Give Thanks



Give Thanks
Go Tell It On The
North Georgia Mountains
New Lebanon Presbyterian Church
November 2012
Give Thanks
I am a member of the Tuesday morning Disciple Bible study class led
by Chuck Allen. This week we were discussing Joshua and his faithfulness
and how God used him to be a leader for the nation Israel.
For 40 years, Israel had wondered around the desert on their way to
Pastor Ben Laughlin
the Promised Land. This happened not because they followed Moses, but because their faith was lacking. They had refused to obey God and to conquer Canaan. So
they wondered. It was not until a new generation was born that they were ready to cross the
Jordon and possess the land. Joshua was Moses successor. He trusted and obeyed God and
a result Israel never faltered from obeying God and His word. Joshua led the nation Israel to
the Promised Land.
Joshua was a brilliant military leader who had a strong spiritual influence. The key to his
success was his submission to God. When God spoke, Joshua listened and obeyed. Joshua’s
obedience serves as a model. As a result, Israel remained faithful to God throughout Joshua’s
lifetime. Trust and obey! This is what God expected of the Israelites.
God wants all His faithful people to be just like Joshua, especially as our church continues their discernment process about the PCUSA’s direction. It has been a little over one year
since amendment 10-A became part of our church constitution. Amendment 10-A changed
our ordination standards. This along with many other theological/doctrinal shifts has caused
many to question the direction of the PCUSA. Does this matter to you? If so how? How do
you decide?
Understanding the difficult the difficult process the congregation is going through I offer
you these thoughts. Together you have been in a period of discernment for well over a year
now about the direction the denomination is going theologically. I know many are tired and
want to move on. When you can honestly answer this question you will be ready. What does
God want you and the New Lebanon Church to be and do going forward? The words trust
and obey came to mind. Do you stay in the PCUSA or do you seek another denominational
affiliation? Trusting God makes obedience easier, and obedience produces more and more
trust. Trust is what comes long after you begin to believe.
The way you respond to God’s challenging assignments reveal your level of commitment to God. God has given you his way of living life in obedience to his word. Do you follow
God’s way or the world’s way of living the life of faith? One day you feel as though you are
right in step with God until He proposes a change of direction. Then life becomes uncomfortable.
One of our class members made a comment that really struck me. They said that the
session’s recommendation to seek dismissal to another denomination was an answer to
prayer. For years now prayers have been lifted to God in the name of Jesus asking for discernment about the change in the direction of the PCUSA as a denomination. So now God is calling the question.
When God calls you to a challenging task, you have two options. You can trust and
obey God even though the future is scary, or you can become fearful and attempt to find
some other answer. Joshua chose the first option. Because he trusted God he put aside all his
formal military experience and went with God’s plan. Over the years he learned that the Lord
is trustworthy.
At times obedience is a struggle. Fear dominates and your will battles to comply when
everything within is screaming to run the other way. Obedience is always the best choice because God is always trustworthy.
What is God’s still quiet voice saying to you about the future of New Lebanon? What is
God’s plan for this church going forward?
My office is always open if you would like to talk or pray together. Do you go or do you
stay? That is your decision. Whatever you do, trust and obey.
Take care and God bless,
Presbyterian Women
The Presbyterian Women Spiritual
Retreat was held October 5-7 at the Cherokee
Retreat Center with 21 women in attendance.
Reverend Rebecca Blackwell, Cherokee Presbytery Mission Coordinator led us through a
journey of personal reflection. We explored the
times in our lives when we have felt abandoned
and alone, then looked for any signs that God
was with us during those times.
We had several writing sessions during
which we were asked to explore the subjects:
"Where is God in my story?" and "Where am I
in God's story?" Our last exercise was to reflect
on the question, "What is God inviting me to
do?" This is an excellent question that we might
all benefit by asking ourselves!
At New Lebanon, our women have had
a great start to the year. Two mission projects
adopted for the year include:
Change for Life - provides midwives, equipment, and sterile supplies to aid in healthy
births for women in Asia and Africa.
 Least Coin Offering - supports literacy,
health, social concerns, and more around
the world.
Our projects for the next two months
include the No-Dinner Dinner benefiting Pres-
byterian Village residents, the CARES Thanksgiving Food Drive, and Mail for the Military.
Our study this year covers the lesser
epistles of 1st and 2nd Peter, 1st through 3rd
John, and Jude, teaching us how "to live as sisters and brothers, serving one another in truthfulness and love as members of God's household." All ladies of the church are invited to join
us in our study on Monday, November 26, at
10:00 a.m., in the Session Room.
Linda Jones, 2012 PW Moderator
Shown above with Rev. Rebecca Blackwell are
Jeannie Walker, Linda Jones, and Jenny Harvey.
From WORSHIP . . .
Give Thanks, In Everything!
During the month of November, we turn our
thoughts to giving thanks. The following devotional in
Our Daily Bread for October 22 reminds me that we
should not wait until our Thanksgiving Celebration to
show our gratitude for all of our blessings. We should
have an attitude of gratitude all year long.
“Give Thanks”
READ: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
In Lansing, Michigan, during the winter, we don’t get many sunny days. But last year God
blessed us with one of those beautiful days, and it seemed that almost everyone was thanking
God, except me. As I left my office, a man said, “What a wonderful day we’re having. This is a
gift from God!” To which I replied, “Yes, but we’re getting snow later this week.” What ingratitude!
In his letters, the apostle Paul helped his readers to develop a theology of gratitude. He
wrote about thanksgiving more often than any other New Testament author. From the 23 times
he used the word, we learn a few lessons about thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving was always directed toward God and never toward people. People were
gifts from God, and Paul thanked God for their growth, love, and faith (1 Cor. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:2).
Thanksgiving is given through Jesus for everything (Col. 3:15,17). Paul believed followers of Jesus could be thankful for everything because God is sovereign, and He is working things out for
the believers’ good (1 Thess. 5:18).
May we intentionally be aware of God’s gifts all around us, and respond with gratitude. In
response to God’s gifts, it’s natural to say, “Thank You, Lord.” — Marvin William
Lord, for days that are sunny or gray we simply
want to say, Thank You! And for the daily grace
You give us in Your Son, may we always be faithful
to say, Thank You! You are so good to us.
Gratitude is a natural response to God’s grace.
(From Our Daily Bread, October 22, 2012)
The next time we sing the Doxology, think about the words and feel a new sense of gratitude. The Apostle Paul gives us another doxology: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly
abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to
Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever, Amen.”
(Ephesians 3: 20-21) We can be thankful that we do have a God who is ABLE, no matter what
our situation. Thanks and praises be to God!
Sara Baumann, 2012 Worship Elder
The Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians addresses stewardship with Essential
Tenet E, #8 which holds us to: “practice right stewardship of the goods we have been given,
showing charity to those in need and offering generous support of the Church and its ministries.”
and #10, ”resist the pull of envy, greed and acquisition and instead cultivate a spirit of
contentment with the gifts God has given us.”
The reformed tradition suggests: “That ain’t so easy” as we are forgetful of the source of
our goods, selfish, and blind to the needs of others. But the Holy Spirit can guide us on the
proper course.
Preceding the statement of stewardship of goods, the ECO’s Essential Tenent D
addresses the “Faithful stewardship of life: The ministries of the church reflect the three-fold office of Christ as prophet, priest and king---reflected in the church’s ordered ministries of teaching elders, deacons, and ruling elders. We affirm that men and women alike are called to all
ministries of the church, and that every member is called to share in all of Christ’s offices within
the world beyond the church. Every Christian is called to a prophetic life, proclaiming the good
news to the world and enacting that good news. Every Christian is called to extend the lordship
of Christ to every corner of the world. And every Christian is called to participate in Christ’s
priestly, mediatorial work, sharing in the suffering of the world in ways that extend God’s blessing and offering intercession to God on behalf of the world. We are equipped to share in these
offices by the Holy Spirit, who conforms us to the pattern of Christ’s life.”
I liked the first two paragraphs, but the preceding paragraph exhorts us to life changing
action and not just good intentions. It asks us to establish priorities, not just a casual budget.
Whose are we? Not just our checkbook and status, but His.
Nonetheless, I am challenged to offer God intercession on behalf of the world, and know
in my heart that your elders are people—not kings. I am not omnipresent either, so let’s spread
Christianity locally before tracking to Timbuktu. Remember to keep sentences short. Right?
In this time of change, “balance” assures us that God will provide good for you and His
Church with the practical understanding that it requires resources to do His will. Response to Him
requires more than charity and good works.
Scott Fantz, 2012 Stewardship Elder
I want to thank everyone who attended the meetings the session held regarding the question - Does It Really Matter? I hope it was informative and gave you a better understanding of
the decision making process the elders went through. If anyone would like to talk with one of
the elders, we would be happy to come to your home. If you will call the church office, one of
us will call you and arrange a time to meet.
As your Christian Education elder, I will make it a priority to use every avenue possible to
encourage improving the attendance at our church. I would appreciate any suggestions in this
Please continue to pray for our church, our session, and our pastor. We are praying for
Chuck Allen, 2012 Christian Education
Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief
Samaritan’s Purse is sending help in the aftermath of the enormous
storm that wreaked havoc along the Eastern Seaboard
Samaritan's Purse is responding to Hurricane Sandy by sending staff, equipment, and
volunteers to three of the hardest hit areas.
Three of our Disaster Relief Units deployed from our North Carolina headquarters
Tuesday morning. We are scheduling volunteers, so we will be ready to help storm victims as
soon as we establish bases of operation.
The death toll is currently at 18 and continuing
to rise. More than six million people are without
power, and roads and subways have been closed in
much of the region. The hurricane collided with a
winter storm and a cold front, making it a devastating
hybrid that weather system experts are calling
“Frankenstorm.” It could afflict a third of the country
with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow.
Samaritan's Purse responds to major storms
throughout the United States by deploying Disaster
Relief Units, tractor-trailers stocked with tools and
equipment, from our North Carolina headquarters.
Our volunteers help homeowners by tarping winddamaged roofs, removing unsalvageable belongings and cleaning out debris and muck from
flooded homes, ripping up ruined flooring and stripping damaged sheetrock from walls, and
spraying the exposed studs with a solution that kills mold. The works saves homeowners
thousands of dollars and gives them a chance to rebuild.
We make it clear that we work in the Name of Jesus by praying with the people we’ve
helped and presenting them with a Bible signed by the volunteers who worked on their
New Lebanon Members are asked to respond by giving this
month to our Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief fund. Please indicate Hurricane Sandy on your checks. All of our combined gifts
will be sent to Samaritan’s Purse Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts.
Jenny Harvey, 2012 Missions Elder
Derek Prince wrote a small book with the above title, Objective For Living. In this book he
gives us that objective as follows: “To Do God's Will.” Oh well, that should not be too hard with
the Bible as our guide!
Looking to Jesus as both our pattern and inspiration in this race, we see that the key to
His success was His motivation. Unless we really understand His motivation and enter into it with
Him we will find this race too much for us.
“So, do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded. You need to
persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what He
has promised.” (Hebrews 10: 35-36)
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not
see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Let us carry these scriptures in our hearts and minds as we speak to those God places in
our path to bring to Him. Remember, He has made us a promise if we persevere.
Beverly Schneider, 2012 Evangelism Elder
From The Faith Readers…
The book “Unbroken” is our choice for the month of November. This is a true story
and one that will not likely be forgotten! See you Thursday, November 1st.
From the Chancel Hand Bell Choir…
We have met and are gearing up for the Christmas music to be presented in December.
We plan to utilize our new third octave and we need at least 3 more ringers. We
practice at 4:30 p.m. each Tuesday afternoon. We would love to have you ring with us.
From the Choir…
Have you noticed that YOU are not up there singing in the choir with us? We have, and we want you to join
us. Also, we have received our Christmas music and have begun rehearsals for our annual Christmas concert,
which will be Friday, December 14. We can hear your voices and we know YOU would blend right in with us!
Besides, “all God’s children got a place in the choir, some sing low some sing higher…”
From the Banner Guild…
We have taken a hiatus, but that does not mean that plans have not been made for more
banners. In the meantime, some of us were talking during the Quarterly Planning Meeting
about how the Christmas tree could use some filler Chrismons. Counted cross-stitched
Chrismons were immediately considered. If you can do counted cross-stitch, we would
appreciate your help right away and patterns for Chrismons are available. Please consider
helping with this worthy cause. Chrismons should be stitched on 11 or 14 count WHITE aida
cloth in gold or silver thread. Please talk with Regina Martin for more information.
from Regina Martin
Our MISSION . . .
- Jenny Harvey, 2012 Missions Elder
1. I hope this month and the coming month gets everyone in the “Holiday Spirit” and that we
can take a little breather to remember what this time of year means to all of us. We are all
wondering where God wants us to be, and this process takes time. SO GET INVOLVED IN THE
2. It is time to begin thinking about the upcoming year (no matter where we are) so we need
to begin planning for events that we want to take place next year. I would like everyone who
has an idea (no matter how wild it sounds) to contact me so I can get these ideas and make
some of them happen at our Wednesday Night Dinners. We need to get the community to
come join us for dinner so we can show them who we are and what we are all about. There is
nothing more joyous than to meet new people interested in Christ and what He has done for
our lives and our community.
3. Dell Rymers and Caroline Roberts continue working on the church history. If you have
thoughts or pictures you would like included, please contact one of them.
God Bless You All,
Jim Harris, 2012 Publications and Programs Elder ([email protected])
There are 3 options for preparing your cards:
1. Purchased cards are used with NO ENVELOPES. Put your name/address on the back of the
2. If you wish to enclose a letter with the card, use an envelope, but DO NOT SEAL IT OR
ADDRESS IT! Put your name/address on the upper left corner of the envelope, on the card, and
on the enclosed letter.
3. Use 8 1/2 X 11 paper for your message, fold each sheet individually and sharply in half.
Put you name/address on the front or back of the folder.
Rubber-band cards together. Enclose in an envelope
your name, address, telephone # and cash or check
(made out to Caroline Roberts) for postage as listed :
Please leave your cards and info/money in the Christmas
Box in the Narthex or at the church office.
25 ¢ each: 10 (minimum) -25
24 ¢ each: 26-50
23 ¢ each: 51-100
22 ¢ each: 101-250
Please call Caroline Roberts if you have questions. (also see bulletin inserts)
OCTOBER 13, 2012
The meeting, held at Forrest Hills Conference Center, was opened with prayer by Pastor Ben at 10:40
Present were Chuck Allen, Sara Baumann, Scott Fantz, Phil Finney, Jenny Harvey, Becky Laughlin, Ben
Laughlin, Don Martin, Jerry Rogers and Beverly Schneider. Jim Kirk, elder elect, was present.
Dayton Adams, Jim Harris and Sue West were absent.
A motion to remove Jim Bowman, Joe Purdy and Marty Purdy from the Active Members Roll was
approved. Jim wrote a letter asking to be removed and the Purdys have joined Trinity Church on Steve
Tate Road. Active membership is now 161.
An Update: Communion was served to Anna Pickering on 9/2/12 at the facility she is presently living in
by Pastor Ben with Elders Sara Baumann and Becky Laughlin assisting.
A motion to send a letter to Don and Sarah Edwards, Carole and Hal Johnson, and Joe Ann Martin stating
our intent to remove them from our rolls due to their move to different cities was approved.
Due to the decision to reduce the number of elders to 10 at a previous meeting, changes to the number
of Session Ministries had to be made. A motion to combine Stewardship with Administration was
The following session mission assignments for 2013 were announced: Administration & Stewardship- Phil
Finney, Building & Grounds- Larry Chambers, Christian Education- Chuck Allen, Clerk- Jerry Rogers, Congregational Care- Scott Fantz, Evangelism- Beverly Schneider, Fellowship- Becky Laughlin, Missions- Jenny
Harvey, Programs & Publications- Jim Harris and Worship- Jim Kirk.
At 11:00 AM we adjourned into executive session for the purpose of discussing the possible request to be
dismissed from the PCUSA.
We reconvened at 11:54: AM. A motion that New Lebanon Presbyterian Church seek separation from
the Presbyterian Church USA was approved by a vote of 9 for the motion, 0 against the motion and the
moderator, Ben Laughlin, abstaining. Absent elder Dayton Adams indicated in writing that his vote
would have been against the motion and absent elder Jim Harris indicated in writing that his vote would
have been for the motion.
A motion that New Lebanon Presbyterian be dismissed to the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO) was approved with the same vote as above…9 for the motion, 0 against the motion with
Pastor Ben abstaining. Two absent elders, Dayton Adams and Jim Harris, in writing, indicated that their
vote would be the same as for the separation motion, Dayton Adams against the motion and Jim Harris
for the motion.
Don Martin reviewed the monthly financial statement prepared by John Murray and the meeting adjourned with a prayer by Pastor Ben at 12:05 PM and moved to the front porch to observe communion
served by Pastor Ben.
Moderator, Ben Laughlin
Clerk, Jerry Rogers
Jan - Sept 2012
Jan - Sept 2012
(above operations
$ 268,193
$ 201,141
$ 174,495
$ 4,642
$ 8,662
$ 187,798
Average Worship Attendance for Sept: 102 Average Sunday School Attendance for Sept :39
Moderator: Reverend Ben Laughlin
The Session
Clerk of Session: Jerry Rogers
Class of 2012
Class of 2013
Class of 2014
Dayton Adams Buildings & Grounds
Scott Fantz Stewardship
Chuck Allen Education
Sara Baumann Worship
Jim Harris Programs & Publications
Phil Finney Congregational Care
Don Martin Administration
Jenny Harvey Missions
Becky Laughlin Fellowship
Beverly Schneider Evangelism/Witness
Jerry Rogers Stated Clerk
Carole English - Class of 2012, Henry Hall - Class of 2013,
Kenneth Jones and Jim Kirk - Class of 2014
Jim and Jodi McGill, Malawi — Engineer and Nurse Marianne Harvey — Wycliffe Bible Translators
Farris and Thelma Goodrum, Brazil — Music and Christian Education
Finn and Sandy Torjesen, TEAM - Evergreen China
Steve and Marie Lindenmeyer, University of Charleston, Charleston, SC— Campus Outreach
Pickens Pregnancy Center Boys & Girls Club CARES Community Thrift Store Emergency Relief
Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Georgia Mountain Hospice,
Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center Good Shepherd Ranch
Ithiel and Irish Jones
Pickens Habitat for Humanity Hope House The Joy House
Meals on Wheels
The Ruth House
Timothy House
WyldLife/YoungLife Pickens
The mission of New Lebanon Presbyterian Church is to be a family of believers striving to make
Jesus Christ central in our lives.
We are led to: worship the triune God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit as our first order of life, study
and apply Scripture, nurture the entire Church family from youth to the needs of older adults and reach
out with mission support to our local community and the world.
Fellowship Calendar Updates
December 2
Hanging of the Green and Chili Cook-off
The Chili Cook-off will follow the Hanging of the Green Service
on December 2. The Hanging of Green will decorate our
sanctuary in anticipation of the birth of Christ.
Bring your best chili or chili fixins, side dishes or deserts.
December 14
Reception following the Christmas concert
Remember that all of our fellowship events are perfect evangelism opportunities. Which
of your friends will you invite to share in the fun and fellowship?
You might have noticed that there are five Sundays in December, but we will skip the
usual 5th Sunday for December since it falls in the middle of the Christmas/New Year holiday.
Becky Laughlin, 2012 Fellowship Elder
Thanksgiving Items for CARES
We give thanks to God who blesses us every day. And we give thanks to you for joining
us in our “Thanks-for-Giving” food drive for CARES, and their food pantry.
We ask you to bring the “extras” for a Thanksgiving Dinner:
canned sweet potatoes
canned pumpkin
cranberry sauce
Stove Top Stuffing mix
pie makings
cake mixes
canned vegetables
and so on...
And of course, CARES will appreciate any and all donations.
This is our way of thanking God for our many blessings. And we thank you for giving
to others.
These donations do not have to be in any special bag or box. A table will be set up in
the Fellowship Hall on November 4 and November 11. All donations should be received by
November 11 in order to be distributed that week at CARES.
Questions? call Margie Hall 706-692-9298

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