Hello!
Thank you so much for reading the December issue of The Focus. In this month’s Focus, you will see a note from Lead Pastor Todd Malone on the anticipation of Christmas. You will also see lots of other monthly happenings at FBC. Once again, thank you for reading the Focus! 

Bible and Flag

A note from Lead Pastor Todd Malone 

December 2020 – Christmas Anticipation

Christians have celebrated Advent since the 300s. Advent spans the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Each Sunday has a different theme, but the overall emphasis is on anticipation. Advent looks back at the prophets before Jesus who anticipated His coming as a baby. It looks ahead to Jesus’ return.

The four themes we will examine this Advent are traditional advent themes: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. The Old Testament prophets lived in hope for the coming Messiah. This Messiah would bless every nation, perfectly fulfill all of God’s requirements, and lead His people before the Lord. The Messiah came, but He is coming again. When He comes again, He will usher in what we anticipate. The blessings will be complete, all violations of God’s law will cease, and we will see the Lord face to face.

Jesus came to teach us how to live at peace with God. He pursued the lost, he invited everyone to live under His rule, and He crushed His enemy. The ramifications play out to this day. Our enemy who troubles us with sin, sickness, and death is a defeated enemy. His days are numbered. We join in Jesus’ mission of seeking the lost. We join in Jesus’ call to a life lived under His rule. We look forward to Jesus’ second coming when all will be fully accomplished. Diseases like Covid will have no power.

Jesus came to replace sorrow with joy. He heals our wounds. He conquered death so we need not fear it. And He is in the process of making all things new. His second advent will be the final conquering of death. All tears will be wiped away, and everything will be as it is supposed to be. We experience glimpses of that transformation today. When Jesus returns, the transformations will be complete, and our joy will not end.

Jesus came to bring God’s love into the world in a way that could not have been anticipated. He was literally God with us. He brought mercy and lifted up the humble. Jesus’ first advent was God with us. Of course, God never leaves us. But we are not with Him in the way that we desire. We want to experience His love in ways we cannot as fallen, broken people. That is the greatest news of the second advent. That is the day we will experience His love in the way we were always meant to experience it.

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. 

Advnet 2020: Jesus Christ is born

The Advent Season is here and we’re excited to partner with She & He Reads Truth to read through the Scriptures during Advent 2020. You can follow along with us on our daily advent reading plan simply by downloading the She or He Reads Truth apps and entering our church code: 41THXL. There are examples of books and other materials in the foyer if you want to thumb through them as well. If you need help accessing the materials, please visit the Community Life Desk in the Worship Center foyer. 

Food Drive

Join us in participating in our Holiday Food Drive. We will be collecting non-perishable items for Longview Community Ministries. Please make sure the items you are donating are not expired. Contact Slade Rinehart with any questions by emailing slader@longviewfbc.com

Christmas Gifts For South Ward Elementary

Come to the foyer and purchase a $5 ornament to take home and pray for that child! Each tree represents a grade level at South Ward Elementary. Your donations will go towards the purchase of a gift for each student, goodie bags and a gift for each staff member. We will be taking donations from Sunday, November 15th through Sunday, December 6th. Contact Rebecca Simcox for more information at rebeccas@longviewfbc.com

A note about Christmas

The church office will be closed for Christmas holiday December 23-25 so staff may spend time with their families. We will have a Christmas Eve service at 6:00 PM. We look forward to seeing you there, and for communal worship on Sunday, December 27!

The CARES Act and a possibility for generosity

I want you to make you aware of something that many are not aware of in the midst of this pandemic. There are three important aspects of the CARES Act stimulus bill (passed March 27, 2020) that apply to individuals and families. This may provide an opportunity for you to do more than you thought possible to be generous with your funds this year.

#1: Charitable Giving Deductions

For 2020, every generous American can deduct up to $300 of charitable giving—even if you take the standard deduction and do not itemize your deductions. This can provide a direct savings on your income taxes.

#2: Charitable Giving For Those Who Itemize

If you have the ability to make special gifts during this time, and you itemize your deductions, the IRS will allow you to deduct up to 100% of your adjusted gross income when you file your 2020 tax return.

This is unprecedented—and may be a real tax-advantaged opportunity if you have financial resources that are beyond your personal needs. If your gift exceeds your income this year, the deduction is eligible to roll over for use in future years as well.

#3: IRA & the CARES Act

If your have an Individual Retirement Account and are taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), the CARES Act suspends that requirement for 2020. In other words, if you do not need the income from your IRA for your living expenses you ARE NOT REQUIRED to take the minimum distribution in 2020.

As I’m sure you know, I am not a financial consultant, so please consult your tax advisor or your financial advisor before making any decisions on how to apply these opportunities.

If you’d like to give to Fellowship, click here: https://pushpay.com/g/longviewfbc

WANT TO SUPPORT FBC FINANCIALLY?

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Coming Events

November 1 - 10:30 am - Communion

Sunday, November 6 we will celebrate communion on campus and virtually for those worshipping with us online. Kids in 1st – 6th grades will join us for this special time of remembrance.

November 15 - December 6 - South Ward Christmas

Come to the foyer and purchase a $5 ornament to take home and pray for that child! Each tree represents a grade level at South Ward Elementary. Your donations will go towards the purchase of a gift for each student, goodie bags and a gift for each staff member.  We will be taking donations from Sunday, November 15th through Sunday, December 6th.  Contact Rebecca Simcox for more information at rebeccas@longviewfbc.com

December 24 - Christmas Eve Service

Join us Thursday, December 24 at 6:00 PM in the Worship Center for Christmas Eve service.