Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 31, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 31, 2014: Today our passages are Job 37:1–39:30; 2 Corinthians 4:13–5:10; Psalm 44:9-26; and Proverbs 22:13 . The readings are from The M...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line – When the Mind Is Opened

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. If you're interested in hearing this devotion, call 1-304-748-7900. You can also find a podcast at Podbean or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).

John 8:12-20

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

When the Mind Is Opened

At least a couple of times a week, someone will present to me arguments for why Christianity is false. And although I wish they’d share their faith rather than just attack mine, they tend to challenge me with the same “proofs” over and over again. And even when I respond to them and explain the gospel, I know the exact same “evidence” will be repeated a little bit later, sometimes in the same conversation. It’s as though I hadn’t responded at all. And even though I don’t expect them to abandon what they believe and agree with me, I still find myself getting frustrated and sad, because I feel as though they haven’t even been heard me at all. It seems as though their minds are absolutely and totally closed to anything different from what they already believe.

But before I allow those feelings to separate myself from folks for whom Christ may have died, they just don’t know it yet; I need to remember why they may not listen, much less understand me. As we see in this exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees, almost from the beginning, Jesus understood that they just weren’t going to get it. They didn’t yet know his Father. They hadn’t received the Father’s testimony. And as he’ll offer later, the reason that hadn’t happened was simple; they hadn’t yet been given the Holy Spirit. Remember, later in John, Jesus said, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.” You see, Jesus knew that with the coming of the Spirit, everything would change.

And I’ll tell you, when we’re frustrated and sad because the good news seems to roll off some people like water off the back of a duck and when we feel like just giving and shutting up, I think we need to remember this. And we need to keep sharing, because even though they may not understand today, the Spirit just might open their minds tomorrow.

Cove Kids: Children Bulletins for Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cove Kids: Children Bulletins for Sunday, August 31, 2014: Below are puzzles for children focused on Exodus 3:1-15, one of the passages we'll consider this Sunday. There are two “bulletins,” one ...

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 30, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 30, 2014: Today our passages are Job 34:1–36:33; 2 Corinthians 4:1-12; Psalm 44:1-8; and Proverbs 22:10-12 . The readings are from The Mes...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cove's Bulletin for Sunday, August 31, 2014

Below is a copy of our Sunday bulletin. During the service, we'll focus on how we might better see God involved in our lives.









What's Happening at Cove Presbyterian Church?

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

DON'T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL  . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m.  Think about trying out one of our  classes.

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.

MONDAY. . .
September 1st the church and office will be closed in observance of Labor Day.

"MISSION WEST VIRGINIA" . . .
is the title of the program that will be presented to the Myrtle McHednry Class by members of Cove's Mission Group. The meeting and social will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 2 in Fellowship Hall.   Hostesses for the evening will be the class officers.

FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THEIR BIBLE. . .
we're offering an introduction to the New Testament. Lead by Pastor Rudiger, we'll consider the historical and theological background for the different books within the New Testament. This study will offer an outstanding overview for the part of the Bible that's distinctively Christian, and everyone is invited to come. During the session this Tuesday, September 2, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. we'll look at Paul's Letter to the Philippians.

CHANCEL CHOIR - OK -BREAK TIME IS OVER . . .
Are you ready to get back to singing praises to our Lord? We will resume practice on Wednesday, September 3rd at 6:45 p.m. in the sanctuary. It's important that as many as possible attend this practice so we can get started on the weeks ahead of us. I am anxious to see all of you again at choir and of course, bring a friend!  Anyone wishing to join the choir is welcome!

OUR BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY . . .
will meet Thursday, September 4, beginning at 12:31 p.m., we'll discuss Acts 16.

BOARD MEETINGS RESUMING . . . .
Session will meet on Monday, September 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the church parlor.
Board of Deacons will meet on Monday, September 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.
Board of Trustees will meet on Tuesday, September 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.
Members are encouraged to try to attend!

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN'S MEETINGS . . .
There will be a Board Meeting of the Presbyterian Women on Wednesday, September 10 at 10:00 a.m. in the board room.
Regular Meeting  will be held on Wednesday, September 17 at noon in fellowship hall. All ladies of the church are invited to attend.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR - BOB EVANS COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER. . .
"Dine to Make a Difference" will be held at the restaurant in Weirton on September 10 -12 and September 24-26. Proceeds will benefit Cove Deacons' Outreach Programs. For more information contact any deacon. A flyer is in today's bulletin for your use and  convenience.

COVAPALOOZA. . .
is being sponsored by the Deacons on Saturday, September 13 from 10:00  a.m. till 2:00 p.m. There will be a number of area "specialty" vendors and crafters in attendance.  Lunch and Iannetti's mums will also be for sale.

OUR SYMPATHY . . .
is extended to the family of Judy A. Wesie mother of Doug Wesie who died on Saturday. August 23. Her funeral was held on Wednesday, August 27 in Massillon, Ohio.

SMOKE FREE . . .
Cove Church and grounds are smoke-free areas. We ask that you refrain from smoking when you are here. Recently,  there have been discarded cigarettes in our planters and throughout the grounds.

LET US KNOW . . .
with meetings resuming in the next few weeks, we are asking that you notify the church office with your schedule.  With numerous activities happening daily, knowing who is planning on being here and when enables us to do our scheduling more effectively. Contact the office also, when scheduling a special activity.

HELP NEEDED. . .
due to the fact that we no longer have a custodian to do upkeep on the church grounds, we are in dire need of individuals who can possibly give an hour or two to assist with weeding or  occasional shrub trimming. Any help that we receive, will beautify your church.

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 . . .
regularly. If you wish to add someone to the prayer chain 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 current information or information on  upcoming happenings 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.

SERMONS, DEVOTIONS, LESSONS, AND ESSAYS ARE AVAILABLE ON . . .
the Cove PodBean page (covepresbyterian.podbean.com) and iTunes (search Cove Presbyterian).

WE ARE BLOGGING!
We now have four 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.
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.
Living the Faith in the Real World (http://livingthefaithintherealworld. blogspot.com/) - Our beliefs shape both our opinions and actions. And even though that's true for everyone, often people of faith struggle to apply their understanding of the divine to both practical and political issues. This becomes particularly challenging when we hear multiple voices, all claiming to represent the truth but coming to different conclusions. This Blog will provide a forum where we might share how our faith shapes our perspectives on some specific issues. We hope that through this sharing, we might all better understand how the sacred impacts the profane. We'll pose a question and invite you to respond. We only ask two things of you. First, we ask that you avoid profanity and demeaning language. Second, we want you to write the truth as you see it.
The Question of Faith (http://thequestionoffaith.blogspot.com/) - I believe that there are basic ideas that all people of faith share, but once you get below those "basics," there are many different ways to understand God and our relationship with the divine. Even within Christianity, Christians disagree about the nature of God, the identity and work of Jesus Christ, and how we might or should respond to his coming. As a matter of fact, some people consider certain things absolutely essential to the Christian faith while other believers are indifferent to the same ideas and actions. We hope this Blog provides us the opportunity to share and to understand better what we believe. We'll offer a question, and you'll have the chance to respond. And even though many of the questions will be distinctively Christian, we hope that you'll still share your insight even if it's from other faith traditions.
O, That's Interesting! (http://cove-talk.blogspot.com/) - The great thing about being part of a community is that you have the chance to share with other folks. Now, there are times when you're dealing with matters of great weight. But other times you may be talking about general plans, special memories, and personal hopes. Through this site, we hope to encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings on a variety of topics that may be meaningful to you. We hope you see this Blog like a water cooler or a kitchen table, in other words, as a place to just share.
Growing in Grace (http://sproutsoffaith.blogspot.com/) - Although we're saved by God's grace, we can grow in our understanding of grace. At Cove Presbyterian Church, we offer a variety of different classes for children and adults, many of which are recorded and the podcasts posted on our PodBean (covepresbyterian). In this Blog, we'll offer the link to the podcast and notes from the particular session. You may also ask any question you might have and enter into a discussion with others.

IF YOU'RE ONLINE...
"like" us on Facebook (Cove Presbyterian Church,  https://www.facebook .com/Covepresbyterian) or join our Facebook group (The Cove Community, https://www.facebook.com/groups/115579235630/). You can also connect with Pastor Rudiger on Instagram (rev_ed).

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  in the Narthex for your contribution. The Deacons thank you for your support of their projects.

IF YOU DON'T PLAN TO TAKE YOUR BULLETIN HOME . . .
drop it in the purple container at the back door so that it can be recycled.

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.  You may  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 used 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.

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

On Sunday, August 31, Cove Presbyterian Church will lift to God the following needs.

Adults
Andy DiRemigio
Annette Goff
Audrey Vincent
Barbara Maze
Cameron Gray
Carol Caston
Carol Mowl
Charles Saffle
Chuck May
Cindi Livingston
Conrad Criss
Dan Tenaglio
Danny Harper
Dean Allen
Deloris Chesebro
Dick Spencer
Donald R. Billham
Doug Haller
Elizabeth Sue Hunt
Emery Edwards
Evan Pulice
Gen Meyer
Genny VanGilder
George Bownlee
Hannah Leasure
Hargun Sandhu
Hattie Black Marcum
Jack Hatala
Jamie Edwards
Jane Cubulski
Janet Holmes
Jeanne Buffington Rowland
Jeff Grant
Jen's Mom
Jo Magnone
Joanie Lawrence
Jodi Kraina
John Schlotter
Josh Boyd
Justin Vogel
Kelly Stephens
Lori Lancaster
Lou Ann Seevers
Marcia Cooper
Maria Drennan
Marjie Dinges
Martha Meadows
Mary Ellen Grove
Marybeth Lewis
Matthew Kirtley
Mbanda Nathaniel
Michael Hvizdak
Mike Churchman
Mike Terri
Paul D. Welch
Peggy Stewart
Phyllis Manley
Reann Daily
Randy Willson
Rhonda Bruich
Robert Hans
Roger Criss
Ronnie Buffington
Rose Bell
Ruth ann Oesterling
Sally Marple
Sam Bosnic
Sam Fortunato
Sharon Johnson
Shirley Everhart Kirtley
Stacy Jo Vogel
Stanley Smoleski
Susan Ponville
Susie Kurcina
The Ingram Family
Tim Bradley
Tom Salvati
Vicky McCreadie
Wink Harner

Children
Aksel Ace
Audri King
Daniel Marchione
Devon Bragg
Jeffrey Konovich
Joey Cowher
Jonathan Marte
Kade Haines
Kya Schwertfeger
Lily Ghrist
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec

Military
Cory Shumard
Isaac Stephens
Jason Kerr
Jonathan Criss
Lisa Burk
Michael Criss

In the Hospital
Dean Allen – Weirton Medical Center
Phyllis Manley - Weirton Medical Center

Church Families
Allison, John & Ella Dietz
Lynn & Edalo Dintini
Rhonda Donahoo

Local Church
New Life Worship Center

Special Friend
Audrey Vincent – 4004 Palisades Dr., Weirton, WV  26062-4328

Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery Congregations
Longs Run Presbyterian Church, East Liverpool, Ohio – Rev. Stephen Kramer
Trinity Presbyterian Church, East Liverpool, Ohio – Rev. Stephen Kramer

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice & Kenny Orr – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV 26062
Charles 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

Friday's Essay - Beyond the Long Weekend

Below is an essay I sent to those on the Cove Presbyterian Church e-mailing list. If you're interested in hearing this essay, you can also find a podcast at Podbean or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).

Beyond the Long Weekend 

On Monday, we celebrate one of the most underappreciated and misunderstood holidays in the year. I mean, even though we all know the name and most of us have a sense of what the day may have originally meant, I doubt that we’re going to see much labor-related stuff done on Labor Day. Of course, I understand what some of y’all may be thinking, “Don’t understand? Are you crazy? Man, I’ve got all kinds of things to do on Monday. Talk about labor. Let’s see, I have to close the pool, work on the lawn, and throw the last family cook-out of the season, and if you don’t consider that work, you’ve never been around by brother’s kids. So don’t say I don’t understand. Labor is all I’m going to do Monday.”

Now, I recognize that this kind of thing may have passed through our heads, but if it did, I think we may be missing the meaning of the day. I mean, whether you see it as a time to shop or the unofficial end of summer or the approximate beginning of real football, Labor Day is suppose to give a break to laboring Americans, sort of a civic day of rest and leisure to men and women who work all year. But I’ll tell you, I think it can also have a deeper meaning, at for those of us who try to follow Jesus Christ. You see, we can use a little of the time that surrounds this holiday to reflect on something called “vocation,” in other words, the jobs we have and the work we do.

And for those of us who come from the Reformed tradition, we can learn a lot about what that means by considering some of stuff written by John Calvin. You see, Calvin had a strong sense of vocation. For example, he wrote, “...the Lord commands every one of us, in all actions of life to regard his vocation.... to prevent universal confusion being produced by our folly and temerity, he has appointed to all their particular duties in different spheres of life. And that no one might rashly transgress the limits prescribed, he has styled such spheres of life vocations, or callings.” Now, for him, our vocation, our job was given to us by God himself. In other words, God not only assigned us all certain kinds of work, he gave us the ability to do them. As a matter of fact, it’s our spiritual duty to do the work we’ve been equipped and empowered to accomplish. Calvin wrote, “Every individual’s line of life, therefore, is, as it were, a post assigned him by the Lord, that he may not wander about in uncertainty all his days.”

Now that’s what he said about work; and you know, since whatever you’ve been called to do comes from God, no career or job or work was insignificant or irrelevant. Again, he wrote, “It will also be no small alleviation of his cares, labours, troubles, and other burdens, when a man knows that in all these things he has God for his guide. The magistrate will execute his office with greater pleasure, the father of a family will confine himself to his duty with more satisfaction, and all, in their respective spheres of life, will bear and surmount the inconveniences, cares, disappointments, and anxieties which befall them, when they shall be persuaded that every individual has his burden laid upon him by God. Hence also will arise peculiar consolation, since there will be no employment so mean and sordid (provided we follow our vocation) as not to appear truly respectable, and be deemed h’ghly important in the sight of God.” In other words, for Calvin, every job was important, and we can find personal and spiritual satisfaction doing it well. Of course, this isn’t any different from what Paul wrote to the Romans: “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.”

And so, as we move into this long weekend, I think we might want to pause and consider both the reason for the holiday and the relationship between the work we do and the God we worship. I mean, while we’re clipping coupons, wrestling the pool cover and trying to ignore the nephews playing in the bird bath, we can also think about how our jobs reflect what we’ve been called and equipped to do. And then we can consider how we might use our work as an opportunity to demonstrate our love for others and our thanks to God. And you know, if this is what we decide to do, not only might Labor Day have more meaning, but it’s meaning might extend beyond the long weekend.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 29, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 29, 2014: Today our passages are Job 31:1–33:33; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18; Psalm 43:1-5; and Proverbs 22:8-9 . The readings are from  The Message ...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line – Books and Covers

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. If you're interested in hearing this devotion, call 1-304-748-7900. You can also find a podcast at Podbean or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).

Acts 10:23b-33

The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the believers from Joppa accompanied him. The following day they came to Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. On Peter’s arrival Cornelius met him, and falling at his feet, worshiped him. But Peter made him get up, saying, “Stand up; I am only a mortal.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found that many had assembled; and he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?”

Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this very hour, at three o’clock, I was praying in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling clothes stood before me. He said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon, who is called Peter; he is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ Therefore I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say.”

Books and Covers

Each year, publishing companies spend millions of dollar designing covers, because they know that the old saying is true: People often judge books by their covers. But I think that’s probably true in other areas as well. For example, my daughter will determine whether or not she likes a certain food by how it looks on the plate, and that’s why she didn’t touch casseroles for years. And I’ll often decide to see a movie based on how much I enjoyed the preview; I’ll tell you, that’s the only reason I went to “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” one of the least funny movies I’ve seen in years. And I think we tend to pass all kinds of judgements on people solely on the clothes they wear or the language they use or the tattoos they expose. Let’s face it, our use of covers involve more than just books.

And although this may be one those you look at and say, “That’s just the way it is,” I think we also need to remember this story from Acts, you know, the one about Peter and Cornelius. You see, if Peter had been guided by only the surface, there’s no way he’d have gone to see Cornelius, a Roman soldier. Cornelius was a non-Jew, and as Peter said, “...it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile.” The cover wasn’t very good. And yet, God had shown Peter something that he may be showing us, namely that we “...should not call anyone profane or unclean.” You see, in spite of all the outward stuff that we consider important, in the sight of God, no one is profane and no one is unclean. And this is something we might want to remember as we look at both the book and the cover.

Sunday's Minute for Mission - Christian Vocation

2012 Summer Youth Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Photo courtesy of Teresa Stricklen
2012 Summer Youth Institute at Pittsburgh
Theological Seminary.
Photo courtesy of Teresa Stricklen
When we are baptized, hands are laid on our heads, ordaining us for a life of service empowered by the Holy Spirit. One of our baptismal vows includes a pledge to offer our talents back to God in praise for all that God has given us. This offering is our Christian vocation, such that our work, our relationships, indeed all of life becomes a form of prayer.
For two weeks each summer, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Summer Youth Institute helps young Christians think through vocation at a critical stage in their development. At no cost to them, chosen participants travel to Pittsburgh between their junior and senior years of high school to explore theological issues in an academic environment. They also worship, have fun, and do a service project, all while reflecting on what it means to be Christian and how their faith will shape their future education, work, relationships, and community involvement. To learn more about this programvisit.
College students who receive financial assistance from the PC(USA) are also asked to write with others on selected vocational questions. Answering these questions would benefit every Christian, though they are geared particularly to the college years. Writing on such questions as “What is Christian vocation?” and “What have you learned about who God created you to be?” requires the students to consider what it means to be gifted and called by God.
Regardless of what season of life we are in, all of us are called to live out our baptismal vocation with thanksgiving to Christ our Lord.
Teresa Stricklen, former associate for worship, office of Theology and Worship

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 28, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 28, 2014: Today our passages are Job 28:1–30:31; 2 Corinthians 2:12-17; Psalm 42:1-11; and Proverbs 22:7 . The readings are from The Messa...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cove Presbyterian Church to Observe 200th Anniversary

Below are several articles that appeared in the Weirton Daily Times on November 17, 1990. I want to thank Don and Greta Billham for bringing them to the church. I hope you enjoy them.

The past 200 years have been a journey of faith for the congregation at Cove United Presbyterian Church.

Late in the 1700s, the early pioneers braved the elements and Indian attacks to worship together. They congregated on the property of one James Campbell, a devout Presbyterian and, by pioneer standards, quite a wealthy man.

In 1790 Campbell deeded five of his thousands of acres to the congregation. Known as “Three Springs,” this was the site of the very first church — a log cabin situated in the area of Wetzel and 16th streets. Although a commemorative marker has been erected on the site, how and when the property passed from church hands isn’t known.

But those first churchgoers were of hardy stock — they had to be: To keep warm during the cold, winter days the women would take bricks still hot from the fire and wrap them with layer after layer of whatever materials they could find, then place them beneath their feet.

Danger was their constant companion, even at church. The men carried their rifles and would take turns standing guard during the service. Four armed churchmen had to escort the Rev. John Brice thrcugh the wilderness on the long and dangerous trek by horseback from Wheeling to deliver the first-ever sermon here back in November 1790.

In those days ministers travelled from settlement to settlement, preaching wherever they found listeners. Such was the case for the Three Springs Church, which didn’t have a regular pastor until 1800 when the Rev. Elisha McCurdy (1800-1824) was installed as minister to both it and the Cross Roads Church in Florence, Pa.

In his youth McCurdy was a merchant of sorts, transporting goods the pio neers needed across the mountains from the coastal cities. He was converted while attending a prayer meeting west of the mountains and, at the age of 29, felt called upon by God to become a minister. Legend has it, though, that Mc Curdy was insulted by his salary — 10 pounds a year in cash, another 10 in grain and produce.

Whatever McCurdy’s feelings on his salary, it didn’t deter him from the job at hand — saving souls. Dedicated to missionary work, McCurdy devoted much time to evangelizing the Indians. He travelled hundreds of miles through out the wilderness, meeting with Cornplanter and other chiefs. His fearlessness was laudable since, even here, raids on pioneer settlements were common.
It was under McCurdy’s watchful eye that “The Great Revival” began here in Holiday’s Cove back in 1802— a rebirth of spirit that soon spread through out the country. In its wake it brought Sunday school, the prayer meeting, the missionary movement and the crusade against slavery as well as the campaign against strong drink, a vice McCurdy particularly abhorred. A teetotaler all his life, McCurdy once refused to give thanks for a funeral feast because whiskey was being served and, rather than deliver a funeral sermon that day, he instead preached on the evil of strong drink. When McCurdy set his mind to some thing he usually got his way, and it wasn’t long before the church members stopped serving spirits.

Under McCurdy’s careful ministering the congregation grew, and so did the need for a larger building. A new church, built of sandstone, was constructed near the center of the present Three Springs Cemetery in 1804. Guns again were stocked in the church in case of Indian attack, and the pulpit was built high on the wall as had been done in the original log church.

For the next three decades the church and its people continued to grow, even as the face of the community itself was changing. By this time many church members made their homes in the valley (Holiday’s Cove) and on Indian Creek (Kings Creek). Travel still was time consuming and in 1846 the congregation decided to split up: One group went off to found the Paris Presbyterian Church, the other decided to erect a church in the cove.

The Holiday’s Cove congregation held services for the next 14 years in the old academy building on the commons where Cove School now stands. In February 1860 its members decided to build a new house of worship and instructed the building committee to construct a new church, this one of brick and costing $2,500.

There were more buildings after that, two of them as a matter of fact, each bigger and more splendid than the last. But even more importantly, there were more families— families like the Hallocks, headed by Homan Benjamin and Adelia Ann Farnsworth Hallock. Homan himself had been a candidate for the ministry but, do to failing health, had to withdraw from Amherst College. He learned the printer’s trade and nonetheless managed to go to Malta as a missionary printer and is credited with making the first Arabic type, a noteworthy achievement in the history of missions.

The Hallocks had 12 children, most associated with the church in one way or another: Four became ministers — the Rev. G.B.F. Hallock, the Rev. Robert Crawford Hallock, the Rev. William Hall4ck and the Rev. Henry G. Hallock, who spent more than 40 years in Shanghai, Chma, as a missionary; three, in cluding Henry, were called to mission work — Effie Victorine Hallock Braddock, who became a missionary to India after the death of her husband, the Rev. William Paxton Braddock, and Mary Elizabeth Hallock Marshall, who was called to mission work in China after the death of her husband, the Rev. Albert B. Marshall, in 1931. Another daughter, Margaret, also married a missionary, and G.B. Hallock’s daughter, Adelia, became a missionary to China.

In the years since the Hallocks there have been many other families, and many other men and women who ca1led to the ministry and to mission work. Among them:
Samantha Knox Condit, born and raised in Holiday’s Cove, was a teacher here until she met her husband. After their marriage she joined him in Nation Mission work among the Chinese in San Francisco.
Dr. Venie J. Lee and Caroline Virginia Lee, whose “earliest ambition and prayer was to labor among the Chinese.” They got their wish: Venie left first, becoming a medical missionary and ministring to a school for girls who gave “evidence of their courage and loyalty to Christ during the Boxer uprising.” Caroline Lee’s departure for China was delayed by the ill-health of her aged parents, whom she stayed behind to nurse. Her own health forced her to cut short her stay in China and she was reassi~od to the Phillipines, where she did mission work for a time before being forced by failing health to return to America. Soon after her return, Caroline Lee passed away.
Joe Graham, who followed his father (the Rev. John B. Graham) into the ministry. Young Joe spent most of his life doing mission work in India.
Julia Astroth Hindman, a St. Louis native who came to the church after graduating from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and doing missionary work among the Ozark Mountain folks. Hindman spent years helping needy children here in the Weirton area.

More recently, there’s been the Rev. Dan Lacich, pastor of the North Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh; the Rev. Bob Brown, assistant assistant pastor of Collingwood Presbyterian church, Toledo, Ohio; the Rev. Franklyn McHendry of Jacksonville, Fla., retired 25-year poster of Clearwater-Largo Presbyterian church; the Rev. Bob Marsh of the First Presbyterian Church, California, Md.; the Rev. Robert Gracy, pulpit supply for and a member of the Upper Ohio Valley Presbyter; and John Contoversos, a student at Dallas Theological Seminary and an affiliate member of Cove U.P. Church.

The late Rev. Taylor McHendry also was a product of Cove Church.

Clergy Associated With Church to Attend

The year-long activities marking the 200th anniversary of Cove United Presbyterian Church in Weirton will culminate with a special church service Sunday, when Price H. Gwynn III, moderator of the General Assembly, will be special guest speaker. He is the highest official of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and an elder at the Steele Creek Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

During the 11 am, worship service, Gwynn will extend greetings of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and will make a presentation at the 1:30 p.m. program. He will be available for a 20 minute question and answer period. The sermon, “Not As They Do!” will be delivered by the Rev. Inn Soon Choi, a former associate pastor at Cove Church. Choi is in his 14th  year as pastor of Parkview Presbyterian Church, a 400 member congregation in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Mrs. Ron Choi will be the soloist, singing How Beautiful.

Other special guests of the day will be individuals who grew up at Cove Church and entered the ministry.

Returning favorite sons of the church will include the Rev. Robert Marsh of First Presbyterian Church, St. Mary’s County, California, Md.; the Rev. Robert Brown, son of the late Dr. G. Ousley Brown, (former pastor) and associate pastor of Collingwood Presbyterian Church, Wexford, Pa., the Rev. Franklyn McHendry, retired 25-year pastor of Clearwater-Largo Presbyterian Church; and the Rev. Robert Gracey, clergy member of the Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery who supplies area pulpits.

Other special guests will include the Rev. Richard Baker, executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of the Upper Ohio Valley; Nancy Ludewig of Mingo Junction, moderator of the Upper Ohio Valley; and John Contoveros, a seminary student at Dallas Theological Seminary and an affiliate member of Cove Church.

The worship service will begin at 11 a.m. in the church sanctuary. A luncheon, program and reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.

The year long celebration was observed with several services and activities in combination with the sister church in Paris. A day long service in the mode of the early services was held with attendees dressing in period costumes. It was the first time in 130 years the congregations joined together to observe their common foundation.

Church Takes Active Role in Community

There’s a lot more to church than filling a seat in the pews each Sunday morning.

At Cove, we believe a church must take an active role in its community — that’s why we open our doors to anyone who needs us, member or not.

We have a Clothes Closet to assist folks who need help providing for their families. Open each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon, our closet is stocked with used clothing as well as toiletries (soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and shaving cream, for instance), paper products (facial tissues, paper towels, napkins, toilet paper and disposable diapers) and cleaning supplies (laundry detergent, bleach, fabric softeners and the like).

The Clothes Closet also provides much-needed clothing and supplies for newborn babies — things like T-shirts, gowns and receiving blankets — in conjunction with Weirton Medical Center’s O.B. Clinic.

Donations are always welcome and can be brought to the church any time.

We host an Overeater’s Anonymous group each Tuesday, a Narcotics Anonymous gathering every Wednesday and, on the first Wednesday of each month, the Ohio Valley Computer Club. We also sponsor Boy Scout Troop 34 as well as Cub Scout Troop 34, which has some 40-50 youths enrolled in its scout, Tiger and Webelo divisions.

If you like music, we’ve got choirs aplenty to offer: Genesis Choir for kindergarten-aged children up to the fourth grade; Rainbow Choir for children in grades five to eight; Celebration Choir for high schoolers; and our adult choir. There also are handbell choirs currently forming.

We have a Youth Fellowship Group aimed at promoting fellowship among our young people, and we have weekly Bible Studies for our church people, young and old. Some 100 area residents now take part in the ever-popular Bethel Bible class, a two-year in-depth study of the Old and New Testaments. The groups meet for three, seven-week semesters each year.

Once a month we have A Moment With Our Children, a special lesson for youngsters drawing on the kinds of growing-up experiences we all share, and we have Dial-A-Prayer (748-7900) for those of us young and old who need reminding that we’re not alone.

Dec. 2 is the first Sunday in Advent, and at Cove we’ll mark the occasion with our annual Hanging of the Greens ceremony. Once again we’ve added to our outdoor lighting display, this year outlining the “bell” in our bell tower.

We enjoy visiting our shut-ins, especially during the holiday sea son when we take them the poinsettias that have graced our sanctuary through Advent. The plants, donated by members of our congregation, are delivered by the Board of Deacons after the Christmas Eve candlelight service.

Our deacons also collect canned foods and dry goods for food baskets for needy families at holiday time, and just last month our youth group went door-to-door collecting money for UNICEF. We also give $2,000 each year to the Salvation Army to help pay utility bills for the needy. As a church, we try to do things in and for our community. As a people, we try to do things for and with those around us. That’s what being a church is all about.

Bible Talk: The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, August 31, 201...

Bible Talk: The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, August 31, 201...: Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Psalms (Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c), Old Testament (Exodus 3:1-15), the Letters (Romans 1...

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 27, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 27, 2014: Today our passages are Job 23:1–27:23; 2 Corinthians 1:12–2:11; Psalm 41:1-13; and Proverbs 22:5-6 . The readings are from The ...

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Situation Report - Northern California Earthquake

August 25, 2014

Before dawn Sunday morning, August 24, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck Northern California – the strongest there in 25 years.  Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties. There have been at least 192 injuries reported.  Damage assessments are ongoing, with reports of partial structural collapses, multiple structure fires, 50 gas leaks, 72 water main breaks, and than 90 homes red-tagged with severe enough damage that they are uninhabitable.
PDA has been in touch with the executive presbyter of the Presbytery of the Redwoods to offer assistance and support in responding during the aftermath of the quake.  The First Presbyterian Church in Napa is among the buildings which have been damaged.
PDA will continue to be in touch with the presbytery and with partners in the local community to offer assistance and provide resources.

How you can help

You can stand in the GAP for disaster survivors and help the church with this response.
Give.  Share your financial blessings by designating gifts to DR000015–U.S.A. Disasters and Emergencies. Individuals may give through your local Presbyterian congregation, online, or by mailing a check to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 
P.O. Box 643700 
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.  
Act:  Like us on facebook (PDAcares) and share updates with your congregation and others.
Pray.  Please pray for those who have been injured and those offering assistance – that they will find that the grace of Christ is enough, even during early days following the quake. Pray for the local congregations who, even as they are amidst the chaos, will be seeking to help their communities recover.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line – Victims No More

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. If you're interested in hearing this devotion, call 1-304-748-7900. You can also find a podcast at Podbean or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).

Acts 9:36-43

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Victims No More

As Christians, I think we’ve assumed a victims mentality. In other words, we often seem to sound and act like we’re being dominated by certain social forces over which we have no control. Of course, the identity of those forces tend to change depending on our position on the political spectrum. But it doesn’t matter whether we’re being manipulated by a left-wing wackos who are determined to plunge us into a moral cesspool or by right-wing nut-jobs who won’t be satisfied until we’re all packing heat and certain groups within our society are made to drink from different fountains all in the name of the god they worship, in other words, it doesn’t really matter who’s responsible, the assumptions that we often make are the same. One, “they’re” in control; “they” have all the power. Two, there’s nothing we can do about it, but of course, complain among ourselves; we are powerless. And three, we Christians all victims in a world that has removed God and all we can really to is to wait passively for the unavoidable. That’s what I mean by a “victims mentality.”

And even though, I think we face plenty of problems as a society, there are some fundamental flaws in “victim-logic.” First, “they” are not in control and neither are “we.” I believe it’s pretty clear that position belongs to God. It did yesterday. It does today. And it will tomorrow. And I’ll tell you, neither the ACLU nor the Tea Party is going to change that. Second, whether we accept it or not, we have power. You see, just like Peter had the authority to resuscitate Tabitha, right here and now, God has given us the power literally to change the world. And third, because of all that, we are victims only if we allow ourselves to be. You see, we can certainly allow ourselves to be distracted from the mission we were given by Jesus himself, namely “to make disciples of all nations” by demonstrating love for both God and neighbor, and we can convince ourselves that we’re somehow serving God by withdrawing from the world and judging our neighbors. We can do this. But if we do, that’s on us, not on God nor our society. You see, it may be time that we showed some faith in God’s control and claimed the power that he’s already given us and then stood up as his people. In other words, it may be time we let the world know that we are victims no more.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 26, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 26, 2014: Today our passages are Job 16:1–22:30; 1 Corinthians 16:1–2 Corinthians 1:11; Psalm 40:1-17; and Proverbs 22:1-4 . The readings a...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday's Sermon - It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over

Below is a copy of the sermon I preached on Sunday in Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, West Virginia and in Two Ridges Presbyterian Church, Wintersville, Ohio. You can also find a podcast of this sermon at Podbean or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).

Exodus 1:8–2:10

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him. The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over

I think I’m pretty safe in saying that Yogi Berra was a great baseball player. I mean, according to Wikipedia, he’s “...one of only four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times and is one of seven managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series. As a player, coach, or manager, Berra appeared in 21 World Series, winning 13 of them. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. ...He was [also] named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in a voting of fans in 1999. [And] according to the win shares formula developed by sabermetrician Bill James, Berra is the greatest catcher of all time and the 52nd greatest non-pitching player in major-league history.” Pretty good, right?

You bet, but you know, for as good as we was as a player, Yogi is probably better known not for what he did but what he said. Let me give y’all a few examples. When asked about the game, he said, “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.” When giving directions to his New Jersey home, he explained that “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Or, and I’ll tell you, these seem pretty interesting to me, he said, “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours” and “You can observe a lot by watching.” Now that’s some of the stuff he said, something people have called “Yogiisms.”

But although they’re all good, this is probably the best known. In July 1973, Berra was managing the Mets, and they trailed the Chicago Cubs by 9½ games in the National League East. And when asked about the situation, he said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over." Now I can just imagine the reaction he got when he said it. I mean, not only is it a little too obvious, but since the point was probably that the Mets could still come back, suggesting it was ridiculous. When you’re having a bad season, teams just can’t make up that kind of ground, right? Of course not, that would be stupid, at least that’s what I think the writers assumed.

And I’ll tell you, I think we tend to make the same kind of assumptions when bad things happen in our lives. I mean, think about it, something bad happens to us or someone we love and immediately the assumptions start kicking in and suddenly all we can see is the bad, you know, the problems that we’re facing and the pain that’s probably going to follow. Man, we’re 9½ games out of first and there’s no way we’re going to make that up. And so, we come to the conclusion that it really is pretty much over, the fat lady has sung and the curtain has come down. You know what I’m talking about; we’ve all been there. And I’ll tell you, when that happens, I think it affects us in two very definite ways. I mean, this kind of thing has got to affect how we see the future. My gosh, how could we not start feeling hopeless. I mean, given what’s happening, there’s no way things are going to get any better. In fact, since yesterday was better than today, today will probably be better than tomorrow. Now, that’s pretty depressing, when the future is sliding down hill. The future is shot. But I think it also messes up the present, and I believe it does it in a weird way. I mean, you’d think that this kind of hopelessness would calm us down as we wait for the inevitable, but I don’t think that happens. Instead, when faced with this down trend, I think most of us panic, sort of like one of those extras in a horror movie running away from the zombies. Man, you know they’re going to be eaten, and they know it too. They’re not the stars, they’re extras for crying out loud, but they’re still running through the woods, right? And I think that’s what we do when personal garbage builds really builds up and the panic sets in; we start running amok. And the results, well, It does nothing to solve the problems we face, and it sure doesn’t reduce the hopelessness. As a matter of fact, more often than not, it makes life right now more unpleasant and a bad situation even worse. Let’s face it, that’s what happens.

And you know, I can believe that the Israelites in the story we read a little while ago, I think they would have said “amen” to what we’ve been saying. I mean, to call their situation bad would be an understatement. Out of pure jealousy and fear, the Egyptians who’d obviously forgotten how Joseph had saved their country, they started dumping on the children of Israel. And according to what’s written here, they did it to get the Jewish population down. And when hard labor didn’t work, Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the ancient world, tried a little genocide, by killing all the baby boys. Now, given the disparity in authority, I believe that most of those Israelites were probably pretty hopeless as they looked at their future and at least one Levite mother was panicked enough to put her son in a papyrus basket, plastered with bitumen and pitch and place it among the reeds on the bank of the Nile River. Now, I don’t know about y’all, but this seems like an act of desperation; there’s no faith mentioned here. And I’ll tell you, if I’d been in the story, I’d have probably felt the same way.

But of course, as we read it, the writer doesn’t want us to there, and I’m talking about there with those slaves who built the cities of Pithom and Rameses nor with Pharaoh’s daughter when she drew Moses out of the water. You see, while the Israelites had to deal with all the bad stuff themselves, we know some things they may not have understood, you know, like how the Lord was with his people; therefore, “...the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread” and how “...the midwives feared God; [therefore,] they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live.” You see, although it may not have been clear to them, we know that God is throughout this story. He’s guiding and shaping what’s happening. And since we’ve also read the rest of the book, we know that God is going to use Moses to lead his people out of Egypt and to give them the law that will shape their future in the Promised Land. In other words, even though they might not have understood it at the time, those immortal words of Yogi Berra certainly applied to those Hebrews in Egypt land.

And I’ll tell you, they apply to us as well. You see, just like God was with them, he’s also with us. You see, because we’re his people, God is with us. And even though, from where we stand, all of life’s mole hills may create mountains that we don’t think we’ll ever be able to scale, God is with us. And in spite of that feeling that we know we should be doing something but have no idea what it is, God is still with us. He loved us before the foundation of the world. And in the end, he’ll lead us into a new heaven and a new earth. And right this minute, we’re surrounded by his presence. This is his gift to us, and it’s not depended on what we do, say or feel. Man, it’s a done deal, regardless of whether we want it or not. I’m telling you, this is something we can take to the bank.

And when we do, when we trust that’s it all been accomplished without our permission or help and when we realize that we don’t have the power to undo it, then in spite of the problems and pain, the fears and frustrations, the trials and trouble, then I believe we’ll feel a genuine sense of hope as we look into the future and maintain a real focus as we do the best we can with what we’ve got right now in the present. In other words, when we accept the truth that our destinies are in the hands of God and God couldn’t love us more than he does right now, our lives will absolutely change, and change for the better.

Now, remember when we were talking about Yogi Berra at the beginning of the sermon and in particular how, when his team was behind by 9½ games with only a couple of months left in the season, remember what he said about things being over? Well, as it turned out, he was right; the Mets rallied to win the division title on the final day of the season. And I’ll tell you, even though we may face issues that drain our hope and ratchet up our panic, the same is true for us, just like it was for the children of Israel there in Egypt. Since God is in control, the bad will never win in the end, and when we trust that fact, I think we’ll feel hope and focus in spite of the obstacles we face. Therefore, even though I may question his wisdom as it relates to going to funerals and I’m confused by how much of baseball is mental and how much is physical, I believe Yogi was right on the mark when he said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 25, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 25, 2014: Today our passages are Job 12:1–15:35; 1 Corinthians 15:29-58; Psalm 39:1-13; and Proverbs 21:30-31 . The readings are from The...

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Situation Report - Response to Violence in Iraq

More than 1.5 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Iraq after fleeing the violence and religious persecution that the Islamic State (IS) has inflicted upon large portions of northern and western Iraq. The country is now contending with one of the largest internal displacements in the world.
Many of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are persecuted religious minorities, including Yazidis and Christians who are trapped in Sinjar, the Ninewa Plains, or Iraqi Kurdistan near the Syrian border, with little access to food or water.
Also known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), the militant group continues its encroachment in the region, and the number of IDPs is expected to increase.
In a letter from our mission partner The National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, we hear, “We cry to all Christian churches around the world to move, raise their voices to the world powers to stop such inhuman acts against humanity . . . We call upon the world to motivate every possibility to prevent annihilation of the Christians and other minorities at the hand of criminal groups such as Daesh in this part of the world . . . we cry to God to give peace and bring this tragic situation to an end.  In God we trust and to God we cry.”

Response

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has already sent One Great Hour of Sharing funds to our mission partner the National Evangelical Church of Iraq, who is providing families who have fled from Mosel with food, water, clothing, fuel, hygiene items, and bedding.
PDA is also responding as a member of the ACT Alliance in providing humanitarian aid and carrying out protection initiatives, particularly for women and children.
ACT is also calling for human rights and international humanitarian law to be respected, and is urging governments and intergovernmental bodies to find a lasting solution to the crisis and to identify proactive actions to respond to early signs of conflicts.
Stand in the GAP and help the thousands of families forced from their home because of their faith to receive food and other essential items.

How you can help

Stand in the GAP for those in need and help the church respond to this crisis.
Give. Share your financial blessings by designating gifts to DR000082-Iraq. Individuals may give through your local Presbyterian congregation, online, or by mailing a check to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) P.O. Box 643700 Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700. 
Act. 
Pray.
God of mercy, God of peace, how long?  How long, O Lord?For your people in Iraq, the knock at the door in the dark of night may be a stranger in need,     or the onset of violence…grant courage and wisdom.Your children seek to be Christ’s generous presence to those in desperate need,     to practice welcome in the midst of terror.They flee before the threat of violence and death: shelter them with your grace.In the midst of such complex chaos, help us not to turn away,     but to keep our hearts and eyes open     to be generous in prayer and in practiceTo aid our neighbors as they work, even in the midst of fearfulness     to give with generosity, receive with love, and trust in the     refuge of your sheltering wings. May your Spirit of courage, of mercy and of peace be upon them, and us all, in Christ’s name.  Amen.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 24, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 24, 2014: Today our passages are Job 12:1–15:35; 1 Corinthians 15:29-58; Psalm 39:1-13; and Proverbs 21:30-31 . The readings are from The ...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Locals Receive Scholarships

August 19, 2014

MORGANTOWN - Three local residents were recognized at the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy Scholarships and Awards Convocation held this spring.

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Molly Cline, left, is presented the Bernabei Independent Pharmacy
Scholarship by Dr. S. Suresh Madhavan, professor and chair,
Department of Pharmaceutical Systems and Policy,
WVU School of Pharmacy.
Molly Cline of Colliers was the recipient of the Bernabei Independent Pharmacy Scholarship, which was established by JJ and Sue Bernabei, members of the WVU School of Pharmacy Class of 1989, of Follansbee Drug and is awarded to deserving student pharmacists.

Louis Comis of Weirton was the recipient of the Steven C. Judy Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to students who are in good academic standing and who are interested in pursuing a career in rural and independent community pharmacy practice.

Melissa Hood of Follansbee was the recipient of the Charles Stump Community Service Award, awarded to deserving students who demonstrate outstanding community service to citizens of the state of West Virginia.

She was also a recipient of the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy Leadership Scholarship - an essay-based scholarship that recognizes student pharmacists who demonstrate innovation, initiative-driven leadership at a local, state, or national level and have had a positive impact in the profession of pharmacy or community

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line – When God Chooses

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. If you're interested in hearing this devotion, call 1-304-748-7900. You can also find a podcast at Podbean or iTunes (Cove Presbyterian Church).

Acts 9:10-19a

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

When God Chooses

Ananias had a problem. The Lord had called him to get up and to help the wrong kind of man, a person who had a reputation for doing horrible things to Christians, an individual who represented the very folks who most hated the faith. The Lord called Ananias not just to go to him but to enable him to regain his sight, something that he certainly deserved to lose. Now that’s what he was called to do. And if that wasn’t bad enough, after raising some doubts, the Lord told Ananias that this persecutor would be the one who would share the good news to both the Gentiles and the Jews. In other words, God had chosen a man who was wrong in so many ways to change the world. And Ananias listened and went and laid his hands on Saul, the one who would later be called Paul, and the rest was history.

And for us, well, God isn’t bound by our assumptions and prejudices. Sometimes he still selects folks that we might consider unacceptable and ill-suited to do his work. And when he does, I hope I respond just like Ananias, because when you get right down to it, when God chooses, we can be sure that the choice is right.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 23, 2014

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for August 23, 2014: Today our passages are Job 8:1–11:20; 1 Corinthians 15:1-28; Psalm 38:1-22; and Proverbs 21:28-29 . The readings are from The Me...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cove Kids: Children Bulletins for Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cove Kids: Children Bulletins for Sunday, August 24, 2014: Below are puzzles for children focused on Psalm 124:1-8, one of the passages we'll consider this Sunday. There are two “bulletins,” one ...

Cove's Bulletin for Sunday, August 24, 2014

Below is a copy of our Sunday bulletin. During the service, we'll focus on how we avoid the kind of distractions that prevent us from becoming everything God created us to be.