My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts
In some respects, this has been one of the most challenging years most of us have faced in our lifetimes. With an economy that has upset just about everyone’s plans and dreams, many of our relatives and friends fighting in two wars thousands of miles from home, an election year and political uproar unparalleled in any of our memories, continued devastation and rebuilding from a series of violent storms, and further decay of morals and the very foundation upon which our nation was founded, it is no wonder so many are desperately seeking relief and hope from some one or some thing. Tragically, in their frantic search very few are discovering real hope and purpose through Christ.
As believers we need to keep all of this upheaval in proper perspective. Just a little over 2,000 years ago a young woman, hardly into her teen years and unmarried, found that she was pregnant. As a Jewess, this could have spelled the end for her. There was no such thing as women’s rights in her world, and the shame of an unwed pregnancy would have reached even into the lives of her family and friends. Her economic situation could not have been much worse, and when it came time to give birth she found only the shelter of a stable and an animal trough for a cradle.
Her people and religion were oppressed by a pagan world government whose moral fabric was rapidly unraveling at the hands of a number of despotic and mentally deranged kings and rulers committing the worst crimes imaginable against their citizens and subjects. In fact, within a brief time of the birth of her baby, one king set out on a mission to kill every Jewish child under the age of two, hoping by sheer odds to do away with this woman’s son.
There was great political turmoil, conflicts on an international level, a great influx of new religions and alternative lifestyles each designed to satisfy the most base and selfish impulses of man, and despair and hopelessness on every side. It was not the best of times.
But God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. The child carried in Mary’s womb was God’s. There was no shame in His divine plan, and what man would consider a curse, God turned into unspeakable blessing and joy. The unceremonious entrance of this King into a troubled and difficult world in the cool stillness of a starry night with the most lowly surroundings was an unmistakable declaration of God that He is fully able to work within the bounds of any circumstance. Money, houses, influence, and great power can frequently be the greatest of hindrances when it comes to heralding spiritual truth and eternal hope. There would be no interference from such temporal distractions as a host of heavenly messengers announced and attended the birth of the Son of God!
As you gather with your family and friends this Christmas, I pray that you will not allow the circumstances around you to steal away what God has planned for you. We possess this day worldly wealth and ease that far exceeds that of Mary and Joseph on their special day. Please take time to look beyond this temporary shadow that surrounds us to see the hope and life offered through Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior of men’s souls.
Carry this message with you to those “outside” who don’t yet have the privilege of this perspective. Let them know that far from being utterly cast down and ruined, our Lord offers such love and purpose that will lift us into the holy and majestic presence of God. Have a blessed celebration of the birth of Christ !
(So relevant to December 2012, this article was penned by former DOM Steve Manuel for SBA’s December 2008 newsletter.)
The 14 churches having full messenger representation at SBA’s Annual Meeting in October were Beaverdam (3); Bedford (8); Bethlehem (2); Flint Hill (6); Hunting Creek (4); Mentow (6); Mount Olivet (4); Mount Zion (2); Norwood (3); Quaker (4); Shady Grove (2); Thaxton (2); Timber Ridge (4); and Trinity (5). This was especially notable considering the fact that winds from Hurricane Sandy had been building throughout the day!
Dec 19 Eldridge Cullum (Thaxton)
Dec 5 John & Esther Woodford (SBA)
On Sunday, October 28, Bethlehem recognized Clyde Roberts on his 99th birthday, with special singing of his favorite hymns. All his life, Clyde has been a very active member and still is. He lives alone, still drives, and enjoys deer hunting.
“From the Cradle to the Cross” is the theme for Diamond Hill’s celebration of the Birth of Christ. Events include a living nativity “From the Cradle” on Friday, December 14, 7-9 p.m., and Saturday, December 15, 6 to 8 p.m.. The church will present a Christmas play “To the Cross” on Sunday, December 16, 6 p.m. Everyone invited.
Diamond Hill collected 161 cases of bottled water and numerous blankets for people in the communities devastated by monster storm Sandy.
Mentow’s youth will host a Baked Spaghetti Dinner & Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 2, 2012, 6 p.m. The concert will feature singer/songwriter Lindsay Burnette and some talented youth from Mentow. Donations will be accepted for a Stop Hunger Now meal packaging project.
Norwood’ Firewood Ministry
12 Noon: Break for soup, chili beans, cornbread, etc., lunch
Quitting time depends on delivery to all those on our list or whenever you need to leave.
(Wood to be cut/split/delivered to the needy is already up on the hill behind the church.)
Norwood is located at 1045 Random Way, Forest (off route 221, directly across from Casaloma sub-division).
Please call Austin Hull at 540.586.1961 if you have questions or would like to volunteer.
Four members of Palestine participated with SBC Disaster Relief Teams serving people affected by hurricane Sandy in West Virginia, Maryland, and New York . They worked with feeding units, flood recovery, and mud out teams.
You are invited to hear “No Other Name” from Nashville, TN, in a Christmas concert on Sunday, December 16, starting at 10 a.m. Ministering together for over 10 years, “No Other Name” brings a creative, interesting, and powerful presentation of songs full of truth and meaning. Their message is all about Christ and what He did on the cross. Please come.
Suck Spring’s seven member mission Team to Nicaragua returned safely, feeling very blessed.
The “Hearts on Call” women’s ministry put together 16 hygiene kits for the Fluvanna County Correctional Center for Women.
As a Christmas project this year, instead of purchasing Poinsettias, $920 was collected for MannaFest which, through Because We Care Ministries, helps feeds a family of six in Nicaragua for a week for $10.
Suck Spring’s adult choir will present “Heaven’s Child” on Sunday, December 16, 11 a.m. At 6 that evening, the children will present a musical entitled “Christmas Shoe Tree.”
Dr. Eldridge Cullum , pastor of Thaxton since February 2004, has announced his call to First Baptist Church, Etowah, TN, effective the first of January 2013. He requests prayer for Thaxton as they continue to minister to their community and as they search for a new pastor. He also covets prayer for his family as they make the transition to a new church field. Specifically, he mentioned their need to sell their home here in Bedford, and God's guidance as Jennie searches for a new job.
Thank you to the church clerks in Strawberry who compiled their Annual Church Profile. The purpose of the Annual Church Profile (ACP) is to enable your church to examine its progress of ministry and growth. As you cooperatively share this information, Baptist agencies are better able to assist your congregation in all areas of church life. (http://texasbaptists.org/church-resources/annual-church-profile).
Church Ministry Anniversaries
Jan 4 Mike Jones (Pastor/20 yrs/Sedalia)
Mrs. Rebekah Overstreet, WMU Director
1813 Oakwood St., Bedford 24523
Women on Mission : Diamond Hill will lead weekly devotionals at Oakwood Manor in December. Radford will lead them in January. Mentow will host the December birthday party for residents of Bedford County Nursing Home; Bethlehem will host it in January.
Annual Dues ($2.00 for each member of Women on Mission and leaders of age-level organizations) are due now for the 2012-2013 year. Checks should be payable to Strawberry WMU and mailed to Phyllis McDaniel, 2460 Hawkins Ridge Rd., Goode, VA 24556.
The Metropolitian New York Baptist Association (MNYBA) is asking for volunteer work teams to come to New York and the surrounding areas to help with the damage done by “Sandy.” For those who are interested, you can call 212-580-0655. George Russ is the DOM and can help with information.
WMU Planning Meeting, Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 5:15 p.m., SBA Office
(Church WMU Directors/SBA WMU Leadership Team)
In Africa malaria kills a child every 30 seconds, nearly 3,000 children every day! For children under the age of five, malaria accounts for 25% of all deaths. In the African country of Ghana, 3.5 million persons contract malaria annually. In Ghana approximately 20,000 children die of the disease every year. Many who survive are stricken with serious brain dysfunction and long-term developmental issues. “More Than Nets” is a Virginia Baptist initiative to bring preventative aid to this deadly situation! It is a bold initiative being launched November 2012 until November 2013! Virginia Baptists will be challenged to significantly impact the ravages of malaria in the Yendi District of Ghana. In Yendi, 180,600 Ghanaians live scattered among 454 villages with an average population of 400 persons per village.
Through “More Than Nets” Baptists in Virginia will be asked to provide 100,000 specially treated mosquito nets with a tax deductible gift through your church of $10.00 per net. Your $10.00 provides the following:
Church planting is a key component of the “More Than Nets” effort. 309 of the 454 villages are without a church, so church planters supplied with nets will go to these villages, take up residence and start a new church. The nets will then be distributed to the village by Christ-followers in the new church. This will be a powerful testimony to the love of Christ shared with the other members of the village. The distribution of nets will provide an important platform of service to non-believers! New churches distributing nets build up the church and honor Christ in whose name the nets are given.
Through “More Than Nets,” Strawberry Baptists along with other Virginia Baptists will be able to make a difference! $1,000,000 worth of nets, transportation, education, and church planting is a big challenge, but with more than 1,400 Virginia Baptist churches working together , it is an achievable goal! If each of our more than 1,400 churches provided 72 nets each at a cost of $10.00 per unit, the 180,600 residents of the Yendi District of Ghana could be protected , their quality of life improved , lives saved , grief and sadness reduced and the Good News of Christ could take root in the 309 yet unreached villages of Yendi!
Hardly any church in Virginia could not meet the minimum average of $720.00 over the course of a year! Many could do far more! Some youth groups could do this much on one or two Saturdays of car washes, bike-a-thons, rock-athons, or donut sales. Some Sunday School classes could receive $1.00 from each attendee per Sunday for a quarter or for six months and would reach a goal of $720.00. Give nets in honor or in memory of a loved one this Christmas!
Imagine what YOUR church can do! Start right away! Mark your contributions: “More Than Nets.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Virginia churches could provide 100,000 nets to the people of Yendi and reduce malaria’s devastation by Easter 2013 when malaria season in Ghana will be cranking up to its fiercest level!
—Adapted from an article by Mike Robinson, DOM, Richmond Baptist Association
SBA’s Vision Statement: Due to our common faith in Jesus Christ and His body, the Church, we Commit ourselves to Connecting with one another for Coordinating the missions and ministries of our member churches and Communicating opportunities to partner together to fulfil the Great Commission and Great Commandment.
Joy and blessings to all during this Christmas season and throughout the New Year.
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Items for the next newsletter submitted by Wednesday, December 19.
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