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Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

Hi Church!
Couple things to talk about as we approach Christmas.

First, a reminder that tonight is the ProtoStar Open House/Campfire. That begins at 6:30. The church is invited to the games, food and entertainment. Warning … it will be crazy.

Second, the Christmas Eve service does start earlier than usual since it is a Saturday. That begins at 6:00 p.m.

Third, our Christmas Day service begins at 10:00 a.m. We will feature some sort of video presentation as we usually do. The service will be a little bit different since it falls on a Sunday. It will feature a typical Sunday line-up, but in a much more relaxed mode.

We are taking the Retired Ministers + Missionaries Offering over the next two Sundays. Please pray about your level of participation. This offering makes a difference in the lives of the retirees.

Lastly, the Bees family will have an open house on Saturday, December 31 fro 5-8 p.m.

See you at some point over the next few days!
Blessings! and Merry Christmas!

Rev. Timothy Bees
First Baptist Church Of Dubuque
563-582-5088

A new message from “Nightlight International Ministries”

For more information go to www.nightlightinternational.com

Mothers.  And babies.  That’s what we’re seeing so far in 2016.

Many of the cases currently being managed by our anti-trafficking team involve women trafficked from other countries who are pregnant or have given birth in their time here. This is a new trend for us, and it has created new obstacles in the course of repatriations and transitional care.

The staff at our transition house is currently caring for 4 women and 4 children age 2 and under.  Needless to say, with that many babies at the house, many changes have taken place.  But our staff says that the children add so much fun and entertainment to their days.  We are using this time to help prepare the women not just for returning home, but also for thriving as mothers.  We recently had a pediatric nurse share with the women in care about nutrition, development and discipline.  Caring for small children definitely presents new needs, and we’re doing what we can to come alongside these mothers as they fight for their families.
 
Even in the midst of new challenges and witnessing many women in traumatic situations, we have already seen so many reasons for hope this year. Since January 1st, our anti-trafficking team has assisted 18 women and 8 children from Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Uzbekistan, Colombia and Thailand. Here is a glimpse into the life of one of these women, Juliet**.  She is not one of the women who has children here with her, but she is definitely a mother who is fighting for her children and for the future of her family.
Juliet traveled to Thailand from Liberia on her family’s final wages in order to start an international business buying and selling products for profit. Unfortunately, in her first days here she was jumped and all of her money was stolen. After a series of other events she landed under the control of a sex trafficker. Her passport was stolen and she was forced into prostitution while her trafficker pocketed what she made. What she had thought was an opportunity to make a better life for her family had quickly turned into a real life nightmare.
During this time, the Ebola virus broke out in Liberia, and Juliet’s parents died within a week of each other. Juliet’s two children, who her parents had been caring for, were sent to Kenya to escape the Ebola virus. After a considerable amount of time, Juliet was able to retrieve her passport from her trafficker with the help of a customer. But as she struggled to find a way to get to her children in Kenya, she was arrested by the immigration police here for having an expired visa.
Juliet currently has no home, no family, and no job to return to in Liberia. We are assisting her while she is detained at the Immigration Detention Center. We’re working with investigative partners on the case against her trafficker, striving to repatriate her and reunite her with her children, and trying to connect her with an organization in her home country that can continue to assist her as she fights to restore her life.
As we look at Juliet and others like her who we are currently serving, and others like her who have yet to accept our offers for help, our hearts are full of gratitude that we are here to walk with them.  To fight for them.  To stand in agreement with them as they fight for their families and cling to hope for the future.  The challenges are many and the needs are beyond what we can convey, but we serve the God of the impossible.  And we know He is fighting for these women and their children.  He is moving on their behalf, and it’s our great privilege to partner with Him.
Every time you pray for and give to the work here, you are helping to make possible our efforts on behalf of women like Juliet.  Repatriation assistance costs about $3000 per woman.  And with the number of women we meet through our outreach initiatives, funding for repatriations is one of our constant needs.  Would you consider standing with us today in this fight for freedom?  We are in need of both special gifts and regular monthly partnership to support our anti-trafficking efforts.  No person or organization could possibly see to all the needs the women here are facing, but when we work together we can make a great impact on the lives of women like Juliet and their children.

To give to our repatriation efforts, click the link below and select “Bangkok” and “Trafficked Women” on our donation page.

For Freedom’s Sake!

The NightLight Bangkok Team

**Name changed for privacy

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

Good Afternoon Church,
It’s November 1st this Sunday! We have only two months until the end of 2015! Wow!

This month is OCC, Gratitude Night, Thanksgiving, Try-Outs for our Christmas play and Advent begins on the last Sunday. Whew!

This Sunday we will worship around the text of Mark 12.28-34 which declares “the greatest commandment” and the Lord’s Table. If you have had a rough week there is nothing better than sharing in the elements of the table to get you back on track.

We will also have a Fellowship Meal after the worship service this Sunday. Please bring some food to share.

I have attached the current FBC@Home. This contains our weekly announcements and Bible readings. We are moving away from printing these so I will be sending this out each week and Dan will be posting it on our website as well. There will be some hard copies available at church.

Hey, have a blessed weekend and I hope to see you Sunday!

Rev. Timothy Bees
First Baptist Church Of Dubuque
563-582-5088

Weekly Update – 2/08

When the weather is inhospitable, there is an extra level of warmth that can be found in the sanctuary that seeps even deeper that the coldest winds can reach. It is one of the reasons that I missed being in worship together with you all last week. To come in this morning and hear from so many of you how much you missed worship last week was a lovely testament to the love you each have for the Lord and for spending time with the family of Christ.

I actually had the blessing of being able to worship with a Catholic friend of mine and her family so although I was able to be in church there were a number of differences from what our service would have been. One of those was not being able to participate in communion. It made serving and taking it today so much more poignant.

What a blessed privilege it is to have served today and for nearly 33 years in this way, at this church. It seems surreal that I have been a part of this congregation for so long.

God is Good

Take care,
Suzie

Weekly Update – 1/11

John 20:10-18 Sermon by Jim Ott, poorly typed and there for abridged version by Suzie.

Questions that Jesus asked is the topic for today.
Talking about this question that he has been thinking about. We know that Jesus uses stories to teach us. We can’t be in his stories, through the bible we can learn about it. Jesus asked lots of questions. Why did he do that?
He asks lots of questions. Why does he do that?
He asked who touched me? He knew.

Who are you looking for is something that he asked Mary at the empty tomb. Why?
Everyone is looking for Jesus, even if they don’t realize that is what they are looking for.
Even Mary looked for Jesus in a place he wasn’t. We too look for Jesus in the places where he isn’t.
Mary understood that Jesus’ body was in the tomb, nothing in her experience would have led her to believe differently. She went visiting a grave. Instead she found Jesus somewhere else – alive.
Mary went to the grave not to meet Jesus but to revisit his former self.
We look for Jesus to answer prayers. If they don’t get it, they decide to not believe in God.
This is a Santa Claus view of God.
During the Ebola crisis, one of the American doctors went to Africa and became ill. He got better and had a press conference. He said it was because he serves a God who answers prayers. Good testimony one side of the coin but what about those who prayed for healing and died.
We look for God in the answering of the prayers; but this is false teaching that causes many to stumble.
One single answer to prayer, every prayer. It is the same answer for everyone. It is – I AM.
God’s answer is I AM. Prayer is about relationship. It isn’t about getting what you want it is about being in relationship with God. It is communicating with our creator.
Jesus promises to be there. To always be there. I AM.

We deal with death, pain, debt, abuse, strife, and sometimes it leads to joy and happiness but through it all, there is I AM.
Where else do we look for satisfaction, what other false graves do we seek? What shadows, even good shadows do we seek.
Americans – achievement, employment, communication, reputation
We are addicted to getting things or acclaim and keep seeking things trying to be fulfilled but if it isn’t God that we are seeking, they will be unfulfilling. They will never be enough.
Fulfillment isn’t possible with individuals, in relations with other people or in responsibilities.
True of family too. May love being with your family. They can be great joy and yet and spouses have relationship struggles. Kids are wonderful and they can be exhausting. And as kids grow up, they begin seeking their own “gravesites” and watching them struggle hurts.
And for church people, going to church to find Jesus can be a mistake.
Sometimes seeking Jesus in a church can become an unfulfilling experience because people and their fallible good heartedness is here too. Legalistic things are a natural part of being an organization and so at times, unintentionally, we create barriers to relating God to each other or ourselves.
We create rules, and since the bible times, we fail to live up to them. Check it out the bible has lots of examples of rule breaking.
Kids sometimes don’t want to come to church because they realize they aren’t following the rules and they see that clearly when they are here.
And media, video games movies, phones we can’t put down. We seek to fill up our lives and media isn’t evil but it can be consuming and distract you from the life you could be living.
Like Mary, we can find ourselves missing the signs. Jesus said he would be back, she had just talked to angles and still she didn’t recognize Jesus because she didn’t expect him.
We live in a world that offers us temptations, when we give into the temptation, we then are unsatisfied, and then the world (like vultures) starts pecking at us with how it is not what you thought it would be.
We are all looking for Jesus.
When we Christians find unbelievers who are living more fulfilling lives than you have and that is very frustrating. The point is that we are seeking Jesus in the wrong places.
So what are the right places to find Jesus?
I am the fulfillment of the law.
Read the stories of Jesus in the bible.
Look for Jesus on the cross.
Look for Jesus in yourself.

When you find yourself crying outside the empty grave, look around you and you will discover Jesus is right beside you. All the time, he is there beside you.