Asking Why Not at the October Table

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“You see things and say “Why?”  But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” George Bernard Shaw from his play “Back to Methuselah,”  quoted by Robert F. Kennedy.

World Communion Sunday is always the first Sunday in October.  Christians around the world gather in worship and share a communion moment known as the Lord’s Last Supper.  We come together and support one another, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, at tables from every culture, every land, every people and every global and economic situation possible.

Christians do a bold thing.  We dare to proclaim hope and peace ‘round the world.  On this single Sunday, we dare to proclaim unity within the Church of Jesus Christ and the hope that all people might have the power, as Paul says “To comprehend what is the breath and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that they might be filled with the fullness of God.”   We are To imagine living in a world where there is no anger and abuse, no addition and neglect, no greed and pride, no murder and rape, no oppression and torture, no hunger and homelessness.

In a world where everyone understood the extent of Christ’s love for us and God’s compassion, would there be these things?  Would there be wide-spread income inequality in such a world?    Would there be life-changing, life-ending disease in such a world?  Would there be war and weapons of mass destruction in such a world?

We long for such a world.  We tired of money having the greatest power  We tired of hearing and reading about violence in our homes and communities.    We tired of watching countries tear themselves apart internally.  We long for better times on this earth.  “Why can’t we all get along?”

Once a year, on World Communion Sunday, we come to the Lord’s precious holy table with bread or rice cakes or tortillas or oatmeal cakes, and remember the broken body of Jesus.  We drink wine or grape juice being grateful that Christ , God’s only Son, died, taking our sins to His pitiful cross.

For our part, may each of us be peacemaking wherever we go, not afraid to ask, “Why not Lord?” God, help us, heal us, and guide us until we, in turn, arrive at our promised Heavenly Home!

This month, our Saturday morning Men’s Breakfast will include, as it always does, good food prepared by the best all-male kitchen crew in West Virginia, wonderful fellowship and a brief Bible-based devotion.  Gentlemen, please join us at 8:00 am on October 3rd.

Also a special thank you to the ladies for all their hard work providing lunch after the recent funerals here at FBC.  Your dedication in caring for these families is greatly appreciated.

Operation Christmas Child News

by Debbie Vanaman

It’s not enough to do something … it’s time for us to do something … and now is the time.  Children around the world need to know that someone cares for him or her and we here at First Baptist have done a great job in the past.  Operation Christmas Child is one way the gospel of Jesus is spread around the world by giving a child a shoebox filled with all kinds of goodies, school supplies and hygiene items that they can use and often times share with their family.

During the month of October, you are being asked to bring small toys such as dolls, balls, flashlights, hand-held games and personal hygiene items such as soap, wash clothes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs and hairbrushes but remember nothing liquid.  There are collection boxes both in the sanctuary and in Fellowship Hall.

Collection week in November is quickly approaching and I will definitely need help that week.  Due to my recent surgery, I can’t do some of the manual work that goes along with collection week.  So if you can help, please call me in the church office.  Your help, as always, is greatly appreciated.  Please keep this program in your prayers as we gear up for another great collection time.

New ABW Program for 2015-2017

by Norma Gunter

American Baptist Women’s Ministries has a new program for 2015-2017.   See… Psalm  34:18 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.”  God who saw us in our  mother’s womb (Psalm 139) still sees us today.  We are familiar with the parable about the good Samaritan where the priest and the Levite see  the wounded man but move to the other side of the road and keep on  going.  They see, but chose not to see.  The Samaritan truly sees the man and his needs and chooses to care for his neighbor. For two years the American Baptist Women’s Ministries will focus on See…  “How we see God and how we are called to see the world through God”s eyes.”  Women will be encouraged “to grow their relationship with God through Bible study, prayer and fellowship.” You will hear more about this program in the future. (Seasons Magazine)

White Cross has changed at the International level which changes the  state and local levels.  This year, 2015-2016, there are no SET quotas.  The West Virginia State ABW has set a goal for $10,000.00 for White Cross Focus Area Education.  This money will provide needed school supplies and educational material to support educational programs around the world.  We, ABW, are encouraged to give as you feel God’s leading. The Overseas Purchase Plan  provides assistance to the following countries:  Africa, Central and South America, Caribbean, East Asia, Europe and the Middle East.  This year we can pick the area we want to help.  We need to give at least what we gave last year or even more.

There is no quota for handiwork either.  The needs are great and again we are encouraged to “just do what you feel lead to do.”  White Cross handiwork is a vital mission ministry and God will continue to bless all our efforts.

Ten hospitals in the Congo depend on items we make with our hands for White Cross.  Items needed from across the USA for ABW are:

105,000 Roller bandages (different sizes)
10,000  4” x4” (50 per pkg.) cotton squares
5,000  36” x 36 ”Baby blankets
5,000  Infant gowns
5,000  Surgical caps                5,000  Surgical masks
2,000  12” x 12” Wrappers     2,000  18” x 18” Wrappers
2,000  Triangular bandages
Before each state was assigned their share of items, and each state  chairman assigned so many to each association and the association chairman divided the items between the churches in our association.  This year no quotas were given but we are asked to do what we did last year or even more. Beckley FBC women made and mailed over 50 roller bandages in April.  These items will be due next April.  Anyone who would like to make any of the above items-I have the patterns.  JUST ASK!

October Youth Activities

Beginning October 4th, our youth group will begin the DVD small group discipleship study, Not a Fan.  This version adapts the original message of Not a Fan to youth in a relevant way.

Twenty times in the New Testament, Jesus issued a compelling and challenging invitation to follow Him. He’s not interested in mere fans. He doesn’t want enthusiastic admirers. He wants completely committed followers. Together we will examine what it means to deny one’s self and truly follow Jesus.

Please make the time to join us for this life-changing study!

 

Upcoming Youth Events:

October 4thNot a Fan begins

October 11th:  Corporate Praise in Concert

October 18th:  Internet & Social Media Safety

October 24th:  Pipestem Hayride

November 1st:  Operation Christmas Child Mission Work

It’s NOT okay to have hungry kids!

by Joyce Mills

It’s NOT okay to have hungry kids!  As the Backpack Ministry was being developed, thought about, prayed about, talked about, I just couldn’t think of anything much worse than a child being hungry.  It’s still unacceptable. It shames us.  There’s plenty of money in Raleigh County, and plenty of poverty at the same time, and precious little “trickle down” from one to the other.

Poverty and hunger inflict enormous stresses on families.  When kids go hungry, the family, the neighborhood, the whole community suffers.  And just to be clear about one major point that some cynics might raise, the parent(s) almost always go hungry before their kids do.  They sacrifice to feed their kids.

When food-deprived kids show up at school Monday mornings, it shows .  They’re tired, lethargic, cranky. Their stomachs rumble.  Fortunately, they get a week’s worth of good food at school…..and then comes the weekend.

So for the costs of two dinners for two at a fine restaurant, you can feed a kid for months.  Or you can adopt a child and make sure he/she has weekend food. That would cost you around $30.00 a month or about $300 for a school year. As many of you know, we count our blessings for any amount that is given to this Ministry. ANY DONATION IS APPRECIATED……MONEY OR SPECIFIED FOOD!

For the month of OCTOBER, we would like you to donate individual Fruit Cups. Just place on the back counter in the kitchen and as you leave  think about the fact that you are doing your part to help fix this problem.

YOU ARE APPRECIATED!

I Like my Coffee

by Doc Adkins

“…Be ye holy; for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:16

I love my morning coffee!  Now that the fall season is upon us and the temperature is cooler I like it even more.  Nothing is better on a brisk morning than a good cup of coffee.

I think everyone disagrees on what makes a good cup of coffee. With today’s hot coffee trend, we try all kinds of flavorings and different ways of experiencing coffee. It used to be basically served black or with cream and sugar. There wasn’t much variety. At the farmhouse, my grandmother “perked” our coffee in the percolator. Do you remember what a percolator was? It made coffee hot, hot , hot!

Nowadays, people like coffee served and brewed a lot of different ways. We tend to disagree on what’s good.  Drip-makers, Keurig, Starbucks (actually it should be called FIVE BUCKS) and on the list goes. What we usually agree on is the basics of what makes a bad cup of coffee. It can be weak, bitter, stale, cold, or soured by something we put in it and we’d probably all agree that it tastes bad. Face it. No one likes to drink a bad cup of coffee.

I don’t suppose people like those bad tasting Christians they come across either. I wonder what type of coffee we’d be.

Weak.

When we are weak Christians, we don’t have much faith. Sometimes when we are weak we don’t know God’s Word enough to know what we stand on. The way to remedy our weakness is to add some grounds.  Dig into God’s Word and get grounded on the principles found in the bible. Study the attributes of God. Learn what you believe concerning doctrine and bone up on the basics of living the Christian life. Enrich yourself with a vibrant prayer life and rely on God’s strength and not your own.

Bitter.

I’ve known my share of bitter Christians and I’ve been there at a few times in my own life but if bitterness isn’t dealt with, it starts growing and eating up your life. Bitterness doesn’t leave a pleasant aroma. You can’t do much with a bitter cup of coffee. No matter how much cream or sugar, or even how much whip cream you want to plop on top, the bitter taste is still there. You have to dump it out and refill the cup with a new fresh brewed pot of coffee.

Isn’t that just so like in the Christian life? No matter how much we add to our Christian lives, no matter how many good deeds we do, how many church programs we become involved with, if our bitterness is still there, we are still bitter and it hinders us in our Christian walk. What we need to do is empty all our bitterness and ourselves of self and then allow the filling of the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives.

Stale.

The dictionary describes, stale as “tasteless or unpalatable from age”. Do you ever get complacent about your Christianity? Just have lost that first love? It’s easy to do, especially for those of us who’ve known the Lord for a very long time. We kind of get weary in well doing.
I know we don’t want to just sit as Christians and not do anything but we do. “Unpalatable” doesn’t go far enough to describe us sometimes. I guess we need to freshen up. There’s a worship chorus that says, “Holy Spirit fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.” I think that’s what we all need so that we will get busy for the Lord. We don’t want to be Christians that just sit and get stale and tasteless.

Cold.

You may have brought a cup of coffee to your lips that you hadn’t realized had gotten cold. You think it’s going to be warm and good and then you realize that it’s cold. We get that way in our desire to serve Christ. We grow cold as a Christian. There are probably a lot of reasons. We get away from Christ, slow down in our bible reading and prayer life, stop going to church on Sunday evening or Prayer meeting on Wednesday and pretty soon we are cold.

What do you do to a cold cup of coffee? Most of us just add a little bit of hot stuff from the coffee pot. We go to the source of the heat. That’s how we should do as Christians. Go to the Source. Get on our knees and talk to the Lord. Draw closer to Him and then we’ll get warmed up in our Christian walk.

Sour.

Have you ever tried something new in your coffee? With all those new flavorings and things out there, I’m sure some have. Ever tried something in your coffee that just left a sour taste in your mouth and that didn’t agree with you? Or maybe you’ve put some cream that had gone bad into your coffee. That’s a sure fire way to ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee.

It’s the same thing when we allow worldly and ungodly things into our lives as Christians. It doesn’t agree with us because we are in the world but not of it. As Christians, those things sour us and basically make us rotten. We become ineffective in our Christian lives when we allow the things of the world to come spilling in.

Conclusion:
I hope I don’t prove to be a bad cup of coffee. This past Sunday our pastor spoke about being in the presence of the Lord. He used the verse, “…Be ye holy; for I am holy”, 1 Peter 1:16 and was talking about how spending time with the Lord brings that sweet aroma. I think that’s what this is all about. In order to avoid being weak, bitter, stale, cold, and sour as Christians, we have to learn to be in the presence of God more.

Spending time with the Lord through prayer, bible reading and study is what’s going to make us into those strong cups of coffee. It will allow us to let the Holy Spirit stir us. I know I need to work on spending more time with Christ. I think we sometimes take our time with the Lord lightly. I know perhaps I do. We think of it as just a devotional time or bible reading time but when we realize that we are spending time in the “presence of the Lord” it really puts things into perspective. He’s a great and holy God and we have the opportunity to spend time with Him each day. He’ll blend us to perfection if we’ll just spend time with Him.

So, what type of coffee are you?

ABW and the Million Women Movement

by Norma Gunter

I finally got around to mailing my list of women who have influenced my life and faith.  I came up with 25 names and I’m sure I could come up with more if I tried.  The American Baptist Women’s Ministry of WV came up with the Million Women Movement in 2014.  The following is from the ABW SEASONS magazine:

Million Women Movement is a way for us to declare God’s might and goodness throughout the world.  It is a way to honor the women who have blessed us in many ways throughout the years AND gather funds that will springboard new ministries by and for women in the coming years.  It seeks to meet God where He is doing new things and in faith join Him in His work.  The movement is not about the past and not about the present, but about the future and God’s amazing, innovative movement in the world.

 YOU have an opportunity and privilege to be a part of life changing work that seeks only to glorify God and declare His praises in the United States and around the world.  The Mission Women Movement is not about who can raise the most money.  It is not about how many projects can be funded.  It is not about adding an endowment fund.   It is not about us … It is about God!  Each new initiative benefits from the money collected and will stand as a witness to our faith and trust in God to take what we give and multiply it in miraculous ways.”

I hope I haven’t waited too long to get my names in the book of women that will be presented at the 2015 Women’s Day celebration.  “The Million Women Movement book will be a visible reminder of the work, contribution, dedication and faith of women in the past and present.”

For each name I wrote down I was to send $1.00.  “The funds collected will go towards initiatives that will evangelize, disciple, encourage, educate and empower women in West Virginia, the United States and around the world.”  I pray that you have already sent your list of women who have influenced your life to ABW Ministries of West Virginia in Parkersburg, WV  26104.

Don’t  forget the 37th annual ABW Spiritual Growth Retreat September 25-27th at Parchment Valley Conference Center.

Yes! Backpack Ministry

by Joyce Mills

YES!   It is a great feeling to know that  children will be taking backpacks home on Friday.  The backpacks are filled with very nutritious food that has been purchased especially for them.

As you  read this, maybe you brought a jar of Peanut Butter or you might have provided some money for the shoppers to buy it.  At any rate,  children will benefit from someone at First Baptist caring.  Just so you know, these children are in grades PreK – 5th  grade at Beckley Elementary.

Hunger is one of the many faces of poverty.  It keeps children from learning, increases the reason for children being absent from  school, causes anxieties and low self – esteem, and even keeps the child from paying attention in class.

Thanks to you who have joined the fight to feed hungry kids!

We provide enough food for the weekend.  There is a special menu for each weekend that provides 6 meals and 2 snacks.  Those backpacks are heavy!  However, no child has been heard saying, “That backpack is too heavy, I can’t carry it.”  That backpack will get them through the weekend!  The food must be kid-friendly, shelf stable, easy to prepare, and nutritionally sound, so it is important for us to choose the foods wisely that will make up the backpacks each week.

Our shoppers and menu maker always try to put something special in the backpacks  for  days like Labor Day or any holiday.

We are in great need of a few workers.  Could you possibly help on Wednesday at 5:00 pm?   It doesn’t take long to pack the backpacks –but it has to be done each week.  There are 5 teams of packers, one for each week of the month, so only asking for one week out of the month.  Call me(304.252.0534).

We appreciate any amount of money you give.  We also appreciate you bringing in the named food for the month.  For the month of September we are asking you to bring cans of green beans or peas.   Just put  on the back counter in the kitchen.  Thank you for your help!

Eating Oatmeal and Apple Pie

by Rev Robert Wendel

Every school day morning during my high school career, I ate oatmeal for breakfast.  Many of those same nights, I enjoyed a piece of homemade apple pie.  Some bitter cold mornings as the shafts of light illuminate my bedroom, I imagine that I hear my mother saying “Come, finish your dad’s oatmeal.”

Beginning in the late 1930’s, as soon as he married mom, before and after his hitch in the Pacific Theater in WWII, dad used the GI Bill and worked the 7AM to 3PM shift as a machinist in the steel mill on Neville Island in Pittsburgh.  In 1958, Pittsburgh Screw & Bolt relocated its operation south to Mt. Pleasant, Pa.  Our family set its roots down an hour south of the “Burg”.  So, morning after morning, without fail, days started with hot oatmeal cereal.

For her part mom was a hospital trained nurse, working the 3PM to 11PM turn, doing what was later called ‘private duty’ home care for the wealthy home bound patrons first for $16 a night and later $21.00.  As for dad, the most he ever took home from the mill was $7,000 in 1966.  There they were, a hard working couple raising six children and a pet or two, all without extra help from grandparents or any “babysitters.”

It wasn’t always smooth sailing.  I easily remember the big steel strike of 1959-60, before Federal Food Stamps, when things got so bad that dad and guys from the plant hard to stand in line for federal surplus canned pork and gravy, flour, sugar, lard, cheese and more beans than we kids could count.  That pair of Christmas’ Santa’s sleigh made only a whistle-stop at our house.

Even during the rough times, mom continued her nursing duty while dad made dinner, many nights,  remembering to “surprise” mom with a fresh made pie once she arrived home.  So, there I’d be ready to hear her predictable, frequent question, “Bobby, do you want a piece of apple pie?”

This month we have celebrated another Labor Day holiday.  What are the lessons my parents taught me around the virtue of honest Christian wage earning? As we kids were often reminded,  “To get a good job, get a good education.”  No matter what your work, be faithful to the tasks before you.  Your most important job may well be raising the children the Lord brings into your life.

Back to School!

Can you believe our kids are back in school already?  Where did our summer go?  To celebrate the end of a great summer, Beckley First Baptist hosted a back-to-school pool party.  Great fellowship and food worked to get everyone ready for the new school year (at least we tried).

Did you attend the Faith Forward Music Festival?  It was incredible!  Praise and worship bands from across the area came together to give our community a truly wonderful gift.

The church picnic is coming up on September 13th at Grandview State Park.  Lots of games—including a watermelon eating contest—are planned!

September 6:  Labor Day (no evening church activities)

September 27:  Youth Movie Night and Tacos in a Bag in the 4th Floor Media Center

Stay connected with our youth—we have lots going on!