Update on “Snowmageddon 2021” – March 2021

Below is the current information on any FBC cancellations due to predicted “Snowmageddon 2021.” This MAY include our “Community and Worship Time” this Sunday AM, March 14. If you are a leader of an FBC group and have cancellation information to announce, please send it to raleigh@fbccs.org.

Latest information as of 7:20AM (MST) on 3/14/2021: 

We plan to meet in person at our normal times today, Sunday 3/14/21.

If you decide to come, please drive carefully!If you choose otherwise, please know that is OK! We hope you will be able to join us online by clicking here.

If you were scheduled to help lead a class, worship music, sound, etc., please do not feel obligated to come. We will adjust. 

If you received other notices concerning cancellations or changes for individual classes or activities, please follow those instructions.If you forgot that today is “spring forward,” and didn’t set your clock ahead, it is probably too late already 🙂

“What I Would Take With Us: Gloria Deo, Imago Dei and Missio Dei” Part 2

Matthew 4: 2-11; Genesis 2:26-27; John 17:13-19

Worship Together

Live Service from February 21, 2021

Click here to watch video from the live service or click here to listen to the live service.

Note: this week’s sermon video is slightly truncated. The audio version of the service below is the complete message.

Message Audio

The PowerPoint for this message can be downloaded here.

If you’d like to read this message, you can download it here.

The Church has Left the Building – 2021

For years now, we have used the first Sunday of each new year to remind ourselves that our building is no the “church”. We have done this reminder by abandoning our normal practice of gathered worship at our usual 5590 N. Nevada at 10:30 AM, to meet in smaller groups around our city. This symbolized belief that “We can’t GO to churchwe ARE the church!” Now, for nearly a year, COVID 19 had been teaching this truth in a new way!

Do we still need our symbol of “The Church Has Left the Building” when, in so many ways we never expected, “The Church Really Had Left the Building” in 2021? We think so. Each year, the “leaving” also reminds us that smaller groups meeting around the city can still be united by the One Spirit of God in worship. It was also an opportunity to “de-formalize” even more our already informal patterns of worship as other people in the body had opportunities to lead.

So, we will all indeed leave 5590 N. Nevada once again on January 3, 2021and, at 10:30 AM, we will all worship virtually in smaller groups via ZOOM. We will randomly assign groups from all around the city since no one will have to travel farther than their computer screen.

If you and your email address were listed in the latest FBC directory, we will automatically send you a ZOOM invitation far enough in advance that you can be ready. If you need technical help to ZOOM, please email fbc@fbccs.org and request assistance.

If you are not listed in the directory or are not certain, please sent your name and email information to fbc@fbccs.org. We will add you to a “virtual worship group” for this special Sunday and send you a ZOOM link.

Of course, the thrill is not in the ZOOMING but in connecting with others we may not know, to worship God together, even if only virtually.

BTW: You are certainly welcome and encourage to invite friends in person at your place or virtually by sharing the ZOOM link we send you. You can even gather for your own virtual worship time with family and friends if you choose. If you need help for leading in your own worship time that day, please email fbc@fbccs.org and we’ll see what we can do.

Looking forward to seeing you online for worship, Sunday January 3, 2021!

Upcoming Elders Zoom Meetings

  • Find out the latest details for where we are at in our facility opportunity
  • Talk about who we are as a church…beginning to ask what stays the same and what might change?
  • An opportunity for us to listen, talk, pray and dream together about FBC…who we are and what we are called to do on God’s mission
  • We want everyone to have the opportunity to participate but size is limited for each meeting…so far, these are the meeting dates and the meetings will start at 7PM…
    • 12/13/2020 for Voyagers Class at 7PM
    • 1/10/2021 Open to all at 7PM
    • 1/17/2021 for Community Class at 7PM
    • 1/24/2021 Open to all at 7PM
  • Please click here to reserve your spot. We will email you the instructions with a Zoom link for the meeting
  • Any questions now? Please email them to fbc@fbccs.org.

Prayer Requests from the Elders

Dear FBC Family,

Thank you for praying with your elders regarding the future of FBC’s ministries last week.

This week will you join us in praying for the following?

1. Let’s continue to give thanks to God for who we are as a church body. Let’s give thanks for the values that have governed us. Let’s give thanks for the people who have led us in the identification and implementation of those values.

2. We are people of values. Let’s pray for our elders as they work on making sure our values are Biblical and articulating them in a way that is understandable to most of our people.

3. We are a church that is committed to the understanding that God’s grace is free. We need do nothing to “earn” or “deserve” God’s gracious dealings with us. Yet, there are many believers around us that struggle with this concept. Many of them suffer from guilt because they feel they must “perform” to deserve God’s blessing. Let’s pray with our elders as they struggle to know how our church can be a blessing to these other brothers and sisters who suffer from this guilt.

Thank you for praying with your elders as we seek to hear from God on what our ministries ought to look like in the future.

If you have questions or suggestions, please email them to the elders at elders@fbccs.org. Also, the elders would like to know how God is working with you. How has God blessed you as you quiet yourselves to listen? Please send your stories to the same email address.

Serving Him with you,

Eric Smith
Elder, Fellowship Bible Church

Prayer Requests from the Elders

Dear FBC Family,

Greetings in the name of Jesus from your elders.

We know that you have already been praying for us and for our seeking to discern the future of FBC ministries.  We will not try to bring everyone together physically to pray together, but the elders are inviting you, and the prayer groups you may participate in, to pray together for these important matters.  Each week, we will be suggesting several prayer requests.

For this week, can we pray for the following?

1. Let’s give thanks for the ministries that people from FBC are already involved in.  Let’s give thanks for what God has done in and through our people as we seek to serve Him.  Let’s give thanks for what God has done through FBC for the past 35 years.

2. We are a missional people, and we know that many in our fellowship are seeking to proclaim the Gospel in our neighborhoods, our city, and the world.  Let’s ask the Lord how He might want us to expand those efforts into new areas.

3. Let’s ask the Lord how He might want us to work together to reach our communities and the world.

Thank you for praying with your elders as we seek to hear from God on what our ministries ought to look like in the future.

If you have questions or suggestions, please email them to me at ForesightThinker@gmail.com.

Serving Him with you,

Eric Smith
Elder, Fellowship Bible Church

Worship Together Update

Worship Together

It was great to worship together last Sunday! There was a good group in person and another watching online. The singing, testimonies and Scripture all lifted THE NAME. Thank you for being part of that gathering of FBC.

This week we will continue to meet both in person and online. We hope you can join us again. The “waiting room” for the online service opens at around 10:00 AM. The worship service will begin around 10:30 AM.

Please click here to connect to the “waiting room” and the live service online.

If you plan to be with us at 5590 N. Nevada Av. in person, please read the update for last week’s re-opening. We have the specific purpose of displaying our unity in Christ in mind and that requires us to have His attitude of humility toward one another. Let’s love well by putting the needs of the other above our own!

– Raleigh

Worship Together Update

Worship Together


We hope and plan to be worshiping together at 5590 N. Nevada Av. tomorrow, June 21, at 10:30 AM.

This update will give you some details on our purpose for meeting and how we will re-open the facility.

If you cannot, or feel you should not, be there tomorrow, we still want you to be able to be a part of “gathering.” Click here to join us virtually via Zoom. This is the same link that you will find at the very top of the main church site (fbccs.org)

If all goes well, starting about 10 AM tomorrow, when you click the link above (or from the main page), you will be “admitted” into a “waiting room” for the worship gathering. Someone will be monitoring this room and will connect you with the service.

The service will also be recorded and available online soon in the “Sermons and Lessons” section of the site if you cannot connect while it is live.

We are asking folks to share short testimonies that focus on honoring God as a major part of our time together tomorrow. If you do choose to share, please know it will be recorded and available publicly online.


Put on Your Sunday Go to Meetin’ Clothes (for this Sunday)…

For those who thought these updates were intended to be texts rather than short epistles, I have written here first in my own, succinct texting style utilizing bullet points and emojis for brevity:

  • We have set a date to worship together again at 5590 N. Nevada Av. on Sunday AM 🙂
  • For more information, you will need to read the longish “epistle” that follows 😉

If you would like to listen to the detailed version (as opposed to reading it below), you can do so here:

The longer epistle begins here. Please wade through it. The contents are important.

Get those “Sunday-go-to-meeting” clothes out of the closet and get dressed for meeting together at FBC’s building…

This Sunday, June 21, at 10:30 AM.

We have waited to gather, not because of fear or lack of faith, not because we couldn’t decide, not because we trusted a certain set of experts, not because we forgot about the “1st Amendment” and not because we wanted more time away from one another. We waited to gather again physically until we believed we could do it in a way that would glorify God by showing humble, sacrificial love for one another. Ultimately, that is why we physically gather as the church.

By God’s grace and his power, we will attempt to gather in that way that glorifies God with special attention to putting the needs of others before our own, in humility and love. Our gatherings are always supposed to reflect this attitude as this allow us to “image God” together as part of His “Temple of living Stones.” I am grateful to you that our gatherings usually do reflect this attitude. You folks are pretty good at caring about each other sacrificially. You have shown that while we have been apart on Sundays.

Let’s continue to love one another well.

In preparation for re-gathering please think through and pray about why you/we gather as the Church of Jesus. Then, please consider all of the following points in no particular order (except a poorly arranged sort-of-a chiasm… so where is the emphasis usually found, O, studiers of Genesis?)

  • No one should feel like they are failing or sinful if they are not yet ready to return to gathering. We will continue to provide digital ways to connect with the body and intend to provide a way for you to see and hear this Sunday AM worship gathering. 
  • There will be one worship service for all. For now, please do not plan other “gathering” events using the facilities or grounds around this 10:30 AM service.
  • We will scatter seating in a way that allows for maintaining “social distancing” but also allows families, and others who choose, to sit together. Feel free to move chairs as needed to “social distance.” Caution! They pinch fingers if not careful.
  • We will sing loudly. That clearly spreads more than “joy” in the air around us. 
  • You will need to decide if masks are ultimately for the sake of the wearer or the ones the wearer encounters. There are purported “facts” that come to both, opposite, conclusions. Please wear a mask if you feel it protects you or if you feel it helps you love others by protecting them. I will preach from the platform, likely without a mask, so that I don’t “project” more than biblical truth on the front rows. For some, masks have become a symbol that can surface anger. Please pray we don’t get angry as we are trying to image our patient God together.
  • There will be children and other natural “huggers” in the gathering. This means no one can guarantee you will not be confronted with the choice to be hugged.
  • “Huggers,” please be aware that some folks don’t want to be hugged right now. It doesn’t mean they are shunning you.
  • Some “huggers” are not ready to re-gather if they cannot express their brotherly/sisterly affection in their natural, “holy” ways. We get that and understand why you may want to wait to re-gather rather than have to focus on trying not to hug the wrong person.
  • In either case, default to practicing “social distancing” until you actually know what that other person is feeling—put their needs before yours. It will be OK to ask. I know that is weird but sometimes we assume others are thinking and feeling what we are when they are not.
  • Given the loving nature of most of our gatherings, we suspect all this sense of artificiality will resolve itself quickly and be gone because our desire is to worship God lovingly together in order to image Him to one another and to the world He loves.
  • Please use the FBC hand sanitizer but don’t drink it for communion. BYOB (of hand sanitizer! i.e., If ya’ got it, bring it so we don’t run out!)
  • Of course, if you feel sick or have a fever please join us from home. I think most of us do that in more “normal” times anyway. For now, we need to be a bit more aware of who we might impact these days and err toward not coming even when we are just a “little sick.”
  • We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper with self-contained, sealed “elements.” Please forgive in advance for how they taste. It truly is the thought that counts! Please take the wrapper and the remnants of this modern communion stuff home with you (versus putting it in the chair rack) as a very memorable souvenir of “Corona-style” worship. Or, just toss it all in the trash yourself on the way out if you already have enough souvenir communion cups hoarded at home. Carrying these out may help us exit faster because we will be dripping sticky grape juice.
  • This time we will “forget” on purpose to pass the offering bags. You can use the offering boxes in the back to give or continue giving as you have been during our time apart. Thank you all for your consistent giving during this time. Ministry has continued!
  • There will be NO children’s classes, nurseries or other child care provided. Please do not try to open your own somewhere in the building. If you want to get sick with “something,” just force the lock on the “cry room” and invite folks to join you. I’m kidding. If you have keys, as so many do in our “pirate church,” please do not open other rooms, even with good intentions.
  • Please do not “parent shame” if a kid or two gets loose. This will be new for them too!
  • Parents, if you are concerned about having to spend the entire time worried about what your kids might do, we get that you might decide to stick with the online connection a bit longer. Because of the informal way we normally gather, we know kids feel great freedom in the building. We like that, but we do need to try to rein in their freedom a little for this gathering. Honestly, parents, we are saying choose what you think will most allow you, and your kids, to be part of us all glorifying God.
  • It will be difficult to maintain “social distancing” in our restrooms. Please be wise about the pre-gathering preparations you make at home and also lay off the three cups of coffee!
  • Speaking of coffee, we will not yet open the “coffee bar.” We will also not yet provide the brew that is sometimes called “coffee” found in the front entry on Sunday mornings. Please give us some time to work this out. If the hour puts you in withdrawal, we will have phone counselors available to talk you through the crisis. 1-800-I NEED CAFEEFEE (Don’t try it. I have no idea!)
  • As we usually do, for all of our unified services, we will plan to make this one shorter.
  • We will ask for testimonies to the glory of God. I suspect this will be a wonderful, major part of our worship this Sunday. Please think and pray about it beforehand. Then, please safely “step on up to the microphone” on the stand, one at a time. Keep your praise short, and focused on glorifying God. Please don’t touch the microphone. Please make it about God’s gloriousness!
  • Please help our 2nd-Mile Servants with all they are doing to make this possible for as many people as possible by not seeing yourself as an exception to these requests. Also, please thank these servants for the work they have done around the facilities in order to be ready. 

You may think of other details. Our main emphasis is on collectively and individually having a humble, loving attitude that puts the needs of the other person before our own. What an opportunity!

There is nowhere in Scripture where we are commanded to gather at the same place and time in a large “auditorium” every week in order to worship God. Please believe me, I’ve checked! However, there are several examples in Scripture that tell me whenever and wherever believers are gathered—in twos and threes or even in larger, citywide groups—the goal is to glorify God by imaging the fullness of the attitude of Jesus Christ. So, I’ll use Peterson’s The Message from the Apostle Paul’s “Philippians 2”…

 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

We didn’t need to push to open again as quickly as possible to practice “our religion.” Now, we do need to push each other to have the humble attitude Jesus took whenever we come together and wherever we do that. As I said already, “What an opportunity!”

Elders’ Update on Return to Worshiping Together

The elders’ meeting this week was longer than expected. I guess we have just fallen in love with looking at ourselves on Zoom :). 

As we have been doing each time, we shared updated information on “re-opening” from “official” sources. Once again, some of it seems to make sense while other parts are contradictory. Still, we try our best to “Render therefore to all their due….” Sometimes the political noise makes this difficult to discern but it probably wasn’t easy when Paul wrote that either.

We shared stories (not scientific surveys) from FBC folks about wanting to be together at 5590 N. Nevada. Most want to be back together for worship on Sundays and for other gatherings. However, some of that “most” group don’t want to do that under strict “social distancing” restrictions. Others from the “most” only want to gather if we assure them we will absolutely maintain those restrictions.

Contrary to what some of us might feel: Neither group is more righteous than the other. Neither group is less loving or loved. Neither group has more faith than the other.

[In the same “Letter to the Romans” where the Apostle Paul gave that difficult to “suss-out” command for submission to secular authorities, he wrote another command. This one also has, all of the sudden, become more relevant. “Greet one another with a holy kiss!” I’m not kidding when I say this command has become more relevant to me. I’m not arguing for lots of kisses. I am contemplating what this said about the way they met and what this might say to one another. If all this seems like gobbledygook to you, just chalk it off to a gobbledygooky pastor.]

We also prayed for you. We prayed with thanksgiving for the ways we know God is working in your lives. We prayed for the needs we knew about. We prayed for the many needs that remained unspoken. We trust you are doing this praying as well. Interceding in prayer for one another is a real and powerful aspect of our “koinonia” connection in Christ. Whether or not we get to gather and “kiss in holy ways,” we can express our love by praying for one another. It may not offer the same “emotional” uplift as a hug, but who would argue prayer is less potent?

Along with talking and praying, we decided we would not yet set a date for returning to one gathering on Sundays for worship in the building at 5590 N. Nevada Av., Colorado Springs, CO 80918. (Why does he write it that way??) We will continue to worship in the many places and ways that we are—apart from being with one another as a large group in one room, but all still very much connected to one another as the Body of Christ. As we have been, we will continue to pray that we will learn even better the mission of “being Jesus’ church” in a world we are not used to and find to be quite discomfiting. 

With that less enjoyable part clarified for another week or two, let me tell you what you probably already know. God is still at work in us and through us as a church on his mission in this world. People who are in despair are being loved. Folks in financial need are being helped. Men and women without Jesus are being told the Good News. Whole families are being set free from bondage to destructive ways. God’s Word is being taught truthfully. God’s people are praising him together as twos and threes or even tens. His people are giving financially to support his work close by and afar. Praise the NAME of the LORD!

In all our weakness and still to be perfected lives and with our less-than-perfect living out being the Body of Christ—living in circumstances we never anticipated—here is where still apart-TOGETHER we sing (you really can sing if you want to click on or “paste” the link): https://youtu.be/2kmskQGUIlc

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Seemingly more mundanely, preparations to return to worship and gatherings in the FBC building are in a beehive of activity made possible by your 2nd Mile Servants. This youngish crew, facilitated by youngish Eli Makaiwi, has been cleaning carpets, painting, even patching some stucco (there is a real stucco artist among us). The grass is cut. The sign on the building is re-touched. Maybe best of all, the building has reacquired its bright red “lipstick” 😉 by the main doors. It always fades over the winter. These young men and women are not serving a building. They are serving the LORD and YOU in their hearts by making a building ready.

We have observed that folks their age never learned from Westley (yes there does seem to be a “t” in his name) in the movie “The Princess Bride” that masks, being so comfortable as they are, would become a common fashion accessory! The “servants” just don’t wear masks while they work. AND they just don’t seem to have the ability to stay six feet apart. They believe in “holy hugs” (and probably “holy kisses” too). They face the Corona Virus differently than some others do. I’ve watched. This is not rebellion in these choice servants. It is simply coming at circumstances differently because they are at a different age.

Seeing this phenomenon moves us toward setting up some smaller, face-to-face high school groups, now, to meet and to study a very helpful series of biblical lessons in living by grace called, The Cure. We plan to utilize some youngish teachers to lead these youngish groups. We will text the high school kids soon, if we can make this happen. However, if you have a high-school aged child and want to make sure they can participate, if and when it begins, please email their info to me at raleigh@fbccs.org just in case.

May God bless you with the blessings He wisely knows you need and please remember…

His is the NAME above all names. We live to glorify His NAME not our own!

The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!

Everlasting LIFE is a gift…by God’s grace alone, through simple faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone!

We can’t GO to church…We ARE the church!

The church does not exist for its own sake but for the sake of the world God loves!

In Christ, we are held together even when we are forced to be apart.


“How long, O Lord? … Are you really not going to tell us the date?”

Acts 1:6-11

6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” 

“How long, O Lord? … Are you really not going to tell us the date?”

We are about two months into the measures designed to face the Corona Virus. I did not expect to spend two months of our lives living this way. That’s not even the most disturbing part for me. What really overloads my thinking is looking toward the future trying to determine some distinct marker, out there somewhere, that will allow us to make wise decisions on returning to “normal.”

I’m not complaining. My life is an easy, comfortable life even under these strange circumstances. I’m describing the odd feeling that I’ve never faced any decision making quite like this as a leader. I desire to know something solid—something factual on which I can pin a decision and when I reach for it, I grasp nothing but air. 

These are clearly times of lessons on faith for normally pretty comfortable believers. I have to keep reminding myself God may use us but God is not dependent on us. My process of remembrance goes something like this: Step #1 Why do I need to know what I FEEL I need to know? Step #2 What will happen if I don’t know? Step #3 Can God deal with that if it does happen? If I make it to “Step #3” I can usually smile a bit at my own, natural arrogance. 

My reason for bringing this up now is to remind us that the FBC Elders are praying, thinking and deciding not only about the seemingly unanswerable questions that impact them and their families but also for our “church family.” The elders are trying to see and live by “eyes of faith” in decisions that impact all of us. I suspect you can recognize this is not always easy to do these days. We don’t all always agree exactly on “next steps.” Sometimes we even get a bit frustrated. None of this is helped by communicating virtually much of the time. None of the decisions feel very “happy-clappy” wonderful. We even know and understand that some of you may not agree with the outcomes of our deliberations.

In our meeting this week we focused on the potential for re-opening the FBC facilities to groups and to worshipping together on Sundays. Among other things we addressed our ecclesiology (theology from Scripture about being Jesus’ church), authority (theology from Scripture about Jesus’ church relating to the human authorities), medical information and its sources, the logistics of re-opening and finally the emotional aspects of deciding and of re-opening or not. 

I’m telling you this, in detail, because I do want you to know the love and the seriousness these guys put into making choices that impact us all. Ultimately, there still is no great “answer” shining through to eyes of flesh or faith. We call again on all of us to trust the Lord and be patient with one another and the circumstances.

In this meeting, we decided it is not yet wise to re-open the facilities. It is probably not helpful to guess at a date that we might. We will re-open them as soon as we conclude it is the wise and thus loving thing to do for our body—when we think it will best demonstrate the unity of the body of Christ and image God to those who are watching.

Meanwhile we are delighted as we see God working to “bubble-up” many different ways for FBC folks to connect in worship, teaching and relationship. Right now, many of these are virtual. If you haven’t yet found a place, please hit the website www.fbccs.org and dig down into “gatherings.” You will find emails to make contact with groups that are meeting online.

We are also watching and considering a more formal formation of some small groups that would actually meet together for worship and teaching around the city. We think it best to give us all some time to practice social distancing and relationships between those who do “distance” and those who don’t before we start forming these groups. Maybe by the time we learn to lovingly accept one another in that different choice we will not have to do it in these meetings. The temperature is rising so meeting outdoors, with lots of space, is becoming an option as well.

By-the-way, in the “pirate church,” no one has to wait for “orders” from us to meet this way. We ask, if what you do is even informally connected with FBC that you will do it wisely and, for now, do it practicing social distancing even if you are not a fan of that. 

You “social-types,” please make it your ministry to think about others who may not reach out very well. Make some phone calls if you can. All of us, these are great days for our witness to salvation in Jesus Christ. Many people are scared as their foundations of prosperity and veneer of control are not looking very healthy. The world—the whole, entire world—can change faster than most ever dreamed. If you know the One who made the whole world the potential for peace in the chaos is far greater. Tell people about Jesus. They need Him just as we do!

Meanwhile, no need to be “staring blankly at the sky” looking for the answer in cloud formations. This “answer” won’t come from there like that. It is time to get on with His mission under the circumstances in which He has left us. He will be with us!

In other news, in case you have wondered, the sale of our campus is still moving forward. The process has slowed as the city approval mechanisms have ground to a halt because of the pandemic. However, it seems the sale will happen. Then again, these days, who really wants to say they know what will happen even a few months from now??!!


Time to “Switch Back On” FBC Meetings at 5590 N. Nevada?

When I was in the High School class of a fine Baptist church in the Detroit area, the viral scourge of “Rock and Roll” music was pandemic. The adults who led the class wanted to protect us both from the “sinful lyrics” and from the “devil’s drumbeat.” After much discussion, and prayer (I hope), they decided they could not come up with standards with which to measure the relative “sinfulness” of each song and none of them wanted to listen to all that “evil” music to determine which songs were OK for us to listen to as “good Christians.” The answer? A black/white, on/off switch decision. “All secular music is bad. God doesn’t want you to listen to any of it.” You can probably see the holes in that argument and the practical issues. I played trombone in a concert band and an orchestra. We were rehearsing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and a part of Dvorak’s “New World Symphony at my public school when the Sunday School “all-secular-music-is-bad” edict came down from above. Now what? Who do they say “is always in the details?”

The unknown elements of the Covid-19 virus and a potential pandemic made it easier to make a black/white, on/off decision to shut down much of normal life in our country. Setting aside conspiracy theories, likely no one here had enough information, or felt they had enough time, to make detailed decisions on a case by case basis of what should stay open and what should close in our lives. Although we might not agree with the black/white, on/off decision, I think we can understand why it was made in the moment.

However, now comes the more difficult part—factual thinking about what really matters. What does make a difference? Among government leaders and politicians, there is a wide difference of opinions on what is “essential.” Some of us, or even many of us, don’t agree with some or even many of their conclusions. How should we respond to that disagreement as the Body of Christ? How about as a local facet of that Body called FBC?

Do the leaders of FBC feel like they have enough factual information to rebel against secular authorities in God’s name? Have we reached the point where we are at some form of an “obey God rather than Caesar” issue? After meeting last night, I would say we don’t think we are there yet.

Do the leaders of FBC think we have enough, clear factual information to begin to “switch back on” use of our facilities by groups? Could small groups of different types begin meeting again by “enforcing” the guidelines of only groups ten or less, social distancing, masks (still don’t know if this is always a guideline or not?), etc.? Some of us felt we could. Others, after thinking of specific “small groups,” felt it would be nearly impossible actually to follow the guidelines for all involved.

Ultimately, the consensus was, we will wait a bit longer before beginning to open the facility again even for smaller group meetings. Because things could change quickly, the elders have met every week to talk through the details. Our desire is to “open” sooner rather than later. We want to do this in a way that honors our secular authorities, with the honor due to them, and truly practices the protective measures we say we are practicing. For today, given what we know, this seems like the best way for us to have integrity as leaders.

This means the FBC facilities will remain as they are—closed to meetings for now. As always, there may be individuals in the facilities, from time-to-time, carrying-out necessary work. If nothing changes we will continue with the facilities closed like this until after Sunday, May 17. We will let you know any plans for opening after that as soon as we can.

Thank you, as a whole Body, for your faithful support of one another in praying, consuming God’s Word, connecting with one another in creative ways and your giving of finances faithfully. Much of the normal mission of FBC goes on in these abnormal days. May God be glorified! May we continue seeing through “eyes of faith” and not only through “eyes of flesh.”

The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!

Everlasting LIFE is a gift…by God’s grace alone, through simple faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone!

We can’t GO to church…We ARE the church!

The church does not exist for its own sake but for the sake of the world God loves!



I pray you are doing well as we continue to be “geographically” apart for worship this Sunday. Have you begun to ask when will we be back together on Sunday? When can I go back to work? School? Friends? Normality? As I watch and listen, the folks are getting restless.

The elders will meet this Tuesday (virtually still of course). I think maybe, just maybe, we can begin asking when? At least we can ask, how will we decide? As I have said before, we are blessed with a meeting place with enough space we could all sit not just six feet apart but six seats apart. You all can wear masks. The singers can sing from the little balcony. I’ll stand far way up on the stage. I’ll have to work out better how to preach in a mask. My glasses steam up. I’ll start practicing.

My eyes are getting tired from too much screen time (some necessary some by poor choice) so I am not seeing well. My sermon for this week on the www.fbccs.org site addresses “seeing” in times like these—actually all the time. Thomas might have said “seeing is believing”.  My point is more that “believing is seeing.”

I invite you to listen or read the sermon. I also, at the last minute, attached a song that touches a bit on the same theme. I didn’t ask this in the sermon, but I’ll ask it here. Where does the elderly woman in the video turn to be able to “see” when she finds herself “in the dark” of life?

The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!

Everlasting LIFE…by God’s grace alone, through simple faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone!

We can’t GO to church…We ARE the church!

The church does not exist for its own sake but for the sake of the world God loves!


Anybody else sometimes forgetting what day of the week it is?

Anybody else sometimes forgetting what day of the week it is? You probably didn’t forget that today is Friday—the Friday we solemnly designate as “Good Friday” We know the victorious power of what is coming but we dare not forget what our Lord chose to suffer for us as, “He humbled himself and became obedient unto death—even death on a cross!

I have placed a short Good Friday “lesson” in the sermon section of the www.fbccs.org page. I apologize in advance if my sermon “themes” sound a bit repetitive. However, my heart’s desire in these days is to be authentic and not concerned about producing a “show”—an appearance of things that is not necessarily real. These “themes” are very real for me. They are where my heart is for myself, you and FBC as a body. The Good Friday “lesson” asks what it is like when the familiar things we comfortably trust are suddenly gone.

Lord willing, the Easter sermon sitting on my desk and ready to go to the www.fbccs.org site, will be loaded with the perfect balance of Friday and Sunday that only God’s Word can bring to all of our hearts. There will be an exceptionally great deal of God’s Word in it for you to consider.

If you have the opportunity, and God leads, listen to or read the first part of the sermon early. I plan to post it Saturday evening. In that first section, I am going to ask you to consider doing something different than you might have expected for celebrating Resurrection Sunday 2020. Some of you might want to make some plans for yourself or with others based on my suggestions.

As you worship this Resurrection Sunday, please remember, we are united by the One Spirit of God even when we are not physically together. I know this is difficult to conceive and to believe, but all else we do to “be together” in this world is only symbolic of the reality that we are united in Christ. As just one example, we think of a good marriage as a sort of an “end game”—a good goal in itself. The Apostle Paul tells us that even the togetherness of a good marriage is but a beautiful symbol of a far, far greater union.

Recall Hebrews 11:10-16. Like Abraham, “we are aliens and strangers on earth.” I’m discovering, as with Abraham, it takes some doing for God to get me to “admit” that truth. We cling tightly to the “familiar things we comfortably trust.”

My prayer is that this Resurrection Sunday, we will “admit we are truly aliens and strangers in this world,” open our clinging hands and see the power of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in ways we never have before. My prayer is we will come back together someday with a new realization—an even clearer understanding—of what truly matters as a church on God’s mission in a world that is not our true home.

Sorry! Got to preachin’ there.

The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!

Everlasting LIFE…by God’s grace alone, through simple faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone!

We can’t GO to church…We ARE the church!

The church does not exist for its own sake but for the sake of the world God loves!

With love in Christ and TOGETHER in Him this Resurrection Sunday 2020,



FBCCS Brothers and Sisters,

Frankly I hadn’t expected it to come to this. Mary is now mask-making instead of quilting. Actually, when all this started, I didn’t know what to expect. It seems like we will be doing one of my least favorite things for the foreseeable future—WAITING! Maybe God thought I/we needed some practice at that? I’ve talked with some of you about it and we agree it’s not easy and not, immediately, very fulfilling. But, let’s put our “waiting room” masks on and wait well on God.  

I hope you have had a chance to try the updated “fbccs.org” website. Maybe you are reading this now because you are on that site. You who have discovered the section on “Worshipping Him” know that a number of folks in our body have been writing down ideas of worship from their hearts. These were intended to be short plans that we could use in small groups to guide us in worship. It turns out they also serve well as inspiring devotional guides. They are not fancy, but they are good and come from the hearts of our brothers and sisters. Take a look at these when you can.

So far, as a body we are doing well at praying for one another and serving one another in practical ways. You have provided meals for each other, run errands, and helped in many different ways. Much of this has happened naturally without any need for a program. However, if you need it, the program is there for you to ask for help on the site or offer your service to the body.

Our 2nd-mile men and women have been helping us serve one another as well. As thoughtful younger folks, they have been doing some special shopping and delivery work wisely. They love to serve if needed. They also helped us help a family outside of our FBC body who has taken in some homeless kids to protect them from the virus. We were able to supply groceries for the increased number of mouths to feed when funds were running low. If God leads, please continue to support the FBC Love Fund with financial resources to allow our body to keep serving all those God brings across our path these days.

Please use the opportunity the website provides to connect with various groups of FBCers meeting over Zoom. If you check the “Gatherings” section of the site you will find a few there now. If you are holding a meeting that others can join, please let me know and I will get it posted. 

Lord willing, I hope to post a short video message on the website for Good Friday, April 10. Then, watch for plans for celebrating Easter Sunday.

Most of all, pray for one another and “wait on the Lord” in the way the Bible means that. May God’s grace and peace be with you! May we bring glory only to Him in these days as the FBC body!

Raleigh Gresham


FBCCS Brothers and Sisters,

I pray you are doing well, trusting God and “imaging” Him under these different circumstances. I have tried to remember to tell you each Sunday we have gathered TOGETHER for worship how special I find it to be a part of this FBC body with you. Sometimes I also tell you that if I could do nothing else but share the bread and the cup TOGETHER that would be enough to align my living for another week. 

Now, I wish I could send you some digital oyster crackers, sometimes even salted, and Welches grape juice (and, rarely accidentally tart pomegranate juice) in a cracked, little plastic Christian “shot glass.” If we have to worship apart for very long maybe we will figure out a way to share the joy and blessing of the Lord’s Table TOGETHER on Zoom or some other digital meeting platform. But, not this Sunday.

However, if you have looked at the http://www.fbccs.org site, “The Tale of Two Churches” is gone—at least for the time being. In its place you’ll find some attractive and active boxes from which to choose representing how we as the body are the “hands” (feet, heart, mouth, etc.) of Jesus to one another and to the world God loves.

This redesigned website is not made to attract folks to “come to church” at FBC’s building. It is not intentionally evangelistic. It is made to help us all (“No one falls through the cracks, please!”) stay connected until we are TOGETHER once again. The site, is just a start. More content is on the way. There are probably still a few mistakes and broken links so we’ll call it the “FBCCS Corona beta site. Please help us “test” it. We don’t need you to do this so we’ll know what words we misspelled. We want you to do it so we know you are there and we are TOGETHER as one body by the Spirit of God even when we are not TOGETHER in one location. This is the true supernatural nature of biblical “koinonia.”

Folks have worked hard and fast on the site to provide lessons for the kids and middle schoolers. Many FBC classes have set up ways to meet digitally in which you can take part. There are helps for worshipping in small, but wise groups, as a family or just with you alone in the presence of God. For Sunday, there might even be a sermon from me or from someone else in one form or another.

There will be previous lessons and practice exercises for the Tyrannus “Inductive Bible Study” class that we just got started. There are ways to connect with every group, meeting Sunday and otherwise, we could think of in our body and get information. We can add more if you know of some that we should.

There are ways to make prayer requests and join the prayer team. You can tell us of needs you have or needs you know others have and you can let us know ways you feel called to help others as servants of the Lord in these strange days.

There will be occasional posts by “bloggers” in our body called “thoughts” that we hope will break through with faith, hope and love for these next days. There is a link to an up-to-date archive of all FBC sermons since the first one that was preached in the Garden of Eden. There are updates on the parts of our body that God has called to different mission “harvests” around the world.

Eventually, when there is nothing else to do, we will get around to posting something for “Yutes.” They pretty much do their own social media stuff so they are plenty occupied (and we won’t get it right anyway).

There are ways to continue supporting the mission we are on as a body financially. Of course the snail mail address is there for checks. We also have included instructions on giving “semi-digitally” through your bank’s bill paying system. 

If you want “updates” on FBC as a body and our response to what is going on in our world today, there is a section just for that. “All-church” emails and messages, like this one, will be posted there. There are email addresses and forms embedded all over the site that will connect you with people and information. Please use them. Use them even if are just lonely or antsy because we can’t be TOGETHER in the same geographical location these days.

Please be praying for wisdom for our nation’s leaders and humility that recognizes they can’t do what needs to be done apart from God’s intervention. Please pray for the leaders of FBC, as we pray for you, that we will all know when is the right time to crawl out of our caves and eat and drink crackers and juice TOGETHER again.

This FBCCS Corona beta site may only be necessary for a few weeks, Lord willing! If not, God knows exactly what he is doing and he is working his redemptive plan one way or another. Pray that we will be wise enough and courageous enough to join his plan rather than making our own. May the NAME be lifted up as we trust and serve him!

Please visit the updated site. Please tell others who need to connect about it. It is of course http://www.fbccs.org. It will take some time to add all the content so, please be patient about that. We will be counting on your clicks—actually counting your clicks and expecting oh, maybe, “10,000 ways” something a little like the popular song says.

Everlasting LIFE…by God’s grace alone, through simple faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone!

We can’t GO to church…We ARE the church!

The church does not exist for its own sake but for the sake of the world God loves!

With love in Christ and TOGETHER in Him,


An Update

FBCCS Brothers and Sisters

This is the longer update on the update I told you I would send.
We elders met Tuesday. We had a remote connection available and those who met face-to-face sat six feet apart at a very long and wide table. It was strange but productive. As usual, the best part was praying together for our body and our world that God would be glorified.

You probably hear at least some of the information and requests coming from government officials and virologists trying their best to understand the Covid-19 outbreak. They want to help protect people if they can. They especially want to avoid infecting those the virus seems to strike the hardest—we who are not as healthy or older in general. Their plans called “social distancing” are sometimes confusing to me. However, it seems limiting as much contact as possible, especially in groups, is the point. This is true even for younger, healthier folks because of the potential to pass on the virus in their wake.

We are called to be “loving our neighbor.” The Apostle Paul tells us to expand that loving even to unbelieving neighbors as much as is possible. Therefore it seems biblical and wise to us to hear what the officials and virologists are saying and suggesting in order to love the weakest among us—both inside and outside the body.

They are now suggesting avoidance of groups for some weeks out and even through April. As sad as it felt, we decided not to re-open the FBC facilities for worship and other activities through the month of April. One elder reminded us, “That is, unless God does a miracle and changes all of this in an instant.” We agreed we would readily adjust if that were the case!

So, again, all meetings and activities in the FBCCS facilities are cancelled through and including, Sunday, April 26. We will gladly update you and change this if the miracle happens. We will also update you before this date if we decide it is best to extend the closure. I remind you that there will sometimes be 2nd-mile servants, staff and elders working appropriately in the building. Please don’t put them “between a rock and a hard place” by asking them to let you in to meet there.

The good news is that, as we expected, you FBC folks know how and do indeed worship and minister to each other and the world God loves without being “bossed” by any human authority or limited to any “normal” church structures (including facilities). Thank you for demonstrating that these last weeks and last Sunday. The reports of so many of you proactively helping others in the name of Jesus and so many small groups gathering wisely to worship really didn’t surprise us.

Our little “pirate church” is somewhat odd. This means our response to the fear spread by this virus won’t be exactly the same as other churches. We firmly believe in, and want to support when possible, the wise operation of the informal caring and worship that you guys initiated. Please be wise and think about how your serving and gathering impacts others and the testimony of Jesus to the world he loves. We believe you will!

We also realize that even in a small group like ours, some folks can “fall between the cracks” in times like we are experiencing. As elders, we are thinking about and, by God’s power, working at this part of the picture. Some of the things happening are:

  • Multiple forms of communication to as many as possible including connected folks who don’t attend on Sundays or have not attended for a time (emails, phone calls to specific groups, snail mail, social media connections, promoting word of mouth communication, etc.
  • We made lists of “older” & “not as healthy” FBC folks and are finding ways to make sure they are not left disconnected. If you get “called” as an “older-folk” and don’t feel like one, smile over the phone and tell Margaret you love her! We will certainly help non-FBC folks as well when we can do that in Jesus’ name
  • Yes, at least for a time, the www.fbccs.org website will become active again. (If you wonder why we would have to say that, let’s talk later.)
  • The FBCCS office, primarily through email will aim to be a “hub” that will “over-communicate” and over CC: folks who are serving others both formally and informally so that we truly watch for anyone that might be unintentionally “falling through the cracks.” Please let us know what you are up to in ministering so we don’t duplicate. That office email is fbc@fbccs.org. The phone is (719) 593-2433.
  • Our 2nd-Mile Servants are going to be employed wisely to help serve needs of the body that have nothing to do with the facilities they usually keep so ready for us. Thank you 2nd-Milers!
  • ETC.

Lord willing, the fbccs.org website will very soon be updated to a simple site where you may find help to stay connected with one another as you are connected by the Spirit—if you want that help. I (Raleigh) had wanted to use “Corona” beer as a new website theme and “limon” slices as the “buttons” but collective elder-wisdom correctly said, “It’s way “too soon!” My point was not to make us laugh, but to remind us not to be afraid. We will get this important point across in other ways.

If it goes as planned, you will soon find growing selections on the site for helps with worship no matter the very small size of your worship group and even without your own “worship team.” You will find up- to-date sermons and lessonsas well as a link to the FBC sermon archive. You will find a button that will allow us to stay on mission by taking requests for help and giving a place to sign-up to be a servant. Another button, will be focus on our ministry with kids. Another, will let you request prayer or ask to be added to the prayer team that keeps requests private. And, finally you will see a button helping you know ways to continue to support the broad FBCCS mission financially.

Meanwhile, please feel free to contact the FBCCS office by email or phone if you have needs, know of someone in danger of slipping through the cracks, or would like someone to pray.

As the days pass, pray for one another and serve one another (and the world God loves) in Jesus name. May God be glorified! May THE NAME be lifted up in all the earth!

Everlasting LIFE…by God’s grace alone, through simple faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone

In the “koinonia” of Christ,
Raleigh (for the elders)