Operation Christmas Child: Celebrating 25 Years

by Debbie Vanaman

As fall is now upon us and school is back in session, Christmas isn’t that far away. Operation Christmas Child this year is celebrating its 25th year of collecting shoeboxes and distributing them to children around the world.  Five years ago we celebrated 100 million shoeboxes and the figure of 200 million isn’t that far off but it’s still just a drop in the bucket for the children who have yet to hear the name of Jesus or know the compassion of someone creating a shoebox just for them.  Can’t you just see the smiles on their faces as they open that box and find that precious toy or those needed school supplies – it’s heartwarming.

These boxes also impact the entire family by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ through the “Our Greatest Journey” program which is a series of lessons on Jesus and how to accept him into the child’s heart and then, hopefully, the family.     This is such a moving experience to see families changed by something as simple as a shoebox.

For the month of September, we will be collecting various items.  I still need small girl’s hairbrushes, small coloring or sticker books, markers, colored pencils and erasers.   I will be starting a push for October to collect the necessary funds to ship our 100 boxes that our children and youth will be making in November.  So if you want to get a jump on it, just make the check out to First Baptist Church and put Samaritans Purse shipping on the memo line and you can cross that off your to-do list.

As always, I ask that you keep this vital mission in your prayers as we enter collection season that each box made will help to show the love of Jesus Christ to children and families around the word.

Back to School!

by Helen Greene

Back To School!  Not what students want to hear at the end of summer vacation.

Our backpack team has been shopping all summer for bargains and we have purchased food from the Mountaineer Food Bank.  Our pantry is full and we are ready to deliver backpacks full of food to our students at Beckley Elementary School.

Please pray for our Backpack Kids to have a successful school year and they will not suffer from hunger when they are home.

For the month of September we will be collecting 15-16 oz. cans of vegetables.  Donations can be left on the back counter in the kitchen.

Thanks to each one of you who has supported our Backpack Ministry in any way.  May God Bless You!

Parents Must Teach and Encourage Their Children

by Ryan Haddox

We in the Lord’s church are losing 75% of our children who fall away from the Lord and become lost  when they leave home.  This is a tragedy!  The main reason we are losing our children to the world is a lack of teaching of God’s word at home by the parents.  Parents are commanded to teach their children the word of God.  “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  Can we as parents be pleasing to God if we fail to teach our children the word of God?  The lack of Bible knowledge will cause our children to go off into atheism, agnosticism, denominationalism, and unfaithfulness, which will cause them to be eternally lost.

One 40-minute Bible study class each week at church or two if they attend Wednesday evening Bible study does not give our children enough spiritual food to fight off the world’s influence they receive at school, TV, etc.  Our children spend 30 hours per week in public school preparing for life in this world, but less than 2 hours per week in trying to prepare for eternity.  Which is the most important?  We become upset if our children make bad grades on their report cards, but it doesn’t seem to bother us if they fail to study their Bible class lessons.  We closely watch their scholastic and athletic progress, but what about their spiritual progress?  We have become passive about allowing our children to grow up without a soul saving knowledge of the Bible.  We need to know that the greatest thing we can do for our children is to instill in them a lasting faith in God and the Bible so they can be eternally saved.  There is nothing greater we can do for our children.

We should help our children with their school subjects at home, but studying the Bible with them is of much greater importance than their school subjects.  Why do children fall away and become lost when they leave home?  God’s word says, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).  If our children are lacking in a knowledge of God’s word they will most likely be eternally lost in hell.  If they are lost, we as parents will have to give an account to God for our failure to teach them (Romans 14:12).

Bible study with our children will increase their faith in God, because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).  God’s inspired word says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

We have a good example in the Bible of a young person who was instilled with a genuine saving faith by his mother and grandmother.  Paul says to Timothy, “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).  Here we see that Timothy had become a faithful Christian because his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice had instilled in him a genuine faith in God.  It did not happen by accident.  If it wasn’t for their teaching Timothy would probably not have become a faithful Christian.

To save our children we must be much more serious to help them prepare for eternity. We must set aside a certain time each day for Bible study with them.  This teaching must begin at birth and continue as long as we have influence on them.  We must teach our children to have proper spiritual values and this can only be done by teaching them God’s word.  God has commanded us, “And these words which I command today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Our teaching is a 24/7 task.  We must demonstrate by our lives that God and His word are the most important things in our lives.  Our children are watching and being taught by our example.  Actions speak louder than words. We must not expect our children to “do as I say, not as I do”.

It is not if our children are going to be taught.  It is who will teach them and what they are going to be taught?  If we don’t teach them, someone else will.  Let’s take parenting seriously and bring our children “up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) so we and they can be together in heaven.

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Haddox

World Mission Offering 2018

You are the salt of the earth.  Matthew 5:13

Every September and October, congregations come together for a time of awareness, advocacy and action for global mission. Churches across the country celebrate and support the ministries that God is using to transform the world. This is the World Mission Offering.

For the 2018 World Mission Offering, we are highlighting the Ministry Priorities of Health and Wellness, Abolishing Global Slavery and Economic and Community Development. While these represent only a fraction of IM’s ministries, they provide a window into what God is doing worldwide through our 120 global servants, 900+ volunteers, 43 home staff and 240+ global partners.

Our goal this year is $1,500.00   There are envelopes in the pews by the hymnals for your contributions.  Please continue to pray for our missionaries both here in the U.S. and overseas.

My Favorite Season

by Pastor Doc Adkins

My childhood autumns in Hinton hold precious memories—the fall revival at church, unpacking warmer clothing, hot cocoa, harvest moons, fires in the hearth, a well-stocked pantry, and best of all—FOOTBALL!  I loved it, playing it and watching my Steelers in their heyday.

Of course then, there was and still is the endless desire to go hunting if only just to watch and see God in our beautiful mountains.

You know…sometimes when I think about all the “life” experiences I had growing up in that old farm house…man, it does at times seem so very long ago.  In reality, it was a long time ago.

Life has it seasons:  The autumn of life is a strange mixture of nostalgia, blessings, and potential. It yields the harvest of seeds we’ve sown throughout life and braces us for colder days to come.

When life’s autumn arrives, we look back and better understand the way God led us; but we still have work to do—the best and fullest. It’s a good transition time.

“Autumn” only occurs once in the Bible. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. How can we take advantage of the “autumn of life”?

The Unchanging Nature of God

The seasons come and go, so focus on the God who remains unchanged and unchanging. “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or even You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:1-2).

There’s a lot of unwelcome change in our world. Moral and societal changes bother us most when we turn on our television or glance at the magazines. We’re painfully aware our kids are growing up in a world far different from the one we knew as children.

And personal changes—children leaving home, the passing of dear friends, and the slow, or possible steady decline in vitality and health. Sometimes we feel outdated at work.

But amid all the changes, one thing, one person, never changes—our eternal God. Remember this verse from John 15, “Abide with Me”?

JI Packer points out that God does not change. His life is always the same. His character is always dependable. His truth, ways, and purposes do not change. His Son does not change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

His children will enjoy His fellowship a million years from now. The world may fade, the stars may fall, the seasons may change, and winter may come. But the God who has been our help in ages past is our hope for years to come. In Him we have permanence, stability, joy unshakable, and life unending.

The Divine Foresight of God

We’ve all suffered setbacks along the way. But God promised, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. . . . You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God” (Joel 2:25-26). His divine forethought knew it all in advance, and He can be trusted with what has happened to us in years past.

Our omniscient Savior knows the end from the beginning, and He will bless whatever is yielded to Him. Focus on His foreknowledge, providence, and sovereignty.

The Wonderful Blessings of God

The autumn of life is a great time to focus on God’s wonderful blessings—family, friends, strength, shelter, provision, guidance, care, fruitful ministry, opportunities to serve, more time to pray and study His Word, and eternal life still to come.

During life’s autumn, we have a richer perspective and can count more blessings than ever before.

A Renewed Commitment to God

Autumn is a good time to focus on your commitment to God. Some of the saddest words in the Bible are in Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” If you’ve never made a commitment to Jesus Christ, do it now, while there is still time.

If you are a follower of Christ, remember to remain close to Him during the shifting seasons of life.

During autumn, we all know that winter lies ahead, but if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Vacation Bible School – Walk Like a Disciple

Come join the youth of Beckley First Baptist, as we “walk like a disciple” for Jesus on August 4th from 4:00 – 600 p.m. All activities will be held at the YMCA Soccer Complex, where we will be taking a journey to become a disciple of Jesus, but we must make stops along the way to receive guidance from some very important men and women of the Bible—all of whom had an important role in the story of Jesus, whether it was leading up to his birth or the continuation of spreading the Good News. Feel free to contact Ryan Haddox or one of the Christian Ed. Board members with any questions or concerns, and we hope to see you there!

Be all that you can be — Aim High!

You can be anything you set your mind to be! These are but a few examples of nice-sounding slogans intended to build up our self-esteem, or self-concept. While it is true that we live in a nation of vast opportunities, it is not factual to say we can always be anything we want to be.

We all have limitations with which we must learn to deal. These limitations can be physical and/or mental. What each of us needs to do is come to grips with our own personal situation. This does not, in any way, mean that we cannot overcome obstacles by striving to improve our life, but in all our efforts we must remember who is providing our abilities, and watching over our lives.

We do not have to ride the wave to the top in order to find happiness. Very often happiness is right under our noses, yet we fail to smell the roses. We may have the highest of ambitions, but if God has other plans (see Proverbs 16:9) we must find happiness where we are, and give it our all, and our all to the Lord.

If we place our trust in God, nothing else is of much consequence. We can make the most of what we have been given. In this way, we will learn many valuable lessons, including patience. So frequently, we look around and see what others have acquired or accomplished, and wonder why the same has not fallen into our lives. We must be willing to grow at our own pace, the pace God has set for us. At the same time, we must not fail to do our part. We are in this race together with God, and He will be there for us, if we are there for Him.

Be all you can be for Him!

Grace and Peace,

Ryan Haddox

Restoration Projects

by Rev Robert A Wendel

“Shall I forgive my brother as many as seven times?  You must forgive your brother from the heart.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.  You ought to forgive and comfort him.  Old things are passed away: behold all things are become new.” (Matt. 18:21-23, 35; Matt. 6:14-15; 2 Cor. 2:7;2 Cor. 5:17, NRSV.)

My former wife Kathryn’s family has owned fifty acres in the New York state mountains since 1912, on which they erected a pair of cabins and use as a family get-a-way.  During a vacation visit we went up there and I watched my father-in-law restore the large picnic table everyone ate upon breakfast, lunch and dinner.

After he stripped the table down to the bare wood, I saw why someone had painted it white.  It was ugly.  The top was gouged, discolored and scarred.  That was one day.  A second day began with me thinking “Will this table, which was so much part of the property, ever live again?”  Mr. Roberts placed the veneer on top, applied an oak stain and clear varnish.  Like new, the table was returned in all its grandeur, ready for another generation or two.

Seeing what happened with that old picnic table reminded me of what God can do with people.  He can forgive us of any sin and sand away our scars and imperfections if you will, and transform us into new creatures.  That’s how amazing His grace and how glorious His love is.

Fred Bauer wrote “Thank God that with Him sin knows no size, and that His forgiveness can take us to paradise.”

Marilyn Morgan Helleberg wrote for Guideposts, “Mr. Clark cheated my doctor father out of a considerable sum of money.  My dad was not a vengeful kind of man.  Then one night Mr. Clark was brought to the hospital ER hemorrhaging critically.  He said “I wouldn’t blame you if you let me bleed to death, Doc.”  Their blood types matched.  So, the doctor donated his own blood, saving Mr. Clark’s life and giving himself the opportunity to forgive.”

Hot Days of Summer

As those long hot days of summer are now upon us, Christmas seems so, so far away but truly for a child who has nothing, these shoeboxes are distributed every day to children around the world to help spread the name and message of Jesus Christ.

In June we were blessed to hear from a young man who as a child had received a shoebox.  This young man is now a spokesman for Samaritan’s Purse sharing his message of how that one small shoebox impacted and changed his life.

For the months of July and August we will be collecting school supplies such as crayons, markers, pencils and pens.  Collection boxes are located in the Welcome Center and in Fellowship Hall.  Above all, keep this program in your prayers as they reach out to children and families around the world.

Time to Replenish the Pantry

Summer is the time for vacation and rest.  While we do not pack our children’s backpacks during the summer we shop to replenish our food pantry.

We are ordering some food from the Mountaineer Food Bank at a greatly reduced cost.  Other food we purchase locally when it is on sale.  New backpacks are needed to start the school year.  After the children use a backpack for a full school term they are tattered and dirty.

Please pray for our children during the summer that they will be fed and safe.  Also continue to pray for the continued success of our Backpack Ministry.

For the months of July and August we request you purchase packets of instant oatmeal.

Thanks to you all for your contributions.  God Bless You!