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First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Month

November 2013

Thursday Update

Hi folks,

Many of you responded so positively to our effort for the Diamond/Coal City and Washington IL. What we need from you now is to bring the donations in today and tomorrow if you are not able to join us on Saturday at 8 am.

Our plan right now is to organize all the donations on saturday and take a first round of donations to Coal city, followed by a round two of donation to Washington IL that will include the Christmas Stockings project.

Blessings,

 

Bo M.

 

1 Chron. 16:8-14 – Share Some “Wonderful Acts”

1 Chronicles 16:8-14

Some pretty complicated circumstances led to this powerful song of praise.  During the time of Saul the Ark of the Covenant had lost its power as a good luck charm (mostly because it was never meant to be used as one) so Saul left it in the house of Abinidab.  When David became King, he wanted to return it to its former prominence.  Why?  Because the Ark was where God presided in the Old Testament. Returning the Ark to prominence is akin to a renewed focus on the right worship of God. So David sends for the Ark and it returns to its proper place as a focal point of worship. David appoints people to serve and Asaph to lead worship. They put together a band of harps, lyres (a harpish, guitarish thing), trumpets and cymbals. They pick a song (our verses) and off they go!  So what does a worship song sound like thousands of years ago?  Its sounds like a lot of people who are thankful for what God has done!  Three thousand years later, we do the same thing in church every Sunday.  In stone buildings in Joliet, under trees in Africa, wearing everything from suits to saris we gather to give thanks and praise a God of “wonderful acts”.  During this season of Thanksgiving, what “wonderful act” has God done in your life that you can give thanks for? Big or small, let us all know on the comment board!

Wednesday Update on Relief efforts

1st Pres will continue collecting things needed for the affected area, an updated list is on our FB Page. Please keep in mind that some of the things needed are for various places and not specific to one location, while other things are.
Saturday, a 1st Pres team will head towards Coal city to help with any type of work needed. We will meet at 7 am at church and head out. Depending on the donations received we might need to evaluate and make decisions about a second team that will handle donations only.
Please come prepared for work, steel toes boots, warm coats etc. and also if you have a bigger vehicle please drive that.
This is a continues moving and changing project, and we will ask for your help and understanding along the way, your ideas and input are welcome at anytime.
For more information please contact: Justin WatsonSuzanne WatsonKristina WilsonLisa Nicole and Bo Mircea.

Here is a bigger list of the things we are collecting:

Rubbermaid Totes Cardboard boxes Files with closeable tops for documents Large Heavy Duty Garbage Bags Deodorant Combs Hair brushes Toothbrushes Tooth paste Shampoo/Conditioner Shaving Cream Body Wash (Not soap at this time) Work Gloves Buckets Sponges Rakes Cleaning rags Dish soap Mops Towels Baby Formula Toys Infant care items Diapers Bedding Flashlights Batteries – C, D and AAA Manual can openers Aspirin Brown lunch bags Sharpies School supplies Dog and Cat Food Disposable coffee cups with lids Duct Tape Packing Tape to seal boxes Tarps Scissors Toliet Paper Paper Towels Yellow Caution Safety Vests for workers Wheelbarrows Washington, IL- they need plastic tubs/storage bins Bottled water, non perishable food, clothes, blankets, baby formula, regular household and hygiene items, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant. Washington IL Tornado Recovery Get ready folks, NWS says it’s going to be a COLD weekend. You might want to add those handy little pocket hand warmers to your list of items to donate for folks working in the field.

Please continue to share and spread the word.

Blessings,

Bo M.

Joy That Leads To Peace

Philippians 4:4-7

Paul clearly loves the church in Philippi, and this short book is full of encouragement and quotable quotes.  So I find it interesting that chapter 4 begins with Paul instructing two women to settle whatever disagreement they had going, and calls to the church’s attention to the work they had done on behalf of the Gospel.  Paul’s follow-up to this is our focus today:  Rejoice!  Don’t worry!  God will give you peace that others won’t be able to understand.

In studying this passage closely, I realized I’ve never quite paid attention to verse 5:  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.  Remember, the Lord is coming soon. (NLT).  In the middle of telling the church to rejoice and ask God for what is needed, Paul reminds us that that we must show love and compassion to others.  Christ is coming!  Bringing others to Jesus and sharing the Gospel starts with reaching out in consideration of those around us.  We aren’t effective for the Kingdom if we are like Euodia and Syntyche, the women who were arguing with each other in Phillipi. Disagreement in the Church sucks up energy that should be channeled into working to share the gospel and meeting the needs of others.

In the after-math of Sunday’s storms, some of our members were the hands and feet of Jesus, delivering items of comfort and necessity to those who had lost their homes in the tornado.  Imagine how thankful those people are to be able to have clean water—something we take for granted every day.  This is our faith in action.  Meeting an immediate need out of love and compassion.

In this season of Thanksgiving, let’s apply these verses in our daily lives.  Rejoice.  Be considerate.  Remember Jesus is coming.  Don’t worry, instead ask God for what you need.  Thank God for what he has done.  The result?  Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace in our relationships and homes.  The world doesn’t understand it, but when we follow this path we can have peace in the middle of any storm.

Anna Johnson

Guest Contributors!

Good Morning!  We’re going to try something a little new with our daily time in God’s Word today. We thought it would be good to have some of the other participants in our study contribute. We at First Pres firmly believe that all believers have the ability to interpret God’s Word for the edification of the body of Christ; just like we believe that God hears a child’s simple prayer just as clearly as he hears the prayer of the most poetic of Clergy. There’s no Jr. Varsity and Varsity versions of the Holy Spirit.  We all have the same Spirit and as a result we all have something to offer.  With that in mind, we’ll try for a guest writer a week.  This morning we hear from one of our church family’s extremely talented musicians. You’ve probably seen her playing keyboard and singing in our second service.  I hope you’re as blessed by her thoughts as I was when I read them.

Tuesday Update

Hi Folks,

Please stay connected with us also on Facebook @ : https://www.facebook.com/FirstPresbyterianChurchOfJoliet for the latest news. We will be collecting donations of cleaning supplies, bleach, rags, boxes, packing tape, etc .

We need your help to reach out to those that need help. Please let us know if you are available to come out and help sorting and organizing donations, or ready to get involved in a clean up team.

Bo M.

Not a regular Sunday…

psalm 107:1-9 

What started out as a quiet, regular Sunday morning soon turned out to be day that will  stick with me for a while. After rushing home to catch the game, I soon found myself in the basement with Max watching the news about the tornadoes hitting all around Illinois. Soon after that a text message set up a water run to Washington IL, a trip that I can truly describe as humbling, terrifying and at the same time felt the right thing to do.

Along the way we have seen down power lines, houses destroyed and lots of places with no power. We were able to drop the water at Crossroads United Methodist Church, and soon we were on the road again.

And this brings me to being thankful, thankful for people that have found hope when their lives seem to be ruined, thankful for the time we live in when the news and the weather channels have minimized the loss of human life, thankful for people and services like the Red Cross, first responders, communities that spring to action in no time when disaster strikes.

I am thankful that when people meet pain and despair, there is also a love that can reach out to meet that pain. When people cry out from their despair, the same love is there to surround them.

Please take this day to share and extend that love to someone around you, let them know that the same love that at one time found you is reaching out to them.

Be a blessings,

Bo M

 

PS. In the following days there will be so much more than we can do for those affected by the Sunday disaster, so I would like to encourage you to speak to your friends and get involved in anyway you can.

2013-11-17 13.13.09 2013-11-17 15.10.09 2013-11-17 15.47.09 2013-11-17 16.27.55 2013-11-17 17.54.55

Give thanks in ALL circumstances?

Today’s passage:  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NRSV)

Remember reading about the church at Thessalonica in Acts 17?  We continue our blog together with a series of thanksgiving readings.  Today’s text comes what is recognized by many as the oldest preserved Christian writing from Paul’s second missionary journey.  Paul wrote to the Thessalonians from Corinth and formed this church shortly after he left Philippi.  His focus is on the distinctive life of love and holiness that this church must live out before others as they wait, with assurance, for Christ’s second coming.

“Give thanks in all circumstances.” (5:16)  In every circumstance?  In all things?  Most of us would look to temper Paul’s words a bit – qualify them a little.  Maybe it would be better to say, ‘in some circumstances’ or ‘in some things’.  That sounds more doable doesn’t it?

But he says ALL.  Paul does not qualify the circumstances does he?  To help punctuate ‘all’, what comes right before this is “rejoice always, pray without ceasing”.  Is Paul asking the impossible?  Is there any chance a person or group of people can face persecution or abuses every day and give thanks…think about the people in the Philippines or the people in Coal City or Washington, Illinois in the wake of a typhoon or tornadoes.  Give thanks in everything?

To fully understand what Paul is getting at comes from the previous 4 chapters – but you also have pretty good insight as well from reading the entire book of Acts…Paul’s focus is on a basic truth.  Paul’s truth is that worship of God is the context for all of life – not just in the temple…or the sanctuary.  More simply stated, if all of our life is a living worship to God, then thanksgiving is the obvious byproduct.  Said a little differently, thanksgiving is not determined by circumstances – it is about a life of worship with the result being perpetual thanksgiving.

The Thessalonian church was deeply disturbed that Christ had not yet come again – maybe they had been bypassed – and Paul is trying to calm their fears by helping them deepen their faith.  Being able to live in a time of trouble requires them to know that Christ’s death and resurrection secures salvation thereby providing them with a solid rock upon which to stand and live out a life of worship to God, no matter the circumstances…and without worrying about when Christ will return.

Give thanks in ALL circumstances?  Paul thinks we can do it if we lead our life in a context of worship of God ALL the time.  Our joy comes not from our circumstances but from the blessings that are ours by being in Christ.  As we pray and act for those who have experienced devastating loss in the wake of typhoons, tornadoes, life issues….and as we live our individual lives…let us do so as living worship of God in Christ Jesus through his Holy Spirit.  Sounds like a great message to start our thanksgiving blog time together and lead us into Advent!

Paul Reaches Rome

Acts 28 NIV – Paul Ashore on Malta – Once safely on – Bible Gateway

For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (Acts 28:30-31)

Paul reaches Rome.  On his way there they are shipwrecked but land safely on the island of Malta and Paul prays and heals.  Once in Rome, he is allowed to live by himself but under guard.  In Rome, Paul does what he always does; he preaches to the Jewish community. That’s met with belief and unbelief. Then he focuses his efforts on the Gentiles.  

That’s the theme of Acts.  God’s Good News of Salvation in Jesus has been sent to the Gentiles. The Gospel is global; it is meant for all.  Over and over again Paul travels, goes out to share the awesome news of new life in Jesus Christ.  Churches are established and new believers are taught.  Out again Paul goes to do the same thing over again.  

Reading Acts from beginning to end has been challenging to me for always the message of this book is to go out, go out, go out, be my witness, be my witness, be my witness.  It’s easy for me, for us, to stay in the comfort zone of who we know and what we know. But in Acts the church becomes something new almost in every city in which a church is planted.  The Gospel is preached and nuanced to both Jews and Gentiles and each church that springs to life.  Jesus is at the core of it all; the foundation of the Church.  Nevertheless, Acts stretches us, challenges us, and opens us to the creativity and power of the Holy Spirit at work throughout churches across the Greco-Roman world.  

“Acts ends on a triumphant note…Despite being under house arrest, Paul is preaching and teaching in Rome, the capital city of the Roman Empire–“with all boldness and without hindrance.” (TNIV Study Bible Notes)  

For two years Paul serves the Lord while waiting for his accusers to press on with the trial in Rome. Tradition and many scholars believe that Paul was released and went on to Spain.  The details in I and II Timothy indicate that Paul was later imprisoned and
finally was executed.
Thanks Everyone for an inspiring journey through Acts on our first Blog! Thanks Micah for your dream of doing a blog and your leadership and organization of the effort.  Thanks everyone who made posts for us all to read.  Thanks everyone who returned day after day to read and study.  It’s been a privilege to be a part of this spiritual journey.
Next week we move to passages that focus on giving thanks.
Pastor Craig

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