Operation Christmas Child

by Debbie Vanaman

More than 15 years ago, FBC partnered with Samaritans Purse and got involved in Operation Christmas Child for the first time.   Hundreds and thousands of shoeboxes have been collected during that time and for that I am truly grateful.  These children, most of whom have never had a present before in their lives, received a shoebox filled with school supplies, small toys and hygiene items.  Many of them had to wait in line for what seemed like hours for a young child just to receive this box.  The joy and smiles on their faces as you see pictures of boxes being distributed will melt your heart.   With every shoebox that is given out, the word of Jesus goes with it to that child’s home and eventually to their village or town that they live in.  This also has an impact on the families who often have never heard of Jesus and ultimately through their child, give their hearts and lives over to Jesus.  Yes it takes a bit of time and some money, but the reward is immeasurable.  Just one shoebox in one small town halfway around the world can have an extremely positive impact.

Collection week this year is November 16th through 20th.  This is when shoeboxes from churches and organizations in our community return their shoeboxes to be packed in cartons and start their journey.  Helpers are needed during that week but also on Saturday, Nov. 21st when these cartons have to be loaded and taken to Princeton.   The time for this is not definite – so keep an eye on the church bulletin for that info.

As always, I ask you to keep this program in your prayers throughout 2016 as the shoeboxes are delivered  around the world.   Remember – it’s a simple shoebox but it has the power to change the world through your gift.

Let’s Pack the Pulpit

With the winter months quickly approaching,  we’ve started a program called  “Pack the Pulpit”.  During  the month of November, we are asking for non-perishable food items and new blankets which will be distributed by Helping Hands to be placed in the sanctuary on the stage around the pulpit.  Our goal is to pack the pulpit so much that Pastor Adkins has to preach on the floor on November 22nd, the Sunday before Thanksgiving.    Please consider lending a hand so that others will be warm and have enough to eat this winter.

Adopt-A-Grandparent Program

Ann Coleman has become involved in a great program called Adopt-A-Grandparent which 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).  There would be a tag on the gift saying that it came from you.

She has set the deadline for this project for Sunday, December 6th.  If you are interested in helping her, she can be reached at 304-253-1425. Let’s not forget those in the nursing homes who may not have someone to show them God’s love.

Feeling Charitable in the Fifth Season

by Rev Robert A Wendel

Everyone knows that the earth has four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.  To the Christian way of thinking, there is a fifth season, the season of charity which happens every November and December.  Of course, this special time of kindness is directly linked to our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  We hope that each person or family sits down to a fine Thanksgiving feast and later has some presents under the Christmas tree, creating a feeling of food cheer shaped among family and/or close friends.

Such a wish or blessing, for all souls, does not come easy.  In each community there are food drivers of all types by young and old, specially prepared meals in church kitchens, community meal sites, hospitals, long term care facilities and anywhere our watchful military is on duty during the year’s last two months.  Even Scrooge gave his bookkeeper, Bob Cratchet, the day off from work.

Maybe now would be a good time to remind ourselves of just how much need there is in our city.  Let’s begin with a particle tally from Beckley Day of Hope, a community event held here in mid-August;  Guests: 2,599.  Hot meals: 3,800.  Groceries; 4,200 bags.  Shoes:  1,215 pairs.  Health screenings:  1,055 and Helping Hands reports these totals for the month of September.  Households served:  801.  Totally family members served:  1,597.  Food: 747.  Clothing:491.  Emergency needs: 26.  New clients: 53.

A letter published in the October 12th issue of a national weekly news magazine may say it best:  “We need to stop marginalizing people who struggle.  So many people live pay check to pay check.  These are regular people who have fallen on hard times.  They are parents whose  child sits with your child at lunch, the unemployed dad you see at the Laundromat, the mom struggling to wrangle her small toddlers through the grocery store, the disabled elderly person or the homeless vet sitting on the park bench.  I can tell you these people just need a little compassion, a little tolerance and a little help.”!

In a wealthy, blessed congregation such as ours, each Fifth Season of the year, it would be wise for all of us to mind what Jesus said “To whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48)  “We are to use our wealth, time, talent and knowledge to glorify God and benefit others.”  (I Peter 4:10).

Beckley’s American Baptist Men Enjoy Breakfast at 8:00 am

In October, 28 gentlemen from our church, the Fellowship House and the Crab Orchard Fellowship enjoyed another great breakfast and a brief moment of inspiration “Notes on the Lord’s Prayer.”  Guys, please join us for more of the same at 8:00 a.m. on the second Saturday in November.

Another Way to Lend Support to Helping Hands

If you shop at Kroger and have a Kroger card, which I’m sure most of you do,  here’s a simple way to support a great organization. Kroger has partnered with Helping Hands to donate approximately three percent of your total bill  and here’s how you help.  Simply register your card or sign into your account.   Once that’s done, click on the Community link, then community rewards and enter the words Helping Hands in the search box.   Look for Helping Hands Community Resource Center, click on the dot next to Helping Hands Community Resource Center, hit enroll and that’s it.    If you need a hand completing this, call the church office and we’ll be glad to walk you through it.

What do the numbers mean?

Have you seen the numbers being displayed at the beginning and end of each children’s moment during Sunday morning services?  Do you know what it means?  This number represents the attendance target for the evening service.  The purpose is to encourage our kids to reach out to their friends and family to help grow the group.  What happens if we hit the target?  Only the greatest thing ever…lock-in!

The Youth Department would like to thank everyone who supported Trek-N-Treat this year.  This annual event is a big part of our community outreach efforts.  Thank you for your gifts of time, candy and support.  We couldn’t do it without you.  You can see pictures on our Facebook page.

During the month of November we will be assisting with holiday mission projects such as Operation Christmas Child (November 1st at 6 pm).  We will also continue our bible study series, Not A Fan.

The holiday season is very busy and we have lots planned.  Stay connected with us and, as always, we appreciate your prayers and support as we grow in our faith!

15 Million Hungry Children

by Joyce Mills

In the U.S. today, 15 million children face hunger – that’s 1 in 5.  Chances are, someone your child or grandchild goes to school with struggles to get enough to eat.

Just as hunger knows no age, neither does fighting it.  We all have a role to play in solving hunger, whether old or young.  Children can make a positive difference in the lives of other kids in need.  It’s important to talk with children about hunger and inspire them to take action against it.  Talk to the kids in your life about hunger. Encourage them to help, donate, and volunteer to pack backpacks.  Perhaps you could offer to help them pack the backpacks.

It is a sight to see the 22 backpacks loaded on the carts each Wednesday, ready to be taken to the school by a special, specified person, who has volunteered his/her time.

Only when we all work together – young and old – can we focus on ending hunger, and make sure every child has the food they need to grow healthy and strong.

For the month of November we need applesauce.  Just place it on the back counter in the kitchen.  We appreciate you for bringing it for the backpack kids.

That Stuff On Our Plate

by Doc Adkins

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among  the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.  Psalm 46:10 

There’s an old saying that says, “eat what you want but want what you eat.”  The whole idea is that you’re welcome to take as much as you want but don’t waste it.  My grandmother always told us this, “We should never waste food, because there are hungry people in the world who wish they had what we have.

The one thing that was always abundant at my grandparents house was just “good ole country cookin’. “

Have you ever uttered that phrase, “I’ve got too much stuff on my plate!”? What we mean is that our lives have become too busy. Isn’t it funny that we teach our children not to take too much food other than what they will eat and not put too much “stuff” on their plates. Yet, here many of us are as adults with way too much stuff on our own plates. We’ve allowed ourselves to be involved with so many things that it has the potential to hinder our well-being.

Personally, I enjoy being busy. I can’t stand laziness but sometimes we can become so busy that life seems to consume us. I don’t think Christ intended us to live that way. When we do get in that busy, busy mode of running, running, and running, we tend to let those nutritional things that should be on our plate slide off the side, like our prayer time and bible study. Sometimes if we do keep those things on our plate, we tend to treat them like salt and pepper and only flavor our lives with them and not really have a full course meal of the things that can give us strength and help us survive the “rat race” of life.

Sometimes our worship time slides off the side of our plate like runny gravy. It just starts dripping off and we barely even notice how far away from those around us we’ve become. When we’re in that busy mode, we tend to push aside those things that should be important. We don’t mean too. We just start playing with our fork and it just happens.

I think it is a challenge to make ourselves have a balanced plate as a Christian, but I do think it is something we should strive for. It may be we need to just re-calculate our lives at times, slow down and see what we’re actually spending time on. It may be we need to choose what are priorities and what are not. I’m sure for everybody there’s a different way to go about it but the need to keep Christ at the center of our lives is the key.

There are some things that I like to check up on once in awhile just to be sure I’m on track.

  1. Time – Where am I spending my time?
  2. Activities – What all am I involved in? Is there too much?
  3. Priorities – What are my priorities? Do I keep the important things where they should be?

Don’t you just love that “Be still” part of Psalm 46:10?   Wow!  That requires slowing down, doesn’t it?   Look at the benefits.  “Be still and know that I am God”.   Taking a much-needed break to reflect on God and His greatness, His love, His power will help us know Him.   Even in the midst of all that is going on around us we need to take that time to spend time with the Lord.

So, what’s on your plate?  Is there room for thanksgiving, intercession, devotions, prayer, and most of all our wonderful God.  Is there room for a grateful spirit or is gratefulness covered with obligations that keep overrunning our lives.

The Sense of a Goose

This was shared by Pastor Doc during a Wednesday evening service and it’s something to think about.

Written  by Roger Darlington

This autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in a “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. 
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are heading the same way we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. 
It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. 
What message do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally – and this is important – when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their own group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

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.