It's a "Wonderful-Full" Time of Year!

by Pastor Mark McAdow

December 30, 2016

We had an absolutely wonderful Christmas Weekend at First Church last weekend!  
I'm thankful that so many of you were able to be with us for our Christmas Eve Holy Communion and Candlelight Service at 5:00 last Saturday evening.  Channels 5 and 9 sent reporters to cover our Service, prepare interviews and be present as we "rang our bells" for the very first time in about six years!  Both Martie Ervin and Bill Mullins were featured on the Christmas Eve News!


It was a joy to have family, friends, as well as some former members back for our grand celebration complete with bell-shaped sugar cookies and hot chocolate from The Buzz Coffee Shop in downtown OKC.  Thanks to Sarah  Baumann and Pam Lippoldt for "pulling off" our Christmas Eve corner reception and to each of you who baked cookies too!


As I mentioned in my message after sharing the story of "When the Chimes Rang," "The greater the sacrifice, the greater the gift."  Thanks to each of you who gave a sacrificial gift to make the restoration of our bells a Christmas Eve reality!  I love and appreciate each one of you!


Our Trustees led by Chris Janka this year and previously by Don Kuntze and John Barrett, along with members of The Trustee Committee invested countless hours in this great project over the last six years.  Tom Walbert stored the bells for us the last year and a half in his warehouse and Kris and Toby Nelson produced an excellent video of the project.  Marty Anderson and Sue Kuntze helped spearhead our recent Fund Raising Project. I want to make special mention of Melvin Ervin who helped us begin the project and experienced the conclusion from his heavenly advantage point no doubt!


LED lighting is still yet to be installed in the near future and a bell-ringing schedule will soon be put in place.  A generous member of our First Church Family even gave Robin and me a beautiful set of Corinthian Wind Chimes to commemorate the occasion.  Thanks for your thoughtfulness.


This year is quickly drawing to a close and a brand New Year is set to begin.  I hope you will join us on the first Sunday of this New Year as we worship our Lord Jesus Christ and seek His will for the our lives!  Remember, no Sunday School or Cary's Café this Sunday, but we will worship together for the very first time in 2017 beginning at 10:45 AM!  I look forward to seeing "my favorite people!"  Bless you!


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - Today is the last day to bring 2016 contributions to the church.  All gifts postmarked by December 31, 2016 will apply to this year's giving record.  Thanks!

Christmas Weekend 2016 is Here!

by Pastor Mark McAdow

December 23, 2016

Hope your shopping is done and you’re preparing room in your hearts to welcome the Lord Jesus in a fresh way this Christmas Eve and Day!


I’m excited about this weekend as we gather for Holy Communion and Candle Lighting on Christmas Eve this Saturday at 5:00PM.  Hope you will invite your family and friends to join us as well, as we “Ring the Christmas Bells” on the anniversary of their original installation in 1922!  This will be a historic and blessed event.  We will gather outside in very mild Christmas temperatures following worship and enjoy appropriate refreshments for this great occasion, ringing the good news of Jesus’ birth!


Sunday morning we’ll gather for Christmas Day Worship at 10:45AM!  What better day to worship and honor he newborn King than on the very day we celebrate his birth!  “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel- which means 'God with us.’”- Matthew 1:22-23.


God with us.  It doesn’t get better than that!  Thank the Lord Jesus for His First Coming and for sending The Holy Spirit when He left this earth, so we will never be alone!  “Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world!”- I John 4:4.

Hope to see you for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day too!


Yours in Christ’s Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - Want to serve this Christmas Day/evening?  We’re hosting Stockings for The Homeless beginning Sunday afternoon about 3:00 for our homeless neighbors.  Check in with Cary McClellin for ways you and your family can help serve!  Thanks!


PSS - Remember no Sunday School Classes are meeting this Sunday or the next.  Back to our New Year’s Schedule beginning Sunday January 8, 2017!

A Christmas Prayer

December 16, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

As many of you know, I serve as The Chairman of The Invocation Committee for the Downtown Rotary Club of Oklahoma City.  This last Tuesday was one of the opportunities I had to pray for our meeting.  I wanted to share my comments and prayer with you!

Some 800 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the prophet Isaiah wrote these words: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.  For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.”  (Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)  Let us pray...


Gracious Heavenly Father, I thank You that You so loved this world that you sent Your very Best - - Your son Jesus Christ to save us from our sin.  What we are completely unable to do for ourselves, Jesus willingly did on our behalf.  He is, without a doubt, the greatest Christmas gift we’ve ever needed or been offered.  He alone among mankind divided World History.


Thank You for this Holy Season as we celebrate His first Advent into this world and for believers who anticipate His Second Coming as well.  In the interim, may we live out the admonition of the angels when they declared, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men."


Heavenly Father, we too desire Your favor and seek Your peace - - a peace that passes all understanding in our world and in our own lives.  Please bring Your healing touch to the broken places in our hearts and let your peace reign freely in us!  May we in turn, each extend a hand of hope to those we consider less fortunate than us.  Christmas really is all about giving because You gave first.


To You Almighty God be the glory!  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.


May we each be a faithful witness for Jesus this Christmas wherever and whenever we can!  He is our greatest Christmas gift ever!


In His  Incredible Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - This Sunday December 18 is our Christmas Presentation, “The Christmas Story” at 10:45 AM featuring our Adult Choir, hand bells, PrimeChimers and Children’s Choir singing too! Be sure to come and bring family, neighbors and friends with you!

Thank You

by Pastor Mark McAdow

December 9, 2016

Thankfulness is a great component of the Christian life!  We're called to give God "thanks in all things!"  As we celebrated Holy Communion together every Sunday in November, I was reminded again that Jesus Himself, when he took the bread and the cup, gave "thanks to the Father!"  We are to be the most thankful people on earth!

Unfortunately, we too often don't take time to say "Thanks" to God for His multiple blessings and those around us who bless us too!  Robin and I have noted how very few "Thank You" notes seems to be written these days for graduation gifts, wedding gifts, and mission support, even by those we know and love very well.  It's almost a lost art.  I know my mother was emphatic about my sister and I writing thank you notes to relatives and friends for gifts received.  She taught us well.  She still writes very thoughtful notes with excellent penmanship, another lost art!


One of my joys since being your Pastor is the opportunity I take every December to write Thank You notes to each of you who make a stated financial commitment for the New Year.  This expresses your love for Christ and your support for the ministries of First Church too.  The Finance Committee takes this and other revenue information to plan the Church budget.  We always want to be good stewards of the gifts entrusted to us!


I have enjoyed writing notes this week to many of you and personally thanking God for you and your generous support.  You should have a note from me in the next few days if not already.  You can still turn in your commitment card if you haven't had the opportunity--we received two more just yesterday.  Wednesday night a group of us from our Circle Maker Study took time for a chilly Prayer Walk, "praying circles" around First Church three times praising Him and thanking Him for our people and His provision.  I couldn't help but thinking of Philippians 4:19:  "And my God will supply all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."


I will be pleased to make an announcement about out "Bring Back the Bells" Fund Drive this Sunday, December 11.  As you already know, our bells are back!  Thanks to everyone who made this great project a reality!


Hope to see you here this Sunday!


Yours in Christ's Love, 

Pastor Mark

Getting Ready for Christmas!

December 2, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

Two Sundays ago after worship we decorated God's House for Advent at First Church.  Thanks to each of you who were able to stay and help.  His House is looking good.  Last Sunday afternoon, we began decorating our house for Christmas.

It was an exhausting process as I began bringing all the Christmas boxes and two Christmas trees from the attic in the garage (yes -two trees; one for the front room and another for the den!).  With each box we opened, memories began to flow out as we remembered who gave us what decoration or where we purchased it and when.  Both our girls came over and we decorated the trees with homemade ornaments from their childhood, old ornaments from days gone by and recent additions such as a large group of classic Coca-Cola ornaments and a collection of Robin's angels! As is our family tradition, we work and drink hot chocolate with a scoop (or two) of Peppermint ice cream!


Robin decorates the rest of the rooms with her finishing touches and I always set out the traditional Manger scene with Mary, Joseph, stable animals, wise men and a camel!  Baby Jesus shows up on Christmas morning.  Not exactly the elf on the shelf, though he might be on a shelf nearby.


As Robin was emptying Christmas boxes, she discovered a hand written note in familiar handwriting.  It was my Mom's handwriting on a Christmas note.  It was a simple acrostic I'd like to share with you today, entitled Christmas Season:


                        P - Pray daily

                        R - Repent of selfishness

                        E - Encourage others

                        P - Patience

                        A - Additional sacrifices

                        R - Restore broken relationships

                        E - Exalt "Jesus" in everything


With this postscript:  He's coming back!

That's the heart of this Advent Season.  It's a time to remember His First Coming and to anticipate His Coming Back!  Let's take my Mom's advice as we "PREPARE" room in our hearts once again for the miracle of Christmas -Jesus Christ our Lord!


Let's also begin with prayer this Sunday morning Dec. 4 as we gather in the Sanctuary at 9:45 AM to pray together as the First Church Family!  Our Heavenly Father loves to hear and answer the prayers of His faithful children!


Happy Advent!


Yours in Christ's Love,



Pastor Mark


PS - Our bells are scheduled to be re-installed this weekend.  Be on the watch out for for a crane and bells around our Bell Tower.  Also be looking for an article in The Oklahoman and TV News reports!  We're very close to our goal!  Praise the Lord!

I'm So Thankful!

November 25, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

I trust you are enjoying a "faith-filled" Black Friday and all the blessings of this Thanksgiving Weekend!  I am so very thankful for Jesus and for you!  Take an extra moment and stop and give Him "Thanks" today for the gift of abundant life in Christ!


By the time you read this, I should have completed my first ever Turkey Trot yesterday morning in downtown Edmond!  It's my way of relieving guilt before I enjoy the bounty of the Thanksgiving meal and anticipated leftovers!  God is good!


I'm also so very thankful for Ian and Dana Wolfe!  They brought an idea from the heart of God to others and me earlier this fall.  It was something the Lord prompted them to explore and they just couldn't let it go.  It was a brand new outreach to the students of Gatewood Elementary--in particular our Whiz Kid students.


As you know, we've hosted Whiz Kids Tutoring Ministry at First Church for seven years on Tuesday nights to help students with reading and spiritual encouragement too!  We pick them up, serve a snack supper, tutor for an hour and conclude with a Bible Club devotional.  Several of you currently or have served as tutors, subs or kitchen helpers.  It is an active and growing ministry.


First Church members Ian and Dana wanted to reach out to children at Gatewood on Sundays too!  They proposed a van ministry to pick up children at Gatewood School near OCU on Sunday mornings and bring them to First Church for Sunday School and Worship.  They visited with me, Lisa Turley, our Children's Council and our Trustees with their idea.  It was "blessed" by all!  Flyers were made and handed out to our Whiz Kids and I gave a special invitation to the parents a week ago at our Whiz Kids Family Thanksgiving Dinner.  We launched last Sunday morning.  We really didn't know if we would have some or none, though we had some interest expressed.  We brought 8 children to First Church and more want to come this Sunday!  Praise God!  This is The Church at work reaching out in Jesus name!  Thanks to John and Julie Gochenour who also drove a second "back-up" van last week.  If you would like to volunteer to drive please let Ian know.  Lisa will also need more teachers and helpers in our Children's area too, so let her know of your willingness to help!


I couldn't help but think of the words of Jesus, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:14-15).  Sometimes you have to go get them too!

Praise God for growth at First Church!  Together we're making a difference for Jesus Christ!


Believe it or not, Advent begins this Sunday!  Come join us as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the real Reason for The Season after all -Jesus -our Lord and Savior!


In His Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - Thanks to each of your who gave your 2017 stewardship commitments to Jesus through First Church last Sunday and those of you who will this Sunday. Bless you!


November 18, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

We're discovering a whole host of amazing and practical prayer principles in The Circle Maker Study on Wednesday nights!  One is the acrostic serving as the title of this week's blog.  J - E - J - I - T is a phrase that I've seen true in my life on several occasions.  It represents the phrase "Just enough, just in time."  Pastor Mark Batterson calls it "the manna miracle" the Israelites experienced daily in the wilderness on the way to The Promised Land.  God provided manna --literally meaning "What is it?"--daily as a source of nourishment.  The original "frosted flakes!"  There was "just enough, just in time."  They collected it daily with the exception of the 6
th day when they collected enough for the Sabbath too.  He told them not to "over collect" but if they did they discovered it had spoiled.  Just enough, just in time.

Mark writes,

Here's my take on the manna miracle:  The manna was a daily reminder of their daily dependence on God.  Nothing has changed.  Isn't that the point of the Lord's Prayer?  "Give us this day our daily bread?"  We want a one-week or one-month supply of God's provision, but God wants us to drop to our knees every day in raw dependence on Him. God knows that if He provided too much too soon, we'd lose our spiritual hunger.  He knows we'd stop trusting in our Provider and start trusting in the provision.


He continues, 

One of our fundamental misunderstandings of spiritual maturity is thinking that it should result in self-sufficiency.  It's the exact opposite.  The goal isn't independence; the goal is codependence on God.  Our desire for self-sufficiency is a subtle expression of our sinful nature.  We want God to provide more so we can need Him less. 

God is a good, good Father and a wonderful provider.  As I've shared, everything belongs to God--our very life, health, family, blessings, etc.  Anything I have has first been given to me by God.  As we saw last Sunday in a very moving way, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are paying a great price to follow Jesus.  The cost to us in America is primarily slander, ridicule and gossip.  We are blessed to be a blessing!


As you prayerfully consider your commitment to Christ in the New Year at First Church, I pray you will make the choice to trust God at even a greater depth and see what amazing things He will do.  He doesn't need your money, He wants your heart.  But as His Word clearly teaches, our heart always follows our money.  May you search your heart and believe God is for you and will provide, as you trust in Him!  To God be the glory!


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark

PS -This Sunday November 20 is our Stewardship Commitment Sunday and the day we present our 3 
rd and 4
th graders with their very own Bible as a gift from our First Church Family.  It's also the first Sunday of our brand new van ministry bringing children from Gatewood School!  We will decorate the Church for Advent right after worship during our "Hanging of The Greens" Party!  Come to give and to serve!  You will be blessed!


PPS - Tonight is The Celebration of The Bible Worship event right here at First Church at 6:30 PM.  Several Choirs will sing and Senator James Lankford will be present with worship led by Jamie Smith and our own Morgan!  Hope to see you here!

We Salute Our Veterans!

by Pastor Mark McAdow

November 11, 2016

Today is Veteran's Day!  If you drive by our house, you will see Old Glory flying in honor of the men and women who have faithfully served all of us in The United States Military.  We have several in our First Church Family!  Our resident "Commanding Officer" is Frank Sisson - a World War ll veteran. We are most proud of all our veterans.  Please take a moment this Sunday if you haven't recently, to stop by our Military Board in The Plaza to see pictures of our veterans and active military as well.  If your picture should be there, please let Sarah know so we can honor you too!

November 11 was selected as Veteran's Day to commemorate the end of fighting in World War l on November 11, 1918.  It was originally called Armistice Day until 1954 when Congress officially changed the name to Veteran's Day to honor all United States veterans.  I remember my father, Bobby Joe McAdow, today as a veteran of The Korean War who served in the US Navy on the submarine USS Carr.  I salute all our First Church veterans and active military today.  Last night Robin and I were blessed to hear our daughter Lauren play in a Patriotic concert at OSU that began with The National Anthem!

I'm reminded of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he said these now very famous words, "My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:12-13).  That's the kind of love and commitment our military display every day.  A willingness to sacrifice their very loves if necessary for the cause of freedom.

This Sunday we will also remember our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, who sacrifice daily for the cause of Christ.  They endure hardship, persecution, harassment, job loss, imprisonment and violence of every kind including death simply because they are Christians.  In fact, over 100 million people are persecuted for their faith around the world every day.  Eighty percent of those are Christians.  We are the most persecuted people group in the world.  Come this Sunday as we remember our "extended family" around the world in prayer.

Jesus reminds us, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  He continued by saying, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who went before you."(Matthew 5:10-12).  There is always a cost for true freedom.

We are blessed to be a blessing!

Yours for the Cause of Christ,

Pastor Mark

PS -   Be sure to get your picture made today or tomorrow for our new Pictorial Directory!

PPS - Remember this Sunday November 13 is our Stewardship Banquet right after Worship.  All members and active attenders are invited to enjoy a delicious dinner and time of fellowship together!

Which Way America?

by Pastor Mark McAdow

November 4, 2016

In 1969 I was 11 years old and in the sixth grade at Herbert Hoover Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I wasn't much of a radio listener at that
age, but a very popular song was being song across the nation by a group of young people called, "Up With People."  That song, "Which Way America?" has come to my mind many times and again today.  I found some of the lyrics that I'd like to share with you.  Some of you may even remember the song!


Which way America?

Which Way America?

Which Way America?  Which way to go?

This is my country, and I want to know,

Which way America is going to go?

For there is many a storm before us,

Many a choice to make,

I'm gonna ask the Lord above,

To show me the road to take.

For there is many a road to travel,

Many a hill to climb, I'm gonna find the straightest road,

And walk it till the end of time.

Which Way America? Which way to go?...


Once again we are at a crossroads as a nation.  Every four years we're presented with the opportunity as a democratic republic to exercise our right and privilege as "We the people" to elect our local, state and national leaders.  This has been an especially contentious political season regarding the Presidential Race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  We've watched the Debates, seen the news stories, heard the sound bites, and viewed their commercials.  Now it's time to: Think, Pray and Vote!  To do anything less is not being a good American citizen or Christian.


Jesus expressly called us to be "Salt and Light" to our world, to preserve the biblical values of right and wrong and to expose the deeds of darkness by bringing them to the light.  We have a key role to play as those people who understand there's a lot more at stake than what the naked eye can see.  There are spiritual forces at work seeking to undermine the Christian message and witness in America and around the world.  Satan wants to destroy America's Christian witness once and for all.  But he knows he can only do it if Christians are silenced--however that happens.  It is happening already in America as our religious freedoms are being taken away and America is creating it's own standards rather than living by the unchanging standards of God' Word.


Which Way America?  Which Way to go?  This is my country and I want to know.  Which way America is going to go?  You still have a voice and you still have a vote.  I encourage you as your Pastor to seek God and His Will for America.  Don't' simply vote your conscience, but vote God's principles.  Remember, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people"(Prov. 14:34).  The answer to the question, "Which way America?" is really up to us.  "If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (ll Chron. 7:14).  Thanks to each of you who are faithfully praying every night at 9:00PM in response to my Call to Prayer.  God is able to do more than we can think or imagine!


Keep believing and keep praying!


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark


PS.  Wasn't last Sunday a great blessing?  Thanks to each of you who shared in the worship service what God is doing in your lives.  I was encouraged and blessed!

May the Circle Be Unbroken

October 28, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

Many of our First Church Family participated in our Chazown Study this fall.  It was a wonderful opportunity to look at our past experiences, core values and spiritual gifts to help determine one's life purpose as a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.  A few of us identified clearly what we believe our Chazown (vision, dream, purpose) is and others are still praying through the process, but we all were challenged to take "next steps" in our personal walk with Christ.  Whether you were able to participate in Chazown or not, we all want to grow in our love for Christ and service to Him and others!


I shared three "next steps" I was committed to taking a few weeks ago.  Relationally, I was going to call a former friend and invite him to lunch with no agenda but reconciliation according to ll Corinthians 5:18-19 in obedience to the Lord.  We met together to "break the ice" and catch up on our families last week.  Secondly, I was hoping to begin a one on one Discipleship relationship with two other men in our First Church Family.  Our first early morning meeting was a week ago.  Third, in terms of my physical health, I planned to lose 10 pounds by November 20 (Thanksgiving is the following week!).  I'm close to completing my third goal and it's not even November!  Though I think Robin has another goal in mind for me!


How do we grow?  We set goals.  It's that simple.  Well it's not quite that simple, we also have to work at meeting the goals! In my case, I had to make a call, offer an invitation and say "No" to every carb and sweet I love so much! Our SHIFT Team led by Hardy Patton including Morgan Kennedy, Marty Anderson, Sue Kuntze, Tim Basham and myself have been prayerfully setting SMART goals this year for First Church.  Some of you are familiar with the acrostic:  SMART

                                                S - Specific

                                                M - Measurable

                                                A -  Achievable

                                                R -  Relevant

                                                T -  Timely

What are the next steps to achieving our goals?  Communicating them clearly and involving others who are passionate and gifted to serve Jesus in those areas.  Want to know more?  Contact a member of the Team mentioned above.  We've already completed a Worship Survey, hosted several spring "interest" groups -- Go Thunder! and have begun a Creative Worship Design Team too.  Ian and Dana Wolfe are soon to launch a Sunday Morning Van Ministry to bring kids from Gatewood Elementary to First Church too! (You can hear more details this Sunday).


Our collective "next step" this Fall is an opportunity to study "The Circle Maker" on Wednesday evenings form 6:30-7:45PM.  It's a most powerful book about the power of prayer in our world today!  Books and Participant's Guides are available in the Plaza now.  Our first Session is this Wed. November 2!  Come join us for dinner and a great study on how to "pray circles around your biggest dreams and greatest fears!"

It's going to be good! As the old chorus affirms, may the circle be unbroken!


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - Thanks to Lisa, Morgan and their Team for hosting an excellent Fall Festival Wednesday Night.  It was a blast!


PPS - Invite a friend to worship this Sunday for our Annual Chili Cook-off!  Local Firefighters will be the judges.  Come hungry, leave happy! 

Buried Treasure

by Pastor Mark McAdow

October 21, 2016

When I was about twelve years of age, my parents gave me one of my favorite Christmas gifts ever--a White’s Electronics metal detector.  I couldn’t wait to get outside and try my luck at finding buried treasure.  It was a very basic model but I thought it was very cool.  I began in our own yard and discovered rusty nails, bits of metal, pull-tabs from old aluminum pop cans, an occasional coin or two and a cheap ring.  I had a special shovel to “dig up my find” without losing the treasure!  I still have the shovel, though the metal detector long since bit the dust.  To my great surprise, Robin got me a used metal detector last November for my birthday!  (Even more interesting was the trouble she went to finding it on Craig’s List and buying it in a parking lot!  When asked if it were for her son, she “No.  It’s for my husband!”)


I played around with it once since receiving it, but have found no buried treasure--at least not in our yard yet!  There is a thrill thinking about what you might find and often disappointment in what you actually do.  I just heard yesterday about a family in Ohio who discovered a suitcase “buried” in he wall of their home as they were doing some renovations.  When they opened it up they found $23,000 in cash wrapped in wax paper and a 1951 newspaper!  Now that’s quite a find!


Jesus shared a parable about a man who discovered buried treasure.  “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”  (Matthew 13:44)  He sold everything to buy the piece of the property with the buried treasure.  Nothing was more valuable to him in life than that!  I don’t expect to find anything of great value when I use my metal detector next, but I have discovered that nothing in this life compares to the value of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!  He is the greatest Treasure of all and His Word a most valuable treasure map.


If a treasure hunter has a map I know he studies intently to locate the exact place where the treasure is buried and then digs expectantly with passion!  I trust my thoughts are clear.  How do we approach The Word of God?  Expectantly?  With passion?  I hope so--more and more.  After all, the Treasure is ours!


Looking forward to discovering more Treasure with you this week in Worship as we look at The Treasure Principle!


Yours in Christ’s Love,


Pastor Mark


PS – Lisa and Morgan have planned a new event for our First Church Family this Wednesday night October 26--an All Church Fall Festival outside on the parking lot beginning at 6:00 with fun activities, treats and more!  Come have some Fall FUN!

A Hike to Bible Point

by Pastor Mark McAdow

October 14, 2016

Last week Robin and I had the blessing of staying at The YMCA of The Rockies near Estes Park, Colorado for some time away and for me to officiate at a wedding last weekend.  As I shared with our faithful Chazown participants on Wednesday night,

it was the first time I ever did a wedding rehearsal that was interrupted by the

wedding coordinator shouting, "Bear, bear!"  It was a beautiful outdoor setting under a pavilion in which indeed a medium-sized brown bear was about 50 yards away coming toward us.  Thankfully, he went down into a ravine that separated us and was not seen again during the abbreviated rehearsal!


The morning of the wedding, Robin and I went on a walk around the YMCA Camp as we had done several days, to get some last minute exercise before we headed back to Oklahoma.  Another camper inquired if we knew the way to Bible Point.  We said, "No," but began to think about it and realized we had seen a small sign near the Livery area where the horses were kept, so we walked toward the Livery and discovered the trail sign.  We made a decision to find Bible Point though we had no water with us, no hiking shoes or even an indication how far or difficult the trail was.  Not too smart.  We began up the side of the mountain and kept walking and looking.  Every so often, we would stop to rest and make sure we were still on the trail.  I would "scout" ahead and report back to Robin.  At several points we considered going back. Finally, we saw a small orange trail sign with the words "Bible Point" and an arrow up.


As we rested there for a moment, we saw two others campers come down and we asked how far it was to Bible Point.  They indicated it wasn't far at all though somewhat steep.  We made the decision to "go for it" and made our way to the top!

We found a couple of families there ahead of us and a remarkable view of the Y Camp and surrounding areas.  There was a wooden cross, a grave marker of an 18 year old from 1917 and two mail boxes!  Two mail boxes?  Yes.  One had a Gideon Bible in it with a logbook to sign your name and a message.  The other mailbox was stuffed with notes or letters to God -many were probably sincere prayers.


Why was this hike so significant?  It became a spiritual quest, not simply a physical one.  I had read a story in Chazown that very morning about a time Craig got angry on the tennis court in college after losing a match, broke his racket, cursed and vowed never to play again.  His High School tennis coach was present that day and followed him to his dorm room and said, "Well, Groeschel, I'm glad I got to be here today.  I'm here on one of the most important days of your life.  Because today is the day we'll see who you're going to'll decide whether you're a quitter or a fighter.  Most people are quitters.  They take the easy way out."  Craig decided to humble himself and fight his discouragement. And God honored him for it.


We each have the same decision to make in our Christian life.  Are we a quitter or a fighter?  Satan is encouraging each of us to quit--to get discouraged, to give up, to throw in the towel on living for Jesus in a world that is becoming more hostile to Him every day and a nation that is as well.  What will we do?  What will you do?

Jesus makes it clear, "If anyone would come after me, he must take deny himself and, take up his cross and follow me."(Matthew 16:24)  For me, that included a hike to Bible Point last Saturday.


What hill are you willing to die on for Jesus?  For that's where I believe you will discover real life.  "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."(John 10:10)  Jesus is worth it!


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - There's a group of women on the Walk to Emmaus this weekend at First Church led by our own Mary Nethercutt and including Tina Logsden.  Please keep these women and this spiritual weekend in your prayers.  De Colores!

The True Vine

by Ridge Kennedy

October 7, 2016

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.

6Apart from me you can do nothing.”

-John 15: 5-6 (NIV)


It is important to remember God’s ultimate sovereignty and might. Often in life, we think of ourselves as “able.” We consider ourselves to be able to finish the tasks set before us at work, or able to manage our finances in a responsible manner. We consider ourselves able to lead our families and children, and able to be good husbands and wives, but without the leadership of Christ. We even consider ourselves to be able to serve God with our own strength and ideas, but without His. It is this sort of prideful thinking that leads us down a disastrous path.


We are never able of our own accord. The only being in existence who is able is the Sovereign Lord. God’s ability infinitely exceeds that of anything else. He formed existence with His Hands, He crafted each speck of dust to perfection, and He raised every mountain with a breath. He made a way to save a world that was impossibly lost, and did so in a way that explained His Love in the deepest sense: to die the most brutal of deaths for our sake. There was a popular song that came out years back that stated, “If you like it then you should’a put a ring on it.” Well, God told Saturn that. God alone is able, and infinitely powerful. It is only through His Will that we are to even become able.


Realizing our own helplessness is not something that is easily done, but it is through finding God in a place of humility that He becomes our ability. It is through the understanding that we are nothing but rags compared to His Majesty that He accomplishes the most work through us. We live in a proud culture. We are taught to be proud of things like our heritage or our family name. We are Americans, and have been raised to believe that we are a cut above the rest. I may be an American, and I may bear the name that my father gave me, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am human and flawed, and cannot accomplish anything unless I am wholly dependent upon Christ.


Seek His Will for your every moment and every decision. Know that you cannot live on your own, for you were bought with a price. His love is infinitely deeper than we could ever fathom, and his ability is infinitely higher than we could ever see. God created you with a PURPOSE, and that purpose will only be accomplished through total surrender.


Your brother in Christ,


Ridge Kennnedy

Welcome Aboard, Ridge!

by Pastor Mark McAdow

September 30, 2016

We are so very thankful to the Lord Jesus and our Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) for their diligent, prayerful efforts in hiring a new Interim Director of Student Ministries for our First Church Youth!  Our SPRC, faithfully led by Sue Kuntze, interviewed candidates and offered the job to our own Ridge Kennedy (husband to Morgan, our Director of Music Ministries) last week and he began this past Tuesday. Praise God!  He is well known and loved already by our students, many who served with in Vacation Bible School in June and have appreciated his participation playing the guitar on our First Church Worship Team.


Ridge is a fulltime student at UCO, so the Interim Director of Student Ministries position will be part-time at 20 hours per week.  Even so, the commitment of the SPRC remains is to hire a full time Director in the future.  I've invited Ridge to write a "Welcome" blog next week introducing himself to those of you who are yet to know this fine young Christian man, but I wanted to share some of his thoughts with you today as well.  This is a paragraph he wrote to the SPRC prior to his interview; I pray you will hear his heart very clearly.


I love this youth group.  These kids are absolutely wonderful, and each one of them is so special.  It would not be a job for me to be their youth director; it would be an honor.  That being said, I want to see this ministry grow.  I want to see the glory of God rain down upon this ministry and have it bear fruit.  I want these kids to know Christ, and to know what it means to be a Christian.  I want them to know that they have a God who is sure, a God who is constant in every trial.  I want these youth to know what it means to put on the armor of God:  to guard their heart from the evils of the world, but also--wearing that same armor--to go out into the world and proclaim the love of Christ to all, proclaiming His victory and His salvation that is so freely given!  I want them to know that they have a Savior who handed away everything for them, and I want them to have a love so strong for Jesus Christ that they would willingly give up everything for Him and consider it to be gain.


I thank God for all the positive changes we're experiencing here at First Church.  Thanks to many of you who are sharing that same enthusiasm with others and me!  Please pray for Ridge as he begins this new chapter of ministry with our students and us.  Pray too for him and Morgan as they learn how to balance ministry, school and life together as "newlyweds!"  We feel so very blessed to have them both here serving Christ with us!


Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday for World Communion Sunday.  We will be sharing in a Traditional Holy Communion Service together.  Blessings!


Pastor Mark


PS - Please make a special effort to join us this Sunday morning at 9:40 AM for our bi-monthly All Church Prayer Gathering in our Sanctuary. 

Bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers!  

Tony's Last Sunday

by Pastor Mark McAdow

September 23, 2016

You heard from Tony last week about his new ministry opportunity, but I wanted to express my appreciation to Tony here as well.  It is difficult to put into words what Tony Moran means to me personally, and to so many members of The First Church Family.  When we interviewed Tony for his current position at First Church, I said to him that I wanted a minimum 5-year commitment to the students’ here.  I can say that he far exceeded that expectation and has served our students, Staff and church family for 8 ½ years.  I am most thankful for the continuity he provided our students and all the great help he had from faithful parents and sponsors over these years.


Tony loves Jesus and he loves Andy Griffith too (you will have to ask him about that if you didn’t know already!).  His commitment to Christ is absolutely genuine and we have heard that demonstrated in his prayers during Staff meetings and Sunday Morning Worship too.  He has a great personality and smile and has brought a lot of laughter to Staff meetings in particular.  We will miss his place at the table.  We have also been blessed to have his great help with media and IT issues.  He has produced several memorable videos for us including Marathon Highlight videos and Staff  “Award-winning Talent Show “ videos (What do you mean the Staff video has never won?!  Something’s not right!!)  He loves students and is a gifted speaker. 


We know Tony as an excellent drummer and genuine worshipper.  He has played on our First Church Worship Team and at Youth Summer Camps as well.  He has served on both The Journey and Dayspring South Camp Design Teams for many years.  He has led our Youth on several in-state mission trips to The Boy’s Ranch in Gore, OK, as well as out of state trips to The Dallas Life Foundation in Texas.


I am thankful for Tony. He has been a great blessing to me as a fellow brother in Christ, co-worker, and friend.  He was my first Monday “Bueno buddy.” He has filled the pulpit for me on several occasions over the years and lead Youth Sundays for us.  I appreciate his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as well.


I’ve always encouraged him to seek the Lord regarding every opportunity that comes his way and I believe he has once more.  I pray the very best for Tony, his family and his ministry with the Youth at his new church.  I also trust the Lord to send us the one He has designed to lead our First Church students too!


We will be hosting a Reception for Tony and his family this Sunday September 25 immediately after Worship in Harris Hall.  You may want to bring a card of appreciation to share with Tony!


In Christ’s Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - Your Staff-Parish Relations Committee is already hard at work seeking God’s will for an Interim Youth Pastor.  Please keep them in your prayers. Blessings!

God is In Control!

by Tony Moran

September 16, 2016

In June of 2007 my wife and I sold our home in Moore, Oklahoma, packed up a U-Haul and got on the highway headed for Wesley Chapel, FL. Wesley Chapel is a suburb of Tampa. I had taken a Youth Ministry position at a Methodist church there and for the first time in either of our lives we were off to foreign territory. Now, Florida wasn't foreign, as we had been there a number of times already for Disney World trips. The foreign territory I'm speaking of was being on our own, all by ourselves and pregnant with our first child. We spent 7 glorious months in Wesley Chapel before circumstances back home in Oklahoma pulled us back. It was during those 7 months that God taught us a lot and we learned a great deal about how to be husband and wife and rely only upon God and each other. We had no family there and very few friends since we had only been there a short time.


Before anyone back home knew that we were considering moving back, I got word of a position that had just opened up at a Methodist church in downtown OKC (if I was interested in moving back home). Amanda and I had done a lot of praying.  It was through that time of prayer and seeking the wisdom and counsel of others in our lives who we knew we could trust and would tell us what we needed to hear, not what we wanted to hear, that we had decided to move back home because of some things that were going on with family. We felt it was best to be back in OKC to be able to support those who needed us at the time. And so we made the move back to OKC without knowing what was next.


Again, we prayed a lot during that time. Asking God why He sent us to Florida only to bring us back home 7 months later. Asking Him what was next, what about a job, where will we live. Well, as many of you know God has things planned out ahead of time and while we're worrying about what's next He's orchestrating our lives ... If only we'd listen and follow Him without doubting. It was difficult but we did just that.


Now it just so happened to be, that position that had come open was right here at First Church OKC. I met with Pastor Mark and the SPRC a number of times and in February of 2008 was offered the position of Director of Student Ministries. We accepted of course and have been here ever since then. I'll never forget the day Sue Kuntze called me to offer me the job. It was a Sunday, after church and the date was February 24th. I missed the call but listened to the voice message she left me. My birthday is February 23rd and Amanda's is February 28th and that voice message was the best birthday present I've ever received. I was so excited to become a part of the First Church family.


Please hear me when I say the following: I have deeply loved every single second that I have been at First Church. God gave me the opportunity to come to know many great people and develop relationships that have the potential to last a lifetime. As the Director of Student Ministries I've had the opportunity to work with some absolutely, amazingly incredible Students and their families. I pray with all my heart and soul that somehow, someway, something that I've said or something that we've done since I've been at First Church has made a lasting impact on those students' lives. We've got some pretty neat teenagers at First Church, with very special and unique relationships with Jesus Christ. My prayer for each and every one of them is that they would wake up each day of their lives and follow Jesus no matter what throughout their entire lives. I pray that they would grow in their knowledge of His Holy Scriptures and that The Holy Spirit will guide their every decision. And when they stumble and fall, I pray that they will know that Jesus is right there ready and waiting to pick them right back up.


My last Sunday at First Church will be September 25th. I have accepted a position as the Director of Student Ministries at another church here in OKC. I'll say two things about this decision ... First, I sincerely mean it when I say its been the most difficult decision I've ever had to make. And Second, My family and I have sought God and His will/calling for us every step of the way and have total peace and clarity that this is the next move in our Journey called life that God has planned out for us. We will truly miss those at First Church who have supported us and have been there for us throughout the last 8 1/2 years. We are proud to call you friends. Most importantly, and this should hopefully go without saying, but ... I WILL MISS ALL OF OUR AMAZING STUDENTS SO SO SO VERY MUCH!


BUT ... The good news is, God is in control!  Just as He has led us into a new chapter in our lives, He is also preparing the way for what's next in the Youth Ministry at First Church; and that should be exciting for each and every one of those amazing students that I will miss so much.


Lastly. I want to say Thank You. Thank you to First Church for giving me the opportunity to serve your Youth Ministry for the past 8 1/2 years. Thank you to all of the families that have allowed me that opportunity as well. It has truly been an incredible experience and I couldn't express my gratitude any more if I tried. So ... I'll simply say ... Thank you all so very much! I will always be praying for you and can't wait to hear about what God does next at First Church.


May God Bless The Family of First Church OKC, may you all follow Him wholeheartedly and may you continue to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!


As my good pal Mickey Mouse would say ... "See Ya Real Soon!"


In Christ,

Tony Moran


We've been talking about it for weeks and now it is here! This Wednesday evening, September 14 
th, we embark on a five-week  "journey" to discover our "Chazown."  What is it?  It's not something you can order at Mazzio's--though I really wanted to try!  It's a Hebrew word pronounced "khaw - Zone" meaning dream, revelation or vision!  King Solomon wrote about it in Proverbs 29:18 - "Where there is no vision, the people perish."  Where there is no vision that you and I were created to have a growing, lifelong, personal relationship with our Creator, our inner self withers and dies.  We were made for so much more!

Former First Church Single's Pastor and Founding Pastor of Life Church, Craig Groeschel writes this in his book entitled Chazown:


            Where there is no vision that you have been placed on earth to matter deeply to other people, and reveal God's love and power to them, you live in loneliness and your relationships perish.

            Where there is no vision for a godly family, you have a 50 percent chance of ending up divorced.

            Where there is no vision that your body in the temple of God's Spirit - property on loan from Him - your physical health slips away.  Your exuberance fades.

            Where there is no vision for a financially wise lifestyle, you can live in the richest country on earth and still be drowning in debt.

Where there is no vision for meaningful work, people live for five o'clock.  They really just exist.  Their goal is to survive - to pay bills, stay married, keep the kids out of jail. But you and I were made for so much more.


Want to discover what it is?  Shazam! . . . I mean, Chazown!  Offer yourself to the Lord for the next five Wednesday nights as we work through a process individually to discern God's genuine purpose for your life on this earth.  We are never too young or too old to learn how we can glorify Jesus with our lives more!  Remember, Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life; ands have it to the full." (John 10:10).  Our most satisfying life is in Jesus!


Won't you prayerfully consider laying aside your Wed. night activities for the next five weeks and discover God's Chazown for you and in turn, for First Church OKC?!  I'm confident we are made for so much more.  We are made to thrive--personally and together!  I'm asking you to stop and pray now, asking The Holy Spirit to help you commit to this amazing opportunity.  God bless you!


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark

PS - We will meet in Harris Hall at 5:30 for dinner and 6:15 for worship before beginning Chazown at 6:30PM.  We plan to end at 7:45PM.  Our first session will include a great Italian Dinner by Mary McIntire.   There is a modest cost for dinner but the Chazown experience is free.  If you want to read the book, we will have several copies available for $15 though it is not required for the experience. Blessings! 



A Unique Ending

by Pastor Mark McAdow

August 26, 2016

O. Henry is an author who loved to bless his reader’s with Surprise Endings!  His “Gift of The Magi” at Christmas is one of my beloved short stories about a very poor couple deeply in love that gave the very best that they had for each other!  If you haven’t read it recently you should this Advent Season (No, it’s not Advent yet--we have three months to go but I guarantee it will be here before you know it!).


Last Sunday, we had a unique ending to our morning Worship Service.  I was preaching from ll Kings 5 about Naaman being healed of leprosy and I sensed the Lord wanting us to take time to pray for each other to be healed.  I had witnessed a very powerful moment the night before at The Reinhard Bonnke Gospel Crusade at The Cox Convention Center.  Bonnke's protege, Daniel Kolenda, spoke to

those gathered about healing.  He reminded us that only God heals and loves to see members of His Body praying for each other.  I loved his emphasis, because I believe it is Biblical and refreshing.  No focus on Man, only the power of God!


The only requirements for being used by God is to first be a born-again Christian and second be willing to pray in faith for your brother or sister he said.  James wrote about it this way, which I read last Sunday...


“Is any one of you sick?  He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man (or woman) is powerful and effective.” - James 5:14-16   By elders, I think of mature brothers and sisters in Christ, though God can use brand new Christians and even non-Christians as He chooses.  It is God who heals.


We had several  “Come down to the river (altar)” and pray for each other.  I anointed some with oil at their request.  Though I know of no instantaneous healings, I know we honored God and blessed each other.  We’re stepping out in faith and trusting God with the outcome.  We have not because we ask not!  It’s always too early to quit praying!


Yours Brother in Christ,




PS  -Looking forward to seeing you Saturday night at The ball game and Sunday morning for Prayer, Sunday School for all ages and Worship!  We will be honoring Frank and Donna Sisson who are celebrating their 70th Wedding Anniversary!  Wow!


PPS - Chazown is coming Wednesday September 14!  Put it on your calendar now and expect the Lord to do great things in and through your life!


by Pastor Mark McAdow

September 2, 2016

Where does the time go?  It seems like just yesterday, but it’s been thirty years!  Do you remember some of the key events?  Here are a few compliments of Google!

January 20 - First official Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday

January 28 - Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates 73 seconds after launch, killing all 7 crewmembers including teacher Crista McAuliffe

February 25 - Corazon Aquino becomes first women President of The Philippines

March 25 - “Out of Africa” wins Best Picture at The Academy Awards

April 29 - Roger Clemens sets the record for most strikeouts in a 9 inning MLB game at 20

May 25 - “Hands Across America” involves 5 million Americans joining hands from New York to California to raise funds for the hungry and homeless in America

June 8 - Boston Celtics defeat The Houston Rockets for the NBA title

August 20 - Fourteen postal workers at the Edmond, OK Post office are tragically murdered by a disgruntled employee.


Some of you weren’t around in 1986 and others of you are to young to remember, but I remember 1986 because I experienced a life-changing event.  It was not getting married to Robin - I did that June 16, 1984!  I did graduate from Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky in 1986 and I began my ministry at Spiro, Oklahoma, that June as well.  But just before I did those two things, I participated in a Walk to Emmaus Spiritual Life Weekend.  We will be hosting two such weekends here at First Church this October.  The Men’s Walk is actually Sept. 29- Oct. 2 and The Women’s Walk Oct. 13-16. The 72-hour Retreats begin Thursday evening at 6PM and conclude about 6PM on Sunday.


I had an opportunity to remember that significant weekend in my life in my office Wednesday afternoon with tears, as I remembered all the love that was lavished on me that weekend by friends, family and fellow believers.  It is an amazing weekend of focusing on God’s grace and the sacrament of Holy Communion.  I encourage each of you who want to grow in your understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ to attend.  It is not a physical walk, though it is a very full weekend.  You will come out tired physically and blessed spiritually!  There’s still room for you this October!


You must have a sponsor to attend this “once in a lifetime” spiritual experience.  If interested, please check in with me, Don and Sue Kuntze, Stuart and Lisa Turley, Mary Nethercutt, Martie Ervin and several others!  We’d love to tell you more!


We will never grow in Christ unless we take some risks.  This “risk” may be just what the Father ordered!


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark


PS  -I'm looking forward to seeing my ‘favorite” people this weekend!  We’ve got something fun planned for all!  Blessings!

Standing Room Only!

This last Monday evening we were blessed to host an amazing Worship Service at First Church.  It was a Unity Prayer Service for Oklahoma City in conjunction with The Family Policy Institute of  Oklahoma and several OKC clergy.  Over 1,000 people participated in a
Prayer Walk from the "Jesus Wept" statue on St. Joseph's property to First Church for the service.  As I watched hundreds of people flowing into our Sanctuary I was amazed and blessed!  It was literally "Standing Room Only!"  Why was this so significant?  Not only did it show amazing support for the Unity Service that included Catholics, Methodists (a great group from First Church), Baptists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Episcopalians and Community Leaders as well, but was also a specific answer to prayer.  One or more of our members have been praying to see "Standing room only" at First Church before the year's end and it came last Monday night.  Praise the Lord!

I was so pleased we were asked to host the Service and for our great First Church Staff who worked so diligently to make it happen.  Morgan led the music, Sharon played the organ/piano, Tony ran sound, Greg, Gloria and Ron made sure the facility was in pristine condition and I served as the Worship Service Leader.  Thanks to our First Church Security Team led by Michael, Ian and Stuart. Several of our faithful folks served as greeters as well!  Marty and Penny Anderson were even quoted in The Oklahoman's article on Tuesday too!


It was a "taste of Heaven" to hear a thousand tongues singing the great hymns of our faith, praying The Lord's Prayer aloud together and applauding after every Scripture reading and Prayer was offered.  The greatest moment of all came when OKC Police Sergeant Anthony Carter came to the pulpit to offer prayer and the entire congregation stood in a spontaneous ovation!  He and all present were overcome by such a genuine expression of support for those who truly do "protect and defend" us in OKC.  I wish America could have seen how Oklahomans appreciate our Police!


We have another opportunity to come together as The Body of Christ this weekend with The Reinhard Bonnke Gospel Crusade at 6:00 pm both Saturday and Sunday evenings at The Cox Convention Center.  This world-renowned evangelist to Africa will share the gospel and healing prayer will be offered as well.  I encourage you to join me and other First Church Family at The Crusade!


Keep praying First Church!  God is up to something good!


Your Brother in Christ,




PS - Don't miss our "Down to The River" Service this Sunday at 10:45AM!  I'll be preaching about someone whose life was literally changed when he went down to the River!  Yours can be too!

Thy Kingdom Come!

by Pastor Mark McAdow

August 12, 2016

Last Sunday First Church came together in a new way in the midst of "adversity."  I put adversity in quotes because it was actually an inconvenience that manifested itself early Sunday morning.  What was it?  The air conditioning units for the main sanctuary decided to take a holiday (as did several of our First Church members)!  We overcame and in turn had a wonderful time of worship, testimony and a new member too - all in Harris Hall!  Thanks to Gloria Carmichael and several other great First Church folks who pitched a hand to set up our new "Sanctuary" in our old, historic sanctuary space.  I mentioned it felt like "Back to the Future!"

Monday evening, August 15, we will be the host for a Metro Unity Prayer Service.  We are expecting 1000+ people.  This is a Prayer Service Ito bring together Christians in Oklahoma City including Catholics, United Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and others!  As you know, I believe in The Kingdom of God and supporting efforts for Christian believers to come together in prayer.  Why Monday night?

The Prayer Walk and Unity Prayer Service is a positive alternative to The Black Mass event being sponsored by local Satanists at the Civic Center on the same evening.  Two years ago a great group from First Church went to the Civic Center lawn and prayed and sung hymns during a similar event.  Though quite effective, this year a group of Christian leaders wanted to do something even more positive that creates less publicity for the other event.


Please plan to join us this Monday evening for either the Prayer Walk that begins at 6:00 PM at the "And Jesus Wept" statue near St. Joseph Old Cathedral and/or The Unity Prayer Service that begins here at First Church at 6:30 PM.  The Service is scheduled for about an hour including prayers, singing and Scripture readings.  Come early to offer some great informal "First Church Extravagant Hospitality" and care for our guests!  I'm so very thankful First Church is known to be a "House of Prayer" for all believers.  This is one of our growing strengths as a Church family.  Come and pray with others for our beloved City.  God will be honored and you will be blessed!


I am looking forward to worshipping with you this Sunday morning as we consider "Worship as a lifestyle, rather than simply an event."  Join others and me for prayer in the Prayer Chapel beginning at 9:00 -9:30 AM.  Our Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) members are praying every night at 9:00 PM for our First Church Family as well.  Remember
God honors bold prayers and bold prayers honor God!  To God be the glory!  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done at First Church as it is in Heaven.


Your Brother in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark

PS - Thanks to each of you who have already contributed to the "Bring back our Bells" Fund.  You will see a "thermometer" in the Welcome Center this Sunday showing our progress to date!  Blessings!


I’ve come to love that above quote from Pastor Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker.  We’re currently reading the book in our Staff meetings and seeking the Lord about how to share it with all of you.  You may want to pick up a copy at your favorite Christian Bookstore and read along with us.  The Big idea is that God loves to answer specific prayers - BOLD prayers focused on His promises!  Why?  Because it is clear to all that it is God who provided the answer and He in turn gets all the glory!  We receive encouragement to keep praying, believing God for even greater things!

I shared last Sunday about a very specific answer to prayer that came for Robin regarding a crown issue that was answered the very day just as she had prayed.  God is good!  I also had four specific prayers answered last week--two on Sunday morning!  God is faithful.  He hears and answers our prayers.  Now, He didn’t answer all my prayers last week as I requested; He is under no obligation to, but He did answer some.  The Bible says, “You have not because you ask not” and “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened”(Matthew 7:7-8). 

Prayer of course is not just about asking.  It’s about developing our personal friendship with Jesus Christ. It is listening as well as talking.  Prayer is not ultimately about getting something but being with Someone.  Prayer is our relationship with Jesus.  No one comes to Jesus except through prayer and no one grows closer to Him except through prayer too.

What kind of prayers are you praying these days? Bold, audacious, specific prayers?  I hope so! I’m becoming more convinced those are the prayers He loves to answer!   I invite you to join us this Sunday morning for our  All Church Prayer beginning at 9:40AM in our Sanctuary.  Let’s learn together how to pray bold prayers because it is true - “Bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers.”

Yours in Christ’s Love,

Pastor Mark

PS - Save the date!  OKC Unity Prayer Service here at First Church on Monday August 15 at 6:30PM.  We’re uniting as Christian believers across the Metro, creating a positive alternative to the Satanists’ “Black Mass” at The Civic Center that same evening.  To God be the glory!

There's a New Bishop in Town (or Soon to Be)!

by Pastor Mark McAdow

July 29, 2016

As I announced in Worship two weeks ago, Oklahoma United Methodists are getting a new Bishop to replace Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr. who is retiring after serving us faithfully for the last 12 years.  Our new Bishop was elected in Wichita on July 15 at our South Central Jurisdictional Conference.  He comes from the Northwest Texas Annual Conference.  His name is Rev. Dr. James “Jimmy” Nunn.  He is 59 and married to his wife Mary.  They have two adult children:  Michael and Jaime.


According to the most recent Contact  - Our Oklahoma United Methodist paper, writer Holly McCray (a good friend of First Church) reported that he and Mary met while attending McMurry University in Abilene, Texas and married their senior year.  Mary is a piano teacher with her own studio.  Bishop Nunn enjoys golf and Mary likes to swim.


This will be Bishop Nunn’s very first year to serve as a Bishop and will serve a four-year term and can be reappointed to serve another four-year term in Oklahoma or another Conference.  Though I don’t know him personally, I understand our former First Church Pastor Stan Cosby knows him well and speaks very highly of him!  I have only heard outstanding reports of his fruitfulness in various ministry positions over his career.  We feel very blessed to have Bishop Jimmy Nunn as our new Bishop.


I do have a couple of things in common with him.  We both Attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky and earned our Masters in Divinity degree.  He also has a Doctorate from Asbury.  We’re both Eagle Scouts as well.  Holly reported his call to ministry came as the result of a “desperate” prayer.  He was lost in New Mexico on a Boy Scout camping trip and prayed, “God, get me out of this and I’ll even be a preacher.”  A fisherman found the “lost” Scout and he was saved!  The rest is history.


Please be in prayer for Bishop Nunn and his family as they say “good-bye” to their friends in Texas and relocate to Oklahoma City to become our new Bishop.  He will work with Bishop Hayes this next month and officially begin his tenure as our Bishop on September 1.  God is good all the time.  And all the time God is good!


Remember to bring a covered dish with you to church this Sunday.  Mary will prepare the ham and rolls for us!  Come enjoy a cool “indoor picnic” following Worship! 


Yours in Christ’s Love,


Pastor Mark


PS -Be sure to welcome any “guests” you might see this Sunday!   The Word says, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” - Hebrews 13:2. Or possibly Pokémon catchers!  Blessings!

True Worshiper

by Pastor Mark McAdow

July 22, 2016

During our Bible Study on Wednesday night, Walking with God in the Desert, I shared some thoughts from Pastor David Wilkerson in his devotional God is Faithful.

At the Red Sea, "God wanted His people to look at those walls and believe He would hold back the water until they arrived safely on the other side.  Simply put, God wanted His people to have a faith that declared, 'He who began this miracle for us will finish it.  He has already proven to us He is faithful.'  There was a reason God wanted this kind of faith for Israel at this point.  They were about to face a journey through the wilderness where they would endure deprivation, danger, and suffering.  A true worship is not some who dances after the victory or sings God's praises after the enemy has been vanquished.  That is what the Israelites did.  These were not worshipers - they were shallow shouters!  A true worshiper is one who has learned to trust God in the storm.  He is not afraid of the future, because he is no longer afraid to die." 

Last Sunday we shared about the storms of this life as we looked at Peter's attempt to draw closer to Christ in a violent storm.  What is the storm in your life these days?  Loss of a loved one?  Financial hardship?  Job loss?  Unforgiveness? Broken relationship?  Lack of purpose? Direction?  How are you facing it?

Are you in denial or are you asking God to give you the faith to believe?  Why not ask Him for faith that no matter what happens - no matter what conditions you may face, no matter the storm - You will wholeheartedly believe He is the only way out and that He will not let you go under!  Faith is critical to loving this life in Christ (I just caught a typo in this sentence.  Do you see it?  But it may just be a "spirit slip " as well!).


This Sunday we will explore the things we can do to grow our faith and please our God.  For "without faith it is impossible to please God" according to Hebrews 11:.6.  Remember, we worship an Audience of One!  "God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).  I want to be a true worshiper, don't you?  I know you do!


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark

PS - If you can, join me tonight at Edmond First Baptist Church at 1300 East 33rd Street for the Reclaiming America for Christ Worldview Conference beginning at 6:30 pm to hear some great Christian minds.  You will be challenged and blessed!

What a Year!

July 15, 2016

by Sarah Baumann

Spoiler alert!  This Sunday, Pastor Mark will preach on Matthew 14:22-33.  These verses tell of a great storm, a tiny boat, twelve men overwhelmed with fear, and Jesus.  I am always amazed when the Lord arranges a message to come just at the right time!  For Sunday's worship folder cover, I chose a powerful image depicting the entire passage.  The focal point of the painting is Jesus' hand clasping Peter's.  This touched my heart, because I have felt Jesus' grasping my hand and lifting me from the chaos of my past and the challenges of today.


This week I celebrated my first anniversary as Administrative Assistant and Director of Communications here at First Church.  Accepting this position was, for me, the equivalent of Peter stepping out of the boat!  I was confident of my calling, but the task seemed daunting.  One by one, though, the Lord helped me stretch and grow and overcome my fears so I could accomplish the challenges set before me.


Almost always, my First Church family was that hand of Jesus!  So often, it was a hug in the hallway, an e-mail of encouragement, and a perfectly timed "thank you" that gave me the strength to continue!  I have a sense of belonging that is such a comfort, bringing healing and restoration to my life following a rough patch that lasted several years.  In Psalm 68:5-6a, the Psalmist writes, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families . . ."  With the support and encouragement of my "family," my journey has been one of great joy!


God's timing is mysterious but His purpose and calling are certain.  I recently turned (ahem!) 58 and am just now realizing that I have, at long last, settled into the life I was meant to have.  Much of the reason for my "late blooming" is due to my own hardheaded stubbornness and rebellion, but it can also be explained by the unknowable, absolute sovereignty of the Lord.  Job himself acknowledged "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2)  Most often, it is in looking back that we see that even in the shadowed moments He was walking with us and guiding our steps.


As I continue into my second year here at First Church, I know that many of the tasks that seemed overwhelming in the past will now be familiar and simply part of the landscape of my job.  I also know that there will be unexpected challenges, but I am confident and at peace, knowing that the hand of Jesus will always lift me from the waves and that my First Church family will help being that hand.

Blessings in Christ!

Sarah B

The Desert

July 8, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

Our family just returned two weeks ago from an “epic journey” to California and back via our 2004 van with 178,000 on the odometer to visit our son and other family.  The total trip was 4,150 miles!  Unbelievable, memorable and also the last time we’ll ever do that!  Several hours of the journey took us across The Mojave Desert in Western Arizona and California.  What comes to your mind when you think of the desert?  Incredibly hot?  Yes.  Lots of sand? Yes. Tumbleweeds? Yes. Cactus? Yes. Limited gas and bathrooms?  Yes! Boring? Without a doubt.  Necessary to reach your final destination?  In our case - Absolutely!  Can anything good come from the desert?


The desert holds some beauty--simple beauty.  It’s a reminder there’s still lots of undeveloped land in the United States that goes on for endless miles.  Some beautiful flowers can be found on the cactus if you look up close.  The sunsets stretch for miles.  The plain scenery allows time for deeper thinking and praying.


Why speak about the desert?  This last Wednesday evening we began a brand new Bible Study called Walking with God in The Desert with Ray Vander Laan.  It is set in Israel and focuses on the lessons to be learned in the desert.  He shared how the people of God left the bondage of Egypt, but before they reached the blessing of The Promised Land they had to pass through the desert.  The desert was a place of transformation.  It’s the very place where they often complained about the hardships but also found the provision and Presence of God.


What is the desert in your life?  Job loss?  Death of a loved one?  Financial burdens?

Personal health issues? Divorce? Challenges with your children?  Broken relationships? Caustic co-worker?  Other losses?  We all have one.  How do we respond?  As the Israelites did with complaining? That’s the easy way.  Or do we learn how to depend more fully on God and trust Him at a deeper level?  Several of us shared we were in personal deserts and are looking forward to learning the lessons God has for us in this season.  I invite you to join us on the “epic journey” through the desert these next six weeks--during the hottest time of the year (Don’t worry, we’re meeting in air conditioned Harris Hall!).  Join us at 5:30 for a great meal and our study at 6:30PM.  I hope you will choose to grow this summer on Wednesday nights with your First Church Family.  I believe God wants to speak into your desert and mine!  “In the desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste, He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.” - Deut. 32:10.  Come listen with us.  Be sure to bring your Bible.  After all--God drew the map!  The desert is His plan.


In Christ’s Love,


Pastor Mark

PS - The votes are in!  We’ll be sharing the winner of our First Church Talent Show and awarding the illustrious trophy his Sunday in Worship!  Don’t miss it!

Treasure Island

July 1, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

Ahoy mates!  Greetings to all who  invested this week with us on our journey to Treasure Island and the discovery of the hidden treasure! It ‘s been a whirlwind of a week with great adventure on the High Seas with a cast of some amazing pirates and first mates!  Harris Hall was transformed into a Treasure Island complete with a pirate ship, dingy, wooden plank, parrots, treasure chest and sharks, thanks to some very creative people!  We discovered that worldly treasure is short lived and that the Greatest Treasure of ALL is Jesus!  It’s true for children of all ages.  We are His treasured possession!

This year’s Vacation Bible School, Treasure Island, was written and directed by our own talented Jan Chapman with Captain Blackbarrrb (Toby Nelson), pirate in training (Kimberrrly Hyatt) and 1

st mate Marrrrrley (Ridge Kennedy).  Jovial singing was led by Morgan and Ridge Kennedy and pirate grub prepared by Cindy Janka and her amazing crew!  Many “Hands on deck” led our separate crews every evening assisting with games, crafts, experiments and life stories.  Well over forty children participated this week! Thanks to every Youth and Adult volunteer who gave of their time and hearts to love on our children all led by our amazing new Children’s Director Lisa Turley!  I got to serve nightly as a “basically” friendly pirate too! Arrrg!


The theme verse was from Deuteronomy 7:6 -“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.  The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”  That includes you and me.  Chosen.  That’s a word that never gets old.  It is a blessing and a joy to be chosen.  It’s good to be reminded of the Father’s love for each of us.  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.”- Jeremiah 31:3.


Be sure to come join us this Sunday morning July 3 as we celebrate our Christian heritage as a nation and hear our Lt. Governor Todd Lamb’s personal faith story!  We are blessed to have he and his family with us for worship.  It’s a great Sunday to invite a friend to come with you.  You know who you are - my favorite people!


We’ll also be hosting a Fourth of July Block Party on Monday night July 4 beginning at 7:00PM with free watermelon and Root beer or Coke (my preference) floats!  Hope you can come!


Love you!


Pastor Mark

I Stand Amazed!

June 24, 2016

by Lisa Turley, Interim Children's Director

I stand amazed at the way the Lord works all things for good for those who loveHim.  Just a year ago I was working at Trinity Brick Sales, a job I knew was temporary, but no doubt was a God job in so many ways.  Trinity was located just a mile from my Whiz Kid that I could give her a ride to school and still be to work on time every day among many other reasons I know it was his plan and not my own.

My job ended in early December, which turned out to be a blessing.  I could spend the Christmas season with my family and it allowed me the flexibility to take our son, Blake, to his new doctor in Dallas every 2 or 3 weeks.  Months later, as Blake's health improved, I started thinking about going back to work at least part-time.  I wanted that "God job"; but every time I prayed about it I felt the Lord saying: "Be still, and know that I am God."

I had volunteered to help Sara Hurston in the children's area, and after Holy week and Easter, she confided that she had been offered a full-time job in Texas.  My immediate thought was, "Is this You, Lord, opening a part-time job for me at the church I love?" I had been a preschool teacher the 4 years before we moved to OKC, and I had recently run into my former Director who said it was a shame I wasn't working with children anymore.  I thought at the time, "Well maybe; but I love my job!"

I have now been the interim Children's Director for 7 weeks, and I have to say it's been very busy and sometimes challenging, and it has definitely stretched me.  What I've come to know is that I find my peace on my knees as I'm asking the Lord, "What do you want us to do?" Martie Ervin and I took several girls to Growing in Grace camp, and I came back so encouraged that it's about the relationships and it doesn't have to be complicated.  We just finished our first annual Camp Janka-boo-chee where we had 13 kids bonding in a big way over swimming, swinging, jumping on a trampoline, feeding the chickens, making crafts and S'mores and just getting to know their First Church friends better, all while learning to be rock solid in Christ. I love that we can do things differently to see what works best for our church.  I don't believe the Lord cares whether we have the latest and greatest, but that we are teaching our children to love and trust Him!

VBS starts this Monday, we have 36 children registered so far who will be a part of the high seas adventure searching for the treasure, you see for where the heart is there is your treasure.  Thanks for letting me share.

Blessings, Lisa Turley

Spread the Joy

June 17, 2016

by Harper Kennedy

♪ “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…”♪


Since that song is now stuck in your head, I thought I would share about one of my favorite things and something that has been on my heart this past week… you guessed it, joy!

Since Ridge and I got back from our honeymoon, we have had one thing to do after another and most of it has taken us for a loop that we weren’t expecting. For example: we had to move out of my old apartment on the first day back from our honeymoon. Then, we had to move into a new place where the air conditioner didn’t work the first night (among a few other things). Finally, we got in a small car wreck later that week which totaled his car (we are both fine, thank the Lord!)

We were not prepared for the real-life adulthood to happen so fast! In the unfamiliarity of this new community we now call home, we were driving around looking for the nearest Wal-Mart. We noticed that everyone seemed busy or in a hurry. Not really sure what to think of it, I told Ridge that we just need to spread the Joy to this neighborhood. James 1:2-3 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” We are clinging to this verse right now. I have had to remind myself daily that the circumstances of life can’t steal my joy, for joy comes from the Lord, and nothing and no one can take that away. Praise the Lord!

I don’t know what season of life you are in right now, but I pray Nehemiah 8:10 will ring true in your heart – that the joy of the Lord is your strength. And I want to encourage you to choose joy and spread it to the people around you!

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” – Romans 15:13.

God Bless,

                                                      Morgan Kennedy


Mark your calendars for these fun and special Sunday services:

June 26th – Bluegrass and BBQ

July 3rd – Patriotic Sunday


Have We Got Talent or What?!

June 10, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

Last Sunday night was a great evening at First Church!  We held our annual Talent Show and raised over $4500 for Missions!  Praise the Lord!  If you were here you know how much fun it was to laugh together and hear the antics of our "two grumpy
old men (not Bill and me!) and to encourage our young "stars" too!  It's a blessing to be an active part of The First Church Family.  Thanks to ALL who participated and to those who "voted" with your money too!

Wednesday evening we heard from some of our missionaries:  Ben West (from China), Mary Walbert and Texye Fernandes with Friday Night Alive and Fuxia Wang (OU Chinese Fellowship).  Every testimony was a blessing!  Tomorrow morning beginning at 8:30 AM we will be serving at Gatewood Elementary School working inside, doing lawn care and new landscaping and sharing a "picnic" lunch together.  

Come and stay as long or as short as you can!  It's a joy to serve the Lord together!

We can "Make A Difference" not only this weekend but every day by just asking the Lord to lead us and being obedient!  I was out running this morning in my neighborhood and stopped to meet a couple on their porch.  I've run by their house for years and recently they have been sitting outside in the mornings.  I thought I might die of heatstroke this morning, so I actually stopped to ask for a glass of water.  They gladly obliged and I discovered their names and asked if they had a church home.  Good news!  They are Methodists -but haven't attended a church in quite awhile.  I of course invited them to try First Church sometime.  I assured them there is very little traffic headed downtown on Sundays -but very faithful traffic!  I also met a former member at the jail this week (not an inmate) and invited them back too.  What does the scripture say?  "You have not because you ask not."  True of the Lord and sometimes others too.  I'm asking you to invite some folks to join us for Bluegrass and BBQ Sunday on June 26.  It's always a fun Sunday and I know Morgan has some special music planned!


Hope to see you tomorrow and Sunday this weekend!  You are my favorite people!


Love you!


Pastor Mark


PS - Please be praying now about "stretching your faith" with our Faith Promise giving goals this Sunday to support our "faith full" missionaries!  Blessings!

Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr.

by Pastor Mark McAdow

June 3, 2016

Yesterday concluded our Oklahoma Annual Conference held at OCU, presided by out Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr.  Bishop Hayes will retire this August and we will receive a new Bishop selected by our Jurisdictional Conference to be held in Wichita this July.  Bishop Hayes has been asked to preach at The Service of Consecration for the new Bishops who will be elected for our South Central Jurisdiction.


Bishop Hayes has served Oklahoma and The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) faithfully these past twelve years. (A Bishop usually serves only a 4 or 8-year term max in a given Episcopal Area, but our Bishop sought special consideration for ministry and personal reasons).  He will retire to The Houston Area but promises to come back to visit after an appropriate time and I understand will serve as The Bishop in Residence at OCU beginning in 2018 for a two year term.  We will miss him very much, as was shared frequently this week at Annual Conference.  He is a most beloved disciple of Jesus Christ.


I have a special appreciation for Bishop Hayes as he appointed me to serve here at First Church nine years ago.  All United Methodist Elders take a vow to the Itinerancy when ordained.  In short, that means we serve at the will of The Bishop and His Cabinet (made up of our eight District Superintendents) wherever they believe God wants or needs us.  Each local church has a vote in that decision through the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, the Pastor gets to express his or her preference but the ultimate decision resides with The Bishop.  Yesterday several new appointments were made and next Thursday is the official “Moving Day” for Oklahoma United Methodist Pastors. The goal for pastors and their families is “to be out by 12:00 noon and in by 6:00PM” so no United Methodist Church is ever without a pastoral presence.


Robin and I feel blessed to be returning to First Church for our 10th year -The second longest tenured pastor in First Church’s 127-year history. 

I am also celebrating my 30th anniversary in ministry this week. This could not be possible without the faithful members and friends of First Church.  You are The Church -The Body of Christ  - that exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!  I pray we will learn how to hear His voice more clearly and seek Him more diligently in this “New year” together. It’s all about Jesus! I love and appreciate you.


Your Pastor and Brother in Christ,




PS - Our Missions “Make A Difference”(MAD) Week begins this Sunday morning June 5th with a “hands on” project following worship and our First Church Talent Show for Missions this Sunday evening at 6:00PM.  Be sure to come support our Missions with your dollars and to have some great fun together!  Ice cream sundaes will be served too!

How Do You View the World?

I had the privilege to visit a place I had never been before this week.  I was at Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OKWU) in Bartlesville, OK for a Pastor's Conference on Faith, Work and Economics.  Several presenters shared the biblical basis for Economics from a very fresh perspective.  I hope to share some of the principles in the future once I have had an opportunity to process and review the concepts. 


The last morning a former six term US Representative from Ohio, Bob McEwan, shared his belief that there are really only two World Views.  Though I can't go into detail, I thought it was a helpful picture for what is happening in our society today.  Either people believe Man created God or God created Man.  The characteristics are presented below in terms of the distinct contrasts.


Man created God                    or            God created Man


1.  Man is the standard                          1.  God is the standard


2.  Man is basically "good"                      2.  Man needs a Savior


3.  Environment is responsible                 3.  The individual is responsible

     for our behavior                                     for his or her behavior


4.  The Group establishes rights               4.  God is the source of all rights



I shared at a Prayer Rally at The State Capitol on Wednesday afternoon that The Founding Fathers said this at the beginning of The Declaration of Independence:  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  It's obvious whose World View they ascribed to!  God is the source of our rights and these rights are being taken away from us at an alarming rate here in America.  If ever there was a time for consistent and persistent prayer it is now.  This Memorial Day weekend, please take time to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.  We owe much to our military who literally fought and died for these freedoms we still enjoy today.  May God give us an increasing measure of their courage to face our enemies-foreign and domestic.  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." - Ephs. 6:12


Hope to see my "Favorite People" this Sunday!  Enjoy Memorial Day!


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark


Keep Moving!

by Pastor Mark McAdow

May 20, 2016

This Sunday is Graduates Sunday at First Church honoring our 2016 graduates!  This is a most exciting time in their lives and that of their families too.  This year we have 9 graduates including the last High School graduate in our home, Lauren Grace McAdow.  How did it happen so soon?  It seems like just a few years ago we were at the "Pink Hospital" in Tulsa for her arrival!  Where has the time gone?  Life just keeps moving on picking up speed.  I believe it was Pastor Francis Chan who said life is like "miles per hour "--at 10 years of age life seems to move so slow but at 70 you can barely keep up with the pace!


I read a piece recently again by Douglas V. Moore and Herb Miller that recorded this account of a Graduation ceremony:


A college class was graduating on a hot and humid day.  As the graduates walked across the platform and received their diplomas from the president, he smiled, shook their hands, and said loudly, "Congratulations!"  Then, in a much lower voice, one that was firm and could be heard only by the graduates, he would say, "Keep moving."

He was only trying to keep the line moving across the stage, but his words are good advice for a lifetime--"keep moving."  After every achievement--growing up, graduation, marriage, job promotion, even retirement--the best advise is, "Keep moving.  Don't stop.  Don't stagnate.  There is more to life than you have found thus far."

Even after you have made the important decision to become a Christian, God will say the same thing to you:  "This is not the end; it is only the beginning.  Keep moving."

                                               --Douglas V. Moore and Herb Miller,

                                                  300 Seed Thoughts

Keep moving!  This is the Lord's call to each of us.  One of His favorite words is "Go!"  We "keep moving" not in our own strength but in the power of The Holy Spirit.  We had a wonderful worship service last Sunday for Pentecost as people filled the altar for prayer, as we heard a spontaneous word from Robert Lile and as we saw our Pastor almost set himself and some kids on fire during the Children's Moment!  (You will have to ask someone about it if you missed it!)  We are called to be "on fire" for the Lord, right? Absolutely!


Hope you can join us this Sunday as we congratulate our High School graduates including:  Beth Chapman, Christian Davis, Micah DeCicco, Lauren McAdow, Jacob Miller, Rachel Wolfe, Alissa Wrights and our two college grads:  Hannah Davis and Rachel Janka.  Congratulations!  We are proud of you all!


 "Since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit." (Gals. 5:25).  Keep moving!


Bless you!


Yours in Christ,

Pastor Mark

General Conference 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

May 15, 2016

Here's a blog from my previous "boss" at Asbury Church in Tulsa.  I thought his description and understanding of General Conference would be a help and a blessing to you!

The United Methodist Church (UMC) has "General Conference" (GC) every four years. This legislative group is the only voice which speaks for the UMC. General Conference passes legislation which is compiled into our "Book of Discipline," which is the authority for life and order in our church.

The 2016 GC is in Portland, Oregon, from May 10-20. I counted 862 delegates from Africa, Europe, the Philippines and the USA in my pre-conference booklet. Half of the delegates are clergy and half are laity. Oklahoma has seven of each. I am a clergy delegate. Our delegates were chosen at Annual Conference last year.

Our Bishop, Robert E. Hayes, Jr., will retire on August 31. A new Bishop for Oklahoma will be selected at a Jurisdictional Conference in Wichita, Kansas, in July.

United Methodist bishops, pastors and churches are bound to uphold the "Book of Discipline" (BOD). This determines the official policy of our denomination. Some have expressed disagreement with one particular part of the BOD. While we believe all people are of sacred worth, we believe the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. This statement always is a great divide among delegates. Many social principles will be discussed with great intensity (another is the petition to divest and boycott from Israel because of settlements they've built in Palestinian-held territory).

We anticipate public demonstrations and disruptions by those who wish to change the BOD from its current stances. Protesters have literally taken over in past GC sessions and shut down the event for a period. You will probably hear about this in one form or another.

Human sexuality is complex. The church must offer grace. We are all sinners who struggle. However, scripture is my authority and guide. John Wesley  said: "I am a man of one book" (the Bible). I believe scripture is very clear in affirming that sexual relationships are between one man and one woman married to each other. This is how God made us - male and female for each other. Yet, our biggest struggle in our own congregation is not with homosexuality, but with heterosexuality run amuck. That's why I emphasize: we ALL stand in need of grace. As people of The Book, we must not compromise our truth. As people of The Book, we are called to love. We can compromise on either end of the spectrum, but scripture is clear: we are also to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Our culture's drift into moral relativism isn't novel. The Book of Judges states that "everyone did what was right in their own eyes." Their culture was confused. Christians are to adhere to the guide of Scripture. When it speaks, we are to follow.

My illustration to describe GC is like having a joint meeting of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions combined with the United Nations. Consensus amidst such diversity is extremely difficult. Good people from all positions are sincere and well-meaning. We just have severe disagreements about the nature of Scripture, political realities and life application.

There are so many things I love about the UMC. Our history and doctrine, our system of accountability (checks and balances) and our willingness to engage with social and cultural issues are all endearing. Wesley's small group model emphasizing discipleship based on: "Love God - Do Good - Avoid Harm" is exactly what I believe and try to practice. I've been a life-long Methodist. It's the way I think, and I feel comfortable with its structure. My connection has remained strong, even with its (and my own) limitations. ANY church, local or denominational, will have imperfections as we are all sinners.

As I go to General Conference again this time, I'm thankful for your prayers for the UMC. I'm convinced that God is in control and that all things will work out for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Here are two links you might find of interest:

  1. The General Conference website which has all kinds of information (even quizzes about our history and practice) 
  2. The President of Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. Tim Tennent, wrote an article about "The Deeper Issue Facing The UMC

         Tom Harrison

         Senior Pastor


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark


PS - This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday!  I hope to experience the "fresh fire" of The Holy Spirit with you this Sunday!  Be praying!  See you there!

Thanks for Praying!

by Pastor Mark McAdow

May 6, 2016

Yesterday was the 65th National Day of Prayer for our nation.  First Church hosted this great time of prayer and welcomed Governor Mary Fallin and Lt. Governor Todd Lamb to our sanctuary along with Kevin Ogle from Channel 4 News and other key leaders who led us in prayer.  It's another reminder of the great reputation and unique opportunity we have as members of First Church to bless our City and support the work of The Kingdom of God in Oklahoma City.  I was pleased for each of you who made a special effort to be present for the service this year. (As you may recall, we had significant flood damage last year and had roped off several of the pews due to wet carpet.  Praise God for better weather this year!).


I was struck once again how very blessed we are in Oklahoma to have leaders who lift up the name of Jesus boldly!  From our Governor on down the line I heard reference to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and as our only Hope for this country.

As I visited with Todd Lamb afterwards, I asked if he might come share with us personally at First Church sometime.  He said he would he would be happy to if he could bring his family as well.  I told him we would love to welcome them all!


I began my day yesterday at an early morning prayer meeting with some Christian businessmen.  It is such a blessing to hear other men pray and to seek God together

for our nation.  Dr. Tony Evans wrote this year's National Prayer.  I thought you would appreciate reading his insightful prayer.


Dear heavenly Father, we come to You today as a humble people desperate for Your supernatural intervention on behalf of our beloved nation.  First, we thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on our land, blessings that have allowed us to bring so much good and benefit to not only our own citizens but also to the rest of the world. The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on biblical truths, no matter how some try to rewrite history to deny that very fact today.

This is why our hearts are so broken over how You continue to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions. We are also saddened by the fact that Your people have contributed greatly to the spiritual apathy that now engulfs us. Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of Your Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society.

It is for this reason that we personally and collectively repent of our carnality and recommit ourselves to becoming visible and verbal disciples of Jesus Christ. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to no longer be secret agent Christians but rather to publicly declare and live out Your truth in a spirit of love so that You feel welcome in our country once again.

Thank You for Your promise to hear our prayers when we call to You with hearts of repentance and obedience, which is how we are appealing to You today, Father. On behalf of Your church, we affirm afresh the priority You are to us that You would fill every dimension of our lives as we seek to bring You glory through the advancement of Your kingdom in our personal lives, our family lives, and in the lives of our churches and our government leaders. We confidently invite heaven's intervention into all the affairs of our nation and we praise You in advance for Your answer.

In Jesus' name we pray.


by Dr. Tony Evans

Author John Bunyon once wrote, "You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed."  Let's pray bold prayers and share our faith boldly too!  God wants to do more than we can think or imagine!


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark


PS - Remember Mother's Day is this Sunday May 8th!  Be sure to honor your Mom or her memory this Sunday, as we gather to celebrate the "Moms in our life!"  Blessings-

I Was Blessed!

By Pastor Mark McAdow

April 29, 2016

Last Saturday night we hosted our annual "Blessing of the Shoes" Worship Service here at First Church.  It was another great time of worship with our church family, friends and Marathon guests!  When I turned toward the front row I saw several friends from my former church, Asbury Church in Tulsa.  It was such a joy to see each one and to catch up a little before the service.  As you know, I believe the family of God is the very best family in the world!  Friendships in Christ will last forever - literally!  (Robin and I also had a blessing of seeing three other friends on Wednesday from Tulsa who came to participate in the Decision America Prayer Rally at The State Capitol with Franklin Graham.  Thanks to each of you who came out to pray for our nation!)


Back to Saturday night . . . at the close of the worship, I offered a prayer over the runners' and volunteers' shoes and feet!  I invited anyone who wanted to stay to be anointed with oil.  Once again several did, including my friends and finally a brother in a wheelchair who attends every year.  His name is Michael and he happens to be a United Methodist Pastor.  After I anointed Michael, he asked if he could anoint me.  I was humbled and extremely blessed as I dropped to a knee and he anointed me and prayed over me.  (I ran my first Memorial Marathon Relay with four other First Church Men on Sunday morning and had my best 10K time and pace ever!  Seeking God's blessing pays off!)


My greatest blessing of Marathon Weekend had to be you, the giving people of our First Church Family!  Once again you served our community and guests with love and compassion.  Special Thanks to Sarah Baumann and Casey Heald for serving as Co-Chairpersons for our Second Wind Ministry this year, and our Chairpersons who led their Teams with distinction:  Expo Booth - Steve and Sandie Blake; Security - Michael Davis; Kitchen - Jim Parsons and Marty Anderson; Dining Room - Julie Gochenour; Kid's Area -Sara Hurston and Lisa Turley; Greeters - Robin McAdow; Media - Tony Moran; Worship - Morgan Harper; and Facilities - Greg DaValt.  To each of you who gave your time and energy -THANKS!  We couldn't do it without you and we wouldn't want to try!


It really is more blessed to give than to receive!


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - This Thursday May 5 we will host the National Day of Prayer Service for The State of Oklahoma beginning with a pre-concert at 11:30 AM and the Prayer Service from 12 noon to 1:00 in our Sanctuary.  We expect Governor Fallin and other State Leaders to be present.  I trust you will make every effort to be here as we welcome our guests back to First Church!  Blessings!


by Pastor Mark McAdow

April 22, 2016

Monday morning on the way to the church I was driving behind a yellow Porsche with a vanity license tag that read "COSICAN."  As we approached the railroad crossing at 122nd just east of Santa Fe, the RR lights began flashing and the arms went down on the tracks.  The person in the car ahead of me made a quick decision to drive around the arms.  I gave her (I was later told her gender) a firm honk in disbelief she would endanger herself and possible others around her by such an action.


A few minutes later, after the train had cleared the tracks; I made my way across the tracks and onto the on-ramp of the Broadway Extension heading south.  As I did, I looked over my left shoulder and saw the yellow Porsche involved in an accident behind me on the Broadway Extension and an overturned van.  I saw emergency vehicles arriving on the scene.  I learned from the Oklahoma City PD that there was one fatality.   The license plate gave voice to her philosophy -" 'Cause I Can."

She may have caused someone to lose his or her life that very day.


We all get impatient at times, especially when driving around others who are darting between lanes without signaling or riding your bumper.  Sometimes we may be guilty as well.  But do we ever think how our actions may endanger those around us?  Life is a gift from God.  We should care for our lives and those around us with great respect, safety and compassion.  Our impatience could lead to great tragedy.


Any time I get in my car these days, I offer a quick but sincere prayer,  "Lord, protect me and those around me."  I hope you will do the same.


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - It was our privilege to host the 21st National Memorial Anniversary Service on Tuesday April 19.  Our own Ruth Schwab was one of the name readers this year, remembering the special people she worked with in the Murrah Federal Building.


PSS - It's Marathon Weekend!!  Join us for Worship at The Blessing of The Shoes Service this Saturday from 6:00 - 7:00PM and for our Second Wind Outreach from 5:30 - 10:30AM this Sunday morning!  Blessings!!

God Is in You

We've been reading and discussing the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan on Wednesday evenings at First Church.  Our times together have been challenging and very rich too.  Francis has a unique way of helping us to see things we often miss in Scripture by taking time to really think about well-known biblical concepts, especially if we've been Christians for some time.  Last week, his reminder that God is in you impacted me personally.  When you confess your sin, repent and receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord, His Holy Spirit comes to live in you!


In his book, he asks a very simple question -  "Would you be willing to take thirty seconds right now just to dwell on the fact that God is in you?"  Would you?  Close your eyes right now and think about that promise and fact.  Can you believe it?  The God of the Universe, Almighty God - lives in you and me by the power of His Holy

Spirit.  It really is mind blowing.  Paul put it this way to the Christians in Colosse, 'To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles (that's us) the glorious riches of this mystery, which is 'Christ in you, the hope of glory!'"(Cols. 1:27)


I've been meditating on that phrase for over a week.  It is so very encouraging.  Christ in you, the hope of glory!  I don't fully understand it, but I accept it by faith!  You and I are never alone--the Holy Spirit lives in us!  Hear Francis Chan's challenge today:   "Please don't let this reality slip past you like an interesting piece of trivia that might catch your attention for a minute but that you'll never take the time to really investigate.  You are a temple of The Holy Spirit.  You are not just a person living your life by human power.  The Spirit of God is in you; that is why Jesus said it was better for Him to go and the Spirit to come.  Don't walk away from this.  Delve into it and let it impact you deeply, first internally and then outwardly."


It's true, " Christ in you, the hope of glory!"  No wonder you're so attractive!


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark


PS -Remember our All Church Fellowship Dinner this Sunday after worship!  Be sure to bring a large side dish to share and come prepared to have some fun!


PSS - Bishop Hayes will be preaching this Sunday evening at First Church for Youth Metro Worship. "Youth of all ages" are invited to attend--I'll be here!  Blessings!

The Best Family in this World and Beyond!

by Mark McAdow

April 15, 2016

I was sharing with our SPRC (Staff Parish Relations Committee) on Monday evening about two unique experiences I had last week here in OKC.  I was invited to attend a Pastor's Visioning meeting at The Sheraton Hotel Tuesday morning for an upcoming Reinhard Bonnke Gospel Crusade to be held here August 21-22, 2016 at the Cox Convention Center.  When I walked into the room of about 200+ people, I recognized no one.  I sat down and introduced myself to some Pastors from India and discovered one of their sons had recently gotten married at First Church! (We do a lot of Indian weddings here.  Ask Jan Chapman about how fun and beautiful they are!  By the way, Jan does a great job as our Wedding Coordinator!  Thanks Jan). 


As I listened to Dr. Bonnke speak, I could sense the Holy Spirit at work in really miraculous ways.  I was blessed to hear how God gave him a vision as a young man concerning Africa - He told him "Africa shall be saved!"  Dr. Bonnke has now been used of God to lead 75 million people to Christ over the past 40 years!  Praise the Lord!  God has now spoken to him a similar word for America, "America shall be saved!"  He never thought he would be coming to America to lead Crusades, but as we all know America is ripe for revival or judgment!  He was planning to go to Tulsa, but felt led of the Lord to come to Oklahoma City instead, exactly one year from the weekend Franklin Graham was here.  God is up to something in OKC and America!  I want to be a part of it, don't you?


My second experience was last Thursday night here at First Church; we hosted "A Night of Encouragement" for Pastors and Wives led by a former Billy Graham Team member, Evangelist Bob Thomas.  I walked into Harris Hall and only recognized a few pastors I knew.  I had the privilege of praying with a young Lutheran pastor during the evening.  It hit me - I've been Senior Pastor at First Church for 9 years, worked on The Franklin Graham Festival Team and there are still lots of pastors in the Metro area I do not know at all.  We have no idea how big and beautiful the Body of Christ really is!  It is the Best Family in this world and beyond! 


So glad to be part of The First Church Family with you!  The Church is not simply a Christian group; it is family with all the joys and challenges.  I'm praying for you and the First Church Family by name this weekend.  Be Blessed!  I will be speaking ono the topic of Joy this Sunday!  There's no place I'd rather be!  His love is amazing!  Hope to see you Sunday!


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark


PS - Remember our special Farewell Reception for Sara Hurston this Sunday right after morning worship in Harris Hall.


PPS  - Our "baby girl" Lauren turns 18 on Monday!  Happy Birthday Sugar!  I love you!

Jesus Had Good Manners?

April 1, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

After my Easter message about allowing Jesus to raise the (good) dead stuff in our lives, Penny Anderson sent me a footnote from the Internet about the linen napkin in the tomb folded and my itself in John's account.  Here's what it says...


Why did Jesus fold the napkin?

The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin.


Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.  She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, 'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!' Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in.  Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.


Is that important? Absolutely!  Is it really significant? Yes!


In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.  When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.  Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, 'I'm done'.


But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because...


The folded napkin meant, 'I'm coming back!'


He is Coming Back!

Though I don't know the exact source of this tradition, the conclusion is true!  He is coming back!  Praise the Lord!  That is our promise as well as our hope!  Easter is all about today!  We celebrated it last Sunday in a "wonder full" way, but the Easter message is about living in His power and for Jesus every day knowing He is coming back again! His first Advent was rather quiet -His return will be anything but quiet!  Share the love of Jesus as often as you can, with as many people as you can!  We don't want anyone to be left behind!


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark


PS - Remember we have a Wedding Shower for our Worship leader Morgan Harper and her fiancée Ridge Kennedy this Sunday after Worship.  Our Youth will be leading us this Sunday too.  Come be blessed!


March 25, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

AD 33

Jerusalem--Jesus Christ, 33, of Nazareth, died Friday on Mount Calvary, also known as Golgotha, the place of the skulls.  Betrayed by the disciple Judas, Jesus was crucified by the Romans by order of the Ruler Pontius Pilate. The causes of death were crucifixion, extreme exhaustion, severe torture, and loss of blood.

Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham, was a member of the house of David.  He was the Son of the late Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth, and Mary, His devoted Mother.  Jesus was born in a stable in the city of Bethlehem, Judea.  He is survived by His mother, Mary, His faithful apostles, numerous disciples, and many other followers.

Jesus was self-educated and spent most of His adult life working as a Teacher.  Jesus also occasionally worked as a Medical Doctor and it is reported that He healed many patients.  Up until the time of His death, Jesus was teaching and sharing the Good News, healing the sick, touching the lonely, feeding the hungry, and helping the poor.

Jesus was most noted for tell parables about His Father's kingdom and performing miracles, such as feeding over 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, and healing a man who was born blind.  On the day before His death, He held a Last Supper celebrating the Passover Feast at which He foretold His death.

The body was quickly buried in a stone grave which was donated by Joseph of Arimathea, a loyal friend of the family.  By order of Pontius Pilate, a boulder was rolled in front of the tomb.  Roman soldiers were put on guard.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that everyone try to live as Jesus did  Donations may be sent to anyone in need.

# # #

Good Friday Fast:  9 AM to 3 PM (the hours Christ hung on the cross)

Good Friday Service of Remembrance:  Tonight at 7 PM in the sanctuary. Come offer your respects to Jesus as we remember His great sacrifice for each of us.

Yours in Christ's Love,

Pastor Mark

P.S. - Join us this Sunday at 9:30 AM for our Resurrection Breakfast and Easter Worship at 10:45 AM!

Why Do We Call It "Holy"?

by Pastor Mark McAdow
March 18, 2016

Holy Week begins this Sunday March 20th with Palm Sunday!  It's hard to believe it is here, but it really is!  Good news:  this Sunday you will not have to "Spring Forward" (unless you're coming home from Hawaii!).


Holy means to "set apart," "specifically recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated, dedicated or devoted to the service of God" according to The Random House College Dictionary.  We use the word Holy to describe "Communion," "Spirit" and this upcoming "Week." It is "set apart" for sacred use, unlike any other week of the year.  It is a week designed to be totally focused on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord!  How will you invest this week?  I hope you will make plans now to participate in the special worship services at First Church this next week including:


*Palm Sunday Worship - this Sunday, March 20, at 10:45AM

*Maundy Thursday lunch, devotional and Holy Communion -

this Thursday, March 24, from 12 Noon to 1:00PM in Harris Hall

*Good Friday Service - next Friday, March 25, at 7:00 PM

*Resurrection Breakfast!   - next Sunday, March 27, at 9:30AM

           *Easter Worship  - next Sunday morning, March 27, at 10:45AM!!


I know many of you have been observing the Season of Lent by meeting with your Prayer Partners on a weekly basis.  I pray that your lives have been enriched by this experience.  I also know you have been praying for people to invite to join you for Holy Week Services.  Now is the time to extend your prayerful invitations.  It's a spiritual principle, "We have not because we ask not," so let's ask with great enthusiasm!


Others of you have given up something of value for Lent (I should've given up desserts!).  I would like to challenge you to join me in a limited fast next Friday - Good Friday.  Jesus hung on the cross from 9:00AM - 3:00PM.  Wouldn't it meaningful to deny ourselves any food during those same hours in remembrance of Him?  Whatever the Lord leads you to do next week -may it truly be a "Holy Week!"


In Christ's Love,   Pastor Mark

Do Good People Go to Heaven?

by Pastor Mark McAdow

March 11, 2016

Last Sunday we tackled this significant question in life!  If you ask most people they would say, "Yes...Good people go to Heaven."  After all, the opposite wouldn't be true, would it?  Bad people go to Heaven?  No, that wouldn't make sense or seem fair, would it?


But what about "good people?"   I had a conversation several months ago now with some friends I eat lunch with on Saturdays.  They were telling me about their wealthy son and his multiple recognized successes in life and business.  I acknowledged that he was a very bright and successful person in this world.  He had recently made a large donation to one of Oklahoma's premier universities and to a local school near his home.  No doubt he is a "good person" in our society's view.  He does good things for others, like so many other people - and that is a genuine benefit for others.   But I remember saying gently, "But good people do not go to Heaven."  Most people do not want to hear that because it seems unfair.  Shouldn't all "good people" - good Muslims, good Christians, good Hindus, good Jews all go to Heaven?  If it was based on goodness, maybe; but then who would determine the goodness scale?


Good people do not go to Heaven, only forgiven ones!   Entrance to Heaven is not based on one's goodness or performance.  It is based solely on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus said clearly in John 14:6, "I am The Way, and The Truth, and The Life; no one comes to the Father except through me."  Jesus is the only way!  So, what about doing good?  Should we seek to "do good?"


Absolutely!  Not to earn our salvation, but to bless others in Jesus' name.  Ephesians 2:8-10 reads, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."


John Wesley, The Founder of the Methodist movement said, "Do All the good you can.  By all the means you can.  In all the ways you can.  At all the time you can.  To all the people you can.  As long as ever you can."  He followed a great example, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; ... he went about doing good..."(Acts 10:38). We're saved by grace and do good works to show our love for the One who saved us!  What good works is Jesus showing you to do? To God be the glory!


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - I know this is painful to hear, but be sure to "Spring Forward!" this Saturday night by setting your clocks ahead one hour.  This too will pass!  Blessings-

Tragic Loss

by Pastor Mark McAdow

March 4, 2016

On Wednesday morning the Oklahoma City community lost a good man.  I did not have the privilege of knowing Aubrey McClendon, but his footprint is all over The Oklahoma City Metro.  OKC Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett wrote this, when he learned of Aubrey's tragic car accident,  " I am overcome with grief.  Aubrey McClendon was a visionary community leader, a trusted business partner and a passionate member of The Thunder family.  But more than anything, he was a brother and a dear friend.  His love of his community and his desire to make Oklahoma a better place will forever inspire us all."


I had read Wednesday morning in the Oklahoman he had been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury and I was concerned to hear the allegations, though a person is always innocent until proven guilty.  I learned that the hard way when I was in a jury selection process and asked by a defender if the defendant was innocent or guilty.  I said I didn't know because I had yet to hear the case.  I was reminded every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. 


The circumstances surrounding his death as I write this are suspicious.  His SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed and was driven straight into a bridge embankment the day the article was printed.  It appears the accident may have been intentional.  As one who has experienced several suicides of close family members and friends; I would ask you to join me in praying for Katie McClendon and their family much these days.  They need all the love and support they can receive in the days, weeks and months ahead.  One desperate act does not define a person's life.  A person's true legacy is written by those he impacted the most.


Last Sunday, I concluded our series on Simplicity:  Uncluttering your Soul, by looking at the seasons of our lives.  I'm sure Mr. McClendon or those closest to him did not expect that he was in his final season at age 56.  It's another subtle reminder to live your life every day as though it might be your last.  As one writer has put it, "This life will soon be passed and only the things done for Christ will last."  Live life to the fullest!  Remember the words of Jesus, "I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly"(John 10:10).  Our life is in Him!


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Mark


PS - We just began an excellent study on Wednesday Night called Forgotten God by Francis Chan.  It's all about The Holy Spirit.  I challenge you to join us for the next 6 weeks as we seek to allow The Holy Spirit greater access in our lives and our First Church family!

Live Life!

by Pastor Mark McAdow

February 26, 2016

How long do you expect to live?  Most of us would say a very long time.  For some reason, most people believe that’s true.  Sometimes it is and, of course, sometimes tragedy interrupts our plans in a very dramatic way.  We all can cite personal experiences if we have lived on this earth very long at all.  A most recent local example was the tragic car accident that claimed Ingrid William’s life--the wife of Thunder Assistant Coach Monty Williams.  Though I never had the privilege of knowing her personally, her husband’s words at her Memorial Service and that of other NBA players spoke volumes.  I appreciate that he spoke of her Christian faith and that she is not lost because he knows where she is!  She is in heaven!  That is our wonderful promise and hope as believers!


Psalms 90: 10 says, “The length of our days is seventy years - or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass and we fly away.”  But the point of this life is not the number of years, but the life in our years.  Nelson Mandela wrote this “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.  It is the difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”  Live life for God and others!


Want to stay young?  Here are a few ideas for Lists to Live By compiled by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens and John Van Diest.


1.            Applaud other’s successes.

2.            Exercise daily.

3.            Keep a positive attitude.

4.            Read widely and often.

5.            Play with children.

6.            Enjoy nature.

7.            Laugh heartily.

8.            Take a class.

9.            Plant a garden.

10.          Count your blessings.

11.          Take risks.

12.          Sing from your heart.

13.          Get a pet.

14.          Eat healthy.

15.          Give generously to others.


Great advice for daily living.  We’ll be looking at some age-old advice from King Solomon this Sunday as we continue to “declutter our souls!”

It’s what Morgan is calling “Throwback Sunday” so come prepared to have some fun and share in some classic Praise and Worship!


Yours in Christ’s Love,


Pastor Mark


PS - Don’t forget!  Tonight is our 5th Anniversary Celebration of Friday Night Alive!  Come join in the fun as we celebrate what God has done and is doing through First Church and our Homeless community!

A Verse for Life!

by Mark McAdow

February 19, 2016

Last Sunday in Worship, I shared a concept called a "life verse."  A life verse is simply "a short passage of Scripture that serves as a rallying cry to guide and focus the current season of your life or you life as a whole" according to Pastor Bill Hybels.  I shared about a life motto that I adopted as a college student from The Navigator's Ministry, "To Know Christ and To Make Him Known."  That has given direction to my life regarding my educational pursuits, as well as my call to full time ministry as a pastor.  But even more important than a great life motto is a great life verse!  Why?


Because God says this in Isaiah 55:11, "so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."  God's Word can direct your life like no other word!  The Word itself is both powerful and effective.  Do you have a life verse?  What are some of the benefits?  1.  It can clarify what matters most in your life.  2.  It can help call out the very best in you.  3.  It will bring comfort and encouragement!  After you read it aloud, you should feel your faith grow!  It should address an area of weakness or special need ideally, not simply be a favorite or beloved verse.  It should challenge you in your personal walk with Christ.


I shared my current life verse is Isaiah 41:10, "Do not fear, for I am with you.  Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  I then asked if there were a few people who very willing to share their life verse if they had one.  I was amazed when over a dozen people stood up and shared-many of them by memory.  What a special moment in Worship for all present.  I hope you make every effort to be in Worship every week because the truth is you never know what you miss when you're gone.


I ran into Jan Chapman in the office yesterday and she was downstairs working with our children on Sunday, so she missed the message, but her husband Joel filled her in.  She shared that she asks the Lord for a "life verse" each New Year.  Guess what her verse is this year?  Isaiah 6:8 - " Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?'  And I said, "Here am I.  Send me!'"


Now guess what passage I preached from last Sunday!  That very verse!  God is up to something!  Don't miss what He is doing at First Church!


Hope to see you again this Sunday!


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark


PS -Wasn't last Sunday fun?  Thanks to the ladies who made Valentine's goody bags for each of us and for the "Scrabble lovers " among us too!

Praying for You

by Pastor Mark McAdow

February 12, 2016

Hope your Lenten Season is off to a great start!  We had a very special and meaningful time together Wednesday night at our Ash Wednesday Service in the sanctuary.  It's always good to take time out to reflect on the sacrifice of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ at this time of year, as we offered prayers, sang hymns, heard God's Word shared and received the sign of the cross with the imposition of ashes.  Thanks to all who participated in this annual service of worship and those involved in "Prayer Partners for Lent" too.  I know God will be honored and you will be blessed as you pray with one other First Church brother or sister!


I'd like to share a couple of cool answers to prayer I experienced this week.  One came last Sunday morning at our All Church Prayer Meeting when we divided into small groups and prayed for all our members and guests by name!  As I was picking up the prayer sheets, John Barrett held on to his.  When I asked "why?" he said he was sending texts to those his group prayed for simply saying, "Praying for you."  At lunch today someone told me about receiving an untitled text last Sunday morning about 10:30AM.  I was able to tell him it was from John and his group!  What a blessing to know someone is "praying for you!"  And Someone always is - Jesus!  Hebrews 7:25 says this about Jesus, "...He always lives to intercede for 'us.'"  Jesus is praying for you and me!

(You may not get a text, but it's a promise from His Word and He always keeps His promises!)


The other answer came at lunch on Wednesday, when I told our waitress we were about to pray and asked if there was anything we could pray for her?  She said she wasn't religious, but her Grandmother had just got out of the hospital and said we could mention her.  I asked her name and then had the privilege of praying for Jackie.  At the end of the meal, the waitress came by to thank us for remembering her Grandmother.  I wanted to say, "We're not religious either, we just love Jesus."  Maybe I'll get another opportunity some time.  It's powerful to have someone pray with and for you.  It's one of our greatest gifts as Christians to share.


Looking forward to being with you this Sunday -Valentine's Day!


Yours in Christ's Love,



Pastor Mark


PS - Come prepared for s sweet surprise!  Remember the words from your Valentine, "I have loved you with an everlasting love!"(Jer. 31:3)!

Do Something New!

February 5, 2016

by Pastor Mark McAdow

Is your life in a rut?  Doing the same thing over and over every day?  Bored to tears?  The Lord has something better for you!  Something new! God is all about creating "newness" in our lives.  Consider some of the things His very Word The Bible says...


"He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God..."    - Psalm 40:3


"I will give you a new heart and put a newspirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." - Ezekiel 36:26


 "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" -   ll Cor. 5:17


What is something new the Lord is leading you to do these days?  Those of us on The First Church SHIFTS Team was challenged to shop at a different grocery store, or try a new restaurant or coffee shop just to "experience" something new as a first time guest, so we might know what it feels like to visit a new church for the first time.  Hopefully that will help us learn how to welcome our guests with new resolve, more genuine caring  and greater enthusiasm too!


How about your own spiritual life?  Are you in a rut there as well? The Season of Lent begins next week with Ash Wednesday. We will host a worship service in our sanctuary beginning at 7:15 PM after an abbreviated War Room Study discussion.

We will sing some of the great hymns of our faith and receive the imposition of ashes on our foreheads, as we begin the 40 day journey leading up to Easter (not including Sundays) of the Season of Lent.  It's a time to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ for each of us on the cross.  That all sounds rather "old" but what about something new?  What new thing will you do in your walk with Christ?


May I offer a suggestion?  You may want to give up some favorite food item or other pleasure, or some other act of self denial -all very helpful with the right spirit.  Or you may want to add a new opportunity to grow closer to Christ and one other person. I introduced "Prayer Partners for Lent" last Sunday.  It's  very simple.  You meet with one other person weekly during the six weeks of Lent, at an agreed upon location, and you pray for one another -  that's it!  Sound doable?  I think so.  I already have my Prayer Partner and am looking forward to our time together!  You can sign up this Sunday.  Do something new!  It will please God and bless you!


Yours for a closer walk with Jesus,


Pastor Mark


PS - Our first All Church Prayer Gathering of 2016 is this Sunday February 7 at 9:40 AM in the Sanctuary.  Looking forward to seeing you here!  Blessings-

Fifth Sunday Fellowship

by Pastor Mark McAdow

January 29, 2016

This Sunday January 31, we will host our first Fellowship Dinner of 2016! The Soup and Sandwich Supper will follow immediately after Morning Worship.  Our own great cook Mary McIntire will be preparing homemade chicken noodle soup with ham or turkey sandwiches as well with her famous chocolate chip cookies.  For those participating in the Daniel Fast this year -we will "break fast" together at the noon meal!


We will see the Highlight video of First Church Ministries in 2015 produced by Kris and Toby Nelson during lunch and they will also be leading us in a brief "get to know each other" game too!  Jan Chapman and friends will also help us to remember our beloved Sallie Felton by sharing a 'time honored tradition" of Sallie (She would have been 85 tomorrow).  It's an opportunity to help our homeless by bringing a small wrapped gift (we especially need Men's hats and gloves) to give to our Friday Night Alive Clothes Closet Ministry.  Thanks as always for your generous support!


Why is it so important to spend time together?  Quite honestly, because we were created for Community!  Even The Trinity shared relationship together as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We live in a world that is connected more than ever by technology, but is losing the personal relationships that are so critical to healthy living.  I was sharing with our staff this week a book I remember called Future Shock by Alvin Toffler.  In his book -though I never read it personally  - writer Greg Lindsay said "(Alvin and Heidi Toffler) predicted the electronic frontier of The Internet, Prozac, YouTube, cloning, home-schooling, the self-induced choices, instant celebrities and the end of blue-collar manufacturing."  The book was written in 1970.  I remember specifically the phrase "High Tech, Low Touch."  That's where American life seems to be today.  We have instant communication, but we're starving for genuine relationships.  We were created for more.  I'll be speaking about that in worship.


Hope you can join us this Sunday for some good old-fashioned fellowship, sharing a good meal and conversation together.  You will be blessed.  Remember, Hebrews 10:23-24, "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."  Bless you!


Yours in Christ's Love,


Pastor Mark

Is It OK to Be Sad?

by Pastor Mark McAdow

January 22, 2016

In the Old Testament, the prophet Nehemiah brought King Artaxerxes his wine and the King responded, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill?  This can be nothing but sadness of heart."(Neh. 2:2).  It was clear something had upset Nehemiah deeply and indeed it had.  He learned that the great City of God Jerusalem lay in ruins.


During the winter season, many people suffer from major depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Some of the symptoms include:

  1.    Feeling depressed most of the day, every day
  2.    Feeling hopeless or worthless
  3.    Experiencing low energy
  4.    Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  5.    Sleeping issues
  6.    Changes in appetite or weight
  7.    Feeling sluggish or agitated
  8.    Difficulty concentrating
  9.    Frequent thoughts of death or suicide. 

The prescription?  More light!  Phototherapy to be exact.  Sitting even in artificial light for hours at a time can improve mood!  Isn't interesting that Jesus said, "I am The Light of the World?"  Indeed He is!  It's natural to be sad for different reasons, but prolonged sadness may signal something different.  If you find yourself there, seek help immediately.


On September 5, 1980 a new organization was founded in America called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.). Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr. mentioned them in his message to pastors on Tuesday.  They updated their priorities and Mission statement last year to read, "The Mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking."  What began with deep sadness over the loss of a child's life moved Moms into taking action to change the world, as we know it.  I lost a "future" relative to a drunk driver.  She was 19 at the time.  A Mom's sadness led to shining the light on a horrific violent crime against innocent people. That has helped save lives no doubt.


Today is a day that brings me deep sadness.  It is the anniversary of an unjust law that made it legal to abort a generation of Americans -over 50 million so far (Over 6,000 each year in Oklahoma alone).  Robin and I have joined a group of pastors and other Christians to not just be sad, but to take action to change this tragedy at least in our state called "Protect Life and Marriage OK." You can join us if you will by adding your support at  Some things should make us sad and also mad. 



Yours for the sake of Christ,


Pastor Mark

Shifting Gears

by Pastor Mark McAdow

January 15, 2016

I have never owned a standard transmission vehicle, though my sister 's first car was a Volkswagen Bug.  I have driven a standard on occasion when I first learned how to drive.  In fact I remember sweating on the hills at a stoplight, when I drove a small flat bed truck with ceramic adobe style tiles loaded from The Casa Bonita in Tulsa to the restaurant in Little Rock.  Thankfully my Dad went along for the ride and I arrived with most of my load in tact!


I understand there is a thrill in shifting gears into higher speeds yourself, but there's also a certain level of skill required that  - like all skills - takes some time to learn.  How do we learn?  From a skilled instructor and quite honestly by trial and error.  You learn by doing.


Some of us need to "downshift" in our busy lives to discover the right pace the Lord wants us to live by.  We may find ourselves in "overdrive" right now.  That's in part what my new sermon series is about, "Simplify:  Uncluttering your Soul" based on Bill Hybels' book.  We'll focus on some biblical and practical ways to slow down and take a look at how we're currently living our lives.  Is it in our best interest?  Are there any adjustments we need to make?  What gear am I in?


Some of us may need to "shift up" in our spiritual lives as well.  We may find they we are operating in "neutral" - just going through the motions, but making no real progress in our spiritual lives right now.  Who is responsible for that? We are!  We must take initiative for our spiritual lives.  Like we saw in the movie War Room, the natural progression of hot coffee is to move from being hot toward being cold.  The Lord had some pretty hard words for "lukewarm" believers.  Remember what he says in Rev. 3?  "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold or hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am going to spit you out of my mouth."  Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but I think you get the idea.  So is "neutral" worse than "reverse?"  Yes - because there are times "reverse" gets you heading back in the right direction.


Last Saturday, a group of five faithful First Church leaders met at Oklahoma City University to begin a yearlong process of "Making shifts" in our thinking and ministry in 2016.  I am so very thankful for: Hardy Patton, Sue Kuntze, Morgan Harper, Marty Anderson and Tim Basham.  Please pray for this First Church Team who are exploring with others and me in The Heartland and Crossroads' Districts how to grow in our effectiveness for Jesus in the New Year!


Where are you growing?  What will you do to shift to the appropriate gear to follow Jesus more clearly in 2016?


Blessings to you on this potentially life-changing journey!


Pastor Mark


PS -The War Room Bible Study got off to a good start on Wednesday.  There's still time to join this week as well!  Blessings-

War Room

by Pastor Mark McAdow

January 8, 2016

A packed house watched the recently released feature movie War Room on Wednesday night in Harris Hall.  It is a very moving film about a family in trouble and the practical prayer strategies used to overcome some of their challenges.  Many of us were wiping away a tear or two, as we experienced some of the pain of the couple and their young daughter and also were encouraged by the faithfulness of Miss Clara and her amazing prayer life born out of her own personal pain.  Why the title "War Room?"  Because we are each in a battle - whether we realize it or not - and need a strategy to win in this life. 

As I shared after the movie, the Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  We often think our battles are against other people who disagree with us, or hate or ignore us or attack us, but it's really not people at all.  It's against Satan and his demonic forces at work in this world.  If you are a true born again believer, there is a target on your back.  Satan is out to get you -by whatever means he can.  It may take the form of lust, gluttony, adultery, dishonesty, sexual perversion, materialism, or spiritual pride to name a few.  Don't be naïve -The Enemy is after you and your family.  "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  That's what Jesus says in John 10:10.  He also reminds us that "Greater is He who is in you (The Holy Spirit) than he (Satan) who is in the world" (I John 4:4). We can overcome the Enemy and his schemes, because Jesus has already defeated him on the cross!  Praise God!

But we must "fight the good fight of faith" to do it.  How?  In passionate, Word directed, persistent prayer.  Where?  In the War Room - a place designated exclusively for prayer.  Miss Clara had a literal prayer closet where she wrote out her prayers for others and prayed with passion and persistence.  She was "fired up" in the battle and rejoiced victoriously when she saw her prayers answered!  She refused to give up even when it seemed everything was getting worse before it got better.  That's where real trust comes in!  Do you ever feel that way?  What's the use?  I've prayed and prayed and still don't see the answer I've asked for.  Who do you think is feeding you that lie?  It can't be God because He can't lie.  God tells us to never give up in prayer!

Do you desire to see genuine breakthroughs in your life and in the lives of those you love?  Learn how to "fight in prayer' by joining us the next five Wednesday nights, sharing in a separate Men's and Women's group discussion.  Be sure to pick up your book this Sunday and join us this Wednesday January 13th as we begin War Room:  The Study.  Like anything in life; prayer takes practice.  You can "practice with us" every Sunday morning from 9:00 - 9:30 AM for prayer in the First Church "War Room" -our Prayer Chapel located between Harris Hall and The Plaza, as we pray for Sunday's ministries and each other.  Come for a few minutes or for the entire time!  But be sure to come with your armor on!  See Ephesians 6:10-18.

Yours in the Battle,

Pastor Mark

PS - We will also hear about another powerful weapon for fighting Satan this Sunday in Worship.  Be sure to be present eager to learn!  Blessings-