Community Gift Initiative ~ 2013 Christmas

Let Earth Receive-facebook

What a great day it’s been at First Baptist!  Starting with Christ-centered worship and preaching and our annual Christmas Brunch fellowship, today was a true blessing.  Tonight’s Christmas Concert, Let Earth Receive Her King, will likely be one of my favorite experiences at FBC.  Having the opportunity to celebrate the Gospel being spread throughout the whole world was such an overwhelming and beautiful time of worship.  It was so encouraging to hear from our mission partners.  We saw glimpses of the Lord’s work in China, Romania, Ukraine, El Salvador, and Uganda.  What a mighty God we serve.  As always, the choir was excellent under Shea Nickell’s leadership and Tim Bertram’s live art was a special addition to the program.

As promised, we wanted to offer a blog entry where you could write praise reports of how God prompted you to participate in the Community Gift Initiative.  The money that was budgeted originally for new Christmas music and a paid orchestra was joyfully re-purposed for reaching out to our community.  We hope the cash given out throughout our community will be a small reminder of God’s love and ultimately be a catalyst for each of you participating to speak the Gospel as you hand out your gift to a stranger or loved one.  Please use the comments section below to let us know how God used you to remind someone of the true meaning of Christmas.  On behalf of the pastors and all the leadership that made tonight’s program possible, thank you.  It’s an honor to serve as your worship pastor.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come.  Let earth receive her King!  Let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing.  ~Isaac Watts


Steve Moore

Posted in Blog Posts
16 comments on “Community Gift Initiative ~ 2013 Christmas
  1. Elizabeth Langham says:

    As I was sitting at the end of service two people came to my my mind immediately my daughter who is going through a really bad time right now and a friend of her’s who is in her 40’s and expecting a baby in early feb. As I was leaving someone walked up to me and gave me two envelope’s I am keeping one to help out with groceries and expenses the rest of the month and Now I have the extra one I needed
    so I am passing on the others to my daughter and her friend. Both family’s were placed on my heart and I am very blessed to be able to help both!
    Thank you!
    Elizabeth Langham & my sidekick for the Day Ella Grace

  2. Eric and Lee Rust says:

    Our empty gas tank would offer us an immediate opportunity to share the Gospel. Pulling in to a nearby station to fill up we immediately noticed a young family with a vehicle that was less than par right next to us. The father went inside to prepay and returned to dispense $6.39 in his tank as his wife and boy waited. Seeing this we grabbed the FBC envelope of cash and tapped on their window. The woman smiled brightly at me as she opened her door because the window would roll down. “Merry Christmas” I said as I stuffed the present into her hand. Thanks! was all I heard as I scrambled back to the car. They were still sitting there when we pulled away. Our family was so blessed by the spontaneous opportunity that maybe next year FBC would offer the envelopes and gospel tracts and we would put our own money in and pass them out all season. Thank you FBC for your generous gift to our community.

  3. Steve Moore says:

    Tonight, the choir gathered for a fellowship after the program, and two others shared how they were already able to immediately give away their gift. So encouraging!

  4. Tammy Bohannon says:

    As soon as the service was over, I told Tony who I thought should receive ours. He agreed. A dear friend of our is going through a divorce right now, after being with her husband for 31 years. She JUST signed a lease at her new residence and will start moving this week. Immediately following our service, we went to her door and gave our envelope to her. It was truly a great joy to provide her with that. Thank you Steve and the FBC pastors who helped make this possible.

    • Tony Bohannon says:

      Her response was “The money doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you thought of me. That means everything.” It was truly our blessing to be a part of this.

  5. I had to run into Family Dollar today for shipping tape and was struck up a conversation with the clerk at the counter. She mentioned she had worked all day Thanksgiving and would be working until 8pm Christmas Eve. She stated that she would not receive extra pay for the extended holiday hours, but that she was caring for her granddaughter and need to work extra for the funds. I asked her if she was ready for Christmas yet, and she smiled a tired smile and said not yet, but she was trying. I immediately pulled out one of my FBC envelopes and said that I hoped this would help her to help with her needs to care for and bless her granddaughter this Christmas!
    What a blessing to bless…and all I thought I would just be going home with packing tape!

  6. Shannon Stivers says:

    I was getting my hair done this afternoon and overheard a lady beside me talking on her cell phone. I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was having a sad conversation and she was visibly upset. After she was finished I asked if she was ok…..setting beside each other under the dryers:):) She explained that she was talking to her son, his wife had recently died, and he had just lost his job. He was worried about buying Christmas presents for family/friends. I was able to give her the money from the Gift Initiative and talk to her brielfy about Jesus. She was so grateful, tears flowing down her sweet cheeks. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!! To Him be the glory!!!

  7. Brenda McElroy says:

    Monday morning found me headed to Walmart…AGAIN! As I checked out I greeted my cashier with a “merry Christmas.” As I listened to meaningful Christ centered conversations around me, all I could get her say was a quick and unenthusiastic “hi.” As I paid my bill I handed the envelope to her with a another wish that she would have a merry Christmas. She quickly took it and said just a quick thanks. I pray the message inside that envelope has a lasting impact on her life.

    But I still had another envelope. Recently while in Starbucks, a young man behind the counter greeted me in a personal way but I didn’t recognize him. He quickly identified himself and reminded me that he had played on Brad’s little league baseball team and then all the way through Tilghman with our son Scott. Through the years since high school he had made a few bad decisions and paid some big prices but he wanted to let me know he had his life back on track and was in college. I encouraged him and was thankful he remembered me and wanted to share these things. As I prayed and thought about where to leave this last envelope, I thought of him. I placed it in an envelop with his name on it and determined to give it to him directly if he was working today or leave it for him at Starbucks if he wasn’t. As God ordained, when I rounded the corner into the coffee shop, there he was looking right at me and giving me a wave! I quickly slipped between customers in line, handed him the envelope and wished him “Merry Christmas.” He broke into a big smile. I’m praying he can continue to make good decisions, and most importantly to choose Christ

  8. Ronna Smith says:

    After the Christmas Eve service we went to a local restaurant for dinner. I observed a young woman as she was working. She was cheerful and greeting customers as they entered. As we were leaving I approached the young lady and gave her the envelope, briefly explaining where I went to church and that I wanted to give this gift to her. She looked surprised, accepted the gift and then gave me a hug.

  9. Jason and Nicole Farley Family says:

    December 23rd, on our way out of town, we stopped by the hospital to give our love to Nicole’s grandmother who was sick. We had talked as a family, before going in, to keep our eyes out for the opportunity God would have for us to give back what we were given “to give.” The boys were as excited as we were in anticipation. At first, we didn’t see any opportunities. But, we actually saw two ladies sitting and talking and on the table between them was one of the FBC Community Gift envelopes. That was pretty neat we thought. But, we still hadn’t figured out who God would have us to bless. After visiting with Grandma, Nicole and Drew went down to the cafeteria for a quick snack and came right back upstairs and said, “we found him.” So, Jude and I went down just in time to see “him” get on the elevator…we walked away a little sad. Headed back upstairs, and getting off the elevator coming toward us was that very same man. We knew. We had the privelege to talk with him, find out why he was there and little about his “life” story. Then, we handed him the envelope, told him Merry Christmas and asked if we could pray with him. He gladly said yes. What a JOY it was to share God’s love We were so blessed to be able to give. As we got in the car, Drew said with a big smile on his face, “that was a great opportunity” to which we all agreed.

  10. Steve Moore says:

    This is Cassie posting. Early on Christmas Eve morning, I filled up our car at the new Hucks by kohl’s. Went in to get coffee for shopping & was drawn to an employee. I told her I wanted to give her the $. She started crying & asked for a hug. It was amazing how such a small thing impacted the mood of everyone who witnessed her reaction. As I began to pull away a man stopped me & told me I had made her day. Kindness is a powerful force.

  11. Vanessa Durfee says:

    Kris and I had waited and watched for who to pass along our offering to with expectation. While driving around looking at lights on the 23rd, Kris realized that we knew the perfect person to give our envelope to.
    We have gotten to know a sweet single mom at our kids school who has fallen on hard times. She has two boys and works two jobs just to keep things going. We knew where she lived and were able to “drop in” and knock on her door…which was really unsettling. With a quick Merry Christmas, I handed the envelope to the gentlemen watching her children while she was at work. He grinned wide and so did I. As I climbed back in the van, I was thankful we got to experience this gift giving in such a personal way.

  12. Anna Shelton says:

    I just received a phone call in the church office from a woman that works at K-Mart. In tears, she shared that a gentleman had given her an envelope on Christmas Eve with our church name on it. She just wanted to say thank you for blessing her with that gift.
    Praise God for this opportunity to let His light shine this season!

  13. Tracey & Kent says:

    Our first opportunity to share a little FBC love was at the grocery store on Christmas Eve…we spotted a woman who was wrangling four small children as she tried to gather up groceries. The kids were being good, but were normal, lively children. The young woman, who seemed to be their mother, was smiling and patient as it took her four times as long to do something Kent and I were able to breeze through. We had prayed for God to show us who we should give the money to and, when she caught my eye upon entering the store, I thought she might be the one. As we shopped, I saw her repeatedly and then she was checking out as we were. “Merry Christmas” was even more joyful to say when we were able to hand over a tangible gift to accompany the timeless phrase. The next envelope we were able to share was with a pizza delivery man. We were able to share about our church and it turned out the young man was not attending anywhere. “I really need to get plugged in somewhere,” he said. “Maybe I’ll give your church a try.” He and his wife are divorced, but he wants to get his three young children involved somewhere. Kent wrote down his name with the address of the church and told him we’d meet him there Sunday. Pray that the Holly Spirit will inspire John to follow through! What a wonderful memory for Christmas 2013! We are so very grateful that you all are our family!

  14. Jessica and Rudy Lee says:

    I received a phone call the Thursday before the Christmas program that my brother had tried to take his life because of financial problems. My sister and i had prayed along with some other people for our brother. Our family immediately sent him some money and I was waiting to be told the amount to send him. As soon as the announcement was made that we would receive money to help our community, i teared up and thanked our gracious God. Rudy and i knew exactly where the money was supposed to go. Now i feel like the door has been opened for me to talk to my brother about Christ!! Thank you First Baptist and to God be the Glory!

  15. Dr. Brian K. Clardy says:


    It doesn’t seem like a month has come and gone since that wonderful Christmas concert. But as I promised you and promised the Lord that I would be a good steward over the money that was given to me on that night.

    I was given two envelopes. As promised, the first set of money was promptly mailed off to my parish, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Murray, Kentucky and designated to our community’s food bank, Needline.

    The second set of money was given to an elderly lady and close friend of our family who has had health problems and who was virtually alone this Christmas.

    Now, I am mindful of the fact that Jesus told us not to brag about the good that we do and this note is not violating that Divine Commandment. Instead, I am reporting to you that you gift that you gave openly was used in its right and proper fashion.

    And now I ask your prayers that the Lord’s Plan for my own life be fulfilled in its own and beautiful time. I was blessed to have had a successful bariatric surgery and things are healing well. But I also ask that I am delivered from the assaults of evil and be brought into blessing where my own needs are met and where there will be plenty to spare to give to others. Pray for my family as we lost a member….my Uncle died unexpectedly in Memphis.

    And pray that God will bring all of His Goodness and Mercy into my own life so that I can be an effective servant, albeit a flawed one.

    Blessings upon this congregation…now and in the years to come.

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