Doing Our Best

by Pastor Ryan Haddox

Tere’s a story that goes like this:

Many years ago in a textile factory there was a sign on the wall which read: “If your threads get tangled, send for the foreman.” One woman who was fairly new was a diligent worker, but her threads got tangled one day. She tried to disentangle them, but her efforts only made matters worse. Finally, she gave up and called the foreman. He came and looked for a few moments and then asked: “You have been trying to untangle them yourself, haven’t you?” “Yes,” she replied. “Why didn’t you send for me, according to the instruction?” She shrugged her shoulders and said, “I did my best.” With much tact, yet, with great insight, he quietly said, “Remember that doing your best is sending for me.”

How often in life have we tried to straighten out our own messes, only to make things worse, and certainly not to solve things? We think that a little more human effort, a bit more human wisdom, and a touch of human ingenuity are the solution. But mankind in general and individuals in particular tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. Bad habits remain in place. Errors are repeated. We may even excuse our conduct by saying: “I did my best.” Then God gently, yet firmly, reminds us: “Doing your best is calling for me.”

Paul did the best that he could do, but it was not good enough. He mused: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do….Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:15-24). But Paul had learned that to call on the name of Jesus was the best he could do and the solution to his problem (Rom. 10:9-13)

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Ryan

Leitmotif (Thanksgiving)

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“Enter (God’s) gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.  Abraham grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God.” (Psalm 100:4-5; Romans 4:20 NRSV)

Recently I watched a bit of the film Dr. Zhivago and I heard enough of the soundtrack of Laura’s theme which serves as a reminder of what happened in the story before.  Germans call this dramatic idea-leitmotif.

Of course, the Thanksgiving holiday has its traditions.  But memory plays a big part in what happens the third Thursday in November.

Memory is a two-edged sword.  It helps us recall heart-warming people and events.  But, family can also bring up mistakes we’d rather forget.  That’s why “the meal” can be so stressful.  Suddenly God’s grace comes into play.

Make a list of whatever you’re not thankful for and measure it against the foundations of our Christian faith.  All of these were written into the Apostle’s Creed which begins “I believe in …”  As Abraham did, in his fallen word, we, imperfect humans, must learn to walk by faith.

“Can we not trust God to give us everything we need?”  (Romans 8:32, Phillips).

French Catholic priest, Henri Nouwen, wrote, “We are God’s beloved children.  We cannot allow the curses of this world to darken our hearts.  We must choose to receive God’s blessings and pass them on to others.”

Operation Christmas Child 2018

by Debbie Vanaman

The month of November is the culmination of an entire year of shopping for your shoebox items.   The youth will be packing the shoeboxes with what you’ve donated all year and getting them ready to go on the first leg of their trip to Princeton and then onto Charlotte, North Carolina.  From there they will be distributed to children around the world who, for some, will hear the name of Jesus for the first time.   They will hear the stories of Jesus and hopefully give their heart to him and then spread the word to their families and villages.  That’s’ why we do what we do – to spread the name of Jesus around the world.

What I will need from you this month is an hour or two of your time.  The week of November 12th is collection week so I will need volunteers to work in the Welcome Center receiving shoeboxes from 10:00 to 2:00 pm.  This is where the ladies (or gentlemen) can help out.   Then on November 17th we will hopefully load up and take all that we’ve collected down to Princeton and that’s where I need strong arms to help.  This is hard work so I need some strong men to meet me in the Welcome Center that morning.  Times to be announced soon.

Please pray for collection week around the country as well as distribution of shoeboxes around the world.  Your help and prayers are greatly appreciated.

ABW November Update

by Janice Wood, ABWM President

On September 30, 2018, the ABW Ministries Executive Board, along with several ladies representing the Joy Circle and the Lizzie Lewis Circle, met at the First Baptist Church. The meeting was to consider disbanding the Joy Circle with the ladies joining the Lizzie Lewis Circle.  The vote was unanimous.  Every lady at First Baptist Church is invited to come join the Lizzie Lewis Circle.  As we join together into one circle, we believe we can be encouraged by one another to further God’s kingdom.

The ABW Mission Statement:

In commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to the mission of the church, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, American Baptist Women’s Ministries provides opportunities for each women to:

  • Become and develop as God’s person,
  • Build God’s faith community; and
  • Serve God’s world.

Adopt-A-Grandparent 2018

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 will be announced sometime in November.  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.

Backpack Ministry – Preparing for Snow Days

by Helen Greene

With another month of backpacking passed we prepare for November and colder weather.  We always try to make sure our Backpack Kids get their food when “Snow Days” threaten.  Also we pack more food for long holiday weekends.  Our Backpack team members are dedicated to this ministry and are always willing to adjust their schedules to make sure our children get their backpacks full of food every week.

Thanks to each one of you who has supported this ministry by bringing food, donating money and praying for our children.  God bless you!

For the month of November please bring canned vegetables for the backpacks.  You may leave them on the back counter in the kitchen.

Helping Hands Ministry Continues

As the temperature starts to go down to freezing and below, we here at Helping Hands turn our attention to the coming of winter and the need for winter clothing, blankets and coats for men, women and children.    Many of our families have little to no heat in the winter so blankets go almost as quickly as they are donated.     So what we need are coats and blankets in good condition.   These can be either delivered to Helping Hands on Tues. – Fri.  from 9:00 to noon or left by the black container outside the church office.

The need for non-perishable food items grows each month as the number of clients and families is growing.  We average over 700 families a month and that’s just the average.  Some days we help anywhere from 60 to as high as 90 families with food, clothing needs and some personal items if we have them.   So on your next trip to the grocery store, please pick up some extra canned items or non-perishable food items to lend us a hand.

Lastly, please keep Helping Hands in your prayers as we continue to meet the needs of the citizens of Raleigh County.   We thank you for your continued support and prayers.

Autumn Reflections 

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Each day, as I drive through our town, I notice that change is happening all around me! The air is getting a little crisper…The leaves are transforming from deep summery shades of green into a rich rainbow of gold, yellow and red…Night is falling upon us a little faster…Summer is fading and autumn is arriving!

Autumn has always been one of my favorite seasons of the year.

Autumn is a season of change, a season of transition, a season of renewal.

It’s also a season filled with hustle and bustle. It’s the time when children go back to school, young adults go away to college, and parents are pulled in a thousand directions! Autumn is an exciting time – but in the midst of all of our activities, it’s important to stay focused on God and make the most of every precious moment.

Autumn Is The Season To Set Godly Priorities   “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

We all have busy schedules, but even on our most hectic days, just as we make time to feed our bodies, it’s also important to nourish our souls. Take time to listen for the still, quiet voice of God to see where He is leading.

Autumn is a time when lots of interruptions may come your way – but not every one of them is from God. As you reflect upon the opportunities before you, ask God for His wisdom as you plan your days. When in doubt, apply Scriptural principles to your decision-making.

Autumn is the season to set our priorities in accordance with God’s Word.  Fall. It is a season that reminds us of endings. Once thriving leaves now drop from their branches bursting with color, but dying. Beautiful summer flowers have lost their grandeur and now succumb to hues of brown and gray. Colder temperatures flow in and bright, long days full of sunshine move out. We are inundated with change. We are regularly reminded of our helplessness to stop the flow of God’s creation. We are caught between summer and winter in the fleeting uniqueness of autumn. Though the season brings its own joy with fabulous scents and colors of orange, yellow, and red; we know it is the end of summer and the start of a period of dormancy and cold.

As we enjoy the changes of fall, let it remind us of a vital truth. I believe God intends for us to see with physical eyes something that points to a lasting, spiritual truth. When you look at a fallen leaf or disintegrating, summer flower; think this thought:  “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” (I Peter 1:24, NIV)

Autumn Is The Season To Make Every Moment Count.  ”There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

As our children go back to school and our families adjust to their new fall routines, it’s more important than ever to ensure that our families spend quality time with God and one other! This is just another reason why attending church is so important.  It’s all about time.

Autumn Is The Season To Thank God For His Many Blessings…”The land yields its harvest; God, our God,  blesses us.” – Psalm 67:6

Autumn is also a season of thanksgiving. It’s a season of praise. It’s a season to gather with family and friends to thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. It’s a season to share the love of Jesus with others by blessing them with the gifts that He has so generously shared with us.

God blesses us in so many ways – both material and spiritual. As you reflect upon the gifts of the season, what are you particularly grateful for during this time in your life? In what ways is God providing for your need.

School is Back in Full Swing

by Helen Greene

On September 22 I attended the American Baptist Women’s Ministries Fall Rally.  The theme was Hunger Action Month.  We all learned of the different ways churches are serving those facing hunger.  It was interesting to see the diverse groups each church targets. The offering that was taken was combined with a $200.00 donation from American Baptist Women then divided among the five ministries represented.  Our backpack ministry was given $83.00.  We are very grateful for the donation.

I was approached by Mr. Wood, the former Vice-Principal of Beckley Elementary, as I was leaving the meeting.  He was our “Sound Man” for the event.  He told me that he observed our Backpack Kids on Friday afternoons when they came to the office to get their backpacks.  He said he could see them smiling and happy when they got their food.  He said “The kids will forget almost anything but they did not forget their backpacks on Friday”.

For the month of October, we will be collecting granola bars.  Donations can be left on the back counter in the kitchen.

Thanks to each one of you who has supported our Backpack Ministry in any way. May God Bless You!

I Don’t Like Leftovers

by Ryan Haddox

At the risk of appearing snobbish or ungrateful, I’ve got a confession to make: I don’t like leftovers, i.e. cold food that is in need of being reheated. I always have the best of intentions to pull last night’s meal out of the refrigerator, throw it in the microwave, nuke it, and consume it, but I fail to do so time and time again. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve eaten my fair share of leftovers, but I can’t honestly say that I enjoy eating leftovers. The food never seems to taste or look the same. It lacks something.

With respect to your Christian walk, do you realize that God is not interested in your leftovers? In fact, Jesus says that we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33, emphasis added). Among other things, this means that God should come first in every aspect of our lives. Indeed, we should NOT give God our leftover love (Matt. 22:37-38), time (Eph. 5:18), thoughts (Phil. 4:8), service (Gal. 5:13-14), or money (Prov. 3:9; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8-9). In the mind of God, such leftovers lack something.

Being content with giving God the leftovers reveals something about the person who has this attitude. John said, ”We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:9, emphasis added). God loved us all so much in the midst of our sin that He took the initiative by sending His Son into the world to die in our place (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). God gave us His very best; in return, He expects the same. Indeed, contentment in giving God the leftovers exposes an ungrateful, selfish attitude.

Leftovers are fine when it comes to nourishing our physical bodies. At times, leftovers are unavoidable, even necessary. However, with respect to God and our spirituality, life of leftovers is unacceptable, especially when we take into account the example of His Son (cf. Phil. 2:5-11).

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Haddox