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 Value of A Father’s Presence

“ The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him” Proverbs 20:7

We just celebrated Father’s Day, but maybe we still need to understand the critical importance of a father in the life of his children. In spite of the lament in our society about “dead beat dads” (and there are many), more likely than not, fathers are relegated by family courts to the role of “accessory parents,” valued for their role as financial providers rather than active caregivers. They are expected to be the “weekend respite” for single female parents rather than having substantial influence on modeling for and molding of the character and integrity of their children. Research has shown that the absence of a father results in angry children (especially boys). Fatherless households produce more problems with children’s self-concept, behavioral problems both at home and school, poor social adjustment and truancy. There is also a correlation between lack of a father model and later incidences of incarceration. God intended in His design that children have the greatest foundation in life when they are raised by both a mother and a father together. This does not mean that a single parent cannot develop amazing children; we have seen great and wonderful examples of that. All of us, as Christian men, do have the responsibility to be fathers to the fatherless where we can within the church and be a model to those children who desperately need us to demonstrate the love of Christ.

Blessings, Pastor Joe

Expect Great Things

“— keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this we are never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary- we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives by the Holy Spirit” -Romans 5:4 MSG.

There is a phrase that I often hear and I’ve used it myself. It is almost one of the most depressing and sad statements that can come out of our mouths. It usually follows the question from someone else that goes like this: “How are you and what is happening in your life?” The sad and frustrating reply we often hear is: “Same old, same old,” or, “nothing new really,” or, “not a lot.” We have all been guilty, but what it really signals is that we are stuck in the status quo. As one man has put it, come weal or woe my status will remain quo.

The above verse is a promise of just the opposite. It really implies that regardless of what life was yesterday, we can live in a sense of expectation of what God wants to pour into our lives. He desires that we pray that He will give us expectation of great things He wants to do. How about waking up and saying, “I can expect great things to happen today,” and, in fact, to tell the Father that you are an expectant child. Have you ever watched children who had positive expectations about Christmas, or going to Disney World, or just going on a weekend camping trip? Imagine the  smiles on their faces, the energy they exude, the excitement that leaps out of them. That is exactly what God wants us to feel, because every day He has so much to pour into our lives that there are not enough containers to hold it. Expect great things from God!

Blessings, Pastor Joe

When You Give Up But God Does Not

Has there ever been a time that you thought God had forgotten your prayer or your heart cry? It was then that you began to wonder whether it was worth praying about that particular thing or person anymore. You wanted to just get it behind you and forget about it. I am sure that the disciples and the followers of Jesus entertained such thoughts between the crucifixion and the resurrection. It was too painful to carry on; to hope for a new earthly kingdom with Jesus as king as they had all anticipated. Along with grief and sorrow there was deep humiliation. Why had Jesus disillusioned and disappointed them? Why had He died and left them vulnerable to His same fate as a disciple? They had given up and just wanted to get this all behind them. Then there was this resurrection. Was this for real? It was too hard to really accept it as true. We don’t want to allow ourselves to hope again, this would be too painful if it is not real. Maybe that is why Jesus felt it necessary to appear to five hundred people and to let Thomas put his hand in His side and touch the holes in His hands. That act was not just for Thomas but for the sake of the faith of all His followers.

I gave up praying for a young man I had prayed for years. He been a camper in a youth camp that I directed. His father was (and is) a chalk artist evangelist who used chalk art to proclaim the Gospel, and when campers gave their lives to Christ, his son would deliberately tear down their faith and make fun of them because he did not believe in the Christ they believed in, and hated his own father by attempting to destroy the impact of his ministry. Even after I no longer directed the camp I prayed diligently for this man but continued to hear that he was sinking more and more into an atheistic position. I remember telling God I was finished praying for this (now man) and I never mentioned his name in prayer again. About a year after that decision I walked into a department store and saw a flyer on a bulletin board that advertised this very man doing an evangelistic chalk artist revival at a local church. I broke into tears right there because I realized that just because I gave up, God did not. He had stopped fighting with God and his father and turned it all over to Christ. I immediately called him and apologized for giving up on him in prayer and he said, “ Don’t worry, Joe, you had to stand in line behind a lot of people who also gave up.” Thank God Jesus never gives up and never forgets our prayers. David has become as great if not a better chalk artist than his dad. If you Google

David Teuling, you can see some of his amazing creations now to the glory of God.

 Blessings, Pastor Joe