Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sunday's Minute for Mission - Stewardship Commitment

Today’s Gospel story is about a man named Zacchaeus, a rich tax collector. I have found that many children learn about him through a song about “a wee little man who climbed up into a sycamore tree.” They may not recognize the strange name, but they don’t forget the tune and the story it tells. It is a great story about stewardship commitment, perhaps paralleling our story. It starts with an interest in seeing Jesus that may take some work to satisfy. Like Zacchaeus, we are overjoyed when Jesus recognizes us and invites us to be a part of his work.
Zacchaeus has long been my inspiration because of his unsolicited response to Jesus. He voluntarily gave away half of his possessions and promised to repay anyone he had cheated four times over. Zacchaeus is my shining example of generosity. His pledge is from his heart, in response to Christ’s recognition of him. I am often asked what our financial discipleship goal should be in the 21st century. Many look to the tithe as a goal; others say it is only a beginning. I believe our 21st-century goal should be Zacchaeus-style generosity: giving that comes from the heart and does not consider what we need for ourselves; giving inspired by what God has given us in Christ.
We are all on a financial-discipleship journey. May our decisions be as spontaneous and generous as the wee little man who climbed a sycamore tree.
Dave Crittenden, transitional synod executive, Synod of Lakes and Prairies; former director ofstewardship, Communications and Funds Development

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Beloved of God

Luke 3:21-22

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”


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

Quietly, over a number of months, I fell into the bad habit of allowing myself to be dragged down into a pit of worry and despair. I began to worry even when I had nothing to worry about. This habit led to pessimism that was not helpful to me, my family, or others around me. By grace, I found Luke’s account of the baptism of Jesus. God’s Holy Spirit descends on Jesus in the form of a dove, and a voice speaks directly to Jesus saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” In this profound moment, Jesus’ identity was confirmed. These days, when worry and doubt begin to assail me, I have a new way of dealing with them. Over and over again I repeat these words: You are my beloved. With you I am well pleased. In a world of distraction and noise, I find it helpful to remember that God loves me. When times get tough and the world seems to weigh us down, we can remind each other that we are God’s beloved children. And God is pleased with us.

From The Upper Room.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday's Sermon - How You Played the Game

You can also find a podcast of this sermon at http://covepresbyterian.podbean.com/ or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).


2 Timothy 4:5-8, 16-18

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your service. For I myself am already poured out, and the time of my departure has come. The good fight I’ve fought; the course I’ve finished; the faith I’ve kept. From now on the righteous wreath has been reserved for me, which the Lord will give to me on that day, the righteous judge, but not for me alone, but also for all those who are loving his appearing. In my first defense, no one appeared with me, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them. But my Lord stood by me and he made me strong, so that through me the proclamation might be fulfilled and all the nations might hear and I might be rescued from the loin’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil words and will save [me] in his heavenly kingdom. To him is glory in the ages upon ages, amen.



How You Played the Game

In my humble opinion, when it comes to sports, we’re really entering what I think you could call a perfect storm. I mean, we’re in the middle of the World Series. Football is in full swing. The NHL season has just begun. And next Tuesday the NBA will tip-off it’s first games. We’re even coming to the conclusion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. How could a sports fan want anything more? As a matter of fact, I think if we added one more sport to the mix, there’d be a real chance of some guy overdosing right there on his sofa, with a bowl of chips in his lap and in his hand, well maybe a certain kind of beverage that I won’t mention from the pulpit because it might upset someone here. You see, for a week or so, we have before us a literal all-you-can-eat sports buffet. 

And maybe because this was on my mind last week, I thought about that old saying that I’ve heard my whole life: “It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game.” Now like I said, this was something my parents and coaches have been telling me from the first time I picked up a ball. What I didn’t know, until this past Wednesday, was that this line is from a poem written by a great sports writer named Grantland Rice. The poem is entitled “”Alumnus Football”, and this is the last stanza: “Keep coming back, and though the world may romp across your spine, Let every game’s end find you still upon the battling line; For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes - not that you won or lost - but how you played the Game.” And the meaning, well, in the end, it may not matter whether or not you came out on top, what’s most important is your attitude and your focus as you did what you were expected to do along the way. I think that’s pretty much what it means.

And even though it’s usually applied to sports, I think it has an application to other aspects of life, including how we live our faith. And I’ll tell you, I think it’s particularly important right there, because I believe it’s something we tend to forget every now and then. I mean, I think it’s really easy for us, as Christians, to become so focused on what we’ll receive later that we sort of neglect the lives we’re called to live right now, in the present. It’s like what I’ve heard people accuse a lot of us of being, you know, so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good. 

Of course, I don’t think it’s hard to figure out why this sort of thing happens. Let’s face it, the prize on which we focus is pretty good, isn’t it? I mean, right here in these verses Paul wrote, “From now on the righteous wreath has been reserved for me, which the Lord will give to me on that day, the righteous judge, but not for me alone, but also for all those who are loving his appearing.” And what’s the prize? Man, we’re talking about eternal life in that wonderful place where there’ll be no more partings and no more pain. Now tell me that’s not sweet. And so it shouldn’t really be a surprise that some folks focus so much attention looking forward to the world as it will be that they sort of forget about living in the world as it is. In other words, this vision of the future kind of squeezes out life in the present. And I’ll tell you, when that happens, these folks end up treading water, you know, wandering through life until they reach the victory that God promised at the finish line. And as they reach for that goal, well, how they play the game, in other words, how they live their lives and how well they follow the example of Jesus Christ each and every day, all that becomes almost irrelevant or at the very least less important than preparing to go spend eternity with God. And that’s why they’re so heavenly-minded, they’ve become no earthly good. And the reason, I think it’s because they’ve forgotten that what Grantland Rice wrote has a meaning beyond just football. I’ll tell you, as you live as a disciple of Jesus Christ, how you play the game really is important.

But you know, we don’t have to go to a sports writer to know that’s true, because it’s right here in the passage we just read from Paul’s second letter to Timothy. I mean, as shown by Paul’s command and example, I think it’s pretty clear that how we live our lives right now is every bit as important as what we’ll receive later, if not more. Just look at the first verse; Paul is pretty clear about what he wanted Timothy and his church to be doing. Remember, he wrote, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your service.” And then to reenforce it’s importance, Paul used himself as an example. And as he did this, he didn’t just focus on what was coming but also on how he’d gotten there. In other words, now that he was at the end, he kind of reflected back on the life he’d lived. He wrote, “For I myself am already poured out, and the time of my departure has come. The good fight I’ve fought; the course I’ve finished; the faith I’ve kept.” You see, as he was nearing the end, he could look back with satisfaction on what he’d done for Jesus Christ. And even though he certainly faced hard times, times when he felt deserted by those around him, he’d stood firm with God and he’d done what he was equipped and empowered to do. Of course, we’ve heard this before from Paul. To the Corinthians he wrote, “Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable garland, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.” You see, at the end, I think Paul understood how important it was to play the game.

And I’ll tell you something, so can we. Just like him, we can run our race, man, we can live our lives in such a way that when we get to the end, we can look back and feel as though we’ve done the best we could with what we had. And you know, if that’s what we want to do, I can’t think of a better way to start than in doing what Paul commanded in these verses. In other words, we can decide that we’re going to be sober in all things. In other words, instead of running around acting stupid, you know what I mean, being guided by excess, by passion, by confusion, instead of doing this nonsense, we can work to be well-balance and self-controlled. As a matter of fact, we might even want to exercise some self-restraint as we live our lives, not unlike how an athlete trains for an event. You see, we can be sober. And we can also strengthen ourselves physically and emotionally and spiritually so that we might endure hardships with patience and courage. As Paul wrote a little earlier in this same letter, “You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Now, that’s something else we can decide to do. Right along with accomplishing the work of an evangelist. And in case you don’t know what that means or assume it doesn’t apply to you, the Greek word for “evangelist” is “εὐαγγελιστής” which is directly related to “εὐαγγέλιον”, the word we translate “gospel” or “good news”. You see, doing the work of an evangelist is simply sharing the gospel to others and I’m talking about the good news that the victory has already been won in Jesus Christ and that in him our past is cleansed and our future secured. And even though this is certainly something we can share through the words we use, I think it’s probably more effective when it’s shown by the lives we live. And I’ll tell you, this is something we all can do. And we can also fulfill our service. In other words, we can follow the example of Paul, who wrote, “I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service...” You see, this is the way we can live; this is the game we can play.

And as we do it, I believe we can draw all kinds of strength from the example of Paul. I mean, we can aspire to the courage and strength that enabled him to face trials and persecution often alone. And we can learn from his unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, a trust that enabled him to stand firm in the face of all kinds of opposition and to proclaim a counter cultural message of love and grace. And we can pray that when we’ve been “...already poured out, and the time of [our] departure has come”, we’ll be able to look back on our lives and say what he said: “The good fight I’ve fought; the course I’ve finished; the faith I’ve kept.” You see, we can draw this from the example of Paul. 

You know, it’s interesting, although this special time for a sports fan will only last a little while, Grantland Rice’s observation will always be true. And as Christians, we believe at the end of our race, the prize, well, it’s going to be glorious. But instead of spending our entire lives living in the “not yet,” we can listen to the apostle Paul and “...be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [our] service”. And we can do that by drawing strength from Paul’s example when he faced opposition and received the support from God so that at the end, he look back on his life with peace. Now, I believe all this is possible for us starting today. Of course, I also recognize that whether or not we’re able to feel it may really depend on how we played the game.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Today's Minute for Mission - Reformation Sunday

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Church historians identify his act as the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation.
Today, more than 750 Reformed communities with millions of Christians are scattered worldwide, proclaiming in word and deed the good news of God’s irresistible grace and mercy through Jesus Christ.
It is difficult to imagine that Luther could have envisioned that his small but bold act would launch a reformation of such magnitude. But turning the ordinary into the extraordinary is a common theme running throughout the story of God’s interaction with the people of God.
To a denomination amid dramatic change comes the question, “How many loaves have you?”
How one answers depends on one’s perspective. For those with a theology of scarcity, the answer is, “Not enough.” For those with a theology of abundance, the response is, “Where God is involved, there is always enough.”
One of the ways Presbyterians have multiplied limited resources a hundredfold throughout history is to partner with other Reformed communities—combining efforts to proclaim the gospel, feed the hungry, confront injustice, work for peace, and much more.
The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is an example of what can happen when efforts are combined. Well over 200 Protestant churches in over 100 countries are part of WCRC, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). One of WCRC’s core callings is “to renew a passion among Reformed Christians for God’s mission, both witness and service, in a spirit of partnership and unity” (www.wcrc.ch/node/35).
A theology not of scarcity but of abundance. The psalmist reminds us of the magnitude of our abundant God: “You crown the year with your bounty; . . . the pastures of the wilderness overflow, . . . the valleys deck themselves with grain.” (Ps. 65:11–13). May it be so!
—Rev. Sharon K. Youngs, former assistant stated clerk, communications coordinator, Office of the General Assembly

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cove's Bulletin for Sunday, October 27, 2013

Below is a copy of our Sunday bulletin. During the service, we’ll focus on how we can live kind of lives we’ve been called to live.









A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Adapting with Grace

You can also find a podcast of this sermon at http://covepresbyterian.podbean.com/ or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).

Genesis 12:1-9 

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 

Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and invoked the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.


A Devotion by F. Richard Garland (Rhode Island, USA)

Our plan was simple: On Monday we would hike Mount St. Helens for its spectacular views. On Tuesday, we’d hike Mount Rainier to just below the snow level. But at St. Helens, the summit and our view were shrouded by clouds. On Rainier, the trail we had planned to hike was covered with 12 feet of snow. We had to adapt. In many areas of life we have to adapt, sometimes to unwelcome realities. Moving beyond asking “Why?” to discerning “What now?” requires letting God lead us into a new way of life. God never leaves us in a place where grace cannot sustain us. We live in a world that won’t always go the way we expect it to go; sometimes adapting ourselves is the best, most faithful response we can make. If we trust in God’s enduring love in Jesus Christ as our faithful companion, teacher, and guide, and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, we will have what we need to face any change. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

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

On Sunday, October 27, Cove Presbyterian Church will lift the following needs to God.

Adults
Aaronlee Archer
Andrea Vincent
Annette Goff
Anthony LaPosta
Barbara Maze
Bill Phillips
Bonnie Kirtley
Carol Mowl
Charles Saffle
Cindi Livingston
Conrad Criss
Dee Campbell
Diane Szymanek
Dick Bonyak
Dino Buffington
Dorothy Saffle
Doug Haller
Elisa Archer
Emery Edwards
Ethlyn Dellaria
Evan Pulice
Fred Metz family
Gen Meyer
George Bownlee
Hattie Black Marcum
The Ingram Family
Jack Hatala
James Mitts
James Woolfolk
Jamie Edwards
Janice Torrance
Jean Jeffrey
Jeanne Buffington Rowland
Jenny VanGilder
Jen's Mom
Joan Gallagher
Joan Pohlman
Jodi Kraina
John Schlotter
Jonathan Serafine
Josh Boyd
Justin Vogel
Katy Allen
Kelly Stephens
Mandi Smith
Manuel Fraga
Maria Drennan
Marjie Dinges
Mary Ellen Grove
Marybeth Lewis
Matthew Kirtley
Megan Dughton
Mike Terri
Patricia Mitchell
Paul Walch
Penny Mourat
Randy Kirtley
Randy Willson
Robb Starck
Robert Hans
Robert Krupp
Ronnie Buffington
Rose Bell
Rose Sanders
Sally Marple
Sharon Johnson
Shirley Everhart Kirtley
Stacy Jo Vogel
Steve Zubay
Susan Ponville
Susie Kurcina
Tim Bradley
Wink Harner

Children
Aksel Ace
Audri King
Daniel Marchione
Devon Bragg
Eliza Mazezka
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonathan Marte
Justin McKinney
Kade Haines
Kya Schwertfeger
Lily Ghrist
Michael Liptak
Robbie Lucas
Shelby Kamarec

Military
Isaac Stephens
Jason Kerr
Jonathan Criss
Lisa Burk
Michael Criss

Hospital
Dorothy Saffle – Trinity East

Church Families
Crystal Hawkins
Jackie Hawkins
Susie Hawkins

Local Church
Paris Presbyterian Church

Special Friends
Wanda Morgan – 3608 Hanlin Way, Weirton, WV  26062-4406

Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery Congregations
Limestone Presbyterian Church, Moundsville, West Virginia – Rev. Larry Kline
First Presbyterian Church, Mt. Pleasant, Ohio – Rev. Lorraine Dill

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice & Kenny Orr – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV 26062
Bob Morgan – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV 26062
Charles & Dorothy Saffle – 100 Wyngate Dr., Wyngate, Weirton, WV 26062
Conrad Criss – 100 Wyngate Dr., Wyngate, Weirton, WV 26062
Dolores Edwards – 100 Wyngate Dr., Wyngate, Weirton, WV 26062
Eleanor Dueley – Brightwood Center, 840 Lee Ridge Rd., Follansbee, WV 26037

What's Happening at Cove Presbyterian Church?

Below 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.

UNICEF WEEK . . .
was Monday, October 21 through Friday, October 25. Our children will learn about UNICEF today, Sunday, October 27 during A Special Time for Children in church and will collect after church today. 
Our UNICEF collection provides: 
$      .25 gives 10 kids clean water to drink for a day
$    1.00 pays for protein biscuits for a starving child
$  17.00 keeps a kid safe from 6 killer diseases
$  24.00 provides an emergency first aid kit
$ 257.00 buys a School-in-a-box so kids can learn anywhere
$ 500.00 provides a water pump for a village or school 
We appreciate all who will be helping in anyway. 

BOOKMARKS . . . 
Cove's Reading Group will meet tomorrow, Monday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the church parlor.

THE FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH . . .
will be the focus of a new study that Pastor Rudiger will lead, will meet Wednesday, October 30, beginning at 6:00 p.m. During this third session, we'll answer the question: What does God want with us? (The Doctrine of Predestination).

CHANCEL CHOIR . . .
meets each Wednesday evening at 6:45 in the sanctuary as we practice our anthems and songs for the coming weeks.  Anyone in high school or older is welcome to join us! It's a great time to join the choir. We are also preparing arrangements for our upcoming Veteran's Day Service. 

OUR BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY . . . 
will meet on October 31, at 12:30 p.m., in the Fellowship Hall. In the next few months, we'll be looking at the Pastoral Letters (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) During this session, we'll look at 1 Timothy 5:23–6:21. 

SUPPORT YOUR FAVORITE SCOUT. . .
and buy some delicious popcorn. The boy and cub scouts are selling both "ready popped and pop your own" popcorn  in a variety of flavors for the holidays. Contact your "scout" and place your order by Thursday, October 31. 

SET YOUR CLOCKS. . .
back one hour on Sunday, November 3. 

COVE'S 14TH ANNUAL MEMORIAL SERVICE . . . 
will be held next Sunday, November 3 during the morning worship. If you had a loved one who has died during the past year, please contact the church office so we can include their name on our memorial list, thus remembering them in a "special way" during our service. 

DEACONS ANNUAL SPAGHETTI DINNER . . . 
to support Project Christmas Smile will be held next Sunday, November 3 from noon till 2:00 p.m. Eat in or take out will be available.

SECOND ANNUAL PAPER CHALLENGE . . . 
the deacons are challenging everyone of the church to help them replenish their paper products supply for the upcoming holidays. They would like to include - unopened single rolls of paper towels, 4 roll packs of toilet tissue, facial tissue and shampoo and conditioner with their Christmas and Thanksgiving baskets.  Once again we will be getting creative and ask that displays of the donated items be made in the narthex for Sunday, November 3rd.  The winner of the most creative display will receive a dozen donuts! If you have any questions or if your group is going to participate please contact Kayla Violet at 304-374-6805.

HOMEMADE APPLE DUMPLINGS . . .
are being sold by Eric and Kayla Violet. The apple dumplings are individually wrapped and frozen. The cost is  $ 2.50 each, money may be paid when the order is picked-up. The proceeds will be used to sponsors children going to Camp Presmont in 2014. To place an order or for more information contact Kayla at 304-374-6805.

BOARD OF DEACONS . . . 
monthly meeting will be held on Monday, November 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

COVE'S STAINED GLASS WINDOWS . . . 
is the title of the program that will be presented by Eleanor Cline at the Myrtle McHendry Class Social on Tuesday, November 5 at 12:30 p.m.  Everyone who would like to learn the history of the stained glass windows is invited to attend. 

JENNA MAINE IS HOSTING A ZUMBATHON CHARITY EVENT . . . 
called Purple with Purpose on Sunday, November 10, 2013 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Cindy's Fusion Fitness 2 (3133 Pennsylvania Avenue in Weirton). Proceeds will benefit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network as November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and the birthday month of my dad Paul Maine who passed away a year ago from pancreatic cancer. Tickets are $10 if purchased in advance, $15 at the door. To purchase tickets in advance, please contact me Jenna Maine at 304-374-5107. Remember, Zumba is for everyone, all shapes, sizes, and ages! But there will also be raffles, food, beverages, and more for those of you who do not wish to Zumba but simply want to come support the cause!

HONORING ALL VETERANS. . .
on Monday, November 11 beginning at 6:30 p.m. we will have a Veteran's Day Service. Cove's Chancel Choir along with members of Oakland Presbyterian's Choir will perform songs paying tribute to our country's veterans. The Boy and Cub Scouts will also be present to honor our military.

RESCHEDULED CELEBRITY SERVER NIGHT . . .
is Tuesday, November 12 at Undo's Restaurant in Weirton from 5:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m. Cove's Deacons will be the servers and they will receive 10 per cent of the bill and all tips. The proceeds will benefit Project Christmas Smile.

OUR SYMPATHY TO THE FAMILY OF . . . 
Dorothy Ann Castner, sister-in-law of Katy Allen who died on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.

THE PRAYER LINE (304-748-7900) . . . 
Is having some problems. It was fixed but, due to other issues it is not functional  at this time.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

IF YOU'VE WONDERED ABOUT OUR SANCTUARY PROJECTOR . . .
there's a problem with the fan. Once we get it down, we'll be able to repair it, so that we might use it as soon as possible. We appreciate you patience.

A SPIRITUAL MESSAGE . . .
can be found by calling 304-748-7900 Cove's Prayer Line. You can call at anytime to hear a message by Rev. Rudiger. The messages are changed every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. You can also hear the devotion at covepresbyterian.podbean.com and iTunes (search Cove Presbyterian). You can also read the devotion at www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com.

WE WILL BE UPDATING OUR PRAYER CHAIN . . . 
monthly. If you wish to add someone to the prayer chain contact the church office. Also if  you wish to have someone remain on the prayer chain for a longer period of time please contact the church office. 

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,  we may not have your current and/or correct information.

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.

OUR SERMONS ARE NOW AVAILABLE ON . . .
covepresbyterian.podbean.com and iTunes (search Cove Presbyterian). 

WE ARE BLOGGING! 
We now have five 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.
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. 

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.

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 support of their projects.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is  $16.00 a vase.  You may also purchase silk flowers or live plants, the choice is yours. 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.

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.  FYI . .. .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.

Friday's Essay - Faith Shared and Lived

In the last two days, I’ve had two interesting conversations. Yesterday I had lunch with a friend of mine who wanted to talk about the Christian faith, and in particular, how we might experience God in our lives. You see, he was concerned about all the people who talk about how they knew that God was real and loving, because either he’d enabled them to avoid some horrible experience or given them some unexpected blessing. Now, this really concerned him, because he knew that not all experiences are positive. All kinds of people are forced to endure pain with very little relief, and others live their entire lives and receive very few blessings that they didn’t earn. And so he was confused about the nature of God and how God relates to all people, and not just the lucky few. Now that was one conversation.

And in the other, I talked to an old friend of mine who’d received news that was less than good. In fact, depending on some things that were beyond her control, she may have to make some decisions that no one would want to make. And yet, as she faced this situation, she did it with incredible faith. Even though it wasn’t what she wanted, she seemed able to accept her situation, knowing that her destiny was secure in the gracious hands of God and that he would be with her as she passed through her current troubles.

And you know, it’s interesting, what I told my friend at lunch was just about the same thing my friend was living in her life. You see, I believe two things about God and two things about me. With God, I believe that he’s in control and that his ultimate will is always mercy and compassion. Now I use those two words because those are the same words Paul used in the ninth chapter of Romans when he spoke for God and wrote, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” You see, I believe that’s content and direction of God’s will. I also believe that I’m part of that will, even though situations may cause me to question it. As a minister told me a long time ago, I’ve had to learn to live with the fact that God loves us and as Paul wrote, nothing can separate me from that love. For me, that’s a given. Still, I also recognize that God’s ultimate intention for me may be difficult to see and that things may happen that could cause me to question the reality of his love. But isn’t that understandable? I mean, it’s hard to know how a book ends by just reading one page in the middle. Even when things are difficult and unfair, that in no way changes the fact that I was, I am, and I always will be loved by God.

Like I wrote, in the last couple of days I had two conversations, both of which pointed to the very nature of God and his relationship with us. And even though I sincerely believe what I told my friend in the restaurant, like my other friend, I hope I’m able to live my faith when times get tough.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - What We Know Is True

You can also find a podcast of this sermon at http://covepresbyterian.podbean.com/ or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).


2 Timothy 3:10-17 

Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, and suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.


A Devotion by Andy Baker (Tennessee, USA)


Recently, I flew to a small town in Alaska — a beautiful land of snow, ice, moose, and bear. I had hoped it would be a clear day so I could see a glacier or two or maybe a herd of moose or caribou. Instead, it was snowing, and the dark grey day offered little visibility. The plane was small, with no door between us and the pilots. As I looked up where the pilots sat, I realized that for the entire flight they could not see anything through their windshield. Instead, they relied on their instruments to guide our flight. I could not help but think about how we act and react when we are going through the storms and turmoil of life and cannot see the future. When we cannot see how we are going to make it, we can trust what we know to be true: God is with us. God hears our prayers, sees our tears, and wants to guide us. Just as those pilots could not see what was ahead of them, we can’t see the future; but we can trust the guidance we find in God’s word. 

From The Upper Room.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Autumn Leaves

You can also find a podcast of this sermon at http://covepresbyterian.podbean.com/ or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).

Philippians 4:4-9 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.


A Devotion by Mary K. Gulledge (Ohio, USA)

In our region of the world the autumn leaves are glorious. The green leaves turn to shades of yellow, red, and orange. Landscapes turn to canvases only God could paint, the colors so brilliant that they are breathtaking. My husband and I enjoy seeing the glorious colors in nature. Even quick trips to the grocery store are more pleasant because of the beauty of autumn. Some people may so dread the season because of the work of raking that they overlook its spectacular beauty.

The mood of a day is often set by our focus. If we focus on our problems, our mood is likely to be glum. If we focus on the Lord’s blessings, then in spite of our problems, we can see each day as a day that the Lord has made and we can rejoice and be glad in it (Ps. 118:24). If we sing for joy at the beauty of autumn leaves, raking them will be all the more enjoyable. As I rake leaves, I thank God for making them beautiful so that the task is less of a burden. If we sing for joy in all God’s works, our songs will lighten our load and make our trials easier to bear.

From The Upper Room.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday's Sermon - Which Word

You can also find a podcast of this sermon at http://covepresbyterian.podbean.com/ or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).


2 Timothy 3:14–4:5

But you, remain in the things you learned and in which you became sure, knowing from whom you learned it, and that from an infant the holy scripture you know, scripture that is able to make you wise into salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All writings are inspired by God and are useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, for righteousness training, so that God’s persons might be equipped. 

I charge [you] before the God and Christ Jesus who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, proclaim the word, stand ready whether the time is favorable or unfavorable, to admonish, rebuke, encourage, in all patience and teaching. For the time will come when sound teaching will not be tolerated but after their own desires, people will pile up teachers who tickle their ears and from the truth they will turn away their ears, but will be turned aside to fables. But you, be sober in all things, face hardships, do the work of an evangelist, your ministry accomplish.


Which Word

Sometimes, I’ve got to admit, I feel a little like Eliza Doolittle, you know, the main character in My Fair Lady. I mean, if you remember the movie, Eliza starts as a girl selling flowers who’s transformed into a lady by Professor Henry Higgins, and he does it by teaching her to speak properly. Well, after being able to identify the country that has a soggy plain, Eliza is introduced into society, and there she attracts the attention of a pretty shallow and verbose young man named Freddy Eynsford-Hill. And at one point, as he’s telling her how much he loves her, Eliza sings this to Freddy. She sings, “Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words. I get words all day through: first from him, now from you. Is that all you blighters can do?” Now that what she says.


And I’ve got to tell you, it’s right here that I feel like Eliza. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just plain get sick of words. It’s sort of like the Grinch felt about drums: Oh the words, words, words, words. They drive me nuts. Now, of course, I recognize that may sound a little odd coming from a preacher/teacher, you know, a person who’s business really is all about words. And I’m not sure I’ve ever been accused of having too little to say. And although I can’t argue about any of that, let’s face it, there’s still a lot of verbiage out there, and with all the words bouncing around, well, sometimes I find it all really confusing. Give me a break, with everybody and his brother talking, which opinion is closest to the truth, which claim best reflects the real world, good night nurse, which words are we suppose to believe? And since everybody’s talking at the same time and as loud as they can, that’s pretty hard to figure out, at least it is for me.

And I’ll tell you something, from where I stand, this effects more than just informercials and competing twenty-four hour news networks. No, I think we can even see this kind of stuff going on among Christians. I mean, within the Body of Christ, there are plenty of people who claim to be speaking God’s honest truth. Of course, in their own way, they all look believable, at least to the folks who believe them. For instance, for those who are moved by power and volume, some shout from a pulpit while others speak gently into the camera, maybe in a sweater or at a kitchen table, for all those who prefer a softer, more gentle approach. 

But you know, it’s interesting, those who kind of catch on, you know, who become popular, well, a lot them pretty much tell their constituency what they want to hear. I mean, for those who don’t think they have enough, there are plenty of spiritual-sounding folks who’ll explain how God is truly “a fount of every blessing” and I’m talking about the kind of blessing you can take to the bank; and for folks who think “those people”, and you know who I’m talking about “those people”, that they’re getting away with way too much, I’ll tell you there are others who can sprinkle in enough “fire and brimstone” to hold the interest of their audience. Like I said, even within our faith, there’s no shortage of words out there. 

But of course, right there’s the problem. With everybody claiming to be speaking the truth, sometimes I think it’s hard to figure out which words are actually true. I mean, just like some of the stuff we hear from politicians and talk show hosts, sometimes what they say just doesn’t make a lot of sense, to say nothing of the fact that if you listen long enough, more than a few times they contradict themselves, you know, like the preacher who condemns divorce until his marriage gets in trouble. Now that’s confusing. But maybe even worse are all times that, when you hold the promises and condemnations up to the person of Jesus Christ and what he actually said, you know, the red print in a lot of Bibles, well, often some of the stuff we hear doesn’t seem to reflect who he was or what he taught. And there you are, lost, trying to figure out which words to believe.

And in my opinion, that’s a really lousy place to be. At least it would be, if Paul hadn’t given us this passage we just read from his second letter to Timothy. You see, I think in these verses, Paul offers us something that can get sort of buried in all the talk. In fact, right here, I think not only does he tell us how we can know which scripture comes from God, but he also explains why those writings are special and how those words can be used by us, and I’m talking about right after we leave church this morning. 

I mean, just look at the passage and notice that he really does tell us how we can know what scripture actually comes from God. Remember he wrote, “But you, remain in the things you learned and in which you became sure, knowing from whom you learned it, and that from an infant the holy scripture you know, scripture that is able to make you wise into salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Now, I’ve got to tell you, I think this is pretty cool. Right here, Paul gives us two standards that we can hold up to all the stuff bouncing around that claims to be true. I mean, first, to be true, it’s got to be grounded in the past. You see, even though it may be shared with different images so that it can be understood and even thought it may be interpreted in different ways so that it addresses new situations, man, it’s still “the old, old story.” And the fundamental message of “love God and love neighbor” just doesn’t need a make over. It doesn’t need to be punched up. And it sure doesn’t need to be replaced by something new and improved. You see, although how it’s applied may be different today than it was yesterday and will probably be slightly different tomorrow, truth doesn’t change, and that’s one way to know what’s really from God. And second, the true words point to the present and the future, and I’m talking about the salvation we’ll enjoy because of Jesus, a salvation we can experience right now, the second we believe that in Christ we died and in him one day we will be raised. You see, when this is what we believe, what we trust, we’re going to experience a little of our salvation right here. And any Christian message that doesn’t include this, well, I think you can question that scripture. You see, I think that’s how we can know that it comes from God. 

And you know something, if Paul had stopped right here, that would have been fine, but he didn’t. I mean, not only did he write about how we can know what scripture comes from God, he also offers two reasons why these writings from God are special. Again, just listen to what he wrote. He said, “All writings are inspired by God and are useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, for righteousness training, so that God’s persons might be equipped.” Now, why are these writings different from and more important than all the other stuff out there? Well, one reason is that they’re inspired, literally “God breathed.” But right here, I think we’ve got to be careful, because Paul didn’t write that they “were inspired,” but that they “are inspired.” In other words, God is continually breathing truth; he’s breathing new life into his scriptures. Man, they’re not static symbols on a page, but something that continues to speak in new ways in new situations. That’s one reason why they’re important. And the second, these words are really useful. Good night, have y’all every read this book? Man, there’s a lot of good stuff in here, everything from how you can raise your kids to the appropriate way to use your wealth. And although I don’t think this should ever push aside it’s fundamental message of love and salvation, Dear Abby has nothing on this book. Inspiration and usefulness,  that’s what sets these writings apart, at least it did for Paul.


And so did how these words might be used. I mean, right here, Paul laid it on the line and said exactly what we should do with what he called The Word. Just listen to what he wrote, “I charge [you] before the God and Christ Jesus who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, proclaim the word, stand ready whether the time is favorable or unfavorable, to admonish, rebuke, encourage, in all patience and teaching.” You see what he’s doing? He’s challenging us to take this truth that comes from God and to start sharing it. In other words, we can start sharing the love, maybe beginning in our families and then spreading out into our neighborhoods and community and we do it through any kind of compassionate act or kind word. This is something we can do.  While at the same time, we can start living out our salvation. Let me ask you something. If a person believes that he’s been cleansed from his sins and that his future is secure and that all this isn’t based on anything he’s done but rather it’s all a free gift from God, if a person really believe this, you tell me, how is he going to look? What expression is he going to have? And what is he going to be doing? It’s like putting me in front of a platter of fried oysters, I can’t help but start eating, because it all just too good to ignore. You see, this news is just so good, how can we not share it? And according to Paul, that’s exactly what we need to do, because that’s exactly what people need to hear. As he wrote, “for the time will come when sound teaching will not be tolerated but after their own desires, people will pile up teachers who tickle their ears and from the truth they will turn away their ears, but will be turned aside to fables.” Now that’s what he wrote, and I’ve got to tell you, using the words of Yogi Berra, I’m experiencing deja vu all over again. I mean, a little earlier in the sermon, didn’t we talk about all those folks who are out there, promoting their own spin on scripture, you know what I mean, people who are tossing out writings that “tickle our ears” by telling us exactly what we want to hear, spewing words that have more to do with greed and fear than love and salvation? Haven’t we already talked about that? Well, I guess you could say that, when it comes to sharing the truth, now is the time because if we don’t, it might not get done.


Now, having said all this, I don’t expect the amount of rhetoric flowing through our world to slacken anytime soon, which means that every now and then, I’ll probably continue to think to myself, “Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words.” But now I’m talking about the words out there. In here, you know, in scripture that’s grounded in the past and pointing toward the future, those useful writings that are constantly being inspired by God so they remain fresh and vital, those wonderful words of life that the world desperately needs to hear, maybe more today than ever, now these are words of which I hope I never get tired.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Minute for Mission - Children’s Sabbath

Children's Defense Fund
Winnie Morgan knows the numbers: of the more than 25,000 children under age five in Durham County, North Carolina, nearly 25 percent live in poverty. Morgan, coordinator of the Early Childhood Faith Initiative in Durham, recognizes the role the faith community plays, not only with those children within a church’s doors but with all children. The National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths is one powerful tool to inspire congregations to share in a common commitment to improve the lives of children and to work for justice on their behalf.
Downtown By History and By Choice.Individual congregations, like Durham’s First Presbyterian Church, observe National Children’s Sabbath with their own worship services. But Christians in Durham recognize that a concern for children is shared by members of many faith communities. This past October, Durham Congregations in Action, a local interfaith ministry network, called the community to a renewed commitment to advance the protection of children in their community from poverty, racism, and violence. Together with End Poverty Durham and the Partnership for Children, Congregations in Action sponsored an interfaith Children’s Sabbath observance for the community.
But our concern for children shouldn’t end when we walk out of the worship service. Morgan suggests a variety of ways people can make a difference in the lives of young children, including sponsoring a scholarship for a child for quality childcare, starting an early-literacy or a parenting program in a low-income community, and volunteering at an agency providing services for children. Prayer and Scripture in a Children’s Sabbath service invite the Holy Spirit to energize our hands and feet to take action and our minds and wills to address the injustices that call for systemic change.
It takes a village of caring folks and resources to raise all of our children. Let’s inspire that village to its part by starting with our faith community and a Children’s Sabbath event.
—Elder Martha Bettis Gee, former associate for child advocacy and networking

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Legacy of Faith

You can also find a podcast of this devotion at http://covepresbyterian.podbean.com/ or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).

Psalm 71:1-9 

In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of you.
I have been like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent.


A Devotion by Keith Honeyman (Western Cape, South Africa)

Last year I celebrated the “threescore years and ten” spoken of in Psalm 90:10 (kjv). When I look in the mirror, I see with some regret my sagging muscles, wrinkled skin, and my gray balding head. I am reminded of the nostrums, balms, and guaranteed cures for these conditions that assail me from the screen of my TV and from the pages of newspapers and magazines. Temptation is there, but instead of trying to renovate the old, I observe with excitement and joy the vibrant, young extension of my life in my children and grandchildren. I do not mourn my gradually fading memory. Instead, I joyfully use my remaining God-given resources and spiritual gifts to ensure that through my example of prayer and love my descendants and others may see Christ in me. I want them to follow in the path of joy and peace that I have known in my Christian life. In the fullness of time they will follow me to be with God forever.

From The Upper Room.