From the Pastor – September 2023

           A bus zipping by the church office a few moments ago reminds me the summer is almost over.  By the time you read this, the children will be back in the classrooms and life will be settling into a more normal routine.  It is a time for beginning anew and rediscovering the rhythm of everyday life.  Over the coming days, we will resume various ministries of our church and look toward the formation of new ministry opportunities.  The fall is pregnant with possibilities and each of us should be eager to do his or her part to contribute to the health and future well-being of our congregation.  As I preached a few Sundays ago, we need each other and it will require all of us working side by side and heart to heart in order that the work of God’s Kingdom might unfold in Lucama.  With that being said, I wish to challenge you to be prayerful, encouraging, and even daring with your faith in order that we might have a favorable impact upon this community.  As I will often say in a closing worship prayer, and as one sister church states on their doors going out, “You are currently entering the mission field.”  We are a small, rural community, but people continue to need the Good News of Jesus.  In the words of Romans 10:14-15, the Apostle Paul states, But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’.”

            With the arrival of September, “Homecoming Sunday” is only a few weeks away.  It is always a special time when brothers and sisters in Christ can return home in order to celebrate God’s goodness, remember the saints who have gone before us, and share in table fellowship after the service.  We are looking forward to having the Reverend Ray Wells from Marsh Swamp Original Free Will Baptist Church proving our morning message.  Brother Ray has been recovering from a recent knee surgery, but he assures me he will be good to go on September 17.  With it being Homecoming Sunday, I hope you will take the opportunity to extend an invitation for others to join you in Sunday school as well as worship on that day.  However, I would also like to encourage you to do so even when it is not a special service or meal.  Statistics have shown the most effective form of evangelism is when laypeople take the time to invite others into the worship, discipleship, and service ministries of a church.  During the worship service, we will receive our weekly offering and I would like to encourage you to prayerfully give a little extra, if possible, to glorify God and celebrate the rich history and heritage of Little Rock.  Stewardship is vitally important to our health, growth, and outreach as a church, and, as stated earlier, it takes all of us sharing together to make the mission happen.

            In the opening paragraph, I expressed a desire for each of you to be prayerful when it comes to the ministry of our church family.  As has been written and spoken many times before, prayer is something which costs absolutely nothing, can be done by anybody, and makes a world of difference.  You may have noticed over the past few months the weekly bulletin includes a time for prayer at 9:45 between Sunday school and worship.  This opportunity to pray together is not limited to the deacons of the church and myself.  It is open to any and everyone who would like to join.  What do we do?  Pure and simple, we pray.  We do not go over the prayer list or discuss things happing within the church.  We invite the Spirit of God to permeate the worship service, to open our lives to the presence of God, and to anoint the service in order that God might be glorified in all things.  Do you have to pray an audible prayer?  That is completely up to you.  Each Sunday, we gather in the Deacons’ Room (behind the sanctuary) to be still, reflective, and present with God.  The prayers then flow naturally from this experience.  You might be surprised at the difference these few moments with God can make.  I know it has been meaningful for me so far and I hope you will consider joining in sometime soon!

            Looking toward the final third of 2023, please be mindful of the many opportunities we have on the horizon for you to worship, study, fellowship, and serve.  The first week of September will see the resumption of our weekly Bible study (Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m.) and the full Wednesday schedule (After School Program, supper, children and youth groups, and chancel choir practice).  We continue to need your support with these Wednesday ministries, so I hope you will give them prayerful consideration.  Our opportunity notebooks in the conference room continue to have openings and we greatly need your sponsorships to help with our weekly lawn care and housekeeping services.  You can sign up individually or partner with others in order to pay for these.  There is also a notebook for signing up to provide flowers during our morning worship services.  Our trustees will be needing assistance during the first part of September to prepare our grounds for Homecoming Sunday and you will be hearing more about the scheduling in the near future.  Please keep in mind the worship, Sunday school ministry, choir, Senior Adventures, Circles, UPWARD Sports, and other places where you might find a place.  In the event you cannot be with us in person, we have a variety of our services supplied through our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.  Just search for “Little Rock OFWB Church.”  Maybe you are not technology savvy.  If that be the case, take a moment to call someone who needs to hear a voice or send a note of encouragement to someone who is hurting.  There are many places where you can be used of God within Little Rock and, please keep in mind, we are better when we are together (not only physically, but also in Spirit).

May God Richly Bless You,

The Reverend Kelley Smart