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."

 

 

 

Monday
Jan292018

February

From the Pastor's Desk:

20/20

Your leadership team, the Session, is embarking upon a process of discernment and visioning this year. We are seeking feedback from members with regard to what things are central to our identity, what we do well, and how we might improve and adapt in the future to better serve Christ and community.
THREE WORDS
As I think in very general terms about what Jesus desires for ALL believers, three words come to mind: Discipleship, Evangelism, and Mission. They get to the core of what following Jesus is all about.
DISCIPLESHIP
Who are the friends with whom you can speak openly and honestly about life and faith? Who are the people that not only encourage you to grow closer to Jesus, but are also enjoyable for you to spend time with? It’s time to make a point to meet with those people weekly. They need you to encourage them, and you need them to challenge you. That is what Jesus modeled and practiced.  Discipleship happens inside - but mostly outside the church building. Every Monday I meet with three or four other fellow believers and we share the good, the bad, and the ugly of life as we seek to know Jesus better and obey God. This type of meeting offers refreshment, challenge, and accountability. We all need it. We are fooling ourselves if we think we can go it alone. Jesus certainly didn’t invite us into isolation. He welcomed us into community. It can get really lonely out there.
EVANGELISM
Admittedly, this is a scary word that can conjure up any number of images - both good and bad. But at its core, evangelism is simply sharing good news. And we have good news to share - God is love! But where and how shall we share the faith that means so much to us? It is God’s desire that love increase - but how can folks know of God’s love and grace if we don’t testify to it? We are to share with great respect and sensitivity, of course. After all, this isn’t about forcing anyone to believe exactly as we believe - it is shining and inviting. We don’t have all the answers, but we do have a relationship with Jesus. Shouldn’t we introduce our best friend to others?
I’m not good at this. I’m timid. But I want to get better. I don’t want to be obnoxious, but neither do I want to live my whole life and not share the good news that transforms and redeems me. I want to be motivated by love, not fear. It’s time to tell the story, not out of duty or in order to “fix” other people - but for the joy of it!
MISSION
Our mission is to serve others. We are to do what Jesus told us to do - acts of love with no strings attached. We have been instructed by our Lord Jesus to minister unto others with great humility - and especially honor those who are overlooked. All of us are missionaries. What does the mission field look like? Where are the opportunities here in Mattoon to use our unique gifts and talents in service of others?  I can be way too selfish and isolated. It’s high time to give back. I serve in Rotary, but I could do so much more to help other people and spend time outside of my living room. What about you?
Anyway - I was simply reflecting on the core values of the church. Along with the Session, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and dreams and ideas for the future. Jesus is doing great things - and new things. He is very much alive. May His body - the church - also thrive. May we embrace our core mission and the gospel we have received. May we discover the unique ways in which we can contribute to the Kingdom - in concert with all other believers.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Matthew

 

 

Wednesday
Dec272017

January

From the Pastor's Desk:

Happy New Year! I hope you found time to draw closer to our Lord Jesus and to your friends & family over the Christmas season. Moreover, I hope you found opportunity to draw nearer even to strangers and  "enemies” in the gracious Spirit of Christ, who loves all people and repairs broken relationships.
At the end of this month (January 28), we will be gathering for our annual congregational meeting. We have much to celebrate from the past year, and we will be welcoming your input as we embark on “20/20,” a season of prayer and strategic planning for God’s ministry here at FPC.
For your information, the new sign in front of our church is completely paid for, thanks to nearly $11,000 in gifts from active members, and a great return from our church’s trust fund. We wanted to gauge the church’s interest in that project before proceeding, and the support was there, so we now have a new publicity tool.
The sign is not a magic solution for increasing membership, of course, and not everyone thought this was the right time or the right use of our funds. I absolutely respect that. Even I had moments of “buyer’s remorse” while it was under construction. However, I have been getting lots of positive feedback from the community. And now that it’s up and running, I’m thrilled to have such an attractive means to keep the larger community aware of what we have going on here.
One final note on that subject: the “old” sign may likely be moved to the north side of the building after the winter. we will improve the landscaping around both signs. After all, we don’t need 2 signs along Charleston, and we want our signs to fit in with the landscaping work done in 2017.
I wanted to let you all know what was going on. And allow me to say on a personal note: I am feeling extremely grateful to have been called to serve this church. You have made the move to Mattoon totally worth it for me and for my family. We are blessed beyond our deserving. Thank you for the cards, the gifts, your sense of humor, your patience, and your love.
I want to serve you well in the years to come. I want to continue to teach what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and live that out with you. I want to be a blessing to this community, as you have been. And most especially I want more people to know Jesus, the Savior. God, grant us vision and joy. Help us draw ever closer to You, Jesus. You are worth celebrating! Amen and amen!
Yours in Christ,
Matthew

Thursday
Nov302017

December

From the Pastor's Desk

I try to avoid the malls and big box stores during the month of December. I know that some people really enjoy the crowds, the sales, and the excitement of tracking down the perfect gifts. And hey, I’m no Scrooge - I like giving and receiving gifts, too. But I am an introvert at heart, and all the traf-fic and all the noise and all the people really wear me out.
When I was in high school, I had a retail job at a “Fannie May” candy store located inside the mall. I spent a lot of my December dealing with hurried, harried, frazzled, (and also with a lot of fun) peo-ple. I have also worked as a grocery store checkout clerk, and you know how exciting the grocery store gets in November and December. I would go to bed after a long shift, and continue to pack candy or scan peoples’ grocery items in my dreams.
I am grateful for those experiences. I worked with good people. And to this day, every time I go to a retail store or to County Market - especially during December - I make it a point to be exceedingly gracious to the person working the register on the other side of the counter. Why? Because I know a little about what they’re going through.
I’m sure those who have worked as waiters or waitresses know how to be better guests at restau-rants, and people who have delivered pizzas or the mail know how to better treat those men and women when they come to the door this season.
The Christmas story reminds us that God came to us in the flesh. He spent the vast majority of His life working - not preaching. He has been on our side of the counter, so to speak. He knows what it is like for us. He has carried our burdens. He has dealt with difficult people. He has laughed and cried with us. No one is more sympathetic to your situation - no one is more gracious than He is. He knows us and understands us.
What a gift it is that Jesus can so thoroughly say (and He is the ONLY one who can truly say) “I know what you’re going through. I know how you feel. I know everything about you. And I still love you.” Jesus has been where we have been, and so He treats us with great kindness.
Worn out? Sad? Lonely? Need a friend for the holidays? Jesus is perfect. He is the best gift this world have ever been given, and the only hope for salvation we have. Let’s draw near to Him this Christmas, as He drew near to us.
Oh, and please remember to be kind to those on the other side of the counter.
Yours in Christ,
Matthew

Wednesday
Nov012017

November

From the Pastor's Desk

One of the things that has been bringing life into my soul recently is a weekly commitment to a “huddle” discipleship group. Each Monday I gather with 3 or 4 other guys for about an hour to in-tentionally talk about our Christian faith and practice. We are seeking to follow Jesus’ pattern of building God-centered relationships and training one another for service.
I’ve been a part of such accountability / small groups before, and they are so life-giving. I would encourage you, as I have from the pulpit, to find or create such opportunities for yourself. Jesus never intended for us to be on our own. You need encouragement from other Christians just as much as they need it from you.
Why did we ever get fooled into thinking that following Jesus was a solitary activity - that faith was to remain completely private and individualized? That’s not the model of the Scriptures. That’s not Jesus’ way. No wonder we struggle with how we go about sharing our faith, or why it feels like we make so little progress at times. Why would Jesus bring us into a church just so we can remain alone?
If you are feeling led by the Spirit to begin seeking out such a small group, start by asking yourself: which committed Christians do I know that I enjoy spending time with? I’ve found it most helpful to find people whom I trust; with whom I can be vulnerable and confidential. Pray about it. See if those other Christians are also interested in such a connection. If so, see if you might agree on a time to meet each week - for about an hour or so.
Keep it small. Bible studies are great (we should probably seek to be a part of these as well, for the sake of continuing education!), but this is not just a group study, this is personal training. Having more than 3-5 people involved makes it difficult to truly invest in each person’s life. Speak candidly about what it looks like to follow Jesus in your life. Pray for one another - practice confidenti-ality and speak encouragement.
I pray that you will discover the life-giving joy of these kind of “huddle” fellowships. They move our focus back onto Jesus. They become communities of prayer and humility. They become a very natural means by which our faith in God can grow, and good works are born. They are safe places in which we can fail and be restored. Through them, I believe we may hear the voice of our Lord Jesus.
Of course, all good works begin with honest, simple prayer. Is this something God is calling you to pursue at this time? It may be - it may not be. I just wanted to share that this is a Christian discipline that I’m so grateful for these days. And when something is good, it’s worth sharing. Perhaps you also can share with me those disciplines that are helping you in your faith these days.


Yours in Christ,
Pastor Matthew

Tuesday
Oct032017

October

From the Pastor's Desk:

“Addict Yourselves to No Party”
by the Rev. Matthew D. Froeschle


“You were never in your lives in so critical a situation as you are at this time. It is your part to be peacemakers, to be loving and tender to all, but to addict yourselves to no party.” - John Wesley
Those words were written by the founder of the Methodist church in the late 18th Century. He was writing to preachers in America and in England in context of the American Revolution. He was giv-ing advice as to how Christians should conduct themselves in light of all the societal upheaval.
His words are astonishingly relevant. Particularly I’m impressed by the seemingly prophetic phrase “addict yourselves to no party.” Because I think that many of us have become addicted to our par-ties. We can’t get enough news - so long as its from our preferred source - and so long as it paints “the opposition party” in ugly colors.
The party we are to be concerned with above all is Jesus. And not “Republican Jesus” or “Democrat Jesus” or “Independent Jesus” or any other “Adjective Jesus.” Because let’s be honest here: most of us tend to follow the “Always Agrees with Me Jesus.” Just take a minute and ask yourself: “Is the Jesus I follow challenging me to think or to act differently, or am I following a Jesus made in my own image, who always agrees with my opinions?”
In case we haven’t noticed, we live in a world in serious need of peacemakers. Who is going to step up, if not the church that claims to follow the “Prince of Peace” who said: “Blessed are the peacemakers”? And while it’s true that Jesus said His Way would inevitably cause division in our world of swords, He promised His people the Spirit of peace.
It seems especially important that we who bear His Name serve with humility, and model a better way for our culture rather than passively reflect it. It’s too easy to get caught up in the anger and the hype. It’s far better to ask for more of God’s Spirit, and refresh the soul with the Good News.
I’m not saying that there aren’t causes worth fighting for and times to speak up. But as we do so, it’s important to check our addictions against the Spirit of Jesus. (“Consider the log in your own eye!”) And always remember: Jesus’ aim is not annihilation, but reconciliation. “The Son of God came - not to condemn the world - but to save it.”
May Jesus’ cause be our cause. Lift high the cross - where God’s justice and mercy meet. For one day, there will be only one party - and it will be the wedding party between Jesus and His church.

In His grip,
Matthew