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I hope that you will join our fishing crew as we enter our 2nd annual fishing derby to raise funds for the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering. You can help by picking up one of our OGHS fish boxes (available in the church’s gallery) and begin to fill it with coins. On Easter Sunday, we will be collecting all of the boxes and have our weigh-in during worship. If you will be out of town on Easter Sunday, we invite you to return your fish box ahead of time.
Our goal is to beat last year’s record of 151 pounds. This is a fun and entertaining way to help those in need. The proceeds from the OGHS offering go to support the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program which provides much needed assistance when disasters strike. PDA was one of the first agencies into Joplin, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, when the tornados devastated these communities last year. Proceeds from this offering also went to many people in our region who were affected by the flooding just a year ago.
We, as a church, have a desire to help others in need. Our church does not exist for our own self-preservation. As our mission statement reminds us, we exist to “reflect the love of Jesus Christ in our church, community and world.” We are making a difference in the lives of people here is Billings and beyond.
Throughout this newsletter you will hear of ways how your financial contributions are helping people. We have partnered with Stephen’s Stones Ministries to make a difference in Billings by helping the less fortunate (please see Troy’s letter on page 7). We will be sending a team of 28 youth and adults this summer to Belize, Central America, to build a house for the under-privileged. Our mission committee is an active group that is seeking ways to better engage with those in our community.
I greatly appreciate your generosity and concern toward other.
Let’s go catch some fish!
— Pastor Dave
“Getting into Spiritual Shape”
‘Tis the season to get into shape! With the turn of a New Year comes the promise of resolutions and changes to our lives. One resolution that continues to top the list every year is for people to get into shape. We are inundated with products that promise to reduce waistlines and take off pounds. Health clubs offer special promotions and discounts at this time of year to entice us to join. Diet pills and supplements have become a multi-billion dollar industry. Where ever we seem to turn we are enticed with products and services to help us shed pounds and build strength.
Over the next four weeks you will be hearing more about exercise. God desires that we live a healthy and full life. We might concentrate on getting into physical shape, but what about our spiritual shape? In the coming month, I will be preaching a sermon series titled, “Getting into Spiritual Shape: Walking with God.” I will be using passages from the Bible that will help us learn more about how we can strengthen and tone our spiritual muscles.
Developing a strong spiritual core and building spiritual muscle will help us when things don’t always go our way. We live in a world of disappointments and disease, sickness and stress. By having a spirit that is strong, we will be able to stand firm when those unexpected obstacles come our way. The outline for my sermon series is:
January 30-- Building a Strong Body: You will learn of the great power that lives within us through the Holy Spirit. I will be using Colossians 1:24-29 as a base for this sermon.
February 6-- Building a Strong Mind: For this sermon I will be using Jesus’ timeless words about worry and anxiety from his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6: 25-34.
February 13-- Building a Healthy Heart: In this sermon I will be talking about living free of the past and developing a heart of love and compassion. I will be using Ephesians 4: 17-32 as a base for this sermon.
February 20-- Building a Strong Immune System: In this sermon I will be talking about the wonderful power of prayer that is available to us.
I look forward to worshipping with you in the coming weeks and working together to strengthen our spiritual muscles. May the Lord continue to bless you and your families!
On behalf of our church staff, I would like to wish you and your families a happy New Year and the very best in 2011. I appreciate the ministry we share and look forward to accomplishing some good ministry in the coming year.
During my first four months as your pastor, I have asked a number of people about goals and aspirations for our church. Some of these conversations took place during the Pastor’s Meet and Greet sessions organized by the deacons. Other conversations have taken place as I have asked people individually about their hopes and dreams for our congregation. A number of things have been shared, with several key items rising to the top of the list. They include the following:
*Spiritual growth of our members. A number of people have expressed to me a desire to grow in their knowledge and understanding of the ways and truths of God. As your pastor I am excited to hear of a desire for people to grow in this area. Through worship, Christian education, and Bible study opportunities, it is my first priority to help people grow spiritually. Bob Culbertson and I will be leading a Sunday school class on Sunday mornings titled, Basic Beliefs. Using the New Testament book of Colossians as our guide, this six week class will be exploring what we believe as Christians. This class will begin on Sunday, January 16 at 9:15 AM in the fireside room. Other opportunities for spiritual growth will be offered throughout the year.
*Strengthening of children’s and youth ministry programs: Many of you have expressed a strong desire to rebuild the programs offered for children and youth. We do have a strong youth group that meets every Wednesday evening for supper and learning. This group has been led by a wonderful group of adult volunteers who have seen youth ministry as a vital part of who we are at First Presbyterian. The Christian education committee continues to target next fall to launch a new mid-week program designed for children. The CE committee is also looking at ways to enhance our program to children and youth on Sunday mornings. With a lot of experience in the area of children and youth ministry, I will continue to work closely with this committee to implement these programs. Your help in carrying out these new programs would be greatly appreciated.
*Leadership development: I will continue to work with the leadership teams in our church (session, deacons, and other committees) to provide stability and growth. A healthy church is one that has good leadership at its core. The acronym TEAM stands for Together Everyone Accomplishes More, and will serve as a goal for empowering our church leaders. The church is the Body of Christ, made up of many members working for the same common goal. I will be helping the session and deacons in this area as we carry out the mission of being Christ’s church in Billings and beyond.
I’m looking forward to the coming year and all of the exciting things that God has in store for us as a congregation. I am very blessed to be serving as your pastor and desire, along with you, to grow spiritually in the ways and purposes of Jesus Christ. Happy New Year!
We are off to a good start in our ministry together. I have met a number of people over the past month who have shared with me a hopefulness for this church and a vitality for its future.
In the coming days you will be hearing a lot about our stewardship campaign, Things are looking up! The intention of this slogan is twofold. First, as Christians and as a church family, we are called to “look up” to Jesus Christ who is our source of strength and salvation. We believe that God, as revealed through Jesus Christ, provides many blessings of promise, presence, and peace. Secondly, this slogan also serves as an encouraging word that captures the hope and renewal that I sense from a lot of you at First Presbyterian. I am excited about the ministry we share and look forward to reaching out to our community and changing lives in the name and power of Jesus Christ.
I would like to personally invite you to attend my installation service on Sunday, October 10 at 4:00 PM in our sanctuary. This service will mark a new era in the life of our church. My father, who is a Presbyterian pastor from California, will be preaching on this special occasion. Following the service, a reception will be held in our fellowship hall. Come and join us in this special celebration.
I look forward to developing deeper relationships with all of you. It is my desire to helping this church advance its ministry in Billings and beyond. Help us to make First Presbyterian a place where the name of Jesus Christ is exalted, where lives are transformed by the presence of God, and where we provide a healthy environment where people can grow in the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Yes, it is exciting to be a part of a church where Things are looking up! I look forward to worshipping with you on the next Lord’s Day.
How many times have we taken God’s simple pleasures for granted? How many times do we find ourselves running from one activity to another, that we don’t even see God who is at work in our lives?
The season of Thanksgiving provides us a time to slow down and to express our thankfulness for all of God’s many blessings. God’s gifts are more impressive than what we might find on a store shelf; they include the gifts of life, peace, joy, hope, and salvation.
One of the many ways that we can express our appreciation to God is by give back to the work and ministry of Christ. On Sunday, November 7 you are encouraged to join us for Commitment Sunday, when you will be asked to make a commitment for the coming years in terms of sharing your time, talents, and treasures. Your gifts are very important to us as we continue to move forward as a congregation and advance the Good News of Jesus Christ in our church, community, and world. You should have recently received a letter from our church’s stewardship committee and an enclosed “Commitment Card.” We encourage you to complete this card and bring it with you to church on Sunday, November 7. If you are unable to attend on the 7th, you can simply return the card to the church office via the self-addressed stamped envelope that was included with the letter.
I look forward to worshipping with you on the next Lord’s Day as worship affords us an opportunity to gather with other Christians to express our gratitude to our God for the many blessings that we have received.
As you find yourselves busy in this season, take time to look around and see God who is at work in our lives. Don't miss it!