April 2020 Witness

A man was walking along the street one day when he saw a black cat crossing the road.  He thought to himself that he was going to have bad luck that day. Worried about seeing the black cat, he asked his friend what was going to happen to him. His friend replied, “That will depend on whether you are a rat or not.”  In the same way, knowing who we are in Christ will conquer fear in our lives!

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and altered every aspect of our society, including our churches. Locally, it began to turn our world upside down about the middle of March. Sunday, March 22nd, was our first live-streamed service for the primary purpose of offering our church family the opportunity to worship with us by way of our website (www.fbcbarnesville.com), Facebook, or our FBC app. The week before that, we began our efforts to stay connected with our people through postings on various channels of social media. Those who do not have the devices that give them access to those channels can receive a free weekly DVD of our Sunday morning services and Sunday School lessons.   Simply call the church office and make that request.

Everything we are doing during this time of crisis falls under the title of TO GATHER TOGETHER. I want to thank our church staff for their tireless efforts in working to stay connected to our people, as well as ministering to others in our community during this stressful time. We are committed to observing Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s order of not having more than ten people in a worship/teaching/fellowship space at any time. That, of course, means that we are having to do ministry differently than we have ever done it before!

Everything from weddings to funerals to Easter Sunday services are likely to be impacted by this crisis. At this writing, there are only two events that we are relatively sure will happen. Our MISSION TRIP to Cowley, Wyoming, is scheduled for July 18th – 24th. We still have 8 seats open for this trip. VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL is that same week of July 19th-23rd.  At this point, we cannot predict whether events that have been scheduled for the months of April and May will be able to take place.

Besides the live-streamed worship service Sunday at 11:00 A.M., I am also live-streaming my Wednesday Night Bible Study at 6:30 P.M. We will also post a series of inspirational devotions called “The Seven Last Words of Christ from the Cross” each of the seven days starting on Palm Sunday (April 5th) and going through Saturday, April 11th. In addition, our other staff members are streaming and/or posting studies and worship services for their ministries.

Allow me to say a quick word about giving. Our church staff is still working full time, and our salaries make up about half of our church budget. Therefore, your regular giving is vital to the continued ministries of our church. You may continue to give online, by bank draft, through the mail or by bringing your tithes and offerings to the church. We ask that if you are bringing your offering to the church, that you call and let us know that you are stopping by. Simply ring the door bell and we will meet you at the door and maintain the 6ft recommended distance. Thank you for your continued support of our church!

 

Should you need any of our staff, I have posted our numbers below:

 

Garth Forster (770) 584-2051                        Greg Burrell (770) 584-3297

Russ Jenkins (478) 365-8719                         Jason Teal (912) 978-1449

Jennifer Zeager (770) 843-3852                    Church Office (770) 358-2353

 

April is going to be a DIFFERENT month, but don’t fear!   Worship with us VIRTUALLY!! 

    

I Love You, Garth
 

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March 2020

The Fifth Beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful, for they, and they alone, shall receive God’s mercy,” teaches us that our forgiveness is contingent upon our forgiving others. When the poet, Edwin Markham, was ready to retire at age 60, he discovered that he had been swindled out of his life’s savings by his best friend, a banker. He was penniless, but he began to lecture on poetry and remade his fortune. Yet, after some time on the lecture circuit, he found that he could no longer write poetry.

 

And when the first flood of bitterness began to sweep into his soul, he cried to himself, “No! I shall not let you in! There shall be no hatred in my heart!   Love shall outlast the stars!”

 

Out of that experience Edwin Markham wrote one of his most famous lines of verse:

 

He drew a circle that shut me out –

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle that took him in.

 

Friend, that’s what we did to Jesus. He came to earth to teach us and heal us and love us. But we treated Him like a thing to flout. We rejected Him and mocked Him and, ultimately, we crucified Him. But there on Calvary’s Cross, in dying love and bleeding mercy, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And, in that moment, He drew a circle that took us in. The Savior simply waits for us to step into that circle of redeeming love.

 

February has been a good month with 345 in Bible Study. Our new Sunday morning schedule has been very well received, with our “Classic Service” at 9:00, Sunday School for everyone at 10:10 and our “Contemporary Service” at 11:20. In addition, our Annual Barnesville Game & Fish Banquet with Hank Parker was the best-attended event of its kind! The Upward Celebration with magician Joe Turner capped off a fine season of basketball and cheer leading at our church. The February Canopy was a great time of worship for the women in our community, and for those wondering, the giraffe did make an appearance!

 

March has some great events waiting for you: 

 

  • Our BIBLE EMPHASIS WEEKEND with Andy Cook takes place the first full weekend in March, the 7th and 8th. Doors open at 8:00 Saturday morning with a continental breakfast. That morning will be split between meetings with Andy in the Sanctuary and breakout sessions with other teachers in various classrooms. We will also include lunch on Saturday. Sunday morning we’ll host Andy in both services (9:00 & 11:20) and during Sunday School (10:10) in the Sanctuary.
  • We will celebrate our first incredibly successful year of fund-raising for our GENERATIONS FOLLOWING CAMPAIGN on Sunday, March 22nd, in both worship services!

      March is going to be a great month! Come EXPECTANTLY! 

    

I Love You, Garth
 

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February 2020 Witness

There was once a young man who sold books door to door.   He was crippled and walked with great difficulty. At one house where he stopped, the woman rudely turned him down. When he started to walk away, she saw his physical condition and called him back. “I didn’t know that you were crippled. I will buy one of your books.”

 

But the young man wasn’t selling sympathy, he was selling books and he let her know it. “But,” she said, “doesn’t being lame color your life?” The young man replied, “Yes, it does, but thank God that I am the one who chooses the colors.” We choose the colors of our lives, too.

 

It is a truism in life that we make our choices, then our choices make us. That is especially applicable when it comes to the series, I am presently preaching called THE BEATITUDES: HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE. In the eight Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1-12, Jesus shares the attitudes that are necessary for a truly happy life.

 

The word that Jesus used for “blessed” in the Beatitudes refers to happiness in its fullest sense. It is the Greek word makarios and the true meaning of the word can be seen in the way that the Greeks used it. They called the Island of Cyprus he makaria which means “The Happly Isle.” They did so because they believed that Cyprus was so beautiful, so rich in resources, and so fertile that it contained within itself everything necessary for perfect happiness.

 

And so the Beatitudes teach us that we have to find happiness within ourselves – within our own hearts and minds. But Jesus doesn’t leave us clueless when it comes to finding happiness. He shares with us eight spiritual attitudes that, if we appropriate them for our lives, will help us discover that happiness does not depend on our outward circumstances but on our inward character.   

 

January has been a good month with 374 in Bible Study. January also marked a change in our Sunday morning schedule.  We went from two Sunday Schools back to one, and from three worship services back to two. Our nine o’clock service, called our “Classic Service,” has really benefitted from this change. The fullness of the church house, along with the strong spirit of the service, has been inspiring to us all. Our “Contemporary Service,” now at 11:20, also continues to do well. And everyone tells me they enjoy us being back in one Sunday School!

 

February has some great events waiting for you: 

  • Our 24th ANNUAL BARNESVILLE GAME & FISH BANQUET is scheduled for Tuesday night, February 11th. Seminars will take place from 6:00 to 6:55, with the banquet beginning at 7:00 P.M. Our banquet speaker is legendary professional bass fisherman, Hank Parker. You want to bring your unchurched friends to hear Hank! Tickets are again $10 per person or a table of ten for $80. 
  • The UPWARD CELEBRATION is scheduled for Sunday night, February 23rd at 6:30 in our gym. Magician Joe Turner will be our featured speaker as we celebrate the players, cheerleaders, coaches and all who have helped us have another great Upward season!
  • THE CANOPY, a worship event for all women, will take place on Tuesday night, February 25th with doors opening at 6:30.  Thanks to Honey Teal and her helpers, this has become an inspiring, “must go” event for women in our community.

 

February is going to be a great month!   Come EXPECTANTLY! 

I Love You, Garth
 
 
 

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