Alive! Conference

Teens from all over the state attended the Alive conference this week and it was a great opportunity! Heath Ferguson and Ron Davis kept the kids engaged in learning for 3 days including 6 services! Pray for these kids as they return to the real-world application of what they have learned.

They also provided our youth with a challenge to grow their faith with this incredible resource. Check it out and get your students and families engaged in the Word:

One Magazine

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Here’s one sample of MANY articles and news stories in One Magazine:

FIRST GLIMPSE: Hidden Treasure?

A driftwood fire crackled merrily, and the smoky smell of coffee wafted through the cool morning air. Easing back on my elbows in the powdery sand, I waited with a smile for the old, blackened coffee pot to finish perking. I yawned and stretched as I admired early morning clouds tinged with pink on the distant horizon.

After backpacking five miles through soft sand and scratchy underbrush the previous evening, my daughter and I discovered a pristine location near the end of the deserted Gulf island we set out to explore. Tucked into a hollow between two enormous sand dunes, we raised our small, worn tent against an enormous drift log. After scavenging firewood, we spent a fantastic evening roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate. My last thought before drifting off to sleep was how much I enjoyed the sound of crashing waves on the shore. Perfect.

Eight hours later, as dawn slowly brightened to brilliant sunrise, I savored my coffee and simply relaxed as I waited for Sleepyhead to stir. Running my toes through the sand, I wondered for the umpteenth time how sand could be so soft.

“Ouch!” A sudden sharp pain between my toes put a damper on the otherwise idyllic morning. Reaching down, I pulled a short length of corroded chain from the sand. “Litterbugs!” I exclaimed with disgust, rubbing the small cut left between my toes. Shaking my head, I shoved the corroded metal into the side pocket of my hiking shorts to discard later. At that moment, a sleepy face surrounded by tousled blond locks poked from the tent door. “Do I smell coffee?”

We turned attention to breakfast, breaking camp, and retracing our route back down the island. Four hours later, we arrived at the parking area scratched, sunburned, sweaty, and ready for shade. We stowed our gear and, after a last glance at the scenery, prepared to head for civilization.

Remembering the refuse, I stepped over to the drab green trash bin. As I drew back my hand to toss in the chain, I froze. The hours of rubbing back and forth in my pocket had removed the corrosion and turned the links a soft, golden glow. The trash had become treasure! A trip to an antique dealer confirmed it. The buried chunk of corrosion was not only gold, but pure gold—scarred and worn but just as precious.

Jesus spoke clearly about treasure in His Sermon on the Mount. He taught followers one’s “treasure” says much about the condition of the heart. Obsession with the material, a lack of generosity, and misplaced confidence in wealth (Luke 12:27-34; Matthew 6:19-21) point to a heart divided, torn between two masters—God and money (Matthew 6:24). In contrast, generosity, careful stewardship of resources, eternal values, and faith God will provide reflect a heart fully devoted to God, not distracted by the glittering baubles of this life.

Most important, we must not bury our most precious treasure: salvation. Christ’s gift of redemption is not something to be hidden or hoarded but shared. Like a candle in the darkness or a shining city on a hill (Matthew 5:14-16), God’s grace should gleam from our lives, pointing others to a treasure far better than anything marked by an X on some tattered parchment.

Hidden treasure? No way! Not for the Christian.

About the Columnist: Eric K. Thomsen is managing editor of ONE Magazine. Email:

The 107th Annual Texas State Meeting

I believe I speak for everyone when I say that it was great to be back together with a semblance of normalcy. But, what is normal anymore? If you attended you would have felt the same sense of happiness and sense of urgency to spread the gospel. Part of the experience of being at the meetings is we get to be around other like-minded believers, encourage each other, and get motivated to do go back out and share the gospel!

Pastor Faron Thebeau did a fantastic job of bringing the word and firing us up to jump into the mission–the great commission! He shared a little of what God is doing through him and his ministry at Mosaic Church (that he planted) in Rolla, Missouri. Faron is “becoming all things” and doing whatever he can to “reach as many as possible” in the diverse city that God has sent him. The Mosaic has a unique opportunity to engage with people from many countries around the world. Faron is capitalizing on these and making disciples.

It was great meeting with everyone and seeing what all is happening in all of our churches around the state, seeing what new ministries are in the works, and just being encouraged. The world may be going the wrong direction, but God is most definitely doing big things! If you, or your church is ever tempted to think otherwise, I challenge you to reach out to your brother and sisters in the church. Talk with each other. Share what God is doing. Hear what others are doing and what God is doing now, so that you will know with certainty that He is still working. Go and make disciples!

The Invention of Homosexuality

It is not the practicing homosexual we are battling with. And It is not the LGBTQ agenda that is sweeping through our country that we are up against. The battle is with the Enemy who is up to the same tricks since the beginning in the Garden. “Did God really say…” Today the same lie is, “Does the Bible really say homosexual?” I believe what the church needs to be prepared for is to know how to enter into this ever-growing battle. Tactics are key in knowing what to engage in and what is simply irrelevant. For example, I often hear Christians retort, “You were not born that way.” That argument will often stop the conversation from going anywhere as the two erect walls. It’s a great way to end the talk. Why is it not the battle? Because we’re all born into sin anyway. I have no problem with agreeing someone is born that way, or has those urges. I won’t grant that God made them that way, however. The reason I have no problem with granting them saying they may have been born that way is because we all have sin and we must be born again. So that’s not the battle you engage in. 

What is the battle?

The battle has to be on scripture and what it says or doesn’t say. If there is no objective standard to which we adhere to, then there is nothing to which we can point to as truth or not. There is no truth. Everyone makes their own standard. Relativism is self-defeating, though. I made a TikTok video on this, because you don’t need a long time to refute it. Simply as one question: “Is relativism true?” 

So what does scripture say on this matter? The Old Testament and New Testament both address it. There is a movie coming out called 1946. It is about the supposed mistranslation of the word “homosexual” in the RSV translation. It’s important for the church to be prepared for this, because this movement is picking up steam like no other time in history. And from a cursory glance, it doesn’t seem like we are prepared to address it in a biblical way, or that we’re doing a very good job. 

There are really six passages that typically are looked at as referring to homosexuality: Genesis 19 (Sodom and Gomorrah), Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and 1 Timothy 1:10. My intent with this is not to do an exhaustive teaching on this, but to highlight the discussion that is going on, with the hopes of pushing you to research more. We need to be educated and prepared. And then when we are, we have to enter into the arena. But always remember that the goal is not to win an argument, but to win a brother or sister. 

Often the argument is raised that in the Old Testament, if you are going to hold to some of the standards (e.g. homosexuality being a sin), then you have to hold to all the commands (e.g. you can’t mix certain fabrics, or plant field with two kinds of seeds). 

In the New Testament, often the argument is that the word and acts being described are not completely clear. There is not a consensus (more so with those of a progressive lean) as to what is spoken against. In the movie that is coming out, the claim is that the decision to translate the Greek word “arsenekotai” in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and from the root “koitais” in 1 Timothy 1:10, was wrong. In modern translations it is translated as homosexual. The argument is made, however, that it should be translated as “boy molesters.” In Romans 1, where it says, “Man shall not lie with man as with a woman”, the opposition believes it should be “Man shall not lie with young boys as he does the woman.” 

And finally, when someone tries to claim that Jesus never referred to homosexuality, I remind them that He did affirm a biblical marriage of a man and woman. Which is an indirect way of referring to homosexuality. 

This is simply scratching the surface of a subject that is growing and we must be prepared for. We can’t turn a blind eye to it. And it’s simply not enough to say, “The Bible says it! I believe it and that settles it!” We can’t say that, because people are using the Bible and even going back to the original languages to affirm their sin. My hope and prayer is that we approach this prepared, knowledgeable, and with love and compassion. People aren’t the enemy. They are no better than you or me. Many are blind and deceived. Many are grasping for answers. Some are just waiting for a Christian to actually take time to show them they love them and that God loves them. This is the world we are in. God didn’t call us to hate anyone. He called us to love everyone and bring the truth in love. Our responsibility, church, pastor, Christians, is to study God’s word and know it (2 Tim. 2:15), to preach it all truthfully (2 Tim. 4:2), to be ready at all times for people asking us why believe it and do it with compassion (1 Pet. 3:15), and to do it now (John 4:35)! 

Randall House to release Readings in Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for a Modern Age

Randall House to release Readings in Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for a Modern Age

(Nashville, Tennessee) On July 18, 2021, Randall House and Robert E. Picirilli, Ph.D., will release Readings in Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for a Modern Age.

About the book: Readings in Proverbs: Wisdom for a Modern Age introduces the reader to basic elements of Hebrew poetry in the book of Proverbs and explains how the poetic structure helps us understand and interpret the Proverbs. The reader can glean wisdom for today from the ancient Proverbs.

Features include: The book offers a collection of readings from topical groupings of select Proverbs, and includes definitions and pronunciation guides for key words, and provides non-technical explanation of terms and concepts.

About the author: Robert E. Picirilli is an author, retired college professor, and a historian for the Free Will Baptist denomination. He completed his degrees at Welch College (B.A.) and Bob Jones University (M.A., Ph.D. and spent his career teaching and in academic administration at Welch, specializing in the Greek New Testament. He has authored or co-authored numerous books including Grace, Faith, Free Will; Discipleship: The Expression of Saving Faith; Teacher, Leader, Shepherd; and How We Get Our English Bible. He has also written several articles published in theological journals and served as the general editor and frequent author for the Randall House Bible Commentary series. Dr. Picirilli lives in Nashville, Tennessee.”

Contact: Lena Wooten

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                   (615) 361-1221 ext. 308


The Church of TikTok

I remember one time someone called me to talk about a difficult situation and they said, “Man, if one more thing happens, I don’t know what we’ll do.” One more thing did happen and I had to break the bad news to them. We were alright, but it was one of those times where you just didn’t think it could get any worse. The way these last two years have gone, I would be more inclined to wonder why something bad wasn’t happening. I know that is a pessimistic attitude, but it’s more in tune with our current context. 

Our culture, our churches, and world are becoming more and more fragmented and individualistic. Being individualistic rules. “Be you.” “Don’t let anyone tell you what to do.” “Stay true to your heart.” You know. Stuff like we hear ad nauseum. It doesn’t help that now we have all these platforms available for anyone with a phone and a voice. But not everyone should have this voice. If you want to think biblically, think James 3. The warning is that not everyone should quickly rush out to become a teacher. Especially in the church. One of the qualifications of an elder or pastor is that they must not be a recent convert. So there should be time, evidence of maturity, biblical knowledge, and leading a life that matches up with scripture. They should be able to explain it and point to their life as an example of practically doing it. James 3 talks about that and the danger of what your words can do. In James 1:19, we’re told to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. 

I set that all up to mention what is currently happening. People are flocking to all these outlets to let their voices be heard. But what is coming out of this is a new wave of skepticism and liberalism. It’s becoming increasingly popular to call yourself a deconstructionist or (now) an exvangelical. So people are no longer listening to sound doctrine (that almost sounds like something biblical?), but instead are gripping onto 59 second videos as their teaching and life coach. I’m referring to TikTok. As I write this blog, I never thought that this would be a subject worthy of my writing. However, I also never thought aliens could be the next potential unreached group to reach with the gospel. I’m kidding! Maybe. 

So why bring up TikTok? Because it is an area that the church must invade with the truth. I am currently diving into this world myself. Now, if you don’t know much about it, it is not just for doing crazy dances and acting like a fool. It is a legit place to engage, discuss, teach, dialogue, and even debate. Ideas are being shared. But the reason I bring it up is that a lot of bad, progressive theology and anti God rhetoric is taking over. We have the greatest news ever and we must find every chance we can to speak it where it’s not being spoken. I have personally seen connections made through videos I’ve made that have led people to truth and away from false teachings. 

It’s a different world for sure. The church is still the church and is still called to be the church wherever we can. We need/must take the gospel to every area and crevice on this planet. That includes the online places. Nothing replaces a one on one interaction and conversation with a person. Nothing replaces meeting together physically. And nothing should replace that. This is merely another evangelistic opportunity that we have at our disposal. The harvest is plentiful! Rise up church. Go make disciples!