Favorite Verses

1. John 3:16

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

2. John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

3. Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...

4. 2nd Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousnes...

5. Matthew 11:28

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

 

 

 

 

Leading us in worship:   Rev. Matthew Froeschle 

Sunday Worship Schedule 

Worship Service
9:30 a.m.
Children's Church
9:45 a.m.
(after Children's Chat)
 

 

                 Fruits of the Spirit - Love
                  A sermon by the Rev. Matthew D. Froeschle
OLD TESTAMENT READING - Psalm 136:1-9,23-26 
Leader:  O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
People:  O give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Leader:  O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
People:  who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; who spread out the earth on the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;
Leader:  who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;
People:  the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;
Leader:  It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever; and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever;
People:  who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.  O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
NEW TESTAMENT READING - 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.  But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.  For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.  Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.  And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
SERMON - “Fruits of the Spirit - LOVE”
Let me start today’s message by reading the Scripture passage from Galatians 5, verses 19-24, from which this new sermon series is born:
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. -Galatians 5:19-24 (NRSV)
As I shared in a Children’s sermon not long ago, fruit develops naturally when the conditions for growth are right.  We don’t notice trees or plants laboring hard through force of will to produce fruit.  They either grow over time or they don’t, depending on whether they are getting enough water and sunlight and nutrients from the soil in which they are planted.
It’s interesting that the Apostle Paul talks about works of the flesh, but fruit (not works) of the Spirit.  By wording it that way, Paul places willfulness and work behind sin, in contrast to spiritual characteristics that develop naturally in the soul linked to Christ.  (“I am the vine - you are the branches.  Apart from Me you can do nothing.”)
I make a point of this because these fruits of the spirit will naturally develop in the person who honors Jesus as Lord.  When we talk about the fruits of the Spirit, it is not so that we can brag about how much fruit we have in our lives.  Nor is it to make us feel bad about how pitiful the harvest may seem at the moment.
Rather, when we see these fruits in our lives, we give all glory to God and recognize His power and presence in our midst.  “God is faithful to us, and here’s some fruit as a result!”  And where we notice a lack, we ask God’s mercy that we may be grafted back to the vine.
If you are among those who claim to be a disciple of Christ, this list serves as a healthy, honest checkup on how much space you’re allowing God’s Spirit to operate in your life.  Are these virtues increasing in us, replacing that negative list of vices?  Is your neighbor benefitting from the fruit of the Spirit in you?
But if you are not among those who claim the title “Christian,” this list demonstrates what God is offering to enrich your life.  God’s grace is calling out to you with forgiveness and the promise of new life and freedom.
Let me be clear, these fruits are present to some degree in EVERYONE, not just in Christians, because God created all of us.  But a relationship with Jesus is the way to keep the fruit from dying.  A relationship with God in Christ is a restored connection to the author of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
Now, let’s get to the heart of today’s message.  The very first trait that Paul lists as evidence of God’s work in a believer’s life is the spiritual fruit of LOVE.  This seems the perfect place to start, right?  The Beatles would say that it’s all you need.  Countless other faiths certainly promote the virtue of love.
But since LOVE is a word used so often, it is good for us to seek greater focus.  We’re not just talking about sentiment and romance and hormones and happy fuzzy feelings.  Dave Coen, in our Bible Class last Sunday, asked the good question: What does “Christian spiritual fruit of love” look like?  What makes it unique?  How does it look in our lives?  I’m going to try to do that question justice by focusing these two Scripture passages.
In Psalm136, there is a regular refrain, repeated throughout.  “God’s steadfast love endures forever.”  The Psalm describes what God has done. God created the world and its inhabitants.  God remembered and rescued and provided for people.  Interspersed with descriptions of God’s actions is that sentence: “God’s steadfast love endures forever.”
You’ve probably heard it said that “love is a verb.”  This Psalm certainly supports that idea.  Love is more than how you happen to be feeling about someone.  Rather, it’s about how you are behaving towards others.  You can love someone without liking them, just as we tend to take care of ourselves and pray for our health even when we don’t particularly like ourselves.
And what makes God’s love different from just sentiment or romance is how God shows love even to those who aren’t particularly lovely - and even to enemies.  Even when God has no reason to expect any love in return, God doesn’t stop loving.  God’s steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 136 paints the picture of a strong, eternal and infinite characteristic.  God’s love isn’t needy or slushy or pathetic.  And it’s clear from this Psalm and elsewhere in the Bible that God doesn’t need our help - God can do all things and His power and ways are far above ours.
God could have been fully satisfied without us - in a perfect community of Father, Son, and Spirit.  Nevertheless, God chose to create us, that we might have the opportunity to participate in God’s life and share in God’s love.
So then, a Godly kind of love is not needy or demanding.  As God is satisfied with God, so the soul held in God can love with no strings attached.  It is known through actions, and it is powerful to change hearts and circumstances.
Perhaps the most famous Bible passage about love is 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, in which the apostle Paul preaches about God’s love as it finds expression through us.  We’re going to learn more about the fruit of love as we consider Paul’s words.
As we’ve already discussed, God often makes love known through creation and good works done for people.  God’s actions always come from God’s nature - God is pure and holy and not deceitful.
But here, Paul begins by saying that human actions aren’t necessarily motivated by love, and he warns that it is possible for us to perform service and good actions without God’s Spirit of love.  You know this if you’ve ever done the dishes in anger, muttering and nursing a grudge the whole time.  That doesn’t tend to build love towards those you’re supposedly serving.
So what we have here is a warning that while love is known through action, not all action is evidence of Godly love.  The motive behind our actions matter.  God’s motives are always perfect - but ours aren’t.
So as we go about good works, we need to ask ourselves:  In this service and action, am I growing more in love with God and others, or am I only going through the motions?  Am I perhaps feeding my pride and keeping score?
As we move on, you’ll see rather quickly that Paul describes love by using a couple other fruits of the spirit (patiences and kindness in particular), so that doesn’t make it easy to talk about any of these fruit of the Spirit in isolation!  Paul also says that love is of supreme importance, so I suppose we’ll be coming back to this virtue over and over again in our series.  These fruits of the Spirit seem to grow in bunches and flavor each other.
But we’ll do our best to talk about the uniqueness of this particular virtue - love - so I’ll focus on some of the other things Paul says about love without using the other fruits of the spirit.  Hear these words again:
“Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.”
Notice that there is a supreme humility in love.  It’s not irritable, rude, arrogant, or demanding.  It’s a quiet but extremely potent virtue.
Yesterday as I wrote this sermon, I noticed how much more Jesus time I desperately need to cultivate this virtue.  Over the course of only a few hours, I became irritated with my children (because of their ‘interruptions’), was rude to my wife (over a missed communication), became proud of my humility (as I posted on Facebook), wanted to get my way (a clean house), and was eager to write a sermon that would impress you (look at me!).
Thank God for His Word, showing me where I need more of Jesus’ love even as I peach about how much you all need it!
There is a self-forgetfulness in love that sounds wonderful.  My spirit craves more of that, even as my sinful flesh fears letting go or giving in to real love.  Imagine not keeping score, holding grudges, or going about posturing and preening and wearing a mask.  Imagine knowing that you are cherished and that you can in turn learn to cherish others, without being in fear of them.
All of this are the impressions I get about love from these wonderful Biblical passages.  And while I’m very far from perfect, I am supremely grateful to God for the tiny seed of love that actually is within me - and within you.  As I said at the start of this message - that is evidence of God at work in us through the Spirit and through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What does Christian love look like, then, in your life?  Well, we are still learning.  We are still seeing in a mirror, dimly.  We have not yet become mature, we do not yet see God face to face.  But perhaps each day our faces are becoming more like His.
How do you suppose Jesus looks at you?  Or at those around you?  Or at the strangers?  Or at your enemies?  Does His face light up to see you - and them?  Is Jesus eager to forgive and welcome?  Is Jesus eager to put an expression of love on that face, to replace the expression of pain, hurt, fear, and cruelty?  I believe He is.  And I also believe that God’s steadfast love endures forever.  Praise be to God!

                           

 

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Adult Bible Class

The class meets at 8:30 am on Sunday morning.  Please join for this lesson and lively discussion time before the worshp service. 
Everyone welcome.

 Worship Service

Please join us for Sunday Worship at 9:30 a.m.  Let us be your church as you're passing through town, or your church home throughout the year.  We invite you to worship with us.  Children may stay in the sanctuary or go to Children's Church after the Children's Chat with the Pastor.  During the worship service, we worship God through scripture reading, listening to the sermon, prayer, responsive readings, hymn singing, special music, and reflection.

Children's Church

During the 9:30 a.m. worship service, Children's Church is offered for children ages 4-12.  Childlren are in the sanctuary until after the Children's Chat with the Pastor.  Children's Church is a service where kids learn through scripture, stories, and music tailored to their age group.

 

First Presbyterian Church is a Family of Faith. 

Like many families, we:

*Support one another.  Troubles are shared and burdens are lifted hrough requests to the Prayer Team, prayer requests made during worship, and conversation over coffee, etc.

*Share a common outlook.  Presbyterians are dedicated to hearing and acting on scripture.  We listen to what the Bible has to say through sermons and studies.  We carry out what we learn and believe through our daily lives and in missions at home and abroad.

*Nuture Children.  Outreach within and outside our church happens through Sunday School, Kids' Club, Youth Groups, LOGOS retreats, Camp Carew, and Vacation Bible School.  We help children "grow up in Christ."

*Care for the Elderly.  Members of the "Sunshine Brigade" conduct Christian care visits with shut-ins and those who live in skilled care settings.

*Help neighbors in need.  Friends and families reach out to others in the Church when help is needed.  In addition, members of the First Presbyterian family serve the community through programs like the Food Bank, Peace Meals, PADS homeless and transient shelter, etc.

*Grow.  Families have a habit of growing.  Our Family of Faith grows with those who are beginning or renewing their trust in Jesus Christ.  Please consider what Christ means to you, and experience God's love through First Presbyterian Church.