To: FBCF Church Family

From: Pastor Bill

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


          Hello!  I would appreciate you taking a minute to read this email.  I want to share a couple of personal concerns as well as a couple of challenges to our church family.

– First, I would really appreciate you praying for my two brothers.  I have shared a number of details in the past, so I will not take time to repeat all of that, but I do want to give an update.  My brother David was arrested in April of 2015 for forging prescriptions for opioids.  He agreed to a plea bargain and was finally sentenced about two weeks ago and received eighteen months.  My other brother, Mike, was arrested in February of 2016 for “obtaining and possessing a controlled substance outside normal use.”  What that  means is that he received more opioids than was legal by his family physician.  He and his doctor were tried and found guilty last October.  They will be sentenced tomorrow in federal court.  I could write for hours on this, but I will just ask for prayer for them and for their families.  God has done some marvelous things through all of this.  He has shown Himself so very faithful.  But I ask you to join me in praying that He would intercede now and show Himself real in the lives of my brothers and their families.

– I also want to challenge you in a few things.  First, let me encourage you to pray earnestly about our Anniversary Offering this coming Sunday.  All of this offering will go toward our debt reduction.  Last year our church family gave $22,585.  Let’s trust the Lord to exceed that this year! 

– Finally, I also want to challenge a handful, if that, in our church family.  I honestly do not believe this applies to many, but I am not sure who you are, so I am going to share it with everyone.  I want to start with a question, and then qualify it.  The question is, “Is church more than a habit to you?”  Now let me qualify what I am trying to get across.  There are some that have not yet returned to church.  You are not yet comfortable for yourself and/or your children.  As I have said the whole time we have been dealing with this pandemic, that is understandable, and the Lord will give you guidance and a peace about when the time is right for you.  This is not meant to pressure you in any form or fashion.  But, are there some Christians that are not yet back in church simply because church was, for them, little more than a habit?  I am certain that is the case.  Does that include you?  I will let you decide that.  To help you process that question, you might want to ask  yourself these questions… Do I go to church to connect with my church family.  Do I go in order to worship together, learn together, encourage one another, support one another, pray for one another?  Do I go so that I can draw closer in my walk with Christ, so that I might live for Him in a more honoring way through the week?  Do I go to serve my church family with the gifts and abilities God has given me because that is a part of what He has created me to do?  OR, have I simply been attending church out of habit.  If it has just been habit, then being forced out of your habit will likely bring about the permanent result of a new habit, which is no church or online church.  Let me encourage you to get back into church, but for all of the reasons listed above (and much more), and not just out of habit.


          We are finally launching into the armor of God this Sunday, specifically the Belt of Truth.  I hope you will be with us.  Come, and come ready to be blessed and to be a blessing to others.  See ya then, Lord willing.


          In Him,

          Pastor Bill


Bill Gowder

Lead Pastor

First Baptist Church Friendsville