From the New Associate Pastor’s Desk: Fear Not!

prairie trees.jpg

Below is Pastor Tim’s first blog post as our new Associate Pastor out here on the prairie…Enjoy!


As we prepared over the last month for our move, my wife and I experienced several moments of anxiety and fear. Most anyone would agree that these feelings are completely normal with all the transitions we were facing, such as: Leaving so many friends and family behind, quitting good jobs, leaving a house we loved, preparing for a baby to arrive at any time during this process, and packing up and moving our entire lives to an entirely new place. I cannot tell you the number of times my wife and I said to each other, “I cannot wait till this transition is over and we are settled in with our new baby and new church family.”

While we did our best to pray and consider if this move was God’s will in our life, I must confess there were multiple times during this process that fears struck at my heart. Thoughts like…”Did we make the right decision?” “Will these people be kind?” “Will our ministry be effective?” Or even just the practical fears of…”Will the baby come while we are trying to load the moving truck?” “Will the baby be healthy?” Through all these fears, God kept answering me with the words from the hymn, How Firm A Foundation, specifically the portion that goes, “Fear not I am with you. Oh be not dismayed. For I am your God. I will still give you aid. I’ll strengthen, help thee and cause you to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”

The words of this hymn point us to Isaiah 41:10, which states, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God is talking here to His people, Israel, as they faced tremendous threats from enemies all around them. The comfort God gave them was to point to His own character and power. They could trust in His good plan for them.

While I can say that many of the fears my wife and I faced through this process have been proven to be empty, I know my flesh will tempt me to grow fearful of the many terrible things that could come into my life. I know all of you have your own fears and anxieties, but let me do as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 3-4 and give you comfort with the comfort that God has given to my wife and I…When you consider the very real threats you face, or even just the imagined ones, know that God will hold you fast and truly work all things together for your good and His glory. Consider the mercy He has shown you. Remember His providence in the past. Anticipate your eternal future with Him. Ponder His love already shown to you. Trust in His righteous, omnipotent hand!

 

The Pavilion Project

Pavilion Project

Lord willing, in just a few short weeks, we will begin to break ground on our latest building endeavor – the Pavilion Project! This pavilion will serve our church well as we use it for fellowship, ministry (especially during the summer months), and storage. Indeed, as a reminder, our Pavilion Project will feature a garage for our church van/trailer, a storage area for our outdoor equipment, a food serving area, and a covered picnic area. The total project should cost us no more than $50,000.

Well, as we near the groundbreaking and building stages of this project, I want to remind you all of a few things:

  1. Dedication – This Sunday, May 19, we will dedicate this whole Pavilion Project to the Lord. Our Dedication Ceremony will be short, but sweet, and will take place immediately following the Morning Worship Service. And why are we dedicating this project to the Lord? Well, as Psalm 127:1a states, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” One commentator notes, “God is both the Master Architect and the Master Builder, and we are merely his hired hands.” Our Dedication Ceremony is meant to remind us of these truths and to refocus our attention on the ultimate aim of this project – the glory of the “Master Architect and Master Builder!”
  2. Involvement – Though we will have some contracted work in relation to our Pavilion Project, a lot of the work to build this pavilion will be on us as volunteers. Indeed, your help is needed with framing, sheet walls, electrical working, etc. In short, we need your help! Please be ready to volunteer your time, expertise, and hard work to this Pavilion Project. The more volunteers we have for this project, the faster this project will get done. So, please, please, please (there’s your triple please) volunteer yourself to help with this project, when the time comes.
  3. Patience – Now, all of that begging and pleading to say this, please be patient with this whole Pavilion Project. I can almost guarantee you that this project will take much longer than you or I are envisioning right now. That’s just the nature of these types of tasks. Ideally, we’ll have this project done by the end of the summer and we’ll be able to use our pavilion a few times this fall, but that may or may not happen. Patience is key. In fact, let’s not try to rush this project at all because (as I often say) slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
  4. Generosity – Finally, let me make an unapologetic plea to each of you. That is to say, please give towards this project generously. I know, I hate talking about money just as much as you probably hate hearing about money, but money is a reality when it comes to a project like this. Now, to be clear, the Pavilion Project itself is totally paid for, however, funds are needed for some extra items that will serve to enhance our Pavilion Project (i.e. grills, picnic tables, etc.). Any money donated to this project will go towards the purchasing of these items. Indeed, this Sunday, May 19, we will collect a special offering for our Pavilion Project, and I would encourage each of you to give generously and joyfully towards it.

Prairie Flower, exciting times lay in front of us. Indeed, terrible times lay in front of us. However, through it all, we will trust the One who holds the future. I am so looking forward to what God is going to do in and through us as we build this Pavilion Project together for His glory…

Guest Blogger: Marti Owen, “Rhubarb and Reminders”

rhubarb crisp

In this week’s blog, special Guest Blogger, and former Prairie Flower member, Marti Owen, shares with us about the process of grief as she reflects on her mother, Hazel Benson, and her recent passing to Glory last month. She also gives to us her mother’s tasty Rhubarb Crisp recipe! Please continue to pray for the Benson and Owen families as they continue to grieve their precious loss…

So Many Reminders

Mother’s Day, spring lilacs, recipes, etc.! There are so many reminders of Mom. When a friend of ours offered to help us with some house projects, the only payment he requested was my Rhubarb Crisp. I agreed with slight hesitation, my Rhubarb Crisp recipe was passed on to me from my dear mother. Her transition to Heaven is still fresh, and I’m faced with many reminders of her. It seems that I’m not in control of my emotions when a trigger word is mentioned…then the tears come. GriefShare calls those “emotional hijacks.” I realize this is part of the grieving process. I know she is experiencing the joy of being in the presence of her Lord and Savior. My head knows this and I’m happy for her, but my heart feels the loss. As I move on, I choose to be thankful. I’m grateful I had my mother for as long as I did, that she was the person she was, and that God had given her to me. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 (ESV) “Sometimes we say. ‘God is good,’ with tears running down our cheeks.” –Dr. Joseph Stowell

Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

  • 3 cups of cut up rhubarb, 1 pkg. (3 oz.) of strawberry or raspberry gelatin, and ½ cup of sugar.
  • Place the washed and cut up rhubarb in a 9×9 baking dish. Sprinkle the gelatin and the sugar on top of the rhubarb.
  • Topping: Combine ½ cup of butter, 1 cup of flour, ¾ cup of brown sugar, and ½ cup of oatmeal. Mix well and sprinkle on top of the rhubarb. Bake for 45 min. at 350 degrees.

PFBC: May’s Upcoming Events…

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Below you will find the upcoming events taking place at Prairie Flower Baptist Church. The purpose of providing this schedule is to give you adequate time to plan for these events and/or pray for those participating in these events. Thanks for taking the time to stay current on all that is happening out here on the prairie!

May 3-4 – Mother & Daughter Retreat at IRBC

May 5 – Pastor Tim O’Tool’s First Official Sunday & Friendship Bible Study at PFBC

May 10 – Faith Baptist Bible College Commencement Service in Ankeny, IA (Shannon Steffen and Lance Lewis Graduating…)

May 11 – Youth Group Event: Adventureland Rally in Altoona, IA

May 12 – Mother’s Day at PFBC (Special Note: Youth Camp Registrations are due on this day to be eligible for PFBC’s 70% Scholarship…)

May 13 – Women’s Prayer Group at PFBC (10 – 11 AM)

May 14 – Donuts, Coffee, and Prayer at PFBC (6:30 – 7:30 AM)

May 16 – Eastern Iowa Biblical Counselor’s Coalition Training in Coralville, IA (Pastor Dave Attending…)

May 17-18 – Father & Son Retreat at IRBC

May 19 – Pavilion Project Groundbreaking Ceremony & Friendship Bible Study at PFBC

May 20 – Pastor Tim O’Tool’s Moving Day in Kalona, IA

May 26 – Special Speaker, Jon Jenks, at PFBC (Pastor Dave will be preaching at First Baptist Church in Elyria, OH on this Sunday for their special Patriotic Service…)

May 29 – Youth Group with Pastor Tim O’Tool at PFBC

May 30 – Pavilion Project: Foundation Potentially Finished at PFBC