blog

 

PASTOR’S PEN

 
THROUGHOUT THE WEEK

Fast & Pray

      As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.

      My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When may I come to see God’s face? Psalm 42:1-2

     We are approaching our church in the park & picnic.  This last Sunday or two we have wrestled with church truths that have revealed our financial struggle and our personal stewardship.  The question becomes what can I do about it? 
 
     Just the fact that you are even considering the question is a statement in growth and your potential growth in Jesus.  It drives home the beauty of the Psalm above, you are longing for God.  Stewardship becomes an opportunity for you to experience God. 

So, then the next question becomes, How?

     First, I would urge you to pray.  David writes and says in Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, these, O God, You will not despise.”  Our prayers reveal our struggle which is the “broken spirit” that we seek.  Next revelation of our spirit is to realize our own limitations.  One way this can be done is through a day of fasting.  Fasting drives home the realities of my limitations.  I am a creature of God’s making and it is contrite (repentance) when I fast to see my limits.  My pride stands revealed when my body calls for fuel that I seek to withhold as a recognition of God’s role in my life.  He is the provider and sustainer of who I am.  So, I invite you to fast for one day (Friday, September 22nd) and to pray as to God’s guidance in your stewardship and the stewardship of our church leaders.
 

     Finally, come and celebrate what God is doing through our FCC family at our church in the park and the fellowship picnic after.  We will celebrate God’s victory through us.  It will be a victory celebration that we all have prayed, fasted and seek to be good stewards of God has granted us.

C U Sunday,

Bill


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August makes way for September

     August has followed the way of July, it has passed.  School has started and for many of our families, their routines are in flex.  September is upon us and so many things are starting up.  It is no different with our church family.
 
     Little Tree is starting up and many of our volunteers are keying up for the first night (August 30th).  Then our SeekerGen will host the FUSE worship setting for several different church youths on the 10th of September.  That same Sunday during the Sunday School hour a former Cottey student, Kelley Copley will be telling us about her missionary future.
 
     Sunday, September 24th will be our Church in the Park (Marmaduke Park).  We will have worship at 10:30 and a picnic lunch to follow.  We will have the nursery in the enclosed shelter and children’s church at a nearby shelter.  Our intent is that this will be a united service and fellowship.
 

     A new thing we will do this year (for those unable to come to our church in the park) is an 8:00 am devotional service.  Please be aware the intent is to provide communion and a brief devotional thought for those in attendance in the FCC auditorium.  Dave will be setting up for our worship in the park and unable to lead in singing, so our hope is to provide a worship setting that looks after this special need.

     These are a few things that will be happening throughout September, so please take time to note these things on your calendars, in your phones, etc.

C U N September – God bless,

Bill


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No Eclipse here!

     Years ago, amid my twenty somethings, I made the mistake of thinking that the livestock auction couldn’t function without me.  Imagine my surprise after being gone for a week and discovering not only did they function without me, but they did well without me. 
 
     Fall is quickly approaching and our energy demanding programs prepare to conquer another season without a youth minister presence.  (Trust me, leadership would be thrilled to announce that God has blessed us with another youth minister and the search is still ongoing.  Keep praying!)  But the power of the programs declares it priority by the team of people who continue to see it forward.  We have a powerful Little Tree season approaching and the same is true of SeekerGen.  Our Family Ministry Team is the source of this strength.  Team leaders are being recruited and several are gearing for the next season because like what I learned at the livestock auction we will function without the presence. 

 

     Why? Because the programs are blessed of God and great people are standing in the gap.  What an image for our church family!  Imagine the power of ministry driven by Christ-led people who see the vision and program as bigger than the presence of any one person.  Imagine the blessing to generations who seek not to be recognized as the individuals doing ministry, but the church of Jesus modeling his image.  We look not at the “brick” by which our building is made, but at the structure that proclaims Jesus.
 
     Thank you to the many who refuse to be the individual and loudly seek to be the church of Jesus.  You are what this dark world is looking for, light.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
 

Making a difference in 2017, c u Sunday.

Bill


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VBS, FCC’s Muscle

     This week will exercise some of FCC’s muscle.  This week has been an annual activity of FCC for decades.  This week will produce a magnified church effort that will dominate schedules, facilities, and hours of sacrifice.  It is called Vacation Bible School week.

 

     VBS has had many themes with one core thought: Jesus.  We have had dunking tanks, racing cars, cowboy hats, slings and many other things.  This week we are doing Deep Sea Discovery.  There is no place we can go, even down into the deepest reaches of the ocean and not find God is there.  

 

     We have supported many missions through the years.  The annual offering competition is Boys vs Girls.  A trophy has even been found that we can celebrate the victor by engraving the winner for the next year.  We have raised as much as $2000 in years past and most years well over $1000.  We have purchased a portable baptistry, a solar powered projector, supplied various needs at our local Community Outreach, helped with materials for a children’s home and even sorted cards for those in jail.  While doing this we have learned of varied local and world missions.

 

     The greatest part of our VBS has been the generations of students who have passed through it.  Many of them are our own children, but many more are the children of our community.  One year we celebrated with a baptism during our closing program.  This is but one of the victory stories told by our volunteers.  We have had as many as 150 students in a night in years past.  One of the newest features that goes with VBS is feeding them.  Our kitchen staff will prepare 175 to 200 meals a night.  When you consider decades of young students, FCC has touched thousands with the name of Jesus. 

 

     Thank you for being a church that believes in the power of Vacation Bible School.  When our world is broken in so many ways this is one way that FCC presents the light of Jesus to a dark setting.  Pray for the ongoing power of Vacation Bible School.

 

Working side by side for Jesus,

Bill


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A Consistent Presence

 
     A consistent presence is hard to find in a world of change.  Every four years the nation magnifies the change from one president to another.  News anchor persons seem to come and go as easy as the click of channel.  Just when you finally settle into that new restaurant in Nevada that you like, it is gone.  Change dictates so much in our lives.  A consistent presence is hard to find. 
 
     Dave and Sally Rorabaugh have been a consistent presence in our church family for fifteen years.  Fifteen years ago leadership decided to add a new staff member, a worship/associate minister.  Ask Dave or Sally what they remember about unloading the moving truck in the hot July of 2002.  They do have several memories, just ask.
 

     If you will walk with me down memory lane you may remember the old stage and pulpit.  You might remember the screen and addition of a projector (twice).  You might recall the trial effort at a third service in the basement.  On a personal basis, you may remember their son Aaron’s hair.  You may remember the graduations of their two boys.  You may remember New Year’s eve parties dating back to who knows how long ago.

     FCC has enjoyed the fruitful ministry of Dave and Sally for fifteen years.  They have shared their youth, their energy and their dreams with us.  If you get a chance, tell them “thank you.”  Ministry is burdened with so many short-term ministries and FCC has enjoyed the consistent presence of this wonderful couple. 

     Change is real part of living upon this earth, but God declares that he never changes.  In Hebrews 13:7-8 it says,
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
 

To a ministry well done, Thank you Dave and Sally.

Bill & Susie

 
     A consistent presence is hard to find in a world of change.  Every four years the nation magnifies the change from one president to another.  News anchor persons seem to come and go as easy as the click of channel.  Just when you finally settle into that new restaurant in Nevada that you like, it is gone.  Change dictates so much in our lives.  A consistent presence is hard to find. 
 
     Dave and Sally Rorabaugh have been a consistent presence in our church family for fifteen years.  Fifteen years ago leadership decided to add a new staff member, a worship/associate minister.  Ask Dave or Sally what they remember about unloading the moving truck in the hot July of 2002.  They do have several memories, just ask.
 

     If you will walk with me down memory lane you may remember the old stage and pulpit.  You might remember the screen and addition of a projector (twice).  You might recall the trial effort at a third service in the basement.  On a personal basis, you may remember their son Aaron’s hair.  You may remember the graduations of their two boys.  You may remember New Year’s eve parties dating back to who knows how long ago.

     FCC has enjoyed the fruitful ministry of Dave and Sally for fifteen years.  They have shared their youth, their energy and their dreams with us.  If you get a chance, tell them “thank you.”  Ministry is burdened with so many short-term ministries and FCC has enjoyed the consistent presence of this wonderful couple. 

     Change is real part of living upon this earth, but God declares that he never changes.  In Hebrews 13:7-8 it says,
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
 

To a ministry well done, Thank you Dave and Sally.

Bill & Susie


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Leadership Updates

 

     This is an opportunity to share a couple of leadership updates.  Our Eldership has been feeling the burden of responsibility and the lack of men serving.  This past year Scott Buerge and Don Andersen have carried the load while Wayne Jeans and Doug Gammon have taken the break of a year after serving three years.  Delbert Johnston was mentoring Scott and Don then eternity called.  Scott and Don through Wayne and Doug’s help have been outstanding.  Meanwhile, with our latest leadership ballot in May, Wayne and Doug have returned for another term of three years.
 

     This has emphasized even further the need for more men to serve as elders.  In January/February for several years I have taught a class for those interested in Eldership.  This has created a core group of men upon which to look for potential elders.  At the last Board Meeting, the Elders introduced two advisory candidates, Rick Jones and Greg Barneburg.  These men will work with the Elders for the next year while being mentored.  Then next May they will be voted upon to be an elder.  Please pray for our Eldership team as we look forward to the years to come.

     Also announced at our Board Meeting and voted upon was the part-time effort of Angie Moore.  She will serve as a temporary youth minister on a limited basis.  She is still working fulltime at Heartland, but the summer months have allowed a window of few extra hours.  She will work with the church in coordinating our youth schedules for the fall and doing a few programs throughout the summer as she is able.  But come the fall she will give up this position as her fulltime job will require her full attention again. 

     Again, pray for the efforts of the Youth Team as we still seek a youth minister.  The ministry isn’t slowing down.  We can move boldly forward as Jesus calls.

Thank you for being the committed to the Mission of Jesus.  C U Sunday.

Bill


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FCC Leadership

     This last Sunday was Leadership Sunday.  As we ordained a new deacon (John Shorten) and two new deaconesses (Martha Waltrip & Marita Pippin), we also celebrate the return of two elders (Doug Gammon & Wayne Jeans) and two deacons (Bob Eador & Tommy Bowen) and trustee (Sonny Butler).  On occasion we also affirm by congregational vote the distinction of men who have served God and FCC with honor as elders by granting them the title of Elder Emeritus.  John McKinley was noted and affirmed by the congregation as an elder who has served with honor and we have given him the title of Elder Emeritus.
 

     You may wonder why the “return”?  Our leaders are asked to serve for three year terms.  At the end of three years, they will step away from formal leadership for at least a year.  The ideal situation that we seek is that every year approximately one third of our leadership will transition to new faces and those returning from a break.  This allows the opportunity for new thinking and rebalancing of power.  It also becomes a testimony of God’s presence within our leadership.  Our June board meeting will see the dismissal of those who have served for three years and the new board taking its place.  It is awesome to see.  Pray for the transition.

     One other privilege that I enjoyed this Sunday was showing those present the youth leadership team, the Watchmen.  The oldest of our Watchmen will be seniors in high School (Emily Ring, Nathan Vincent, Dalton Jones) this next year and have shown so many wonderful attributes.  Last year Morgan Douglas would join them and this year Amanda Blystone, Gavin Ring, and Brandon Moore are the new faces among them.

     Our future looks bright.  Pray for our leaders and (Hebrews 13:7)Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
 

God Bless, C U Sunday

Bill

P.S. – Thank you to the many who made last Sunday possible.


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A Small View

     This past six weeks the FCC family has had six baptisms, four rededications, two transfers of membership.  We have also experienced several prayer chain calls for two or three of our church family as they go through struggles.  Along with updating our ongoing prayer list every week despite the holidays and service changes that have transpired. 

     Our Youth Team has brought a successful end to several programs (LTM & SeekerGen) for the season.  Along with ending the season well, the Youth Garage Sale that got rained out one week and was postponed to the next week raised close to $1000 for the Diamond Willow mission.  We have at least four teens and two chaperones going to Diamond Willow to work on July 17th to the 22nd.  Meanwhile camp registrations are soaring.
 

     Our Children’s Sunday School Classes have promoted the older children into their next class.  Three of our high schoolers have graduated and planning their next step.  Vacation Bible School is cruising forward, but the busy week (July 30 to Aug 4) will be upon us soon. 

     Leaders will be ordained and dedicated to the work of the next few years on June 11th.  It will be a united service filled with familiar faces and reconnection.  It is always a joy to see those that go to other services.  We will be in the Fellowship Building at 10:30 following Sunday School. The emphasis will be leadership and family.  My prayer is that you will be there.
 

     All of this is to say, life is very evident and busy at FCC.  This is not an exhaustive list.  It is only a glimpse.  Pray for the ongoing efforts of so many volunteers that help make this happen and keep your eyes on the mission: Jesus.  Remember the statement of intention that we shared last Sunday.

It is our FCC Intention:  I will…

  1. …Declare Truth and live Truth as defined within God’s Bible
  2. …Practice worship from the checkbook up.
  3. …Portray the image of Jesus by our Love.
  4. …Envision Growth and pursue it.

C U Sunday,

Bill


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Graduation

Graduation is a celebration of growth.  We find ourselves gathered for the ceremony and cheering for this achievement in life.  For the graduate it is a stepping stone into the next phase of life’s adventure.  For the parents and family it is the remembrance of what it has cost to accomplish this moment, the sacrifices that it took.  For both it is joy over life’s milestone reached.

Graduation will also give us apprehension as to what is to come.  Graduates are uncertain of the next few steps.  It may be college.  It might be a career step.  Or it may be just stop and wait for what will come.  Parents and families may try to help or provide the cost of college.  Or they may become the stopping place while the grad pursues the next step.  Then graduation becomes a fearful burden.

In Proverbs 30, a man named Agur is talking of his “burden” he calls it an “Oracle.”  It almost sounds gradu-esche.  In verse 5 he says, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”  Then he presents his prayer request, Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die: 8 Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.  Proverbs 30:7-9, (NASB)
 

This graduation and other life events of growth may I urge you to pray this prayer of a burdened Agur.  The beauty of this prayer is “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”

God Bless, C U Sunday

Bill


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A Look at our Youth

   This month we will honor our graduates on May 8th.  Also, it is our intent to dedicate our younger children (preschool age or younger) on that same Sunday.  If you haven’t caught it yet this is Mother’s Day.  It will be a fun Sunday.
 

   It has been a year without a youth minister present.  Our search committee is still prayerfully seeking.  I would urge you to pray too.  Many of you may be wondering how is our youth ministry doing?  The two most prominent programs of our youth are Little Tree Ministries (early school age) which meets on Wednesday eve and our SeekerGen (Jr & Sr High) which meets on Sunday eve. 

   Little Tree averages toward 40 children most Wednesdays.  Staffing is vital and approximately 20 to 25 volunteers help in varied ways.  Among these volunteers, are high school volunteers many of them called Watchmen (Leadership group of our SeekGen).  Bobby & Gary Dade prepare every week to feed the multitudes.  Angie Moore organizes and provides material each week.  Tommy Bowen leads their worship and announcements.  Dave Serna will set up and drive vans.  These are but a few of the many volunteers involved.  It is the volunteers that continue to keep the strength in this program.

   SeekerGen attendance tends to be averaging toward 15 to 20 many weeks.  Treats are put together and vans run so that those who want to be there can be there.  Following the story/lesson for the eve they break into small groups and dialogue over what they have learned.  Many of the volunteers for Little Tree are present for SeekerGen.  Also with our older youth, there are many other things that transpire like highway pickup, seasonal parties, FUSE (united worship between several youth groups), and more.

   A youth minister presence is still sought, but thank you to multiple volunteers who are keeping the programs going as strong now has they have been.  This is truly a sacrifice of love.  Summer is coming and camp season is soon.  Vacation Bible School will be July 30 to August 4th.  Plus, a couple of mission trips and more, pray for our youth teams.  For each day of May pray for the varied aspects of our ministry to youth and begin with our volunteers.
C U Sunday,
Bill

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