Be Still and Know…by Gus Keiser

Let me know your ways, so that I may understand you more fully. ~ Exodus 33:13

God loves to hear from us.  He loves to hear the sound of our voice.  He loves to hear us calling out to him, inviting him into our lives.  God loves to hear our prayers, our praises, our problems, our joys and our requests.  But of all the requests we offer up to him, God loves to hear those that ask for more of him.  Everything he does, all his answers to our prayers are his way of showing us his character.  God loves a heartfelt request for more of him instead of for more “stuff” on our behalf.  Would you want to be appreciated as the one who doles out perks and provisions more than for being who you are?  You’d probably end up feeling used, wouldn’t you?  So why should it be any different when it comes to God in our lives?

 Throughout the course of the Exodus, God promised to grant Moses’ request for his presence with the people because Moses acknowledged the people’s primary need for God himself to be with them.  The rescue from Egypt and the manna God provided were wonderful gifts, without question, but the people first needed to know the wonder of who their God was and is… his characteristics as mighty Lord, yet intimate Savior.

 The gift of God’s presence is so precious because he doesn’t ever owe or have to give us the time of day, yet he wants nothing more than to spend time with us.  God continues to woo us with his love, his goodness, his faithfulness, his mercy, and his many other qualities that invite us to love him in return.  It is when he shows himself uniquely to us, that we are able to get a glimpse of eternity.

 God’s presence is the greatest gift we could ever hope for, the greatest one he can make available to us.  Just as he promised Moses, God’s going to tuck us into a safe place and keep u covered by his presence… “And the Lord continued, ‘See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of a rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.”  Today and every day, enjoy the presence of God, and enjoy being safe in his hands.

 Perhaps it was Cleland McCafee who phrased it most appropriately in his words that make up one my favorite hymns…

There is a place of comfort sweet, near to the heart of God.

A place where we our Savior meet, near to the heart of God,

There is a place of full release, near to the heart of God.

A place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God.

 

Lord, sometimes I think we begin to understand how precious your gift of you is.  But God, please awaken us to even more of you today.  Amen.

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Good morning friends and family!

 

How was your weekend?

This week at first, we are heading into the second week of August. Can you believe it? As this mouse gets older, I feel that time goes faster and faster!

We have no events happening at the church today, but it has been filled with activity. We have had the fortunate opportunity to help several people this morning, by providing food from our food pantry. Please continue to donate non-perishable items to our food pantry, as this is a vibrant and necessary ministry. We are currently in need of protein items, such as canned tuna and chicken, and peanut butter. The folks that we serve truly appreciate your donations!

Tuesday, August 6th, there will be a Congregational Council meeting at 6:00 PM in the Conference Room.

Wednesday, August 7th, we will open our doors from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM to serve a free lunch to the community. This is our Food from the Heart ministry, which is open to the public every Wednesday. We invite everyone to come join us for good food and good fellowship!  Later Wednesday evening, there will be a Fellowship Committee Meeting at 7:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall.

On Thursday, August 8th, Ruth Circle will be meeting at 7:00 PM. For more information on the location, please contact the church office at (724)-834-1457. There will also be an introductory Confirmation Meeting held on Thursday evening at 7:00 PM, which will include Acolyte training for our new confirmation members. All those who plan to affirm their baptism through confirmation should attend this meeting.

Sunday, our worship times will be 8:15 AM and 10:00 PM. There is no Sunday School during the summer months. Sunday School will resume on September 15th at 9:30 AM.

 

Just to recap the past month…

VBS was a huge success, hosting over 50 children ages 3 – 10. THANK YOU to Rachel Krunszyinsky for being our director and doing such as wonderful job! Thank you also to all our amazing teachers and helpers that dedicated their time and talents to VBS!

We had two baptisms in July: J. Duncan, and A. Bayles. Welcome to the First family!

Pastor Jerry presided over the Ulishney/Sias wedding and it was absolutely beautiful! Congratulations to the newlyweds!

The Park has seen many beautiful improvements over the past few months, including planting. The latest addition will be 4 park benches!

Our Directory Pictures had such a wonderful response that we had to open up two days in September (13 & 14) to allow for more pictures to be taken!

We received several NEW members!

 

Coming up…

There are EXCITING THINGS happening at first!

Coming up on August 23-24, the Congregational Council will be sponsoring an overnight family camping trip to Cedar Creek County Park. There will be biking, hiking, fishing and boating available. children under 16 can attend for free, and adults are asked to contribute $5 to cover the cost of food. Bring your tent and join the fun! I am going to hitch a ride in Rick Druschel’s backpack! I hope they save me a s’more!

The fall is quickly approaching, and that means Rally ReCreation day is upon us!!! This year, the Christian Education Committee has BIG, make that “BIG TOP” plans for RR DAY! Welcome to the First Family Carnival, where there is room for everyone under God’s Big Tent! There will be a duck pond, games, food, prizes, face painting and more! join us for outdoor worship (weather permitting) under the “Big Top” in our Park to kick off the new Sunday School Year!

Sunday School will begin on September 15th, and we will return to our 10:45 AM second service schedule.

There have been all kinds of exciting things floating through the church concerning the High School Sunday School class. They will have a teacher this year: Ginger Shultz! There are big things planned for the class and the entire congregation will be filled in at a later date. I will say this though…I walked through the FLY room the other day and its looking SPECTAULAR!

The annual WELCA Women’s Retreat to Lutherlyn will be held September 20-22.  the theme this year will be “Count Your Blessings”. There will be small groups, large groups, workshops, seminars, prayer, and worship.  The registration deadline is August 11, so please stop by the office if you are interested! We have several women from our church attending!

The women of our church are contributing cookies to the Churchwide ELCA Assembly in Pittsburgh from August 12-17th! All these baked goods around here are making me hungry!

 

As you can see, the church has been very busy this summer! I hope everyone has a great week, and starts to get excited about the many amazing things happening at First!

 

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”

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http://felchurch.org/1062/

June 24-30, 2013

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Good morning! Good morning to all of my dear friends!

 

I would like to apologize to the church’s readers for not posting for the past two weeks, but I was away on a Mouse-Study! I was working my little tail to the bone trying to learn how to be a better Church Mouse, and how to serve God in His plans for me.  It was a difficult and busy trip, but I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to grow in knowledge and faith! Now, I have returned to you, my First family, a better mouse!

While I was away, I heard that the “Concert in the Park” on the 12th of June was a huge success! I am sorry that I had to miss it. What a blessing that these youth were able to share their talents and love of God with us! The WELCA also had their annual picnic at Bogg’s Pavilion on the 19th and we began planting in the Park as well!

This week is a rather slow week here at First.

On Wednesday, the Property committee will be meeting at 6:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall. The Executive Committee will be meeting on Wednesday as well, at 7:15 PM in the Conference Room.

We are currently accepting applications for the position of Full-Time Custodian. For details, or to apply for the position, please stop in the office to pick up an application. You can also apply online, here.

The youth will be traveling to the nation’s capital, Washington DC, this Saturday! While there, they will be taking in the sights, visiting museums and monuments, learning about our nation’s rich history, as well as feeding their faith through study and worship, and learning how to impact the world through service. They will leave from the church on Saturday morning, June 29th, at 6:00 AM. They will return on July 2nd at about 8:00 PM.

The Church’s trip to PNC Park for the Pirates Game and fireworks night will be this Saturday, June 29th. If you purchased tickets and plan on attending, please be at the church by 4:45 PM on Saturday, where we will meet and board the bus to Pittsburgh.  If you are still interested in going, there are currently 5 tickets left for purchase.

We are currently following the summer schedule for worship and have services at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. There is NO Sunday School during the summer months.

I hope that everyone has a very blessed week, and I am SO glad to be back!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

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May 20-26…2013

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Good Monday morning to everyone!

We had a lovely reception yesterday following our 10:45 AM worship service to honor our newest confirmed members: Laura Miller, Brett Schugt and Sawyer Rehak. Congratulations!!!

We also held our last Java Table until September.

Our Monday evening Bible Studies are on summer break and will return in September with a brand new study topic!

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 21st, Rebekah Circle will be meeting at 10:30 AM in the Conference Room.  There will also be a Finance Committee meeting at 6:30 PM and a Christian Education meeting at 7:00 PM.

Our weekly free lunch, Food from the Heart, will be served on Wednesday from noon- 1:00 PM. This lunch is open to the community and all are welcome to join us! This week’s menu will be: Pizza Burger

My little mouse whiskers are twitching with excitement for our Preschool class, which will be graduating this Thursday with flying colors! We have 17 wonderful graduates moving on to Kindergarten! Hip-Hip-Hurray! Please come join us to celebrate with our “little graduates” and their families at 6:30 PM in the sanctuary!

This Sunday, May 26th, we will honor the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our worship services will be at 8:15 and 10:45 AM. At 9:30 AM, we will hold the LAST Sunday School meeting until September! We will be closing our Sunday School doors for summer break and will end the year with a bang by having an intergenerational event…in our PARK! This will also be the LAST Sunday before beginning our summer worship hours, so all you 10:45’ers, relish that extra 45 minutes of sleep Sunday morning!

As a general announcement, there are still 9 seats left for the Pirates baseball game and fireworks night on June 29th! If you are interested in going, please contact the office!

I also have to say a big thank you to our custodian, Dennis Hall, for installing the air conditioner in the office. It jumped from winter to summer pretty quick around here and the humidity in that room made me want to cut all my fur off! Now I can go and visit my office friends without melting like a block of Velveeta cheese! (Hmmmm….now I’m hungry!)

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

God’s Grace and “Squeaks”,

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April 8-April14

 

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What a beautiful Monday Afternoon!

The sun is certainly shining and creating a glorious spring day here in Greensburg!

It just so happened that I was searching for an early afternoon snack, and I ran into some of the women from the Mary-Martha Circle! They were holding their monthly meeting today at 10:00 AM.

Later in the day, I overheard Pastor Marleen talking about the new topic for Bible Study; “The Devil and All His Empty Promises”. Sounds like an interesting topic! If you would like to join us, Bible Study begins tonight and every Monday at 7:00 PM in the Conference room.

As always, we will host our weekly free luncheon, Food From the Heart, which is open to the public from 12:00 – 1:00 PM every Wednesday.

Marvin Huls, our fantastic music director, will be having Bell Choir and Adult Choir practice on Thursday, April 11. Bell Choir practice will begin at 6:15 PM and Adult Choir will begin at 7:00 PM in the choir room.

Thursday is a busy day this week! Ruth Circle will meet this Thursday,April 11 at 7:30 PM.

The Worship & Music Committee will also meet on Thursday April 11 at 7:45 PM.

Of course, we will also have our weekly Worship services at 8:15 AM and 10:45 AM on Sunday, April 14. Sunday School will be held from 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM, in between services.  Following the service, the Youth Committee will have a meeting at 12:15 PM.

Don’t forget to have a look at the new April bulletin board in the lobby, to catch up on all the great upcoming events at First!

This is the Church Mouse signing off and wishing you a wonderfully blessed week! I think I am going to find a nice quite spot on a windowsill and enjoy some of the warm breeze on this lovely spring day!

God’s Grace & “Squeaks”,

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