What about shoeboxes this year?

by Debbie Vanaman

I’ve been asked several times recently about what’s going to happen to shoeboxes this year – will we be collecting, will they be processed in Boone or Charlotte and ultimately will they be distributed to children around the world. My answer to them is “God willing – things will go just as they have in the past “. So I am going on that assumption that, with possibly some modifications, our collection week will go on as scheduled in November.”

With our morning worship hopefully getting back on track this month, it’s time to restart our collection effort for our shoebox effort here at FBC. Just last week OCC had a virtual conference which is usually done in person and this conference shared story after story of how something as simple as a shoebox filled with personal items and that special toy helped change a child that changed a family that possibly changed an entire village in a small county halfway around the world. That’s what this ministry is all about – sharing the love of Jesus and how that love impact a child who gives their life to Jesus.

So let’s get this project back on track and start with soap and washcloths. This is one of the things that really excite the children is the smell of that one bar of soap. As you start to get back out shopping, please remember these children and how a bar of soap and a washcloth is part of the personal items that we need for our shoebox project.

Please keep this project in your prayers as we struggle to deal with the impact that COVID-19 is having on the effort to help spread the name of Jesus through something as small and simple as a shoebox. God bless you and thank you for your support and prayers.

Mending Broken Bodies: A Slow Process

by Rev Robert A Wendel

The Lord heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.  I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. I will feed them with Justice.  I, their God, am with them. (Psalm 147:3, Ezekiel 34:16,30 NRSV).

I realized after telling my medical history to my doctor’s assistant, that my broken body is the result of a series of childhood traumas.  Born prematurely with genetic hyper-tension and spastic paraplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, walking has been a daily effort for six score and ten years.

Oh, there has been a list of personal victories like graduating from high school, college and seminary as well as my having been a pastor to four Baptist congregations and having been chaplain in five hospital settings.

My physical disadvantages helped me relate to anyone with broken bodies or minds.  Down deep, I’ve always known that healing is a slow process and that getting through life we must learn to lean on friends.

I can easily remember times when wearing a cast after surgery, I would have to be lifted or carried where I needed to be much like the friends who lifted their friend to the roof, so he could be at the feet of Jesus. (Luke 5:19-25).  May we trust God’s healing method and may He expect our best effort and patience during the restoration.

After 30 years in a wheelchair, Joni Eareckson Tada wrote, “Never doubt in the darkness what you believed in the light.  When hardship settles in, doubt and fear surface.  The only sure dike against such feelings in memory, when in summer, we could enjoy a deep dive into God’s goodness. (Psalm 105).

Pretty Flowers All in a Row

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6:29

If you take a look around our area, we see that the signs of spring and summer are all around. Grass is greener, trees have their leaves now, birds are singing, and folks are planting gardens and flowers.

Again, I remember growing up days on my grandparents’ farm and one of the things my grandmother always did was plant her flowers. You name it, she’d plant it. Ladies at church would swap flowers “starts” and at times get into a “budding feud” about who’s were the prettiest. Funny old women!

Flowers are one of the most beautiful things I think God created. Sometimes I think He created them just for to add some kind of beauty in an otherwise dirty world. They give us happier, peaceful views of life.. When I see how simple but yet how fantastic flowers are, I can’t help thinking that God is still in control and all is right with the world.

People have loved flowers back from the beginning of time and there are different meanings that have been associated with specific ones over the years. Many flowers have come to have several different meanings. We will take a look at just four of them to see what we can learn.

Aster – Contentment

Asters are those pretty little dainty white flowers that have a yellow center. I think they look like wild daisies. We have them growing along the roads here in WV.

One of the meanings associated with the aster flower is contentment. I kind of like that. They are simple yet pretty flowers and they do give me that sense of contentment. Those words in Philippians come to mind.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11

Contentment sure is a nice place to be in our lives. Isn’t it? No matter what the circumstances, we have that ease of satisfaction. The problem I think that people have with contentment is that they get it confused with being complacent. Complacent means we don’t care about things or are unconcerned, but being content is not that. When we are content, we end up caring more because we don’t allow things around us to get us off track. It’s being able to push forward and have that peace no matter what the circumstances.

Camellia – Graciousness

My grandmother had a lot of favorite flowers and Camellias are right there toward the top of her list. She had a large Camellia bush beside the front porch.

The meaning associated with the camellia is graciousness. I think that’s a word we don’t hear used much anymore and we certainly don’t see it displayed much.

It means excellence of manners or social conduct. Shouldn’t we as Christians embody that? The world sure doesn’t. I think if we want to be in full bloom as Christian people we really need to concentrate on being gracious. I have known a few very gracious Christian people in my life and to me that makes them quite breathtakingly beautiful.

A gracious woman retaineth honour… Proverbs 11:16

Larkspur – Beautiful Spirit

The Larkspur is a pretty flower. I’ve mostly seen them in purple but they can be other colors as well. One of the meanings associated with the

Larkspur is a “beautiful spirit”. Wow. That’s something to strive for. I’ve always loved that verse in 1 Peter where it is talking about a “meek and quiet spirit”.

One thing I read about the Larkspur is that some of them have become endangered and that you don’t find as many anymore except for those grown specifically for flower arranging. Kind of like those “meek and quiet spirit” people. There doesn’t seem to be an abundance of them either.

Black Eyed Susan – Encouragement

I’ve always admired the Black Eyed Susan. They are so bright and striking that I think they normally contrast everything around them. The meaning of the Black Eyed Susan is encouragement.

I sure love to be around encouraging people. Don’t you? People that give you that special word you need just at that moment or are there to cheer you on in whatever you are doing at the time. Those bright people definitely contrast with those around them.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Conclusion:
I think there are things in our Christian lives that we have to have like pretty flowers all lined up in a row. Things like these four- contentment, graciousness, meek spirits, and encouragement. There are other things too all involved in our Christian living such as love, compassion, and all those other things Christ taught us. When we have these things in order, we have a tendency to live our Christian lives in a more beautiful way.

No one ever said that the Christian life was easy and when it comes to some of these, it requires a little work. We can’t just put up our little place markers with our flower names on them and expect them to flourish if we leave them alone. They require us to put some energy into them by using those tools of Bible study, prayer, and righteous living.

So, are your flowers all in a row?

ABW April Update

Lizzie Lewis Circle continues to meet on the first Thursday of every month in Fellowship Hall. We will be working on several mission projects and we would love to have you join them.

We are continuing to collect used postage stamps for a mission project and also woman’s tampons, soap, hand sanitizer and deodorant for the Woman’s Resource Center and Helping Hands. Collection boxes for these two projects are located in the church office.

Christmas Seems So Far Away

As the world deals with this Coronavirus Pandemic and the thousands of people who are affected by this, it seems like Christmas is oh so far away. But to the children around the world who receive a shoebox, Christmas not in December but in March, July and September and the rest of the year. These boxes are filled with things that we take for granted like pencils, crayons, toiletry items and that special toy that was bought just for that child. Samaritan’s Purse celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year and Operation Christmas Child is a vital integral part of that ministry.

We’ve been collecting various items since the beginning of the year and for that I thank you. You’ve given us a great start on filling our boxes in November but in these uncertain times, I don’t want you traveling to a store to buy something for our shoeboxes. Yes, I said that – believe it or not. What I am asking you to do for the month of April is donate towards the shipping of these boxes. The cost is $9.00 a box and that goes for the transportation and delivery of these boxes as well as the printed material called “The Greatest Journey” which is included in each box. We will be sending out, hopefully, 100 boxes in November so that means we need $900. While that sounds like an awesome amount, each dollar you donate adds up. You can drop this off or mail it to the church until we resume services.

America for Christ Offering 2020

Through the month of April, we will continue to collect our first mission offering which is the America For Christ offering. This year we will be donating our offering directly to the Weirton Christian Center right here in West Virginia. They have an outstanding day program, after school and summer programs which serve hundreds of children in the Weirton area.

We have set a goal of $1500 and as of March 22nd, we were almost there. Let’s push this offering over the top and let the children of Weirton Christian Center know that they are loved right here in Beckley.

You can send or drop off this offering to the church office until we once again gather in the sanctuary. Just be sure to put America For Christ on the memo line. Please keep these children in your prayers as well as the staff of the center. Thank you and may God bless you.

Pain and Suffering: The Darker Side of Easter

by Rev Robert A Wendel

‘The Son of Man must suffer for the sake of many. Thy will be done.” (Psalm 13; Romans 5:3; Matthew 6:10 RSV)

In the world-wide Christian church the last seven days in the earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth is known as Holy Week. Older and more formal worship communities focus on the Cross of Good Friday and the death of the Savior. Less formal churches highlight the night of the Last Supper. All Christians hail Easter as the highest holiday of each church year.

The Jewish prophet Isaiah wrote about the Passion of Christ some 700 years before it happened. This series of scriptures is known as the Suffering Servant Passages in Chapters 42-53. Isaiah predicted the future birth of Jesus in Chapter Nine (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Since September, I have been learning the power that physical pain can have in a person’s life as I have been battling a persistent case of cellulitis in my lower legs. So, this temporary problem has given me the opportunity to focus on the pain and suffering in the Easter Story.

Palm Sunday is full of joy. The cleansing of the temple came next. Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts, challenging the authority of the religious leaders. Probably on Wednesday of Holy Week an unknown woman washed his feet while Jesus and his disciples were at dinner. Judas betrayed the Master on Wednesday as well.

Thursday was the Passover Seder followed by emotional pain as Jesus prayed in the garden. And, of course, Friday included the suffering and death of the Savior. Let us not overlook his suffering as we mark another Holy Week.

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received him, to them He gave the power to become the sons and daughters of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:1-2, 4, 11-12).

Why do we love? Because we were created to. We are made in the image of divine love. That’s the truth, as Christ reassured us. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make ye free.” (John 8:32). John Talbot

Far Less Than Perfect

In a perfect world, there would be no need for places like Helping Hands but we all know this world is far less than perfect. Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, we’ve had to temporarily adjust our days and hours of operation. Like everyone else, we are concerned for the safety of not only our volunteers but our clients as well. We are making every effort to do both and still be of service to the people of Raleigh County.

Once this medical outbreak is passed, we will resume our regular hours of operation which are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 until noon. We ask that you hold off on any clothing donations as we are inundated with clothing at this time. We continue to need your donations of non-perishable food items. Once we re-open, those donations can be dropped off either at the church or at Helping Hands.

Please continue to pray for us as well as those less fortunate who we will continue to serve.

BAM!

March was a month full of surprises. Everyone was carrying on with their everyday lives then BAM! Coronavirus Pandemic. That changed everything. Suddenly we were faced with self-quarantine advice, grocery and TP hoarding and fear of any cough or sneeze by a stranger.

We were prepared to pack food for our Backpack Kids for March 20th and during the entire school closure. We were told by the Board of Education that they did not want us to send food the first week. At this time we have no idea when we can resume sending backpacks. Since Helping Hands is closed Doc suggested we make up a few bags of food for anyone who came to the church wanting food for their children. We prepared 10 bags packed with some canned food, mac & cheese, etc. If needed they are ready.

Please pray for our Backpack Kids during this time. We trust they will have adequate food to keep them happy and healthy. Thanks to everyone who has contributed time, food, money or prayers for this ministry. May God bless you.

For the month of April please donate Instant Oatmeal Packets. Your donation can be dropped off at the church or you can bring it when we resume services.

“And sitting down they watched him there”

by Pastor Doc Adkins

This week I read the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection again. Each gospel gives a few details that the other three don’t give. I noticed that Matthew gives the only account of the four centurion soldiers sitting at the foot of the cross.

In Mark 15:24, the soldiers cast lots for his garments, but it doesn’t speak of them sitting and watching. Luke’s account of the crucifixion tells that the people stood beholding. John’s account speaks of those who crucified him casting lots for His coat, with the next verse speaking of Mary the mother of Jesus standing at the cross.

I know the soldiers were ordered to guard Jesus carefully because that was the custom of the day. Anyone who was crucified was guarded by soldiers because there was the fear someone might remove them from the cross. Also, the guards had to make sure the crucified actually died. In the case of Jesus, even though they doubted Jesus being who He said He was, they still thought it was possible Jesus might come down off the cross by His own miraculous power.

Even though I understood the why of Jesus being guarded, I wondered, what was the significance of the soldiers sitting and keeping their watch.

Those soldiers who sat and kept guard had more time to not only observe Jesus hanging on the cross, but also to think about what they had done to put Him there. As it turned out those who had driven the nails and sat and guarded Him were the ones who gave the best testimony in their world as to who Jesus Christ was.

Matthew 27:54
Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God”.

The soldiers who sat still and watched Jesus experienced His power first hand. Whatever doubt had been with them as to who Jesus was, ceased to exist when they felt the earth move.

They realized the magnitude of what they had done, driving nails into His hands and feet. I believe they were not only frightened as the verse says, but I believe they were sorrowful for the part they played in His death as well.

All those who simply stood awhile in the crowd and moved on didn’t experience a powerful movement up close and personal like the soldiers who had sat and observed Jesus at the foot of the cross.

Those who simply stood and moved on didn’t realize their part in driving the nails.

They may never have realized that Jesus truly was the Son of God.

They may never have been sorrowful for the part they played in His death.

In our world today there are still those who follow Jesus when it is the convenient and popular thing to do, when things are going good crowds are shouting praise. When things aren’t as exciting they turn their backs on Jesus.

If there is a big Spiritual movement “event” the crowds stand and watch. When they see what they have come to see they go back home.

However, there are Christians who sit and observe Jesus every day. They experience His awesome power first hand and know without a doubt He truly is the Son Of God. They realize the part they played in His death. They know He died for them. They are truly sorrowful and ask Him for His forgiveness.

Today are you sitting at the foot of the cross, or are you simply standing in the crowd?

The very best witnesses for Jesus Christ spend time sitting and observing Him.

JUST A REMINDER
Until at least April 5th, we will not be gathering at the church for services but we will join together for Sunday morning Sunday School and worship by way of our outreach ministries: The radio ministry at 560AM WJLS and the sermon on the web site Facebook page at Facebook.com/ beckleyfirstbaptist.

All Wednesday and Sunday evening services are cancelled through April 5th with a targeted date of Easter Sunday as a new beginning in our church. What a wonderful day to look forward to. We will keep you posted if this date changes.

Please join me in an act of faith. I ask that we faithfully continue to support the church in giving. You may bring your offering by the church office or mail it to First Baptist Church, 422 Neville, St., Beckley, WV 25801 .

Should you need assistance or help with anything: food, transportation, medicine pick ups, etc., please call the church office at 304-253-4252. One of our Deacons or Trustees will be glad to assist you. If there’s someone that you can think of that may not have email or access to the internet, please call them and share this information.