How I Will Vote On Nov. 3

It is 12 days till Election Day. In a lot of ways, this year’s election feels as if so many weighty things are at stake. Some would argue that the very “soul of America” is at stake. Overly dramatic? Perhaps, but this year’s election seems to be a very important one with a lot of long-term ramifications…

But how is a Christian to vote this year? Given that our two main party choices are not ideal at all, how should a Christian proceed in the voting booth on Nov. 3? Well, so much ink has already been spilt on this topic, but here are some of the issues that dominate my mind as I get ready to vote this Election Day…

The Issue of Faith – I will vote with rock-solid confidence in God. Romans 14:23 is clear, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” So, I will vote with full trust in God, knowing that no matter what happens, He remains sovereign. May God give to me (and you) great wisdom and rock-solid confidence in Him as we vote on Nov. 3.

The Issue of Life – I will vote my conscience this Election Day, and there is perhaps no greater issue that dominates my conscience like the issue of life. The Scriptures are clear that life is precious and must be protected. God Himself is the Creator and Sustainer of life. Psalm 139:15 declares, “My frame [body and soul] was not hidden from you [O, God], when I was being made [by you, O God] in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” God is the maker of every human life! Thus, I cannot in good conscience vote for a candidate/party who tramples on the issue of life.

The Issue of Record – Actions speak louder than words. It’s funny to me how some Christians are so dialed into rhetoric. It’s as if they primarily want their leaders to be strong orators with smooth speech. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a preacher by trade. I make my living by writing and speaking many words. I love eloquent communication. But at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words (Matthew 21:28-32). Therefore, I will primarily evaluate the actions/records of each political candidate, taking their words only as a secondary consideration.

The Issue of Heaven – Ultimately, I will vote fully realizing that my ultimate citizenship is in Heaven, not America. Paul in Philippians 3:20 states, “But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” America is not my ultimate home, Heaven is. America is not my ultimate treasure, Jesus is. So, to the best of my ability, with my full faith in God, evaluating carefully the issues of life and record, I will steward my vote on Nov. 3 to the glory of God with a keen eye towards Heaven…

Annual Election of Officers

Just a reminder that our Annual Election of Officers is fast approaching! All church members, who are 14 years of age or older, are kindly invited to prayerfully nominate and then vote for individuals in the following categories: Deacon (3 Open Positions), Clerk (Mike York Desires To Be Replaced After 42 Years Of Service), Financial Secretary, Treasurer, and Sunday School Superintendent. Here are some dates to be aware of…

Sunday, October 25 – Nomination of Officers Commences…Prior to this Sunday, all voting members will receive nomination ballots in the mail…Our nomination ballot box will be located in the church foyer… 

Sunday, November 8 – Nomination of Officers Closes…Our Nomination and Election Committee (2 Pastors & 1 Deacon) will meet on this Sunday to contemplate the official ballot…

Monday, November 9 – Wednesday, November 18 – The Nomination and Election Committee will contact nominees to see if they’re interested in serving…These individuals must reply by the close of business (5 PM) on Wednesday, November 18…

Sunday, November 22 – We will post the official ballot of our 2021 Officer Nominees…Posting of nominees will be done on the church bulletin board and via our church app…

Sunday, December 6 – Annual Election of Officers…Election will be held by secret ballot…

All elected officers will take office on January 1, 2021. Please be in prayer concerning who you would have serve and if God is leading you to serve at Prairie Flower Baptist Church! 

91 Days Follow…

Day 275. 91 days follow. In other words, as we begin day 1 of October, we have officially entered our 275th day of 2020. Which means we only have 91 days to go before the year expires.

How does that make you feel? I would imagine that for many of you that makes you feel relieved. I mean, this has been one crazy year; and 2021 has got to be at least a smidge better than this year, right? For others of you, I’m sure the thought of this year ending and a new one beginning produces feelings of dread. I mean, there’s still so much work to be done and goals to accomplish, am I right?

Well, here’s my encouragement to you, no matter where you fall on the feelings spectrum – finish this year strong, prairie strong! Take these 91 days and steward them well. Don’t waste these last 3 months of 2020. Finish the year strong.

There’s still time to finish that book. There’s still time to begin that work out program. There’s still time to get things done! Don’t squander these 91 days by telling yourself that you’ll get things done when the new year begins. The time for action is now, not later.

More importantly though, this year still affords you time (91 days of time) to cultivate your relationship with God. You still have time to begin reading your Bible again. You still have time to pray again. You still have time to make it to church again…You still have time!

Day 275. 91 days follow. Regardless of your socio-economic background, we’ve all been allotted the same amount of time. How will you steward the time that’s been given to you? There’s still time – tick tock, tick tock – there’s still time…

PFBC: October’s Upcoming Events…

As things continue to heat up and get back to normal out here on the prairie, here is what we’re planning for October 2020…

Saturday, October 3 – Kim Miller’s Baby Shower at 10:00 AM

Sunday, October 4 – Corporate Prayer at 9:00 AM & Morning Worship/Communion Service at 10:15 AM

Wednesday, October 7 – Outfitters, Kids4Truth, & Prayer Meeting at 6:30 PM

Saturday, October 10 – Outfitters at Faith Fest in Ankeny

Sunday, October 11 – Sunday School at 9:00 AM, Morning Worship at 10:15 AM, & Quarterly Meeting/Food Fellowship (Pizza On The Prairie)

  • Please Note: During our Quarterly Meeting on Sunday, October 11, we will vote on an amendment to our current constitution as it relates to Article VIII, Letter B, Item 1. The reason for this change is to give the Audit Committee more time to finalize numbers for our Annual Meeting in January. Here is our current wording & the new proposed wording…Current Wording: “The annual business meeting of the church shall be held the first Sunday evening following the first Wednesday of the year, except as hindered by an act of God.” New Wording: “The annual meeting of the church shall be held during the third Sunday of the year, except as hindered by an act of God.”

Monday, October 12 – Women’s Prayer Group at 10 AM

Tuesday, October 13 – Men’s Prayer Group at 6:30 AM

Wednesday, October 14 – Outfitters, Kids4Truth, & Prayer Meeting at 6:30 PM

Thursday, October 15 – Ladies’ Bible Study at 6:30 PM

Friday, October 16 – Ladies’ Night Out

Sunday, October 18 – Sunday School at 9:00 AM, Morning Worship at 10:15 AM, Growth Groups at Various Times, & Leadership Team Meeting at 2:00 PM

Wednesday, October 21 – Outfitters, Kids4Truth, & Prayer Meeting at 6:30 PM

Saturday, October 24 – Outfitters’ Hayride & Bonfire

Sunday, October 25 – Sunday School at 9:00 AM, Morning Worship at 10:15 AM, & Growth Groups at Various Times

Wednesday, October 28 – No Wednesday Evening Activities

When You Feel Lethargic & Calloused…

I don’t know about you, but this year has been overwhelming in every category (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). Indeed, if I were brutally honest, I have battled lethargy and callousness a great deal this past year. That is to say, I just find myself disinterested, unexcited, and almost numb to the many needs around me. Perhaps you are feeling the same way. Perhaps you, like me, are running low on compassion and true, biblical optimism. If this describes you, let me give to you my personal battle plan that I use against these dark forces of discouragement and depression…

  1. Rewind – When I feel the “I don’t cares” start to erupt in my life, or when I feel that it’s all for naught, I find it helpful to rewind. In other words, I will talk with my wife, or a trusted friend, and I’ll recount the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord in the past. I will remind myself that God worked mightily in the past, and He’s certainly working now (for my good and His glory), even if I don’t see it or feel it. A helpful passage to rewind with is Psalm 136. No less than 26 times are we reminded that the “steadfast love” of the LORD “endures forever.” Yes, God is loving (i.e. has our best interests in mind) even on our darkest days…
  2. Revive – When I find myself lethargic to my ministry duties, or just calloused to the needs of others, this is my calling card to pray and to seek the Lord even more. I double down on my prayer life. I honestly tell the Lord how I feel. A recent pray of mine went something like this: “God, I feel so bored with everything. Excite me again with your truth. God, I feel so disinterested with everything. Renew me again with your truth. God, I feel so numb with everything. Soften me again with your truth.” Indeed, God uses His glorious, unchanging truths to revive my soul. Psalm 119:25, “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word (i.e. your truth)!”
  3. Resolve – Finally, when my feelings of despair start to overwhelm me, I resolve (by God’s Word, Spirit, and Grace) to live for the Lord no matter what. God is King, not my feelings. God’s Word is truth, not my feelings. I resolve to follow, trust, and love my God despite my feelings of hopelessness. Sound too preachy? Perhaps, but that is the Christian life. Read the Psalms. More often than not, the Psalmist, after outlining doom and gloom, ends with a note of resolve (i.e. “But I will trust in you” or “But I will hope in you”). Indeed, to battle your feelings with resolve in God is not disingenuous, or being naively optimistic, it’s choosing to live life by faith.

2020 has been a crazy year. The effects of 2020 have been deep and dark. But as a believer, battle all those dark thoughts by rewinding, reviving, and resolving. In the end, darkness will pass, evil has an expiration date, and the joyous truth of God’s love and liberty will prevail…

New Members’ Profiles!

This Sunday, September 13, pending the vote of the congregation, we will welcome into our church family 2 brand new members! It’s always exciting to see people saved, baptized, and added to the church. Below are the new members’ profiles of Frank and Pat Rouse. These profiles testify to their salvation, baptism, and overall grace of God at work in their lives. These are shared with great joy and for your encouragement…

Frank Rouse’s Testimony: “I grew up on a small farm in NW Iowa with my parents and three siblings. My parents were not regular attenders at church at that time. My grandfather lived in the nearby small town of Dickens. My siblings and I would stay overnight at his house and he would see that we went to Sunday School at the Methodist Church, which was the only church in town. I originally thought that my grandpa was just a nice guy and a wonderful grandpa. When he was an old man he no longer attended church services. His church had closed and he never joined the Methodist Church. He would listen to Billy Graham every week on the radio and watch his Crusades on television. One day I read a tract that he had received from Billy Graham and I placed an order for a number of them for myself. My plan was to read these tracts and then hopefully one day I would be able to attend a Billy Graham Crusade and go forward to accept Jesus as my Savior. However, after reading some of them, I went ahead and prayed a salvation prayer on my own without going to one of his Crusades. This took place the summer after I graduated from High School. It was several years later when we returned to NW IA that Pat and I were looking for a church. At the corner south of the acreage we had purchased was a sign that pointed down a gravel road to Curlew Baptist Church. We decided to visit and made it our church home for a number of years until we relocated because of a job change. Both Pat and I were baptized as believers in this church…”

Pat Rouse’s Testimony: “I grew up on a farm in central Iowa near Mitchellville in a family of six children. We went to Sunday School and church every Sunday at the Mitchellville United Methodist Church. I loved going to Sunday School to hear the Bible stories, learn about Jesus, and play with friends. I tried to be a good person so Jesus would be proud of me. I had never heard about the need to accept Jesus as my personal Savior and have a relationship with Him. When I went to college I did as many kids did, I din’t go to church. When Frank and I met at the University of Northern Iowa we went to a church close to campus a couple of times. It wasn’t until we were married (49 years ago) and had moved a couple of times that we started to attend church regularly. In January 1974, Frank’s sister led me in the sinner’s prayer. I am so glad! When we moved to the Ayrshire IA area for Frank to teach, we tried the Ayrshire Methodist Church because Frank had a gazillion relatives that went there and they had invited us. We decided that wasn’t the place for us. We knew by that time that we wanted a Bible believing, preaching, and practicing church. Down the road from our place was a sign for Curlew Baptist Church. It was 5 miles on gravel to a tiny town we had never heard of. Curlew was a very small town with a small grain elevator, small post office, a bar, and a Baptist church. First Baptist Church of Curlew had a huge impact on us and the surrounding area. I was blessed to be baptized at Curlew. When the Ayrshire School closed, Frank started working in the Clay County Engineer’s Office in Spencer IA as the Drainage Tech. We moved to the Spencer area and started attending the First Baptist Church there. We served there for 31+ years in various ministries. I had a Christian Bookstore for 8 years in Spencer. We retired and moved to Kalona 6 years ago when we found out we were finally going to be grandparents! We attended our daughters’ church until we found out our grandson was attending AWANA at Prairie Flower, which we had never heard of. We visited a few times last year and decided to make it our home church when we returned from Arizona this Spring.”

From the Desk of The Associate: The Renewed Branch

When I was a kid, I was a huge Lord of the Rings fan. I loved the books and the movies so much that I would spend my days building swords and running around our property fighting imaginary orcs and dragons. I guess even now as an adult I could be somewhat of a nerd when it comes to Tolkien’s fantasy realm. For those of you who have invested any amount of time in that story you can see to what lengths he went to build out an entire world of history and languages all coming from his creative genius. As with most great stories this was an epic of good versus evil when evil often looked to triumph. It was during a particularly dark period in his story line that he has one of the characters give a prophesy about a coming king from a renewed line of kingship that would come and deliver his people and all the good people of Middle Earth. This is how it goes, “All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost, the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be glad that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.” This line always excited me to see that though the story was dark, there would be a coming deliverer who would set it all right. How satisfying it was to see the climax of the story where that king hacked down his enemies and delivered his people.

As tempted as I often am to lose myself even now as an adult in the fantasy realm, I now have an even greater desire to read and contemplate a different story. This story has a prophecy similar to the one given above. What is better about this story though, is that it is true. Yes, that’s right. And not only is it true but it is a story that we ourselves are actually living in. You can read the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1-5, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse. And a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

Now most of you can probably identify who this prophecy is talking about. For nobody embodied these characteristics more than Jesus himself. Doesn’t our current condition make us long for a return of The King? You see this prophecy spoke of the fact that the line of David was cut off, but would be renewed in Jesus. Which one of us who have to lead and make decisions in our time doesn’t desire wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the LORD? Jesus embodies them all.

Right now, our current national conversation is all about justice. Many of the problems stem from the fact that we see a ten second clip on social media of something that seems unjust. Immediately we act as if we have gathered all the facts and try to proscribe “justice” based on what we see. Jesus doesn’t do that because He perfectly sees and understands every event. Another problem is that we hear a brief summery of something that happened second hand from a friend or from the media, then we immediately form an opinion. This does not lead to true justice. Jesus can never be accused of judging this way. Jesus will never fail to enact true and lasting justice.

Lastly, Jesus does not just enact righteous and just policies, He is completely and perfectly righteous and faithful in His conduct. As God’s people longed and prayed for their Messiah King to come and redeem and save His people, so now we should long and pray for the return of our King. If our current times don’t make you long for that Savior to return, I don’t know what will.

PFBC’s Phased-In Approach To Our Fall Ministries…

COVID-19 dealt a severe blow to our ministry routine and rhythms. What a relief to know that though the coronavirus took us by surprise, it did not take our great God by surprise. He sits enthroned above every storm and disease we face!

Last May, we reopened our church and began to regather as the people out here on the prairie. What a joy to once again fellowship, sing, and hear the Word together. And as we approach the fall, here is our plan to safely and smoothly relaunch our other church ministries…

Renovation Project = Sept. 1, 2020 (10 – 12 Weeks)

  • Sunday Morning Worship Takes Place In Fellowship Hall And/Or Pavilion Area During This Time…

Outfitters’ Student Ministry = Sept. 9, 2020

  • Will Meet Every Wednesday Evening At 6:30 PM…

Pavilion Project, Memorial Project, and Playground Project = Finished By Sept. 18, 2020

  • This Is A Target Date, And Not A Hard-Line Guarantee…

Sunday School = Sept. 20, 2020 (Please See Our Sunday School Superintendent, Brian Wilson, For Further Details)

  • Child Care Services Resume This Same Day, Sept. 20, 2020…Sidenote: On The First Sunday Of Every Month, In Place Of Sunday School, We Will Have A Time Of Corporate Prayer…

Kids4Truth = Oct. 7, 2020

  • Prayer Meeting Will Also Resume At This Time…Kids4Truth (And Prayer Meeting) Will Run For 8 Weeks And Then Break For Christmas…Also, Kids4Truth (And Prayer Meeting) Will Take Every 4th Wednesday Of The Month Off…

Growth Groups = Oct. 18, 2020

  • Growth Groups Will Run For 5 Weeks And Then Break For Thanksgiving & Christmas…

Friendship Bible Study = Not Meeting During Fall 2020 (Please See Friendship Bible Study Coordinator, Duane Davis, For Further Details)

  • Possibly Relaunching In Spring 2021…

Three Lies Christians Believe…

I’ve been in pastoral ministry for nearly seven years. Over the years, I’ve encountered some very strong Christians, with a deep faith, rooted in a solid and vibrant theology. I’ve also met many Christians with little, fluffy faith rooted in an inaccurate and malnourished theology. These types of Christians, with poor theological footing, are ripe to fall to deliciously false narratives. Here are three of the most prominent false narratives that I’ve encountered among so called Christians in southeast Iowa…

  1. God will never give to us more than we can handle. Really? Where does the Bible say that? It doesn’t. You can’t point me to one single passage that even remotely hints at this possibility. Perhaps the closest you could get is 1 Corinthians 10:13b, which states, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” So much could be said about this great promise of Scripture, but I will just have you note one thing…The issue at hand is temptation, not trials, tribulations, or turbulent times. Temptation is front and center in this passage. And this text is clear, God will never permit us to be tempted to the point that we have to give in. This is a wonderful promise on God’s grace despite the strong pull towards sin. This is not a magic Get Out Of Jail Free card on the great difficulties and storms of life. Indeed, sometimes our difficulties and storms are so overwhelming, and beyond our ability to handle, that if God doesn’t come through and help us, we’re goners…Yes, God sometimes gives to us far more than we can handle just so He can display His strength in and through us.
  2. The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will. Ha! So certifiably inaccurate, it’s laughable. Try this theological falsity on John the Baptist, who was beheaded in prison for his stand on the truth…Or on the Apostle Peter, who was crucified upside down for his love for Jesus…Or James (the half-brother to Jesus), who was stoned and clubbed to death and all for following God’s will. This absurd notion that following God is safe is a lie. God is not safe. His will is not safe. But make no mistake about it, God is good, and His will is perfect, even if you lose everything for it. Yes, sometimes the most dangerous (and deadly) place to be is smack dab in the center of God’s will.
  3. The best is yet to come. This popular cliche is really making its rounds in Christendom today. And, hear me, it’s partly true. The best is yet to come…but in the next life, not this life. Nowhere in Scripture are we promised that things will eventually get better for us in this life. Your cancer may spread. Your child might die. Your marriage might get worse. Simply put, the best is not guaranteed in this life. To cling to this idea that it might just get better now (instead of placing your hope in the next life with Jesus in Glory) is at best foolish and at worst will breed contempt for God as He fails to provide you with the life you think you need or deserve. Are you buying into this very popular lie that the best is yet to come in this life? My friend, here’s some straight-truth, the very worst might still be in front of you, and it may never get better after that. But here is some grace to chase that straight-truth: The best is yet to come in the next life with Jesus in Glory. Where is your hope today? What are you clinging to? Is your hope in this life only; or are you trusting, clinging, and hoping in the promise of a life to come where we will be in God’s presence forever? Because the best is yet to come in the next life, not this life.