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May 1, 2023  The Messenger – From Our Pastor

 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak.”   James 1:19 

            There is an old familiar story about a man who told something terrible about his neighbor.   The rumor spread around town as one person told another and the neighbor’s reputation was ruined.   Eventually the rumor was proved to be untrue. The man who started the rumor felt terrible for spreading false gossip. So he visited his priest and the priest gave him these odd instructions: “Take a bag filled with feathers to the top of the church bell tower and let them go. Then come back to me.”  When the man returned with the empty bag, the priest told him. “Now take your bag outside and collect all the feathers.”  The man replied, “But that is impossible, the wind blew the feathers all over the town and I will never be able to find them all.”  The priest said, “My son, that’s how it is with careless words. Once spoken, they cannot be taken back. Jesus will forgive what you said, but the damage has already been done.”

            That’s how it is with every rumor or juicy piece of gossip. “Have you heard what Tom did?”  “I hear Britany and Jeremy are separating, can you believe it?” “Did you know Ashley is losing her kids?” And on it goes. Sometimes, the story is a total lie. At other times, we only know half the narrative and the complete story changes the whole picture. Occasionally we add our own little twist to the story. But regardless of how you repeat it, the damage is done and another person’s reputation was harmed.  

But there’s an easy cure; James challenges you to be slow to speak. One way to do that is to THINK before you speak. And there’s a great little acronym which gives you questions to ask before you pass on any story: 

T –       Is it True? 

H –       Is it Helpful?

 I –       Is it Inspiring?

N –       Is it Necessary? 

K –       Is it Kind? 


If you can’t answer all five questions with a yes, then the story isn’t worth repeating.  So, the next time you hear a story, be slow to speak and think because once you say your words, they cannot be taken back. 


In Christ’s Love, Pastor Steve



The Messenger - From Our Pastor


In November of 1982, Vice President, George H. Bush, represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev. Brezhnev’s widow, Viktoria, performed an act that deeply moved the President. She stood quietly beside the coffin. Then, as the soldiers closed the lid, she reached in and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest. In a communistic country that promoted atheism as the law of the land, this wife of the man who ran the nation, committed this deed of civil disobedience. In the midst of her despair,  she hoped her husband was wrong and that there was another life after death. And to her, that eternal life came from Jesus who died on the cross.

            Although, atheism is not the law of our land, misery and despair are still felt by the homeless of the urban city, by people addicted to drugs and alcohol and by non-Christians who stand beside the coffins of their loved ones.

            But as Christians we have the answer to the world’s hopelessness and despair. The Apostle, Peter, who went through his own time of despair on Good Friday wrote in

1 Peter 1:3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 

In His great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through 

the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

            The resurrection of Jesus gives us a living hope. Jesus, the Son of God, is alive and risen from the dead. He is our Savior and through Him we have the hope and assurance that all our mistakes and sins are forgiven. Through Him there is the hope that the addictive chains  of alcohol and drugs can be broken. In Jesus, we have the hope of eternal life after our death and on this earth.

            I pray you will join us for all our Sunday services this month and for our special worship service on Maundy Thursday as we celebrate the power of the cross. What Mrs. Brezhnev desperately wanted to believe, we know to be true! There is hope in this world of despair. And that hope is the resurrection of Jesus which we celebrate at Easter. 

                                                                        In Christ’s Love, Pastor Steve



Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.

Psalm 55:22 NLT

The following article, “You’re Not Meant to Carry All That,” is from Carrie Marrs’ devotional book entitled: Calm Your Anxious Mind. I contemplated using her illustration but realized I couldn’t explain her point any better than she already does.

Have you ever gone backpacking? Those giant packs are no joke - some people walk around with sixty pounds on their back! Can you imagine going through your daily routine with one of those strapped to you? You wouldn’t feel free to do all you were meant to do with that beast constantly aggravating you and wearing you down.

Aren’t we all sort of like that when we drudge through our days feeling miserably burdened?

God says, “I see you’ve got a heavy-duty burden going there. Will you let Me take some weight off?” If we say yes, He’ll choose a way to do that in His wisdom. Sometimes He takes burdens away. Sometimes He sends helpers. Other times He makes the hard things feel lighter and doable. His powerful presence changes our experience of them.

It’s a bit like when I call my sister and say, “Here’s what’s weighing on me.” I can’t explain why, but simply talking it out and having her listen makes me feel lighter. Or like when I’m carrying ten grocery bags and my husband says, “I can take some of those,” with an outstretched hand.

Listen, you need to remove something you’ve been carrying alone on your shoulders. I’m betting all that is not meant for one human. Surrender it into God’s able hands.

 In Christ’s Love,

 Pastor Steve


 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.   Your sons and daughters will prophesy, 

your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. “   Joel 2:28


            An Arab, named Hussein, told how he had been a Muslim his whole life and extremely anti-Christian. But one year, during the week of Easter, Hussein saw a Christian preacher on the television talking all about Jesus. He could not take his eyes off the broadcast. And then something supernatural happened to him. “Suddenly, the Holy Spirit fell on me!  I looked up and Jesus was there in front of me. I’d been a devout Muslim but as soon as I saw Him it was like seeing an old friend that I knew before. And I knew it was Jesus. And I knew something else, I knew that He was the Son of God!”

            Hussein is one of many former Muslims who converted to Christianity because God spoke to them through a vision. Of course, this is not a new phenomenon. The Bible is filled with visions God gave to his people. During Lent, I will preach a sermon series entitled, “Visions.” I will examine a variety of visions in scripture to show how God worked in the lives of those people and explain how God still speaks to us through these Biblical visions.

My sermons during Lent will be:

Feb. 26th          “Blazing Torches” - Genesis 15

Mar. 5th           “World Wrestling Entertainment” – Genesis 32:22-31

Mar. 12th         “Chariots of Fire” - 2 Kings 6:8-23

Mar. 19th         “Holy Ground” – Exodus 3:1-10

Mar. 26th         “Merry Christmas!”  - Luke 2:8-11

April 2nd           “On Top of Old Mount Hermon” – Matthew 17:1-9

April 9th           “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” - Matthew 28:1-10

Come join us this Lent and let God speak to you through His “Visions.”   

In Christ’s love, Pastor Steve



4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  Matthew 2:4-5

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There’s a familiar Christmas song made popular by Perry Como:


                                                Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays

                                                ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam

                                                If you want to be happy in a million ways

                                                For the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home


Christmas is traditionally a time people associate with being at home:  images of a wreath on the front door, gifts under a richly decorated tree, animated chatter around a food-laden table while Christmas carols play softly in the background.  Returning to the home of your parents to catch up with family you seldom see, or opening your home to those who are far away are all a part of Christmas. This all makes perfect sense, since the birth of Jesus began with Joseph and Mary returning to their ancestral home of Bethlehem, the city of David.

Home is God’s idea right from the start. When He brought Adam and Eve together in marriage it was for them to create a home. And in forming the church, God intended for all of His people to have a home where they feel loved and secure. Due to health concerns, the pandemic kept many believers from being able to gather together in worship at their home church. However, this fall, the Covid variants have dropped down to a normal winter flu season. Therefore, it is once again safe for everyone to come back to your church home here at Champion Presbyterian Church.  

So during this Advent season, I hope everyone from our congregation will return to worship because “there’s no place like home for the holidays.”


In Christ’s love,                                                          

Pastor Steve 

 Pastor's Page 11-01-2022


“After Paul urged the men on the boat to eat, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all.” Then he broke it, and began to eat. They were all encouraged.”

Acts 27:35-36

            A Russian man recalled his youth saying, “As a teenager, I enjoyed going to our neighborhood grocery store. There my friends and I would get a roll of bread and a few slices of cheese for a snack. An elderly lady who worked at the store would always say some kind and encouraging words to us, as she carefully sliced our cheese.

            A few years later, the USSA collapsed. Because of major economic disruptions, all cheese disappeared from the grocery stores. Most other food items became scarce too.  The store was still open, but it sold only bread. My memories of a kind lady who sliced cheese for us seemed almost unreal, but they still warmed my heart in those difficult times.”

            Similarly, the men on Paul’s ship faced a very difficult situation. In the middle of a terrible storm, their boat running aground, unsure where they were, they faced the possibility of drowning at sea. Yet in the midst of their terrifying circumstances, Paul took what little food they had, lifted it toward heaven and thanked God for it. And his words brought encouragement to everyone on the ship.  

            We all face difficult circumstances, such as an impending surgery, loss of job, or a lingering disease. Yet Paul’s act reminds us that when we pause to give thanks for what we have (even when it’s little) our gratitude brings encouragement. This month, most people will celebrate Thanksgiving to thank God for the feast they eat, for their families gathered around the table and their many other blessings. Yet even if this has been a hard year for you, be sure to thank God for your blessings as an encouragement to others.


In Christ’s Love, 

Pastor Steve



Pastor's Page 09-01-2022

          Survivor is a very successful television reality series for CBS that is hosted by Jeff Probst.   Millions of people have watched the 42 seasons since it began. The program places a group of strangers in an isolated location, where they must provide food, fire, and shelter for themselves. The contestants compete in challenges that test the contestants' physical abilities such as running and swimming as well as their mental abilities with puzzles. These challenges offer rewards or immunity from elimination. The contestants are progressively voted off the show by their fellow contestants until only one remains as the "Sole Survivor" and wins one million dollars.

             One reason for the show’s success is that it parallels our lives. Although you were never stranded on an island, your life is filled with a variety of challenges as you seek to provide food, warmth and shelter for yourself and your family. And although you may never win a million dollars, each of you does want to survive the problems, tests, and trials you encounter all through your life. And God’s Word offers guidance and direction so you don’t get eliminated from the competition. My fall sermon series: “Survivor” will examine some of your common challenges and offer God’s wisdom for your lives. 

My sermons this fall will be:

 Sept 11            How to Survive in a Hostile Workplace 

 Sept 18            How to Survive Parenthood 

 Sept 25            How to Survive When Bad Things Happen to God’s People

 Oct 2                How to Survive Failure

 Oct 9                How to Survive Criticism

 Oct 16              How to Survive Conflict

             I hope you can join us each week for worship this fall.

 Inside your Messenger is a Flyer highlighting my Fall Sermon Series. Please share it with a friend or neighbor and invite them to worship with you. There are more flyers outside the sanctuary so you can invite your whole neighborhood.


             In Christ’s love, Pastor Steve