Pastor’s Weekly Update December 17, 2021

Hello Friendship!

Guess what? It’s almost Christmas!

The Sunday before Christmas is considered Christmas Sunday here at Friendship. It is the fourth and final Sunday of Advent, and we will celebrate Christ together! This Sunday, our Advent focus will be peace!

Peace from God, biblical peace, allows us to trust in God’s promises through restful, calm faith, despite the dark, scary world around us. One of the Christmas story hallmarks is when the angels appear to the shepherds and proclaim, “Peace on earth,” in Luke 2:14.

Jesus brought about peace, in the most unexpected ways, when he arrived. The Jews, particularly the zealots, wanted a rebellion. They wanted their Savior to overturn the oppressive rule of the Romans and bring about peace violently. But Jesus had something else in mind. He sought to bring about genuine peace. Jesus sought to give us inner peace, which comes through Salvation. He sought to give us peace with others and with one another where we can put aside our differences and ultimately share the peace of Christ.

The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom. Shalom goes far beyond not fighting with others or peace as we know it.  Shalom is one of the keywords and images for salvation in the Bible. The Hebrew word refers most commonly to a person being uninjured and safe, whole and sound.

We live in an eye-for-an-eye, revenge culture. We also live in scary times. But the peace of God transcends our circumstances and world. With this, we can rest assured that he will come and make everything right once more.

Our peace can also stir the curiosity of those who do not believe in Christ. They will see us exercise a spirit of tranquility, faith, and they will want to know the reason for our faith in difficult times. When they ask, we can have a reason at the ready. “I am not afraid because I have the peace of Christ.”
So I look forward to seeing you this Sunday for Christmas Sunday. Remember, this Sunday (Christmas Sunday), our Children’s Ministry will have a special Christmas Children’s Worship during our 11:30am Worship Service. This will be a special time of outdoor games, music, and Bible stories for all children in Kindergarten through the 5th grade.  Plus, we have a special gift for every child!

Friendship here are a few things we want to be sure you know:

Please note the church office is closed Friday, December 24th, and Friday, December 31st.

Please NOTE that we will have ONE service on Sunday, December 26th, starting at 10am. Our guest preacher will be Pastor Jeremy Whittington of the Prayer Center Church of Los Angeles.

Please plan to join us on Friday, December 31st, for our Watch Night Service. This service will be virtual only, begin at 10:30pm, go through 12:05am on January 1st, and stream from all social media streaming platforms.

On Sunday, January 2nd, we will have Celebration Sunday, where we will have our 10am service followed by a CELEBRATION RECEPTION. In this reception, we will celebrate the NEW YEAR, Rev. Dr. Linda Long’s Retirement after 14 years of service to Friendship, my twenty years of service to Friendship as a staff member, and our 35 years here in Yorba Linda. Our guest preacher will be the best-selling author and keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Marcus “Goodie” Goodloe.

Do you know that on January 4, 1987, Friendship held its first services here in Yorba Linda? The Yorba Linda Campus is officially our longest dwelling place and a facility the membership built from the ground up! So let’s come together and celebrate what God has done and gain momentum for what God wants to do in the next 35 years!

Attention all youth in the 6th through 12th grades, our Youth Ministry invites you to attend the Ignition Youth Conference on January 21st - 22nd. This is a weekend experience for middle & high schoolers designed to intentionally create an environment where students can exalt Christ, engage scripture through messages and small group discussions, and be equipped with the necessary tools to pursue Christ passionately.

At the Ignition Youth Conference, there will be four Gospel-centered messages that cater to youth, high-energy worship, and a weekend experience that will inspire our students to be the best version of themselves, leaning into who God created them to be.  Plus, the conference offers an awesome concert featuring Social Club Misfits, a Christian Hip-hop duo. Space is limited, so sign up soon.  The cost of the conference is $40. Parents are welcome to attend. The event begins on Friday evening, January 21, from 6:00 pm until 9:30 pm.  We then resume on Saturday at 9:00 am and go until 9:00 pm. Click HERE for more information and to register.

I am excited to announce that I have been asked to speak at the next Transformation Ministries Conference being held on February 10th and 11th at South Shores Church in Dana Point. This is the conference we hosted for Transformation Ministries in 2015 here at Friendship. The 2022 Transformation Ministries Conference is built around the theme: Only GOD. We will revisit the book of Acts and look at how the supernatural work of God turned the world upside down. I will speak from the thought, ONLY GOD IS WORTHY! HERE is the link to Transformation Ministries advertisement for the conference this week, featuring your PASTOR.

All of you are invited to attend the conference! It is FREE for you to do so as long as you register under Friendship! To register, go HERE. Select “I need to add my name to my church’s registration.”  Then enter Friendship Baptist Church for the church name and enter our church address which is 17145 Bastanchury Road, Yorba Linda, CA 92886. Then enter your contact information under Attendee Information. Let me know if you have a problem by emailing me HERE.

Our FOURTH QUARTER PUSH is coming to an end. We are in the home stretch to meet our 2021 budget, and it is within our reach! We have not maintained the momentum I had hoped for, but I still believe we can reach our goal! Honestly, we need to raise roughly $150,000 between now and Friday, December 31st. We can do this! YES, WE CAN!

Thank you for partnering with us to get this done! You are amazingly faithful and generous. Your generous contributions have assisted us in maintaining our high level of ministry here at Friendship. Please know we are constantly investing in the ministry here at Friendship! 2 Corinthians 9:7 states, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

So what the apostle Paul was saying to the church at Corinth was that God loves a cheerful giver. He was also saying we should give gifts to God because we love Him, and He deserves them. And guess what? In 2 Corinthians 9:10, the Spirit by the apostle Paul says, “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” So God will bless us when we sow with a cheerful heart. He says right there that he will multiply and increase. What an honor to be able to sow cheerfully into the Lord’s Kingdom and for Him to bless us financially in return. AMEN

Many of you make year-end gifts that you want to be credited in the current year. I have included a schedule below to help you ensure that your gift is credited correctly. Would you please read it and govern yourself accordingly?

  • Subsplash/Online Giving: Sub-Splash will not process any giving over Christmas weekend. For Sub-Splash, the last date of transmission for 2021 is December 29th. Therefore, we recommend that members who want to give electronically for 2021 do so no later than December 22, 2021. Due to the Holiday season, any giving processed after December 22, 2021, will most likely be credited for 2022.  Please note that we do not control when Subsplash processes the giving batches.
  • Concerning mailed giving: All financial gifts postmarked December 31, 2021, will be processed for 2021. Keep in mind mail is much slower nowadays. So please be aware all giving received under this time frame will not hit your bank account until 2022.
If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our Finance Manager, Kenneth Jordan, in the church office or at [email protected].

Make sure to follow us on our social media pages for upcoming content. For Facebook, that’s Friendship Baptist Church. For Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, it’s @wearefriendshipchurch.

General Church things to remember:

You have 15 days to complete a Bible reading plan, including today. This is a reminder that you still have time to read the WORD and accomplish a goal you may have set for yourself! At Friendship, we encourage every member to read one of six Bible reading plans in the year.  These plans include;

✔️ The entire Bible,
✔️ The Pentateuch (or the first five books of the Old Testament),
✔️ The entire Old Testament,
✔️ The Gospels (or the first four books of the New Testament),
✔️ The entire New Testament, and
✔️ Psalms and Proverbs (3 times)

If you have not completed a reading plan, there is still time. To help you, we will load a 90-day plan to complete the Gospels in the Church App. Simply open the “Bible” tab from the bottom menu of the church app and select “plan.” Each day will include a reading of ONE chapter per day... just one chapter a day to complete the Gospels in 90 days!  If you would like to complete a different plan, I have attached some other 90-day plans HERE for you to download and follow. So let’s finish strong and read our Bible before the end of 2021.

You can report your progress to Lady Karima at [email protected]. Please send your name and the plan you completed by Friday, December 31st. We will celebrate all participants on Celebration Sunday at the 10am Service!

  • IN-PERSON EX-HOUR: In-person Ex-Hour meets each Sunday from 10am to 11am each Sunday in the Multipurpose Building. We invite you to stay after the first service or come earlier for the second service to attend Ex Hour in person. 
  • EX HOUR: Virtual Ex-Hour meets weekly on Sundays via ZOOM. Join us for class at 10am via this link HERE
  • YOUTH EX HOUR: Our youth Ex Hour takes place during our designated EX Hour time via Google Meet and in-person. Yes, it’s a hybrid approach! Parents, please encourage your students to join youth teachers for this biblically fun opportunity to learn God’s Word, connect with others, and grow. To join Youth Ex-Hour, follow the link HERE.
  •  CHILDREN’S MINISTRY VIDEO: Remember there’s a weekly Children’s Ministry Worship Video designed to keep our children connected, encouraged, and worshipping! Rev. Jaron Singley works hard weekly to produce a Children’s worship video. It is available through our website HERE or the Friendship YouTube Channel HERE
  • WEDNESDAY Prayer Day: Join us each Wednesday for Prayer. We pray at 6:30am, 12pm, and 6:30pm. To connect with our prayer services, please follow this link HERE or dial in at +1 (413) 418-4274 and use the PIN 287683504#. 
  • FBC FOOD BANK OPEN: The FBC Food Bank is OPEN with a new drive-thru system where our clients will receive a pre-packaged food box and a bag of groceries.  The Food Bank’s hours of operation are Tuesday - Thursday 2:30pm-4:30pm.   
  • COVID Recovery Kits:
    We still have Covid Recovery Kits through Providence Health and the Yorba Linda Rotary Club. These kits help individuals who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and are recovering at home. Each kit includes a pulse oximeter to monitor breathing, a thermometer, a box of masks, and a package of sanitizing wipes in a small canvas bag. If you or someone in your family could benefit from one of these kits, please call the church office and arrange to get one. 
  • COVID Membership Assistance Fund: We are STILL accepting COVID Membership Assistance Grant applications. If you are experiencing financial distress due to COVID19, we invite you to apply for one of our $500 assistance grants. The guidelines are available HERE, and the application is available HERE.

Well, that’s all I have this week. Continue to Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected!

God loves you, and so do I!

Merry Christmas!

In His Service,
Rev. Kenneth C. Curry, Jr.
Your Pastor
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