Pastor’s Biography

Reverend Galen “Joe” MacDonald

Reverend Galen “Joe” MacDonald and his wife, Pam, began their tenure with First Presbyterian Church of Livingston in September, 2010. Pastor MacDonald, a native of northern Maine, came to us from the Sandy Lake, PA area. Before he came to us, he served two churches for 12 years in the Sandy Lake area. He has been with First Presbyterian Church in Livingston since 2010. Rev. MacDonald earned bachelor degrees in Bible and Psychology in 1968 from Gordon College and a Master of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1970. In 1990 he earned a Masters Degree in clinical psychology from Edinboro University.

The One Thing God Wants- Our Trust

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path” Proverbs 3:5,6
In 1858 a French acrobat named Monsieur Charles Blondin traveled to Niagara Falls in America with the goal of crossing the more than 2,000 foot span from the American side to the Canadian side on a two inch diameter rope. He not only crossed that span and back once but many times. On one occasion he carried a camera, took the camera off in the middle of the walk and took a picture of the onlookers on the bank. He also crossed Niagara in shackles and once with a bag over his head and body. On another occasion he stopped in the center of the tightrope, asked for the “Maid of the Mist”, Niagara’s famous tour boat, to stop underneath him. He let down a rope, had a flask of wine attached and hoisted it up for a mid-rope glass of wine before finishing the walk. On July 15th, before a huge crowd, including President Millard Fillmore, he walked backwards on the rope to Canada and pushed a wheel barrow back to America. His most noted exploit was when he carried a stove and utensils on his back, stopped in the middle of the walk, started a fire, cooked an omelet and let it down on a rope to serve passengers on the Maid of the Mist. On one occasion he was said to ask the crowd if they thought he could take a man across on the rope. Everyone shouted yes of course; to which he replied, “Then who will be the first to get on my back?” That’s right. The real test of trust is when we “cut off the limb” and depend only on Him. Jesus said take my yoke and give me yours. He doesn’t want to just take your load “on His back,” he wants to take you as well. Incidentally, there was a man by the name of Harry Colcord, who accepted the challenge and rode across the great falls on Blondin’s back. It was estimated that when he made his final crossing in 1896 that he had crossed the falls 300 times and had walked the rope more than 10,000 miles. By the way, he never had any life insurance. All the companies refused because of the risk. Are we willing to let Jesus take us “on His back” in every life situation? Blessings, Pastor Joe MacDonald

The End From the Beginning

“I am the Alpha and the Omega”
Think about this quote as you launch on a new year: “No one can go back and make a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” It is obvious that none of us can change the past. We may want to. All of us have things we wish we could turn the time back and change, but the past is the past and it is what it is. We don’t change the past, but we can certainly learn from it and make different choices going forward.Just like there was an ending to the old year there will be an ending to the new that is before us. That ending will depend on our day by day choices in every aspect of life. Instead of making new year’s resolutions (which usually go by the wayside all too soon), maybe it is more important to make daily choices that will lead to a different ending to 2019. Start by praying that God will guide those decisions because He is the only one who sees the end from the beginning and will faithfully guide you to those choices that will lead to a fulfilling ending. Here is a tough but important question. “As I set my goals for a new year, what are my motives?” If we are honest with ourselves our deepest motives will be either self- centered, others centered or God centered. Those are the only options even though they have overlaps. Jesus promised that if we seek His Kingdom first everything else will be added to you. Let us join with Paul who said he was pressing on toward the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Our audience is not other people, cultural pressure, or the “shoulds and oughts” of life. Daily seek to put a smile on the face of the Master and the new year will be unforgettable.
Blessings, Pastor Joe MacDonald

If It Were Not for People You Could Love Everyone

“Arrogant foes are attacking me, ruthless people are trying to kill me–“ Psalm 54:3
In a “Peanuts” cartoon Lucy has her back turned to Charlie Brown with her arms folded. Charlie is pleading with her to be tolerant and understanding. He says: “Lucy, you must be loving. This world really needs love. You have to let yourself love to make the world a better place in which to live.” Lucy whirls around and screams: “Look, Blockhead— the world I love. It’s people I can’t stand.”I am sure you have seen the little pictorial cartoon of a really frazzled individual, and the caption reads: “I am down to my last nerve and you are getting on it.” Everyone has someone or maybe many someones in their lives like that. We try to avoid them, ignore them, move away from them or forget them but no matter what we do they will still be there like an unmitigating hangnail. The scary reality is that we are like that to someone else and we may not even be aware of it. You know what is amazing? Those are the very people God puts in our lives to grow us in His likeness in ways that we could not grow otherwise. God uses those people like sandpaper to take off the rough edges of our character and make us into the people He wants us to be. This sounds crazy, but when you begin to thank God for those very people and begin to pray that God will bless them and pour His love out on them, that is when you will begin to understand how God is using them to bring you closer to Christ.
Blessings, Pastor Joe MacDonald