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.

Fully Vaccinated

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

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

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

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

It’s not about me, Earl


FBC Happenings

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  • This Sundays Sermon “Making Disciples” Acts 14:21-28
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday.

New Member

Dayla Leonard

In View of a Call

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love you,                              Earl


  

FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Paul and Timothy” II Timothy 1:1-7
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday.

Live Life Simply

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

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

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

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

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

Live life simply, Earl


FBC Happenings


  • This Sundays Sermon “Barnabas and John Mark” Acts 15:36-41
  • Family Worship and LifeGroups, Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • Services are being posted on the church website, the church YouTube channel at FBC Weatherford Media, and on the church Facebook page at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday.