Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It is Time

Two years ago, we began a campaign to raise money to update our church facilities.  We called the campaign “It is Time.”  In the last two years, we have raised over $60,000 in designated gifts to help meet these needs.  We have updated the congregational lighting in the worship center, added a baptistery and changing areas, replaced the carpet in the worship center and hallways and updated the projectors and sound system.  The improvements have added to the aesthetics and functionality of our facility in great ways.  Through sacrificial giving and hardworking volunteers, we are being good stewards of the amazing facility God has provided to help us equip the saints for the work of the ministry.

This week we ordered the new professional stage lighting for the worship center.  After we complete the trim work and painting in the baptistery area as well as install these new lights the worship center update will be complete.  We are currently about $4000 short of the needed funds for the stage lighting.  The Stewardship Team agreed to go ahead and take this step so we can finish the worship center before the end of the year, believing that the generous donations will continue to come in to cover this expense.

Since the capital campaign has been going on for two years we have decided to end the “It is Time” campaign at the end of this year.  However, we are not finished.  We are going to reevaluate the needs remaining as well as other needs that have arisen to start a new capital campaign the beginning of 2018.  You will be learning more about this in January.  It is exciting to see what we have been able to accomplish these last two years.  The improvements look amazing.  Whatever we receive above what we need between now and Christmas will go to the new campaign so I hope you will continue to give generously as we close out this year.  With your help our facility will continue to meet our needs as we engage Bartlesville and the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Worthy of a Laugh

We find a lot to laugh about around our house.  Kids are full of entertainment.  We have one child who loves to say complete contradictions like, “I wore the pink socks, but I didn’t.”  Another child cracks himself up so much when he teases that we all laugh at him laughing more than what he thought was so funny.  Abel has the most contagious laugh in the house.  Once he starts everyone will be laughing with him.  He has taken the responsibility to turn every serious situation into something worthy of a laugh.  Daily there is something that the children do that we find hilarious.  With six young children in the house you better find a way to laugh or you will only want to cry.

What do you find funny?  What type of jokes do you like to tell?  When you watch a television show, what type of jokes make you laugh?  The answer will reveal the health of your heart.  Proverbs 10:23 says, “Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.”  It is difficult to find a comedian in our world that does not build the foundation of their jokes on things that should make us sick as believers.  As we grow in Christ we begin to see sin the way he sees sin.  Laughing at sin only reveals our immaturity and the darkness of our heart.  Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:4, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

It is not wrong for us to laugh and enjoy life.  Joy is a characteristic of those who know God.  Let your home be full of joy and laughter.  But let that joy and laughter come as you see the world as God sees the world.  Let sin disgust you and the beauty of his creation give you joy.  I hope you can find a lot of things around your house worthy of a good laugh.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

It Takes a Church

 How in the world can a church running less than 200 put on an event that saw over 1300 people attend?  That answer is easy. Everyone did their part and did it well. That is exactly what happened last Saturday as we had our 3rd annual Pumpkin Patch.  Over 85 adult volunteers used their gifts and skills to put together a first-class outreach event. From the young to the old, everyone found a place and performed their role beautifully. We had dozens who showed up early to get everything set up like putting up tents and moving hay.  A group of volunteers cooked 1500 hotdogs and put them together so they could be passed out easily.  We had friendly greeters at the registration table and patient souls helping with crafts and games. Hot popcorn was served for three hours and the youth kept the inflatables running smooth.  Those who attended left after having a great time and feeling the love of Christ.  It takes all of us to pull off an event like this and I am proud to say we did it well.

The Pumpkin Patch is a great example of what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.  For us to be a church that functions as God intended we must all use our spiritual gifts and natural abilities to build the church up in love.  We need everyone to find their role within the church.  We need teachers to teach.  We need encouragers to encourage.  We need organizers to organize.  If one person in the church is not using their gifts, there is a hole that someone without the gift is trying to fill without the joy that is received by those who have the gift.  Paul tells us, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)

Thank you for doing your part!  It takes us all!

God Provides

God provides in many different ways. I have been reading Ezra as part of my daily devotional time.     Ezra leads the people of Israel out o...