20 Plus Years

by Debbie Vanaman

Over the 20 plus years that Operation Christmas Child has been in existence and he name of Jesus has reached literally millions of children and their families through what starts out as an empty shoebox. Most people would just toss out this empty box not realizing the impact that it could have. What started out right here in West Virginia with a lady named Mary Dameron going up and down her little holler collecting whatever she could has grown into a huge effort with millions of shoeboxes and countless workers in all phases of this program striving to share the name of Jesus to children who have never heard of our Savior.

We’ve been doing shoeboxes here at FBC for over 20 years and each year it still amazes me how people love to reach out and make a child’s life just a little bit better though this ministry. I sincerely thank you for your prayers and support of this mission project.

For the month of June, we will be collecting girl’s hair brushes, girl’s hair accessories and boy’s combs. Collection boxes are in the Welcome Center and also in Fellowship Hall. Your financial contributions are always welcome as well. We hope to pack 100 shoeboxes in the fall with what we’ve collected and each box needs $9.00 to cover the shipping of that box. Checks can be made out to the church with the word shoeboxes on the memo line.

Just remember – YOU CAN CHANGE A CHILD’S LIFE THROUGH THE POWER OF A SIMPLE SHOEBOX!!!

What’s Going on with the Glow Kids

by Debbie King

Just a little note to let First Baptist know what is going on with Glow Kids. We enjoyed the children singing on Easter Sunday and hope to do this more often.

Glow Kids will be honoring their mothers with a dinner for Mother’s Day. It can be a mom, grandmother, aunt, guardian or if you are a solo parent we would love to have dad. Just whomever is being “mom” at the time we would love for the kids to be able to share this special day. We will be having the dinner on Wednesday, May 8th at 6:00 (our usual Wednesday Glow Kids hour.)

Also, please do not forget about Vacation Bible School. We are hoping to have it in June so we will need workers and lots of prayers.

Only One More Month of School

There is only one more month of school left for this year. I am sure all the children will be happy to have a summer break. We all need to be praying that the Backpack Kids will have adequate food during the summer.

During the school break our Backpack Ministry volunteers will be shopping for food to restock our food closet. We rely on the Mountaineer Food Bank for some of our food and find bargains at local stores. We also rely on your donations of food and cash to keep our ministry going. Thanks to each of you for your contributions and prayers.

For the month of May, please bring pudding cups.

Helping Hands Continues Its Outreach Programs

Helping Hands is continuing to help those less fortunate and in need of food and clothing. On an average month help is given to over 700 families who are residents of Raleigh County, A special thank you to those who volunteer at Helping Hans also those who go to our local merchants and pick up donated food items every week. This is a tremendous help in keeping our costs down.

On the subject of money, do you know you can donate to Helping Hands and it doesn’t cost you anything? HOW? If you shop at Krogers and have a Kroger card, you can donate through their Community Rewards program and a portion of your purchases goes directly to Helping Hands. Check it out on the Kroger web page or contact the church office if you need help signing up.

Thanks to all who have been donating food items, toilet tissue, soap and plastic bags. We appreciate your help with these donations and please keep them coming. We are also accepting summer clothing. Donations can be either dropped off at Helping Hands or put in the large black container outside the church office.

Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to meet the needs of the residents of Raleigh County.

Plantin’ Season

by Pastor 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 I like this time of the year. Grass is green again, the birds welcome us to the mornings, flowers and trees give way to new life. Growing up on the farm, this time of the year became known as “plantin ’time”. The garden was starting to take on shape, my grandfather was busy making ready the fields and such. Plantin’ time was a very busy time.

There was an annual addition in our garden along with all the vegies, and that was the sunflowers. My grandmother always made sure they were some of these along each end of the garden. I don’t know why, just remember they always were there.

I think sunflowers are pretty cool. I love their yellow and gold tones in their coloring, but they also stand so tall and majestic looking too.

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. (Don’t be impressed with this tid-bit of knowledge because I googled it.)

The following lessons were lessons my grandmother taught me.

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 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, I remember Ephesians 5 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 savour.” 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 15,16 it says, ” See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

It’s 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. So, what’s God ‘plantin’ in your life.

Children & Youth News

Our “Glow Kids” are now meeting on Wednesday evening’s at 6:00 p.m. on the Third Floor for grades K-5th grade. Their leaders are Debbie King and Jim and Melissa Adkins. They are having a great time learning about Jesus.

Our Youth group, “Illuminate,” meets on Sunday evenings at 6:00 on the fourth floor. Tim Mitchem leads them in a time praise and worship along with a time of learning and fun. They also meet at the Chick Fil-A on Harper Road on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. for a great Bible Study.

Great News!

We have great news! We have reached and went over our goal for America for Christ offering of $1,500!!! Thanks to all of you, our FBC family, for your support.

As you know, this year these funds will be used right here in West Virginia for the Weirton Christian Center.

The Board of Mission hopes, in the coming months, to create ways to inform and update you on all our ministries- local and international- and help you to become acquainted with some of our missionaries.

Thank you again for your generous support for the America for Christ offering.

Paul: Apostle at a Gallop

by Robert A Wendel

“I am not ashamed of the gospel; for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith. In it the righteousness of God is revealed. The one who is righteous will live by faith. God has clothed me with a robe of righteousness. In Jesus Christ the blessing of Abraham has come to Gentiles.” (Romans 1:16-17; Isaiah 61-10, NRSV.)

Paul was a preacher first and a writer second. Both spheres – preaching and writing – were ruled by one great fact – the fact of a living present Lord; and by one all-decisive experience – the experience of union and communion with Him. The heart of Paul’s religion was union with Christ. (Acts 9, 22, 26).

The distinctive Christian attitude is humble trust in God and dependence on what he has done (rescue) through Christ. In short, “faith” (Romans 1:17.) No one could shame this former rabbi into silence until his death in 64AD.
In his life-risking missionary travels, Paul sought out Jewish communities in cities in present-day Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus and Greece. Unlike other Christians, Paul encouraged converting non-Jews which laid the foundation for the explosive growth of Early Christianity and the final separation of Judaism and Christianity into two separate faiths.

Paul’s bold adventures came to an end in about 60AD when he was arrested for admitting a non-Jew into the Temple of Jerusalem and he was sent to Rome for trial. Acquitted, he stayed there to help organize the Christian Church in the Empirical Capital of the Empire.

Paul is credited with authoring seven books of the New Testament – Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, I Thessalonians and Philemon and he may have also written six other letters to young churches and a pair to Apostle Timothy.

This Easter, it is good for us to remember Paul’s words “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor hearts conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Corn. 2:9.) “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are to be pitied.” (I Cor. 15:19). Jesus said “Because I live, you will also.” (John 14:19).

Thank you, Beckley Area Foundation

Several people had mentioned to me that we could apply for a Grant from The Beckley Area Foundation to provide money to help purchase food for our Backpack Ministry. Last September Debbie Vanaman and I attended an informational meeting at the BAF office to learn the requirements for applying. With help from Debbie I applied for an $800.00 Grant.

In March I was notified we will indeed receive $800.00 from The Beckley Area Foundation. What a wonderful blessing! Many thanks to The Beckley Area Foundation for your kind gift. It will go a long way in helping buy food for our Backpack Kids.

We are currently packing food weekly for 23 children at Beckley Elementary School. Each backpack includes two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, a loaf of fresh bread and a bag of snacks.

Please continue to pray for our Backpack Ministry and the children it serves. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and contributions.

For the month of April please bring cans of corn, peas or carrots.

ABW Spring Rally at Beckley First Baptist

The ABW Spring Rally is scheduled for Saturday, April 6th. Registration is at 9:30 am with the program starting at 10:00 am and concluding with lunch.

The theme of the day is “Create In Me A Clean Heart.” The mission project for that day they are asking you to bring is a small bottle of laundry detergent which will be distributed to four participating churches with most of it going to Helping Hands and Neighbors on Wheels. A great program is being planned and it should be an exciting morning. Please plan on joining the ladies.