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You gotta’ love the Christmas music that’s played during the Christmas season. Who doesn’t love a dose of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”, “Joy to the World”, and Silent Night. Especially that last one, “Silent Night”.

Silent nights are needed. Seems like that’s when I can shut the rest of the world out for a few minutes and clear my mind by reading the Scriptures and then asking the Lord to once more fill me with a “peace that passes understanding”. And He does.

I mean sometimes the day, or even the week, sometimes the month, and occasionally the whole years seems to be pretty rough, even a horrible period of time. So I need a respite, a time of, a season of healing and refreshment.

This last year was a “doozie”...not just personally, but for the nation as a whole. You remember the whole election “thing” don’t you? Over twenty people ran for the office of the President of the United States...we were excited to have so many choices and then it came down to two..."nough” said. What about the rioting that happened in so many of our states and cities this past the the the sudden vacancy on the Supreme the volatility of the market...I mean I could put a hundred blanks on the paper and I’m sure you could find plenty of troubling items to fill them with...and that doesn’t even touch the personal troubles that occur that we never in a million years would have imagined happening to us. You’ve probably cried out the same thing I have on occasion, “How long, Lord?” That’s why the “silent night” is so needed.

And the neat thing is that the “silent night” experience can happen at any or night... and bring peace and yes, even joy, as well as hope back into our world.

7Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Psalm 37:7 (ESV)

Think about it. Let’s clear our still and listen to the Lord and learn. For the Scriptures reveal to us if ever there was a horrible time in the life of a nation and a people we need look no further than Israel in 6 B.C. Pretty tough time period, very troubling. I mean you have a king who has been appointed by the Roman empire to tax the people beyond their ability to occupation that was being implemented by one of the most brutal empires in history...on the whole, no middle class, only rich and poor...starvation was a real possibility...and religious leaders who had grown cold and empty...not to mention that the Lord had not spoken to Israel for 400 years.

Already my mind is clearing somewhat. I mean, even our “troubled” year seems bearable when compared to the time into which Jesus Christ was born. It was into that epoch that God intervened and sent into the world the grace, peace and hope that was needed.

... but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,Romans 5:20 (ESV)

In, and among all the “stuff” that was happening in the lives of the nations and the lives of the individuals came the holy night of peace and promise. “How long, O Lord?” turned into “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The promise of redemption, of justice restored and life renewed. There it is...”the peace that passes understanding”.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14 (ESV)

Be still and know that He is God...clearing our mind with His Word, and knowing the truth which sets us trust and enjoy the peace He gives. I guess that's why we actually have nothing to fear.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2:10 (ESV)

Peace and joy...Christmas gifts...for all people who believe and trust in Him, the Savior, Jesus Christ.

I’m praying for you, as you celebrate Christmas this year. One, that you will find time to “be still” and two, that you find the joy, peace, and hope that He intends for us to have regardless of what may arise in our daily lives.

Let the music spring forth...and let it be with meaning...

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.


Posted by Ralph Sawyer with
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Can you believe it is Christmas time already? The year flew by and I notice that as the years behind me grow and those in front shrink, it seems to fly by even faster!

In 2016, the Missions ministry was busy—three foreign mission trips, three six-week training events, and hosting a pastor and then a missionary from Panama within the last month. As givers, FBC Wentzville was all in for the 2015 Lottie Moon Christmas offering and the 2016 Annie Armstrong Easter offering. Our Lottie Moon offering goal was $25,000 and you gave $26,153. Three months later for the Annie Armstrong offering, our goal was $12,000 and you gave $14,145. Church, you are generous!

So, let me add some color to the black and white above. In January, five of us went to Panama to work with First Baptist Church of Chitre, led by Pastor Cecilio Solis who visited us the end of October and early November. We helped with Vacation Bible School and there were 72 children attending, up from 56 in 2015. Then, although just three of us returned in March to share the gospel in the public high schools, we were still able to go into 43 classes and share with 753 students and teachers.

In July, a medical team of fourteen of us went to Puebla, Mexico for a week. We worked in two villages, Guadalupe Tecola and Santa Maria Tecola, where we helped 363 people and had 68 professions of faith. Tracy Smith wrote a great blog about that trip back on August 9, if you want to read more. But, in short, it was a marvelous trip and I hope more of you take the opportunity to experience it.

On the training side, we had three classes this year, each session a little more than an hour for six sessions. We had 16 people complete the program this year, with nine of them going on a mission trip this year! The scholarships that have been generously donated helped people to go, who otherwise would not have been able to afford to make the trip.

We have three mission trips scheduled for 2017. Two trips will return to Chitre, Panama—January 21-28, and then September 16-23. We will return to Puebla, Mexico on July 22-29. The work will be community assistance with Vacation Bible School, or evangelism in the schools or neighborhoods. Details are being refined, but watch the weekly bulletin and the church website for announcements with details.

For training in 2017, we are trying something different. In addition to the six week class, we are going to offer two alternatives. On February 19, 26, and March 5, we will complete two chapters per meeting, so the classes will be two and a half hours long, but will be finished in three weeks! The other option is a little more difficult. It will be all day, May 6, from 8AM to 4PM—one session. But, it will be completed in a single day! Think about these options when you start considering how you are going to spend your time next year.

Several members of the church indicated interest in working with a church in St. Louis. In October, five of us met with Todd Genteman, the pastor of Apostles church which is a new church plant down off the Del Mar loop in St. Louis. We are still in early discussions, but don’t be surprised when we start looking for volunteers for work in the city next year.

In closing, let me finish the way I began. The year 2016 flew by and the Lord was gracious, letting us help in His work around the world. By His grace, 2017 will be just as busy, if not more so! This time of year, we celebrate the gift of our Savior and share our blessings with others. The 2017 Lottie Moon Christmas offering is in full swing, supporting over 5,000 missionaries around the world. The SBC goal for 2017 is $155Million. Our goal is $27,000, an increase of $2,000 from last year. Pray about what you can give. If you heard from our missionaries to Central East Asia in worship, or Tim Louderback at the Missions Dinner, you know how much they and all SBC missionaries rely on the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Remember what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

We look forward to discovering what the Lord has is store for us in 2017, and we want each of you to join us as we engage in ministry at FBC Wentzville.


Posted by Glen Locklear with

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