Estes Echo

Welcome McManus family!

The elders announced on Sunday that Trent McManus has been slected as our new youth and family minister and we are pleased to welcome Trent and Christy McManus and their children Gideon, Faith, Daisy, and Silas to our Estes family.

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Estes Echo

Written in Sand and Stone

Two friends were walking through the desert and got into an argument. One friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “Today my best friend slapped me in the face.”

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Estes Echo

It Was Night

Judas is infamous. Many people who do not know a great deal about the Bible generally know who Judas was and what he did. His name is so marred that most people will not use it to name their children because of its negative connotation. John 13:18-30 records the events leading up to the betrayal by Judas. Many of the details leave some very vivid implications and reasons people ought to be concerned about their own spiritual well-being.

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Estes Echo


My family recently began following a plan that divides the Sermon on the Mount into segments so the entire passage can be memorized over the course of the year. More than once I’ve been encouraged by speakers and writers of devotional books to memorize Scripture, but with the exception of a few random verses I’ve never systematically tried memorization until this year.

The spiritual advantages of knowing the Bible by heart are highlighted in the story of the temptation of Jesus. Satan, “the tempter,” presented three temptations to Jesus, and each time Jesus responded by quoting from Deuteronomy. In this moment of physical weakness and spiritual peril, Jesus drew on his memory of Scripture to counteract Satan’s snares. One point in this story has always fascinated me, and shook me a bit too. For the second temptation, Satan took Jesus to Jerusalem to the height of the temple and said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone’” (Matthew 4:6). Here Satan demonstrated his memorization of Scripture, quoting from Psalm 91. He also gave us a timeless demonstration of what a dangerous adversary he is. He quoted Scripture accurately, from memory, but twisted its meaning to serve his purposes. In this passage, the psalmist was encouraging the faithful, showing God’s love and care for their safety. Satan used the passage to lure Christ into demonstrating his deity by a spectacular display of risk-taking. Had Jesus jumped from the pinnacle of the temple and not been harmed, he would have won a following of earthly admirers, awed by his display of power. But he also would have departed from his Father’s redemptive plan to save the world.

When I ponder this account, memorization becomes more than an intellectual exercise. It is vital to the spiritual safety of my family. Our adversary, Satan, knows Scripture, and knows how to twist its meaning and lure us into sins that separate us from God. We have power at our disposal to combat Satan’s wiles. One weapon in our spiritual arsenal is memorizing Scripture. If we carry the Word of God in our hearts, recalling and reciting Scripture in times of weakness and temptation, it can produce the same result for us that it did for Christ when he resisted temptation in the wilderness.

–Greg Massey

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Estes Echo

February is nearly upon us and that means it’s time for the annual Bible lectureship at FHU. On February 2-6, the campus will play host to a couple thousand of our brothers and sisters who have travelled from near and far to benefit from what is arguably the world’s largest Bible study!

This year the main theme for the lectureship is The Patience of Hope: First and Last Things in Thessalonians. In the words of Lectureship Director David Lipe: “Paul wrote these two letters to a young church he had established in the upper part of what we would call Greece, a church suffering persecution because of its faith. These two warm, personal letters provided the guidance those Christians needed in this life and gave them a divine perspective on what would happen when Christ returns. They will do the same today.”

The fact that the Lectureship takes place on our own doorstep provides a tremendous opportunity for us at Estes. There are programs available at the Welcome Center. Take one and scan through it. Find some things that interest you and go listen. You will be challenged and encouraged by some of the most outstanding voices in our brotherhood.

To get us started, the Estes elders have decided to dismiss the Sunday evening service on the day the Lectureship begins. They would like to encourage us instead to attend the evening lecture that day and as much as possible during the week, since they believe this will help promote the spiritual growth we seek as members of the family of God. We will be running a shuttle service to and from the evening session on Sunday; one before the singing and another before the lecture. They will leave the Estes building at 6:40 and 7:10 and will return to Estes after the session concludes.

As is our custom, we will also have an early service on Wednesday evening to allow our members to enjoy a special speaker here at Estes and then make it to the University for the evening session. We have invited Jay Lockhart to speak at Estes at 6:00 and Bill Watkins will be the Lectureship speaker that evening.

There is a lot going on and it presents a wonderful occasion for spiritual encouragement. Don’t miss this opportunity!

–Mark Blackwelder

Estes Echo


Brother Hayes is the pulpit minister for the East Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, TN. His education includes an A. A. in English (Southwestern Christian College); a B. S. in Bible (Abilene Christian University); a Masters in Human Development Counseling (Univ. of Illinois at Springfield); and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Marriage and Family ( Southern Christian University).

He is a Nationally Certified and State Licensed Professional Counselor. He teaches in the counseling department of Freed-Hardeman University as adjunct faculty. He and his wife, Patricia also conduct Marriage enhancement workshops and Family enrichment workshops.


Sunday – 9:30am Isaiah 53
Sunday – 10:30 am Should Saints Hurt?
Sunday – 1:00 pm Growing Through Grief
Monday – 7:00 pm Sanctified Self Esteem
Tuesday – 7:00 pm Faith in the Great Physician
Wednesday – 7:00 pm The Big Hurt

All adult Bible classes will meet together Sunday morning.

Estes Echo

Disuse Atrophy

In the fall of 1972, I was a senior in high school and a running back for the football team. In the third game of the season, I was injured in a play in which my left hip was dislocated. Once I had been treated at Baptist Hospital in Memphis, the course of healing was to stay flat on my back, with my left leg in traction for six weeks. It was at that time I learned what the words “disuse atrophy” meant. After laying in bed for weeks and with the lack of using or exercising my leg, the muscles in my leg weakened and shrunk in size. Once my mobility did return, it took much effort and regular exercise to regain my leg strength.

As I consider disuse atrophy, I cannot help but apply this concept to spiritual things. It seems that just as muscles have the ability to develop atrophy, so does our spiritual life. Failure to exercise our minds in spiritual matters, leads to spiritual disuse atrophy. The Hebrews writer in chapter 5, verses 11 and following, mentions to the readers that their spiritual growth was not what it should be. They were not equipped to be teachers of God’s word as they should have been, instead they had allowed their spiritual growth to wane. In other words, spiritually, they suffered disuse atrophy.

As we begin this new year, evaluate your spiritual life and if you discover you are suffering from disuse atrophy, keep in mind that just as with muscle atrophy, spiritual atrophy can be reversed with spiritual exercise and improved spiritual nutrition.

–Mark Scott

Estes Echo

New Year’s Resolutions

Have you made a list? Lose weight. Spend less; save more. Be more organized. While we are barraged with ads full of ways to make our physical lives better every January, Christians can think of the new year as a time to revisit our spiritual lives which are much more important than any earthly provisions.

Renewal is a biblical idea. God renews our spirit and soul, washes away and forgives sin. We know that in the Old Testament, God’s people were constantly in need of renewal and a return to God’s ways as they fell away and were returned:

  • Ps. 65:3 As far as our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.
  • Ps. 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
  • Isa. 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. I will turn my hand upon you and purge away the dross…”

Jesus and his early followers taught of spiritual renewal through Christ’s blood and baptism:

  • John 3:3-6 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say into thee, Except a man be born of born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
  • John 5:24 He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death into life.
  • Acts 2:38 Then Peter said. Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  • Rom. 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For as we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.
  • I John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.
  • Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is within me.

When we are in Christ’s light, we have seemingly endless opportunities to do good things and spread his light to dispel the darkness in the world. We can resolve to do many things in 2014. Just a few: read God’s word, tell others about his goodness, help those less fortunate that we are, help in an Estes ministry, teach Bible class, take food to the sick, send cards of encouragement, even smile at someone who is down.


Estes Echo

Transformed Through Christ

My dad grew up in eastern Kentucky and southern Indiana. I remember traveling from Oklahoma to visit dad’s family perhaps five or six times during my time at home. While we didn’t visit very often, those trips were always filled with fun and excitement. Primarily, I remember spending some amazing time with family – a rather large family as my Dad was the oldest of nine children. There was an abundance of aunts, uncles, and cousins, far more than existed in Oklahoma. I remember a distinctive connectedness to these people and to this location.

In November, I had a chance to visit one of the cousins that I had spent the most time with when I visited Indiana as a child. Our last visit had been in 1982, over 30 years ago. I arrived at his house on a Friday afternoon. The bond of family reconnected immediately. We talked, laughed, and cried as we recounted the memories of childhood, the passing of grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and the development of our own families. The conversation was continuous and lasted until about 2:00 a.m. It began anew the next day and carried on throughout the weekend. The love, the transparency, the comfortableness, the joy, and the peace that filled my heart and spirit that weekend were transformative, a welcomed surprise.

In December, I had a similar experience when visiting a congregation in Atlanta. I was sitting in a pew waiting for services to start, when I heard a sweet voice behind me call my name. I turned around and quickly noticed a young lady and two children. It took me a minute to recognize her. She had changed a bit since our last visit about six years ago. But soon, I recognized her – the daughter of one the elders that shepherded the congregation back in Ada, Oklahoma. Again the connection was immediate, and the conversation continuous only slightly interrupted for worship. The same feelings of love, transparency, comfortableness, joy, and peace again transformed my heart and spirit.

Two reflections related to these two experiences. First, I wonder if my heart and soul are being rekindled with love, transparency, comfort, joy, and peace as I continuously reconnect with my Savior through daily meditations and prayers? If I can be transformed, if my heart and spirit can be changed, by a conversation with my earthly family and friends, how much more should they be transformed through my continuous interactions with Christ? Second, I wonder if these experiences perhaps provide us a glimpse of our homecoming in Heaven? If reconnectedness with temporal relationships can elicit such emotions, I can’t begin to comprehend all that will be experienced when we realize that we are forever in the presence of our God, our Christ, the Holy Spirit, and all the saints! May we continue to be transformed through our relationship with Christ so that we can indeed experience all that is promised in eternity.

–C. J. Vires