PFBC: September’s Upcoming Events…

Harvest Season

Sunday, Sept. 1 = Special Fall Series Launches, “Core Values: Who We Are – Take 2” at 10:15 AM & Friendship Bible Study Relaunches at 4:30 PM

Friday, Sept. 6 – Saturday, Sept. 7 = Women’s Renew Conference at IRBC

Saturday, Sept. 7 = Braden Carroll and Liz Yoder’s Wedding at 1 PM!

Sunday, Sept. 8 = Relaunch of Growth Groups (Various Times) & Kids 4 Truth Volunteer Training (TBD)  

Monday, Sept. 9 = Women’s Prayer Group from 10 – 11 AM

Tuesday, Sept. 10 = Men’s Prayer Group from 6:30 – 7:30 AM

Wednesday, Sept. 11 = Kids 4 Truth Launches & Youth Group Relaunches at 6:30 PM…Prayer Meeting Relaunches at 7:00 PM

Saturday, Sept. 14 = Service Project at Prairie Flower Shut-In Steve Fordham’s Home at 10 AM

Sunday, Sept. 15 = Membership Sunday at 10:15 AM & Nursing Home Ministry at Parkview Manor at 3:30 PM

Tuesday, Sept. 17 = Pastor Dave at IRBC Board Meeting at Camp at 9 AM

Thursday, Sept. 19 = Pastor Dave at IARBC Council of 10 Meeting in Ames at 9 AM

Sunday, Sept. 22 = Gideon’s Presentation at 10:15 AM and Leadership Team Meeting at 2 PM

Sunday, Sept. 29 = Combined Sunday School With Missionary, Susie Kallal, at 9 AM

VBS 2019: “In The Wild” Was Wild

VBS 2019 #3

Hello, friends! Just a quick blog post to say that VBS 2019 is officially in the books. We had a great week with nearly 45-50 kids every night. Songs were sung, crafts were done, games were played, and (of course) lessons on Jesus were taught. The kids eagerly participated in all of our nightly activities and had a wonderful time. A BIG “thank you” goes to each person who took their time to pour into our kids out here on the prairie. But a SPECIAL “thank you” goes to Kendra Gingerich and her crew for decorating, Nancy Wilson and Jesse Neitzel for coordinating the snacks, Aline Schipper for designing and putting together the cute safari vests, and Jess Caster and her crew for the hilarious and well-done skits! Everyone really pulled together and passionately gave it their all during the week; and, in the end, the kids had a great time, Jesus was praised, and God got a lot of glory. VBS 2019: “In The Wild” was wild! Can’t wait till next year!

Five Seriously Serious Stormy Statements…

Storm 2

Last Sunday, we looked at a most spectacular account – Jesus calming a huge storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 8:23-27). In Mark’s parallel account (Mark 4:35-41), we read that Jesus calmed this storm with just three words, “Peace! Be still!” So many things could be said about this powerful account, but let me just offer five applicational thoughts from this demonstration of Jesus’s power and authority. Four will sound familiar as I mentioned these items in last Sunday’s sermon; and the fifth thought is an addition, but a needed addition. Check out these five seriously serious stormy statements (try saying that five times faster)…

  1. Storms in life sometimes happen BECAUSE you are following Jesus. Think about it. Who commanded and led the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee? You betcha. It was Jesus who commanded and led His disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee and subsequently led them right into the middle of a fierce storm. All of us must learn to decipher the difference between storms brought about because of our sin (storms of punishment), storms brought about because of Satan (storms of persecution), and storms brought about because of the Savior (storms of pruning). Bottom line, not all storms are because of your sin or Satan. Some storms in life happen precisely BECAUSE you are following Jesus.
  2. Storms in life sometimes happen out of nowhere – they’re unpredictable. Again, think about it. The disciples in Matt. 8:23-27 were totally not expecting a storm. It hit them, seemingly, out of nowhere! Because of how sudden and fierce the storm was, they were filled with great fear and even accused Jesus of not caring. Are you facing a storm right now? Did it seemingly come out of nowhere? Often this is how storms work. You are moving through life (work, vacation, school, family) and BAM you are hit with an incredible, overwhelming storm. Bottom line, the only expected thing about the storms of life is that they are often unexpected – they’re unpredictable. So, here’s some pastoral encouragement: Don’t live your life as if storms aren’t allowed to enter it. Storms happen.
  3. Storms in life is NOT an indication that God hates you or is unnecessarily messing with you. This is what the disciples momentarily thought as they shouted at Jesus through the roar of the storm, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?!” Please hear me, God is not some cruel puppet master in the sky who finds joy in your pain and suffering. God is good, kind, and loving even when we’re in pain…pain that He Himself puts us through. How can this be? Well, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? But let me just offer this thought. Do you know how muscles grow? I suppose there are many right answers, but let me simply state it with this…”time under tension.” That’s right, you have to put your muscles through tension for a set period of time. The longer the tension, the greater impact you’ll receive with muscle growth and development. Perhaps God is putting you through a storm, not because He hates you or is messing with you, but to grow and develop your faith as He puts you in some “time under tension.”
  4. Storms in life give to you an opportunity to practice one of three kinds of faith: No faith, little faith, or great faith. Just before Jesus calmed the storm at sea, what did He do? Yeah, He rebuked His disciples for their “little faith.” Now, just hours before, Jesus had been wowed by a Roman Centurion’s “great faith.” So, in the words of Pastor Tim O’Tool, “How will Jesus marvel at your faith?” Will He marvel at how small it is or how great it is? Bottom line, all storms in life give to us a prime opportunity to exercise one of three kinds of faith: No faith, little faith, or great faith.
  5. Storms in life do NOT last forever. Praise the Lord for seasons in life! Darkness gives way to light. Hurt gives way to healing. Storms give way to calm. Hear me…the intensity of your storm right now might be fierce, and you may feel like you’re not going to make it, but storms do not last forever. Indeed, the One who put you into the storm has the power to still the storm – the one raging outside of you and the one raging inside of you.

As we close out this blog post, check out this song from the band, Skillet. It’s entitled, “Anchor.”

From the Desk of the Associate Pastor: What Am I Here For?


What Am I Here For?

This is a question I’m sure we have all asked ourselves. What is my purpose? Why do I exist? This question can come in many forms and if you polled a hundred people you would probably get that many different answers. While its in our nature to seek purpose in this life I believe that most everybody comes to the wrong conclusion because they start from the wrong starting point.

For Christians this should not be the case. We have a direct message from our Creator with the answer to the question “what was I made for?” The answer comes in the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible. Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Now most of you have probably been taught that being made in the image of God means that we bear some likeness to Him in emotion, will, and intellect. While the image of God certainly includes these attributes, I believe we miss some of the most important aspects God is communicating to us when He says we are “made in His image.”

To be made in the image of God means that we are to spread His image throughout the whole earth. To put it another way we are imagers. God’s original intent for mankind was that we would improve His creation. Now you might be saying “God said His creation was very good!” That is just it. He said “Very Good,” not complete. We know this because just one verse later in Genesis 1:28-30 God says that man should subdue the earth and have dominion over it. He also said He gave them every plant with it’s seed to aid in this work. In short mankind was to spread Eden over the whole world. We were to spread God’s image by multiplying ourselves and using our creative abilities that God equipped us with to improve  and subdue the earth.

Now when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden that did not nullify our mandate to fill the whole earth with God’s image. It would however become much more difficult and indeed impossible to accomplish this task. We observe that in the pronouncement of the curse on mankind. This curse included thorns and thistles as well as pain in childbirth. Where as before creation cooperated with the mandate for man to subdue and have dominion over the earth, now creation would oppose us. We see that we have been successful in many ways in that mandate as mankind has achieved amazing things in construction, technology, and farming. With all our successes though we see much more evil that has been done by us to one another and to the earth. The marring of God’s image in us makes everything we do tainted by evil.

This is why we need a Savior. All the greatest achievements by man will always be tainted by our sin. That is why God knew He would need to come and achieve this mandate. To do so He became a man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He came and fulfilled the law completely, had full dominion over nature but died in our place. He did not stay dead as He also has dominion over death itself. He rose from the dead and defeated the curse that mankind had brought on this world.

Now we too can have that curse defeated if we are in Christ. That is if we confess our sins and believe in Him as the only Son of God who was crucified for our sins and raised to life. Jesus has given His followers a renewed mandate. We are to fill the whole earth with His image, or put another way, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” Christians get to be a part of fulfilling the original creation mandate and the reversal of the curse that we brought to this planet. The only way to fully restore God’s image is to make disciples who are being conformed to the image of Christ.

Be Hopeful: The Church Does Not Rise Or Fall On Christian Celebrity By Mike Hess

Joshua Harris

Alexander and Hymenaeus are not the most famous characters in the New Testament. Most would probably have a difficult time identifying who these men were and why they were mentioned in one of the apostle Paul’s epistles—these were men who made “shipwreck” of their faith (1 Tim. 1:19–20). Paul used them to illustrate the contrast between those who keep the faith with a good conscience and those who abandon the faith. Yet during this time when a few were apostatizing, the gospel was nevertheless spreading, countless multitudes were being saved, and churches were being planted at an incredible rate. So we shouldn’t be too quick to write off the church. God is faithful, and He will accomplish His purposes despite the unfaithfulness of some.

We all grieve over the tragic news of former megachurch pastor and bestselling author Joshua Harris’s announcements of separating from his wife and a week later publicly proclaiming that he’s “not a Christian.” Not only that, he went so far as to apologize for at one time standing for the Biblical teaching on sexual ethics. This recent “fall from grace” has brought to mind Biblical names such as Alexander the Coppersmith, Hymenaeus, and Demas.

Joshua Harris is a human being who is created in the image of God. He’s also the father of three beautiful children. He is obviously in a terrible place spiritually and in great need of prayer. Undoubtedly many in his former church and circle of influence are grieving right now. What happened to him could happen to any of us (1 Cor. 10:12–13). It’s important that as we consider these things, we keep our language from becoming quarrelsome, slanderous, demeaning, or unbecoming of a follower of Christ. This is especially important with respect to what we post on social media. Yes, let’s be bold and truthful. But at the same time, let’s say what we mean without being mean in how we say it (Col. 4:6).

But we also need to be cautious about embracing a “sky is falling” mentality. Thankfully, the church’s foundation does not depend on the performance of prominent Christian celebrities. Even when a well-known pastor and author publicly announces his divorce and denial of the faith, the church still marches on for God’s glory. Many who mock the gospel will gloat about this public denial of the faith. That’s tragic, but it isn’t fatal to the church’s future. I believe we should be more optimistic than ever about the future of the church—not because of the celebrities it often elevates, but because of the Christ Who is the rock and the head of the church.

Consider how God has used His church over the past week. All around the world faithful pastors have stood and unashamedly proclaimed the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faithful servants have sacrificially served children in churches during Vacation Bible School. Others have patiently listened and prayed with those going through unspeakable suffering and pain. Neighbors have been invited into homes where the love of Christ has been exemplified by Christians demonstrating generous hospitality. Orphans have been adopted. Loving and restorative church discipline has resulted in sweet repentance and reconciliation. Local churches have sent out teams on short-term missions trips around the world. New hope has been injected into struggling marriages through compassionate Biblical counseling that seeks to help instead of harshly condemn. Prodigals have come home. New believers have made their faith public and identified with the gospel in believer’s baptism. And perhaps most importantly, many have come to saving faith in Christ.

While we rejoice in all these things, we must keep this firmly in mind: without faithful Biblical doctrine, we can’t have any of it. When someone denies the faith, that person is denying hope—the hope that transforms someone from the inside out. After all, if Christ is not actually risen from the dead, we should be “pitied more than anyone” (1 Cor. 15:19, CSB).

The best way to protect our hearts and ensure the fruitfulness of our churches is by guarding our doctrine. There’s far more at stake here than just having a well-written and cogent doctrinal statement; the meaningfulness of our lives today and our destinies for all eternity hinge on whether we take God at His Word. I’m both humbled and grateful to be a part of a fellowship of churches that for nearly 90 years has never wavered doctrinally. I don’t say that to boast or to brag—God receives all the glory for this. But it’s that sound doctrine that will protect your spiritual life and the life of your local church. That’s why it’s so important for churches to connect with other doctrinally aligned churches. On both a personal and corporate level, you are never better off going it alone.

In the meantime, let’s not forget while hearing the heartbreaking accounts of spiritually shipwrecked Christians that there are multitudes of faithful Christian brethren all around the world still persevering in their faith and staying true to the gospel, sometimes even under intense persecution.

Let’s cheer each other on to cross the finish line strong!

Reblogged with permission from the author, Mike Hess, who serves as National Representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.