Come. Take. Learn. Rest.


This Sunday, October 2, we will continue on in our current sermon series that we’ve entitled, “Worldly Wisdom VS Godly Wisdom”. In Round #3 of our series, we will examine the competing concepts of “me-time” vs “rest time”. We will discover that “me-time” merely relaxes you, but does not rest you, and ultimately leaves you still weary and exhausted. BUT Jesus Christ offers something better, namely, Himself and true rest. We’ll dive into Matthew 11:25-30 and feast our eyes on Jesus’ remarkable promise: “If you come…take…and learn from Me…I will give you rest”. Wow! What a precious promise! But who is it really that offers such a bold promise? Well, in a phrase, He’s the Sovereign-Shepherd of His sheep and He gives true rest to His lambs because He is all-powerful and all-good. Check out the video below (from Logos Bible Software) to remind yourself of the perfect character of the One who offers you true rest.

The Organized Life


We live in a crazy-busy culture. There is always something to do. Yet with everything to do, few of us seem to accomplish our goals and the items on our to-do list. Why? Well, many of us are simply unorganized. Admittedly, many of us go from one crisis moment to another crisis moment and fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to getting things done. Tired of such a crazy lifestyle? Here are some tips to a more efficient, organized life:

  1. Promise Carefully. Why? Because our words matter. We often get so careless with our words and promises, don’t we? We say things like: “Yeah, I’ll be sure to text you about meeting for coffee this weekend.” OR “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that…I’ll be sure to pray about that.” OR “You bet! I’ll be sure to call you about that project this week.” And then…we forget. We get busy. We fail to do what we promised we would do. Why?! Why are we so quick to make well meaning, but empty promises to people? Well, I believe it’s because we are merely interested in saying nice things to people and looking good. We care little of our words and promises, and our actions (or lack thereof) proves it! If you promise someone something (whether “big” or “small”), plan to follow through. So obviously you can’t do everything…so make your promises carefully!
  2. Write Everything Down. That is to say, everything you do promise, should be written down in your planner/calendar. As my Associate Pastor, Jon Rocha, would phrase it: “A paper brain never forgets, but we sure do!” We are forgetful creatures…so write everything down. Certainly write down in your planner or calendar the “big” things (e.g. meetings, project deadlines, etc.), but be sure to write down the “small” things as well (i.e. call so and so, send email to so and so, pray for so and so, etc.). We are prone to forget…so write everything down!
  3. Plan in Pencil. I have chosen the word “pencil” very intentionally in order to distinguish it from the word “pen”. Now I’m not saying you can’t physically write down items in your planner/calendar using a pen, but by “plan in pencil” I mean have the mindset that legitimate crises do arise, and so your plans might have to change in order to accommodate for a genuine need. Bottom line: People are more important than our plans and projects…so if someone is hurt or in trouble, change your plans and go be a good husband, wife, son, daughter, or friend!
  4. Strive for Balance. Listen, I don’t care how awesome you are, you simply can’t do everything in one day or even one week…so learn to achieve balance with your to-do list items. I generally only choose two “big” items in a day (e.g. sermon prep and a blog post) and maybe four or five “small” items in that same day (i.e. phone calls, emails, etc.). Once I’m done with my list, I’m done for the day. I don’t try to “work ahead” and thus exhaust myself for the next day’s activities. I simply rest by means of working out, spending time with my family, reading a book, etc.
  5. Organization IS Fun. Usually blog posts on organization and planning end with some sort of cute statement like: “Remember to have fun too!” Well, I would submit to you that being organized IS fun. It’s not either/or, it’s both /and. That is to say, Organization = Fun. It’s fun to keep your promises. It’s fun to see your goals and objectives being met. It’s fun to know where you’re going in life and the plan to get there. Another word for “fun” is “rewarding”. The organized life is the planned life and such a life is downright rewarding.

Interact with me on social media and share with me your tips on how to get and stay organized…and be sure to use the hashtag #PrairieOrganized.

The Most Frustrating Aspect of Ministry


It’s not the critic. Though their words sometimes bite hard and hurt deep. It’s not the spiritually immature. Though their actions always grieve my heart and sometimes cause me to weep. It’s not even the antagonist. Though their passive-aggressive natures seek to undermine my leadership and influence. The most frustrating aspect of ministry…is me. That’s right. Me. And I don’t even say that as some sort of cutesy, pseudo-humble statement. I mean it. The most frustrating aspect of pastoral ministry is yours truly.

You see, nearly a year ago, I was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by Prairie Flower Baptist Church. On the day of my ordination, Paul Mann (one of the former pastors of PFBC) delivered my “Charge to the Ministry” sermon. His text was 1 Peter 5:1-4. I still remember his outline and charge to me: As an ordained minister, be Prairie Flower’s preacher, protector, and pattern. Sweet and simple…even alliterated for easy remembrance, but wow. What a charge! What a task. And honestly, I have found it extremely difficult to live up to the high and holy calling of pastoral ministry. I’m prone to laziness, apathy, and hypocrisy. Thus, I’ll say it again, the most frustrating aspect of ministry is me. In fact, ordination hasn’t made it any easier to live up to my calling but, in many respects, has simply magnified my inadequacies!

Couple that ordination message with the pastoral qualifications of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and I find myself nearly engulfed in a world of self-pity and despair. How can anyone live up to such a high and holy calling? Who is worthy? Who is sufficient for such a task?

Perhaps I’m not alone in these thoughts of inadequacy. Perhaps you struggle with the task and calling God has given you. I mean how can any married man look at what God requires of them in Eph. 5 and say, “Nailed it! I’m doing just fine.”? Maybe you’re a mother finding yourself overwhelmed and short on patience. Maybe you’ve come to loathe the anger and irritability of your heart that seems to percolate at all hours of the day. What do you do? How can you fulfill motherhood in light of the beauty and patience of the Gospel? Perhaps you are older and of retirement age and you find yourself so quick to speak, slow to listen, and quick to wrath (the opposite of James 1:19). Maybe you’re always complaining and dissatisfied, yet you’re supposed to be an example of godliness, maturity, and wisdom (cf. Titus 2:1-8)?! Perhaps I’m not alone in this struggle between the ideal of my calling and the reality of my being. Thus, here is what I do in my weakness and sin, and I trust you will do the same:

  1. Repent – The Gospel (which means “good news”) never excuses our faults and failures, but boldly labels them for what they are, namely, sin (i.e. falling short of God’s perfect standards). To fall short in our calling and tasks is sin and it demands repentance. 1 John 1:9-10 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t salve your conscience with niceties like: “You’re doing the best you can…Everything is going to be all right…At least I’m doing better than so and so…” Just acknowledge that you fall short in your calling, repent of the idols of your heart, and move forward knowing God’s grace and righteousness covers you completely.
  2. Rest – The Gospel not only calls sinners to repent, but it also invites forgiven sinners to rest. Praise be to God! We can rest in God’s character, His power, and His promises. Jesus Himself invites you in your weariness and inadequacy to: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). The Gospel reminds us time and time again that our worthiness before God comes not from our grunting and striving after some elusive perfection in this lifetime, but comes from our sheer reliance upon Him and what He’s already done on our behalf.
  3. Reassure – You must reassure your heart time and time again that your sufficiency in your calling comes only from God. Even the great Apostle Paul had to remind himself of this very thing: “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…” (2 Cor. 3:4-5). Bottom line: I am totally insufficient, in and of myself, to do the work God has given me to do as a local church pastor. BUT my sufficiency, like the Apostle Paul’s, comes not from my education, charisma, or eloquence, but from God alone. The same is true for you.

Yes, the most frustrating aspect of ministry is me. My heart is prone to wander and my body is sinfully weak. That’s why I must constantly repent of such sin, rest in the person and power of Christ, and reassure my heart of my ultimate sufficiency. I trust you will do the same in your struggle between the ideal of your calling and the reality of your being.






NEW Fall Series & Growth Groups

Below is the sermon series schedule for our new fall series that we’ve entitled, “Worldly Wisdom VS Godly Wisdom”. This series is set to launch on Sunday, September 18 and will run for nine weeks.

Sunday, September 18, 2016:

Title: Follow Your Heart VS Guard Your Heart.

Topic: The power of both tainted and pure desires.

Text: Proverbs 4:23.

Sunday, September 25, 2016:

Title: You Deserve to Be Happy VS There’s Joy in Self Denial.

Topic: Jesus’ call to radical followership.

Text: Matt. 16:24-25.

Sunday, October 2, 2016:

Title: You Need Some Me Time VS “I Will Give You Rest”.

Topic: The Bible’s description of true rest.

Text: Psalm 23 and Matt. 11:25-30.

Sunday, October 9, 2016:

Title: You Gotta Do What Feels Right VS Fight Your Feelings With Dynamic Faith.

Topic: The essential nature of faith to missional living.

Text: Jonah 1-4.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Title: You Can Be Anything You Want to Be VS You Must Be Labeled and Directed By God.

Topic: Discerning the Lord’s will in a fiercely independent culture.

Text: Multiple.

Sunday, October 23, 2016:

Title: Love Is Love VS Truth & Love.

Topic: The Bible’s definition and restrictions to loving others.

Text: 1 John 4:16 & Others.

Sunday, October 30, 2016:

Title: We All Just Need to be Tolerant VS True Christianity is Exclusive and Offensive.

Topic: A dynamic presentation on the absurdity of the coexist stance.

Text: Joshua 24:1-28 and John 14:6

Sunday, November 6, 2016:

Title: You Don’t Need Church To Worship God VS Your Faith Is Lived Out In Biblical Community.

Topic: Learning to love and embrace Christ’s imperfect bride.

Text: Ephesians 5:25-27.

Sunday, November 13, 2016:

Title: Right Here – Right Now Is All That Matters VS Live Life With An Eternal Perspective.

Topic: The power and joy of living for the Invisible.

Text: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

We are looking forward to this series; and in conjunction with this series, we will resume our Growth Groups. Below is our current groupings:

Growth Group #1:

  • Pastor Dave and Heather Cotner (Growth Group Leader)
    • Craig and Ila Capps
    • Duane and Susan Davis
    • Bill and Linda Fiordelise
    • Linda Grice
    • Ed and Rita Luers
    • Eldon and Phyllis Yoder
    • Mike York
  • Growth Group #1 will meet in the Church Library at 6 PM each Sunday.

Growth Group #2:

  • Steve and Bonnie Donnolly (Growth Group Leader)
    • Erin Bower
    • Jess Caster
    • Will and Melissa Luers
    • Brent and Tori Lybarger
    • Jesse and Sarah Neitzel
    • Zach and Beth Shepherd
  • Growth Group #2 will meet at Steve’s home (821 South 15th Ave in Washington) at 6 PM each Sunday.

Growth Group #3:

  • Dillon and Bailey Gingerich (Growth Group Leader)
    • Steve and Diana Fordham
    • Klint and Kendra Gingerich
    • John and Jackie Morgan
    • Jan Rosien
  • Growth Group #3 will meet in the Church’s Youth Room immediately after the Morning Worship Service each Sunday.

Growth Group #4:

  • Doug and Julie Tinnes (Growth Group Leader)
    • Bill and Evelyn Brown
    • Matt and Sarah Latcham
    • Rosanne Latcham
    • Milo Luers
    • Arlena Tinnes
    • Mark and Cheryl Tinnes
    • Mary Walker
  • Growth Group #4 will meet at the home of Arlena Tinnes (404 North Davis Street in Keota) at 6 PM each Sunday.

Growth Group #5:

  • Brian and Nancy Wilson (Growth Group Leader)
    • Mike and Christina Boos
    • Darwin and Lori Carroll
    • Greg and Veronica Dunbar
    • Jerry and Pam Dunbar
    • Rick Fields
    • Ron and Kay Gates
    • Judy Wolf
  • Growth Group #5 will meet in the Church Fellowship Hall immediately after the Morning Worship Service each Sunday.

Growth Group #6:

  • Pastor Jon and Julia Rocha (Growth Group Leader)
    • Steve and Cheryl Bohn
    • John Hardt
    • Marion and Christine Hayes
    • Rosemary Luers
    • Janine Rosien
    • Jason and Elisabeth Tinnes
    • Will and Lisa Van Der Molen
  • Growth Group #6 will meet at the Walker Seed Shed (1575 W. 5th Street in Washington) immediately after the Morning Worship Service each Sunday.

If you are not in a Growth Group, and would like to be, please see either Pastor Dave or Pastor Jon. You may also indicate your desire to be in a Growth Group via a connect card on any given Sunday or by signing up on the sign-up sheet in the church foyer. Also, if are not on this list (and should be), please forgive us for this unintentional oversight.