Stopping by Woods

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“Let your words be few before God.  My heart waits in silence for God.  Jesus kept silent.  There is a time to be silent and a time to speak.”  (Eccles 5:2; Psalm 62:1, Matthew 15:23,  Eccles 3:7.)

A television interviewer asked Don Henley, the drummer of the Eagles rock and roll band, “When you’re in your car and the radio is on, what music do you listen to?”  He quickly replied “I turn the radio off.  Silence is a good thing.  We need more of it.”

Lines from Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”  also serve to remind us of our need for quiet time in our overcrowded lives.  “Whose woods these are I think I know.  He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow.  The woods are lovely dark and deep.  But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.”

There have been times in my hospital ministry when I realize that calmness can be a key to pushing back fear in the face of illness.  This quality of peacefulness can serve to put us in our place in the world while drawing us closer to our Heavenly Father and bring a focus to our prayers even in an otherwise noisy Sunday morning worship service.  Yes.  I understand that silence during radio broadcasts makes station staff nervous.  For decades, our worship hour over local air waves has brought comfort to our homebound members and friends.

Welcoming Christ into our lives can quiet physical and emotional storms.  As we grasp a hold of Jesus’ calming presence, we often find ourselves discovering practical answers to even mountains-sized challenges.  God’s peace is always available.  There is no substitute for the transforming effect of spiritual stillness.  It’s a God given gift each of us can rely on daily.  As we do, we can experience more deeply its steadying effect on our daily tasks, be they large or small, extra-ordinary or routine.

 

Time Flies

by Joyce Mills

Some of you have been reading about the Backpack Ministry for four years.  It was started in February 2013.  That does not seem possible!  We have about the same workers that started the program.  The workers have had tremendous passion and loyalty to the program since the very beginning.  The only thing that has changed much is the number of children who receive food for the weekend.  We are now preparing 24 backpacks that go home with the children every Friday.  This program should not be increasing in number – the number should be going down if there is improvement. Why should there even be hungry children in our own backyards?

Many children and families face a food shortage at home. In Beckley, many families struggle with hunger, especially during evenings and weekends when children don’t have access to healthy school meals.  In addition: Working poor parents who must pay for childcare often don’t have enough money to feed their families.  Or, suddenly unemployed adults or those who’ve had their hours reduced often don’t have adequate funds to meet both food and basic living needs.

There is a movement in our country that seems to be saying to each of us, “DO ONE THING FOR A BETTER WORLD”.  Certainly, at First Baptist there are opportunities to do that one thing.  It is just a matter of choice!  There are things you can do alone or there are things you can do in a group –like helping  with the backpacks or working at Helping Hands Resource Center.

The following are some interesting quotes about hungry children.  It was surprising to read the quote and then to see who had said it.

“There are genuinely sufficient resources in the world to ensure that no one, nowhere, at no time, should go hungry.”   Ed Asner

“Hungry people cannot be good at learning or producing anything, except perhaps violence.”    Pearl Bailey

“I can’t think of any issue that is more important than working to see that no schoolchild in this world goes hungry.”   Drew Barrymore.

“Feeding a child at school is such a simple thing – but it works miracles.”    Drew Barrymore

“When we work to end childhood hunger, we are giving our love to kids who need it so much they will never ask for it.”    Beau Bridges

“Hunger makes a thief of any man.”   Pearl Buck

“There is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies.”  Sir Winston Churchill

The donation needed this month is any kind of canned beans –baked beans, pork & beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, etc. Just fill the back counter in the church kitchen.

Thanks for all you do to help hungry children!   YOUR help is greatly appreciated!

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 yard 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, Meshack, 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?

Youth & Children’s News

by Ryan Haddox

As we start the new year and as I begin my journey alongside you at Beckley First Baptist, I want to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for investing in your youth’s lives and caring about them enough to do something different. Thank you for being able to see a need and reacting to that need. And finally, thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be the person to minister to these wonderful students. God has AMAZING things planned for this youth and the church and I’m blessed to be able to be a part of it.

As we begin this journey, the verse that keeps sticking out to me is Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men, that they many see your good deeds and praise your father in Heaven.” This is the desire of my heart for our students and children. To be a light for Christ in their schools, sports teams, and homes.

ANY QUESTIONS?

You’ve got questions, and The Bible has answers! Through the month of February, we’re going to be hearing some of your very own questions and figuring out how the Bible would answer those questions!

God’s word isn’t just a book; It’s a life map that provides us with every answer to every struggle or question we will have.

Join us Sunday night at 6:00pm on the 4th floor and get your questions answered too!

 FEAR BUSTERS

In a world full of fears: Snakes, spiders, thunder, lightning, lions, tigers, bears! Where can we find a place that’s safe?? For the next 8 weeks, we will be learning how to BUST FEAR with Prayer, Faith, Knowing God is with us, Courage, Trust, Belief, and Thankfulness!

Don’t miss out on these next 8 weeks as we’ll be “Fear Busting” together on the 3rd floor (Children’s Dept.)  every Sunday morning at 9:45am!

For more information, contact Ryan Haddox at  304-543-5957 or haddox4114@gmail.com

See…the Heart of God

by Norma Gunter

The American Baptist Women’s Ministry Focus for February, 2017 is See…the Heart of God.  The scripture is Amos 5:24; Micah 6:8.  “February, as we all know, is the month of love.  Love is in the air, emotions run high, and we express them.  We show our love to others through flowers and chocolate and other gifts.  Yet when we show our love to God, we usually do so without putting as much time and thought into our actions.  We should manifest our love for God in thoughtful ways and especially by doing justice and sharing God’s Word with everyone.”  We can share God’s love with our missionaries and with the work they are doing.  One of the missionary couples Beckley First Baptist Church supports is J..D. and Rhonda Reed .  “They were commissioned for service in Bolivia at their home church in July of 2011. They are serving in partnership with the Unión Bautista Boliviana and live in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Their primary focus will be to aid in development of leadership in the areas of theology, planting new churches and beginning to develop new ministries in the southern part of Bolivia. Last year, the Reeds expanded their ministry to include overseeing the House of Hope (Proyectos Esperanza) in Cochabamba, which focuses on urban ministries to families, at-risk women and children in the department of Cochabamba.”  (from the ABCUSA web site) House of Hope ministries is now a full partner of International Ministries and Rhonda is the first official missionary.  The Seminary in Cochabamba, who partner with Unión Bautista Boliviana, celebrated 75 years Oct, 2016.  At the celebration J.D. Reed presented them a plaque of appreciation in behalf of International Ministries.

The Reeds have three children, Grace, Abie and Nathan.  You can communicate with them through www.jdreed@internationalministries.org.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

Helping Hands

It may seem like something very trivial to you but it’s something we all use.  Helping Hands has been giving out toilet tissue and bar soap along with food items and your help in this project is needed.  What they need is for people to pledge a monthly gift of toilet tissue and/or bar soap.  Your donations will not only help those less fortunate but it will also help the dollars at Helping Hands to go further if they don’t have to purchase these items.  See Edna Nasby and let her know she can count on your support.   Donations can be left outside the church office.

One other way you can help.  If you shop at Krogers and have access to a computer, you can register your Kroger card at Kroger.com.  Once you have your card registered, go to the Community tab and click on Kroger Community Rewards and follow the instructions from there.  Helping Hands gets a percentage of your shopping total each time you shop.   If you have any questions about this, contact the church office.

Aging Thoughts

by Rev Robert A Wendel

Respect old people.  Do not rebuke an old man.  Wisdom is with aged.  Lev. 19:32; I Tim. 5:1; Job 12:12

Jesus proved by his resurrection that we are God’s spiritual expression, made for this world, yet to live again in a paradise yet to come.  Christ destroyed the notion that our time on earth has age limitations.  Positive folks say “Age is just a state of mind.  You’re as young as you feel.”

Regardless of the number of candles on your birthday cake, as the years add up if we use common sense to maintain our physical bodies and minds, we can live long, useful, productive lives.  Genesis 1:26 assures us that the Almighty gave humans control of all creation, including ourselves.

Still, we know that the natural aging process imposes restrictions on our strength and endurance.  As the decades we feel a drop off from what we could accomplish twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years before.  The onset of physical disorders and diseases does weigh heavily upon our later lifestyle.

No matter the circumstances, you and I don’t need to feel overwhelmed.  Sometimes the senior crowd get chagrined for not being able to do what they used to be able to do.  It’s alright if our pace slows down just a little.  Younger people will always glide along at a faster pace.

With advancing years comes the wisdom to enjoy little victories that may arrive with each new dawn and serve to comfort us all through the night.

The great British physician Sir. William Osler wrote, “Each night we should pull down a mental curtain, shutting out the past and another curtain shutting out our tomorrow and go to sleep unburdened by remnants of the past or anxieties about the future.”

We all know the truism, ‘Take care of today.  Tomorrow will take care of itself.”  As St. Paul wrote, “Forget those things which are behind.  Reach for those things which are in front of us.  Let us press toward the high marks given us by Christ.”  (Phil.3:14).  May God bless us.

The next men’s prayer breakfast will be Saturday, February 25th at Crab Orchard church at 8:00 a.m.  Come and enjoy a great time with your brothers in Christ.

Don’t let the important things go unsaid

by Joyce Mills

Someone has said, “Don’t let the important things go unsaid.  Do the things that brighten your life and help you on your way.  Live to the fullest; make each day count.”

Those of you who volunteer understand these words so very well.  You spend your time doing those things that make you happy.  There are  so many places where volunteers do things that really count!  And, yet, it seems we never have enough volunteers for the things that need to be done.

I always feel a need to thank those of you who help with the backpacks each week, giving your time and energy to help hungry kids.  It is so great to have some help in saying “thanks” this month.  To those of you who did special shopping for students at Christmas, and those of you who give special time each week here are some very special thanks………

From a parent who sent a very special “Thank YOU” card:

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

EVERY THING WAS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED

Thank you!

From the principal of Beckley Elementary:

First Baptist Church,

Thank you so much for your dedication to our school and students. The food backpacks are items that these students look forward to all week.

We also appreciate you providing Christmas gifts to them as well. You are truly a blessing to our school and these families.

Meghan Houck, Principal

Beckley Elementary School

So you Volunteers, look in the mirror and smile….and see an amazing person looking back at you.  You really are someone special, and your presence is a present to the world around you.

The food donation needed this month is a can of pasta with meat.  Just put It on the back counter in the church kitchen.  Thanks

Operation Christmas Child 2017

by Debbie Vanaman

Well now that Christmas is over and a new year has begun, it’s that time again – well not really but it’s time to start thinking about shoeboxes for this year.

Our collection effort during 2017 was a huge success and a number of people told me that they really liked the way we did a different item to bring in month.

So here goes the start of shoeboxes for 2018.   For the month of February,  we will be collecting bar soap and wash cloths.  There will be boxes set up in the Welcome Center and in Fellowship Hall for your donations.   As always, please keep this program in your prayers as shoeboxes are being distributed daily to children around the world.

It’s All About “Me”

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Social media phrases have always reminded me of those Conversation Hearts Candy.  You know, they say  those little phrases that represent what we want to tell someone at Valentine’s Day such as “love me”, “kiss me”, or “hug me”.  In social media the phrases are things like “follow me”, “friend me”, “text me” and so on.

I kind of see a theme here.  It’s all about wanting someone to respond to “me”.  Those phrases are how others reach out to us and want us to respond.

The Lord reaches out to us in so many ways.  How do we answer His requests?

Friend Me

We all want friends, whether online or offline and Jesus is the greatest friend we will ever have.  One thing we have to do as Christians is to act and behave like we are His friends.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.  John 15:14 

Text Me

It seems like everyone is texting on their phones these days, especially young people.  People are staying in contact with each other.  They are just chatting, asking questions, and answering questions.

How much more we should stay in contact with Christ and fill the Lord in with what’s going on in our lives.  No one is afraid to pick up a phone and text a question to a friend but we fail sometimes to pray to the Lord as easily.

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  Philippians 4:6 

Repost Me

People with blogs and Facebook or any kind of social media want what they’ve posted to be reposted by other people, whether it’s a blog post, photo, or video.  We want what we’ve posted reposted so it gets shared over and over.

We post things online that are important to us or even what makes us laugh or what we enjoy.  We send along links to our friends of things we think they would enjoy or that we think could help them.
Do we enjoy God’s Word enough to share it?  Are we passing it along to our friends for their benefit?

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  2 Timothy 3:16

Follow Me

Most people that use social media want followers.  They want to know what they are posting is getting read and that people enjoy it.  Many of us follow blogs or the Facebook posts of our friends to see what they are up to or we may even follow people or things we are just interested in.

How interested are we in following Christ closely?  Have we missed anything He has shared with us?  How caught up are we on following His teachings?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes people follow other people online because they’ve seen someone else following that particular website or person?  The more we follow Christ, the more we’ll be those “fishers of men”  He talks about.

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  Matthew 4:19 

Add Me

Website and blog owners usually make a way for people to be added to their mailing lists or a way to be added so their visitors can get updates.    Many of you have probably added yourselves to mailing lists or updates at places you shop or frequent online.

How often do we think about adding the Lord into the things we do and making it so He is included in everything we do?

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  Colossians 3:23 

Share Me

Sharing what we find on social media is what makes the social media world go round.  If it weren’t for people constantly sharing the things they find, it wouldn’t work.

Sharing Christ and His love is what furthers Christianity.  How else will people know about the Lord if we don’t share His love?

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  John 13:35

Conclusion:  All of social media revolves around how people respond to the different aspects of it but in the end that has no lasting value.  How we respond to Christ does matter.  It’s the difference of eternal things.

So, have you responded to Christ?