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

 

Michael’s Missives July 25, 2018

First Pres Community –

“Catch someone doing good?”  This is our campaign for the week beginning this Sunday.  Currently it is “Holy Humor” with many “funnies” up on the board on the way downstairs.

The English teachers in our midst will probably correct me that it is “doing well” instead of “doing good”…but that sounds odd.  “Doing well” makes me think of someone’s health or life circumstance.  We want to recognize and affirm the “Do gooders” in our midst.

The Apostle Paul didn’t get the memo on the campaign’s topic so my fruit on his list last Sunday was “goodness”.  This Sunday, it will be “faithfulness”.  Are you remembering all of them?  “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  (If it helps…the second 4 all end with “ness”.)

“Faithing Life” is the sermon this Sunday 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.

Ebenezer Too will have an information table out so they can share with you.  You should have received the mailing.  We were all surprised when the bulk mailing was delivered on the next day…when sometimes it takes up to 2 weeks!  Commitments can be made any time.  Since last Sunday, we have received $147,500 from commitment cards received just this week!  Thanks be to God.  We will dedicate all the commitments made on August 19 and then have a Celebration Sunday on August 26.

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 SUNDAY is also our All Church Picnic at 4pm at the church (inside and out).  Lots of fun planned.  Food provided, donations welcome…burgers, dogs, chips, and homemade ice cream.

Lastly, the sign is up!    Playground delivered and should be put up next week.  (Thank you youth and all who showed up to help.  All of you did good.)

See you Sunday!  Until then, get out there and do some good.

Your pastor and friend Michael

 Ps – Our Mission Week is going on right now.  All well as they are making a difference serving the Lord through doing good throughout Lee’s Summit and the greater KC area.   Keep them in your prayers…along with all those listed below.

Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

 

Michael’s Missive, August 1, 2018

First Pres Community –

The Church Picnic last Sunday was a blast!  Many thanks to the children who played the games, the youth who helped with them and with cleanup, the organizers who planned the event, the cooks and homemade ice cream makers, and all who attended and enjoyed.  Check out the pictures on the church’s Facebook page if you haven’t yet.  I love that our church has fun events like this for all ages.  And I love that our church does the monthly “Noisy Offering” where our children join in the joy of giving and supporting worthy causes.

“The Benefits of Generosity” is our Ebenezer Too campaign theme this weekend.  I can’t hear the word “Ebenezer” without thinking about “Ebenezer Scrooge”…and how he changed at the end of the movie.  Generosity is such an important lesson to learn, but it is transformative when we do.  We join in the joy of our generous God.  Giving is at the very heart of God.  God opens our hearts through giving.  ”God so loved the world that God gave…”  I think of the joy one feels at Christmas when you watch a loved one open and appreciate a special gift from you.  Generosity puts God ahead of mammon.  Generosity is a part of being good stewards.  Generosity is how God meets the needs of others.  Generosity is a gateway to joy.

“The Benefits of Generosity” are numerous…come and learn more this Sunday.  Of course, we want to continue to “Catch Someone Doing and Being Good” (been handing out those coins?) and enjoying some “Holy Humor”.

Ebenezer Too has an information table out so they can share with you.  You should have received the mailing.  Commitments can be made any time.  Last Sunday, we have received another $52,240 from commitment cards for a 2 week total of $199,640.  Thanks be to God.  A weekly update about Ebenezer Too is on our church’s website.  We will dedicate all the commitments made on August 19 and then have a Celebration Sunday on August 26.

Do check out the new sign…what a difference!  And the excavator is here for the playground even as I write.  Also, the Fellowship Hall Update Group has been formed and will soon begin their task as requested by Session… and by you.  The Theater has been put on “hold’ for the time being.  The architect is drawing up the plans for the entryway and canopy.  Things are happening, and it is exciting to be a part of it.

THIS SUNDAY, the Rev. Sally Wright, the Acting Associate Executive Presbyter of Heartland Presbytery, will be preaching.  “These Old Things” will be the sermon and Communion will be observed 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.  On Sunday, August 12, our Youth will lead worship and share stories from their mission work and summer activities.  You will not want to miss either of these Sundays.

THIS SATURDAY, the Women’s Breakfast Group gathers in the Fellowship Hall at 8:30am.  All ladies are welcome!

Lastly, there will be no Missive next week as I will be on vacation (including my first time back to my old church in over 4 ½ years).  Contact our Stephen Leaders, John Fields or Sharon Pyburn, if you need pastoral assistance.

In the Joy of the Lord,

Your pastor and friend Michael

Building Faith…Bringing Hope…Sharing Love

Michael’s Missive August 30

First Pres Community –

 

Nature.  Wonder and devastation.  Praise and prayer.  Exaltation and intercession.

 

First, the eclipse.  Awe.  A jaw-dropping sight and experience that I will never forget.  The entire vacation was wonderful.  Beach time, time together, Portland time, time with friends, Timbers games, Central Oregon time, time with our son; it was all a wonderful time, but the eclipse eclipsed them all.

 

Second, Harvey.  Concern.  It has been heartbreaking to see and hear of the devastation of this hurricane (and now tropical storm).  How do we respond?  First, pray.  First and foremost, pray. Second, give.  Give as you are able and led by God to do.  Give to the American Red Cross who works with FEMA as first responders.  Give to the Disaster Fund here at First Pres (just mark your check or envelope so we know).  Give to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) who works with our churches and ministries there now…and especially after the Red Cross is gone.  I like giving to Red Cross because they can buy more effectively than we can shipping supplies down at this point…or anyone else can.  I like giving to PDA because I have seen their continued efforts long after Katrina.  Third, act.  This one may occur over time but one way you can right now is to donate blood.  The Red Cross has numerous donation sites in the coming weeks including here October 3rd.

 

As Christians, we don’t worship nature.  We worship the God of Creation…who is also the God who cares.  We adore God and we care for people as followers of Christ Jesus.

 

THIS SUNDAY, we will celebrate Communion at both services and the sermon will be a message looking ahead to our Fall.  Between services, the final summer Adult Sunday School class.

 

TONIGHT, Bells at 6:30pm and CHOIR RESUMES at 7:30pm.  All are welcome.  If your mother loved hearing you sing, I know we will too!

 

Looking ahead:  Sunday, September 10 will be our KICKOFF SUNDAY!  Between services, you can learn about the many opportunities here at First Pres, get your name into some drawings, and have your picture taken with KC Wolf.  It should be fun and a great start to the new year here.

,

Michael’s Missive August 9

First Pres Community –

 

Red ink.  Someone placed a copy of my sermons notes in my mail slot that corrected my grammatical mistakes with red ink.  Part of me appreciates the help.  But my first response was “really???”  Most of what I write is a flow of thought.  I run spell and grammar check…but I ain’t purfect.  Thankfully, we are a community of grace.

 

Red ink in budgets bother me also.

 

Why red?  I love red tomatoes and strawberries and wine.  We wear red for Pentecost…and the Chiefs…though it represents some other teams.  Rednecks can make me chuckle or make me…see red.  In China, I saw a bride in a red wedding dress. There are red: roses, herrings, faces, flags, hair, lights, skies, carpets.  Red hot, red blood, red handed, and the red planet.

 

Red pops up a lot of other places too…but I reckon you have red enough.

 

TONIGHT, summer Mission Speaker Kirk Perucca will be with us.  Rev. Perucca pastors Covenant Presbyterian Church in KC, a multiethnic congregation.  He chairs the Committee on Mission and Social Justice of Heartland Presbytery.  Dinner at 6:30pm, Presentation from 7-8pm, in our Fellowship Hall.  All are welcome.

 

THIS SUNDAY, at 9am and 11am, the sermon will be “Jesus Genes”.  This will conclude the summer series on “Characters” as we consider Christlikeness.   THIS SUNDAY, an Adult Class, will continue downstairs in the Resource Room during the Faith and Fellowship Hour.

 

THIS SUNDAY, all are invited to the CHURCH PICNIC at Harris Park beginning at 4pm.  Bring your own picnic, but come to enjoy some fun and conversation with all ages.  This is a great opportunity to get to know each other.

 

THIS SATURDAY, August 12, Men’s Breakfast will hear more about the mission trips from both kids and leaders at the men’s first gathering of the year.  7:30am in our Fellowship Hall.  All guys welcome.

 

Looking ahead:  Thursday, August 17, Keenagers will gather at Noon for a barbeque at the Haines.  Sunday, August 20, Rev. Amgad Megally preaches here.

 

Have a red letter day!

 

Your pastor and friend  Michael

 

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