God's Will

March 31, 2017


by Pastor Mark McAdow


In life there are many times we question the will of God.  What does God want me to do?  Am I fulfilling His will for my life?  On Wednesday evenings, ten First Church men are working through a resource called Operation Timothy.  It's an opportunity to explore life's great questions concerning our true purpose in life.  We recognize many of us never stop long enough to consider our real purpose for living in Christ. 

 

As we asked the question of purpose last week, I heard several men respond it was to be a good husband and father, a provider and protector of our family.  These answers reflect important roles and responsibilities.  I then rephrased the question and asked, "What is our purpose as a Christian man?"  Is it different?  I believe it is.  We have a much higher purpose that involves The Great Commission. 


            Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing               them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the               Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have                 commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to                   the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)


It's been rightly said, Jesus last words should be our first concern!  Am I investing my life in producing disciples or am I solely interested in becoming one on my own?  We're not truly disciples until were investing in another's spiritual life.

 

Christian author Paul Little has written in his book, Affirming the Will of God,


             The will of God is not like a magic package let down from               Heaven by a string...The will of God is far more like a                     scroll that unrolls every day...The will of God is                               something to be discerned and to be lived out each day                 of our lives.  It is not something to be grasped as a                         package once for all.  Our call, therefore, is not to follow                 a plan or a blueprint, or go to a place or take up a work,                 but rather to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and seek to                     follow Him daily.

 

God's will is perfect every time -- whether we understand it or accept it initially.  It is always perfect.  Unlike Mankind, God makes no mistakes.  God's motives are always pure and true.  God loves us each of us with an everlasting love!

 

Remember the words of Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."  Keep your eyes on Jesus--He always has your best interest at heart!

 

In Christ's Great Love,

 

Pastor Mark

 

PS - Come join us this Sunday as we celebrate "Christ in The Passover" with our Jews for Jesus friend, Shoshannah Weinisch form New York City!  We will discover the richness of the Jewish Passover again as we celebrate Holy Communion together in Harris Hall.  Blessings and Shalom!

The Shack -- A Place for Heresy or Healing?

March 24, 2017


by Pastor Mark McAdow


As many of you know, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the new movie The Shack.  It is based on the book written by William Paul Young.  It was originally written simply for his family and the first copies were duplicated at a local copier center.  It quickly became a bestseller when others read it and recommended it be published.


It's the story of the lead character Mack's life, the "Great Sadness" and ultimate healing he experienced in his life at The Shack.  It is a powerful and moving picture of forgiveness and healing.  If you read the Religion section in last Saturday's Oklahoman, you will see a lengthy article about a United Methodist Pastor in Shawnee who had a replica of The Shack built outside his church and is preaching a series about some of the themes.  Ben is a friend of mine.  Another good friend, Paul, sent me an article delineating all the heresies in The Shack.  Both are strong Christians.

 

Did you read The Shack?  We did a few years ago for those interested and discussed it during one of our Wednesday Night class options.  We had lively and engaging discussions!  I was very interested in seeing the movie when it came out earlier this month, so Robin and I saw it and many of you have too.  Should you see The Shack?  I don't know.  Did you see The Passion of The Christ?  How about Oh God or Bruce Almighty when they came out?  It's hard to imagine George Burns or Morgan Freeman as "God." Meeting Papa in The Shack is even more mind-blowing.  Trust me.  And it is not at all comfortable but then again we know "God is spirit and his worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth"(John 4:24).

 

What I personally liked about The Shack was the representation of the relationship between the members of The Trinity identified as Father, Son and Spirit and how they loved each other and were in complete unity and harmony in their love for Mack as well.  What I didn't care for was the lack of specificity of Jesus as the only way to the Father. "I am The Way and The Truth and The Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me"(John 14:6).  Salvation and forgiveness come through no other means but Jesus.  I also thought that in an effort to describe The Father as Loving and Compassionate; they failed to note there is still judgment, even within His love.  We will all be held accountable for our lives before God.

 

Beyond the relationship within The Trinity, the themes of restoration, forgiveness and healing is what I take away from The Shack.  For so many people who have endured so much pain in this life that they can't begin to conceive of a loving Heavenly Father, I believe it may cause them to explore that relationship for the first time. We can only pray!

 

We should never base our theology on movies whether Christian or not, but on the Word of God.  We must be good Bereans, "for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).  I suggest we each do the same.

 

Yours in Christ's Love,

 

Pastor Mark

 

PS - Please keep our Sarah Baumann in your prayers as she experiences her "Walk to Emmaus" this weekend.  De Colores!

New Opportunities!

March 17, 2017


by Pastor Mark McAdow


As many of you are aware by now, Robin and our family will be moving this June to Enid, Oklahoma to serve a United Methodist congregation there.  First Church will be receiving a new Pastor and family as well!  Our last Sunday together will be Sunday June 4 - Pentecost Sunday - a biblical Day of new beginnings!

 

In between, we have lots of ministry opportunities to share together through Holy Week Services, our Easter Celebration, Confirmation, Second Wind Marathon Ministry (sign up right away!) and hosting Oklahoma's National Day of Prayer Service for the third year in a row!  Wow! (We'll also being getting a house ready to put on the market and beginning the massive task of packing and preparing to move - I get tired just thinking about it!).  This is a "bittersweet" time for us all as we transition to a new reality for First Church and us.  We look forward to these next two months together in friendship and ministry.  Thanks so much for your love and support over these past ten years.  Life certainly moves fast!

 

Robin and I want to invite you to join us for two remarkable 7 week studies before we leave First Church, one for women and one for men.  The Women's Study is The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer (the cost of the workbook is $13).  The Men's study is called Operation Timothy Life Questions, a CBMC Resource (the workbook is $10; there is also a free electronic version available).  Both these classes begin this coming Wednesday, March 22 at 6:30 PM.  We hope you will clear your schedules, open your hearts and come share this time in the Lord and His Word together with us.  We want to "Finish Strong" and enjoy every moment together in Him with each of you!

 

Thank you for your prayers about these opportunities and your prayers for us too!  We love you and are so very thankful to God our Good, Good, Father.  It's true, Father always knows Best.  To God be the glory!

 

Looking forward to worshipping our Lord Jesus with you this Sunday!

 

Yours in Christ's Love,

 

Pastor Mark

 

PS  - Robin and I went to see the movie The Shack based on the book by the same name last week.  Very interesting.  I hope to get o discuss it with many of you in the days ahead!  Bless you!

 

PPS - Happy St. Patrick's Day! from your Scotch/Irish Pastor.  You'd better be wearin' the green today!

Priceless

March 10, 2017


by Pastor Mark McAdow


We watched a very poignant and powerful movie here on Wednesday night called “Priceless.”  I’m glad our First Church Youth and many adults were present to learn about the prevalent issue of sex trafficking in America and right here in Oklahoma!  It was very difficult to watch, especially for those of us who are parents of girls -though boys are trafficked as well.  I really did not know what to say or pray when it ended.  There was such a palpable heaviness in the room.  When I spoke to Mark Mazzolini about it afterwards he put his finger on the right word: evil.  It is pure evil what some human beings do to innocent girls and boys solely for profit. God forgive us for our sin as a nation.

 

How are we to respond?  It’s so difficult to know what to do.  We can always pray and we must!  But prayer alone will not change this evil.  We must stand for Truth and expose the deeds of darkness within us and among us.  Keep your eyes and ears open.  If you suspect something, say something.  Contact the local Police or The National Human trafficking Resource Center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Toll Free 1 (888) 373-7888.  In OKC, you can also call “Beautiful Dream Society at (405) 717-1201.  Our Heavenly Father calls us to care for His children--The Least, The Last and The Lost.  “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

 

Two weeks ago I spoke at Friday Night Alive! and encouraged those gathered to consider three truths that can change our lives and to say them aloud often.  First, “I need you Jesus.” May we always be aware of our need for Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Second, “I trust you Jesus.” May we all put our faith and confidence in Him.  Third, “I love you Jesus,” remembering what the Lord first said about us in Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  All God’s children are “priceless" because He paid the ultimate price for each of us on the cross.  (Be sure to keep your eyes on the cross at the corner of Fourth and Robinson during this Lenten Season.  John Barrett is faithfully adding a new symbol every week to the cross reminding us of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection.  Thanks John!).  Our children are adding symbols to the cross in their area too!


 
Tonight marks our 6th Anniversary Celebration of Friday Night Alive!  I hope many of you will join us for this wonderful milestone and express appreciation to Mary and Tom Walbert, Texye Fernandes, Cary McClellin, Michael Davis, Morgan and Ridge Kennedy and their faithful team of volunteers!  Our homeless are among our “priceless” too!

 

In Christ’s Love,

 

Pastor Mark

 

PS -Don’t forget!  Move your clocks ahead one hour this Saturday night.  It’s painful, but be sure to “Spring Forward!” with the rest of us!

Happy Lent!

Friday, March 3, 2017


by Pastor Mark McAdow


We had a nice Ash Wednesday Service in Harris Hall on Wednesday night with several guests present.  The Season of Lent has officially begun.  I shared from Joel 2 about returning to the Lord, rending our hearts not simply our garments (outward expression), repenting of our sins and fasting.  What prompts us to respond this way during Lent?  The reminder of Christ's great sacrifice for us on the cross and the gracious, compassionate, loving nature of our Heavenly Father.

 

Fasting can take many forms such as abstaining from desserts, red meat, alcohol, specific meals, entertainments, etc.  The goal is to focus on Christ -not on what you are "giving up" for Lent.  I concluded with these words from Romans 13:14--"Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature" as Hardy and I "marked" each person with the sign of the cross on their foreheads. (When we were done, Sean brought his young daughter Natalie to me and asked if she could have a special mark on her forehead, and Mark was happy to comply!)

 

Pam Lippoldt also sent me the following piece about fasting from Pope Francis.  It too has some excellent ideas about fasting this season.


Do You Want to Fast this Lent?
In the words of Pope Francis


  • Fast from hurting words and say kind words
  • Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude
  • Fast from anger and be filled with patience
  • Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope
  • Fast from worries and have trust in God
  • Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity
  • Fast from pressures and be prayerful
  • Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy
  • Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others
  • Fast from grudges and be reconciled
  • Fast from words and be silent so you can listen


I'm beginning a new sermon series this Sunday called, "Meeting Jesus Again:  Lent 2017."  Hope you will join us as we focus on Jesus and celebrate Holy Communion together!

 

Yours in Christ's Love,

 

Pastor Mark

  

PS - Please be in prayer for a group of First Church leaders who are participating in a "Discernment Retreat" for First Church tonight and tomorrow at Camp Canyon!

The Most Famous Wednesday

This next Wednesday March 1 is Ash Wednesday. It's the official beginning of the Season of Lent in the Christian Year.  Lent comes from an Old English word meaning “springtime.”  As I write this, we’re breaking a record in OKC for the highest temperature on this given day on record!  It certainly feels like spring is right around the corner, though a few more below freezing days are still possible.

 

The day before Ash Wednesday is called “Shrove Tuesday.”   "Shrove" means to “repent.”  It’s also known by a much more popular term, Mardi Gras, which is literally “Fat Tuesday,” a day set aside to “party” by eliminating all the sugars and fats from your home in preparation to fast, give and pray during the 40 days of Lent.  The 40 days do not include Sundays, which are called “Little Easters” to remember Christ was raised from the dead on Easter Sunday.  The color for Lent is purple, symbolizing repentance, sacrifice and royalty because King Jesus died for all of us.

 

Lent is a time to prepare us to remember the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ during Holy Week.  Many people choose to fast by giving up a specific food, alcohol or other pleasure to focus more on Christ. The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2-3)  Let’s all focus on Christ during this special season of the year.

 

I have found it meaningful to wear a cross during Lent to remind myself and others of Christ’s sacrifice. You could read the chapters of both the Gospels of Mark (16) and Luke (24) during the 40 days. I also urge you to consider signing up this Sunday to be a Lenten Prayer partner to encourage yourself and another First Church brother or sister in personal prayer.  I look forward to the opportunity!  You may want to create a prayer list of family members and friends who need Jesus as Savior and Lord that you in turn will invite to Holy Week Services.

 

Whatever the Lord shows you to do, do it!  As Pastor David Player challenged us last weekend, “Be all in for Jesus!”  He was and is all in for you.  Come join us this Wednesday evening at 7:00PM for our Ash Wednesday Worship Service in Harris Hall.  We will conclude our time by receiving the mark of the cross in ashes formed from last year’s Palm Sunday palm branches. To God be the glory!

 

Yours for a “meaning full” Lenten experience together,

 

Pastor Mark

 

PS - Keep the Revival fires burning in your heart!  We’ve only just begun!

Revival is Here!

February 17, 2017


by Pastor Mark McAdow


Tonight begins our scheduled 3-day Revival Weekend with Rev. David Player, Senior Pastor of Altus First United Methodist Church, originally from South Africa.  I also learned his second cousin in the famed Professional Golfer Gary Player!

 

We’ve been meeting in Harris Hall all month to prepare for this Revival opportunity.  We’re reading The Book of Acts every day, praying at 9:00PM nightly and I asked you last Sunday to prayerfully fast one day this week or the equivalent of three meals if you’re able.  I invested my meal times praying for each of our First Church members and friends by name--that includes you!  I trust you feel loved.

 

Now I’m asking you to be present at every service you possibly can.  We’re meeting tonight and tomorrow night at 7:00PM and Sunday morning David will be sharing in The Joint Heirs Adult Class at 9:30 (you all are invited!) and at Morning Worship at 10:45AM.  If you’re out of town this weekend, please be in prayer for these special times of worship.  Remember our theme is “Closer Together, Closer to God!”  If you’re in town, please come and bring a friend or two!  We’ve invited several neighbors and friends ourselves.  “We have not because we ask not.”  Come ready to receive from the Lord and experience His manifest Presence.  Childcare is also available.

 

I also wanted to share something that greatly touched my heart last Sunday.  Lisa Turley shared in Staff Meeting that a young boy in our Children’s Ministry seemed especially sad last Sunday morning.  She took him aside and asked what he was feeling.  Through tears he said he was concerned about his mother whom he hasn’t seen in over a year.  He said, “I don’t know if she is dead or alive.”  What a terrible thought for a young boy to have to carry.  At that, Lisa began to cry and they both exchanged Kleenex they cried together and Lisa offered comfort.  But there’s even more blessing to this story.  When they came back into the room, several inquired what was wrong and Lisa explained the boy was just having a rough day and they needed to pray for him.  Jan Chapman sat him in a chair and had the children surround him for prayer.  When asked who would pray, another young boy said he would and offered a brief heartfelt prayer.  Tears are in my eyes now.

 

God is at work at First Church.  Maybe not in the “big” ways of the past, but in every day ways that is making a difference in personal lives and for The Kingdom too!


Do everything you can to be present for each service this weekend.  I don’t want to miss out on anything the Lord wants to do in us, for us, with us and through us! 


To God be the Glory!!

 

Yours in Christ’s Love,

 

Pastor Mark

 

PS -Keep praying for Revival!  “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.  And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly”(Acts 4:31). Come Holy Spirit!  Revive us again!

Seven Days to Revival!

We're just seven days away to Revival!  Last Sunday we moved into Harris Hall to prepare for this month of Revival.  We began with a full altar of people on their knees praying for revival and began worship by singing "Holy Ground." I sensed God's Presence in a sweet and special way as Morgan led us.  I focused our thoughts on Becoming a Fully Devoted Follower of Jesus by Living a Life of Service following Jesus' example.  "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."(Mark 10:45).  I was amazed when I asked for testimonies of where you are serving inside and outside of First Church and the responses just kept coming!  We truly are "Closer together, Closer to God" - our Revival theme in that historic, sacred space.


Monday night, many of us gathered again to meet Rev. David Player our Revival Preacher, originally from South Africa, and to hear his heart for Revival.  He led us in a moving time of prayer together.  We're praying for Revival nightly at 9:00PM and reading through the Book of Acts this month - 28 chapters in 28 days- being reminded how the Holy Spirit worked through the lives of our first brothers and sisters in Christ!


I'm also asking you to considering fasting 3 meals this week in preparation for our Revival Services.  You may choose to fast an entire day or one meal for three days.  Seek the Lord for His direction in your own personal walk with Him.


I'd like to close my thoughts by sharing a poem by Mother Teresa, who I mentioned in worship on Sunday.  I believe it is entitled Love Seeks to Serve


          I never look at the masses as my responsibility.  I look at the individual.  I can             serve only one person at a time.  I can feed only one person at a time.  Just               one, one, one.


          You get closer to Christ by coming closer to each other.  As Jesus said,                     "Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me."  So you                         begin.....I begin.


           I picked up one person - maybe if I didn't pick up that one person I wouldn't              have picked up 42,000.  The whole work is only a drop in the ocean.  But if I              didn't put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less.


           Same thing for you


           Same thing in your family


           Same thing in the church where you go


           Just begin....one, one, one.


We serve an Audience of One and we are loved by the same Father.  May the Holy Spirit prepare each of us for a fresh encounter with Him this next weekend.  To Him be the glory!


I'm interrupting my current sermon series this Sunday to speak about our final Preparations for genuine Revival according to God's Word.  Praying to see you there!


In The Father's Love,   

 

Pastor Mark

God is on the Move!

by Pastor Mark McAdow


February 3, 2017


I shared last Sunday that Robin and I woke up Sunday morning to K-Love playing the song "God is on the Move!" and I believe He is! I've just come from Harris Hall that is now set up for Prayer and Worship this Sunday morning February 5th. We will gather in our Adult Sunday School classes at 9:30 and then move to Harris Hall for our bi-monthly All Church Prayer Gathering at 9:45AM. Please join us!


As you know, we set our phone alarms in Worship last Sunday morning to ring at 9:00 PM every night, so we can stop and pray for Revival! My phone went off at a Thunder game the other night, so my Thunder buddy and I stopped and prayed silently. (On hindsight, we should've prayed for The Thunder's "revival" too!). Oh well, that's another issue altogether! I forgive you, Enes Kanter.


This Monday evening Feb. 6, we will have the opportunity to meet our Revival Preacher, Rev. David Player, as he leads us in prayer for Revival beginning at 6:00 PM in the sanctuary. As we know, Prayer in the key to genuine revival!


Remember, to clear your calendars Feb. 17-19, so you can receive all the Lord has for you and us during this month of Revival. God is up to something good and I don't want any of us to miss it! If you can alter your plans that specific weekend, please do it as a gift of yourself to our Lord and I believe you will receive a great blessing too!


On Wednesday night the First Church Men's Class led by Michael Davis discussed the importance of preparing for Worship every weekend. Some of the practical ideas included:  getting good rest on Saturday night, getting up early on Sunday morning, spending time in confession before you come to worship (a new idea for many of us!), praying for the Worship Service and participants the day before (Your Pastor and Staff really appreciates your prayers!), setting our your clothes out and eating a good breakfast, coming with Bible and paper/pen in hand to learn and grow. That's some great advice! Hope you will try one or more of those ideas this Saturday evening!


Looking forward to what the Lord is going to do! Blessings!


Yours for Revival,


Pastor Mark


PS - See you this Sunday morning in Harris Hall -our original worship space!


PPS - February is a great month to read through the book of Acts...28 days, 28 chapters!

Revival is in the Air!

by Pastor Mark McAdow


January 27, 2017


I had the opportunity to play golf with two other friends who are United Methodist pastors last Friday.  It’s our semi-annual golfing trip that hasn’t happened for 10 years! (I left the scorecard behind as to avoid further embarrassment!)  As we were preparing to tee off, one of my friends shared about a SHIFT Team meeting he had recently at his church.  Some of you know, we have engaged in the SHIFT process this last year as well learning how to shift our focus in some key ministry areas at First Church.  My current preaching series, “Becoming a Fully Devoted Follower of Jesus Christ,” is based on some of those key themes.  


He mentioned that he had shared with his team that they are quite good at planning events and filling the church calendar, but what he feels they really need is Revival!  I was able to share with him that the Lord is saying the same thing to us!  How encouraging!

 

I’ll share Sunday some ways I’d like us to prepare for Revival and Revival Services at First Church the weekend of February 17-19.  The most important prep is, of course, prayer.  Rev. David Player from Altus First UMC will lead us in prayer on Monday evening February 6 at 6:00PM in the sanctuary for Revival.  We’ll be in Harris Hall during the month of February for Worship and Revival.  We’re changing venues for Revival!  I want to challenge you to pray nightly at 9:00PM for personal and First Church Revival, as we prayed for The Presidential Election and many of us have continued through The Daniel Fast.  Prayer is the key to Revival!  Morgan and Jan both received the same scripture for revival - “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.  See I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah. 43:18-19)

 

The next important step is to “clear your calendars” as much as you possibly can during our Revival Services Weekend.  Anything you can let go of that weekend, please do.  This is a priceless and unique opportunity to seek the Lord together and we need everyone to make a special effort to be present every time if possible.  Ask the Lord what He wants you to do.  We’ll meet Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00 PM and our regular time of Worship at 10:45 AM on Sunday  morning.  The atmosphere will be relaxed, but also expectant!  We pray the Lord will speak to us in fresh and refreshing ways during our weekend together.  To God be the glory!

 

Yours in Christ’s Love,

 

Pastor Mark

 

PS - Remember this Sunday we’re hosting our first Potluck Dinner of 2017 following morning worship.  Please bring a side dish or dessert as we “break fast” together and hear about First Sunday Heart and Home Fellowship.  Come prepared to share a great meal and enjoy some fun together too!  Blessings!

I've Got Some Great News to Share . . .

January 20, 2017


by Pastor Mark McAdow


During our Daniel Fast this month, The Lord has been speaking to your Pastor, Staff and First Church leaders.  As I began my fast, the Lord gave me a word: "Revival." I'm praying to be revived personally and for our First Church Family as well!


 

As we're prayed, shared and sought the Lord's will these last two weeks the idea arose to move to a "new" sacred space where we originally met for Worship as the First Church Family.  Some of you may not know, but Harris Hall was our original 1904 Sanctuary prior to the April 19, 1995 bombing of The Murrah Federal Building. That's why there are such beautiful stained glass windows in that room that once had wooden pews and a balcony too!  Have you ever noticed the special stained glass window from Robinson Street of a very famous US President?  I'm told there are only two of their kind in Oklahoma! I want you to know we plan to meet for Worship in Harris Hall during the month of February.

 

The space now associated with eating physical food (thanks to our great cooks Mary McIntire and Cary McClellin) began as sacred space for feasting on spiritual food.  We'll be moving there on Sunday Feb. 5 for the purpose of Revival!  We'll create space for worship and personal response with the opportunity to offer some new ways to worship our Lord too.  We'll meet at 9:45 AM that Sunday for an All Church Prayer Gathering and celebrate Holy Communion together in worship.  (Our coffee drinkers will also be able to drink coffee if they like!  Michael Davis has been asking me for that chance for many years!)  We're praying for a very special time together seeking the Lord this February.  Please pray with us for genuine revival.

 

My Best news is that we will also be hosting Revival Services in Harris Hall on Friday Feb. 17 -Sunday Feb. 19 with Rev. David Player, Senior Pastor at Altus First United Methodist Church.  The Lord gave us our theme this last Monday evening,  "Closer together, Closer to God!"  This specific verse came to me as well, "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place" (Acts 2:1).

 

David Player is originally from South Africa--you will hear that clearly in his voice--but most importantly, I believe we will hear the voice of God.  David is a spirit-filled, passionate, fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ and man of great prayer!  We just secured his coming Wednesday afternoon, so I wanted you to know right away!  Praise the Lord!

 

Let's begin praying now for revival and renewal for us personally, our First Church friends and family and OKC too!  God is moving--let's be sure to move with Him!

 

Looking forward to being with you this Sunday morning as we have other good news to share!

 

Yours in Christ's Love,

 

Pastor Mark

 

PS - Special "Thanks" to Kris and Toby Nelson for the outstanding First Church Highlight video they produced and shared with us last Sunday morning.  It was simply amazing to see what we shared and accomplished together with the Lord in 2016!  Can't wait to see what He has in store for 2017!  Blessings!


How May I Pray for You?

January 13, 2017


by Pastor Mark McAdow



Last weekend, Robin and I took our youngest daughter Lauren out to dinner to celebrate her great grades from her first semester at OSU.  First semesters in college  can be very tricky and challenging! Thanks to the Lord and Lauren’s diligence (not to mention her parents’ prayers!)  she navigated quite well.  As the waitress delivered our meals and asked if there was anything else we needed, I said “We’re about to pray over our meal.  How may we pray for you?”  She was taken aback and replied. “Not a lot of people do that here, but we do in my family too.  I’m good but thank you.”  So we prayed she would be blessed and have a good evening at work.  Now, I want you to know that I don’t do that every time or even most of the time, but I did last Friday.  Why did I share?  Maybe to encourage you but also because of what the Lord revealed to me later when we got home.


You see it hit me that the very question I asked a complete stranger I rarely ask my own wife or children.  How may I pray for you?  I’m not sure I even ask members of our First Church Family the question that often.  I pray for you but don’t often ask your specific needs.  I’d like to do a better job in this New Year!

 

As some of you have experienced, I often try to call people on their birthdays and sing “Happy birthday!” to those I think will not laugh at me!  This year I also want to ask you a question on your birthday:  “How may I pray for you?”  After all, what greater gift can we give each other than to pray for one another?

 

During this month of January, while many of us are participating in The Daniel Fast or a variety of it, we know we will have grater sensitivity and our prayers will have even greater value.  We know from Jesus that prayer and fasting linked together can accomplish great results!  That’s why last Sunday I encouraged each of us to stop at 9:00PM nightly over these next three weeks and pray for First Church.  I’m praying specifically for Revival--my own and ours as a Church Family too!

 

Blessings to you and yours!

 

In Christ’s Love,

 

Pastor Mark


Staying Power

by Sarah Baumann


January 6, 2017


Happy New Year!


On the morning of Monday, January 2, I watched the annual Tournament of Roses Parade.  I never miss it.  That's mainly because Pasadena, California, is my home town, and I grew up going to watch the Parade as a little girl and, later, working on some of the floats in high school and college.  It was a unique experience!  Because of the Parade and the Rose Bowl, New Years Day in Pasadena is almost bigger than Christmas, if such a thing were possible!


As I watched this year's Parade, I was blessed to see that two of the entries were back once again as they have been for decades.  Amid the marching bands, equestrian groups, and floats from corporations and philanthropic organizations, these two stand out for their staying power and for the respect and affection in which they are held by the crowd.  One is The Salvation Army Marching Band, and the other is the Lutheran Layman's League float.  What makes them stand out and gives them staying power?  I believe it is their unflagging Christian witness in an era when it would be so much easier to conform to popular culture and go along with all the other groups.  Not that there is anything wrong with the other groups--on the contrary!  The whole event is usually family friendly and uplifting!  There is just something even more special, though, about The Salvation Army Marching Band and the Lutheran Layman's League float.  It is more than their talent and art on display--it is their faith.


As Christians, we too must have staying power in the face of the challenges and conflict that surround us.  Most people think of "power" as being a burst of extra-human strength that shows up just when it is needed most.  It is that, of course, but even more it is the quiet persistence and courage that keep us going day after day during all the small moments of trials, tests and temptations that come our way.  Powerful storms like tornadoes and hurricanes can wreak terrible destruction all at once, but the Colorado River has cut a deep gorge we call the Grand Canyon by simply flowing, wearing down the surrounding stone to create a place of extraordinary beauty.  The river has staying power.


Our staying power comes from the Holy Spirit living in us, from a steady diet of God's Word, and from a regular discipline of prayer.  My prayer for all at First Church in 2017 is that you will discover your staying power and be encouraged as you study and pray throughout the year.


Blessings!



Sarah Baumann

Director of Communications