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PCF will be starting back soon

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Fellowship | Comments Off on PCF will be starting back soon

PCF will be starting back soon

HI! Be looking for updates on when PCF will be starting back – Coming SOON!!!

Summer Youth Fellowship (PYF) and Ministry

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in PYF: Youth 7th+ | Comments Off on Summer Youth Fellowship (PYF) and Ministry

Summer Youth Fellowship (PYF) and Ministry

We had a great & busy Summer! Thank you to everyone who donated supplies and helped support PYF & Summer ministries in any way. 

On June 25-30, We had a group of youth and our youth leader, Lori Harnish, participating at Cumberland Presbyterian Youth Conference (CPYC) at Bethel University in McKenzie, TN. Youth Participants are Cumberland Presbyterian from all over the world who have completed the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th grades.  FPC Alabaster has several youth which will be serving on Teams at CPYC—Anna Y. is serving on the 2016-2017 YMPC (Youth Ministry Planning Council)  The council comprises 17 members and is an agency of the United Board for Christian Discipleship of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.     Katy B. served on the Communications Team, and Josh H. served on the Drama Team.

On July 9-14 the 2017 Summer Mission Trip Group  went to the Colonial CPC in Memphis to volunteer and staff a week of their CITI Summer Camp . They spent the week having  VBS and making meals for the children at Citi Camp .  We also had volunteers that went to help with repair that were needed on the buildings  that the programs and ministries of CitiCamp meet in. CITI Summer Camp meets June-August from 7:30am to 5:30pm , Monday thru Friday and  is an extension of Colonial CPC’s ministry Children in the Inn which has been at Colonial for several years.  In 2013, they  began offering different churches across the country an opportunity to come in and serve at Citi Summer Camp for a week. This gives the children a great deal of variety and fun and helps them to be able to provide camp each week  at an affordable price for parents in need  while city schools are out for the summer.  

Thanks for a great Summer! August 27th starts the new C.Ed year and a new calendar of events for the youth / PYF! Will be posting the events soon.

Men’s Fellowship

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Featured Announcements, Fellowship | Comments Off on Men’s Fellowship

Men’s Fellowship

The  Men’s Fellowship of FPC Alabaster meet each second Sunday morning of the month for breakfast and Fellowship at 7am. All men are welcome to come participate. The Men’s Fellowship also have projects and programs they volunteer  with at FPCA and in the Community.  A recent project was building a covered area over one of the Fellowship Hall entrances.

CONNECT – Sunday Mornings

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in Featured Announcements, Fellowship | Comments Off on CONNECT – Sunday Mornings

CONNECT – Sunday Mornings

CONNECT Fellowship and Study Groups meet each Sunday morning before the worship service.  

 CONNECT Fellowship meets from 9- 915am There is a time every Sunday morning from 9-9:15am of fellowship (& snacks!) in the Fellowship Hall and a time to visit with friends and catch up on what the they’ve been doing during the week.

 At 9:15 we separate into our CONNECT Sunday Morning study groups. We have 3 adult study groups, a preschool group, an elementary age children, and a youth study group.

 All are welcome to come!

Senior Adult Fellowship

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 in Featured Updates, Fellowship | Comments Off on Senior Adult Fellowship

Senior Adult Fellowship

The J.O.Y. Club (Just Older Youth) is a group of  our members who are retired and enjoy traveling (and eating). Each month the group visits a different place in Alabama.

LifeCircles

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in From the Pastor | Comments Off on LifeCircles

LifeCircles

Sisters and Brothers,

When folks are asked to name one word that describes our congregation, the most common responses are family, community, fellowship, and love. That’s what my family experienced when we first visited FPC, a little over nine years ago, as new residents of the area. It is, without a doubt, the hallmark of our church.

That’s good news! It means that we have the foundation necessary to live out the teachings of Christ. Because, they all revolve around life in community. Jesus teaches us that love is really the only thing that matters (Matthew 5:43-45, Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:30-31, John 13:34-35). And the Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthian Church (chapter 13), reminds us that, without love, even the most magnificent things we might do are meaningless.

The love we share is not an emotion. It is not just a warm, fuzzy feeling. That feeling is fickle. Rather, our love is a decision; a commitment (specifically, a covenant) to share our lives – good, bad, and ugly. We are an extremely diverse community of faith. Yet, we work and play well together, precisely because of this love we share.

Several months ago the Session and Diaconate worked together to develop a new system of connections within our congregation. We wanted to create groups of people around interests. This would allow people to develop deeper connections among us, select their groups, and freely explore other groups through activities. The LifeCircle system was the fruit of this work.

LifeCircles do more than just provide recreational or social opportunities. They strengthen our connections (and, thereby, our congregation). They also provide the framework for pastoral care, support, and information sharing. Each LifeCircle has at least one assigned Deacon and Elder. However, they may not be the “leader” of the circle. Each LifeCircle develops its own system to communicate and support its members.

The response to this new approach has been very good. The LifeCircles are established and functioning better than we could have imagined. However, there are still a few folks who have not signed up. This makes it difficult to ensure everyone has the support they need.

Remember that the choice of a LifeCircle does not mean that you cannot participate in the activities of other groups. But, it is important that we have a mechanism for providing “first response” pastoral care and open communication channels with church leadership.

I hope that you will make sure that you have chosen a LifeCircle and communicated your choice to the Church Office. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or any member of the Session. Eventually, anyone who has not selected a LifeCircle will need to be randomly assigned to one. But, I hope we will be able to hear from everyone and get them connected.

I feel extremely encouraged about the bright future of FPC. And, I am honored to serve with you!

 In Christ’s Peace,

 Pastor Darren

 

“Ashes to Life; Dust to Redemption”

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in From the Pastor | Comments Off on “Ashes to Life; Dust to Redemption”

“Ashes to Life; Dust to Redemption”


            ​A minister was visiting a family and one of the children had a burning question to ask. Like a good student the child raised her hand during the discussion and when she got the minister’s attention she asked, “Is it true that we all came from dust and we all return to dust?” The pastor answered carefully because he could see how serious she was. He said, “Yes, the Bible tells us that God made us out of the dust of the earth and when we die, our bodies return to dust.” Then the child looked shocked and exclaimed, “Well, somebody is either coming or going under my bed.”

            ​The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Those of you who were able to be at the service will recall that, as Pastor Earl and I imposed your ashes, we said, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.” The fact that we are nothing but ashes and dust is part of the theme of this season of the Christian year. This theme is perhaps the most important part of Lent. We don’t like to think of those things. We would rather accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. But, Lent makes us look at our own sinfulness and the frailty of life. Without God we are as lifeless as the dust of the earth and we are as dead as the rocks beneath our feet.

            ​The Hebrew Reading this morning is about God making a covenant with Abraham and Sarah. We are told that Abraham was 99 years old. Abraham was so old that Paul says in Romans that Abraham considered his own body to be as good as dead. Sarah was a bit younger, but still no spring chicken (whatever that means). She was probably, scholars tell us, in her late 80s. The two of them had reached that point in their lives when most people sit in rocking chairs on their front porches and spend their time keeping track of how many great grandchildren they have. The problem was they had never had any children. Sarah was barren and much too old to bear children — or so they thought.

            ​Then God came to Abraham to make a covenant with him. God said, “I’ll make you a deal: You keep your nose clean and I will make your family into a great nation.” But how — he had no family? There was Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Sarah’s servant. He could produce descendants. But God said, “No, I’m going to bless your wife Sarah and she will bear a child and be the mother of nations.” Surely God was kidding! Could a hundred-year-old man and a ninety-year-old woman have a baby? And Abraham laughed until he was rolling on the ground.

​            The lifeless womb of Sarah was a reality. The physical reality is that a 90-year-old woman cannot bear children. Life could not be produced from a couple that old. But, God decided to make Abraham a nation that would follow the Almighty who can do all things. God decided to take something lifeless and create life. It is inconceivable to we human beings. But, it is God’s way of doing things.

            ​Thousands of years later Peter was sitting with the disciples listening to Jesus. And as they were sitting there Jesus began to tell them that he would suffer. He would be rejected by the religious establishment and be handed over to the Romans who would execute him. But then, three days later, he would rise again. He said it very plainly so they could understand well.

            ​But Peter pulled him aside, “No Lord, you have it all wrong. You are the Messiah the anointed one of God. Just a minute ago you asked me who I thought you were. I said you are the Messiah. I really believe that. You are supposed to go to Jerusalem and all the people will hail you as King. You will not die, you will live forever — Long live the King!”

            ​But Jesus said, “Peter, you have it all wrong. That is the world’s way. My way is different. My way is to bring life out of death — power out of humble sacrifice. You can’t participate in the empire of the world and follow me.”

            ​We live in a world where death is a reality. We don’t understand why things happen the way that they do. But there’s more than just physical death. There’s the lifelessness of our human condition without God; the misery of the world without God’s Kindom.

            ​These things are real. They cannot be denied or painted over. But that is what we try to do. Our culture attempts to live in a fantasy.

            ​We treat war as a political tool…or at worst, a necessary evil. When the reality is very different. War is war and real people get killed. Bombs meant for a bridge or communications tower fall on elementary schools, hospitals, and homes. We call that “collateral damage.” And, a piece of our collective soul dies.

            We see folks who are different from us, being maligned and ostracized. And, we try to pretend that is somehow ok. But, where any person is denied equality, every person experiences the loss of the same grace we all depend upon.

            It’s not easy to think about such things. We prefer to believe that everything is okay. The truth is that we come from dust and return to it.

            But, in the face of this reality, there is good news: God’s way is to bring life out of death. This is what our scripture lessons show us. God made the lifeless womb of Sarah bear a great nation. God used the death of Christ to give credence to the new way that Christ taught.

            God can take the dead and lifeless parts of our lives and our world and breathe new life into them too. But, if we deny that these lifeless parts exist, then no life can come out of them. If we go on living as if there are no consequences to our actions, then we cannot claim to follow Christ.

            The world’s way is to say “Life can only come where everything is okay.” But, God’s way is to bring life… even out of death! And we are invited to participate.

Thanks be to God, Amen!

 

“The Greatest Temptation”

Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in From the Pastor | Comments Off on “The Greatest Temptation”

“The Greatest Temptation”

Mark 1:9-15 –In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’  And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’ 

The word of God for the people of God.  Thanks be to God.

 Oh my, don’t we know a thing or two about temptation. But what is the greatest temptation?  Many theologians have speculated that the greatest temptation is power.  We sometimes feel that being in charge and having authority are the only things that really matter.  Well, that’s pretty tough too.  But, it’s still not the toughest.

 This same pericope in Matthew’s Gospel gives us three specific temptations.  Jesus is tempted to test God; be materialistic; then to break his fast…and place comfort above his spiritual discipline.

There it is.  Do you see it?  It’s the temptation to be ordinary. “Your hungry Jesus.  The body needs food.  God knows that.  Make yourself some lunch.  Anybody would do that in your situation.”

How often we are faced with the same temptation to set aside our calling.  The world demands it.  No one wants to be different.  In fact, that’s the real temptation that underwrites most of the others.

So what if I don’t befriend the outcast person.  Nobody else has.  So what if I join in a derogatory conversation about people who are not like everybody else.  That’s what the group I’m with is doing and I don’t want to stick out.

This is the temptation to be ordinary.  Christ calls us to something higher.  We’re called to act as Jesus acted.

You may have seen the poster that says, “Life is a test. It is only a test. Had this been a real life you would have been instructed where to go and what to do.” When we think about this humorous bit of wisdom, it reminds us to not take life so seriously.

 As an experiment, let’s see if we can apply this idea to something we are forced to deal with. Perhaps situation at home, work, or school.  Perhaps a temptation that always seems to get the upper hand in our lives. Let’s see if we can redefine the issue we face from being a “problem” to being a test. Rather than struggling with our issue, we’ll see if there is something we can learn from it. We’ll ask ourselves, “Why is this issue in my life? What would it mean and what would be involved to rise above it? Could I possibly look at this issue any differently? Can I see it as a test of some kind?”

I read about this experiment in Richard Carlson’s book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff.  It stuck with me because Dr. Carlson went on to talk about a personal issue that I also share.  He says that he used to struggle a great deal over the issue of not having enough time. He would rush around trying to get everything done. He says that he blamed his schedule, his family, his circumstances, and anything else he could think of for my plight. Then it dawned on him. If he wanted to be happy, his goal didn’t necessarily have to be to organize his life perfectly so that he had more time, but rather to see whether he could get to the point where he felt it was okay that he couldn’t get everything done that he felt he must. In other words, the real challenge was to see this struggle as a test. Seeing this issue as a test ultimately helped him to cope with one of his biggest personal frustrations. Even after taking Dr. Carlson’s advice, I still struggle now and then about my perceived lack of time, but less than I used to. It has become far more acceptable to me to accept things as they are.

 Friends, God has given us much, and so, much is asked.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  And love your neighbor as yourself.”  That’s not always as easy as it sounds.

But there’s good news: for every temptation God provides a way out. Our challenge is to learn from these tests along the way.

The Gospel says that while Jesus was in the wilderness, the angels were taking care of him.  Not just after the temptation, but right in the heat of battle too.

What kind of wilderness are we in this morning?  Sometimes, even the things we see as beautiful can turn ugly in a matter of seconds.  But even then sisters and brothers, God is right there with us, showing us the way out.

Thanks be to God!

 

Love Your Enemies

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in From the Pastor | Comments Off on Love Your Enemies

Love Your Enemies

For most of us the decision to receive the gift of salvation God offers to the world in Jesus was a fairly easy one to make. After all, that decision doesn’t cost us anything; it is the free gift of grace through the faith that is also gifted to us. In many respects it is God’s choosing that brings us into the blessed light of salvation. A good Presbyterian would say it is our destiny, and it is in that sense that we consider humanity to be pre – destined. From the beginning it is God’s intention to save the world.

The harder choice for us to make is to live a life that is committed to living under the Lordship of Jesus. That’s a harder choice because that choice costs us everything. Try as we may to create them, the fact is there just aren’t many options to how we are to think about, treat, respect, embrace, welcome, and receive others if we are being a disciple. Jesus reminded his followers that the command was clear: Love God with all you have and love neighbor as self. The epistle of John teaches that we cannot love God while hating brother or sister. The Apostle Paul instructed the Roman church that hospitality was the hallmark of the faithful community and that we should never seek revenge – hate evil and love goodleave room for God to work, was his instruction.

We live in a world that begs us to find enemies among us and lash out at them. The reasons hardly matter. We are supposed to have political enemies, national enemies, economic enemies, and religious enemies. What we perhaps forget is that the world has always operated in this way, and the story of humanity told in the bible bears that out. Jesus himself encountered all of this and offered up hard to follow instruction: Love your enemies and pray for those who would purposely hurt you. Jesus taught that the most effective way to engage enemy was to love them as the brother and sister of God that they are.

Having Jesus be our Savior is a blessed gift of grace free to all who believe. Serving Jesus as Lord is a lifelong commitment of obedience, trust, and self – giving love that will cost and cost and cost, and we can only live like that as we stay in touch with God and continue to seek the guidance of Jesus’ teachings and the help of God’s Spirit.

Let us pray:
Come to us today, O God, in the wonder of your love. Live in the secret places of our hearts where we have tried so hard to keep you out, those places where you know us as we really are. Fill us with your Spirit, and by your grace send us out into the mix of whatever this day will bring in order to show your compassionate and strengthening love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
(Mark H. Landfried, from Let Us Pray: Reformed Prayers for Christian Worship).

Youth Meet at 5PM Each Sunday. Join Us!

Posted by on Aug 27, 2012 in Featured Announcements, PYF: Youth 7th+ | Comments Off on Youth Meet at 5PM Each Sunday. Join Us!

Youth Meet at 5PM Each Sunday. Join Us!

PYF – Presbyterian Youth Fellowship.

Meets every Sunday at 5:00 in the Fellowship Hall.

All teens in grades 7th – 12th+.

Fun, fellowship and dinner are provided.

For more info, visit PYF Youth.