Hello!
Thank you so much for reading the October issue of The Focus. In this month’s Focus, you will see a note from Lead Pastor Todd Malone on the importance of Church and State. You will also see a piece written by Executive Pastor Adam McMahen on the impacts of the CARES Act, along with 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 

Church and State

If Scripture only reinforces what we already think, something is wrong – with us. God uses His Word to challenge us, convict us, and transform us into new ways of thinking. If all we see in Scripture is confirmation that we are correct and that there is no reason to change, we are not open to what God is trying to do in our lives through His Word.

Romans 13 highlights an area in which we tend to resist Scripture’s corrective ministry: how we think about government. Our strong opinions about authorities do not change easily. Therefore, it is important to revisit Romans 13 as we enter the election. Paul opens the chapter with these words: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” We cheer this verse when our party wins elections but ignore it when the other party is in power. What if God wants us to take this verse seriously at face-value? What if He means it when He says, “those [government authorities] that exist have been instituted by God”?

 I think God means exactly what He says in these verses, and that reassures me. I am reassured by knowing that if my party doesn’t win, God is still the highest authority and He is active over all authorities under Him. God does not stress over election results. I am challenged that my starting point with every governing authority must be submission, which is what “be subject” means. Remember, Paul wrote this to a church who had many members lose their homes, livelihoods, and status in the community because the Emperor exiled them for no good reason. Now they are back in Rome after being treated horribly by government, and Paul tells them to submit.

Of course, that is not the whole story. Paul wrote many of his letters from prison – he himself did not always obey the government. The Apostle Peter famously told the High Priest that the apostles must obey God rather than man. When I preached this passage in September, I suggested that there are four reasons that people in Scripture disobeyed government. First, there were grounds for disobedience when the government commanded them to stop doing something that God requires. That is what was going on in Acts 5 with Peter and the High Priest. Second, they disobeyed when government commanded them to do what God forbids. Think Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They disobeyed the government’s requirement to worship an idol. Third, they disobeyed when the government abandoned its God-given responsibility to support godliness and restrict evil in the society it was meant to protect. Finally, they disobeyed when the government became unjust toward a segment of society. Queen Esther did this to protect Jews within the Persian empire.

To claim such a reason to disobey, Scripture must be very clear, and it must be very clear that government is in violation. The point is that Scripture sets a high bar for obedience. We tend to try to find ways to justify our disobedience by either stretching Scripture’s meaning or overstating the extent of the government’s resistance to God’s Word.

Our default position toward government must be submission. This is not because of anything about government itself. It is about our trust that God is truly the highest authority, and we can trust what He is doing with our leadership.

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. 

Life Groups Have Resumed!

Praise God! On Sunday, September 13, we resumed Kids, Youth, and Adult Life Groups during the 9AM hour. However, due to the COVID crisis, we are still implementing various safety protocols.

We are continuing to strictly limit each classroom to a predetermined capacity. We’ll have the chairs spaced 6 feet apart to comply with social distancing guidelines. Of course, if a couple attends a Life Group together, they can sit close to each other and the same goes for any two (or more) people from the same household.

Sign-ups for Adult Life Groups is still required. If you have already signed up for a group, there is no need to register again. If you haven’t signed up for an Adult Life Group and would like to, please go to bit.ly/AdultLifeGroups2020 Virtual class options are available for those who would like to attend from home. 

Please don’t forget that Life Groups are ending at 10:00AM now instead of 10:10AM.

That’s all for now – may the Lord Jesus bless you with his grace!

Missionary Kid Christmas

Missionary Kid Christmas is underway! In just two weeks since kickoff, every tag has been claimed! Praise God! If you claimed a tag, please remember to return it UNWRAPPED by Sunday, October 18th. If you weren’t able to choose a tag, don’t worry!
On October 18, we will have a time for letter writing during the 10:30am worship service. You will have the opportunity to write an encouraging note to a missionary that FBC supports. We will also take a Missions offering October 18, and October 25. An option for giving will be available online as well.
On Thursday, October 29 at 9am, we will be hosting a wrapping day. Spaces are limited, so be sure to sign up! Contact Valerie Ash at valeriea@longviewfbc.com with any questions or to sign up.

Kids Ministry volunteers needed!

We are excited that classes in the Tree House are now open! However, we have several classes that we have not been able to open up because we do not have teachers or volunteers to teach our children. We are currently needing help in the nursery, 3year old class, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grade classes specifically during the 9:00 AM hour. Please pray about serving. Contact Rebecca Simcox at rebeccas@longviewfbc.com if you are feeling led to serve, or with any questions.

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?

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

Coming Events

October 4 - 10:30 am - Communion

Sunday, October 4 we will celebrate communion on campus and virtually for those worshiping with us online. Kids in 4th- 6th grades will join us for this special time of remembrance.

October 11 - Fall Blood Drive

Carter Blood Care will have a mobile unit in the South parking lot (in front of the church office and AEC). They will be available from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM. Stop by, give blood, and save lives! 

October 16-18 - Youth Fall Retreat

The FBC youth group will be going on their Fall retreat Friday, October 16 thru Sunday October 18. This year’s retreat will be at Camp Gilmont. This retreat is for grades 7-12. The cost per student is $110. Please go to refugefbcy.com/fall-retreat to register. Contact Jordan Johnson with questions. 

October 17 - Church Workday
October 18 - Missionary Kid Christmas gifts due

If you signed up to buy a gift for Missionary Kid Christmas, please make sure you bring it by Sunday, October 18. A drop-off box will be available at the Missions desk in the foyer of the worship center.  

October 18 & 25 - Missionary Offering and Letter-Writing

Join us on Sunday October 18 for a time of letter-writing and a special Missions Offering. These will both take place during the 10:30 AM worship service. There will be a special offering October 25 as well. Online options will be available for giving.

October 29 - Missionary Kid Christmas Wrapping day

Join us on Thursday, October 29 at 9 AM for a wrapping day! Spaces are limited so make sure you sign up. Contact Valerie Ash at valeriea@longviewfbc.com with questions