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


April 2019 Witness

For the five Sundays in March we focused on our GENERATIONS FOLLOWING FUND-RAISING CAMPAIGN for the purpose of raising the monetary commitments to build a new Student/Young Adult Building. But, a campaign like the one we have participated in is about more than just raising money for a particular project. It is about raising the spiritual climate of our church family so that each and every life is challenged to live more for the Lord and give more to the Lord! In one of my messages, I told the story of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.  He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company.  He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time. To give you some idea of his vast wealth, Jeff Bezos of Amazon is the richest man in America today and worth $112 billion.    That sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? But by comparison, John D. Rockefeller was the richest American of all time and if his wealth was brought into today’s dollars, he would be worth $409 billion! The great thing about John Rockefeller is that as one of the richest men in the world he was also one of the most generous. He gave away millions of dollars and there are buildings all across America with his name on them. What is interesting is that from his very first paycheck until his death he tithed on his earnings. The story is told that at one point he thought he was dying, so he began giving away his wealth. An amazing thing occurred, he lived, and he attributed his living to his having become a more generous person! Now, I’m not promising you that if you live a lifestyle of generosity that you will live longer, but I can promise you that if you live a generous lifestyle other will be glad that you lived longer! In his last meeting with the elders of the Church of Ephesus, the Apostle Paul said to them, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the needy, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”  (Acts 20:35) We had a good month in March with 380 in Bible Study. We enjoyed the Bible Emphasis Saturday with Andy Cook of Experience Israel Now on March 2nd and then our Creation Seminar with Steve Levinson on March 10th. April is filled with some great opportunities:

  • Our ladies are looking forward to the Priscilla Shirer Simulcast “GOING BEYOND LIVE” that takes place here at our church on Saturday, April 6th.
  • The “FIRST FRUITS SUNDAY” of our Generations Following Campaign will be on Palm Sunday, April 14th, at all three morning services. We are asking our folks to give generously to this first official offering for our new Student/Young Adult Building. We’ll also celebrate the Lord’s Supper that day.
  • Our COMMUNITY EASTER EGG HUNT at Summers Field is from 2:00 to 3:30 on the afternoon of April 14th. We are putting on this community event this year in conjunction with First United Methodist Church of Barnesville.
  • April 14th is also the date of our EASTER CHORAL PROGRAM which will take place at 6:30 in our Sanctuary.
  • The women’s worship event known as THE CANOPY will take place on Thursday evening, April 25th, beginning at 7:00 with doors opening at 6:30.
  • An old favorite, our CHURCH-WIDE PICNIC AT THE ROCK RANCH will take place on Sunday, April 28th, from 5:00 to 7:30.

April is going to be a great month!   COME EXPECTANTLY! I Love You, Garth April 2019 Witness


March 2019 Witness

In our Sunday morning series “When Bad Things Happen to God’s People,” we’ve faced the fact that life hits us with some painful things that we can’t understand. I remember when I was at Auburn University and decided to pursue a future in the field of teaching science, but I had one big hurdle I had to get over and that was physics! I some how had escaped taking physics in high school. I had opted instead for marine biology in my senior year at Sarasota High School.  And the only reason I passed pre-calculus with trigonometry is because my teacher was also my football coach!  So, I had never taken physics and I didn’t have the math background to take it. But I had to get through it in order to pursue my goal.

My physics professor was Asian and, as I like to say, I learned more Chinese than I did physics. Every day, after filling up three chalkboards with numbers and symbols, that brilliant man would end class with a smile and the same words, “You no understand?  You go home and study and you understand!”  Well, I went home and studied, and I still didn’t understand.  But I didn’t drop out of school, and I didn’t ditch my major.  I persevered and finally got my degree in Secondary Science Education.  And oh, by the way, by the mercy of the good Lord and that professor, I made C’s in Physics.

Life is like that.  We can’t quit because painful things happen to us, we don’t understand. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

We had a good month in February with 380 in Bible Study.  We enjoyed such events as the R. A. Racer Derby on February 3rd, Upward Games on Friday and Saturdays with the Awards Night on Sunday, February 24th, and The Canopy, a worship event for women on February 28th.

March is filled with some great opportunities:

•Our BIBLE EMPHASIS WEEKEND will take place on Saturday, March 2, 2019. Our guest speaker for the event is Andy Cook, founder of a unique ministry called “Experience Israel Now.” Andy makes the Land of the Bible come alive to us through his virtual video presentations of the history, geography and archeology of the Holy Land.    

•We begin our GENERATIONS FOLLOWING FAITH-RAISING CAMPAIGN on Sunday, March 3rd through the end of the month. This will be five Sundays of encouragement and challenge as we look to the future together and seek to discern and follow God’s will for our church.

Steve Levinson will be with us for a CREATION SEMINAR on Sunday evening, March 10th at 6:30 in our Sanctuary.

•We will continue to sell tickets to the Priscilla Shirer Simulcast “Going Beyond Live” that takes place on Saturday, April 6th.

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

I love you,