Michael Nichols Memorial Service and Concert

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Jackson County has lost an outstanding musical ambassador, whose career and community involvement have touched the lives of many residents. The event will take place at 2 PM on Saturday, March 2, in the sanctuary of Sylva First Baptist Church. Several ensembles will present music in honor of Mike’s memory, representing some of his interests. The tributes will include the Sylva Bells, the Carolina Consort, the Christian Harmony Singers, a solo by life-long friend, Diana Fisher, and a choir drawn from the memberships of the Sylva FBC Sanctuary Choir, and the Western Carolina Community Chorus. The public is cordially invited to attend. A reception will follow in the Mission and Fellowship Center, where the family will greet friends.

A Note from Blue Ridge Health

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Dear Faithful Friends:

Pat, a recent widow; Kenna, a bouncing baby girl; Pamela, a cancer survivor… and many others… live, work, attend school and have brighter smiles because of your thoughtful donation to Blue Ridge Health. Thank you so much for your kindness and this special Christmas Offering!

On behalf of all our patients, we thank you.

Most sincerely,
Richard Hudspeth
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Medical Officer

CBFNC Workshop Titles

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Don’t miss out on this year’s workshop titles. Learn about pressing issues facing ministry today, learn strategies and share resources.

Check out these highlights, and click here for a full list of workshops!

Don’t miss out – register today! For full event details, visit www.cbfncag.com

Ministry in the Age of Polarization
Moderated by Pastor Lee Canipe. Panelists include NC Ministers J. Daniel Day, Jeff Mathis, Emily Hull-McGee and Timothy Peoples.

Beyond Prayers: Practical Methods for Supporting Mental Health in your Congregation
Jenny Lee, Director of Youth and Christian Education, First Presbyterian, Sanford; Daniel Maurer, Health Psychologist, Army Medical Command Health Psychology, Fayetteville

Church Safety and Security: Planning that Springs from Faith
Paul Raybon, Partner, Barnabas Partnership, Asheville and Associate Pastor, Hominy, Candler

#churchtoo: Resourcing Your Congregation on the Issue of Clergy Sexual Abuse
Pam Durso, Executive Director, Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, GA

The Amazing (and Sometimes Shocking) Story of Baptists in North Carolina
Lydia Hoyle, Associate Professor of Church History and Baptist Heritage, Campbell University Divinity School, Buies Creek

Remain in Love with the Letters of John
Alicia Myers, Associate Professor of New Testament Greek, Campbell University Divinity School, Buies Creek

Eco-Theology in the New Testament
Jim McConnell, Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity, Boiling Springs

True Life

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Sonat had been a 13 year old boy when CBF field personnel came to his village to learn his language. Later, a Korean CBF partner church provided scholarship funds for Sonat and some of his friends to become some of the first college graduates from the “B" people group.

While in college, Sonat and those friends helped with the Bible translation, although he did not fully trust Christ until after the New Testament was printed in 2015. The New Testament, pictured above, is titled "True Life," since there are no words for "Bible" or "New Testament" in the B language.

More recently, the tiny B church decided to dub the Jesus Film into their language. Sonat was very excited. In a recent text to CBF field personnel, he wrote:

“Over the past few days I’ve helped with the Jesus Film recording. I’ve been amazed, feeling the power of God at work during the recording. God has helped us to read our lines with emotion, like real actors. That’s hard for us, since none of us have done anything like this before. But God has been with us all the way.”

Please pray for Sonat and the other B people, both Christians and pre-Christians, as they finish the Jesus Film recording.

- Field personnel serving in Southeast Asia

Did You Know?

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United Christian Ministries is celebrating its 30th year of serving Jackson County folk who have many needs. Let us help with the celebration by donating “30 Somethings”. Use your imagination – 30 rolls of toilet tissue, $30, 30 pounds of potatoes, etc. Work together with your Sunday School class, or your mission group, or the choir, or the staff. Let Tia know what you have done so it will be acknowledged as a challenge to others. In March fill the UCM donation box with “30 Somethings”.

Raising the Roof Campaign

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We only need about 55 more squares of shingles if it takes 60 squares of shingles for our roof!

Our fundraising goal is $50,000 which includes $30,000 for a new roof, $8,000 to repair wall and $12,000 for Buildings and Grounds to use for windows or boiler repair.

Upcoming fundraising projects planned are:

  • Talent Show in April. Please pickup an entry form in office.

  • Selling plants, bakery goods and handcraft items at Greening of the Mountains April 27. So, please divide your plants and make some items to sell.

  • Etiquette classes for 12 years and up in May.

  • Yard Sale in May. Start saving your items. All good clean items accepted except clothes. We will take only jeans in all sizes and children’s clothes and shoes size twelve and under.

Guardian Ad Litem Volunteers

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Guardian ad Litem is recruiting volunteers in Jackson County! Guardian ad Litems (GALS) are court-appointed volunteers who serve abused and neglected children in the NC court system. GALs conduct independent investigations and advocate for the best interests of the child. A Guardian ad Litem serves as a child’s voice in court. If you have interest in becoming a volunteer and advocating for children, please visit volunteerforgal.org for additional information or contact Shannon Cowan at (828) 587-2087.

‘Loving Kindness’ Online

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Increasingly, we find ourselves spending more and more time online. That is, much of our day to day life is spent in text message conversations, on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or on apps that connect us with news, sports stories, and pop culture gossip. 

The rules of engagement are different when we are online as opposed to the ‘real world’ that we eat, sleep, and breathe in. This is a curious distinction, but we’ve all come to acquiesce to it. We’ve all heard the story of the individual who was confronted because of her caustic posts and mean-spirited comments on social media. When asked if she would say those things publicly, she replied, “Heavens no! I’d never say that to someone. That would be terribly rude.”   

There is a sense that our behavior online somehow doesn’t count and that we are invisible and immune from the accountability we might have in our more direct experience with friends, family, or co-workers. Not only is this patently untrue—our online habits do count and can be especially costly—but the stakes of our online presence may be even higher than our physical encounters with others. 

We know that loving kindness means that we shouldn’t punch someone on the sidewalk. Why would we think it’s okay to do that in a text, or on Facebook, or in a reply to someone’s post?  

Here are a few rules for how we can ‘Love Kindness’ when we’re online:  

1.) If you wouldn’t say something from the pulpit to our congregation then you’d best not say it online. 

Regardless of what platform you’re on, recognize that your ‘likes,’ your ‘hearts,’ and your ‘thumbs ups’ carry the same power and influence than if you said them with a bullhorn on the street corner during Sylva’s downtown festival, ‘Greening Up the Mountains.’ 

2.) If you find yourself choosing your words carefully in a text or an email, consider erasing the message and arrange to have a conversation. 

Yes, I know how hard this feels. But without question, face-to-face dialogue is preferred to a late-night, monster-long text message. We were built and wired to see one another, to feel the effects of one’s words on another, to read one another’s body language, and to commit to being present rather than giving in to temptation and ‘ghosting’ someone with our silence and avoidance. 

3.) Recognize that social media is a poor vehicle to discuss and to debate politics and hot-button issues. 

Simply don’t do it. Although it can be delightfully entertaining, that doctored photo or cleverly constructed meme does not do justice to someone’s personal experience or the power and effectiveness of one’s argument. The problems and challenges we face cannot be accurately addressed in a 5-word catch-phrase, or highlighted graph that seeks to shame or demonize the opposition. Can you imagine if the early church has tried to grapple with their significant differences online? Church leaders met for days, weeks, months, and yes, even years to come to places of understanding and consensus. Your re-posted image that feels deliciously spot-on will not create any breakthroughs on the major issues of the day.  

4.) Consider the fact that some of your friends and followers on social media may have muted or unfollowed you. 

If you haven’t heard from someone online in some time, be reflective of the fact that your online behavior may have damaged trust in your relationship. Take stock of your online activity and consider the effect it has on other people.  

5.) Be wary of the addictive power that our devices and their content can have on us. 

As one online source suggested, “If an online space makes more money the more time you spend on it, use it sparingly.” Be aware that our near-universal access to content can have tremendous impacts on ourselves and the people we love. Likewise, choose very carefully that which you will choose to follow and that to which you will choose to be exposed.  

6.) Use your mind. 

Bring your critical thinking skills to your online engagement. Recognize that there are almost certainly two sides to every comment, every story, every image, and every perspective. If a solution or verdict is too easily reached, be suspicious. And certainly, be wary of re-posting or recirculating something online that will inflame rather than soothe.  

7.) Give people the benefit of the doubt. 

In the silence of your social media binging it can be easy to judge and to criticize others. We see but a glimpse—typically carefully crafted, at that—into people’s lives and it’s tempting to create false narratives and to render a judgement that is unwarranted and unkind.  

8.) Never respond in anger. 

As the Bible makes clear, feeling anger is not a sin. Ephesians 4:26, however, reads: “Be angry but do not sin.”  No good will ever come from texting, emailing, or posting when we are angry about someone or something. Recognize when you are angry and what you are angry about. Then, respond in a kind, merciful, and loving way.  

9.) Be reflective. 

Many of the people we encounter online are hurting. Many of the sources we consult are broken and are seeking to tear down others. One of the most Christ-like things we can do is to show kindness to those who are unkind and to love the unlovable. We do this by showing restraint and by not allowing ourselves to be baited or hooked into responding hastily in a shaming or bullying manner. As followers of Christ, we are called to be a blessing to this world and to one another.   

And finally, consider this. Having mercy in an online world may mean choosing not to respond or even to participate at all. God’s command that we have mercy may mean striving to strengthen our relationships with others by spending more of our physical time with them. God showed us mercy by drawing close to us in Christ Jesus. The technology we enjoy today can be a great gift to us in any number of circumstances. But it can also create space for us to be our worst selves. Being aware of this reality is a good first step in having mercy…online, or otherwise.