About Those New Year’s Resolutions…
To be honest, I have a spotty record with New Year’s resolutions. Some years—when I have felt extra-motivated and optimistic—I have come out of the gates running. Proper diet! More exercise! New Year, New Me! And then there have been other years when I have felt more realistic—acknowledging that behavioral changes are exceedingly difficult to sustain and that I’m probably going to fail anyway—and I have just waved my hand at all this talk about New Year’s resolutions.
But as Christians—regardless of the time of year—we must strive to remedy our ways and correct our faults. It’s our way of working out our salvation with fear and trembling as God works in us for our sanctification (See Philippians 2:12). But I’m not just talking about losing weight, eating right, and exercising more. I’m talking about the disease of sin.
We have several different, biblical ways we can talk about sin and salvation. The most common one we use is that of debts and being forgiven our debts. When we displease God, we accrue a debt of sin. But since God is merciful—and because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross—we can be forgiven our debts when we ask for that forgiveness. And it is granted without hesitation. The accounts are wiped clean. And that’s good news. Great news, in fact! But that’s not the only way to talk about sin.
I read recently about the reality of sin in our lives and the necessity of dealing with it. The writer said, “Sin is a disease that must be cured.” You see, sin is not just a spiritual idea about offending God or having a theoretical ledger with black and red ink in it. But sin is a real, palpable spiritual sickness that lives in our bodies. And once we are forgiven and regenerated through Christ, we need to allow the Great Physician to work in us to eradicate the effects of sin that ultimately lead to death and separation from God.
The tools that Jesus uses (and that we cooperate with) are familiar, but not widely used:
- Praying: Whether it’s whispering prayers throughout the day or sitting down for a time of structured prayer, praying helps to suck the poison of sin out of our bodies and injects us with the antidote of grace. Even when we don’t feel anything—even when we don’t know what to say—focusing on Jesus and talking to him works.
- Scripture: Imbibing Scripture, even a little at a time, is like medication for the sin-sick soul. We don’t need to necessarily read through the Bible in a year (although that is a noble pursuit), but we need to prayerfully read some every day. And speaking of praying, praying Scripture (for instance, the Psalms) is a powerful tool to make us over in Christ’s image!
- Worship: Taking advantage of the means of grace is effective. Singing, listening to sermons, praying in harmony with other believers, and even partaking in Communion are ways to inoculate us against the love of sinning.
- Fasting: This under-appreciated tool teaches us much about ourselves and our spiritual lives. When we are hungry, we can direct our hunger to Jesus, who is the Bread of Life. When we long for temporary satisfaction from junk food, we can remember that only Jesus offers eternal refreshment. Besides the physical benefits of fasting, we can also learn to control our other appetites and become more like Christ in the process.
So regardless if you make a list of New Year’s resolutions this year, we should all resolve to work out our salvation and earnestly seek the Physician’s healing of our disease. And may you experience the joy and blessing of God in this new year!
The Life of Our Church
Retired Ministers & Missionaries Offering
“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 NIV
Let us do our part to honor and care for those who have spent their lives laboring for the Lord! The RMMO provides financial support to retired ministers, missionaries, and their widowed spouses who have helped build and sustain our churches. Thank You checks, as well as emergency financial assistance, are made possible by the contributions of ABC congregations. The financial assistance restores that lifeline and ongoing connection to the ABC family. Rooted in thankfulness, RMMO acknowledges the individual acts of support and faith that recipients have shown to their congregations and communities. In 2018, your generosity provided $1,024,706 in financial and emergency assistance and Thank You checks to over 3,497 RMMO recipients.
We will receive the RMMO on Sunday, January 19, and Sunday, January 26. Thank you for your generosity!
To learn more, visit:
Join us for Sunday school every Sunday morning at 9:30. We are studying 2 Thessalonians this winter.
Greeters for 2020
Please sign up to serve as a greeter for the New Year!
On the first Sunday of the month, please help out by folding newsletters and affixing address labels. Note: If you are unable to fulfill your commitment, please find your own replacement. Thanks for your service!
Food Pantry Needs
The Atlantic Food Pantry is seeing more demand. Please consider helping out this fall! Here is a list of suggestions:
- Canned corn and green beans
- black tea bags
- coffee, 30 oz. cans
- liquid laundry detergent
- cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup
- chicken broth
- canned salmon
- Hamburger Helper
- Canned beef ravioli
- “pasta & sauce” (fettuccini alfredo, butter, chicken)
- mashed potatoes – (different styles)
- cold cereal, oatmeal
- Jell-O gelatin dessert (lemon, cherry, strawberry)
- Jell-O pudding/pie filling (banana cream, vanilla, chocolate, tapioca)
- corn muffin mix
- chili beans
- cake mix (white or choc)
- diced tomatoes
- saltine crackers
- canned fruit (pears, peaches, fruit cocktail, applesauce)
- bar soap, shampoo
- canned tuna
- macaroni & cheese
- tomato soup, chicken noodle soup
- canned peas and pork & beans
- toilet paper
- peanut butter (18 oz cans)
- complete pancake & waffle mix
- pancake & waffle syrup
Our Global Servants
The Myers family has officially retired from mission work. We celebrate their fruitful ministry career! Our congregation has decided to support Kyle and Debby Witmer, who are relatively new global servants working in Thailand. Debby and Kyle serve the Thai Karen Baptist Convention (TKBC) Siloam Bible Institute in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where they work in pastoral education and leadership development. Young people from the Karen ethnic group attend the school with the goal of following the call of God on their lives to be pastors and evangelists among the Karen villages in the hills of Thailand. Kyle is also involved in continuing education with TKBC pastors and evangelists. Debby is providing worship leadership to conferences in the area and helping with the English language program at Siloam. To learn more about the Witmers, visit:
Annual Congregational Meeting
Our annual meeting will be after worship on Sunday, January 12. There will be a potluck followed by the meeting. Please bring something to share. And if you have a report to contribute to the annual report, please submit that to Luella Bartelson asap!
American Baptist Women
ABWM will gather on Wednesday, January 15, at 1:30 p.m.
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!
December Diaconate Meeting Minutes
Diaconate meeting of the First Baptist Church was held on Sunday December 8, 2019. It was opened with prayer.
Minutes of the November 10, 2019 Diaconate meeting were read and approved.
There was discussion on how to place orders from the Christmas catalog. It was decided that in 2020 we will make a purchase from the catalog from the Church.
Being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.
Vicki Brown, Church Clerk
Looking for some godly New Year’s resolutions? Try these!
- Resolve to stay faithful to Jesus Christ. He is the one Truth, Way and Life. There’s no reason to look elsewhere.
- Resolve to not let anything—a career, a significant other, social media, a house—become an object of worship.
- Resolve to watch your language and not speak any destructive talk, especially involving the name of God.
- Resolve to prevent burnout by putting aside work one day a week. Trust God to provide for your needs that day and just enjoy the time He’s given you.
- Resolve to talk to your parents (or your spiritual leaders) on a regular basis, and show them love and respect.
- Resolve to be angry less. Channel any feelings of rage, which Jesus said are as severe as murder, into worshiping God and serving others.
- Resolve to honor your commitment to your spouse (or your future spouse). Whether in thought or in deed, stay pure and loyal in the union God made.
- Resolve to not take anything that’s not yours, including stuff you can hold and put in your pocket, and plenty that you can’t, like music downloads, streaming movies and hours on your timecard.
- Resolve to speak about others only with truth and love, not gossip.
- Resolve to be content with what you have, and not worry about that others are amassing.