First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008

Monday, February 24, 2014

O.K., enough is enough!

Some traditions must go!

Like this traditional old winter that won't let go!


While this week's weather report looks like something more suited to Bangor, it is what it is...and unless the parousia comes first, there's only a few more weeks before...dare I say it...spring!

I've been asked what happens after we scratch the surface of John's Apocalypse; as we've spent many months scratching the surface of every book of the Bible to get closer to Jesus by the book.

Well, we're gonna dig deeper.

We will start with a look at our Lord's letters to the seven churches of John's Apocalypse and then look deeper and deeper and...

If you've missed any of the scratches, you can always catch up by going to the archives of Sunday worship services via

And don't forget to visit for the latest news and opportunities swirling around the corner of L&M.

Stay warm.

Blessings and Love!

Monday, February 17, 2014


Well, it's gonna snow today.

Only Al Gore is shocked.

Anyway, worship is never cancelled on the corner of Lincoln and Main; and while the weather has been challenging, we continue plugging away with opportunities like these this week:

1. Our Midweek offerings will increase this Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. with Kathy O'Brien leading a study of iconic Anne White's Healing Adventure.  For complete listings of announcement and opportunities, go to,, and read your bulletins and newsletters;

2. Men won't want to miss this opportunity for a manly breakfast with other men on Saturday at 7:30 a.m.;

3. A very symbolic memorial will be dedicated on Sunday during the second service.  Paying tribute to one of our resurrected saints, the memorial also symbolizes much of what is accelerating in the revival on the corner of Lincoln and Main; and

4. 5th Graders get Bibles in the second service on Sunday!

I want to thank everyone who has expressed concerns for my health; noting it's far more spiritual than physical as you can read in the last two editions of

I can be very stubborn about some things; especially when it comes to "church" for Jesus by the book.

I'm also very stubborn about not allowing personal challenges to interfere with call.  Taking last Wednesday off turned out to be more stressful than...  It must be the Neil Young in me.  I'd rather burn out than rust out; or as a little note by a 1%er on my dashboard reminds, "Ride Hard!  You Can Rest When You Die!"

Actually, it's a Philippians 4:13 thing for me.

But, again, I appreciate your concerns/prayers.

Blessings and Love!

Friday, February 14, 2014


1. We never cancel worship on the corner of L&M!  Yeah, it's supposed to snow again on Saturday into Sunday.  It's no longer shocking.  All I know is my pony needs a transfusion and I can't even get to my favorite tech.  Be safe!  If you can make it, praise the Lord!  If not, tune into and praise the Lord!  It's live!

2. Speaking of Sunday, it's Soup Sunday immediately following the second service.  It's a youth fundraiser with over 10 contestants already.  For just $5, you can drown in soup along with bread, beverages, and desserts!

3. Yo!  While attendance has been surprisingly steady and our family of faith is increasingly generous, this has been a hard winter on the budget with increasing heat bills (daily) and snow removals (weekly at least).  Really, can you say global cooling?  Hint! 

4. Please don't forget the call to help sponsor our Good Friday Service in the chapel on April 18; featuring local pastors who love Jesus by the book.  The service will run from noon - 3:00 p.m. in 15 minute come-as-you-can-leave-when-you-must segments.  I figure we will need about 1K to cover the costs of honoraria, bulletins, and promotion.  The offerings received throughout the service will be split between our Compassion Closet, Wounded Warriors, and Salvation Army.  If He's nudging ya right now, write a check to First designated for the GF service. 

5. Don't forget Kathy O'Brien's new course on "Healing Adventure" that's been added to our Midweek opportunities at 5:00 p.m. in the board room!

Blessings and Love!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Guess when we're gonna get our next snowfall?

Thaaaaaaat's right!  Saturday into Sunday morning!

As all of our sister congregations are going through the same thing, one wonders if our Lord is sending a message to us about something.

I don't know; but I am wondering as I'm wandering through winter wonderland.

BTW, despite my cheap shots at little Al about global warming, I believe we are experiencing climate change; and there ain't nothin' that we can do about it nohow even if we give up our aerosol deodorant.  While I'm much more of a creationist than evolutionist because both are theories and I like the God one better while not really caring how He did it, our climate has always evolved.  I figure global whatever will be a big problem in about a thousand years; and if the prophetic voices are right, the parousia will occur long before that and we'll be O.K.  Sooooooo in the meantime, I'm all for it, Al!


1. From last report, almost 40 folks - singles, couples, Democrats, Republicans, anarchists, and all of the below - have signed up for Saturday's breakfast beginning at 9:00 a.m. and concluding at 11:00 a.m. Come out and have some fun!  Surprises!  Snow will start later in the day to test worshipers on Sunday!  And don't forget to invite, welcome, include, and agape!

2. I hear the snow - again! - on Tuesday cut down attendance a tad for the new Women's Bible Study; but I also heard next week will be a catch-up opportunity before they shift into high gear!  Go!  No, I do not attend women's Bible studies, women's circles, or yoga classes at the Y.

3. There's still time to sign up for the "Getting to Know You" potluck on Sunday!  Call Karen at 815-544-6403.

4. Speaking of Karen, please call and ask how you can help on Good Friday!

5. Don't forget Soup Sunday on 2/16.  More about it in Sunday's bulletin.

6. Youth Group Scavenger Hunt this Sunday at 4:00 p.m.

7. Lots of stuff in the bulletin this week!

And, remember, we never cancel worship on the corner of Lincoln and Main except for the parousia!

Blessings and Love!

P.S. Well into my 9th year with yu'uns, one staff member referred to me as "Pastor Bill" and another staff member complained that I don't get directions for presbytery meetings like "Pastor Bill" did.  I take 'em as compliments; and also will refer to 'em when counseling pastors in the area.  :)  I guess it's better than what...calls me!  Psst.  Before ya think I'm feeling anything pejorative, please check your humor meter!  Or as I replied recently to someone who criticized my literary genre as influenced heavily by Dali, Picasso, and Vonnegut (ask sometime),....  That's right.  I didn't reply.  :)  Pick up a copy of Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry before runs out of the copies that they're giving out free for the cost of postage.  ;)  Now where's my coffee cup?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Quick Monday Morning Quarterbacking Updates!

1. About 30 folks have already signed up for Saturday (see #3 below); but there's still time for you to sign up and have a good breakfast if nothing else.  Again, because I'm constantly asked, this is not only for couples, members, young marrieds, officers, anarchists, or...  It's about a significant part of discipleship that is often ignored in our culture to the shame and destruction of our families, churches, and nation.  Other than that, it's really not that important.  Invite!  Welcome!  Include!  Agape!

2. We really need extra-mile-giving sponsors for our Good Friday service (noon - 3:00 p.m.) on, uh, Good Friday.  Several local pastors who love Jesus by the book are already committed.  We need your generosity for bulletins, promotion, and modest honoraria.  Because my publisher just went belly up and my last royalties check was $3.89, I need your help on this.

3. There's a great opportunity for you on over the next two Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. as Bill, and Tony discuss the recent posting on regarding church leadership. 

Blessings and Love!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Basking in another day of global warming, some quickies:

1. That's right!  We never cancel worship services on the corner of Lincoln and Main!  Let it snow, let it...

2. Our annual congregational meeting to receive annual reports is tomorrow, February 2, immediately after the second service.  We receive, uh, annual reports, vote on the annual terms of call, and, tomorrow, fill in an officer spot for an unexpired term.  Yes, you will be home in time to catch the President's interview by the self-proclaimed neo-Cronkite and #1 authority on Christology...uh, uh, uh,...I mean watch the Super Bowl.

3. I've been asked if next Saturday's "Couples Breakfast" (February 8 - 9-11 a.m.) is only for couples.  Nah!  It's about headship in families, churches, and governments.  While "I-know-that's-what-Jesus-and-the-Bible-say-buuuuuuut-drum roll-I-think" folks will be especially whatevered, women and men - couples or singles or... - who know something is wrong with our families, churches, and government will dig in for a more divine solution to our ailments.  Hey, this is a good opportunity to invite, welcome, include, and agape!  Repeat!  This is a great opportunity to...  No, ya don't have to be a member...  When have we ever said that?  Remember, we're praying and working to be a beacon for Jesus and safe haven for everybody!

4. Speaking of headship, I'm often asked by folks beyond the borders of Lincoln and Main's corner to write something about church leadership.  Specifically, I've been asked to provide some hints for pastor search committees, nominating committees, Sunday School teachers, circle leaders, and anyone doing anything in the church that's, uh, considered leadership.  Because everything that I write, except for my non-bestselling books, often causes someone on the corner of Lincoln and Main or close to Lincoln and Main or kinda related to Lincoln and Main or once associated with Lincoln and Main to assume I'm writing about Lincoln and Main exclusively as if the Church's borders were confined to Lincoln and Main, that ain't the case.  I've hesitated to take on anything like it because my counseling/caring load is heavy enough.  Buuuuuuut when a neighboring church in Illinois...or Iowa...or Wisconsin...or Indiana...asked me to write something about it for 'em because of recent challenges/opportunities, I gave it a shot.  Anyway, it's just been posted on

5. Penultimately, the OGD has some stuff below, sparrow story and video at the bottom, that pack a powerful redemptive punch; and if I have to explain it to ya,...

Blessings and Love!

[I am grateful to my brother in Christ Larry Pearson for sharing this with me.  OGD]

Here a female mate is injured and the condition is soon fatal. She was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road.

Here he brought her food and attended to her with love and compassion.

He brought her food again, but was shocked to find her dead.

He tried to move her ... a rarely-seen effort for swallows!

Aware that his sweetheart is dead and will never
come back to him again, He cries with adoring love.
He stood beside her, saddened of her death.

Finally aware she would never return to him, he stayed beside her body chirping out his sadness and

Millions of people cried after seeing these photos
in America , Europe, Australia , and even India ..
The photographer sold these pictures for a nominal fee to the most
famous newspaper in France . All copies of that edition were
sold out on the day these pictures were published.

And many people think animals don't have brains or feelings?
You have just
witnessed Love and Sorrow felt by God's creatures.
The Bible says God knows when a sparrow falls. How much more He cares for us.
Live simply, love generously, care deeply and speak kindly.
Grace is God reaching down.
Faith is man reaching back.

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”
John Calvin

The Old Gray Dog

Jim Tuckett

PS  Here's something I think you will enjoy.