February 2018  
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Easter Preparation
Psalm 103: Several years ago, Kathleen Young gave me a kitchen timer and challenged me to spend ten minutes a day “counting my blessings”. Like King David, Kathleen knows that people have short memories. As v2 puts it, we're quick to forget our benefits. Now, saying “thank you” for ten or more minutes requires effort. It's easy to recall all of the present blessings like my family and the way God provides for my needs. Then I start to recall the many different ways God has acted in my past for my good. How he has involved me in some incredible times of ministry. If I'm really bold, I start to thank God for the way he has forgiven specific sins and strengthened specific weaknesses. Choosing to recall my sins and errors is very humbling. Apart from the grace of God, I'm a pretty rotten person. I'm angry and addicted, quick to blame others and to lie in my own defense. Without God, my family would have been torn apart years ago. I don't like to think on the man I would be apart from God, but that kind of reflection has an unexpected benefit. It makes me much more compassionate and patient when I see the weaknesses in others.
Our assignment today is to “count your blessings” and I would recommend that you start with how God has forgiven specific sins and strengthened specific weaknesses. God is transforming us day-by-day, making us more and more like Jesus. I want to nurture your compassion because we're going to deal with how God transforms sinners this Sunday... and it's important that we all remember that we are sinners, saved by the grace of God. Without the active help of God, we would be just as miserable and lost as the “worst of sinners”. I pray that this exercise will fill you with gratitude for the God who loves us in spite of our sins and who grows us into the wholesome, holy people we are becoming.
As you pray, remember Faye Jenkins who was recently moved to an isolation ward due to a bad infection. Pray also for Kristen Sneed as she is tested today for a suspicious growth under her ear. I was talking with Pam Arp last week... Pam continues to suffer with debilitating migraines and her daughter Aleshia has been sick with the flu for over two weeks. There are several families that have talked with me about their need to be in church... and none of them made it this last week. We know that the enemy is trying to keep them away. We also know that the enemy can be defeated through prayer and through our acts of love. Lastly, I urge you to pray about the roof offering. God wants to pour out his blessing (what we most need as individuals AND what we most need as a church), but we have to “open up” so we can receive. Praying about what to give and then giving it is one of the ways we can open a little wider to the bountiful blessings of God.
I love you! Have a fruitful day!
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Associate Pastor for Prayer

Joey Clements

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Pastor Joey and Renee Clements joined the First Church staff in January 2013.  Joey has a great passion for prayer and helping others to grow in their ability to "connect" with God. 

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