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I have grown to deeply appreciate Memorial Day.  It’s nice to take a day off and enjoy being outside, but we will be visiting at least one Memorial Day observance as a family – as we have done for years.

It is a poignant day for our family – Lynn’s uncle was killed in action on Okinawa in WWII.  We take flowers to decorate the Army memorial in his honor.


But as a Christian in America who has come to know the persecution brothers and sisters are experiencing in other parts of the world simply because they proclaim their faith, I am filled with gratitude for the sacrifice some have made to protect our intrinsic freedoms – including the freedom to practice our faith openly and without fear of reprisal.

Christianity Today Editor Ed Setzer frames Memorial Day this way…
…The main focus should be on the “memorial,” remembering those who have fallen– who gave their lives for something greater than themselves, or just to serve along side a comrade.

At times like this, I’m always struck by the teaching of Jesus where he said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  In other words, on a day when we remember those who gave their lives I’m drawn to dwell on the fact that Christ laid down his life.

So, thank you soldiers– past and present– for the freedoms you protect. And, thank you that because of those freedoms, we can tell the good news of the gospel of the perfect one who laid down His life.

Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.  If you’re in town, we’ll see you at 1stPresDowntown for Pentecost Sunday worship!

Pastor Craig


And One More Thing:  


NOTE: In my Sunday messages I don’t get to touch on all the things I uncover when I study a Bible text, so here’s some ‘underlying’ info which didn’t make it into last Sunday’s message.


Something I could have said a lot more about on Sunday was on “Calling:” the idea that God knows what you will become, and sends the Spirit into you to bring you onto a particular life path.


That’s pretty general – and, indeed, Calling has come to mean a lot of different things:

  1.  God’s call to be rescued  through Jesus’ work on the cross (theologians call this “effectual” calling).
  2. God’s call and equipping through spiritual gifts to serve in the church.
  3. God’s call and equipping to serve His mission in the world.

Even the last one can have a couple of meanings:  God’s calling into a special mission, and God’s calling to a ‘secular’ vocation/career.


On the one hand, it’s neat to know that God chooses to invite us along in the first place.  On the other hand, it makes us wonder what choice we have in the matter.


Can we deny God’s call?
The answer is pretty complicated – not really covered by a simple “Yes!” or “No!”  I can say that I don’t believe the Spirit coerces or forces you to follow the call God has for your life.  People have a choice in the matter – and many exercise it by saying “Thanks, God, but my answer’s No.”


But I’ve also experienced an irresistibility to the Spirit’s beckoning.   I can deny, avoid and resist but God just won’t give up.  He knows what I can be and works tirelessly and persistently to get me there.  And I have to say that I’m glad He does.  If it was up to me I wouldn’t have made it this far…I’m sure of it.


So what’s God calling you to be?  How are you responding to that call?


What do you think?

Get ready for Sunday!  Read in advance Ezekiel 37:1-10



This Sunday is Pentecost!
Pentecost per el Greco


Pentecost Sunday is the time in the Christian Calendar when we celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit to the church.  The traditional liturgical color is Red, so let’s make a ‘red sea’ in the pews on Sunday to celebrate!


You will have the opportunity to respond to God’s Spirit in your life by renewing your baptism vows and receiving a sign of water, along with a special gift. (NOTE: Presbyterian USA churches recognize baptism in Christ by all denominations and of all ages).
Come to the Gym at 10 am to celebrate the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church with ‘Pentecost Sundaes.’


The start/finish for the 2015 CDA Marathon on May 24 is McEuen Park so there will be no blocked roads or parking for worship at 1stPres, though you will want to take into account a little more Downtown traffic that day.


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