July 22, 2010

July: The Month of Camps

I knew going into the month of July it would be crazy, but I had no idea just how crazy it’d actually be.

On July 4, I went to Dingman’s Ferry, PA to be a counselor at the FC Northeast Camp put on by Gardner Hall. I had never been to a camp like this before, but I decided to go and be a counselor for a week. The week turned out to be extremely productive. I was able to spend a lot of time with various people studying and teaching, and had the pleasure of baptizing one of the campers into Christ. I’m thankful that I was able to participate in the camp to encourage and be encouraged. It was much harder leaving the camp than I envisioned.

But on Saturday morning July 10 we left directly from camp to go to another camp. We left around 9 am and arrived about 10 pm in Indianapolis where we were to stay the night. Thankfully, from Indy we only had about another 1.5 hours to make it to the camp in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Purdue University campus was only about 7 or 8 miles from the camp.

There are several things I’ll note about this camp. 1) We slept in a chicken coup! It didn’t smell like a chicken coup, but the cabin was for sure an old chicken coup. I had talked to several people who had been to the campground before and they all left out that minor detail. It wasn’t a big deal, but I was shocked for a moment. 2) I got sick. I didn’t feel good Monday and by Monday night I was running a fever. So I slept basically all day Monday and Tuesday. Because of me getting sick, I felt like I missed out on a lot of opportunities. I didn’t know my campers the way I would’ve liked. I missed the first 2 day of classes so I was behind and semi-unmotivated to jump into all classes that I didn’t already have a good background on. Yet, it was still very beneficial for me to be at this camp. I learned some things in the classes I was in, met a lot of people in the Midwest that I didn’t know, and got to spend quality time with some old friends.

When I was told we were going to be driving through the night on Friday to make it back to PA by mid morning i got EXCITED! I was ready to be back home. I was missing my bed, shower and air conditioning. But I knew it was only temporary because I leave for a camp in Alabama Saturday morning.

I’m excited about this camp for a lot of reasons 1) It will be a good week of Bible study 2) I get to see some of my guys from Atlanta, and a few other teens from Atlanta 3) I get to spend the night with my parents, and see my family Saturday night.

Please pray for safety in our travels, but more importantly that we can do good work for our Lord.

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June 10, 2010

Bible Forum

The annual Bible Forum is here! Joe Works (who’s terrific) will be presenting lessons from the book of Revelation this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I don’t think I can utter enough of my appreciation for

Joe. He is one of those guys that you feel like you’ve known forever even though you’ve only met him a few times. He has done a great work with the group in Fairlawn, NJ and I’m excited that he’ll be teaching us this weekend.

The Bible Forum is a big deal for a lot of us here in Gettysburg. It’s a good opportunity to invite our friends and neighbors to hear the Bible taught, but the weekend in general is a good opportunity to spend time with one another.

The weeknd of the Bible Forum apparently is reknown among the VA, DC, NJ, NY and PA areas. We have about 50 young people coming for the weekend from various states and towns. The secular festivities begin Friday night after the lesson. All those interested will go to the Smelers where there will be a bonfire and singing. Then we’ll get up early on Saturday morning and have breakfast at the Bishops house. Then we’ll go back to the Smelsers for volleyball, cookout etc. Then back to the building for another lesson on Saturday evening.

Needless to say, I’m already tired thinking about all the activities for weekend, but it’s all good it’ll be an encouraging weekend.

So in preparation for the Bible Forum, Don Morrison and myself went and handed out flyers in his neighborhood. I’d say we had some success. We had a really good conversation with one gentleman and he said he’d try to be there–and I’m confident he will be because–we were inviting some others in the neighborhood

and a little girl said, “I’m probably going to it.” Well, turns out her father is the one who said he was going to try to make it. So they had already talked about it as a family, so we hope to see them.

Also, we had met a Jehovah’s Witness and had offered to study with him, and we got a call yesterday saying

he’d be willing to study. So I’m thankful for that opportunity.

I need to hit the road, but thought I should update some time this week. I hope all is well wherever you may be.

God bless,

June 1, 2010

Back at It

Hello June! You sure came around fast this year.

In the past couple weeks, I have been gently reprimanded about my blog. Dad wants me to post more about my teachings. And a couple of my friends in Alabama want me to post more often. Well, this my attempt to please.

This past month I preached on a few different topics. While in Albany, NY I preached on “The Things of God.” The point of the sermon was to think of the eternal consequences of sin, grace, Christian walk, and the Christian’s rest. And then at Gettysburg, I preached on “Teaching Through Song.” How we are to teach in signing and then looked at several songs in our songbook and showed from what passages or ideas in the Bible certain phrases originated. Also, I preached on “Courage.” We looked at several Old Testament examples of people who had courage in order to give us courage. And then this past Sunday I preached on “Loving Your Enemies.” We started out by looking at the fact that if God had not loved His enemies we would still be lost from Romans 5:6-10. And then we turned to practically think about how we can love our enemies from Luke 6 and Romans 12. I’m not sure what I’m preaching on this week.

June starts a new quarter for our class curriculum here in Gettysburg, and I’ll be teaching 2 different classes. One class is with the high schoolers and we will be studying themes from Proverbs. I’ve never taught Proverbs so this ought to be interesting. I’m thankful that Scott had previous material for this class, because I would not be able to write any good material at this point on Proverbs. The other class is with the upper elementary or middle schoolers and we will be learning how to pray, meditate and study. I’m extremely excited about this class! My goal is to enstill in them at a young age how to do these things and to love and practice them.

Also, June has started off pretty well in setting up 2 new studies. Scott and myself studied with a young lady today who has been worshipping with us the past 2 Sundays. She has come with some great questions and we are excited in being able to study with her. And then on Thursday I’ll drive down to Baltimore with another Scott to study with a relative of several of the members here in Gettysburg. So I ask that you pray for these studies and the ones that are ongoing.

I had a great trip to Alabama this past weekend. Enjoyed seeing my family even if was just for a short time. I also enjoyed seeing one of my best friends marry a good Christian, and getting to spend time with my close friends in Alabama. I never get to spend as much time with friends or family as I would like, but I’m thankful for any of the time I do get.

Hope all is well. God bless,

Wes

May 18, 2010

Love Is In The Air

Avid hunters are always jacked about the start of a new hunting season. Wedding attendees tend not to be as excited about the “opening day” of wedding season. Although, weddings are often a lot of fun. But men let’s be honest, you don’t really enjoy attending an outside wedding during May-August, especially if you have to wear a suit or tux. B/c it’s HOT! But we all suffer through the heat in order to be a good friend, family member and more importantly to share the day with our beloveds.

If you can’t tell, I’m writing these positive things about the hot weddings because I need the reminder. This coming Friday I will be at an outside wedding here in Gettysburg, and then next Friday I’ll be in an outside wedding in Alabama. I need to remind myself to be a good friend and not complain.

It’s a special day for my friends and they don’t need me griping or complaining (Philippians 2:14) about the heat, they know it’s hot–they’re out in it too. Not to mention, they have stress that I can’t even imagine at this point in my life. Therefore, I’m going to try to be a good wedding guest this year. They deserve it. (Matthew 7:12)

I’m excited for Bryan and Megan, and my long-time friends Matt and Holly,but I’m also super excited about the people I get to see because of these weddings. If the Lord wills, I’ll get to see my family! I haven’t seen any of them since Decemeber. I’ll get to see friends from childhood. I’ll get to see friends I’ve made over the past 5 months. I’ll just get to see a lot of people that I love and appreciate and I’m looking forward to it.

So that is what is coming up over the next couple weeks, now for a recap on what’s been happening. The past couple weeks can be summed up in this simple statement by Willie Nelson, “on the road again”.

Last weekend, I was in Washington, NJ attending their gospel meeting with Bob James. Embry Hills people, Bob and Anne are doing well and they say that John, Vivi and the kids are as well. It was good to see the James’ again. Bob presented the same series that he did for us at Embry Hills last year from the book of 2 Peter.

While in Washington, I stayed with one of those close friends I have made in the past several months, Dan and Heather Bunting. Dan is the evangelist for the congregation in Washington. I met Dan last summer at the Young Men’s Leadership Camp in upstate New York. We just became pretty good friends in a short time and I had seen Dan several times since the camp but I had never met his wife Heather or their 2 kids (Jack and Thomas) until last week. And I really enjoyed spending time with their family.

What’s semi-crazy about the whole thing is that I had never met Heather until a week ago from this previous Sunday, when we were traveling back from Albany, NY and worshipped with the group in Washington on Sunday evening. As the story goes, Dan and Heather were going to be in Gettysburg last Tuesday and Wednesday to study with Scott about an all-day study we are planning in September. And then I stayed with them Friday night and hung out with them all day on Saturday. So I went from having never met Heather and the kids to getting to spend 5 out of 7 days with them. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.

The previous weekend was our camping trip. There were 6 of us who went, Tim Bunting, Megan Duke, Ashlee Redd, Tim Wells and Trevor Wilson. I can’t speak for everyone but I had a blast. We got really wet on Friday night and didn’t get to hike the trail we had intended but we still enjoyed the weekend. The camping was fun and great, but worshipping with and speaking for the group in Albany was a huge encouragement. It was great to see the brethren again. They seem to be doing well and excited about the future. It was a really good weekend.

I’ve rambled on enough today, but I do have one request…if you’ve made it this far down the post: pray that I step outside of my comfort zone consistently. I need all the help I can get in being able to do accomplish this. I hope that all is well wherever you may be.

God bless,

April 27, 2010

Negligence

I’ve neglected to keep my blog updated.

I’m going to try to update more frequently, but i make no guarantees. My time is consumed with many other things and I often forget to post some thing, any thing. But today I’m making time to post about some thing.

One thing that is new since my last post is that I’ve been booked to hold a gospel meeting for the brethren in Lock Haven, PA on September 17-19. I’m excited about the opportunity. It’s a small congregation in the middle of the state near-ish to Penn State University. Now, I need to come up with possible series to present and start preparing. Yes, I know it’s a long time away, but I remember growing up that Bruce Hall would always preach his series before ever presenting it at a gospel meeting. I think he would say that we were his guinea pigs. Sorry Gettysburg, you’ll be my guinea pigs.

Also, next weekend I’ll be speaking for the group in Albany again. Some of you may not know, but I spent last September working with this group. I have grown to love them and am excited to be with them again even if it is just for one Lord’s day. The reason I’ll be speaking is because several of us from the PA/NJ/NY area are going camping and hiking in the Adirondaks. Not to bore you guys with the details, but we’ll be staying with Tim Wells on Thurs and Sat night in Albany and camping out on Friday night and hiking Saturday. I’m super excited about the trip. It’ll be short, but edifying and fun.

This past week, I was able to attend a lectureship in Exton, PA with many of the preachers in the Northeast. We looked closely at some topics in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. I found the lectureshp to be very helpful. Especially, a lecture that Jeff Smelser (Scott’s brother) gave on gnosticism. His lecture went into some depth explaining gnosticism, something that I know very very little about. But as he was going through explaining gnosticism things especially from 1 Timothy were beginning to make a lot of sense. I’ve often wondered why some verses and phrases were included in the letter to Timothy, but I’m beginning to think it’s because he was helping Timothy refute the gnostics. The teenagers are starting a study on 1 Timothy this Friday night, so it will be interesting to go back and study the book wearing “gnostic goggles.”

It’s also gospel meeting time in this area, and it’s true that they may seem too far to drive for some of you in the South, but they are worth it. Last Friday, we drove about 1.5 hours to Marietta, PA for their gospel meeting. Again, another small group probably in the 30s or 40s and they were glad to see us. We took a lot of the teenagers over and many others from the Gettysburg group were there as well. The lesson was on making your faith your own. The fellow preaching (Brent _______ from California) showed an interesting progression of the maturation of faith starting with 1) Parents faith which leads to 2) Borrowed faith then to 3) Credal faith then to 4) Questioning faith ultimately leading to 5) Mature faith.

This coming Friday some of us will be driving down to Centreville, VA where Jim Jonas now preaches. The man preaching the meeting ,Tony Mauck, was the evangelist for a brief part of my time in Auburn. It will be good to see him again. Looking forward to seeing those brethren.

As you can tell, I’ve been or will be on the road a good bit over the next few weeks and especially this summer…I’d appreciate prayers on our behalf. Also, I’m thankful for the prayers that each of you offer up on my spiritual behalf. I know they help. I pray that is well with each one of you.

God bless,

Wes

April 12, 2010

It’s Been Wild and Crazy

The last couple weeks have been an absolute blur.

I need a scapegoat and I choose the weather. We’ve had some GORGEOUS days even hitting 85+ a couple days, and we’ve had some COOL days in the upper 40s low 50s. But I don’t think the weather is a good scapegoat. I’ll think I’ll just man-up and say I’ve been off the charts busy.

I’ve been busy with things for my pleasure: a day trip to NYC with a couple of teenagers that worship with me in Gettysburg, a friend came into town and we went on a hike, etc. etc.

But I’ve also been busy in spiritual matters as well. It seems that almost daily I’ll receive an e-mail, text or call about a tough Bible question. I LOVE it! I’ve heard from several old friends that I thought had zero interest in spiritual things, as well as some others I’ve studied or am studying with now.

One thing that I am trying to work on exceptionally hard at the moment is working with individual teenagers much better. My primary role here in Gettysburg is not the teens, but I feel I can be useful to this group. We’ve had our ups and downs over the past several weeks, but things took a huge step in the right direction last night praise to God for that! But we still have a long way to go to get to where we need to be. But with the help of God, parents and other individuals we can start making progress in this area.

As for things I’ve been teaching lately. In the Bible Fundamentals class on Sunday morning we’ve been looking at key prophecies in the Old Testament with the primary focus being on the Messianic psalms and prophecies. This past Sunday we looked at Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53, both chapters about the suffering of the Messiah, and it never gets old looking at those texts. I read Isaiah 53 and I feel like scum. Its impossible for me to read the text and not feel inadequate, but then I always get to verse 10 and am cheered me up, “it was the will of the LORD to crush Him; he has put him to grief”–ESV. What an amazing plan!

Sunday morning I taught a sermon on “Learning Fom Jesus’ Questions” in the book of Luke. Of course we didn’t look at every question Jesus ever asked, but we looked at some directed to his disciples and enemies. We specifically concentrated on Jesus’ teaching method. Often, even when He was speaking to a large audience he found a way to force individual audience members in a physical situation to teach a spiritual lesson. So we looked at the physical situation that Jesus question put them in and the spiritual lesson he taught. You can check out the PowerPoint slides here.

I’d be lying if I said everything was smooth sailing at the moment. The past week presented challenges that tested my patience, faith, endurance, wisdom, humility and other areas. These challenges come with the nature of the work, but I hope they don’t come around often! Things are moving in the right direction and fully trust that the decisions made will be for the benefit of many. I’m thankful to have seen progress in such a short time. I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ. May we always have the mind in us which was in Christ Jesus, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the intersts of others.”

God bless

March 30, 2010

I Issue a Challenge…

And it’s not to climb to the top of Lewis Rocks like we did this past Saturday, but it’s to attempt to go the entire month of April without sinning. That might seem impossible to some, but with the Lord’s help, and our constant focus and dedication I believe we can achieve this goal.

One thing I suggested to the group in Gettysburg to help our daily focus is that we each read Psalm 119 every morning when we wake. I’m amazed every time I read that Psalm at the dedication of David. I believe in order for us to achieve this goal we must share the same attitude as David:

“With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes. I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.” –Psalm 119:145-148

March 26, 2010

New Blog Home

Don’t be mad, but I thought it was time to make my blog look and feel a little more professional. The blogspot address served its purpose, but I wanted more control over the blog. Plus with the new blog I’ll be able to upload my PowerPoint presentations in case any of you are interested in them. And eventually I’ll be able to stream and download audio as well. So get excited or get annoyed!

It’s amazing how time flies! I can’t believe that I have been in Gettysburg for 3 months already. A part of me feels like I just moved a couple weeks ago, but another part is starting to get comfortable with the work. I’ve never felt like an outsider, yet all the while I didn’t know exactly where I was to fit in. And now that I know the group better it’s easier for me to see areas  that I can be of assistance to the Lord’s body.

I mentioned several weeks back about a young lady who I hoped would start attending our Sunday evening study on the book of Mark…well she has been very regular in attendance to the study and on Wednesday nights for many weeks now. She feels comfortable with us and is beginning to ask questions, and appears to be seeking the truth. She has been a great help to us as I trust we have been to her. But please for her and us.

A sermon that should be preached every year is a sermon on modesty. Well, I had the good fortune of being able to present that lesson this past Sunday. To be honest, it’s probably in my top 5 least sermons to preach but modesty needs to be taught. The brethren as a general rule received the lesson favorably. I didn’t know how they would respond but I was thankful with their response. I just hope the verbal agreements translate into agreements in action. I do not have the audio available but here is the PowerPoint Presentation on Modesty. Please note that comments on each of the slides, they will sometimes help understanding the slide better.

I’m excited because the congregation that I grew up in, Pepper Road, has asked me to hold a meeting for them next June. That might not seem like a big deal, but I’m stoked about it.

I’m also excited about tomorrow, we’re going on a hike. A young man from Virginia is in town for spring break and someone put together a hike for us. My understanding is that when we get to the top there’s a good place to hold a devotion and we will do that as well. I’m looking forward to that. I need to remember to charge my camera batteries so I can take some pictures and post them.

Have a great weekend,

Wes

March 26, 2010

A New Blog Home

My new blog home is https://christsdoulos.wordpress.com please check it out.

God bless,
Wes
March 15, 2010

Welcome Spring 2010


We have officially entered one of the best seasons of the year. The temperature continues to rise. The flowers are trying to show their colors. And the sun is staying out longer! This is truly a great time of year to enjoy God’s creation.

I had the opportunity a few weekends ago to check off one of my goals I had when moving to Pennsylvania: go snow skiing. Several of the guys from church went one Saturday night and I had a blast. After 2 trips down the bunny trail I was ready to roll. I was very pleased with my overall performace for a 1st timer. I fell as anyone does their 1st time, but I did not wipe out any. I can see why so many people plan a ski trip yearly.

On to some more important things that have been happening.

Yesterday was a busy day. I taught class in the morning, afternoon, preached Sunday night, and thankfully got to enjoy some down time with some brothers and sisters.

As for Sunday morning class, 2 Sundays ago we began our new quarter and I began teaching a class called Bible Fundamentals. This class is designed to help new Christians learn some basic fundamentals, but it’s also to help those of us who’ve been Christians for a while refresh our memories. In my estimation this class is going extremely well. I’m a little behind schedule, but I’d rather us be learning the information than having too much information that we’ll never remember. We just finished up covering the 17 Periods of Bible History that Bob Waldron has laid out. We started with this foundation so that we could see the chronology of the Bible. At the end of the quarter I hope that we can identify every book in the Bible and place it in its appropriate time period. To say that I’m loving this class would be an understatement.

As for the Sunday afternoon class, this was a special class that won’t happen very often. The class was on the Holy Spirit. You remember a few weeks back I posted about having to teach a class on the Trinity. Well, that class led to the college-aged adults with more questions and they wanted to meet again and talk about the Holy Spirit more. So we did that yesterday. Again from my perspective I thought things went well. But you never know exactly how your audience grabs it unless they tell you. But in a nutshell we covered these things: 1) Are there passages that show Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are God? 2) Are there passages that show that the Son is not the Father? 3) Are there passages that show the Son is not the Holy Spirit? 4) Are there passages that show the Holy Spirit isn’t the Father? And the answer to all of those questions is yes. They are all God, but all are distinct from one another…a really mind boggling thing for me. But we looked at several other things as well. We looked at the main roles of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Which we said that the Holy Spirit’s main role was to reveal God’s message and confirm God’s message…I could go on and on about what we talked about, but I’ll not confuse you any further. But we covered a lot of ground and I think made some headway.

As for the sermon, I preached on the Holy Spirit. I had one very specific goal of the sermon: I want people to no longer ask “WHAT is the Holy Spirit?” but to ask “WHO is the Holy Spirit?” So we looked at John 14-16 and all the things that the Spirit would do: help, remind, guide, teach, bear witness, convict, etc. And then we also looked to what the Scriptures say we can do to the Holy Spirit. We can: blaspheme him, lie to him, insult/outrage, and grieve him. I hope that the lesson helped us to realize that the Spirit of God is not an it. The Holy Spirit is very integral to our salvation (Titus 3:8). Therefore, we need to try to understand him better than what we do now.

I’m thankful to be here in Gettysburg, but i do miss those of you in the South. It seems like over the past couple weeks I’ve received a lot of phone calls and e-mails from you southerners, and they’ve been great. I should also mention that I receive constant encouragement from the Yanks. You both help in more ways that you can imagine. I’m thankful that we are one in Christ.

Also I need to give a shoutout to my nephew Whitby. He’s going to be 3 on Friday! So Happy Birthday Whitby!

God bless,