Foolish Risks

When I went outside to pet the dogs after arriving home from work, Duke darted away and disappeared. Usually he is first in line to receive as much attention as possible. The reason for his unusual behavior became obvious when he reappeared with a dead squirrel in his mouth. He seemed to be so proud. I disposed of the squirrel before giving him some attention.

Our house is surrounded by squirrels. Occasionally we hear them run across the roof as they move from our neighbor’s tree on the north to our neighbor’s tree on the south. We serve to connect the high rise dwellings for the furry tailed rodents. I have to admit that they are cute. I also have to confess that they can cause a lot of damage. I think back to the times when they consumed a vacuum line on my son’s car and the spark plug wires on my daughter’s car. I never declared war, but my attraction to the squirrel’s cuteness waned.

It is not unusual for the squirrels to run down the top of our stockade fence. At times they stop and taunt Freckles and Duke. The dogs bark while jumping in vain at the base of the fence. Eventually the squirrels scurry down the fence before hopping on to the outstretched limbs of the maple tree in the adjoining yard. Apparently the squirrels enjoy teetering on the edge of destruction. One teetered too much and ended up dead.

Why would squirrels linger near those who could harm them? They could easily make their way around the fence and into the maple tree. They could keep their distance so that their safety would be guaranteed. Evidently squirrels are a lot like some people. Rather than keeping their distance from potential destruction, they see how close they can get to it without being destroyed. I’m sure that squirrel never thought it would happen to him.

The wise person avoids potentially destructive behaviors. Why risk becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs or pornography? The easiest way to defeat addiction is to never start. Is this an unreal expectation? Most believe it is. I don’t. I’ve lived too long and seen too many lives and marriages and children severely damaged by non-essential, foolish actions. Next time you consider taking a foolish risk, think about that squirrel in Duke’s mouth. Life does not have to be as tough as some people make it.

I love you, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Good Parents” Luke 15:11-32
  • 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 Member

Hayden Himes

Flowers For Nancy

In the words of Bob Dillon, it was a “slow train coming.” In May of 2020 Nancy and I attended the celebration of a graduating senior. While we were in the family’s home, we looked through several scrap books, enjoyed some wonderful food, and visited with many friends. We even had our picture made with the guest of honor.

Nancy spotted a colorful painting on the mantel that she really liked. The graduate’s mother is a professional decorator. She displays nice things in everyone’s home, including her own. On the ride home Nancy commented on how pretty the painting was. I could tell that, in her mind, it was far superior to the paintings of quail I tend to hang around the house.

I contacted our friend and asked if she would mind if I copied her painting. She was more than willing for me to do so and sent a couple of pictures to my phone. My plan was to begin the project quickly. However, I could not locate a canvas that fit the mantel where Nancy planned to hang it. So we waited, and I almost forgot. I almost forgot because I had never painted anything like the piece before. I feared I would fail to create a painting worthy of hanging above the mantel where everyone looks as they enter our home.

When Nancy found a 24 x 24 canvas, she texted me to share the good news. I thought about the multiple ways I could mess the project up. I anticipated disappointing her. However, I attempted to do so anyway. I painted in our driveway with my paints and brushes available on the tailgate of my truck. My studio is like no other! After the first afternoon, I feared the worst. My flowers lacked definition. Nancy’s visiting sister encouraged me, “I am sure it will be nice.” Will be.

I laid the painting aside a few days during the week, but I refused to quit. Things started falling together the next weekend. I mixed just the right hue of blue. I painted over some mistakes and added a few more flowers. Nancy guided me as I finished up. I wanted her to be pleased, and she was! I was willing to leave my comfort zone even when I feared failure, because I was doing so for the one I love.

Ditto in our service of Jesus! Earl


FBC Happenings

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  • This Sundays Sermon “Proclaiming God’s Wondrous Deeds” Psalm 71:17-18
  • 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 Member

Kade Biscoe

A Personal Mandate

When they found the pin, it was yellowed with age. I did not care. I had achieved a long-term goal and wanted to have the accompanying authentication. I officially completed my eightieth donation to the Oklahoma Blood Institute. I became a 10-gallon donor and requested the pin that declared it to be so. The one they gave me had been around for quite some time.

So have I. When I first began donating blood, it was only in response to specific requests. I did not intentionally seek opportunities to donate. However, if I was asked, I usually donated. My blood donations were sporadic, at best. I ended up with a few T-shirts and the good feeling that comes with helping others

I sometimes tell people that the reason I give today is because of the “Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies” that are in the snack area. I really enjoy eating them. I also tell people that I give because they always tell me to be sure and eat a lot for the next two days. I interpret that command literally and liberally. It is fun to “eat a lot” as a pathway to good health.

In reality, the driving force for my blood donations has nothing to do with T-shirts, cookies, or large meals. There came a time when I had skin in the game. Nancy’s mother died in 1997. During the final stage of her life, she required a large amount of blood products in order to remain alive. We were extremely grateful for countless anonymous donors who contributed to the extension of her life. Following Jane’s death, donating blood became a personal mandate for me.

That is why I have continued to give. I have been frustrated while giving, but I continue to give. I have been bruised while giving, but I continue to give. I have been overlooked while giving, but I continue to give. I have had high blood pressure and low hemoglobin, but I continue to give. I continue to give because of the power of the blood to bring healing and hope to the lives of others.

The same is true of every Christian who truly has skin in the game. We keep serving Jesus for the long haul because of the power of His blood to bring healing and hope to the lives of others. That is why we cannot and will not quit.

I love you, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Is Grace Enough?” Acts 15:1-21
  • 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.

Fully Vaccinated

I don’t make the rules. I do try to follow them. My commitment to stay inside the lines served as my motivator for receiving the coronavirus vaccine. A few weeks back the son of one of our members called to inform me that the facility where his mother stayed was now allowing visitors who had received the vaccine. As the pastor of those who had been isolated for over a year, I felt it was necessary for me to qualify myself to make some visits.

I had the virus in late November and paid a fairly significant price. I never really thought I was going to die, but I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel good again. It was the worst illness I have ever experienced. Consequently, I developed plenty of antibodies. I gave convalescent plasma twice. In my mind, I survived and came out on the other side immune to the virus. I was more than content to bypass the vaccine because of my stockpiled antibodies.

However, I needed to visit people inside the nursing homes. I didn’t necessarily agree with their policy, but I chose to abide by it. I opted to take the Moderna vaccine on a Tuesday at noon. The entire next day I felt like I had the coronavirus again. By Thursday I was fine. I had scheduled my second shot for one month later. As the time drew near, I second guessed whether I needed the other shot. I did not want to have another day of the virus. I did want to enter the nursing homes without lying about my status. After receiving the second dose, I experienced the same symptoms. Thankfully, I was back to normal by Thursday.

The achiness and fatigue I endured proved to be worth it. Jack Williams, a friend of mine, was near the end of his life in a local nursing home. The hospice nurse called and told me the family had cleared me to visit. Then she said, “You have received your vaccine, haven’t you?” I certainly had. I arrived in the late morning and visited with his children as Jack listened in. When I stopped by later that afternoon, Jack had already gone to be with Christ. I am so grateful I was able to visit with Jack that final time.

It’s not about me, Earl


FBC Happenings

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  • This Sundays Sermon “Making Disciples” Acts 14:21-28
  • 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 Member

Dayla Leonard

In View of a Call

This weekend we will have a person here in view of a call as the Associate Minister of Children and Families. They are coming at the request of the search committee you elected many months ago. Members of the search committee are: Bonnie Ridley, Sarah Jarnagin, Ginger Read, Rhonda Ray, Lyndsay Roper, and Melanie DeFehr. The committee has been praying, meeting, interviewing, and seeking God’s will in filling this position. They are very excited about the person God has led them to. So am I.

On Saturday you will have a chance to meet the person in the South Commons area at a come and go event between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Please make time to stop by and meet the potential staff member. On Sunday they will share in both morning services. All members will then vote yes or no on calling the candidate to come and be a part of the church staff. I have no doubt that you will be as excited as the committee and I are.

This person’s responsibilities have been expanded by the Personnel Committee to include ministry to families. This means they will assume a more intentional role in building relationships with and ministering to parents as well as children. They will continue to build upon all the positives that are happening here at FBC, while expanding our impact. Our desire as a multigenerational church is that children and young families receive ongoing opportunities for salvation and spiritual development.

We have had many wonderful leaders of the children’s ministry in our past. Each Sunday I pray for Pam Martin, Andrea Unruh, Amber Bryant, Savannah Schones, Chelsey Powers, and Amy Swearingen. We build on God’s work through them. Amy currently is on a leave of absence as she and her family are adopting two children in the Dominican Republic. Kaylin Langford is leading CDO on an interim basis.

Tamra Misak has been leading the children’s ministry on an interim basis since the day she volunteered to “do whatever was needed” to help out. She made that offer the day before the position became available. She has done an awesome job! She has run her part of the race exceptionally well and will continue to serve in the children’s area.

The coming years can be the best years here at FBC. The prospective new staff member will be a part of making that happen. Come and meet them this weekend!

I love you,                              Earl


  

FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Paul and Timothy” II Timothy 1:1-7
  • 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.

Live Life Simply

For many years, Nancy and I have had a plaque hanging in our home that says, “Live Life Simply.” During the decades before we purchased the plaque, we practiced what it preaches. Our marriage and our home have been intentionally simple for over forty-two years. While we have maintained a very fulfilling home, we have not overscheduled ourselves to the point that we have no time for God or one another.

Simple does not mean boring or useless. We have always used our home as a place to build and strengthen relationships around the table and in the living room. Nancy prepares wonderful meals, and we enjoy sharing them with others. The relationships we form with others enrich our lives. Ministry does take place on the weekends and after hours over the phone and through necessary visits. Still, we have been able to live life simply.

We aim at one target. We continue to trust that Jesus will fulfill the promise He made in Matthew 6:33. If we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, everything we need will be added unto us. Jesus handles the details of our lives when we prioritize His kingdom and our relationship with Him. As we seek Him first, not second, He makes sure that we are given shelter, food, fulfillment, hope, purpose, transportation, joy, relationships, health, and everything else that is necessary for an abundant life in this world.

We count our blessings specifically and often. As we list what we are grateful for, we are reminded of God’s goodness and grace. We consider ourselves greatly blessed because of what God has provided for us. We do ask for God’s merciful intervention. However, we do more thanking than asking. Our gratitude for what we do have, keeps us from longing for what we do not have.

We face life together as one. Nancy and I became one when we covenanted before God to be husband and wife. We discuss and plan and act in this world as one. The fact that we share our lives simplifies our lives by making possible our assistance of one another. We encourage and help one another as we journey through life. Our partnership in life simplifies our lives. We accept that we cannot “have it all” in this world. That’s just fine, as long as we have Jesus and one another.

Live life simply, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Barnabas and John Mark” Acts 15:36-41
  • 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.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mothers can encourage their children to be and do their best. I still remember when I returned from college to speak at the “Sweetheart Banquet” held in the youth department of the Washington Street Baptist Church in Hobart. My mother was one of the cooks for the event. I wore a three-pieced suit, and parted my hair down the middle. After all was said and done, my mother said to me, “You are a really good preacher.” Decades later I remember her encouraging words. She had as much to do with my development as a pastor as my seminary training. She encouraged me.

Mothers can emphasize the innate value of their children. When we visit our son, I always make a point to sit in the old lazy boy that I inherited from my Pa-pa and passed down to Jason. I like to remember Pa-pa sitting in the chair eating dried beef from a small jar while watching television in their very small den. We come from the generations that have gone before us. For multiplied years, when I sit in the chair at Jason’s, I have seen the yellow sticky note Nancy wrote to him that said simply, “I always enjoy spending time with you.” Jason has achieved much in life. He has many trophies and degrees stored throughout his home. He values no trophy more than the sticky note left by Nancy.

Mothers can make their children feel secure and loved at all times. Nancy and I have been grandparents for over a year. We have watched Lynn provide every need Erin has to feel secure and loved. Lynn regularly feeds Erin nutritious meals that are necessary to remain healthy. Lynn plays with Erin and takes her on walks and swings her. Erin joyfully approves of the recreational opportunities. Lynn makes sure that Erin remains clean, gets plenty of sleep, and enjoys plenty of books. She sets up Facetime for Erin to visit with Mimi and Poppy. Nancy and I have often commented about what a good mother Lynn has become.

Mothers can point their children to Jesus. As they spend time with Jesus and sing and read about Jesus, they create a desire within their children to know the Savior their mother loves so much. I am not discounting Daddy, myself or Michael. I am just magnifying Mama, Nancy and Lynn. We are greatly blessed when God provides us with exceptional mothers.

Happy Mother’s Day! Earl


FBC Happenings

  • This Sundays Sermon “Elizabeth and Mary” Luke 1:39-47; 56
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • TeamKIDS – Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for Bed Babies – 6th grade
  • The Gathering – Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary; live streamed on Facebook at 6:30 p.m., also available on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com by noon on Thursday
  • 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

Jaxon Fredendall Veda Tull

Staff Updates

The Personnel Committee has hired Mikylin York as the full-time Assistant Minister of University and Youth. Mikylin has been serving part time as University intern for the past two years. Now that she is graduating, and marrying Braden Sweet, she is becoming a full-time employee. Though hers is not a called staff position, Mikylin will continue to play an extremely significant role in our church as we move forward. 

Mikylin has proven herself to be extremely creative, organized, energetic, and genuine. She walks with the Lord daily and serves Him humbly. God has used her mightily in the growth of the ministry to university students here at FBC. She has served in multiple roles while making disciples for the glory of God. I am thrilled that Mikylin is willing and available to continue serving here at FBC.

Her expanded role will allow her to assist with youth and university ministry. The slowest time of the year for university ministry is the summer, which is the busiest time of the year for youth ministry. She will have plenty to do as she serves alongside the rest of the staff in making disciples. She will continue to serve with excellence, as she has for the past two years. We are blessed to have her and Braden. They will marry in July.

We will be forming a search committee for the Associate Minister of University and Discipleship on May 16th. This is a full-time called staff position. Each member of FBC will be able to list up to five members of the church to serve on the search committee. A committee of five will be formed from those who receive the most recommendations and consent to serve. If you can’t be present on May 16, you can turn in your recommendations early to the church office. Let God lead you as you form your list.

The search committee for the Associate Minister of Children and Families continues to seek God’s person for this full-time staff position. Remember them in your prayers. If you have ever served on a search committee, you know that it is a very significant and extremely challenging task. Meanwhile, I remain thankful to God for Allison Kendall and Tamra Misak. They have done awesome jobs as we have moved forward while short on staff.

Onward and upward! Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Jesus and the Twelve” Mark 3:13-19
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • TeamKIDS – Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for Bed Babies – 6th grade
  • The Gathering – Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary; live streamed on Facebook at 6:30 p.m., also available on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com by noon on Thursday
  • 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

Conlee Morrow Dax Rogers

Easily Triggered

Mouse traps go off in a millisecond whenever they are tripped. It took me a while to learn how to set a mouse trap without snapping my own finger. Setting the trap required getting the pressure just right to hold everything in place after having applied cheese for bait. Peanut butter works just as well. Once the trap is positioned, it requires only a minimal disturbance to make it snap. Mouse traps work well because they are triggered easily.

What is true for mouse traps is not true for people. People do not work well when they are triggered easily. Being swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger is expected of all believers in the Scriptures. Meeting this expectation seems almost foreign in our world today. Many people seem to be on the verge of “snapping” at the first indication of a disturbance. Toleration and moderation have given way to radical expectations. “My way or the highway” describes the attitudes of many.

How did we get to the point that strangers in cars next to us have no problem honking and making obscene gestures if we impede their progress in any way? How did we get to the place where any word spoken can be taken as offensive, based on how it is received, not how it is said? How did so many people become thin-skinned and hate-filled?

I guess we could blame it on the coronavirus. We have learned that when humans are locked up and isolated they do not function well. Failure to interact with others allows stress to build like steam in a kettle. Molehills are turned into mountains when they are front and center every single day. I remain amazed at the tension I have felt during the past year over masks, vaccines, and mandates.

I push back against the tension with a smile. Literally, I smile. I smile at church. I smile at the store. I smile at home. I smile while walking. I smile while listening to complaints. I smile while reading “not a fan” mail. I breath through my nose and live to enjoy another day. I accept that many people are dealing with many things. They may be mad enough to “snap”, but I do not have to go there. Neither do you. Let’s be the peacemakers!

Matthew 5:9, Earl


FBC Happenings

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  • This Sundays Sermon “Elijah and Elisha” I Kings 19:9-21
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • TeamKIDS – Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for Bed Babies – 6th grade
  • The Gathering – Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary; live streamed on Facebook at 6:30 p.m., also available on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com by noon on Thursday
  • 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 

New Members

Ava VanDeburgh Tatum Langford

Skunk Attack

I laughed until I cried. One of the reasons I enjoy visiting face to face with people is the fact that I never really know what is going to happen. I had stopped by to express my concern and pray for a man whose sister had died a few days earlier. Someone had left a message on the church phone, informing me of the loss. I went to see my friend.

Earl and Joyce always gladly welcome me into their home. Many years ago I learned that he shared my passion for quail hunting and Brittany bird dogs. He and Joyce also share my love for Jesus. What faithful servants of the Lord they have been and continue to be. Earl will be 90 years old next month.

As he shared the details of his sister’s death, he mentioned that she had been sick for some time and now was in a better place. It was time, and she had been prepared. He and Joyce had God’s peace that passes understanding. At that point, Earl radically changed the topic of our conversation.

“I was attacked by a skunk!” He went on to explain that the past Wednesday, as he was hooking up the hose on the south side of the house, he felt something hit him in the leg. He looked back to see a skunk staring at him. He kicked the skunk as hard as he could, assuming that the stinky thing would get out while the getting was good. He assumed wrong. The skunk made four different runs at Earl, only to be met with the shoe that eventually went in the trash. Finally, the skunk headed east, looking back over his shoulder, as if to say, “I will return.”

In the aftermath of the skunk attack, Earl ended up in the ER, and began a series of rabies’ shots. He threw away his other shoe as well as his jeans. The skunk only sprayed a little, which was more than enough. Earl tried to get away, but the skunk had him cornered between a tree and a bush. He had called for Joyce, but she did not hear him. Everything Earl said was said with a smile on his face. He was hamming it up, and I was enjoying every word. I went home refreshed because I had laughed with Earl.

Life is 10% circumstance and 90% attitude.

LOL, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Naomi and Ruth” Ruth 1:14-22
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • TeamKIDS – Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for Bed Babies – 6th grade
  • The Gathering – Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary; live streamed on Facebook at 6:30 p.m., also available on the website at: http://www.fbcweatherford.com by noon on Thursday
  • 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 

New Member

Macey Barger