Estes Echo

We recently went on vacation and had a twelve hour drive there and back. Since I can’t watch the kid’s videos while I drive, I had a lot of time to think, and I came to realize why I like vacations and Lads to Leaders so much. While it makes me sound old, I figured out that my favorite part of vacation is having everyone together without having to run children all over the place.

There isn’t a day of the week we aren’t hauling a child somewhere for something. Madeline is in Jackson four evenings of the week and most Saturdays. Benjamin and Jackson are both playing soccer with one or two practices a week (depending on which kid) and games another day a week. One of us is always taking a child somewhere and doing something.

The drive also gave me time to think about the lessons my kids learn from all those activities. There are the positive lessons learned: sportsmanship, determination, teamwork, the value of hard work. There are also potentially negative things they learn. They learn that where you spend your time is what you value most. They learn another aspect of our culture as well: an obsession to win.

Our lives are full of earthly things. While I am sure the life lessons my kids learn from their activities are important, they are earthly lessons and not heavenly lessons.

What does all this have to do with Lads to Leaders? My vacation conversation with myself reinforced what I love about Lads to Leaders.

  • I love that my kids can learn the same positive things they learn playing sports in heavenly pursuits.
  • I love that my kids see that the things we hold dear about our worship are worth spending time learning how to do.
  • I love that my kids learn how to lead in our worship services.
  • I love that I can spend time with my kids in a structured way learning to love God and His word.
  • I love that the competition aspects of our culture can be focused in a way to improve our service to God.
  • I love that my kids get to spend time in God’s word learning.
  • Above all, I love that we are reinforcing our most cherished beliefs. I love that, as a family, we spend time on the things that matter most.

If this sounds appealing to you, we are having our Lads to Leaders kick-off Sunday night, Sept. 22, after worship. We would love to have you join us in teaching our kids what matters most.

Estes Echo

As the Estes congregation has grown from a group of neighbors meeting under a brush arbor to a family of over four hundred souls, many from other parts of the country (and world), her programs have grown along with her. Organized programs of ministry are created in order to help us meet needs that might be overlooked in the ever-expanding body. The need for organization and assignments is at least as old as Acts chapter 6, when complaints about neglected widows resulted in the designating certain men to take responsibility for the ministry. At Estes today we have a wide assortment of ministries based on this same model.

Over the next few weeks, several of our ministries will be showcased in our Ministry Fair in order to help you find an area of involvement. Displays in the lobby will provide basic information. Ministry leaders will be there to answer your questions. Sign-up sheets will be right there for you to put yourself into the work. If you have a heart for widows, elderly folks, and shut-ins, check out our visitation program. If you want to help lead in worship services, or assist in our Bible classes, there are opportunities just waiting. If you are interested in evangelism, missions, local outreach, or participating behind the scenes in the work of the church, Estes has a place for you. Ministries highlighted this first week will include those involving missions and our Lads to Leaders program.

Our theme is “Love, Connect, Serve, Grow.” There is a pulsing energy at Estes with many people seeking ways to genuinely show love and really serve others. While we hope everyone will continue to commit “random acts of kindness,” our organized ministries are designed to meet the needs of the church and community more systematically. If you have been waiting for God to give you a sign or open a door in order for you to fulfill his mission for your life, remember that Jesus modeled simple service to local people every day. Then check out the Ministry Fair and see if there are not some simple ways there for the body of Christ today to continue that fundamental mission.
–Jesse Robertson

Estes Echo

Setting the Table

Tables. They aren’t complicated items like smart phones and plasma, flat-screen televisions. They aren’t the piece of furniture we spend the most time using. But some of my fondest memories have been made while sitting at tables. Tables are a gathering place, where people come together to be nourished…yes, physically, but for me, the social nourishment around the table is just as important as the food. Growing up, our family dinner table was the setting for prayers, sharing stories about the day’s events, lots of laughter, and of course, lessons about good manners. And, although the process was repeated day after day, I would definitely have missed the absence of a single meal. Today, I continue to look forward to the times I spend with my family around our table. I arrive at the table hungry, but always leave full.

We have the opportunity every Sunday to come together at a different table, the Lord’s Table. Like our dinner table, the Lord’s Table isn’t fancy. But its purpose is profound. We arrive at the table hungry. Hungry for purpose, hungry for forgiveness, hungry for time to reflect on our gratitude for God’s grace, hungry to bond with those of like faith. When we join our Christian family at this table, we arrive hungry, but leave full…full of purpose, full of forgiveness, full of gratitude for God’s grace, and full of love for our Christian family.

At times, I have found myself leaving the Lord’s Table unsatisfied. Those are the times that I came to the table, but failed to take advantage of the spiritual nourishment provided by experiencing the body and blood of Jesus. I allowed my mind to wander to worldly concerns, rather than focusing on the purpose of the commemoration. Let this message encourage each of us to reexamine our mindset, and renew our focus as we participate in the Lord’s Supper.

–Lee Hibbett


Estes Echo

A Melting Pot

This expression has been used for a number of years to describe the United States. The term actually comes from title of 1914 play by that name which suggested that ours was becoming a superior society due to blending all of the best of other cultures which were finding their way to America at that time. Debate continues as to whether this is really happening at all and whether we should embrace it or try to limit it. Of course, the New Testament was written a long time before North America was “discovered,” yet it seems to describe a “melting pot.” Paul wrote these words to the Galatians:

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:27-28).

This passage describes a true “melting pot.” As we are connected with Christ in baptism, we are also connected with each other in a way that should erase distinctions and bring out the best in us all. God is no “respecter of persons,” and neither should we be. He has called us together without regard to age, race, nationality, gender, socioeconomic status, or religious background. Jesus prayed that we might “be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).

It is easy for us to become comfortable with certain relationships within the church without opening ourselves up to greater sense of community. What new opportunities might there be to “be one?” Here are some possibilities:

  • Adopt a college student (there doesn’t have to be a formal program!).
  • Speak to a stranger at church (almost all your friends were once strangers!).
  • Invite a family you don’t know well to join yours for a meal.
  • Ask someone to tell you his or her “spiritual story” and share yours.

“Melting” distinctions and coming together is something God wants for us. Let’s look for ways to create a community of oneness.

–Mark Blackwelder

Estes Echo

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (I Timothy 4:12).

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).


Estes Echo


B0070513 (Part 2)

Two young men that I know recently made a poor decision to dabble in alcohol. They quickly learned it was a mistake that will have very negative consequences on their present and future lives. Many of us have experienced similar events with negative results that altered our outlooks either on life or on faith. We conveniently call these events “learning experiences.” Read more