February 5, 2023

Excellence is a Habit

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.”

We are creatures of habit. Habits – overeating, thumb sucking, breath holding, nail biting, smoking, and the like – run the gambit from unpleasant to unhealthy. Other habits, like reading, healthy eating, exercise, money management, and getting adequate rest, greatly improve our quality of life. Yet our lives are all composed of habits from the time we wake up all the way up to bedtime. If a habit is negative, a cycle that includes triggers, feelings, and impulses can be broken anywhere along the way. If the habit is positive and needed, we can nurture that cycle by continuing it.

Think about certain spiritual matters that are matters of habit – faithful attendance, daily Bible study and prayer, pure speech, visitation, welcoming visitors at church services, involvement in church works, controlling the tongue, and any number of personal growth matters. Aristotle was right. Excellence does not consist in doing something once. It is not even found in the sporadic, occasional engagement. We cultivate excellence by focusing on certain areas with repeated, persistent efforts.

Paul urged the church at Thessalonica to “abound more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). That consisted in knowing how “to walk and to please God.” Peter told the Christians dispersed abroad to keep their “behavior seemly among the Gentiles” (1 Peter 2:12). In the second letter, he includes excellence – virtue – as a Christian grace (2 Peter 1:5).

Excellence is not something we are born with or just wake up possessing. It is, as Aristotle says, a matter of our habits!

Neal Pollard, Director

Bear Valley School of Preaching

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Feb 5   (Sun) Bible Classes, 9:30am each Sunday.

Feb 5   (Sun) AM Worship 10:30am

Feb 5   (Sun) Small Group Bible Studies, 6pm

Feb 6   (Mon) Ladies’ Prayer and Fitness, 6pm

Feb 6   (Mon) B-12, 7pm in the Fellowship Hall

Feb 7   (Tue) Faith Walkers Ladies’ Bible Study, 10am

Feb 8   (Wed) Bible Classes, 7pm

Feb 9   (Thu) St. Francis House, contact Donny if you can help.

Feb 13 (Mon) Ladies Night Out, 5:30pm at Cracker Barrel

Feb 14 (Tue) Mother/Daughter Bible Study, 6:30pm

Feb 26 (Sun) Worship and “Town Hall” meeting, 6pm

SAVE THE DATE On Sunday evening, February 26 at 6 pm, the elders invite all members to participate in a “Town Hall” meeting following an abbreviated worship service. This meeting will not be “live streamed” or recorded, but will give us an opportunity to share what is on the horizon for this year and receive feedback. Please plan to be there. The Elders

MOTHER DAUGHTER BIBLE STUDY Would you enjoy an opportunity to grow deeper in God’s word alongside your fellow sisters in Christ? We invite you and your 4th-12th grade daughter to join our hosts/speakers the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm. Reach out to Cailey Mann (352-519-6514) to RSVP or for details.

YOUTH GROUP NEWS Friday, February 10, 6-8pm will be Middle School Only Bowling Night at Splitz. Parents are welcome. $10 per student. Mother/Daughter Bible Study will meet Tuesday, February 14 at 6:30pm at the Manns’. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Cailey Mann (352-519-6514). Sunday, February 19 will be our dinner/devo at the McWilliams’ from 6-8pm.

GATORS FOR CHRIST Today after morning worship will be lunch in the gym for those helping with “Helping Hands” Service Projects for those in our church family! This Wednesday at 7pm in the FLC gym, we will have our Bible class on “The Most Challenging Commandments of Christ: serving those in need” by Marshall Jaroch and Sterling Anderson. Sign up Wednesday for our Valentines Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7pm.

FLORIDA BIBLE CAMP BBQ & SILENT AUCTION will be held at Florida Bible Camp on Saturday, April 22, 11am-1pm. Tickets are $20 ($10/students) for the BBQ and must be bought in advance this year from Skip Skipper, Mark McCall or Donny Dillon. We have over 50 raffle items ranging in value from $25 -$400 each (everything from restaurant gift cards to trips and theme parks) and you can purchase raffle tickets at the BBQ.

HELPING HANDS Our college students will be doing a Summer Mission Trip to Knoxville, TN to help Hector Cortez with his Hispanic church plant there. If you would like to help the students raise the funds they need to attend, please let Donny Dillon or Darren Coffield know what you need help with around your house or yard and students will help!

Adult Bible Classes

Sunday

WC Fellowship Hall: 1 Corinthians, L. Suggs & J. Dawson

FLC #104: Apologetics, S. Thompson

FLC #109: Survey of the Pentateuch, M. Jamieson

FLC #212: Miracles & Parables of Jesus, various

Wednesday

FLC #109: 1&2 Thessalonians, M. Jamieson

FLC #115: The Gospel of Mark, R. Osejo

Gym: Most Challenging Commandments of Christ, D. Dillon & D. Coffield

WC Fellowship Hall: Magnify, C. Boone, K. DeBraal & K. Mushatt

FOOD PANTRY BAGS A list is available on the bulletin board.

ELDER’S CORNER

1 Peter 5:2 “Be Shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care…”

“They said to Samuel, ‘Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us, that he may rescue us from the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 7:8) The Israelites again were at war with the Philistines who have defeated them before. This time, the Israelites asked Samuel to continue praying to God on their behalf. The Lord answered by throwing the Philistines into confusion. The Philistines had a more formidable army than the Israelites, but the Lord was stronger and more powerful than all of them. When we’re facing situations that we think won’t change, we might be tempted to give up or believe that the Lord will not act. We should never underestimate the power of prayer because our loving God hears us. We need to trust and wait because our Lord is faithful, and He will answer. Let’s continue praying.

Ramon Osejo

Private prayer with an Elder(s) is available down front after worship or by appointment.

Please remember our sick and shut-in with cards, visits or a phone call and keep them in your prayers.

Hospitals: (this past week)

Ron McQuinn, Bob Stancliff (Shands)

Special Care Facilities:

Judy Beard, Onley Bowers, Roger Grebing, Katherine Guttery, Robbie Lumpkins, Daisy Martin, Jodi McKim

Others:

Ann & Ed Bresnyan, Emily Carpenter, Don Dasher, Chuck Gatton, Douglas Guntor, Larry Hood, Joan Jaudon, Angela Jonas, Carol Massey, Pat Redd, Cammey Sealey, Charles Stanton, Debbie Turk, Quinn Waters, Rick Worley, Rose Wright.

Prayers for the safety and strength of all those in harm’s way serving our country and community.