The Official Blog of Faith Baptist Church
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May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother's Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to "Honor your father and mother." It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today's post comes from Lisa Brock.
My Little Mom
My mother is one of those people, perhaps easily misunderstood when you first meet her. A petite lady, now crowned with beautiful white hair, she measures only about 5’2”. From the time we were teen-agers, my three sisters and I always towered at least 5 five full inches above her. She is rather shy, blushes easily, and isn’t much for “speaking her mind”. Though her hazel eyes have that ability to express all the feeling her reserved nature prohibits her from showing, she is quiet, and demure; sometimes blends into the background. And she is small. She has delicate feet, and tiny hands. People could perhaps think she is weak, lacks imagination, has no courage, or strength; not a person who takes big risks or makes their "mark in the world."
She Read to Me
Well…these are some things I remember about my mother: I’ve seen that graceful head bent over the piano at church, accompanying as my dad and countless others sang for special music. I saw the hands leading the choir for many years, and doing Bible School crafts, or playing volleyball with the youth group. I often saw the arms hugging the kids she had led to Christ, or saw them compassionately wrapped around the shoulders of an insecure teen girl. The smallness of the hands never seemed to lack strength or ability, whether they were sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, cooking endless meals, baking and canning, painting, gardening, or any number of chores that needed to be done on our small farm. During her 20 years as a teacher, I watched those keen hazel eyes as she graded thousands of papers for her students. But she wasn’t just a teacher at school. In her beautifully articulate speech, she taught us that priceless lessons can be learned from good, well-written books. I still feel closeness to my mom when I’m transported somewhere else through classic literature. I find myself thinking, “Mom would love this: She would love it with me.” I treasure the memory of her lilting, expressive voice in my ear, reading me classic stories like The Snow Queen
, and parts of Gulliver’s Travels
and The Hobbit
. She read us books like The Cricket in Times Square
and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic
. I still love to hear her read scripture aloud; it brings back that safe and peaceful feeling of knowing truth, and watching it lived.
She Played with Me
I remember playing games with my mom; games like Flinch and Authors and Old Maid. She has a great sense of humor, and playfully sang us silly songs, or quipped something funny to brighten a tough situation. She still has her grandchildren begging her to recite “Prindercella and the Cince
” ( a story about Cinderella and the Prince that is full of malapropisms) My mom played with me. She let me dress her up and put make up on her and curl her hair; she played dolls with me, and taught me how to knit them tiny sweaters. She taught me to play Ping-Pong, and jacks, and Chinese jump-rope.
She Cared for Me and Others
Though never given to showing dramatic emotion in crisis, I remember the coolness of her small hand on my fevered forehead and then watching those delicate hands quietly clean up after me when I was sick. I also remember seeing my mom’s arms gripping the body of my older sister to comfort her through an epileptic seizure till it subsided. I was awed, years after I left home, when I came back to visit and saw the strength of those small arms, as she lifted her own paralyzed mother, and diapered her each night. She cared for her mom for three years, during which her mother-in-law also came to live with them, and then she participated in caring for them both until their death. Neither ever went to a long-term nursing facility.
She Prayed with Me
Those beautiful hands held mine countless times around our table in prayer, and I knew when I watched them holding her worn and tattered Bible, what she truly valued most. Her tiny wedding ring was a fascinating “play thing” during the hundreds of church services we attended as small children, and only now do I understand the depth of its significance. It made me happy and secure to see my mom’s sweet smile flashed at my dad, as they spoke to one another. I remember watching her curiously as she fixed her hair, and put on fresh lipstick, just because she knew he was coming home soon.
She Taught Me By Her Example
Those delicate feet have walked into many homes to serve and encourage the old and young, believers and non-believers. She, by example, taught me the grace of being thoughtful, and slow to speak, and how important it is to choose my words carefully. She taught me the significance of being a good listener and a caring, generous friend.
Her arms have embraced my husband and held my children. Over the years, we have received hundreds of cards of love and encouragement, carefully chosen, and signed in her graceful handwriting. Throughout our home are many handmade things that “Gramma made me”. They are treasured.
She Taught Me to Seek the Good in Each Situation
I can still hear her voice reminding us to seek the good in each situation, to pity and encourage the weak, and to try to think the best of others. She always sought to share the gospel with us and those around her, weaving it in and through her daily experience. She comforted and stood by us when we failed, and always reminded us to do our best for God’s glory. Whenever she speaks of God’s greatness, her eyes are alive; they are energetic and animated, and twinkle with excitement and joy. I have also seen those eyes sympathetic and grave with sorrow and concern, yet always peaceful and confident in Her Savior. I’ve often seen them closed in prayer. Her sweet voice is lifted daily, in fervent supplication for me, my family and so many others, and her small hands are lifted in constant, humble praise for Her Lord’s provisions and blessings.
My little mom taught me these fundamental, life-altering truths
in a myriad of small ways:
- God, what He says, and His people are the only things that are the only things that are eternal, and truly important.
- I am not the center of the Universe; God is, and His Glory and Honor is my principle purpose.
- God’s Agenda always supersedes and overrides mine.
- Prayer is a demonstration of my dependency on and trust in, that Sovereign God.
So what is the measure of the influence of this one, small woman on me?
It is huge. Enormous. Immense. Just like my gratitude. Will I fill her shoes? God grant me grace to ever be that big.
Cindy Harrell (on right) with her mother
May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother's Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to "Honor your father and mother." It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today's post comes from Cindy Harrell.
What Makes My Mother Great?
Her Dedication to Her Family
Who can raise 4 kids born in less than 4 years with a wringer washer and cloth diapers and formula (because the doctor said she shouldn’t nurse)? My mom did, cooking meals from scratch, baking goodies from scratch, and sewing clothes for her children. My mom was very industrious, and probably very tired. She did not have the conveniences that we have, yet I never remember her complaining. She faithfully did what she needed to do to meet our needs. She put our needs above her own, making us new clothes while she wore her old ones.
Throughout the years, my mom was there for me. When I got home from school, she was there. Many times I would walk around the table and talk to her while she was busy in the kitchen. l still go to her when I need someone to talk to. She is a very good listener. She has been very supportive of me in my adult life, from encouraging me in the raising of my kids, to encouraging us to get counseling when our marriage was on the rocks. She has always been there for me, not giving up on me and faithfully praying for me.
She also encourages me to live a healthy life by her example. Whenever she has a health issue, she will research it and change her diet if she needs to. She still cooks a meal most days and bakes bread and other baked goods. She exercises faithfully and takes vitamins. Sometimes I think she is healthier than I am.
Her Dedication to the Church
She not only worked at home, but she also was active in our church. When I was in fourth grade, my dad became pastor of a small church and he pastored the rest of my growing up days. My mom was a very good Pastor’s wife, doing whatever needed to be done. She played piano. She made bulletins, without the convenience of a computer. She had to type on special copy paper. If you made a mistake, it was not an easy task to fix it. She spent a lot of time making the bulletin look nice. Sometimes she taught a Sunday School class. She spent time preparing her lessons. She is still involved in the church, teaching and playing piano and preparing meals when there is a need.
Her Dedication to God
I believe much of what has helped my mother throughout the years has been her faith in God and her faithfulness to God. She has made prayer a regular part of her life. She loves God and it shows in the way she lives her life.
Connie Simpson with her two sons Scott & Stephen
May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother's Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to "Honor your father and mother." It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today's post comes from Stephen Simpson.
What Makes My Mother so Great?
My mother is honest. I trust her completely. Some mothers tell their children what they (the children) want to hear instead of what they need to hear. Some mothers mislead and even lie to their children. It is a tremendous gift from God that I can trust my mother. She keeps her word.
I have seen few people as compassionate as my mother. I have watched her lovingly care for two different individuals in their final years. The patience and kindness she demonstrated was truly uncommon. I have also been on the receiving end of her compassion many times. There have been some dark and difficult times in my life. At those times, my mother has been there with tremendous acts of compassion. What a blessing it is to have a compassionate mother!
Her Love for Her Grandchildren
Another reason that my mother is great is this: She loves her grandchildren. I have seen grandparents grow indifferent to their grandchildren. I have seen grandparents have little or no relationship with their grandchildren. This is not true of my mother. She loves her "GrandS" and she loves them all equally. There have been many times when she has called just to see if she could come over and see her GrandS. She loves hugging them and spending time with them. She will gladly prepare an impromptu picnic in her backyard at the request of a granddaughter. It is such a blessing for my children to have a grandmother who loves them.
Her Love for My Father
It is becoming increasingly uncommon to see a mother who faithfully loves the father of her children for over 40 years. Too often, today's marriages are viewed as temporary relationships. Since 1969, my mother has loved my father. I have watched her love him, support him, care for him, and encourage him all of my life. This is one of the best gifts that she has given to my brother and me. This truly makes her a great mother.
My mother is not perfect. But, she is great. She has her weaknesses. But, her strengths are unsurpassed. May God raise up more mothers like mine. I thank God that Connie Simpson is my mother.
RaQuel Love with her mother, Cindi Love
May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother's Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to "Honor your father and mother." It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today's post comes from RaQuel Love, a 17-year old member of our congregation.
What Makes My Mom So Great?
This question can be asked to many people and the answer will never be the same. I wanted to know what other people thought of their moms, so I went and asked. “My mom is someone who is always there for me, someone very special to me.” Another lady said, “ My mom gives me advice, and will never judge me.” Then I started to think about my mom. What all she has done for me in the 17 years I’ve been alive? There is so much to say, so, I better get started :)
She is Loving
My mom loves and she has always gone out of her way for me. There are 4 of us kids, so when it comes down to it, there's not much left over at the end of the month. She always finds a way to get us where we need to go, or get us what we need. She loves all the friends we bring over, and I mean a lot of friends! She is always the life of the party, and I don't mind! My friends love coming over and hanging with my mom because she is so cool and loving. She can make a dinner made for 6 into a dinner for 12 in no time at all. Her motto will always be, “ If you want to see me, all are welcome. If you want to see the house, make an appointment.”
She is an Encourager
My mom is an encourager and a hard worker. Our family has gone through a lot through the years and my mom has always been there to comfort me, encourage me and love me. I can't think of a time when my mom wasn't there to help me with my algebra, or help me figure out my future. My mom has always been an encourager to my family and other families as well. My mom has also gone back to college to further her own education and has also found time to coach my brother's baseball team. I don't know how she manages to find time for everything!
She Loves God
My mom lives for the Lord in everything she does. My mom loves God with all her heart and it shows everyday. She teaches us God's Word every night in our family devotions and has always told us to be a testimony. Every time we walk out of the house she always tells us to be a blessing. She is such an inspiration to me because when I am down about something she is always there for me and always has a Bible verse to help me up.
There is so much more I could write about, but there is not enough paper in the world to describe my mommy to you! So, what makes my mom so great? Is it everything she does for me? Is it her uplifting and joy-filled spirit? Yes! It is all this and a whole lot more! She is the love of my life and my whole world! I LOVE YOU MOMMY!
Esther & Nicki Simpson
May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother's Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to "Honor your father and mother." It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today's post comes from three small children: Abigail (age 6), Esther (4), and Josiah (almost 17 months). They write about their mommy ~ Nicki Simpson. Actually, they told me, and I wrote it down :).
What is So Great About Your Mommy?
- "She takes care of us." Abigail
- "She hugs us." Esther
- "She tucks us in for bed." Esther
- "She takes us out to eat and to the park." Abigail
- "She takes us to the library so I can do my quizzes and get more books." Abigail
- "She takes us to church." Abigail
- "She coached our soccer team." Abigail
- Abigail said her mommy is great because "She has us as her children."
- "She taught me how to read." Abigail
- "She taught me how to read the alphabet books." Esther
- "She takes care of us and helps us when we are hurt by putting bandaids on our boo-boos." Esther
- "She reads books to us." Abigail
- "She is so great because of everything she endured to bring me into this world." Josiah
- "She lets me tickle her neck." Josiah
Josiah, Abigail, & Esther Simpson
Suzanne Harrell and her mom, Cindy Harrell
May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother's Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to "Honor your father and mother." It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today's post comes from Suzanne Harrell.
When I think of “great,” my years as a history major in college inevitably bring Alexander the Great to mind, who conquered countries and expanded his empire through sheer military prowess and power. My sister, on the other hand, thinks of the Great Depression when she thinks of “great,” where an entire country was plunged into an economic depression and forced to change lifestyles and learn to unite. Dictionary.com defines “great” as “unusually . . . large in size”; “large in number”; “considerable in degree, power, or intensity”; “wonderful”; and “being such in an extreme or notable degree.” Pastor Osborne would invariably say that no one can be truly great except for God. While he is right, there are some people in my life who have had a great impact on me, and one of these people is my mother.
My Mother's Dedication
My mother’s dedication has made a great impact on me. Throughout my life, my parents never had the easiest marriage. I can remember crying in my room while listening to them argue in the living room. I know now that all married couples occasionally argue, but when I was little it seemed like no marriage could survive such hurtful words. I once asked my parents if they would ever get a divorce, and I will never forget what they told me. They would never get a divorce, they said, because they were Christians, and they made a commitment before God to stay true to each other for the rest of their lives. I know that at times it was hard, but because of dedication to God and her family, my mom stuck it out and today shows her dedication through her care of and for us.
My Mother's Love
My mother’s love is another thing that has made a great impact on my life. Whenever I was little and would burst into uncontrollable tears, my mother was the one who could make everything seem better just by putting her arms around me. When I would call home from college, homesick and lonely, my mother’s comfort and encouragement got me through it. To this day, when I’m upset and emotional, I’ll often cry, “I want my mom!” Although my sisters and I have given her more than our share of pain and heartache, she still loves enough to want what’s best for us and to do what she can to help us achieve that.
My Mother's Example
Finally, my mother’s example has made a great impact on my life. I feel extremely blessed to have been raised in a Christian household. I often wonder: if it weren’t for my parents, would I have ever come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? Or would I be like many of my students—lost, lonely, and headed in all sorts of wrong directions? To point my sisters and I in the right direction, my mom made sure we were in church every Sunday. She homeschooled us and included Bible courses. She took us to AWANA and VBS. To this day, she advises us on our problems by pointing us to the Bible. My mother’s Christian example had a great impact on me.
My Mother Has Had a Great Impact on My Life
Because of her dedication, love, and Christian example, my mom has made, and continues to make, a great impact on my life. Some define “great” in terms of power and strength; some define it in terms of leadership; I define it in terms of personal impact. My mom has had a great impact on my life, and I love her so much.
May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother's Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to "Honor your father and mother." It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today's post comes from Theresa Beveridge.
I have vague memories of my mother. When I was very little my mother made the 3 of us mickey mouse ears so we could be one of the mouseketters! Cmon those of you that watched this, what did they say MIC (see you real soon!) KEY (why? because we like you!) M O U S E. I also have memories of coming home from school to find several loaves of freshly baked bread. Yum!
Being that my father was a brick mason and did not have much work in the winter, it was never hard for my mother to make soup from going to the market and asking for bones. She could make any kind of soup out of any bones.
I was born in Arlington, VA. I grew up in Mclean, VA. We rented a farm. From about 10 on we lived in Falls Church VA. I was one of 7 children the 3 oldest were all married and gone. My oldest sister gave birth to her first son and 30 days later my mom gave birth to her baby. The 4th oldest was still at home.
What I miss the most about my mother is her harmonizing gospel songs. Some times she could get as low as a bass. She always liked the songs 'Daddy sang bass momma sang tenor' and 'The Old rugged Cross.'
May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother's Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to "Honor your father and mother." It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today's post comes from Rebecca Hosford.
My mother's name is Bessie Hosford. My Mother is always patient, always kind. She is my best friend. She knows when I feel bad or sad, she knows exactly what to say. She never lets me down. There is nothing I wouldn't do for her. She taught me how to live righteously. Her rule was,
"Do unto others as you would have done unto you."
My own brother lives by this rule and he does not believe in God! But what strength she passes down, I do not know, I only hope to make her proud! If my own son could look up to me the way I do to her... well I pray and praise God all day for her, who is still in my world. So now I worship God and give thanks for my church family, but none would replace the love I have for my Mother each and every day!
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boost, it is not proud, It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
If you would put my Mother in place of the word Love or charity, well that describes how great my Mother is. My prayers go out to all who have lost a Mother like mine. Keep her close in your heart, try to give back the love she gave you. And to those who never had a Mother quite like this, I pray you will meet a woman that could be a Mother to you. God bless Faith Baptist Church.
Sarah Parmer (on right) & her mother (Suzie Durden)
May is the time of year when we celebrate Mother's Day. Ephesians 6:2 reminds us that we are to "Honor your father and mother." It is always right to honor your mother. This year, we invited members of our congregation to share with us the secrets of being a great mother. Today's post comes from a new mother in our congregation - Sarah Parmer
What makes my mother so great?
I smile to myself because the answer to this question is quite simple for me. My mother is great because not only is she my mother, she’s also my best friend. Most women come to this realization when they’ve become an adult. I knew that my mother was my best friend when I was young.
The Ruby Ring
Growing up, my mother made every holiday and occasion special. She always put a lot of thought into a gift before she gave it. There is one gift, in particular, that I cherish more than the others. As a child, I can remember playing in my mother’s jewelry box. She had two rings that I distinctively remember. One was an aquamarine solitaire, her birthstone, and the other had two flowers cut out of rubies. She’d let me look at them, but I wasn’t allowed to wear them. In May of 2005, my family celebrated with me as I graduated from college. I received many wonderful gifts that day, but the gift inside a small box is the one I remember the most. That gift was from my mother and inside the box was the ruby ring from her jewelry box. I remember looking at her, the ring in the box, and then back at her with confusion. She had once told me that my grandparents had given her the ring as a gift. All at once, everything began to make sense. My grandparents had given her the ring as a college graduation gift and she was doing the same for me. All of my graduation gifts are special to me as are those who gave them, but the most special gift of all that evening was the beautiful ruby ring and the look of pride in my mother’s eyes as she gave it to me.
She Has Always Been There
My mother has always been a shoulder when I’ve needed someone to lean on. From the devastating heartbreak I felt when a boy in school didn’t like me back to hearing the news from my specialist that conceiving a child was going to be a little harder for my husband and me, she has always been there for support. I can recall my first day of middle school. I was a brand new sixth grader in a sea of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. My mother drove me to school that morning and walked me onto the campus. The bell hadn’t rung yet, and students weren’t allowed inside the halls. I can remember standing in the courtyard with my backpack on and telling my mother not to leave just yet. She was going to be late to work, and she reminded me of that fact several times, but she didn’t leave. She stood in that courtyard with what I’m sure felt like millions of preteens and waited until I told her it was ok for her go. My mother has always been there for me when I’ve needed her the most.
She Has Loved Me Through It All
Now that I’m a mother myself, I truly understand the depth of my own mother’s love for me. She has put up with a lot from me over the years. From my relentless cries as a newborn (apparently I was a terrible baby!) to my sassy, obnoxious mouth as a teenager, she has loved me through it all
. And I know she’ll continue to love me-- that’s what makes all mothers so special.
‘If He Did It Back Then/He’ll Do It Again’
The Southern Gospel group Signature Sound has recorded a song called “The God of Today.” The chorus says:
For the God of the past,
Is the God of today.
If He did it back then,
He'll do it again,
He forever remains the same,
So trust in His unchanging power,
And follow Him come what may,
For the God of the past,
Is the God of today.
The Kingdom of Darkness
Several years ago, I got to read Port of Two Brothers: The Amazing Story ofTwo Missionary Brothers and Their Work on the Amazon
, by Paul Schlener. Paul and his brother John evangelized and discipled a tribe of Indians called the Ticuna. These pagans were some of Satan’s choicest servants in the kingdom of darkness until “the Father … qualified [them] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light,” delivering them “from the power of darkness” and conveying them “into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (see Colossians 1:12–14). Schlener writes:
“Those people were in a sad state of spiritual, moral, and intellectual darkness.”
Any evil thing that goes on in Winter Haven went on in the Amazon Jungle, and the book gives some horrific details. Drunkenness, knife fights, revenge killings, physical and sexual abuse, thievery—all were a way of life. After the Schleners started ministering among the Ticunas, the two brothers “were convinced that Satan would not let these people go without a fight.” But God gloriously saved many of the Ticunas and transformed their tribe, much like Pastor Osborne’s vision for Winter Haven.
The Kingdom of the Son of God’s Love
When the Schleners started holding Brazilian church services, “in an unprecedented manner, our Indian friends crowded the Brazilian services on Sunday morning
,” says Schlener. The missionaries then began Indian services, which were, he says, “inaugurated with at least 100 in attendance. Within a few weeks, the congregation increased to almost 500
.” An American pastor who had visited the Schleners’ work encouraged the brothers, writing:
We’re asking God for a great harvest of souls—1,000 of them—why not? Is not our God able? Is this not His will? And if you are faithful, and if we are faithful, what can keep this from being accomplished? God bless you!
God did bless, and the church grew.
the Ticuna “didn’t have a written language, nor could they read or write Portuguese, the language of Brazil. . . . Officially the Indians were considered minors, a nation within a nation.”
So the missionaries opened a small school. Every night, a handful of their students went home and taught their families and neighbors to read and write. Christian Indians later began additional schools, camps, and churches. Several went to seminary and became pastors.
“Literacy, accompanied with biblical teaching, brought higher moral standards, making life better for everyone in the Port of Two Brothers area, including the traders. The Indians began to produce more, but cheat and steal less. It took years of perseverance, maintaining an acceptable reputation in the area, to gain a good relationship with the business people.”
The following testimony illustrates the change in the Ticunas’ lives.
Nearly 800 were present one Sunday when a youth interrupted the service by walking the aisle during Paul Schlener’s sermon. He said:
My father was a pajeh [witch doctor]. No like Christians. Never come church. Come home drunk; beat my mother; beat us whole family. We run, hide in jungle. We poor. No shoes, ragged clothes. We hear neighbors across creek singing. They happy, we sad.
Always neighbors invite Dad go church. Never go. One day Dad go, but stay in soccer field. Listen singing. Hear you two holler. Next time come closer. Stay outside, just listen. Next time come inside, stand in back. One time, he accept Christ as Savior. No more get drunk. Not pajeh no more. No more beat my mother. Work hard. All family have shoes now. Little brothers learn to read and write. Pray before eat. Nighttime recite Bible verses brothers learn in school. If God do that for Dad, can do for me, too. I’m oldest brother, need Christ, too. I accept Him today.
As their lives changed, the believers influenced their unsaved peers. For example, when the missionaries noticed a man and his son-in-law absent from church services, they asked around and learned their family had moved. They also found out why: the two men had murdered a third man on advice from a witch doctor, and their neighbors objected:
All neighbors around, explained one of the Christians, don’t want them live here no more. Can’t do that no more. Old life, long ago; we know God now. Still some believe pajeh, not accept God’s Son yet.
Souls saved. Illiterates educated. Families healed. Work ethic transformed. Generosity increased. Testimonies confirmed.
If God “did it back then” for the Ticuna Indians of Brazil (and He certainly did!), “He’ll do it again” for unbelievers in Winter Haven, particularly Inwood.
When we pray, serve, and give, we have a part in that glorious work!
Did you hear about the teenagers whose SUV ran off the road into a pond? Six of the eight died. I felt bad as I read about them the first time. Their poor families!
Then I learned more—they had stolen the SUV. One of the mothers shared that her son and his best friend “lied about staying over at each other’s homes that evening.” She thinks they went to a party. “If only he had listened,” she says. “I told him, ‘Don’t you go nowhere.’ But they’re kids” (Fox News
). I felt worse. This was no tragic accident of innocent people doing nothing wrong. This was a consequence of sinful choices. Oh, if they had only made wise choices! (If only they had just been getting up to get ready for Sunday School that morning!)
“But they’re kids.” That mother may mean that children—or in this case, teenagers—often think they know better than adults, that they are indestructible, that bad things won’t/can’t happen to them.
The Bible has a word for this. In the King James Version, it’s “froward.” It means “habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition.” Obviously, not all kids are froward and all froward people are not kids. Certainly, before we accepted Christ as our Savior, we were disposed to disobedience and opposition. Our sinful hearts were froward. And just like any other sin, frowardness can raise its ugly head even in a believer’s heart. That’s why God tells us to submit ourselves to Him (James 4:7).
Here’s another word, “presumptuous.” It means “overstepping due bounds; taking liberties.” King David asked God to keep him from presumptuous sins. The NIV puts it this way: “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression” (Psalm 19:13; italics added).
Those teens who stole a vehicle and went joyriding, or whatever they were doing, disobeyed the law, parents, and common sense. They willfully did wrong. There were consequences. Deadly consequences.
It is taking liberties (presuming) on God’s mercy to assume He will not let us suffer the consequences of our unwise choices or our sin. And it greatly dishonors Him when we disobey and oppose Him (are froward).
Twenty years ago, the Lord taught me a lesson from the life of James Jordan Sr. He did not do anything wrong, but he did do something that ended in his death: he pulled over to the side of the road in his Lexus to take a nap—something he and others did frequently. In the past, it hadn’t been dangerous to do that, but by 1993 it was.
Two young men spotted his car, killed him, and stole the vehicle. The lesson: don’t presume that because you’ve often done something unwise without horrible consequences that you won’t ever face consequences. When I have a choice to make, I often remind myself that because I seemed to get away with something before (like pulling to the side of the road in a bad area of town or traveling without a cell phone), “I can’t count on getting away with it again. Remember James Jordan.” This carries over into the area of sin too.
That’s a lesson I hope the young people of Faith Baptist Church learn now, especially those disposed to a froward or presumptuous attitude. God’s Word says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man [or woman/boy/girl/youth] sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Learn from James Jordan—presume on God’s protection when you do something unwise, and there may be consequences.
Learn from those eight teens—sow willful disobedience and opposition, and there will be consequences.
I recently finished Albert Mohler's
new book, The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters
. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it. With only 213 pages, the book was easily accessible and I never felt bogged down. Mohler structured the book around 25 short leadership principles and spent one chapter on each one. My favorite chapters were Leaders are Readers (12), Leadership as Stewardship (16), The Leader as Writer (20), and The Leader's Legacy (25).
Here are some highlights from the book.
- "Management is not the same as leadership." p. 16
- "You can divide all leaders into those who merely hold an office or position and those who hold great convictions." p. 25
- "This book is written with the concern that far too much of what passes for leadership today is mere management. Without convictions you might be able to manage, but you cannot really lead." p. 26
- "A robust and rich model of Christian thinking - the quality of thinking that culminates in a God-centered worldview - requires that we see all truth as interconnected." p. 45
- "Passion must arise out of conviction." p. 52
- "When the mission is ambiguous and the beliefs of the organization are nebulous, passion dissipates quickly." p. 55
- "The conscious denial of reality is a central danger of leadership, and the leader must defend against this temptation." p. 61
- "If the right decision were always clear to everyone, we would not need leaders." p. 63
- "The best leaders know that the road to great effectiveness is paved with intentional communications, and the very best leaders are always learning how to be even more effective as communicators." p. 92
- "If a leader has to look for a message, his leadership is doomed." p. 92
- "When a true leader shows up, we already know what he is going to say." p. 97
- "A leader without accountability is an accident waiting to happen." p. 112
- "Common goals are the product of intensive communication, enduring influence, and constant affirmation." p. 118
- "The sovereignty of God puts us in our place, and that place is in God's service." p. 135
- "Leaders have to be concerned not only with what their organization is doing but with what it ought to be doing." p. 138
- "Indecisiveness is one of history's greatest leadership killers." p. 142
- "Leaders will be humble, or they will be humbled." p. 154
- "Leaders write because words matter and because the written word matters longer and reaches farther than the words we speak." p. 172
- "The leaders who make the biggest difference are those with long tenure." p. 191
- "Leaders often overestimate what can be accomplished in a single year, but underestimate what can be accomplished in a decade." p. 194
- "There is no place as humbling as a cemetery - and there is no place more likely to remind the leader of the limits of one's leadership." p. 201
- "There are no indispensable people, only indispensable convictions." p. 202
- "The leader's central concern with regard to legacy is the perpetuation of conviction." p. 208
Buy this book today from Amazon
Some highlights from David Totman's Messages:
- Friday Night "Pursuing God"
- "The righteous pursue a relationship with God and enjoy its results."
- "Can I describe my relationship with God as a 'pursuit?'"
- "The wise person chooses to 'plant' themselves near God. The foolish person chooses the wisdom of the world and distances themselves far from God."
- The tree in Psalm 1 was planted 'intentionally' by the streams of water. It was no accident.
- "Being blessed is a result of choosing the right path. There is a blessing that comes from choosing to place ourselves right next to God."
- Sunday morning "The Power of Influence"
- "There is a lot of grey in our society today."
- What are the major influences in my life? We must be discerning about our sources of influence.
- The righteous person avoids sinful influences.
- The righteous person desires God's influence.
- "Is what is coming through your phone influencing you in a positive way?"
Jeff & Becky Raymond
Jeff & Becky Raymond, Visual Communications Missionaries with ABWE
- The Raymonds help other missionaries communicate clearly and effectively with their supporters.
- "Whatever God is asking you to do, He will give you everything you need to do it." Becky Raymond (from the Sunday night Q & A)
- The Raymonds facilitate short-term mission assignments for professional photographers/videographers. They will send them out to the field to help document a particular missionary or ministry.
- Prayer Requests:
- Unsaved neighbors
- Strength to face spiritual battles
- visit their website - http://www.raymond.abwe.org/
Dan & Marsha Haynes
Dan & Marsha Haynes, Mali, FBM
- "Serving the Lord as a long-term career missionary is not a sacrifice. It is an honor and a privilege." Dan Haynes (from Sunday night Q & A)
- The Haynes have had a long and fruitful ministry in Mali.
- Prayer Requests:
- With the unrest and unstable situation in Mali, the Haynes request prayer for clear direction for their future.
- Malian Christians - That God would strengthen them during these difficult times.
Dan & Sherri Lethers
Dan & Sherri Lethers, pre-field ministry, headed to Togo, ABWE
- Both Dan & Sherri worked at Word of Life. It reminded me of the importance and value of summer camp. Many individuals and saved and called into ministry at summer camp.
- Prayer Requests:
- The people of Togo
- That God would provide the resources to build the radio station in Togo
- That their family would thrive in Togo
- visit their website: http://hoperadio.abwe.org/lethers-family
- Meeting Pastor Nouh, a persecuted Pastor from Mali - He spoke with so much passion and energy.
Pastor & Mrs. Nouh Yattara
- Spending time with Colin & Teena Ovenell, (www.beninbound.org) FBM Missionaries from Benin. They were passing through Winter Haven on their way to their home in Washington state. It was good to spend some face-to-face time with them and to hear about their ministry.
Colin & Teena Ovenell
A Praying Church
Have you noticed that some of Faith’s members are looking
slimmer, healthier, more buffed? Would you believe that their appearance is an
answer to a BIG prayer? Last March 4, small prayer groups prayed “that all of
Faith Baptist Church will be good stewards of our relationships, our bodies
, our families, our homes, our
, and everything that God has given us to manage” (emphasis
added). That is indeed a BIG prayer!
Did God answer 100 percent of those requests in 100 percent
of our membership—I like to think yes; some of us are just slower to respond,
but the Holy Spirit is still working, still answering this BIG prayer.
And speaking of 100 percent of our membership, that
membership has increased to at least 1,000, largely in answer to BIG prayers,
like this one, also from Mar. 4, 2012: “That souls will be saved, new believers baptized
, and that
discipleship will happen at every level.”
Or how about this BIG prayer, one that cannot be answered in
the short-term: “That Faith Baptist Church will have the courage to see the FX
vision all the way to the end—an entire community changed by the gospel”! All
the children who have believed on Jesus Christ through the FX ministry are the
fruits of this BIG prayer and the hope for “an entire community changed by the
gospel.” Now we’re asked to pray for and give toward establishing the first
Faith Baptist Refuge, a courageous step toward fulfillment of the FX vision.
On Mar. 25, 2012, Faith members prayed “that God blesses our
April Faith Day
offering on Sunday.” With an offering of over $130,000, God’s
answer was a big YES! (You can read specifically about April Faith Day 2012 here
BIG Answers from the Past
Dot Malcolm, one of the church’s charter members, recalls
some BIG answers to prayer.
One of our deacons, Pete Jenks, was critically injured
in an accident. This was when our church was new. He had a head injury; he had
broken ribs, a broken hip. It was touch and go. His wife, a nurse, stood by
him, took him home in a full body cast, she was working full-time, they had
four children, they were living in a mobile home. We just prayed and prayed.
She had to teach him the alphabet all over again; she had to teach him to feed
himself—it was just amazing. Yet he had a quick recovery. And to this day you
would never know about the injuries because he has been able to compensate
because now his brain causes him to read backwards, but he’s done it so for so
many years now that he’s used to it. That was a big prayer request and a big
thing for our church to go through when we were just new.
Even finding places to meet—God answered those prayers.
God answered prayers for property. God answered prayers for our first pastor,
Missionary Pastor Willard Benedict. Then when we had some really challenging
times come along, God helped us through those. And then when we were two years
without a pastor, God sent such wonderful men to the pulpit at that time who
just kept our church going.
A large prayer group formed, and we prayed and prayed
for a pastor. God sent us Pastor Osborne, and that’s probably one of the
biggest blessings our church has ever experienced, because he has taught us and
shown us what we were and what we should be.
Pastor is very plain about God not being pleased with a
critical spirit, to love people where they are, and to try to see them as God
sees them, where they’re going to be. All the discipleship classes available
and Bible study groups available we never had before. And the programs—it seems
like a lot of programs that our church is involved in, but they’re all helping
to show people Jesus Christ. That’s our purpose. And they’re tools, and we’re
just so privileged to have the people who can head up those programs and keep
them going and give them insight as to where they want to be in a few years
with that. And, of course, our pastor is a visionary. He stretches our faith,
and that’s a good thing. So we have been challenged through the years, and God
has been faithful to lead us along through the good and the bad times.
We’re so thankful for where we are today, and we know
that we have much to learn, and we’re eager to learn, eager to continue
learning, and to be able to just serve the Lord on this corner and to reach out
to the whole world where He sends us.
It is no surprise that
Faith has been and continues to be a praying church.
Dot says that large prayer group—about 30—met before every
evening service. “We were just praying mainly for a pastor at that time,” she
says. Over the years, “that prayer group has dwindled down to where there are
two or three of us now, but we still meet—mainly to pray for different
individuals in our church—people who are ill or people who are hurting or any
specific need in our church.” This group still meets every Sunday evening at
‘BIG Prayers’ Groups
People in “BIG prayers” groups met the first three months of
2012 and have been meeting in these early months of 2013. Volunteers lead the
groups, which comprise the leader and those he or she invites to join; and they
meet when and where they choose. That’s not to say the groups are closed to
newcomers. If you are interested in joining a “BIG prayers” group, contact the
Other Prayer Groups
Most of the “BIG prayers groups” disband after April FaithDay
(the first Sunday in April), but the Faith family has plenty of
opportunities to join other prayer groups that meet regularly.
privileged to attend a monthly meeting to pray for six or eight of our
missionaries. Most of them work in connection with the USA. Then, once a month
on Mornings for Missions, we meet together and remember the camp ministry at
Camp Gilead and organizations that carry on missionary work if we have some
requests from them.—Lorraine Hooser
In a letter dated Feb. 27, 2013, Pastor Osborne wrote:
and Prayer Leaders and I are urging and pleading with all of you to enter the
month of March on your knees with us for a 31 day season of INTENSE PRAYER.
Every day will find us—and I hope everyone of our church members—on our knees
fervently praying for God to save souls in Winter Haven, praying that the
baptismal waters would be constantly used, praying that God would show His
powerful and victorious hand in establishing the first Faith Baptist Refuge,
establishing Faith Baptist Christian Academy, and building a new auditorium
that will be used to transform lives for generations to come. That Intense
Prayer time will culminate on Easter Sunday March 31st with a service of
Glorious Praise. I pray you and your family will join us in those days of
Our leadership has BIG faith, so they’re not afraid to ask
God for BIG things. As a church family we have a BIG future of ministry to look
forward to—because God gave the vision, honors our faith, and is glorified in
granting our BIG requests.
How About You?
Which prayer group are you a part of? To learn more about any of these prayer groups please contact our church office
Have you ever heard of April Faith Day
? Hopefully, if you are a part of FBC, you will answer YES. Every year since 2000, April Faith Day has been held on the first Sunday of April. On this day, we take a sacrificial offering. Over the years the purpose of the offering has varied. Originally, April Faith Day started to help FBC pay off our debt. Then the focus changed to help us begin funding Faith's 100
. Later, the focus changed again as we began a Building campaign.
One hallmark of April Faith Day is the gifts that are given away each year. Each year, several gifts are given from the offering that is collected. Since 2000, $223,500 has been given away. Consider some of the gifts that have been given in the past.
- $10,000 to help Russian children attend summer camp
- $10,000 to help an African pastor buy a truck that will assist him in ministry
- $10,000 to help an African school build and furnish a classroom building
- $10,000 to help a church in The Philippines finish their building project
- $5,000 to help a Haitian orphanage
- many more gifts to local Camps, foreign missionaries, & other mission agencies
April Faith Day is always a significant day. I encourage you to even now begin praying about what God would have you to do. Don't make a quick decision in the car on the way to church. Start praying and planning today. Visit our April Faith Day
page to learn specifically about April Faith Day 2013.
Here are some articles that have been posted on our blog about previous April Faith Days:
As we gear up for our 10th FPU class, we thought it would be helpful to feature a short interview with our FPU coordinators Paul and Bethel Cleveland. If you have never taken this life-changing class, consider signing up today. Our next class begins on March 3rd.
1. How did you first get introduced to Dave Ramsey and FPU and when did you first take the class?
When we became engaged 5 years ago, Paul bought the online version of the class for us. We each took the class at our own leisure and then discussed it with each other. We made the decision to never use credit cards again. This was our first real introduction to Dave Ramsey and his baby steps.
2. How did the class help your personal finances?
FPU truly put us on the same page in our finances. Taking it while engaged was the best thing we could do. When we got married, we quickly combined our finances and started living on a monthly zero-based budget where every dollar has a name. Because of Dave Ramsey’s teachings, we are debt-free, have a 6-month emergency fund and the right amount of insurance, and are contributing both to our retirement and our girl’s college funds.
3. When did you first begin leading the class at Faith and what drew you to the FPU ministry?
We married in October of 2008. While on a trip to NC over Christmas, we were listening to Dave Ramsey's podcast. We had been seriously praying about a ministry where we could serve. One of the calls on the radio that day was from FPU coordinators who were offering FPU at their church and seeing the difference that made in people's lives. We discussed it together and decided this was the ministry to which God was leading us. We had Pastor and Jill over for dinner in mid-January and asked if we could bring this ministry to our church. Pastor readily agreed that this was a necessary and vital ministry to bring to our church. We began leading the class in March of 2009.
4. Do you know how many families have gone through the class at Faith?
We have had over 140 units (single, couple, or family) take FPU at our church. This does not take into account those who have taken it multiple times. We encourage those who are not part of this count to consider joining our next class starting March 3rd. All previous class members are welcome to take it again as part of their lifetime membership.
5. Do you know how much debt these families have paid off while taking this class?
In each class, we have added up the class debt at the beginning of the class and the end of the class. In every class, significant amounts of debt are paid off. This is caused by class members making the conscious decision to consistently apply what they are learning, allowing them to win in their finances. One of our favorite things about leading this ministry is having former class members come up and share what a positive impact the class has made in their relationships and finances.
6. I've heard that FPU has undergone some changes. Can you explain what has changed?
Yes, FPU has changed. The 13-week course has become a 9-week course with additional sessions available to watch online. The class format is now a half-hour shorter allowing us to offer FPU during the Sunday school hour. In addition, all the materials and online experience have been updated. The first time FPU was filmed, they tried to make it as universally usable as possible so it could be used in churches and community groups. This time they have created a "Church FPU” more specifically aimed to lead Believers to a better understanding of the Scriptures in regards to money.
7. Would it be profitable to someone who has already taken the class to take it again?
This class starting on March 3rd makes 10 times that we have taken FPU. We feel strongly that it is always beneficial to take the class again. Each time we travel through FPU, we are in a different place in our finances and we more keenly absorb Dave’s principles for that baby step. One of our favorite aspects to the class is that the small groups provide not only accountability, but also fellowship with other believers that we would not have come to know otherwise. This class is beneficial every time.
8. In our society, debt is so common place. It is expected. Being in debt is 'normal.' And yet, in FPU, Dave Ramsey encourages everyone to get out of debt and to stay out of debt. In your opinion, why is it so important to get out of debt?
The importance of being debt free is where it will lead you. In FPU, we come to understand that careful financial planning will take us to a place where we can impact the kingdom of God significantly by our generous giving. This is the whole point: LIVE like no one else, so later you can GIVE like no one else.
9. Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Yes. Since Paul has been driving 56 miles to work for the last 4 1/2 years and he feels called to continue on with The Jesus Film Project, we feel it is best for our family to sell our home here in Winter Haven and make the move to the Orlando area. So, we will be leaving Faith in May. The FPU ministry will continue. Nate and Raquel Noel will be trained as the FPU coordinators throughout this class and take on this ministry as their own in the fall. As always, we can use more help in this ministry, so if you wish to be a part of this ministry that is changing lives and marriages for the better, please let us know. It has been our privilege to be used of God in this ministry at Faith. We pray that it continues to make a significant impact in our church. Thank you for allowing us to serve you through FPU. We love you all.
A few years ago, I started keeping a list (via spreadsheet) of all the books that I finish. I have found it tremendously useful in helping me remember what I have read. Here is a quick look at what I read in 2012.
- The Myth of the Garage - read this book for free on my kindle; I think I know why it was free;
- Going Public - Your Child Can Thrive in Public School - an excellent book; probably the best book I read in 2012. Read a blog post I wrote about this book.
- The Rockefellers - This book I borrowed from Pastor Osborne's office. It is a long book. But, I enjoyed learning about this family and the vast amounts of wealth that they had to deal with.
- License to Pawn - If you like the show Pawn Stars, you will like this book. It is the story of Rick Harrison, the main character of the show. He has not lived the cleanest life, so it is not the cleanest book. But, I found it very interesting.
- The Hunger Games Trilogy - Brace yourself...I did not enjoy these books. I read them all and just failed to connect with the story. To me, it was all pretty dumb. But, that's just my opinion.
- Seal Team Six - Memoirs of an Elite Navy Seal Sniper - The author, a retired member of Seal Team 6, writes about his experiences. I found this book fascinating.
- The Hands-On Dad - heard this author speak at the FPEA Homeschool Convention and borrowed his book from the library. Short book, but really good for Dads of homeschoolers.
- Liar's Poker - another book I read for free on my kindle; another waste of time
- Ivanhoe - classic book; Robin Hood, Richard the Lionheart, a timeless tale; what more could you ask for? I literally could not put this book down.
- Tempted and Tried - I loved the first book by this author (Adopted for Life). I struggled to connect with this one. It dealt with the temptations of Jesus. I think it is an excellent book, my brain just had a difficult time working through it.
As I look back on what I read in 2012, frankly I am somewhat disappointed. I did not enjoy nor benefit from much of what I read. The highlights were Going Public, The Rockefellers, and Ivanhoe. They stood out far above the rest. Others like License to Pawn and Seal Team Six were 'just for fun' and I enjoyed them. The rest of these books were notable in that they were dreadfully forgettable.
I am resolved to make better choices in what I read in 2013. With all of the books that are available to read, there is no excuse for reading a dud!
Now it's your turn.
Leave a comment below. Did you read any of these books? What did you think about them? What books did you read in 2012?