March 2020 Newsletter


A Word from the Pastor: Good Life or God Life?

In my Intro to Ethics course, it’s the way we start out the semester—a way of dipping our toes in the ocean of moral philosophy. The question that everyone must consider is simple: What makes a good life? Well, one leading answer—and an enticing answer—is what’s called Desire Satisfaction Theory. The theory is pretty straightforward: “Your life goes well for you to the extent that you get what you want” (Shafer-Landau, Fundamentals of Ethics, p. 45). Or if you could slap it on a bumper sticker, it would say, “Having a good life means getting what you want.” Fulfilling your desires, so the thinking goes, is the only intrinsically good thing in life. And of course, true believers in this theory deny that anyone’s version of desire is better or worse than anyone else’s. It’s all subjective: whether you desire wealth or status or rare baseball cards or the perfect pair of shoes, if you get what you want, then you’re good to go.

And this is our basic American approach to life. The assumption that we all accept is that if we can just get that One Thing—whether it’s a new car or a nice house or a good job or the right education—then we’ll be set. And this assumption is reinforced by those who want us to consume, to spend our money on their products, which will—of course—inevitably lead us to the Good Life. But is that really true?

Even our secular textbook author points out the holes in this theory, especially the assumption that seeking happiness is the greatest pursuit in life. He admits that “Those who seek only happiness, and fixate on acquiring it, are bound to be disappointed. Aiming directly for happiness is not the best way to get it” (Shafer-Landau, p. 33). Happiness, he concedes, is a byproduct of a good life and not the path to a good life.

But consider how stark this vision of the Good Life is to the God Life! If we Americans who implicitly accept the Desire Satisfaction Theory want to follow Jesus, then we are faced with a dilemma. Because “having it your way” (a la Burger King) and having it Jesus’ way are incompatible. Seeking your own satisfaction and seeking Jesus’ satisfaction are irreconcilable goals.

To pursue the God Life is to not get what you want. On purpose. Jesus himself clearly stated: “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?” (Mark 8:34b-36 CSB) So to follow Jesus means to renounce oneself, to forsake worldly enticements, to forget about what’s in it for ourselves, and to focus entirely on Jesus. For this alone leads, not necessarily to happiness or even a “good” life, but to Eternal Life.

As we journey to the cross and the empty tomb during this season, let us consider this shift in thinking: away from pursuing our own goals and toward pursuing Jesus’ gift of eternal life.

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 For local questions, please contact Dottie Krogh:

Wednesdays in Lent

This year, five local churches will join together for weekly dinners and prayer services during Lent—much like last year. Here is the schedule (note: dinners begin at 6:00, and worship starts at 7:00):

  • March 4 at First United Presbyterian Church; Sharon Worthington presenting
  • March 11 at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church; Dean McPherson presenting
  • March 18 at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church; Ray McCalla presenting
  • March 25 First United Methodist Church; Father Trevor Chicoine presenting
  • April 1 First Baptist Church; Rachelle McCalla presenting

America for Christ Offering

Thanks to your America for Christ (AFC) Offering contributions, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) ministers to families who have lost homes to floods, to children living lives of limitation in poverty, to seminarians preparing to devote their lives to sharing the Good News, and many more. We have been answering God’s call to heal broken families and communities—as well as cultivate strong Christian leaders and equip passionate disciples—since 1832. By contributing to the AFC Offering, you increase our capacity to fulfill the biblical mandate in Matthew 22:39: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

We will receive the AFC Offering on March 15 and 22. Please give generously!

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, March 8, for their monthly meeting.

American Baptist Women

ABWM will gather on Wednesday, March 18, at 1:30 p.m.

Read Online: Save Paper and Postage!

Read our newsletter online! 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!

February Diaconate Meeting Minutes

The Diaconate meeting of the First Baptist Church was held on Sunday February 9, 2020 with Pastor Ray McCalla opening the meeting with prayer.

Vicki Brown, Church Clerk read the minutes of the January 12, 2020 annual meeting. No corrections or additions were made, and the minutes were approved.

Reports were given by Vicki Brown, Financial secretary; Luella Bartelson, Benevolent secretary; and Sandi Rhoads, Treasurer.

Duane Maher is doing the snow removal at the church and has done a great job.

A motion was made by Luella Bartelson to give $100.00 to the ministerial association, seconded by Vicki Brown. A vote was taken, and motion passed. The check can be sent to Marie Parrott, secretary at the Methodist Church.

Jerry Rhoads gave information on wording and pricing for the sign in front of the church. J & J Graphics gave an estimate for printing on one side of the sign of between $200 and $250. Jerry wants to check on a couple things before doing the work. Luella made a motion to proceed with the work, seconded by Chuck Smith, a vote was taken and motion passed.

Ray is having problems with the modem-router; ours is quite old so Ray needs to get a new one. Sharen Herrick said she has one at home that we can try and if it doesn’t work Ray will get a new one.

Mary Maher talked about the good turnout we had at coffee for the church women and wondered about doing something that would include the whole church. We talked about having a “homecoming Sunday” at a quarterly meeting or in March around the time of the Church anniversary. We also talked about having a social evening sometime that would include pizza or some other take-out food. Maybe we could promote more social time for the Church since we only meet on Sunday mornings.

Several Churches will be providing meals during Lent again this year. First Baptist will host on April 1st.

Ray would like March 29th off. Vicki Brown has a suggestion for a short program (about 1⁄2 hour) that we could show on the history of old homes and churches around Atlantic. She will check with LaVon Eblen.

Being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:05.

Respectfully submitted,

Vicki Brown, Church Clerk

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