A Wonderful Christmas Season

Our First Baptist kids have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Season!

On December 6th we participated in Beckley’s annual Christmas parade.  Our thanks to those who participated by decorating, riding along and providing snacks afterwards.  A very special thanks to Mary Stover for her vision and expert decorating skills.  It was a soggy success!

We hosted our first-ever gingerbread house decorating contest on December 7th.  Congratulations to our winners, Caitlyn Daniels and Ryan Vaught.  You can see their masterpiece on our website at beckleyfirstbaptist.org.

On December 21st, a group of us went caroling at Hidden Valley Nursing Home in Oak Hill.  What a blessing!  We ended the evening with great fellowship and pizza.

What’s up next?  Only one of our world-famous lock-ins!  From 6 PM to midnight on January 2nd, you are invited to bring some friends and celebrate with us.  We plan to play in the gym at Crescent Elementary, eat, participate in a scavenger hunt, eat, play games, eat, share devotions, eat, and host a talent show.  Please join us!!!

Happy New Year from the Backpack Ministry

by Joyce Mills

It is a New Year and time to set some new goals in our own lives as well as the things that we work with or have a desire to make better.  There are some things that I would call to your attention about the Backpack Ministry.

Thing 1.  A big Thank You to the wonderful shoppers who helped make  Christmas special for 16 children at Beckley Elementary. You did a fantastic job!  Home Missions done right in our back door.  What could be better?     Thank You!

Thing 2.  Thank you for the 122 cans of Vienna Sausage that you purchased and placed on the back counter in the Church kitchen.

Thing 3.  These individuals serve the Backpack Ministry week after week.  Thank them when YOU see them.  They are faithful, loyal and feel blessed each week as they do their assigned jobs to keep this Ministry running smoothly. Thank you 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 Quinn,   Debbie Quinn, Sarah Adkins, Linda Allport, Valerie Sellards, Caroline Sellards, Linda Ramsey, Mark Holiday, Suzanne Brown, Clark Mills,  Tim Greene, Johnny Greene, and  Rev. Doc Adkins. YOU are APPRECIATED!

Thing 4.  We are in need of a few more people to help pack backpacks. Each week 22 students receive food through the Backpack Ministry. There are 5 teams with some having only 3 people packing. If you have some time on Wednesday at 5:00pm, you could help one week out of the month.  We also need more help to take the backpacks to the school anytime Thursday or Friday morning. Taking the backpacks to school is done on a monthly rotation. Call me (Joyce) at 304.252.0534, if you can help.

Thing 5.  For the month of January, please bring individual serving packs of APPLESAUCE and put it in the Church kitchen on the back counter. Thanks!

 

New Year Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Blessed be your name.

You are the Father of time, the Creator of seasons.

Giving us the days, months, and years for our good use.

Thank you, Lord, for keeping every moment in your safe-keeping.

A fresh New Year renews the Christian’s heart

The old has passed, it’s an opportunity to restart

We can leave the old things from the past years forgiven and forgotten, tucked away in yesteryear

Let happiness and excitement fill our spirits.

The new day, the New Year we celebrate

Sharing this eve with family and friends

Fills us each with joy and hope.

Future things in this new year need not worry us

Jesus will be the same today & tomorrow as he always was

Nor is there need to scurry and fuss

Our time is His, we’re servants – not his master.

The coming days will occur one by one

Lord, help us to leave no good act undone

You’ve laid out our plans, guided our paths

Shown us your word, empowered us with Spirit

Lord, you promised your Word will never fail

And if we hear and obey we will ultimately prevail

So often we find trouble and beg you to appear

You quietly nudge us to trust and persevere

Jesus, shine your light on this new beginning

Show us your ways, keep us from sinning

Lord, reveal where we can improve

Inspire us to do the things which you approve

Helping the helpless and clothing the needy

Aiding the orphans and feeding the hungry

Loving our neighbors while walking with You

Helps us fulfill your precious Golden Rule.

We loved you last year, and we’ll love you this year

Thank you for loving us first, and always, dear Lord God.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

A New Year

by Doc Adkins

Devotion and prayer are the perfect places to begin any new day, and especially the first new day of a new year.

New Years Devotional

2nd Corinthians 5:17 is the inspirational Bible verse for this New Years prayer: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

This verse isn’t only talking to new believers in Christ, but also referring to long-time Christians who have been struggling with pain, inner turmoil, and sin.

Many people across the world have experienced tough days this past year. God, because of

His mercy, gives us this wonderful opportunity to focus on the future, and to put the past behind us.

Paul stresses that Christians are to “forget the past” (Philippians 3:13-14). Listen, “Dear Brothers and Sisters, I have not achieved perfection, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

My friends, if you’ve sinned and repented, accept God’s forgiveness and move on. If you’ve had hard days, such as personal losses, i.e., losing a job, bank accounts, health, or other great losses… move on, and march ahead. Accept your lot, your circumstances, and your current place in life.

Be strong, be courageous. God gives you opportunity to call upon his strength and drop all your worries at his feet.

Know that the greatest possible possession you have is found in your living, loving relationship with Jesus Christ. He is your ultimate goal, your ultimate destination, your eternal companion.

Get to know him better and better day after day. Constantly read his love letter to you – the Bible.

Pick it up and read. Study it. Apply it. Let it mold your mind, heart, and soul.

Live it every moment. Start today – this New Years Day prayer can be your launching pad to a new life, or even a new start, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Turn from the past years, and your past ways, onto his straight and narrow way. Jesus is there by you, waiting for you to let go of the world that is perishing, and waiting for you to give your entire heart to him.

New Years Day is an excellent time to begin a new life!

May God bless your heart as you make this prayer your own to share with the Lord.

Reigniting Hope at Christmas

by Rev Robert A Wendel

Christmas is coming again!  It’s time for greetings, gifts and glad times.  Christmas is one of those times when our hope is reignited because our heavenly Father sent his Son to earth to offer believers the ‘certain hope’ of a future life in eternity.

Hope, here and now, energizes us for the many conflicts and setbacks which we encounter along earth’s many pathways around us and within us.  Christmas hope is not simply wishful thinking.  The hope we acknowledge during Advent is found only in Christ, grounded in the reality that Jesus came in weakness and meekness and will come again in glory to redeem the world.

So, during this happy season, you and I should have confidence in God’s future.  This Christmas, all of us look forward to remembering the past through the power of memory and the rekindling of the spiritual lights that lead us back to the Bethlehem story of a babe in a manger.

Many of the young Christian fellowships which received letters from Paul lived in fear and collective anxiety.  Yet, they speculated about the day when the Lord would return again and set things right.

Today, like them, we are able to bear the present darkness because, we believe in the coming dawn, a dawn in which doubt and shadows give way to abiding contentment because ‘God is with us’, day and night, giving us more love than our hearts can hold.

We do not live by experience alone but by experience tempered with great expectation.  This is the purpose of Christian hope, to help us contend with this ‘humbug world.’  We have some idea of where we are because we have some idea of where we’re going.  Glory to God ‘for us unspeakable gift’, Jesus!

This month’s ABC Men’s breakfast, as always, will feature great food and fellowship on Saturday, December 13th at 8:00 a.m.   Rev. Frank Miller from Parchment Valley will offer our devotion.    See you guys there!!

December Youth News

Busy.  Busy.  Busy.  Our kids have lots going on at Beckley First Baptist!

November 9th– Debbie Vanaman helped our youth to pack 88 shoeboxes in support of Operation Christmas Child.  Items sent to the mission were donated from our church family.  What a blessing it is to help such a wonderful outreach!

November 16th & 23rd– All ages of youth created ornaments with Maria Veid to decorate the Christmas trees in Fellowship Hall.

November 23rd– Our kids enjoyed basketball and volleyball at Crescent Elementary School.  We celebrated the evening with dinner and ice cream.  What a fun time!

November 30th – We decorated our Christmas tree with all the ornaments we made.  We also worked on our float for the Christmas parade.

Here’s what’s coming up:

December 3rd – We will put the finishing touches on our float for the parade.

December 6th – Our kids will participate in the Beckley Christmas Parade!  After the parade, we will return to the church for cookies and hot cocoa.

The renovations on 4th floor are underway.  Once complete, we hope to celebrate with another legendary lock-in.  Stay tuned!

We look forward to celebrating a wonderful Christmas Season with our kids!

Shoeboxes 2014 – A Final Report

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away in Ikes Fork, West Virginia a lady dreamed of making life better for children around the world.   So she set out on a journey to collect items such as school supplies, personal items and a toy or two.   She walked up and down the coal hollers in her community and through the generosity of those neighbors, her collection grew and grew until her tiny house could hold it no more and thus Operation Christmas Child was born.

Twenty years later,  Mary Dameron’s dreams of making life better for children around the world has grown even more and after meeting with and partnering with Samaritan’s Purse children around the world are not only receiving a small box filled with all kinds of goodies but also a book in their own language that shares the message of Jesus Christ.

This year has had its high’s and low’s but we won’t talk about lows.   We opened our collection center last Monday morning and by 3:30 that afternoon we had taken in over 1100 shoeboxes from local churches.   Then the rain, cold, ice and snow came but that didn’t dampen the spirits of our collection center workers.   We’ve laughed and ate and laughed and ate some more and somewhere in there even managed to pack some shoebox cartons.     I want to thank everyone who volunteered last at our collection center.  You guys and gals are totally awesome.

Then came the task of loading the Helping Hands truck with those heavy cartons and boy were they heavy.  A special thank you to those strong armed men and women who helped.

When it was all said, done and delivered 2,980 shoeboxes were collected from over 50 area churches and organizations.   This was a phenomenal task that could not have been accomplished without your support and prayers.   Please keep OCC in your prayers throughout 2015 as they spread the word of Jesus through the power of a shoebox to children around the world.   Remember – it’s never too early to start buying for next year !!!

ABW December Update

by Norma Gunter

My love of missions has emerged again.  My sister Carrie and I are making a mission trip to Costa Rica in January for my 80th birthday.  We renewed our passports and now have our plane tickets but haven’t finalized all of our plans.  We will join a team from New Jersey when we get there.  We will be staying at the CEDCAS Clinic in San Jose.  This will be my sixth trip to Costa Rica and Carries’s first.

When our teams from FBC took mission trips to  Nicaragua, back in the 90’s, we always stopped in Costa Rica on our way home.  Our last trip there was in 2003 when Lonnie and I went to San Jose for the dedication of the new CEDCAS clinic.  Since we were there they have added a third floor to the clinic for the mission teams to stay.

CEDCAS stands for “Center for health education and health services in Spanish”.  The clinic is a non-profit org. founded in l985 and our first trip  there was in l994.  At that time Lillian Solt was an Associate Missionary with the American Baptist International Missions.  She is still a missionary with LAM “Latin American Mission”.  Lillian and her daughter Rebecca are both RN’s.  Rebecca was about 6 years old on our first visit to Costa Rica.  Rebecca was married earlier this year.

CEDCAS works with four major programs:

1. Medical/dental clinics:  They offer a wide variety of medical and dental services at a reasonable price.
2. House of Health:  A program focused on prevention, programs with different age groups such as children, teenagers, women and the elderly.
3. Communities:  They work with different communities helping them by working with groups of women, programs with children, micro-enterprises to help improve their economic and nutritional situation.
4. Volunteers:  They have programs to help people (like me) to step out of their comfort zones  and become the hands and feet of Jesus in another context.  Our group will be working in the squatter community of Guarari where there are over 400 kids and their families.  Most of these are refuges from other Latin American countries like Nicaragua, Honduras, etc.

Their MISSION is helping people become healthy.

Their VISION is to promote Godly, excellent, affordable, whole person health care, becoming the hands of Jesus, bringing people to Him.

Also in San Jose is Susan Hegarty and her daughter Katy.  Susan is our American Baptist Missionary and has been here at FBC several times.  We stayed with Susan on our first two trips to Nicaragua in 1994 & 1995.  She has stayed in our home several times.  The last time I saw her was at Camp Global about 4 years ago.  We want to visit and possibly work with her while we are in Costa Rica.  That is one of the plans we haven’t finalized about our trip.

The Beckley Register Herald had an article, Sunday November 23rd. on “Business leaders battle human trafficking” bringing to light,  like our American Baptist missionary Lauren Bethel who shared the global problem of human trafficking with us at FBC Oct. 27th.  Phil Parvin, chairman of our Mission Board, seemed quite impressed with her and her work and shared at the Sunday morning service, Nov. 23rd., about what a great job she is doing internationally .

She also made quite and impression on everyone who heard her speak.  She spoke in the morning at the Mug Muffin meeting, the Lizzie Lewis Circle at lunch, the Raleigh/Greenbrier Assn. meeting and the Fayette Assn. meeting in the afternoon.  Before leaving town she had dinner with a group from FBC where one lady said they had a good meal that was enjoyed by all.  Other ladies shared with me their feelings when she spoke about her work.  One said she was impressed with how faithful she has been over the many years to helping these young women.  Another lady said you can feel her heart and her love and caring for these women and girls.  Another said she admired her for her sacrifice of her personal life.  She has been passionate, since 1986,  sharing Jesus’ love and compassion with those trapped in the darkest corners of our world.  Pray for her and for all our missionaries around the world and for the World Mission Offering we are receiving now for missionaries like Lauren & Susan.   Pray for us as we finalize our plans for our trip in January.

Making Music with the Chancel Choir

Special Music will be provided by Our Blessed Journey,  Holliday Twins ,  Broughman and some other special music for Christmas Eve.

The choir will be doing Until You Come/O Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem on December 14th as part of the morning worship service.

It has been a blessing to serve the Lord and his people.  There is always room in God’s Choir.  Take a chance and make a New Years resolution to join us in 2015.

HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas to Our Friends at First Baptist Church!

by Joyce Mills

If 22 individuals were not shy and felt confident enough, I know this would be the greeting that you would receive from those who receive the backpacks each week.

When Jesus first came into our world, those who heard of His arrival had the privilege of directing others to Him.  And even though He’s not arriving again as a Holy Baby, people today still need help in getting to Him.  AND, that’s where we get to play a part – we have the same privilege today, the gift of directing others to Jesus.  Through our giving of money for this Ministry, we make it possible for others to actually fill the backpacks with good nutritious food for those children who are at risk of being hungry.  This is the church’s way of helping those who are less fortunate to understand that this is how it all began at Christmas so long ago when Jesus was born and that the giving will never end because He is our Savior who will never abandon us.  We are directing the less fortunate by being an example and a road map in giving them a backpack each week to help fill a need that each one has at this time.

It’s a beautiful gift God has given us!  Let’s not miss an opportunity to be wise and generous with our directions.  The verse in Matthew 25 that says  “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…………”  lets us know that there is no excuse to neglect those who have deep needs..Thank you for continuing to give your money or your time to shop and bring the food for the children in need.  Also, for all of you who are involved with the Backpack Ministry, just remember that Jesus demands our personal involvement in caring for other’s needs.  Thank you for giving so generously of your time.

The special food donation needed this month is cans of Vienna Sausage. Just place the cans on  the back counter in the kitchen.  Thank YOU!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year