Christmas Shopping

by Helen Greene

With Thanksgiving passed and Christmas coming up we are ready to start plans for Christmas shopping for our Backpack Kids.  We receive a wish list for each child and try to purchase some of the items they request.  Almost every child asks for some clothing, shirts, pants, socks, underwear, etc.   With the $50.00 limit everyone shops for the best bargains.  If you would like to be a shopper for the Backpack Kids just contact me.  The $50.00 will be provided for you as well as the child’s name and wish list.

Thanks to each of you that has donated food or money for our Backpack Ministry.  May God bless you!

For the month of December please bring cans of pinto beans for our pantry. Donations can be left on the back counter in the kitchen.

A great way to show you care

The Adopt-A-Grandparent Program for the holiday has become so successful in the past because of your generosity.  A gift basket of lotions will be provided to each resident of Harper Mills in Beckley.  The cost is $20 and that includes packaging and delivery.  See Ann Coleman for further details.

The Bustle vs The Baby

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”  Luke 2:16 (NIV)

“Hurry up! We’re going to be late to the choir concert!”

“Come on kids. Help dad unload these groceries right now. I’ve got to get these cookies baked before bedtime.”

“Is it 6 a.m. already? I gotta get to that door buster sale as soon as it opens so I don’t miss out on the deals!”

With the holiday season upon us, the music at the mall announces that folks are dreaming of a white Christmas. That may be true. But in reality, many folks are dreaming of something else white: a little more white space on our December calendars!

Pageants. Parties. Shopping trips. Baking days. Wrapping nights. At every turn there are people to see, things to do, stuff to buy. The hustle and bustle of this supposed-to-be-happy season can knock the holly-jolly right out of our holidays and replace it with hurried-up headaches instead.

As a result, our calendars become overloaded, crowding out the spiritual significance of the season.

I wonder if the participants in the original Christmas story ever dreamed that the celebration of Christ’s birth would become so hassled and hurried. The shepherds? The angels? The wise men? Mary and Joseph too?

Was hurriedness present the night Jesus was born? We might think that it was not. But actually, there was hurry present that night. However, it wasn’t to the mall or grocery store that people were rushing.

The shepherds were working in the fields when suddenly an ensemble of angels told them the Christ Child had been born. Luke 2:16 says they hurried off to find Him lying in a manger.

If I had been one of those shepherds, I would have been quiet and amazed once I got there. Being around a newborn baby makes me speak in a hushed tone and feel such awe as I see new life. In the presence of Jesus, I wonder if those men too were settled and silent.

Maybe we could do the same today. In the midst of our holiday hustle and tasks, we could stop; leave our work. We could slow down long enough to hurry in another direction. We could put our activities on hold so we might quietly meet with our Lord. We could be settled and silent in the presence of Jesus.

As a result, we just might discover an unhurried holiday: a season that will strengthen us spiritually instead of sapping our energy and joy.

How about it? Will we pause and purpose to hurry into His presence instead of rushing from task to task? Dare we linger long enough to be refreshed by the company of the One whom the holiday is really about? The tasks will wait while we do.

Here’s to more “white space” this Christmas; space that creates more room in our days for meeting with Jesus!

Dear Lord, remind me daily that it’s You I should rush to during the holiday hustle. Not things. Not activities. I want to seek and find only You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Pondering Verses
Luke 2:15, “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'” (NIV)

Proverbs 8:17, “I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me.” (HCSB)

Doing Our Best

by Pastor Ryan Haddox

Tere’s a story that goes like this:

Many years ago in a textile factory there was a sign on the wall which read: “If your threads get tangled, send for the foreman.” One woman who was fairly new was a diligent worker, but her threads got tangled one day. She tried to disentangle them, but her efforts only made matters worse. Finally, she gave up and called the foreman. He came and looked for a few moments and then asked: “You have been trying to untangle them yourself, haven’t you?” “Yes,” she replied. “Why didn’t you send for me, according to the instruction?” She shrugged her shoulders and said, “I did my best.” With much tact, yet, with great insight, he quietly said, “Remember that doing your best is sending for me.”

How often in life have we tried to straighten out our own messes, only to make things worse, and certainly not to solve things? We think that a little more human effort, a bit more human wisdom, and a touch of human ingenuity are the solution. But mankind in general and individuals in particular tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. Bad habits remain in place. Errors are repeated. We may even excuse our conduct by saying: “I did my best.” Then God gently, yet firmly, reminds us: “Doing your best is calling for me.”

Paul did the best that he could do, but it was not good enough. He mused: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do….Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:15-24). But Paul had learned that to call on the name of Jesus was the best he could do and the solution to his problem (Rom. 10:9-13)

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Ryan

Leitmotif (Thanksgiving)

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“Enter (God’s) gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.  Abraham grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God.” (Psalm 100:4-5; Romans 4:20 NRSV)

Recently I watched a bit of the film Dr. Zhivago and I heard enough of the soundtrack of Laura’s theme which serves as a reminder of what happened in the story before.  Germans call this dramatic idea-leitmotif.

Of course, the Thanksgiving holiday has its traditions.  But memory plays a big part in what happens the third Thursday in November.

Memory is a two-edged sword.  It helps us recall heart-warming people and events.  But, family can also bring up mistakes we’d rather forget.  That’s why “the meal” can be so stressful.  Suddenly God’s grace comes into play.

Make a list of whatever you’re not thankful for and measure it against the foundations of our Christian faith.  All of these were written into the Apostle’s Creed which begins “I believe in …”  As Abraham did, in his fallen word, we, imperfect humans, must learn to walk by faith.

“Can we not trust God to give us everything we need?”  (Romans 8:32, Phillips).

French Catholic priest, Henri Nouwen, wrote, “We are God’s beloved children.  We cannot allow the curses of this world to darken our hearts.  We must choose to receive God’s blessings and pass them on to others.”

Operation Christmas Child 2018

by Debbie Vanaman

The month of November is the culmination of an entire year of shopping for your shoebox items.   The youth will be packing the shoeboxes with what you’ve donated all year and getting them ready to go on the first leg of their trip to Princeton and then onto Charlotte, North Carolina.  From there they will be distributed to children around the world who, for some, will hear the name of Jesus for the first time.   They will hear the stories of Jesus and hopefully give their heart to him and then spread the word to their families and villages.  That’s’ why we do what we do – to spread the name of Jesus around the world.

What I will need from you this month is an hour or two of your time.  The week of November 12th is collection week so I will need volunteers to work in the Welcome Center receiving shoeboxes from 10:00 to 2:00 pm.  This is where the ladies (or gentlemen) can help out.   Then on November 17th we will hopefully load up and take all that we’ve collected down to Princeton and that’s where I need strong arms to help.  This is hard work so I need some strong men to meet me in the Welcome Center that morning.  Times to be announced soon.

Please pray for collection week around the country as well as distribution of shoeboxes around the world.  Your help and prayers are greatly appreciated.

ABW November Update

by Janice Wood, ABWM President

On September 30, 2018, the ABW Ministries Executive Board, along with several ladies representing the Joy Circle and the Lizzie Lewis Circle, met at the First Baptist Church. The meeting was to consider disbanding the Joy Circle with the ladies joining the Lizzie Lewis Circle.  The vote was unanimous.  Every lady at First Baptist Church is invited to come join the Lizzie Lewis Circle.  As we join together into one circle, we believe we can be encouraged by one another to further God’s kingdom.

The ABW Mission Statement:

In commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to the mission of the church, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit, American Baptist Women’s Ministries provides opportunities for each women to:

  • Become and develop as God’s person,
  • Build God’s faith community; and
  • Serve God’s world.

Adopt-A-Grandparent 2018

The Adopt-A-Grandparent Program has become so successful because of your generosity.  This program provides a Christmas/holiday gift set to elderly people in the Harper Mills Nursing Home   (formerly Heartland Nursing Home).  This gift set would include two great lotions, one for the hand and one for the feet and would be  perfect for both men and women.    There are currently 155 people in Harper Mills and the cost of each gift set is $20 (which includes tax, gift wrap and delivery).  Please make checks payable to First Baptist Church with a note on the memo line “Adopt A Grandparent”.  There will be a tag on the gift saying that it came from you.

The deadline will be announced sometime in November.  If you are interested in helping with this project, contact Ann Coleman at 304-253-1425.  Let’s not forget those in the nursing homes who may not have someone to show them God’s love.

Backpack Ministry – Preparing for Snow Days

by Helen Greene

With another month of backpacking passed we prepare for November and colder weather.  We always try to make sure our Backpack Kids get their food when “Snow Days” threaten.  Also we pack more food for long holiday weekends.  Our Backpack team members are dedicated to this ministry and are always willing to adjust their schedules to make sure our children get their backpacks full of food every week.

Thanks to each one of you who has supported this ministry by bringing food, donating money and praying for our children.  God bless you!

For the month of November please bring canned vegetables for the backpacks.  You may leave them on the back counter in the kitchen.

Helping Hands Ministry Continues

As the temperature starts to go down to freezing and below, we here at Helping Hands turn our attention to the coming of winter and the need for winter clothing, blankets and coats for men, women and children.    Many of our families have little to no heat in the winter so blankets go almost as quickly as they are donated.     So what we need are coats and blankets in good condition.   These can be either delivered to Helping Hands on Tues. – Fri.  from 9:00 to noon or left by the black container outside the church office.

The need for non-perishable food items grows each month as the number of clients and families is growing.  We average over 700 families a month and that’s just the average.  Some days we help anywhere from 60 to as high as 90 families with food, clothing needs and some personal items if we have them.   So on your next trip to the grocery store, please pick up some extra canned items or non-perishable food items to lend us a hand.

Lastly, please keep Helping Hands in your prayers as we continue to meet the needs of the citizens of Raleigh County.   We thank you for your continued support and prayers.