Late Summer Reflections

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Now remain in my love. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:12-14)

Recently, I sat in my living room while my house grew quiet. I sat alone, just thinking about a new school year beginning soon. My thoughts floated back to 1958, when I started public school. As it is for everyone, school would be a new adventure with new classmates. Suddenly, I recalled more than a handful of school experiences which didn’t end until 2005. The result of all that was that I learned how to pastor five different churches and work in a half a dozen hospitals as a hospital chaplain.

What struck me about all that was that my life experience has been enriched by every one of these experiences. All of our lives are different as we move in and out of group experiences.

As I reflected, I realized that I do not know where any of my old classmates live now. Scattered over the world as they must be, there is no way to track them down, telephone them, or even send an email. Sixty-three years ago seems locked in the past and secluded in a “different world.”

So, for the next twenty minutes, I “called the roll, saw their young faces in my memory’s reflection, and uttered a prayer for each of my long-lost friends. Somehow, I sensed a spiritual reconnection. And I intuited that all of life is moving toward “sweet reunion” in a dimension that our physical eyes cannot see and our minds cannot comprehend. More than ever, it is true that the people in the Beckley church will always hold a special place in my memory.

“I believe that some obstacles . . . work out for the better because God knows that without those, you wouldn’t be as strong as you are.”
Simone Biles
Olympic Champion Gymnast

ABW Ministries at FBC

Even though our Lizzie Lewis Circle is not currently meeting, we are continuing to work on our mission projects and thank you for your help.

We are collecting used postage stamps for one mission project. There is a container in the church office on the counter where you can leave them. We are also involved in a great program at Weirton Christian Center where we collect quarters for a program called “Quarters for Grades” at the Weirton Christian Center. These quarters are sent to them on a regular basis where they are used as incentives for the children who come there to get good grades. What a way to help a child’s education.

Join American Baptist Women’s Ministries on Sunday, September 19, 2021, at 6:00 PM EDT, as we celebrate 70 years of ministry with an online celebration! Our keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Pamela Durso, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary. We hope you’ll join us for this free celebration! This is a virtual celebration and pre-registration is necessary. Contact the church office for further details and registration info

Join us September 18-19 at Parchment Valley for our Spiritual Growth Retreat. Early registration is from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Friday and on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. The program starts at 9 a.m. This year’s theme is “We Are Family.” Registration forms for this event are in the church office. The deadline is September 1st but walk-ins will be welcome although a meal cannot be guaranteed.

Something Different for September

by Debbie Vanaman

First of all, I want to thank all of you for your generous support of Operation Christmas Child this year. Your gifts, both of money and items for our shoeboxes, is greatly appreciated. Even during this strange year that we are still living, your support has been awesome.

Now for the month of September we’re going to do something different. What we will be collecting for the month of September is children’s socks. Depending on where you sit on Sunday mornings, that determines what size socks you need to buy. If you sit on the bank side, you are in charge of the two to four-year-old boys and girls. The people who sit in the middle part are responsible for the five to nine-year-old boys and girls. The ones on the college side are responsible for the 10 to 14-year-old boys and girls. If you can’t or would rather not shop, a monetary donation is always acceptable and we’ll do the shopping for you. This is something we’ve never done before and I hope it is successful.

Collection week is getting closer and closer. The dates are November 15th through November 22nd. That’s when the shoeboxes from the area churches and individuals will be collected in our Welcome Center where they will start their journey to a child some place in the world. I will be reaching out to you for help during that week.

Please continue to keep this mission project in your prayers as boxes are constantly being distributed around the world sharing the name of Jesus and the love of God.

Lending a Hand

Let me first thank you for your support of Helping Hands. With your donations of non-perishable food items, toilet paper and soap, we can continue to serve the people of Beckley and Raleigh County. There is a large black container outside the office for your donations. We are taking donations of clothing Tuesday through Friday now.

Our numbers are increasing just a bit and we know as the weather turns to fall that hopefully that will continue to grow. We are in desperate need of volunteers to work. We’ve had several of our regular volunteers undergo surgery or have had to step down for various reasons which leaves us short-handed most days. Please if you have a few hours to spare, we could certainly use you. We are open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

Please continue praying for us as we lend a hand to those less fortunate.

Helping the Children at Beckley Elementary

School is back in session and we are once again packing food for our Backpack Children.

We have shopped during the summer and have our pantry full of nutritious food ready for the children.

We had intended to use our packing teams to prepare the food for distribution but the Covid Virus is once again a threat to groups gathering. We will continue to use only a few people to pack until the Covid numbers decrease.

Thanks to everyone who has donated money, food or prayed for our Backpack Kids. May God Bless You!

For the month of September please donate cans of Vienna Sausages.

“Son” Flowers

by Rev Doc Adkins

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11

When I often think of my childhood on the farm with my grandparents, it’s this time of the year that brings back floods of good memories. The harvest of the garden, the hay fields and corn fields are winding down. All the work in the hot summer heat has paid off and only the remnants is left. Rest assured even they will not go to waste. At the ends of the garden my grandmother planted sunflowers. Lots of really big sunflowers overshadowed the garden. Whenever you look toward the garden it was the sunflowers you saw first before anything else. This time of year, the sunflower would take on the colors of majestic guardians of the garden. I’d see their yellow and gold tones and with the colors you just knew Fall was upon us.

Sunflowers are one of those things you see everywhere such as on dishes, tablecloths, pillows, and other things for the home. They are right up there with roses when it comes to popularity.

Did you know that even Picasso and Van Gogh painted sunflowers? Probably because they are such a beautiful and distinctive flower.

Here are a few lessons we can learn from the sunflower.

Sunflowers Track the Sun. Most plants are attracted to light but the flowering head of the sunflower actually tracks the sun following its path and moving toward where it is in the sky all during the day.

I read somewhere that sunflowers track the sun when they are in bud stage. Isn’t that how it usually goes for us as Christians? When we first come to know the Lord, we get excited about knowing all about Him and living for Him, but after awhile we sometimes grow a little preoccupied with other things and get our eyes off of the Lord.

Wouldn’t it be great if as a Christian we’d track the Son of God and follow Him all day long? No matter what was going on in our lives and throughout our day, we wouldn’t take our eyes off of the Son.

Sunflowers Need to be Stabilized. The second thing I’ve learned about the sunflower is that it needs to be firmly planted in the soil in order to grow. Sunflowers grow so tall and their stems become so heavy that they will topple over if they aren’t stabilized in the ground.

I know as a Christian it’s very easy to topple over if we are not grounded in the Word of God. We need to know what and why we believe what we do so our feet are firmly planted and we won’t falter in our Christian growth.

Sunflowers Produce Seeds. Did you know that a single sunflower can have up to 2,000 seeds? When we think about sowing seeds as a Christian, just think of the potential reach that each of us can have to spread the Gospel. It could be limitless if we would just sow those seeds.

Sunflowers Produce Oil. The oil that the sunflower produces is considered a good oil with healthy benefits. As Christians we should be producing the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith). All of those have some healthy benefits on us as Christians and on others that we meet.

Sunflowers Resemble the Sun. Sunflowers not only follow the sun but when you look at them, they resemble the sun too. Resembling the Son should be one of those things we do as a Christian. Being Christ-like is an essential part of being a Christian.

Conclusion: When I think about the lessons from the sunflower, my mind goes to that fifth chapter of Ephesians where it’s talking about following God and all the ways we are to act as Christians. It starts out in the first couple verses by saying,

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. Ephesians 5:1,2

The chapter goes on in detail on various topics of Christian living and mentions all those bad things we are to avoid, starting with “fornication” and it goes on from there.

In verses 15 and 16 it says, See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

I’m not going to type the entire chapter out here but I think that whole chapter is so important as guidance to our everyday Christian lives. It is what getting up and following the Son all day and being a SON flower is all about.

It boils down to walking in the spirit, following God, and living Christ-like as a Christian should. We’ve got to live that way in order to “redeem the time” and spread the Gospel of Christ. .

So, are you living like a SON-flower?

The Hardest Lesson – Love

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“This is my commandment, that you love one another.” John 15:12

It sounds so simple; it turns out to be so hard! To love some others, sure: Some people are easy to love. But if you knew a certain individual in my family. . . my office. . . my neighborhood! To treat all people decently, to be civil, to accord them their rights—that, with great self-control, I may manage. But to love them? The selfish, the arrogant? God alone could love some of the people I have to deal with!

It’s God’s attitude that allows me to love more than I would. Looking at Scripture, we get a sense that first century Christians were drawn to each other by this attitude of love. During Jesus’ lifetime, they understood that their path to the Kingdom stayed true when they put the interests of others ahead of their own. (Acts 4:34) Onlookers reported that there didn’t seem to be a needy person among them. Wherever these first Christians went, healing and prayer followed them.

What happened to this little group that followed the Rabbi from Nazareth? Pentecost happened, so they were blessed by the Holy Spirit, which made them more loving because they had made room in their lives for Jesus.

Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Done,
With all Thy quickening powers;
Kindle a flame of sacred love
In these cold hearts of ours.
Isaac Watts

God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Reinhold Niebuhr
(1892-1971)

ABW is Hard at Work

Even though our ABW ladies have not been meeting in person, they are still hard at work. They have two projects ongoing. The first is our Quarters for Grades project for Weirton Christian Center and the second is our used postage stamp mission project. These projects have been part of the ABW for quite a few years. There is a box on the counter in the office for your used postage stamps. Donations for the Quarters for Grades project can be turned into the church office. The ladies are anxious to get back to meeting in person for their monthly meetings and helping with the ABW projects.

Stocking Our Pantry

When our students get back in class hopefully we can get back to normal at last! We are buying food to stock our pantry for the upcoming school year. Hopefully we can get back to normal with our Backpack teams once again packing backpacks weekly. I will be contacting each of our team members to verify they are still interested in packing food once each month. I am sure we will need to make some changes but we always have enough great volunteers to get the job done. We would welcome any new volunteers to become part of our Backpack Ministry.

Last winter we were given over 500 jars of peanut butter from Helping Hands. We donated many of them to other backpack programs since we could not use them all before they expired. We still have peanut butter and have donated it to our Blessing Box Ministry to be given out before it expires in August. We will be needing fresh peanut butter to distribute to our Backpack Kids. For the months of July and August please donate peanut butter. God Bless everyone who has donated food, cash or prayed for our Backpack Kids.

Summer is in Full Swing

Summer is in full swing, the weather, for the most part, is warm and children in our area are out of school. Speaking of school, children around the world don’t always have the advantages of children in our area as far as getting the supplies that they need. So as we usually do for July and August, we are collecting school supplies for our shoeboxes. Things like pencils, erasers, pens, crayons, small coloring books, colored pencils and pencil sharpeners are what is needed. This year I have been blessed with a donation of enough markers to give each child a pack. If you are not comfortable going to the stores yet, monetary gifts are always welcome. These children will be blessed beyond measure and so will you. Just think every time they pick up a pencil or a crayon, they know that someone from Beckley First Baptist Church in the U.S.A. thought enough of them and loved them enough to give them these school supplies. A collection box is located in Welcome Center for your donations. Please keep this ministry in your prayers as they continue to spread the name of Jesus and the love of God to children around the world.