All stories are used with permission from those involved.
Five years ago the Lord by his grace started to change my heart, giving me the desire to read his word, meditate in his messages, and participate in bible studies. I was able to overcome my insecurity of joining studies with new people that I don’t know, by being obedient to him. This has helped me to grow in my faith and strengthen my relationship with God and my fellow Christians. – Angela C.
Experiencing God’s love and generosity over the years has really changed both of us. We have seen His faithful provision in so many ways but then since coming to FBC we feel like that has all been amplified as this church body is truly the hands and feet of Jesus in the way they serve one another, especially the people they encounter outside the church. That sort of generosity and servant minded way of living seems to sort of rub off on people and spread and God has definitely been working in us in that way. We recently moved to a new neighborhood and prayed during our Awaken series that we would have opportunities to serve/connect with our new neighbors and God delivered in a big way. We’ve not only connected with several neighbors but are truly building meaningful relationships! We are so thankful for the grace of God at work in our hearts and for the example of our church family which has truly been one of the greatest blessings God has given us! God is good! – The Workmans
This month has humbled my heart and strengthened my relationship with God. I gave up coffee for the last few weeks and every morning I have prayed for my family. I asked they would have a burden put on their heart to seek Jesus, put people in their lives that would influence them to have a relationship with God, that the Holy Spirit would way heavy on their conscience and show them their need for Jesus, that God would show them His glory and perform miracles big and small in their lives to show them who He is. I asked God to humble my heart and give me boldness to speak to them. Over the past few weeks I’ve had conversations with them about God and Jesus. I truly believe that God is working and their lives. I look forward to seeing the future outcome. – Tom H.
Lifegroup has been a blessing to me and my family in so many ways. Our Lifegroup has 4 families and all are in different stages of life. The diversity of ages has provided encouragement in difficult times, excitement for new beginnings and has created a true family experience. We are faithful to our study time, prayer time, food time and fun time. My kids, wife and I get excited for every get together. – The Simpkins
My wife and I have seen firsthand the power of God and how he’s working in our lives. Since joining a discipleship group, our marriage is stronger spiritually and in every other way. It’s so important that we anchor our faith in His Word. It made us rely on Him and not ourselves. His Spirit in us has brought out a renewed love for one another. We now pray together on decisions around our family and when we disagree, we try to see it from each other’s viewpoint. God continues to meet our needs and we just desire to be good ambassadors for Jesus Christ. – The Shaws
It’s easy to think that life will go on the way it always goes on, until you get hit with a truck. In November of 2020, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Over the course of several months, I went through 5 rounds of chemo, 1 round of radiation and a bone marrow transplant. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced, but the Lord was faithful. He was a light in the darkness, and he used praying people to help me remember that fact. I am today in remission, and am returning to normal life, but I will never, ever forget the presence of God in a hospital room at Cleveland Clinic. – Ryan S. (2021)
Update: Ryan passed away in September 2022, but a month or so before, he wrote this letter to the church body at First:
First Medina, there’s no place like you.
Thank you for how well you have loved me and loved my family during my battle with leukemia. So many of you prepared meals for us. So many of you watched our kids so that Michele and I could go up to Cleveland Clinic. So many of you did other things like giving us gift cards, buying (and delivering!) our groceries, cleaning around our home, providing handyman support around the house, sent cards and prayed for us. And you didn’t just do it when I first got sick, you kept doing it for months.
The English language doesn’t have a word powerful enough word for giving thanks for that kind of love. Thank you for everything you did.
I want to leave you with just a few thoughts:
– I’m not here anymore, but praise the Lord I’m very much alive.
– Know that the Lord was faithful to me throughout the whole cancer battle. I had many dark times, lots of fear, lots of anxiety. A little anger. The Lord did not leave me. I didn’t really fully grasp what having a relationship with Christ meant on a deep level until I needed that relationship on a daily basis. Cancer does that, forcing you to face who you really are, and what you really believe. Jesus is the savior of the world, but he’s also MY savior, and he was the faithful, kind shepherd who walked with me through all of this. If you don’t know Jesus like that, find someone here at this church who can introduce you. You matter to God. Don’t ignore his call on your life.
– This church is an amazing family of believers. You can go to church anywhere you want, but you won’t find a church that loves their brothers and sisters in Christ like this one.
– Lastly, I charge you to share the good news of the gospel with everyone around you. Keep praying for that family member who is far from Christ. Keep finding opportunities to talk with your coworkers about Jesus. Keep showing the Medina community love. Keep asking the Lord how you can serve him better. Keep looking for opportunities to grow in Christ.
The Simmons family loves you all.
This isn’t goodbye. This is see you later. And it’s only see you later because of what Christ did for us on the cross.
See you later church family!
Your friend and brother in Christ,
On August 29th the left side of my body stopped working due to a blood clot being shot from my heart into my brain. I collapsed onto my table saw cutting my left hand (good thing there was no feeling there, right? 😊). Where was God in all this? He was all over this situation.
If you know me I am unreasonably optimistic, so much so that I will deny bad things are happening…some say I see the glass as half full, I say the glass is not merely half full but always full to the brim nearly overflowing.
On that day I was working on building a gift to my son, Simon, for his 1st birthday. Suddenly I am sending Katie, my daughter, into the house for a towel cause I tell her I nicked myself on the table saw. God 1st showed up in the loving care of my wife. She came out to my work area to check on my “nicked” hand to find my face drooped and my speech slurred. Quickly she identified the stroke and put me in the car to the ER. God then shows up in a huge way with the little ER I was in actually having knowledgeable staff and the right medication(TPA) for a Stroke victim. God was then manifested through His body. My wife reached out to the pastoral team at our church and our LIFEgroup. The next thing I know many people are praying for me and my family and my LIFEgroup and pastors are invading the ER I am at to pray with me and support my family.
God has seen fit to bring me through this event with the full use of my left side! Looking back on my time at the ER or even the ride to the ER I was not afraid, in fact I denied I had a stroke, claiming only a dizzy spell (you call it brain damage I call it optimism 😊). I was not afraid then and am not afraid now. Side note: As of yet no cause for the stroke has been confirmed. There’s no other explanation but God being over all this (His will being done on earth as it is in heaven.)
Just like Jesus healed the centurion’s servant without visiting the centurion’s home, I am not too far in distance for the loving arms of my Heavenly Father to reach down and comfort me or my family. And I am grateful to the body of Christ, the Church, for being used by God to reach out when my family and I were in need. – Kenton G.
God’s Word is powerful. At a time when my son was going through some medical issues that the doctors couldn’t figure out, Habakkuk 3:17-19 kept popping up in front of me. I realized later that God was putting those verses in front me as I needed to have faith in Him through what was happening with my son. God was drawing me to Him. God helped the doctors to figure things out and bring my son through that. God used Habakkuk 3:17-19 to bring me through that. – Linda T.
Yesterday was one of those days where I asked for prayer from a few folks, and felt better than I had any reason to expect (more energy, enthusiasm, clear thinking). God answers those prayers. 🙂 – Ryan S.
Having full trust in God allows us to enjoy our relationship with Him. That full trust enriches, grows and strengthens on our journey. It opens our eyes to God’s miracles that play out in our lives through answered prayer as when we come asking Him to help us to accept things in our lives, to be able to forgive, for comfort, for patience, to have more strength during a difficult time, for him to help us with anxieties, to ask help with our fears, sorrows and emotional and physical pains that are unbearable. These things in themselves can all be MIRACLES in our lives. – Kim B.
When I take a walk and meet someone, I say, “May GOD bless you all and keep you safe.” Most people are open to the comment and most say, “Same to you.” Others just say, “Thank you.” Sometimes this simple conversation starts further discussion about the LORD and He directs our words. People are open to conversation. Take the opportunity. Everyday I ask the LORD to place one person in front of me that I can encourage and share His love. Sometimes it is on the phone, a letter, an email, or a text. May GOD bless. – Dave P.
Addiction had taken complete hold of my son, he lost everything including his freedom. Through prayer, God made a way for him to be admitted to a faith based residential rehab center where he gave his life to God. He now has a new perspective on life and gives God all the praise for it. It was such a blessing to watch as he helped his daughter with her daily devotional and to see him excited to receive his Bible. My son is now in Phase Four of rehab. He has started his internship with the rehab center and will be able to help others with their addiction. His brother Josh has witnessed what God had done in his brothers life; it opened his heart up to the Lord. A week ago Josh also gave his life to God. What the devil meant for evil, God used for his glory. – R. P.
The word intentional has stuck with my husband and I since we talked about it in November here at the church. I usually don’t give my co-workers a Thanksgiving card but I wanted to talk about God with all of them. So I bought cards and wrote a little poem about giving thanks to the Lord and to think about the real meaning for the day. I put the envelopes in their mail boxes with candy and a pumpkin decoration taped to the outside. I also did this for Christmas (but not with pumpkins :)). – Carol M.
Ever since moving to Medina in the summer of 2018, my walk with the Lord has grown closer thanks to His chain reaction set forth in my life. It started with attending the Service on the Square after being invited by our neighbors. Then, finding new friends through our Women’s Sunday AM LIFE group has been a blessing. Our group recently adopted residents of a local motel, and we deliver bags of food and devotional materials to them. Under guidance, I am now volunteering and working at a local jail, unashamed to share Jesus with inmates. God has also drawn me closer as I am now on Day 256 of reading the Bible in a year after being encouraged by our Pastor. Praise God for leading me to First Baptist! – Robin B.
A story from our Missionaries, Nathan and Shana Mast to Kenya, Africa – Nathan got a random email from a 6th grade boy that remembered Nathan from camp a few months previous.. He must have saved something with their email address on it or gotten it from someone. Anyhow, he said “I would like to know how to accept Jesus as savior”. Nathan wrote a long explanation of the gospel and said he would love to meet with him. The boy simply responded “ok”. Soon after that, Nathan was on a school campus and this boy came to the Bible study and told Nathan that he prayed to accept Jesus. Great story of how it sometimes takes a long time of working with an individual or group and sometimes someone is ready and God is calling him!
On Thanksgiving day my wife and I were eating lunch at Cracker Barrel, when I notice a young man at a table across from us and telling the waitress someone was coming in with a walker. After a few minutes he was kind of antsy until the rest of his party showed up; his grandmother (elderly and with the walker), parents and brother. They seemed very pleasant.
As we were eating our meal, I noticed the young man had a caring way about himself and wanted to make sure everyone was doing well. It was at that point that God spoke to me and said to pray for them. I told my wife that God wants me to pray for that family, so I asked if she could take care of the bill. I approached the table and said Happy Thanksgiving and shared that God told me to pray for them. I asked if it was ok to pray for them and they said yes. I then asked who they were and if it was ok to lay my hands on them to pray and they said yes. As I prayed, I felt the presence of God. After praying, I thanked them for letting me pray and shook all of their hands and blessed them. The family was very grateful.
Thank you for letting me share, to God be all the glory! – Tony M.
In October, we hosted a neighborhood front yard gathering of cider and donuts this past weekend. Our goal is to continue to strengthen relationships with our neighbors and ultimately display and share God’s love. We distributed flyers inviting them and also incorporated the church’s “Socktober” sock collection effort. We had over a dozen people come out with others bringing socks but not able to attend. It was great to connect with these people and many expressed their appreciation for the gathering as well as the opportunity to participate in the sock collection for Haven of Rest. David and Deb M
A co-worker had told me that his wife had a tumor on her brain that was causing her to lose sight in her left eye. I told him I would pray for her. That next Saturday, I brought it to our Men’s Prayer Group and we all prayed about it. The following Monday, my co-worker came to me elated and told me that the tumor was gone and the doctors couldn’t explain it. He said, “I can see now, that prayer really works.” This even strengthened my belief in the power of prayer. All glory to God! – Rich D.
During breakfast with one of FBC’s pastors, I was encouraged to start reading from the Bible daily. I’ve now been reading for over 200 days; previously I had not read my Bible daily since I was a teenager. I feel it has made a great difference. By reading to start my day, I feel I’m able to better focus on God’s word and apply it to my daily routine. I feel encouraged, less stressed, more kind and humble, and am better able to put God first in my life. To Him be all glory! – S. T.
I knew who Jesus was when I was seventeen but I didn’t really get “saved” until much later in life. During my twenties I became addicted to alcohol, prescription pain medication and pornography. I was angry all the time and felt very far away from God, and certainly didn’t think that He could love someone like me. Shortly after my first marriage fell apart I found myself living in a transit house with a few other men; only my Harley, my tools and a duffel bag full of clothes to my name. Finally I had enough; I grabbed a hold of the Bible a friend had given me and had a “come to Jesus” meeting with just me and the Lord. It was then that I completely surrendered my life to Christ and was set free from my past. Today I walk with Jesus Christ and my life is far different from before; remarried, sober and free from addiction, not because of anything I have done or deserved, but because of who He is and what He did for me on the cross. – Chris S.
Since I’ve been studying the Bible and praying on a daily basis I find myself being able to stay calm in times when I would not have been able to before. When things didn’t go my way in the past I would get really angry but now I find myself thanking God for knowing what is best for me. I can now be grateful in both good times and bad. Having a deeper, more abiding relationship with God has completely changed my life. – Shawn W.
“Two Men and A Truck don’t got nothing on FBC men.” My neighbor just had a major surgery and had asked my wife for some help moving some furniture. It just so happened that we were having home life group at our house that weekend. I corralled a few of the men from our home life group and we went over to her house. We relocated a bedroom set from an upstairs bedroom to the basement of her home. While we have served in other super rewarding capacities as a group before, this one was uniquely special because it was our neighbor. Another cool fact is that she has visited our church before. It was so fulfilling to have people from FBC serving her! She was so thankful. We got to display what love at FBC can look like! P.S.- No damage to drywall either 🙂 Just super cool! – Shelton R.
I had a 10 year battle with addiction. I wasn’t scared to die during that time, I was scared to live. I didn’t want to face a new day. Jesus changed my life. By God’s grace I am a year sober August 26, 2019 and I am not looking back. When I laugh now, it is because I have real joy. – Heather W.
I grew up being taught to obey God’s Word and follow Jesus because of what He did for me on the cross. I went to camps and revivals all through my childhood. Life has taken me in directions I never thought I would go, or for that matter, wanted to go, but through all of it-God has been faithful. I believed in Jesus- what He had done for me and gave my life to Him when I was a child but had never been baptized by immersion-the way Jesus was baptized. Reading Romans 6:3-4 helped me understand that step of obedience better. – Tammy P.
A few of us guys were at Salvation Army playing basketball with kids in the community on Friday Night. A young man got frustrated and marched outside as other kids were picking on him a little. I went out and spent some time talking with him. He said he doesn’t feel like many people care about him. I found out that his dad is not in the picture. What he remembers of his dad is being beaten up. I made sure he knew his mom and siblings, us guys who were there, the lieutenants at Salvation Army, as well as others in the community care about him but that God loves and cares about him even more and showed that in sending Jesus. We talked about turning to Jesus and about God as the perfect Father. I shared some scripture with him and challenged him to go home, grab one of the bibles he said he had and start reading in the book of John. He said he would try. I am looking forward to seeing him the next time I am there and following up with him. – Steve L.
Several weeks ago, five of us paid a visit to a couple that has not been able to attend services at First due to failing health. We spent our time singing classic hymns, and praying with them. They were so filled with joy, and eyes filled with tears, they couldn’t stop thanking us for the visit. We went to be a blessing to them and I think they blessed us even more. – Wayne T.
I had a great childhood. I just got off the rails. After years and years of battling with addictions, prostitution and other things, Jesus has changed my life. I can’t even tell you how truly gracious God has been to me. – Sharon B.
We had a gentleman join us more than 6 months ago who was very angry and hurt, vowing his wife as “unforgivable”. Over the weeks of faithfully attending Divorce Care and developing friendship with others, we saw his heart soften. During this time, his wife reached out via a letter which he briefly spoke of to the group wondering how he would respond. He reached out to me late last week asking to speak with the group and sharing it would be his last week with us. Wednesday, he addressed each person individually and shared how they impacted his journey and decision. He began thanking us for facilitating, stating that if not for Divorce Care, he is not sure he would “be here emotionally or even physically”. He thanked others for strength, friendship, humor and there were many tears shed as he shared his plans to seek restoration of his marriage. God is so good! – Carla G.
I am a recovering drug addict. I could ‘t believe how welcomed I was, even though it was a rough morning and I didn’t even have shoes on.” – Gary S.