February Newsletter

A Word from the Pastor: Crowding Out Sin

It’s not enough for us Christians to just feel bad or guilty about our sins. There. I said it. Guilt is only the first step to being in a right relationship with God. We start with regret, but we need to take that next step to ask forgiveness for our shortcomings and misdeeds. All of them. And God, who is rich in mercy, will forgive us and give us new life in Christ. But to be honest, that’s not the end of the story either.

Over and over again, Scripture commands us to do what is right as renewed, forgiven children of God: to practice mercy, to act justly, to extend love and forgiveness to all, even to our enemies. To lead holy lives that are pleasing to God. To be perfect, even as our Father is perfect. But why? If being forgiven is enough, then can’t we just stay on the ever-spinning wheel of Sin-Guilt-Forgiveness? No. We are also commanded to grow in the grace of God, to be increasingly conformed to Christ’s image and likeness.

You see, it’s not enough for us to try to stop sinning. Yes, that’s a good aim, but sin needs to be displaced by something positive. It has to be crowded out of our lives by good stuff. If you are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, you don’t just stop eating junk food; you also need to start eating healthy foods. It is still a temptation if you stop eating sweets, but then spend your spare time staring at a plate of delicious cookies! You can’t just “stop” being sedentary; you have to counteract the inactivity by replacing it with something healthy and active—like walking or swimming.

And that’s the way it works with sin. It’s not enough for us to simply stop sinning, or to curb our sinful habits. They need to be replaced with positive, godly habits. An early Christian named Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (AD 348-413) was among the first to catalog Scripture’s vices and virtues in an effort to help other believers spot their sins and to replace them with more godly behavior. Each serious sin (vice) has a corresponding virtue.

virtues and vices

And this ancient wisdom is still relevant. For instance, if you struggle with being envious of other people, the way to undo that tendency is by practicing kindness and compassion to others. Doing kind deeds helps a struggling believer to let the poison of envy out of their system. And if you have a tendency toward greed—hoarding money for yourself and for your family—then the antidote to that is to be generous and give away your precious money. And if your hang-up is gluttony—eating and drinking too much and seeking out pleasure above all else—then you need to practice fasting and self-denial as a remedy for gluttony. And so on and so forth. You get the picture.

The frequent call of the New Testament is to repent—that is, to turn away from sin and turn toward God in faith. It’s simply not enough for us to keep sinning, to keep feeling bad about it, and then to keep asking forgiveness. But God expects growth and sanctification from us. And we do that not just by stopping sinful behaviors, but by engaging in godly acts. This is what is pleasing to God.

Pastor Ray

The Life of Our Church

LC Clinic in Atlantic

LC (Life Care) Clinic is a Christ-centered, life-affirming pregnancy medical clinic that has locations in Stuart and Creston. They provide women, men, and families with compassionate and non-judgmental care. Their priority is the client’s life and well-being. LC Clinic was founded in 2010 to meet the needs of men and women in southwest Iowa communities who face unplanned pregnancies. And now, with God’s help and our investment, LC Clinic is coming to Atlantic! The local steering committee has been actively scouting out a facility that can be used for the clinic. Now they are raising funds to purchase a property for use. LC Clinic is a non-profit organization that is 100% privately funded through the generosity of local individuals, churches, community organizations, and business sponsors. If you have a heart for this ministry, please consider how you can help:

  • Pray for LC Clinic and their clients.
  • Financially support their operations.
  • Volunteer with the local steering committee.

For more information, find them on Facebook (@LCClinic) or at www.iowalcclinic.org. For local questions, please contact Dottie Krogh: dottiek1975@gmail.com.

Wednesdays in Lent

This year, five local churches will join together for weekly dinners and prayer services during Lent—much like last year. First Baptist, First United Methodist, First United Presbyterian, Ss. Peter and Paul, and St. Paul’s Lutheran churches will take turns hosting a dinner and a worship service. Please watch for coming details!

Sunday School

Join us for Sunday school every Sunday morning at 9:30. We have begun a study through the pastoral epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus). Come along, and bring a friend!

Greeters for 2020

Please sign up to serve as a greeter for 2020!

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!

Diaconate Meeting

Our deacons will gather after worship on Sunday, February 9, for their monthly meeting.

American Baptist Women

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

Read Online: Save 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!

Annual Congregational Meeting Minutes

Sunday January 12, 2020

The 2020 annual meeting opened with reading the minutes of the 2019 annual meeting. No changes, so minutes were approved.

Vicki Brown gave the December 2019 financial report.

Luella Bartelson, benevolence secretary; Vicki Brown, financial secretary and Sandi Rhoads, treasurer gave reports.

Pastor Ray McCalla gave comments on his report for the annual meeting.

Jim Bartelson thanked everyone that does so much for the Church.

The congregation thanks Ray for all he does for us and for our Sunday school classes. We have learned so much.

We need to decide what to do with the outside church sign that was left by the Lutheran congregation. It was decided that we want to keep the sign and there was some discussion on what wording will go on the sign. If everyone will give it some thought we will discuss wording at the Diaconate meeting in February.

Pastor Ray McCalla then left the meeting so we could discuss compensation for 2020. We discussed whether to give Ray a raise or to give him a quarterly bonus. After discussion Kyle made a motion to give Ray a quarterly bonus of $300.00 which will be paid in March, June, September and December of 2020. Lyle Brown seconded the motion. A vote was taken and motion carried.

It was also decided that if the congregation wants to take up a collection for Christmas we can also do that.

The nominating committee consisting of Lyle Brown and Mary Maher give the following slate of officers for 2020:

Moderator Jim Bartelson

Church Clerk Vicki Brown

Treasurer Sandi Rhoads

Financial Secretary Vicki Brown

Benevolence Treasurer Luella Bartelson

Diaconate Trustee: 3 year term 2022 Chuck Smith & Lyle Brown

2 year term 2021 Traci and Lisa Smith

1 year term 2020 Jerry Rhoads & Mary Maher

Member at Large Kyle Benson

Luella Bartelson moved to accept the ballot as presented. Sandi Rhoads seconded. Vote was taken and motion carried.

Pastoral Relations Committee: Jim Bartelson, Vicki Brown, Sandi Rhoads and Janet Westphalen.

With no other business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Vicki Brown, Church Clerk

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