Get ready for some creativity and fun with VBS 2022 Spark Studio!
Vacation Bible School is for children 4 years old (must be 4 years old by June 13, 2022) through the sixth grade.
Register online here: https://forms.gle/UstfEPtnznEzJjp1A. Please register online by Friday, June 3.
For more info about VBS, visit www.westernavenue.org/vbs
Guest registration for Joy Prom is now open!
Click here to register:
The 2022 Joy Prom will be May 13! We are so excited to be back after having to cancel the last two years. Joy Prom is an event for individuals with special needs ages 14 and up and their families. Our guests are treated to a free evening of fun activities, including photo booths, dancing, pamper stations, and entertainment.
The event is so much more than that though! It’s a night where the body of Christ comes together to share the love of Christ with some incredibly special people within our community. And we do it ALL for the glory of Christ.
For more info about Joy Prom, visit www.westernavenue.org/joyprom
Celebrate Easter together at Western Avenue Baptist Church! We rejoice because He is Risen!
You’re invited to join us for one of our three services:
Sunday, April 17, 2022
8:30am, 9:45am, or 11:00am
No Sunday School
Birth-kindergarten childcare will be provided for each service
11:00am service will also be live-streamed at:
After having to cancel the last two years, Joy Prom 2022 is back on! Our event is scheduled for Friday, May 13, at the Statesville Civic Center. Registration for volunteers is now open and you can register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc7zkdwtuFypKdTu1zFDSNcJD-m-TBbUzecoR6SZsKS2MVITg/viewform?fbclid=IwAR3il0VZ-b3yxjZDuQhO0g5vnPfeGCWMaik6i0JRON3tz1zCPKW37CrS8Xw
Perhaps you are asking, “What is the Joy Prom?” The simple answer is that it is an event for individuals with special needs ages 14 and up and their families. Our guests are treated to a free evening of fun activities, including photo booths, dancing, pamper stations, and entertainment. You can see a highlight video from a past Joy Prom here:https://vimeo.com/267856632/3e8b435f0d
But the Joy Prom is even more. It is a night where the body of Christ comes together to share the love of Christ with some incredibly special people within our community. And we do it ALL for the glory of Christ. Many of our special guests have never attended a prom. So this is their big night to shine and have the spotlight directed on them. People with special needs are treated like kings and queens as we bend over backward to show that we both love and care for them.
What will you experience as a volunteer? After spending several hours in fellowship with our special guest, the visible disabilities that were at first apparent will fade away as your eyes are opened to see our special needs friends as people like you and I, created in the image of God. People have told me that after the Joy Prom, they no longer saw the wheelchair, the walker, or the disability. Instead, they saw the man or woman who is loved and cherished by God.
My prayer is that the long-lasting impact of Joy Prom 2022 would be that it serves as a reminder that the Lord providentially places individuals in our path every single day. If we truly understand the gospel as the power of God that leads to salvation, we will be compelled to see those that cross our path with new eyes as we “let our light shine” before others by showing the love and compassion of Christ.
More information is available on our website here: https://www.westernavenue.org/joyprom
We need your help! Please volunteer if you can and spread the word to others within our community.
Associate Pastor | Western Avenue Baptist Church
704-872-4139 | email@example.com
Save the Dates for Vacation Bible School this summer!
June 13-17, 2022
8:45am - 12:00pm
Ages 4 years old - 6th grade
This year will be an art theme: Created in Christ, designed for God’s purpose
WABC Members Church Directory
We will be printing a new WABC Members Church Directory this spring. We are asking for you to register for a time to have your family portrait made here:
The dates for photo sessions are Wednesday, March 30 - Saturday, April 2 and Tuesday, April 5 - Saturday, April 9 (weekdays 2:00 PM - 8:30 PM, Saturdays 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM).
Each family will receive a free 8x10 and a free directory for participating. You will also have the opportunity to purchase additional portraits for yourself and your family.
You may also call or come by the church office during business hours and we can help you sign-up. For more information, contact Andy Lackey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-872-4139.
SLUGS & BUGS FAMILY CONCERT
Featuring Randall Goodgame from Nashville, TN
Join us Friday, April 8, 2022 at 6:00 pm at Western Avenue Baptist Church for a joy-filled musical experience featuring animated videos, energetic vocals, and exuberant piano, guitar and mandolin instrumentals!
Randall Goodgame (former “Silly Song” writer for VEGGIETALES) is a former worship pastor and the driving force behind Slugs & Bugs. Randall has brought the Slugs & Bugs Live concert into 39 states and 10 countries. Slugs & Bugs videos have surpassed 4.6 million views on YouTube, and most importantly, countless families have been encouraged toward a deeper walk with Jesus while having a great time together.
The concert is geared toward preschool and elementary school age children and their parents. Age appropriate Gospel encouragements are woven throughout the concert, and Randall's heart is for families to leave with a deeper understanding of Jesus' love for them.
Slugs & Bugs music rollicks from bluegrass to Dixieland to folk-pop to arena rock with songs you’ll be glad you remember long after the concert is over.
Tickets are FREE, however we do ask that you reserve your free tickets at https://www.wabcapps.org or pick them up at the church office.
To find out more about Slugs & Bugs, visit their website and blog at www.slugsandbugs.com, and YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/slugsbugslullabies
Dear Church Family,
We are excited to invite you to our Spring Spiritual Retreat on April 1-3 at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Black Mountain, NC. The last couple of years have been challenging for so many, not just physically and mentally but also spiritually. If you have felt spiritually famished, know that you are not alone. We all need to take some time out of our normal schedule to be refreshed spiritually. Jesus himself would take time to get away so that he could be alone with the Father.
“But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke 5:15–16)
And what better way to enjoy spiritual refreshment than in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina among our WABC family. This retreat is for both singles and couples. Throughout our time at Ridgecrest, we will have times of fellowship as well as periods of teaching through selected psalms by Andy Lackey and Brian Pestotnik. We will also have ample free time to explore the local Asheville/Black Mountain area (hiking, shopping, Biltmore Estate, etc.).
We will be staying in the Mountain Laurel East and West Building, which is set up like a hotel (not youth camping with bunk beds). We will enjoy dinner together on Friday and Saturday evenings as well as breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Your lunch will be on your own on Saturday. While you can check in any time after 4 PM on Friday, our retreat will officially begin at dinner on Friday evening. And we will conclude Sunday at noon after a time of teaching and worship.
To register for the Spring Spiritual Retreat, click on the link here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4ea5af28a5fbc07-spring
The deadline to register is February 27. Do not hesitate to get in touch with Brian Pestotnik or Andy Lackey for more information.
We all need to give our minds and hearts space to breathe, to hear God in ways we hadn’t before. So we encourage you to join us for this special weekend for a time to reflect, relax, and a time to fellowship with others, as well as time alone with our Lord.
As we have read articles and watched the news over the last few days, we see events unfolding in Europe and Asia that are greatly troubling. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be devastating to that nation and has the potential to upset lives in countries around the world. Of course, nations and countries are filled with people and many of those people are our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
As we sit in our anxieties at imagined outcomes from a world power flexing its muscles with another giant waiting in the wings, I want to invite you to join us in a service of prayer to and worship of the sovereign God before whom “the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales” (Is 40:15). Please join us Sunday night, February 27, at 6:00 PM in the worship center for a night of prayer for all that is unfolding before us on the world’s stage.
Do you not know? Do you not hear?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness (Is 40:21-23).
In the past few weeks, we have been discussing the strange idea that just as our faith is a gift from God, so is our suffering.
Yet, we have seen that incredible statement is true as Paul explains how God used the suffering in his life to advance the Gospel and reorient his thinking to focus more on Jesus and others.
This Sunday, February 27, we will close this section of Scripture to reveal how our suffering can impact our lives as faithful citizens of two nations – the nation of our birth and the kingdom of our second birth.
Please join us at Western Avenue Baptist Church on Sunday, March 6 at 6 PM as we are hosting the movie Sabina: Tortured for Christ, the Nazi Years.
This movie shares the story of how God’s love transformed an ambitious, atheistic hedonist into one of the greatest Christian women of the 20th century. The film opens with Sabina Wurmbrand risking her life to show Christ’s love to a trio of Nazi soldiers. Why? Why would a Jewish Christian risk her life to help her enemies – members of the army that killed her entire family?
Come join us in the Fellowship Hall at WABC on March 6 and experience the amazing true story that has redefined the concepts of love and forgiveness for millions around the world. Admission is free.
We love to receive gifts from loved ones. We especially love to receive gifts we love from loved ones. Have you ever received a gift from a loved one that you did not love? How did you react? How should you react?
At the end of the first chapter in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Paul tells us that God, who loves us more than anyone, has given us two gifts: to believe in him and to suffer for him. You probably react differently to receiving those two gifts but they are gifts, nonetheless. How can we think and act when God graciously gives us the gift of suffering? Paul will answer that question in the verses we begin to study this week and the two weeks that follow.
Worship with us this week as we continue our study in Philippians 1:12-18. We have two service options at 8:30am and 11:00am with Sunday School in between at 9:45am. See you Sunday!
WABC is preparing to help set up a home in the Triad Area for a Refugee family being resettled. We desire to help them feel at home in our area by providing items to help their new house/apartment feel like home.
We will be collecting the donated items at a U-Haul Truck in the back parking lot of the church February 16-19. Please use the link below to sign up to bring an item or more. Items may only be taken to the truck and only during specific times as shown at the following link.
Thank you for considering this important opportunity to be a blessing to these refugees.
We will be taking photos for a new WABC Members Church Directory this Spring. We are asking for you to register for a time to have your family portrait made. The dates for photo sessions are Wednesday, March 30 - Saturday, April 2 and Tuesday, April 5 - Saturday, April 9 (weekdays 2:00pm - 8:30pm, Saturdays 10:00am - 4:30pm). Each family will receive a free 8x10 and a free directory for participating. You will also have the opportunity to purchase additional portraits for yourself and your family.
Online registration for appointments will begin on February 13. A link will be posted on our church website at that time. You may also call or come by the church office during business hours and we can help you sign up. For information, contact Andy Lackey at email@example.com or 704-872-4139.
Reminder - Men’s Third Thursday Fellowship Tomorrow!
The Men’s Third Thursday Fellowship is still on for tomorrow morning, Thursday, January 20. We will have a pancake breakfast beginning at 6:30 AM in the multi-purpose room. This will be a time of fellowship, devotions, and prayer. We would love to have you join us! And men, feel free to bring along your sons with you. We plan to be done by 7:30 sharp so you can get to work or school.
SAVE THE DATE!
Are you ready for a night out? We sure hope so and are pleased to announce Date Night 2022 at WABC! The event will be held on Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 6 PM in the fellowship hall. The cost is $40 per couple and includes dinner and childcare. This year Christian comedian John Branyan will be talking about the joys of marriage and you don’t wanna miss it!
Please RSVP by texting Lee Schmalbach at 704-500-7473 or Crystal Walker at 704-880-4249 no later than February 12. We hope you can attend this night of fun!
We would love for everyone who attends Western Avenue to truly feel a part of the body of Christ here. If you would like to build more friendships while growing in your knowledge of Christ and His Word, then consider joining a Journey Group (same gender discipleship group) or a Small Group (mixed gender Bible study/fellowship group.).
We want to launch more groups by the end of January. To register your interest in either group go to www.westernavenue.org/groups and fill out your contact information and availability. Please register by January 23rd.
Winter Equipping University classes begin next Wednesday, January 12! Check them out and we hope to see you at EU on Wednesday nights!
One Minute After You Die – Sanctuary
Led by David Moss
Death comes to all, and yet death is not the end. For some, death is the beginning of eternal bliss, for others, endless despair. In this class, we will weigh the Bible’s words on life after death. Though the afterlife is shrouded in mystery, the Bible does peel back the curtain, and we hope in this class to help you understand what is on the other side.
Reading John Theologically – Room 155
Led by David Nash
John’s Gospel has captured the imagination of Christians for nearly two millennia. Everyone from scholars and theologians to pastors and laymen have been captivated by the words of the Beloved Disciple. One of the reasons for this intrigue is that, unlike Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John has woven a uniquely rich theological tapestry into his Gospel. In this class, which will encompass the Fall, Winter, and Spring EU sessions, we will plumb the depths of John’s gospel, paying careful attention to the incredible theology that lay beneath the surface. With any eye toward John’s use of Genesis and the theme of creation’s renewal, this class will hopefully allow you to begin to read John’s Gospel through new eyes.
Search for Significance – Room 156
Led by Dan Wilemon (Pre-registration required)
The journey begins in a very private place – your thoughts: “When I fail at something, I feel lousy about myself.” “ When others don’t approve of me, I can’t seem to get over it.” “Sometimes it feels like I’ll never measure up. “
These are the universal lies that trigger the cycle of self-doubt, robbing you of joyful living. Now, you can free yourself from these self-defeating lies. In this Small Group class, we will confront these lies, dismantles them, and point you to higher truths that are the source of life’s meaning. We point you to an Almighty God-the source of life itself. You will study how 4 major Bible doctrines inform you of the truth of who you are in Christ!
As in several of his letters, Paul begins with words of thanksgiving for those who will read his letter. In Philippians, Paul’s opening prayer is filled with explosive joy and he lets the church know exactly why they elicit such an emotional reaction in his heart.
As I consider the church in which I serve, I can only say, “Amen!” to what we will read this week in our ongoing study of this encouraging letter.
We invite you to worship with us this Sunday, January 9, at either 8:30am or 11:00am as we continue in Philippians.
Christmas Day Reading
Jesus, the Messiah, the God who created cows and donkeys, is now laying in the place where those cows and donkeys eat. He is being watched over by parents named Mary and Joseph.
The names Mary and Joseph follow Jesus for the rest of his life. When he spoke and prophesied in Nazareth, people said, “‘ Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?  And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’  And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.’  And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:55-58).
People in his hometown new him as Mary and Joseph’s son. He was the little boy who ran down the street in front of their shops. He went to synagogue with their children. “How could this boy be special?” They asked one another. They did not believe he was the Messiah. To them he was just Mary and Joseph’s boy.
Another time we see this come up is when Jesus was in Capernaum teaching:
 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:32-40
Right after this, we read, “ So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” (John 6:41-42). To them Jesus was just Mary and Joseph’s son. He was Mary and Joseph’s son who was fully human. The Jews close to him could not see he was so much more.
We have spent much time over the last month looking at many of Jesus’ names. He is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. He is the Son of Man and the son of God. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is the Last Adam who obeyed God at the tree and brought life back into this world through his death. He is the Cornerstone, a worthy foundation. He is Jesus the savior and the Messiah, God’s anointed who was promised long ago. He is he First and the Last, everything we need. He is the Lion of Judah. He is Lord. He is a teacher, a prophet, and the King. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Son of David. He is called Faithful and True. He even bears a name no one knows. He is more than we could study in one month or even a lifetime.
Today is Christmas Day. There will be joy and excitement and rushing around. But, save some time for reflection. As you take a few minutes, think about Jesus, Mary and Joseph’s son. The one they watched over in the manger. They one they rocked through the night on that first Christmas. They little baby who was fully God and fully man. Praise God that this baby was born as a baby boy to Mary and Joseph. Praise God that this little baby is the God of the Universe who was born to die so we may be called be sons and daughters in God’s family.
God was pleased to have his son be Mary and Joseph’s son, born to lowly parents in a lowly manger. But, we also read in Philippians 2: 8-11, “ And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” He holds a name that is above every other name, yet he has written your name in his hands. He loves you and cherishes you. He will not forget you. He has called you by name. You are his.
Father, thank you for sending Jesus your Son and true image.
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.
Let's Read Through the Bible Together in 2022!
Have you ever wanted to read through the entire Bible? Perhaps you have started a Bible reading plan in the past, yet as life got busy, you never completed the plan. Or would you like to read through it again?
We are here to help. Whether you have never read through the Bible, or if you have read through it many times in the past, we want to make 2022 the year that many of us here at WABC read through the entire Bible!
And to help, we are creating a Bible reading community where we will be able to support one another, receive encouragement (not pressure), share best practices, and also share some of the incredible blessings one has received from their reading of God’s Word.
We have a recommended Bible reading plan you can use, yet you can use whatever plan you prefer.
And to help you get off on the right track, we would like to invite you to join us on Sunday, January 2, in the Multi-purpose room at 5:00 pm. We will meet for a time of fellowship, enjoy some snacks and refreshments, and also provide you with some tools, strategies, and tips to help you begin this journey through God’s word.
Sign up here
For more information please contact Andy Lackey at 704-872-4139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Week 4: December 19 - 24
In elementary school I used to play a game where I would dare people to guess my middle name. It is not an unusual name, just unusual for a middle name. There are few times I can remember where people would guess it correctly. And, no I’m not going to tell you what it is because I might want to play the game with you one day. I can’t give away my secrets.
I always enjoyed the fact that I could keep my middle name a mystery. It was something I knew and others spent time trying to figure it out. Throughout the scriptures we are told many names for Jesus. He is Savior, Messiah, Son of Man, Lamb of God. He is the Last Adam and the Cornerstone. He is the First and the Last. But, there is a verse in Revelation that says, “His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself” (Revelation 19:12). There is a name Jesus has that we do not know.
I’m sure many have tried to sit down and decipher what this name is. There are loads of commentaries full of guesses. Many I am sure have calculated, measured, and guessed. And yet, we do not know what this name is. No one knows but him.
What does this tell us about Jesus? It shows there are parts of his character that we do not know. We can know a lot of things about what Jesus has done and about who he is. But, there are things about him we do not know because he has not revealed them to us yet.
This makes me excited. There are things about our beautiful Savior that he will reveal to us in heaven. We will get to spend an eternity with him, discovering new things about how great and good and powerful and mighty and loving he is. We will spend our days with him in awe as he reveals more and more of who he is to us. We will never stop learning new things about his nature and his attributes.
Jesus has many names. But, he has many more we do not know yet. As we wait in anticipation of the celebration of his first coming on earth, let’s praise him for the names we do know. And as we wait in anticipation for his second coming, let’s praise him for the names we have yet to learn.
There are things about Jesus we will only learn when we meet him face to face. But there are great things we can know about Jesus now. God reveals himself through his word and his world. Spend some time this week reading his word. Search it, learn it, and memorize it. Spend some time this week in God’s world. Let the beauty of creation point beyond itself to an amazing creator.
Jesus, we praise you for the many things about your nature that we know now. We praise you for your goodness, your faithfulness, and your trustworthiness. We praise you because you are our rescuer and our deliverer. You are Almighty God who loves us and cares for us. We praise you because you came once as a baby. We praise you because you will return to us as a mighty warrior bearing the name no one knows. We praise you that you are coming for us so we can spend forever with you. We anticipate the day we see you face to face, and continue to learn new things about who you are and what you have done. Amen.
We invite you and your family to join us for our
Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
December 24, 6:00pm
in the Worship Center
The service will also be live-streamed.
Week Four: December 19-24
It’s not uncommon to hear “I’m first, I’m first,” while being around children at play time or snack time. The concept of us wanting to be first is written on our sinful hearts. We want to push ourselves forward whether we deserve to be first or not. We understand that being first is a prominent position.
God declares through Isaiah he is “The First.” However, he also stated he is “The Last.” In the context of the passage, he differentiates himself from man-made gods. Isaiah records, “This is what the LORD says--Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isa 44:6).
God declares he is the most prominent and indeed there is no God but Him. Even in the beginning of Genesis, we see it was only God in the beginning. God is the prominent one or even the pre-eminent one. God is also the Last. He is the one who determines the end and will be there in our end as our judge. The Psalmist reflects on this all-encompassing God in Psalm 139 writing in verse 5, “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” He is comforted by this knowledge.
The New Testament reveals Jesus is God in Flesh. In John 1:1 we read, “In the beginning was the Word.” Jesus is the Word of God in flesh and He was not only present in creation but he participated in the act of creation. The Father wanted Jesus to be given prominence or pre-eminence in all things.
Read Colossians 1:15-18: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”
The apostle John witnessed Jesus in His Glory as recorded in Revelation 1 and 22 in which Jesus declares he is “the First and the Last.” Our God is the One who precedes us (First) and he is the one who succeeds us (Last). He is the Supreme One, and we can best understand him by looking to Jesus, the “Author” and “Finisher” of our faith. May we rest in the truth that because of who our God is, he is all we need in this holiday season and every season.
God is all that you need in every circumstance and relationship in this life. Who do you place in priority to God in your life? What do you replace God with in your life?
How do you need to rearrange your priorities in your personal, family, professional life to make Jesus your “First” priority?
God, you are the First and the Last. You are all that we truly need in this life, may you convict us in areas where we have taken you from that position. May we prepare ourselves to face you as the Judge, who will evaluate us in the Last Days. Thank you Jesus for reminding us that you deserve the pre-eminent place our lives.
Week 3: December 12-18
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet made this question famous. Most of us are familiar with the scene where Juliet cries out, “Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” A few lines later, Juliet asks, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
When it comes to Jesus, the answer to “What’s in a name” has many answers, for there is not one name that can contain all of who he is. One of the names of Jesus is “Messiah.” Messiah is the Hebrew word for someone anointed for a specific task (Christ is the Greek translation of this word).
We often see the name Jesus Christ and think Christ refers to his last name. Instead, Christ is a title (like calling someone a teacher or a doctor) that also means “Messiah.” So when we say “Jesus Christ,” we are describing his identity: “He is Jesus the Messiah.”
The term "messiah" is the transliteration of the Hebrew word masiah, which means “to anoint.” The term is used in the Old Testament for kings and priests who were consecrated to office by the ceremony of anointing. It is applied to the priest only as an adjective – “the anointed priest.”
When we come to the New Testament, John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Messiah, saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). John later records that Jesus was anointed by the Spirit when he was baptized. Jesus proclaimed himself as the Messiah in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-22) and at Jacob's well to the Samaritan woman (John 4:24-25).
Jesus, as the anointed one, was the one who was sent into this world to come and save the people from their sins. He was the coming Savior, for whom the people had been waiting for generations to bring about God’s promised deliverance. What’s in a name? Simply, the whole gospel message, a message of great joy for all people.
Read Luke 24:44-47
 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,  and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ (Messiah) should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
After his resurrection, Jesus spends time with disciples and explains all of Scripture is about how the Messiah should suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all the nations. All of Scripture is about the Messiah. Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed one who will save his people. All of Scripture is about Jesus. Have you read your Bible with this in mind lately? Perhaps you will start a new Bible reading plan in the New Year. Remember to read every part of the Bible with Jesus the Messiah in mind.
Lord Jesus, we welcome you this Christmas day! You are the anointed one, the God who lives with us, the one who saves. As we praise and worship you this day, fill us with your presence and your love. And help us to reach out to a world aching to hear your message of good news.
Week 3: December 12 - 18
My granny was my “rock” in my life. Throughout my life, she was a constant display of unconditional love. Granny could do no wrong in my eyes. She lived a good life as a hard-working and loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She was always full of love and encouragement for her family. In July of 2014, as Granny approached the end of her life, I sat beside her hospital bed talking and spending time with her. In her 96 years, Granny lived a good, honest, and commendable life. But as she lay there, listening to old Gospel hymns, she asked me, “Do you think I’m good enough to go to heaven?” As I held her hand and looked into her tired, sweet eyes, I said, “No, Granny. You are not.” I continued, “None of us are. That’s why Jesus came and died for us.” I proceeded to tell my Granny the Gospel and how we are all guilty of sin and in need of a savior. No one, not even my sweet Granny, can save themselves. We all need a savior. My dear Granny then prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior and Lord. I am confident that I will see her again one day.
As the very first Christmas was approaching, an angel of the Lord told Joseph that Mary would give birth to God’s son. The angel also said to Joseph, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The world was in desperate need of a savior. His name is Jesus. His name means “savior.”
Apart from Jesus, our Savior, we are dead in our sins. We are controlled by the desires within us and we follow the ways of the world. We seek our own way, instead of God’s way. We want to do what is right and good, but sin wages war within us. We are, by nature, objects of wrath. But God, being rich in mercy and full of love sent Jesus to save us! As the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).
This is why Jesus came as God in the flesh on that very first Christmas. Only God himself can save us from ourselves and from our sin.
"For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him," (John 3:17).
We need a rescuer, a Savior. We need Jesus.
In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve chose their own way over God’s way. They broke covenant with God, their creator and King. From that moment on, mankind needed a savior to cleanse them of their sins and set them free - not to be better people but new creations in the Kingdom of God. This savior is Jesus.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Have you called on the name of Jesus to be saved? To be free? To be new? This Christmas, rejoice in the Savior, Jesus, who came to save us and set us free.
Jesus, our Savior, we cannot possibly save ourselves. We are helpless and hopeless without you. Forgive us for going our own way in sin and make us new in you. You alone can save and we offer our lives to you. Thank you for loving us enough to come on that very first Christmas to give your life to save us, and make us your own. We love you Lord and give you all the glory and praise.
An Avenue Christmas 2021
Friday, December 10 & Sunday, December 12
IMPORTANT UPDATE - Please share and help us spread the word!
An Avenue Christmas Saturday night has been moved to SUNDAY night.
Live music and nativity presentation, carriage rides, crafts, food, ice skating, and more.
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online (www.wabcapps.org) or in the church office. Tickets can be used for Friday or Sunday nights.
Visit https://www.westernavenue.org/anavenuechristmas for details.
We have been watching the weather forecast closely all week. It has changed somewhat every day but one thing is clear – it will be rainy, windy, and a little warm on Saturday evening. We have made the decision to move the Saturday night event to Sunday night (all times the same). We know families have multiple plans at this time of year so those with a ticket to Friday or Saturday may now use that same ticket for Friday or Sunday (just choose the night you want to attend).
We are sorry to have to do this but we had to make a call early for all the outside parties involved (food trucks, ice skating, crafters, horse-drawn carriages, brass band, etc.). We trust in the Lord’s providence in all this and pray for a great weekend at Western Avenue as we celebrate together the coming birth of our King!
Advent Reading 2 Week 2: December 5 - 11
In our present culture, there are constant arguments over who is speaking the truth. Multiple fact-checkers spring up, claiming to be the arbiters of accuracy or authorities on what constitutes truth. These fact-checkers can be financially motivated, politically motivated, or less than transparent. With so much different information coming from so many different places, it can be difficult to determine the truth.
Due to our fallen nature, we need a marker, guide, or measure that is unchanging and reliable. When farmers want a straight row, they set stakes in the ground or have a fixed point they go by to make sure they are plowing straight. Builders have plumb lines and levels that ensure they are building straight and not relying on their own guesses to guarantee a stable structure.
In ancient times, when building a structure, they had to start with as close to perfect measurement as possible or whatever built on top would be unstable. To achieve this, they would use a cornerstone. This was the first stone set during the building process. Careful measurements were taken to ensure the cornerstone was square. This ensured the proper alignment of the remainder of the building. Christ used this as an illustration in teaching his disciples about the importance of what we build our lives on. The sand of falsehood is unstable and leads to ruin. But building on the solid rock of truth allows the house of your life to remain stable, withstanding any storms.
Throughout scripture, Jesus is called the Cornerstone. David prophesied in Psalm 118:19–24, “Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.  This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.  I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.  The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
This same image is later mentioned in Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’”
Jesus referred to these scriptures when he rebukes the leaders of Israel, and pronounces judgement on them, as says in Matthew 21:43-44, “ Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.  And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
After Our Lord’s sacrifice and resurrection, Peter delivers this message again to the same rulers, saying, “ On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem,  with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family.  And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders,  if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed,  let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:5-12).
This name of Christ is so important, Peter uses it again in his first letter to the churches, where in 1 Peter 2:4-7 it says, “ As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,  you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’  So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.’”
Jesus is our Cornerstone. He is the one we can rely on as our absolute guide to truth, purity, and holiness. He is an unwavering foundation we can build our own lives on, as it says in Ephesians 2:18-22:
 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Jesus is the only sure foundation. He is the only one who is reliable. He is the truth. What are things you have been doing in your life to build your life on Jesus as the foundation? What are some ways you can learn truth from Jesus this week?
Jesus we praise you, our Cornerstone. Teach us to follow your example. Make us holy stones who rest securely on you, our foundation.
Advent Reading 1 Week 2: December 5 - 11
We have many different ways to separate people into categories. Some are male; some are female. Some are old; some are young. People have different skin colors and come from different countries. How can you divide your family into different categories? Do some have freckles and others do not? Does everyone have the same hair color? Are there singers and non-singers? Different eye colors? Right-handed or left-handed? Clean or messy? For fun, go to this website to see how many different ways there are “2 Kinds of People”: https://2kindsofpeople.tumblr.com/
This is how we see people. God only sees two kinds of people – those who are in Adam and those who in Christ. We see this in one of Paul’s letters: “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:21-22). Later in that same chapter, Paul wrote, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (verse 45). Two verses later, he wrote, “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven” (verse 47). This may be confusing. What is Paul trying to teach us?
Adam, the first human created by God, was placed in the Garden of Eden to serve as our representative. He would live forever if he could live without sinning. Of course, he failed to represent us well. He sinned when he disobeyed God and ate the fruit from the tree. This means all who come after him have been born with a sin nature like his and commit sins themselves. God sees these people the way he sees Adam in the Garden – sinful and disobedient. However, when Jesus was born, he came as a “another Adam” or the “last Adam.” He was also tested in the wilderness but he passed the test. He obeyed God and did not sin. Later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was tempted again and he passed the test by obeying the Father’s will. In fact, he never sinned his entire life.
These two “Adams” are important. Both were tested around a specific tree: a forbidden tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden and the forsaken tree on the hill of Golgotha. If Adam obeyed God about his tree, he would live. If Jesus obeyed God about his tree, he would die. Adam failed his test and something horrible happened. Jesus passed his test and something amazing happened. The first Adam disobeyed God and brought death into the world. The last Adam obeyed God and brought life into the world. The first Adam failed in paradise and was cast into the wilderness. The last Adam succeeded in the wilderness and opened the way to paradise. You can choose to get out of Adam’s line and into Jesus’ line. All who do are no longer represented by Adam but by Jesus, the last Adam. Now, if you are a Christian, God sees you the way he sees Jesus! What a difference the Last Adam makes!
All kinds of people represent you. Maybe you have a class president? Maybe you have a captain who picks the kickball teams? Miss North Carolina represents all of us in the beauty pageant. We have representatives in our state congress and the U.S. Congress. Who will represent you when you stand before God – Adam or Jesus? The Bible says, “All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:13). Call on Jesus, the Last Adam, to save you and represent you today!
Thank you Jesus for your perfect obedience throughout your entire life. It is so difficult for me to be obedient even when I want to. I still sin every single day. I know I need you to stand in my place before God. Thank you for your willingness to accept me and be my savior.
Join us Wednesday, December 15, 5:30 - 8:30 pm. We will gather in the Avenue Kids Clubhouse and then go out in groups as you arrive to sing carols and spread Christmas cheer to our shut-ins and elderly. Afterwards, we will come back to the Clubhouse to enjoy cookies and Christmas fellowship. We hope you will make plans to join us for this special evening.
A soft and fluffy, little white-faced animal standing unsteadily on gangly legs or resting close in a shepherds arms. These are the images that spring to mind when we hear the word lamb. A lamb is cute and sweet, often causing a big “aww” reaction. While such an image brings warmth to our heart, it falls short when we read John the Baptist’s call to “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36). The call to “behold” dictates that this Lamb is something worth seeing. It is something different than you imagine. When we think of this Lamb, our images do not do Him justice. Perhaps the original audience fared better in rolling through their catalogue of memory and finding a different understanding of a lamb. For them a lamb could evoke memories of observing Passover, a festival centered on a lamb whose blood is spilled out and wiped across household doorways. This blood cries out to the angel of death, “Pass over this home. Those within rest under the blood of the lamb” (see Exodus 12:21-23). Others may have recalled a scene of provision on a mountainside, envisioning Abraham as he sacrificed a ram God provided to take Isaac’s place on the altar (Genesis 22). Original hearers may have recalled their trips to the Temple with hands full of offerings and hearts full of hope that their sacrifice would be enough to garner forgiveness at least until the next sacrifice was required. These images of a lamb touch on God’s provision, grace, and love. But, they only remind us of a lamb. John beseeches us to behold the lamb. This is not one among many lambs. This is the long awaited lamb who makes the need for all other lambs obsolete.
Behold – see and know – that this is the ultimate perfect Lamb. He is God’s Lamb who was in the beginning. He is God’s Lamb through whom all things were created. He is God’s Lamb in Triune fellowship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is God’s Lamb who has come in absolute perfection to do what no other lamb could do. He is God’s perfect Lamb, his one and only Son, who has come to take away the sin of the world. The blood of this Lamb will be shed not for Israel alone, but for all the world. Whoever believes in the Lamb of God will not perish but have everlasting life. In this season of Advent, may we come to the manger with expectation. As we peer in, search not for the little lamb resting in Mary’s arms, but seek to behold THE Lamb of God. As we behold Him, let us declare the praise that all of eternity will proclaim unto The Lamb be all blessing, and honor, and glory forever (Rev. 5:12-13).
Google’s online dictionary defines behold as “to see or observe a thing or person, especially a remarkable or impressive one.” When John calls out “behold,” it is a beckoning to see who Jesus is, to realize how remarkable he is, and to encounter him. When was the last time you asked God to help you really see Jesus for who he is? Perhaps it is time to pray and ask God to help you see beyond the images you have constructed of Jesus and behold him as God intends.
“Loving Father, bless us to truly behold your Lamb. Bless us to see Jesus as you would have us see him. Show us where we have had thoughts and built images that do not fit who Jesus truly is. Lead us to confess our false understandings of him. Lead us to behold him as you would have us to. Grant us a true understanding of Jesus. May our lives give Jesus all the praise he is so worthy of.”
When I first began dating my husband, it was apparent to me how important their family name was to his father. He had several books on their ancestry. He belonged to their family’s historical society. He knew exactly what their name meant. My father-in-law had many names which our culture would have found prestigious: Doctor of Medicine, Chief of Staff, and Lead Business Partner, to name a few. But, the name that mattered the most to him was his last name – Veach.
Jesus had many names but the one he used for himself more than any other was Son of Man. Of all the amazing names Jesus was given, why did he refer to himself as the Son of Man most often? I believe it is for the same reason my father-in-law was proud of his name. He wanted others to know who he really was.
Jesus understood God’s ultimate plan for his life. He knew he was the king who would save people from their sins. In Luke 19:10, Jesus says, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." He knew he was the answer to the problems of this world, but it would take time before he was revealed as the solution.
Matthew 20:28 says, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” My father-in-law did not plaster his family name on everything he owned, but if you were willing to listen, he would proudly tell you everything you ever wanted to know about his name and the heritage that went along with it. The same was true for Jesus. He never shouted, "I'm the Messiah" from the rooftops. Instead, he quietly and subtly shared exactly who he was with those who had ears to hear and hearts willing to listen.
Have you ever researched the meaning of your family name? Do you know where your family came from or facts about your lineage?
Family history is important, but the real family we need to be sure we are a part of is God's family. John 1:12 tells us, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Once we receive Jesus, we are given a new name – Child of God.
Have you been given the name Child of God? If not, I pray this Christmas season you will receive the greatest gift ever given - the gift of eternal life. Romans 10:9-11 says, “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.” Confess him as your Lord today. Believe that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved.
Thank you, God, for giving us your Son so that we can forever carry the name Child of God. Amen
Yesterday marked the start of the Advent season, and we lit the first candle, the candle of hope! To walk you through this time of advent, we have developed an advent devotional guide (https://www.westernavenue.org/advent) again this year. You can download online or pick up a hard copy at the church, if you haven't already.
There are two weekly readings we will post here on our website at https://www.westernavenue.org/advent and on Facebook.
Advent means coming. Christ has come and is coming again. During this season, we focus our hearts and minds on his coming. Let’s celebrate his coming as a baby at Christmas, as we also anticipate his coming again in glory.
We all have a name. Some may have more than one. There are first names, last names, and middle names. There are nicknames from childhood received from something memorable or sometime noteworthy – for better or worse. There are family nicknames only parents and siblings are allowed to use. Some family names are passed down from one generation to the next generation and sometimes to the third, the fourth, or the fifth. New names are given at marriages and adoptions. Names are personal and meaningful.
Jesus has many different names. The names he is called in the Scripture are full of meaning. They describe who he is. On Sunday mornings during advent, we will go through some names found in Isaiah 9:6, “…and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” But, there other names for Jesus we will not get to during our time together.
The advent reading guide features short devotions that look at some of Jesus’ names and titles from the scripture. This is not an exhaustive list, but maybe it will help jump start your journey through the scriptures as you seek to understand names of Jesus.
Schedule for Advent Devotions
1: November 28 – December 4
Son of Man & Lamb of God
2: December 5 - December 11
Last Adam & Cornerstone
3: December 12 - December 18
Jesus & Messiah
4: December 19 - December 24
First and Last & A Name No One Knows
Christmas Day: December 25
Mary and Joseph’s Son
There are two devotional readings for you and your family each week, plus an extra for Christmas Day. They will serve to focus your heart and thoughts on the names of Jesus and the character that each one reveals. Each reading is followed by a prompt for prayer.
We encourage you to read these with your family as a part of your family worship time, or you could gather with a group of friends to pray and focus on who Jesus is and what Christmas truly means – celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior.
We hope you will make plans to join us in the Worship Center on Saturday, November 6, at 7:00pm, as the Western Avenue music ministry presents an evening of worship, “There Is A Name.”
“There is a name that makes the mountains tremble, There is a name that shatters every stronghold, One matchless name higher than all the others, O praise the name of Jesus”
This night will be all about singing and celebrating the name of Jesus. His name is power, His name is healing, His name is life!
No ticket is required and the free event is open to the public. Please invite your family and friends to worship with us!
Join us for a church-wide picnic and variety show on Friday, October 22, from 6:00 - 9:00pm. Bring the whole family to the back parking lot for a night of fun and entertainment. We will have food trucks on site from Village Inn, Waffle Chick and Tacos on the Road on site for you to grab food for your family.
We will have a variety of games set up including 9-square-in-the-air, Spikeball, and corn hole.
There will be a variety show for you and your family to enjoy including a wide variety of talents, games, and competitions. We hope to see you there!
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.