January Greetings!

Whatever else we have, or don’t have, in this life,

we have the great gift of eternal life,

through faith in Christ and His finished work of redemption.

 

On this New Year’s Eve, as I was reading a devotional (pasted below), the above statement caught my attention. I have taken some time to think over the days of this year and meditate on my blessings—writing some out and thanking the Lord for them. I encourage you to do the same. Perhaps we can share some at our New Year’s Eve fellowship tonight. But here is one that I wanted to share with you now: I thank the Lord for YOU—my church family. What a blessing you and your fellowship are to me! Thank you.

Please pray with us

  • The deacons and pastors will be meeting on January 11 to decide what, how, and when to resume some of our other SVBC activities. We need wisdom to be a testimony for our Lord, serving Him and our community—both saved and lost.
  • Continued Holy Spirit led and empowered preaching, teaching, discipling, outreach, etc. We are excited about our theme…

 

2021 LOVE:

knowing the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge

… to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,

that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God; Ephesians 3:19.

 

We are thankful specifically over the last month…

  • The wisdom and unity the Lord has given our deacons and pastors in deciding our SVBC standards for dealing with the pandemic and our church family’s great support
  • There have been no more cases of COVID-19 in our church family
  • Good spirit and unity in our Sunday morning worship
  • Visitors!
  • Pastor Josh, Kayla, & Joe getting settled, serving, and being a blessing
  • SVBC Christmas Program—we all enjoyed the individual family videos put together in one video—Christmas carols, devotions, blessings. Great job and thank you to Pastor Josh for doing this. One blessing of the pandemic is families spending more time together and especially time in God’s Word, prayer, and service for His glory!
  • Technology—good Zoom prayer meetings, participation, fellowship, and… prayer!
  • Opportunities to be a blessing to folks as we caroled
  • A blessed “Simple Christmas” Eve candlelight worship service
  • God’s perfect faithfulness

 

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself…

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

2 Timothy 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24

 

As always, thank you for praying for us.

We are continuing to pray for you too!

 

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Tom & Wanda MacAvoy

 

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Loaded with Blessing

Credit: Jesus Christ;

https://www.icr.org/articles/type/6%3cspan%20id=%22ms-outlook-android-cursor%22%3e!~OMSelectionMarkerEnd~ ; Henry M. Morris, 12/31/20

“Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits,

even the God of our salvation.” (Psalm 68:19)

As we come to this year’s end, it is helpful for us as believers to think back over the days of the year and to meditate upon our blessings. We may, indeed, have experienced defeats and losses, disappointments and injuries in great number. If we are honest with ourselves, however, we as Christians will always have to acknowledge that our blessings far outweigh our burdens. God “loads us with benefits,” and is even working in and through all the trials and hurtful things together for our good (Romans 8:28). Even a burden can become a blessing if we take it as a gift from God for our spiritual benefit.

Therefore:

  • “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
  • “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
  • “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).

 

He has given us “life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). Far more importantly, He is “the God of our salvation.” Whatever else we have, or don’t have, in this life, we have the great gift of eternal life, through faith in Christ and His finished work of redemption. We have it every day of the year and are daily ready to meet the Lord, whenever He calls. Each day we have the indwelling presence of His Spirit, the illuminating guidance of His Word, the daily provision of all real needs, and the assurance of His love. He has surely loaded us with benefits!

December Greetings!

December Greetings!

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I may learn Your statutes; Psalm 119:71.

For the first time this year, our SVBC family has over the last few weeks experienced several cases of COVID-19 as well as quite a bit of other sickness. Though it has been difficult, there has recently been welcome news of some folks beginning to feel better. Please pray with and for us concerning these things as well as the Lord’s will about when and how to resume meeting in-person!

Our response to the above has been to pray (!) and stop all in-person activities at SVBC for several weeks. We are thankful for technology and our meetings via Zoom have gone well. Our Zoom Praise Service on Tuesday was a blessing!

In other good news, Pastor Josh, Kayla, and Joe moved into the parsonage last Saturday. We thank the Lord for them and continue to pray for them as they get settled. It has already been a blessing to serve our Lord together!

I know that Thanksgiving 2020 was yesterday, but as I was having my devotions yesterday, I read several things that helped with perspective. One is entitled, Giving Thanks in 2020? A Conversation with a Pilgrim. I pray it will be a blessing to you as well. It is pasted below.

As we head into the last month of 2020, may we celebrate the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ in a way that brings Him glory!

Who is this little boy?

That’s Joe Ham—the son of our new assistant Pastor Josh and Kayla Ham.

We are excited about what our God is doing!

Let’s continue to pray for America!

 

Thank you for praying for us.

We are praying for you too!

 

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Tom & Wanda MacAvoy

 

 

Giving Thanks in 2020? A Conversation with a Pilgrim

Credit: Jesus Christ; M. R. CONRAD — NOVEMBER 26, 2020 http://rootedthinking.com/2020/11/26/giving-thanks-in-2020/

 Thankfulness? In 2020? Maybe we should just cancel Thanksgiving. Let’s not recount what happened. Let’s just forget it all. For what do we have to give thanks this year? Disease? Civil unrest? Political dissonance? Incompetence? Fear? Who could celebrate our collective worst year ever?

Let’s bring in our guest for today’s post. He’s a fictitious pilgrim. Let’s call him Bradford Williams. If you think 2020 was bad, then let’s compare it with 1620. Four hundred years ago, Brad and 101 of his friends disembarked from the Mayflower.

Comparing Death Rates

Brad, the pilgrim: I thank thee for inviting me.

Liam[1] from 2020: I see you are starting with thanks from the outset. Nice.

Brad, the pilgrim: And I thank God for His bountiful blessings—

Liam from 2020: Yes, yes. Let’s get to the point. 2020 has been a horrific year. A pandemic has circled the world, and the death rate is appalling. What was it like in 1620?

Brad, the pilgrim: I give thanks to the Lord that I survived, though my wife did not. The fatality rate among our party this year was 44%. Only fifty-seven of us survived until the feast day.[2]

Comparing Civil Unrest

Liam in 2020: 44%? Wow. That’s tough—at least you didn’t have to face civil unrest at the same time.

Brad, the pilgrim: Civil unrest? I pray thee, what is civil unrest?

Liam in 2020: Yes, you know, disunity among your fellow citizens. You Puritans all have the same beliefs and perspective so that brought you together in hard times.

Brad, the pilgrim: Actually, we are not all Puritans. The passengers on the Mayflower were not even all Christians. Just forty-one of us out of 102 on board were Puritans. We had to sign a governing document before setting foot in the new world just to keep the peace between us. As the governor wrote, “several strangers made discontented and mutinous speeches.”

Liam in 2020: Governing document? You mean the Mayflower Compact?

Brad, the pilgrim: I guess you could call it that.

Comparing World Leaders

Liam in 2020: Well, at least your government in England had a good leader, not like us here in 2020.

Brad, the pilgrim: A good leader? King James is a wicked man. Though we respect him as our rightful ruler, he’s one of the reasons we fled England for religious freedom in the new world.

Liam in 2020: But the King James Version of the Bible has his name on it!

Brad, the pilgrim: It’s only been ten years since the king authorized the new translation. The Geneva Bible is the Bible of our fathers.[3]

Comparing Risk of Violence

Liam in 2020: Well, the disease you faced in 1620 was worse than ours in 2020. Like us, you endured disturbing civil unrest. At least, you did not fear violence in the pristine wilderness of New England. In 2020, we have riots in our cities. Murder rates are spiking. The suburbs, where I live, may soon be affected.

Brad, the pilgrim: Thank the Lord! He delivered us from our fears. We trembled as we disembarked. The native population outnumbered us. At first, we could not communicate with them. The difference between our cultures is vast, and there is ever a threat of misunderstandings leading to violence. Their arrows are swift and their blades sharp.

Liam in 2020: Really? So in 1620 when you arrived until November of 1621, you faced disease, death, disunity, and violence. Despite this, you held a feast, the first Thanksgiving ever? How could you be so thankful?

Brad, the pilgrim: Among the hardships of our first year, we saw the hand of our God. This land is a good land where we can freely worship our God. He has provided for our needs through our native friends who joined our feast. We have learned to survive in this rough wilderness. Almighty God hath taught us “in all thinges give thankes: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you” (1 Thess. 5:18; Geneva Bible).

Comparing Thanksgiving Feasts

Liam in 2020: Well, that is really spiritual. Let’s get to the important question. What did you all eat at the first Thanksgiving?

Brad, the pilgrim: The governor sent a few men to hunt fowl. They brought back our usual assortment of turkeys, ducks, geese, and swans. Our native friends brought some fish, lobster, oysters, and clams. We also harvested berries, grapes, cranberries, squash, corn, carrots, beans, onions, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and pumpkin.

Liam in 2020: Pumpkin pie is my favorite!

Brad the pilgrim: Actually, the sugar supply we brought on the Mayflower ran out months before.

Liam in 2020: So, no pie?

Brad, the pilgrim: No pie.

Comparing Reasons for Thanks

Liam in 2020: When you compare 2020 with 1620, I guess we have much for which give thanks today. If the pilgrims in much worse conditions could launch the first Thanksgiving, we today can give thanks to God for what He has done, despite the trials and inconveniences of 2020. One thing is clear—our Thanksgiving food is much better today than in 1621. And for that, I am thankful.

What are some ways God has blessed you in 2020? How can you give thanks today?

Photo credit: my wife, taken at Point Pelee in Ontario, Canada

[1] Liam is the most popular boys name in 2019 and 2020.

[2] The epidemic that killed many of the pilgrims and obliterated the native population is believed to have been leptospirosis. Like COVID-19, this disease passed from animals to humans, in this case through rat urine.

[3] It is thought that John Alden may have brought a King James Bible with him, but the dominant attitude of the Puritans opposed the KJV.

November Greetings!

November Greetings!

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints; Psalm 116:15.

Rick Young went home to be with the Lord on October 10 and just this week Evelyn Hughes also went to her heavenly home. We rejoice as we think of them being with Jesus. Please continue to pray for the loved ones and offer your help as the Lord leads.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep,

that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope; 1 Thessalonians 4:13.

On Sunday, October 4 we enjoyed hearing the testimonies of Pastor Josh & Kayla Ham during the Sunday School hour. Then Pastor Josh preached during morning worship, and we had good fellowship at a luncheon and hayride. It was a good opportunity to get to know these dear folks better. Then on October 14 SVBC voted unanimously to call Pastor Josh as assistant pastor that will Lord willing lead to senior pastor. We praise the Lord for His leading and for unity about it. It is a blessing to see the Lord raising up young men and women to continue to stand in the gap!

Please thank the Lord and pray with us…

  • Pastor Tom & Wanda are completely moved out of the parsonage and are working on their construction project.
  • Pastor Josh & Kayla are heading up some renovations to the parsonage—painting, flooring, etc.
  • Pastor Josh’s ordination is scheduled for November 7.
  • Continued excitement about God’s work, adjustments, and God’s glory as Pastor Josh begins at SVBC Lord willing on Sunday, November 22.

Thank you for praying for us.

We are praying for you too!

 

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Tom & Wanda MacAvoy