Operation Christmas Child 2015 (aka It’s THAT Time Again!)

The pencils and crayons are bought.  The kids are back in school.  So now what are you going to do with all that “spare” time?   One suggestion might be to start shopping for your Operation Christmas Child boxes.  School supplies are on sale all over and you can get some really great bargains.

Even though our collection week last year was one of the best we’ve ever had, there’s always room for more boxes.   Each child who receives a shoebox also receives some gospel literature in his/her own language as well as a book called “The Greatest Journey” which tells them about Jesus and explains the road to salvation.  This not only impacts the child, but his family as well.

For the month of August/September we will be collecting school supplies as well as soap and washcloths.  October and November we will be asking for other personal items and small toys.  There are collection boxes in the sanctuary as well as Fellowship Hall for your donations.  Our youth will be packing your donations into shoeboxes right before collection week in November and they had a really good time last year doing this.    If you don’t have the time to go shopping, a donation is always welcome.

As we look at the state of children around the world and the poverty that some of them are living in as well as in the war-torn areas of the Middle East, Samaritan’s Purse takes these shoeboxes to children in these areas and shows them that someone clear around the world cares enough for them to pack a shoebox full of “presents”  just for them.

So, let’s get going and see how many lives we can change.   See Debbie Vanaman if you need any further info.  My all-time favorite shoebox saying is ….

WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD – ONE SHOEBOX AT A TIME !!!

From Autumn To Amen

by Doc Adkins

My childhood autumns in Hinton hold precious memories—the fall revival at church, unpacking warmer clothing, fires in the old cook stove, a well-stocked pantry after a good harvest of the garden, and best of all—FOOTBALL! I loved it. The autumn of life is a strange mixture of nostalgia, blessings, and potential. Our lives are much like the Fall. They yield the harvest of seeds we’ve sown throughout life and braces us for colder days to come.

When life’s autumn arrives, we look back and better understand the way God led us; but we still have work to do—the best and fullest.  “Autumn” only occurs once in the Bible. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. How can we take advantage of the “autumn of life”?

The Unchanging Nature of God

The seasons come and go, so focus on the God who remains unchanged and unchanging. “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” Psalm 90:1-2.

There’s a lot of unwelcome change in our world.  And personal changes—children leaving home, the passing of dear friends, and the slow, steady decline in our vitality and health. Sometimes we feel outdated at work.

But amid all the changes, one thing, one person, never changes—our eternal God.

J. I. Packer points out that God does not change. His life is always the same. His character is always dependable. His truth, ways, and purposes do not change. His Son does not change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever Hebrews 13:8 His children will enjoy His fellowship a million years from now. The world may fade, the stars may fall, the seasons may change, and winter may come. But the God who has been our help in ages past is our hope for years to come. In Him we have permanence, stability, joy unshakable, and life unending.

The Divine Foresight of God

We’ve all suffered setbacks along the way. But God promised, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. . You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God” Joel 2:25-26. His divine forethought knew it all in advance, and He can be trusted with what has happened to us in years past.

Our omniscient Savior knows the end from the beginning, and He will bless whatever is yielded to Him. Focus on His foreknowledge, providence, and sovereignty.

The Wonderful Blessings of God

The autumn of life is a great time to focus on God’s wonderful blessings—family, friends, strength, shelter, provision, guidance, care, fruitful ministry, opportunities to serve, more time to pray and study His Word, and eternal life still to come.  During life’s autumn, we have a richer perspective and can count more blessings than ever before.

A Renewed Commitment to God

Autumn is a good time to focus on your commitment to God. Some of the saddest words in the Bible are in Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” If you’ve never made a commitment to Jesus Christ, do it now, while there is still time.

If you are a follower of Christ, remember to remain close to Him during the shifting seasons of life.

During autumn, we all know that winter lies ahead, but if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Summer Youth Activities

The FBC Youth Department is celebrating the start of summer with loads of fun activities!

We just wrapped-up another fantastic VBS on June 27th!  Our older kids helped the adults while the younger members of our department enjoyed all of the activities associated with our Bible Boot Camp.  Our thanks to all who participated!

We held Promotion Sunday on June 28th during morning services and celebrated with everyone that evening with miniature golf.

Upcoming events:

July 10th is the Relay for Life at the soccer fields from 5 pm to 12 midnight.  See Sarah Fields for more information.

Camp Cowen will be held from July 26th through July 31st.  Pastor Doc will be taking a van and attending with the kids.  Please contact a youth leader for more information.  Everyone needs to register soon!

On August 1st we will be attending a WV Miners baseball game at Epling Stadium. Please join us for a fun evening.

August 6th will be our annual Back-to-School Pool Party at New River Park from 6 pm to 8 pm.  What a wonderful way to finish summer!

Join us!

Summer Backpack Ministry

by Joyce Mills

The Backpack Program at First Baptist is definitely child focused.  We value each child who receives a backpack full of food each week.  All children are precious in God’s sight. His heart is endeared towards them and His ear inclines to their every need.  Time and again, the Bible says that God is a defender and protector of the poor, the oppressed, abused, impoverished and the fatherless.  And so we place value on children because God does.

Our Backpack Ministry is focused on the individual child.  Because of your generous  giving we were not only able to fill that last backpack for the summer with some extra food but also with two brand new books for each child.  It may be the only books that some of the students have.  Also, the Pastor took time to write a special note and an invitation to VBS was put in each backpack.   When you give any amount of money or bring cans of food you become an advocate for children in poverty.  It is a wonderful thing to know that we are helping children to develop better minds, bodies and hopefully spirits because we help feed their physical hunger.

Jesus said,”Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the

Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” –Matthew 19:14, NIV

For the months of July and August, you are asked to continue your monetary gifts, as well as, Peanut Butter (16 oz. plastic jars) and any good strong tote bags that you might have.  The tote bags will help when a child forgets his/her backpack for a week and something durable is needed for the food.  Just put items on the back counter in the kitchen.  Please know that we appreciate your help!

Helping People over the Rough Spots

by Rev Robert Wendel

Jesus had a lot to say about money.  Grace and gold are inseparably bound together.  The need for earthly security and our spiritual life will be forever linked as one.  Plain and simple, sufficient financial resources can help straighten out almost any area of somebody’s life.

The primary survival motive of the unchristian is “get and keep.”  The driving force of the dedicated Christian should be “give.”  Remember, Jesus reminded his listeners, “Give and it will be given” (Luke 6:38).  The clear difference between these two opposing life philosophies is ‘believers trust that God will keep his promises.  Congregations that learn to count on the Lord’s providence have a genuine sense of charity toward their neighbors.  Such compassion draws people to Christ and his church.

On school year Sundays, as I walk through the door, on the parking lot side of the building it’s impossible not to notice 14 colorful backpacks, lined up and being filled, in our welcome center, for delivery to a local elementary school, as an undeniable expression of our church’s faithful mission outreach, a tangible witness that we really do care.  This effort and the well-known ministry at Helping Hands, bridge the gap between our good fortune and those around us, literally, living from paycheck to paycheck.

Oh, I know that we should never gloat thinking “We have done enough!”  And there are times when I get concerned that some recipients of available charity begin to see themselves as ‘entitled’, letting greed rule the day.  The August Beckley Day of Hope can, easily, fall prey to such notions.  But, too much kindness is never enough.  One house fire, flood, automobile wreck, loss of a job, or family medical crisis, can find you or me in the next bread line.

A relatively new idea, these days, has come to be known as, “Paying it forward,” helping with something today because tomorrow you and yours may need a boost over the rough spot in the road.  “May we give, Lord, as  you, have extravagantly given to us!”

Operation Christmas Child 2015

I know you’re thinking it’s way too early to start thinking about this but truly it’s not.  In August, every store in the area will be having school supplies on sale and it’s a great time to purchase those items and start filing your shoeboxes.

This project has grown and grown over the years and truly has been a blessing to the millions of children around the world who receive a shoebox in countries where Christianity has never been shared.  It costs around $20 to fill a shoebox plus the $7 shipping but what an impact this has.  The items along with the literature placed in the box by Samaritan’s Purse called “The Greatest Journey” may be the only “gift” a child has ever received and to have that gift share the name of Jesus is truly an awesome way to spread the name of Jesus around the word.

So, let’s get started early and see how many shoeboxes you can fill this year.  While it’s not all about numbers, it’s about changing lives and reaching out to children and their families showing them the love of God and it’s all done one shoebox at a time.  We can change the world through the power of Operation Christmas Child but it all starts with you.

ABW Summer Update

by Norma Gunter

I want to thank everyone for their prayers, phone calls, visits, food and concern after my fall in N.C. I’m well on my way to recovery thanks to my nephew’s wife, Carla, a RN who works in Dayton, Ohio, who dropped everything and stayed in Wilmington with me for 10 days risking losing her job. I have an appointment June 23 for a physical therapy consult and will find out more about what I need to do. I’ve missed everyone and all the things going on at FBC.

The following is from the web site of Keith Meyers our missionary in Mexico:
This past weekend in the Sierra Norte, while we were waiting on the church service to begin at Zongozotla, Boyden and I were standing on top of a flat concrete roof that over looked the community. Words cannot describe the beauty of the mountains and this small community. With the physical eye, it looks like a community that has nothing; however, the people are rich in contentment. I have so much to learn about what true contentment is in my life and they have so much to teach me.

Boyden turned 17 last week. As a parent, I appreciate those times when I am able to have a mature conversation with my teenage son. We talked about the internal change that has happened inside of us over the past couple of years. There has been a priority shift in our lives. It is more than a shift.  I have reflected much on our conversation this past  weekend. I am no longer the same person that I was two years ago. I don’t think that I will ever know that man again. A few years back, I read a book by Max Lucado called, “It’s Not About Me.” In the first chapter he mentions that before 1543 and Nicolaus Copernicus observations, we believed that the Earth was the center of the universe; not the sun. I think that is the transformation that is gradually occurring inside of me. The lives of others are of a great value in the Kingdom of God; should not the lives of others be the center of my universe as well? Each time we visit with our churches and our communities, we see the poorest of poor. Just a year ago the scarcity was the focus of my eyes. Mud floors, outside toilets; sometimes just holes in the ground, body odor, no running water and many other signs of poverty are just a few of the visual indications that my eyes were drawn to. I praise God that He is allowing me to see past the poverty and just be with the people.

Trying to be more like Jesus is hard. Let’s face it, He is perfect; however, is this not the challenge of the Christian faith? Striving to be like Jesus and allowing Him to change you from the inside to the outside. Boyden and I talked about a few other things that morning on the rooftop in Zongozotla, but I think that he and I both agree that we are content with these changes and challenges inside of us. As well, we both realized that we want to remain pliable to the call of God in our lives.

Where did the Summer go?

by Doc Adkins

“God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:3

The old Porgy and Bess tune that declares, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy” no doubt was written when life was so much different than what it is now. If you’re like most people, you are hoping that summer will be a time to kick back and relax a little, but maybe you’re afraid that it will end up like most other summers with lots to do and flying past far too quickly.

I have to confess to all of you, I am not a “rest kind of person” and my family is constantly bailing me out of exhaustion and full blown emptiness because I think of a kazillion things to do around the house or church or our camp. I don’t stop until the job is finished either even if the neighbors are in bed and it’s pitch black dark outside.

But while we may complain,  the fast pace of summer with all of its chores, the packing and unpacking for vacations, and repeated trips to Little League games, it would be good to stop and think about “easy living.” So, let’s get some perspective from God’s Word about the importance of rest.

It can’t go unnoticed that God Himself rested after six days of assembling the universe. Knowing that time to kick back was important for the people He created, God instituted the Sabbath so that we would get the point that no one can work without a break along the way.

Tanks that run on “weary” all the time soon lack the stamina to do well spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and relationally. Even Jesus, with more sermons to preach, more people to heal, and more tasks to accomplish for His Father, often went apart to rest a while.

I am not sure why it is that some of us feel guilty or unfulfilled if we are not busy all the time. It’s important to realize that not everything needs to be done—at least not done right now. It may be more important to sit back with a tall glass of iced tea and contemplate the beauty of nature and the greatness of our God who is as faithful to us as the dependability of the seasons. As the hymn says, in “summer and winter and springtime and harvest . . . join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”

So carve out a little easy livin’ time this week and refresh your heart and spirit with blessedness instead of business. And don’t worry; the chores will still be there. They aren’t going anywhere!

VBS Bible Boot Camp

We are excited to announce that this summer we will be holding a “Super Saturday” VBS program. It is called “Bible Boot Camp for Jesus” and will focus on Ephesians 6:10-18 (training to be in the Lord’s Army). This program will be held on June 27th from 10am-3pm at the church and activities will consist of: story time, crafts, singing, outdoor fun, and a cookout lunch. Kids from the age of 3 years old to 8th grade are invited to participate in this day of fun! Wearing camo is encouraged, but not required. We hope that church members will bring their children and grandchildren and that word will be spread throughout the community about this exciting event!

Backpack Ministry June Update

by Joyce Mills

The Backpack Ministry has had an awesome school year.  We’re  going to continue until  June 19 this school year.  We have discreetly provided nutritious, child friendly, easy to prepare food to on average  14 chronically hungry children.   The food has been distributed in ordinary backpacks students take home over the weekends and at out of school times.

For students in need, the program:

  • Provides nutrition
  • Eases anxieties
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Improves attention span
  • Raises academic performance
  • Increases self esteem

It also teaches good eating habits, provides good community role models, demonstrates community pride and serves as an effective outreach program for the church.  Those who have helped to keep this program moving and effective this school year are;

Helen Greene, Mary Gregory, Maria Veid, Charlotte Hutchens, Pam Bishop, Mike and Patty Atterson, Jeff Oakland, Ken Dilley, Connie Neal, Janice Wood, Nancy Moran, Todd Wright, Brooke Wright, John and Debbie Quinn, Sarah Adkins, David and Linda Allport, Valeria Sellards, Caroline Sellards, Linda Ramsey, Mark Holliday, Caroline Holiday, Julianne Holiday, Mary Stover, Crystal Meadows, Cindy Start, Clark and Joyce Mills, and Rev. Doc Adkins.

Of course, our thanks to Beckley Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Meghan Houck, Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Kristie Norris and the classroom teachers  who made certain that everything was taken care of at school.  Our workers always received a warm welcome and help when taking the backpacks to the school.

Many hands,    many hearts,       many souls,      much compassion!    These are the things that made the Backpack Program work so well.  Add to these things the gifts of food and money given by many friends  and church members  and that has made for a very successful school year.

Thanks to each of you for  what you have done for this Ministry! It has been said that generosity  is a sign of a great soul.  Each of you must surely be one because you gave so generously of your time and money.  Thank you so much and remember we will start another year in August.

The need this month is cans of pasta with meat.  Please put on the back counter in the kitchen.