blog

 

PASTOR’S PEN

 
THROUGHOUT THE WEEK

Lack of Absent

     He was not well-educated and rather rough and crude around the edges, but he was recently converted and now on fire for the Lord.

     He was constantly pestering the pastor to give him some work that would be helpful to the church. Finally, the pastor agreed. He gave the man a list of ten people who hadn’t been in church for years nor made any financial contribution. Some of these were quite prominent in the community.

     The pastor said, “What I want you to do is get these people back to church, however you can. You can use church stationery if you want but get these people back to church.”

     Three weeks later the pastor got an envelope in the mail from a prominent doctor whose name had been on the list, along with a check for $1,000 and a note that read,

Dear Pastor,

Please excuse my inactivity at church. I really have no excuse. Accept this check as a partial contribution for all the Sundays I’ve missed, and be assured I will never, by choice, miss worship again. 

Sincerely, J. B. Jones, M.D.

P.S. – Will you kindly tell your secretary that there is only one “t” in dirty and no “c” in skunk?

     Many of you may think that absence makes the heart grow fonder but try that with an absent fish from the hook or a ski boat with an absent family.  Can you imagine the sports of summer with absent player?  Or catching the rays with an absent body in the lawn chair.  Ask Dave how the garden does with an absent gardener.  Why is it that many of us will settle for growing with God while being absent?

     The summer season is upon us.  It is easy with the varied activities to overlook spending time with God.  Schedule time with God throughout the season.  Grab a few minutes in morning or evening to pray and read your scripture.  When away take time to attend a church family along the way or take a few moments and create a family worship time.  Bring some of the new and varied ideas back and share them with us.

     Also, I would ask that you begin praying for our Vacation Bible School.  This is an outreach to so many within our community.  Let’s create a lack of absence during VBS.  The dates are July 29th thru August 3rd.  Pray also for our summer campers while attending camps right now.  The summer season tends to magnify many of our youth activities.  Lift Gage up while he is present (not absent) with many of the camp sessions.

Imagine an absent preacher in the pulpit (hopefully only imagine),

C U Sunday

Bill


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Leadership & Driving

     We are setting forth into a new leadership year.  This leadership team will be voted upon Sunday, May 20th.  Amid the vote, we will be voting upon the full-time ministry of Gage as our Youth Minister.  We will also be celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates and sending them forward into life.  Among our graduates are several of our young leaders.  This provides the opportunity for new young leaders to step up.  We are setting forth into a new leadership year.

     Leadership is practiced daily when you simply drive your car.  You give direction to the car by deciding where you are going.  You steer the car in that direction that you have decided to go.  Many times, your leadership will be challenged by detours, schedules and other people.  One important leadership quality is knowing when to stop for fuel or possibly other budgetary things.  You all practice leadership in varied ways throughout your day.

     Church leadership leans on many of the same features.  Our direction comes from God.  We may read it in his word, wrestle with it in our prayers and several times it will come of dialogue in the meetings.  Then becomes the next thing to steer all church energy into the direction we feel that God wants us to go.  Remember that this direction will be challenged by detours (unplanned or urgent).  When dealing with multiple groups, services and schedules you can only imagine how easy it would be to lose direction.  Communication becomes a priority.  Leadership must be disciplined and at times appear harsh.  Planning in fuel, stops and varied other budgetary concerns can easily redirect us.  Pray we keep God’s direction.

     All of this leads me to say pray for leadership as they settle into this next year.  Pray for your vote of endorsement.  Pray for their humility and following the path that God has laid out for us.  Pray for your followership, Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).  Pray, and plan to be attendance when we join for one service on June 10th to ordain these men and women to the task of leadership.

C U Sunday,

Bill


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An Opportunity of Faith

     A wall hanging in my office is a map of the Pony Express route of the early 1860’s.  The Pony Express was made of several stopping stations along the route from St Joseph, MO to San Francisco, CA.  Young men rode a horse all out for fifteen to twenty miles and then switched out for a new mount at the next station.  The purpose to get the mail from St Joe to San Francisco in the record time of ten days.  Several of our western heroes were riders for the Pony Express.
 

     When visiting one of the stations that is still in existence, I had just started a new ministry and felt a little overwhelmed by the task.  As I looked at the map seeing all the stations, God led me to realize that the way to tackle the ministry setting was by one station at a time.  In fact, I had the map mounted and framed to hang in my office with these words, “Every big success is only achieved in well planned stepping stones.”

     We at FCC are approaching a potential success.  Many of you are aware of our struggle to find and maintain a youth minister presence after Jeremiah resigned in 2016.  God provided at the end of the last summer Gage Addington to be our part-time youth minister.  He was finishing his last year in college and leadership wanted him to apply himself fully to his education.  On May 12th Gage will graduate from OCC.  He has done well in school and juggling a part-time position with us.

     Leadership is prepping to present Gage as our full-time youth minister.  We will present Gage for congregational vote as a part of our annual leadership vote in May (20th).  Leadership feels confident with Gage as our full-time youth minister.  This is the place for our potential success. 

     We are in a financial squeeze.  We have cut our budget for several years and this last year gave our staff a raise despite the squeeze.  We can do this because of savings (much of it from inheritances).  But it is only a temporary fix.  Our savings will run out.  The potential success is the opportunity for us to rise to the occasion and over the course of the next year paying Gage’s full-time salary with our regular giving.  Doing the math this would amount to $3-5 a week (200 people) giving.  The reality is that only about 2/3’s of that 200 are adults and many of them married.  So, a better number would be $6-10 a week.  Would you consider this?

     Our prayer is that this opportunity will be a testimony of faith and stewardship.  The testimony is that God will take care of us while leading us to call Gage to full-time ministry.  God ask us to be a people of faith.

C U Sunday,

Bill


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A Fragile Setting in me

     I have a fragile setting within me that is easily misled.  It tends to follow with the direction of current times.  It can easily be swayed by a passionate plea that tends to be the stories of our times.  It can be rallied by the latest sports contender and their drive to be the best.  For me, it can be the emotions that flow while watching a well-recognized star bring to life a story on the screen.  I have always loved a good movie.  It may be a fervent newscaster telling the news as he sees it.  For many of us we watch the news digging for the next tidbit of knowing and when you have finally heard it for the qua-zillionth time it becomes the mantra that we say to anyone willing to listen.  A tender word from those that I love will cause my heart to jump and my fragile attitude to follow.  Same way when the one I love rebels or angrily spouts their feelings – it will shape mine.  You see, I have a fragile setting within me – my mentalness can be easily led.  My mentalness fits so many aspects of my being: my cerebral, my rational, my intellectual, my spirituality, my emotional – my being.

    When you tie my mentalness to my soul it can easily begin to develop into my spiritual DNA.  My soul will smell of the garbage found within this world.  So, my opinions may reek of my emotional misledness as it is filtered through my soul.  It may have the scent of idol-ness, the savor of infidelity, possibly the stench of greed, or the aroma of pride.  It may even become more overpowering when combined with more than one.  Do you see, I have a fragile setting within me – that is easily misled?

     What can we do about this weakness of being misled?  First, humbly accept 2 Corinthians 5:17if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  Next, seek to be a new creation.  What would you fill your spirit with?  Try 2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  Or this one Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Finally, lean on the Holy Spirit to help you.

     Know that it is so easy to be misled and armed with that knowledge begin to build a mentalness that is God reinforced.  You must build it with prayer, bible time, socializing with brothers and sisters in Jesus and following the Spirit’s within you.  Then our fragile mentalness begins to develop muscle that will overcome this world.

I’m mentally building on Sunday, C U then.

Bill


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Numbers Board

     Several years ago, there was a board that hung in the parlor showing the number of those attending Sunday School.  It was taken down a few years ago.  Part of the reason was that it didn’t reflect the full number of those attending our small groups this includes our Sunday School. 
 

     A sheet is passed around every week among our leaders called Report to the Minister.  It is a brief statement of the previous weekend’s numbers, offerings, visitor’s names, upcoming events and several other communication things.  Again, among the numbers was the Sunday School attendance.  While at the leadership retreat we talked of several things to come.  One was to update the Sunday School attendance to show Small Group attendance.

     The Small Group figure is more inclusive of all the varied aspects of education.  Many of you may be unaware that on Wednesday night our Little Tree Ministry has between 40 to 50 first through fifth graders attending (this doesn’t count the kitchen help & sponsors present).  Meanwhile just across the driveway is our Wednesday Bible Study with approximately 10 to 15 in attendance.  Two settings not found in the Sunday School Attendance.  When you start counting we have several small group settings that are happening every week at FCC.  The common priority among all these groups is Christian Education and fellowship.

     The first century church showed repeatedly in the book of Acts the approximate number of those attending.  It was a tool whereby the church and leadership could determine further direction.  Pray for leadership as more things from our retreat begin to show up in our church family.  We are driven to be the beacon of Jesus’ light to a new generation.

C U Sunday,

Bill

P.S. –  Our Easter celebrations were wonderful.  Thank you to so many for making our Easter celebrations spectacular.  Our FCC volunteers make the difference in what we do.


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Resurrection day is coming.

     Resurrection Day is coming!  Our day will be full of worship.  Our focus will be upon Jesus and the empty tomb.  Easter Sunday will start with our Sunrise Service.  This will begin at 7:00 am.  We will gather in the Fellowship building then celebrate with communion.  We will begin our “Easter Walk” from there.  We will walk to three sites that give priority to the life of Jesus in that last few days.  At each site, we will be led in meditation by one of preachers.  Chairs will be available for those who need them.  Two things that you need to do: dress warm and come with an attitude of meditation.
 

     Next will be our Easter Breakfast.  We will enjoy a couple of our FCC highlights, our cooks and fellowship.  The schedule for breakfast will be 8:30 to 9:45 (approximately).  The cooks have great bearing on the times.  The Kum Dubl class will be our hosts this year and we must say thank you.  Please help them out by being willing cooks and servers.  Every year it is so good to hear the laughter and the buzz of conversation as several will be attendance.  This has tended to be one of our largest fellowships.

     The climax of our Easter Sunday will be the 10:30 worship.  We will be one service strong, both on site services will be one in the main building.  We will celebrate Easter and unity.  Plus, our radio program has been produced for decades from the setting and will go out on Easter too.  Our desire is to worship Jesus as one family.  Our choir will lead with the cantata, “Crimson Love.”  What is amazing is all the Easter songs that you may know.  Come ready to listen or even sing the ones that you know.  Then we will finish with communion, our family supper with Jesus.

     We will begin our day with the Lord’s supper and we will finish our day with the Lord’s supper.  There will be multiple volunteers and servants all day taking care of so many things.  Pitch in and help as you are able.  Knowing that your service is noted by God.  Thank you for being part.

C U Sunday,

Bill


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Do you sense spring coming?

     Do you sense spring coming?  Winter will soon be history and another Easter is rising before us.  With the coming of Easter, several key things will be happening in our church family.  First, I would urge parents if your child is between the ages of 8 to 10 to consider bringing them to Pastor’s Class.  This is a study of Basics of the Faith.  We will be meeting Saturdays, March 3rd, 10th, (note, no 17th) 24th, and 31st at 10:00 in the Parlor of the main building.  Our class will be finished between 11:15 and 11:30. 

     Next, the Missouri Christian Convention is the 16th & 17th of March.  The church leaders have paid the registration fees for our church family.  If you are interested in attending take time to fill out a registration form or go on line to www.mcconvention.org and register.  Just follow the directions for rapid registration.  Also, if needing a ride take time to sign up at our welcome centers.

     Finally, we want to pack the house on Sunday, March 25th.  This last Sunday cards were handed out, so you might consider who to invite.  While you consider, pray, pray and pray.  This next Sunday appointment cards will be handed out that you can share.  When going somewhere new it is rather intimidating, so not only invite, but make an appointment and bring them with you.  Sunday, March 25th is Bring a Friend Sunday.

     Easter is the next week, April 1st.  No fooling!  We will open the day at Sunrise (7:00 am) with an Easter walk.  We will gather at the Fellowship building and visit three sites that have changed our world, the garden, the cross and finally an empty tomb.  Following our Sunrise walk will be our annual fellowship breakfast (no Sunday School).  Then at 10:30 will be our one service in the main building.  We will celebrate Easter and family.
C U Sunday,
Bill

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The Test of Time

     Successful ministries are often woven into the daily activities of church and then forgotten as to the sacrifices made to build them.  This past Sunday when the roads were icy, and services condensed down to the 10:30 hour service.  We found many relying on a tried and true ministry, the radio.  In an age whereby, the internet avails so much information that you could spend a life time and still only tap the edge of information.  In an age whereby, television taps the reservoir of satellites and you could watch a program produced from the other side of the world.  Who would have thought the radio would be medium by which the church family connected?
 

     Every week one donor or another contributes to the ministry that has worked for decades.  Searching among the archives I found a list of dedications that dated back to 1952.  In the same book, I found the price dropped from $22 (1950) for 45 minutes of broadcast to $17.60 in 1951.  This last Sunday it cost our donor $53.30 for an hour.  When you consider that the hourly minimum wage for 1951 was 75 cents.  The success of this ministry can only be counted fully in heaven.

     We are blessed with ministries that have stood the test of time.  It may be the nursery and countless families that have enjoyed the care provided.  It may be the Sunday School that began as a ministry to children of the late 1800’s because Sunday was the only day many of them had off from work.  Later the bus ministry that still provides countless people a ride to church.  All of these have a few things in common: the sacrifice of the volunteers it takes to make it happen whether donor or manpower, the commitment to keep the ministry going even when the sacrifice digs deep, and the vision that sprouted seeing a need and moving to use this opportunity to lift Jesus.

     Thank you to the many that pack a brown bag for children who go hungry.  Thank you for  the countless meals provided on Wednesday night.  Sound has ventured from a raised pulpit, to a room requiring two or three to run all the equipment, thank you for your efforts.  Many successful programs have become woven into the fabric of our church family and as time passed they are overlooked.  May we continue to have a vision for new ministries at FCC and the generations to come until Jesus comes.

C U Sunday

Bill


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Direction to our Journey

     When the early pioneers traveled west they would choose an object of geography to give direction to their journey.  Hence Chimney Rock in Nebraska, or Pike’s Peak in Colorado became rather famous objects for direction.  But there was the priority of day to day travel in the plains that sought simple objects like a grove of trees, or a city water tower, or a high point that could be easily distinguished.  As the church we know to follow scripture/Jesus is our direction and these clearly stand out.  We know that we are to be light/righteous in a very dark time.  We seek as individuals to be obedient to the will of God.  Like our ancestors though we need simple objectives for our daily journey.  Many of these become the things scheduled and publicized for our church family.

 

     Leadership tends to influence the nature of those priorities.  Leadership seeks to communicate clearly the vision behind those priorities.  Leadership disciples the relationships and church family that will embrace the call of God.  The writer of Hebrews (13:17) knew the urgency of leadership and admonishes the first century church to “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

 

     February 16th & 17th several of our leaders will gather in retreat to dialogue about the day to day priority of vision.  We will gather at Maranatha Retreat Center overnight to pray, fellowship and discern the vision to come.  Pray for our leaders as they gather.  If you would like to come, talk with me soon as arrangements can be made.  Finally, just as Hebrews (13:7) says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”

 

     Thank you to the many men and women who serve and have served as leaders to our church family.  Your vision has been the guiding light of our church family for decades.  Thank you.

C U Sunday,

Bill


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Thank you

    The year is moving forward so quickly.  So, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the many Christmas goodies and the church gift to Susie and me.  Christmas at our house was a full blown family gathered treat.  Andy and his family were here from China and the girls with their families were able to come.  Our house was full and thankfully the neighbor next door let us use her’s too.

     I would remind you of “Without me” (sermon on January 7th) that Joseph said to Pharaoh in Young’s Literal Translation.  Many of you made new year’s commitments as to “without me”.  I would urge you to keep it up.  Keep praying, keep hungering for God’s word, keep thriving to love the unlovable, and remember that God doesn’t need us – He chose us so tell him thank you.

     This next few months the sermons will be spent walking through the book of Hebrews.  Take time to read the book over the next few months a time or two.

     A visitor was headed toward the informal service at 10:32.   She commented that she would prefer the more formal service and they directed her to the main building and the more formal setting.  We at FCC have a variety of service opportunities that appeal to several, yet we are one church family.  Many comments are made regarding our radio hour.  Many love the ability to tune in and follow the worship of the day.  Celebrate our variety of settings and pray for our oneness.

     Thank you for being the wonderful church family that you are.  This March will mark my fourteenth year that I have served with you.  This will open a new page in my life.  Every day from here on will be longest that I have lived anywhere.  Thank you for your continued efforts to follow after Jesus.  Thank you for including me in your walk.

God Bless and c u Sunday.

Bill


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