Coming Up at Parc 1000...

There are some upcoming EA Partnership ministry opportunities at Parc 1000. We’re excited about these opportunities and hope you will be part in some way as we work together to be intentionally and incarnationally involved with the nations in our own backyard.

parc 1000 partnership.jpg

UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES INCLUDE:

  1. ESL, or English as a Second Language, is a huge open door. One of the overwhelming things expressed when we did the survey was the desire for help with learning/mastering English. In many cases, it is the kids doing most the communicating because the adults are not yet comfortable with English. One of the ways that the EA team is finding to be incredibly effective is 1-on-1 English as opposed to classes. Many refugees desire an American friend, and meeting with folks in their homes to teach them English means we also gain insight into others areas of ministry and relationship. Training in ESL will be offered at Parc 1000 on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 2:30-5pm. If you’re interested, please let us know for more details.

  2. A Work Day at Parc 1000 is on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10am. Meet at Apt. 38E. There are many “working-with-your-hands” things that can be done in and around both our apartment (38E) and the apartment that has been given for afterschool ministry. In addition, there may be other maintenance things that can be done for residents or the complex. If you are interested in being part of a Work Day, please let us know.

  3. We will be facilitating a Christmas Party for refuge families on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Parc 1000. Time is not yet determined. The Party will involve games, activities, a Christmas program, music, and more. It will be an opportunity to not only introduce refugees to Christmas in America and share the true meaning of Christmas, but also to build relationships with residents. Details are being worked out, but there are 2 ways you can be involved. One will be to participate (families encouraged to do so together) on the day of. The other is to contribute items for Christmas Gift Bags. We are going to provide a Christmas Gift Bag (a simple and practical drawstring bag instead of a shoebox) to each child who comes to the party and registers instead of doing shoeboxes with Operation Christmas Child this year. We are asking each family to provide items from the following list in bulk. Bags will be purchased in bulk via our EA Ministry Fund so they are all the same size. We are looking for the following new items (starred items are highly desired):

  • *Stuffed toy animals

  • *Deflated Soccer ball with manual pump

  • *Winter cap and scarf

  • *Mittens/gloves

  • *Hair bows and barrettes

  • *Socks

  • *School supplies

  • Water color sets

  • Coloring books

  • Necklace/bracelet/earrings

  • Watch

  • Jump rope

  • Puzzles

  • Kickball with manual pump

  • Dress up crown/shoes

  • Small etch-a-sketch

  • Small purse

  • Nail clippers

  • Washable nail polish

  • Small action figures

  • Small Dolls

  • Toothbrush and paste

  • Band-Aids

You can start bringing items immediately. There is a collection station set up outside the sanctuary near the Prayer Room. As more details are worked out, we will let you know.

An organizing meeting for the Christmas Party will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9-11am in the FACT Fellowship Hall. If you are planning on being part of the party, please make every effort to be part of this meeting.

If you would like to be part of one (or more) of these opportunities, click here and let us know via the form.

ONGOING OPPORTUNITIES INCLUDE:

There are also ongoing opportunities you can be part of:

  • Prayer Walking at Parc 1000 on Tuesdays

  • Praying for Parc 1000 residents and ministry in general

  • Giving to the FACT Envision Atlanta Ministry Fund that goes to fund the apartment and ministry initiatives. This is a special fund that is not part of the regular General Fund Budget at this time. Above and beyond special gifts can be given online or vision cash/checked marked Envision Atlanta.

  • Helping with the monthly Mobile Thrift Store on the 4th Saturday of each month.

  • ESL Ministry individually or with a group.

More opportunities will be developed in the months to come.

Thank you for being part of ministry together at Parc 1000 with Envision Atlanta. May the Lord bless these efforts and open doors of ministry as we are faithful in reaching our “Samaria.”

The Search Is On

First Alliance is currently searching for an individual to fill the role of Lead Pastor.

IMG_2128.JPG

In March 2018, our current senior pastor, Scott, announced that his time of ministry at First Alliance would be concluding within the next 12 months. This was after he had spent time working with the leadership team to develop a transition protocol to guide us through a pastoral transition and prevent the loss of momentum in the process.

The first part of that was to take time to look at the health of the church through conversations, prayer, and surveys. From that, a team of people was able to develop a profile of what it was felt the next lead pastor should look like in light of where God is leading First Alliance Church.

From that, the Elders developed a profile and ministry description, and we are currently actively seeking the man whom God has to fill the role of Lead Pastor as part of a Ministry Team focused on leading, equipping, and making disciples who connect to Christ, grow with others, and engage the world.

Listed below is an overview of what we are looking for:

First Alliance Church of Toccoa, GA (FACT) is looking for the person who is called of God to serve as the lead pastor of our ministry team, consisting of a full-time pastor of discipleship and administration, a full-time youth pastor, and part-time worship and visitation pastors. We are driven by our vision of becoming a spiritually mature community of believers, fully committed to completing the Great Commission in partnership with others locally and around the world. Our primary focus is making disciples who connect with Christ, grow with others, and engage the world.

Our congregation is multigenerational with a solid core of long-term members combined with more recent growth of younger families and millennials. The average worship attendance of about 350 includes 23% aged 18 and under. Approximately 70% of adults are engaged in small groups or various forms of ministry in the church. We have a strong youth program as well as AWANA for the children, and a spacious Family Life Center. There are many missionary families in the church, and the church has a history of outstanding support for the GCF. In accordance with Acts 1:8, we are also endeavoring to reach our Jerusalem and Judea through local discipling communities. Find out more at our website, https://www.firstalliancetoccoa.com .

We envision the following abilities of the man who can provide the leadership we are seeking:

  • Promote and encourage the making of Disciples.

  • Model a godly life consistent with the Scriptures.

  • Have a shepherd’s heart readily apparent to the body, manifested through corporate and individual instruction, counseling, admonition, visiting the sick, and intercessory prayer.

  • Equip the Elders, Administrative Board and other Lay leadership to develop mature disciples to do “the works of service.” (Ephesians 4:12)

  • Dynamically proclaim the whole counsel of God with content, organization and freedom under the leadership of the Holy Spirit in such a way that people are led to a deep and thorough understanding of the Word of God and moved to apply it in daily life as a disciple.

  • Provide leadership by working within the Ministry Team and Elders in the refinement and implementation of God’s vision for First Alliance Church of Toccoa.

  • Lead FACT in establishing God-inspired and Spirit-led goals for ministry direction.

  • Work in unity with local churches and ministries to have an impact in Stephens County.

  • Champion Evangelism and Missions both home and overseas.

  • Encourage private and corporate prayer and lead by example in these areas.

Essential personal characteristics of the lead pastor include: an infectious and deep relationship with Christ, spiritual gifting for ministry, passion for the lost, a Spirit-filled life, warmth and friendliness, humility, relatability, self-control, a pursuit of holiness, non-authoritarian leadership style, and cultural sensitivity.

Desirable background should include at least a BA degree from an accredited school with 30 hours of Bible, theology, and ministry credits; ordination in the C&MA; agreement with the C&MA Statement of Faith; acquaintance with the values, polity and ministry commitments of C&MA churches; fruitful ministry of at least 10 years (including time as a lead pastor, preferably involving multi-staff experience), and possibly cross-cultural exposure. A full profile of desired strengths is available upon request.

If you, or someone you know, would be a potential candidate, please follow the following steps to express your interest.

Applications must be made to the District Superintendent, Rev. Michael Noel at 10801 Johnston Rd., Suite 125, Charlotte, NC 28226-4490. The email address is office@saalliance.org and the phone number is 704-543-0470. If approved by the district office, applications will be passed through to the local congregational elders for evaluation. This position is open currently and applicants should be available immediately for consideration.

Celebrating New Life

On Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 in during the services at First Alliance Church, five people were baptized, publicly signifying their identity in Christ and commitment to follow Jesus as a disciple. They are:

baptism names wide copy.jpg

Nikki Bladowski

In the summer of 2016, Sofia asked me to go to Bible School. Two college students came and spoke to us about Zacchaeus, who climbed up a tree just to see Jesus because he was too short. He did whatever he could just to see Jesus. Even though nobody liked Zacchaeus, Jesus still loved him. It says to me that what we look like, what we've said or even what we've done, Jesus still loves us! I want to learn more about Jesus like Zacchaeus. So one of the college girls and I went outside at the end of the week to pray, and I asked God for forgiveness.

Now, I accepted Samatha's invitation to go to Youth Group and eventually to Small Groups and then to Sunday School, too, to get closer to Jesus and learn more about Him and what He's done for us.

Isaac Champion

I was at the high school football stadium, and a man was preaching about Jesus. He asked people to come down to the field if they want to get saved. I felt very nervous, and my chest was pounding. My dad asked me if I want t go down, and I said yes. We walked down to the field, and a man prayed with us. I asked Jesus to save me from my sins. I want to be baptized because I want to show every body that I follow Jesus.

Debbie Forsman

I asked Jesus into my heart as a 5 year old and was raised in a Christian home and a small Alliance church. I have followed Christ my whole life and strive to serve Him. I had always seen baptism as a symbolic conversion for someone that was turning from an old sinful life to a new life in Christ. Since I had not been saved in that way, I didn't think baptism for me was necessary.

In the past few years, God has been pressing upon me the importance of the declaration of my faith.

God has blessed us with a new phase of life here in Toccoa and deepened not only my faith but my children's. I am happy to be baptized alongside them as we publicly declare our faith together.

Byrce Forsman

When I was about 5 or 6, I accepted Jesus into my heart. When I was 10, I remember my pastor talking about it, and I decided that I wanted to be baptized, but I never got to it. Currently, I want to be baptized in front of people to show that I am a follower of Christ Jesus.

Skylar Forsman

I grew up in the church like a lot of other kids, but I had never really felt God speak to me or work directly in my life. I've found that devotions have helped me deepen my faith and I can see how much of a difference praying daily makes. Being baptized will become a reminder to myself that He washed away my old ways and I'm now committed to living with Christ instead of living in the world.

Stories of God's Faithfulness

God is at work all around us. Sometimes in life, we wonder if that is really true. But when we stop and hear the stories of how God has answered prayer, and remember how He has shown His faithfulness, we find the courage and strength to persevere in the faith. May these stories of how God answered prayer in 2017 encourage and inspire in the year to come. Do you have a story of answered prayer? Share your story here to encourage and inspire others.

promises.png

carl.jpg

 

 

 

 

Carl

Until the beginning of this year I was a very proud person and didn't even realize it. I was proud that I was healthy and in need of nothing. Then my annual check up revealed that I had stage four cancer. My liver enzymes revealed I had cancer in my body somewhere. Several tests later revealed it was in my colon. The oncologist said I needed chemo soon. However, I first needed to have a blockage from my bowel removed. After the operation, I was hospitalized for many days, and this was a very dark time for me because I was under the control of some powerful drugs. The only thing I remember about this time is the stupid dreams. At the follow-up session with the surgeon, he was surprised at the high dose of drugs so he prescribed something different and, praise God, I ended up not needing any drugs at all.

As I came out of the darkness, God was showing me the great darkness people are in when addicted to drugs. They are overpowered and need help. Praise God, He helped without further medications.

Chemo finally came, and it was just before the fourth session I received very good news. Of the markers they use to determine the severity of cancer, mine had gone down from nearly 400 to less than 50 -- PRAISE GOD.

Now let me preach a little. Before all this happened God gave me several passages of scripture to memorize. I thought they for me to use in my jail ministry, however, they have been a great blessing to me now as I recover. Let me share them with you.

Psalm 25: 1-7 -- ''. . . let me not be ashamed . . ."
Psalm 34: 1-7 -- " I will bless the LORD at all times . . ."
1 John 1:5-10 -- "If we confess . . . he will forgive . . ."
1 John 1: 15-17 --"Love not the world . . ."
2 Peter 1:4 -- ". . . partaker of the divine nature . . ."
Galatians 5:16-17 ". . . walk in the spirit . . ."
Psalm 103 this psalm gives the benefits of a relation with God.

If these scripture portions are helpful to you let me know by return email, and if there is a request I can pray for you, I will. May the Lord bless you and sustain you all your remaining days.


marcia.jpg

 

 

 

 

Marcia

in 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer that had metastasized to the liver, lungs, and several bones. I began chemo treatment after a mastectomy and continued treatment until the fall of 2017. Treatments were often changed because of no improvement. 2017 was a difficult year in that I had a bad reaction in the summer to one of the chemo drugs. After having only one treatment of a new drug I had a painful and debilitating reaction. During all of this time people were praying and I truly felt God walking alongside of me. At the end of October my scans showed significant decrease in the size of the tumors in my liver and lungs. Regaining strength has been slow, but I praise the Lord for His healing power and for the body of Christ. I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I thank the Lord that today holds healing for me. The Lord's presence and comfort are always there for us throughout the bad and good times.

Celebrating New Life: Lawrence Booker

On December 24, 2017, in the 9am service at First Alliance Church, Lawrence Booker was baptized, publicly signifying his identity in Christ and commitment to follow Jesus as a disciple. His story follows.

I came to Christ in an extraordinary way. 

baptism booker.jpg

I attended a Christian summer camp when I was younger. It was there that I was exposed to Christ and met the camp nurse who would later become my mother and one of my biggest supporters along my walk with Christ. 

However, it wasn't until the Christmas season of 2015 that I had truly surrendered to Christ's calling on me. I attended Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, Connecticut. I fell deeper and deeper into the message each week, becoming entranced by the sound and feeling of the spirit during worship, and with new eyes saw how broken I was. The only remedy for that brokenness that had lasting effect came from Jesus and His Gospel. 

As I matured spiritually, I reflected on how an all powerful God took me from the hardships of abuse and neglect that had shaped my understanding of childhood, and how He stayed faithful in listening to my pain. He provided me with a family that would love, encourage, and support a relationship with Him, independent from most everything else.

I am being baptized (12/24/17) as a way to definitely state beyond just words alone, but through my action, that I am in love with the Creator of the universe. I want to demonstrate the love , commitment, and faithfulness of my Abba. I want to be seen as a person that does not pretend to be perfect or better than anyone else because of a label, instead being seen as a person who shares an undeniable and unbreakable relationship with the most powerful King Jesus. 

And from it all, I would like for others to see how He worked in my life, in hope that it would show them how He may work in theirs, despite however far away they believe themselves to be.


*To learn more about baptism, its meaning, and its symbolism, click here.

Advent and "Ugh"

The season of Advent isn't just a few weeks of "pre-Christmas." It's a time when we remember the longing that preceded the Messiah's birth (Christ's first advent) and look forward to His return with longing when Jesus will make all things right (Christ's second advent). Before joy comes mourning. Before hope comes despair. Before peace comes conflict. In Advent, we have the opportunity to "simultaneously see what is broken and hope for what is being made new."

Christmas_Candlelight_01_Still_HD.jpg

This is what drives our Prayer Focus for December as a congregation praying for those who are hurting or who are without hope. Not to have opportunities to offer merry platitudes, but to be present in their pain and brokenness while knowing that joy comes when the night has passed.

There is heartache around us and among us even in this season of hope, peace, joy, and love. This is the dynamic tension in being a disciple of Jesus Christ - we feel sadness & grief for the broken world we live in at the same time we feel hope & joy for the restored world we anticipate.

How can you be present in the pain of this world? Can you feel the "ugh" of the heartache of people you know? 

Read more here about feeling "ugh" at Christmas. 

Remember that Emmanuel has come. God is with us. Live out the truth of Christmas to all that you come across.

UPDATED: Partnering in Puerto Rico

In October, our Monthly Prayer Focus was on Disaster Recovery, and during the month we mentioned that we were working on connecting with a C&MA church in Puerto Rico to partner with them in recovery. 

puerto rico.png

There are 63 C&MA churches in Puerto Rico, as well as an extension campus of Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS). The island of Puerto Rico, their economy, these church properties, the people who make up these churches, and the neighborhoods they are located in were devastated by the hurricane. The road to recovery is long and hard, but there are also many opportunities to offer hope and love in the name of Jesus.

If you’ve ever been to Puerto Rico, the island is much different now because of the destruction. If you want to gain a good overview of the condition of the island, check out the video from C&MA President John Stumbo’s visit to Puerto Rico here

We’ve made contact with the Theopolis C&MA church in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. They are excited and encouraged about us partnering with them in these days. The church is pastored by William Pacheco. Their facility did not experience much damage, but many homes around them did. They only recently regained electricity in their area. Pastor William shared these 3 prayer requests with us:

  1. For their school, Theopolis Christian Academy, and the teachers and students. They need to maintain enrollment, but many people are leaving the island for the states. This will make it harder for the school to continue functioning.
  2. They have teams that continue to go out to help the people next to them and in other communities. They want to be able to continue doing the work needed around the church and in the neighborhoods.
  3. Please pray for the people that still don’t have electricity or water, who have health problems, who lost their home, etc.

We’ve also made contact with the extension campus of Alliance Theological Seminary in the San Juan area. They are the leading seminary on the island. They have experienced extensive damage to their facility (roof, carpet, windows, etc), but are thankful that there was very little damage to their books and other education materials. That being said, they need to meet an $80,000 deductible before their insurance will kick in, and they are also facing an enrollment crisis after starting the academic year with record enrollment. 

Many of the Alliance districts have already sent money to sustain the district office in Puerto Rico. One of the poorest Alliance churches in Africa has sent $1000 to provide relief to those in need in Puerto Rico. 

Not only are we calling you to partner in prayer, but we also want to rise up in love to bless our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico financially. To that end, we will be taking a special offering on Sunday, 26 November, in both services to send to Puerto Rico for both the Theopolis Church and the ATS extension campus. Please begin asking God how He would have you participate in an above and beyond way. The people of the C&MA have a long tradition of rising up and giving sacrificially when needs arise. May we embrace that tradition and give to bless these brothers and sisters as they not only work to get back on their feet, but help others get back on their feet in the name of Jesus. Digital giving is available as well (choose Puerto Rico), especially for those of you who will not be in the service that weekend.

Thank you for praying and for giving to bless and love these brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico who have suffered much. 

Pictures of the Theological Seminary in San Juan

Here are a few pictures of some of the damage to the Alliance Theological Seminary Extension in San Juan (STPR).

12/7/17 Update on the Offering:

Thank you for giving so generously. $11,208 has been collected and is on its way to both the seminary and the Theopolis Church in Mayaguez. Thank you for rising up in love.

On December 14, we received a thank you email from the Theopolis Church in Mayaguez regarding our gift. They are very appreciative and are praying for First Alliance as we pray for them. They hope to send us some pictures soon.

12/21/17 Update from the Theopolis Church in Mayaguez

We've received some pictures from the Theopolis Church of some of their damage. It was not extensive, but they continue to have concerns regarding their school and its enrollment as people leave for the states, making its continuing functioning more difficult. They also continue to seek to minister to the needs in the community around them. Check out the pictures, as well as the brief video greeting from the church.

Tidings of Comfort & Joy?

Facing the Holidays after bereavement...

When you’re grieving the death of a family member or friend, you may dread the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. Thoughts of social gatherings, family traditions, and obligations leave you anxious and overwhelmed. Your sadness can seem unbearable. You may wish you could skip these next two months and go straight to the routine of the next year—but you can’t. What can you do to lessen your stress and loneliness?

Holidays trigger tough emotions

You can start by learning what emotions are normal and to be expected when facing the holidays without your loved one. “If you’re feeling overwhelmed as this holiday season approaches, that’s very normal,” advised psychologist Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge, whose husband died. “You’re probably wondering how you’re going to handle this and are unsure of what course to take. I want to assure you that you can get through these holidays, and hopefully you can even find moments of joy.”

When you know what to expect, you won’t be rendered helpless as holiday events trigger unexpected emotions. Make a point to spend time talking with people who have experienced a past loss and have already been through a holiday season without their loved one. They can help you have an idea of typical emotions and emotional triggers to expect. These people can also provide much-needed comfort and support.

Creating a holiday plan will help

Another important step in surviving the holidays is to create a healthy plan for the coming season. “Planning does help you to have a little control, even when you feel totally out of control,” said Dr. Zonnebelt-Smeenge. A healthy plan involves making decisions in advance about traditions, meals, time spent with others, holiday decorating, gift-giving, and commitments.

You will likely not have the energy or the interest in doing as much as you have in past years. Decide ahead of time which invitations you’ll accept, and let the host or family member know that you might leave early. Consider whether your decorating will be different this year: perhaps a smaller tree or simpler ornaments. If you cook or bake, cut back.

Make a list of every holiday tradition you can think of, from music to presents to outings. Then decide which traditions will be too difficult without your deceased loved one, which traditions you’d like to maintain, and what new traditions you can start this year.

Communicating with family and friends

What’s also helpful in facing the holidays is to communicate your specific concerns and needs with your family and friends. People in grief are often tempted to put on a mask and pretend things are fine, especially over the holidays. “I didn’t want to put on a damper on anyone else’s joy,” shared Mardie. “So I put on a happy face and tried to be the sister, the daughter, the aunt, that everybody wanted to see. Putting on that happy face was a heavier burden than I was emotionally able to carry at the time.”

Your friends may want you to “cheer up” and “have fun,” when that’s the last thing you want. Others will avoid you because they don’t know what to say and don’t want to make you feel worse. Some family members will give you wrong advice in a misguided attempt to help. All of these people likely mean well, but will only end up hurting you if you don’t communicate what you truly need from them.

As difficult as this may be, it’s important to tell people what they can do to help and what they are doing that isn’t helping. And if you don’t have the energy or inclination to talk to people face-to-face, then write your thoughts, concerns, and needs in a letter or email. What’s important is that you are being honest and gracious in your communication.

In describing the first holiday dinner after she was widowed, Dr. Zonnebelt-Smeenge said, “It seemed like no one wanted to talk about my husband. I kept waiting for somebody to bring up [his name]. After a while I couldn’t stand it anymore. I excused myself and left and bawled all the way home. Later I decided maybe they were waiting for me to decide if it was okay to talk about him; maybe they were afraid if they said anything, they’d make me feel worse. From that time on when I went to an event, I found a way to let people know I wanted to talk about him and I wanted to hear their stories.”

So where can you find out what emotions to expect over the holidays, how to create a healthy plan and how to communicate with family and friends these coming weeks?

“Surviving the Holidays” seminar on Saturday, November 11, 2017.

A GriefShare Surviving the Holidays seminar, held Saturday, November 11, 2017 at First Alliance Church in Toccoa, GA (located at 220 Alliance Drive across from Wal-Mart) from 9:30-11:30 am, offers practical, actionable strategies for making it through the holiday season. At this two-hour seminar, you’ll view a video featuring advice from people in grief who’ve faced the holidays after their loss. You’ll hear insights from respected Christian counselors, pastors, and psychologists. You’ll receive a Holiday Survival Guide with practical strategies, encouraging words, helpful exercises, Q/As, and journaling ideas for daily survival through the holiday season

At GriefShare Surviving the Holidays, you’ll enjoy a holiday brunch as you meet with other grieving people who have an understanding of what you’re going through. They won’t judge you or force you to share, but will accept you where you are and will offer comfort and support. “When I went to GriefShare,” said Marion, “I realized there are different ways to grieve.”

Your holiday season won’t be easy; your emotions may ambush you and suck you under at times. But you can choose to walk through this season in a way that honors your loved one and puts you on the path of health and healing.

To register or find out more about GriefShare Surviving the Holidays, visit www.toccoagriefshare.com or contact First Alliance Church at 706-886-5948 or office@firstalliancetoccoa.com.

Provide Spiritual Nourishment in Toccoa

An opportunity to engage the world...

In Toccoa, there are two great facilities for folks as they enter the later years of life. One is the Wilkinson Center, a 40 unit retirement living facility that provides each resident with their own living space without the normal hassles of home ownership, and the other is the Clary Care Center, a 42 bed assisted living facility for those with physical limitations or that need a little extra help. Both are located next to Stephens County Hospital and Toccoa Falls College.

First Alliance has been given the opportunity to be part of providing spiritual discipleship and teaching as part of the schedule of activities at both facilities. Even though the residents find themselves in a different living situation, it doesn't mean that connecting to Christ, growing with others, and engaging the world isn't still vital. 

There are two ways that you can serve our community.

  1. Be part of a rotation that provides a simple worship service on Sundays at the Clary Care Center. The service can be anywhere from 30-60 minutes and can include a 15-20 lesson, singing, prayer for one another and for the nations, and/or times of testimony. There are opportunities on the first and third Sunday of the month, and the service can be at either 10am or 2pm.

    This is a great opportunity for an individual, family, friends, or Discipling Community to do together. There's no need to be a pastor; just have a willingness to share Jesus and the Word of God with the residents. 

    You don't have to do it every time. In fact, it would be great to build a schedule so many can participate a few times each year. If you have questions, contact Pastor Chris, or if you are interested in taking a few turns, complete the form below as a first step.
     
  2. Lead a weekly Bible Study at the Wilkinson Center. On a particular day of the week, preferably after lunch around 2pm, head over to the Wilkinson Center, gather with a group of residents, and facilitate time in the Word of God. You could start a Discipling Community right there for residents.

    Spend time weekly connecting to Christ through Bible Study, simple acts of worship, and prayer. Grow with others by sharing with one another, praying for one another, and spending time together. Engage the World through prayer for our community, people far from God, and for the unreached people of the world to experience Jesus' love firsthand. Not only would you encourage the residents, but you would probably be just as encouraged from the time spent together.

    If you have questions, contact Pastor Chris, or if you are interested in this ministry opportunity, go ahead and complete the form below as a first step.

Continued contact with other believers and time in God's Word is a great encouragement to people, especially when life is changing rapidly. Can you be part of facilitating these opportunities? Complete the form below so we can get things going.

Ending 2016 and Beginning 2017 at FACT

Greetings, First Alliance!

As we conclude 2016, we are thankful for all that God is doing in our midst. Over the past year we have sought to connect, grow, and engage as disciples of Jesus Christ in love. He is working in and among us to fulfill His purposes both in us, and in our community and our world. May we continue to live in pursuit of Jesus as the people of God. We look forward to 2017 -  the doors God is opening, the paths that He is leading us in, and the new lives that will become part of the kingdom because of our faithful living as holy people of God.

The end of 2016 also means the next steps in Sanctuary Renovation. After our Christmas services, work will begin in earnest. We are excited about the new space we will have to gather to worship the Lord our God and invite others to as well. To make sure we are all on the same page, please make note of the following:

  • Worship Services will be held in the Fellowship Hall beginning 1 January 2017. There will be one service at 10:45am on 1 January, and we will resume our regular 2 service schedule on 8 January 2017. When services are in progress, please do not enter or exit the Fellowship Hall through the doors by the big screen near the library. Please use the doors that go into the Children’s Area Hallway. This will help reduce distractions for others during a worship service.
  • Coffee & Connection will not happen on 1 January 2017 but will resume on 8 January 2017. During the time services are held in the Fellowship Hall, Coffee & Connection will temporarily move to the Family Life Center.
  • The Fellowship Hall Sunday School Community that meets in the Fellowship Hall will be temporarily relocated to the Family Life Center during this period.
  • Weekly Activities normally meeting in the Fellowship Hall will take place in other rooms on our campus. Be sure to check with your group/ministry leader to confirm temporary locations.
  • On-Deck Youth will continue to meet in the Fellowship Hall on Wednesday evenings during this period. They will resume on 4 January 2017.
  • The Front Lobby Area will be closed for a few weeks during renovation work. We will communicate with you when this will be, and will post signs. 
  • Signs will be posted to inform and direct. Please follow them for your safety, the safety of others, and to help things flow as smoothly as possible.
  • The Children’s Area Hallway will be a main route to the Fellowship Hall during this time. If you are not a parent, child, or Children’s Ministry Volunteer, please do not linger in this area.
  • Parking spaces near the Fellowship Hall will be blocked off during this time to allow for safety and easier pedestrian access.

Here’s how you can help make this period a positive one:

  • Be flexible and work together. This is an opportunity for us to grow in grace toward one another during this time of ministry changes/dislocations. Our relationships with one another in the love of Christ is the most important.
  • Consider attending the 10:45am service during this time if you are not part of a Sunday School Community. This would create some space in the 9am service seating. Everyone who currently comes at 9am can fit in the Fellowship Hall, but it will be “cozy."
  • Help with heavy lifting and some demo work on Monday, 26 December 2016 in the sanctuary to prepare it for the actual renovation work. If you are available, please be at the church at 9am.
  • Come and get a pew if you are interested in having one on Monday, 26 December with a way to get it to wherever you would like it to go. We are unable to store pews for later pickup.
  • Grab any bibles, hymnals, Connect Cards, and pens in the area you sit at the end of the Christmas morning service at 10:45am and place them in the designated areas.
  • Follow all posted signs during the renovation period.

Thank you for your cooperation and flexibility during this period. We look forward to returning to the Sanctuary and dedicating this refreshed space to the glory of God. We also thank you for your continued support and prayers in regards to this project. Please continue to pray for the work to be done, for those doing the work, and for God to be glorified. Please also continue to seek the Lord regarding your financial participation in this project. While we are excited to have over 80% of the estimated project cost (which has allowed us to start), we are not quite there yet. We are not borrowing money for this, and desire to finish in a timely fashion which requires us reaching the 100% mark. The Lord has provided, and we are trusting Him to help us cross the finish line.

May the Lord continue to bless First Alliance. Not only in this specific project, but as we continue to seek Him, grow as His disciples, and invite others to surrender their lives to the fullness of Christ in us, the hope of glory.

May you and your family know the blessed presence of the Lord this Christmas season.

P.S. Please don’t forget about our Christmas services on Christmas Eve at 6pm and Christmas morning at 10:45am. Invite friends and others you know who are not part of a local church to come with you, especially on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget we’re collecting clean coats and blankets on Christmas Eve evening for the Salvation Army to give to those in need in our community. 

FACT Life News...

Greetings, First Alliance!

Trust that you all are having a joyful Advent/Christmas season as we both wait for and celebrate the coming of Christ. May you continue to experience the fullness of Christ in moments of waiting, and may you express kindness and joy to those you cross paths with in the love of Jesus Christ.

—————

Our Christmas Eve Candlelight Community Service this year on December 24 will begin at 6pm. We want you to be aware, but more importantly we want you to be inviting people to come with you to this service. This hour long service is designed for our greater community, especially those who aren’t connected with a local church. Who do you know in your neighborhood, at work, at school, at the gym, etc. that you could invite to come and hear the good news of Jesus Christ this Christmas? More people attend Christmas services than any other time of the year, especially if a friend invites them. Please invite people you know to come with you on Christmas Eve to pause and hear the truth of Christmas. Be praying not only for the people you invite, but also those that others invite that all would clearly hear and respond to the good news of Jesus this Christmas. 

We are also collecting clean coats and blankets for the Salvation Army this Christmas. Bring them on Christmas Eve so we can bless those in need in our area generously.  And be sure to let the people you invite know about this as well. Christmas is a time of giving.

Feel free to share about the Christmas Eve Candlelight Community Service on social media. We also have some flyers that can be distributed around town. If you would like to put some up, please contact Pastor Chris this week.

----------

Also, as we let you know on Sunday, the next phase of Sanctuary Renovation involves us holding our regular worship services in the Fellowship Hall. This begins 1 January 2017, and will involve a bit of flexibility and patience on everyone’s part. Some activities and events that normally happen in the Fellowship Hall will be temporarily moved to other parts of our campus. Things may be a little “challenging” for a number of weeks, but this is also a time for us to draw together, show grace to one another, and see how God works in and through us in these days as a church body. Let’s work together to make this period as joyful as possible. The Elders, Administrative Board, and Pastoral Staff continue to see this project as an important part of the next season of life at First Alliance. Please be praying for the smooth completion of the work, safety for those doing the work, that the remaining funds to complete the project would come in quickly, and that above all God would be glorified both in the work and in our attitudes.

----------

Finally, we hope to see you all on Wednesday evening, 14 December 2016, for the FACT Christmas Banquet. We’re looking forward to being together, and especially looking forward to an evening of Christmas cheer without an annual meeting. If you need a reminder of what to bring, click here.

----------

We’re thankful that you are part of First Alliance. May we continue to connect, grow, and engage as disciples of Jesus Christ for the fulfillment of the Great Commission both in our own backyard and around the world.

Engage the World at Open Arms Clinic

Open Arms Clinic is a non-governmental, not-for-profit medical clinic dedicated to serving Stephens County residents. It is funded by private, individual and public donations. Located directly across the street from the Toccoa Clinic, they focus on providing primary health care with compassion and respect, and provide services on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

This may be a way that some of us at FACT could Engage the World practically and locally using the gifts, abilities, and/or education that God has given us to be good stewards of as a disciple.

There are two areas of opportunity: 

  1. Provide supplies that Open Arms needs. This allows them to direct more of their funds to actual medical care. Items you could donate include 13 gallon kitchen trash bags, stamps, and coffee & creamer. They are also in urgent needs of bottled water, copier paper, paper towels, and sticky notes. Many of the patients walk or ride their bike to the clinic. Bottled water is an essential items that helps to keep patients healthy and hydrated.
  2. Volunteer time to serve. Potential volunteers should be comfortable with using a computer, and they will train for all positions. The computer program is easy to learn, and help is readily available if needed. Student nurses and community service individuals are welcome, and Open Arms will work with you and sign off on your volunteer hours for clinicals or community service hours. Current opportunities include:
  • 1 position open for a Thursday morning nurse, one Thursday a month.
  • 1 position open for a Tuesday evening nurse, at least one Tuesday every other month.
  • 1 position open for a Thursday morning receptionist, at least one Thursday a month.
  • 1 position open for a computer literate individual who will assist with Patient Assistance Program applications and renewals.
  • Seeking an individual who has organizational skills and (perhaps) a basic knowledge of medications to offer assistance with organization and upkeep of the Pharmacy.
  • Morning and Afternoon receptionists on Wednesdays.

For more information, or to express interest, contact Open Arms Clinic directly at 706-886-0940 or at openarms@windstream.net.

A Call to Prayer for Aleppo

On Friday, 9 December 2016, the National Office of the Christian & Missionary Alliance has issued a Call to Prayer for all in The Alliance to pray for Aleppo, Syria in light of the fighting and the continued ministry of the Alliance church in Aleppo.

Syrian government forces’ battle to reclaim all of Aleppo from rebel fighters has gained momentum in the past two weeks. The rebel-held eastern portion of the city is experiencing heavy bombing and incredible damage.
The Alliance church in Aleppo continues to minister in the midst of the fighting. Funds for aid and relief from Compassion and Mercy Associates(CAMA) have been delivered.
Today we call upon Alliance people across the United States to pray for the city.
  • Pray for an end to the terrible fighting.
  • Pray for the opportunity for those under bombardment to regain opportunity to exit and to have access to food and medical supplies.
  • Pray for the Alliance church’s ministry to those in dire need and those who seek the Lord amid such stress and suffering.

Please be in prayer in these days.