December 2020 Newsletter

A Word from the Pastor: It’s the Little Things

Matthew 25 records Jesus’ own teaching about the final judgment. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” (Matthew 25:31-33) And he will condemn the goats and commend the sheep on the same criteria. But did you notice what those criteria are? Does he criticize the “goats” for not doing great things in his name, and does he commend the “sheep” doing great things in his name? Curing diseases, working at the highest levels to broker world peace, or solving hunger and poverty? Nope. None of those things. But Jesus evaluates them—and us—based on the simple things. The little things: giving food to a hungry person, giving a drink to a thirsty person, welcoming a stranger, clothing someone who needs clothes, caring for a sick person, and visiting a prisoner.

That’s it. In other words, it’s the little things that count most. Or, to put it another way, If you’re in a position to bless someone, do it.

That’s what happened to a young mother of four named Justen Crumpton from Hueytown, Alabama, just a couple of weeks ago. Crumpton wrote on her Facebook page:

“I’m thankful for the kindness of a stranger. Yesterday, my mom, sister, and I went shopping to try and finish up Christmas shopping. If you know me at all, you know, I love to insert myself into other’s conversations, EVEN IF THEY ARE COMPLETE STRANGERS! This drives my sister CrAzY 😂 We were walking through Von Maur to put some bags in the car. These two men were standing by the UGGs display. I stopped and jokingly said, “If you are shopping for your girl then get her these,” and pointed to a certain pair. Then I told them I have been asking for them for five years. I laughed and started to walk away. The man said, “FIVE YEARS!” I turned around and laughed some more and said, “Yes!” Then he said, “Oh, and you have a baby. (I was wearing Beau in a baby wrap). Wait right there.” Then he proceeded to go get an associate from the store and BOUGHT THE UGGS FOR ME!!!!! Right there in the middle of the store! I was in shock! He simply said just pay it forward. His daughter that was with him told me he grew up an orphan and turned his life into something and he always wants to give to others. Spread kindness like confetti! I may not be able to surprise someone with UGGs, but I hope I can make someone’s day soon!”

The man, Vincent Joseph, has the right idea. If you’re in a position to bless someone, you do it. Simple as that. St. Teresa of Calcutta (formerly known as Mother Teresa) said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Which is exactly what Vincent Joseph did, and it’s within reach for every one of us. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we can spread love and kindness through small acts infused with compassion. St. Teresa also said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” I couldn’t say it better myself.

May you be filled to overflowing with the joy of Jesus Christ as we anticipate his birth and his coming again.

Pastor Ray

The Life of Our Church

Online or In-Person Services

We are open in a “new normal”! Feel free to worship in-person, with common-sense precautions (e.g., masks and keeping social distance). But if you are uncomfortable coming to worship, you may worship virtually through our YouTube channel. We will stream the service live, and the service will be archived after that.

Please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to discover our videos:

Christmas Eve

We will celebrate Christmas Eve on Thursday, December 24, at 4:00 p.m. in our sanctuary. You may also watch it live on YouTube Live. Join us as we adore Christ the newborn King!

Sunday School

“Socially Distanced Sunday School” has resumed! Bring your Bible and a friend. Every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. We will NOT meet on Sunday, December 27, or Sunday, January 3.

Atlantic Rising Christmas Box Program

Last year, AR provided Christmas dinners in a box to 86 families and individuals. This year, due to COVID-19, they are expecting an even greater demand. Please consider supporting their efforts financially. Checks can be made out to Atlantic Rising and mailed to 102 Chestnut Street. Thank you!

The Mitten Tree Is Up!

Please help us decorate our Mitten Tree in our narthex. Hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, etc. will be collected and sent to the Murrow Indian Children’s Home in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Atlantic Food Pantry

The Atlantic Food Pantry has seen dramatically heavier usage this fall! They always need food and monetary donations. The Pantry is also sponsoring a drive-through Mobile Food Pantry at the Community Center on Wednesday, December 2, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. There is no need for documentation for this pantry. All are welcome to receive food.

Relay for Life

The Cass County Relay for Life will be holding its Luminaria Ceremony in downtown Anita on Sunday, December 6, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. If you would prefer to not participate in person, the ceremony will also be broadcast on KJAN. For more information, or to donate to the Relay for Life, visit: You may also make donations in person at First Whitney Bank.

Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering

The RMMO will be received on Sunday, December 6. To learn more about how the RMMO works, visit:

Ray’s Office Hours

Now that the IWCC fall semester is over, Ray will resume his previous office hours that will continue on through the spring: Tuesdays and Thursdays, or by appointment. You can always call, text, Facebook, video chat, Zoom, etc.!

Communion in December

Please note: We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, December 13. And if you are watching worship on YouTube, you are certainly encouraged to participate at home with your own elements.

Diaconate for December

Our deacons will gather after worship on Sunday, December 13.

Atlantic Chamber Holiday Concert

The Chamber will host its annual holiday concert at First Church of Christ on Sunday, December 6, at 3:00 p.m. Come and enjoy the sounds of the holiday season! It will also be streamed live on Facebook:

Looking Ahead to the New Year

Our annual congregational meeting will take place after worship on Sunday, January 11. Stay tuned for more information and decisions about the potluck lunch.

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. Visit our Web site and subscribe to receive our newsletter (blog) by email (at the bottom-left of the homepage).

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