We begin a new study of a new book this Sunday, October 3. We will spend the next five weeks reading through one of the most beautiful and meaningful stories ever told – the story of Naomi, Ruth, Boaz, David, and Jesus.
In this first message, we will see how feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, lostness, and loneliness can lead us to believe God has abandoned you. We cannot interpret our understanding of God through the perspective of our situation. We must always interpret our situation through the lenses of God’s revelation. When we do, we will come face to face with the truth that God is always good!
New ministry support group at WABC - Hope Keepers
Support for Chronic Illness and Pain
Location: WABC, Room 153
When: First Tuesday of every month
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
(Attendance is free of charge for all those who register. Please call 704-873-6397, extension 3210 or send email to email@example.com with your first name and last initial.)
**Masks are temporarily required for attendance at this time.
Ice Cream & Illusions
A church wide family event for the young and old, featuring our very own Andy Lackey!
This Friday, September 24 at 6:00pm
Avenue Kids Clubhouse
This is a FREE event! Invite your friends and family!
In Mark 13, Jesus talks about a darkened sun and moon and falling stars. He talks about coming on the clouds with great power and glory. He talks about sending the angels to gather the elect from the ends of the earth. This is all strange language but also very familiar to the believer.
What is Jesus trying to communicate here? What does he want his followers in the twenty-first century to understand and to do with this information? We will attempt to answer these questions this Sunday morning at Western Avenue Baptist Church.
Sunday, September 12, 8:30am and 11:00am
Sunday School 9:45am
In 1843, William Miller’s followers climbed trees on mountains to wait on the return of the Lord. The “Great Disappointment” soon followed. Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell made the same prediction to their followers in the Mormon church and Jehovah’s Witnesses. More recently, Edgar Whisenant and Harold Camping have wrongly predicted the return of Jesus on multiple occasions.
Those who make these failed predictions often point to the signs presented in Mark 13 (along with Matthew 24 and Luke 21). Do the signs they point to – earthquakes, famines, war, false Christs – truly tell us when Jesus will return? Or does Jesus have a different purpose in mind when he gives these signs to his followers? We will take a good look at this passage this Sunday. Please join us.
Jesus is the one who has set the pace for our lives as we seek to follow Him. Using Jesus as model and guide, we are to find areas inside the church and outside to church in which we are to serve.
We are all equipped to serve with different gifts, abilities and desires. Brian Pestotnik will be encouraging you to prayerfully consider where you can serve by sharing a number of specific opportunities.
Wednesday, August 25 at 6:30pm
For information about local mission opportunities visit: https://www.westernavenue.org/localmissions
This Sunday, we turn back a few pages to begin our study of Mark 13. This teaching of Jesus (found also in Matthew 24 and Luke 21) contains many of the phrases familiar to us in any study of the end times: wars and rumors of wars, abomination of desolation, tribulation, stars falling from heaven, and the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. Jesus used these phrases and more to answer his disciples’ questions about his shocking statement on the destruction of the Temple.
This week, we will examine the questions they ask (which are similar to questions we still ask today) and will see the assumptions buried within them that Jesus had to correct.
Sunday, August 22
2 service times: 8:30am & 11:00am
Have you ever watched someone die? It is a difficult thing to do but it is a sacred moment. You can tell a lot about a person by how they approach the end of life.
This week, we will look at the end of the life of Jesus. As the Son of God suffered in those six hours on the cross, we can learn great truths from his actions and his words and from the actions and words of those around him. These great truths still impact lives today!
We invite you to worship this Sunday, August 1, at 8:30am or 11:00am.
This Sunday, August 1, is Promotion Sunday. Here's a special message from our pastor about how we can think and respond to many young children who will be attending "big church" this Sunday for the first time! This also means all preschoolers, children and youth will be moving up to their next class/grade for Sunday School this Sunday!
Dear Church Family,
Sunday is a big day for many of our families at Western Avenue Baptist Church. Not because it is someone’s birthday or anniversary but because it is the first day one of their little ones gets to sit with mommy and daddy in “big church.” For the rest of us, this means Sunday will include a little more noise, a little more movement, a few more distractions – and I couldn’t be happier!
At Western Avenue, we want children to sit with their parents in “big church.” Other churches do it differently and that is fine. We certainly do not claim the way we do things is the only way to do them. However, just like others, we do the things we do for specific, intentional, theological reasons.
First, we want to be more like Jesus. Jesus was a kind, child-loving man. It is easy to picture children swarming around his feet as he entered new towns and villages. I am afraid too many of us are more like the disciples, who “rebuked” the parents for bringing the little wiggle-worms to Jesus’ teaching time (Mark 10:13). The Bible says when Jesus saw his disciples do this, he became a little angry and a lot frustrated and commanded them to allow the children to come to him and stop getting in their way. This encounter occurs in three of the four gospels – it must be important! One preacher wrote, “Our sanctuaries are not sanctuaries from children. They are sanctuaries for children.”
Second, we believe God designed families to be together. Worship is the most significant thing you can do together. I love to see families with young children sitting together. I love to see dads holding their little first-grade sons as the boy looks intently into the face of his singing father, one generation calling to the next to worship our King. I love to come by the pew to get handshakes from the grown-ups, along with sometimes timid and sometimes painful high-fives from children. I love to see and sometimes hear little voices singing along, joining in with the family of God, learning that worship – their worship – is important and matters to God. It’s good to be together – especially in that place at that time. Mom and Dad, the greatest gift you can give your child is to let them see you worshiping the Lord with reverent abandon. Your child will have about 650 opportunities to see this happen between the ages of 5 and 18. The cumulative impact of seeing their parents – out of delight, not duty - pray and sing and hear from God’s Word cannot be discounted and will not be forgotten. The struggles are temporary; the blessings can be eternal.
Third, we believe our children learn best about being a Christian worshiper by watching worship occur around them and joining in as they are able. Coming to “big church” at this age allows children to get used to the new rhythms of church life. They will hear pastors pray, perhaps adding their “amen” a beat too late. They will see the offering plate being passed from person to person and look forward to adding their quarter to the collection. They will see the people around them opening their Bibles to follow along with the sermon and ask for a Bible of their own. They will see new believers enter into the waters of baptisms and listen to the thrilling testimonies of God’s amazing grace, leading them to ask when they can be “bab-ti-tized.” They will pass the plate during the Lord’s Supper, asking why they can’t “have a snack” like everyone else (giving parents a wonderful opportunity to talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus). You may argue that the sermon is over your first-grader’s head. Of course it is! But I know they get a lot more than you think. I have several beautiful drawings from our youngest worshipers to prove it.
Parents of little ones, I know you are tired before you sit down. I know you wince inside when your first-grader makes the smallest sound, terrified to think every single person in the room is giving you the “evil eye” for being such a “bad parent.” I know you ask, “Why bother? Is it worth it?” I know it can be a struggle each week – Satan will do everything in his power to ruin your Sunday and get your mind off your Savior. As a parent of four who was not always on the platform every Sunday like I am now, I know how difficult it is and can be. But it matters. And it is worth it. When you are here, sitting with your son or daughter, the Body of Christ is more fully present. The room is filled with a more joyful noise. The purpose of our gathering is more fully met. I hope you are encouraged. We want you to be here and we want your children to be with you.
Non-parents of small children, please remember all the times you have stood during infant dedications to indicate you would do your part to help these children learn about Jesus. One of the easiest ways to do this is to overlook certain distractions and just smile at young parents and their children who will certainly do what children always do. Welcome them. Encourage them. Help them. Love them. Most likely, remember you were most likely in their shoes several years ago and would love to have your little one squirming beside you this Sunday. The way we welcome children in church affects the way they will respond to Jesus and his church later. The presence of children is a gift to any church and we thank God for his many gifts and blessings to Western Avenue.
• Start at home. You can begin to train your child to “be quiet” for a moment as you say the blessing at the table or read the Bible at bedtime. Almost every child can learn to be reverent if mom and dad are willing to make them do so. However, this is not the be-all, end-all of sitting in worship. Perfection here is not the key; it is a process (and, if we're honest, some adults are still learning!).
• Read the sermon text the night before. Talk about it with your children. Explain what is going to happen and why we do what we do. Talk about the service and the sermon on the way home afterward (which requires you to listen as well).
• Pick up one of the “Sunday Notes” pages for little worshipers. We have plenty in the foyer and you can get one each week or grab a few to keep in your Bible in case your morning is a little busier than usual. Pick up one or a few of the booklets we have to help moms and dads answer questions about baptism, communion, and worship. Future pamphlets will soon be available to talk about giving, missions, and other important topics regarding life in the church.
• Read "Parenting in Pews," a wonderful book on “guiding your children in the joy of worship.” Sunday morning is not a success if all you’ve accomplished is keeping your child quiet. The author of this book wants to show you how to help your child participate in the worship service. You may also want to read “Let the Children Worship” by Jason Helopoulos.
We are so glad you will be worshiping with us this Sunday with your little one. I look forward to seeing you then. May God bless you as we gather to do the very thing we were created to do – bring glory to our God and Savior.
We should read and study the Bible because it is God’s Word. Yet, at times, we can find reading the Bible challenging, even confusing.
For that reason, we hope you can join us this week as Dan Roseman will be teaching us some practical tips and advice for how we can make our Bible reading experience more enjoyable and fruitful.
Wednesday, June 30 - 6:30pm - in the worship center
A contract is just earthly business, but a covenant is holy.
Covenants are not meant to be broken. Covenants create family.
Join us this Wednesday, June 23, with Susan Upp, for a glimpse of the heart of the living God for His people, through biblical covenants.
How do you want to be remembered at your funeral? Jesus put a lot of thought into this question – even reinventing a centuries-old traditional mean into a special occasion meant to help his followers remember who he was and what he did. As he led his disciples through the great promise of his faithfulness displayed in this meal, we are shocked to find two incredible stories of faithless disciples.
The events surrounding the Last Supper (or is it the First Supper?!) can be a source of incredible comfort as believers continue to attempt to walk faithfully with Jesus.
Sunday, June 13, 8:30am or 11:00am. Preschool childcare provided for both services. Sunday school at 9:45am. We would love to have you worship with us!
The Bible begins with a tree and ends with a tree. There is an entire forest of stories and trees in between. Let’s take a journey down the Bible’s trail of trees and see what God is teaching us.
Wednesday, June 2, 6:30pm in the worship center
Some stories in the Bible are so familiar you know where the preacher is going before he even starts. This is probably the case with the story we will read this Sunday – the story of the widow’s offering of two small coins in Mark 12:41-44. There’s a lot more going on here than you might initially think!
Worship with us at either 8:30am or 11:00am. The 11:00am service will be live-streamed. Sunday School at 9:45am. See you Sunday!
On Monday, June 7, from 5:30pm - 9:00pm, we are having a large Church Fellowship in the back parking lot. We will have games (Spikeball, 9-square, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, basketball, pickle ball, corn hole, etc.) Most of the parking lot will be marked off for kids (and adults) to bring their riding toys (please park in the side parking lot). Bring a lawn chair to enjoy some time with friends.
We are pleased to welcome Village Inn, Waffle Chick, and Tacos on the Road food trucks (all of these joined us at An Avenue Christmas event). Bring money so you can join in on these good eats.
As part of this evening, we would love to serve homemade ice cream. Below is a sign up for you to volunteer to bring a gallon or two of your favorite recipe, an old family recipe, or a new recipe you found on Pinterest and want to try for the first time. Sign up on: https://forms.gle/BK8vvhLef56yLH2i8
There’s an old saying: Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. There are many situations where that statement is true. It is especially true in the area of your spiritual salvation.
In Mark 12, Jesus has been under attack from the religious leaders of Israel. He has bested each one. To the last questioner, Jesus said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” This may sound like a compliment but if you are not far from the kingdom, that can only mean you are not yet in the kingdom. In the verses that follow this interaction (Mark 12:35-37), Jesus presses the issue further, asking a difficult question of his own to reveal to his doubters that he is who they are scared he is.
Join us this Sunday, May 23, at either 8:30am or 11:00am for worship!
This week as we continue our study of the ‘I Am’ statements of Jesus, we find Jesus in Bethany because his friend Lazarus has died. And it is to Lazarus’ sister Martha that Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–27).
But what does Jesus mean when he says he is the resurrection, and also that he is the life? Join us this Wednesday as we learn more about this glorious statement from the lips of our Lord Jesus.
Wednesday, May 5 at 6:30 pm in the worship center
Also live-streamed on Facebook
It is never wise to get into a battle of wits with Jesus of Nazareth. This is always good advice but it did not stop several from doing just that. Predictably, each encounter ended the same way with the challengers walking away stunned and amazed, licking their wounds until they could come up with another plan to destroy the ministry of Jesus.
Just a few days before Christ’s death, a group of spiritual leaders came to Jesus to mock his belief in the resurrection and an after-life. Before explaining to the truth about the resurrection and what the life to come will be like, he explains why they made such a simple error. The reason for their error is the same reason so many make errors on spiritual and theological and biblical matters today.
Sunday, May 2 - two services at 8:30am and 11:00am
Preschool childcare at 11:00
11:00 service will be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube
There was a time before we had phones with GPS maps where we actually used a paper map. We would unfold the large map to see various routes in a complex grid that we could take to get to our destination.
However, this week we will discover in our ‘I am’ statements of Jesus that there is only one route we can take when it comes to going to our heavenly Father. Jesus makes it crystal clear that there is only one path as he says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
We hope you can join us as we look at one of Jesus’ most well-known and vital statements, a statement that has eternal ramifications for the entire world.
Wednesday, April 28 at 6:30pm in the worship center
We live in divisive times. Opinions on the pandemic and politics and everything in between have served to divide neighbors, churches, friends, and families.
How is a Christian to think about the relationship between God and government? How are Christians supposed to act in a world in which the government keeps encroaching into our private and corporate spiritual lives? How do churches relate to such matters?
Many think there are only two options: submit to the government or submit to God. In our continuing study of Mark’s gospel, Jesus reveals a third way.
We invite you to worship with us this Sunday, April 25, at either 8:30am or 11:00am. Preschool childcare is provided for the 11:00am service.
The 11:00 service will also be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube.
This past Sunday, we learned more about the 3rd of the ‘I am’ statements of Jesus where he said, “I am the door.”
And this Wednesday, we will study Jesus’ declaration that “I am the good shepherd,” the fourth of his ‘I am’ statements. We see this imagery of shepherds and sheep used throughout the Bible. But how do they relate to Jesus, or should we say how does Jesus relate this imagery to himself? And what difference does it make in your life that Jesus is THE good shepherd?
We hope you can join us this Wednesday, April 21, at 6:30 PM as we seek to answer these questions while studying this life-changing passage.
In John 8:12, we read that Jesus addressed the crowd and said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
This statement is very familiar to most Christians. But what does it mean? What was Jesus trying to communicate about his identity with this declaration? The answer is that the meaning behind these words is deeper and more profound than most people realize.
This week will see that light is a source of life, truth, and joy and that unmediated light is dangerous, even deadly. How does this apply to Jesus? Come join us this Wednesday to find out more about how our Lord Jesus truly is the light of the world.
Wednesday, April 14 - 6:30pm in the worship center
Live-streamed on Facebook
Imagine someone came into your home and started rearranging the furniture. He moved your couch to the distant wall. He put your dining room table in your bedroom. He moved your television to your bathroom. He put your bed in the basement.
What question would be on your lips? “Who are you and what do you think you are doing? What right do you have to come into my house and do this?”
In this week’s study of Mark’s Gospel, the spiritual leaders are thinking the exact same thing. On the day after Jesus “cleansed” the Temple, the Great Furniture-Rearranger returns. The way Israel’s spiritual leaders confront Jesus and the way he responds is very instructive in our own relationship with Christ.
Join us for Sunday morning worship services at either 8:30am or 11:00am (childcare for 11:00am service and Sunday School only)
The 11:00am service will be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube as well.
Critical Race Theory is not a value-neutral collection of insights; it is a comprehensive ideology that makes transcendent truth claims about the world and those who live in it. CRT is filled with assumptions and viewpoints about reality that put it at great odds with biblical thinking.
CRT is a worldview that, like a pair of sunglasses, changes the shade of everything you see. If you put on a pair of CRT-glasses, you will see everything – every relationship and interaction – through the lens of omnipresent racial oppression. Many of the teachings of CRT, which emerged from secular Marxist and anti-Christian postmodern sources, stand diametrically opposed to teachings found in the Bible. This is a bold statement. Can it be backed up? This Wednesday night, we will continue to examine this with part 5 of the critical race theory series.
Wednesday, March 24 at 6:30pm in the worship center
Also live-streamed on our Facebook and YouTube
Easter is the perfect time for a fresh start! Join us and get connected to our community.
Worship with us at Western Avenue Baptist Church
Sunday, April 4
3 Service Options:
8:30am, 9:45am, 11:00am
Birth-Kindergarten childcare provided for 9:45am and 11:00am
11:00am service will also be live-streamed at:
Visit www.westernavenue.org for details, call 704-872-4139 or message us!
Let's celebrate new beginnings!
Jesus’ charge to all believers is to take the message of the gospel to all corners of the world, to be his witnesses “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). And there are opportunities to be his witnesses throughout the world, and even here in Statesville, NC.
We invite you to join us this Wednesday at 6:30 PM for a special Equipping University presentation where we will learn about various ways we can each participate in sharing the love of Christ to others locally and around the world. We hope you can join us!
Being able to see the world around us is a blessing we often take for granted. Having eyes to see a sunrise, the colors of the rainbow, and the faces of those we love is a true miracle and gift from God. Yet there are those in our world who are blind, who live in total darkness.
And as we continue our study in Mark’s Gospel, we will meet such a man, Bartimaeus, who is blind and has had to resort to becoming a beggar on the streets of Jericho in order to support himself. But what we will discover is that even though Bartimaeus is blind, he appears to have 20/20 vision when it comes to seeing the Lord Jesus for who he really is. And we will also see that the heart of our Lord is directed to those who are helpless, yet who cry out to him in humility and desperation.
We hope you can join us as we learn more about this man and what his story teaches us about the heart of Christ.
Join us Sunday, February 28, for in-person worship services at 8:30am and 11:00am. Preschool childcare is provided only at the 11:00am service.
The 11:00am service will continue to be live-streamed on:
wsic radio 100.7fm 105.9fm 1400am
Sunday School Teachers and Volunteers Meeting:
Sunday School classes will resume March 14, and we have several places we need volunteers! If you have been looking for a place to serve at WABC but are not exactly sure where to do so, now is the time to find your place. We need volunteers for: ushers, greeters, nursery workers, age-group ministries, choir, orchestra, production crew (sound/video/radio), and safety/security.
We want to invite you to a special meeting this Sunday, February 28, at 10:00am in the large assembly room in the new Children’s Ministry Building. If you are currently serving somewhere, we want you to please still come to the meeting as we outline our new start in Sunday School and expected changes moving forward.
A lot of people spend a lot of time talking about goats. Well, not goats but THE G.O.A.T., as in the “Greatest Of All Time.” Tom Brady just won his seventh Super Bowl. Is he the greatest of all time? What about Joe Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino, or Bubby Brister? Who is the GOAT in basketball: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, or Chuck Nevitt? What about in baseball? Is it Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, or . . . (I could talk about this one for hours!). It is human nature to want to be recognized, even when in the face of absolute greatness with Jesus. The twelve apostles talked about being the G.O.A.T. all the time – until Jesus pulled them aside to teach them what true greatness really is. His words in Mark 10 remain words we still need to hear today. Dare to be great – after you learn how Jesus defines greatness.
Join us Sunday, February 21, for in-person worship services at 8:30am and 11:00am. Preschool childcare is provided only at the 11:00am service.
#westernavenuebaptistchurch #statesville #gospelofmark #followjesusnow #greatestofalltime
Special EU session: Wednesday, February 24
Suicide Prevention: Support for Teens and Parents
Due to recent events in our church body and community, we will pause in our current EU series as Paul Veach, a counselor in the public school system, and Gladys Lowry and Dan Wilemon, of our Western Avenue Marriage and Family Enrichment Center, will be speaking on the very important topic of suicide prevention. Medical professionals will also offer their input. We encourage you to attend and invite friends and family.
This presentation will be in the worship center at 6:30pm and also live-streamed online on Facebook and YouTube.
#westernavenuebaptistchurch #statesvillenc #suicideprevention
Imprisoned for Christ! The Voice of the Martyrs – March 5
WABC will be hosting Imprisoned for Christ, presented by The Voice of the Martyrs. The virtual speakers will be livestreamed Friday, March 5, 2021, at 6:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall. This event will be showing in the fellowship hall for those who attend in-person; it will not be streamed on our channels.
There will be three inspiring speakers: Petr Jasek, Dan Baumann, and Andrew Brunson. Be inspired by the stories of three men who were arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned. Yet God remained faithful. In addition to their firsthand testimonies, you will enjoy an engaging panel discussion moderated by VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton, as well as inspiring worship music from Dove Award-winning artist Natalie Grant. For more information, please contact Andy Lackey at 704-872-4139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
#westernavenuebaptistchurch #statesvillenc #imprisonedforchrist #voiceofthemartyrs
People asked Jesus all kinds of questions. “Who is my neighbor?” “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?” “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” “How can a man be born when he is old?” “Are you the king of the Jews?” Some questions are better than others. On one occasion, Jesus was asked a very direct question from a wealthy and important young man. He was later asked a similar but better worded question from his disciples. In our continuing study of Mark’s Gospel, we will see the great difference between asking the right and the wrong questions of Jesus.
Join us for in-person worship services at 8:30am and 11:00am. Preschool childcare is provided only at the 11:00am service.
Who I Am: Finding Your Identity in Christ – Presented by Andy Lackey
How one identifies themselves has become a widespread practice within our culture. We claim to identify as “this” or “that.” These attempts to define our identity are actually ways of answering the question, “Who am I?” However, for the Christian, the question should not be “Who am I,” but rather “Who does God say that I am.”
We hope you can join us this Wednesday at 6:30 PM as we will take a look at what it means to have your identity in Christ. When we truly understand what God says about who we are and how our identity is wrapped up in Christ, we can then freely love, freely serve, and freely live.
This week, our Wednesday night services will resume in person at 6:30 PM in the worship center. This class will still be streamed via Facebook and YouTube.
The first conversation about building a new addition for our children’s ministry took place on July 3, 2018. Now, on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, our children will be able to gather together in this incredible building for the first time. Why did we do this? Why did we make this incredible effort? Why did we sacrificially agree to take on this expense?
In this Sunday’s study of Mark’s Gospel (Mark 10:17-31), Jesus will help us to answer these questions and to understand the reasoning behind the effort and sacrifice needed to make this new ministry opportunity a reality for our children for years to come.
This Sunday, we resume our in-person worship services at 8:30am and 11:00am. Preschool childcare is provided only at the 11:00am service.
Discipleship in Community Part 2
Join us this Wednesday at 6:30 PM on Facebook or YouTube for the second session of Discipleship in Community. In response to the biblical emphasis upon community with our desire to be more connected as the body of Christ, we are launching more Journey Groups and more Small Groups. The purpose, format, and other details of these groups will be explained this Wednesday.
In-person services will resume Sunday, January 31, 2021. We will have worship services at 8:30 AM and 11:00 AM (with nursery in the second service). We will continue the same social-distancing practices as when we last met. The 11:00 worship service will continue to be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube and local radio station WSIC (100.7 FM).
Wednesday nights will also resume in-person on February 3 for adults, youth and children (children will meet for the first time in the new children’s ministry building). The Wednesday night EU will be livestreamed as well.
We look forward to gathering together on January 31. However, if you have any reservations about attending worship or Wednesday night activities, please do so only when you feel comfortable and know you are healthy enough to do so. If you have chronic illness or have compromising ailments that may leave you more susceptible, we will certainly understand your decision to refrain from in-person worship at this time.
When Jesus commanded us to “go and make disciples,” what exactly was he telling us to do? In this study, we will discover what it means to make disciples and how discipleship can be done more effectively in community. Join us this Wednesday, January 20, at 6:30 PM on our Facebook or YouTube page.
Last week, we changed gears and took a look at how the situation Daniel faced as he stood before the king could help us all recalibrate our hearts as we consider our stance before the current events we face.
This week, we will stay in that same gear, moving into the third chapter of Daniel. As we read how Daniel’s three friends stand firm against political and social calls to deny their faith, we will learn how you can do the same as similar calls from multiple sources whisper and shout for you to put something that seems more important at the moment ahead of what is now and forever will be ultimate in importance.
Join us online, this Sunday, January 17, at 11:00am:
A New Year often means new resolutions: Lose weight, run a 5K or marathon, get out of debt, etc. Many Christians make a resolution to read through the Bible, a great resolution, yet one which can often seem daunting.
Join us this Wednesday, January 6, at 6:30pm for Equipping University Online as we will discuss how the year 2021 can be an excellent year for you and your Bible. We will talk about the benefits of reading the Bible and discuss some practical and doable tips for making this a reality in your life. We hope you can join us this Wednesday via our Facebook or YouTube channels.
Do you remember the resolutions you made last year? Did you keep them? What would you like to see happen in 2021? Let’s declare 2021 to be “The Year I Became a Disciple of Jesus Christ.” Not just a hearer of Jesus’ words but a doer.
As we return to Mark’s Gospel after seven weeks away due to COVID and Christmas, we enter the second half of the book. In this half, Mark focuses on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We begin examining that issue this Sunday, January 3, as we study Christ’s words to his original disciples in Mark 9:30-50.
Worship with us online at 11:00am:
(For more details on ways to watch during this season, visit: https://www.westernavenue.org/.../posts/ways-to-join-worship)
Make sure you join us tomorrow as we finish up our Christmas Playlist. We will look at the last song in Luke 2, Simeon’s Song.
Worship with us online at 11:00am:
(For more details on ways to watch during this season, visit: https://www.westernavenue.org/news/posts/ways-to-join-worship)
For the past few months, we have been planning to hold our Christmas Eve service outdoors, hoping it would be as joyous an experience as our outdoor worship services this spring, summer, and fall and the beautiful “Avenue Christmas” a few days ago. In God’s providential control of the weather, it does not appear we will be able to do so. According to almost every app and website I use, the temperatures will not be a problem (until Christmas Day!!) but it will begin raining heavily around noon on Thursday and not stop until midnight (with the chance of rain between 75%-90%). Therefore, we will not be able to meet in person outside for the Christmas Eve service.
The Christmas Eve service will be recorded live and available in the early afternoon on Christmas Eve to watch whenever your family desires. You will be able to watch the service on our Facebook page (which is a public page, meaning you do not need a Facebook account to watch at www.facebook.com/wabcstv) and on YouTube (www.youtube.com/wabcvideo).
We are disappointed in this but trust in the will of God as he directs our ways and the world around us. We pray the service ministers to you in a very special way. Many of the songs to be sung at this service are part of a wonderfully worshipful new Christmas album from Sovereign Grace called Heaven Has Come. You can listen to these songs and several others through the remaining days of the Christmas season online at https://sovereigngracemusic.bandcamp.com/album/heaven-has-come. You can also stream the album on Spotify and Apple and Amazon. I highly recommend it and pray it will bless you as richly as it has me this year.
This has been a difficult year for everyone and many of you have gone through excruciating events personally or within your family. Yet you have proven faithful to the Lord and to his church in so many ways. It is a source of great encouragement to me. I love you all and am so thankful to be able to serve you as your pastor. On behalf of all the pastoral staff here at Western Avenue, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and may God grant us all a very happy new year in 2021.
1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:1-20)
The story of Jesus’ birth has been read time and time again. You can probably recite parts of it, if not all of it. But, have you ever sat down with the words of scripture and tried to imagine what it must have been like for Joseph and Mary? They were anxious travelers who could not find a place to stay. Mary was sore from the trip and from carrying a baby for nine months. Her breaths were short. Her rib cage hurt. And, her whole body ached. Each movement she made would have been torture. Her body knew it was time for the baby to come. She waited as Joseph searched the city for a place to stay. Imagine how he must have racked his brain for places to stay. Maybe there were relatives or old friends who could put them up for several nights. He finally finds someone who will take them in. He runs back to tell Mary the good news. Can you imagine the look on her face when Joseph came back with the news that he found a place for the night?
The Bible does not give many details, but having a baby is not the quickest or cleanest process. What the Bible describes in a verse could have taken hours and hours. But, eventually the baby was born, and they wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a manger. Can you imagine that? Jesus, the Messiah, the God who created cows and donkeys, is now laying in the place where those cows and donkeys eat.
Imagine the type of fear the shepherds felt when their calm dark night turned into a light show. They had never seen anything like this. Not even close. But, when the angels filled the sky and proclaimed the good news of the Christ child, the shepherds listened. They could not wait until morning. They had to see this child. So, they left their sheep, ran to Bethlehem, and found the baby. Sometimes, I wonder how many stables and caves they had to check before they found the right one. But, they found him in the manger just as the angels said.
This baby born came to do all sorts of things. He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. He came as a man to be a Merciful and Great High Priest and stand on our behalf before God. He came to serve us. He came to give his life in our place. He came to proclaim the good news of his kingdom. He came to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. He came to do all these things and so much more. But, none of these would matter if he did not actually come. That is what he did that night in Bethlehem. Jesus actually came. The God of the Universe humbled himself, took on flesh, and was born to a young woman and her husband. He was first visited by shepherds, and he slept his first few nights in a place meant for animals to eat out of.
And, this is only the beginning of a beautiful story of a beautiful Savior who came to us.
Father thank you for sending Jesus your Son, the true image of God.
Jesus, thank you for humbling yourself to be born in flesh so we may see God. Thank you for dwelling among us so we may know God.
Spirit, fill us with power today to worship and be glad. Renew us in the image of our creator so Jesus may be seen in us.
Our God who is three in one, we come before you to worship you on this Christmas day. As our day is filled with presents and food, may our hearts be filled with gratitude for your good works. You alone have given us a reason to live. You alone have given us a reason to praise. You alone have given us a reason to sing.
You have given us the great gift of joy through your Son. Through him you have made yourself known. Today as we celebrate with family and friends, may your name be praised today and forever! Amen.
A few weeks ago one of my sons broke his collarbone. He thought it would be a good idea to try to go down the sliding board on his feet. Needless to say, he made it down, but it was not the way down he intended. He fell over the side of the sliding board and landed on his right side. After an hour or so of crying and checking and rechecking, plus the fact that his older brother broke his collarbone about a year ago, we decided something was probably wrong on the inside. But, there was no way to know what was going on for sure without an X-Ray. So, we took him to the Emergency Room for an X-Ray that revealed there was a fracture in his collarbone.
When Simeon holds baby Jesus in his arms, he looks Mary in the eyes and says, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).
There are certain things you do and do not say to new mothers. It is quite okay to tell them how beautiful their baby is or how happy you are for them. You usually want to refrain from saying things like, “Wow, there are going to be a lot of sleepless nights,” or “Do you know how much that baby is going to cost you over her lifetime?” Those are not good things to greet a new mother with.
Simeon takes it a step further. He basically tells Mary that this baby will break her heart. And he says this baby will reveal the hearts of many. Men and women will rise and fall because of this child. Some will be saved and others will be condemned because of what they believe about this child. Some will follow him into God’s salvation; others will reject him and be condemned.
Every person on earth is going to have to decide what to do with Jesus. They will have to decide who he is. Is he the salvation of God or is he a fraud? Is he the one who will restore God’s people and save them, or is he a myth? Is he God in the flesh, or is he a liar?
How about you? Who do you say Jesus is? Will this child prove to be a sanctuary or a snare for you? I wonder today what this child will reveal about your heart.
What do you think about Jesus? Have you submitted to him? Are you following him every day? If you have, praise the Lord. If you have not, you can follow him now. Submit your life to him. Repent of your sins. Turn to him. Romans 10:9-11 says, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Confess him as your Lord today. Believe that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved.
Jesus we trust you and follow you. You have shown us that you are the Savior. You have given us the faith to believe you were raised from the dead. Now, we ask for strength to follow you every day of our lives. Give us grace to walk with you. Give us opportunities to invite others to follow you. Amen.