Friday, April 29, 2011

Announcements

The anouncements as they appear in Sunday's bulletin are below:

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service, under the direction of Jenna Maine. We still need some volunteer help. If you can spare time to supervise the little ones please see Jenna after the service. We thank you in advance for caring for the future member of our Cove family.

DON’T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. Think about trying out one of our classes. We have a variety of classes to chose from to fit your needs.

WHEN WE BEGIN THE SERVICE. . .
our children carry red, orange and yellow streamers. This represents the coming of the Holy Spirit, filling the sanctuary as we prepare to worship. At the end of the service, they carry the streamers out, challenging us to carry the Spirit into the world.

JESUS TIME OFFERS THE YOUNGER CHILDREN . . .
of our congregation, between the ages of 3 and 11, the opportunity to worship in a special experience just for them. The children are dismissed to Jesus Time after a Special Time for Children.

THE MONTHLY MEETING . . .
of the Board of Deacons will be held on Monday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the board room. Please try to attend.

MYRTLE MCHENDRY CLASS . . .
will hold their monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 3 at 12:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. Cove’s Reading Group, Bookmarks, under the leadership of Becky Korosec will present the program. The afternoon will include a salad luncheon.

THE ADULT HANDBELL CHOIR . . .
will practice on Wednesday, May 4 at 5:30 p.m. We have 1 position that needs filled. We practice from 5:30 - 6:45 from September through May. We play once a month for Sunday services and for holidays. If you are interested in joining, please contact Becky Korosec at 304-748-8449 for more information.

THE CHANCEL CHOIR WILL NOT PRACTICE . . .
on Wednesday, May 4, but will resume practice on Wednesday, May 11, at 6:45 p.m. in the sanctuary. Everyone who wishes to praise our Lord through song is invited to join us as we practice our anthems for Sunday morning worship.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY WILL MEET . . .
Thursday, 12:00 p.m. We're discussing the Gospel of John, and during this meeting we're looking at John 17:1-26. Grab your lunch and join us as we study God’s word.

SATURDAY, MAY 7 . . .
the Deacons are having a Flea Market and Bake Sale! They are in search of slightly used - furniture, small appliances, kitchenware, decorations, housewares, sports equipment, children’s toys and children’s clothes. If you have items you no longer use, you may drop them off at the church at anytime or call the church office at 304-748-5980 to arrange to have the items picked-up. Bakers of the congregation are asked to contribute their specialty for the bake sale.

OUR SYMPATHY IS EXTENDED TO. . .
The family of Marie Williamson who died on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. Marie was a Fifty Year Plus member of the Cove Family joining on April 10, 1925. She was the mother of Susie Hawkins and sister to Genevieve Meyer and Virginia Welch.

THANK YOU . . .
Eleanor Cline and her family would like to thank everyone who said a prayer, sent a card, made a visit or sent their love and concern in anyway during the long extended illness and passing of her son, Michael on April 18.

PLEASE RETURN YOUR PRAYER BOXES. . .
if you have a Prayer Box from our Ash Wednesday Service please return it to the basket on the table in the narthex.

IF YOU LEAVE AN ITEM AT THE CHURCH . . .
for someone or for a specific committee, please take a moment to write the name of who is to receive the item. If there is no name on the item we will assume it is for the church in general.

LIKE TO PLAY THE PIANO?
the church has an Acrosonic Spinet Piano that is no longer needed. It can be yours for a donation. If you are interested, it is located in Fellowship Hall or contact the church office for further details.

WE ARE BLOGGING!
We now have six blogs that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They're listed below:
• The Cove Community (www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com) - This is for the whole church. I'll post sermons and announcements. I also invite y'all to send in material that you'd like to share with other members of the congregation. And please feel free to comment on anything you might read.
• Cove Kids (www.covekids.blogspot.com) - This is tailored for the preteen young people in our church. Again I'll post announcements. You're also invited to send in any writings, photographs and art work you'd like to post. And they don't have to all deal with the church. We also post artwork from Jesus Time.
• Glue (www.cove-glue.blogspot.com) - Our teens are running their own blog site; therefore, I have no idea what will be posted.
• Bible Talk (www.cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com) - We've established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary, and we're posting the pastor’s translation of the Greek text. We want you to read any or all of the passages and to leave any comment or ask any question that you feel is appropriate. Please include any research you've done. As we share our ideas and insights, we hope that we'll all come to a better and deeper understanding of the Bible. Each passage is linked to a website that offers some informative information.
• Let’s Talk About It (www.cove-talk.blogspot.com) - Through this site, we hope to encourage a conversation on a variety of topics. Since this blog is sponsored by a church, we expect most of the issues to involve the Christian faith. Still we don't want to limit ourselves or you. If you have a topic that you'd like us to discuss, include it as a comment to a previous issue. Please phrase it as a question and offer a summary of at least two positions. We'll add a new item to discuss every three weeks. We hope this challenges you to apply your faith to issues that are important to you.
• The Bible in a Year (www.cove-bibleinayear.blogspot.com/) - Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.

CLEANING SUPPLIES. . .
are being collected by the Presbyterian Women for the Shack Neighborhood House Mission near Morgantown. Cleaning supplies e.g. laundry detergent, dish liquid, dish towels, scouring pads, disinfectant cleaner, hand sanitizer, & wet ones (towelettes), Party and health supplies are also needed e.g. small plastic bowls, plastic spoons and forks, paper napkins, bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. There is a box located in the main hallway downstairs for your donations.

SHOP ON LINE . . .
use Good Search and Good Shop search engines to find what you are hunting for. Just list Cove Presbyterian Church as your charity and a percent of your purchase will come back to the church. It’s a simple way to raise money for the Cove Deacons while shopping for yourself!

IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO HEAR PRAYER REQUESTS . . .
on Sunday mornings. If you would like to have someone added to the prayer chain please drop a short note into the collection plate with their name and any other information you would like to share. You may also call the church office or e-mail the church with the information.

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?. . .
if you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger please contact the church office. Also if you would like to be included in our weekly bulletin mailings contact the church office.

WE CAN ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB MINISTERING . . .
to the needs within this congregation, community and world. Please feel free to offer any suggestions as comments.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING . . .
Session has approved the Deacons collecting a “Loose Change Offering” that will be used to assist the Deacons with their utility assistance outreach program for Weirton residents or Cove Church members. We hope church members can help with the assistance program by donating some of their spare change. A container is placed in the Narthex each Sunday morning before church. The Deacons thank you for your continuing support of their projects.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers can be purchased for an additional cost. The flower calendar is located on the far wall in the church narthex or you can telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, the flowers will be placed in a plastic vase for you to take with you.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS. . .
newsletters from old friends or articles about or by members of Cove Church, check out the bulletin board located in the hallway by the church offices. Past event pictures are also on display in that area.

WE’RE UPDATING OUR PRAYER AND DEVOTION LINE . . .
about four times a week. If you would like to call and hear a devotional, please call 304-748-7900.

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . .
• Used can tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women and can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs. These labels are being collected for the Weirton Christian Center.

SHOE BOX PROJECT . . .
Kyle Truex, an Eagle Boy Scout with Troop 334 has extended his Eagle Scout Project to include continuous donations for Appalachian Outreach Inc. Brochures with envelopes attached are located on the table in the narthex.

After Easter

Easter 2011 is in the books. And I hope everyone had an outstanding day. With all the colors and candy, it's hard not to enjoy Easter. And for Christians, well, IT'S THE RESURRECTION for crying out loud. Man, it doesn't get much better than that. And so all things being equal, Easter is probably better than your average day.

But what about the days after Easter? Now, I seriously doubt that they carry quite the same punch. I mean, bunnies are being packed away. Candy is being digested. And eggs are being made into the salad before then become something else. In some ways, Easter, like Christmas, is a blip on life's radar screen; the exception rather than the rule. And now that that the mundane is back in the saddle, well, I guess there's always Mother's Day to offer a little change of pace.

But before we settle back into the rut, let's try to work a little Easter into our every day lives. And although it may not come naturally, it is possible. As a matter of fact, we'll talk about this on Sunday, specifically how and why the joy of Easter can be carried over into the rest of the year.

Prayer Requests

The following are needs we'll lift to God on Sunday. If you have anyone to add, please let us know. Thanks.

**********

Adults
• Virginia Welch
• Phyllis Manley
• John Brothers
• Rhonda Bruich
• Paul Buck
• Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
• Dave Bever
• Taylor Harris
• Pam Haller
• Mary Torchio
• Bonnie Kirtley
• Rachael
• Connie Francis
• Mary & Jack Games
• Betty Kraina
• Vicki Williams
• Jennifer Dahlem
• Charles Saffle
• Bob Saffle
• Colleen Wetzel
• Andrea Vincent
• Rose Mader
• Jimmy Jones
• Christy Cybulski
• Tricia Smith & family
• Karen Darin
• Ila Shingler
• Michael & Kaylie Keffer
• Numero Phiri
• Cara Smith
• Mel Olson
• Paula Leather
• Steve Cordle
• Eleanor Williams
• Julia Maine
• David Drobish’s Mother
• Greg Zook
• Karen Tomich
• Jenn Johnson
• Maxine Bulick
• Melaine & Denny
• Karen Wilson
• Dr. James W. Valuska, Sr.
• Family of Dorothy Shedlock

Kids
• Jonah Becker
• Shelby Kamarec
• Brody McUmor
• Dustin Parr
• Zoe Purcell
• Daisy Emmerick
• Georgie Platt
• Audri King
• Brandon Wares
• Hunter Stafford
• Michael Liptak
• Justus Loughry
• Jeffrey Konovich
• Tyler Trushel
• Sierra Huey
• Brandi Fish
• Maia Metcalf
• Annalise Skena

Military
• Michael Criss
• Jonathan Criss
• Chad Peppler
• Kendra Mader
• Stephen Mader

Troops
Our troops all around the world need our prayers for strength, endurance, and safety.

Bereaved Families
• Family of Mike Cline
• Family of Beth Milby
• Family of Marie Williamson

In the Hospital
Trinity West
• Ruth Gilmore

Shady Side
• Eleanor Williams


Church Families
• Robert & Carol Hall
• Carl Hamill
• Jim Hanna

Local Church
Salvation Army

Other Presbyterian Churches

• Bills and Overtures Committee
• The Connector Newspaper Board
• Evangelism Committee.

Special Friend
Mike Valiga, Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062

Also Remember in Prayer
Chambrel at Montrose, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron OH 44333-3091
• Thelma Longacre, Unit 210

Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr, Weirton WV 26062
• Father of Mary Ann Ianni

Carriage House, 3106 St. Charles Dr, Steubenville, OH 43952
• Ruth Gilmore, Room 215

Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
• Marge Black, Room 353
• Mary Kay DePaolo
• Dorothy Sobolak, Room 223
• Bob Morgan
• Mike Valiga
• Alice Orr

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Situation Report - U.S. Spring Storms

North Carolina residents clean up from
an April tornado. Photo by David
Fine, FEMA.


April 28, 2011

In the past few days we have seen severe and devastating storms ravage the Midwestern, Southern, and Eastern United States. During April 2011, more than 300 tornadoes were confirmed. As we pray for all who have been affected by these events, we remember that “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8) and call on the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom “even the winds and sea obey” (Matthew 8:27).

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is already responding to the need. The Office of Theology and Worship has provided resources for prayer and worship in such a time as this.

Especially hard hit were states in the South. April 27 tornadoes caused 130 deaths in Alabama alone. Lives were also lost in Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia, bringing the preliminary total to about 200. That number is expected to rise, officials said. North Carolina experienced its worst tornado outbreak in 25 years over the Palm Sunday weekend. Flooding is also taking a toll in several states, with record flooding of major rivers and levee breaches reported.

PDA Response

One Great Hour of Sharing and designated funds from PDA are already at work in at least 11 presbyteries this spring as they address disasters within their areas.

At the request of the 11 presbyteries in 10 states, members of the PDA National Response Team (NRT) are working to help leaders as they organize their response for local communities. PDA is monitoring a number of additional presbyteries in case a need for assistance arises. A number of NRT members are on stand-by status.

An NRT member shared that one presbytery executive was worried about what was expected of him. He was reassured when told that what was expected of him was to pastor, support, and bless the pastors in his presbytery. He was told that long term recovery management belongs to the community, and that volunteer leadership would arise naturally over the course of time. He was also told that PDA is there to support him and the presbytery over the long haul.

North Carolina volunteers work to help survivors
clean up debris and do temporary repairs
 following storms and tornadoes on April 16.
Photo by David Fine, FEMA


How you can help

You can help the church in this response and stand in the GAP for those affected by these storms.

GIVE.

The generous sharing of your financial blessings through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering and special designated giving provides resources needed to assist with immediate emergency needs, long-term and unmet needs, and spiritual/emotional counseling.

Individuals may give by phone at (800) 872-3283, through your congregation, online, or by mailing a check to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700. Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700 (please include DR000015 on your check to support response to disasters in the United States.)

ACT.
CLEAN UP BUCKETS are needed. Please consider assembling buckets to assist families as they begin the overwhelming task of storm and flood clean up. The Maryland location especially needs the buckets at this time, and for those who live in the northeast, there are additional drop-off locations in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
PRAY.
Creator of the wind and water, thank you for your ever-presence with us.

Please be with your children who are displaced by the recent storms, who have lost loved ones, or who will need to begin the tasks of cleaning up or rebuilding their homes. May the light of your hope and the power of your love shine through your church as we stand with those in need.

For the grace of your Son, which is sufficient for our every need, we give you thanks. Amen.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Remembering Our Sister Marie Williamson

Nov 19, 1915 - April 27, 2011

Marie M. Williamson, 95 of Weirton, WV passed away Wednesday April 27, 2011 at home.

She was born November 19, 1915 in Colliers, WV. She was the daughter of the late Hugh David & Myrtle Fox Thompson. She was also preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, C.Blake “RED” Williamson, whom passed away January 30, 2005, Great grandson William Keith Shenton, siblings Vivian Cram, Elizabeth Thompson, Orbin “BUD” Thompson, & Floyd David Thompson.

Marie was a 50 year plus member of Cove Presbyterian Church where she had been active in the Women’s Association and the Myrtle McHendry Class. She was a member of AARP, an avid birdwatcher, Brownie & girl scout leader. She loved dogs and was the most happy when her grandkids & family were present. She enjoyed traveling with her late husband to their cabin in Somerset County, PA. Prior to her marriage, she was employed by Monongahela Power.

Surviving is her daughter, Susan Elizabeth Hawkins, Granddaughter Amy Hawkins Shenton (Scott), Great grandchildren Olivia, Trevor, & Julia Shenton, sisters Virginia Welch (Paul) and Genevieve Meyer (Joseph), ALL of Weirton. Also surviving are her special friends, Danielle Dirkes & Sadie.

Visitation will be held at the Steel & Wolfe Funeral Home, Inc., 380 Penco Road, Weirton on Friday from 5-8. Additional visitation will be held Saturday at Cove Presbyterian Church from 10 until service at 11:00, where Dr. J.E. Rudiger will officiate. Internment will follow in St. Johns Cemetery, Colliers, WV. Memorial contributions are suggested to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062 OR Valley Hospice, Inc., 10686 State Route 150, Rayland, OH 43943.

Remembering Our Sister Beth Adelaide Milby

July 27, 1924 - April 26, 2011

Beth Adelaide Milby, 86 of Weirton, WV passed away Tuesday April 26, 2011.

She was born July 27, 1924 in Evans City, PA. She was the daughter of Fred R. & Thelma Horton Boyer. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Earl Milby, June 19, 1992.

Beth was a member of Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton Chapter No.147, O.E.S. &the Junior A.R.E.M.E.. She retired as a telephone operator from Ohio Bell Telephone.

Surviving is a brother, Robert L. Boyer of Las Vegas, NV.

There will be no visitation.

Internment will be in Union Cemetery, Steubenville, Ohio.

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - A New Monkey

Psalm 118:19-29

19Open the gates of justice!
I will enter and tell the LORD
how thankful I am.

20Here is the gate of the LORD!

Everyone who does right
may enter this gate.

21I praise the LORD
for answering my prayers
and saving me.

22The stone that the builders
tossed aside
has now become
the most important stone.

23The LORD has done this,
and it is amazing to us.

24This day belongs to the LORD!

Let’s celebrate
and be glad today.

25We’ll ask the LORD to save us!

We’ll sincerely ask the LORD
to let us win.

26God bless the one who comes
in the name of the LORD!

We praise you from here
in the house of the LORD.

27The LORD is our God,
and he has given us light!

Start the celebration!

March with palm branches
all the way to the altar.

28The LORD is my God!

I will praise him and tell him
how thankful I am.

29Tell the LORD
how thankful you are,
because he is kind
and always merciful.

A Devotion by Roland Peter Rink (Gauteng, South Africa)

I was surprised to read that scientists recently announced the discovery of a new species of small monkey in the Amazon rain forest. Apparently 1,233 new birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish were discovered in 2007 alone. Clearly we still have much to learn and discover about this amazing world God has given us. The same applies to each of us in our Christian journey.

Sadly, I too often hear that Christianity seems “boring.” That is a profoundly disturbing sentiment. In my experience, it is also far from true. For me, almost every day the Christian journey brings new discoveries, better understanding, and new insights into the meaning of scripture and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps what remains is for each of us to ask ourselves, “Am I feeling bored and stale in my journey toward heaven?” God offers us new joy each day — no matter what circumstances we encounter. I want to be open every day to this joy that is all around me, waiting for me to discover it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - Only God

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

5Apollos and I are merely servants who helped you to have faith. It was the Lord who made it all happen. 6I planted the seeds, Apollos watered them, but God made them sprout and grow. 7What matters isn’t those who planted or watered, but God who made the plants grow. 8The one who plants is just as important as the one who waters. And each one will be paid for what they do. 9Apollos and I work together for God, and you are God’s garden and God’s building.


A Devotion by Olivia Julius (Sarawak, Malaysia)

Because I am a Christian, I love to share my faith with anyone who will listen; I will study the Bible with anyone who is interested. I remember a woman who was interested in Christianity and even expressed her desire to become a Christian. She agreed to study the Bible with me to learn more about God. As our study progressed, her convictions grew steadily.

After months of studying God’s word and deep reflection on her part, she decided not to become a Christian after all. Though she understood God’s love, she wasn’t ready to repent of certain sins and embrace total commitment to Christ. The influence of the world was too enticing, and she could not let go of it.

Needless to say, I was devastated; I begged God for an explanation. God answered through 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. I merely planted the word; only God could make it grow in her heart. I did my part, and God remembers that. I finally surrendered her to God, and I pray that someday she will be ready to proclaim Jesus as her Lord.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - Don’t Be an Easter Scrooge

1 Corinthians 5:6b-8

6bDon’t you know that a small amount of leaven leavens the whole batch? 7Get rid of the old leaven,
so that you might be a new batch, since you are unleaven. For even our paschal lamb, Christ, was slain. 8Therefore, let us celebrate a feast, not with old leaven nor with [the] leaven of malice and wickedness, but with [the] unleaven of sincerity and truth.


Don’t Be an Easter Scrooge

I have a rather embarrassing confession that I feel I need to make, and I’ll tell you, today is the day to finally get it off my chest. And so here it goes. Hi, my name is Ed, not Earl, and I’m an Easter Scrooge. What a relief; it’s finally out in the open.

Now, just in case you have no clue what I’m talking about, let me explain. We all know how Scrooge felt about Christmas, right; you know, how he hated all the joy and the giving and the merrymaking. And even though we’re not really sure how he felt about the religious side, there’s no doubt about what we thought of everything else. Remember, he’s the one who said, “If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” Pretty clear, right? Well, brothers and sisters, that’s pretty much how I felt about Easter, not the religious side of course, but all the other stuff, and I’m talking about the bunnies and the chicks and the eggs, bah, humbug.

Now, that’s pretty much been my attitude for a long time, and looking back, well, like Ebenezer, it developed gradually. I mean, I guess is started back when I was a child. Every year my sister, brother, and I would get these great baskets, full of candy. Now, in my family, I was the saver, the accumulator, the one who would put his candy aside to be savored later. Yes, I was a wonderful child. Unfortunately, I was the only saver in my family. And so by Easter evening, after my brother, sister and yes, my own father had raided and decimated my basket, the only thing I had left to savor were those malt eggs and some black jelly beans. I still bare the scars. That was the beginning of my Scroogeness.

And later, when I was a teenager, I got religion. In other words, I found God, which must have come as a relief to God, you know, since he was lost and all. And frankly, I just became too spiritual for all that warm and fuzzy Easter stuff; therefore, I made it my quest to make everybody who enjoyed it as guilty as possible. And let’s face it, what’s the fun of being religious if you can’t condemn the people around you. You might as well be a Presbyterian, or so I thought. My next move into Scroogedom.

But I think I actually made the final step back when I was in seminary. You see, I’d just become too sophisticated for bunnies and chicks. And I sincerely doubt that Friedrich Schleiermacher or Rudolf Bultmann or any of those magnificent theologians from Oxford would ever hunt for Easter eggs. And so, there I was, as it came to Easter completely Scroogified, a real Grinch, but that’s another story.

But you know recently, well, my perspective has really started to change, and not just because I’ve taken my daughter to see the Easter Bunny, counting yesterday, nine times. No, over the last few years, I’ve started to appreciate an aspect of Easter I didn’t understand before. And I’ve come to realize that not only are things like butterflies and lilies, bunnies and chicks appropriate, they actually point to something that’s inherent and really indispensable about this day. And you know, it all comes down to the word “new.” All these images we associate with Easter involve newness, and in particular, new life. And for us, living on this side of the resurrection, that’s really what Easter is all about.

Simply put, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been made new. We have been changed at the very core of our being and nothing will ever be the same again. And even though we may assume that we’ve done something to deserve it, you know, like finding God, or pretend that it hasn’t happened and live like we did before, the fact is that God altered everything when he made Jesus rise from dead. And I’ll tell you, I think that’s really what Paul was getting at in this short passage we just read. Now, to make his point, he used the image of the dough you’d mix to make bread. Now, it’s important to understand, back then, there were really two kinds of bread you could make, the kind that rose and the kind that didn’t. And to get dough to rise, you needed a little of what we still called leaven. Now back in the day, it was a piece of old dough with yeast in it, and when you worked it into a new batch, all the dough rose. Of course, everybody knew that and that’s why Paul wrote, “Don’t you know that a small amount of leaven leavens the whole batch?” To someone like Ginny VanGilder that’s still a “daa” question, right? You need yeast to make the kind of bread we usually enjoy and eat most often, but the Jews, well, that didn’t always apply to them. You see, they ate unleaven bread on their holy days, in other words, bread that didn’t rise. It reminded them that when God led them out of Egypt, they were in such a hurry, they didn’t even have time to let their bread rise. And because it was used for spiritual occasions, people started to use bread that was unleaven as a symbol for being holy and pure and righteous.

And that’s why Paul told the Corinthians to “get rid of the old leaven, [the old yeast,] so that [they] might be a new batch [of dough], since [they were now] unleaven.” You see, for Paul, these believers in the Greek city of Corinth were different. They’d been changed. They were now unleaven, holy, pure, righteous. And how did that happen? This is what Paul wrote: “For even our paschal lamb, Christ, was slain. Therefore, let us celebrate a feast, not with old leaven nor with [the] leaven of malice and wickedness, but with [the] unleaven of sincerity and truth.” You see, for Paul, because the ultimate Passover lamb had been slaughtered, because it had been sacrificed so that God’s people could enjoy life, in other words, because Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross to save the ones who drove the nails and then was raised to life, showing that the rules had been changed and death would no longer win, brother and sisters, because of Easter, we have been made unleaven. We have been made holy and pure and righteous. We have been made new. And for us, man, this is good news, and I’ll tell you why.

When we accept this, two things are going to change. I mean, first, we’re going to see all kinds of new possibilities, and I’m talking about possibilities within ourselves. In other words, our lives are going to change. I mean, if I accept that, using another image from Paul, God has made me a new creation in Christ, I’m going to feel a new sense of freedom from my past, and I have in mind all those things I’ve done that cause we to cringe when I think about them, you know, that might make me feel ashamed and even separated from God. And even though I believe that sometime either in this world or the next I’ll be held accountable for what I’ve done and left undone, the bottom line is that my weakness isn’t stronger than God and that nothing, and I’m talking about nothing in all creation can separate me, can separate us from his love through Christ Jesus our lord. Now, that’s freedom.

But that’s not all. We also have the possibility of feeling real hope as we look into the future. You see, our destinies are in the hands of the one who caused Jesus to rise from the dead, and because his tomb was empty, no matter what happens in our world or within our lives, we can live, trusting that so will our’s. And that’s hope.

And right now, I’m telling you genuine peace is also possible, and that peace can be our’s right now. You know, I think it’s amazing. The closer we move to God and the more we recognize that he’s in control, the less we’re going to worry. Remember that book that written about ten years ago, Don’t Sweat Out the Small Stuff, and It’s All Small Stuff. Well, I’m not sure I agree, because there’s a lot stuff with which we struggle that’s not small at all, and I’m talking about suffering and disease and death. But I’ll tell you, just knowing that we’re in God’s hands and there’s no way he’s going to drop us, well, that offers the possibility of more peace than we can imagine. And that’s the first change we’re going to see.

And second, right along with the possibilities, when we accept that we’ve been made new, that opens up all kinds of new opportunities. For example, as men and women loved by God, we now have the opportunity to love others. Man, we even know how to do it. And I’ll tell you, I think everybody here knows plenty of folks who could stand a little loving. And if for some reason you don’t, give me your e-mail address before you leave, and I’ll send you all kinds of names. I don’t know about you, but I think we live a love-starved world, a place where we’re so accustomed to seeing “malice and wickedness” that we’re actually surprised by “sincerity and truth.” Just imagine what a little love could do; staggers the imagination. And right along with love, we also have the opportunity to share, to share the truth of God. And you know, that’s something we can do every time we give without expecting anything in return or when provoked, we pause and pray before hitting the “send” button, something that I believe God prevented me from doing just a couple of days ago. You see, as Paul reminded us in this passage, we share God through our sincerity and truth, through a kind word and a generous spirit, through a tender embrace and a courageous stand. And as we love and share, we’re claiming the opportunity we have to become everything God created us to be. And why can we do this? Simple, because we have been made new.

And that’s what Easter is all about, this newness we have in Jesus Christ. And so now, instead of letting my childhood trauma or my teenage arrogance or my seminary sophistication get in the way, I’m going to enjoy the bunnies and the chicks and the eggs, because God really did a new thing when he raised Jesus from the dead. I guess, you could say that at this juncture of my life, well, I’m a recovering Scrooge-a-holic. And now, from my new perspective, seeing all the unnecessary energy I spent in my addiction, to say nothing of the people I may have hurt and joy I know I missed, let me say this to y’all straight from the heart. Please, whatever you do, don’t be an Easter Scrooge.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today's Devotion - from Cove's Lenten Impressions

John 1:1-18

1-2 The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one.
3-5Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn't put it out.

6-8There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.

9-13The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn't even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn't want him.
But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
not blood-begotten,
not flesh-begotten,
not sex-begotten.

14The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

15John pointed him out and called, "This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word."

16-18We all live off his generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made him plain as day.


A Devotion by Ed Rudiger

John wrote, “And the light shines in the darkness.” To this, we can identify. You see, as we look around, we seem to be living in the midst of darkness. I mean, there certainly appears to be darkness in our world. We see the blackness caused by war and conflict, by hatred and intolerance and indifference, by all people who seem to condone suffering, who seem to stand unmoved in the face of ignorance and want, who seem to think that what happens to the least of these who are members of God’s family is none of their concern. And there certainly appears to be darkness in our own communities. Here we see people living in the gloom left by self-centeredness and by self-indulgence and by self-righteousness, left every time Christians are taught that words are more important than work and that language can replace love, left in the hearts of all believers who spend their time and energy judging the spirituality of those whom they don’t like rather than sharing and living the faith they profess. And if we’re honest with ourselves, there often appears to be darkness within our own lives. I mean, we often can see the shadow cast by physical pain and by emotional distress and by spiritual emptiness. You see, there’s even darkness within our ourselves.

And for those reasons, I think it’s important for us to remember that the light still shines. The light shines in the darkness. It shines in the darkness we see within our world and within our communities and within ourselves. It shines in the blackness caused by war and poverty and hatred, and in the midst of people living in the gloom left by self-centeredness and self-indulgence and self-righteousness. And it shines in the shadow cast by physical pain and emotional distress and spiritual emptiness. In the midst of this darkness, the light shines, shines for us as it has always shone.

It shines for us as it shone in the beginning, when God said, “Let there be light” and there was light: light that pierced the darkness, light that glisten on the face of the deep, light that surrounded the creation of life. And it shines for us as it shone in the midst of God’s chosen people. And it shines for us as it shone in Judea almost two thousand years ago, when Jesus Christ came the true and incarnate light. You see, the light still shines, and it’s radiance is wonderful. You see, this light brings warmth. And this light brings understanding. And this wonderful light brings vision. O yes, the light still shines.

And if we choose to look, we can see that this same light still shines in the darkness that seems to surround us. Although the blackness seems overwhelming, the light still shines in our world. It shines on those who seek peace and reconciliation in the midst of war and violence, on those who have as their vision that time “when the nations shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” and when “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,” on those who believe that God called them to remind governments and leaders that human life must never be pushed aside by national interests and geopolitical expedience. And it shines on those who seek to address the intense poverty found within our world, on those who take Christ at his word when he said that when you have cared for the least of these who are members of his family, you have done it for him, on those who speak out for men and women who often have no voice, for the children who shiver in the night because they have no warm place to sleep, for mothers who sit helplessly and watch their babies die. And it shines on those who fight to establish lines of communication in spite of ancient hatreds and inflexible intolerance, on those who really believe Paul when he wrote “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all . . . are one in Christ,” on those who refuse to give in to the enmity and turn away from the needs. If we choose to look, we can see the light shining in our world, but that’s not all.

You see, brothers and sisters, although the gloom seems awesome, the light still shines in our communities. It shines on those who reach out to others, on those who will not buy into the idea that they are the center of the universe and therefore they have the right to ignore those around them, on those who remind husbands and wives, children and parents, Christian brothers and sisters that we have one another because we need one another. And it shines on those who are willing to sacrifice for others, or those who consider the needs of their neighbors before their own wants, on those who treat the blessings of God as tools rather than rewards. And it shines on those who stand up for the gospel of Jesus Christ, on those who stand up against the arrogant self-righteousness that has become so popular in secular Christianity, on those who still approach God with humility because they know their destiny is in his hands and look to one another, both inside and outside the church, with interest because they believe that all people have something to offer. You see if we choose to look, we can see the light shining in our communities.

And finally, brothers and sisters, although the shadows may seem intense, the light still shines in our lives. It shines on us when we receive and give, when we receive the warmth and concern that God communicates through his people, and when we give support and comfort to those who are frightened and alone. And it shines on us when we experience and when we share, when we experience the presence of God in our lives and when we share the love which that presence brings. And this wonderful light shines on us when we hear and proclaim, when we hear the good news of Jesus Christ written in the Bible or preached from this pulpit or discussed in a study and when we proclaim that good news through our words, but better yet, through our lives. You see if we choose to look, we can see the light shining in our lives.

All because, according to John, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not, and the darkness cannot overcome it.”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Today Devotion - Cove's Lenten Impressions

Psalm 43

1-2 Clear my name, God; stick up for me against these loveless, immoral people.
Get me out of here, away
from these lying degenerates.
I counted on you, God.
Why did you walk out on me?
Why am I pacing the floor, wringing my hands
over these outrageous people?

3-4 Give me your lantern and compass,
give me a map,
So I can find my way to the sacred mountain,
to the place of your presence,
To enter the place of worship,
meet my exuberant God,
Sing my thanks with a harp,
magnificent God, my God.

5 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.


Hebrews 4:1-16

1-3For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Remember that God said, “Exasperated, I vowed, ‘They’ll never get where they’re going, never be able to sit down and rest.’”

3-7God made that vow, even though he’d finished his part before the foundation of the world. Somewhere it’s written, “God rested the seventh day, having completed his work,” but in this other text he says, “They’ll never be able to sit down and rest.” So this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Those earlier ones never did get to the place of rest because they were disobedient. God keeps renewing the promise and setting the date as today, just as he did in David’s psalm, centuries later than the original invitation: Today, please listen, don’t turn a deaf ear . . .

8-11And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience.

12-13God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

14-16Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.


Romans 8:1-11

1-2With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

3-4God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing for it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

5-8Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

9-11But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Announcements

The announcements as they appear in Sunday's bulletin are below:

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service, under the direction of Jenna Maine. We still need some volunteer help. If you can spare time to supervise the little ones please see Jenna after the service. We thank you in advance for caring for the future member of our Cove family.

DON’T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. Think about trying out one of our classes. We have a variety of classes to chose from to fit your needs.

WHEN WE BEGIN THE SERVICE. . .
our children carry red, orange and yellow streamers. This represents the coming of the Holy Spirit, filling the sanctuary as we prepare to worship. At the end of the service, they carry the streamers out, challenging us to carry the Spirit into the world.

JESUS TIME OFFERS THE YOUNGER CHILDREN . . .
of our congregation, between the ages of 3 and 11, the opportunity to worship in a special experience just for them. The children are dismissed to Jesus Time after a Special Time for Children.

OUR MEN’S CLC BIBLE STUDY CLASS . . .
will meet Monday, April 25, at 6:00 p.m. in the board room.

BOOKMARKS, COVE’S READING GROUP. . .
Will meet on Monday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the church parlor.

THE ADULT HANDBELL CHOIR WILL NOT PRACTICE . . .
on Wednesday, April 27, but will practice next on Wednesday, May 4 at 5:30 p.m. We have 1 position that needs filled. We practice from 5:30 - 6:45 from September through May. We play once a month for Sunday services and for holidays. If you are interested in joining, please contact Becky Korosec at 304-748-8449 for more information.

THE CHANCEL CHOIR WILL PRACTICE . . .
on Wednesday, April 27, at 6:45 p.m. in the sanctuary. Everyone who wishes to praise our Lord through song is invited to join us as we practice our anthems for Sunday morning worship.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY WILL MEET . . .
Thursday, 12:00 p.m. We're discussing the Gospel of John, and during this meeting we're looking at John 16:1-33. Grab your lunch and join us as we study God’s word.

A TALENT & VARIETY SHOW. . .
sponsored by the Deacons will be held this Saturday, April 30. The evening will begin at 5:00 p.m. with a Pot Luck Dinner. For more information contact Tina Viakley at 304-723-5558 or sign-up on the posters hanging on the wall in the narthex.

MYRTLE MCHENDRY CLASS . . .
will hold their monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 3 at 12:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. Cove’s Reading Group, Bookmarks, under the leadership of Becky Korosec will present the program. The afternoon will include a salad luncheon.

SATURDAY, MAY 7 . . .
the Deacons are having a Flea Market and Bake Sale! They are in search of slightly used - furniture, small appliances, kitchenware, decorations, housewares, sports equipment, children’s toys and children’s clothes. If you have items you no longer use, you may drop them off at the church at anytime or call the church office at 304-748-5980 to arrange to have the items picked-up.

WELCOME HOME TYLER . . .
Craig, Dawn & Ethan would like to sincerely thank everyone for all their thoughts, prayers and other acts of kindness and concern for little Tyler and our family while he was in the NICU at Children’s Hospital. He came home on Friday, April 15. The family is all doing well.
God Bless all of You,
The Trushel’s

PLEASE RETURN YOUR PRAYER BOXES. . .
if you have a Prayer Box from our Ash Wednesday Service please return it to the basket on the table in the narthex.

OUR SYMPATHY . . .
is extended to Eleanor Cline and family on the death of her son, Michael, who died Monday, April 18, 2011.

MISSION: SHARING BRINGS JOY . . .
is the theme of this year’s One Great Hour of Sharing Campaign, envelopes have been place in this week’s bulletin for your contributions. FYI...the denomination decides how the gifts its members give will be used with some monies going to the shared ministries of Church World Service to aide people in need, sharing resources and changing lives. The Presbyterian Church roughly divides its money into thirds- Self-Development of People (SDOP) receives 32%; Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) receives 32% ; and Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) receives the balance.

IF YOU LEAVE AN ITEM AT THE CHURCH . . .
for someone or for a specific committee, please take a moment to write the name of who is to receive the item. If there is no name on the item we will assume it is for the church in general.

LIKE TO PLAY THE PIANO?
the church has an Acrosonic Spinet Piano that is no longer needed. It can be yours for a donation. If you are interested, it is located in Fellowship Hall or contact the church office for further details.

WE ARE BLOGGING!
We now have six blogs that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They're listed below:
• The Cove Community (www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com) - This is for the whole church. I'll post sermons and announcements. I also invite y'all to send in material that you'd like to share with other members of the congregation. And please feel free to comment on anything you might read.
• Cove Kids (www.covekids.blogspot.com) - This is tailored for the preteen young people in our church. Again I'll post announcements. You're also invited to send in any writings, photographs and art work you'd like to post. And they don't have to all deal with the church. We also post artwork from Jesus Time.
• Glue (www.cove-glue.blogspot.com) - Our teens are running their own blog site; therefore, I have no idea what will be posted.
• Bible Talk (www.cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com) - We've established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary, and we're posting the pastor’s translation of the Greek text. We want you to read any or all of the passages and to leave any comment or ask any question that you feel is appropriate. Please include any research you've done. As we share our ideas and insights, we hope that we'll all come to a better and deeper understanding of the Bible. Each passage is linked to a website that offers some informative information.
• Let’s Talk About It (www.cove-talk.blogspot.com) - Through this site, we hope to encourage a conversation on a variety of topics. Since this blog is sponsored by a church, we expect most of the issues to involve the Christian faith. Still we don't want to limit ourselves or you. If you have a topic that you'd like us to discuss, include it as a comment to a previous issue. Please phrase it as a question and offer a summary of at least two positions. We'll add a new item to discuss every three weeks. We hope this challenges you to apply your faith to issues that are important to you.
• The Bible in a Year (www.cove-bibleinayear.blogspot.com/) - Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.

CLEANING SUPPLIES. . .
are being collected by the Presbyterian Women for the Shack Neighborhood House Mission near Morgantown. Cleaning supplies e.g. laundry detergent, dish liquid, dish towels, scouring pads, disinfectant cleaner, hand sanitizer, & wet ones (towelettes), Party and health supplies are also needed e.g. small plastic bowls, plastic spoons and forks, paper napkins, bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. There is a box located in the main hallway downstairs for your donations.

MISSING A DISH, BOWL OR BAKING PAN?
Check the pantry in the kitchen. There are a number of items - bowls, plates and utensils that were left after various functions, one may belong to you. Items not claimed by April 30th will be donated to the Deacons Flea Market.

SHOP ON LINE . . .
use Good Search and Good Shop search engines to find what you are hunting for. Just list Cove Presbyterian Church as your charity and a percent of your purchase will come back to the church. It’s a simple way to raise money for the Cove Deacons while shopping for yourself!

IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO HEAR PRAYER REQUESTS . . .
on Sunday mornings. If you would like to have someone added to the prayer chain please drop a short note into the collection plate with their name and any other information you would like to share. You may also call the church office or e-mail the church with the information.

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?. . .
if you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger please contact the church office. Also if you would like to be included in our weekly bulletin mailings contact the church office.

WE CAN ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB MINISTERING . . .
to the needs within this congregation, community and world. Please feel free to offer any suggestions as comments.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING . . .
Session has approved the Deacons collecting a “Loose Change Offering” that will be used to assist the Deacons with their utility assistance outreach program for Weirton residents or Cove Church members. We hope church members can help with the assistance program by donating some of their spare change. A container is placed in the Narthex each Sunday morning before church. The Deacons thank you for your continuing support of their projects.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers can be purchased for an additional cost. The flower calendar is located on the far wall in the church narthex or you can telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, the flowers will be placed in a plastic vase for you to take with you.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS. . .
newsletters from old friends or articles about or by members of Cove Church, check out the bulletin board located in the hallway by the church offices. Past event pictures are also on display in that area.

WE’RE UPDATING OUR PRAYER AND DEVOTION LINE . . .
about four times a week. If you would like to call and hear a devotional, please call 304-748-7900.

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . .
• Used can tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women and can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs. These labels are being collected for the Weirton Christian Center.

SHOE BOX PROJECT . . .
Kyle Truex, an Eagle Boy Scout with Troop 334 has extended his Eagle Scout Project to include continuous donations for Appalachian Outreach Inc. Brochures with envelopes attached are located on the table in the narthex.

In the Next Few Days

For the next few days, we're actually on an emotional rollercoaster. I mean, last evening we celebrated Maundy Thursday, remembering the last meal Christ shared with his disciples here on earth. But of course this wouldn't really be his last meal with them. Remember he promised to dine with them and us when his kingdom was made complete on earth as it is in heaven. And so yesterday, we focused on the meal.

But tonight we'll get together for a Good Friday service, one that reminds us that Jesus was hung on a cross to save the ones who drove the nails. And even though with The Passion of the Christ the unique, intense and graphic suffering of Jesus was brought to the front burner, for me, one of the most powerful aspects of the cross is how it represents God desire to identify with us. In other words, God truly knows our pain; therefore, he knows us, because he choose to experience what we feel on our worst day. And so when I take to God my frustrations, he knows what I feel. Tonight we focus on the cross.

And then, on Easter, we remember the resurrection, the hinge on which human history turns. When the women found that tomb empty and those disciple saw the raised Jesus in their midst, everything changed. Not only did the old rules no longer apply, you know, that death always wins in the end, but we have something real and concrete to trust as we move into the future. We hope not in disembodied spirits floating on clouds, but rather in an empty tomb and the words, "He's been raised."

And so, as we move toward Sunday, let's allow ourselves to feel the emotions inherent in this season. And then let's praise God almighty that we've been given the opportunity to feel them.

Prayer Requests

Below are the needs we'll lift up to God during our Sunday worship service. If you have any additions, please let me know.

Adults
• Virginia Welch
• Phyllis Manley
• John Brothers
• Rhonda Bruich
• Paul Buck
• Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
• Dave Bever
• Di
• Taylor Harris
• Pam Haller
• Mary Torchio
• Jenni
• Bonnie Kirtley
• Rachael
• Connie Francis
• Mary & Jack Games
• Betty Kraina
• Claudia Recchio
• Vicki Williams
• Delbert McLaughlin
• Jennifer Dahlem
• Charles Saffle
• Bob Saffle
• Colleen Wetzel
• Andrea Vincent
• Rose Mader
• Jimmy Jones
• Christy Cybulski
• Tricia Smith & family
• Karen Darin
• Ila Shingler
• Michael & Kaylie Keffer
• Numero Phiri
• Cara Smith
• Mel Olson
• Paula Leather
• Steve Cordle
• Eleanor Williams
• Julia Maine
• Mary Porco
• David Drobish’s Mother
• Greg Zook
• Karen Tomich
• Jenn Johnson
• Maxine Bulick
• Melaine & Denny
• Karen Wilson
• Dr. James W. Valusk, Sr.
• Tom Kazienko

Kids
• Jonah Becker
• Shelby Kamarec
• Brody McUmor
• Dustin Parr
• Zoe Purcell
• Daisy Emmerick
• Georgie Platt
• Audri King
• Brandon Wares
• Hunter Stafford
• Michael Liptak
• Justus Loughry
• Jeffrey Konovich
• Tyler Trushel
• Sierra Huey
• Maia Metcalf
• Annalise Skena

Military
• Michael Criss
• Jonathan Criss
• Chad Peppler
• Kendra Mader
• Stephen Mader

Troops
Our troops all around the world need our prayers for strength, endurance, and safety.

Bereaved Family
• Family of Mike Cline, the son of Eleanor Cline

Church Families
• Jeffrey Grant
• Dan & Pat Grant
• The Gresko Family

Local Church
• Trinity Lutheran Church

Also Remember in Prayer
Chambrel at Montrose, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron OH 44333-3091
• Thelma Longacre, Unit 210

Calcutta Health Care Center, 48444 Bell School Rd, East Liverpool, OH 43920-9646 - 330-385-7100
• Beth Milby

Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr, Weirton WV 26062
• Father of Mary Ann Ianni

Carriage House
• Ruth Gilmore - Carriage House Room 215, 3106 St. Charles Dr, Steubenville, OH 43952

Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
• Marge Black, Room 353
• Mary Kay DePaolo
• Dorothy Sobolak, Room 223
• Bob Morgan
• Mike Valiga
• Alice Orr

Good Friday Minute for Mission

The lectionary reading from Isaiah for this day is part of a larger passage that points to the incongruities of this day. Isaiah 52 begins with an exhortation to "awake, awake,'' for the Lord announces redemption. A messenger brings good news, announces salvation, and proclaims that God reigns. This comfort, this redemption is a sign of a God whose strong arm is bared before the nations.

But this good news of triumph comes from an unlikely source, one who had no majesty. He was despised and rejected, a man of suffering. People hid their eyes from him.

On this day we give thanks for the one who bore our sorrows: "Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities'' (Isa. 53:11). We give thanks that the Lord will return in glory and we will be in communion with God forever. On this day of sorrow mixed with gladness, we give thanks and proclaim the Lord's death until he comes again.

— Charles Wiley, coordinator, office of Theology and Worship, General Assembly Mission Council

Today's Devotion - from Cove's Lenten Impressions

Two Pieces of Wood

Two Pieces of wood formed the old rugged Cross
That stood on a hill far away;
One had its roots in the evil of man,
The other brought redemption that day.

Two pieces of wood formed the old rugged Cross
That once held the King of all Kings;
One carried the hope to earth from the sky,
The other drew to it all things.

Two pieces of wood formed the old rugged Cross
I can see it all clearly again;
One pointed upward to God and His love,
The other reached out toward all men.

Two pieces of wood formed the old rugged Cross,
But they met near the heart of our Lord;
They joined human need with mercy from above
And brought them in sweet accord.

What love! What compassion Christ had for us all
As He patiently bore His loss
On that symbol of faith and of life evermore—

Two pieces of wood—His Cross!

Phyllis C. Michael

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - Humility

John 13:1-17

1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.

3-6Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”

7Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

8Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”

Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”

9 “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”

10-12Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

12-17Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.


A Devotion by Kenneth Athon (Indiana)

My friend from another culture would not allow me to handle his shoes as I helped him pack his clothes for traveling because in his culture doing so is demeaning. In my culture, it is not dishonorable to touch feet or footwear. Pedicurists, podiatrists, and people who repair shoes are not looked down upon. In some parts of the world, however, these and similar occupations are relegated to a special, “undesirable” group of people. Understanding this reveals the humility of Christ when he washed the disciples’ feet, as well as explains the astonishment of Peter who wanted to stop him from doing so.

Even in today’s world, some opportunities for service carry the same stigma that foot washing does in my friend’s culture. There are still many people, places, and situations that “good” Christians avoid. Perhaps we are prevented by our concern for status and reputation. Maybe our ego or self image tells us that we are not right for such a humble task. But being like Jesus means disregarding ego and self.

We cannot dismiss Jesus’ example by saying it was easy for him because he could do anything. Instead, we can follow his example as those who would do anything for love’s sake.

Minute for Mission - Maundy Thursday

In peaceful surroundings, we walk with the Lord
our hearts desire.




I make my way to Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, through the neighborhood of well-manicured lawns and beautiful houses. Something is out of context. I hear African drums, and the lively melody is invigorating. As I enter the worship space, young African boys give me a bulletin and welcome me. The African hymns are sung with feeling, and I am drawn into the holy presence of God.

This was my introduction to the All Nations worshiping community, where the Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kimathi Guchienda is pastor. Church members are from nations from the continent of Africa. AllNations has moved from the chapel to the Bell Center and has almost outgrown this new space. It was a racial ethnic fellowship on track to become a new church development; but Highland Park Presbyterian Church, which developed this ministry when Dr. Guchienda joined the staff, asked them to remain as a worshiping community so that they could keep the diversity of African elders on their session and celebrate the multicultural membership being formed.

On Maundy Thursday, Jesus gave us a new commandment: “that you love one another, just as I have loved you” (John 13:34). In this pristine neighborhood, an expression of God’s love is seen in a PC(USA) faith community seeking to reflect the beloved community of God, “Growing Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” in diversity.

— The Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, director, Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries/Presbyterian Women, General Assembly Mission Council

Today's Devotion - from Cove's Lenten Impressions

Psalm 147

1 Hallelujah! It's a good thing to sing praise to our God;
praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.

2-6 God's the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
who regathers Israel's scattered exiles.
He heals the heartbroken
and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
and assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
we'll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
and pushes the wicked into the ditch.

7-11 Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn,
play music on your instruments to God,
Who fills the sky with clouds,
preparing rain for the earth,
Then turning the mountains green with grass,
feeding both cattle and crows.
He's not impressed with horsepower;
the size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God's attention;
they can depend on his strength.

12-18 Jerusalem, worship God!
Zion, praise your God!
He made your city secure,
he blessed your children among you.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
he puts the best bread on your tables.
He launches his promises earthward—
how swift and sure they come!
He spreads snow like a white fleece,
he scatters frost like ashes,
He broadcasts hail like birdseed—
who can survive his winter?
Then he gives the command and it all melts;
he breathes on winter—suddenly it's spring!

19-20 He speaks the same way to Jacob,
speaks words that work to Israel.
He never did this to the other nations;
they never heard such commands.
Hallelujah!


A Devotion by Rob Starck

It is altogether right and fitting that we make time in our lives this Lenten season to reflect on our relationship with God. In this Psalm in verses 4 and 5, David, who most scholars feel is the author, tells us that:

He (God) determines the number of the stars
And calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
His understanding has no limit.

A few years ago astronomers were wondering about a dark part of the sky that seemed to have few stars in it. These astronomers petitioned NASA to get the use of the Hubble Space telescope to look deep into that part of the sky. Were there really parts of the sky that were devoid of light? For ten full days Hubble took photos capturing minute specs of light to build the overall view. You can see what they saw by going to http://www.spacetelescope.org/videos/heic0714c/ .

There were thousands of galaxies there with hundreds of millions of stars in each galaxy. Yet think of the Psalm passage above…. God knows and always did, not only how many stars are there, but the name of each one. This same God, our God, this creator of all we see in the universe will speak to each of us – one on one. He not only knows our names, but the name of every hair on our head. Yet we can talk to this awesome creator directly any time we want. Pretty nice opportunity!

Verses 19 and 20 tell us:

He has revealed his word to Jacob,
His laws and decrees to Israel.
He has done this for no other nation;
They do not know his laws.

To whom much is given – much is expected. We are under a great obligation – The Great Commission of Jesus. Does each of us do what is being asked of us to spread this good news to others who haven’t heard it? If we were asked on Judgment Day about all the children God brings right into our church – those in our day care, boy and girl scouts, skateboarders, and newly baptized – would we be able to say, “Yes, Lord, I did all I could to spread your good news to those children, their parents, and their relatives?”

What opportunities he hands us.

Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Service of Shadows

We’ll host a Tenebrae Service on Good Friday, April 22, beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Through choral pieces, hymns and readings, we will meditate on the passion, and the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Love Feast

We’ll celebrate Maundy Thursday by sharing a Love Feast on Thursday, April 1. The service will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. We’ll share a simple meal of soup and sandwiches as well as the sacrament of Holy Communion. On Maundy Thursday we remember Jesus’ last supper.

Today's Devotion - from Cove's Lenten Impression

Psalm 91

1-13 You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you're perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you,
harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

14-16 "If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
"I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care
if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!"


A Devotion by Amanda Hankey

Whenever afraid, I turn to this scripture reading. These words ring true to my heart as I picture myself standing amongst my fellow soldiers.

We were preparing for deployment to Afghanistan just two short years after so many precious lives were lost that somber day of 9-11. During the two months of preparation to train for the danger that was before us, every morning our Chaplin faithfully read these verses to us. The threat of danger became more real as we neared the day of departure from a place we know so well… a land of freedom, of security. “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” Those words were a blanket of comfort, the only thing I knew to be true as I ventured into this new land.

Upon arrival we began to perform our duties and no longer began our day as a group. Though I missed hearing those words come from a mouth I had learned to trust and adore, I continued to rehearse the scripture. Six months later we returned to our families… every single one of us! Praise God.
I now find myself turning to these words during other challenging times in my life. “For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.” AMEN

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - The Spirit’s Help

Romans 8:18-30

18-21That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

22-25All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

29-30God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.


A Devotion by Anne Rasmussen (Somerset, England)

My elderly mother suffers from dementia. She is becoming increasingly dependent, confused, and unable to manage independently. She suffers, but the family members who care for her also suffer as we try to meet her increasing needs and help her remain in her home. Caring for a relative with dementia becomes a terrible dilemma when the burden is too heavy and the family must make difficult decisions.

Times such as these make it hard to find the words to express how we feel when we pray. Our struggles seem insurmountable, overwhelming. Sometimes when we do pray, our prayers appear to hit the ceiling and rebound unheard. We can only place our situation (impossible as it seems), in God’s hands and take comfort from Paul’s words that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf “with sighs too deep for words.”

When we don’t know what to pray or how to pray, we can trust that the Holy Spirit knows our despair and speaks for us in ways we cannot. We can take comfort that God always knows our sorrow even when we cannot find words to express it.

Today's Devotion - from Cove's Lenten Impressions

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”


A Devotion by Evelyn Buckley and Denise Krofcheck

Psalm 91 is a Psalm of trust. It does not name the author, but David may have been the author. It assures us that if we believe, then we are under the shadow of  the Almighty God.

He will keep us from harm and trouble as He shelters us under his wings. We feel secure standing up against our enemies because we know we are under the full protection of God Almighty.

Broken Dreams
As children bring their broken toys,
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.


But instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.


At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How can you be so slow?”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never let them go.”
Anonymous