Monday, April 2, 2018

 
During our time for the Young and Young at Heart as part of yesterday’s Easter Service, we took a quick and very unscientific survey about people’s favorite Easter candy.  It began with lots of the chocolate varieties being mentioned, and then 4 year old Dillon suggested jelly beans.
Pretty quickly Jelly Belly jelly beans came up (this pastor’s favorite), and from there we went to Belly Flops; the ‘irregular’ Jelly Belly jelly beans that are sold in 2lb. bags.
They’re every bit as good as the ‘regular’ beans, just sometimes 2 or 3 connected, or a bean is shaped differently, or too big. When I can get a mega jelly bean…that’s better than ‘regular’ good.
When I think of Jesus’ resurrection, His offer of new life is because God sees goodness in all – the ‘regular’ folks we are quick to notice – and those that society sadly believes are ‘irregular’ yet are every bit as good – and maybe have even more to offer.
Join us Sundays at 10AM with whatever goodness you have to bring; we’re glad to have it.
Together We Serve,
Pastor Mike
 


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

We welcomed another guest onto our church grounds recently. The health department reached out to us on behalf of local law enforcement regarding a gentleman in a tough spot.

He arrived, and we had a quick easy introduction. I told him what hours the building is open, and offered the use of the kitchen and shower. He took us up on the shower; and his smile and words reflected his deep ...thanks for this little bit of sanctuary.

A commonly used Bible story this time of year has Jesus driving the animal sellers and money changers out of the Temple. Their practices were nothing less than price gouging in the name of God.

The Temple goers - people who often had little to begin with - were getting ripped off which has a chilling effect when it comes to encountering the Divine.

John talks about Jesus “cleansing the Temple” as part of his account of Jesus Christ. John begins his account with: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

Our guest asked to join us next Sunday as we all come together as followers of Jesus Christ. I wonder if He’s ever felt shortchanged by God’s people before?

…regardless…

I hope our little bit of sanctuary is a warm welcoming first step for him to know the fullness of God’s grace and truth in Jesus.

Join us Sundays at 10AM, there’s fullness for all.

Together We Serve,
Pastor Mike

Thursday, February 1, 2018






Prineville Presbyterian welcomed new leaders into their roles yesterday. We also talked about the excitement we all feel for the year ahead. We’re enjoying steady membership growth, and, we’re continually open to expanding our ministry as followers of Jesus Christ.

There are new things for us to focus on, some things for us to “tune up a bit,” and perhaps things that we’ll want to let go of. Quite frankly we’re having lots of conversations now that we’ve never ever had to have before.

All of this is a reflection of our Christian faith that comes through the grace that Jesus offers; making everything all right between God and us simply by us acknowledging Him as God’s Chosen One for us.

While we’re quick to accept His grace and share that grace with others as we pay God’s love forward, as we move into this new season we also want to remember to be graceful to ourselves.

Because some things are going to work out much better than planned - others will turnout about as well as expected - and then there will be “those times” when grace is all we got.

Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers and says: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”

Join us Sundays at 10AM. Let's see where this mystery might take us.
Together We Serve,
Pastor Mike

Sunday, December 3, 2017

“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” ~ Luke 1:13-14.
 
We got an early start on the Christmas Season as 15 of us from PPC went caroling throughout downtown Prineville recently. We did this as part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Saturday promotion.
As we sang, I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between the rich language of the carols and the “raw” sounds of downtown, especially the very loud diesel pickup trucks that roared past us. Amplified by the concrete and glass and asphalt, those trucks’ exhaust sounds drowned out our voices – briefly.

Because we kept right on singing about hope and joy and peace and love.
These are the themes we talk about and reflect upon throughout this season of Advent. Advent is a time to recall the coming of Christ that leads into celebrating the birth of the Christ-child on Christmas Day.

In looking around us today there are lots of forces working to drown out these themes. It’s not so different from Jesus’ birth two thousand years ago. The world then was also desperate to know hope and joy and peace and love.
So too was Elizabeth. She and her husband Zechariah had been childless, and as she grew older day by day, day by day her hopes of having a long-sought child were being drowned out.

Yet she remained steadfast in her faith; “righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.”

At the end of her long season of waiting she gave birth; she would realize her hopes and joy and peace and love through the birth of her child John.

And it’s John who “leaped for joy” while still in Elizabeth’s womb as he recognized the long awaited hope and joy and peace and love coming as Jesus Christ was being carried in Mary’s womb.

This Advent may we remain steadfast in singing and thinking and meditating about hope and joy and peace and love that we celebrate in the birth of the Christ-child.
These are the gifts the Christ-child brings for us – gifts that nothing can drown out.

We gather every Sunday at 10AM, and we celebrate Christ's birth Christmas Eve at 5PM

Together We Serve,
Pastor Mike
 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


 
In one of the very first pieces of Christian literature known to exist, written to one of the first Christian churches, we find what today the corporate world would call the mission, vision, and values statement. This church was being “remembered” for its:

“…work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Some English translations put commas in between these three ‘elements’ suggesting separation between them. The Greek text however uses a word which deliberately joins everything together.

There is no separation…nor is one done at the expense of the other…nor is there a sense of one of these leading to another…or that one of them builds upon the other layer upon layer…

…nope - just a big “here you go one size fits all” guide for any Christian community.

How each Christian community fills in the details is up to them.

I think that too often today when people see the Christian Church, at least as it’s portrayed by various forms of media, all they see is one or two groups insisting they alone hold the “franchise rights” to Christianity.

This earliest call though reminds us ministry is like a 3 legged stool where all three of these ‘legs’ are needed in equal measure to support a properly balanced ministry.

Come try us on for size. We’d like you to help us fill in the details. We gather Sundays at 10AM.

Together We Serve,
Pastor Mike

Monday, October 9, 2017


 
The events of the past weeks lay heavy on my heart as we began our worship recently.

The horrific shooting in Las Vegas, growing outbursts of some of our world’s leaders that bring us closer to obliteration (a fear I’m hearing more and more), other outbursts that only drive deeper the wedge that’s already dividing our nation.

And then during our prayer time, Joan shared that the ‘double-stroller” used by Mountain Star Relief Nursery had been stolen.

MountainStar is a nonprofit organization working directly with vulnerable families in an effort to keep children safe from abuse and neglect. My wife Kathleen, and Jaon are among the volunteers from PPC helping this terrific program, and Kathleen had mentioned the theft earlier. It all left an ugly smudge across my heart.

But -- there was more to Joan’s prayer. It came with gratitude because she found a 'single' stroller at a garage sale, and after the seller learned of MountainStar's need, Joan was given the stroller for free.

We celebrated this goodness. And rightfully so.

And this goodness gets even better.

As Joan was leaving church a kind and generous soul pressed a $100 bill into her palm to replace the 'double' stroller. At another garage sale Joan found a 'double' stroller - and a 'triple' stroller too! All for $60 leaving funds to help MountainStar with other needs.

And where previously MountainStar could only take two infants on outings; now they can take 6.

The Bible is filled with longstanding stories of God’s goodness. New stories of this goodness are being written every day.

Come listen to the stories others have and/or come share your story. We gather Sundays at 10AM.

Together We Serve, 
Pastor Mike

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


 
 
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life,* and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John1:1-5)

 
“On Monday morning, August 21, a 70-mile-wide swath of America from Oregon to South Carolina will plunge into darkness during daytime hours.”

This quote from Bloomberg.com is just one of hundreds of articles about the coming solar eclipse. It’s an epic event that will have Prineville in that 70 mile wide path of totality. (The next one to completely cross the US will be August 12, 2045)

Public officials are trying to figure out how to stay ahead of the hundreds of thousands of people headed our way. Here at PPC we’ve been talking about how we can be responsibly accommodating too. You have probably heard that we have the Senior Science Advisor from the Pacific Science Center Dennis Schatz – and others – coming to watch the eclipse and provide a ½ hour lesson about eclipses for us.

How else might we prepare ourselves for this event that will dominate everybody’s attention for a while? Well, I think there are some tremendous opportunities to fold our Christian faith into conversations; as well as give greater consideration to our faith.

I thought about this as I read Mr. Schatz’s explanation of a solar eclipse. In that book, When the Sun Goes Dark, Mr. Schatz says “a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun, blocking the light from it.”

At Jesus’ crucifixion the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all say that in the middle of the day darkness came over the land. As Christians we know Jesus’ crucifixion to be God’s ultimate gift for us to make us right with God. It’s that love from God that strengthens our faith and offers us hope.

What would our lives be like if somehow that “darkness” were to linger forever?   

Or, to turn this around, how comforting is it to know that we walk in the light of Christ's love?

Come walk with us as we walk in that light - and push back against the darkness. 

Together We Serve,
Pastor Mike13