EMMETT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
A Word From the Pastor
Psalms 61:1-8 NIV
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in you tent forever and take refute in the shelter of your wings. For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear you name. Increase the days of the king's like, his years for many generations. May he be enthroned in God's presence forever; appoint you love and faithfulness to protect him. Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vow day after day.
Our lives are more fragile than we care to admit. We don't like to entertain thoughts of how vulnerable we are, because it may lead us to anxiety and fearfulness. We want life to be good, stable, safe, and healthy. We long for the security of steady jobs, sufficient incomes, plentiful food supplies, sturdy homes, healthy lives, a strong military, access to good medical care, etc.
But life has its storms. Life has its earthquakes. Someone recently said that California is so bad that even the earthquakes are migrating to places like Idaho! Life has its wars and rumors of wars! And yet, even in our lifetime, life has its pandemics! Fear of the pandemic's lethal possibilities have created its own economic pandemonium!
In Ps. 61, David is King! He has a strong military. He has popularity among the people and favor with God. But he is not free from opposition. He has foes (3). We are not privy to the details of his troubles, but verse 2 reveals that the challenges are wearing on him… his heart is growing faint! David recognizes how vulnerable his life is. Despite his high position, overall success, and access to numerous human resources, none of it is enough! He recognizes he needs the Lord! Only the Lord could provide for him all that he needs. Psalm 61 describes David’s pursuit of the LORD in prayer! He cries out to the LORD: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I (2)! David admits that he needs outside help… help only the LORD can provide. The king cries out to the King of kings! The LORD has protected him in the past (3). David longs to dwell in the Lord’s presence where he will experience refuge like young chicks find shelter under their mother’s wings (4)! David reminds the LORD that He has heard his vows and he acknowledges the shared heritage God has given to him (5).
He asks the LORD to increase the days of his life (6). He asks that he may be enthroned in God’s presence forever (7). He asks the Lord to appoint His love and faithfulness to protect him (7)!
David’s prayer for the Lord’s help and protection are backed by a commitment to continue to follow, serve, and worship the Lord with his life (5, 8)! He promises to honor the Lord, to live for Him and to carry out His will and influence others to do the same.
As we enter into the reopening phases of COVID-19, let us not only ask the LORD to appoint His love and faithfulness to protect us, but let us examine our devotion to the Lord! Let us seek to grow in our faith, hope love, and service for the Lord Jesus!
Shepherding you in Jesus’ love,
FBC and the COVID-19 Update
What does this mean for FBC?
Public worship service will be held at 10:45 am in the sanctuary beginning May 10. No Sunday School will be offered at this time. We are seeking to take precautions to make our setting safe. Pews will be roped off to help us comply with 6 feet social distancing. Face masks are optional (we will seek to have extra masks available for those coming without one). Offering plates will be stationed at the entrance/exit doors to the sanctuary. We will try to keep the service to an hour. The church pew, doors, etc. will be sanitized prior to and/or during services as needed.
We are excited to worship together again. We recognize not everyone will feel comfortable to join us at the beginning; and that is understandable and acceptable.
Once we begin public worship, either livestream or a video recording of the message will be explored. Audio of each message will still be posted on the church website and CD’s will continue to be available.
7 Truths to Hang on to During the COVID-19 Crisis By Rick Warren
The last few weeks have been full of unprecedented changes in our lives and in our ministries. I know many pastors are trying to figure out how to minister in a period of social distancing, how to serve the most at-risk populations in our communities, and how to sustain ministries as tithes and offerings decline.
None of us have been trained to do this. We’ve never ministered through an epidemic like the COVID-19 before. Fear is everywhere. I’m sure you’re wrestling with it, too.
At times like this, we need to hang on to truths that don’t change. Pastor, you know these truths. You’ve probably even preached them multiple times before. But during times of crisis, it’s really important to remember the fundamentals. The Bible emphasizes getting the facts before you take major actions in your life.
Here are seven facts to share with your congregation:
Not everything you hear is true. Not everyone with an opinion on the Internet, television, and social media knows what they’re talking about. You need to be selective with who you listen to during this time. Many people in the coming days will have their own agendas—financial, political, etc.—for this crisis.
The Bible says in Proverbs 13:16, “The prudent man always acts out of knowledge” (NIV). In other words, act out of knowledge and not fear. Make it a priority to get your facts from people who are trustworthy.
Not everyone is at equal risk in this pandemic. The history of COVID-19 is very clear. People over the age of 60 and those who have preexisting conditions are most vulnerable. If you’re in these categories, please be careful. I know, as a pastor, you want to be serving your congregation. You need to look for safe ways to do that. Be faithful but not foolish.
This will pass. The Bible tells us there will be trials. First Peter 4:12 says, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire” (CEV). These are tough times, but they won’t last forever.
We need to do what the health professionals recommend. We need to take the common sense actions that will decrease the spread of this virus. We won’t need to make these changes forever. Our churches will gather again.
Focus on what’s unchanging not what is changing. There will be many changes to your world, your community, and your ministry in the coming weeks. It’s safe to say you don’t even know all the changes this pandemic will have on you and your community. You’ll do things to serve your community and your congregation you never dreamed of a year ago. Be flexible, but remember what hasn’t changed.
The Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV). In the midst of all this change, you can count on that truth. You can also know that God’s love for you and your community has never changed. God’s call on your life hasn’t changed. Don’t let all the changes make you lose sight of everything that is still the same.
God will go through it with you. This virus didn’t surprise God. He will walk through every bit of it with us. You may feel alone at times. You may feel like no one understands the demands of ministry that are upon you right now. But we will never be alone.
I encourage you to remind yourself of Isaiah 43:2 during this time: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (NIV). Focus on that truth and not all the noise on the Internet right now. It will replace your worry with worship.
This is not the end of the story. The Bible says, “In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again . . . because we know that God raised the Lord Jesus to life” (2 Corinthians 4:8, 14 CEV). Easter reminds us that we win no matter what happens. Even if this virus takes our lives, we will go straight into the presence of God. On that day, all of our pain, sickness, and sorrow will be over. There won’t be a COVID-19 virus in heaven.
We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know who holds it.
God wants to use our churches to help others. I know your church is going through an incredible challenge right now. But God doesn’t want to just take your church through this crisis. He doesn’t just want your church to survive during this period. He wants it to thrive. This is the difference between how we deal with pain as believers and how the world does. The church sees every need in the world as an open door for ministry.
I’m praying your church will start many new ministries out of these difficult days. Today you don’t even know the kinds of challenges your community will face, but God does. This will be an opportunity for churches to shine.
I’m praying for our churches. This virus didn’t sneak up on God. It won’t stop the church. Jesus himself reminds us that “all the powers of hell will not conquer” the church (Matthew 16:18 NIV).
Rest in that truth.
RICK WARRENRick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America's largest and most influential churches. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. Pastor Rick started The PEACE Plan to show the local church how God works through ordinary people to address the five global giants of spiritual emptiness, self-serving leadership, poverty, disease, and illiteracy. You can listen to Daily Hope, Pastor Rick’s daily 25-minute audio teaching, or sign up for his free daily devotionals at PastorRick.com. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global online community created to encourage pastors.
Welcome to IM OnLine
Over the past several weeks, we’ve heard from many of you asking about our welfare and how we are coping. Your concern has touched us deeply. Thank you for your prayers and interest for our well-being during this unique global pandemic of COVID-19.
The International Ministries (IM) home office staff has largely transitioned to working remotely and continues to answer calls and respond to emails, process your gifts and receipts, and support our missionaries.
We are introducing IM OnLine, a new e-communique to keep you up-to-date with IM. In it you will find brief updates, answers to your questions and get a glimpse into lessor known parts of the IM family, or impactful stories and highlights from missionaries.
IM OnLine will allow us to share news with you in a timely and cost-effective way, and keep us connected during these challenging times.
Associate Executive Director for Mission Advancement
Roses for Mama
Lord, are there roses in you garden
On the shores of jubilee
Would you pick a dozen of your best
And deliver them for me?
For you see, today is mothers' day
And I can't visit my mom
For it wasn't very long ago
The angels came and took her home.
So if there are roses in your garden
On the shores of Jubilee
Would you pick a dozen of your best
and deliver them for me?
Would you take them to my mother
And tell her that I love her
Tell her that I miss her
In oh! So many ways
But I have joy in knowing
We'll meet again someday
And we'll pick roses together
On the shores of Jubilee.
Christianna, Pilgrims Progress II
Message from Mike & Ranada Hassemers
Many of you are aware that we are transitioning out of Arctic Barnabas Ministries at the end of May. We enjoyed our opportunity to serve the pastors, missionaries, and their families across the Arctic over the past 20 years. We will miss the close connections we've had with everyone. Fear not though--we aren't leaving anyone behind. We will continue to live in Soldotna and provide hospitality to ministry families and friends. You might see us involved in other ministry projects too. Please, do keep in touch with us. Our phone numbers and address do not change--just our email:
Mike: firstname.lastname@example.org 907-394-8465
Ranada: email@example.com 907-394-8466
Address: 960 Keystone Dr., Soldotna, AK 99669
Margaret Castle (Mrs. Castle) Retirement from 35 years of Teaching in Public Schools - Her Story
Margaret Castle, FBC member since 1991, will be retiring from teaching at the end of this school year. Margaret joined FBC after coming to Emmett and teaching her 1st year alongside Lorine Slabaugh, who invited Margaret to come to FBC. Margaret has been active in and served many roles at FBC including serving on the Christian Education Board for several years, singing in the Church Choir, volunteering at Cathedral Pines, helping with Vacation Bible School, and for the past 10 plus years, serving as the “voice from above” in the Media booth upstairs.
Margaret, otherwise known as “Mrs. Castle”, has taught in public schools for 35 years (5 years in Texas, 30 years in Emmett with 10 of those being at Butteview and 20 at Shadow Butte). Margaret was active in the teachers union and served as president 4 different years with the Gem County Education Association (GCRD). She is very passionate about teaching and putting the student’s needs first (as most teachers we know are). If you know her, you know she will voice her opinion when she feels the need, but does so with love and tact. You have probably seen articles in the paper that she has written and postings on Facebook that show her pride in teaching as well as her pride in “another one of Mrs. Castle’s students”.
Margaret will miss building relationships with her student and families. She believes God led her to teaching at public schools when she was applying for jobs out of college, looking at Christian schools and her grandmother said “You know they need Christian teachers in public schools too”. And she has always made it her goal to love every one of her students. Her favorite quote from a 3rd grade boy when he was in trouble was “It’s a good thing you love me, huh?”
We can be sure that God used Margaret in numerous ways throughout her teaching career, but one story she told was about a little guy in the class next to hers who had a negative relation with his teacher; he was having a hard time. So she (Mrs. Castle) went to the Principal and asked to have that student moved to her class. It wasn’t easy but he wasn’t in a good place. She developed a good rapport with his parents and with the student.
This year has been one of the toughest between extreme behaviors, large class size, new curriculum and now the Corona virus issues but her faith has kept her going with a positive attitude.
Margaret says she will miss her colleagues and friends and of course, hugs from the kids – actually she already misses the hugs from the kids.
Her main goal after she retires is to become a prayer warrior and to find a new mission - her life has been so focused around teaching and now she wants to find something new. Of course she will also spend time with her grandsons, Owen and Tanner; and she wants to make a quilt.
Thank you Margaret (Mrs. Castle), for your dedication to the Lord and to your students.
"Fertilizer," the farmer replied.
"What are you going to do with it?" asked the little boy.
"Put it on strawberries," answered the farmer.
"You ought to live here," the little boy advised him. "We put sugar and cream on ours."
Birthdays and Anniversaries!
May 1 ...... Logan Chapman
May 5 ...... Judy Bales
May 9 ...... Linda Hull
May 10..... Bill Butticci
May 16..... Anthony Allen
May 17..... Pam Hodges
May 3 ....... Gideon & Jennifer Gragg
May 6 ....... Don & Kristy Allen
May 10 ..... Roma & Jess Careaga
May 31 ..... John & Suzi Morgan