April 15, 2019

Dear FPC—

              Holy week is here.  This week is a roller coaster of emotions—from the triumphant entry on Palm Sunday, to the conflict in the temple, to the somber last supper, to the arrest, trial and crucifixion, to the quiet of Saturday, and finally to the great victory of Easter.  I hope you will be able to reflect on all that Jesus and his first followers were experiencing through this week.   Join us for any of our special services this week—Wednesday at 12:30, Thursday evening (supper at 6, worship at 7), Friday at 4 at Ogden Christian, and Saturday at 8:13 pm at Trinity Pres. 

But don’t miss our Easter celebration on Sunday—both the 9:30 and 11 services will be in the sanctuary, with an egg hunt at 10:30. Bring your friends and celebrate our Risen Lord! 

              We are experiencing the roller coaster in our own lives too—the tragic fire at Notre Dame, people with sudden health problems, people grieving losses, people in conflict, but also people experiencing new joy, new hope, and new growth.   God is moving at First Pres, in and through YOU!  You all are a huge encouragement and inspiration to me—I thank God for you!  Let’s celebrate together on Sunday!

              Looking ahead—don’t forget to sign up for the Troop 4 Centennial Dinner on April 27.  On May 18 we will have a Festival of Prayer mini-retreat—save the date!  Then on Sunday May 19 we will celebrate our kids in worship, followed by a potluck.  Then that afternoon we will have a new members class from 1 to 3 pm.  It will be a great time to explore what we believe, how we live out our faith together, and why membership is fundamentally a Christian idea. 

              Blessings to you this Holy Week—

              Pastor Steve

April 8, 2019

Dear FPC—

              April Showers—underway!  Check!  It will be interesting to see if we end up with April snow showers!  As you finish Deuteronomy—think about what it means to choose life.  How can we choose life/choose blessing/choose Jesus in our lives today?  How do we turn away from him? 

              We have lots coming up in the life of our congregation:

1)      Troop 4 Centennial Celebration!  This is Saturday, April 27, but we need to register by TOMORROW—Wednesday April 10.  Click here to do that:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scouts-bsa-troop-4-ogden-utah-centennial-celebrati-tickets-58115666523

2)      Holy Week!  At Easter (April 21) we celebrate the most important, meaningful, hope-filled event in the history of the world.  I hope you will join us—and bring a friend too!  The red carpet will be rolled out for all of us!  We’ll have 2 identical services in the sanctuary at 9:30 and 11, April 21.

As we get ready for Easter, I hope you will join in some of our special Holy Week activities—we are having a Palm Sunday celebration this Sunday.  What does it mean to call Jesus King?  How ready are we for a king?  Then on Wednesday, April 17 we will have our Midweek Prayer and Praise time at 12:30 pm in the chapel—but with a focus on Holy Week.  On Thursday, April 18 we will share a potluck supper together at 6 in Geneva Hall, followed by celebrating communion in our Maundy Thursday service at 7 pm.  On Good Friday, April 19 we will join with our friends at Ogden Christian Church at 4pm, and we’ll celebrate the Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday, April 20 at Trinity Presbyterian at 8:13 pm. 

Phew!  The goal is not to wear yourselves out—just choose the times that work for you to prepare your hearts and minds for Easter. 

 I am grateful for you and excited to share this season with you!

 

Pastor Steve

April 1, 2019

Dear FPC—

              Happy April!  Flowers are coming up, closets are getting cleaned out, new projects are underway, lighter jackets are getting worn—it is definitely becoming Spring!  I am excited about all that God is doing this Spring at FPC.  We are finishing Immerse: Beginnings.  Many of you will have read the whole Torah—the foundational books of the Bible!  That is really great.  While those books were written to and for people in a very different time and place from us, God still uses them to speak to us today in powerful ways.  It also has been fascinating to see how much of the context and background of New Testament stories are rooted right in these early books.  This week the Women’s Bible study was looking at John chapter 6.  In it, Jesus echoes the Exodus story by feeding the people in the wilderness with bread (from heaven?) and then miraculously crosses the Sea by walking on it.  In response the people immediately assume he is the prophet (messiah!) to come who Moses predicted in, you guessed it, Deuteronomy. 

              I hope you won’t miss out on our last Immerse sermon in this series—about the freedom God gives us to choose.  Join us on Sunday. 

Then we launch full speed into Holy Week—with Palm Sunday, a special Midweek Prayer and Praise (Wednesdays at 12:30), Maundy Thursday service at FPC at 7 pm (supper at 6 in Geneva Hall), Good Friday services at Ogden Christian at 4pm and the Great Vigil at Trinity Saturday at sunset.  Our Easter celebration will be April 21 –both services in the sanctuary with full choir and joy!  Bring your friends, this is a special time!

              We also have two events to sign up for now—

  1. The Troop 4 Centennial celebration on April 27.  Register here by April 10!   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scouts-bsa-troop-4-ogden-utah-centennial-celebrati-tickets-58115666523

  2. The World Vision Global 6K for Water on Saturday, May 4.  You can register to walk or contribute here https://www.teamworldvision.org/team/ogdenwalkforwater   

 Let’s get hopping FPC! 

 

With spring fever,

Pastor Steve

March 25, 2019

Dear FPC—

              We are about half way through Lent.  This 40 day period of preparation before Easter is a time gift from God to you.  It isn’t a burden—it is a gift!  If you are like me, your plans for Lenten devotions or fasts have only sometimes shown up in your life over the last 3 weeks.  That’s ok—perfection is not needed, but persistence does pay off!  I invite you to recommit to a Lenten practice for the rest of our time leading up to Easter.  Don’t let the past keep you from the present that connects you to Jesus! 

The other day I heard Trevor Hudson (a Methodist pastor and author from South Africa) talking about Lent.  He suggested four guiding questions we can use in thinking about our Lenten practice:

 

  • Is what you are doing going to help you be prepared to enter more fully into the mystery of Good Friday and Easter? 

  • Will it deepen your friendship with Christ?  (ask God each day ‘what would you like to do for our friendship today?’)

  • Will it increase your freedom from addictive patterns in your life?

  • Will it draw you into deeper engagement with people around you?  (does it make you a better person to live with?)

 

The litmus test of any spiritual practice is whether it increases and deepens the quality of my relationships with God, with those around me, and with those in pain. 

If you’d like ideas of things you can do—consider fasting from something that distracts you and replace it with some intentional quiet time with God.  For resources, visit our “Lenten Soul Training” page  https://www.fpcogden.org/advent-devotions

               Lent comes from the word for Spring, and Spring is a time for growth.  Turn towards the Son and grow!

               Grateful for you,

 

              Pastor Steve