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November 2, 2018, 12:36 PM

The Good News in November, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

Some of you may have seen on Facebook a post that I shared. Johnny Hamilton, whom I do not know, stated, “What would you do if you woke up tomorrow morning and all you had is what you THANKED God for yesterday!?!?!" That is an enormous question. It speaks to our attitude about our situation, our environment, and our prayer life at the very least. What did you thank God for yesterday? Anything? Nothing? Or maybe, what did you and God talk about yesterday? How long was that conversation?
And then, soon after the first post I saw was another post by another person with the question, “What if today, we were just grateful for everything?” When things like that double up on me, I stop and wonder what God is trying to say to me through others. What point do I need to understand? What point am I missing?
AND THEN, a third post appeared: “You have a CHOICE each and every single day.
That sure seems like a lot of choosing for a person to have to take on. Aren’t you glad you
have Jesus on your side when you have to make those choices? How would you be able to choose any of those without Jesus? How would you be able to make those choices in tough times if you did not have Jesus?
You realize there are huge numbers of people who do not have Jesus to help them make their decisions. Which means you have another choice : “Will you be the one today
to share Jesus with others? Will you be THANKFUL tomorrow for the GRATEFUL choices you make TODAY?"

September 3, 2018, 4:04 PM

The Good News in September, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

It seems like I write one of these columns every week. Every time I turn around Sally is asking for another one. “Tom, I am certainly not pushing, but it IS time for the newsletter to go out.” I promise her to get one ahead and well, that never happens either.

What have I done in the previous paragraph? Is it exaggeration almost to the point of hyperbole? Is it complaining? Is it whining? Is it being a drama “king”? Probably YES to each of those last four questions. So here, in a quarter of a page, I have focused on one simple thing I have to do today, and actually, may have caused anxiety in the reader.

I neglected to tell you that I slept well last night, to tell you that I had a magnificent breakfast, to tell you I drove to work safely, to tell you one of my friends was very kind to me, to tell you about the man who encouraged me so much in a simple casual conversation, to tell you that my mother posted a picture of her parents on their wedding day that simply flooded my heart with a plethora of amazing memories of two people who showed me how much they dearly loved me. Should I continue or are you getting the picture? I complain about one small trying thing when I have a multitude of amazing things going on in my life! Isn’t it amazing how we present ourselves? We have so much good, but we talk about our fears, frustrations, or obstacles and not the love which fills our heart.

Our image, character, nature is too often narrowly defined by the small slices of life that others observe in our life. “By your fruit you shall be known.”

So, what if, for 30 days, all we talked about was how good God had been to us? What if, for everyone we talk to, we conveyed a loving heart of God based on the words we used?

What would people start to think about you? What would people start to think about Christians? What would people start to believe about Christians? Who might want to follow you to church simply because of your gospel words?

Rev. Tom Ficklin

July 28, 2018, 1:28 PM

The Good News in August, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

There is an article being written about our church. It tells our story, specifically the story of our move, except that it is really not about our move. It is about how a group of people who love each other and were willing to listen to God, and who actually found the strength of faith to take a chance.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the emotionality of the winter of 2017; it seemed much too emotionally raw at that point to sound that good.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the sense of frustration we felt in the spring and summer of 2017 in sorting through the potential choices that could potentially lay ahead of us, and discounting most of them away.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the sense of relief we felt in the fall of 2017 when we met with The Virginia Baptist Foundation and they thought they could take an old thing and adapt it to a new thing. We were going to attempt to do something that no other Baptist church had ever done.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the late fall of 2017 when all we felt was the anxiety of having to move everything we had or the strong sense of relief when Woodland Heights offered us space or the supreme celebration we felt on December 31, 2017.
I am not sure that is how we would characterize the winter of 2018 when we were in the new space feeling relieved that we did not have a myriad of things to fix every week in an aging building.
BUT, when you put that whole story together, that underlined sentence makes perfect sense. Our lives are like that. When we focus on small segments of time, our emotions are very different than when we look at the overarching thread of who we are and what we are about and who we belong to. Please, don’t ever get lost in the emotions of the everyday without remembering God has His own grand story, which includes
Y O U!
Reverend Tom Ficklin

July 28, 2018, 1:27 PM

June 11, 2018, 2:18 PM

The Good News in June, 2018 ~ A Message from the Pastor

I was asked to be a part of a retreat for BTSR alumni where the faculty asked many questions about our time in seminary and about how seminary prepared us for the reality of being chaplains, ministers, and pastors. It was heartwarming to think that my experiences, my voice, would hopefully benefit others in seminary as they prepare to serve in the world. What an honor to be asked!
There were many people I knew at the retreat, some of whom I have not seen since I graduated. There was enough space in the agenda for us to sit and chat so as to catch up and extend the relationships that we previously enjoyed. Plus, I got to meet people I did not know, enabling me to begin relationships that I hope to extend for years. What an honor to meet God’s people!
We worshipped four times in twenty-four hours, the last gathering being a time that included communion. Worship times at retreats always seem to be extra special. Yes, everyone there prepares worship almost every week in their normal week, and yet, each time we approach worship, we approach with the wide-eyed wonder to stand before a God that calls, forgives, and loves. What an honor to worship a God who does all of those things!
We have the ability to do all of those things every day of our lives – meet God’s people, ask God’s people, and worship God. Do we do that? Do we approach every day with that mindset?
What if we read scripture to form us rather than to inform us? What if we worshipped to enable us to believe God loves us, and believing God loves us, then went to meet God’s people and to ask God’s people about their relationship with God? What would the world be like if God’s love was spoken every day, everywhere by everyone? Try it. Let’s see. Don't wait for someone to ask.

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