Responding to Rescue Opportunities

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all…”  (Galatians 6:10, KJV)

It’s not unusual for professional Major League umpires to make split-second decisions in their line of work, during the course of a game, a series of games between two teams or even a whole season.  John Tumpane was to be the home plate umpire that night in May during a game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh between the Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.

After lunch while jogging across the Roberto Clemente Bridge directly behind the gall field, John spotted a woman who had climbed over the railing and was getting ready to jump into the water below.  Quickly moving forward, the ump grabbed her arm and asked someone to call 911.  She shouted “You don’t care about me. I want to be in a better place.”

Mr. Tumpane replied “I’m not going to let you go.  Let’s talk it over.”  She repeated, “No one wants to help me.”  John told her, “We’re all here to help you.”  By then on the bridge walk-way handcuffed to the structure guardrail, the upset young lady replied “You’ll forget me by tomorrow!”  As paramedics, a police boat and even a helicopter arrived, Mr. Tumpane told them “I will not forget her.  I was just glad to help.”

In his three-year teaching ministry, Jesus was a story teller.  His thirty-eight short stories included in the gospels are referred to as parables, earthly tales with a heavenly meaning.  Several of these home-spun illustrations are about the simple farm life, family relations or missed opportunities.

The best known rescue parable is related in the tenth chapter of Luke’s gospel (10:25-37) in about 300 words, Luke, the Greek physician, recounted the story about how an unidentified man had been robbed, beaten and left for dead on the Jericho Road.

This story was told in response to a lawyer’s question concerning the relationship between the Jewish law and eternal life.   The Master’s salvation was “You must love God and your neighbor.”  So, the questioner asked “Who is my neighbor?”  The Samaritan didn’t know much about God or the Jewish law.  But, he was human and willing to do what he could for this needy person, right then and there.

Most church-goers believe in helping the unfortunate but would rather write a check than to be directly involved with the other person’s troubles.  Like the other two travelers in the parable, they would rather just ‘walk on by.’  Jesus’ lesion here is “The best way to get to heaven is to be involved with life.  Do what you can, whenever you can, to whoever you can!

ABW October Update

by Norma Gunter

We are now receiving the 2017 World Mission Offering here at First Baptist Church.  The theme, Discipleship:  Come, follow me.  (Mark 1-17)  “It is our mission to follow Jesus just as the disciples did more than 2000 years ago.”  This offering goes 100% to support our missionaries.

It is hard to understand what our missionaries lives are like.  Take for instance our newest WV missionary family, supported by First Baptist Church, Rev. Juan, Denise, Juancito and Zeba Aragon who left WV  September 6, 2017 for Mexico.

Juan worked for West Virginia Baptist Convention as Hispanic Ministries Strategist, got his citizenship, graduated from college, and was ordained since coming to West Virginia in 2008.  On August 6, 2017 he and Denise were commissioned as International Ministries missionaries to Chiapas, Mexico.  On September 6, 2017 they left West Virginia for Mexico.  Juan wrote, “Today we start a new journey trusting that the Lord’s hand will continue to guide our steps as He’s done till now.  We were blessed to have part of our West Virginia family come and send us with their love and prayers.  We love you.”  They arrived in San Gabriel Chilae, Mexico Wednesday night September 6.

They were attending the triennial assembly at San Gabriel Chilae, Mexico with Keith and Debbie Myers before going to Chipas. when the 8.1 earthquake hit on the 7th.  (Chipas is a ten hour drive from where they were) Juan wrote, “Last night we felt a little earthquake.  Never imagined the epicenter would be Chipas or the magnitude, apparently, it was 8.1.  WE ARE OK, but please pray for our brothers and sisters in Chipas.”  On September 9 he wrote, “We heard from our brothers and sisters in the communities and thank God nothing major happened only some damages in some houses.”

On September 18th Juan wrote, “Juancito and Zeba started school in San Cristobal.  Our daughter, Zeba, picked a dinosaur backpack for school.  A little taste of her uniqueness.”  On the l9th Juan wrote, “We are fine.  Evacuated from building.  Kids in school away from us, but they are fine.”  When asked how they were doing after the earthquake, Denise wrote, “doing well, still trying to adapt and make this feel like home, but today shopping in grocery store we got evacuated because of the earthquake.”  This was after the 7.1 earthquake near Mexico City.  The second earthquake since they arrived in Mexico.  Would you leave West Virginia for a country, with your young children, where earthquakes and other hazards are frequent?  Juan and Denise just did.  Jesus said, “Come Follow me.” They also left their home here in West Virginia for sale.

Ladies, our 2017 MOP (Mission Outreach Project) is for a 4-WD vehicle for the Aragon’s use in Mexico.  The goal for West Virginia is $6,000.  Let’s get together and push the offering over the topso they can begin their mission with the 4-WD.  Thanks.

School is back in full swing!

by Ryan Haddox

School is back in full swing and the leaves are starting to change! Fall is upon us and we have A LOT of things planned for this season!

On October 7th, Illuminate Ministries will be representing the church for the annual Chili Night! We will be meeting at the church at 3pm on Saturday, October 7th to get things ready and prepped for the big night! Everyone is welcome to come and spend time in fellowship with friends and the community!

October 25th is our Trek-or-Treat Halloween Party for the Glow Kids! This is an exciting time as the children make their way to the top of the church, collecting candy along the way! Ages 5-5th grade are welcome!

Illuminate Ministries will also be having a “haunted house” on the 4th floor for the children and we are welcoming all donations of Halloween decorations and help in putting it on!

October 28th…THERE’S A LOCK-IN! That’s right…our second lock-in is planned and ready to go down! Our goal is to double the amount we had last time and I’m needing some chaperons to help with the madness! If you would like to hang out with the youth for the evening and spend time getting to know our students, then please let me know so I can get your name down!

Both student ministries are so very blessed to have a loving church family that pray for them and encourage them, as well as giving them positive role models to take after! Thank you for all you do, big or small, for the student ministries!

Master Creator

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Here we are and it’s fall again in West Virginia. Also, in a while it will be just beginning to cool off from the summer heat.  Some of the trees are just beginning to lose a few leaves but eventually the fall weather will be here and the leaves will turn to their beauty and fall completely from the trees.

Fall is one of the most glorious times of the year.  It’s filled with the chill of the air in sharp contradiction to the vibrating warmth of the colors of the leaves, making it just breathtaking.  It leaves us just in awe of how wonderful God is and how so perfect each of His creations are.

As I look at the fall leaves and enjoy being out in a tree stand hunting or taking a drive with Sarah, I think about how beautiful a creation of God those are and I wonder how and what kind of a change God has for me.  Think about how leaves change color can be such a lesson to us.

Did you know that the yellow to orange pigments are there inside the leaf the whole time but we only see them in the fall because they are masked by so much green pigment?  During the summer the growth of the tree is making food inside cells in the leaves, which contain chlorophyll, which gives the leaf its green color.

In the fall the chlorophyll breaks down because of certain elements, which cause the other pigments to break out, and we see what becomes our beautiful fall leaves.  There are three basic elements that affect that chlorophyll breaking down.  Those are temperature, light, and water.  During the fall the temperature drops having an effect. The days are shorter so there is less sunlight, and there is less water because of the rain level.

Considering all this, set me to thinking how that is how we are as Christians.  When we are sailing along without any problems we stay green and in the comfortable zone, but if it weren’t for the little less sunlight of a few bumps in the road in the way of trials, a few cold days of heartaches, and a little less water when we feel we can’t handle the burdens, then all of a sudden we become beautiful as a Christian.

God uses all those bumps, heartaches, and burdens to bring out our color and brilliance so that we can be a reflection for Him.  He is the Master Creator.  He knows what He is doing.

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.   Job 23:10

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28

When we get back to realizing that God is the Master Creator and begin taking in how awesome and powerful He is, just like we take in the beauty of the fall, it will cause us to be a little more vibrant in our color. Perhaps a little more vibrant in witnessing, reading our Bibles, our prayer life.

God knows us in such a personal way.  He knows each situation, each thing that becomes important for us, and each thing that we have weighing on our heart.  He knows every one of our joys, burdens, and sorrows. We forget sometimes that He gives us our color in only ways that He can.  We sometimes in a sense forget that He is God.

Be still, and know that I am God…    Psalm 46:10

Your Shoebox can Change a Child’s Life

by Debbie Vanaman

Something as small as a shoebox has the power to change a child’s life and it all starts with you.  OCC has been here at FBC for over 20 years and it has grown tremendously in those 20 years.  From collecting shoeboxes in what is now the choir room to the now demolished TCI building to the basement of the Wilkes Building to our current collection site in our Welcome Center thousands of shoeboxes have passed through our doors on their journey to children around the world.

Our collections during the year have been great and we just have a few more months to go until our youth will be filing shoeboxes with what you’ve donated.   During the month of September, we need girl’s hairbrushes and boys combs.  We also need small coloring books, markers and colored pencils to finish out our school supplies. You’ve been great in supplying these needs in the past and I am confident that you will continue with your donations. Collection week this year will be Nov. 13th through 17th and I’ll need your help during that week as well.

Just one final thing – due to rising costs of airplane fuel and transportation costs, the amount that is needed for each shoebox has been increased from $7.00 to $9.00.   If you are unable to pack a shoebox or wish do make a monetary donation, this would be a great way to share in the blessings that shoeboxes bring to children, some of whom may never heard the name of Jesus Christ.  Please keep this project in your prayers year-round as these shoeboxes travel around the world and spread the name of Jesus Christ to these children and their families.

Practicing Prayer

by Rev Robert A Wendel

Nehemiah prayed, “I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy from them that love him and observe his commandments:  Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes be open that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray now before thee for thy people… “ (Nehemiah 1:4-5, KVJ.)

Praying is never easy.  Praying out loud, in public, is even harder.  I remember being asked to offer grace before breakfast in the home of our overnight host, when my wife Kathryn and I were living in Connecticut in 1985 during my year as a Resident Chaplain in the State Mental Hospital and were delegates to the Annual State Convention representing First Baptist Church, Middletown.

I obliged, trying to include everyone and everything in my quests I sent heavenward.  When I’d lifted my head, the young pastor said, “Bob, you forgot to ask the Lord to bless our food!”  Everybody ‘round the table new I meant well!

Decades later, as Pastor of the Freedonia Baptist Church in New York, I was privileged to offer grace before each weekly Rotary Club luncheon meeting.  And in 2001 at the commencement of students from The New York State University Campus in Fredonia, I wrote a prepared script for the afternoon’s invocation and benediction.  Every six weeks at First Baptist Beckley, my prayer took days to think through, since I wanted my invocation to match the morning scripture.

Here’s the pastor prayer delivered on ABC Youth Sunday by a young lady who was a sophomore at Jamestown Community College in Dunkirk, New York who was active in our BYF.  “O Father, Thou knowest our nature and readest our innermost thoughts and nothing can be hidden from Thee.  Help us, then, to unburden ourselves of every disguise we wear before the world and find strength in being what we are, Thou humble and grateful children.  Enable us to put off shame and pretense.  Be patient with any of us who still prefer vain shows and empty pride to the freedom and security of Thy truth.

Enable us to carry out from this place peace and strength that we gain here, because we have talked with Thee.  May we be able to work more patiently for Thy Kingdom, bringing light upon the problems that perplex the world, dispelling the night of doubt and fear with Thy sheltering love.  Amen”   Leaving the platform, she added, “Be sure to pray!”

Well, summer is over.

Well, summer is over and school is back in session again. Once again we are partnering with Beckley Elementary School in our backpack program.  Some of these children live in poverty and sometimes healthy food is scarce and that’s why this program is so vital. We have been blessed with many, many donations.

For the month of September we will be collecting cans of beanie weenies.   These can be left on the back counter in the kitchen.    Monetary donations are also needed and would be greatly appreciated.  Please keep this program in your prayers as we continue to reach out to children and their families in need.

Youth and Children’s Ministry – September

The time has come once again for the students to sharpen their pencils, as well as their minds, and head back to school! As a Youth Pastor, that’s music to my ears! Vacations are over, kids are consistent, and schools are a mission field! As I look at this upcoming school year and the opportunity it brings for our Youth and Children’s ministries, there’s two words that come to my mind; sustainability and growth.

Sustainability is needed in our walk with Christ in many ways. We need sustainability in the ups and downs of life. When things get hard and we need to have that faith that, no matter what may come, God is for us. Sometimes life might feel like a desert and you can’t “feel God” and you feel alone, but the sustaining faith in Christ Jesus can hold you in those dry times. Sustaining faith is something I pray for in the lives of our youth, as well as my own. God is enough, in ANY situation.

Growth is something that comes with time put in. As Christians, we are to serve as if we are serving the Lord and give Him our very best. We have to be willing to put in the footwork in order to reach people for Christ. Youth Ministry is all about meeting kids where they are. You have to be a part of their world before they will become a part of yours. Growth is also a gift from God. We put in our best and God puts in the rest and makes it happen!

As our students go throughout their new school year, be praying for them. Be praying for the strength to bear the name of God no matter what is said, be praying for uplifting groups of friends surrounding them, and be praying    for students that need to know Jesus. There are so many hurting students that need to know Christ and the gift of eternal life.


Ryan Haddox

ABW September Update

Fall is going to be a busy season for the American Baptist Women of the First Baptist Church starting with the 49th Annual Spiritual Growth Retreat September 22 to 24, 2017 at the Parchment Valley Conference Center.  The theme is “Fragrance of Beauty”.  The scripture is Ephesians 5:2. The keynote speaker is Rev.  David Bush of the Rainelle First Baptist Church.  The weekend will feature Bible study, workshops, praise music, crafts, and the Women’s Leadership Academy.

The second event is the Raleigh Association Fall Rally here at Beckley First Baptist Church on Saturday September 30th.  Plans are being made now so mark your calendar.

The third event is the 134th Annual Women’s Day Thursday October 19, 2017 at the West Virginia Baptist Convention in Huntington, WV.  The theme is JUST DO IT…FOR JESUS.  The keynote address is by Olivia Goodwin, the missionary speaker is Debbie Myers, and the worship leader is Ginny Prunty.

During September and October we will be receiving the WORLD MISSION OFFERING.  The goal for this offering is $2,000. Of the four annual offerings we receive each year I feel the World Mission Offering is the most important for it goes 100% to our missionaries.

Our new state Mission and Service Coordinator, Dr. Sandra Lutz, is encouraging us, Association Mission and Service Coordinators, to emphasize our MOP (Mission Outreach Project).  She wrote, “we are not up to speed” with our MOP offering for 2017, a 4-WD vehicle for Juan and Denise Aragon for their ministry in Chiapas, Mexico.  The Aragon family will be leaving for Mexico this month.  The state goal for this offering is $6,000.

Also we need to emphasize our 2017 Special Project which is furnishing the meeting rooms in the Sunny Day Leadership and Activities Center at Camp Cowen.  The state goal for this project is $12,000.

Dr. David Carrico said in the Guest Column of the SEASONS magazine, August, 2017, “Remember to communicate!  Talk to one another, make sure you share the news of your church and the women’s ministries.  The ABWM has solid Biblical resources and inspiring program events but you must access them for yourselves”.  So ladies let’s go the Spiritual Growth Retreat, the Fall Rally here at FBC, Women’s Day at the State Convention,  emphasize the MOP and Special Project and give to the WMO.



Sept. 22-24th – Spiritual Growth Retreat at Parchment Valley. Registration forms in church office.  Theme “Fragrance of Beauty.”

Sept. 30th – RALEIGH/GREENBRIER FALL RALLY –  will be at our church in Fellowship Hall.  Registration will begin at 9:30 with the rally to begin at 10AM.  We will be the hostesses.

Oct. 19th – WOMEN’S DAY AT CONVENTION – New Baptist Church in Huntington.  Theme “Just Do It For Jesus”   Registration and Refreshments at 9:00 AM.  Program begins at 9:30.  Lunch is $6.00 payable at registration.  Guest speaker – Debbie Myers.  Keynote address – Olivia Goodwin. Worship Leader – Ginny Prunty.

December 8th & 15th – ADVENT LUNCHEONS

“Son” Flowers

by Pastor Doc Adkins

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11 

When I often think of my childhood on the farm with my grandparents, it’s this time of the year that brings back floods of good memories. The harvest of the garden, the hay fields and corn fields are winding down.  All the work in the hot summer heat has paid off and only the remnants are left. Rest assured even they will   not go to waste. At the ends of the garden my grandmother planted sunflowers. Lots of really big sunflowers overshadowed the garden. Whenever you look toward the garden it was the sunflowers you saw first before anything else.  This time of year, the sunflower would take on the colors of majestic guardians of the garden.  I’d see their yellow and gold tones and with the colors you just knew Fall was upon us.

Sunflowers are one of those things you see everywhere such as on dishes, tablecloths, pillows, and other things for the home.  They are right up there with roses when it comes to popularity.

Did you know that even Picasso and Van Gogh painted sunflowers?  Probably because they are such a beautiful and distinctive flower.

Here are a few lessons we can learn from the sunflower.

Sunflowers Track the Sun.  Most plants are attracted to light but the flowering head of the sunflower actually tracks the sun following its path and moving toward where it is in the sky all during the day.

I read somewhere that sunflowers track the sun when they are in bud stage.  Isn’t that how it usually goes for us as Christians?  When we first come to know the Lord, we get excited about knowing all about Him and living for Him, but after a while we sometimes grow a little preoccupied with other things and get our eyes off of the Lord.

Wouldn’t it be great if as a Christian we’d track the Son of God and follow Him all day long?  No matter what was going on in our lives and throughout our day, we wouldn’t take our eyes off of the Son.

Sunflowers Need to be Stabilized. The second thing I’ve learned about the sunflower is that it needs to be firmly planted in the soil in order to grow.  Sunflowers grow so tall and their stems become so heavy that they will topple over if they aren’t stabilized in the ground.

I know as a Christian it’s very easy to topple over if we are not grounded in the Word of God.  We need to know what and why we believe what we do so our feet are firmly planted and we won’t falter in our Christian growth.

Sunflowers Produce Seeds. Did you know that a single sunflower can have up to 2,000 seeds?  When we think about sowing seeds as a Christian, just think of the potential reach that each of us can have to spread the Gospel.  It could be limitless if we would just sow those seeds.

Sunflowers Produce Oil.  The oil that the sunflower produces is considered a good oil with healthy benefits.  As Christians we should be producing the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith).  All of those have some healthy benefits on us as Christians and on others that we meet.

Sunflowers Resemble the Sun. Sunflowers not only follow the sun but when you look at them, they resemble the sun too.  Resembling the Son should be one of those things we do as a Christian.  Being Christ-like is an essential part of being a Christian.

Conclusion: When I think about the lessons from the sunflower, my mind goes to that fifth chapter of Ephesians where it’s talking about following God and all the ways we are to act as Christians.  It starts out in the first couple verses by saying,

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.  Ephesians 5:1,2

The chapter goes on in detail on various topics of Christian living and mentions all those bad things we are to avoid, starting with “fornication” and it goes on from there.

In verses 15 and 16 it says,

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

I’m not going to type the entire chapter out here but I think that whole chapter is so important as guidance to our everyday Christian lives.  It is what getting up and following the Son all day and being a SON flower is all about.

It boils down to walking in the spirit, following God, and living Christ-like as a Christian should.  We’ve got to live that way in order to “redeem the time” and spread the Gospel of Christ. .

So, are you living like a SON-flower?