First Presbyterian Church

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

Friday, June 10, 2016

June 10, 2016



Friends,

Mark your calendar now for the annual Heritage Days Community Church Service at the Belvidere Community Building on June 26 at 10 a.m.

Featuring a community choir directed by Karen Kahler and one of my favorite local messengers (AR), this is one of the three annual worship services bringing the Church of Belvidere and Boone County together to worship God while shedding...well, uh, you know...

Our first service will be as regularly scheduled in the chapel at 7:20 a.m. while our second service will be directed to the Community Building in obedience to John 17 and our continuing remnantal allegiance to God and country: "'Return to Me,' says the Lord, 'and I will restore you!'"

BTW, second servicers will be stunned by how many first servicers go to both services!!!

I've been asked why all churches in Belvidere and Boone County don't participate in this opportunity to honor God and beg Him, "Long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light.   Protect us by Thy might, great God, our King!"

Well, to be honest which is the only Christian thing to do, some churches don't like to mix God and country and don't share our belief that America has been especially and exceptionally blessed by God to bless Him and love everyone like He loves us in Jesus.

Annnnnnnd there are many churches - I am being honest not judgmental when noting this - who think they're in franchises aka denominations and sects and whatevers that are "more saved" than everybody else and "know Jesus more than anybody else" who don't want to associate with the rest of the body that they think are...

Really.

They are the ones who fence their tables of Holy Communion in complete disobedience to our Lord's invitation, inclusion, welcoming, and agape.

They just feel, uh, spiritually superior to the rest of us who know we don't know it all and are just scratching the surface of our relationship with Jesus.

Annnnnnnd there are many very, very, very faithful yet financially struggling friends around who won't come because they can't overcome giving up a week's collection aka $.

Frankly, we've suffered every year with that.  Deleting a week's collection around this time of the year when $ is as scarce as common sense in this Presidential race is very, very, very painful.  People tend to forget bills for ministry don't stop when people miss a service or two or three or...in the summer.

Which brings me to an annual reality.

Our giving is down...way down...around this time of the year.

Annnnnnnd this year, it's even worse with the recent renovations to our most recent major renovation to a six-figure tune that dipped into shallow reserves depleted in our most recent major renovation. 

We did not expect to have so many necessary and new and costly renovations.

"It happens," as Gump said.

I'm not worried.

Prayerfully sober?

Yes.

Worried?

Absolutely not!

We are asking our Lord to provide the wherewithal to weather this annual drought.

You have been generous; and I trust your generosity will inspire more of the same.

I've even been asked to attend a finance committee meeting in the near future; which means I will probably be asked what we should do for a quick fix to the challenge.  Because I trust you and our elders, I don't like to attend too many committee meetings.  So when I'm asked to attend one, I know there's a crisis and I will have to make some bold decisions.  I am prepared to recommend cuts that will cause mini-eruptions and misunderstanding; but I am prepared to do that if it is necessary.  I don't think it will be necessary; but I am prepared to make such recommendations. 

Parenthetically, I am prepared to make a very tough recommendation if necessary; and I have already made a clearly reasonable and faithful recommendation - see below - that indicates I will have no hesitancy making a very tough recommendation if finances do not improve in the next two months.

Of course, don't forget I will not beg anyone to fork over; for Eugene confirmed what I was taught by my home pastor and our Lord Himself: "I never tried to get people to do anything when I was pastor.  You don't have to persuade Christians to follow Jesus.  You don't have to motivate Christians."

So this is just information and invitation and...we'll see...

Yes, He will...

Speaking of decisions, I had a vision about a year ago that intensified about six months ago that incarnated in the past two weeks.

Session authorized me to share that vision with a special committee of Julie, Katie, Leslie, and Tyler.  It involves the exciting evolution of our youth programs for the future.  While I will hold the announcement until a formal confirmation from session of the special committee's deliberations, I know you will be rejoicing with us.

Annnnnnnd echoing the call to obedience to Jesus in John 17 noted in the first few paragraphs, I am excited to announce several faithful families of the Church in Belvidere and Boone County will soon be sponsoring a monthly youth gathering at our local YMCA.  I think it will begin in late August.  Praise the Lord!

Blessings and Love!

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