Lane Closures Scheduled for this Weekend are Cancelled

We found out today that the planned Southbound Kempsville Road lane closure has been cancelled for this weekend. The plan is to conduct the planned July 7-10 closure so that the contractor can bore shafts for pier foundations to support the forthcoming roadway.

The original post about the closures can be found here.

Vacation Bible school begins Monday. There is still time to register and invite! More information and registration link can be found here: www.firstnorfolk.org/vbs.

 

The Second Half of our Proposed 2017 Ministry Plan and a Campus Catalyst Update

total july-dec

On Sunday, June 18, church members gathered for a Campus Catalyst Town Hall Meeting to discuss VDOT highway project updates and participate in a Q&A Session on the second half of the Proposed 2017 Ministry Plan.

BUDGET AND VISION/GOALS

This year, we have done our budget differently than we have in the past — we have broken it into two six-month budgets, January to June and July to December. Pastor Eric explained that because of all the VDOT construction and uncertainties we have been facing this year, we felt it was prudent to break up the budget in this way.

The great news is that Wendy Howard, our financial controller, has estimated that by June 30, we will have approximately $545,000 “to the good” in our budget. This will help us accomplish more ministry in the second six months of this year, Pastor Eric said.

Before discussing the details of the July-December budget, Pastor Eric first went over the progress of our Ten-Year Vision (to see 10 campuses in Hampton Roads and plant 20 new churches around the world) and our One-Year Goal: Between January and December of 2017, First Baptist Norfolk will begin a second location. We are in “persistent and constant negotiation” about one piece of property for our satellite location, Pastor Eric said. We are waiting on God to open the door and resolve all the issues in order for us to move forward with this location. We have budgeted $130,000 for the second campus lease/rental.

As for our Ten-Year Vision, around Easter we took up an offering to help launch the Mission Church in Norfolk (one of our church plants). Pastor Eric was just with our church planter partners in Canada, and La Chapelle Church in Montreal has baptized more than 450 people since 2013!

Please download/print our Proposed 2017 Ministry Plan July-December (second half) here (Budget Booklet 2017 2nd half July-Dec final) and take a look through it. We will have a church vote on Sunday, June 25, in all worship gatherings by church membership to approve the proposed ministry plan, as well as to approve the motion to authorize a VDOT mediation team (see next section). This budget is “one of the best years that we’ve had in my recent memory,” Pastor Eric said. The reason that our budget is so good, he continued, is increased giving and generosity from our church members. We launched a new online giving platform in January, and we believe that has helped increase our giving significantly, as well.

VDOT MEDIATION TEAM

The church will vote on Sunday, June 25, in all worship services to approve the motion to authorize a VDOT mediation team, as well as to approve the proposed ministry plan. On Thursday, June 29, we will have a mediation with a judge, attorneys, and VDOT here at our church.

LANE CLOSURES NEXT SUNDAY

Next weekend, there will be lane closures on Kempsville Road that will impact our Sunday morning traffic. Please read this blog post to prepare for this change.

Kempsville Road Southbound Lane Closures 6/23-6/26 2017

Road closure details:

  • 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday | June 23-26 and July 7-10
  • Southbound Kempsville Road will be completely closed from the stoplight at Center Drive to Blackstone Street.
  • Northbound Kempsville Road will be reduced to one lane (the right lane) from Blackstone Street to Center Drive.

Detour:

Southbound traffic on Kempsville Road will be detoured to a left on Center Drive to a right on Newtown Road to a right on Kempsville Road. Map on next page.

First Baptist will continue to have access via the northbound lanes of Kempsville Road. The exact location of where the two northbound lanes will be reduced to one lane has yet to be determined. It will be after the first entrance, but setback requirements for the lane closure may force the taper to begin at or near the second entrance at Blackstone Road. The third entrance/exit will remain accessible via the one lane of northbound Kempsville Road.

Reason for the closures:

VDOT’s construction contractor for the 64/264 Interchange Improvements Project will be drilling three shafts in the median of Kempsville Road for pier foundations to support the new bridge over Kempsville Road. This new bridge will be the new collector-distributor road on I-264 east. More background on the project is at www.i64i264improvements.org.

Workers will be drilling the shafts, installing rebar and pouring concrete. They plan to do two shafts the first weekend (June 23-26) and one shaft the second weekend (July 7-10). Afterward, you will see rebar sticking out from the shafts. The contractor will return at a later date (yet to be scheduled) to pour concrete for the columns and cap them, and eventually set the beams for the new bridge. All that additional work means there will be future impacts to Kempsville Road. We will let you know as soon as those dates are scheduled.

What You Need to Know

1. The sidewalk along the northbound lanes of Kempsville Road will remain open

2. The west annex parking (across the street) is accessible via Blackstone Street only.

3. Pedestrian traffic will be able to cross Kempsville Road except in the work area.

4. All 3 entrance/exits to the church campus are usable.

5. There will not be construction traffic on the church campus.

6. An extra shuttle will run each of these weekends from the 3 parking areas served by the shuttles: Cross Roads Center, HRT/Tide, and Fortis College at the Interstate Commerce Center on Center Drive. See map below for these locations.

7. Allow extra time to get into the building.

8. All scheduled church activities will take place.

If you have any questions, please comment below.

First Norfolk Map 2017 inset with closureFirst Norfolk Map 2017 master with google map

Thanks to Dave Forster with VDOT for details on this closure.

Campus Catalyst/Church Conference Recap: Our Next 90-Day Objectives

img_2563On the evening of May 7, our church family gathered for a combined Campus Catalyst Town Hall Meeting and Church Conference. Geoff Hemphill, church treasurer, opened the meeting by giving a financial report. Our church “is in great shape” this year, and is even doing better than at this same time last year. Hemphill thanked church members for their generous giving to our missions and benevolence funds.

“Not only do you give to the budget, but you give above and beyond the budget,” he said.

During the Church Conference portion of the meeting, Pastor Eric Thomas held a vote to approve the four nominated messengers for the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, June 13-14, in Phoenix, Arizona. The vote passed, and the four messengers are Eric and Eydie Thomas and Phillip and Jan Herring.

After the Church Conference, Pastor Eric moved into the Campus Catalyst discussion. He iterated that although the construction on and around our campus has been difficult, it has also been a big blessing. The visibility of our church facility from the highway has never been better. In light of that, we have updated the sign on our building from First Baptist to firstnorfolk.org to point passersby to our website.

Another positive from the highway construction project is that we gathered together as one body at one time for Easter at the Ted, and it was “a tremendous blessing as a family of faith,” Pastor Eric said. This is something we would like to make a regular once-a-year event if possible, he continued.

Pastor Eric then reviewed our Ten-Year Vision to see 10 multi-site locations and 20 church plants in the next decade. He also reviewed our First Norfolk Advance One-Year Goal: Between January and December 2017, we will launch a campus in our multi-site strategy. We are making progress toward that goal, but have not yet finalized a location for our second campus location. As soon as it is possible, church leadership will announce the second campus location and bring it to a vote before the church.

The time period for our first 90-Day Objectives (Jan. 1-March 31) is over, but Pastor Eric introduced the next 90-Day Objectives (April 1-June 30) to our church:

  • Select and train leader/core team: We will call the church to pray God’s will for them to join the leadership and core teams to be selected by June 1. (The leadership team will be First Norfolk staff and lay people who will be the “point people” for the new campus. The core team will be individuals who commit themselves to take the gospel to that neighborhood in Hampton Roads.)
  • Establish footprint at New Campus: Leverage VBS, student/young adults ministries in neighborhood of new campus beginning at occupancy of new location.
  • Implement Communication Plan: We will implement intentionally the compelling communication plan for the church and community to tell the story of First Norfolk’s advance.
  • Develop multi-campus ministry model: Identify core values to guide multi-campus ministry to reach neighborhoods utilizing best practices with each context by June 30.

“God has used this church for 200 years in Hampton Roads for His glory, and He wants to use it for another 200 years,” Pastor Eric said. “But we have to join Him on that journey.”

The Campus Catalyst meeting ended with a corporate time of prayer. Pastor Eric again asked our church family to be praying over the Call to Prayer points he introduced in March.

“To be a part of this journey, you can pray faithfully for God to shine brightly through this church as we seek to glorify Him and advance His mission.”

The next Campus Catalyst meeting will be on May 28 at 5 pm, and will be a significant time of discussion and a potential vote about the second campus location.

A Call to Prayer for First Norfolk

During tonight’s Campus Catalyst Town Hall Meeting/Church Conference, Pastor Eric once again asked our church family to be in prayer over these specific matters:

  • Pray for God’s glory to shine through us to the seven cities.
  • Pray that hundreds of people far from God would be saved during this journey.
  • Pray for the Campus location.
  • Pray for VDOT negotiations.

Thank you, First Norfolk family, for praying and continuing to pray for our church and Hampton Roads. A more in-depth blog post recapping the evening’s discussion will be posted in the next few days.

The Power of Comfort

Pain has the power to ruin a good day. Pain can darken a sunshine-dripping life with threatening clouds of suffering. It’s amazing how one small blister on our toe can create such trauma on a hike that we miss the beauty of a mountain view or the majestic colors of a glorious sunset. Instead of basking in the beauty and being awed by the majesty, we drown in the persistent pain of a raw and tender spot on our foot. Pain has the power to ruin a good day.

We all face places of pain and difficulty. We encounter suffering that is beyond our ability to handle or navigate. Paul had traveled through that deep fissure and helps us understand the power of God’s comfort to conquer the potential power of our pain. Paul doesn’t want the Corinthian believers to take lightly his personal story of deliverance. He was in trouble. Deep trouble. Paul describes the affliction as life-threatening and beyond the scope of his strength and ability to handle on his own.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. (2 Corinthians 1:8)

How do we handle death-dealing blows in our lives?

1. Praise in the midst of the pain.

The gospel is the story of how God rescues us! The praise that drips from Paul’s pen is more than a stale theory that he is teaching. It is genuine praise to God for actual rescue by God. The divine blessedness, from which Paul and the Corinthian believers benefited, originated from the character of God.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4a)

As the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, God blesses His people with the magnificence of His great love (John 3:16; Rom 5:8; Eph 2:4-7). As the Father of mercies, God pours out the joys of His unsurpassed compassion and absolute sympathy upon those who share in His plan. Just as I look upon my daughters when they’re in trouble and am concerned enough to intervene appropriately in their struggle, God is our Father who passionately cares about us in our afflictions so that He perfectly intervenes (Ps 103:13). As the God of all comfort, God pours out the blessings of His unfailing help to those who share in His purpose. 

But comfort is more than a feeling of contentment that we receive or a pain-numbing dose of divine anesthetic. Comfort is the active force of God’s grace strengthening and sustaining us in difficulties so that we live out each day with unwavering commitment and endurance toward His purposes. 

Today, we must praise God who is the glorious mover in our lives. This praise must come from us even in the context of the suffering that we may endure. In good times and bad, as we focus on God in all of His glory, we celebrate His glorious character, recognizing that He is the One who is the source of mercy and comfort in the whole of our lives. The point of Paul’s praise is that God meets us in this life, even in our trouble, with encouragement that moves us forward with strength and courage. Regardless what we face, our praise declares the work of God to transform our despair into hope, our sorrow into love, and our fear into joy.

God’s comfort always matches our suffering. The sufferings we endure as followers of Christ will be matched equally and superabundantly by the comfort of Christ.

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:5)

Paul has in mind the succession of events in the life of a believer; first, the affliction, and then the comfort. Thus, Paul has a sure and steadfast hope that as followers of Christ endure sufferings, they will also receive abounding encouragement from God.

2. Embrace the purpose in our pain. 

In verses 9 and 10, we see the purpose in our pain. With every trial and trouble, we must also see the purpose that God fills with each moment of suffering. The redeeming purpose in our pain is that we might trust in God more than we trust in ourselves. The purpose of the “sentence of death,” beyond Paul’s ability to handle on his own, was so that Paul and his team would trust, not in themselves, but in God who raises the dead. Every faithful Jew would have prayed every day to God who is “mighty forever, You make the dead to live.” For Paul, however, this prayer and declaration of God’s power has been infused with new meaning in light of the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection infuses our everyday life with supernatural power from God.

A second redeeming purpose for our pain is that we might comfort others (2 Cor 1:4). The result of divine intervention and help is so that we can, in turn, comfort and encourage others in all of their trials through the comfort with which we have been comforted by God. 

3. Remember that God rescues. 

As Paul and his team were pushed beyond their ability and experiencing deep despair, God intervened. This is the beauty of the gospel which shapes our lives. God intervenes to turn our despair to hope, giving purpose to the most devastating circumstances. We face overwhelming circumstances that lead to despair [“the sentence of death”], but God, who raises the dead, intervenes! 

God’s rescuing power, which rescued Paul, continues its work of rescuing God’s people (1:10). In verse 11, Paul reminds us that God’s rescuing power also moves on the wings of His people’s prayers. Through the help of prayer, believers in Corinth join Paul in the gratitude to God for His delivering power.
So as we walk through our days of struggle and face the persistence of pain, we need to focus on the glorious rescue that God is bringing us. We need to embrace the purpose that God has for us in our pain. And we need to praise the Lord through the pain!!