Michael’s Missives for August 22, 2019

First Pres Community –

Well done Youth!!!  Youth Sunday was awesome.  We all loved “Indian tacos”, the pictures, the music, and hearing them share about their faith and how they grew in their faith in Christ through Travelling Day Camp, Mission endeavors, and Triennium Youth Conference.  About Triennium, some said it was “the most amazing experience of my life”, “I met Presbyterians, my age, from around the world”, and “I could really feel God present in the midst of 7,000 people worshipping the Lord.”  Well done parents, families, and church!!!   Your love, prayers, teaching, leading, encouragement, and support continues to raise amazing Christian young people.

In two weeks, we resume our new church school year.  SEPTEMBER 8th is KICK-OFF SUNDAY!  Choir returns at the 11am service.  Between the services, during the 10am Faith and Fellowship hour, there will be games for kids inside and outside…and an opportunity for all to meet their Sunday School teachers and to see their classrooms.  At 12, the Chiefs season opener will be on in our Fellowship Hall as we enjoy a Tailgate Potluck Luncheon with a Chicken Wing Contest.  Sign-ups in the Narthex.  It should be a “wing ding” of a day!

Our new entryway is almost complete.  Front entry now requires an entry card.  If you have need for one, contact Diane McKee, our Office Administrator.  If you ring the doorbell at the far right, we can now welcome you and let you in from our computers.  Keys still work on the kitchen door.  Security cameras now cover the parking lot as well as the entryway.  All of this is to improve the security of all in our church community and ministries.

It is wonderful to have a welcoming entryway…it feels like a front porch!

We all should be excited about what God is up to here.

See you this Sunday!

In the faith, hope, and love of Jesus –

Your pastor and friend  Michael

Michael’s Missives for May 29, 2019

First Pres Community –

“The wind blows wherever it pleases” (John 3:8).  If Jesus was a tv weatherperson, it would be so refreshing, simple and honest.  ”Who knows” is so much easier to listen to than hours of hyped up forecasters blowing air (pun intended) to keep us glued to the set.

For those affected by last night’s tornados and high winds…no puns, only prayers…as well as for anyone affected by flooding and our ongoing storms.  The water flows wherever it pleases as well.  Flying in last Saturday, it was stunning to see how many fields are covered, how many roads are closed, and how many rivers are at the top of their banks.  I know Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is at work in flooded areas and I am certain they will be for those hit by tornados.

Needless to say, the timeline on the construction on our new entryway has been, is and will be affected by the weather.  So, we will just go with the flow…or blow…and just keep praying.

THIS SUNDAY – the sermon will be on a prayer that Jesus prayed for all of us…all who would come after his original disciples…and that includes us.  Prayer reveals one’s heart so I titled it, “The Heart of Jesus”.  We were and are in the heart of Jesus…wow.  In addition, at both the 9am and 11am Worship services, Holy Communion will be celebrated. During the 10am Faith and Fellowship Time, a new Adult summer class will begin in the downstairs Center Room led by Carol Phillips.  Nursery care is provided all morning.

***Combined WORSHIP WILL BE AT 10am on SUNDAY, JUNE 9 (a week from Sunday)!!!

This will be PENTECOST so WEAR RED.  After worship, we will take our annual all church photo and then enjoy a chicken dinner for everyone (food and drink provided, donations accepted).  This is an important opportunity for attenders of both services to worship and fellowship together…for us to be ONE Church here at First Pres.  Don’t miss it.

Looking ahead: Summer Mission Nights begin on Wednesday June 12 with Matt Sanning from Lee’s Summit Social Services sharing (dessert at 6:30, program from 7-8pm); Keenagers on Thursday June 13 to tour the Federal Reserve, the Money Museum, and lunch (signup now in the narthex); and Monday to Friday, June 24-28, Traveling Day Camp at the church (only 14 spots left so sign your children and their friends now!)

With you wherever the wind may blow –

Your pastor and friend  Michael

Building Faith…..Bringing Hope…..Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives for June 5, 2019

First Pres Community –

10AM * 10AM * 10AM * 10AM * 10AM * 10AM * 10AM * 10AM * 10AM

What time is Worship THIS Sunday?  10am!

PENTECOST SUNDAY is a day the First Pres community gathers as ONE church.  In Acts 2, we are told how God’s Spirit came upon believers that day to do a new thing…to create a new covenant community out of diverse people who placed their faith in Jesus as Messiah…in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  That day, 3000 people came to believe in Christ and the Early Church was born.  Pentecost is the Birthday of Christ’s Church…so every year Pentecost is celebrated.

What time?  10am!  I am repeating that over and over to get the message through.  We try with bulletin announcements, worship announcements, CNN, missives, signage, Facebook, and word of mouth to always get church community messages out.  Sometimes we fail and sometimes things change, but please read and note messages that come your way…we are trying to communicate.  Good communication is vital to good community.

Back to this Sunday…what time?  10am!  WEAR RED which is the liturgical color for Pentecost.  Our Annual Church Photo will be taken at the close of Worship.  During Pentecost there is always amazing music and a festive atmosphere.  For the message, I have invited the Rev. Dee Cooper, the Interim Executive Presbyter for Heartland Presbytery, to preach to us.  I have found her to be creative, energetic, and insightful…and I welcome her bringing God’s word to us on Pentecost.  Because of time constraints, let me know of any announcement, moments for mission, or joys and concerns that you would like for me to share for you (we won’t have an open floor or mic).

After the Annual Church Photo, we will share a chicken dinner together.  It is a wonderful opportunity for us as a church to simply be together.  So, plan to stay for a bit, get to meet some new people, and enjoy time together.

Next Wednesday night, June 12, our Summer Mission Nights begin with Matt Sanning, Executive Director of Lee’s Summit Social Services sharing with us.  Everyone is invited for Dessert at 6:30pm and the Presentation from 7-8pm.

Looking ahead, June 24-28 will be Travelling Day Camp here at First Pres.  Register children asap at heartlandcamps.org to ensure a spot (they are going quick!)  Sign up sheets for volunteers are in the entryway.

Lastly, on the eve of the 75th Anniversary of DDay, take a moment to read about and reflect on the sacrifice and significance of the day for all of us.  Pray for all those who grieve loss of loved ones, for their sacrifice to be remembered, and for peace throughout this world.

See you Sunday…at what time???  That is right, 10am!

Your pastor and friend  Michael

Building Faith…..Bringing Hope…..Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives for June 12, 2019

First Pres Community –

Pentecost.  What a wonderful Pentecost celebration!!!  The Spirit was moving.  The sea of red made us look like Chiefs Nation.  I can’t wait to see the picture.  The dinner was so popular that people ate on the stage and out in the Narthex.  The music was vibrant, the message was excellent, the children had fun, God was worshiped, and our oneness in Spirit was evident.  Thank you all who helped make it happen and all who participated.  Even the numbers were good (considering how many are away on vacation right now).

Building progress.  Our front wall is gone.  A temporary wall is in place.  The beams and trusses are going up.  Thank God for some good weather.  And the front door is accessible (except during our weekdays sometimes…then we use the kitchen door).

TONIGHT.  Mission Night.  Matt Sanning from Lee’s Summit Social Services will be with us to kickoff our Summer Mission Nights.  Dessert at 6:30pm and Presentation from 7-8pm.  Everyone in welcome.

TONIGHT.  “Wednesdays with Peter” begin from 6:30-7:30pm for students K-12.  All are welcome.

TOMORROW (Thursday June 13). Keenagers will meet at 11am to go to lunch at the Jack Stack in the Freight District and then to 1:30pm tours of The Money Museum and the Federal Reserve.  Contact Sharon Pyburn if interested.

THIS SUNDAY.  Father Day will be celebrated with “Donuts for Dads” during our fellowship.  At both the 9am and 11am Worship Services, we will begin a summer sermon series that will take us through “The Beatitudes” that I am calling the “BE-attitudes”.  That is not what the word means, but it is what they teach as our transformation in Christ is described with the accompanying blessing by God.  The Beatitudes are not impractical aspirations, but practical guidance and assurances…with a little summer levity thrown in.  We begin with “Happy to be Humble”.  During the 10am Faith and Fellowship Time, a new Adult summer class will begin in the downstairs Center Room led by Carol Phillips.  Nursery care is provided all morning.

Looking ahead. a New Members/Pastor’s Welcome Class will be offered at 10am on Sunday, June 23 and 30 for those wanting to join First Pres or those wanting to know more about First Pres.  Contact the Church Office to let us know if you want to attend.

Looking ahead, Traveling Day Camp is June 24-28 here at First Pres.  Register children asap at heartlandcamps.org to ensure a spot (they are going quick!)  Signup sheets for volunteers are in the entryway.

Your pastor and friend  Michael

Ps – Apparently there is a new scam out there.  This new phishing scam is using the names of pastors as bait. We will NOT ask for church contributions through the purchasing of gift cards. If you receive texts or emails like this, don’t click any links, don’t reply and report the text or email as spam at 7726 (spam) for texts or spam@uce.gov for emails.   Please be diligent and safe when you are online.

Building Faith…..Bringing Hope…..Sharing Love

Michael’s Missives for May 14, 2019

First Pres Community –

Walk like a duck.  On ice, on mud, in construction zones…small, conscious, cautions steps work best.  Don’t be in a hurry.  As church family, our concern is everyone’s safety.

Enter with care.  The front door will be accessible on Sundays as it was last Sunday.  During the week, you may need to enter through the kitchen door…this will entail 2 steps.  The kitchen door is immediately to the east of the front door.  This will be the case for the Keenager event, so be forewarned!

TOMORROW (Thursday), Keenagers invites everyone to join them for a performance by the Choir from Pleasant Lea Middle School directed by Courtney Williams in our Main Sanctuary at 11am (note correct time).  It is free and all are invited!  This Keenagers event will continue with lunch afterwards in our Fellowship Hall ($5).  There will be plenty of food if you want to stay for the meal and have not signed up.

NEXT WEEK, I will be on vacation. May 18-25.  I will be back preaching on Memorial Day Sunday.  While I am gone, contact Stephen Leaders Sharon Pyburn or John Fields if you need pastoral assistance.  There will be no missive next week.

THIS SUNDAY MORNING, Commissioned Ruling Elder Ann Ditty will be preaching at both the 9am and 11am Worship Services.  At both services we will be acknowledging our high school graduates along with all others getting their degrees.  During the 10am Faith and Fellowship Time, classes for all ages are held.  For the children and youth, this will conclude the Sunday School year (adult classes vary.)  Nursery care is provided all morning and all summer.

Some forecasts say storms this weekend so be careful.  If church is cancelled for any reason, KMBC will be notified.

THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON, the Men’s Group is having a golf outing at Unity Village at 3pm.  $30 covers 9 holes, a cart, and food afterwards.  All men are invited.  Contact Dennis Haines if interested (or if there are weather questions).

TONIGHT – Bells have potluck & practice at 6:30pm.  Last Choir rehearsal at 7:30pm.

Grace and peace to you and yours –

Your pastor and friend  Michael

Building Faith…..Bringing Hope…..Sharing Love


Michael Missives for May 8, 2019

First Pres Community –

Moats, mothers, music, and mobility.

Moats. The church has a moat.  Construction has been curtailed at the moment, because there is a moat outside the front door on either side of the walway.  Apparently, it is difficult to pour concrete underwater.  Hope for dryer weather…or we may need to buy a ferryboat!

The Keenagers Dairy outing today was cancelled and rescheduled for September 12.

Flooding remains a big problem north of us.  Keep all affected in prayer.  Assistance may be given through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (on the pcusa.org website).

Mothers.  Mother’s Day is THIS SUNDAY.  We will acknowledge the women of the church at both services and fellowship will feature a “Muffins for Moms”.  The sermon will be “Your Own Psalm” at both the 9am and 11am services.  During the 10am Faith and Fellowship Time, classes for all ages are held.  Nursery care is provided all morning.

And for those who need multiple reminders…Mother’s Day is this Sunday.

Music.  The Choir from Pleasant Lea Middle School directed by Courtney Williams will be performing in our Main Sanctuary on Thursday, May 16, at 11am.  It is free and everyone is invited!  This Keenagers event will continue with lunch afterwards in our Fellowship Hall ($5).  Please sign up for the meal.  Thank you.

Mobility.  3 people going to the Royals game on June 7 need a ride!  Contact Joyce Carroll at jcarroll1947@yahoo.com, if you have room for one or all.  You may need to clarify if you are going in time for the Big Slick or the first pitch or whenever.  And if you are leaving after the 5th, 7th, 9th, or 19th inning…or when one team is ahead by 10…or if it rains…or after the fireworks…or if you don’t know if you’ll ever come back!

Tonight – Bells at 6:30pm and Choir at 7:30pm.  (Logos is over for the year.)

See you Sunday…and I may be rowing the boat ashore!

Your pastor and friend  Michael

Building Faith…..Bringing Hope…..Sharing Love

Michael’s Missive for May 3, 2019

First Pres Community –

1 – Arlene O’Rourke, member, entered the Church Triumphant this morning.  A Memorial Service will be held at Longview Funeral Home Chapel on Tuesday May 7 at 11am.  Please remember Arlene’s family in your prayers as we give thanks to God for her life.

2 – Cinco de Mayo IS happening Sunday!  (I failed to mention it in my Missive). Games at 4, Nacho Dinner at 5.  Donations accepted, no need to bring food.  Everyone is welcome.

3 – Sunday Morning, you will enter the church across a sturdy plywood walkway to the front double doors.  On either side of the walkway is gravel so please watch your step and children best stay out of the gravel.  It is all safe, but it will be different.

In the faith, hope, and love of Jesus –

Pastor Michael

Michael’s Missives for May 1, 2019

First Pres Community –

Happy May Day!  Not to be confused with “Mayday!”.  The first is a celebration of Spring, the other is a distress call.  And no, I am not wishing you a happy distressed call…though you may feel like making one during this wet and stormy week.  I am wishing you happiness during grey skies and flowers on your doorstep instead of standing water.  Context is everything.

Sometimes people are misled by religious authorities or misread Scripture…and do what they are told or obey what they think it says…and it can bring ungodly consequences.  Literalism and legalism can be dangerous.

This Sunday, we will consider a religious zealot who actually murdered people who believed differently than him.  Sounds like the evening news, doesn’t it?  This religious zealot’s name was Saul of Tarsus.  We will consider Saul’s story and what it has to do with us.

This Sunday, we will also come to the Lord’s Table to observe the Lord’s Supper at both the 9am and 11am services. During the 10am Faith and Fellowship Time, classes for all ages are held.  Nursery care is provided all morning.

This week…construction, rather deconstruction has begun.  Slow going because of the weather.

You may walk across plywood to get in the front door on Sunday, but it will be safe.

Next week, Keenagers to a dairy farm on Wednesday (note the different day) and on Thursday, May 16, Keenagers will welcome Courtney William’s choir from Pleasant Lea Middle School at 11am (note the different time).

Then, Sunday May 12, Mother’s Day.  Make brunch/lunch reservations now for after church and make points by bringing her to church first (or telling your kids they can take you to church first).  “Mothersday!  Mothersday!”  (You have been warned.)

Tonight – Logos finale fun night begins at the church at 5:30pm.  Also, Bells at 6:30pm, and Choir at 7:30pm.

See you Sunday –

Your pastor and friend  Michael

Building Faith…..Bringing Hope…..Sharing Love


Michael’s Missives for April 24, 2019

First Pres Community –

“Show Me”.  I have heard the words and felt the attitude since I moved here.  Maybe it is the unpredictable weather that makes Missourians believe it when they see it.

Last Sunday lived up to its billing…both Easter Services were truly glorious.  Good crowds at both.  I especially like seeing and meeting folks who were “checking us out”.  I think we showed them how we worship through music and message with excellence and whole hearts in a welcoming community of faith.

This Sunday I hope they all return as we continue our Easter celebration.  “The Disciple from Missouri” will be the sermon at both the 9am and 11am services.  Our children will be singing at both services.  Also the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering will be received and dedicated at both services.  This is the offering that responds to emergencies and helps with hunger throughout the world so give generously.  During the 10am Faith and Fellowship Time, classes for all ages are held.  Nursery care is provided all morning.  It is not Easter Sunday…but every Sunday as “The Lord’s Day” is to be a little Easter!

This week…why no construction?  Our Project Manager was needed at another site this week, so Harmon Construction requested – and was granted – a week delay.  Some of you want to know when the entry will be torn up…and when we will need to enter up a ramp to the kitchen door.  I don’t know.  I am told there will be only one week when we cannot enter through the main entry, but I live in Missouri now so…   I will let you know via email (and phone for those not online) as I see it with my own two eyes.

Tonight – The last Logos class for the year at 5:30pm…also Bells at 6:30pm, and Choir at 7:30pm.

Saturday – Heartland Presbytery meeting in Ottawa.

Sunday – If you are gonna say “Show Me” then you gotta “Show Up”!

See you Sunday!!!

Your pastor and friend  Michael


Building Faith…..Bringing Hope…..Sharing Love


Michael’s Missive February 27, 2019

First Pres Community –

Methodists.  Sunday.  Ash Wednesday.  Lent.  Corporation Meeting.

Please pray for our Methodist friends and their denomination.  A Special Conference concluded yesterday that decided on a direction that impacts them all.  Our Presbyterian denomination covers only the US.  The Methodist denomination is global.  Agreement is hard enough in ours, it is even more so for them.  We know their pain.  I appreciate that the PCUSA adopted a “One Church” plan that allows clergy and churches to decide LGBT issues for themselves…and that we have chosen to welcome everyone and their ministries and their relationships here.  Again, please have them in your prayers.

Prayer is an important part of the Season on Lent.  Ash Wednesday is NEXT Wednesday, March 6.  We will have a brief service, 7:00 to 7:20 in the Fellowship Hall.  Everyone, all ages, are welcome.  That is important here at First and in our denomination…ALL are welcome.

As Lent begins, many take on spiritual disciplines to deepen their spiritual life and to help prepare them for Easter.  Some give up desserts as a fast to the Lord.  Some give up Facebook. Some give up bad habits or bad attitudes.  Some take on additional prayer time.  Some take on new disciplines of exercise or eating healthy.  Some spend more time with their family or in service to others.  Some give every day an item of clothing they never wear to a social agency.  Some give the cost of a meal at every dinner for One Great Hour of Sharing.

Sally Wright of our Heartland Presbytery staff is putting out a daily devotional focused on reconciliation that is available through their Christian Formation FB page.  I like using d365 which brings a devotional to my email every morning (it’s free & you just sign up for it).

The key is to prayerfully decide what works for you…and as Nike says “Just Do It.”  If you falter or forget, then recommit and get back at it.  Lent lasts 40 days so this is quite a commitment… but that is the idea.  Remember whatever you choose is an offering to the Lord.  This is not a New year’s resolution.  This is your spiritual offering to our God.

This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday when we remind ourselves immediately prior to Lent… how awe-some is our God.

THIS SUNDAY, the sermon will be “Speechless” and Communion will be celebrated at both the 9am and 11am Services of worship.  During the 10am Faith and Fellowship Time, classes for all ages are held.  Nursery care is provided all morning.

Please note that even though Sunday will be March (yeah!), the forecast at this time calls for snow or ice (boo!)  If we do have to cancel, we will try hard to make the call on Saturday evening.  However, you may need to check KMBC before coming in on Sunday morning.

TONIGHT – Once again…NO Logos, Bells, and Choir.  Schools closed due to ice this morning.

THIS SATURDAY (weather permitting) – Women’s Breakfast at the church at 8:30am.

Lastly, on Sunday March 10, a lot is happening.  Sunday March 10, our Annual Corporation Meeting will be at 10:35am in the Main Sanctuary.  We introduce our Corporate Officers, hear the Annual Statistical Report, hear about our Fund activity for the year, update you on Ebenezer Too, and observe a moment for those who died in 2018.  Sunday Evening March 10, our “March Madness” event will be held with games for children and fun for all.  Games at 4pm, Potluck Dinner at 5pm (meat provided).  Sign up in the Narthex.  Sunday March 10 is also the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.

See you this Sunday!   (At least I am praying that I will.)

Your pastor and friend  Michael

Building Faith…..Bringing Hope…..Sharing Love