Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Blessings

Christmas Blessings

Christmas is a time to count blessings.  Today, as your pastor, I count among my blessings the incredible trust given to me by God and realized in this congregation. 
I am trusted to proclaim the truth and that means good news.
I am trusted to balance truth and love as people struggle with life, an impossible task without the wisdom generously granted by God.
I am blessed to shepherd a body—a very willing body of believers—to take God’s love into the world.
I am blessed to serve among those called out of the world, set apart for God’s special purpose, and then sent back into the world as his commissioned.
We are not always on time as the world would define such things, but we are always timely responding to the Spirit’s leading.
This congregation is not large but its love is far reaching.
The church building is not ornate but what goes on here bears good fruit.
The sanctuary is no cathedral but it is the warmest of places to gather in worship.
The people may not be rich as the world defines such things, but they are generous with all that the have.
The worship service seldom appears to be a well-oiled machine often proceeding with multiple hiccups in the course of a Sunday morning, but what is offered to God is genuine.
Wednesday evenings may appear chaotic at times, but children have come to the place where they know they are loved.
People come all during the week wearing signs that read, “I need help but don’t want to change the way I live.”  Praise be to God for the work of his Spirit that does far more than I can do in these situations.
People come and call at hours when there should be nobody on the premises because they are hoping beyond hope that there is a way out of their situation.  The way is Jesus.   If they will only accept my invitation to come and talk and hear of God’s love.
Today, I count my blessings that God trusts me enough to minister to the lost and the disconnected and to continue to equip the saints for their most vital work in the days and weeks ahead.
Today, I count my blessings that God has called people to provision this body for its work in the world.
Today, I count among my blessings that I witness enough victories in ministry that the apathy and ambivalence of so many does not overwhelm me.
Today, I count as my blessings a denomination that sings Whosoever Will May Come, knowing that our loving Father continues to call the wanderers home.
Today, as in every day, I rejoice in the Lord and not in the circumstances of the world.  I pray for and reach out to those who only find a temporary happiness in the circumstances and things of the world that they too may know the joy of the Lord.
Today, I count among my blessings that the yoke of my Master is easy.  I can bear it and not strain under its weight.  I rejoice that he has given me purposeful tasks that require me to apply the gifts and talents with which he blessed me and these things are not burdensome.
Today, I count my many blessings with producing fruit for the body of Christ among the best of them, as it enables me to live fully by giving completely of myself to God by helping others.
Today, I count being a living sacrifice as a true Christmas present knowing that the more I give the more I live.  God is good and his will for me is perfect.
It is good to be God’s servant and to live trusting him as I live out my salvation in the special trust he has given me as pastor.
I am blessed and pray that I am a blessing to those that God has placed in my path.

Merry Christmas!

Tom

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Do not read this if you are anchored to your comfort zone

It’s been a tough year.
We just can’t.
Maybe next year.
Expenses are up and profits are down.

If I were to start a list of the top 10 or 100 reasons why people said that they couldn’t help with this year’s WOFCC fundraiser, these would be near the top.  These answers come easily for some and harder for others, but the common denominator is that we could all give a little bit, even if it was only $25.

Yes, things have been tight in western Oklahoma these past couple of years.  We did well while the rest of the country struggled and now with oil prices down, we have lost quite a bit locally.  But we are not without.  We are still people of means.

We live indoors.
We have food to feed our families.  Sometimes we eat out.
Our power is on.  We have gas for heating and cooking.  We take hot showers and baths.
We drive to work and to Walmart.
We still have our satellite radio or download our tunes to our phone a buck or two at a time.
We still watch the Sooners and the Cowboys and the Thunder on television. Occasionally, some even make it to the game.
We seldom think about whether we can afford that convenience store coffee or Coke.
We still put fuel in our vehicles and plug a handful of quarters to wash those vehicles every once in a while.

We may have less but we have not hit the bottom, except perhaps in our thinking.  We think that we have nothing left to give.

I do not want anyone to give anything out of guilt, but would ask that we do a reality check.  We—most of us anyway—are still blessed.  We are blessed beyond what we comprehend and yet in our minds we sometimes forget how blessed we are and believe that we have nothing or little to give.

We should remember that we are blessed to be a blessing, not just to get by in this world.
Guilt must not drive our giving, but truth should speak to our very souls.  We can give and there are those who are struggling among us just to live.  The second part should speak to the first.

The WOFCC is often called the community care center.  We hope that everyone in the community will feel that they are a stakeholder in this ministry.  We ask that everyone who can contribute what they can.  That may be $100 or $50 pr maybe just $25.

This call goes out to businesses, churches, civic organizations, and individuals.  The WOFCC helps those that Jesus called the least of these my brothers.

You may tithe at church.  If you do you are in a very small minority.  Fewer than 5% of Christians tithe.  Some give less than 10% but about 4% give 10% or more.  God attaches a promise to the tithe.  Not only will the one who tithes continue in God’s blessings, but God’s storehouse will be full.

It is 2016 going quickly on 2017 and God’s storehouse is not full.  The Western Oklahoma Family Care Center stands in the gap to meet needs that the family, the government, and the local church bodies are not meeting.  The least of these brothers and sisters would go without if not for the WOFCC.

I do not want to evoke guilt in anyone, but I do hope that we will open our eyes to the fact that most of us are still blessed.  We are blessed in that we not only live at a good standard of living but that we can help those who live in poverty or just can’t afford insurance.

This is a call to the compassion and compassionate of our communities in Beckham, Custer, Roger Mills, and Washita Counties.  Examine yourselves and your situation and see if you could not part with $100 this week.  It may make a big difference in the year to come for someone who will otherwise go without food, power, medicine, dental care, or knowing that those who profess to be children of a God of love actually do love the least of these our brothers and sisters.

Your donations do make a difference.  To date, we have leveraged every dollar of donation and turned it into $1.50 worth of services.  That’s a good return on investment.  Your donations make a difference.  They make a difference right here at home.

Now is the time to make that donation.

You may donate online or by mail, but please donate, not begrudging the action, but cheerfully knowing that even in our toughest times we are still blessed to be a blessing.

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1727
Elk City, OK 73648-1727
Physical Address:
609 West Avenue E
Elk City, OK 73644

Sincerely,

Tom Spence
Chairman, Board of Directors
Western Oklahoma Family Care Center


Monday, November 7, 2016

Dig into your discipleship

Board meeting tonight in Elk City.  Tuesday is election day--Wednesday for those of you who are voting for different people than I am.  Thursday is the Marine Corps Birthday.  Friday is Veterans Day.  Saturday the scouts pick up food from homes in Burns Flat and Dill City to begin our Ministerial Alliance Food Drive.  The missions room is ready to receive.  Sunday, we will gather to worship the Lord.

Whatever the day or the outcome of the election or however old the Corps lives to be, every day belongs to the Lord.  Our lives belong to the Lord.  It’s not so much what is on the calendar or on the dinner table, it is all about bringing glory to God.

This week our challenge is to dig into our discipleship and be fully convinced of how God has called us to live our lives in response to his incredible grace and mercy.  Our entire lives are to be lived as a sacrifice to God and we are to give ourselves fully to him.  That includes our mind.  He is the Potter and will reshape and renew our mind if we will turn away from the patterns of the world and trust fully in him.

God has given us the mind of Christ, but first we must set aside the mind molded by the world.  Then—in a life fully given to God and with a renewed mind—we will know God’s will for us.  And we should not be afraid of that will.  It is good.  It is pleasing.  It is perfect.

Take this week’s challenge to heart.  Dig into your discipleship and become fully convinced in your own renewed mind of how God wants you to live out your salvation.


Let’s get serious about following Jesus.  We will have the time of our lives!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Contact Us

Contact us:

In person
205 State Highway 44
Burns Flat OK 73624

Mailing Address
PO Box 8
Burns Flat OK 73624

By telephone
(580) 562-4706

By email (Goes to Pastor Tom)


We are located only a few hundred feet north of the town’s one and only traffic light.  We are on the east side of the highway.  The church building says, God’s Love in Action on the wall facing the highway.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Other pages and links



Provided below are links to other pages on the Burns Flat Cumberland Presbyterian Website as well as links to other sites that might interest you.



Bring the Drama.  This is a plan for the next few weeks of short dramas.

Feed the Players Fall 2016.  This is the schedule for Feed the Players and 5th Quarters for fall 2016.

Church Cruise 2017.  Ever want to go on a cruise…

These are links that take you away from this site to other points of interest.

Cumberland Presbyterian Ponderings.  Most of Tom’s messages and some other prayers and devotions are posted here.

The Burns Flat News.  Items of local interest are posted here.

Your pastor did what?  Yes, the word is out.  Tom has written a few books, many of them very much related to ministry.     



Church Cruise 2017


We did not have enough interest in a 2017 cruise.  Perhaps we will check again in a couple more years.

Have you ever wanted to go on a cruise? 



Have you been on one before and are ready to go again? 



The Burns Flat Cumberland Presbyterian Church is asking its members who are interested to talk with Kendra Walker.  We will cruise between Sundays next May out of Galveston.  We will leave sometime on the afternoon or evening of 28 May and be back in Burns Flat the next Saturday evening.  The total cost will be determined by the number going, transportation arrangements, and the type of room that you want.  If you want to go with the very basic package, plan to spend about $600 per person.  This includes all meals, tea and lemonade for drinks, and entertainment.  You will want some cash for souvenirs at the two ports and any extras that you buy onboard.  Soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and specialty meals are extra but you can have a great affordable cruise without spending money on any of these.



We really need to see who is committed to going by early November so we can be assured of getting everyone onboard and making transportation arrangements.

We recommend that everyone also have a passport.  You may be able to cruise using only your birth certificate, but a passport is always better.  The waiting time on a passport is about 2 months.



Think about this, pray about this, and check your finances.  It is not for everybody, but some already know what a great time cruising can be.


Let Kendra know soonest!

Bring the Drama


The next drama meeting is 3 May 2017 at 6 pm.  We will work to confirm the next few months of the new year and extend our scheduling to the end of the year if possible.  Always be on the lookout for short dramas that will bring a good message to our congregation.  If you are disposed to write one, please do.  If you would like to write one with someone else, see Tom.


MINI DRAMA WORKSHEET
2017

DATE
TITLE
SCRIPTURE
NOTES
1 JAN 17
Resolutions
Proverbs 3:5-6
Des & Laci
8 JAN
Surprise Package
James 1:17
Kendra
15 JAN
Grandpa
Luke 9:23
Gerald, Dylan, Gage, Dakota
22 JAN
Let Your Light Shine
Matthew 5:14-16
Colleen & Amanda
29 JAN
Church Fairy

Des & Kathy will cast
5 FEB
Lately
Luke 9:23
Des
12 FEB
The Sower
Matthew 13:3-9
Lilly & Grace
19 FEB
Weeds
Matthew 13:24-30
Colleen
26 FEB
Yeast and Mustard
Matthew 13:31-33

Gene & Patsy
1 Mar
Left & Right Hands
Matthew 6:1-21
Kathy & Lori
Ash Wednesday
5 MAR
Ask and…
Matthew 7
Rush family+
12 MAR
The Bread of Life
John 6
Garrett & Robert Plaza.
19 MAR
The Net
Matthew 13:47-50
Robert Rush, Shane, Dylan

26 MAR
Treasure in Heaven
Matthew 6:19-21
Rodney & Gerald
2 APR
Bury my Father
Matthew 8:18-22
Kendra & Dana
9 APR
Easter Mouse

Kristy
16 APR
Peter

Rick & Garrett
23 APR
Faith of the Centurion
Matthew 8:5-13
Robert R. & Steven H.
30 APR
Everything

Des will cast
 7 MAY
I promise
James 5:12
Psalm 89:34
Garrett & Laci
14 MAY
God loves the heart
1 Samuel 16:7
Rick Ellis & Rick Reeves

21 MAY
Trash
Matthew 11:28
Kendra, Rodney, James (with voice over)?
28 MAY
We are the body
1 Corinthians 12:27
Des will cast
4 JUNE
Disfigured Faces
Matthew 6:16-18
Colleen & Kendra
11 JUNE
Idols like us



18 JUNE
Verse of the Day
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Amanda & Tom
25 JUNE
Apples & Acorns
Matthew 6:43-45
Susan & Lori
2 JULY
Work Out Salvation
Philippians 2
Des & Kristy
9 JULY
M&M @ Walmart
Luke 10:38-42
Lynn & Sharman
16 JULY
VBS SUNDAY


23 JULY
Eating an Elephant
1 John 4:4  Numbers 13
Colleen + 1
30 JULY
Digging Ditches
2 Kings 3
Rick R & John R
6 AUG
Cheap Seats
Matthew 14:22-33
Rodney & Gerald
13 AUG
Dr Reason

Joe T   &  Sam M
20 AUG



27 AUG



3 SEP
Taxonomy of Transgression
1 John 1:9
Leviticus 19-20
Des & Laci
10 SEP



17 SEP
Rocks & Scorpions
Matthew 7:7-12
Derrick & John R
24 SEP
Inquiring Minds
Easter scriptures
Gerald & Kathy












BULLPEN
JUDGE NOT
Matthew 7:1-2
Kathy or Colleen
BULLPEN
Pick Up Your Matt
John 5:1-14

BULLPEN






Short Drama Schedule

DATE
TITLE
SCRIPTURE/NOTES
CAST
21 AUGUST 16
IRON SHARPENS IRON
PROVERBS 27:17
GARRETT, GAGE, DYLAN, DAKOTA

28 AUGUST 16
MOM’S MESSY MISSION
COL 3:23-24, ROMANS 12:1-2, PSALM 149:4, MATTHEW 28:19-20, ACTS 17:26-28
KENDRA
5 SEPTEMBER 16
HOLINESS & HOME ROOM
MATTHEW 16:24-25; JOHN 3:30; JOHN12:24-25; 1 PETER 1:14-20
LILLY
11 SEPTEMBER 16
FINANCIAL COUNSELING
JAMES 1
TOM, DANNY & AMANDA
18 SEPTEMBER 16
YOU’RE A CHRISTIAN
JOHN 13:34-35
DYLAN, SHANE
28 SEPTEMBER 16
TAX TIME
MALACHI 3:10
GARRETT & LACI
2 OCTOBER 26
MORE THAN ENOUGH
JOHN 6:1-13
KRISTY
9 OCTOBER 16
I NEVER WIN
PROVERBS 22:6
ROBERT, STEPHEN
16 OCTOBER 16
BASKETBALL
MARK 1:17
JUNIOR, GAGE
23 OCTOBER 16
CHURCH FRONT DOOR FAIRY
PSALM 51:10; JEREMIAH 24:7
ROD, JOHNNY, GERALD & KATHY, BRIAN & LORI, FAITH, KYLIE, TOM
30 OCTOBER 16
TO TRICK OR TREAT
1 CORINTHIANS 11:1
DES




Remember the guidelines for these short drama's:
--They can be done by 1 or 2 people.  Some exceptions made where all cast members are from the same family.
--Two minute messages are the goal.
--When possible, we will tie the short drama with the time of year or main message.