July 14, 2017

Dear First Pres,
   I'm so thankful that God chose to put our congregation in a building in Downtown Fresno. Whether we walk or drive to our physical church building, we can be thankful for the Lord's placement and for the wisdom of those past elders who decided years ago to remain in our current location.
   There is a consistent refrain of those who have been around the church for a long time: the landscape around our church is always changing! Even as we walk out our front door we have brand new townhouse apartments to our south and west, less than a football field away.
   We also have two wonderful campus church partners: Hope Now Bible Church with Pastor Roger Feenstra and Bethany Inner City Church with Pastor Jonathan Villalobos. Both of these have such a pastor's heart for this city, just as years ago our elders had a heart for this city.
   This coming Sunday we have the amazing privilege of demonstrating the body of Christ by uniting with Bethany and Hope Now for a joint worship service (9:30am) in our Sanctuary followed by an opportunity to love the Lowell neighborhood to our north.
   Together, we'll form teams to spread out across this downtown area. As each group walks our streets with friends from Hope Now and Bethany Church, we demonstrate that God's Church is all those who believe in Him as Lord and Savior. Our churches will be united in love for Christ and our neighbors. As one, we believe wholeheartedly in the transformational power of the Gospel and incredible movement of the Spirit, inviting Jesus to minister to people we pray for along the way.
   I'm reminded that our churches together believe in one Faith, one Hope and one Baptism. And because of the transformational partnership we have with Bethany and Hope Now Church, we get to demonstrate that we worship one Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
   I invite you this Sunday: bring your walking shoes and dress in cooler clothes so you're ready to join with our brothers and sisters, walking the neighborhoods to the north and praying for God to bring His kingdom upon the streets!
    As God strategically took Lisa and me from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to FPC in Fresno, California, He also strategically placed FPC, Bethany & Hope Now on this M Street block between Calaveras and Stanislaus Streets. Our God is a God of location and purpose. As it says in His Word in Acts 17, "God determines the time set for every person and the exact places where they should live." I believe that also applies to the exact place where He put First Presbyterian Church.
   We are here as a strategic act of God as He moved in the hearts of those who came before us. I believe part of what we're doing this Sunday is an affirmation of our call to remain downtown and minister to the surrounding community.
   Let's continue with gladness and thankfulness for the Lord's placement of us in and amongst our community with Bethany Inner City Church, Hope Now Church, the Lowell neighborhood and all the developments that are happening around us. To God be the glory.    

Amen!

Chris Popadich