Tuesday, December 26, 2006
I hope you have had a great Christmas. It has been a good day around the Dear house. Christmas gifts were opened (and the girls were very pleased), the ham was eaten... We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and the girls blew out the candles on a birthday cake. (Donna put three candles on the cake and said they stood for the Trinity. I threatened to pull out my theology books so she changed the explanation to "that is what is prettiest.") Emily quoted John 1:1-4 (thank you AWANA) and Hannah read the Christmas story from Luke. Then we played the rest of the day.
About 11:00 p.m. Emily started throwing up, hence why I am blogging at 4:00 a.m. Probably too much Christmas food.
I haven't put fingers-to-keyboard to blog lately, so I'll try to catch up with the goings on...
This past Sunday was neat. Everyone was definitely in the Christmas mood. We saw two people make professions of faith in and following our services. One in the morning, a lady who was invited to church by her neighbors several months ago. She had been very close to making this decision for a while. Pastor Wally had told me the day before that he thought it might happen Sunday and it did! The other person was an out of town guest, the father of one of the men in our church. He, his wife, and his son asked to see me after the Christmas evening service. About a half hour later, in my study, he asked God to save him. It was one of those times when you feel like all of heaven is looking down and watching!
Walking backward in time... last Saturday was a fun day too. Our church had collected the names of just over 130 children who wouldn't receive anything for Christmas without help. So families in our church 'adopted' these children. We invited them and their parents to spend Saturday with us. We had a carnival for the kids while we helped the parents sneak the gifts to their cars, then we all sat down to a very nice ham dinner with all the fixings. At the dinner we gave gifts to all of the parents. It was an example of the true Christmas spirit. Everyone had a blast, those who were receiving help and those who were helping. I was so proud of our church. All together, we gave over 1,000 gifts that day and fed who-knows how many people.
It hurts my head to try to think further back in time...
The week before we unanimously approved the 2007 church budget. (That always makes the holidays brighter for a pastor.) And we pledged over $113,000 in our second annual capital campaign!
Vacation was good. We went to Disney World, so it wasn't exactly restful, but it was good.
By the way, an update for those of you who had been praying for me and my 'ear situation.' (For most of you who didn't know, I have this ear problem when I fly. I've had it about seven or eight years. In the first 15-20 minutes of flight my eustachian tubes blow up like balloons and hurt so bad I almost want to die. It has even caused me to lose consciousness once. I have been to doctors numerous times and tried all kinds of weird remedies to no avail.) I had a little minor surgery a few days before my Disney trip. The doctor gave it a 50-50 chance of working. I got on the plane with fear and trembling. We took off. I waited for the sharp pain to hit. Nothing happened. Nothing at all! It was wonderful! I will probably have to repeat this surgery every two to three years, but I will gladly do so if that is what it takes. Thanks for your prayers!
Well, it's almost 4:30 a.m. Emily hasn't gotten sick again, but I hear her talking in her sleep.
It is supposed to snow this morning. I wonder if it has started yet.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Today I have been trying to wrap up sermon preparations for December 10 since I'm heading out of town on vacation after lunch!!!
I ran across this paragraph while reading a sermon by the great preacher of the 1800's, Charles Spurgeon. I'm probably going to read a cut down version of this in my message on 12/10, but for those who read my blog, I want you to read the whole paragraph. This is great!
Just think for a moment, how much interest clusters round the life of an old man. Those of us who are but as children in years, look up to him with wonder and astonishment, as he tells us the varied stories of the experience through which he has passed; but what is the life of an aged man—how brief it appears when compared with the life of the tree that shelters him. It existed long before that old man's father crept a helpless infant into the world. How many storms have swept over its brow! how many kings have come and gone! how many empires have risen and fallen since that old oak was slumbering in its acorn cradle! But what is the life of the tree compared with the soil on which it grows? What a wonderful story that soil might tell! What changes it has passed through in all the eras of time that have elapsed since "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." There is a wonderful story connected with every atom of black mould which furnishes the nourishment of the oak. But whilst is the history of that soil compared with the marvellous history of the rock on which it rests—the cliff on which it lifts its head. Oh! what stories might it tell, what records lie hidden in its bowels. Perhaps it could tell the story of the time when "the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the earth." Perhaps it might speak and tell us of those days when the morning and the evening were the first day, and the morning and the evening were the second day, and could explain to us the mysteries of how God made this marvellous piece of miracle,—the world. But what is the history of the cliff, compared with that of the sea that rolls at its base—that deep blue ocean, over which a thousand navies have swept, without leaving a furrow Upon its brow! But what is the history of the sea, compared with the history of the heavens that are stretched like a curtain over that vast basin! What a history is that of the hosts of heaven—of the everlasting marches of the sun, moon, and stars! Who can tell their generation, or who can write their biography? But what is the history of the heavens, compared with the history of the angels? They could tell you of the day when they saw this world wrapped in swaddling bands of mist—when, like a newborn infant, the last of God's offspring, it came forth from him, and the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy. But what is the history of the angels that excel in strength, compared with the history of the Lord Jesus Christ? The angel is but of yesterday, and he knoweth nothing; Christ, the Eternal One, chargeth even his angels with folly, and looks upon them as his ministering spirits, that come and go at his good pleasure. Oh, Christians, gather with reverence and mysterious awe around the throne of him who is your great Redeemer; for "his name is called Wonderful," since he has existed before all things, and "by him all things were made; and without him was not anything made that was made."
Wasn't that worth reading!
Monday, November 13, 2006
We had a good Sunday yesterday. Next week will be a very important week. Keep the commitments of the church in your prayers.
I had my regular Monday morning breakfast with Pastor Tim from Northside Baptist. He is a good encourager.
The rest of the day was pretty normal. We are doing some mini dramas to kick off the three messages prior to Christmas. I got those dramas outlined this morning as well as the synopsis of the messages. I'm looking forward to Christmas this year.
Upward Basketball evaluations were tonight. I'm thinking about trying to coach both of the girls teams this year. I don't know if that is being too involved in their stuff. I guess I can decide later this week.
Not much else to write about...
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
O.K. So Ohio has pretty much banned all smoking in public. I am not opposed to that, and I did vote in favor of the law that was approved. But I think the euphoria of some over that 'victory' perfectly illustrates the assinine logic and/or selfishness of many of my fellow Christian voters.
Here is what the smoking ban gives us according to the ads we've seen on television...
1. Healthier environments (for those who survive the womb).
2. Safer public spaces for our children (at least the ones who weren't aborted).
3. Better prenatal health (so people can abort healthier babies).
My point is... People didn't vote to ban smoking because they gave one rip about the health of children and pregnant women. They voted to ban smoking because they don't like to be bothered by the smell.
Well, me neither. I'm just sorry that abortions don't stink.
Let's be truthful... because abortion, which I am told is almost always detrimental to the health of the aborted child, doesn't affect us personally or financially or nasally, we don't care. It's all about us. It's all about what we want. Let us stop trying to fool ourselves into thinking we care about the health of children.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
It's a bad night...
It's a bad night if you believe that life is valuable. It's a bad night if you believe that children shouldn't be killed regardless of their age. It's a bad night if you believe that it might be wrong to partially deliver a baby and then kill it. It's a bad night if you believe every life is created in the image of God. It's a really bad night if you happen to be an unborn baby who doesn't want to die a violent death before you draw your first breath.
Why is it such a bad night? Because my fellow Ohioans have just elected a man for U.S. Senate, Sherrod Brown, who publically and proudly stands for legalized abortion, partial birth abortion, and for choosing judges who think it is wrong to allow the American people to decide these issues in a democratic or representative fashion.
(And I'm not even going to comment on his support of same sex marriage.)
I have heard all of the arguments about how this is better for our economy, for jobs in Ohio, for education, for health care, for seniors. Those issues are debatable, but one thing is not: If you abort a child, the child is dead. He doesn't need a job. She doesn't need healthcare. The economy is a non factor. Sure, I would like more money, cheaper healthcare, and a stronger economy, but I would trade all of those to save the life of an unborn child. I may be selfish, but I'm not that selfish.
So it is just a bad night. Don't try to cheer me up, it won't work.
To the critics who will want to email me... don't. As a non-aborted, living, American, I am allowed to have my opinions and to express them. When something is wrong, I can say so. I haven't endorsed a candidate for any race, but I have stood on certain moral, ethical, and biblical issues that supercede geography, time, and political perspectives, and I have done so proudly. It is too late to abort me. Sorry you missed the chance. So for long as I live I will not back down from expressing my belief that all life is valuable.
Sunday, November 5, 2006
We had a pretty good day today. Three people baptized this morning. A lady named Angela made a profession of faith following the evening service!
Fairly busy week ahead...
I'll try to blog...
Thursday, October 26, 2006
My email address is: n-o-e-l-@-t-h-e-d-e-a-r-s-.-n-e-t (remove the -'s)
Me: Does Sherrod Brown support a women's right to choose abortion?
Sherrod Brown's Representative: Yes, he does.
Me: If Sherrod Brown were in the senate, would he support a ban on partial birth abortions?
Sherrod Brown's Representative: No, he would not.
Me: Does Sherrod Brown support laws allowing for homosexual marriage?
Sherrod Brown's Representative: Sherrod Brown believes everyone should have an equal right to earn a living.
Me: So, does he support laws allowing for homosexual marriage?
Sherrod Brown's Representative: I think I have answered that question.
Me: With all due respect, mam, you haven't answered the question.
Sherrod Brown's Representative: Sir, somethings aren't as simple as yes or no.
Me: But some things are. If Mr. Brown were my senator, there would be times when he would have to vote yes or no, that is how voting works. So if the question on the floor were to legalize homosexual marriage would he vote yes or no?
Sherrod Brown's Representative: We don't want to answer that question.
Me: Do you mean Mr. Brown hasn't decided or that it is a secret?
Sherrod Brown's Representative: Sherrod Brown supports the right of everyone to earn a living. Good bye. Click.
To be fair, I'll call the other candidate's office soon with the same questions and report the answers here, but I've got to go take some blood pressure medicine first.
P.S. If there is anything the Sherrod Brown campaign would like to add to this subject, or if they have further answers to these questions, I will be more than happy to post their reply to my blog.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The family is watching the show. I'm bored to death, so I thought I would blog.
Today was a pretty normal day...
It started with a meeting with Bill, our chairman of deacons, who comes by early on Tuesday mornings for prayer.
Then a couple hours of studying for Sunday's morning message. (I'm preaching on the parable in Luke 16:1-9. I've never preached on this parable before and I'll bet you've never heard a message on this passage. It's fun to study something new.)
The rest of the day was devoted to two appointments and a ton of work on next year's budget (final numbers are due to finance team tomorrow evening).
I made a few phone calls before I came home for a family night of 'Dancing With The Stars.' Donna made pecan chicken tonight, and the girls are working on a song and dance to 'perform' for me and Donna tonight.
Donna wants me to hang a bulletin board in the school room before I go to bed. I don't want to. Should I wait and see if she forgets or go on and do it?
I saw on the news tonight that many of the communities around our area are sending the police out and locking up all of the child sex predators for 'beggars night.' What is the world coming to when we have to have a child molester round-up before we can let children walk up and down the streets? Please understand, I am not against what the police are doing, in fact, if they have any serious concerns about these individuals being repeat offenders, I wish they would just keep them locked up, but I think it says something about how much our society has detiorated.
I know that is a pretty sudden change of subject, but the news cast has just stuck me in an odd way.
Well, my six year old laptop has gotten so hot it is burning my legs through a lap desk, (I've got to get a new laptop) so I better turn it off before it catches on fire.
For my readers below the Mason-Dixon line... beggars night is what you call halloween.
Monday, October 23, 2006
We had six people join the church by letter and three more come to share that they had made a profession of faith in the previous week (and one more in the evening service).
I just finished my weekly breakfast with Pastor Tim Carr from Northside Baptist Church. He is working hard to help us get ready for upward this year. Keep that ministry in your prayers. On our end Todd Wellman and Pastor Jeff are heading things up. Pray for them, too.
More later this week...
Pastor Noel Dear
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I've been doing a lot of griping to my friends and family these past couple of weeks, but God has helped me see things in perspective this morning. Life is good!
I'm home alone; Donna has gone to pick up the kids. They stayed with some friends last night so that Donna and I could go on a date. The date was paid for by my bank. It seems that they didn't think things through when they developed their rewards point system for their atm & credit cards. I thought I had lost a card a few weeks ago. The bank immediately re-issued cards; I called to tell them I had found my card, and for some reason they then re-issued cards again. Then they gave me 5,000 rewards points for each of those new cards for each time they issued them. WOW! I may start losing a card once a month :). So thank you to National City Bank, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, and my wonderful wife for a great night last night.
My girls just got home. Emily made me a camelion out of yellow and red clay. They are wanting me to carry them to pick apples at an orchard nearby.
As I said, "better than I deserve."
College Gameday is on television. They just predicted that Tennessee will beat Alabama! (I am winning the Yahoo college football pick'um contest with the guys at church. Not to rub it in or anything...)
Donna is making me a cheesecake.
My sermons are done for Sunday.
It looks like we're going to have at least one more Saturday where it is warm enough to spend time outside.
The grass doesn't need cutting.
Nothing seperates me from the love of God!
Better than I deserve... Noel Dear
Monday, October 16, 2006
Last night was inspiring. Michael and Jonathon George shared about their recent mission trip to Kenya. I got teary eyed when I saw the video of Michael and Pastor Fredrick sharing 'the cross diagram' in Swahili. The thought all of those Christians in Kenya sharing the gospel with their Muslim neighbors the same way we share the gospel here in Licking County is neat.
If you weren't present at the service you missed a treat. Michael shared one story that he had shared with me the previous week about a devout Muslim that he had shared his testimony with in 2003. When Michael arrived at the Kenyan church two weeks ago, one of the first people he saw was that formerly Muslim man, who has now been an active servant in the Christian church for three years. Michael also shared that at least one of the man's close relatives had also been saved.
I don't know about everyone else in the evening service, but I was ready to fly to Kenya right then!
Busy week as usual around here. I'll try to keep you posted.
Friday, October 13, 2006
I guess that sounds crass. Sorry.
But as the old sermon goes... It's Friday; but Sunday's Coming!
I'm looking forward to Sunday. Sunday morning I am preaching on the "Secret To Getting Your Prayers Answered" from James 5. I am looking forward to preaching this sermon because I've seen it play out in my life these past five days. When we know the secret to getting our prayers answered and then pray, God responds. Isn't it great that we serve such a powerful and caring God.
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
What has been going on...
We had good services Sunday. Two adults made professions of faith in our morning service. I'm told that the youth had a very good worship service Sunday evening.
I met with the AWANA leaders this past Sunday evening. I am so impressed with that ministry and the leaders God has given us. We are reaching a number of families we would not be able to reach in any other way. I hope you pray often for that ministry.
The first administrative meeting for this season of Upward Basketball took place last night. I'm told everything is coming together. The growth of that ministry is so encouraging. The leaders are searching for two more practice facilities just to accomodate all of the teams.
The senior adults got off to Lancaster, PA this morning for their trip. (It was in Lancaster that the Amish children were killed yesterday in the school shootings.) Be in prayer for their safe return.
It was good to have our Ukraine mission team back in service Sunday. The Kenya team returns tomorrow.
It seems like it is 90 degrees in my house. Am I still living in Ohio. I was wearing a coat two weeks ago. What is the meaning of this?
Dancing with the Stars is still on. Some couple is getting a bad review for their dance. I'm hoping they get frustrated and just cancel the show. Why isn't there college football on Tuesday evenings?
This Sunday morning we will be continuing our series of messages on 'The Secrets to Good Living.' Our SECRET this week will be 'How to Get Along with Others' from Ephesians 4:29-33. (I may be wrong about the end verse, I don't remember.)
This Sunday evening our mission teams will be sharing about their trips.
Well, I better get back to the tv show. They are dancing the waltz.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
We had a couple of good visits yesterday with some folks in Gorlovka. It is about 40 miles from Donetsk. The church there is starting bible studies in the around the area. There is one man, Valery, who is just a lay leader in the church who is doing all of this outreach. The first home we met in was Lillians. She is a believer and member of the church, but her husband is not. Alexander is his name. Alexander is retired from the coal mines and has had a very rough life. He is very close to accepting Christ. We spent about 2 hours at their home yesterday. Their son, Igor, is 15 and is in 10th grade. Alexander was very open to our visit and sharing of the gospel. After we left, Lillian told us that she thought he would get saved if she had not been there. He said he believes all of the things we were saying, but he thinks he must clean his life up first, then come to Jesus. I shared about how a coal miner is dirty on the outside and how we can wash that, but Jesus wants to clean the inside first. Both Steve and Hui Cha shared their testimonies and the power of the Holy Spirit indeed worked through them. Then Lillian asked me to preach for them. What do you say? No I can't preach here. Absolutely not, so I shared from John 14:1-6. We went prayer walking through the market and village area. There were bars, apartment buildings, a hospital, many, many people. We were supposed to lead a bible study at Valentina's home, but only Lillian and Valentina, who is Valery's mother, were there. Valentina reminded me a lot of my Grandma Moore. She dug out a whole box full of pictures after I showed her the ones of Kim and kids. Valentina is a new believer as well. She was saved as a result of the group from FBC Heath that came 2 years ago. She was baptized this summer and we got to see pictures of that. That helped me to see that even though we may not see someone get saved while we are here, the work we are doing is still a part of God's process in drawing lives unto Himself!! We will keep praying for those whom we have met. We will go to Gorlovka today and then to the train station tonight for the overnight to Kiev. Our flight leaves Kiev tomorrow at whatever time. Please pray for great timing and connections.
The Ukraine team returns Wednesday night.
Monday, September 25, 2006
We are up, but I am going a little slow. I did not sleep well last night, although Steve and Wally said I snored very loudly last night. My nose is stopped up a lot. There were mosquitos bothering us in our room. It is weird that the lows at night are in the uper 50's but still mosquitos. There are not many, maybe just one or two, but it has been 6 years since fighting mosquitos at night.
We are going to Gorlovka today and Kent will pick us up at 9:45am. Yesterday was a great day as we had church service at the beach by the river. There were 27 people there. Kent said they had been averaging 10 people for church. If you don't include our group of 6, there were 21 from Donetsk. Five came as a result of our English conversations on Friday night and Saturday. The girl, Masha, that I had been talking to on Friday and Saturday came to church, which really surprised me. She is not a believer, but is really seeking. She asked a ton of questions of me and then many more of another Ukraine girl yesterday. Just keep praying that she will be saved.
Everyone in the group is doing well. We went to have pizza with the couple who is next door to where we are staying. They are from Russia, but he is studying at DCU. He will finish in May 07 and will go back to Russia to work in a prison ministry. In the area where they will live, there are 10 prisons with a total of 20,000 inmates. He is a former inmate. He said he was in for 4 years, got out for 6 months, and then went back in for 4 years. He got saved while in the second term. His name is Andrew and his wife is Tonya. They have 3 children Oksana, Abel, and Andrew (small). They say "small" and didn't know anything about "junior" when we asked them. Their ages are 14, 6, and 4.
They live in a two room apartment with a small bathroom. Here at DCU there is one kitchen on each floor that everyone shares. So, approx. 8 families have to use the one kitchen. Ukraine is very poor. The average wage for a business person is $300 a month. The DCU is having financial difficulty because they have relied so heavily on Western (american) money donations, and have not been self supporting in some way. Then when the partnerships end, they just stop what they are doing right in the middle. There doesn't seem to be any long-term planning. There is a building here on campus that is a shell. It was started and then the money stopped, it hasn't been worked on for over a year.
The children's playground is falling apart, because there is no money to replace the boards that are rotten. It looks very dangerous, but the children still play on it. The parents here, just let their children run free and don't even check on them to see where they are. I am talking 3 or 4 year olds too.
We will be going to the train station tomorrow night (Tues.) at 7pm. Then take the overnight to Kiev. Our flight out of Kiev is then on Wed. I can't wait to be home.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Good morning to everyone. First let me say thank you for praying each day for my trip. The flights were long, but we had little problem with the plane connections and timing. We were met by two Ukrainians in Kiev, one a pastor and another a believer. They picked us up at the airport in Kiev and showed us around the city, took us to eat at TGIFridays (the only american restaurant we saw) and then to the train station. The traffic in the city was horrendous. We finally were dropped off at the station but became very worried when our Ukrainian guide started running through the terminal towards the correct train. Of course all of us tried to keep up with him even with all of our baggage. He found the correct train from Kiev to Donetsk. We boarded the train and about 3 minutes later, it began rolling. There would have been no way to make it without his help. We were met at the train station in Donetsk by a Ukrainian couple, Sosha and Etna. Since the cars are very small here, and we had much luggage, we had to take three taxis to where we are staying in dorm rooms at Donetsk Christian University (DCU). Pastor Wally had a really bad taxi driver, but the rest of us were doing ok. On thursday we went to two locations, a social center (boarding/foster care facility) and an orphanage. The foster care facility is for children who have parents but have been neglected/abused. Different than America where we have many foster care families. This is more like one big facility with a few workers. It was very sad to see these children in both facilities that no one really cares about. The head master said that many of the girls who get older and get out, go into prostitution. They can stay at the facility until they are 16. It was a tough day for me. On friday, we had lunch at McDonalds. much of the very same food. (i.e. 1/4 pounder, Big Mac, fries, Coke) Then came to Kent and Rachel McDowell, IMB missionaries, home. We had an English conversation night with many about 20 youth and young adults who are learning English. This is a good way (platform) to use to share the gospel. I talked specifically with Christina (a believer) and Maasha, a non-believer. We talked about American culture, customs, religions, holidays. The great thing is that you can use Christmas and Easter as a great way to share Jesus. Maasha said she was Orthidox, but was also influenced by Mormonism. Wow, what a mixture of beliefs. We came back to Kent's again on Saturday for more one-on-one conversations in English. I talked with a young man named Sosha who is 17. He has no church background and didn't even hear of Jesus Christ before. He was very receptive to hearing about Christmas and Easter meanings and the gospel. He did not pray to receive Christ, but now has been introduced to the King of Kings. Sosha's sister, Helen was also with us and Rachel, Kent's wife, shared with her. Helen, age 16, wants to be a gynecologist doctor who performs abortions. Kent told us that most Ukrainian women have had at least 2 abortions. Rachel explained God's plan for life and how that God knew us even before we were formed in the womb. Please pray that this young lady will see the spiritual, emotional, and physical realities of abortion. Please pray that both Sosha and Helen will see Jesus. On Sunday, we will meet at Kent and Rachel's home for church. They host a home church with about 8-10 people and are praying for continued growth. Then we will go to a park where we will show the Ukrainian people an American picnic, more time to share. On Monday and Tuesday we will go to another town, Gorlovka. We will meet with Val who is a church planter. We will do some home visits that he has arranged. Thank you for
your continued prayers for our team and for Kent and Rachel, their children Samuel and Tessa. We are seeing some positive conversations, but not a salvation yet. Have a great day in worship as we will worship 7 hours before you.
I'll keep posting information as it comes in.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Just to let you know we are still here. Plenty of stories to tell. Meeting tonight at Kent's house with some English students,most who are probably unsaved. Thanks for the prayers for my grandmother and your visit. All the team is doing well I hope things are going well at church. You can E mail here at Kent's or my Email if you need. See you in a few days. God Bless.
I'll try to also post a Kenya update today.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
we arrived in Donetsk at 7:15am on Thursday morning. Time is 7 hours later here than there. It is now, 7:00pm here. We had little trouble with the airlines, but almost missed the train due to our connection pastor in Kiev. Will explain more later. Most everyone, except Hui Cha, got some sleep on the train. We arrived at our place for lodging, Donetsk Christian University and got showers then went to lunch at McDonalds. Then to two locations, an orphanage and a social center (sort of like a foster care center) run by the same foundation. The children at the orphanage can be adopted, but the social center can not. We had some fun taking pictures of the kids and then showing them on the digital camera. We talked with the director and chairman of the foundation about special needs, sponsorship, ect. more about this when we get home. We then came back to the DCU and ate dinner at the dining hall. We are all looking forward to a good nights sleep.
God bless from Donetsk.
Pastor Jeff Moore
I'll keep you updated as I get more info.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I just got this email from missionary Kent McDowell who called me this morning to see if I knew the team's whereabouts . . . he woke me up from a deep sleep and when he introduced himself on the phone, I just started trembling!! It is good to know they are almost there. Just an overnight 12-hour train ride to go that should depart at 1 pm our time today. I am curious to know what delayed them in customs . . . was it all Jeff's junk food he took??
Here is the email Kim received from Kent, who is our missionary contact in the Ukraine...
I just wanted to let you know that I was able to track the team down. They arrived in Kiev nearly on schedule. They had some issues getting through customs, but everything has gone fine otherwise.
They will catch the train to Donetsk later today.
If you would like to read more on the missions work in the Ukraine and in the city of Donetsk that they will be involved with visit http://www.hope4donetsk.org/ .
More info to come.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I am excited about the mission teams heading to Ukraine and Kenya this week. It was good to be able to come together as a church tonight and pray for the teams. It was very encouraging to see so many teens come across from their worship time to pray with the three youth as well as the adults who are going on the trips.
A friend from Anniston, AL, Shane Ferguson, who is training at one of the Ohio Honda plants, visited our service this morning. It was good to see someone from our old stomping grounds.
It's a busy week, as usual. Keep our mission teams in your prayers!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
- The Secret to Beating Temptation (September 17)
- The Secret to Getting Out of Debt (September 24)
- The Secret to Knowing You’re Saved (October 1)
- The Secret to Getting Along with Others (October 8)
- The Secret to Getting Your Prayers Answered (October 15)
- The Secret to Surviving a Tragedy (October 22)
This Sunday night we will be in Matthew 25 for Part V of "The Return of Christ."
I hope to see you all Sunday (my Ohio readers, anyway).
Someone emailed and asked why I never put pictures of my family on the blog. Visit my family page done by Donna and Hannah for pictures: http://dearshomescool.blogspot.com/ .
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I want to say thanks to all those who worked so hard putting together our 9/11 weekend for honoring the First Responders in our community. I appreciate Pastor Wally's leadership and vision to make this happen. We have had so many good comments from First Responders about how much they appreciated what we did. I was very proud of our church this weekend!
Yesterday I spoke at a funeral for Darwin Brown. Mr. Brown was a back-up quarterback to Bart Starr at the University of Alabama many years ago. It is amazing how many connections back to Alabama I bump into each week. We had a couple visit our worship service this past Sunday that had just moved from Birmingham, AL, and one of the families attending tonight's New Member Class just moved from Montgomery, AL.
This coming Sunday we will begin a six week series of messages on "The Secrets to Good Living." Be in prayer as all of this comes together.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Today is the day of our monthly 6:00 a.m. leadership meeting here at the church. Who in their right mind would plan a meeting for six in the morning? What kind of hair brain would try to get people together an hour before the sun comes up? O.K. I did it, but it makes me feel better to blame it on someone else.
I mentioned in yesterday's blog that I would post my study notes on the question, "Does God Hear The Prayers of the Lost?" Here it goes... Let me know if you agree or disagree with my conclusions.
Does God Hear the Prayers of those Who Aren’t Saved?
Yes and No...
Let’s see the Bible Facts...
I. God hears everything and is omniscient.
- 1 John 3:20, ... God ... knows all things.
II. The Bible gives instances where God has answered the prayers of those who are not saved.
- Acts 10:31, ...and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.
- Acts 11:14, ...who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.
- 1 Kings 21:25-29, But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, "See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house."
III. Children are certainly heard from in the Throne Room of God.
- Matthew 19:14, But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
- Matthew 18:10, Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
- Matthew 21:15-16, But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant and said to Him, "Do You hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes. Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise'?"
IV. The Bible teaches that God is unlikely to hear the prayers of the wicked and sinful.
- Proverbs 28:9, One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
- Psalm 66:18, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.
V. The promises of God hearing and answering prayers are only given to the saved.
- Proverbs 15:29, The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.
- Matthew 7:7-11, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
- James 5:16b, The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
- 1 John 3:22, And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
- Hebrews 4:16, Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
- John 14:13, And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
- The special relationship with God by which we pray is only available to those who are saved.
- The prayer that God most wants to hear from those who are not saved is a prayer of faith, confession, and repentance (the prayer for salvation).
- While it would be wrong to say that God will not ever respond to a prayer for assistance from an adult who has refused to accept the Lord as Savior, those people should not feel they have the right to come boldly before the throne of Grace nor should they expect to receive the same comfort and relief as a child of God would receive through prayer.
Monday, September 11, 2006
With our lunch on Saturday to honor area First Responders and our 9/11 remembrance Service yesterday we had a great time. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make those events go so well. Several of the first responders both on Saturday and Sunday expressed how thankful they were for our church and our support.
Great crowd in morning and evening services yesterday. If you weren't in the evening service you missed a first. I had prepared one message on Matthew 24:4-34, but on Sunday afternoon after doing some research on whether or not God answers the prayers of the lost, I wanted to preach on that. So... I preached both messages. I'm not saying that was a good thing, but it was a first. I will post my outline on the second sermon on the blog today or tomorrow. I would be interested in your theological comments.
Next week, both our mission team to the Ukraine and and our mission team to Kenya will board their respective planes and head out for a life changing adventure. I encourage you to to be in prayer for them as they prepare to go.
On a personal note... yes, Donna and I did survive another Auburn // Mississippi State football game. (My wife pulls for MSU, I celebrate with AU.) We were able to watch half the game before we went to the church for the meal with the First Responders. I recorded the second half and pretended I didn't know what the final outcome was (I had followed the score on my cell phone during the lunch. Don't tell anyone.) Donna stuck it out and watched the second half with me when we got back home. I've got to say, she is a loyal fan... a sad loyal fan.
I don't think I ever blogged about my experience a week ago at the OSU game. WOW! I didn't think any school could measure up to the game day experience at Auburn, but I was wrong. Three hours before the game I went to something called the Skull Session, which essentially is the warm up session for the marching band. They closed the gates of the volleyball arena when the crowd reached capacity at 12,000 people! After that, we wondered over to the stadium and watched the game with 104,000 of my closest friends. I've never been somewhere with that many people. The Baptist preacher part of me kept thinking we should take an offering. The game was exciting, but the real excitement came when someone fell from the upper deck to the lower deck about ten rows behind me. They had to carry two people away in stretchers. If you were ever looking for a reason not to drink, you just found a good one!
Enjoy your day!
Friday, September 1, 2006
--- Homeschool started back this week. The kids are excited (one of them anyway). We're going to a new homeschool schedule next week that I think will help keep them motivated and the days organized.
--- Sunday morning we wrap up our walk through the book of Nehemiah. If you want to read ahead, read chapter 13. As you read, try answering the question, "Why did they do the obviously wrong things they did?"
--- This Sunday in our morning service, we'll be baptizing four adults who have recently made professions of faith. We've gone four or five weeks without baptizing anyone after baptizing nearly every week for months. It will be good to get back to the baptistry. I'm really looking forward to this Sunday!
--- I'm going to my first Ohio State University football game tomorrow at the SHOE. I'm considering this a scouting trip for the upcoming Auburn/Ohio State national championship game.
For my Ohio readers, I'll see you Sunday!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Today Hannah and Emily ran a lemonade stand on the sidewalk in front of our home to help raise money for Michael & Jonathan George's mission trip to Kenya. I didn't think they would sell a have dozen cups of lemonade all day. I was wrong! Hannah just counted the money she made... $65.19 by selling fifty cent lemonade!
I am proud of both of them. I wondered if Hannah would be tempted to keep some of the money after she counted it and saw how much it was (more money than she has ever had), but she didn't. Couldn't we all learn some lessons from that!
Otherwise it's been a pretty lazy day. The kids stayed at a friend's house last night so Donna and I were able to sleep in. It was nice. I watched the rerun of last year's OSU - Texas football game today. I can't wait until football starts this Thursday.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We're still in our morning series on Nehemiah, but we're changing gears a little. As we come to chapter eight, we see the model worship service. Tomorrow we will study that model worship service and see if we can find instructions for how worship should take place each week at our church. In the evening, we will be continuing our Bible Study on the Return of Christ from Matthew 24-25. We will study the nature and timing of the Rapture in this week's message.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Hannah (my seven year old) became a true daddy's girl these last two weeks by learning to eat ribs, wings, and raw oysters with her dad!
There are many stories to tell some other time...
We left Myrtle Beach yesterday morning at 7:00 a.m. and due to criss crossing the country to see relatives and a traffic jam north of Charleston, WV, we didn't get back home until 2:00 a.m. this morning. Needless to say we're a little tired.
Right now, I'm locked up in my super secret hidden bunker catching up on stuff that needs to be done before Sunday. (I'm really just in my study, but don't tell anyone.) I'm starting a series of messages from the book of Nehemiah tomorrow morning. I believe God has a message for us as we start this new church year, and I believe we will see that message as we go through Nehemiah these next few weeks.
Tomorrow night we will start something new. Do you want to know what it is? Come and see :)
Glad to be back...
Today is the 11th anniversary of my marriage to my wonderful bride!
Monday, July 10, 2006
I spoke with Troy... We had over eighty youth at our youth ministry event on Friday night with three making professions of faith!
Keep up the good work, Troy and your youth ministry team.
By the way, on Sunday night, July 23, we have Joel Penton coming to speak to the church and our youth.
Joel is a starting defensive lineman for OSU and a much sought after speaker. You might have seen the feature on him in the Columbus newspaper a couple weeks ago. It will be a great night for our whole church.
Remember to pray for Pastor Wally as he is on vacation this week. Pray for all of the missionaries from our church... Tyler & Caleb Sims in Costa Rica; Mike Parry leaving for Tennessee this morning; the Pierponts surrendering to full time missions starting in just a few days; and those preparing to head to the Ukraine in the next few weeks. Pray for our mission church in Thornville. They have two mission teams with them this week, one from close to where I used to live in Alabama. Pray for Pastor Jeff as he gives them leadership.
We have something very exciting planned this Sunday morning. I'll give more details as the week progresses.
On a personal note. Remember my girls, Hannah and Emily, they are with their Grandmother in Alabama. I miss them, but in some ways, it sure is nice having a little bit of a break. Saturday, Donna and I went bike riding on some of the trails in and around Granville. We do this often, but with the kids I have to stop every 200 feet to help them with something and I usually end up tying a rope to Emily's bike and pulling her the last two or three miles. It's much easier with Donna. She is off the training wheels now, and I only had to pull her the last couple hundred yards.
Today is root canal day! Trade places with me?
Friday, June 30, 2006
I'm looking forward to Sunday. In the morning I will be preaching from Acts 17:11 a message titled, "How To Receive The Word of God." Sunday evening, I will be preaching from Ruth 1.
I know the city's big patriotic celebration happens Sunday evening, but I've got a plan. Come to church for the six o'clock service, then around seven, we can all just walk together from the church over to the celebration and get there just in time for the kids to play, the adults to have a pop and a coney or maybe a brat (for my southern readers, email me and I'll explain what those are), then we can watch the fireworks show from the field behind the church...
If you have password access to the prayer wall, keep a check on it through the day for medical updates on members having surgery.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Former pastor Ferguson and Hix did an outstanding job preaching in our Saturday evening service. For members and music pastors did a great job singing. Our 50th Anniversary team could not have put together a better weekend for our church.
They tell me we had nearly 400 people in worship on Saturday evening, and although I don't have the official numbers yet this morning, it seemed like we had twice that on Sunday morning.
Thanks to all who made the weekend what it was!
Monday, June 19, 2006
Overall, it was a pretty good Sunday.
This is a busy week upcoming, especially with our 50th Anniversary Services this weekend. We will have a great time this week. I'll try to list the ministers who will be returning for the weekend in a blog later in the week.
Pray that all will go well.
P.S. For my FBC Heath readers... remember Margaret Williams' open heart surgery scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday).
Friday, June 16, 2006
To some this may not seem like a big deal, but it is! How long have we struggled with the drainage problems and the eye sore? How long has the poor condition of our parking lot been a bad reflection on the excellence and majesty of the Lord we serve? How long have the parking and drainage needs hung over the finances of our church like a dark cloud?
I praise God for His provision. This is an example of what God can do through His people when we are obedient and sacrificial. All total the renovation will total somewhere just under $50,000. (We will have a finacial statement available soon.) We did this, along with all of the other improvements and the welcome center, while at the same time paying about seven times more toward our indebtedness than we did in the same time last year. And we have done all this with CASH over and above our budget! Just in the past three weeks, you have contributed over $6,000 further to this project!
Thank you for your willingness; your faithfullness... and His Goodness!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Great finale! Sixteen hundred person choir, Casting Crowns, and eighty-four banners!
The new president was introduced tonight. I was hoping he would say something that would indicate his heart and direction. He didn't. I am trusting and praying that he will be what our convention needs. Time will tell.
Heading home tomorrow.
For all of you Casting Crown fans...
I am sitting in a front row seat as they do their sound check for a concert they will do in a couple hours which I will also see from the front row.
Those of you who know me well know that it was Donna's choice to sit here. I wanted to sit in the back. The last time I sat in the front row of a concert was in the early ninety's. It was an Amy Grant - Michael W somebody concert. I was a youth minister. I quit the youth ministry shortly afterwards.
I saw a special screening of the movie today (see previous blog entry). It was a great movie. I can't wait for it to come out in theaters. Already hundreds have made professions of faith at a couple of public test screenings. It is a good witness to people of all ages, especially students and young families. It has much less of a geographical limit than Flywheel. I think people from any part of the country can relate to this movie.
Not much exciting going on at the convention this morning. Tonight should be good.
This afternoon I'm going to a special pre-screening of the upcoming movie 'Facing the Giants'. Check out the web page for this movie (www.FacingTheGiants.com). It should be a great movie. It will hit theaters in September. I've seen the othe movie written and produced by the same person. That movie, Flywheel, was a great movie and a great Christian witness.
Frank Paige was elected pesident of the convention yesterday. I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Something happened last night that made me feel better about him. I will write more when I know more.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
We just heard a message from Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. Very good message. We should be praying for the churches in the gulf area. Many are still unable to gather for worship.
Donna is fine. Nothing broken.
Yesterday was a good day at the Pastor's Conference. Today officially begins the Southern Baptist Convention. Right now, though, we are sitting in an urgent care clinic getting Donna's wrist x-rayed. Maybe we will make it to the convention soon. Would it be bad to just leave Donna here and swing by and pick her up tonight after the convention breaks? (I think the clinic is open until late. I would have plenty of time to go to the convention and them go out to eat with some of the pastors and still get her before they close.)
Monday, June 12, 2006
The debate was o.k.. It really never got past the viewpoint level. I was hoping they would spar over Scripture verses. It was good to hear the harmony in their approaches and their common condemnation of hyper-calvinism. Mohler even used the phrase 'let them be anathamad' in reference to hyper-calvinists.
Third blog of the morning... That's a record for me.
I am waiting for a debate on Calvinism to start between Al Mohler and Paige Patterson. It should be very interesting. I'll let you know.
I am about half way finished with Ann Coulter's new book. Some of you who regularly read this blog wouldn't care for her politics, but her chapter on abortion is very insightful. Everyone should read what she says on that topic. I'll try to share some of her quotes and stats in a message soon.
I haven't seen pastor Jeff yet. He has his kids with him so they may not be out and about yet.
Yes. You heard what you thought you heard after baptism yesterday morning. Someone fell down the baptistry stairs. It was Donna. She was helping me with the details and she fell backwards down the stairs. She is OK we think. We are praying her wrist is just spaigned (no, I can't spell) and not broke. If we end up at a Greensboro hospital, I'll let you know.
Things have been pretty busy around here, thus no recent blog entries lately. I'll try to make up for it this week. Donna and I are in Greensboro, NC for the Southern Baptist Convention. I should have a few minutes here and there between meetings. When I do, I'll try to update my blog.
A big thanks to pastor Wally for preaching for me last night.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Our Global Focus emphasis will kick off this weekend!
I can't wait for the church to see and hear some of what I've seen and heard about how Global Focus can help us become a truly "Missions Driven" Church. You are going to love hearing from these three guys!
Sportsman Banquet, Saturday evening!
A lot of preparation is going into this event on Saturday evening. I am looking forward to it. I hope everyone will come and enjoy some wonderful food, music, and message!
Keep all of this in your prayers!
P.S. Parking lot renovation will not hinder our services tonight. Hope to see you here.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
It's going to be a great weekend.
Bill shared with me and Pastor Jeff yesterday about what he will do during the Sunday School hour. It is going to be an eye opening time for our church.
Pray that our focus will be God's focus as we seek to become the church He would have us to be!
Pastor Noel Dear
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I could write an article on a really deep theological issue such as 'The Five Points of Calvinism" or "The Mystery of the Trinity. " Or I could dig really deep and write about... American Idol.
I am a little embarrassed to admit it, but I've watched the show this year. I didn't see the previous seasons, although I heard a great deal about them. Several times someone from Alabama has been in the finals and it was always a big deal when I lived there.
This year, we decided to watch as a family. As it turns out, for the most part, it is a fairly wholesome show. It probably helps that I can't understand what words they are singing half the time, and I can't understand what the words mean the other half the time. (What does 'He shall be levon' mean anyway?)
I don't really have a problem with the show. My problem lies with the show title and the poor job I've done talking to my kids about it.
Last night this was brought home when I heard one of my daughters say, "Who's Your Idol" (a phrase they use often on the show).
Who's Your Idol?
If you could rank sins from bad to worse, it is clear with just a cursory glance at the Bible, and especially the Old Testament, that nothing beats idolatry. In fact, Who's Your Idol was a game the Israelites played time and again, and each time God brought swift judgment and devastating calamity on those who played.
I am not suggesting that watching the "American Idol" television show is idolatry. It's just a show. But I am saying that we have become way too casual about idols, idol worship, and idolatry.
When four-year-olds are asking, 'Who's Your Idol,' we have a problem!
Biblically speaking, an Idol is...
- Anything we use to represent God.
- Anything we trust in more than God.
- Anything we love more than God.
- Anything we celebrate more than God.
With that definition, we can see that there are many, many American Idols!
So, what's my point?
Perhaps it would be wise for us to stop and compare the love, devotion, worship we direct toward God with the love, devotion, and worship we direct toward other things in our lives (whether they be pop singers, or jobs, or money, or ...)
Perhaps it would be wise to talk to our children about what an idol really is, and take the opportunity to ask them what the most important thing in their life is.
Perhaps it would be wise not to be so casual with the phrase, 'Who's Your Idol.' I know that sounds legalistic, but let me put it this way... If the word 'idol' refers to the 'god' in your life (as it does in the Bible), then we're really saying, "Who's Your God?" Would you, in a million years, ever say about a two bit pop singer, "He/She Is My God!" No? Then let us choose our words wisely.
What do you think?
Pastor Noel Dear
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
We are receiving resumes for our Music Pastor position almost daily. In fact, it is cumbersome to sort through them all. But we did received one at the end of last week that really stuck out...
IT WAS PRINTED ENTIRELY IN PINK!!!
What kind of thought processes go into a decision to print your resume in PINK? What kind of message were you trying to send?
Not to be too harsh, but if you are the one who sent the resume and you are reading this blog, I'm sorry to inform you, that you just don't fit the initial profile for this position.
All kidding aside (although we really did get the PINK resume), pray for our search process. It is moving forward. I am trying now to identify candidates that we will take a closer look at.
We need the Lord's guidance and provision in this. Keep praying.
Pastor Noel Dear
P.S. Comments will be moderated on this post.... :)
On a more serious note... Chuck Cameron was hospitalized yesterday in Zanesville. Possible heart attack. Keep he and Connie in your prayers.
Monday, May 22, 2006
My new most embarrassing moment: Yesterday morning's sermon... Point 3, Sub point 4, Illustration 1.
If you weren't there... well, you should have been. See what you miss.
We baptized again yesterday. Good service. Good response.
Today is the annual Heartbeats golf tournament at the Country Club. That is a very worthwhile organization. I am looking forward to being able to support them today. And it has nothing to do with it being a guilt-free day on the golf course... :)
The major part of the parking lot reconstruction should take place this week. Therefore the office may be closed a couple days. There will be no Wednesday services.
Global Focus is just around the corner!
Enough rambling for today.
P.S. Be praying for Bo Bogardus (is that really his name?) today. He is having some critical medical tests done.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Busy week ahead... keep the church in your prayers this week. Probably the most exciting thing on the agenda is that we are preparing for our biggest ever New Members Class this coming Sunday.
Tonight is our monthy Meals-Made-With-Love. If you have never been to this event, stop by on your way home tonight. We'll have over 100 people from the community come in for a hot meal. This is a great opportunity to sit down and show the Love of Christ to people you might not otherwise talk to! Many of these people are lonely and hurting, and the only kindness they experience in life is what they get when they come here for this meal.
Another request for prayer... Dick Freeman will begin cancer treatments this week. Also, a friend of mine's wife, Penny Leonhard, will be undergoing cancer treatments this Wednesday.
Friday, May 12, 2006
- Our Sunday morning message will focus on marriage. We will see Bible answers to questions such as, "How Can I Help My Marriage Last Forever?"
- Our kids choir will be singing Sunday morning.
- We will collect our Annie Armstrong offering for North American Missions in the morning service.
- In the Evening we will continue our walk through the last part of the book of Romans. We will be in Romans 14.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
This morning, none of that is helping. It is loud; it is distracting; it is irritating; it is WONDERFUL! How could that be? I am hearing the sounds of concrete saws and tractors tearing out our current parking lot and digging ditches for more drainage lines in preparation for our new parking lot which will be going down next week.
We have looked forward to this for so long. People have given so faithfully and generously. The work is finally being done!
Pray and thank God for how far He has brought us. And while you are praying, ask for a little divine help. Next week we have several big events, not the least of which is Meals-Made-With-Love, a wedding with an expected guest count of five hundred plus, and of course, church services. On top of that, the weather man says it will rain every day. Pray that we will be able to dodge around the weather and the events and not have any major problems. The critical time (when the asphalt meets the road) will be Monday through Wednesday of next week.
We may have to cancel an event or two. Watch the web page for updates.
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
E.J. told me then about a piece of music he had written called, "Ohio Winter Blues." He said he wanted to play it for me on his guitar when he recovered. Together, E.J. and Barb and I prayed that he would in fact be able to play it for me one day.
E.J. and Barb just stopped by the office. E.J. played the song. It was beautiful. Not just because of the quality of the song and the playing, but because it represented an answer to prayer!
Thank the Lord for how He responds to the prayers of His servants!
Pastor Noel Dear
Monday, May 8, 2006
Thanks to Pastor Wally for his leadership in the prayer ministry. We wouldn't have a prayer ministry if he didn't have such a heart for it. He has done a good job of organization and motivation to get us where we are today in this ministry.
Good worship services yesterday. We saw someone make a profession of faith following the morning service.
I took a stroll through the parking lots around 10:30 yesterday morning. I wanted to see how we were doing parking wise. We were nearly out of spaces then. In the next couple of weeks, construction crews will tear up our parking lots; install new drainage pipes; resurface the parking areas; and re-stripe. At that time, we will stripe off the parking lot behind the gym. I know it is a long hike, but we need many of you to begin to park there. More on that later.
We had fun at Baccalaureate Services yesterday. I had a chance to meet Ellis Booth, the assistant principal of Heath High School, and several of the parents. Thanks a million to our praise team. They did an excellent job kicking off the service. We hope to be able to host this event on an annual basis.
Busy week as usual around here. We covet your prayers.
Friday, May 5, 2006
Here is an update on some of those you have been asking about (and my first blog by email).
Ray Wagner came through his heart procedure great!
Tex Sulivan had to have emergency bypass surgery, but he did well and is recovering nicely.
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
- Sunday morning's message. We will be finishing up the 'God Code' series by focusing on 'The Nature of Christ.' I am really looking forward to this. Through prayer and study, I think God has given me a unique way to approach this subject. Pray that everything will continue to come together as I study this week.
- CONNECT Groups. We're pushing some of this along in the next two weeks. This is the biggest non-sermon thing on my plate right now. Pray that God will make us productive and fruitful in this endeavor.
- Baccalaureate Services. We will be hosting the Heath High School service this week. Ask God to help us make it an experience that will point these young people and their families toward Him. As of right now, I don't know what I should preach. Pray that the direction will be clear by tomorrow morning.
- Ray Wagner. We have several people in and out of the hospital this week and we should pray for them all, but Ray is having a particularly difficult catheterization on Thursday. Pray for his health and his peace.
- Global Focus Missions. We'll talk more about this on Sunday evening.
- Music Pastor Search.
- Youth Ministry.
- Prayer Wall.
Monday, May 1, 2006
Saturday, April 29, 2006
- I went to a missions conference in Greenville, SC on Thursday. I left after AWANA awards night on Wednesday and made it to Greenville at 5:00 a.m. the next day. I learned this: I'm not as young as I used to be!
- The pastor of the church I met with in Greenville, SC used to live in Heath, OH! Not only that, but he used to live on Fieldpoint (the same street I live on today)! It's a small world.
- The missions conference was very insightful. I look forward to sharing with our church what I learned.
- My wife got sick while I was out of town. Steve and Barb Moyer rescued her by picking up our children. It's great to have people like them! (My kids told me Steve's bedroom is purple. I'm not sure why that's funny, but it is.)
- I saw a glimpse of the Children's musical this afternoon. It is good! We will have a very good evening tomorrow (Sunday).
- We found a music pastor; moved him in this morning; he'll start tomorrow. Just kidding. Everyone keeps asking how close we are to having someone. I keep saying, it all depends on how much you pray.
- A house caught on fire six houses down from mine today... four fire engines... one rescue squad. It was a big deal to my girls. Thankfully, no one appeared to be hurt.
- Tomorrow is family day at church. I'm preaching on part 2 of THE GOD CODE.
- I just finished reading, "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Phillip Yancey. The author takes too liberal a view of Scripture, but the book was interesting. It has encouraged me to be committed to reading through the gospels more often.
- My seven year old can solve Sudoku better than her dad. I don't know if that makes me proud or humble.
- My wife bought brownie mix today. She said she might make brownies. She changed her mind. Enough said about that.
Pastor Noel Dear
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
(Things have been a little busy.)
Good opportunities for outreach...
1. We're about to have our AWANA awards night (in twenty minutes). This will be a great opportunity to reach out to families in our community. (I started to say, "we're fixin' to have our AWANA night," but I knew people would say I even talk southern when I type.)
2. Heath High School just called and asked if we would host their baccalaureate service and bring the message. This will be a very very good opportunity to reach out to families we might not ordinarily come in contact with.
Pray for both of these!
Pastor Noel Dear
Monday, April 24, 2006
It was great to see our families back from working the winter for the Wycliffe Bible Translators in Orlando. I can't wait to hear their stories!
Sam told me we had more children in Praise Kids (our worship service for children) than we had on Easter Day. That is good news. The regular worship crowd looked good too. Several visitors came out for the kick off of our series of messages dealing with the Da Vinci Code. I look forward to seeing how God will use that in the weeks to come.
We had our "Big Announcement" yesterday. For those who weren't in the service, we passed the milestone of collecting $100,000.00 in our New Beginnings campaign. That is pretty good considering we were on week 23 of 52. Thank you again for your faithfulness, and thank God for His graciousness! Hopefully we are just a couple weeks away from sharing with the church that we've signed a contract for drainage and parking lot repairs. Pray for those details as they come together.
I really enjoyed hearing from our Katrina Relief Mission Team last night. I think they got the whole church more fired up about missions...
Business meeting... I never look forward to business meetings, but what can you do? Last night we had our third consequitive business meeting that lasted less than five minutes! In that time, we formally approved 43 new church members for the quarter. That was exciting! Maybe I can learn to like business meetings...
Back to bed.
Pastor Noel Dear
Friday, April 21, 2006
Just in case you would like to read and study ahead of the messages, here is the approach we will take...
This Sunday, we will reveal the danger, the source, and the remedy of deception. People today are too easily deceived by all kinds of things! The Da Vinci Code deception is not the problem, it is merely a symptom of the problem. So first, we will study God's Word on deception. There are many Scripture verses we could go to, but I've decided to focus our attention on Ephesians 6:10-17.
Next Sunday, Lord willing, we will focus on the reliability of Scripture, and then on May 7, we will focus on the nature of Christ. We still plan to do the Q & A on May 10 as has been previously announced.
I am looking forward to Sunday. We will be baptizing again; we have had two people make appointments to talk with someone before the service about their salvation; we have two more parent/child dedications (It seems like people are having babies every week!); and the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
Hope to see you here.
Pastor Noel Dear
Thursday, April 20, 2006
It was fun to see the parents (I was one of them) smile as their child walked up to receive his or her award and then dash out into the audience to show mom and dad!
Next Wednesday will be AWANA awards night. That will be something worth looking forward to. Cheryl Wyrick who is our AWANA commander (we have a lot of Sheryl's, Cheryl's, Sherry's, Sherri's, and Sheri's around here) will be leading that service.
Pastor Noel Dear
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
We will spend three Sunday mornings on this and we will have a Q & A on Wednesday, May 10. It is my hope that we can take advantage of our community's interest in the Da Vinci Code to share the truth and proclaim the gospel. Many people have told me that this is the topic of the month in their work places! If it is not yet being discussed where you work, just give it a month. When the movie comes out, everyone will be talking about this! And hopefully you will gain the knowledge and the insight in these messages to share with your friends the truth about Christ and the Bible.
The movie comes out May 19 (the weekend following Mother's Day). We will have completed our study prior to that and will have packaged CD albums of our messages and the Q&A available for a nominal cost. Pray that God will allow us to spread the Word, during this time of questioning in our culture.
What if you have never heard of the Da Vinci Code, you have not read the book and are not going to the movie (which would be a good thing), and no one you know has any interest in this subject? You still need to hear these messages! In reality, the messages won't focus on the Da Vinci Code, they will focus on Scripture. And the questions we will answer ('How can we have confidence in Scripture?' and 'What is the true nature of Christ?') will be of interest to every follower of Jesus.
Look forward to seeing you Sunday!
Pastor Noel Dear
P.S. This coming Sunday (4/23), I will make a big announcement! Stay tuned this week for hints as to what it may be.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
We had at least two people make professions of faith in the FBC services and at least one in the New Life service!
Many people who haven't been in worship in a long time said they would be back next week. Let us pray that they will follow through with their commitments.
Have a great week!
Pastor Noel Dear
P.S. This coming Sunday (4/23), I will make a big announcement! Stay tuned this week for hints as to what it may be.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
We will depart on Wednesday, August 23, and return Saturday, September 2. As they say where I grew up... Yall come!
Pastor Wally and Pastor Jeff will be talking to our church about opportunities to go, very shortly. It will be a good trip. Begin now to pray. Pray for the arrangements (which I understand are pretty complicated), the people we will be ministering to, and your own involvement. We are going to ask that everyone in the church be involved in some way. Some can go, some can help prepare, some can give, some can fill in for missed responsibilities while others are gone...
There are 46.7 million people in Ukraine. Most are lost. God has been slowly opening the door for the gospel and for churches in the last fifteen years. In 1991 the country broke away from the old Soviet Union. That event began the lifting of restrictions on the protestant churches. In December of 2004, due to the 'Orange Revolution,' a reformer named Viktor YUSHCHENKO became the president. (You may remember the news story of the man who was poisoned with dioxin while he ran for president. He lost the election, but then there were mass demonstrations. They held a new election, and the previously poisoned man won. That was Ukraine.) This new president has further opened the door for visitors and missionaries to share the gospel.
I think this will be a very good trip for us. I believe God will use us there in a significant way!
Pastor Noel Dear
Monday, April 10, 2006
We had a pretty good day yesterday. We had a packed house in our morning worship; we saw two more people baptized; our mission team had returned safely from Mississippi; our choir, drama team, and banner team did an outstanding job on our Easter musical; and we saw two men make professions of faith during our musical!
My hat is off to Gina DeVault. Her behind the scenes leadership with the musical was outstanding. It is hard to have so many elements of a musical come off so well. From lighting and spotlight people, to sound people, to costumes, to make-up teams, not to mention the acting, singing, and banners... Great job, Gina!
This is Easter week. Please be praying for our services this Sunday. Pray for people as they invite family, friends, and neighbors. Pray as we prepare the music and the message. Most of all, pray and thank God for the miracle of Easter, the resurrection of Christ, that makes our abundant life possible.
Pastor Noel Dear
Monday, April 3, 2006
Stop what you're doing right now and pray for the things on this list. God will honor your prayers in two ways. First, your prayers will change things on this end! Secondly, every time we pray, our prayer strengthens the fellowship and the closeness we have with our Lord. So give it two minutes... really...
- Pray for the safety and the fruitfulness of our missions team in Mississippi today working on Katrina Relief.
- Pray for our church as we make final preparations for Easter this week.
- Pray for our choir, drama team, banner team, and production team as they prepare for Saturday night's Easter Musical.
- Pray for the music pastor search team as we meet today for the first time.
- Pray for yourself; pray that you will bring honor to God by the things you do and say today.
Pastor Noel Dear
Friday, March 31, 2006
Most church-people would say, "No, of course not!" But maybe that is too quick of an answer.
Twice, the apostle Paul told Timothy, one of the leading pastors and proclaimers of God's truth in the early church, not to be ashamed. On more than one occasion the Bible addresses other Christians who are ashamed. Perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye. Could it be that you and I are ashamed of our Lord and the Gospel on some level?
Sunday morning we will learn some things from 2 Timothy 1:7-12 and Romans 1:15-16 that you probably haven't seen before. As I have studied these passages of Scripture this week, God has opened my eyes to what it looks like for a Christian to be 'ashamed of the Gospel.' We will learn how a simple decision to be 'unashamed' can go a long ways toward increasing our encouragement and our effectiveness as Christians in our community.
I hope to see you Sunday morning!
Pastor Noel Dear
We went to a hunting supply store this week and bought a new pair of baptism waders; we wore out the old ones. (I've always wanted to say that. Wouldn't it be great if we could say it again in a year or so!) I tried to get Pastor Wally to get the camouflaged waders with the bib on the front to hold shotgun shells, but he refused. Pray that he will learn to be more submissive to his pastor.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Here is the question I posed to the Wednesday night crowd: Should we ignore the movie in an attempt not to draw any added attention to it or appear to be encouraging people to see it? Or should we offer seminars and Q&A sessions for people in the community to address the book/movie's historical lies? We would love to use this as a witnessing tool, but we do not want to become part of Hollywood's publicity campaign and we certainly don't want people to go see the movie because of our encouragement.
What do you think? We had a pretty lively discussion last night. Post your comment here. I must make a decision prior to Easter so we will have time to do publicity (and I will have time to study).
Pastor Noel Dear
Monday, March 27, 2006
Easter is less than three weeks away! So, it's a busy night around the church. Visitation is underway, people are out inviting guests to be a part of our Easter events; the drama team is working on the Easter production; the costume people are fitting choir members for Easter costumes; the banner team is sowing banners for Easter worship; and the weight loss group is meeting... I suppose to lose weight for Easter...
I've stuck my head into all the meetings except the weight loss group. They say I'm bad for their morale.
On another note, we have had a very encouraging response to our announcement that we are seeking a full time music pastor. I am looking forward to seeing how God will work through the process. Keep the search in your prayers!
I was proud of our church Sunday when the congregation stood in applause to show the gratitude we have for Stan and Gina and their leadership in recent months. It is no exaggeration that through them we have been blessed beyond measure. May all of God's servants here at First Baptist serve as faithfully!
Pastor Noel Dear
Thursday, March 23, 2006
I can talk a little about Sunday. This Sunday morning, I will be teaching from Luke 10:29-37. We will be unpacking our new CONNECT strategy. This will be a key day in the life of our church. Be praying that people will come with very open minds and hearts ready to do whatever it takes to reach our community.
This Sunday I have a very big announcement!!!
Do you want to know what it is? Then I guess I'll see you Sunday.
Sunday evening we will continue our THEREFORE series. We will be focusing on Hebrews 13:8-14. The message is titled, "Make No Provision for the Flesh."
By the way... We will put the audio of Wednesday's Bible study, about why the Virgin Birth of Christ is important to us, on line. Check the website on Monday. CD's are available by calling the office or by ordering from our online store (on Monday).
Pastor Noel Dear