Monday, April 29, 2013

Exciting Moments In The Ministry


I can remember going once to a conference where the preacher was preaching about the passions and desires in our lives. His whole point centered on the fact that most believers are more excited about a ball game than they are the things of the Lord. As I sat and listened to him preach I can remember asking myself, what makes me excited? It is a good question for all of us to ask because it will reveal some inward priorities that we would never verbalize.

After thinking about what makes me excited, I concluded that at that point in my life it was investing my life in the juniors at our church. We had recently taken a trip with a group of Junior boys to my wife’s farm. The night before we left I had a hard time sleeping because I was so excited about the trip. (For pictures of that trip visit

You may be wondering what all that has to do with the ministry at Oregon Trail Baptist Church. In the last two weeks we have had opportunities and doors open up that had the same effect on me. We have had some new young families show up a church as well as several people who are seeking after the things of God. It has been exciting as Becca and I have been able to share the Gospel with those who are hungry for it.

Please pray for the Devil’s work of snatching seed to be hindered and that we would continue to see God working.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sin = Sin

This short video highlights the sins we like to mask. If you are unable to watch it below please visit

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Best Of My Logic

2013-03-05 Baby Shower & Teen Rally 028

This morning as I was sitting in a chair when Elizabeth came up to me with a request. She wanted me to “fix the batteries” on her remote control truck. We had bought her and Andrew a remote control truck at a thrift shop for their birthday and although it is designed for older kids they still enjoy running it around. Elizabeth proceeded to tell me all the tools needed to “fix the batteries” and how to do it. She said we needed a screw, hammer, and a few other things. She even specified that they needed to be orange. She has an orange set of Black and Decker play tools that I’m sure she was referring to. It was quite cute listening to here explain the problem and the solution for it.

After listening to her and then watching her go to find the tools needed. I simply walked to the kitchen with the truck. As I walked into the kitchen I saw the spoons that my wife has in the lazy Susan for stirring coffee and tea. I grabbed on of the spoons and with the handle turned the lock on the battery compartment of the truck and pulled out the dead battery pack. I then found the charger and plugged everything into the wall to be charged.

If you haven’t noticed, Elizabeth’s logic and method were quite different than mine. I smiled and chuckled to myself as I completed this simple task and thought of three ways that this applies spiritually. First, I wonder how often God feels the same way about us? We think we have everything figured out and so we have a plan of action that is complicated, color coded, and categorized. God, in is infinite wisdom, does what needs to be done in what to us is a surprising way. Elizabeth’s method was much different than mine and often my method is much different than God’s. The tools that Elizabeth thought were necessary I didn’t even look for or use. Often the things that I think are important God thinks that they are unnecessary. Why do I worry and try to figure everything out and then pray for an answer? I should instead begin by asking God for wisdom and leave the details to Him.

The Second lesson I saw was this, although we don’t get things out just right, God knows what we mean. In Romans 8 we are told that we cannot pray as we ought and so the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groaning's that cannot be uttered. Elizabeth's request to fix the battery was really a request to charge the battery. I knew what she was asking for even though she couldn’t express it. Why do we get so concerned with the verbiage and wording of our prayers? I remember once being “corrected” for not addressing the right remember of the God-Head in my prayer by a fellow college student. The truth is God knows exactly what I mean and the right Person of the God-Head knows who I am addressing. This can also be see in the conversion of Augustine. The American theologian and author James Freeman Clarke from the 1800’s explained,

In his Confessions, Augustine relates that when as a young man, having expressed a purpose to visit Rome, his mother remonstrated, and prayed earnestly that he might be prevented from going, her reason being that she feared the effect upon the young man of the temptations and vices with which the great city abounded.
He went, however, and during his stay there was converted to Christianity under the preaching of St. Ambrose. Augustine writes that her prayer was answered, though not in its outward form, but in its inward heart. What she really prayed for was that he might be saved from the ways of sin. (Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996).)

Our God is big enough and wise enough to know exactly what we are asking for and the best way to answer that prayer. That does not mean that we cannot take the details that we see and lay them before God, but it does mean that we don’t have to be overly concerned about the language we use in prayer. Prayer is as simple as a conversation with another person and it should be our constant personal source of communication with God (alongside our Bible reading).

Third, I realized that although there are tools better equipped for a task God uses those who are clean and surrendered. 1 Corinthians tells us that God is in the business of using the simple to confound the wise. The best tool to open the battery compartment on Elizabeth’s truck was a screw driver, but I used a spoon handle. Why did I use a spoon? It was available and ready for the task at hand. The spoon was not designed to be a screwdriver, but it worked. I want to be careful here when equating this to God. I was to lazy to find the right tool, but God is not lazy. God simply delights in confounding the wise and strong of this world with weak things. There are many more qualified, smarter, organized, and educated people who could be pastoring Oregon Trail Baptist Church. To be honest I am completely inadequate for the task. God uses those who are clean (have confessed all known sin) and surrendered. God does not force anyone to serve Him.

    In short I observed that….


    1. God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts.

    2. God knows my heart and is not limited to the words that come out of my mouth.

    3. God uses those who make themselves available to Him regardless of their strength or weakness.

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    Costly Grace

    Psalm 39; 2 Corinthians 6:1–13

    When we say something hurtful to a friend or a family member, we know we can’t just ignore the harm we have caused (we should know, anyway). In order to repair the relationship and earn back trust, we have to acknowledge the rift we’ve created. But when it comes to our relationship with God, we don’t always look at it the same way. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, we belittle the incredible love that He has shown us.
    When we don’t acknowledge our sin as an act of rebellion, we feel far from God. We’ve created this great divide because we’ve tarnished our relationship with Him. In Psalm 39, the psalmist is in great agony over his sin—to the point where he acknowledges that people are nothing and his life is vanity: “Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; And mine age is as nothing before thee: Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.” (Psa 39:5).
    Without God, life is meaningless. The psalmist acknowledges that his transgression has done great harm. He turns to God and says: “And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.” (Psa 39:7). At the heart of that cry is a need for redemption from a God that answers. He provided a way of salvation—one that was incredibly costly through Christ. In 2 Corinthians, Paul stresses the importance of not taking this great gift for granted: “ We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2 Cor 6:1–2).
    Paul’s call is urgent because Jesus’ coming to earth wasn’t a small gesture. It was incredible. If we aren’t amazed at it, if we scorn it (even by accident), we may miss out. We have a greater hope than the psalmist was ever able to realize; his broken cry would not be fully answered for centuries. So today, when you hear God’s call, don’t respond with silence. Respond with a thankful heart.

    Are you ignoring sin in your life? How can you live with a thankful heart, since Christ has bought you with such a great sacrifice?


    John D. Barry and Rebecca Kruyswijk, Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012).

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Funeral for Charles

    Tuesday April 16th I participated in officiating the funeral for Charles Oliver. His wife LaQuetta has been one of our most faithful church ladies and she does so much to keep our church going. Charlie came about every month and was a dear friend to my family. Whenever I went to visit him we always sat and drank a lot of coffee. The day of the funeral happened to be one of the snowiest day’s of the year. His old family friend Bill Walker who is the priest at the Episcipical church read his eulogy and dismissed while I handled the preaching and Scripture readings. Everything went smooth and there were about 200 there in attendance (According to Becca).

    Obituary for Charles Oliver

    Funeral services for CHARLES A. OLIVER, 76, will be held at 2pm on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at the Ft. Laramie Pioneer Center in Ft. Laramie, Wyoming with Pastor Jason Miller and Bill Walker co officiating. Burial will follow in the Ft. Laramie Cemetery. Charles died on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at Guernsey, Wyoming while enroute to the Wheatland hospital. The casket will be open briefly following the funeral service. Memorial contributions may be directed to the family. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Colyer Funeral Home and friends are invited to send condolences to the family at
    Charles was born on June 21, 1936 in Lingle, Wyoming the son of Albert "Jack" and Irene (Milnes) Oliver. He grew up and attended school at Ft. Laramie. Charles married LaQuetta Haynes at Ft. Laramie on October 8, 1955. The couple lived on a ranch north of Guernsey where they ranched until Charles retired in 2006. Charles also worked at CF & I Mine for 28 years. He served in the Wyoming National Guard and was later on active duty with the US Army.
    Charles enjoyed roping and the family held roping events in their arena. He also was a Chariot Racer and he enjoyed hunting and fishing, and riding 4-wheelers.
    He is survived by his wife LaQuetta of Guernsey; his son Chet Oliver of Torrington, Wyoming; three daughters, Kim Dillman of Torrington, Joy Oliver and Luana (Mike) White Bird all of Guernsey; 7 sisters, Betty Blankenbaker and Lucy Urbach both of Torrington, Myrna Lucas and Judy Garhart both of Ft. Laramie, Joan (Bob) Hohnholt of Torrington, Joyce (Gene) Santillanes of Guernsey , and Darlene (Andy) Anderson of Elkhart, Kansas; two brothers Rudy (Jeannie) Oliver of Douglas, Wyoming and Wayne (Millie) Oliver of Ft. Laramie; 9 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, 2 brothers Bud and Steve and 2 sisters, Donna Eisenbarth and Janet Fisk.

    Silly Me… I Thought Spring Was Here

    Big Thanks to Leroy Clark who came and helped me shovel the show for Wednesday’s Bible Study.

    2013-04-17 0012013-04-17 0022013-04-17 0042013-04-17 0052013-04-17 016

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Find and Sell

    I found this out on public land last fall when hunting and decided to take it home. I thought it was neat but decided that I didn’t need it or have a place to store it so I took it to the Auction Barn in town and put it in their store. It sold for $100 and I received $75. I thought that was a neat blessing from the Lord.0227131819

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    The Smiling Child


    childIn London, in 1872, one Sunday morning a minister said to me, “I want you to notice that family there in one of the front seats, and when we go home I want to tell you their story.” When we got home I asked him for the story, and he said, “All that family were won by a smile.” “Why,” said I, “how’s that?” “Well,” said he, “as I was walking down a street one day I saw a child at a window; it smiled, and I smiled, and we bowed. So it was the second time; I bowed, she bowed. It was not long before there was another child, and I had got in a habit of looking and bowing, and pretty soon the group grew, and at last, as I went by, a lady was with them. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to bow to her, but I knew the children expected it, and so I bowed to them all. And the mother saw I was a minister, because I carried a Bible every Sunday morning. So the children followed me the next Sunday and found I was a minister. And they thought I was the greatest preacher, and their parents must hear me. A minister who is kind to a child and gives him a pat on the head, why the children will think he is the greatest preacher in the world. Kindness goes a great way. And to make a long story short, the father and mother and five children were converted, and they are going to join our church next Sunday.”


    Won to Christ by a smile! We must get the wrinkles out of our brows, and we must have smiling faces.

    D. L. Moody, D. L. Moody’s Child Stories Related by Him in His Revival Work, ed. J. B. McClure (Chicago: Rhodes & McClure, 1877), 72-75.

    Ministry Update

    Figures Update

    Just as most churches have high attendance on Easter and Christmas we are the same. On Easter Sunday we had 48 people in attendance including my parents who were visiting from Iowa. Numbers don’t mean everything concerning spiritual progress but it has been encouraging to watch our congregation grow. Last year we had an average of 18 people in each service. That number has risen this year to 20 and that includes a new family and young couple that have started to attend. Please pray that the Lord gives us wisdom as we move forward.

    Family Update

    As a body of believers when one believer suffers we all suffer with them. There seem to be several trials that our various church members are dealing with right now. Currently one of our church member’s husband is suffering from terminal cancer. They have been flooded with visitors from family and friends in the short time that remains. Please pray that the Lord would give strength during this time as well as show the rest of the body what we can do to be a help and encouragement.

    Financial Update

    This week we had our quarterly business meeting. I realized after the meeting that although our church people have been kept informed about our churches finical progress I have not shared that with those who follow our blog and pray for us. Here are some brief numbers that will show what God has been doing.image

    • On May 4th 2012 we owed $30,000 on our building and had until May 4th 2014 to pay (24months).
      • Our average monthly income was about $800 so the loan was set up at $500 mortgage payments with the remainder due with the last payment (a payment of about $ 18,594.09).
    • Currently we owe $13,909.25 and have paid $17,421.82.
      • That means we have paid 56% of our 2 year loan off in 1 year!
      • Our mortgage payment is $500 a month but on average we have paid $ 1,583.80 per month.
      • The extra payments have saved us $846.04 in interest so far.image
    • Our church has received support from other churches but 61% of our income is from our offerings.

    In summery God has been consistently meeting our needs and paying our bills. We have done all we can to save but there is no way that we could as a church meet this need with out God’s hand of provision.