Michael’s Missives September 19, 2018

First Pres Community –

Floodwater.  I remember piling sandbags to keep water out of a parishioner’s home…and moving furniture upstairs.  It was the winter of 1996 when a rare snowstorm was followed by weeks of rain.  All creeks flooded…even the Willamette River started to overflow into downtown Portland.  My parishioners home took in a foot of water…roads were flooded out…and some communities stranded.  Storms blow through…but standing water on water-saturated ground takes time to recede and recover from.

25 years ago, Kansas City had a flood…many of you remember it.  And of course, we have all seen pictures of flooding after Katrina and Maria and others.

Many of us have friends and family in North Carolina.  I know I have family in High Point and memories of friends from my early childhood in Charlotte.  Our hearts go out to all affected…and we have them all in our prayers…as well as those affected elsewhere.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) responded immediately to efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Florence and Typhoon Mangkhut funded through One Great Hour of Sharing.  If you would like to give beyond that special offering to relief efforts, go to our denomination’s website at pcusa.org.  There is a banner at the top of the page where you may give electronically or an address to which you may mail your gifts.

THIS SUNDAY – the sermon will be “Embrace God” at both the 9 am and 11 am Worship Services.  We will also receive new members at both services.  Welcome Beverly Campbell, Marco Cusumano, Lucy Horton, LaWanda Roudebush, and Peter Roudebush!

THIS SUNDAY – during the 10 am Faith and Fellowship Hour, classes for all ages are offered.  Nursery care is provided all morning.  For Adults, there are 3 very diverse Sunday morning classes downstairs.  The Ladder of Faith class meets in the Center Room…Nancy Tapp will lead the study of Adam Hamilton’s Unafraid to start the fall season.  The Inquiring Minds class meets in the Resource Room with Stan Howell leading the study of Unbelievable by John Shelby Spong.  The Contemporary class meets in the youth room at the end of the CE wing with Courtney Williams leading the study of The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel.  All three classes welcome you!

In addition to the above classes, the Elizabeth Bible Study led by Carol Phillips meets every Friday morning at 9:30 am and welcomes all women.

TONIGHTBells at 6:30 pm and Choir at 7:30 pm.  The Revitalization Task Force meets at 6:30 pm.

With you in the deep, deep love of Jesus –

Your pastor and friend Michael

 Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives September 12, 2018

First Pres Community –

First – Hurricane Florence should prompt our urgent prayers.  I know we will be hearing of ways we can help relief efforts, but right now be in prayer for all in harm’s way and all affected by this threatening storm.  Many of us have family in this area and are rightly concerned.

Second – on to church life.

THIS SUNDAY – Church School for all ages begins at 10am!!!  Classrooms downstairs are marked…including my Confirmation Class with 13 students!!

For Adults, there are 3 very diverse Sunday morning classes downstairs.  The Ladder of Faith class meets in the Center Room…Nancy Tapp will lead the study of Adam Hamilton’s Unafraid to start the fall season.  The Inquiring Minds class meets in the Resource Room with Stan Howell leading the study of Unbelievable by John Shelby Spong.  The Contemporary class meets in the youth room at the end of the CE wing with Courtney Williams leading the study of The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel.  You may want to contact the teachers for additional information.  All three classes welcome you!

In addition to the above classes, the Elizabeth Bible Study led by Carol Phillips meets every Friday morning at 9:30 am and welcomes all women.

THIS SUNDAY – the sermon will be “Crossroads” at both the 9 am and 11am Worship Services.

During the 10am Faith and Fellowship Hour, classes are listed above.  Nursery care is provided all morning.

THIS SUNDAY – a Pastor’s Class will be held at the church, from 2-4 pm, for anyone wanting to learn more about our church or anyone wanting to join our church.  Contact the church office to let us know that you are coming.

TONIGHT – Bells at 6:30 pm and Choir at 7:30 pm (weren’t they great last Sunday?)

TOMORROW (Thursday) – Keenagers are off to Powell Gardens.

This Saturday – Heartland Presbytery meets in Odessa.

In the faith, hope, and love of Jesus –

Your pastor and friend Michael

Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives September 5, 2018

First Pres Community –

Carol Combs.  Carol Combs passed away yesterday morning.  Carol and her husband Wayne are members of our church and regular attenders at our 11am service.  A Service to celebrate Carol’s life will be held this Friday at the church at 2pm.  Visitation will be at the church at 1pm.  Please keep Wayne, family and friends in your prayers.

This Saturday is the Men’s Breakfast at 7:45am in the Fellowship Hall.  All men welcome.

THIS SUNDAY IS KICK-OFF SUNDAY!!! (aka Rally Day).  Beginning at 10am, COME DOWNSTAIRS TO MEET THE TEACHERS and get information about all of our classes. From 10:15-10:45am, SLUGGER will be DOWNSTARS for pictures and fun.  During the 10am hour, refreshments will be both upstairs and downstairs and our BOUNCY HOUSE will be in the Gym.   At the 11am Service, both Choir and Bells will be welcomed back.

THIS SUNDAY, the sermon will be “Laying Hold of Jesus” at both the 9am Contemporary and the 11am Traditional Services of Worship.  Childcare provided all morning.  It is a great Sunday to invite your friends!

Next Thursday, September 13, Keenagers will meet at the Church at 11:15am and carpool to Powell Gardens.  Lunch at Café Thyme, then a tour. Cost: lunch plus $15 for the tour.

Sunday School for all ages begins Sunday, September 16.  Children, youth, Confirmation, and 4 Adult Classes!  Plan now to be part of a class to grow your faith.

Speaking of Christian Education, I am pleased to announce that Curt Likins is our new Director of Christian Education!  Curt is a longtime member and elder here who has been doing this job on an interim basis.  I am delighted to have him join our church staff!!

Lastly, our Fellowship Hall Update Group (FHUG) asked that I include this for you:

As you possibly know a group was commissioned August 26th for exploring updates for our church’s fellowship hall.  As a group we are committed to focusing on what God’s plans are for our use of this space (addressing various uses, connection to kitchen/narthex areas and its continued use as a worship space).  We feel it is important that we are transparent, open and available to the congregation.  Please share any suggestions to our co-chairs (Elders Tom Beaver and Ann Ditty) by September 11, 2018.  We would also greatly appreciate your prayers for this endeavor.  Suggestions can be sent to: tomandroxee@gmail.com and/or aditty1971@gmail.com.

I am grateful for their work on our behalf just as I am for all of our Task Forces…and Action Teams…and Teachers…and volunteers…and all of you.

In the faith, hope, and love of Jesus –

Your pastor and friend Michael

Ps – Last week, Ebenezer Too received two more commitment and an upward adjustment made to an earlier pledge.  With this addition and adjustment, our total for the Ebenezer Too campaign commitments is $420,645.  When added to the amount of $59,165 that was on the books at the start of the campaign, our total is $479,810.  The total amount of initial or one-time payments submitted with the commitment cards is $37,325.  Thank you all and thanks be to God!

Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

 

Michael’s Missives, August 29,2018

First Pres Community –

New Church Year, Senator McCain, and Labor Day Weekend.

TONIGHT begins the new year for Bells at 6:30pm and Choir at 7:30pm! Their first Sunday singing and ringing will be September 9th, our Kick-Off/Rally Day. It will be great to have them back and it is great to welcome new Director Jacob Lowry!

This Saturday will be the Service for John McCain, a true American hero. Our prayers are with his family and with our nation as we honor his life and service. A brave soldier who had endured torture for the sake of honor and country. A politician of integrity who would not sell out and who would work with others. We thank him for his service to us all. May he rest in peace.

Also this Saturday, the Women’s Breakfast Group will gather at 8:30am for those who can be there.

This weekend is Labor Day Weekend and here in the office we will observe it by taking Monday off…so a laborless Labor Day. Actually, Labor Day is a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country…and we do thank them all.

THIS SUNDAY the sermon will be “The Work of our Hands” as we consider work, avocation, and vocation. Communion will be observed at both the 9am and 11am services. There will be an Adult class downstairs in the Center Room at 10am. Nursery care is available all morning.

Looking ahead:
Saturday, September 8, Men’s Breakfast at 7:45am
Sunday, September 9, Kickoff Sunday for meeting the Teachers & pictures with Slugger
Thursday, September 13, Keenagers to Powell Gardens
Sunday, September 16, All Sunday School Classes begin…incl. Confirmation & 4 Adult Classes

See you Sunday!

Your pastor and friend Michael

Ps – The commitments for the 6th week of the Ebenezer Too campaign were $36,650. Also, an upward adjustment of $2,500 was made to a commitment made. The total commitments for the six weeks of the campaign is $395,425 from 73 commitments. With the $59,165 given before the campaign, the total is $454,590. Additional commitments or adjustments will continue to be welcome. Thank you all!

Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives, August 22, 2018

First Pres Community –

Celebration and self-control. Interesting mixture in Worship this Sunday.

Self-control. I love peanut M&Ms. I could (and have) made a meal out of them. And every Sunday, it seems, in the Outer Narthex is a nice big bowl of M&Ms. And every Sunday, we pray “and lead us not into temptation.” And out we go with a table of goodies before us…including M&Ms! Ironic? Cruel? Blessing? Reward (or bribe) for sitting through church? Or a test of willpower? (Mine at least.) Shouldn’t “won’tpower” be a word?

THIS SUNDAY the sermon will be on “Self-Control”, the final Fruit of the Spirit.

THIS SUNDAY will also be “Celebration Sunday” as we close this part of the Ebenezer Too campaign. Of course, we will continue to welcome additional commitments at any time in the coming days, months, and years. Celebration Sunday will celebrate the faith, generosity and vision of these giving commitments to our place of Christian love, worship, education and mission. As of now, 64 pledges have been received for $356,675. Including monies given when the campaign started the total is $415,840. We thank you and we celebrate what God is doing in our midst. We also celebrate the 38 people (64 counting Session & consultants) who have been working towards these endeavors in our 4 Task Forces and new Fellowship Hall Update Group (FHUG). We will commission FHUG for their work this Sunday, just as we commissioned the TFs.

THIS SUNDAY at 11am, we will welcome Jacob Lowry, our new Director of Music. We also thank Courtney Williams as she concludes that portion of her ministry here.

THIS SUNDAY, in addition to the above at both the 9am and 11am services, there will be an Adult class downstairs in the Center Room at 10am and Teacher’s Training for Sunday School Teachers at 10am. Nursery care is available all morning.

Looking ahead: Saturday, September 1, Women’s Breakfast Group has been cancelled (Labor Day Weekend). Sunday, September 9, Kickoff Sunday (Rally Day) with Slugger, meet your Teachers, and the return of Choir. Sunday, September 16, Classes begin.

See you Sunday! (I might have clean hands and a chocolate smile. 😊)

Your pastor and friend Michael

Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives, August 14, 2018

First Pres Community –

I’m baaack.  Just in time for the start of school and Commitments Week, but first…

Leona Tannahill died and entered the Church Triumphant this past Friday.  We just learned of it yesterday.  Her service will be tomorrow, Wednesday, August 15, 11am, at Johnson Country Funeral Chapel (11200 Metcalf, OP).  Visitation will be 10-11am.  Graveside will follow the funeral.  Leona and Leland were active members of First Presbyterian Church of Lee’s Summit for many years.  Leona would have turned 100 on August 31.

“Commitments Week” is our Ebenezer Too campaign theme beginning this Sunday.  Notice the name.  Commitments Week….not Commitment Week.  What is the difference?  In simple terms, this week our church family is asked to reflect in prayer about all our various life commitments, including our commitment to the Ebenezer Too campaign.  We will pray over all Ebenezer Too Commitments…but we know these are just a part of the broader scope of commitment for each of us.

When I hear that Christians are committed and part of an institution…it does make me laugh a little because my mind immediately thinks of being committed into a mental institution!  This is not the case with Christians, the Church, and our call to commitment.  The Church is far more a family of God than it is an institution.  And the commitments made by Christians are our gratefully and consciously being wise stewards of our many blessings…blessings from God.

So, I welcome “Commitments Week” and I encourage all of us to prayerfully review all of our commitments…and then to live them out.  Ebenezer Too has already encouraged you: to take an “Ebenezer Pilgrimage”, to appreciate “The Benefits of Generosity”, to “Catch Someone Doing Good and Being Good”, and to enjoy some “Holy Humor”…now it is “CommitmentS Week”.  (I don’t have the latest ET Commitment figure at this time.)

THIS SUNDAY, we will dedicate all Commitments (past, present, and future) made to Ebenezer Too.  The sermon will be on the Fruit of the Spirit, “Gentleness” at both the 9am and 11am worship services.  At 10am, there is a Summer Adult Class led by Carol Phillips in the Center Room using the Connections Bible Study Series.  Nursery care is available all morning.

ALSO THIS SUNDAY, at 10am in the Fellowship Hall, there will be a Snack ‘n Yak conducted by the Revitalization Task Force to hear your ideas for programs and classes as well as your thoughts on what makes First Pres wonderful and needs to happen for us to get better.  All are welcome!

TOMORROW (Wednesday), in addition to Back to School and Leona’s service, from 7-8pm, the MISSION NIGHT speaker will be Sister Andrea from the Franciscan Warehouse in Independence.  A light meal will be provided at 6:30pm.  Everyone is welcome.

THIS THURSDAY, KEENAGERS gather in the home of Dennis and Donna Haines (2800 Woodbury, Independence) at Noon.  Bring a dish to share.  Let Sharon Pyburn know if you would like to carpool.

See you soon…and don’t forget to get committed!

Back at it with you,

Your pastor and friend Michael

Ps – Have you played on the playground yet?

Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives June 20, 2018

First Pres Community –

TRAVELING DAY CAMP begins next Monday!  Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.  40 Campers signed up; volunteer positions filled.  What we need now are your prayers.  Prayers for our Campers (12 are new to our church) and their families.  Prayer for our Team (who arrive and set up Sunday afternoon).  Prayers for our Leaders, Helpers, and Volunteers.  Prayers for every detail (including the weather, health and safety for all, new friendships, no conflict, etc.)  Prayers for God to use this great opportunity in amazing ways.  Prayers of thanksgiving to God for everyone involved…including you.  Thank you for your support and prayers.  If you would like to drop by, 12:45-1:45 any day is a good opportunity during their water games…or Wednesday when the horses are here (not certain of time yet).

GENERAL ASSEMBLY is going on right now (through Saturday).  You may live stream sessions or receive updates at the PCUSA.org website.  If you are in the area, you may drop by the Convention Center.  Please remember GA and all of our Commissioners in your prayers.

EBENEZER TOO! Has begun.  You see the foundation for the new sign out in the yard.  The rest of the sign and the playground structure will be installed after Day Camp is over.

THIS SUNDAY, I will hold a Snack n Yak at 10am (or so) in the Fellowship Hall to discuss both our worship and fellowship needs and hopes as they pertain to our Fellowship Hall.  Session wants to hear from you as we discern together improvements for the interior of our church home.  A questionnaire will be given out so that we can hear from everyone.  Ebenezer Too! is all about our moving forward together as Christ’s church.

THIS SUNDAY, the Capital Gifts Campaign will formally kick-off at both the 9am and 11am Worship Services.  The Rev. Dennis Haines, who co-chairs the Capital Gifts Campaign Task Force, will be preaching.  We are truly blessed to have Dennis as a part of our congregation and appreciate his willingness to serve in this capacity.  I will be there assisting in the leading of worship.  There is an Adult Class at 10am and Nursery care is provided all morning.

Lastly, please contact me if you know of any church or non-profit that would like our sign.  As we get the new sign, we would love to find a home for the older one.  Thank you.

In the faith, hope, and love of Christ,

Your pastor and friend Michael

Ps – Happy Summer!

 Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

 

Michael’s Missives June 27, 2018

First Pres Community –

“Be True to Your School” was a great song by the Beach Boys.  Now seems a “be true” time.

For me, a graduate of Oregon State University who is playing Arkansas currently for the College World Series…well, you know who I am rooting for (and why I am sleep deprived…Go Beavs!)

Watching the World Cup, it is exciting to see fans from all over the world supporting their teams…come what may…including unlikely match ups like Iceland play Argentina, Tunisia play Panama, or Japan play Senegal.  To me, it is just fun to watch…the hard-fought games and the passionate, “be true” fans from all around the world.

For America, a week from today is Independence Day…a time for us to “be true” and to celebrate our country.  (By the way, no Missive next week as my grandkids will be in town ).

For our church, we are launching into a “be true” to our church time as we seek to raise $750,000 for improvements to our building and grounds for our paying it forward to the next generation as we enhance our church home.  Money from Reserves will help us get going before winter (the gift mentioned in last week’s message), but Session intends that to be a loan to be repaid from monies raised.  This is an exciting summer and time for our church.

Session is seeking your input about the Fellowship Hall Worship Space.  I held a Snack n Yak last Sunday and will again on July 8 at 10am in the FSH.  And a Survey is available to get feedback from everyone.  113 have turned in right now.  After 3 weeks we will look at the names to mail to those we have not heard from.  I am including it below if you want to run it off and mail it in.  Our hope is for everyone to be heard as Session seeks to discern God’s guidance for us.

THIS SUNDAY the sermon will be on “God’s peace” and Communion will be celebrated at both the 9am and 11am services.  At 10am, there is no Adult Class this week but a new one led by Carol Philllips will begin on July 8.  Nursery care is available all morning.

TRAVELING DAY CAMP this week is going great!!!  We made it through the storm yesterday and are ready for the heat tomorrow.  Today was the horses…a highlight for everyone!  Many thanks to all our volunteers!  And please keep this in your prayers.

Next Wednesday the church office will be closed.

So “Be True” to your school, team, America, First Pres!

See you Sunday –

Your pastor and friend Michael

 Ps – Have a happy Fourth of July!!!

 Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives July 5, 2018

First Pres Community –

The day after.  The day after Independence Day.  The day after the fireworks go off so late and loud.  The day after a regular missive goes out.  The day after the grandkids head back to CO.  The day after.  (Wasn’t there a movie by that name?)

Anyway…we are back at it.

THIS SATURDAY the Women’s Breakfast will meet at 8:30am.  All are welcome!

THIS SATURDAY the Eating Out Group will gather at the Krokstrom Klubb & Market at 6:30pm (carpool from the church at 6pm).  Contact Dick & Lucy Daily if interested.

THIS SUNDAY the sermon will be on “Patience” (how timely is that?) at both the 9am and 11am services.  Nursery care is available all morning.

THIS SUNDAY at 10am, there is a new Summer Adult Class led by Carol Phillips begins in the Center Room using the Connections Bible Study Series beginning with 2 Corinthians 4:1-12 (lesion 6/3 in the book).

THIS SUNDAY at 10am, a Snack n Yak will be held in the Fellowship Hall to talk about our Fellowship Hall Worship space and needs.  The Survey is still available (or below) to get feedback from everyone about this for Session.  Place completed surveys in the box outside the Fellowship Hall and Sanctuary doors or mail in.  Thank you for your participation!

THIS SUNDAY, our Mission focus for the month will be for school supplies for Lee’s Summit Social Services.  Our Mission Action Team will also have a list out on their table regarding the current needs at Hillcrest.

THIS SUNDAY, information about and signup sheets for the upcoming Mission Week (July 23-30) will be in the outer Narthex.

See you Sunday!

Your pastor and friend Michael

 Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives July 11, 2018

First Pres Community –

Seven eleven.  May it be a lucky day for you!  (7 11 is giving out free Slurpees )

Thankfully those youth in Thailand got lucky…or rather had prayers answered and saw hard work pay off.  Now may they recover and be reunited.  Like you, I kept hoping and praying for their rescue…and welcomed the news as it came.  Now we must continue to hope and pray when possible help other children and youth and families in need…both in our country and around the world.

Sunday’s sermon will consider God’s Kindness coming through God’s children.  My hero for kindness has long been Mr. Rogers.  His sensitivity, respect, and kindness to children and to those less fortunate continue to move me.  A Presbyterian minister, he taught – and showed – God’s kingdom in his “Neighborhood”.  I have not seen the movie about him that is out right now (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”)…but I do look forward to it.

God’s kingdom is really what this series on the Fruit of the Spirit is all about…life in the Spirit is kingdom living…or as some say “kindom” living.

“Be Kind” will be the sermon at both the 9am and 11am services.  At 10am, there is a Summer Adult Class led by Carol Phillips in the Center Room using the Connections Bible Study Series.  Nursery care is available all morning.

Our Mission focus for July is for school supplies for Lee’s Summit Social Services.  Our Mission Action Team will also have a list out on their table regarding the current needs at Hillcrest.

This, information about and signup sheets for the upcoming Mission Week (July 23-27) will be in the outer Narthex.

Tomorrow, July 12, Keenagers are invited to bring a sack lunch and come for games and conversation.  Dessert provided.

Next Wednesday, July 18, our Summer Mission Speaker will be

See you Sunday!

Your pastor and friend Michael

Ps – Thank you to all who gave Session feedback for next week’s meeting!

Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love