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.

Resolution or Revolution

“—for it is God who works in you both to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose” Philippians 2:13

Once again we are faced with that time of year where we promise ourselves that we are going to set some positive goals for a new year before us (i.e., weight loss, projects completed, completion of some “bucket list” wish), and once again we set ourselves up for the inevitable failure that usually takes place as to follow through. In the new year, maybe a different approach to the hoped for changes could be applied.

Instead of resolutions that are self-generated, maybe it is time to be open to revolutions that are Christ-generated. It is always His desire to do a “new thing” within us, but that new thing can never happen by our good intentions to bring it to pass. The attitude of The Little Train Who Could (“I think I can, I think I can..”) never works over the long haul. What if we simply say to God, “There are some things in me, some attitudes and habits that are negatively affecting me and my relationship to others, that I cannot change. I simply want to let You, Lord, make changes that I cannot.” When you give him full reign in these matters, and admit your inability to change them, the result will be a revolution from inside out that will be permanent changes that can and will happen. The “new” that will take place in the new year will not be produced by self-effort (which ultimately fails), but by the power of the Holy Spirit which creates permanent change.

Blessings, Pastor Joe

A Living Bible

“You are the light of the world..” Matthew 5:14

Someone has said, “You are the only Bible someone out there may ever read.” That is an incredible responsibility, but certainly consistent with the above verse. All of our lives are an open book to Christians and non-Christians alike. What is the Gospel according to my life? St. Augustine said, “Share the Gospel with all you know and if necessary use words.” That statement does not just apply to a person’s actions; it also applies to one’s attitude. You can be a magnet with a Godly positive attitude or you can be a repellent with a miserable negative attitude. Most people will not notice the strength of your character when you are on top of the mountain and things are going very well with blessings abounding. The microscope is upon us when we face the deep valleys. They will watch how we handle those situations more closely. A watching world is not as impressed about what we say we believe as they are with the difference in how we handle the tough situations that we go through that are similar to theirs. It is said that your actions speak so loud I cannot hear what you are saying; but I think that a more substantive concept is that the attitude you display when you are going through the pain of life speaks so loud that I can now see the reality of what you believe.

Blessings, Pastor Joe

The Point

“—who being in the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” Heb.1:3

Point is an interesting word. When used as an adjective it describes something that is extremely sharp and piercing. One might say, “that needle is very pointed.” It has various meanings as a noun such as, “the point I am trying to make,” or it might be used to bring someone who is rambling in their talking to an abrupt halt by saying, “please get to the point.” It can also be used as a verb by saying something like, “let me point out that.” In all these usages it is a powerful word that refers to the very essence or most important characteristic of almost anything. Allow me to “point” out that Jesus Christ is the center point of God Himself. Jesus is the point of it all, the point of redemption, the point of the image of God and the point of all of grace. Point also refers to the core meaning of anything important. Jesus is the core meaning of God. Jesus said, “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” In fact, He is the express image of God. I sure hope you get my POINT.

Blessings, Pastor Joe