Happy New Year, FBC!

by Pastor Bryan Knight

We will all feel an atmosphere of newness, new number, new roles at church. Some will seek a n new start or what many will call, a new year’s resolution. Have you ever stopped to ask what a new ye year resolution is? Many sources mention its beginnings with the Babylonians thus being adopted by the Romans. And it seems with the Babylonians and Romans that many debts were settled during this time. Now that’s a nice thought. Having any type of debt settled will make anyone excited about the New Year.

The origins of the word “resolution” as applied to our current usage and understanding is slightly comical. According to www.etymonline.com, “late 14c., resolucioun, “a breaking or reducing into parts; process of breaking up, dissolution,” from Old French resolution (14c.) and directly from Latin resolutionem (nominative resolutio) “process of reducing things into simpler forms,” noun of action from past participle stem of resolvere “to loosen”. Well, this sounds like what most folks do with their new lofty goals, they dissolve them.

Around a hundred years later that changed, “In mid-15c. it also meant “frame of mind,” often implying a pious or moral determination. By 1580s as “a statement upon some matter;” hence “formal decision or expression of a meeting or assembly,” c. 1600. New Year’s resolution in reference to a specific intention to better oneself is from at least the 1780s, and through 19c. they generally were of a pious nature.” Now this definition makes more sense. I see nothing wrong with a person pursuing to better themselves.

Many will make resolutions to promote their health, such as diet, physical fitness etc. Most will neglect their spiritual growth, while suggesting they will grow closer to God. 1 Timothy 4:7b-10, “… Rather, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily training is just slightly beneficial, but godliness is beneficial for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all mankind, especially of believers.”

If we apply this to the reality of God/YHWH and the scriptures, we see the debt of sin. Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, …”, we have inherited the sin nature. We all owe a debt to God. This debt isn’t paid once a year nor during any new year or change of a number. Our debt was paid by Christ, as you well know. Promoting the Great Commission must be at the core of our new goals! Not just once a year, but daily! For each day, each breath is a blessing and a new opportunity to present the Gospel message of Christ. Create a perpetual New Day’s Resolution attached to Matthew 28.

ABW Update

Our ladies meet the first Thursday of every month 12 :15 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. We have several mission projects that we are working on and would love to have you join us. Our “undie Sunday” project is going well. Each month we ask the congregation the last Sunday of each month to bring in underwear and socks for children. These items are taken over to Helping Hands and distributed from there.

A Note About Our Sanctuary Decorations

You may have noticed a change in our Chrismon Tree this year. The large tree standing behind me contains many symbolisms of the life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  First and foremost this tree is an evergreen, to represent Eternal Life.  Just as John 3:16 says “ For God so loved the world, He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life… 

The tree is ablaze with over seven thousand lights, Chrismons, crosses, and other shiny  items reflecting light, just as Jesus is the Light unto our path.  John 8:12 tells us, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I Am the light of the world, whosoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

This humble tree bears sprigs of white berries to reflect Jesus’ pure words found in John 15 “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from Me, you can do nothing.” 

The bows on the tree simply seem to say, “Blessed be the tie that binds.” 

Also hanging from its branches are 33 crimson red ornaments, each representing a single drop of the precious blood of Jesus, one for each year He walked upon this earth, leading, guiding, teaching, preaching, and ultimately dying for our sin, to be gloriously resurrected that we might be saved, to live eternally with Him. 

As you look at this tree this year, look beyond the earthly items so humbly placed, and look deeply into the effects of the meaning of each, that you might be blessed in the beauty and splendor of Jesus, of Christmas, and this season of celebration of Jesus, his birth, and His Love. 

Merry Christmas FBC. You are loved. You are appreciated! 

Operation Christmas Child 2023

As the year winds to a close, so does our shoebox season for this year. Through your generosity both in donations and monetary contributions, we were able to send 227 gospel opportunities, otherwise known as shoeboxes. That’s 227 children that will be blessed to know that someone they will never meet loved them enough to pack a shoebox just for them.

This was a huge undertaking that could only have been completed through your help. We collected all year what needed to be collected. We had a huge packing party that was successful beyond what we had estimated. We packed cartons and delivered those cartons to the drop off location without a hitch thanks to Pastor Bryan and Matt.

This year was a different year because it was the first year we were not a drop off location but God knew exactly what he was doing. He placed the right people in the right place at the right time and the task was completed in record numbers and for that, again, I thank you.

For the remainder of the year, please pray for the people that will be in charge of moving these millions and millions of boxes to their locations and for the people who will present these boxes to the children in countries around the world.

One more thing, if you see a bargain in kids gloves, pick them up because that’s what we will be collecting in January.

Thanks a bunch again for all your help.

Helping Hands Continue to Reach Out

Our Helping Hands Resource Center continues to reach out to the community with non-perishable food, clothing, blankets and coats. God has truly blessed this ministry because we had two 20-foot U-Haul trucks of food from the Mountaineer Food Bank in November full of food that will be distributed to our clients. Your prayers, donations of food, blankets and coats is greatly appreciated but as the weather turns colder the need still continues especially for blankets.

We also have a day in December where we distribute toys to our clients’ children. This is a special day that we all look forward to and take joy in seeing that their children will receive at least one new toy for their Christmas.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support and keep it coming.

Our Backpack Program Goes Above and Beyond

Our volunteers have been shopping for our 22 Backpack children. Each child has a wish list they have completed with the help of their teachers. Our volunteers do a wonderful job finding clothing first then purchase toys with any money left.  They all do a great job wrapping each gift to surprise the children.  We will have all the gifts back to the church by December 11th to be delivered to the school. The school will notify each parent or guardian to pick the gifts up before Christmas vacation.

Thanks to each of the volunteers for shopping. Thanks to everyone who has donated food, money or prayed for our Backpack children.

Please donate fruit cups for the month of December.

It’s Christmas Time Again

It’s Christmas time again and what a blessed time it is. According to Luke 2:14 God is pleased with men and peace has been offered. Luke 2:13-14, “13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’” That peace is in the name Jesus Christ. Isaiah 7:14 tells us, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” And this prophecy is fulfilled with the acknowledgment of Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”

עִמָּנוּאֵל/`Immanuw’el—Immanuel = “God with us” or “with us is God”. Symbolic and prophetic name of the Messiah, the Christ, prophesying that He would be born of a virgin and would be ‘God with us’. (Hebrew)

Ἐμμανουήλ/Emmanouēl—Emmanuel = “God with us”. The title applied to the Messiah, born of the virgin, Mt 1:23, Is. 7:14, because Jesus was God united with man, and showed that God was dwelling with man. (Koine Greek)

Remember how blessed you are this Xmas (Christmas) season as a Xian (Christian) and spread the “PEACE” of Xmas through sharing, with “LOVE”, that Ἰησοῦ (Jesus/Iēsous) Χριστός (Christ/Christos: Koine Greek) is the giver of life, the author of peace and the epitome of love. We all know the world will attempt to reject and remove Christ from any area, but instead of driving a wedge of dissension between them and the Gospel say, “Thank you for being more traditional than myself and wishing a Merry Xmas by using the original Greek terminology because you can’t spell Christ in the Greek without an ‘X’. And according to Indiana Jones, “X marks the spot.” In this case “X” marks the spot of Salvation and Peace with God/YHWH/יְהֹוָה.

Christmas Blessings! Pastor Bryan

Backpack Update

Our Backpack Ministry is in full swing feeding our backpack children at Beckley Elementary School. As food prices continue to rise we keep looking to every source for lowest prices available.

We have an opportunity to receive some money from the Posey Perry Emergency Food Distribution Fund. I am submitting a grant proposal to request funds from that program.  Hopefully we will be granted some
money to help us with rising food costs.

Thanks to each one of you who has donated cash, food or prayed for our backpack children. May God bless each one of you!

For the month of November please donate tomato or chicken noodle soup.

Helping Hands Needs Blankets and Coats

Helping Hands is continuing to help those less fortunate with food and clothing. The Lord has blessed us with a monthly truck from the Mountaineer Food Bank that we purchase food at a discounted rate. We had so much food for November we had to get another truck – what a true blessing. Our numbers continue to grow weekly and now that the weather is turning colder the need for coats and blankets is growing as well. WE NEED BLANKETS AND COATS AND LOTS OF THEM. They can either be new or “slightly” used. We also are always in need of soap, toilet paper and non-perishable food.

ABW: Join Us!

Our ladies meet the first Thursday of every month 12 :15 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. We have several mission projects that we are working on and would love to have you join us. Our “undie Sunday” project is going well. Each month we ask the congregation the last Sunday of each month to bring in underwear and socks for children. These items are taken over to Helping Hands and distributed from there.