Pastor's Blog
June 16, 2017, 2:34 PM

Happy Father's Day - God is like a father - from Pastor Greg Rupright

Dear Members & Friends of First Church,

I just wanted to wish all fathers and
those who serve in the role of a father
a very Happy Father's Day.

In the Bible, God is often pictured
as a father.  Indeed, the psalmist
declares, "As a father is kind to his
children, so the Lord is kind to those
who honor him" (Psalm 103:13, Good News
Bible).  When Jesus prays, he calls
God "Abba," meaning something similar
to "daddy" and indicating a very close
relationship of trust and love.

If our fathers model what God is like,
then we know that we are in the loving
hands of our compassionate parent who
guides us, cares for us, and nurtures
us.

And so my prayer for this Father's Day
is: Gracious God, who like a father who
has taught us, grasped our hand, and been
our guide, help all fathers to care for
their children and family in such a way
that they may more fully bear your image
of love made known and being made known
through your Child, Jesus the Christ.
Amen.

Blessings,

Pastor Greg Rupright




May 11, 2017, 12:42 PM

Happy Mother's Day! - Our Mother's Remind Us of God

May 11, 2017

Dear Members & Friends of
First Congregational
United Church of Christ:

I just wanted to wish all
of our mothers and those
who serve in the role
of a mother, a very happy
Mother's Day!

Most of what I know about
God and faith in Jesus Christ
came from my mother. She would
read Bible stories from the
Children's Bible and take us
to church and Sunday School
almost every Sunday.

So, for my siblings and me,
we learned and experienced
things spiritual, quite literally,
at our mother's side.

In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah
pictures God's relationship with
Israel being like that of a mother
and her child. Isaiah writes,
"Can a woman forget her nursing
child, or show no compassion for
the child of her womb? As a mother
comforts her child, so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem"
(Isaiah 49:15a; 66:13).

So the next time you think of your
mother, think of God embracing you
and holding you as continue on
life's journey.

Again, Happy Mother's Day & Blessings,

Pastor Greg Rupright




April 14, 2017, 10:34 AM

Have A Great Week! Happy Easter! from Pastor Greg

Good Friday - April 14, 2017

Dear Members & Friends of First Church:

How many times has some said to you:
"Have a great week!"  It that just made
your day.

It's Good Friday.  And I hope you've
had a Great Week so far.

In the Christian tradition Palm/Passion
or Holy Week is also called "The Great Week."
It's a Great Week because on Easter we
celebrate the joy of our Savior Jesus Christ's
resurrection.  Nothing could defeat God's
love for us.

So, today, Good Friday, feels like a sad day.
But it's really a good day because Easter
is its outcome -- new life!

So have a Good Friday! Have a Great Week!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  
Christ is risen, indeed!  Alleluia!

Happy Easter & Blessings,

Pastor Greg Rupright




February 9, 2017, 2:10 PM

Have the Winter Blues? Watch A Music Video & Sing A Psalm

Dear Members & Friends of First Congregational UCC:

We are now almost to the middle
of February with weekly snowfalls
and gray skies.  It's easy to get
the winter blues.  So, maybe
it's time to watch and listen to
listen to a Taize You Tube video,
and here's the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoMEMQQ35dU

What you just watched/listened to is
a Taize Praise Song, "Laudate Omnes Gentes, Laudate Dominum"
which in Latin means, "Sing praises, all you peoples,
sing praises to the Lord."

If you're feeling down or gloomy, hum a tune,
watch/listen to some song on your cell phone
or laptop, or google/read the following
Psalms:

Psalm 43:4-5 "Then I will go to the altar of God,
               to God my exceeding joy; I will praise you
               with the harp, O God, my God.  Why are you
               cast down, O my soul, and why are you
               disquited within me?  Hope in God; for I
               shall again praise God, my help and my God.


Psalm 47:6   "Sing praises to  God, sing praises;
               sing praises to our King, sing praises."


Psalm 66: 1-3  "Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
                 sing to the glory of God's name; give God
                 glorious praise.  Say to God, 'How awesome
                 are your deeds!"


Psalm 67:5  "Let all the peoples praise you, O God;  Laudate Omnes Gentes,
              Let all the peoples praise you.         Laudate Dominum!


Psalm 68:32  "Sing to God, O kingdsoms of the earth;
              sing praises to the Lord."


Psalm 108:3  "I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
              among the peoples, and I will sing
              praises to you among the nations."


If you're reading this, I hope you experience
the warmth and light of God's love shining
through some song or psalm.

Keep on singing!

Pastor Greg Rupright
585-223-0224 (church)
revgregrup.ucc@gmail.com




November 4, 2016, 1:33 PM

Is the Reformation dead? What happened to my loved one or friend who passed away?

November 4, 2016

On the last Sunday of October 2015, I was in church
and after the Service commented to my pastor,
“It’s Reformation Sunday, and we didn’t sing
Luther’s A Mighty Fortress Is our God,” to which
he responded, “The Reformation is dead!”

I thought to myself, “In some ways, he’s right.
As a historical period in time, the Reformation
is past – in a sense, it’s dead.”

But the spirit of wanting to change things
for the better, to express ideas more clearly,
to have the right to voice your beliefs embodies
the spirit of the Reformation.  In this sense,
the Reformation is very much alive.

Martin Luther, the German reformer, rediscovered
that faith as the crucial element in life function is
essential to one’s relationship with God. He affirmed
what the Apostle Paul had written, “The just shall live
by faith” (Romans 1:17).  Somehow the Church of Luther’s
day had forgotten this great truth.

November 1st was All Saints’ Day, which First Congregational
United Church of Christ will celebrate this Sunday, November 6th.
It’s another great festival of the Church that seeks to answer
the question, “What happened to my loved one or friend when
she/he passed away?”  All Saints’ Day/Festival is a special
Church celebration where those who have died are remembered
In faith and confidence that they are within God’s Eternal love and
care.  While we cannot prove that those who have died are with
God, we choose to receive our own life in the faith that God is
faithful to God’s creation.  The Bible, you see, is strangely silent
about survival after death.  It simply affirms that nothing can
separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35).  When we
receive that truth by faith, we do not control our destiny or
the destiny of one we have loved and still love, we simply
journey with Christ.

And so with Paul and Luther, we affirm that “the just shall
live by faith,” and we continue our journey with Christ.

Blessings on the Journey,

Pastor Greg Rupright
First Congregational United Church of Christ
585-223-0224
revgregrup.ucc@gmail.com

 

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