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A Village Of Unconditional, All Forgiving,
Never Ending LOVE.
 
 
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H O W   W E   W O R S H I P

Join Us Sunday Mornings

9:00 A.M. Village

Start your Sunday off in a casual, low-key gathering where we share breakfast and chat about Jesus and life. Small groups for all ages – Nursery Available!
 
 
This ain’t your old fashioned
Sunday School!
 
Join us September – May!
 
 
 

10:00 A.M. Worship

“A little something for everyone and a lot of Jesus” is how we worship. Come as you are and experience our energetic, spirit filled service with moving messages and music ranging from contemporary Christian to traditional hymns.
 
 
This service is geared for all
generations!
 
 

Teaching & Preachings

We teach and preach a Jesus that is real and authentic … Taken straight from the gospels with no biased or politics attached. Whether you’re an active participant or a “fly on the wall” listener, we have something for you.
 
 
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interests you!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
B I G  I D E A 
 
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).
 
Pastor Bob
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
C H U R C H   M E D I A

Recent Messages

April 2020

Middle Sabbath Service – April 29 ( Wednesday)

“Middle Sabbath Service – April 29 ( Wednesday)”.


Middle Sabbath Service — April 22 ( Wednesday)



Middle Sabbath Service — 1st week of Eastertide



Maundy Thursday Evening Service

“Maundy Thursday Evening Service”.


Sabbath Sunday Service — Palm Sunday

“Sabbath Sunday Service — Palm Sunday”.


Middle Sabbath Service – April 1

“Middle Sabbath Service – April 1”.


March 2020

Sunday Sabbath Service – 5th Sunday

“Sunday Sabbath Service – 5th Sunday”.


Middle Sabbath Service 2 — March 25th

“Middle Sabbath Service 2 — March 25th”.


Sunday Sabbath Service – 4th Sunday

“Sunday Sabbath Service – 4th Sunday”.


Middle Sabbath 1 — March 18 (Wednesday)

“Middle Sabbath 1 — March 18 (Wednesday)”.




 
 
 
 
 
F R O M   T H E   B L O G

Recent Posts

INTO THE MYSTIC: SEEKING THE GREAT HARMONY OF LIFE

“We were borne before the wind

Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was won

As we sailed into the mystic”

(Van Morrison)

Genesis 1 tells us how God created a world that was in perfect harmony. The story of creation is set in a 7-day time span over which God creates everything we have in the world today. God starts with light, and then adds all the features of nature – from the waters to the animals – and then God called it all “good.” When God says something is good, that means it is in perfect harmony with God’s will. 

When the 6th day came in God’s creation story, God created humans in the image of God – male and female God created them. (Gen. 1:27) God blessed the humans (Gen. 1:28), and then looked over all that God had created and saw that it was “excellent in every way.” (Gen. 1: 31) When God thinks something is “excellent in every way” that means it is in perfect harmony with God’s will. Even us!

Chapter 2 of Genesis takes God’s story of perfect harmony into the “Garden of Eden” where man and woman live together with all the other things of creation in a place where nothing is not in harmony with God. All things of existence have found their true nature and they live it out every day; from the clouds and the rain to the trees and the plants to the caterpillars and bullfrogs to the man and the woman. Nothing is dominated by their self-will. Everything is in perfect harmony with God. 

That’s the world that Van Morrison sings about in his song, “Into the Mystic.” (lyrics above) You see, before we got here, we were there … in the “Garden” that God had created. God gave man and woman one final gift that no other part of creation was given – self-will. God knew that without self-will, humans could not be the creatures that God created them to be. God wanted humans to love God by their own choice, because that’s the only way love actually means love. But that self-will also gave us the freedom to do our own thing and to make our own choices. 

Which brings us to today. Here we are, still seeking that perfect harmony with God that is right in front of us. The past few days, my son Jackson and I have been holed up in a cabin in the middle of the Shawnee Forest in southern Illinois seeking that perfect harmony of God in the realm of nature living on its own terms. Being deep in the woods of a national forest is about as close as we can get to that prefect harmony of the Garden of Eden in today’s society. 

For some it is found on a boat in the middle of the sea, and for others it is found climbing mountains that stretch to the sky. And, of course, there’s the beach. My wife, Amy, finds her solace and peace sitting on the beach facing the never ending span of the ocean which extends to the horizon, and beyond. All of these are good places to get close to that original harmony of the Garden. You probably have your own places that bring you closer to God’s presence. The trick, of course, is to bring this sense of original perfection back to our “real” lives. 

It’s wonderful to spend a few days in the woods, free to be yourself and free to be in nature as God created it to be. But the question for us is: How do we experience the mystic of God’s harmony in our everyday lives? The answer to that question brings us back to self-will. God has blessed us with a choice to make each and every day; should it be my will or yours, God? 

Only when we are willing to surrender our own will for God’s will, do we move our souls closer to the harmony of the Garden of Eden. It’s true! Eden is right in front of us. Just ask God. God created all this as a way to bring us closer to God … not farther away. 

The material realities of our lives are but distractions from the mystical reality of God’s presence that surrounds us … and calls to us. It’s as if God can give us new sight – a new way of seeing – so that we may, if we choose, look around us and see that Garden that we came from … that perfect harmony that God instilled in the world at the beginning. 

This week I was reminded of all that harmony and perfection that still remains in the world today. I found myself immersed in nature that was as close to pristine and perfect as God created it. The deep  woods can be stunning in its simplicity – each creature and each plant and each tree co-existing with each other just as God intended – all of them living and growing perfectly according to God’s will. 

And then humans come along. And, as it is every day of our lives, we have a choice to make. Do I co-exist with this patch of the Kingdom by surrendering my will and following God’s will to the best of my ability – or do I come to exert my will on this piece of perfect creation, marred only by the reckless decisions of other humans who cannot resist acting out of self-will. 

The truth of God’s creation is that we have that choice every single day of our lives — whether we are in the woods, on the sea, up on the mountaintop or at the beach. But we also have that same choice when we get back home. God created us to bring harmony with God’s way and God’s will to the place we are each and every day. Those other places we go are just reminders of what we can help God create right at home.

In the end, it’s not about where we are, but who we are. It’s about the choice we make every day. It’s about my will or God’s will. It’s about harmony with perfection that already exists or exerting my power over harmony and creating disharmony in my life and in the world. It’s about good enough for me or the best of what’s possible for all.

As for me, I choose to bring my will before God, and ask that it be molded into whatever God may desire. In that sense, I prefer to “sail into the mystic” with my sights set on Eden and my heart following Jesus. And though I often fall short of perfection, I know that God loves my desire to please God alone and God will always love me, just as I am, imperfections and all! 

Peace and harmony to all,

Pastor Bob

   


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A “MIDDLE AGES” ROCK STAR

Turns out there is a big difference between a middle-aged rock star and a  “Middle Ages” rock star. 

Middle-Aged Rock Star Alice Cooper  

When I googled “Middle Ages Rock Star,” pictures of Alice Cooper came up. (If  you’re not old enough to know that Alice Cooper is not a woman, I apologize for  the ancient reference.) In addition to Alice, there seems to be quite a gaggle of  men who also still long to be a middle-aged rock star. Perhaps most of them??  Maybe some reading this right now!!! But I doubt there are many who long to be  a “Middle Ages Rock Star” — which is what this article is about. 

Peter Funk is the Prior of the Monastery of the Holy Cross in south Chicago. He  created and has led the growth spurt of this little patch of the Kingdom of God  right here in the midst of some of Chicago’s most notorious neighborhoods. As  a frequent guest at the monastery, I have had the privilege of participating in 

worship with Peter, eating meals together (in silence!), and watching him  blossom as man of God right before my very eyes. It’s as if Prior Peter Funk is  doing exactly what God wants him to be doing … and one can tell. 

But this evening, as my son Jackson and I sat through the 5:15pm Vespers  service and the 7:15pm Compline service at the Monastery of the Holy Cross, the  thought struck me that beyond the great spiritual success that Peter’s life has  become, he would’ve been a huge “rock star” in the Middle Ages. That would’ve  been sometime between the Fall of Rome in the 5th century and the fall of  Constantinople in the 15th century.  

Why would I say that? When I think of the gifts and talents of Prior Funk and how  he has given all he has for the glory of God, I can see that those very gifts and  talents were exactly what the culture of the Middle Ages valued, and honored.  Think about it: 

Peter is, first and foremost, a devout man of God. God is the beginning and  the ending of all his days, and is the perfect center of his life. The Middle  Ages valued those gifts. 

Peter is a world-class vocalist of hymns and psalms, and can sing a “call and-response” prayer on par with any contemporary rap singers of today.  The Middle Ages valued those gifts. 

Peter sits as the keeper of the souls of all the men who have entered the  monastery under his care. He knows that God will hold him, not the other  men, accountable for their spiritual purity. The Middle Ages valued and  honored those gifts. 

And blessed with all that, God also gave Peter that tall, dark and ruggedly  handsome look that any culture admires.  

Likely Middle Ages Rock Star Peter Funk  

One of my favorite things on earth is to see people who seem to be doing exactly  what God created them for. In my mind, at this time in history, there is no place  else that Peter Funk should be other than this monastery on the south side of 

Chicago, leading these men and this community (and sometimes some visitors  from faraway places like me and Jackson) just a little bit closer to God every  single day. No, there’s no rock star fame for him, but there is something even  better than what anything in the world could give him.  

When I’m in that old church cathedral they use for their prayer services and  residences, watching and listening to Prior Peter, I can literally feel the living  presence of God in my very being. That’s a feeling I yearn for all the time.  Tonight, after Compline, when Peter sprinkled holy water on me and Jackson, I  couldn’t imagine a better experience to have with my son at this time in both our  lives. 

We’re both rock music fans, and Jackson and I have taken each other to many  concerts of our favorite acts; But Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young  aside, that water sprinkling performance of Prior Peter tonight after  Compline goes right to the top of my rock-star favorites list. Thank you Jesus! 

But the real question this article poses is what does this mean for us. Having  heard so many times that one can be anything one wants to be in America, I  suppose that if you want to be a rock star, it’s out there waiting for you. But, if  you want to be an eternally shining star for God in this very culture right now,  then that requires a whole different commitment; A devotion to God like the one  Peter Funk has lived by. 

Monks today do pretty much the same things they did in the Middle Ages. They  pray with each other and chant the Psalms 7 times a day — from 3:30am to  7:15pm. Each and every day. That’s devotion! They also read and study the Bible  and other spiritual writings each and every day. And that’s devotion too! And,  like us, they work every day. They cook and clean and fix and repair and sew and  cut hair … and at this monastery, they even run a little bed and breakfast for  tourists in Chicago. Almost every monastery today has some vocational work  activity that helps pay the bills. 

Does that sound a little bit like your life? OK … but work with me here  … shouldn’t it? We always get caught between trying to be a “rock star” in our  worldly jobs and endeavors, and giving God the time and commitment that we  would like to. 

The truth is, we almost always make the biggest commitments in our lives to the  worldly stuff. But as good as we get at it, there always seems to be something  missing for us to have the inner peace and deep contentment that we so desire  in our lives. Something is still missing.

Maybe Peter Funk has it right. What if we took all the things we do that fill our  lives each day, and we turned them into modern forms of prayer, study, and  vocation. Actually, it’s not as hard or outlandish as you might think. For  example: 

The relationships in your life today, from family members and beloved  friends to the strangers you meet on the street each day, are your most  compelling opportunities for prayer. 

The information and entertainment that we choose to fill our heads with  can just as easily be opportunities to reflect upon and study the ways of  God in the world and to see how God is working each day. 

And then there is our work. As someone very close to our church reminded  me on one of my shadowy days — perhaps the toughest and least desirable  parts of our work are the opportunities that God gives us to show God that  we, too, are willing to make sacrifices and endure hardships as part of our  commitment to God. 

This is what I know today. When I was younger, being a rock star was one of  several options for the direction I wanted my life to go. But when I “grew up,” I  knew that the only audience I was created to serve was God and God’s great  cloud of witnesses. And it’s the same for all of us. I guess being a rock star  would be pretty cool, but being a middle-aged mangy and dirty sheepdog is the  best life there is. Just ask Peter Funk … he’s one too! 

Livin’ the life God gave me, I am … 

Pastor Bob <>< 


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REASONS WHY I LIKE ARTHUR – PART II

The Congregation Responds …

Friends & neighbors – 3 of our beloved matriarchs took on my challenge to come up with their own lists of “Reasons Why I Like Arthur.” I offer them to you below. Enjoy!    

FROM CHERRYL CONLIN

  • I like a town where your groceries from the IGA are carried out to your car and placed carefully in your car.
  • I like a town where the seniors are awarded significant scholarships (maybe around $200,000, but cannot be totally accurate on that amount) by organizations and individuals.
  • I like a town where the local businesses provide repair in a timely manner.
  • I like a town where there are so many talented craftsmen.
  • I like a town where the people know your name.
  • I like a town where neighbors are out talking with each other and looking out for each other.
  • I like a town that prays for the well-being of others in the community. (Personal note: I have experienced this first hand.  Others that are acquaintances are still coming to me telling me how they and their church family have been praying for me).
  • I like a town where the pastors and churches work so well together.
  • I like a town where we do not need to wait in long lines for service.
  • I like a town where the products are actually cheaper than at the big box stores.  (Personal note:  I have used my cash register receipts from local stores and compared them at Walmart, same brand and size, and saved money in Arthur.  The added bonus was I saved my time and gas).

FROM MARILYN WATKINS

  • I like our town because so many of the caring people offer their help if I ever need it! I often think what my life would be like if I lived in a high rise in a large city. This town is the best and I’m so pleased you and your family like it too!!!❤

FROM JANICE DAUGHERTY

  • I like a town where you grow up. go to school, leave for college, and marry. Then. You move away for years, and then life changes for you; your mate passes away and you are alone, so you go visit this hometown you grew up in and YES – you see so many friends here, and, why not, make it home again. And for so many reasons it has been the right thing to do – people so caring, and welcoming, and so many memories to share; My Home Town. 

What about you? Why not get in on the action, and email me your “Reasons Why I Like Arthur.” Here’s my email address again: bobsilvanik@gmail.com 

Have a peace-filled and blessed rest of the week – and take time to stop, and enjoy all the good things there are about living right here in this very place.

Pastor Bob <><


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Meet Some Of Our Team

 
Bob Silvanik
 Pastor
 
Beth Jones
Office Manager
 
Ruth Ann Lowder
Music
 
 
Ed Coller
Moderator
 
 
Candi & Bryan Thomas
Cleaning Crew
 
 
 
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Address: 249 S. Vine Street Arthur, IL 61911
Phone:217-543-2292