Thinking Biblically About Black Lives Matter…

The words “Black Lives Matter” is pure Gospel gold. Indeed, biblically-speaking, every black life matters immensely to God. Thus, all black lives should matter to us, especially us Bible-believing, Gospel-loving Christians. But the words, “Black Lives Matter”, has been hijacked by the movement/organization that calls themselves by the same words, “Black Lives Matter.” Indeed, their very own words condemn them. Just go to https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/ to see, in their very own words, what they believe and what they are trying to do.

In part, they say that they believe, and thus act to, “dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work ‘double shifts’ so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work. We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

Dismantling and disrupting Western civilization, and our American way of life, is indeed the end state of this movement/organization. Indeed, the founders of this movement are “trained Marxists” (their very own words) and are seeking to capitalize on the real fears, experiences, and problems of our nation in order to drive us all to a very scary end state.

But should we dismantle and then reconstruct Western civilization, and the American way of life, simply to rectify the wrongs of the past and present? I think not. Let me explain…

You see, you can have real fears, rooted in real experiences, and based in real problems, and yet come to the wrong solution for how to solve these problems. This is the travesty of the Black Lives Matter movement/organization and their desire to restructure the whole of America to right the wrongs of the past and present. Perhaps an illustration would help…

As a pastor, I experienced the worst year of my entire life back in March 2018…Even my two tours to Iraq don’t even compare to the weight of darkness and depression I was experiencing back then…Indeed, suicide was a very real and appealing option in the Spring of 2018. I mean, everything had come to a head…As a church, we were experiencing a mini church split, a high-profile adultery case, and a tragic drug overdose. It. Was. Insane. I felt like my whole ministry was falling apart…Now, zoom with me to the end of this heartbreaking story, and here’s the gist of it: I made mistakes in handling this awful situation, but God was gracious and merciful, and me and my precious church family made it through the darkest night of soul…

Now, to this day, I have real fears about this situation happening again. That’s understandable, right? I mean, these fears are rooted in actual experiences of severe Satanic insanity erupting in my church family. I’ve even been able to identify part of the problem in this whole situation, namely, the Church! You heard me right…The Church, though it be the Bride of Christ, is jacked up and messed up – BIG time. Many pastors, with similar fears and experiences, would heartily agree with me! Indeed, anyone who’s been around the Church, for any length of time, knows how broken the Church really is…

So, you’re tracking, right? I have real fears, rooted in real experiences, and now I’ve identified a very real problem, the Church itself. But like a kid during a math exam, I make a fatal error in judgment when I come to this conclusion: “All we have to do is dismantle and restructure the way we do Church and these things will never happen again.” False…True fears. True experiences. True problem. False solution.

Will changing the way we do Church here in the West prevent people from dividing the Church, having adultery with one another, and ingesting different types of drugs into their body? Absolutely not. Why? Because the heart is the problem…

The same is true with “systemic racism.” There are real fears out there – listen to them. There are real experiences out there – learn from them. And there are real problems out there – lament over them. But do not make the dastardly assumption that the solution to these fears, experiences, and problems is to dismantle and restructure the whole of Western Civilization and the American way of life. Dismantling and restructuring our society will not prevent racism, injustices, and hatred. At best, it will merely quell these sins while giving birth to a whole new slew of bigger and better sins.

Why do I say this? Because Jesus said this…Mark 7:20-23, “And he said, ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from WITHIN, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from WITHIN, and they defile a person.’”

Our only solution is the Gospel. The Gospel proclaimed, believed, and lived out. True change comes from the inside out, not from the outside in. Our hearts (not our systems) is the ultimate problem. Indeed, our hearts are desperately sick, wicked, and downright dead…It needs to be brought to life. Only the Gospel can do that…Only Jesus can save us.

Prairie Flower, the Gospel (and only the Gospel) has been and will always be enough. Indeed, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. For as Paul would phrase it, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”

Guest Blogger: Aline Schipper, “An Unbreakable Spiritual Lifeline”

July marks the halfway point of 2020. Sometimes it seems this year has been going on forever and, at other times, it seems it has gone by like a whirlwind.

Given the current local and global circumstances, have you met anyone that is discouraged, “down on their luck”, or without hope? I have. Have you seen the rioters on TV that lash out in anger at anyone or anything around them? I watch in horror and disgust, wondering how such behavior will change anything. Then I curl up in my easy chair and take a nap, trying to shut it all out, which seldom works. Face it, the world’s problems are not amenable to any solutions man can come up with.

If I am honest, if it weren’t for the Lord, I would be in the same boat of anger and hopelessness as those on TV. A life without Christ breeds behavior that doesn’t care about consequences; doesn’t care about others; and doesn’t care about the future because they believe there is none. And without Christ, they indeed will not have a good future.

But thank God, the Bible is infused with verses about HOPE…

Hebrews 6:19-20 presents a wonderful word picture…Lord, help me to hear you saying, “I am your hope”, over all the other voices…Lord, your Word says you are the hope for the hopeless. So, I am running to you with both hands stretched out and grabbing on to you. Fill me up with hope and give me a tangible reminder today that hope is an unbreakable spiritual lifeline.

How about Psalms? “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Ps. 71:14

Here’s another one: “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits and in His Word I put my hope.” Ps. 130:5

I found about 30 verses directly speaking about hope. I am sure there are even more to encourage and lift up your sagging spirit if you look for them. Let me close with Romans 15:13 that says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

So don’t let this world take your hope. Instead, give an overflow of hope to those around you that may not have it. Give generously every chance you get. Someone’s life may depend on it. 

It’s Been One Month Since George Floyd…

Below is a poem I wrote, as well as some helpful resources from theologians and thinkers I respect, to help us all process the injustices and turmoil in our great country…

The Gospel (A Poem)

I will take your place, George Floyd. I will die for you.

I will take your place, Derek Chauvin…Step off of George’s neck and step onto my neck…I will die for you.

I will take your place, Outraged Protester. I will die for you.

I will take your place, regardless of your Race or your Case. And I will die for you.

.

.

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Then I will lie, cold & lifeless, in a Pharisees’ tomb. Yes, crucified by GENTILES, but buried by JEWS.

BUT my death will be the death of Death. I will rise again – for ALL!

Indeed, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Resources To Help You Truly Listen, Learn, Lament, and Leverage…

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/george-floyd-and-the-gospel/id1328733796?i=1000476386919 – “In a first-of-its-kind episode, Darrell Harrison and Virgil “Omaha” Walker get behind their respective microphones for a no-holds-barred, completely impromptu, unscheduled, and unscripted (no notes) discussion about how believers in Christ should respond to events surrounding the death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota. Buckle up.”

https://albertmohler.com/2020/06/18/briefing-6-18-20 An excellent breakdown of Black Lives Matter as mere words v. a menacing movement…

There are other good blogs, articles, and books to consider. Contact me and I will be glad to offer some suggestions…Good content is key in this thick battle for the truth!

Indeed, Prairie Flower, life is short…So live for Him…The battle is now…So fight for truth…And Heaven awaits us…So what do we really have to lose?

“One Race, One Remedy” By Darrell Harrison and Cameron Buettel

Most of us have heard of Charles Darwin’s landmark work, The Origin of Species. But its full title exposes the dark philosophy and motivation behind Darwin’s theories: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.

One Humanity

Darwin believed that every ethnic group descended from different primates­—and that some of these groups were more “favored” than others. The idea that mankind should be divided into various “races” only took root with the advent of Darwin’s evolutionary theory in the mid-nineteenth century.

That divisive worldview has no place among God’s people. Neither does the current sanctimonious quest for racial diversity within the church which ignores the reality of mankind’s common parentage—that God “made from one man every nation [ethnicity] of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26, emphasis added). In other words, we are all Adam’s children.

There is only one race. One. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is not speaking biblically.

One Depravity

The byproduct of our shared heritage is that every member of the human race has the same problem: “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Man’s depravity levels the playing field. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Although we’re not all as evil as we could be, there’s no part of our being that hasn’t been corrupted by sin, and we all stand equally guilty before our righteous and holy Judge.

Moreover, the truth of our corruption highlights the one dividing line that matters—the wall of enmity and separation between holy God and sinful men. From heaven’s perspective, humanity’s fundamental identity is not that of victims, but of perpetrators. In light of that reality, any form of prejudicial favoritism is an obscenity and an absurdity. Even the most legitimate claims to victimhood evaporate in light of to our offenses against God. The prophet Jeremiah raised an important question: “Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins?” (Lamentations 3:39). And yet depraved humanity is still looking for an excuse to plead its case.

The church should not encourage such cosmic myopia. We are called to indict sinners and invite them to repentance and faith—not to arm them with excuses that will fail to convince the Judge.

This current fixation on tabulating perceived temporal unfairness and injustice only blinds us to the fact that we’re all in the same boat—and it’s sinking fast.

One Remedy

R. C. Sproul was once asked why bad things happen to good people. Sproul responded, “That only happened once, and He volunteered.”

God sees one race of humanity with one universal problem: sin. And in the person of Christ, God provides the only acceptable payment for our sins. As the apostle Paul explains, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

In his commentary on 2 Corinthians, John MacArthur explains the profundity of that verse.

Christ was not made a sinner, nor was He punished for any sin of His own. Instead, the Father treated Him as if He were a sinner by charging to His account the sins of everyone who would ever believe. All those sins were charged against Him as if He had personally committed them, and He was punished with the penalty for them on the cross, experiencing the full fury of God’s wrath unleashed against them all. . . . Our iniquitous life was legally charged to Him on the cross, as if He had lived it, so that His righteous life could be credited to us, as if we lived it.

Thankfully, at the cross of Christ, God didn’t give His people justice. He turned justice in our favor, using an act of human injustice, punishing the righteous One in place of the wicked. Now He is faithful and just to forgive our sins rather than damning us.

One Community

Having been regenerated and redeemed, we now belong to the Body of Christ. Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Our new life in Christ erases the dividing lines that the sinful world loves to draw. And Paul charges us not to redraw them: “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

In fact, the unity of the church ought to defy such selfish social distinctions. In Christ we have been set free from viewing each other through lenses that accentuate ethnic strife, economic inequality, and other perceived social disparities that occupy the world’s attention. We don’t need to cater to the institutionalized partiality of this wretched world. We don’t need to think in terms of oppressed and oppressors, disadvantaged and privileged, black and white. We don’t need to subscribe to the value the world places on victim status. And we must not follow the world’s lead in the futile attempt to combat partiality with more partiality.

That’s not to say believers should turn a blind eye to real instances of injustice—Scripture doesn’t excuse willful ignorance and inaction (cf. Deuteronomy 10:18Leviticus 19:15Psalm 82:2–4). Instead, it means we must not mistake temporal injustice for God’s primary concern. We need to cultivate heaven’s perspective on the world’s maladies, understanding that instances of injustice are not necessarily ills to be cured but symptoms of the comprehensive corruption of sin’s spiritual cancer. The church needs to get out of the business of putting Band-Aids on severed limbs and chest wounds.

As believers, we know the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only cure for what ails this world. We have firsthand knowledge of its regenerating power, and we ought to be putting all our efforts into delivering the truth of the gospel to those who are lost and dying without it.

Because of Christ’s redemptive work, there is only one distinction now worth making: those who are in Adam and those who are in Christ (Romans 5:12-21). And those who are in Adam are not our enemies—they’re our mission field. Our job is not to stroke their perceived hurts. It’s to faithfully preach the gospel to them and call them to repentance, faith, and oneness with the rest of God’s redeemed.

Dear Sons…Dear Daughters…

Against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent years I’ve ever experienced, I’ve asked myself this singular question many times: What can I do to make a difference? Perhaps you’ve asked yourself this same question amidst all the white (and black) noise in our culture…What can I do to make a difference? It’s a good question. It deserves a good answer.

Indeed, the turbulence of 2020 is one for the books: a presidential impeachment, a global pandemic, an economic recession, and (now) nationwide unrest. Are we headed towards a full-blown Civil War? It seems to me that the presidential election in 2020 holds for us a powder keg of emotions ready to explode. I could be wrong, and I hope I’m wrong, but our nation is truly fragile right now. As the people of God, we will certainly keep trusting the Lord, fighting for justice, and praying for law and order, but these are certainly some tense and terrible days to be living through.

But again, as I ponder the days that God has allotted for us, I ask myself: Can I really make a difference in this multi-layered, highly nuanced, and increasingly disturbing situation? I mean, what can I really do? Just pray more? Listen to more of my friends of color and their thoughts, feelings, and opinions? Perhaps participate in a march myself? Maybe all these things are good and necessary, but I am convinced that more and better parenting is an absolute must. More and better parenting? Doesn’t that seem random and boring in terms of an effective solution?

I think not…Here’s what initially primed my thinking…

John MacArthur (Pastor, Author, and Bible Teacher at Grace To You) recently suggested four layers of accountability and discipline that are absolutely vital to a thriving society (and civilization as a whole): conscience, family (specifically, one’s parents), the government, and the Church. MacArthur suggests that in recent decades, the conscience of the American people has been seared shut; and the family has altogether been attacked and decimated (look at how many absentee fathers plague our family units today, along with the rise of homosexuality and transgenderism). Now, in recent weeks, that third layer of accountability and discipline is being severely attacked, namely, our government and those who have sworn to protect us and serve us. Oh, how we need to pray that justice prevails along with law and order! But if this third layer of accountability and discipline falls, what’s next? That’s right, the Church. And when the Church can no longer do an effective job of restraining evil, that’s when God Himself will snatch the Church out of this world. That’s when full blown Satanic insanity will erupt as the Chief Restrainer (i.e. the Holy Spirit) is completely removed from the presence and psyche of this world.

So, as I’ve digested content from people like John MacArthur, as well as other theological, political, sociological, and cultural resources (from articles to blogs to videos), I again ask myself: What can I do? Again, I think more and better parenting is one vital piece to moving forward, as Christians, in an increasingly decaying culture. It’s by no means the silver bullet, but more and better parenting is a huge piece in us moving forward in an honest, healthy, and holistic fashion. Yes, we as parents, and especially us fathers, need to stand up and speak up, to our children, in our own homes. We need to hold them accountable and discipline them in the way of truth, justice, and beauty.

Indeed, my wife and I are in the process of adoption. We will most likely adopt a bi-racial or black infant. That’s just the way most adoption cases work. We cannot wait to bring our son or daughter home, no matter how much melanin they have in their skin! And what rejoicing will come to our home on the day we bring our adopted child home…So, all that to say, here is what I plan to teach my four bi-racial, white, and/or black sons and daughters…Yes, here is how I plan to stand up and speak up, by God’s grace, in my own home…

Dear Sons…Dear Daughters…

May you always know and live in light of these six wonderful realities…

  1. God created you and loves you. Indeed, your skin color (no matter what it is – white, brown, black, or mixed) was knitted into you by a Master Artist who made you “fearfully and wonderfully” (Psalm 139:14). Furthermore, this Master Artist loves you with a fierce love and proved His love for you by sending His Son, Jesus, to die in your place and for your sins (Romans 5:8). You are loved by your Mommy and Daddy, but God loves you more.
  2. The Bible gives to us objective truth. You never have to doubt who you really are and how much you are really worth because the Bible gives to you plain and powerful objective truth (Gen. 1:27). Indeed, you never have to worry if the Bible is going to lead you astray into false narratives or fake news because God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). Yes, you can always count on the Bible, God’s Holy Word, to give you light and life (Psalm 119).
  3. America is not perfect, but we are blessed to live in the U.S.A. This country of ours is something I love, and you should love it too (James 1:17). Indeed, America is not our final home, and our ultimate citizenship lies in Heaven (Philippians 3:20-21), but to love this country is not wrong and no one should ever make you feel ashamed for loving the red, white, and blue. Yes, do your part to strengthen the areas of our country that need fixing, but always thank God for this land of the free because of the brave (Psalm 113).
  4. People are crazy, but we love them anyways. Hate is a powerful reality in our world (1 John 3:11-18). But so is love (1 John 5:1-5)! Let’s choose to love the difficult, the uniformed, the rebellious, the hypocritical, and the downright hurtful people in our lives. Why? Because that’s what Jesus did…and does (Matt. 5:43-48).
  5. The Church is God’s plan A to reach the world with hope and healing despite so much sin and suffering. Indeed, the Church can be so broken and messed up, but God is using the Church despite all that we are and all that we are not (Ephesians 3:10). So, let’s be a family that stays on mission (Matthew 28:18-20). “Won’t it be hard? Won’t it be difficult?”, you ask. Certainly, but God made a promise that His purposes will prevail in and through the Church, no matter how broken or attacked it becomes (Matthew 16:18).
  6. This world is not it, there’s an eternity that awaits us. We can be a family that fights for justice, helps the poor, and ministers to the marginalized of society, and yet the world gets worse and worse, and we suffer persecution. And that’s more than OK. Why? Because “this world is not our home, we’re just a passing through…” Indeed, God has imprinted the idea of eternity onto our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Furthermore, He’s guaranteed a perfection of peace in eternity for all who trust in Jesus. “Will you believe?” (John 11:25-27).

With All My Love (An Imperfect, Incomplete Love For Sure) But With All The Love I Can Muster,

Your Dad

Moving Forward From COVID-19

Dear Members and Friends Out Here On The Prairie,

The last 2 1/2 months have been some of the most turbulent days we’ve ever faced as a world, nation, and church family. Truth be told, there might be more turbulence ahead. But no matter what, we will continue to trust our great and sovereign King Jesus!

I realize that many of you have been inundated with various news articles, blog posts, videos, and other communication platforms, so I’ll keep my words here succinct. Please note the information below. And please know that we are in this together and will get through this together by God’s amazing, sustaining grace…

  1. Face Masks: We are moving forward from the strange and oftentimes confusing world of COVID-19. Practices that were once deemed necessary because of our lack of knowledge about the virus are now deemed unnecessary at best and detrimental to our health at worst. Such is the case with the use of face masks. Now, let me be as clear as I can, you may wear a face mask if you want to for the protection of your health, but we will not make face masks mandatory or commonplace in our church building. Again, you may wear one if you wish, and some of you, for health reasons, should wear one, and we’ll be glad you’re wearing one, but not everyone needs to wear a face mask.
  2. Social Distancing: Despite reducing some restrictions, I do believe we will continue to feel the effects of this virus for quite some time. This is especially true in regards to social distancing and increased hygiene protocols. So, out of compliance with our Governor’s desires, and out of love for our fellow neighbor, we will continue to exercise social distancing and proper hygiene as we congregate week after week. We do this, not motivated by fear, but out of submission to our governing authorities and out of love for our neighbors.
  3. Child Care: As it relates to our Child Care ministries, as a Leadership Team, we have decided to make the downstairs Fellowship Hall a designated Child Care area for parents to use. To be clear, this area will not be staffed with volunteer teachers, but parents are welcome to use this area in order to more easily occupy their children and participate in the Sunday Morning Worship Service. No other Child Care ministries will be offered (i.e. Sunday School, Nursery, etc.). It is our desire to relaunch all of our Child Care ministries this fall. But may God’s will be done!
  4. Important Dates: Finally, we would like all of you to be aware of some very important dates. This includes our Women’s Prayer Group relaunching this Monday, June 8 at 10 AM (continuing every second Monday of every month), our Men’s Prayer Group this Tuesday, June 9 at 6:30 AM (AKA: Donuts, Coffee, and Prayer…continuing every second Tuesday of every month), a Reno Informational Meeting on Sunday, June 14 immediately following the Morning Worship Service (this meeting will prepare us for a vote on this project at our next Quarterly Meeting), All Church Work Day on Saturday, June 27 (the purpose of this Work Day is to do indoor and outdoor maintenance on our building and grounds, especially as it relates to our Pavilion Project), and our Quarterly Meeting on Sunday, June 28 immediately following the Morning Worship Service (there will be several vital issues to vote on in this meeting…all members are strongly encouraged to be in attendance). Also, all Small Group Bible Studies may begin to regather at their Bible Study Leader’s discretion. Please use proper social distancing at each of these events/gatherings. It is also important to note that the Leadership Team has decided that there will be no VBS this summer, but alternate activities are being discussed.

Well, there you have it! I tried to be as clear and concise as possible. If you have any questions whatsoever, please reach out to either Pastor Tim or me. We are here for you!

Moving Forward Together,

David Cotner

Lead Pastor, PFBC

In A GIF World, Don’t Lose Your Voice…

I love GIFs!

Don’t you? They seem to capture our emotions and feelings in a way that mere words simply cannot. In fact, my siblings and I (along with my wife) are all part of a text messaging group through WhatsApp. We could literally go all day sending each other nothing but different GIFs. Sometimes our “GIF battles” get pretty hilarious, and crazy, but I love it!

But let me encourage all of us…In a GIF world, don’t lose your voice. That is to say, don’t lose the power and precision of your words. Yes, it’s true that most of our communication comes from our non-verbal expressions, but words are important and can give direction and clarity to our non-verbal expressions. Our friends and family need to not only know what we’re feeling (this is where emojis and GIFs are incredibly helpful), but they also need to know what we’re thinking (this is why our words matter)…For instance, you may send a sad GIF to your buddy like this one…

Which is super helpful in describing what you’re feeling, but it doesn’t explain why you’re feeling that way. So, here is where words are incredibly useful…

You get it, right? GIFs help us communicate feelings, but words help us communicate the thinking behind the feelings. Yes, words are still very important in our GIF world. So use them! And let’s be sure to use our words carefully, confidently, and with Christlikeness…Okay?

From the Associate Pastor’s Desk: The Impact of Ravi Zacharias On My Ministry

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“We have in the universities, the search for unity and diversity. That’s what university means. We have got unity and diversity in the effect of this universe. The only way to explain unity and diversity in the effect is if you’ve got unity and diversity in the first cause and the only way, we can truly find unity and diversity in the first place, is in the unity, and the diversity, and the community of the trinity.”

This quote by Ravi Zacharias was spoken by him at many speeches throughout the years of his ministry. As a young high school student, I received a recording of this speech. To this day, I do not know where the speech was given. I had the recording on a CD that someone had given my parents. Out of curiosity, I played that speech and was hooked. I was fascinated by the intelligence of what I was hearing from this godly teacher.

That moment had a profound impact on my life for what I believe are two reasons. One, I found someone who not only taught on the Word of God, but was able to answer skeptics in a way that was so intelligent and eloquent. He often used big words in combination with one another to such a point that I found it hard to keep up. This forced me to listen to the same teaching over and over again so as to absorb the point being made. This created a love in me for understanding the deep truths of God’s Word. This is so important for Christians. There are far too many tough questions that arise throughout our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, for us to casually accept simple, incomplete answers that do not measure up to the full council of God’s Word. God used Ravi to answer those tough questions in such profound ways.

Second, Ravi had such a gentle spirit whenever he taught. You could tell just by listening and observing him, that he deeply held these convictions, but was also deeply concerned with the souls of those he was speaking to. He was not concerned with “owning” somebody during a debate. He was concerned with reasoning his audience to the truth. While he always used such intelligent and articulate arguments, he understood that his words were not the solutions to the unbeliever or skeptic’s problem. He understood that he was only a tool God would use to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

We as Christians need to follow the example of this great man of God. It is not enough for us to give simple, unintelligent answers, nor will it win the day to argue someone into the kingdom. We must demonstrate a deep and practical understanding of the issues, but more than that, we need to demonstrate the same love our Savior displayed for us. We can certainly look to the example Ravi left for us.

In Ephesians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul says that God has gifted the church with certain people for the evangelism, teaching, and the building up of the body of Christ. Just a few verses later, he will exhort us to speak the truth in love and grow until we attain to maturity in Christ. My prayer is that I would be just one of the many faithful men who carry the baton of faith to the next generation. God gifted Ravi to the church for a time, but has now taken him home. Would God raise up many more men who, like Ravi, demonstrate the love and complexity of the truth once delivered to the saints.

When Death Comes Calling, Here Are Some Songs That Help Me Grieve…

The past couple of weeks have been emotionally hard for me…

Last week, a well-known and well-loved mega-church pastor, Darrin Patrick, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound…God surely used this man’s ministry in a powerful way in my life. I will miss Darrin, but I’m forever grateful for the impact he had on my life.

Then, just this week, our beloved Kenny Schipper slipped into Glory after decades of battling infection and disease…Oh, how I’ll miss this man’s larger than life personality, his big smile, and his warm heart. Yes, I will miss Kenny, but I’m forever grateful that God allowed my life to intersect with Kenny’s life at the exact moment that it did.

It certainly has been a hard couple of weeks…

And you know, death (in all of its’ ugly forms) is such a present and gut-wrenching reality for all of us. The Apostle Paul would go so far as to label death as our greatest enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). But, praise be to God, our evil enemy, death, does not have the final say. Yeah, you read that right. Death does NOT have the final say. Why? Because of Jesus! Because of Jesus and his perfect life, and his perfect death (in our place and for our sins), and his perfect resurrection, there is true hope and a sure future. Yes, for those who truly know Jesus, by grace through faith, we have hope of a perfect, peaceful future in the “great beyond.” Isn’t that a wonderful truth to marinate in?

But as we wait for that incredible future, our present reality is marked by death and all the pain and suffering that it inflicts upon the living. So, it’s important that we don’t stunt our humanity by failing to grieve and grieve well. Indeed, our bright future causes us to grieve with hope (1 Thess. 4:13)…Here are some songs that I personally listen to as I seek to grieve in the present while hoping for the future…I pray these songs bless you as they have me over and over and over again…

Prairie Flower Seeks To Improve Online Presence…

Online Presence #1

The turbulence of COVID-19 has afforded Prairie Flower Baptist Church some unique opportunities. One of those opportunities has come in the form of improving our online presence. For instance, our church app continues to be used to produce strong biblical content in the form of blogs, podcasts, and audio sermons. Indeed, our app just recently crossed 1,000+ downloads across iPhone and Android devices…Not bad for a church located in the middle of a cornfield! May God receive all the glory.

We also continue to use our website to communicate with our community and just recently gave our homepage a slight overhaul. As for social media, we have expanded our outreach, impact, and influence by posting more content than ever before, to include more videos throughout the week and Facebook Live on Sunday mornings. In addition to all these venues, we also jumped into the world of publishing content through our YouTube channel. We are still learning, growing, and developing in our capabilities (a big shout out to Pastor Tim and Will Luers who are leading in this initiative), but we have made some neat improvements in our ability to produce, not just strong biblical content, but well done videos.

Yes, COVID-19 certainly produced some turbulence, wrecking lots of our plans and programs, but (in the end) it birthed some unique opportunities for us to be innovative, experimental, and (hopefully) move to the next level of life and ministry. It’s been so neat to track our little improvements. Indeed, please know that we will always seek to keep improving in our ability to communicate the Gospel, whether it be in person or through the plethora of online platforms that are out there…Yes, we will always seek to improve. For example, check out the two videos below…See the difference in audio quality?