First Presbyterian Church

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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Script #134


Beloved,

Some weekend highlights:

1. Family Fun Night on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.  Activities for everybody!  Bring finger food - whatever that means - and dessert to share.  Also, adults bring a white elephant; because our doors are now big enough to...

2. Go back to Script 133 for how you can support our Stonghold benefit team!

3. Worship on Sunday at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.

Blessings and Love!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Script #133


Beloved,

Always remember that you can stay tuned to His Holy Spirit moving among us in worship at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m. every Sunday and by reading the weekly worship bulletins, newsletters, and clicking on www.belvpresbyterian.org and www.bnnsradio.com.

This year's Stronghold "Golf Marathon" Benefit will be on June 6 and we need your support to exceed last year's nearly $2000 collected "extra mile" giving from First to help support the programs and ministry of Stronghold.  Billy Flott and I represented First last year and will be joined this year by family member Wayne Gustin and good friend Chuck Legvold who is senior pastor of Aurora's Westminster Presbyterian Church.  We will take one check to the event on June 6 on behalf of our family of faith at First.  As the Lord leads you to contribute, make your checks payable to "First Presbyterian Church" with a notation/memo for "Stronghold Benefit."

These are sobering days in our world, country, state, region, county, community, and all churches.  Everyone is being forced to adjust to these challenging financial times.  Simply, needs/desires exceed available funds.  While neighboring congregations have had to slash budgets, cut staff, and inhibit their missions, your generosity along with a few special gifts have enabled us to maintain most of what we believe we are called to be and do for Him.  However, we have not been immune to the challenges; and through the careful stewardship of our session through its Finance and Personnel Committees, we have made very, very, very minor adjustments juxtaposed to our real needs and evolving technology so that we have not had to severely slash our budget, cut staff, or inhibit our many continuing and new mission efforts.

Praise the Lord!

There has been one minor adjustment that has been made so easily because of technology.  Because of e-mail, texting, telephones, voicemails, answering machines, and so on, we have joined most churches in encouraging folks to use those avenues for contact and communication rather than have someone sit and answer the phone for extended periods of time. Surely, our goal is to have the church "open" 24/7/365 for care, counsel, communication, and contact; and our Mission Committee is praying and working on thatMoreover, our membership, leadership, and staff regularly check e-mail, texts, voicemails, answering machines, and the like and respond sooner than later to every call and contact.

A fruit/proof/evidence of living in/through/for the Spirit is patience; and we appreciate everyone's Spirit-focused-filled-filtering patience as we make these very, very, very minor adjustments to be faithful stewards of what He has entrusted to us.

Blessings and Love!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Script #132


Beloved,

As I pray and reflect more and more and more on the troubles in a local school district as a metaphor for what's ailing our country - go to www.koppdisclosure.com for more on that ("Killing Public Schools") - I am stunned by the rebellion against our Lord's simple solution to the problems.  People keep looking horizontally rather than vertically for the answer. 

Psst.

Put the commandments back up and start the day with a prayer and the pledge.

Parenthetically, I attended the Bucs glorious victory over Boylan last night; and I've often noticed how respectful the Titans are to their teachers, adults, and even visitors to their turf.

Psst.

Go to a game of any kind on their turf or attend a band concert or go to the start of every day at Boylan and you will see and hear the incarnate solution if, spiritually, your eyes and ears are working!

Unreal.

The solution is so simple.

Our rebellion remains so...dark.

I remember Tony Campolo confessing to me, "One of my favorite things is to watch supposedly smart people continue to act so stupidly."

Anyway, big surprises tomorrow in worship!

Don't miss Ash Wednesday in the chapel on, uh, Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

And take a look at a friend's comments below that really relate to...

Blessings and Love!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Script #131


Beloved,

Quickies:

1. If you'd like to receive some awesomely helpful devotionals to increase intimacy with our Lord, go to the bottom of the sample below and sign up.  Pastor Coley is extraordinarily blessed as a spiritual director;

2. I have never been "into" marriage workshops, seminars, films, and other syrupy and sentimental relational stuff that have always encouraged my feelings of inadequacy as a husband/creature.  Indeed, I became so tired of attending 'em and feeling guilty that I just stopped going.  Besides, I've been reading, studying, and practicing pre/mid/post-marital care and counseling for nearly 4 decades and...  Well, you know what I mean.  But then my wife made me watch a few of Mark Gungor's "Laughing Your Way to a Better Marriage!"  Excellent!  I've never been more impressed, educated, nurtured, and encouraged about marital amelioration than while watching these films.  BTW, what I really like about 'em is his incredibly articulate and clear examination of gender distinctives - understanding the female and male psyches.  Unreal!  Unless you're in a perfect marriage or not considering marriage or have no interactions with the gender other than your own, I recommend/urge your attendance this Saturday, February 9, in our Fellowship Hall from 9-Noon.  Really, you know I rarely pump up anything apart from our only indispensable activity/opportunity/privilege/desire-more-than-duty-in-praise/gratitude: worship!  Catch my drift? See you there; and

3. Speaking of worship, Sunday's coming and I hear that...

Blessings and Love!

P.S. I would like to emphasize something about Gungormania on Saturday.  This is helpful to anyone - not just people thinking about marriage or in a marriage - who wants to know how to relate better to the other gender as well as understanding theirs.  Have I been clear in saying how good...?

P.S.#2 BTW, you won't stick out either!  40+ have alread signed up to attend!  Call 815-544-6402 to let us know if you're coming, so we can have enough refreshments.  And if you forget to call, don't forget to come!


Thought for the Day....Keeping Good Company
Psalm 23:  "Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life..."

Beloved:

    Pride is a bad companion to have around.  So are unforgiveness, jealousy, resentment,and bitterness.  These "companions" will suck the life out of us and rob us of our joy and peace.  They are heavy loads to carry and keep us chained to a past event of hurt or failure, and make life pretty miserable.
    The Beloved Psalmist wrote of some other companions that I like to keep around! Follow in Hebrew is the Hebrew word radaph — which means “to pursue, to set off after someone in order to catch him. Goodness and Mercy will chase us down as we follow the Good Shepherd! When we know Him and we understand His ways, even the valley of the shadow of death brings us no fear!  Goodness will spread a table before us in the presence of our enemies! Goodness will extend a hand of favor and help to the down and out,and lift them up with the same grace and love that lifted us. When mercy is our companion, we are empowered to forgive and to show kindness to someone who wronged us. Mercy flows in and through us, freeing us from those oppressive companions that beat us down. When we know the Shepherd,life is sweet and full of joy.
    Even when God seems far away, His mercy and goodness are pursuing you to remind you that you are engraved on the palm of His hand and nothing can separate you from His love. When sin has separated you from His Presence, His Mercy steps in to redeem you and says "I won't let you go!"  When interruptions and trials seem more distressing and discouraging than victorious, His mercy and goodness will deliver you from the hand of the enemy and strengthen you in the trial. When you feel overwhelmed and unable, goodness steps in to remove the oppression and mercy relieves you of the heavy burden. 
    Life is too short to keep bad company!  Follow the Shepherd and become acquainted with Him. As you do, you will take on His nature and the companions of goodness and mercy will follow you wherever you go! Life gets sweeter when you're hanging out with the right companions!
Keeping good company,
Pastor Ella Jane Coley
PO Box 507
Bixby, OK 74008
918-366-4415

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