On Sunday, July 20, 1969 at 3:17 EST, two men first set foot on the surface of the moon. Neil Armstrong famously took that "giant leap for mankind," followed shortly by his partner, Buzz Aldrin. The third member of their crew, Michael Collins, orbited above them in the command module. After landing, Aldrin opened a tiny package he'd brought with him from his church back home and consumed what was inside. He read the Scripture, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me will bring forth much fruit" (John 15:5). The package he'd brought with him had contained a tiny silver chalice, a vial of wine, and a communion wafer. As Aldrin later wrote, "In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup...the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there were the communion elements." While Aldrin's bread and wine weren't the Catholic communion of Christ's Body and Blood, his faith in God's word and his reverence for the idea of communion with God in that historic moment reflect our human need to connect with our Creator. In his own way, Buzz Aldrin was bringing a sense of the Church to the new world of the moon.
But the Lord's Church exists in community. Jesus taught us to "love one another" as He loves us (John 13:34-35). He wants us to bring the Good News of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In St. Matthew's Gospel, Jesus spoke to His disciples about this very thing: "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you"(Matthew 28:19-20). This is called "The Great Commission." From the days of the Apostles, the Catholic Church has sent out missionaries to every corner of the world. Many of Christ's Twelve were martyred for their faith in foreign lands including India, Russia, and Armenia. In the centuries that followed, the Church and Her religious orders ventured to wherever there were people. St. Augustine of Canterbury took the Gospel to England and St. Patrick traveled to Ireland. St. Francis Xavier preached and taught throughout Asia and Fr. Matteo Ricci took Catholicism to 16th century China. In our own country, Blessed Junipero Serra established the churches along California's famous "mission trail." From Her beginning, the work of the Church has been to pour out the love of Christ to a lost and hurting world. In that pouring out, we make connections with one another and create relationships. Love exists in relationship, not in a vacuum. Sometimes our missionaries met a martyr's death. Even today, being Catholic in many of the world's countries can bring about repression, persecution and death. Despite the dangers, the "Great Commission" of Christ goes on.
We are all called to be examples of Christ to the people in our lives. God doesn't lead most of us to the foreign mission fields, but rather to the neighborhoods and communities in which we live and work. Living our faith in our own country today can be difficult. If we stand up for our beliefs as Catholic Christians we can experience the "little martyrdoms" of losing face and losing friends. It takes courage in our culture to say: "I believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. I believe in celibacy for single people and in chastity for all people. I believe that marriage is a sacrament of God and that it is created by Him to join one man and one woman together in a lifelong commitment of love and mutual respect. I believe in the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death. I believe abortion is murder. I believe that artificial contraception is inherently evil." These beliefs are counter-cultural in the same way that Jesus is counter-cultural. We see our Catholic faith being attacked, ridiculed and marginalized in the media every day. The world just doesn't "get" Catholicism. And I think this means we're doing something right.
So when you're feeling discouraged by all the attacks on Christianity, get into your fighting stance: in a pew, on your knees, before our Lord and Savior. Pray that you'll have the heart and courage to be a worthy servant in today's mission fields of work and community and social media. Pray also that our Bishops will have the courage of the Apostles to fearlessly proclaim the Gospel of Christ and to shepherd His flock as He would have them do. And love. Love one another and care for one another: the poor, the immigrants, the sick, the widow and orphan, the imprisoned, the unborn and the lonely. When we love as Christ loves, we unleash the power of God's grace which can soften the hardest of hearts. Every lost soul is a mission field.
"In this world, you will have trouble. But take courage, I have conquered the world." ---(John 16:33)
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Shannon Smith, Pathway Baptist Church
What another beautiful day to serve the Lord! We are thankful for the sunshine on the outside and thankful for SONshine on the inside. God continues to bless our church beyond measure. We are so unworthy of all that he bestows upon us. But through His son Jesus blood, we have been made worthy! First let me ask that you continue to pray for all those that lost their homes in the recent tornado and seek a way to help those that are in need. Let’s be Jesus to them we are his hands and his feet while here on earth!
Our church continues to be in revival even before the scheduled revival. We had another saved today and a family to join our church, to God be the glory. We continue to have many visitors and to that we are thankful because we want to continue to be a church that is growing in numbers and spiritually one soul at a time. If you visited our church today we really appreciate your visit and pray that you were blessed and will come again.
Our service opened up with “Revive Us Again” followed by a special by Josh Smith “I’d Rather Have Jesus” What a powerful song. The choir sang “It Is Well” and “There’s Something About That Name” and “He Still Reigns”. Bro. Mark continue his series on “Seeking His Face” 2 Chronicles 7:14 since we have been in this series God has opened up heaven and continued to pour His blessings out on us. I thank God for a pastor that follows the leadership of the Holy Spirit and lets him be in control. It’s never about us but always about God and what He can do in a life if we step aside and let Him have control of our lives. Bro. Mark’s points were 1.) Seek His Face in your mind set 2.) Seek his face in His mirror 3.) Seek His Face in making fishers of men. A true fishermen doesn’t give up easily he continues till he gets “The BIG catch” what BIG catch are you going after? Do you give up easily when someone turns you down and doesn’t want to hear the word of God or do you continue to pray and seek diligently until God reels them in? God didn’t give up on you and He gave His life for you so don’t we owe it to Him to keep fishing?
I want to apologize for missing some weeks on the article. Due to my fathers sickness it’s been hard to find the time to do everything that needs to be done. I ask that you continue to pray for him and for God’s healing on his life. We have many other prayer request. Just to mention a few continue to remember Doug and Valerie in your prayers and God healing in her life and remember the Johnson family in your prayers as Susan Johnson passed away. Continue to remember to pray for our revival services coming up April 8th- 12th with Bro. Tony Wilson preaching each evening. If you need directions please call our church office Mon. through Wed. 9:00am till 1:00pm.
Continue to love and pray for one another. God bless
Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
Between the time change and the beautiful weather and other excuses, our attendance was down Sunday. We hope everyone will make it a priority to be in Sunday School and church next Sunday.
Our prayers have been answered. Jack Leigh was feeling better Sunday and was able to sing with the ensemble. Jack loves to sing and is a blessing to all of us.
We missed Charlie Bates on Sunday. He is having problems with his knees causing a lot of pain. We also missed Bill Davidson who is experiencing some side affects from his treatments. Susie McNish has had surgery on her wrist after injuring it in a fall. Others on our prayer list are Phyllis Johnson, Brenda Bridges, Mildred Brown, Janice Watkins, Jack Leigh, Holly Stockburger, Rick Rollins, Ronnie Southerland. We were glad to hear that Jerry Watkins got a good report concerning his kidney function. God still answers prayers.
I was sad to hear of the death of Mrs. Robbie Rogers last week. She was a long time active member of Boynton Baptist and wrote their column in the Catoosa County News for many years. I have really missed it since she retired from writing it. She taught elementary school for many years. I remember her writing about the play her students did each year called “The Womanless Wedding”.
Happy anniversary to Chubb and Linda Blevins on March 20. We love and appreciate them at Salem. Belated happy anniversary wishes to Frank and Jean Scoggins who celebrated 54 years of marriage on March 7. We wish both of these couples many more happy years together.
Peter Ware was in Greenville, South Carolina to participate in the Peacock Strides for Babies walk to raise money for research and awareness for SIDS. This was originated by his son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Jodi Ware, after the death of their five month old daughter Emily due to SIDS. Their goal is that no other family will have to endure this heartbreak and tragedy. They raised over $25,000.00 thus far this year. They would like to thank each one who contributed.
Thought for the week: A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. (David Brinkley)
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
This weekend was wonderful. We had the time change which we will all have to get adapted to. Later to bed, earlier to rise.
Sunday was a great day around the church. Two wonderful services. We had visitors in both services. Our crowd was off some, had several out sick. Missed all of them. There is so much sickness. Some in our church are battling cancer. I had a virus last week, missed Wednesday night, Bro. J.T. Sanders took the service, also preached. I thank God for all of our preachers. We have a bible study each Saturday 7 til 9 p.m., then prayer. The last three weeks have been wonderful. All of our preachers preach a short message, helps encourage them and sure does bless me. I am seeing a great growth in our preachers. They sure are helpful. They need to be used. Thank God for those who have a vision. The word of God declares where there is no vision people perish.
Last Saturday sister Francis Cannles was honored with a surprise birthday party at the Black Stock voting place. It was wonderful to see all those children honor mom. Our moms and dads are precious. They go through a lot to raise their children. Food, clothing, shelter and love being the greatest of all.
Margie caught the virus on Saturday, is still sick at present. She was not able to go to church at all Sunday. Still doesn’t feel well at this writing.
We have so many sick folk. Some who have not been able to come for several weeks. Please pray for them. You don’t miss the water til the well goes dry. Don’t thank the Lord enough for our health until it is gone. We need to praise him every morning for his watch care and keeping throught the night. He gives us strength for the day. Every morning his grace and mercy are renewed.
We are having a benefit singing for Sister Lisa Defore on the 31st of March. Starts at 3 p.m. with Maple Grove singers and Indian Spring singers singing. They will break at 5 p.m. for refreshments. There is no charge for hot dogs or drinks, but donations are accepted. And anyone can help. It sure will be appreciated, Lisa is battling cancer. She has three children, unable to work and taking treatments in Nashville, Tenn.
Pray for Edith Wallin, she had a bad heart attack Sunday morning. She is in Memorial Hospital intensive care at present.
Sister Francis Kraush is better, still needs our prayers.
Until next time may the God of glory bless you. Have a good healthy week.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Hope everyone remembered the time change and got to church at the right time on Sunday Morning.
Bro. David preached Sunday morning on "Getting what you wanted and losing what you had" He named several that got what they wanted but lost so much more. Adam and Eve, sau thought he wanted a bowl of stew more than his birthright.Achan, David and Samson to name a few. We have all been there, I'm sure when we thought we just had to have something but found later that was not what we needed at all. Thank the Lord that He knows best if we would only listen.
Sunday Afternoon was the Deacon Ordination Service for Bro. Collis Holcomb at 2 PM. Bro.Teddy Holcomb, Bro Collis' brother was there to take a part in the service then Bro.David preached the charge to Bro. Collis and the church. The message was on Qualifications for a Deacon of being Faithful, which covers more than just church attendance. We are very thankful for Collis and his wife Joy for all they do around the church. Enjoyed the songs by a long time friend of theirs, Bobby Sharp. Also Bro. Collis' sister and other members of his family came to be in the service.
We missed Betty Pitts in the services on Sunday, she was sitting with her sister-in-law, Doris Pitts. Martin had a run in with one of his steers that sent him to the hospital for several days. He is better and should be back home soon. Pray for them. Carolyn Denton, Bill and Denise Zinkeler were also missed as they attended a baby dedication service for Greg and Melanie Myers' baby on Sunday at another church. It was good to have Billy Mitchell able to be back in the services on Sunday. Arthur Longwith is at Life Care in East Ridge for Rehabilitation after his stroke pray for him and his family.
We ask that you pray a special prayer for Dianne Hullender as she is facing surgery.
Others on our prayer list this week are: Ellie Pitts, Lula Petty, we missed her on Sunday. Louise Clark, Carolyn Denton spent the day with her one day last week I'm sure they enjoyed that. Norma Headrick, Elsie Disheroon,Donna Woods,Leon and Emma Lou Brown, Edna Allen, Bernice Orr, Katherine Plemons, Jimmy and Joyce Blassingame, Benny Wilson, Kim Owens, Polly Wells, Holly Stockburger,Our Servicemen and Women, Our Country and Our Missionaries.
Keep in mind our Annual Missions Conference March 28- April1 with
Bro. Stinnett Ballew.
Happy Birthday Wishes to Rena Eddington, March 18. Ellie Pitts, March 19.Abigail Compton, March 20.
Thought for Today_ The Mountain tops are glorious but the Valley is where we grow.