ARTICLES IN THIS EDITION
Sponsored by the Northern Virginia Conference at Camp Rapidan Baptist Camp in Rochelle, VA
Includes 3 meals, snacks, refreshments, and lodging (personal items and sleeping bag/bedding needed)
Registration due by February 1
We're asking every FWB family in Virginia to help in a yearly offering to aid our church-planting efforts. If every family would give just $12.00 in this one-time, yearly offering (that's $1 per month for the family), we could raise $16,000 yearly for this much-needed effort.
The offering will help the Virginia Mission Board meet the needs of missionary training and encouragement as well as help fund projects needed by the mission works. If "Each One" of our FWB families will "Plant One" dollar per month, this yearly investment seed will encourage the growth of self-supporting FWB churches right here in Virginia.
Please start now preparing for this offering!
JANUARY 31, 2016
A Publication of Virginia Free Will Baptists
During the retreat, the promotional office is sponsoring a "break-away" meeting of all young pastors, associates, and youth pastors from Virginia (ages 40 and under). This is going to be a special time where these young men can get to know each other, to build friendships, and to build a fellowship network. In order to encourage this connection, the promotional office will fund the $50.00 cost for these young men attending the retreat.
Dr. Bob Brown, NORVA Clerk
12500 Chewning Lane
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
Dr. Bruce Barnes, VAFWB
4846 Kempsville Greens Pkwy., #303
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Each of the links below will take you directly to that article on this page.
VA Pastor's Retreat, Feb. 26-27, 2016
With a culture that is more and more rejecting our Christian heritage in America, the true purpose of "Thanksgiving" is being forgotten. But it should not be among us! Let us consider just a few of the early declarations and celebrations for a day of Thanksgiving within our official, national history.
Continental Congress, 1777
"For as much as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in
a national history of
It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these United States to set apart Thursday, the eighteenth Day of December next, for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please God through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human Blessings, Independence and Peace: That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost." ***
John Hansen, President of the Continental Congress, November 5, 1782
"It being the indispensable duty of all nations, not only to offer up their supplications to Almighty God, the giver of all good, for His gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner, to give Him praise for His goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of His Providence in their behalf; therefore, the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of Divine goodness to these States in the course of the important conflict, in which they have been so long engaged, – the present happy and promising state of public affairs, and the events of the war in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils which is so necessary to the success of the public cause, – the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them, – the success of the arms of the United States and those of their allies, – and the acknowledgment of their Independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States; Do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe and request the several states to interpose their authority, in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF NOVEMBER next as a day of SOLEMN THANKSGIVING to GOD for all His mercies; and they do further recommend to all ranks to testify their gratitude to God for His goodness by a cheerful obedience to His laws and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness." ***
President George Washington, October 3, 1789
"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me 'to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.' Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us." ***
President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863
"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed." ***
Thanksgiving is more than a national holiday, parades, turkey & dressing, and football games; we know that. Although loved ones are close, it's even more than family gatherings. It is and has always been a time of reflection concerning God's goodness in our lives personally and nationally. While all the celebrations are taking place, let's make sure, as believers, that we do not fall into the secular mold of a generic Thanksgiving Day that is full of activities but little praising of God for His goodness. Thanksgiving began as a recognition of America's need to give God thanks for His graciousness and blessing. May we truly fulfill that purpose this year.
Recognitions Across Virginia
50-YEAR PLAQUES AWARDED
Recognition was given to (left to right) Rev. Milligan Herron, Rev. Lonnie Townsend, and Rev. M.D. Hyatt. It was a privilege to honor these faithful preachers recently at the Sunbright Conference. These men were not able to attend our state association meeting in June when the presentations were made, but they are among those who have been preaching among Free Will Baptists over 50 years! We are thankful for those who have been faithful over all these years!
SERVANTS TO HARVEST CHILD CARE MINISTRIES RECOGNIZED
Three people associated with Harvest Child Care Ministries have been recognized for outstanding service by the Virginia Association of Children's Homes. (They are pictured below, left to right) Rick Stone, was chosen to receive the 2015 Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Award; Dorothy Parsons received the 2015 Distinguished Direct Care Person Award; and Nancy Gauldin (Central Virginia Conference) received the 2015 Distinguished Board Member Award. Congratulations!
News Across Virginia
PAUL COLLINS TO SERVE ON HARVEST CHILD CARE BOARD
At our state meeting in June, the conference elected Dr. Rodger Castle, Sr. to serve on the Harvest Child-Care Ministries board as Virginia's representative. Brother Rodger stepped down from this position on the board because of his employment with Free Will Baptist Family Ministries. The Virginia Executive Board discussed a replacement and afterward, elected Paul Collins to fill that term.
TWO MORE CHURCHES BEGIN GRACE OUTREACH IN OCTOBER
First Free Will Baptist Church in Richmond, under the leadership of Pastor Jay Baines, held a GRACE Outreach Revival and are now under the early development of the program to organize the congregation for effective outreach. Everyone is excited about the level of involvement as well as the prospect of results through their efforts.
Also just completing a GRACE Outreach Revival in October is Heritage Free Will Baptist Church in Fredericksburg. Dr. Bob Brown, the pastor, is now working with the promotional director to complete the organization of the outreach volunteers. Their first outreach night will be held soon.
Contact the Virginia Promotional Office for more information about GRACE Outreach for your church.
HEAR 94 YEAR-OLD MILLIGAN HERRON PREACHING
Rev. Milligan Herron, also pictured on the left, preached at the Sunbright Conference held at Mabe Chapel Free Will Baptist Church on October 17. We were able to record some excerpts from the message, and you can watch it here. Take a moment to enjoy the fervor and faithfulness of this 94 year-old FWB preacher.
by D. Bruce Barnes
When Bad Things Happen, part 2
Even understanding what we have already talked about, there is still the persisting injustice our hearts feel when tragic things happen to the innocent. We question how such could happen and why God would allow injustices in our world. At the time of this writing, a four-year-old girl was just killed because of a man shooting indiscriminately into another vehicle because of “road rage.” Our hearts cannot help but wonder about how unfair this seems. Even though we are all prone to these feelings, there are a couple of understandings that must take place on our parts.
SIN AFFECTS THE INNOCENT.
Merely stating this fact does not make it any easier for the heart to resolve the emotionally-felt conflict because reasoning alone can never extinguish the sentiment felt in the heart. Even so, the extremes of emotion must be guided by the understandings provided by God in the Scriptures. The Word of God straightforwardly proclaims that the consequence of sin in man as a whole reveals itself as a consequence upon all.
Jesus said plainly, “For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45b). And in the Old Testament, God revealed that the iniquities of one generation who hates Him could extend to their children for up to four subsequent generations (Exodus 20:5). Good and bad occur upon all, but the reason for the bad is because of sin’s general consequence. We will later deal with the positive result that can come in spite of the bad; however, this message is dealing with the effect of sin and where the Biblical reasoning comes from in dealing with the injustices we sense.
BLAME MUST BE ASSIGNED PROPERLY.
Should God be blamed for allowing any level of evil to exist within creation? Some would believe so because they accuse Him of injustice when the innocent suffer. They would feel that it is God’s responsibility to stop various levels of sin’s consequence. But the question would also have to be asked, “How much of sin’s consequence?” As far as man is concerned, the answer would be a subjective one defined by any one person’s experience or view of what constitutes evil. The most consistent answer to that question would be, “God should make all things right!” Before long, He is going to do just that! But when God brings all sin into judgment, then every sin will be judged and not merely the ones that seem to affect the innocent. Where does the blame for sin’s consequence lie?
First, blame must go back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve sinned against God, and there was a consequence. Consequently, all of their descendants are born with the same sinful nature. The first blame for the consequence of sin must lie at man’s feet! And it’s not just the decision they made; it is the decision that each of us has made as well.
Second, individuals are to be blamed for allowing an unleashing of their lusts and for rejecting salvation through Jesus Christ, the result of which leaves a devastating cost in the wake of personal indulgence.
Third, families are to be blamed for not providing the proper training necessary to prevent such abhorrent actions. Seldom being corrected by their parents, children have little moral compass from home; neither can they find it within the church as the family forsakes the biblical message on Sunday for weekends of personal pleasure. An entire generation has come to adulthood with little understanding of what sin is.
Fourth, society is to be blamed for promoting humanism as the answer to man’s problems rather than the transformation of Christ’s power in salvation. Today’s culture is that of a godless society that attempts to disavow any Christian heritage or influence.
Fifth, the church is to be blamed for not taking seriously and not utilizing all its resources to reach the world for Jesus Christ. We have come to think that witnessing is someone else’s job and that paying for personal luxuries is more important than sacrificial support of the gospel ministry.
Even placing blame in the proper places does not relieve the injustices felt in a wicked world; however, this understanding helps put into perspective those things we see in the world. Let’s further make a case for this line of reasoning. If bad things are happening in our world, we should not think about it as God allowing it as much as we should consider that we are allowing it!
Follow this reasoning: Would you not agree that although terrible injustices have happened in the past, that these things seem to be more rampant today than say, fifty years ago? What has changed in the last fifty years? There has been a disconnect from the fundamentals of the faith and the importance of the church’s witness and preaching of the Word. There has been the spread and portrayal of violence, sex, drugs, murder in movies and on television; all of these have exploded on the internet. People watch reality and entertainment talks as though these represent the perverted norm of society, and now society has to face the unshackled flaunting of the LGBT movement.
The point? God is not to blame for the sin that rampant in today’s society. Individuals, families, society and—Yes!—even the church is at fault for the effect that sin is having in our world. It is not so much as to why God would allow such to happen as it is this, “Why are not people responding to God receive the automatic prevention of sin and its effects?” Quite frankly, it is not God’s desire that someone have perverted lust or that the innocent suffer or that sin be in the world. However, man disobeyed God, sin is in the world, God did send His Son, sin’s penalty has been provided for those who accept Him, and power over sin indwells those who submit to God for it.
So, why do such terrible things happen? Because men, women, boys, and girls don’t respond to God, don’t get saved, and don’t live in the power of conversion.
In Part 3, we will answer the question, “How can all things work together for good when bad things happen?”