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Saturday, April 21: FPC Alabaster Women’s Conference

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in Education, Featured Announcements, Fellowship | Comments Off on Saturday, April 21: FPC Alabaster Women’s Conference

Saturday, April 21: FPC Alabaster Women’s Conference

Save the Date! Saturday, April 21st is the FPC Women’s Conference. It will be at FPC and begin at 10am.

The speaker is Renée Brown. Reneé completed “A Year for Life” at the California Center for Biblical Studies, and later earned a BFA in Theatre from the University of Montevallo, and a Master of Arts in Education. Renée  and her family have been a part of the FPC Alabaster (Elliottsville) community since 1999.  She enjoys teaching seniors at Thompson High School by day and enjoying her kids’ concerts, reading, and church events by night.

More details on the Conference to be announced closer to the date.

 

3/25- Deadline for Mission Trip registration

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in Featured Announcements, PYF: Youth 7th+ | Comments Off on 3/25- Deadline for Mission Trip registration

3/25- Deadline for Mission Trip registration

Mission Trip will be to the Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Home in Denton TX. The group will leave on Sunday June 3rd at 6am. Arrival time in TX expected to be around 7pm. Cost per participant will be $250. A $50 deposit is needed by March 25 with your registration.

The group will stay on site at the CPCH in Stricklen (large gym type building) and will cook meals in their kitchen. Participants will want to bring air mattresses or cots for sleeping in Stricklen Hall. The group will be traveling in 2 passenger vans and a cargo van . Will be helping with various maintenance projects needed at the facility.

 

Upcoming on the PYF (Youth) calendar

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in Featured Announcements, PYF: Youth 7th+ | Comments Off on Upcoming on the PYF (Youth) calendar

Upcoming on the PYF (Youth) calendar
  • Sunday, February 25: PYF will leave after service and reception to eat lunch together and then go to the Laser Combat Center on HWY 280.The cost for laser tag is $7+ tax per game—also bring money for lunch.  There will be no regular PYF that night.
  • Sunday March 4: Our annual chili cook off will be immediately following morning worship. Sign up sheet is available in the Narthex. Immediately following the chili cook off and the subsequent clean up, PYF will have a brief parent meeting about summer activities and fundraisers.
  • Friday, March 16 : PYF will go ice skating at 7pm at the Pelham Civic Center. Admission is $7 and skate rental is $2. Will meet at the church at 6:30 and carpool to the Civic Center.
  • April 22nd is Youth Sunday. All youth interested in participating are encouraged to attend PYF regularly in the coming weeks, as we plan for the service.

 

PCF meets Sundays at 4pm

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in Fellowship | Comments Off on PCF meets Sundays at 4pm

PCF meets Sundays at 4pm

PCF meets at 4pm on Sundays and has a meal at 5pm with PYF. PCF is for children in grades K-6 . PCF also goes on fun outings such as bowling, Putt-Putt /Mini Golf … and more! Come have fun with the group!

Children’s Ministry Leader : Kirsten Shaw

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.

“Ashes to Life; Dust to Redemption”

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in From the Pastors | 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 Pastors | 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 Pastors | 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).