Worship Service - 10:30am
Education Hour - 9:15am


Poor In Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

For the next several weeks this space will take a closer look at The Beatitudes.  Jesus starts this series of statements with some incredibly good news.  Happy are the people who don’t fit into the religious establishment.  The kingdom of God is now available to them.  In Jesus’ day the people who were considered spiritual were folks like the Pharisees.  They could pray beautiful prayers (and often did in very public ways).  They kept all the rules.  They were insiders.  Most people had an inferiority complex compared to these people – the rich in spirit.  So when Jesus tells the crowd that the kingdom of God belongs also to the poor in spirit, it was very good news.

Have you ever felt like an outsider?  Have you ever felt inferior or unspiritual compared to others?  Have you ever believed that your sin disqualified you?  Then this beatitude is good news for you too.  Jesus has made the kingdom of God available to you.  Because of Jesus, it’s a kingdom for people who don’t pray that well or have deep spiritual insights.  It’s a kingdom for people who have messed up big time.  It’s a kingdom for the poor in spirit.  By the way, it’s also a kingdom for insiders and great pray-ers and deep spiritual thinkers.  But we all enter that kingdom the same way – through Jesus.


Giving Up for Lent

It’s a practice in many Christian traditions to give up something for the season of Lent. In the Roman Catholic Church red meat is the usual sacrifice. This has led to all kinds of new and delicious ways to eat fish. Other denominations in the liturgical church tradition also have observed a lenten sacrifice. Maybe you choose to give things up for lent too.

Here are a few things I can tell you about this practice. It won’t bring you good luck. It won’t make God love you more. You may or may not grow closer to Jesus if you do it. The real value in giving up something for Lent is in remembering what God gave up. He gave up His only Son. He sent Christ to the world to be the sacrifice for us. As you experience the inconvenience of giving up something in your life, remember the excruciating pain of the sacrifice God made for us. Most of all, think about the incredible love for you that drove God to do it.

Winning Before the Race

I watched some cross-country skiing during the current Olympic games. While being reminded why this is not a spectator sport, I also was impressed by the incredible amount of effort and energy these athletes spend to win a medal. It exhausts me just to see them collapse across the finish line. For many of these athletes this is their one shot at winning an Olympic medal. They train and discipline their bodies in hopes of winning.

There’s a marked difference in life in Christ. Winning does not depend on our performance in the race. Our victory has already been won by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are assured a spot on the podium before the starting gun ever sounds. We don’t race to win the prize. We race because of the prize we’ve already won. Our lives are driven by something we already have, not something we’re hoping to win. Paul says it best in Philippians 3:16: “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”

Presidents’ Day

Today is Presidents’ Day in the U.S. It’s a national holiday that falls on the third Monday in February, strategically placed between Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays. What is most interesting about Presidents’ Day is that it doesn’t fall on the birthday of any particular president. It’s not a celebration of Washington or Lincoln or Jefferson. It’s a celebration of the office of the president.

Paul wrote this to the Romans in chapter 13 of his letter: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God… Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. As Christians, we should celebrate Presidents’ Day. For we are celebrating a power that comes from God. Regardless of how you feel about the men who have held that office, it exists by God’s providence. When you look inside your empty mailbox today and remember that it’s Presidents’ Day, I think it would be appropriate to thank God for this authority which He has established.

GIFT-Investing in God’s Kingdom

During the month of February we are dealing with the issue of money and giving in our worship services.  It often feels a bit awkward to talk about giving, but this is one topic Jesus never shied away from.  He talked about money more than any other subject.  The Bible teaches that everything belongs to God.  When we think about it that way, it only makes sense to seek God’s direction in all of our spending decisions, especially when it comes to our giving.

Once again, the Deacons and the Stewardship Team will be asking you to consider filling out a GIFT card.  GIFT is an acronym for Generosity In our Financial Treasure.  The goal of GIFT is to challenge givers at FCC to give prayerfully and purposefully.  These cards can be found in your mailboxes at check and in the info rack in the lobby.  You may place them in the offering plate once you’ve filled it out.  This voluntary tool is not used to create budgets at the church.  Rather, your financial commitment will be reported to you on giving statements as a way to hold yourself accountable to what God is calling you to give.  This year we are also including a GIFT card for kids.  This isn’t a card that they submit, but one that will help them reach the giving goals they have prayerfully set.  If you have any questions, please talk to Rachel Terpstra, Jim Miller, Dave Landheer, Alison Kossuth, or Todd McFall.


Groundhog Day

We all know that the Super Bowl was played on Sunday. Maybe you also noticed that Sunday was Groundhog Day. I put absolutely no stock in a silly rodent when it comes to predicting the remaining amount of winter. But the whole phenomenon did give rise to a very clever movie. Bill Murray is a weatherman who must relive a 24-hour period (which happens to be Groundhog Day) over and over. The idea is that before he can move on to the next day, he needs to make some significant personal changes. When he puts aside his selfish and indulgent ways, the loop is broken and a new day begins.

In my own life I’ve had a similar experience. I’ve never been stuck in the same day. But I’ve been stuck in patterns of behavior over months and even years. For Bill Murray it took a relationship with a female co-worker to make the necessary changes. For me it’s been through a relationship with Jesus. Jesus leads us out of unhelpful patterns and endless cycles if we’re willing to follow him. There are no Groundhog Days with Jesus. But we should probably prepare ourselves for another six weeks of winter.

Romans 8:28 Reconsidered

One of the most cherished verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This verse has been dragged into contemporary culture in the the shortened saying: “Everything happens for a reason.” Christians have often taken this verse as a promise that God will make everything turn out well for us. I believe that ultimately that’s true. But what about those who lost their lives as martyrs for the Gospel? What about devoted followers of Jesus who seem to go from one bad break to another?

There’s a catch to this promise. We don’t get to define “good.” Only God gets to define what qualifies as good for us. He probably has different ideas than we do. One of my favorite authors, A.W. Tozer, put it this way: “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it solves a great deal of anxiety.” God’s goal for your life and mine is to make us more like Jesus. That’s how God defines “good.” And He promises to use everything in our lives to move us toward that goal.



Michigan is one of the places in the world where we get four real seasons. When we lived in North Carolina people talked about having four seasons, but they really only had two-and-a-half (hot, sort of hot, and chilly). In Michigan the places we go in the summer look like a completely different place in the winter. It’s amazing how shorter days, cold weather, and snow can completely change a landscape. The exact same trail, beach, or field can look completely different.

There are seasons in our lives too. Although we remain the same people, when our circumstances and resources change, we can look very different. These new conditions call forth different parts of ourselves. There are seasons of planting and preparing (spring). There are seasons of growth and productivity (summer). There are seasons of reaping and contentment (fall). There are even seasons of stillness and rest (winter). It’s winter in Michigan. But what about you? What season are you in? And how is that season changing the landscape of your life?


At Ferrysburg Community Church, we’ve not traditionally done a lot with Epiphany. We mention Epiphany Sunday (yesterday) and sing some Epiphany songs. But other than that, not much. Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means “an appearing” or “a manifestation.” In the Greek language this word was sometimes used to describe the appearing of an enemy coming to attack. Epiphany was also used to describe the dawn – the appearing of the sun.

These are powerful pictures of Jesus being revealed to the world. Imagine the forces of of sin and death seeing Jesus appearing on a ridge, marching into battle. Picture Jesus, like the sun, breaking into the darkness with rays of light. As great as it is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, Epiphany marks the start of business time. As we live out the drama of Christ’s life, Epiphany is a time to remind us that Jesus has declared war on brokenness and sin. It’s on! Light has come!

The Ultimate New Year

New Year’s Day is a pretty simple, straightforward holiday. It’s not a celebration of a specific historical event. It’s not a religious or spiritual holiday. Therefore, we don’t have to protect it against commercialism or secularization. It’s just the first day of the next year. And yet there’s something powerfully refreshing and hopeful about New Year’s Day. There’s something about this day that helps us believe in better things, a different, improved future.

I think New Year’s Day connects deeply with our longing for newness. While the day provides very little in the way of actual newness, it points to a day when everything will be made new. A day is coming when all of creation – the earth, the social order, relationships, and even our bodies – will be made new. That, of course, is the day when Christ will come again. It is the day when heaven will come down to earth and make all things new. So if your resolutions seem unrealistic and impossible, know that God has made some resolutions through His Son Jesus Christ. These resolutions will not be broken. They will be fulfilled beyond anything we can imagine. That will be the ultimate New Year’s Day.