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gratitude & generosity

whats next?

new life after barefoot church

hear the light

a Christmas musical story plus celebrating the incarnation

Seek God. Share His Love. Humbly Serve.

Advent Worship

COLUMNS | November - December



How God has answered prayers during Barefoot Church, next steps and whats happening November 10. What is Dr. David Swanson Grateful For? Giving Thanks Together The Stack Commitment Cards This Fall Giving Tree Hear the Light
a Christmas musical story

Why Show Up? The Spelling List: A Testimony FEATURES Women Engaged
fall, spring and the red chair brigade

4 6 7 10 11 12 13 14 16 18 20 21 22 23

Singing Along
teaching children how to worship

God Sightings Become a Stephen Minister


Time With God Family News

Entering a season of preparation for the Incarnation as we reect on Jesus arrival.


November - December | COLUMNS



1 3 7 9 10 15 24 28

Young at Heart luncheon, 10:30am Communion Sunday

Daylight Savings Time Ends (set clocks back 1 hour) Deadline for Congregational Survey
Weekday School Fun Fair & Silent Auction

Barefoot Church Celebration & Family Worship

Last day to register for Upward Basketball

Commitment Cards Returned in Worship

Church Closed for Thanksgiving Holidays

1 2 6 8 15 24 25 29

First Sunday in Advent

WE Experiencing Christmas, 7pm Young at Heart luncheon, 10:30am Deadline to Return Gifts for Giving Tree

Hear the Light Concert, 4pm & 7pm Christmas Eve Worship
Church Closed for Christmas Holiday

Lessons & Carols Worship, 11am only

For more upcoming events visit www.fpco.org/calendar

COLUMNS | November - December

with Dr. David Swanson
FPCO ADOPTS LIBERAL AGENDA Wouldnt that be a funny headline if you picked it up and read it? And what would it actually mean? We are so label-conscious in this country that sometimes the words get used without much understanding as to their meaning. For many, FPCO would be labeled as a theologically conservative church because we uphold the historical orthodoxy of Christianity centered in the authority of Gods Word and the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our salvation. But over the past few months, we have been doing things in ministry normally associated with liberals. We have used words like social justice, community action, and personal engagement. We have focused on the needs of our community and how to meet them without agenda or condition. For a variety of reasons that I do not have the time to go into here, conservative churches have been identied with things like discipleship and personal spiritual growth while liberal churches have been identied with social justice and community activism. I nd that sad because, as Tim Keller said, A truly Biblical church is one that should defy labels. The reality is that Jesus was involved in both of these endeavors. Jesus called the disciples to be with Him (discipleship) so that He might send them out (social action / community engagement / service). Jesus was deeply invested in the personal spiritual growth of His disciples while at the same time engaging in the social justice issues of His time, things like gender and racial equality, hunger, poverty, orphans, lepers, and other social outcasts. It was never one or the other for Jesus. It was both. And it should never be one or the other for the Church of Jesus Christ. It is both. This is the systemic shift we are making in our ministry as we focus on the vision God has given us. The vision of First Presbyterian Church, Orlando, is to be a covenant community that makes disciples who light the world. Community. Discipleship. Mission. Those three words embody where we want to move in the future, and Barefoot Church helped to give us a stronger grasp of what that third component means. Its the mission of life, being the seeds of Gods Kingdom wherever He plants us. In this coming season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, let us be mindful of how each points us to the reality of our calling in Jesus. We are grateful for all that God has poured out for us through Christ, and so we give. For God so loved the world that He gave Giving sacrice and grateful response is the core of the Christian gospel. It has been the heart of what we have learned this fall, and I pray that we will continue to grow up as a church such that we defy labels as God grows His Kingdom through us. With a grateful, joyous heart, I send my Warmest personal regards,

For God so loved the world, that He gave... -John 3:16

November - December | COLUMNS

In Thanksgiving
Each year at this time, I am grateful that our nation turns to the idea of thanksgiving. Cultivating a heart of gratitude is one of the great antidotes to the challenges and pains we face in life, and the very act of thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to acknowledge the hand of God at work in our lives. Give thanks to God in all circumstances, for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It is Gods command, and by doing so, we fulll His will for our lives. He DESIRES that we have thankful hearts, so with that in mind, here are some of my reections this year:
I am thankful for the growing spiritual maturity of this church, that we took on the challenge of Barefoot Church and learned to live with a greater Kingdom focus. May God continue to take us deeper on this journey of discipleship as we learn to die to ourselves that His Kingdom may come through us. I am thankful for my wife, Leigh. After 25 years of marriage and raising 3 children up and out of our house into college, she is still my best friend, my Ezer Warrior, the joy in my journey. I am thankful for the humble, faithful service of Rich Magee who daily teaches and shapes our students at The Christ School, serves as the Clerk of our Session, and then for good measure, helps produce and execute the Genesis service each Sunday morning. I am thankful for the little bounce you get in your step after the first cold front of the season when you can finally walk outside and not feel like you are in a steam bath I am thankful for people like Jeff and Karen Revels who so consistently embody all that we learned in Barefoot Church, people who saw the needs of the hungry in our community and started collecting food (Conway Cares) with their Life Community in Conway. I am thankful for the young woman who runs the drive thru at Chick-fil-A on Colonial Drive. Not only does she always ask how Im doing, but she seems genuinely interested in the answer. I am thankful for the incredible team God has put together in Student Ministry - Kevin Sheehan, Patricia Gray, Emily Irvine, Steve Eastwood, Chris Rossi, and Tanner Fox. That ministry rocks! I am thankful for Lisa Shaw, a quiet prayer warrior who heeded Gods call to use her educational skills to lead The Achievers Club after-school childrens ministry on Mercy Drive. I am thankful for Sunday afternoon naps, big breakfasts, college football, and good books I am thankful for Julie Washburn, a woman of faith, goodness and gentleness who even in losing her beloved Bud, has continued to bear witness to Gods love. Im thankful for babies that are so often born in our church, like Kate Witter, McKinley Hart, Graham McMullan, Charlie Elerick, Benton Brewer, Elena Harris, Hampton Gaylord, and Reese Brackins. Im thankful for bacon. I know. Its bad for you. But is there any food that is not improved by bacon? In heaven, bacon will have the same nutritional value as broccoli. Im thankful for Barnabas, whoever you are, for your generosity and love for this church and our staff And Im thankful for the great privilege of pastoring this church, one that has loved me and my family, prayed for us, supported us, and allowed us to be a part of you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

COLUMNS | November - December

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalms 100:4 (NIV)
Use this sheet to write out what youre thankful for, by yourself or with your family. As we continue our walk in the Barefoot lifestyle, let us be more aware and more intentional in our thankfulness and love for God and others. Try to incorporate these thoughts and prayers into your everyday life as we enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.

GODS GLORIOUS CREATION... 1. ________________________________ 2. ________________________________ 3. ________________________________ 4. ________________________________ 5. ________________________________

GODS GRACE & MERCY... 1. ________________________________ 2. ________________________________ 3. ________________________________ 4. ________________________________ 5. ________________________________

GODS PROVISION IN OUR LIVES... 1. ________________________________ 2. ________________________________ 3. ________________________________ 4. ________________________________ 5. ________________________________

OUR WITNESS TO THOSE SEARCHING... 1. ________________________________ 2. ________________________________ 3. ________________________________ 4. ________________________________ 5. ________________________________

TRUSTING GOD & HIS WILL... 1. ________________________________ 2. ________________________________ 3. ________________________________ 4. ________________________________ 5. ________________________________ 6

FOR LOVED ONES... 1. ________________________________ 2. ________________________________ 3. ________________________________ 4. ________________________________ 5. ________________________________

November - December | COLUMNS

the Columns stack

useful information, timely trivia and handy tips for navigating life at FirstPres (and life in general)



Join us February 14-16 at the Mission Inn Resort & Club (Howey-in-the-Hills, FL) for The Marriage Retreat, hosted by David & Leigh Swanson. $450 per couple, includes lodging and meals. Registration is open now. fpco.org/marriage Did you know? Hundreds of viewers watch our online worship services each week, on their computers, tablets and mobile phones. Our website has drawn people from 95 countries around the world, including Brasil, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Madagascar, and China. And, over 40% of our online visitors are new to the site. A great outreach tool to share the good news!

Its that time of year again! We print dedications each year in honor or in memory of someone special in our Christmas Eve bulletin. Your donations help support the purchase of poinsettias, greens and wreaths that ll the Sanctuary during the Advent season. Dedications are $10 and due Thursday, December 5. Submit your dedication online at fpco.org/owers or pick up a form at the church in November. Questions? Contact Glenda Morgan at gmorgan@fpco.org, 407.423.3441 x1272.


Get your kids moving! Registration for the Upward Basketball & Cheerleading Winter League is now open (through November 15). Practices start December 2 with games held January 11 - March 1, 2014. Find out more information at Fitness@Firsts new website: tnessatrst.com


If you know someone whod like to get more connected at First Pres, tell them about our handy form at fpco.org/guest. They can share their info and sign up to be on the mailing list.

We send out a weekly email newsletter with important announcements for the coming week. Well never share your information, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Join now at fpco.org/email.


Help support the Weekday School! Join the festivities on Saturday, November 9, 10am2pm at First Pres. Tickets are on sale now (children under 2 are free). The Silent Auction opens Friday, November 8, 9am in the King Parlor. Find out more at fpco.org/funfair.


COLUMNS | November - December

Gratitude to God
by Kent Sterchi In CJ Mahaneys book, Humility, True Greatness, one of the things he suggests to practice in cultivating a humble spirit is to express gratitude to God each morning and throughout your day. It was said of the great Bible commentarian Matthew Henry, he was an alert and faithful observer of answered prayer and as a result, he was a humble and grateful man. In reflecting on the many ways God has answered our prayers around the Barefoot Church experience, our hearts burst with gratitude. Here are some examples of Gods gracious movement amongst us during the past year:
Over 100 called and passionate Barefoot Church group leaders have committed to making disciples of Jesus, as in shepherding their groups.
1 Peter 5:2-4

How we are becoming students of our city and discovering ways we can partner with others in bringing the light and love of Jesus to people in need! Matthew 5:16 The ways that God is breaking our hearts for the things that break His heart, including widows, orphans, the poor, and the oppressed. Micah 6:8 How we are reaching out to friends who are not part of our church family, inviting them into our homes and into our lives, in the hopes that they will become followers of Jesus! 1 Peter3:15
2 Corinthians10:31

God receiving the glory throughout it all.

The church family has responded to Gods invitation and challenge (with over 600 in Barefoot Church groups) to walk more closely with Jesus and to be His Kingdom representatives in our city.

Father, we pray that we would be a people who would remain completely dependent upon You, cultivating hearts of gratitude as we walk humbly into the future that You have for us. Amen. Kent Sterchi is FPCOs Minister of Discipleship and has helped lead our efforts to show us more of Gods invitation and challenge through Barefoot Church. He is committed to teaching the beauty of Gods discipleship plan, each day.

Our Father nurturing deeper relationships and among us as we grow in our understanding of what it means to be a covenant community!

November - December | COLUMNS


in our personal Barefoot Church experience? How will we continue to follow Gods commands to care for those in need, even when we reach the end of the Primer?

8:30am & 11:00am Worship in the Sanctuary Genesis and Traditional services will combine for an extended time of celebration and testimony together. Special stations will be set up under the Angel Wing (between the Sanctuary and Allen Hall) where you can write your word or phrase about this experience. Mark your calendar and sit together with your group as we share what God is doing in our church family!

KEEP MEETING. While schedules through the holiday season can be full, some groups might find that continuing to meet (even occasionally) is a great way to stay connected and accountable.
season can be a time of self-obsession and materialism, or selflessness and grand generosity. Remember the Barefoot journey - and choose a God-honoring lifestyle. different capacity to meet the needs of others, but its easy to slip back into a self-focused life. Continue to meet needs (big or small) in your community as God leads.


KEEP SERVING. Different seasons of life allow for

SHIFT YOUR THINKING. Barefoot Church was

never intended to last only 9 weeks. We chose it as the beginning of an intentional path for our whole church to learn a new way of living and serving others, to honor Gods commands.


tinue to share needs and ways to serve at fpco.org/ servenow. Keep an eye out for needs from our Mission Partners, and be fearless - reach out in your community and ask!
COLUMNS | November - December

THIS FALL Make the Commitment

Commitment Cards will be offered to you in worship on November 17.
Unlike a Pledge Card, a Commitment Card will give each of us a special opportunity to reect on Gods generosity in our own lives, and prayerfully consider our ongoing nancial commitment to Him. Well bring the cards forward as an offering, during worship the following Sunday, November 24.

The cards will be collected, but the church will never open them.
The commitment you make is truly between you, your family, and the Lord. So we will simply store them securely. In the coming year, well mail it back to you as a prayerful reminder of that moment and your own declaration of trust in God.

This is an exercise in trusting God to provide.

We serve a loving, generous God. As we grow in our faith, we are invited into His abundance and to share it with others. Who might be transformed by your nancial gifts? How might He transform us through the discipline of an ongoing commitment or growing to a full tithe? What could change in our city if we responded to needs from our own abundance?

Look for a card in church on Sunday, November 17!

November - December | COLUMNS

COLUMNS | November - December



November - December | COLUMNS

by Josiah Armes The possibilities opened up by technology are truly astounding. With an Internet connection, nothing is out of reach: from driving directions, to scholarly research, recipes, and diagnoses for car problems. Technologys influence even extends into spiritual life. One can find a plethora of worship offerings online for Christians of every denomination. The Bible is available in hundreds of versions and languages. Prayer requests can be submitted via e-mail, and one can interact with other churchgoers via text or Facebook. All this raises the question - why bother to be a physical part of a church? Why spend time and energy to make an appearance in person when so much can be done from the comfort of ones own home? Abundant research suggests that, despite the ease of communication it enables, technology is allowing people to become more isolated than ever before. We can connect to the entire world on a superficial level, while ignoring the possibility of deeper personal connections with those around us. How many of us have seen a room full of people - all intently looking at their phones? How many of us have heard the latest studies talking about how loneliness and narcissism are more prevalent with each passing year? Modern technology, while it offers amazing possibilities, cannot replace the warmth of personal interaction. Thankfully, we worship a God who deems us worthy of His care on a very personal level. This God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The message of salvation was not announced via e-mail blast or Facebook status update; Christ came to proclaim it in person. He healed the sick and ministered to the poor. He invested time and energy in developing relationships with His followers, and encouraged them to do the same with others. We are approaching the time of year where we celebrate Christs presence among us in the flesh. This can serve as a great reminder that showing up is the best opportunity to show Christs love to those around us. Church is so much more than a Facebook like or a streamed video. Church is where two or three (or more!) are gathered together in Christs name. What better way to give thanks to God than to join our voices together to the praise and glory of His grace! Josiah Armes is Assistant Director of Music in the First Pres Worship Arts department, and shows up weekly for worship in the Traditional service, in his role as Organist extraordinaire. 13

the power of

COLUMNS | November - December


by Kim Allen


At Achievers Club each afternoon, the children usually have a task to complete with their spelling word list. Sometimes they write a sentence with each word, sometimes they put them in alphabetical order. One afternoon, I was helping Carty and her task was to copy each word three times. I thought wed liven things up a bit by letting her write each word with a different colored marker. After she finished, she handed her completed work to me -- as a gift -- and told me it was mine to keep. The next morning over breakfast, I was thinking about Carty and reached for her spelling list. Tears came to my eyes as I realized that most of the words on the list reminded me of Gods work in our lives: even though we are small, we are sought, bought, and taught by God. He calls us into relationship with Him. We walk with Him and He is always with us. I realized too that Carty is a daughter of the King, just like me. It was a poignant moment when God revealed to me that He is at work on Mercy Drive to call His children to Himself. Kim Allen is a First Pres member and regular volunteer at the Mercy Drive Achievers Club, a ministry of our sister church, Heart of Mercy. Kim and her husband, Bret, have four children of their own that they like a lot, too.

Forty children ages 4-10 need the presence of people who simply care. To be involved with what God is doing at Mercy Drive Achievers Club, contact Lisa Shaw at 407.466.3911 or lshaw@mercydriveministries.com.


November - December | COLUMNS


Sunday Morning Worship in Advent Christmas Eve Worship
Traditional Worship at 8:30am & 11:00am Genesis Worship at 9:45am & 11:00am

Tuesday, December 24

3:00pm & 4:30pm Family Worship in the Sanctuary 7:30pm Genesis Worship in Lee Fellowship Hall 8:00pm & 10:00pm Traditional Candlelight Worship in the Sanctuary

Sunday, December 29
11:00am Lessons & Carols in the Sanctuary

COLUMNS | November - December


marily letting God be giver? Suppose prayer is not a duty but the opportunity to experience healing and transforming love. SPRING STUDY ON PRAYER Our vision is to engage women in learning how to pray. Be on the lookout for details of our Spring study on prayer soon, which will conclude with a morningthrough-lunchtime Prayer Retreat to put our studies and practices into action. We will also launch the Red Chair Brigade, a group of Prayer Mentors, who will tackle the difficult burdens and petitions of our women as we grow in relationship. FIND YOUR PLACE TO ENGAGE We are very excited about the incredible potential of WE. Were in the midst of planning fun fellowship events as well as Transformed Seminars on real and practical topics. Our prayer is that women of all ages might serve in areas that they are especially passionate about. The Bible says in Romans 12:6,

by Nikki Ickes, Womens Ministry Council Chair WE LAUNCH EVENT IN AUGUST Women Engaged ministry was blessed, thankful and energized to have so many women join us for our Launch on August 22nd! It was truly a Spirit-filled night with 170 women representing all generations. We worshiped together, sang songs of praise, learned more about the Experiencing God Bible study, and enjoyed fellowship and some fabulous goodies. What a start! EXPERIENCING GOD & BAREFOOT CHURCH We are currently engaged in Henry Blackabys Experiencing God study. WE focused on doing one thing well, rather than over-programming this Fall, in order to allow women in the congregation to also become involved in the Barefoot Church experienceand wow, God is truly transforming lives and speaking deeply to our women through this study! As Blackaby says, Everything in your Christian life, everything about knowing Him and experiencing Him, everything about knowing His will depends on the quality of your love relationship with God. WHAT IS NEXT? The Engaged Leadership Team feels very strongly that our God desires not only for us to experience Him more in our daily lives, but that He would have us deepen our relationship with Him through prayer. Martin Smith, in his book The Word is Very Near You, asks what if God does not demand prayer as much as gives prayer? What if God wants prayer in order to satisfy us? What if prayer is a means of God nourishing, restoring, healing, converting us? Suppose prayer is primarily allowing ourselves to be loved, addressed and claimed by God. What if praying means opening ourselves to the gift of Gods own self and presence? What if our part in prayer is pri16
November - December | COLUMNS

We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us.
We would love to give you a place to use your gifts and passions on one of our Engagement Teams, and are looking for women with an interest in hospitality, event planning, prayer, Bible study curriculum, mission & evangelism, and ministry to mothers, to name a few. Would you prayerfully consider joining one of these teams? We hope you will allow God to use you in mighty ways for the women of our church family. Contact Nikki Ickes at nikki_ickes@yahoo.com to sign up and find out more.

Save the Date

Monday, December 2 7:00-8:30pm, Sanctuary RSVP for yourself and friends fpco.org/register

A View from the Red Chair

It has been my privilege to be a part of the Womens Bible Study Ministry at First Presbyterian for the past several years and more recently, serving on the Women Engaged Leadership Team. Because of new health difficulties this fall, I am unable to attend Bible study or come to most meetings at church. I wasnt sure what God had in mind in setting me aside for this season, and wondered how I could stay connected to the women Ive grown to love as dear friends and daughters in Jesus. Not eager to give up being a part of the amazing team of women who are serving Jesus and loving others, I wondered how, like Henry Blackaby says, I could seek to nd where God is at work and join Him. Then came the thought, Hey, I have a big red chair where I now spend hours a day. My prayers can travel where I cannot go. Prayer can carry anyone to the very mercy seat of heaven, at any time. I can do that. Gods timing is always perfect and Im actually energized to become a prayer partner for daughters or sisters in Jesus, young or old, who could be strengthened by a Word from Scripture. And from the red chair, its possible to send a note of encouragement to say This verse is for you this week. Perhaps there are other women of faith who would like to join the Red Chair Brigade and become a prayer warrior for the women who are group leaders and those who are attending Bible Study. There will be a Red Prayer Box set out during Bible study for specic prayer requests, or to write unspoken request on a card and slip it into the box. God knows our hearts and our needs. As much or as little detail can be given. It will be a privilege to lift up each name and pray over every request. As we continue to spend time with Jesus and His Word togetheras we ask, seek and knockHe will instruct and teach us in the way that we should go. Ill be on my red chair waiting to pray, taking my marching orders on your behalf. Blessings and Smiles,

Bobbie Wolgemuth & the Red Chair Brigade

COLUMNS | November - December


by Stephanie Rivera Week-in and week-out, we attend worship and sometimes forget to explain what is actually happening on a Sunday morning. Children learn what to focus on and how to participate in worship by watching those around them. Below are some simple ways to help your family follow along together. 1. Before worship begins, point out the music listed in the bulletin hymns, anthems, etc. Bookmark the pages in the hymnal so they are easy to find. After a few weeks, encourage your children to bookmark the hymns themselves. That is a great way for them to prepare their heart for worship. 2. Read through the text of the verses you will sing during worship. Find the difficult words and discuss their meaning with your family. When you sing the hymn, your children will better understand what they are singing. 3. Point out the different components of a hymn sheet: hymn number, title, hymn tune, composer, etc. Not sure of the different components? Visit fpco.org/music for a handy cheat sheet. 4. During the hymns, hold the hymnal so both you and your children can see it. Use your index finger to help them navigate the verses. As they become familiar with using a hymnal, they can hold it and track the verses themselves, which will give them another way to participate. 5. Does your family attend Genesis? Before Sunday, visit our Spotify page to listen to upcoming music. The more they listen to the music, the more successful your child (and your whole family) will be in their participation in worship. 6. Worship music can have many combinations of instruments. In Traditional worship, there is a piano, an organ, a choir or vocalists, and sometimes guest instrumentalists playing a violin, flute, orchestra, etc. In Genesis, there is a band with vocalists, guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, piano, etc. Take a moment to discuss the different musical elements you see each morning. Children gain many benefits by participating in music, including musical, physical, emotional, social, and cognitive growth. Contact Stephanie Rivera at 407.423.3441 x1186 or srivera@fpco.org for more information. Stephanie Rivera is the childrens music coordinator at First Pres. She leads our MusikGarten classes, as well as our Rejoice! Childrens Choirs who participate in worship on Christmas and other special Sundays.


iTunes Radio or Spotify. Did you know you have free access to millions of songs online? Just link up to one of these services, and create fun, kid-friendly radio stations. Hours of fun! Check out our Spotify playlist of Genesis music at fpco.org/music. Dance Party! Start a dance party in your living room. Throw some music on the stereo, move the furniture and get moving! Sing together. Have your kids heard you sing? Sing out strong in the car, in the shower, at church...your kids will follow by example.


November - December | COLUMNS

MusikGarten an early childhood music

program at First Pres. Classes begin January 27.

Want to continue to engage with your child musically? Bring them to MusikGarten! We offer weekly classes during the Fall, Spring, and Summer for children birth through 9 years old, taught by certied instructors. Registration for our next session opens January 6. Contact Stephanie Rivera at 407.423.3441 x1186 or srivera@fpco.org. Register or nd out more information online: fpco.org/musikgarten

COLUMNS | November - December


by Cary Burchak, The Christ School One year ago, God caused a renewed stirring of His Spirit in my life and in the lives of the middle school students I teach at The Christ School. It began as a simple prayer in our Bible class, asking God to give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to know Him deeper still. Gods promise in Jeremiah, When you seek me, you will find me, when you seek me with all your heart became a wake up call to us all. God began to open our eyes in a fresh way to the wonder of who He is and we found ourselves intentionally looking for evidences of our God. What started with one or two pictures of what we now call God Sightings, became an entire classroom filled with beautiful photographs - tangible evidences of His invisible Hands. Students, as well as their parents, looked for Him in new ways, with fresh eyes, and renewed expectation. The pictures continued to accumulate, but more importantly, our love for our Creator God our gratefulness for the Wonder of Who He is began to fill our hearts in the most unexpected ways. We asked to see Him, and He began to reveal Himself in ways we could never have imagined. This led us to self-publish a book of God Sightings, an amazing collection of photographs and personal testimonies straight from the hearts of middle school students.

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are lled with joy. Psalm 126:3

So much of education is measured with tests and grades; God is doing a work in the hearts of His children that is immeasurable by earthly terms, but enormously abundant in His Hands. The roots of His truth reaching deep into the hearts of middle school students will last for all eternity. How can we be anything but grateful?

Cary Burchak is a middle school teacher at The Christ School, a school located on the First Pres campus, educating kindergarten through 8th grade students.



November - December | COLUMNS


Do you want to do more? Is the Holy Spirit nudging you to find a way you can provide care for others and meet their needs? Have you been reluctant to step forward because somehow you feel unqualified or unprepared to respond to such a calling? If so, perhaps Stephen Ministry can help. An international organization, Stephen Ministry has been a presence at First Pres for more than twenty years. Stephen Ministers have provided over 1,300 hours of direct contact with people in just the last year, covering a variety of personal challenges including divorce, illness, job loss, the death of a loved one, relocation, and depression. tween January and June each year. There is no cost for the training and materials are provided to church members accepted for the program. At the conclusion of the 50-hour training, new Stephen Ministers are formally commissioned by the church and are assigned, as needed, to a care receiver with whom they meet for about an hour a week in a caring relationship. Men are paired with men, and women with women. If a care receivers needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education. A key element of the program is maintaining strict standards of confidentiality and respect for care receivers. Continuing education is provided by church and community experts with resources on such topics as depression, cancer, counseling, suicide, prayer, alcoholism, death, and others. If youre looking to build relationships with those in need, but dont yet feel equipped, Stephen Ministry can give you the tools to care for others, including training on boundaries, listening, and conflict resolution. Learn to care for people and help bear their burdens in a healthy way, while seeking true healing from God.

Bear one anothers burdens, and in this way you will fulll the law of Christ - Galatians 6:2 (NRSV)
Since its beginning in 1975, over 600,000 men and women have become Stephen Ministers in every state in the US and in 24 foreign countries representing 160 Christian denominations. Currently, there are 37 active Stephen Ministers at First Pres. Stephen Ministry leaders from various Orlando churches provide weekly training to applicants be-

Stephen Ministry Training Begins in January If you are interested in becoming a Stephen Minister, or if you would like to apply for the upcoming training program, please contact Tammas Smith, Director of Pastoral Care, at 407.423.3441 x1455.

COLUMNS | November - December



making spiritual disciplines a daily habit I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and nd satisfaction in all their toilthis is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:12 & 13 (NIV)
Celebration! - Yescelebration is a spiritual discipline! We are about to enter a season of celebration Thanksgiving a time to give thanks for the bounty God provides, Christmas celebrating the birth of the incarnate God, the greatest gift of all! There are many pieces of Scripture that speak of celebration and many times, food, fellowship, and music were included. Celebrating offers the opportunity to rejoice and gives thanks to God for the bounty of His provision. Scripture also speaks of an attitude we should have gratitude in our hearts. Today, living in a consumer society we are perpetually bombarded by messages that tell us we cant be happy without... fill in the blank. Instead, as Christians, we should focus on experiencing the joy of all the life that God has given us, reflect on the goodness of Gods creation, and our adoptions into Gods family. This season, as we gather around tables with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks, reflect upon this beautiful prayer penned by Matthias Claudias (17401815), at right.

You only are the maker Of all things near and far; You paint the wayside flower, You light the evening star. The winds and waves obey You, By You the birds are fed; Much more to us Your children, You give our daily bread. We thank You then, Creator, For all things bright and good, The seed time and the harvest, Our life, our health, our food. Amen.

Next Step
Schedule specic time this week (at least 15 minutes) when you can be alone and reect on the past year. What has God given you that is worth celebrating? Why do you think He gave it to you? How can you respond?
November - December | COLUMNS

Sympathy to...
Harold and Jean Coe on the death of his brother, E.O. Coe, August 13, 2013. The family and friends of Marie Hartlieb, who died August 16, 2013. Charles and Amy Cook on the death of his mother, Patricia Lynch Cook, August 24, 2013. To the friends and family of Martha Staples, who died August 28, 2013. To the family and friends of Janet Sigwald, who died September 2, 2013. Rich and Lori Hosie on the death of his mother, Sara Hosie Jerome, September 5, 2013. Dennis and Anne Michels on the death of his mother, Laura Michels, September 7, 2013. Julie and Ray Spencer on the death of her father, Dwight Mathews, September 8, 2013. Mr. Mathews was the grandfather of Cole Spencer. Rhissa and Trip Parker on the death of her father, Richard Lee Hoffmeyer, September 11, 2013. Mr. Hoffmeyer was the grandfather of JP, Eva Laine, Ellis, and Lee Parker. Esther Myers on the death of her sister, Jean van Wart, September 12, 2013. Rusty and Cheryl Woodall on the death of his step-mother, Helen Woodall, September 18, 2013. Jim and Jennifer Bobbitt on the death of his mother, Nancy Bobbitt, September 19, 2013. Mrs. Bobbitt was the grandmother of Elizabeth and Ava Gray Bobbitt. Will Keitzman on the death of his father, Jeremy Keitzman, September 24, 2013. Gwyn and Craig Dorris on the death of her mother, Irene Wills, September 25, 2013. George and Gail Billings on the death of his father, George Billings, Sr., September 28, 2013. Mr Billings, Sr., was the grandfather of Ashley Billings and Shana Del Castillo. Lisa and Peter Steinhoff on the death of her father, Tom Messemer, September 30, 2013. Mr Messemer was the grandfather of Jen Steinhoff. Todd and Terri Lazarus on the death of his father, David Lazarus, October 1, 2013. Mr. Lazarus was the grandfather of Stephanie & Brandi Lazarus.

Congratulations to...
David and Katie Witter on the birth of their daughter, Katherine Ann Witter, born August 29, 2013. Jonathan and Heather Mills on the birth of their daughter, Joanna Helen Mills, born September 19, 2013. Big sister is Abby and the proud grandparents are Tom and Karen Mills.

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COLUMNS | November - December


First Presbyterian Church of Orlando 106 E. Church St., Orlando, FL 32801

The First Presbyterian Columns (USPS 604-040) is published bimonthly by the First Presbyterian Church. Circulation: 2,500. (2,000 by US Mail, 500 by on-campus distribution). Periodicals postage paid at Orlando, Florida. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COLUMNS, 106 E. Church St. Orlando, FL 32801-3390. 2013 First Presbyterian Church of Orlando COLUMNS.


106 East Church Street 407.423.3441

| Orlando, FL 32801


TRADITIONAL WORSHIP:  Sundays, 8:30 & 11:00am in the Sanctuary GENESIS WORSHIP:  Sundays, 9:45 & 11:00am in Lee Fellowship Hall LIVE ONLINE WORSHIP:  Sundays, 8:30, 9:45 & 11:00am ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL:  Sundays, 9:45 - 10:45am

POSTMASTER: Time Sensitive Material Please Deliver by November 1, 2013



Pick up your copy under the Angel Wing (between the Sanctuary & Allen Hall) or Grand Hall on Sundays beginning November 17. $4.00 per printed copy, and ebook available online for $3.50.