Read the Instructions

Nancy reluctantly informed me that water was standing in the bottom of the dishwasher. Only two days earlier she had discovered water seeping out of the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink. We had diagnosed that problem as a dripping garbage disposal. After sopping up the mess and waiting for the stores to open, I had attempted the unthinkable and changed out my own garbage disposal!

Years ago I decided that for the sake of my own mental peace, as well as the health of my marriage, and the status of my bank account, I should always call a professional when it came to plumbing. I usually cost myself more money by trying to save money when it came to all things related to plumbing.

I did seek the advice of a professional. Scott Steinly assured me that I could change out the garbage disposal, as long as I purchased one with the same model number so that everything would line back up. I was excited to find the exact model number and begin the replacement. I found not one, but an entire shelf filled with the model number I needed. I made a mental note that this must happen quite frequently to many people.

 I cleared everything from beneath the sink and began the removal, followed by the replacement. I spilt a little water and struggled with one of the connections before calling Nancy into the kitchen to listen to the hum of the new disposal. Mr. fixit was back on his game!

Nancy and I both knew that somehow the water in the dishwasher was related to my plumbing job. I removed the dishwasher drain where it attached to the disposal and discovered that there was no drain hole. At that point I dug the directions I had not read from the recycling we keep in the garage. There, in black and white, it told what to do if you have a dishwasher. Use a screwdriver and hammer to remove the knock out plug in the side of the disposal. I won’t share all the details, but I did get to remove and reinstall the disposal.

I complicated my life by failing to read and heed the instructions. We do the same thing when we fail to read and heed the Bible. Many of life’s problems are self-inflicted by those who think they are smart enough to bypass God’s guidance.

Still learning, Earl  


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday’s Sermon – “Leaping in Church” Acts 3:1-11
  • LifeGroup Attendance on February 9 – 780
  • There will be a Come and Go to meet Seth Odam (Student Pastor Candidate) this Saturday, February 15 in the South Commons Area from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Observance of The Lord’s Supper this Sunday, February 16 at 9:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.
  • GriefShare this Sunday, February 16 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • 55 & Up Potluck Dinner, February 18 at 6:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Baked Potato Bar

Waiting on God

We showed up with buckets in our hands and smiles on our faces. Nancy and I had been invited to pick up pecans. Nancy is a great cook and requires pecans for some of her better recipes. (i.e. Italian Crème cake) When we are given opportunity to gather some pecans, we take advantage of it. The pecans in the store don’t compare with those we can pick up ourselves. Doing so is a treasure hunt that always reminds me of growing up.

I remember going with my mother and other family members to pick up pecans on Elk Creek in various locations. Seems like I was always using an empty Folger’s or Crisco can, back when they were made of metal. After filling the can, we would empty them into a gunny sack. I’m not sure where they came from, but we always had plenty. One year I picked up pecans to sell. Eventually I took them in to the Coop and cashed in. I felt like I was rich.

During those times of gathering pecans, we aided our efforts in various ways. Sometimes we used a cane pole and flailed the pecans in the tree to speed their exit to the ground. I was not above tossing a stick up into a dense grouping of pecans. My favorite, however, when I grew older, was to climb up into the tree and move from limb to limb in order to shake the branches and bomb those beneath the tree with pecans. I never fell.

As Nancy and I picked up the pecans, I glanced up into the tree and told John Stevenson, “If I were a little bit younger I would climb up in the tree and shake a lot of pecans out.” He just smiled and said, “You better not do that.” Maybe he was thinking about visiting me in the hospital.

 A few weeks later, John and I were visiting in the common’s area at church when he made an insightful statement. “You are always talking about waiting on God’s timing. Instead of climbing a tree and shaking it, just wait a couple of weeks and God will have all the pecans on the ground for you.” How true. When we wait on the Lord, things go much better than when we try to rush the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31, Earl


We will vote on calling Seth Odam as our Student Pastor on February 16. There will be a Come and Go to meet Seth on February 15, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in the South Commons.


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday’s Sermon – “Healthy Churches” Acts 2:42-47
  • LifeGroup Attendance on February 2 – 705
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Taco Soup
  • GriefShare this Sunday, February 9 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • This Sunday, February 9 at 5:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, there will be an informative meeting about upcoming Mission Trips to the Dominican Republic and Slovakia.

New Members

Benjamin Tucker, Pierson Tucker, Garrett Decker, and Randy & Amy Barnett

Learning by Doing

Duke had no idea what he was in for the first time he went to hunt quail. Taping his feet was like tying a calf after it had been roped. He would not hold his legs still. By the time I finished, I wondered out loud how I could continue. Maybe I should just let him pick out the grass burrs with his teeth! When I loaded him into the dog box, he stuck all his feet outward. Eventually I figured out how to back him in. As we drove out of town, he howled like a coyote.

From the start, Duke showed a lot of heart. He rarely slowed down for anything. That was part of the problem. He went into attack mode when he saw cattle, rabbits, or other dogs. A shock collar helped him stop some of those antics. He loved to go hunting, even though he didn’t really know what he was doing. He had never attended bird dog school.

The more he went hunting, the more he learned about finding birds, pointing birds, and ignoring cattle. He remains as still as a statue while I wrap his feet. He loads into the dog box without incident. Now he howls when we are returning home. He doesn’t want to quit! When he was given opportunity to hunt, his instincts and abilities came to the forefront. This would not have happened if he had remained in the back yard, waiting to be fed.

So many times in life, we learn by doing. This is especially true as we serve Jesus. The way to learn how to reach out to others is to reach out to others. You learn to host others in your home by inviting others to share a meal. You learn how to lead a D-Group or a life group by leading a D-Group or a life group. You learn how to give by giving and seeing God supply your needs. I learned how to preach by preaching.

There is a place for basic training in most things we do. However, training will never substitute for doing. Eventually, you have to break the huddle and run a play if you want to achieve success in life. Planning and preparing are not the same as going and doing. God enables us to do what He calls us to do – if we do it!

Thanks for all you DO! Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday’s Sermon – “A Massive Response” Acts 2:37-41
  • LifeGroup Attendance on January 26 – 743
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Chicken Strips
  • GriefShare this Sunday, February 2 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor

A Labor of Love

My hunting pants ended their career on a positive note. During a down year, they were part of a very successful quail hunt. On a somewhat windy day, we found birds and limited out shortly after lunch. Freckles and Duke had a grand ole’ time. So did Kendall and Earl. We still put in nine miles of walking, but it seemed a lot shorter when we were finding birds.

When Kendall and I hunt, we do not look like we just walked out of a hunting store. Our boots may be patched and our vests may be pinned. Eventually our hunting pants become frayed and torn by heavy cover and barbed wire fences. Earlier in the year I got caught on a fence and created a large tear in my pants. Nancy discovered that they were beyond traditional sewing machine repair. She opted to use duct tape!

When I came home from work one day, she showed me her handiwork. It was the only thing she could find that would work. I had some new ones in a box under the Christmas tree, but she was willing to help me make due until then. I thought it was neat that my pants matched my dogs’ boots. The duct tape held, and I kept using the pants even after I had opened the new ones.

The main reason I did so was because of the effort that Nancy had put into repairing my hunting pants. How could I toss what she had done into the trash? I was aware of the effort she supplied for me because she loves me. I appreciated what she had done. No way was I going to throw those pants away before the duct tape gave way.

God is the same way with our acts of service on behalf of others that evidence our love for Him. He is aware of what we do and why we do it. When we serve others because we love Him, He sees and He smiles. He appreciates our efforts, even when no one else knows about them. During my early years in ministry, I kept a copy of Hebrews 6:10 tacked to the wall next to my desk.

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.” God appreciates your efforts.

So do I, Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday’s Sermon – “Peter’s First Sermon” Acts 2:14-37
  • LifeGroup Attendance on January 19 – 670
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Taco Soup
  • Membership Matters Class – this Sunday, January 26 at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor
  • GriefShare this Sunday, January 26 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • RE: Weekend Registration is open for Youth. Deadline to signup is Sunday, January 26. Contact Seth for more details.

A Simple Fix

The music would not play. I was leaving after a good visit with a church member and instinctively pushed the power button on my radio to enjoy some tunes while I travelled home for lunch. Nothing happened. I checked to see if the antenna was still attached. It was. I looked to see if the number of the station was lit up. It was.  88.9 KLOVE. The radio was getting power. Apparently the connection to the speakers was bad.

Oh boy! This was the kind of thing I would have enjoyed dealing with back in the day. Back when vehicles had lots of accessible space in which to run wires and trade out stereos. I actually did so a few times. However, the dashboards of vehicles today are so packed that I shuddered to think how many things I would mess up by taking on the project myself. My final test proved my point. I put in a CD, and it would not play. I started singing to myself as a temporary fix.

I drove past an auto dealership on the way home. Maybe it was time to trade trucks. The old Tundra has been with me for well over a decade. Before that, someone else put over a hundred thousand miles on it. There is a time for every season under the sun and one of those seasons is trading vehicles. Was that season upon me?

I hoped not. A dog box fits perfectly in the bed of the truck I drive. The truck is older, but it still gets the job done. Kinda like me! There is a peace in parking anywhere without concern for who might ding the paint. I don’t avoid others. Others avoid me. Besides, I put new tires on it last year, and most people recognize me when I arrive. Nancy recently repaired the driver’s side upholstery. The back seat is not really big enough for people, but it is perfect for shotguns and lunches.

My thoughts of trading vehicles vanished when I twisted the power knob clockwise. When I did, the music played. Apparently I had turned the volume completely down before turning the power off. What a simple fix. I was glad I hadn’t dismantled the dashboard in an attempt to solve the problem. Often, the problem is not so catastrophic as it originally seems.

His praise continues! Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday’s Sermon – “When God Shows Up” Acts 2:1-13
  • LifeGroup Attendance on January 12 – 745
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Salisbury Steak
  • GriefShare this Sunday, January 19 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • RE: Weekend Registration is open for Youth. Contact Seth for more details.

Heading Home

All four of us ended up in the ditch located just north of the barn where we often played while our mothers met to drink coffee. The four sisters arranged their busy lives to include a weekly time with their mother back at the home place. I was never privy to their discussions but did enjoy spending time with my cousins, making our own fun.

The aforementioned barn had milking stalls, a hay loft, and a room filled with horse harnesses and collars and an old crème separator. It was like stepping back in time. A grain bend on the north side of the ground floor was often filled with oats for the horses. The cupola on the top of the barn was accessible from below when enough hay was in the loft. From inside it, we could see for miles.

Other barns held tractors and combines that we crawled onto and imagined driving as we anticipated the future. A mulberry tree provided ammunition to use as well as snacks to eat. It was our form of paint ball wars. We built hay cabins, knocked down wasp nests, and explored the chicken coop. After a hard rain, we might venture into the plowed field and look for arrowheads. We roamed unsupervised, but we never got hurt.

Never, until ending up in the ditch on the north side of the barn. Our older cousin, Barbara, had ridden Gray Eagle down to the timber. Gray Eagle was an old, gentle horse that our grandparents kept for their grandchildren to ride. The four of us younger cousins had walked. The timber was about a quarter of a mile from the house. When it came time for us to go back home, we probably whined to ride the horse. Barbara helped each of us onto the top of Gray Eagle. Yes, there were four of us, and we were not very old.

All went well for a brief time as Gray Eagle lumbered through the pasture toward the road that headed home. Once he turned toward home, his speed increased, and we could not slow him down. We were lined up from smallest to largest, holding tightly to one another. By the time Gray Eagle made it to the barn, he was in a dead run. We fell as one from his back when he made the final turn. We survived.

When we set our eyes on home (heaven), we cannot be held back.

I Peter 1:6, Earl


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday’s Sermon – “Rejecting God’s Offer” Acts 1:15-26
  • LifeGroup Attendance on January 5 – 629
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Okie Gumbo
  • GriefShare (13 Sessions) begins this Sunday, January 12 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • RE: Weekend Registration is open for Youth. Contact Seth for more details.

Old Bird Hunter

Nancy’s sister, Sally, texted her and asked if I could use some 12 gauge shot gun shells that she and her husband Jerry were getting rid of. They had discovered them while downsizing and cleaning out their home office. Jerry said he would never use them. I was excited when I realized they were high brass shells I could use hunting pheasants. The one unique characteristic was that the shot was copper coated.

I knew they were old. Before steel shot became available for duck hunting, the first effort to limit exposure of water fowl to lead was the coating of the shot with copper. That was years ago. I didn’t realize how many years ago until I opened a box of the shells in the sunlight while hunting in Kansas. On the side of each shell had been printed: “Ducks Unlimited 1986.” The shells were 33 years old! Still, they worked just fine in my double barrel. Age did not compromise their effectiveness.

About half way through the hunt I realized that the gun I was shooting was 43 years old! For Christmas, when I was in college, I had received it from my parents. The side by side guns are no longer made by Browning, but mine works wonderfully well for me. The two-shot limit forces me to aim better. Not much can go wrong with a double barrel. It breaks down into three parts. I have scratched it up through the years, but it still fires faithfully.

My final insight was that the man carrying the gun and shooting the shells was 63 years old! The years have left their mark on me, but I am still in great shape for the shape I’m in. I walked over the fields and through the weeds with relative ease. The good pair of boots I wore minimized joint pain. The thousand miles I walk each year had my stamina where it needed to be. I wasn’t the fastest, but I didn’t embarrass my hunting buddies. Age does leave its mark, but it does not need to eliminate effectiveness.

This old guy enjoyed a successful week of pheasant hunting while using old shells and an even older gun. Never allow the year of your birth to determine the usefulness of your life. If God gifts you with relatively good health, enjoy every day and live it for His glory!

Preacher/Bird hunter unlimited! Earl


Happy New Year


FBC Happenings

  • Sunday’s Sermon – “Witnesses For Jesus” Acts 1:1-14
  • Regular Schedule for Worship & LifeGroups this Sunday – 9:00 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.
  • LifeGroup Leader’s Lunch is this Sunday, January 5 at 11:30 a.m. in the FLC
  • GriefShare’s Loss of Spouse Seminar, January 5 – 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • All Wednesday Evening Activities resume next week – January 8
  • Wednesday Evening Meal at 5:00 p.m. Beef Noodles
  • GriefShare (13 Sessions) begins January 12 at 4:30 p.m. in the Parlor
  • RE: Weekend Registration is open for Youth. Contact Seth for more details.