Saturday, August 01, 2020

13 Years Pastoring

13 years is a long time. This past year seems to be the longest. I, nor any of my friends, have ever faced the challenges of being a pastor during a pandemic.

13 Year Anniversary Pic
At least since mid-March, traditional conventional ministry, at least personal pastoral ministry, has been anything but normal or conventional. I have faced criticism from folks for following the recommendations of the CDC and closing down for public services. Likewise, I have faced criticism for not closing down soon enough and/or reopening too soon. There is literally no way to please everyone. And the pastor will be the one blamed if anything regarding the pandemic goes wrong within the church.

Falls Creek was cancelled. So was KBA. We made the heart wrenching decision to cancel Vacation Bible School.

There are several older members who I have not seen in person since March and they refuse to allow me to visit them in their homes. In fact, I’ve only been in a handful of members’ homes since March. I hate it.

Nevertheless, I have continued to preach every week. We never had a completely empty sanctuary. We have had a couple people saved and I was honored to baptize 3 people last Sunday. We have been on Facebook Live and have had hundreds of viewers. We are back to “normal” except for Sunday evening services. Attendance is suffering. We are at approximately 35-40% of regular attendance. Giving is down. We were the first in town to reestablish our children and youth programs. But we have also lost several people through this crisis.

Nevertheless, through all of these issues, God has been faithful. We were able to raise over $7000 for our Pakistani Christian friends who are suffering more than we are. Both children and youth were afforded the opportunity to attend an alternative to camp this past week, thanks to the efforts of volunteers.

If you'd like to watch the live service online, go to facebook.com/immanuelsouthern at about 11 am (Central) on Sunday mornings.  If you'd like to contribute to our church, you can also do that online at http://www.bfok.org/give-immanuelsouthern

I don’t know what the future looks like, but I know who holds the future! God is good- all the time!


Monday, July 27, 2020

Is Everyone God's Children?

I hear it all the time, "We are all God's children."

It is a nice sentiment, but it isn't true. Actually, there are a whole lot of nice sentiments that aren't true, but I digress...

What IS true is that we are all "created in the image of God." (Refer to Genesis 1:27). In other words, we are all God's creation. BUT, that doesn't make us His children.

Children, whether natural born or adopted are heirs of their parents. We are not naturally born into God's family. We are adopted by means of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. (Refer to Ephesians 2:8-9) Actually, that is the ONLY way to be adopted in to God's family. (Refer to John 14:6)

So, where does the idea that we are "all children of God" come from? It comes from bad theology and wishful thinking.

You see, to be adopted into God's family, certain things need to happen. The first is that a person must feel the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit. The second is that they must trust Jesus to be their savior.

Those two things are entirely necessary, but certainly not natural. Very few people will admit that they are sinners under their own power. No one likes to think of themselves as broken or blemished. But, until that happens, that is, that you realized that you are lost, in danger, in mortal/eternal peril, there is no need to seek out a savior.

Then, this is where things get tricky. The world says that if we are good enough, we will go to Heaven; that if our good outweighs our bad, we get judged "good." Unfortunately, that isn't how this works at all.

God says (and He should know) that sin (being bad) separates us from Him and that our bad deeds have to be rewarded with death. BUT He also says that He loves us and wants us to be saved from that horrible "reward." He says that He showed the whole world that He loves us by sending Jesus to take that horrible reward for us, even though we were still being bad.

He says that if we "openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in [our] heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved!" (Refer to Romans 10:9)

That's it. That's how you become a true child of God! Not by doing good things. Not by being dunked or sprinkled by a preacher or priest. Not by living the best live you can live. Not by going to church. Not by giving money. Not by any other way. And it has to be through Jesus only! He was the one that took the horrible reward for your sin. Not any other person who has ever lived.

So, how about you? Are you a true Child of God? If you need some help getting there, leave me a message or get in touch with me. God loves you; and so do I!

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Novel Security

https://www.facebook.com/safebooksbyrick/

I have started making and selling safebooks. Safebooks are books that have been hollowed out, creating a great place to hide valuables in plain sight.

Safebooks make excellent gifts for yourself or others. They are quite affordable, starting at only $20. There are two upgrades available: magnetic closures and pick and pluck foam. Each upgrade is $15 each.

I make safebooks out of a variety of novels, textbooks, dictionaries, etc and can often fulfill special requests. I will also cut a book that you provide, creating that extra personal touch.

I will be happy to mail your custom safebook at actual USPS postage. Special orders can take up to two weeks to create by hand.

Below are some examples of books I have made. If they are still for sale, the details of the booksafe will be in the caption.

For an up to date look at my inventory, please click this link in FaceBook.

Contact me at this email address with inquiries.

#26 F&W 1971 Approx inside dimensions 4 x 7 x 1.25 $20

#26 F&W 1971 Approx inside dimensions 4 x 7 x 1.25 $20

#27 USCA Bankruptcy Approx inside dimensions 4 x 7.75 x 1.25 $20

#27 USCA Bankruptcy Approx inside dimensions 4 x 7.75 x 1.25 $20

#46 Runaway Jury. Approx inside dimensions 4.5 x 7.5 x 1. $20

#46 Runaway Jury. Approx inside dimensions 4.5 x 7.5 x 1. $20

#47 Hidden Prey. Approx inside dimensions 4.25 x 7.25 x 1. $20

#47 Hidden Prey. Approx inside dimensions 4.25 x 7.25 x 1. $20

Whose Broad Stars - Magnetic Closures and Foam - $50

Whose Broad Stars - Magnetic Closures and Foam - $50

Whose Broad Stars - Magnetic Closures and Foam - $50

Special Order - Not for Sale

Special Order - Not for Sale

Red Leather - SOLD

Red Leather - SOLD