Tuesday, October 29, 2019

This I Believe…….

by Doris Martin

I believe in God.

I believe bad things happen to good people and it is not God’s fault.

I believe in complimenting someone every day.

I believe in being a good listener.

I believe in being conscientious and sensitive to others’ feelings.

I believe in following your heart but taking your brain with you!

I believe in keeping my distance from toxic and negative people if possible.

I believe in being a positive person with God’s help.

I believe the less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people, the more peaceful your life will become.

I believe in helping others if they want my help.

I believe in keeping centered by praying to God daily and in taking care of my body by exercise and eating well.

I believe in hugging those I care about.

I believe in telling my family members that I love them.

I believe in writing thank you notes to show my appreciation and sending birthday cards to let those I care about know that I’m thinking of them.

I believe a sense of humor is important to get through life.

I believe that music lifts your spirits.

I believe that God has made me who I am to be a strong child and adult to get me through good times and bad.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Worship Prayers Oct. 20

CENTERING PRAYER*     *J. Birch, faithandworship.com

Eternal Gardner, make us like trees planted in fertile soil, supported, watered, and fed until roots are deep and strong, trained and pruned if needed so we might, in due season, blossom and produce good fruit, pleasing to your eyes, sweet, a worthy harvest and offering.

CALL TO WORSHIP*   *J. Birch, faithandworship.com

In the meeting of our lives, be the focus of all that we are.
In the singing of the hymns, the prayers that we shall make,
the reading of your Word and the preaching of the same.
Speak to us, encourage and forgive us.
In the meeting of our lives, Lord, be the focus of all that we are.
Let us worship God together.


Gracious God, we confess we do not meditate on your commands and teachings all day long. We turn away from your demanding truth and wander toward easier options. Forgive us, we pray, for pursuing our own desires rather than yours. Forgive us for growing weary in following you; for failing to pray and work tirelessly for justice; for losing hope in your power to transform the powers of this world. Tune our ears to the sound of your justice. Turn our hearts to your commandments and word of grace. Do not remember our sin, but remember your mercy forever. We continue to pray in Christ’s name. (Silent Confession)

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – The Apostles’ Creed

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Scripture for October 27

Joel 2:23-32 New International Version (NIV)

23 Be glad, people of Zion,
    rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
    because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
    both autumn and spring rains, as before.
24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm[a]
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God,
    and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

The Day of the Lord

28 “And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
    and on the earth,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
    there will be deliverance,
    as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
    whom the Lord calls.[b]


  1. Joel 2:25 The precise meaning of the four Hebrew words used here for locusts is uncertain.
  2. Joel 2:32 In Hebrew texts 2:28-32 is numbered 3:1-5.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Daily Prayer October 25

Salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night
is far gone, the day is near.
Eternal God, you taught us that the night is far spent and the day is at hand. Keep us awake and alert, watching for your kingdom, and make us strong in faith, so that when Christ comes in glory to judge the earth, we may joyfully give him praise; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. God of holiness and light, cleanse our hearts and give a new spirit to all your people, that your saving grace may be professed and proclaimed to the whole world. How great is your love, Lord God, how wide is your mercy! Never let us board up the narrow gate that leads to life with rules or doctrines that you dismiss; but give us a Spirit to welcome all people with affection, so that your church may never exclude secret friends of yours, who are included in the love of Jesus Christ, who came to save us all. Amen. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord be kind and gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

MP's Statement of Faith

I believe that each one of us is a beloved child of God made on purpose for a purpose by God in God’s image. I cling to the thought that not one human was ever made by mistake. I am confident that God loves humankind and creation in its entirety and, though we do not fully understand all the whys and the wherefores’, God has a specific plan for each and every human being and every part of creation. Though
I am in a broken relationship with God, I know that I belong to God and I hold that by God’s grace alone, I am brought back to God.

I accept as truth the holy trinity, and that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are of one substance, three in one. I submit to Jesus Christ as my Lord, my savior and my master. He is my best friend and my shepherd. Through the blood of Jesus and my acceptance of Jesus as my Savior and advocate, I believe I am saved from death, made anew and will have eternal life with God. I understand that as a Christian I was made to worship and love God. I recognize my relationship to God as both vertical and horizontal in relationship with God through prayer and worship and in relationship with others taking care of the poor and loving my neighbor as myself.
The Bible teaches that all those baptized into Christ are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. I believe the Holy Spirit is God in spirit form, who walks beside me, lives in me and was sent by Jesus to guide me and correct me in all that I do, think and say. As one who has received grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I am called to work for the kingdom of God in whatever circumstances I find myself. I can do nothing alone, but the Holy Spirit assists me in utilizing my specific and varied gifts to equip the saints and to point others to Jesus.
I feel the Holy Spirit is moving in new ways outside the physical walls of the traditional church. As this relates to my own sense of call, I feel drawn to equip believers to use their gifts within the context of their daily living and by their witness to, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ so all who hear will have opportunity to accept Jesus as savior and Lord.

And yet there are times when I question. There are times when I wonder if God could really love us as broken as we are. For me, this is part of the mystery of God. Accepting the mystery, I can either turn to God or turn away, I can choose to love God and be in relationship with God or I can walk away but understand that God never stops loving me and never walks away.

To be Presbyterian for me is that first and foremost a Presbyterian is a Christian; a believer in, a servant for and a follower of Jesus Christ. Being a Christian means being in the company of brothers and sisters in Christ who believe much the same things that I do, that the sacraments of baptism and holy Communion are visible signs of God’s Grace, that the Bible is the sole Christian document holding authority, and that reconciliation with God is through Jesus Christ alone.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Judge Not

At lunch this week, one of the women at the table told us about a same sex wedding with two women
that she recently observed at a hotel where she was staying. Another lady immediately responded with her disapproval in a harsh, judgmental manner based on the teaching of her Roman Catholic Church. Not wanting a confrontation, I refrained from asking her opinion about the many gay priests serving her church. I really believe that if Christ had been a guest at this event, He would have wished the couple well, had a glass of wine and spent some of the evening befriending the other guests.

This discussion reminded me once again of Christ’s teaching in two passages that I often quote. In Luke He says “do not judge and you will not be judged. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye.” These words are repeated in Matthew with Christ’s additional comment that this kind of behavior comes from hypocrites. This is why I find it difficult to understand what is happening in many “Christian” churches today. If a Christian is following Christ’s example, how can the attitudes expressed toward people different than themselves possibly be a part of their belief. Christ was the most inclusive of any person who ever lived. He made friends with corrupt politicians, hypocritical clergy, the poorest of the poor, the despised foreigners, the criminals and the prostitutes. If I am a Christian, how can I do anything else.

I believe that the kind of hypocrisy that Christ identified is one of the factors that is turning people outside the church away from the church. Personally I have to worry about the ”plank in my eye” so much that I don’t feel that is necessary to look at the sawdust in my neighbor’s eye. If the wedding my friend saw was wrong, it is not my job to judge it. That is up to that couple and God. When the church is perceived as hypocritical and judgmental, people do not want to be a part of it.

Alice Crippen

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Worship Prayers Oct. 13


God of our salvation, we discover in you our source of wisdom and joy. Your love and mercies are not limited to one time or to one people. You continue to heal and to save, transcending the artificial boundaries and barriers we set. It is our right, duty, and joy to offer you all thanks and praise, now and forever. Amen.

One: Come and see what God has done.
Many: God is awesome in God’s deeds.
One: God turned the sea into dry land.
Many: God’s people passed through the river on foot.
One: Make a joyful noise to God all the earth.
Many: Sing the glory of God’s name.

Jesus, Savior, have mercy on us. We keep our distance from you, for we are broken and sick with sin. Yet you see us, and cleanse us, and make us whole. Forgive us when we forget to return to you – have mercy when we fail to praise your name, and help us to exude the faith that makes us well. (Silent Confession)

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – from A Brief Statement of Faith
In life and in death we belong to God. In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image, male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community. In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

For the sermon Discover: Health and Wellness, click here.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Scripture Oct. 20

Luke 18:1-8 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Anonymous artists from New York hired by Pacific Press Publishing Company expressly to illustrate this book (page 8) - Christ's Object Lessons by Ellen Gould Harmon White, page 167 https://archive.org/details/christsobjectles00whitrich

Friday, October 18, 2019

Daily Prayer October 18

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Holy God, Creator of all, the risen Christ taught from scripture of his death, resurrection, and ascension into your glorious presence. May the living Lord breathe on us his peace, that our eyes may be opened to recognize him in breaking bread, and to follow wherever he leads. Fountain of wisdom, by your word you set the universe in space, and with your hands you molded us in your image. Everywhere we see signs of your loving care. Guide us always into your ways, that in your wisdom we may find life abundant
and live forever in the splendor of your glory. Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us co-workers in your creation. Give us wisdom and reverence to use the resources of nature, so that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty. (Add your prayers.) Amen.
The grace of Christ attend you, the love of God surround you, the Holy Spirit keep you, that you may live in faith, abound in hope, and grow in love, both now and forevermore.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Full Calendars

One of the happiest days in the year for me is the arrival of the new Presbyterian Planning Calendar. 

I know this sounds a little sad, but, after nearly two decades of ordained ministry, I have grown accustomed to the ritual of writing down appointments on the fresh paper. It normally appears in late July, but the summer months came and went, and all I had was an empty mailbox. They finally arrived a week ago, and there was much rejoicing in my office. It reminded me we do not always get things when we expect, but we can be doubly thankful when they appear.

As we prepare for October, we have already filled our calendars with appointments, family obligations, and a sundry of other activities. I keep my schedule on the computer and my phone, but I prefer the routine of pencil meeting paper because it allows me to prioritize the most important things over other items that can wait. This is at the heart of St. Mark’s new CREDO. The session could have used a multitude of sentences to describe what we believe, but we decided less is more and chose: Seek. Discover. Share. There are only three words, but I believe they speak volumes about our mission and ministry. We will continue to pan the Scriptural stream for the richness of our CREDO in worship in the coming weeks.

It took a long time to receive the planning calendar and finish the CREDO, but it was worth the wait. The search for a new Associate Pastor took even longer, but the Lord blessed us with a wonderful candidate who will begin on November 1.  Please mark your calendars, and plan to join us as we welcome Marilyn Panco to St. Mark.

We are also excited to introduce Rev. Carol DeVaughan to our church,  Pastor Carol will serve as our part-time Parish Associate through the end of the year. There are plenty of things to celebrate as we move into the harvest season: The Fall Festival was on October 13, the beginning of Stewardship Season on October 27, and we have a number of special worship services along the way.
Our schedule is full. It’s a good thing we have extra calendars.

In Hope and Confidence,
Pastor Dave

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fall Festival 2019

Food plus Fun plus Fellowship= Fall Festival
The band kicked off the Fall Festival in Worship

Thanks to John Northrip who took all of these wonderful photos!