A Message from the Pastor

A Blessed Easter to you. On April 16th, we hold as a very special and important day. April 16th is special and important because it is the day we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The question is how much do we "celebrate" the Resurrection?

I have spent most of my church life in Baptist Land. I have seen a number of Christmas and Easter holidays come and go. In experiencing those Christmas and Easter holidays, I have observed that Christmas is by far in every way the more celebrated holiday. Easter celebration really does not compare to Christmas celebration. Sometimes, I wonder why there is such a difference. The Bible teaches in I Corinthians chapter 15 that our faith and hope is anchored in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ not in His birth. Without any doubt All the Events from the Birth to the Resurrection are indivisible and vital to our faith. My point is about celebration. Is it not then reasonable that we should celebrate the Resurrection at least as much as we celebrate the Birth? I believe we should. Consider how you celebrate the Resurrection Season.

An interview with Ray Turner

The leadership of the church need your prayers. I'm glad that we could give you a little bit more of who they are and what they want most from the church. The idea of interviewing the deacons was actually started back in 2003, when I interviewed Ray Turner, the chairman of the deacons at that time. This is the article giving his testimony from the July 2013 newsletter. The audio can be found here. A testimony is a powerful thing. Be prepared to give yours.

Ray Turner

My parents were very active in the church, particularly my mother. My mother brought me to church before I was born, and after I was born I still came to church. I always enjoyed it, when you come to church there is a different atmosphere. People seem to be happier (most of the time) when they are in the presence of the Lord.

I remember when I was a youngster, we had summertime revivals. We didn't have any air conditioning or electricity, but we had preaching. We had a preacher from Roanoke, I can't remember his name, but he was a "Hellfire and Brimstone" preacher. He didn't mince words, he said what he needed to. I can still see him now, getting so wrapped up that he'd walk the pews with such enthusiasm trying to get his point across! He didn't want anyone to miss what he was saying. Today, it seems we need everything to be perfectly said, and short. People have lost their attention span, and have no forgiveness if something isn't said in a perfect way so that it doesn't offend. Our preacher back when I was young, Mr. Petite; his short sermon was an hour long! He could sometimes go for two or three hours. Well, I went forward on Friday night during that summer revival. It was raining, a bad night, but wonderful. I was baptized in a creek that had been dammed up to provide a temporary pond over at Ray and Clarence Stinnette's.

The church has been the core of my existence. I have been in the church my entire life! There have been ups and downs, but I wouldn't take nothing for it. Yes, God has been good to me. When I finished high school in 1942, I had three things that I wanted. I wanted to become a farmer, I wanted to marry a good Christian girl, and I wanted to raise a family. And all those things have happened. God has been so good to me! Even the rough times teach us to enjoy the good times.

I still don't know whether I have done what God wanted for me, at one point I felt the call to become a preacher. I was married, with young children, trying to run a farm for my dad who was an invalid, so I didn't do it. It still haunts me, what my life would be like if I had followed that call. But I don't worry. I know where I'm going. Why worry? I still get concerned about things, but Jesus is coming back! I'm going to be with him. I'm looking forward to that. God is so good to us, if we'll let him be.

Get to know the Deacons

Clinton Stevens

Clinton grew up going to Pecks Baptist Church. His father was a member of Pecks and his mother went to Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. With parents going to two different church denominations, Clinton, like his brother and sister were given the choice of which church to go to each Sunday. Mostly as a way to bond with his Father, Clinton usually went to Pecks on Sundays. After a few years of learning and growing, Clinton felt a call to solely attend Pecks. When he was 14, the Holy Spirit was working in his life drawing him to give his life to Christ, but he resisted for a while thinking how he didn't want to go in front of everyone to make a public profession. At one point though, Clinton could not fight the Spirit any more, and went forward to tell everyone about his decision. He was baptized and started his walk with Christ.

During college however, he started to backslide. He never made an effort to find a church in the area, and only ended up at church when he came back home for the weekend. During his sophomore year of college, he ended up with a Christian roommate, and started going to Campus Crusade for Christ meetings and bible studies that were held in his dorm common areas. It was then that the Holy Spirit started working to make Clinton into what he needed to be. One morning, he woke up sweating with the realization that he hadn't done anything worthwhile for his Lord. He had given his life to Christ, and had nothing to show for it. He made a vow that morning, that his Lord would be allowed to lead him and guide him to where and when he needed to serve. That year, he finally read the Bible through and found a new and better purpose for his life and has been serving the Lord with zeal ever since.

Clinton is the only deacon at Pecks that is not married. He was born with a genetic heart condition that has kept him from doing many physical activities, but that hasn't slowed down him in spiritual things. He has been an Assistant Youth Director, Sunday School teacher, choir member, VBS teacher, usher, Bible Study Leader, Social Committee member, Outreach Director, newsletter editor, and website designer. He received a full heart transplant in October of 2014 and has gotten the joy of having a new life to live for Christ. He knows full well the powerful effect of prayers and attributes his new found health to the many prayers lifted up for him.

Clinton has worked for the last 15 years as a software engineer for Harris Corporation, a mobile radio manufacturer for police, fire, and other utilities. He enjoys cooking, reading, collecting DVDs, ping pong, and board games. With his new health he is now branching out into more outdoor activities such as camping, and more active sports. Clinton would most like to see a stronger prayer presence at Pecks. He has been the recipient of prayers, and is excited to see what will happen when more people start praying. He is currently praying for the youth in the church, that they will dedicate their lives to Christ to bring more strength to God's kingdom.

Get to know the Deacons

Perry Stinnette

Perry was a young teen when he gave his heart to the Lord. It was during a revival meeting, in the old pecks church building with Rev. Hawkins that he felt the call on his heart. He tried to resist, but the spirit of God overwhelmed him and he couldn't help but respond to its call. He has been part of the Pecks family for his entire life. As he puts it, he was coming to Pecks for nine months before he was even born. His parents were members, and they made sure that his priorities were right when it came to making sure to be in church. Although he was saved at Pecks, he was baptized over at Quaker Baptist Church, since Pecks did not have a baptismal at the time. He has taught the Youth Sunday School for many years, and has also worked with the RAs as a leader along with his brother Terry. He has worked as an Usher, choir member, and is currently a part of the Pecks Praise Band along with his wife Jan. He and his wife have been married now for almost 36 years. They have 3 sons (Jacob, Justin, and Jordan), and 2 grandchildren (Raelynn and Ryan).

Perry has held many different types of jobs over the years. He started work as a construction worker building houses before he was finished with High School. He enjoyed rodeo and often would participate in the events, and he even bought some cattle and a horse, rented some farm land, and tried his hand at being a cattle rancher. But being young, he wanted to get out and see the world. While working for the C.R. Holdren farm store, he convinced them to let him learn to drive the trucks. After practicing a bit, he decided to get his CDL so that he could officially drive trucks for them. He would go to Richmond every day to pick up loads of Fertilizer and Lime and bring them back to Bedford. Later, when the company started leasing their trucks out to other groups, he started driving loads of steel to even farther places like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But that wasn't far enough for him, he wanted to see more. Getting a job with J&S Trucking Company out of Lexington NC, Perry would drive loads all over the country, being gone for 1-2 weeks at a time. It was marriage that calmed his wanderlust. Wanting to be near his family, he got a job with Harris Trucking, and later with Monty Burnette that would let him continue driving, but be home much more often.

Perry enjoys being outdoors fishing with his Jon Boat on the James, hunting deer, and playing Bluegrass and Southern Gospel with his family. He and his entire family have a gift when it comes to music and they use it to praise the Lord in church quite often. Perry wants to see the Pecks grow and become an active, thriving beacon in the community. He would really like to see more enthusiasm and a greater joy from the members of the church. We need to keep in mind why we are in church, and use that joy to Praise and Worship the Lord.

Get to know the Deacons

Ron Fariss

Ron has been coming to Pecks for basically his entire life. His parents Frank and Laura made sure that he came to church from his infancy. His fondest memories of Pecks include Homecoming events with hay wagons, hand churned ice cream socials, and Bible School. It was at Pecks Bible School that he gave his life to Christ at age 8. His mother was actually his teacher that year, and Rev. Hawkins was the Pastor. His memory of that year was so sharp that he even remembered the little piggy bank style huts that they made in crafts to put mission money in during Bible School. He has seen the church change buildings, services, programs, and members, but the one thing that remained constant through the years was the church's foundation on God's Word and Jesus Christ. Since coming to know Christ, Ron has taken on many jobs in the church. He has been a Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School and Bible School teacher, usher, and deacon. He currently teaches the Couples class at Pecks. Ron stated that his three greatest Christian role models are his parents and Ray Turner.

Ron has been married to his wife Renae since August 2nd 1986. During his free time, he enjoys getting out and doing outdoor activities. One of his favorite things to do is actually lawn mowing. He enjoys tinkering with cars, fishing, and different shooting sports. He likes to hunt, but also target practice, and competitive pistol shooting.

Ron currently works at Smyth (Piedmont Label) and has been there since 1978. He has also worked for King's Supermarket in his youth, but it was at his Father's barber shop shining shoes and milking cows at the Turner farm that he really got his start in the workforce. He spent most all of the time that he could over at the Turners where he got to hang out with friends. He used to wish it would snow so that he could go over and milk cows and hang out rather than have to go to school.

The things that Ron wants to see most from Pecks is growth, but also for the younger generations to step up, be involved, and become the Christian leaders in the church that they need to be in order to take over after the current generation. He wants the church to continue in its tradition of not compromising the Word of God and its strong conservative roots no matter what the world keeps telling the church how it needs to be. We need to stand up and not waver in our convictions for the Lord and continue to be the strong beacon in the community that we have been for the last hundred or so years. Pray that the younger members in the church will step up and be the leaders of tomorrow.

Get to know the Deacons

D.J. Ashwell

D.J. grew up in the area and as a young man went to Palestine Baptist Church. When he was 10 years old, he gave his heart to Christ during a Vacation Bible School service at his church. He was baptized in Rock Castle Creek in a pool of water they used for that purpose by his pastor, Rev. Bailey. The hot July day and the cool waters of the creek gave him an experience that he will always treasure. It was love that brought D.J. to Pecks Baptist Church. His wife Carol grew up at Pecks and one of the rules for dating her was that he always had to attend the evening service on Sunday night before they could go out. The Baptist Training Union is what they called the service. He has been coming to Pecks ever since.

D.J. and Carol have been married now for over 50 years. They don't have any children, but with 2 nieces and a nephew on his side, and another 2 nieces and a nephew on Carol's side, along with their children, they have had plenty of experience having children underfoot. After graduating high school, D.J. went to work for Klopman Mills, a Textiles manufacturer, for the next 3 years. After an interview during a snowstorm, he later got a job with Piedmont Label, and continued to work there for the next 43 years. He retired in December of 2008, and has been enjoying a more relaxed life. His hobbies include working in the yard, gardening, hunting, fishing, golf, and working on his 1949 Chevy. His father bought it new, and he has recently returned it to road worthiness. He has had many different jobs at Pecks. D.J. taught the Bible Searchers Sunday School class helping to raise the next generation of servants for Christ. He was the RA leader for a number of years, an usher, head of the building and grounds committee, and of course a deacon. He became a deacon in 1973. The pastor at the time, Rev. Hawkins, talked to him about becoming a deacon. Even though he was doubtful of his ability, he gave in to Christ's urging, and has become quite the example of what God can do through us when we don't feel capable in our own power.

What D.J. wants most from Pecks is growth and outreach. The area around us is filled with the lost and he has a heart that would see all of them know Christ. Family, friends, and strangers, they all need a savior and sometimes we are the only ones who have the opportunity to bring Him to them. The thing about Pecks that he is most proud of is the sense of companionship and fellowship that fills the room each time there is a service or activity going on. You can feel the love of Christ that fills our church.

Get to know the Deacons

Glen Smith

Glen Smith gave his life to Christ sometime in the summer between his Junior and Senior years of High School. He grew up in a Methodist church, had watched Billy Graham on the TV and had been reading his Bible as a youth. One day while he was out working that summer, he was convicted of his sins and gave his heart to the Lord. When the Lord called, he was ready to surrender. This was the event that changed his entire life. He started going more regularly to church and serving more. As part of the Methodist faith, he was sprinkled when he was young, but it wasn't until he started coming to Pecks that he was actually baptized by immersion.

Glen has been married to his wife Linda for 43 years. He has a single daughter Amy, and 2 grandchildren, Gabriel and Spencer. It was actually because of his family that Glen started coming to Pecks. The church they were attending at the time did not have many children in the church, and so they came to Pecks with their 2 year old daughter because of the children's activities and opportunities. They have been here, serving and helping the church to grow ever since.

As part of his service, Glen has worked as a Deacon, Sunday School Teacher for the Young Adults and Adult Men, Sunday School Director, Visitation Leader, and Bible School Teacher. He feels that his main calling has been to teach in the church. He currently serves as co-teacher for the Men's Sunday School class.

Glen went into the Air Force directly after High School, and served for a few years as a Medical Technician before going to college and getting a degree in English. He used that degree to teach High School English for 28 years, and then worked part time with the Community College and Liberty University to teach English there for another 10 years. He has also worked as an orderly at the Bedford Hospital, as a salesman for Schewels Furniture, and even as a Freelance House Painter. Currently he is enjoying his time as a secondary babysitter for his wonderful grandchildren.

Outside of work and church, his main hobbies are exercising (jogging, bag punching), reading, enjoying nature walks, and working outdoors in the country. He holds a black belt in American Shotokan Karate and has taught self-defense courses to others. The thing he most wants to see at Pecks Baptist Church is a growth in the Children and Youth programs, both physical and spiritual. Please pray for our young as they are the next generation of servants for our Lord.

Get to know the Deacons

L.T. Skinnell

L.T. has been going to church most all of his life. His parents went to a Methodist church down the road from where he grew up. It was there that he gave his life to the Lord. The church that his family was going to were having revival services and it was during one of these services that the Holy Spirit convicted him of his need for a savior. It was then that he made the decision to go forward. He was about 12 or 13 at the time. His family were fairly regular church goers, however sometimes they tended to lapse in their attendance.

It wasn't really until after he was married that he finally grew closer to the Lord and more serious about his faith. He realized he wasn't living as spiritually as he should. His children were picking up his bad habits, and he decided that he needed to make some changes. This was the catalyst for most of his spiritual growth. This was all before he started coming to Pecks.

L.T.'s previous church would sometimes close when there was snow, however nearby Pecks remained open during these times. With his new desire to serve God, instead of taking the day off, he would make the effort to attend church where he could and came to Pecks. He and his family also came to Pecks' Bible School during the summers, and it wasn't long before the family started coming regularly to Pecks. It was where God had called him to serve. This was sometime around 1985. He has been with us here serving faithfully ever since.

L.T. and his wife Barbara were blessed with 3 children. Bryan, William, and Sandra. Through Sandra, they also have 2 grandchildren. Kaylin and Katie. L.T. has held many positions in the church, leading outreach, performing as an Usher, teaching Sunday School and Bible School, and most notably as a Deacon. Retired now, he worked at B&W for 44 years after he got out of the Army where he served in Vietnam. Working mostly swing shift, it made serving in the church difficult, but he did what he could.

L.T. has a few hobbies that he enjoys. He enjoys deer hunting and gardening, however most of his time is spent working in his forge as a Blacksmith. He has had the men of the church over a few times to demonstrate his metalworking.

L.T.'s main desires and prayers for the church are to see a greater participation in the Wednesday night prayer services, and the Sunday night services. The church has many opportunities for people to get more involved and he hopes that more people would feel the Holy Spirit convicting them to spend more time at church.

Mission Trip Update

For complete up to date information on the Nicaraguan Mission Trip, go to Because We Care Ministries. Please keep both the Mission Group and the People of Nicaragua in your prayers.

A Message from the Pastor

Blessings to each and all. I hope your Christmas was wonderful. All of us want to thank you for all the beautiful cards and the wonderful gifts you gave us. Church Family, you made our Christmas very special, Bless You.

As we face the New Year, there are a number of things we need to keep remembering. One of those things to keep remembering as you face 2013 is that you can face 2013 fearlessly. II Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." So as the year unfolds, remember God's power, God's love and then be of a sound mind. Amen.

Again we love you and thank God for our wonderful Church Family. Our prayers are with you. May God richly bless you in the days ahead.

Relationship Issues

How many different aspects are there to my relationship with Christ? In the last few months, I've talked about the bridegroom/bride, the vine/branch, and the father/child aspects of my relationship with Him. I've barely touched the surface though! This month, I've been thinking about what it means to have Jesus as my shepherd.

Usually when I think of Jesus and what he means to me, I immediately get a sense of thanks for His dying for me even when I did nothing to deserve it. He is my Savior and He gave me a way to have a relationship with the Father even with all of my flaws. But that's usually as far as I think it out. I keep missing out on the fact that that was just the beginning of my relationship with Him! Jesus said in John 10:11 that "I am the good shepherd", but what exactly does that mean?

First of all, I need to figure out what does it mean to be a sheep. Before He stated that He was the good shepherd, Jesus stated in verse 9 that He was the door that leads into the pasture. So to be a sheep, I need to have first entered in through that door. That means that I had to have accepted Christ as my savior. I don't even start the shepherd/sheep relationship until after I take that first step. So He becomes my shepherd AFTER I get saved. That seems to point to the fact that this is a relationship I need to keep in mind WHILE I live my life with Him.

As a shepherd, Jesus is tasked with watching over and guiding the sheep to good pastures. In verse 14 of that same chapter, Jesus said that He knows His sheep, and we know Him. It is a close relationship in which we are always together. He knows everything I have done, am doing, and will do. Sheep are pretty stupid animals, and they need someone that knows and cares about them to look after them and keep them from wandering off to get eaten by predators. If I stay near to Him, He has vowed to keep me from those who would destroy me. He is even willing to give His life, for mine.

I think that for the New Year, I'm going to resolve to let myself be properly guided by my shepherd. I won't go off on my own, and I'll keep relying on Him, because He knows the dangers much better than I do. I need to realize that I'm one of His, and stop trying to do things my way.

Reflections from the Forge

Welding with fire and hammer is a very useful technique the blacksmith performs. Several conditions have to come together in order to be successful. One enemy is scale. If scale forms on the iron, it will not weld. Just as scale contaminates and separates, our christian life can be contaminated as well. Things creep in that causes us to be less faithful and loyal to our Lord. Our witness becomes meaningless. In Galatians 1:6 Paul wrote "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel". Let us strive to stay faithful and true to our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Message from the Pastor

Grace to you! Can you believe the Christmas holiday had arrived? As we enter this special time of year, allow me to encourage you to experience this Christmas season in a greater way. I believe we can enhance and deepen our observance of Christmas when we slow down and take a closer look at the world around us and celebrate how God has meet our needs.

In other words, we must make an effort to look and I mean to look for those things that are relevant to the advent of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It takes genuine effort to look because the speed, stress and the grossly distorted materialistic view of the season obscures the real meaning of Christmas. So slow down and look and when you look you will see the greatest needs of mankind, Peace, Love, Hope and Forgiveness. God saw those same needs long ago and purposed in will to meet those greatest needs in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Jesus Christ would be born of a virgin, worshiped by both angels and shepherds, live a sinless life, die on the cross for the sins of the world, He would rise from the dead the third day and Jesus Christ lives today and forevermore. Jesus Christ offers today genuine Peace, Love, Hope and Forgiveness to those who will accept Him as Savior.

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our blessed Redeemer, the real meaning of Christmas. This Christmas, mankind will again search desperately for Peace, Love, Hope and Forgiveness but they will not find it in pretty packages under a decorated fir tree nor at the bottom of a stocking hung with care. They will find Peace, Love, Hope and Forgiveness only in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? You can know Him today.

May you have a blessed Christmas and may it be filled with joy as never before. Amen.

Relationship Issues

How many different aspects are there to my relationship with Christ? In the last few months, I've talked about the passion, love, desire and longing that I experience in my relationship with him as well as the need for the right roots and foundation to support my service. This month, in thinking about the sacrifice that God made in sending his Son to die for my sins, I've also been thinking about my relationship with him as one of his adopted Children. The Father/Son relationship that I have with him is a complex one.

Galations 4 talks about how we were once slaves to sin, and through the sacrifice of Jesus have been adopted into God's family as heirs alongside Christ Himself. That's amazing to think about, to be an heir of all that God has! But, being an heir also means that it's not mine yet. I'm still a child, learning from my Heavenly Father what it means to handle the family holdings. I need to train myself to be like him, which means I need to be pure, holy, and perfect. Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:48 that I need to be perfect because my Father is perfect. Of course, I'm not going to manage it until He changes me and makes me perfect using His righteousness, but it doesn't give me an excuse to stop trying. Also, I should expect discipline for when I get out of line. Hebrews 12:7 states that I should expect to be chastised because God loves me and wants me to learn from my mistakes. And in it all, "Honor your Father and your Mother". That goes for my Heavenly Father as well as my earthly one.

I think one of the largest aspects about the Father/Child relationship with God that too many Christians forget we have is that of our siblings. I have plenty of Brothers and Sisters in Christ that have been adopted into the family in the same way that I was. I must NEVER forget to love my family, because we all have the same Father. 1 John 3:14-18 talks pretty strongly on how I need to love my church family. This is not just those that go to Pecks, but all those who call on the name of Jesus. I must also be willing to forgive any of my brothers and sisters that sin against me, over and over again. This is nothing less than what my Father has done for me, and he expects the same of me. According to 1 Corinthians 6, all disputes that I might have with my Brothers and Sisters in Christ should be handled in the church, not using the world to judge between us.

My relationship with my fellow believers is a unique one that is extremely dear to me, and gives me a wonderful feeling of belonging to something great. Together, we can accomplish much. This is especially shown during this season with the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Together, we can each give a little to accomplish great things for the Lord.

The last thing I need to remember about my relationship is that I have changed families. No longer do I belong to the world. I was adopted into a new family, with new objectives and responsibilities. We are part of a family that the world despises, and I should expect hatred and opposition just based on who my Father is. There is a special kind of racism that is seen quite a bit in this world. We are a separate race, and according to Jesus in John 15, the world will hate us because it hated Him first. But I'm fine with that. I'll love them just the same and keep trying to invite more into the special family that I'm a part of. God is still adopting.

Reflections from the Forge

In order to forge a bar of iron, you must hold it securely either with your hand or with tongs. The tongs must fit properly in order to have control. The Bible tells us that Jesus has us securely in his hand if we believe in him as savior. John 10:28 says: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man, pluck them out of my hand." I hope these words are comforting to you.

God Bless

A Message from the Pastor

Greetings, and a blessed November to you. We have at least two events this month that we should give special attention, the election and Thanksgiving.

This election needs your special attention because America is at a crossroad. The direction America takes at this election well have a profound effect on our nation. The special attention that you need to give this election is first your prayers. We need to beg God for a Great Awakening like never before among those that claim the name of Christ. Secondly, as Christians we need to vote righteously. God's Word tells us in Matthew 6:33 "But seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His RIGHTEOUSNESS." The Christian's primary concern is God's Kingdom and righteousness.

As for Thanksgiving, the question is "To Thank or not To Thank?" In the book of Habakkuk, we find great insight to answer this question. In chapter one we learn that God is going to raise up the Chaldeans to be a mighty nation. As a result, the Chaldeans became a mighty nation and God used this mighty nation to judge His people, Israel, and other nations. As the Chaldeans rose to great power, they made a crucial error: the Chaldeans gave the credit to themselves and to their pagan gods for their great power and success. The Chaldeans did not give the thanks to the God of Creation nor give God the glory. This error of not giving God the glory or thanks proved to be their downfall and would bring about the fall of their great nation.

The reality of receiving great gifts from God and not giving God the glory and thanks is a cycle that continues today. Nations and individuals are guilty of continuing this cycle. May it be that our downfall never come by the hand of pride and ingratitude. May America always give God the glory and thanksgiving that are His alone and may it always be that we continuously give God the glory and thanksgiving. To Thank or not To Thank? The answer is to THANK always!

Relationship Issues

How many different aspects are there to my relationship with Christ? Last month, I went over the passion, love, and desire that I need to have in my relationship with Christ. That was the Bridegroom/Bride relationship and it is one that I tend to neglect too much. This month, in honor of the harvest season and the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I'd check out the Vine/Branch relationship that I'm expected to have with Christ.

In John 15:5, Jesus states that "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." That's quite a statement, that apart from Him I can do nothing. I need to rely on Christ to provide the roots, the power, and the path through which I operate. I'm not a tree on my own; I'm working as part of His larger vine. We are working together to get things done for the glory of God. Thinking this way, I shouldn't be trying to do things on my own, and then try and fall back on Him when things get to be too much for me. He already told me that I can't operate that way; If I'm by myself, I don't have the lifeblood of the vine. It's not my job to provide the means to do the work of the Lord. I don't provide the sap; I just provide a place for the fruit to appear.

That brings me to the main duty I have in this relationship: to provide the fruit. I rely on Him to provide the means, but it's up to me to be fruitful. There are two aspects of fruit that I've found in the Bible. The first is the attitude, the fruit of the spirit found in Galations 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." If I've got the sap of the Lord running through me, these fruits will be easily seen in my attitude and how I react to life and its trials. I need to keep an eye out so that I act, and react in the manner befitting a proper branch of the Lord's.

The other type of fruit is the kind that provides more vines. All fruit is, is a wrapper for the seeds that create more vines. If I'm being the kind of branch I should be, I should be spreading the message of God's love, and providing more seeds for the Holy Spirit to work with. It's not my job to cause a new vine to sprout, but I'd better be doing my duty as a fruitful branch and getting those seeds to fall. Once again, I'm amazed at how wonderfully Christ fulfills his rolls, and appalled at how badly I perform at my own. It's time to work on my relationship issues.

Reflections from the Forge

I'm thinking about safety this month. Life is uncertain. The bible in Proverbs 27:1 says "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." Most would certainly agree with that verse. Just as life is uncertain, accidents surprise us from time to time. I have been burned a number of times because I left hot metal laying around in the wrong place and without thinking I tried to pick it up. You can't turn it loose fast enough to avoid a burn. Life has all kinds of surprises, some good and some not. Through it all Jesus will be our anchor if we allow him to be.

A Message from the Pastor

Greetings. I trust your September has gone well and we give God the glory. As you embrace each year, month, week, day, moment and opportunity, there are many options that compete for your time. You then must determine what is important and make you decisions accordingly. When considering what services are important at church, I want to ask you to accept this simple truth: You will not do anything more important than joining in with the Body of Christ to Pray. When you understand and accept this truth, your decision making process concerning Wednesday Prayer Meeting will be greatly simplified and automatically prioritized. Prayer Meeting is primary and not to be brushed off nor traded off for some other meeting.

Relationship Issues

How many different aspects are there to my relationship with Christ? I listed a few last month: Father/Son, Master/Servant, King/Subject, Shepherd/Sheep, and Vine/Branch. Over the next few months, I'm going to be taking each one and picking them apart so I can get straight how I should be acting and reacting in my complex relationship with my Savior and Lord. But last week in Bible Study, I thought about a 6th relationship aspect that I keep forgetting; that of Bridegroom/Bride.

The Song of Songs is a very passionate book that speaks of a very intimate relationship between the Lover and Beloved. Revelation 19 and 21 speak of the marriage of Christ and his bride, the New Jerusalem. We were talking about the passion that is shown in the Song of Songs by the Lover, how he earnestly seeks out his Beloved. When I think about the way a marriage relationship goes, Christ is the perfect Bridegroom. He sought us out with passion even when we were actively sinning against him. He knowingly died for us, and He is returning for us so that we can be with Him. He constantly forgives our sins, and continues to love us with all that He is. He never gets tired of spending time with us, and is always giving us gifts that we certainly don't deserve. Nobody can deny the passion that Christ shows us in everything He does for us.

On the opposite side, where is MY passion? What have I done for Him to show my love? Reading the passion filled passages in the Song of Songs has definitely shown me something I'm missing in my own life. Why don't I make more time to be with my Christ? He keeps knocking on the door to my heart and pleading to spend more time with me because He loves me so much. However, I don't seem to ever have the time to even pray, much less read His Word, or share His love with others. Why don't I feel desolate when I'm absent from His house when He makes it available to me? Why don't I delight over His Words to me? Why don't I even talk to Him when I'm given the chance? Why don't I talk about my Beloved Savior when I'm in conversation with others?

I think I'm a pretty sad example of a bride, and I need to fix this relationship soon so that it's not so one-sided. Looking at this relationship aspect, I'm not holding out much hope of being a better son, servant, subject, sheep, or branch. It's time for me to make things right with Him.

Reflections from the Forge

This month's subject is patience. Some aspects of metal work require a lot of patience. When using chisels and punches, one misplaced strike can ruin a piece. Sometimes you can save it but hopefully those situations can be avoided. It is the same with hammer blows. Some are more critical than others as far as placement is concerned. Patience is a virtue, very much needed in life. When things go wrong, patience will help us through the situation and we will make better decisions. We learn in Galations 5:22 that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It's hard sometimes, but with God's help we can be patient.

God Bless.

A Message from the Pastor

Greetings! As I write this Newsletter, I am still looking forward to the results of our community survey and to our church project work days. I will no doubt be talking about them in our next Newsletter.

Meanwhile, God continues to bless and keep us. Also, there are a number of things that call for our continued prayers. One of those is Pecks Church. Please, pray for all of our leaders, teachers, directors and workers. Ask God to protect them, guide them and to empower them. Also, thank God for all the workers who are faithful to serve Him here at Pecks. And please pray for me! I want and need your prayers.

As your Pastor, I ask you to especially pray for America, our homeland. She is dire need of conversion and revival. Conversion and revival are spiritual matters of the soul and these spiritual matters occur only by an act of God. Therefore, we must ask God to act, to move. Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior may the power of your Holy Spirit fall on this Land and yes fall on all of us! Amen.

Relationship Issues

Life is all about relationships; our friends, our family, our spouses, even our business relationships all have significant impact in our lives. In this world, it's often not what you know, but who you know that allows us to navigate through life. Out of all the many people that I know, it is the Lord Jesus that has impacted my life the greatest. It's also the most complicated relationship that I have. Others, I can put in a nice little relationship chart and know exactly what my duties and responsibilities are in the relationship. For example, when it comes to my manager, I know exactly what is expected of me as a coworker and underling and what I need to do to keep that relationship on good terms.

But with Jesus... wow. There are so many complex relationship issues at work that I often focus on one and lose sight of the others. So I have decided to do what I usually do when I'm confused. I write it out, organize my thoughts, and get it straight in my head. Also, it gives me something to write about.

So over the next few months, I'm going to try and outline all the many relationship responsibilities and duties I have toward my Savior and Lord. He manages to keep his side of the equation solid, so I need to get straight how I need to respond in kind. Here are a few of the different relationships I am looking at: Father/Son, Master/Servant, King/Subject, Shepherd/Sheep, and Vine/Branch. It's amazing how many different aspects there are to my relationship with my Lord, and I need to make sure to work at all of them.

Reflections from the Forge

First things first in life and in the shop. A lot of our activities need to be performed in the proper sequence for best results. At times it is easy to get the cart before the horse. In Luke chapter 14:16-24, Jesus tells a story of a man that prepared a great meal and invited many people. But they made all kind of excuses, why they couldn't attend. Today Jesus is inviting everyone to eternal life. Sadly, many are making excuses and will not accept. In the end, this will be all that really matters. In the shop, first thing is safety. There are so many ways to get hurt and ruin a good time. So, put God first and be safety minded.

A Message from the Pastor

Greetings! August has arrived and that means it is time for our annual mission trip. This time instead of going away on a mission trip, we are going to stay here and do a special project. Our special project will be to work on a number of items that need our attention here at Pecks Baptist Church. There are a number of maintenance issues that we need to address. The dates for our project here at church are August 29, 2012 to September 1, 2012.

I want to invite you to join in and help us with this project. We will as soon as possible post a list of the various projects that need attention. There will be a sign up sheet on the bulletin board for our projects so sign up. We will also need help with preparing meals on the 29th, 30th, 31st and possibly 1st. There will be a sign up sheet for preparing meals. If you can help with meals please sign up. As with our mission trips, you may also give to this project. You can make a check to Pecks Baptist Church and note that it is for Church Project 2012. If you give cash, note on your envelope - Church Project 2012.

Pray for us.

1st Pray for workers.

2nd Pray for guidance to plan and prepare.

3rd Pray for safety as we work.

4th Pray for completed projects.

Reflections from the Forge

In Exodus chapter 25, we read God's instructions to Moses concerning the furnishings for the tabernacle. In verses 18 and 31 the items are to be made of pure gold and "of beaten work." I use the King James version of the bible. I have never hammered gold or any of the precious metals, but I do feel a kinship to these skilled craftsmen of many years ago. Really, we all should because regardless of what we do, God can use our labor and skills to build his Kingdom today just as he did in Moses day.

God Bless

A Message from the Pastor

July 4th is the day Americans celebrate freedom. Freedom is an often used word that is often misunderstood. If Americans are going to keep our freedom, it is high time Americans better understood their Freedom. Consider these words from Virginia's own Patrick Henry.

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Reflections from the Forge

I have been told by some people that should know, that you will lose your blacksmithing skills if you don't use them. From my experience, I think there is some truth to that. Since most of us in the blacksmithing world are hobbyist, we spend varying amounts of time at the forge. In my case, hammer control seems to suffer if I neglect the forge. The opposite is true also. It improves with practice.

There is a parallel with faith in God. 2nd Peter 1:2&3 says "grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" Notice the word "knowledge" in those verses. We gain knowledge through bible study and preaching. Our faith will grow and witness for the Lord will be more effective as we learn more from His word. God communicates with us as we study his word. The opposite is also true. If we don't read the bible and attend worship services, our faith will erode and become shallow. So let's all strive to be "most effective" in our jobs, hobbies, and especially our faith.

A Message from the Pastor

Greetings, as May passes to June, let us not forget our celebration of Mother's Day and Memorial Day. Now as we enter June, we look forward to celebrating Father's Day. We thank God for all of the people that are so very important in our personal lives and in the life of our Nation.

We have two great events in June that are an excellent time to invite a friend, family or acquaintance to attend church. Sunday June 3rd is the time for our Sunday School picnic and starting the next Sunday June 10th, is Vacation Bible School for all ages. I encourage you to take every advantage of both events. I would also like to ask you to pray for those who are working in Vacation Bible School. Without our VBS volunteers, we could not have VBS. I am grateful for our director Terry Stinnette also each and every teacher and worker. I salute you and thank you. Support VBS at Pecks Baptist with your prayers and attendance.

Reflections from the Forge

We read in Acts 2, 3, and 4 how Peter and John really created a stir in their bold service to God. They were preaching Jesus, and people were being saved in great numbers. Well this wasn't pleasing to the priest and the established religious leaders who were very much opposed to Jesus. In Acts 4:13 these leaders took note that Peter and John had been with Jesus.

I think blacksmiths are a little bit like Peter and John, in that we have been influenced greatly by other smith's. We may not be like any one smith but I myself have picked up tips and techniques that I have used in some fashion from just about everyone I have seen do a demonstration. There is very little originality in my smithing and I feel that is the case with most everyone.

It would be great also to be touched and accept Jesus as Peter and John did.

A Message from the Pastor

Thank the Lord for the wonderful rain. The last few days we have had over 2" of rain and we needed the rain. Noting our need for rain, I am always reminded of our constant need for God's showers of blessing. Just as plants and animals need a steady supply of water, we also need a steady supply of God's touch and fellowship.

We have much to consider as we pray. I want to especially ask you to pray for the Presence of Power of the Holy Spirit at Pecks Baptist Church. We need the moving and working of the Holy Spirit more than ever. I believe when God's people get serious and cry out to Him, He will answer! Pray earnestly. As we look ahead, remember Vacation Bible School. Mark your calendars June 10-15. VBS needs you and your neighbors. Plan to attend and invite a friend.

Angel Beams

Sunshine is a glorious and wonderful thing. It is bright and warm at the same time, and necessary for sustaining plant and animal life here on our planet. Our God truly blessed us when He created the sun to provide warmth and light for this world. He also blessed us when He sent His only begotten Son to give us all the golden opportunity to join Him in heaven when our earthly journey is over.

The title for this inspiration comes from a family movie I saw recently where a little girl notices sunbeams coming through trees and completely surrounding her. She tells a companion that her grandfather related to her that each sunbeam is an angel sent from heaven to watch over everyone here on earth, hence the name angel beams. All I could think of after the movie was that my prayer for us all is that we are always surrounded by these "angel beams", especially on those days of cloudiness when the sun is hidden from sight, or when things may not be going very well in our daily lives.

Reflections from the Forge

When I shut my forge down at the end of the day, I usually pull the coal and coke out of the firepot and spread it out some. This will cause the fire to go out sooner and will preserve some coke for the next forging session. This has some spiritual applications as well. Just as the coal and coke has to be close together to produce much heat, we have to be close to God to reap the fruit of the spirit. James 4:8 tells us to draw closer to God. Also Hebrews 10:25 tell us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. So our spiritual strength can be greatly diminished if we separate ourselves from other Christians and neglect the things of God. May your fire burn bright, spiritually.

A Message from the Pastor

Some people across our Southern Baptist Convention are again suggesting that we should no longer use the name Southern Baptist. They argue the name Southern Baptist carries too much negative baggage and therefore want to change the name of our denomination. I believe we do not need to change the name of our denomination and I have several reasons, which I will address later. However, there is one name I would like to change - the name of the holiday that is quickly approaching - Easter. I would much rather call April 8, 2012 Resurrection Sunday than Easter Sunday. As a child, I could hardly harmonize the church people's fascination for eggs, chicks and rabbits. I mean on the one hand there was a claim to the great importance of the resurrection and on the other hand there was this noticeable excitement over rabbits, chicks and an Easter egg hunt. After all, folks had spent hours dying and decorating dozens of eggs. I just did not get it. I could say the same concerning the trappings of Christmas but Easter to me was much harder to correlate. Seems to me if the Resurrection is that important - WHICH IT IS - then why obscure that with a name that does not boldly communicate history's most important events - the cross and the empty tomb. I like Resurrection Sunday. Think about it. Because HE LIVES I can face tomorrow.

Reflections from the Forge

We usually get dirty and need some cleaning after a session at the forge. Ironwork is dirty work, but I love it. That is just part of it. I am reminded at clean up time as my hands start to come clean of the cleansing power of Christ. Isaiah 1:18 tell us "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Jesus can clean us up on the inside and it will show on the outside.

I do love my time in the shop regardless of getting dirty. I am also thankful for the cleansing that Jesus offers through his grace and mercy.

God Bless You

A Message from the Pastor

Someday I would like to go and spend several weeks in and around Lancaster, PA. The reason I want to go and stay a while is to spend as much time as possible with the Amish People. When I see photos of their farms and the countryside, the scenery is always so inviting. Their fields are always well kept and the barns are beautiful. I also want to watch them work. The Amish still do many farm task the "old fashion" way. The "old fashion" way captures my interest and draws me to take more than mere notice. Clearly, the Amish have done all of us a great service in that they preserve a common heritage. Our common heritage is something that we should not forget. What intrigues me about the Amish is not just keeping heritage alive but rather the reason the Amish live the way they do. The Amish are often ridiculed and called backward for living the old fashion way. Those who conclude the Amish are backward are grossly wrong. The Amish live the way they live for one reason and one reason only? The Amish are unashamedly living out their faith! The Amish are careful not to allow the world or culture to set the standard or pace for their life. Rather, they look to the Bible to set their standard and pace! Is not that the way it should be for God's people? Think about it. What or Who sets your standard and pace?? Go Amish.

Reflections from the Forge

Being creative is a necessary part of artist blacksmithing. I'm amazed at some people's ability to visualize things in a bar of steel. It truly is a gift. It definitely is not my strong suit. I struggle with it. Before we can make a piece, we have to visualize it in our mind. This is true in other fields as well.

The Bible tells us that God had a plan for Isaiah and Jeremiah when there were still in the womb. Look at Isaiah 49:5 and Jeremiah 1:5. They were to be God's servants. Just as the blacksmith can visualize the finished piece, God can see in to the future and he has plans for us all. Read the Bible and draw closer to God and he will reveal His will to you.

Thank you, and Be Creative!

A Message from the Pastor

The Love Month is here and you will probably see or hear a number of sights and sounds that involve something about love. What do we mean when we use the word love? The world has all sorts of definitions for love. In the world, there is a great deal of confusion when defining love. As Christians, we have a clear and unconfused definition of love. We simply turn to the Bible and there it is.

In John 3:16, we learn that love is what moved God to send His only Son to pay our sin debt on the cross that we might have everlasting life. Now, that is love! In Matthew 22:37, we are told that to love requires the greatest and best from all that we are. Matthew 22:39 tells us that love places our fellow man in the position to receive our best considerations. I Corinthians 13 tells us that love never fails. Amen! Read these Scriptures again and again and tell your heavenly Father "Thank You for Your marvelous love". Remember, In Christ every month is Love Month!

Keep Looking Up,

Pastor Bryan

Bible Study News

We have been having an exciting time with our new study into the books of Thessalonians. If you haven't been able to join in with us yet, now is the time to do it! We have plenty more study guides available; they are free to those that come. The format is a little bit like Sunday School but with less teaching, and a lot more conversing. We each read the section of scriptures for that week, and the study guides give some questions that relate to the scriptures. We pretty much sit around the table, eating snacks and discussing how the verses of scripture that we read can be used today. We then discuss the other scriptures that we picked the previous session to read, and then argue about what we want to read next. It sometimes comes down to a rock, paper, scissors contest to see who gets to pick our next scripture to read. So if you want to talk about what really matters, with those who understand and get excited about it, come join us on the First and Third Tuesdays of each month. You can even read a chapter or two in the scriptures beforehand, and tell us about it so that we can all join in and find something truly amazing in the Bible! I'm always looking for new insights into my favorite book.

Reflections from the Forge

As my pieces of scrap accumulate, I find myself searching for a piece that will work on something else. Sometimes I use scrap as a test piece when doing something for the first time. That is a good thing about forging iron; we can take a piece that is messed up and reforge, and make a nice piece.

God can work in our lives the same way, if we let him. We all need a little reshaping from time to time. He can take anyone and make a beautiful person no matter how messed up they are. We become a new creature in Christ, according to II Corinthians 5:17.

God Bless

A Message from the Pastor

Greetings and Blessings. We are already at the threshold of 2012. We welcome the New Year but we also take a few moments to recall 2011. We recall God's faithfulness to each and all of us. God's goodness is so easy to see when the redeemed recognize God's faithfulness. I am confronted with my own inconsistencies of mood and motion when I remember God's faithfulness. I have survived 2011 and arrived to see 2012 only because God is faithful. As I look to tomorrow and to all the unforeseen and all the unknown, I can look with confidence because I know that God is faithful. God has proven His faithfulness over and over. As a reminder to all of us, laugh, love, and live with confidence because God is faithful. I thank God for you!

Keep Looking Up,

Pastor Bryan

Reflections from the Forge

There is usually quite a transformation in ironwork before and after finishing. Sometimes I am not too pleased with a piece, but after brushing, sanding, and applying the finish, I feel better about it. II Corinthians 5:17 tells us that if we are in Christ, we are a new creature. Old things are passed away and all things are become new. We may not look any better, but we will have a changed heart and that will affect everything including relationships with people and God.

May you finish well

Reflections from the Forge

Tending to the fire is a very important chore for the blacksmith. It requires regular attention as you work at the forge. It has a tendency to burn hollow and shallow and its ability to heat the metal decreases in time.

Proverbs 19:23 starts out "The fear of the Lord tendeth to life and he that hath it shall abide satisfied." In some ways, life needs tending just like the forge. If we honor God and let his spirit guide us, he will tend to our lives. We will avoid some pitfalls and our quality of life will be better and more productive. We will be better prepared to face any situation or circumstance that comes into our life.

Love in Christ

Reflections from the Forge

Several years ago, I was asked to write a small article each month for the Blacksmith Club's newsletter. The article was to be about spiritual ideas and illustrations derived from blacksmithing. I thought the people of Pecks might be interested in this type of thing. Some might be inspired to write an article themselves. Blacksmithing is loaded with activity that can be used for spiritual illustrations. I imagine most crafts are.

Light from the forge varies from dim to very bright, depending on the heat desired for the task at hand. Light is mentioned in the bible a number of times beginning with Genesis. The bright light reminds me of Saul's conversion on the Damascus road (Acts 9). Jesus said in Matthew 5, "Ye are the light of the world." So I am reminded of my responsibilities as a Christian to let my light shine. How about you? Is your light shining?

Love in Christ