Archive for December, 2011

Weekly Grapevine – January 1, 2012

Happy New Year from the staff of First Presbyterian Church!



Head Usher: Mike Beal          Side Usher: Mike Gatchel

Nursery: TBA

Spark Teachers: No Spark today



Sunday, January 1            

9:45 am – Sunday School

10:00 am – The Gathering

11:00 am – Worship

Monday, January 2           

Church Office Closed

Wednesday, January 4                

5:30 pm – Confirmation Mentor Meeting

6:30 pm – Confirmation Kick-Off

7:30 pm – Choir Rehearsal

Thursday, January 5                  

5:30 pm – Friends Feeding Friends



December 25, 2011 Contributions:       

Pledged:           $  17,150.00

Non-Pledged: $        445.00

Weekly Total: $  17,595.00


Total monthly receipts:  $31,961.04          

Monthly budget need:  $24,000.00

Annual Budgeted Pledge Receipts: $239,313.00

Year to Date Actual Pledge Receipts: $221,647.74

Amount we exceeded for the month of December:      $7,961.04


Beacons: Will not meet this evening.

Church Office Closed: The church office will be closed on Monday, January 2nd, to observe the New Year’s holiday.

Confirmation Mentor Meeting: Will be held on Wednesday, January 4th, at 5:30 p.m.

Confirmation Kick-Off: Wednesday, January 4th, at 6:30 p.m.  This is for the confirmands, their families and mentors.  Please let Shasta know how many will attend by Monday, January 2nd.

New Adult Bible Study during the Gathering – Beginning Sunday, January 8th Adults and Beacons are invited to join Eric Leathers in the Fellowship Hall for a discussion of the Gospel of Mark. It is going to be great! The children who attend the Gathering will meet with Shasta during the same time for an exciting time. What a great way to start the New Year!

Inclement Weather Policy: It is our intention that all church activities take place as scheduled.  However, at times, that is not possible.  If activities are postponed or cancelled, they will be listed on WXII Channel 12 – or via the Online Grapevine, Facebook and/or the church website.



Serving God in the New Year: We will begin assisting with Friends Feeding Friends at First Baptist Church on the 1st AND 2nd Thursdays of each month.  Sign-up sheets are on the board in the upstairs foyer.  It’s an incredible feeling of outreach to serve such a wonderful ministry!  The following people are signed up to serve on Thursday, January 5th: Steven & Emily Lowe, Linda Hodges, Felton Godwin, Cathy Harrison, Mae Daniels, Mike Gatchel, Amy Sparks and Cristi Arington.  Meet at First Baptist Church at 5:15 p.m.



Birthdays: 1/4: Andrew Gitt; 1/6: Will Rhoden; 1/7: Nancy Dixon, Colin Phillips

Anniversaries: 1/3: Russ and Teresa Bouma, Andrew & Laurie Stroupe


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Fourth Friday in Advent Devotional

For 46 Christmas A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a part of the American Christmas. Take a moment from all the hustle and bustle of today to remember….

Charlie Brown: I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about.
[shouting in desperation]
Charlie Brown: Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Prayer: Dear God, whether we are Linus, full of faith and hope; or Charlie Brown, full of worry and doubt help us to KNOW, on this glorious night and every night that you ARE Emmanuel, God with us! Amen.

Merry Christmas !

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Fourth Thursday in Advent Devotional

Scripture: Luke 2:19

My favorite Christmas tradition is setting up the Santas. This collection is very special to my family because they have been gifts through the years. Each year my family recalls what they were from or who they were from. Each year my family and I like to put up the Santas and we have a little table that we set them up on. You would think we would put them up and then take them down at the end of the season like the rest of the decorations. Every year my sister would put out all of the Santas, but every year I would come after she had gone out to do anything a teenager would do and I would make them the way I liked it instead.

Prayer: Thank you lord for all the great memories that my family has gathered through the years. We will enjoy them forever on. Amen

Laurel Petri, age 9

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Fourth Wednesday in Advent Devotional

Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:7

While living in Charlotte, we always made plans to attend the outdoor production of the “Real Christmas Story”. There was a huge cast, beautiful set and costumes, talented singers, live animals, and a real baby in an open theatre under the stars. It was so special that we looked forward to going each year. Some years the weather was clear and cold, while others snowy or rainy. No matter what, it was our official family kickoff to the Christmas season and something to anticipate.
We started going when the girls were very young. One year when they were around 7 and 9, we went to buy some hot chocolate during intermission. When we approached the end of the line, the man directly in front of us looked to have leprosy. His face was full of lesions, as were his hands. I am sure his appearance made more than one person pause or stare.
We stood in line next to him and his friend. The man had some homemade deer jerky in a plastic sandwich bag and right away offered it to the girls while explaining he made it himself. Our daughters without hesitation accepted his offer, shared his deer jerky and were talking with him and his friend like they were neighbors. I think the man enjoyed the conversation as much as we did as he was smiling ear to ear. I remember as I stood there being so proud of my daughters since they saw the heart of this man, and not just his outside. His kindness showed when he offered the girls something he prized and while they may have been afraid, they never showed it.

It was a moment I treasure.
Prayer: Dear God,
Thank you for the many wonderful people you put in our lives at times of your choosing. We ask that you help us not to judge others, but see them as you do. We ask that you give us the heart and the eyes of a child as we deal with others.

Steven, Annette, Kayla and Emily Lowe

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Fourth Tuesday in Advent Devotional

Scripture: I Thessalonians 5:16, Matthew 5:16

Advent is one of the most glorious seasons in the Christian Calendar.  All around you there seems to be a “Song in the Air” lit by a “Star in the Sky”.  We sing many traditional hymns during this wondrous season, many of which have lyrics that revere the beauty and wonder of the birth of the Christ child.  One traditional song we sing during Advent talks about a mother’s deep prayer and a baby’s low cry.  I have always loved the imagery of Mary holding the Baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes before laying him in the humble manger.  In my heart, I can hear her “heart singing a new song”, speaking to God in thanks for her beautiful baby and for the safe arrival of the new King.  I imagine the barn animals drawing in close to keep the infant warm through the cold of the night, revering this small creation of God and knowing that they are graced by his presence.  I hope that each of your hearts will be filled with  the wonder, beauty and brightness of the the holiday season.  I thank God for the gift of the Christ Child and pray that all who believe in HIM are blessed during this season of love.

Prayer: Dear Lord, We thank you for giving us a reason to sing a beautiful new song.  We ask that you be with us and guide us as we move forward in this season of beauty and love.  Let us worship you, praise your name, sing with the love of Jesus in our hearts.  Show us the path to righteousness; forgive us for our shortcomings and failings; let our hearts sing and our lights shine for your glory.  Shine your light to show us the way that you would have us to go now and through out the year.  Let us draw in close, like the humble animals, and be awed by the new born King. The birth of Jesus is all about peace, hope, love and joy ….. may the light of the stars in the heavens give light unto your feet and shine on your hearts to bless and keep you in the new year.

Nancy, John, Malcolm and Olivia Malone

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Fourth Monday in Advent Devotional

Scripture: 1 John 4: 7-14

Looking back on my life and the many Christmas holidays I spent with my family, I can remember one distinct Christmas that made an impression on me that will last forever. I was in the 6th grade, 11 years old, and my father had recently lost his job and taken another, lower paying job. We had to move into a small trailer owned by my Grandparents. It was going to be a tough Christmas for all of us, but my parents reminded my sister and I that we had each other and we had our love, and that was all that we needed to get through a difficult time. Instead of going to the Christmas tree farm and picking out a choose-and-cut tree, as we always had, we went into the woods behind our house and found a “Charlie Brown Style” Christmas tree that Mom and Dad dug up so they could replant it later. The limbs too weak to hold most ornaments so we strung together berries and popcorn for the branches, instead of taking our usual ornaments out of storage. It was the most beautiful tree I’d ever seen and to this day, my entire family says it is the best Christmas tree we’ve had. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a tree that came together with our love. They didn’t have much money for presents, but my Mom spent months hand sewing clothes for my Barbie Dolls, which she placed in a small wooden box she purchased for me. The clothes were beautiful and I still treasure them. Even though we didn’t have the traditional Christmas, my parents worked hard to show us that love was enough, and it still means so much to me.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for showing us that love and faith can get us through difficult times. I pray that you continue to guide us on the right path and help us realize that with your love and grace we can achieve anything.
Jessica Leigh Johnson

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Fourth Sunday in Advent Devotional

Scripture: Psalm 23:1
As we go through this crazy time of the year, we need to take a moment and stop and look around us and realize what is right in front of us, Gods grace. If your family is anything like ours, then you know what I am talking about. It seems like we are running in circles each and everyday just trying to get things done, and after the day is gone you look back and try to figure out what you did the day before. It seems sometimes that we are so needy and want things right now that we need to step back and take a look around us and thank God for just being able to get out to do all of these things. Good grief. You know what I’m talking about! With us its not only trying to get the college applications done or trying to find the right scholarship or youth or basketball or practice or cheerleading or just everyday activities, oh yeah, and family life, its all in one. We need to just take a step back and not only catch our breath but look around us and realize that its all going to be ok because God is in control. Take time out of this busy time and sit down, not necessarily at the table, maybe on the floor in the living room and tell one another that you love them and how thankful you are for the family that surrounds you.
God, Bless our family, let us be reminded of how thankful we should be for your many blessings. Show us that we need to slow down and take time for one another. Everything else will work out…we know this because its all in your hands. Amen

John, Pepper, Alex & Dalton Mayes

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