State Meeting Information

“The 107th Annual Session of the Texas State Association of Free Will Baptists will be meeting June 9-10, 2021, at the Lakehills FWB Church in Cedar Park. Board meetings will begin on Wednesday morning June 9, and the formal opening of the Annual Session will begin with the Wednesday evening worship service. Our keynote and conference speaker will be Faron Thebeau, Pastor of Mosaic Church in Rolla, MO. Lodging for this year’s State Meeting has been arranged at La Quinta Inn & Suites Austin -Cedar Park. The hotel has a number of rooms temporarily blocked at a reduced rate; to make reservations, please see the information below”

La Quinta Inn & Suites Austin – Cedar Park – (512) 528-9300
1010 East Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park, Texas 78613
Room Rates: Single King or Queen/Queen – $80.10 + tax
Reservation Deadline: May 18, 2021
Rates include all standard amenities, such as free breakfast, parking, and high-speed WiFi.
Below is the booking link for the hotel. The default is arrival on Tuesday (June 8) and departure on Friday (June 11), but you can change those dates to match your arrival and departure. If you need additional nights outside of the June 8-11 period, you can call the hotel directly. The reservation deadline to obtain the reduced group rate is no later than May 18.

As in years past, pre-registration is available and encouraged for all attendees. You may register using one of the registration forms sent to your church, mailing it to the State Office, or you may register online at ww.texasfwb.org. We ask that you submit your pre-registration by May 30 in
order to have your information compiled prior to the meeting. Onsite registration will also be available, but you are encouraged to pre-register if you know that you will attend. Preregistration helps us to keep records more efficiently, and pre-registered attendees will have a pre-made nametag at the registration table.
If your church or district has had any directory changes since last year’s State Meeting (new pastor, address, area code or phone number, e-mail address, website, etc.), please send your new information to Clerk Kevin Williford (kwilliford10@gmail.com) as soon as possible so that we can update the directory for the 2021 Yearbook. If you’re unsure whether your information is
correct, check the online Churches and Pastors directory at the ww.texasfwb.org website.
All of the enclosed information and more will be online at the State Association’s website: http://www.texasfwb.org. Please make plans now to join us in Cedar Park, and feel free to contact this office if you have any questions.”

Sincerely,
Marcus A. Brewer


You Can’t Trust That Book!

There are a lot of views on the Bible. Sam Harris says, “Theology is ignorance with wings.” Richard Dawkins even says, “The resurrection was invented by eager new recruits to Christianity.” I just recently, in our Q and A series at church, did a sermon on the reliability of the Bible. I want to quickly rehash what I talked about there. The goal is to equip believers to know the truth and to expose seekers to that same truth as well. And while I can’t possibly answer every question that may go through someone’s mind, I want to give you some truths, with the hopes of pushing you to study these topics further. 

Dr. Stephen Meyer said, “The heart can’t exalt what the mind can’t believe.” If we’re gonna go by this book, let’s get it down. If we say we follow who this is all about, let’s get equipped and ready. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” People ask if this is true. People are searching and need to have believers ready to give them an answer. Right? People are making a decision about the most important decision they can make: do they have faith in Jesus, who He said He was and whether or not He rose from the grave. Listen, this book is not just like any other book out there. It is not a simple self-help book written by a collection of people who figured out life. It is the God-breathed words of the Creator of everything. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “ For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

It’s alive, it’s living and active! This isn’t just poetic nonsense. We’re getting a description of God and His word that He has given to us. We’ll talk about that a little later, but it’s His God-breathed words. This isn’t just another book. Paul tells us that in 1 Thessalonians 2:13. “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”

So let’s lay out the evidence for what we have. Let’s start with the OT. 

The Old Testament:

Let’s just consider one book. The book of Isaiah. It was written around 700 BC. 700 years before Jesus. So a question that comes up for “always being prepared to give an answer for why we believe” may be “How do you know Isaiah was copied right?” We don’t have the original, but what do we have? Well in 1947 a shepherd boy was out and he threw a rock in a cave and heard something break. Long story short, he found all these jars containing 900 ancient scrolls. This has become known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. In this was a whole copy of Isaiah dating to about 200 BC. Ok, so what they did was compare that with what we have now and it was amazingly accurate. What was written then, we have now. There’s no telephone game whisper in the ear mess ups here. 

And with that being said, let’s think about the implications of us knowing that the book of Isaiah (specifically chapter 53 we’ll look at) was the same then as we have now. So we have the original in 700 BC, the Dead Sea Scroll around 200 BC, copies from about 1000 years ago, and then what we have today. So we put those all together and exactly how accurate is it? Very! Norman Geisler said, “Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only 17 letters in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The three remaining letters comprise the word LIGHT, which is added in verse 11 and which does not affect the meaning greatly. Furthermore, this word is supported by the Septuagint (LXX). Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission – and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage.”

So back to what this means. Over 2200 years have gone by and it has kept true. It means that we know for sure there was a very detailed, specific prophecy on Jesus. It was fulfilled by Him. Here’s how accurate Isaiah 53 is towards Jesus. It says He, “would not be widely believed, wouldn’t have the look of majesty, would be despised and suffer, would be concerned for others health and would die for our sins, would have pain and punishment for us, wouldn’t respond to charges, would be oppressed and killed, would be with criminals during life and death, buried in a rich man’s tomb, be crushed, suffer and die and yet live, would bear our sins, and would have a portion with the great.” 

And just to add a little more, Daniel, in about 500 something BC prophesied about kingdoms coming and falling. Early on in Daniel he was given a prophecy about 4 global empires: Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman. Then in chapter 8 it specifically mentions Greece as a world power and the great King in there is Alexander the Great who would be cut off at the height of his power (he died unexpectedly in his thirties), be split into four parts (he had no successor so it was split into 4 kingdoms) that wouldn’t be as powerful as him (they weren’t). Eventually after other terrible and powerful leaders (like Antiochus Epiphanes) then Rome came to power and put it all under one again. All of this is prophesied hundreds of years before. And came to be.

What about the New Testament?

William Lane Craig, apologist, theologian rightly says that from the time evidence is found and written to the time you get it is irrelevant. What matters is the distance between the event happening and someone documenting it. Consider the first and second most reliable documents of antiquity.  

Homer’s Iliad- Poem telling about the Trojan War.  Time Gap- 400 yrs   Copies- 643

NT- 25,000 manuscript copies, Time gap- 25-200 years. 

It’s not even close!

What did the NT writers and apostles think of their writings and each other’s writings? Check these two examples out.  

2 Peter 3:15-16 says, “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” What does he do? Peter equates Paul’s writings to scripture. That’s huge. It directly knocks down some of the terrible, misinformed attacks on the Bible that I have seen. Here’s another one for you. 

1 Timothy 5:18 says, “For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” Why do I bring this up? “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain” is from Deuteronomy 25:4. OT scripture. Something they were familiar with. And then “The worker deserves his wages” is from Luke 10:7. That’s NT! I think it is intentional that he puts them both together here and says, “For scripture says…” and he puts them on equal ground. 

But is it true?

Christian author and speaker Dr. Frank Turek says there are 6 lines of evidence that show us that it’s true and not made up. And they all start with E. Here they are very briefly srtated:

Early testimony: Most if not all the NT documents are written prior to 70 AD. Why do I say that? Because the destruction of the temple (a huge, massive thing that would certainly be at least mentioned) is not mentioned in any NT writing. Not to mention that most conservative and libreal scholars hold to an early dating for their writings. 

Eyewitness Testimony: Read Luke’s introduction to his gospel to see that he said he wrote it “as it was handed down to” him, from “eyewitnesses” and that he “carefully investigated everything” to “write an orderly account” so they can “know the certainty of the things you’ve been taught.” 

Embarrassing Details: It seems extremely unlikely that anyone who made this stuff up, or fabricated it in anyway would include many of the details about the disciples that did not make them look good.

Excruciating Evidence: The eyewitnesses and many in the early church could have denied Jesus and said they were making it up, or they got it wrong, or just denied in some way to save their own lives. But they didn’t. They kept the story. The only real, logical explanation for this one alone is that it’s because it was true.

Expected Testimony: There is OT prophecy that leads you to the expected Messiah-Jesus.

Extra Biblical Testimony: I mentioned a little, but there are 10 ancient non-Christian sources within 150 years of Jesus’ life. When you take their brief accounts of Jesus and His life you get a story that is congruent with the NT.

Finally, one last cool thing to see. It was ahead of the time on science and understanding creation. The Bible served as a basis for modern scientific pursuits. When scientists thought the earth was flat (although sadly this seems to be making a comeback), the Bible said otherwise. Isaiah 40:22 says, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” The circle of the earth and it also in that verse points out the expansion of the universe which we know is happening. Job 26:7 God tells us that He suspends the Earth on nothing. Before oceans were explored, the Bible spoke of valleys and springs of the sea. It even mentions the hydrologic cycle of the circulation of the water of the earth long before anyone knew about that in Ecclesiastes 1:6-7. This is the kind of things these guys had no business knowing about unless…this book is not a normal book. 

We have good news to share…and its’ true! The Bible is living and active. This is the real, powerful, life-changing, evil-calling-out, moral, eternity-shaking, unchanging, truthful, good news that gives us the knowledge of faith in Jesus alone to save and take us from death to life. That is what this is. But my experience with too many is that it’s nothing more than a coaster on a side table or a decoration. That has to change. You want to hear from God? We all want to know Him more and maybe cry out to Him, “Why don’t you speak to me?!” He has, but are we listening and reading it?

Waco Missions with Jim and Tracey Kilgore

“The Kilgores are planting a new church in Waco, Texas in partnership with the Texas state mission board. Jim and Tracey are no strangers to church planting. After pastoring for some time in California, they planted Heritage FWB, in Greenfield, CA in 2009. Jim has felt a burden for the city of Waco for several years and they are excitedly following God’s calling into the area. The Kilgores moved to Waco in 2021, and they were immediately concerned by the lack of gospel outreach particularly in the North Waco area. They plan to plant a church and live in North Waco, a region with a population of around 30,000 people but only a handful of established churches. Half-way between Dallas and Austin, Waco is a popular stop for visitors from all over the country making it a great region for this new ministry.”

2021 NAM Hispanic Power Conference

” May 31-June 1, 2021 North American Ministries will be hosting a Hispanic Power Conference at The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, TN. This conference will be translated into both Spanish and English. We encourage our pastors to come and be a part of this unique experience. We encourage everyone to become apart of this opportunity to come together and learn how to be United for One Vision.

Schedule

Monday, May 31

6:00 pm Music
7:00 pm Service: Dr. Noe Martinez

Tuesday, June 1

9:00 am Seminar
10:00 am Seminar
11:00 am Seminar
Lunch
1:30 pm Seminar
2:30 pm Seminar
3:30 pm Seminar
6:00 pm Music
7:00 pm Service: Dr. David Crowe

Speakers

Dr. Noe Martinez: Pastor of one of the largest churches in Mexico City, Centro de Fe, Esperanza, Y Amor Tacuba. Dr. Martinez is also the president of these churches that are around the entire Mexican Republic.

Dr. Rufo Gomez: Dr. Rufo is a church planter around North America. He is involved in discipling and training his members for ministry. Now Dr. Gomez is planting a church in Smyrna, Tennessee. He is also one of the teachers at the NAM Bible Institute.

Pastor Fernando Bustamante: Fernando is a pastor in Florence, South Carolina who has planted churches around North America and parts of Central America. His passion and heart are in missions to take the gospel where there is none. He is also a teacher at the NAM Bible Institute.

Pastor Alfredo Botello: Alfredo is pastor of Faith, Hope, Love Church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He is the Director and also a teacher of the NAM Bible Institute.

Dr. David Crowe, Executive Director: The Lord has placed a burden on David Crowe to help Hispanic ministry, pastors, and people. David is a successful pastor and evangelist. He has ministered to over 1,300 churches around the country and in other countries as well. After 18 years on the Home Missions staff, he became the executive director of the department and has been serving in that capacity for the past 8 years.

© 2019 North American Ministries “

Ivory Coast News

“Pastor Hénoc Dah, who works in the southwestern part of Ivory Coast, far from most of our other churches, reported that 5 mission churches in the area got together for an Easter Conference. Fifteen people were baptized during the conference.Please support our partnership in Ivory Coast by giving to the World Missions Offering (WMO): iminc.org/give.Give by texting impartnerships to 77977. #WMO2021 ” For much more news around the world visit: https://iminc.org/

Nursing Home Ministry

Many nursing home ministries have been shut down for over a year now. Churches have gotten creative to find ways to reach out. Lighthouse and Authentic have teamed up to provide door hangers for 65 nursing home doors. Not all places will allow this, but it’s a start to getting God’s word and joy back into nursing homes. Pray for these to help start conversations about the hope and salvation of God.

Forest Of Opportunities

I grew up on some of the classic 80’s movies. I remember The Great Outdoors with Dan Aykroid and John Candy. One particular scene had Roman (Dan Aykroid) talking to his brother Chet (John Candy). Roman is looking out over the forest. He was a business guy. He said, “I tell you what I see when I look out there. I see the undeveloped resources of Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin, and Michigan. I see a syndicated development consortium exploiting over a billion and a half dollars in forest products. I see a paper mill and if the strategic metals are there, a mining operation. A greenbelt between the condos on the lake and a waste management facility focusing on the newest rage in toxic waste, medical refuse. Infected bandages, body parts, IV tubing, contaminated glassware, entrails, syringes, fluids, blood, low grade radioactive waste all safely contained sunken in the lake and sealed for centuries. Now I ask you what do you see?

Chet said, “I just see trees.”

I want to propose the opportunities to do apologetics and share the gospel are the same way. We’re all looking at the same trees, but some of us can see the potential opportunities and others aren’t quite there yet. So church, let’s help each other see it! If you want to think of scripture, think of what Jesus told His disciples. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” The sort of eye-opening I pray God does for His world-wide church is the type that He did for the servant of Elisha in 2 Kings 6. Elisha prayed for God to open his servants eyes to see God’s protection by way of numerous horses and chariots of fire all around them.

So what kind of opportunities are actually out there? I usually have a routine where I go to different Christian and non-Christian news and topical sites. I just like to know what is happening around the country and world. Lately, as I peruse the articles and sites, there really is no shortage of topics for Christians and churches to engage in. 

Apologetics

This is my sweet spot. This is where God has specifically developed in me a passion and huge sense of urgency to be a part of. The most recent Gallup Poll just came out saying that for the first time in eighty years (as long as they have been observing), church membership is under fifty percent. All right church, Christian, if you need a new reason to light a fire in your evangelistic pants to get up and do something, now is the time! People are turning away from church and God at staggering and consistent rates. One of the relatively new classifications is that of the nones. This is those who hold to no religious affiliation. It’s not necessarily atheist and skeptics, but many do consider themselves to be in this camp. Many are just not affiliating with any religion. They are the nones. It’s not important to them. They see no relevance.

So, with that said, the opportunity for the church is to engage this crowd. Are you talking about “those people” outside our churches, or are you being intentional in reaching out to them by befriending them, creating discussion groups, or just making it known that they are welcome to step in your church to talk or listen?

I’m telling you church, this is an area where we need to step it up and engage. The deconversion stories are growing ever so steadily. We need to know what we believe and why. We need to be teaching our kids and church how to rightly read and interpret their Bible. We need to show them that it is not just a way, but the way. We need to show them that Christianity is not just relevant, but objectively true.

LGBTQ

I’ll bet that just reading those letters shot some people’s blood pressure up. Right? Ha! Let me be clear here: I am not advocating for us to cave on these issues and go against the Bible. The Bible is as clear now as it was in the past. I’m simply pointing out that this is a red hot issue going on right now. And it is not going away anytime soon, or most likely, ever. So are you prepared to engage in this area? We have to be ready. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I don’t think we’re always ready to talk to everyone about why we believe in Jesus. Maybe certain people and for easy questions. But not always.

I had someone once tell me that this was an untapped market for the church. I know that seems like business lingo, but I really agree. It’s a harvest that is taking off all around us. It’s not going to go away. Are you prepared to step into that arena and talk? Do you know what you would say? Do you know how you would say it? Is your motivation for talking to someone of that persuasion pure and holy? I believe these are things we need to check. But don’t just talk about it forever as if that’s good enough. Put your faith into action. “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. (Jas. 2:18). We know what the next verse is in James scathing critique of a dead faith.

We’re not called to a comfortable, non-confrontational life. We’re called to love God and love others. We’re called to obey God. We’re called to tell the world about Him and how to live for Him by making disciples. That requires us to go to everyone and be willing to have tough conversations and to do so in love.

Just be real, transparent, and honest

I’m convinced that if we just modeled these three things with everyone, it would open up so many more opportunities for us to share our faith. Times may be changing. It may not be our grandparents’ world anymore. But people still respond more readily to someone who seems to genuinely care. People are drawn to others who seem to be real and show them love. 

Church, the mission hasn’t changed. The landscape may look different, but we still have the same job: to live out and preach the gospel. So look back out at the trees in the forest and have a little more of the optimism of Roman.

CTS Deadline Approaching

“Please find attached information about this year’s Ministry Expo (CTS) Competition.  The deadline for entries is fast approaching – APRIL 16, 2021.  

Let me hear from you if you have children participating!!!!

This is a wonderful activity for the children Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade to learn and grow in Christ and to cultivate their talents for Christ.”

Teressa Voltz

Ministry Expo (CTS) 2021

● State Ministry Expo (CTS) Competition – Saturday, May 1, 2021
● Location: Fellowship FWB Church, Bryan, Texas
● Start Time: 10:00 am
● Entries due to Teressa Voltz via email or snail mail by Friday, April 16, 2021
○ mtvoltz@consolidated.net
○ 832.647.3458
○ 822 Weeping Willow Way, Magnolia, TX 77354
● Retrieve entry forms and guidelines at http://www.verticalthree.com
● Fees can me mailed to Teressa Voltz or turned in on the day of competition
● Questions? Either contact verticalthree or Teressa Voltz mtvoltz@consolidated.net or
832.647.3458
● Why participate?
○ Great way to have students memorize scripture
○ Develop and nurture the talents God has given

State Meeting Hotel Information

“Hi everyone,

Details of this year’s State Meeting schedule (on Wednesday-Thursday June 9-10) are being developed and we will share them when they are finalized, but I wanted to share the information on the hotel so that you can begin making reservations.  Wes Hood has made arrangements with the La Quinta Inn & Suites Austin Cedar Park, located near Lakehills Church, for a special group rate for those who are attending the meeting.

Below is the booking link for the hotel.  The default is arrival on Tuesday (June 8) and departure on Friday (June 11), but you can change those dates to match your arrival and departure.  If you need additional nights outside of the June 8-11 period you can call the hotel directly.  The reservation deadline to obtain the reduced group rate is no later than May 18.

Book My Room

Please let Pastor Wes or me know if you have any questions about the hotel.”

Blessings,

Marcus

Marcus Brewer

Moderator/State Office Coordinator

Texas State Association of Free Will Baptists

P.O. Box 2716

Bryan, TX  77805-2716

(979) 774-3125

stateoffice@texasfwb.org

www.texasfwb.org