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

The First Day of School

The following article first appeared August 19, 1990 in the Harmony Baptist Church newsletter.

My little girl started Kindergarten on Monday. After a lite breakfast, she made her bed and dressed herself. Nancy fixed her hair and helped her brush her teeth before our entire family piled in the Jeep and headed for school. It was different transporting both of my children. For two years the morning ride had been exclusively a father-son experience. That will change this year.

This begins a new chapter in the life of everyone in our home – especially in the life of my wife, Nancy. For the first time in nearly eight years there will not be a small child at home to tend to from daylight until lights out. I take my hat off to you, Nancy. I commend you on an exceptional job of parenting during the “formative years.” Jason and Lynn will always be influenced by the massive doses of yourself which you poured into them.

Lynn was so excited to get a front row desk. She heard you say it was easier to pay attention and learn from the front row. She wants to do her absolute best. She can thank you for that desire. Consistently you have encouraged her and praised her and helped her to do her best at everything she attempts. She will not try to “just get by” – because she has never seen you do so.

Lynn and Jason walked hand in hand to go outside to play before school started. Unashamed of their love for one another, they hurried out onto the playground. Jason and Lynn both learned how to care about one another and others by living in the shadow of your influence throughout the past years. Your big heart and “leaky faucets” have consistently illustrated to them what it means to truly “love one another.”

When the bell rang, Lynn marched right past us as we stood on the playground. I know that was a bit hard on you. I saw your eyes begin to moisten. Yet, she was intent on getting to class and beginning her first day of school. She is secure. You gave her that, also. You have not made her emotionally dependent upon you. You have provided her with a stable base at home which makes it possible to launch out into new things with confidence.

The job is far from over. I know that. I also know that I thank God my children have you to complete the task in their lives which you have begun so well.

A woman who fears the Lord- She shall be praised. Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “MEMBERSHIP MATTERS
  • 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

Brett Miles, Alston Martin, Ava Foster, and Carson Allen

Another Serendipity

After I finished the welcome, I made my way to the front row of seats. Nancy was running lights in the booth. The front seats are like new and make it easy for me to make it back to the platform when it is time to preach. Also, I don’t hurt anyone’s ears when I sing with all my might.

Imagine my surprise when I looked to my right and saw Curtis Belcher standing next to me. He and his wife Kim had been on a short road trip and intentionally stopped in to surprise Nancy and me. I hugged him and slapped him on the back as the instruments led into the first song. It didn’t matter that the entire congregation had a bird’s eye view of my reunion with my friend. He returned to his seat. I thought back to the past.

The first time I met Curtis he came to the Harmony Baptist Church with Kim and the three girls that they had at the time. Later the number grew to four. That was the beginning of a relationship between our families that included baptisms, Bible discussions, OU football, splitting firewood, and a few practical jokes. I met with Curtis every week to discuss scripture long before I ever heard of a D-Group. We held each other accountable in our daily walk with Christ. He became one of God’s greatest gifts to me.

It was a sad day when our family left the Harmony Baptist Church and moved to Holdenville. We left behind many good friends. None were closer than the Belchers. They had become leaders in the church. They had also grown very near to our hearts. My daddy told me I would only make about five really good friends during my lifetime. It was hard to drive away.

In the decades that followed, I discovered that close friends remain close. Every time Curtis and I talk on the phone it is as if we never separated. Our hearts are uniquely knit together, making conversation easy. We have shared joys and burdens across the state. Even over the phone, it is refreshing to be supported and encouraged. We laugh and we pray and we affirm our love for one another. Life has taken some unexpected, hard turns. We never walk alone. We have the Lord Jesus and He has given us each other.

To God be the Glory! Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Proclaiming the Unknown God” Acts 17:16-34
  • 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

In View of a Call

This Sunday we will be voting on extending a call to Allison Kendall to serve full time on the staff of First Baptist Church as the Associate Minister of University and Discipleship. She comes unanimously recommended by the search committee we selected many months ago. During those months the committee has been meeting, praying, and checking resumes as they have sought God’s will. God has led them to Allison.

I concur with them wholeheartedly. She has been serving in this position during the past year. Allison was hired by the Personnel Committee to serve on an interim basis. She has done a phenomenal job. She refers to herself as a “gap filler.” She has proven herself to be much more than that.

Allison zealously pursues relationships with people. Her schedule is as full as her heart, as she aggressively fulfills her responsibilities in ministry. Her perspective during staff meetings is always helpful. Her attitude is always positive. I don’t know that I have ever seen her have a bad day. She meets needs on multiple fronts. One day she may take a college student to lunch. The next day she may take an evening meal to a grieving family. She was raised on a farm and is no stranger to hard work.

Her joining the staff is unique in two ways. First, she has been a member of First Baptist Church for 23 years. She and her husband Joel have raised their sons, Lane and Ethan, in this church. She has already been serving well with us in countless ways. God’s call on her life has been there all along. Only recently has the door opened for her to serve full time on staff as the Associate Minister of University and Discipleship.

Secondly, she is a woman. In the past, the only women staff members we have had served with children. Allison will be leading the university and discipleship ministries of the church. This is new for us. This will not violate any Biblical mandate. I am the pastor of the church and will continue to lead as such. Allison will proclaim God’s word to university students, but she will not preach on Sunday mornings. She will remain a great helper in all that we do as a church. I am elated at the possibility of continuing to serve on staff with her.

I love you,                              Earl  


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “World Changers” Acts 17:1-15
  • 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

A Serendipity

Hanna buzzed me and said someone was here to see me. She asked me to come to the foyer. I made my way toward the Northwest entrance of the church, not knowing who I would find. It tends to be a “box of chocolates” sort of thing. I never know who I will get when I receive a request like that.

His back was turned to me when I made my way past Donna’s office. I had no idea if he had come to request gas money or help with some cause. I was elated when he turned toward me and smiled.

“Calip!” I said, before hugging him with all my might.

Talk about a blast from the past. Gary Calip was a member of our 1974 graduating class at Hobart. We spent twelve years together getting an above average education in the town where Bearcats rule. His presence in any lineup dramatically improved the chances for victory. More than that, he was a great guy. His smile dominated every group picture where he appeared in the yearbook.

I took him home with me so Nancy could be a part of our conversation. Gary was headed from his home in Okmulgee to Hobart in order to visit his 91-year-old mother. We discussed the past and the future, the living and the deceased, the highs and the lows. His hip needed replaced, but his attitude was just fine. He anticipated retirement, when he would enjoy his garden and a good cup of coffee every morning.

Before he left, Nancy gave him a couple of garden grown onions, and I gave him a jar of sand plum jelly. In one way, it seemed like we hadn’t seen each other in forever. In another way, it seemed like we had just finished up our senior year before leaving for college. Time flew by, but our friendship remained intact. I drove him back to the church parking lot and said goodbye before he got into his F150.

My mother calls such events “serendipities.” Unexpected pleasures appear from time to time in life. They almost always appear in the form of a relationship we have enjoyed, are enjoying, or will enjoy. The more relationships God blesses us with in life, the better life tends to go. Make new friends but keep the old.

I love you, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Healthy Christians” Acts 16:25-40
  • 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

Jaxon Motley

Consistent and Patient

By the time Nancy and I married, my herd of cattle had expanded to supply a financial cushion for us. Through the years my daddy had always given me a heifer at the conclusion of each summer as a “bonus” for a job well done. He paid me by the hour for working as a tractor driver and a mud man. Additionally, he always rewarded me with a heifer that I could either sell or keep.

I always kept them. I also kept their heifer calves. It was a great lesson in delayed gratification and long-term investment. Daddy took care of them while I just waited for about ten years. I sold the steers and put the money in the bank. I also bought a few things along the way. Still, many of the cattle were available to sell as Nancy and I began our life together.

 I always enjoyed the cattle part of being raised on a farm. There was something peaceful about going “down yonder” to count them. It was exciting to discover a new calf on the ground. I even enjoyed feeding them and chopping ice during the winter. For me, it was more play than work. Daddy would have disagreed. The antics of some of those animals ruined many of his days. We had a bull named Larry Don who tore up more than his share of fences. I digress.

Back to the point of this article. When we consistently invest and patiently wait, things tend to expand and improve. This is true in raising cattle. This is true in saving money. This is true in making disciples. We reach out to others with the love of Christ and the truth of God’s Word. We must continue to do this over an extended period of time through the relationships we build and inside the church where we serve.

According to Galatians 6 we will eventually reap a harvest if we don’t grow weary and quit. Many do just that. Making disciples proves to be such a long-term challenge that they opt out of investing in others and focus on pleasing themselves. Following Jesus requires a long obedience in the same direction in order to reap personal benefits and make legitimate disciples. We must remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:58, Earl


FBC Happenings

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  • This Sundays Sermon “When the Road Gets Rough” Acts 16:16-24
  • 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.