Learning from our History

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

We approach God’s Word and pray that the Holy Spirit will open our lives to encounter the Living Christ.  Join me in a moment of prayer ...

Gracious and Almighty Lord, You created the heavens and set the world in motion.  You created us in Your own image and then poured out blessing upon blessing.  As we listen for Your Word to us, humble our spirit to listen that we may discover wisdom and live in gratitude of Your love revealed in Your Scripture for our lives.  Pour into our hearts the wisdom of Your Word and Spirit, that we may know Your purpose and live to Your glory.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

                                               

THE RESPONSIVE READING                                                                           Psalm 1

One:    Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,

All:      nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

One:    But his delight is in the law of the Lord;

All:      and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

One:    And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,

All:      that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;

One:    his leaf also shall not wither;

All:      and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

One:    The ungodly are not so:

All:      but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

One:    Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,

All:      nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

One:    For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous:

All:      but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

 

HYMN #504  verse 1 & refrain                                 “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”

I am weak, but thou art strong; Jesus keep me from all wrong;

I’ll be satisfied as long as I walk, let me walk close to thee.

Just a closer walk with thee,  grant it, Jesus, is my plea,

daily walking close to thee: let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

                                                                 

A TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN                       

 

THE SCRIPTURE LESSON                    Romans 15:1-6    Christian Behavior to One Another

We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Each of us must please our neighbor for  the good purpose of building up the neighbor.  For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult    you have fallen on me.”  For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.  May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Today, we celebrate God’s grace and goodness throughout the history of First Presbyterian Church. We rejoice that 160 years ago, a few brave Presbyterian souls gathered in March of 1855 explore the possibility that God might bring to fruition as new church. Two months later, in May the Presbytery formed a new congregation. I wonder Craig, could Milwaukee Presbytery establish a new worshipping committee in two months.

Then even more miraculous by September, four months after the Presbytery blessed the new congregation, they dedicated the first sanctuary, a clap board church where many of you parked today. Our church ancestors, bought the land and built a church building, and paid for it in less than six months.

The Spirit of God moved through those people at that time. God made things happen and quickly. The little church grew, flourished, served our community, and with good purpose shared the Gospel of Christ with our neighbors. The congregation out grew the little wood church, expanded it twice and after thirty six years, moved across the street building our current facility as they continued to grow and serve. They built up our Christian community, created a history, and lived by a steadfast faith.

I’ve enjoyed researching the history of God’s activity in this congregation and the steadfast faith that nurtured many lives and encouraged three men to become pastors. While I enjoy history in general, I find history of Christ’s church to be fascinating. The facts regarding the former times, give us wisdom and encouragement for living today. We discover hope in Christian ancestors whose faith carried them through difficult times.

Dr. Edward Panosian, a member of the American Society of Church History, explains, “If history is more than mere facts, then the teaching of history must certainly communicate more than just factual information. The Christian particularly feels the burden both to understand for himself and to impart to others the lessons that history offers. Dr. Panosian concludes, “In our handling of the Word of God, in our proclaiming of the gospel of God, in our performing the work of God, in our witnessing by word and example, we would do well personally to be both cautioned and encouraged by these lessons. And our teaching must communicate these lessons to those tender souls whom God has entrusted to us.”

So from the Apostle Paul and the early church, we realize a steadfast faith that encourages those who follow Jesus even when faced with challenges. The Scriptures record Paul’s missionary journeys and wisdom shared even from prison to encourage Christians to remain steadfast and faithful as we live in harmony with one another. Because Jesus Christ, calls us into a relationship, we treat each other with love and kindness. When others see God’s activity and we communicate God’s lessons of faith to friends, family, and neighbors, then we can expect the Lord to bring about change in us and in others to build the Kingdom of God.

The old adage states, that “History repeats itself because no one listens the first time.” For Christians, especially Presbyterians; we can find great encouragement for a steadfast faith throughout our history. We celebrate our 160 year history and the steadfast faithful members who trusted the Lord Jesus. Together with the saints of every time in this place, let us with one voice glorify God with our words, our actions, and our lives. TGBTG. Amen.

 

 

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