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)
 

                                  “Pouring Out My Soul”
                    
A sermon by the Rev. Matthew D. Froeschle

1 Samuel 1:1-20
There was a certain man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.  He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah.  Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
Now this man used to go up year by year from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord.  On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.
Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.  So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her.  Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.  Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep?  Why do you not eat?  Why is your heart sad?  Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord.  Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord.  She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly.
She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death.  He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.”
As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.  Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk.  So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself?  Put away your wine.”
But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord.  Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.”
Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.”  And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.”  Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.
They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah.  Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her.  In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son.  She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.”
SERMON - “Pouring Out My Soul”
No family here on earth can make it through the years without some drama.  Now, my own Mom and Dad are amazing people, so I imagine that most of the drama in our little family was due to me and my brother Paul.
You see, my Dad is a hard worker, who taught me responsibility and self-control and the value of good, honest labor.  He sacrificed his own desires over and over again to provide for the family.  He’s still my hero and a rock.
My Mom is extremely compassionate and giving.  She seems to know everyone in town, and her kindness and love make it hard for her to say “no” to any service asked of her - big or small.  She’s my heart and soul.
My brother and I - well - we’re the reason for all those gray hairs on that lovely couple’s heads.
I was (am?) a little emotional and shy and awkward - and I was still wetting myself when I was in the fourth grade.  Is that too much information?  My poor parents.  Long-suffering.  I’m high maintenance.
My brother - he has very few inhibitions.  He’s charismatic and makes all kinds of friends easily.  But he’s the one that my Dad felt needed a tighter rein.  You see, my Dad was also “the youngest child” in his family, and I think he and Paul had an inside understanding of the kind of trouble Paul was likely to get into.
Thankfully, things have turned out well for all of us so far.  My Mom is happily retired and busy volunteering, my Dad and my brother and I are all still alive and employed and enjoying our beautiful families.
Our family drama pales in comparison to the kind of family drama others have to endure - and it especially pales in comparison to the family drama we find today in the Old Testament reading.
Peninnah is jealous that her husband Elkanah loves his other wife Hannah more than he loves her.  But she can bear children, and Hannah can’t.  So she works her sorrows out by picking on Hannah - antagonizing her at every opportunity.
Elkanah wonders why Hannah isn’t content with his love and the extra attention and sacrifices he give her, and is frustrated that he can’t make her happy.  He’s obsessed with Hannah at the expense of Peninnah, and doesn’t see how his favoritism is only making things worse.
And Hannah, poor Hannah, is barren and heartbroken and inconsolable.  She won’t eat, she’s crying all the time, and she’s an easy target for continued scorn and abuse despite the fact that she is the beloved wife.
Imagine that this is the family in church sitting next to you.
Hey, every family that comes to church has issues.
The Old Testament story is about a broken family going to God’s temple for worship.  They bring all their issues with them.  On the way, Peninnah is still picking on Hannah, Elkanah is doling out extra sacrifices for Hannah to offer, and all three of them are messy.
Hannah is such a mess that Eli, the priest, sees her praying but thinks that she’s drunk (not that he blames her).  But he goes over to her.  “Come on, stop making a spectacle of yourself.  Take your wine and get drunk somewhere else.  Not here!  Please!”  Oh Eli, you poor foolish priest.
Eli was mistaken about things, as we pastors often are.  Hannah was taking her brokenness to God - again - as she always did.  She didn’t stop worshipping, even when things remained messy.  She didn’t stop pouring herself out.  Eli was taken aback at how fervently she prayed!
“Wow,” said Eli.  “You are really giving everything to God.  May God grant your request.”
And - here is the miracle - once again God brings something out of nothing.  God takes a hopeless situation with hopeless people and speaks a word of promise through his prophet Eli.  And lo and behold, 9 months later, there’s a baptism in church.  Little baby Samuel, HANNAH’S BOY, is dedicated to the Lord.
I seriously doubt all the problems in that family suddenly stopped.  BUT there was new life - and evidence that God hears us and is able to act EVEN IN THE MIDST OF THE MESS.
Bible stories invite us to enter into them.  Where are you in this story?  Who do you relate most strongly with at this time in your life?  Be honest.  Are you jealous Peninnah, picking on someone because of your own hurt and feelings of neglect?
Are you Elkanah, confused and frustrated because you can’t seem to solve the problems of the one you love, and perhaps blind to how you might be showing favoritism?
Are you Hannah, broken even though you are loved, and crying out to the Lord for a blessing you think will never come?
Or maybe you relate with baby Samuel - just born into a big old mess.
We all have issues.  And yet here we are - gathered once again in a house of God to worship.
Maybe we’ll take a cue from Hannah, and let the mask fall off, and be open to God - vulnerable and poured out before Him.  Will a good word come to us today?  Will God use a word to breathe new life into our hopeless situation?  Will we hear a word of love and comfort from God that will empower us to go forth in faith, despite how terrible things seem?
Hannah found solace in the word of God.  Her circumstances hadn’t changed, but she believed that God had heard her, and perhaps realized in that moment that God was her greatest treasure.  After hearing a word from God through the priest Eli, her mood changed.  She and her husband went home and had a good night.  Later, Samuel was born.
God speaks.  We trust Him.  New life results.
Hannah was persistent in prayer.  And things changed because she was constantly placing everything into the hands of God.
This story has many things to teach us, if we’ll let it work on our minds and on our hearts and on our imaginations.
It tells us that we are not alone.  Our families are messy.  But they matter to God.  We can still enter the temple.  Take all of yourself into worship.
This story reminds us that God can make a way where there is no way.  How often in the Scriptures does a prophet (in this case, little Samuel) come from a barren woman - come from emptiness?  Do you feel empty and used up?  Was the earth formless and void?  God speaks, and there is life.
This story reminds us that you shouldn’t have two wives!  Duh.  Elkanah is to blame for that whole mess.
But ultimately, this is a story of hope.  Because God works even through messy families to bring about His purposes in this world.  Samuel was dedicated to the Lord, and would become a great prophet.  Samuel would be the one God used to anoint King David, the greatest of Israel’s Kings.  He had a rough family history, but He was part of God’s plan.
I am very thankful for my family - and especially thankful that my Mom dragged us all to church every Sunday to participate in the Kingdom of God and to worship the Lord who can make a way out of no way - and who loves his people - even in our brokenness.
Pour yourself out to the Lord - pour out your soul.  God hears you.  God loves you.  God can bring new life, and redeem even the messiest of families.
Amen!

 

 Please follow us on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/First-Presbyterian-Church-Mattoon-Illinois/435363219833858

 

ONLINE GIVING is now a possibility for any who wish to contribute to the mission and ministry here at FPC.  Simply click on the link below this paragraph, and fill out the secure form.  This is for your convenience, if you wish to contribute in this way.  It doesn’t cost the church anything, and some may find it more convenient than writing out a check.  In any respect, thanks to all members for participating in this ministry - whether through giving time, talents, or treasure.

Your Donation Form


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.