The Coming Storm

In the west they saw the predicted storms developing. What began as a small bank of clouds grew taller and darker over the course of a couple of hours. It was obvious that the meteorologist had been accurate on this particular occasion. A final field of wheat was still standing and needed to be cut and hauled to the elevator. Speed limits were compromised and risks were taken to finish the harvest before the arrival of the storm. By the time the heavy rains, laced with hail, made it to them, they were safely home.

As the rain pounded against the windows, both Christian men discussed the significance of what they had just done.

“You know, we spared no effort in order to get the harvest in before the storm. There is another storm coming – the judgment of God. We need to supply just as much effort to get the harvest of souls into God’s kingdom before it is too late.”

Jesus illustrated many of His teachings with agriculture. Seeds and weeds and soils made good analogies for spreading the gospel and not growing weary. Remember the time in John 4 when He told the apostles to quit kicking the can down the road because, even at that moment, the fields were white unto harvest? He was watching the Samaritans come out to see Him. They were the ready harvest.

The coming storm of God’s judgment should compel us to reach as many people as possible with the gospel. We cannot save anyone, but we can sure pray for them and share the gospel with them and show the love of Jesus to them. This is why we form more life groups out of those that exist. This is why we leave our comfort zones and lead out in new groups. This is why we form prayer lists of lost people and learn to share the gospel. This is why we build relationships and discipline ourselves to serve Jesus.

We aren’t trying to win a prize for being a really nice church. We are pushing back against the darkness of evil with the light of the gospel so that individuals will end up in heaven instead of hell. That is the reason we must not piddle around selfishly. For the glory of God and the welfare of souls, we must remain zealous for Jesus until the storm of God’s judgment arrives.

Galatians 6:9, Earl


                                               

FBC Happenings

  • This Sundays Sermon “Come To Me” Matthew 11:28-30
  • LifeGroup Attendance on October 13 – 707
  • GriefShare – this Sunday, October 20 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • Presentation of the 2020 Budget and The State of the Church Address this Sunday, October 20 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Honey Chicken Bites
  • Membership Matters Class – Sunday, October 27 at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor
  • FALL CARNIVAL – Sunday, October 27 in the FLC from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

New Member

Weston Frye

The Charcoal Fire

Peter’s zeal was tempered by the sight of the charcoal fire on the beach.  As soon as John had identified the man on the seashore as “the Lord,” Peter had jumped into the water and swam to shore.  He couldn’t wait to see Jesus.  Now, with water dripping from his clothes, Peter balked in his pursuit of renewed fellowship with Jesus.

You see, it was around such a fire that Peter spent the fateful evening when Jesus was tried, convicted and sentenced to die.  While warming his hands near the charcoal embers, Peter denied any knowledge of the teacher from Galilee.  He  did so three times.

“Are you hungry?”  Jesus broke the silence.  “Breakfast is almost ready, but we could use a few more fish.”  Peter jumped at the opportunity to show his devotion.  Unassisted, he pulled the massive catch up onto shore.  In a matter of minutes he was sharing a meal with Jesus and the other disciples.

 Jesus broke bread with the one who had denied Him only a few days earlier.  Obviously Jesus was not into grudge holding.  He’s still not.  We tend to dwell on  failures from the past.  Jesus focuses on the possibilities of the future. 


October is Staff Appreciation Month


FBC Happenings

  • This Sundays Sermon “Follow Me” John 21:15-22
  • LifeGroup Attendance on October 6 – 709
  • Observance of The Lord’s Supper – this Sunday, October 13 at 9:00 and 10:30
  • GriefShare – this Sunday, October 13 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • Associational Worship Service – this Sunday, October 13 at 6:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary
  • FALL BREAK – all Wednesday activities are cancelled on October 16

New Members

Micah and Jamey Banks

Rob Moses

Farewell to the Poulains

James Poulain has accepted the call to serve as the lead pastor of the First Baptist Church in Holdenville, Oklahoma. His last Sunday serving here in Weatherford will be October 13. I am sad to see him leave. He has proven to be a faithful minister of the gospel in this place while serving as the youth pastor for over three years. I have enjoyed our many talks about ministry, preaching, and life. My door rarely closes. I was always happy to see him enter after he muffled his deep voice and whispered hello.

God has used James to accomplish His purpose in this church at this time. I have always believed that, with rare exceptions, God’s purpose for every minister is larger than any one church, and His purpose for every church is larger than any one minister. We are all replaceable. We have to be. The church outlasts us all.

Remember James and Sandy and their children Grayson, Audrey, and Ben as they make this transition. Pray for them. Speak words of encouragement and affirmation to them. They are not deserting us. They are following the leadership of God as they walk the road He has designated for them. Obedience is tough for all of us. It is especially tough when it requires leaving your local church family. They are sad to leave but willing to obey God.

I was never contacted by the Holdenville church during their consideration of James as their lead pastor. God worked things out, without my help, so that James will be serving where I once served. I find it almost surreal that with almost 1,800 Southern Baptist Churches in Oklahoma, James will be serving in one of the two where I have previously served. How great is our God!

James will be ordained to the gospel ministry by our church this Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Please be here to show your support of him. It will be a special occasion as we publically affirm that we have had full opportunity to see evidences of God’s call on his life as well as his adequacy for ministry and his accurate understanding of Biblical doctrine. I can think of nothing you could do that would encourage him more than attend his ordination service.

I love you,

Earl


October is Staff Appreciation Month


FBC Happenings

  • This Sundays Sermon “Love Your Enemies” Luke 6:27-36
  • LifeGroup Attendance on September 29 – 700
  • Ordination of James Poulain – this Sunday, October 6 at 3:00 p.m.
  • GriefShare – this Sunday, October 6 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • Observance of The Lord’s Supper – Sunday, October 13 at 9:00 and 10:30
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. BBQ Polish Sausage

God and Money

“You really get to know someone when it comes to money.” 

This is one of the many things my daddy told me that has proven to be completely accurate. Those with pure hearts have no problem paying bills, enjoying paychecks, and sharing blessings. Those with selfish hearts reveal their love for money by keeping what they owe, expecting what they have not earned, or cheating those who trust them.

Jesus said it is impossible to serve both God and money. He didn’t say “challenging” or “rare.” Jesus said “impossible.” When money becomes the driving force in life, God takes a back seat to all other decisions. When time, energy, and thought are devoted to maximizing money, the pursuit of the kingdom of God will be minimized.

Years ago, in another church, one of the most committed Christians I have ever known over-extended himself in a business venture after he had retired with plenty of money. He explained to me one Sunday night when he came to church for the first time in months:

“I don’t know whether God or Satan gave me this business, but, either way, I have it. Until something changes, I cannot come to church.”

He went from sharing his faith and leading a small group to never darkening the doors of the church. Eventually, the wheels fell off of his life. I still shake my head when I think of where he is now in comparison with where he once was. It all started with money.

I heard a preacher say that when we baptize a person we should have them leave their wallet in their pocket. When God saves us, He takes over. He reserves a portion of our money to be given back to Him (at least a tithe/tenth) in order to constantly remind us that He remains sovereign owner of everything we handle. To not give a tithe is to embezzle from God.

Mishandling money will kill your witness for Jesus. Beating someone out of five dollars will keep sown gospel seeds from sprouting and growing. Non-Christians aren’t necessarily aware of whether you attend church or not. Non-Christians are very aware of whether you pay your bills or not.

“You really get to know someone when it comes to money.”

 Daddy was right,

  Earl


FBC Happenings

  • This Sundays Sermon “Do Not Be Anxious” Matthew 6:25-34
  • LifeGroup Attendance on September 22 – 686
  • Membership Matters Class – Sunday, September 29 at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor
  • GriefShare – Sunday, September 29 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Chicken and Noodles

A Regrettable Haircut

When I stopped by the Raintree Meadow apartments to pick Nancy up, she greeted me with silence. I was a junior at OBU, and she was in the Dietetics program at the OU Health Sciences Center. She lived in Midwest City. On the weekends when we returned to Hobart to see our families, we coordinated so as to travel together. We were not officially engaged but planned to marry after completing college.

The silence continued for the entire trip. Periodically, Nancy looked over at me with disappointment. What I had done was on display for all to see. I had gotten a standard military haircut from a local barber in Shawnee. Before that haircut my wavy black locks were touching my shoulders. I had not lost my strength like Samson, but I had created a bit of tension with the love of my life.

My journey from long hair to white walls had begun in the cafeteria. One of our group was going away for the summer to a Marine Core boot camp. He was in the reserves, and eventually made a career out of military service. He showed up at supper with his fresh haircut, compliments of Johnny Jett, the local barber.

A discussion began about who would be willing to get the same kind of haircut. “I will get one if you will.” Promises were made, and the pressure applied. By the time I volunteered under peer pressure, I was about sixth or seventh down the line. I felt good about the chances that someone else would not follow through, and I would be off the hook.

Guess what? You guessed it. Johnny Jett did a booming business that week. One by one my friends sat in the barber chair and came back to campus to show off their new look, and prove that they were men of their word. My time came, and I allowed my hair to be buzzed off. I proved I was a man of my word. However, I would have been wiser to have not given my word in the first place on this particular issue. Just because someone else does something does not make it right.

Nancy eventually spoke. My hair grew back before it fell out. By that time Nancy and I were happily married! Hair was not nearly as important as we originally thought.

Lucky me!

Earl


FBC Happenings

  • This Sundays Sermon “Sin No More” John 5:1-15
  • LifeGroup Attendance on September 15 – 785
  • GriefShare – this Sunday, September 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Chicken Croissant Sandwich

Long Hair and Old Songs

I grabbed a couple of CDs before I headed to Hobart to visit my mother. On the way down I listened to a mix of worship songs a friend had burned for me as a going away present when we moved from Holdenville. While listening to the songs, I travelled back in time to when Jason and Lynn were in high school, and Nancy and I were running from one event to another. I smiled as I remembered that stage in our lives. I counted my blessings.

On the return trip to Weatherford, I listened to songs sung by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Many years ago someone gifted me with a CD of their greatest hits. I turned the music up loud as I sang along, remembering every word. We went down on the corner, ran through the jungle, watched the bad moon a risen’, and heard things through the grapevine. As I sang along, I was struck by the similarity of the songs. The words changed much more than the rhythm. 

However, in my mind, the music took me back to the days of long hair, big biceps, bigger dreams, and a rapid body metabolism rate. A couple of burgers and a few servings of baked beans and potato salad often preceded several bowls of homemade ice cream. The summers included plenty of work and plenty of fun and little, if any, worry. I sang along with John Fogerty when he declared, “Someday never comes,” but I didn’t worry about it. The same was true for wondering “who will stop the rain?”

Those were wonderful days. I enjoyed American legion baseball and dates with the dentist’s youngest daughter. Even shelling black-eyed peas while watching “Let’s Make A Deal” proved to be a fun activity while waiting between the morning and evening sessions of two-a-day football practice. The songs I listened to that day were more about memories than they were about music.

I am convinced the same is true about the music we sing as we worship. Songs mean much to us because of the way they remind us of God’s faithfulness and goodness during certain stages in life. We delight in various styles of music because they remind us of various stages of our walk with God. This is why we sing new songs and keep the old.

 I have decided to follow Jesus,

 Earl


FBC Happenings

  • This Sundays Sermon “Have Faith in God” Mark 11:20-25
  • LifeGroup Attendance on September 8 – 760
  • GriefShare – this Sunday, September 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Cry Room
  • 55 & Up Potluck Lunch on Monday, September 16 at 11:30 a.m. in the FH
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Soft Tacos

Bearcats in Heaven

“How is my favorite guard?”

After a brief pause, Nate recognized me in spite of the cap I was wearing that covered my bald head. Decades had passed since the last time we visited. Back in the day, he had speed to burn in the Hobart Bearcat backfield, and I had the responsibility of creating a gap for him to run through. A leg injury cut his career short, but our friendship continued.

We passed from Francis Willard Elementary School through Eugene Field Elementary School into Junior High and eventually became members of the Hobart class of 1974. Nate was a great athlete, but he was much more than an athlete. Nate was also an artist and a good student and a fine person. I still have a painting hanging in my study that he did of my grandfather. I still remember a cobra he sculpted. I enjoyed art. Nate became an artist.

Throughout his adult life Nate has remained a renaissance man. He provides tech support and paints signs and owns and operates a barbeque restaurant. I had surprised him in his restaurant, which is located in the building that once was the Dairy Queen located at the end of the drag on Main Street. His gray whiskers looked classy against his black skin.

“Let me introduce you to my business partner. She has been a friend of our family for over thirty years.”

Then came the sentence that made me so happy that I had interrupted my visit with my mother to see if I could catch Nate.

 “This is who led me to Christ.”

 Carolyn smiled. Nate went on to recount what I had said to him.

 “Don’t you remember? You said you didn’t want me to think you were weird.”

I did remember. We were leaving the art room in the basement and I told Nate I loved him and Christ loved him. I don’t remember what I said after that. Nate did. Later on in life he had surrendered his life to Christ. He had been playing keyboard at his church for thirty years. His wife had passed in 2008, and he had dealt with a bit of cancer, but he still found much for which to praise the Lord. We will enjoy heaven together.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9,

Earl 


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “Healthy Churches” Matthew 18:10-14
  • LifeGroup Attendance on September 1 – 614
  • GriefShare – this Sunday, September 8 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • FBC Movie Night “Breakthrough” this Sunday, September 8 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m., Beans w/ ham and fried potatoes

New Member

Gage Harrelson