We know it was disappointing for many of you to not be able to worship with your church family in person or online this past Sunday. We only had a few short days after the governor's news conference and did not feel we could do all that was needed to livestream from outside without potentially eliminating our ability to livestream anything at all.
We are meeting outside again this Sunday morning (May 17) and are working hard so those at home can participate online in the outside service. We now feel we have what we need to allow you to join us as we worship live outdoors. If it proves more difficult than we imagine, we will record the service later in the week for you to view on Sunday morning. We hope that will not be needed. We want to be together - either online or in person!
DUE TO WEATHER, THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED
We will hold a special outdoor service on Friday night, May 8, at 6:30pm, in the big grassy field behind the church building. (see diagram) You are encouraged to bring your chairs or blankets to sit as a family while we worship in song and open God’s Word for a brief time of reflection on his continued goodness to us. We are working to provide the ability to listen to the service on the radio in your car. Families are also encouraged to bring a picnic meal to enjoy as a family, staying as long as you want. If the weather does not allow us to meet, we will let you know as soon as possible via social media.
The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived. On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced North Carolina would enter into Phase 1 of the plan to return to normalcy. Phase 1, which officially begins Friday, May 8 at 5:00 PM, allows churches of any size to gather as long as they meet outside and practice good social distancing standards. It has been eight long weeks since we last gathered together. We are all ready to meet and we plan to do so as soon as possible. We will hold a special service on Friday night at 6:30 PM in the big grassy field in the back of the church building. You are encouraged to bring your chairs or blankets to sit as a family as we worship in song and open God’s Word for a brief time of reflection on his continued goodness to us. We are working to provide the ability to listen to the service on the radio in your car. Families are also encouraged to bring a picnic meal to enjoy as a family, staying as long as you want. If the weather does not allow us to meet, we will let you know as soon as possible via social media.
On Sunday morning, we will return to the grassy field for our worship service at 11:00 AM. You can bring a chair or a blanket to sit in the grass or listen from within your parked cars (we ask those who will be sitting in the grassy area to please park in spaces farther away so those in their cars can be closer). If you cannot or do not wish to attend in person, we will continue to broadcast the service over our normal social media platforms and the radio. I look forward to seeing you face to face very soon.
The Lord’s Prayer
While we are living in a world of uncertainty and unrest, there has perhaps never been a time more critical for the church to be engaged in prayer. But how do we pray? What do we pray? Thankfully for us, the disciples had these same questions, questions which they asked our Lord Jesus. His answer was given during the Sermon on the Mount, and this prayer has become known as the Lord’s Prayer.
This Wednesday, we will begin a new study on this great prayer. While it is a prayer in which we know the words, it is one we desperately need to relearn of its power and practice. So join us this Wednesday at 6:30 PM on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/wabcstv/) as we study the most powerful prayer in the Bible, the prayer taught by our Lord Jesus to those closest to him.
Dear WABC Family,
I wanted to invite you to a special evening of worship, prayer, and fasting this Wednesday at 6:30 PM. This will be a Facebook Live event that will be in place of our regular Equipping University class. In Acts 13, we read where the Apostles were engaged in worship, prayer, and fasting as they prepared to launch from Antioch to take the gospel out to the world. This marked a point where we see the spread of the gospel explode as churches were planted and lives changed.
As we talked about Sunday, I think we are all longing for God to do a great work in our church, our community, and our nation. We have a deep desire for revival to be unleashed throughout the world. Yet it has often felt like the church is facing the headwinds of a culture that offers competing idols for our attention, whether it be entertainment, professional sports, shopping, or socializing in nightclubs. Might it be that God has used this pandemic to remove, for a time, some of the things that compete for our affections in order to create space and margin in our lives so we can focus on Him, and to restore our hunger for God.
This hunger for revival is the spirit within which we are inviting our entire church family as well as any of your friends and family to join us Wednesday evening. To prepare for this time, we are making the following recommendations:
If you have specific prayer requests, please send them to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I and others on staff will be praying for these throughout the day on Wednesday.
We hope to see all of you Wednesday!
We began a study of Mark’s Gospel in January. We recently took a five week break to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter as we took a deep dive into Isaiah 53. This Sunday, we will return to the second gospel as Andy Lackey leads us in the study of Mark 2:18-22. In this text, Jesus answers the question of fasting in the presence of our Savior and King.
Join us online at:
or on the radio starting back this week on:
WSIC Radio - 1400AM, 100.7FM, 105.9FM
Dear Church Family,
Easter Sunday is two days away. This day is a day we all look forward to every year – for many different reasons. On one level, we look forward to seeing family, enjoying a wonderful meal, and seeing our children dressed up in all their frilly lace and fancy bow ties. On a much deeper level, we enjoy sitting in church with our brothers and sisters, worshiping our risen Savior in song and in word.
This Easter, though everything is different, we can still realize most of these wonderfully happy desires. We may not all be able to gather together at Western Avenue in one of the three previously planned services but I encourage you to make the most of this Sunday morning. Wake up early. Enjoy a nice leisurely breakfast. Make the effort to get dressed. Gather together to tune in to the worship service at 11:00 on the website/Facebook/YouTube and let’s worship Christ. Try to be there at 11:00 or before as we will begin the service with a special video. Rodney and the praise team will lead us in singing some of our favorite songs. Sarah Claire King will also be with us to lead us in worship through song. I will complete our five week study of Isaiah 53 as we look at the concluding stanza, which tells us of the resurrection and its great impact on God, Jesus, and each of us.
Yes, this Easter will be very different from every other Easter you’ve ever experienced. In some ways, it just may be the one you remember the longest and, I pray, with the fondest of memories.
We would love to see those memories. Share some pictures of you or your family’s Easter worship with us on the church’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wabcstv/). If you took the challenge and made an Easter bonnet, we would especially like to see that!
In the past week, I have tried to help you prepare for our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Each day this week, we have walked with Jesus as he made his way to the cross. You can watch these videos (about 12 minutes in length) here:
On a lighter note, I spent some time the last two weeks interviewing a few of our pastoral staff. You can watch these videos to learn a little bit more of the people who love to serve you:
On an even lighter note than that, I took advantage of an empty church building to show you parts of the church you probably never get to see. You can see those here:
May God bless each of you as we use this technology to worship our risen Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
What a better way to spend some of your free time during quarantine than memorizing scripture. Andy Lackey has challenged us to memorize Philippians! While this may seem like a daunting task, taking it one day at a time (10 minutes a day, 5 days a week), it can be done!
If you are on Facebook, you can access Andy's Facebook group with videos and posts here.
If you are not on Facebook, you can access all of Andy's videos for this Bible Memory Group on the WABC YouTube page.
Western Avenue at Home
Make plans to join us Sunday morning, April 5 for worship service livestream at 11am. We've added a livesteam option through our YouTube channel, offering another way to watch this week.
Western Avenue will livestream the worship service on Sunday morning at 11:00 AM as we sing together and study the first three verses of Isaiah 53.
We also will use picture-in-picture technology to provide a dedicated sign language interpreter so our deaf community can participate and worship with us.
Please share with anyone who would benefit from this service.
Click here to watch the video from the Facebook Live Andy Lackey taught Wednesday, March 18.
I wanted to wait until later in the week before sending this update about our Sunday morning services and other ministries. The situation continues to change at such speed that it is difficult to keep up. In the midst of an avalanche of information, I want to give some important and essential information about Western Avenue in the days and weeks to come.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. This is uncharted territory for all of us. As you do with your family, we will rely on the Lord to protect and provide as we walk in faith with Him!
The coronavirus has changed all our lives. For many, it is only a matter of certain inconveniences. For others, the situation is much more serious. We have all heard the people most susceptible to COVID-19 are our senior adults. How can we care for these precious saints in our church and in our neighborhood? This is our mandate from Scripture. The apostle Paul writes, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:3-4). Paul goes on to tell us this is the mindset of Jesus in coming to serve us.
Elsewhere, John writes words that strike us in our heart: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18). I am constantly encouraged by the love I see being poured out on one another within our congregation. We now have a very real opportunity to do so all the more.
I want to encourage each of you to use this time to get to know your neighbors and inquire if there is any way you can assist them in meeting their needs and acquiring personal items and food. This is what it means to obey the greatest command: to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:28-31).
What about our church family? I want to ask for individuals and families within our church to “adopt” our senior adults. I have a fifteen-page document listing households with older senior adults. Each of our twenty-one deacons are already caring for 4-5 widows and shut-ins. This lowers the number of households on the list considerably but there are still many couples and individuals to care for.
If you are willing to adopt one of these homes, please let us know by emailing the church office at email@example.com.
This post will likely get shared by many – please do not indicate your desire to help in comment section below. We may not see it.
We hope to have enough volunteers so that each family has only to care for one household. If you would like more than one household, please let us know. We will send you contact information via email. Once you receive your family, we ask you not to visit their homes but call them to assess their current situation and needs. Please reach out to them often as it appears this situation will continue for several weeks. If they have the capability, perhaps you can FaceTime with them. If you have children, perhaps they can send letters or draw pictures for them.
We realize all seniors are not created equal; some are more susceptible and more dependent than others. At the same time, some have family nearby who are already taking care of all their needs. We praise the Lord for this but it is good for them to know their church family loves them and cares for them, as well.
If your adopted family’s current needs are too much for you to handle, you can contact the church office.
I hope to see the church rise up and be the church to this special segment of our church!
Late Saturday afternoon, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order mandating there be no crowds of more than one hundred people in attendance. Within the hour, several members of the pastoral staff met with Andy White, the chairman of the deacons. After much discussion, we have decided that Western Avenue will not meet as a church body Sunday morning. We will livestream our worship service at 11:00 AM. You may participate in the service by watching the live feed on Western Avenue’s Facebook page or our church website (westernavenue.org). Please do not come to the church building unless you have specifically been requested to attend to serve in a specific capacity.
We do not believe this is a Hebrews 10:24-25 issue. There, the author urges believers to “not neglect to meet together.” This is not a matter of negligence. This is not your decision but ours (along with our governing authorities and health professionals). Your conscience should be clean because you are indeed “providentially hindered” from attending.
At the same time, we do see this as a Romans 13 issue. In the opening verses, the apostle writes, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom 13:1-2). This is not a matter of church persecution but an opportunity to serve our entire community in love. This is not a matter of fearful overreaction; there is a crucial difference between fear and prudence. Instead, this is a matter of expressing love for our neighbors, our elderly, the most susceptible among us, and concern for a potentially overtaxed healthcare system. All these compel us to join these unusual efforts to minimize contact to slow the spread of the coronavirus (and other viruses active at this time).
Your church staff will meet again on Monday. It is almost certain more developments will occur. We will take all these into consideration as we make plans for the days and weeks to come. These are not easy decisions. We realize some will disagree with the track we have taken. We think this is the best way to honor God and love our neighbors, the two things God has called all his children to do.
Western Avenue Church Family,
As of Thursday morning, there are 12 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in North Carolina. The reactions to this news vary wildly from panic to apathy. As followers of Jesus who trust in the good providence of God, we must not move towards either of these two extremes. The best course of action is to take these events seriously and exercise vigilance to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus to protect ourselves and others. This is what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves. We understand this virus can spread quickly, even exponentially. At the same time, it seems the spread of rumors, misinformation, and fear are easily outpacing the spread of the virus. For that reason, we want to share with you our thoughts and our plans.
We do not want to overreact and we do not feel it is wise to do nothing. We think we have come up with a moderate approach that will serve us well this week. We will then reevaluate the following week as conditions continue to develop. This Sunday, March 15, we will meet to worship at 8:30 and 11:00 but we will not meet for Sunday School. We understand our Sunday School classes, especially in our preschool and children’s areas, are much more intimate and put people in a more susceptible position to spread germs. It is easier to keep one room disinfected than multiple children’s rooms filled with toys and adult classes filled with hugs, handshakes, and discussions. There simply is not nearly as much interaction with individuals during the worship service and we even ask that our normal physical interaction be reduced greatly. We will also not be able to provide childcare during either worship service. Parents, it is up to you to bring your children with you into the service or worship with your family at home through the streaming service provided online.
We hope the majority will decide to worship with us this Sunday morning. We leave the decision entirely up to each person and family. If you attend the services on Sunday morning, we ask you to use standard flu-season precautions. Practice proper cough etiquette and hygiene. Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer (there are dispensers in several locations). Practice social distancing by limiting physical contact with others. We are asking everyone to absolutely refrain from shaking hands or hugging. We are sanitizing highly touched surfaces such as doors, handles, tables, water fountains, and sinks. We also ask those who have flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with someone with similar symptoms to stay home and worship with us electronically. We ask those who have traveled internationally or even locally to a place known to be affected to stay home. We advise those who are most susceptible to contracting the virus to stay home, which includes older adults, people with chronic medical conditions or immunosuppression (people with recent or upcoming surgeries; people on autoimmune treatments, including steroids; people with impaired heart, kidney, or liver function; or people going through cancer treatment). We also ask those who serve as caregivers to at-risk individuals to stay home.
This also means that we will not have our regularly scheduled programs on Wednesday night (preschool, children, youth, Equipping University). It is the policy of the weekday preschool to follow the schedule of Iredell-Statesville Schools while leaving the ultimate decision to attend or stay home to our parents. County schools are closed on Monday so we will decide our course of action then.
I am thankful Western Avenue is set up to stream our worship service live at 11:00 AM each Sunday. You can view the services on our Facebook page and the homepage of our website (westernavenue.org). We use this technology weekly to allow those in our family who are sick and unable to attend to remain connected to the church body. Though we certainly never intended to use this technology as alternate to attending in person, we are glad to have the capability to do so in a situation like this.
Our staff and deacons will continue to discuss this issue and develop plans as the situation evolves. In the meantime, we ask you to act wisely in a way that honors the God we serve. The Holy Spirit led the apostle Paul to write these words: “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:5b-6). The command is “do not be anxious.” The means to obey this command is given next: prayer. Please pray for the many medical professionals, public safety professionals, educators, missionaries, and others who are affected. Pray for the Lord’s protection from illness among our people. Pray for gospel opportunities to come from this outbreak. Pray for wisdom regarding ministry impact in the event of local COVID-19 cases. We want to be a church that reflects our trust in Jesus Christ and his love to our community.
Join us Friday, March 6, 2020, at 6:00 pm in the Western Avenue Baptist Church Worship Center for a joy-filled musical experience featuring animated videos, energetic vocals and exuberant piano, guitar and mandolin instrumentals! Randall Goodgame and the Slugs & Bugs Live concert have ministered to countless families. The concert is geared toward preschool and elementary school age children and their parents. Age appropriate Gospel truths are woven throughout the concert and Randall's heart is for families to leave with a deeper understanding of Jesus's love for them.
Tickets are FREE, however, we do ask that you reserve your free tickets online at www.wabcapps.org or stop by the church office. To find out more about Slugs & Bugs, visit their website and blog at www.slugsandbugs.com.
If you are planning to attend the ALONGSIDE conference this Saturday, please purchase your tickets online by today (February 19, 2020) - We look forward to seeing you all Saturday!
We would love for you to join us at Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel - ONE DAY EVENT It is going to be a great time for you if you are a parent, youth leader, or youth volunteer. If you are a teacher, a coach, or anyone who is involved in the lives of teenagers. Tickets are only $10. The seminar features Drew Hill, author of Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel (winner of ECPA 2019 Christian Book Award). It is a great resource for parents and anyone involved in youth ministry. To purchase tickets and learn more visit westernavenue.org/alongside
Daughters by Grace is organizing another WABC Date Night on Saturday, February 29 at 6:00pm in the fellowship hall. This year's date night will feature ventriloquist and comedian, Taylor Mason. The cost is $35 per couple which includes dinner and childcare. Please RSVP by 2/23 (this Sunday) at the information desk or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Childcare RSVP is required by 2/23 to Carrie Allen. Please text your child's name and age to 704.516.0623.
Join us for ALONGSIDE with Drew Hill on Saturday February 22. This is a seminar for youth leaders, youth volunteers, parents of teenagers, or anyone who knows a teenager and wants to learn how to come alongside them with the Gospel.
Register online here: https://www.westernavenue.org/alongside
Watch this video to see what this seminar is all about.
This week, we began our new sermon series in Mark. Over the years, we've covered other gospels, but never Mark, so this will be our next study! This gospel is the shortest of the four. There is no birth narrative, none of Jesus's childhood and not many parables. This gospel is really a collections of scenes/snapshots to show who Jesus is and what he did. Almost like an old slideshow... we see Jesus did this and then this happened. Mark is telling his reader why the people in Rome can trust and believe in Jesus, to the point of losing their own life.
Mark shares the good news and the gospel of Jesus. He will teach us about who Jesus is. Mark shows us that God will always keep his promises. God is not shocked by sin. He can be trusted even in moments of silence.
The gospel is a call to repent from our sins. Judgement is coming. The time is now to get right with God and repent for your sins. Reptence and the gospel go hand-in-hand. Repentence is turning around and going the other way. The gospel is a call to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ only. John the Baptist shows us this as he points only to Jesus and wants to take all the attention off himself. He says he is not worthy to even untie Jesus's sandals. All the glory goes to Jesus.
Mark your calendar for this year's Slugs & Bugs Family Concert featuring Randall Goodgame from Nashville, TN.
Join us Friday, March 6, 2020 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!
Tickets are free, but we do ask that you reserve them online here.
There is lots going on at WABC as we begin 2020! We did want to take a moment to officially let you know Dan Wilemon is on board as our new Director of the Marriage and Family Enrichment Center at Western Avenue. He is taking this placement upon the retirement of Ellen Fox.
Dan is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist. His responsibilities include providing individual marital and family therapy for both adults and children. Dan received his B.S. in Psychology and Pastoral Counseling from Tennessee Temple University in 1987 and his M.Ed. in Community Agency Counseling with concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from University of North Carolina, Greensboro in 1990. Further studies have been pursued in Special Education as well as extensive training and licensing in addiction.
Dan and his wife Lynn were married in 1986 and have 5 children and 5 grandchildren. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and is a music lover who plays in the community band and church orchestra.
Appointments with Dan are available through our Marriage and Family Enrichment Center. If you would like to meet, all you have to do is call 704-873-6397 and select extension 3210 for Dan Wilemon (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM) or extension 3215 for Gladys Lowry (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursdays). Both numbers have confidential voice mails and your call will be returned promptly for scheduling. You can park in the rear of the church at the counseling center’s separate, private entrance. There is a sign near the door showing you exactly the location of the center.
More information about the Counseling Center is available online here: https://www.westernavenue.org/counseling
Do you have a teenager or work with youth? Plan to join us for an upcoming seminar with Drew Hill for youth leaders, youth pastors and parents of teenagers. We will spend the day brainstorming and learning how to love teenagers with the Gospel. Saturday, February 22, from 10am - 3pm in the WABC fellowship hall. Tickets are $10 which includes lunch. Get tickets on our website here.
Happy New Year from WABC. We wish you God's richest blessings as you begin a new year. We give thanks to God for all he's done for us and trust his promises that he will be faithful in another year!
"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:17
We want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!
"Because of Bethlehem, (we) have a Savior in heaven. Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. The child in the cradle became the King on the cross." - Max Lucado, Because of Bethlehem, Love is Born, Hope is Here
Thank you God for sending your Son as the baby in the manger and to be our Savior. We rejoice and celebrate our Savior's birth. O Come Let us Adore Him! Christ the Lord!
"It's Christmas" begins tomorrow, Friday, December 13. Performances are at 7:00pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday with an additional afternoon performance at 3:00pm on Saturday.
Limited tickets are still available. Tickets can be purchased online here (https://www.westernavenue.org/its-christmas) or by visiting the church office.
We look forward to a wonderful weekend of worship at WABC. Come celebrate Christmas with us!
Happy Thanksgiving! In the busyness of the holiday, take time to pause today... to truly stop for a moment and praise the Lord for all he has done for us! He sustains us in the valleys and rejoices with us on the mountain top. And, most of all, he has given us the gift of salvation through his son, Jesus Christ. Praise Him!
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!" - Psalm 100:4
The Western Avenue Advent devotionals start this week! Advent means "coming". Christ has come and is coming again. Advent is a season when we focus our hearts and minds on his coming. As we celebrate his coming as a baby at Christmas, we also anticipate his coming again in glory. During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we will preach through several passages that describe why Jesus came.
We invite your family to join us during advent with advent family readings you can read together each week at home. You can download them here: https://www.westernavenue.org/advent
"Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he..." Last Sunday, we looked at the story of Zacchaeus and realized the children's song is really quite far from the truth of who Zacchaeus really was. Zacchaeus was a tax collector and really seen as quite a wicked and evil man. Through Jesus sharing the gospel with Zacchaeus, we see more truths to apply on our study of evangelism.
We must know the Gospel is for great, wicked, evil sinners. Zacchaeus was evil and hated. He was far from the cute little man we envision in the children's song. He was in a category with scam artists, drug dealers and the mofia. He was hated, but the gospel was still for him. There is no one who is beyond saving. We see how Jesus was interested in Zacchaeus and sought him out. He told him he was coming to his house today. He didn't ask about a good time, but said he was coming now.
The gospel displays a scandelous grace. Zacchaeus was considered "less than human". Jesus did what Zacchaeus could not do for himself. Faith invites a repentence and repentence shows faith's presence. This transformation in Zacchaeus's life shows how he wants to change and that he does change. Through the power of the gospel, people can change.
We must continue to proclaim that Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost. Today, salvation has come!
This week we will get to know Jim and Kristi Mixson. The Mixsons have been married 28 years. They met six years before that when they both worked at Rose’s Dept. Store. The Mixsons have two children, Jay and Addison. Jay just recently got married and is an officer in the US Navy stationed at Cherry Point, NC. Addison is a junior at Wingate University majoring in communications and is a cheerleader. Jim is currently Clerk of Superior Court in Iredell County and Kristi works as a Buyer at Kewaunee Scientific.
Jim and Kristi both grew up in Christian homes and both became Christians early in life. Jim joined Western Avenue 1982. Kristi joined back in 1991 after they were married. Jim started coming to church with his parents when they moved to Statesville. Kristi started coming to church with Jim when they began to date in 1985. Western Avenue felt like a good fit for them both as they were growing up and once they started having children they felt Western Avenue was a great fit for their family.
The Mixsons have served in various roles over the years. They were involved with working in nursery area when their children were smaller and they followed their children in the middle school and high school and worked as shepherds in the Sunday School class. They continue to work as shepherds in the 9th and 10th grade Sunday School class. Jim ushers each Sunday and has also served as a deacon. Jim and Kristi have always appreciated Western Avenue because it has always felt like home. They are excited for the future of Western Avenue because the church continues to grow and continues to find new ways to minister to the community.
Chris and Amanda started dating in high school and dated 7 years before marrying in 1998. They have three busy boys who all love baseball. Brett, 18, is a senior at North Iredell High School. Cole, 14, is a freshman in the ASEC program at North. Luke, 9, is a fourth grader at Central Elementary. Chris has always been in management and is the plant manager at Piedmont Composites and Tooling in Taylorsville. Amanda has been at Iredell Memorial for 20 years in the laboratory as a licensed Medical Technologist. Both attended CVCC and UNC Charlotte.
Chris was saved at 10 years old and attended East Taylorsville Baptist Church before moving to Iredell County. He was always active in their Awana program as a child and then as a leader when the boys attended. He has also spent time in the Prison Ministry that was available at ETBC. Amanda grew up in the Methodist Church where she was saved at 14 years old. Her mom made sure their family was always there every time the doors were open. Both have always tried to make church an important part of raising their family. The boys were also all saved at young ages. Brett went forward during a VBS event at age 9, Cole was tearfully burdened at home one evening after going through a book called "The Lamb" at age 6, and Luke went forward at the Power Cross tent 2 summers ago.
The Johnsons moved to Iredell County 4 years ago and began looking immediately for a church home. They looked for area Baptist Churches with sound doctrine and biblical teachings, along with an early service. After visiting WABC, they were familiar with Jeff Spry and his family from Alexander County. Jeff's father was Chris's elementary school teacher and later was Amanda's elementary school principal. One funny fact is that Amanda was having a troubled year in second grade when Mr. Spry was the principal. He got her out of class, spoke to her with encouragement, and she never had any more trouble in school. She has no idea what words he spoke, but they had a lasting impact.
In addition to being acquainted with Pastor Jeff, the Johnsons were very impressed with the solid biblical principles taught here and enforced here. "We were greeted right away with smiling faces and welcoming hand-shakes. We kept coming back to the church that felt like a new home.” They were used to a church this size, with excellent programs for any age and missionary mind sets. They made a commitment to join in July 2017. Amanda soon knew she wanted to find the women's ministry and join in. She attended her first women's retreat not knowing anyone there but by smiles in the hallway, but knew she wanted to meet new friends, mentors, and women of faith, all of which were found immediately. She was blessed to be asked to be the volunteer coordinator on the Daughters by Grace team and absolutely loves to share encouragement through emails and cards.
Chris and Amanda appreciate that the Word is taught here at WABC every Sunday and Wednesday by whomever is delivering the message. Their boys enjoy and learn a lot from the teachings and fellowship as well. The family looks forward to the future with Western Avenue with excitement and anticipation in what God will do next. The foundation here is solid and will continue to lead God’s people into new levels of His glory.
It all starts with one... watch a short video and learn more about the "Who's Your One?" initiative here:
Evangelism can feel so overwhelming. We know this is something God has called us as Christians to do, but to many it feels like a daunting task. We are supposed to go save the entire world. How is that even possible? The new series we are going through on Sunday mornings, "Who's Your One?" helps us to make evangelism feel more doable. All we have to do is start with ONE. We've been looking at how Jesus shares the Gospel, to get a pattern on how we should do the same and so we can learn from the master evangelist himself. We see that everyone needs the gospel. Nicodemus needed the gospel just like the woman at the well needed the Gospel.
Looking at John 4 and the story of the woman at the well, we see several truths about evangelism.
Evangelism requires Christians to be intentional. Jesus went to Samaria and stayed an additional two days. This was a place Jews just did not go. So the fact that Jesus went there is very intentional. Jesus had a specific purpose in his visit - to share the Gospel with the woman at the well. We realize through this story that evangelism will never "just happen". There is no way this woman would have ever come to Jesus. Jesus had to go to her. We are to go through our everyday life, but with an intentionality of the Gospel underlying everything. What can I do intentionally to share the Gospel? How can I start a conversation with someone? Can I invite them over to dinner? How can we do ordinary life with a Gospel intentionality?
Evangelism requires Christians to overcome certain barriers to evangelism. People may wonder why we are even talking to them? There was a huge issue of race/ethnicity with Jews and Samaritans, yet Jesus approached a Samaritan female. We have to overcome barriers to reach people with the Gospel. Jesus even drank from the Samaritan woman's cup, which would have been a very taboo thing to do in this time period.
Evangelism will require you to move from the physical to the spiritual realm. Meeting people's physical needs is wonderful, but unless we focus on sharing the Gospel while we are meeting those physical needs, it's not evangelism. We see this as Jesus tells the Samarian woman about the everlasting water. Not just the physical water she is getting from the well where they are standing, but the everlasting water that will cause her to never thirst again!
Evangelism requires us to talk about a person's greatest need... sin. The Samaritan woman's only hope of rescue was to find her satisfaction in Christ. People must see they are lost before they can be found. We can meet that need with exactly what they need... Jesus!
To help you on this journey of reaching your ONE, we have a 30-day prayer guide and bookmark to guide and encourage you along the way.
Last week we finished up our sermon series through Galatians. For the next 8 weeks Jeff will be preaching sharing our faith through "Encounters with Jesus" as part of an initiative many other churches are focusing on as well titled "Who's Your One?". It's easy to feel overwhelmed when we talk about evangelism. How can I change the entire world? But, all we each have to do is think of one person. Who is your one person you will share the Gospel with?
We looked at John 3:1-16 and the story of Nicodemus. We learned the Gospel is a divine sovereign work of God, not a human work of man. There are certain things we cannot see until we are able to see them. Since the Gospel is a sovereign work of God, unless you are born again to see the Gospel of God, your eyes are not open to it. Being "born again" is a condition that must be met, not something you can do. Nicodemus understands the metaphor, but he doesn't understand what he needs to do. We see the cleansing of the water and our sins being removed by the blood of Jesus. He can give us a new heart. Our job is to point people to Jesus.