Estes Echo

Ladies’ Day @ Estes, Saturday, April 25
Registration, 9am; Program, 9:30am
Speakers: Mallory Baker & Jennifer Webster

I am a planner. You are spontaneous. Shirley is artistic. Flora is happy to help if told what to do. Diane loves to be in charge. Each of us has different talents and personalities. How can we all work together, utilizing those talents, to serve most effectively? Join us for this year’s Ladies’ Day!
Childcare is provided for children ages 5 and under. The day concludes with lunch provided by the Estes ladies.

Estes Echo

The Lord’s Church: A Safe Haven

“The church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

Growing up as a part of the church has been a blessing throughout my life. It has held different meanings at different times of my life. In the past I’ve benefited from the edification that is offered here; Church builds you up. The greeters that stand by the front doors never fail to bring a smile to my face. God knew we could all be encouraged by one another if we allow ourselves to get the full benefit from being with the Church. Proverbs 27:23 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

Other times in my life, the Church has been a hospital when I’ve been sick. You may be able to relate. Just like in flu season, we hear of people coming down with sickness right and left, spiritually, we have a treatment that can help you. The treatment was made before the disease—sin—came into our lives, but through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we have the opportunity of being healed. And the best part is, if your immune system gets weak during your life, we have continual healing or “cleansing” to be made perfect. The Bible tells us that “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7; AKJV) Notice it says, “cleans”? It’s continual! It will never stop until the Lord returns to take us home for eternity.

Lastly, the church is our safe haven. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-33, Paul speaks of his suffering while being an apostle “One who is sent.” He tells the Church in Corinth about severe beatings, shipwrecks, his being stoned almost to the point of death, and he mentions the general danger of life. What would it be like to always be in fear or to run from danger? I can’t even imagine. Through all of these dangers, he doesn’t mention his brothers and sisters in Christ. He views the Church as a safe haven. He didn’t view these dangers as an obstacle to try to get around. Rather, he finds in the Church a place of security, acceptance, and love to be part of. Don’t we crave that for ourselves even now? I don’t know if anyone suffered as much as Paul did in his life for the sake of Christ, but I do know one thing, he took advantage of gathering together with the Saints. He found edification in being with them. He helped to strengthen the Church, and the Church helped to strengthen him. Most importantly, he found that in any situation the same church we are part of today was a safe haven for him. And it can be for you too.

–Alex Blackwelder

Estes Echo

“Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.” I Sam. 12:24

God has done such great and marvelous things in our lives — beyond our wildest imagination. Who would have thought that, at 70, we would be offered the greatest adventure of our lives since the birth of our children? Our response to Jesse’s phone call was surprise, fear, and joy — all in that order.

We want to thank Jesse and the elders for allowing us the opportunity to serve in Haiti with Roberta. The experiences, joys, and love will be treasured in our hearts always. There are no words.

And we want to thank all of you who have loved and supported us in personal ways with notes of love and encouragement, coming to visit “our” Guest House, having us in your homes to eat and talk, inviting us to share a meal in some of Henderson’s finest dining establishments, all the hugs, and especially for the new friendships we now cherish.

While our hearts are sad to leave Roberta and Haiti in an official capacity, how can we grumble when we have a loving family and church family who welcome us back into their bosoms? And we plan to visit Roberta and the children regularly and to stop in Henderson and claim all our hugs from time to time.

May God bless all of you with His peace and courage.

David and Charlene

David and Charlene May have been the innkeepers for our Guesthouse in Haiti and have hosted many mission teams and provided invaluable support during their 2 years in Haiti. Because of health concerns, they have had to return to Minnesota. We are very thankful for their years of service and for the good work they have done. We ask for your prayers as we search for a new couple to act as hosts for the Guesthouse.

Estes Echo

Lessons from a Rancher

The first time I ever plowed a field, I had no clue what I was doing.

My father-in-law was a rancher and understood the value of free labor, especially if it involved a son-in-law. He also believed the best way for folks to learn a new task was to turn them loose on a project and then stop by a few hours later to check on them.

One Saturday morning soon after Linda and I had been married, he took me to one of his pastures that rested along a creek bottom. We pulled up next to a fairly large tractor located near the edge of the field. We stopped. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He asked me if I’d get started plowing the field while he went to town. Before I had a chance to affirm, he gave me the keys, kicked me out of the truck, and indicated he’d see me in a couple of hours.

Oh my. I had never driven a tractor and most certainly had never plowed a field. The only thing I had going in my favor was that I could drive a standard. After much trial and error, I figured out how to start it, make it go forward, and how to use the hydraulics to raise and lower the large apparatus behind the tractor. The trial-by-fire experience undoubtedly was a sight to behold, so I’m thankful the field was located far off the beaten path.

A few hours later, my father-in-law returned. He pulled into the field and headed toward where I was plowing. He stopped and got out of the truck. I stopped and dismounted from the tractor. We met somewhere in the middle, and he opened with a question, “How’s it going?” I shared with him that after I got the tractor started and figured out the controls, things seemed to be going pretty good. He laughed as if surprised by my ineptness. Back then, I thought it an honest mistake. Some 30 years later, I know that it was the calculated pedagogy of a master teacher.

He affirmed I was doing a pretty good job, all things considered, which then led into him highlighting several opportunities for improvement. Specifically, he noted I was looking behind the tractor too often. He encouraged me to pick out a place at the end of the row, point the tractor toward it, and keep looking at the point until I reached the end of the row. He told me to listen to the tractor to figure out what was going on behind. He said the engine would let me know if I was plowing too deep, too shallow, or if I needed to slow down or speed up.

I was all of 20 or 21 years old when he shared a whole lot of wisdom with me in that four or five minute conversation. The main lesson of the day was not about driving a tractor. It was a lesson, a living parable, designed to illustrate a life-principle found throughout the Bible, perhaps most directly in Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Let us continually strain toward what is ahead: toward that future, that vision, that promise. Let us intentionally and passionately ask, seek and knock all along the way; let us listen. Let us forget what is behind, and let us be quick to throw off all those things that slow us down or keep us from reaching that future.

–C. J. Vires

Estes Echo

Sheep Need a Shepherd; Humanity Needs the Good Shepherd

Last published in 2007, W. Phillip Keller wrote A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. Mr. Keller came to write the book with a very interesting and diverse background. He was, himself, a shepherd for many years of his adult life. Being a well-educated man, he spent the last several years of his professional life working as a scientist. This placed him in an interesting position when he wrote A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. He was able to provide insight from a practical standpoint because he was a shepherd and he was able to write from a technical standpoint because he understood the science behind why shepherds do the things they do.

In the book, Mr. Keller tells of how he would often lead a flock of sheep to a luscious, green pasture. The pasture was often fenced in and would have good water available and nutritious plants for the sheep to eat. He relayed how there would always be one, and maybe a few more, lambs who would walk along the fence looking for a way out. There were always sheep that wanted to escape. The sheep would often escape to pasture that was dangerous for them and even to pasture that was much worse for them. They were just looking for a way out.

Mr. Keller then relayed how the sheep would develop an intimate relationship with their shepherd and would do anything they were directed to do. He told how he could lead a sheep to the slaughtering block and they would blindly follow him, not being cognitively aware they were being led to their death. And, in the pasture at large, the sheep would be headed for their own death or demise without the shepherd’s direction.

It is interesting how children of God will study His word and often attempt to look for a way out of the directives given by God. Isaiah described humanity: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned every one, to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Often times, Christians look for a way out of God’s directives and it is ultimately to their own demise. Sheep need a shepherd and humanity needs the Good Shepherd.

It is also easy to imagine a lamb following shepherds to their own death. The lambs were, of course, led to their own death by the priests of the old law and did not have any awareness they were to be slaughtered. It was not that way with the Lamb of God. Christ was led to His own death completely aware He was to die on Calvary’s tree. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).

–Jeremy Northrop

Estes Echo

The Single Christian

People are single for various reasons, whether widowed, divorced, or never married. Many are simply waiting to find that special someone with whom they are willing to spend a lifetime, while others actually choose to remain unmarried. In almost every congregation of the Lord’s church, single Christians can be found in each of these categories.

While all eligible persons have the “right to take along a believing [spouse]” (1 Cor. 9:5), keep in mind they also have the right not to! Regardless of social expectations, the Lord has not made it a requirement for everyone to be married. Jesus, our Master and perfect example, was a single man, as was Jeremiah, Daniel, and Paul. There is no mention in the Bible of the following individuals having been married: Ezra, Nehemiah, Mordecai, John the baptizer, Mary Magdalene, Lazarus and his sisters, Stephen, Barnabas, Silas, John Mark, Timothy, Phoebe, Titus, Apollos, and many more. Others, such as Ezekiel, Hosea, Naomi, Ruth, Jesus’ mother, Lydia and more, became (or at least appear to have become) “single again” after marriage. Being unmarried, therefore, is not only acceptable, in some cases it may even be preferable (cf. 1 Cor. 7:7-8).

Marriage, in and of itself, does not guarantee a fulfilling and happy life, as evidenced by the many disillusioned married couples and the alarming divorce rate! If we expect to be happy in heaven, and there is no marriage in heaven (Mark 12:25), where is that happiness going to come from? True joy comes from within, regardless of external circumstances. It was a single person who said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11). One must never let singlehood keep him/her from living a faithful and fulfilling Christian life, eagerly serving in God’s kingdom.

Unmarried people are not a special class of needy individuals in the church to be pitied, ministered to, or entertained. Being spouseless is not an impediment. The mere fact of singleness does not automatically render a person “needy” or eliminate that person’s own responsibility to serve others (1 Tim. 5:3-16). Singles ought to be seen as a dynamic force in the Lord’s body to be appreciated and utilized. Every congregation needs an effective “singles ministry,” which means keeping our unmarried members involved in active ministry (1 Cor. 12:12-21).

To help singles cope with the inevitable pressures of the single life, the following is suggested. (a) Realize you’re not the only one. Singlehood is a reality for a lot of people, including many great men and women of faith who have gone on before us (Heb. 12:1). (b) Keep your eyes focused on Jesus, who lived a productive life as an unmarried person (Heb. 12:2). (c) In overcoming self-pity and loneliness, remove yourself from the center of your life (1 Cor. 10:24). (d) Stay keenly involved in the Lord’s work (1 Cor. 15:58). (e) Develop close relationships with your spiritual family (Eph. 2:19). (f) Appreciate the blessings of singleness and the opportunities that would otherwise not be afforded (1 Cor. 7:25-35). (7) Trust in God (Psa. 37:3-6). (g) Learn and embrace contentment (Phil. 4:11-13). (h) Pray regularly (1 Thess. 5:17). (i) Commit your life totally to the Lord (Eccl. 12:13).

Married or single, the challenge is to accept your circumstance in life, be content, and use your unique situation to the glory of God (1 Cor. 7:24; 10:31). Even if your marital status happens to change, your contentment and usefulness to God should not.

–Kevin L. Moore

Estes Echo

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:8

Purity was the theme for this year’s Challenge Youth Conference, or CYC. On Friday, February 27, the Estes youth group and a few willing chaperones piled into three vans and headed out to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. CYC has always been one of the youth group’s favorite youth rallies, and this year did not disappoint. But it wasn’t just the snowy peaks of the Smoky Mountains or the abundant candy shops of Gatlinburg that made our weekend special. The most important part of CYC is the spiritual encouragement and edification that is constant every year.

The group of nearly 12,000 Christians was challenged by lessons from beloved speakers including Kyle Butt, Reed Swindle, Ben Hayes, and Lonnie Jones. The lessons focused on different aspects of purity in a Christian life, and the S.W.A.T. (Skits With A Truth) Team performed humorous yet thought-provoking skits that explored purity in a unique way. The spiritual invigoration continued outside of the convention center as we enjoyed fellowship with other youth groups from near and far. Andrew Hardee, an FHU student familiar to Estes, led a thoughtful devotional with the Estes and Henderson Church of Christ youth groups. I would urge anyone who hasn’t experienced CYC to plan to attend in the future. I know that myself and many others at Estes are already counting the days until CYC 2016!

–Matthew Johnson

Estes Echo

Ninety Generations

The dating of the book of Isaiah is placed during the seventh and eighth centuries before the time of Christ, which makes it approximately 2700 years ago. It is hard for me to comprehend 2700 years. I am not sure any of us can completely understand the time that has passed and all that has happened. A bit of reflection on generations might be helpful.

It is not uncommon (in fact, it is extremely common) for us to know our parents. Most of us spend over half of lives knowing our parents and having a significant relationship with them. Still not uncommon, but a little less common, is to know our grandparents. I was blessed to know all four of my grandparents and had a significant relationship with all of them. Two of my grandparents still live and I get to spend time with them. Perhaps, you have been blessed to know your great-grandparents. I remember three of my great-grandmothers. Two of the three passed away around the time I became a teenager. The third lived until I was in my 20s. She was a godly lady who passed with hope. We called her ‘Gramsie.’ She often told of our family’s association with the church.

While spending time with Gramsie, I remember her telling about times she grew up in Hewins, Kansas, and would walk or even ride a horse and carriage to worship on Sunday. She would tell how she would walk into the auditorium on Sundays and see both of her grandfathers (my great-great-great-grandfathers) on each side of the auditorium. They were both elders in the church.

Several years ago, my father conducted genealogical studies of the family and was able to trace the family back over ten generations. Yet, after we searched back two (maybe three or four) generations, the people just become a name and a date. Time marches on. In Genesis 5, there is a record of family generations beyond Adam and Eve. Yet, so many of them are just names and length of years they lived. As I have written about my family here, I went back five generations, even as far back as the 1800s. Yet, to get to the time of Isaiah, if the average generation is 30 years, we would have go back 90 generations.

Ninety generations ago, Isaiah told of the coming of Christ. 2700 years ago, Isaiah told how Jesus would be born into the world and he would bring hope to a world filled with hopelessness. He told how He would be born into the world like everyone else, be rejected, and ultimately killed. And all of it was in the plan of God. Isaiah more than any other prophet provided predictions of the coming King (i.e. Isaiah 52:13-53:12) – Ninety generations ago.

–Jeremy Northrop

Estes Echo

TN Children’s Home Spring Food/Supply Drive

TN Children’s Home – West relies on donations from supporters like those of us at Estes. During the next month, our Bible classes will be collecting supplies needed at the Children’s Home. Please participate if you can.

3-year-olds Pop-Tarts
4-year-olds Cereal
Kindergarten Microwave Popcorn
1st Grade Peanut butter or cheese snack crackers
2nd Grade Little Debbie snack cakes
3rd-4th Grade 100% Juice (apple, orange, grape, etc.), Kool-Aid or Lemonade (canisters)
5-6th Grade Salsa and Rotel; Tomato sauce and/or diced tomatoes (15 oz. cans); Cooking oil (spray or liquid)
7-8th Grade Garbage bags w/drawstrings (13 gal.); Aluminum foil; Ziploc quart-size freezer bags
9-10th Grade Ranch dressing; other salad dressings; Canned fruit (pineapple, esp.)
11-12th Grade Men’s shampoo and conditioner; Paper towels; Little Debbie snack cakes
Adult Classes Laundry detergent (HE, liquid); Fabuloso or Pine-Sol floor cleaner; Bathroom & kitchen cleaners

The Children’s Home still must purchase fresh items like milk, meat, produce so, if you would like to also make a cash donation (or check), they would be grateful. The items will be picked up on March 23 so all items must be brought by Sunday, March 22. If you have any questions, contact Jason Lockridge.

Estes Echo

Dealing With Pain and Suffering

Perhaps one of the most difficult things for people to deal with is pain and suffering. The issue is one that has destroyed and strengthened the faith of Christians. We all know events of pain and suffering in either our lives or those close to us. Sometimes, we understand the purpose of pain and suffering. Often, we do not.

Pain has always been a part of the world. Adam and Eve felt pain when Cain killed Abel (Genesis 4:25). Job felt pain when his earthly possessions were taken and his children were killed (Job 1:13-19). Paul spoke of his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). The book of Acts tells how the apostles and other first-century Christians experienced pain.

The presence of pain can seem inconsistent with the presence of an all-loving God. Why would a God of love allow evil/suffering in the world? Why would Paul say “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)? This passage can be troublesome for those experiencing pain.

Pain and suffering can be attributed back to the beginning of time. It began in the Garden of Eden when Eve, and then Adam chose to sin (Genesis 3:14-19). The events of the garden provide an explanation to the existence of pain – the poor decisions of the first couple. Poor decisions have consequences which can carry into today. God gave man the ability to choose. Adam and Eve chose poorly. Just as the consequences of a bad decision are passed on from one generation to another, so can the blessings from good decisions.

Understand genuine biblical joy. Paul instructed us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). How, in the midst of pain could he command such? The answer in choosing to rejoice. Paul later said, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.

Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:11-12). He chose contentment and we must do the same.

Everything has purpose. From Romans 8:28, we learn that pain and suffering have meaning. This can be a difficult concept to understand. There are things in life and in religion that are difficult to understand. Perhaps, we are not to analyze in order to understand but accept God at His word. Sometimes, we will understand and other times, we are left to wonder. Focusing on biblical contentment and accepting God’s word can provide comfort.

–Jeremy Northrop