Operation Christmas Child 2019

Children around the world are being blessed continually through the power of a simple shoebox packed with love with some of the simple things of life like a bar of soap and a washcloth, a toothbrush and a brush or comb. These might seem like small things to you but a child in a remote village in a far off country does not have these simple pleasures. Through Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, these children learn first-hand that someone loves them enough to pack a shoebox just for them. That special toy that’s inside is always a blessing and means the world to these children. They also have the opportunity to learn about our Savior through a program called “The Greatest Journey”. Many, many children have given their lives to Jesus and this blessing resonates through their families and their villages.

This month we are asking for donations of school supplies such as pens, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, crayons, small writing tablets and coloring books. There are Samaritans Purse cartons both in the Welcome Center and in Fellowship Hall for your donations. As always, please keep this program in your prayers as teams of volunteers travel around the world bringing the love of God to children through a shoebox.

Spring at Helping Hands Resource Center

Hopefully winter is over and spring is in the air. We served hundreds and hundreds of people this past winter and through your generosity, their needs were met but the need is ongoing. We are asking for your non-perishable food and spring and summer clothing donations as well as soap and toilet tissue. These donations can be put in the black container outside the church office.

We also are in desperate need of plastic Walmart and Kroger bags. We use hundreds of these a month and your help would be greatly appreciated. These can also be put in the black container outside the church office or dropped off at Helping Hands.

We appreciate the volunteer and prayer support of the people of First Baptist and others and ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue to meet the needs of the people in the Raleigh County area.

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 seal 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 winds are what makes the difference. In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is compared to a “rushing mighty wind”.

So, how are you spinning?

Why do you roast coffee beans?

by Pastor Tim Mitchem

Wow the first quarter of the year
has flown by!  In the past few months, we
have been trying to stabilize our youth ministry.  We have had some students return that had not
been faithfully attending as well as several visitors.  There is still an excitement in the air as we
are settling in.  Continue to pray for
our group, and the impact they can have on their friends, family and community.

One thing we have continued and
slightly changed is our weekly youth bible study.  We have called it Roasted and have met at the
Chocolate Moose and Chick-Fil-A on Harper Road. 
You may ask why I titled this article the way I did, but it is to
explain the name Roasted Bible Study. 
Roasting coffee transforms the chemical and physical properties of green
coffee beans into roasted coffee products. 
The roasting process is what produces the characteristic flavor of
coffee by causing the green coffee beans to change in taste.  Roasting brings out the aroma and flavor that
is locked inside, taking the high temperatures to reach peak perfection.

We started Roasted Bible Study
with a look at the book of James.  In
chapter one verses two through four we read this (New Living Translation) Dear
brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an
opportunity for great joy.  For you know
that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So, let it grow, for when your endurance is
fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.  In Zachariah 13:9, God says, I will bring
that group through the fire and make them pure. 
I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold.  My hope with Sunday School, 4th
Floor worship and Roasted Bible Study is that our youth will be changed from
green to gold!  Taking the lives and
bringing from inside them the flavor and aroma that God has locked inside them
and see them transformed.

We have had great
fellowships.   In February we went to
Buffalo Wild Wings and enjoyed a meal and fun together.  This month we are going bowling at Pin Heads
in Oak Hill on March 15 or 16th
More details to be announced.  So,
if you have a child or grandchild that is Illuminate age, tell them about our
bible study, our Sunday activities or even have them sign up for bowling and
encourage them to be a part of what God is doing in our lives.

This past Tuesday night at
Roasted, Tammy who cleans the dining area, was listening to our bible study, as
were others around us.  One of our teens
noticed even people behind us taking our picture.  They seemed amazed that others were paying
attention to us.  Not us, but Christ
being Illuminated through us!

News from the Glow Kids

by Pastor Jim Adkins

We are off to a great start with the GLOW KIDS meeting on Wednesday nights! Debbie King is our leader! She is doing a great job. One of the highlights in February was our “visitation night.” The kids made some nice get well cards and then, during the week of Valentine’s Day (Wednesday, February 13th) we made several visits to shut-ins and those who cannot get out! The kids went to Pine Lodge, we visited Edna Nasby and Roy Bazzaree. The folks we visited were thrilled that we stopped by. We shared a scripture and prayed with them. The kids were great!

Our goals on Wednesday nights are: 

1. To love the kids and build a relationship with
them. 

2. To model Jesus Christ to them. 

3. To teach them about the love of Christ through the
scriptures and activities that we do! 

Melissa and I are serving alongside of Debbie. We are picking
kids up EVERY week. We usually leave the church building around 5:15 PM and
pick up kids in the community. Will you please pray for us as we minister to
these children and their parents? If you know of any kids who would like to
attend and they need a ride, contact me (Pastor Jim) call/text:
209-890-5326. 

Young People: Handle with Care

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“Children are an inheritance from
the Lord.  Train up a child in the way he
should go.  A Child is known    by
his doings” (Psalm 127:3; Proverbs 22:6, Proverbs 20:11 (Geneva Bible)

“Children and young people are the future of our Church.”   Senior members around churches have whispered that truism many times knowing: 1) Youth require their own separate ministry; 2) Kids live a kinetic, up-beat pace; 3) For them, traditions only matter at Christmas and Easter; 4) Newbies appreciate church time as time to be with classmates and friends; 5) Still, the continuation of any congregation is on the shoulders of today’s up-and-coming folks.  Handle with care.

Most worshipping fellowships divide themselves in three generational groups: Cradle roll (Infants and pre-public school youngsters); Public school young people and adults.  Out of his love and mercy, God wants all his children to be happy, however they define it, under the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 6:24-25).

Once and for all, we must put out of our minds that the purpose of life is to enjoy ourselves, to be happy, to have a good time, to make money and to live worry free in ease and comfort.  Real Christians are to attempt to live their lives in service to others laying aside their own desires.

In both Jewish and Christian theology, the much desired birth of a son or daughter is a heritage or reward thought of as a gift from God.   Folly is bound up in a child’s heart.  The righteous follow a clear path in life.  The Lord delivers them from trouble.  Wisdom is gained through discipline. (Proverbs 4:3-5).

R. Benjamin Garrison said “If God has made an impact on us, it will be evident in the children we raise, the ideas we share, the money we earn and spend, in the church we love, the nation we build and protect and in the souls that kneel before Him, each one of us, sometime, caught in the living net of the gospel.”

To See a Child’s Face Light Up

by Debbie Vanaman

Well hopefully most of the ice and snow by now will be behind us and spring is just around the corner (hopefully).  Despite the word Christmas in its title, the program distributes shoeboxes to children around the world all year long.   Last year over 10.6 million shoeboxes were collected worldwide.  WHAT A BLESSING.   To think it all starts with an empty shoebox.

To see a child’s face light up when he or she gets that special new toy that someone packed just for them is why we do what we do.  Another blessing is the school supplies that are packed.  Many children can’t go to school because their families can’t afford something as simple as a pencil or a box of crayons.   And on the personal hygiene side of the box, toothbrushes are a big hit. I’ve heard stories of as many as six children using the same toothbrush and for a child to have their very own just makes their day. 

And to top it all off, they get to share in the stories of Jesus and how his love reaches even to the uttermost parts of the world right into their towns.  The book is called “The Greatest Journey” and it walks the children step by step into who Jesus is and that he died on the cross for them.  Many, many decisions have been made and countless families have been impacted by this program.

Now it’s time for you to help.   We will be collecting SMALL stuffed toys for the month of March (and I do mean small.)  Collection boxes are in the Welcome Center and Fellowship Hall.  Your prayers are also appreciated as Samaritan’s Purse continues to spread the love of Jesus around the world through the power of a shoebox.    God bless you all. 

Cold Weather is Hard

Helping
Hands continues to provide food and clothing to the less fortunate in the
Raleigh County area.  The cold weather is
particularly hard on these families so coats and blankets are always in need as
well as men’s clothing.

Large food donations from Krogers, Food Lion and Walmart, Little Cesar’s in Beaver have been a tremendous help in meeting the needs of our families.   Your donations of food and clothing as well as bar soap and toilet paper also go a long way in helping these families.   Both are greatly appreciated.   Donations can either be dropped off at Helping Hands when they are open or be left in the large black trash can outside the church office.

Also, if you can find a spare three hours in a morning, we can always use your help.  We are open Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 to noon and you will be blessed if you lend a hand.  Please keep us in your   prayers as we continue to meet the needs of the people of Raleigh County. 

Hurry Up Spring!

by Helen Greene

Hurry up Spring! Most of us are thinking this phrase. I am sure our Backpack Kids are as anxious as we are for warmer weather.   In about three months school will be out. We have had a successful year and have provided food for 22 children every week. Our volunteers have been doing a great job.

Please continue to pray for our Backpack Kids to have full tummies and happy lives.  For the month of March please bring canned soup for our backpacks. Any flavor will be fine.  May God bless each one of you who has helped this ministry in any way. 

Higher Lord!

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Back on the farm in Summers County there was a huge pasture field beside the old farm house. It gradually got steeper the further out you went and after a time you’d come to a huge knoll near the backside of the field. From there it was a long hill that went downward for a hundred yards or so. You get the picture? The great thing about this knoll was that it was a perfect place to fly a kite. March is kite flying weather because of the wind. March is also unpredictable. It can be sunny, raining, snowing and lots of wind all in the same day if not in a same hour.

Wind is a powerful thing and a must for kite flying. Without a good strong blowing wind, you’re just wasting your time. Prayer is a lot like an amazing wind. To know that we as Christians can tap into the almighty power of God just because we are His children is such a wonderful thing. Think about God’s power for a few moments.

We see it in creation, in the plagues of Egypt, in Daniel in the lion’s den, in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walking in the fiery furnace, in the miraculous story of Joseph’s safety, and in Noah and the flood. We pray to the same God and that should be exciting to us as Christians.

The power of prayer can lift us to new heights and we begin to fly like kites. We can sail along because we know we can bring our petitions and situations to an Almighty God who loves and cares for us, yet has the power to change things.

We can fly because God has the power to change our lives.
Think about Paul. Before he met Christ his name was Saul, and he went around persecuting Christians, but God changed him. Paul’s whole life was changed. His thoughts, attitudes, his whole mission in life changed for God’s glory. It’s the same God that has power to change us as well.

We can fly because God has the power to change those around us.
Is there someone you know whom you are concerned about in the area of salvation? Keep praying. Is there someone around you such as a family member or maybe even co-worker who seems to constantly bug you and get you down? Make them a matter of prayer. God can change the people around us.

We can fly because God has the power to change our circumstances.
Ever felt like your kite of life has hit a tree? I’ve been through my share of circumstances and I know first-hand that circumstances can knock the wind right out of your sails. With a few bad circumstances your kite can come tumbling down. You might not be able to do anything about those circumstances on your own but God can do something about them.

Look at how the circumstances changed in Joseph’s life. Remember how Joseph was put into a pit by his brothers and sold into slavery? He even ended up in prison, but God had a way of changing the circumstances for Joseph till he became the ruler over all that Pharaoh had.

That’s our God that did that. The same one we pray to is able to change the circumstances we face.

We can fly because God has the power to heal.
We have several examples in the bible of how Jesus healed the sick and lame. We have that same power available to us through prayer. Not only can Christ heal physically but He has the power to heal our hurts and feelings as well.

Maybe you feel like your kite has a big hole in it where someone wronged you or you’re going through a situation that is leaving you just torn apart and a little ragged inside. Your life may seem to be heading down in a spiral motion. Make it a matter of prayer and let that wonderful healing power of Christ lift you back up into the air again.

We can fly because God has the power to sustain.
Maybe you feel like your kite of life got stuck in the telephone wires somewhere along the way and you’re absorbing just a little bit too much shock. God has the power to lift you above that and sustain you. I think of Joseph again. He endured a lot but God brought him through it.

Look how David relied on God’s strength when Saul was seeking to kill him. David prayed and cried out continuously to God and God brought him through all of that. We still have the same God to sustain us as we fly through life. He gives us the strength and courage to keep flying along.

Look at Paul and his ailment that seemed to just be a continual bother to him. What did God show him?

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Conclusion: It really encourages me to think about these things that God has the power to do in our lives, in our circumstances, and in the lives of others around us.

When we think all we can do is float down, down, down, we need to tap into that awesome power of God by way of prayer. With prayer we can be lifted to new heights. BUT! The only way to reach these heights is to loosen the strings that binds us and let God take us where His wind leads us.

So, how’s your prayer life flying?