January 21, 2022

Dear Prairie Avenue Family,

Is spring only two months away now? Did your internal temperature rise upon receiving the latest Ameren bill? Tired of the doldrums of a typical dead, grey, and still too short winter's day in Central Illinois? Have I asked too many questions?

I have a few more ahead, but I will stop for now.

Worship This Sunday:
Habits! Stopping...
Last week we talked about starting good habits. This week we turned it around: stopping bad habits. Bad habits follow the same timeline as good habits: trigger, action/response, reward. And as we discovered last week, the anticipation of satisfaction is a powerful factor towards completion.

We will encounter the story of Samson. I suspect you may have had a "sanitized" encounter with him; i.e., use your strengths for God's purposes, or as a warning; beware of Delilah (which is a name-play on "flirty"). The story in Judges 13-16, from birth to death, is one where brute force/strength applied to one's own desires and purposes ultimately lead to destruction. The entire book of Judges is basically "see what happens when you don't have kings in charge!" Samson's quests have less to do with looking out for the tribal interests of Israel and everything to do with Samson's desire for amorous conquests, even the "flirty" daughters of Israel's enemies, the Philistines (although it should be said that Delilah's tribal identity is not disclosed, she could have been a persuadable Israelite)!

His journey of 25 miles is one of 56,250 steps. The issue with bad habits is that their full consequences are revealed long after we started. One poor choice consistently done usually can be stopped before then, if confronted, made difficult to continue, and alter the response to the trigger. It is true that the hardest part of a good habit is its beginning. It is also true that the hardest part of a bad habit is its deceptive immediately perceived benefits.

Anywhere in the journey, you can change the outcome. But you have to watch and change or remove the trigger that starts the action! Your bad habit always happens at a particular place, time, mood, moment, or with certain people. Change any one of these situations and it can break a bad habit for good. It is almost impossible to live the right kind of life among wrong friends. Complicate the ease of bad habits and you will be surprised how quickly they become former habits.

Join us online or in-person at 8 am and 9:30 am Sunday.

One Request for Online viewers...
If you could share a friendly "hi" or "nice to be here" in the Facebook (TM) live feeds, we can accurately record your attendance. Several of you have already consistently done something to let us know you are there. You can also send a note to prairieavenue@sbcglobal.net.

2021 Contribution Reports Distributed
You should be receiving over the next couple of days your contribution record for 2021. Thank you for your generous support of the ministries and work of Prairie Avenue Christian Church. I know it has been a difficult season in the life of the church as well as for many members. We have 23 contributors who provide over $80,000 in total support

My 2022 Wish List
I have just a few requests to be filled immediately.
Worship Leaders for 8 am or 9:30 am service: It is more than time for my voice to retire.
Live stream crew: Patrick Butterick has been an excellent team member of this important ministry. But Patrick cannot run it all! We need someone to handle the slides, and someone to be our "greeter" on the Facebook feed. A regular crew of three would be perfect!
Musicians/Singers: There is considerable distance between the altar and the first row of pews, in fact, is it greater than the minimum distance needed to reduce COVID risks involving singing. Our congregation will thank you. And if the desire is strong for a more blended/contemporary service, we need a guitar, drum, and more.

And lastly...
Beginning in February, I am going to schedule a listening tour, asking you to speak about why Prairie Avenue matters in your life, what are your desires moving forward, and what your concerns? I know there is much love and devotion given to this near 100-year-old organization. COVID-19 has quickened our pace (in both positive and negative senses) and both near-term and long-term plans and decisions need to be made as part of a larger strategic plan.

I see these listening appointments happening in several stages and through several means. We can meet in whatever way is comfortable to you: in-person, online, or by a phone conversation. Your thoughts and feedback are deeply appreciated and will shape our next steps in developing a strategic plan for 2022-2024.
Invite someone to join you for worship this weekend, in person, online
In-person on Sunday mornings at 8 am or 9:30 am. Masks are encouraged regardless of vaccination status if social distancing cannot be kept.

Online at prairieavenuechristianchurch.org, and Facebook Sunday at 8 am or 9:30 am.

See you this weekend online or in person,

Blessings to you all,

As a church family, we care for and pray for one another.

As a matter of online privacy, we will only disclose public sympathy to a church friend or family member whose passing has also been publicly disclosed.

The Family of Terry Lee Ford, Former Associate Pastor, (1982-1986), who passed on December 27, 2021.

If you would like prayer, please submit your prayer request online, and Pastor Jason and prayer team members will pray for you.
Prairie Avenue Christian Church | Website