April 5th, 2020 Online Worship Service


FBC Sparta Online Worship Service—April 5th, 2020. Pastor Jon is back leading us in worship this week, and we dive into Matthew 21 and see “Jesus Lifted High”. We also have a special treat this week. The Dobbs family will give us a video update from PNG! Thank you for joining us!

FBC Sparta Online Giving

Dear FBC Family,

Our church is moving to a new kind of church record keeping solution called Realm®. It primarily serves the administrative needs of our staff, but it also offers some exciting opportunities to support the way that you are involved in our church. Not only will this improve work life for our ministry staff, it will make it easier for our church family to connect with each other, keep up with what’s going on, and grow as a connected community of believers.

1. We’re updating the administrative tools that our staff uses to run the daily operations of our church.

2. We’re adding more ways to communicate and connect as a church, all while leaving current methods in place.

3. We are implementing online giving.  You determine how much you want to make this a part of your experience with our church, but we encourage you to participate.The same people that currently oversee our financial information, will be the only ones privileged with the online giving platform information (financial secretary, treasurer, members of the budget & finance committee, & counters for physical giving). You can be confident that your giving and information is safe & secure. 

Our faith family can give a one time gift, or set up recurring giving. Giving online is easy and only takes a few minutes to set up. 

Visit http://fbcsparta.org/giving, or just go to the home page and click the giving tab. 

You can also give by text message. Text FBCSPARTA to 73256 to give your Tithes & Offerings. Standard text message rates do apply using your debit card or bank account. Giving online is easy and only takes a few minutes to set up. Attached to this email is a brochure and video explaining how to give online in three easy ways.

We understand the some in our church will have difficulty transitioning from physical giving to online giving.  Please hear me say this, “we don’t want you to go against your convictions (if they are Biblical) in the area of giving to the church.” When we resume our “in person” gatherings, we will continue to offer traditional physical giving in by passing offering plates during our service. No one is required to utilize this new online giving platform. If you chose not to utilize it, that is absolutely fine. However, we are currently in a COVID-19 world. While we are not sure how long it will be, we will not be able to physically gather for the foreseeable future. So if this tool serves as a temporary measure for you to continue to obediently give to the church, please use this as a temporary means (or permanent) . 

Brothers & sisters, I want to remind us, as a faith family, that the gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s Church (Matt. 16:18), and that includes the novel coronavirus. We do not plan to let Satan win this battle. Our staff, deacons and many other servants have been working tirelessly to not retreat in this current season. In fact, we’re calling on us to do more. Our message, mission, and membership hasn’t changed, but rather our mission field and facility.  In the past, we operated and lived life and did ministry in the physical. In this season of Covid-19 social distancing, our mission field is virtual (online contact), auditory (recorded or phone contact) and familial (personal family contact). We want to help you and your family to thrive and be faithful in this temporary mission field reality. Every area of our church life and commitment has been affected by the coronavirus, including the area of financial stewardship. So, we pray that you would see this as a means to help you stay faithful to God’s call for sacrificial giving, even with current realities.

Our pastors and deacons realize that this is a time of great economic decline, and that many have been financially devastated by this pandemic. As we’ve been walking through the book of Acts, one of the great characteristics of the early church is that they gave liberally and sacrificially to the church (Acts 2), and then distributed it to any that had need. That is our desire in this season – to care for any among us that have needs, and to choose strategic and necessary opportunities to address the world around us from a missions perspective.  The greater our degree of financial stewardship, the more resources that we will have to impact the world for Christ! 

So please help assist our leaders in the following ways:
1. Please let us know if you or any of our faith family has needs. Our deacons are ready to serve.

2. Pray for the finances of our church and sister churches during this season.

3. If you would like to participate (temporarily or long-term) and are confused about how to give in one of the ways that we described, please let us know.

4. You may continue to physically give. You can do this by sending cash/check via mail, dropping it off by our office if our staff is available (please call to see before coming), or by requesting one of deacons to pick it up from your house at your convenience. Please let us know if we can assist you. 

I’m sorry for a long email with a great deal of information, but our pastors wanted to give you some context to some changes in our current system. We’re praying for you. Please let us know if we can serve you in any way!

In Christ,

Pastor Brad

Instructional Video Link

This message was sent to jon@fbcsparta.org by 

Freed To Serve

The last week and a half feels like a year.

New realities have invaded every part of life. To be at home indefinitely. To wonder what is true and what information we can believe. To wonder if you have been exposed to COVID-19. To not be able to physically gather with our faith family. To wonder about the security of our jobs and finances. To have already lost our job. This list could go on and on and on…

So what should we be thinking? How should we feel? What does God want to accomplish, not just globally, but in me? In you? In us?

Before I give any thoughts on this, our first and most important response is to verbalize our questions and fears to God in prayer. Never forget that He wants us to trust Him enough to simply talk to Him regularly about what we are feeling and considering. Contrary to the world’s idea of prayer, this is not merely therapeutic. It is communication and communion with the only One who can change both what is going on inside us and outside us. But if all we do is talk to God and never let Him speak to us, we are toast! Open the Bible and let Him wash your concerns with the Truth of who He is and how He acts in real life. He will enter into all this mess in real and transformative ways as we do.

As I have attempted to take my own advise, a few Truths have risen to the surface this morning that I believe will help you as they are currently helping me.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” – Galations 5:13 ESV

God has set us free if we are in Christ. He obeyed the law perfectly in our place. So if we have been born again, we are not obeying God to gain His favor. We are obeying Him because of His favor given to us through Christ! This favor is not a license to just do what comes naturally to our flesh, but to submit to Jesus and serve others. Today, this is magnified because of the time afforded to us right now due to cancellations, social distancing, etc. If we aren’t careful, we will take the gift of margin that God is giving us during this difficult season and use it to simply indulge the flesh with no thought of God or others. I’m not saying that you can’t watch more movies than normal or sleep in (if you work for the school system). I’m simply saying go to the Lord first, and let Him direct you every day. This will help fight the selfish impulse we all have and allow us to embrace the joy of hearing from, submitting to, and acting on the Word God gives us each day. He wants to direct us personally. Parent, if you wonder how God wants you to lead your children in this, take what God says to you and share it with your kids (on their level). You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to disciple your kids, you just have to be listening to and following Jesus.

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when He delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” – Psalm 37:23-25 ESV

The natural temptation for us is to go to one extreme or the other in response to this crisis. Either we are scared out of our wits or we are cocky and self sustained. Both are flesh-filled responses. God is doing His work. Therefore, we can trust Him and know that He is ordering and establishing our steps. There’s no fear in that reality! But if we are simply unaffected by COVID-19 because we are strong or because we “won’t back down” (to quote Tom Petty), we are in danger of making idols of our own strength and intellect. I included the verses above from Psalm 37, but I encourage you to go read the whole chapter. It just puts life in perspective.

I just want to remind you, as the media is saying right now, we are in this together. God is refining and shaping His children and His Church in ways that we probably won’t realize fully until we can look back on this in the future. In the meantime, let’s walk this season out with Christ together.

~Seeking His Freedom Alongside You, Pastor Jon

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