New Transportation Ministry

Would you like to be part of a new ministry starting at Memorial Baptist?   In the recent past, we have had requests for rides from within our congregation.  As a result of these requests, the Diaconate has identified the need to provide rides on occasion for those who find themselves in a situation where they need a little help.  Some examples in the recent past include a ride from a health appointment out of town and a ride to and/or from a church function.  As requests come in, an email describing the request in anonymous terms will go out to those on the team in the hopes that someone will be available to fill the request.

Once the team is formed, we will hold a short session to discuss expectations and address any questions you might have.  To become a part of this team, sign up on the bulletin board or give your name, telephone number and email address to Pat Olson.  Direct any questions you might have to Pat.

Jesus reminds us in the Bible that when we do things for others we are really doing them for Him.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration of joining the Transportation Ministry team.

Pat Olson

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ — why White Cross bandages matter

White Cross bandages

At Memorial Baptist Church, one of the ministries we hear about fairly often is that of the White Cross – involving collecting funds for medical supplies, and tearing and rolling sheets for bandages.

What we don’t always hear is the impact of these efforts; how they are used and the difference they make.

A recent journal entry from Katherine and Wayne Niles who are ABC missionaries serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo tells the story of a massive shipment of White Cross supplies, and how they are used.  Read all about it at www.internationalministries.org

America for Christ Offering

Upon journeying through our community, one can see countless people in need of Jesus’ love and healing touch.  You may be pondering what difference one can make in addressing so many needs.  Together, we can make a difference by supporting the America for Christ (AFC) Offering 2015.

The theme this year ‑ “Discipleship: A Journey of Grace”, based on Titus 2:11-13 ‑ is a wonderful reminder that Jesus’ public ministry was all about connecting with and caring for people in need.  On each day of his journey, the compassion of Jesus was felt by someone somewhere.

We learned that we should live to love because true freedom in Christ enables us to do so by the power of the Spirit in our life.  The outworking of God’s grace will be seen most often during difficult times.  God’s grace is being manifested in our lives as we gladly seek to help others carry their burdens.

The AFC Offering 2015 reminds us that when grace happens we receive not a nice compliment from God, but a new heart.  We receive a transformed life that becomes the hands, the feet, and the prophetic voice of Jesus Christ in our communities and as we connect with people every day.

How do we see the grace of Jesus Christ at work in our community?  We are encouraged by this year’s theme to come alongside people as they journey through life.  Let’s join together in giving generously to this year’s AFC Offering in support of home mission that is making a difference.  Thank you!

In Our Library

Have you ever been hurt by another person, by another Christian?  If so, you may be interested in reading a new addition to the church’s library entitled Wounded by God’s People, by Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham.  Through the lens of Hagar’s story, Ms. Lotz shares her wounds, both at the hand of others and the wounds she herself has inflicted on others.  She has discovered that wounding is a cycle that can be broken by God’s grace.   You will find this to be an informative and uplifting journey of healing.  The book can be checked out from the church’s library.

Pat Olson

Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering

Since 1935, American Baptists have contributed to special offerings taken up in their churches for retired ABC ministers, missionaries and their widowed spouses. In 1977, American Baptist Churches USA launched the Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering (RMMO) to become intentional about this long tradition of expressing thankfulness.

Today, RMMO is a tangible way the American Baptist family demonstrates its appreciation for the commitment, service, and spiritual guidance of retired ministers, missionaries, and their widowed spouses. This year’s theme is Inspiration + Community as we acknowledge that those who have served in ministry have inspired our faith walk and helped to foster a strong sense of Christian community.

The offering supports those who have devoted their lives to God’s service by providing emergency assistance in times of need and a thank you check at the end of each year. We hope that RMMO will continue to serve as a rich tradition for ABC congregations and be an inspiration for so many who have served with gladness.  Please prayerfully consider your financial giving to RMMO.  Thank you!

World Mission Offering

World Mission Offering: Empowering your gifts to transform the world

Almost 2,000 years ago, the Apostle Paul saw a vision of a man saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9b).

Today, that same call is being echoed all over the world—from Myanmar and Brazil to South Africa and Macau. People are crying out for the hope and light of the gospel in a world darkened by sin.

At Memorial Baptist Church, we’re committed to Jesus’ Great Commission to “make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19).  One of the practical ways we can do this is by supporting our annual World Mission Offering.

During worship in October, we’ll learn about the World Mission Offering using the theme Rise to the Challenge and the Macedonian Vision found in Acts 16.

Together, we’ll have our hearts touched by the spiritual needs around the world. Together, we’ll see how International Ministries is working to place and sustain missionaries around the world. Together, we’ll be inspired to apply the biblical principles of Acts 16 to our daily lives.

And Together, we’ll celebrate how our World Mission Offering gifts make possible the ministries of 114 long-term IM missionaries and more than 1,800 short-term missionaries and volunteers working with more than 200 partner organizations in more than 70 countries.

When we Rise to the Challenge, God will lead us to provide increased support for worldwide mission. Let’s gain a deeper understanding of International Ministries and of how others (and we ourselves!) will be blessed through our World Mission Offering giving.

Church Freedom (Part II)

(Based on background information in We Are Baptists: Studies for Younger Elementary Children, by Jeffrey D. Jones and Debra L. Sutton)

With freedom comes a great responsibility; in the case of church freedom, it is for us to listen and respond to God’s call to be the church.  Only God, no one else, can tell a local Baptist congregation what it must be and do.  The Baptist concept of the church is grounded in the reality of the local congregation.  Each congregation is free to determine its corporate life and its relationships with others.  We believe that it is this grounding that brings life to the church and enables it to faithfully respond to God’s call to ministry within its own walls as well as to the world.  Each congregation can set its standards for membership, determine its structure and organization, and choose its style of worship. Continue reading “Church Freedom (Part II)”

In Our Library

Memorial Baptist Women purchased a series of eight paperback “Keystone Stables” books for our young readers.  Doris Harrison has read all eight of them; the plots involved kids’ encounters with horses.  Titles include:

A Horse to Love

On the Victory Trail

Southern Belle’s Special  Gift

Summer Camp Adventure

Leading the Way

Blue Ribbon Champ

Whispering Hope

The Long Ride Home

Church Freedom

Each Baptist congregation is free to govern its own affairs, to order its worship and to make decisions on relating with other churches.  Far from being isolated congregations, however, we see the need to gather in associations to do things we can’t do alone; also to seek counsel from other congregations.  This freedom can be called “congregational autonomy”.  William Keucher, former president of American Baptist Churches, USA, explains it as “the right of each congregation (1) to choose its own ministers and officers, (2) to establish its own covenant membership and discipline and confessions, (3) to order its life in its own organizational forms with its constitution and bylaws, (4) to implement its right to belong to other denominational agencies and ecumenical church bodies, (5) to own and to control its own property and budget”.¹

Walter Shurden affirms several of these points and lifts up some additional ones.  In his book, The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms, he states, “Church freedom is the historic Baptist affirmation that local churches are free, under the lordship of Jesus Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whom they perceive as gifted for ministry, male or female, and to participate in the larger Body of Christ, of whose unity and mission Baptists are proudly a part.” ²  From this we can easily see that each Baptist congregation has the freedom to be the church it believes God has called it to be.

1. William H. Keucher, “Congregational Autonomy,” Baptist Leader, March 1976, 49.

2. Walter B. Shurden , The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms (Macon, Ga.: Smyth and Helwys, 1993), 33.

Bible Freedom

The Bible is important in the life of Baptists!  We cherish God’s Word.  It is a constant that guides our lives from childhood to old age.  As the apostle Paul was facing his most trying hour, under arrest in Rome, convicted of a crime he had not committed, and waiting to be executed, he remained faithful to Christ.  In his second letter to Timothy, he gave urgent advice to his young colleague and friend with the message to carry on, keep the faith, and be a steadfast soldier for Christ even if it meant personal suffering and persecution.  From this we can tell that Paul believed that the Scriptures are the sole antidote to a timid faith and corruption within the church.  He knew that “all scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16) and that God’s Word is “able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).  These powerful words are just as timely today as they were when written in the first century.  Other Bible verses which point out Biblical authority include: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35), and “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).  Let us endeavor to live in obedience to God’s Word, as did our forebears!

Pastor’s note:  Caroline’s wonderful reflections on the four Baptist Freedoms (Soul Freedom, Bible Freedom, Church Freedom and Religious Freedom) are drawn from Sunday School material based on Walter Shurden’s book, The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms.  Shurden talks about how each freedom is not only a privilege we have, but also a responsibility to exercise on our behalf and to protect in others.  For example, we believe the Bible is our final authority in faith and life, and yet also realize that our human understanding of it is never complete or finished; therefore we insist on the freedom to interpret scripture as the Lord leads us, and grant that freedom to others as well.