Saturday, March 31, 2012

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - What To Do?

Acts 22:2-11

2When the crowd heard Paul speak to them in Aramaic, they became even quieter. Then Paul said:

3I am a Jew, born and raised in the city of Tarsus in Cilicia. I was a student of Gamaliel and was taught to follow every single law of our ancestors. In fact, I was just as eager to obey God as any of you are today.

4I made trouble for everyone who followed the Lord’s Way, and I even had some of them killed. I had others arrested and put in jail. I didn’t care if they were men or women. 5The high priest and all the council members can tell you that this is true. They even gave me letters to the Jewish leaders in Damascus, so that I could arrest people there and bring them to Jerusalem to be punished. 6One day about noon I was getting close to Damascus, when a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. 7I fell to the ground and heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why are you so cruel to me?”

8 “Who are you?” I answered.

The Lord replied, “I am Jesus from Nazareth! I am the one you are so cruel to.” 9The men who were traveling with me saw the light, but did not hear the voice.

10I asked, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

Then he told me, “Get up and go to Damascus. When you get there, you will be told what to do.” 11The light had been so bright that I couldn’t see. And the other men had to lead me by the hand to Damascus.


A Devotion by Margie J. Harding (Maryland)

It often seems that just when I have things figured out, some thing new comes along to confound me. My family has faced several situations lately that just aren’t what we had expected: health problems, a daughter moving to another state, the opportunity for one of us to attend college later in life. Each of these creates questions that must be answered. To that end, I often ask, like Paul, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus was dramatic. His life changed in an instant. Often our own lives change in an instant as well. And when dramatic changes occur, our reaction to our circumstances can be like Saul’s: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” After we ask the question, we wait for God’s answer.

This waiting is often the hardest part of the process, and we probably won’t hear the Lord’s voice as Saul did. But God speaks to us nonetheless. Often our Christian family can be God’s voice speaking to us. When we talk with someone we trust who believes in God, we may hear God speak. When we search God’s word and pray, God’s answer for us will come as surely as the answer came to Saul.

Minute for Mission - Passion/Palm Sunday

This victorious day — Palm Sunday — is also a day of foreboding — Passion Sunday.

Christ's death and resurrection mean many things. Chief among them is that when we suffer, God identifies with us. Christ suffers with us because Jesus suffered for us. Because Christ accompanies us in our suffering, we accompany one another amid suffering.

When members of Fort Worth's First Presbyterian Church began sending medical mission teams to Haiti nearly 10 years ago, no one could have predicted the 2010 earthquake that would leave more than 200,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless or that the host hospital for these medical teams would be in Leogane, at the earthquake's epicenter. Building on established relationships, members of the congregation were on site for months, providing relief and assisting in rehabilitation and development. They remain involved, making frequent and invited visits to work alongside Haitians to deliver health care. And they are not alone.

Thanks in part to One Great Hour of Sharing, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) provided funds to repair Leogane's Hopital Ste. Croix. PDA also helped repair the water tower and security wall at the nursing school, enabling immediate assistance to many injured people. The Presbyterian Hunger Program is on the field providing seeds, tools, and programming. Imagine the joy of Presbyterians engaged in hands-on international mission upon discovering that their gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing had reached the Leogane community in which they work!

When Presbyterians contribute to One Great Hour of Sharing, we accompany hurting people around the world. We also bear witness to Christ's message that we do not suffer alone.

- Rev. Karl Travis, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth, Texas

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Crucifixion, by John Greenleaf Whittier

To move us into Holy Week, below is a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier entitled "The Crucifixion."



Sunlight upon Judha's hills!
And on the waves of Galilee;
On Jordan's stream, and on the rills
That feed the dead and sleeping sea!
Most freshly from the green wood springs
The light breeze on its scented wings;
And gayly quiver in the sun
The cedar tops of Lebanon!


A few more hours,--a change hath come!
The sky is dark without a cloud!
The shouts of wrath and joy are dumb,
And proud knees unto earth are bowed.
A change is on the hill of Death,
The helmed watchers pant for breath,
And turn with wild and maniac eyes
From the dark scene of sacrifice!


That Sacrifice!--the death of Him,--
The Christ of God, the holy One!
Well may the conscious Heaven grow dim,
And blacken the beholding, Sun.
The wonted light hath fled away,
Night settles on the middle day,
And earthquake from his caverned bed
Is waking with a thrill of dread!


The dead are waking underneath!
Their prison door is rent away!
And, ghastly with the seal of death,
They wander in the eye of day!
The temple of the Cherubim,
The House of God is cold and dim;
A curse is on its trembling walls,
Its mighty veil asunder falls!


Well may the cavern-depths of Earth
Be shaken, and her mountains nod;
Well may the sheeted dead come forth
To see the suffering son of God!
Well may the temple-shrine grow dim,
And shadows veil the Cherubim,
When He, the chosen one of Heaven,
A sacrifice for guilt is given!


And shall the sinful heart, alone,
Behold unmoved the fearful hour,
When Nature trembled on her throne,
And Death resigned his iron power?
Oh, shall the heart--whose sinfulness
Gave keenness to His sore distress,
And added to His tears of blood--
Refuse its trembling gratitude!

Announcements, as they appear in Sunday's bulletin

Below is are the announcements as they appear in Sunday's bulletin.

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.

CHILDREN’S HANDBELL PRACTICE . . .
every Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the old Youth Room.

I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES . . .
is the title of the Cantata presented by the Chancel Choir today, Palm Sunday, April 1. We thank the choir members and Janice Torrance, their director, for their hard work and dedication.

THE DEACONS ARE SPONSORING A PANCAKE . .
brunch today, April 1, immediately after the service. You’ll have the opportunity make a free will offering, with the proceeds going to the Board of Deacons.

AFTER APRIL 1 . . .
please re-register or register your Kroger Card at Kroger Community Rewards and list Cove Presbyterian as your recipient. It costs you nothing, you loose no money or points and the church gets a quarterly payment based on what members spend. FYI. . .for the quarter of November to January we received a check for $ 203.24 with only 22 card holders participating. Imagine what the amount would be if ALL members participated!!

THE DEACONS WILL MEET . . .
Monday, April 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the board room.

MYRTLE MCHENDRY , , ,
will meet on Tuesday, April 3 at 12:30 p.m. in fellowship hall. Dennis Jones, President of the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center, will present the program, The History of Holidays Cove for the ladies. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy an informative history lesson!

THE BOARD OF SESSION WILL MEET . . .
Tuesday, April 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

MAUNDY THURSDAY . . .
April 5, A Love Feast, a soup and bread dinner, will be held in fellowship hall beginning at 6:30 p.m. Communion will be served. Everyone is invited to join us for this lenten celebration.

ON GOOD FRIDAY . . .
April 6, beginning at 7:00 p.m. we will hold a Tenebrae Service, remembering the passion & crucifixion of Jesus.

GOOD FRIDAY . . .
the church and office will be closed. Monday, April 9 we will be open our normal hours.

EASTER SUNDAY . . .
at 8:00 a.m. we will hold a Praise Service in the front of the church on Main Street. Light refreshment will be served after the service.

CHILDREN’S HANDBELLS . .
will play next Sunday, on Easter during the 11:00 a.m. worship service.

ATTENTION ALL CHILDREN . . .
Easter Egg Hunt
Sunday, April 8th
Immediately following the 11:00 a.m. worship service

BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING . .
Monday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

GOOD FRIDAY . . .
Cross Walk – Walkathon Fund Raiser
10:00 a.m. till noon
Milsop Community Center to I.S.U. Hall down West Street and return to Milsop
Walkers are asked to get sponsors all proceeds benefit
“Causelife Charity” .For additional info contact Michael Smith
mike smith3948@yahoo.com

BOARD MEMBERS . . .
remember to check and empty your mailboxes periodically. Meeting minutes and other items of importance are often put into the boxes for your reference.

BULLETIN DEADLINE . . .
if you wish to have an article published in the weekly bulletin, please have the article into the church office by Wednesday at noon. Thank you for your cooperation.

STOP IN THE CHURCH LIBRARY . . .
to view a picture of Holiday’s Cove from 1905 showing a view of Cove Church. The picture is compliments of the Weirton Museum.

SHARING BRINGS JOY TO OTHERS, TO GOD AND TO US . . .
is the theme of this year’s One Great Hour of Sharing Campaign. Envelopes are being included in your bulletin this morning for your convenience. The Presbyterian church distributes the money in the following manner: 36% for the Presbyterian Hunger Program; 32% for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Program and 32% for Self-Development of People. We hope you will contribute generously to this ecumenical campaign.

DO YOU HAVE A NEW ADDRESS,. . .
new phone number or new e-mail ? Please contact the church office so we can update our records. We like to keep everyone informed of our events. If you don’t receive mailings from us, we may not have your current/correct information.

REMINDER, PLEASE COVER . . .
the top of the church’s tables before they are used for any activity. They will stain and are hard to clean, this can be avoided with a little cooperation.

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.

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 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 or live plants 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 for the Weirton Christian Center. The labels including the bar code or just the bar code can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Greeting cards are being collected. Please drop off your Greeting Cards or just the front of the card in the box located in the main hallway downstairs. The cards are being sent to St. Jude’s Ranch to be remade into cards to be sold in their gift shop. Hallmark, Disney or American Greeting Cards can not be accepted as they are trade marked.
We thank you for your participation and support of our mission endeavors.

Prayer Requests, to be shared during Sunday's worship service

On Sunday, March 25, the Cove Presbyterian congregation will lift the follow needs to God:

Adults
Alden Edwards
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Ann Berach
Anthony Calpo
Bob Saffle
Charles Saffle
Christy Cybulski
Connie Francis
Dave Bever
Diane Szymanek
Domenick Notarantanio
Don & Greta Billham
Doug Friends
Dryer family - Meyer, Welch & Hawkins
Ed Roach
Faith Bonyak
Flavio Gardeazabal Gomes de Oliveria
Jan Moncrief
Jane Hamp
Jennifer Dahlem
Jim Hanna
Joan Gallagher
Joanne Westbrook
John Brothers
John Jezerski
Judy Dobbins
Judy Lindquist
Judy Mason
Karen & her son Daniel
Katy Allen
Kelly Stephens
Ken Robinson
Lindsey Ward
Michelle Hano
Millie Randolph
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Nick Palavis
Nora Coleman
Patty Neely
Paul Maine
Paul Rosnick
Penny Mourat
Phil Lanyon
Rachael
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Ron Sekersky
Roxie Sosenko
Sherry VanGilder
Susan Ponville
T.J. Croft
Trina Lewis
Virginia & Paul Welch

Children
Aksel Ace
Audri King
Brandon Wares
Brody McUmor
Emily Icard
Hunter Stafford
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonah Becker
Justus Loughry
Kya Schwertfeger
Kylee Leathers
McKenna Popish
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec
Zoe Purcell

Military
Chad Peppler
Chris Cameron
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader

Church Families
Matt & Jennifer Caleffie & family
Kim & Sue Carfagna
Cathy Cattrell

Local Congregation
North Side Church of God, Kings Creek

Special Friend
Connie Francis - 125 Joseph Blvd, Weirton, WV 26062-3017

Presbyterian Churches and Organizations
Presbytery Council Chairperson - Ruling Elder Robert Starck
Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery staff - Rev. Dr. Royce Browder, Rev. Tom Armstrong, Cathy Cipriani, Nancy DeStefano, Amanda Elliott, Patty Oleska, Nikki Reed

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice Orr - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Bob Morgan - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2526 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Harry Hutch - Brightwood
Jim Hanna - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2526 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Marge Black - Weirton Geriatric Center, Room 223, 2528 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Mike Valiga - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2530 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Thelma Longacre - Chambrel at Montrose, Unit 210, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron, OH 44333-3091

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Recycled Love

Matthew 25:31-46

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”


A Devotion Anizia D. Chagas Von-Held (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

A woman often comes to our house on Sunday afternoons asking for our old newspapers and magazines. One week after I gave them to her, I asked her, “Do you sell them?”

She responded, “No, madam. I give them away. I take the newspapers to an elderly man so he can cover his walls to make his room warmer.”

I inquired further, “And what about the magazines?”

She answered, “They are for a paraplegic young woman whose days are more pleasant by having something to read.”

I stared at the face of this woman carrying the heavy bags of magazines and papers. “Is this not too much weight for you?” I asked.

But she replied, “Oh, no! I am going to get more!”

I learned a beautiful lesson from this woman. With few material possessions of her own, she was caring for people more needy than she. What an example of how Jesus taught us to live!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Pathetic or Promising

Psalm 51:6-12

6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.


A Devotion by Bob Kirkwood (Ohio)

Every year after Easter Sunday worship, we have all our children and grandchildren over for a big meal, and afterwards some of us play in the yard. This year while I was retrieving a ball my grandson had thrown, I noticed one of the maple seedlings I had planted last fall. I remembered that where I set out the tiny seedlings last October, they had looked pretty pathetic. At the time I wondered if they would make it through the winter. As I looked closely at the little seedling, I was surprised to find a new bud giving way to tiny leaves.

I soon found myself thinking of Easter’s time of renewing and restoring life — not only in nature but also within me, as a time for me to examine myself and renew my spiritual life. I remembered the psalmist’s words, “Renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.”

We don’t have to look very far to see God at work in the world around us. By God’s grace and love we are fed, strengthened and renewed — not only during the Easter season but every day.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday's Sermon - Because

Hebrews 5:5-10

5And thus Christ didn’t glorify himself in becoming a high priest but the one who said to him,

My son, you are,
I myself, today, have begotten you.

6And just as in another place, he says,

You are a priest into the ages,
according to the order of Melchizedek,

7who in the days of his flesh offered certain supplications and petitions to the one who has the power to save him from death with loud cries and tears when he offered and was heard because of his reverent fear. 8Although he was a son, he learned, from what he suffered, obedience. 9And because he’d been perfected, he became to all who obey him a source of eternal deliverance, 10because he was addressed by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.


Because

Now I bet you, almost everybody here recognizes the guy on the cover of the bulletin: Hines Ward, right? And of course, we all know the reason why he’s so famous; he won Dancing with the Stars, right? Well, that may be the case in some places and with some people, but around here, in Steeler Nation, of course, Hines Ward was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now I have to say “was,” because, again as most y’all know, the was released by the Steelers on March 2. Of course that’s the way the business of professional football is run; just ask Peyton Manning. The team for which you may have played for years, when that team believes it’s time to move on without you, maybe because you’ve gotten a little old for a football player and lost a step or two or maybe it’s that you’re making too much money, regardless of the reason, when that day comes, then they’re going to release you. It’s as simple as that.

Now all players understand this, and so when it happens to you, you may do what Peyton did when he was released by the Colts. I mean, if you think you can still play, you go and sign with another team. Or if your body starts telling you that the owners are right, well, then you hang up your cleats and retire. But you know, with Hines Ward it was different. The Steelers released him, and even though he thought that he still had a little left in the tank, on March 20th, he officially retired. And I’ll tell you, the reason, well, I think that has endeared him to every single Steeler fan. He said that it just wouldn’t feel right playing for another team. And so, rather than play for a 15th season, something he physically felt he could do, Hines decided to retire. And with tears in his eyes, he said, “I can say I’m a Steeler for life and that’s the bottom line, that’s all I’ve really ever wanted.” Wow, that’s good stuff; almost as good as Lou Gehrig’s “...today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” And I’ll tell you, because he went out with such grace and dignity, I think Steeler fans will always have a soft spot in their hearts for Hines.

And you know, in a bigger sense that’s how this “because” business works. I mean, we see it all the time, a condition or reason is mentioned right after the word “because,” followed by some implication that you might draw from the condition. Because this is the way it is, then this will happen. Now like I said, we see this stuff all the time. And you know, sometimes one “because” will kind of build on another. Let me give you an example. Because gasoline prices are higher, people will probably travel less this summer. And because people will probably travel less this summer, folks will be spending more time at home. You see, how it works? One because sort of leads to another. And I’ll tell you, I think we can see the same thing going on in the passage we just read, you know, the one about how Jesus is a high priest. Now, before I say anything else, don’t worry if this is kind of difficult to understand. Even the writer of the letter knew this was pretty tough stuff. Right after these verses, he wrote, “About this we have much to say that is hard to explain...” As a matter of fact, he’s going to spend most of the rest of letter trying to do that very thing, but you know, we don’t really have to worry about it right now. Let’s just deal with what we have.

Obviously, the writer wants us to see Christ as a high priest who has been appointed by God. Now, when you compare Christ to all the other high priests, and there’d been a lot of them, there are some differences and similarities. I mean, in the passage right before the one we read, it says, “Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.”

You see, even though all high priests do certain things, you know like offer sacrifices and stuff like that, things which the writer will relate to Christ later in the letter, Christ really wasn’t like the high priests who worked at the Temple, in other words, the ones descended from Aaron. Instead, he was more like a guy mentioned in Genesis named Melchizedek, a high priest from a city called Salem long before anybody had thought of a Jewish Temple. As a matter of fact, Melchizedek wasn’t even Jewish at all, but he must have been really important, because he blessed Abraham, the Father of all the Jews. In that way, I guess you could say he was above Abraham.

Anyway, in his day, Melchizedek did what a high priest would do, but instead of sacrificing animals to God, he “...offered certain supplications and petitions to the one who has the power to save him from death with loud cries and tears.” And evidently he approached God with so much reverent fear, with so much respect, with an absolute willingness to do what he was sent to do, he was heard by God.

And for our writer, well, that described Christ. Even though he was the son of God, which really means the incarnation of God himself, he was also obedient. In other words, he was like Abraham who, according to this same writer, “by faith...obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.” Now that what Christ did. And I think we all know where Jesus went. He went right to the cross and after the cross through an empty tomb back to the father. And in doing that, well, he was perfected, in other words, he accomplished his mission perfectly, just the way he was called to complete it. And although in the rest of this letter, the writer is going to say a lot more about what all this means, what Christ did showed that we really was a high priest. You see, all this is the “because.” All this represents the condition, the “what.” Christ is a high priest. And now the implication, the “so what.” Because this is what he did, we have a source of deliverance, a source of salvation, a source of freedom from all those things that keep us tied up. You see, we’ve been delivered because Christ is “a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

And although that’s wonderful news, something that I think we should be shouting from the top of this building and telling to anyone who’ll listen, it actually leads to another “because” statement that’s not here but could be, and here it is. When we take the next step, we really need to ask ourselves about the implications of the condition mentioned right here, again the “so what.” In other words, because we’ve been set free, because we’ve been saved, because we’ve been delivered, now what are we going to do about it? How is it going to affect us? How is it going to move us to change? I’m telling you, that’s what we have answer.

And I’ll tell you something else, I think that’s a great question, because we can really do have at least two options. I mean, on one hand, we can choose to do nothing at all. Man, we can live as though Christ didn’t accomplish exactly what he set out to do. And we can live as though he’s not our high priest, he isn’t now and never was. And we can live as though we’ve never been delivered at all; therefore, we can pretty much do anything and everything the world tells us to do. Now, this is how we can decide to live, and you know something, Christ still did what he did; he lived and died and rose again. And he’s still the great high priest. And he still freed us from the very things that forces us to be self-centered jerks. That’s not going to change. But nobody’s got a gun to our heads, forcing us to accept it, much less change because of it. We can do nothing; that’s certainly one possibility. Or, on the other hand, we can do something else. We can recognize that because he is our high priest and has done what he’s done, we have an amazing opportunity and this is it. We can actually follow his example and live a life of obedience. But this time in obedience to him. I mean, we can do the best we can to love God with everything we’ve got and to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love one another as God has loved us. This is another option. But you know, but regardless of what we decide, we have this choice only because he is who he said he is and did what he claimed to do. I’m telling you the “because” really makes all the difference.

And like I said a while ago, I think you can say the same thing about Hines Ward. I mean, he’ll probably always be remembered by his fans for his play on the field, his infectious smile, and of course his tango. But because of the way he retired, man, it can’t get better than that. And you know something, because Jesus is our great high priest, because we’ve been delivered; man, because we’ve been saved. Now, we have a decision to make. Because we’ve now been changed, how are we going to respond.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Incline Your Ear

Jeremiah 29:10-14

10-11This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. 12“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. 13-14“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.”


A Devotion by Sheryl Buckner (Virginia)

Whenever I think of my father, I picture him at our kitchen table. During the early hours of morning, I commonly found him sitting there with his Bible open and his head bowed. He was either reading or praying, so I moved about the kitchen in silence until he spoke first.

One particular day, I knew that something was different. My father had an appointment with his attorney. Several business partners had left my father with a debt he couldn’t pay My father was going to lose his business and the home we loved so much.

He chose to trust God to look after us. No matter what he lost, no one could take away his faith in the God he loved. That faith might be all he had at the end of this day, but his faith was enough.
My father did lose his business and our home. The people around him could not understand his joy after losing so much. Recovering from this great loss took several years and a lot of prayer and hard work, but God restored even more than we lost.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's Happening a Cove

The announcements, as they appear in Sunday’s bulletin, are below.

LET’S ALL WELCOME . . .
Leyton Patrick Burket who is receiving the sacrament of infant baptism this morning. Patrick is the son of Patrick & Tawnya Burket. Little brother of Jenna. The flower in the bud vase this morning is in Leyton’s honor.

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 those of you in advance who help to care 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.

CHILDREN’S HANDBELL PRACTICE . . .
every Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the old Youth Room.

THE SESSION IS SPONSORING A BAKE . . .
this morning, with all the proceeds going to help support Karen Edwards on her trip to visit and support Christians in the African nation of Malawi.

BOOKMARKS, . . .
Cove’s Reading Group, will meet on Monday, March 26 at 6:30 pm. in the church parlor.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY . . .
will meet on Thursday, March 29, at 12:30 p.m. We’ll look at Methodism.

DINE OUT AND RAISE MONEY .. .
this Wednesday, March 28 between the hours of 10:00a.m. and 10:00 pm. at Bob Evans Restaurant on Park Drive in Weirton. BOB EVANS COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER is a project of Cove’s Deacons. Present a flyer at checkout and the Deacons will receive 15% of the sale. For your convenience a flyer has been inserted in your bulletin. Enjoy a delicious meal without the work and raise money for the Deacons Community Outreach Projects!!

I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES . . .
is the title of the Cantata to be presented by the Chancel Choir next Sunday, Palm Sunday, April 1 during the morning worship.

THE DEACONS ARE SPONSORING A PANCAKE . .
brunch next Sunday, April 1, immediately after the service. You’ll have the opportunity make a free will offering, with the proceeds going to the Board of Deacons.

THE DEACONS WILL MEET . . .
Monday, April 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the board room.

THE BOARD OF SESSION WILL MEET . . .
Tuesday, April 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

BULLETIN DEADLINE . . .
if you wish to have an article published in the weekly bulletin, please have the article into the church office on Wednesday by noon. Thank you for your cooperation.

CAMPBELL LABELS . . .
it’s the bar code that needs to be submitted to the Weirton Christian Center for credit. Please either drop off the full label including the bar code or just the complete bar code.

STOP IN THE CHURCH LIBRARY . . .
to view a picture of Holliday’s Cove from 1905 showing a view of Cove Church. The picture is compliments of the Weirton Museum.

SHARING BRINGS JOY TO OTHERS, TO GOD AND TO US . . .
is the theme of this year’s One Great Hour of Sharing Campaign. Envelopes will be placed in the Palm Sunday and the Easter bulletins for your convenience. The Presbyterian church distributes the money in the following way: 36% for the Presbyterian Hunger Program; 32% for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Program and 32% for Self-Development of People.

GREETING CARDS. . .
are being collected as a mission project of the Myrtle McHendry Class. Please drop off your Greeting Cards or just the front of the card in the box located in the main hallway downstairs. The cards are being sent to St. Jude’s Ranch to be remade into cards to be sold in their gift shop. Hallmark, Disney or American Greeting Cards can not be accepted as they are trade marked. We thank you for your participation in our endeavor.

DO YOU HAVE A NEW ADDRESS,. . .
new phone number or new e-mail ? Please contact the church office so we can update our records. We like to keep everyone informed of our events. If you don’t receive mailings from us, we may not have your current/correct information.

REMINDER, PLEASE COVER . . .
the top of the church’s tables before they are used for any activity. They will stain and are hard to clean, this can be avoided with a little cooperation.

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.

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 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 or live plants 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 for the Weirton Christian Center. The labels including the bar code or just the bar code can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.

New Communities

A little earlier today, I had a meeting with two other presbyterian ministers, and during the conversation, we talked about how much the world had changed in our life-times. Things that we use every day were, when we were kids, considered science fiction. As a matter of fact, many things that we knew so well, things like rotary telephones and vinyl records, have become and will probably remain relics of the past.

Of course, these changes haven’t effected just things. Concepts with which we’ve been comfortable have changed and are changing as well, including our ideas about community, even church. For example, I’ve always considered a community to be a group of people who gather at one place and at one time. And yet, new communities are now being established online, with people coming together without leaving their homes. And for me, a church is a group of people who get together for worship in a building built specifically for that purpose. And yet, new “churches” are forming around tables in bars and restaurants or in living rooms or the back of garages. As Bob Dylan wrote, “the times, they are a-changin.”

And how we deal with these changes will shape the way we move into the future. I mean, if we do what I’m always tempted to do and dismiss these new groups based on our own values, we’ll probably be left behind. In fact, when you think about it, the only thing constant is change. But if we seek to understand the changes that we see, we may realize that, in reality, only the packaging has changed. Communities still involve people supporting one another, and churches are still present to share the message of “salvation by grace through faith.”

And as this poem reminds us, even if the form is new, the nature of community hasn’t changed at all.

In community lies strength of numbers.
to support the sick and the weak.
In community somebody hears me,
with louder voices to speak


In community lies public purpose,
to shield from the harshness of life.
To offer and receive common friendship,
to protect from the gun and the knife


In community we teach each other
about science and art and sport.
From this we gain our vitality,
and through this our sickness is fought.


In community others surround us.
Their dreams, their love and their faces,
encourage our hearts to prosper;
our minds to accept other places.


In community disaster may come
But, shared grief and faith in our all,
makes death’s pall linger less strongly,
those tears with others can fall.


In community lies man’s ambition.
Without, makes larger our fears.
Together we make sense of being
and bring joy and length to our years.

Prayer Requests, to be shared during Sunday's worship service

On Sunday, March 25, the Cove Presbyterian congregation will lift the follow needs to God:

Adults
Alden Edwards
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Ann Berach
Anthony Calpo
Bob Saffle
Charles Saffle
Christy Cybulski
Connie Francis
Dave Bever
Diane Szymanek
Domenick Notarantanio
Don & Greta Billham
Doug Friends
Dryer family - Meyer, Welch & Hawkins
Ed Roach
Faith Bonyak
Flavio Gardeazabal Gomes de Oliveria
Jan Moncrief
Jane Hamp
Jennifer Dahlem
Jim Hanna
Joan Gallagher
John Brothers
John Jezerski
Judy Dobbins
Judy Lindquist
Judy Mason
Karen & her son Daniel
Kelly Stephens
Ken Robinson
Lindsey Ward
Michelle Hano
Millie Randolph
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Nick Palavis
Nora Coleman
Patty Neely
Paul Maine
Paul Rosnick
Penny Mourat
Rachael
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Ron Sekersky
Roxie Sosenko
Sherry VanGilder
Susan Ponville
T.J. Croft
Trina Lewis
Virginia & Paul Welch
Phil Lanyon

Children
Aksel Ace
Audri King
Brandon Wares
Brody McUmor
Emily Icard
Hunter Stafford
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonah Becker
Justus Loughry
Kya Schwertfeger
Kylee Leathers
McKenna Popish
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec
Zoe Purcell

Military
Chad Peppler
Chris Cameron
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader

Church Families
Evelyn Buckley
Patrick & Tawnya Burket, Jenna & Leyton
Chuck & Linda Caleffie

Special Friend
Dorothy & Charles Saffle - 10 Wyngate Dr., Weirton, WV 26062-5048

Presbyterian Churches and Organizations
Woodsfield Presbyterian Church, Woodsfield, OH - Rev. Susan Lehosky
Rainbow Counseling Center - Rev. Dr. Claudia Brown

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice Orr - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Bob Morgan - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2526 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Harry Hutch - Brightwood
Jim Hanna - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2526 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Marge Black - Weirton Geriatric Center, Room 223, 2528 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Mike Valiga - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2530 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Thelma Longacre - Chambrel at Montrose, Unit 210, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron, OH 44333-3091

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Would You Pray for Me?

Proverbs 3:5-6

5With all your heart
you must trust the LORD
and not your own judgment.
6Always let him lead you,
and he will clear the road
for you to follow.


A Devotion by Julio R. Vargas Vidal (Puerto Rico)

I was calling Sandra Zaiter to ask her to speak at a Thanksgiving Day luncheon. For many years she worked in Puerto Rico as a director of children’s TV programs. My generation grew up watching and learning from her as she gave timely advice and taught us everything from everyday values to simple mathematics.

Her life took a 180-degree turn in 1975. One day while at the beach, she decided to dive, unaware that the tide had receded and that rocks were close beneath the surface. The impact with them left her a quadriplegic. Nevertheless, her professional life continued. Now I was calling to invite her to share her thoughts about being thankful. As our conversation drew to a close, she asked, “Pastor, in a few days I’ll be having some medical tests. Would you pray for me?” We spent a few more moments on the telephone as I prayed for this national television personality.

Praying for others is more than an opportunity; it is a privilege God presents to us. That day I learned that when we are asked to pray for someone, we should do it. God will take care of the rest.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sunday's Minute for Mission - Self-Development of People

Once a week, the Brazilian women proudly carry their homemade food - maize cake, cassava/manioc, tapioca - to their trade fair booth, along with some of their handicrafts. As the forro band plays, crowds come, and people buy the food and crafts. Between songs, the women promote the nutritional benefits and principles of environmentally friendly farming and issues of fair trade. Usually excluded from commercial activities by the gender expectations of their culture, these women are proud of their success in the marketplace!

They belong to the Women's Movement of Ibiapaba, and received financial support to start their fair trade business from Self-Development of People (SDOP) through Coordenadoria Ecumenica de Servicos (Ecumenical Fund to Support Small Projects), one of SDOP'S intermediary partners.

Although their profits so far have been small, these women know that identifying areas of inequality between men and women is the first step to transforming unjust structures of subordination and profiting from the work of women. The women have hope for a new approach to human and environmental relations - one that promotes equality and environmental justice.

SDOP, a ministry of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, enters into partnerships with groups of economically poor people, both here in the United States and in other specific areas of the world (through intermediary partners). Funded groups have a vision about how to solve a problem in their community, and the projects are controlled by the immediate beneficiaries. See this ministry's website at www.pcusa.org/sdop.

- Rev. Wayne A. Gnatuk, associate for church-wide relations,

Self-Development of People, General Assembly Mission Council

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Tears of Compassion

John 11:32-44

32Mary went to where Jesus was. Then as soon as she saw him, she knelt at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33When Jesus saw that Mary and the people with her were crying, he was terribly upset 34and asked, “Where have you put his body?”

They replied, “Lord, come and you will see.”

35Jesus started crying, 36and the people said, “See how much he loved Lazarus.”

37Some of them said, “He gives sight to the blind. Why couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

38Jesus was still terribly upset. So he went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone rolled against the entrance. 39Then he told the people to roll the stone away. But Martha said, “Lord, you know that Lazarus has been dead four days, and there will be a bad smell.”

40Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you had faith, you would see the glory of God?”

41After the stone had been rolled aside, Jesus looked up toward heaven and prayed, “Father, I thank you for answering my prayer. 42I know that you always answer my prayers. But I said this, so that the people here would believe that you sent me.”

43When Jesus had finished praying, he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The man who had been dead came out. His hands and feet were wrapped with strips of burial cloth, and a cloth covered his face.

Jesus then told the people, “Untie him and let him go.”


A Devotion by Brenda Tucker (South Carolina)

Life was going well for our family when I got a diagnosis no one wants to receive: “You have breast cancer that will require a mastectomy as soon as possible.”

We had questions. My three children were 17, 14, and seven. Would I survive to see them grow up? Why did I need a mastectomy at 41 years old? It felt unfair. We hurt, and we cried a lot.

On a Sunday afternoon drive, my husband and I noticed that in front of a country church a sign read, “Jesus wept.” Why did Jesus weep when he planned to raise Lazarus to life? When he saw Mary’s grief, her mourning over the loss of her brother, Jesus felt compassion for her.

When we grieve our losses, we are helped by reminders that Christ feels compassion for us. When we face unexpected disappointments — health problems, broken relationships, shattered dreams — we remember that Jesus understands. Since the Bible promises, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8), we know that the same compassion Jesus felt for his friends he also feels for us.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday's Sermon - Before and After

Ephesians 2:1-10

1And you, when dead by your transgressions and sins, 2in which at one time you walked according to the way of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now is at work in the sons of disobedience. 3Among these, also all of us conducted ourselves then, in the desires of our flesh when we did the desires and the thoughts of the flesh, and we were children, by nature of wrath, as was everyone.

4But God who is rich in mercy, through his great love with which he loved us, 5and when we were dead by our transgressions, he made us alive in Christ–by grace you have been saved–6and he raised [us] with him and made [us] sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that he might show in the ages that are coming the exceeding wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and this is not done by you; this is God’s gift 9not from work, so that no one might boast. 10For we are as he made us when we were created in Christ for good works which God prepared before hand, so that in them we might live.


Before and After

I think we’ve all seen a “before and after” approached to, you know, advertising a product. I know, right now, there’s one I bet I’ve seen at least fifty times. I think it’s about a weight loss plan, and it has Terry Bradshaw. Have y’all seen it? Evidently, he lost a lot of weight on Nutra System. And during the commercial, the trim Bradshaw talks about how pretty he’s become in typical Terry Bradshaw fashion, and he does it right in front of a picture of a less than trim and pretty pre-Nutra System Terry. That’s what I’m talking about with before and after.

But you know, the pictures on the cover of the bulletin, well, for me that kind of hits close to home. You see, God didn’t give me the teeth that are currently in my mouth. Well, let me rephrase that. He gave me the teeth, he just didn’t put them in the places and angles they now occupy. In other words, when I was younger, my mouth was a mess. Man, I’d have loved to have teeth like either one of those “before” girls. But back when I was a kid, getting braces was a lot different than it is now. Y’all know what I’m talking about. They’d put these metal bands around your teeth, and they’d kind of wire them together. And there were all these sharp, little pieces of metal sticking out all over. Any way, when I was younger, I played football and basketball. Now I didn’t play either very well, but I played as best I could. And as I reminder those guys on the team with braces, well, let’s just say there were a lot of bloody mouths. And so very few people on teams had braces. And so we kind of looked a little like a bunch of adolescent extras on a British movie. And that was all because of what those stupid braces would do to your mouth.

And of course, that’s where we focused. As a matter of fact, we focused so much on this stuff, we really never spent much time thinking about how we might be able to do both, you know, how we could both wear braces and play sports. I’m not sure “how” ever entered our minds, at least not much. And I can tell you, I almost never thought about the why, why it may be a good idea to have a mouth that didn’t look like Quasimodo’s. I really didn’t think about that very much even when girls replaced hoops in my day dreams. But looking back, I think if I’d spent at least as much time with the how and why as I did the what, I don’t know, maybe some things would have been different.

And I’ll tell you, I think the same can be said about our relationship with God, even our salvation. I mean, even though I believe what happens is important, I also believe that if we want to appreciation its power and sheer wonder, I think we also need to consider the how and the why. You see, all three questions are important if we really want to understand what God has done for us through Christ.

And you know, I think that’s something we can see in the passage we just read in this letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in the Asia city of Ephesus. You see, Paul was crystal clear about what had happened, and I want you to notice that he wrote about it in a classic, “before and after” kind of way. I mean, just think about what he wrote. “And you, when dead by your transgressions and sins, in which at one time you walked according to the way of this world...all of us conducted ourselves then, in the desires of our flesh when we did the desires and the thoughts of the flesh, and we were children, by nature of wrath, as was everyone.” Now according to Paul, this was the before picture, when things weren’t so great. But then here’s the after: “But God who is rich in mercy, through his great love with which he loved us, and when we were dead by our transgressions, he made us alive in Christ –by grace you have been saved–and he raised [us] with him and made [us] sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that he might show in the ages that are coming the exceeding wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Now, I think you could call this the “what” of salvation.

And I think it’s just as relevant and important now as it was two thousand years ago. I mean, I think the before picture is pretty accurate, although, speaking for myself, I’m not sure I was ever as wicked as the person described here. I remember, when I was younger and followed a brand of Christianity that was a whole lot more law-oriented than what I now see in the Bible, I remember that I used to wonder if I’d ever been bad enough to have a good testimony. You see, back then, I though for Christianity to be meaningful you had to be saved from something horrible, and I’ve got to tell you, the only thing horrible about me was my teeth. But if you can get pass the words like “sin” and “transgression,” the kind of person Paul described, well, it does have a lot to do with me back in the day. I mean, I did “walk according to the way of this world,” in other words, I did follow the crowd in a lot of ways, and I accepted a lot of it’s values and beliefs. And I was faithful; you could count on me liking the stuff I’d be taught to like and hating those things and people I’d been taught to hate. And I don’t know about you, but I sure focused on what I wanted, because if you don’t look after number one, who will? You see, I think that’s the way we all live, at least Paul thought so, and often we do it because we don’t know any better.

But that was before. All of a sudden things changed. And you know, because of what our loving God did through Jesus Christ, we were changed too. I mean, even though I was still screwed up, for reasons known only to God (although according to Paul they had something to do with God’s love for me), God brought me into himself without my permission or assistance. Therefore, when he died on the cross, I died too. And when he rose, I also rose. And when he ascended to that heavenly place, I ascended too. You see, while I was following the crowd and doing my own thing, God changed me. Now that’s what he did. And man, he’s done it for you. And it’s a done deal whether you accept it or not. You see, that’s the what, and in my book, that’s pretty important.

But not so important that it should push out the how and the why, two questions Paul answered in this passage. I mean, just think about how all this happened. Paul wrote, “For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and this is not done by you; this is God’s gift not from work, so that no one might boast.” You know, in a way, I think it’s a shame that the word “grace” is used so much around the church. It’s become one of those, you know, religious sounding words that’s a lost a lot of its edge. But I’ve got to tell you, when you get right down to it, this grace business, man, it’s radical stuff. My gosh, just think about it; it’s all about grace, isn’t it? And if that’s not enough, grace reflects nothing, I mean nothing that we’ve done. Now I recognize, that most Christians really don’t like to hear that. I mean, the world tells us that anything worth having must be earned. And I think most us like to think that we do something and grace comes. But I’ve got to tell you, that’s not what Paul wrote. In fact, he said that grace was God’s gift, and unless you’re talking about someone selling time shares, gifts are by their nature free. A wage is earned. A product is bought. A gift is given. And brothers and sisters, even though we may want to control it or feel like we’ve done enough to deserve it, grace is a gift, period. And it’s grace that leads to salvation, to wholeness, to relationship with God. And faith, that’s simply trusting that it’s been given free of charge. But before we get all big-headed and assume that when it comes to faith, now we’re in charge, well, it’s impossible to accept that a gift has been given until what, the gift has been given. Even our ability to trust is from God.

And if we don’t, if we choose to continue to run with the bulls or maybe just the bull and put ourselves in the center of the universe, that gift is just as much given as if we torn off the wrappings ourselves. And it remains given even if we decide to do something really stupid and ignore it for the rest of our lives. Of course if we do that, we’ll never be able to enjoy it right now, but unless I believe that God is some kind of regifter, grace is still given whether we want it or not. That’s how powerful and radical grace is, and that’s how God saves us.

And why, why does God do something so, so inhuman or maybe better unhuman, well, listen to Paul: “For we are as he made us when we were created in Christ for good works which God prepared before hand, so that in them we might live.” You see, that’s why he did it, and I’m talking about being so unfair as to give us grace without our permission, it really brings us back to the reason we were created in the first place. In other words, evidently we weren’t created to follow the ways of the world. Evidently we weren’t created to satisfy our wants. I mean, believe it or not, we weren’t created grow fat and sassy in a world of unbelievable, unspeakable need.

No, the same one who loved us before the earth was formed and who “...destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved,” according to what Paul wrote earlier in this letter, God “...has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.” We were made and redeemed to do good, it’s as simple as that. That’s why God did what he’s done for us. And if we believe it, if we have faith that it was done and if we trust that’s it’s God who’s done it, then personally, I think we’ll do what he wants us to do. That’s the why.

Now, after my playing career was over, I got my teeth fixed. And outside of some coffee-related staining issues, my smile ain’t bad. With a little whitening, I think I could be involved in a before and after campaign. And I’ll tell you, looking back, I think one of the reasons I did it was because I started to take seriously not just the what, but also the how and the why. And for us here, well, I think we’ve got a fairly good handle on the what of salvation, and that’s certainly good. But until we take seriously the how, we might continue to think that grace is about something that we do, rather than a gift. And if we never look at the why, well, we may never get around to responding to what God’s already done.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Underneath the Words

Luke 8:1-15

1-3He continued according to plan, traveled to town after town, village after village, preaching God’s kingdom, spreading the Message. The Twelve were with him. There were also some women in their company who had been healed of various evil afflictions and illnesses: Mary, the one called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s manager; and Susanna—along with many others who used their considerable means to provide for the company.

4-8As they went from town to town, a lot of people joined in and traveled along. He addressed them, using this story: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some of it fell on the road; it was tramped down and the birds ate it. Other seed fell in the gravel; it sprouted, but withered because it didn’t have good roots. Other seed fell in the weeds; the weeds grew with it and strangled it. Other seed fell in rich earth and produced a bumper crop.

“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”

9His disciples asked, “Why did you tell this story?”

10He said, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. There are others who need stories. But even with stories some of them aren’t going to get it:

Their eyes are open but don’t see a thing,
Their ears are open but don’t hear a thing.

11-12 “This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won’t believe and be saved.

13 “The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone.

14 “And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun.

15 “But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.


A Devotion by Dan G. Johnson (Florida)

All around Jesus and his disciples were scores of people, many of them religious leaders, who saw and heard but didn’t understand. They saw the healings, the miracles; they heard the words of Jesus, his teachings; but they couldn’t or wouldn’t understand. Why? Because just as soil has to be softened to receive seed, our hearts must be ready to receive the word of God.

Many times an argument between two people isn’t really about the subject they are discussing. Often it’s about an earlier circumstance, often unrelated to the current conversation. (Stop in the middle of your next disagreement with someone close to you, and see if this is true) The key to resolving a conflict is willingness to listen until we understand the feelings underneath the words, to come to a deeper level of understanding

Christ wants to take us to that deeper understanding. The Pharisees weren’t able or willing to go there, but we can be. We can learn to listen with our heart.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Announcements, as they appear in Sunday's bulletin

Below is are the announcements as they appear in Sunday's 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 those of you in advance who help to care 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.

CHILDREN’S HANDBELL PRACTICE . . .
every Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the old Youth Room.

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN’S MEETING . . .
will be held on Wednesday. March 21st at noon in Fellowship Hall. All women of the church are invited to attend. We ask that you bring a brown bag lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY . . .
will meet on Thursday, March 22, at 12:30 p.m. We’ll look at Arminianism.

PIE AND BREAD SALE . . .
just in time for Easter the Deacons are sponsoring a pie and bread sale thru The Pie Shop. Orders will be taken thru Sunday, March 25th. Delivery will be Wednesday, April 4.

DINE OUT AND RAISE MONEY .. .
on Wednesday, March 28 between the hours of 10:00a.m. and 10:00 pm. at Bob Evans Restaurant on Park Drive in Weirton. BOB EVANS COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER is a project of the Cove Deacons. Present a flyer at check out and the Deacons will receive 15% of the sale. For your convenience a flyer has been inserted in your bulletin. Enjoy a delicious meal without the work and raise money for the Deacons Community Outreach Projects!!

I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES . . .
is the title of the Cantata to be presented by the Chancel Choir on Palm Sunday, April 1 during the morning worship.

REFLECTIONS ON ENDLESS SONG . . .
is today’s handbell choir selection. The handbell choir will be using our handchimes instead of the handbells. Originally used as training tools before graduating to traditional handbells, chimes have become more widely used for their softer, gentler sound. We hope you enjoy their music. Looking ahead, the Handbell Choir will be playing for Sunday Services again on April 15 the selection You Are My Hiding Place and on May 20 the selection Ashokan Farewell. Please join us to ring in Spring!

OUR SYMPATHY . . .
is extended to the family of John R. Jeffrey, brother of Rosalie Coxen, who died on Saturday, March 3, 2012.

CAMPBELL LABELS . . .
it’s the bar code that needs to be submitted to the Weirton Christian Center for credit. Please either drop off the full label including the bar code or just the complete bar code.

I WISH TO EXPRESS MY SINCEREST THANK YOU . . .
to everyone for all your prayers, telephone call, visits and other acts of kindness extended to me during the recent passing of my brother, John Jeffrey.  -Rosalie Coxen

SHARING BRINGS JOY TO OTHERS, TO GOD AND TO US . . .
is the theme of this year’s One Great Hour of Sharing Campaign. For over six decades we as Presbyterians have been sharing what we have with others. One Great Hour of Sharing is an ecumenical offering, with denominations working together, but each decides on how the monies they give will be used. The Presbyterian church distributes the money in the following way: 36% for the Presbyterian Hunger Program; 32% for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Program and 32% for Self-Development of People. Today thru Palm Sunday there will be inserts in your bulletins telling how previous monies have been used.

GREETING CARDS. . .
are being collected as a mission project of the Myrtle McHendry Class. Please drop off your Greeting Cards or just the front of the card in the box located in the main hallway downstairs. The cards are being sent to St. Jude’s Ranch to be remade into cards to be sold in their gift shop. Hallmark, Disney or American Greeting Cards can not be accepted as they are trade marked. We thank you for your participation in our new endeavor.

DO YOU HAVE A NEW ADDRESS,. . .
new phone number or new e-mail ? Please contact the church office so we can update our records. We like to keep everyone informed of our events. If you don’t receive mailings from us, we may not have your current/correct information.

HAND SANITIZERS . . .
as a way of combating germs, two hand sanitizers have been installed for your convenience. One is located on the right wall downstairs as you come in the double doors. The second is located on the far wall in the narthex as you go towards the back stairway or towards the elevator.

STOP IN THE CHURCH LIBRARY . . .
to view a picture of Holliday’s Cove from 1905 showing a view of Cove Church. The picture is compliments of the Weirton Museum.

REMINDER, PLEASE COVER . . .
the top of the church’s tables before they are used for any activity. They will stain and are hard to clean, this can be avoided with a little cooperation.

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.

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.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers or live plants 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 for the Weirton Christian Center. The labels including the bar code or just the bar code can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.

Announcing Life

Right now, we're in the middle of our American Red Cross blood drive here at Cove, and right now I'm a pint lighter than I was about an hour ago. Of course, it's an honor both to host and participate in something as important as a blood drive. In a very real way, we may be offering the possibility of new life to our friends and neighbors. Now I find that exciting.

But during this season leading up to Easter, we have another life-related opportunity, but this time we're not offering a possibility, rather we're announcing a reality. You see, through the life of Jesus Christ, we see the love of God made real and tangible. And through Christ's death and resurrection, we're reminded that the power of sin has been broken forever and our future is secure. And because the Holy Spirit is working around us right now, we can understand and accept this new life. Now this is the reality in which we now live; it's at the center of what we trust. And we have the opportunity to announce it to anyone who'll listen. This is the opportunity we now have.

Below is a poem about the new life we see during this season. It's entitled "Summer in the South," by Paul Laurence Dunbar:

The Oriole sings in the greening grove
As if he were half-way waiting,
The rosebuds peep from their hoods of green,
Timid, and hesitating.
The rain comes down in a torrent sweep
And the nights smell warm and pinety,
The garden thrives, but the tender shoots
Are yellow-green and tiny.
Then a flash of sun on a waiting hill,
Streams laugh that erst were quiet,
The sky smiles down with a dazzling blue
And the woods run mad with riot.

Prayer Requests, to be shared during Sunday's worship service

On Sunday, March 18, the Cove Presbyterian congregation will lift the follow needs to God:

Adults
Alden Edwards
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Ann Berach
Anthony Calpo
Bob Saffle
Charles Saffle
Christy Cybulski
Connie Francis
Dave Bever
Diane Szymanek
Domenick Notarantanio
Don & Greta Billham
Doug Friends
Dryer family - Meyer, Welch & Hawkins
Ed Roach
Erin Marosi
Faith Bonyak
Flavio Gardeazabal Gomes de Oliveria
Jan Moncrief
Jane Hamp
Jennifer Dahlem
Jim Hanna
Joan Gallagher
John Brothers
John Jezerske
Judy Dobbins
Judy Lindquist
Judy Mason
Karen & her son Daniel
Kelly Stephens
Ken Robinson
Lindsey Ward
Michelle Hano
Millie Randolph
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Nick Palavis
Nora Coleman
Patty Neely
Paul Maine
Paul Rosnick
Penny Mourat
Rachael
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Ron Sekersky
Roxie Sosenko
Sherry VanGilder
Susan Ponville
T.J. Croft
Trina Lewis
Virginia & Paul Welch

Children
Audri King
Brandon Wares
Brody McUmor
Emily Icard
Hunter Stafford
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonah Becker
Justus Loughry
Kyra Schwertfeger
Kylee Leathers
McKenna Popish
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec
Zoe Purcell

Military
Chad Peppler
Chris Cameron
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader

In the Hospital
Harry Hutch - Brightwood
Edna Harrison - Weirton Medical Center

Church Families
J. Walter & Cindy Briscoe
Jessie Bryniarski & Karen Mason
Robert & Juanita Buchanan

Local Church
Church of Christ, Colliers Way

Special Friend
Bob Morgan - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton WV 26062-3652

Presbyterian Churches
Warwood Presbyterian Church, Wheeling, WV - Rev. David Bruce
Two Ridges Presbyterian Church, Wintersville, OH - Rev. Bill Lawrence

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice Orr - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Bob Morgan - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2526 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Jim Hanna - Brightwood
Marge Black - Weirton Geriatric Center, Room 223, 2528 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Mike Valiga - Weirton Geriatric Center, 2530 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Thelma Longacre - Chambrel at Montrose, Unit 210, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron, OH 44333-3091

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayerline - Yard Work

Colossians 3:5-11

5-8And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

9-11Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.


A Devotion by Valerie Battle Kienzle (Missouri)

The yard was a mess. Winter weather and high winds had scattered tree branches, dead leaves, and hundreds of pinecones over our property. The whole place needed a thorough cleanup.

I set to work, and soon I had assembled a sizeable stack of sticks. Grabbing a rake, I mounded pinecones and needles into a thick pile. Several hours passed. I stopped to check my progress; the yard looked neat and tidy. The grass was still brown and dry, but as I knelt for a closer look, I saw tiny green shoots. Spring was coming, but these signs hadn’t been noticeable until the debris was removed.

Sometimes our spiritual lives are like my yard — brown, barren, and littered with debris. Like a thorough yard cleanup, the weeks of Lent give us a chance to examine ourselves, to focus on our spiritual life, and to remove the debris so new growth can emerge.