First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Script 130


I'm increasingly grieved by posers, including myself, who mock our Lord's high priestly prayer of John 17 by their distancing, dissing, divorcing, destroying, and damning attitudes/actions toward their sisters and brothers of one Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior.

While our family of faith is in the midst of great revival as the faithful remnant is being reinforced by trickles turning into rivers, I find myself tearing up then weeping and praying so much more and more and more not to add to the separations, segregations, and schisms of the demonically oppressed sometimes possessed whose blasphemy against the Holy Spirit so shamelessly and arrogantly makes their "Christianity" coincidental at best to the real thing personified by Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture.

Observing how the posers are killing our country and so many denominations and so many churches and so many..., I am exceedingly thankful - and vigilant in exercising my call as undershepherd - for the saints on the corner of Lincoln and Main who have enfleshed the call to reconciliation as noted in "Scratching the Surface of Reconciliation" (attached).

I call upon our family to continue to model Someone better; and invite family, friends, and foes to our chapel on Ash Wednesday (February 13 at 6:00 p.m.) for "Real Christians for Reconciliation."  As we consider His call to reconciliation and the stern warning to the irreconcilable, I'm reminded of a refrain from Randy Stonehill, "I've got news for you!  This is not a game!"  We are inviting everyone who wants to be reconcilable in obedience to our Lord - to prove kinship to Him - to come regardless of church, community, county, or...  Help stop the meanness, madness, and misery!  Worship with sisters and brothers who want to be used by Him as the good leaven that mixes in to make things better!  Leave the world's side!  Fix your focus on Him and forsake the distractions from Him!  Peace is possible!  Reconciliation is possible!  He wants everyone to be saved!  Join authentics at the table on 2/13 and become refreshed and refueled for the ministry of reconciliation!

Speaking of reconciliation, join the over 30 folks who are already signed up for Mark Gungor's "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" in Fellowship Hall on February 9 (Saturday) from 9:00 a.m. to a little after noon!  Call 815-544-6402 for reservations.

The prayer line is open: 815-544-3535.

Learn about the much, much, much more on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois by clicking on and

Blessings and Love!

P.S. A prayer from 1/20/13:

Father, Your Psalm-writer said, "Happy are the people who worship You."

Your Word - in Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture - is consistent.

You take pleasure in the pleasure of people provided people take pleasure in You.

You provide pleasure for people who take pleasure in You.

Food tastes better when You come first in our lives.

Relationships are better when You come first in our lives.

Everything just falls into place and turns out just fine when You come first in our lives.

We confess not always placing You first in our lives, families, churches, and country.

We confess knowing why we are prone to less than pleasure.

It's because we are so much more about pleasuring ourselves than placing You first in our lives; ignoring the truth that You take pleasure in the pleasure of people provided people take pleasure in You.

We want to be happy.

We want to be healthy.

We don't want to be afraid anymore.

And You say we can; as long as You come first.

Today, we say You come first.

Today, we thank You for forgiving what we have forfeited for too long.

Today, we worship You; especially for Jesus in whose name we pray.


Scratching the Surface



(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Restoring Relationships)

Some people like fights more than friendships.

A woman came to me and asked about the agenda for a meeting. 

I said, “It looks like we’ve got at least one tough topic coming up.”

“Oh, goodie,” she said, “I just love a good fight!”

It was one of the most un-non-Christian things that I’ve ever heard in a church.

Sadly, there are people who like to fight, hit, hurt, beat, batter, bruise, bite, and butcher; betraying the darkness in their souls.

There are people who like to distance, divorce, and destroy.

Pride, control needs, lusts, idolatries, hatreds, and other deeply dark pathologies  masquerading as arrogant and condescending self-righteousness often cause segregations, separations, and schisms.

It’s natural.

Fortunately, Jesus has provided a path to restoring relationships in Matthew 18:15-17:

1.     Try to work it out face to face.

2.     If that doesn’t work, bring along a few fair and objective
folks who will tell the truth to both of you while insuring
neither of you is tempted to lie about the conversation
to others at a later date.

3.     If that doesn’t work, try a committee, board, or bunch of
good folks to sort it all out.

4.     If that doesn’t work, isolate and avoid them.

Unfortunately, while our Lord commands us to love and seek reconciliation with even the unlovable people in our lives, some folks are determined to remain irrational, irregular, irascible, and irreconcilable.

God has another plan for them: “Keep up your guard against anyone who is causing conflicts and enticing others with teachings contrary to what you have already learned.  If there are people like that in your churches, stay away from them.  These kinds of people are not truly serving our Lord Jesus…They have devoted their lives to satisfying their own appetites.  With smooth talking and a well-rehearsed blessing, they lead a lot of unsuspecting people down the wrong path” (Romans 16:17-18).
In other words, some people playing out deeply dark pathologies with no desire for reconciliation must be identified, ignored, and isolated lest they infect the rest of the body of believers with their disease.

There’s no place for a rotten apple in a barrel of freshly picked ones.

While our Lord set the example for always inviting, welcoming, including, and loving, He also said there are evil ones who slip into churches like wolves in sheep’s clothing with no desire to be reconciled to Him which is exposed by their irrational, irregular, irascible, and irreconcilable behavior with the rest of His family; causing Him to conclude, “If someone is inhospitable to you or refuses to listen to your testimony, leave that house or town and shake the dust from your feet” (Matthew 10:14).

Allowing the irrational, irregular, irascible, and irreconcilable to infect a church with darkness brings a stern warning from our Lord: “If anyone is a cause of stumbling to one of these little ones who have faith in Me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung round his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

Jesus declares the sternest of warnings for people who are irretrievably irreconcilable: “If you forgive…, your heavenly Father will forgive you…But if you do not forgive…, neither will your Father forgive you” (Matthew 6:14-15).

Restored relationships reflect a restored relationship: “As you do it for them, you do if for Me” (see Matthew 25:31ff.).

When we are reconciled to Him, we are reconcilable with others.

A passion for reconciliation shows intimacy with Jesus.

It’s belief confirmed by behavior.

Remembering we must be reconcilable with everyone to prove reconciliation with our Lord, we will remain reconcilable with even the irrational, irregular, irascible, and irreconcilable; knowing, sometimes with some people, it’s better to talk to God about them than to talk to them about God.

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…


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Script #129


As the flow of His living waters increases so awesomely on the corner of Lincoln and Main during these reviving times, we praise Him for the increasing radiance to be a beacon for Jesus and safe haven for everyone.

But have you ever wondered why some folks don't make the trip?

Have you ever wondered why some people don't take advantage of the many opportunities to increase intimacy with Him and show their intimacy with Him by calmness, fruit (see Galatians 5), desire for more, and a passion for reconciliation?

Anyone with a heart for His as noted in Luke 15 has often wondered why people slip through the cracks and out of the family.

C.S. Lewis wrote about people who see the bus to heavenly experiences but don't get on (The Great Divorce).

Have you ever wondered why some folks grow and grow and grow in their relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit while others trickle out because of something or someone with no heavenly correspondence to Someone?

Read the insightful commentary below from The Vine Today for more on the preceding; and then share it with...

Some current highlights from the corner of Lincoln and Main:

1. Worship every Sunday morning with unfenced Holy Communion at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.

2. Four adult educational opportunities every Sunday at 8:30 a.m., great youth programs, musical opportunities of inclusion not exclusion, Midweek, and so much, much, much more.  Go to for more information.

3. Movie night tonight: Fireproof at 6:00 p.m.

4. "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" on February 9 (Saturday) starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending around noon.  Again, go to for more information.

5. Check out the many wonderful programs via!

6. Not sure; but there may be a special recording session this Sunday at 9:45 a.m. in the sanctuary related to the 12/10/12 edition of  If not this coming Sunday, soon!

7. And so much, much, much more!

Forward this as appropriate!

Blessings and Love!

P.S. Spread the word about Ash Wednesday!  FMI, go to and!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Script #128


1. Don't miss this week's Midweek (Wednesday) and Movie Night (Thursday)!  For more information about opportunities and schedules, go to or

2. Speaking of links, don't miss February 9 (Saturday morning through lunch).  Yes, see Script 127 or go to or FMI.

3. And, yes, please feel, uh, compelled to forward the below.

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Script #127


1. We're still praying help related to script 126 (below).

2. Four great adult education offerings every Sunday!

3. Don't forget 1/13 (see below) after the second worship service!

4. Mark off 2/9 (Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) for "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage!"  Breakfast and childcare will be provided.
Call now (815-544-6402) for sign-ups.  This is a great opportunity to invite other couples to get to know the family! 

5. Speaking of marriage, learn how to fireproof yours by coming to movie night on Thursday, 1/17, at 6:00 p.m. (Youth Room) for Fireproof.  I've seen it four times!  It's instructive and inspirational and a wonderful prelude to 2/9.

And don't forget to check and for the latest...

Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Script #126a


An officer and member of our family of faith was assaulted at home last night in Rockford.  It happened not long after midnight; and we talked and prayed not long after that and he is doing well and buoyed by his faith.

Because of his deep faith, we talked of the horrifying experience within the context of Romans 8:28; and reached a similar conclusion that our Lord may be leading him to relocate closer to the church because of his heart's desire to make our gathering room increasingly available to folks suffering from the elements, needing a place to meet with other believers, and increasing our call to be a beacon and safe haven for Jesus.

So we are looking for something - an apartment or shared residency or something akin to that - with his consent for me to say he has budgeted $500+ a month for rent.

If you know of something, please let us know asap.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Script #125


1. As we "let go and let Him" on the corner of Lincoln and Main, there are so many miracles almost every day!  For example, if you were in worship yesterday, you heard the powerful story of Jodie Harrison.  If you missed it/her, go to the archived version via and catch up!  Anyway, I visited a member of our family of faith earlier this morning who was not in worship yesterday and she/he shared almost the same thing with me that Jodie shared with me nearly 30 years ago!  Praise the Lord for authentic healing!

2. Don't miss the opportunity on 1/13/13 after the second worship service (see below)!

3. Don't be spooked!  Check out the attached scratch on Biblical not hocus-pocus-simple-Simon-says spiritual warfare!

Blessings and Love!

Scratching the Surface


Spiritual Warfare

(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Victory)

It’s possible to distinguish the Lord’s light from darkness.

It’s possible to distinguish people living in the Lord’s light from people living in darkness.

God and His accomplices build bridges, relationships, friendships, and families; forgiving, reconciling, healing, helping, inviting, welcoming, including, elevating, and encouraging.

God says, “Come to Me, all and everyone who are weary and burdened, and I will take care of you and give you…”

God’s accomplices cooperate with His caring call.

Satan, the architect of darkness, and its accomplices tear down, pick apart, burn bridges, fracture families, separate, segregate, distance, degrade, denigrate, devastate, and seek to

Satan says, “You’re no good.  You’re bad.  You’re useless.  You’re not invited, welcomed, included, or loved.  You don’t belong.”

Here’s the good news: “Darkness cannot overcome the Lord’s light…My children, you have come from God and have conquered these spirits because the One who lives within you is greater than the one in this world…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.”

Of course, as Luther cautioned, Satan is “a clever trickster” and its accomplices are sneaky, secretive, slimy, and slithering among the faithful like sleeper cells: “It/they come as angels of light.”  Jesus said, “They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Denise Frangipane: “Satan is a master of illusions.  He plays upon our weaknesses and exaggerates our problems.”  It/they come at our moments of vulnerability.

Certainly, victory is guaranteed for people who really believe in Jesus and are intimate with Him; or as Francis Frangipane wrote, “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.”

Moretheless, Paul used the metaphor of a Roman soldier preparing for battle to remind us of how/why we can live victoriously (read Ephesians 6:10-20).

Here’s an example of how to pray with Paul’s metaphor as a guide:

            Lord, I thank You for providing all I need to live victoriously!

            You are all I need to live victoriously!

            Aware of the dark influences conspiring to move my mind from You,
            I close the psychic door; barricading it with the cross of Christ and
            sealing it with His blood.  Knowing You have granted volition to me,
            I only open this door for You.

            I wear the helmet of salvation which is lined with the promises of Your
            affection and protection.  Making all thoughts captive to You and
            protecting my mind which is a battleground for spiritual warfare, this
            helmet covers my ears, eyes, and mouth so I do not hear, see, or speak
            in unGodly ways.  I will not entertain anyone/anything that distracts me
            from Your holiness.

            I place the breastplate of righteousness over my heart which is the
            wellspring of my life.  This is not my goodness.  It is Your great
            graciousness that protects me.

            I wear Your belt of truth.  Your truth protects me.

            I wear Your gospel shoes of peace; therefore, I can stand firm, balanced,
            and always ready to follow You.  Firmly footed, I look up, stand up,
            speak up, and act up for You.

            I take the shield of faith, my trust and confidence in You as saving Lord,
            to protect me from the fiery darts, deceptions, lies, assaults, accusations,
            and all other dark strategies.  With the hinges of this shield, I am linked
            to all of the saints for protection of family, home, possessions, and

            I wield the Sword of the Spirit which is the Bible.  The Bible contains
            Your pure prescriptions for living victoriously.  Defensively, I can
            distinguish Your light from darkness because of the Bible.  Offensively,
            I can bring Your love, light, and salt into the world because of the Bible.

            I wrap myself in the mantle of praise because You “inhabit” the praises
            of Your people.  As my praises go up, Your blessings come down.

            I place Your cross before me as a banner and guide.  I have decided to
            follow You!  No turning back!  The cross before me!  The world behind
            me!  No turning back!  Though none go with me, yet I will follow You!
            No turning back!

            Thank You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for protecting and preserving
            me from here to eternity as I pray in Your holy, holy, holy name.  Amen.

In short, as Luther taught us to sing victoriously, “One little word shall fell
him!…Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus, it is He!…And He must win
the battle!”

Or as many have done so victoriously when it/they come knocking at the door, “Jesus, please get that for me.  Thank You!”

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?
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…

Scratching the Surface



(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Visiting the Sick)

Jesus said, “As you do it for others, you do it for Me…I was sick and you visited Me.”

While everyone is called to Matthew 25 ministries, some family of faith members are especially gifted for hospital, nursing home, and shut-in visitation ministry.

This is a brief, incomplete, and indicative not exhaustive guide to visiting the sick.


While hospitals and nursing homes are conduits of God’s miracles of modern medicine and despite the noble intentions of caring administrators, doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, aides, and volunteers, being in a hospital or nursing home is always inconvenient, discomforting, and disconcerting; and it’s often disappointing, depressing, and filled with anxieties about life never being the same again. 

Waiting for test results, bed pans, sitz baths, snoring roommates, commotion in the halls at all hours, unfamiliar food, needles, tubes, strangers coming and going and invading personal space, and more than hints of mortality add to the stress.

Often necessary yet usually unpleasant, nobody looks forward to being shut-in or confined to a hospital or nursing home.


1. Prepare for your visit with prayer; trusting the Lord for the right words at the right times along with a comforting countenance.

2. Try to learn something about what’s going on before visiting; but do not ask questions about the diagnosis or prognosis during the visit!

3. Beware of “diarrhea of the mouth” or talking too much and listening too little!  When in doubt, listen!  When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything!  A listening ministry is often more helpful than a verbal testimony.  The length and agenda of the visit is not for you to determine.

4. Do not force your way into the person’s personal space!  If the door is closed or there’s a “No Visitors” sign on the door, you can leave a note.

5. Do not visit anyone unless the joy of Jesus is in you and it/He shows! 

6. Stay away from inappropriate clichés like, “I know how you feel.”  You don’t; unless you have had the same challenge.  Regardless, let the person tell you how she/he feels and don’t tell them how you feel unless asked.  Remember, it’s not about you.  It’s about the person who is being visited.

7. Don’t encourage false hopes/expectations!  Don’t declare what only God knows!

8. Don’t overstay your visit or exhaust the person.

9. If she/he already has visitors, introduce yourself and, exercising some common sense, excuse yourself as appropriate.

10. Share your faith if asked.  Again, the length and agenda of the visit is not for you to decide.

11. Stand or sit where the person can see you effortlessly; and never sit or lean on the person’s bed.

12. Do not whisper to family, friends, hospital staff, or anyone within sight of the person.

13. Never question the person about the details of their sickness; and never question or criticize the treatment, institution, staff, or anything related to the hospital or nursing home.  If you have concerns, bring them up to appropriate staff out of the presence and hearing of the person.

14. Before leaving, suggest prayer; but do not pray too long or loudly.

I’ll never forget hearing about the child who said, “I like Jesus because He is God with skin on.”  You are the enfleshment of His love in the hospital, nursing home, or with a shut-in; or as the apostle aspired, “It is no longer I who live but it is Jesus who lives in/through me.”

Mother Teresa got it/Him: “Let us remember that Jesus has said: ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it to Me.’ Just think – that little smile that you give to a lonely person, that hand you give to a blind person to cross the road, that little bit of food you sacrifice from someone who is hungry, you do it for Him.”

Friday, January 4, 2013

Script #124


1. We will ordain/install new officers during the second worship service this Sunday!

2. Everyone is invited to a "Visitation Training Workshop" on January 13 immediately following the second worship service in Fellowship Hall!  Docket:

    1. Why is this ministry so important?
    2. Who is qualified for this ministry?
    3. Should we expect all deacons to be
        involved in visitation ministries?
    4. The dangers of duplication and
        playing pastor.
    5. Who qualifies to be visited?
    6. "Do...Don't..."
    7. Q&A

    My guess is the workshop will be less than 90 minutes.

3. "Dunkin' Donuts Daze" will be posted on sometime later today; and you just may want to...

4. Begin 2013 praying with the family: 815-544-3535.

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Script #123


Praise the Lord!

Midweek resumes today!

For more information, go to or call 815-544-6402.

Also, begin the new year in prayer as a family: 815-544-3535.

Blessings and Love!