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


What You Can Do

When was the last time you set out to do something that you knew you couldn’t do?  Ever attempted something that, in order for it to happen, would require miraculous outside intervention?  In business this happens all the time.  There are risks because no business plan, no matter how good, can account for or control every variable.  Even sporting events are often decided by a funny bounce, a lucky roll, or a highly unlikely combination of events.

What about church?  What risky things do churches do?  When do churches make leaps of faith that require God’s miraculous intervention for success?  Perhaps capital campaigns are an example.  But I would contend that most things that churches do can be done without God.  Of course, we need God for our every breath.  But most of the goals we set, the plans we make, are well within our power to accomplish.  We don’t need God to achieve them.  Does that sound right to you?  We are people with the power that created the universe and raised the dead available to us.  And we set goals and make plans that require none of it.  Think about that.

A Prayer for Charlottseville

Father, how it must grieve you when the children you have created attack each other. When skin pigmentation, a part of your creative and beautiful design, leads one group to hate another, it must break your heart. As your people we are dismayed by the bigotry on display in Charlottesville this weekend. As your people we denounce the hatred that has no place in your kingdom. We pray for healing in that city. We pray for healing in our nation. We ask that you would bring a forgiveness and a reconciliation that is born of truth and justice.
We pray for the families of those who were killed. Comfort them as they try to make sense of the senseless. Work in the hearts of the perpetrators of violence. May they repent of their agenda and the violent means by which they carry it out. And Father, we repent of the Charlottesville that exists in our own hearts. We acknowledge our own fears, our own desire for privilege at the expense of others, and conflict that is created within us. We pray that your kingdom would come and that it would come within us. We pray this in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  Amen.

Tuesday Night with Shelly Boer

Throughout the summer our Youth Director, Samantha Francart, has been gathering with students for worship on the church patio on Wednesday nights.  They sing around the fire and enjoy s’mores.  This week we are moving it to Tuesday night and inviting all of us to experience this.  This week is special in that Shelly Boer will be sharing an update on her work in global mission.  Shelly has seen God do some amazing things.  You will be encouraged to hear about them.  You’ll also get to worship around a campfire.  And maybe even some s’mores!  We hope to see you Tuesday night at 7:00PM.

Plan A

Yesterday at our service, we had to implement Plan B.  The Erwins were supposed to come and participate in our service with beautiful singing and powerful songs.  An accident stranded them in Arkansas.  Plan A was no longer an option.  So we went with Plan B.  Life is like that.  Things don’t always turn out the way we plan. Disease strikes, accidents happen, relationships break.  So we resign ourselves to make the best of Plan B (or sometimes Plan C or D).

God’s Plan A never gets derailed.  God’s original plan was to redeem a broken world and put it back together better than ever.  His plan is to gather for himself a people who will worship and serve and co-create in a renewed creation.  His plan is for you to be completely whole, restored, and made new.  That plan cannot fail. No matter how many Plan Bs you and I need to settle for, God never needs plan B.  His Plan A is guaranteed.  In fact, all of our Plan Bs are somehow woven into his Plan A.

Frederick Buechner on Worship

Phrases like “Worship Service” or “Service of Worship” are tautologies. To worship God means to serve him. Basically there are two ways to do it. One way is to do things for him that he needs to have done—run errands for him, carry messages for him, fight on his side, feed his lambs, and so on. The other way is to do things for him that you need to do—sing songs for him, create beautiful things for him, give things up for him, tell him what’s on your mind and in your heart, in general rejoice in him and make a fool of yourself for him the way lovers have always made fools of themselves for the one they love.

A Quaker Meeting, a Pontifical High Mass, the Family Service at First Presbyterian, a Holy Roller Happening—unless there is an element of joy and foolishness in the proceedings, the time would be better spent doing something useful.

The Most Important Peace


Yesterday we talked about peace as a fruit of the Spirit.  It occurs naturally in the lives of those who belong to Jesus.  This kind of peace protects us from the devastating effects of life in a broken world.  But even before we experience peace as a fruit of the Spirit, we experience an even more important peace: peace with God.  Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The first and most important peace is a right relationship with our Creator.  We always talk about world peace in terms of foreign relations.  The most urgent world peace is a peace between this world and its Creator.  Through Jesus this peace is available to our world and given to those who belong to God. Jesus has removed the obstacles (sin) between us and God. There is no more enmity between us.  You are at peace with God.

Ah, Summer

Today marks the official start of summer vacation for students throughout the tri-cities.  I can remember back to those days from my childhood.  There was always an irrepressible joy within me as I celebrated the end of nine months of school and considered what the summer might hold.  The next three months would be filled with camping, fort-building, baseball cards, and a little mischief.  Specifically, I can remember going to bed after the last day of school, the whole summer before me.  It seemed too good to be true.  I rejoiced at simply being alive to all the possibilities.

Thirty years later I really don’t have a parallel for that feeling.  Joy is still present, but served in smaller doses these days.  Maybe I’ve just learned to govern my reactions a bit more.  Still, there is one way that this “last day of school” experience seems appropriate: when we think about reigning forever with Jesus.  I think the kind of joy associated with summer vacation will be a daily reality for us when Jesus brings His kingdom to earth.  I’m not sure if we’ll need to sleep in the age to come.  Actually, I wonder if we’ll even be able to sleep as we ponder all the possibilities of God’s presence and the new earth.  

Maker Fun Factory VBS


One week from today we will kick off four days of Maker Fun Factory VBS.  The church is already beginning to look like a fun factory!  On the surface it appears the point of VBS is to share Christ’s love with children.  That certainly is the stated purpose of this week.  But VBS does some other very wonderful things for kids and our entire church family.  First, it builds lasting relationships between kids, teens, and adults.  When we ask incoming freshmen to identify possible mentors, many of them identify people they got to know through VBS.  Second, we’ve found it builds excitement as our church family comes together to accomplish something significant.  It’s fun to be a part of something that has been successful.  It’s meaningful to have a role.

Our FCC kids grow closer to God.  We all grow deeper in God’s family.  By announcing Christ’s love with kids from the community, we grow louder in God’s world.  It’s a perfect way to pursue our vision.  So please keep this event in your prayers.  Pray for kids who need to hear the good news.  Pray for volunteers who will be working with kids throughout the week.  And help us spread the word.  Send people to www.ferrysburgchurch.com/vbs to register kids for an outstanding, life-changing week!

The Holy Spirit


I once read where an author posed this question: Would you rather have Jesus walking beside you or the Holy Spirit living within you?  My natural reaction is to take Jesus beside me.  Wouldn’t that be cool to experience life the way the twelve disciples did?  However, Jesus indicates that we are much better off choosing to have the Spirit within us.  The night before he died he told his disciples that he was leaving for their benefit, in order for the Spirit to come and dwell within them.  It would be better that way.

And Jesus’ belief is proved true by what actually happens.  Note the stark contrast between the pre-Pentecost disciples and the Spirit-filled disciples.  There’s no comparison!  They go from being frightened and confused to fearless and convicted.  I think we regularly underestimate the importance of Pentecost.  If the Spirit had not been poured out on us, little would’ve changed after the resurrection.  Because the Spirit was given on Pentecost everything is changed – the world and us.  Stop and take a moment today to thank God for giving us his Spirit.

Following Jesus Today

Yesterday we talked about how a commitment to Jesus was like giving him a blank check.  We offer everything to Jesus.  We resolve to do whatever he asks of us.  That’s a lot to get your mind around.  It’s hard for me to think about the really big things Jesus might ask me to do in the future.  What if he asks me to do missions overseas?  What if he asks me to serve in a way that is especially challenging?  What if he sets difficult circumstances before me? 

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  The real questions is not: What might Jesus ask me to do someday?  The real question is: What is Jesus asking me to do today?  And it’s probably not terribly daunting.  Perhaps he’s asking you to speak a kind word or take an interest in someone’s life.  He may be asking you to to send someone a quick text to let them know you’re thinking and praying.  Jesus might ask you to do a favor for someone.  Following Jesus is not about what he might ask you to do in the future.  It’s about what he is asking you to do today.  Jesus will take a blank check for May 22.  One day at a time.