We love you, Joyce.

Christmas shopping is complete and gifts have been delivered to our 20 Backpack Kids. We hope that each child enjoyed the toys and clothing that were purchased for them. Many thanks to every volunteer that shopped and wrapped each gift. Our Backpack program could not function without our dedicated volunteers.

As you all know we lost our precious Joyce Mills on December 20th. Joyce started the Backpack Ministry at Beckley First Baptist about seven years ago. She inspired members of our church to volunteer time to shop for food, pack backpacks and deliver the backpacks to needy children at Beckley Elementary School. We will miss her serving spirit in our church and we will carry on her mission. Our loss is heavens gain.

Thanks to each of you that have given time, money or donated food to our Backpack Ministry. May God bless you!

For the month of January please bring Vienna Sausages.

Kids!

Our GLOW kids continue to meet on Wednesday evenings at 6PM on the third floor. There is a time of fun, a great lesson and maybe a craft. Contact Debbie King for further information on this great children’s program.

Our Illuminate Youth Group is also continuing to meet on Sunday evenings at 6PM on the Youth Floor. We had a lock-in during Christmas break and a great time was had by all who attended. You can contact Pastor Tim Mitchem and find out what is next on the youth’s program.

You are an American Baptist Woman

Take a few moments and read about some of the exciting ABW programs.
This school year, the WV American Baptist Women Scholarship Loan Committee was blessed with the opportunity to present EIGHTEEN $1,000 SCHOLARSHIPS to qualifying college-aged ladies who are members of our West Virginia American Baptist churches. This is partly due to your generosity in supporting this very worthwhile program. If your ladies group or church organization is looking for a project to support, what better than our American Baptist Women’s Scholarship Program?

In addition to a financial contribution to the program, there are three important things that can be done for a scholarship girl:

•Pray continually for her walk with Jesus, her health, her classes and that she always will follow God’s leading in this world.

•Send a card when led to do so. She probably needs to hear from someone that day.

•Send a donation to the state treasurer to be applied to her portion of her scholarship loan. If enough do that, she won’t owe a thing at the end of the year.

Our scholarship girl’s name and address is: Sami Wagoner, P.O. Box 1342, Huntington, WV 25715

We are continuing to collect used postage stamps for a mission project and also woman’s tampons, soap, hand sanitizer and deodorant for the Woman’s Resource Center. Collection boxes for these two projects are located in the church office.

Where did our shoeboxes go?

Through the marvels of modern day technology, we have been able to track the final destination of the shoeboxes that were packed in November to the small country of Burundi. Now you ask where is Burundi?? I had to look it up myself. Burundi is a small country in south-eastern Africa. Samaritan’s Purse began distributing gift-filled shoeboxes to this nation’s children in 2008 and launched The Greatest Journey, our follow-up discipleship program, here in 2013. Imagine that something that you purchased from a dollar store here in Beckley, West Virginia made it half-way around the world to a small country in Africa – how amazing.

Now it’s time to start thinking about shoeboxes 2020 and what can be accomplished if we come together as a church and help spread the name of Jesus to children around the world. This all starts with a bar of soap and a washcloth – something simple that we use every day but children around the world are not so fortunate. So let’s start the 2020 shoebox season with a “clean slate” with soap and washcloths. Collection boxes are in the Welcome Center and Fellowship Hall.

As always, please keep this program in your prayers as these boxes find their way into the hearts and homes of children who may have never heard the name of Jesus. Remember – you can change a child’s life with a simple shoebox.

Helping Hands

Our Helping Hands Resource Center continues to help the less fortunate in Raleigh County with food and clothing. We had a very successful toy distribution last month providing toys to families to help make their Christmas just a bit brighter. Thanks to our many, many volunteers who work tirelessly week in and week out at our Resource Center as well as the men who do the food pick ups at the various grocery stores.

We are continuing to collect coats, blankets and winter clothing as well as non-perishable food items, soap and toilet tissue. These items can be placed in the large black container outside the church office.

Paul and Timothy: Missionary Champions

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“Go, make disciples of all nations baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Proclaim the message. Be persistent. Rebuke and encourage with the utmost patience. Be sober. Endure suffering. Do the work of an evangelist. Carry out your ministry fully.” (Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Timothy 4:2-5 NRSV).

From the day Jesus returned to Heaven, Christianity became a missionary faith. Rabbi Saul was commissioned by the Risen Christ in 36AD to begin this ever expanding work as Paul (Acts 9:1-9).

Along with him came Timothy. Timothy was born and circumcised by Lystra, Turkey of a Jewish mother, Eunice, and a Greek father, evangelized and baptized by Paul. He joined the older Apostle on his Second Missionary Journey to fellowship in present day Greece in 51 AD. (Isaiah 42:7-9).

Paul sent Timothy to Corinth to help straighten out problems there. He failed. But went onto Ephesus to encourage that new group of believes (1 Timothy 1:3). Near the end of his life, Paul was in a Roman prison cell. Young Timothy, though often sickly himself, did his best to see to Paul’s needs. (4:11-14). He stayed in Ephesus, serving there as a ‘missionary superintendent’ until his martyrdom in 97AD.

Sometime in 67AD under 24 hour Roman guard, Paul wrote a pair of urgent letters to Timothy. As JB Phillips says, ‘The second letter aimed to stimulate Timothy’s faith and courage and renew his faithfulness.” Some scholars say unknown writers really authored the letters in about 85AD, putting Paul’s name on it.

Charles Swindoll, Chancellor of Dallas Seminary, urged students, “Explain the Sunday morning scripture lesson in season and out of season. Don’t by lazy. Do your homework. Avoid wholesale plagiarism. A water-downed gospel may attract large crowds, but it has no eternal influence.”

As we begin 2020, elected or appointed board and committee members should be aware of these versus from the 28th Chapter of Matthew and the 4th Chapter of Second Timothy, since they boldly declare the real purpose and mission of any Christian Church as needing to have a consistent What-Would-Jesus-Do-attitude.

Quoting Professor Tony Campolo, “Let us preach Christ and be faithful in proclaiming the gospel. But let’s leave judgment up to God.”

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 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.

Making December Connections

Rev Robert A Wendel

“A friend is a loving companion at all times and a brother born to share your troubles. He who conceals another’s offense seeks his Goodwin. The Lord watches over the way of the righteous.” (Proverbs 17:17-18, 9, Psalm 1:6 NEB).

Building up and maintaining relations is what really matters over the holidays and as the years go by. During the winter merriment, our drive to please folks with gifts should not crowd out recognizing that we have been surrounded by people who have made an impression on our lives and reaching out to hem – connecting in appreciation.

In July, I read “Make Your Bed”, a brief personal account of his life as a Navy SEAL by Retired Admiral William H. Craven. During training in a parachute jump gone wrong, Craven broke his pelvis. As he slowly physically recovered, his wife cared for him and reminded him “who he was.”

Friends came by the house. Each shared a faith that he would, indeed, rebound. Many of his Navy pals could see his future positional. Craven said “I never forgot those people. Anything I have achieved in my life was the result of others who have helped me along the way.”

Everybody knows the fictional moving of George Bailey, manager of a small Building and Loan in Bedford Falls who contemplates jumping off a bridge just before Christmas because $8,000 of the depositors’ money had been misplaced by Uncle Billy on the way to the bank.

George is rescued by Clarence, a wingless angel, and shown how necessary his life has been to his neighbors who, in gratitude for his faithfulness, “saved the day” because George has truly had A Wonderful Life.

Isaiah described this kind of friendship as one that pleases God because it comes to the aid of someone in anguish saying “If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted sol, then your light shall dawn in the darkness.” (Isaiah 58:10 NKJV). True religion cannot be separated from compassion and a conviction for social justice.

This December, make an honest effort to acknowledge folks who have made your life fun. Director Frank Capra ended the 1946 film with George holding a copy of Huckleberry Fin from Clarence with the note “No man is a failure who has friends.”

Bonhoeffer prayed, “Lord, give our frightened souls again salvation and thy promises fulfilled. If it be thy will again, give joy to this world. Bring us together in the light the Savior brings.”

I have just received my annual Christmas check from the American Baptist Churches and I encourage you to contribute to the Retired Ministers & Missionaries offering in December.

Our Greatest Gift Ever

This month as we are focusing on Christmas gift giving, let’s remember our greatest gift ever – when God sent his Son. Jesus is the reason for the season!!!

December is the time for our annual Retired Ministers & Missionaries Offering. RMMO provides financial support to retired ministers, missionaries and their widowed spouses.

Think about it. Many of these servants of God have very little retirement security. They face increased medical expenses, yearly housing costs and other emergency needs. We all understand these concerns.

Please pray about your part in supporting these faithful servants who may experience difficult times. Offering envelopes are available in the pews for your contributions.

Operation Christmas Child Final Report

When asked how many shoeboxes I want to have each year I always say one. That way I’m not disappointed when I don’t reach my goal and that’s just the way I look at this project. Each shoebox is a blessing to a child and in turn to his or her entire family. It shows that someone cared enough to stop what they were doing and put together a small box of things that most of us take for granted every day.

First I would like to thank all of you who packed a shoebox, donated money for postage, worked in our collection center or helped load our truck. Without you, this project would never get off the ground. Thank you so so much for your continued prayers during collection week. We hit some bumps in the road but all in all it was a huge success.

Last but not certainly least, our final count of shoeboxes collected from the area was 3,420 blessings. Each one of these boxes will travel to far off countries and villages and end up in the hands of a boy or girl. Although we had some major hiccups at the last minute, God who was always in control of the situation solved the issues and all of those blessings were delivered. What a joy this will be when that child open that box and see that special toy bought just for them!!! It was an awesome collection week. In closing, remember it’s not about what gifts we get this Christmas but the love of a God who sent his Son into the world this Christmas season as a baby as a gift to us all.