This site is devoted to providing teaching, admonition, encouragement, and information to my people at Faith Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, Florida. Pastor Marion Clark.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Daily Devotions 

Tomorrow, daily devotions through the Bible begins. I will actually post them the day before around 4:00 p.m. so you early risers may have them. That means the first will be posted today. I better get busy!

New Year's Eve 

Here is a good New Year's resolution to make. Today, before midnight, you will have told someone five things that give you reason to be thankful for 2003. If you want, you can tell me through email: mclark@fpc-gnv.org. I'll start first. 1) The Christmas concert. I had a lot of fun singing in the choir. 2) The start of services in Newberry. 3) Getting published. 4) The blog. This site has been fun for me. 5) Sitting in the family room with my three girls around me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Yard Maintenance 

I must make a confession; I am not into yard work. I do not sit in my study dreaming of mowing grass or planting or weeding. Unfortunately, my yard shows the result. I turned to Greg Fox, son of Leon and Jayne, for help. He did an excellent job of getting the front yard in shape; is a hard worker who knows what he is doing. I don't have his number, if you want to contact him, but you can give Leon and Jayne a call.

Weblogs and Websites 

Here are some cool sites to check out:

http://worldmagblog.com: Run by Marvin Olasky, editor of World Magazine.

Interested in bioethics? Try www.cbhd.org and www.biotechpolicy.org.

Tuesday's Test 

Thursday, we begin our Read-through-the-Bible journey. Here is a trivia test to get you thinking.
1. How many books of the Bible are there?
2. How many in the OT and in the NT?
3. Who wrote the first five books?
4. Put these men in chronological order: Abraham, Noah, David, Elijah, Moses.
5. This prophet’s book has the most chapters outside of Psalms.
6. What is the longest chapter in the Bible?
7. Which of the gospel writers also wrote the book of Acts?
8. Who wrote the largest number of books?
9. In what two languages are almost all the scriptures written in?
10. Who is the shortest man in the Bible?

Monday, December 29, 2003

To Order "Give Praise To God" 

Here's Give Praise to God, one of P & R’s latest releases. It is a collection of essays on different topics in worship, dedicated to Dr. James Boice and featuring some of the great names of contemporary Reformed thought, including Robert Mohler, Dr. Hughes Old, R.C. Sproul, and our very own Pastor Clark.

Pastor Clark's chapter is on baptism, and is entitled Baptism: Joyful Sign of the Gospel.

If you would like to order a copy, please call me at the office (377-5482) to get a better deal than you'd find in the stores.


Ross Prange's Father 

We received word from the Pranges that Ross' father passed away this weekend. Fortunately, they were able to be with him.

On Study Leave 

This week I will be unavailable, except of course, for emergency needs. You can leave messages for me, as well as email me.


Today's devotion is posted. However, I will not post another devotion until Thursday, when we begin our Read-through-the-Bible schedule.

I've also posted my last sermon preached December 21.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Frodo's Character 

I found this excellent essay on Frodo in LOR film at Joffre's blogsite: Give the Hobbit a Break.

Getting Ready for Sunday 

Dr. Benson Cain is preaching Sunday on the subject of Christ's return. We will also be observing the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

Test Answers 

How well did you test on my advent sermons?
1. Zechariah spoke his prophesy on the occasion of what event? John's circumcision and naming ceremony
2. The theme of the sermons was "covenant. "
3. I quoted from this OT book a number of times introducing it as speeches Moses gave his people soon before he died. Deuteronomy
4. Why did I say the Jews could expect mercy, but not the Gentiles? Jews were inside the covenant; Gentiles outside
5. Christmas should stir in us a feeling of hope for what to happen? Christ's return
6. John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the Lord by getting the people to do what? prepare their hearts/repent
7. What was Zechariah's occupation? priest
8. The Messiah was to set the people not merely to be free but free for what? service to God
9. The people looked for the Messiah to free them from their enemies. What was the real enemy he came to set them free from? sin
10. What OT prophet speaks of Elijah coming to prepare the way of the Lord? Malachi

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas Eve 

It is the day before Christmas! May you have a blessed celebration tomorrow. I hope many will be able to come out to the Christmas Eve service tonight at 7:00. It is always a beautiful service - reading of the Christmas story, singing carols, and closing with Silent Night as we light candles. I have my character selected. See you tonight!

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Christmas Letter from the Culbertsons 

The following letter is from Rod Culbertson, a former assistant pastor at Faith.

Christmas greetings from the Culbertsons! We hope that you know the One who brings salvation through His humble and quiet coming, His ignominious death on a cross and His powerful resurrection! Here is a brief and really wonderful family update, one that is better than most of the others you have already received and read.

Cathy has just completed her first semester in nursing school and she has loved every bit of it - 12 credit hours in the classroom and Fridays working in the Presbyterian Hospital. She made straight A’s and only two people died under her care (just kidding!). She has had a real ministry to a number of her patients, able to talk to them about the Lord and pray with them in their time of need. Next semester she takes 17 credit hours; it’s been nice knowing her. She talks a lot about medical conditions and shows off her knowledge, but I just nod and watch football.

Helen graduated from Wheaton College in May and moved back to Charlotte this summer. She was able to find a teaching position at her former high school, Myers Park, teaching both Spanish as well as English as a Second Language. She wanted to teach History, her major at Wheaton, but there were no positions available. After living with us for a couple months this fall, she moved into her own apartment a few miles from home.

Graham continues at USC, where he is a junior in the Honors College double majoring in English and Film. He hopes to go on, eventually, for PhD work, maybe at UNC/Chapel Hill or the University of Chicago. He has met and been dating a very cute Christian girl named Hillary who made a higher SAT score than him! That doesn’t keep him humble though. Hillary says that some of his USC professors are afraid to debate with him. He loves USC!

Hunter made a 1410 on his SAT, so I continue to have the lowest SAT score of the family, by around 300 points! He is looking forward to college and has applied to the University of Florida, Chapel Hill, USC and Appalachian State, with his choices prioritized in that order. He had the best winning percentage on his high school tennis team this past spring and has also recently been playing in a church basketball league. He went on a disciplined diet, fitness and workout routine and lost 70 pounds over the summer! He looks great and has an active social life.

Tyler started high school and also got his learner’s permit. He is planning to join Hunter on the East Meck tennis team this spring. He is also playing on two church league basketball teams at the guard position. He would like to attend the University of Florida as well. Go Gators!!

Our basset hound, Arrow, had five puppies this summer, interrupting our summer vacation with the Wooten’s (Cathy’s family) at Garden City Beach, SC. One puppy was too large to exit the birth canal and Arrow had to have a C-section (the cost of selling three puppies!). She could have died, but is fine now except she cannot have any more puppies. The large puppy was named “Reaper” (for the Grim Reaper) and he was also born deaf (unsure why). We sent him and his brother to the Yucatan in Mexico where one of our RTS graduates, who is from Mexico, is serving as a pastor and seminary professor. Bassets are expensive in Mexico, so that is why we sent them down there for the pastor; I have enclosed cute pictures of the puppies. Did I say we lost money on them thanks to the C-section?

I continue full-time at RTS, doing the same things: recruiting, teaching, working with the students and doing some academic dean type tasks. I remain with Christ The King part-time and we have hopes for a full-time church planter to replace me soon (we are speaking with someone seriously) - please pray for that to happen! I also joined a 30 and over fast pitch Adult Baseball League here in Charlotte where I had a blast. I stole a number of bases, fielded my position flawlessly (all three outfield spots) and hit .333 after 30 years out of play. I was a star in one game, in which I also pulled a hamstring muscle and promptly went on the DL (Disabled List) for 5 weeks - oh well - success is fleeting and pride goeth before the fall! Please stay in touch; we love you all!

Out of the Mouth of Babes 

This was sent in by Nick Schroeder:
How Do You Get To Heaven?

"If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale, and gave all my money
to the church, would that get me into heaven?" I asked the children in my
Sunday school class. "NO!" the children all answered.

"If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat
and tidy, would that get me into heaven?" Again the answer was, "NO!"

"Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children and
loved my wife, would that get me into heaven?" I asked them again. Once more
they all answered, "NO!"

"Well," I continued, thinking they were a good bit more theologically
sophisticated than I had given them credit for, "then how can I get into heaven?"

A five-year-old boy shouted out, "You gotta be dead!"

Tuesday's Test 

So, how well have you been listening to my advent sermons? Take the test and find out.
1. Zechariah spoke his prophesy on the occasion of what event?
2. The theme of the sermons was _________. (Hint: It was the first word of every sermon title.)
3. I quoted from this OT book a number of times introducing it as speeches Moses gave his people soon before he died.
4. Why did I say the Jews could expect mercy, but not the Gentiles?
5. Christmas should stir in us a feeling of hope for what to happen?
6. John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the Lord by getting the people to do what?
7. What was Zechariah's occupation?
8. The Messiah was to set the people not merely to be free but free for what?
9. The people looked for the Messiah to free them from their enemies. What was the real enemy he came to set them free from?
10. What OT prophet speaks of Elijah coming to prepare the way of the Lord?

Monday, December 22, 2003

From Stephanie Jessee and her family: 

The following is from the Jessees. Stephanie Jessee is a former secretary at Faith Church.

Dearest Friends & Family,
Greetings from Jessee Family! It is hard to believe that another year is drawing to a close. What a wonderful time to reflect on all the Lord's blessings -- and there are MANY!
Our biggest news -- we are having another baby boy! We announced our big news to our family on Father's day (the same day, three years after we announced Caleb's upcoming arrival!) ALEC MICHAEL JESSEE is due to arrive on February 1, 2004. We are very excited about adding another little boy to our family!
Chris is still working for Nass Parts & Service (an industrial kitchen parts & service company). He stays busy as their Office Manager. His other responsibilities include: accounts payable & receivable, web master, marketing & design, and the Disney account. He is very involved with the church and serves in areas of worship, sound, design, webmaster, etc. As you can see...he stays quite busy! All that on top of being an incredible husband and daddy! Chris is also improving physically. He has had quite a difficult time with his shoulder, arm & wrist since our accident in 2001. He is still undergoing treatment, but is slowly but surely making progress. We know that his health and strength are all in God's hands and we trust Him to complete the work that He has begun.
Caleb is growing like a weed! He will be 3 at the end of January. He is our little man. It is amazing to see how he is changing -- he seems to be doing something new each day. He loves to sing songs, play drums and guitar and he loves anything Disney! Currently, everything is a sword! He can't wait for Daddy to come home at the end of the day so they can sword fight and have "wrestle time!" He is also looking forward to being a big brother! He talks to Alec and kisses Mommy's belly! He wants Alec to come out and play with him!
I stay very busy at home these days! It is right where I want to be. What a joy to be able to serve my husband, train our son and prepare for another son! Is is definitely a full time job -- but I wouldn't trade it for the world! I am still involved with the worship ministry, as well as help on a couple of creative teams for the church. I also do some administrative work from home a few hours a week. Just enough to keep my skills up to par. Physically, I too have experienced much grace in recovering from our accident. I feel like a different person than this time last year! Obviously, I am gearing up for the arrival of Alec just after the beginning of the year. I can't wait to meet this little guy!
Well, that in a nutshell has been our year. We can trust that you, too, have experienced the Grace of God like never before. Thank you for your love and friendship!

We love you!
Chris, Stephanie, Caleb (& Alec) Jessee
We would love to hear from you!

Devotion Posted 

Today's devotion has been posted.

Poem by Everall 

Everall gave me permission to publish this recent poem.

The Truth About Christmas

O God of All, forgive us for our Christmas travesties,
For superficial revels in the name of Christ the King.
For man has birthed from darkened heart, a poor and feeble light,
And tries with song and jollity to chase away the night.
But ever closer he perceives the blackness of his fate,
And as the Christmas lights go out, he prays it’s not too late
For one more self-sufficient try at self-deliverance,
Before the music of the spheres plays out his final dance.

O King of Love, O Sovereign Lord, O Shepherd of my soul,
So sweetly you came down to earth to make the ragged whole,
To shape within my heart of hearts the image of your love,
And wash away the weary filth that keeps me from your throne.
You came, a baby soft and warm, that makes all watchers smile,
So harmless, even pitiable, so sweet, yet all the while
Supreme. Omnipotent. Divine. The blazing Truth that shines,
Concealed from groping arrogance, revealed to child-like minds.

In blind oblivion we live as wars rage all around,
And souls are won and lost each day without a single sound,
While we repeat the jingles of our Christmas memories,
And try to find the “magic” in the lights of Christmas trees.
Rekindle, in these final days, the fires of truth and light,
Make clear, for all who seek, the path that leads away from night;
For we can only trust in You for sure deliverance,
Before the music of the spheres plays out our final dance.

Everall A. Peele
December 5, 2003


If you want announcements in the church bulletin for Sunday, you must contact Joffre today.

Christmas Eve Service 

The Christmas eve service starts promptly at 7:00. Come a few minutes early to get your places. I have my character chosen. The Wards are getting the candles ready. Dave Charlesworth is back and will be behind the organ. A number of our new church members will read the scriptures.

Ty is Great 

Ty is great
I'm not too late
To say he's the one
Who can get it done!

Guess who repaired my computer.

Devotion this Afternoon 

It will be afternoon before I can get the day's devotion posted. Sorry for the delay.

More humor from George 

A little child in church for the first time watched as the ushers passed the offering plates. When they neared the pew where he sat, the youngster piped up so that everyone could hear: "Don't pay for me Daddy, I'm under five."

After a church service on Sunday morning, a young boy suddenly announced to his mother, "Mom, I've decided to become a minister when I grow up."
"That's okay with us, but what made you decide that?"
"Well," said the little boy, "I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell, than to sit and listen."

A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon." How do you know what to say?" he asked.
"Why, God tells me."
"Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?"

A little girl became restless as the preacher's sermon dragged on and on. Finally, she leaned over to her mother and whispered, "Mommy, if we give him the money now, will he let us go?"

Terri asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favorite Bible stories. She was puzzled by Kyle's picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she asked him which story it was meant to represent.
"The flight to Egypt," said Kyle.
"I see ... And that must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus," Ms. Terri said.
"But who's the fourth person?"
"Oh, that's Pontius - the Pilot.

Pastor Dave Charlton tells us, "After a worship service at First Baptist Church in Newcastle, Kentucky, a mother with a fidgety seven-year old boy told me how she finally got her son to sit still and be quiet. About halfway through the sermon, she leaned over and whispered, 'If you don't be quiet, Pastor Charlton is going to lose his place and will have to
start his sermon all over again!' It worked."

A little girl was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again. Finally she spoke up, "Grandpa, did God make you?"
"Yes, sweetheart," he answered, "God made me a long time ago."
"Oh," she paused, "Grandpa, did God make me too?"
"Yes, a little while ago."
Feeling their respective faces again, she observed, "God's getting better at it, isn't he?"

Children's Play 

Were those kids great or what? Thanks to Lori for a super production and to Fred for sound effects and inventing a time machine. Fred, you ought to get a patent for that.

Live Nativity 

"Fear not!" That was my opening line as an angel. We would be singing angelically, but as a child passed by I shouted out the angel's message on that first Christmas night. It was fun to watch them transfixed as they heard the proclamation. Thanks to the many volunteers who set up, participated in the nativity, and stayed to break it down. There is still much more to put away. If you can help, give Everall a call. Special thanks to Everall for another great year as producer and director.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Getting Ready for Sunday 

This Sunday we will look at the remaining verses of Zechariah's prophesy, Luke 1:76-79. The sermon title is Covenant Salvation. The sermon will give a clear gospel presentation.

Sunday Events 

This Sunday we have two special events going on. The children will put on a musical during the Sunday School hour in the sanctuary. Then the Live Nativity in the evening: 6-9. Have you invited anyone yet? This is our biggest community outreach of the year.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

More Oxymorons 

Two entries from readers for "jumbo shrimp."
working vacation
Advanced BASIC
Airline Food
Almost Done, Almost Exactly, Almost Ready
Alone Together
Anxious Patient
Artificial Intelligence
Authentic Reproduction
Awfully Nice

Prange's Florists 

Prange's Florist (Ross and Joan) is a great place for flowers, plants, and other Christmas gifts and decorations. They are in the Greenery Square near the Oaks Mall. Phone number is 335-0100. They supply, by the way, the floral arrangement in the sanctuary and Joan decorates the sanctuary for Christmas.

Thursday's Answers 

Based on the Lord of the Rings
1. Who is the king that returns? Aragorn
2. What is Gollum's real name? Smeagol
3. Orcs originally were created from what other species? elf
4. What does Gimli ask from Galadriel? a strand of hair
5. The Nazgul were originally nine kings of men.
6. Next to The Ring in power are the Three Rings of Power. Who are the three persons who wear them? Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf
7. They are the Shepherds of the Trees. ents
8. If Boromir had lived, his destiny would have been to become not King of Gondor, but Steward of Gondor.
9. I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Andor. Gandalf
10. Sam's sweetheart whom he married on his return. Rosie Cotton

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

More Christmas Presents 

Have you considered pictures for Christmas presents? Check the sites on the right column: Chris Skeene and Joffre Dan Swait, Jr. Both are photographers. You can see samples of their works on their websites.

Devotion Posted 

My blogsite for posting was down this morning, but I now have today's devotion posted.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


In Sunday's sermon I used the term "oxymoron." An oxymoron is a combination of words that contradict one another. I used it for "unsanctified service to God." Here are some others that have been suggested. Do you have any to submit?

Act naturally... Found missing... Resident alien... Genuine imitation... Airline Food... Government organization... Business ethics... Soft rock... New classic... Childproof...
Clearly misunderstood... Temporary tax increase... Computer security... Political science... Tight slacks... Definite maybe... Diet ice cream... Working vacation... Exact estimate... Microsoft Works... brief sermon

Christmas Caroling 

I heard that the Christmas caroling at the Cluster Homes across the street went great. Over 20 Faith carolers (including children) entertained the residents and staff. Thanks to everyone who participated. Christian Weiss has a list of more ways we can minister to the residence. He would be delighted to talk them over with you. Give him a call. (By the way, I don't normally list phone numbers because of being on the internet. Most numbers are in the church directory or you can call into the church to get them.)

Brenda's Jewelry 

We bought earrings from Brenda Freese to give as Christmas presents for our niece. Men, if you are still looking for gifts for the women in your life, you may want to give Brenda a call.

Tuesday Test 

I'm going to see The Return of the King tomorrow. Here is a test for you Lord of the Rings fans.
1. Who is the king that returns?
2. What is Gollum's real name?
3. Orcs originally were created from what other species?
4. What does Gimli ask from Galadriel?
5. The Nazgul were originally nine _______.
6. Next to The Ring in power are the Three Rings of Power. Who are the three persons who wear them?
7. They are the Shepherds of the Trees.
8. If Boromir had lived, his destiny would have been to become not King of Gondor, but ________ of Gondor.
9. I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Andor.
10. Sam's sweetheart whom he married on his return.
An encyclopedia of LOR lore is at www.glyphweb.com/arda/

I Am an Angel 

At least I will be Sunday night at the Live Nativity. If men can be secretaries and nurses, they can be angels too! What are you going to be Sunday night? If you haven't signed up, call Joffre today.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Nursery Help Needed 

Nursery help is desparately needed for the Christmas Eve service. Call Joffre if you can help.

Why We Play Santa Claus at Our House 

An interesting article of the above title is posted at the PCAnews.com website, particularly for those of you into literature and mythology.


To my church members, if you have a business or service to offer, send me a notice and I will be glad to post it. This morning I had an oil change done by Adam Geary who has opened his own auto mechanics shop. It is located on NE 19th Drive off of Waldo Road behind Sonny's. You can call him for an appointment at 871-0296.


Saturday I played golf for the first time in 15 years. The good news is that I played as well as I did 15 years ago. The bad news is that I played as well as I did 15 years ago. The only weak points to my game is driving the ball, hitting it from the fairway, hitting it out of sand traps, and putting. Only once did I hit a ball into the water, but that one time was because the water was not in front of me. Fortunately my father-in-law has a wonderful way of keeping score - not counting the times I topped the ball off the tee and limiting any one hole total to a triple bogey. That lowered my score by a good 20 points. Can you guess why I quit 15 years ago?

Sunday Highlights 

From Sunday's sermon, Covenant Mercy:
Do you see how the wonder of Christmas grows as we look at it through Jewish eyes? It fulfills the covenant promise that the Messiah would come after long years of waiting. It displays the mercy of God to remain faithful not only to a people who often failed him, but even to a people who had no claim on him – us. And then the wonder grows as we find the great King Messiah fulfilling his covenant promise by becoming the Suffering Servant on our behalf, beginning with his lowly birth. As John Donne wrote, “Was not his pity towards thee wondrous high, that would have need to be pitied by thee?”

Who is like our God who glorifies himself by serving his creatures, who redeems his rebellious children, who gives hope to those who possess no claim for such hope? Who is like the Son of God who proudly bears the title of Servant? This is the wonder of Christmas.

Christmas Concert 

The music was great last night. It certainly is rewarding to see the fruit of much hard labor by directors, singers, musicians, sound operators, narrator, nursery care and reception providers. Thank you to everyone involved.

Advent Devotions 

Thank you to those who sent email and spoke to me regarding the daily devotions. They will continue on. Click "Daily Devotions" on the right to get today's message.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Christmas Pins 

If you like wearing Christmas pins, Pat Huntsman is the person to see. Talk to her Sunday (she'll have some with her) or give her a call at 378-5255. She is slling them to raise funds for IHN, an agency that provides temporary shelter for homeless families and assists them in getting back on their feet. The pins are made by a professional jeweler who was once homeless. Cost is $15. Check out her website which explains her mission and shows samples of the pins at www.lucinda.com.

Music Celebration 

Sunday night is our music celebration concert featuring the Christmas choir and worship team. Starts at 6:00 with reception following. Bring your homebaked cookies!

Caroling Tonight 

Caroling tonight. Game Night activities begin at 6:00 with food. About 7:30 carolers will cross the street to the Cluster Homes residence for the handicapped. Come give good Christmas cheer.

Getting Ready for Sunday 

The theme of the sermon is "Covenant Service." We will be exploring the role of service to God in his covenant with his people. Passages to help you prepare are Deuteronomy 10:12-22 and Mark 10:42-45. We will be publicly receiving new members into the church: Reme Vaught, the Carey family - Roger, Coralyn, Nick, and Becca; and the Gomes family - Neemias, Deborah, Rebeca, Po, and Melissa.

Need Feedback, Part 2 

I appreciate the one person who responded to my request to let me know if the daily devotions are being read. Come Monday morning, however, if there is no further response, I will discontinue the devotions. I like doing them, but they take up time, which would be better spent elsewhere if providing little benefit to the church. Again, you only need to click "Email Pastor Clark" at the top of the right column.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Are You Ready? 

Tomorrow night is Game and Caroling Night. Food at 6:00, caroling at 7:15.

Music Celebration is Sunday night, 6:00. You will especially be impressed with the tenors. Both the choir and the worship team are bringing in extra musicians.

Angel tree gifts are due Sunday.

Memorable Christmases 

Do you have a story of a memorable Christmas? It could be about a gift received or given, a special tradition, a song heard, a specific event, anything. Send it to me and I will share it with others. One that always comes first in my mind is taking gifts to poor families when I was a high school senior. I don't remember how, but several friends and I came up with a list of a few homes, collected gifts, wrapped them, and prepared to get early in the morning while still dark and place them on porches. I overslept! We still got them delivered as planned, but by the time we made it to the last house, the family was up. I will never forget the surprised joy of the mother that Christmas morning.

Need Feedback 

I am happy to post daily devotions, but I have no idea if anyone is benefiting from them or reading them. Let me know. They take time to prepare, but I am not sure if they are a good use of time. Click "Email Pastor Clark" to give feedback.

Thursday's Answers 

Can you name the carols these lines come from? Answers on Thursday.

1. "disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadows put to flight" O Come, O Come Emmanuel
2. "he comes to make his blessings flow" Joy to the World
3. "O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing" It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
4. "How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is giv'n" O Little Town of Bethlehem
5. "pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel" Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
6. "fit us for heaven, to live with thee there" Away in a Manger
7. "lo, he abhors not the Virgin's womb" O Come, All Ye Faithful
8. "Wondrous star, lend thy light" Silent Night
9. "Shepherds, why this jubilee?" Angels We Have Heard on High
10. "ye who sang creation's story, now proclaim Messiah's birth" Angels, from the Realms of Glory

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Live Nativity 

Have you signed up? Looks like most positions still need filling for a time slot. I see Christian Weiss and Stuart Peele signed up for wisemen. Surely we are not going to let these two men be our only representatives of wise men in this church! No one has signed up for Joseph and Mary. Mary has the easiest job of everyone. She sits the whole time and doesn't say a word. You don't need to wait until Sunday to sign up. Call into the office and Joffre will sign for you. The nativity goes from 6-9. You sign up for one and half hour time slot.

Angel Deliverers 

Please call Jim and Barbara Stakely to see if they have enough deliverers on the 20th. I have found the time commitment is usually between one to one and half hours.

Caroling This Friday Night 

As part of Game Night, there will be Christmas caroling. Food starts at 6:00, caroling at 7:30. If you only come for caroling, come by 7:15. The carolers will walk across the road to the "Cluster Homes," a residence for the handicapped. Parents of young children, be aware that these are severely physically handicapped. There is no danger to children, but they could be shocked at the sight of residents with whole bodies crippled and who moan. You will find, however, a welcoming staff and the "moaning" will likely be expressions of pleasure for coming. We hope this will be the beginning of a continuing relationship with the residents.

Christmas Musical Celebration 

Have you invited anyone yet to Sunday night's concert? As a participant, I assure you the music will be great. Barbara has selected great songs for the Christmas choir and the worship team has its usual collection of beautiful songs. The time is 6:00 sharp, reception following; bring homebaked cookies!

WIC Party 

I heard a great report from Ginger about last night's WIC party at Jancy Houck's house. Beautiful decorations and layout; lots and lots of food, an interesting way to swap pins. Something about a story with lots of "rights" and "lefts" in it. An new Everall composition - the Florida 12 Days of Christmas. Everall, send me a copy to post.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

It's Almost Christmas 

I just realized it's almost Christmas. What should I get Ginger?

Tuesday's Test 

Can you name the carols these lines come from? Answers on Thursday.

1. "disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadows put to flight"
2. "he comes to make his blessings flow"
3. "O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing"
4. "How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is giv'n"
5. "pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel"
6. "fit us for heaven, to live with thee there"
7. "lo, he abhors not the Virgin's womb"
8. "Wondrous star, lend thy light"
9. "Shepherds, why this jubilee?"
10. "ye who sang creation's story, now proclaim Messiah's birth"

New Church Members 

We welcome into the church as of last night's Session meeting: Raimee Vaught and the Gomes family: Neemias, Deborah, Rebecca, Po, and Melissa.

Daily Devotions 

Don't forget to check the daily devotions.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Children's Musical 

The children will be performing a musical during the Sunday School hour on the 21st. Come out and show them your interest.

Gift Deliverers 

Who will be joining me to deliver Angel Tree gifts Saturday morning, December 20? Call Barbara Stakely.

Dentists vs. Eye Doctors 

Those who regard going to the dentist as the ultimate "Fear Factor" activity, have not been to eye doctors lately. Seeing in the modern dentist chair is a piece of cake, compared to facing the battery of eye tests. There is the "you will feel a little puff of air" test, the "numb your eyes" drops, then the "dilate your eyes" drops, all of which is being done while you stare at the ceiling lights and being told to keep your eyes wide open. Then the fun really starts as a machine is brought in front of your face. Told to keep those eyes open wide, you are then subjected to a series of lights scanning your eye (keep them open!). Finally, you may leave and go outside into the sunlight to discover how dilated your eyes really are. Could you tell I just came back from the ophthomologist?

Games and Caroling 

Friday night is Game Night. Food is ready to serve at 6:00. A special feature will be Christmas caroling. Be at the FLC by 7:30 ready to sing. We will walk across the street to "Cluster Homes," a residence for the physically handicapped. There are three homes with eight residents in each. I have visited them, as has Christian Weiss. They have asked us to sing Christmas carols. I assure you, this experience with be one of your highlights of the season. You will be blessed. If questions, call Christian. He is in the church directory.

Sunday Highlights 

It is a grace of God to be granted conviction of sin. People caught up in flagrant immoral sins are just as likely to justify themselves as those who are upstanding, moral citizens. It is an act of mercy for the Holy Spirit to break our hearts over our sinful hearts, to be filled with shame and remorse. It is an act of mercy, because then we can experience the greatest experience to know – God’s mercy found in Jesus Christ.

There is another Simon in the New Testament. Jesus renamed him Peter. This Simon loved Jesus. He left everything to follow him. He loved Jesus so much that he promised to die with him if need be. This Simon failed miserably. Not only did he fail to keep his promise, he even denied knowing his Lord. Then Simon wept for his sin. He didn’t weep for his bad luck. He didn’t weep over the tough circumstance that he was placed in; he wept over his sin.

We may have enemies who are out to get us. Certainly Satan is one. We may face tough experiences, seemingly beyond our control, that make our behavior understandable. But understand that the real enemy from whom we need deliverance is our own sinful nature. He is most pernicious, most subtle, the enemy that loathes to let us go. If we know how terrible he is, then we can start to know how blessed, how wonderful is the mercy of our Lord to forgive us, to redeem us, to make us his. May we grasp such mercy this Christmas.


Yesterday's sermon is posted, as well as today's devotion.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Passionate Preaching 

Twice now in the last few weeks I have received a kind of back-handed compliment for my preaching. It goes something like this: "Every now and then you will get passionate about something and everyone's ears pick up." I am pleased to know that sometimes my passion is noticed, but I want my congregation to understand that I am passionate about every sermon I preach. What emotion comes out of me during a sermon is controlled by the subject matter. If I am proclaiming the hope of the gospel, my emotional pitch will rise. If I am giving an exhortation from scripture, I will tend to speak more forcefully. On the other hand, I am often giving information, such as when I explain the context of a passage or lay out a theme from scriptures. That calls for lesser emotion. But whatever I am preaching - a vision, an exhortation, or information - I think it is important to pass on. I am trying to be a faithful steward of God's Word. I want you to come to a sermon with the attitude of getting a nourishing meal. Sometimes the dish may seem to have a zestier taste, other times plain. Whatever the case, it is meant to be nutricious. Are you being fed the Word of God? That is the issue. I know the reason I do not show lots of emotion is that it is my personality to be mild-mannered. But even the preachers who show lots of emotion, I know that often the emotion they show is not because they are passionate about their message, but they are consciously putting on a performance. They are skilled orators who know how to modulate their voices and manner to elicite the response they want from you. Many people are "inspired" but are no wiser and certainly not stronger in their knowledge and appreciation of God's Word. Look to get a good meal each Sunday.

Advent Devotions 

Don't forget to check the daily devotions on the right column.

A Father's Blessing 

This devotional comes by way of Kathy Rohrbeck:

A sensitive, timid little boy, long years ago, was accustomed to lie down to sleep in a low 'trundle-bed,' which was rolled under his parents' bed by day and was brought out for his use by night. As he lay there by himself in the darkness, he could hear the voices of his parents, in their lighted sitting-room across the hallway, on the other side of the house. It seemed to him that his parents never slept; for he left them awake when he was put to bed at night, and he found them awake when he left his bed in the morning. So far this thought was a cause of cheer to him, as his mind was busy with imaginings in the weird darkness of his lonely room.

After loving good-night words and kisses had been given him by both his parents, and he had nestled down to rest, this little boy was accustomed, night after night, to rouse up once more, and to call out from his trundle-bed to his strong-armed father, in the room from which the light gleamed out, beyond the shadowy hallway, 'Are you there, papa?' And the answer would come back cheerily, 'Yes, my child, I am here.' `You'll take care of me tonight, papa, won't you?' was then the question. 'Yes, I'll take care of you, my child,' was the comforting response. 'Go to sleep now. Good night.' And the little fellow would fall asleep restfully, in the thought of those assuring good-night words.

A little matter that was to the loving father; but it was a great matter to the sensitive son. It helped to shape the son's life. It gave the father an added hold on him; and it opened up the way for his clearer understanding of his dependence on the loving watchfulness of the All-Father. And to this day when that son, himself a father and a grandfather, lies down to sleep at night, he is accustomed, out of the
memories of that lesson of long ago, to look up through the shadows of his earthly sleeping place into the far-off light of his Father's presence, and to call out, in the same spirit of childlike trust and helplessness as so long ago, 'Father, you'll take care of me tonight, won't you?' And he hears the assuring answer come back, 'He that keepeth thee will not slumber. The Lord shall keep thee from all evil. He shall keep thy soul. Sleep, my child, in peace.' And so he realizes the twofold blessing of a father's goodnight words.


These insightful sayings come courtesy of Marijean and Everall Peele:

Isn't it strange how a 20 dollar bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping?

Isn't it strange how 2 hours seem so long when you're at church, and how short they seem when you're watching a good movie?

Isn't it strange that you can't find a word to say when you're praying,
but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?

Isn't it strange how difficult and boring it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel?

Isn't it strange how we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can
adjust it for other events in the last minute?

Isn't it strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others, but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Thursday Answers 

One of the new Sunday School classes is the book of Judges. How well do you know these characters?

1. This mischievous judge tied the tails of 150 pairs of foxes together with torches and set them loose in a grain field. Samson
2. This judge described himself as the least in his father's house, belonging to the weakest clan in his tribe. It took a fleece to convince him to obey God. Gideon
3. This judge was a woman. Deborah
4. This father made the most stupid, immoral vow ever. Jephthah
5. This judge learned too late that if you are going to set fire to a tower, don't stand under a window. Abimelech
6. She had a strong man wrapped around her finger. Delilah
7. Israel's first judge. Othniel
8. How many men did God leave for Gideon to fight the Midianite army? 300
9. This woman proved to be dangerous with a tent peg. Jael
10. The men of this tribe came up with a creative way to get wives. Benjamin (They hid in a vineyard, and when the women of the town came out to dance, they snatched them away.)

Good Question 

Jonathan Ward sent me a question. Here it is and the answer I gave. If you have questions, feel free to send them to me and I will do my best to answer.

Hi Jonathan,

You asked, “Did Jesus always know that he was God even when he was a baby?” Before Jesus came to earth, he always knew that he was God. It is difficult to know what he knew and did not know when he became a human. Most of us teachers think that he had to grow in knowledge like everybody else. Luke 2:40 and 52 say that Jesus grew and increased in wisdom. Probably his brain had to develop like ours. I think he understood things earlier than we do. Luke 2:41-51 tell the story of Jesus going to the temple and talking with the religious teachers. They were astounded by how much he knew. He said to his parents, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Maybe he knew then. By the time he was baptized, he certainly knew.

Pastor Clark

P.S. I preached a sermon about this December 10, 2000, entitled "Incarnation: Jesus' Humanity." You can get it by clicking Faith Presbyterian Church in the right column. At the website, click Sermons at the top. Then scroll down to the date.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Why Won't He Lead at Home? 

There is an excellent short article in pcanews.com (online magazine of the PCA), entitled "Why Won't He Lead at Home?" It addresses the common situation of Christian men, even leaders in the church, who find it difficult to exercise spiritual leadership at home, such as in leading family devotions. Take a look. Men, if you would like to discuss your particular situation, please contact me and we will work together to come up with solutions.

More From George 

George Bowlin sent me some more kids' prayers taken from Derric Johnson's book, "Lists, The Book, Vol.ll."

Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother . . . but what I was praying for
was a puppy. (Alan, age 6)

Are you invisible . . . or is that just a trick. (Lucy, age 8)

Did You really mean to do unto others as they do unto you, because if You
did, then I'm going to fix my brother. (Darla, age 8)

Please send Dennis Clark to another camp this year. (Peter, age 7)

Cynthia says she's not speaking to me anymore. Thank you, Lord. (Gary,
age 8)

Advent Devotions 

I just posted today's advent devotion. I hope you are benefitting from them. Click "Daily Devotions" on the right column.

Thanks for Cards 

Thank you to those of you who sent cards to Ruth Yohe. At one of my recent visits she showed me a stack of cards that had been sent. I have to give a prize to Pat Riddle for the craziest cards.

Christmas Concert 

I am listening at this moment to the music the Christmas choir will be singing at our concert December 14. It is very good. The tenor section will be especially strong this year with my addition! Be sure to come. The worship team will also be presenting special music. Will be at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Advent Devotions 

Don't forget to read the daily advent devotions. Click "Daily Devotions" in the right column.

Tuesday Test 

One of the new Sunday School classes is the book of Judges. How well do you know these characters?

1. This mischievous judge tied the tails of 150 pairs of foxes together with torches and set them loose in a grain field.
2. This judge described himself as the least in his father's house, belonging to the weakest clan in his tribe. It took a fleece to convince him to obey God.
3. This judge was a woman.
4. This father made the most stupid, immoral vow ever.
5. This judge learned too late that if you are going to set fire to a tower, don't stand under a window.
6. She had a strong man wrapped around her finger.
7. Israel's first judge.
8. How many men did God leave for Gideon to fight the Midianite army?
9. This woman proved to be dangerous with a tent peg.
10. The men of this tribe came up with a creative way to get wives.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Sunday School Dilemma 

Choosing SS classes for this quarter will be a dilemma for many because of the excellent choices each which are very different from the others. Paul Emery will teach Christianity and Islam, certainly a relevant topic today. Don Nilsson has come up with an intriguing class entitled Revelation, God and Creation. Christian Weiss will lead the one class on a Bible book, Judges. And I will present The Religious Poetry of John Donne. I Donne know; he who Judges from this Revelation will find Islam hard decision!

In Memoriam 

This week you have an opportunity to buy beautiful poinsettias to be placed in the sanctuary in memory of friends and family. Names will be listed in the bulletin. A sign-up sheet will be available Sunday in the narthex, or you may call the church to make a reservation. We believe the cost is $10, and will know for sure tomorrow.

Sunday Highlights 

From Covenant Fulfillment, Luke 1:67-70.

We tend to miss how amazing the concept of Gentiles being included in the covenant promises is. Christmas, the coming of the Messiah, supposedly should have been only good news for the Jews. The hardest concept for the apostles to grasp was the idea that the good news was also for Gentiles. But we are included. In Christ, we are the covenant people, the inheritors of the covenant promises. They are not restricted to one nation, but extended to people of all nations.

This is one of the two elements that give the prophecies their surprise ending. What is the other element? That the story has a sequel. The Messiah, for all that he did when he first came, has still to complete his work. The prophecies have yet to be completely fulfilled. The Messiah is to return one more time; then creation itself will be restored, and all who believe and follow the Messiah since his first coming will themselves be restored to the image of God as they were meant to be....

Brothers and sisters, God kept his promise the first time, and he will keep it again. He made a covenant with his people, and he did not fail to keep it. Now that he has made an even greater covenant, all the more we can trust him to keep that one. If he would send his Son to die for rebels, surely he will send him again to gather his children. If he would keep his promise to die on a cross, surely he will keep his promise to reign on a throne.

Advent Devotions 

Today marks the beginning of daily Advent devotions. I will have these for weekdays only. (You get a long devotion on Sunday!) Click "Daily Devotions" at the top of the right column.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?