June Newsletter

On Humility and Faithfulness

I have said it more than once in your hearing: If you’re a minister, then you shouldn’t invent a ministry with your name on it and you shouldn’t have a Web site that is your name. Because the temptation becomes to put yourself in the spotlight, rather than the risen Jesus Christ our Savior.

And after repeating that again to you last Sunday (May 26), lo and behold, I had a Facebook (and minister) friend on Wednesday invite me to like her new Facebook page. And guess what it’s called? Her name. And guess what her Web site address is? Her name. Sigh and eyeroll.

But point illustrated.

And on a related point: Someone on Sunday asked a good question of me: Will I be moving on from First Baptist Church and “moving up” to a larger church? And I just want to emphasize that the answer is no, I will not be doing anything of the sort. Just like the worldly temptation to put the spotlight on oneself as a minister by creating a ministry and Web site in one’s own image, there is also a worldly temptation to seek a bigger audience, a bigger platform, a bigger megaphone, and a bigger spotlight. Many entrepreneurial ministers set out to build an empire for themselves, complete with podcasts and books and marketing—with themselves as the emperor of their little empires.

But is that really what Jesus is seeking from those who claim to represent him and his teaching? I believe that the heart of that temptation is self-promotion, not gospel-promotion.

Even Jesus himself—who was by very nature God (unlike any minister I’ve met, by the way)—did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. But instead of striving for the allegedly “bigger” and “better,” Jesus emptied himself and humbled himself. He took on the form of a slave and became obedient, even the point of death on a cross (see Philippians 2). So, our model—as Christians—is the humble God, not the self-aggrandizing God.

And besides that, Jesus warned his disciples about getting too uppity in their own minds. “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45 CSB) Doesn’t sound like he wanted them to seek the spotlight at all, IMO.

Now the point is not that our church is humble (in a negative way) or somehow inadequate. FBC is a wonderful group of disciples who are earnestly seeking Jesus together. And I appreciate that! I’ve been in larger churches who don’t have such a foundation or such a DNA below the surface. But many Christians may look down their noses at a small number of attendees and consider it humble (in a negative way). But that is only a myth. Historians tell us that the churches (congregations) mentioned in Paul’s letters (e.g., the “churches of Galatia”) were usually small groups of about 25 people who met in members’ houses. There were no megachurches. No Web sites. No celebrity pastors who have their own marketing teams. Just “humble” and faithful groups of people who were about gospel-promotion and not self-promotion.

Sounds familiar. And it sounds like what I want, too.

Pastor Ray

One Great Hour of Sharing: More Than We Can Imagine

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

We will be receiving the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) during June. OGHS goes to support two different mission areas in the US and around the world: disaster relief and development. Watch your Sunday bulletin for more information about how OGHS funds are used for God’s work!

Please give generously to support the work of this offering.

Did you know?

  • One Great Hour of Sharing is supported by eight Christian groups: American Baptist Churches USA, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Church of the Brethren, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Church of Christ, and Church World Service
  • OGHS has been supporting those in need since 1950, making this the 70th offering made for OGHS.
  • The American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) has designated some of its OGHS funds for flood relief in southeast Nebraska. To designate your gift to flood relief, make a memo on your check that says, “OGHS-2019 Midwest Floods.” Mail it to: ABHMS Office of Development care of Kim Wilkins, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406
  • To learn more about the American Baptists’ OGHS, visit: abc-oghs.org.

Flood Relief

There is an enormous recovery ahead for eastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa! The need is great. There are many different ways you can support the clean-up effort. One of the most efficient ways, however, is to support the work of disaster relief agencies. So give generously!

American Red Cross:

https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/red-cross-responds-to-flooding.html

American Baptist Disaster Response Ministries:

http://abhms.org/ministries/healing-communities/disaster-response/

American Baptist Men:

http://abmen.org/blog/category/disaster-relief/

Sunday School

Join us for Sunday school every Sunday morning at 9:30, even through the summer months! There is no shortage of fellowship and coffee!

Pastoral Visits

Pastor Ray would like to visit you! As we move closer to summer, Ray would like to visit with you and get to know you more. Let’s talk!

A Creative Way to Support Your Church

If you have an IRA and you’re 70.5 years old, then you probably already know about Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). If you’re not familiar with an RMD, it goes like this: At age 70.5 (for most retirement accounts), you must start withdrawing a minimum amount of money from your account—and that withdrawal is taxed as income. However: you can transfer that RMD directly to a qualifying charity (e.g., OUR CHURCH) and avoid all taxes. In fact, you can give up to $100,000 from your IRA to the church each year! So it’s a win-win situation. Talk to your financial planner about how you can do this. For more useful information, visit:

https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T045-C001-S003-faqs-about-giving-your-rmd-to-charity.html

Diaconate Meeting

The deacons will gather after worship on Sunday, June 9.

American Baptist Women

ABWM will gather on Wednesday, June 19, at 1:30 p.m.

B.U.M.P.Y

(Baptist / United Methodist / Presbyterian Youth)

BUMPY will not meet during the summer (except for maybe a fun gathering). We will resume in the fall, when school starts back up. Have a great summer!

Updated Church Directory

We are updating our church directory! If you have a change in address or phone number (or if you would like to provide your email address), please let Pastor Ray know. Call, text, or email him with your new information.

Read Online: Save the Paper and Postage!

Read our newsletter online!

https://fbcatlantic.wordpress.com/blog. You can also sign up to receive each newsletter (blog) as an email message. Just enter your email address, then confirm your subscription, and you’re all set!

The mission of First Baptist Church is to develop disciples of Jesus Christ, loving people into a life-changing relationship with Him and providing a lifetime of spiritual growth through worship, education, fellowship, and service.

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