I Problems

My first clue that something was wrong came before I exited the garage. I looked at my phone and could not make out the name of the person who had texted me. One of the last things I do before heading for work is place a contact in my left eye that assists me in reading. The plan works to perfection most days. This was not one of those days.

During the morning my vision did not improve. I pulled out my glasses and used them as I typed on my laptop. My eye felt slightly irritated. Occasionally I rubbed on my eyelid in order to move the contact back into place if it had drifted. No luck. After lunch I had Nancy inspect my eye with a really bright flashlight. She saw no signs of a non-compliant contact.

That afternoon I dropped by the optometrist’s office to have a professional look in my eye. I received the assurance I had hoped for. The contact was not in my eye. I must have dropped it. That evening I searched the counter top and the bathroom floor in vain. Apparently Nancy had swept it up while cleaning the house.

The following morning, I again popped a contact into my left eye before heading out the door. My eye felt a bit irritated. I assumed it would get better in a few minutes as my eye moistened. I could see, but it was a bit fuzzy. I wondered out loud why I was suddenly having contact issues. Nancy asked me if I might be to the point that I needed to consider not using contacts. I wouldn’t hear it.

After lunch, my eye felt so scratchy that I pulled out the contact and tossed it in the trash. I wear daily disposable contacts. I spent the afternoon visiting and didn’t read anything. My left eye felt great. Before supper, I sat in my chair to read a bit. I noticed that I could do so without my glasses. My suspicions proved true when I pulled another contact out of my left eye. Apparently, I had been wearing a couple of them that morning. No wonder my eye felt weird. My eye problems had been self-inflicted pain producers.

The same is true of “I problems.” When people choose to make life all about themselves, they pierce themselves with many a pain.

Life remains a joyful journey!

Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sundays Sermon “Living in the Real World” James 5:13-20
  • LifeGroup Attendance on August 25 – 825
  • GriefShare – September 1 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • NO EVENING ACTIVITIES on Sunday, September 1
  • Church Office Closed on Monday, September 2
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m., Salisbury Steak

Baptized at Crowder Lake

Callen Schmitz, Summer Bass, Michael Bone, Reydon Bone, Chloe Hibbert, Lynica Austin, Nakylie Austin, Carol Moses, Abbie Moses, Bailee Pond, Andrea Stalder, Alycia Parker, Reese Roof, Ava Foster, Erin McLain, Julian Rucker, Jalenda Yount , Kent Yount

A Full Belly

Nancy and I called first to let the owners know we would be stopping by. We had heard they had a Brittany Spaniel that needed a home. When we entered their house to say “hi” to Gus, we couldn’t believe how skinny he was. He was built more like a greyhound than a birddog. When we took him for a walk around the block, we noticed his hip bones and his ribs. When we took him home with us, his owners gave us a partial bag of the food they had been feeding him. The food was extremely expensive.

Gus finished the bag then never tasted that variety again. He had no problem transitioning to a more reasonably priced source of nourishment. We consistently fed him large portions which he consumed willingly. Within a few months we noticed that his hip bones and ribs disappeared. He was not genetically predisposed toward leanness. Gus had become malnourished on high-dollar food because he wasn’t fed an adequate amount.

The same thing happens to some Christians. They prefer “meaty” teaching to the point that they rarely consume the rations made available by God to keep them healthy. They opt for high profiled podcasts instead of local preachers. They bypass daily Bible reading because they more than make up for it when they read the latest book by a best-selling Christian author. They skip church but attend occasional conferences and major events.

One ribeye steak each week may taste really good but will not keep flesh on your bones. You have to eat foods that may not be so impressive. Leftovers provide nourishment each time they are served. We have to eat something in order to remain healthy. Peanut butter may not be served in fine restaurants, but it does satisfy hunger.

Spiritually, there are cumulative effects to reading the Bible, listening to sermons, and participating in small groups. Spiritual health requires consistent intake of spiritual food, whether it is considered “meaty” or not. A full belly of simple truth is healthier than an empty belly of super truth.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

 II Timothy 3:16-17,

 Earl


FBC Happenings

  • LifeGroup Attendance on August 18 – 792
  • Observance of The Lord’s Supper – August 25 – 9:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.
  • Membership Matters Class – August 25 at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor
  • GriefShare – August 25 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • Crowder Lake Baptism – August 25 – 6:00 p.m.

If the Shoe Fits

The shoes felt tight. I had been excited to buy them to compliment the pair I already owned. I wore them quite often because they were so comfortable and looked nice with jeans. The new pair was the same style, the same size, and made by the same company, yet they hurt my feet. Maybe the canvas fabric was not as pliable as the leather on the other pair. I walked around the house and wondered if I needed to return them.

When I unlaced them to see if I might need to loosen the fit, I noticed that I had placed the insoles I wear into the wrong shoes: right insole in the left shoe and left insole in the right shoe. Now wonder my feet hurt! I swapped the insoles back to their appropriate shoes and all was well with my feet. I wore the shoes the next day.

The insoles were not at fault for causing my pain. They have been my friends for several years now. After an attic ladder broke with me on it, and I landed in a heap on the garage floor, I had gone to receive some badly needed physical therapy. During my treatment, it was discovered that I have very flat feet that caused my aging body to shift toward the middle. After I started using the insoles, my back began to feel better than it had in years. 

All I have to do is put them inside the appropriate shoe. Round pegs don’t fit in square holes and left insoles create problems inside right shoes. There really is something to be said for finding our place and functioning there. When we discover where God has created us to be, we are wise to remain there. This is true in the jobs we work.

This is also true in the service we provide in the body of Christ. When we take on a role we do not enjoy, our service of the Lord seems to be more of a bother than a blessing. No member of the body of Christ should dread fulfilling their role in service. We are all necessary, but we are all different. Never apologize for the unique plan God has for your life.  Find your spot and serve with joy!

 Pastor-teacher,

  Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday’s Sermon – “Waiting For The Lord” James 5:1-12
  • LifeGroup Attendance on August 11 – 713
  • GriefShare’s Loss of Spouse Seminar, August 18 – 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • Back To School Bash (Food and Inflatables) – August 18 – 6:00 p.m.
  • All Wednesday Evening Activities resume next week – August 21
  • Crowder Lake Baptism – August 25 – 6:00 p.m.

Families Like Mine

I was playing with friends during the noon hour when Daddy stopped by the Eugene Field Elementary School in Hobart to inform me that I had a brother. The news brought great joy to my ten-year-old heart. I loved my two sisters but having a brother opened up new opportunities related to hunting and fishing and such. Rex’s hair had a tinge of red in it. When I held him, I monitored the soft spot on the top of his head and did my best to make him smile. When he grew older, we shared the same bed until I married Nancy.

I don’t really know what happened. Nobody does. Rex struggled with addiction for a quarter of a century, beginning in high school. Eventually he died at the age of 41 as a result of too many drugs in his body. During that quarter of a century my family never quit loving him, but we did get mad at him. At least, I did. It frustrated me that he would not change. It broke my heart to see the hurt that he caused my parents. We tried in vain to help him.

Rex may not have had the best brother, but he did have two of the greatest parents in the world. So did I. Momma and Daddy consistently loved him and desperately tried to help him. I remember Daddy saying, “We’ve spent a black land farm trying to help Rex.” Things escalated to the point that the only nights they slept soundly were when Rex was in rehab or in jail. Daddy often asked me what we could do to help Rex. I had no answers.

If Rex were still alive today, I would have a recommendation. I would recommend that he go to rehab and then become a resident in a Hope is Alive sober mentoring home. There he would be monitored and held accountable by those who understood his addiction and loved him unconditionally.

I am very supportive of the Hope is Alive Ministries coming to Weatherford because of families like my own. Parents with broken hearts and children with powerful addictions need practical assistance. The home that is coming to Weatherford will require much funding. The house will cost about $350,000. The ongoing support of the home will be about $5,000 per month. I hope you will join me on the evening of August 22 at 6:30 at the SWOSU ballroom. At the event you will learn, and you will have an opportunity to give. Sign up before August 16 at www.HopeforWeatherford.com or contact me personally.

I love you,

Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday’s Sermon – “Planning For The Future” James 4:13-17
  • LifeGroup Attendance on August 4 – 618
  • GEAR UP – Sunday, August 11th from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Family Life Center
  • GriefShare’s Loss of Spouse Seminar, August 18 – 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • Back To School Bash – August 18 – 6:00 p.m.
  • Crowder Lake Baptism – August 25 – 6:00 p.m.

New Member

Carsyn Scammahorn

Set Free

Demons from hell had invaded his body, removed all hope, and replaced it with rage.  He couldn’t stand to be around people and people couldn’t stand to be around him.  Attempts to shackle the mad man had proven futile.  Those who traveled the road near the tombs he inhabited did so at their own risk.

He was written off as crazy and dangerous – a real threat to society.  Everyone ignored him.  Some even considered taking his life as a safeguard to others.  Who to blame for his condition ceased to be an issue.  What to do became the priority.  And no one had a solution.

Then Jesus arrived by boat and walked into the cemetery.  In a matter of minutes Jesus set the man free from the control of Satan.  Nosy bystanders gasped as he clothed himself before sitting down with Jesus and asking sensible questions.  The change frightened them.

Our world is still filled with people who are controlled by the forces of hell.  Jesus can set them free.  Free from addictions and attitudes and anxieties that Satan furnishes liberally.  Freedom from sin’s stranglehold comes only through faith in Jesus Christ.

I love you,

Earl 


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday Sermon – “The Church Divided” James 4:1-12
  • LifeGroup Attendance on July 28 – 574
  • GEAR UP – August 11, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Family Life Center
  • Crowder Lake Baptism – August 25 – 6:00 p.m.

New Member

Cade Kelsey / Zack & Elissa Saunders / Kirby & Joni Sheperd

An Unwelcome Guest

“What is that on your head? It is big!”

This is how Nancy greeted me when I entered the garage after completing my morning walk with Freckles and Duke. She had ridden her bicycle and made it back before we did. I had altered our route a bit to avoid a dog and arrived safe and sound and ready for breakfast. I would feed the dogs and then myself.

But first, I needed to deal with whatever the big thing was on my head. Maybe a bloom had fallen from a tree. Hopefully, I had not walked under a bird or attracted a horsefly. I reached up and brushed across my forehead. She was right. Something was big, and it fell to the garage floor a few feet away. Nancy didn’t see it, but I did. I shuddered when I bent to examine it more closely. It was a slug!

That’s right. I was wearing a slug on my head. How did it happen? How long had it been there? Did it clean my skin like a snail scrubs the side of an aquarium? Would the slime come off with a single washing, or would I finally be forced to shampoo, rinse, and repeat? Why didn’t I take a selfie to include with this article?

Nancy, with the assistance of a tissue, picked the slug up and threw it into the trash can, which we later transported to the dumpster. We got rid of the slug as quickly as he arrived. He was not welcome on my head, and we let him know by the way we treated him (or maybe it was a her). He just showed up out of nowhere, and we made sure he didn’t stay.

Some churches do the same with those guests who show up unannounced. Oh, they don’t take them to the dumpster, but they make sure they never come back. This takes place when they refuse to speak, refuse to smile, and refuse to scoot over. People know when they are not welcome. Let’s make every guest who attends First Baptist Church feel welcome. Smile! Speak! Scoot over! We only have one opportunity to make a good first impression.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.”

 Hebrews 13:2,

  Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday Sermon – “Wisdom From Above” James 3:13-18
  • LifeGroup Attendance on July 21 – 627
  • Membership Matters Class, this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor
  • Summer Wrap-Up Service, this Sunday at 6:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary DR Mission Trip – CrossTimbers – Falls Creek
  • GEAR UP – August 11, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Family Life Center
  • Crowder Lake Baptism – August 25 – 6:00 p.m.

Hope is Alive

Hope is Alive sponsors mentoring homes that provide a sober living environment for recovering drug and alcohol addicts. They understand the shame, brokenness, and family turmoil that addiction causes. They get to watch all of this fade away daily through their mentoring homes. They are a tribe of recovering junkies, drug addicts, and alcoholics who have found a new life worth living. Mentoring homes are created for the comeback story of a life renewed and lifetime clean and sober.

Hope is Alive is coming to Weatherford! They will begin a mentoring home for men where they will implement their three phase program that facilitates total recovery, in every area of the residents lives. Residents pay their own rent and work more than 25 hours each week while completing required behavior training. It takes eighteen months to fully complete the program.

Individual residents of Weatherford are assuming responsibility to purchase a home, and then provide resources monthly for the home to function. This will be a joint effort by churches and individuals in our community. Currently I am part of a task force that has been working out details to get the home in Weatherford. We are hosting a fund-raising event on August 22 at the Ballroom on the campus of SWOSU. The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Would you be willing to attend? I would like to have you as my guest for the evening. Hope is Alive will be present to explain in more detail about their ministry. Funds will be raised for the purpose of purchasing a home and maintaining monthly support. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma has already committed $50,000 toward the purchase of the home. We will need about $300,000 more.

We must do something. The opioid crisis has been at the forefront of the news for some time now. We know the devastating consequences of addiction. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others have lost families and relationships. This is not theory. This is tragedy. Won’t you do your part to make the Hope is Alive mentoring home a reality in Weatherford? If I can put you down as my guest for August 22, please let me know. I will send you a personal invitation. If you cannot attend the event, but would like to make a donation, let me know.

 Thank you,

  Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday Sermon – “Taming the Tongue” – James 3:1-12
  • LifeGroup Attendance on July 14 – 619
  • 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
  • Crowder Lake Baptism – August 25 – 6:00 p.m.