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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Weapon of Prayer

Here is our version of Weapon of Prayer shared on November 11, 2012.  We do not usually do music this close to country/bluegrass but shared it as our tribute to our veterans.  The best way we can honor them is to work harder to bring peace into the world making their presence unnecessary for our defense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wSvm4b_feM&feature=youtu.be

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pulpit Exchange

This Sunday, November 18, Crooked Creek Baptist will welcome the Rev. L Bryant Parker, pastor of Witherspoon Presbyterian, to worship!  L Bryant will be preaching this Sunday at Crooked Creek Baptist while Pastor Tom will be leading over at Witherspoon Presbyterian.  This exchange marks the first formal connection between both churches as we begin the process of building and strengthening our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ and seek out ways that we might be share our efforts to reach our local community for Christ.

We hope you will make an extra effort to be present in worship this Sunday to greet Rev. L Bryant and to hear the good news as God shares it through him. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weapon of Prayer

Here are the lyrics for the song our worship team will be sharing this Sunday morning.  Special guest musicians Elena and Alex McGrath will be joining us on mandolin and violin.  We will start the service at 10:45 with this number!  Hope to have you join with us!
In that land across the sea there's a job for you and me
Though our presence there may not be found.
We must stay standing there on the battle lines and pray.
We must never lay our weapons down.

We don't have to be a soldier in a uniform
To be of service over there.
While the boys so bravely stand with the weapons made by hand
Let us trust and use the weapon of prayer.
 
 Many thousands miles away someone she'd their blood today.
With a heart so true and brave they're gone.
To a war that's yours and mine let us join the battle line
With a weapon that will save our home.

We don't have to be a soldier in a uniform
To be of service over there.
While the boys so bravely stand with the weapons made by hand
Let us trust and use the weapon of prayer.

And when the planes and tanks and guns have done all that they can do.
And the mighty bombs have rained and failed.
Still the helpful hand above has the weapon made of love
And against him none on earth prevail.

We don't have to be a soldier in a uniform...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2013 Financial Plan

Last week I sent out a note about our financial plan for 2013.  I praised the Leadership Council for their work in reducing the projected deficit from $32,000 to $18,000 and challenged our members to respond by raising our income in a similar amount.  And it is my hope that this note will help you with some concrete numbers and projections.

According to our records we have between 60-65 who support God's ministry at Crooked Creek Baptist.  Privately I have mentioned to a couple of them that when you break down the numbers, if 60 of those givers were to add a total of $25 to their giving per months, we would raise an additional $18,000 for the budget.  $25, less than a meal out for a family of four.  Since making this statement, I have had several of these people come back to me and explain that they talked it over and have decided that they are going to make this pledge, to increase their monthly giving by $25 per month.  One of these families even explained how they were not waiting for 2013 but were beginning this sacrificial giving immediately.

Could your family be next to take up this challenge?  For those of you who have not yet developed a habit of giving to support God's ministry, here is a simple challenge- contribute $25 a month to support the God's mission through Crooked Creek Baptist.  It might not be such a great sacrifice to you, but over time and with the gifts of others will help us to carry forward God's message of love and hope for the world!  Here is your chance to add more to our family of God!

Are you already a committed giver?  Is it possible to make a small sacrifice of something as simple as $25 a month?  Broken down even further that equates to about $6 a week..or the price of one lunch.  Such a small sacrifice from a collective group can make a tremendous difference in the life of our church family and its mission. 

Grace and Peace,

Tom

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sandy Relief

The response to the death and destruction caused on the eastern coast following Sandy has been strong and public. Federal and local responders have rushed to aid the survivors of this catastrophe and have made great progress helping to restore order and care for families affected by this storm.

American Baptists are responding to this tragedy as well. Funds from the One Great Hour of Sharing have already been committed to helping relieve some of the worst of this storm. Other organizations such as the Red Cross are also hard at work responding. Individuals interested in helping with relief can now make donations to a number of agencies involved with relief efforts.

Yet it is important for us to to be good stewards even with these donations. Before contributing to such an organization, it would be helpful to check into the organizations background to see how much of what you donate actually makes it to the people you are trying to assist. There are agencies out there that use funds you donate to cover costs of running an office, advertising and publicity, and sometimes even executive salaries. This means that sometimes less than 75% of what you give is actually used for the intended purpose.

Be informed. Ask questions. The One Great Hour of Sharing offering provides an opportunity for 100% of your donations to go toward relief of those affected by the storm. Additionally, American Baptists will not just care for those affected in the northeast, but all of those people affected in Haiti, Cuba, and the Caribbean. These areas feature many living below poverty and the savage nature of this storm can mean the difference between life and death.

Crooked Creek Baptist will be accepting gifts for the One Great Hour of Sharing:  Sandy Relief throughout the month of November.  Gifts can be marked in this manner and will be forwarded to help with both the short term and long term care and recovery of the regions affected by this terrible disaster.  Thanks to you for your prayers and support of our brothers and sisters in their time of need.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2013 Budget

Copies of the proposed budget for 2013 are available through the church office.

I just wanted to express my appreciation publicly to the Leadership Council for their work compiling the budget and doing what they could to help balance our expenses to income for 2013.  What we failed to share at Sunday's business meeting was the fact that when they started to work, we were looking at another deficit around of $32,000 for 2013.  At our last meeting we as a Council agreed that this was too large a number to bring to the church.  With a lot of hard work we were able to shrink the projected deficit for 2013 to a number closer to $18,000 for the year.

While I am pleased by their work, I also think that there is more that we can do to help balance the budget.  One way to fix a deficit is to cut our spending, but another way is to increase our income.  This is why I am writing this to you.  Now, in most cases I am sure that you and your family carefully considered your giving for next year before making your pledge.  At Crooked Creek Baptist we have between 60-65 people who contribute to our budget every year and this is something to celebrate! 

Are you one of those?  If not, I would like to challenge you to consider supporting God's ministry here at Crooked Creek Baptist financially.  Our Scriptures testify to the generous nature of the God we serve and of the care for which God provides for our needs.  God challenges us to try tithing to see if "I will not open up the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." (Malachi 3:10).  Here is a chance to respond to this challenge.

If you have not supported the God's ministry at Crooked Creek Baptist, would you consider it for 2013?  Would you be willing to put your faith in God in this manner?  God has promised to faithfully watch over us.  Are we willing to live according to that faith?

Are you the occasional giver?  Throwing in a couple of dollars on the occasions when you have the spare change...or giving when you remember to write the check before church?  Can you become a disciplined giver?  If God has responded to your occasional giving, what could we expect from regular giving?

I know many of you receiving this are our regular givers and some of you are already going beyond the tithe to sacrificial giving.  You have discovered the blessings already present in your life and are responding with praise and celebration of God's goodness!  It is my prayer that the blessings of faith, and the joy of this community will continue to be yours.

We are challenged to be good stewards of the resources God makes available to us.  We would do well to remember that God operates in a system of extravagant giving and bountiful blessings.  As we strive to become the community God has called us to be, we can look forward to a future full of Divine blessings!

Grace and Peace,

Tom