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Archive for November, 2011

First Wednesday in Advent Devotional

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:10

“Oh, for the love of God!” It’s a phrase, I admit, I use more often than not for reasons which are less than benevolent, and often with a grimace on my face. Recent utterances of the phrase being the other morning when I could not find my left shoe in my overcrowded closet; last week when I jammed my toe into the foot of the bed I was changing; and this morning when I had to return home to get some important forms we had forgotten to grab before leaving for school. We all lead busy lives, tossing things out of sight quickly so that we can move on to the next thing, multitasking and not giving our full attention to one activity at a time, or waiting until the deadline is upon us to meet an obligation. And, it is for this very reason that Advent season exists. Advent is a time to prepare ourselves and our families spiritually to celebrate the most glorious event in Christianity. So, I pause and think about that phrase I utter carelessly as I go about my hectic life. What do my family and I do “for the love of God”? And when I sit quietly long enough I realize, we’ve done quite a lot.
Hampton volunteered several nights this year at Surry Medical Ministries, usually after having put in a full day of work. Daniel enjoys serving on the Presbyterian Youth Council and will be a counselor this weekend at the Middle School Youth retreat. Mary Glen worked very hard in the Pumpkin Patch this year to help the Beacons raise much needed funds to feed less fortunate families for Thanksgiving. And I have served for the past three years on the Session, admittedly one of the most challenging tasks ever asked of me. I hope as you’re reading this, you’ll ask yourselves, “What have I done for the love of God?” Maybe during this Advent season, you and your family can share with each other what it is that you have done, or want to do, “for the love of God,” and the next time we say that phrase it will be not with a grimace but a grin on our faces. Merry Christmas!

Prayer: Gracious God, help each of us to realize how we are called to serve you, not out of obligation but out of love, now and in the year to come. Amen.
Heather, Hampton, Daniel, & Mary Glen Hatcher

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First Tuesday in Advent

Scripture: Matthew 28:20b

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when holidays come around. Some folks look for signs such as butterflies to let them know things are okay. My sign came in the form of dimes.

After my husband Tom passed away, my daughter Mitzi shared that she was finding dimes which made her think of her daddy. Then I started finding dimes which I seemed to run across at the very time I needed Tom’s guidance. Little did I realize that a dime would come into play at Christmas last year.

Our family tradition for 52 years was to open gifts on Christmas Day followed by an early dinner. However, this tradition changed last year when my grandson Zach has to remain in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania so he could help with Christmas services at Palmer Moravian Church where he was the student minister. Since he couldn’t come home for Christmas – his mother, Mitzi, father David and brother Tyler went to Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas with him, and I went to Harrisonburg, Virginia with my son Mark and his friend Rebecca to celebrate Christmas with Rebecca’s family.

There was a foot of snow on the ground when he arrived in Harrisonburg, and the town was all decked out for Christmas. Rebecca’s mother went all out to make me feel welcome, but the thing that made me know it was going to be okay was this: When I went into the guest bedroom, I saw a dime lying on the luggage rack when I put my suitcase down. I took that as a sign from Tom telling me to have a good time, that family traditions change but the meaning of Christmas is the same wherever we are.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, bless all who are in need of a sign and let them know you sent it in the form of a baby named Jesus. Amen.

Ethelene Edwards

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Celebrating life in a couple of ways

Today, our church family has the opportunity to celebrate life in a couple of ways:

First, we give thanks to God for the new life that has come to the Leathers family!  Earlier this morning, Baker Leathers was born to Eric, Kristin and big sister Harper.  Baby Baker is in good health and doing well – as is Mom!

Second, we gather in prayer around Frieda Chauncey, whose husband Carroll died early this morning. Visitation will be tomorrow night at Moody’s Funeral Home from 6-8pm, and the service will be on Thursday at Moody’s at 11am.

Life is a wonderful gift that we celebrate each day.  Let us remember in our prayers the Leathers, and Frieda and family!

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First Monday in Advent

Scripture: Mark 10:13-16

Like you, I remember the excitement that came with Christmas when I was a child. That excitement was just thoughts of nuts, fruits, candy and toys. It was the sense that something wonderful was going to happen.
When I was growing up, our family custom required us to eat breakfast and then line up; the oldest family member was first to go into the closed off living room.
Now that I’m the oldest family member, I realize that custom allowed the adults in the family to watch the children’s delight at the Christmas tree and all it’s treasures.
Sometimes we lose that joyful anticipation as we grow older. Yet, Jesus said we must be like children if we are to enter the kingdom.
This year I hope Christmas brings that old feeling: something wonderful is going to happen!

Prayer: Dear God, help us to keep the wonder of Christmas that we felt as children and that we see in the children. Help us to celebrate and keep on celebrating.

Claire Merritt

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First Sunday in Advent Devotional

Our Advent Devotional was written by various member of the 1st Presbyterian congregation. Thank you for journeying with us this Advent.

Scripture: John 6:29
As we leave Thanksgiving behind and move into the season of Advent, let us remember what it is we believe (these were the post it notes you wrote during Youth Sunday):

  • God, Christ, Holy Spirit
    Hope
    Love
    Grace
    Forgiveness
    God’s Promises
    God is the reason for all things possible
    God’s grace
    That God loves the poor
    God will provide
    I believe everyone should give and receive all the the love they can
    Thanksgiving
    I believe in the youth of our church
    Prayer
    I believe in the Father Almighty
    Salvation
    I believe that God loves me
    Equal rights for everyone
    Jesus died for me
    I believe in the innate goodness of people
    God is a forgiving God
    I believe in loving God with my whole heart
    I believe that FPC is a true family and I am blessed to be a part of it.
    I believe in Jesus Christ the only begotten son of God, who died for our sins, and whom God raised from the dead for our salvation.
    I believe in singing God’s praises
    I believe God will take care of us
    I believe in peace
    I believe the Bible is the word of God
    I believe God will shine God’s light on the ones I love.
    I believe God gave us music
    I believe in honesty and kindness
    I believe God is with us no matter where we are.
    Miracles do happen
    I believe in second chances
    I believe in our doctors
    I believe God is love
    I believe God created and loves us
    I believe that by turning my problems over to God, I will feel God’s blessings everyday, and my life will be blessed in ways I can’t imagine.
    I believe God will help those I love
    I believe God wants us to love each other despite our differences
    I believe sinners can be reconciled to God in Christ
    God is bigger than we can imagine
    I believe in the power of love
    Jesus loves me
    I believe in tolerance
    I believe God is in control
    I believe God will bless the year to come
    God has blessed me with family
    Everyone deserves to be loved
    Jesus is real
    The power of a smile
    I believe God can heal our hearts
    We are given grace thought we don’t know why
    That we should give God the glory for all that God does
    God loves me no matter how often I mess up
    I believe God as a plan
    I believe in one God for all people

Prayer: Help us to remember, each day, the things that we believe, and to live out that faith in all we do. Amen

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Join us for our 4th Annual Thanksgiving Feast on Sunday, November 20th, immediately following worship.  

Bring your favorite side dishes and/or desserts as we give thanks to God for our family at First Presbyterian!

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I want to tell you about a visit I had with Mae Turpin today.  Well, actually, Mae wanted me to tell you something.  I had barely sat down in her new room at Golden Living Center when she asked if I’d be willing to relay a message to the entire congregation.  I ran back out to the car and grabbed my laptop to get it all down.  Here is Mae’s message to each of you:

****************

Greetings to my church family!

 I miss seeing you and being able to send my birthday cards to you.  My hands do not allow me to write because of the arthritis.  I’m back at Golden Living because I still have the bad luck of falling frequently!  That seems to make it unsafe for me to stay at home, where I’d rather be.

 I assure you that the first place I will go when I get out of here is to come to church!  I love our church so much.  I joined First Presbyterian when I was twelve years old; my mother wouldn’t let me join before that.  The date was October 13, 1935 – I still remember that!  I hope the church is as special to you as it is to me.

 I’ve enjoyed your visits and your telephone calls and cards.  They make me feel like I am part of the church, even when I can’t be there.  Please come by when you can, even if just to say hello.  It always means so much when you can!

Love to you all,

Mae

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She concluded our time by making me promise that I would see that she got one of the “Estimate Of Giving” cards from our recent Consecration Sunday, because she wants to make sure that she still gives to God through God’s church.

Wow.  What an amazing lady!  I mean, can you remember the month, day and year that you joined the church?  Every time I go to see Mae, I am constantly reminded of God’s steadfast grace and love; and how people like Mae – and you and me – can share that grace and love with those around us.

Something else happens every time I go to see Mae, as well as our other homebound members – I feel better afterwards.  Without fail, it brightens my day; and I know my visit brightens theirs.  That’s the way it is with the body of Christ – we energize each other, especially when our interaction doesn’t involve television or Facebook or cell phones; but two chairs, maybe two cups of coffee, and the simple pleasure of good conversation.

Too often we (and I include myself) forget the importance of human contact – face-to-face, voice to voice, child of God to child of God.  The world we live in is one that makes living in isolation way too easy.  Drive down any older neighborhood in our city or any other – with houses build pre 60’s – and see how the porches are on the front of the house.  That’s because folks would sit out there and greet people as they walked by, engaging in neighborly conversation.  But what happened with houses built in the years that followed?  The porches were built on the back of the house.  Somewhere along the line, we decided those conversations were no longer necessary.  We became comfortable with the idea of isolating ourselves.

The thing is, you and I don’t have to succumb so easily to that isolation as the vibrant, active, engaging body of Christ.  Which is why I want to invite all of you to do something very powerful this holiday season. I want you to go visit some of our homebound members.  Take the whole family – my boys still talk about the times they’ve gone with Lorie and myself to visit some folks.  Call Lynn at the church office and she’ll be happy to give you names and phone numbers and addresses.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know them – you are bound together in Christ, and that’s more than enough.  And it doesn’t need to be a big production – as Mae says, just stopping by to say “hi” means more than you’ll ever know (to them AND to you).

Take Mae’s words to heart – she loves you and loves this church.  Something we all have in common for sure.

Steve

 

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