Shoeboxes and Gospel Opportunities

Copied this from a Facebook post about Operation Christmas Child.

We never know what might happen during our packing parties, with all the excitement of picking out gifts running high. Everyone is smiling and laughing, talking and just having a good time being together. Well at our party tonight, something extra special happened. Near the end of our party, I noticed our Pastor kneeling next to one of our middle school girls. She was quietly crying. Then he motioned for her Mom to come over. They started praying, and afterwards, we found out that she had asked Jesus into her heart, and wants to be baptized! Best packing party ever!! THIS IS JUST AN ADDED BENEFIT TO WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO !!!

November is the month that OCC is in high gear all month. Collection week starts November 13th and goes to November 20th and Calvary Assembly of God Church is the new central drop off point. From Calvary Assembly they will start their journey to either Boone or Charlotte, North Carolina and from there they travel to places you and I may have never heard of. These “gospel opportunities” reach thousands and thousands of children each year who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ and through this simple box their lives, their families lives and possibly their village or town may come to know the saving grace of our Lord and Savior. YOUR BOXES NEED TO BE RETURNED BY NOV. 13TH

What I am asking for this month and through the end of the year and into 2024 is very simple. In your daily devotions, please lift up Operation Christmas Child as these boxes are distributed. Pray that the teams of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers stay safe and that these “gospel opportunities” get to where God wants them to be. As always, you are an awesome congregation and your prayers and support are appreciated.

Silent Auction

Come join in the fun on Saturday, November 4, 2023 from 10 to 12 to bid on church memorabilia and furnishings. The deaconesses along with Howard’s assistance and skill are redecorating the parlor which has been due a facelift. With the purchase of new couches and chairs, the old furniture needs a new home.

Along with the parlor furniture, all floors have been searched for treasures not being used. Furniture, pictures, and decorations will be displayed in Fellowship Hall where you can peruse the items and place a bid. The deaconesses thought a time of sharing memories, laughter, and donuts would be a way to clean the church and make extra money for parlor refurbishing.

Each bidder will be assigned a number to identify their bid and a bid sheet will be attached to each item, where you’ll write your assigned number and bid amount. The winners will be announced shortly after 12 and you will be able to take your special treasure home with you.

We look forward to a day filled with laughter and a less cluttered church as a result.

Happy Thanksgiving, Church Family

Without a doubt, if I were to ask you all to list the many ways in which God has blessed you this year, your lists of blessings would be long. The question concerning these blessings is, “Are we showing God what our thankfulness look like?” Several of you may reply that you thank Him every day, but that’s not the question. The question is, “Are we showing God what our thankfulness looks like?”

Abundant blessings can sometimes cause a case of complacency. It’s that moment when we settle into our secure routine life where we don’t allow disruptions or interferences. Most pastors are concerned with how quickly young Christians grow, but wonder how many mature Christians have stopped growing. Shepherds love to observe young Christians when they are bold and expressive about what they’ve just experienced, but it’s the mature Christian that has forgotten that thankful feeling. So how do we express our thankfulness to God outwardly? It’s what I call God’s “Truffle of Stewardship”.

Romans 12:1-2, “1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Paul sums up our roles as Christians in these two verses. We are to pursue this renewal of our minds! Renewal—ἀνακαίνωσις—anakainōsis—a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better. This word “renewing” leads us directly into God’s will for our individual lives, and it’s good, acceptable and perfect. This renewal model deserves thankfulness to God.

There are two wonderful areas where thankfulness is outwardly expressed toward God. In Psalm 100:4, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Church, the only way to express biblical thankfulness is to “enter His gates” and “called in one body”, this is developed through church fellowship!

Being stewards of God in the body of Christ fulfills the good, acceptable and perfect Will of God. This area of stewardship is an all-encompassing church wide response. Only then are we able to act upon our individual stewardship and apply them into our church body. This is all driven by the Holy Spirit compelling us to listen to Him and act upon His convictions.

In conclusion, we are approaching a new year in our church administration. In order to fulfill our Vision/Mission of Preaching, Teaching and Reaching our church family must fill roles/duties/responsibilities. I’m asking you to please pray about how God can use you and how you can get plugged into our mission. Church unity inside the walls must be pursued in order to impact the community outside the walls. Be thankful for opportunity to use your gifts. Be thankful God has allowed us to have a base to prepare.

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. 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.

Gearing Up for Shoebox Collection Week

As things gear up to collection week in November, we shift into high gear to get ready. We will be having a packing party on the 21st of October at 10AM to pack all the donations you’ve given during the year. We have 120 boxes to pack and that’s where the fun happens. You get to pack a box for a child that will receive it who might never have heard the name Jesus and how much He loves them. So join us on the 21st and let’s have some fun. For the month of October we will be collecting money to ship these boxes. Just place a check in with your regular offering and mark it shoeboxes and it will get to the right place. As always, keep this ministry in your prayers as they distribute these boxes to children around the world and share the love of Jesus.

Your Support and Prayers Go a Long Way

Helping Hands is continuing to help the people of Beckley and Raleigh County and your support and prayers have gone a long way in helping us do this. As summer draws to a close and the weather starts to turn cooler, we need blankets and lots of them.

In one week in September we served over 200 families with food and clothing and this is where you can help. We need non-perishable food and meat. Our food shelves and freezers are almost bare which means we have to go to the grocery store or the food bank and buy food and with the rising cost of food, as you well know, this uses money that might otherwise be used for other purposes. Your prayers are appreciated as we continue to lend a helping hand to those in need.

FBC’s Backpack Ministry Celebrates an Anniversary

For the tenth year we are providing weekend food for children at Beckley Elementary who may not have adequate food at home. I know it is hard for us to imagine our own children being in this situation. Our church congregation and our friends have made it possible to feed these children during the school year. We Praise God for your giving to our Backpack Ministry to make it successful all these years! Thanks to each one of you!

For the month of October, please donate pudding cups.

The Beginning and the End

For many, the month of October isn’t the beginning of, well, much of anything, but the end of several things. It marks the dwindling sunlight with shorter days, the end of the harvest, the end of warm weather and the end of that feeling in the air, the feel of summer. These feelings are only regional for the Northern Hemisphere because this is the beginning of early autumn. It is also the celebration of a new year according to the Jewish calendar (Sept/Oct; Leviticus 23:23-32). In fact, there are three festivals celebrated during this time in Judaism, the Feast of Trumpets (Jewish New Year; Rosh Hashanah Numbers 29:1-6); the Feast of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur Leviticus 23:26-32) and the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles or Ingathering Nehemiah 8:13-18).

So why do so many look at October with disdain or depression? My dad never looked at this time of the year that way. We would enjoy rides through the country fascinated at the colors of the changing leaves. This was also time for my dad’s ability to prepare his signature pickled corn in an old-fashioned crock. There was another practical reason dad enjoyed this time of year, long sleeves. This would mark the end of sweating for the Knight generation. We could finally walk outside without a sweat towel. It’s this idea of things ending that October ushers in that holiday which for some is marked with darkness and creepy things, Halloween!

Where did this celebration of the dead come from? How should a Christian approach such a celebration supposedly rooted in paganism? We must look a little closer to the origin and then consider our own hearts in the matter of the celebration. We must enter the land of Ireland/Scotland.

Tradition holds that a group known as the Gaelic’s lived in this area and celebrated Samhain, a festival that marked the end of the harvest and beginning of winter. Often celebrated on October 31st and November 1st. Samhain is believed to have been rooted in Celtic paganism and is mentioned in Irish literature and mythology. The early customs were to gather all resources to close proximity. They would choose which livestock to consume for food over the winter and gather the dead crops in piles to be burned. Some of these piles were very large and considered bonfires that accompanied rituals. But this is not exactly where Halloween spawned. The Romans celebrated Lemuria, a feast where they would attempt to rid their homes of fearful ghosts on May 13th. According to the promptings of Pope Gregory III (731-741; most powerful/influential pope in history) the feast of All Hallows’ day was moved from May 13th to November 1st in an effort to overlap two pagan/false religion festivals. This ultimatly led to the currently known holiday of Halloween.

So how are Christians to approach this festival/holiday? I can’t help but think of Romans chapter 14 where we are presented with the Law of Liberty and the Law of Love. Christians understand God to be sovereign and He alone has allowed things to come into being, including Halloween. However, in light of God’s Word in Romans 14 we should not provoke our brothers and sisters who view this holiday to be a stumbling block to participate. Allow those who wish to refrain to refrain, but for those that wish to participate, as your shepherd, I only ask one thing, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. That being said, we should understand that God alone is LORD and no other. Regardless if Halloween has roots in a pagan holiday, we should avoid applying validity to false worship, for their bonfires and festival rituals meant nothing, because they were dedicated to “nothing”. Only God handed them over to their depravity.

On Halloween October 31, 2023 celebrate in the manner you see fit according to your conscience and convictions in line with God’s Word. Celebrate five-hundred-five years ago in history, on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses upon the annals of Christendom and dress up in costumes with the intent of sharing Jesus. We are to be the light and salt of the world, so dress up as a candle, dress up as a Maglite, dress up as a container of Morton Salt, you can also dress up as dry bones come to life from Ezekiel 37:1-14. Go Trick-or-Treating with the Gospel on the tip of your tongue, but before you go ask where your heart is at on the matter.

Blessings In Christ, Pastor Bryan W. Knight