February 4, 2024

Isaiah 40:21-31
Mark 1:29-39

“Renew Our Strength”

Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? It is God who sits above the circle of the earth… who stretches out the heavens like a curtain… who makes the rulers of the earth as nothing… Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. God does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

The prophet Isaiah addresses these questions to the People of Israel in exile in Babylon. The people are complaining, you see, that God has disregarded them, that God has forgotten them. I can understand their complaint. Really, I can.

They’re tired. They’re exhausted, actually. And after all the challenges and trials they have endured, after waiting so long for some kind of help,  who can blame them for getting a little bit frustrated with God?

Why are we still living in this God-forsaken place? Why are our enemies still triumphing over us again and again? We thought we were supposed to be your chosen people! Why is this misery just going on and on with no relief in sight?

Those are questions … Read more »

October 22, 2023

Matthew 22:15-22

“How Much Should We Give?”

As most of you likely know, our congregation, like a typical Presbyterian Church has quite a few committees. Lots of different people are involved in the work of the committees that all report to Session. For example, there’s the Worship Committee that supports what we do here every Sunday morning. There’s the Pastoral Care Committee that visits members and offers other kinds of support to folks in our congregation who are struggling. And there’s the Mission & Outreach Committee that gives direction for all the ways that we reach out beyond our congregation to serve, and help, and share God’s love in the world.

Most of the committees meet every couple of months. But one of the committees, the Stewardship Committee, just started meeting again this Fall after a long hiatus during Covid and its aftermath. You might think of the Stewardship Committee as the group that tries to encourage us all to give generously to the work of the church. And yes, it is the committee most likely to be found talking about money. Well, besides the Board of Managers, of course.

I think it’s good to note that during the first year of the Covid … Read more »

August 27, 2023

Romans 12:1-8
Matthew 16:13-20

“I Will Build My Church”

A few years ago, just before the Covid-19 Pandemic started to spread, here at First Church we were deciding what to do about our crumbling foundation. Those who were serving on the Session or the Board of Managers back in early 2020, as well as a few other congregation members with architectural expertise will remember it well.

As we prepared to do some water-proofing of the foundation walls of the church, we discovered that we had some more serious issues with some of the walls due to water damage, Regina’s expanding and contracting soil, and likely not the best quality cement used back in 1926 when the church building was constructed.

The first quote we received for a repair to solve the problem was astronomical. We all said, “Well, we can’t pay that to fix the foundation! There’s just no way!” And then, while some of our own experts worked with the engineers to figure out some other options for a more affordable solution, some of us began to imagine what would happen if we just couldn’t fix it.

Would we have to tear the building down? Could we move worship into the gymnasium for a few … Read more »

June 7, 2020

We had some Wifi issues during the recording of worship on Sunday, June 7th. The audio of the sermon is perfect, however the video of the whole service has some skips, unfortunately. We have now figured out what went wrong, so we can make a better recording next Sunday!!!

Genesis 1:1-2:4a
Psalm 8
Matthew 28:16-20

“Entrusted to Us”

A few years ago, I was back in school working on another degree in ministry. I’ve put that work on hold for the moment, given some other things going on in my life that needed to take priority. But the courses I took, and the reading and theological reflection they involved were very helpful, even if I never actually complete the degree.

For example, I remember taking a course called, “Theology of Ministry.” Its overall purpose was to assist each of us as students to develop our own theology of ministry as we understand it in our particular contexts and roles within the church. I titled my major paper for the course, “Partners in the Ministry of Christ: A Presbyterian and Ecumenical Theology of Ministry.”

You see, I was discovering that my theology of ministry is rooted in a conviction that all Christian ministry is the ministry of … Read more »