What an amazing weekend we just enjoyed here at First Pres! We had the privilege of hosting the 2nd annual Forum on Faith & Culture, and it was a rich time of lecture and conversation. The Forum is a collaboration of about five churches in our community to bring dynamic speakers to our area who will help us think critically about the intersection of Faith and Culture and its implications for us as followers of Jesus Christ in our day and time. This weekend we had the good fortune of having award-winning author James K.A. Smith (Jamie) to speak. He shared with us thoughts from his new book You Are What You Love, as well as other insights about living for Christ in this cultural moment. Many people in our congregation, including staff and some committees of Session, have been reading this book, and it’s having a profound impact on our conversation about discipleship and worship in our church.   I commend the book to you.

Jamie also preached on Sunday morning, and he tackled the tough question: “Why Is There Pain and Suffering in the World” – no easy task!   It was a powerful message. Jamie explained that to this deep and profound question, in the Bible God doesn’t really give us an answer. Instead, He gives us His Son. God sent His Son Jesus Christ into our broken world, and on the cross He took upon Himself all the evil and pain and suffering the world had to give. And in His resurrection, Christ overcame evil and sin and death. Thanks be to God!

If you missed the Forum, or if you missed Jamie’s sermon on Sunday, all the messages are posted on our Faith and Forum page or check them out below. I love being in a church that takes its faith seriously, and we are all blessed to be in a community that can bring people of Jamie’s caliber to help us wrestle with the call to discipleship. May the Lord use all the experiences of this past weekend to take us deeper into the heart of God through worship and discipleship, and may He help us become more fully engaged in the mission of God as we seek to reach and serve a lost and broken world to the glory of His name.

Reverend Dr. Peter Barnes



James Smith – Feb 10, 2017

Session 1

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