Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and welcome to the Friendship Bible Church BLOG, your source for announcements and information about what's happening at FBC.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Do you really believe He hears?

A prayer meeting took place in Acts 12. It was intercessory... it was earnest... it was because Peter was imprisoned and facing death.

Imagine the scene - EARNEST prayer - "God please release Peter... please set him free... confound the plans of Herod." Similar prayers were going up all over the room. No doubt tears were being shed. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. People tried to ignore the knock, it seemed an intrusion on their prayer time, but the knocking persisted. Unless somebody got up and saw to it the prayer meeting would be increasingly disturbed. Prayers continued to go up "God please release Peter... please set him free... confound the plans of Herod..." while a girl named Rhoda (whose name means "rose") finally got up and answered the door. Hearing Peter's voice she ran back into the crowd, trying to get a word in between the cries of "God please release Peter... please set him free... confound the plans of Herod...." Finally they heard her say, "Peter is at the gate" and their response was, "What? You're nuts... that's impossible." 
I love the way the Bible so often shows us as we are. I see myself in this passage so much. I so often quote my life verse - Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things that thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3 KJV) and then when God does just what He promised therein, I'm amazed.  
Our God is an awesome God! He promises answer to prayer! Why are we surprised when He does just that? Here we see an amazing and miraculous deliverance was granted in answer to prayer that was, at least to a degree, unbelieving prayer. Imagine the awesome power of prayer if we actually believe in it. If we really believed in prayer, we would do it more. If we really believed in prayer, the midweek prayer services in our churches would be better attended. 
Let's start believing in prayer! Oh the privilege of praying for one another... the power that it brings into our church! Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 18:19 KJV) (From "Digging Into the Acts of the Apostles (Volume 1 - Acts 1-14)" by William E. Johnson)

Will you join us Wednesday evening at 6:30 as we pray together? You can pray silently or aloud. You can pray by yourself or with others. You can come and just listen as others pray. No pressure of any kind will be on you to pray or participate in any way you are uncomfortable with. But we need you there - your prayers, whether silent or aloud join with ours and together we approach the throne room of the King. And He hears us. And He answers.

Join in the fight every Wednesday at 6:30 at Friendship Bible Church. 

You have friends at Friendship Bible Church!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hanging of the Greens

What goes great with chili?

That's right… decorating for Christmas!

Today we will be decorating the church as we begin our celebration of the Savior's birth. We can use all the help we can get for there's a lot to do. All decorations and supplies are provided, but we need willing hands and hearts to hang them.

Join us at 2:00? Delicious chili to follow!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Giving

At 9:30 on Saturday we will once again be packing and distributing food baskets for those in need. 

If you would like to help, join the team in Fellowship Hall at 9:30 AM. 


"Prayer is our way of entering into the happiness of God himself." (Timothy Keller)

"All of us would be wiser if we would resolve never to put people down, except on our prayer lists." (D. A. Carson)

"Our fallen nature is actually allergic to God and never wants to get too close to him. Thus our fallen nature constantly pulls us away from prayer" (Richard Lovelace)

"As pain tells us of the need for healing, worry tells us of the need for prayer" (Richard Lovelace)

"Prayer without study would be empty. Study without prayer would be blind." (Karl Barth)

Come pray with us - Saturday at 8:00 
Come fellowship with us - Saturday at 8:00 
Come feast with us - Saturday at 8:00

Friday, October 21, 2016

With The Lord

"But just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven!"

Our brother Rick Collins went home to be with His Savior this week. He is walking fine now. He is whole and healthy and freely breathing in celestial air.

The funeral service will be at the church on Saturday at 2:00 PM. Please be in prayer for Judy and the family during these hard days.

Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints. (Psalm 116:15)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What are your plans for Wednesday evening?

Some Christians will spend this evening scanning Facebook.
Some Christians will spend this evening reading the news.
Some Christians will spend this evening watching inane chatter on television.
Some Christians will spend this evening tinkering in their yards.
Some Christians, when tomorrow comes and they think back on this evening, will have to conclude they did little of lasting significance at all.

But some Christians will INVEST this evening in praying with other believers at their church prayer meeting.

Only one of these activities can solve anything. 
Only one of these activities can heal anything.
Only one of these activities can build anything.
Only one of these activities can fix anything.

Prayer is the key that opens every door.
Prayer is the medicine that heals every hurt.
Prayer is the tool that fixes every break.
Prayer is the answer... always.

Will you invest one hour and pray with your brothers and sisters at Friendship Bible Church this evening?  We meet at 6:30, and we are done by 7:30 at the latest.

You have FRIENDS at Friendship Bible Church!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Samaritan's Purse tweeted this fact this morning - "More than 1,000 people are reported dead in #Haiti, nearly every home has been damaged by #HurricaneMatthew."

Last Lord's Day we took up a special offering to help with relief efforts in Haiti following this devastating hurricane. We will do the same again this coming Sunday, in case anybody else wishes to participate. The proceeds will go to Samaritan's Purse to assist their efforts in Haiti as well as Florida and the Carolinas. If you wish to partipicate, simply indicate the portion of your offering designated for this project. Mark it Haiti, or Samaritan's Purse, or Relief, or Hurricane.

Once this second offering is collected, we will send the funds directly to Samaritan's Purse.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Well the debate is over...

Facebook and Twitter are filled with little else. People have taken sides and are busily posting their thoughts to social media about who did best, and who will best lead our country.

But I have a better idea, because frankly it's not Donald or Hillary that we need leading our country. It's God.

Imagine if every person who has taken a side and posted something about it on Facebook would come to prayer meeting and pray. What would happen if the same passion that flows from our keyboards flowed from our lips while on our knees before God? What would happen if we, God's people who are called by His name would humble ourselves, and pray and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways? God answers, If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (II Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Nothing on Facebook will heal our land. Nothing on Twitter will cleanse the sin of America. Time spent listening to the blind leading the blind on television and the internet will solve precisely zero percent of American and world problems. We need God. You need God. I need God.

Will you join your brothers and sisters at Prayer Meeting this evening? We meet at 6:30 in the sanctuary, and will be finished no later than 7:30. You can pray with us silently or aloud as you choose. No one will pressure you to speak. But whether you pray silently or aloud, you will be doing the only thing that can fix what's broken.

And remember - You have friends at Friendship Bible Church.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Podcast has been updated!

If you've been wondering what happened to the podcast, you need wonder no more. Thanks to Brother Jeff, we are once again posting the sermon audio online.

Check it out at, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.


Calling all motorcyclists!

The forecast for Sunday is beautiful, and the open road beckons.

Join us Sunday afternoon for a trip down beautiful Rt. 9 and Rt. 250 to Cadiz. Bring a little pocket change in case we stop for eats before heading back.

If you wish to join us, meet at the church at 2:00.


Friday, September 23, 2016

It's Prayer Breakfast Time!

It's been a while since we enjoyed the fellowship and food that are always part of the Men's Prayer Breakfasts at FBC. But this Saturday, September 24th at 8:00 AM, it's on!

If you haven't attended a prayer breakfast at Friendship Bible Church, here is what you can expect:
  1. The best breakfast you've ever had.
  2. Fellowship and camaraderie with some great brothers and sisters in Christ.
  3. A brief devotional from God's Word.
  4. A brief time of prayer requests and prayer.
Will you join us?

Invite your brothers, fathers, sons, neighbors, and co-workers. Our sisters always prepare enough food for an army, so don't fear inviting too many. Let's restart this important men's ministry in a big way.

See you Saturday at 8:00 AM. And remember - YOU HAVE FRIENDS AT FRIENDSHIP BIBLE CHURCH!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Don't forget that Session 1 starts this evening (Tuesday) at 6:30.

If you signed up, don't be late. And if you didn't sign up, but wish you had (and you should), then join us anyway!

The Biblical principals that you will learn in this class… Biblical principals about wealth and financial health… can radically change your life for the better.

See you at 6:30 at FBC.


Friday, September 16, 2016


This Saturday, September 17 at the Turner homestead, we will gather as a church once again for a time of food, fun, fellowship, and all things fantastic. 

Bring a lawn chair. Meat and drink will be provided, so bring a side dish to pass. These fellowships are always a wonderful way to get to know the church family, so don't miss out.

Where - Sean and Marianne Turner home 
 When - Saturday, September 17, 5PM

Remember - You have friends at Friendship Bible Church!


Have you sent in your registration form yet?

Remember that the deadline is this Lord's Day, September 18th, so if you haven't sent it in yet mail it today!

We will travel to both the Creation Museum and the brand new lifesized Ark Encounter, October 28–29. We will travel aboard a beautiful climate controlled and comfortable motor coach. We will spend one evening and night in a hotel, and we will enjoy a full day at each of these amazing attractions.

Registration forms are available at the church. If we haven't filled the bus after this Sunday, registration will be opened up to other area churches, so don't miss out!

Friday, September 9, 2016


Old Fashioned Sunday is 9/11/2016 at 10:30 AM!
(Note - no Sunday School - everything starts at 10:30 AM)

Old fashioned music, old fashioned preaching, old fashioned outfits, old fashioned food, old fashioned fun, old fashioned fellowship, old fashioned games, old fashioned pie, old fashioned dunk tank, old fashioned auction, old fashioned cars, and old fashioned friends.

Don't miss out!

Remember if you signed up to help setup, we need you at 6PM Saturday and / or 9AM Sunday. And if you signed up to help with parking, please be at the church by 9AM Sunday.  If you signed up for teardown, plan on about 4PM Sunday.

Bake those pies, invite your friends and family, dig through the closet for that old fashioned outfit, grab something homemade for the auction if you want, and join us this coming Sunday at Friendship Bible Church. 

Remember - You have FRIENDS at Friendship Bible Church!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Have a prayer request?  Don't forget that you can send any such requests to  We will pray for all such requests during prayer meetings on Wednesday evening.

Oh, and one more thing...

Don't forget prayer meeting this evening at 6:30.  It's been a long summer for some, and it would be easy to keep ignoring this vital part of the ministry here at FBC.  Get back in the swing. Pray with us. We're praying for you!

6:30-7:30 every Wednesday evening in the sanctuary. Tonight we will be praying very specifically for Old Fashioned Sunday. It's our last prayer meeting before that day.  JOIN US!!

Counting Down!

"Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you: (Deuteronomy 32:7)

We are counting down the days until Old Fashioned Sunday 2016. If you haven't already determined to be in church somewhere else this coming Lord's Day, September 11th, then join us for our annual look back at the way things were. 

  • There will be a classic car display. 
  • There will be great food.  (By the way, remember if you signed up to bring a dish to pass, try to provide enough to feed 20 people.)  
  • There will be an auction of homemade items (proceeds to missions).  (By the way, we need some more auction items - anything homegrown, home-canned, or homemade will do nicely.)  
  • There will be a dunk tank (proceeds to missions). 
  • There will be a homemade pie baking contest. (And by the way, we need lots of entries in the pie baking contest. Bring your best pie!) 
  • There will be games. 
  • There will be music. 
  • There will be one of the most famous preachers in American history preaching one of his most well known sermons.
  • There will be the opportunity to see something seldom seen - the pastor getting a pie in the face by the person who brings the most first time never been here before visitors.

All these things will be there!  Will you be?  

The service begins at 10:30, followed immediately by the activities both in Fellowship Hall and outside under the tent.

If you signed up to help setup - please assemble at the church at 6:00 on Saturday evening. Some will be needed at 9:00 on Sunday morning as well.

If you signed up to help tear down - please remain until the activities conclude Sunday afternoon. Teardown will begin immediately then.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Compel Them!!

Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. (Luke‬ ‭14:23‬)

Two big things are happening this evening at Friendship Bible Church.

First, it's prayer meeting night. Join us at 6:30 as we pray together. You need not fear being called on to pray aloud. Some choose to do that and some choose to pray silently, and both are fine. Not praying at all? Well that's not so good. If you'll join us at 6:30 we will have you out by 7:30.

Second, it's the best opportunity you will have before Old Fashioned Sunday to fulfill Luke 14:23. Right after prayer meeting we will be stamping and sticking labels on 2500 postcard invitations. You can be part of inviting 2500 people to the Lord's house on Old Fashioned Sunday! Pizza and soft drinks will be in abundance, as will laughter and joy and prayer. Join us? Many hands make light work.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Remember that Old Fashioned Sunday is just around the corner.  Pray pray pray for souls to be saved and a community to be revived. Our theme verse this year is "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee." (Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:7‬)

Remember that Jesus loves you, and longs to hear from you and fellowship with you.

Remember that you have friends and loved ones who are lost and headed for hell.  

Remember that there is nothing you can do that will have more impact on the lost around you than prayer.

Remember that there is nothing you can do that will bring revival to your soul faster than prayer.

Remember that there is nothing you can do to help those in need more than prayer.

Remember that there is nothing you can do that will heal the hurting more than prayer.

Remember to PRAY today!  And remember that this evening is your weekly opportunity to pray alongside other believers... praying for them... praying with them... hearing them pray for you. 

And remember that we will be praying very specifically for Old Fashioned Sunday in every prayer meeting during August.

Remember - PRAYER MEETING at 6:30 PM this evening.  And we'll have you back to the Olympics by 7:30.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

SO SO SO SO SO SO SO Important!

Prayer meeting, that is. It's this evening at 6:30 in the Sanctuary, and few things we do at FBC are as important as prayer meeting.

Many churches have given up on prayer meetings, and no longer offer them. They may provide various reasons for that omission, but the sad fact is that they no longer have prayer meetings because Christians by and large simply refuse to attend and participate in prayer meetings.

But we've had a mid-week prayer meeting for 9 years now, and will continue until Jesus comes because it is the source of our power, and our victory, and our peace, and our joy. Prayer works. And praying together works even better!

Join us at 6:30? We will have you on the way home by 7:30! Believe me, you will be glad you prayed with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Too Busy To Pray?

Seen on Twitter this morning - "If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy. Cut something out." (D.A. Carson)


Join us for prayer meeting this evening (Wednesday) at 6:30. The meeting will be over by 7:30, but the impact on your life and the lives of others… eternal.

And note - we are back to the original 6:30-7:30 time slot.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016


If you bought tickets for the Rubber Ducks baseball game this Friday evening, and have not already received your tickets, they are in the church office. You can pick them up this evening during the CHICKS meeting.

Additionally, we have several tickets available that are already paid for, if anybody would like free tickets to the game! There are 4 tickets at the church, and Pastor Bill has 1 available as well.

See you at the ball field!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


At least that's what Dr. Emmitt Brown would say about the time conundrum we find ourselves in.

Prayer meeting this evening is at 7:30. I repeat - 7:30. One more time - 7:30.

You see, we decided to bump it from 6:30 to 7:30 for the summer, based on suggestions that more would be able to attend at that time. However, that has not proven true, and so in last week's prayer meeting we decided to change it back to 6:30, it's normal time. However, it was listed as 7:30 in this week's bulletin, and the pastor forgot to announce the reversion to 6:30 from the pulpit!!!

So… GREAT SCOTT… Everybody is confused. But here's the scoop and the final unalterable fact -

PRAYER MEETING THIS EVENING IS AT 7:30. I repeat - 7:30. One more time - 7:30.

And starting with next week's prayer meeting (July 20), we will revert back to 6:30.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Join the FBC Singles Ministry as they view the Tall Ships at Fairport Harbor.  This activity is open to everybody, not just the singles, so don't miss out.  

Be at the church and ready to hit the road by 10AM on Saturday, July 9th.  Dress comfortably, and bring an umbrella just in case. We'll finalize drivers and driving plans once we see who is attending, but if you can help with driving that would be great.  The drive is about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Tickets purchased in advance are $10.00.  They can be purchased at the door, but they cost more. If you wish to get in on the advance purchase price, please contact Amy Johnson (330-714-3522) no later than Thursday.

I Wonder What It Would Take

I wonder what it would take to see prayer meetings full of believers praying.

Would mass murders in our land and around the world do it? Would evil rulers depriving people of rights and liberties do it? Would the threat of financial collapse do it? Would personal struggles and needs... health calamities or job loss or broken relationships do it? Would the fact that the prophecies related to the return of the King and the judgment to follow are all nearly fulfilled do it? Would the fact that the Christian freedoms so taken for granted in this country are slipping away do it? Would the imminent illegality of just such prayer meetings do it?

Well, the fact is all of those things are happening right now, aren't they?  Has there ever been a time when we needed prayer meeting more than now?

Join us this evening for prayer meeting at 7:30 (NOTE THE TIME CHANGE FOR SUMMER).

Friday, June 24, 2016

First Campfire Fellowship of 2016!!!

Don't miss this chance to get to know your brothers and sisters from Friendship Bible Church. All are invited to Johnson Acres for food fun and fellowship. In addition to the fabulous carry-in dishes that many bring with them, there will be hot dogs, hamburgers, hot and mild sausage sandwiches, and chicken specially seasoned and prepared by our very own grill meister. Bring your fishing gear if you want to challenge the Johnson Acres bass or blue gill. Or, join others at the volleyball net, or the corn hole boards, or the horseshoe pits. Or, just sit and talk with friends in Christ. 

Whatever you choose, you'll find there's plenty to enjoy at the FBC Campfire Fellowships. See you from 5:00 until 9:00 n Saturday. 


Day 4 of Vacation Bible School was GREAT!!!!

Join us for the GRAND FINALE of VBS this evening at 6:00. Will Private Meeh ever get it straight? Come tonight at 6:00 and find out. 

Some of the recruits talking to the Commander in Chief.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Day 3 of Vacation Bible School was GREAT!!!

D.L. Moody said, "If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God!"

Join us for the penultimate day of VBS this evening at 6:00. It's not too late. Children will have fun even if they start this late into the week! And they will hear the greatest news… the greatest story… the greatest truth ever told.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day 1 of Vacation Bible School was GREAT!

Join us this evening at 6:00 for more great fun.  TEN HUT!!!

Oh, and check out a few pics from day 1!

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Weekend Is Here!

And there are several important activities planned at Friendship Bible Church:

Saturday evening at 5:00 - the Single's Ministry will be hosting a LOW COUNTRY BROIL at Amy Johnson's home. If you like good food, you won't want to miss this. And if you are single, and haven't given this ministry a try, you really should. It's not a dating service, as some foolishly assume. It's an opportunity to fellowship and open the Word and enjoy some activities with others who, like you, are serving the Savior in singleness. ANYBODY may attend these events, single or not, as long as you bring somebody along who is single.

Sunday -
9:30 - Sunday School and 10:30 Worship. We will be honoring fathers this Father's Day, with a gift for all in attendance. Remember that you won't be drawn closer to God by sleeping in. You will receive no benefit whatsoever by skipping Sunday School, or allowing the kids to suggest otherwise. Set the alarm and reap the rewards of faithfulness to our wonderful Savior, Who is always and ever faithful to us!

VBS rehearsals and set up - immediately following the services, for those involved in Vacation Bible School this year. TEN HUT!!!

Motorcycle Ride - Tentative - if there are those not involved in Father's Day activities who wish to ride, we will meet at 5:00 in the parking lot for an evening ride. Bring a few bucks, as we'll stop and get some grub, probably.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Not Today

Weather permitting. That was the word. 

Well it's not permitting. 

Motorcycle ride is cancelled for today. 

Stay dry!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Weekend Thunder

Here are a couple opportunities for service and / or fellowship this weekend at FBC:

If you would like to serve the Lord by serving others, our monthly Haven of Rest service opportunity is Saturday at 10:00. Meet the team at the Haven of Rest in Akron at 10:00, don an apron, and serve food to some of the area homeless and disadvantaged.

If you and your motorcycle are itching for the open road, hop aboard your steed and meet in the church parking lot at 10:30 for our first FBC ride of the year. We will head south toward Atwood Lake. Plan on stopping somewhere for lunch, and plan on about 100 miles and 4–5 hours duration for the trip. Of course this opportunity is "weather permitting." The weather for Saturday currently looks favorable, but the final decision is always made on ride day.

Of course, the most important activity of the weekend takes place on the Lord's Day. Join us for Sunday School at 9:30 and worship at 10:30.

And always remember - You have friends at Friendship Bible Church!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bible and Prayer Soak

We're going to mix things up a bit tonight for prayer meeting. We're going to soak. Join us from 6:30–7:30!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Whatchadoin on the Lord's Day?

It's not just Sunday, you know. It's the LORD'S DAY… The day the Lord has set aside for us to gather, worship, praise, learn, teach, fellowship, recharge, and grow in our faith.

So whatchadoin on the Lord's Day? 

Start it out right by joining us at Friendship Bible Church for Sunday School at 9:30 and Worship at 10:30. We always strive to provide edifying worship and thought provoking teaching. This week we're going even further. We're providing ice cream!


Men's Prayer Meeting


It's that time again. Time to gather on Saturday morning for prayer, praise and powerfully good eating! 

Invite a brother and join us at 8:00 Saturday morning, because YOU HAVE FRIENDS AT FRIENDSHIP BIBLE CHURCH!

Friday, May 13, 2016


We are hoping to see you this evening at the Cookout at Sherry's place (136 SR 44 in Hartville) at 6:30.

Bring a dish to pass (or not… we will have plenty of food if you can't bring anything) and your Bible and your copy of "They Were Single Too" if you have it. If you still need a copy, there will be some available at the meeting.

Burgers and drinks will be provided, as will sweet fellowship and fun.  Remember that all FBC singles activities are open to all, as long as somebody in your group is single. 

Turning Your World Upside Down For Jesus

I've been working on a revised version of my book "Digging Into the Acts of the Apostles" and came across this section in the chapter entitled "Turning Your World Upside Down" from Acts 17:1-9:

We need to be plodders at CHURCH ATTENDANCE. 
I am constantly amazed at Christians who submit prayer requests for their unsaved kids, and then miss church when their kids are in town. "I won't be in church today, preacher, because my lost and bound-for-hell kids and grandkids will be visiting." Of course, that's not what people say, but it may as well be. We wonder why our loved ones don't take the things of God seriously, but they see from our example that the things of God are less important than sleeping in with lost people who are visiting, or attending some recreational activity that can be done any day of the week. Our kids and our friends and our families and our co-workers are far more influenced by what they see in us than in what they hear from us. Someone once said, "I'm sorry, what you do shouts so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” 
Even if you are a faithful plodder in this area today, I think it important to mention it, for Satan will use every tool in his considerable tool chest to get you out of church, or to just get you to be a casual and unfaithful attender. He knows such will never turn their world upside down for Christ. He doesn't have to worry about such. 
Oh my brothers and sisters! Be plodders in this thing. Develop the habit of attending church, and don't let minor things keep you away. Let your friends and family know that when they drop in on a Sunday morning, they can either come with you or wait until you return, but church is important! 
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)

That's right on, if I do say so myself.  Don't forget to join your brothers and sisters this Lord's Day at church!  It's important for them and for you. It's important if you ever want to turn your world upside down for Jesus.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Why We Encourage More Than Just Attending

If you are one who attends church regularly, you are miles ahead of most in America who don't even faithfully do that.  But we always encourage more than just once a week attendance.  Why?  Because it benefits you and helps you in your walk with Christ, that's why.  

Consider this text I received just today from one of our church members:

This is a sad fact... but if I wasn't serving at FBC, my focus would be Sunday only most likely.  I typically can't be devoted unless I'm involved. I would be filling the time with work.  
FBC is such a continual blessing in my family's life.  
God would have gotten His plan done, but I can't imagine what He would have needed to do if I had continued down the road I was traveling. What an amazing God we serve.  The gentle subtleties that He uses to influence our lives - worthy of an eternity of praise.

When we serve Christ in His church, it is a win win for everybody concerned.  And it certainly brings benefits into our own lives.  Are you involved at FBC?  There are lots of things to do and lots of opportunities to serve.  Hit up one of the elders if you'd like to know more.

Friday, May 6, 2016

I'm concerned about words

This post has meaning only for the Christian.

I have many friends who have not made a decision to follow Christ, and I don't mean for this post to be directed at you if you're in that category - one who is not yet in the family of God. There are a bunch of verses herein, but they apply to Christians, so if you are not yet one of those, there is only one verse you need to meditate on, and it's no doubt familiar to you - John 3:16 - For God so loved the world (you) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life - I encourage you to stop reading now, and go meditate on that instead. It will help you.

But if you are one my Christian friends, I hope you'll read on and let me unburden myself about something. You see - I spend more time on Facebook than I should. And I also spend too much time reading news stories online. Of course these things can provide a lot of useful information. But they can also be (and usually are) tremendous time wasters.

Nonetheless, in my time pursuing Facebook and Twitter and various news feeds, I have noticed something that is of concern - words.

Some words just simply need to be retired from use, for they are so overused, and used so often when they don't apply, that they have become meaningless. If I read another article that contains the words "speechless" or "awesome" or "jaw-dropping" or "shocking" or the grand daddy of all the overused words - "EPIC", I'm going to scream.

I have never read an article online that contained the word "speechless" where I was left with no words. Usually just the opposite.

And nothing shocks anybody anymore so why is the word "shocking" found in nearly every headline these days?

And "EPIC"?

The Grand Canyon is epic. Thermopylae was epic. The 1980 Olympic Hockey Team was epic. Secretariat was epic. But that's not the kind of stories that I see constantly headlined as "EPIC!"

Let's please retire these words from Facebook and Twitter and the online-verse. At least until something truly deserving of their meaning surfaces.

Yes. I'm concerned about words. And my distress reaches to another aspect of words seen constantly on Facebook and Twitter et al.

I'm thinking of course of the coarse language and crude speech employed AND SHARED by those who name the name of Christ and call themselves His. I just spent about 2 minutes on Facebook and came across several posts that had been shared by some of my Christian friends. They contained things like "F***" "B***" and the granddaddy of them all - "OMG".

Brothers and Sisters, how have we forgotten the clear teachings of the Bible concerning our speech patterns? Perhaps we need a refresher:

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. (‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:29–31‬)

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:3–4)

"Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:34–37)

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, (Colossians 3:8–9)

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Colossians 4:6)

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:2–8)

The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice. (Psalm 37:30)

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse. (Proverbs 10:31–32)

The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (Proverbs 15:2–4)

The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, But the heart of the fool does not do so. (Proverbs 15:7)

The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning. (Proverbs 16:21)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:16–17)

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Yes, I'm concerned about words.

I'm concerned that Christians have forgotten the need to use words to draw people to the Savior. I'm concerned that the words of Christians are no kinder or sweeter or more wholesome than those of the rankest heathens in the blogosphere today. I'm concerned that Christians make a distinction between applying the verses above to words that come out of their mouth and words that come out of their keyboards.  I'm concerned that Christians seem to think that sharing somebody else's corrupt language is somehow more acceptable than typing it out themselves.

I'm concerned about words. And I pray God helps me, and any of my friends who haven't yet unfriended me because of this post, to do better as believers in the Savior.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A National Day of Prayer Prayer

Lord of the Universe. Lord of this planet. Lord of the nations. Lord of our hearts.

On this National Day of Prayer, we look to You… In the darkness, You are our Light. In the storm, You are our Anchor. In our weakness, You are our Strength. In our grief, You are our Comfort. In our despair, You are our Hope. In our confusion, You are our Wisdom. In time of terrorism, You are our Shield. In time of war, You are our Peace. In times of uncertainty,You are the Rock on which we stand.

We make our prayer to You using the words of the prophet Daniel: O Lord, You are the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commandments. You are merciful and forgiving. You are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame because we have sinned against You, and done wrong. We have turned away from Your commands and principles. We have turned away from You.

Yet You have promised in 2 Chronicles 7, that if we–a people identified with You- would humble ourselves, pray, seek Your face, and turn from our wicked ways, then You would hear our prayer, forgive our sin and heal our land.

So we choose to stop pointing our finger at the sins of others, and examine our own hearts and lives. We choose to acknowledge our own sin–our neglect and defiance and ignorance and even rejection of You. This day we choose to repent.

In response to our heartfelt repentance, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Father of Jesus Christ, in keeping with all Your righteous acts and according to Your promise, turn away Your anger and Your wrath from the United States of America. Hear the prayers and petitions offered to You on this National Day of Prayer, as we give You our full attention. Give ear, our God, and hear; open Your eyes and see. We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy.

For the glory of Your Name hear our prayer, forgive our sin, and heal our land.

We ask this in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ who offers us salvation from Your judgment, forgiveness for our sin, and reconciliation with You through His own blood shed on the Cross. Amen.

-- Anne Graham Lotz

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

National Day Of Prayer

Don't forget that our Wednesday prayer meeting is cancelled this week and we will observe the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, instead.

The theme of this year's National Day of Prayer is "WAKE UP AMERICA!"

The church will be open from 5–9 PM for prayer. There is no service, and no agenda. Just come and pray. Suggested prayer topics will be provided, but you can come and pray as you see fit.

Mothers' Day Music

Don't forget, moms and dads, that the Jr. Church kids will be singing during this Sunday's Mothers' Day service.

They've been given the words and have a practice CD, so you might want to take some time and run through it with them.

Remember, too, that they have a 1/2 hour long practice on Saturday at 6:30 PM.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Seven Principals

The following article is from the Answers in Genesis website, and really gives a good overview of seven principals from Genesis (and the rest of Scripture) concerning men, women, children, family and marriage. It's long, but well worth the time to read.

Lest I Forget...

I received a happy birthday wish from a dear brother this morning, reminding me I hadn't posted this yet today.  Praise the Lord for 46 years with my Savior.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (I Timothy 1:15 NKJV)

I've published this same blog posting for the last few years. Each year it gets more precious. Praise the Lord.

It was May 3, 1970. In just 24 hours one of this area's most well-known historical events would occur - the shootings at Kent State University. But on May 3, something happened that didn't make the news, and is unknown to all but a select few now. On that day, a twelve year old boy experienced the most important event in his personal history. That boy was me, and on May 3, 1970, I trusted Christ as my Savior. I am, spiritually, 46 years old today. And so it is a special day as I look back over the journey Christ has led me on so far - a journey that has included both ups and downs, successes and failures, victories and defeats. But one thing is certain. I am more sure today of His love for me than I have ever been. He promised, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5) I can testify after 46 years of walking with Him, that He never has, and He never will.

“Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” (John Newton)

Friday, April 29, 2016

FBC 101 Starts Sunday

Don't forget, if you signed up for the next round of FBC101 it starts this Sunday, May 1st at 9:30 in the new conference room.  Books will be provided, but you'll need to bring your Bibles!

And even if you didn't sign up, but are interested, come on in and join us.  We have extra books available.

Friday, April 22, 2016


At least that's one word we might apply.

Or maybe SPECTACULAR. Or perhaps even WONDERFUL or DELIGHTFUL would work. Of course, words like ENCOURAGING and EDIFYING and UPLIFTING and ENRICHING and PRAYERFUL come to mind.

I'm of course referring to the MEN'S PRAYER BREAKFAST, which will be held this coming Saturday at 8:00 AM.

Guys… What words can I possibly use to convey the tremendous loss that will accrue to your soul should you miss prayer breakfast? Don't miss it! Don't miss it! Don't miss it!

A couple other words just came to mind - DELICIOUS, YUMMY, FOOD, FUN, DELICIOUS (did I already say that?)

See you brothers, this Saturday morning at 8:00 AM in the FBC Fellowship Hall.

Remember - You Have Friends Here!

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Don't forget that the new FBC Singles Ministry will meet again this Friday at 7:00 PM in Fellowship Hall for a game night. Bring your favorite appetizer to share and your favorite board or card game to play.

We will be talking through the question, "How Does One Succeed At Singleness", as well as starting our study of the book "They Were Single Too" and will have copies available at the meeting. If you can afford to purchase the book, that would be great. If not, the church will provide you a copy if you will come to the meetings and join in the discussion.

The FBC singles group is open to anyone who is adult and single, as well as anybody else, regardless of status, who brings a single with them. So come join us as we explore what the Bible teaches about this gift of singleness, and bring your single friends too!

Monday, April 11, 2016

I Just Registered!!

I just registered for the Legacy Journey class, taught by Dave Ramsey and our own Ramsey-trained pro, Marianne Turner.

Have you registered yet? When I first signed up for the Financial Peace University classes, I primarily did so because, as Pastor, I wanted to support the effort that others were making to provide sound financial help and training. My financial house was pretty much in order, I thought, and so I didn't think I really would get much out of the course. But I actually gained invaluable help and my financial affairs are MUCH more in order now having taken that initial class. No matter who you are or where you fall on the continuum of financial health, you need these classes. They will help you, and they will pay for themselves many times over.

The class I just registered for starts tomorrow, Tuesday, April 12 and runs for 7 weeks. I would have registered for it earlier, but it was initially scheduled for Mondays, and I had a scheduling conflict. But it's been moved to Tuesdays! So I'm jumping in at the last minute.

This class is tailored for those who want to go a step further, and learn how to invest and save and plan and prepare. Whether it's retirement you're thinking about, or leaving a legacy to your children, or leaving a legacy that funds ministry long after you're with the Lord, this is the class for you.

You can register at the link on the church website (right hand side of the screen) -

Join me? See you tomorrow - Tuesday, at session 1 of the Legacy Journey?

Ladies Spring Banquet - Got Your Tickets??

Tickets for the Ladies Banquet will be available this coming Thursday evening at the Chicks meeting. Additionally, Sunday sales have been extended two more Sunday's until Sunday, April 24th.

The Ladies Spring Banquet will be held Saturday, May 14th from 5–7PM at the Hartville Kitchen. Wonderful speakers, presentations, and music, along with great food and fellowship. It's an annual event you don't want to miss, ladies. And since this event is now held at the Hartville Kitchen's beautiful and expanded facilities, the banquet is better than ever.

Call the church office, or see Deeannae Egli with any questions.

And get those tickets before they're gone!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Missions and Munchies

This Sunday, April 10, is another special day at Friendship Bible Church. (Have you noticed how often that happens? Is seems like every single Sunday is special at FBC!)

Robert and Becky Mach, our missionaries to the Ivory Coast, Africa will be with us. You won't want to miss the report on how God is working in Africa, nor will you want to miss the fantastic "Meet the Missionary" fellowship immediately following the service. Bring a dish to pass. Or not, as there is always plenty of food. Either way, join your brothers and sisters for lunch after the service in Fellowship Hall.

BTW - Bob is a great preacher. And Becky plays the violin wonderfully.

Join us for Sunday School at 9:30, Worship at 10:30, and food and fellowship at 11:30. And never forget - You Have Friends Here!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Happy Birthday, Beth

Well it's that time again.  April 8 - Beth's birthday.  Even though she's been gone for nearly 2 years now, it still rings in my mind that it's a special day.

I thought this year that I would post something from her book in memory of her birthday.  But I've done that pretty recently.  And I couldn't find anything from the book that was particularly relevant.  But since I had no better idea I decided to post one of the chapters anyway.  I went to my computer and began looking for the file I needed, for she stored each story on her computer as a separate file.  Scanning the list I saw one I didn't recognize.  It was entitled "What A Day It Is Going To Be."  I grabbed the "Farmer Girl" book and checked.  Sure enough, that chapter didn't make it into the book, and so I opened up that file to see what she had written, and discovered that it was one of the unfinished ones, explaining why I didn't include it in the book.  But though it is unfinished, I think it may be the most perfect of anything she ever wrote, and a fitting tribute on her birthday.

She only managed two lines:


Yes.  What a day it must have been... and everyday since.  Happy birthday, Beth.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Easter Is My Favorite

Ask anyone what their favorite holiday is and they will tell you… right now! Everyone has one. Everyone knows what it is. Throughout the chapters of your life, your favorite holiday might change. I remember being a kid on the farm and declaring that Christmas was my favorite… most kids will say this. The overwhelming excitement of being out of school for two weeks with no homework, sled riding on the hill, eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate, getting presents, spending time at my Aunt’s house, and playing 99 games of Monopoly with my brother was the best. Yep, Christmas was my favorite back then.

Then… a miracle happened in 1969. I was 11 years old and I asked Jesus into my heart. It was the year that this little farm girl became a child of the King. Everything in my 11 year old heart changed, including my favorite holiday. When I truly understood that Jesus loved me so much that He suffered and died on the cross for my sins, and that He rose from the grave to conquer death, Easter became my new favorite holiday. I never looked back. After almost 44 years of being saved, Easter still remains my favorite.

Here are some reasons that I love Easter:

We celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior. When I visited Israel this past summer, I stood at the base of Golgotha (the place of the Skull) during the daytime and nighttime hours. The imagery of that horrible crucifixion played out in my mind. The spot is a jagged rock overhang and it looks like a badly shaped skull. The eyes, nose, and uneven skeletal features make you feel unsettled. There is unease in your heart as you study it. As I looked at the mocking rock formations, I mentally heard the loud angry chanting sounds from the people as Jesus hung on that terrible cross. It is an uncomfortable and solemn place to visit. I have peered and stood inside the Garden Tomb in Israel. I studied the hastily hollowed out rock burial site. I learned that no human DNA evidence has ever been discovered on those stones. There has never been a decomposing body on that gray, white, and brown stone grave. As I sat on the manmade rock ledge outside the Garden Tomb, I breathed in the sweet fragrance of hope that Jesus lives. Then as I floated in a replicated first century boat on the Sea of Galilee, I stared over the side and into the water. Mesmerized by the fact that I was on the Sea of Galilee, my heart sang a line from a familiar song “because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”

I have celebrated my birthday on Easter Sunday several times. Starting out a birthday morning with an Easter Resurrection Sunday Morning Service… how special is that?

My Mom’s famous lamb cake… can never be forgotten. Years ago, Mom took a cake decorating class. She bought a Wilton 2 piece lamb cake pan. Mom learned all the decorating techniques. First, she would bake both sides of the lamb cake and let them cool. Then, she put the two sides together. Next, the cake was covered with mostly white and some green coconut (Mom would put coconut and a couple drops of green food coloring in a plastic baggie and... shake, shake, it's green!) This would be used to surround the resting lamb so he looked like he was lying in the green grass. Finally, the finishing touches were applied. The lamb had very long icing eyelashes with black jelly bean eyes. He had the sweetest little pink icing nose. Colored jelly beans were scattered all over the green coconut grass. The lamb cake was always the centerpiece of our Easter dinner table.
Easter Sunrise Service was my all-time favorite church service. Someone once asked me what my favorite Easter memory was… well… this is it. My Mom, my brother, and I would go together every year. Mom would lay out our clothes the night before. She would have our entire Easter ensemble laid out. This included our shoes and perfume/cologne. It would look like a walking outfit minus the human form of my brother and me. We would laugh at the silliness of those clothes lying in wait for us to jump into. Mom was very particular about how we looked on Easter Sunday. "Beth Ann… you better not scuff up those white patented leather shoes! And… make sure your little white gloves and embroidered hankie fit in that matching 3 inch by 4 inch white purse."

I loved flying the kite that you got in your Easter basket.

I love the Christian centered music of Easter.

I love breathing in the brisk spring air with the scent of newness of life as you leave your home for the church.

I love Easter afternoon walks in the woods to search for the wild crocus and the little green daffodil spikes.

I love beautiful flowers and flora dressed in colored foil pots on the front altar of the church.  The vibrant colors, the delicate blooms, and the perfect petals of each spring flower designed by their Creator. The amazing aroma and tantalizing fragrance that is unique to Easter Sunday Morning.

Then there is… the Bride of Christ, His people, His Love, the glorious Church that He gave His life for. She never looks more beautiful than She does at Easter.

Have a blessed Easter.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Jesus Is Our Cheat Sheet

Steve Winger from Lubbock, Texas, writes about his last college test, a final in a logic class known for its difficult exams:
To help us on our test, the professor told us we could bring as much information to the exam as we could fit on a piece of notebook paper. Most students crammed as many facts as possible on their 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper. But one student walked into class, put a piece of notebook paper on the floor, and had an advanced logic student stand on the paper.

The advanced logic student told him everything he needed to know. He was the only student to receive an "A." The ultimate final exam will come when we stand before God and he asks, "Why should I let you in?" On our own we cannot pass that exam. Our creative attempts to earn eternal life fall far short. But we have Someone who will stand in for us.

(Excerpted from Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 4)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Have you been giving some thought to what the new FBC Singles' Ministry should look like? Remember the second meeting will take place Thursday at 7:00 in the church fellowship hall.

Join us for food, fun and fellowship.

We will be playing some games together, so if you have a favorite board or card game, bring it. And we'll have some munchies on hand, but if you want to bring an appetizer or dessert to share that would be great, too.

To whet your appetite, here is a brain dump of a few of the ideas we've come up with so far for activities for the singles ministry.

[ ] Mission trips
[ ] Road trips!
[ ] Crawfish broil
[ ] Tall ships
[ ] honoring our couple events (fancy restaurant style)
[ ] kayaking/white water rafting
[ ] snow tubing
[ ] card games
[ ] mexican fiesta
[ ] ice cream afternoons
[ ] campfire fridays
[ ] hiking
[ ] crock pot freezer meal nights
[ ] war room prayer evenings
[ ] game nights
[ ] movie nights out or in somewhere
[ ] book reviews
[ ] bible study
[ ] coffee/ dessert
[ ] dinner
[ ] concerts
[ ] dinner concerts
[ ] escape room
[ ] canoeing
[ ] encouragement cards to teens/shut ins

If any of that sounds like something you could enjoy, then DON'T MISS THE MEETING!!!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Midweek Maneuvers

As is our custom at Friendship Bible Church, we will gather at 6:30 on Wednesday Evening for our prayer meeting. We do so in obedience to Scripture, which commands us to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

We do so also because we have learned from experience as well as study of the Scriptures that prayer brings power and success in our walk with Christ. Spurgeon said, "Much prayer, much power. Little prayer, little power. No prayer, NO POWER."

I wonder, have you joined us in prayer much, little, or not at all to date? Aim with us for MUCH POWER and join us at 6:30 Wednesday evening.

One additional note - there was a VBS planning session scheduled immediately following prayer meeting, but we need to cancel that for this week.

One even one more additional note for the singles out there - don't forget the second meeting of the FBC Single's Ministry is this Thursday, March 17, 7:00 PM in Fellowship Hall. Are you single… divorced… widowed? Then join us for food, fun, and fellowship.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Don't forget to set that clock ahead ONE HOUR this coming Saturday night! Not BACKWARDS… FORWARDS.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite verses from the Old Testament, a verse which reinforces what I believe is the default direction we should all be traveling in our walk with Jesus. Never backward… EVER FORWARD.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they GO FORWARD. (Exodus‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pay Attention To Your Own Game

This sermon was preached on March 6, 2016 at Friendship Bible Church.)

Read - Romans 14:1–13

Key Verse - Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Key Thought - Whether or not we agree with one another as Christians, we are to accept each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, for we are all on the same team, and we all answer to the same Master.


In Romans 12–13 Paul has been talking a lot about how we interact with others, both believers and unbelievers. Here in chapter 14 his focus narrows to believers. He answers some questions for us here which are quite timely. How should a Christian react toward other Christians who have a different set of standards than they do? What if I think it's perfectly ok for a believer to participate in a particular activity, but you think it's not. How should you react toward me? How should I behave toward you?

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Paul is discussing not just Christians who hold to a different set of standards, but rather Christians who are at different levels of maturity in their Christian walk. If I were to look around the congregation in most any Bible believing church, I would find some who had been saved many years, and some who had been saved only weeks or months. I would find some who were faithful to reading their Bible and had a vibrant prayer life, and some who never opened their Bible. I would find some who are growing in their faith and some who are stagnant in their faith. I would find some who are mature and some who are babies. It is this diversity amongst believers that Paul addresses in this chapter. And he is specifically aiming his comments at those who are the more mature in their faith.

This is the last major issue that Paul addresses in Romans. Once he finishes this section he will talk a bit about his future plans in the last part of chapter 15 and conclude with a long series of personal comments in chapter 16.

He makes two main points here, I think, both of which address the issue - how do I relate to other Christians, especially those who are less mature in the faith than I am? In the first half of the chapter he says the mature believer needs to pay attention to his own game. And then in the second half of the chapter he adds a little tension to that argument by pointing out that the mature believer also needs to be concerned about the others' game. Let's examine the first thought in this study.

Accept Them

Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

The ESV puts it like this, As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬) And the NIV like this, Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

This opening verse is the theme verse for this entire section, which spans Romans 14:1–15:13. You will recall that Romans* can be divided into two major sections, with chapters 1–11 being primarily doctrinal in nature, and chapters 12–16 being primarily practical in nature. Paul will spend more time on the topic he addresses in our text than on any other topic he's discussed in this practical half of the letter.

Receive one who is weak in the faith…

Accept him.

We are all different. Thank God for that. We are not clones. Look around the room in any church gathering and that becomes clear. We are all different. And with those differences come some marvelous positives. Some can sing and lead us in worship. Some can preach and teach us the truths of God's glorious Word. Some are mechanically apt and keep the heat and air conditioning flowing. Some are fastidious and keep the Lord's house clean. Some are creative and make it beautiful. Some are outwardly evangelistic and help keep the seats full. Some are quietly prayerful and their contribution may only fully be appreciated in eternity. We are all different.

Yet along with all the positive things that accompany such diversity, there are also problems. While we tend to praise God for the gifts others bring, we also have an annoying and sinful tendency to disapprove of things in others with which we disagree. We may accept them, but with conditions. We want them to be like us, to worship like us, to pray like us, to dress like us, to sing like us, to read the same Bible version we do, and to conduct their Christian life just like we do. When they do not, our lips curl and the acceptance becomes strained.

In his commentary on Romans, Boice tells some things about my favorite preacher Charles Spurgeon, and uses those vignettes to remind us that we are all different, yet as believers in the same Savior, all accepted in the beloved:

Charles Spurgeon was the greatest preacher of his age, but he was frequently criticized for being funny. When one woman objected to the humor he inserted into his sermons Spurgeon told her, "Madam, you would think a great deal better of me if you knew the funny things I kept out." Spurgeon was a character. A young man asked what he should do about a box of cigars he had been given. Spurgeon solved his problem. "Give them to me," he said, "and I will smoke them to the glory of God." On another occasion Spurgeon was criticized for traveling to meetings in a first class railway carriage. His antagonist said, "Mr. Spurgeon, what are you doing up here? I am riding back there in the third class carriage taking care of the Lord's money." Spurgeon replied, "And I am up here in the first class carriage taking care of the Lord's servant."^[Boice, James Montgomery, "Romans, Volume 4: The New Humanity (Romans 12–16): An Expositional Commentary"]

Differences. This is the issue Paul addresses in this section. He is talking to two classes of Christians here. One group he refers to as "strong" and the other as "weak" or "weaker". And in describing theses two groups he draws upon two issues that were apparently a concern in the church at Rome.

The first issue is seen in vss. 2–3 and has to do with variations in diet that were apparently a concern to some. Apparently some believed they needed a vegetarian lifestyle as Christians. Now I'm not sure why, and Paul doesn't explain it here. it's possible that the scruples some felt in this matter related to the "meat offered to idols" issue described in 1 Corinthians 8, but we can't say for sure. It doesn't really matter why some had this concern though. Paul's point was not to discuss the merit of the issue, but rather to simply point out that it existed. Some struggled with scruples related to diet.

And his command was clear - regardless where you fall on this issue, Christian, accept those other Christians who might fall on the other side of it. If you are the "strong" Christian who knows that our faith has nothing to do with food and drink, don't look down on the scruples of the "weaker" ones who do. And if you are the "weaker" Christian who has not yet come to grips with the grace of God in areas such as this, don't judge the "stronger" Christian who has.

Another example Paul gives is the observance or lack of observing certain days. He turns his attention to that issue in vss. 5–8. As with the eating of meat - it is merely an example of Paul's larger point, and he doesn't go into detail explaining it. There were those who were the "stronger" believers, understanding that our faith is not determined by rigid observance of feasts and holy day observances which were hold overs from Old Testament Judaism. And there were "weaker" believers who still felt the pull of those religious requirements.

These were two examples Paul shared. You can probably think of many that are more relevant to us today. But here's the thing - regardless of the issue, and regardless of whether you fall on the "strong" side or the "weak" side of it, you are to receive and accept those whose understanding of it differs from your own. Romans 14:1 is an imperative… a command. It is the theme of the rest of chapter 14 and half of chapter 15, and it applies to all of us regardless of whether we think ourselves "weak" or "strong".

Now let me point out a couple reasons Paul gives for this instruction.

Accept Them Because God Has Accepted Them

Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. (Romans‬ ‭14:3–4‬ ‭NKJV‬)

You probably ought to circle that phrase God has received him in your Bible.

One reason for receiving others, even if they have different scruples about things than us, is because God has received them. Who are we to not receive one whom God has received?

I suppose one of the hardest things for us to get our minds around as we consider another Christian is this - they don't work for you. They don't work for me. We all answer to the same King, and to Him alone. Other Christians are not my servants, and they are not your servants. They, like you, serve the one King and Savior. Walvoord put it like this, "One Christian is not above another as his judge; all are equally under Christ, the Judge."^[Walvoord, John F., Zuck, Roy B., "The Bible Knowledge Commentary"]

So we are not to judge somebody whom God has already accepted, and who belongs to Him. Neither are we to think less of such because they have a differing set of scruples about things than we do. None of us answer to anybody else except God. If we all concentrated on pleasing Him and Him alone, every problem would cease!

In the Disney movie, "Miracle", about the 1980 Olympic hockey team, there is a scene where one of the players is concerned about the performance of a teammate. Coach Herb Brooks fixes a stern gaze on the complainant and barks, "You worry about your own game. There's plenty there to keep you busy."

This could be the theme of this first part of chapter 14. Christian, you worry about your own game. Don't waste time judging or looking down on another whose game you think inferior to your own. Why? Because the same God who put you on the team put that person on the team. So we are to accept them, because God has accepted them.

We are all on the same team. I recently picked up a copy of Erwin Lutzer's book entitled "One Minute After You Die" and I can't wait to read it. Jesus gave us a glimpse into that minute in Luke 16 with the the story of the rich man (who was in hell one minute after he died) and Lazarus (who was in paradise one minute after he died.) In that story Jesus described the "great gulf" that exists between the lost and the saved in eternity. That's the divide… that's the gulf. It exists between the lost and the saved. There is no gulf between the saved and the saved, but sadly we want to put it there sometimes, don't we? But we are all on the same team.

Now an important distinction needs made here, and if we don't see it we could go far astray in interpreting this passage. Paul is talking here to people who ARE on the same team - Christians striving wholeheartedly to serve the King. He is not concerned here with unbelievers, nor is he concerned with unrepentant or nominal Christians wrestling with sin. The assumption that ties everything together in this section is that all concerned are genuine Christians serious about their walk with Christ.

I think this point comes out clearly in vss. 5–8. Notice Paul's use of the phrase to the Lord. He uses it six times in this section. He is not talking about worldly believers here who just ignore the demands of Scripture and live a worldly lifestyle. He's not talking about those who refuse to repent of their sin and live separated lives for Christ. He's talking about Christians who are genuinely trying to the best of their ability to live for Christ. And we are to receive such, for we are all striving in the same way to serve the same Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. (‭Romans‬ ‭14:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

That point is key to understanding vs. 5 - Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. Paul is not in the slightest agreeing with the "everything is relative" mindset that permeates our own age. He is not saying that truth is what you want it to be. He is not freeing you up to design your own God or fabricate your own method of getting to heaven. He is applying that phrase narrowly and only to those who are striving genuinely to serve Christ. Moule puts it like this, "The individualism of Rom. 14… is the holy and healthful thing it is because it is Christian. It is developed not by the assertion of self, but by individual communion with Christ."^[Moule, H.C.G., "The Epistle To The Romans"]

And so another reason for receiving others, even if they have different scruples about things than us, is because they are striving to serve Christ just as we are. He has accepted them on the team. We are all on the same team.

Another illustration from the movie "Miracle" is helpful here. The 1980 Olympic hockey team was comprised of members from various elite college hockey teams from around the country. When the men assembled for the first time as a team, they found themselves suddenly teammates with men that were opponents in college. Throughout the early days of their preparation for the olympics, these old rivalries were a problem, constantly surfacing and contributing to a general disunity in the team. Coach Herb Brooks solved it in a particularly memorable way. After they had lost a scrimmage precisely because they weren't playing as a team, Brooks refused to let the worn out men head to the locker room, but instead made them line up and race back and forth between the baselines. Over and over he would say "again" and force the exhausted men to race from one end of the court to the other. Periodically he would stop them and ask one of them, "Who do you play for?" And the answer would come back from each man, naming his college. "I play for Boston University" or "Minnesota" or "Bowling Green." Brooks would hear these responses and the whistle would blow and he would yell "again" sending the men once again from end to end of the court. This went on for what seemed hours. The men were barely able to stand and were to the end of their rope when finally, in response to the repeated question "who do you play for", Mike Eruzione of Boston U said, "I play for the United States of America." And, satisfied that somebody finally got the answer right, Brooks let them crawl to the locker room.

Brothers and Sisters, we may have differences, and we may be at different levels of maturity in our walk with Christ, but we are all striving to serve the same King. He has accepted us, and we are all on the same team.

Accept Them Because We All Will Answer To The Same Judge

Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. (Romans‬ ‭14:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: " As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:10–12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

There are a couple more phrases you might want to circle in your Bible - who are you and we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

It is not our responsibility to judge other Christians. That is reserved for the Judgement Seat of Christ, where every Christian will give a reckoning.

There are several judgements mentioned in Scripture. One is the great white throne judgement mentioned in Revelation 20:11–15. It is a judgement not for Christians, but rather only for those who never became Christians. If you are in that number, and keep putting off believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, refusing to call on Him and receive the gift of salvation He offers you, then you will experience the great white throne judgement. The only verdict that will be pronounced there is "guilty", and the only sentence will be hell, forever. If that is the judgement you face, then you will be without hope, forever.

But the judgement mentioned in our text is different. Paul refers here to the Judgement seat of Christ, a judgement that is not for the lost, but only for the saved. This event is also mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:9–11, 1 Corinthians 3:12–15, 4:4–5. This judgement is not about salvation (If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:15 NKJV)), for as Christians our sin was judged on the cross. We learned in Romans 8:1 that there is no further judgment regarding sin. But that doesn't change the reality that we will all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account of how we have lived for Him. Believers who have trifled away their walk with Christ on this earth will experience loss. I don't know what that means but I don't want to find out either. Paul said knowledge of this event motivated him greatly. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. (2 Corinthians 5:11). I've heard people preach that there will only be rewards at the judgement seat of Christ. Nothing negative will happen there, and everyone will walk away rewarded in some way. But I don't get how they reconcile that teaching with some of Paul's words about it… words like terror and loss.

Now I don't think for a minute that we as believers should dread standing before Christ. I can't wait for the day.

What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see.
When I look upon His face, the One Who saved me by His grace.
When He takes me by the hand, and leads me through the promised land.
What a day! Glorious day! That will be!

No, I don't want to give you the impression, Christian, that you need to fear it. There can be nothing more worth looking forward to than that moment when we meet the King. But you also need to remember that there will be a moment there when He looks at you good and hard and demands an accounting of you. Are you ready for that? What will you have to say for yourself when you stand before the judgement seat of Christ?

I think Moule's words are helpful in contemplating the judgement seat of Christ:

They have been justified by faith. They have been united to their glorious Head. They "shall be saved" (1 Cor. 3:15), whatever be the fate of their "work." But what will their Lord say of their work? What have they done for Him, in labour, in witness, and above all in character? He will tell them what He thinks. He will be infinitely kind; but He will not flatter. And somehow, surely,—"it doth not yet appear" how, but somehow—eternity, even the eternity of salvation, will bear the impress of that award, the impress of the past of service, estimated by the King. "What shall the harvest be?" And all this shall take place (this is the special emphasis of the prospect here) with a solemn individuality of enquiry. "Every one of us—for himself—shall give account."^[Moule, H.C.G., "The Epistle To The Romans"]

That judgement seat of Christ should certainly motivate us toward a life dedicated to servng Christ, but should also motivate us to receive and accept other Christians, even when they serve Him differently than we do. We need not worry about that. We can accept them because they, like us, will give an account on that soon coming day. And then, with them as with us, the Savior will make everything right.


Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Are there other Christians that live according to a different set of scruples than you do, Brother? Sister? if so, Paul's word for you is clear. Receive them. Accept them. And do it because God has accepted them, and will one day soon judge both them and you.

I attended the Men's Conference yesterday with brothers Don and Tim. It was great, and I wish more men in our church would make a priority of such things.

The preaching was phenomenal.

But then there was the music.

I'm a firm believer in blended worship. We sing a mix of old hymns and new hymns and choruses. We have a praise team and a praise band, but their role is never to perform, but rather to assist you in worshipping God through song. Some musicians forget this, or simply reject it. They consider themselves performers and the song service becomes a concert. Many churches today have chosen to have a concert rather than congregational singing. They still call it worship, but I struggle with that.

Yesterday's music fell into this latter category. The percussion and band were so loud that you could barely hear the words. The choice of songs seemed more about showcasing the worship leader than encouraging group singing. As a matter of fact, as I looked around the room during several of the songs, nearly everyone was standing and not singing… as you would at a concert rather than a worship service.

Now I have to confess that I didn't like it at all. Actually, I hated it. To me it was ugly, and gaudy and anything but worship. I stood there with my arms folded, steaming about it. I remember the thought going through my mind, if Amy or Beth or Larry or Alaina or Josh or Jeff ever try to turn our worship service into this, they will be looking for a new gig. If they ever confuse worship with performance, we will have a problem. If they ever think for a minute the song service is somehow about them… about showcasing their talents, then fur is gonna fly. (Let me hasten to add here that I know their hearts and that will never happen. God has blessed us with godly and talented musicians who have it right.)

But yeah… That's what I was thinking as I stood there listening to that music.

And then the Lord reminded me what I was preaching today. Receive them. I watched the intensifying gyrations and struggled with that. God has received him. Who are you to judge another's servant? (‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:3–4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) I looked again at the faces of the performers. And whatever else I saw there I saw people who love the same Lord I do. They are on the same team I play for. It didn't make me love their music,and it didn't make me accept the performance style of leading worship. But it helped me accept THEM. My brothers, and my sisters. The rest can be left to their master to sort out.

"Let's stop dumping on one another, and let's allow God to deal with each of his servants how, when, and as kindly as he will. And while we are at it, let's be thankful that he has dealt as kindly as he has with us. If he had not, we would all be in deep trouble."^[Boice, James Montgomery, "Romans, Volume 4: The New Humanity (Romans 12–16): An Expositional Commentary"]

What about you, Christian? Do you struggle to accept those whose scruples and level of maturity differs from your own? Some need to kneel here and pray for forgiveness for that unaccepting heart, and ask for help to live out Romans 14:1.