New Deacons

The apostles needed some help. The church had exploded with members, and they met themselves coming and going. In the midst of all that needed to be done, they sought to continue devoting themselves to teaching the word of God and praying. Someone interrupted their prayer meeting to complain that some widows were not being served as much food as other widows during the daily distribution of food. At that point, the church set aside seven men to serve as deacons in the church. The problem was solved, and the church marched forward.

Deacons are used by God to make churches healthier. They serve in a variety of practical ways that free the staff to focus on spiritual priorities. A deacon, by Biblical definition, is a servant. He is literally a “foot washer.” The requirements for his character and his home are extremely high, as listed in I Timothy 3:8-13. He must have a good grasp on what the Bible teaches and actually be living it out in the world and in his home.

We have 36 deacons at First Baptist Church. Many of them serve the church in multiple ways. They meet with the staff monthly. I am blessed by their encouragement and insight. In twenty years as your pastor, I have always talked with the deacons about actions we are considering. Last month I asked if they thought it was time for us to set aside some more deacons. They affirmed that it is time.

Each member of First Baptist Church, after prayerfully reflecting on the qualifications listed in I Timothy 3:8-13, will be allowed to list up to five men to serve as deacons. Some will list less than five. This is not a popularity contest. This is the fulfillment of the responsibility listed in Acts 6 to “pick out from among you” men to fulfill this duty. These men are to be of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom.

Those receiving the most recommendations from church members will be contacted in private and allowed to pray about whether to serve or not. Those who consent to serve will be formally set aside in an ordination service. They will then become part of the deacon body that meets monthly and serves consistently. You may submit the names of men to serve as deacons through February 20. You may do so on the website or by turning in lists of names to the church office or in the offering boxes.

I love you, 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

When People Walk Away

The apostle Paul knew that the time of his departure from this world was near. His final letter was not written to a church but to a dear friend. In the letter, Paul laid out priorities for his partner in ministry. He encouraged Timothy. He reminded Timothy. He assured Timothy. Before he finished, Paul asked Timothy to make his way to Rome for one final visit. He longed to see and visit with his spiritual child who doubled as his close friend.

Paul had been spending a lot of time by himself. With the exception of only a few men, who cycled in and out, Paul meditated in solitude as he anticipated death at the hands of Nero. He asked Timothy to bring him a coat and some copies of Scripture. He also explained where his partners in ministry had vanished to. He mentioned a man named Demas, who had left for Thessalonica because he loved this present world. Paul took it personally.

“Demas…has deserted me.”

Paul was brutally honest about how he was feeling during the moment. His letters to the churches are filled with reminders that our loyalty is to Jesus only. Whatever we do, we are to do as unto the Lord. The service any Christian gives is unto the Lord alone. Every Christian serves as God gifts and assigns. In reality, every Christian is simply doing a job when it comes to ministry. There is no “I” in church. Maybe, at this point, Paul was speaking more from his heart than he was from his head.

“Demas…has deserted me.”

In the moment, that is how it felt. Not that Demas had deserted his Lord or His place of service. Paul, while sitting in a dungy cell awaiting execution, felt like Demas had walked off from him. He knew Demas loved the world, but it sure felt like Demas had deserted him. Such is the reality of shepherding God’s sheep that walk away.

Most church leaders know how Paul felt. Staff members and LifeGroup leaders and D-group leaders cannot help but feel like they have been deserted when people walk away. We understand that they have walked away from Jesus and His church. However, in our hearts, it sometimes feels like they have deserted us. We know what Paul was talking about. Ministry sometimes hurts. Still, it is so worth it! 

Thanks for your faithfulness, Earl  


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Go” Mark 4:1-20
  • 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 Change of Plans

I realized I was missing a glove. It was Sunday morning, and I was taking my dogs for their two-mile walk. Years ago I did not walk on Sundays but have since added the walk in order to accommodate my whining dogs and allow time for prayer on behalf of a multitude of pastors and staff members I have come to know through the decades. We were walking down Saber Lane near the Hunt’s home when I recognized that I was one glove short.

Rarely do I vary my routine. I sometimes tease others by saying that I have to plan ahead in order to be spontaneous. This trait has not come naturally to me. When I was a senior at OBU, I learned how to get a lot done by making a plan and following that plan. My grade point spiked. My stress level dropped. I was able to get so much done without anxiously anticipating the future. I found inspiration for doing so in Proverbs. God blesses planning and effort. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

However, there are times when plans must be interrupted because of the urgent and the unexpected. None are wise to ignore torpedoes and advance full speed ahead. There are times when changes to plans must be made in order to avoid disaster or accomplish goals. What may seem to be a great plan in the beginning may need to be tweaked in order to snatch victory from defeat.

My plan was to continue eastward on Saber Lane before turning south on Birch and then west on Pine. That is my Sunday route. I have travelled it for many years. Ask Bryan and Kim Cook. I meet them many mornings. If I took that route my glove would remain lost. I called an audible and made an about face when I reached Birch. I would retrace my steps and hopefully discover the glove.

The dogs seemed a bit confused by the U turn. They adapted quickly and off we went. Sure enough, I found the glove in the proverbial place where I had lost it. My willingness to break out of my routine allowed me to retrieve what I had lost. We can and should make plans. However, we must remain flexible enough to make changes when necessary.  

Proverbs 16:9, Earl  


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Proclaim” I Corinthians 2:1-5
  • 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

Working Heartily

“Incompetence is everywhere.”

A friend of mine made this observation after I had commented that “Integrity invites investigation.” He was not questioning my statement. He was following up with increased insight. The world seems to be increasingly filled with people who are either too lazy or too unqualified to accomplish the tasks that have been assigned to them.

In some ways, the world often rewards the wrong behavior. People with limited skills end up in positions of leadership because of reasons unrelated to competence. The good ole’ boy system has been in existence for a long time. Political correctness has magnified the problem. Basic skills that were once assumed have vanished like frost from a pumpkin. The minimum expectation is met by most.

Many owners of businesses struggle to find workers. Some of the workers they do find simply quit showing up for work. Others question why they have not been promoted after a few weeks. Waiting on anything to be done has become commonplace because of the limited supply of qualified workers.

In the midst of the world in which we live, Christians have an opportunity to shine brightly for Jesus by working diligently and competently. The Bible says it this way in Colossians 3:23:

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

This is accomplished by giving our best effort in whatever we do. We answer to the Lord for the work we do. This should inspire us to give our best effort even when others refuse to do the same. Never allow the world’s lowest expectations to determine your highest achievements. When we focus on the Lord as we work, we do not settle for minimums. Our zeal magnifies God’s grace. Our sloth shames God’s Son.

How we live evidences what we believe. There is a lot more involved in this than going to church and not cussing. How we live includes job performance and social interaction. Knowing right leads to doing right on all fronts. Make every effort to be the best employee or the best employer you can possibly be. By doing so you make this world a better place and influence others to make preparations for the world to come.

I love you, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Build” Ephesians 4:11-16
  • 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

The Church Family

She followed the grieving family as they made their way from the family room to the worship center. They took the same path she had taken only a few months earlier when she united with her husband in marriage. What a day that had been! The joy she experienced on that day had been a part of God’s gracious plan. She had barely been able to hold back her tears of joy. She would forever remember that day.

Just like the family in front of her would forever remember this day. They were celebrating the life lived by the patriarch of their family. He had lived long and well. He was in heaven, but they were still on earth. They wept as they made their way down the hallway. They paused in the same place she had paused with her father as they waited to enter the worship center.

At that moment, God showed her the wide range of purposes He fulfills through a church family. We rejoice with those who rejoice, and we weep with those who weep. The same building that is used for weddings is also used for funerals. The building is also used for singing God’s praise and preaching God’s Word. The church is not the building, but most churches meet in buildings. Those buildings are pregnant with memories that come with doing life together.

I remember members who have gone to be with Christ. I miss their input and service. I miss their smiles and laughter. I miss one friend’s reference to me as “preacher man.” I also miss his wife. They were so supportive of the church with their presence and their actions. They both died only a few months apart. By my count, I have preached over 300 funerals since moving to Weatherford.

I remember weddings and baptisms. Those have been joyful celebrations. Most weddings have at least one memorable, unexpected moment. Baptisms can also be unpredictable. I have splashed water out the front of the baptistery several times. A time or two the heater wasn’t working. Those believers have never forgotten their baptisms!

It is possible to become a Christian and bypass involvement in a local church. Those who do so will still go to heaven when they die but will miss out on the heaven they could have enjoyed on earth. No family on earth compares with a church family.

Love one another, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Abide” John 15:1-8
  • 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

Merry Christmas

With each passing year, I am reminded of just how blessed I am to serve as your pastor. In 2020, at this time, I had recently recovered from the Coronavirus. We were able to have an abbreviated Christmas Eve service on a very cold evening. We opened back up in January and have been open ever since. It has been a quite challenging, yet very satisfying year.

I am blessed to serve as your pastor because you love one another. First Baptist Church includes many Life Groups and D-Groups where personal interaction takes place around the Word of God. As you do life together, you meet one another’s needs. Those who lose loved ones are comforted. Those who lose jobs are assisted. Those who lose hope are encouraged. Those who lose focus are reminded. You love one another well.

I am blessed to serve as your pastor because you reach out to others. You specialize in building bridges and tearing down walls. New people show up because you invite them. New people remain because you include them. You smile and speak. You open your hearts and your Life Groups to others. We exist to reach those who are not yet here. Thanks for excelling at doing so, even when life remains challenging.

I am blessed to serve as your pastor because you give generously. The Christmas season provides opportunities that you have recognized and supported. The entire year requires funding which you continue to provide. Your faithfulness in giving allows money to remain a secondary issue as we make disciples together. I remain overwhelmed by your financial support of the church and missions. I don’t know who gives what, but I do know it is given.

I am blessed to serve as your pastor because you don’t make selfish demands. Through the years we have learned that church is not about our individual preferences. Remaining multi-generational is attempted by many churches but achieved by few. You are one of those few. Thanks for downplaying your own preferences for the sake of others.

I am blessed to serve as your pastor because you serve willingly. Massive numbers of you volunteer in order to make disciples. You teach children, lead youth, help widows, and greet others. You cook and drive and go on mission. You sing songs and share testimonies and teach God’s Word. You are awesome and I thank God for you.

Merry Christmas! Earl  


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Growing in Grace” II Peter 3:14-18
  • 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

The Aromas of Christmas Past

The pungent smell of cedar permeated the cold north room.  A tree had been chopped down near the base of one of the Wichita Mountains, and mounted on a stand made of wood scraps retrieved from the pile beneath Daddy’s workbench.  Once stabilized, the tree was covered with decorations that had been hibernating in the attic.  Momma put on the lights.  My siblings and I unpacked and added the ornaments.  We took turns climbing the stool and hanging bulbs on the top part of the tree.  By the time we added the icicles we did more tossing than draping.  We never made the cover of Good Housekeeping, but we always took pride in our work.

The vivid smell of sweets filled the kitchen.  Fudge and divinity, peanut brittle, fresh coconut and five-pound candy, sugar and chocolate-chip cookies filled the containers that lined the countertop.  Round morsels made of nuts and sugar and other delicacies lay ready for us to pierce with a toothpick before dipping them into melted chocolate and lining them on wax paper.  We had teachers and special friends who would receive a round tin, each filled with a variety of treats.  We never made the cover of Taste Of Home, but we always took pride in our work. 

The unmistakable smell of Lava soap greeted us as we entered the back door.  The sink in the utility room was used by Pa-Pa to remove grease and grime from his hands.  A bar of the heavy duty cleaner always rested near the faucet.  Ours was only one of eight families that invaded my grandparent’s modest frame home and celebrated the birth of Christ.  Aroma that seeped from the multiple dishes being carried in soon overwhelmed the cleaner.  We always had a great time, even though they had only one bathroom.  

The pleasant memories I have from the past reinforce my enjoyment of Christmas.  This truly is one of the most wonderful times of the year.  Enjoy the entire month.  Replace your sighs with smiles and your frustration with satisfaction.  Go out and make this a merry Christmas.

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas…

Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Do Not Be Afraid” Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:8-14
  • 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

Life Goes On

The University of Oklahoma will continue to successfully play football. Some of the coaches are leaving. Many of the players are relocating through the transfer portal. Some recruits have decided to take their talents elsewhere. The team will not be made up of the same people, but it will be a good team – maybe the best ever!

When I first heard that Lincoln Riley was headed for USC, I thought it was a joke. I awaited the punch line in the aftermath of the Bedlam loss. No punch line came. The days that followed included vacating coaches and exiting players. The sportscasters did not adequately cover the fact that Oklahoma State was in the Big Twelve Championship game because the Sooners were in a state of flux. Things did change rapidly. Those changes will not devastate the future of Oklahoma football. Life goes on.

The church will continue to successfully make disciples. There are always some members who are coming and some who are going. In recent months, many adjustments have been made in order to fill gaps created by servants who headed for the exits. First Baptist Church will never look the same as it did before the pandemic hit, but that in no way will hinder us from fulfilling Christ’s commission to make disciples.

New servants have stepped up and continue to step up in order to fulfill vital responsibilities. New staff members have been hired and are performing their jobs with integrity and excellence. Things are not as they used to be and will never be so again. Different leaders and servants bring different ideas and strengths. Departed leaders and servants will impact the world where they live. Life keeps changing, yet God remains faithful.

The four pillars we will emphasize as we move forward are: abide, build, proclaim, and go. These are the expectations we have for every member of First Baptist Church. We expect every member to abide in Christ, build up other believers, proclaim hope through Christ, and go across the street or around the world to spread the good news. The staff and the members will change, but the mission will not. We cannot please everyone, but we can please Jesus. That’s all that really matters.

Onward and upward! Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Living For Jesus” II Peter 3:11-14
  • 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

Scott Hoffman

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