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.

Accepting Hardship

The heifer found herself orphaned. Her owners discovered her near the body of her mother, who had died while giving birth to her. Such was the non-traditional beginning of the black baldy calf. “Brownie” took two bottles of mixed formula each day while remaining in a lot, isolated from the other calves. This was not how life could have been or should have been, but this was how life was.

By the time Nancy and I met Brownie, she was doing quite well. After enjoying dinner with her owners, we were invited to participate in feeding her. Nancy traded out her sandals for a pair of rubber boots. Once the formula was mixed, and the bottle was filled, she began feeding Brownie. Periodically the heifer released her suction and butted toward Nancy. This action was natural but a bit unnerving.

As Brownie neared the bottom of the bottle, Nancy passed it off to me. I was glad to spend some time reminiscing about my years growing up on a farm. I scratched her ears and rubbed her head. Brownie, not Nancy! When the bottle emptied, Brownie romped a bit. Nancy was wearing a multi-colored dress. Brownie charged at her, and Nancy climbed onto the fence. We all laughed at Brownie’s shenanigans. She trotted around the lot and nibbled on the bottom of my jeans. She had a great time. She was as healthy as a horse and as happy as a lark.

Her circumstance was not ideal. She should have been butting an udder instead of a bottle. She should have been frolicking with the other calves instead of spending her days in the lot. She should have been monitored and protected by her mother, but her mother died. Brownie was born into less than ideal circumstances, yet she thrived. Fortunate for her, she had owners who sacrificed to meet her needs.

Most people face less than ideal situations in life. Those who thrive anyway are those who refuse to feel sorry for themselves and allow others to help them. We cannot control most things that happen to us. We can control our attitude and our reaction as we allow God to help us. Make the most of the life you have been given. It is the only one you have.

I love you, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “A Small Beginning” Acts 16:11-15
  • 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.

New Member

Ascher Price

Gathering Apricots

We ate the whole pie! Nancy had baked a fresh apricot pie at my request for Father’s Day. Our schedule turned out to not include guests for a few days, so we were able to consume all eight pieces in four short days. I did eat more ice cream than she did. I did lick my plate without shame in the privacy of our home. Nancy’s apricot pies are awesome!

Maybe I enjoy them so much because apricot trees often fail to produce fruit. Most years a freeze gets them after they bloom. But, not this year! One friend brought us multiple sacks filled from one of his trees. Another friend called and told us where he had some trees that were loaded with fruit. After Nancy had put up and given away the bounty shared by the first friend, we waited a few days before going after more apricots. 

Pristine conditions existed. The grass beneath the trees was manicured and plush. Only a few apricots lay on the ground. Someone had been taking good care of the trees and the lawn. We had no ladder. Actually, we needed no ladder. Plenty of fruit hung within our reach. The problem was determining which apricots to pick. Many were not quite ripe enough to harvest. Nancy suggested that we check each one before picking it. Doing so was a lot of trouble. Then Nancy had a better idea!

“Why don’t you shake the tree and see if the ripe apricots will fall?”

The trees were fairly large. However, I was able to shake them a bit. When I did, it hailed apricots – all of which were ripe and ready for harvest. I ate one to make sure they were tasty. They were! It took only a short time to gather all we needed for ourselves and for our friends. Shaking the tree was all that was needed to harvest the ripe apricots.

The same is true when reaching people for Jesus. If they aren’t ready, it does no good to try to make them place faith in Jesus. High pressure tactics will prove damaging to those who are not ready. When God has people ready, a simple declaration of the gospel suffices to produce repentance and faith. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.

Romans 10:17, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Strengthening the Churches” Acts 16:1-10
  • 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.

Work Ethic

By the time I had completed my attempt to receive assistance, I was extremely frustrated. I had been transferred from one department to another multiple times without receiving the help I needed. When I ended the call, I felt like I had been carrying on a conversation with nobody. I had never conversed with a human being.

I told Nancy, “I want to go somewhere and yell for all to hear, ‘Go back to work!’” The world will not operate without people doing their jobs. Besides that, God has created us to work. Work was a part of Adams routine before sin entered the picture in Genesis 3. Adam was given the task of caring for the Garden of Eden while still in his sinless state. Work has four letters, but it is not a four-letter word.

Proverbs is filled with warnings against sloth and promises for diligent effort. Our futures are greatly affected by the effort we supply in whatever we do. God never expects us to become workaholics, but He does expect us to work. It is through the work we do that we are able to supply needs for ourselves and have resources with which to help others. It is through work that we find satisfaction and fulfillment by creating and accomplishing and helping. Doing nothing is highly overrated.

Many in the church in Thessalonica was certain that Jesus was coming back very soon. Actually, they were so certain, they quit their jobs and waited for the return of Jesus. What could please God more than such great faith? Apparently getting a job and working pleased God more. Paul advised the church as a whole to quit letting members eat if they had the ability and opportunity to work, yet chose to do nothing. His conclusion was that a lack of food to eat would compel the slackers to get to work.

We cannot control many things in life. If we are healthy, we can control whether we get out of bed in the morning and go to work. Anyone willing and able to work can work. The job may not be easy or high paying, but it will be an opportunity for fulfilling our God-given mandate to work. Retirement will come soon enough. Until then, remain active in fulfilling the opportunities God allows you to have. That’s why we call it a work ethic. It is a high moral standard.

I love you, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “The Church United” Acts 15:22-35
  • 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

Lexy Stutzman

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.