February Events

January 27, 2015 in Upcoming Events

Please see our Calendar for all the latest information!

Sunday School ‑ 9:00 AM every Sunday.  We have classes for all ages!

Worship ‑ 10:00 AM every Sunday in the Sanctuary.  On February 1st, we will celebrate Communion and an offering will be taken for the Solutions Center Warming Shelter, which provides emergency shelter for the homeless during the winter months.

“Breaking Free” Women’s Bible Study ‑ 1:00 PM Monday, February 2nd and 16th, in the Fellowship Hall.

Deborah Circle ‑ 12:30 PM Tuesday, February 3rd, in the Fellowship Hall

Choir Practice ‑ 6:30 PM Wednesday, February 4th and 25th, in the Choir Room.

Worship Team Meeting ‑ 7:30 PM Wednesday, February 4th, in the Fellowship Hall.

Women’s Mid-Winter Gathering ‑ 1:30 PM Saturday, February 7th, in the Fellowship Hall.

Punch Fellowship and Annual Meeting Part II ‑ After worship Sunday, February 8th.

Loaves & Fishes ‑ Monday, February 9th. Read the rest of this entry →

From the Pastor: “Lacing Up the Boots of Faith”

January 27, 2015 in From the Pastor

boots 01What’s the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word “Lent”?  Is it that season when every restaurant in Wisconsin – even McDonald’s – starts doing a Friday fish fry?  Is it the idea of giving something up for a month and a half?  Is it that Catholic thing?  Is it getting ready for Easter like Advent is getting ready for Christmas?

Well, no, actually – except that yes, that’s not too far off.  If you remember, Advent isn’t ultimately about just looking back at Jesus’ birth; it’s about remembering that Jesus told His disciples that He would return to bring about God’s kingdom on earth – to establish justice and peace, a new heaven and a new earth, as John of Patmos puts it.  Advent is a time of reflection on what God has done in sending His Son to us, and on what God will do in Jesus, bringing to consummation God’s purpose in this world.  In the same way, Lent is the period of time before the remembrance of Jesus’ death for our sakes and His resurrection which is our hope and promise in Him, but it, too, is not just about looking back, but about calling us to consider what that means for us today.

Lent was (and for some still is) traditionally a time of preparation for those who would be baptized during the Easter vigil.  At the council of Nicaea in 325 AD, Lent was referred to as the forty days before Easter, a reference to Jesus’ time in the wilderness before he entered ministry, which in itself was a reference to Israel’s time in the wilderness in preparation to enter the promised land.  The meaning of Lent to the early church grew to emphasize a time of preparation for all Christians, those who had already been baptized, and those who were preparing for baptism as a sign of their faith.

So often, what we remember about church stuff is what we do (or don’t do, in this case), that we can forget what it was supposed to be about. Read the rest of this entry →

Volunteer Opportunities

January 27, 2015 in Missions & Ministry

Loaves & Fishes ‑ Monday, February 9th, at Church of Peace.  Through the Loaves & Fishes program, churches and community groups serve a hot meal to people in need in Fond du Lac every Monday and Wednesday evening.  Most guests pick up meals to eat at home with their families, but some choose to stay and eat together.  The number of guests ranges from 150-300.  Our menu includes lasagna, bread, green beans, bananas, milk and cookies.  Sign up on the bulletin board in the entryway if you would like to help!

Ruby’s Pantry ‑ Thursday, February 12th, at Grace Christian Church.  Ruby’s Pantry provides groceries to people in need in the Fond du Lac area.  A $20/household registration fee helps cover the cost of transporting the food from the warehouse to the distribution site; families receive over $100 worth of groceries.  Call Cheryl Meyer at 920-923-5292 if you would like to volunteer.

FMSC_MobilePack_Logo_Blue_PMS647-01Feed My Starving Children MobilePack ‑ Saturday, February 14th, at the Fond du Lac County Fairground Rec Center.  Feed My Starving Children’s shelf-stable meals, specifically formulated to meet the dietary needs of malnourished children, are sent to nearly 70 countries.  Communities raise money to buy the supplies for a MobilePack event (at least 100,000 meals) and recruit volunteers to pack meals.  The Christmas Eve offering raised enough money to pay for the meals that our team will pack, but if you would like to donate to the Fond du Lac MobilePack, go to www.fmsc.org/mobilepack and follow the links to the Fond du Lac event.

Adult Literacy Tutors ‑ Volunteers are needed to tutor adults who struggle with reading.  Call the Literacy Office at 322-3932 if you would like to volunteer.

Missionary Profile: Gary Wagner

January 27, 2015 in Missionary Profile

Gary-Wagner-portrait-web-214x300American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) ministers as the caring heart, serving hands, going feet, and prophetic voice of Jesus Christ—establishing ministries of discipleship, community, and justice along with equipping and networking followers of Jesus to transform persons, congregations, neighborhoods, and cultures throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.  Therefore, because February is the month for the America for Christ Offering, we’re featuring a person involved with Home Missions.

Rev. Gary Wagner has served as President of Rainbow Acres since March of 1996.  Under his leadership, it has grown into a “state of the art” residential facility and educational community serving adults with developmental disabilities.  Rainbow Acres was founded in 1974 by Ralph Showers.  It’s an American Baptist Churches USA-affiliated 50-acre ranch-style community in Camp Verde, Arizona.  Anticipating the occasion of its 40th anniversary, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) gifted Rainbow Acres with $40,000 this past summer.  Rainbow Acres offers holistic programs, vocational training, and enrichment programs for differently-abled adults.  Nearly 100 adults, referred to as Ranchers, presently live at Rainbow Acres.

Gary has over 35 years’ experience in public relations, marketing and fundraising for higher education at Phillips University in Oklahoma, Alderson Broaddus College in West Virginia, the American Baptist Assembly in Wisconsin, Bacone College in Oklahoma, the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota, and Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School in New York.

Please pray for Gary and all of the “Ranchers” at Rainbow Acres.  Thank you!

America for Christ Offering

January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

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!

Guest Speaker: Rev. Dr. James Reeves – Healing the Wounded Heart

January 26, 2015 in Podcast

On Sunday, January 25, Rev. Dr. James Reeves, spoke at Memorial Baptist Church about developing ways for the church to address the role of the transformation and healing of the heart in becoming more like Jesus.

(Audio File from his message at Memorial Baptist Church – January 25, 2015)

Rev. Dr. James Reeves leading a Memorial Baptist Church Retreat at Camp Tamarack

Pastor Reeves speaking to a group during a retreat teaching the core concepts of ways to minister to the heart

 

More information: http://www.jamesmreeves.com/Welcome.html

And because we have had several people curious about his book Refuge, which some of us at MBC have been reading and engaging prior to this retreat, we want to provide a link to it through Christian Book Distributors or Amazon

From the Pastor: “New Creation” or Just a Good Scrubbing?

December 24, 2014 in From the Pastor

“…if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”  II Corinthians 5:17

The other day I took my car into the shop for a “check engine” light that would switch on, seemingly at random.  Sure enough, on the drive in for the appointment it had turned off, and they couldn’t figure out why.  But though I drove away none the wiser as to the mysterious light, at least they had given the car a wash and included a handy air freshener.

At a time of year when we naturally think of new beginnings and resolutions, what comes to mind when we hear Paul say that in Christ we are a new creation?  If we look honestly at our actions and our words, even our motives, are we really that different than before?  Are we truly a new creation, or is it more like we’re a cleaned up, dusted off, old creation with a new air freshener dangling around our necks, and still wondering about the junk from the past that keeps inconveniently showing up in our lives?

Paul doesn’t pull any punches in describing the radical change that happens when we turn our lives over to the Lordship of Christ and trust in Him to save and heal us.  Throughout his letters, Paul will talk about being united with Jesus in His death and united with Jesus in His resurrection.  The result of this is a new creation; it is not merely cleaning us up around the edges, as if nothing serious needed to be done, nor is it merely a mask or “air freshener” covering over or hiding all the junk that is still present in our lives. Read the rest of this entry →

Missionary Profile: Becky & Mike Mann

December 24, 2014 in Missionary Profile

mannMike and Becky Mann serve in Thailand.  They live with their family in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Becky has been working with the Hmong, Lahu, Lisu, and Karen tribal women by helping with craft ideas, developing patterns, and marketing crafts.  She also helps tribal farmers.  She is committed to helping the Integrated Tribal Development Program, which her husband Mike leads, with the marketing of Thai coffee, and working with parents of special needs children.

Mike is a global consultant for rural development for American Baptist International Ministries.  He serves as Director of the Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP), through which he ministers among the hill tribes of northern Thailand.

For years, the people in the hill tribes of Northern Thailand were gripped in poverty, eking out a meager and uncertain existence through opium farming, selling children into prostitution and committing crimes.  Things started to change after 1990, with the founding of the Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP).  Since then, the hill tribes have witnessed significant improvements in their lives: better access to health care and education, improved water resources and sanitation, and greater economic stability through the production, processing and marketing of cash crops—especially coffee.  Worldwide coffee giant Starbucks is among the major buyers.  In May 2013, Starbucks opened its first community store outside of the U.S in affluent central Bangkok—and pledged that 10 percent of sales from the store’s beverages would be invested in the farming communities in Northern Thailand.

As you pray for Mike and Becky, pray for the ministry of ITDP and the hill tribe people that it serves.  Pray that the funds donated by Starbucks would be used wisely and effectively to promote lasting community development. Pray also for their family.  Thank you!

Christian Education Update

December 24, 2014 in Sunday School

The New Year is about to begin!  As we welcome it, please consider joining one of our classes, if you are not already involved.

In January, the preschool class, taught by Caroline Overzet and assisted by various others, will continue learning about Jesus and his impact on their lives.  The elementary class, taught by Jean Schneider and Laurel McKee, will continue with the process of learning the books of the Bible and the basic stories they contain.  For these two classes, at the beginning of the second and fourth Sundays of the month, Pat Olson guides the children in memorizing the names of the books of the Bible and also leads singing.

Mary Hobbs provides snacks for the children’s classes the first Sunday of each month.

Gabrielle Hastings teaches a blended youth and adult class which calls itself “The Kids’ Table”.  In January this class will continue to use videos from the website The Work of the People as discussion starters.

The adult class, taught by John Overzet, will finish studying the book The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown and then return to the study of The Fear of God by T. M. Moore.  The remaining lessons are: “Reasons to Fear God” and “This Way to the Fear of God.” Read the rest of this entry →

From the Pastor: True Colors

November 25, 2014 in From the Pastor

morgan winter 07

Photo by Morgan Braun

As I write this, snow is about to cover the last of the autumn leaves on the ground.  It brings to mind something I learned recently about leaves and why they change color.  During the spring and summer, they are green because of the chlorophyll in the leaf’s cells, which enable it to capture the energy of the sun and create food for the tree.  But green is not the leaf’s natural color – the green merely overshadows the natural yellow pigments (called carotenoids) present at the same time.   When winter comes, the chlorophyll pigments fade to reveal the natural color of the leaf.  We see what the leaf has been all along, even though its nature was hidden by its work.

It makes me think of how each of us has work to do, but our ultimate identity and our value is not in what we do or accomplish, but in who we truly are as God’s children.  Sometimes we can be so busy “do-ing” that we mistake our worth for what we do.  And when the season comes when we can no longer “do” the things we once did, we might be left wondering how we fit in, of what use we are.  But this is to see things backwards.  Whatever we do, whatever we work at, these are just for a season – what matters even more is who we are, our lasting identity.

There are other pigments in leaves, called anthocyanins, which make leaves red.  They appear late in the season to help the tree thrive by protecting the leaf in its last weeks.  For each of us, there may be things we look back on with regret – and yet in the love of God, we find forgiveness, healing, a new beginning, when we place these things in God’s hands.  We may come to peace with our past and take on a new identity in Christ. Read the rest of this entry →