Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and welcome to the Friendship Bible Church BLOG, your source for announcements and information about what's happening at FBC.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Prayer Meeting Postponed

Remember that there will be no midweek prayer meeting tonight due to the holiday. But here's an idea - wherever you happen to be at midnight tonight, you can end 2014 and start 2015 with prayer. Pray out the old and pray in the new.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)

Monday, December 29, 2014

I Resolve to Read My Bible More

Want to read the Bible more in 2015? It's a worthy desire, if you have it. And you should have it, for the Bible is so important to our growth as Christians. Frankly, I think Scripture indicates quite clearly that you are not going to grow as a Christian without reading your Bible.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16-17)

Here are a few suggested reading plans that you might find useful. If you find one you like, print it out and put it in your Bible. Mark off your progress as you follow the plan. And if you get behind, don't fret... just pick up where you left off and keep going.

Here is one that will take you through the entire Bible, Old and New Testaments, in one year - Through the Bible In A Year Plan

If your excuse is time, here is a great plan that only requires 5 minutes a day 5 days a week, leaving 2 days per week for catching up... reading something else... reflection... etc. If you struggle with setting aside time for God's Word, give this one a try - 5x5x5 Plan

This one is designed to guide you through the entire New Testament during the summer, but it is simply a 90 day plan for reading the New Testament. Use it once, or multiple times throughout the year to accomplish reading the New Testament as many as 4 times during 2015 - Read the New Testament in 90 Days Plan

Here is a beautifully designed chart to guide you through the Bible in a year - Bible Reading Chart

And here is another simple plan for reading the entire Bible in a year - Yet another 52 week Bible reading plan

Download and print any or all of these plans to help you in your Bible reading in 2015. Alternatively, any or all of them are available in printed form through the church office.

Let's get in the Word more in 2015!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Reading Record - 2014

For the last few years, at the end of the year, I've published a brief overview of the books I read during that year. I do this in the hope it will spur others on to more reading. Readers are leaders, after all. I also hope my thoughts on the good and not so good aspects of the various things read will be helpful.

Faith-based reading:

Bible - I read the Bible in a couple different ways this year. I used the 5x5x5 Plan, which is available on our church website and found it very useful. I recommend that plan. I also used several short topical reading plans from the Bible app on my iPad, and found them useful. And I used and am using a "through the Bible in a year" plan which I always recommend.

The Autobiography of Charles Spurgeon in 4 Volumes - I confess to getting bogged down in this massive tome, resorting to a bit of skimming toward the end. It is just such a huge thing to read. But I finally finished it and have a clearer appreciation of the character and work of this amazing man.

Brothers, We are Not Professionals, John Piper - I initially had mixed feelings about this book. I thought the chapter on “not serving God” was a stretch, if not simply off the mark. Piper sometimes seems to really work at saying things in a new and clever way, and I prefer the old truths and the old ways. Too much of the former in this book, I think. On the other hand, chapter 8 on prayer may be the best I've read on the topic. That chapter is worth the price of the book. And chapter 9 on sacred substitutes is equally excellent. Perhaps my earlier criticism was premature, for as I progressed through the book, I found only one chapter that really set my teeth in edge, the chapter on not serving God. Other than that, the book was good… excellent even. Chapter 10 - on reading - superb. Chapter 18 is a very interesting and helpful defense of believer's baptism. I thought the book bogged down in the final chapters, but overall a good read.

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, by Timothy Keller. This booklet contains a single sermon from 1 Corinthians. Suggested to me by Sean Turner and I'm glad I read it. Thought provoking. The final two paragraphs were the best, I thought.

The Bruised Reed, by Richard Sibbes - I read about half of this. The old style English makes the reading slow, but fruitful. There was much to commend the portion I read, and I will eventually try and read the conclusion as well.

Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, by Mark Dever. Read this with the elders and discussed during the elders' meetings. This is a good book overall. Several times while discussing during elders' meetings, the consensus was that it got a bit too wordy, and points could have been made much simpler and with fewer words. But the 9 marks are all valid and helpful guideposts for our church.

Deepening Your Conversation with God: the Life-Changing Power of Prayer, by Ben Patterson - Chapter 1 is wonderful. Chapter 3 is also wonderful… and convicting. I think I saw myself on every page. This was, overall, a good read. It definitely got me thinking more about prayer, both personal and corporate, and lit within me a fire to pray more. I'm certain that was the goal of the book, and it met that goal in me. Recommended.

The Daniel Fast, by Susan Gregory - I purchased and read this book in preparation for observing a Daniel Fast with Beth. Both this book, and that exercise, were useful.

Basics Of Biblical Greek, by William D. Mounce - I started this in 2014, but have a long way to go. Hopefully I will finish it in the next year. So far, it seems to be a wonderfully readable and engaging textbook on learning the Greek of the Bible.

The Case For Christ, by Lee Strobel - Highly recommended for anybody trying to determine whether Jesus is indeed the Christ. Chapter 10, the fingerprint evidence, is one of the best treatments I've seen of how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. I think this chapter alone would be an excellent tool to use with Jewish people. And the final section in Chapter 13, subheaded The Resurrection Of Debbie, greatly encouraged me concerning my loss of Beth. It is a wonderful illustration to use in a resurrection sermon. Chapter 14 on the circumstantial evidence was also very compelling. I liked this book so much that I purchased several copies to give skeptical friends.

The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land, by Thomas Asbridge - I bought this book to read on the plane returning from Israel in 2014. It took several months to complete it because it is quite an in-depth and lengthy read. Overall, an excellent treatment of the topic, and I believe I have a greater understanding now of this than I ever have. Highly recommended.

Dispensationalism, by Lewis Sperry Chafer - This is meat, indeed, and not something I can digest with one quick read. I need to go back through it slowly, following the numerous cross references. It might even be one to read many times.

Take Words With You, by Tim Kerr - This book is simply a large collection of scriptures arranged under various categories. It is meant as an aid to praying the scriptures and would no doubt work if used that way. I simply used it as another way to read scripture - by topic. Useful. However I didn't read it all the way through as it's more of a reference.

Grieving, Hope and Solace When a Loved One Dies In Christ, by Albert N. Martin - This book was sent to me by a friend after Beth died. I read it through in a single sitting and intend to read it again and again. EXCELLENT is too weak of a word for this book. Immediately after writing this review I went to and ordered copies for friends and loved ones. I need to always have copies of this book available to give away. EXCELLENT.

A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis - Brutally honest look at the grieving process Lewis experienced when his wife, Joy, died. Good and helpful, even if some of Lewis's doctrinal positions (purgatory?) give pause. Recommended with that small caveat, to any going through such loss.

John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace, by Jonathan Aitken - started in 2014, but won't finish it until next year. Stay tuned for the review!

Miscellaneous reading:

Here are a few other things read during the year which were not faith based, but nonetheless interesting and/or useful.

Learning Python, by Mark Lutz - I am not done with this one yet, but am working my way through it as a help in the secular side of my bivocational career. Python is a programming / scripting language.

Living Without Electricity, by Stephen Scott and Kenneth Pellman - an interesting read detailing how the Amish people do what the title says. It's not only interesting for that reason, but also because of the glimpse it gives into Amish belief.

Make Your Book Work Harder, How to Use Multiple Platforms to Make More Money, by Nancy Hendrickson and Michele Campbell-Scott - Not much to recommend here. I read this to gain ideas on more fruitful marketing of my books. A few interesting ideas, but not worth the purchase price, in my opinion.

How to Disappear, by Frank Ahearn - This book, written by a man who specializes in helping people disappear, is both interesting and alarming. The details about how information can be obtained on a person ought to alarm anybody. The book was interesting, but not one I'm endorsing or recommending.

How To Read A Book, by Mortimer Adler - I read about 10% of this book and then got bogged down. For my purposes, a summarization of the thoughts in this book would have been sufficient.

Books I want to read

Here are a few that are on the list for 2015. Hopefully, the Lord's return will preempt my reading them, but if not, stay tuned for reviews of these and others at the end of next year.

A Wind in the House of Islam, by David Garrison
Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis, by George Sayer
Say It a Well, by Chuck Swindoll

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day, by Christina Georgina Rossetti

A baby is a harmless thing
And wins our hearts with one accord,
And Flower of Babies was their King,
Jesus Christ our Lord:
Lily of lilies He
Upon His Mother's knee;
Rose of roses, soon to be
Crowned with thorns on leafless tree.

A lamb is innocent and mild
And merry on the soft green sod;
And Jesus Christ, the Undefiled,
Is the Lamb of God:
Only spotless He
Upon his Mother's knee;
White and ruddy, soon to be
Sacrificed for you and me.

Nay, lamb is not so sweet a word,
Nor lily half so pure a name;
Another name our hearts hath stirred,
Kindling them to flame:
'Jesus' certainly
Is music and melody:
Heart with heart in harmony
Carol we and worship we.

(Source: Rossetti, William Michael, "The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes")

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve, by Christina Georgina Rossetti

CHRISTMAS hath darkness
Brighter than the blazing noon,
Christmas hath a chillness
Warmer than the heat of June,
Christmas hath a beauty
Lovelier than the world can show:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

Earth, strike up your music,
Birds that sing and bells that ring;
Heaven hath answering music
For all Angels soon to sing:
Earth, put on your whitest
Bridal robe of spotless snow:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

(Source: Rossetti, William Michael, "The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes")

Monday, December 22, 2014


Please note!

The Christmas Eve candlelight service will be held at 6:30 PM, not 7:00 PM!


There will be no Prayer Meeting this week, as we will instead gather at 7:00 PM on Christmas Eve to light the final Advent candle and worship the newborn King.  Will you join us for an hour of carols and candles?

And will you invite your friends and family to this very special service?

There will be a gift for all in attendance.

A Christmas Carol

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part, –
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

Source: The Poetical Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti, with a Memoir and Notes by William Michael Rossetti (1904), p. 246

Thursday, December 18, 2014

HUGE weekend at FBC

It all starts with the annual Christmas cantata.  This year the choir will perform "The First Noel - Born is the King."  It may be the best one yet!

Dress Rehearsal is Friday at 7:00 PM followed by performances on both Saturday and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM.

Saturday at 10:00 AM we will be in Fellowship Hall  filling Christmas food baskets for the needy, and then distributing them.

Sunday morning worship will bring us to the end of our Advent series on the names of the Savior.

Will you join us for these important Christmas events, and will you invite your friends and family?  And most of all, will you pray with us and for us as we sing about and serve the King whose birth we celebrate?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Eve's A Comin'

It's only a few days away now, and that means our annual candelight service is in the works.  Tonight (Wednesday), immediately following prayer meeting, a few of us will be filling up the Christmas Eve gift bags to distribute during that service.  If you'd like to join us, we'd love the help.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Come Ye Faithful Workers, Come!

Bringing a project to a successful close, without leaving a bunch of loose ends hanging, is an art.  God has blessed us with a couple of leaders that are really doing a great job of bringing this Phase 2 building project home.

It's some of those remaining loose ends that we will be working on this evening during the Tuesday evening work time.  Here are some that we could use your help with:

  • Re-install the main speaker in the sanctuary
  • Clean up all old trim and building materials from the work site so the trim installer can begin this week.
  • Complete the installation of ceiling tile in the fellowship hall.
  • Cut bollard(s) to length and install the covers.
  • If weather permits, hose off the sidewalks and handicap parking areas in preparation for this weekend's Christmas services.
  • General clean up / light bulb patrol, etc.

Can you spare a minute or two?  We will start at 6:00, so join us if you can.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Witnesses to Jerusalem

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NKJV)

Join us Wednesday immediately following prayer meeting (7:15 PM) as we work together to label and stamp 2700 Christmas invitations to be sent to our Jerusalem.

Or better yet, come at 6:30 and pray with us, THEN help with the mailing.

Many hands make quick work!

Refreshments provided.

Easy Stuff...

... that's all that seems to be left for us to attend to on work night.  However, there is a fair amount of it, and we could still use some help this evening (Tuesday) starting at 6:00.

If you can help us with:

  • The last little bit of grouting - a couple of small closets are all that remains.
  • Cleaning the tile / grout that has been finished.
  • Ceiling grid / tile in Fellowship Hall. GREAT progress on this, but a small bit remains.
  • General clean up.  We need to once again tackle this. Old doors, windows, and some miscellaneous junk needs moved to the dumpster for disposal.
  • Speaker repair - We need to hang the main speaker back on the wall in the sanctuary.

Any of those sound like something you are capable of helping with?  How about willing?  Join us at 6:00 this evening?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Saturday Stuff

Big day this Saturday!

10:00 - Haven of Rest - this month we will help decorate for Christmas. Meet at the Haven.

10:00 - Surviving the Holidays - Grief Share seminar in the FBC sanctuary

5:00 - Teen Christmas Partyat the Randolph Town Hall

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Work for the night is coming!

Isn't that what the hymn writer said? Of course, he was basing that on Jesus' words in John 9:4 - I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

Opportunities to help with the Tuesday work nights are rapidly winding down. Tonight we will be finishing the grouting in the two restrooms, and if we have enough helpers, we will be working on finishing out the ceiling in Fellowship Hall.

Join us at 6PM?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hanging of the Greens

Saturday at 3:00!
Join us!

If You Have Never Read Pilgrim's Progress...

Here it is in several free eBook formats, as well as a link to the paperback on

Read it, Christian. It's one of those books we ought to take off our shelf again and again.

Get Your Copy Here

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Looking For Reason To Give Thanks?

How about JESUS, our Savior? Give thanks for Him today.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV)

I read this in my devotions and it just made me want to say "thank you, God, for Him!"

Ferguson - The Issue Explained By A Black Pastor

Voddie Baucham explains the real issues.

This is a MUST READ for anybody wanting to know how to understand what's happening in Ferguson... or wondering how to explain it to the kids...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Something to say Thank You for

Here are just a few of the guys and gals that have been hard at work on the building project. I'm thankful for them, and all who have jumped in and helped. This little day of tiling saved several thousand dollars in labor costs... dollars that can be used for something else in the Kingdom. Thankful. Very thankful.

Project Thankful - Wrapping It Up

Join us for prayer meeting this evening, Wednesday, at 6:30 PM. We'll spend about 45 minutes praying together and thanking God for Who He Is, for What He Has Done, for What He Is Doing, and for What He Will Do.

Join us?  What better way to get your heart ready for tomorrow's Thanksgiving Day celebration?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ceilings and Floors

If you can help with our Tuesday night work time this week, we will be working on completing the fellowship hall ceiling and grouting the new floor tile in the addition. Those who have experience with either of those tasks would be especially helpful this week.

General cleanup will also be useful if you wish to help with that. Join us at 6 PM Tuesday!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekends are for Serving

It's Friday!  And that means we're almost into the weekend.  If you'd like to make your weekend a gold, silver and precious stones weekend, rather than a wood, hay and straw weekend, here are some great opportunities.

Saturday at 8:00 - We need a few good men who will help us lay the tile in the new addition.  Experts will be on hand to guide the process, so don't worry about that.  We need men who can get down on the floor and lay the tile, following the guidelines of our experts.  Can you help?  Will you help?  By performing this work ourselves, we are expecting significant cost savings.

Saturday at 10:00 - The deacons / deaconesses and the teens will be packing and delivering the thanksgiving food baskets for those who need them.  Join them if you'd like to participate in that much needed service.

Sunday at 9:30 - Sunday School has restarted and you don't want to miss it.  Classes for all ages are meeting, and even though the building is not yet completed, it is functional and working.

Sunday at 10:30 - Worship the Lord with us!

What a great weekend.  Will you be part of it?

(Oh, and if you are unsure of the gold, silver, and precious stones / wood, hay and straw reference above, see 1 Corinthians 3:9-15)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Project Thankfulness Continues

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; (Psalms 92:1)

It's not just for Sunday mornings, this Project Thankfulness. It spills over to the midweek prayer meetings as well. There is so much to say "thank You, God" for! And that same God we thank, is the God Who knows our needs, feels our hurts, and hears our prayers. So we thank Him. And we ask Him. And He hears us.

Join us tonight (and every Wednesday) at 6:30 PM as we give thanks and praise His name. Bring your thanksgivings and your requests to prayer meeting tonight!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Big Clean

Drywall is DONE.

Paint is DONE.

Now it's time for flooring. Praise the Lord! This is good stuff! But it also means we need to have a concerted "BIG CLEAN" to get rid of all the remaining drywall dust and debris.

Tuesday evening - 6:00 PM we will CLEAN. Bring brooms, sweepers, dust cloths, dust pans, and any other supplies you think will help with the big clean. We will provide food and drink.

And Saturday morning we will FLOOR. We need a few good men who are skilled at laying tile starting at 8:00 AM (or as soon thereafter as you can make it.)

Join us?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How Can I Say Thanks?

I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people. (Psalms 35:18)

Project Thankfulness continues this Lord's Day. Join us Sunday morning?

Sunday School starts promptly at 9:30
Worship starts at 10:30

Join us as we say Thank You God for What You Have Done.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pray Pray Pray

We have so much to be thankful for.

Join your church family for prayer this evening and every Wednesday evening.

6:30 PM in the FBC sanctuary.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Work Work Work

Siding is going up! Drywall is nearly done! Doors are being installed! The sanctuary is nearly repaired! The church office has been reopened.

GREAT things are happening in the building project!

And perhaps one of the greatest is that THIS LORD'S DAY at 9:30 am we are restarting the Sunday School hour with classes for children, teens, and adults all in place.

Will you pray with us about this important milestone?

Will you join us... be in your place at 9:30 Sunday and make sure your little ones are in their place?

FINALLY - will you consider helping us make final preparations for the day? We have some final cleanup tasks to make the facilities ready. JOIN US FOR A CLEANUP AND WORK DAY ON SATURDAY AT 10:00 AM. THIS WILL REPLACE THE REGULAR TUESDAY WORK DAY THIS WEEK. As usual, food and drink will be provided for those who help.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Thirty Days Of Thankfulness

During the month of November we'll delve into a new topic on Sunday mornings. We're going to get THANKFUL. Toward that end, here are the proposed topics for the Sunday morning service for the next four weeks.

1. Thank You God for Who You Are
2. Thank You God for What You've Done
3. Thank You God for What You Are Doing
4. Thank You God for What You Will Do

Have any thoughts or insights into any of those topics? A word of testimony? A thankful thought to share? If so, I'd love to hear them.

Twitter – @WEJohnson

Friday, October 31, 2014

Some Important Weekend Reminders!

Enjoy an extra hour of sleep before worshipping with us at 10:30 at FBC!

Also, consider joining some of us on Saturday morning at 10:00 as we serve the homeless at the Haven of Rest in Akron. Wear a hat!

AND... The teens will be assembling subs to benefit the Operation Christmas Child efforts this year. If you would like to help them with that effort, meet at the Randolph Senior Center at 5:00 Saturday evening.

AND... Some of us will be meeting at the church at 2:00 to clean the place up before Sunday's worship services.

BIG WEEKEND! Join us where and when you can!