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July 28, 2018, 1:28 PM

The Good News in August, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

There is an article being written about our church. It tells our story, specifically the story of our move, except that it is really not about our move. It is about how a group of people who love each other and were willing to listen to God, and who actually found the strength of faith to take a chance.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the emotionality of the winter of 2017; it seemed much too emotionally raw at that point to sound that good.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the sense of frustration we felt in the spring and summer of 2017 in sorting through the potential choices that could potentially lay ahead of us, and discounting most of them away.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the sense of relief we felt in the fall of 2017 when we met with The Virginia Baptist Foundation and they thought they could take an old thing and adapt it to a new thing. We were going to attempt to do something that no other Baptist church had ever done.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the late fall of 2017 when all we felt was the anxiety of having to move everything we had or the strong sense of relief when Woodland Heights offered us space or the supreme celebration we felt on December 31, 2017.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the winter of 2018 when we were in the new space feeling relieved that we did not have a myriad of things to fix every week in an aging building.
BUT, when you put that whole story together, that underlined sentence makes perfect sense. Our lives are like that. When we focus on small segments of time, our emotions are very different than when we look at the overarching thread of who we are and what we are about and who we belong to. Please, don’t ever get lost in the emotions of the everyday without remembering God has His own grand story, which includes
Y O U!
Reverend Tom Ficklin

July 28, 2018, 1:27 PM

June 11, 2018, 2:18 PM

The Good News in June, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

I was asked to be a part of a retreat for BTSR alumni where the faculty asked many questions about our time in seminary and about how seminary prepared us for the reality of being chaplains, ministers, and pastors. It was heartwarming to think that my experiences, my voice, would hopefully benefit others in seminary as they prepare to serve in the world. What an honor to be asked!
There were many people I knew at the retreat, some of whom I have not seen since I graduated. There was enough space in the agenda for us to sit and chat so as to catch up and extend the relationships that we previously enjoyed. Plus, I got to meet people I did not know, enabling me to begin relationships that I hope to extend for years. What an honor to meet God’s people!
We worshipped four times in twenty-four hours, the last gathering being a time that included communion. Worship times at retreats always seem to be extra special. Yes, everyone there prepares worship almost every week in their normal week, and yet, each time we approach worship, we approach with the wide-eyed wonder to stand before a God that calls, forgives, and loves. What an honor to worship a God who does all of those things!
We have the ability to do all of those things every day of our lives – meet God’s people, ask God’s people, and worship God. Do we do that? Do we approach every day with that mindset?
What if we read scripture to form us rather than to inform us? What if we worshipped to enable us to believe God loves us, and believing God loves us, then went to meet God’s people and to ask God’s people about their relationship with God? What would the world be like if God’s love was spoken every day, everywhere by everyone? Try it. Let’s see. Don't wait for someone to ask.

April 25, 2018, 11:12 AM

The Good News in May, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

“But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,” and they say to me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them.’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’” - Exodus 3:13-14

God is clear who He is and what He is about. God and Jesus also say the following: I AM the LORD. I AM the LORD your GOD. I AM compassionate. I AM merciful. I AM gentle. I AM humble in heart. I AM holy. I AM love. Granted, He is not clear about ‘how’ all that works…
But then Jesus turned this question around on his apostles and asked, “Who do you say I am? We are also asked the same question every day of our lives, “Who do you say I am?”

How do you answer that question? We answer in our actions in the world. We answer in our relationships with our family. We answer in our response to other people; not just the people who are similar to us, but people like strangers, orphans, widows, the poor, the destitute, and aliens. After all, who do they say God is? How would you answer that question if you were in those dire circumstances? How would you answer that question if you felt you had no hope? Who would God be to you?

Yet, you know God, the merciful, gentle, loving God. How do you tell others about your God? How do you tell strangers about your God? I read an article today that said The Great Commission is rarely taken seriously today. Do you take it seriously? Do you live it? The way we answer those last two questions may well be what the world hears as our answer to “Who do you say I am?”  Would God like that answer?

March 30, 2018, 8:16 PM

The Good News in April, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

It is that time of year where I have all my annual tests and physicals. Sitting and waiting has given me time to think about our spiritual check-ups. How are you doing spiritually?
David Platt suggested some areas to prayerfully consider and act upon.
PRAYER. Are you praying every day? Are you praying for the ENTIRE world? The world certainly needs our prayers. Would you commit to praying every day for the next year, especially to include the entire world?
SCRIPTURE. Are you reading scripture every day? Not just books or articles about religion, but the WORD itself? Would you commit to reading the ENTIRE Bible before 3/31/19?
CARE. Are you faithful in caring for the members of our church? Do you send cards? Do you make phone calls? Do you visit? Would you commit to contacting the other members of our body, one every week, other on a gathering day? This should include ALL our members.
SACRIFICIAL GIVING. Are you faithful in your giving? If so, can you remain faithful in your giving, and then find something else to give to sacrificially above what you give now? Perhaps it is giving food EVERY week to a food pantry. Perhaps it is buying new clothes and giving them to a clothes closet. Perhaps it is giving to CBFVA? Would you commit to sacrificially giving through a trustworthy agency without reducing your regular giving to your church so another human in this world would have to struggle less?
EVANGELISM. Jesus gave you the greatest gift ever given. Do you share that gift? Who else needs to hear The Gospel (Good News)? Would you commit to being more evangelical over the next twelve months?
Five requests of commitments from every person, every week, for fifty-two weeks. I have scheduled April 7, 2019 for our annual checkup. How will you make your “faith” an action verb this year?

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