January 2019 CrossTie

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VOL 3 | ISSUE 1 | JANUARY 2019


January 6, 2019 Epiphany Sunday “Reactions to a Newborn” Matthew 2:1-12 January 13, 2019 The Baptism of Our Lord “The Ripple Effect” Luke 3:15-17, 21-23a January 20, 2019 Second Sunday after Epiphany “I’ll Be the Big Toe” 1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-7, 12, 16-18, 26-27 January 27, 2019 Martha Sterns Marshall Day Elizabeth (Ebby) Arnold SRBC Member and PhD. Candidate, Emory University In western Christian tradition, January 6 is celebrated as Epiphany. It goes by other names in various church traditions. The term "epiphany" means "to show" or "to make known" or even "to reveal." In Western churches, it commemorates the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ Child, thus "revealing" Jesus to the world as Lord and King. In traditional Christian churches, Christmas, as well as Easter, is celebrated as a period of time, a season of the church year, rather than just a day. The Season of the Church Year associated with Christmas actually begins with the first Sunday of Advent, four Sundays before Christmas Day. Advent is marked by expectation and anticipation in preparing to celebrate the coming of Jesus. The Season of Christmas begins with Christmas Day, December 25, and lasts for twelve days until Epiphany, January 6, which looks ahead to the mission of the church to the world in light of the Nativity. The one or two Sundays between Christmas Day and Epiphany are sometimes called Christmastide. Dennis Bratcher, The Voice




B e c k y C a s w e l l - S p ei gh t Minister to Families with Children rspeight@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0546


From the Pastor











Jeremy Colliver Minister of Communications, Missions and Youth jcolliver@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0551 Kat hy D obbi n s Minister of Spiritual Formation kdobbins@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0548 Chris G e o r ge Senior Pastor cgeorge@smokerisebaptist.org 770.469.5856 Bart McNiel Associate Pastor bmcniel@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0540 Danny Va n c i l Minister of Music & Worship dvancil@smokerisebaptist.org 678.533.0560

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As we look ahead to this new year, I would like to make a suggestion for a resolution. What if, in 2019, we committed to rediscovering the Bible? For many of us, the Bible occupies an important place in our life of faith, but seems to get lost in our crowded schedules. For others, we read the Bible stories as children, but have not re-read the scriptures for several years.





We believe that God calls both men and women to lead and to serve, to preach and to teach because all are made in the image of God. At Smoke Rise, women serve and women lead in worship not only on Martha Stearns Marshall Sunday, but each week.

Dealing with the recurring question – “Who am I?” – leads to our first goal in youth ministry: to help students develop their own relationship with Christ. It's their own individual relationship with Christ that matter – not that of their parents and not that of their church leaders.

A B O UT S M O K E RIS E 5901 Hugh Howell Rd. Stone Mountain, GA 30087 Tel: 770.469.5856 Fax: 770.498.3598 Office Hours M-F 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Smoke Rise Baptist Church is a loving and caring faith community where people come to grow spiritually, worship communally and serve faithfully. We are committed to fostering authentic relationships and engaging in meaningful ministry in our congregation, our community and around the world. We partner with others in an effort to be about God’s work. We commit to love God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We seek to proclaim the Good News of Christ in all that we say and do.


FR O M T H E PASTO R CH RIS G E ORGE - Senior Pastor

Yes, New Year’s is an arbitrary date on the calendar. Yes, December 31 is only a day, not a year, away from January 1. But, the New Year offers us a blessed opportunity to start over. So, at this time of year, most of us make some kind of resolution. We commit to eating a little less and exercising a little more. We commit to ceasing some vice and adding some virtue to our lives. As you look ahead to this New Year, I would like to make a suggestion for a resolution. What if, in 2019, you committed to rediscovering the Bible? The Bible is the best-selling book in the history of the world. It has been translated into more languages than any other single text. According to recent surveys, 92% of households in America have at least one copy. These same surveys discovered that only about 37% of Americans read the book. So, although everyone owns a Bible, few people know much about it. For many of us, the Bible occupies an important place in our life of faith, but seems to get lost in our crowded schedules. For others of us, we read the Bible stories as children, but have not re-read the scriptures for several years. If we are to rediscover the Bible, it will take more than good intentions. It will require a commitment on our part to make the study of scripture a priority in our lives. You can read the entire Bible this year by reading three chapters a day. Or, you can read the entire Bible over three years by reading just one chapter a day. At Smoke Rise, we want to encourage our members to engage in daily scripture reading and want to provide help along the way. If you are not a part of our Sunday school program, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of plugging into one of these classes. Some of our classes are defined by age while others are defined by approach; but each of our classes provides a safe place to ask questions and to seek answers from the scripture. These Sunday school classes will be your communities of conversation and support as you commit to re-engaging the scriptures. Last Fall, Bart and I led a five-week study on "How to Read the Bible and the Gospels." The study is still available at our church website for those who were unable to attend. In January, during Wednesday night Journeys, we will embark on a 14week journey through the Pauline Epistles. We will begin with an "Introduction to Paul: His Writings and His World." Then we will spend one week on each of the letters attributed to Paul. These studies will also be available on the website for those unable to attend. Baptists are known as “People of the Book,” because of our commitment to the Bible as the guidebook for our faith and life together. Seeking truth, asking questions, using our heads and our hearts – these are not only acceptable, but are also our spiritual obligations if we are followers of Jesus Christ. Let us follow faithfully and be seekers of truth together in 2019.


WOR S H IP I N G AT S M OK E R I SE DA NNY VA NC IL - Minister of Music


GROW IN G AT S M O K E R I SE K ATHY D OBBIN S - Minister of Spiritual Formation

Rediscovering the Bible

Wednesdays at 6 pm in Fellowship Hall Rediscovering the Bible: The Pauline Epistles Last fall, Pastor Chris and Bart began a study through the New Testament beginning with the gospels. During these 14 weeks, they continue with the letters of Paul. Beginning January 9

Ladies Monday Morning Bible Study Reading the Gospels with New Eyes led by Rev. Bart McNiel. six weeks; Mondays at 9:45 am beginning January 28 For more information, contact Kathy Dobbins at kdobbins@ smokerisebaptist.org

January 27; 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm Childcare 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm Hosts: Graham and Lynne Felton 1853 Chedworth Lane, Stone Mountain Connections is a once-a-month gathering for individuals and couples in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Light snacks and drinks provided. Childcare is provided at the church. Parents can drop off children at the preschool area beginning at 5:30 pm. Please RSVP for children by the previous Wednesday through the church office (770) 469-5856; mbrock@smokerisebaptist.org. Teacher Spotlight: Brian Abner Brian Abner is one of the rotating teachers in the Agape class. He had been the deacon that was assigned to that Sunday School class several years ago. So he often stopped by to visit and sometimes stayed for the lesson. Relationships had developed with the class members which made it easy for Brian to take the place of another teacher who could no longer participate. Teaching Sunday school was not new for Brian. He taught in the youth department for 10 years and substituted for teachers in other areas as needed. He also worked with RA’s for many years. One of the things Brian says he likes about being a teacher is the lesson preparation – reading the scripture and consulting the commentaries to dig deeper into the material in order to bring greater understanding. I asked Brian what was significant about being a teacher in a senior adult class like Agape. For him it is the chance to learn from these people, most of whom have been Christians and in church most of their lives. The experience they bring, is a “unique treasure.” 6 | S MOKE RIS E BAPT IST.ORG

S ERVIN G ON M I S SI ON J E R E MY C OLLI V ER - Minister of Communications, Missions and Youth "Kindness is a blessing and a gift" That quote was on the front of the card that I found in my mailbox at church on Sunday morning. The card was to: “Christians of the Mission Committee of Smoke Rise Baptist Church” and from: “Cindy”. This was the handwritten message on the inside: Dear Christians of Smoke Rise Baptist Church: Thank you so much for donating paint for painting my house. You are very generous and kind souls. This means a lot to me. God bless you and your whole church. Yours in Christ, Cindy I knew immediately the story of this card. Smoke Rise had been approached by David at NETWorks about a lady in the NETWorks family who needed to have her house painted. David asked Mike and Martha Holt if Smoke Rise would be able to provide the paint for her house. Mike and Martha made the Mission Committee aware of the request and formally asked the Mission Committee to purchase the paint from the Mission Development Fund. The Mission Committee heard the story and approved the paint for her home. What I didn’t say about the story of this card was that it was hand-delivered. Cindy brought it by church on Sunday, attended a Sunday school class, and joined the Smoke Rise family for worship. What started with a can of paint, led to the beginnings of a relationship. May Smoke Rise Baptist Church continue to be the hands, feet, and even paint cans for Christ. - Jeremy Hurricane Relief Hurricane Michael ripped through the panhandle of Florida and was still at hurricane strength as it swept up through southern Georgia. We were bombarded by news coverage and worried about the people and property of Florida and Georgia. As always, the Smoke Rise family wanted to help, and help you did. Smoke Rise Baptist Church has given $4,000+ to the relief efforts of Hurricane Michael. Thank you for your generous response. 7 | S MOKE RIS E BAPT IST.ORG

5th Annual World Mission Offering Anytime I am halfway through something, I hear Bon Jovi singing, (ok screaming), “Woah, we’re halfway there!” and that’s what ran through my head on repeat after I opened my weekly email to read the 5th Annual World Mission Offering total. Currently, Smoke Rise Baptist Church has given a total of $34,298 to the World Mission Offering. Unlike Bon Jovi we’re living on more than a prayer because there is still pledged money that has not been given. If you haven’t given to the World Mission Offering you still have until the end of March to give. Help us meet our goal of $40,000. $40,000 isn’t a number, it is chickens for Honduras, a new pastorium in Tijuana, tutors in Clarkston, help with teen pregnancy in Clarkston, a freezer for NETWorks, and seed money for a ministry center at Edgewood Church. - Jeremy

CA RIN G AT S M O KE R I SE BART McN IE L - Associate Pastor Sharing in Caring through Community-Connected Groups and Ministries During our Thanksgiving basket drive this year, the SRBC Academy of Arts and the SRBC Weekday School each stepped up to show they care and to help make our annual effort a success. As we serve others through connected mission partners like the Lilburn Coop, it is easy to overlook the web of community-connected groups and ministries within our church walls that come alongside our congregation. In the weeks leading up to our Thanksgiving celebration and basket stuffing event, the Academy of Arts sent young performers and family volunteers to collect food at the Stone Mountain Kroger, and the Weekday School families gathered items on our collection list as families dropped off little ones each day. The combined efforts of these two connected ministries helped us exceed our collection goals. One of the ways our congregation shares in caring is by opening up our building to others in the community. When community-connected groups and ministries like the Academy of Arts and Weekday School come alongside us to assist with community caring campaigns, it widens the web of relationships and people who share in the work of the Spirit among us. In Luke 10, Jesus commissioned 70 disciples to go ahead of him into the cities to look for houses of peace. The mission of the 70 signaled a new wideness and openness to partner with others as part of God’s in-breaking Kingdom. In essence, Jesus sent ambassadors to look for houses of hospitality where strangers could become new friends around shared tables of welcome. May God continue to bless Smoke Rise as a house of peace in our community, and bless the circle of caring and sharing among us. Thank you, Smoke Rise family of faith, for welcoming others through the shared use of our buildings and thank you to our friends in the Academy of Arts and Weekday School for coming alongside us to care for others in our community and beyond. CAREGIVER SUPPORT CARD MINISTRY Supporting caregivers for people Sending personal cards to encourage suffering with Alzheimer’s and other and brighten the day types of dementia VISITATION Visiting members with smiles, prayers NANCY’S HEART STITCHERS Sharing the warmth of Christian love and personal touch with handmade quilts and blankets GRIEF SUPPORT Contact Rev. Bart McNiel to volunteer Supporting others after the loss to serve on a TouchPoint team. of a loved one


Monday Morning Grief Support Group Facilitator: Bart McNiel Room 223 9:30am-10:30am January 7 February 4 March 4 April 8 May 6

Wednesday Evening Grief Support Group Facilitator: Adam Arnold Room 223 6:00pm-7:00pm January 23 February 27 March 27 April 24 May 22

Thursday Morning Caregiver Support Group for Alzheimer’s and all other types of dementia 10:00am-11:00am January 3 & 17 February 7 & 21 March 7 & 21 April 4 & 18 May 2 & May 16


Thank you to everyone who gave tithes and offerings in support of our end-of-year emphasis from November 18-December 31, 2018. With your continued support, we look forward to beginning the new year in a better position to fund our church budget through the remainder of our fiscal budget year that ends on March 31, 2019. Please look for a church-wide announcement in early January with an end-of-year update on giving totals. As we enter the New Year, may we continue to give our tithes, offerings, time and talents with our whole hearts. With love and thanksgiving to all. Kathy Goodenow, Chair The Stewardship Committee

MONTH OF NOVEMBER Amount Given $146,968.85

Amount Spent $201,654.84

Negative Balance ($54,685.99)

REFRESH REPORT Pledged $1,346,104.00

Received Current Balance $1,019,082.76 $249,396.51


Amount Given $1,336,404.00

Amount Spent $1,450,265.94

Negative Balance ($113,861.94)

NEXT PROJECT Office Renovation


M A RTH A ST EA RN S MAR SHALL SU NDAY Martha Stearns Marshall Elizabeth Arnold, better known as Ebby around Smoke Rise Baptist Church, will be our preacher for Martha Stearns Marshall Sunday. You may recognize Ebby from her teaching in various Sunday school classes at Smoke Rise or when she is with her husband, Adam, and three kids, Lilianna, Gabe, and Noemi. Ebby is originally from Constantine, Michigan, which is in the southwest part of Michigan. Ebby studied English at Grand Valley State University before completing her Master of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University. Ebby is currently completing her PhD. in New Testament studies from Emory University. Upon completing her dissertation, she wants to spend her life in academia with the local church. She believes that the church and the academy must not be separated but need to inform each other; together, both will be better. We look forward to welcoming Ebby to the pulpit to hear her insightful views on scripture and what they mean for us today. Martha Stearns Marshall, an 18th-century Separate Baptist, was a preacher. Her husband, Daniel, converted during the First Great Awakening, and the couple then spent 18 months living among a tribe of Mohawk Indians, hoping to win them to Christianity. When the French and Indian War of 1754 broke out, Daniel and Martha left New England and migrated to the South. They first settled in Virginia, where they observed Baptist work being done under the auspices of the Philadelphia Baptist Association. Both Daniel and Martha examined Baptist beliefs and concluded that scripture did indeed teach the practice of believer’s baptism. The Marshalls were baptized and attended the “Regular” Baptist church, where Daniel was licensed to preach. Both Marshalls often prayed and preached during worship services, and Martha’s zeal apparently equaled that of her husband. Her behavior in worship scandalized the Virginia “Regular” Baptists, who opposed women speaking in public. But among Martha’s family and friends, her behavior was a perfectly acceptable way for her to exercise her spiritual gifts. Recent Martha Stearns Marshall Preachers

Rev. Kelli George Kirksey, Interim Minister to Children and Youth FBC Inman, SC

Rev. Lauren Efrid, Pastor of Greenwood Forest Baptist Church Cary, NC

Rev. Deborah Gaddis Reeves, Former Hospice Chaplain

Dr. Molly Marshall, President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary

Rev. Corporal Jessica Prophet, US Air Force Chaplain

Martha Stearns Marshall Sunday is a special Sunday at Smoke Rise in which we affirm and celebrate Women in Ministry. We believe that God calls both men and women to lead and to serve, to preach and to teach because all are made in the Image of God. At Pentecost, Peter quoted the Prophet Joel and boldly proclaimed to the people, "God declares, That I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, your sons and daughters shall prophesy..." At Smoke Rise, women serve and lead in worship not only on Martha Stearns Marshall Sunday, but each week. We ordain women as ministers and deacons in our congregation in faithfulness to God's calling. So, this day is a natural expression of our congregation's convictions and our church's identity. - Chris George 10 | S MOKE RIS E BAPT IST.ORG

FAM ILY MI N I ST RY AT SM OK E R I SE One of the reasons I enjoy volunteering in the preschool extended session program is to become acquainted with the children before they enter the Children's Sunday school department. They come in more relaxed when they see familiar faces. My relationship with Gabe Arnold and Evan George began back in the preschool extended session and continued through first and second grades, as I happened to move up with them. We were together for three, making it easy to become special friends. We sometimes laughed about me following them as they would be promoted. Each of them always brought a big warm smile and abundant life loving energy to class. Their keen receptive minds were always evident, when you suspected they were totally distracted from the lesson, they were the first to answer any question asked. Often, we would share recent experiences, such as their school projects, sports and family vacations. They were always eager to hear some of my life experience stories, growing up back on the farm, serving in the Air Force, and interesting, fun facts about some of the places I have traveled. These guys will continue to be very special to me as they grow in Christ and maturity. I will cherish every moment we spent together, and look forward to times when they take a moment to share with me about their exciting life experiences. - Wade Johnson


27 Book Club


YOUTH AT S M O KE R I SE J E R E MY C OLLI V ER - Minister of Communications, Missions and Youth 2-4-6-0-1 I wear a long-sleeved grey t-shirt that has the numbers “24601” printed across the chest in navy blue. Whenever I wear the t-shirt, I get one of two responses: 1) looks of utter confusion and followup questions usually about how “24601” relates to Kentucky basketball, or 2) big smiles, a thumbs-up, and always a comment like, “You’re a big Les Miserables fan.” Knowing me, the first group guessed well, but are wrong. The second group is correct. 24601 is the number that Jean Valjean is given while he is imprisoned in the classic tale of Les Miserables. My mom used to have the CD from the original London cast of Les Miserables in her regular rotation of music that she would listen to as we drove to school. I was always intrigued by the story, but was especially captivated by the song “Who am I?” that Jean Valjean sings as he wrestles with revealing his true self or condemning someone else to his sentence. So, why this introduction on the youth page? Jean Valjean’s struggle and question, “Who am I?” is the question for youth; and not just the youth of today. Adolescence is the time in life when one explores his or her identity. Rebellion from parents is really just students trying to differentiate themselves from their family unit. Fads students go through are like trying on clothes in a dressing room; some will fit and make sense and others will be rejected. Students wrestling to end extracurricular activities that they have spent years doing and choosing to start on new endeavors is part of their deciding who they are. None of this is easy and it is why some nights are filled with fits of rage, anger and tears. While other nights are filled with jumping for joy and fist pumps in the air. This question of “Who am I?” is why our first goal in youth ministry is for students to discover and understand their own relationship with Christ. Not their parents relationship, not even the church leaders’ relationship with Christ, but their own individual relationship with Christ. Our second goal is then to help them discover their God-given gifts, talents and passions. What makes each of our students unique? This second goal leads into the third goal: providing opportunities for the students to use their gifts, talents and passions here at Smoke Rise and in the community around them. Seeing the proverbial light click on as students realize that the first answer to their question of “Who am I?” is that they are a child of God, is the reason I trudge through the hard days. Being present as students discover their gifts, talents, and passions makes the long days worth it. Witnessing the students use their gifts, talents and passions gives me hope for the church now and in the future. “Who am I?” is a hard question; but knowing “Who we will be” is a hopeful one.


"God, It's Me!" High School Retreat February 8-10

JUNE 23 - 28


CONNEC T I N G AT SMOK E R I SE Smoke Rise Weekday School Update The Smoke Rise Weekday School enjoyed a festive end-ofyear in December and looks forward to welcoming new families in the New Year. On December 13, Smoke Rise Weekday school children were joined by parents to share, in costume, the story of Jesus being born in a manger with sheep, angels and shepherds. The children also shared with parents the seasonal hymns they learned in music class. Children and families from the Weekday School joined members of our congregation for Christmas caroling. In connection with the caroling event, the Weekday School sponsored a sock drive to support low-income residents in nursing homes in our community. With the support of the church, the school is in the process of renovating the classrooms underneath the chapel with new paint and flooring. The renovated classrooms will expand the welcoming atmosphere of the school at the upcoming Open House for prospective new families to be held of January 31. Junior Elves Workshop Have you ever taken your small children Christmas shopping? If not I will go ahead and warn you; don’t! It’s hard and difficult and after warnings and bribes, you probably have picked up three things that you didn’t need and forgotten the five things you did. This year, John Newcomb-Thompson, Kenzie Newcomb-Thompson, Ainsley Speight, Laura Plate, Harrison Litzell, Carol Palmer, and I gathered all of the holiday crafts supplies that we could find at church along with all of the wrapping paper, scotch tape, and bows still at my house and headed to Smoke Rise Elementary for Holiday at Smoke Rise. We opened the Junior Elves workshop and went to work making crafts with all of our new little friends. At the Junior Elves workshop, the children stay busy and out of their parents way. And they have the chance to make something that they can be proud to give their loved ones for Christmas. The Junior Elves workshop is a great way to get to know the community and provide the community with news of all of the church's Advent events. We are already planning to work the Holiday at Smoke Rise Junior Elves Workshop again next year. If you would like to help the "not-so-Junior Elves" out next year's Holiday at Smoke Rise, the date will be December 7, 2019. Feel free to contact Becky Caswell-Speight at rspeight@smokerisebaptist.org.






Sunday 9:00 AM - Worship in the Chapel 9:45 AM - Sunday school for all ages 11:00 AM - Worship in the Sanctuary 4:00 PM - Liturgical Dance 5:00 PM - Youth Choir 5:45 PM - Youth Dinner 6:00 PM - Youth Vespers

January 1 Office Closed for New Year's Day January 9 Wednesday Evening Activities resume January 12 5th Grade Retreat January 13 Deacons Lunch and Meeting January 18-20 Youth Choir Retreat January 27 Connections

Wednesday 4:45 PM - Dinner in the Fellowship Hall 6:00 PM - Journeys, Children's Activities, Youth in the basement 7:00 PM - Sanctuary Choir

January 28 Monday Morning Bible Study resumes


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"God, It's Me!" High School Retreat February 8-10

Academy of Arts Presents February 8, 2019 7:00 PM February 9, 2019 11:00 AM, 3:00 & 7:00 PM

Save the Date

ASH Wednesday March 6

Address Correction Requested

March 22, 2019 7:00 PM March 23, 2019 3:00 & 7:00 PM March 24, 2019 2:00 PM

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