You have read the same headlines and heard the news. “City orders Christmas decorations removed.” “Local malls must include symbols of all faiths when decorating.” “School children are prohibited from singing Christmas Carols.” “Merry Christmas is now a politically incorrect greeting.” “Christmas will now be referred to as Winter Break so as not to offend or exclude.” “The Salvation Army is no longer welcome on the premises.”
Even television and movies make a mockery of our faith and commit blasphemous attacks that leave us shocked and incensed. These blatant assaults coincidentally reach their peak during the seasons Christians hold most sacred. Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection are made fun of in the most vile and obscene manner possible, and the offenders are usually encouraged and praised through the media and by activist groups, big and small. All things Christian are portrayed as stupid, narrow, and obsolete by the standards of a modern society.
As believers, our first inclination is to take offense at the changes to our most sacred traditions and look for ways to confront the anti-Christian propaganda that dominates the landscape more and more. We wonder how such attitudes could be the true expression of the majority in this democratic republic. It must be a small minority of folks leading the attacks and policy changes, so let’s issue the rallying cry and set the sinners straight.
But before you get caught up in all of the uproar and ugliness, let me remind you that Jesus was not really popular in His own day and time. The religious institutions of the day refused to recognize Him, the people in the street loved Him one day but hated Him the next, and even His inner circle of closest and dearest friends abandoned Him when the government arrested, terrorized, and eventually murdered Him on false charges. It was a far darker environment than what we live in today.
Bedford will present a Live Nativity on Saturday, December 15, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
On November 18, Diamond Hill had a special dedication service to celebrate completion of its new sanctuary and family life center.
Hunting Creek has called Daniel Foss as youth pastor. Also, the church has started an after school program called, “Monday’s on the Mount.” Bible foundations and discipleship are taught, time is allowed for snacks, homework help, structured and free game times, and supper for the kids and their parents is also provided.
There will be a children’s Christmas program entitled “The Story of Christmas” at Mentow on Sunday, December 16, 6:30 p.m. Fellowship/refreshments afterward.
Mt. Zion participated in “See you at the Pole” on September 26. There were teachers, students, parents, grandparents, and pastor present for a total of 36 who met at the Montvale Elementary School. What a privilege it was to gather with all ages, and pray for our nation, leaders, students, and teachers!
Sunday, October 28, was a busy day at Mt. Zion. Along with Sunday School and Worship Service, we observed Pastor Appreciation Day, and our Pastor, Rev. Bill Mitchell, was presented a monetary gift from the church.
On Saturday, November 3, Mt. Zion participated in a local mission project in the village of Montvale, building a new deck for a disabled man. The Lord blessed that day with good weather, good help, and good fellowship.
Family Day was held on Sunday, November 11, with many family members returning to worship and share lunch with family and friends.
Operation Christmas Child
The following churches reported participation in Operation Christmas Child:
CHURCH SHOEBOXES FILLED Bedford 82 Mentow Mount Hermon Mount Olivet 40 Mount Zion 30 Norwood 150 Shady Grove 70
Earn College- and Masters-level credit in Southwest Virginia
Introduction to Preaching: Thursday evenings, 6:30-8:15
All classes offered at Bonsack Baptist Church, Roanoke
Tuition supplements available for BGAV church members
A Ministry of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board
What are we trying to accomplish with persons in our churches—to simply keep them busy, or something more intentional and significant?
Eric Geiger, co-author of the book, Simple Church, will attempt to answer those questions in a workshop on Monday, December 3, at Bonsack Baptist Church, 4845 Cloverdale Road (corner of US 220 and US 460) in Roanoke. Time for the event is 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the cost of $20 per person includes lunch and all materials. Registration for ministers and lay leaders interested in the workshop is being accepted NOW by contacting the Southwest Virginia Christian Leadership Network, 540.777.3014 or 866.223.9344 (toll-free). You may also register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Jackie, Bert, Rodney, Kitchen Crew, Decorators, and Everyone Else at Palestine Church!
Thank you so much for the way you prepared and hosted the 231st Strawberry Baptist Association annual meeting. It was outstanding! You contributed to a most excellent gathering. We appreciate how you worked and sacrificed to help us keep the meal cost as low as possible. The worship time could not have been sweeter or fit together any better. The Holy Spirit manifested Himself through the flow and coordination of music, Scripture, testimony, reports, and missionary message. Our prayer is that you will let us help you promote and even find volunteer laborers for ministry efforts in Huddleston and beyond. What a beautiful thing it is when brothers and sisters lift one another to the Lord, walk side by side, and flesh out the mind and life of Jesus. Thank you again!
Thanks for praying for the Uganda Mission Team traveling February 2-16, 2008. A number of folks from Strawberry will be going with Arise Africa Ministries to the city of Jinja where there will be preaching and much evangelistic work. This mission effort has been going on for a number of years now, and thousands have come to faith in Christ through the sacrifice and commitment of the volunteers. Pray that doors will be open and missionaries protected as they serve in harsh conditions. Pray that the many Muslims will experience dreams of Jesus coming to them and telling them to listen to the Christian messengers sent to their land to preach the Good News.
Virginia Baptists share an active and close partnership with our brothers and sisters in the Jamaica Baptist Union. As you likely know, the island nation of Jamaica was hit hard in August by Hurricane Dean. Our friends in the JBU have asked our help in support of their desired recovery ministries. Through our World Mission Initiatives Recovery funds, we have obtained funding to repair the roofs of 13 houses, seven churches and Nutshell, the JBU’s camp and conference center. Now, we need teams of volunteers who can go and accomplish the repairs.
It is estimated that a team of 6-10 volunteers, one of whom is knowledgeable and experienced in roofing, can complete two jobs in one week of service. With this in mind, a total of 12 teams are needed. The expenses will be $60 per person per day for in country travel, housing and meals plus airfare. (As you know, airfare fluctuates. The projection is that most will be in the range of $800-1000 per person round trip.) The VBMB will provide the international accident/injury insurance and construction materials.
Persons interested in forming a team may contact the Glocal Missions & Evangelism Team by calling 1.800.255.2428 or 804.925.5000 to speak with Craig Waddell (email@example.com), Nichole Bulls (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Terry Raines (email@example.com).
Mrs. Lois Stevens, WMU Director
1118 Roundtree Dr., Bedford 24523
Women on Mission: Diamond Hill is leading devotionals at Oakwood Manor in December; Radford will lead them for January, February, and March. Mentow will host the December birthday party for residents of Bedford County Nursing Home; Bethlehem will host it in January.
SBA WMU Planning Meeting
WMU Dues ($2.00 for each member of Women on Mission and leaders of age-level organizations) are due now for the 2007-2008 year. Checks should be payable to Strawberry WMU and mailed to Mrs. Emily Morris, 2161 Penns Mill Rd., Big Island, VA 24526. The following churches have already submitted their dues: Bedford, Bethlehem, Big Island, Diamond Hill, Hunting Creek, Mentow, Mount Hermon, Mount Olivet, Norwood, Pecks, Radford, Sedalia, Thaxton, and Timber Ridge.
Jan 11 Vernon DeLong (Trinity)
Jan 17 Bill Mitchell (Mount Zion)
Jan 1 Mike Jones (Pastor/Sedalia/15 yrs.)
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