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Head Start

September 4th, 2019


On Sunday, I will preach a sermon based on the book of Jonah. Following is what I wrote several months ago for the Summer Shorts Devotional.

Membership Exploration Class

Mark and Ralph will conduct a Membership Exploration Class for those wanting to learn more about being a member of Harrison Square on October 27, after worship. During the class we will explore what are requirements and benefits of being a member. Taking the class does not obligate one to become a member. Those who choose not to become members are just as welcome and wanted as those who do. If you plan to attend the class notify the church office, Mark or Ralph.



Read:  The book of Jonah has always been one of my favorites. When I start to read it, I get “hooked” and can’t put it down until I have read the whole book. One biblical scholar says it is “exquisitely written”. So, read it now for the fun of it, get caught up in the story, pretend you are Jonah and feel what he felt. Now that you have read it, what did you learn about Jonah, or yourself? I suggest you read it a second time, searching for the answer to this question: “LORD, what is your message to us in the book of Jonah?”

Reflection:  Have you ever felt or thought the LORD was asking you to do something or that the Bible was commanding you to do something, you did not want to do? If so, spend some time remembering that situation. What were you being asked to do? Why did you resist? What were you afraid of? Were you angry at the LORD? This has happened to me many times. I met and fell in love with Joyce, who has been my wife for almost 59 years, in the spring of 1956. In the summer of 1958, after my freshman year in college, I worked helping to unload logging trucks. One Monday the thought came to me, “You have to tell Joyce that our relationship needs to end.” My reaction was, “Ralph are you losing it? That is a crazy idea!” Well, the thought persisted, and I realized the thought had come from God. An intense struggle with God raged within me. On Friday Joyce and I went to a movie together. I said nothing to her about the battle within me. After I dropped her off at her home, I left for my home which was 15 miles away. The struggle with God was so intense I couldn’t take it anymore. So, I said, “Lord, I will do that which you are asking me to do!”  The peace that flooded me was overwhelming. What I had decided to do was crazy, but I was at peace. As I drove on home, I realized I had been tested, in the same way Abraham had been when he was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22). The issue was: Would I be obedient to whatever God asked me to do, no matter what it cost?”

Go back to Jonah: have you ever wanted the LORD to respond to someone with revenge instead of forgiveness and mercy? Is there someone who has done wicked things to you or one of your loved ones and you feel lead by the LORD to confront them with the intention that they will repent, ask for forgiveness and be redeemed?

The book of Jonah is listed as one of the minor prophets, but the book does not call him a prophet. However, he was asked to do what prophets did – proclaim “…the word of the LORD that came to him…” Many times, prophets were told to voice the anger of the LORD. But that is not the case with Jonah. The LORD clearly identified the people in Nineveh as wicked and told Jonah to confront them. But in the book, it is Jonah who is mad, mad at God! It is Jonah who needs to repent and be forgiven. Did he repent and receive forgiveness? It doesn’t say.

It is interesting that the pagan sailors, captain and king and people of Nineveh were the ones who cried out to the LORD, trusting the LORD would change his mind (repent). What do you make of this?

In the 4th chapter a big deal is made of Jonah’s anger: Twice “The LORD said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Once Jonah ignored the question and once, he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” Have you ever been angry at the LORD, I mean, livid? I have. The book of Jonah suggests to me that it is ok to tell the LORD when we are angry at Him, that is, to deal with it openly and honestly. It is the only way I know of to resolve the anger and restore the peace.

One more question: what does the book of Jonah tell us about the heart of God?

Pray:  LORD, through scripture or your Spirit within us, speak to us even when we do not want to hear what you have to say. Help us discern your word from our own or the many worldly words with which we are constantly bombarded. Give us courage and wisdom to speak the hard words and live in ways drastically different from the world.

When we have gone astray and are going our own way, make our lives miserable so we will come to our senses and turn to you for help and forgiveness. In the powerful name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Practice:  I suggest you select someone or a group of people with whom you are angry and desire revenge and pray at least once a day for a month that they will repent of their wrong and seek the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. Also, ask the Lord to help you work through your desire for revenge, and forgive them.

Ralph Carr 

Upcoming Events
Join us Friday, Sept. 6th for Game Night! Bring your favorite game and a snack to share!
Please join us for Family Night where we will introduce Godly Play!  The dinner will start being served at 4pm and will continue to be served as people arrive, so come when you can!
Godly Play will kick off Sunday, September 15th after our worship singing.  We are so excited for our new Sunday School program.  Please spread the word to any families who are looking for a thoughtful, quality experience for their children on Sunday mornings. Here is a video to get more of an idea of what Godly Play is all about...

Celebration of Life Service for Mel Stacey is Saturday, September 7th, 2 pm at Harrison Square. A reception will follow in the church foyer.

Connect Cards / Prayer Requests: will no longer be in the bulletin, but instead will be available at the Prayer Table at the sound booth, Welcome Desk and Next Steps table.

Deacon's Meeting: Sunday, Sept. 8th in room 205, following worship.

The Common Room Begins Tuesday, Sept. 17th @ 7pm.  For more info, check out their new website:

Prayer Chain:  As Betty Rieker continues to recover from knee replacement surgery, please continue to send your requests to the church office, or call 360-736-9996 and we will put them on the prayer chain.

Craft Group: There will be no craft group for the month of September.  They will start meeting again on October 9th from 11am-2pm in room 205.  From then on, they will meet the 2nd Wednesday of each month.  

Men's Bible Study The group is studying RC Sproul’s video series called “Dust to Glory”. It has 57 messages that go from Genesis to Revelation, and they are currently at Jeremiah. The videos are 25 minutes long, then they go through a study guide. The study starts at 6:30 and ends at 8:00 pm, at the home of Bob Stocking, 1311 NW Airport Way, Chehalis.

Mobile Meal Ministry (MMM) is part of RISE (Resources, Integration, Services, and Education) Lewis County poverty ministry and serves a full meal plus a sack lunch each Saturday, 9 am-1 pm at the Gather Church Atrium, 408 W. Main St, Centralia.  MMM is in need of another volunteer cook with a current Washington food handlers card. If you are interested serving as a cook or in furthering this mission in any way, contact Sue Edwards, or call 360-219-3435.

Hearing Assistance: If you have telecoil activated in your hearing aids, feel free to pick up a neck loop at the sound booth on Sunday morning. If you have questions please contact the church office 360-736-9996.

Basic Needs Ministry:  HSPC coordinates with Love INC to provide help to those in need in our community.  Items needed include:  dish soap laundry soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toilet paper, diapers sizes 5 & 6 - a complete list is available at the Welcome Desk. Monetary donations are also appreciated. Bring items to the church office. Thank you!
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Sunday Classes
Adult Classes are finished for the summer and will resume in the Fall.

Children’s Classes 
(children are excused for class after the worship music)

Infants-5 Years: Room 210

K-5th Grade: Room 207 
HAVING A MEETING AT THE CHURCH? If you are planning a meeting or activity in any room at the church, contact the office by calling 360-736-9996, or email to: to schedule it on the church calendar.

SUNDAY SCHEDULE: 9:00AM Adult Sunday School, 10:00AM Worship Service, Children are released after the worship songs for childcare/Sunday School.
Contact Us
Church Office Hours:
9am-2pm Mon.-Thurs.
Church Main Line: 360-736-9996
360.669.5053  Pastor Ralph Carr

360-669-5051  Pastor Mark McHugh
360-736-9996  Sandra Parker

360-669-5054  Ginger Peters
360.669.5050  Barbara Stark
360.669.5048  Ron Vernon
Daycare Hours: 6am-6pm Mon.-Fri.
Ages 4 weeks to 5 years
Daycare Office:360.669.5049  
360.669.5052  Shalii Crownover,
                        Daycare Director
To Join Our Prayer Email Chain, please email:

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Harrison Square Presbyterian Church · 1227 Harrison Avenue · Centralia, WA 98531 · USA

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