March 2022 Newsletter

A Word from the Pastor: Watch Your Diet!

A discerning mind seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.” Proverbs 15:14 CSB

It is a common thing, in the larger Christian family, for believers to give up something for Lent, the forty-day period of preparation before Easter. Christians often limit their food intake: no meat, no sweets, no desserts, and so forth. And there is great value in fasting from food. It allows us to train our bodies and learn discipline, while at the same time relying on Jesus for our true spiritual sustenance. But maybe, while we’re watching our food intake, we should also watch what else we consume.

Social media and mass media are a veritable smorgasbord of information and entertainment—some of it good and lots of it not-so-good. And we Christians need to be careful that we are not feasting on foolishness, mindlessly imbibing the rubbish purveyed on Facebook and Twitter. And we need to be vigilant that we are not thoughtlessly feeding on the sensationalized and often hate-filled propaganda that flashes across our TV screens. It is effortless to waste lots of time online, on social media, or watching TV, and it is super-easy to plug into our favorite cable news programs and fan the flames of our righteous indignation.

But those things lead us predictably to a hate-filled and angry place. So, instead, brothers and sisters, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8 CSB), and let the foolishness take a backseat. If you want a true fast this Lent, consider trimming back your time spent on social and mass media, and instead spend time with Jesus.

Pastor Ray

The Life of Our Church

Online or In-Person Services

Please join us for in-person worship! You can also 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:

Spring Forward!

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 13. Make sure to “spring forward” one hour!

Ash Wednesday

First United Presbyterian Church is hosting an Ash Wednesday service to kick off the Lenten season. If you would like to participate, the service is March 2 at 6:00 p.m. at 616 Chestnut Street.

Rocks: A Lenten Worship Series

Join our sisters and brothers in Christ in a rotating Lenten worship series! Learn what rocks have to do with following Christ. Each service is at 6:00 p.m.

  • March 9 at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church; Dean McPherson speaking
  • March 16 at First Baptist Church; Rachelle McCalla speaking
  • March 23 First United Methodist Church; Lauri Boysen speaking
  • March 30 First United Presbyterian Church; Ray McCalla presenting
  • April 6 Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church; Dean McPherson speaking

LC Clinic Update

The Atlantic LC Clinic continues to make progress toward opening this year. Future staff and volunteers are already training in other LC sites. There will be a fundraising banquet on Thursday, April 21, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Cass County Community Center. To register, visit:


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

American Baptist Women’s Ministries

ABWM will meet on Wednesday, March 16, at 1:30 p.m.

Pioneer Bible Translators

Here is a brief update from the Smiths:

“The Smiths are now celebrating 6 months in North Africa. In this time, we have reached several important milestones. We’ve learned how to manage our lives in this very new environment, including setting up our home and hiring reliable guards. We are also finding effective rhythms for homeschooling, language learning, partnership communications, office work, additional training and as well as the increased demands for daily life we’ve found here. We have visited the northern country once so far this year, with plans to visit once per quarter. We have also made trips to the refugee camp and visited several refugee churches which communicate in our target language. This has helped us to increase our language ability and, most importantly, develop many relationships with nationals from the refugee community.

“After a short time of fundraising last year, we were able to purchase a vehicle. This is a huge blessing! We have also published the first-ever scripture in this language, the book of Ephesians. Much of our work lately has concentrated around distributing and supporting the use and impact of this new scripture in the language community. We also continue to focus heavily on language learning. We are grateful for your prayers and support.”

Find them on Facebook, “Smith Family Translates.”

Follow Paul’s Journeys

Ray is organizing a pilgrimage to Turkey and Greece this summer to trace the steps of the apostle Paul. June 16-26, 2022. Destinations include Istanbul, Pergamum, Ephesus, Smyrna, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Athens, and Corinth. The cost will be $4,551 plus taxes and fees. To see a detailed itinerary and to register (by May 1), please visit the Web site. And please share the word!

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Pymosa Lodge is hosting a Masonic scholarship dinner at their lodge: 1010 SW 7th Street (former Villa Dance): Thursday, March 17, 5:00-7:30 p.m. Sit-down or drive-through. Menu: beef stew and Irish soda bread. Free-will donation.


We celebrate the Lord’s Supper every first Sunday of the month. We will be observing it next on March 6. And if you are watching worship on YouTube, you are certainly encouraged to participate at home with your own elements.

America for Christ Offering

We will be receiving the AFC Offering on Sundays, March 20 and 27. The AFC supports domestic mission work sponsored by the American Baptist Churches. For more information, visit

Online Devotionals and Apps

If you’re looking for a portable, electronic devotional, there are lots of great options that will draw you more deeply into relationship with Jesus:

  • The Upper Room (app and site; Methodist oriented)
  • Daily Prayer (app and site; Church of England)
  • Our Daily Bread (app and site; evangelical)
  • Open Doors (app and site; pray for persecuted Christians)
  • Guideposts (online; general)
  • Morning and Evening (app and site; Baptist)

Faith-Based Book Study at the Atlantic Public Library

Join the Rev. Dr. Rachelle McCalla for a weekly, chapter-by-chapter discussion of Holy Vulnerability: Spiritual Practices for the Broken, Ashamed, Anxious, & Afraid by Kellye Fabian. Copies of the book are available at the upstairs desk at the library. Participants may bring their lunch to eat during the discussion. Starting Monday, February 28, at noon.

Jazz and Wine at IWCC

Iowa Western is hosting Jazz and Wine after taking a year off. Sunday, March 6, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Cass County Center. Wine, appetizers, and desserts. Tickets are $25 each and will support Cass County Center students only.

Thank You!

Dear Friends,

I want to offer a deep thank-you for your generous Christmas gift. I am very blessed to share in life and ministry together in our church.

Blessings in Abundance,

Pastor Ray

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