First Presbyterian Church Blog

A Prayer Story From Justine Byers

Over the past few weeks as I have been thinking about what to write on prayer, the word joy keeps passing through my mind. Psalm 126:3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy! Joy is at the center of a life of prayer. When you are in constant communion with God, talking to Him when you first wake up, before your feet hit the floor, during the day, and then at night before you lay your head down, you will experience His presence, His love, and His joy. God wants us to call upon Him with our thanksgiving and praise, repentance and sorrows, and our requests.

Over my life I have experienced God’s answer to my prayers more than once, and I have had a chance to experience His presence, love, and joy. I have made it a habit to seek God through prayer first thing in the morning, throughout my day, and at night before I close my eyes. The answer I would like to share with you is the story of our third son, Jonah. I knew after the birth of our second son, Isaac, that our family wasn’t complete. My husband on the other hand didn’t have that same longing. I prayed routinely for two-and-a-half years for either my husband’s heart to change or for the longing of more children to leave me. I knew that God heard my request for a third child, and I also knew that God wanted me to honor my husband’s wishes, too. To say that my heart was in turmoil doesn’t even cut it. Near the end of that time, I was beginning to lose hope that a third pregnancy was in my future, so I decided to move forward and go through our baby things and maternity clothes and start to rid our house of these things—trying to have peace about the answer God had given me. But, shortly after that process, I began to learn to experience God’s peace and joy even though his answer wasn’t what I thought it should be. My husband’s heart was opened to the idea of a third baby!! So all along God had heard my heart’s desire and answered my prayer. Jonah was born nine months later. We are now a family of five, and I praise God every day for His answer! During that time of waiting, I learned to trust God and walk by faith.

A Hospitable God Week 3 Begins on December 11

Read Luke 2:8-20. God’s Welcome

Read the passage slowly and prayerfully. Note in your journal any phrase, which stands out to you. Listen with the “ear of your heart“ to the Spirit’s lead, paying particular attention to God’s welcome.


How is God’s welcome made apparent even in the middle of a tent city of shepherds? What is the hospitable message of the angels and to whom is this welcome offered? Consider the significance of Jesus’ welcome in humble and ordinary circumstances among ordinary people, yet accompanied by the praises of angels. How does the imagery show God’s concern for people regardless of their social status or vocation? What does this suggest about God’s welcome to you and how highly he values you? How might it inform the hospitality we offer to the world? Consider the joy heralded and experienced with the good news. How does this joy relate to hospitality and welcome?

Respond and Rest

Let an attitude of quiet receptiveness permeate your response in prayer. Consider how Mary’s response depicts the wonder of experiencing the inbreaking of God in her life and how she pondered these things in her heart. Ponder these things in your heart.

Light the Candle

Record any light you received as you reflected from the week’s Scripture

Watch Our 2016 Christmas Concert on YouTube!

Our fabulous concert of Christmas carols was attended by several hundred people last week. If you missed it (or you want to experience it again), you can now watch it on video thanks to our worship intern Jesús Gomez. And plan to participate (and invite your friends) next year!


Taproot Theater Christmas Play



Sunday, December 18th 9:00am in Fellowship Hall

Nothing goes quite as expected in this Christmas comedy about forgiveness, calling and hope. All ages invited.



2nd Wednesday Potluck


Wednesday, December 14th at 6:00pm

Bring a dish and join us for an opportunity to practice hospitality, to tell stories and to engage in prayer.
For questions contact Richard Shepard at


New Books for Sale (Suggested Donation)


Just in time for Christmas!
FPC is now selling (for suggested donation) NEW staff recommended Christian books and Bibles in the Information Central/FPC Library in Fellowship Hall. Stop by and check out the various titles we now have available. Currently accepting cash or check.



A Hospitable God Week 2 Begins on December 4

Read Luke 24:13-32. Breaking Bread

Read the passage slowly and prayerfully. Listen with the “ear of your heart“ to the Spirit’s lead, ready to perceive and receive the gifts of the table. Ponder Jesus’ message about table fellowship.


How does Jesus’ gradual revelation of himself allow his companions to learn about trusting God’s promises? Later, in the intimacy of fellowship, Jesus is recognized. In Luke’s mind, there is a clear connection between the resurrection meals of Jesus and the celebration of Holy Communion. This setting is no mistake; table fellowship is a Lukan theme. Many of the resurrection appearances are associated with table fellowship (Lk 24:41-43; Acts 1:4; 10:41; Jn 21:9-15). Jesus’ ministry and the acceptance that comes through table fellowship says all are welcome. As Jesus sits at the table, takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to them, their eyes are opened. What message is being sown into their souls as a result of the intimacy and the dawning recognition? Why is breaking bread a powerful invitation to draw near and receive the gift of sight? What does Jesus’ participation in the concrete keepings of life suggest about our bodily faith? Why is it an important part of the resurrection appearances?


Respond and Rest

In your prayer, rest in Jesus’ welcome to you and his blessing during the breaking of the bread. Consider what message is being sown into your heart.

Light the Candle

Record any light you received as you reflected from the week’s Scripture

Sing in the Season at Our Free Christmas Concert!


Our free community Christmas concert is almost here! Join us this Sunday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 pm for a time of singing and hearing Christmas carols featuring vocal choir, handbells, orchestra, and pipe organ. Plus stay afterward for cookies and hot cider. Invite your friends and bring your entire family!

Christmas Books and DVDs in the FPC Library

Young mother and her two little daughters reading a book by a Christmas tree in cozy living room in winter

Be sure to stop by the FPC Library on Sunday before and after the worship service to check out our Christmas-themed books and DVDs for the entire family. You can also pick up your copy of a free Advent devotional by FPC member Annie Lockwood.

A Celebration of Carols


Sing In The Season with Choir and Orchestra

SUNDAY December 4th at 6:00pm in the Sanctuary

Enjoy an evening of singing together with the choir and orchestra to celebrate the holiday season.


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