First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I pray your new year is filled with the increasing graces of increasing intimacy with Him through worship, Bible study, sacrament, Sunday School, youth group, musical opportunities, mission, fellowship, and...

This Sunday's second service will feature a powerful yet brief and extraordinarily encouraging clip between the message and sacrament and there will be a precious moment in both services not to mention...

The ordination and installation of officers is included in Sunday's second service.

All Midweek activities resume on January 7.  That's next Wednesday.

Again, I pray a happy 2015 for everyone; and it will be extraordinarily happy if holy (see first sentence-paragraph).

Blessings and Love!

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Family and Friends,

With so much going on in our world, country, churches, and all of the below that seems so out of control, it's good to know God is sovereign over all that was, is, will be, and...more!

My friend the OGD who also happens to be the most articulate "Reformed" theologian in my experience has written some powerfully encouraging words about the strong calm sanity generated by trusting in our sovereign God (see below).

Annnnnnnd the revival on the corner of L&M accelerates as our trust increases (see attached).

Speaking of trust, we have our annual meeting to elect officers after the second service on Sunday (11/30); and everyone who has been, continues to be, will be, or thinks she/he may be an officer is invited to attend our "New/Used Officer Training" in the bored aka board room immediately following the annual meeting.  This is a good time to refresh our understanding of the essentials of our faith (profession) and how we pray, plan, and proceed to enflesh 'em (polity).

Speaking of enfleshing essentials, Jesus said, "As you do it for/to them, you do it for/to Me."

Our shared Compassion Closet in concert with our sisters/brothers at St. James is distributing 50+ food boxes a month and our last Compassion Meal for the hungry (yesterday) hosted 48 friends and extended family members with 8 more meals being delivered.

It's hard to keep up with the expanding enfleshment of essentials on the corner of L&M; which is why I urge you to stay tuned via weekly bulletins, regular newsletters,, and

Annnnnnnd it all begins, deepens, and blossoms as we increasingly trust our sovereign Father, saving Son Jesus, and sustaining Holy Spirit.

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


While it's important to stay tuned to the plethora of announcements and opportunities for ministry via weekly bulletins, regular newsletters,, and, here are two timely announcements/opportunities:

1. The annual Salvation Army "Community Thanksgiving Meal" for the hungry and homeless of Belvidere and Boone County will be on 11/25; and we have the privilege of providing five servers for the first shift commencing at 4:30 p.m.  We already have three volunteers.  If you are interested - first come, uh, first serve - please call Karen at 815-544-6402; and

2. Our new officers will be nominated and elected on 11/30 after the second service.  "New/Used Officer Training" will be held that same day after the congregational meeting in the bored aka board room.  Somebody'll provide coffee and snacks; but ya may wanna bring a brown bag.  This is kinda mandated for new officers; but also encouraged as a refresher for continuing officers and our Nominating Committee and as an introduction for anyone who would like a crash course in our profession and polity.  Simply, we concentrate on the essentials of our faith and how decisions are made to honor Him.

BTW, I'll never forget Tony being confronted, "I don't like the way that you pray."  He replied, "Listen, lady, I wasn't talking to you!"



My friend and often mentor the OGD has written some wonderful commentary on prayer (see below).

Blessings and Love!

Monday, November 10, 2014


Permit me to amplify an opportunity for our family of faith on Wednesday.

While all of our Wednesday Midweek programs will proceed as scheduled this Wednesday, a prayer service organized by Diane Anderson "to pray and remember persecuted Christians" will be hosted by Immanuel Lutheran Church commencing at 7:00 p.m.

Though not significant and almost totally irrelevant, I have been asked to participate; meaning I will leave Deeper Discipleship early enough to get to ILC for the service.  Friends and family who attend DD can then decide if they will stay for the last few minutes of our weekly dive into, uh, deeper discipleship or drive over for the service. 

Noting our Mission Committee has been leading us in prayer at both Sunday worship services every Sunday for persecuted Christians around the world for the past few years, I accepted the invitation to participate in Wednesday's gathering in a John 17 kinda way to connect with ILC and others.

Any time we can be a part of tearing down idolatrous fences that separate us from what our Lord lived, died, rose, and reigns to accomplish among His children is a blessed opportunity.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, October 13, 2014


While tempted to comment on the political and prejudicial intrigue related to the current adult dysfunctions in School District 100 - and if I were inclined to try to explain that to folks, they wouldn't want to understand anyway - I ask us, humbly, to surrender the increasing adult dysfunctions in the district to the Lord so that those entrusted with the academic, athletic, and character-building prowess of children entrusted to them will remember their baptismal promises concomitant to Matthew 18:6.

If there is a strike this week with all adult leadership involved being culpable, the intrigue will be obvious and the fracturing of Belvidere catalyzed by you know what will accelerate.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, October 6, 2014


Now that we've gone through the first full cycle of fall musical offerings, I praise the Lord with you for Becca, Bev, Karen, Mona, and Dan's leadership and everyone involved in our musical ministries that align our hearts with each other in/through/for Him.

Awesome in the highest sense of that word!

My sentiments have been echoed by so many in our family.

Indeed, candidly, all of us know not everybody appreciates every style of music; however, and praise the Lord with me for this miracle, I am hearing from folks who never thought they would like certain styles who are now praising the Lord for the diversity of our musical offerings!

Praise the Lord!

On another note, there is a sad rumor going around (click on for more on that) that I believe comes from dark inspirations to distract us from the awesomely increasing peace, unity, and purity being experienced on the corner of L&M as we pray and labor to remain faithfully as a part of the remnant in the PCUSA.

On another note, while I know the rumor is meant for bad, the Lord has allowed it to be used for good in providing the privilege for me to repeat how much I love you and remain loyal to you as your undershepherd to the Good Shepherd.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, September 29, 2014


Important Updates and Opportunities:

1. Culver's Night is tonight!  That's 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at, uh, Culvers!  Enjoy dinner while supporting a local business and our youth group will receive a % of the take!

2. Don Skaar, my favorite octogenarian pastor who attends our first service on Sundays, writes a weekly devotional for us that's included in our bulletins.  He has also made himself available ("If you want to talk Jesus, call me at 779-552-8138!").  Examples of his wisdom shared with me at Boone County Jail last Thursday as we counseled incarcerated children of God (see Matthew 25): "Only true Christians are persecuted and all true Christians are persecuted...The problem with too many church members is they aren't really hungry for Jesus.  They are fans of Jesus but not followers of Jesus!"  Whoa!  As I've said, my wisdom compared to his is like comparing a BB gun to heavy artillery!  Are you hungry!  If so, call Don today and be blessed.  Also, consider recommending him to folks who you know who...

3. Fireside dinner and show on November 16!  Hear more about it this coming Sunday!  Of course, it was in the bulletin last Sunday.

4. Our Compassion Closet is very, very, very active and very, very, very much in need of extra-mile-giving support!  Many local churches are now sending members and drop-ins to us.  While we are hoping they will kick in a little if you know what I mean, we will not depend upon them.  It is our privilege to feed Jesus a Matthew 25 kinda way.

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Dan Holmes and "Joyful Noise" return to lead worship (2nd service) this Sunday!





BTW, if you don't get the "Joyful Noise" name for our praise team, psst, read Psalm 100.

More on Psalm 100 on 11/23 (both services).

Blessings and Love!

Friday, August 22, 2014


That's this Sunday after the second service for chancel choir!

See #227 below!

Also, a family member of First has been through some hard times and needs our help.

If our Lord has blessed you in these tough times so you can bless this family member and her family, please consider dropping off any of the following at the church or call Karen at 815-544-6402 for other ways that you can bless Him in a Matthew 25 kinda way:  groceries, gas $, new clothing for middle school boy (shoe size 9, shorts size 14-16, XL shirts, XL sweatshirts), and replenishing the Compassion Closet so the family can come for much-needed supplies.  WalMart gift cards would be very helpful if shopping is inconvenient.  My study will be open for drop-offs on Sunday from 5:30 a.m. - 9:40 a.m.  It is locked during the second service to help younger folks resist the temptation to reconfigure the computer!  Karen can help coordinate your generosity during the week!

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


If the Lord has gifted you to sing His praises in our chancel choir, you will be called/compelled to join us at the informational gathering and potluck in Fellowship Hall after the second service.

Bring something to share!

Blessings and Love!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

People from, uh, around keep asking what's going to happen next with the call to remnant.
As my favorite Special Olympics world golf champion says when I ask if I'll ever make a putt again, "Who knows?"
All I know is the fainthearts can't dissuade the bravehearts from looking up, standing up, speaking up, and acting up.
A common refrain from moi lately: "Whether you are an American or Christian in America who sees the drifting from the roots of our strength and security, this is no time to hide, run away, or quit!  In fact, that's no longer an option, unless, of course, you'd like to be a part of the 'silent majority' enabling darkness.  I always loved going to my favorite monastery in Ava, Missouri; but that was for extended rest, renewal, and reconnection with you know who.  He never called us to be safe!  It's like ships.  They are safe in the harbor.  That's not why ships are built."
BTW, check out the new signage around the church; and watch for something forthcoming in my favorite newspaper.
Check out the below!
And, most important, worship!
Blessings and Love!
P.S. I think folks are starting to get the, uh, message on my pony's plate.
P.S.2 - For those lamenting the dropping of the ball for this year's patriotic service at the Community Building, I am praying/working with a very special organization that will provide a very special speaker and...for next year's observance/worship!

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's official!

Session has voted unanimously and enthusiastically to declare the corner of L&M as a part of "the remnant church in the PCUSA."

For more, go to today's for expanded coverage.

Also, you will want to check which may also be carrying the column from

For more on remnant, go to the current edition of

Blessings and Love!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mark your calendars, mes amis!

My favorite former mayor and elder/messenger on the corner of L&M is planning with our bravehearted Gideons for a "Back to School" District 100 and beyond community worship service on August 17 at 5:00 p.m. in Belvidere's community building with a very, very, very special speaker!  Call, cart, compel, children and more to kick-off the school year for the glory of the Lord!

Psst.  I hear there's going to be a...

And, yes, Deeper Discipleship, continues every Wednesday in our Gathering Room from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, June 23, 2014


As noted below for context, there will be a special edition of Deeper Discipleship this Wednesday from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in our Gathering Room (again, see below).

If you know anyone in our family who does not receive these scripts or does not go to or because they ain't into cyberspace, please tell them about this special edition of DD as announced at both services on Sunday just in case, you know, they were on a picnic or something.

The meeting, as noted below, will have plenty of time for Q&A and, more important, prayer, along with a wonderful summary of all GA actions prepared by my friend Jack, shared suggestion to Blackhawk Presbytery for a special meeting of the judicatory asap, and some suggestions from moi on how to remain faithfully.

Also, I made a grievous error in not mentioning as one of the best sources along with,, and for investigating the actions and possible ramifications of this GA for the franchise as well as family of faith on the corner of L&M.

Blessings and Love!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Response to General Assembly (Belvidere, Illinois)


This is a special edition of L&M Undershepherd Script (221).

With permission/encouragement of the elders of First Presbyterian Church in Belvidere, Illinois, the following statement will be read at both services on Sunday (6/22/14), included in our next newsletter, posted on and, and broadcast over  We are also giving permission to,, and to post it at their discretion as an encouragement to sister particular churches and judicatories within the PCUSA who are called to remain faithfully:

"You've probably heard disturbing news in recent days from Detroit about our denomination.  Our elders remain steadfast in declaring, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.'  While our denomination increasingly drifts from Jesus by the book, we will, depending upon God's grace, order our life and ministry on the corner of Lincoln and Main with prayer, proclamation, and passion for Jesus by the book.  While confessing our sins against our Lord and each other, we will not affirm, condone, or cooperate with any actions of our denomination that insult God's holiness as personified by Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture.  When we are wrong about Jesus by the book, we will confess and repent.  When we are right about Jesus by the book, we will remain steadfast.  Please join us in praying for the knowledge, wisdom, strength, and courage to look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for Jesus alone as above all others."

If you would like to investigate the results of the recent meeting of General Assembly in Detroit, I recommend,, and

A special edition of our weekly Deeper Discipleship (Wednesdays from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. in the summer) this Wednesday (6/25/14) will allow for Q&A and prayer regarding the ramifications of GA decisions for our family of faith.

Personally as your undershepherd to the Good Shepherd, I remind everyone that I have spoken and written consistently and extensively about my call to remain faithfully and I remain faithful to that call in the spirit of Luther, Bonhoeffer, McCord, Gillespie, and others concomitant to our Lord's high priestly prayer in John 17.

I will not hide, run away, or quit.

I will salt, shine, and allow for correction according to Master Jesus according to our manual Holy Scripture.

My trust is in the Lord alone (Psalm 62) whose ultimate triumph is certain regardless of our/my/their stupidities, sins, and apostasies.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, June 16, 2014


While holding our breath that winter is finally over, spring has come to our music ministries on the corner of Lincoln and Main!

With hints of what's coming in the fall over the past month or so, we're praising the Lord for the fresh and extraordinarily gifted fidelities of Becca, Bev, Karen, Lydia, Mona, Dan, our sound crew, so many others, and you as we receive/celebrate music as a gift from our Lord to align hearts with Him and each other.

Bev and Mona continue to provide musical offerings for our first service and lead us in hymn-singing during the second service.

Becca directs our Doves and will also be directing our youth bells.

Karen directs our Chancel Choir and will also be directing our adult bells.

Lydia is our invaluable volunteer for all of the above!

And Dan returns to lead Joyful Noise - our evolved praise team/band!

Of course, everyone's working together from the same page for the glory and praise of Jesus!


Read Psalm 100; and 150 while you're at it!

Speaking of Joyful Noise, watch for new names for our bells and maybe even...

We're planning a big potluck sometime in August to gather all of our music ministries staff, sound crew, volunteers, and anyone who's interested for an evening of fellowship and scheduling.

Stay tuned to the bulletins, newsletters,, and

Blessings and Love!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mes amis,

Some don't forgets:

1. Renee's Graduation Open House is this Sunday after the second service!

2. "Feeding the Children" begins on Monday!  Ask Della, Karen, or Tim about how you can help!

3. See below about important praise team meeting!

4. Keep watching for news about big meeting in August including all musicians and choirs and bell and...for scheduling and opportunities!

5. VBS begins Sunday!  Awesome set, decorations, be seen on Sunday!  Really, this is awesome!  You gotta invite neighbors, relatives, and...  Don't cheat any child of this great opportunity to feel the love of Jesus through VBS!

Blessings and Love!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Exciting News!

Dan Holmes, our Praise Team Leader, has called an organizational meeting for Wednesday, June 11, at 7:00 p.m.

Come and envision and hear the schedule and opportunities!

This is for continuing, former, and future praise team folks!

As you know, we don't fence anything from anyone on the corner of L&M!  So if you're experienced or not, interested, nudged, or..., this meeting is for you!

Dan goes on tour through England this summer; so this is a really important opportunity to hear Him calling through him and get on board!

Blessings and Love!

Some highlights for this week:

1. Don't forget the open house for Renee Runyan after the second service on Sunday (6/8).  Renee just graduated from Olivet and will begin teaching music in the Carrollton School District this fall;

2. Speaking of this coming Sunday, VBS starts!  6:00-8:30 p.m.!

3. Summer Food Training at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

4. PW Potluck and Bingo on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

5. BBs continue on Tuesdays (8:00-10:00 a.m.) and Deeper Discipleship resumes this Wednesday (5:30-7:00 p.m.)

Blessings and Love!

Friday, May 16, 2014



1. The King's Men Four Quartet will be appearing in our sanctuary this Saturday for a concert commencing at 6:30 p.m. with a free dinner of chicken and ribs preceding the concert at 5:00 p.m.  For more information, go to and

2. Deeper Discipleship resumes in our Gathering Room on June 4 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. avec goodies!

3. There were two pews after the first two pews on the right or left depending upon how you're looking that were only half-filled on Mother's Day!  That means the anguish/angst/aggravations of the grays continue on the corner of L&M.  While clipped a little on Easter Monday, it appears in a SB Convention Pastors kinda way that the next opportunity will be December 24; unless, of course, there is an unexpected miracle on June 15 which is the lowest festival on the Christian calendar.  If you're not familiar with your role in overcoming the grays, go to, go to the right column of archives, click on April, then click on "Retirement" for clues.

See you Saturday and Sunday!

Blessings and Love!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Here's a MD devotional from one of my favorite devotional writers.

Blessings and Love!

Thought for the Day...Tribute to Mothers
John 19:26 "When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"


    Of all the beautiful treasures in this world, surely one of the most lovely of all is a Mother, especially a Mother who walks with our Lord!
    It is said there's not a place on this earth that God's love and a Mother's prayer have not been!  There is a natural tendency in a woman that can nurture a hurting heart or a broken body back to  health.  It's a mother's kisses that somehow make the "boo boo's better and takes the sting of pain away.  It's a Mother's tender words that somehow lessen the heavy burdens that life can throw on us.  A Mother sees the heart and believes in us when others would through us away or put us down. Her heart breaks when she sees her children going down paths that are destructive, and it's her prayers that keep the enemy of her children's souls at bay.  It is also said that the closest love to a Mother's!
    Mother's are so important to this world that Abba Father gave His own son a Mother.  She nurtured Him, prayed over Him, watched carefully and guarded over His destiny.  She rejoiced when He took first breath and wept when He breathed His last.  She was there, guiding the Son of God into His calling at the wedding of Canaan when He performed His first recorded miracle.  In His final moments on the cross, our Savior was thinking of His own dear Mother, still taking care of as He hung suspended between heaven and earth.
    To all the Mothers, the Mothers-to-be, and to those who have Mothers in Heaven...we honor and celebrate your impact and influence on the world.  Kiss the boo boos!  Nurture your children! Touch them with gentleness and admonish in love!  But most importantly, plant the seeds of eternal life into your children's hearts!  Your influence in their lives will carry over into eternity!
God bless Mothers!
Pastor Ella Jane Coley

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mes amis,


1. Rummage Sale on corner of L&M from Thursday - Saturday (8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. except Saturday when shop closes at 1:00 p.m.).  Thanks to everyone who has donated and helped!!!

2. King's Men Four Quartet coming to corner of L&M on May 17.  Free dinner at 5:00 p.m. with concert to commence 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary.  For more information, call 815-544-6402 or check out and

3. Deeper Discipleship is on vacation until Wednesday, June 4 when DD resumes its annual summer hours in the Gathering Room from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. with goodies!

4. Remembering this Sunday is Mother's Day - :) - the puzzle of the grays continues!  Grays were trimmed after Easter Day; and MD is a great opportunity to solve the puzzle of the grays before December 24.  If you're not familiar with your role in the puzzle, go to, go to the right column of archives, click on April, and then click on "Retirement" to solve the puzzle!  While we're eternally more about Jesus by the book than franchises on the corner of L&M, this puzzle reminds me of some SB Convention preachers and their attempts to increase...

Blessings and Love!

Friday, May 2, 2014


God keeps transforming our mistakes, miscues, murmurings, and more of the same into miracles because the heart for Him on the corner of L&M grows bigger and bigger and bigger because of our increasing intimacy with Him!

Praise the Lord!

Important updates:

1. Not only are some folks mad at me because I don't do Facebook (click on right now for more on that), people who have been trying to communicate avec moi via are frustrated because they think I've been ignoring their e-mails.  Nope!  I just dropped that e-mail address several weeks or months (forget) ago.  It came to my attention only yesterday as I missed an important conference call along with an inquiry from a L&M family member because they sent information/inquiries via the address that's kaput.  I have only one e-mail address:  While I announced the drop, I am sorry for not noting that more often.  I ask your forgiveness;

2. Don't forget the invitation to our May 18 love gift!  See script 212 via for more on that and watch for a special mailing next week;

3. Next Wednesday is this season's last Midweek before next season;

4. Deeper Discipleship will be taking a little vacation and will resume on June 4 with its annual summer hours in the Gathering Room: 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. with goodies!  We will complete our look at our risen Lord's letters to the seven churches of the Apocalypse and then...go deeper;

5. If you haven't heard "The Old Gray Dog Ponders" on every Friday at 11:30 a.m., you are missing programs honoring Him by the book!  Dr. Tuckett is the most articulate, consistent, compelling, and complete Reformed theologian known to me.  I am a BB gun compared to his heavy artillery!  If you cannot listen live on Fridays, remember you can always click on and go to the archives to catch up;

6. Mountaintop Cell(ular) Ministry, a prayer time patterned after Trappist monks at Ava, Missouri's Assumption Abbey, is expanding its wineskin to make room for the increasing volume of prayer requests.  Previously scheduled on Wednesdays from noon - 3:00 p.m., MCM is now a part of the daily life and ministry on the corner of L&M as compelled and calendar viable.  So just keep sending those prayer requests to who prints them out for me - confidentially as Karen passes them on to me without reading them and they are deleted/destroyed after every MCM - as part of MCM.  This expanding prayer wineskin will be announced via PEP Talks,,,, and our bulletins and newsletters; and

7. Look up to Jesus!  Stand up for Jesus!  Speak up for Jesus!  Act up for Jesus!

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, May 1, 2014


With reminders about wonderful opportunities like this Thursday's National Day of Prayer in Belvidere and Sunday's Youth Fundraiser Breakfast (scroll down to script 211 for more information), session has given permission to me to provide these important updates for you about our musical ministries on the corner of L&M:

1. With gratitude to our Lord for Lisa's service to us with a heart, efforts, and intentions to honor Jesus by the book through music, we have accepted her resignation as Director of Music and Arts along with her gracious decision to remain with us until the end of May;

2. You will be invited by letter within the next few weeks to contribute to a love gift in recognition of her service that I will present to her during the second service on May 18;

3. Becca will continue to direct our Doves;

4. Karen Kahler will serve as Director of our Chancel Choir commencing June 1 with transitional assistance from Becca and Lydia;

5. Bev and Mona will provide accompaniment for the opening and closing hymns of both services;

6. Dan Holmes will return to lead/mentor our Praise Team in September and will meet with our continuing Praise Team before leaving for his summer concert tour in many churches on the British isles; and

7. We are hoping to resume bells and chimes in the fall.

While many of the specifics are being negotiated and we are still looking at some possibilities for piano/organ accompaniment along with other opportunities, we are praising the Lord for the smooth transitions emerging in our musical ministries.

Praising the Lord for Lisa's service to Him on the corner of L&M and looking forward to our generous support of a love gift to her in recognition of our gratitude to Him for her, we thank God for continuing to bless our desires to honor Him by so many miracles.

Blessings and Love!

Friday, April 25, 2014


In the afterglow of a glorious Holy Week and Easter Day, here are three don't miss opportunities:

1. Men's Breakfast tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.

2. National Day of Prayer in Belvidere (see below)

3. Youth Fundraiser Breakfast on May 4 after the second service.  Great food for a great cause!  Helps children go to summer camp!

Blessings and Love!

P.S. Always remember the best sources for up-to-the-moment announcements and opportunities on the corner of L&M are our weekly bulletins, regular newsletters, television monitors in the Gathering Room,, and  Really, it's hard not to know what's going on around here.  :)

Monday, April 14, 2014


Holy Week commenced with a big praise parade at both services on Palm Sunday (yesterday) that almost took care of the grays (for more on that, click on, go to the right column of archived editions, click on the "Retirement" issue, and work on the puzzle).

This week is pregnant with opportunities to increase intimacy with Jesus and taste the paradise that is eternally in store for everyone through Him as Lord and Savior.

Actually, I think every hour of Holy Week is filled with opportunities; including our regular schedule of educational, fellowship, Midweek, board meetings, and so on.  For more information, just go to, check your bulletin again, click on, pull out the most recent newsletter, or call Karen and Kathie at the church office (815-544-6402) for updated information.

Parenthetically, while the weather report this week hints at locusts and the Rock River turning into blood, I'm expecting something from Someone a little less eschatological.

Moretheless, some Holy Week highlights (this week):

Noon - 3:00 p.m. 
Mountaintop Cell(ular) Ministry
Go to for more on that!

Maundy Thursday Worship in Sanctuary
7:00 p.m. followed by showing of "The
Passion of Christ" in our youth room
movie theater.

Community Good Friday Worship
hosted by, uh, us in the chapel!
Noon - 3:00 p.m. featuring seven
local pastors who love Jesus by the
book.  15 minutes segments to "come
as you can and leave when you must."

Sunday (Easter Day)
Worship Services at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.
And don't miss Sunday School for all
ages, unless, of course, you already
know everything there is to know

Yo!  Don't be selfish!  Forward this to folks who will be blessed by blessing Him this Holy Week with their attention, allegiance, and affection via attendance.

Blessings and Love!

Friday, April 11, 2014


Some quickies:

1. Women's Lenten Breakfast in Fellowship Hall on Saturday before Holy Week!  That's tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.  While that's around lunch time for me, I hear the speaker, music, food, and fellowship will be great!  Psst.  Also, being a guy, I won't be breaking the gender barrier! 

2. Speaking of breakfasts, especially for men who are on their own tomorrow, I paid for four tickets to tomorrow's Belvidere Bucs Baseball Flapjack Breakfast at Applebee's from 8-10 a.m.  However, I'm driving my favorite Special Olympian to practice at 7:30 a.m. and then have to hit some hospitals and then...  So I can't go!  Of course, I won't starve.  But that means I have four tickets available for anyone who wants to take themselves and kiddies or whomever.  Just call 815-544-6402 and I'll put the tickets in an envelope and tell ya where to pick 'em up. 

3. I need a kidney donor!  Now!  A faithful friend and L&M family member needs a kidney.  If the Lord is nudging you to consider being a donor, please call us at 815-544-6402 now!

4. For those wondering about the grays, click on ("Retirement").  You can help trim!

5. See page 15 of The Shopper (4/10/14).

6. While we have shown it many times, yes, there will be a showing of Mel Gibson's Passion after next Thursday's Maundy Thursday worship service in the youth room. 

7. Pick up your palms on Sunday at both services!

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Do you realize how special/important you are to Him?

I thought about that while praying over the pictures in our new directory on Wednesday during MCM; and paraphrasing my buddy Tony a bit, I mused about God calling everyone "up there" together, pulling out His directory that includes eternal pictures of you and me and all of His children, and saying, "Look at her/him!  I just love her/him!  I'd just die for her/him so we can live together forever!  I did!  I will!"

I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday at 7:20 (chapel) or 10:00 (sanctuary).

That's a.m.


Also, there are only a few tickets left for our Family of Faith Swiss Steak Dinner on Saturday.  My boss has told me that ya gotta call by tomorrow morning!  It's like Sunday!  Snooze and lose!

Blessings and Love!

Friday, March 28, 2014


So many accelerating miracles on the corner of L&M!

Some are obvious, some are confidential, and all are awesome.

Having said that, the spiritual battle for souls accelerates as well (see below).

The movie Noah is symptomatic; and Leslie will be talking about it in both services tomorrow!

And baptisms!

We're also continuing our series on scratching the surface by digging deeper as we continue our mini-series on our Lord's seven r(R)evelationary letters to the, uh, seven churches of John's Apocalypse.

7:20 and 10:00 a.m. (with the singing nun starting at 9:50 a.m. before the 2nd to start aligning hearts).

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…