“The Cry of the American Woman” By Julia Rocha

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January 21, 2017 – Women’s March on Washington

If you are reading this, I am sure that you have previous knowledge of the historic gathering of women (& men) which occurred in locations all over the world this past Saturday. I am also fairly positive that you have already formed your opinion on whether or not you supported The March and all that it stood for. And with that being said, I am not writing today to discuss or persuade varying political views or opinions on The March.  I can almost promise you that you and I won’t agree somewhere down that road, and that is ok.

I am writing today because I have heard the cries of American women.

Over the past 48 hours, I have read through countless posts on Facebook, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Fox News, CNN, and several other blogs and news articles. I have seen genuine passion for causes proclaimed by thousands of women. I have also watched as hateful, rash, crude and disrespectful words pour out in memes, comments, photos and videos — from both sides of the fence. There is no denial that women across the globe face unimaginable fears and hardships, and I won’t pretend that I fully understand the magnitude of suffering that millions face each and every day.

But I can say that my heart breaks for you.

My heart breaks for you who shed tears for equality, respect, safety, and security.  My heart breaks that you should spend your days wondering if your life matters and if there is anyone who would care enough to listen. My heart breaks that your hope for a brighter future has been shattered by the results of this past presidential election.

And for you who perhaps don’t understand what all of the fuss is about and agonize in disgust over the crowds gathering in cities across the globe, my heart breaks for you, too.

You see, no matter which side you are on, our nation’s hope has been placed in a god who cannot and will never solve and heal our humanistic yearnings, aches and pains — The US Government.

For the past eight years, the democratic party held substantial control in our governing offices, and as a result, many legal changes were made in regards to the rights and privileges of American minorities and underprivileged. Hope for a better future seemed to be within the grasp of millions who felt abandoned, neglected, mistreated, and unheard. For them, a beautiful promised land was on the horizon.

However, in a dynamic turn of events, a republican candidate who did not share the same governing vision as his democratic predecessor or opponent won the 2016 Presidential Election.

Instantly the beautiful promised land and hope for many fell and shattered on the ground.

Anger, fear and sorrow swept like wildfire across our country. Hope seemed to be gone, and who was to blame? Fear and uncertainty of what the future held for women, immigrants and other minorities emboldened many to rise up and protest the political agenda of our new president.

While on the other side of the spectrum, many stood up and rejoiced at the change of power in office and what the future held for their country.

If you are reading this today and feel either safe or threatened by our government- then this is for you. No matter who you are, or what your stance is, the issue remains the same. Who or what have you put your hope and faith in for your future?

If you have put it in anything but Christ, whatever or whomever that may be, I can promise that it or they will fail you. On this earth, you will never be safe, never be treated with respect, never be considered equal, and never be secure. Why? Because humans are selfish, sinful, and will always break their promise to keep you safe, equal, respected and secure.

At this point I am sure many of you disagree terribly with what I am saying, and have probably stopped reading, but if you are still here, then please hear this. If you consider yourself to be a Christian man or woman in this nation (yes, I am preaching to myself as well), it is time for us to get off of our rears and go be Jesus to someone. Christians have sat by for far too long as they have let men and women search blindly in the dark for someone or something that will fulfill their yearning for a better life. We have arrogantly scoffed and looked down upon humanity who doesn’t agree with us spiritually or politically, and get upset when others think differently than we do. I am not asking you to compromise your beliefs, just posing a challenge to go out and share with humans the same grace, love, and humility that our Savior did when he came to earth over 2000 years ago. This is not a plea for acceptance, it is a plea to reach outside of your comfortable Christian American life and shine a light that leads to true hope and fulfillment – the gift of a life in Jesus Christ. Where the only true and lasting hope, fulfillment, safety, security, and purpose will be found.

“Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14

Will you hear the cry of the American woman?

PFBC: Prayer List #23

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The following list of prayer requests can be prayed for in your own quiet time with the Lord, in your own family worship time, or in Growth Groups. Please keep the following requests in your prayers:

Rachel Aubrecht – Please pray that Rachel is able to find a new job.

Carl Benson – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Ray Cooper – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Susan Davis – Please continue to pray for Susan’s father, Chester, that he would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Greg Dunbar – Please lift up in prayer Greg’s mom, Debbie, who is struggling with cancer and is fighting it by means of radiation.

Jason Feuerbach – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Rick Fields – Pray for Rick and his overall health.

Steve and Diana Fordham – Pray for Steve and Diana as they battle many different health issues. Prayers for wisdom and discernment in terms of the sale of their Texas home would also be greatly appreciated.

Bill and Kim Gatchel – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Ron Gates – Please pray for Ron as he recovers from open heart surgery and as he goes through physical therapy.

Dillon Gingerich – Please pray for Dillon as he recovers from skull fracture surgery and is currently in physical therapy.

Erika Gingerich – Please pray for Erika as she gets ready to go on a Missions Trip with her Bible College to Portland, Oregon.

The Goodlanders – Pray for the Goodlanders and their overall health.

John Hardt – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Marion Hayes – Please pray for comfort and encouragement as Marion’s father recently passed away. Also, continue to lift up in prayer Marion’s wife, Christine, and her health issues.

Gayle Hendricks – Please pray for Gayle’s mother, Carol, who just went into hospice care. Pray for strength and comfort for her whole family.

Matt Latcham – Please pray for Matt’s mother, Linda, who is battling cancer.

Verla Lewis – Please pray for Verla and her many health complications.

Edwin Luers – Please pray for Edwin’s part-time employee, Wilfred Miller, and his salvation.

Brent and Tori Lybarger – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Adele McPike – Please pray for Adele and her overall health.

Jackie Morgan – Please lift up in prayer Jackie’s friend, Sam, as she continues to grieve the passing of her brother and grandmother.

Jesse Neitzel – Please lift up in prayer Jesse’s step-father who had some recent heart attacks…pray too for his salvation.

Jean Sampson – Pray that Jean recovers from minor injuries brought about in a vehicle accident in Texas.

Zach Shepherd – Please pray for Zach’s boss’s wife, Sherry Mitchell, who is recovering from surgery.

Arlena Tinnes – Please pray for healing and strength as Arlena continues to battle cancer.

Willie Van Der Molen – Please pray for Willie’s father, Roger, who has a heart condition.

Nancy Wilson – Please pray for Nancy’s nephew, Nick Duvall, and his wife, Leslie, as their baby boy named Pierce has stage 3 liver cancer. Please pray for healing and strength.

Judy Wolf –Pray for Judy’s son, Todd, who is in poor health and needs healing. Please pray for Todd’s salvation as well. Pray too for Judy’s great-granddaughter, Errin, who has a heart implant and other health complications.

Mike York – Please pray for Mike’s wife, Becky, as she is struggling with tendonitis.

Heather Zieglowsky – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Our Church – Pray for the unity, blessing, and growth of our church.

Our College Students – Please pray for our College Students as they are away studying and working.

Our Missionaries – Please pray for our many supported missionaries that they would remain faithful.

Our Leadership Team – Pray for our Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and Deacons that God would grant to them wisdom, discernment, vision, and unity.

Our Country – Please pray for President Trump and Vice President Pence as they lead our country these next four years.

Please Note: We update this prayer list monthly. If you would like a prayer request to be added to this list, please let Pastor Dave or Pastor Jon know. Thank you!

The Pressures of Life

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Life sometimes feels like an overwhelming avalanche of diverse situations, problems, and emotions. The older I get the more the pressures of life seem to squeeze me to uncomfortable breaking points. From marriage, to kids, to the mortgage, to issues and pressures at work, there never seems to be space enough to catch my breathe. Can I get a witness? Anyone else feel this way? Am I alone in these thoughts and feelings? Certainly, every single one of us has felt this way at one time or another in our lives.

You see, the difficulty with life in a fallen world is that “normal life” is stressful enough as it is. In other words, just being a responsible human being and doing what is required to make a living for ourselves is pressure enough for many of us. So, add a little fear, a little exhaustion, a little offense here or there, and a little confusion to the mix and suddenly life has gone from being merely stressful to overbearing…overwhelming.

Many of us in an attempt to relieve some of the pressures of life seek out and sink into unhealthy and sinful activities (i.e. stress eating, pornography, impulse buying, infidelity, etc.). Others of us, look for an escape from the pressures of life in socially acceptable ways, but spiritually dry ways (i.e. TV watching, working out, playing video games, etc.). So, when the stress and pressures of life start to mount and overwhelm your soul, what should you do instead? Well, if you find yourself kissing burnout and definitely if you find yourself scared, tired, offended, or perplexed…beware! You are ripe to fall to temptation. So instead of seeking solace in sinful activities or spiritually dry activities, do the following instead:

1) STOP and get alone with God and pray. Honestly tell God how you feel. Too frustrated or distracted to come up with the words to pray? Look to the Psalms. The beauty of the Psalms is that sometimes the Psalms not only speak TO us in our moments of pain, but they speak FOR us when we just don’t have the words. And please don’t think that the Psalms are detached from the realities of your life. Certainly, there are psalms of praise, but also psalms of distress and sadness. All of the Scriptures, but especially the Psalms, present to us life as it really is while simultaneously giving to us space to release all kinds of emotions in ways that are authentic, God-honoring, and helpful (see for example Psalms 46, 63, 73, and 88).

2) STOP and get together with a trusted friend to emote/vent. Indeed, not only do we need to release our burdens to the Lord in prayer, but it is wise to also release some of our pent-up aggressions and frustrations to a good and godly friend. Certainly, a trusted friend will provide a listening ear and great comfort to you, but your friend might be led to give you some advice and counsel in the midst of your pain. Be open to their wisdom! Proverbs 27:6a states, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Sometimes our friends offer seemingly strange and uncomfortable advice amid our pressures and pain, but we should love them enough to listen to their counsel.

3) STOP and remind yourself of God’s greatness AND goodness. When life gets overwhelming, it is so easy to doubt the very character of God. We are tempted to think He’s unloving, unwise, unfair, or aloof to the situations of our lives, but you must battle these thoughts with radical resolve in God and trust His character, knowing that He has a plan and it’s all playing out for His glory and your good (Rom. 8:28). Don’t buy into the lie that the stress and pressures of life are evidences against a good and great God. No, indeed, they are manifestations of His goodness and greatness as He demonstrates, in the midst of our difficulties, that “[His] power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Growth Groups 2017

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Hey there Prairie Flower,

Pastor Jon here! We have started a brand new series entitled, We R The Church. You know what that means, Growth Groups are here again. They will start meeting on Sunday, January 15th and run through Sunday, March 26th. A Growth Group is a great tool that God can use to help you grow in your walk with Him. Briefly, here are three of the many benefits to joining a Growth Group:

  • Better Understanding – Every week, questions are given to the groups in order to guide them through a time of contemplation and discussion. These questions are crafted around the sermon from the morning worship service. This means you can develop a better understanding of the topic you have just learned about and how it practically affects your life
  • Deeper Fellowship – Pastor Dave often says that fellowship is more than just a quarterly potluck. With that in mind, every time you meet with your group, you have an opportunity to experience deeper fellowship as your group works through the rich truths of God’s Word together. Then members of the group share with one another how those truths can change their lives. Also, every time the Group meets there is a time of sharing and prayer.
  • Added Accountability – As fellowship gets deeper, so do relationships with fellow Growth Groupers. This means that there are more people in your life to hold accountable and will keep you accountable as well. That sounds scary at first; but that added layer of accountability could be just what you need to keep your walk with Christ headed down the right path.

Again, these are just three of the many reasons to get involved in a Growth Group; but don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself! If you are not part of a Growth Group, and would like to be, please see either Pastor Dave or myself. You may also indicate your desire to be in a Growth Group via a Connect Card on any given Sunday.

Below is our revised, current groupings:

Growth Group #1:

  • Eldon and Phyllis Yoder (Growth Group Leader)
  • Craig and Ila Capps
  • Duane and Susan Davis
  • Rick Fields
  • Bill and Linda Fiordelise
  • Linda Grice
  • Edwin and Rita Luers
  • Mike York

Growth Group #1 will meet in the Church Library at 6 PM each Sunday.

Growth Group #2:

  • Steve and Bonnie Donnolly (Growth Group Leader)
  • Erin Bower
  • Jess Caster
  • Michael and Kira Fikes
  • Will and Melissa Luers
  • Brent and Tori Lybarger
  • Jesse and Sarah Neitzel
  • Zach and Beth Shepherd

Growth Group #2 will meet at Steve Donnolly’s home (821 South 15th Ave in Washington) at 6 PM each Sunday.

Growth Group #3:

  • Dillon and Bailey Gingerich (Growth Group Leader)
  • Steve and Diana Fordham
  • Klint and Kendra Gingerich
  • John and Jackie Morgan
  • Jan Rosien
  • Brian and Nancy Wilson

Growth Group #3 will meet in the Church Fellowship Hall immediately after the Morning Worship Service each Sunday.

Growth Group/Bible Study #4:

  • Doug and Julie Tinnes (Growth Group Leader)
  • Bill and Evelyn Brown
  • Matt and Sarah Latcham
  • Rosanne Latcham
  • Milo Luers
  • Arlena Tinnes
  • Mark and Cheryl Tinnes

Growth Group/Bible Study #4 will meet at the home of Arlena Tinnes (404 North Davis Street in Keota) at 6 PM each Sunday.

Growth Group #5:

  • Greg and Veronica Dunbar (Growth Group Leader)
  • Mike and Christina Boos
  • Pastor Dave and Heather Cotner
  • Jerry and Pam Dunbar
  • Ron and Kay Gates
  • Pastor Jon and Julia Rocha
  • Judy Wolf

Growth Group #5 will meet at the home of Greg Dunbar (700 S. 6th Ave in Washington) at 5 PM each Sunday.

Growth Group #6:

  • Will and Lisa Van Der Molen (Growth Group Leader)
  • Steve and Cheryl Bohn
  • John Hardt
  • Marion and Christine Hayes
  • Rosemary Luers
  • Janine Rosien
  • Jason and Elisabeth Tinnes

Growth Group #6 will meet at the Walker Seed Shed (1575 W. 5thStreet in Washington) immediately after the Morning Worship Service each Sunday.

Also, if are not on this list (and should be), please forgive us for this unintentional oversight.

Annual Meeting: Agenda Items (1-8-17)

This Sunday, January 8, 2017, immediately following the Morning Worship Service and Quarterly Food Fellowship, we will have our Annual Meeting in the church auditorium. All members are encouraged to be in attendance. Below are the agenda items for this meeting:

  1. Opening Prayer
  2. Call Meeting to Order
  3. Reading of Minutes
  4. Reports from Officers:
    • Lead Pastor’s Report
    • Associate Pastor’s Report
    • Deacon’s Report
  5. Miscellaneous Committee Reports
  6. Update Membership Roll Via Vote
  7. Church Discipline Presentation (Matt. 18:15-17 and Gal. 6:1-2)
  8. Miscellaneous Items:
    • Licensing Pastor Jon to the Gospel Ministry (Vote)
    • Summer Intern Presentation (Discussion…Future Vote on Jan. 22nd)
    • Land/Building Discussion
  9. Acceptance of the 2016 Financial Report
  10. 2017 Missions Budget Presentation and Vote
  11. 2017 IRBC Scholarship Program Presentation and Vote
  12. 2017 Church Budget Presentation and Vote on the 2017 Lead and Associate Pastors’ Salaries (Klint Gingerich Presiding)
  13. Adjournment