Remain Calm

Quail season neared completion, so I opted to take the dogs out for a short hunt on Saturday, after having gone earlier in the week. Freckles and Duke were staring me down from the backyard where they live. They think every day should be a hunting day. Knowing February 15th was coming soon, I loaded them up and took them to a nearby location where they could run free. I took my gun in case we found some quail.

The weather was pleasant, and the dogs were pleased, as was I. I don’t have many places I can actually drive in and park, but this was one of those places. We made our way north through thickets and trees without finding birds. Our success was the fact that we were outside in God’s creation. Duke and I headed back south on the east side of a small canyon. Eventually Freckles caught up with us.

When she showed up, her face was covered in blood, as was her chest and her front legs. She looked like she had lost an encounter with a bobcat. I called her, and she came. She was so interested in hunting that she could hardly stand still for me to examine her. She obviously was not hurt very badly. I discovered that she had cut her tongue on something. That kind of thing can happen when you leave it hanging out. The small wound produced a lot of blood.

I called the vet and received assurance that Freckles would be just fine. She pointed a covey of quail and some singles on the way back to the truck. I opted not to take a picture of her pointing while Duke honored. It wasn’t the image I wanted anyone to have of quail hunting. Before we headed home, I called Nancy and warned her of what she was going to see when we came home.

“It looks a lot worse than it is.”

She opted not to look. It wasn’t long until all bleeding stopped. Freckles gobbled down her food and continued on with life. It really was not a big deal to her.

Initially, some situations in life appear to be much more disastrous than they actually are. Before panicking, realistically examine the source of and the solution for the problem. Anything that can be fixed, replaced, or cleaned up is not really that big of a deal.

Remain calm,


FBC Happenings

  • July 7 LifeGroup Attendance – 610
  • Sunday Sermon – “Saving Faith” James 2:14-26
  • Falls Creek – July 15-20
  • 55 & Up Potluck – July 24, 11:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall
  • GEAR UP – August 11, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Family Life Center

New Member

Crue Doyal

Never Forget

His uncle took possession of the dog after it had been run over and injured by a car. After nursing it back to health, his uncle allowed John to assume ownership of the “Heinz 57” canine. He named his new pet Rusty. His hind quarters were white, while the rest of his body was a rusty brown. They became the best of friends. John was six years old.

A small store, as well as an elementary school, sat across the street from where John’s family lived. Periodically, John went over to the store and bought a Hershey’s candy bar, which he shared with Rusty under the ramp that led into the store. The shade was cool in the summertime. Besides, every growing boy needs some time away from his sister. John and Rusty spent the summer playing and doing what everyone did when life was simpler and time wasn’t so rushed.

When school started, John headed across the street to begin first grade. His younger sister stayed behind and continued to enjoy life as it came. One day she and a friend were playing in the front yard on a swing. His sister squealed with joy while her friend pushed her higher and higher. Rusty thought John’s sister was in trouble and bit her friend in a defensive move. The girl was diabetic. The girl’s grandmother threatened a lawsuit if Rusty was not put down.

When the authorities showed up to get Rusty, they could not get Rusty into the cage in the back of the truck. John was summoned from school to come and call Rusty into the truck. With a broken heart, John obediently crawled into the bed of the truck and called for Rusty to come. Rusty immediately responded to his best friend’s plea. John never saw Rusty again. He still remembers that day when he did what had to be done, even though it caused great pain.

We must forever remember Calvary’s cross, where God had to turn away from watching as Jesus, the lamb of God, took away the sins of the world. The joint venture “paid in full” the sin debt owed by all of us. Jesus, like a lamb led to slaughter, opened not His mouth as He willingly laid down His life. We can remember His death as we anticipate seeing Him in heaven.

Romans 8:32,


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday Sermon – “Mercy For All” – James 2: 1-13
  • LifeGroup Attendance on June 30 – 602
  • Church Office will be closed on Thursday, July 4th
  • SERVE Weatherford is July 8-13. Contact Tracy to volunteer.
  • Falls Creek is July 15-20

New Members

Paige Morris Cassidy Moses Nedra Smith

Farewell, my friend

John Hogan’s final time to lead us in worship will be this Sunday, June 30. I will miss him. He has served faithfully in multiple ways as God has used him to lead us in knowing what worship means and participating in it willingly. During the four years he has served at First Baptist Church, we have grown in our ability to participate in worship as a multi-generational church.

John has the unique ability of combining various styles of music in such a manner that we all feel included. He utilized hymns and choruses and praise songs in such a way that we could sing from our hearts the truths of God’s Word. Certainly John has a preferred style of music, but it did not show in the songs he used. What a great job he did leading out in a potentially divisive area of church life.

John pastored the flock entrusted to his care in the worship ministry. He watched over and encouraged the choir, the band members, the sound technicians, the Kidz Praize leaders, and so many more. He is a minister that leads worship, not a musician that leads songs. There is a difference. I have greatly benefitted from the time we have spent yoked together while leading Christ’s church. I pray God’s best for John, Stephanie and Cade as they follow God’s lead.

Our search committee for the next Worship Pastor of First Baptist Church was selected last Sunday. Ginger Read, Brennan King, Allison Kendall, Scott Steinly and Sarah Yount received the most votes by our congregation and each volunteered to serve. Remember them in your prayers as they seek God’s direction. They do not have an easy job.

During the interim, Brennan King will lead us in worship. Brennan has led worship in the Wednesday night Gathering service for the past two years. He has served as John’s replacement when John has been away. He will do a great job. Remember him in your prayers. We are greatly blessed as a church that he is available and willing to serve.

If my count is accurate, this is the seventeenth called staff member I have said goodbye to during my years as a pastor. The staff changes, but the head of the church remains Christ. That is why everything is going to be just fine.

The best is yet to come,


FBC Highlights

  • June 23 LifeGroup Attendance – 602
  • Sunday Sermon – “Can You Hear Me Now?” James 1:19-27
  • Membership Matters – Sunday, June 30 at 10:30 a.m. – Parlor
  • Farewell Reception for the Hogan’s – Sunday, June 30 at 6:00 p.m. – FH
  • Falls Creek 2019 will be July 15-20

Safe Near Jesus

The sound of Freckles’ barking alerted me to the fact that something was out of the ordinary. I had taken her and Duke out to a place south of town where I have permission to let them run. Weekly I transport them in the dog box to a place where they can run without restraint. It is not the same as a quail hunt, but it is a lot better than our back yard. We usually finish in less than an hour. I walk while they run in and out of trees and up and down the hills.

I looked toward the frantic barking. Freckles definitely saw something. Apparently it was frightening because she was backing up. My fears of a porcupine did not materialize. Instead, I saw a pack of nearly grown coyotes advancing toward my bird dog. I counted at least three heads coming from the trees. I yelled for Freckles to come, but she could not hear my voice over the sound of her own barking. I began to yell and run toward the coyotes. 

They backed away, and Freckles ran after them as Duke fell in behind her. Initially, I thought I might lose both dogs in the trees out of my sight. Time passed, and my dogs showed back up. They were winded but alive. I checked for blood. There was none. We continued our trek to the north before bending back toward the truck. Freckles and Duke had been protected by the presence of their master. Coyotes fear humans.

As we journey through life, we will be approached by the one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. We are no match for Satan’s power. Jesus is. As we abide in Him, remaining close to our master, our lives remain secure. We never know where or how Satan will come at us, but as long as Jesus remains nearby, we will remain secure. Peace in life does not come from choosing secure paths but from going where our master leads us.

          Satan flees when we submit ourselves to God.

                                      James 4:7,


FBC Highlights

  • June 16 LifeGroup Attendance – 549
  • Sunday Sermon – “Genuine Happiness” James 1:1-18
  • This Sunday, June 23 – Observance of The Lord’s Supper 9:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.
  • Membership Matters – Sunday, June 30 at 10:30 a.m. – Parlor
  • Farewell Reception for the Hogan’s – Sunday, June 30 at 6:00 p.m. – FH
  • Falls Creek 2019 will be July 15-20

Happy Father’s Day

I thought about you today. Actually, to be honest, I think about you every day. This day was different. I was with the family before I preached a funeral. Several in the extended family came up from Hobart. One of them mentioned something about being a bearcat. I smiled. Then the zinger from the lady who had known you when you were alive.

“Your daddy was a great man. He was full of the love of Jesus.”

I responded, “And he faced a lot of challenges.”

“I know. He was very proud of you.”

Tears pooled in my eyes as the funeral director came into the room and began to give instructions about what was about to happen. For some reason, I really missed you in that moment. I wished I could have just five minutes to visit with you. I would like to tell you about what has been going on in my life. There is so much good to share. 

I was asked to lead in prayer. I did before heading into the chapel and having everyone stand in respect for the grieving family as they entered. After the family was in and the congregation was seated, the first song was played. It was the same song that was sung at your funeral over eleven years ago. More tears. I thought this would be over with by now. 

Actually, I am glad that it is not. I don’t ever want to forget you. How could I? I shave your face every morning. I look a lot like you. I am forever telling people that my daddy was a bricklayer. Those who know always respond, “That is hard work.” I smile and thank God that you worked so hard to provide for us. Heart-bypasses slowed you down, but they did not stop you. Thank you for teaching me to be a man of God on multiple fronts. 

I am still pastoring the First Baptist Church in Weatherford. I love it. Can you believe I am still preaching? Your burr-haired boy remains a bald-headed minister. I also have two bird dogs. Jason and Lynn are still healthy, and Nancy still loves me. Mama still enjoys life to the fullest with a wide circle of friends. Sandra and Sheri grow beautiful flowers and live wonderful lives. Rex…well, you know about Rex. 

See you later Daddy,


FBC Highlights

  • Sunday Sermon – “Good Fathers” – Luke 15: 11-32
  • LifeGroup Attendance – June 9 – 577
  • Falls Creek – July 15 – 20
  • SERVE Weatherford – July 8 – 13. Be looking for opportunities to volunteer
  • Pray for the Dominican Republic mission team – June 15 – 22
  • Pray for Children at Cross Timbers Camp
  • Pray for Youth at Super Summer

Search Committee Selection

God’s plan for individual churches includes multiplied staff members. As God causes His church to grow, He uses individual staff members to accomplish various tasks according to His timing and will. 

Paul stated in I Corinthians 3:5-8: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.”

John Hogan’s resignation as the worship pastor of First Baptist Church makes the tenth time a staff member has done so while I have been your pastor. I have come to see this as a part of the life of a local church. God’s ongoing plan includes changing staff members. I will miss John, Stephanie, and Cade very much. I look forward to what God has for us in the future.

We secure called staff members through elected search committees, as defined in our constitution and bylaws. All members of FBC are eligible to list up to five members of the church to serve on the committee. Those five who receive the most recommendations to serve will be asked to serve. The first five to accept the opportunity to serve will form the search committee. This committee will be selected on June 23. If you will not be present on the 23, you can bring your recommendations by the church office.

This committee will fulfill a huge responsibility. As you pray about who God would have to serve on the committee, keep in mind that they need to have a love for Christ and His church. They need to be humble servants with no personal agenda. They need to be willing to wait on God’s timing and follow God’s leadership. 

I cannot overstate how important it will be to hire the right person as our worship pastor. Hiring the right person begins with selecting the right search committee. Thank you for praying about this issue and letting God lead you in this process.  

The best is yet to come,


FBC Highlights

  • Sunday Sermon – “A Great Calm” – Matthew 8:23 – 27
  • LifeGroup Attendance – June 2 – 637
  • Deacons Meeting – This Sunday @ 5 pm in the Fellowship Hall
  • Foster Care and Adoption Q&A – Sunday, June 9, 12 – 1 pm
  • Falls Creek – July 15 – 20
  • SERVE Weatherford – July 8 – 13. Be looking for opportunities to volunteer

Living With Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13

“They keep saying God didn’t cause the cancer. Maybe so. But, He sure could have stopped the cancer. So many prayers were offered by so many people – and it didn’t help a thing!”

The sentiments vented by the grief-filled spouse honestly expressed what many people are afraid to say. I listened and cried, while giving assurance that God has a big set of shoulders upon which we can confidently cast every burden. We can tell God anything. He understands, and He lends assistance even when we are disappointed in Him.

One of the many things I enjoy about growing older is the opportunity to approach things with a bit of perspective. The names and faces change, but the same painful life issues surface repeatedly. None of us are immune to the thoughts voiced by the broken-hearted spouse who was adjusting to the deafening silence of an empty home. Sitting alone, eating alone, and sleeping alone wear on the soul.

Three questions are often asked of God when life falls apart. The first question is “What the ______?” Fill in your own word. How could God allow this to happen in your life when you are seeking to do what is right? Many people who don’t seem to be giving God the time of day have never experienced what God has allowed on your doorstep. The pain was unexpected and definitely undeserved. At this point life seems extremely unfair.

Question number two: “What did I do wrong?” There had to be a cause. If a different path had been taken earlier, this could have been avoided. Maybe that action that was taken, or not taken, resulted in the devastating consequence that eliminated life as you knew it. If only you had done things differently. You blame yourself because it seems like the natural thing to do. This is not a healthy place to be. 

The final question in my oversimplified observation: “What do I do now?” This is a good question because it indicates a choice to continue living. And, make no mistake about it, continuing to live after a devastating loss is a choice. Wallowing in pain must be replaced by living with hope. This happens with the acceptance that even though the life hoped for will never become a reality, the God of all hope remains forever faithful. 

Romans 15:13,


FBC Highlights

  • Sunday Sermon – “Fishers of Men” – Luke 5:1 – 11
  • Foster Care and Adoption Q&A – Sunday, June 9, 12 – 1 pm
  • Registration for Vacation Bible School – June 3-7, is available online
  • Falls Creek 2019 will be July 15 – 20