June 2020 Newsletter

A Word from the Pastor: Updating Our Lives

Long story shorter: We had an incident at our house wherein the family desktop computer—a four-year-old HP—crashed and came up with the Blue Screen of Death. It wasn’t a complete loss, but it wasn’t a simple fix either. Under the “Troubleshoot” menu, our options were to attempt to repair the problems or to do a system restore. The former didn’t work, so we were left with the latter: to reset the computer to its out-of-the-box factory settings. Thankfully, we were able to save our old documents and photos from the computer, but we had to re-do everything else. After allowing the computer to reset, I was surprised to see an old friend, Windows 8.1, instead of Windows 10. For those of you know what I’m talking about, 8.1 is very different than 10. 8.1 is “touch-centric,” which is awkward for a non-touchscreen desktop computer that works only with a mouse. Although we could have fumbled around and re-learned to operate in Windows 8.1, I decided to see if I could update the computer to the newest build of Windows 10. And thankfully, I could. But only after a few hours (yes, HOURS) of downloading and installing new updates to the computer. After all that, we finally arrived at Windows 10 Version 1909, build 18363.836, the most up-to-date version of the operating system.

And that whole experience made me think that our computer is an analogy to our spiritual life.

Most people are going about their daily lives running a buggy version of Windows 8.1—or worse yet, Windows 7; or even worse yet, Vista or XP. But we are vulnerable to outside attacks and certainly not living the full, abundant life that is possible with the latest version of our “operating system.” Many of us, though, if we’re fortunate to receive the grace of repentance and faith, come to a Blue Screen of Death moment: when the old life has come crashing down and we can no longer run on the old firmware. So we have a couple of choices before us: we can either try to fix up the old life—to slap some duct tape on our brokenness and sin, hoping to hobble along for a while longer—or we can surrender and do a complete system reset.

And praise God if you’ve chosen the second! That’s what it means to be “born again”: to start over fresh, to be buried and raised with Christ (Romans 6:4-7; Galatians 2:20). But in our spiritual journeys, this is just the beginning and not the end. Being born again means resetting to a fresh version of Windows 8.1 or 10. There is still tremendous work to do in order to get up to speed and up to date where God wants us to be. There is a long, arduous “update” process that must be undertaken by every person who has been buried and raised with Christ through baptism. Just like running Windows Update on a seriously under-updated machine, being sanctified by God’s Spirit is a strenuous, time-consuming process. It involves receiving God’s discipline so that we might remove bad habits. It involves Jesus pruning away all the branches in us that produce no fruit. It involves the Holy Spirit purging us of dross and purifying us for God’s future kingdom. It involves rewiring the way we think, from a former, wanton pattern of thinking into a holy, Christ-centered way of thinking.

Being “updated” into Christ’s image means putting to death the things that belong to our earthly nature (Colossians 3:5), allowing the Spirit to kill off the misdeeds of our bodies (Romans 8:13), being made new in the attitudes of our minds (Ephesians 2:23; Romans 12:2), stripping off the old, ratty clothes of our former lives (Colossians 3:5-9), and putting on the new, fine clothes that are fitting for our membership in Christ’s body, the church (Colossians 3:12-14).

Someday, we will probably have to upgrade our family computer. The actual machine will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. After all, computers are not forever. And the same is true with our spiritual lives, too. The life we live in this body is temporary and passing away. Although God has begun a work in us—in these bodies—our ultimate hope is to share in Christ’s resurrection: on the last day, we will be raised to new, imperishable life to live in a perfected kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 42, 52-53; John 5:28-29). So in light of this great hope, let us start living as though that reality were already here.

Pastor Ray

The Life of Our Church

Online or In-Person Services

It’s time for a re-do! We are planning to resume Sunday school and worship in-person on Sunday, June 7. We will call it “Six-Feet Sunday” and “Social-Distancing Sunday School,” meaning that even though we will be back together, we still need to practice common-sense measures to keep all of us healthy. Singing will be limited, and with apologies to certain members (you know who you are), we will restrict seating to every other pew. Please wear a mask! And if you feel at all apprehensive about coming to worship, please don’t! We will still be posting our worship service on YouTube (probably on Monday, the day after), so you can still participate.

Please pray for our church during this transition! And please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to discover our videos:


Supporting Our Church

It is important that we all continue to support our church’s mission during this pandemic. Please give generously in worship or by mail (or drop in the mail slot): 710 Walnut Street, Atlantic, IA 50022. Thank you!

Sunday School

“Social-Distancing Sunday School” will resume meeting in-person starting on Sunday, June 7, at 9:30 a.m. Please wear a mask and practice common-sense social distancing while we’re together. Remember, we do these things for others’ health, and not only our own.


Please stay tuned for information about ABWM during June.

Diaconate and Congregational Meeting

The deacons will gather after worship on June 14. Please stay tuned for more information about future diaconate and congregational meetings.

Worship in the Park and Potluck

We will be worshiping in the city park on Sunday, July 19, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday school will remain the same. Afterwards, we will have a potluck lunch in the shelter. Bring something to share!

Happy Father’s Day!

On June 21, happy Father’s Day to our dads, as well as those men who have been spiritual fathers to us—who have shown us what it looks like to follow Jesus in their lives. You are a blessing!

Just Pray

Pray for each other. Pray for the world. Pray for God’s kingdom to come quickly. Just pray. There are many (free) resources to guide your prayers, so take advantage of them!

  1. The Secret Place: magazine (in our church), Web site, app for Apple or Android
  2. Our Daily Bread: Web site, app for Apple or Android
  3. The Upper Room: Web site, app for Apple or Android
  4. Daily Prayer (from the Church of England): Web site, app for Apple or Android

Stay Connected!

Facebook: Follow our Facebook page for updates and alerts.


Text: Subscribe to our text message service for prayer requests and updates: Text (712) 250-1607 to be added.

YouTube: Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo7rD-aUmWcKtM6wKohlKBwNewsletter: Visit our Web site and subscribe to receive our newsletter (blog) by email (at the bottom-left of the homepage). https://fbcatlantic.wordpress.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s