What does it mean that we are #prairiestrong?


Often you will hear people out here on the prairie talk about the fact that we are (or are endeavoring to be) #prairiestrong. What does that mean exactly? Does it mean we all endeavor to have big muscles with great physical abilities? Not at all. Check out the video below to see how #prairiestrong is more than a catchy phrase, it’s what the Christian life is all about…

New Associate Pastor Details!

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Below are the projected details concerning Tim O’Tool’s Candidation Weekend (Feb. 9 -10):

Saturday, Feb. 9…

5:30 PM = Opening Remarks/Opening Prayer/Food Fellowship (Soup & Salad Supper…)

6:30 PM = Q & A Time

8:00 PMish = Game Night

9:00 PMish = Final Remarks/Closing Prayer/Dismissal

– Please Note: All of Saturday’s Events will take place in our Fellowship Hall.

Sunday, Feb. 10…

9:00 AM = Combined Sunday School (Tim will be teaching upstairs in the Auditorium. 1st Grade – Adults are invited to participate.)

9:45 AM = Prairie Time

10:15 AM = Morning Worship Service (Tim will not be preaching, but I will have him engage with me in a Mini Q & A Session…)

12:00 PMish = Growth Groups

– Please Note: This will be a dynamic and tiring weekend for our Associate Pastor Candidate. Please pray with him and for him. The official vote for Tim O’Tool is slotted for Sunday, February 24. May God’s will be done!

From the Associate Pastor’s Desk: My Favorite Podcasts…


I don’t know about you, but one of the many joys I have discovered in life is the joy of learning! I have not always been this way. In fact, for much of my life, I did not like learning. I am not sure why I changed, but now I love it! There are many different ways of learning though.

  • You can learn by doing. Which is how I learn best.
  • You can learn by watching. I love a good documentary on war or basketball.
  • You can learn by reading. Almost finished my first book of 2019 already, thanks to my new year goal setting!
  • You can also learn by listening. That is what this whole blog is about.

When I say listening, I am not talking about just the classroom. With today’s technology, we have a little thing called “podcasts.” If you don’t know what a podcast is, let me explain. It is similar to a talk radio show, except it can be downloaded from the internet onto your phone or computer. Podcasts are often series that are made up of many episodes that come out regularly for listeners to follow. On phones, they are found on different apps such as Apple Podcasts, Podbean, Stitcher, or Spotify. If you still don’t understand, maybe ask someone who is tech savvy and I am sure they could help you out. I love listening to podcasts while I work on a project, drive, or do other mind-numbing tasks like dishes or laundry.

The best part about podcasts is that they are free (for now). The downside to podcasts though is that they are extremely underrated and still a new (but growing) phenomena. This means it can be hard to find quality podcasts. They are fairly unregulated, so you have to be careful with some of the content that is out there. Nonetheless, they can be a great tool for personal development and growth. So, I thought I would share some of my favorite podcasts. So, here are my top nine podcasts, broken down into categories.

Spiritual and Thought Provoking…

  1. Dallas Theological Seminary Chapel – Every week, while school is in session, DTS has chapel services led by some of the best, brightest, and most inspiring Christians in the world. DTS records the sermons and regularly puts them on their podcast. This has been an excellent source for spiritual growth, and you will never hear a dull sermon!
  2. The Table Podcast – This podcast is put on by DTS as well. It is hosted by Dr. Darrell Bock the Executive Director of Cultural Engagement. Dr. Bock picks current and uprising cultural issues to discuss in order to help Christians think through them critically. The focus is reaching the lost without compromising our beliefs and the truth.
  3. Ask Pastor John – This is a short one hosted by Tony Reinke and Pastor John Piper with Desiring God. People write in questions for Pastor John Piper and he answers one question a day. It is about ten minutes an episode, so it is good for a short trip or getting ready in the morning.

Purely Educational Entertainment...I never thought those words would be coming out of my mouth 🙂

  1. Stuff You Should Know – This is a non-Christian educational podcast about anything and everything. Most of the topics would normally be labeled “dull and mundane,” but these guys do a great job of making it fun to listen to.
  2. Courtside w/ Greenburg and Dakic – This is a basketball podcast hosted by two old school college coaches. It comes out once a week during college basketball season, but they are so funny to listen to and it helps me with my coaching.
  3. TED Radio Hour – This is a non-Christian podcast much like The Table Podcast, but from a secular point of view. Different speakers talk about creative ways to solve the world’s problems with science, technology, and critical thinking. It’s really good!

Daily News and Thought Provoking…

  1. The Briefing – This podcast is one of my new favorites! It is hosted by the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Al Mohler. It is a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview. You know, it is hard to watch or listen to the news without feeling like we are all doomed, but Al Mohler always ends with a message of real hope.
  2. The Ben Shapiro Show – This is a daily conservative political news podcast (wow that’s a mouth full). It is non-Christian, and the topics can be a little uncomfortable at times, but if there is a big political story, I will check it out. The host is very smart and very good at thinking critically.
  3. High Noon – This is a daily sports podcast that I think is really entertaining. Some of the jokes are hard to track because it is also a TV show, but the two hosts do a really good job at tracking daily sports in a funny way.

Well, those are my top nine podcasts. Just because I listen to them, does not mean I agree or condone all the things that are said, or the viewpoints portrayed on these shows; but they are clean for the most part, and they help keep my mind sharp and entertained. If you have a podcast you like, please feel free to share!

Annual Report From the Lead Pastor…


Dear Members and Friends of Prairie Flower Baptist Church,

The year 2018 with all its immense blessings and burdens is now over. Indeed, this past year has been one of the most difficult, yet fruitful years of my entire ministry. So, for all that went right this past year, I give God great praise; and for all that could have been better this past year, I take full responsibility and have learned immensely through it all. In the end, I am so grateful for a grace-giving God, and for you, the generous and patient people out here on the prairie. Below is a recap of where we’ve been (by God’s grace) and where we might be going (under God’s sovereignty).


First, let’s carefully reflect on the church growth that we experienced through the joy of addition. Indeed, the numbers below reflect not us and our success, but God and His love and mercy. The fact that God has chosen us to be mere conduits of His grace is humbling and extremely encouraging. So, with that in mind, let us rejoice in each number…in each person…that took a step of faith this past year…

  • Salvations – 9 (Our Highest Number of Salvations in 5 Years!)
  • Baptisms – 6
  • Members – 8

I know you hear me say this often, but the above numbers, and the transformed lives that each number represents, is truly what we are all about. People getting saved, baptized, and added to the church isn’t just a nicety in the church, it’s what the church is all about! Let’s celebrate the work of God in the lives that have been radically transformed by the Gospel.


Second, let’s carefully reflect on the church growth that we experienced through the pain of subtraction. Indeed, though painful to remember this aspect of the past year, it is healthy and needed. To merely bury the past or, worse, try to pretend that it never happened is unwise at best and severely detrimental at worst. So, let’s somberly remember the burdens and difficulties of this past year…

  • Crisis – In March of 2018, we experienced a church crisis. Sin and selfishness ravaged our church family and left us extremely hurt and confused. This church crisis put me into a personal crisis in which I was angry and ready to simply give up. Indeed, as I have stated many times already, I did not handle this crisis with pastoral decorum, and because of that, I ended up making a bad situation worse.
  • Healing – But despite the darkest of days, the light of God’s presence, power, and provision always shines through. Yes, despite the hurt and confusion, many of you committed to stay and to fight for your church family. Thank you! Indeed, as it concerns me and my family, many of you stepped out of your way to offer prayer, words of encouragement, gifts, and much needed love to us during this difficult time. Thank you! In fact, your love and generosity were most pronounced in you sending my family and I away on a month-long sabbatical during the month of June. Again, thank you! We were helped and began to heal up in a serious way as a result of that sabbatical.
  • Leading – The rest of 2018 was a blur of praying, preaching, visitation, counseling, meetings, restructuring, camp ministries, state ministries, community outreach, and church discipline cases…In a word, leading. Indeed, as difficult and dark as the first half of 2018 was, the last half of 2018 has been the sweetest time of my entire ministry here at PFBC. Indeed, by God’s good grace, I have been able for the past six months to lead a church family that is healing, growing, reviving, and more united than ever.


Third and finally, let’s examine what the God of our future could hold for us as we step into 2019 and beyond…

  • Question – Where do you see us in five years? In other words, where do you see us, as a church family, in 2024? Perhaps coming up with a five-year plan is a challenge for you, but this question merits some thinking. For me, I see us multiplying. Let me explain this by means of sharing with you my goals and ambitions for 2019…
  • Goals – I would like to accomplish, by God’s enablement, the following: 1) Ensure a smooth transition for Pastor Jon Rocha as he steps out of full-time ministry and into business in the Quad Cities. This goal also includes successfully installing Pastor Rocha’s replacement as soon as possible. 2) Examine viable solutions to our church’s outreach and prayer ministries. These two areas are probably our church’s weakest ministries and the restructuring of these ministries is required. 3) Edit the church’s Constitution to fit with our current church culture. The editing of the church’s Constitution is logical, considering in year’s past we have edited the church’s Articles of Faith (2016) and Biblical Principles of Church Membership (2018). 4) Expand our community footprint by means of a greater social media presence and community advertising. To that end, we have already launched our church’s new Facebook Page and are already over 100 LIKES, allowing us to provide helpful, encouraging, and informative material to our own people and our wider community. In a sentence, my goal for 2019 is to begin the process of multiplying our influence and impact for the Kingdom of Heaven by means of accomplishing these four items.
  • Forward – As I write this report, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12-14. It beautifully and poetically states what I would have you do in terms of 2018 and 2019: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” May these verses become the tone and tenor of our lives as the church out here on the prairie.

With Much Love,

David Cotner

Lead Pastor, PFBC    

From the Associate Pastor’s Desk: New Year’s Goals…


Another year down and another year to go. The new year is always great because, for many of us, it means a fresh start. Most years, I just use the beginning of the new year to simply reset many things I should be doing better. I hate being cliché, so I do not normally do any official New Year’s resolutions. Although, this year my wife and I were spending some time together in the car, on our way back from Des Moines, and decided to make some official resolutions! Well, I guess I didn’t call them “resolutions”; I called them “goals.” Anyways, here are some of my goals for 2019…

1) Limit my phone time – This is difficult for many, but needed for most. Phones are great, and they make us so efficient; but I fear they often rob us of many small things we take for granted. I don’t have any science to back this claim up, just personal experience. So, this year my wife and I put password protected time limits on our entertainment apps so we can only check them a certain amount of times in a day. I hope that instead of flipping through news or sports at night, I can have better conversation with my wife; or instead of getting distracted with my phone, I can stay focused on the task at hand; or instead of pulling it out anytime I feel like I have five minutes of down time, I can use that time to reflect, start a conversation with someone near me, or pray.

2) Read a chapter of a book before any TV time – I used to hate reading, but now I love it! Reading can be very hard though after I have been in an office all day. It is much easier to “veg out” and pop on a TV show when I have free night. I don’t think that is wrong, but I fear I am missing out on some good opportunities. Reading is a skill that everyone should learn to love, because it helps our brains and imaginations stay sharp.

3) Enjoy one sweet treat a day – I used to try to limit myself to one sweet treat a week; but that would never last long, and then I would end up eating waaaaaay too much when I had a chance. So, this year I am choosing moderation instead of starvation!

4) Journal each time we go on a date – My wife and I always say we are going to start journaling, but never find the time. We love the idea of it, because there are so many good memories and lessons we want to remember. Journaling helps us to be reflective about the things we do and allows us to look at what we’ve done as well. It can be daunting to do every day, but we figured on a date night, while waiting for our food, would be a great time to journal.

5) Have one family in our home a month – I am always out doing things and spending time with people. In fact, I probably only get one or two free nights a week because I am always doing stuff with people. It’s different though to have someone in your home. There is a sense of vulnerability and intimacy that comes along with having someone in your home. My wife and I have not been as good this last year as we have been in the past, so we would just like to be more intentional about our hospitality this year.

Well, those are my goals! Nothing crazy, but some things that I think can make a big difference in the life of my family. What are yours?