Making Adjustments

“You know – we don’t have to keep doing this.”

          We had just loaded the dogs and crawled back into my truck.

          “It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if we went home.”

          Noon had arrived and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were again on the menu. Kendall and I were soaked from the light rain that had fallen all morning. The forecast had been for clearing skies, beginning around 8:30 a.m. We had begun our quail hunt with the expectation that the moisture would cease at any time. We walked several miles and the slow drizzle seemed to escalate. It did not help that the temperature was only a few degrees above freezing.

          The dogs never slowed down. If anything, they seemed energized by the cold, wet conditions. We actually found a few birds. The day could have turned out well- except for the minor issue of the falling rain. Actually, it became more than a minor issue. Our socks wicked water from our drenched hunting pants, pulling it into our boots. We eventually found ourselves sloshing through the fields. It may have been the most miserable morning of hunting I have ever experienced.

          Still, I was a bit surprised that when I mentioned ending the hunt, Kendall was more than willing to do so. We are with quail hunting like some of you are with golfing. We usually don’t quit for anything. However, this situation was different. We called an audible and headed for the showers – hot ones in warm houses!

          Life includes opportunities to make adjustments. When forecasts prove untrue and conditions continue to deteriorate, it may become necessary to make adjustments. It is true that failing to plan is planning to fail. It is also true that plans may need to be changed. Dreams that become nightmares should not be continued. Full speed ahead is not a good nautical plan when the torpedoes are coming.

          This does not mean to quit at the first sign of difficulty. Kendall and I have walked in and through countless challenges. When the going gets tough, the tough get going! But, there are rare times when to keep going borders on stupidity. Some days are not appropriate for quail hunting. Some plans are not feasible for the day. There is a time for every matter under heaven. That time may not be now.

                                                Ecclesiastes 3:1,

                                                Earl


This Week at FBC

  • March 24 LifeGroup Attendance – 620
  • Sunday Sermon – Assurance – Romans 8:31-39
  • Membership Matters – Sunday, March 31 at 10:30 a.m. in the Parlor
  • Hymns of Our Faith – Sunday, March 31 at 6:00 p.m. in the Worship Center
  • Family Night – Sunday, April 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the Worship Center
  • FBC volunteers at The Food Pantry on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. during the month of April Contact Tracy with any questions or to volunteer

Walk in the Light

Satan seeks to steal, kill and destroy the lives of as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible, as quickly as possible. Satan repeatedly lies in order to fulfill his agenda. Jesus called Satan the father of lies. (John 8:44) Jesus said that not one bit of truth resides in Satan. When Satan lies, he speaks out of his own character. He lies because he is a liar.

He lied to Adam and Eve and told them how much better their lives would be if they ignored God’s restriction and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They immediately knew their lives were worse, not better. They hid from God instead of walking with God. They were reminded of Satan’s lie when they buried Able after Cain murdered him. We all live with the destructive results of Adam and Eve’s choice to believe Satan’s lie.

Satan operates in the darkness of spiritual ignorance and moral impurity. As long as people walk in the darkness, they will be victimized by Satan. The answer for Satan’s lies is found in God’s truth in the Bible. Jesus was described in John’s gospel as follows:

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4-5

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14

Jesus, as the Word of God, supplies truth from God to counteract the lies of Satan. Read God’s Word and remind yourself over and over of what God says about you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are washed, cleansed, and declared not guilty because of Christ. You are saved by grace, through faith, as a gift from God. God has not given you a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. 

Satan belongs in hell and one day will be locked up there forever, along with all demons, and those who reject God’s grace in Christ. Never believe a word he says. He wants to destroy you. Jesus has returned to heaven and one day will share His residence with all who repent and believe. He always speaks the truth. Read and believe His word in the Bible.

Walk in the Light!

Earl   


This Week at FBC

  • March 17 LifeGroup Attendance – 525
  • 55 & Up Potluck – Friday, March 29 at 11:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall
  • Hymns of Our Faith – Sunday, March 31 at 6:00 p.m. in the Worship Center

Everyone Needs a Buddy

Nancy snapped a picture and sent it to our children. She added a comment.

          “They are digging a pool for us in the back yard.”

          For some crazy reason Freckles and Duke had spent the morning on an excavation project that grew bigger than any hole that had ever been dug in our yard. By the time we saw what was going on, it was too late to minimize the damage. They were having the time of their lives. Duke provided most of the labor while Freckles managed the project. She seemed pleased to have him do most of the dirty work.

          They have been doing a lot of things together since Duke arrived back in the summer. The simple solitude of Freckles’ world was radically interrupted in a positive manner. Freckles lost exclusive rights to the doghouse and the backyard. However, she gained a buddy. She never goes anywhere alone. Duke remains her constant sidekick in the back yard, on the street and in the field. They do life together in their own canine way.

          Dogs are social creatures and remain healthier and happier when they get to spend time with other dogs. It is not good for dogs to be alone.

          It is not good for you to be alone. If you spend excessive amounts of time by yourself, you will tend to magnify problems, minimize blessings, and criticize yourself and others. You will begin to overthink things. Your attitude will sour. Most likely, you will often host self-pity parties that you will attend alone. The world seems colder and scarier when faced alone.

          You need buddies to do life with on a consistent basis. The best buddies are found in church. Jesus promised us that if we are forced to leave some relationships because of our commitment to Him we will receive many more in this world and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mark 10: 29-30) Our spiritual family can provide constant sidekicks who will enrich us as we journey through life. We must allow them into our lives and supply effort to enrich them as well. All relationships run both ways. If you choose to be a friend, you will have plenty of friends.

                                      Enjoy every day!

                                      Earl 


This Week at FBC

  • March 10 LifeGroup Attendance 658
  • Pray for the University Mission Trips to the DR and The Well Church in Mustang
  • No Wednesday activities on March 20

Welcome New Members

  • Wes and Frances Schmidt

A Balanced Diet

Biblical preaching and teaching has a cumulative impact on those who hear it. Every sermon and every lesson will not be the best you have ever heard, yet they contribute to your overall spiritual well-being. My goal as your pastor is to present you with a balanced diet of Biblical truth to aid in your development as a disciple of Jesus. Life group materials are designed to present variety in Biblical truth. Showing up for an occasional sermon or a random lesson can be helpful but will not be sufficient for healthy spiritual growth.

My children started out very small and helpless. Eventually they turned into adults. How did that happen? They remained alive, and they continued to eat. Ongoing consumption of a variety of foods resulted in full-grown human beings. They ate because they were healthy, and they remained healthy because they ate. 

“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” I Peter 2:2-3

Failure to consume Biblical truth leads to perpetual spiritual infancy. Genuine Christians will not lose their salvation if they don’t take in Biblical truth, but they will lose their courage, joy and competence in living for Christ. The Bible provides what every Christian needs in order to remain spiritually healthy and strong.

All Christians can and should personally read the Bible in a systematic manner for the sake of taking in balanced spiritual nourishment. All Christians should also attend Life Groups and worship in order to hear the Bible taught and hear the Bible preached. Consistent intake of God’s Word causes Spiritual health and growth. Attending Life Group and worship is like eating out spiritually. You don’t have to prepare the meal or clean up afterward. You just show up and enjoy what is served. 

I am married to a dietitian. She feeds us a healthy, balanced diet that includes all of the food groups. We consume items from the vegetable, fruit, protein, dairy and bread groups. She is a great cook, and we enjoy meals at home. We also enjoy and benefit from going out to eat.

Keep reading the Bible systematically. Keep participating with the church consistently. 

Hebrews 10:25, 

Earl


This Week at FBC

  • Sunday Sermon – “Life in the Spirit – Hope” – Romans 8:18 – 25
  • March 3 LifeGroup Attendance – 605
  • IF Gathering – This Saturday. You can register at the door!
  • D-Group Leaders Summit – March 10 at 6 pm
  • Daylight Saving this Sunday! Set your clocks FORWARD 1 hour.
  • Dominican Republic Mission Trip Informational Meeting. Sunday at 4:15 pm in the Youth Room of the FLC. Trip is for all ages.
  • Deacons Meeting – Sunday at 5 pm in Fellowship Hall

D-Groups

Currently we have almost 50 active D-groups in our church. Most of them are made up of adults, but some are composed of students. D-groups are gender specific groups of 4 or 5 people who meet weekly for the purpose of discussing what they have read in the Bible during the past week. The discussions cover much more than facts. Members share what God is showing them in His Word.

Over time, D-groups (short for discipleship groups) cause the strengthening of the relationships of those in the group with God and with one another. D-groups are not essential for Spiritual growth, but they are helpful. Accountability among members prompts more faithful Bible reading by all in the group. Sharing life together, while discussing God’s Word, binds members together in Christian love.

We no longer schedule consistent worship opportunities on Sunday nights. Some D-groups meet on Sunday nights. We have other specific Bible studies and ministries that are scheduled. However, Sunday night worship, as I knew it while growing up and while serving as pastor for over three decades, has ceased to exist. For a time, I questioned my own commitment to God and competency in ministry. I no longer do so.

Even though Sunday night worship dwindled away, other activities and ministries have exploded and are thriving. Not only are D-groups thriving, but so also are Wednesday night opportunities for children, adults, youth and university students. Sunday morning life groups are growing, and worship includes growing numbers of people. Specific ministries, targeting those in need, take place throughout the week. You are a great group of servants.

Jesus caught a lot of heat from religious leaders because He did not do things the way they had always been done. He rebuked them for their lack of compassion for people. He came to seek and save the lost by whatever means possible. We should be the same way. We should value people over programs, and Jesus over routine. I believe we are doing so in many ways. I really enjoy how things are going.

Our commitment to Jesus has never been evidenced by the time we spend in the church building. Our commitment to Jesus is evidenced by the actions we take to make disciples and spread the gospel. Our message never changes. Our methods should always be changing. We’ve never done it this way before, but I’m glad we are doing so now.

I love you,

Earl


This Week at FBC

  • LifeGroup Attendance February 24 – 718
  • Sunday Sermon – “Life in the Spirit – Adoption ” – Romans 8:12-17
  • Ladies: IF Gathering, March 9, Registration is ongoing
  • D-Group Facilitator Meeting – March 10 at 6 pm

Welcome New Members

  • Zac and Amy Maynard
  • Derwin and Sharon Mahan
  • Matt and Morgan Murray
  • Jade Mahan
  • Jordon Mahan
  • Chelsey Powers
  • Frieda Mahlstedt

Biblical Millennials

Jesus died on the cross when he was 33. David became king of Israel when he was 30. Mary most likely gave birth to Jesus when she was still in her teens. Daniel was a youth when he refused the king of Babylon’s food and requested vegetables. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were young men when they were tossed into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down and worship a golden image set up by king Nebuchadnezzar. Joseph was only 30 when he became second in command in all of Egypt. 

Biblical millennials accomplished much in the plan of God. They continue to accomplish much in the plan of God. Age should never be used as an excuse for not obeying God. Those who refuse to obey God when they are young often refuse to obey God when they are older. Those who serve God with their whole heart while young usually continue to do so through all of life. Millennials today remain vitally significant in the plan of God.

Baby boomers like me should never condemn or criticize younger people for being young. They have the same potential that I had when I was shampooing a full head of hair. Our destiny is not determined by when we were born but by how we live. Bad and good choices have been made by young and old people throughout history. The content of a person’s character has always been more significant than the date of a person’s birth. 

I consider myself greatly blessed to rub shoulders with young staff members who excel in many ways as they serve Jesus. I rejoice when I look over the congregation and see so many young adults making Jesus the priority in their lives and homes. Many responsibilities in our church are fulfilled by younger people. Of course, many people seem young to me. I am so thankful I get to serve the Lord with them. 

If you are young, remain a genuine follower of Jesus. Don’t let anyone belittle you about your age. If you are old, remain a genuine follower of Jesus. Don’t let anyone belittle you about your age. The younger we begin the longer we have to serve the Lord.

I love you,

Earl


This Week at FBC

  • New Sermon Series, “
  • Life In the Spirit” Starts Sunday. This week – “Deliverance” – Romans 8:1-11
  • February 17 LifeGroup Attendance – 723
  • Membership Matters – This Sunday a 10:30 am in the parlor
  • Ladies: IF Gathering registration continues this week.

How Did THAT Get There?

On our way out the door, I grabbed a piece of candy to eat while we ran a few errands. Christmas, for us, includes the reception of many wonderful treats to enjoy in moderation. I still manage to put on a couple of pounds each year. My moderation tends toward the upper end of the scale – literally. I unwrapped the homemade treat and tossed it into my mouth. We had been receiving these same delicacies from some friends each year for well over a decade. I knew what I was getting.

That is why I was surprised by the hard piece of something I encountered as I chewed. Was it a pecan hull? How was that missed during the preparation? Was it a bit of candy that cooked way past the soft ball stage? I could not tell. When I maneuvered it out of my mouth, I looked and then passed the object to Nancy for further examination. 

“It looks like a tooth,” she stated.

“How could a tooth get into the candy?” I asked. 

Just before I exited the driveway, I realized that the tooth in the candy was mine. The sticky candy had pulled a cap from where it had resided in my mouth for well over a decade. Actually, I had forgotten I had a cap on the tooth. I was thankful that I did not swallow it. I spent a few days chewing with the left side of my mouth before experts glued it back on in the shortest dental appointment I have ever had during my life.

When the foreign object showed up in the candy, the last person I suspected was myself. I came up with multiple things to blame, before I reluctantly blamed myself. When I finally accepted my responsibility, I was able to receive the help I needed. Eventually, I ate another piece of that candy with joyful satisfaction.

The longer we blame others and refuse to accept responsibility, the longer we miss out on healing and help and wholeness. Denying personal fault delays receiving personal help. God draws near to those who humble themselves before Him. God remains distant from those who refuse to confess their sins and accept their responsibilities. 

I love you, 

Earl 


This Week at FBC

  • This Sunday’s Sermon – “The Healing of the Nobleman’s Son” – John 4: 46-54
  • Feb. 10 LifeGroup Attendance – 667
  • Deacon’s Meeting. Sunday, Feb. 17 @ 5:00pm in Fellowship Hall
  • Summer Mission Trip to Dominican Republic. June 15 – 22. Contact Tracy for information.