Saturday, January 31, 2015

The View From Cove - January 30,2015












A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line – The One Indispensable Aspect of Worship

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a podcast on the church page at Cove Presbyterian Podbean page.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.

Know that the LORD is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

The One Indispensable Aspect of Worship

People can worship God in a lot of different ways and in a lot of different places. I mean, thousands of people can gather together in cathedrals or auditoriums, and they can participate in rituals that Christians have followed for centuries or they can sing songs, played on instruments by people on a stage that sound and look like something from a theater rather than a traditional church. Now that has certainly become of part of what we consider worship. But so has the idea of a group of people, maybe sitting on pews in a small chapel or on sofas in an even smaller living room, focusing their attention on the one who led them to that place, at that time. You see, those folks may also be worshiping.

But regardless of the format, regardless of the location and regardless of the participants, I think this psalm reminds us of one indispensable aspect of worship, something that can get lost in all the words but which may be absolutely necessary for genuine worship to occur, and I’m talking about joy. You see, without joy felt and expressed, I believe it may be impossible to praise God and to thank him for what he’s done and will continue to do. As a matter of fact, true confession and repentance can only be made by people who know that, through Jesus, their sins are forgiven and that nothing can separate them from God’s love as turn from their past and move into their future. You see, without joy, I’m not sure the other stuff matters; therefore, the next time we worship our Lord, let’s decide to make the noise joyful.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 31. 2015

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 31. 2015: Today our passages are Exodus 12:14–13:16; Matthew 20:29–21:22; Psalm 25:16-22; and Proverbs 6:12-15 . The readings are the Contem...

Friday, January 30, 2015

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

On Sunday, February 1, Cove Presbyterian Church will lift to God the following needs.

Adults
Alyssa LaRosa
Annette Goff
Barbara Maze
Bill Manley
Cameron Gray
Carlyn
Chad Wilson
Cindi Livingston
Conrad Criss
Corinne Ferguson
Deloris Chesebro
Dick Spencer
Elizabeth Sue Hunt
Emery Edwards
Evan Pulice
Gen Meyer
George Bownlee
Greta Billham
Jeff Grant
Jen's Mom
Jim & Shelley Pearson
Jo Magnone
Joanie Lawrence
Jodi Kraina
John Guglielmo
John Philips
John Schlotter
Josh Boyd
Judy Edmonds
Karen Lombardi
Kelly Stephens
Larry Shane
Lou Ann Seevers
Marcia Cooper
Martha Meadows
Matthew Kirtley
Michael Frank
Mike Churchman
Mike McCleaf
M'Liz Held
Patty Hvizdak
Paul D. Welch
Peggy Stewart
Phyllis Manley
Randy Willson
Rob Roy Jones
Ronnie Buffington
Rose Bell
Rosemarie Gomineck
Sally Marple
Sam Fortunato
Sharon Wheeler
Shirley Everhart Kirtley
Stacy Jo Vogel
Susie Kurcina
Wink Harner

Children
Aksel Ace
Audri King
Basil Collen Slater
Daniel Marchione
Devon Bragg
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonathan Marte
Kade Haines
Kya Schwertfeger
Leyton Burket
Lily Ghrist
Lucian Hill
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec

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

In the Hospital
Corinne Ferguson – Weirton Medical Center
Gen Meyer – Weirton Medical Center

Church Families
Gen & Joe Meyer
Benna Milliken
Grace Michell

Local Church
Oakland Presbyterian Church

Special Friend
Ron Taflan – 145 Colliers Way, Weirton, WV  26062-4043

Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery Congregations
Oakland Presbyterian Church, Weirton, WV – Pastor Randall Krebs
First Presbyterian Church, Wellsburg, WV – Rev. Mary Jane Knapp

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice & Kenny Orr – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV  26062
Conrad Criss – Wyngate, 101 Wyngate Dr., Weirton, WV  26062
Dolores Edwards – Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr., Weirton, WV  26062
Eleanor Dueley – Brightwood Center, 840 Lee Ridge Rd., Follansbee, WV  26037
Harry Hutch – Villa Vista, Room 507, 1800 Sinclair Ave., Steubenville, OH  43953
June Virtue – Grace Cottage, 195 Eden Dr., Weirton, WV  26062-3664
Margaret Heaton – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV  26062

What's Happening at Cove Presbyterian Church?

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

CHANCEL CHOIR PRACTICE . . .
is being held at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings in the choir room.  Anyone wishing to praise God through song is welcome to join us!

DON'T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL  . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m.

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.

WINTER COMMUNION. . .
will be observed this morning during the morning worship. If you know of someone who can not attend, but  would like communion please contact the church office.

AFTER THE SERVICE THIS MORNING . . .
you're invited to the Deacons' Outgoing Officer Appreciation & Souper Bowl Luncheon.  Join us after worship for a variety of homemade soups, hot dogs and cake.  Lunch is free, if you so choose you can donate and item or two for the food pantry.

BOARD MEETINGS . . .
Board of Deacons will meet on Monday, February 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.
Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, February 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.
Board of Session will meet on Sunday, February 15 at 12:20 p.m. in the board room.

PAINT BRUSH SOCIALS . . .
Love IS ALL AROUND Saturday, February 7 beginning at 1:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.
Country House Saturday, February 21 beginning at 1:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.
For more information contact Deborah Smith at 304-914-6286 or
paintbrushsocial@gmail.com

OUR TUESDAY EVENING STUDY . . .
will not next meet. We'll next meet on Tuesday, February 10, at 6:30 p.m. to continue our study of the Gospel of Mark. During this session, we'll discuss Mark 4:1-34, focusing some of Jesus's Kingdom parables. And so bring your Bibles and get ready to grow in your understanding of God's word to us.

PREPARATION FOR EASTER . . .
begins on Ash Wednesday, February 18.  Please join us for a service of prayer, reflection, songs, and meditation beginning at 7:00 p.m. There will be devotional booklets and prayer boxes available to assist you in your Lenten Journey.

REMINDER. . .
when Hancock County Schools are closed due to weather, we assume evening activities at the church are cancelled. Therefore, there will be no custodial staff at the church that evening.

NOTE THE CHANGE IN OUR OFFICE HOURS. . .
the church office will be open on Monday thru Thursday from 7:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m.  The office will now be closed on Fridays.

FOOD PANTRY NEEDS. . .
cereal, pancake mix and syrup, canned fruit, cake, muffin, brownie or cookie mix, gravy, boxed potatoes, tuna or hamburger helper, side dishes, and manwich. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated, even an item or two.

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.

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 eight 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 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 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 or to receive communion 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.

FOR THIS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2015. . .
the Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery asks that all churches pray for:
Oakland Presbyterian Church, Weirton, WV – Pastor Randall Krebs
First Presbyterian Church, Wellsburg, WV – Rev. Mary Jane Knapp

Friday’s Essay – Let It Go

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 (Cove Presbyterian Church).

This morning, I looked at a little YouTube video I hadn’t seen in a long time, one that I think is even better than “What Does the Fox Say” or “Gangnum Style.” I watched the video of “Let It Go,” from Frozen, but not the one directly from the movie. You see, since Disney produces movies for the entire world, it dubs them in different languages, including the songs. And they made a short video with the song being sung in twenty-five different languages. But in the video, it moves from one language to another seamless. And if it didn’t show the different singers, you might swear that Idina Menzel sang them all. I’ll tell you, it’s amazing.

But you know, that’s not why I watched the video this morning. You see, I’ve been thinking a lot about the song in general, and in particular, the title. And it seems to offer some pretty good advice, something that we should probably all consider doing but that’s actually a lot easier for Christians to follow than others. Let me explain.

As I look around, including in the mirror, I see a lot of folks who’d probably be a lot better off if they could just let it go. I mean, for them, something happened in the past: maybe their feelings got hurt or they were disappointed by a comment made or action not taken, or maybe they had to go through something they certainly didn’t choose and probably didn’t deserve. My goodness, they might even feel guilt and shame at something they did to someone else. The specifics don’t really matter. There are plenty of folks, even communities, who’ve been hit by something. But instead of moving forward, they kind of get stuck. In fact, the past becomes an anchor that prevents them from moving at all. It becomes a lens through which they see and interpret their lives. And since they spend so much time dwelling, almost obsessing on what happened rather than moving on, their anger or resentment or disappointment grows and grows and grows, leaving them to turn their backs on the future so that they can live in the past. Now I think we all know that this kind of thing happens all the time.

And you know, when it happens to us, when we slip into this bog, I think the song offers an imperative that would certainly make our lives better. Without trying to pretend that whatever it was didn’t happen, which seems to be a little like trying not to think of a purple monkey, I believe we can let it go. In other words, we can let go of the hurt and disappointment. We can let go of the injustice and unfairness. We can let go of the guilt and shame. You see, we can let go of the anchor so that we can refocus our attention on charting a course forward. And instead of letting a comment or a slight or a disappointment distort our vision, we can see the future for what it is, a bundle of opportunities and possibilities we can claim. In other words, when we’re stuck, we can just let go of whatever’s sticking us.

And this is something we can all do, but like I said, I think it’s a little easier for Christians. You see, even though we’re just as likely to dwell on and in the past, we’re aware of two things that others might not understand. I mean, we know that we’re the children of God. God loves us and is always leading us forward and not backward. And to do that, he’s constantly cleansing our past and equipping us for the future. This is something we know. And second, we know that he’s also a source of strength and guidance so that we can deal with past right now in the present. You see, he can give us the ability to forgive and to confess, to restore and to repent. This is something that’s always available, and all we need to do is to claim and to use it.

Now, “Let It Go” is a great song and when it’s presented by those twenty-five different singers, it’s the basis for an incredible video. But for as good as it is, I believe the advice is even better. I’ll tell you, in spite of the hurts and pains, the disappointments and frustrations, the guilt and shame, the past doesn’t have to hold us back. When we trust in what God’s done and claim what he offers, we can move forward, free from antique yokes and burdens. You see, with both Indina and Elsa, we can truly let it go.

Cove Kids: Children Bulletins for Sunday, February 1, 2015

Cove Kids: Children Bulletins for Sunday, February 1, 2015: Below are puzzles for children focused on Deuteronomy 18:15-20. There are two “bulletins,” one for ages 3-6 and the other for ages 7-12. Fee...

Cove's Bulletin for Sunday, February 1, 2015

Below is a copy of our Sunday bulletin. Using a passage from Deuteronomy, the service and sermon will focus on why we might want to pause and think before we claim to know what Jesus would do if he were here with us.









The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 30, 2015

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 30, 2015: Today our passages are Exodus 10:1–12:13; Matthew 20:1-28; Psalm 25:1-15; and Proverbs 6:6-11 . The readings are the Contemporary E...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line – “Both/And”

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a podcast on the church page at Cove Presbyterian Podbean page.

Galatians 3:1-9

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing? — if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

“Both/And”

Through out the history of the church, Christians have struggled over the relative importance of faith and works. During some periods, those who favor works have had the upper hand, but at other times, the scale tilted toward faith. And when it has, the faith folks have quoted passages like the one we read from Galatians to support their position, while the workers have pointed at James 2.26: “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” Of course, this disagreement has become intense, with Christians doing battle with one another intellectually, spiritually and physically. As a matter of fact, the Body of Christ has splintered over what should receive the accent: faith or works.

And personally, I think this is real shame, because I don’t think Paul, James or any other Biblical writer believed that faith and works were an “either/or” proposition. Rather, it’s always been and is now a “both/and.” As a matter of fact, when the pendulum swings too far in one direction or the other, Christianity loses something essential: either we become so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good or we become so focused on response that we forget the reason. But when our perspective is in balance, I think we’re in a much better position to love both God and neighbor.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 29, 2015

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 29, 2015: Today our passages are Exodus 7:25–9:35; Matthew 19:13-30; Psalm 24:1-10; and Proverbs 6:1-5 . The readings are the Contemporary E...

The Connecting Link, a publication for the Presbyterian Women - January 2015








Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Growing in Grace: The Gospel of Mark (Session 3: Grey Clouds (Mark 2...

Growing in Grace: The Gospel of Mark (Session 3: Grey Clouds (Mark 2...: You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. During this session, we considered the first appearanc...

Sunday's Minute for Mission - Souper Bowl of Caring

Youth of First Presbyterian in Hastings at a workshop comparing inner and outer beauty Photo by Bill Nottage-Tacey
Youth of First Presbyterian in Hastings at
a workshop comparing inner and outer beauty
The math and the money weren’t working out. That’s what 30 youth of First Presbyterian Church in Hastings, Nebraska, were finding out as they wheeled their shopping carts through the supermarket aisles. Each had hoped to raise raise enough money to feed a family of four for a week. By carrying cooking utensils about before Sunday services and placing a soup kettle on the Communion table, they had raised $3,500—about $120 each.
The students had been carefully instructed by their leaders and an extension nutritionist about food prices and the type and volume of food a family of four would need.
Armed with calculators, family profiles, and grocery lists, they came to the checkout stands. As the groceries were rung up, they realized how little could be purchased for $120. Most were going to have to return at least a third of the items in their carts. They contemplated the sad task of returning food to the shelves, realizing that their good intentions had run into the harsh reality of poverty. Thankfully, they didn’t have to return the food. The deacons and elders had pledged to cover the difference, so that each family would receive a full cart’s worth of groceries.
Since that experience, the youth have made a commitment to eight countywide agencies fighting hunger. They ask, “Shouldn’t feeding the hungry be a commitment for all Christians?” Indeed!
The Souper Bowl of Caring began in South Carolina in 1990 and at First Presbyterian in Hastings in 1998. The event has expanded this national day of fun into a day of faith as well.
Rev. Dr. Bill Nottage-Tacey, First Presbyterian Church, Hastings, Nebraska

Bible Talk: The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, February 1, 20...

Bible Talk: The Lectionary Passages for Sunday, February 1, 20...: Below are NRSV translations of the lessons from the Psalms (Psalm 111), Old Testament (Deuteronomy 18:15-20), the Letters (1 Corinthian 8:1-...

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 28, 2015

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 28, 2015: Today our passages are Exodus 5:22–7:24; Matthew 18:23–19:12; Psalm 23:1-6; and Proverbs 5:22-23 . The readings are the Contempor...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line – Inside Out

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a podcast on the church page at Cove Presbyterian Podbean page.

Mark 6:6b-13

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Inside Out

I’ve now been a minister in the Presbyterian Church for over half my life. And during that time I’ve worked as hard as I could to bring people into the Body of Christ. As a matter of fact, I think in some very real ways, that’s been my goal. And because of that, it’s also been the most important criteria that I’ve used to evaluate my efforts, particularly as a teacher and a preacher. In other words, if the discussions I lead are well-attended and there are plenty of people in the pews on Sunday morning, I must be doing what God has called me to do, and I must be doing it fairly well. Of course, if the numbers are low, something I’ve always found that personally discouraging, then I haven’t been doing it well at all, and I need to look for better, more inviting ways to encourage folks to come inside.

Now this assumption has shaped my understanding of myself and the work I offer to the Lord for almost thirty years. And although I think bringing folks in is important, I now believe it’s actually the means to a greater, more important end. You see, based on passages like the one we just read, I’m coming to believe that God has called us to bring people into his church so that they might be equipped to go out and to do his work in the world around them. Of course, if this understanding is correct, then I may need to change what I do as a minister. But that’s not all. It may also demand that we reevaluate how we see ourselves as the Body of Christ. You see, we become less a destination and more like a garage and gas station along the way, a place where people are equipped and empowered to complete their own journey.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 27, 2015

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 27, 2015: Today our passages are Exodus 4:1–5:21; Matthew 18:1-22; Psalm 22:19-31; and Proverbs 5:15-21 . The readings are the Contemporary E...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sunday’s Sermon – Expect the Unexpected

Below is a copy of the sermon I preached on Sunday in Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, West Virginia. You can also find a podcast of this sermon at The Cove Podbean page.

Jonah 3:1-5, 10

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

Expect the Unexpected

I imagine that most, if not all of y’all heard about the Colts game last Sunday. I’ve got to tell you, after it was over, I felt really deflated. I mean, you get yourself all pumped up, and then it’s all done and over. Your team’s lost, and it feels like like someone knocked the wind right out of you.  Although, I’ve got to admit, the way the Patriots blew up the score board; man, it’s breath-taking. But not really unexpected. Of course I’ve been kind of alluding to the footballs and what they’re calling “deflategate.” But it’s like I heard on an Indianapolis sports radio station,  the results of the game would have been the same if the Patriots had been playing with soap. And so, whether or not those eleven balls had the right psi level, well, the results weren’t really surprising.

But the early game, man, there’s no way anybody could have expected the Seahawks not only to get that onside kick, but to march down the field, score a touchdown and complete the first extra point “Hail Mary” pass I’ve ever seen. I’ve got to believe the Packers were stunned after it was over. I’ll tell you, I think the British politician Charles Kennedy was right on the mark when he said, “The one thing we can all be sure about in politics is you are as well to expect the unexpected.” And as we saw on Sunday, the same can be said about football whether they’re fully inflated or not. And as the passage we just read from Jonah reminds us, it might also apply to God. In other words, if we want to live in this world, we just might have to expect the unexpected.

But having said that, I don’t think that’s easy for us to do. I mean, I think we tend to have a difficult time accepting  much less expecting people and God to act in ways that we don’t expect. It’s sort of like we talked about last week, we assume a lot of stuff as we live our lives, and one of the assumptions I think we all make is that God thinks and acts a lot like us, and so should other people. And for that reason, when they don’t, they’re wrong and we can certainly expect God to show them the errors of their ways, because that’s what we would do, right? Of course that always leads to hostility and conflict when folks fall short of our expectations, but what can you do? You’ve got to break a few eggs to make a omelette.  And without hostility and conflict they’d be no reality TV and cable news programs would have to talk about the news, and I don’t think anybody wants that. Of course, that’s when we impose what we expect on others.

But what happens when we fail to meet our own expectations and we’re having a tough time finding some kind of loop-hole in the divine standards that we’ve applied to God, and I’m talking about one that we actually believe in our heart of hearts. I’ll tell you, I think I’m in big trouble when I believe that God will hold me accountable to the same expectations that I expect him to impose on people I don’t like and does it with the same impartial justice and inflexible punishment I expect them to get. I guess the bottom-line is that our relationships with others  and our personal view of the future suffers when all we can expect is the expected.

But you know, what happened in Seattle last Sunday afternoon shows us that that’s not always true in  football and I’ll tell you, I think the passage we just read in Jonah reminds us that it’s not always true with people and with God either. I mean, think about what’s going on here. After all this stuff he’d already gone through, a story that sounds kind of fishy to me, “the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, ‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.’” And when he got there, man, his message was a real crowd pleaser, wasn’t it?  Talk about negative, Jonah “...cried out, ‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’” Now that’s what he said and I think it’s also something he expected. I mean, the first time Jonah was called, God said, “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.” Good night, this was a wicked bunch there in Nineveh. And like I said, I think Jonah expected God to let them have it, because later, when God didn’t, it says that “...this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry.” You see, Jonah was ticked because neither Nineveh nor God did what he expected them to do. I mean, in this huge, wicked city, instead of giving him the raspberries and running him out of town, “...the people of Nineveh [did the unexpected. They] believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. [And] when God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God [did the unexpected. He] changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them;  and he did not do it.” You see, right here Jonah learned something he really didn’t want to learn, that when you’re dealing with people and with God, you might we wise to expect the unexpected.

And even though it might not be any easier or painless for us as it was for him, I think we probably need to do the same. You see, I think we should make the conscious decision to become open to unexpected from people and God. And even though I don’t want to blow any smoke, it won’t be easy, I think it might improve our lives in two pretty important ways. But like I said, it won’t be easy. I mean, one, I think it’s going to take some real humility on our part. And I’ll tell you, doing this demands that we really become humble, and for some of us, man, humility may represent a challenge. I mean, I don’t have to be very humble to run around, imposing my expectations on everybody else and then assume that they’re all exactly  what God expects too. And I don’t have to be very humble if I assume that I can tell by just looking at how people live or hearing how they talk or smelling what they eat whether or not they’re going to meet God’s expectations. And I sure don’t have to be very humble to expect divine rewards and punished to be doled out based on my assumptions. But to take a step back, recognizing that being the Lord and creator of the universe is above and beyond my pay scale,  to recognize that my assumptions about the people around me may be right but they may also be dead wrong, and to accept that even if they’re right, Paul was also right when, after he wrote, “For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all,” he described God in this way to the Romans: “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever”, I’m telling you, to do this, man, it’s going to take humility and humility ain’t easy. And that’s one.

And two, it’s also going to take faith, especially when we realize that we haven’t measured up either. I mean, to get pass the guilt and the fear I might be feeling when I’ve disappointed both myself and my God, I really need to believe that God is really a lot different from me, because, again as Paul wrote to the Romans, God did something I’d have never done and he feels something that I know I don’t always feel. Paul wrote that “...while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us,” I can’t tell you right here and now, I wouldn’t do that, but God did. And then a little later, he wrote,  that nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And in my book, and I’m talking about The Book, nothing means nothing. Now, I’ve to be straight with y’all, that’s not how I feel, but God does. You see, for us to expect the unexpected from others and from God,  it’s going to take both humility and faith, neither of which is easy.

But if, with God’s help, we’re able to do it. I mean, if we’re able to become more humble as we look at ourselves and more faithful as we look toward God, in other words, if we can come to a point when we’re not limited by our expectations, I think we’ll experience two things that’ll make the effort worthwhile. I mean, first, in our relationship with others, we’ll experience more unity and joy then we had before. And that just makes sense. My gosh, when I become a little more humble and stop imposing my expectations on friend and foe and when I stop assuming that God’s going to do me a solid and enforce them himself, the hostility and conflict I feel toward my neighbor has got to drop. And in it’s place, who knows,  it might actually be replaced with understanding and compassion. Man, I might even feel actual joy when that person whom I judged to be less than worthless, experiences the love of the Father and the grace of the Son and the fellowship of  the Spirit, and does it without becoming like me nor meeting my expectations. When for us, the unexpected becomes possible, even likely, I believe we’ll feel a deeper sense of unity and joy with others. That’s the first thing that’ll happen.

And second, I think we’ll also gain for ourselves more hope and freedom as we look toward God. I mean, how could we not feel hope if we really believe that we’re in the hands of God, in his loving and gracious and merciful hands? And as to freedom, well, I think expectations can become like egg shells, something of which we’re terrified because the consequences of breaking them are so severe. But if God’s love is truly eternal and there’s really nothing we can do to block it, then maybe, as we consider how we might want to offer our thanks to him, maybe we can start thinking outside the box  and seek out new ways to offer our praise to the one who’s already given us so much. If we’re able to get pass the idea that we know exactly how God will enforce his will and what we’ll always receive, if we can get pass this, I think we’ll gain a lot more hope and freedom as we respond to God. And to me, that’s the second thing that’ll happen.

Of course, having said all that, I still have some very definite expectations going into the Super Bowl. You see, I really expect it to be a great game. That’s my expectation, even though I also expect Bill Belichick to do something questionable, you know, like spy on Seahawk practices or underinflate his footballs or maybe somehow slip a laxative in Seattle’s pregame oatmeal. But of course, I may be dead wrong. It might be a horrible game. But be that as it may, even though it might be difficult, we might want to turn down those expectations we carry into our relationships with one another and with God. You see, although it demands humility and faith, I think we gain a lot of unity and joy, hope and freedom when we do it. I’ll tell you, I think this happens when we’re able to expect the unexpected.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 26, 2015

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 26, 2015: Today our passages are Exodus 2:11–3:22; Matthew 17:10-27; Psalm 22:1-18; and Proverbs 5:7-14 . The readings are the Contemporary E...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 25, 2015

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 25, 2015: Today our passages are Genesis 50:1 – Exodus 2:10; Matthew 16:13–17:9; Psalm 22:1-18; and Proverbs 5:7-14 . The readings are the C...

Myrtle McHendry Class Meets

Cove Presbyterian Church’s Myrtle McHendry Sunday School Class met for the annual Christmas luncheon Dec. 2 at the church’s fellowship hail.

President Bonnie Nichols welcomed 17 members and three guests, including Karen Edwards, Joyce Hagerty and the Rev. Ed Rudi ger, church pastor, and read a Christmas poem.

Rudiger presented the invocation and table grace. Marcia Shane and Patti Saivati prepared a buffet luncheon. Eloise Evans and Beatrice Sobolak are hostesses. Barbara Losey present ed everyone with Christ mas hand towels and tree clips.

Nichols conducted a brief business meeting. Diana Durst gave the treasurer’s report and reported on the Christmas Shoppe Sale. She thanked everyone who helped with the event.

Penny Mourat gave the mission report,. thanking everyone who participated in the filling of 12 Christmas stockings. for children in need to be distributed through the Salvation Army.

Penny Mourat led a prayer of dedication for the stockings and for the children who will receive them. The group will make a donation to Jessi and Jake Schwertfeger to support their mission work in Zambia, East Africa. The couple have three small children and have served as missionaries for many years.

Members extended birthday well-wishes to Roxanne Berry, Betty Kraina and Betty Morgan. Members sang “Happy Birthday” and passed the birthday basket. Members passed the “Blessing Jar” for contributions.

Teacher Eleanor Cline encouraged every one to come to Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. each Sunday. The class is studying Jeremiah and Isaiah in the Old Testament and will soon begin studying the New Testament. Guests are welcome.

Officers for the coming year will be President Nichols, Vice President Betty Virtue, Treasurer Diana Durst and Secretary Esten Jezerski.

Following the business meeting, Joyce Cline Hagerty presented the program, “The Night of Nights.” Hagerty, Cline’s daughter, attended Cove through out her childhood, attending Sunday school, youth groups, choir, church camp and church-related activities. She taught art for 36 years arid recently retired. Hagerty said she had many opportunities to share her’ faith with young people through her work, telling them “everyone is blessed with a gift” and “a gift isn’t a gift until you give it away.”

Hagerty created a chalk drawing of the infant Jesus in the man ager, surrounded by worshiping lambs and overtopped by the Star of Bethleham during the program. As she worked, Cline read the Christmas story. Sue Willson and Enid Williams provided music.

Bonnie Nichols and class members thanked Hagerty for her presentation. Darlene Johnson presented Hagerty with a handmade shawl. Nichols gave a Christ mas reading to close the meeting.





Saturday, January 24, 2015

A New Devotion on Cove’s Prayer Line – Know Your Enemy

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a podcast on the church page at Cove Presbyterian Podbean page.

Ephesians 6:10-17

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.  Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.  As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.  With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Know Your Enemy

I think for a lot of Christians, the idea of the devil has gone out of fashion, and I can understand why. Given all those devil-related horror and comedy films I’ve seen during my life, the devil seems to be just another character in the movies, no more real than Jason or Freddy Krueger. And all those pictures of him with horns, a tail and cloven hoofs make him sort of cartoonish. And I’ll tell you, for me, all those folks who see Satan behind every government action and social movement they don’t like, well, I don’t think they enhance his reality either. For many people, the devil certainly isn’t anything close to an imminent threat.

But before we join their number, we might want to rethink the danger that’s personified by the devil. I mean, pushing aside the movies and the cartoons and the attempts to demonize those who might politically disagree with us, the devil, the tempter, the tester is a threat of which I think we always need to be aware, because I believe we’re constantly being tempted to look away from what we’ve been called to be and created to do, and our values and faith are always being tested. Whether you want to see him as a person or a force or even a dark side of our own  psyche, I believe the devil is real, and he’s our enemy. But here’s the good news, God has given us the ability and equipment to stand up and not just resist but to triumph over him on his very best day.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 24, 2015

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for January 24, 2015: Today our passages are Genesis 48:1–49:33; Matthew 15:29–16:12; Psalm 20:1-9; and Proverbs 4:20-27 . The readings are the Contempo...

Friday, January 23, 2015

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

On Sunday, January 25, Cove Presbyterian Church will lift to God the following needs.

Adults
Alyssa LaRosa
Annette Goff
Barbara Maze
Bill Manley
Bonnie Nichols
Cameron Gray
Carlyn
Chad Wilson
Cindi Livingston
Conrad Criss
Deloris Chesebro
Dick Spencer
Elizabeth Sue Hunt
Emery Edwards
Evan Pulice
Gen Meyer
George Bownlee
Greta Billham
Jeff Grant
Jen's Mom
Jim & Shelley Pearson
Jo Magnone
Joanie Lawrence
Jodi Kraina
John Guglielmo
John Philips
John Schlotter
Josh Boyd
Judy Edmonds
Karen Lombardi
Kelly Stephens
Lou Ann Seevers
Marcia Cooper
Martha Meadows
Matthew Kirtley
Michael Frank
Mike Churchman
Mike McCleaf
M'Liz Held
Patty Hvizdak
Paul D. Welch
Peggy Stewart
Phyllis Manley
Randy Willson
Rob Roy Jones
Ronnie Buffington
Rose Bell
Rosemarie Gomineck
Sally Marple
Sam Fortunato
Sharon Wheeler
Shirley Everhart Kirtley
Stacy Jo Vogel
Susie Kurcina
Twinkle Smith
Wink Harner

Children
Aksel Ace
Audri King
Daniel Marchione
Devon Bragg
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonathan Marte
Kade Haines
Kya Schwertfeger
Leyton Burket
Lily Ghrist
Lucian Hill
Michael Liptak
Shelby Kamarec

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

In the Hospital
Corinne Ferguson – Weirton Medical Center
Gen Meyer – Weirton Medical Center
Larry Shane – Trinity West

Church Families
Charlene Means
Cris Means
Elizabeth Messerly

Local Church
North Side Church of God

Special Friend
Louise Henderson – 9825 East Nevajo Place, Sun Lake, AZ  85248-7149

Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery Congregations
Community Presbyterian Church, Warnock, Ohio – Rev. Diane Jefcheck
Please pray for the health of our members, especially Becky Horne, our organist, and ruling elder David Brocklehurst who served many years as our clerk of session and commissioner to presbytery.
Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, WV – Rev. Dr. Ed Rudiger

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice & Kenny Orr – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV  26062
Conrad Criss – Wyngate, 101 Wyngate Dr., Weirton, WV  26062
Dolores Edwards – Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr., Weirton, WV  26062
Eleanor Dueley – Brightwood Center, 840 Lee Ridge Rd., Follansbee, WV  26037
Harry Hutch – Villa Vista, Room 507, 1800 Sinclair Ave., Steubenville, OH  43953
June Virtue – Grace Cottage, 195 Eden Dr., Weirton, WV  26062-3664
Margaret Heaton – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV  26062

What's Happening at Cove Presbyterian Church?

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

CHANCEL CHOIR PRACTICE . . .
is being held at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings in the choir room.  Anyone wishing to praise God through song is welcome to join us!

DON'T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL  . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m.

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.

OUR TUESDAY EVENING STUDY . . .
will next meet on Tuesday, January 27 at 6:30 p.m. to continue our study of the Gospel of Mark. During this session, we'll discuss Mark 2:1–3:6, focusing on the beginning of Christ's opposition. And so bring your Bibles and get ready to grow in your understanding of God's word to us.

COVE"S ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING . . .
is scheduled for today, Sunday, January 25, 2015.  All members are encouraged to stay and review Cove's Reports for 2014.

WINTER COMMUNION. . .
will be observed next Sunday, February 1 during the morning worship. If you know of someone who can not attend, but  would like communion please contact the church office.

SAVE THE DATE . . .
Sunday, February 1 for the Deacons' Outgoing Officer Appreciation & Souper Bowl Luncheon.  Join us after worship for a variety of homemade soups, hot dogs and cake.  Lunch is free, if you so choose you can donate and item or two for the food pantry.

BOARD MEETINGS . . .
Board of Deacons will meet on Monday, February 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.
Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, February 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.
Board of Session will meet on Sunday, February 15 at 12:20 p.m. in the board room.

PAINT BRUSH SOCIALS . . .
Love IS ALL AROUND Saturday, February 7 beginning at 1:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.
Country House Saturday, February 21 beginning at 1:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.
For more information contact Deborah Smith at 304-914-6286 or
paintbrushsocial@gmail.com

PREPARATION FOR EASTER . . .
begins on Ash Wednesday, February 18.  Please join us for a service of prayer, reflection, songs, and meditation beginning at 7:00 p.m. There will be devotional booklets and prayer boxes available to assist you in your Lenten Journey.

THANK YOU ALL . . .
words cannot express our thanks for all the kindness and caring during our confinement this past month.  Calls, cards, visits, the shopping and sharing of so many.  But mostly your prayers - they are the healing power. We love our Cove Church Family you are special!
Bonnie & John Nichols

OUR SYMPATHY . . .
Is extended to the family of Sophia Palavis, grandmother of Anthony Palavis and Nicole Drobish  who died on Monday, January 12, 2015.

REMINDER. . .
when Hancock County Schools are closed due to weather, we assume evening activities at the church are cancelled. Therefore, there will be no custodial staff at the church that evening.

NOTE THE CHANGE IN OUR OFFICE HOURS. . .
the church office will be open on Monday thru Thursday from 7:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m.  The office will now be closed on Fridays.

FOOD PANTRY NEEDS. . .
cereal, pancake mix and syrup, canned fruit, cake, muffin, brownie or cookie mix, gravy, boxed potatoes, tuna or hamburger helper, side dishes, and manwich. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated, even an item or two.

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.

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 eight 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 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 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 or to receive communion 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.

Friday’s Essay – Unity Begins with Us

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 (Cove Presbyterian Church).

Right now, we’re in what’s called the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.” Now in case you don’t know what these seven days are all about, this is how it’s described on the World Council of Churches website:
At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The event that touches off this special experience is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
In other words, this is a time when Christians all over the world, who’ve become divided by human interpretations and interests, put aside their differences and approach our one God with a united voice. And together we ask that God heal our divisions so that we might address those issues that should concern all people of faith, and I’m talking about those issues about which Jesus taught.


Of course, for those of us living in the United States, this whole idea of unity has become almost counter cultural, a concept that’s generally not only ignored but often criticized as a sign of weakness. I mean, for those of us who live in a political climate in which compromise is viewed as a dirty word, we’re miles away from anything close to unity, a gap that seems to get wider every time we accept and spread gossip, rumor and innuendo, no matter how ridiculous, as gospel truth. Now, this has become a fact of life in America, and because of that, it’s not surprising that this same disdain for unity has crept into our personal relationships, into our marriages and families, even into our churches and congregations. Husbands and wives, parents and children, Christian brothers and sisters have allowed distractions like self-interest and irrational fear and partisan politics to break the unity that God intended when he formed marriages and families and churches. And as a result, individual spouses feel stress as each look after himself or herself without much concern for the other. And families are pulled apart by individuals going off and doing their own things. And churches compromise their very reason for existence, namely to make disciples of all nations, because the color of the carpet in the narthex seems far more important than sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, this seems to be the state of our lives, here in the fast lane.


But it doesn’t have to be. I mean, although I doubt that it’ll be popular on either FoxNews or MSNBC, I believe unity is possible, and in my opinion, it all begins with us. And you know, when I use the word “us”, I’m not just taking about you and me. I’m referring to an attitude, to a pattern of thought, to something that you could call a “we” perspective. You see, if we want national unity, if we want marital unity, if we want family unity, if we want Christian unity, I think we need to reject the voice of the world around us and to stop thinking in terms of me and mine, you and yours. And instead, we need to approach as many things as we can, especially our relationships, with the attitude that it’s really about “us” and “our.” In other words, rather than letting our focus be distracted by all a lot of divisions that should be alien to Christians, we can decide to view ourselves just like Paul described when he wrote to the Galatians, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” You see, for Christians, it really isn’t about me or you; it’s about us.


And I want you to imagine how adopting this shift in perspective can impact all our relationships. I mean, imagine if within our marriages and families, our country and congregations, imagine if we decided to come together and do whatever it takes to become everything we were created to be and drawn together to do. Man, it staggers the imagination. Who know, we might actually become like a mustard seed growing in a field or yeast working within the dough. You see, I believe unity is really possible, and it all begins with us.