Christian Friends

Tears pooled in David’s eyes as soon as he heard Jonathan speak.  The instructions shouted to the small boy were actually intended for David.  “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?”  “Hurry!  Go quickly!  Don’t stop!”  The brief commands confirmed David’s fear.  He and Jonathan would have to go separate ways.

Since they first met, their hearts had been knit together in a common bond of friendship.  Together they fought in the army of the living God.  Together they ate around the table of fellowship.  Together they considered the purpose of God.  Together they coped with Jonathan’s father, the madly jealous King of Israel.

When Saul’s jealousy turned murderous, David had to run for his life.  Escaping from Saul meant leaving Jonathan.  And so David emerged from hiding to say farewell to the one he loved as he loved himself.  They embraced and wept before going in opposite directions.  Circumstances forbade their remaining in the same place.

Yet they always remained friends.  They had sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord.  Friendships based on the Lord last forever.  Christian friends may not remain together on earth, but they will spend eternity together in heaven.

Earl   


FBC Happenings

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  • This Sundays Sermon “Genuine Faith” II Peter 1:1-4
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

A Job Well Done

Nancy and I intentionally thank people for working. When we eat out, it usually takes a while to get our food since most places seem to be short staffed. Rather than grow frustrated, we enjoy visiting with one another until the food arrives. We realize it is not the fault of the person who showed up to work that many others failed to do so. I have even increased the tips that I leave. I am so thankful for those who are willing to work.

I met a man riding a bicycle while I was walking my dogs. The unusual part about the man was the fact that he had his lunch box attached to his handle bars and his tool belt draped across his shoulder. The sun had barely come up, and he was already as happy as a lark.

“Those are good looking dogs!”

I thanked him and wondered just how far he was going to ride his bike before making it to the job site. I thought of a home that was being framed a few blocks away. Most likely that was where he was headed. He was headed to work and grateful for the opportunity. Men like him accomplish much good in our world. He meets a valid need and receives fair compensation for his efforts. He also knows great fulfillment. Much satisfaction comes from a job well done.

I saw a news broadcast in which a woman commented that people can work from their homes, home school, and order on-line. This was her survival strategy for those who would not meet her criteria for appearing in public. How ridiculous. Most jobs cannot be done from home. Most parents are not available to home school their children. On-line orders cannot be filled if everyone works from home. Have you needed a plumber lately?

The longer I live the more grateful I am for parents who made sure I developed a strong work ethic. I was never abused, but I was never coddled. I learned to work, not because my parents were poor, but because my parents were wise. They lived by the Word of God. They knew that God’s mandate for living includes the expectation of working. This is part of the lifestyle that pleases God.

I Thessalonians 4:11-12, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Serve” Joshua 24:14-24
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

Choosing To Change

I met him early one Saturday morning. He arrived early to help with the Sobriety Sprint being hosted at First Baptist Church by Hope is Alive. There was much to be done. I asked if he would help me get some ice from the family life center. He smiled and began to walk beside me. He soon fell behind. I slowed my pace so he could keep up. The obvious limp that he lived with was part of his story.

He had travelled down from the northern part of the state with his family in order to be a part of the 5k run. His brother lived at the Hope is Alive home in Weatherford. He had come to show support and encourage his brother. His wife was running in the race. He was working behind the scenes. As we filled the ice chest, I asked him to tell me his story. He was more than willing to share.

He had become addicted to pain pills after being severally injured in a car wreck. What began as a source of comfort turned into a monster that controlled his life. He lost his job. He lost his wife and children. The passion to get high dominated his life. After his second DUI, he ended up in jail, where he underwent forced detox as well as a very intense personal evaluation. At that point in his life he made the choice to make a change.

He stayed clean. He got a job. He remarried his wife, and they had another daughter. Eventually, he began participating in Celebrate Recovery in a town near where he lives. Initially, he made the changes without the aid of anyone but God. He made a personal choice to change and everything eventually improved. He is one of the most grateful men I have ever met in my life. He limps with great joy.

Until a person chooses to change, they will not change. When a person chooses to change, they will change. Our responsibility is to provide encouragement and help for those who choose to change. Our responsibility is not to change people who do not want to change. We simply cannot do so. Most people live as they choose to live and change when they choose to change.

God changes people! Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Do” Joshua 10:7-15
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

Will you share?

Andrew discovered him in the crowd. Though only a youngster, he had brought a basket lunch with him when he came to see Jesus. It contained five barley loaves and two small pickled fish. The meal didn’t include all four food groups, but it was enough to keep the boy’s little tummy from growling.

Just about the time he planned to eat a couple of the biscuit sized loaves he was asked to share. First by Andrew and then by Jesus. He turned his head and scanned the multitude. He could see that his basket of food would not make it past the first few people before being devoured. Besides, they should have brought their own lunch. It wasn’t his fault that they had been so short-sighted.

He looked up into the face of Jesus. Jesus winked. He was up to something. And so the little boy handed over his basket and watched. The huge crowd was instructed to sit down. Jesus gave thanks to God.  The bread was distributed and then the fish. The thousands ate all they wanted. When the extra loaves and fishes were gathered they filled twelve large baskets.

The boy beamed with joy. Jesus smiled. The boy’s willingness to share what he had allowed Jesus to multiply it and meet the needs of the multitude. Little becomes much when placed in the hands of our Savior. Jesus works miraculously when we give Him all we have, however small it may seem to us.

Will you share? Earl 


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Missions and the Mission of Jesus
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

New Members

Patti Lowrance, Debbie Sumner, Jacob & Kelsey Wall, and Micheal & Kimberly Shields

God’s Sovereign Will

We met every Monday night and prayed. Nancy and I were newly married and living in Hobart. I met with a group of men from the First Baptist Church in order to seek God’s face and favor. We had a list of men whose names the pastor read as we began our time of prayer each week. It was not unusual for the prayer time to last a couple of hours.

We prayed conversationally. Some men remained silent. Some men prayed multiple times. All who prayed did so as if Jesus were sitting in the room with us. Guess what? He was! We requested His miraculous mercy on behalf of others as well as ourselves. We did not learn about prayer by reading a book or attending a seminar. We learned about prayer by calling out to Him for extended periods of time.

I formed relationships that went well below the surface. Many of the men have gone on to heaven. I saw one of them at a convenience store a few weeks ago. My understanding of corporate prayer expanded by participating in prayer. More than that, my understanding of God expanded during that period of my life.

One night, during the Spring, a large thunderstorm was brewing in the Southwest. On one side of me was a young father who roofed houses in order to provide for the needs of his growing family. On the other side of me was a farmer, whose wheat was standing in the field ripened and ready to be harvested. If the storm produced the hail that was predicted, the roofer would win and the farmer would lose. If the storm produced no hail, the opposite would be true.

How were we to pray? Would the men closest to God determine the weather? Would the majority prevail? Should Rob and Mervin have lobbied the men before the prayer time started? In reality, we were all responsible to surrender to the will of God, whichever way He chose for things to go. I don’t remember if it hailed or not.

I do remember gaining a new appreciation for the sovereignty of God. I joyfully surrender to His absolute control. My responsibility is to remain surrendered to Him. I have no desire to tell Him how to run the universe. I have all confidence that He can and will handle the task effectively for His glory. That’s all that really matters.

Amen! Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Trust” Joshua 6:1-16; 20
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

A Burr Under Her Collar

After the dogs and I had completed an extended trip around a pasture north of town, we had accumulated an abundant number of “stick tights” and grass burrs. The consistent rains of the summer resulted in a bountiful supply of all types of vegetation. On the morning I walked while Freckles and Duke ran, the heavy dew soaked my jeans and their bodies. We failed to locate any quail but managed to jump two bucks and a doe.

Before I loaded them into the dog box, I attempted to remove all of the grass burrs and most of the “stick tights.” I succeeded in doing so with minimal puncture wounds to my thumb and forefinger. The moisture made them easier to remove. After loading the dogs, I used a knife to scrape the attached items from my jeans. It took a while, but eventually I felt good about loading up and heading home.

After I take them for a run, the dogs usually spend some time in the back yard finalizing the removal of burrs from their coats. That is why I like to make sure and leave the burrs in the pasture. I would rather not have them growing in my back yard. Freckles is especially meticulous in cleaning herself up.

The following morning, while putting the harnesses on the dogs before their walk, I discovered a large grass burr under Freckles’ collar. It didn’t draw blood, but it did get my attention. I immediately removed the burr from her hair. I thought about the pain the burr had caused as the collar pressed against it. I would not have been able to remove the burr if she had not come close to me.

As we make our extended trip through life, we encounter plenty of painful items that “stick tight” to us. We do our best to deal with those situations. However, there are times when we cannot remove the pain. When we draw near to our loving heavenly Father, He is able to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He will stop the hurt when we draw near to Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Matthew 11:30, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Worship” Joshua 5:13-15
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

Remembering Daddy

Most days I think about my daddy. I have intentionally surrounded myself with reminders of him in my study at church and in our study at home. There is no way I can avoid thinking about him as I look at items he made and used during the decades he lived on this earth. I am reminded of the hobbies he enjoyed, the work he did, and the God he loved.

I have several shells that I confiscated from his gun case when we cleaned it out shortly after he died. They sit on shelves in a shadow box he made that hangs on the wall behind my stand up desk. A float he made to use while fishing for catfish rests on a shelf below them. A small statue of a howling coyote and a glass bowl filled with a set of pool balls adorn the top of my bookshelves.

That same shadow box also contains a pair of Cee Tee pliers, a couple of screwdrivers, a fold out ruler and a carpenter’s pencil. Across the way I have hung two of the levels he used while laying brick. One of his trowels is displayed on a shelf. A couple of bunches of wheat from one of his fields join the coyote and pool balls in an elevated position. Not many farmer, bricklayer, carpenters have passed through this world. I like to tell people that I was about twenty years old before I figured out that everyone did not work as hard as we did.

The last Bible he carried to church sits under a carved quail that a friend of mine gave me. Nancy, Jason, Lynn, and I gave him the Bible in 1993 on Christmas. The King James Version, Scofield reference system, was not my choice, but it was his. During the 14 years he carried it to church, he taught countless men’s Sunday school classes and listened to even more sermons. Many of those who preached are listed in the margin. I am noted by a simple E.S. The tattered Bible needs re-covered.

I was handed a legacy from Daddy that prioritized enjoying life, working hard, and serving God. How blessed I am. The thirteen-plus years that have passed since Daddy died have not lessened the impact he had on my life. Even though I cannot call him on the phone, I can honor him with my life.

Exodus 20:12, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Remember!” Joshua 3:1-7
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

Trust God and Do Good

How should we respond when life slaps us in the face? Peter refers to these situations as “fiery trials” that inevitably show up in every person’s life. These are those things that happen in us and to us while we are living for Jesus. It could be a physical illness, or a job loss, or a broken relationship. These trials are not self-inflicted through sinful acts but personally experienced while following Jesus.

We can limit pain in our lives by making good choices. The principle of sowing and reaping applies to Christians as well as non-Christians. Life gets really tough when we do foolish things. One of the reasons it breaks my heart to see the landscape of Oklahoma covered with casinos and marijuana shops is the hurt that comes from gambling and dope smoking. The same could be said for drinking alcohol. Unnecessary complications come into life when unwise choices are made. Some people can participate in these activities “responsibly.” Many people participate in these activities to the demise of themselves and those they love.

I don’t gamble, smoke dope, or drink alcohol. Life has still slapped me in the face on multiple occasions. Each one of those slaps has been permitted by God or it would not have happened. The only power Satan has is the power God allows him to have. In reality, he is a pawn, not a king. He remains on God’s chain. Yet, for some reason, God sometimes lengthens the chain and allows him to wreak havoc in the lives of faithful followers of Jesus. This fallen world includes suffering on multiple fronts which allow believers to reveal Christ’s glory.

How do we do this? According to Peter, who was very familiar with suffering, we must keep trusting God and continue doing good. (I Peter 4:19) No deep theological insight is necessary to carry on while suffering pain. Keep trusting God. He remains faithful and all-powerful. When things get better, it will be because of His powerful intervention. The worst thing we can do when we hurt is turn away from God. Keep doing good. Remain engaged in activities where you can make a positive impact.

Remember Jesus. When suffering unjustly, what did He do? He kept trusting God. “Not my will, but Thine be done.” He kept doing good. “It is finished.” Consequently, salvation remains available for sinners.

Trust God and Do Good, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

New Members

Jo Glover, Desmond Williams, Rylee Bryan, Jake Kreizenbeck, Luke Ferrell, Roxi Sullins, Olivia Saunders, Isaiah Saunders, Piper Wilson, Cindy Broadbent, Roger Duncan Sr., Tatum Duncan, Saylor Paden, Atly Buckner, Brody Bayless, Cage Hill, Eva Lopez, Caton Young, Kate Meier, Hannah Scheuren, Blaine McKinsey, Millie Woody, and Jeff Smalling

Thank You

Dear Church Family –         

Thank you for a great month of celebration as you recognized the 20th anniversary of our service together as well as my 50th year in ministry. You were so gracious and kind. Know that God used you to encourage Nancy and me very much. We felt greatly loved and affirmed, not only by you, but also by God. We will forever remember your acts of love.

Nancy and I really do like serving in and through the local church. We have greatly enjoyed each of the churches where we have served. We have enjoyed Weatherford longer than any place we have served. We consider you to be family and are thankful that we get to do life with you as we serve the Lord together.

Ministry has not always been easy. Being on the front lines in the struggle against the powers of darkness means that flaming darts and arrows come at us from time to time. We seek to remain fully protected in the armor of God and daily carry the shield of faith. We don’t win every battle. Neither do you. That means we occasionally deal with disappointment, frustration, loneliness, and sorrow. There have been times when I have questioned whether the juice is worth the squeeze when it comes to ministry.

What you did for us reminded us that it is well worth it to serve the Lord Jesus in and through His church. We feel blessed beyond measure. Thank you.

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Thanks for giving us joy instead of making us groan!

I love you, Earl

Wow! Thank you so much for all the hard work that went into the “Just Earl” documentary and the celebration last Sunday. The sign, decorations, kind words, cards, and barbeque meal were wonderful. The gift in the Kelley Jewelers’ bag was a beautiful diamond cross necklace! It will always remind me of your love for me. God is so good.

I love you too, Nancy


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Abide” Joshua 1:1-9
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

New Members

Kenley Bartel and Henzlee Harrelson

Freckles’ Return

When she was only a few months old, I took Freckles to run on one of Terry Hamburger’s farms. Several members of our church have given me permission to take my dogs out and let them enjoy the freedom of running without restraint. I don’t run, but I have a great time as well. Walking around a pasture takes me back to the days of my youth.

Freckles did great. She loaded in the dog box with minimal resistance. She worked a pattern without really knowing why. She ventured out further than the average Brittany, which made me happy. She kept circling back, which made me even happier. All was well. The recent loss of my Brittany Gus was on my mind as I watched the road while we headed back to the truck.

Out of nowhere a jackrabbit jumped up and headed north. Freckles flunked the “Whoa!” command and raced after the dark-eared creature. We were in tall grass. I lost sight of her almost immediately. By the time I made it back to the truck she was nowhere to be found. To the north were multiple wind turbines and roads. I decided to go and look for Freckles. Periodically, I stopped and called out her name. It seemed surreal that I might lose two dogs in only a few months. After I circled the section and travelled several service roads, I was about to give up hope. Where could she be?

She was right where she remembered I had been. When I made it back to where I had been parked, she was standing in the ditch. She returned, on her own, to the place from which she had run away. I should have just waited patiently like Little Bo Peep did for her sheep. Freckles occasionally disappears when I take her to run. However, she always returns to her master.

The same is true of Christians who stray from Jesus and His church. It is impossible to run them down and force them to return to the Master. However, if they are genuine, they will eventually return to Jesus and His church. When they do, we need to welcome them with open arms. It is not our job to round up prodigals. It is our joy to welcome them home.

I love you, Earl


FBC Happenings

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  • This Sundays Sermon “Finishing Well” Philippians 3:12-16
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday

New Members

Wyatt Lindamood..Skylar Exinia..Nelva Dunbar