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“Growing Closer to God During Lent in 2018” by Interim Pastor Jim Dougans

At the request of several people I am reposting an updated version of my pastor’s columns from 2016 and 2017.

There are four seasons of the secular calendar: winter, spring, summer and fall. There are seven seasons of the Christian calendar: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent,  The Three Days, Easter, and the Time after Pentecost.

This month we enter the season of Lent. It begins on Ash Wednesday February 14and ends on March 24. Lent is the season of repentance. During the season of Lent we are invited to turn or return to God, as we compare our lives with the life God wants us to live. We will never be perfect. There will always be a gap between God’s expectations and our actions. However we are not called to be perfect. We are called to be holy, that is set apart and sacred.

Jesus set the example for us, as he always does. Following his baptism he was drivenby the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tested. He passed all the tests. Jesus refused the pathways that were the wrong choices for his servant ministry. How will we do?

I invite you to commit to one or more of these 40 disciplines and see what God can do in your heart and life.

“Draw near to God and God will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

1) If you have yet to do so, give your life to Christ. Pray confessing your need forGod; your belief in Jesus as God's Son; ask Christ to enter your life; state your desire to follow him. Then tell me so that I might guide you about next steps to take.

2) If there is a conflict or tension between you and another, seek to resolve it so that it is not a stumbling block for either of you.

3) Forgive. If you are carrying a long-term grudge, bury it. While you are at it, rid your heart of all resentments.

4) Commit to eliminating one bad habit you know is damaging your health or your relationships or both.

5) Pray daily asking God to deliver all who are addicted. If you need to get sober, get to a meeting today. We have three meetings here at the church: Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at noon and Friday at 8 pm. There are other meetings in the area.

6) Talk to me about something that has been weighing you down emotionally or spiritually. My cell phone number is 317.513.8229.

7) If you harbor prejudice for any group of people, rid your soul of that hatred.

8) During your daily prayers, examine your life in light of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20: 1-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21). Ask God to lead you into ways of loving God and your neighbor more deeply (John 15:12)

9) Make a commitment to deepen your connection to God by attending worship for the five Sundays during Lent.

10) Attend the community Good Friday service on March 30 at noon.

11) Pray daily the prayer concerns listed in the Sunday bulletin.

12) Each day turn off the TV, radio, computer, cell-phone, etc. and spend 15 minutes alone in silence with God.

13) Before going to church read the scripture lessons for that Sunday. You will find each week’s scripture lessons printed in the newsletter.

14) Memorize the 23rd Psalm.

15) Use the Lenten Devotional found in the February/March 2018 issue of Presbyterians Today magazine.

16) Read scripture each day, perhaps the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.5-7) or a portion of the Passion Narrative (Matt. 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, John 18-19).

17) Attend the Bible study on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.or the Wednesday evening Bible study at 6 pm.

18) Using a children's story Bible, read a story to your child as part of their bedtime prayers.

19) Help your child learn the Lord's Prayer, Apostles' Creed, Doxology, Gloria Patri, or 23rd Psalm so they know it by heart.

20) End your daily prayers with the Lord's Prayer and finally this prayer: "Holy God, thank you for this day and this time of prayer.                           Through the discipline of Lent, help me to grow in love for you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

21) Fasting from negativity: Zero negativity for 40 days. Or: balance every single negative comment with 3 positive comments.

(22) Fasting from food: Skip one meal per week during Lent. Allow your hunger to focus you on God. Give the money you save on food to a hunger relief organization such as Church World Service.

23) Fasting from extravagance: Skip buying your daily cappuccino or another luxury. Give the money saved to One Great Hour of Sharing to bless those who suffer. This offering is taken at Easter.

24) Fasting from work: Keep Sabbath: worship, no work, rest, and spend time with family.

25) Attend the Ash Wednesday Service in the chapel on February 14 at 7 pm.

26) Daily tell your spouse and/or child(ren) you love them. Back up those words with action.

27) Spend one hour per week doing something to bless someone who is lonely, hungry, needy, or hurting.

28) Visit weekly a homebound or nursing home friend.

29) Cook or bake; prepare and share something with a shut-in.

30) Send a weekly card or note of encouragement to someone who is sick, hurting, alone, or imprisoned.

31) Tell an unchurched person how God has blessed you.

32) Invite an unchurched/dechurched friend to worship.

33) If there's a member of your church who hasn't been to worship in a long time, invite them and bring them.

34) If you are handy with tools and repair, ask the church's Buildings & Grounds Committee what in the church needs to be fixed. Pitch in and do it.

35) Help your child learn about giving. Get a One Great Hour of Sharing coin box and deposit coins each day, praying for the needy.

36) Other than paying your bills, spend nothing on frivolous expenditures. Give the savings to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. You will save a life.

37) Go through your closet. Whatever articles of clothing, outerwear, and shoes you have not worn over the past 365 days, donate them to The Shepherd’s House, 209 East Third Street, Maysville.

38) Begin recycling. Start caring for God's creation which God has commanded us to tend.

39) On Sunday evenings, eat a simple meal (soup & bread, for example). Donate the food money saved to One Great Hour of Sharing.

40) Change the world - one life at a time: Sponsor a third-world child so they can be immunized, fed, and attend school.


Pastor Jim

                Mid-Winter Dinner

Hosted by First Presbyterian Church, Maysville, KY

Sunday, February 11 at 5 PM - 7 PM

Dinner will be served at 5:30. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy a hearty meal and fellowship. Any men who would like to help, please come to the kitchen at 3 pm. There are sign-up sheets in Fellowship Hall and on the table at the back of the sanctuary for those wishing to attend.

PW Bible study will meet February 13

For the PW Evening Circle Bible Study: Our PW/Horizons Bible Study will be “Cloud of Witnesses: The Community of Christ in Hebrews”.  It will explore major themes found in Hebrews, relate these themes to other parts of our faith tradition, and tie them together with the overarching motif of community. 


The “Daily Bible Reading Schedule for One Year” cards are on the back table in the sanctuary.

                             Ash Wednesday Prayer

Merciful God, you called us forth from the dust of the earth; you claimed us

for Christ in the waters of baptism. Look upon us as we enter these Forty

Days bearing the mark of ashes, and bless our journey through the desert of

Lent to the font of rebirth. May our fasting be hunger for justice; our alms,

a making of peace; our prayer, the chant of humble and grateful hearts.

Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers.


The Session will meet on Monday, February 26 at 5:30 p.m.

Souper Bowl Sunday: February 4th is Souper Bowl Sunday. Please bring cans of soup, peanut butter, box of crackers or anything that will go with soup that is nonperishable. These will be taken to the Food Bank.


Bowling for Burnamwood: The Youth Group will be bowling for Burnamwood on Sunday, February 25th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Lexington. This is the 9th Annual Bowl-a-thon and proceeds support Burnamwood’s Annual Fund. Burnamwood is a camp and conference center operated by the Presbytery of Transylvania. Our goal is to raise $299 for Burnamwood. Bowlers can pick up their pledge forms on the table at the back of the sanctuary. Please support our bowlers!

 The church office will be closed on Monday, February 19th           

         for President’s Day.

Class Water U

The Outreach Committee is seeking two volunteers to attend Clean Water U, April 17-21,

2018. Clean Water U is the training school of Living Waters for the World. Located in Oxford, Mississippi, Clean Water U is a simulation experience designed to equip mission team leaders with the skills necessary to: form partnerships with communities in need of clean water; equip local leaders to lead ongoing health education; and, empower communities to install and sustain a Living Waters for the World water purification

system. These learning objectives are taught in three separate workshops which run concurrently during the five-day session. Elder David Harnish has already attended. Please speak with David if you have questions. The church has set aside funding to help two people to attend. Those interested in attending should speak with Elder Ellen                                                                                                                Cartmell, chair of the Outreach Committee ([email protected]).

There is a basket on the table in the back of the sanctuary with note cards, envelopes, pens, labels and
stamps. These cards will go to people on the prayer list and the homebound.

 If you know someone’s address on this list please give it to Gwen in the office so she can make labels with their name and address for your convenience. Thanks!

Click on the calendar to print.

Policy for Worship Service Cancellation Due to Bad Weather:  “First Presbyterian Church will almost always hold a worship service on Sunday morning.  The worship service will be cancelled when there is a Level Three Snow Emergency declared where only personnel are to use the roads.  On weekdays the church office and all church programs will also be cancelled when Level Three Snow Emergency is in effect.  During other storm conditions church members are advised to use caution and best judgment when determining whether to travel to church.” 

Over 200 families are served by the Mason County Food Bank each month. Please keep bringing non-perishable food donations each week to our basket in Fellowship Hall. Please also consider a financial contribution to Limestone Ministries, Inc. and/or the Mason County Food Bank, because despite regular food donations from area churches, food still needs to be purchased each month. Mason County Food Bank is the only one available since the Calvary Baptist Food Bank closed. Any non-perishable item will be accepted, but the most needed items are: spaghetti sauce, boxed spaghetti, macaroni & cheese dinners, dried beans, saltine crackers, cornbread mix, peanut butter, oats, cereal, canned soup, canned vegetables, and canned fruit. Cash donations are welcome also! If you write a check, please make it payable to the First Presbyterian Church and put ‘FOOD BANK’ on the memo line.