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

Friday, May 28, 2004

What's In a Name? 

The famous Olympic skier Picabo Street (pronounced Peek-A-Boo) is not just an athlete, she is a nurse currently working at the Intensive Care Unit of a large metropolitan hospital. She is not permitted to answer the telephone, however, as it caused simply too much confusion when she would answer the phone and say,


"Picabo, ICU."


Children's Church 

In case you are wondering, Children's Church will continue when we go to one service. Janice Lewis is in charge and, I'm sure is always looking for helpers to join the rotation.

Email Back Up 

My email is back up: mclark@fpc-gnv.org. If you sent email to me in the last couple of weeks, chances are I did not receive it.

Getting Ready for Sunday 

For the next three weeks we will be in the last half of chapter 11 learning about the Lord's Supper (vs 17-34). The title of the sermon is "Bad Table Manners." Where before, the Corinthians went astray because of bad theology, in this situation they were just plain rude. As Paul will teach them, they had lost sight of the sacredness of this sacrament. This Sunday focuses on the union among believers in Christ that the sacrament is intended to signify. Read also 10:16-17 for more comment on this subject.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Children's Bulletin 

I would like to have a children's bulletin that takes the children through the worship service elements. I need a creative designer and a child specialist to develop a bulletin that will help the children follow the service and participate. Contact me.

Time for Planting 

It is time to plant the seeds for fruit in the church. Who will commit themselves to prayer between now and July 25 that the "whole body" worship service will refresh all worshippers with a sense of joy in our Lord as our Head? Now is the time to brainstorm together how we are going to build up one another and reach out to our neighbors. I want to hear your ideas. Respond through the comment line, email me, call me, arrange to meet with me. There is much to do in two months. I am "psyched" about the whole body working together to make being together a God-glorifying experience. I truly believe this summer will mark the beginning of new life in Faith Church.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Congregational Letter 

The following letter is going out in the mail today. You can read it now.

May 25, 2004

Dear Congregation,

With conviction that the Lord would have us worship him together, and excitement for worship with the whole church body, the Session has decided for the congregation to begin worshipping together, starting July 25.

Enclosed is a survey to help determine worship and SS times, and to help in the planning of the service. Please return the surveys as quickly as possible. You may turn them in Sunday, mail them back, or drop them off in the office. Pastor Clark and Elder Jeff Ward have been appointed as a committee to collect this information and to make proposals to the Session. Any input that you have to give is welcomed, and you may contact either of the men.

We have also directed that a fire code inspector examine the sanctuary and determine its
legal maximum capacity. It has been brought to our attention that the figures given at the
congregational meeting may not be accurate. When it is clarified, we will publicize the number and take whatever steps may be necessary to provide adequate seating.

The deciding factor in our decision is the belief that God delights in his people worshipping him together. Scripture presents that corporate worship is important to God and that church unity is essential. It is clear that, whenever possible, it is preferable for a congregation to worship as one body. Our reason for going to one service is founded on the conviction of what God would have his people do.

We have heard valid concerns about what such worship will be like. Some of you are worried that you will not be able to offer heart-felt worship or fitting worship. Music is the number one factor raised. But we believe that the whole church can have a service that gives due honor to God and blessing to the worshippers. Your input through the enclosed survey will help.

Here is what we want you to think about as we take this step: What if it works? What if we find ourselves liking worship that includes the whole body? Think about what it can mean for us. Think about what this church will be like after a year in which we look forward Sunday after Sunday of worshipping as one body the Head of the church, our Lord Jesus Christ. This is what inspires us. This is what makes us believe that the effort is worthwhile.

Finally, we want to thank the church for your sincere and good spirit. We are humbled by the respect and love shown even as differences were aired. We were able to arrive at a decision peacefully because of your prayers and the spirit that you displayed. We are honored to serve this church. Please continue to hold up Faith Church, the service, and us in your prayers.

In Christ’s service,

Marion Clark Chad Preston Jeff Ward

Bill Montgomery Dan Sonke

Sunday Highlights 

Here is the statement Paul wants the Corinth Church to clearly make. The majesty and mystery of God is very great. Who is like God who is three persons in one: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? See how wonderful they relate together. The Son delights to do his Father’s will; indeed, so marvelous is his love and obedience to his Father, he gave up his glory in heaven to become our servants even unto death. See how the Spirit goes forth as sent by the Son to give life to those whom the Father has chosen. Their positions of order as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has brought forth wondrous good for us.

See how God created man and woman. They were both made in his image; both share the same substance of flesh and soul, equal in value before God. See what was meant to be: the great bond between them like that of the Father and the Son, each finding blessing and be great blessing through their God-given roles. What could have been if not for the fall? What would men and women be like without the curse of sin that feeds jealousy, that makes both men and women proud, greedy for power?

We have a glimpse of what it should have been like. That glimpse is the gospel. See on the cross what could have been. There Christ showed such love for the Father as to pay the greatest price to carry out his will. There Christ showed his love for his Bride, the Church in that he give himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Paul told the Corinthians that he resolved to preach nothing “except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (2:2). Do you see what is bound up in the cross? It is the ultimate statement that we are to live for the glory of God, whatever the price may be; that to do his will is more fulfilling, more delightful than “getting my due.” Indeed, God has no interest in giving us our due; that is not good enough to manifest his glory. What he gives then are the riches of his glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18). This is the way it works with God; humility is but the pathway to glory. Submission is but the badge of honor one wears as he or she follows the path of our Lord to the glory he has now and that we will share in someday. Submission, obedience, humility – these are not shameful words for the Christian who’s Lord bore such traits.

Our marriages and churches are intended to express this theology. Husbands are to be like the Church’s Husband Jesus Christ. They are supposed to show his sacrificial love to their wives as their heads, taking the role of protector and nurturer. Wives are to show such respect that build up their husbands and enable them to bear their responsibilities. Men are to exercise godly leadership in the church in ways that reflect Christ as her Husband (Ephesians 5:25) and as her Good Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). In their homes and in the church, women should feel secure, should know that their welfare is taken care of, should be growing in love and devotion for their Lord because of the godly manner in which their men exercise their responsibilities.

Email Sorrows 

The church's email may be coming in, but I still cannot access my church email. If you want something to get to me, send them to Joffre via faith@fpc-gnv.org.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Email Back Up & Running 

All right, church email is back up! You can contact us again at the old addresses.

Joffre

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

New (Temporary) Email Address 

Well, our website's down, which means no email, and no devotions. Hopefully the problem will be solved soon, but meanwhile, here's a new address for you: faithgainesville@hotmail.com. This should be very temporary.

Please forward any emails you sent to faith@, mclark@, or joffre@fpc-gnv.org after the working day Friday to faithgainesville@hotmail.com.

Email Dilemma 

Our server at the church is down that provides support for the church website and our church email. If you have sent email to us and wonder why we have not responded, this is why. We were told that service would be restored by yesterday. Now we don't know when. Joffre is setting up an alternative email address and we will post it as soon as it is up. Please get the word out for us.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Sunday Highlights 

One other question. Do we understand how clearly the world understands the issue of male-female relations? Disney knows. Starting with “Anastasia,” there is no longer a story plot in which the male rescues the female. She is just as likely to save him. You will no longer find a fictional story on TV or film in which the action heroes do not include females – be they soldiers, police, or just plain tough guys. Though the Lord of the Rings has been extremely popular, critics did point to one fault – the fellowship of the nine is lacking a female. No modern writer or producer would make such an omission. Why? Because our society consciously rejects the concept expressed in this passage and the Bible – that woman plays a complementary role to man.

Secular society knows what it is doing. It consciously works out its belief about this in a logical manner. Do we? Do we know what we believe, and if we do, do we know how to practice and reinforce our beliefs? That is the challenge before us all – to discern how to practice a Christian worldview, not just personal morality. Then we must have the determination to live according to the ways of the kingdom. It is hard to do, as the Corinthians discovered; it is no easier for us. But living for God’s glory and our Lord’s pleasure is worth the effort. For to live for God is to fulfill the purpose for which we were made and for which Christ redeemed us. We have been saved, not merely to have a life insurance policy; not merely for the future, but for now. To glorify God now.

Saved 

A new teenager movie is coming out, "Saved." You can see the info on www.savedmovie.com. It takes place in a Christian high school and shows how difficult it is for "real" teenagers to navigate through life having to live among sanctimonious Christians.
"'Good girl' Mary (Jena Malone) and her domineering best friend, Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore), are starting their senior year at the top of the social food chain at American Eagle Christian High School - that is until Mary's boyfriend tells her he thinks he might be gay. When Jesus appears to her in a vision, she heeds his message to do everything she can to help him" and, to her horror, she ends up pregnant. Suddenly, Mary begins to question everything she's believed in, and Hilary Faye and her devoted "disciples (including Heather Matarazzo) turn against her, As an outcast, Mary finds herself alone until she's befriended by the school's other pariahs: Hilary Faye's cunical, wheelchair-bound brother, Ronald (Macaulay Culkin) the principal’s skaterheartthrob son, Patrick (Patrick Fugit); and the high school's lone Jew an exuberant rebel named Cassandra (Eva Amurri). In this sweetly subversive comedy, a group of outsiders band together to navigate the treacherous halls of high school and make it to graduation, ultimately learning more about themselves, finding faith in unexpected places, and realizing what it truly means to be Saved!"

Aren't you glad that Hollywood is going to teach what it truly means to be saved? The lesson the movie will be teaching is that life's issues are not so black and white as Christians make them to be. And yet the movie does what most Hollywood movies do - paint black and white stereotypes of Christians. Hollywood, for that matter, does depict all issues as black and white. It teaches that all anyone needs to do is to follow one's heart. Eventually, everyone will find what is truth (for them) and their meaning in life, if they will only follow their hearts.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Getting Ready for Sunday 

We go back to 1 Corinthians. The text is 11:2-16. It presents the case of women praying and prophesying without proper headcovering. We will take two weeks with this. Sunday's sermon will mostly be taken with understanding this very complicated text. There will be some application, but it will be the following Sunday that fuller attention is given on how to apply the subject to the modern church.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Thursday Answers 

"Who" miscellanea:
1. Who is the remaining charter member of Faith Church? Bob Gasche
2. Who was the first son of a president elected president? John Quincy Adams
3. Who scored the winning basket in the North Carolina - Georgetown basketball championship? Michael Jordan
4. Who was the third minister of Faith Church? Laurie Vidal
5. Who sang "I've Got You, Babe." Sonny and Cher
6. Who was originally cast to be the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz? Buddy Ebsen
7. Who wrote Sense and Sensibility? Jane Austin
8. Who kissed the girls and made them cry? Georgie Porgie
9. Who flipped head first in a motorcycle race and lived to tell about it? Craig Carter
10.Who killed J.R.? I vowed to keep the answer a secret.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Here's a fun shot from the Retreat that Michelle Carter sent into the church office. Thanks, Michelle!


Matthew Emery and Everall Peele seem to be having some trouble with their straws. Note Jeff Ward's (second yellow from left) great hilarity in background.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

PCA Magazine 

Check out www.byfaithonline.com. It is a remake of the older online journal. This is a great way to get in touch with what is going on in the denomination.

Tuesday Test 

"Who" miscellanea:
1. Who is the remaining charter member of Faith Church?
2. Who was the first son of a president elected president?
3. Who scored the winning basket in the North Carolina - Georgetown basketball championship?
4. Who was the third minister of Faith Church?
5. Who sang "I've Got You, Babe."
6. Who was originally cast to be the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz?
7. Who wrote Sense and Sensibility?
8. Who kissed the girls and made them cry?
9. Who flipped head first in a motorcycle race and lived to tell about it?
10.Who killed J.R.?

Game Night 

Bring your tennis shoes Friday night. It's time for kick ball! Yes, you remember playing in grammar school. We'll show the church kids how the game was really played.

Presbytery Women 

Women from the North Florida Presbytery churches are gathering at Faith this Saturday for a seminar. Presbytery leadership and organization have been weak lately and the hope is to inspire and train leaders from the churches. Be in prayer for this meeting taking place Saturday morning.

Painting FLC 

At this moment the team of Everall Peele, Joan Prange, Gary Houck, and Nick Schroeder is painting the Family Life Center. It is a interesting color scheme. The walls are blue and the doors orange. Just kidding! Be sure to check out the building this weekend and thank these folks for their hard labor.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Retreat 

We had a great retreat this past weekend. Thanks to Nick Schroeder who served as director; Bob & Helen McIver, key planners; Ginger Clark, manager behind the scenes; and Craig Carter, the food man.

What I learned:
- don't get near Craig Meyers when he is holding a water hose
- Michelle Suarez knows how to hustle in basketball
- Brian Shepard is the premiere cannonball splasher
- Peter Meyers lives to be in the water
- Renatta Swait knows how to make one sad face
- Don Nilsson is shameless when it comes to eating dessert

Friday, May 07, 2004

Family Life Center Painting 

The Family Life Center is getting a fresh coat of paint on the inside this week, I think on Tuesday. Willing hands are accepted.

Sunday at the Church 

There will be one worship service at Faith Church this Sunday at 11:00. We will also have evening service at 6:00, as well as youth groups and KidsQuest.

Weekend Retreat 

The annual Faith Family Retreat starts today! Pray for the Rogers who will be leading the teaching and singing. Posted lower down is the schedule for the weekend. If you can't stay over, try to come to for parts of the weekend. Particularly try to make Saturday night's concert. Sunday worship at the camp will be at 10:30.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Test Answers 

These songs are their signatures:

1. "God Bless America." Anyone from Philadelphia would know the woman singer. Kate Smith
2. "How Great Thou Art." Just think Billy Graham crusade. George Beverly Shea
3. "I Did it My Way." Two possible answers. Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley
4. "You've Got a Friend." Two possible answers. Carole King or James Taylor
5. "Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters." Simon and Garfunkel
6. "If I Had a Hammer." Peter Seeger (Peter, Paul, and Mary is acceptable)
7. "Blow'in in the Wind." Bob Dylan
8. "A Ring of Fire." Johnny Cash
9. "You Were Always on my Mind." Willie Nelson
10. "The Hallelujah Chorus" George Frederick Handel

The Mighty Three! 

David may have had his mighty three (cf. 1 Chronicles 11:10 ff), but Faith has hers as well. The threesome of Prange, Weiss, and Clark performed the mighty feat of moving the church library across the hall in one morning!

If you walk into the first room on the right in the Teaching Center, you will walk into a storage room mostly filled with Fred and Lori Taylor's collection of stuff for KidsQuest. The library will be to the left and also doubling as the classroom for the Inquirers' Class.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Sermons and Devotions 

Sunday's sermon has been posted. Roger Carey is writing the devotions for 1 & 2 Chronicles. He should get special thanks for taking us through the genealogies!

As the World Turns 

This sent in by the Nilssons:

Let's say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else. And then, one
evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?" And then there is silence in the car.

To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself "Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Roger is thinking: "Gosh. Six months."

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward ... I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at
this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?"

And Roger is thinking:"... so that means it was . . . let's see, February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means . . . lemme check the odometer. . .Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here."

And Elaine is thinking: "He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed-even before I sensed it-that I was feeling
some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected."

And Roger is thinking: "And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600."

And Elaine is thinking: "He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I cant help the way I feel. I'm just not sure."

And Roger is thinking: "They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the scumballs."

And Elaine is thinking: "Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a
person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl
romantic fantasy."

And Roger is thinking: "Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty...

"Roger," Elaine says aloud. "What?" says Roger, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have . . .I feel so ... (She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Roger.

"I'm such a fool," Elaine sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Roger.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Elaine says.

"No!" says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just that. . . It's that I... I need some time," Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.) "Yes," he says.

(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.) "Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Roger.

"That way about time," says Elaine.

"Oh," says Roger. "Yes."

(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.) "Thank you. Roger," she says

"Thank you," says Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the
car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it. (This is also Roger's policy regarding world hunger.)

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again,
exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: "Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?"

Tuesday Test 

These songs are their signatures:

1. "God Bless America." Anyone from Philadelphia would know the woman singer.
2. "How Great Thou Art." Just think Billy Graham crusade.
3. "I Did it My Way." Two possible answers.
4. "You've Got a Friend." Two possible answers.
5. "Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters."
6. "If I Had a Hammer."
7. "Blow'in in the Wind."
8. "A Ring of Fire."
9. "You Were Always on my Mind."
10. "The Hallelujah Chorus"

Who Thinks of These Things? 

More contributions from Craig Meyers:

DORMITORY: When you rearrange the letters: DIRTY ROOM

PRESBYTERIAN: When you rearrange the letters: BEST IN PRAYER

THE MORSE CODE: When you rearrange the letters: HERE COME DOTS

SLOT MACHINES: When you rearrange the letters: CASH LOST IN ME

ANIMOSITY: When you rearrange the letters: IS NO AMITY

SNOOZE ALARMS: When you rearrange the letters: ALAS! NO MORE Z''S

A DECIMAL POINT: When you rearrange the letters: I'M A DOT IN PLACE

ELEVEN PLUS TWO: When you rearrange the letters: TWELVE PLUS ONE

Monday, May 03, 2004

Faith Retreat this Weekend 

This is the schedule for the weekend:

Friday:
5-7pm Arrival & check-in
Cabin assignments
Supper
7pm: Welcome & Songs
7-8pm: Kids’ Krafts
7:30pm: Songs for the Journey: Psalms 120-134
8pm: Campfire and s’mores

Saturday:
8am: Breakfast
9:15am: Songs
9:30am: From Trouble to Trust to Triumph: Psalms 120-122
10am: Games
12pm: Lunch
1:15pm: Songs
1:30pm: Unless the Lord Builds the House: Psalm 127
2:15pm: Pool & Free Time
4:30-5:30pm: Kids’ Krafts
5:30pm: Supper
7pm: Concert (Judy Rogers)

Sunday:
8am: Breakfast
9am: Cabin clean-up, pack-up, inspection
10:30am: Worship service—The Call to Worship:Psalm 134
12:30pm: Lunch

Sunday Highlights 

The world should respect, even if begrudgingly, our devotion to good works. They ought to see that in us as individuals and as a church. They should be impressed with the way we band together to help one another and our community.

What Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount ought to apply to individuals and churches alike:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).

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