Sunday, September 27, 2015 was a date being shopped around as a prelude to the end of days. On the heels of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, the day of atonement, in the heart of Sukkot, the feast of tabernacles, in a calendar year that lined up exactly with 33AD, on the night of the fourth consecutive blood moon coinciding with the major Jewish holidays of the last two years, on the eve of a U.S. backed deal with the chief of Israel’s current and millennial old enemies …. On that night …. We chose to praise the Lord. We sang hallelujah. We celebrated the mercy of Christ on the cross and the power of Christ displayed in the resurrection.
The Holy Spirit
was moving among our congregation. God was honored and our hearts were
moved to love our neighbors as we loved ourselves. Challenged with
meeting the immediate physical needs of over a million refugees, many of which
are Christian, our church family at Kenova and MCF demonstrated unity by giving
and/or pledging over $10,000 to be sent to our mission partners in Eastern
Time usually flies but to me, our first unity night feels like a long time ago, but in reality, it was just three years ago. FBC Ashland hadn’t partnered with us as of yet. Between us and MCF, we’ve had over 100 baptisms since that time. Our weekly worship attendance has nearly doubled. God is certainly on the move.
But as we prepare our hearts for this Sunday night, I want to remind us that Unity Night is more than a concert. This is about three congregations coming together as one church to glorify God. Please come expecting the name of Jesus to be lifted up in a special way. As the book of Acts teaches us, God does something extraordinary when “all the people are together and have everything in common.” We find unity in one thing above all else, the GLORY of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. May His glory be shown among us this Sunday night!
It was great to have the full choir leading worship this past Sunday. They add an incredible aspect to our worship services. I’m sure the entire congregation would say the same!
A few people have asked for an update in our search for a choir director. The reality is that we are no closer now than what we were when Andy Honeycutt announced his resignation last April. It’s not that we haven’t tried. We’ve posted our information on over 100 websites, partnered with a search company, and interviewed a handful of candidates. None of these efforts, however, have produced much fruit.
I personally met with the choir about a month ago and asked them their opinion as to how to move forward. We agree we want a quality choir director who has excellent people and musical skills. For this to be a full-time job, however, a candidate must serve in some other capacity in the church such as administration, visitation, counseling, etc. The main thing is that we find the right “fit” for our congregation, and we trust that will happen in the Lord’s time.
In the meantime, choir practices have been moved to the first Sunday evening of each month. In one 2-hour practice from 4-6pm, the choir will work to prepare a month’s worth of songs to either open our worship services or sing specials for the offertory time. After each practice, the church is providing a meal for the choir participants as many of them serve in other ministries at 6:30pm.
For now, Josh Sowards has agreed to serve in the interim. It’s a new challenge for him, but until we find the person we believe God has for us, we know Josh will lead with integrity of heart and a joy to serve the Lord. While Josh is leading, he would love for many of you to join choir, especially as they are only practicing one Sunday a month. They will also make arrangements for child care if that’s what has prevented you from being in the choir in the past. If you can carry a tune in a bucket, come join them!
This upcoming Sunday we will begin our new Sunday School classes including additional classes for THE ACADEMY. THE ACADEMY is a certificate-level program where members can take one class from several different theological disciplines. THE ACADEMY classes will provide people a learning experience in each of the following areas:
Old Testament Bible: This semester Isaac McCown is teaching Pentateuch and Bill Davenport is teaching the Historical Books (Joshua-Esther).
New Testament Bible: Jerrod Workman is teaching the Gospels and Larry Lucas/TJ Adkins are teaching the Book of Acts.
Missions: Sharon Napier and Jerry Saulton: Intro to World Missions.
Systematic Theology: Isaac’s class would count for an elective in this category as well.
Practical Theology. Chris Ball is teaching Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Caleb Jones Celebrate Recovery. Dave Akers Biblical Manhood. Sarah Murray Biblical Womanhood.
Participants will receive a certificate for completing one class in each category. Participants who complete two classes in each category will receive an advanced certificate and those who complete three classes in each category will receive an ACADEMY Diploma.
Our hope is that many of you will take a 17-week class in one of the above areas. We will have fall semesters, spring semesters, and summer semesters. If you would prefer to keep your own class, that is fine, but we are also wanting to challenge the congregation to mature in a broader range of biblical knowledge and a broader range of teachers. Current existing classes are Jason Brumfield teaching Deuteronomy and Jack Ferguson is finishing the book of Jeremiah.
Please get involved in one of our classes and be blessed by the varying teaching styles from the diverse set of teachers with whom God has blessed our church. --Steve
This upcoming Sunday we want to announce our new classes, new teachers, and roll out the schedule for THE ACADEMY which will be a certificate-level program where members can take one class from several different theological disciplines. THE ACADEMY will provide people a learning experience in each of the following areas.
- Old Testament Bible (e.g. overview of
Torah, Historical Books, Poetry, Major and Minor Prophets)
- New Testament Bible (e.g. overview of
the Gospels, Acts, Pauline Epistles, General Epistles, Revelation)
- Missions (e.g. Personal evangelism,
World Religions, Intro to World Missions, Local and National Missions)
- Systematic Theology (Various apologetic
courses, Angelology and Anthropology, Trinitarianism, How we Got our Bible,
Creationism, Soteriology and Ecclesiology)
- Practical Theology (Teaching and
Preaching, Biblical Parenting, Spiritual Leadership for Men and Women, Biblical
Ethics and Spiritual Disciplines, Discipleship 101)
Participants will receive a certificate
for completing one class in each category. Participants who complete two
classes in each category will receive an advanced certificate and those who
complete three classes in each category will receive an ACADEMY Diploma.
Our hope is that many of you will take a 17-week class in one of the above areas. We will have fall semesters, spring semesters, and summer semesters. If you would prefer to keep your own class, that is fine, but we are also wanting to challenge the congregation to mature in a broader range of biblical knowledge and a broader range of teachers. This helps us to get to know one another and be exposed to different teaching styles from the diverse set of teachers with whom God has blessed our church.
The Bible teaches us to be careful not to judge others as being inferior to ourselves. There's no person that doesn't struggle with self-righteousness. In some way we all judge people who don't do things the way WE would do things as somehow inferior. We think we know best. We must guard ourselves from thinking things like....
If your son doesn’t play sports, you’re not as good as I am
If your daughter doesn’t cheer or dance, you’re not as good as I am.
If you don’t send your kids to Christian school
If you don’t send your kids to public schools
If you don’t homeschool
If you don’t vote democrat, or republican
If you don’t recycle,
If you don’t go to Marshall
If you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend
If you don’t lift your hands in worship
If you don’t like to sing songs from KLOVE or WALK FM
If you don’t sing the hymns I like
If you don’t have any kids
If you have too many kids
If you don’t work in the Garage
If you don’t teach AWANA
Drive an American made car
If you’re not following Paleo or a vegan diet
If you ARE following paleo or a vegan diet
If you don’t have a nice house
If you live in too nice of a house
If you’re not from Barboursville
....the list goes on and on.
Let's watch judging one another for living out our Christian freedoms in different ways.
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? – Job 12:12
No kid likes it when they have a disagreement with their parents and the mom or dad says, “Someday you’ll understand.” It doesn’t matter if you’re 6, 16 or 26, it feels almost patronizing when someone older than you assumes you don’t know something just because of your age. I hated when parents told me as a youth pastor, “Just wait until you have teenagers. THEN, you’ll understand.”
But that’s kind of Job’s point. There are certain things you just don’t understand until you go through them. It’s impossible to understand the emotions that come with the birth of a child unless you’ve been through it. One can’t fully empathize with a couple who struggles with infertility unless they themselves have gone through an extended period of time fighting the emotions that come with the fear of being unable to bear a biological child. Whether it’s going through a divorce, discrimination in the workplace, being bullied at school, or, in my case, marrying off one of your children, one just can’t understand the emotions that go with certain life circumstances until or unless you go through them yourself.
This was never truer to me as I watched Titus share his original vows with his new bride. Here was a boy who learned how to write at the tutelage of me and his mother but now was using those skills to commit himself to a lifelong covenant with the woman he loved. Here was a young man who I taught how to budget now responsible for his own car savings, repairs, rent, tuition and fees, and the life of a young lady whose father, Mike Troutt, sat just across the aisle from me. I remember thinking, “Poor Mike. Everything he’s poured into his little girl is now in the hands of a young man he barely knows.”
Then I looked behind Titus’ bride, and there as one of her bridesmaids was Johnna Willis. Perhaps this time next year, or a summer not long from now, I’ll be in the same position as Mike Troutt. Wow. Just wow.
No one could have prepared me for that moment. People have told me about it, but it’s one of those things that until you go through it, you just cannot understand. In my case it was bittersweet. I love my son’s new bride, so I feel like I’ve gained a daughter, but at the same time I feel like I’ve lost something as well.
As we counsel our friends through the seasons and challenges of life, let’s be careful when we use the words, “I understand,” if we haven’t walked a mile in their shoes. Sometimes we don’t know quite what to say, and the more difficult the situation, maybe the less words the better. Maybe, “I’m here for you if you need someone to listen,” is the best response we can give.
Celebrate one another’s successes. Bear one another’s burdens. Amen.
Since I was 7 years old listening to my mamaw and papaw “start hymns” in their Independent Fundamental Freewill Baptist Church to now, music has always had an almost magical influence on my life. Over the last 10 years or so, I’ve seen the impact of music in the lives of Jesus’ followers more than ever. See, music - singing - dance and theatre. They connect all people at an emotional and spiritual level unique among all arts and sciences
Go to Africa … they sing for joy or to express sorrow. They sing to give praise. What about India? Same story. They’ll sing for joy, during tragedy and in gladness. China, Japan, Europe, South America and even the arctic … music pervades the most important values of every culture! Listen to “He Reigns” by Newsboys if you’re not familiar with it. It’s a great example of this.
Take a few moments to look at the examples given in the Bible. You’ll notice something. Singing is always done in groups! Large groups. Small groups. But, always in groups.
- Take Miriam
and Moses in Exodus 15 - They’re leading - all Israel is singing!
- Look at Ezra
and Nehemiah at the rebuilding of the temple in Nehemiah 12:31 - they round up the
leaders of Israel, the priests, and send the choir around the new wall with
David’s instruments and strike up the band!
- What about
New Testament samples? Look at Paul and the early church in Colossians (3:16)
and Ephesians (5:19) - The believers are meeting together singing songs that encourage one another and build each other up. They’re directing
their songs to the Lord.
Those examples leave out all the Psalms we could reference where priests wrote songs for the choirs to sing century after century. And King David did a fair bit of “solo” work himself. Music, singers, choir … they make up the biblical worship of all believers.
On that note … music, singers and the choir. They’re an intimate, irreplaceable part of our congregation’s weekly worship. As Steve said in his message last week, no one is “in the hopper” to replace Andy and the incredible ministry and direction he brought the choir. But that service to the body of believers isn’t going anywhere!
In the meantime - I offer my humble direction. Singing is one of the most important aspects of communal worship. It totally unites us in moments of melody, chorus, and refrain. It simply can’t be lost.
We’ll make some schedule adjustments for rehearsals. And we’ll have some leaders in the choir step-up to help lead sections and learn parts. Then we’ll do what any group, team, or company does to become excellent - we’ll practice.
We need updated information from many of our members in order to more effectively communicate with our church family. If you have recently moved or cancelled your landline, please call the church office or text me directly. If you are unsure whether or not we have the correct information, feel free to call in with your contact information. Our Pastors, Shepherds, and Deacons would greatly appreciate it! Also, if you have a specific need for prayer be sure to put it on your prayer card at church or call the church office. Thank you for your help.--Jeramie
Most of you are
familiar with a children’s summertime ministry called “Nic at Night.” For nearly ten years we saw thousands of
children in our region come to this ministry that involved the entire
community. Two of my own children gave their lives to Jesus as a result of “Nic
The first time we participated in Nic at Night was at a friend of mine’s church plant in Myrtle Beach, SC. The pastor and creator of the creative ministry is Mac Lake, who just so happened to grow up across the street from me in Pratt, WV. Mac is 9 years my senior, and I pretty much learned how to be a Christian teenager by watching him live out his faith.
Today Mac is the lead trainer for the entire Southern Baptist Convention and their church plants. He also serves as a consultant for leadership training across the country. Mac recently visited our congregation and was blown away by how much we’ve progressed over the last ten years, not only at our Kenova campus, but through our partnerships with HCC and Ashland as well.
Mac recognized our strengths as biblical teaching, character development, and passion for missions and outreach both locally and around the world. He loved our church family atmosphere and the sense of community that we’ve created. He even called the executive minister of the SBC in Nashville and encouraged them to find ways to replicate how we’ve revitalized an established congregation while simultaneously planting a collegiate ministry at Marshall.
But Mac also identified some definite weaknesses when it comes to leadership development. All of our staff recognized our deficiencies in some of these areas, but Mac pinpointed some specific ways we needed to improve right away. The most significant need for improvement was that our staff are doing too much of working with new volunteer leaders instead of training volunteer leaders to do the recruiting and training of new workers. We have too many staff doing the ministry ourselves instead of developing a leadership pipeline where we grow more and more people into positions of spiritual and administrative leadership in the church. In a nutshell, we have to organize around the principle of leadership development instead of just mobilizing volunteers for the works of service.
Please be praying for us as we continue in this training and attempting to move forward in these areas. It’s pretty much a new thinking process for our entire staff but we realize we need to do better if we are going to be more effective in reaching our world for Christ. Good things are coming and we are going to need your help in making it happen!
Hey everyone, in case you didn’t get to meet me this past week, my name is Taylor Troutt, soon to be Taylor Willis. I want to thank the entire church for welcoming me to your church family, especially those whom I met at the incredible shower we had last Thursday. Titus and I cannot thank you enough.
Just to let you know a little about me, I grew up in Houston, TX and my life revolved around two things: church and softball. My father is an Army chaplain and former baseball player so between him and my Jesus-loving mother, I was raised to love the Lord and be a competitor on the field. During my senior year in high school I received an offer to play Division 1 softball at Columbia University, which is where I met Titus at a campus ministry group. After four years of hard work, God blessed me to become the Ivy League Player of the Year and to be listed as 3rd-team all-American (Pastor Steve made me include that!).
I really love playing softball, but the more I saw the lostness on Columbia’s campus, my heart’s passion became to minister with college students like so many others had ministered to me. When Titus received his scholarship to Duke Law, it enabled me to live out my dream of attending Southeastern Baptist Seminary which is just 27 miles from Duke’s campus. In addition, when Duke’s Campus Crusade for Christ staff learned that I was moving to the area, they informed me that they have been praying for a female athlete to reach out to the ladies on their campus. With my experience as a college athlete, and with my academic credentials as an Ivy League graduate, God has given me an incredible platform that will gain credibility on a campus that greatly values excellence in both academics and athletics. Plus, with my future husband being a student there, it’s really a perfect fit for my gifts and abilities.
So as your missionary to Duke’s campus, right now my goals are to 1) build relationships with the softball team during fall workouts 2) start a freshman Bible study and 3) train the current students already involved with Duke CRU ministries to have gospel conversations with at least 200 students this fall. Those are big goals, but with your prayers and the Lord’s help, I know it can happen!
I plan on updating a blog bi-weekly throughout the year with specific things happening on campus and several ways that you can be praying for me and for Cru at Duke! If you would like to receive these updates, please contact me or call the church office by August 1 to add your name and email. Thank you and may God warm you with His love!
For the past two weeks the world has watched as a Thai soccer team was trapped in a deep labyrinth of flooded caves. Thinking they were just going to explore a small section of the caves, and wanting to cool off after a hot day of practice, the boys went a few hundred yards below the surface, only to find themselves trapped when monsoon rains flooded the entryway. As waters began to rise, the boys and their 25-year-old coach were pushed further and further into the cave system trying to find a place of refuge. After many hours of searching and fleeing, eventually the boys found high ground in the pitch darkness, nearly a thousand feet beneath the earth's surface.
Most thought the boys dead, but a couple of diligent and valiant scuba divers found the entrapped squad some eight days later. Almost miraculously, without food or clean drinking water for over a week, the boys were alive and in good condition. The entire world came together and lent time, treasure, and talent to rescue these boys from mortal danger. One Navy Seal even lost his life getting oxygen to the entrapped children.
For the church, this is our call to mission, except in our case, it’s not mere physical life that is on the line. The issue is literally a matter of eternal life or death. The call to take the gospel to a world entrapped in sin, to people with no chance of making it out of their own accord, must be paramount in our lives. To the call to save the lost, we give our treasure. And for some of us, like the Navy Seal, we give our very lives.
No matter what your walk of life, people around you are stuck in the cave of sin on a daily basis. You have the oxygen tanks, the diving skills, the map, the only hope of their rescue. Rush into the caves of dying people and point them to the only Savior who can redeem their very souls!
Thank you church for your faithful giving! It is because of your faithfulness that our (children and youth) Camp Cowen budget lines are even established. We have been able to meet families halfway on covering the cost of a weeklong experience like no other. This past Saturday, we returned from Junior II camp with 35 campers and 10 leaders (thank you also for your dedication and desire to serve our Lord through counseling). Jeremy has another 60 campers (and a bunch of counselors) going in the coming weeks – Praise the Lord!!!
If anyone who has never gone to Cowen wants to know what the experience is like, read the Book of Acts. Acts 2 shares “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching (Hylbert, Vespers and Campfire) and to fellowship (everywhere), to the breaking of bread (all meals) and to prayer (throughout the day). Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts (camp). They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (many were saved or rededicated their life to the Lord). Camp Cowen is a picture of what “church” should look like.
Cowen has a huge impact upon the campers and often an even bigger impact upon the counselors. I have had the blessing of teaching at either Vespers or at camp fire for several years now. As I was preparing for Thursday’s camp fire, I was studying the life of Jonah. My thought was that it would make for a great teaching moment for the campers – obedience. Jonah 1:1-2 shares “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” Jonah ran the other way
It wasn’t until after reading verse 17 many times (“Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah”), that God’s grace was clearly shown. We have all experienced “storms” in our life. Let us not focus on the storm itself but rather seek to see His grace through this time. Jehovah Jireh = The Lord will provide.
Our Guatemala mission team returned early this morning, June 19th . We had a fantastic trip and to give you a
glimpse of what we did each day, details are below.
Day 1 – We drove to Lexington to stay the night at the hotel and prepare our team for the upcoming travel day.
Day 2 - Flew to Atlanta. Our activity involved airport evangelism and singing worship during our lay over. We
landed in Guatemala City and bussed to Antigua.
Day 3 - We started our day in devotion, prayer and worship on the roof of our bed and breakfast. In our view
only six miles away was Fuego, the volcano that erupted and took the lives of hundreds just weeks prior. After
devotion we drove to the city of Antigua, then a 6-hour drive to Hope of Life, our destination for the week.
Day 4 - After our morning devotion we were given a tour of Hope of Life. We visited the elderly home, Kelly’s
Place (a place for special needs children), the orphanage and hospital. We then went to a place they call, “the
dump” to serve food and play with kids.
Day 5 - Our mission team re-built a road that was washed away by the torrential downpour the night before.
After lunch we worked on the Conner’s house (long term missionaries to Guatemala) and we formed rebar at
the new clinic.
Day 6 – We worked on rebar and unloading trucks at the clinic, worked on rebar at the Conner’s house and
moved concrete for some houses. After lunch we went to the orphanage to get ready for VBS and hung out at
the elderly home, hospital and Kelly’s Place.
Day 7 - VBS with orphans, free time for elderly home, Kelly’s place and the hospital. Later that evening we
swam with the orphanage kids and treated them to pizza and cupcakes. We then had our nightly debrief over
campfire. We were also able to induct some of the long-term missionary students into the “ooga-booga” club.
Day 8 – We went to church. Our students were able to play/sing and I was asked to preach the Word. Our
long-term missionary, Bryan Saulton, led worship in Spanish. After church our students were able to visit their
favorite places, the elderly home, Kelly’s place or the hospital to hold babies. That night we were asked to
have a rare private dinner with the Hope of Life founder, Carlos Vargas. Our dinner was held on the roof top of
the café. When asked why we were invited to dinner, knowing he never has these special dinners with
students, only the “big wigs.” he said, “this was the best team we ever had.”
Day 9 - Traveled home
My favorite moments were our nightly debriefs. It was amazing to hear the daily stories of how the student’s
experiences had impacted their lives. This successful mission trip was a team effort that included the entire
church body. Once again, we thank you for supporting us financially and through your prayers.
Just as a reminder (pun intended), last week I gave you the first five of ten biblical memorials. They were given so that we would remember various people/events that the Bible. The first five were Noah’s rainbow, the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, the manna in the Ark, and the command to remember the Sabbath day. I can’t go into all of the details here, but I will give a short statement as to the heart of the next five memorials.
6. The Bronze Altar. After 250 people rebelled against Moses, God destroyed them. All that was left was the bronze pots they had in their hands when they died. Those pots were hammered into a bronze altar which served to remind the Hebrew people that only those who meet the qualifications of a priest would be allowed to serve in that capacity.
7. Stones of Remembrance. As the Hebrew people walked across the Jordan River bed, one person from each tribe brought a rock from the temporarily dry river bed. When they got to the other side and the river was closed behind them, they put the rocks in a visible place to remind them how God had brought them into the promised land.
8. Feast of Purim. Even today, Jews dress up in costumes to commemorate how Esther was hiding her true identity as a Jew. It was only when she admitted her true identity that her husband, the Persian king, stopped the plot to kill the Jews.
9. Jesus said we must always tell of the example Mary (sister of Lazarus and Martha) set for us when she bought Jesus a bottle of ointment that was worth approximately $35,000. She anointed him with the ointment to demonstrate her love for Him, knowing that He would soon be sacrificed for our sins.
10. Communion. The fulfillment of the Passover Seder meal. This is what Jesus practiced at the Last Supper. As often as we do this, we celebrate Christ’s body being broken for us and His blood being she for the forgiveness of our sins. We remember His death, burial, and resurrection.