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Happy New Year to our IARBC Family,

I am sitting in our family room, looking outside past our Christmas tree. A light snow is falling on a blanket of snow from earlier in the week. It is cold, but the wind is light (a nice change) making the dry snow swirl before it gently lands on the ground. It is absolutely beautiful. I no longer dream of a white Christmas, and I am very happy to have dry roads, but I have to admit I am thoroughly enjoying this winter scene that God has orchestrated. I do not pretend to understand the treasures of the snow, but I do praise the Lord for its beauty!

Of course Christmas is not really about snow; it is about the incarnation of the Son of God, when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. It is about the coming of a Savior who is Christ the Lord, Emmanuel, who is God with us. It is about the good news of great joy that would be for all people. For us as believers, Christmas is first and foremost about Jesus, born of a virgin, and then laid in a manger. It is about Jesus who was revealed to the humble shepherds, then visited and worshiped by the wise men from the east. They gave Him gifts that were worthy of a king. Christ Himself was a gift from the Father to a sinful and needy world. Although “commercial” Christmas (as Dr. Kevin Bauder puts it in his recent Nick of Time article) can easily usurp the true meaning of Christmas, giving and receiving gifts can have a rightful place in our observance of Christmas.

For our family, it has worked to celebrate Christmas, complete with the exchanging of gifts, over New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Some of the details have changed over the years, but some traditions are pretty deeply ingrained and are not to be trifled with. One of these traditions is stocking stuffers. For some reason Sandy & I bought Christmas stockings for each member of our family at K-Mart. I guess we liked the way they looked and they were reasonably priced. Though uniquely different, each of them has a similar look. As family members were added through marriage and the birth of grandkiddos, each received their own (K-Mart) Christmas stocking complete with their name in gold glitter puffy paint across the “fur” at the top. At times extra stockings would be purchased in advance just in case there were more grandchildren and spouses along the way as we never knew from year to year how much longer we could find stockings at K-Mart. The adults had the privilege of writing their own name on their stockings with puffy paint and we typically made a big deal out of it. To some degree, it was another way to say they were now family. Two Christmases ago, when Amy (our youngest daughter) and Christopher were getting pretty serious, Sandy & I decided to give him a provisional stocking. There could be no puffy paint as there was no ring yet (though it was not long before they were engaged), so Sandy put Christopher’s name on his stocking in block letters using blue painters tape. The stocking was put away after Christmas…until their wedding day. At their wedding reception, Christopher tore off the blue painters tape, and ceremoniously wrote his name in puffy paint on his Christmas stocking. Their daughter Addie has her own (K-Mart) stocking now and is celebrating her first Christmas with all of us. We will exchange stocking stuffer gifts in a couple of days.

Christmas has its traditions. We all have our ways of celebrating, and I think giving can play a meaningful role in our
Christmas traditions. Giving that is driven by gratitude for the rich blessings that we have in Christ. We all have so
much to be grateful for…

Grateful for the salvation we have in Christ.
Grateful for lives that are transformed by the Gospel.
Grateful for the privilege of serving the Lord.
Grateful for God’s grace, sovereignty, and His provision, even in the face of sorrow and grief.
Grateful for our family.
Grateful for the the ministries that God is using for the cause of the Gospel.
Grateful for the people that mean so much to us in life and ministry.

There are so many more but I want to focus on the last one. People that mean so much to us in life and ministry.

One such person, for me, is Brenna Capon.

Not only is she a wonderful daughter-in-law, she is a wonderful help to me and to our IARBC family of churches as our IARBC Administrative Assistant. Her husband, Danny, is the pastor of Grandview Park Baptist Church in Des Moines and together they serve the Lord there. She is a good and godly wife and mother. She is a faithful servant of the Lord who loves people and who loves our churches. God has gifted her in so many ways and she willingly uses what God has given her to serve Him. She is pretty tech-savvy (for which I am very grateful) and knowledgeable about finances and bookkeeping. She is a very good editor and information gatherer which is a big help with managing our website and posting Inside Iowa email updates. She is extremely efficient, and as such, is always looking for a better, quicker, more affordable way to do things. She might say otherwise, but I think she is very creative. She is a hard worker and doesn’t give up until she figures things out. This might be the math teacher in her, but, in any event, it is true.

However, sometimes the work load is more than one person can handle, so I am also grateful for Sadie Hatting. She is a faithful member of Grandview, a good friend of Brenna, and a great help with mailings, printing projects, and many other administrative tasks. She is responsible, capable, and a delight to work with.

I imagine Brenna and Sadie to be like the people the apostle Paul commended in his letters as fellow workers and co-laborers in the Gospel. It is not a stretch to say that I could not do what I need to do without them. They are an incredible blessing to me and to our IARBC family of churches. I am grateful to God for them and I wanted to let you know a little about them and what they do to serve the Lord through serving our IARBC.

Christmas…

A time to reflect on the incarnation of the Son of God.
A time to spend with family & friends.
A time observe some traditions.
A time for giving.
A time for being grateful.

Thanks for your prayers, words of encouragement, financial support, and for the opportunity for Sadie, Brenna, Sandy, and me to serve the churches of the IARBC.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year,

Tim, Sandy, Brenna & Sadie

“Because of your partnership in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5)

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Merry Christmas to our IARBC family,

Every year Sandy & I send out a good number of Christmas cards. It is a pretty big project and it takes a bit of time to complete. But we like doing it as it is one way of staying connected with many of the people that the Lord has brought into our lives. And it reminds us that life and ministry is about people. That was the thought that the Lord brought to mind as we worked together to get our cards ready to send out…people.

 

People that have enriched our lives.
People that have been a blessing to us.
People that we have serve alongside of in ministry.
People that have responded to the gospel and have grown in the Lord.
People that we know who we believe still need the gospel.
People that are family… saved and unsaved alike.
People that we know through our own local churches settings.
People that partner with our IARBC in ministry.
People that have served the Lord well for a long time.
People that serve our IARBC fellowship in many and special ways.

 

And all of that makes us think about all of you who follow us in our life and ministry. You see, this Inside Iowa email update is another way to stay connected with people that mean so much to us. Our occasional Across Iowa articles, like this one, are a way for Sandy & I to stay connected with you all as well. We love sharing with you what God is doing in, through and among our IARBC churches. We love communicating with you in a way that we trust will inform, instruct and inspire you in your walk with the Lord. We love what we do, what God has called us to do. And all of these blessings have their root…their meaning in the Person and work of Christ on our behalf.

It really is because of Him and it really is all about Him.

Because of Christ…

We have a salvation that is rich, free, life-changing, and eternal.
We have blessings that are almost too numerous to name (see Ephesians 1-3).
We have a message, the gospel, that is still what people need the most.
We have a partnership in ministry through our IARBC family of churches.
We have rich fellowship with one another in and among our local churches.
We have an obligation, and also opportunities, to serve one another.
We have the indwelling Spirit who teaches us, comes alongside of us, enables us, and so much more.
We have access to our Heavenly Father, and answers to prayer according to His will.

 

I could go on, but you get the idea. We are richly blessed, and we thank God for all we have in Christ. And this would include the opportunity to serve our IARBC family of churches. All because God gave us His Son.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
(2 Cor. 9:15)

God bless and have a Merry Christmas,

Tim & Sandy

“Because of your partnership in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5)
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Dear IARBC Family,

I just finished reading 2 Corinthians and have moved on to the book of Galatians. For my personal Bible reading I have been using a “larger” print Bible that was given to me by my family for my 60th birthday, almost three years ago. I love the Bible and I love this Bible. Inside the front cover are all the birthday greetings from Sandy, our children, their spouses, and our grandkiddos. I believe they call it a Heritage Bible or something like that with a very soft, chocolate brown cover. It feels nice in the hand and lays nice and flat when opened. Of course the most important thing is that it is God’s Word, it is mine, and I can read it any time I want to. What a contrast to the time of the early church when the NT canon was not yet complete and Paul’s letters were circulated among the churches. The eunuch in Acts 8 had a copy of at least Isaiah 53, but that would have been an exception. What did it cost him? Where did he get it? I remember not that long ago our church purchasing a box of soft cover, whole Bibles for $1.50 each. I think it would be fair to say that with such availability, and even variety, we should be good stewards of the Scriptures to faithfully read and study them on our own. And be faithful to our local church where we can sit under the teaching & preaching of the Word to be edified and equipped for life and ministry.

Now back to the book of Galatians. Paul always begins his letters with a greeting. And sometimes, like genealogies, it is easy to move quickly through them to get to the meaty stuff. I have done that before, but I think it is a mistake. All Scripture is “profitable” and that would include the greetings, including this one which I think is quite meaty. There were several things that caught my attention, but one thing stood out during this reading, “To the churches of Galatia”. I suppose it is because of our ministry among the churches of the IARBC, but I have been noticing a very common pattern in the NT:

NT churches were autonomous under the headship of Christ, and

NT the churches worked together for the cause of the Gospel.

They helped each other settle doctrinal matters (Acts 15).

They sent & supported missionaries (Paul’s missionary teams).

They circulated letters written by Paul (Col. 4:2, Gal. 1:2).

They received instruction from the Lord Himself (letters to the 7 churches in Rev.).

They collected and sent offerings to help other believers (2 Cor. 8-9).

Sandy and I thank God for our local church family, Grandview Park Baptist Church. We love them and love being with them. We are out among the IARBC churches most Sundays, but we do make it a priority to be with our GPBC family on Wednesdays. We also love our IARBC family of churches. Each of them autonomous under the headship of Christ, yet committed to working together for the cause of the Gospel. We enjoy the blessings of wonderful fellowship, meaningful ministries, mutual encouragement, and edification. To God be all the glory for these things!

AREA/REGIONAL FELLOWSHIPS:

There are 9 area/regional fellowships in our IARBC. The pastors meet regularly to engage in ministry together, encourage and edify one another, and enjoy meaningful fellowship. I have been invited to attend several of these area fellowships this fall and have enjoyed each one of them. During the Christmas season some of them get together for a Pastors and Wives Christmas dinner. Sandy and I were invited to join two of them this year, one of them in Creston and one of them in Pella. We met at local restaurants, rejoiced over the wonder of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and left greatly encouraged by our time together. I thank God for these area fellowships!

IN THE CHURCHES…

Knoxville (Faith Baptist Church, Pastor Joshua & Alana Spencer)

On Saturday (12/2) we drove to Knoxville to attend a celebration and building dedication at FBC of Knoxville. When Pastor Spencer arrived last year as their new pastor, the upstairs of the building addition from a few years ago (entry way, kitchen, and fellowship area) was unfinished. Under his faithful leadership, the faithful giving of the people of FBC, and through God’s faithful provision this area was recently finished! It looks fantastic! We were invited to join them for this special celebration and rejoiced with them in what God had done in and through them. The food was amazing, the fellowship was encouraging, and there was great excitement that God will continue to build His church in Knoxville. I enjoyed good company over lunch with Pastor Ron VanderHart (retired from Adelphi Calvary Baptist Church in Runnells and currently on our Pulpit Supply List) and Pastor Mike Craighead (former pastor in Pella at Berean Baptist Church & currently serving as interim pastor at Indianola Regular Baptist Church),and with others from the church as well. Pastor Spencer’s desire is for the church to have an effective outreach to the people in Knoxville, and he is excited about what God will do in and through the church family.

Norwoodville (Norwoodville Baptist Church, Pastor Phil & Kayla Kramer)

The church is located in the NE corner of Des Moines, west of Altoona, east of I-235 and just south of I-80 so it was a short drive from our home in Ankeny to the church last Sunday morning. Pastor Phil taught the adult SS lesson from Ezekiel, and preached from Acts 10 during the morning worship service. It was great to see them again in their local church, to meet the church family, and also to connect with the Faith students who have made NBC their church home while at Bible College. They sang as a group for the worship service, asked us what being the IARBC State Rep. is all about, and spent time visiting so we could get to know them better. Sandy knew the students from her work as the Dean of Women at FBBC, but it is always great to see them in the context of their local church.

CHURCHES IN TRANSITION…

Adel (Rapids Street Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor

Fairfield (Faith Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor

Wall Lake (Wall Lake Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor

Slater (Slater Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor (Miles Grismore-interim)

Reinbeck (First Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor

Floris (Floris Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor

Danville (Faith Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor (Dan McClure-interim)

Marshalltown (Center Street Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor (Don Michaelsen-interim)

Algona (Hillcrest Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor

Perry (First Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor

Fort Dodge (Faith Baptist Church) – Seeking a pastor

Shell Rock (First Baptist Church) – Closing (BCP Church Care helping)

NEW PASTORS…

Indianola (Indianola Regular Baptist Church) – Pastor Ross & Renee Swope

Waverly (Horton Baptist Church) – James & Desiree Livingston (Associate)

OTHER MINISTRY CONNECTIONS…

GARBC:  I currently serve on the GARBC Council of 18, and the National Representative Search Committee. I spent 3 days during November at the GARBC Resource Center in Arlington Heights, Illinois for our Council of 18 Fall Board meetings.

MFC:  Men for Christ will celebrate its 20th anniversary this winter. I enjoy serving on the MFC Board with these men from different threads of Baptist fundamentalism. The annual MFC rallies rotate between Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. To do something special for the 20th anniversary, it was decided to have the 2018 MFC Rally at our Iowa Regular Baptist Camp! It will be a 3 day rally this time (instead of the usual 2 day rally) from March 22-24, 2018. We have a new website for you to check out which includes a place to register online. Make plans now to attend this special MFC Rally. Dr. Bob Jones III will be one of the main speakers. You will also like to know that the two most recent Board Members are Pastor Dean Graber (former IARBC pastor) and Pastor Joshua Huang (Associate Pastor in Cottage Grove, MN). Pastor Joshua is from Faith Baptist Church in Mason City, and helped us to develop our new MFC website.

Well, that’s enough for now. More to come soon to get caught up with things.

Thanks again for praying for us and for encouraging us in our ministry. We love what we do and we are grateful for what God is doing in and through our churches.

God bless and Merry Christmas,

Tim & Sandy

“Because of your partnership in the gospel”  (Phil. 1:5)

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