Archive for March, 2020

Mar
26

Three Observations for the Church

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Throughout history, nothing has been more polarizing than suffering. Some will view human suffering as a reason to not believe in God, while others will see suffering as a reason to run directly into the arms of God. This is the time for us to say to our cities and communities, “hope is right in front of you!” The Church has had a disaster plan in place for 2,000 years — the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In that momentous act, Jesus conquered sin, death and the grave. With that said, let me share three observations for the Church.

First, the light is on. While we may not be “here” in our facilities, we’re actually everywhere! The buildings we occupy once or twice a week are not representative of our reach. Wherever we live and wherever we go we are mobilized for the cause of the Kingdom and the sake of the gospel.

Next, the Church is not in retreat. We’ve merely repositioned ourselves for ministry. If you’ve ever wondered what Jesus meant about new wineskins, this is it! We need to remember that the first building constructed for the exclusive purpose of Christian worship was not erected until A.D. 350. For the first three and one half centuries the gospel flourished without a building. I think we can do this!

Finally, we need our individual members now more than ever because our communities need us collectively. We’re better together. Lovingly meeting the needs of the members of our communities is the most relevant thing we can do. Let’s be the Church of Jesus Christ!

Categories : Church
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Lord Jesus Christ,

We are so thankful that you have said, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

We are thankful for the ease with which you walked upon this earth, the generosity and kindness you showed to people, the devotion with which you cared for those who were out of the way and in trouble, the extent to which you even loved your enemies and laid down your life for them.

We are so thankful to believe that this is a life for us, a life without lack; a life of sufficiency. It’s so clear in you, the sufficiency of your Father and the fullness of life that was poured through you, and we’re so thankful that you have promised the same love, the same life, the same joy, and the same power for us.

Lord, slip up on us today. Get past our defenses, our worries, our concerns. Gently open our souls and speak your word into them. We believe you want to do it, and we wait for you to do it now.

In your name, Amen

Categories : Prayer
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Mar
21

Words on Worry

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“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)

Worry is the anxiety we feel that is fostered by uncertainty regarding the future. Jesus spoke these words in the middle of The Sermon on the Mount, giving six reasons why we are not to worry.

Do not worry because you are valuable to God! “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

Worry does not change anything! “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27)

God regularly demonstrates his faithfulness to his children! “Andy why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30)

Worry produces conflict with our faith and trust in God! “So do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things.” (Matthew 6:31-32)

God already knows your needs! “…and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:32)

Our priority is to focus on God’s kingdom and trust his promises to care for us! “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)

Jesus offered those words nearly 2,000 years ago. And they are just as relevant today!

Be blessed today,

Pastor Tim

Categories : Worry
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Mar
13

Our Response to COVID-19

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Dear First Baptist Family and Friends,

As you know, this is the time of year when the spread of viruses represents a significant concern for many individuals and families in our community.  This year, in particular, these concerns have been increased given the rapid spread influenza, pneumonia, and COVID-19 (coronavirus).
 
Out of our responsibility as Shepherds and leaders, and particularly in support of members of our community who would be most vulnerable to these conditions, our Church Staff and Executive Board are implementing the following preventative measures to do our part to ensure as safe an environment for church members as possible:

We are encouraging everyone to please stay home if you are showing any signs of illness.  Remember that you can live stream our services at our website (www.fbcdsm.org/media) or watch them at your convenience. If you cannot attend worship, you can also make contributions online (www.fbcdsm.org/ways-to-give.aspx).

During worship we are encouraging the alternative form of greeting one another by placing your hand over your heart as a sign of Christian love. In similar manner, greeters will now wave to everyone rather than shaking hands or hugging.

We are suspending communion through the month of April. We will also suspend providing donut holes before and after worship through the month of April. Coffee will continue to be provided on Sunday morning by servers.

Any food, including Wednesday night dinners, will be plated and served individually by people wearing food service gloves.

Those who have volunteered to make hospital visits will suspend their ministry. The Pastoral Staff will continue to provide pastoral care to those who are admitted to the hospital as permitted.

Frequent hand washing with soap and water is encouraged! Hand sanitizer is available in each class room as well as in the Narthex.

Please make sure to cough or sneeze into your elbow, turning away from others as much as possible. Kleenex tissues are available throughout the building.

In addition to our regular cleaning, we will be regularly cleaning and disinfecting all doorknobs, handles, and frequently used surfaces at the Church.

Parents: please remember that we always regularly wipe down all toys in the nursery.

We appreciate your willingness to work together to promote the health and well-being of our entire community.  We will continue to monitor the latest recommendations from governmental agencies and hope that these measures will soon be unnecessary. You can find the latest information at The Iowa Department of Public Health website (www.idph.iowa.gov) or the National Center for Disease Control website (www.cdc.gov).

To that end, let us be faithful and vigilant in our prayer for those nations, communities, families and individuals most affected by this outbreak, and for the medical personnel and government officials seeking to respond. Finally, let us show respect to those who are deeply concerned about these viruses and resist any temptation to invalidate their concerns or personal precautions.
 
God’s blessings to you all,      
The Church Staff and Executive Board of First Baptist Church
Categories : Uncategorized
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Mar
12

Working Sacramental Miracles

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“The Kingdom of God deals not only with the immortal soul of mortals, but with their bodies, their nourishment, their homes, their cleanliness, and it makes those who serve these fundamental needs of life veritable ministers of God. Are they not serving the common good? Are they not working sacramental miracles by cooperating with that mysterious power which satisfies the want of every living thing by making the grain and tree to grow? If they do their job well, that job itself is their chief ministry to others and part of their worship to God. Whenever they strive to increase their serviceableness to humanity, they make another advance toward the Kingdom of God.”

“We praise thee, O God, for our friends, the doctors and nurses who seek the healing of our bodies. We bless thee for their gentleness and patience, for their knowledge and skill. Make thou our doctors the prophets and soldiers of thy kingdom, which is the reign of cleanliness and self-restraint and the dominion of health and joyous life. Strengthen in their whole profession the consciousness that their calling is holy and they they, too, are disciples of the saving Christ. Amen.” — Walter Rauschenbusch, as quoted by Dennis L. Johnson, To Live in God.

Categories : Uncategorized
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