Just Hanging On

When they acquired the horse as a Christmas present, they had no barrel racing plans. Their granddaughter was interested in riding. The horse they had for many years had died. As they sought a replacement horse, they sought one who was gentle and easy to manage. Their granddaughter was just getting started and had no business on a horse that was hard to handle. They succeeded in their search.

The well-trained, eleven-year old horse checked every box. He was easy to load, gentle to ride, and obedient to stay when his reigns were dropped. After completing the sale, the previous owner mentioned the fact that “Sonny” did know the path of running barrels. Leisure rides in the pasture went extremely well. The novice rider became more and more confident. Eventually she entered a barrel racing competition.

The whole family attended to show their support. Her grandfather arrived just in time to hear her name announced over the loud speaker. He rushed to the arena fence and watched his granddaughter zip around the barrels like an old pro. Her time was exceptional! Few people do so well on their first time doing anything.

Later that day, her grandfather asked her what she had done to perform so well. She honestly replied, “I was just hanging on!” She did not make anything happen. She just let it happen. Sonny knew where he needed to go and how he needed to get there. How wise the granddaughter was to trust his ability and focus on hanging on. All turned out remarkably well.

I thought about the decades I have enjoyed a close relationship with God. Life has turned out far better than I deserve or could have imagined. More than anything, I have just hung on to Him as He navigates life for me. In reality, He has been hanging on to me as He takes me where He wants me to go. I learned long ago that I am not qualified to give God advice on how to run my life.

At times the journey has seemed awkward. At times the journey has seemed scary. At times the journey has been lonely. Always, the final destination has remained certain. One day, God will take me across the finish line into my heavenly home. Until that wonderful day, I am hanging on and enjoying the ride.

Trusting in the Lord, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “The Promise of His Coming” II Peter 3:5-10
  • 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

Caitlin Seigrist and Daniel Miller

The Place of Grace

Zaccheus experienced God’s grace while perched on the branch of a sycamore tree. Peter made the same discovery in a fish-filled boat on the Sea of Galilee. Matthew was inside his tax booth while Jarius was inside his home. Mary discovered peace at the feet of Jesus. The thief hung on the cross; the Ethiopian sat in a chariot; Bartimeus stood in a road.

Nicodemus was born again in the darkness of night. The Roman centurian accepted Jesus as the Son of God in the darkness of day. The Samaritan woman discovered living water at high noon. So did Saul of Tarsus. Lydia believed in Jesus following a morning prayer service. The Philippian jailer’s family came to believe in God shortly after midnight.

The physical place and time of salvation varies from person to person. The Spiritual place and time does not. Universally, salvation takes place at the foot of the cross when God’s Spirit convicts of sin and convinces of the need for Christ. Calvary is where everyone receives mercy and forgiveness.

Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Surrounded by Scoffers” II Peter 3:1-4
  • 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

Choices

Time magnifies the consequences of all choices – both good and bad.

I visited with a man whose responsibility was to oversee and assist those recovering from chemical dependency. As he expressed the reality of his broken heart, he honestly stated the reality that the person in question may have taken so many drugs that they were no longer capable of thinking correctly. In spite of his greatest efforts, he was unable to get through to the individual. Counseling and relocation had done little, if anything, to help. What had begun as a recreational experiment had progressed into isolation on the street.

Time magnifies the consequences of all choices – both good and bad.

The news broke my heart. I never thought I would see their names listed in the paper. The appearance of utopia had been just that – only an appearance. Behind closed doors, things had been said and done that crushed spirits and estranged family. The devastating situation began small and grew over time. Choices made in private became public knowledge. How did this ever happen?

Time magnifies the consequences of all choices – both good and bad.

No one thought their marriage would last. He was 16 and she was 15 when they crossed over the state line and tied the knot. Many were quite surprised when they made it past nine months without having a child. Eventually they had two. Those two produced more and those produced more. The teenagers eventually became great-great grandparents. They faithfully served Jesus and showed His love and enjoyed life as few I have ever known. Only recently they were parted by physical death. Their marriage thrived for sixty years.

Time magnifies the consequences of all choices – both good and bad.

After I made my way to the platform to preach her funeral, I saw the large, diverse crowd. There were businessmen wearing suits. There were women missing teeth. There were bearded men covered in tattoos. There were church members shedding tears. There were deacons who had washed her old pickup multiple times. All had gathered to show their respect and love for the lady who had positively impacted their lives with her keen insight and blunt speech. How could such a little lady make such a huge impact?

Time magnifies the consequences of all choices – both good and bad.

The seeds we sow determine the harvest we reap.

Galatians 6:9, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Contentment” Philippians 4:10-13
  • 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

FBC Priorities

At First Baptist Church we welcome sinners. We understand that the world is filled with sinners. We accept that we are sinners saved by the grace of God. We realize that some sinners have not yet been saved by the grace of God. We know that saved sinners still sin. We are in a fallen world whose prince is the devil. Temptations lurk everywhere. No person lives in constant victory over every temptation. If we did not welcome sinners, we could not welcome anyone.

At First Baptist Church we offer hope. No matter how dark life gets, there is hope for a bright future because of the grace of God made available to all through Jesus Christ. This hope can become a reality for the broken, the addicted, the lonely, the divorced, the orphaned, the diseased, and the foolish. Jesus came to the earth to save sinners. We let everyone know that salvation can be theirs. We let the saved know that the pains of life need not be permanent.

At First Baptist Church we feel empathy. When life craters for others, we weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. We do not judge those who are suffering, even if it is somewhat self-inflicted. Life in this fallen world gets messy. None are exempt from the pain. No one always makes the right choices. We all require the grace of God daily. The reality of our own struggles enable us to love the unlovely, pray for the hurting, and reach out to the broken.

At First Baptist Church we prioritize Jesus. All of Scripture points toward Him. His shed blood covers the sins of all who repent and place faith in Him. His resurrection assures us that we will live even after we die. His peace passes all understanding. His joy trumps every situation. His promises remain true. His forgiveness makes clean. His power overcomes everything. His love remains constant. Jesus is the answer for every problem we face. When we truly surrender to Jesus, He moves into our lives where He transforms and empowers us until the day He takes us to heaven.

We exist in order to impact with the gospel the lives of the broken for the glory of God.

It is a joy to be your pastor, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “False Teachers” II Peter 2:1-22
  • 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

Benevolent Detachment

We removed the fence, but the trees remained. Over the years, the trees had grown up and spread between the posts we removed. Rather than removing the trees, Daddy had us plow around them. The trees were not massive, but they were in the way. When plowing a field, the bigger the land mass inside each terrace, the better.

Through the years, an interesting thing happened. One by one, the trees began to die, and Daddy removed them by turning them into firewood. Apparently we cut a few roots when we plowed close to the trees with the offset disk. The trees that stood in our way were eventually removed from the field. Plowing got a lot easier after that.

There are times in life when you have to plow around a few trees that impede your progress. Those trees usually come in the form of people. Those people stubbornly hold their ground rather than encourage and assist you. Your response must be to plow around them. If you try to plow over them, bad things will happen to them or to you. You must be patient and accept the inconvenience as a part of life in this fallen world. People don’t always cooperate.

A friend introduced me to the concept of “benevolent detachment.” For the sake of all parties involved, the choice is made to remain distanced. In the Serenity Prayer it is the request to “accept the things that I cannot change.” Life includes many things that we cannot change. We need to admit this and quit wasting energy, losing sleep, and growing frustrated with these situations. It is not sinful to just stay away from some people. God can change anyone. You cannot.

I heard about a preacher who pastored the same church for over thirty years. When asked how he was able to deal with his enemies while staying in the same church for such an extended amount of time, he responded. “I just outlived them.

Life includes situations and relationships and people that we cannot fix. Trying to do so is the equivalent of banging our heads against a wall. We must change our strategy. Pray specifically whenever the “tree in the way” comes to mind. Keep casting cares upon the Lord. Be patient for God’s timing and content with God’s will. Let Him handle what we cannot.

I love you, Earl 


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Darkness and Light” II Peter 1:16-21
  • 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

New Members

Jeff, Georganna, Macey, and Katey Buss

The Crown of the Aged

When the angel Gabriel told Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth, was going to have a son, Zechariah couldn’t believe it. He expressed his disbelief to Gabriel and ended up unable to speak until eight days after their son was born. Elizabeth and Zechariah were both advanced in years and had given up hope of having a child. Their elation knew no bounds after John was born. The routines they were entrenched in immediately changed.

Nancy and I became grandparents a month before the Covid lockdowns happened. I was beside myself with joy when both of our children were born. That happened again when our granddaughter was born. Nancy and I were able to see her and hold her and take pictures of her! Then the pandemic hit. We stayed away as we sought the health of everyone in our family. After a few months, we were invited to again visit and enjoy Erin. Lynn accurately concluded that we were all missing out on too much. Nancy and I have been visiting and enjoying ever since.

Nancy and I are grateful to have a granddaughter who smiles when she sees us. “Mimi” and “Poppy” play with her, read to her, and take her to the park. Erin is now walking and putting together short sentences. I love it when Erin asks Nancy where Poppy is. I guess every child has a favorite grandparent!

I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in Erin’s life. I pray I will be a good example for her when she sees me and when she doesn’t. I pray the words she hears me say will be encouraging and helpful and kind. I pray that the joy I know in my relationship with God is a joy that she will know. I want to shield her from all hurt and shower her with great hope.

Many grandparents have a lot more grandchildren than Nancy and I do. No grandparents love their grandchildren more than we love Erin. How kind of God to bless us so. “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged.”

Proverbs 17:6, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Productive Christian Living” II Peter 1:5-15
  • 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

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