Ministry Updates

Update: September 7, 2022

Wanted: Pastor Prayer Partners

Pastor Sam invites any and all men and women who strongly believe in the power of prayer to be part of the Pastor’s Prayer Partners.

Beginning Sunday, October 2, at 8:30AM, Pastor’s Prayer Partners will meet to lay hands on and pray on and for and over Pastor Sam, and to pray for the Holy Spirit’s supernatural work in our church. This team will also be ready to welcome and pray for Pastor “Next” when he arrives.

This short but crucial prayer time will take place in the Bride’s Room in the Worship Center.

Learn to Preach
Learn to Preach is one of the new Sunday morning classes. We will begin Sept 25 rather than Sept 11.

Update: August 18, 2022

“What’s going on?”

That was the title of a Marvin Gaye song from 1971 

I know… this dates me as an old guy. But it’s a good question.

 The fact is… there’s a lot going on at FBC

 Here’s what’s going on with the FBC Transition.

 The Elders and Deacons are working hard on the recommendations of the Transition Team.

 You’ll see and hear the fruit of their work in the next few months – and years.

 The Five Focus Groups – prayer, discipleship, serving/outreach, connecting, and finances – are working hard on their areas.

 You’ll also see and hear the fruit of their work in the next few months – and years.

 Friends, as I hear the things being discussed and plans being made, I have to tell you… I could not be more excited about God’s vision for FBC!

 Please pray for the Elders, Deacons, Staff, Missions, and Focus Teams of FBC as we seek the Lord and work together for the future of FBC. 

 It is a privilege to serve the Lord Jesus with you.

Pastor Sam

  • The Assessment Report that launched all this activity is still available at the Information Desk on Sunday. It is also available electronic form from Kathy Silvertooth – kathys@longviewfbc.com
Update: July 14, 2022

COMING ATTRACTIONS

When I was much younger – back in the dark ages, right after the earth cooled – previews in movie theaters were called, “Coming Attractions.” Movie producers wanted to create intense desire to see the next cinematic event. And for me, usually it worked.

Here are some “coming attractions” at FBC:

  • July 24
    Next round of short-term Adult Connect & Equip classes begin
  • July 31
    Sharing Service during the 10:30 hour

    More details in the Sharing Service section of this post

  • August 7

    Promotion Sunday – Kids’ ministry classes will move up this day

    Back to School Potluck Lunch in the Gym – For the whole church family!

    Drop your food in the kitchen as you arrive or run out after church & grab food to share!

    Blood Drive in the Parking Lot – 8:30 – 1:30 pm

    Eat a good breakfast, bring picture ID, and bless our community by donating blood!

  • August 7 & 14

    Awana Registration at the Community Life Desk in the Worship Center

    Register your children 2 years old thru 6th grade for the 2022-23 Awana year

    August 21
    Adult Education Hour Coffee & Donuts Fellowship in the gym

    A time of fellowship and an opportunity to check out new classes and interact with the teachers

SHARING SERVICE
Four times a year – on the fifth Sunday of the month – we dedicate the morning worship time to sharing with each other what God has done in our lives and families, what we see him doing, and what are praying He will do.

The next sharing service will take place July 31. In order that more people can share, we’ll work hard to keep testimonies to three minutes. Our focus has been “Rise Up and Build.” So… we’ll be asking and answering the question, “What are we seeing God do right now” and “What are we praying He will do.”

QUESTIONS JESUS ASKS

Jesus asked over 300 questions in the four gospels. In August and early September, we’ll look at six of those questions:

  1. What do you want me to do for you?
  2. Why are you afraid?
  3. Do you still not know me?
  4. How many loaves do you have?
  5. Why are you sleeping?
  6. What if the salt loses its saltiness?

See you Sunday!

Pastor Sam

Update: July 7, 2022

Launch Pad or Foundation?

I was asked recently how I thought our church was doing.
It was a good question. You’ve been through so much in the last two years.
My immediate reply was, “I think we’re on the launching pad… or at least we’re seeing the Lord lay a foundation for the future.”
We’ve worked through a number of reconciliation issues. We’ve seen attendance and giving pick up. The Transition Team has worked hard, as have our staff, Elders, and Deacons.
And last night, around 50 FBC’ers gathered for the first meeting of our five Focus Teams. We actually have 80 who signed up to serve on a Focus Team and many missed due to summer plans, work schedules, family responsibilities, etc.
There was energy. Ideas and questions flowed. I sat in on three different teams and was so encouraged by what I heard. I was even more encouraged as I heard team members introduce themselves and explain why they were involved.
We have an amazing group of people who call FBC their church home!
We still have some very important steps to take as we prepare to seek and call the next Leader Pastor. So… PLEASE, PLEASE pray for us. Ask our Lord to guide us and unite us. Ask Him to help us hear his voice, obey his Word and open our hearts to each other and the future He has for us.
It’s a joy to be your Interim Lead Pastor
Pastor Sam
 
PS. Matthew Henry once said, “Whenever God is preparing to do something great in the earth, He first sets His people a-praying!”  The largest team last night was the Prayer Team! 
PS. A big thank you to the man who is bringing donuts each Sunday for the lobby.
Update: June 27, 2022

I did not think I would see it happen in my lifetime, but it did.

Thank God!

Thank God for courageous judges who put their lives, and families, on the line in order to eliminate abortion as a constitutional right.

Sometimes we Christians aren’t sure what to say in reply to abortion advocates. Are we being political? Are we just being “religious?”   What if someone doesn’t believe the way I do?

Christian leaders and individual Christians MUST speak to current cultural issues from a Biblical perspective. If we leaders don’t disciple our people, the world will. If individual Christians do not use individual conversations and social media outlets, to be kind and persuasive, who will?

1 Peter 3:15 says, “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

Thanks to Josh Howerton, pastor at LakePoint Church in Rockwall, TX, for help in answering some very common Abortion Myths. For more information, Josh’s Twitter feed is full of documentation.

 

MYTH: Christians aren’t really pro-life, just pro-birth – they don’t care about anybody after they’re born!

Besides starting almost every Pregnancy Center  ever seen, Xians adopt at more than 2 times the national average and are exponentially more generous to the poor than rest of population

 

MYTH: Men (anti-abortion they don’t have uteruses) are forcing their will on women (who all want abortion access)

Women are more likely than men to identify as pro-life, which leads to headlines like, “Why Are Women More Opposed to Abortion?”

 

MYTH: “My body, my choice!”

Abortion advocates tries to define the unborn baby as part of the woman’s body (similar to her toenails), but  frankly, this is anti-science. A baby has its own distinct DNA, fingerprints, heartbeat, thoughts, emotions, and pain / pleasure sensations

Science confirms an unborn child is not part of another person’s body, but its own distinct body.  Studies shows preborn babies feel pain as early as 12 weeks’ gestation – ERLC

 

MYTH: Most abortions are about poverty, health complications, and rape!

Florida is one of the only states that records a reason for every abortion. 75% of abortions are for “no reason/elective.”

 

MYTH: Overturning Roe will result in a hellscape of women dying from medically complicated pregnancies like ectopic pregnancies!

All states that have abortion restrictions allow for ANY procedure that saves the life of a mother

https://twitter.com/howertonjosh/status/1541263746278084608/photo/1

MYTH: This is racist white supremacy!

Not only does abortion kill more minority children than any other population segment, but Margaret Sanger (Planned Parenthood founder) wanted to unleash abortion on minorities to weed out inferior races.”  Just google “racist quotes by Margaret Sanger.”

MYTH: “A radical minority is imposing its will on the majority of America!”

FACT: at least 71% of Americans want legal restrictions on abortion

 

MYTH: “Banning abortion doesn’t decrease it!”

1 This isn’t a moral argument. If they’d said, “Outlawing slavery won’t end slavery! It will just make it go back-alley!” that wouldn’t have been a reason not to issue the Emancipation Proclamation

2 Everybody knows this isn’t true. Abortions in Texas fell 60% in the first month after its new law took effect.

There are 2 reasons 47 of 50 nations in Europe draw a line after 15 weeks for abortions (most at 12 weeks):

1) It’s inhumane to kill a baby that feels pain, sucks its thumb, and responds to Mom

2) They had no court (like ours with Roe v Wade) telling them they couldnt


MYTH: “The Supreme Court abolished abortion.”

FACT: The Supreme Court simply said abortion is not a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution

Additional resources? Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments. By Randy Alcorn. https://www.amazon.com/Pro-Life-Answers-Pro-Choice-Arguments-Expanded/dp/1576737519/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2SCM3LLUASBUA&keywords=randy+alcorn+abortion&qid=1656357101&sprefix=randy+acorn+abortion%2Caps%2C109&sr=8-1

Update: May 26, 2022

A note from Pastor Sam

Join us Sunday, May 29, at 10:30am, for the “Let Us Rise Up and Build,” sharing service.

Here is what you can expect:

  • Gospel-centered worship music
  • Share your own “Rise Up and Build” story or testimony
  • Learn about 4 new Sunday morning classes beginning in June
  • Hear 7 recommendations from the Transition Team
  • Join one of the three teams to help to implement the Transition recommendations

I really look forward to seeing you this coming Sunday.

Pastor Sam

PS. If you are headed out of town for vacation… Have a wonderful time! Rest, refresh your awareness of God’s love, enjoy your family… and remember in your prayers and giving that your church continues to minister here in Longview and around the world.

Update: May 12, 2022

A note from Pastor Sam

Let Us Rise Up and Build

That was the theme introduced by the elders several weeks ago. The challenge was to follow the example of Nehemiah and the people of Judah.

On Sunday morning, May 29, we’ll have a special sharing service. It will be your opportunity to share what you believe God has called you to “rise up and build.” 

How do you know what God wants you to “rise up and build?”

  1. Ask, “What breaks my heart?”

One of primary ways God shows you his mission for you is through what someone called, “holy discontent.” 

What breaks your heart. What saddens and frustrates you? What has you saying, “I can’t stand it any longer.” Holy Discontent. 

It may be something no one else sees or cares about – but you can’t get it out of your mind. Because you are one seeing the need, God may be calling you to be one who meets the need. God is giving you a Nehemiah moment.

  1. Begin to pray about it.

Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter one is a great example of how to pray about something you think God may be calling you to do. 

Keep praying until, like Nehemiah, you see the next step to take. 

  1. Develop a plan.

Once you believe God is leading you, ask questions like – Who do I need to talk to? Who can help me? What do I need to learn? How can I get further information? What do I need to have in order to move forward?  Do I need to talk to the elders or staff or deacons? Who else is doing this? 

 Get creative. Think outside the box. 

  1. Ask others to join you.

    You may be surprised to learn that others are being called by God to the same vision. Your energy and commitment will probably light a fire in someone else. 

    Three final thoughts:

    1. If the staff, elders or deacons can help you in discerning God’s calling on your life, or pray with you about what you may be sensing, or help draw up a game plan – we’re here to serve you. 
    2. If you believe God is calling you to launch a new ministry in or through FBC, make sure your ideas are in line with our statement of faith and philosophy of ministry (as outlined in our constitution). 
    3. Any vision God gives to us will be in line with his Word. It will not conflict with the precepts, commands or principles of what God has already revealed in the Scriptures. And, it will point to the grace and truth of Jesus. After all, he’s the hero of the story – Nehemiah’s, and yours. 
Update: April 14, 2022

A note from Pastor Sam

Dear brothers and sisters at FBC,

If you’ve been in our Sunday services, or watched online, you know that John Cronin accepted our invitation to move to Longview and lead us as Worship Pastor.

This invitation came after extensive interviews with John, very positive responses from his references, and a very full Candidate Weekend. John and Amanda met with the staff, elders, deacons, and worship team, as well as leading worship on Sunday morning.

You, the congregation, were asked to submit your response to John’s leadership, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. After prayer and discussion, the Trustees unanimously extended the call to the Cronins, which they accepted.

John and Amanda were able to find a house in the area and by God’s provision, their offer was accepted.

John will begin his ministry with us on Easter Sunday. Lord willing, he and Amanda plan to move to our area in about six weeks.

Please join the elders, deacons, staff and worship team in praying for and welcoming the Cronins to FBC.

Grateful for the Lord’s leadership,
Pastor Sam, on behalf of the Elders.

Update: March 31, 2022

Going public with your faith… on Easter

One of the fascinating practices of the early church was baptism on Easter. The early church obeyed the command of Jesus to make disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Spirit…on Easter.

If you think about it, It makes sense.

Baptism is a visible act that testifies that a person has become a new creation by faith in the finished work of Christ.

It pictures the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

It says that a believer has died to sin and been raised spiritually to new life in Christ.

It is the sign and seal that a person belongs to Jesus.

It is following the example of Jesus himself.

It demonstrates your love and obedience to Jesus.

It shows that you belong to Jesus and to His people.

Baptism is like a wedding ring. A ring does not make you a married person. It is an outward symbol of your wedding vows. In the same way, baptism is the outward symbol of the commitment you make to Jesus.

It is going public with your faith.

We’ll baptize on Easter Sunday, just like the early church did.

Pastor Sam

Update: March 14, 2022

Thank you, thank you, thank you for praying for the search for a new Worship Pastor.

If at all possible, join us on Sunday, March 27, when John Cronin and his family join us, lead us in worship of our great God, and answer your questions at a potluck lunch after the worship service.

The elders, worship team, staff and I have had the privilege of multiple conversations with John over the last few weeks.

In my last FaceTime Interview, I asked him a series of personal questions, such as…

  • When was the last time you tried to enter a conversation with a lost person about the gospel? His answer – “this morning.”
  • What really matters to you? His answer – “The Lord, my family, my job, relationships, shepherding people.”
  • What do you feel called to do? His answer – “make disciples and shepherd God’s people, beginning with the worship team.”
  • Who have you been reading? His answer – “The Case for Christ, by Lee Stroebel, and The Prodigal God, by Tim Keller.”
  • Have you done any international mission trips? His answer – “Most recently? Poland and Hungary.”
  • What Biblical doctrine is most needed today? His answer? “Sin.”

Bottom Line – I like this guy! He knows his stuff (check out his resume).

He is a skilled musician, and has the heart of a pastor.

Let’s give him and his family a warm FBC welcome on Sunday, March 27.

Pastor Sam

Update: March 3, 2022

Dear friends,

Like you, I have been moved by the courage and determination of the people of Ukraine to resist the incoming invasion of a vastly superior force. The president of Ukraine has refused to leave and save himself (and his family). The average citizen are being armed and readied to take the fight to the streets. The countries of Europe are opening their doors to the hundreds of thousands who were fleeing. Christians around the world are praying.

Why such resistance… such courage.. such willingness to lay down one’s life?

The Ukrainians – and the Europeans – know what is at stake: their freedom. Their identity. Their children. They know the world is watching.

They know the price they may have to pay to be free… and they consider it worth it.

I think we Christians often do not realize the magnitude and importance of the battles in our daily lives. The idea of spiritual warfare may seem unreal, more theory or theology than reality. We forget what is at stake as we seek to live for Christ.

We are called to live on mission, serving Christ, carrying a message of hope in a world defined by brokenness. We are called to love the unlovely, serve those who will not serve us, and boldly share our testimony of how God rescued us.

We are called to stand with brothers and sisters in our church, pray for our church and work for the effectiveness of our church.

The stakes are sky-high. It takes courage to follow Jesus. It will cost us. Our enemy is determined to neutralize us – and he is smarter and stronger than any of us. And, we are being watched.

Make no mistake – the war has been won at the Cross. We are not victims or powerless. WE fight from victory, not for victory.

We have the name of Christ.

We have the Holy Spirit.

We have the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ,

We have the encouragement and example of so many who have gone before us.

We’re going to stand firm.

Join me this coming Sunday as we learn how to access God’s strength and put on the armor of God. Let’s get battle ready.

Additionally, the Transition Team, Elders, and Deacons want to invite you to join your FBC church family this Saturday, March 5, at 9:00 a.m., for the Journey Wall.

A Journey Wall a visual and emotional history of the church. We will spend some time together looking at where we have been, what we have been through, and what God has done among us and through us as a community of faith. We’ll uncover patterns in the history of FBC that need to be celebrated or broken before the next pastor arrives.

We’ll begin with some light refreshments and jump right into the Journey Wall. If you have one special photograph or note or some special reminder of a time when you saw God move in powerful ways, bring it. We’ll use it.

And then, together, we will step into our future as His community of faith known as Fellowship Bible Church, with Him, by the Spirit.

Warmly,

Pastor Sam

Update: February 3, 2022

21 Days of Prayer is over… sort of.

The testimonies and faith stories we heard on Sunday revealed the impact of the 21 days. We heard our brothers and sisters say things like “I discovered I can pray for an hour,” or “I ran out of time,” or “I feel closer to the people who prayed the hour before and after me,” or “one of my prayers was answered,” or “I sensed God’s presence in a new way,” or “why haven’t I done this before?”

Like many, I’ve had all those thoughts. As I prayed in my hour during the 21 days, I found myself thanking God for you, much like Paul did when he prayed for people he knew:

I thank my God every time I remember you (in Philippi, and in Longview). In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this — that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. And, it is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart.  Phil 1:3-7

21 Days of Prayers was the launching pad for a continuing discovery of the reality of prayer. So, just as we did in 21 Days, I encourage you to set a specific time during your week when you will devote yourself to an hour of prayer. The church office will continue to send prayer requests, as we receive them. If you are not yet signed up for the prayer chain, you may do so here: https://bit.ly/FBCPrayerChain. You may also submit prayer requests here: https://bit.ly/submit-prayer-request. Continue to let us know about answered prayer.

Let’s take the Lord at his word: “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and hidden things you have not known.” Jer 33:3

What’s next?

1. Sunday, Feb 13. We’ll begin a new sermon series, “Ready to Rumble.

All of us fight one or more battles in our daily lives. It might be struggles with work, health, family, or finances. It might be an addiction we can’t break or an out-of-control schedule. It might be letting go of past hurts or anxieties about an uncertain future. It might be loneliness or an ongoing conflict with someone close to you. We all face enemies that seek to sabotage our peace.

Based in Ephesians 6:10-20, this series will explore how to use the highly-effective armor God has given us.

2. Sunday, Feb 27  – WOW weekend (World Outreach Weekend.) We’ll be encouraged to hear of gospel advance from missionaries we love, support and for whom we pray. We’ll also seek the Lord for his intervention in areas of great need that we’ll hear about. Due to Covid and travel challenges, WOW will focus on Sunday only this year.

Continue to pray earnestly for our leaders, our Transition Team, and our search for a Worship Pastor and Youth Director.

P.S. Put a note in your calendar or mind: March 5, 9:00-11:00. JOURNEY WALL. The Transition Team and I want to invite any and all of the FBC family to participate in a “Journey Wall” experience. The Journey Wall is a biblical evaluation experience to help us assess where we’ve been as a church, where we are, and what are the patterns, events, practices and values that have led to our church’s fruitfulness in the past. It also gives clarity as it looks to the future.

So…we’re not going to reminisce about the “good ole days;” We do want to re-discover what God has blessed in the past. This will give us some indication of what He and we value that bears eternal fruit. It is a clue for how we can proceed from this point.

See you Sunday,
Pastor Sam