February is here!

February is here! That means all of the husbands and boyfriends will wait until the 13th to stand in the card aisle together and aimlessly look for that one special card that reminds those wonderful women in their lives of how lucky they are to have them. It’s that traditional Valentine’s Day message that shows those we love how much we actually love them. But, does that identify the love we have for our wives/husbands/girlfriends/boyfriends? I hope you don’t spend 365 days a year with your loved ones and only select one day to express your love for them.

See, in John 13:34-35, Jesus tells his disciples, “34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” This love that Jesus is talking about here isn’t that deep intimate love that we may feel or show with our spouses, but it is a deep respect or fondness of one another. In the Greek it’s ἀγαπάω/agapaō—of persons; to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly. It’s through respect and humility that we treat each other with love and kindness. All of these things we must learn to develop and show as Christians. It’s an attitude that we raise our kids with in the hopes that they also will show the same to those around them.

I wonder how many people are turned off from hearing the Gospel message based on their observations of how we treat one another? Can we challenge ourselves to show hospitality and encouragement to our church family? Can we do some introspection of our personal walk and devote some effort to build upon these wonderful qualities?

As your Pastor, I want to challenge you all to make a change this year. Within our church we have many areas of need and many more areas of opportunities to serve. Please don’t wait to be asked to be involved, see an area and feel a tug, then make a move to commit. Our church environment is only as healthy as your personal walk. Take time to ask yourself what you can do to show love within First Baptist Church. Blessings.

In Christ, Pastor Bryan W. Knight

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 new start or what many will call, a new year’s resolution. Have you ever stopped to ask what a new 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.

Christmas Blessings!

by Pastor Bryan

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

Happy Thanksgiving 2022, 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 looks 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. Blessings

Pastor Bryan Knight

Thoughts from Pastor Bryan

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 ultimately 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, 2022 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-page theses upon the annals of Christendom and dressed 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

The Knight Family

I was born in Princeton, raised in Pipestem and matured in Oak Hill. I started my church experience with Cooks Chapel Church in Pipestem, WV. Megan was born and raised in Beckley, to a loving Christian family. Her family has attended Crab Orchard Baptist Church since before she was born and remain active members there. Megan graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 2002 and Bryan graduated from Oak Hill High School in 1997, then both attended Concord University where Megan earned an Elementary Education degree and Bryan earned a Regents in 2005

Also in 2005, Megan married her “Knight in shining armor” (her words! lol), and we have spent the past 17 years on an adventure together, pursuing God’s plan for our lives and how we might serve Him. After our wedding in June, we moved to Lynchburg, VA, where I attended seminary at Liberty University. There I received my Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Religion, and Megan began her first teaching job in Bedford County Schools. Upon my graduation in 2009, we joined a team of church planters and moved to Charlottesville, VA for a year and a half. In 2010, we moved back to WV when I became a Chaplain in the Air National Guard, returning to the 130th unit in Charleston where I had served 8 years before we got married (1997-2005 Enlisted; Air Transportation).

In 2011, I was called to be the pastor at Oak Hill Baptist Church where we served for 4 years in my home town. Megan taught in Fayette County as a Title I teacher until our daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 2014. Since she was now Megan’s most important student, she stayed home with her for 7 years to care for her and nurture her while serving alongside me in full time ministry. As our adventure continued, God called us to move to Parkersburg, WV where I pastored Pine Grove Baptist Church for 4 years and Megan served as Children’s Director.

Our most recent move brought us back home to Beckley in September of 2020. I was called to be a full-time Chaplain with the 130th and we were able to come back to family! Last fall Megan returned to teaching and was a Title I teacher at New River Primary. This coming year she will be teaching at Crescent Elementary in 1st grade and Elizabeth will be attending 3rd Grade at Crescent Elementary.

We are delighted and blessed to begin a wonderful God-given ministry at Beckley First Baptist Church! Our family looks forward to getting to know each of you better as we

grow alongside each other in Christ!

Pastor Bryan Knight