First Christian Church, Flora, Indiana

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From Woody’s Desk – March 2015

Category: Pastor's Column

From Woody’s Desk,

What does the sacrifice of Christ mean? Unless we look at His resurrection, his sacrifice has little or no meaning what so ever. The fact that Jesus left the tomb, and walked among the people shows his power. That same power is available to us every day.  The miracle of Jesus’ resurrection offers a profound message of hope and victory for Christians who call on His name in every aspect of their lives… It offers hope in times of doubt, encouragement in times of trouble and peace that passes all understanding in every situation.

In the 11th chapter of John we hear the story of the friends of Jesus: Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Lazarus had died and by the time Jesus reached the home of his friends, Lazarus’s body had already been buried. In deep morning for their brother, Mary and Martha lashed out to Jesus…: ‘lf only you had of been here, he would still be alive:’ .But Martha went further as she had a hope, a hope in Jesus.

She said, “But even though you were not here I know that even now, whatever you ask of God, God will give it:’ What words of faith. What a conviction of hope. No power on earth, Martha knew, could bring  back her’ brother. But if Jesus asked God for his will to be accomplished things could be different. Jesus commands, “Lazarus come forth” and he did!

This is the glory of God. It is available to all of us. No matter where we are in life, no matter what the circumstances, we have faith in the miracle working power of Christ who overcame death on a cross, and who can and does make our lives be lives of victory. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Through Him the victory and hope of Resurrection, as celebrated on Easter Sunday is ours today. Look to Christ and His power to find hope and victory in every moment of your life.

Pastor’s Column – March 2015

Category: Pastor's Column

From Woody’s Desk,

Lent is the 40 days before Easter, not including Sundays and begins with Ash Wednesday. Last week several gathered at the church and heard scripture, had prayer and received ashes reminding us that the love of God is by far the most powerful thing in the world.

We continue with special services during lent:

  • Palm Sunday, the day Jesus entered the city;
  • Maundy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper;
  • Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified, and
  • Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection.

Between now and then I will be preaching a series of sermons about our Lenten journey with emphasis on several of the stories surrounding Jesus that we are familiar with. They include the Samaritan Woman at the well, the healing of a blind man, the raising of Lazarus, palms of praise and the stone that was rolled away from the tomb.

Our Maundy Thursday service will take place on April 2 in the sanctuary and the overflow area as we share much like the
Disciples did in their Seder meal.

Two community Good Friday services will be held with the first starting at 12:00 at our church.

Finally on Easter, a sunrise cantata will be performed at the Methodist Church followed by worship and praise at 9:30 at First Christian. As we prepare for this journey, our prayers are with each other and-my hopes are that your journey is a smooth and easy one.

Please take time to read carefully the article in this month’s Tidings about the youth Sunday School program. Things are getting underway and after some adjustments, we will have smooth sailing ahead. Anyone who has additional thoughts should come and talk with me so we have the best possible Christian Education program our church can provide.

Our Week of Compassion offering was well received this year. Our next special offering is Easter and the emphasis this year is “Partners in Mission” and we will look at the hundreds of missions the Disciples are involved in. Make sure to share a gift in this special day offering as we near Easter.

As always, we are thankful for those who go the extra step to keep our church open for worship in the cold winter months. Many thanks to those who have plowed the parking lot, shoveled the walks, spread salt and made sure that those who need help on Sunday are able to get in and out of the church building.

From Woody’s Desk – February, 2015

Category: Pastor's Column

From Woody’s Desk,

As some of you know I attended a Pastors workshop at Phillip’s
Seminary last month. The theme of the event was EMERGING WORSHIP

It was good to see what others are doing and to affirm that our church experiences some of the same frustrations as others when it comes to meeting the needs and desires of all the church members. It means we must be flexible, open and willing to find new ways to show our adoration to God. Sometimes that is uncomfortable as worship is not what it has always been. But in reality, things don’t change that much. The message is still the same, only the method changes. We will explore these new trends. As always please share your thoughts, both positive or negative.

Two major changes have happened at our church recently. After more
than 60 years of service JoAnn Smith announced her retirement as
organist last month. We celebrate with JoAnn and thank her for
dedicated service. The worship committee is searching for a new
organist. Until that time our service music will be provided by Miriam Robeson, Cate Pickens, Phyllis Reinke and other guests. Pre-recorded music may also be used.

The second bit of news is that the church has called Levi Evans to be
our Youth Coordinator. Levi will be responsible for our youth program. He will lead Junior Worship and Sunday School time for our younger youth. As participation in the youth programs increas~events will be planned for the youth. This will be a” work in progress” as schedules are adapted and changed. We are blessed with Levi’s commitment and enthusiasm to God’s call to service. Please give him your support.

May we all experience our Lenten journey as a way to reconnect to God
and His Son. God bless First Christian Church.


FCC Welcomes New Youth Coordinator!

Category: Church History, Pastor's Column
DATE:  January 27, 2015 – From Pastor Woody’s Desk

At last night’s board meeting, approval was given for the church to enter into an agreement with Levi Evans to become our new youth coordinator. He and I met, along with Mindy who will be assisting him in this new ministry all morning and I am glad to announce we have much to look forward to.

Starting this Sunday (February 1), the children’s sermon will be shifted to later in the service, allowing children more time in worship. Then, after the children’s sermon those who are 4 and under will go to the nursery and those 5 and up will go upstairs with Levi for the beginning of their learning block. A break will occur during fellowship time and then all youngsters and youth will meet upstairs for continued lessons during the Sunday School time. 

We are blessed to have Levi on staff. He will be spending 10 hours per week in the capacity of youth coordinator and he has wonderful plans for our youth programs. Please take this opportunity to greet and meet Levi and let him know you can help in any way he needs.

Praise be to God –  Pastor Woody
Stay tuned for more information about Levi!

From Woody’s Desk – December 2014

Category: Pastor's Column

It can’t be that time can it? I mean, it was just the fourth of July and school just began a few days ago. But reality steps in and says yes, it is time for us to think about the Christmas experience. It is more than just a day. It is more than a tree and gifts. It is a celebration about a baby being born who was promised long ago. It is about God’s only Son. My Christmas list:

-Understanding between people of color. Hatred and violence needs to fade away

-A new awareness of what “family” means. It is no longer husband, wife and their children.

We have blended families, often with 4 parents or grandparents taking care of children.

We need to accept that as truth.

-Removal of the word “poverty” from our vocabulary.

-No more homeless and hungry.

-Tolerance for those whose opinions might be different than ours. Not that we approve, but That we understand where they are coming from.

-Peace in a world that often seems to be falling apart.

-Government leaders who have the best interest of the “people” in mind.

-A growing, serving and witnessing Flora First Christian Church.

There is little that I personally can do to make that Christmas list become a reality. I can, and I will, continue to lift. up those dreams and so whatever I need to do in my life to make those things reality for me. I can’t change everyone’s opinion, but I can pray. And pray I will. Each and every day for the will of God to become a reality this Christmas season.

To all of our friends at First Christian Church, Barbara and I wish you a Merry Christmas. May the child named Jesus find room in your heart and may all of your Christmas lists become true. Praise be to God, for the birth of His son.

Nativity Bar

From Woody’s Desk – November, 2014

Category: Church Life, Pastor's Column

We have been praying together as a congregation for almost 7 weeks now. For me it has been a great experience. I Iook at the names on my list and think about that person and what they might be doing at the moment. I lift up their health, their work and family. And ask God to touch their lives in whatever way it needs to be touched.

It is amazing to me that so many people we have prayed for on a certain day, actually were in somewhat of a crisis or change on their prayer day. For instance, LaDonna Allen was on the prayer list a few days ago and on that day she was moving from her house to her new apartment. She told me on Sunday how much she needed prayer at that time. There have been other instances as well of a person who just by chance is on that days prayer list, is having medical test, trouble at home, or some joy to celebrate. It wasn’t planned that way. It just happened. And who can say that God doesn’t have a hand in everything we do?

November will be a very busy month in our church. The Centennial Celebration will be the focus for much of our activities. We are all looking forward to Neil’s visit and the celebration we will have on November IS and 16. We have committees, cabinet and board meetings this month (please note the article in this Tidings and the change of dates for these meetings). Our families will gather at the end of the month for Thanksgiving and we will vote, change the clocks and begin to think about Christmas.

Our Christmas basket project is just around the corner too. As always we will respond to the needs of our community and bless those who are in need. We are fortunate to have this opportunity and ministry. Please find the special envelope in your packets of offering envelope for this project.

October was busy too. We collected money for the Blanket Project. The TNT class put together 5O hygiene kits for Church World Services. We planned and prayed and worshiped and God responded. We took a church group picture and soon you will be able to order an 8 X 10 for yourself. A larger picture will be framed and placed with other group pictures. And the chili supper was held with one of the largest crowds ever, including several children. All in all, it was a good month.

God is so good to us. Let us, in this time of giving and receiving, never forget that our blessings come from Him. Give Him the time to be involved in your life. He wants to be there so bad, so don’t get too busy. listen for his whisper, look for his artwork and feel his Spirit in your life every day.


Category: Church Life, Pastor's Column, Special Classes

I wanted to catch you up on the progress of the SPIRIT LED group and let you know what is happening and how you can be more involved. This first phase began in the winter and the group of 20 or so have met two times.

At the first meeting, individuals and groups met and discussed the positive events that happen at First Christian Church on a regular basis. A total of 67 events were names, ranging from Sunday School to Outreach. The ministry to our children was lifted up as was the choir, men’s breakfast, CWF, camp program, helping each other, and true honesty and transparency in the church. I have posted the complete list on the bulletin board and you may take a copy if you wish. It is an amazing look at what we do.

Also at that first meeting, we talked about positive thinking and speaking. We were all challenged to think and say only positive things in and about the church and its family. Sometimes we concentrate too much on the things that go badly or the dissatisfaction we have with this or that. While those are important, it is also important to say positive things. So, we have all been trying, Sometimes it is easy and often it is more difficult.

The second session concentrated on the opinions the group had concerning dozens of questions, such as worship enthusiasm, leadership in the church, hopes for the future, evangelism, attitudes and more. I have not yet collated these results in a form that would be helpful, but in a couple of weeks, look on the bulletin board for another fact sheet. Not only are we concerned about how the church looks at itself, but at how those outside the church look at us, know what we stand for and what we believe.

Our third session, to be held in June, will put the first two together and a “road map” for the next 5 years will be the result. We will emphasize the positive, maybe change some of the things that cause us grief,  and allow God to lead us where He wants us to go. I can’t tell you where that is, but the goal I hope for will be a vital, caring and growing church that is sustainable for generations.

Now, your part. In the fall, the entire church will be invited to a 100 DAY OF PRAYER. This will involve every member and friend of the church who wants to listen to God lead. Small prayer groups will be formed and they will meet weekly for 10 weeks. A lesson for each meeting will be provided and I hope that we have great participation. I know the power of prayer. And as we, this congregation, prays for 100 days for God’s Spirit to invade us, He will hear us and He will answer.

Please feel free to ask me questions and share comments. And look to the future of Flora First Christian Church with hope and vitality.

Pastor Woody

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