September 2019 Witness

During a Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants, one of the commentators observed that Walter Payton, the Bear’s running back and the NFL’s leading rusher at the time, had accumulated over nine miles – almost 16,000 yards – in career rushing yardage.   The other announcer remarked, “Yeah, and that’s with someone knocking him down every 4.6 yards!” We all get knocked down in life.  We all have our losses.   We all have our disappointments.  The key to success in both life and football is getting up again after you have been knocked down by the opposition. A story is told that Andrew Jackson’s boyhood friends just couldn’t understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States.   They knew of others who had greater talent but who never succeeded.   One of Jackson’s friends commented, “Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now.” Another friend responded, “How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say three times and out?”   “Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat — he would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andy Jackson would throw him and be the winner.” When life knocks you down, will you stay “throwed” or will you rise again asking God to give you the endurance to win the fight?   James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who endures under the load of trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” August  has been a good month with 360 in Bible Study.  Our Back to School Splash on August 4th was a great time for Pre-K through fifth grade.    That night we also had a good crowd for the Lamar County Schools Prayer Walk.     Our  Missions Fest has become an annual celebration that encourages a missions mindset.     The Canopy, our community women’s worship event, takes place this coming Thursday.    And our Student/Young Adult Building Fund  ended the month of July at  $688,653.41! September has some very special emphases:

  • SPEAKIN’ WITH MY DEACON will be Sunday evening, September 8th, beginning at 6:30 in our gym. It will be an evening of good fellowship and great food as Sunday School classes/divisions meet with their deacon(s).  We will also be blessed to witness the ordination of Mark Smith to our Deacon Ministry during that same service.
  • Our PREACHER SWAPPIN’, PEOPLE HOPPIN’ REVIVAL will be September 9th through 11th. I will be preaching at Antioch Baptist Church on Monday.   Antioch’s pastor, Jeff Morgan, will be preaching at First Baptist Church of Thomaston on Tuesday.   And FBC, Thomaston’s pastor, Bill Barber, will be preaching here on Wednesday.     Supper will be served each evening at 5:30, with Antioch and FBC, Thomaston providing their meals for us.   Our Steak Supper here on Wednesday will cost $5 per person.   Reservations for each meal can be made through our church office and are needed by noon on September 5th.
  • BUGGY DAYS HOMECOMING will be on Sunday, September 22nd. We’ll have some good services and a great lunch together on that day as we remember all that God has done for us and through us over the years.
September is going to be a great month!   COME EXPECTANTLY! I Love You, Garth


August 2019 Witness

As I recently preached on Hannah, the wife who prayed for a son and miraculously gave birth to a boy who would become the great Old Testament Prophet Samuel, I ran across an illustration I had never heard before.  E.V. (Ed) Hill, who pastored Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles for 42 years, tells the story of how the love and prayers of his adopted “Mama” changed his life. Mama believed in two things: Prayer and Ed.  She saw to it that he graduated from high school and even insisted that he go to college.  As he boarded the bus to leave for college, Mama said to him, “Remember, Mama is praying for you.” When he arrived at Prairie View College in his native Texas, he stood in the registration line and soon learned that the $1.90 he had left from his bus trip would not pay for his tuition, room and board. He started to get out of line, but then remembered his Mama’s words. She was praying for him. As it came his turn to register, Dr. J.M. Drew approached him and asked if he was Ed Hill from Sweet Home, Texas. Ed told him he was, then Dr. Drew said, “We have a four-year scholarship that will pay your room and board, your tuition, and give you thirty dollars a month to spend.” And Ed says he heard his Mama say, “I will be praying for you!” Indeed, there is great power in a mama’s prayers! July has been a good month with 314 in Bible Study.  I am so proud of you for meeting and exceeding our Annie Armstrong North American Missions Offering goal of $15,000 with a total of $15,4412.26. We also did well in the month of June and had, at month’s end, a total of $653,175.62 toward our new Student/Young Adult Building! As I write this, Vacation Bible School is taking place. Thanks to our Director, Rene Hubbard, and all who worked with her and Maria Brannen to make this one of the best V.B.S.’s we have ever had! We also look forward to our Youth Choir Dinner Theater on the evenings of July 27th and 28th.   August has some very special emphases:

  • BACK TO SCHOOL BASH for Pre-K through fifth grade is Sunday, August 4th, from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. in and around our Christian Family Life Center.
  • LAMAR COUNTY SCHOOLS PRAYER WALK will be August 4th from 6:30 to 7:30 P.M. We’ll begin with some refreshments and instructions at the Lamar County Schools Fine Arts Center.
  • MISSIONS FEST will be Sunday evening, August 11th, at 6:30 in our gym. We’ll have a great meal with a “Boston Food Theme,” and then have the opportunity to hear from all who served on mission trips this summer, including our Youth Choir that served in Boston (that’s in Massachusetts)!
  • August is also the month that we do DEACON ELECTION here at First Baptist. We will pass out the ballots on August 4th and you may return marked ballot up until Wednesday, August 14th. Deacon Election will be in all three Sunday morning services on August 25th.

August is going to be a great month!   COME EXPECTANTLY!

I Love You, Garth


July 2019 Witness

For Father’s Day this summer, I shared a message called “Proverbs for Fathers.” The Old Testament Book of Proverbs offers short, pithy statements of practical, godly wisdom. There is good, biblical advice on marriage, parenting, discipline, money management and a host of other areas of life. An alcoholic husband went to the doctor and was told that he had a serious drinking problem. He didn’t want to admit that to his wife so he told her the doctor had said he had “syncopation,” a word he thought he made up figuring his wife would just think it was a big medical word and not investigate it. But he was wrong. His wife looked up the word in a dictionary and it’s a word from the world of music that means “erratic wandering from bar to bar.” Yep, he had syncopation! Now, there is nothing that is more difficult for a child than to live in a community where one of his parents, especially his father, is held in disrespect because of some illegal or immoral act he has committed. The disrespect that the father has brought upon himself spills over into how other children treat his child.          But, thankfully, it also works the other way around. Proverbs 20:7 says, “The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.”  Don’t be put off by the word “blameless” in that verse. It doesn’t mean perfect. Rather, it refers to  a life lived with integrity, honesty and goodness.  When a father lives such a life, the whole community treats him and his family with respect. In other words, his family is blessed by his behavior! June has been a good month with 320 in Bible Study. We enjoyed Father’s Day on the 16th with a couple of Baby Celebrations. We kicked off our Annie Armstrong North American Missions Offering on June 23rd with an attractive envelope board created by Joe and Judy Andrews, along with an excellent video that explained its use by Cara Grobbelaar and Carrianna Simmons, all to help us reach our $15,000 goal.  We had a couple of Work Days at Hope Tree Food Bank on the 21st and 22nd.  We had a Family Movie Night on the 28th and we’ll celebrate God & Country Day on the final Sunday, June 30th. July has some very special emphases:

  • VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL is scheduled for July 21st – 25th, Sunday through Thursday, from 5:30 to 8:30 P.M.
  • YOUTH CHOIR DINNER THEATER will be July 27th through 28th. Tickets will go on sale on July 7th.
July is going to be a great month!   COME EXPECTANTLY!   I Love You, Garth


June 2019 Witness

On Mother’s Day Sunday, I kicked off our FAMILY EMPHASIS 2019 with a message on marriage called “Till Death Do Us Part.” It is no accident that the Bible envisions the relationship between Christ and His Church as a marriage. Why? Because marriage is the most meaningful, the most intimate and the most beautiful relationship of life. Recently, I was listening to a civil wedding ceremony from another state where, when the officient performing the ceremony got to those last words of the traditional wedding vow, she made them very untraditional. Instead of saying the words “…as long as you both shall LIVE,” she said, “…as long as you both shall LOVE.” Well, that sounded cutsy and creative, but it betrayed a deadly flaw in modern marriage.   It is the idea that you only need to stay married to someone as long as you FEEL LIKE YOU ARE IN LOVE WITH THEM! Love is not a feeling, it is a commitment!  John Drakeford, my professor of counseling at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, shared a principle that that can help every marriage: “It is much easier to act your way into a new way of feeling than it is to feel your way into a new way of acting.” If you wait until you feel like you love your spouse to treat them like you love them, then you won’t have a very good marriage. On the other hand, if you will go ahead and treat your spouse like you love them, regardless of the way that you feel, then once again that “loving feeling” will eventually come back! May has been a very busy month with 353 in Bible Study.   We had a nice community crowd for the National Day of Prayer on May 2nd.  Mother’s Day with its Baby Celebration on Sunday, May 12th was a special day for us all. Thanks to all of our Mission Friends, R.A. and G.A. workers who made our Missions Recognition Program on May 15th a success.  Graduate Recognition and the luncheon provided a record number of graduates and their families a great time of celebration.  Our Children’s Music Recognition Program on May 19th celebrated our preschool and children’s choirs and their workers.  Last night, I greatly enjoyed our Faith Friends Academy Commencement program.  And, as I write this on May 22nd, tonight is Baccalaureate at the Lamar County Fine Arts Center. June has some special emphases:

  • FATHER’S DAY on June 16th complete with Baby Celebration. Please contact the church office if you would like to participate.
  • WORK DAY AT HOPE TREE FOOD BANK on Friday and Saturday, June 21st through 22nd.
  • ANNIE ARMSTRONG NORTH AMERICAN MISSION OFFERING runs from June 23rd to July 14th. Due to our Generations Following fund-raising campaign, we postponed this annual offering. Our goal is $15,000.
  • GOD & COUNTRY DAY on Sunday, June 30th, will be celebrated along with the Lord’s Supper.

June is going to be a great month!   COME EXPECTANTLY! I Love You, Garth


May 2019 Witness

Jeff Foxworthy has made his mark as the most recorded comedian in history.   Several years ago, Jeff agreed to lead a group of homeless men in a weekly study at the Atlanta Mission. As Foxworthy tells it, he felt led to teach these men about giving even though they had next to nothing. He proposed giving a $50 bill to the 250 homeless men and then withdrew $12,500 from his bank account and distributed the cash to them. Jeff then told the assembled group of a dire need in a local elementary school at which the teachers were short on supplies and money. Jeff suggested they take up a collection and was shocked as every single man gave up his $50 bill and then dug into their collective pockets searching for more change to give! Jeff reported that he had to dismiss himself to the hallway and cry.   Those men who had nothing gave all they had and did so with great joy. That story gives us an appreciation for those who give generously and sacrificially.      You have given to our GENERATIONS FOLLOWING campaign in a similar way, and, on behalf of the entire leadership team, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your awesome generosity.   To date, we have $1.26 million in three-year commitments, received over $40,000 on our First Fruits Sunday, and presently have $550,000 in cash on hand! We had a good month in April with 353 in Bible Study.  Our women enjoyed the Priscilla Shirer Simulcast on Saturday, April 6th.  Our Easter Musical, “Triumph: Victory of the Cross,” was especially moving this year.  We had a great Easter Sunday worship attendance on April 21st of 537!  And, as I write, we are looking forward to our women’s worship event called The Canopy on April 25th and our Church-wide Picnic on Sunday, April 28th at The Rock Ranch. May is filled with some great opportunities. The National Day of Prayer is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2nd, beginning at 12:10 P.M. in our C.F.L.C.  Mother’s Day and Baby Celebration is on Sunday, May 12th.  Our Missions Recognition Program is on Wednesday evening, May 15th at 6:30 in our Sanctuary. Our Children’s Music Recognition Program is on Sunday, May 19th at 6:30. And Baccalaureate is on Wednesday evening, May 22nd, at the Lamar County Fine Arts Center beginning at 6:30. May is going to be a great month!   COME EXPECTANTLY! I Love You, Garth                                                                                                                 First, I would like to thank everyone that worked on the prayer and fundraising committees of the Generations Following Campaign. These members stepped up in a huge way to help our church have a successful campaign. Thank you for your willingness to serve! After much prayer and sacrificial giving, our church members have pledged $1,260,432 over the next three years to fund the Student/Young Adult building.    In addition, we also have received $500,000 in cash for a grand total of $1.76 million dedicated to this building that is estimated to cost $2.1 million!   What an amazing God we serve! For our “First Fruits” Sunday, we received another $40,676 toward out new building on April 14th.   We are off to a great start.   Please continue to pray about future opportunities in this new building to share Christ.   It’s very exciting to see our church embracing the generations that follow us and give to them like others before us gave!   Truly, God is at work at FBC Barnesville!!! Kim Wall, Fundraising Chair