A New Year!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chili Cookoff Winners!

The 2015 Chili Cookoff was this past Sunday

 and boy, was the competition was hot! 

Standing Judge Richard "this isn't hot" Ashby 

and one of last year's' winners, 

Bill "Dime Box" Schwetke 

had their work cut out for them 

with 8 incredible (and highly edible) entries. 

 Without further ado...

First place went to Randy "the CANON" Davidson.   This win makes him a two time winner, continuing to set the standard for all. 

Second place went to Jim (Subtle Frankenstein) Grable.

Jim's chili proves Gluten Free can taste subtly good too!

Third place went to David "it's all in the family" Jones. Both David and his son DJ entered the competition and proved to be fierce competitors, with dad edging his son out by  just a chili pepper or two. 

The judges this year DID give out an award to one person who did NOT enter the games. Pastor (Ghostly Inferno) Kuvakas received a red hot fire truck model
to help manage the blaze his homemade chili sparked in the brave souls who dared taste it!

Special recognition to Jiles Burnham as well as DJ Jones with chilis the judges returned to numerous times with favorable praise!

Congrats to ALL who contributed to our wonderful time of good eats and good fellowship with great friends!



Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Note From Pastor Scott Ferrell to Our Church Family

Brothers and Sisters,

If you're familiar with WBF, you know that we emphasize in our teaching that trials will come to our lives, and that they're not a matter of if, but when. 

But as God teaches us consistently in His word, those trials always come with a purpose for believers. In fact James says to "count it all joy" when we encounter various trials (James 1:2), because God uses them to produce steadfast faith in us, and that gives us the opportunity to demonstrate His magnificent goodness.

Over the past few years as your servant in Christ, I've had the high honor and privilege of walking with many of you in the midst of your trials, and that has bolstered my own faith. It's been a joy watching God at work!

Today, Leslie and I face a significant trial of our own. After a series of medical tests beginning in November, including a biopsy, I found out from my doctor on Tuesday that I have prostate cancer.

This has been a surreal and scary week. No one wants to hear that word, "cancer." 

But there's much to be thankful for. It's one of the most treatable kinds of cancer, and by God's providence, the cancer was discovered early. I'm thankful for my general practioner, who recommended beginning my annual checkups a couple of years ago, even though I'm younger than usual. Because of these things, my prognosis is excellent.

I'm also thankful for my wife, Leslie, a Godly woman who is full of encouragement and faith. And we are both very thankful that we have you, our Christian family. We covet your prayers for healing of course, and also for guidance and wisdom as we explore the options regarding what treatment to take; none of them is particularly pleasant, since they tend to have some negative and permanent consequences. 

We also covet your hugs—and please don't feel shy about asking us how we're doing or how things are progressing. We're very open about this, and our desire is that we might live for God's glory together, just like God has been exalted in many of your trials as we've faced them together. 

All of this should have very little impact on my availability or ability to serve you, except for some doctor's appointments and some recovery time after my treatment, which will happen sometime in the next month or two. 

Leslie and I trust God. We know that He's using this situation to accomplish His will, and that's why we consider it a joy to be refined by our trial. And we believe God's promise that all things work for His good for those who belong to Christ.

God says in Psalm 50:15, "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." Our prayer is for healing, certainly, but more importantly, regardless of the outcome, that God is glorified and magnified in the way we live through this.

To Him be all honor, glory and praise! Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Scott & Leslie

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sovereign grace and Job

I love Job! In today's reading in our Chronological Reading Plan, after absolutely devastating
calamity befalls Job, his friends show up. And good friends they are! They agreed to go to Job to show him "sympathy and comfort" (Job 2:11), then sat on the ground with him for seven days!

They want to counsel him and help him. Job utters a beautiful prayer (sings a song?) ruing the day he was born but not blaming God. He is suffering in his circumstances but not angry at God. 

Eliphaz tries to counsel Job, telling him innocent people don't suffer this way (Job 4:7-9). Then Eliphaz drops the bomb, "...For He (God) wounds but He binds up..." (Job 5:18). Clearly, in Eliphaz's mind, God is the one who has inflicted all this on Job! God is punishing Job!

We have to be careful not to make the same mistake Eliphaz makes, not to assume we know what is happening in the heavenlies based on what we perceive here on earth. We have to be doubly careful not to judge someone by their circumstances, assuming they are not good people or have sinned because something bad has happened to them, judging them by their outward appearance and circumstances rather than by their heart.

What Eliphaz does not know is that Job is a "blameless and upright man", declared so by God Himself, twice, once before the calamity strikes (Job 1:8) and again after it (Job 2:3). God has allowed Satan to subject Job to an extreme ordeal (Job 1:12, 2:6). Satan is subject to God's sovereign authority. But it is not by God's hand that Job is wounded. God will use Satan's attack to refine Job, draw him closer. But, God is not the punisher. Ultimately, toward the end of the book, we will see that God is the giver of grace and mercy.

One of the great lessons of Job is that God promises to use
everything in our life to bring us closer to Him (Rom 8:28). He does not punish those whom He has declared just, blameless and upright (Rom 5:8-9), people like Job....people like those who have been made righteous by the righteousness of His only Son...people like those who truly believe...people like us. Christ has already received our punishment. God's wrath has been fully vented on Him. 

We may endure hardship and pain. It is not a sign that we are being punished. Indeed, God is still loving us, still with us, still using our trials to draw us deeper. What amazing grace! What an incredible God! Even the calamity in our lives is subject to His sovereign grace and holy wisdom!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Chronological Reading Plan - Day 1, already a challenge appears in the text!

This is what I love about a daily reading plan. It's actually one of the things I love about all Scripture. It never stops teaching you, never stops challenging you. 

I started the Chronological Reading Plan this morning. I've come to look forward to the way it arranges the readings, by the order of events rather than the way the books are ordered in our Bibles. It really puts things in perspective,
particularly the Old Testament. You get to experience the prophets and their writings as they occur through the Sams, Kings and Chronicles. In the New Testament, the Gospels are nicely harmonized and you see, quite clearly, that Acts spans much of the time the New Testament was being written. 

This morning's reading took me to Genesis 1-3. We're all familair with this passage. I use it all the time in counseling and teaching. I can walk through it with relative ease and describe the order of events fairly accurately. As I began, I said a brief prayer, "Lord speak to me through Your word this morning." I meant it but I didn't really expect anything new to rise up out of these three chapters. I was thinking, "OK! I'll get through this quickly and move on to less familair things tomorrow."

Then, Gen 1:14 stopped me in my tracks. Wait a minute! This
is talking about the Sun and the Moon! He created them on the fourth day? Where did the light come from prior? What about the plants created on the third day? Without the "two great lights", how long was the third day? My mind was racing. 

Still, my goal is to read the Bible, following the daily plan. If I stopped to look into this fascinating scenario, I'd never get through the first three chapters this morning. So, I highlighted and moved on.  

When I completed my reading, I went back and started diving into the language and background. There are a lot of theories and plausible explanations but, there's is no clear description of how it all came together. It's quite plain, by the text, that there was light, right from the beginning (Gen 1:3). What role the Sun, Moon and stars play in that light and how that compliments Gen 1:14 is not so clear. 

What we do know is that this was a totally unique time in all of creation. The Hand of God was moving powerfully and creatively in a way that is unparalleled in all of history. The laws of physics and matter are actually being formulated and manipulated by an omnipotent, sovereign God.

It's a mystery. 

But, it's also a prime example of how Scripture, even familair Scripture, can sweetly ambush you and adroitly challenge you. It is, in every way, soothing yet exciting, a comforting jolt of adrenaline, a wonderful example of how the Holy Spirit can still stir our hearts and stretch our minds when we are obedient to His commandments (John 15:10-11, 2 Tim 2:15).

It's not to late to join me!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Starting Fresh - 2015

This morning, I had the privilege to share our now-traditional, first-Sunday-of-the-year challenge to adopt a daily Bible reading plan. Speaking out of Hebrews 4:12-13, the challenge, as always, is to become intimately familiar with the Bible by reading it on a daily basis, using one of the many, many plans that are out there. Finding one that suits your particular style and personality should be fairly easy. 

Our church web site has a newly formatted Bible Reading

Plans page that lists a number of plans, a number of sites that have additional plans, reading tips, apps and more.

One highly recommended site is You Version . You Version offers a variety of reading plans, a number of mobile apps and even an audio feature that will play your daily reading for you. 

You can listen to the sermon detailing all this here. Hopefully, it will encourage you to start a new plan tomorrow morning. 

If you would like to join me and a few others, I'll be starting the Chronological Reading Plan tomorrow, Jan 5. Let me know if you do, I'll keep in touch and we can hold each other accountable.  
Reading plans always require some discipline and a huge dose of commitment. This is why it's important to pick one that suits you. If you're new to a daily reading plan or if you've struggled with them in the past, make it easy on yourself until you can begin to flex those spiritual muscles. Over-reaching can cause early discouragement and lends to the tendency we all have to "skip a day or two"...for whatever reason...and finding ourselves unable to get back on track. Instead, start out easy. 
Give, as an offering, 5 to 10 minutes of your time, perhaps starting in Matthew. The important thing is to continue on, systematically, book by book, through the entire New Testament.  Commit to doing that and watch what the Holy Spirit does with your faithfulness!

If you're a seasoned veteran, try a plan that challenges you. Allow yourself to be stretched and shaped by a new experience with the Word. 

May the Lord bless you, enable you and kindle a passion deep in your heart for His word!