All Church Prayer & Fast Guide (3/1/20)

Prayer

The Leadership Team of Prairie Flower Baptist Church is calling for a church wide Prayer and Fast Day on Sunday, March 1. We will also have our Corporate Prayer Night at 6 PM that same day. If you would like to participate, we ask that you abstain from food and only consume water, juice, and/or coffee. For those who can’t participate in the food fast, but would still like to participate, perhaps you could fast from technology, TV, or something else. Be creative and do all that you do as unto the Lord!

The why behind the what of this event is simple, we need the Lord and we want to seek his face by means of praying and fasting. There are so many encouragements and commands in Scripture that point us to the power of praying and fasting. So, out of obedience to the Word, and with eager expectation that God will work, we joyfully enter into this day of prayer and fasting. Won’t you join us?

Paul states in Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

To help facilitate this day of prayer and fasting, here is a guide that will help you focus your time of prayer…Please pray for the following large categories:

  1. That lost souls would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  2. That believers would grow in their faith.
  3. That our church would experience continued unity and growth.
  4. That our leadership team would lead wisely and faithfully.
  5. That our missionaries would bear fruit on the mission field.
  6. That our kid’s programs would grow and be productive.
  7. That our upcoming Easter Service (4-12-20) would powerfully showcase the Gospel.
  8. That our marriages would be protected and strengthened.
  9. That our kids would respond to the Gospel and be protected from the Evil One.
  10. That our focus would stay on the Lord and not get distracted with lesser things.

What else can you add to this list? In a nutshell, there is so much to pray for. Please plan to join us on March 1, 2020 for our church wide Prayer and Fast Day and then plan to come out for our Corporate Prayer Night at 6 PM that same day. You’ll be glad you did.

The Sabbath: What Is It?

Sabbath

This Sunday, February 16, we’ll be discussing the passage from Matthew 12:1-14. In this section of God’s Word, Jesus is being challenged by the Pharisees on what they perceive to be a breech in Jesus’ practice of the Sabbath law. Of course, Jesus was not breaking the Sabbath law, only the Pharisees’ laws surrounding the Sabbath law. More on that on Sunday. But what is the Sabbath? Why was it so important? Check out the video below for some answers…

How to Make a Decision With Limited Information

Decisions

My wife and I are in the process of adopting an infant. Currently, we are reviewing different cases that are coming our way. Our Consultant has simply advised us to review each case and then respond via email with a simple “yes” or “no” to each case. A “yes” response means that we are willing to proceed with the adoption case. A “no” response means that we are not willing to proceed with the adoption case. Often we are given just a few hours to make a decision; and often we have very limited information about the birth mother and our potential baby.

I’m a planner by nature. I love information. In the Army, I was an Intelligence Analyst. I uncovered massive amounts of information, put it together into a presentation, and then briefed the Combat Commander on the situation taking place in his battle space. As a Pastor, I spend approximately 15-16 hours in studying all kinds of biblical information before I present a single sermon to my congregation. I love information. So this whole process of proceeding with an adoption, with very limited information, is definitely putting me outside my comfort zone.

So, what do I do? How do my wife and I make these decisions? How do we respond when the next case comes our way and all we have is the name, age, and ethnic background of the birth mother and a simple due date for the child? Well, I don’t know what the right answer is, but here is what we’ve been doing…

  1. Praying – My wife and I may have very limited information, but our God has all the information. He alone possesses all knowledge and wisdom. So, my wife and I have bowed in prayer (time and time again), asking God for what we want and need most…wisdom and courage.
  2. Trusting – This whole process of responding to adoption cases has caused us to trust the Lord. Sometimes we pray about a case and, honestly, we still don’t have much clarity on how to proceed. Sometimes we’re still left in the dark about how to proceed. So, we trust the Lord and cling to the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6, which states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
  3. Deciding – In the end, we just make a decision. In a perfect world, we would have all the information we wanted before proceeding with an adoption case, but we don’t live in a perfect world. Indeed, in a perfect world the process of adoption would be totally unnecessary. So in a very imperfect world, with very limited information, we make a decision, bathed in prayer, while fully trusting the Lord.

PFBC: February’s Upcoming Events

February (1)

Sunday, February 2 – Superbowl Sunday – No Growth Groups; Halcyon House Nursing Home Ministry (2:30 PM)

Wednesday, February 5 – Kids4Truth (Valentine’s Night), Outfitters, Prayer Meeting

Friday, February 7 – Sunday, February 9 – Outfitters’ Meltdown at IRBC!

Sunday, February 9 – No Growth Groups; Corporate Prayer Night (6 PM)

Monday, February 10 – Women’s Prayer Group (10-11 AM)

Tuesday, February 11 – Men’s Prayer Group (6:30-7:30 AM)

Wednesday, February 12 – Winter Break – No Wednesday Evening Ministries!

Sunday, February 16 – Growth Groups Back In Session!

Wednesday, February 19 – Kids4Truth (Medieval Night), Outfitters, Prayer Meeting

Sunday, February 23 – Growth Groups; Leadership Team Meeting (2:30 PM); Friendship Bible Study Party (4:30 PM)

Wednesday, February 26 – Kids4Truth (Bring A Friend Night), Outfitters, Prayer Meeting

Friday, February 28 – Women’s Bible Study w/Beth Shepherd (6:30 PM)

New Members’ Profiles

Membership Sunday

This Sunday, January 26, pending the vote of the congregation, we will welcome into our church family 5 brand new members! It’s always exciting to see people saved, baptized, and added to the church. Below are the new members’ profiles of Kaleb and Kim Miller, Phil and Jessica Parsons, and Wally Neitzel. These profiles testify to their salvation, baptism, and overall grace of God at work in their lives. These are shared, with their permission, for your encouragement.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, eyeglasses and outdoorFrom Kaleb Miller:

“I grew up in a Christian home and attended a small Baptist Church in Northern Indiana. My church went camping in Michigan every year and did a baptism in the lake. I was curious about what it was all about so I asked my Dad and he explained to me what it meant to be saved and baptized.  My Dad and I met with the Pastor the following Sunday and I accepted Christ as my Savior. A few weeks later, I was baptized. From then on, I have been active in the church and growing in my faith.”

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, outdoor and nature

From Kim Miller:

“I was born and raised in a Christian home in the suburbs of Chicago. I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 4 years old. I continued to attend church throughout my childhood and was later baptized when I was in 8th grade. My parents were very active in the church so I spent most of my growing up years learning everything there was to know about being a Christian and serving. By time I reached high school I was REALLY good at talking the talk and was a leader in the youth group and on the worship team. Unfortunately, I had gotten really good at being one person at church and a completely different person in the Monday-Saturday of the week. After graduating high school, I was accepted to Bible College at Grace College in Indiana; so off I went.  After all, that’s just what you do. I spent my first semester participating in things of the world. It wasn’t until Day of Worship at Chapel the following Spring that God got a hold of my heart. It was on that day that I rededicated my life to Christ and to serving Him fully every day, not just on Sundays.

Shortly after I graduated college, Kaleb and I started dating and a few years later we were engaged. Just two weeks after getting engaged, my brother passed away unexpectedly. I struggled for a very long time with my faith and questioning God. Fast forward two years, on a Friday afternoon, we received the call that Kaleb’s younger brother had been killed in a farming accident. I remember being so incredibly angry with God. I didn’t understand. All while this was happening we were struggling with some difficult situations in the church we were attending at the time. I felt like my world was falling apart, and in many ways it was.  Little did I know at the time that God was preparing us to move to Iowa. Life can be very hard and as much as we want it to the Bible doesn’t promise that as Christians we will not have trials and tribulations, in fact it says the opposite.  I am thankful that although we have times that we don’t feel He is near – He always is.”

Image may contain: 2 people, including Phil Parsons, people smilingFrom Phil Parsons:

“‘For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.’ – Romans 8:29-30

My testimony is found in the above verses; however, here are the details of my calling and justification in Christ.

I grew up in a Christian home. As a family we read the Bible, we prayed, and we went to Church. In the eyes of the world, I was a ‘good’ person. Because I believed that simply inviting Jesus into my heart was the key to avoiding Hell, I asked Christ to come into my heart dozens of times during my childhood, hoping that one of those requests would stick.

Eventually, I left the environment of my family and attended college. With new surroundings, I exhibited new behaviors. These behaviors continued to increase over a period of three years until I began to have very deep convictions for my worldliness, my sins. Because of my upbringing, I knew the Gospel and I recalled the passage out of Luke 9:23-25:

‘And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”

One night, in my room, located in a basement of a college house that was ground zero for many of my sins, I cried out to Christ and simply said, ‘If this is what the world has for me, I want nothing of it. I choose to follow You.’ This is when the Lord called me and justified me, when He delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to the kingdom of his beloved Son. By His grace, the Lord continues to sanctify me, conforming me into the image of His Son, degree by degree, until I shall finally and eternally stand with Him in glory.”

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From Jessica Parsons:

“I was raised in a Catholic home. It wasn’t until I was in college that I began to attend services with friends that were non-Catholic. I would attend a Protestant service on Sunday morning and a Catholic mass on Sunday evening. It was during those Protestant services that I heard the one true Gospel and seeds were planted. Meanwhile, I was still living a very worldly and sinful life. Fast-forward a few years…God began to change my surroundings and influences. I graduated and began working, friends moved away and I began to attend only the Protestant services. I started to get into the Word and it convicted me deeply, pierced my heart. I cried out to God and trusted in the sufficiency of Jesus’ death and resurrection for my salvation. God opened my eyes and made me a new creation and has been refining me and sanctifying me ever since.

Ephesians 2:8-9, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And
this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.’”

Image may contain: 3 people, including David P. Cotner, people smiling, people standing and indoorFrom Wally Neitzel:

“I was waiting for a long time for the right time to tell Pastor David that I wanted to be saved. I went to his office with my Dad and we talked about what being saved means. I then prayed to God and I accepted Jesus as my Savior.”

 

Guest Blogger: Ray Burns “Sanctity of Life 2020”

Sanctity of Life 2020

Approximate Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s been 47 years since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in America. According to realtime estimates on NumberOfAbortions.com, over 61 million lives have been lost to abortion since 1973. Nothing in the history of the world comes close to this loss of life, with the Holocaust being closest at about 10% of that number.

On January 19th, churches across America will be taking part in “Sanctity of Life Sunday,” an annual day of somberness as we come together and recognize the weight of death that hangs on our country. We use this day to remember that those children weren’t lumps of tissue or potential humans, but complete human beings who were made in the image of God.

It’s not uncommon for those in the pro-choice movement to feel baffled at the pro-life side of the argument. After all, their worldview says that those children were either not human, or were humans whose right to live wasn’t higher than a mother’s right to choose what happens with her body. Regardless,

Last year, I wrote a series of articles that examines these issues from a Christian perspective. If you haven’t read them yet, I’d encourage you to do so this week. With the Sanctity of Life Sunday putting a spotlight on the realities of abortion, we have a wonderful opportunity to not only open discussions about abortion but share the gospel with people who need Jesus Christ. The entire goal of this series was to show how the unborn must be dehumanized in order for abortion to be tolerable.

  • The first article examines the scientific reason why a fetus is a human being, as well as points out the implications Christians must deal with if we truly believe the unborn are human, no matter their stage of development.
  • The second article looks at the logical reasons why the unborn are fully human. I think this is an important one to understand when we’re talking to Christians and non-Christians who aren’t sure where they stand.
  • The third article carefully discusses why the right to live must come before the right to choose.
  • The final article caps things off with the important discussion of why God values human life and why, if the unborn truly are human, we must value them as God does.

January 19th shouldn’t be the only day we consider those who are lost. Indeed, every day we live in a world has so devalued the lives of certain groups that we even have celebrities openly celebrating that they chose to end their child’s life for their own happiness.  

 

Every day, our country adds 125,000 aborted babies to its body count. Worst of all, just like with other atrocities throughout history, we have people celebrating the fact that we’re doing it. It’s heartbreaking that we’re capable of doing this so openly, but it’s also incredibly eye-opening at just how deep our depravity runs, and why we all so desperately need the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

This Sunday, take a moment to remember the human beings who are being killed every day. Regardless of how they look, what they’re physically capable of, or their mental development, these people are no less an image-bearer of God than anyone else. Perhaps even consider donating to a pro-life charity you care about. If you don’t know one, my own church supports a local group called Agape Pregnancy Center that offers counseling and health services to pregnant women, as well as grief counseling for those living through the pain of ending their child’s life.

Let January 19th be a wake-up call for all of us. The greatest loss of human life is happening in our back yards because so few people understand what’s really happening. Let’s be willing to have those uncomfortable conversations by being informed about the issue rather than arguing from emotion.

Yet more than winning arguments, we need to bring people to Jesus Christ. A person’s views on abortion may save lives, but it’s only by understanding their need for Jesus Christ that they can not only view the unborn as God does, but have a right relationship with their savior in all areas of life.

 

From The Desk of the Associate Pastor: “Jesus Loves Me”

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It seems here in Iowa that everyone deals with colds this time of year, and for my kids this has been no exception. Before I was a parent, I just dealt with minor things like colds and didn’t think much of it. Now that I have kids of my own, and with them being so young, it seems that a “minor” sickness to me can really knock them down.

A few nights ago, our three year old boy had a lot of congestion and coughing. I went into his room at bedtime and played my guitar and sang for him (he is the only one in my family who actually appreciates my mediocre musical skills). I played him some of his favorite songs while he laid in bed. After a couple songs, he said, in his nasally and congested voice, “Daddy, play ‘Jesus Loves Me.’” How could I not comply with this wish? When I finished, it brought a smile when he said, “Daddy, sing ‘Jesus Loved Me He Who Died.’” This is the second verse to this famous children’s song. Now while this request made me smile, it also made tears come from my eyes as I sat on his bed and played for him under his night light.

As Christian parents, our greatest desires are for our children’s’ well-being, but at the very top should be our desire that our kids come to know the Lord. As I sang that song to my son, who felt so sick, I could not help but rejoice that not only does he have a desire to sing this praise song, but this simple song reveals profound truth. For many kids, who come to church for the first time, this is the song that they learn first. Here are the words: “Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so. Jesus loves me, He who died. Heavens’ gates are open wide. He will wash away my sin. Let His little child come in. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”

Think about the words to this song. How can we not rejoice at the truth communicated? I have been a believer in Christ since I was a very young child, and have rejoiced often at the truth of my salvation. But now that I’m a parent, there is a different level of rejoicing at the truth of this gospel song. Jesus lives! So, there is hope for my children to live too. I have no greater desire than for my children to come to know, love, and serve the Lord. The most humbling thing is to realize that I am not ultimately in control of this outcome. Whenever I think of this, it makes me turn to my Savior and ask Him to just open the eyes of their hearts to receive the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Parents, grandparents, and every Christian, be in prayer for our children. Model the truth of the gospel in your lives and teach it faithfully in your homes. Have your kids in church and make the eternal destiny of your loved ones a top priority in your prayer lives. Do this because it’s really true that Jesus loves us and gave Himself for us to save us from our sins. 

2019 Annual Report From the Lead Pastor

2019 Annual Report Image

Dear Members and Friends of Prairie Flower Baptist Church,

As I look back over this last year and decade, I am amazed at all that God has done in us and through us. As a church family, we have been through some incredible times of growth and joy, as well as great seasons of loss and pain. But, through it all, God has remained faithful and we have grown stronger.

For me personally, as I enter this new year, I feel as if I’ve entered a new phase in pastoral ministry. My learning curve isn’t so high anymore, more experience has settled in, and I’m stable, settled, and very much content. Honestly, I never thought I would be this satisfied out here on the prairie, but I am.

A Year In Review:

What a breath of fresh air this past year has been for our church family. We experienced peace, unity, and growth in ways we haven’t felt in a long time. Praise the Lord for His wonderful grace and mercy!

The numbers this past year are encouraging. I’m thankful to be part of a church family that continues to see people saved, baptized, and added to the church. This past year, by God’s grace and to His glory, we experienced:

  • 5 – Salvations
  • 8 – Baptisms
  • 2 – Members

This past year also allowed us to bring in a new Associate Pastor, Timothy O’Tool! Pastor Tim and his family have been a wonderful addition to our church family and have fit right in. What a joy to have these new partners in the ministry.

The building of our Pavilion Project was another item that marked our past year. We are nearly finished with this project and are coming in under budget. A big “thank you” to the many generous donors who gave of their time and resources to construct a building that will allow us to do more and better ministry, especially in the spring, summer, and fall months.

A Year of Possibilities:

As we look forward to a new year of life and ministry, so many opportunities and possibilities lie before us. I am eager at all that God might have in store for us out here on the prairie. Here is what I envision I’ll be leading you all toward:

  • Prayer – As a church family, we need to hone our skills at corporate prayer. Yes, many of us are praying individually, but our corporate prayer life is lacking. To help with this deficiency, we will institute monthly Corporate Prayer Nights that will meet the first Sunday night of every month. Please join us!
  • Simplicity – The Church Constitution is in dire need of restructuring. Many parts of our current constitution are simply outdated for our current cultural context. For instance, our constitution stipulates that we must have certain committees, but many of these committees are unnecessary because of our well-placed leadership structure. Another example of our constitution’s deficiencies is in the structuring of the fiscal year that makes financial accountability and communication difficult. Thus, changes will (Lord willing) be forthcoming this year.
  • Renovations – With the construction of our Pavilion Project nearly completed, it’s time to take all of that positive forward momentum and look into some church building renovations. It’s been nearly 25 years since we’ve updated our carpet and pews. I do believe it’s time for a change! The cost of new carpet, and replacing our pews with chairs, will be significantly less than the Pavilion Project and will allow us to accommodate for current and future growth. Ultimately, the membership of PFBC needs to be on board with this and vote it into action, but I think our church is healthy enough (financially and spiritually) to undertake these types of renovations this year.

A Big Thank You:

As I end this report, I just feel the impulse to say, “thank you.” Thank you for allowing me to be your Lead Pastor. Thank you for loving me and my family so well as we seek to love you and your families well. Thank you for working beside me for the spread of the gospel in our area and world.

Let’s continue this great work,

David Cotner

Lead Pastor, PFBC

It Won’t Be Like This Forever…

Christmas Hope

From hospital rooms to the counseling room, I spend a lot of time with people who are suffering. Indeed, suffering comes in many different forms – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Over the years, I have learned to be cautious of the confident, smiling face. Behind many of those big smiles hides a hurting heart.

I don’t know about you, but I feel so inept when meeting people in extreme pain. I struggle with what to say. Yes, I know, just me being present, offering a kind word, and praying with them (and for them) is sufficient, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. I wish I could just take all their pain away! But alas, I cannot.

When I feel especially inept at comforting the sorrowing, I always turn to Scripture. The Bible obviously speaks to us, but did you know that it often speaks FOR us? Yes, when we don’t know what to say, God does! God knows, God cares, and God speaks to those who are suffering and wrestling with darkness, depression, and disease.

What does He say to them? What does He say to us in the midst of our pain?

Hebrews 13:5b, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” God isn’t distant from our pain, He is near and He isn’t going anywhere!

Psalm 46:10a, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Since God will never abandon us, we can rest in Him, knowing that He is working for our good; and He really can work for our good! How? Why? Because He is God and we are not.

Revelation 21:4, “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.” What hope! It won’t be like this forever. One day, all of our suffering and sorrow will expire because God Himself will do away with darkness and death – pain and suffering.

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas tomorrow, let’s remember that God is with us and for us. And, one day, it won’t be like this anymore…One day, we will (by grace through faith in Jesus) experience eternal joy and life as we rest in His magnificent presence.

PFBC: January’s Upcoming Events

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Can you believe it? January 2020 is nearly upon us! A new month…A new year…A new decade! Wow. Below is the projected path forward for all of us out here on the prairie…

Wednesday, January 1 – Annual Reports Due!

Sunday, January 5 – Communion Sunday, Restart Mini-Series, and Food Fellowship/Annual Meeting (10:15 AM); Corporate Prayer (6 PM)

Wednesday, January 8 – Kids4Truth (PJ Night) and Outfitters (6:30 PM); Prayer Meeting (7 PM)

Sunday, January 12 – Membership Class #1 (9 AM); Restart Mini-Series (10:15 AM)

Monday, January 13 – Women’s Prayer Group (10-11 AM)

Tuesday, January 14 – Men’s Prayer Group (6:30-7:30 AM)

Wednesday, January 15 – Kids4Truth (Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character) and Outfitters (6:30 PM); Prayer Meeting (7 PM)

Sunday, January 19 – Membership Class #2 (9 AM); Sanctity of Human Life Sunday/Baby Dedications, Matthew Series (10:15 AM); Growth Groups Relaunch (Various Times)

Wednesday, January 22 – Kids4Truth (Silly Sock Night) and Outfitters (6:30 PM); Prayer Meeting (7 PM)

Sunday, January 26 – Membership Sunday and Matthew Series (10:15 AM); Growth Groups (Various Times); Leadership Team Meeting (2 PM)

Wednesday, January 29 – Kids4Truth (Mustache Night) and Outfitters (6:30 PM); Prayer Meeting (7 PM)

Friday, January 31 – Saturday, February 1 – Jr. Freeze Out at IRBC!