Doing Life Together

David was having more than a bad day. He was having a bad year as he stayed one step ahead of the murderous intent of King Saul. David was surrounded by a few hundred “losers” who followed him faithfully. King Saul had the entire army of Israel at his beck and call. Saul was jealous of David’s relationship with God and feared that David would replace him as king. He was trying to eliminate the competition.

David had done nothing to enrage King Saul, but he became the target of his wrath. Time after time David escaped by the skin of his teeth, but Saul kept coming. The Lord stirred up hope within David, and he wrote several Psalms to celebrate God’s goodness. Surely David, the man after God’s own heart, was more than competent to handle the undeserved attempts on his life with a swagger and a smile. Or, was he?

“And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God.” I Samuel 23:16.

David and Jonathan were close friends. They had been through a lot together, and God had knit their hearts as one. Even though Jonathan was the official heir to Saul’s throne, he knew that God had other plans. He not only accepted but celebrated the fact that David would one day be king. He came to David and reminded him of the fact. He would not be killed by Saul. He would replace Saul. The two made a covenant with one another, and Jonathan went home.

David’s situation did not really change. However, he was encouraged and better able to face the storm he found himself in because of time spent with a friend. It is amazing how God encourages us with the presence and conversation of a Christian friend. When he was nearing his execution date, Paul requested that Timothy come soon for one last visit in order that Paul might be filled with joy.

God encourages us through the presence and conversation of other believers. You can send a card or make a call or host someone in your home. The method may vary, but the outcome is still the same. When we share life, we are encouraged. When we face life alone, we grow weary. During a pandemic we have to be more creative, but we can still encourage others.

I Samuel 23:16, Earl 


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “God Led Moses” Exodus 13:17-22
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. No Nursery or Childcare at this time.
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 11:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote

Farewell to the Wards

This Sunday, July 12, will be Tracy and Kathleen’s final Sunday serving with us. Since November of 2014 Tracy has served as the Missions – Outreach – Ministry Pastor. He was the first to serve in the newly created position on the First Baptist staff. He has faithfully guided us in expanding our vision and our reach to places around the world and in our own community.

Tracy led out in establishing an ongoing partnership with the Dominican Republic, where he led trips a couple of times each year. Leading the trip included planning, fundraising, purchasing, overseeing, and countless other essential responsibilities. He led our monthly Membership Matters class as new people considered becoming official members of First Baptist Church. He and Kathleen have led a life group during the years they have been here. Tracy also began and leads the Celebrate Recovery ministry that meets in our church weekly.

Tracy has also been a valuable part of the preaching rotation in the Gathering worship services on Wednesday nights. His perspective always challenged us with Biblical truth. Nancy and I also enjoyed the fact that he interjected humor in his sermons – ad hoc, because that is how he lives life. A smile rarely leaves his face.

Kathleen served in many ways and excelled as she led in worship. She sings from her heart with confidence and excellence. I often reminded her that she sounded just like a professional Christian recording artist I listened to decades ago. She always glorifies God and encourages the church as she leads in worship.

They are moving to Amarillo, Texas, where they will teach in schools that are made up primarily of children from refugee and minority populations. God has brought a great ministry opportunity to them, and they are going in obedience to His call. We will be able to pray for them and stay in contact with them as they continue to minister in another location.

Make a point to let them know how much you have benefitted from their ministry. Let them know that you love them and will miss them. A farewell reception will be held for Tracy and Kathleen in the South Commons area this Sunday, July 12, at 5:00 p.m. A basket will be available for cards of encouragement. We will also be praying for them at the end of both morning services.

I will miss them, Earl


Not Knowing by Seth Odam

I had a welcome for the ages in the 9:00 a.m. service last week. I thanked all of you for joining us for worship and then I flexed my young youth minister muscles by connecting our nation’s independence to the freedom that is found with the Cross of Christ. If that is where I had stopped, we all would have carried on with our Sunday like normal and I likely wouldn’t have thought twice about what I said on stage. I didn’t stop there. I had to make sure and get this point across.

“A lot of times, we don’t really know what we are doing.”

Nailed it. Just what you wanted to hear from your newest staff member before you began to worship. As I walked back down to my seat, I asked myself why those were the words that came from my mouth. I realized I said it because that is truly what my life has felt like over the last three months. Starting a new job during the most tumultuous time of my short life has had me saying that phrase over and over to people who ask me how I’m doing. It’s true; a lot of times I really do not know what I’m doing.

I’ve given several different people that same answer, and each person’s response has been eerily similar. Everyone always asks me to let them know when I figure it out. This made me realize that I’m not alone. Everyone else is trying to figure things out just like I am. We all are going through something, and each of us is doing our absolute best to figure out today just to be given a new day to face  tomorrow. 

Then it all clicked. Even though we don’t know what tomorrow, or five months, or five years from now will look like, having a relationship with Jesus gives us purpose and direction when we don’t really know what we are doing. Cross of Christ has given us absolute certainty even when our world is rocked with chaos. If we always knew exactly what to do, we wouldn’t look to Jesus for guidance, comfort, and strength.

Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 12,

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I’m thankful to be part of a staff who may not always know what we are doing but who fully believes in working for Jesus.

I’m excited to pursue Jesus with you! Seth


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “God Used Moses” Exodus 7:1-13
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. No Nursery or Childcare at this time.
  • Farewell Reception for Tracy & Kathleen Ward, this Sunday July 12 at 5:00 p.m. in the South Commons. A basket will be available for cards.
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 11:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote

New Members

Gage & Casey Dowling and David Stelting

Don’t Quit

I write a lot of cards and send them to people each week. It is one way I encourage people. I try to write legibly enough for those reading them to follow the main line of my thought. My intent in writing is not to make an A in penmanship but to remind people that they are cared for and thought of.

The cards I use, with one exception, have images on the front that I have either sketched or painted. The one exception is a picture of Pa-pa, painted in high school by my friend, Nate. All of the other pictures have been created by yours truly. Through the years, I have taken time to put on paper or canvas many of the ideas that surface in my mind. The images are usually based on the Bible, my past, or quail hunting.  

The first images I created were done with map pencils on white paper. I remember sitting at the desk in the study and sketching away with pencils I had kept from high school days. I enjoyed shading in areas with darker pencils and making certain Bible verses come to life. The pictures were simple, yet fairly pleasing.

A little over a decade ago, my children bought me an art kit that included a large canvas and some tubes of basic oil colors. I tried a few times to paint images that included clouds and landscapes. I stole a couple of ideas from the internet. Many paintings came from pictures in my past. I painted Nancy’s childhood home, my grandparent’s barn, the scene looking west from where I was raised, and several pictures of quail.

Recently I painted an updated version of “Jesus wept.” Over twenty years ago I sketched a picture of Jesus weeping. I always sent the card with that image to grieving families. I realized that the sketch was somewhat lacking – total black and white with definite reality issues. The new picture is done with oils and seems to reflect the empathy of Jesus more than the old sketch.

Over time I have gotten better at sketching and painting, simply because I have continued to spend time doing so. I just finished a painting of an elk, based on a picture taken by Ryan Terry. I like how it turned out. In most things, we usually improve if we don’t quit.

Don’t quit!                                                 Earl


FBC Happening

  • Sundays Sermon “God Persuaded Moses” Exodus 4:1-17
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. No Nursery or Childcare at this time.
  • Farewell Reception for Tracy & Kathleen Ward, next Sunday July 12 at 5:00 p.m. in the South Commons. A basket will be available for cards.
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 11:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote

Daddy’s Shadow

Everyone should be so privileged as to have a daddy like I had. I realize I am biased in my assessment of his qualities and abilities. However, most who knew him would confirm my conclusions. He was far from perfect, but he was genuine in his commitment to Jesus and to his family. I have kept an old black and white picture of us in my study for many decades. The picture tells a story.

We are both holding our Bibles as we face east in the front yard of the home where I was raised. Evidently we are headed for church. The shadows behind us indicate that it is fairly early in the morning. We will read the Bibles in Sunday school and worship. I may look at the pictures in mine during the sermon. I am not yet aware of just how significant the Bible is, but daddy is showing me. He will continue to do so.

Daddy is holding his Bible with hands that are calloused from swinging a hammer, and using a shovel, and pushing a wheelbarrow. Still a carpenter, he will soon transition to bricklaying, so he won’t have to climb ladders. Most likely one of his fingernails is blackened from blunt force trauma. He cleans up after work, not before. He has shown me the importance of going to work and doing a good job. He will continue to do so.

Behind us a bit of the barn, the lot and the loading chute can be seen. Daddy works construction full time and farms three quarters of land after work and on weekends. He grows wheat, cotton, and alfalfa. The eclectic herd of cattle has to be moved between pastures in order to insure enough grazing. He has taught me about perseverance in sowing, waiting for rain, and celebration of the harvest.  He will continue to do so.

We are both wearing a coat and tie. It must be Easter. Little does Daddy know that the young son beside him will one day be wearing a coat and tie and holding a Bible while preaching sermons, funerals, and weddings. The large shadow he is casting has influenced his son more than he realizes. It will continue to do so.

And so it does, Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “God Called Moses ” Exodus 3:1-12
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. No Nursery or Childcare
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 11:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote

New Members

Jeremy, Lisa, Madison, and Kayleigh Pebley

Heat and Light

David DuMond refers to it as “the heat and light treatment.” When I applied a little heat through Duke’s shock collar, he saw the light! I realize I need to supply more details, so here goes.

Nancy and I take our Brittany Spaniels with us on our morning walk that spans about three miles. If you have seen us, you might question who is actually walking whom. An occupational therapist told me that I would not have a problem with balance as I grow older if I continue to walk those two dogs. Great news! Not about the growing older but about remaining steady.

Anyway, many times on the walk we meet David and Karen DuMond walking their sweet dog, Hazel. She is a big, loving, golden retriever. In spite of her sweetness, Duke always felt the need to bark like his hair was on fire. He did the same to every person and dog we met. It became apparent that he was not going to naturally calm down and behave.

Nancy made the suggestion. It was a good one, as hers usually are. I dug out the shock collar I use on Duke during hunting season. He was more than willing for me to strap on the bright orange “hearing aid.” Maybe he thought he was headed out for a hunt. He was not.

On the first walk, when he met another dog and began his barking, I merely punched a button on the controller I was carrying, and he learned what I meant when I said “No.” The shock was not severe but did cause a little yelp. One more encounter required another buzz. After that Duke stopped his nonsensical barking while we walk. I applied the heat, and he saw the light. He still sees the light, not because I buzz him all the time, but because the probes on the collar remind him of that possibility.

Dr. Tolar taught a class I took in seminary called “Biblical Backgrounds.” I remember him stating, “As an historian, I can show you what happens to societies where laws supporting social order are not made and enforced. That society ceases to exist.”

Praying for our leaders, Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “Jesse – Father of David ” I Samuel 16:1-13
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. No Nursery or Childcare
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 11:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote

Thank You

Living through this pandemic has reminded me of the greatness of my love for you, the flock of God, whom I am privileged to shepherd. I consider it an awesome opportunity to share God’s Word and God’s love with you. Absence from you during these days of physical distancing has truly made my heart grow fonder of you. The love I have for you has been placed there by God. That love has grown over the years.

I have been able to walk through grief with many of you. Occasionally I sit and think about the brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone on to be with Christ. I miss them. So do you. We wept and reminisced and prayed. God used those times to knit our lives together. I don’t know all you have been through, but I have been through some of it with you. That binds my heart to yours.

I have celebrated with many of you as God answered your prayers and miracles occurred. I have been there when some family members were baptized and other family members were healed. I have welcomed many of you into the local church and enjoyed sharing life with you. I have never had so many friends in one location. I have been starved for opportunities to interact with you because time with you enriches my life.

I have buried my daddy and my brother during the years I have served as your pastor. Nancy has been diagnosed with CLL, and our children have left the nest. Through it all, you have supported and loved me and my family. Thank you so much! We have been through many changes together, and many more are yet to come. I have not been a perfect pastor, and you have not been a perfect church. However, we love one another, and I consider myself greatly blessed of God to be your shepherd.

The longer I live, the more aware I become that most people are having a hard time in one way or another. The events of recent months in our nation and world have challenged all of us in unprecedented ways. Through it all, I am thankful that we have been able to remain united in our surrender to and love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks again for your patience, your prayers, and your encouragement.

I love you, Earl  


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “God Prepared Moses ” Exodus 2:11-25
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. No Nursery or Childcare
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 11:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote

Head Shopper

During the “stay at home” days of the pandemic, I took over the role of head shopper for our home. Nancy has a compromised immune system that hinders her ability to fight back against viruses. I am almost in the “old” category but otherwise am in fairly good shape. She agreed to let me do the shopping. However, she aided and coached me along the way.

I have shopped with her often during our nearly forty-two years of marriage. I enjoy spending time with her, even while pushing a shopping cart. That was my primary responsibility throughout the years. I pushed the cart while she did the shopping. I didn’t have to think or look or compare prices. At times I held the list and marked off items as they went into the cart. Even though I had logged a lot of time in stores, I had never really been the one in charge.

Early on in the pandemic, Nancy made out shopping lists in the order I would encounter the items, beginning in the produce section and ending with the frozen cool whip. I still had trouble finding certain items and would call for advice quite often. My task was complicated by the fact that many had hoarded several of the items I was hunting. Many shelves were empty. Still, I usually had a successful journey, with the help of Nancy.

As I continued to shop once a week, the lists became more random, and my calls became less frequent. Thanks to her guidance and encouragement, I became much more familiar with where things were and what things were. I still may get the stick instead of the tub margarine, but I am making progress. I find it fulfilling to pull into the garage with the week’s groceries in tow. Nancy has mentored me into a competent shopper.

We need to do for growing Christians what Nancy has done for me. We need to mentor them into maturity. Don’t just tell them what to do. Answer calls and provide practical instruction. Celebrate their growth and increase their responsibilities. Move them along to the point that they can accomplish everything you can. You are not seeking to replace yourself but rather, to reproduce yourself. This allows much more service of Jesus to take place. We must do our part to help others do their part.

I love you, Earl 


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “God Spared Moses” Exodus 2:1-10
  • Family Worship in June, Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. No Nursery or Childcare
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 11:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote

New Members

Conleigh Clay, Canyon Clay, Parker King, and Sutton Jarnagin

Technology

As we increase in-person worship and LifeGroups, we will continue to offer our worship services online. We will post our Sunday morning worship services by 11:00 a.m. so that all who are not able to be present in person will be able to participate with us from wherever they happen to be. This will be a great convenience for those who are unable to attend church in person.

This will be a great temptation for those who are able to attend church in person. The past couple of months have included getting around later and watching the service over brunch for many members of First Baptist Church. As a family, or with a few friends, much of our church has remained somewhat connected by watching the same sermons and listening to the same songs. What a blessing technology has been during these days.

What a curse technology may become if it substitutes for personal interaction with others and service in the local church. What we have done while flattening the curve qualified at the time for “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” as mentioned in Hebrews 10:25. Watching online, while physically able to attend worship in person, limits opportunities to be blessed and to be a blessing.

One of the fears I have as your pastor is that many have “gotten out of the habit” of coming to church and may never again get into the habit. Streaming the services online does not help this potential problem. However, I feel like the choice to attend church in person must be made by each of us. I can only make that choice for myself.

I am grateful to God and to all of those who have done their part, that we will be moving to phase 3 in Oklahoma very soon. Our participation and service will not be determined by government mandate but by personal choice. I have read some discouraging predictions that it may take years to get back to the levels of attendance that existed before the corona virus came. I pray they are wrong.

By all means, do not risk your health or the health of your family to attend worship and life groups in person. By the same token, do not opt for livestream worship while you are cooking sausage after sleeping in on Sunday and consider yourself to be “all in” for Jesus.  

We need to be together, Earl


Please read Acts 7:1-60 before coming to church. Earl will not read the text during the sermon.


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “Stephen’s Final Sermon” Acts 7:1-60
  • Family Worship on May 31, Saturday at 5:00 p.m.; Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Doors will open 15 minutes before each service. No Nursery or Childcare or LifeGroups
  • Family Worship in June, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Childcare and LifeGroups TBA
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 11:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote

New Member

Allie Johnson

Do Something

Due to the generosity of some friends, Nancy and I were given access to pick up large, paper shelled pecans from under a huge tree on Custer. We had already picked up many from John Stevenson’s trees that were shelled and in the freezer. Still, we have learned that, when it comes to pecans, we better make hay while the sun shines. Most years are not so bountiful. One day I came home and discovered that Nancy had filled a fairly large sack with those large, paper shelled pecans. She likes to get things done. I am glad she does.

Our plan was to drop the pecans off to be cracked at a business in Hobart when we went for a visit with extended family. After getting them cracked, we would sort through them and add to our stash in the freezer. It wouldn’t take long and wouldn’t cost much. Then the coronavirus arrived, and we put all trips to Hobart on hold. The sack of pecans sat and waited. So did we.

To help pass the time, I decided to shell some of the pecans with the old hand held hullers Nancy inherited from her dad. I had not used them in years. They still worked! I limited each pecan hulling session to two double handfuls. While I hulled the pecans on the back patio, the dogs begged for a few, and I shared. Nancy joined the fun. Slowly, but surely, the bulging sack slimmed down. Eventually it was empty and our freezer was fuller.

If I had opted to continue doing nothing because I was waiting on the big thing, the pecans would still be in the sack. Doing something always accomplishes more than doing nothing. Most of life’s successes happen slowly but surely, rather than one and done. I heard my daddy tell workers who were standing around, “Do something, even if it’s wrong!” I don’t necessarily agree with his statement, but I do believe there is always something we can do to make things better.

Never overlook what you can do by anticipating what you might do. An entire sack of pecans can be hulled, a couple of handfuls at a time. An entire life will be lived, one day at a time. Make the most of every day.

I love you, Earl


Family Worship Reopening Attendance

  • Saturday, May 16, 5:00 p.m. 93
  • Sunday, May 17, 9:00 a.m. 153
  • Sunday, May 17, 10:30 a.m. 50

FBC Happenings

  • Family Worship on May 31, Saturday at 5:00 p.m.; Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Doors will open 15 minutes before each service. No Nursery or Childcare or LifeGroups
  • Family Worship in June, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Childcare and LifeGroups TBA
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 9:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote

Thanks For Your Prayers

As we anticipate meeting in the Worship Center this weekend, I have to admit that I do not know what to expect. We have added a service on Saturday evenings at 5:00 p.m. to allow for smaller groups each of the three times we worship. What if only a few people show up? What if lots of people show up, and we don’t have enough seats to be physically distanced? What if many people have discovered that they enjoy eating breakfast in their boxers while watching church online?

For the last eight weeks I have been preaching into a camera with a couple of people in attendance making sure the videoing goes as planned. I have preached in many locations and have actually learned to enjoy doing so. The more comfortable I became with the format, the longer my sermons grew. Sorry about that. It was a unique opportunity that I hope you found to be encouraging. After that one time when I felt what seemed to be a tick crawling up my leg, I don’t think I will ever be distracted by anything inside the Worship Center again.

As we come together, let me assure you that I will not become frustrated with anyone who stays away for a while. I do not take this situation personally. We will continue to offer online worship so that no one misses out on anything. I also assure you that I am not going to preach anything but the Bible. I pastor all of you who are members of First Baptist Church. Views about this corona virus vary widely among many of you. I get that, and I love you all. We all want to save lives and meet needs. That comes with being a follower of Jesus.

We cannot guarantee when LifeGroups for adults and children will return. We have to wait and see where we are as a state. For now, we will offer family worship in the Worship Center on Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. and Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. You are welcome at any service. However, if you are willing to come on Saturday at 5:00 p.m., please do so. That service will probably be the smallest. On Sunday, if possible, come to the service you usually come to. Thanks for your prayers. We are in this together with God, who is never surprised or overwhelmed.

I love you, Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “Proclaiming God’s Word” Acts 6:1:7
  • Family Worship on the weekends of May 24 and May 31, Saturday at 5:00 p.m.; Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Doors will open 15 minutes before each service. No Nursery or Childcare or LifeGroups
  • Family Worship in June, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Childcare and LifeGroups TBA
  • Feel free to continue and watch the FBC Worship Services anytime after 9:00 a.m. Sunday on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com, on the First Baptist Church Facebook Page, on FBC Weatherford Media on YouTube, or listen at noon on 95.5 FM The Coyote