The Autumn…A Season of Change

by Pastor Doc Adkins

My teenage autumns in Hinton hold precious memories—the fall revival at church, unpacking warmer clothing, steaming hot kettles of soup and the smell of baking cornbread and many other dishes would flood the old farm house with the “smell of autumn, an abundant harvest, fires in the “cook stoves and coal stoves”, a well-stocked pantry, and best of all—HUNTING SEASON AND FOOTBALL! I loved it.

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 ever 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, steady decline in our vitality and health. Sometimes we feel outdated at work.

But amid all the changes, one thing, one person, never changes—our eternal God.

J.I. 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?

Life is always a matter of perspective!

School already?

Can you believe our kids are back in school already?  Where did the summer go?  To celebrate the end of a great summer, Beckley First Baptist hosted a back-to-school bash.  Fellowship, food, games, and a little karaoke worked to get our kids ready for school—at least tried to, anyway.  Twenty-three kids and their families participated.

The church picnic is coming up on September 14th.  Lots of games—including a watermelon eating contest—are planned.

The Fall Youth Rally at Camp Cowen will be held on Saturday, September 20th.  The cost to attend is only $5, and the church will provide transportation.  Please contact Pastor Doc or Debbie Vaught for more information or to register.

September ABW

by Norma Gunter

My job as Mission and Service Coordinator is to communicate missions to my whole church and keep you involved.  In the last BEAM I shared about several projects the ABW is working on this year.  The first is the MOP (Mission Outreach Project).  The goal has been set at $6,000 for the state.

The MOP is “Tablets for Education.”  Missionaries Rick & Anita Gutierrez are American Baptist Foreign Mission Society Missionaries in Durban, South Africa.  Together they discern unmet health needs of the people and train members in health skills that can be used in concert with evangelistic outreach.

Their job is to train health builders using the latest technologies, like computer tablets, to teach.  On these tablets they show videos about health and agricultural practices as well as record keeping of health encounters and an updatable health training manual.

The videos are used by members of Discovery Bible Groups, which is established by each health builder.  The members of this Bible Discovery Group are learning God’s word together on a weekly basis.  Scripture passage are shared and discussed and the people are challenged to obey.  People have said they learned more about God and Jesus in one session of Discovery Bible Group than listening to hours  long traditional Zulu sermons.  This way of approaching the Bible is unique, powerful and can spread and sustain itself without professional or trained facilitators.  It is also an important way to teach and build skills.

Lives are changed when people encounter the God of the Bible in a discovery format, and embrace God’s word.  Rick and Anita need our help to purchase a video camera/sound equipment, tablets and money to produce videos.  They need to create videos on “poultry egg incubation for the backyard gardener” in Zulu/English professionally translated, edited and voice over.  The goal of $6,000 will meet their needs and strengthen this vital ministry among the Zulu people.

Next time I will share another ABW project.  Earlier this month one of the biggest celebrations in the history of International Ministries was held at our Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wisconsin.  The celebration was for 200 years of overseas Global Missions.  All of our global missionaries and their families as well as representatives from most of our global partners and a full bus load of West Virginia Baptists were there.  John Simmons, WV Baptist  Associate Executive Minister, reported in the “West Virginia Baptist Newsletter” that, “Those of us blessed to be there on opening night heard the packed house of l,300 sing HOW GREAT THOU ART, each in their own language. The tent was filled with the awesome presence of God.”  How I wish I could have been there.  I’ve been blessed with two visits to Green Lake in the past and hope to go there again.

If you do not receive the “West Virginia Baptist Newsletter” notify the church office.  Another magazine is “Seasons” a publication of American Baptist Women’s Ministries.  Both are filled with information.

Ladies, start making plans to attend the next ABW state event, the Spiritual Growth Retreat September 26-28 at Parchment Valley.  The theme is “Catching your Breath:  Discovering Your Sabbath.”

Being a Bridge Over Troubled Waters

by Rev Robert Wendel

The worst word in the English language is hopeless.   It certainly is a negative adjective.  Hearing of the unexpected, sudden, premature death of actor/comedian Robin Williams who, reportedly, took his own life, I couldn’t help but wonder what might have prevented such a tragedy.

In my fifth year as pastor of Fredonia Baptist Church in New York, I had the sad duty of conducting the funeral service for a second semester freshman at the State University of New York in Fredonia.  Academically, he was doing fine.  But, to solve a temporary personal problem, he chose a solution that was final.

This young man was much loved.  The sanctuary was filled to overflowing with family, friends, classmates, teachers and college staff.  They all had lost a son, brother, nephew, grandson, friend and a good student who felt isolated and unable to see past the dark hole of his own pain.

During the service, I asked for a show of hands from those who would not mind a telephone call in the wee hours of the morning from a depressed friend who needed to talk.  Every hand was raised, without hesitation.  Literally, they all would have helped this guy had he only called.  Suicide is not a solution.

As one of only a handful of ABC endorsed institutional chaplains and pastoral counselors in West Virginia, one of my favorite Bible verses has become when Saint Paul advised the Galatians “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (6:2, NRSV).

Heartaches bring people together. Christian friendships have an immense power to mend a broken spirit.  A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.  We never forget those with whom we have cried.  Healing happens from the inside out, felt but unseen.

Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, whose own son committed suicide, turned to what Paul wrote to the young Christians in Rome saying “I mean I want us to help each other with the faith we have.  Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you” (1:12, NCV).

Rev. Warren explains “In authentic Christian fellowship people should experience a mutual dependency.   This mutuality is the art of giving and receiving: it’s depending on each other.  All of us are more consistent in our faith when others walk with us and encourage us.”  Be a bridge for someone !

The next Men’s Prayer Breakfast is Saturday, September 13th.   Mike White will be doing a presentation on his recent trip to the Holy Land.    This is something you won’t want to miss !!!

Real Children!

by Joyce Mills

Real children!  Children attending Beckley Elementary School!  They live very near to us and they are hungry.  How can that be?  Most of these children have parents who work, maybe even two jobs, but they don’t make enough to pay their bills and buy enough food for their families.

Hunger is one of the many faces of poverty.  Hunger weakens children.  Hunger also keeps a child from learning.  Hunger increases the reason for children being absent from school.  There are many things that can be caused by hunger but it is good to know that we might be making a difference for some children.  AND, we do know that attendance is better on Friday when the food backpacks are picked up by the children for the weekend. The backpacks packed by FBC are filled with very nutritious food.

Each item of food has to be child friendly.  There can be no glass in the backpack.  Only food that needs no refrigeration can be put in the backpack. Here is a sample for one child for one weekend:

Breakfast                                                   Lunch                                             Dinner                                             Snacks

2 Oatmeal packets                              1 jar Peanut Butter                     1 Pasta/with Meat                         1 Cereal Bar

2 Hot Chocolate packets                  1 Ramen Noodle packet          1 can Green Beans                          2 Pudding Cups

1 loaf Bread                                            1 Cheese/Crackers                    1 Chili with Beans                           2 Fruit Cups

The cost for one child for each weekend is between $6.00 – $7.00.  Each time you provide any amount of money you are helping to make a difference for a child.  We appreciate any amount of money that you give. THANKS to you who have kept your contributions coming all summer AND also, for the food that you have kept bringing.

It is great to welcome some parents and their children who will be learning more about hungry children as they help pack the backpacks. This mission field is right here in Beckley.

In Matthew 25:35-40 Jesus says “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…….” Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry?”  The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  The real evidence of our belief is the way we act. What we do for others really demonstrates what we think of Jesus’ words to us-feed the hungry!

For the month of September you are asked to bring Beanie Weenies. (Any size)  Just put the cans on the back counter in the kitchen. Thanks for your help!

This is why we do what we do

This is why we do what we do.

“After one distribution event in Lithuania, one young woman came up to us and told us that she had received a shoebox in the same place ten years ago. She hardly could hold her tears back because the event and the shoebox she received at that time made a great impact in her life. Her parents would not allow her to go to church, but she would read the booklet ‘The Greatest Gift of All’ and pray to Jesus. This year she came to the OCC event with her child and decided to join the local church.”

We will be collecting school supplies and personal items such as soap, washcloths, toothbrush & toothpaste during the month of  September.

We will use these donations to create 75 extra shoeboxes.

Last year you stepped up when you were challenged and we did 50 plus.  I know we can meet and surpass this goal.   There are large Samaritan’s Purse cartons in the sanctuary and in Fellowship Hall for your donations.

So let’s start shopping and help change a child’s life.

God’s Portrait

by Doc Adkins

My favorite season of the year is the fall.  Football, hunting, the crispness of the season are just a few things that comes to mind when I think of the Fall.  Of course, the grandest of all is the change Fall brings. Colors that only an artist could ever imagine.

Immediately it makes us think of royalty and the greatest Painter of all–the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the Master Painter. Just look at His creation–the trees, the sky, and the red and gold fall season that is soon upon us.

I can picture the Lord with His golden brush painting each individual leaf on those massive trees that line the mountainsides. Red, green, brown, orange, and gold colors, so vivid that our minds and hearts swell with praise.

Venturing into the crisp, cool air of the morning is usually a welcome change from the intense summer heat.  Yet for us in our area it seemed like we had a short summer and lack of hot temperatures.

Even here the Lord has it all under control. It may be shorter or longer than what we think we’d like. Sometimes summer seems to never end and, at other times, winter seems too long. But winter, spring, summer, and fall, God wants and will have them all.

He takes His golden brush and paints up the world. He also adds His golden touch to our lives if we let Him.

He is painting our lives in His special way, so that we might add color to this dark world. What if this was a land without color? It would be boring, dull, and gloomy. One of the reasons God created the seasons was to add His golden touch.

We are to be a light to the world we live in. Hopefully, we’re bringing life to our surroundings. Let us give the Lord permission to change us, to add that splash of gold. Then we can be a welcome change in this life filled with people who need a dab of paint upon their minds and hearts. Their lives can be changed when they realize that they too are a work of art so that the Master of their soul can say; “Now you are My child, and I can display you for all the world to see.”

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.”(Genesis 1:14, NIV)  “The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.” (Proverbs 13:9, NIV)

Beckley Day of Hope



10:00 am.

YMCA Soccer Complex

A variety of healthcare services will be available as well as a prayer tent.

Hope Starts here in your city, your community, your neighborhood. The Convoy of Hope event is just the beginning of a long-lasting movement that has the power to transform people’s lives, inspire compassion and service and bring people and organizations together like never before. This is a collaborative effort to bring hope to a city through free groceries, health screenings, job fairs, family portraits, haircuts, prayer, activities for children and more.

Volunteers are needed to help in the event. 

Call 304-252-0717 or contact Rev. Wendel if you can help.

FBC Kids & Youth Summer Activites

What an exciting start to our summer!  We loved VBS–all the great crafts, snacks, games and story times that strengthen our friendships and help us to grow in His word.  A special thanks to all who volunteered to help make our VBS such a success!

What activities are coming up for our kids?

June 29th: We will be packing bags for our school backpack ministry.  Please try to attend this very special event. I promise you will be blessed!

July 6th:  We will be sending our kids to Camp Cowen.  Are you curious about the camp?  Would you like to visit when we take our kids?  You’re invited.  We want to use this opportunity to introduce Camp Cowen to future campers.  Please contact Debbie Vaught or Pastor Doc for details.

July 24th-26th:  Pastor Doc is hosting a fishing & camping trip.  Please contact Doc if you are interested in participating.

August 2nd-3rd: Bobby Neal and Cliff McGlothlin are planning an overnight backpacking trip at Mt. Rogers National Recreational Area.  Please contact Bobby or Cliff for more information.

August will be busy, too! A back to school party and a trip to a WV Power baseball game are planned.

Stay connected with our kids for lots of exciting times.  Follow us on Twitter (@beckleyfbc) and Instagram (beckleyfirstbaptist).

ABW Mission and Service

by Norma Gunter

In the June issue of the BEAM I mentioned that 10 women from Beckley FBC were going to the AB Women’s Ministries Conference, Women & Girls Weekend June 6-7 at Parchment Valley Conference Center.  The theme for this years conference was “A Time to Serve & Make a Difference”.  The scripture verse was “To equip His people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up.”  Ephesians 4:12.

My sister and I started our trip on Friday June 6 by stopping at CAMC in Charleston to see my aunt Nell Jean Smith, my mother’s sister, the last of a family of 12.  She was alert and seemed to enjoy our visit.  She had fought a two year battle with ovarian cancer and was losing.

Registration started at 3pm on Friday at the Conference Building followed by dinner at 5:30pm in the Barn.  We returned to the Conference Building for the 7pm session.  After the singing we were welcomed by Janey Carrico, Conference Coordinator.  The speakers for the evening was Debbie & Baillie Myers our International Ministries Missionaries serving in Puebla, Mexico.  Debbie works with the leaders and women of 32 indigenous churches within their region.  Baillie is a 14 year old freshman at the Puebla Christian School.

The other 8 women from FBC arrived Saturday morning.  They became a part of the 157 women and girls from around West Virginia.  During the morning session we were introduced to the State Officers, our 7 Scholarship Girls, Mission Outreach Project (MOP), Special Project and the Million Women Movement. (more about  these next month).  Debbie and Baillie spoke again during the morning session.  Training for the ABW officers was held in different locations and the 5 Kaleidoscope of Kindness groups met again before lunch.

After lunch the group gathered in front of Santrock Education Center for the dedication of the Dorothy Tree in memory of Dorothy Santrock.  Before the afternoon session we again chose a Kaleidoscope of Kindness group to attend.

Debbie spoke again before the closing and Baillie sang.  Almost $527 was raised for the MOP project and $350 for the Special Project.  Another offering was taken for a special project chosen by Debbie to be used in Mexico. (More later). The Conference ended with a closing celebration.

I got to see four of the women who were with me at Deborah’s House in Mexico last year and made new friends, especially with the women from the Parchment Valley Baptist Church who knew my aunt and taught the Kaleidoscope of Kindness group on “Whisper Prayer Pillows.”

Before we left for Beckley, my sister and I stopped at my aunt’s home there in Ripley (at her request) to see her flowers and visit with the family.  Little did we know then that a little over a week later we would be back at the Parchment Valley Baptist Church for my aunt’s funeral.

After the funeral and the delicious meal at the Parchment Valley Baptist Church we drove through the Parchment Valley Conference Center grounds to show some of our relatives our Baptist treasure.  If you haven’t been to your Parchment Valley Conference Center make plans to attend the next scheduled event.