Thoughts from Our Youth Pastor…

Throughout the Bible we read about the great joy we can have in the Lord –

“…the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy.” (Psalm 5:11)

“… in your presence there is fullness of joy…” (Psalm 16:11)

“Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous…” (Psalm 32:11)

“Then I will go to … God my exceeding joy…” (Psalm 43:4)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy … in believing” (Romans 15:13)

“The fruit of the Spirit is… joy” (Galatians 5:22)

“Rejoice in the Lord always…”  (Philippians 4:4)

But what exactly is this joy?

Pleasure and Satisfaction in Christ

Many passages show that this joy is an emotional feeling of pleasure and satisfaction (Psalm 4:7, for example).

But this joy is not pleasure and satisfaction in our circumstances; it’s pleasure and satisfaction in God as he is revealed in Jesus Christ (Habakkuk 3:17-18 and 1 Peter 1:8, for example).

So why is it that many Christians don’t experience this joy?

Why so Little Joy?

One answer dawned on me yesterday as I was praying about my lack of joy.

God does promise to give this joy to every believer (Psalm 63:7;Psalm 68:3; Luke 2:10; John 16:20,22; for example).

But he also tells us how he will give it to us – through faith.

Notice how joy and faith are connected in these verses –

  • “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” (Psalm 13:5)
  • “You make him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD (Psalm 21:6-7)
  • “For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.” (Psalm 33:21)
  • “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13)
  • “I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith” (Philippians 1:25)
  • “Though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8 New American Standard Version)

So there is a cause-effect relationship between faith and joy.  God promises to pour out this joy when we turn to him in faith.

So maybe one reason we don’t experience this joy is because we don’t pursue it by faith.

Getting There by Faith

If someone told you that the way to get to your destination was by bicycle, what would you do?

You would not start walking, or get in the car.  You would hop on your bicycle, and start peddling.

So when God tells us that the way to get to joy is by faith, what should we do?  We should turn to him in faith.

But so often, when I lack joy, I don’t turn to God in faith.

Instead, I languish in spiritual dullness, or busy myself with activity, or complain to my wife.

But what I should do is turn to God in faith.

But How?

Faith means trusting all that God promises to be to us in Christ Jesus.

So how do I turn to God in faith?

First — I turn to God just as I am, in my dullness and sinfulness, knowing that because of Christ’s death I will be loved and welcomed.

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

Second – I confess all known sin to the Father.  I confess whatever I am seeking joy in besides Christ, and ask him to help me turn my heart back to him.  I am assured that through Christ I am completely forgiven.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Third — I look to God, trusting him to give me what I need.  All that I bring to the table is neediness.  But in Christ God promises to give me everything I need.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Fourth — I earnestly ask God to give me joy in him by strengthening my faith, overcoming my sinful blindness, and showing me his glory.

Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)

Fifth – I notice whatever worries or desires are keeping me from joy in the Lord, and work on slaying those with promises from the word of God — the sword of the Spirit.

… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God … (Ephesians 6:17)

Sixth – I pray over passages describing God’s glory until I experience the Spirit enlightening the eyes of my heart so I once again see and feel the all-satisfying glory of God in Christ.

… that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened … (Ephesians 1:17-18)

Try This

As soon as you can, set everything else aside, and take time to turn to God by faith.

As you do, notice how the Holy Spirit strengthens your faith, shows you God’s glory, and gives you joy in beholding Christ.

And notice how that happened — by faith.

It’s by faith that God promises to give us joy in him.

So seek him — by faith.

 

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Haddox

News for Helping Hands

God has richly blessed the ministry of Helping Hands with many, many volunteers without whom this ministry could not function.  We have also been blessed with the outpour of donations that are given to help those less fortunate in Beckley and Raleigh County.  Each month our ministry continues to grow and reach out to these families with food and clothing.

At the ABW Spring Rally last month their special project was what they called “Love Rolls” or toilet tissue.  You need to look for the Power Point picture to see the result – let’s say it was enormous and thanks to all the ladies who contributed.

As always, we are in need of non-perishable food items  and bar soap as our supply sometimes goes out as quickly as it comes in. Also, when you are doing your spring cleaning, if you come across any blankets that you wish to donate, we can store them until winter.   Donations can be left in the box outside the church office.  Please keep us in your prayers as we help those who pass through our doors.

Changing Lives Around the World

by Debbie Vanaman

Operation Christmas Child has been a part of our church for almost 20 years and in all that time, there are children around the world who still have not heard the name Jesus.  Most of these children live in remote villages and towns in less than desirable conditions.

On June evening, June 3rd, we here at FBC will have the opportunity to hear first-hand from someone who as a child received a shoebox and how that shoebox has impacted his life.  I’ve heard stories like this and you will truly be blessed to hear how something that you have packed has impacted a child, a family and even an entire town.  We will be having refreshments and a time of fellowship following the service.

For the month of May we will be collecting soap and washcloths.   Donation boxes are in Fellowship Hall and in the Welcome Center.  Also throughout the year, if we feel so led, we are also asking for monetary contributions to help with shipping the shoeboxes that the youth will be making later this year.

I ask that you pray for this ministry and that its mission of spreading the name of Jesus to children around the world continue to touch young lives through the word of God.

Only one more month of school is remaining!

by Helen Greene

Only one more month of school is remaining for the 2017-2018 school year.  We have been successful in delivering backpacks to Beckley Elementary weekly thanks to the efforts of many volunteers.  We have a menu planner, shoppers and packers.  Volunteers pick up the empty backpacks and those who deliver the filled ones back to the school. Of course we can’t forget those who donate food and money every month.  Without all of these willing volunteers it would be impossible to complete these tasks weekly. Each volunteer is such a blessing to this ministry.  Thanks to every one of you and May God Bless You.

Continue to pray for this ministry and each of the children being served.

Please donate 16 oz. plastic jars of peanut butter for the month of May.

  

Is handbell ringing one of your hidden talents?

If God has given you this talent (or maybe you just want to try something new) and you might be interested in playing hand bells, please see Cathy Broughman and give her your contact info and a day or evening when you would be available when school is over.  I believe my last day is June 7th.    These handbells have been in the church for many, many years and if we have no volunteers, their sounds will never be heard again.                                 

Thanks and God Bless  from Cathy Broughman

The Kindest Cut

by Rev Robert A Wendel

Do not overlook hospitality to (strangers), for some have entertained angels without knowing it.  King David asked, “Is there no member of Saul’s family to whom I may show kindness?  There is a son of Jonathan; he is a cripple, lame in both feet.”  David replied “I mean to show him kindness for his father’s sake.  Mephibosheth will be a regular guest at my table.” (Hebrews 13:2, 2Samual 9:3,10 NEB, NET

As a boy, I was fortunate to have been in the Cub Scout and Boy Scout Programs from age eight to age eighteen, earning the God and County Award.  Later as a pastor after six years as a District Chairman in western New York State, I was awarded the Silver Beaver for outstanding service to the local Scout Council and its troops approved by the National BSA Court of Honor in 2003.  Every Scout knows the Scout slogan “Do a Good Turn Daily”

“This does not mean that you should do one good turn every day and then stop.  It means you should always be looking for opportunities to help others, quietly and without boasting.   Remember that a good turn is an act of kindness, not just something you do because it is good manners.  Good turns should be done for family, friends, children and adults and especially for those who are not able to do the task themselves.”  The Boy Scout Handbook.

It was the noon hour Thursday, March 8th at a busy lunch counter in the Waffle House in La Marque, Texas when 18  year-old Evoni Williams noticed 78 year old Ardain Chpentair, who suffers from weakness in his hands, having trouble cutting his ham.  So, Miss Williams offered to cut it for him.  Another patron photographed it all and put it on the internet.  A local college official saw the recorded event and responded giving the waitress a $16,000 scholarship for the next calendar year,

One Sunday, after concluding the weekly worship at the Beckley, WV VA Medical Center, an elderly volunteer asked me to have lunch with him at a nearby restaurant.  VA staff lifted me into his Land Rover.  After we finished our meal, we were in a tough spot until I noticed a pair of W.V. State Troopers eating and they kindly agreed to lift me into the chapel volunteer’s vehicle, one cop saying “Glad to do it chaplain.  You prayed with my dad before his same day surgery at the VA.”

A Moroccan proverb says “God is merciful to those who are kind.”

The Power that Keeps Us Turning in the Right Direction

by Pastor Doc Adkins

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.    Ephesians 4:30

Just some weeks ago I was traveling on I-64 E coming back into Beckley and as I passed the Erma Byrd Center I notice that the big windmill beside it was spinning around like crazy. The wind was just “whipping“ through the air that day and boy did the windmill cut a shine!

Then not long ago I saw a little girl with a colorful pinwheel. She seemed intrigued at watching it and waving it around to get the blades to turn. I amused myself at watching her get it going really good and the use her finger to stop it. It surely did keep her attention. You remember the pinwheel from our youth.  We all had one and how much fun it would be watching the colors fly by as the wind blew the blades and we used every imaginable thing we could to stop the blades and then start over again.

Most of us know that pinwheels or windmills don’t just spin around on their own volition. There has to be a wind source of some kind. You have to blow on it with your own breath or take it outside and allow the wind to move it. (Just a thought of from days gone by, “don’t stick your pinwheel out of the car window unless you hang on to it really tightly”…just a lesson learned).

Of course pinwheels and windmills won’t spin around on their own strength. That’s just like us as Christians. We can’t spin around on our own either. We need God’s strength and power.

Sadly, some of us try to spin around in our own strength anyway but we are not getting very far. Some of us have got some things stuck in our blades that are blocking our wind.

Our power source is the Holy Spirit, and that is a powerful wind. So much can be accomplished for Christ when we allow the leading of the Holy Spirit in us. Just think about the disciples. They turned the world upside down.

We’ve all got things that get stuck in our blades and slow us down or even make our effectiveness for Christ come to a complete standstill. Here are a few that came to my mind.

Power Blockers:

Bitterness
Whew! This one can really be a clog in your wheels. If you have bitterness in your life, you have to deal with it in order to have the power you need to keep spinning. Bitterness can rob you of your joy and eat away at you until you’re not useful to anyone, let alone God.

Let all bitterness…be put away from you. Ephesians 4:31

Unforgiveness
If there is a rift between you and someone else and you don’t deal with it, it’s like running a rod right through your blades. You are not going to keep spinning with something like that stuck in your life. You’ll find yourself not doing anything for Christ.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

Our Own Will
Trying to spin around all by ourselves and in our own direction isn’t going to work. We have to give ourselves over to what God wants for us, which at times may not be exactly what we might want. Living with our lives in tune with Christ daily is the only way we’ll be sensitive to His will and not our own.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2

Unconfessed Sin
Of course if we have unconfessed sin in our lives, it’s going to affect how the Holy Spirit works in us. We can’t have something between God and us or there’s not going to be any wind flow.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Conclusion:
We often block the “turning of God” in our lives. We keep our guards up and don’t let the Holy Spirit get to us even when we need to be refreshed. We steal ourselves from being touched by a special song in church, or by a sermon, Sunday School lesson, and worship service because we’re too inward focused and not Godward focused. We go into defense mode at invitation time because we don’t want to go forward and deal with our issues even when we feel the Holy Spirit trying to work in us. We miss out on so much power that way and by keeping those power blockers stuck in our blades. Those things grieve the Holy Spirit which we are told not to do in Ephesians 4:30. We need to allow the breath of the Holy Spirit to go all the way through us so we can spin round and round doing the things Christ would have us to do.

If we are Christians, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in us. We have to be sensitive in order to allow His working.  Remember that the wind is what makes the difference. In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is compared to a “rushing mighty wind”.

So, how are you spinning?

Peek-a-boo Bunny

When I was a little boy I had a stuffed animal called Peek-a-boo Bunny. You would squeeze his stomach and he would fling his ears from off of his eyes and shout with a cheerful sound “Peek-a-boo! Happy Easter!” This bunny, along with the song “Here Comes Peter Cotton-tail” created and fueled my love of Easter and all the candy that came with it! I would destroy boxes of Whoppers and Butterfingers weren’t safe, but I wouldn’t come near the peeps. This momentous occasion that I looked forward to as a child because of the copious amounts of candy I would consume, I look forward to it as an adult for a much greater reason; however, I do still consume said candy.

As an adult and as an observer and follower of Christ I can say that Easter, while ever so slightly, edges out Christmas for me. I say that because Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is beyond comprehension!

No one today would willingly go to prison and be killed if they were a king or from some type of royalty.

Yet Jesus, GOD, took on flesh and came to dwell amongst us. He not only suffered and died on the cross. He not only was wrapped in grave clothes and thrown in a tomb. He not only was stuck behind a boulder to ensure His death and captivity. More than ALL of that; Our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ arose from His grave and that tomb became the stage for Heaven’s Glory!

We take heart in the knowledge that our sins are forgiven because a King decided to leave His throne and die in our place. Although it seems beyond comprehension, we are to always seek deeper and deeper to understand and comprehend our Heavenly Father. We will never be finished doing so, but we are always to seek wisdom.

May God Bless you this Easter and open your eyes even wider or maybe for the first time to the sacrifice and love of God the Father and God the Son over us. May that knowledge be ever pervasive in our thoughts and may we, in return, be willing to spread the love of God and make disciples. Amen.

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Haddox

Beyond the Call of Duty

by Helen Green

The past month has been a hectic one for our backpack group.  In anticipation of the teachers’ walkout, we packed our food on Tuesday, Feb.20th and delivered the backpacks to school the same day.  We wanted to be sure food would be available for the children on the eve of the walkout.

Our next problem was how would the children get their food the following week?  We were contacted by the principal of Beckley Elementary and asked if we could open the Welcome Center of the church for the families of these children to pick up the food if possible.  Of course, we agreed.  On Friday, March 1st members of our Backpack team set up tables and chairs to be used from 11AM till 1PM.  Soon teachers from Beckley Elementary arrived bringing even more food for the children.  At 1PM the teachers determined which children had not gotten food.  They then delivered food to every child who was not able to come to the pickup location.  Our teachers went BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY!

Many thanks to each and every one of you who have brought food or made monetary contributions to our Backpack Ministry!  May God bless you!  These children look forward to getting their food every Friday.  We understand that some of the children come to the office and ask if it is Friday yet.

For the month of April, we will be collecting individual servings of applesauce.  Please continue to pray for our ministry and each child being fed.

How Can You Change A Child’s Life?

by Debbie Vanaman

Spring has arrived, at least according to the calendar, and our thoughts start to turn to the ever-changing world around us.  As soon as the weather starts to warm up, I always start to think about how the trees and flowers come to life in the magic and wonder of spring and how God brings this all back to life each and every year.

Our God has indeed created a beautiful and wonderful world for us to live in but in some parts of the world, there are children who live in less than desirable conditions and lack some of the basic needs of living.  These are the children that Samaritan’s Purse helps each and every year through Operation Christmas Child.  These shoeboxes are distributed not just at Christmas time as you might think but all throughout the year through mission trips all around the world.

You might think how can I help.  Each month we are collecting items to fill shoeboxes later this year and for the month of April, we will be collecting pens, pencils, crayons small notepads and markers.   Most children in these countries lack the basic school supplies and cannot attend school without them so this is a vital part of the shoebox ministry.  I could also use any empty shoeboxes that you might have in the back of a closet or under your bed.

Please keep these children and this ministry in your prayers as the name of Jesus is spread around the world one shoebox at a time.