Archive for October, 2012

What YOU cherish about our church

If you were in worship this past Sunday, you know that I took a bit of a risk in my sermon:  I let you talk in the sermon.  I really did!  I asked you near the end of my sermon (which you can read and listen to HERE) to take a few moments and think about what you cherish about our church. And not just what you “like” about it – what you cherish about it.  What keeps you coming back week after week when you could be doing a million other things.  And then I literally turned the floor over to you and let you continue the sermon for me.

And boy, did you preach!  Here are the things that YOU said you cherished about our church:

  • Fellowship
  • Church family
  • Music
  • Message
  • Friendship
  • History and tradition
  • Mission
  • Food!
  • The Word of God
  • Synergy
  • Warmth
  • Hope
  • Faith-building
  • Love
  • Resilience
  • Beauty
  • Beacons
  • Our children
  • The children’s message
  • The fact that we’re a welcoming church
  • Sunday School
  • God!

Honestly, I couldn’t have said it better myself.  That’s why I’m so glad you did.  These are the things we need to focus on and remember as we prepare for our church’s 155th year of ministry.  Not our fears and concerns, but our hopes and dreams.  I hope you’ll join me in a day of great hoping and dreaming at First Presbyterian this coming Consecration Sunday, November 4th.  Incidentally, it is not too late to make your reservations for our free, catered celebration lunch after worship – simply call Lynn at the church office (786.2803) before noon Wednesday.

One last thing – it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that the thing I cherish about our church as pastor is each one of you.  For you are not only members of the church I’m called to serve, but good friends who graciously share your lives with me and my family.  For this, and for so much more, I am truly grateful and give thanks to God for our partnership in ministry!

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Weekly Grapevine – October 28, 2012


 Sunday, October 28             

10:00 am – Coffee Time

10:00 am – Choir Rehearsal

11:00 am – Worship

4:30 pm – Beacons in the Lighthouse

6:00 pm – Church Leadership Discipleship Dinner @ Trio

Wednesday, October 31       

7:30 pm – Choir Rehearsal

Thursday, November 1        

5:00 pm – Friends Feeding Friends

Beacon Gift Jar Fundraiser Begins

Friday-Sunday, Nov 2-4       

PYC Middle School Retreat


October 21, 2012 Contributions:

Pledged:       $        8,155.00

Non-Pledged:          $           473.00

Weekly Total:         $        8,628.00

 Total Monthly Receipts:   


 Monthly Budget Need:


 Amount we still need for October: 

$   3,972.00

 Annual Pledge to Date Deficit:



 Consecration Sunday: Is November 4th!  Join us in worship at 11:00 a.m. as we share our commitments for the coming year to the work and ministry of God’s church.  Also please make your RSVP’s for the Celebration lunch following worship (if you haven’t already).  This will be a catered meal.  God is doing wonderful things in the life of this church!

 Beacons: Will meet in the Lighthouse at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.  Please note time change.  The Beal family will provide snacks.

 Choir Rehearsal: Wednesday, October 31st at 7:30 p.m.

 Gifts in a Jar: Starts November 1st!  Once again, the Beacons will be selling cookie and soup mixes.  These make great holiday gifts.  Please see Shasta or one of the Beacons to place an order.  Thank you for supporting our summer mission efforts.

 Church Directory: We had a great turnout!  If you weren’t able to come and have your photo taken, you can still have one made at one of two locations: Flat Rock Baptist (Nov. 8, 9 and 10) or White Plains Baptist Church (Nov 13 & 14).  You may also submit a photo.  No professional photos will be accepted.  Please see Beth Pequeno for more info or call Lynn in the church office at 786-2803 if you have any questions.

 Confirmation: If you are in 6th grade or older, have never been confirmed, and would like to be, now is the time to start making plans.  Please let Shasta know if you are interested by Sunday, November 18th.


Friends Feeding Friends: The following people are signed up to assist on Thursday, November 1st: Mike Gatchel, Sara Bailey, Cristi Arington, Lorie Lindsley, Mae and Philip Daniels, & Shasta Brown.

 Offering for Hunger & Hope: Next Sunday, we will collect our Cents-A-Bility offering along with our Yokefellow food offering.  Foods of the month are: Cornmeal and Mayonnaise.


 Birthdays: 10/28: Lorie Lindsley, Kayla Lowe, Randy Surratt; 10/30: John Merritt, Emily Keck, Garrett Bush, Dan Harrison; 11/1: Millie Beal; 11/3: Lisa Dodd, Erica Carlisle

 Anniversaries: None this week

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Your surprised and grateful pastor

When it comes to weekly worship, I pride myself on having a solid grip on what transpires between 11am-noon.  I know what announcements will be made, the hymns we’ll sing and scriptures read, the liturgy and prayers.  About the only thing I can’t anticipate is some beautifully honest comment from a child in Shasta’s children’s message that makes us all chuckle.

But this past Sunday morning, First Presbyterian, you surprised me.  Truly and completely surprised me.

Why is Shasta calling up Felton?  She’s supposed to call me up to welcome Linda as a new member.  That’s what I was thinking when it happened.  And for the next few minutes I was completely out of my element, and completely at your mercy.  And it was a very disorienting and wonderful feeling.

To say “thank you” for honoring me as you did in this Pastor Appreciation Month, and on the occasion of my tenth year here, simply feels insufficient.  But honestly, it’s all I’ve got.  That and a deep gratitude for serving God together on the corner of Church and Main.  Because there still is much work to do here.  We’ve got a Consecration Sunday we’re building up to in a few weeks. We’ve got an energized adult mission initiative; a dynamic youth ministry changing lives on a daily basis, a music ministry that’s setting the bar high.  We have Thanksgiving and Advent and Christmas around the corner, and a treasured facility that’s in need of a few touch-ups.

Most of all, we have 300 wonderful children of God who come together every week to build God’s kingdom on earth.  Which is why this surprised and grateful pastor realizes that celebrations like this are never about a single person.  They’re about the family of faith God has molded us into together, and that is an awesomely beautiful thing.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for what you have done, and what we still have left to do together!

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The following is a Minute for Discipleship given in worship this morning by Jeff Eads, moderator of the Discipleship Ministry Team.

Good morning!

As most of you know, my family has some challenges, but this past year has been a humdinger. I will not go into the details this morning, but just trust me on this one, there’s been a lot going on at the Eads house.

For those of you that know me and Timmesa, you won’t be surprised when I say that we’re not big on asking for help. It’s just not something we do very often. I think it is safe to say that we are much much much more comfortable being givers of help, than being on the receiving end of it. I like the feelings that are a part of the act of giving, but receiving help sometimes makes me feel funny. I don’t want to feel like I’m putting anybody out. When folks from this church stepped up and out and brought meals to my house when things we were in a tight spot, I really gotta tell you – I felt awkward about it. Call it pride, call it rugged individualism, call it what you will, but I don’t like to think that people feel sorry for me. Those are my hang-ups, part of what I often refer to as my “style.” Newsflash, people have their own personal reasons for doing or not doing something. It isn’t up to me to figure this out or worry over it. And shame on me for making assumptions about why people do what they do or how they feel about me. Sometimes we just need to do something for somebody else because it is good for us emotionally and spiritually. Period.  Letting people help and love you, helps them. We need these opportunities to give. Giving to others is like an essential vitamin, it isn’t optional. I’m glad my family was able to provide some members of this church with  an opportunity, or in some instances – opportunities (plural) to give. You are most welcome.

So how does all of this relate to discipleship and giving financially to the church? For me, I like the people that go to this church. I feel grateful and thankful for what this church does. I believe that this church does a lot for me, my family, the congregation, and the community. I want to see this church move forward and be around for a long long time.

2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each of you should give whatever you have decided. You shouldn’t be sorry that you gave or feel forced to give, since God loves a cheerful giver.” I can only speak for myself, but old habits die hard, and it can be all too easy to get caught up in the “keeping up with the Jones’” mentality when making a pledge. That’s when all of the good old guilt, judgment and peer pressure can get the best of me. If you start feeling those twinges, here’s a challenge: Find instructions in the Bible on how to support a church budget. Look if you want, but you won’t find any. What you will find are many passages urging you to give to God – cheerfully! That means with a happy face, not a grumpy one.

Inside your bulletin is a reservation card for our Luncheon to celebrate Consecration Sunday on November 4. I would like to ask the ushers and members of the discipleship team to please come forward to distribute these cards as the prelude is played.  We look forward to seeing all of you on November 4!

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The following was a Minute For Discipleship given by Lee Daniels in worship yesterday:


From a fellow Mission Partner, Traveler and Disciple of Christ – equipped by God and sent forth by this congregation with these words:

God calls each of us to serve daily – with our minds, with our hearts, and with our actions.  Lord, we hear your voice surround us.  Send us where you want us to go.  For years (150 and counting), youth and adults from this congregation have responded to God’s voice by giving of their time, talents and energy with countless numbers of people, knowing that the work we do and the relationships we build changes lives – most especially our own!

For we cannot help but be transformed in the giving – or in serving receive God’s richest blessings.  Likewise, God calls us to give a percentage of our income to further the church, here at First Presbyterian, and throughout the world.  From Malachi, one of God’s messengers, we are reminded:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Malachi 3:10)

We aren’t called to give out of a sense of obligation, or because of guilt, or even for fear of God’s judgment!  We are called to give, whether it is 4, 6, 10 or more percent, because God will richly bless us!  We give out of a commitment to God, to help to make God’s kingdom here on earth a living reality, and to grow in our relationship with Christ – so that we might reach out to others with Christ’s transforming love!

It was just last week while on our weekend mission trip that I learned of a congregation of 40 members in the city of Charlotte who felt called by God to raise $50,000 to purchase a house in inner-city Charlotte to donate to the Hoskins St. Ministry for the purpose of helping some of the saints of that city to get off the streets and on their feet again.

From Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians:

I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give.  That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving (The Message)

Remember, on November 4th, that we will be gathering as a congregation fro a catered dinner following worship that Sunday.  All that is asked of you is to prayerfully consider what it is that God is calling you to give, and that you pledge to attend Worship that Sunday AND the meal that follows so we can all learn how God continues to bless this congregation of saints – surrounded by those that we fellowship with, serve next to, talk to God with, laugh with, and partner with to serve God and further God’s kingdom in and around Mount Airy, and throughout the world.

I pray that we here at First Presbyterian continue to experience “so much blessing that we will not have enough room for it,” and may the love of God surround us as we seek to be good stewards to each other and to those neighbors and saints we are called upon to serve!

May the peace of Christ be with you,

Lee Daniels, Mission Partner & Fellow Traveler

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Come out and support the FPC Beacons this Autumn Leaves weekend, October 12-14, 2012. The Beacons will have two fundraisers going on and would love your support.

We will be parking cars, in the church parking lot from 8-5 every day, with all the proceeds going to the Beacons summer 2013 mission work.

We will also be selling pumpkins with all the proceeds going to feed our neighbors in need during the holidays.
Pumpkin prices:
Large – $3
Medium – $2
Small – $1

Feel free to share this and help the Beacons help others.

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If the answer is “no,” now’s the time!  With a little over a week away from our fall church pictorial directory, we still have a number of slots available.  Pictures will be taken next Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 18-20.

To sign up, you can call the church office at 786.2803.  Or, you can sign up online by clicking HERE.

Remember – our directory will not be complete without YOU in it!

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