Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Church leaders call for prayer and support following Hurricane Irene

August 31, 2011

Cynthia Bolbach, Moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010), Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, and Linda Valentine, Executive Director of the General Assembly Mission Council, today released a call to prayer for all those impacted by Hurricane Irene:

The strong winds and heavy rain of Hurricane Irene left a trail of devastation along the eastern seaboard from North Carolina to southern New England. While the immediate level of damage from Hurricane Irene did not meet that which was feared or predicted, the storm continues to wreak havoc by causing significant flash flooding. Thousands of families are still without power. The full extent of the storm and its damages will continue to unfold in the days and weeks ahead.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been in been in contact with mid-councils (presbyteries) along the East Coast as communities begin to assess hurricane-related damage. Four teams of PDA National Response Team (NRT) members were positioned prior to Irene making landfall to help support presbyteries in carrying out their disaster recovery plans, to help connect them with broader response efforts, and to help with spiritual and emotional care.

Assessments are still in the early stages, and the amount of damage seems to vary widely from place to place. Assessments include emerging needs that have been identified, the ability of the community to respond, and the availability of resources.

Christ by the Sea Presbyterian Church in New York City Presbytery has lost its roof. Newton Presbytery (New Jersey) has identified at least six churches and one manse with significant flood damage (one with boilers under water). They are continuing to contact congregations to determine needs. PDA is waiting to receive reports from other presbyteries that were in the path of Hurricane Irene.

While we wait further assessment, gifts and prayers are needed in response. Laurie Kraus, pastor of Riviera Presbyterian Church in Miami, Florida, and a member of the National Response Team for PDA, has prepared a prayer for this time. Please join us in praying:

God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,

in the aftermath of storm and distress, we welcome the restoring power of your love and compassion. We open our hearts in sorrow, gratitude, and hope: that those who have been spared nature’s fury as well as those whose lives are changed forever by ravages of wind and water may find solace, sustenance, and strength in the days of recovery and reflection that come.

We are thankful for the generous grace of days of preparation; for the wise counsel of experts and the generous collaboration of so many communities, that in the face of the storm kept many out of harm’s way, and lessened the effects of wind and water on others. We are grateful that dire predictions did not result in the worst case scenario for all, yet still served to support our best efforts at preparation and immediate relief.

At the same time, we open ourselves to the stories of those for whom Hurricane Irene was not a near miss: communities deeply affected, whose livelihood, homes and stability have been destroyed. We pray in grief, remembering the lives that have been lost in the Bahamas and here in the United States. We lift our voices in sorrow and compassion for families who have lost loved ones, homes, or livelihood.

We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering; wisdom and diligence among agencies and individuals assessing damage and directing relief efforts; and for generosity to flow as powerfully as rivers and streams, as we, your people, respond to the deep human needs beginning to emerge in the wake of the storm.

In these days of relief, assessment and response, open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands to the needs of your children and the movements of your Spirit, who flows in us like the river whose streams makes glad the city of God, and the hearts of all who dwell in it, and in You.

In the name of Christ the Healer we pray,

Amen.

For more information on the PDA response, and how you may support it, visit www.pcusa.org/pda.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Situation Report - Hurricane Irene

August 30, 2011

The strong winds and heavy rain of Hurricane Irene left a trail of devastation along the eastern seaboard from North Carolina to southern New England. While the immediate level of damage from Hurricane Irene did not meet that which was feared or predicted, the storm continues to wreak havoc by causing significant flash flooding. Thousands of families are still without power. The full extent of the storm and its damages will continue to unfold in the days and weeks ahead.

Many residents will not have power for
days to come.
Photo by Tim Burkitt, FEMA.
Assessments are still in the early stages, and the amount of damage seems to vary widely from place to place. Assessments include emerging needs that have been identified, the ability of the community to respond, and the availability of resources.

Christ by the Sea Presbyterian Church in New York City Presbytery has lost its roof. Newton Presbytery (New Jersey) has identified at least six churches and one manse with significant flood damage (one with boilers under water). They are continuing to contact congregations to determine needs. PDA is waiting to receive reports from other presbyteries that were in the path of Hurricane Irene.

Response

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been in been in contact with mid-councils (presbyteries) along the East Coast as communities begin to assess hurricane-related damage. Four teams of PDA National Response Team (NRT) members were positioned prior to Irene making landfall to help support presbyteries in carrying out their disaster recovery plans, to help connect them with broader response efforts, and to help with spiritual and emotional care.

One Great Hour of Sharing funds and those designated for U.S. disaster or PDA general response will be used to help mid-councils (presbyteries) with their immediate needs. We will continue to respond as we receive information.

As always, we are grateful for your hope, your faith, and your willingness to stand in the gap for disaster-affected families.

Give

It is through your generosity that we are able to respond quickly and efficiently.

Individuals may give online, through their local Presbyterian congregation, or by sending their check to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700, including the designated giving account DR000015– USA Disasters and Emergencies.

Congregations should send donations through their normal mission giving channels.

Act

With flooding there are often needs for hygiene kits and clean-up buckets.

Sign up to receive PDA Rapid Information Network (PDA-RIN) email notices. Stay informed and share information about urgent needs and current disaster responses with others.

Pray

Prayer is our best response.

God of wind and water, stillness and storm, your Spirit sweeps over the surface of the sea. Give faith to those who have experienced the impact of the hurricane. Comfort those grieving, angry, homeless, and afraid; be with them and remind that that, despite this crisis, You will never leave them or forsake them. By your Spirit, lift up those who have fallen, sustain those who work to rescue or rebuild, and fill us with the hope of your new creation; through Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - Not Alone

Psalm 139:1-18

1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
5 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!



A Devotion by Galina Samson (Voronezh, Russia)

The day my daughter turned 20, she went to celebrate with some friends. Other friends and acquaintances kept telephoning to wish her a happy birthday and commented on the fact that I was home alone. I was glad for their congratulations but brushed away their sympathy because I was not alone. The Lord was with me.
At the time my child was born, I never thought about God. In those days, I relied on my own strength and on the help of other people. Immediately after her birth, I was put in a ward alone, and everyone left. I lay there on my own, helpless. No one came to help me, and I felt as though everyone had forgotten about me. I didn’t even cry out to God. I knew nothing about faith. I knocked on the wall, but no one answered.

Today I see clearly that I was knocking in the wrong place. I am certain that if I had turned to God, I would have found help. Of course, God helped me anyway. Eventually one of the nurses appeared, but I can still remember my overwhelming loneliness.

Now I read Psalm 139 again and again, and I realize that whatever happens in my life, I have never been and never will be alone. God cares about me.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - Mid-Atlantic Wrestling

Romans 12:9-21

9Let love be without pretense: abhor the evil, adhere to the good, 10with brotherly affection show affection to one another, with honor outdo one another, 11in diligence don’t be timid, in the Spirit boil, in the Lord be a slave, 12in hope rejoice, in distress bear up, in prayer remain constant, to the needs of the saints contribute, affection for the stranger pursue. 14Bless those who pursue you; bless and don’t curse: 15rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, 16in the same way as others think, don’t be exalted in thinking but by the humble be led, don’t be conceited about yourselves, 17evil for evil don’t repay, before hand think about what is good in the sight of all people, 18if it’s possible for you, then with all people, be at peace, 19don’t take vengeance on one another, but give a place for the wrath. For it has been written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. 20But if your enemy might be hungry, then feed him. If he might be thirsty, then give him something to drink. For he who does this will heap live coals upon his head.” 21Don’t be conquered by evil but conquer with good evil.


Mid-Atlantic Wrestling
When I was a kid, I loved Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. It was a show they taped in a studio down in Raleigh, and it was shown through-out the mid-Atlantic region, and I’m talking about Virginia and the Carolinas. I’ll tell you, I can remember watching this show with my dad every Saturday afternoon, I think somewhere around 5:00.

And you know, on those Saturdays, we saw some great rasslin. Of course it wasn’t as spectacular as the stuff they have on now-a-days. And most of the rasslers were bigger around their waists then they were across their shoulders. And more than a few of them were about the same age as my grandfather, still, that was alright with me and Dad. We’d sit there and watch guys like Rip Hawk and Swede Hansen rassle Johnny Weaver and George Becker. Now in case you don’t already know, Rip Hawk was called “The Profile,” and when he was with his tag-team partner, Swede Hansen, they were called “The Blonds,” which was impossible for me to appreciate, because we had a black and white television set. I’ll tell you, regional rasslin and midnight monster movies are two of things from my childhood that I really miss.

And you know, they both had one very definite thing in common. When you were watching “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” or Baron von Rashke goose-stepping across the ring or Rufus “Freight Train” Jones taking off his crown, you didn’t have to strain any brain cells to figure out who was good and who was evil. Man, it was crystal clear. And you know, that’s one of the things I liked about Mid-Atlantic Wrestling; you never faced a moral dilemma. I mean, the good guys, guys like Johnny and George and Rufus, they were always good, because they were humble. And they were polite. And of course, they always played by the rules. But the villains, and I’m talking about “The Profile,” or “The Blonds” or “the Baron,” they were evil to the core, but you know in a sort of safe way. I mean, they didn’t advocate anything horrible like drugs or communism, you know, stuff like that. Instead, you could tell they were evil because they were arrogant. And they were loud. And naturally, they cheated whenever they could. In fact, I don’t think any of them won a match without using something hidden in their trunks or maybe a chair tossed into the ring by another heal, something that the referee never saw. Life was easy when Black-Jack Mulligan fought Jerry Blackwell.

And you know something, maybe it’s not the wrestling that I miss, but the moral simplicity. Because, I’ve got to tell you, at least for me, it’s not always easy to identify what is truly good and separate that from what’s truly evil. Now that’s not to say that I can’t figure out the extremes; my goodness, I think we all have a pretty good idea where to put Adolf Hitler and Mother Theresa. I mean, give me a break, I think we all know that if you’re surrounded by hungry children, it’s good to give them food rather than to go postal on them (no offense, Amy). That’s easy. But let’s face it, there are a lot of situations that just aren’t. And that’s why we generally qualify our choices by calling them “better” or “worse,” rather than “good” and “evil.” For example, is it better to take in a family member who has a problem of his own creation, is it better to give him a place to stay and three meals a day, is that better then showing “tough love” and telling him to hit the bricks? Now, that’s the kind of decision we have to face in the real world; my family has had to deal with stuff exactly like that, but I’m much better now. And I’ll tell you, it’s still tough even if you use the word “better.” Imagine how agonizing it would be if you had to think in terms of “good” and “evil.” Is it good or is it ultimately evil to take them in or to boot them out? You see, outside those obvious times when you don’t even have to think about the choices because the answer is just that clear, if we’re really honest with ourselves, most of life is lived somewhere in between, kind of in a fog, where it takes a little whittling to apply absolutes. In other words, living just ain’t like Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.

And yet, when you look at this passage, this is exactly what Paul tells us to do, to choose the good and reject the evil. That’s part of how he wants us to live. Remember from last week; at this point in his letter, Paul has started to explain to the Romans how they can respond to the love that God has already shown them. And he urged them to present themselves as “living sacrifices to God.” Man, he even gave them the first step, to “not conform [themselves] to this age but be transformed by the renewal of [their] minds,” in other words, they should take a step away from the crowd and then relax and watch the Holy Spirit work. Now, for Paul, this was the first step in presenting yourself to God.

And here’s step number two: five clear commands, three at the beginning of this passage and two at the end. Paul wrote, “Let love be without pretense: abhor the evil, adhere to the good... Don’t be conquered by evil but conquer with good evil.” Now that’s what he wrote. And you know, it’s interesting when you look at those commands, two words kind of jump out at you, don’t they; the words, good and evil. He simply wrote that we should choose good and reject evil and to resist evil’s power so that it might be conquered by good. And since they’re commands, Paul must have thought that we could do them. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense for him to tell us to do something we lack the ability to do; therefore, we must be able to hate the evil, cling to the good and to control whether or not evil wins in our lives. You see, Paul was pretty clear; this is what he expected his audience to do. Of course, the question for us is how, how are we suppose to do it, especially when identifying the two isn’t always so cut and dry?

And I’ll tell you, I think Paul answers that question in the section between the beginning and the end. You see, right there, in these verses, I think he tells us how to abhor evil and adhere to the good, and fortunately, it doesn’t involve doing the very thing we generally find most challenging, and I’m talking about labeling what actions can be called absolutely good vs. what actions can not. Instead, according to Paul, if we want to avoid the evil and hang with the good, there are two things we can do.

First, we can work on ourselves, you know, on our attitudes, the inside stuff. In other words, if we want to be on the good side of the line, we probably should do the things about which Paul wrote: “with brotherly affection show affection to one another, with honor outdo one another, in diligence don’t be timid, in the Spirit boil, in the Lord be a slave, in hope rejoice, in distress bear up, in prayer remain constant, to the needs of the saints contribute, affection for the stranger pursue.” That’s one thing we can do.

And second, according to Paul, we can work on our relationship with others, even with those who don’t like us very much. Again, listen to what he wrote: “Bless those who pursue you; bless and don’t curse: rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, in the same way as others think, don’t be exalted in thinking but by the humble be led, don’t be conceited about yourselves, evil for evil don’t repay, before hand think about what is good in the sight of all people, if it’s possible for you, then with all people, be at peace, don’t take vengeance on one another, but give a place for the wrath. For it has been written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord...’ But if your enemy might be hungry, then feed him. If he might be thirsty, then give him something to drink.” You see, if we’re serious about embracing the good and participating in the conquest of evil, these are the things that we can do.

And if we do, if we decide right here and now to work on ourselves and our relationships, if this is what we decide to do, I’m telling you, not only will we change, so will the world around us. I mean, imagine if we decided that we’re going to work as hard as we can to be friends with everyone in this community, not just the good ones, but the stinkers too; and what if we set our minds on showing respect to one another and serving God and our neighbor with determination; what if we were on fire with the Holy Spirit and ready to serve the Lord anytime and anyplace; just suppose that we all determined that we’re going to look to the future with a sense of joy and we’re going to look at our problems with confidence and we’re going to be constant in prayer and we’re going to be generous and hospitable; brothers and sisters, imagine if we made a conscious decision to step away from all the stuff that the world might throw at us so that we can relax and watch the Spirit transform us in these ways, my gosh, how would we not be drawn toward what it good? I’m tell you, if this is who we are, I’m not sure we could avoid doing and being good if we tried.

And then think about our world if we all chose to bless and not curse those who dump on us, and imagine our community if we put aside our egos and agendas so that we could really celebrate with those who are happy but also cry with those who aren’t, and just consider our marriages and our families and our friendships if we approached the ones we love with humility and kindness and peace... My gosh, if Christians finally realize that it’s God’s job to judge and to make things right, that the job belongs to him not us; I mean, if we acted like we really believe that “vengeance is mine saith the Lord,” and instead of seeking our own revenge we simply trusted that God would take care of it and used all the time that would suddenly be available to us to share the love made real in Jesus, if this shaped all our relationships, I honestly believe that the good just might conquer the evil.

Not unlike Johnny Weaver would always conquer Rip Hawk if, that is, all the matches had been completely fair. Because everybody knew that Johnny was good but “The Profile,” man, he was evil. And although good and evil isn’t always as easy to spot as the faces and the heels, according to Paul we’ll find ourselves on the good side of the line if we decide to work on ourselves and our relationships, something I’m not sure they ever did on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - God’s Eraser

Jonah 2:1-10

1-9 Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish. He prayed:
“In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God.
He answered me.
From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!’
You heard my cry.
You threw me into ocean’s depths,
into a watery grave,
With ocean waves, ocean breakers
crashing over me.
I said, ‘I’ve been thrown away,
thrown out, out of your sight.
I’ll never again lay eyes
on your Holy Temple.’
Ocean gripped me by the throat.
The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight.
My head was all tangled in seaweed
at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root.
I was as far down as a body can go,
and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—
Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive,
O God, my God!
When my life was slipping away,
I remembered God,
And my prayer got through to you,
made it all the way to your Holy Temple.
Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds,
walk away from their only true love.
But I’m worshiping you, God,
calling out in thanksgiving!
And I’ll do what I promised I’d do!
Salvation belongs to God!”

10 Then God spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore.


A Devotion by Anita J. McIntosh (North Carolina)

A friend’s granddaughter asked her to draw a picture of a horse with the granddaughter sitting on the horse. My friend, though an artist, said that she had never drawn a horse. Her granddaughter replied, ‘All you need is a piece of paper, a pencil, and a good eraser.”

I believe that God has a good eraser. When I repent, God is continuously erasing what I do wrong. God knows my thoughts, my struggles, and my hesitance to do good. I am imperfect, I know; but I keep striving to live as God wants me to When I fail, God rescues me with an eraser ready and shows me the right path. I feel God’s powerful love and grace.

Jonah cried out to God, and God gave him a second chance to do what he should have done in the first place. If we go in the wrong direction, we can ask God for another chance, as Jonah did. It is up to us to ask God to erase our sins and to restore our life.

Announcements

The announcement as they appear in the bulletin are below.

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service. We still need some volunteer help. We thank you in advance for caring for the future members 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 choose from to fit your needs.

PASTOR RUDIGER IS LEADING A CONFIRMATION CLASS . . .
for young people between the ages of 12 and 16, at 5:00 p.m. If you're interested in learning more about the Christian faith and are considering announcing your faith in Jesus Christ, please plan to attend. At the end of the five weeks, you'll also have the chance to join our congregation. If you have any questions, please give us a call.

CHANCEL CHOIR PRACTICE . . .
will begin again on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 6:45 p.m. We will be working on anthems for each service and also a new patriotic cantata, God Bless the USA for November. If you would like to lift your voice in song to praise our God, consider becoming a member of the Chancel Choir. For more information contact Janice Torrance at 304-797-1908.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY WILL MEET . . .
next on Thursday, September 1, at 12:30 p.m. Grab your lunch and join us as we study God’s word. We’ve begun a study of world religions, and this week we’ll look at Judaism.

TRIP TO ISRAEL . . .
is the title of the program for the September 6, 2011 program of the Myrtle McHendry Class. The program will be presented by Shirley DeLuca. The class meeting and evening social will begin at 7:00 p.m. Rosalie Coxen will lead the devotions.

HANDBELL CHOIR PRACTICE . . .
under the direction of Becky Korosec will resume on Wednesday, September 7 at 5:30 p.m. New members are always welcome and you do not have to read music to play. The Handbell Choir plays once a month for Sunday worship. For more information contact Becky at 304-748-8449.

RALLY DAY. . .
and the beginning of a new year of Sunday School will be held on Sunday. September 11, 2011. Details in future bulletins.

PAPER PRODUCTS DONATED . . .
as their mission project this year, the children who attended Shake it Up Café Vacation Bible School donated items to Cove’s Pantry. Paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo, hand soap, deodorant, tooth paste, toothbrushes and kleenex were collected. The deacons thank everyone for their generosity!

ONLY ONE. . .
a Peg Game designed by Bruce Trushel is available in the church library. The learning game is a unique way to learn and remember the Ten Commandments. The game can be ordered from:
Only One God Foundation
PO Box 2459
Weirton WV 26062

GREETERS NEEDED . . .
if you would like to serve as a greeter before a Sunday morning worship service, please contact Bonnie Nichols at 304-723-5134.

REMINDER . . .
meetings will soon be resuming. Please contact the church office so your schedule can be placed on the church calendar. For the summer months, the church is not regularly staffed in the evenings.

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.

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.

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

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. FYI...$ 621.35 is the amount that has been contributed by individuals to the Loose Change Offering thru August 7. Thank You Everyone!

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.

SHOP ON LINE . . .
just use Good Search and Good Shop search engines to find what you are hunting for. 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!

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 for the Weirton Christian Center. The labels can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.

The Good Side of the Line

School has started again, and I've survived another first day. You see, every first day is a reminder that Maggie is another year older, which is truly remarkable since I haven't aged at all. But be that as it may, as she gets older, I know that she's going to face choices and decisions from which I'd like to shield her for about twenty year. Of course I know that's not possible, but I can dream. No, I'm fully aware that I need to give my daughter the tools to do good and avoid evil. And I also know that she's hit the age when "because I say so" is probably not going to be enough. My challenge is to help her both identify what's happening around her and understand the implications of her own behavior.

And as I try to do this, I'm finding that I end up facing a genuine difficulty; sometimes the difference between good and evil isn't as clear-cut as I'd like it to be. I mean, it's easy to label Adolf Hitler and Mother Theresa, but life is a lot more difficult and complex. And even though I wish it were all white and black, there sure seems to be a lot of grey around and within us.

Now that's what I'm going to address in the service on Sunday. Still working through Paul's Letter to the Romans, I'm going to suggest some things that we can do that will make it more likely that we fall on the good side of the line.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

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
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Anthony Calpo
Betty
Bill Churchman
Bill Moulds
Bob Saffle
Bonnie Kirtley
Byron McElroy
Carol Toot
Charles Saffle
Charley
Christy Cybulski
Chuck Porter
Chum Robert
Connie Francis
Dave Adler
Dave Bever
David Matthews
Denise Krofchek
Domenick Notarantanio
Don Billham
Dorothy Saffle
Dr. James W. Valuska, Sr.
Greta Billham
James White
Jennifer Dahlem
John F. Roberts
Judy Dobbins
Loretta Hess
Marie Luckhardt
Mary & Jack Games
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Nick Palavis
Pam Haller
Paul Buck
Rachael
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Rick Swain
Rose Mader
Susan Ponville
T.J. Croft
Taylor Harris
Tom Lint
Trina Lewis
Vicki Williams
Virginia & Paul Welch
Wayne Jeffrey
Yiayia

Kids
Audri King
Brandon Wares
Brody McUmor
Daisy Emmerick
Georgie Platt
Hunter Stafford
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonah Becker
Justus Loughry
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec
Zoe Purcell

Military
Chad Peppler
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader

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

Bereaved Family
The Family of Pete Jones

Church Families
Grace Michell
Paul & Gwen Miller
Benna Milliken

Local Church
Resurrection Lutheran Church

Special Friend
Carl Hamill - Apt 4, 365 Moon Clinton Rd., Moon Township, PA 15108-2455

Other Presbyterian Churches
Glenmoor Presbyterian Church, East Liverpool, Ohio - Rev. Velis Vais
Grace Presbyterian Church, East Liverpool, Ohio - Vacant Pulpit

Also Remember in Prayer
Carriage House, 3106 St Charles Dr, Steubenville, OH 43952
Ruth Gilmore

Chambrel at Montrose, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron OH 44333-3091
Thelma Longacre, Unit 210

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

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

Ila Mauk - 1235 Swearingen Rd, Weirton, WV 26062-4332

Minute for Mission - San Francisco Theological Seminary

Sean Kim waits his turn to speak at an event aimed at pressuring Japan to apologize for abuse against Korean women during World War II.

Sunghoi (Sean) Kim was already a leader of Church of Peace in Los Angeles’ Koreatown district when he began pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary’s Southern California campus in Pasadena. A husband, father, and former business owner, Sean had attended Korea University in Seoul.

After graduation, Sean moved to the United States, where his family had immigrated, and became actively involved in Church of Peace. There, the senior pastor, Dr. Keedae Kim, had established a congregation in the Korean American community. The Rev. Grace Kim, associate pastor of Church of Peace and an SFTS graduate, encouraged Sean to attend seminary, and in 2007, he enrolled at SFTS. "God has called me to be a bridge: between the Korean American community and mainstream America, between older and young generations, between community and church, between believers and nonbelievers,'' Sean said. "My strength has been as a negotiator, but I want to have a ministry of reconciliation.''

SFTS has been a place of new relationships, new learning, and growth in faith and perspective for Sean. "Students from very different denominations take classes together,'' Kim said. "We have students who are already church leaders, as well as Ph.D.'s, business owners, and others. When you are in class here, you learn theology with reality and diversity.''

— The Rev. Wendy S. Tajima, associate dean of enrollment, San Francisco Theological Seminary/Southern California

Imperfect Christians

by Faith Bonyak

Generations upon generations, Christians have made a reputaion of themselves as being right and everyone else better fall in line or wind up in Hell. I'm going to tell you a secret that most Christians would like for you to never discover..... We are Imperfect and we sin!

Give yourself time to adjust to the shock, but that is the meat and potatoes. If you go back and look into God's word, those that followed Him were not the best dressed, the most popular or even those that totally believed in Him. Even when God appointed kings, several of His choices made mistakes...BIG mistakes.

I truly believe God chose who he did specifically because of their imperfections. He made those choices purposely to show us that his Love and everlasting life is for ALL who choose to follow Him. They were ordinary, everyday imperfect Christians. That makes me feel so amazing.

Since I've learned to accept the revelation, the burden on my shoulders began to feel so much more bearable. I wasn't running scared everytime I did something that isn't necessarily something a Christian would do. Everytime I began to pray, I felt guiltiy even asking forgiveness because I really didn't feel I deserved to be forgiven of a sin that I tend to repeat. God then spoke to me through a trusted friend. "There is nothing you can do to separate yourself from the Love of God. All that's left is what you are going to do about it." Each time I repeat those words of wisdom, I take one more step closer to making my life more Christ like.

Accepting Christ is a very important part of being a Christian. Along with accepting Christ we have to accept that we are not perfect and will never (on this Earth) become perfect. All we can really do is realize that God chose us for a reason and a purpose that is unknown to us. The more we strive to be the best US that God created us to be, everything else comes into place.

We all need to understand that we are ALL imperfect Christians, but God loves us just like we are, imperfections and all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - Immeasurable Value

Luke 11:5-13

5-6Then he said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’

7 “The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’

8“But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.

9“Here’s what I’m saying:

Ask and you’ll get;
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.

10-13“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?”


A Devotion by Howard Coop (Kentucky)

We rose to greet a beautiful mid-summer morning, and everything seemed just right. After gathering around the table for breakfast, we bowed our heads for the usual blessing. In a simple prayer, I expressed gratitude for refreshing sleep and the gift of a new day. Then, I said, “And lead us through this day.”

Before I finished saying those words, they brought back vivid memories of childhood. In those days, I would place my little hand in the big hand of my father and follow him wherever he went. With no fear, I could go anywhere with him, for I had absolute confidence that he would guide me, protect me, and get me to the proper destination. And I was never disappointed.

My experience with my father prepared me for something of immeasurable value. Very early I learned that we have a heavenly Father we can trust through all of life’s circumstances. Even if we don’t have trustworthy earthly fathers, we can place our hand in the hand of our eternal Father and follow in trust where God leads us.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - How To Be Become a Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1-8

1Now, I urge you, brothers, by the compassion of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice to God, holy and well-pleasing, which is your reasonable service.

2And don’t conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of the mind so that you might test the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For I speak, through the grace which was given to me, to everyone who is among you not to esteem yourselves more highly than you ought to think, but to be sober-mined, each as God divided the measure of faith. 4For as in one body, we have many members, but the many members don’t have the same function, 5thus we, who are many, are one in Christ, but each member belongs to the others, 6having gifts of grace according to the grace that was given to us that differ: whether prophecy according the portion of faith, 7or service in serving, or teaching in teaching, 8or exhortation in exhorting, the one who gives in simplicity, the one who takes the lead in diligence, the one who shows mercy in gladness.


How To Be Become a Living Sacrifice

“Now,” that was the word Paul used to start this passage. And I’ll tell you, he had a good reason for using it, a Greek word that can sometimes be translated “therefore.” You see, right here Paul was changing gears, moving from all the stuff he had to say about God and moving to how we can respond. And that response business, well, he’ll deal with that almost to the end of this letter to the Romans. And you know, when you think about it, that’s pretty good news for us. I mean, even if we’ve been believers for a long time, sometimes we’re not always clear about how we should respond to God’s love and mercy. But praise the Lord, here it is.

There’s just one problem. As he started this section, he didn’t say some of the things we might expect to say. I mean, give me a break, I’ve been around the church a long time. If a guy comes up to most Christians, certainly most ministers, and asks, “How can I respond to the love of God?”, what is he probably going to hear? “Give your life to Jesus,” right? “Accept him as your personal Lord and savior.” “And promise to live the Christian life.” And even if he also hears something about confessing sins or praying what’s called the “Sinner’s Prayer,” in the end, the answer is going to involve what he needs to give and to accept and to promise in order to get saved, right? And after he’s given God whatever he needed to give him and accepted whatever he needed to accept and promised whatever he needed to promise, God’s suddenly going to change his mind, and he’ll decide to do something entirely different from what he would have done if the guy hadn’t done anything. I mean, instead of sending him to H, E, double hockey sticks, now God is able to let him into heaven, praise the Lord Why? Because the guy has finally done his part. Now, that’s how it works, right? Well, that sure seems to be what a lot of Christians think. And so naturally that we’d expect to see this stuff in what Paul wrote, because that’s kind of what we believe.

But of course that’s not what we wrote, is it? Instead, he said to the Romans, “Now, I urge you, brothers, by the compassion of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice to God, holy and well-pleasing, which is your reasonable service.” And unless we decide to step away from God’s word and pretend that all this is just another way of saying what we already believe, we really have to deal with what Paul actually said and try as best we can to figure out how we might become living sacrifices. And so that’s what we’re going to start looking at this morning.

But you know, to do that, we really have to think about everything Paul has already written to the Romans, because what he urges us to do is really based on what he’s said about God and in particular about God’s love and mercy. I mean, just think about some of the stuff that Paul’s already written. Good night, right from the start he stated in no uncertain terms that we’re all sinners. As he wrote, “there is no distinction, ...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Gives you warm and fuzzy feeling, doesn’t it?) But you know, that’s not how that verse ends. Paul wrote that these same people who have all sinned and fallen short, “they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Now that’s warm and fuzzy.) And when we trust that this has already happened, suddenly we’re able to understand all kinds of other stuff. For example, we can begin to understand that God really does love us and that “nothing in all creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

But more than that, we also understand that this whole love business has always been part of God’s cosmic plan. You see, because we believe that, as God “...says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion,” we can trust that God’s going to work it out in the end. And even our own disobedience can’t interfere with God’s plan, because “God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.” That’s something else Paul wrote. Now this is what God is all about. And because of that, I sure feel that Paul had it right when he ended the eleventh chapter with these words: “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” I mean, just think about it. Good night, how can I not be humble as I look at myself and at y’all, knowing that I’m a sinner and so are you. And yet, in spite of that fact, God loves us so much that he chose to send his son to die for you and for me. But even more than that, God also give us the chance to enter into a relationship with himself. How can we not be thankful about that? And as the cherry on top of the sundae, we can now believe, we can now trust that all this is part of his cosmic plan, talk about a reason for hope. Again, Paul hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “To him be the glory forever. Amen.” You see, when we consider what’s already been done according to Paul, what more can you say about God?

And so now Paul shifts the spot light. You see, he shifts it to us. Now it’s our turn to do something. I mean, if this is what I believe, if this is what I trust, then how can I respond? How can I simply say “thank you” to God for all he’s done for me? Now, for me, that’s a good question, and for Paul, the answer is crystal clear: “Now, I urge you, brothers, by the compassion of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice to God, holy and well-pleasing, which is your reasonable service.” For him, that’s exactly how I can respond.

And you know, I find it interesting that he said that he was urging and not commanding, and he makes his appeal by focusing on God’s compassion, on his mercy. It’s as though he really doesn’t want us to think that how we respond affects what God has already done for us. No, regardless of what we do or choose not to do, God’s love doesn’t change. Do you believe that? As I shared with someone just yesterday, God’s love is like gravity, a reality that doesn’t change based on whether or not we accept it. We’re just going to have to live with the fact that God loves us. And this is what we can do about it; we can present ourselves to God, but not like those dead sacrifices people used to make. Man, that would be stupid. You see, Paul already wrote that we died with Christ. We’ve already dead. We’re dead men walking, dead to sin that is; therefore, right now, God wants us to live.

And you know, that just makes sense. I mean, give me a break, it’s going to be pretty tough loving our neighbor if we’re dying for our God. According to Paul, God doesn’t want dead martyrs; he wants living saints. He wants men and women who are active in the real world, doing things that reflect his love and mercy. In other words, he wants us to be the kind of people he created us to be. Man, that’s what he wants.

And if this is what Christians choose to do; I mean, if believers decide to present themselves as “living sacrifices,” the very first step is this: “And don’t conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of the mind so that you might test the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” And for Paul, this is really important, because if this is what we choose to do, then we’re going to change. As he wrote, “For I speak, through the grace which was given to me, to everyone who is among you not to esteem yourselves more highly than you ought to think, but to be sober-mined, each as God divided the measure of faith.” And as we change, so will our ability to work with the world around us: “For as in one body, we have many members, but the many members don’t have the same function, thus we, who are many, are one in Christ, but each member belongs to the others, having gifts of grace according to the grace that was given to us that differ: whether prophecy according the portion of faith, or service in serving, or teaching in teaching, or exhortation in exhorting, the one who gives in simplicity, the one who takes the lead in diligence, the one who shows mercy in gladness.”

You see, as living sacrifices, this is exactly what we can do. Right now, we can decide that we’re not going to focus on what the world values and we’re not going to be shaped by what the world considers important and we’ve not to going have our ideas and opinions and values determined by Fox News or CNN or MSNBC; we’re not going to follow blindly the teachings of Glenn Beck or Keith Obermann or Jon Stewart or anyone else. Man, we’re not going to conform ourselves to the world.

Instead, we’re going to do something that’s incredibly radical and contrary to everything the world teachings. As living sacrifices, we’re going to relax and we’re going to let go of the illusion that we have real control and we’re going to watch the Holy Spirit transform us into to something new, into something that’s truly alive in every sense of the word. And when that happens, our mind are going to change, and so will our ideas and opinions and values, because, maybe for the first time, we’re going to understand the will of God.

You see, we’ll be transformed into what God wants us to be, and brothers and sisters, according to Paul, we’ll know when that’s happening. You see, when that Holy Spirit starts renewing our minds, our head will actually start to shrink; who’d have thunk? In other words, we won’t think we’re more important than we actually are. Instead, thanks to God, we’ll be more realistic in our view of ourselves and others. And I’ll tell you, because our heads won’t be so swelled up by our own importance, then we’ll be able to start working with others. We’ll be able to join with all our brothers and sisters so that together we can get the job done. You see, just like the human body is in big trouble when the feet decide that they want to be noses and smell, the body of Christ needs us all to do what we’ve been equipped to do. And brothers and sisters, this is the first step in becoming living sacrifices.

And when you think about it, this is a lot different from what we’d expect Paul to write. Like I said a little bit earlier, I think most of us would be more comfortable if he wrote about all the stuff we’d have to give and to accept and to promise, because if he did, we’d be in control, wouldn’t we? And it just feels good knowing that we have the power to get something from God that he wouldn’t give otherwise, and I’m talking about salvation and love. Man, often that’s exactly what we want to hear.

But that’s not what Paul wrote. Instead he said that God’s love for sinners is just a reality that we can except. And if we do, if we accept that “...while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly,” if we accept that we are loved by God, then we can to respond in a way that’s new and different. And the first step is to move away from the world and to be transformed by God. You see, brothers and sisters, according to Paul, that’s how we become living sacrifices.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - God’s Formations

Isaiah 43:14-21

14-15God, your Redeemer,
The Holy of Israel, says:

“Just for you, I will march on Babylon.
I’ll turn the tables on the Babylonians.
Instead of whooping it up,
they’ll be wailing.
I am God, your Holy One,
Creator of Israel, your King.”

16-21This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can’t get up;
they’re snuffed out like so many candles:

“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.”


A Devotion by Rosemarie Greenawalt (Alabama)

As I gazed out the airplane window, I saw enormous cotton- ball clouds swirling around me. One large arrangement resembled a heart. Beautiful, I mused. To my dismay the cloud began to break apart, chunks floating each direction to mingle and form different shapes, until the heart was completely gone.

If only things wouldn’t change, I sighed. Then realization dawned. The clouds have to continue moving and changing to be used how and when God needs. They are still clouds. Their purpose remains the same. But they have to break out of the form they’ve been in to create shade for new areas or to bring refreshing rain to different dry ground.

Without movement, clouds would not serve their purpose. We could say the same of God’s people. God calls us to be a part of certain formations at certain points in our lives but also calls us to change and travel to meet new opportunities at other times. We don’t have to be afraid to break with the old; the new design God is working on may be even better. The same One who holds together and directs the clouds above our heads certainly will care for us. So we can serve wherever God’s call takes us.

Friday, August 19, 2011

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
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Anthony Calpo
Betty
Bill Churchman
Bill Moulds
Bob Saffle
Bonnie Kirtley
Byron McElroy
Carol Toot
Charles Saffle
Charley
Christy Cybulski
Chuck Porter
Chum Robert
Connie Francis
Dave Adler
Dave Bever
Denise Krofchek
Domenick Notarantanio
Don Billham
Dorothy Saffle
Dr. James W. Valuska, Sr.
Greta Billham
Jennifer Dahlem
John F. Roberts
Judy Dobbins
Loretta Hess
Marie Luckhardt
Mary & Jack Games
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Nick Palavis
Pam Haller
Paul Buck
Pete Jones
Rachael
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Rick Swain
Rose Mader
Susan Ponville
Taylor Harris
Tom Lint
Vicki Williams
Wayne Jeffrey
Yiayia
David Matthews
Virginia & Paul Welch
Trina Lewis

Kids
Audri King
Brandon Wares
Brody McUmor
Daisy Emmerick
Georgie Platt
Hunter Stafford
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonah Becker
Justus Loughry
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec
Zoe Purcell

Military
Chad Peppler
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader

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

Hospital
Dorothy Saffle, Weirton Medical Center
James White, Weirton Medical Center

Bereaved Family
The Family of Jessica Holmes

Church Families
Charlene & Cris Means
Elizabeth Messerly
Gen & Joe Meyer

Local Church
St. Thomas Episcopal Church

Special Friend
Doris Lord - 196 Jenny Lane, Danville, VA 24541-6648

Other Presbyterian Churches
Calcutta Presbyterian Church, East Liverpool, Ohio - vacant pulpit
Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, East Liverpool, Ohio - Rev. Tanta Luckhardt-Hendricks

Also Remember in Prayer
Carriage House, 3106 St Charles Dr, Steubenville, OH 43952
Ruth Gilmore

Chambrel at Montrose, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron OH 44333-3091
Thelma Longacre, Unit 210

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

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

Ila Mauk - 1235 Swearingen Rd, Weirton, WV 26062-4332

Announcements

Below are the announcement as they appear in the bulletin.

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service. We still need some volunteer help. We thank you in advance for caring for the future members 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 choose from to fit your needs.

PASTOR RUDIGER IS LEADING A CONFIRMATION CLASS . . .
for young people between the ages of 12 and 16, at 5:00 p.m. If you're interested in learning more about the Christian faith and are considering announcing your faith in Jesus Christ, please plan to attend. At the end of the five weeks, you'll also have the chance to join our congregation. If you have any questions, please give us a call.

RECRUITMENT . . .
for Daisy Girl Scouts will be held on Monday, August 22 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. For more information contact Schiquinta Cornwell at 304- 374-8727.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY WILL MEET . . .
next on Thursday, August 25 , at 12:30 p.m. Grab your lunch and join us as we study God’s word. We’ve begun a study of world religions, and this week we’ll look at Judaism.

CHANCEL CHOIR PRACTICE . . .
will begin again on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 6:45 p.m. We will be working on anthems for each service and also a new patriotic cantata, God Bless the USA for November. If you would like to lift your voice in song to praise our God, consider becoming a member of the Chancel Choir. For more information contact Janice Torrance at 304-797-1908.

TRIP TO ISRAEL . . .
is the title of the program for the September 6, 2011 program of the Myrtle McHendry Class. The program will be presented by Shirley DeLuca. The class meeting and evening social will begin at 7:00 p.m. Rosalie Coxen will lead the devotions.

HANDBELL CHOIR PRACTICE . . .
under the direction of Becky Korosec will resume on Wednesday, September 7th at 5:30 p.m. New members are always welcome and you do not have to read music to play. The Handbell Choir plays once a month for Sunday worship. For more information contact Becky at 304-748-8449.

RALLY DAY. . .
and the beginning of a new year of Sunday School will be held on Sunday. September 11, 2011. Details in future bulletins.

PAPER PRODUCTS DONATED . . .
as their mission project this year, the children who attended Shake it Up Café Vacation Bible School donated items to Cove’s Pantry. Paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo, hand soap, deodorant, tooth paste, toothbrushes and kleenex were collected. The deacons thank everyone for their generosity!

ONLY ONE. . .
a Peg Game designed by Bruce Trushel is available in the church library. The learning game is a unique way to learn and remember the Ten Commandments. The game can be ordered from:
Only One God Foundation
PO Box 2459
Weirton WV 26062

GREETERS NEEDED . . .
if you would like to serve as a greeter before a Sunday morning worship service, please contact Bonnie Nichols at 304-723-5134.

REMINDER . . .
meetings will soon be resuming. Please contact the church office so your schedule can be placed on the church calendar. For the summer months, the church is not regularly staffed in the evenings.

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.

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.

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

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. FYI...$ 621.35 is the amount that has been contributed by individuals to the Loose Change Offering thru August 7. Thank You Everyone!

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.

SHOP ON LINE . . .
just use Good Search and Good Shop search engines to find what you are hunting for. 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!

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 for the Weirton Christian Center. The labels can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.

From the "What" to the "So What"

I hope everyone enjoyed their last full week before the beginning of school. And even though it was terribly hot, this has not been a bad summer around the Rudiger home. That's especially true for my daughter. She had the chance to visit all three of her grandparents and to see two cities she'd never seen before. Yes sir, this has been a big summer. But by the end of the week, she'll be back to school: getting up early, doing homework, and looking forward to her next "day off."

And in a sense, we're at the same point in the book of Romans. I mean, all summer we've been talking about the love and mercy of God. We've heard about how "nothing can separate us from his love" and how he "left all in disobedience so that he might be merciful to all." Now during our Sunday worship services, that's what I've been preaching about for the last two and half months. And after all that good news, I feel like saying the same thing Paul wrote at the end of Romans 11: "Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God? Who can understand his decisions or explain what he does? 'Has anyone known the thoughts of the Lord or given him advice? Has anyone loaned something to the Lord that must be repaid? Everything comes from the Lord. All things were made because of him and will return to him. Praise the Lord forever! Amen." Man, it's been a great ride.

But starting this Sunday, we're going to shift gears a little bit. We're going to move from what God has done without our permission or help to what we can do in response. In a sense, we're moving from the "what" to the "so what." And as we do, we'll be looking at how we can say thanks to the one who's already given us so much.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Minute for Mission - Youth in the Church and the World

The Mission Presbytery Midwinter Planning Team celebrates completion of four back-to-back youth conferences.

“Can I talk to you?” It was one of those cold, big-sky, starry nights that you only experience on a hilltop at Mo Ranch in Hunt, Texas. We were at a youth conference. We were walking to the auditorium for the next event on the schedule. The high school student said, “I think I want to go to seminary.”

I stopped short to face her, to listen as she spoke of her revelation. Something had been stirring in her ... maybe she heard something during keynote that affirmed her thoughts ... maybe she just needed to say out loud to someone she trusted what had been gnawing and growing in her. Wouldn’t it be easier to conform to the world of teens rather than to be transformed by responding to a call? Wouldn’t it be easier to conform to the world of teens than to take on the full meaning of her profession of faith at confirmation? Certainly! But it would not have honored the God who created her and whose spirit had been actively moving in her.

What a blessing and honor to accompany a young person on such a journey! By virtue of the vows taken at baptism, it is the responsibility of each congregation and the wider church to nurture children and youth in their faith. I firmly believe that mission trips, youth conferences, and camp, aside from Sunday school, youth group, and confirmation, are transforming opportunities for young people. These are places where God’s call is heard differently, affirmed, and nurtured. That student graduated from high school, went on to college, and yes, graduated from seminary. Lori Beer Nance is now an associate pastor and one of those adults who, through the Midwinter Planning Team of Mission Presbytery, has the blessing and honor of nurturing young people on their journeys of faith.

— Lita Simpson, director of youth ministry, Mission Presbytery

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - Sting Like a Bee

Matthew 28:16-20

16-17Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

18-20Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”


A Devotion Roland P. Rink (Gauteng, South Africa)

When we speak about bees, most people automatically think of stings or of honey. However sweet honey may taste, making it is not the primary purpose of bees. Their most important function is pollinating plants. Farmers here in South Africa rely on bees to pollinate almost 70 different crops. Hives are often imported and situated close to fields for this specific purpose. Around the world, bees fill this important role.

There is similarity between bees and us in our Christian walk. The crusades and other examples in history show that, unfortunately, the church has sometimes caused pain in the name of Christ. We’ve also all benefitted in one way or another from the good the church has done and the sweetness of relationship with God.

Perhaps there is a greater lesson for us — that the main purpose of being a follower of Christ is to “pollinate” the world with the gospel of love and peace by our personal, living example.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - The Kitten

Romans 11:13-32

13But I am speaking to you as Gentiles. Now in so far as I myself am an apostle to the Gentiles, then my service I glorify, 14if somehow I might make jealous my flesh and might save some from among them. 15For if their rejection might reconcile the world, then what does their acceptance mean if not life from the dead? 16But if the first fruit is made holy, then also the mass. And if the root is holy, then also the branches. 17But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive branch, was grafted in and shared in the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18then don’t boast against the branches. But if you boast, then understand the root you don’t carry but the root carries you.

19Now you’ll say, “Branches were broken off so that I myself might be grafted in.” 20Very well, to those who don’t believe, they were broken off, but to you who believe, you stand. Don’t be preoccupied with pride, but fear. 21For if God didn’t spare those who were by nature branches, then he might not spare you.

22Now see the kindness and severity of God: upon those who have fallen severity but upon you God’s kindness, if you continue in the kindness, otherwise you’ll also be cut off. 23But also this, if they might not remain in unbelief, then they will be grafted in. For God is able again to graft them in. 24For if you, who were by nature broken off a wild olive tree and from nature, were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, then how much more will these natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree. 25For I don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, to this mystery, so that you might not be like those who are wise within themselves, because a hardening upon part of Israel has come until the full number of the Gentiles might come in 26and thus all Israel will be saved, just as it has been written, The deliverer will come out of Zion. He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob 27And this is my testament to them, when I take away their sins.

28On one hand, as regards the good news, they are enemies on your account. But on the other hand, as regards election, they are loved on account of the fathers. 29For the gifts of grace and the calling of God are irrevokable. 30For just like you, when you were disobedient to God, but now you were shown mercy through their disobedience, 31thus also they are now disobedient, so that by the mercy shown to you they might also receive mercy. 32For God shut up everybody in disobedience, so that he might show mercy to everyone.


The Kitten

This morning, in the passage we just read, Paul told a little story, almost a parable, about a tree: you know, about how God had removed some of the branches from his cultivated, blue ribbon winning olive tree so that he could graft in some wild olive shoots. And he did that so that this wild stuff could become part of the well-rooted tree. And then, some time in the future, after all the shoots had been grafted in, God would take the good branches and reattach them. And his point seems to be pretty simple, that God is in control, his love is overwhelming, and we shouldn’t spend a lot of time worrying about who’s ultimately going to be in or out. All that’s in God’s hands. And at the end of the passage, he tells us a little bit about the nature of this one who’s really the boss. He wrote, “For God shut up everybody in disobedience, so that he might show mercy to everyone.” And he did all this by telling a very simple story.

And I’ll tell you, if it’s good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for me. You see, that’s what I’m going to do this morning; I’m going to tell y’all a story about God’s love, but in it, I’m not going to mention God at all. Instead, I’m going to tell you about a little girl, her father and a kitten. And at the end, I hope y’all not only have a little better understanding of God and his relationship with us and others, I also hope you’re distracted from potato salad and fried chicken that even now is calling my name. And so here goes, a story entitled simply “The Kitten.”

The man loved his daughter. There’s no other way to say it. He just plain loved his daughter. And what made it even better; she loved him. And he knew that. He knew it every time they went outside and played soccer in the front yard. And it didn’t matter that the field kind of sloped toward his goal, and that every time he scored, she always waved it off because of some unwritten rule he’d violated; playing with her was wonderful. And so was watching some show on television, particularly one that he enjoyed. For him there were few things better than his daughter climbing on his lap to watch some game or old movie. Unlike when she’d watch iCarley or Good Luck Charlie, he knew she was watching the Bucs and the Chiefs because of him, and that felt really good. But you know, the best thing of all was just walking with her. And you know, it didn’t really matter where they going. I mean, they could be walking through a mall or across the parking lot to school; it really didn’t matter. Just having her by his side. I’ll tell you, it was something he’d dreamed about long before he’d become a father, you know, when he’d see dads and daughters walking through the gates at a ball game or standing in line at a movie theater. And now, there he was. And although it didn’t happen as often as it had in the past, every now and then, but only when the possibility of running into another eight-year-old was remote, she’d reach over and take hold of his hand. O my goodness gracious. Not to brag, but he’d held a lot of hands in his life, but somehow those knuckles still with the little dimples, what can I tell you?

O yes, the man knew his daughter loved him, and that made him more happy than he could put into words. But more than that, he also felt secure, because although he knew their relationship would change in the future and he’d see others included in her heart, this love would still be there. In fact, it would be there until the end, as she again held his hand and stroked his forehead and he smiled and closed his eyes and entered eternity. What does it say, love never ends.

And this was their relationship, and it worked for them. But one day something happened that caused things to, well, to change. Now, understand, on the surface, it sure didn’t seem like that the kind of thing that could change a relationship. In fact, most people would consider it insignificant, but then it didn’t affect them.

You see, one day, when he was at work and the little girl and her mother were leaving to go somewhere, that really doesn’t matter, there at the edge of the flower bed was this little kitten. It was what you’d call a tabby, I think, with different colors all over it’s fur. It’s eyes were big and blue, and it was just there, behind the rose bush, kind of crouched in the dead leaves. It softly let out this squeaking sound. You really couldn’t call it a purr or a meow, just kind of a squeak. Well, all of this is just unfair. How could anyone expect an eight-year-old girl to walk pass a kitten, regardless of where she was going. It was love at first sight. And her mother, well, she didn’t stand a chance. And so after a few pleases, the trip was off and the kitten was in, the house that is. They picked her up, you see, the kitten was a little girl too, who’d have thought? And they brought her in. Then they got a box and took a towel that the mother said they’d never be able to use again and they put it in the bottom. And gently they placed the kitten inside.

And while the mother googled “kitten care,” the little girl looked at Princess, her newly named friend. And she talked to the kitten sort of like she was talking to a baby, as though Princess would better understand one syllable words spoken in a soft, sing songy kind of voice. And then, after telling her that the kitten would be her responsibility, together they gave her a little saucer of milk and a small ball, just in case she wanted to play. And the little girl just looked at the kitten, still in the box but now in her room. Once abandoned and alone, now she had a home.

And that’s exactly what the father found when he got home: girl and kitten. And after repeating mom’s words about responsibility, he knelt down by the box with his daughter. And he was happy, not so much because of the kitten; he wasn’t what you would call a “cat person.” No, he was happy because his daughter was happy. He could see that she was in love.

There was just one little problem. Today they had perfect soccer weather, and those goals weren’t going to score and be disallowed by themselves. But when he picked up the ball and kind of tossed it in his hand, his daughter just shook her head. The kitten needed her. And that was OK; he understood, the cat being new and all. And when Pawn Stars came on, and he called upstairs because his lap was empty but she couldn’t come down, the kitten needed her. And again he understood. And when on Saturday, he wanted a little company on his trip to Walmart but of course she couldn’t go, the kitten needed her. And again, he still understood, but not quite as much as he did two days before. I mean, he knew the cat was new and cute, but give me a break, it’s a cat for crying out loud.

And although he’d never say this out loud, it really wasn’t fair, now was it? Good night, before Thursday, she didn’t even know about Princes or Queeny or whatever she named it. And remember, that cat wasn’t going to be cute for long, right? Before she knew it, it would be a cat, a big stupid cat. And of course, we’d have to take it to the vet. And it would have to have shots, and be litter box trained. And it’s little sharp claws would soon enough turn the bottom two feet of every piece of upholstered furniture into tatters. Cats, bye humbug.

And you know, what about him, had she ever thought of that. What about him? There was a front yard just begging to be played on. And all kinds of shows to be watched; he’d even be willing to watch that terrible show about the twin boys on a boat or was it in a hotel? Would a cat do that? And did this mean the trips to the mall were done? I mean, he knew that some day boys would replace him at the movies and the Dairy Queen, but not a hair ball factory. Not that he thought she’d be taking that dumb cat to the movies or for ice cream, but you know what I mean.

And the more he thought, the more he started to think about all the reasons a cat, especially an indoor cat was a really bad idea. I mean, remember the expense; we talked about that. And remember the nasty litter box. And remember the furniture, my goodness, how could you forget the furniture? And so, as he headed up the stairs to his daughter’s room, it was set in his mind. Three was the perfect family size. Any way, I’m sure it had it’s own friends outside, and a mother who was worried and an exciting life of freedom to live behind the rose bush. Sounded good to him. Now all he had to do was to sell it.

And so he opened the door and kind of stood in the doorway. The box was on her bed, and she was kind of sitting cross-legged looking down. Stupid cat. Feeling a little silly, I mean it felt like he was intruding or something like that, the father then did something he also felt silly doing. He sort of cleared his throat and took a step into the room. His daughter looked up. When she saw him, this big smile came over her face. And she jumped off the bed and ran over and gave her dad a big hug. Then she looked up and said, “I love Princess so much. Thank you daddy.”

And of course, daddy smiled as he put his hand on the back of her head. This felt right; this was right. And together they went to the box and looked inside. And suddenly he realized that his daughter’s love was bigger than he’d thought. And anyway, Princess really did need a home. And so, there’s my story about God’s love for us and for them.

Now Paul ended this chapter, what I think is probably the most important in the whole book of Romans, with these words: “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.” And you know, I think you might be able to say the same thing about little girls too.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - A New Home

John 14:1-4

1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”


A Devotion by JoAnn Decker (Florida)

My mom and dad moved from New Jersey to live near us in Florida. In the weeks leading up to my parents’ arrival, my husband and I worked tirelessly getting their new house ready for them. As we cleaned and painted, I remembered what Jesus said about going to prepare a place for us so that where he is we also will be.

We prepared an earthly home for my parents, but Jesus prepares our eternal home so that we may always be with him. This home will endure forever. As Paul quoted, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

As much as I love my parents, God loves us more. Our destination and final home is with our Creator