Are you converted to Christ?

Are you converted to Christ? Have you repented of your sins and received Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Some possible answers:

“I don’t know what you mean. Please explain.” (I’d be happy to! Can I buy you a cup of coffee soon?)

“No. I’ve considered it, but I don’t want to repent and believe in Jesus.” (If you walk away, know that Jesus loves you but he will let you go your way)

“No, I’m not yet ready, but I’m considering it.” (It is good to consider well, but remember the scriptures say “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) What might be holding you back?)

“I’m not sure. I’m trying to find out.” (It is OK to be unsure. God leads us patiently and gently. What is your heart’s desire? What is your biggest question or concern?)

“Yes, I want to follow Jesus, but I have a lot of concerns and questions still.” (Questions are good, as long as they’re not used to avoid the questions Jesus has for you. What is your biggest question or concern?)

“Yes, as best as I know, I’ve repented of going my own way and trust in Jesus and seek to follow him.” (Keep on trusting, repenting and following Jesus. Remember the walk is long and winding, yet Jesus is a good guide. Invite others alongside for the journey!)

Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you whoever believes has eternal life.” (John 6:47)

Pastor’s Note 2016

12417846_1122344677777827_105521836067323890_nDear Sisters and Brothers, and friends of FBC Bennington,

God is at work here in Bennington, and it has been a privilege to join him here at FBC in 2016. As we look forward to what he will do in and through us in the year ahead, the love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit will enable us to follow the Lord together by faith.

There are many ways we can measure and report on what has gone on in the past year. By the numbers, we have baptized one believer, welcomed two new members, and have been joined by about 10 new regular attendees. We have faithfully worshipped God together each Sunday, looking to the Scriptures to guide us and grow our faith and love for Jesus, and the Holy Spirit has increased our faith, hope and love together. It has been very good to walk together through the Gospel of John this year, and also to blend in new music with old favorites.

We have welcomed a new pianist, as well as a new Sunday School teacher, and both are a significant blessing to our worship and work. We have hosted about 9 different Bible studies in various formats and contexts (Open-to-all, Men, Women, Youth, Children, One-to-one). Through these times we have seen our faith grow, and our experience of God’s grace increase. We continue to share our space with various non-profits, including the Free Clinic, Kitchen Cupboard, Farmer’s Market, Pet Clinic, support groups, and many more. It is an honor to bless our community by sharing the good gifts that God has given us. We have given away over 100 Bibles in various formats to the many community members who pass through our doors. Let us look to God to show us further opportunities to tangibly bless our neighbors.

We have been privileged to participate in the funerals of 8 of our loved ones this year, honoring and celebrating those who have passed, and bringing God’s grace and peace to ourselves, and to family, friends and community members through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have also gathered for times of fellowship and fun, including movie nights, game nights, a talent show, a Fall hayride, and the Christmas pageant. We have hosted successful tag sales and bazaars, which have greatly contributed to the ministry of the church. Additionally, each Sunday we have consumed countless cups of coffee, eaten untold numbers of cookies and brownies, and the occasional carrot or celery stick.

Where is God leading us for 2017? Let us pray together for guidance and faith. As pastor, I always hope to prioritize “prayer, people, and proclamation
” — regular and specific prayer, time with people, and proclaiming the gospel in any way possible. I often fall short, but God’s grace abounds all the more, and he delights to give his strength in our weakness. Will you pray that God will lead me, and all of us, according to his priorities? Let us pray that God will equip us all to grow in faith, and enable us to bless those in the Bennington area with the amazing grace of Jesus.

“May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)

Yours,
Pastor Bob

Treasuring God’s Word in our Hearts

For 2017, let’s put God’s word in our hearts each week! We will share a short Bible passage to memorize each week. Week 1 was Psalm 139:1-4. Week 2 is from Romans 11 below. Pastor Bob will be putting each verse to music to help us get it into our hearts and minds. See the church website for more.

Romans 11:33-36
[33] Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
[34] “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
[35] “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
[36] For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

(Suggested method: Read the passage 10 times, and then see if you can say it without looking. Repeat the next day, until you can say it from memory. Try it with family or friends! Meditate and pray over it, thanking God and asking him to speak to you.)

Annual Meeting

Notice of Warning: The 2017 Annual Meeting

The First Baptist Church of Bennington, VT, will hold its 188th annual meeting on Sun, Jan 15, 2017, beginning at 10:45am in Colgate Hall for the following purposes:

  1. CORPORATE BODY
    1. Ratification of the actions of the Board of Trustees
  2. BUSINESS MEETING
    1. Approval of the minutes of the Jan. 2016 annual meeting.
    2. Presentation of the Financial Report
    3. To hear and act upon the report of the Budget Committee.
    4. To hear and act upon the report of the Nominating Committee.
    5. To transact any other business that may properly come before this meeting.

The beautiful irony of solstice

by Pastor Bob Wiegers

I feel at home here in the North, but I grew up about as far south as we could get, in sunny South Florida. In my formative years I never really thought much about light and dark, but up here, between the 42nd and 43rd parallels, I can’t escape it. Summer brings abundant light, but as one songwriter put it, winter pays for summer.

Today marks the 5th winter solstice I’ve experienced while living in New England, and I can better sympathize with those who mark it as a religious celebration. Yes, the Fall is beautiful and crisp and cool, but the darkness creeps in, slowly, unrelentingly, a few minutes more per day. When I had my corporate job, going to work in the dark, and returning home in the dark, it was especially noticeable, and dare I say, depressing. Just as slowly as the sun steps away, an unnoticed sadness creeps in. Sure, having a clinical diagnosis and accompanying treatment helps keep some of the darkness at bay, but not completely.

So solstice has her beautiful irony. Here we are in the “deep mid winter,” the darkest day of the year, and often one of the coldest, but there’s a glimmer of hope. Today is the deepest passage through this year’s valley, but tomorrow marks a step uphill for the first time in a while. Be it from spiritual struggle, crushing circumstances, lack of light, chemical imbalance, absence of healthy habits, or (most often) some combination of it all, I am no longer surprised by the darkness that presses in on the light. This too is a season, but it need not prevail.

How dark was the tomb that sealed up the lifeless Lord of light? Yet it could not contain him for long, because God is the God of life, death, and resurrection. His presence, power, and peace are with me in all seasons, because I follow the one who is the light of the whole world. I may experience darkness pressing in, but, as Jesus said, as I keep on following him, I will not walk in the darkness, but have the light of life.

(also posted at Voices of Home)

Celebrate Christmas with us!

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Christmas Eve – 7pm – Carols and Candlelight

Christmas Morning  – 10:30am – “Celebrate Jesus: God with us!”

All services featuring both traditional and modern acoustic music. EVERYONE is welcome!

“For unto you is born…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

The Chapel is now open!

We’re excited to announce that our chapel will be open for Sunday morning worship this week! In years past during cold weather months, we’ve held our worship services in Colgate Hall, due to the high cost of heating our large sanctuary. Now, due to generous anonymous donations and the hard work of our members and staff, the chapel has been winterized and is ready for regular use for the first time in decades. Come join us this Sunday at 9:30am!15123463_1352134958132130_7442215748995152275_o-1