APRIL 19 - 25
I am so hoping that this week brings you the Joy of the Lord, as it has me. Today I spent several hours in our church with my brother Dick, doing the work of the Deacons, sharing fellowship and speaking out of our hearts about our triumphs and failures, joys and concerns and and generally just being God's kids in His house, a safe place to come to for shelter; an inviting place to spend time, set in a very special and beautiful part of God's creation, bathed in sunshine, with majestic clouds rolling by, changing moment by moment the dramatic view of southeastern Arizona's "Sky Islands".
I can think of few places I'd rather be. I hope that you have come to feel that way about our house of worship: First Baptist of Bisbee, and for those of you who are new to us I pray that as you come and hear God's Word, raise your voices in songs of praise, meet Him in prayer and become more and more a part of the family of First Baptist that you will know the security and love that the Lord wants to share through His church and that you will invest yourself in serving our father as you take each new step with God, your hand securely placed in His. Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday, Dear Ones. - Scott
APRIL 12th - 18th
What a wonderful Sunday we enjoyed this past week. The minor changes we made in Worship were well received. We now play Christian music softly before and after the Sunday service as the family settles in to prepare hearts for worship and as they bid farewell to others. We are singing our set of four worship songs without interruption, making our announcements at the end of the song service at the time of the offering, which we have resumed. We continue to see new faces each week, and some faces we haven't seen in almost year.
Pastor Loreto is continuing to preach from Paul's writings to the Colossians. If we are listening to God's Holy Spirit, as we navigate Paul's letters to the seven churches of Asia we will see ourselves; the American church in his encouragements and warnings.
I wanted to let you know that Pastor Walpert's sister-in-law, Wella is recovering from some very serious surgery. Please pray for Wella and Pastor Walpert's family as they look forward to this season of healing and restoration.
We want to congratulate our former Deacon Chairman Mike Stallcup and Wife Lisa, who have just accepted the senior pastorate at the Palominas Baptist Church just down the road apiece. Please pray for Pastor Stallcup and his flock as they embark on this new journey with God.
The women of the church have decided that they will be meeting monthly for BRUNCH!, at 10am on the first saturday of the month here at church. Please circle the date on your calendar and contact Cindy Gobel for more information concerning the upcoming event. You may also join the women on Zoom, as most have been doing over the past year for breakfast.
For those of you who are new to the church, please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions or have any needs. You may ask one of our Deacons on Sunday - Brother Don (our technology minister), generally at the soundboard during services, Brother Dick (our Treasurer) who often greets and prays to dismiss us at the end of the service or Scott, our Deacon chairman who opens our service and delivers announcements. During the week, you can give us a call at 520-432-3904. If you need to speak specifically to Pastor Albert, call the church and we will see to it that he receives your message.
Have a tremendous, blessed week
APRIL 5th - 11th
What a wonderful Easter celebration we enjoyed this past Sunday! Over 40 people joined us to worship Jesus and hear the Word proclaimed. We saw some people we hadn't seen in a long while, and made some new friends too. We are so pleased to see God drawing many to First Baptist, and hope that God will inspire them to tarry with us awhile and if the Lord directs them, to apply for membership and make a fuller covenant with the family. We rejoice that younger families have come with children and members of our Working Group are discussing the eventual reopening of both adult and children's Sunday School. Those of you who missed Pastor Loreto's Easter message, or any of his sermons can hear them on our Sermons tab on this website. If you need information of any kind, please feel free to call the church any day of the week at 520-432-3904 and speak to our Deacon Chairman, Scott Woods.
Week of March 22 - 28
EASTER IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!!!
Can you believe that a week from this coming is Easter. We are still basking in the afterglow of our wonderful time of celebration that followed the election last Sunday of Albert Loreto to be our Senior Pastor. We look forward to our Palm Sunday service this weekend and hope that all of you will plan to join us for our Easter service at 10:15am on Sunday April 4th.
We invite any and all of you on that day to have your picture taken. we will provide you with copies, and those of you who are members will be able to contribute a copy to our church directory. There is no charge. Deacon Dick Dixon will be taking pictures on that day
COME ON HOME. IT'S TIME TO COME ON HOME. March 21st - all members should be present to worship; to be present for our congregational meeting that follows.
1) Albert Loreto stands for election
2) We are asking the membership to reaffirm and restore the language and intent of several items that were removed from the constitution and "lost" because they never re-appeared in the policy and procedure manual where advisers felt they more appropriately belonged. Therefore, new members and adherents don't have a window into that part of our story, or an understanding of our model of governance. They are fundamental to who we are as Christians and Baptists, and emerge from our belief in the "priesthood of the believer", "soul competence - analogous in ways to free will", the "sovereignty of the local church" and commitment to the Bible as our source of direction in the governance of the church. These principles are best articulated in the constitution and by-laws.
Since the 1st century, saved believers have looked to the scripturally described model of the early church as a reliable model for the church as it goes forward in time. In the early church, leaders arose following the original disciples. As these churches grew in size and number, a level of organization was necessary to maintain order of operation and faithfulness to the story of Jesus, His words and commandments, and the history of God's relationship with man. The need for leadership and reliable interpretation and dissemination of Truth was paramount, and shaped the church throughout time. The Bible shows us that God's design for the church since the days of the apostles, Jesus' disciples, was for a church led by Elders, who were assisted by Deacons. These leaders were saved men who sensed the Holy Spirit CALLING them to ministry. Some became helpers in the church as Deacons, and some of them found God preparing them later to become Elders who were similarly prepared men of character who were then called to teach and preach. Most smaller churches have one elder, who functions as the pastor. Some churches raise up multiple men as elders who remain and help teach and govern and assist a main teaching pastor or engage in other ministries, or they may be prepared in a church to go elsewhere and pastor or evangelize, etc. The process until very recently was for the local church, which contains by God's design all of the necessary "body parts" to work as a self-sustaining whole, growing and self replicating by growing people! When a man tells his church he feels a call, he undergoes a period of examination - of himself and by others in the church, principally the pastor, elders and deacons. If his call is seen as legitimate, he may answer the call. When others acknowledge the call a period of preparation ensues. Sometimes service as deacon, further bible study, and formal ministry education may be elected. The books of Timothy and Titus lay out the path and the architecture of the process. When a man is found to be ready for the next step with God, he may be licensed or commissioned, and when ready to step fully into the elder/pastoral role or the deacon role he is ordained by others who have been ordained. In this way, the continuity of the local church's mission, vision, spiritual authority, legacy and culture are preserved well.
In recent times, churches have begun to go outside the local church looking for men who can lead. It is now commonplace to seek out pastors and ministry workers who are not affiliated with the local church or community, often because the local church is small and has not raised up leaders who feel the call of God to minister vocationally . There is also a trend toward seeking men who are educated in Bible colleges or seminaries, having acquired advanced degrees. While formal academic preparation can be a blessing, we in the Baptist sphere, and those who cling to the enduring truths and fundamental principles of our faith are watchful of the modernization of Christianity and the questionable fruit of an increasingly seeker-friendly generation of churches who want the church to look like the world, to accommodate people of the world, often to the disbenefit of the faith and the Gospel of Christ. Not every seminary serves God in a way that prepares men to return to the local church and achieve His purposes.
So we want our founding documents to reflect the biblical model, though we are not in any way constrained to limit our choice of leadership to in-house candidates, so to speak. We have recently lamented the departure of a godly, wonderful seminary educated Pastor who has been called to bless many in his second pastorate. That said, This Biblical model does encourage and produce ministers that will help multiply our contribution to the Great Commission as well as fortify the local church.
Beyond these clarifications, we are also asking the church to ratify a motion to allow members not present during this time of Covid to vote by proxy or phone.
So, COME ON HOME NEXT Sunday. It's been a year; numbers are going down, we're getting vaccinated, we are practiced at our precautions. You as members have important work to do. If God continues to move in the direction he has, if the Pastoral Search Committee has acted with discernment, you'll be able to greet our new pastor and his family. It will be good to see faces that we have been missing, and for you too. The next week is Palm Sunday. The following is Easter. There may be chocolate. COME ON HOME. And bring a friend, your family, your neighbor. It is a new day at your church. In your homes and here in the sanctuary, say: Its a new day! God's Holy Spirit is bringing a new leader, a new vision, a new approach to our mission, new work to do for the Lord. Come Home! It's a new day!
Good evening, my Brothers and Sisters! These are spiritually dynamic times in the life of our church. This week we've been saddened by the loss of our Leon and go forward with the joy of knowing he is in Glory awaiting us all. We are praying for Cindy and being assistive where we can. I encourage you all to reach out to Cindy when it seems appropriate and as you are led. She and her sister Linda will let us know of matters that will concern the church or require our attention or attendance.
We begin another week eagerly anticipating the upcoming congregational meeting on March 21st, where we will vote as Albert Loreto stands for election to be our new pastor, and where we will more clearly define a few items by vote, in order to restore to our founding documents an explanation of how we are to biblically compose and administer church governance and advance individuals who are called of God to leadership.
This week we continue as we have, meeting to give God and His Son praise and worship, share our prayers, to hear His Word preached, enjoy fellowship and tender the offer of Adult Sunday School. Despite our small in-person attendance at Sunday Service, our core team is busy with the work of the church. My hat's off to that youngster Chuck Turner who is faithfully convening and building our ministry of prayer, meeting every Wednesday morning at 9am. A record number of attendees would have been surpassed this week if I had not overslept (my bad) and if one more member of our team had Zoomed into pray. we should ALL be there! and we should reach out within our sphere of influence to other members and attenders to do likewise. Prayer with others is something we can do for the Kingdom from our homes. It's a way of meaningfully connecting with our church family in the middle of the week. Let me also say a big, big thank-you to our Deacon Don Edie and wife Christina for their faithful service in leading us in song every week, assisting with the administration of our finances, and taking responsibility for not only the numerous duties expected of the deaconry and the associated sacrifices of family time to meetings and such, but folks, the energies that our brother Don is bringing to the management of our technologies that allow us to communicate with the outside world through producing our worship, our broadcast, website, and other media is truly exceptional and God honoring. Thank you as well, to our Deacon Dick Dixon and wife Carol who are continuing to surrender more and more of their "golden years" of ranchette retirement in sacrificial service to Jesus. As Treasurer, Deacon, Sunday school teacher, discipler, cook, home group convener and provider of great home hospitality, they model servanthood and the Kingdom feels their impact and we see the fruit. They produce your weekly bulletin as well, and keep track of our missionary families. It has been wonderful to see and be a part of the coming together of our Cindy Gobel who has served our church so tirelessly and selflessly for so many years in so many capacities, including Deaconess; most recently as Worship Leader, with our Sharon Velez and Deacon Chuck Turner and wife Gay to help comprise our Pastoral Search Team. With what we hope to be mission accomplished, My fondest hope is that these 8 members will continue to partner with me and my wife Mary to serve as a core work team as we go forward in our efforts to bring new life to the ministries of FBCB and restore its voice and reach as we assist our new pastor as he brings the Word and new spiritual vision, direction and energies to lead our family.
But that's not all! This core team is comprised of some of the parts of the "body of Christ", but we're looking for a left ear, a nose, a big toe, and a number of other important body parts that have been missing (and painfully missed) this past year and are conspicuously absent. Our church family looks forward to the return of so many, and we pray that this is the season that we will see many of you again. When we do, may I strongly encourage you to join our team? There is so much to do to "rebuild the wall" as Nehemiah was tasked to do. We are seeing the return of some who were taken into captivity by the Coronavirus; others will be on their way. As with Jerusalem, FBCB's enemy, the adversary had been eroding a formerly large, vital, powerful work of God with attacks over many years. I believe that calling a new pastor is only a modest part of what needs to be done here. I believe that God has challenged many with a call to serve in ways and of which they have only recently started to become aware, identify clearly, or feel equal to.
First Baptist is being given a new vision , new spiritual leadership and a new opportunity to do more than ATTEND a church, but to take the next-step-with-God and BE the church. A pastor is like general. He leads an army. He doesn't fight the battle and come back and report the results to his troops. We ARE the troops, the hands and feet that under the guidance of our teacher and shepherd will walk out our faith and embrace the people of the San Pedro and Sulphur Springs Valleys with invitational hearts and the love of Christ .
When you can, COME HOME, join the team.
If you are reading this and have never met the family of First Baptist, you are probably being given a nudge by God to come and acquaint yourself with this special group of people who are serious about their relationship with God and His Son Jesus. You will feel welcome, because you are. Please check out our new website at Firstbaptistbisbee.org Read everything in detail. Then call us at 520-432-3904. If no one is in the church office, your call will roll over to the cellphone of our Chairman who would love to talk with you.
In His Love,
Scott Woods, Chairman and Deacon
If you have questions or need ministry, please don't be afraid to call. You can reach me any time at 520-432-3904. Hope to see you soon. And may God and His son Jesus draw close to you today, and you to Them.
In His Love,
Scott Woods, Deacon Minister and Chairman