the following sentences aloud and say your name when a ___ appears:

            If ___ will humble her/himself under the mighty hand of God, in His good
            time, He will lift ___ up.  Let Him have all ___’s worries and cares, for He is
always thinking about ___ and watching everything that concerns ___.

Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world
are going through these sufferings too.

After ___ has suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through
Christ, will give ___ His eternal glory.  He personally will come and pick ___
up, and set ___ firmly in place, and make ___ stronger than ever.

To Him be all power over all things, forever and ever.  Amen!

Devotional Bible reading, discovering God’s love for us and how we can love Him back, includes approaching every word reverently, redemptively, realistically, and regularly.


Reverently – Because we believe the Bible is inspired or God-breathed, we approach it with attention not contention.  Our privilege/responsibility is to read it and enflesh its clear truths into our lives.

Redemptively – Because we believe God wants us to know about His love for us and how we can love Him back, we know immersing ourselves into more intimacy with Him through devotional Bible reading will supernaturally restore more love, joy, peace, patience,


kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness/humility, and self-control into our lives.

Realistically – English is a notoriously imprecise language; hence, there is not one translation/paraphrase of the Bible that is pure and perfect in every way.  That’s why taking the time to read the Bible in different translations/paraphrases will yield more clarity and certainty about the content. 

Regularly – Giving the first and last words of the day to God in devotional Bible reading is a good start!  Be sure to include parts of the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament in your daily plan; and while daily plans vary, remember this cardinal rule for devotional Bible reading: read the book more and more and more than books about the book!

I would never suggest my daily plan is better than anybody else’s; however, I am reminded of Moody’s retort to someone who didn’t like the way he did it: “I prefer how I do it to how you don’t do it.”  While I tend to stay with the NET, NIV, NKJV, NLT, RSV, Message, and Voice, I start every day by reading parts of the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament, read one book from either sometime during the day, and ask the Holy Spirit to direct my final reading of the day. 

Yes, I look at the originals on occasion and often become preoccupied with one book over others for seasons; yet regardless of the reverent, redemptive, realistic, and regular plan, Eugene Peterson’s conclusion has convinced me by experience/expression: “As we read, and the longer we read, we are in conversation with God.”

Please note this is a brief and incomplete guide to devotional Bible reading!

Devotional Bible reading is different from reading the Bible to prepare a Bible study lesson for Sunday School, homily/sermon/message, write a paper, or some other kinda academic, ecclesiastical, or professional pursuit. 

Devotional Bible reading is more about increasing our personal relationship with God than preparing to help someone else through exposition of a text(s); meaning we allow Him to direct us as we encounter Him in the Bible more than decide how we want to communicate Him to others.

Devotional Bible reading recognizes the necessity of getting closer to God in a personal way as a prerequisite to communicating in a corporate way.

Finally, my home pastor Harold F. Mante suggested this general rule for getting closer to God that can be applied to devotional Bible reading: “Be slow!  Be steady!  Be solid!”

Intimacy with our Lord increases as we increase intimacy

with Him through worship, prayer, Bible study, fasting,
sacrament, silence, stewardship, and regular
fellowship with His family of faith
uncommonly called the Church.

Are you still looking for a different way to do church?
Are you tired of the SOSO RELIGION?
Are you put off by posers in pews, politics, and pulpits?
Are you searching for something/Someone real, honest, timely, and true to…?
Try our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main!
(Belvidere, Illinois)

Sundays at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.

And so much…

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Script #120


Christmas and New Year's
on the
Corner of Lincoln and Main
(Belvidere, Illinois)

December 23
Children's Program at 10am
7:20 am in Chapel

December 24
Services at 4 and 11 pm

December 30
Services at 7:20 and 10am

December 31 and January 1
Firstfruits of the New Year
at the "Unfenced" Table
11:50 pm
(This will be a simple service in the chapel
for anyone desiring to begin the New Year
at the Table of HC.  Beginning sharply at
11:50 pm and concluding in less than
45 minutes, this will be an experience
of "firstfruits" worship only with no
party following the benediction!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Script #119


Beloved,

Updates:

1. Yesterday's "Christmas Cantata" aligned hearts with Him and His!  Thanks and praise to God for Lisa and everyone who participated...and witnessed!  If you missed it, you can go to the archives of  www.bnnsradio.com and click on yesterday's 10am worship service;

2. Don't forget next Sunday's "Children's Program" at 10am;

3. Christmas Eve services at 4pm (sanctuary) and 11pm (chapel) with important bulletin inserts;

4. You gotta check out the picture hanging in the undershepherd's study!  It replaced the... It is one of the increasing evidences of the overwhelming revival occurring on the corner of Lincoln and Main.  Folks get it/Him even upon first glance;

5. With your help and prayers, Doomsday 2012 has been fully subscribed (see note about it in Script 118 below) and five staff members, excluding two by choice/call, have not been penalized for...Anyway, to raise $ for that, books in my inventory of non-best-sellers were hawked to raise the $ that was drained from...during...Anyway, I was inspired/indigested while Kopper took me for a walk on 12/15 in a Matthew 6:19-21 kinda way to offer the remaining inventory to anyone who wants to give 'em away in a witnessing kinda way for any contribution to any mission effort at First in a Proverbs 3:9 kinda way.  You designate!Seriously!  Here's what's left after finding the other missing box: 3 copies of Praying Like Jesus, 7 copies of I Just Wanna Ride (FTW), 2 copies of God's Top Ten List, 5 copies of Golf in the Real Kingdom, and 5 boxes of Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry.  Last chance in a DN kinda way;

6. What's happening on the corner of Lincoln and Main is awesome in the highest sense of that word; and because we don't want anyone to miss out, keep inviting, welcoming, including, and loving; and

7. A summarized/abbreviated version of one of Sunday's prayers:

    Thinking things can't get any worse, O God,
    in a world of darkening greed, pride, insatiable
    control needs, religious imperialism, and increasing
    hatreds of separation, segregation, schism, self-
    indulgence, and self-righteousness, Friday's slaughter
    of the innocents adds to the list of Herodian barbarity
    remembered this season and reincarnated in the
    predecessors of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia,
    Maoist China, international terrorism, and our own
    country's legal, governmental, and ecclesiastical
    enabling of the violent assault on life from womb to
    tomb driven by demonically enflamed lusts of human
    choices over Your commands.

    The wrenching horror of Friday - "the unspeakable
    evil' so enabled by our culture of violence shamelessly
    represented by gangsta rap, video game bloodthirst,
    vehicular rage, damning rhetoric, ideological idolatries,
    ego-driven-my-way-or-the-highway church exits, and
    swords of steel and tongue - provokes recollection of
    the prophet's verdict of so long ago, so unheeded then
    and today, and yet so timely and prescriptive...[Hosea
    4]...

    And so we praise You today for the antidote for all
    ailing us: You!!!

    A people focused on You and filtering life through You
    brings hope to these mean, maddening, and miserable
    times; even as we pray comfort and consolation for
    victims.

    And so we join hands with the remnant in...to model
    Someone better: You!!!

    We will hug a little longer, learn to overcome our
    differences as expected by Jesus...

    We will tear down fences of arrogant and
    condescending pride and division.

    We will esteem service above self.

    We will shine for Jesus.

    We will provide a safe haven on the corner of
    Lincoln and Main.

    We will live, minister, and pray in the name of
    Jesus.

    Amen.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Script #118


Beloved,

Don't miss the Christmas Cantata this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. in the sanctuary!

What a great opportunity to invite folks to worship and grow with us; and if you know someone who can't make it, she/he can always listen live via www.bnnsradio.com.

Children will worship with us throughout the service on Sunday.

Speaking of children, see #5 below (12/23).

7:20ers as always; but they can double-dip this Sunday!

Ho!  Ho!  Ho!  If you haven't heard about Doomsday 2012 and still wanna learn about it and maybe even participate, uh, before it's too late, call Karen at 815-544-6402 or write via kmac@belvpresbyterian.org.

A summary of one of the prayers from last Sunday:

    How thankful we are, Lord, for Your lavish
    love that cares for us before the womb and
    after the tomb.

    How thankful we are to entrust the soul of
    _____ into Your eternal embrace; knowing
    the next chapter of her life is never-ending
    and incalculably better than anything
    anyone can experience even in life that
    You created as "good" when in tandem
    with You.

    How thankful we are to entrust this part
    of _____'s journey with You and back to
    You and always with You with no doubts
    and complete confidence in Your lavish
    love for him along with...

    How thankful we are for what you are
    doing on the corner of Lincoln and Main
    as we have surrendered direction,
    leadership, deacons, elders, staff,
    worship, programs, and our very lives
    to You with the prayer to say what You
    want us to say and do what You want
    us to do and not interfere with the
    movement of Your Holy Spirit to make
    us increasingly...Christian...by walk
    more than talk.

    How thankful we are for un unfenced
    table of holy communion, exorcism of
    dark control needs, Pauline insight to
    consider others better than ourselves,
    and increasing opportunities to sacrifice,
    serve, and be Yours in all things at all
    times in all places with all people.

    We don't know much; but we know we
    love You; and that's all we really need
    to know as grateful recipients of Your
    lavish love sealed by Jesus in whose
    name we pray.

    Amen.

Blessings and Love!

Beloved,

Updates!

1. "Arise!  Shine!  Our Light has come!" The season of salting has ended and the season of shining has begun on the corner of Lincoln and Main!  It's related to the number seven and so much... Attend one of our four growing adult education classes on Sunday mornings and discover what that/He...

2. Pray with me for the release and special gifting for a FM license for www.bnnsradio.com.  It's related to update #1.  And if you haven't checked out the updated www.bnnsinternetradio.com website, what are you...?  The time is now.

3. If you've heard about Doomsday 2012 and want more information, call the church office at 815-544-6402 or write Karen at kmac@belvpresbyterian.org and she'll send the important/vital/yet-non-life-changing-but-encouraging-for-others information to you!  The train is about to leave the station on that one and you don't want to miss the invitation/opportunity to...

4. 815-544-3535.

5. It's not too early to share our Christmas Season "Special Services" Calendar with others in a 815-544-3535 kinda way:

    December 16
    7:20 a.m. Sacrament Service in Chapel
    Cantata in Sanctuary at 10:00 a.m.

    December 23
    7:20 a.m. Sacrament Service in Chapel
    Children's Program in Sanctuary at 10:00 a.m.

    December 24
    Christmas Eve Services at 4:00 and 11:00 p.m.
    4:00 p.m. service live  on www.bnnsradio.com

    December 30
    Worship Services at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.

6. I have been asked why we have two services on 12/16&23/12: Three reasons: (1) It's not my decision to make; (2) Life is full of choices and there are more and more and more opportunities on the corner of Lincoln and Main to experience greater intimacy with Him and ya just can't be everywhere all of the time; and (3) We are not inclined to pretend folks who attend one service will go to another service just 'cause we cancel one service to manipulate attendance at another service and, again, go back to #2 about "Life is full of choices and..." and let's just invite more folks to the services that you think...