Pathway to Easter

This Easter will again be a great time in the life of our church. We are celebrating the greatest event in the history of the world. That first Easter changed everything as far as man’s awareness of and relationship with God. When Jesus came out of the grave, He was shown to be exactly who He claimed to be – the Son of Man Who had given His life as a ransom for many. Jesus claimed that He paid in full for our sins on the cross. When He came back to life, He validated His claim.

          On the Wednesday before Easter, our “Gathering” worship service will include the observance of the Lord’s Supper. The message that night will be a dramatic monologue. I will be in Biblical costume as …  it’s a secret! Our entire church will gather together for this special service at 6:30 p.m. Don’t miss it.

          On the Thursday and Friday before Easter, we are offering “Pathway to Easter.” From 4 to 7 p.m. each evening, stations will be set up in our church that will allow individuals to take a personal journey in which to pray and meditate about the significance of the events leading up to Easter. You should allow about 30 minutes for this come and go event. Child care will only be offered on Thursday.

          Upon arriving through the south doors of the south commons area, you will be given a booklet that will guide you as you prepare your heart, give thanksgiving and praise to God, take the Lord’s Supper, and lay down burdens. You will actively participate in this remembrance of events in the life of Jesus during the final week before His Resurrection.

          The “Pathway to Easter” will be a moving worship experience. All scenes will be set up to aid you in your worship. You will be greatly blessed by coming. Feel free to invite family and friends to also attend. We will return on Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus together in both worship services.

We will remember and celebrate –

He lives!

Earl

FBC Highlights

  • April 7 LifeGroup Attendance – 711
  • Sunday Sermon – “The Crucifixion of Jesus” Matthew 27:32-56
  • DRAMATIC EASTER MONOLOGUE “The Rooster Crowed” with Observance of The Lord’s Supper on Wednesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Pathway to Easter – April 18 and April 19, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Come anytime during this timeframe for your self-guided prayer walk.
  • Ball Brothers Concert – April 28 at 6:00 p.m. (Doors open at 5:00 p.m.) Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at itickets.com, in the Church Office, and at The Welcome Center on Sundays.
  • Child Dedication – May 5 – Sign up sheets are at the Preschool Check-in Area. For more information contact Savannah.

Welcome New Members

  • Ronnie and Angela Fleming
  • Brent and Anita Stubbs

Thankful for Life

Many years ago I read a syndicated columnist who predicted that technology would put an end to abortion as we knew it. Her expectation was based upon the increasing ability to look inside the womb and observe the development of the babies inside. No longer would there be speculation about tissue. From the time the fertilized egg began to grow, it was obviously human. All it needed was time and nourishment in order to grow to the point of entering this world alive.

          Her prediction proved wrong. There are none so blind as those who will not see. The hardness of hearts has grown to the point that some of the supposedly most educated people in our nation would willingly allow infanticide. I find this hard to believe and sickening to accept. What seems unacceptable to me remains celebrated by the masses.  Babies are killed in the wombs of their mothers at an alarming rate.

          I have been an adult since Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal in America. I have always voted for pro-life candidates and against pro-choice candidates. This one difference sways my vote every time. I was interviewed by a local paper when I lived in Holdenville. The reporter questioned me about this very issue. When he implied that I needed to consider the bigger picture, I explained that, for me, abortion was the big picture. Even without my born-again status, I cannot see myself favoring the death of babies.

          I empathize with those who have had abortions. God can and will heal any hurt. His steadfast love continues forever. I understand the horrible realities of rape and incest. I also know that most abortions are no more than an unthinkable form of birth control. King David tried to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba by having her husband Uriah killed. Abotion continues the practice of trying to cover up immorality with murder.

          What can we do? We can pray, and we can vote. We can live morally pure lives and expect the same of others. God will forgive immorality, but He will never approve of immorality. God will forgive murder, but He will never approve of murder. God will forgive abortion, but He will never approve of abortion. I am so glad my mother gave me birth! Every baby should have the same opportunity.

                                                I love you,

                                                    Earl

This Week at FBC

  • March 31 LifeGroup Attendance – 700
  • Sunday Sermon – “Surrender of Jesus” Matthew 26:36-46
  • Family Night – This Sunday, April 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the Worship Center
  • Pathway to Easter – April 18 and April 19, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Come anytime during this timeframe for your self-guided prayer walk.
  • Child Dedication – May 5 – Sign up sheets are at the Preschool Check in Area. For more information contact Savannah

Welcome New Members

  • Blake Powers
  • Linda Thomas
  • Jim and Janice Scott
  • Blake and Kristen Stanton

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