A New Year and Interesting Mindsets

A New Year brings about some interesting mindsets; there’s people making resolutions to work out more, lose weight, eat healthier, etc. A New Year gives us the feeling that it’s a fresh start; like the beginning of a football game, the score is “0-0”. With this new beginning and fresh start, it’s easy to see why people get so set on changing their habits from the year before, but we all know what typically happens, right? The gym membership is only used for the first couple months, your high school jeans still won’t button, and the donuts look so much tastier than the salad!

With this knowledge, we have to do our best to combat the easy ability to fall back into bad habits from the year before. To do this, we must rely on Christ as our strength…not ourselves. Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us to not be anxious, but to cast our burden and requests on God and He will uphold us. This is a huge comfort for me when I think of how capable I am in maintaining good habits, whether it’s remaining healthy physically or spiritually (I’m not very good at it).

As the New Year approaches, think about what you want to bring into it and what you want to leave behind, but always remember that God is ever present with you and will always be with you. He only asks that you bring Him with you as you walk through this life in all of your years.

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Haddox

It was a Busy Month

by Helen Greene

December was a very busy month for everyone.  Our Backpack volunteers were especially busy purchasing gifts for our 25 Backpack students and three younger siblings too young for school.   They tried to purchase gifts from the children’s wish lists.  Many of the children requested clothes, shoes and socks.  December 18th Doc and Ryan delivered 28 large bags of gifts to Beckley Elementary School for our Backpack children.  We hope that every child received gifts that will be a blessing to them.

A big Thank You goes to everyone who worked so hard shopping and wrapping the gifts!

For the month of January please bring pasta with meat for our backpacks.  Donations can be left in the             kitchen on the back counter.

We are Extremely Grateful

We here at Helping Hands are extremely grateful for the donations of food, clothing, blankets and money that we received last year from our FBC family.  Through your generosity, we were able to help literally thousands of people throughout the Raleigh County community last year.  A special thank you also to our volunteers who come week in and week out.  Without you, Helping Hands could not accomplish the tasks that need to be done.

As 2018 unfolds, our needs grow literally on a daily basis.  Your donations of food, clothing, and blankets are still needed and are greatly appreciated.  Please keep this ministry in your prayers as we minister to the people here in Raleigh County.

ABW January Update

by Norma Gunter

Virginia Holmstrom, Executive Director of the American Baptist Women’s Ministries, wrote in her letter, December 2017, “I Believe…I believe in the deep passion for mission that motivates American Baptist women to be the hands and feet of Christ in their churches, communities, and world.”

“I believe in Christ-centered mission of ABWM to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God.  Further, I believe that God created every person with unique giftedness and purpose, and you and I are called to encourage and empower them to live their lives for God’s good.”

“I believe that when AB women  welcome the uniqueness of one another—marveling at the differences we each bring to these ministries—our beloved community will reverberate with the love and grace of Jesus Christ, and the whole world will move a bit closer to peace.”

American Baptist Women’s Ministries new brochure is broken down in three categories, CHRIST-CENTERED- ENCOURAGING & EMPOWERING WOMEN & GIRLS-SERVING GOD.  Under Christ-Centered is EVENTS-ABWM offers many opportunities for women to get together in conferences, retreats and online events.  The other subject under Christ-Centered is RESOURCES-ABWM provides resources for ministry with women and girls.  The resources include print, downloads, podcasts, blogs and other networking tools.

Under Encouraging & Empowering Women and Girls is LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT and AB GIRLS.  Leadership Development-ABWM is committed to helping women find and develop their leadership potential.  (This year the West Virginia ABWM had several programs on leadership and our own Joyce Mills taught one session which can be seen on UTube.) AB GIRLS-Girls are leaders too, they are our future leaders.  This program offers girls an opportunity for growth and development into women of God.  (At one time FBC had a Guild Girls program.  All we need is a lady or two to step up and organize one for our young ladies.)

Under Serving God is MISSION EXPERIENCES,-ADVOCACY-WOMEN & GIRLS MISSION FUND.  MISSION EXPERIENCES.  In person and online, ABWM offers a wealth of opportunities to experience and learn about mission.  Hands-on mission projects, mission trips around the world & the USA help women expand their knowledge, learning how to serve God.  ADVOCACY-ABWM empowers women to become involved in advocating on issues that impact women and girls.  WOMEN & GIRLS MISSION FUND-This fund is used to provide life changing opportunities for women and girls in the US and around the world. (The ABWM is asking for women to partner with them with a monthly gift of $10 or more.  (They can be reached at www.abwministries.org)

HAPPY NEW YEAR from FBC ABWM.  Don’t forget our missionaries and their families in your prayers.

New Year… New Beginnings

by Pastor Doc Adkins

God can make the impossible possible. When God told 100-year-old Abraham that he and his 90-year-old wife Sarah that they would have a child, Abraham dropped to the ground in unbelieving laughter at such a ridiculous idea, and Sarah joined him in the laughter (Genesis 17:15-17; 18:10-12). But it happened.

When an angel told the young Virgin Mary she would have a baby to be named Jesus, she asked how that was possible. The angel’s answer: “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:26-37). And it happened, Jesus was born just like God said.

He is saying that to you, too. Do you remember the time when a man brought to Jesus a little boy who often foamed at the mouth and fell down, sometimes into water or fire? This distraught father told Jesus, in effect, “I brought the boy to your disciples, but they couldn’t help us.” But Jesus could!

When the man said to the Lord, “If you can do anything…help us!” Jesus replied, “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:17-23).

Our Lord said almost the same thing to his disciples at other times (Matthew 19:26 and Luke 18:27). And everyone who believes in Christ is his disciple and can trust him to help in seemingly impossible situations.

Faith and prayer are the keys to making the impossible possible—even though the process can be very slow and even if our faith is very small. Jesus said that faith as tiny as a mustard seed—one of the tiniest seeds on earth—can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

When you face an impossible situation, remember:

“God is my strength and power” (2 Samuel 22:33).

“With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

“We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

“God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

As we begin a New Year together maybe it’s time to break old habits, barriers and busyness that seem always to slow down our spiritual progress and journey.  Maybe a “New Start” is the right thing for you and me.  Let me suggest….

  • the need for better Bible understand: Sunday School
  • the need to more worship: why not Sunday evening or Wednesday night Bible study
  • the need to trust God more: try tithing
  • the need for broader circle of friends: Men’s fellowship or Ladies Aide Circles
  • the need for more family time: Church brings families together under one roof

Christmastime is here!

Christmastime is here! I don’t know about you, but I wait patiently all year for just this time: the lights, the music, the cheer in the air, the goodness swirling all around people because of the season…it’s all quite amazing. The splendor of well thought out Christmas lights atop a beautiful house can make anyone fall in love with the season, but too often I’m afraid we celebrate the season instead of the reason. More times than not, we get too caught up in the lights, music, presents, food, etc. that we forget why this time of year is so significant.

Christmas is special for all people, no doubt, but as Christians and followers of Christ, we MUST remember why this season is so important and we must put celebrating the birth of our Messiah above all else. Without the gifts, music, lights, and everything else…we would STILL have Christ and that would be enough. That’s the fact of it, but how would we respond in that situation?

Pastor Doc tells us time and time again that “God is enough”, but do we believe that?? And if we do, are we making that belief evident in all of our ways? We see people spread goodness and kindness throughout the Christmas season, but why does it have to stop there? We, as Christians, should be spreading joy and hope and love to all people during all of the year…not just when the music makes us happy or the lights brighten our mood.

This Christmas season I encourage you to share joy, hope, and love: share the joy that Christ has given you, share the hope that He buried in your heart, and share the love that He covers you with and will extend to anyone that believes in Him. Let’s do our part in putting CHRIST back into Christmas!

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Haddox

Adopt-a-Grandparent 2017

The Adopt-A-Grandparent Program has become so successful because of your generosity. This program provides a Christmas/holiday gift set to elderly people in the Harper Mills Nursing Home (formerly Heartland Nursing Home)

This gift set would include two great lotions, one for the hand and one for the feet and would be perfect for both men and women.

There are currently 155 people in Harper Mills and the cost of each gift set is $20(which includes tax, gift wrap, and delivery. Please make checks payable to First Baptist Church with a note on the memo line “Adopt A Grandparent”. There will be a tag on the gift saying that it came from you.

The deadline for this project is Sunday, December 10th. If you are interested in helping with this project, contact Ann Coleman at 304-253-1425.

Let’s not forget those in the nursing homes who may not have someone to show them God’s love.

A Final Word on Operation Christmas Child 2017

Well, shoeboxes for 2017 has come to a close and what a year we had. We started collecting items in January and items were gathered all year long. Items such as crayons, soap and washcloths, small toys, coloring books and school supplies. Each month I emptied our collection boxes and the pile began to grow. Then came November and our youth gathered one Sunday evening and packed 100 shoeboxes with the items that you donated.

Collection week started in a huge way with over 1,100 boxes collected on Monday. The rest of the week went along and each day we collected shoeboxes from all over the Beckley & Raleigh County area. Saturday morning, we gathered, along with some help from the men of the Fellowship House, and we packed a truck and a church van and down to Princeton we traveled. Praise God we got there and back safely. But that’s not the end of the story.

We collected more boxes on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday and I made my final trip to Princeton with this precious cargo (along with the paperwork) which is the part of the process that is not my favorite but anyway when all was said and done, we not only met our last year’s total of 3,151 but we topped it and just in case you haven’t heard, our final total was 3,440.

I would like to thank each of you for all your help this year. Whether you packed a shoebox, brought in some items all year long, worked in the collection center, helped load a carton or just prayed for this project, you are all truly awesome. We could not have accomplished this enormous task without your help. Please continue to pray for these shoeboxes as they start their journey and eventually find their home in the hands of a child somewhere in the world who will learn firsthand the name of Jesus Christ. May you all have a blessed Christmas.

From Humbug to Hallelujah

by Rev. Robert A. Wendel

“Be strong and courageous and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to (Christmas) is finished correctly.” (1 Chronicles 28:20, New Living Translation adapted).

“God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are God’s ambassadors and God is using us to speak to you.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20, New Living Translation).

Christmas comes but once a year. Right. We celebrate Christmas on December 25th, designated as the birthday of Jesus. But, as we all know, merchants in America have managed to turn a single day’s event into a whole season, beginning about November 1st and lasting almost until New Year’s Day, January 1st.

The Church calls the weeks before the 25th of December Advent. In the business community now there’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday, all geared toward sales and profits.

For times like these for the Christian Church’s part, it and its leadership want you and I to be nourished by God’s divine love. Our natural response should to ‘to love and care for others.’ When holiday fatigue dulls our senses and makes our inner spirit numb, we need to rekindle our compassion, remembering that our Heavenly Father’s gift of forgiveness came to us all in the form of a babe born in Bethlehem.

This Christmas, like never before, let God’s love move you from humbug to hallelujah and reignite and uplift your sense of charity, care, compassion and hope.

A short story by Francis Patrick Sullivan ends:

“She got up from the pew, wondering if she had put enough in the offering plate as it went by her. Near the church portico against a pillar and totally covered in rags, was someone holding a handwritten sign. The sign said “I am hungry.” The woman put a handful of paper money into the sign maker’s collection jar and said “I am not!”

Thanks for Packing the Pulpit

Our thanks to all of you who helped pack the pulpit during the month of November. The response was overwhelming. With the cold weather now upon us, the need for food, blankets and winter coats is always a necessity. The needs of our community always grow during the winter months so your donations are greatly appreciated. We also thank all of you who volunteer throughout the year. Your help is a true blessing. Please keep this ministry in your prayers as we continue to serve the Raleigh County area.