Hello Friends!

Here is your Fellowship Focus Newsletter for July 2020. 

JULY 2020 — A LAMENT

Todd Malone

A lament is a cry out to God from our distress. Most of us do not know how to lament. In fact, we often think there is something wrong with us if are distressed- a lack of faith or too anxious. But lamenting is one of the most common themes in the Psalms. God gives us the words to cry out to Him in our distress. We looked at one last month, Psalm 88, as a model for how to respond in faith. At its core, however, a lament is a cry for help out of deep pain and distress. I watch what is happening to our country, and I need the words of Lament. I need Lament to give me the words to say to God for how distressed I am – sometimes, for how distressed I should be but am not.

Join me in lamenting through Psalm 6.

TO THE CHOIRMASTER: WITH STRINGED INSTRUMENTS; ACCORDING TO THE SHEMINITH. A PSALM OF DAVID.

1 O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.

2 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.

3 My soul also is greatly troubled.

But you, O LORD—how long?

4 Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love.

5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;  in Sheol who will give you praise?

This is a personal lament, David crying from his personal pain, but it works well for how I am feeling today. I plead with verse 1 that God will not deal with me or with our nation in anger. I look around and can list so many reasons to lament in my life and in what is going on in our nation. God has every right to rebuke me in anger. So I join David in praying for grace.

It feels like we as a nation are languishing, we are greatly troubled in our soul (and I have felt that in myself lately). What else can we do but cry out for God to save us? Not because we deserve it, but because God’s love is strong and unmoving. Because our nation cannot praise God if we are destroyed. I cannot praise God if I am destroyed.

6 I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears;

I drench my couch with my weeping.

7 My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.

Verses 6 and 7 are the heart of the lament. David is falling apart. His grief threatens to consume him. He is paralyzed beyond his ability to weep. I am not feeling the depth of his anguish, but I am weary and I am very sad. I am sad for how our country is resolving its problems. I am sad for friends and family I know who are now fighting with each other. I am weary of fighting my temptations to respond to people impatiently.

8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.

9 The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.

10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

Do I have enough faith for these final three verses? Do I declare to the evil around me – “get out, because the Lord has heard me, and He is going to act”? I do not know when or how, but everyone who stands against God will “be ashamed and greatly troubled.” Do I believe that the Lord has heard my plea that injustice and violence need to stop? Do I believe that the Lord will put to shame those who deserve it? Sometimes I have to pray what is true and ask the Holy Spirit to help me believe it in my soul.

Psalms of Lament usually end with declarations of praise and confidence that God will act.  That is where my lament must end as well. I do not just complain to God. I say out loud what I might struggle to believe inside: God will bring justice, He will heal, He will protect because He heard the sound of my weeping, and He loves me. 

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

Starts July 12

Last year we came before the Lord as a church for 40 Days of prayer. We heard stories of God moving in our families, our church and around the world. At the end of the 40 days, we decided to make this an annual event.

The 40 Days of Prayer 2020 will launch on July 12 and wrap up with a celebration service on August 23. We will use the 40 Days of Prayer for special focus on the challenges facing our community, nation and the world this year. I am excited to have us join together in prayer.

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Coming Events

Worship Gathering Times for July

Beginning July 5, our Worship Gathering time will return to 10:30 am. We have been meeting at 11:00 – so mark this change on your calendar.

Online services will continue at longviewfbc.online.church, on YouTube at fellowship bible church longview tx, or on Facebook live.

Watch for more information as we begin to move toward adding back other aspects of our Sunday morning gathering.

KIDS’ MINISTRY NEWS!

FBC Kids’ Ministry — Looking for Kid-Friendly Volunteers

The Kids’ Ministry and AWANA are seeking kid-friendly volunteers!  We are gearing up for re-opening our classes for this Fall the first part of August.  This craziness that we have been through has been especially hard on our kids who don’t always understand what is going on.  We want to make sure that we are able to share God’s love with them.  Consider volunteering for a season!  We have openings in various age groups, for different commitment levels and for different times.

Action Step: Contact Rebecca Simcox – Kids’ Ministry – rebeccas@longviewfbc.com or Bret Freeman – AWANA – bret.a.freeman@gmail.com

Rocky Railway V.B.S. is Chugging Along to a Neighborhood Near You!

V.B.S. Rocky Railway will be July20th – 24th!  At VBS, kids discover Jesus’ power can pull them through life’s ups and downs. We will have multiple backyard VBS sites all over Longview in hosts yards.  Think Mini-Fairs for VBS.  Teams will go to these homes to minister to a small group of kids.  The VBS will run for about 2 hours a day for 4-5 days.  This will allow us to reach a larger group of kids in smaller groups while also reaching our community.  This is one of our biggest outreaches that shares God’s message in a powerful way! Participant sign-ups will start on June 22nd. Volunteer and Participant sign up at: https://vbspro.events/p/fbcbackyardvbs  For more information, contact Rebecca Simcox at rebeccas@longviewfbc.com

Action Step: Register your kids AND/OR Sign up to Volunteer at https://vbspro.events/p/fbcbackyardvbs 

Join the Rocky Railroad Crew! Now Hiring — VOLUNTEERS!

VBS is coming July 20-24th! We’ll help kids discover how to see evidence of God in everyday life. This is one of our biggest outreaches that shares God’s message in a powerful way!  We need people who have kid-filled neighborhoods to use their homes as stations for a God encounter. We also need volunteers to help run these mini VBS days and volunteers to assemble supplies away from others.  People of different skills are needed to help this be a success – WE NEED YOU! Contact Rebecca Simcox at rebeccas@longivewfbc.com with questions and register below to be a part!

ACTION STEP: Register to Volunteer at https://vbspro.events/p/fbcbackyardvbs