How can it possibly be July already?

It seems like just yesterday I was looking at my bag of salt wondering if I would need any more to get through “the winter that would never end.”

When you think of the month of July, what comes to your mind? Family gatherings, ice cream, apple pie and fireworks? Right?

What comes to mind for me are two subjects that don’t really seem to go together but they should? They are faith and patriotism. Having served in the military with a tour in the Republic of South Vietnam, I know that you need both!

I was a product of the 60’s when it seemed like the only constant was change. The generation before us were very patriotic; some men would lie about their age so that they could go and serve – my generation went to Canada to escape the draft, the war and service to their country. When I returned from Vietnam, what I saw was young people burning the American flag, burning their draft cards and anti-war demonstrations.

During my time in Vietnam, I noticed that the attendance at chapel services was directly related to the number of missile attacks we experienced during the week. It is true “There are no atheists in fox holes.” Everyone seemed to have that “come to Jesus” moment! (missiles and bullets don’t care who they kill!)

Although not in the ministry then, I found myself talking to people about their faith. What did they believe… is there a God…? Who is Jesus to you? Very often they would go to chapel with me, but just as often they would go drinking to help them forget where they were. In the middle of a war zone, fighting people you had never heard of until the evening news and of course the draft board.

I had a friend, his name was Frick Findley who was from New York. He drank every day he was in-country, said he did not want to remember any of this year – many people felt that way – some “forgetting” with alcohol; others “forgetting” with drugs.

We fight wars in other countries so that we don’t have to fight in the good ole U.S.A. We fight for freedom – even the freedom to burn the flag! I don’t agree with burning the flag. I think it’s wrong! But freedom isn’t just for the people that agree with me but freedom should be for all! True patriots, not those people that attacked our capital, will fight for people of all races, genders and political parties, to be free, here and in other countries. Doing the right thing doesn’t have borders or boundaries.

Faith – I know who I believe in and when I lay my head down, whether here or in the Republic of South Vietnam, I know this is not my home, I’m just passing through!

Do you remember the children’s prayer we were taught! Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Faith is knowing that your eternal home has been assured when you know “blessed assurance, Jesus is Mine” and I am His!

Have a great rest of the summer, hope to see you at the church’s annual picnic in September. Love you in Jesus’ name.

Pastor Rick

Summertime is Wonderful

by Pastor Rick Watson

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

We are so blessed to live in an area where there are four seasons! Nancy and I lived in Alaska for four years and in Alaska there are only two seasons: winter and summer. Spring-time in Alaska will last only a few days and fall is the same way. It is either cold or hot in Alaska and yes it does get hot (85 to 90 degrees)!

West Virginia has many wonderful attractions that we can enjoy during the summer months. The Beckley area is famous for its Rhododendron Festival. My only regret is that this plants’ bloom is gone so soon! Did you know that this bouquet of beauty symbolizes beauty and energy? And it can also symbolize love and positivity?

As wonderful as summer is, as a pastor I have also learned to dread summer. You may ask why?

Even though I love the spring flowers, green grass and the warmth of the season. Even though I truly love Vacation Bible School, hearing the children talk and sing in the church, what I have come to dread is the summer time attendance at church!

A few weeks ago in Sunday morning worship I mentioned that June should be the month of commitment. Committed to serve, to give and to attend all church activities. What June has become is the month where everyone plans their vacation to the beach! I love vacation time just as you do but I also love the church and worshipping God and I know you do too! So what I am asking is when you are in town be sure and be in church. We miss you when you are gone.

I mentioned that the blooms on the rhododendron symbolize beauty and energy, also love and positivity. When people are looking for a church to attend, often times they look for the church with a “full parking lot” on Sundays. The assumption is that this is a good church, one you would want to be a part of. Conversely, an empty lot speaks volumes as well!

Help us fill the parking lot this summer revealing the beauty-energy-love and positivity of Christ and this church. We need you to be an active participant and attender at Beckley First Baptist Church.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-12 says “9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”

Come and be blessed and then be a blessing to someone! My favorite song “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.” What about you?

Hope to see you this Sunday with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

Pastor Rick

April Showers Bring “May” Flowers

by Pastor Rick Watson

May flowers also mean grass cutting, car washing and vacation planning. The month of April flew by for me. Each day there was a promise of Spring but…one day it was 80 degrees, the next day there would only a high of 37! We seemed to be on a “roller coaster” up and down, hidden curves, lots of surprises. But isn’t that what life is like?

Did you know that the word “May” is used 14,936 times in the Bible? Interesting tidbit of information but this word has strong implications in life planning. When we use the word may, it implies that we have choices; “I may do this” or “I may do that.”

I saw on the Woodrow Wilson sign that prom will soon take place. That means that graduation will soon follow. I will often ask high school seniors “What are you going to do when you graduate” Some of these young people have their whole life planned with where they will go to school, post-graduation work and where they hope to work and live. While others answer with “I don’t know.”

When I was 18 I knew exactly what I wanted to do; go to college, play football there; graduate, get a job, buy a house, get married and settle down. None of that happened! As I have said before, God has a sense of humor… I met Nancy my senior year of high school, we dated and fell in love (That was not in my plans)! I asked her to marry me, she said “not till you join the church, so I did. (also not in my plans – FYI God got hold of my resistant heart and I was saved).

Proverbs 16:9 says “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

I did not attend church on a regular basis until I met my wife. So I didn’t know much about the Bible, church or God. For instance, Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know that plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I didn’t know God had a plan for my life!

If I could say something to young people I would say “Look to the Lord for your future!” The plans that I had, none of them came true the way I thought they would!

If you are reading this you are probably not a high school senior but rather you are a “life senior” I am one of those now and we make plans, too. In retirement, I am going to go and do all the things I couldn’t do while I was still working” Oh really??! If retirement, no life, has taught me anything it’s this – start each day with the Lord, read His word (Jeremiah 29:11 is still there!) and as I close my prayer I say” Lord, what’s the plan? How can I best serve you?”

Matthew 6:33 tells us “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”. Our goal together should be to seek, to find and to serve. Are you serving the Lord” There are many opportunities! Hope to see you Sunday.

What If It Were Today?

by Pastor Rick Watson

I woke up this morning and in my mind there was this song: “What if it were today? “Jesus is coming to earth again. What if it were today? Coming in power and love to reign. What if it were today? Coming to claim His chosen Bride. All the redeemed and purified. Over this whole earth scattertered wide. What if it were today? “

Perhaps it’s because of the marathon pandemic we have been experiencing for the last 2 ½ years or maybe it’s because of what’s happening in the Ukraine (wars and rumors of wars), or maybe it’s the nv environment (glaciers melting – the sea level rising). Whatever the motivation, my thoughts were simply this: What if it were today? Am I ready for the return of Christ? He is coming again you know!!!

In Acts 1:11 the angels spoke to His disciplies saying “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into the heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

The apostle Paul wrote these words “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up togeter with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” ( I Thessalonians 4:16,17).

We are in the Lenten season, a time of reflection and consideation of the sacrifice of Christ. Many will fast and pray, new commitments are being made as we judge oursevles and our relationship to Christ. He, Jesus, has challenged us to take up our cross daily to follow Him!! Are we doing that?

During the month of April our thoughts will turn to thoughts of spring and New Life as the trees present their buds and the flowers begin to bloom but this time represents so much more! Jesus’ last meal with His disciplies (the Last Supper), His prayer in the Garden ( He prayed for us), His trial (illegal) and His beating with a ‘cat of nine-tails” (by His stripes we are healed!), His crucifixion (sins of the world ), burial (in a borrowed tomb), then His Resurrection (bodily).

The Ukranian people are fighting to the death for their country and their freedom – they are truly at war! We are at war as well – fighting for the souls of men and women, boys and girls! Jesus gave His life so that we could be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life. That was his mission – our mission to make disciplies and teach them the things He has commanded.

We have a real enemy !! Jesus said in John 10:10 (The enemy has come to steal, to kill and destroy but I have come that they may have eternal life.”

The signs of the times reveal that Jesus could return at any moment, “What if it were today?” Is your house in order? Have you given your heart, your all, to Jesus! If not, why not? If not now, then when?


Spring is on it’s way!

by Pastor Rick Watson

This morning I saw a beautiful cardinal – the brightest red-dazzling! The sun is shining, the temperature is going up, certainly spring must be on its way. Spring is always related to new beginnings – a fresh new start.

I wondered what does the Bible say about spring? Spring as an action is mentioned in Psalm 85:10-11 “Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.”

Such powerful symbolism “Truth shall spring out of the earth.” I saw where my Easter lilies are trying to poke their “heads” out from the earth! When the Easter lilies and the daffodils begin to bloom I get excited knowing the spring is here. The long, hard, cold winter is over; spring is here and summer is not far behind.

When you think of spring, what comes to mind? Of course, Easter!! The wonderful time of remembering and celebrating the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Before I got saved, Easter was all about Easter egg hunts, Easter candies and Easter new clothes.

Psalm 85 says “Truth shall spring (forth) out of the earth.” When I read that, I think of the resurrection of Christ! Wouldn’t you love to have been there that morning – where life, new life sprang forth that morning! We will talk more about that next month – obviously I am excited for spring!

Like so many words in the English language, the word “spring” can mean different things. Like “spring” forth – a verb or a “spring” a body of water – a noun.

In James 3:11 we read “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same spring?” This passage is talking about the tongue and it says in verse 10 “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

Sometimes we use “spring” and “fall” to describe the stages of life a person is in.

To me “spring means new beginnings, especially this year! The last two years the threat of COVID-19 has caused people to stop doing and going as they would normally. Many churches even stopped having in-person services, fully on-line. I am glad to say that we are almost back to pre-COVID schedule. If you haven’t heard, we will restart our Wednesday evening services March 2nd at 6:00 p.m., followed by choir practice at 7:00 p.m. Come and make a joyful noise – sing unto the Lord a new song!

Spring is here!!!!!

Hope to see you in church this Sunday and if you can’t attend, please join us on Facebook live.

Everything Has Its Time

by Pastor Rick Watson

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us:” To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” We, at First Baptist, are in a new season; Pastor Donald “Doc” Adkins has retired and the Pulpit Committee is actively pursuing our new pastor. So, what are we to do during this time?

  1. Pray – Pray for our Pulpit Committee! Prayer is always the next important part of our church life and it is especially true during this transition time.
  1. Attend – attend church regularly, whether on-line or in person be with us! The old devil, our adversary, would really like to scatter the sheep while the new shepherd is being chosen. There is strength in numbers and as we read in Joshua the first chapter we are to be “strong and courageous.”
  2. Participate in our church ministries such as our Backpack Ministry, Helping Hands or Sunday School. Sunday School is our greatest opportunity for both fellowship and spiritual growth. If you are a Sunday School teacher, know your class and stay in contact with them. (A phone call, a card or a personal visit.)

Sadly, many churches have lost members when the pastor has left – they did too!

“To everything there is a season”, our church is in a new season. This is not the first time we have had to search for a new pastor and it won’t be the last. But, when the new pastor arrives, he should be encouraged to find that our church is busy doing what this church has been called to do: … “to maintain public services for the worship of God and for the teaching and preaching of the Gospel and to promote the Kingdom of God according to the teachings of Christ.” (Taken from the Constitution of First Baptist Church of Beckley, West Virginia).

As the interim pastor, I know that my time with you is very temporary but my purpose is the same as if I were called to a full-time position; I am to preach the Word, pray for our congregation and to present myself in an exemplary manner. With your help, we can prepare our church to receive our “God-called shepherd” for this next season of ministry.

God planted and has maintained First Baptist in this location for a reason “to be the guiding light” for this community. Join me as we accomplish God’s will purpose and plan for Beckley First Baptist Church.

Hope to see you Sunday!!!

Pastor Rick

Meet Our Interim Pastor – Rick Watson

Pastor Watson has been married to his wife, Nancy Lee, for 53 years
He has three adult children, seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren (one great granddaughter just born recently named Violet Pearl)
He is a retired Air Force veteran where he served for 24 years.
He surrendered to full-time ministry in 1992
He has served three churches as pastor; most recently at Union Baptist in Milton, WV where he served for eight years.
His education includes: Bachelors and Masters in Administration from Central Michigan University and Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
He has been on 20 overseas mission trips to Moldova, Turkey and Puerto Rico.
He has worked 10 years with Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Pastor Watson will preach his first sermon here on Sunday, January 9, 2022.

We are looking forward with great anticipation to see what God has in store for FBC this year.