Feed My Sheep: The 2018 IARBC State Conference Reflections

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On March 26-27, messengers from the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches descended upon Calvary Baptist Church in Mt. Pleasant, IA. The purpose of the convergence? To be fed from the Word, strengthened for local church ministry, and to contemplate the business of our association. As a conference messenger and attendee, I can attest to the value and blessing of this year’s state meeting.

The conference highlight, and main speaker for this year’s meeting, was Dr. Dean Taylor from the Pastoral Training Department at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, IA. His theme was “Feed My Sheep”, and as such, he took us on a well-planned, well-exegeted journey through John 21, Acts 20, and 1 Peter 4. As he walked us through these sections of the Sacred Text, he encouraged the messengers, specifically pastors, with words like this: “Recognize the futility of our efforts without Him…Give of yourself regardless of what you get in return…and [preaching] is a gift of God’s grace.” At the end of the day, Dr. Taylor’s words to us were simple: “Love Jesus. Feed His Sheep. Follow Him.” Indeed, every pastor walked away from this conference with these clear marching orders, not from Dr. Taylor per se, but from our precious Lord and Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

In addition to Dr. Taylor’s preaching, multiple workshops were offered, to include: “The Ministry of the Associate Pastor” by Pastor Danny Capon, “Preaching from Old Testament Narrative” by Dr. Dean Taylor, and “It’s Time to Grow Up” by Mrs. Sandy Capon. These workshops were helpful, practical, and blessed the messengers of the conference in a special way. If interested in the notes from any one of these workshops, please contact the workshop leader and they would be glad to give you these notes.

Another valuable aspect of this year’s state meeting was the different business meetings that took place over these two days. Indeed, the Council of Ten was able to meet during this year’s conference and pour over different details that affect our state association. Also, our Annual Business Meeting was conducted, in which (among other things) our State Representative and his wife, Tim and Sandy Capon, gave their report concerning the different ministry opportunities and projects they are currently involved in…and boy are they involved in many things! How we praise God for the precious gift of the leadership of Tim and Sandy Capon to our state association. Also, during the Annual Business Meeting, messengers were able to vote on new Council of Ten members. In fact, your new Council of Ten includes: Will Hatfield (Chairman), Dave Peters (Vice Chairman), Bruce Thompson (Secretary), Shon Lundberg (Treasurer), David Strope, Tim Moore, John Woodford, Doug Farrell, Daniel Hartwig, and David Cotner. Please pray for these men as they advise and counsel our State Representative, Tim Capon.

Another highlight of this year’s conference was a time of discussion on a somewhat long-time concern in our association, namely, what do we do with and how do we interact with churches, in our association, who decide to drop the identifier “Baptist” from their church name. A paper was read, a new policy was presented, and a gentlemanly discussion ensued. Indeed, it was refreshing to see so many different opinions and thoughts being discussed and explained. From my perspective, as one conference attendee, this is a real strength of our association, namely, there is such a wide spectrum of thoughts and opinions on this issue (and others), but, at the end of the day, we desire the same things: unity, the good of our Association, and God’s great glory. A vote concerning our new policy about “Baptist in the Church Name” will be voted upon at next year’s conference. Below is the suggested policy:

“Churches in affiliation with the IARBC shall be Baptist Churches. A Baptist Church shall be identified by the following criteria:

  1. Identification as a Baptist Church in legal documentation;
  2. The statement of a recognized council of sister Baptist churches;
  3. Agreement with the Statement of Faith of the IARBC;
  4. An open desire to be known as a Baptist church and to seek fellowship with other Baptist churches in the IARBC;
  5. The practice of the doctrines presented in the Statement of Faith;
  6. Identification as a Baptist church made readily apparent to its membership and community (e.g. the church’s website, practice, membership classes, publicity materials, etc.).

If churches alter their publicly communicated identity as Baptist, the Council of Ten shall review documents and converse with these churches to ascertain the rationale for these changes.”

All in all, this year’s state conference was helpful and strengthening to all who participated. It sounds cliché, but it was truly a time of good preaching, good singing, good food, and good fellowship. How grateful I am for our state association. It’s serving our needs well and representing the Gospel well; and I know that many of you feel the same way.

 

Quarterly Meeting: Agenda Items (4-8-18)

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Below are the projected agenda items for this Sunday’s Quarterly Meeting…

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Devotional and Opening Prayer – Willie Van Der Molen
  3. Reading of Past Minutes
  4. Acceptance of Financial Report
  5. Missions Overview and Update
  6. Removal of Church Memberships (VOTE)
  7. Special Church Discipline Case – Will Luers Presiding (VOTE)
  8. Lead Pastor Items:
    • Statement About March 25th
    • Easter 2018 Decisions
    • Summer Intern Cancellation
  9. Associate Pastor Items: 
    • Ministry Update: Youth, Bible Study, Etc.
    • Summer Plans: GARBC and IRBC
    • Sabbatical Discussion (VOTE)
  10. Old and New Business (If Any)
  11. Closing Prayer
  12. Adjournment

From the Coaches Corner: Work Hard and Be Coachable (Part One) by Jon Rocha

 

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I love coaching the game of basketball. This was my first year as a head coach, and I was blessed to have the team I did. We had a great season and learned a ton of things together about playing, coaching, and living life. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on how the game of basketball brings out so many life lessons that we have to learn. I would like to continue now by sharing some of these life-lessons I’ve personally learned through the game.

This past season I always told my players, “If you can’t do anything right in the game of basketball, you can always work hard and be coachable. Those two things will get you a long way.” I’d never heard that from anyone before, but it is honestly one of the most important truths I’ve learned over the years as both a player and captain. In Part One, I will expound on what hard work looks like and in few weeks, I‘ll talk about being coachable.

In order to be a successful in life you must work hard. This seems like a “no-duh” statement…Everyone knows they need to work hard and most people would say they do work hard. What we say though, doesn’t always line up with reality. Do we actually work hard? What does it mean to work hard? Well here are three ways you can evaluate yourself to see if you do and also put some handles on what it means to work hard.

Never Give Up

There were many difficult games and many hard practices that would have been easy to give up! I was assistant coaching one of the JV games, and they were down by at least 20 at the end of the third quarter (if not more). Ashamedly, I gave up on the game and went into the locker room to talk to my team. I came back out and with 1 minute left they were down by 3… They ended up hitting a buzzer beater 3 and losing the game by 1 point. I couldn’t believe it, but I was ashamed of myself for giving up hope, and I applaud those guys for never giving up.

Everyone says that they are a fighter and they never give up, but it’s more than just getting to the end. Do you fight the whole way through? Do you finish what you started? Do you do, what you say you’re going to do? I am as guilty as anyone on this one! I love the idea of new things and starting new things; but it gets tough towards the middle to stay focused, at the end to stay detailed, and when things look grim on top of that. As believers, we get caught in these traps all too often. We start a Bible study and don’t finish it. We recommit to church attendance and fall off the radar. We repent but fall right back into sin. We can never give up though… We aren’t ever going to be perfect but we must finish our race that God has set before us. We have the Holy Spirit of God that lives inside of us that we need to rely on when we begin to wane.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might 

  • Ephesians 6:10

You might think you are too exhausted to come to church on Sunday. You might think you are too broken to serve in an area you have committed to. You might feel inadequate to teach a class. If God has given you the responsibility, then He will also give you the strength through His Spirit so He can receive the glory. We just can’t ever give up!

Love the Grind

You have to learn to love the grind. Hard work is just that, HARD WORK. It’s not meant to be easy, or else everyone would do it! This is one lesson that I have found to be incredibly valuable, but still fall very short in! In high school, I hated putting in the extra time to go work out and shoot hoops. I loved playing, but I didn’t love the practices, the weight room, and giving up personal time to get better. It wasn’t until college that I really saw it different. I couldn’t figure out how good players got so good. Were they born that way? Were they just that talented? I kept wondering, so I finally asked them how much extra time they put in during the off season. All of them without exception spent countless hours in the gym. So I started to do the same and at first it was daunting, difficult, and I didn’t even really know what to do. I just started doing it, then I got better at it and soon I began to love it! To this day it is a joy for me to go lift some weights and do some drills. I love the grind!

As believers, we have to love the grind! We have to love getting up early to read our Bibles. We have to love fasting during our lunch break. We have to love leading our families in worship all week. We have to love serving in our church. There are lots of things God is calling us to do that are difficult and we have to learn to love them. Start by just doing them, then by get good at them, and then enjoy the reward of the hard labor! It’s biblical concept. Look at what Solomon says:

Here is what I have seen to be good: It is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward.

  • Ecclesiastes 5:18

Give 100% in Everything 

The key word here is everything. It is so easy to give something your all when you like it, when there is a big payout, or when people are watching. Everyone in basketball wants to work hard at 3 pointers and dribbling… because they like it and there is big payout. But often times when drills don’t include those elements players will take breaks. In the long run, however, it will hurt themselves and their team, because they aren’t getting better and they aren’t well rounded.

It is typically easy to work hard at all the stuff you like or that has big payout at work, church, and home.

Do you perform all of your work tasks to the best of your ability? Do you serve in areas you don’t like, but are needed? Do you do all the small things at home that need to be done (discipling your family, keeping up on your house, loving your spouse)? Everyone gives 100% at something, but not everyone gives 100% in everything. This is a true sign of hard work. Do you give 100% even in the things that you think don’t matter or you don’t like?

Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

  • Colossians 3:23

As believers we have something much bigger at stake than our current well-being– we have a reward much greater that is coming! Never forget that we work hard for His glory and not our own.

 

PFBC: Prayer List #36


The following list of prayer requests can be prayed for in your own quiet time with the Lord, in your own family worship time, or in Growth Groups. Please keep the following requests in your prayers…

Carl Benson – Unspoken Prayer Request. 

Mike Boos – Unspoken Prayer Request. 

Erin Bower – Please pray for Erin’s upcoming wedding and marriage to Derek.

Braden Carroll – Pray that God continues to lead, guide, and direct Braden as he seeks the Lord’s will concerning missionary work.

Susan Davis – Continue to pray for Susan’s father, Chester, that he would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Jerry Dunbar – Pray for Jerry’s mother, Jean, who is struggling with her health.

Pam Dunbar – Please be in prayer for Pam’s sister-in-law, also named Pam, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Please pray for Pam’s salvation as well.

Rick Fields – Pray for Rick and his overall health.

Steve Fordham – Please continue to pray for Steve and his many health concerns.

Gayle Garner – Please keep Gayle in your prayers as she recently discovered that she has a fairly aggressive bone cancer. Please pray for wisdom and comfort in the days and months ahead.

Betsy Grice – Unspoken Prayer Request.

John Hardt – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Rosanne Latcham – Please be in prayer for Rosanne’s mother, Nancy, and her health. 

Jerry Lewis – Please lift up in prayer Aline Schipper’s brother, Jerry, who is currently on a transplant list for a new lung. Jerry is also unsaved and so earnest prayers for his salvation would also be greatly appreciated. 

Edwin Luers – Please pray for Edwin’s part-time employee, Wilfred Miller, and his salvation.

Nate Schmuecker – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Jason and Elisabeth Tinnes – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Willie Van Der Molen – Please continue to pray for Willie’s father, Roger, who has cancer and recently hurt his back.

Judy Wolf – Pray for Judy’s son, Todd, who is in poor health and needs healing. Please pray for Todd’s salvation as well. Pray too for Judy’s great-granddaughter, Errin, who has a heart implant and other health complications.

Our World – Please pray for our many supported missionaries as they serve all around the world.

Our Country – Pray for President Trump and Vice President Pence (and their Cabinet) as they lead our country.

Our National Association – Please be in prayer for the General Association of Regular Baptist Church’s Council of 18 as they seek God’s will in the nomination and election process of the new National Representative.

Our State Association – Continue to pray for our State Rep, Tim Capon, and his Council of Ten that God would give to these men wisdom and discernment as they serve the many churches in our association.

Our Community – Please pray for our Mayor, Jaron Rosien. Pray that God would lead, guide, and direct him in his new role.

Our Church – Pray that we would continue to grow into a strong church that makes disciples for the glory of God. Pray too for our church’s unity.

Our Leadership Team – Pray for our Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and Deacons that God would grant to them wisdom, discernment, vision, and unity as they lead our church.

Our Summer Intern – Please be in prayer for our new Summer Intern, Michael Yates. He will be joining the Prairie Flower Pastoral Team for 12 weeks this coming summer.

Our Widows/Widowers – Please pray for Prairie Flower’s many widows and widowers that God would be especially near to them and comfort them with His presence, power, and provision.

Please Note: We update this prayer list monthly. If you would like a prayer request to be added to this list, please let Pastor Dave or Pastor Jon know. Thank you!

Guest Blogger: Rest Because You Can by Jonathan Parnell

Stop making bricks — you can stop.

Because of who God is, this reality rings as true today as it did in the life of ancient Israel, dating all the way back to their slave labor in Egypt just before the exodus.

The hysteria of that exodus is meant to distance us from the deplorable conditions of Israel’s servitude, not distract us from their significance in the story of God’s salvation. But chances are, by the time we get to Exodus 20, after walking through the plagues and crossing the Red Sea, we’re prone to forget the impossible workload that was shackled to Israel’s feet.

Therefore, God reminds us, as a preface to the Ten Commandments, “I am the Lᴏʀᴅ your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2). This deliverance reverberates throughout the entire Bible as the key moment in the Old Testament where God’s faithfulness was put on display. It is the dramatic, identity-shaping act where God, through his mighty works, calls his people to himself — and away from Egypt.

Remember Egypt

So what was Egypt like, again?

It was bricks — more bricks, all day, everyday. It was work, work, work, an infatuation with the bottom line, with no restraints on how to get there (Exodus 5:4–9). It was about production, not flourishing; strict commerce, not neighborly love. It was about the commodity of idols, not the imaging of God. In other words, it was a world in opposition to humanity’s purpose — and one not too unlike sectors of our society today.

Ancient Egypt, like many modern cultures, was itself enslaved to a merry-go-round economy — one whose value is measured by its size and speed, one whose passengers keep yelling “faster, faster, faster,” one whose bars, once you grab hold of and start pushing, you mustn’t let go. Run and keep running. Push and keep pushing.

And then, on the other side, simultaneous to the endless churning and mulling and doing to be bigger, better, and more popular, is the insatiable buying and earning and trading to get bigger, better, and more popular things. The result is restlessness. Old Testament scholar Walter Bruegemann writes that this creates “a society of 24/7 multitasking in order to achieve, accomplish, perform, and possess” (Sabbath As Resistance, Locations 88–92). He explains that “the rat race of such predation and usurpation is a restlessness” that twists and turns throughout all of life, leaving an aftermath of inescapable anxiety that is often unmanageable. Which is to say, unbearable. It is a weight that leads people to do unthinkable things like jump off bridges and sacrifice their children, whether literal or metaphorical.

And all of it, in essence, says something about the deity under whom they live.

So Says the Deity

As Bruegemann shows, Egypt’s relentless drive to produce points to the commitment of their gods. The gods of Egypt were as devoted to the aggrandizement of Pharaoh’s system as anyone because Pharaoh’s glory meant their glory. They demanded to be served by human hands because they needed the good promotion. There was a void to be filled, an ever-increasing glory quota that had to be met, and therefore, there was no time for stopping.

It is against this background that we’re to understand the meaning of Sabbath. Our English word “Sabbath” is simply a transliteration of the original Hebrew which means “rest” — first appearing in verb form in Genesis 2:2, “and [God] rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.” It later became a prescribed observance to the people of Israel upon their exodus (Exodus 20:8). But far beyond a mere command to his people, the Sabbath is meant to say something powerful about God himself.

God, as we see in creation, isn’t a deity wringing his sweaty hands in panic, trying to milk dry every last drop of what’s there. No. He speaks and it comes to be, out of nothing, and he does it in six days, resting on the seventh just because he can. He wants us to know, right from the start and in the rhythms of our lives, that he doesn’t need anything. He is the one who works, in perfect precision, neither too little nor too much, and we exist to bask in his glory, not barter for its increase. We exist to magnify his radiance, not supplement his worth.

And because this is the case, in a world where everyone’s deity says to do, do, do, the God of Israel says to stop. The air we breathe of this fallen world is anxiety: Keep busy and stay nervous. And it’s into this mess, striking through the smog like flashes of lightening, the fundamental message of God’s salvation resounds: Trust me and rest.

Then Stop

The principle of Sabbath is a glorious picture of God’s self-sufficiency and unwavering ability to provide. As God’s people, our rest becomes “a decisive, concrete, visible way of opting for and aligning with the God of rest” (Location 278). Perhaps as much now as in that early biblical context, one of the most head-turning, soul-stirring moves we make as a witness to God’s holiness is when we stop.

At night when we go to bed, on a whole day when we pause our projects, in a season of vacation or Sabbatical, our stopping work is our saying Enough! to the merry-go-round. We don’t have to ride this thing. There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9–10). Rest, then, becomes our regular dramatization of the heart of the gospel: “To the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith will be counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:5).

We can put down our tools. We can close our computers. We can forbid those thoughts about that next meeting or those emails waiting for a reply or how the numbers aren’t as high as we’d like. We can stop and trust him who justifies the ungodly. We can trust that when Jesus died in our place on the cross, he died to destroy all the anxieties of our lack, to still our ceaseless striving, to hush the winds of our self-justifying labor, to irrevocably connect us to the abundance of his grace we possess by his work, not ours.

We can trust the Lord of Rest who came to give us rest, and say, because of who he is: Stop making bricks — you can stop.

 

Article by

Pastor, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Article found at: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/rest-because-you-can

The Moment Crisis Happens…

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“Crisis: (Noun) a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger…a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.” Ever been there? I can almost guarantee that if you are over the age of 12, you’ve experienced some sort of crisis moment in your life. In fact, think back to that moment. Remember all the feelings that rushed in? Anger. Why me? Sadness. What now? Helplessness. Where do we go from here?

Indeed, do you remember the news that helped erupt these emotions? Perhaps it was the death of a loved one, an aggressive cancer report, the loss of a job, an unexpected big bill, the betrayal of a friend, or something just completely tragic. These moments of news, accompanied with all our heightened emotions, can be overwhelming and exhausting.

In fact, isn’t it amazing how vulnerable and fragile these crisis moments can make us feel? It’s as if everything is trucking along just fine and then WHAM, your whole world is turned upside down. Indeed, so many things can catch us by surprise and throw off our equilibrium…and if your experiences are anything like my experiences, you usually experience a wave of three big things in a row.

For me, what makes these crisis moments so difficult to grapple with is not only are you trying to process the news, and calm your emotions down, but you’re often expected to and/or need to make important decisions right away. It’s as if you simultaneously want to slow down the clock, in order to make the wisest decisions, and speed up the clock, in order to get onto the next season of life, which, hopefully, will be better than your current season.

So, crisis happens. Your emotions heighten. You feel like doing nothing, but are expected to do everything, to include make important decisions. Here are three important things to do before you make those important decisions…

  1. Check Your Vital Signs – Like a good healthcare professional, you need to figure out if your baseline is healthy. What are the vital signs to monitor? First, quickly assess your own personal walk with the Lord. Have you been reading your Bible? Have you been spending time with God in prayer? What is the one truth, that you recently read or studied, that you’re clinging to right now? If need be, repent of sin and reassure yourself of God’s love and mercy toward you. Second, determine if the people closest to you are united with you. In other words, how are the different relationships in your life going? Is your spouse, staff members, and/or close friends united around you? Thirdly and finally, determine if your physical health is on par to handle the stress and emotions of your crisis moment. Indeed, moments of difficulty and crisis are not a time to let up on proper eating habits, your workout routine, and sleep patterns. Maintain these good habits as best as you can during these moments of hardship. Your mind and body will thank you in the long run.
  2. Beware of Sinful Decompression – In your moment of stress and difficulty, you will greatly crave a pressure release. This is not necessarily a bad thing to crave in your moment of crisis, but beware of sinful decompression (i.e. porn, gluttony, drunkenness, gossip, etc.). Who or what you look to for comfort and release, in your moment of crisis, is so incredibly important.  In fact, let me speak plainly, your crisis moment does not give you the right or freedom to sin. Your temptations to sin, amid your pain, are not sinful, but giving into these urges is wrong and sinful. Your moment of crisis, far from a get out of jail free card to sin, is a clarion call to buckle down, trust the Lord, and remind yourself of God’s incredible promises to you. Don’t know of any promises? Search the Scriptures or ask your pastor or godly friend for help.
  3. Ask Somebody to Pray – Chances are you won’t be in the mood to pray when you’re in a moment of crisis, but you need God’s gift of prayer more than ever. Thus, ask people you trust to pray for you. Indeed, have them pray with you and for you. In fact, I often ask friends who are far away from me to pray with me and for me over the phone. How comforting and encouraging it is to have people intercede before the Throne of Grace on your behalf! Yes, have different people pray for you (i.e. your spouse, pastor, friend, or colleague). You need the prayer from them and they need the opportunity to minister to you by means of prayer. At the end of those prayers, thank them for praying with you and for you and reassure yourself that God has heard, God knows, and God will respond.

Here’s the bottom line: crisis moments happen to everybody. Yes, bad things happen to good people all of the time. Remember Jesus and what happened to Him? So, in your moment of crisis, remember that God is good, faithful, and trustworthy. Rehearse the promises of God to yourself. And, yes, decisions, will need to be made, but don’t forget to do at least these three basic things above. Once you do, move forward in confidence that God is still working in you and through you and all for His glory and your ever-increasing joy.

 

PFBC: Prayer List #35

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The following list of prayer requests can be prayed for in your own quiet time with the Lord, in your own family worship time, or in Growth Groups. Please keep the following requests in your prayers…

Justin Aubrecht – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Hazel Benson – Pray for Hazel who recently fell and broke her leg in two places. Please pray for healing as she recovers at Parkview Manor in Wellman.

Erin Bower – Please pray for Erin’s upcoming wedding and marriage to Derek.

Braden Carroll – Pray that God continues to lead, guide, and direct Braden as he seeks the Lord’s will concerning missionary work.

Ray Cooper – Please pray for Ray as he recently got a new job that will require a CDL class. Pray that Ray does well in his class and is able to function well in his new job.

Susan Davis – Continue to pray for Susan’s father, Chester, that he would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Jerry Dunbar – Pray for Jerry’s mother, Jean, who is struggling with her health.

Pam Dunbar – Please be in prayer for Pam’s sister-in-law, also named Pam, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Please pray for Pam’s salvation as well.

Rick Fields – Pray for Rick and his overall health.

Steve Fordham – Please continue to pray for Steve and his many health concerns.

Gayle Garner – Please keep Gayle in your prayers as she recently discovered that she has a fairly aggressive bone cancer. Please pray for wisdom and comfort in the days and months ahead.

Betsy Grice – Unspoken Prayer Request.

John Hardt – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Marjorie Jones – Please pray for Marjorie (and her entire family) as they grieve the passing of Marsha.

Rosanne Latcham – Please be in prayer for Rosanne’s mother, Nancy, and her health.

Edwin Luers – Please pray for Edwin’s part-time employee, Wilfred Miller, and his salvation.

Nate Schmuecker – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Jason and Elisabeth Tinnes – Unspoken Prayer Request.

Willie Van Der Molen – Please continue to pray for Willie’s father, Roger, who has cancer.

Judy Wolf – Pray for Judy’s son, Todd, who is in poor health and needs healing. Please pray for Todd’s salvation as well. Pray too for Judy’s great-granddaughter, Errin, who has a heart implant and other health complications.

Our World – Please pray for our many supported missionaries as they serve all around the world.

Our Country – Pray for President Trump and Vice President Pence (and their Cabinet) as they lead our country.

Our National Association – Please be in prayer for the General Association of Regular Baptist Church’s Council of 18 as they seek God’s will in the nomination and election process of the new National Representative.

Our State Association – Continue to pray for our State Rep, Tim Capon, and his Council of Ten that God would give to these men wisdom and discernment as they serve the many churches in our association.

Our Community – Please pray for our Mayor, Jaron Rosien. Pray that God would lead, guide, and direct him in his new role.

Our Church – Pray that we would continue to grow into a strong church that makes disciples for the glory of God.

Our Leadership Team – Pray for our Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and Deacons that God would grant to them wisdom, discernment, vision, and unity as they lead our church.

Our Summer Intern – Please be in prayer for our new Summer Intern, Michael Yates. He will be joining the Prairie Flower Pastoral Team for 12 weeks this coming summer.

Our Widows/Widowers – Please pray for Prairie Flower’s many widows and widowers that God would be especially near to them and comfort them with His presence, power, and provision.

Please Note: We update this prayer list monthly. If you would like a prayer request to be added to this list, please let Pastor Dave or Pastor Jon know. Thank you!

From the Coaches Corner: A Different Angle by Jon Rocha

pexels-photo-350771.jpeg           Most people who know me, know that I love the game of basketball. I can always find a pickup game, have a conversation with a fan, or just go shoot hoops by myself to relieve some stress! Since moving to Kalona, I can now add coaching to that list of things I love about basketball. Last year I helped as an assistant coach for the Mid-Prairie men’s basketball team in Wellman, IA. It was a rough season, but I loved it anyway! It was fun teaching kids about the game I love and about life. This year I was asked to be the head freshman boys coach and I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve played a lot of basketball over the years, but being a coach is a whole new ballgame (pun intended). It’s an angle of the game that I never thought I would love so much!

I would often talk to Pastor Dave and it was amazing how things on the court are very similar in real life. It seems more apparent as a coach than as a player. So, I would just like to share some of the things that God has shown me throughout my short time as a coach.

I. Small Things Matter

Everybody wants to win, but in a team sport everybody wants to be the best player too (the best shooter, rebounder, ball handler, and defender… the “go to guy”). The fact of the matter though, is that not everyone can be. Often it is not because of talent (although sometimes it is). Most of the time it’s because players are not willing to do the small things or the fundamentals of the game. They won’t keep their hands up defense, they won’t box out when a shot goes up, they won’t make the easy pass, they won’t talk on defense, and the list could go on. It’s simple stuff really and anyone can do the these fundamentals. It’s all a choice, but some players just don’t do them. They aren’t disciplined enough, and many players don’t see the value in them.

I have seen some pretty talented guys completely waste their time, effort, and abilities all because they will not just do the simple things or the fundamentals that can make them better. They just want the ball in their hands, so they can score and look cool. Well how can you be successful in the big things, if they can’t be successful in the small things. We were getting stomped one time, and one of the trainers leaned over to me on the bench and he said, “I just don’t get it. Why do they think they can play without the fundamentals? They are called the fundamentals for a reason… because they have been working for the last 100+ years of basketball!” I had to chuckle to myself for a bit about that one, but it’s so true! Doing the small things or mastering the fundamentals might not make them the best player, but it can make them the best player they can be.

 

As Christians we are the same way though. Everybody wants to be the next John Piper or King Solomon. We all want to have the most spiritual input during small groups, for people to listen to our advice, to have the most powerful public prayer, to be the most dynamic teacher/preacher… the “go to guy.” As Christians we all desire those things, but again the fact of the matter is that not everyone is. Most of the time it’s for those same reasons, because we aren’t good at the small stuff or the fundamentals. We don’t make sure we have meaningful time in God’s Word everyday (or most days), we don’t have a steady prayer life, we don’t invite others into our lives or reach out into theirs, we don’t get plugged into serve, we don’t read books by great Christian authors, or we don’t participate in many of the opportunities that our church gives us to grow! I’ve seen in my life and in many Christians life a desire to be something BIG for God without wanting to do all the small things too, and it’s just not possible. Jesus says in Luke 16:10, “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much.” Who knows, you might be the next John Piper or Francis Chan or maybe you won’t! One thing is for sure though, you’ll never be the best Christian you can be without the small things.

II. When your down, just stay disciplined

The record for the freshman team this year was 16-4, but in probably half of our games this year we were losing at some point in the game. It’s a scary thing when the game is close, or you get down by a little bit. You start to panic slightly inside, to doubt, and all the “what if’s” come pouring into your mind. Often players and coaches initial reaction is to try and do something BIG to fix the problem! They have to make a BIG shot or get a BIG steal right away. Coaches burn through their offenses or defenses just trying to find one that works. That rarely works though, and most times makes it worse for two reasons:

  1. The fix is most likely something small that you already know to do, but you just              aren’t doing it (like small things that we talked about in point one 😊)
  2. Sometimes your down and its nobody’s fault. They might just be hitting every shot or maybe you can’t hit the broad side of the barn! There are a lot of things that can  happen in a basketball game and in life that you just have no control over.

Most of time the key is to focus, start doing what you know should be doing already, and just stay disciplined! We just ended our season with a close victory against Washington, but we were down by six the whole time. The game was physical, the players were on edge, and the fans were loud. I just kept saying over and over, “Focus and just keep playing good, disciplined basketball.” We ended up hitting a buzzer beater to send it into overtime and then won by twelve.

 

In life, things come our way that we never expect and we get down by a little. Cars break down, people go to the hospital, random bills show up, kids get in trouble, you spend more money than you should on something, and you make mistakes. So, what do we do? We start to panic a little! We start posting all over Facebook, using credit cards, making other poor financial decisions, yelling at our kids or spouse, or making promises we can’t keep. We want a BIG fix to get us out of the hole. It rarely works though and often makes things worse for the same reasons.

  1. The fix is most likely something small that you already know to do, but you just aren’t doing it (like small things that we talked about in point one 😊)
  2. You may be down and its nobody’s fault. God just has you going through a tough time to stretch you!

The key is to stay focused, start doing what you know should be doing already, and be disciplined. Stay focused on your relationship with Lord. Don’t get distracted by all the noise and start doing something you shouldn’t. Fix the small stuff that you know you should be doing (reading the Word, praying on regular basis, serving, investing in others) and stop relying on yourself for some big fix. Rely on the Lord because He knows what you’re going through, and He is going to get you through.  Jesus says in Matthew10:29-31, “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Preach to yourself that He is in control and that He will take care of all your needs. Read through the Psalms. They are short, but POWERFUL!

III. It’s easy to think you’re the successful one

I don’t want to seem like I’m bragging, but we honestly had an awesome season! It’s just a fact. There were some struggles no doubt, but all around (not just our record) it was a great time. As much as I hate to admit this, it was easy for me to start thinking I was the one that created all the success. That’s wrong for two reasons. One, that’s a lie and two that’s prideful.  I had to remind myself constantly of three things:

  1. There are a lot of people in my life who have taught me what I know and who have helped throughout life. Many past leaders that I had, my parents, the other coaches, my wife, parents of kids, and the Bible for that matter. There was nothing that I have done that I don’t owe someone a think you for. I could go on for days about the stuff my wife does for me!
  2. Those kids worked their tails off! They were the ones that did all the small things right, they were the ones that worked hard, they were the ones that went out and played the game (I just yelled at them from the sideline). They put in the effort and in the end, it paid off for them. They had a great season full of fun, excitement, and success. What else could you ask for?
  3. God allowed us in grace to have a great season! He was the true hero of our season whether people would recognize it or not. Most everyday (I am sure I missed a few) on the way to practice or a game I would pray for wisdom, I would pray for the boys, I would pray when things were out of my control or I didn’t know what to do. God always came through and I hope He was and can still receive the glory. At the end of the year I was able to sit the boys down and share with them how my relationship with Jesus Christ was the reason I do, what I do and the reason I coach, how I coach. We did not have a successful season because I am so great, but because He is so great and He deserves all the glory!

 

Life is the same way. A series of fortune events gets strung together in our lives and next thing you know, we think we are pretty hot stuff! It’s all too easy to think we are the ones who created all our own success and that we deserve all the recognition, but this is far from the truth for the same three reasons.

  1. There are so many people in our lives who have taught us and helped us along the way. Without them in our lives, whether we realize it or not, we would not be who we are today. People like our parents, spouses, kids, friends, mentors, teachers, and even people we don’t like or necessarily appreciate God has put into our life to shape us and to mold us into the image of His son Jesus Christ.
  2. There are also a lot of people in our lives who work their tails off for us! Think about how many times your parents changed your diapers, paid the bills, packed your lunch, or picked up after you. Think about your teachers who stayed after class to help with homework, stepped out on a limb to try and speak truth into your life, or put up with all your horseplay in class. What about your spouse that cleans the house when you are away, puts the kids to bed after a long day of work, or cooks dinner and then cleans up after you’re done. There are a lot of things people in our lives do to grind it out everyday and never get thanked. Don’t forget those people too!
  3. Lastly, don’t forget that you are only where you are by God’s great grace. God is constantly changing us and using us, not so we can be on top, be happy, or get what we want. Instead, God does all those things in our lives, so He can receive the glory for it all, because in reality He is the only one who really deserves it! He is the true hero of our lives and not us. Jesus says in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

 

Coaching this last year has been amazing and God has used it in so many ways to transform me more into the image of His Son Jesus Christ and I am so thankful for it. I coached for one season for Freshman basketball and I feel like I could write a book already. I can’t wait to see what else God has in store!

For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

– Romans 8:29

The 40 Pastors of PFBC

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The history of this local church is rich with the fingerprints of God’s greatness and goodness. From our formation as Richmond Baptist Church (in Richmond, IA) in 1854 during the Civil War, to our present day location in Washington, IA as Prairie Flower Baptist Church, God’s hand of protection, provision, and blessing has been on our church for over 160 years! We are indeed a testimony to a mighty God who promised nearly 2,000 years ago that “I will build MY CHURCH and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

In fact, as I was digging through some old historical archives of our church, I ran across a list of every pastor who has served this local church. I like lists 🙂 It’s just the nature of my personality to gravitate towards lists…And during my quick survey of this list of PFBC Pastors, I discovered five fun facts, but first let me give to you the list of the 40 Pastors of PFBC…

Pastors Who Served Richmond Baptist Church…

  1. Rev. George Bell (Dates Unknown)
  2. Rev. Sangster (Dates Unknown)
  3. Rev. Ward (1865-1869)
  4. Rev. Nelson (1869-1872)
  5. Rev. S. M. Crambelt (1872-1873)
  6. Rev. Whitacker (1873-1874)
  7. Rev. Dailey (1874-1877)
  8. Rev. Sharpnack (1877-1880)
  9. Rev. Jones (1880-1882)
  10. Rev. L. W. Atkins (1882-1889)

Pastors Who Served Prairie Flower Baptist Church…

  1. Rev. Cornelius (1889-1892)
  2. Rev. Arthur Fowler (1893-1895)
  3. Rev. Walter Fowler (1896-1899)
  4. Rev. O. J. Clark (1900-1901)
  5. Rev. W. R. Yard (1901-1904)
  6. Rev. J. F. Catlin (1904-1906)
  7. Rev. J. C. Clark (1907-1908)
  8. Rev. Edgar Mills (1909-1911)
  9. Rev. Charles E. Hamilton (1911-1913)
  10. Rev. Hal E. Norton (1913-1915)
  11. Rev. C. S. Carroll (1916-1918)
  12. Rev. E. A. Anderson (1918-1922)
  13. Rev. A. J. Unthank (1922-1926)
  14. Rev. Charles E. Hamilton (1926-1930)
  15. Rev. L. H. Anderson (1930-1933)
  16. Rev. C. E. Strong (1934-1941)
  17. Rev. Harold Day (1941-1943)
  18. Rev. A. E. Diddams (1943-1945)
  19. Rev. Merle Booth (1945-1947)
  20. Rev. B. G. Hall (1948-1950)
  21. Rev. Homer Kirchner (1950-1954)
  22. Rev. Charles Hawkins (1954-1966)
  23. Rev. David Hess (1966-1972)
  24. Rev. Paul Lobb (1973-1978)
  25. Rev. Nick Boeke (1978-1982)
  26. Rev. Paul Mann (1982-1991)
  27. Rev. Kevin Subra (1992-1994)
  28. Rev. Dan McClure (1995-1999)
  29. Rev. Don Collings (2000-2013)
  30. Rev. David Cotner (2013-Present)

Five Fun Facts…

  1. Our church (founded in 1854) is older than blue jeans (1873), cars (1885), and Coca-Cola (1892)!
  2. Rev. Ward, who served our church from 1865-1869, pastored our church during the time frame of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
  3. Rev. Charles E. Hamilton is the only minister who pastored our church during two separate time frames (1911-1913 and 1926-1930)…he just couldn’t get enough of us!
  4. Rev. C. E. Strong (1934-1941) was truly Prairie Flower’s first #PrairieStrong Pastor 🙂
  5. The average pastorate, in our rich 164-year history, has been 4.1 years, with my predecessor, Pastor Collings, serving the longest with 13 years under his belt.

QUIZ: How well do you know the attributes of God?

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In this year’s AWANA Program, our clubbers are learning all about the attributes of God! Pretty deep stuff, but they are so smart and learning so well. So, how well do you know the attributes of God? Take our quiz to find out!