Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday's Sermon - God Answers This Prayer

Ephesians 1:3-14

14Because of this, I bend down upon my knees before the father, 15from whom every family in heaven and upon earth is named, 16so that he might give to you, out of the fullness of his glory, power to strengthen, through his spirit, the inner person, 17that Christ might dwell through faith in your hearts, that in love, you might have been rooted and grounded, 18so that you might be strong enough to seize with all the holy ones what is the width and length and height and depth, 19to know the exceeding, incomprehensible love of Christ, so that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.

20But to the one who is able to do all things beyond all measure which we might ask or think, according to the power at work in us, 21to him is the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus into all generations forever and ever, amen.



God Answers This Prayer

There’s an old joke about God answering prayers. It seems as though there was a guy who was absolutely convinced that God either doesn’t answer or, at the very least, doesn’t answer his prayers. And as proof, he says this to his friend. He says, "I know for a fact that God doesn’t answer prayers, even when he knows that you really, and I mean, really need something. As you know, lately I’ve had a lot of financial problems, and I’m really hurting for cash. Well for the last three weeks I’ve been praying that God let me win the lottery. But what’s happened? Squat. So don’t tell me about how God answers prayers." Now that’s what he says. And his friend answers, "Well, it would help if you bought a ticket."

Of course, like I said, I know this is an old joke, one that some of y’all have already heard. In fact, you might have heard it from me. But you know, it deals with something with which a lot of Christians kind of struggle, this business about whether God answers prayers. And while some say he doesn’t answer them all, others say that although he does, sometimes the answer is "no."

And even though I think that’s probably a pretty good topic for discussion, that’s not what we’re going to talk about this morning. Instead we’re going to focus on a prayer that I believe God did answer back in the day and continues to answer right now. And I’m talking about the prayer that makes up the passage we read this morning, one that can have a major impact on our lives, if that is we let it.

And like I said, it’s in what we just looked at. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, it would be a real challenge not to see a prayer in these verses. Man, they have "prayer" written all over them, especially at the beginning and the end. I mean, the first thing Paul wrote was this: "I bend down upon my knees before the father, from whom every family in heaven and upon earth is named..." Now, to me, it sure sounds like he’s praying, doesn’t it? In fact, he approached God with an attitude that often gets lost in our world, and I’m talking about a society that admires those are self-assured and rewards those who are self-confident. You see, Paul approached God with humility, something that we may need to develop, if it’s not already there. But you know, the fact that he was humble as he came before God, well, it didn’t dampen his confidence. Just think about the end of the passage. Paul knew that he was praying "...to the one who is able to do all things beyond all measure which we might ask or think, according to the power at work in us, to him is the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus into all generations forever and ever, amen." You see, even though he was humble as he looked within himself, he was confident as he looked toward God. Now that’s how Paul prayed.

And what he prayed, you know the content of his prayer, well, as I read these verses, he prayed three things, each set apart by a simple Greek conjunction that I translated "so that." You see, I think the first part of the prayer dealt with power. He prayed "...so that he[, namely God, that he] might give to you, out of the fullness of his glory, power to strengthen, through his spirit, the inner person, that Christ might dwell through faith in your hearts, that in love, you might have been rooted and grounded..." In other words, Paul wanted God to give the ones for whom he was praying power, the ability to be spiritually strong. As he wrote to the Corinthians, he wanted God to enable them "...[to] keep alert, [to] stand firm in [their] faith, [to] be courageous, [to] be strong." That’s one.

And second, I think he prayed that they, these Ephesians, might come to recognize something they may not have realized before. Using his words, Paul came before God "...so that you might be strong enough to seize with all the holy ones what is the width and length and height and depth, to know the exceeding, incomprehensible love of Christ..." Put another way, he wanted these Christians to appreciate what they’d already received. Or, using an image that Paul really liked, he wanted these believers to understand that, in athletic terms, race had already been run and thanks to God, they had already won. That’s two.

And the third part of the prayer, well, even though this is shortest, it may be the most profound and important. Paul prayed "...so that you might be filled with all the fullness of God." You see, this was all about presence, wasn’t it? Paul wanted these believers to be filled with God, to be filled with his spirit as he’ll write a little later in this letter, to be filled, as he wrote the Colossians, "...with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding..." You see, for the Ephesians, Paul wanted them to appreciate a power and a recognition and a presence that only God could give, and so he humbly went to the one he knew had the power to answer his prayer.

And I’ll tell you something, I think that’s exactly what happened. I think God answered Paul’s prayer, but not just for the Ephesians. I think his answer applies to us as well. You see, right along with those believers living almost two thousand years ago, I think we also have power, power that comes from the glory of God himself, power that can do the same thing it did for John the Baptist when he "...grew and became strong in spirit..." or Jesus when he also "... grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him..." You see, I think we also have the ability to claim this strength, because, as Paul prayed, Christ really does dwell in our hearts and as a result, in his love, the love of Jesus Christ, we’ve been rooted and built up. I mean, because God has made us strong, something in which we can trust, because he’s made us strong in Jesus Christ, I’m telling you, because he’s now the foundation of our lives and as he wrote to the Colossians, we’ve been "...securely established and steadfast in the faith," love can now direct our lives. In other words, because of what God has already done for us, we don’t have to run with the crowd and care first and foremost about "what’s in it for me." Instead, we can be radicals, loving our God with everything we have and our neighbors, all our neighbors, even neighbors that we don’t like, we can love them just like we love ourselves. And you see, this is all possible because Paul’s prayer was answered and we’ve been given power.

But that’s not all, we also can understand some things we may not have realized before. You see, because Paul’s prayer is still being answered, we’ve got a new and profound recognition of God and what’s he’s done. In other words, we know that, in spite of our best efforts to mess it up, in spite of our uncanny ability to fight and scrap with one another for the dumbest reasons, and in spite of our apparent assumption that talking about something is just as good as actually doing it, in other words, in spite of us just being who we are, namely human, God still loves us. God still loves us so much that he entered our space and time, took on our limitations so that we could know him and he could share our experiences, both good and bad. Man, God still loves us so much that he enables us to win the race and obtain the prize even though, half the time, we’re running in the wrong direction and we don’t even know it. I’m telling you, right now, we can accept the fact that we are all loved by the creator of the universe for reasons I don’t think I’ll ever to be able to get my mind around totally. And this awareness, this realization, well, it can become a source of unity not only within the church, but with the entire world. You see, and to me this is really neat, we have one thing in common with every man, woman and child, and I’m talking about of the past, present and future, and here it is. As Paul wrote to the Romans, God "...proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us." Talk about incomprehensible. You see, this is what we can recognize.

And finally, because I believe this prayer has been answered, we now have a new and genuine presence within us. I’m telling you, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, since there is no place where God isn’t present, we’ve been filled which means that God is alive and well and living within us all. And you know, if we really believe that it’s true, man, our perspective has got to change. I mean, how can we look at the world the way we use to? All of sudden, the folks we meet, all of a sudden, we’re going to see them as children of God, people saved by Jesus Christ, individuals who are filled with the spirit, they just may not know it yet. And it may be our job to share it with them. And as we do that, I know our confidence is going to increase. Regardless of where we go, we’ll know that we’re never alone. And no matter what we do, we’ll know that God is with us. And that’s not going to change. Why? Because Paul’s prayer was answered and his presence is sure.

Now, having said all that, there are two things about which I’m honestly not sure. I mean, although I know that regardless of how much I pray to win the lottery, I’m probably going to have to buy a ticket, although I know that, I don’t know for sure whether God answers all prayers or not. Maybe he does or maybe he doesn’t. That’s one thing of which I’m not sure. And the second, well, even though I believe that the prayer which Paul offered in this passage has been, is and will continued to be answered with a resounding "yes" and that we have a strength and a recognition and a presence we may not have appreciated before, I’m not sure about this. Given everything God has given, to this answered prayer, how are we going to respond?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - A Secure Future


Matthew 6:25-34

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.


A New Devotion by Lautan Asima Basaria Siregar (Jakarta, Indonesia)

My father died in 1989. Suddenly my world became dark. I had never imagined that he would leave us so soon. At that time, my sister and I were still in college, and my mother had never worked outside our home. My father had been our guide — a firm family leader but patient, protective, and full of tenderness. Suffering from our loss, we began to lose hope. We asked many questions: Can we survive? How can we meet our daily responsibilities? Can my sister and I finish our studies? Can Mom give us what we need?

Then the Bible passage above came to mind. I realized that we could feel secure only by giving our lives to God. As we did, God helped us. Our uncle financed our schooling until we graduated. My mother was able to sell her homemade cookies, cakes, and other food to our neighbors and relatives. Twenty years have passed, and we all have learned to surrender our lives to God. Though my father is no longer with us as our guide and protector, God has become our father. We do not have to worry about our future; it’s in God’s hands.

From The Upper Room: July - August, 2012.

Friday, July 27, 2012

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


On Sunday, July 29, Cove Presbyterian Church will lift the following needs to God.

Adults
Alden & Delores Edwards
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Ann Berach
Anthony Calpo
Beverly Zeff
Bob Saffle
Bobby Leonard
Carol Kraina Mowl
Chad Haller
Charles Saffle
Chrissy Zatta
Christy Cybulski
Connie Francis
Dave Bever
Diane Szymanek
Dinny Walford
Domenick Notarantanio
Doug Friends
Eric Minor
Jan Moncrief
Jeff Grant
Jennifer Dahlem
Jim Hanna
Joan Gallagher
Joanne Westbrook
John Brothers
John Ross
Joshua Crow
Judy Lindquist
Judy Mason
Kelly Stephens
Lindsey Ward
Marjie Dinges
Mary Louise Boggia
Mary Ola Taflan
Maurene Roth
Michelle Hano
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Nick Palavis
Nora Coleman
Paul Maine
Paul Rosnick
Peggy Murphy
Penny Mourat
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Ron Sekersky
Roxie Sosenko
Sally Robinson
Sherry VanGilder
Susan Ponville
Turner Family
Virginia & Paul Welch

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

Military
Chris Cameron
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader

Church Families
Kenneth & Loretta Hass
Jack & Sandy Hatala
Karl & Christopher Hatala

Local Church
St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church

Special Friend
Harry Hutch – Villa Vista, Rm 507 B, 1800 Sinclair Ave, Steubenville OH  43953

Presbyterian Churches
First Presbyterian Church, Chester, West Virginia – Rev. Matt Camlin
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Chester, West Virginia – Rev. Katrina Lewis

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 – Villa Vista, Room 507, 1800 Sinclair Ave., Steubenville, OH  43953
Jim Hanna – Weirton Geriatric Center
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

What's Happening at Cove Presbyterian Church?


 Below are the announcements as the 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.
 
SILENT AUCTION . . .
sponsored by the Deacons will be held during the annual church picnic, Sunday July 29th.  If you have an item or two you would like to donate, there is a box located in the hallway downstairs in which they can be placed.  Donations will be accepted thru July 22nd.
 
OUR CHILDREN PRACTICE HANDBELLS . . .
every Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the old Youth Room.
 
THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY . . .
will meet Thursday, August 2 at 12:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. We’ll look at 1 Corinthians 11:2-34
 
CONGRATULATIONS TO STACI CLINE AND PATRICK BREEN . . .
who were married yesterday at Olgebay Resort in Wheeling.  Rev. Ed Rudiger officiated for the ceremony.
 
ROCKY POINT LIGHTHOUSE . . .
Cove’s Weekend Vacation Bible School, where Kids Shine God’s Light is scheduled for August 10 thru August 12.  Friday, August 10  and Saturday, August 11it will be held  from  12:30 p.m. till 3:00 p.m. and Sunday August 12 the children are asked to arrive at 10:30 a.m. to participate in a Sunday Celebration during the morning worship.  To register your child call the church office at 304-748-5980 or contact Jessica Shuble.  If you are able to volunteer to help with this endeavor contact Jessica Shuble at
jmshuble@live.com.
 
DON PIPER, AUTHOR & MINISTER . .
brings his message of hope, healing and heaven to the Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery Wednesday, August 29. His presentation is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. here at Cove Presbyterian Church. In 1989, Piper was on his way home from a church conference when an 1 8-wheeler struck his automobile head on. He was killed instantly - pronounced dead by four sets of emergency medical technicians. Shortly after the accident, a pastor from the same conference arrived on the scene and began praying for the “man in the red car.” Piper was brought back to life - and to a severely broken body - but during the time he was dead, he was granted the extreme privilege of glimpsing Heaven. His book, 90 Minutes in Heaven, details Piper’s accident, death, time in Heaven, and his long and difficult recovery. Since its publication, in 2004, he has shared his dramatic experience and made ministering to crestfallen and hurting people his life’s work. For several years he has traveled across the country and around the world sharing his story. 90 Minutes in Heaven has sold over 2.7 million copies. Piper is
also the author of two additional books, Daily Devotions Inspired by 90 Minutes in Heaven, and Heaven Is Real: Lessons on Earthly Joy. He is an ordained minister, most recently serving the First Baptist Church, Pasadena, Texas. He is also the founder of Don Piper Ministries. The August 29th event is sponsored by UOVP’s Resource Center and the Training and Development Committee. Following his presentation, Rev. Piper will hold a book signing. Attendees may bring previously purchased books to be signed or purchase one at the event. Admittance will be by reservation only. To make a reservation send an email to
rcenter@uovpresby.org or call 304-232-3490.
 
$ 229.82. . .
is the amount of money that Cove  received from the Kroger Community Rewards Program for the period of February thru April 2012.  A Special Thank You to everyone who participates in the program! If you are not registered to be a participant we encourage you to do so, it costs you nothing but a few minutes to register, while raising money for your church!  If you are registered the bottom of your receipt will read- You requested Kroger to donate to COVE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. If you do not have a computer and wish to register, please contact the church office and we will gladly setup your account for you.
 
DEACONS, . . .
an Usher List has been posted on the wall by the board mailboxes, if you are able to sign up for a Sunday please do so as there are still a few open dates in July and August.
 
SUMMER SCHEDULE . . .
remember during the summer months  most evening activities at the church have suspended. If you need access to the church after office hours, please call the church to make arrangements for someone to be available to let you in. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.
 
BOARD MEMBERS . . .
remember to check and empty your mailboxes periodically. Meeting minutes and other items of importance are  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.
 
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.  
 
CHRISTMAS IN NOVEMBER . . .
is being sponsored by the Myrtle McHendry Class on November 16 & 17. The ladies are accepting holiday decorations and new or gently used items that can be used or given as gifts. The items can be dropped off at the church at anytime, just mark what they are for.
 
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 receive copies of the Sunday Bulletin 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 . . .
• 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.
• Can Tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container locate in the main hallway downstairs.
 We thank you for your participation and support of our mission endeavors.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Bulletin for Sunday, July 29, 2012

Below is a copy of Sunday's bulletin. I'll preach from 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, and the title of the sermon is "God Has Answered This Prayer." And since this is picnic Sunday, we'll worship on at the park on Marland Heights. I hope to see you Sunday.













The Heaven for Animals

The Rudigers have two new additions to our family. First, we acquired a box turtle by accident. He fell down the three steps that lead to our basement and has taken up residence there. We've been feeding him turtle food, carrots and potatoes, which we have found he doesn't like very much. His name is Henry. On Tuesday, Maggie and I bought a hamster at the Robinson Petsmark. His name is Zeus, and he appears to be a happy little guy.

Now since we have some animals around that we didn't have before, I've been thinking about how Henry and Zeus fit into the Kingdom of God. With that in mind, I found a poem by James Dickey entitled The Heaven of the Animals. And even though I won't judge it's theology, it feels good to think that God takes care of all his creatures.


Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.


Having no souls, they have come, 
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.


To match them, the landscape flowers, 
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required: 
The richest wood, 
The deepest field.


For some of these, 
It could not be the place 
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done, 
But with claws and teeth grown perfect, 


More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently, 
And crouch on the limbs of trees, 
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey


May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted 
Know this as their life, 
Their reward: to walk


Under such trees in full knowledge 
Of what is in glory above them, 
And to feel no fear, 
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain


At the cycle’s center, 
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree, 
They fall, they are torn, 
They rise, they walk again. 

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Play on Through


Psalm 34:1-14

I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.

I live and breathe God;
   if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:

Join me in spreading the news;
   together let’s get the word out.

God met me more than halfway,
   he freed me from my anxious fears.

Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
   Never hide your feelings from him.

When I was desperate, I called out,
   and God got me out of a tight spot.

God’s angel sets up a circle
   of protection around us while we pray.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
         how good God is.
   Blessed are you who run to him.

Worship God if you want the best;
   worship opens doors to all his goodness.

Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
   but God-seekers are full of God.

Come, children, listen closely;
   I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.

Who out there has a lust for life?
   Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?

Guard your tongue from profanity,
   and no more lying through your teeth.

Turn your back on sin; do something good.
   Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!

Street Hockey | Photo 02 by stevegovoni on flickr.com

A Devotion by Christine A. Setlock (New York)

I live near a quiet, dead-end street where neighborhood boys sporting roller blades pull out large nets and play hockey in the road. Just the other day, a cold rain poured down on them mid-game. But there was no stopping them. Listening to their chatter, peppered with shouts, I couldn’t help but delight in their enthusiasm and determination. Though soaked to the skin, they continued to skate, eager to score the next goal.

Recently “cold rain” has come into my life in more ways than I feel I can handle. But God used those boys to remind me that I want to keep on skating too. I want to have the same faith to keep trying, eager to reach the next goal in my journey with Christ — no matter how uncomfortable my situation may be right now.

The Upper Room: July – August 2012. The Upper Room: Nashville, TN.

Sunday's Minute for Mission - Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship

Presbyterians are bearing fruit today. The good news of Jesus is spreading to ethnic groups around the world where the church has not had a presence. Several Presbyterian congregations have a prayer partner relationship with emerging bodies of believers in a war-torn part of Central Asia. They share prayer requests and pray regularly with each other. A Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF) staff member connected them and facilitates the relationships.

An Ethiopian village elder asks for a
school for his village. Photo by Bill Young.
PFF staff have helped several other congregations connect with exciting work in Ethiopia, where many Muslims are now coming to believe in Jesus. Some congregations have funded the building of schools in villages, and the teachers are trained as church planters. In the summer, others prepare the teachers/church planters how to teach English in their schools.

One exciting development in the United States has been the number of Presbyterians who want to connect with Muslims in their communities. PFF staff teach them how to do that in ways that build peace while giving opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with them in respectful ways.
Several times a year, PFF staff take small groups of Presbyterians on visioning trips to see what God is doing in various places. Especially where Christians are persecuted, emerging groups of believers rejoice to know that Presbyterians here are praying for them and want to relate to them.

God is at work in the world in exciting ways, and Presbyterians are bearing fruit along with many others. Pray today that God will show you your part!

- Rev. Bill Young, executive director, Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Because of the Cross


Jude 20-25

But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!

Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.

And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes.


A Devotion by Elaine Richardson (Western Cape, South Africa)

Arriving at a friend’s house, I was somewhat surprised to see a rugged, thick-beamed wooden cross in the yard. Then I realized that it had been erected to support the two big branches of a large yucca tree that was bending over too far. The cross beam, each side supporting a branch, was preventing the tree from leaning further over and uprooting. It was also encouraging the tree to grow upward.

How symbolic this is of Jesus’ death and victory on the cross for us! I thought. His arms outstretched on the cross take the full weight of our sin, preventing us from toppling over to spiritual death and encouraging us to grow spiritually.

This yucca tree was saved, but its growth upwards will take some time. Isn’t this how it is with us? We are saved by Jesus’ death on the cross, but our growth takes time. The owner of the yucca saw the value of the tree even though it was leaning over and saved it instead of chopping it down. In a similar way, Jesus Christ sees the value in each of us even when we are “leaned over.” With amazing love, Christ saves us. Great is God’s joy as we flourish — growing stronger day by day.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sunday's Minute for Mission - Metropolitan/Urban Ministry

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus leads the disciples up and down mountains, in and out of towns, and across seas (choosing to walk himself!) so they would experience, appreciate, and understand the lives of God's children. The message is clear: ministry happens when we turn our backs to comfortable routines and relationships and turn our eyes, ears, and hearts to the world. Transformative ministry - especially in diverse, urban settings - happens when faithful people step out.

People at tables
The annual Soul Food Luncheon is
a celebration of diversity in the community
and at Hanover Church in Wilmington.
Good morning, Hanover Saints! So begins worship each Sunday at 18th Street and Baynard Boulevard in Wilmington, Delaware, where for 240 years the rainbow children of God have been stepping out. In 1820, a group of women from Hanover created and pursued legislation that established funding for what became the public school system in Delaware. Later in that century, leaders in the church stepped out to protest slavery. Stepping out to teach the Bible in other neighborhoods resulted in the creation of five Presbyterian congregations. Stepping out into the community led to the establishment of a day care program and the regular provision of food, clothes, and health care.

And so it continues. In partnership with New Castle Presbytery and the Speer Commission, a local foundation that supports congregations in ministries of justice, Hanover is stepping out again. Through a covenant agreement, the pastor works both at serving the congregation and as a community organizer. Two staff persons maintain the ministries of the church and assist the congregation as we step out to discover how the reconciling love of God would deliver transformation for all of God's children.

Minute for mission - Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns. (Psalm 46:4-5)

Today in Orlando, Florida, several thousand women will gather to focus on Bible study and prayer in a format of worship and workshops. Known as the 2012 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women, local, national, and global participants will come together in celebration of the River of Hope (Ps. 46:4-5). Participants will find avenues for inspiration and challenge. Guests will marvel at the variety of exhibits and resources designed to equip them with understanding and great hope. Included will be the installation of PW leaders for the 2012-2015 triennium.

We request your prayers for the mission focus of this event. Clean water initiatives and world hunger are just two of the topics that will be explored through inspiring speakers and uplifting music. The women (and some children and men) will have the opportunity to shop in the Enough for Everyone Global Marketplace and Resource Center/Bookstore, which shares fair wages around the world. For more information, visit www.presbyterianwomen.org/gathering.

- Kathy Randall, chair, 2012 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday's Sermon - Already Taken Care Of


Ephesians 1:3-14

3The God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ is blessed, the one who has blessed us in all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, 4just as he choose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and unblemished in his sight in love, 5he predestined us into sonship through Jesus Christ into him, as it pleased his will, 6to praise the glory of his grace which he bestowed upon us in the one who has been loved. 7In it, we have the redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, according to the wealth of his grace 8which he caused to over flow into us, in all wisdom and understanding, 9and he made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his pleasure which he set forth in him, 10to be a plan for the fullness of time, to bring under one head all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth in him.

11In him, we also were chosen to be predestined by him who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will 12so that we might praise his glory, we who were first to hope in Christ. 13In him, we are ones who heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation. In him, we who trust were sealed by the spirit which was promised to the holy, 14which is a pledge of our inheritance, to redemption of the acquisition, to praise of his glory.



Already Taken Care Of

Before I get started, I need to offer an apology and an explanation. First, the apology: if there are any English sticklers, I’m sorry about the sermon title. I know, there are few things in life as bad as a dangling participle. If you’ve ever had one, you know what I’m talking about. (Opps, I did it again.) Anyway, anyone who found the “of” at the end of the title offensive, I’m sorry. But, if it helps, it really has something to do with the sermon. And the explanation, well, the picture on the cover of the bulletin is a Bob Evans chicken pot pie, something which is also sermonologically (I’m not sure that’s a word) important.

You see, a week ago Monday was my birthday, and as birthdays go, this one was pretty important. I turned fifty-five, and you know what that means. I’m now eligible for the senior citizen menu at Bob Evans. And so, naturally, I wanted to go there for breakfast. And I’ve got to tell you, when I pulled in the parking lot, of course with Debbie and Maggie, I was pumped. This would be the first time I could cash in one being a half a century, plus five. We went in. The waitress took us to our table. We talked with a few people that we knew. And then I settled down to use my status for the first time. But I’ve got to tell you, it was right there that a series of disappointments occurred. First, they told me that they didn’t have a senior citizen menu for breakfast. Of course, I could have ordered off the regular menu, but that would have defeated the whole purpose of going to Bob Evans, right? And so, I asked if I could order off the dinner menu, and then I got my second disappointment. She said, “Sure, but you don’t have to be over fifty-five to do that.” What, you don’t have to be a senior citizen to order off the senior citizen menu? Now, I don’t know about you, but there seems to be something blatantly unfair here. I thought this was a recognition of the fact that I was now entering the greatest generation, I’m talking about the people who made this country great. But no, it just meant I wouldn’t get a salad with my pot pie. What, they don’t think we can handle roughage? Personally, I believe people should be carded. I mean, we do it to young adults in a bar, why not to senior citizens at Bob Evans? And then when I made what I thought was a good suggestion, I got my third disappointment. Good night, I still think it’s a good idea to have an “all you can eat” senior menu. But you know, I didn’t even get a polite nod, you know, the kind of thing young people do to us all the time. No, she laughed. It looked like my birthday was going to be a bust.

That is, until I asked the waitress for the bill, and she said, “Don’t worry about it. It’s already been taken care of.” Well, I’ve got to tell you, those words, well, they changed everything. Suddenly, the birds started to sing. The sun started to shine. And you know, as we drove on twenty-two, of course with the turn signal on the whole way, (I mean, there are certain things I’ve just go to do if I’m going to fit in. Blame it on senior peer pressure.) As I was driving home, going thirty-five of course, I thought what a wonderful birthday this was going to be, all because my salad-less pot pie had already been take care of.

And you know, if that can happen when a Bob Evans bill is paid, imagine the difference knowing that our spiritual lives, I’m talking about our eternal destinies, in some very profound ways, they’ve also already been taken care of too. Man, the sky’s got to be the limit. And you know, that’s exactly what Paul wrote in the passage we just read from his letter to the Ephesians. I mean, in these verses, not only did he tell them and tells us exactly what God has already done, he then offers some specific ways it can and probably should affect our lives. In other words, according to Paul, when we consider what God has already done for us, our lives change. And like I said, it’s right here in this passage.

I mean, just look at the beginning. Paul was pretty clear about what God had already done. He wrote, that “the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ is blessed, the one who has blessed us in all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ...” And then he went on to explain specifically what he meant.

And you know, his explanation is just as valid for us as it was for them, because, guess what, God still “...choose us in him before the foundation of the world...” In other words, as he wrote the Corinthians, just like “...God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise [and] ...chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong [and] ...chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are...,” just like God did that, because he is absolutely free and in total control, God chose us. And he did it for a reason. He chose us “...to be holy and unblemished in his sight in love...” You see, he chose us to be like saints and sacrifices, like men and women who are so in tune with God that they’ve become his instruments right here on earth and like those animals that are so pure and unmarked that they can be offered up to him. You see, this is why God chose us. But that’s not all he did.

“...He [also] predestined us into sonship through Jesus Christ into him, as it pleased his will...” Of course, here we’ve got that word, predestined, something that seems to make a lot of Christians all nervous and upset, because it appears to take away something they treasure above all things and that’s their free will and control. I mean, give me a break, isn’t that what we all want, the freedom to do what we please with the knowledge that we hold our future in our hands. That’s what we want to believe. And even though I’m not sure there’s one aspect of human life where that’s completely true, for Paul, we should be grateful that it doesn’t apply to our relationship with God. I’ll tell you, if my relationship with God, if my adoption into his family, if my incorporation into Jesus Christ is up to me and based on what I do, man, I’m going to blow it big time. I can’t figure out why my air conditioner won’t cool the upstairs. How in heaven’s name am I going to be able to figure out everything that’s involved in faith and grace and righteousness? And for that reason, the good news is that God has already, what, “...predestined us into sonship through Jesus Christ... as it pleased his will...” And the reason for that, well that’s clear: so that we might “...praise the glory of his grace which he bestowed upon us in the one who has been loved.”

And as a result, as a result of the fact that God chose us before the foundation of the world and predestined us into sonship, now, right now, “...we have the redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, according to the wealth of his grace which he caused to over flow into us, in all wisdom and understanding, and he made known to us the mystery of this will, according to his pleasure which he set forth in him, to be a plan for the fullness of time, to bring under one head all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth in him.” Man, we’ve been redeemed and we’ve been forgiven. The price has been paid and the debt has been erased. And now, we can understand. We know that, in the end, God has a plan, and we’re part of it. You see, all this has been done. Using the word of a great Bob Evans philosopher, it’s already taken care of.

And as a result, we’ve been changed. And for Paul, I think that change comes in three ways. First, we become aware, aware of that one thing that, like I said, scares the puddin’ out of some Christian and yet, when you think about it, actually can offer more peace and confidence than we can imagine. Using the words of Paul, we become aware that “in him, we also were chosen to be predestined in accordance of him who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will so that we might praise his glory, we who were first to hope in Christ.” In other words, when we become aware of all the choosing and predestination already done by God, we’re going to be just busting with praise and oozing with hope. In fact, we might become downright obnoxious with joy and excitement we’re going to feel praising our glorious God. Man, that’s going to happen.

And second, along with the awareness, thanks again to God, we’ll be able to hear something truly new and exciting. As he wrote, “in him, we are ones who heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation.” Now tell me that’s not great, we’ll be able to hear the word of truth, the good news of salvation, both for us and others, because instead of listening to what we’re doing on the instead, we can turn our attention toward the one who chooses and predestines. That’s another change.

And finally, because of what God’s already done, we’re going to be sealed by the spirit. I mean, all the awareness and hearing is fine, but with the spirit the rubber really hits the road. With the spirit, we have something real that assures us that we are who we are in God’s sight. And with the spirit, we can rest secure that redemption is not only possible, but a done deal. And if that doesn’t give you reason to praise the glory of God, frankly, you’re a hopeless case. Because of what’s God done, we’ve been changed.

It’s amazing. My birthday was put back on track by that unnamed person who caused my waitress to say, “It’s already been taken care of.” And since that’s the case, image the difference it can make when we understand what God has already taken care of, that he chose us, predestined us, and through him we have redemption and forgiveness, wisdom and understanding. And because of this God, we can become aware of what he’s done and we can hear the good news and experience the presence of the spirit. And I’ll tell you something, that better than even a senior citizen chicken pot pie.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Our Greatest Wealth


Matthew 6:19-24

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!

“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.


A Devotion by Norma Sarian (São Paulo, Brazil)

When I was nine or ten years old, I was a very good student. One Saturday morning I went with my father to buy a folder for a paper I had written for a home work assignment.

At the store we found the shelf that displayed folders of many colors. I had to choose one of them. I looked at my father and said in a dreamy voice, “Can you imagine how good it would be to have enough money to buy a folder of each color?” My father wisely responded, “But a school report card with the good grades you have — no money can buy that.”

At that moment his words touched me deeply, and I was quiet. I remember even today the smile on his face as he spoke. I believe my father’s words were part of a true Christian education. God’s gifts and grace are to be valued more than the material goods we possess.

Because many of us live in a consumer-oriented world, we sometimes tend to value what we can have over who we can be. But who we are through the gifts we receive from God is our greatest wealth.

From The Upper Room: July - August. The Upper Room: Nashville, TN.

Friday, July 13, 2012

What's Happening at Cove Presbyterian Church?


The announcements are they appear in Sunday's bulletin are below:
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.
OUR CHILDREN PRACTICE HANDBELLS . . .
every Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the old Youth Room.
HAMILL SCHOLARSHIP . . .
DeJae Jewell, daughter of Shannon Jewell, is the recipient of this year’s scholarship. DeJae is a 2012 graduate of Weir High School. She plans to attend The Franciscan University in Steubenville. Ohio.
THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY . . .
will not meet this week.
SILENT AUCTION . . .
sponsored by the Deacons will be held during the annual church picnic, Sunday July 29th.  If you have an item or two you would like to donate, there is a box located in the hallway downstairs in which they can be placed.  Donations will be accepted thru July 22nd.
REMINDER  - SUNDAY, JULY 29TH . . .
is the Annual Church Picnic at Marland Heights Park Shelter 2. The day will begin with our  11:00 a.m. morning worship service being held at the park. After the service there will be games for the children, and wonderful fellowship to be enjoyed by all. We’re working with a Luau Theme, so we’ll serve roast pork, hot dogs & burgers. Drinks will be supplied by Session, and there’ll be Silent Auction Baskets provided by the Deacons. You are asked to bring a covered dish or dessert and your table setting.  If you have any questions, call Karen Mason 304-479-3711 or kmason261@gmail.com.
ROCKY POINT LIGHTHOUSE . . .
Cove’s Weekend Vacation Bible School, where Kids Shine God’s Light is scheduled for August 10 thru August 12.  Friday, August 10  and Saturday, August 11it will be held  from  12:30 p.m. till 3:00 p.m. and Sunday August 12 the children are asked to arrive at 10:30 a.m. to participate in a Sunday Celebration during the morning worship.  To register your child call the church office at 304-748-5980 or contact Jessica Shuble.  If you are able to volunteer to help with this endeavor contact Jessica Shuble at jmshuble@live.com.
ENERGY EXPRESS . . .
needs volunteers. This summer program which includes reading, writing and art for children, is located at Weir Middle School. It is one of 790 sites in West Virginia. In addition to teaching the children, they also offer 2 free meals- breakfast and lunch. If you could volunteer a little of your time, even students who need service hours, to help with the meals or read to the children call 304- 748-6080 ext 124 and speak with Sherri or Francesca to see how you can assist the children. The program will run  Monday thru Friday from 9:00a.m. till 1:00p.m. until Friday, July 27th.
$ 229.82. . .
is the amount of money that Cove  received from the Kroger Community Rewards Program for the period of February thru April 2012.  A Special Thank You to everyone who participates in the program! If you are not registered to be a participant we encourage you to do so, it costs you nothing but a few minutes to register, while raising money for your church!  If you are registered the bottom of your receipt will read- You requested Kroger to donate to COVE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
SUMMER CAMPS. . .
 brochures for both Camp Presmont and Beaver Creek Camp are available in the office. There is a camp for almost all age groups starting with those who have completed Kindergarten. Beaver Creek is offering Bring a Friend for Free if you have attended camp before and your friend is a first time camper.  Scholarships are available to individuals wishing to attend camp. Contact the church office for further information.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES . . .
are being collected by the Presbyterian Women to be sent to Laughlin Chapel as one of their yearly mission projects. These items may include: pencils ,pens,  erasers, crayons, notebooks, paper, glue, scissors, and scotch tape.  You may even find a good buy on backpacks.  This is a project for all women of the church. A container will  be found in the hallway by the office for your contribution. Donations will be accepted thru Sunday, July 22nd.
DEACONS, . . .
an Usher List has been posted on the wall by the board mailboxes, if you are able to sign up for a Sunday please do so as there are still a few open dates in July and August.
SUMMER SCHEDULE . . .
remember during the summer months  most evening activities at the church have suspended. If you need access to the church after office hours, please call the church to make arrangements for someone to be available to let you in. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.
BOARD MEMBERS . . .
remember to check and empty your mailboxes periodically. Meeting minutes and other items of importance are  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.
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 receive copies of the Sunday Bulletin 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 . . .
• 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.
• Can Tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container locate in the main hallway downstairs.
 We thank you for your participation and support of our mission endeavors. 

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


On Sunday, July 15, Cove Presbyterian Church will lift the following needs to God.

Adults
Alden Edwards
Andrea Vincent
Andy DiRemigio
Ann Berach
Anthony Calpo
Beverly Zeff
Bob Saffle
Bobby Leonard
Carol Kraina Mowl
Charles Saffle
Chrissy Zatta
Christy Cybulski
Connie Francis
Dave Bever
Diane Szymanek
Dinny Walford
Domenick Notarantanio
Doug Friends
Eric Minor
Jan Moncrief
Jeff Grant
Jennifer Dahlem
Jim Hanna
Joan Gallagher
Joanne Westbrook
John Brothers
John Ross
Joshua Crow
Judy Lindquist
Judy Mason
Kelly Stephens
Lindsey Ward
Marjie Dinges
Mary Ola Taflan
Maurene Roth
Michelle Hano
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Nick Palavis
Nora Coleman
Paul Maine
Paul Rosnick
Peggy Murphy
Penny Mourat
Rhonda Bruich
Rich Jeffers
Richard Redfern
Ron Sekersky
Roxie Sosenko
Sally Robinson
Sherry VanGilder
Susan Ponville
Turner Family
Virginia & Paul Welch

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

Military
Chris Cameron
Jonathan Criss
Kendra Mader
Michael Criss
Stephen Mader

Church Families
Stephen & Lori Gresko and Family
Robert and Carol Hall
Carl Hamill

Local Church
St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church

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

Presbyterian Churches
First Presbyterian Church, Cadiz, OH – Rev. R.J. Leek
First United Presbyterian Church, Cameron West Virginia – Vacant Pulpit

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 – Villa Vista, Room 507, 1800 Sinclair Ave., Steubenville, OH  43953
Jim Hanna – Weirton Geriatric Center
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

General Assembly in Brief


Contemplative Caution

In an interview with Presbyterian News Service just prior to the 220th General Assembly, outgoing moderator Cindy Bolbach urged caution, saying, “I’m not sure we can absorb anything that’s another huge change” She was referring to the new Form of Government and the new standard for ordination which were both approved by the 219th General Assembly and ratified by the presbyteries a year ago.

A deeply divided Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was facing numerous more controversial issues June 30-July 7 in Pittsburgh, but the 688 commissioners and more than 200 advisory delegates that comprised the 220th General Assembly seemed determined to follow Bolbach’s advice. Repeatedly throughout the week, they prayed, worshiped, discussed and debated such volatile questions as whether to:

  • change the PC(USA) ‘s definition of marriage;
  • divest from three companies benefitting from “non-peaceful pursuits” in Israel-Palestine; eliminate synods and allow creation of non-geographic presbyteries;
  • overhaul the denomination’s four special offerings;
  • revise ordination standards for church officers;
  • lift a boycott of Arizona because of that state’s immigration law.

In each case and many others among the more the 800+ items of business, these commissioners and advisory delegates deliberated carefully and at length—Friday eve ning’s session, for instance, did not conclude until 1:30 a.m.—and at the end of the day opted for actions that seemed least likely to plunge the PC(USA) into further turmoil.

They were steered adeptly through their work by the Rev. Neal D. Presa of Elizabeth Presbytery, who was elected moderator Saturday evening on the fourth ballot over three other candidates—the Rev. Sue Krummel of Great Rivers Presbyery, the Rev. Robert Austell Jr. of Charlotte Presbytery and the Rev. Randy Branson of Palo Duro Presbytery—and by General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons, who on Sunday was re-elected to a second four-year term without opposition.


Middle East peace

After heated but civil debate Thursday evening, the Assembly—by a razor-thin mar gin—said no to divestment as part of its position on peace in the Middle East. The Assembly Committee on Middle East Peacemaking Issues had proposed that the PC(USA) divest from three companies that the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) says are profiting from non-peaceful business pursuits in Israel and Palestine—Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard. Instead, by a vote of 333-331 the Assembly adopted a minority report that calls for the church to “pursue a positive and creative course of action” in Israel-Palestine, including “a plan of active invest ment in projects that will support collaboration among Christians, Jews and Muslims and help in the development of a viable infrastructure for a future Palestinian state.” Also, the Assembly rejected by a vote of 463-175 an overture that would have branded Israeli law and practices “apartheid” against Palestinian people. And the Assembly called for a boycott of “all products made by enterprises in Israeli settlements on [occupied] Palestinian land.”

By a vote of 531-127, the Assembly voted to support a diplomatic solution to ten sions between the United States and Iran over that country’s nuclear program. The action calls for direct unconditional negotiations between the two countries and opposes “pre emptive military action by any nation against Iran and by Iran against any nation.” The Assembly also voted 62 1-19 to “stand with the Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, our partner church, and other churches who are fiicing unprecedented challenges now and are attempting to respond through new forms of witness.” The action supports “frill public congressional debate” of any potential U.S. military intervention in Syria and careful examination of the humanitarian impact of any intervention.


Leaders

In addition to the election of Presa as moderator and the reelection of Parsons as stated clerk, the Assembly confirmed the reelections of the Rev. Jay Hudson as president and CEO of the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program and of Marc Lewis as president and publisher of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. The Assembly also confirmed the election of two seminary presidents: the Rev. Frank Yamada at McCormick Theological Seminary and the Rev. Jim Mc Donald at San Francisco Theological Seminary.

The Assembly was stunned Wednesday morning when its vice moderator, the Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe, resigned. McCabe, a member of National Capital Presbytery, cited controversy surrounding her recent signing of a marriage license for two lesbian women in Washington, D.C. Same-gender marriage is legal in the nation’s capital. The Assembly had confirmed her appointment Sunday by a vote of 55-44%. Later Wednesday, the Assembly confirmed Presa’s choice of the Rev. Tom Trinidad of Pueblo Presbytery to replace McCabe as vice moderator.


Same-gender marriage

After several hours of debate on Friday, the Assembly defeated a motion from its Assembly Committee on Civil Union and Marriage Issues to propose an amendment to the Book of Order that would change the definition of marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two people.” The vote was 308-338. Along the way the Assembly declined to issue an authoritative interpretation that would have allowed ministers at their own discretion to perform same-gender marriages in states where those marriages are legal.

And by a vote of 489-152, the Assembly “in a desire to promote the peace, unity and purity of the church” voted to “move the whole Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) into a sea son of serious study and discernment concerning its meaning of Christian marriage “be tween now and the General Assembly in 2014. The Office of Theology and Worship was asked to prepare educational materials for the effort that include “the relevant Scriptures, key methods of biblical interpretation, current understandings of our Constitution, and some suggested guidance
for prayerful and reconnecting ways of listening to one another.”


Ordination standards

By a vote of 437-169, the Assembly refused to restore “fidelity in marriage or chastity in singleness”to the Book of Order. That language was removed a year ago in voting by the presbyreries. The defeated language would have added to G-2.0 104b “the commitment to live a chaste and disciplined life, whether in holy marriage between a man and a woman or in single life.”

By a vote of 329-275 the Assembly voted to propose an amendment to the ordina tion standard in G-2.0104a that the manner of life of church officers should “include repentance of sin and diligent use of the means of grace.”

The Assembly also adopted a statement that “acknowledges that faithful Presbyterians earnestly seeking to follow Jesus Christ hold different views about what the Scriptures teach concerning the morality of committed, same-gender relationships” and that “the Presbyte rian Church (U.S.A.) does not have one interpretation of Scripture in this matter.”


Special offerings

By a vote of 395-147, the Assembly voted to retain the PC(USA)’s four special offer ings in their current form. The Assembly’s Special Offerings Advisory Task Force had recommended wholesale changes in the offerings—the Pentecost Offering, the Peacemaking Offering, the Christmas Joy Offering and the One Great Hour of Sharing offering—designed to reverse the decline in offering receipts over the last 10 years. The task force had also proposed that the distribution of the offerings be redirected from specific programs to more general causes to be determined by the General Assembly Mission Council.

Other proposed changes by the task force included eliminating the Peacemaking Offer ing and replacing it with an offering to benefit world mission, while moving peacemaking ministries to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering. The One Great Hour currently funds Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and the Self-Development of People program. A proposal from the Assembly Committee on Mission Coordination suggesting a combined peacemaking and world mission offering was also rejected.

The Assembly approved the renaming of the General Assembly Mission Council to the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The name change was triggered by the new Form of Government, which replaces the term “governing body” with “council.” The GAMC (now Presbyterian Mission Agency) is an entity of the General Assembly, not a governing body (now council).


Governance

Thursday morning, the Assembly by a vote of 480-169 rejected a proposal from its General Assembly Commission on Mid Councils Issues that would allow the creation of non-geographic presbyreries “for particular missional purposes.” The Assembly added a comment “that the congregations be encouraged to engage in collaborative missional endeavors, irrespective of their locations within particular presbytery geographic boundaries.”

The Assembly referred another recommendation regarding the future of synods. The Commission on Mid Councils had recommended that synods be eliminated as ecclesiastical units of the PC(USA) and “repurposed” for mission activities determined by their member presbyteries. The Assembly Committee on Mid Councils Issues sought a task force composed of two representatives from each synod to redraw synod boundaries in ways that will make them more effective. Instead the Assembly voted 364-293 to refer the matter of synods to a task force that is charged to further discuss, refine and bring to the next Assembly recommendations that con sider the composition and organization of synods and presbyteries in support of missional congregations.

Thursday afternoon, the Assembly affirmed by voice vote its Assembly Committee on Church Polity’s recommendation that the PC(USA)’s property clause-that holds that all church property is held in trust for the denomination—be upheld. Two presbyteries had submitted overtures that would have declared that sessions own the property of PC(USA) congregations. The Assembly also approved the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s 2013-2016 “Mission Work Plan.”


Doctrinal statements

On a voice vote, the Assembly sent to the presbyteries for their votes a new translation of the 1563 Heidelberg Catechism. The new translation from the original German- language version corrects numerous errors in translation from the original, expunges later additions to the catechism that were nor in the 1563 original and restores scriptural citations that were included in the original but have never been included in PC(USA) translations.

Also on recommendation of its Assembly Committee on Confessions of the Church, the Assembly voted 395-264 to initiate the study process that could lead to the inclusion of the Belhar Confession in the PC(USA)’s The Book of Confessions. The Assembly in 2010 rook the same action, but Belhar fell eight votes short of the required two-thirds affirmative vote by the presbyteries. The Assembly action included funds for education across the church about the confession, which was developed by South African theologians in the 1980s as their response to the sin of racism and the practice of apartheid in that country.


Social justice

Thursday afternoon the Assembly passed a list of 23 proposals from its Assembly Committee on Social Justice Issues. They included:

  • support of the Environmental Protection Agency; support for a “50 Year Farm Bill” that seeks long-term goals of renewability and susrainabiliry, environmentally sound farm ing practices, participatory research and decision-making and revitalized rural communi ties and food economies;
  • several proposals on economic justice, including the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy’s report, “World of Hurt, Word of Life: Renewing God’s Communion in the Work of Economic Reconstruction”;
  • advocacy efforts for victims of sexual assault;
  • a statement on affordable housing and the mortgage crisis;
  • a call for trade reform; and
  • an investigation of the corporate practices of for-profit prisons.
  • In its closest social justice issues vote, the Assembly voted 334-306 to call for an end to corporal punishment in homes, schools, pediatric facilities, hospitals, orphanages, clinics, state institutions and childcare facilities.


Church growth and evangelism

On Friday night, the Assembly declared “a churchwide commitment to ignite a movement that results in the creation of 1001 new worshiping communities in the next 10 years.” Pittsburgh is a hotbed for the creation of experimental new churches and several of them were visited by Assembly-goers on July 1, when Sunday worship was held in local church es rather than the convention center.

The Assembly approved the report of its Special Committee on the Nature of the Church in the 21 Century. The report’s plethora of recommendations include finding new ways to start new churches and revitalize existing churches, to affirm bi-vocational ministry, encouraging seminaries to offer courses that help prepare students for emerging cultural realities, urging presbyteries to develop better strategies for reaching immigrant communities, expanding distribution of resources in multiple languages, revamping the church’s compensation system, reaffirming the parity of ministry between teaching elders and ruling elders, training church leaders about white privilege and how it diminishes the church’s witness, developing better resources to help councils of the church move into the ftrrure, and mobilizing the church’s public witness.

And the Assembly asked the Presbyterian Mission Agency to provide “basic accessibility of essential GAMC information to major non-English language groups, specifically Korean and Spanish.


Immigration

The Assembly declined to lift a prohibition on holding national church meetings in Arizona. The ban was put in place by the Assembly in 2010 after the Arizona legislature passed an immigration law the church said would jeopardize the rights and safety of Presbyterians of color. Three-fourths of the law was recently thrown our by the U.S.Supreme Court, but the Assembly considered what remains of the legislation still a threat to people of color.

On recommendation of irs Assembly Committee on Immigration Issues, the Assembly also renewed irs call for comprehensive immigration reform and called on all Presbyterians to “rake actions concerning the place and plight of immigrant people, regardless of status.”


Peacemaking

Given the lateness of the hour on Friday night, the Assembly adopted all the rec ommendations of irs Assembly Committee on Peacemaking and International Issues by consent. They included:

  • affirming the PC(USA) ‘s “historic commitment to the United Nations”;
  • reaffirming “the important role of Congolese women and children” in that country’s peace-building and reconciliation efforts;
  • advocating for human rights and democratization in the countries affected by the “Arab Spring” by adopting a statement from the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy;
  • approving ACSWP’s biennial “Human Rights Update” and directing that the next report include the subjects of “forced abortions, gender and disability selection-based abortions, and infanticide.”



Worship

Preachers at the 220th General As sembly were asked to preach from Mark 2:1-12. What some of them had to say:

“No walls or crowds were able to deny the paralyzed man entrance to the building and access to Jesus. His friends gave him a new mode of access and Jesus blessed these efforts, much to the chagrin of the murmuring scribes.”—Ruling Elder Tony Dc La Rosa, interim executive, New York City Presbytery

“Jesus Christ directly linked himself to the coming of justice, righteousness and peace. For us to do any less is to live a partial and incomplete gospel.” —The Rev. Jerry Pillay of South Africa, president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches

“At the heart of the gospeL at the heart of each community offaith that seeks to proclaim the gospel is not structure or the Form of Government. At the heart of the gospel lie disciples like these in Mark who are willing to take risks, willing to do whatever it takes to help others see Jesus. Not Just carry those whom they like, but maybe even carrying those they don’t know, those they don’t like. Willing to go up to the roof willing to cut a hole in it.” —Cindy Bolbach, moderator of the 219th General Assembly


Awards

Women of Faith Awards: the Rev. Ann Rhee Menzie, Redwoods Presbytery, Calif.; Judith Henry, Jamaica, Queens, N.Y.; and Rosemary Rice McMahan, Owens Crossroads, Ala.

Peaceseeker Awards (Presbyterian Peace Fellowship): the Rev. Victor Makari, former area coordinator for the Middle East; and the Rev. Alice Winters, who served as a PC(USA) missionary in Colombia for more than 30 years.

Excellence in Theological Education Award (Committee on Theological Education): the Rev. John B. Trotri, librarian at Union Presbyterian Seminary Richmond, Va., for 34 years.

Bell-McKay Prize (Presbyterians for Renewal): the late Joyce McMillan, missionary to Taiwan for 47 years.

Lydia Fund Scholarship (Presbyterian for Renewal): Kris Johnson, a student at Gordon-Conwell Seminary; and Kari Olsen, a student at Princeton Theological Seminary.

David Steele Distinguished Writer Award (Presbyterian Writers Guild): the Rev. John Buchanan, editor of The Christian Century and retired pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago.

Fahed Abu-Akel Award (National Middle East Presbyterian Caucus): the Rev. Raafat Zaki, transitional synod executive, Synod of the Covenant.

Fred Jenkins Constitutional Services Award (Association of Stated Clerks): Ruling Elder Alyson Janke.

T. Thompson Award (Presbyterian Outlook): the Rev. Laura Mendenhall, pastor, former president of Columbia Theological Seminary and senior advisor to the Texas Presbyterian Foundation.


220th GA by the numbers

1: candidates for stated clerk: Gradye Parsons—a first since reunion
4: candidates for mod erator and number of ballots it took to elect
6.87: ($) General Assembly per capita apportionment for 2013
7.02: (5) Per capita ap portionment for 2014
8: Missionary Advisory Delegates
9: colors of badges denoting various Assembly participants
12: apostles
15: Ecumenical Advisory Delegates
21: Assembly committees
22: ecumenical representatives
24: Theological Student Advisory Delegates
45: anniversary of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba
47: (5) daily meal allowance
50: anniversary of the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala
52: translation errors corrected in the new edition of the Heidelberg Catechism
100: anniversary of Presbyterian mission in Korea; corresponding members
112: overtures submitted by presbyteries and synods
115: Office of the General Assembly staff and volunteers
160: Young Adult Advisory Delegates
265: staff and stated clerks from presbyteries and synods
280: Presbyterian military chaplains serving under denominational endorsement
300: (approximately) Authoritative Interpretations issued since 1983
500: staff elected members, consultants, guests
688: commissioners to the 220th General Assembly
800: (approximately) items of business
849: hymns and songs in Glory to God, the new Presbyterian hymnal, and published by the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation