Hello Friends!

Here is your Fellowship Focus Newsletter for August 2020. 

How Faith Affects Us

Insights from John Owen

Todd Malone

I wrote last month about lament – the outcry from our souls about the evil and chaos around us. Lament powerfully expresses faith because it trusts that God can handle our complaints. Lament reflects the confidence that God will act in His time. This month I turn our attention to the power of faith in difficult times.

Who Is John Owen?

John Owen pastored in England in the 1600s. He left behind profound reflections on God and the Christian life, which I periodically include in my devotional reading. Owen lived at a time when many feared for the future of Christianity. Times were difficult for Christians, and many who called themselves Christians revealed what he called an “our worldly-mindedness”: they loved the comforts of this world more than the Lord. This was seen in people leaving the church when the church called for basic discipleship expressed in self-sacrifice for one another. As Owen put it, there “is an evident lack of love that is among churches, church members, and believers.” Christians also faced broader challenges from the culture, government authorities, and rival religious views.

Owen preached about the same struggles faced by Christians of every generation, including ours. His words guide me, knowing that he would look at our time with a smile of familiarity. Today I read through a sermon from 1680 and thought his insights about faith during difficult times was helpful.

Four Points to Ponder

The first of his four points was that, “Faith will remind our soul that… Christ has built his church upon the rock, so that nothing shall prevail against it.” People might abandon the church because following Christ is too costly, but this will not keep Jesus from accomplishing His work of building His church. We have no idea what church in 2021 will look like, but we know that the church Jesus is building will stand.

His second point was, “Faith will also remind the soul that God still has the fullness and portion of the Spirit and can pour it forth when He pleases….” We might struggle today with discouragement or exhaustion, but at any point the Holy Spirit can revive us and renew our walk with Christ. Or to say it differently: we will get through this, not by gritting our teeth and pressing on, but because the Holy Spirit will sustain us.

Point three: “When your souls are perplexed over these things, your faith will say to you, ‘Why are you cast down, O my soul? Were not all these things foretold to you?'” He explains, “God has some great purpose to fulfil in it [our difficulties], and then afterwards all will be well.” God is not surprised by this crazy time in history. In fact, He is actively doing something in it.

Finally, “…faith, if exercised, will stir up every soul that possesses it to attend particularly to those duties that God requires at such a time.” He identifies those duties as examining our lives (How are we guilty of wanting comfort or things of this world more than sacrificial love?); lament because of the state of the world; watch ourselves and one another to avoid spiritual decline; be zealous for God and the gospel.

That is a very practical way forward: examine myself (and repent when necessary), take my grief about the world to the Lord, watch my life and encourage others in faithfulness, and talk about God and the gospel often.

I appreciate being pastored by such a man as John Owen. I hope he helps you, as well.

 

We will keep you updated as guidelines and requirements are announced for our city and county. Check back at LONGVIEWFBC.COM and make sure to sign up for the MIDWEEK MOMENT from Pastor Todd. 

40 Days of Prayer

The 40 Days of Prayer 2020 is in process. We will wrap up with a celebration service on August 23. This year’s 40 Days of Prayer works through six Psalms to help us pray about the chaos we are experiencing in 2020. You can find the prayer guide on the FBC website; click on the “40 Days of Prayer” tab at the top of the page.

Benevolence Sunday | August 30

Sunday, August 30 will be a 5th Sunday Benevolence Offering. Any designated funds received will go to our FBC benevolence fund, which is used to minister to folks our Fellowship Family in times of urgent need. You don’t have to wait until August 30: To contribute, click HERE and choose BENEVOLENCE from the drop down menu. You may also mail a designated check, or contribute in person on that Sunday by dropping your designated gift in one of the boxes in the foyer. Make sure to mark your check or envelope “BENEVOLENCE”. All undesignated currency collected that Sunday will also go toward the benevolence fund.

Something Good to Celebrate!
Baptism Celebration | Sunday, September 13

We are excited to announce our next Baptism Celebration will be Sunday, September 13 during the 10:30 am Worship Gathering. We will plan to accommodate the need for safe practices regarding masks and social distancing to protect our FBC family. If you or your children would like to be baptized, please click HERE to sign up by August 16. We will contact you to set up an interview with a pastor.

Awana | Registration August 16

Awana is preparing to kick off another year of reaching boys and girls with the Gospel of Christ starting August 30th at 5:00 pm.

Registration is set for Sunday, August 16 from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in the Adult Education Center Gym.

We know that we are facing difficult and unusual times, but we serve a God who is ALWAYS faithful and we trust in Him!

Volunteers are needed for all ages, 2years – 6th grade, and training will be provided.

Contact Bret Freeman at 903-736-2553 or email at Bret.a.freeman@gmail.com for more information.

WANT TO SUPPORT FBC FINANCIALLY?

Click HERE to give a one-time gift, or schedule recurring giving. It’s easy!

Coming Events

August 2 -- 10:30 am - Campus Reopens for In Person Worship Gathering

We will be back on campus for our in person worship gathering in the Worship Center. Kids will worship with their parents this Sunday in the auditorium. 

August 3 -- Offices Reopen

Monday, August 3, our FBC offices will reopen, and staff will return to campus. Masks will be required visitors and all staff, to enter for and in common spaces when social distancing is not possible. 

August 3 - Campus is Open for Scheduling

The FBC Campus will be available to reserve rooms and resources. Only FBC Groups, and users will follow the guidance from governing authorities for wearing masks and social distancing. Non-FBC groups will not be allowed at this time. Contact Kathy Silvertooth at kathys@longviewfbc.com to begin the scheduling process. 

August 5 - The Youth Leadership Transfer

The July 22 date for the official transfer of the leadership for FBC Youth unfortunately had to be postponed. It is rescheduled to take place during the Youth Group meeting on Wednesday, August 5, in the Loft. We celebrate the good job that Slade Rinehart has done, and look forward to the good things that are to come under the leadership of Jordan Johnson!

August 16 - 5:00 pm - Awana Registration

August 16 is Awana Registration at 5:00 pm in the Adult Education Center gym. Come and register your kids (ages 2 years through 6th grade) for the new Awana year.

August 16 - 9:00 am Hour - Life Groups Are Postponed

We had originally hoped to restart our 9:00 am hour Adult Life Groups, along with Kids’ and Youth classes, on August 16, but we must push that date back to September 13, tentatively. Be watching for more information to come!

August 16 - Promotion Sunday!

Watch for more information about this special day when all our kids and youth will move up to the next grade level.

August 23 - 10:30 am Celebration Sunday!

Join us on campus and online as we celebrate the end of the 40 Days of Prayer with a special worship and sharing service! 

August 30 - Awana Club Begins!

Awana Club is officially scheduled to start on Sunday, August 30, at 5:00 pm in the Adult Education Center. Contact Bret Freeman if you have any questions. bret.a.freeman@gmail.com

September 13 -- Baptism Celebration

We are planning to have a social distance friendly Baptism celebration on September 13. If you or your children are interested in being baptised, sign up here. The deadline for signup is August 16. We will contact you with details.