And The Waters Subsided

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained. —Genesis 8:1–2 (ESV)

Imagine living in the days of Noah. Think of what it would have been like being part of his family. Perhaps being one of his sons, hearing from your father the words of God spoken and demanding he build an ark to preserve the human race and save what was once called “good.”

Imagine the day, when the rains came, and they did not stop. The storm line did not pass, and the sun did not shine. I think about this because we Oklahomans know rain. We know it because of the current state of things and because of the past. We know wind, and tornados. We know the destructive force of the things we cannot control. 

When the waters rise, and when the rains fall, and when they do not stop after a bit, I am always reminded of Noah and his faithfulness. Yes, it is maybe because of my Grandma’s persistence in  reading my Bible. It is that combined with years of sitting and hearing God’s Word preached and studied collectively and in quite. It is in these moments like now and because of my Grandma, I remember the words of Scripture, “But God remembered.”

I forget, but God does not. We are distracted from all the things of life. The things that are dull and the things that shine all catch our eye in this life. It is just the way things are, and it is true for every one of us. It is in moments of tragedy and floods and destruction we must remember the promises of God and trust in him. He does not forget, but always remembers his promises and his people.

God remembered Noah, and his family and the animals on the ark. He remembered the earth that he made and all that is in it. God does not get distracted, and is able to handle our messy lives and still hold together the universe by the word of his power. Remember the promises of God and remember the hope of better things to come. Remember that God has not forgotten his people and just as he promised, the water’s subsided. 

—Bro. Jesse

Good Friday

Why call it good? Reflecting on the events told by the Bible, reading the story would offer to many of us a different reaction than “good.” The Friday of Passover week, this particular Friday does not seem all that good to us when reading through the story the first time. We read of a man who came from heaven—he loved and taught people the way to get to the Kingdom of God, and the people killed him for it. A quick reading of the story does not seem all that goodto us.

 But the story is not meant to be read quick or even once. It is meant to be read slow, allowing the gravity of the death of Christ to sink in. It really was a good Friday. It was good for God, and it was especially good for us. It was good for God because his plan of redemption was followed through by the faithful Son. And it was especially good for us because God’s people were redeemed.

 Looking back at the first time I read the gospels, it was shocking to me that God used such a horrible event to bring about the greatest possible good. That is what makes Good Friday so “good.” The Bible tells a story, the greatest story ever told—Creation, God making man in his own image, the fall of man, God’s great plan to redeem mankind, and his Son at the center of that redemption plan. The good news of Good Friday is that we now have a way back to our Creator, through the cross of the Lord Jesus.

In Luke 23 we have the crucifixion being told, just as the other gospel writes record. But Luke’s telling of the story was always the one that stood out to me. It was in inclusion of the two criminals that were being crucified along with Jesus. One berates and the other worships. Luke telling of the story is an encouragement to us in many ways, but this part has always stood out to me, especially the words of Christ to the criminal who expresses faith.

 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” —Luke 23:39–43 (ESV)

Luke’s telling of the story is a beautiful testimony of the compassion of the Savior. Even in face of imminent death, Christ is thinking of others. The good news of Good Friday for the criminal is that even deathbed confessions lead to paradise. The good news of Good Friday is the hope for sinners who believe. The good news of Good Friday is the hope of life in face of death for people like you and me.

God takes the worst possible situation and calls it good. It was through the suffering of our Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins. It is through the Lord Jesus the relationship is restored and we can return to the  presence of the God who loves us and made us with purpose. This Good Friday let us reflect on the great sacrifice of our Savior and worship him for what he has done.  

Bro. Jesse


With Spring Comes New Life

Today is the first day of Spring. I know many of us look forward to this day each year with childlike glee. After the very  first frost and the first time you had to scrape off that windshield that first cold morning going to work—you were ready for Spring to return. The coming of Spring is like a doubled-edged sword. The warm weather and beautiful days, are paired with the pollen and allergy filled months. For some of us, allergies are not a problem, but for some, this season is a pain and many would rather face endless months of Winter than ever have to buy that box of tissues and face that ragweed ever again.

But with all the goings of the changing of the seasons, we can forget the plans of God and his picture of redemption painted in creation. 

I love Spring. I love Winter. I love every season, and I equally love to see them come and go. Winter is great. Everyone loves snow. Kids love the snow days, and parents love staying home with their kids during those snow days. (That is a joke I think) But come January, everyone is happy to look forward to the coming Spring. Warmer days, and cool showers are all part of God’s plan to bring back new life from the cold deadness of winter.

Solomon writes,

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… —Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV)

It is in the words of Scripture we can find peace knowing our God knows what he is doing, and encourages us to find rest in what he has planned. As Solomon would go on to say, God has ordained all things and given a time for every matter under heaven. In creation God created all that was made, and on Earth he made it so that our years are marked by seasons. Seasons are God’s way of showing how he is able to bring about the end of things, and also resurrect what was once dead.

April is upon us, and Easter Sunday is right around the corner. It is not a coincidence that we celebrate our resurrected Lord in the middle of Spring. With Spring comes new life, and at its heart is a glorious risen Savior. For everything there is a season, and the coming of Spring each year should remind us how God makes all things new. He gives hope to the hopeless. He causes the blind to see. He feeds the hungry. He brings back to life, that which was dead. He proves that to us each and every Spring.

Christian, Easter is coming and Resurrection Sunday will be here soon. Let us celebrate this season with hope and victory. Our God has conquered the grave. Our God will have the last word. Death has lost its sting and our God has given hope to his people this Spring season.

—Bro. Jesse

The Cloudy Days Ahead

But the sunshine lay beyond the clouds.

We live in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a state of consistency, but also of change. The people who call Oklahoma home do not like change, of this I can attest. We like to do thing as we have always done. If there is but a Walmart within driving distance and church within a rock’s throw, we are content. We do not like change. But one thing that is so remarkable about Oklahomans, is that we are a people who dislike change and very much the idea of new things, yet we are constantly being dealt the hand of change. Changing weather is one thing that defines Oklahoma. It can be a beautiful 70 degrees one day and the next, freezing temperatures. We can go from tornados to floods to ice storms within the span of a week. Change is a part of who we are as much as consistency. We have grown accustomed to the clouds and the rains that come sweeping down the plains, but equally important we must remember the sunshine that follows.

Stemming from a biblical worldview, Christians know that the clouds will always precede the sunshine. The world is increasingly getting worse and none of this is a shock to us. We see change, and it is at times surprising, but really it isn’t. Jesus speaks in detail in Matthew 24 about the changing of the times. If anything in the Bible, we Oklahomans can relate to this. Jesus says the times are going to get bad. Jesus says the times are going to be worse than any other time in history. 

Jesus says that the clouds are coming and the days that will come with them will be worse than the days of the flood, worse than the sacking of Jerusalem by Babylon, worse than the destruction of Israel, worse than any time in the history of man. We have seen some pretty terrible days in recent history. Jesus says the days these will be defined not by justice and love, but rather by lawlessness and betrayal. Jesus says all this will happen, and then the end will come.

But the great news of the gospel is that those days will not be long and the sunshine lay beyond the clouds. 

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. — Matthew 24:29–31 (ESV)

Today, we can see the clouds coming over the horizon. The events we have seen unfolding around us are just signs of the coming storm. The evil celebrated in New York city, the redefining of marriage, the starving and slaughter of innocents in Venezuela, the persecution of Christians around the globe are all signs of the coming storm.

We see all the evil and wickedness in the world today, and often times we forget what is on the other side. Christ is coming soon. God has not forgotten his promises and when our Savior returns, he will pierce the clouds of darkness that has engulfed the world with the light of the Kingdom of God. 

We must not forget the sunshine that lay beyond the clouds and the God from which it comes. May God grant his people peace, courage, and endurance in the days ahead!

—Bro. Jesse


The Great Evil Of Our Day

Yesterday evening on the 46th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, the New York State Senate passed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) in a 38-24 vote that gives a woman a constitutional right to an abortion. The RHA allows a woman to receive an abortion through the third trimester. The RHA decriminalizes abortion by regulating it under the pubic health law, not penal. The RHA allows for non-physicians to commit non-surgical abortions. When the vote was read aloud, and upon seeing the Act passed, the chamber was met with thundering applause. This is the great evil of our day.  

Throughout history, there has been many dark days we can look back on. We can flip through the chapters of recoded history, and especially that of Western Civilization and see the great evils committed in the name of progress and universal rights. Manifest Destiny, genocide, and war are all evils that at one time came dressed in the form of progress and individual rights. Ethic superiority led to the Holocaust. The same could be said for the Rwandan genocide. In our own recent history, selfish desire for more led to the relocation and almost extermination of the Native Americans in North America. Each of these gross ethical failures were conducted because one group of people felt that they and their rights were more important than others. 

Today’s great moral failure is no different than those of the past with regards to the way we look at individual rights. Today in the argument for women’s rights, nothing has changed. One group of people believe that their rights are more important than others. They believe that  woman’s rights are more important than that of an unborn child.  They believe that a woman (in this case the state of NY) should have a constitutional right to kill her child because her rights should not be infringed. But what about the rights of the unborn child? 

Abortion is the great evil of our day. As I read articles after article and watched videos of women, men, activists, and legislatures applaud the killing of unborn children up to the ninth month of a pregnancy, I wanted to weep for our culture. I thought America was supposed to be the bright light to the world. I thought we were to be the example of goodness and virtue and liberty—yet all the while we select which of our citizens we wish to protect and which to kill. 

The great evil of our day was not born in New York, but it has certainly found a home and will soon spread. According to the 2015 CDC Abortion surveillance report, New York City performed 544 abortions for every 1,000 live births. That means roughly one inthreebabies are aborted in New York City. The CDC also reported that in 2015 the city performed 63,646 abortions. The great evil of our day has been growing and now it has been unleased. No doubt the numbers will now climb. 

In face of this evil how do we respond? How does the Church respond in light of the great evil that has been growing at a steady pace, killing our children and stomping out entire generations worth of children?

I believe that the Church should do what it has always done in the face of evil. We go to our God. Evil is nothing new to this world and God’s creation. From the very beginning, evil crept into our hearts and now we are responsible. The sin found in the creation account led to exile, which led to the first murder, and now murder is celebrated in New York City and through the world. The church must plead with God to save our children from what we have done and allowed to do. Evil is here, and it isn’t going anywhere unless the One who is more powerful than the evil intervenes. 

We live in a day where the Church must stand with conviction and call out abortion for what it really is. It is murder. It is nearly inconceivable that in modern society that the rights of an unborn child through the ninth month of a pregnancy are ignored. An unborn baby in the third trimester, though not fully grown can be born and with medical care can live outside the womb, and go on to live a normal, healthy life. The Church must stand with conviction and call out evil for what it is. The Church must say that loudly, that unborn child is a person and that baby deserves life!

Isaiah says,
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil… —Isaiah 5:20 (ESV) 

If not the Church, who will stand up for the lives of the unborn? We are called to protect and defend all the rights of all who are made in God’s image. We must plead with God to hear the prayers of his people. We should pray that God would convict this world of evil and the things we have done. We should call on people to see that God does not allow innocent blood to be shed without consequence and he will repay those who call evil good.

In our prayers, and actions, and pleading, we also look forward to a day that is set. Our God is not idle and he does not forget. Our God is just and righteous. We look forward to when our Christ returns and when he does he will serve justice, he will right all wrongs, and he will wipe away all tears. In the new heaven and the new earth, God will give to our children what has been so tragically denied to them—life. 

In these dark days and when we are faced with such evil, we can easily pray for the soon return of Christ. May we keep praying for God’s intervention and if so, use us to save our generation and children from the great evil of our day. 

—Bro. Jesse


New Year and a Fresh Start

Out with the old and in with the new! Looking back at my life, as many do at this time, my life is marked with the changing of the years. Many start the new year with a resolution or a commitment that so often end in failure before January is even over. It is a rare occasion that we hear of someone who actually kept their resolution and succeeded in their goals. I have even found myself failing in the things I set my mind to. I’ve pledged along with so many to exercise more; to eat healthy and many more that I’m sure I  have just forgotten. But this year all of us can do better and all of us can pledge our energy and life to something that will cause real change in our lives. For those of us who have put their faith in Christ, we can make our commitments or resolutions as an act of worship to our God.

Look at it this way. So often the reason we fail is because we don’t have someone holding us accountable. Many people make resolutions with others like those listed above, but as the weeks go on, each person begins to grow weak and tired, and that accountability falls short because, if we are honest with ourselves, we are weak and need someone to carry us through. 

In Matthew 28, at the very end of  Matthew’s Gospel,  Jesus lay out instructions for his disciples. But at the very end he leaves them with a very encouraging word. 

…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”—Matthew 28:20 (ESV)

Jesus has promised, he will always be with us. He will never leave us hanging. He is strong, not weak. He keeps his word. He walks with us, keeps us going, whispering in our ears when the going gets tough that he isn’t going anywhere. People will let you down. You will let yourself down. But trust in Jesus this new year and he will carry you through. No matter what your goals are in this new year, or if just want a fresh start—Jesus will be there with you at the beginning, in the middle, and with you as you cross the finish line.  

May God bless you this new year. May Christ be glorified among his people in this new year!

—Bro. Jesse


Give Thanks

The holiday season is here. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and before you know it Christmas will be upon us. I grew up in a loving home, surrounded by people who were loved and loved generously. I look back at my life and I am truly thankful for the family that God has given me. Those who were near and those who were far off, I thank God for them. It is in these holiday seasons I look back and see what God has done and is still doing in my life—and above all he has taught me to give thanks.

If we were to open the Bible, we would find the command and the example to give thanks. 

We see David commanding the reader to give thanks in light of what we know about God.

8 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;  make known his deeds among the peoples! —1 Chronicles 16:8 (ESV)

We see Daniel thanking God for personal blessings in his own life.

23 To you, O God of my fathers,  I give thanks and praise,  for you have given me wisdom and might,  and have now made known to me what we asked of you,  for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” — Daniel 2:23 (ESV)

In the New Testament we see Jesus giving thanks in the upper room, and then commanding his disciples to do the same. This would have greater meaning post the resurrection.

19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”— Luke 22:19 (ESV)

We see Paul calling on believers to simply be thankful in all that we have been richly blessed.

 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. —Colossians 3:15–17 (ESV)

And again we see Paul calling on us to give thanks not only for the good, but during the bad times as well. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (ESV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  

We are called to be a people who are thankful in everything. The older I get, the more I can look back on in my life and give thanks. It is a beautiful thing really. The older we get, the farther we can see. We can see the great valleys we have passed through. The mountains we have climbed. The classes we have endured, and the tests we have overcome. We can see children born. We can see the loved ones that have passed, and every step of the way, the Lord was with us. I am reminded of the words of the Lord in these seasons of thankfulness; 

20 …And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”— Matthew 28:20 (ESV) 

I am thankful this season for all that God has given. He has given me a life to live and a purpose. He has given me family and loved ones. Some have passed and are waiting for me on the other side. I am thankful for them and I am thankful for a God that saves—so that I might see them again, not only as they were but as they should have always been—sinless and with their God.

This season, give thanks to the God who saves. Give thanks to the one who saves those who call on his name. Give thanks for the things that he has done and will do. Give thanks for the valleys and mountains—if only they be opportunities to walk through them with God. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for this steadfast love endures forever. 

—Bro Jesse

The Small Things

Growing up in a small town I always dreamed up the big city. I imagined big buildings, big concerts, big houses, big businesses. I imagined these things because they were so foreign to me—the little guy living in the small town. I grew up thinking it was the big things like these that made big impacts on people and communities. But as I moved away, lived and served in churches in larger communities and cities, I came to realize it was the small things, not the big things only that led to the greatest impact in people’s lives.  

Don’t get me wrong, big cities and big churches can have major impact on people. But what I have learned over the years, it is the small things that reach people on a personal level. It was the small church, and the small church pastor that had the biggest impact on me. It was a small community that welcomed a small boy and made him feel welcome and loved. It is the small things we do in this life that have the greatest impact on people.

This week I and our fellow church family members will cross paths with untold numbers of people. With each encounter and each conversation we are given opportunities by God to be extensions of his love and care. It is over the course of weeks, months and years those small things we do, add up to make big impact on people.

The local church is called to do the small things, to make big impacts on our communities. That means Trunk or Treat. That means serving. That means living in a manner worthy of your calling. This week, my challenge to you is go out of your way and love on someone. Never think that this one small thing doesn’t mean much. Every person we talk with has a story, and by God’s grace we will hear it and make an impact on them that will change their life forever. 

God uses the small things and small people to make big impacts in this world.  

—Bro. Jesse

When Justice Comes and Doesn’t

Our country has faced a rollercoaster of news headlines and emotions over the past few weeks. With everything surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, our nation has been hurt deeply, stemming from both sides of the political aisle. People argued, protested, and prayed over this particular event and as time went on, many opinions differed on the outcome. One group believed that Kavanaugh was the man he claimed to be—a shining knight of the conservative establishment and a devoted public servant. The other side believe he to be a vile man, who has carefully hidden his past sexual assault and questionable life habits. 

I use this example because I have followed it closely over the past few weeks. I have prayed and asked the Lord for the truth to be known, no matter the outcome. I feel it my Christian duty to pray for our leaders no matter their political positions. Romans 13 speaks clearly of the fact that there are those appointed by God to govern over us, and it is a given that believers will pray for those in government and positions of authority. I also followed Kavanaugh’s confirmation closely because I know the possible implications his appointment to the Supreme Court.  No matter what side you might fall on politically or ideologically, the concept of nine non-elected judges’ rulings and interpretations can become the law of the land is a hard pill to swallow. Their rulings must be followed.  

But with that being said, the appointment of this Supreme Court Justice could lead to the repeal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision by the Supreme Court that affirmed a woman’s right to abortion under the constitution. Under this present Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade could be repealed and it could be a step in the right direction to end government funded abortion.

Understanding the importance of this appointment, and seeing how both sides differ on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, how should a Christian respond when we feel justice has be served, and when it hasn’t—when justice comes and when it doesn’t?

The one thing that I must remind myself constantly, especially when I feel my emotions taking over, is that our God is sovereign. Our God rules and reigns. He is in control and he is in power. Romans 13:1 clearly states the sovereignty of God. God appoints the principalities and powers in this world. God has given us much freedom in this life and in the decisions that we make, but easily we forget that when we cast the ballot or raise our hand, whether it be for or against, God has already seen and ordained that day. Our God is not caught off guard by freak elections or the shocking win of the underdog. Our God is sovereign. 

Another to consider is that our God is a God of justice. I love the illustration of God being a good judge. If God is sovereign, holy, righteous, and if he is all-knowing, then he knows the hearts and minds and man, and will deal equally and fairly with every action, whether it be an acts of good or evil. The same God who requires us to “do justice” (Micah 6:8) will enact judgment and see justice served to the nations.  

John was given a beautiful picture of the new heavens and new earth. It is a place where God’s people live knowing justice has been served to them and on the earth.

Revelation 19:1–5 (ESV)  After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,  “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him,  small and great.”

One of the great struggles of the Christian life is trusting in our God. God works on his own time and for his own glory. So often, we can only see what is directly in front of us. We see this moment in this day and maybe a little farther, but still the events are ultimately out of our control. God sees all things and knows all things. How often are we like Job trying to give a defense of our thoughts and try and tell God how to rule over his creation. And it is in those moments we are humbled by our sovereign, all-powerful, holy God. 

Trust in God and he will care for our souls. Trust in God and he will enact justice and judgment according to his own holiness, not our time or opinions. Remember the words of our Lord,

Revelation 22:12–13 (ESV) 12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Rejoice when we see God’s judgment and justice in our life, for we are privileged to see  him working in our lives. But also do not be discouraged when justice doesn’t come. Just because we don’t see it immediately, does not mean that is not coming. For the Lord has said, “I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” 

Bro. Jesse

Why Church Membership Matters

Growing up I had many opportunities to be part of a collective group of people that worked to better themselves and their community. One of the highlights of my childhood was being a member of my local 4-H club. 4-H was something that I loved doing in many ways, and it forced me to do things that I would not do otherwise. It got me outdoors. It got me involved in show-pigs and forced me to get my hands dirty (literally). It gave me discipline and taught me that working hard towards something could reap big rewards and tasty bacon! Also, basketball was a major part of my life growing up. Learning sportsmanship, and what it meant to be part of a team prepared me for the future. I have many fond memories of sitting on the bench watching the better players win or lose the game. But I was fine with sitting on the bench because I knew I was part of the process. We either won or lost as a team, together. But one of the greatest privileges of growing up was the opportunity of serving in the local church as an equal member. It was here that I heard the call to ministry. It was here that I preached my first sermon. It was here I met my wife, and it was here I learned the importance of church membership.

Membership is important in so many ways. It help us focus our work and our calling into ministry. It teaches us commitment to a single cause and how to strive together to work towards the many goals of the ministry. It creates a sense of joy in our hearts knowing that this is where I belong and this is ourmission. I love how Jonathan Leeman puts it in his book on Church Membership. He says that so many people associate church membership as a “club”, but a better way to think of it is an “embassy.”  We are citizens of a Kingdom that is not of this world. We live in a place that is not our home. We represent our King and his Kingdom in this place while we are here. And we ought to do it well.

Church membership requires commitment. It requires hard work and sacrifice. It takes people who are committed to the work of the ministry. If a group of people come together, commit to a local body, love each other as Christ loves us, hold one accountable as Christ holds us accountable, and work for the Kingdom like Christ lay down his life for us—we will see great things happen in our community for the Kingdom of God.

I am reminded of Paul’s words when encouraging the church at Corinth to continue in the work of the ministry. 

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV)  

The Church is strong when its members relies not its own strength but on the Foundation. The Church is immovable when its feet is firmly planted on the Rock. The work of the Church is never in vain when all labor is done in honor to the King. May we be a church that commits to the work of the ministry and the one who saved us. 

Bro. Jesse

The Mountains we Climb

The Christian life is a hard one to walk. There are so many new things that we learn after we turn to Christ that we did not know prior to salvation. Life is tough, and thankfully we have the Church and Christ to help along the way. But so often we think that after conversion, we will find smooth sailing (so to speak), and easy roads to walk—but so often that is not the case.

We do not walk roads in valleys, but over mountains. The Christian life is filled with mountain after mountain of tests and work to get us to the actual valley we hope to one day call home. I think about the Children of Israel in the Old Testament. That story of old, and all the hard work that was behind them and that which was ahead. The time they found themselves looking up at the mountain of God in the Valley of Vision. I think about what God had called them to be—it was to be a people after his own name. They were a people that understood the hard calling of being God’s people. I know that the calling has not changed for his people of the New Testament Church. 

In this life, we will be faced with mountains that must be summited so that we can see the promised land before it. God is faithful, knowing the hardships of this life. Death, sickness, and the problems of relationships are all things that we face every single day. But God is faithful to his people. He has taken the initiative for us. He sent his Son to help us along the way. The Spirit of God promised in John 3 helps every believer overcome the mountains of the flesh, and find the Valley of God prepared for us by his Spirit.   

I think of John’s words when reflecting on this reality that we all face each day.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?—1 John 5:4–5 (ESV)

Ultimately, the only way we can overcome the mountains that we face in this world is faith in Christ. It is awesome of our God that he sends his Son, and prepares a people for his own possession and calls it the Church. It is the Church that God has given all of us to help one another through these times as well. I am thankful that when I face the mountains of life—the mountains of death, disease, depression, and hurting, God has given me his people to help me overcome the mountain. 

God has called us to be a people who love Him and come together when the road gets steep, and path of the Christian life grows long. Trust in your God, and his people to help you climb the mountains of this life. May we be a church that is always looking to the valley that is prepared for us beyond the mountains of this life. 

Bro. Jesse

A Church of Vision: Part 4

I love anything to do with history—especially with war. There is something about learning about the past that has always caught my attention. Documentaries, television shows, movies, books, all draw my attention. I especially love reading and watching history that tells a story. For example, we have all seen the movie, or read the book, or heard the story of the soldier trapped behind enemy lines. They have intel that is vital to their mission, so another mission is set in motion to rescue the trapped soldier. The mission of the church is very much the same kind of story. We are not trapped (though some of us might feel that way at times) in this world but born. Christians have been given a message and attached to that message is a mission. The mission is clear and simple—it is to take that message to every person in every nation. Doing this is what many of us call evangelism.

Part 4: The Evangelistic Church

The Church of the Lord Jesus has been given a mission—an evangelistic mission. We are to take what we have been told and believed in and persuade others to do the same. Mack Stiles in his book on Evangelism, says evangelism is “Teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.” I love that definition because it is simple but precise. When we go out we tell people about Jesus. When we tell people we teach them,  the truths of the gospel and persuade them to trust in Christ for salvation. The true church of Jesus is not set of selfish reasons but on selfless desires to see others come to the knowledge of the truth. 

I think about the first time I thought about the  Church’s mission as evangelistic. I was young, and it was during the time God was preparing me for ministry. It was the first time I really read the great commission.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.— Matthew 28:19–20 (ESV)

It was clear and simple just like Mack Stile’s definition of evangelism. We are called to go. We are called to make disciples. We are to work hard and not give up. Our walk through the Gospel of Mark on Sunday mornings has taught us this principle through the example of Christ. He goes and teaches, and he heals. When the crowds amass and the day grows short, he stays and he teaches and he heals. 

An evangelistic church is a church that hears the Master’s call. It is a church that is set on a mission to rescue the captives from the prisons of sin across our state, nation, and world. We are called to go and make disciples—crystal clear from where I sit and from what I read. So let us be encouraged in our mission here in Enid. The missions we love to watch and read about are often fought on foreign battlefields. God’s people are called to fight in places that are not our homes, and to rescue people and safely deliver them to God’s grace and Kingdom. That is what an evangelistic church does.

I pray that we would rally around these truths and God would use us to reach our community for Christ and the Kingdom of God.

Bro. Jesse

Fleeting Wisdom

Wisdom is more than wits and head knowledge. This week the Lord brought to my mind Proverbs 2. It is the words of advice from a father to a son and his desire for him to grow to know the fear of the Lord and wisdom. When I come to this chapter my mind is flooded with a life of trying to catch and hold onto this slippery and fleeting characteristic. 

Childhood memories of fathers, and mothers, grandfather and grandmother, preachers and teachers all attempting to bestow some kind of wisdom on a young mind. Yet chiefly, I am reminded of John Bunyan’s Christian, the man who set off from the City of Destruction to find the one who might relieve him of the burden he carries. In Christian’s pilgrimage, he encounters many people who will encourage him or hinder his journey. But one that always stood out to me was Mr. Worldly-Wiseman. I often return to this part of the story and think of the advice he gives to poor Christian and his words that are the very same words that are spoken today by his successors. 

What was his advice? It was basically to not listen to the “honorable” Evangelist. His advice was to avoid his counsel for “there is not a more dangerous and troublesome way in the world, than unto which he has directed.” Worldly-Wiseman was not completely wrong in his assessment of Evangelist’s counsel. He said that if Christian was to follow along the path directed, it would lead to wearisomeness, painfulness, hunger, perils, nakedness, sword, lions, dragons, darkness, and death. All these are true to one who carries the name Christian.

What was so wrong with Worldly-Wiseman’s counsel? What was so wrong with his advice? In the larger picture of the story, it is fleeting wisdom. It is a wisdom that is not wisdom at all, but one that encourages one to follow a path away from the true knowledge and wisdom. 

I think of what Solomon says to his son in Proverbs 2,

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;  yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,  if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;  —Proverbs 2:1–6 (ESV) 

I love the way the father appeals to the son in the protasis clause. It is the if clause in this chapter. It is an appeal for the son to seek after wisdom. If you receive my words; if you call out for insight; if you seek it like it like silver and search; if you do these things, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find knowledge of God. It is God through his Word we find knowledge and wisdom.

Wisdom is a term not thrown around anymore. We are moving away from the wisdom of fathers and grandfathers to a time of head smarts. People assume you are wise if you have you have degrees and risen high in your career. People assume you are wise if at the end of a battle of the wits you are last one standing. But rest assured, these things are by no means a sign of wisdom. The Bible is clear on the way to achieve wisdom and its source—it is by the narrow road that leads to wisdom and our God. People do not seek wisdom anymore. It is because it fleeting. You have to pursue it. You have to chase after it. You have to seek it like silver and hidden treasure. It takes a lifetime of pursuit and by God’s grace many will find it. 

So where do we go from here? How does the Church respond to the words of a father to a son? The answer is to seek God and along the way, we will find wisdom. God knows the hearts of his people, and it is a noble pursuit to seek wisdom. God knows the hearts of his people and will reward wisdom and discernment to his people through his Word and by experience gained pursuing our him. I pray that our church would be one of wisdom. Wisdom that is not founded in our own minds or experiences; wisdom that is not found in culture or Mr. Worldly-Wiseman, but in the Lord our God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.—Proverbs 2:6 (ESV)

Bro. Jesse

A Church of Vision: Part 3

Good news is always better than bad news. It is a general truth that we all love to hear and experience. Is it better to be the recipient or the giver of such news? It’s like the old phrase, “It is better to give than receive.” I know that this is debatable depending on who you talk to but most people prefer to receive than to give.

Now, I love to give gifts. I also love to receive gifts. I think we can all agree we enjoy both, but who doesn’t love receiving gifts? It is just in our nature, especially when we know the person and the meaning behind the gift. I reflect on the idea of good news and live with the fact that I am in the giving business. I am in the giving of the good news business. I think about the supreme calling all Christians have been given and the urgency in that calling. We are flawed sinners, prone to wander like sheep, but it is by God’s wisdom he uses us to bear witness to the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ and to tell others about the gift given to the world.

Part 3: The Gospel-Focused Church

The gospel-focused church is one that is serious about its mission. It is one that addresses the overwhelming reality of sin in our lives. A gospel-focused church faces the hurts and pains of this life and provides relief by focusing itself on and around the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout my life, I have had the privilege to serve in several churches. I have learned and grown through the helpful guidance of many godly people and pastors. I have watched pastors from a distance, those that lead the large churches with the skills and resources all young pastors wish for but are usually out of reach. To acquire those it often takes a lifetime of faithfulness, work, and ultimately God’s grace.  But often pastors and churches lose sight of their mission and the vision that they set themselves on at the beginning of their ministry. We do not want to be a church that loses sight of the vision God has set before us. 

We have a goal and a vision. It is not complicated nor hard to achieve. We wish to be a church worthy of our Savior. To be Christ-centered and gospel-focused means to take seriously the message that truly is good news. We have to be givers of the good news. We have to tell people about the good news. We have to be clear about sin, not beating around the bush like so many churches do today.  Sin is bad, and no matter what shape or form it comes in, it leads to death and hell. It leads to an eternity separated from the God of the universe. We have to tell people about Jesus and his death and his atoning work for all who would believe in him. And we have to call people to live in obedience with that good news. The Gospel is not a “get out of jail free” card message. It requires actual life-changing actions. A gospel-focused church focuses on those things. 

My vision for us, and I believe it to be God’s as well, is to grow into a church that is saturated with gospel-truth. We teach and preach the gospel that was “ once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).  I know if we run with endurance towards the prize of Jesus, striving to look like Jesus always, we will surely finish the race. Pray that God will aid us in our vision and the days ahead. Pray that God would send leaders to lead his people. Pray that God would send out gospel messengers from among us, for his glory and honor. Pray that we will grow to be a gospel-focused church. 

Bro. Jesse

For our Children

Today is the day. It was announced earlier this morning that President Trump will reveal his nominee for the Supreme Court. The President has said that it his belief that the most important decision a sitting President can make is selecting a Supreme Court Justice. I sit here reflecting on this day and the impact that it will have for future generations. I believe that he is right in thinking that one of the most important and future-shaping decisions that can be made by a sitting President is the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice. But why?

The answer is because our children’s lives are a stake. Many of you might read this and say, “not my children.” I know that many who read this are Christians. They have loved their children from the moment they saw the test read positive. They rejoiced and prayed and thanked God for his grace and love. But that is not the case for our country and our world.

America leads and often the world follows. We have been a beacon of hope and prosperity since its inception. The words "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” have been echoed across the world and heard by those searching for a better life. We have been founded on a general truth, that all people are created equal, that all people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have shown the world what a democracy can do for a people and how it can help and shape the world. But sadly we have lost our way, and instead of leading we have fallen.

Regrettably, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are denied to the unborn. At the altar of culture, we have sacrificed our children to the god of convenience and an easier life. We have sacrificed our children to the god of women’s rights and political agendas. We have sacrificed our children to the god of this world. But what the old belief that it is the hard things in life that build character and a future? What about the rights of the child and the belief that the higher power supersedes political agendas? What about the actual God of this world and his plan for all children, born and unborn alike?

Today’s decision will shape our tomorrow. A war is coming and it will be in the name life, and equality, and culture. There will be causalities. If the President does, in fact nominate a conservative, and that nominee does make it past the Senate, and Roe v. Wade is overturned, a war will break out and our nation will be divided even more than it is now. If it goes the other direction, there will still be unrestricted abortion across our nation, and each day more children will be murdered and added to the already staggering sixty million bodies already laying at the altar. 

But where will the church stand? The world says that the Christian Church is on the wrong side of history. The world says that we should get in line and accept that the times are changing. But one thing that the world does not understand, is that we remain firmly planted just as our God stands. He rules and reigns and will soon return to right every wrong, and avenge every child killed in the name of culture. 

So I ask, are you prepared to be on the wrong side of history? Are you ready for the war that is coming? The war will claim many lives. There are many hills to fight and die on, and this one of them. Pray that God would step in and save our nation. Because we know, that our faith is not in a President or a political party—our faith is not in a Supreme Court to save our children, but in the God who knows all things and hears all prayers. So pray for strength in the hard days ahead. Pray the world would believe in the Gospel and know that all life is to be cherished and protected. Pray that the sin of abortion would be seen and Roe v. Wade would be repealed. We pray these things for our nation and for our children.  May God have mercy on us in these days ahead.


—Bro. Jesse


A Church of Vision: Part 2

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting. It was a blessing to be able to participate as a messenger and represent Trinity at this year’s meeting. I listened and watched and voted knowing, how this being my first year, I was a small fish in the giant sea called the Southern Baptist Convention.  These past few months had not been pleasant for many in our convention, due to the behavior and ill advice of some in leadership within our seminaries. The media was hard, and the world’s judgment was even harder. Many thought, “how can we ever recover from such a disgrace” or “has the #metoo movement finally reached the mighty SBC?”

As I listened and observed, I thought to myself that many of our churches and leadership have forgotten the nature of the gospel and the love it requires of all of us in the service to the Lord Jesus. That led my thoughts throughout the meeting, back to our vision and our goal to be a church that is always Christ-Centered and Gospel-Focused.

Mark 2: A Church that is Christ-Centered

At the heart of our Vision, and any church that desires to be healthy is Christ himself. The world, and sadly many Christians judge a church’s health by many things other than Christ being centered. Many will look at a church, and the size of their building, their yearly budget, how many people attend their services and judge to themselves that this is a healthy church. Yet, size, budget, and attendance are never ascribed as a means to judge the health of a local church.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus himself speaks to the nature and health of the local church. In each of the churches that he commends, each is one that the name of Jesus is firmly planted and centered among them.

To the church at Ephesus, Jesus says,

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.”— Revelation 2:2-3

And to the church at Pergamum he says,

“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” —Revelation 2:13  

And to the church at Philadelphia he says,

 “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. —Revelation 3:8–9  

Each of these churches that Jesus commends, his name is at the center of their tribulation, suffering, and ministry. If we were to look at the other churches in the list, Jesus speaks harshly to them because many of them have forgotten their first love, or turned from the name that had saved them.

Looking at these examples in Scripture, a local church can be content in the size of their building, or their meek yearly budget, or the size of their congregation. We can be content because Christ doesn’t look at those things to judge the health of a local church—the world might, but not the Lord. 

I believe our Vision is strong and solid. I believe this because our Vision is not built on our own skills, or wisdom, or finances, but instead on the Word of God. And because of this foundation, we strive each week to be a church that puts Jesus at the center of everything we believe and do. There may be many things the church will answer for on the last day, but let us not be found lacking in this area. 

Let us learn from the words of Jesus when he says in Revelation 3:1-2, “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.”

Let us be found alive when Christ returns or calls us home. May the Name of Jesus be gladly praised in every room of our church. May Christ be the center of every sermon, every Bible study, every song, and the center of every life. 

May Jesus Christ be praised. When morning gilds the skies, My heart awaking cries: May Jesus Christ be praised! Alike at work and prayer, To Jesus I repair; May Jesus Christ be praised!

Bro. Jesse

A Church of Vision: Part 1

Earlier this year, I set in motion a Vision for this church. I saw the love our church family had for our community and the desire for us to grow into a healthy church that was committed to reaching the lost for Christ. In our vision for Trinity, I set us on a path to grow into a healthy church by the means of six marks. This series, I wish to expound these six marks and show how they will help us grow into a healthy church that magnifies the Lord Jesus in all that we do. 

Mark 1: A Church Founded on the Word of God

The first mark is one that looks at the Bible as the foundation for our church vision. I like to think of our vision as a roadmap. On the map, there are all kinds of destinations and places we could go. Looking through the lenses of our vision, we can see all kinds of exciting possibilities. But if we move along with our vision, recklessly doing all these exciting things, we run the danger of falling off the map. If we don’t have a compass leading us on the correct heading, we can easily get lost, and even forget where we came from.  That’s where God’s Word comes in—the compass to our map.

It is intentional that God’s Word is key to the first mark in our vision. Apart from God’s Word, we are lost, roaming aimlessly in a world that is constantly trying to find its way. God foresaw our need for a proper heading and he gave us the Bible to help us keep the right direction. The Psalmist says in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The Church is working in a world of darkness, and the Bible is the lamp to help us not misstep, and alight to keep us on the correct path. Like a compass, the Bible keeps us going in the right direction. Whether it is a church vision, or how to raise our children, or how we treat one another—the Bible is there to instruct us along the way. In fact, it tells us the way to our destination. In order to grow into a healthy church, it takes a body of believers, day-in and day-out, building on the foundation of God’s Word. 

Because it is essential that we always look to the Bible for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16), we saturate ourselves with God’s Word each week. Sunday Mornings, we are walking together, verse by verse through the Book of Mark. Each week we look at Mark’s gospel, and the authority Jesus has as King of the Kingdom of God. By walking through books of the Bible, we allow the Bible to teach us and instruct us—we allow the Bible to direct us on the path that leads us to Christ. On top of that, we are studying Sound Doctrine. This is an intense study of God’s Word and what it teaches us about God, Scripture itself, ourselves and so much more. We study each week, in a more comprehensive way, these six marks, drawn from Scripture to help us grow into disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

All of this is intentional. We want to be a church that grows in numbers. We want to be a church that is respected in our community. But most of all, we want to be a church that glorifies our Savior. As we go forward with our vision, think about your commitment to God’s Word. Is it the foundation for your life, or do you use it only as a crutch when times get hard?

Hopefully, we can all come to the point where we see it as not just a crutch but the always present lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. May the Word of God always be the foundation to our Church and its vision. 


Bro. Jesse

Why a Church Website?


Today we live in a world dominated by the exchanged of information. News agencies make or break based on their ability to effectively communicate information to their readers. Our entire economy depends on a stock market where information informs investors and traders to acquire more shares to increase the value of their companies. This ultimately affects everything from the clothes we wear to the burger you bought for lunch today. Presidential administrations can safely bet whether a second term is in the future based on its ability to communicate to the nation.

In church life, the idea is still very much the same. We are in the information business, even though the word “business” is a terrible word. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has been saved and called with a purpose in mind—to Glorify our God and enjoy him forever. This idea is central in everything we do. To glorify our God, and bring others into the understanding of enjoyment, we communicate to them in whatever ways we can the message of the Gospel.

A church website is just one many ways we can communicate the gospel to our community. It tells the community who we are. It tells our neighbors what we believe, and what to expect when they visit us. It relates to whoever might cross our pages, the vision of Trinity Baptist Church and our love for all.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “ So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I would think that a church website would fit into the “do all” category. So as we go forward together as a body of believers at Trinity, the website is just a baby step in the right direction. To some of us, it might be a great leap into the 21st Century. To others, it is just part of our vision of glorifying God in all that we do. Pray that small things like a church website would lead to seeds planted, growing fruit, and an eventual harvest.