Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Huge Week For Daniel Cox

Daniel has had a big week!

On Christmas eve Dan asked Maggie Gilliland to marry him and she said YES! Lynn and I could not be happier. We are so excited about the future for these kids.

That was Sunday evening and on Friday the 29th Daniel had his 21st birthday!

Lots of plans for the future - Daniel is a very busy boy!

Pastor Steve

Christmas in Clear Lake

Every year we make the pilgrimage to Des Moines for Christmas and spend Christmas Eve with Lynn's family and Christmas Day with the Cox's. This year we made a CHANGE! Yes, that's right a Baptist that has experienced real change!

We decided to just stay home and have Lynn's Mom up on Christmas Eve and then Daniel and Maggie would arrive on Christmas Day.

Christmas eve began with a huge surprise ... Daniel and Maggie are ENGAGED to be married! No date yet but she has the ring and its on!

After a very nice family time on Christmas morning, we drove to Tom and Doreen Nichols for a three family Christmas dinner with the Kambergers rounding out the trio. Daniel & Maggie arrived and the party was on! Good food and great fellowship was had by all.

Pastor Steve

A Christmas Carol @ the Guthrie Theater

On Wednesday December 20th I had the opportunity to again drive the 9th grade English class from Ventura High school to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. The purpose of our trip was to see the live performance of Dickens "A Christmas Carol". This was at least my 5th trip, I've been privileged to drive for all of my kids as well as at least one other time.

Dickens Christmas Carol is my favorite! I love the story and am always interested in the different versions, my favorite is the George C. Scott as Scrooge. Scott is a great Scrooge and the transformation is classic. My second favorite Christmas Carol is the Muppet's version, the only live actor is Michael Caine. The rest of the cast is comprised of the Muppet characters. This a fun and entertaining version and I would hardily recommend it to you!


Pastor Steve

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ventura's Christmas Concert

On December 7th I had the opportunity to attend the annual Christmas concert at Ventura Community Schools in Ventura, Iowa.

As usual this was a fantastic evening. The vocal groups were very good but the instrumental groups were incredible!

The Junior High Band did a wonderful job on the songs they presented. I have been to band concerts for many years in many different locations. Never have I heard a better Jr. High band. Normally, your Jr. High band is a step slow and a step flat. If you have been to a few Jr. High band concert you know what I mean. Not the case at Ventura! On key and on time! Very good preparation and performance.

The High School was next and once again was incredible! I think my favorite part is the percussion section. Those kids really set the "tone" and carry the day. The brass section was crisp and clean, woodwinds smooth as silk. A very enjoyable experience.

The final bit of the concert, not even on the program, was the Ventura High School Jazz Band. What a pleasant surprise! If I'm perfectly honest I must confess two things: 1. I really enjoy good jazz music & 2. I love to hear the Ventura Jazz Band. I was disappointed when upon arrival the program did not contain a reference to a jazz band performance. However, the jazz band was prepared to give us a "jazzy" version of Jingle Bells and then a piece that was played in their Jazz Band Competition. FANTASTIC!

Congratulations and thank you to Nate Benzing and the Ventura Jazz Band on their upcoming appearance at the State Jazz Band Competition. The is the 11th straight year that Ventura will be making an appearance in the State competition. I trust you will do well!

That Is The Way I See It -
Pastor Steve

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Another Deer Season Comes and Goes

In an effort to save a bit of money I decided to forgo the annual trip to Cass County for the Iowa shotgun deer opener. I thought that I could just hunt around here and get my deer and be done. A mistake that I will not make next year!

I was so jazzed for hunting on Saturday, one problem though ... 40 mph north/northwest wind gusts and about 15 degrees made for one of the worst deer openers in years! I hunted all day, froze my tail off and saw only two deer, both across the fence on land I can't hunt. Long story short...Those were the only two deer I saw in five days of hunting. Five days of high winds and very cold temps.

I have hunted long enough that I know the quality of a hunt is NEVER determined by whether or not you harvest your goal. But I have to be honest and say that I'm somewhat disappointed in this hunt. Oh well, there is always next year.

Pastor Steve

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Update On Matt Bryan

I just received this update from Donna:


Just wanted to drop a quick email to update you all on Matt's progress.

He has cut down on pain meds and seems to be doing ok - but still sleeps quite a bit and tires very easily.

Last night he took a shower and passed out - thankfully David was there to catch him.

He saw the surgeon today and got out his staples (there were 11) and also got his drain out.

He can try going back to classes on Monday - no driving for probably a month. He goes back in 2 weeks just for a check and then again 2 weeks after that to discuss PT.

Dr Sidwell said that Matt may not be quite 100%, but will be close to it by the beginning of soccer practice!!

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers for Matt - and for David and I too!


Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Sunday Off - Kinda

Today was supposed to be a vacation Sunday.

We had these great plans to head off to Perry and visit the Collingsworths. But that plan came to a screeching halt when we realized that Philip had basketball practice on Sunday afternoon. No way could we drive to Perry for church in the morning and then get back in time for his practice.

After weighing all the possibilities we decided to just run down to Holmes Baptist Church. We were really looking forward to this day trip. That was until Philip graced us with his presents at 1 AM. Just long enough to say that he had gotten sick and that he had a very bad headache. When I got up in the morning Philip told me that he had gotten sick again at 2 AM and that he was in no condition to go anywhere. Great!

So Lynn, Amy, Susan and I headed out to Holmes for the morning service. We had a great time. Pastor Odle preached a super message from Matthew 6 on prayer. Following the service we were invited to the Pizza Ranch in Clarion. What we didn't know was that most of the church was invited and the restaurant looked like the invasion of the Baptist. OOOOO Scary!!!!! Seriously, there must have been about 30 folks from the church chowing down ... lots of pizza, salad and fried chicken. It was great!

Got back to Clear Lake around 3 PM and watched some football with Nick Oliver who was doing the preaching here while I was gone. That left us with what to do about the evening service. Lynn and I decided to just go hear Nick and the girls wanted to go Forest City to see some friends. Nick did an awesome job preaching from 2 King 5.

Overall it was a very good day and we all enjoyed our day together. By the way, Philip feels much better!

Pastor Steve

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day 2006 - What An Adventure

First of all, let me say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Here is the adventure:

Philip and Susan took off on Wednesday afternoon to Ankeny to spend some time with Daniel and Amy at FBBC. The kids arrived in Ankeny and settled in looking forward to heading off to church that evening. Lynn and I were still in Clear Lake preparing for our evening service when the phone rang.....

It was Donna Bryan telling me that Matthew (her son) was being life flighted to the hospital in Des Moines. Apparently, Matt was riding his four wheeler and experienced a terrible crash. Donna was simply calling to ask for prayer for Matt and she wanted to let Philip know what had transpired. Matt was headed to surgery and Donna was going to call when she had more information.

Following our evening service, Donna called back to let us know that Matt had severed one of the three muscles in his right thigh. Though very serious, Matt will make a full recovery! Praise The LORD!

Lynn & I left Clear Lake at 0 dark thirty to head to Des Moines for Thanksgiving at the Cox's. It was a full crew, close to 30! Great food and a beautiful 23 pound turkey cook by my Mom. Everything was great and everyone had fun. Special guests included Daniels "special" friend Maggie & Nick Oliver. They both seemed to have fun and seem to be no worse for the wear.

After all of this...the adventure was about to begin. After visiting Matt and leaving the hospital, we headed to Ankeny to gather up Lynn's Mom and leave for Clear Lake. While loading the van to leave, the sliding door on the van...FELL OFF!

To tell the truth, it fell off two of the three points that hold the door on the van. Here we are 6 PM on Thanksgiving night the van door hanging on by a thread and no hope of finding any help. The plan quickly became to see if we could limp the van to Dave Bryan's warehouse and just leave the van there. I called Dave to get permission and he had me call Jim , his brother.

Jim showed up, brought his tools and went to work. Within 30 minutes he had the door completely off and back on! Praise The LORD!

Special thanks to Jim Bryan, Nick Oliver, Philip & Daniel Cox. You guys are the best in a tight pinch! Thanks for all your help!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Pastor Steve

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

John & Mary Kamberger's New Adoption

John and Mary Kamberger, are friends and members of our church here in Clear Lake. They have adopted two children from China and now are ready to return for another precious child. You can follow the event as they unfold by going to

Pray for them as they travel and for all of the details to fall into place as they move through China.

Pastor Steve

Long Time Between Posts

Well I know that it has been a long time between posts and you will never know how thankful I'm for all of you that are stopping by and looking to see what's new. Things have been insane around here and we have been going in in circles for the last month or so. Anyway, here is an update:

Susan now has braces! This joyous event took place on November 2nd. Susan is adjusting very well and she is already counting down the day until they come off.

Philip and Susan participated in the play at Ventura High School. The play this year was "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown". Philip played Schroeder and Susie played Violet. Both did a great job and we are very proud of them!

Finally, Philip lettered in Football this year. He has worked very hard and it payed off for him.

Basketball is just around the corner - Life never seems to slow down!

That Is The Way I See It,
Pastor Steve

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pheasant Season Is OPEN!

Saturday was the pheasant opener here in Iowa. It was a beautiful sunny day, the wind was a bit gusty but all in all a great day.

I was stuck in a meeting in Des Moines! Drats!! Stinking meeting!!

At least I'm not bitter about it! I finally got a chance to head out to the field on Monday morning. I rolled in to Forest City about 7: 45 AM and Pastor Farrell was patiently waiting for me. After everyone arrived we headed out to the field.

We found what most hunter found on Saturday, the birds were in the standing corn. We started by walking a large piece of CRP that was all grass and we scored one bird. From there we walked a field of standing corn and at the end of that we took a couple more birds. We walked a drainage ditch and some pits over grown with grass and trees. Another bird.

Time for lunch and not a moment too soon!

Following a "great" lunch of peanut butter sandwiches, chips and a jug of ice water. We walked another drainage ditch that yielded nothing but two hens. I was done & headed for town.

Now the story goes, if you choose to believe it, that just after I left and the remaining hunter took the same drainage South of the road (we had walked it North). That Pastor Farrell jumped three roosters and dropped them with three quick shots! Nailing the very rare "Triple Bagger". (I made that term up) The truth is I did not see therefore it could not have happened!

Seriously, congratulations Pastor Farrell & I'm sorry I missed it!

A great day was had by all. There were 6 hunters in our group and we took a total of 13 ringnecks, not a bad day considering some hunter on Saturday never saw one bird!

Pastor Steve

Monday, October 23, 2006

Youth Rally and Skunks

We attended the first area-wide youth rally in the North Iowa Fellowship on Saturday held at Forest City.

The event began with our Bible quiz time, the passage this month was 1 Timothy chapters 1-3. There were two options available, a written and oral tests. Congratulations to all who participated and studied so very hard.

The speaker for the day was Evangelist Timothy Silcott. He did a fine job with the text of Judges 7, the story of Gideon.

Walking tacos was the food fair along with brownies, toffee bars and other cakes and bars.

The activity for the rally was a trip to the area YMCA. Activities available to the young people were *Basketball *Volleyball *Wallyball *Dodgeball *Swimming *Racquetball *Billiards *Carpetball and just hanging out with your friends. If your not familiar with wallyball, it is a hoot! Basically, it is volleyball in a racquetball court. You are able to play the ball off all walls as well as the ceiling!

After all of the teams played in the wallyball tournament the champs from Iowa Falls took on a team of the sponsors from Clear Lake and some others. Myself & Lynn, Ivan & Brenda Good, Nick & Justin Oliver, Ash Lang, Pastor Steve Hill and another sponsor from Iowa Falls. It was a close contest but the kids from Iowa Falls were victorious 21-17. What a blast!

The last bit on this blog is about the ride home when I smeared a skunk! There were three in the road and I nailed at least one maybe two. There was no way to miss them, I really did not want to run over them but it happens. And now.....My van STINKS!

Pastor Steve

Saturday, October 21, 2006

North Iowa School Bus Accident

North Iowa School Bus Accident Sends One to the Hospital
Pete Hjelmstad
Mason City, IA (KIMT)
Friday, October 20, 2006

A school bus accident sent one to the hospital Friday morning.

Just before eight, a Clear Lake bus with five students on board went off the road, hit a utility pole and then a tree.

Clear Lake Superintendent Mike Wright said the driver, sixty-five year old Sharon McBride, suffered a head injury and was taken to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa.

She was treated and released.

None of the kids on the bus got hurt.

Police say McBride's medical condition may have caused the crash, but wouldn't elaborate on the condition.

The accident remains under investigation.

© 2006-2007 New Vision Television

Friday, October 13, 2006

Cross Country Season is Over

Susan has now completed her freshman year of cross country.

The final meet was yesterday at the Hillside Golf Course just outside Corwith, Iowa. The weather was brutal; 40 some degrees and a North/Northwest wind at a sustained 30 mph! Wind chills had to be in the low 20's or high teens.

15 girls ran in Susan's race and three did not even finish, quitting due to the weather. Susan did very well all things considered and finished with a time of 24:14. The course is laid out over the golf course and covered 2.5 miles.

Her best time this year was at a course on the Forest City Golf Course and she ran a 23:14.

Needless to say we are very proud of her and are already looking forward to Cross Country season 2007!

Pastor Steve

Thursday, October 12, 2006

We Got SNOW!

I awoke this morning to a disturbing sight. Snow! We received about a half inch which accumulated in the grass and on the cars but not on the pavement.

I thought this was a bit early but I guess not seeing that our over night low last night was just 22 degrees.

To make matters worse my Mom & Dad just flew out to spend the weekend with my brother in FLORIDA!

Where are my long-johns?

Pastor Steve

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

FaithFest @ FBBC&TS

Last Saturday FaithFest was held on the campus of Faith Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary. I wanted to call it a state wide youth rally but that would not be entirely truthful ... there were young people from all over the mid-west.

Our group rolled out of the Clear Lake/Mason City city area at about 6:45 AM, for those who were actually awake there was a beautiful sunrise. We arrived in Ankeny and got through registration just in time for the first rally with Evangelist Ken Sparks. Wow, what a great speaker/preacher! Excellent Bible messages and very funny stories. Evangelist Sparks spoke 3 times and I thought he did a great job every time!

The activities for the day included the use of many inflatables in which the kids competed against one another for best times. Prizes were awarded at the last rally of the day. What was really cool was the fact that there were over 1100 young people at the event. There was quite a few teens that made decisions to receive Jesus as personal Savior! That is what it's all about!

Special thanks to the sponsors: FBBC&TS, Fit 4 Life, and IRBC. A very special thank to Dan Versteeg for all his help! Thanks to the Faith Baptist Church at Mason City for asking us to ride along with them. Great Idea!

It was a great day and everyone seemed to have a great time!

That's The Way I See It,
Pastor Steve

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Youth Deer Season 2006 Conclusion

Susan and I got out one last time on Friday morning. The weather was better, not near as cool as the days before.

We arrived a bit later than we normally do so getting to the stand was top priority before we totally disturbed the entire woods. Slipping as quietly as possible we got into the stand, settled back and waited for the sun to rise.

We were not in the stand 10 minutes when I realized that there was a deer just ten yards away in an open spot, but the darkness seemed so thick! I asked Susan if she could see the sights on her gun and she said "no". So we simply had to watch the deer slip off into the shadows.

Later in the morning we saw two bucks that once again offered no decent shots and then we spotted a doe and fawn headed right for us, we both saw them coming and we were ready! And then it happened ... the doe jumped and began to snort and blow! Then we saw that an orange cat was walking in the area right where the doe was and she was NOT a cat person!

You guessed it, doe and fawn long gone! Daughter now very hungry and ready to head in for breakfast. Because of her schedule Susan was not able to get out again and so her second youth deer season comes to an end without her harvesting her first deer.

Susan has already said that she can't wait until next year!

Pastor Steve
(For the record I'm not a cat guy!)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Youth Deer Season 2006

Youth deer season has been going on for about 2 weeks. Susan is the only one left to hunt this season and we've been out the last couple of days.

The weather has been pretty chilly but we have not had to deal with mosquitoes (I hate those guy when I'm hunting).

We've seen one good buck that came in to about 15 yards by stood behind a tree and Susan could not get a clear shot. She wants to be able to get off a clean shot and I can't blame her for that, although it was all I could do to keep my composer as I did have a clear view of the deers boiler room. This youth season is a killer on the Dads!

There are a couple of days left in the season, I'll keep you posted!

Pastor Steve
(Stock photo)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Missionaries Jim & Julie Leonard

I mentioned earlier that we had the Leonards to our church on Wednesday night (9/20/06) and received a great report on the happenings in NE Brazil.

Jim & Julie started out as church planters in the early days of their ministry but realized when they had a church ready for graduation from mission status that they had no national pastor to assume leadership. This began a process whereby Jim found himself involved in the training of nationals for the ministry.

From all of that has grown the Cariri Baptist Seminary in Crato, Brazil. The school has about 100 students and is mainly focused on teaching and training Brazilians to be pastors, missionaries and teachers.

One of the coolest things that Jim talked about is their correspondence school. There is a certain time of the year when there is a huge influx of people in their region. At this time the students pass out literature which has a note that if they aer interested they can write in for a bible study via correspondence. Jim said at this time there were over 12,000 people in their correspondence school process. 12,000! That is not a typo!

Because of this correspondence school there are many Brazilians coming to faith in Jesus Christ, my first question was How were the folks at the school disciplining these new believers? Jim said that this is one of the greatest needs on their field, someone to come along side and take the correspondence school to the next level and work in this area. What an exciting opportunity!

Please pray for the Leonards as they will be heading back to Brazil in the near future. Also pray for their ministry and for someone to come along side and work with the correspondence school!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Sincere Slugs

This is a short film about barbershop quartet slugs. I found this and love it, my kids are sick of hearing it, I think it's great! Watch for the fireworks at the end! ENJOY!!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Little of This & A Little of That

Been another busy week around here again this week.

Philip had a football game on Monday and he played very well; couple of tackles and in on a couple more. Tuesday I had a meeting in Ankeny ... an all day meeting. Ever notice how tired you get driving 2 hours, sitting in a meeting for 5 hours and then driving 2 hours home? I've never understood that! Anyway, Wednesday night we had Missionary Jim Leonard and his wife Julie at the church for our Midweek Service. What a cool ministry! I'll need to put together a post on just that soon!

Today (Thursday) Susan had a cross country meet in Mason City. I drove the team bus over and was not really looking forward to just standing around in the cold windy rain for a couple of hours. I saw one of the worker I know in the Mason City Boosters Club tent and was visiting with them when another worker came over and asked if anyone would be willing to drive a John
Deere Gator following the runners and looking for injured runners. With out a thought (shocker) I said I'd do it and the next thing I know I'm handed a radio and put in a Gator racing to catch up with the first group of runners.

The Gator was a two seater and as soon as Lynn showed up she jumped on and we rode around all over the NIACC Campus until it was time for me to drive the bus back to Clear Lake. I'm always telling the folks at church that if you see a need and can meet the need then you ought to do it! Sometimes it can even be as simple as driving a Gator and as fun as spending a couple of hours with your wife! Thanks for riding along with me Lynn!!!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Monday, September 18, 2006

Man Who Drove Car Into Clear Lake Charged With OWI

ASSOCIATED PRESS as Printed in the Des Moines Register

September 18, 2006

A man who drove his car into Clear Lake in Ventura over the weekend has been arrested for drunken driving, officials said.

Troy James Thornton, 35, of Osage, was driving a car when it left the road, struck a utility pole and crashed into the lake Sunday evening, officials with the Cerro Gordo County sheriff's office said.

Thornton and a passenger, Shadrick A. Rasmus, 33, of Clear Lake, left the vehicle and fled the scene, officials said.

They were later arrested. Neither man was hurt, officials with the sheriff's office said.

Thornton was charged with drunken driving, driving while barred, possession of marijuana, interference with official acts, failure to maintain control and no insurance.

Rasmus was charged with public intoxication.

Pastor Steve says: "BRILLIANT!"

(Note: Picture from the Globe Gazette)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Picnic At The Ranch

Having been dully rebuffed by Tom Nichols here is the report from the Clear Lake-Forest City all church picnic/fellowship on the 9th of September.

There had to be close to 80 in attendance and a great time was had by all! My family arrived around 4 PM, we helped unload a couple of picnic tables and Lynn gathered fire wood from the shed for the two fire rings that Tom
had placed on the yard.

Not long after just a couple of folks showed up, we drifted over to the area Tom had ready for our impromptu trap shoot. Before the night was over we probably as a group shot through over 300 shells, I'm fairly certain that we did not bust that many clay birds but we had a great time! Some notable shooters; Justin Oliver was just pounding the birds, Joshua Farrell was giving lessons. John Kamberger shot trap for I think the first time and had a great time and at last report was seriously thinking about going pheasant hunting this Fall. Ron Burkholder got the bug going out this week and picking up a thrower and wanting to shoot again soon! As for the shooters from Forest City - maybe Pastor Farrell will submit a report for a later post.

OK - now on to the food! Tom served ribeye steaks, hambergers & baked potatoes, the rest of the food was carried in by all the peoples. There were all kinds of salads, deserts and cookies. It was quite a spread and if anyone went away hungry it was your own fault!

After it finally got so dark that we could no longer shoot, it was time to gather around the fire ring and just visit. Once again there is just something about sitting around a camp fire.

My impression of the event was that it was a success and we're already looking forward to next year. From all the folks at the Clear Lake and Forest City churches we say - Thank you Tom & Doreen!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Friday, September 15, 2006

Loving The Change Of Season

I really enjoy the change of seasons!

Fall is one of the best times of year with the crisp morning air and warm days followed by great cool evenings. I love it!

The geese are starting to move and the Teal are already blowing through on their ways South. The other morning I saw a buck and doe in a bean field and the number of pheasants is encouraging. There have been a group of guys getting together (when we can) to practice our archery skills for deer hunting.

Along with this I have three hummingbirds working my feeder right outside our dining room window. They have been the source of some great entertainment. I have been able to stand within just a few feet of the feeder and had the birds come into the feeder. Some buzzing just over my shoulder and right next to my ears, it is incredible!

Quote of the day: "You ever notice how many more stars you see when you actually go outside after dark?"

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Welcome Home;Welcome Back & Good Hear From You

Welcome Home to my nephew David and his family as they return to the States following a few years living in England. Dave and his family are living in the Des Moines area and we are looking forward to seeing them in the very near future as well as spending the Holidays with them again!

Welcome back to Pastor James Collingsworth! Pastor James has accepted the call from the Church in Perry, Iowa. Pastor James and I attended F.B.B.C. together in the late 80's and it is good to have him and his family back in the State. Looking forward to some great fellowship with the Collingsworth's.

Good to hear from an old friend; Mark Nurre called me the other night and it was the first time we've chatted for about 10 years! It was so good to hear from Mark and get the update on his family as well as talk about "the olden days". Plans are being laid so that we can get our families together for a visit. Thanks for calling Mark ...It was so good to Hear from you!!!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Friday, September 08, 2006

What A Week

You ever have one of those week that feels like you never got one thing accomplished? This past week was one for me. With Labor Day Monday is seemed as if everything was was amiss the rest of the week. I just never felt that I was on top of my to do list, I was trying to catch up all week!

Oh well, enough of that!

On a bright note, Amy found employment in the Des Monies area and the real blessing is that she can ride to work with Maggie (Daniel's "Special" Friend). Continue to pray for her as she has some fairly hefty financial obligations to care for while at FBBC.

Stopped out at Ladies Retreat and volunteered for the evening. I was supposed to help with the grilling but arrived a bit late and got to work in the dinning hall. Lynn and her mother are staying out at the camp with Mary in her travel trailer. I know that they will have a great time & there will be stories galore when its over!

We have a big all church cook out at the Nichols on Saturday evening. I'm really looking forward to that as we have invited another local church to come and fellowship with us. One of the activities we enjoy is an impromptu trap shoot. We have lots of shooters in the two churches and everyone always has a great (SAFE) time!

More to come......

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

A Servant Goes Home

I had the privilege to attend the funeral yesterday of Pastor Michael Baltich. John Murray did an excellent job of bringing the Word of God & keeping the focus were it should, on the Lord Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation offered by a Holy God. Special music was offered by Chaplin Murdock, Erin Hartman & a choir made up of all of the Pastor's in attendance. What a honor to be a part of the service.

Thank you to Pastor Doug Farrell who drove us down to the service, your ministry is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Men's Retreat 2006

Men' Retreat was last weekend at the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp and it was GREAT! The preaching was very good as the Hartog men opened THE Book with us.

Friday night was especially cool as we honored our military men and women. There was a very touching moment during a testimony by Pastor Mike Crawford, himself a military Chaplin, as he gave his combat patch to Pastor Dan McClure. McClure was the one who first got Mike thinking about the possibility of serving in the Chaplaincy.

Saturday's service were excellent as well and everyone I talk to came away blessed of the Lord!

As always the food at camp was so very good. Friday evening was grilled pork loin, grilled to perfection (if I may say so), baked potato, green beans, apple crisp and ice cream. There was also the return of the best homemade dinner rolls ever created! Thank you Lynnae!!! One of the guys from our Church could not stop talking about how good the rolls were and he was right! Saturday morning was my favorite: scrambled eggs and sausage - there was other stuff but who cares when you got scrambled eggs and sausage. Lunch consisted of all the fix-ins for taco's and taco salad. Good eats all weekend!

There were all kinds of activities to enjoy. My attention was on the trap shoot held at the Ventura Gun Club. We started at 1 PM on Friday afternoon and the shooters were steady in their desire to shoot but there were a lot more free birds than busted birds! Saturday was another good day for shooting and I have the bruises to prove I was there. Saturday I had the privilege of shooting with Ross Charlton, a first time shooter who hammered the birds. I shoot some trap ands also a couple rounds of "5 Stand". What a hoot!

Great weekend retreat, thanks to all who worked so hard for the Glory of God!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Sunday, August 20, 2006

7-11 Songs and the Use of Repetition By: Matt Waymeyer

In the ongoing debate about the value of contemporary worship music, we’ve all heard the criticism of what are known as “7-11 songs”—that is, songs which require us to sing the same seven words 11 times in a row. Although this description is a bit of an exaggeration, it is true that modern worship choruses do tend to have a lot of repetition. This, I believe, is an accurate observation and something of a reason for concern.

But what if I told you that I recently came across a worship song that contained the same five words not 11 times, not 15 times, and not even 20 times, but 26 times! Can you imagine that? What could possibly be more unbiblical than repeating the same five words a total of 26 times in a single song!

The problem with this heartfelt and sincere concern is that this song happens to be Psalm 136.


That’s right. Psalm 136 contains the words “For His lovingkindness is everlasting” in the second half of each of its 26 verses. That’s the same five words a total of 26 times. Which, among other things, means that some of us need to back off and remove the anathema we’ve attached to repetition in our songs of worship. Repetition is not only acceptable, it is biblical.

At the same time, it is also biblical to avoid the use of “meaningless repetition” in our worship (Matt 6:7). And even though we can sing the best of songs or hymns in a way that violates this warning (it’s all an issue of the heart, isn’t it?), some lyrics seem to encourage meaningless repetition. I remember sitting in church years ago and singing a really catchy worship song entitled something like “In the Morning Hours.” It had to do with worshiping God when you wake up early in the morning—don’t remember exactly. Anyway, at one point in the song, we kept singing the following words over and over again: “In the morning, in the morning, in the morning hours….In the morning, in the morning, in the morning hours.” During this part of the song, I remember saying to myself, “What am I supposed to be thinking about right now?”

This gets at what I think is the real issue. With some repetition, the mind is no longer engaged by the content of the lyrics and the worship almost certainly becomes meaningless. This is repetition as a substitute for substance. Not at all what we’re looking for.

In Hebrew poetry, biblical writers often used repetition for the sake of emphasis, emotional impact, or rhetorical effect. But however they used it, it was deliberate and it had a purpose. In many of today’s praise songs, I get the impression that the songwriters use repetition because they simply can’t think of anything else to say.

On one hand, then, there is the caution not to anathematize the kind of repetition that is modeled in Scripture, and on the other is the challenge to be more purposeful in our use of repetition as we write and sing songs of praise to our God. And somewhere in between is the need for all of us to ask ourselves whether our hearts are fully engaged in worshiping the Lord as we sing, regardless of how old the song is.

(Matt Waymeyer serves as pastor of Community Bible Church in Vista, California. A graduate of The Master's Seminary (M.Div. and Th.M.), Matt is a regular contributor to the blog site "Faith & Practice". Matt enjoys grammar, Baroque Music, and Thai food, but not necessarily all at the same time. He is also an avid Calvin and Hobbes fan, as are most intelligent and well-rounded individuals (or so he says). Matt and his wife, Julie, live in Vista with their four children.)

The Colossian Heresy and the Sufficiency of Scripture By: Dr. Kevin Bauder

Note From Pastor Steve: Once again Dr. Bauder write a great article that really makes one think. I enjoyed this and I hope you are challenged as well. PSC

The heresy in Colosse was an odd mixture. On the one hand, it contained elements of incipient Gnosticism. Apparently the Colossians were talking about Gnostic categories like Sophia, Gnosis, Eons, and the Pleroma. On the other hand, this heresy also contained Judaizing elements, primarily evidenced by an effort to introduce Old Testament forms into the New Testament worship.

Paul wrote to the Colossians in order to refute this heresy. His refutation consisted largely in a focus upon the person and work of Christ. By explaining clearly Who Christ was and what He had done on the cross, Paul was able to cut the ground out from under both the Judaistic and the Gnostic elements of the heresy.

While both sides of the heresy relied upon some form of tradition, the Gnostic side was more creative in its forms of worship than the Judaistic side. The Judaizers restricted themselves to importing the Old Testament patterns into the church. The Gnostics, however, simply made up their worship as they went. In order to get the complete picture, one needs to consult the church father Hippolytus, who describes Gnostic rites in more detail than anyone really wants to read. Hippolytus depicts different branches of Gnosticism, some of which went to extremes of asceticism and others of which went to extremes of libertinism. So bizarre are his descriptions that Hippolytus has been accused of fabrication, but the evidence of the Nag Hammadi documents appears to corroborate his testimony. Irenaeus and Tertullian also offer confirming evidence.

The multiple versions of Gnosticism all had one thing in common. Their worship was sheer invention, employing sophisticated and often bizarre rites that were nowhere authorized in the New Testament. Granted that the Colossian heresy represented an early version of Gnosticism, no one doubts that it incorporated at least some of the liturgical inventions that characterized later Gnostic worship.

For the Christians at Colosse, this heresy created a double problem. First, it introduced doctrines that were nowhere authorized in the Scriptures or the apostolic teaching (though these did not always explicitly contradict revealed teaching). Second, it introduced rites of both Judaistic and Gnostic origin that had no basis in the apostles’ doctrine.

Paul opens the second chapter of his epistle to the Colossians by asserting that all the treasures of wisdom (Sophia) and knowledge (gnosis) are found in Christ. Sophia and Gnosis were both code words within the Gnostic heresy; Paul is here co-opting those terms for Christ Himself. With respect to spiritual things, no true wisdom or knowledge can be found outside of Christ. Paul warns the Colossians against being deluded by pithy arguments (v. 4). Furthermore, he commands them to walk in Christ “as you received Him,” in other words, as Christ was announced and taught through the apostolic witness (v. 6).

Verse 8 issues a caution to beware of people who want to carry Christians into spiritual captivity (a clear reference to the heretics of Colosse). This captivation can take three forms. The first is through “philosophy and empty deceit,” by which Paul means philosophical and theological speculations that carry them beyond the warrants of revelation. The second is “human traditions,” or rites, forms, and customs that people have made up for themselves. This is a reference to the Gnostic side of the heresy and its invented liturgies. The third is the “elements of the world,” an expression that is connected in Galatians with the transmission of Judaistic forms into Christian observance. In other words, Paul warns that when doctrine and order go beyond what is revealed, this excess reduces Christians to captivity—whether the imported teachings and customs arise from deceitful speculation, from human invention, or from Judaistic retention.

In verse 9 Paul states his reason for restricting faith and order to what is revealed. The reason is that the entire fullness (pleroma) of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily. This is a direct attack upon the Gnostic system, for which the Pleroma was the series of divine emanations or Eons. Paul asserts that Christ Himself contains the entire Pleroma, and this implies that Christians are complete (the term is pleroma turned into a verb) in Him. In other words, Christians need nothing and can have nothing outside of Christ, Who is the Head of all principality and power (two key Gnostic terms that denote spiritual authorities).

The upshot of Paul’s argument is that all spiritual authority resides in Christ. This fact comes to bear upon the problem of both Gnostic and Judaistic forms of worship. It is not necessary that those forms be directly forbidden within special revelation. Since Christ is the center and sum of spiritual authority, then He alone can authorize the doctrines that Christians must believe and forms that Christians must employ in worship.

In fact, Christ has completely triumphed over every other pretender to spiritual authority (v. 15). This is most likely a reference to the resurrection, and is parallel to the assertion in Ephesians 4 that Christ “led captive a captive multitude.” He has completely vanquished and despoiled every alternative spiritual authority, and His resurrection evidences His complete triumph. No one and nothing can be set alongside Christ as the absolute master of all things spiritual.

What this means for the individual Christian is that no one but Christ has the authority to bind the conscience (vv. 16-17). Only He has the power to forbid or to command. No mere human has authority to establish moral standards for any Christian. Only Christ can do that. Church authority consists only in the announcing of the standards that Christ has revealed.

By the same token, no human has the right to introduce new forms of worship (v. 18). Here Paul mentions specifically the Gnostic habit of humbling one’s self before the eons or angels, rendering veneration to them. We must not suppose, however, that Paul intends merely to forbid this one custom. On the contrary, he bases his exclusion of this custom upon the supremacy of Christ, Who alone has the authority to impose patterns of worship. He notes that humans lack not only the authority, but also the knowledge to specify how they ought to behave in the face of things they have not seen. He implies that a person who supposes that he can please God by introducing new worship on his own initiative is “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” To take such a tack is to reject (fail to hold firmly to) the Head, namely, Christ.

In verses 20-23, Paul is evidently viewing both the Judaistic and Gnostic sides of the heresy together. He presupposes that in Christ believers have died to the elements of the world (probably a reference to the old Jewish rituals). Why, then, would Christians ever subject themselves to decrees that have been authorized by mere human beings?

As we have seen in the context, these decrees work in two ways. Some decrees restrict the individual Christian where Christ does not. Other decrees authorize forms of worship that Christ does not. Paul sees these as two results of the same abysmal heresy. He denounces both results as will-worship, or as the assertion of the depraved human self against the authority of Christ. Such ordinances, he declares, are utterly without spiritual value. There is no redemptive quality to them, however wise they may appear to be.

This passage contains two enduring lessons.

Lesson One: We do not have freedom to make up moral rules for other Christians. If a thing is not revealed in or cannot be soundly inferred from the Word of God, then it cannot be a matter of binding morality.

Lesson Two: We do not have freedom to make up our own worship. If a custom or practice is not revealed in or cannot be soundly inferred from the Word of God, then it must not be introduced as an element of worship.

To reject either of these lessons is to assault directly the Lordship of Christ. Paul does not grant the Colossians permission to retain any elements of Judaistic or Gnostic ritual on their own initiative. On the contrary, he restricts the faith and order of the Colossian church to those doctrines, customs, prescriptions, rites, and elements that are authorized by Christ Himself through the apostolic testimony.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Small Victory in a Larger Battle

As most of you know I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a couple of years ago. Since then it has been a battle to watch what I eat, stay away from sugars and get some regular exercise.

Last week I got another A1C test which checks your blood sugar for the past 3 months. This is the test that tells on you if you've been cheating or not doing your exercise.

When I returned home today I got a message from my doctor that my A1C came back at 6.3%, that is excellent! The normal range for A1C is 4-5.9%, which places me just above the norm.

Needless to say I'm very happy and energized to keep at the stuff so my A1C stays low. I recognize that this is just a small victory in the battle but I'm happy anyway!

I Remain,

Pastor Steve

Another One In College

Greetings all!

Just returned from dropping off Amy at FBBC in Ankeny. She seems fairly excited and is really looking forward to the rest of her friends returning to the school today and tomorrow. She was assigned to one of the older dorm but the upside is the amount of room! These dorm rooms are huge compared to the cubbyholes that the new dorms seem to be. Classes start on Monday but their schedule is packed all weekend with orientation meetings.

I know that some may be wondering how Mom & Dad handled their little girl going off to college; well here are the details ... there are none. Once again, taking one of our kids to FAITH seem so natural as the next step in their spiritual growth and development. I'm not going to kid you WE WILL MISS AMY HERE, but we are also convinced she is right where Gods wants her. Would you pray for her as she continues to seek God's will for her life?

Lest we forget Daniel, he is looking forward to another year in ministry preparation. This will be a tough year for him as he will begin the first of 4 semesters of Greek. He is also looking forward to doing his pastoral internship next summer. Dan is well entrenched at Faith now with lots of friends and one special friend (Maggie). Please continue to pray for Daniel as he prepares for future ministry!

I Remain,

Pastor Steve

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Back in the Saddle Again

Wow! The past three months have been a flash! I guess it started back in May if I'm going to be accurate. We had Amy's graduation celebration followed by her graduation and then we hit June!

In June we had Special Camp at the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp where I served as Program Chairman. We served about 85 mentally and physically challenged campers. It was a great week! But no time to rest because the very next week we had our VBS at our church. Again we had a great time of ministry and a very good turn out.

In the midst of all of this, I had the opportunity to begin the process of discipling a new believer. In the process he decided to be baptized and I had the opportunity to eventually baptize 4 and bring a total of 5 into the church membership. What a great blessing and encouragement!

Lynn spent a couple of week at camp as a counselor. Junior Girls Camp and Junior High Camp, as I held down the fort at home. The last thing is June was a flying road trip with some very good friends to the GARBC National Conference held at Lansing, Mi. We departed Ankeny Iowa at 9 PM on Wednesday night and arrived at our overnight destination at 6:30 AM Thursday morning. After a brief sleep we headed out to the GARBC Business Meeting. As soon as the business meeting was over we got a bite to eat at an area Applebee's and then hit the road arriving back in Ankeny at about 3:30 AM Friday morning at which time I drove the hour or so back to Clear Lake arriving home at about 5 AM Friday morning. I learned that I'm not as young as I used to be!

July 4th is always a huge day for us as we attend the parade here in Clear Lake, which is always fun. A cookout at a family in the church and then one of the best fireworks displays in the Midwest! The end of July brings Senior High Camp. This was one of the best weeks of the summer, lots of young people asking Christ to be their Savior, and others surrendering to full time service! God is so good, just to have part in such a week is an honor!

My family and I just wrapped up Family Camp #5. the speakers this week were Missionary John Leonard, Hal Miller & Brian Trainer - Great lineup of speakers, we were truly blessed!

Well in a nutshell that is the short version. I just can't relate to you all that has taken place in the full version, but if you really want more just ask.

Until next time - - - -

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Been Awhile!?!?!

This spring has been just insane! There has been so much going on that I really have not made my blog a real priority. However, in the next few days I will try to bring you up to date on thing here and also post a few more of my favorite articles that I have been reading. So stick around and I'll be in touch!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Why I Abstain from Alcohol By: John Greening

I have been surprised to hear a few more voices than I would have ever imagined in “conservative” church circles suggesting that drinking alcoholic beverages in moderation is an acceptable practice because of the liberty a believer has in Christ. Many years ago I made a decision not to drink. Here are three reasons I stick by that decision today.

My father told me not to drink. He was a godly man for whom I had great respect. I would have dishonored my father by not heeding his instruction.

An intriguing story in Jeremiah 35 highlights this principle of obedience. The account involves a family named the Rechabites. God used them as an illustration to teach an important lesson to the people of Judah. God had repeatedly admonished His people through His prophets to turn from their evil ways. But they neglected to obey the Heavenly Father’s instruction.

As the story goes, Jeremiah was instructed to bring the Rechabite family into the house of the Lord. There he placed large bowls of wine in front of them and instructed them to drink, but the family declined. Many years earlier their father had placed certain prohibitions on them, including drinking wine. They so respected their father that they abstained from alcohol in obedience to his instruction.

Jeremiah was to relate this account to the people of Judah to drive home an important lesson. The Rechabites obeyed their father even when the temptation of wine was set directly in front of them. In contrast, Judah gave in to temptations, disregarding God’s instructions.

The primary point of this passage is not the specific prohibitions. It is to reinforce the concept that God meant for His people to obey Him by refusing what was not acceptable to God. The people of Judah needed to be admonished because they had carelessly disregarded God’s guidelines.

My dad was a wise man. He knew things about life that I did not yet comprehend when I was younger. So he established rules to protect me from involvement in activities that he believed would be counterproductive to a godly life. My dad is no longer alive. But like the Rechabites’ account to the people of Judah, his words echo in my heart today; therefore, I will not drink. By honoring my father’s instruction, I reinforce the importance of obeying God’s instructions.

My mother wanted me to be a leader some day. She taught me that alcohol is not for leaders. Proverbs 31 tells us that King Lemuel’s mother taught him the same lesson: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted” (vv. 4, 5).

Alcohol dulls a person’s senses and confuses a person’s ability to make godly, ethical choices. A leader must have all his wits about him to effectively fulfill his responsibilities. Alcohol clouds the mind and therefore should be refused.

My godly mother did her best to raise me to possess leadership characteristics. She would not permit anything to spoil my leadership opportunities. As I grew older, I came to appreciate her conscious effort to develop in my life the wisdom of Proverbs. Whether at home, church, work, or in the community, I must be an alert and engaged leader rather than a man with clouded judgment.

My wife and I are parents, and I am a ministry leader. It is our duty to influence our home and ministry families in a constructive way rather than hinder anyone in his or her spiritual development. I am sobered by the account of Noah’s careless involvement with alcohol and its damaging effect on his family (Genesis 9:20–27). Noah had powerfully influenced his children by earlier living a godly life despite being surrounded by a godless society. The faith he demonstrated as he constructed the ark was a tremendous testimony to his children. Yet his episode with alcohol left tragic scars on his family. Our liberty must be restrained so we will not cause vulnerable and impressionable people to stumble.

There is good reason not to drink alcohol. I suggest you abstain and encourage others in your church or ministry organization to do the same.

Published on Baptist Bulletin Online (

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Iowa Grand Slam Story By Lowell Washburn

Lowell Washburn has written a great article on the Iowa Grand Slam on the Iowa DNR web site:

Check it out!

Pastor Steve

From The Blog: Oversight of Souls

Bad Advertising

Yesterday afternoon I received in the mail this glossy card from a local church advertising their upcoming services. It was professionally done and very slick- but very sad.

The picture above shows the front cover of the card with its obvious allusion to the “Desperate Housewives” show. The reverse side advertised the church’s upcoming sermon series entitled “Desperate Households,” which will run the next four weeks. The first sermon is titled, “Wife Swap”! Of course the sermon will not encourage the practice of wife-swapping. The point is to use this language for its shock value. The sermon on Mothers’ Day is entitled, “Desperate Housewives”!

This is really sad. I can see an unbelieving detractor of the church saying, “What a pitiful lot Christians are since their message is so weak that they must pimp and prostitute it so in order to gain a hearing.”

The draw for the church is not slick advertising and shameless accommodation to culture, but the power of the preached word and the credibility of the lives of her members.

Pastor Steve's Note: A very sad commentary on our society when this is what it takes to draw a crowd. But you know what "they" say, "if it works then it must be OK!"

Friday, April 28, 2006

Forgiveness By Jay E Adams

FORGIVENESS! What a wonderful word! Yet, what does it mean? How do you grant forgiveness; and for what? As much as Christians talk about forgiveness, you'd think they could tell you all about it. Yet, there is hardly one in a thousand who can give sound, Biblical answers to the questions above.

While this pamphlet doesn't deal with everything about forgiveness, it does provide a quick summary of the Biblical teaching.

Forgiveness of others is to be modeled on one's own forgiveness by Christ: “...forgiving one another just as God, in Christ, has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).Forgiveness must be extended to all who say they repent — even if the offense has been repeated (cf. Luke 17:3). But it is only to be granted to those who confess wrong doing, claim to be repentant, and ask forgiveness (Proverbs 28:13). In Mark 11:25, Jesus tells you to forgive those who wronged you when you pray, thereby avoiding bitterness and resentment (Ephesians 4:32). But, that is different from granting the wrongdoer forgiveness. You do that only when he repents. Forgiveness of others must reflect God's forgiveness; He forgave you when you repented!

Some unthinking Christians advise forgiving another whether or not he confesses sin. But they misunderstand forgiveness. They urge this to benefit the one who forgives. Yet, it was for your benefit that God forgave you. Their self-centered concept of forgiveness is unbiblical. God did not forgive you until you repented, admitted you were a sinner, and believed. Indeed, even now, when God dispenses parental forgiveness, He says, “...if you don't forgive men, then your Father won't forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:15).

Some think when Christ prayed from the cross, “Father, forgive them,” He forgave apart from repentance. But Jesus granted no one forgiveness by those words. He was asking God to forgive. Did God answer? Yes. On the day of Pentecost, thousands of those same people were converted, and their sins were forgiven. But, that did not happen apart from means. Peter called on them to repent and believe in order to receive forgiveness (cf. Acts 2:38). Because in forgiving one promises not to bring up the offender's sin, to him, to others, or to himself, it is not right to forgive before repentance. Jesus required you to confront an offender (Matthew 18:15ff) in order to bring about reconciliation. If he refuses to listen to you, instead of forgiving him, you must tell one or two others. If he won't hear them, then you must tell the church. Indeed, apart from repentance, the matter must be brought up to an increasingly larger number of persons. Why? Through their aid to win the offender. In love, true forgiveness seeks not to relieve the forgiver, but to deliver the offender from his burden of guilt. Out of concern for the other person, the offended party pursues the offender until the matter is settled before God and men. Any bitterness on his part, Jesus said, must be dealt with in prayer. Because forgiveness is a promise not to refer to negatively to the offender's sin any more, it would be utterly inconsistent to forgive an unrepentant person before Church discipline has been successfully used. People who try to be kinder than God, end up becoming cruel to others. The kind thing is not to focus on relief for one's self, by forgiving others whether they repent or not, but by every Biblical means to win offenders. It may seem unkind to bring matters up again and again when an offender refuses to be reconciled, but you must do so, not to irritate, but to help relieve him of the burden of his sin. To ignore him and focus on one's self, saying “I sure feel better since I forgave Bob, even though he didn't seek forgiveness,” is the epitome of the modern, self-centered psychological heresy.

Seeking forgiveness is not apologizing. There is nothing in the Bible about apologizing — the World's substitute for forgiveness that doesn't get the job done. You apologize, and say “I'm sorry,” but have not admitted your sin. The offended party feels awkward, not knowing how to respond. You are still holding the ball. You asked him to do nothing. But, confess your sin to him saying “I have asked God to forgive me, and now I'm asking you,” and you pass the ball to the other person. You ask him to bury the matter for good. Jesus commands him to say “yes,” thereby making the promise that God does: “Your sins and your iniquities will I remember against you no more.” That brings the matter to a conclusion. Apologizing does not.

Is there someone to whom you should go and seek forgiveness? Has someone sought it from you to whom you said “Once, yes; twice, maybe; three times, no!?” Perhaps there is someone whom you have never confronted about a matter that has brought about an unreconciled condition between you. Are any of these problems outstanding? Then you have business to attend to. Why not settle the matter today?

You don't have to feel like it to forgive. Forgiveness is a promise that you can make and keep, whether you feel like it or not. And, it is easier to forgive another — even when he sins against you seven times a day — then you remember Christ's great sacrifice for your sins by which He forgave you. And, then too, remember how many times a day He forgives you ever since you have become a believer. One other fact may help. If you have truly forgiven, it isn't the fifth, or the third; it's not even the second time. If you have truly buried the matter, truly's always the first!

What is Nouthetic Counseling? By Dr. Jay Adams

Nouthetic Counseling is Not New

While the name is new, the sort of counseling done by nouthetic counselors is not. From Biblical times onward, God's people have counseled nouthetically. The word itself is Biblical. It comes from the Greek noun nouthesia (verb: noutheteo). The word, used in the New Testament primarily by the apostle Paul, is translated "admonish, correct or instruct." This term, which probably best describes Biblical counseling, occurs in such passages as Romans 15:14: "I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and competent to counsel one another." In that passage, the apostle was encouraging members of the Roman church to do informal, mutual counseling, something that all Christians today should learn, as well. On the other hand, the leaders of a congregation are to counsel nouthetically in a formal manner as a part of their ministry: "Now we ask you, brothers, to recognize those who labor among you, and manage you in the Lord, and counsel you."

Nouthetic Counseling Embraces Three Ideas

Because the New Testament term is larger than the English word "counsel," and because it doesn't carry any of the "freight" that is attached to the latter term, we have simply imported the Biblical term into English. In that way, the full force of the Biblical concept of counseling may be set forth while avoiding the many contradictory connotations surrounding the English one. The three ideas found in the word nouthesia are confrontation, concern, and change. To put it simply, nouthetic counseling consists of lovingly confronting people out of deep concern in order to help them make those changes that God requires.

By confrontation we mean that one Christian personally gives counsel to another from the Scriptures. He does not confront him with his own ideas or the ideas of others. He limits his counsel strictly to that which may be found in the Bible, believing that "All Scripture is breathed out by God and useful for teaching, for conviction, for correction and for disciplined training in righteousness in order to fit and fully equip the man from God for every good task." (2 Timothy 3:16,17) The nouthetic counselor believes that all that is needed to help another person love God and his neighbor as he should, as the verse above indicates, may be found in the Bible.

By concern we mean that counseling is always done for the benefit of the counselee. His welfare is always in view in Biblical counseling. The apostle Paul put it this way: "I am not writing these things to shame you, but to counsel you as my dear children." (1 Corinthians 4:14) Plainly, the familial nature of the word noutheteo appears in this verse. There is always a warm, family note to biblical counseling which is done among the saints of God who seek to help one another become more like Christ. Christians consider their counseling to be a part of the sanctification process whereby one Christian helps another get through some difficulty that is hindering him from moving forward in his spiritual growth.

By change we mean that counseling is done because there is something in another Christian's life that fails to meet the biblical requirements and that, therefore, keeps him from honoring God. All counseling -- Biblical or otherwise-- attempts change. Only Biblical counselors know what a counselee should become as the result of counseling: he should look more like Christ. He is the Standard. Biblical counseling is done by Christians who are convinced that God is able to make the changes that are necessary as His Word is ministered in the power of the Spirit. It is their hope to help every interested church develop a nouthetic counseling program that will be a blessing to all of the members of that congregation. The importance of such counseling in churches is underscored by the words of Paul as he described his ministry in Ephesus: "Therefore, be alert, remembering that for three years, night and day, I didn't stop counseling each one of you with tears." (Acts 20:31) The regularity and intense nature of Paul's counsel during his three-year ministry at Ephesus is emphasized by these words. If Paul found it necessary to counsel nouthetically for that entire period, as he said, surely our churches need it, too.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Back After A LONG Hiatus

Greetings All!

It has been a long time since I have taken the time to post any new stuff to my blog and trust me that has been a great deal going on! I am sorry about the long hiatus, but sometime you just have to prioritize.

Anyway, here is all the news that is news…

About Talents for Christ (TFC), both Philip and Susan participated and did very well. Philip took 4th place in the Senior High writing area. Susan received a 2 rating in the Junior High Woodwinds division. We are very proud of them and they are already looking forward to next year.

Maybe some of you have already heard about Amy’s bout with allergies. Just after the first of the year she showed signs of some kind of allergic reaction and we thought very little of it just treating it with otc allergy meds. She seemed to get better so we thought very little of it. Then she began to get some pretty substantial welts and general felling very bad. The itching became very annoying! After a couple of doctors’ visits we were sent to an allergist in Ames, where Amy tested positive for allergies to mold and feathers. Amy has had a down winter coat for over a year with NO problems and for the mold … She will just have to get used to Philip! She is working on a combination of med that will give her some relief. Amy is feeling MUCH better!!!!

That is it for now, in my next post I’ll tell you about out the IARBC meetings and my great God Hunt experience!

That’s the way I see it,

Pastor Steve

Sunday, March 26, 2006

In a Science Class Near You By: Mark Dickson (TFC Entry)

In a Science Class Near You (OUTLINE)

To prove by presenting evidence, facts, and logical argumentation that intelligent design should be taught in schools.

I. Acknowledgement of the problem
1) Only evolution in schools
a) No opposing theories
b) Evolution isn’t proven
II. History of the problem
1) Roots of evolution
a) Hypothesis of Darwin
b) Laws govern changes
2) Roots of creation
a) Based in Genesis
b) God created life
III. Continuation of the problem
1) Disagreements between scientists
a) Formation of earth
b) Formation of man
c) Age of earth
2) Contradictions with science
a) Vertical evolution
b) Billion year-old earth
c) Evolution of man
d) Dinosaurs before man
e) Big Bang
IV. Resolution of the problem
1) Two theories in schools
a) Both theories taught
b) Students can choose

In a Science Class Near You

America’s schools are being overrun with evolutionary theory, while no other theories are even being taught. In every public school science class in America, students are expected to learn and know about the theory of evolution. Any other theories are deemed as unscientific and are barred from being inserted into basic curriculum. One of these rival theories is intelligent design, the idea that a supreme being created and governs the universe. Evolution being the only theory allowed in schools is definitely something that needs to change, because most of the people in America believe in God and the Bible instead of relying on evolution. “Just one in ten Americans believes in the Darwinist evolution position that man developed over millions of years from less advanced life forms and that God had no part in the process (Belkin). More than one theory should be allowed in public schools. Intelligent design should be allowed in science classes, and evolution’s validity should be challenged.

The way public schools are dealing with evolution is definitely a problem. In almost every public school science class, the students are expected to learn about the theory of evolution and what it teaches about the development of life. This is problematic in that there is no absolute proof that evolution is happening or ever did take place (Swinney). Many of what is a part of the theory of evolution completely contradicts the rules and laws of science itself. So, in order to accept the theory of evolution as it is, we must also accept things that have been deemed impossible in the field of science. A few of these things include: Living organisms coming from non-living material, mutations helping and being beneficial to organisms, and complete randomness forming into a world of law and order. These are all things that have never been recorded in science, yet students are expected to know and except them every day. The problem with this is that there are other theories that compete and hold their own against evolution in the scientific community, but are not allowed in public schools. Eighty years ago, attorney Clarence Darrow argued in the Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee that denying the right to teach Darwinian evolution in schools violated fundamental academic freedom. Ironically, evolutionists now say that their theory should be the only one taught in schools. One of the theories that rivals evolution is intelligent design and a subordinate form, creation. These theories state that God or a superior being created the world and all of its inhabitants. Evolutionists are fighting hard to keep creation out of schools even though a large majority of the population believes God created the earth. This battle has been taking place for a long time.

Both theories, evolution and creation, have grown through the years. Charles Darwin contributed more to evolution than anyone else. He was born in England on February 12, 1809. In 1831 he joined a crew on the H.M.S. Beagle and traveled around the world. During his travels he made observations about many different plants and animals, and was fascinated by all of the different kinds. He collected information and came up with a hypothesis about how life changes over time (Sekulow). Creation, on the other hand, is much older. Back thousands of years ago, a Hebrew man named Moses wrote down the first five books of the Bible. One of the books, Genesis, has its own story of how the earth was formed. It states that God created all life within a six day time period. This is also what creationists believe. “Evolution says that what we see today, what happened a billion years ago, and what will happen a billion years in the future are all a set process and everything that occurs happens because of the laws that govern nature. Therefore, evolutionists say Noah’s flood and the return of Christ did not occur (Swinney).”
Now, the two opposing theories have creationists and evolutionists debating.

Creationists and evolutionists disagree on a number of issues. Some of them include: how the earth was formed, how people came about, how old the earth is, and many more. “Creationists generally believe that the earth is around ten thousand years old, while evolutionists believe that it is billions of years old. Creationists say that God created man, and evolutionists argue that man is only the product of an animal that evolved, such as an ape. In discussing how the earth was formed, creationists believe that an all-powerful God simply formed it, while evolutionists say that many random events occurred and formed what is today earth (Swinney).” These are not even close to being the only issues creationists and evolutionists disagree on. They are only a few of the most basic ones. The battle is not even close to being over, because each side is working hard to disprove the other. The problem is that there isn’t enough evidence of any one theory that it completely proves that the other is false. However, even though both sides have their strong and weak points, evolution is still the only theory allowed in most public schools today. Whenever the government even considers inserting intelligent design into the science books, evolutionists fiercely oppose them and say that it is violation the separation of church and state. Creationists fight back by saying that there is scientific evidence of intelligent design, and that evolution should be taken out of curriculum because it is unscientific.

The theory of evolution contradicts science itself. Many of the items that compose evolution are contrary to everything ever observed in science. Because of this, scientists cannot say with certainty that evolution occurred. Evolutionists expect us to believe that everything developed from a single-celled organism. According to NASA scientist Stan Swinney there is no evidence of vertical evolution, only horizontal. No scientist has ever seen vertical evolution- something changing into another species. He also says that if vertical evolution happened, it could be seen in the fossil record, which it has not. According to Swinney evolutionists expect us to believe that at one point, a warm little pond was hit by an electric bolt and created a living organism. No one has ever been able to begin life with a bunch of gases and an electric spark. Scientists have been able to get amino acids from gases and electric sparks, but not life. Swinney says that no scientist on this earth can explain with certainty how DNA and RNA came into being. Evolutionists say that if given enough time, anything can happen. That is their defensive explanation of how evolution took place over billions of years

Evolutionists also say that the earth is billions of years old. This can be disproved scientifically. It is proven that the earth loses half of its magnetic field every 1,470 years (Sekulow). If the earth were 4.5 billion years old, the magnetic field would have been so much stronger that it would be impossible for anything living to survive. Also according to evolutionists, life will continue in the future as the laws of nature govern. If this is so, then the future is bleak. By 9000 AD, the earth’s magnetic field will be completely gone allowing cosmic rays to kill off everything on earth. Another fact that helps to disprove evolution and point to a young universe involves the sun. The sun shrinks at a rate of one tenth of a percent each year. Three million years ago, the sun would have been larger and would have burned up the entire earth (Swinney). According to evolution, organisms evolved over billions of years. Since the sun would have annihilated all life on earth three million years ago, basic organisms wouldn’t have had enough time to form into more complex ones.

Evolutionists believe that some organism slowly evolved into a human being. Creationists disagree, saying that all men and women are descendents of Adam and Eve. Evolutionists try to disprove creationists by saying that there were cavemen or underdeveloped humans. In one of the findings that scientists called Neanderthal man was found a flute with seven notes on it, which is the same musical scale we use today. According to the Bible, modern men were created on the sixth day of creation, not after thirteen steps of evolution from monkeys to modern men, as evolutionists would show you in the textbooks. Creationists state that man was around when the earth was six days old, not billions as evolutionists claim.

Ancient dates are all speculation. Mt. St. Helens erupted twenty years ago. Sixteen years ago, lava sand began to develop as a result of the eruption. After taken by evolutionists and being scientifically dated, this lava sand is already being recorded at 340,000 years old. It is also being dated 350,000 years old according to radioactive dating (Belkin). The scientists that tested the lava did so without knowing where it came from. This can help prove that the methods used for dating are not always accurate. Evolutionists use the same methods to date things such as dinosaur fossils as they did with the sand.

Evolutionists say that dinosaurs were extinct far before man existed while creationists say that everything was created in the same week. There have been at least seven findings in the United States of human footprints with or within dinosaur footprints (Swinney). Recently, a large T-Rex bone was found that had not been fossilized. This bone was cut in have, and it still contained red blood cells. If these bones were millions of years old, there would have been no remnants of red blood cells (Swinney). A few years ago, pictographs were found in the Grand Canyon. Indians had drawn these pictures. The pictographs showed a T-Rex being killed by a hunter. Amazingly, the skeleton was found nearby (Swinney). Creationists are finding examples like these to disprove evolution and at the same time prove the validity of the creationism. They also try to find items that do not go along with what has been accepted in science.

One of the areas that contradicts science is what the evolutionists call the big bang. It states that there were materials floating around in space that randomly came together and formed everything. “The big bang theory relies on a growing number of supposed entities; things that scientists have never observed- inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the best examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. The big bang theory cannot survive without these factors. In no other field of physics would hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the evolutionary theory (Wieland).” What is more; there are no predictions in the big bang that have later been validated by observation. The successes claimed by the theory’s supporters consist of its ability to look back and fit observations with a steadily increasing array of flexible boundaries. One of the boundaries that they are not increasing is how many theories can be taught in science class.

I believe that creation as well as evolution should be taught in America’s schools. Just as there are specific chapters about evolution in science books, there should be chapters on creation and intelligent design. People should have the benefit of listening and analyzing more than one theory so they can choose what they want to believe for themselves. Intelligent design should be included in science rooms because sixty percent of the American public thinks creation is as good a theory as evolution (Wineke) This is the United States, and students should not be forced into learning and taking tests over the evolutionary theory alone.

In America, science class needs to change. Evolutionists cannot prove that their theory is right, in the same way that they can’t prove that the earth is three hundred billion years old. However, creationists cannot totally prove their point either (Swinney). Many items in intelligent design are accepted through faith, something not everyone is willing to do. It is most likely that neither side of the fight will ever be able to prove that their theory is one hundred percent correct. The battle between creation and evolution has been occurring over many years, and it will probably continue to do so before any new resolutions are made. “Educators must keep up with science. It is science that is pointing to the inevitable conclusion that an intelligent creator was the architect for this magnificent universe (Sekulow).”

Belkin, Douglas. “God vs. Darwin.” The Post 22 Aug. 1999: 1-4 Clear Lake Schools. Sirs. Clear Lake IMC Lab, Clear Lake IA. 22 Aug. 1999

Sekulow, Jay. “Intelligent Design Is a Worthy Rival to Theory of Evolution.” Maryland Press April 2002: 1-2 Clear Lake Schools. Aclj. IMC Lab, Clear Lake IA. April 2002 <>

Sekulow, Jay. “Theories That Challenge Evolution.” KRT 29 Sept. 2005: 1-2 Clear Lake Schools. Sirs. Clear Lake IMC Lab, Clear Lake IA. 29 Sept. 2005 <>

Swinney, Stanley. “Creation Vs. Evolution” Faith Baptist Church, Mason City, IA. 3 Nov. 2003

Wineke, William. “Great Debate, The.” Wisconsin State Journal 2 Feb. 1997: 1-5 Clear Lake Schools. Sirs. Clear Lake IMC Lab, Clear Lake IA. 2 Feb. 1997 <>.