April 2022 Newsletter

A Word from the Pastor: But Wait, There’s More!

Jesus lives, and so shall I: Death, thy sting is gone forever! / He shall raise me from the dust: Jesus is my hope and trust.”

I don’t usually begin with a hymn quotation—this one by the German composer Christian Gellert from 1757—but he definitely sums up the hope of our resurrection in just a couple of lines.

But let me back up a second. At Easter time, I think we have a vague understanding of why Jesus rose from the dead. We tend to focus heavily on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins—which is great. For sure, Jesus died for our sins according to Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:3), and we are reconciled to God through his blood shed on the cross (Colossians 1:20). But Jesus’ resurrection is not just getting the last laugh on death or even merely a vindication of Jesus’ sinless life (1 Timothy 3:16). But Jesus’ resurrection is his victory over death and the powers of evil in the world. In Jesus’ resurrection, God “disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him” (Colossians 2:15). Furthermore, by rising from the dead, Jesus has become Lord of all, and he has assumed all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He has also been “given dominion and glory and a kingdom, so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).

And this is good news! We confess that the One who was crucified for our sins has triumphed over death and has become Lord over all creation. But, as the infomercial pitch men say, there’s more!

The promise of the gospel is not just that Jesus lives again. But the promise is that by trusting in him, we also will live again, even though we will die (see John 11:25-26). Jesus said it plainly to his disciples: “Because I live, you will live too” (John 14:19b). If we are faithful to him, his victory over death will become our victory when he returns. And we will join him on his throne when he finally and visibly becomes Lord of all (see Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:27, 3:5, 3:12, and especially 3:21).

When Jesus was teaching about his glorious appearing in the future, he clearly laid out his program: “Truly I tell you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live…Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:25, 28-29).

Jesus has become a firstfruits of the resurrection: he is the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18), and all will join him in rising from the dead when he returns. Death came into the world through Adam, but the resurrection of the dead will come through Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:21). “We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

This is the tremendous good news of Easter: Jesus lives, and because he lives, we also will live. Or as Christian Gellert said in his hymn, “Jesus lives, and so shall I: Death, thy sting is gone forever! / He shall raise me from the dust: Jesus is my hope and trust.” May this good news fill us with joy and courage as we celebrate Easter this year.

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:


Holy Week Schedule

Follow Jesus into the Holy City, to the Upper Room, to the Cross, and to the Empty Tomb! Here is our Holy Week schedule:

  • Palm Sunday (4/10): 10:30 a.m.
  • Maundy Thursday (4/14): 6:00 at First United Presbyterian Church
  • Good Friday (4/15): 6:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church
  • Easter Sunday (4/17): 10:30 a.m.

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 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: http://www.iowalcclinic.org/events.html

Quarterly Congregational Meeting and Potluck

We will have our quarterly congregational meeting and potluck lunch after worship on Sunday, April 10. Please bring something to share for lunch.

American Baptist Women’s Ministries

ABWM will meet on Wednesday, April 20, at 1:30 p.m.

ABMW Gathering

The Iowa West ABWM Rally will be held at Ft. Dodge on April 29 with Eric Lembke, our new missionary, as our speaker.

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!

Pioneer Bible Translators

The Smiths are open to receiving care packages from their supporters here in the United States. For more information on this—and more—find them on Facebook, “Smith Family Translates.”


We celebrate the Lord’s Supper every first Sunday of the month. We will be observing it next on April 3. And if you are watching worship on YouTube, you are certainly encouraged to participate at home with your own elements.

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)

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.


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

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